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The SSX 3 Weekend!
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From: grandmort | Posted: 8/3/2003 2:49:39 PM | Message Detail
August 3rd, 2003
Dolphingirl and Happymachines are a few floors above me. FirebrandX, Gondee and Krispy24, just a little down below. It's 01:30 AM on Sunday Morning and we are all sitting in our respective room in the Four Seasons Hotel Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Today, the emotion level is on the high rise... From the 23rd floor windows of my room, I stare at the twinkling skyline and ponder on how lucky we really all are... Lucky to have met, to have talked and especially to have shared such an incredible experience as the one we have today!

Today, all of us got to play SSX 3!
Not just for a few minutes or a little taste, but all day!

E.A.Canada flew us to their headquarters on Friday, plugged us into 6 PS2s at 09:00 AM sharp on Saturday, and then they let us run wild...

As Nucleus put it on another thread,
"What I think he (Gondee) has been alluding to, is that a bunch of the high-profile skilled community members got an invitation to play-test SSX 3 at E.A."
Well, Nucleus was right on the money!

We will soon tell you all about it, on here and on the SSX Fan Site…

In the mean time, just know that what we saw and experienced today in the stylish E.A. building, was definitely quite incredible…

Thank you E.A.!

:)
---
Grandmort
"...I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."
From: ssx4ever | Posted: 8/3/2003 6:20:38 PM | Message Detail
Sounds awesome grandmort. You guys must be having the time of your lives.

But why the heck are you sitting in your room? Go on, get back out there and have a few beers with your new found friends. This opportunity must come around once in a lifetime.

Did they give you a take home evaluation copy?
---
"These pretzels are making me thirsty!!"
From: elgen | Posted: 8/3/2003 9:29:41 PM | Message Detail
Oh my shibby!

Now _that_ would be an awesome weekend for me!
Enjoying SSX3 w/you people.. yeh!

grandmort, as s4e said, hurry up and turn your mind into SSX3 (if you haven't done so yet)..
----
elgen -
johan rasmus eira.
From: gondee | Posted: 8/3/2003 10:35:15 PM | Message Detail
Yeah. It was kinda OK.

...

Naw, it was friggin' awesome, heheh. First off I want to give a huge, overweight THANK YOU to our lovely hostess from EA - (you know who you are) for a wonderful time. We all will be e-mailing you shortly I'm sure. Now, for everyone else - we all have pictures...I will try to get mine published by mid-week, but a few people may have some up faster. Grandmort took digitals but mine are plain old film, though I did take quite a few more than anyone else, heheh.

I know you all want to know as much as possible about the game. We'll try to have the goods for you by mid-week, but in the meantime, ask away! :D

---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 1:24:25 AM | Message Detail
By the way, to answer your questions ssx4ever:

We were sitting in our rooms because we were all bone tired, heheh. We had been up all morning (I'd been for about 38 hours straight 30 minutes sleep) by that point) and played all day. EA had taken us out on a fancy yacht to see a fireworks display last night (it was a holiday weekend in Canada) and we were all pretty beat by the time we got back. Also, if you were worried about us having a few beers, we didn't need them. The boat had an open tab. ;-)

The security at EA was very serious. We were not allowed to even take cameras inside. They didn't even let us take pictures OUTSIDE the building. So no, we didn't get an evaluation copy of SSX 3 - the Playstations we played them on were specialized versions unavailable to the public anyway. If someone had been stupid enough to had taken one of the disks home, our hostess would have been fired (and the thief probably would have been arrested.) But obviously, that was never, ever an option at any point because we all felt spectacularly privileged and glad to have been there at all.
---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: happymachines | Posted: 8/4/2003 1:40:10 AM | Message Detail
actually, at 1:30 am on sunday i was wandering the streets of vancouver and scoring myself some cheap pocky.

the whole weekend was a ton of fun, with the only drawbacks being my inability to speak or hear properly, running a nasty fever, lots of dizzy spells, and having my plane struck by lightning in chicago. other than that, things were awesome. when i dont feel so crappy from travelling (only 12 hours today, as opposed to the 15 on friday) i shall add my voice to what is sure to be a choir of ssx reports.
From: FirebrandX | Posted: 8/4/2003 2:15:38 AM | Message Detail
I have to agree with something Gondee said. The coolest part was meeting the other forum members. They were all just too cool and Dolphingirl really saved my butt at the airport (thank you!).

For me, playing SSX3 all day was just icing on the cake compared to meeting the other players. And WOW, that tour Larry gave us on the making of SSX3 was AWESOME! Imagine the SSX Tricky DVD extras, only you're there in person to ask questions and give feedback! Too cool!!

---
Workshed
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 2:22:14 AM | Message Detail
Did you have a hard time getting back through Customs, FBX? Let me know via e-mail if you could.

EA also gave us a few "extras" as well, including two free games, an EA hat, and coolest of all, that awesome SSX 3 T-shirt (only 10 in the whole world! Here I come E-bay! Heheh, j/k.) The only thing I wish was that I had gotten all the guys at EA to sign them when we were on that phenomenally unbelievable tour.
---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: dolphingirl | Posted: 8/4/2003 5:01:30 AM | Message Detail
Heck yeah... ^_^ ...what an experience! I still feel speechless (or is that the exhaustion)...!? I'm too tired right now to further the conversation...so, perhaps tomorrow! But yeah...meeting everyone was so awesome, more so than imaginable! FirebrandX... ^_~ ...don't worry, you're little fem-finned friend was happy to look out for ya...that goes for the rest of you guys! We're officially not just internet acquaintances...heheh! Anyway...gotta go get some shut-eye... -_-
---
"...seven for a secret, never to be told..."
From: P 31 | Posted: 8/4/2003 6:06:50 AM | Message Detail
so, i hope all those that got the inside track will be banned from the high score board....

Not that i'm bitter or anything.

And where was my invite for the UK version.

THIS IS NOT CRICKET.

