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10 for the Designers: Episode 5 Written Monday 29th of June 2015 at 04:14pm by Nehkara

Welcome fellow Citizens, to The Relay’s latest transcript –  10 for the Designers Episode 5 has arrived!

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

There is no TL:DR for this episode; we apologize.

Full Transcript

When repairing, can you choose to leave certain parts damaged? For instance, say I prefer the handling of a ship with a mostly cosmetic part removed.

MS: Yeah! One of the nice things that we’re trying to make sure of with the repair systems is: What you’re repairing has direct impact on your ship. You’re not going to be fixing the decals on the outside in space when you’ve been damaged. That’s more something for when you go back to port. But when you have to fix a powerplant or a shield generator… that’s the stuff we’re going to be giving to you to really be fixing up well. CR: Basically all repair actions require some impetus. You have to do a thing to make the repair happen at all so if you simply don’t do that thing, the repair doesn’t happen.

Anzig asks: When repairing, can you choose to leave certain parts damaged? For instance, say I prefer the handling of a ship with a mostly cosmetic part removed.

MS: Yeah! One of the nice things that we’re trying to make sure of with the repair systems is: What you’re repairing has direct impact on your ship. You’re not going to be fixing the decals on the outside in space when you’ve been damaged. That’s more something for when you go back to port. But when you have to fix a powerplant or a shield generator… that’s the stuff we’re going to be giving to you to really be fixing up well. CR: Basically all repair actions require some impetus. You have to do a thing to make the repair happen at all so if you simply don’t do that thing, the repair doesn’t happen.

Amontillado asks: How will you make ship repair accessible to the new player, deep enough to support gameplay focused on repair,and rewarding of increasing player skill?

CR: By making each action really small and condensed. You’re doing a series of very small, condensed actions of… you know, I’m gonna go over to my broken powerplant and I’m going open it up and see that it’s on fire. So, I’m going to use my extinguisher to put that fire out. But, identifying that as the issue is part of the gameplay – there’s the diagnostic element. There’s the triage element. And then there’s the subcomponent replacement element. Each of those things is a simple process and don’t particularly have… there’s not a high barrier of entry on that. Where there is a lot of complexity is… all of this damage gets propagated into your ship based on the actual combat and the actual events of the game and the manner in which you take damage and the ways that you’re stressing your ship are going to lead to different kinds of damage behaviours that will require different paired actions to fix. What that means is that if you lose shields, that’s a problem and the quickest path between not having shields to having shields again is not going to be clear to the inexperienced repairman. So, understanding which parts of this shield component are critical to it functioning at all versus the ones that allow it to have a lot of health or fast recharge or accommodates the coolant – these each function separately so you can have a terrible but functional component if you choose to repair only the critical path which could be difference between life and death in combat and then if you are noob you can work through in whatever order you discover these issues, you can work through them and solve them individually until eventually you have a working component again and through doing that you might organically begin to discover which parts of this are actually required for it to function versus which are required for it to be any good. MS: So yeah, a bunch of plans. CR: Yeah, it’s important to have both levels of difficulty by layering a bunch of simple things. MS: Yeah, it’s much more approachable as a learned action so, the more you play the better you get… or the more you invest yourself into the system, it’s going to reward you for that personal investment. CR: Yeah… different components are also different so there will be plenty of things to learn about.

dragonslayer4w asks: Are you gonna implement any real time waiting for crafting or building structures etc. Such as it may take 3 real life day to construct that new room on your hangar after you have acquired the materials. Or instead of having your ship repaired in the 3 minutes, it may take hrs or days depending on the amount of damage incurred.

