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A peek behind the curtain, how big games sometimes get big problems

by: Rob -
More On: Destiny

While this talk is specifically about some obstacles Bungie faced in the creation of Destiny, it also speaks to a larger point about the complexities of large teams working on large systems as well as the difficulties of working across platforms. AAA games are often constricted by a number of competing actors who all wish to pull the product in often very different directions. You've got the marketing teams that advertise an ambitious release date often around holiday and spending cycles set by a publisher that is primarily focused on the bottom line working with a development studio that can encounter all sorts of unforeseen issues over long development cycles involving massive teams of people. There is so much to go wrong and rarely do we really get a glimpse into these struggles, but the video below is an interesting look into one such problem faced by the Bungie team on the infrastructure of putting the game together with the scalability of their asset systems.

Destiny has enjoyed a great measure of success despite it's shortcomings (terrible narrative, spent the first year and half fumbling through a questionable loot and rewards system, consistently disappointing the player base behind the exploitation of microtransactions). Some of those shortcomings appear to be of their own making (as this Kotaku article speculates) but other issues are believed to be closely related to a dedication not to leave the last-gen playerbase behind and maintaining a dedication to the PS3 and Xbox 360 long after they overstayed their utility. 

So the talk is an hour and half long. Be warned. The title is Asset Systems and Scalability which should be an immediate giveaway that it is heavy on developer jargon. Being a software developer in my real life myself, it all makes perfect sense but if you've not got that background there may be some confusion in there. Overall it's pretty straightforward and I found it very interesting. It's also a small sample at what's really involved in the nitty gritty of day to day game development.