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Dev Answers From the Forums

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Tired of trawling through multiple posts, polls, trolls and goons looking for titbits of new information? Well let us here at MMORPG.com be the solution to your problem, condensing all the latest diatribes, answers and knowledge from the UK and European community officers at Codemasters and the development team at NetDevil.

Of course, if you are a fan of forum hunting, I'm sure the ND and Codies guys would love to see your input on the forums, so join up quick sharp! Since the last article here on MMORPG, there has been a sudden influx of dev and community team input, so qualms and queries alike are flying out thick and fast at the moment.

The questions in this issue were asked by members of the official forum (who will be acknowledged where possible), and answered by Codemasters Online Producer, Mike 'Zzeno' Rowland.

Originally asked by user Magnus-Ex:

Docking: Docking is being referred to as "Manual and requiring some skill". Also when docking, you have to fly manually 50-100 meters into the station and only then control is taken away from you. Is this true?It was also said that docking gets harder later in game. Where? Could you give some examples of ways it could be made more difficult?

Zzeno: Docking seems to get harder as you get the heavier ships. You do get the auto dock kicking in when you hit the right area by the docking bay, though we do have a station where you have to pinpoint that spot. Now we don't have destruction on crashing into a station, and whether we add that to later stations is still one we're looking at. We've been doing testing on the hole collision and destruction model for many of the large bosses in game and we actually like them, though we reverted the first boss to a non-destruction model as it was incredibly harsh to new players. Once they hit the second boss, they'll understand the need to be careful. Now whether we take this thinking to stations is still something on the cards.

Inventory System: The space-station inventory is being described is "not being tied up to the station where you dropped it off". Which would essentially mean that players don't need to transport anything, ever. And this would in turn render transport ships useless, which would cut a good part of the game off. Is this true?

Zzeno: We have storage on different stages and no universal bank. so you have to travel between stations for specific items, though right now we have a universal limit to storage which you can increase. For example, say I have 10m3 storage space. I can have 5m3 on Mechinar station and 5m3 on Bleakstone Station. Station inventories are going to be different, what you get at the Mechinar you won't be able to get at Bleakstone. I do find myself doing a lot of travelling during mining and refinery runs, though I have nailed down the perfect route and system now tying in a bit of recycling on the way.

Boosters: Is there any mechanism limiting use of boosters in-game? According to available information the only limit is not being hit in a 4 second time period which would allow to boost away from combat in about 90% of cases.

Zzeno:Booster operation can be stopped by hitting the target which gives a temporary stun to the booster power up. This in its current form works very well from the hunter side allowing a lock and fire opportunity, plus the chance to finish off weakened opponents, but also adds that rush to the hunted trying to evade. The boost system in its previous incarnation was far too exploitable but in its current form, allows some skilled gameplay. I definitely use my cover and team mates in these situations whilst trying to get my boost ability back. Again it's one of those situations where you need to try it in game yourself before you can really judge what it's like. On paper it may sound insane, in reality it's actually very functional. Flashfires are a lifesaver I have to add, and these were put in to help with those getaway scenarios... they were needed.

Safezones: Combined with the above factors, having safezones around the jumpgates could potentially be very detrimental to a PvP situation, when it becomes almost impossible to kill anyone who doesn't want to be killed (the hunted having the ability to flee into the safety of the jumpgate).

Zzeno: So within the gate sphere you're pretty safe, weapons lock out for both attacker and defender. Our other PvP titles showed the issues with characters logging into a zone and being ganked as a pretty negative experience. Unfortunately you can't stay here forever. Now from your question you're probably thinking along the lines of chasing someone down and them boosting away for ever which my answer above should alleviate. There will be other weapon systems in game or going in game that should also help with your fight, but those are definitely systems I can't talk about yet.

Originally asked by user Dvalon:

PVP: Are the chances of a pvp server gone for good or is it still on the cards, and if so has this pvp type of ruleset been tested in F&F yet?

Zzeno: The server question does crop up a lot. The game is designed to allow both styles of gameplay with significant reward to engage in PvP sectors and own those areas. The idea of having a PvP server that essentially means all areas are free-for-all PvP is one that's been knocking around for a while, but there's other non-in-game related considerations we have to look at, especially in Europe. We have to cater for multiple languages and playstyles and take these into consideration before investing in the hardware required to make these estimations a reality. Do we think we're going to have French speaking, German speaking and English speaking players? We then have to build environments for these players. We also have to think that, of these players, how many want the current PvE / PvP system against those that want PvP only servers? How many people want RP servers? How many customers do we think will buy the game and like the game enough to sustain the worlds?

The ruleset for the PvP unregulated space is going through iteration as we narrow down the experiences had through battlespace, the environments used and the mechanics we have in play.

So what does this mean? The servers will cater for all your PvP and PvE needs.

Death: Can you explain to me in detail what would happen if I am out at some distant asteroid field gathering ore. I fill my hold, and then some enemy player comes along and blows me up.

Zzeno:You'll temporarily meet your maker but will spawn in the nearest repair facility or last visited station. The underlining question to your actual question is yes, you'll have repair costs, exponential with level and ship type and no, you don't lose your cargo

The Marketplace: At the moment can you give us an example of what the top selling items on the auction house market system are. clearly not going to be bullets or ammo given how limited and restrictive they are. so what's selling.

Zzeno: Well I have a nice range of power plants up there, and one of the guys on the boards has a nice range of guns up there. There is a big demand for biochemical commodities however.

Guild Warfare: Can you give some alternative play options for guilds to enjoy other than just fighting for your nation?

Zzeno: The mechanics are there for nations and bringing that across to Guilds is something we're keen to investigate further.

Of all guild systems I have played with and that I would like to see in game, it has to be WAR's which did a very good job with simple mechanics as raid planners, to guild progression systems and unlocks. There's certainly a lot of work required to make this the awesome system we want it to be and the guys are hammering out systems and design to ensure we get all the elements we need to make the group aspect of the game bigger and better, though I suspect this will be an ever evolving side of the game we will continuously update and improve upon over time.

Miscellaneous Morsels Of Knowledge - Answers From Zzeno:

Shop Inventories: Shop inventories are still being worked on and we will tie this in with faction rating, level and location. There's still work being done for transport and hauler missions and to define that role for those wishing to play as space truckers. There's still some design and iteration going on in this area so I can't be exact in the detail, though once we have it nailed down, we'll be sure to release more info.

Guns and Ammo: Gun types is an interesting topic that we're building on at the moment to encourage different styles of gameplay and add a bit more depth to players and their ships. We have mortars which are like explosive sniper shells, good range with explosive damage, but requires accuracy. Then we have high Rate Of Fire guns with lighter damage but incredibly useful to bring ships out of boost. We're experimenting with these to see what's fun, what's awful and what we'd like to get in game. Ammo is specific to the gun so yes you can have ammo like bullets, but there are also power based weapons, which ones you choose is up to you dependant on the situation. You make the choice.

We've looked at using heat sinks and reload timers. Although we haven't added that in yet ,it is on the to list to look at (It's a big list ). We do change how things work which probably adds to the confusion, but that's the curse of development.

Repairing and re-arming does cost money, it always has and always will, and we won't be taking that particular feature out. As you move up the ship ladder, costs exponentially increase. So for example the heavies do take a good pounding and the cost to repair is far more expensive then say, a light fighter. Again, with additional equipment on heavy fighters the cost does rise as well.


Guest Writer