Welcome, Citizens, to INN’s latest transcript – 10 for the Designers Episode 4 has arrived!
10 for the Designers
Transcript by Myself and StormyWinters
CR = Calix Reneau
MS = Matt Sherman
Drewcifer: Will the upcoming physically based damage take into account the angle of impact, and how?
MS: Yeah, so, it’s absolutely something we are looking to see if we can get built into the system. It does bring a few challenges because a lot of games that really leverage angle of impact, and Drewcifer’s question itself even mentions like World of Tanks and War Thunder, because they don’t have as many guns at play at once they can absolutely do that extra calculation but when some of our ships could have six, eight, fifty odd guns on a Bengal, it becomes a little bit more taxing to always do angle of impact but it’s absolutely something that we are exploring with the physically based damage system because…
CR: Are there only fifty guns on the Bengal?
CR: Hmm, that sounds low. But if we do do this though, like it’s certainly something we’re looking into, but if we did it, one of things it would do is we have a concept of the armor, the armor itself has health in addition to your hull having health so as you hit something, if you got just a glancing blow, it would degrade the armor and wear away at that so future impacts would still have more of an effect so you would never have a projectile have zero effect on the world around you. It will always leave some impact either on the health of the shields, the health of the armor, or the health of the hull. You know, if you have 100 years to do so, you could probably shoot through a Bengal with your Aurora but if the Bengal ever notices…
MS: It will cough softly in your direction and you’ll explode.
CR: That will just be the end of that.
Abyssal Dragon: Could we make an armored jacket adapter that would provide extra protection for a specific gun? Or alternatively could we add a small shield generator?
CR: So, we recently did a pretty full pass on our weapon mounts and weapons, components in general. The big guiding philosophy for that was that these exact sorta behaviours would all be dictated by the mounts that are available. So, we are able to make highly specialized mounts, mounts with a shield, mounts with your AI or your coolant unit or whatever attached to it, um, or like we mentioned previously with the twin link mounts. Things like that would be entirely dictated by the mounts that you have available. So we can make those things pretty specifically and we do intend to, we’re only beginning to try those things out. We’ve started actually making them and we should be able to introduce them pretty soon as they turn out pretty well.
MS: Yeah, I mean we’ve even just set up where not just gimble mounts even but we want to make sure that fixed mounts get to take advantage of this kind of cool functionality and pretty much any of the mounts on a ship. So armoured sleeves specifically is something that we had been talking about for fixed weapons because we’ve got to give you the choice of taking a similar sizing loss but now hey that component’s going to be really durable and if it’s your main gun on a ship that could be worth the cost.
CR: Yeah, generally the rule of anything that’s special about the mount costs a size. That’s just the guiding principle, we make the decisions on a case by case basis with this, but that would probably apply here.
Sigard Olufson: Will we be able to modify our ships to be more along the lines of the roles introduced by Tracker, Ghost, and Gladiator type ships?
CR: As far as being able to turn them directly into those, there is probably going to be some limited functionality for that but we are looking into going back to our previously released ship series and look at how we can make them, sort of better bridge the gap between the ships that we have, ships that we’re building, ships we have speced out down in the future. Really the biggest issue is finding a way to enrich that stable of ships without muddying the waters of like, you know, why have this ship if this ship could do it just as well.
MS: Yeah, and I mean it’s something that we’re even seeing just sorta with the Reliant sale because it’s our third light hauler ship along with the Aurora CL and the Hull A so making sure that whatever we introduce and offer to you guys distinct and appropriate for both that class of ship and what that role really is and actually entails gameplay-wise.
CR: Yeah, everything needs to have a character and we can put in some more flexibility into that and we’re looking to do so but that character of our ships is paramount.
skuripanda: Can we expect any big changes to the current small ship flight model in the near future to bring it more into line with the original ‘simulation’ vision or is it ‘almost complete’ as far as the designers are concerned?
CR: I would say that it is decently representative of gameplay that we want. I would not say that it represents the whole game. One of the big things about this is that we only have our small ships in and these ships have a ton of maneuverability, they are super responsive…
MS: Great acceleration, a lot better load out balance compared to as you get bigger in ships.
