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High Voltage Explains the Challenges of Online Wii Development

by Nick DiMola - July 9, 2008, 11:44 am PDT
Total comments: 12 Source: Gamespot

Chief Creative Officer talks of developing The Conduit for Wii and all the challenges involved.

In a recent Gamespot interview, Eric Nofsinger, Chief Creative Officer at High Voltage Software, revealed some of his thoughts on developing for Wii and the challenges they have faced with integrating significant online features into their upcoming Wii game The Conduit.

According to Nofsinger, "the Wii has a pretty brilliant interface," "but [graphically]… is capable of a lot more than what people are really doing with it." He elaborated, "there are some hardware limitations … but, as a system, it's very powerful." As a result, he and his team felt it necessary to raise the bar and show the world what the Wii could really do. "I think that [the engaging controls] in combination with good graphics, it's a powerful match-up."

Nofsinger mentioned that a number of games that have come out for the Wii have been disappointing, including Red Steel. As a result, the industry has formed a stigma of what the Wii can and can not sell. Nofsinger believes that "with a few more good games … that push the system … [we] can get out of that rut."

Nofsinger also revealed that High Voltage Software currently has no plans to license their Quantum 3 engine in order to help other developers out of that rut because they are "really not set up as a middleware provider." Currently their focus is on finishing their in-development games, but after that "maybe [they'll] reconsider."

Gamespot also questioned Nofsinger about his thoughts on the recent rumors that Microsoft is producing a competing product to the Wii Remote. Nofsinger remarked that "Nintendo can still barely keep up with demand … so I don't think that system's going anywhere, but I would welcome any system as a gamer to pull in better control schemes."

Finally, Nofsinger went into some detail about their exploits in developing The Conduit's online multiplayer. The team has seen struggle on both ends of the spectrum, from convincing publishers that the mode is worthwhile to actually attacking the technical aspects of the feature.

From the technical end, though Nintendo has made "improvements ... for Mario Kart ... it's still got some catching up to do to get on par with Xbox Live." Fortunately, "they cover a lot of those costs for publishers and developers that are typically associated with [online]." Unlike Xbox Live and the Playstation Network the system isn't particularly well-suited for massive online multiplayer. EA achieved such success with Medal of Honor Heroes 2 by completely passing up use of Nintendo's infrastructure. High Voltage said they "were struggling for a while at eight players … [but] we finally have 16 players simultaneously." They predict "it's going to be a challenge all the way to the wire because [Nintendo's online service] is really not built from the ground up to do [this] kind of product."

Be sure to follow the link above to read the entire, lengthy interview where Nofsinger also explains some of the challenges High Voltage has faced in moving from producing mainly licensed games to original intellectual properties.

Talkback

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusJuly 09, 2008

Well I'm not 100% sure how The Conduit is going to turn out but with this guy somewhere near the helm I feel fairly confident that it will turn out alright. The guy seems very cognizant of his game surroundings and why others are failing. Of course all of this could be BS PR speak, but it seems like the team really doesn't want to half-ass this game and wants to really bring something polished to the market.

I am somewhat disappointed that they aren't going to be licensing the Quantum 3 engine, but hopefully that manages to change, especially if The Conduit really does deliver in the graphical department.

I don't get it. Why publicize so much about the Quantum3 engine, when they're not licensing it out? Or is it just that they're not ready to license out the engine until they've shipped their game with it and worked out all the kinks?

Either way, I REALLY hope that they license this engine out in the future.

UltimatePartyBearJuly 09, 2008

They're showing off the engine to advertise themselves to publishers.  That's clear from the wording near the end of the demo video.

Dirk TemporoJuly 09, 2008

More people should ignore Nintendo's online service.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusJuly 09, 2008

Quote from: Dirk

More people should ignore Nintendo's online service.

According to the interview, EA only got away with it because they are EA and have that kind of clout. I'm not 100% certain of this but it seems like Nintendo forces people to use their system.

ShyGuyJuly 09, 2008

Watch Microsoft buy High Voltage

Quote from: Mr.

From the technical end, though Nintendo has made "improvements  ... for Mario Kart ... it's still got some catching up to do to get on par with Xbox Live."

Understatement of the year.

Quote from: Mr.

Unlike Xbox Live and the Playstation Network the system isn't particularly well-suited for massive online multiplayer. EA achieved such success with Medal of Honor Heroes 2 by completely passing up use of Nintendo's infrastructure.

This really sucks.  How stupid can Nintendo be?  Dear Lord, are they running their servers on Commodore 64s?

Quote from: Mr.

High Voltage said they "were struggling for a while at eight players … we finally have 16 players simultaneously." They predict "it's going to be a challenge all the way to the wire because is really not built from the ground up to do kind of product."

This just depresses me.

EnnerJuly 09, 2008

It is depressing, though I think 16 players is okay for a console FPS (nevermind the bigger player counts that games like Resistance manage).

Hopefully The Conduit turns out alright as the first trailer was a bit underwhelming (but only just a bit). I eager to see more of the game in the coming months.

MorariJuly 09, 2008

Quote from: Silks

This really sucks.  How stupid can Nintendo be?  Dear Lord, are they running their servers on Commodore 64s?

http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/06/2114221

NinGurl69 *hugglesJuly 09, 2008

We could always go back to 4-player Goldeneye, since people praise it so much.

RABicleJuly 11, 2008

Quote from: Enner

It is depressing, though I think 16 players is okay for a console FPS (nevermind the bigger player counts that games like Resistance manage).

Hopefully The Conduit turns out alright as the first trailer was a bit underwhelming (but only just a bit). I eager to see more of the game in the coming months.

Back in my days of COD4 multiplayer, I realy think 16-24 was the ideal number online. With more people it just got confusing with carnage everywhere and no team spirit but at 16 you learn to know your teammates and foes and have some great times. I havent played enough battlefield or tribes and that could be amazing 52-100 players but those games are built all around that concept and have the maps and vehicles to back it up.

vuduJuly 11, 2008

Quote from: RABicle

I realy think 16-24 was the ideal number online. With more people it just got confusing with carnage everywhere and no team spirit but at 16 you learn to know your teammates and foes and have some great times.

I completely agree with this.  When the teams get much bigger then eight or so people it gets reduced to a free-for-all where you just so happen to only shoot people that aren't the same color as you are (racism, ftw!). 

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