WE NEED TO BE TOLD.
---
"There can be only 1"
From: nucleus | Posted: 8/4/2003 6:34:51 AM | Message Detail
"Well, Nucleus was right on the money!"

Do I win a prize now? :) Like a weekend playtesting? ;)
From: countercycle | Posted: 8/4/2003 9:13:15 AM | Message Detail
Hey, nobody else seems to, so I'll ask two questions about the game, if you can answer them (i.e. no NDA):

1) How were the courses? I know you can freeroam around, but when you got to an actual showoff or racing challenge, were the courses good? As good as Tricky or SSX?

2) How does the manual change the game? Does it resemble Tony Hawk (in that the emphasis is on stringing together huge chains of tricks by using manuals), rather than SSX (which seems more about getting big air through flakes)? Hey, do snowflakes even exist anymore?
From: FirebrandX | Posted: 8/4/2003 12:48:57 PM | Message Detail
I'll try to answer those:

1). That to me is the best feature of SSX3. The world design is so huge, you can play for hours and yet stil miss 2/3 of the game! On the race sections, you can still find your way down to the finish-line, only now you have so many options on your path that it will take a LOT of practice and research to find the best line. Most of us were sort of tripping over our newbieness and just sort of falling down the mountain. Even that was cool ;-) You can fee-roam in between events as they are now phyiscally linked together as part of the giant mountain... Excuse me, "gi-normous" mountain (inside joke).

2). This was an issue they took seriously and I even mentioned the lame multi-million score on Tony-Hawk I kept getting from players strining a simple combo together. What's planned on is to sequentially add combo scores together instead of geometrically multiplying them. Obviously with the Tony Hawk method, you'd get insane scores with this game and we wouldn't want it to get like that. Zach would be better to explain here as this was his main interest in the game. Mostly he was yelling for a meter on the hand-plants ;-)

---
Workshed
From: FirebrandX | Posted: 8/4/2003 12:57:27 PM | Message Detail
Almost forgot:

For those that are wondering, the tracks from SSX and SSX Tricky just don't compare to these at all. We're talking a ten-fold improvement above and beyond anything from the previous SSX Tracks. One thing I was happy to see is that they were still easily able to give each event its own "feel" and variety in graphics. I was worried a long time ago that doing a one-mountain theme would make all the tracks look the same, but after play the game, I can assure you there is all sorts of different track themes and graphics. There's even a couple of Merqury City-type tracks!

I think my favorite area has to be peak 2. There's a spot early on where you jump through a cloud layer and become blinded by it. The suddenly you break through the bottom of the clouds and appear in beautiful forest during a snow storm. The mist effects were amazing!!

---
Workshed
From: krispy24 | Posted: 8/4/2003 1:02:39 PM | Message Detail
Hey all,

I'd also like to add that at the bottom of every peak their is a Big Air, Slopestyle, Race, and Superpipe event. This time, every event has it's own track but sometimes peaks have more than one of each event. So you have to look around... The latter three events have replaced show-off.

The tracks are big and open, so you can't just go down the track, crash into signs, and win. Like FirebrandX said, you really have to find the best lines.

I guess that's all for now, I hope I made sense.
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 1:31:44 PM | Message Detail
I'll add my own thoughts to those questions as well.

1)Tracks: No need to worry about the tracks, at all. They were very impressive - and they had a wide variety as well.

Racing courses are long, and really focus on the player trying to find the best paths over a variety of terrain. There aren't going to be any more easy "oh, here is the shortcut" type moments to find the best path - you'll have to cut hills and go through trees and really, really challenge yourself to find the best path. The tracks are humongous in racing, and you'll have plenty of things to look for.

In a previous review on the internet, someone mentioned that slopestyle replaced showoff. That's not true - slopestyle is just ONE aspect of showoff. It's more like they split showoff up into 3 or 4 different events. Big Air requires you to beat a very tough score on a very short course with very limited jumps, so you'll really be challenging yourself to get that score by the time you reach the finish line. As generic as "Superpipe" sounds, it's an absolute blast, especially when you are playing early in the game and really want to see the Ubers. Slopestyle - well, it's exactly true that it's an absolute blast, and all about finding the right "line." When you bust an uber to a rail grind to another uber to a tail plant, onto another Uber, you will be amazed. The track design is phenomenal.

2) Tail Plant/Face Plant (i.e. Manuals) - These are critical in trying to continue your combos and racking up combo scores. One thing I didn't see anyone mention in previous reviews is the fact is that the Plants are now completely assigned to the right analog stick. You push Up/down to start it, and then rotate it as needed to keep your balance, and the character spins right along with you. There was still some tweaking that needed to be done, as the window to do a Plant off a jump was a little liberal - you could tap Up/Down halfway into the jump and hold Down and the character would land in the Plant. You jump just fine out of the plant, but it's rather tricky to hold your balance on the rail with it for a long time.

Fighting no longer uses the right analog stick - it uses the shoulder buttons on top of the controller when you are on the ground (in air, shoulders still do grabs). L1 punches left, R1 punches right, and R1+R2 block. The cool thing is that you can POWER up your punches, and your fist starts to glow. But the fact is, you need to power up your punches now because just tapping R1 and hitting a person will no longer knock them down, just make them spin out.

Keep on asking questions - I can't remember everything until someone asks a question, so ask away! :)
---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 1:42:10 PM | Message Detail
I keep on remembering stuff as I go. I really thought it was important to mention the dynamic features of certain tracks. First off, I will second (and third) the mention that Firebrand made about how awesome the tracks look. We played Tricky after playing SSX 3, and we were kind of embarrassed at how archaic Tricky looked now, and it had impressive graphics when it came out. But that's how far ahead of Tricky that SSX 3 is.

Another important thing to mention is that the tracks are really interactive now - if you are skiing through an ice cave and you jump too high and hit the ceiling, you will break off ice boulders that fall, hit the snow, and start an avalanche. That avalance then becomes a runaway train, blurring up your vision with snow, knocking you and other riders down, and affecting the terrain as well.

