July 26th Livestream Transcription
– Intrepid studios shares numerous updates from different parts of their development team and development progress of the MMORPG.
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Engineering Team Updates: Alex Khudoly (Programmer) is brought on Stream to talk about updates on game design. We’ve been working on the server polling and wrapping up a lot of things. Currently the networking for the mmo is being worked on with lots of bug squashing, optimization, performance increases etc. We’ve also been running benchmarks as well with different specs to test out the different FX and meshes. The goal is to be able to run the game from literal potatoes to super computers. So for the past few months we’ve been working on control points, there’s a lot of things going on with them so we have to make them modular to ensure no work is wasted. This way we can use it for different game modes within the MMORPG. There’s a lot of different hooks that have to be created, like what happens when a player runs into the control point, things to happen by the FX team, sound team etc. So different things have to be coded in for the control points, i.e. when players cap a certain point, different buffs have to be triggered for the attacking/defending teams. There’s also different types of control points, some are control the point whereas others require channelling. With our objective system, each objective provides strategic bonuses instead of basic win conditions. This way they are real objectives that influence the team so you will have to plan which points to strategically cap to benefit your raid.
The next thing we’ve been working on is spawning/respawning, a lot of it goes into the MMORPG, but in the castle siege, there’s different types of spawns where you can choose to respawn immediately or a pooled respawn where you can wait and everyone spawns at the same time. The pooling is beneficial as it prevents players from dying one by one. Additionally we have to work on the different respawn points and giving players the choice of where they want to respawn. We’ll be showing the capture point stuff later down the line. We’ve also been working on the various siege weapons/mechanics. So what we did was develop a base siege blueprint which is the trebuchet. There’s two types of trebuchets, one which is stationary and one which can be moved around. After these we moved onto Ballistas which were first person, where you spawn a projectile and have a firing rate, reload rate and more. There’s also different firing modes we were testing, single shot, rapid fire similar to a machine gun, or a supercharged shot with a long reload time.
Bonus funny story: Alex’s game handle is Slurpy – Steven and Alex first met in Archeage 7 years ago while Alex was working for Amazon. Alex’s Archeage guild was a mercenary guild that eventually merged into Steven’s guild. And then when we decided to make Intrepid, Alex said “I code, I fly” and joined the team.
Design Team Updates: J.R. Vosovic (Senior Game Designer) is brought on Stream to share updates regarding the design side of things. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry. Currently the design team has been working on tuning primarily such weapon balance, experience, loot, UI, etc. We’ve began working on the new UI iterations for the MMORPG as well. We’ve also been working on the new first pass of the apocalypse lobby, additional UI animations, loading screens and more. We’ve been using UMG from Unreal Engine but have also started using Humming bird from Coherent labs. The UI in AoC will not be taking up a lot of screen space, it will be minimalist but communicative. We’ve also run a UI test where everyone was spamming the UI to test things.
Environment Team Updates: Devin Lafontaine (Senior Artist) is brought on stream, with over 22 years of environment artist experience. We’ve been working on optimizations, ripping apart older iterations that we did poorly or rushed through in the past and reworking those. We’ve also been working on the new starting area, updating the graphics. While this is the Apocalypse map, it will be a ruined elven capital city where one of the divine gateways was. Regarding the elven architecture, its a bit of a challenge to incorporate the trees into the architecture, ensuring the trees dont look out of place.
Character Team Updates: Keith Kovach (Senior Character Artist) is brought on stream, he was the first employee of Intrepid Studios. We’re pretty much only doing MMORPG stuff, we’re making a lot of progress and focusing on the different races, finalizing them. We’ve also been working on the way armor appears on the races, the different racial traits, how the armor appears on fat characters vs thin characters. You can pick between the super symmetrical knight or eastern influence robe outfit. We did want to show some things, but they were not approved on time. These arent concept art, these are production concepts to help the modellers create them.
We’ve also been working on dragons, yes, 4-legged dragons. You can also grant little wyrmlings to the guild officers if you are the castle owner as the guild leader. Jincy has also been working on the dragon saddles. Ancient/Adult dragons will be raid bosses.
Q: We’ve been told there will be seamless transitions between areas, how will that work?
A: To give you a limited answer on it, when it comes to networking in MMOs, you have zones that work with others. Our server architecture is more about load balancing during large battles and connections between these zones. We dont want to affect the handshake between these zones. We have our own custom backend and partners that we’re working with. Part of the testing of apocalypse is how many we can handle in a zone to max them out.
Q: Will we experience different tidal patterns in the oceans?
A: We wont be modelling those. You will see time of day/seasonal, but wont be doing dynamic tides. The ocean will not be static, we do have things that will change depending on the type of content.
Q: Will the map be global, if I walk west will I end up where I was? Or will there be invisible walls?
A: We will test that, we have plans to do test both and see which works out because it changes how we layout the map. Additionally because we’re continental, we dont have to worry about mountain ranges as we have oceans. Its more about how it affects the economics of the game than engineering.
Q: Other than taxes, will the only way nodes get resources from players be by their own prerogative? Or will there be something else that forces that? People, by nature, are hoarders, so I can’t see a willingness to give up hard-earned resources for a tiny bar to advance another fraction.
A: Caravans also supply certain resources. The majority of it will be related to resources. Its about players working together to benefit the node. A good mayor works with the players to benefit the node. Money is the engine of how you incentivize the node.
Q: Will we be able to place mayor campaign banners on our caravans?
A: Previously we had spoken about not allowing custom images. However we are now leaning towards allowing custom images. There will be an approval process. We are a subscription game, if you want to jeopardize your account to do so, we’ll deal with that.