CR: Yeah, what I expect is that the sort of World War II vision is best characterized by the medium sized multicrew ships, the Constellation all the way up to the Retaliator. These ships they’re not going to be able to turn on a dime the way that an M50 or a Hornet can, they’re not built around maneuverability as much, and that continues to be the case as we scale up further to the point where a battle between Capital ships is nothing like a battle between the small class ships or even the medium. I think that’s pretty important actually, like if you had the World War II feeling in our small ships and we were to apply that same approach then it would quickly become untenable and maybe there are other approaches to take but I think that this one is going to give us the best mix of gameplay styles. If what you were really into is, you want that submarine battle, you’re probably doing Capital ship action.
MS: Yeah, I mean it’s just one of the many parts that as we get all these extra systems, especially once we’ve gotten multicrew out there, we’re really going to be able to start growing this range of gameplay choices because right now we all have speedboats and some of us are going to want the more plodding boats to try and do a broadside attack on someone. Everyone’s going to want different things from the game so there’s absolutely going to be different flight handling and characteristics to support that and I mean even into some of the smaller ships – there’s going to be differences between who’s the quick small ship and who’s the more sluggish small ship but they’re all still probably going to be faster than a Constellation.
GeraldEvans: With everything going to a math-based system like the damage modeling and thruster input can we expect the same when it comes to ore and fuel as far as volumetric handling?
CR: Yeah, that’s the basic notion. We’re going to have all of the… all of the mass that you bring into your ship is going to affect your center of mass. Even further than fuel and ore and all of the cargo stuff that you’ll have, because your ballistics and your ballistic ammo… all of this stuff adds up to affect your flight performance, your missiles, and you will not be flying the same at the end of a battle as you are at the beginning. IFCS does a lot to try and make up for that, so it doesn’t just become an instant slugfest. The basic notion is that there would be really poor handling, because even without IFCS compensating for it, fairly slight changes in center of mass have had pretty big effects on handling. It is very noticeable any time our center of mass is wrong… as you probably actually experienced. That happened to the Mustang and the 300 series and we definitely heard about that. So, yeah it will be taken into account and we will be providing tools to overcome it and as you take damage or make silly choices, because I’m always in favour of accommodating the silly choice, that will inhibit your ability to do things.
TheGekkie: Regarding the new shield system, mainly concerning the Retaliator, will the Retaliator really only have class three “Aurora shields” or do bigger ships work differently?
MS: So, the Retaliator will have bigger shields.
MS: Yes, what they are? That’s still being worked out and that’s something we won’t really be able to iron out until we get that ship closer to flyable which means we need multicrew in first but it’s definitely going to have shields and armour appropriate for a frontline bomber ship. So, it was advertised as that role so we don’t want to hamstring it that much. One thing it may also have though is a little bit more armour on it versus max shields but then again we can’t say for sure until it’s flyable… but it will be bigger than a size three like an Aurora has.
CR: We always tune towards our initial intent – where does this fit in the ‘Verse? – and part of the complicating aspect here is that we are going through here and we are unifying all of our systems. We’ve done a lot of work to build up what our different stats are, how things should affect the different performance and behaviours of our ships, and now with that context how do we make all these unique objects not quite so unique so that we can compare things more effectively. That’s coming along really well and hopefully we’ll be able to clear that up really soon.
MS: That’s going to be a nice change once we get it all set up.
Archilele: DJ Pete talked about modeling ships in “The Calculator” can you tell more about it?
MS: Yeah. So, Pete does some amazing work and one of the biggest things that he’s been working on is this aforementioned “Calculator”. It just lets us set up ships so much faster. It was instrumental on why we were able to get the Reliant out so early on Friday the week of its sale, because the tools that he’s building for us works with John’s physics info and we give it the numbers that we have for… so it’s like… the ship’s this big, we’re looking at this much weight, and now we quickly crunch… okay, there’s the thrusters it needs, this is the kind of power we’re going to be looking at. And so it’s just this great one-stop shop to let us start planning out the actual technical data-driven side of these ships which is a huge win for us.
CR: It’s also kind of nice to be able to try stuff out in the numbers… You’re like, “Oh, what happens if this is 300 times that number.” Like… taking on the cargo of the Hull series, that was a big element in bringing on “The Calculator”. It’s nice to get a little bit of the guess work out of there and have the numbers line up.
MS: Yeah, and for the modder part of this question, I don’t know if the exact calculator will ever be released but a lot of the data it’s going to be working off, we absolutely want to be able to get in front of you guys. Because, I mean, one of the old stretch goals for the Jane’s style manuals – this is going to be a lot of that data that’s going to inform those manuals. And so we don’t want it to be a hidden unknown aspect to you guys that you have to theorycraft yourselves. We want you to be able to see what we’re seeing when we spec these things out.