In the forest, if you crash into certain trees, they fall and then become rails for you to grind. On the city levels, you have to contend with traffic, you have to contend with a train - the levels are brilliantly designed.

Each peak gets more rugged and has it's own design (and it also true to a real mountain.) Peak 1, lower on the mountain, has lots of snow and trees, and the jumps are not as steep. Peak 2 has lots less trees (higher up where it is harder for them to grow), and also has many more rocks and steep jumps. Peak 3 is really for all intents and purposes, a battle against the elements on a glacier, and the wind and track designs are extraordinarily challenging.

Like I said, no need to worry about the tracks. ;)
---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: Publi99 | Posted: 8/4/2003 1:46:13 PM | Message Detail
heh so pretty sweet eh? 2 bad if i had known that u guys were going i probably coulda met u there cuzz my friends dad is the lead programmer and some nba games and i can go into ea wit my friend .. just a ques did u guys mind all the hittable objects like trees and rock and wat did you think about the turning? o btw did u guys figure out how to get debug mode on?? hehe my tour dude showd me and i had mad stuff, full stats and stuff pretty cool .. o and how far into the building did u guys get to go and did they let you use the employees game shop in the main hall thing?
From: grandmort | Posted: 8/4/2003 1:57:19 PM | Message Detail
Yes, and I also want to add on the snowflake question.
Yes, they are still here, even with some new silvery-black 10X multipliers! (Very hard to reach of course!)
Among other things also hanging around in the air, we found some blue cubicle shapes and some red diamond-like shapes. We are not sure about these as we have been told some of them could just be place holders for future snowflakes...
Other goodies can be found also at various places on the tracks. Some of them will reward you with a fixed amount of bonus point as you pass through them, others will activate some mini-challenge within the event you are playing (hehehe right Gondee, like that 5 seconds maximum air time thing, lol!)

:)

---
Grandmort
"...I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."
From: krispy24 | Posted: 8/4/2003 2:05:08 PM | Message Detail
Yes, we got debug mode and a bunch of codes to play however the hell we wanted. Cheats are now entered Tony Hawk style.

Unfortunatly, many of EA's facilities are closed on the weekends. But their was so much more, we didn't really fuss over it too much.

I'd like to ramble as Gondee has done, but I don't know where to start... Anything else you guys want to know?

Oh, I guess I'll post my long opinions on the characters, my favorite aspect of SSX a little later.
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 2:10:04 PM | Message Detail
To answer your question, publi99 - yeah, the turning is still bad, but for some reason it was easier to turn with the left analog than with the directional pad. FBX and I had big problems with that, and we let them know it. They mentioned that fixing the turning would definitely get some attention in the future.

We got to tour the main parts where they made SSX 3 - hands down the tour was the ABSOLUTE BEST part of the entire day. Larry LaPierre (you see him on the DVD) spent more than an hour and a half with us (in his outrageously busy schedule) and took us all around. He showed us just about everything with the game - it was awesome and really made everyone's day. (Grandmort and I were freaking out - "look at all this stuff we wish we had for Merq City!" heheh.)

To explain in more detail about the multipliers - YES, they are still there, but they are MUCH smaller. Here is the breakdown:

All multipliers are now X's (they look a little like the x-box X, heheh). They no longer rotate, so no worries on missing them like in Tricky.
Green X = x2
Blue X = x3
Red X = x5
Black/Chrome X = x 10!

There are also several other icons you may have seen in the videos:
Blue Cube - 3000 point bonus (just a one time bonus)
Red Cube - 5000 points
EA Big symbol - If you catch this, you immediately do an "EA Big Challenge". This is the type of thing where you have to go down a particular section of mountain without getting 5 seconds of air. (Which grandmort failed in like 10 seconds, and we all thought was impossible, and then happymachines passed on his first time! Freaking gaming genius, lol.)
Crystal snowflakes - $500 bonus

That's about all I can remember. There may have been others, but those were the main ones I remember. Keep asking!

---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: grandmort | Posted: 8/4/2003 2:26:36 PM | Message Detail
Gondee, I believe the "turning" issue was already fixed in the version Larry showed us in his office... The "prewind with sluggish spinning" wasn't, but that's when Larry showed us all the possibilities they have to access and change such parameters via those incredible (and complex) on-screen tools...

Correct me if I'm wrong here (as I'm sure some of us are interpreting some of what we saw and heard quite differently; our perception being altered by the amount of info we received, the fatigue, the excitement and so on...) but for example, I always thought that the snowflakes would actually rotate in the final version... From what I understood, they were not in any ways final in their positions, behaviors, or even X-box-like shapes when we played the game...

:)
---
Grandmort
"...I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."
From: grandmort | Posted: 8/4/2003 2:38:27 PM | Message Detail
While I think about this, and just for our friends in the U.K. (or is it all over Europe, damn, I can't remember?) Larry HIMSELF confirmed "online" capabilities for the PAL version of the game!

And how about talking to your opponent via a USB headset, that would be neat... Well, that too you shall receive!
Note though that no more than two players will be able to compete against each other "online" (a FirebrandX waiting list might be implemented, j/k!)

;)
---
Grandmort
"...I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 2:42:24 PM | Message Detail
That's true, I forgot that there IS going to be online gaming in Europe! :D Glad you remembered that.

Also, for everyone who is reading - probably most of what we say should appended with the following statement: All we mention is subject to change. The build we got was from last Thursday - which is a full two months before the game comes out. There were still areas of it unimplemented, so it's possible it could be different in the final version, like grand...mort says. ;-)
---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: Dreaming Gamer | Posted: 8/4/2003 2:53:54 PM | Message Detail
You lucky devils. ;) I'm glad you all had a good time. It must have been awesome meeting each other face-to-face. Hopefully, this will be the first of many live gatherings between SSX players.

