Hey everyone it’s time for your weekly update. On the engineering side Flavien spent a good portion of last week working on some issues with networking error detection that he discovered. These center around problems with how our the new networking code was integrated with our physics library. On my end I fixed a number of issues with using Facebook for account login and creation. Facebook changed some things on their end which broke our integration. If anyone using Facebook for login is still experiencing problems with our website or the game please let us know. I’ve also started work on gradient support for path rendering as well as building the rest of our UI subsystems.
Pre-rendered image of another portion of the land base
We spent time this week discussing some design elements of the gameplay surrounding capital ships. The central question is how quickly should we give players access to capital ships? At the moment our core design restricts access until a player accumulates enough money to purchase a capital ship. It was proposed that we possibly add an additional XP requirement to prevent new players from blowing all of their money on a capital ship and then immediately dying due to inexperience. This could also be a form of griefing since money will be distributed evenly amongst members of a team – the smaller a team the more a person could, either intentionally or accidentally, waste the resources of their team by buying expensive ships and immediately dying.
On the art side the usual work continues on station materials, the land base, and the destroyer. The new assets from the last few months are now being integrated into the game in preparation for our next patch. Due to the aforementioned networking error correction issues we don’t have a firm date just yet but we’ll let everyone know as soon as we can provide one with confidence. That’s it for this week, until next time!
It certainly would encourage team play, but you’re right to worry about people spending the money unwisely. You can gate the amount they spend behind xp locks or something, but I would also suggest a time lock for each player. If they die in a destroyer, they have to wait X mins before being able to spawn another.
Even players with high xp can grief, so at least this would limit their damage to the team!
That doesn’t make sense. Every game has this problem. Restricting players from using tools in fear that they don’t know how to use them only makes matters worse. I could probably list at least ten games that have a role or tool or function that is inside the game that needs special knowledge and in every of those cases that knowledge could only be acquired by actually using that role/tool/function. Playing in Interceptor, Bomber and Corvette won’t teach you where the optimal position for a carrier is …
I don’t really see how. Not spending the money he got assigned could be considered the exact or even worse amount of griefing. If he fumbles in a capital he maybe at least distracts the enemy a bit. Instead of sitting on a phat stack and not helping …
Just a reminder that additional handling for players leaving and new players joining should be added before release. A match should still be playable even if the whole team essentially got replaced by new players or fluctuated in size. Especially with long games and/or drop in / drop out people coming to play for a few minutes.
If they join a game in a later, escalated state. Shouldn’t they also get to play with the big peaces? Or should it be “you have to play for X percentage of a match to be able to afford access to a whole new part of the game”. That’s a design decision of course.
All depends on the intended experience to provide for the player. So far, we can assume INovae want to make a long time frame (24h around ?) in which anyone can still hop in / out at any time.
In that regard, I agree with @Lomsor that restricting capital ships (CS) is not a great idea : the first dozen of hours will see no CS at all if this is implemented. And anyway, there is a “solo play”, right? Players should be able to test beforehand how a CS feels in piloting. At the worst, you may restrict a CS on “play X minutes in solo with a capital ship”, but nothing more in my opinion.
Other interesting points to ask: how is the money gained? Through escorting haulers to safety / blowing up objectives is my first guess, but maybe other forms? Is there a “regular” income independant of any other objective? Do you, INovae, intend to regulate a snowballing team?
This also could be interesting as a statistic: how much did a player contribute to the team effort
Spreading money evenly, and implementing a way to block some from spending those money which literally means that those are not your money, sounds like a communism to me, where everything belongs to everyone and everyone is equal ;).
IMO money should be spread proportionally according to player’s contribution is achieving team’s goal.
And yes, players should be free to spend their money on whatever they want to.
There is a difference here between: 1) team money is distributed evenly to players who can then spend their stash. 2) team money is held centrally and players are permitted to spend a portion of it.
I prefer number 2, as it allows for players coming and going - the team’s bank account doesn’t have to change. It also more directly nudges people to support their team, especially if good team-play increases the amount in the bank and also increases the amount of it they can spend.
Despite what I said earlier, I vehemently agree with this. People need to feel able to try new, bigger ships out without feeling like they’re going to get yelled at by the team. How else can we learn?
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be wary of people who try to exploit the mechanic. We can at least build a system that naturally (rather than forcibly) discourages “griefing”.
Good idea. It sounds simpler than to have the game shuffle around money every time a player joins or leaves.
If it’s a simple percentage you could spend at once, and you can’t hoard what you buy. It could work.
If it’s handled that way. I can understand Keith’s concern… Once the team manages to bank enough money to be able to buy a capital: (“Money in Bank needed to buy first destroyer” = “Number of players” x “Cost of Destroyer”)
At that point. Every player on the team could buy a capital. But as soon as one does, the team looses the ability to buy another one until they reach that threshold again.
Still. This brings other problems. How do you make your team save up for a good capital composition? Etc. Pro and cons.
If you add a function to limit access I would suggest always making it feel positive. So instead of a timer that goes down have a “resource” that ticks up.
My gut reaction to that is that the money pool should grow quite quickly (to be determined by testing of course), unless resources are destroyed by the other team. That way, it is more likely there will be enough money for players to buy what they want, but they have to earn the right by supporting the team.
