Blizzard Arcade Interview - NOTD

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Ability, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

    - From my email exchange -

    My name is Rafael and I work under Kevin in the StarCraft 2 Community team. I’ve been assigned to focus more on the Arcade side of SC2 and to give you guys the love you guys deserve. I’ve been digging through old threads and catching up with all of our developers and I wanted to move forward with Night of the Dead.

    During the process of a game feature, we like to provide feedback on how we think a game could be made even better for the feature. One thing we think most games can benefit is a tutorial system and we feel that is especially true with Night of the Dead since it is a deep game with a lot of great custom UI features. Having a tutorial that walks players though each class and their abilities as well as each of the UI functions would really help reduce the learning curve for new players.

    Also, we’ve been doing interviews in our arcade features. Here are the questions we provide:

    How did you get started in game design?
    I was a player of ‘Night of the Dead II’ back in WarCraft III and decided to tinker around the editor to make my own parody survival map. People started playing and giving feedback. One thing led to another and it eventually became a more serious effort and spawned Night of the Dead: Aftermath. We were just having fun and I suddenly found myself in game design.

    What made you want to make games with the StarCraft II editor?
    StarCraft II was the next big thing from Blizzard and after my experience using WarCraft III’s editor I knew there was so much more we could do here. When I saw the demo maps that Blizzard made using the editor, that sealed the deal.

    What was the inspiration for Night of the Dead?
    Night of the Dead (NOTD) was inspired by ‘Night of the Dead II’ on WarCraft III. There’s a good background about the whole NOTD series in this thread: ... p?tid=1361. I wanted to create something that would make an impact in StarCraft II. It's still a work-in-progress.

    How many people worked on this game and what roles did they have?
    When we started in August 2010, we had a team of 3 based in Malaysia and Singapore. I was the Designer, Earendil was the Programmer and we had XaVi as our Storyline/Balance guy. Earendil and XaVi stepped down from active development in early 2012 and I’m now supported by an international team of 4 spread across USA, London and Thailand. It’s been a pretty international collaboration.

    Do you have any funny stories about the design process for your game?
    I remember once we were testing the stealth system in NOTD and accidentally left a Dark Templar in the player spawning area. At that time, there were no detection abilities available to players early game and people just got slaughtered. We did that with an Agron (it’s like an Ultralisk) and a few other big-bad bosses we were testing offline and uploaded into live versions of the map. Everytime, the players let us know very quickly when it happened. Good times.

    How does the game work? What is in store for a first time player?
    NOTD is a cooperative survival game. You play in teams of 8 to complete missions and stay alive. Most games last for up to 45 minutes. As a first time player, you’ll immediately notice the 3 storylines and vast amount of content we have (XP system, up to 12 unlockable Heroes, boss fights, detailed story, the variety of enemies and equipment you have). It signals to players that this is a game they would be playing continuously to be able to explore and unlock most of the content.

    What do players who want to conquer the game and be great do to reach that goal?
    Like Blizzard’s mantra, we do our best to design NOTD as ‘easy to learn, hard to master’. For someone who wants to ‘conquer’ the game, they would need to play with veteran community members and exchange & absorb information from our forum and NOTD Wiki. They would need to build bonds with other community members to learn the game together and earn medals together.

    What do you feel makes your game compelling?
    In the words of our community members, we have one of the richest and deepest content available in any StarCraft 2 mod. We’ve invested more than 3000+ hours of effort into building content and polishing what we have, and we’re still not done with our polishing work. We regularly refine our game with frequent community input and that helps people get involved. Because of the cooperative nature of NOTD, we have a community that plays together in clans, on Ventrilo and participate on our forums. With our Rating and difficulty system, it also keeps players at all skill levels challenged. All this adds to the replayability of the game.

    Are there any tweaks coming to Night of the Dead that the community can look forward to?
    The bulk of NOTD’s content is complete and we’re at a stage of development where we want to polish everything to a shine. What this means in practical terms is fixing bugs, improving visuals, adding more depth to in-game characters, fleshing out and making boss fights more fun, improving balance, refining our UI and optimizing our game code (a lot of abilities were originally scripted on the Trigger Editor and we’re migrating most of them to the Data Editor now).