Of course, now that you all have had a chance to play this game, you know what that means...this experience will have made everyone just all the more excited for the game to come out this October. *big grin*

Did any of you get a chance to meet Bif Naked? I remember happymachines saying she was going to be in the area.

Hmm...since you discussed the tracks to some extent, I'd like to ask what your impressions were of the characters. Krispy24 and I have been going back and forth about them for a little bit in the forum and I was curious to hear all of your thoughts, especially from you, krispy. ;)

Are the general character designs as good or better than the previews have been showing? Is there good balance between the characters in terms of racing, knockdown ability, and showoff attributes? From what you could tell at this point, do any character or characters have a definite advantage or disadvantage over the rest in terms of gameplay? Finally, how is the general voice acting for characters? Heaven knows I've ranted on enough about this last point, as krispy24 and ViviFF can certainly attest...heheh.

Also, was there any opportunity to test the multiplayer aspects of the game, either from the same PS2 or from a local network? If so, what did you think of it?

Sorry about all the questions...it's just that I'm SOOOOO pumped to hear all the "juice details" - both about the game and the gathering in general. This is really terrific of EA to go to the trouble and expense to set this meeting up in such style.

Oh, I forgot, one last thing...Does this mean we'll get a chance to see all of you highlighted in SSX 3's DVD "extras" section? ;)
From: Dreaming Gamer | Posted: 8/4/2003 3:22:17 PM | Message Detail
Sorry, I just thought of a couple more quick questions. First, what was your impressions of the music in the game? Second, was there an introductory video and/or theme song for the game? The second is a minor point, but I personally enjoy little touches like that.

Heheh...I stop now and let you all get some more well-deserved rest. Eagerly looking forward to your long review of the characters, krispy. :)
From: Dreaming Gamer | Posted: 8/4/2003 3:26:23 PM | Message Detail
Bleh...I meant to say "juicy details" in the earlier post, not "juice"...er...whatever...you know what I mean. Later! :)
From: jump33 | Posted: 8/4/2003 3:32:40 PM | Message Detail
Definately - and from my experience with EA New Zealand, they really do care about their gamers and what they have to say about the games etc. And this is shown with the unbeleivable opportunity that these select few gamers have been given the past week or so.. If you EVER get the chance to be involved with anyone from EA, DONT turn it down!

EA New Zealand have flown me around New Zealand, had me in TV commercials, mag and paper interviews.. If I need a game I email them and they have it in the mail the following day, I even have an opportunity to take home a fully working copy of Rugby 2004 in a coupla weeks which isnt released til mid September!

Yet all of this is NOTHING compared to what you guys have achieved here! Obviously the best Tricky gamers in the world - I envy you all!!!!!!

Hopefully I can add a little more feedback regarding SSX3 after this weekend!
From: countercycle | Posted: 8/4/2003 3:32:58 PM | Message Detail
2 is a little disappointing, but 2 people done well is better than 6 done poorly. And the headset is great news.

Do you know if the netcode will have rankings and/or ladders, tournaments, etc? If not, we should totally do something ourselves.
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 3:50:13 PM | Message Detail
I'll start citing people's questions to answer them better. Questions will be in italics:

Did any of you get a chance to meet Bif Naked? I remember happymachines saying she was going to be in the area.

Sadly, we didn't, but she is back doing the voice of Zoe. See below for my indepth impressios of voices.

Hmm...since you discussed the tracks to some extent, I'd like to ask what your impressions were of the characters. Are the general character designs as good or better than the previews have been showing?

Character designs are FANTASTIC. Very, very detailed, very beautiful (both for women and men models.) Much, much better than Tricky. Best of all, when you are customizing your character, you can zoom in on extreme close ups of them to really get a good view. I mean, I was seriously impressed - the character models are superb.

Is there good balance between the characters in terms of racing, knockdown ability, and showoff attributes? From what you could tell at this point, do any character or characters have a definite advantage or disadvantage over the rest in terms of gameplay?

Initial Attributes mean nothing anymore - all characters are blank slates when you get them and have 0 on all attributes. Likewise, you can power them up to 10's in all character (may change, but I doubt it) to make them as strong as you want. Mac is no longer the best showoffer, Elise is no longer the best racer.

Even Ubers are customizable now - you can buy different ones and assign them to different buttons in the character customization screens.

Finally, how is the general voice acting for characters? Heaven knows I've ranted on enough about this last point, as krispy24 and ViviFF can certainly attest...heheh.

Of all the voices in Tricky, Bif Naked is the ONLY celebrity coming back to voice Zoe. Mac's voice is the same (DJ Whatshisface), but everyone else's is different.

And yes, I did ask why Jim Rose did not come back to do Psymon. The short answer was scheduling couldn't be arranged, but the long version is that the programmers were really looking for more subtle, non-over-the-top stuff from the voice actors. They said that Jim Rose has one volume level on a scale of 1-10: 11. He was too over the top for this game, they said, and they also said that the new voice guy they got can apparently do the low growls and groans that fits this game. I didn't press much more, though I would have likely rather had Jim Rose than a new guy. He's the core of Psymon, I think.

Likewise, Nick Maliperriman will NOT be back to do the voice of Moby. Same reason as Jim Rose - he's only good when he does extreme voices.

Krispy can give you his impressions of the voices, but here's what I remember:

Elise - VERY GOOD voice acting. Very strong, subtle and (in some cases) sensual. Excellent.
Griff: Sounds very much like a 12 year old - actually, I thought he sounded like a 9-year old.
Kaori: Different voice actor - still very Japanese. But her voice is not as "cute" as the one from Tricky - it's more grown up.
Allegra: Decent voice, however, Tara Strong did NOT do Allegra's voice. When I asked the guy if Tara Strong did her voice (with an explanation of Bubbles/Rikku/FFX), he didn't even know who Tara Strong was.
Viggo: Umm....heheh...ummm....I'll let Krispy tackle that one. lol. Viggo's not quite what we expected...
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 3:51:09 PM | Message Detail
Continuing DreamingGamer's questions:

Also, was there any opportunity to test the multiplayer aspects of the game, either from the same PS2 or from a local network? If so, what did you think of it?
I thought it was just fine. It seemed like you could see more of the track in split screen now, though that may just be me. We didn't play "online" when we were all in the same room - it would have been like calling someone on a cell phone when they are sitting right next to you, lol.

