SWTOR New Game Engine Changes in Patch 5.10.2

Bioware is discussing some of the under the hood changes coming with Patch 5.10.2.

Today we want to pull back the curtain about the development process a bit, in order to talk about two feature updates that our engineers have been feverishly working on – better dynamic placeable objects and a more robust Preview Window. Both will be included with Game Update 5.10.2 ‘Heralds of Victory’. To really explain the breadth of this update, we’re going to try something a little different from what we normally do and go deeper into the tech-side of our explanations. With that, let’s dive in!

Dynamic Placeable Objects (DYNs)

First off, let’s talk about what DYNs are. DYNs are objects that designers place in the world that can change or be changed, based on how they’re set up. Nearly everything you interact with in-game is based on a DYN. Really! A Mission item that a player interacts with, or an elevator switch are both examples of interactive DYNs. Lights on a wall or a neon sign, while they aren’t interactable, are DYNs that help us build the game world. In the past, every single element and property of these objects had to be individually hand-crafted by a designer.

This made creating DYNs a complicated, unwieldy, and lengthy process. It also made it much easier for bugs to slip through and make their way into the live environment. Imagine that a bug appeared when interacting with an NPC and the fix was to move them to another location on the map. On paper that sounds easy, but unfortunately, it’s not always that simple.

To explain all of this, we are going to set up an example involving a Non-Playable Character (NPC) and some triggers, things that set off an event or action. This NPC could have several DYNs tied to it – lighting, audio triggers, an interaction trigger, etc. Taking it a step further, all those triggers could then be tied to others, thus creating a much more complicated web of fixes. Let’s put all of this into an actual situation now. Taking our mentioned NPC, let’s say when you interact with it, a nearby wall blows up. That wall is another DYN with its own set of effects, connected to this sequence of events, each of which may be tied to yet another DYN with its own set of effects. You can see how this could quickly get out of hand and require hours of work for what would be, in theory, an otherwise “simple” fix.

Why Now?

While the team was looking down the road at future content, it was clear that these changes to the DYN system would be very beneficial to help facilitate those plans. By improving on this system now, it helps our designers with the future content we have planned.

So, how are DYNs going to be changed? We’re taking what are all individually separate entities (our previously mentioned NPC and wall for example) and packaging them together into a single item. By doing this, we will refine, polish, and optimize the entire process. In turn, this makes the development process for making new DYNs much shorter! This all leads to us being able to to build and work with objects in the game more efficiently, while lowering the chances of introducing new bugs throughout the process.

What does this mean going forward?

In general, the system is highly expandable, which opens the doors for our team to create and implement a lot of things that were previously impossible. Something the community has requested for a long time are interactable Stronghold decorations. Imagine your whole Guild meeting up and leaning across the bar, sharing drinks after the latest successful run. While this idea is not a guarantee, it should help paint the picture for things that we can do that never used to be possible!

Preview Window

Now let’s talk about one of the most longstanding frustrations that both players and members of our team have struggled with since the game launched: the preview window. The preview window has been part of the game since its release and has had its fair share of bugs over the years. For example, did you know that the preview window is currently incapable of showing any visual effect (VFX) in the game? This weird limitation shows itself in several ways, from the previewer showing black textures in place of the VFX, to not showing anything at all (we’re looking at you, A7 Surveillance Drone and your missing arms).

The way the preview window was originally built didn’t lend itself well to being expanded upon with new functionality or item types. When Strongholds came out, for example, the decorations previewer had to be built from scratch, rather than being integrated within the existing window. Over time, the window became so complex that we had built up a backlog of over a thousand bugs. Unfortunately, we knew we’d never be able to fix all of these, since it would mean less time devoted to developing new features for the game.

A few months ago, we decided that enough was enough and this was the right time to rebuild it from the ground up. In order to lay the groundwork to make our system sustainable for years to come, we wanted to rebuild the Preview Window at the same time we were updating our DYNs.

What changed?

