This transcript was done by /u/Nocturnal_Nick. He graciously allowed us to host it!
Regular Intro and Thanks
Tidbit: The LA Office is packed, they’ve found some new space as they can’t expand their current location, used to be a photography studio, with 4 stages. They’re keeping 1 stage for community content, and the rest is open work-plan. He shows the map of the rest of the office on screen and explains where everyone goes. They’re getting some QA in there for more efficient testing too (currently they’re all elsewhere) He’s impressed with the price they’re getting for it, paying less than Austin for a bigger space. It’ll not be ready for a little while, with approvals etc, but guessing they’ll be in around June. Thanks again for the awesome support, allowing them to hire more people (and need more space for them) to get this thing done!
On to the Questions!
Raeyik Asks: I’ve seen a lot of talk about food, sleep, showering,etc. Many ships have features for the immersion effect but are there plans to actually make these commodities/needs affect the player? In other words, will sleeping grant a bonus to black out tolerance or food give a player a buff like they do in most MMO’s?
I think this is something that I’ve talked about before. I like that we have functions in ships like that which make them seem real, and I do want to give the player a bonus for using those things to a certain extent, because it makes it not just completely cosmetic. That said, you don’t want to make it like real life where you have to use the toilet, or eat 3 square meals a day or whatever. I was in favour of the light immersion factor which is something like, say, if you didn’t shower for a week, someone might make a face at you due to the smell or look, and thus might be -1 to your reputation/conversation with that person. Sleeping is what we’re using as a save mechanic too, but perhaps occasionally if you rest in the PU or eat it might affect your stamina or something. I do think things like drinking too much alcohol should make your vision blurry, but perhaps if you never ate anything ever you might get weaker. It should be fun, but just a light RPG immersion factor, like you could walk up to the Constellation dinner table and press a button, have a meal appear and your character might have a little bit of a bonus from eating it. It shouldn’t feel like you have to do it all the time like a chore, but that it’d be good to do every now again. It’ll be like refuelling your ship, just resource management.
Drum Asks: Would we be able to capture, decrypt, and interrogate the information drones which are transferring news and information through the various Jump Points, and possible find a market for the information gathered? If so, would it also be possible to do a catch and release, thereby doing this under the radar without the knowledge of the true recipients?
Yes, I think that’ll be a focus of the info-agent/runner business/profession that we’re planning. Part of it would be getting data securely to somewhere, and the other part would be getting it by decrypting/cracking that info as it transfers. So yes, there will be roles that deal with this specifically, but the mechanic will be available to anyone in the PU.
Eoi Telemnar Asks: Do you plan on any of the larger ships, i.e. the Starfarer or Carrack, to be hangar ready in 2015?
Starfarer I’d say yes, I don’t know about the Carrack, I’d have to check our ship schedule. The SF is definitely a yes as it’s one of the ships that is being worked on now and has a place in SQ42, which is out this year, so it obviously has to be finished for hangars and flight before that. Our biggest challenge with other ships like the Carrack is the sheer amount of work that has to go into making them and getting them ready for Hangars and flight. We’re hiring, any great 3D hard modellers out there get us a yell, we’re ramping up our UK branch with those positions too. We had a ship summit very recently, where we sorted out not only the plan for which ships go where and how to build them, but we have a whole technique now for building the bigger ships with the retaliator as a prototype. We’re sorting out ways to make them look like pre-rendered assets while being rendered real-time. The retaliator is a prototype for not only multi-crew functionality but for much more stuff we look for in the bigger ships. We have a total of 12 vehicle modelling specialists at the moment, but we’re looking for more to hire, you guys want space-ships and we want to build them!
Mr. Everything Asks: If I am flying with a squadron of friends and we encounter a jump point, will we all be able to enter at once or will we have to go through one at a time?
Good question, we haven’t figured the group jump point issue out yet. I think you’d be able to sort of link-up with the squadron leader and go through together. Maybe you’d have to go through one-by one if it’s a really small jump point with big ships or something, but I’d think to an extent you could nav-link to the front ship and that’d pull you through. We’re prototyping and talking about this stuff right now actually, as this is all part of the PU that we’re look-dev’ing. Our goal would be to allow you to fly from instance to instance with your friends, so that’ll definitely happen, just whether or not you have to fly the jump individually we’re yet to figure out entirely.