Oh, I forgot, one last thing...Does this mean we'll get a chance to see all of you highlighted in SSX 3's DVD "extras" section? ;)
We all wished so, but Larry said there won't be a DVD "making of" section in the game. He said it took too much time away from actually perfecting the game, though we did all have to sign agreements to let EA use our likeness if they so chose, heheh.

First, what was your impressions of the music in the game?
Excellent! There will be more than 30 songs for the game, and they run the gamut from techno to very fringe alternative. GREAT variety. Someone might be able to tell you more about individual artists, but we did her mention that most song lists WILL be customizable.

Second, was there an introductory video and/or theme song for the game?

The intro video on IGN will be changed, they told us, to keep the game fresh. We saw a rough of the new intro video, and it's pretty damn cool. Tight tricks with the new DJ (Rahzel is NOT back, just for a change) explaining how the characters are gearing up for the new "season" of SSX 3.

Whew! Great questions...keep 'em coming! :D
---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: jump33 | Posted: 8/4/2003 3:58:14 PM | Message Detail
Likenesses?

I can see it now.. Ill be playing SSX3 for like the 12th day straight, unlocked almost everything and then ill finally finish that last trickbook, and low and behold ill get a pop up saying ive unlocked team "Merq City", and will get to choose from several riders with names such as Gondee, Grandmort, and dolphin girl..!

LOL!
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 4:20:15 PM | Message Detail
Do you know if the netcode will have rankings and/or ladders, tournaments, etc?
They talked about mini-tournaments being set up online, so it's possible. I don't know how far they'll get or if they have enough time, but I would expect something of the sort.

Heheh, sadly jump33, when I read the fine print, the form only asked for permission to use our likenesses in "making of" videos, promo materials and advertising. I doubt we'll all be selectable characters, but how awesome would that be? FirebrandX has some ideas he wants the send the programmers on that subject, heheh...
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Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: PD CofC | Posted: 8/4/2003 5:14:01 PM | Message Detail
Sounds like I missed a lot Gondee. Customs was a pain for me that Friday morning. I had them on the phone most of the morning and they kept telling me about all this paper work that i would need that I didn't have because I have some legal issues pertaining to my liscence and whatnot. From what the ones of you that went have been saying, I'm really sorry I had to tell Katrina I couldn't go. I was all packed and everything... damn. Well, e-mail me some cool stuff. Sounds like it's a game for me.
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PD~
From: krispy24 | Posted: 8/4/2003 5:21:11 PM | Message Detail
I don't know how to do itallic, so I'll put your questions after arrows.

->Second, was there an introductory video and/or theme song for the game?

The new DJ is DJ Atomica, and the video shows every aspect of the game and a look at all three peaks. The game currently has two theme songs "Higher Ground" and "Let's Get R_tard_d." (Es removed) We were told that MTV2 will also have a music video of the game, but EA is a little afraid about the second song offending someone.

->Oh, I forgot, one last thing...Does this mean we'll get a chance to see all of you highlighted in SSX 3's DVD "extras" section? ;)

Larry LaPierre said that their will be no DVD extras, but a project manager was talking to her intern about doing a behind the scenes video in the theme of an MTV show. She might just not have known. But MTV did have "Making of Def Jam Vendetta" Just hopeful thinking I guess....

-> First, what was your impressions of the music in the game?

It has a loving familiarity, but it's all fresh music. I was getting tired shaking what my mama gave me.

->...finish that last trickbook...

the standard trickbooks are gone. You gather money as you go along to get just about anything. You might have to do some tricks for goals and stuff added later in. ;)

->I doubt we'll all be selectable characters, but how awesome would that be?

The coolest thing in the world, but I would be just a lame composite character of the ones who are their already. Viggo, anyone?

Oh yeah, at least Grandmort is in the game.

Please wait for my character opinions. I promise it will be worth your time.
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 6:13:41 PM | Message Detail
Heheh. Yeah, in case anyone wonders what grandmort looks like...

He looks exactly (uncannily, even) like Nate. ;-)
---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: Dreaming Gamer | Posted: 8/4/2003 6:18:46 PM | Message Detail
Thanks so much for answering my questions, gondee and krispy!! Great character designs, superb tracks, awesome graphics, customizable ubers...The more I hear, the more excited I become about this game!

I really like the fact that now any character can technically beat any other character (assuming the same player or two players of equal skill are controlling them), depending how the attribute stats have been developed. From a competitive standpoint, this should mean you can start with any character you want and be able to eventually achieve insanely high scores...such as we're currently seeing for SSX Tricky. If you so choose, you don't have to be "stuck" (as some have put it) with just Mac or a Brodi-type to be really competitive. One now can go with whomever is their favorite character(s).

Hmm...DJ Atomica...name sounds slightly familiar, but I can't place a voice. It's too bad about Jim Rose not coming back. You're right, his voice did add so much to the character. It's nice to know that all the other racers sound pretty good. You've got me really curious about Viggo, though, heheh.

I like jump33's idea of having an unlockable "Team Merq". That would be sweet, especially since we already have grandmort in it, so-to-speak. *grin*

Here's a bunch more questions. ;)

Did you think that EA's more subtle approach to the characters and their personalities worked well in this game? Is it better than the approach taken in SSX Tricky, and would have SSX Tricky's "over-the-top" character style been a detriment to SSX 3?

Is DJ Atomica better in the game than DJ Rahzel was for SSX Tricky?

Are the ubers, particularly the level 2 and level 3 tricks, as outrageous and "sick" as some have speculated? Does this new leveling of uber tricks actually work well during real gameplay?