In addition to a full rewrite of the underlying code, our engineers have also added lots of new functionality to the preview window! These range from slight changes like player characters now appearing on mounts, instead of standing off to one side, to bigger ones. An exciting feature that we’ll be adding is a button for animating the previewed object – running, mount flourishes, and weapon/combat animations. You’ll also see that there’s an entirely new UI to better relay what equipment, mounts, and pets are currently being previewed in the window. Want to know how a specific emote or mood would look on a character before purchasing? Emotes, moods, and rest and recharge actions will also be supported by the new Preview Window. Decorations with VFX like the Dread Fortress Portal will now show their actual effects, rather than a big, black blob. And A7 finally got his arms back!

Optimizing DYNs and rebuilding the Preview Window allows us to move forward with some exciting plans we have in the future, all while improving the efficiency of the tools we work with. Better quality features that also reduce the chances of encountering bugs? Sounds like a win/win situation! We can’t wait for everyone to get their hands-on Game Update 5.10.2 ‘Heralds of Victory’ and we hope you’ve enjoyed this peek behind the curtain into how some of our systems work.

  • Tobias Hillestad

    well thats not half bad

  • qwas

    I hope that does not charge a graphics card.

    • IncuBB .

      Its EAware we talking about.
      So… Yeah. It will. Also it will eat all of your RAM and VRAM))))

      • fvf

        I don’t care about RAM, I have a lot and it costs nothing.
        VRAM and Graphic Card is different.

  • Hadin

    Glad to hear they still plan on adding new content for “years to come”. Seeing all the “SWTOR is dying” comments was kinda getting to me lmao

    • Alexander Delorean

      Since 2 other big mmo’s got new content mooore frequently…well yeah. LMAO

    • Ben Gimson

      They can claim all they like. They’ve always talked about new content and then gave us small and insignificant updates, so I wouldn’t get too excited. The game might not be dying but it’s not exactly booming either.

  • Shaun Fetters

    Seems like a good bit of work being done to a “dead” game….

  • Barloc

    Nice, looking forward to trying them out.

  • Magsel

    yaay lets create more lag in the allready crap engine

  • Fubarz

    Hmmmm…Looks like with Anthem not doing well.. Disney new rumor mill of Old Republic new movies via Game of Thrones writers…EA sees a chance for high profit with low cost fixes and expac for this game and the SW mobile platform

  • Good, it’s about time you did something about the clunkiness of your engine. However, you probably should’ve done that before launch, rather than trying get by with a ramshackle engine for all this time. I’m glad you made the change, really I am, but whoever decided to build the game like this initially was a complete idiot. No wonder it’s taken so long for any content to come out. I’d really like to see this game get content faster as a result — hopefully EA will put more money behind this game and we’ll see a revival.

    • AragarVarnus

      Amen brother.

    • abaddonsmummy

      Agreed, we do need this and it’s a welcome advance, probably 5 years late.
      If like they say it will help with new content that’s great, we need it.
      Ossus, as the new grindable content for new gear, is way too boring now, the daily and wb’s are very repetitive, we badly need a new xpac soon.

    • Bakgrind

      “hopefully EA will put more money behind this game and we’ll see a revival”

      This is the tricky part. EA is really asking Bioware to prove that they know what the players want as far as content and game play. So far that part of the deal has not been realized to often.

    • Amodin

      This isn’t going to do anything to the clunkiness, except possibly make it worse. All they are doing is adding more DYNs to the already existing garbage back-end they are using. So really, nothing is getting fixed. We’re just having more turd applied to the existing pile.

  • dzip.sys

    Als the moaning and bickering over years, finally made them repair it.

  • pig benis

    8 years later and their turd engine still runs on directx 9

    • AragarVarnus

      Would be awesome if they upgraded to D12 already… I mean even WoW did it!

      • Amodin

        They can’t, because of how much they hacked the already discontinued engine version they bought. In order for them to be able to do anything more with this game, they would have to port it to a different engine, or at least a much better version of it. The former guys at Bioware talked about this the first year or so after SWTOR release. It’s such a piss-poor version, anything they do has to be checked to make sure they didn’t break something. Low and behold, guess what happens every patch.

        • AragarVarnus

          Ouch. 🙁

        • Jep Fareborn

          Sounds like they just need to round up some enthusiastic testers getting out from school in the afternoon and do some QC testing!
          “OK, Kids! We just want you to play through some of these levels and make note and see if you run across any glitches!” – Musco

  • Meh, my build can handle the upgrades. But really they should go for the gusto and upgrade to D12.

