This is a transcript from the first Q&A Sesssion of the Dev Meeting 2008 in Berlin. All joins/parts/quits were removed for better readability. Date: February 13, 2008, 09:00 GMT (the times displayed are CET) Location: Berlin-Teltow Topics addressed: Quests, Combat, The Force, Creatures, R&D and the new Inventory 2.0 Duration: ~ 60 minutes
[10:03] <Veynom> Welcome to the Q1A session.
[10:04] <Togan> so far, we only received 3 emails with questions, so if you have any questions yourself, please send them in!
[10:06] <Togan> ok, we will start with a question from Abath about quests:
[10:06] <Togan> 1 Question, I read you were looking at bringing in quests, now I've enjoyed a non-quest driven game for the past 8 years.
[10:06] <Togan> Will it be like WoW where quests are avalible from NPC's or could it be handled by the players and faction leaders allowing "missions" to be set out for players in groups or factions to complete?
[10:06] <Togan> Dreighton will answer this, since she spent most time with quests
[10:06] <Dreighton> Will do.
[10:06] <Dreighton> We discussed quests and came to the conslusion that the Combine has indeeed always been a game based on player activity.
[10:07] <Dreighton> Every relevant activity should be based on a player (this means a character or a faction) do something.
[10:07] <Dreighton> So we decided that an NPC quest system like you have it in many other games, e.g. WOW.
[10:07] <Dreighton> We intent to implement some minor features that include some quests elements.
[10:07] <Dreighton> Our focus will be to reduce the drop out rate of new players by encouraging to use various game features and stay active over the first critical days or weeks.
[10:07] <Dreighton> This will probably extent to some tools that also factions could sue to build tutorials.
[10:07] <Dreighton> Think of improved conversational NPCs here.
[10:07] <Dreighton> We will probably alos have the option to go hunting once we implement creatures.
[10:08] <Dreighton> Very first step I am working on right now is a reward system taht will give players a little XP bonus, if tehy use a game feature for the first time.
[10:08] <Dreighton> This is supposed to encourage them to stick with the game and explore it.
[10:09] <Dreighton> Does this answer your question?
[10:09] <Dreighton> You can PM me.
[10:09] <Togan> please send questions about Dreighton's explanation to her in PM
[10:10] <Dreighton> Okay. Then I will pass the hat. :-)
[10:10] <Togan> ok, no questions apparently, very good
[10:11] <Togan> Talak Drakar asked:
[10:11] <Togan> I have been playing at swc for three years in Mars I would really like
[10:11] <Togan> to know if Combat ever will be released or not.
[10:12] <Togan> simple answer to that: yes. Combat will be released. We are currently working on the initial stages of combat. Shields have pretty much been finished coding-wise and item functionality is currently being worked on
[10:12] <Togan> We will of course do enough testing to make sure the server can handle the strain.
[10:13] <orion> (and it can..)
[10:13] <Veynom> People have ot understand that before having combat, we need a well-stablished universe and ways to replenish what will be destroyed. Else combat will only lead to the end of the game.
[10:13] <Togan> There will most likely also be changes to the waiting times associated with actions, however what kind of changes and what actions will be affected cannot be said yet, that will be determined once we can actually shoot people
[10:14] <Veynom> In short, this means we must first release shields, repair, healing and similar functions before combat.
[10:15] <Togan> we'll answer questions about combat now
[10:17] <DeMeer> There is a question from Tarkil, which wonders about ammo for example flamethrowers
[10:17] <DeMeer> Yes, there will be a ammo type for flamethrowers aswell
[10:17] <DeMeer> when it comes to the e-web it will either be a ammo type or maybe have to connect it to some sort of power unit
[10:18] <DeMeer> The second question from Tarkil was about time delay for travelling in rooms
[10:18] <DeMeer> This is difficult to answer right now but yes, some sort of limitations will be there
[10:18] <DeMeer> if not for travelling in rooms per say
[10:18] <DeMeer> maybe connected with using weapons and such
[10:19] <DeMeer> like if you fire your weapon you will have to wait x-time before you can do something more
[10:20] <DeMeer> any more questions concerning combat?
[10:20] <Khan> There's a question from Jesfa on auto-return fire in combat and whether it will even be part of combat.
[10:20] <Khan> Yes, there will be some sort of auto-return fire option but how detailed it will be and its exact nature is still up in the air.
[10:21] <DeMeer> A question from Davidus
[10:21] <DeMeer> how are you going to prevent possibility of someone flying a carrier with 300 Ywings, and undocking them squad after squad and firing each of it, so he can possibly destroy almost everything in a very shprt time by clicking?