Is there any type of "Tricky" music that plays when the ubers trick meter(s) become full? If so, how annoying or not is it?

The issue of changes in the controller scheme regarding shoving and tail/face plants has been mentioned. Are the remaining controls for the PS2 the same as for the previous games?

Did you get an opportunity to meet all or many of the SSX 3 creative staff? What did you think of them? Just from what jump33 has said and the fact that EA hosted this event at all suggests the SSX 3 developers are some pretty nice people.

I remember somebody speculating about this, but during any one game, do interactive aspects of the environment (avalanches, fallen trees, etc.) remain changed from event to event? In other words, if one player or character knocks down a tree or causes an avalanche, do the effects of those events remain present when you return to that point on the peak?

Are the loading times as nonexistent as have been claimed? Also, how's the frame rate, especially when there are lots of characters or action on the screen? This was sometimes an issue with SSX Tricky.

How does the player interface (menus and such) compare with SSX and SSX Tricky? Is it better, worse, or similar to before?

Finally, from the bit of time you were able to play the game, which character(s) became your favorite? (You knew somebody would have to ask this question...heheh).

Geez, that's a boatload of questions, isn't it. ^^;; Well, that's it for now, thanks!!
From: ssx4ever | Posted: 8/4/2003 6:44:06 PM | Message Detail
I was going to ask not so much about the mechanics of the game, but whether or not it retains the WOW factor that SSX and SSXT had. The feeling you have when you switch on the game and just know that this thing is gonna be good. Those little indiscernible qualities that keep you playing into the wee hours long after the hype has died down?

But from the sounds of it, it has this in bucket loads. So I'll settle for one on replays. Are they as good as their forerunners? Do you get to see the score/time boost meter? Is there a racing like ghost such as the one in GT3?

But what I really want to know is not so much about the game, but about the experiences that you had whilst on this once in a lifetime adventure. How did you feel when you first heard about it? Were you excited or anxious about meeting your peers. What was it like when you finally met? You know all the stuff you'd luv to read in your diary a few years from now when you relive the experience.

Oh and don't worry about it P31, I'm organizing a BBQ round at our place in a few weeks for those on the B-list. Unfortunately you'll have to pay for your own airfare and it's BYOG. But there'll be plenty to do as we'll be having face painting and a jumping castle. I'll even try and find something for the kiddies... Just email me your RSVP ;)
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"These pretzels are making me thirsty!!"
From: Dreaming Gamer | Posted: 8/4/2003 6:51:52 PM | Message Detail
I second ssx4ever's questions. ;)

What was your favorite moment during the entire trip? Worst? Are the other elite SSX players what you expected, now that you've met them face-to-face? :)
From: krispy24 | Posted: 8/4/2003 6:53:48 PM | Message Detail
-> Did you think that EA's more subtle approach to the characters and their personalities worked well in this game? Is it better than the approach taken in SSX Tricky, and would have SSX Tricky's "over-the-top" character style been a detriment to SSX 3?

Let me tell you, the characters still have their personalities, but you probably won't get tired of them. They arn't hokey but keep it really cool.

-> Is DJ Atomica better in the game than DJ Rahzel was for SSX Tricky?

I'd say so. Rahzel was fast paced and loud, which was motivation in the over the top style of Tricky. But Atomica constantly gives you "Traffic Reports" and tidbits of info in a radio host style, which is nice to listen to since you try to take more time to chill out and explore.

-> Are the ubers, particularly the level 2 and level 3 tricks, as outrageous and "sick" as some have speculated? Does this new leveling of uber tricks actually work well during real gameplay?

Yes, very well. This time, instead of Tricky you spell SUPER UBER. (First filling Uber, than Super) and both words give you different tricks. They are super awesome. You see a whole bunch of new stuff inspired by everything from dance moves to karate. Even some character specifics from Tricky are back for other characters. But no specifics this year. And "monster tricks," which we did not see, will replace your current ubers later, if you choose.

Oh, And personally, I especially love rail ubers.

-> Is there any type of "Tricky" music that plays when the ubers trick meter(s) become full? If so, how annoying or not is it?

No.

-> The issue of changes in the controller scheme regarding shoving and tail/face plants has been mentioned. Are the remaining controls for the PS2 the same as for the previous games?

Yes, but we don't know where handplants will be located. They are at triangle right now, but due to Tony Hawk will be changed.

-> Did you get an opportunity to meet all or many of the SSX 3 creative staff? What did you think of them?

So cool, So nice, So smart, So genius. All of them.

->I remember somebody speculating about this, but during any one game, do interactive aspects of the environment (avalanches, fallen trees, etc.) remain changed from event to event? In other words, if one player or character knocks down a tree or causes an avalanche, do the effects of those events remain present when you return to that point on the peak?

I'm sorry, I played Single Events practically the whole time. But we know if you anger a character in the first race, they will be angry throughout.

->Are the loading times as nonexistent as have been claimed? Also, how's the frame rate, especially when there are lots of characters or action on the screen? This was sometimes an issue with SSX Tricky.

Loading times have been cleverly replaced by cutscenes. Framerate was an issue, but it's still a rough copy.

-> How does the player interface (menus and such) compare with SSX and SSX Tricky? Is it better, worse, or similar to before?

You select characters by picking a little silhouette from all off them standing in a row. Picking a single event course is off a list, so you don't have to spin around the screen to find the one you want.

-> Finally, from the bit of time you were able to play the game, which character(s) became your favorite?

I'm getting technical difficulties, LOL.
From: krispy24 | Posted: 8/4/2003 6:55:53 PM | Message Detail
->What was your favorite moment during the entire trip? Worst? Are the other elite SSX players what you expected, now that you've met them face-to-face? :)

The tour was the best, leaving was the worst. The other gamers are the most mixed group of people, but all are great.
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 7:03:00 PM | Message Detail
You've got me really curious about Viggo, though, heheh.
I'll let Krispy expound on that, heheh. Suffice it to say he wasn't our favorite, lol.