  • Mr. Wednesday
  • Amodin

    Title is misleading, there is no ‘new game engine’, there is only changes. I know what you are trying to say, but that’s not at all what I got from this. They are just doing other things to an already broken engine, much like they talked about being able to pan around during cinematic changes for their view camera like we saw in Zakuul content with cut scenes.

  • Ben Gimson

    Get the feeling they are trying to reassure people that swtor won’t be nuked because of Anthem.

    • MeisterYoda896

      mabye a fallback when Anthem flops

      • lolipop

        Considering how “frequently” now devs are talking on forums, i say it may be the case. Because Anthem is already dumbster on fire 😂

        • Jep Fareborn

          I hope Ben Irving is fired or gets the shaft along with the higher ups in charge of Anthem :p

  • ingsoc101

    Since the only constant content this game receives are Cartel Market items, makes sense to finally fix the preview window.

    • Amodin

      Going along with that, I wouldn’t be surprised if they started with all the CM items, as they had begun this process with interactive decorations. That market is really the bane of this game for me. It screwed so many crafters out of potentially making it worthwhile to craft things other than pigeon-holed specific items.

      • Jep Fareborn

        From my perspective, biochem and cybertech are the only worthwhile craft skills to work with since the devs have yet to address the gear bug in immersive cutscenes. Why craft clothing pieces and attempt to use it or sell it if it doesn’t appear properly?

        • Amodin

          Hence, the reason I stated that CM screwed crafters.

          It started with color crystals – there went Artifice, because the CM could do it better. Screwed that crafter. Why not let them make those crystals?

          Then went armor sets – there went Synthweaving and Armortech, because the CM had better looking sets. Screwed those crafters. Why not let them create those types of outfits?

          Then came weapons – yep, bai Armstechs. The CM does it better. Screw that crafter. Why not let them make those great weapons?

          Now comes the housing decor. Not only did crafting never even get a chance to make that, but they also took them out of the drops in the story flashpoints, and rarely do they drop in operations. Screw the solo player, let them blow their entire wad on the GTN for the billions of credits that another player tries to sell those for. Why not let all of the crafters make some decor?

          All because they want to make more money, not because they need to. It already felt like maintenance mode to begin with, and we know the staffing is minimal. Running servers essentially are cheap (hell I run three out of my basement), so we know it’s not a sinkhole. Especially since EA is a traded company, and you can clearly see them making profit. There was one year from SWTOR, that their profit, PROFIT was through the roof. I mean, just absolutely silly profit. That’s purely above and beyond operational expenses.

          • lolipop

            Yep… i agree to everything you’ve said

  • Old Player

    Just pull a FFXIV already and redesign the game from ground up.

  • Fubarz

    https://youtu.be/OpAOOApzPRw Hundreds of years before Sky Walker era….Disney stamp on SW history????

  • Jonathan Parker

    There are too many small updates to make in this game to ever catch up with. Old environments vs new ones, old armor vs new sets, old character models vs new ones, it’s all becoming so disjointed, and we all know that will continue to be the case. There’s no way they’ll completely redesign the graphics for all of the old things in the game, aside from that weird cutscene thing where the camera moves during the beginning of each class story now where it didn’t before. It’s funny, because I look at my Commando with different pieces of armor. One of them is really detailed, well textured, etc., and another is basically just a colored blob of metal with a stripe in comparison.

    This game needs to either redesign its graphics engine or simply go back and update those old ass textures that are barely even textured. Like, I look at that new Jedi character on the new planet, and I can see every little detail not only in her character model, but also in her armor. It’s extremely well designed and textured. Then, I go back to my Jedi Knight, with an old armored robe that I love the look of, and I can almost see every individual pixel, like anti-aliasing isn’t even turned on.

  • Shawn Hargrave

    translation were trying to make the cartel items look more appealing smh lolz how this game still exists i dont know this reminds me when they announced the moveable ui….

  • Jep Fareborn
  • The fact that these suck-monkeys think this explanation above is going “deeper into the tech-side of our explanations” proves why this game is such a fucking shit show to begin with, smfh…..

    Musco: Hey devs, can you try to explain all these changes?

