This week, Empire in Flames celebrated its fifth year with player-held festivities as well as the return of the annual Riddle Hunt. In today’s Friday Feature, we showcase some memories and learnings that members of the staff have shared from their years here at EiF.
What is one thing that you have learned since working on EiF?
Halyn: Players will always do the unexpected.
Mina: Scripting with LUA! It’s not something I had never dealt with previously.
Abi: There’s a reason we don’t have hard release dates – the second you set one, real lie gets in the way and you end up delayed by six months (or more)
Anishor: My C++ is rusty.
Jeil: Save your work, and make back ups. >.>
Wefi: Halyn checks the files before putting them in. So no surprise Shrek.
Kelta: Things never go to plan. Also, we tend to think alike when it comes to hiding places.
Demi: Always have several fresh clones of your dev environment at the ready.
Traycn: How clever players can be in regards to gameplay, collection hunting, and problem-solving.
Phoenix: Players break things that shouldn’t be able to break. LUA is a terrible language. We are capable of doing more than we originally thought. Learned a bunch of ASM/Hex Editing.
What has been your favorite thing to work on?
Abi: Lightsaber recolor. There are so many little things SOE really missed the mark with, and for me this was one of them. It was so clear after playing Fallen Order that it’s something they should have done, and the effort required was somewhat minimal.
Halyn: Holocomm. We twisted the client in such weird ways to make it work, it was all kinds of crazy.
Anishor: Overall Combat Balance, making all the classes and skills fun
Jeil: Updating the Proton Carbine to use the correct assets for firing effects. It’s an awesome carbine.
Wefi: Bunch of random stuff I am not sure I can exactly talk about. But models, and Animation things.
Demi: World Bosses, Plasma Mining Facility, and the upcoming Smuggler’s Gunship (#soon)
Kelta: I’ve only done collections, but my favorite ones were the stuffed animals.
Traycn: Collection hunting is a big one, and seeing missing parts from the Community spreadsheet is endlessly satisfying. However, more of the writing and wordplay quests and riddles I’ve had the pleasure to work with has been a lot of fun. Primarily to watch players slowly peel them apart. Also, unreleased content.
Mina: Collections were fun, but I love building out decorations and setting up scenes – which we call worldbuilding or snapshot editing. Populating the Mandalorian Enclave and upcoming NR/Imperial Themeparks have been a blast (even if a change Abi made to a weapon forced me to redo the whole damn armory). I’ve also really enjoyed picking out the loot/rewards for some existing content, as well as some that players have yet to see!
Phoenix: JTL and Housing adjustments (packup/lot changes for increased storage)
What are you the proudest of that you had a hand in bringing to EiF?
Halyn: Multipassenger vehicles and mounts. I’m super proud we got them to work in the pre-CU client when it should have been impossible.
Anishor: A balanced Jedi Class
Abi: It’s dumb, but Pazaak cards. I liked them so much I had a physical set made, and my wife and I played a couple rounds at Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge.
Jeil: Jewelry sets. I don’t know how to write code, but making those let me dream I was halfway decent haha.
Wefi: Blistmoks. I annoyed Halyn enough. 😛 Animation sets for lightsabers.
Demi: Jedi. It was Anishor’s baby, but the testing process, work on powers, and class balancing discussions/planning we went through was probably what I am most proud of.
Kelta: It would have to be Togruta, cat mounts, and nexu. I am the reason Halyn put Togruta and cat mounts in the game. Demi picked nexu for the Rori world boss also because I like them.
Traycn: Currently, there’s unreleased content I’m looking forward to see arrive on the server. When it does find its way to EiF, I’d love to talk more on it and detail my thoughts.
Mina: Probably a tie between spearheading the Collections project and doing the snapshot/decoration work for the Mandalorian Enclave.
Phoenix: Eventually JTL. Currently.. Anything Halyn has asked me to do that no one else has ever done.
What was the first project you remember working on for EiF? How did it go?
