Welcome to The Relaytrospective, The Relay’s weekly review of the top news of the week!
This week, news mostly came from Around the ‘Verse and Reverse the ‘Verse! Here’s a quick recap:
- Characters update. There’s a big push on FPS characters, trying to wrap them up this week.
- Also working on getting prepared for Multicrew. Very big part of space combat, and they’re doing some work with the UK right now for what each station will look like, what the interactions and gameplay will look like.
- Also transiting of ships – getting into and out of the ships, using the work that’s gone on in Germany setting up the local physics grids, getting that working and tested, and ‘getting the ah, oops almost said something I wasn’t supposed to’, but getting everything ready for the future.
- FPS – Mostly focused this week on dealing with ground based combat in normal gravity on gold horizon. Animators have been working through the juke start / stop system, so lots of playtesting in gravity systems. Lots of new data, lots of different situations, based on where you’re going, how fast you’re going, etc…
- Lots of other work focused around network profiling. Looking at all the packets and bandwidth being used, finding things that can be compressed or thrown out or done more efficiently. Two engineers focused entirely on optimizing the network data, which should lead to a better experience and less lag in general.
- Andrew Wynn wrapped up the mining gameplay prototype, it’s been passed to the Designers so they can provide feedback.
- While they’re doing that, Andrew will be tackling the pioneer / exploration gameplay mechanic.
- Universe Simulator, base functionality is nearly there. It’s functional, allows for a visualization of the solar systems, you can zoom in and see ships flying from point of interest to another. Solar system service is able to read the data and get info from the Universe simulator now as well. First steps towards getting a full blown universe simulator ready.
- Starfarer only has ~2 rooms left to be completed on the interior.
Travis’ FPS Talk
- Still working on finalizing locomotion for characters, making sure it looks and feels good
- FPS will come with a new instance manager, which should improve lots of network / matchmaking issues people have been having.
- While locomotion and the instance manager are being completed, the teams have been putting extra polish on the rest of the FPS module.
- So as we go ahead and roll forward, the plan, which I wanted to share with you guys, is for those of you who were around during the Arena Commander launch, around this time last year, we’re going to do it very similarly. We’re going to set it up on the PTU, with a build, and we’re going to do a phased rollout based on your citizen number. We’re going to invite a fixed number of citizen numbers, have those people have access to this new PTU, they’ll be able to go in there, try out FPS, give us feedback, and we’re going to attempt to patch biweekly, so twice a week we’re going to patch this PTU, so if you have data capped internet, maybe it’s not for you, just a warning cause we’re going to be patching very frequently. And as we get stability up and get good feedback up then we’re going to iterate on that, and we’re going to open it up to more and more people and then as we get more and more feedback we’ll open it up to more and more people, and as we do this phased rollout eventually we’ll culminate with going live to everybody. That way, by the time the whole community gets it in their hands, it’ll have been progressively, based on your seniority here, basically, and by the time it comes out live we should have a nice, stable product for everybody to enjoy together.
- Lastly I think it’s important to revisit why FPS is a big deal, and I see a lot of people on forums who are like, oh, we just want to play FPS module, we just want to have TDM or arena deathmatch fights, or oh we just want to run around, and I think the important thing to realize about FPS is it’s not just about the FPS module, the game mode. Star Marine as a module is going to be great, it’s going to be a lot of fun, but the idea too is we’re developing the underlying FPS mechanics for the entirety of the game. What we’re developing for Star Marine is actually the underlying, when we get to multicrew how you’re going to be able to EVA, the whole 0g setup is EVA in the persistant Universe. It’s how do you enter, and how do you navigate, what is your player locomotion like in a persistant universe setting in 0g? It’s what are the weapon balances for you vs another player if you board their ship?
- FPS: Getting ready for PTU release, not locked until it’s on the CDN
- – [Has FPS module affected social module release?] Different teams. They tie together, but they’re different teams. FPS coming out won’t affect the release for the social.
- Social module is more interesting in the development process. It’s the long march to the PTU. When it gets put out there, it’s just a matter of when there’s enough there to be tested. It doesn’t have a very set feature-set like AC or StarMarine do. If Star Social comes a week after FPS, or a month after FPS, it’ll have different things in it, based on what they get added in.
- They really need Star Marine to happen, AC will start heating up afterwards
- A ship status page is on Lisa’s radar. She’s thinking of how to do it best. Should it be done as an episode of ship shape, or just talk about it or post it or something.
- No sales next Friday, don’t want to sell something every week
- Matt Sherman – people asking about missiles. A hotfix wouldn’t be doable in the near future. A hotfix right now wouldn’t be viable because of how patching is set up, though they want to change that in the future. Missile balance is something they’re concerned about and looking into, but they have to do balancing on it, so they don’t know when it’ll get solved. They’re looking at ways to address the issues without it just being nerf this, buff this, want the gameplay to support what each missile type does.
- [Controller Balance questions] Generally industry standpoint – since SC is still in alpha, controller balance is a concern, definitely, however it’s not as big of a deal as getting the rest of the game made yet. Once they get into beta, that’s where all the assets are in, it’s a whole game, and then they’ll worry about balancing it.
- One of the big issues right now is because not all the core systems, especially for the pu, there’s no complete key map for what they’ll need for what they let us do. They need to get that resolved first, then they’ll have to revise the keymap across all devices, to make it more logical, and so they can get to a point where they stop keybindings getting lost from patch to patch.
- The way you’re playing AC today, is not the way it’ll be at the end of the process. It’s part of the process. Ben says Please stop hijacking every single thread on reddit or the forums, regardless of what it’s about, mentioning controller balance.
- We also got an excellent statement from Toast: “I have a personal opinion on Project Management. One thing that we’ve said that we try to embrace here for our game development is Agile. Agile is something that is used on a lot of companies doing web products but there is one very great danger to Agile that we always have to try and discipline. With Agile it’s a very reactive development process. Bugs come up, you deal with them, you tweak things. But the thing about web companies is that they often don’t know what they’re building in the long run so they just keep building a product and building that same product and modifying that product and it just… you know, they have a lot of features that they feel that they would like to do in a year or two and never, ever, ever get to them. Because they’re constantly trying to refine that one feature that they built relatively recently. So, if you let your Agile process be completely reactive and hijack everything else, you never get around to your big picture. You’re always tweaking that small product.”
- So… I mean, I do try to play Arena Commander… and I know the controller balance bothers ME. I get shot down by Tempest II missiles more than anything else. I’ve nearly broken a joystick. But it’s all the same things that all of you worry about also. But, there’s a forest. There are trees. You can’t get completely dominated by the reactive nature Agile development.”
- WWOSC – episode 3 is coming. They’re making it professional and fancy and stuff.
- They tried to say silly stuff to trip up The Relay transcript guys (which was a lot of fun, actually)
And that’s it for the news summary this week! We’ll be back again next week, and as always, see you in the ‘Verse!