MS: Yeah, we’re actually working on a pretty interesting system to handle all of that stuff and not just ships but extending out to components. It’s sort of two layer system where your ship or your component is going to have so much durability to it and that’s like its maximum health pool and then you’ll have its current repair state which is its current health and so you’ll be able to repair a destroyed ship or a broken component up to that maximum durability point and that will be a quicker action… so a few minutes, maybe a little bit longer if it’s a really big capital ship or like a Hull series. But when you want to raise that durability back up and raise its max potential, that’s going to be more taking it to a refurbishing shop and you will have to drop the component off for a little bit of time where it may be a day, a couple hours. It will really vary based on the size and the damage. But then that shop is going to bring your durability back up to full and give it back to you in a lot better condition than when you dropped it off. CR: Yeah and it actually takes into account all of those elements of… you have the very discrete levels of damage… so if you take that shield generator from the last example and you take it in, depending on how many of those subcomponents were damaged and the degree to which they were damaged it will go through each of them to get it back up to working condition. I imagine you would probably be able to interrupt that and be like: “I gotta get off planet now, give me my component,” and you’ll get some not quite fully repaired version of your component and be off like that. MS: So one really good analogy that we’ve used for even representing this when we’re designing it out – if you look to a lot of fighting games, specifically Marvel vs Capcom 3, it has a really good representation of this where if you think of your durability as a character’s red health and their current health is their yellow bar and so when they’re out of the combat getting some of that repair, they’ll slowly be able to go back up to that full red bar state but they’re still going to be capped at what that red bar is telling them. CR: Yeah, and that’s also the limitation of field repair. Over time there’s just this attrition of your health and the components in your hull that – eventually – no matter how well you take care of your ship, you’re going to eventually have to take it in to get fixed. Or get a new one. That’s also an option.

Alex Valentine asks: I’ve been wondering, with all the fantastic work you guys are putting into updating all the damage states and the impact physics how will this affect long term game play? Say I’m a lousy shot but still want to help my friends by turning a wrench, could I help keep the ship floating in a tough spot?

CR: Hopefully, I mean… I’m really not a particularly good dogfighter. I mostly pilot and am interested in doing engineering work myself. It’s a pretty involved element of play including for because not only will you be able to bring components back from the brink of death, but you will be able to… it ties into the workbench and overclocking there. You’ll be able to do some of that on a short term limited basis of… you know, go over and really get the powerplant to put out a lot more power for this duration and be sure to shut off the valve again before it explodes… but you’ll have a lot of opportunity to really contribute to the performance of your ship even if you aren’t contributing to what that ship is doing. MS: The goal is just everything can have that active hands-on gameplay to it. So, you’re never going to just be that guy tagging along for the ride progress barring your way through your task. You’ll have something to do and keep you involved with your friends.

Kyran asks: In older space combat sims ships would automatically repair certain sub-systems when given enough time after they were damaged and multiple repairs could be prioritized. Will ships in Star Citizen have this?

MS: Probably not for a completely automated system. Now, we definitely had that repair drone stretch goal and so we want you to be able to give that a simple command or two and say, “Hey my powerplant is busted,” and have that go do some of the lighter work for you. It’s not going to be greatest top notch repair but it will let you possibly focus on… hey, I’ve gotta get my weapons back online as well. I’m going to focus on that, I’m going to send my repair bot to work on my powerplant while I’m just sitting here fixing up my ship after a fight. CR: Yeah, we haven’t implemented this yet but I don’t expect that we’ll want the repair bot to have any initiative of its own. It’s probably going to require that you give it a command and then it will go off and do that to the best of its ability. But I don’t think that it will be able to identify tasks that need doing. It’s not a very proactive little dude. MS: Yeah, and you’re also going to have to be standing still while you’re doing this because… the repair drone has got enough maneuvering to get around your ship but if you’re going at 300 m/s, it’s not that fast of a drone to do high speed repair on you. CR: I feel like there’s a movie there… ‘High Speed Repair’. Or… at least a Lifetime Channel show. MS: Mad Max/Pacific Rim crossover! CR: There you go!

The Glaive asks: Not sure if this counts as a repair question, are we going to be able to take hull panels off of our ships and replace them with other panels using different materials, or composite materials?

