Aug 10, 2011

Posted by in Blue Milk & Cereal | 16 Comments

Blue Milk & Cereal: Will You Miss Day/Night Cycles In TOR?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

In many ways, an MMO strives to simulate the real world. To a lot of folks, immersion is one of the most important factors in their enjoyment of the game. If something breaks that immersion, the game can become less and less appealing to a player. There are many aspects and layers to this immersion, but without a doubt one of the biggest contributors is the atmosphere of the game. The mood of the environment can be heavily influenced by the lighting in the game, and in many games over the years, developers have used a day and night cycle to help create that atmosphere. However, in Star Wars: The Old Republic, we already know that the day and night cycles will not be present:

Will a Day/Night cycle be in the game?
Daniel Erickson: No. It was a technical decision. Scenes look better if lighting is consistent.
James Ohlen: multiple worlds present in game with different # of suns/moons, so it became too difficult to make it work.

Keep in mind, this does not mean we will not see day and night in-game – in fact the developers have confirmed we will. All it means is that we will not see them dynamically changing at the same location/planet. The SW:TOR community has an ongoing thread about this matter, as well as a poll, that’s currently sitting at approximately 34% of people being unsatisfied with such a design decision.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this, but I can definitely see BioWare’s stance. Given that the story element of the game is so important, they need to be able to more tightly control the way a player experiences it.  Anyway, time will show if BioWare made a good decision in this area of the game.

What do you think of BioWare's decision to eliminate day/night cycles?

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  1. Yeah, I understand the technical reasons behind it, but I think it would have been a huge achievement if they had done dynamic lighting based on that planet’s unique features.

    Admittedly, sometimes they might get annoying, what if one planet changed night cycles every 15 minutes because of the way it’s suns were set up?

  2. Personally, i have no problem with this. I think people put too much emphasis on “immersion” sometimes. The day/night cycle is important when you are on one planet the whole game (Vanilla WoW) because there is only so much variety to be found there. Considering there are 17 worlds in SWTOR, there are MANY more opportunities for the devs and art department to make things different in a number of other ways.

    Not to mention, i have known (and been) many people who play on a fairly set schedule. People who often work during the day and play in the evening or night. For them, the game world ends up looking the same. The day/night cycle is only beneficial for people who many hours straight, or who play at different times of day.

    The idea of a system in which day and night are based on what looks best for a particular area is just gravy. It gives the devs and art team far more control over how the game should look. No one ever complains that single-player games typically use this type of system. We trust that the artists working on the game know how to use drama and lighting to enhance one another.

    Consider the Binary Sunset scene in ANH: it is a dramatic moment that is beautifully filled with longing and looking to the future. That moment in an MMO with a day/night cycle would only capture that feeling about 10% of the time, everyone else would just be looking toward a sunny or dark sky. This system lets the devs using lighting and that type of environmental choice within the story itself, to give plays the potential for that type of dramatic moment.

  3. Well… I think too many features are being castrated due to story.

    Granted, in this case, we’re dealing with planets here, each with their own day and night cycle.

    • Shapeless says:

      I agree @rebel.

      I voted that I’d prefer to have them, but I understand why they didn’t do it, but I’m with you 100%. If they just did a normal day/night rotation the RP nerd rage would be a quiet riot.

      Make a day time and a night time for the sake of day/night…forget the Lucas Cannon on this.

  4. I won’t really miss it, but it woulda been cool to experience the night life in Mos Eisley or places like that. I am sure there will be so much awesomeness in this game that not many will even give it a second thought.

  5. In my some what long life I have been a fan of Sci-Fi, I have noticed that space travelers don’t care what time of day it is on the planets they visit. They have a ship time that they follow. So make to make it simple, it is your personal time. It is like living in London or New York and visiting Hong Kong for the day and flying home as soon as business is done. You may look around a little but you have a job to do.
    I keep reading from the RP community about immersion, well if you are doing that the first thing you need to get into your head is you are on the brink of war in this game. If you are a true RP person and you are getting your immersion you are rushing to stop/start a war, or stop the other faction. If this is the case you just don’t have time to smell the roses.