[10:22] <DeMeer> This will probarbly be taken care of by the previously mentioned about delays
[10:22] <DeMeer> like if you fire weapons you will have to wait x time before doing something
[10:22] <DeMeer> same could apply to board/unboarding ships
[10:22] <Dreighton> There was another question if we dicussed Force rules. Simple answer: No. We are concentrating on necessary prerequisits for combat now, and revisions to the Force rules are not.
[10:23] <DeMeer> Another combat related question from Lance:
[10:23] <DeMeer> will it all be released at once or will space or ground combat be out first in initial stages?
[10:23] <DeMeer> This is a very good question
[10:23] <DeMeer> It will be introduced in phases
[10:24] <DeMeer> probarbly starting with combat against creatures to test delays
[10:24] <DeMeer> then work ourself up to ground combat and space
[10:24] <Togan> Ezekiel asked: "I heard the server won't be able to handle combat with all the requests of thousands of NPCS being managed. Given if you have 1,000 NPCs in a room now the page breaks. How are the code improvements coming along to handle this?"
[10:25] <Togan> the new server code (codenamed s3) will take care of that problem.
[10:25] <DeMeer> A question from Ezekiel: Does that mean combat will be released before the force code is rewritten?
[10:26] <DeMeer> It might, its a very difficult question
[10:26] <DeMeer> the force as concept is important for starwars
[10:26] <DeMeer> but combat as feature is more important for everyone in the game then the force which effects a few people
[10:27] <Togan> Vip Fortuna asked: "how far in advanced will the fixed rules release before combat will bring us mass-destruction? the question aims on the preparation time the player basis has."
[10:28] <Togan> Once the rules are available, they will be released. We will try to give everyone sufficient time, e.g. by implementing combat in stages. We will start with creature combat to further test the feature and fix any balancing issues. With creature combat, pvp won't be possible at that time
[10:28] <Khan> A question from Soki Ionian: Has there been any thought to restrictions or gradual implementation? Or will there be any restructuring or artificial balancing of assets among factions prior to implementation?
[10:29] <Khan> On the first part: As per the previous question from Lance, yes combat will be introduced in phases. There will be a balancing of asset stats but not assets (read: datacards) themselves.
[10:30] <Togan> ok, no more questions about combat please, we will shortly proceed to the next topic
[10:30] <DeMeer> A question from Lance: How close are we to having creatures implemented?
[10:30] <DeMeer> its still in the draft stage
[10:31] <DeMeer> but once we get R&M, items. inventry 2.0 done creatures is next on the list
[10:31] <DeMeer> since creatures can also have its usefullness in quests, testing items etc
[10:32] <Togan> next topic: In-game Economics
[10:32] <Togan> an anonymous user asked:
[10:32] <Togan> "an you outline the Administrations view on the Tax Planet boom and what if anything may be done about it."
[10:33] <Togan> In-game economics are on todays agenda and will be discussed later today, so we do not have an answer for that question yet. We hope to have more information available for the next Q&A session
[10:34] <Togan> Next: there are a few quetsios about The Force and it's effects on combat
[10:34] <Togan> Davidus asked:
[10:34] <Togan> "are you talking about new force rules? Do you have any estimate when they are going to be implemented?"
[10:35] <Togan> Answer: Force rules are being rewritten (or already done, I'm not sure on that part). However, they will not be implemented before combat. Neither will the old, outdated rules be implemented before combat
[10:36] <Veynom> I would add something about the Force.
[10:37] <Veynom> Before combat, we will more thna problably rewirte the force skills feature so that it works as for normal characters skills (5 groups max, 0-5 scale) for obvious coding compatibility issues.
[10:37] <Veynom> Along with that, we will bring some "easy" uses of the force, mostly passive automated effect.
[10:37] <Veynom> *effects.
[10:38] <Togan> next up: Ship Stats, DeMeer will answer questions about that
[10:38] <DeMeer> There was a question if there will be a new revision of shipstats
[10:38] <DeMeer> It could
[10:38] <DeMeer> But first step is to finish the R&M requrements for stats
[10:39] <DeMeer> and see how that will effect current entities
[10:39] <DeMeer> once that is done and sometime before combat we will look at all stats, not only ships, and see if something is needing to be done
[10:39] <DeMeer> But can´t say for sure that ship X will by default get Y changes at this point
[10:40] <DeMeer> A question from Sin
[10:40] <DeMeer> Is the imbalance where the GE can produce SSDs while the RA can not produce Home Ones going to be addressed?
[10:42] <Veynom> I will answer this
[10:43] <Veynom> It will be resolved automatically with the R&D system we all agreed upon yesterday.
[10:43] <Veynom> Several uniques entities will become "produce-able" thanks to that R&D system. More about R&D later.
[10:44] <Togan> Ok, next and last topic for today: R&D
[10:45] <Veynom> The new R&D system will be based on a dynamic Tech Tree system.