If balanced correctly, it could also provide a win condition for the round. Once a team becomes severely limited in resources, they can no longer hold up to their enemy and will be defeated. Most of the game would take place at an equilibrium in the middle.
So in essence it sound like we are where the team is.
One idea is to introduce another resource. Something like “Respect” that grows over time or by action. Or can even be awarded by players.
That resource can then be used to lower prices on ships.
The game, or even the match, could be balanced with those two resources. One personal, the other global.
Depending on what is earned more, more emphasis is put upon if a player has to save up or can use shared resources.
But if you think about it, if it’s used for lowering prices it could just be the base resource …
I would like for someone to come up with a much more elegant system.
Putting a human in control for some of that stuff wouldn’t be bad either.
Of course, if you just wanted the one currency, you could go with a system of distributing finances generated by infrastructure evenly to those who participate in individual battles and achieving objectives. What would separate out players who earn more, and can afford larger ships, or less, and can’t, is how quickly they’re killed in combat.
The option to gift your share to other players is nice too.
You’d have a (in my opinion at least, more interesting) system of fighting for survival and strategic objectives rather than for kill points.
I guess you’d need to try it out in testing to make sure it wouldn’t kill off aggressive playstyles, though.
*I don’t really get the greifing point seeing as there’s no practical difference between the resources given to that player being destroyed or horded.
When haulers reach their destination, the resources they transport get converted to credits and distributed/split to the team players. There might be bonuses if you personally escort a hauler though, we haven’t established that yet. But in summary, an inexperienced player that just sits around for long enough would eventually save enough credits to have access to a capital ship. So the whole discussion was, should we let that happen naturally ( even inexperienced players need to acquire experience on capital ships ) or should we restrict that to players that are already familiar with the game and know the mechanics/objectives ?
When a player leaves the match, what becomes of his earnings? Are they kept for is hypothetical return, redistributed (can I have your stuff?), a mix of both?
If he returns, he should probably join the same team again. How would you manage to keep the teams balanced with this constraint?
I love being an armchair dev! There’s a few ways i can see that address some of the things you’ve mentioned. Here’s another list:
“Science Stations” could be used to unlock new ship types during the match through a very simple tech tree. At the start players would only have access to the basic types and every time a Science Station is built around an asteroid/planet/satellite they can choose a new ship type either by voting or whoever is close to the station. I suppose players would need to defend the station while it is researching.
I don’t think limiting the use of ships because “players might waste them” is a good idea. This is a multiplayer game after all and dealing with people is part of it.
To address the point above i propose the creation of “Training Challenges”. This would be a Bronze/Silver/Gold system similar to WoW’s Proving Grounds where players take on simple solo challenges with NPCs to do something specific and teach the basics on proper use of ship classes. These medals would be publicly visible and getting a Gold medal on the cruiser challenge tells everyone else that this player has the basic grasp on how a cruiser works and shouldn’t do anything stupid like suiciding into range of station turrets without proper support.
Is the in-game Money resources team-wide? Why? I believe the best would be to have all the Money earned still be shared across the entire team but each player would be free to spend their portions on their own. Say i’m in a team of 10 players and i destroy an enemy turret worth 1000 Moneys. I will get 100 and i can only spend 100, this way i can “waste” my money on a cruiser and trash it without wasting everyone else’s money. This can obviously be changed for custom servers to have shared Money pools.
Alongside the suggestion above would be for players to be able to donate their Money to others - after destroying said turret i can deposit by Money back into the starting base. Anyone else on my team can then come back and take the Money to buy a Cruiser sooner.
The capitalist approach: by making a capital essential to victory and turning it into a team asset instead of a personal one. If you don’t save up for a capital, your team is going to lose, so you’re responsible for figuring out how to make it happen.
The socialist approach: by reserving a certain amount of resources for capital ships, and allowing players to direct a fraction of their personal resources into that same pool. The reserving process ensures that a team, no matter how bad, will eventually have the resources for a capital.
Let’s remember that players are going to get used to the rules of the game in short order, and they’re going to find out what works and what doesn’t. Don’t do all your design work assuming that players are trying to figure this stuff out. They’re going to know it far better than we do now and they’re going to work together to complete the right steps in the right order. If they’re not interested in that sort of gameplay, they won’t be playing this game.
Honestly, i think capital ships should be Payloads you have to escort and be powerful enough to siege the major space stations. A good example of this gameplay is the various bosses in Heroes of the Storm - once you get it you can escort/assist it as it sieges the enemy fortifications.
Server rules could decide then if players can control it, if they can simply assign a target to it or being able to spawn more than one at a time. Maybe players could dock into it and control the weapons on it. I’m sure you guys have figured this out but since i can’t play and test how it works ill stay in my armchair
The Kickstarter pitch did say players would be able to fly capitals, not that it’s legally binding, just saying.
I like the idea though… it would mean there’s no need for INS to develop the separate capital ship control system, that includes movement and weapon targeting/target prioritisation and associated UI.
Docking was already planned and turret control would be able to reuse a lot from the small ship implementation.
Capitals wouldn’t have to have advanced AI, I guess they’d just follow set paths.