Did you think that EA's more subtle approach to the characters and their personalities worked well in this game?
Much better. It fit the game and I don't think I could have taken more screaming, etc. It really fits the "cool and crisp" environment. It's a shame it cost a few of the voice actors, but I do understand the approach.

Is it better than the approach taken in SSX Tricky, and would have SSX Tricky's "over-the-top" character style been a detriment to SSX 3?
Really a matter of opinion, and I think it depends on the character. For example, I think a screaming Elise would have been annoying, but it would have been fine for Psymon and Moby.

Is DJ Atomica better in the game than DJ Rahzel was for SSX Tricky?
Again, matter of opinion, some may disagree with what I say. DJ Atomica was fine - very energetic and knowledgeable - he seemed to be more of a "guide" DJ than an actual DJ like Rahzel. He's more a voice-over narrator than an actual DJ, I think.

Are the ubers, particularly the level 2 and level 3 tricks, as outrageous and "sick" as some have speculated? Does this new leveling of uber tricks actually work well during real gameplay?
We only got to see level 1 and 2 Ubers. The Monster Ubers were not done when we were there and were not accessible on the build we got. The level 2 Ubers are very much like the regular Ubers from Tricky - some old ones are even in there like Elise's Character Uber "La La La Lockstep" - but the difference is all the Level 2 Ubers are now "holdable". For example, if you do the the La La Lockstep by doing R1+R2 and keep holding the buttons down, the character will jump off her board, begin spinning, and continue spinning until you let go of the buttons, and then she will land back on her board. Seriously, the uber can last 7 seconds or longer.

The other ubers are pretty sick, but they don't blow the Tricky ones out of the water or anything. Just consider it this way - if there's any possible direction that characters can spin the boards around their bodies, they probably do.

Is there any type of "Tricky" music that plays when the ubers trick meter(s) become full? If so, how annoying or not is it?

Nope - it's just generic "cool electro" type music if anything. To be honest, one of the problems we had was that there was no music to determine when your Uber bar was diminishing, and we let the programmers know that.
From: gondee | Posted: 8/4/2003 7:03:42 PM | Message Detail

The issue of changes in the controller scheme regarding shoving and tail/face plants has been mentioned. Are the remaining controls for the PS2 the same as for the previous games?
Yep, pretty much. There were a few other changes - the Triangle button is now used to do a hand plant - it's that handstand you see Moby do in movie. It has a very strategic use now, and can also be used to save you from crashes and to get into areas you may not be able to access otherwise.

There were smaller changes that may take place but the hand plant is the biggest one remaining that we haven't talked about.

Did you get an opportunity to meet all or many of the SSX 3 creative staff? What did you think of them? Just from what jump33 has said and the fact that EA hosted this event at all suggests the SSX 3 developers are some pretty nice people.

The staff at EA is phenomenal, seriously. We got to meet most of them on the tour that Larry Lapierre gave us - including all of the guys who have helped Merqurycity.com over the years. Such nice people, they appreciate their fans more than any other company I've ever seen. It's not even a question.

I remember somebody speculating about this, but during any one game, do interactive aspects of the environment (avalanches, fallen trees, etc.) remain changed from event to event?
No, I think they reset, but if anyone else noticed them staying the same, be sure to pipe up and let Gamer know. :)

Are the loading times as nonexistent as have been claimed?
No, they are good, but not great. On the version we had, we had to wait for the game to load just like any other game. It may be better on X-box or Gamecube though.

Also, how's the frame rate, especially when there are lots of characters or action on the screen? This was sometimes an issue with SSX Tricky.
Framerate is ALWAYS near 60 FPS - there wasn't one instance of slowdown, not even in the midst of an avalanche and all six boarders were on the screen. Very, very much improved.

How does the player interface (menus and such) compare with SSX and SSX Tricky? Is it better, worse, or similar to before?
It's not near as clunky as Tricky's was. You can select things quickly and easily. It's better designed this time, a lot more similar to SSX than Tricky. A lot of it revolves around the character's PDA like previous articles have mentioned.

Finally, from the bit of time you were able to play the game, which character(s) became your favorite? (You knew somebody would have to ask this question...heheh).
As far as new characters, I liked Allegra and Griff, wasn't really crazy about Nate (sorry grandmort) and Viggo (ugh, Viggo). The old characters? Elise and Zoe were awesome - Zoe is back, baby! :D

Geez, that's a boatload of questions, isn't it. ^^;;
Hey, no problem at all. Keep 'em coming! :D
---
Think you're good at SSX Tricky? Prove it! Visit the Merqurycity.com SSX Tricky Scoreboard:
http://www.merqurycity.com/ssxtricky.html
From: krispy24 | Posted: 8/4/2003 7:19:08 PM | Message Detail
Well, I had very minor framerate problem, but nothing big. And handplants will be removed from triangle, remember gondee?
From: FirebrandX | Posted: 8/4/2003 7:43:02 PM | Message Detail
There were some questions here about the replays from ssx4ever.

I can tell you I fully documented exactly what we all want in the replays. Full-screen displays with no help-icons getting in the way, complete live coverage of the scores and times during the replays, etc. I stressed it was VERY important to us, so I'm certain they will make those changes for the final version. Probably the most important function of the entire game for those of us who compete on a professional level.

On a side note, we (Gondee, Happymachines, Dolphingirl, Grandmort, Krispy and I) discussed having our own specially designed snowboards added in a future version of SSX (perhaps SSX4). What I'm going to do is render them in 3D Studio Max and then send the texture files as Targa images to our good friends at EAC. I will make them very professional looking and may attach a small Divx video of them rotating to show all sides. A sort of commemorative snowboard gift from each of us to EA as thanks for the wonderful time we had. ;-) I don't expect anything to happen of course, but I'd like to do that for them as a token of our gratitude. So Gondee, Happy, Grandmort, Dolphingirl, Krispy, please send me some sketches or design concepts and I'll start rendering the geometry asap. Thanks!

