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Meet the Developers: Jesse Sky

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Meet the Developers: Jesse Sky
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CourtneyWoods's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 03:02 PM | #1 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
Hello everyone,

Please discuss this week's Meet the Developers: Jesse Sky blog in this thread!

If you have any questions for Jesse, please ask them here. In the near future, we'll have some answers from him for you!

Update 10/16: Hello everyone! Here are answers to some of the questions you had for Jesse! Thanks for participating in our first Meet the Developers feature - you can expect to see more of these in the future!

Q: With an Art History degree, how did you get into the role of a gaming developer? Do you have an additional qualification which enabled you to get into that position or was it purely from interest?

Jesse: When we interview a design candidate, college degrees are footnotes compared to your gaming pedigree, especially published games, mods, and independent projects that you've worked on. Looking around the studio, I can tell you that I work with many of the most talented people I've ever met, but I'd be hard-pressed to remember what they studied in college. I can, however, tell you what games they worked on, and which games vacuum up their free time. Knowledge, passion, and professionalism usually shine through pretty clearly during conversation, and everyone has a unique story about how they broke into the industry.

In my case, I was selected for an interview after winning a module-building contest for Neverwinter Nights, and I happened to have thousands of hours logged in MMOs going back to the 90s. That got me a junior design position. I've been playing and building games since before I can remember – it's about the only consistent hobby I've had, since my interests range pretty widely. Game scripting is what got me into web development, game artwork is what got me into art history, and I even worked in a high-energy physics lab after being inspired by a certain crowbar-wielding physicist. If you're interested in game design, a degree can help you, but your qualifications are only really proven once you're in the door. Every development project is a learning experience, so the real test is how willing you are to learn and grow.

Q: Have you been surprised by the shortcuts and tricks and such that allow groups to skip large amounts of trash and/or bosses? Is skipping trash mobs something you agree with and go along in groups?

Jesse: In my experience, skipping trash carries a risk of making wipe recovery a lot more painful, so I don't really have a strong opinion about whether we should take strict measures to prevent it. It only really annoys me when groups go to ridiculous lengths to avoid a few seconds of combat, because at some point it becomes self-defeating. When I see a group doing that, I just start pulling encounters to save us the headache.

My preference would be to provide more incentives to engage trash. For example, in Terror From Beyond, all the trash has a chance of dropping Artifact-quality crafting mats, and one specific encounter drops a hefty amount of credits. So that's the sort of thing we're looking to do more often, but philosophically we've also gravitated toward tighter play-spaces and less trash overall.

Q: Are you ever worried that by constantly trying to challenge the top tier of players with Operations and Nightmare Mode that you are excluding the more casual players from some of the content you feel most proud of?

Jesse: I don't think the two things are at odds, but I can understand the frustration. Obviously we have story mode, but I'm not yet happy with where it fits into our itemization scheme. There are incentives, but they're not immediately obvious. As we move forward, we're going to be doing a lot of work toward expanding and clarifying our endgame so that the progression feels more logical. We're planning a lot of improvements to go along with the level cap increase, both for casual players and the top tier guilds. That includes more diversity in the content and the rewards offered by the endgame.

Q: Any update on plans to convert the non-HM Flashpoints to HM versions? Will there be more Tier 2 Flashpoints?

Jesse: We will be creating Hard Modes for all of the Flashpoints that do not have Hard Modes yet. That's something that I'm personally very excited about. As for Tier 2, the Group Finder categories will be reconfigured with the level cap increase so as not to split the Flashpoint queue into two populations. I think the challenge posed by Lost Island has offered a lot of entertainment, but it's also a PUG-killer that doesn't fit into a random mix very well. The newer Hard Modes will be balanced for a more consistent experience, both in terms of difficulty and length, and that should help keep queue times in check.
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MrSchmo's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 03:23 PM | #2
Hello Jesse, nice to meet you.
That's why they call it space, cause there is so much of it.

Costello's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 03:26 PM | #3
Shame on you being a Jedi. The Sith Empire is where you should be!

hardrive's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 03:54 PM | #4
Jesse Skywalker...Glad to see you chose the jedi route. I personally went Imp Agent first.

Keep up the good work man, I know you get a lot of junk on the forums. The bullies usually speak the loudest.

glomeo's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 03:54 PM | #5
I like the Meet the Developers feature a lot. You've got the opportunity to really sell us on your development team, and their vision for the game and its future. A lot of people on your team are relative strangers to us right now, and getting to know them can go a long way toward inspiring our confidence and support. Keep them coming!

limenutpen's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 03:58 PM | #6
NICE blog!
Well Done for TFB. Each operation is actually raising the bar higher in this game.

I agree on the encounters u mentioned as being the most exciting!
Nutpen: Sage, Lim'suno: Scoundrel, Lei'Suno: Commando, Color-full: Sentinel
Los'suno: Assasin, Diopen: Juggernaut, Grandblu: Powertech, Brontolon: Sniper

jpopalisky's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 04:01 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Costello View Post
Shame on you being a Jedi. The Sith Empire is where you should be!
Don't be hating the Jedi we can all get along, well sorta.

Anyway, always glad to finally meet the developers in person (officially that is). This is a great game and you developer have helped make it that way. Great Job!

Flywithrainbows's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 04:01 PM | #8
I very much enjoyed reading your dispatch. I play as a guardian as well except vigilance spec because for one once you get the rotation down they can be great dps characters as well as have a few abilities for those "Oh no!" moments like when a tank drops you taunt and pop defensive abilities so no one else goes down while the tank is being revived. It's a fun class and I'm glad to see someone else appreciates the fact that the utility they do have can be used to greatly benefit yourself or the team.
Until I return to the Force,I follow no code, choose no sides, I act using the guidance of the Force. Until I fall may my actions bring hope in this despair.

DarkThunder's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 04:02 PM | #9
Hey Jesse,

With an Art History degree, how did you get into the role of a gaming developer? Do you have an additional qualification which enabled you to get into that position or was it purely from interest?
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iamthehoyden's Avatar

10.09.2012 , 04:03 PM | #10
Nice to get some insight into the dev team.

Question: Have you been surprised by the shortcuts and tricks and such that allow groups to skip large amounts of trash and/or bosses? Are there plans to make mobs in current/future encounters less skippable?
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
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