CR: It’s not really repair, repair you will be fabricating hull where it’s been shot up and torn to pieces but that’s generally going to be a repair substance that fills in the gaps in your “3d” printed ship. As far as changing out your armor, that’s something that I believe will require you to visit a vendor. You will be able to go to a planet or to a spaceport and say “hey change out my armor” but I don’t believe it’s something you will be able to do through any of the repair functions. It’s a lot more involved with your direct ship structural integrity than the repair stuff is more about layering over the… your hull is technically just armor, it serves no other purpose but as far as field repair is concerned you will not be able to fabricate high density armor vs ablative armor or stealth armor or anything like that. I think that is going to be more a station visit.

Beer4TheBeerGod asks: Elite recently implemented the PowerPlay feature which allows players a means of enacting change within the galaxy. One of the controversies surrounding the new mechanics is that players can contribute to PowerPlay while in offline mode, allowing them to influence things without any real risk or other players having a way to stop them. Do you anticipate similar problems arising in SC with the PvP slider?

MS: We’re hoping not. So any of the actions that you’re taking in the persistent universe are… it’s going to be something you were there to have to trigger off at some point. So, it’s not like there would be any sort of passive offline gameplay. But there could definitely be something where hey you’ve brought some good materials to a fabrication site, they may be pumping out some better components for a little bit of time. And that… those could still be for sale while you’re offline. But it’s something that you triggered, that you helped cause in the universe. And that should really affect everyone regardless of PvE or PvP. Because, just because you have your slider set one way or another, it doesn’t mean you can’t get attacked. There can be PvE pirates, there can be PvP UEE cops. CR: Yeah, it’s not just about the PvP, the PvE conflict either. Because PvP actions and things that… anything that influences the persistent universe to a greater degree than shooting a guy is going to require some level of interaction with NPCs. Either as to the farthest extreme, simply as witnesses, where the NPCs are being affected by all of your decisions. And as such whether a player is there or not, the NPCs will continue to be affected by those decisions when you come into effect your change. So any change in state to the environment is going to be propagated across. Additionally if you’re going to be doing anything like a blockade or something you’re gonna want to be teaming up with the local NPCs. Because that’s… if I come to this factory to drop off my stuff a blockade is going to require that that factory be run by NPCs with your interests in mind rather than mine. That’s how generally I would expect things to play out. And if.. you were able to discover a way to.. effect the persistent universe without really putting yourself in risk of player interference, that’s why the PvP slider doesn’t go to zero. MS: Yeah. CR: We’re able to give different levels of weight to different players depending on.. how much we think that their influence should be making them available as parts. The slider is an issue of player intent, it doesn’t guarantee a particular kind of experience. MS: Yeah. I mean you could get nothing but NPCs on the full PvP slider and you can still get jumped by other players on the full PvE slide too. It’s just where you are, what you’re doing, what you’ve caused to happen. And that’s really gonna have as much backend effect as what the individual player sets their slider to.

AragornBH asks: Will some missions ask players to transport perishable items like food in SC, and will there be a limit on the length of time it is possible to successfully deliver them? Will this require the use of specialized cargo containers that are pressurized and refrigerated?

CR: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, we’re gonna have cargo containers that are specialized for perishables, for dangerous materials, including radiation, corrosive materials, volatile materials, there’s also the notion of if you’re transporting livestock we might still put that in a crate but you’re not going to be able to keep them alive in your standard crate. You’re going to need something specifically with life support built into it. The full spectrum of cargo possibilities. And anything intrinsic to the nature of a given cargo type, perishability or if there’s a rapid half life decay to some particular substance that somebody finds where.. I don’t know, this isotope exists for an hour and a half. Then you will definitely be restricted by those things in terms of being successful in your trade run.

Ivan Kintobar asks: It has been mentioned that Bengal Carriers are available to civilians only for taking by force as wrecks for “fixing up”. Would the Crucible-based External Repair Structure by typically used in that process to the point where it can move itself to a place more suited for an overhaul than the presumably dangerous place it was found in?