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Workshed
From: FirebrandX | Posted: 8/4/2003 7:47:54 PM | Message Detail
About the handplants being removed from triangle:

I actually liked them being there for that button and I'm not too keen on the circle button switch that was proposed. I think the best way around that is to simply allow players to assign buttons in the options screen. Granted the average players may get overloaded with options, but you see many more player start complaining in the long run for lack of them later on. So I figured would be good is to make a "Professional Options" screen that would be accessed by itself with a strong warning from the game to leave such settings for more advanced users. This would keep the average numbskulls in check, but still allow the pros to customize their gameplay. For me, nothing is worse than saying "Geez! If only I could set the handplant to triangle!!"

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Workshed
From: happymachines | Posted: 8/4/2003 9:49:05 PM | Message Detail
so many questions....

courses: i focused mostly on the showoff courses. slope style is incredible. i don't know how we're ever going to figure out the best routes for these. they're probably the same size as most courses, but because of the number of paths offered they seem inconcievably huge. superpipe is, well, superpipe. one big long halfpipe. there's some other things going on with it (one of them had two other pipes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay above the main one, in order to transfer to them you had to get a "sick" amount of air, then transfer with a handplant). but theyre all almost so straightforward as to be uninteresting. the big air courses are appropriately named. they're short (too short), but have some of the craziest jumps you'll ever see. my biggest problem with the showoff events is that the score necessary for gold seemed far too low. i was getting gold medals in most events on my first time through the course.

manuals (or presses): i was too busy playing to pay close attention to how the combo scoring system worked, and how many extra points they added onto your tricks. as someone mentioned, you get your standard score for completing tricks, and a seperate combo score, worth a fraction of the original trick, and which increases depending on the length of the combo. it is possible that this much smaller combo score is multiplied, but i'm not sure. my biggest problem was that there was no balance meter for this (i dont care about having a balance meter for handplants as they are fairly useless anyways; while you will sometimes have cause to go into a handplant, there is never a reason you would want to hold one). it made it very hard to tell what was going on as far as the press. the press system is a little to forgiving at this point: you have about a second in between tricks to string them together into a combo. you can go into a press, go out, and quickly go back in without losing the combo. furthermore, holding a press does not increase in difficulty depending on the length of the combo, only depending on the length of the current press. this makes getting long combos a bit too easy: within a couple hours of play i was able to string together 40 presses without falling, and when we were in the superpipe we had no problem getting combos of 50 or more tricks. i expect aspects of this to be tweaked before final release.

spinning: the spinning did seem sluggish, but that is in relation to tricky, which was intentionally over the top. the weirdest thing about this for me was contrasting slow spinning to the amount of air you can get now. it's insane. judging by one of the multipliers i saw on the first big air course, there is a jump there that i believe you could pull off 6 or 7 ubers on, easy.

money snowflakes: the amount of money you get from these depends on which peak you're on. on peak 1 theyre worth 500, on 2 1000, on 3 2000.

to hell with the waiting list for challenging firebrandx. krispy is the new master of ssx racing!
From: happymachines | Posted: 8/4/2003 9:49:58 PM | Message Detail
bif naked was playing there that night, we were busy watching fireworks, and it turned out to all just be a coincidence. i know she used to live in vancouver, and possibly still does; someone mentioned that she plays there quite often.

characters: don't care. never have. i'll leave discussing the characters to the human members of the team.

music: most of the music was pretty good. certainly better than any other extreme sports game. one of the ea people said that the music in this game tended to be a lot more mainstream than the music in the others, and also that with something like 30 different songs has the biggest music budget ever for a ea game.

celebrity voices: to hell with them. i'd rather they spend the money on the game than buying lucy liu a new ivory backscratcher.

dj: i liked rahzel a lot better. atomica never even entered my brain. he was background noise that was pushed to the periphery.

ubers: i didn't notice a ton of difference between lvl 1 and 2 ubers, save that the lvl 2 ones were longer and holdable. if they leave the game the way it is, i definitely see rail ubers as the big new thing. to perform a rail uber you just tap one of the shoulder buttoms and try to stay balanced on the rail (not that its any harder when youre doing ubers. and you dont really have to stay on the rail, just as long as you finish the uber animation before you hit the ground. but it is fairly easy to get onto a rail going very slowly, occasionally give yourself just enough boost to keep forward momentum and avoid falling off, all the while busting uber after uber. it was no problem to turn out four or five ubers off of a good rail.

loading times are still there, yes.

as for what i said after finding out about this, i am not allowed to use such language on the gamefaqs message boards. just know that i expressed positive feelings in a very unique and vulgar way.

i still have to think about the menu system some more, but i feel like after a few months of playing i will again long for the straightforwardness of ssx1

fav moment of trip: seeing krispy beat firebrand in racing.

worst: trying not to collapse as i wandered the streets around the hotel looking for a store that sold ibuprofen. (i was not well during this trip)

developers said that in single player the framerate should always be a solid 60fps. in head on head, 30fps. not sure what it would be online.
From: FirebrandX | Posted: 8/4/2003 10:40:18 PM | Message Detail
[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]
From: FirebrandX | Posted: 8/4/2003 10:43:05 PM | Message Detail
Hey now, Krispy found a very nice shortcut! Nicked me by 2 seconds after I tried to close the distance. Gondee smoked me on the next race, but then I got him back in a rematch just as badly. I'm more into studying a specific track and preparing a line then I am just playing a track blind and hoping for the best. I've never been any good at blind runs.

We ALL got smoked by happymachines on the slopestyle tracks. He was busy doing deliberate rail ubers very slowly on each rail (an exploitation he mentioned to the guys at EAC), while we were just fumbling around looking for big-air tricks to bust. We lost handily to him on those tracks.
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Workshed
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