[question] Lessons learned from developing Gauntlet?

gauntlet

#1

I think I asked in one of the AMAs about the benefits of the Gauntlet and Helldivers teams working on the secret project together under one roof, and maybe challenges, and they talked about that a bit.

Although I played Gauntlet, I never fully warmed up to it.

I think having such drastically different controls for the four characters for me ended up being more of a hindrance than a neat feature – I’m not sure I ever quite comfortable controlling any of the four characters, the complicated Wizard in particular. The Elf – most like a twin-stick shooter character – felt most comfortable to me, and I got some fun out of the Knight. The Warrior I never got adept with and the Wizard’s complicated control system – even I wrote it out and printed it out – just never was something I got properly skilled at.

imho, it’s just challenging to develop proper “finger muscle memory” for control when each class is so drastically different in how you used controls (whether kb/m or controller).

Also, it was billed as having a sprinkling of procedurally generated levels, it just was so subtle, that those didn’t really feel differently to me on subsequent run-throughs.

The isometric perspective led to a lot of confused gamers assuming the game was some sort of Diablo clone with the Gauntlet game stamped on it. I had some Steam friends hollering at me about why they couldn’t just click to move and click to kill. This was before Steam offered refunds, I think?

Other people just wanted a more polished looking version of the old Gauntlet console games and were lived this Gauntlet reboot was not that. Or they just wanted a carbon copy of the old arcade games. I wonder if maybe a lesson was that working with an established IP _sounds g_ood, but it can bring a heavy bag of gamer expectations that’s hard to meet or match or sometimes overcome.

I realize Arrowhead’s no longer involved with or working on Gauntlet. I’m unsure if this means they can’t say anything about the game at all anymore.

I was just curious if, looking back, the dev team learned any lessons from making the game. I guess like the “postmortem” some developers do when looking back on a finished game.

P.S. I would ask this in the “Ask the Dev” section but this “Other Games” category is so deserted and bereft of posts, I thought I’d try posting it here instead.


#2

Hmm, I checked my Sept. 2014 Steam review (I’d never set it for ‘public’ view, only view by friends), and I fairly raved about how much I loved it. Somehow though, I only played it for about 15.4 hours (compared to 357 hours and counting for Helldivers). :grin:

Actually, what the hey, I’m gonna reinstall it!


#3

I thing… it’s pretty obvious they have learned something :slight_smile: Some elements from gauntlet are reflecting in HD. Arrowhead is great example of game studio, which uses all knowledge from previous game for making the new one.
But which knowledge it exactly is? Can’t really say. And i bet they too don’t know. Its like you were asking boy who was riding a motorcycle a question: “What have you learned from riding bicycle?” He would just answer: “I don’t know… Just how to ride it”


#4

Thing is, Helldivers and Gauntlet had totally separate dev teams, so I can’t really say if Helldivers has any sort of “Gauntlet DNA” in it. :grinning: I think Gauntlet only released about 6 months (Sept. 2014-ish) on PC/Steam before Helldivers released on Sony platforms (March 2015).

I can say that with Marvel Heroes’ quick death due to its dev’s dissolution, Valkyrie’s about the closest thing to playing as Captain America out there. :sunglasses:

Anyway, had some Gauntlet fun with someone named J C. just now. I’m not sure why, but Gauntlet co-op buds don’t show up in Steam’s helpful “Players” drop-down menu like they do with Helldivers and other games.

I’m thinking I should’ve asked for Gauntlet keys instead of the Showdown Effect cause you can enjoy Gauntlet solo and it still holds up pretty good as a co-op game if you can find anyone playing it.


#5

Ye, understand. But devs were certainly cooperating in some way. If they didn’t, these two games would be much more different :slight_smile: So they were atleast discussing where are they heading…

About the keys: i bought some Gauntlet games few days ago. For me and my 2 friends. But I still got 1 unused game. If you or anyone is interested, I would exchange it for some DLC to HD via steam trading :slight_smile: I’m buying DLCs separately, so… (I know, bad move)

EDIT: Here is a ling to my trade offer on steam.


#6

I was just curious if, looking back, the dev team learned any lessons from making the game. I guess like the “postmortem” some developers do when looking back on a finished game.

Some of the Gauntlet team members could chip in here? @Peter @Fnatte @Sigurd_Cesar @ZombieMagnus @Sephez @emil.englund


#7

Absolutely: Never let @Felix play the Elf.


#8

LOL. Would love to know the back story there. :grin:


#9

Protip: Don’t forget to resize textures to appropriate sizes after you’re done working on them unless you want to suffer the consequences years later.

I accidentally made the largest texture in the entire project for one of the smallest models (the Elf Bomb) in the entire game and I didn’t even realize it until after @Peter made the discovery. It was such a bad, silly and stupid offender I’m still getting provoked for it from time to time.