Q: Will dynamic destruction affect ships?
A: We cant answer that yet, but depending on the solution we find to destruction, the answer would be yes or no. Traditionally we could if we used decal models, but it breaks immersion. Cannot answer this yet for ships.
Q: Will there be sneak mechanics usable for all classes or just limited to rogues?
A: There will be counter mechanics for sure, but regarding secondary classes, augments affect the main class. Stealth is a primary of the rogue. So should you go secondary rogue, you may get the stealth modifier on abilities/augments.
Q: Will there be a form of progression for each primary/secondary classes?
Q: You’ve mentioned highest skilled players in each artisan class wont be masters of all, will it specialization like armor smithing or steel armor smithing?
A: The professions exist within each path. As you master a path, you master the profession itself.
Q: Will we get some form of the character creator in apocalypse?
A: Its meant for Alpha 1, but there is a chance it might come in apocalypse. You could see it before or after depending on progress as its a seperate thing.
Q: Will there be a typed chat system for apocalypse in the current test?
A: Only VOIP in the upcoming test.
Q: Will there be a PTR or test server post launch for testing content? How do you prevent players from feeling like they’ve already done things?
A: We have a unique solution for that regarding content, we have the ability to include placeholder story/text on testing servers. At release ofcourse you will have the main story as it is a big part of the game.
Q: If my favourite ship is lost in PvP is it gone forever?
A: You can repair your ships, but its a longer processes.
Q: What is the planned ratio of race:class specific quests?
A: You may not be on the same quest but you can still do things together to complete quests, unless its a solo instance thing. You will always be able to play with other players for most of the stuff. As long as its not a solo instance. We generally want everyone to be able to do everything. So mostly 90% can be done by everyone. That 10% will be split amongst race/title/guild/mayor specific.
Q: Are we going to see a difference in VFX of a single spell when it levels up?
A: Part of our skill progression will be to add additional FX to your skills. Part of it is so when you see certain skills in battle, you know what loadout they are running.
Q: Can you share an update on the Xsolla payment provider?
A: Yes it is still planned. However many of the new account services we provided in December were closely tied to many other systems. The modularity of this system needed some work but it got the backseat over some other important matters. The platform team has been working on it and we’ve also been working with database teams and AWS. So progress report is that it is coming up soon and we’ll keep you updated.
Q: What kinds of exotic weapons can we expect in game? (Glaives/whips/scythes)
A: There will be exotic weapons, the question is how many will function outside the main weapon system. So a katana falls into sword, glaives fall into halberd, whips are complicated. You will see them in the categories that already exist, but more exotic is still an open question.
Q: Regarding voting, can I support my mayor friend with money? Can a mayor with good policies win over a mayor with bad policies
A: The intent in economic nodes is an olligarchy where the player purchases the mayorship. There will be a mechanism to help your friends, but it wont be as simple as transferring gold. We have metrics to flag gold sellers so we have to make sure it works right. Yes you can support your friends. So for example, certain requirements like being a member of the node etc.
Q: Other than the mayor are there any prominent leadership positions?
A: There’s definitely more positions that grants titles which are an access flag for certain NPC interactions. Director of a node, priests or acolytes of a node, patron guild leader, chief bounty hunter, there’s a lot of different things to work towards within the node.
Q: What game rating are you waiting for and will there be tasteful nudity?
A: We’re going for a Teen rating. We dont want to push it to mature. There wont be tasteful nudity, its not the goal. There will be sensualized atmospheres in the game, but no direct nudity.
Q: Will there be full loot systems like full gear drop besides corruption system?
A: No. No full drop. We want meaningful progression. We wont want a choice a player can make where they delete their character basically.
Q: Will you be able to see other players level and equipment?
A: We’ve talked about this early on, the concern is that it becomes a barrier for entry in certain activities. Its one thing to see another persons gear. We dont want to block players from participating because players care about gear numbers instead of skill. We’re trying to play on a fine line to give enough tools to players. We accept and know we cannot stop players from doing it, but we can slow it down. We expect people to utilize skill level to be an indicator. As a guild leader you should take multiple variables into account and help them get to where you want them.
Q: We’ve been told a group of summoners can summon a golem together. Will the subclasses of summoners make a difference as to what they summon?
A: They’ll be able to change the attributes most likely, but not the summon itself. The different types of golems might be later content.
Q: We know there are racial augments, will they be cosmetic only?
A: They will be both, cosmetic and affect the ability.
Q: Will there be passive stats/effects?
Q: Will one guild or alliance be able to advance the 3 nodes around the castle? Or will we need help from other guilds?
A: It will be very difficult to do it as a solo guild. But will be much easier if you had help.
Q: Will there be a contract system between players? Can I sign contracts between players?
A: Contracts are cool ideas, but tough to incorporate. There are some places where you can do that, but they will be limited. We have certain features like the mayor system where node funds are designated as a reward for contracts. With regards to caravans, when players come near they joining as defenders provides rewards which is a sort of contract.
Q: Will I be able to participate in a node siege on any side if im neither a citizen of attacking or defending node and are there any rewards?
A: Yes and Yes. Only difference is with castle siege you need to be part of a guild, but for a node even if not a citizen, you can walk up to an NPC and join in. There’s some restriction by affiliation of citizenship etc.
Q: Will there be buffs and debuffs that depend on climate zones and seasons?
A: Not class based, but there might be dependent on the affiliations or seasons. Your items for like a frost cloak might have a bonus in the frost zone.