There is a give and take with the weapons drop system in Borderlands. Very few guns will be effective against everything and if so then it will most likely be a very rare gun. Weapons will drop with attributes that will make them great at one thing but poor at another. How the weapons will drop will also be an experience because no two guns will ever be the same.
For example, when the AI in Borderlands drops an item it first randomly selects an item from a huge list of possibilities such as pistols, machine guns, armor, etc. It then chooses how strong the gun or armor will be. Then it applies powers from a list of possible attributes such as electrical ammo, armor piercing ammo, and so on and so forth. If the gun is a rare drop then it might add even more attributes to that same gun. This whole process happens at the very instant that the item is dropped.
Surprisingly, developing the weapons drop system was not the hardest challenge to overcome in the development of Borderlands. The decision to go from the traditional style of texture mapping to it’s now much drastically different process was the biggest hurdle. “Convincing everyone that the art style would be as cool as it is before it was in the engine,” says Martel, commenting on the persuasive challenge. “Once everyone saw it and played around in the world looking like it does then it was easy but it felt like a dangerous but ballsy move that just might work… and I think it does. I love it!”
Martel also let us know that aside from the visual development that Gearbox is putting into Borderlands, three other studios have helped in the graphical development process. Those studios are Shadows in Darkness, Liquid Development and GameGrafx who are also known as Halfbrick.
Borderlands also offers a skill tree which will not only allow the player to level-up his character’s certain traits but will also allow him access to class specific abilities. Because Borderlands will be set in a huge, open world environment this leads to the question about additional downloadable content in the future after the game is released. “That's the thing about game development, and any creative endeavor for that matter, the vision is always greater than what you can deliver. In our case we have a lot more to deliver if the public embraces the game in the way that we hope,” Martel answers. Borderlands is built on the Unreal Engine 3 and will be available on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC this fall.