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Arx Fatalis XBox Developer Diary part 2: The last weeks
Sia' Garrett' Manzari, 2003-08-20

Arx Fatalis is a 3D first person dungeon crawler RPG by Arkane Studios, which has been released for PC last year and is currently in the process of being ported to the XBox. In this monthly series of developer diaries by Arkane Studios we will get to know about this process...enjoy the second entry:

July was one of our last months before going to the Gold version.

From the alpha version completed on July 1st, we had only one month to get our BETA version ready.
And on top of that, we had to submit Arx Fatalis to Microsoft for final certification approval.

This is a very large task and requires many steps. We had to test and check many things over and over and over again to be sure they were all ready for the first submission to Microsoft. Included in these steps are the numerous rules (TCRs) you have to respect and abide by if you want your game to be accepted on the console.

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This month also saw the integration of the new texts, exclusive to the Xbox version, such as the new interface texts. A time consuming project in this case is testing for each individual language. Especially if these languages are not displayed outside of the safe zone we talked about in the first developer diary.

Also, as Arx Fatalis Xbox will now have a Spanish version, we also had to get the Spanish texts in, and above all, the new Spanish speech files had to be checked, to be sure none were missing (The entire Arkane team actually spent three solid weeks in night school learning fluent Spanish just for this part of the game… okay… that's not true).

This last thing took an incredible amount of time. We have something like 2000 files of spoken words in Arx Fatalis, for each language. During the PC production, we changed some English voices, renamed some files and... well, at the end, we didn't have the same numbers of files in English and Spanish. So I'll let you imagine how hard it was to figure out which speech files were missing, which speech files were improperly named... TORTURE!

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As far as I can tell, what we've done with the interface is now clearly more accessible then that on the PC. We're still fixing some bugs, but the interface of the BETA version is really enjoyable. We'd finally also like to change the stealth bar to something more understandable as you can tell from the screenshots.

Last week, we've discovered some parts of the original code were not working anymore: strangely NPCs are stuck while searching for their path... Another bug we have to fix quickly, as this kind of bug prevents us from testing the whole game. Indeed when an NPC is stuck, the fact he never reaches his target may not trigger some scripts... causing other bugs.

These past few days we have also begun to prepare the game manual and we're now going on our way to the Master version of Arx. We'll submit the master version to Microsoft at the beginning of September. We still have a lot of things to do and many days and nights to work!

We have just received Microsoft feed-back about the version we've sent them... Looks like we have some things to fix. Wish us luck!

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