Halyn: The Tatooine junk shop. My very first project when I started tinkering with SWGEmu code in 2014 was to play with buildings – I knew we wanted new houses, new player races, and the profession/skill overhaul done to launch the game, and buildings seemed least intimidating.
Anishor: Skill profession balance, it went okay, took a bit to get right.
Abi: Inferno Squad Armor. It’s been in-game since launch, but no one but me and Halyn have seen it. It’s got a designated spot where we intend for it to be rewarded, but we just haven’t made it there yet.
Jeil: Doing snapshot work on Moncal. Specifically Dac City was my first project. If I had the time, I’d certainly go back and make some updates but I think it’s fairly functional given the client doesn’t enjoy walking or driving on platforms half the time.
Wefi: Bunch of sharing client stuff with Halyn.
Demi: My first project for EiF involved the creation of several hundred server-side asset files for all of the SWG:TCG paintings. I automated the process to be done exceptionally quickly… and from there, I was moved to screenplays (populating Dac City and the Imperial Shipyards on Kuat)…and then instances, world bosses, testing, and “bad idea fairy”.
Mina: I first got brought on as Storyteller so my first experience with that was helping out with a Jato event. Development-wise, I was first tasked with bringing Ord Mantell to life and adding some alternative hair options to races. As players still can’t get to Ord Mantell, you can guess how well that’s gone.
Kelta: My first and last projects were the collections. I had a lot of fun researching the lore for each specific planet collection and just randomly picking places for some of the other locations.
Traycn: The planetary flag project. This is also in the category of unreleased content, but it features the player getting the chance to visit every planet in the galaxy. I had to write special interviews for each world, and finding a way to make each one unique and lore-accurate for the planets was eventful.
Phoenix: Honestly… no idea. Probably something Halyn asked me to do.
Given the limitations of the engine, code, animations, assets, etc., what is one crazy thing you would love to see/have on EiF even though it may never happen?
Halyn: JtL. 😛
Abi: Get out of my head.
Anishor: I would love JTL, but to be original, I would love a galaxy-wide political system within each faction where certain decrees could be introduced and voted on (like taxes, cloning fees, ect)
Jeil: Jump to Lightspeed without a doubt. When live shutdown, I was doing what I loved most… pvping in Deep Space with my friends.
Wefi: Animation overhaul. Like dual wielding, new range weapons.
Demi: I’m going to go against the grain. I 100% expect some form of JTL will be successfully created. I have full confidence in the progress Phoenix has made. As for the heart of the question itself, I really can’t think of anything. That’s entirely because I have been routinely awed by what a certain member of this team has been capable of pulling out of his thermal exhaust port. Seriously…. Look at the weird stuff that’s on this server… stuff SOE never came up with.
Kelta: Dual wielding.
Traycn: I’d really enjoy a way add customized colors and patterns for armor. A way for a player to truly add a level of creativity to their attire nearly anytime they want to add some colors.
Mina: I’m going to have to agree with Kelta and Wefi. New animations to allow for dual-wielding would be rad. My ultimate “I NEED IT” though, would be new hairstyles and clothing models.
Phoenix: No JTL (Because of previous answers above >=( ) and custom client that is fully reverse-engineered and opensource
There have been a lot of changes to Star Wars canon these days. What has been your favorite ‘new’ thing that has been brought over and implemented for EiF over the last 5 years?
Halyn: BB droids!
Abi: A boatload of weapons no one has seen yet.
Anishor: Bounty Hunters using things other than Pistols and Carbines.
Jeil: So many things but I really love the BB droids, specifically mine.. F3-B3(FEBE).
Wefi: Kyber crystal lore. Was happy to have it in EIF.
Demi: Canon or no…. So many player races that should have been on live and never were… as well as what?… three dozen named color crystals? Jedi love right there (to say nothing about how a player is trained via a holocron)…
Traycn: The bleeding and tuning of crystals, making them more living things than pretty rocks.
