One of the key components of Battlescape in my opinion will be communication, both as a way of coordinating with teammates and as an immersion factor. Most multiplayer games these days has some form of built-in voice communication system, which personally I almost always turn off straight away. However, there are many people who like engaging in vocal interactions and it definitely makes things easier to organize within your team assuming everyone is cooperative and not just blaring Rick Astley all the time.
IG RSX commented about this on the Kickstarter page:
I-Novae Studios@ Please can you integrate VOIP for the social relation betwen players. for future feature. This allows for wingsquad and player scommunications It also features like a 3D local speech, meaning you can hear players from other squads and player if they are close to you. . I know some people prefer a quiet solo gameplay exploration , but frankly massive spacebattle, i m will really glad to coordinate and with my wingsmens as team. Its lot of work but for future feature sound great for immersion and gameplay design. Thanks Kindly
He makes a good point about scope. You obviously wouldn’t want everyone in your faction, potentially a hundred or more people, all talking at once. So a good way to establish sensible degrees of communication is limiting channels to local space and/or a small squad. Personally I believe both modes would be ideal providing there would be some system to form a squad of people you know. Perhaps faction-wide communication could be interesting just as a mode to turn on once in a while and just see how hectic things are.
So I can imagine up to maybe four degrees of voice communication:
- Off - People should still be able to fly around in peace
- Squad - Voice communications only between a select group of maybe up to 2-8 players
- Local - Open channel for anyone in a spherical vicinity around your ship
- Faction - All communications open between all ships
Let’s just say for the sake of gameplay and being able to communicate with anyone instantly even if they’re on the other side of the system is possible because of magical superluminal radio waves.
Now the other thing that a lot of multiplayer games have is battle chatter. Even if your teammates aren’t very chatty, or you’ve turned them off because they were too chatty, you still get an immersive experience from all the player’s avatars periodically sounding off situational lines. Star Wars Battlefront makes great use of this and really brings the battle to life as people around you are yelling and shouting out orders or encouragement.
For example, if one your faction’s battlescapes comes under attack, the event is announced by an “avatar voice” instead of some ominous AI voice, providing sensors actually detect it. I think it’s just a lot better to hear about an enemy interceptor on your tail from Wedge than Cortana. Of course professional voice acting might be a bit too expensive at this point but I think it’s definitely something to keep in mind for a year or so down the track.