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Duplex Systems | Official Site
MMORPG | Genre:Sci-Fi | Status:Final  (rel 2009)  | Pub:Nexeon Technologies
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Face of Mankind: Dev Diary #4

Face of Mankind's Marko Dieckmann pens this new Dev Diary that outlines the general concept of their game in terms of both features and gameplay.

Programming & General (written by Marko Dieckmann)

A few more weeks than usual have passed since our last development update. But we’re still alive and the project is more than alive. It’s making progress and growing. Right on time for the Easter Holidays we took the time to release this new update. Happy Easter!

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Let me announce an important thing first. As you have seen, we have basically taken down the Face of Mankind portal. There is just an image and a few links to fan sites. This is because we have to redo most of the site contents and it wouldn’t make much sense to keep it there half-baked and confuse new visitors by letting them register and then not getting anything from it.

For news releases we have chosen MMORPG.COM as our primary official channel. We have had many good specials running with the guys over there in the past. So, you can expect all major news related to FoM to be released on MMORPG.COM.

And here we go. In this issue I’d like to bring you the general concept closer again and I’m going to explain how things will work together rather than going too much into detail with each feature. This is to make the general picture clear to you and I truly hope this will answer a lot of questions. But be warned, we have made lots of rather essential decisions for this relaunch of Face of Mankind. We found them necessary after careful analysis of the game’s mechanics.

I am now going to introduce all important mechanics and features and then explain how they all fit into the adapted economic system.

Let me throw a few words at you:

  • Elementum
  • Body Features (previously announced as Bio Updates)
  • Tasks, NPCs & Enemies (PvE)
  • Objectives (PvP)

Elementum

This is the essential substance needed for everything. Money, as we know it, is of no importance anymore. Elementum is needed to produce other items, to develop body features and is also a replacement for currency. How the revised economic system works will be explained at the end of this article.

Body Features

The central character advancement feature will be the so called Body Features. Almost every aspect of your character can be developed and advanced, from body movement, weapon/implant usage to more advanced features such as healing and cloning. When you start the game, only a few features will be available. Others need to be developed by spending Elementum for research.

Some Body Features can be developed further by research (they have multiple stages), others by practicing them. Examples for the latter would be all the weapons. An Example for the first type would be Cloning, where you can clone faster and with more health and stamina with every new stage. Or Healing, where you can heal others more efficiently.

For each new Body Feature that you develop you have to spend more and more Elementum. So you have to decide which features are most important to you at the beginning, because it will take longer and longer to develop new ones.

Tasks, NPCs & Enemies (PvE)

Due to limited resources and time, we were never able to complete one major feature in MMOs, which is known as PvE (Player vs. Environment). This is basically known as “content”. We have often been criticized of lacking content, which is true. We are planning to change this now.

Tasks will be provided by NPCs. Tasks can be compared to “quests” that you all know from other MMO games. They provide a fun way to learn about the game world and offer entertainment that does not depend on other players.

There will be a wide range of NPCs and a lot of tasks. We have created a new content creation tool for specifically this purpose. Patrick and Tim (our community managers, aka Zordax and Silldude) will be using this tool together with other gamemasters to plan and create tasks in the weeks to come.

Highly anticipated there will also be a range of Enemies in different difficulty levels that are plague to the game world and obviously need to be terminated. They range from simple beginner bugs to elite aliens.

Completing tasks and killing enemies is one way to earn Elementum, which is highly needed to advance your character.

Bases & Objectives (PvP)

The basic PvP (Player vs. Player) element in Face of Mankind will be the fight for Bases. As explained in previous development updates, there will be clans. They are the primary structure to form PvP groups. And yes, you can also form a clan for you alone, even though this wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Clans can “own” bases. Why should they?

Bases are important for earning Elementum and/or raw materials. When owning a Base, these materials will be spawned regularly. The energy plants surrounding a Base produce energy. This energy can be distributed among the following functions:

  1. Elementum streaming
  2. Mining raw materials
  3. Activating Turrets for automatic defense

Each function requires energy. One energy plant is required to hold up the force shield, which secures the Base from hostile takeover. The energy coming from the other plants can be distributed. Each active turret requires energy. If another clan attacks your base you might have to put all mining on hold for more defense resources.