Mina: The configurable weapons! After seeing the concept in some of the newer movies, it was cool to see it added into EiF. The addition of the World Between Worlds for the Jedi path was also fun and unexpected. And while not exactly a ‘new to canon’ thing, I love AoJ’s paintings of EiF characters. Seeing them in-game as obtainable paintings is awesome.
Kelta: Hera is probably my favorite. I also agree that the kyber crystal lore is a fun addition.
What is your most notable memory from the last 5 years?
Halyn: Locking Nos in Jabba’s Palace’s prison cells and completely forgetting about him until the next day. (I also owed him a lot of apologies for that one, whoops!)
Abi: That time I knocked the teeth out of all the Gungans in-game. It only took Halyn two-ish years of asking for me to finally undo it.
Anishor: The player memorial for Aimi was one of the most touching things, showing just how caring and powerful this community is.
Jeil: I agree with Anishor.
Wefi: Sitting in Santa Halyn’s lap, and being locked in Jabbas.
Demi: I concur with Anishor. Unoriginal, I know… but accurate.
Traycn: It was definitely the Jedi unlock. It was the most fun, heartbreaking, and exciting time to be within the Empire in Flames and community and having no idea what was going to happen. There were a lot of emotions throughout that month, and I’m excited to see if something like that can be repeated.
Kelta: I’d have to rank three: Aimi’s memorial, Lord Turret during the GCW test, and the JATO rp on Hoth.
Mina: That’s tough because there have been a lot of them. Beff and Nautalone dancing in hawt pants and then getting evicted from the Christmas party. The impromptu Ewok GCW battle. Kurkston trying to warn me not to run the Empire Day race in my Sith Speeder…and then getting it blown up and wondering why I didn’t listen. J-team conquering Shrine for the first time when no one knew what they were doing. Proselytizing about snouts in Krayt’s Fall. There are so many great memories and moments, and I’m sure there will be many more.
Phoenix: Santa Halyn’s lap, Dancing with Beff, and killing Mina is GCW.
What is the silliest/funniest thing you’ve seen an EiF community member do in the last 5 years that has stuck with you?
Halyn: Pizza the Hutt attempting to use /takecommand on a travel terminal and crashing the server. It never occurred to me that a player would try to mount a terminal.
Anishor: Probably one of the earlier elections for Broken Bridge where we had a political ad for gungans.
Abi: Or the elections for Broken Bridge where candidates were *trying* to lose. It was a race on who could out-lose the other.
Wefi: Cleveland, Dantooine.
Demi: Pizza making sweet love to a travel terminal and dividing the universe by zero. Otherwise, the time the Imperial side came to an invasion on Endor as Ewoks. All of us…. ALL OF US. It was a thing of beauty.
Kelta: Seedy lipped off to Halyn, and Halyn turned him into a sarlacc. He was trapped in his house for at least a day.
Traycn: The CLAW Imperial members creating multiple memes post-GCW battles; multiple of them aimed at me. I still laugh when I think about them.
Mina: I feel like this should go to AoJ for… something. Probably all the memes and one-off drawings. Oh! Also Destroy’s adventures trying to look for eggs… involving looking under the skirts/dresses of various NPCs and getting squished by Hutts.
For the staff members that weren’t a part of the original launch team, what was the moment that you ‘clicked’ with EiF?
Jeil: Two things. Early on I attended a Pet Show event ran by Doreen at Gnorton, it was a lot of fun and knew the community was the right one, little did I know the event would lead to a scripted lightside versus darkside battle, and the jedi/sith were played by Halyn and Abi.. and no one knew til they revealed themselves! The other was beta testing the GCW system we have today, that was when I knew the Dev team was gonna go far and develop some amazing things.
Demi: First day that I ever set foot into the game. My wife and I played on live for years. Was looking for a server to play on that recreated that same feeling of community that I had on Corbantis, and then later Starsider when Corbantis shut down. Right out of the gate, the leader of MASC (Destroy) helped both my wife and me get established. Went out of his way to make us feel welcomed. We were hooked. We had planned on going Rebel… but that first night we joined MASC and the Imperial side. Never looked back.