Renji Asks: Will our missiles be able to lock on to specific points of the larger capital ships such as the engine or cockpit, or will we have to aim them manually?
When it comes to bigger ships, you’ll be able to do sub-system or component targeting, and as such you’d be able to lock different kinds of missiles on to those. Perhaps they might be able to lock them onto a gun-turret, so yes, you’ll be able to do that.
Xenoshaft Asks: How will back packs and/or “kits” will work in SC. Will we end up putting a backpack on and then have access to so much room to place items, like a more traditional MMO/RPG?
Yes. That’s 100% the design. Everything we tend to do in SC is based on what would physically fit. Various things have an inventory, so a hangar has an inventory, a ship has an inventory etc. I could have a pair of pants, that might have 2 small slots for items (the pockets), but I might have a backpack on that could hold 10 items of size 2 or less (throwing that out there), then if you’re using those inventory items, they’d all be aggregated into your personal inventory. So yes, it works like a traditional RPG, but with the difference being that everything is visible, perhaps not if you have something in a pocket or backpack, but things strapped on will be. Perhaps if you’re wearing a backpack you’d not run as fast as if you weren’t however, so there is a trade-off for those decisions, like perhaps if you’re wearing a backpack you’d also not be able to sit in a fighter pilot’s seat or something like that.
Space Monkey Asks: In addition to the skills that must be acquired by players such as ship piloting, will there be any character based skills or perks such as being able to speak alien languages?
> I’m not sure, right now our whole goal is to focus on you own skills, like how you fly, and then you can get better equipment that helps you fly better. Right now we’re trying to avoid having players that have “ratings” or “levels” for skills. NPC’s will have a kind of rating however, and things like Morale, and aggression, and accuracy for pilot stuff, because we have to track them. As a player, though, it’s more about how well YOU do something. As far as skills like being able to speak an alien language goes, you’d probably just get better and better versions of a google translate, like the babelfish in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Most of the stuff we do will be based on the player’s own skills, we’ll just allow technology and equipment to better facilitate that.
Tools Asks: How do you envision player to player sales in the PU? Will other players simply browse my goods through their MobiGlas, or will there be an opportunity for a storefront?
That aspect of how players trade is something we’ve been discussing. Longer term the goal would be to allow players to start or to buy their own store-front, so there might be “Chris’ Store of Curiosities” where other players can come to buy stuff. So we definitely want to include that sort of stuff in-game, it’s also one of the biggest ideas for the Banu MM, so you could fly around buying and collecting things, then sell them in your greeting/trading room on-ship. There will probably be some version of a local-system based version of Craig’s list, where you post things for sale, then people can browse them then contact you, before arranging a meeting place, then while you’re both there you’d transfer the goods. Typically, depending on what you’re selling, things might need to be regulated just like things in the real world, say, ship sales and the like. This is one of the things we’re trying to go for realism with in the PU.
Inspiration Asks: Will a capital ship be able to extend its shields around a docked/connected smaller ship to provide additional protection during this delicate process?
Probably not. Probably what would happen is they’d have their own shields active for their own protection. The shield projectors might not have any knowledge of the attached ship, and in fact might be blocked by it a bit. But no, basically ships are responsible for their own shields and protection.
Chaplain Asks: Will pilots have the ability to lock bulkheads in their ships as a means to make boarding attempts more difficult? Maybe depressurising and re-pressurising compartments as a means to fight back using ship systems?
Yes they will, and yes that will be one thing you can do to fight back. Maybe you can do a lock down, where the boarders might need special tools to get through bulkheads, you can pressurise and depressurise areas. I mentioned in the last 10FTC that we have a cool prototype working that has these elements in it. We have a new ship system management thing we call GOST (Game Object STate), which lives with the vehicles themselves which allows the designers to assign certain logic to different ships. Doors might close, lights flash red, depressurisation starts etc. Long term that’d be fun for modders ’cause they could do all sorts of crazy stuff. So yes, you can.
Regular Thanks and Extro