    Devs:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f5c7627259286c293955f918382a44e8bd8cf229beed9a0c81618fee63e653ea.gif

  • vergansito

    yawn…who cares about your software design changes…Whats next? Musco’s salary disclosing? deliver new content now!!

  • Ben Hodges

    Is bitching about swtor all you people can do? You troll on too dulfy.net just to bitch about a game most of you don’t even play anymore. Lol So again it is simple. Just move on to something you like. All this hate you all comment about over and over is not healthy at all. So yeah btw feel free to troll my comment. As I know your fuck tards will do anyway. Ready, Set, Hate!

    • Fubarz

      So do you play still?

    • lolipop

      First i’ll be kind of sarcastic, please don’t take this personally. You know, that’s funny. Tru fan caring about “bad, ungrateful, tru haters” and tries to convince them to leave, “shoo, go away you sad excuse of a troll”. Really cute, i always liked that kind of (stupid by the way) attitude. But you know what? Since you are so eager to say what people should do/like, hate or not… maybe you should try i don’t know try to convince a fan of real madrid to like suddenly barcelona matches. (You can put different things there, hope you’ll smart enough to get the point). But now a bit more serious note. I said it many times here. It pains me to watch different games (in MMO market especially) who do stuff better, quicker etc, or that they are more competent to admit a failure and restart again with success while swtor cannot. It is repeated over and over…. you know most of biodrones may consider me to be a hater i don’t care about that… but i really care about this game. Wish it had better graphics, day and night cycles, real open world pvp without lags (better game engine overall), true kotor style and progression rather than WoWish late 2000 crap, i’ve seen all that and i am not impressed with it. I’ll say that this game maybe did good at story (with some of flaws which i’d do differently but no one cares about that), rest is (sorry, that may be painful truth to some) utter bullshit and trash especially constant CM updates which is called here the “game content”, ehh should be a meme right now…. but yeah, that’s all i have to say right now… sorry for kinda chaotic post but english is not my native language so forgive me pls.

    • ahhhh

  • Ben Huges Rubnuts

    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
    v

  • vergansito

    yes!!

    EA could lose Star Wars Licence as Disney revives LucasArts aka LucasFilm Games

    • Bakgrind

      Bah, beat me to it 😛
      Article from Endgadget

      There hasn’t been a Lucasfilm Games-badged release since before 1991’s Monkey Island 2, but that isn’t stopping Disney from resurrecting the classic label. The company recently posted several job listings for producers and marketers under the Lucasfilm Games badge, all of whom would oversee the development of games based on “Lucasfilm IP” like Star Wars. The team plans to support a wide range of platforms that could include living room consoles, PCs, smartphones and “AR/VR platforms.”

      It’s not certain when the new Lucasfilm Games might launch in earnest. PCGamesN noted that there may be a good reason for choosing that name instead of the more contemporary LucasArts, though. Disney kept LucasArts around as a licensor when it bought Lucasfilm, so it might not want to step on any toes as it returns to in-house game development.

      The move comes as doubts have mounted about EA’s exclusive rights for Star Wars games. The publisher has only released two Star Wars games in the six years since the deal, both of them in the Battlefront series — and Battlefront II left a bad taste in people’s mouths as EA’s fondness for pay-to-win mechanics effectively wrecked the game’s progression. The company has also developed a reputation for cancelling games, and the jury’s out on Respawn’s Jedi: Fallen Order until its premiere in late 2019. Simply speaking, Star Wars game development slowed to a trickle under EA’s watch and left many wondering if it was squandering the opportunity.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean that Lucasfilm Games is about to override EA. The EA exclusive is supposed to last until 2023, and any in-house studio will likely take a few years to release its first game. However, this might indicate that Disney isn’t completely happy with its reliance on an outside party and wants to take more control over the future of titles based on its brands.

      https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/20/disney-revives-lucasfilm-games/

      • Fubarz

        Even if EA loss the license 2023. And Lucasfilm Games has something ready to go…How much freedom will those Devs have to create a good game.. without Lucasfilm’s current agenda not being made part of the game. As was shown in the last movies or what they learn from EA to get more money (SWTOR CC market for Direct sales) or worse. Can they update Force Unleashed as it is now or bring it inline with their current agenda? Anything EA/BW (KOTOR) is gone do to copyrights they have (unless Disney buys it from EA). Will the games from LFG really be any better then EA?