CR: The Reliant came out not because we got better at this but because we had a calculator. *laughter*
MS: *laughing* That was actually a huge part of it…
CR: Oh I know, I know…
MS: It was like… we’ve got this surface area (mimes firing off data to the calculator)… but then we’ve got every flyable ship’s surface area now… and now we all have the new health.
CR: New health!
MS: Yay! Yeah, no gun can kill a ship before it overheats anymore with the new health changes… but that also doesn’t have new weapons.
Maezlo: I am just curious about the limits of the various Seat roles. A particular example is the use of gimballed, or unmanned turrets being operated by the Co-pilot, while the pilot focuses on maneuvering, or lining up fixed weapons?
CR: We are planning on it – it won’t be in for the very first one because there’s a lot of interface issues to work out of, well who has control of the interface at any given time, and divvying it up, but ultimately you will be able assign different weapon groups to different seats, different ship systems even, you’ll be able to sorta cobble together your perfect workstation. There will probably be restrictions to that, such that the engineering station is probably tailored towards engineering no matter how much you plug weapons into it. But broadly you should be able to do almost anything that you wanted. For the first one, you will be able to, as a pilot, have control of your guns and if you have a copilot they’ll take control of your turrets and down the road you’ll be able to mix and match those things pretty much however you want.
MS: Yeah, it’s definitely part of the long term plan for things but it’s going to be a big addition once multicrew is rolled out and we really get to start tuning that extra gameplay.
Dex: Will it be possible to forego offensive capabilities entirely in lieu of greater defense, and if so, what defensive options can be attached to gun/turret mounts?
MS: So, active defense mounts is a actually really cool idea and something that we haven’t really been specing out that much but we absolutely have started looking into more utility mounts so the Reliant’s another good example of this with the research variant, the news van, and the base hauler all having turret mounted utility gear. So having the non-combat stuff to mount on your ship, absolutely. Active defense stuff…
CR: Yeah, we’ve sorta talked about a little bit of it. Example might be, in the shield post some time ago we went over much more active shield roles, like directing a unified face or some such thing which could be an active… anything you plug into a gun mount we’re generally going to want that to be an active part of your ship. We don’t want those hard points to turn into just passive things where you swap out all of your guns and just have shields and now you have nothing to do when you get shot at. We always to have something ingrained in that item that allows you to be proactive in improving your odds…
CR: But this, I mean it’s a really cool idea and I would like to explore that further.
Vakarian: Will players be able to mix and match different armor pieces, or will they simply come as one item?
MS: So, armour for ships is still something that we’re getting the exact details worked out for the physically based damage update and we’re actually exploring both of these options to see what is going to be the best option. We’re going to try and make it something that you can have be more region-specific to your ship. So, if you really want to armour up the nose or armour up the belly of your ship if you’re flying a bomber… we want that to be there. It’ll just be… how much can we get worked out while still keeping that damage calculation efficient when there’s 50 guns, 60 guns, however much in an instance of combat and everyone’s just shooting at each other like crazy.
CR: Yeah, the longstanding notion has been that basically there’s two kinds of armour. There’s armour that is intrinsic to your hull because ultimately that’s what your hull is – it’s armour wrapped around your ship – because it’s certainly not doing anything else. That’s what it is there for, for the health of your ship. And if you swap out your armour item you are basically getting the general structure refitted or reinforced in the internal workings. Then there is also an additive armour which we haven’t gone quite as far with in terms of implementing it. We’ve been focusing on the interior stuff first. But the additive armour is always going to be much more specialized – like, this armour is specifically against explosive rounds or this armour is specifically against energy weapons and will be visibly so.
MS: Something else that we were sort of exploring yesterday… the idea where you have an armour where it’s a really high value of armour but as you take fire, the rate that decays is much faster than the normal. So that for especially the Vanguard which is the example we were using when we were thinking of this… yeah, you have that great armour on your first pass. If you have to turn around for a second pass there may be problems.
CR: Yeah, so we can tune towards attrition…
MS: Or longevity…
CR: Or one pass engagements, yeah. Armour is coming along quite nicely. So, it will be cool to get that whole system pushed out.
MS: Yeah, it’s going to be a great update when we get it all set.