Tag Archives: developers

A Lot Of Work Went Into Creating Over 5000 Gun Sounds For Borderlands 3

The Borderlands series has always been known for having billions of guns, with each gun randomly generated. But all of these weapons also make noises when they shoot, like the loud crack of sniper or the blast of a rocket launcher. And as explained by the senior sound designer at Gearbox, Joshua Davidson, it took a lot of work to create over 5000 gun sounds for Borderlands 3.

In the older games, like Borderlands 2, Gearbox was limited by how much memory the consoles had. These limits forced the developer to limit how many gun noises could be shipped with the game. In Borderlands 2, Joshua Davidson estimates there were only about 350 individual weapon sounds. So when you picked up a Jakobs pistol, it didn’t matter if it was long, short, big, or small it would sound basically the same as any other Jakobs pistol.


In Borderlands 3, thanks to more powerful consoles, the team was able to implement many more sounds, with Davidson estimating over 5,500 individual sounds were created and shipped with the game.

The system for creating unique and different gun sounds for each randomly generated weapon in Borderlands 3 is very similar to how guns themselves are put together. As explained by Davidson in a video on his personal YouTube channel, each gun in Borderlands is made up of various parts. These parts can be combined into millions and millions of different weapons. To create the sound system, Davidson and the sound team “piggybacked” on the weapon part system. They linked different sounds to different parts. So if a sniper rifle had a long, plasma barrel on it, then it would sound different than a sniper with a short, laser barrel.

The end result of all this work and over 5000 sound files is that each weapon you pick up in Borderlands 3 will often sound different than a similar weapon you might already have. This helps make each weapon feel unique and interesting.

The full video is filled with a lot of behind the scenes information about creating sounds for a big video game like Borderlands 3. It might be a bit too technical for most folks, myself included. But it is still amazing to get a peek behind the curtain of how massive and complicated video games are made.


Davidson also has some other videos on his channel showcasing how other parts of Borderlands 3 and its sound design were created.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Clever Ways Game Developers Reuse Assets, Like Turning A Tank Into A Destiny Boss

Xavier Nelson Jr. is a writer and game developer, famous for his work on games like Hypnospace Outlaw. He recently asked devs and fans on Twitter to share different ways games have reused assets. The resulting replies are filled with some amazingly creative and ingenious asset recycling.

Making games is really hard and takes a long time. If you are like me and have never actually made a game before, it can be nearly impossible to understand just how hard development can be or how long it can really take. So to help save time, money and headaches, developers will often reuse assets in creative ways. But as Nelson also explained to me, reusing assets isn’t always a time saver and is a testament to how inventive developers can be.

While some gamers might see this as lazy, the reality is this is an important technique and helps devs finish your favorite games in a shorter amount of time. And some of the ways devs reuse assets are just as creative and interesting as the story or action found in their games.

Developer Jessica Ross explained that on one unnamed game, she had to animate a person having their heart ripped out of their body. However she didn’t have time to animate a heart so instead relied on some pastries. “I didn’t have time to model a heart, so I just took a baguette, scaled it down, and made it red.”

As pointed out by developer Ruby on Twitter, Warframe reuses many assets in various different ways. (To clarify: Ruby isn’t a developer on Warframe.) For example, as seen in the tweets above, some weapons are scaled up to and used to create new geometry on ships.

Another Twitter user, Carl Muckenhoupt, shared how Telltale reused a character model from a poker game to create an enemy in a different game. All it took was a name change and a mustache.

Reshama, an indie developer on the game Origin Trail, explained that all the wood objects and structures in the game come from one single tree. “Every single thing in the game — every house wall, wooden wheelbarrow, every pole… it’s all from the same tree.”

One of my favorite examples of reusing assets and content was shared by Kelly Snyder, who previously worked at Bungie. She explained that Aksis in Destiny 1 was just a heavily modified spider tank. “This is why 3 of coins doesn’t work on him- on the back end he’s technically not an ultra, he’s a vehicle.”

Some folks might see this reuse of assets as lazy. But Nelson told me this was not the case at all. In fact, while reusing assets can save time and money, it can also be even harder than making something new. “The problem solving needed to get a new solution from old pieces can take just as much effort, if not more, than just creating something new,” Nelson said. “Reused assets are a testament to developer ingenuity, not a willingness to cut corners.”

Reusing assets can happen for various reasons. Sometimes a project is low on funds and taking the time to figure out clever ways to repurpose enemies or items can help save money. But other times it can be a technical limitation. For example, a game getting too big for a cart and needing to reuse assets in clever ways to save space.

Nelson did admit that some games that are just straight asset flips do exist. These are games that are generally made very quickly using pre-built assets that are purchased on engine stores, like Unity. These games can be found on Steam and Google Play. But these are different from a developer reusing assets in a creative way.

