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Media Molecule: Patch quality is vital

Wed 18 Nov 2009 8:23am GMT / 3:23am EST / 12:23am PST
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LittleBigPlanet's Paul Holden underlines the importance of being thorough with updates

Media Molecule

Media Molecule was founded by a small troupe of Lionhead veterans who, bolstered by their work together...

mediamolecule.com

While LittleBigPlanet is just over a year old now, developer Media Molecule has been busy throughout the post-launch period with new content updates, and in that 25-patch process has learned that being thorough and ensuring quality are key to avoid unwanted knock-on effects to the community.

That's according to Paul Holden, lead architect for the game, who underlined the logistics involved in adding a new patch.

"We realised pretty quickly how important it is to ensure the quality of the releases and the patches," he told GamesIndustry.biz. "It's surprising that even fairly small changes that we've made have had large impacts on the community.

"We have limits set within the game - such as a maximum of 1000 physics objects in a level - but that's all interconnected. So if we try to bump up one of those limits to give people a bit more freedom that might increase the cost on memory. So we've learnt pretty quickly to be very thorough with those updates."

He also explained how supporting a game for multiple territories increases the workload significantly - every time new content is added.

"Another continuous issue is localisation because releasing all these new packs, we support 14 different languages and that's a big undertaking," he explained. "It's one of the most patched games. 'Patched' sounds like a negative term, but we actually patch the game for new content. We're up to our 25th patch and I can't think of any other games on the PlayStation Network that have had that many patches.

"Managing that is quite a large undertaking, we're dealing with four different territories, we've got the Game of the Year disc in America so that's a fifth SKU. There's a lot of logistics involved in making everything run in these different territories and making sure they're all localised correctly and inter-operating between them. Because we need to make sure Japanese players can play with European players and so on. And these thing are being done continuously over the last year, it's been non-stop for us."

The full interview with Paul Holden, a speaker at this year's Montreal International Game Summit, is available now.

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