        • Bakgrind

          Right now it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen. There are lots of questions yet to be asked by the media and gamer’s alike. Unfortunately, we all will have to wait and see until more information comes out within the next couple of weeks or months.

          • Fubarz

            Agree… But I see EA and Disney about the same (agenda) Shareholders 1st last concern Gamers/Fans

  • Elrandil

    Malgus was so wrong about his pro-alien sentiment that Darth Housewife wiped the floor with him and then went on a rampage to enslave, kill or abuse all aliens she came across. Glory to Darth Housewife and remember that twi’lek lives don’t matter 🙂

    • Fubarz

      Yea k you need more Spice….

  • Fubarz
    • Bakgrind

      It’s neat, but spending a lot of time in the preview window playing “dress up” is not something I do. I mean I get that it’s neat and could be something to really be excited about for people who are into that sort of thing, but it wont be getting a lot of attention from me.

      • Fubarz

        I’m waiting to see what they say at SW celebration in 3 weeks 6.0 should be the main thing but will not hold my breath

  • Bob the builder

    The game is gonna get shutdown in 2023 ( about 3,231 days left ). I have a friend who is an Ex bioware employee who told me this.

    • LegitDude

      You are lying. I have a friend who currently works at Bioware and the game is gonna be shutdown in 2022.

      • Bob the builder

        Its actually 2023. I have proof if you wanna see it.

        • Ben Gimson

          You should lead with that, as a general rule.

        • Bryan

          I’d rather see your proof that 2023 is about 3,231 away.

      • Fred Garvin

        No, YOU’RE BOTH lying. This game is already shut down and anyone still playing it is actually inside of a Matrix-like pod at BioWare, their existence being maintained only to milk their credit cards of every last cent.

        • Tony

          this game is like a bad marriage…you don’t want to leave it because that is a massive blow but you partner just keeps giving you less and less and you know eventually its going to end but you just can’t bring yourself to pull the plug because you lose the kids and home etc (stronghold>>companions>>characters)

          • Fred Garvin

            I just reinstalled it today at the behest of some old guildies who said they were playing just to hang out for the day and it was like an old gf you run into years after dumping her. At first you reminisce about good times but quickly you start to be reminded of why you bailed and now that you’re with a better gf you also notice bad things you didn’t before…lol.

            Holy shit there is a massive ability creep problem in SWTOR. On several toons I was going through the abilities and wondering where the fuck I would even have room to put all that crap on my bars and some are just useless. Then there’s the fact that nearly everything is locked behind cartel nonsense somehow, even for subs in a lot of cases. I’m so used to WoW where any mounts, pets, gear I’ve earned is available to all of my characters but on SWTOR it was always locked behind Collection unlocks for Cartel Coins. If you’re “F2P” it’s even worse. I couldn’t even send some credits to a new character without being subbed…lol. Game is an absolute joke. Such a shame.

            On a positive note I was still earning CC just for keeping the security key attached and had over 2,800 of them (which I guess means it’s been 28 months since I last logged in cause I cleaned everything out before uninstalling.) Bought one of the new outfits that looked good on my Jedi and unlocked a few conveniences. A few ppl said they’d sub for a month just for nostalgia’s sake. I said fuck that…they aren’t getting another dime from me.

    • Fubarz

      I’m impressed by your math…..that 3231 days can be only 4 years from now…If you lived on mars 😀

    • Tony

      You know what is the most irritating about this? We have been paying the same money for a horrific deficit in material to play..why do we want MORE subtly improvements in a game we don’t even play anymore because there isn’t new material…this game used to be a joy to look forward to every month..fun for them to explore this and it looks great on their resume for accomplishment but this is a selfish endeavor which doesn’t benefit us unless there is plenty of new material and story but lets be fair this is really the morons at the top’s fault who are cutting funding on a great game

    • Arnost

      Really??? Since when did a year start having 807 days? Stop with your bullshit

  • DualBlastersGuy

    Translation:

    “We know our days are numbered thanks to the Anthem débacle, so we have to pretend we’re doing something, anything at all –and hey! Look at this!