    That is not my point the point is Space travelers don’t care if it is day or night on a planet. They live on their own ships and follow their own time.

  6. Day/Night cycles would add to the immersion factor, but I can see why they opted not to implement this. In the end, it may have been one of those “trivial” things that the dev team didn’t have time to implement, because they wanted to concentrate on other important elements of the game which will hopefully result in the best MMO game ever created.

  7. There are up’s and down’s to this decision in my mind. On the positive side, the developers do not have to worry about spending extra time to take in to mind the lighting for specific day/night times for particularly troublesome planets. The down is that players don’t get a feel for “immersion”.
    The Down on this point is a pretty weak argument, but I will elaborate. Depending on how they actually put day and night into the zones will be nice to see. It might prove to be more strategic for open world PvP to traverse in a night time environment, to reduce the chance of detection (also to be seen if you can do this).
    It is also understandable that the developers are putting story ahead of total immersion. It is a story based game that might require certain day/night combinations for the story to flow well. Imagine a quest where you were doing a “Night Raid” in the middle of the afternoon.
    Either way I am accepting of this fact and will put my Open PvP night raid dreams at a rest for now.

  8. Johnny5ive says:

    It would be cool to have, but I think with all the planet hopping you will be doing in the game you won’t really notice. WoW had a much more stark day/night cycle in vanilla, but currently there isn’t much of one, the sky hardly seems to move past dusk lighting at night depending on what zone you are in, and in some zones like duskwood, it’s almost always night even in the day, it doesn’t hurt the game immersion any in my opinion. The only time it’s obvious is when you are in SW or Org and it’s late at night but you can’t tell, it would be cool if it got darker and street lights and such went on or torches lit, but i can see how that could be a pain int he ass to program.

    TLDR: it would be nice to have, but I doubt people will miss it as much as they think they will.

  9. This change will actually help immersion. Now if a planet is always in a night cycle, the artists can actually light it for night. With WoW, they couldn’t actually make night dark because they didn’t want people who play at that time to have a disadvantage. Plus I know that artists prefer a set day/night cycle time for a planet, because like a movie set, they can then make cooler lighting and mood choices for the scenes/planets.

    • With all of the advancements in computer graphics and lighting, there really isn’t any excuse for not having day/night cycles, least of all “story”.

      MOST of the time, players will be playing this game NOT in a story scene. But rather exploring and otherwise existing in the galaxy. Seeing Hoth at night or Balmorra during the day definitely would add to the world and make it even more believable.

  10. I think it will be good for them to introduce it later on in the game, with a patch or something. It isn’t something which is needed and I’m sure they because they don’t have it they will be working hard to get the right weather/time of day to suit the mood/ambiance for the planet/area.

  11. I checked “I’d prefer to have them, but I understand why BioWare decided not to”. Still, you can imagine that a day on Tatooine or Hoth lasts longer than on the Earth :D

  12. I won’t miss it I’ll be to immersed in the game to really pay that much attention to it, I could see this happening in a future patch.

    I do believe it could be an issue once players are tenured in the game to start wanting the feature…. I want to just start playing so let’s not give them something else where they be thinking well……..a lot of gamers want it so maybe we should just do it kind of thing.

  13. Bioware made the right decision not to include day/night. People that talk about story and immersion need to wake up and see that that are just marketing concepts. If adding immersion with a day/night cycle cost x and only brings in y extra profit, they will never do it. Who needs immersion anyway?

    • I do. heh however. I’m an rper at heart, but slightly hardcore raider. When i’m raiding not into the rp, but on my downtime, I want to feel immersed into the game. However, I do understand why they did what they did, and with the fact that we are getting s many planets it only makes up for it. Barren wastes land of Tatooine, to the crystal Cave temple of Illum. The list goes on.

      I like the day/night cycles in WoW, as it gives new feelings to same area, but bioware makes up for the lack of by giving us more exotic places to explore. I can’t wait.

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