Matthew Weise - Part II
Lessons learned from a commercial engine for educational games
The second part of my conversation with Matthew Weise, focuses on the limitations and challenges when using a commercial game engine. This is the main topic of Matt's session at GDC this past March. The slides of that presentation are now available for download... here.
While Matt felt good about the commercial engine choice, they still ran into a variety of limitations. The underlying rule set to the game created an initial problem. The game engine had a binary view of violence, it was either on or off. Players were not able to disengage from a battle and once a battle was started the players would battled until one died. While this makes sense in the context of traditional games, it presented a challenge to the design team. This was one of the problems the design team faced that took months to resolve.
Weise stressed that using an existing engine and modding saved the time of having to build one, they were initially limited in what they could do. It took about a month to work out how to remove the traditional scantly clad female clothing and replace it colonial clothing. Bioware, the creators of Neverwinter Nights, was responsive to the team and Matt was able to leverage MIT’s clout in getting assistance.Photo of Revolution from The Education Arcade