As for mining, each base can mine a predefined set of materials. (Note: This mining will not fully replace the ways to retrieve materials.) ? Image: Screenshot (widescreen) of a Base at the Space Harbor on Pegasi 51 Many of you are wondering how the whole Base game play will actually work. Let me try to put that in words.

Conquering Bases

Bases can be conquered by Clans. To accomplish that, the clan members have to take down the Base's protective force shield by destroying ALL energy plants surrounding the Base (it’s 3 in most cases). At this point, all active Turrets obviously loose their energy as well and become inactive.

Now the tricky part. I hope I’m able to explain that properly.

Once the shield is down, the base is no longer “owned”. Now a counter starts running, a counter that indicates your Clan’s progress in the takeover. It’s a big, easy to understand, progress bar. Now, this counter runs at variable speed depending on your Clan’s presence within the force shield vicinity (which is not a very big area). That means, if you have the absolute power in the area, the takeover doesn’t take long. If the situation is closer and the numbers almost match, this can take much longer. This also allows for situations involving more than 2 clans and very interesting fights. When a Clan’s progress bar reached its end, this Clan has taken over the Base. Now all energy plants and the force shield become active again.

Objectives

First of, players of a clan can be “linked” to a base, which means they are assigned to it and the involved objectives. If a clan wants to take or defend a Base, there will be 4 objectives available, which will give immediate Elementum bonuses as well as special bonuses generated by the Base.

The 4 objectives are:

  • making 100 damage points on non-clan players in area
  • healing 100 health points of clan-players linked to a base
  • repairing 100 structure points of energy plants
  • “using” X amount of checkpoints (checkpoints are within the wider vicinity of a base)

(Note: The exact numbers are subject to balancing.)

This gives everyone a chance to contribute and offers enough tactical game play. The last objective on the list is meant to measure activity.

Important: The energy produced by the Base’s energy plants also depend on the amount of clan players linked to a Base. Mining and Elementum streaming will become only really effective if there are at least 3-5 players linked, else the produced energy is just not enough.

Let’s assume there are 5 players defending a Base. The Base and all its 3 active energy plants will produce enough energy to both keep up the shield and generate a certain amount of Elementum and/or raw materials per timeframe (5 minutes). Each of the 5 players will be individually active. 3 of them are making damage points on attacking players, one of them is healing constantly and the fifth one is repairing the energy plants. Based on the bonuses received for these objectives, the royalties are calculated and they all receive their additional bonuses from the base per each 5 minutes. Even if there are no attackers around, they can receive bonuses by patrolling the checkpoints.

Besides all that Base game play there will, of course, remain the beloved freedom - that FoM is known for - to do whatever you want. You will always be able to PvP your own agenda. There will be enough freedom for your personal roleplay in whatever form you can think of.

Economic System

Now, how is all this working together economically? Where does Elementum come from? Where does it go?

Elementum is coming into the cycle by:

  • Completing Tasks
  • Killing Enemies
  • Completing Objectives
  • Receiving Base Elementum bonuses
  • Selling raw materials to the market

Elementum is leaving the cycle by:

  • Developing Body Features
  • Producing Items
  • Buying raw materials or items from the market

You might ask, why I put “Producing Items” there, since producing is not the end of the chain. Yes, that’s correct, but in the new system all producible items are destroyable items – items that loose their value. That means by producing an item, it is “value-related” the end of the chain.

Selling and buying items or raw materials from/to other players is not part of the cycle, because it’s only a step in the middle and doesn’t interfere in the process. It just delays it.

Also, mining is not on the spending side as well. Raw materials are coming as “value” into the cycle. They can be sold or used for production.

Why is “Buying raw materials or items from the market” included?

That’s one major change we will introduce with FoM: Rebirth. Basic raw materials and items will always be available on the market for a fixed price. We’ve made this decision to allow for a constant supply of the most basic things.

But producing items on your own will be more effective and as a result these items can be sold cheaper on the market.

- By Marko Dieckmann

 

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