MS: So a Crucible, not by itself. Bengals are giant ships, so that’s going to be something where you and a few friends in multiple crucibles are gonna want to roll over to that thing and start getting it fixed up. Because if you’ve managed to make one of those things dead in the water. That’s no small amount of damage that you’re going to have to fix up on this thing. CR: Yeah the Crucible will be able to perform repair actions on things like the Bengal. They’ll be able to repair hull damage, fix up breaches, do component repair in the field to a much greater degree than you could do by hand. However, the Crucible is limited in its cargo space and there are some components on the Bengal which are larger than the Crucible can carry. So, if one of those is broken beyond repair and must be replaced then you’re going to have to find a way around that. It won’t be a single Crucible job. I don’t see that being the case for most of our larger ships, I think that you’ll probably want to have two or three at minimum if you’re going to be taking care of capital class ships. MS: Yeah, smaller ships like a Constellation, a single Crucible should be a good… CR: Yeah MS: A good enough… CR: Easy. MS: …to do a field refit on it. But the capital ship power plants and shield generators, these are massive room-sized installations. So, you’re going to need something with a lot of bulk carrying capacity to get these bigger components over to those ships. Even if if the Crucible can still manipulate and get into place, it can’t bring that with it because it will just be over capacity.

Zilch asks: In the PU, especially relating to PvP encounters, how will we know if an enemy player ship has hostile intent before getting fired upon? For example, if pirates are laying in wait within civilian traffic, setting up an ambush, and I’m escorting a convoy they want to raid, will it be possible to ID the pirates as hostile before or even after they open fire on my charge? Will there be an in-game process for this, or will the initiative advantage always lie in favor of the attacker? Further, in the example given above, would the presence of “AWACS” type ship like the Hornet Tracker help balance things in favor of the defender?

CR: It’s a matter of scanning. At the heart of the question is that how much you can identify the ships around you. The Hornet Tracker definitely does have the advantage in resolution of scanning. But overall you’ll be able to tell, if you’re in a civilian area, you’ll probably be within proximity to tell whether or not a given ship has their weapons powered. They’re still fleshing out all those systems but there’s also the element of… Keeping track of that is going to be hard. That’s why you want somebody dedicated to it. That’s part of the purpose of multi-crew is to be able to say, “Here is a minefield of potential attackers, go through them and flag for yourself what you believe to be a threat.” If you have determined that this guy is on his way and not really a threat right now, you can mark him as such. And it’s about… We want to allow a clever pirate to do this situation but we also are very focused on giving the defender the tools with which they need to defend themselves. MS: Yeah CR: Not everything is about simply bringing a big enough convoy that nobody wants to attack you. You still need to be able to proactively work in your defense. The sensation that you’re at the disadvantage, probably not going to go away. That’s just how it feels to walk into an ambush. But you will be able to look out into the crowd and try to have the information to determine for yourself if someone is dangerous. One thing I forgot to mention is that we’re also revisiting how we’re interacting with the HUD, trying to make it a little more intuitive to move through the actions, and arrive at the thing that you intended to do. So whereas right now it’s a little bit cumbersome to track multiple targets or switch between them and get more detail about those ships; we’re hoping that as we drill down into each of these actions for the purpose of multi-crew we’ll be able to also start looking at making that interaction a little bit more intuitive and natural for use. Because you want somebody in multi-crew to empower this gameplay. But you also don’t want to be locked out of it if you’re on your own. So you’ll never be as good but we can make it better. MS: Yeah. And one other thing also, getting that tagged information on people is the ability to also share that information. So if you have a group of four or five ships, it’s not going to be just on one guy or one ship to do all that scanning. Everyone can be scanning small packets of the traffic around and then sharing that data among their group. I mean that’s one of the things for like a Herald, where you have Hornet Tracker and the Herald, that tracker’s going to start spotting people, tagging them, passing that info into a Herald. That Herald can relay it to its other friendlies nearby. And so you can web out that information a lot nicer than just, everyone has to do it themselves. It won’t be that tedious. CR: So, that’s our show. Thank you to the wonderful subscribers for supporting us and letting us do things like this where we can be speaking directly to the community at large… Um… I forget what else you’re supposed to say at this part. So… Uh… I am your host Calix Reneau. MS: And I am Matt Sherman. *Epic card shuffle* MS: Thanks!



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