    What do you think about the Arcade? Are there any additions to the service that you think would be valuable for developing game designers? – This is mostly internal feedback we’d like to hear.
    I think it’s a good step forward in providing more visibility and tools to game designers. To encourage better and more professional games, here’s my wishlist of things that Blizzard could do:
    1. Have actual Blizzard designers give Featured Map makers constructive feedback on the map. It would be great to pick the minds of real professionals. A very cool incentive would be an invitation to Blizzard’s HQ or Blizzcon so that we can to meet Blizzard designers.
    2. Blizzard should invest in and/or lend development resources (programmers, artists, anyone) to Featured Maps or promising maps that they see. This would help professionalize development and allow game designers to invest more into helping games realize their full potential. My team has personally invested up to 3000+ hours into NOTD and I know it has helped keep players in the StarCraft II ecosystem. This is valuable to Blizzard and we should get some support. Additionally, it would allow Blizzard staff to work on fresh new projects and gain new exposure & ideas – which they could bring back to their own work. It would be a great way to talent scout and recruit for Blizzard too.

    What advice would you give to someone who was interested in using the SCII editor to make their own game? Where is a good place for them to start the learning process?
    Start small and have fun experimenting. Make a mini game or play with concepts. Another good idea is to open up your favourite Blizzard custom maps to learn how they are made. That’s how I started my own journey into game design. SC2Mapster is also a great resource to learn.

    Do you have any plans for other games or future goals as a game designer?
    We may be developing a sequel - Night of the Dead II - in the future for StarCraft II if we manage to get the right team and have a solid design plan ironed out. We’re working on this in the background now. NOTD II would be set in Mars an undisclosed time after the events of NOTD.

    What’s the best way people can follow you and your work (Twitter, Facebook, Website, etc.)?
    We have an active community forum at Our community has made an exhaustive NOTD Wiki at ... _Dead_Wiki. Lastly, we put up regular updates on Facebook at

    I also encourage people who want to learn what NOTD is about to watch these 2 videos:

    Do you have any favorite games on the StarCraft II Arcade?
    Star Strikers is good fun to blow off some steam.

    How would you like your name displayed on the article? We can do anything from your full name plus online handle to just your handle.
    You can use Daren Yoong (Ability).

    Lastly, have you heard of ChanmanV and his weekly arcade show Wednesday Night Sprites? Take a look at one of the episodes and let me know what you think about joining the Skype call and walking the crew through your game. We would want to try to do this before we feature the game and then link the clip to our blog article. Let me know what you think.
    I live in Asia (Singapore) so I won’t be able to make those Wednesday Night shows as I’ll be working during those hours. I’d be happy to have a member of my development team from USA join – possibly Kithrixx or ArcanePariah.
  2. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

    Rafael has asked one of us to join the Chanman show this coming Wednesday evening (6 Feb). Kithrixx or AP will be representing NOTD for this since I can't make it. It's going to be used in the Blizzard Arcade feature.

    Kith/AP: Have CCed you guys in the email exchange with Rafael. He'll touch base with you on the timing and details. It'll be a Skype call. 6 Feb is also my birthday so do me proud! =)
  3. Kith
    • Development Team
    • Designer

    Kith NOTD Staff: Anti-Fun Wizard Skeleton

    Yessir, boss. I'll behave.
  4. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

  5. Thermidor

    Thermidor Well-Known Member

  6. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

    Trying to install Korean and Taiwanese SC2 - I can't read the text so will need to guess the functions of each button. I'll need a Korean or Mandarin speaking person to help me with the menus when I post a screenshot of the SC2 Editor. This is so that I can upload NOTD formally into those servers.
  7. RoboMonkey

    RoboMonkey Well-Known Member

    i read the review, and i was happy to add this in comments.

    "This is my all-time favorite game. I'm a heavy player of NOTD, and an experienced veteran. What makes NOTD such a great game is that it has it's own community and that it's constantly being updated through the input and suggestions of its players, which has formed a close community among it's players, and I'm proud to be part of it. Even though NOTD has been known to be hard on first time players, it gradually grows on you, and through more and more game play you can get better and better at becoming a NOTD player. So... from all of us in the NOTD community, we would like to invite you to come and play with us... in Night of the Dead."

    I hope this review help others get the chance to come and join NOTD!
  8. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

    This is how Korean appears on my PC. Please let me know if you know what I can do to make it legible.
  9. Extifer
    • Warden
    • Donator

    Extifer Stiffy is what Lyanden calls me.

    Try installing the windows korean language pack if you haven't done so already.
  10. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

    It needs Windows Ultimate or Enterprise unfortunately. I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium.
  11. Omega Death
    • Donator

    Omega Death Alpha Weltall

  12. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

    Thanks - tried but got the error message below.
  13. squish

    squish Well-Known Member

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