    What we’re doing here can dovetail perfectly with the SACRED AND HOLY CARTEL MARKET(TM) which is literally the only reason this game still exists!

    Couch it in some techno-babble to impress all the know-nothing cash-shop whales (all 16 of them) who are the only ones still logging in anymore (when they’re not too busy bragging on the forums about how much RL money they spent this month), and then we can at least justify our continued employment to our bosses for another couple months before it all goes “Gurgle-blurg!!” and falls over!

    That’ll be interesting, won’t it –When we actually have to find new jobs, possibly even at studios that hire based on technical merit rather than ideological talking-points! Oh, the horror!

    No-one wants that, so accordingly, we must keep trying to climb out of our self-inflicted bucket using just the handle for as long as humanly possible, no matter what.

    Please remember to SAVE TEH GAEM(TM) and buy more.”

    That’s kinda more what you meant to say, wasn’t it, Eric?

    U BUY MOAR NAO, PREES

    • Fubarz

      LMAO!!!!

    • Shaun Fetters

    • Bryan

      Honestly while I’m almost always negative here and left the game long ago, I actually applaud this. It’s up front and in depth explanation on something/anything. It’s probably far too little, parsecs too late, but it’s the first thing I’ve seen as an improvement in here in probably 2-3 years. So I’m not willing to hate all over it, but I’m also not breaking out the party hats either.

      Also it’s been spoken about since launch that a large part of the games problem is the engine and how they’d never fix or replace the engine. Based on the amount of work needed and how small that team must be by now it’s again too little too late, but eh https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/401bd7c23837a7f3cfd67c86260c88d2653f6c092d83edd08f8f32dd2827f9ba.jpg

      • Valar Morghulis

        Bruh, parsecs = distance, not time

        • Bryan

          I’m aware. It’s an A New Hope joke. Do you even Star Wars?

  • Florida_RV

    Wow! So many negative people here. It’s truly disheartening. I recently returned to SWTOR after being off many years and I find all the changes to be good.

    I like the Group Finder, before you had to shout in general for a party to do a dungeon now you just queue up and bam! You got a party to run a dungeon.

    I like all of the heroic +2 quest you can pick up at the fleet and instantly teleport to the questing area. Before you had to manually run/fly there.

    I did the new stories and they still excellent and story telling.

    I do have one complain, the game has way too many abilities to use for combat. Maybe they should really stream the abilities down a bit. I have 2 full bars that I use every skill on it per combat and a 3rd for some utilities.

    I did sub and spent some credits on the store.

    I hope we do not lose SWTOR, I tried every other MMO out there and they are just a boring place to be in.

    Here is hoping we do not lose Star Wars…I was very sad when Star Wars Galaxy shut down.

  • JasonBourneItsJesusChrist

    Lame as fuck, expansions or pass

  • off3nc3

    Where is the next expansion ? damn…

  • Ralgore

    “Imagine your whole Guild meeting up and leaning across the bar, sharing drinks after the latest successful run”
    Yeah I can totally imagine it being a ton of emotes ONLY sold through the Cancer Market and it’s loot boxes.

    Other than that…I don’t give a f**k.

  • I hope this doesn’t destroy anything in the process. With each thing added, something gets taken away (Still trying to get Scorpio out of Return Terminal as she is an option that does NOT work).

  • Fubarz
  • When everybody knows you’re burying your game, but u’re doing some weird shit over and over again.

  • Need2Crash

    does this mean there gona cripple the engines performance some more? with making the game look nicer.

    I was interested in coming back when I read this titles then I read deeper and all this changes seem to be doing it make the game look better, when every time they did that the engine performance suffered.

    The backbone perfomance of the engine needs a overhaul change before they add things to make the game look better at expense of it performance Swtor.

    I guess another 6 months of not play the game it it is

    • there’s a big chance that packaging the DYNs will actually improve performance, partly because it’ll be easier to optimize whole sets of objects at the same time, and it might also reduce load time and memory costs (both direct performance gains)
      the preview window will reduce performance while it’s open, but who cares, when the tradeoff is having a reliable preview window

  • Drivan

    I have been waiting almost 2 years for this game to be worth returning to…
    This is not the update that makes me want to reinstall and resub…

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