“[Asset flips are the] equivalent of someone buying a Spider-Man costume on the internet and uploading their 720p backyard shenanigans as SPIDER-MAN: THE MOVIE. It’s not the real thing, and it wasn’t intended to be in the first place.”

In many ways, asset recycling is not unlike how many props get reused in TV shows and movies. The logic being, if you already made a set of space chairs, why make new ones if the old ones will fit in the scene? Especially if the chairs are barely seen in the movie anyway? Reusing assets in games can serve a similar purpose. If you already built a monster or sword for one game or level, why make a totally new one?

As games become bigger and bigger, with better-looking graphics and more complex systems, it will become harder and harder to make games in a healthy and affordable way without reusing assets. But this isn’t a bad thing. Reusing assets, if done correctly, will go unnoticed by most players and not ruin the game.

And it can lead to game development becoming easier, quicker and even less unhealthy. It can also help developers overcome budgetary or technical limits. And for eagle-eyed fans, it can provide a fun game-within-game, as they search for the source of that jetpack or building.

Source: Kotaku.com

Early Designs Of PS3 Exclusive Infamous Included Motorcycle Parkour

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of Infamous, the PS3 superhero game starring electrically charged Cole MacGrath. In honor of this anniversary, developers Sucker Punch have revealed new information about the early versions of the game. It turns out, Infamous was very different in those early days. For example, Cole could do motorcycle parkour and rebuild neighborhoods.

The motorcycle parkour information is maybe the most bizarre. It feels very out of place compared to the final game. Of course, back when this was still a feature in the game, it most likely made more sense. Either way, I can’t help but watch the short clip Sucker Punch released of the motorcycle flipping and hopping around and think “I’d play that.”

This information came from a Twitter thread all about the early design ideas for the game came which was posted by the official Sucker Punch Twitter account earlier today. It included video footage and images showcasing other interesting early ideas.

Originally the game was called “True Hero before they settled on Infamous

Another early version of the game allowed players to switch out their clothing between a classic superhero costume and civilian clothes. This would be done in a phone booth, of course.

Weirdly, players would also be able to help rebuild and customize buildings throughout the city to help make citizens happier. I guess that’s one way to be a superhero?

Also, to be clear none of this content is “cut content.” That would imply they cut it from the final game. This is instead early ideas, prototypes, and plans that never fully got finished or were discarded as the game evolved during development.

The entire thread is filled with some other interesting tidbits about the game and its early days. It’s also a wonderful look into how much games change from the beginning of a project compared to the final build we get to play.

And who knows, maybe one day we will get to play that Sucker Punch motorcycle game?

Source: Kotaku.com

To Create Smart AI Command & Conquer Devs Made Units Stop Acting Stupid

Developing the popular RTS Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun involved solving a whole host of problems. But the biggest and most interesting problem was figuring out to allow hundreds of troops and vehicles to move around maps without slowing and destroying PCs at the time.

The latest video in Ars Technica’s wonderful War Stories series is all about how developers Westwood Stuidos solved pathfinding and unit management in Tiberian Sun.

In games, characters and units figure out where to go using pathfinding. This creates a series of possible routes the AI can take to reach their objective. With even one unit, this can mean dozens or more different paths.

In a game like C&C: Tiberian Sun this pathfinding becomes more complicated as players can spawn hundreds of units, all of them moving and stopping in different areas of a large map, which can contain other players doing the same thing. This many units all trying to pathfind could cause even powerful PCs back in the day to collapse under the computational weight.

One of my favorite quotes from the video is easily this: “Players don’t realize how hard you have to work to make a game not do something stupid.”

An example of one unit and all their possible paths.
Illustration: Ars Technica (YouTube )

This is in reference to when pathfinding stops working or makes a mistake. These issues create the feeling that the AI unit you are ordering around is an idiot. So the team spent a lot of time making their AI not do dumb things. As Westwood Studios co-founder Louis Castle explained: “If you spend time making something not do something stupid it will actually look pretty smart.”

The solution to their pathfinding problems was to create a series of rules and directions, that helped lessen how much processing power would be needed.

For example, if a unit is near friendly AI units that are moving, the game tells these units to ignore each other. When AI units encounter a friendly AI unit who is moving and is in their way, the game simply tells the unit to bump that stationary friend out of their way. Using these techniques allowed Westwood Studios to have hundreds of units in their game without destroying players’ computers.

The whole video is interesting as Louis Castle explains how they solved other problems, including issues with the CD-ROM and video compression.

About the author

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a a writer living in Kansas City, Missouri. He has written for Gamecritics, USgamer, Killscreen and Entertainment Fuse.

Source: Kotaku.com