#10

Least we know you care a lot about your work :smile:


#11

Actually, I appreciate being able to actually see where my Elf Bomb is, when the crowd has a zillion enemies on screen. So I would just deem it, “Working as designed.” :grin:

Revisiting Gauntlet last couple days just reminded me I’m OK at Elf, somewhat OK with Valkyrie (but a dead duck in Coliseum mode with it) and hopeless with the other classes. :laughing:

Actually Warrior has been pretty fun.


#12

I guess I should give a more serious answer to this question. =P

You always learn tons by developing a game and Gauntlet was no exception. It can be a bit hard (as someone pointed out) to give a summary of exactly what we learned without doing a whole Gamasutra article about the subject. But there was a ton of lessons learned about how to work efficiently and the importance of the correct people having the right responsibilities and mandates. To be perfectly frank the development of Gauntlet was a bit troubled and we are quite proud about the end product under the circumstances.

The lessons learned from vanilla Gauntlet was immediately applied when making the Slayer edition, making that a much smoother experience. Although it obviously helped working on a finished foundation.

As for Helldivers, both teams were deep in their own problems and development issues and while informal exchanges of ideas and experiences certainly took place, the two projects did not affect each other in any meaningful way (as far as I know). A lost opportunity to be sure and Arrowhead has matured immensly since then as both teams now have come together to work on a single project. The company has put a lot of focus on a profound and healthy shift in how we do things, both from a practical perspective and philosophical.

Pretty vague but I hope you got something out of it. :slight_smile:


#13

Thanks for the reply! :grin: I’m really enjoying Gauntlet Slayer Edition on a recent revisit, and have had a lot of epic duo sessions with YOPG from here.

I don’t know that I really gave Slayer edition a fair shake. I was really more a “Helldivers fanboi” than a Gauntlet fanboi – though I tried to be a positive presence at its Steam forum back in the day (2014) – but I’ve put about 16 more hours into Gauntlet Slayer last week or so. So maybe I will broaden my Arrowhead games fanboiness afterall. :slight_smile:

Now if only I could get a Valkyrie-style Captain America tossing-shield in Helldivers; and some air strike stratagems in Gauntlet Slayer Edition so I stop getting trampled solo in the Coliseum. :sunglasses:


#14

I mean, we WANTED to do a crossover between the two games but unfortunately they had separate publishers so that couldn’t really happen. There is a small Helldiver easter egg in Slayer edition though. :wink:


#15

Why didn’t they use the trinity (Tank, Heal, Dps) in Gauntlet? I mean anyone can probably tell me why but im interested in hearing from the devs aswell…


#16

One thing I learned from Gauntlet was the value of iteration, and to not get too attached to ones work. I can’t remember how many times I re-animated the heroes due to changing design, it hurt everytime, but always a little less.

Also setting up physX APEX cloth with the maya tools back then was fucking torture. Sorry about my language,
Except I’m not sorry.


#17

Was physX just on the feature docket or did someone get nVidia money + support?

edit: never mind making the capes from scratch would be hell


#18

Well, it’s a reboot of an arcade game, and not an MMORPG; that’s probably why it doesn’t follow the Trinity per se. :grin: So the emphasis seems more on conservative use of food items (rather than a dedicated healer).

Valkyrie’s shield block does to some extent allow her to ‘tank’ if you choose to play her that way but it can be tough to block when you’re surrounded. Warrior has an ability that draws enemies to him but given he’s not got any noticeably better durability, that seemed of dubious use to me. Think it would’ve made more sense for Valkyrie to have that.

Some of the class’ abilities either heal some and the one relic makes players invisible for a time, but I rarely see anyone use those. I’m usually more focused on abilities that will take out Spawners and boss-types faster.


#19

It was what we had available, the engine only supported apex cloth, so it was the only reasonable option. And yes, dedicating resources to building a cloth simulation solution in house was not gonna happen, we were already stretched thin as it was.


#20

BlackjackGT already made some good points, I just feel like weighing in a little.

We wanted the game to have that old-school coin-op feel, where getting hit is dangerous as heck, and the enemies come in droves.

Going into it, we designed the game for people to play with friends, BUT it was also important to consider that people should be able to solo the game. In that case, a dedicated support-style would be very tedious to play, so we made all characters equally formidable (although some turned out more equal than others), the players can still help each other out, its just always in the form of murder.
This rendered a DPS class pretty redundant, and a tank-style character would run counter to our design goals.

Further we wanted to keep the food the only source of health (just like the classic), thus having a healer would cheapen the need for food. Also, don’t forget that all the characters in their base form are egostistic assholes, none of them really makes any sense as a healer.

Instead we decided to focus on character abilities, where the characters are generaly the same, but their abilities are what makes them unique.

I hope that answers your question!