Mina: Demi stole my answer. I have to also give credit to Destroy for being such a nice, welcoming, and all-around selfless person that helped me out when I first started. It was my first gateway into the community and helped me to stick around. While I fully planned on going Imperial with Mina, some other nice folk from FATE showed me around shortly after and that ended up locking me into the NR.
Traycn: It was getting swept up with the many Staff members in completing the instances, the large GCW events, and then the casual evenings hanging out.
Phoenix: I started talking to Halyn in Mod The Galaxy, which led to me wanting to be more creative for an actual server doing one-off content that no one has even thought was possible to create.
Mina: I misread yours as “stalking Halyn”, which is probably also accurate.
Despite playing through SWG Live or other iterations of SWGEmu, what is something new that you have discovered in the last 5 years since playing on EiF?
Abi: For me, it’s how ‘simple’ SWG really is behind the curtain. Once you’ve got a decent understanding of how the game works, it’s pretty straightforward to do a lot of the new items, recolor, etc that I’ve done in the last five years. If we rewound the clock back to 2003 or 2004 and all of the staff kept the knowledge we have now, we’d easily be able to land jobs working for SOE. It’s also amazing to me how we’ve all been working on this game as long as we have, and we still manage to find new things that surprise us.
Halyn: What I’ve discovered is how much SOE cut and triaged from the beginning to the end. There was so much more they wanted to do/tried to/could have done, given more money/time/team.
Anishor: Bio-Engineering code is one of the most complex things I’ve seen, like ever, and I’ve worked in Defense and in Pharma.
Jeil: Seeing the wizardry the Dev staff can pull off, when Halyn told me how the early version of BB droids worked I just smile and nodded and thought to myself: How do people even think to do it that way? It was so jank it was beautiful.
Wefi: The game is like a race car, held together by hope and duct tape. Waiting to explode into millions of pieces. All it takes is a single /mount on an object to do it.
Demi: I have now walked behind the curtain for a while now. And while it takes something away from the experience as a player… being able to understand HOW it works allows you to do things that you think people will really enjoy. I’ve learned a ton. And I’ve also discovered I know nothing….
Traycn: How nice the small additions and details stack up pretty quickly. The joy of being able to holster a weapon, use a holocomm, and the unique spins on appearance armor.
Mina: That despite being held together by hope and duct tape, it manages to do or be capable of things more advanced than some live service games that are still running.
What content/things are you looking forward to seeing on EiF in the years to come?
Abi: All the Theme Parks, more instances, and the crazy stuff we have planned if Phoenix ever finishes his piece of the JtL work.
Halyn: Mandalorian Enclave & Underworld are the two big things I look forward to completing, though the writing for Imp and NR themeparks has been all kinds of fun.
Anishor: New Professions, adding a bit more flavor to some of the existing trees, player bounty hunting, smuggling, my Kashyyyk Player City, more tooling for the other devs so we can create more things faster.
Jeil: Mando content by far, I’ve been wanting to wear the armor for a long time. That aside…updates/additions to the bounty hunter system and the faction theme parks.
Wefi: First Person Tusk Cat Riding Video. New Kyber Crystals, and Armor.
Demi: JTL (Phoenix is a crazy good programmer… for the life of me it makes no sense, given his affinity for explosive ordnance disposal work). Mando Enclave, Crime Lord and a slew of other things that have been discussed but not released yet.
Kelta: I’m excited to see the theme parks and some new instances. I know a bit about some of the things Halyn and the team are planning, and I’m excited to see them come to fruition.
Traycn: Mandalorian Enclave, additional instances, and the expansive quests.
Mina: Underworld, Mando Enclave, and the planetary story quests.
Phoenix: Mando Enclave, Mando Armor, Mando Quests?, Mando Jetpack, DARK SABER?!?!, JTL eventually I guess…, Player Bounty system?!?!
Thank you for being a part of this journey!