[10:46] <Veynom> It means many, many, many designs will be available for different types of factions, with faction specific designs and more generic designs
[10:46] <Veynom> Subversion of well know models will be available as well, like all 20+ subversions of the Xwing and Y-wings.
[10:47] <Veynom> R&D-ing older models will be possible as well.
[10:48] <Veynom> On top of that, indivudual upgrades to existing entities will be possible. It would be similar to kitting your car.
[10:48] <Veynom> That margin for free upgrades will be around 15%.
[10:49] <Veynom> All in all, the R&D system will allow for over then thousands of ships (and other entities) t exist, while still maintaining a very nice Star Wars flavor in the game.
[10:50] <Togan> questions? Please direct them to Veynom or myself
[10:51] <Togan> <Jako> does this mean rare items wont be rare anymore? and any rare items we have we should sell? :P
[10:51] <Togan> No. There will remain items that are really "rare", meaning not producable and also not researchable
[10:52] <Togan> There will also be added some entities that will be "rare" to research. For example, one shiptype can be introduced that is only researchable by the first 2 or 3 factions that get to that point. Afterwards, researching that shiptype will not give you the datacard anymore, but will allow you to research new types close to that one
[10:52] <Khan> A question from Dan Black-Granger on whether wrecks will be able to be repaired.
[10:52] <Khan> They won't
[10:53] <DeMeer> A R&D question from Vip
[10:54] <DeMeer> Are there plans that also facilities can be modified? For instance a
[10:54] <DeMeer> more effectively running mine? Or a mine combined with shields and
[10:54] <DeMeer> laser canons?
[10:54] <DeMeer> The R&D system will include all types of entities
[10:54] <DeMeer> ships, vehicles, facilities etc
[10:54] <DeMeer> There was a question about reverse engineering
[10:55] <Togan> <Knightcrawler> How will totally new technologies be researchable? That is, technologies that use ideas not currently within the scope of rules of the Combine. ie Tow cables, planet-destroying superlasers, teraforming equipment, buzz droids, self-replicating objects, organic technology, or any number of ideas that won't be thought up when R&D is initiated.
[10:55] <Togan> You will only be able to research things within the tech tree. However, at no time will the tech tree be final, i.e. new entities can be added at any time to the tree
[10:55] <Togan> added by the administration, of course
[10:56] <DeMeer> There was a question about reverse engineering: You will probarbly not be able to take a X-wing, put it into a lab and then boom get the design. Will rather have to R&D yourself through the TechTree to reach the design
[10:56] <DeMeer> the closest thing to reverse engineering would be
[10:56] <DeMeer> that lets say you have a TIE
[10:57] <DeMeer> want to R&D a Tie interceptor
[10:57] <DeMeer> and have stolen one of thoose from GE
[10:57] <DeMeer> then the step from standard TIE to the TIE interceptor might fo faster/be cheaper etc
[10:57] <DeMeer> Another good question:
[10:58] <DeMeer> <Ka`rla> So will the full tech tree be visible or do people have to hope its something ood on the next position?
[10:58] <DeMeer> no, the full techTree will not be visible
[10:58] <DeMeer> Groups will see the next step or maybe next two steps on the tree
[10:58] <DeMeer> but not the full tree
[10:59] <Togan> ok, last question for R&D:
[10:59] <Togan> From: Ka`rla Leakey
[10:59] <Togan> Will we have a section of the forum where the items and other suggested changes will be posted to allow players to suggest further limitations or uses before they are implemented for good?
[11:00] <Togan> Yes, we will have a forum for people to suggest new entities. However, that forum will have strict rules and anyone not following those will be severely punished.
[11:00] <Togan> well, that didn't really answer the question :/
[11:00] <Togan> but yes, we will have a forum where suggestions about item limitations can be posted as well
[11:01] <Khan> A question from Olwin Froon on Inventory 2.0: Current inventory filters are quite a pain in the youknowwhere. Have you got an idea when Inventory 2.0 will be released,
[11:01] <Khan> providing all those nice features suggested in the forum?
[11:01] <Khan> We hope to have an Alpha version of Inventory 2.0 with parts of the new GUI and basic features available on the Main server at the end of the week. Further coding and releasing will follow shortly.
[11:02] <Khan> Another question from Davidus on stealing items:
[11:02] <Khan> With new inventory system, is there a chance possibility to steal items ingame will be implemented?
[11:02] <Khan> No, stealing items will be done via the Position interface.
[11:02] <Togan> Ok, that's it for today
[11:03] <Togan> thank you all for listening and thanks for the quesions
[11:03] <Togan> We will have another Q&A session on Friday at 16:00 GMT (in this room)
[11:03] <Togan> if you have any unanswered questions, please send them (again) to email@example.com, we will try to answer as many as possible next time.
[11:04] <Togan> A transcript of this session will be made available for all who couldn't attend later today