This Week in the Eternal Crusade
Greetings fellow Crusaders, and welcome to this week's look at the development of Eternal Crusade, a Warhammer 40K-based massive multiplayer third-person shooter. This week we are going to talk about Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson's latest State of the Crusade post, some recent news revealed on the Eternal Crusade twitch show, and some of the more interesting conversations taking place on the Eternal Crusade forums.
Let's start with Nathan's most recent State of the Crusade. If you haven't seen it yet, you can check it out here, look it over real quick, and we will hit the highlights. To start with Nathan reminds us that Behaviour has ended the Early Access Modules, which, if you recall, were part of Miguel Caron's, the former Head of Studio for Behaviour Online, master plan. Apparently, when Nathan came on board, he reviewed the plan for Early Access Modules, and decided that they were a drain on the development time of the actual game.
Basically, what the devs have come up with, in place of EAMs, is a more fully developed Founder's Access, which will be more inclusive as far as game systems and number of concurrent players, much closer, in truth, to what the final game will play like. This program will include support for 32 or more players, playable Dark Angels (Space Marines) and Word Bearers (Chaos Marines), each with four playable classes. Each side will have access to three of their traditional vehicles, the Rhino, the Predator and the Vindicator. Both sides will have access to a plethora of weaponry and other consumables, as well as combat powers, grenades and all the other toys you want to see in a 40K game.
Nathan then clarifies a few key questions, and assures Founders that all the stuff being crammed into the Founders Access will be continually updated all the way up to and through the Founders Beta, adding more and more systems, factions and other stuff that Founders have been clamoring for. The whole thing sounds like the team has more focus on getting things done, and getting things done quickly is always a good thing.
Next we are going to look at Echoes from the Warp, episode 7, the Eternal Crusade Twitch show that aired on March 27th. This episode features Community Manager, Katie Fleming, Senior Producer, Nathan Richardsson, Lead UI/UX Designer, Nicolas Brunoni, and Lead Game Designer, Brent Ellison.
Brent opened the Twitch with a Production Update, a quick look at what the devs have been working on recently. With an eye towards base battles, the team has been working on Outpost Construction, basically the fortresses that players will be fighting over (and within) have to be rebalanced and redesigned with an eye towards the testing results that the team has gathered. Things like cover angles, window and object placement, etc. has to be rejiggered as the team discovers new and unexpected results from testing the original designs.
The art team has come up with a new turret concept for the Space marine faction, one that provides the operator with a fair degree of cover from small arms fire. To “chaos-up” these turrets for Chaos use they have added your typical dragon heads and spikes, so these turrets fit in a little better with the overall Chaotic decor.
Brent also explained a little more about the 'navmesh” which is sort of the “map” that the computer uses to generate terrain and to locate troops and the like. Another thing the navmesh is used for is to place cover and geometry, essentially things that your character can interact with during battles, low obstacles to vault, larger objects that can be climbed or hidden behind, etc.
Next up was Nicolas, to talk about developments in the UI, who had news about the buff and debuff icons, and the front end battle map. Buffs come in various types, temporary buffs, morale buffs, squad buffs, etc. and Nicolas is working on iconography that will allow players to quickly identify what sort of buffs that are currently active on them, and the source of that buff.
There was lots more interesting info on the stream, far too much to go into here, but I wanted to say this: I love these Twitch streams. I am incredibly excited and happy that Behavior has decided, not only to continue to put on these Twitch streams, but has seemingly committed to doing more of them than ever. This is a welcome return to a degree of the transparency and Developer/ Founder relationship building that we enjoyed up until the chaotic events of January. Kudos to Katie, Brent, Nathan and all the other guests that have contributed to these streams, I think they are exceptional.
That's where we will wrap it up this week; as always, if you want to be part of the process, and not merely a passenger or an observer, head over to the official Eternal Crusade site, sign up on the forums, maybe get yourself a Founders Pack, and become one of the shapers of the game.