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Oblivious
12-09-2013, 10:49 AM
Apartment System

As part of our series on game mechanics, this week’s update will cover the apartment and theft systems of Fall of the Dominion in detail. While the core apartment system has remained the same, small revisions have been made to it which should meld well with the theft system, and the rest of the game’s design.

Private Apartments

http://mirrors.♥♥♥.nexeontech.com/updates/apartmentupdate/Screenshot_1.jpg

The change that is most immediately visible is the consolidation of public apartments into the normal apartment system. Rather than having all these different apartment systems for players, factions, and the public, it seems more fitting to have a single apartment fill all these different roles.

The result of this is something between all three. The first thing that had to be considered was the inconvenience that the vortex network would bring to the equation. In addition to this, being able to logout and login to your apartment provides a significant advantage when trying to move around the network safely, as it provides a way to instantly move across the galaxy by logging out.

The solution chosen for Fall of the Dominion is to unbind apartments from worlds. Instead, when you leave an apartment it will send you to the last real world you were on. This means you will also have to go back to your last world when you log off, rather than the world which your apartment was purchased on.

Apartments themselves will still be purchased from an apartment territory, with the income from the territory being given to the owner, but the ability to sell them back to the system automatically has been removed. Due to the way factions function now, being able to sell it back to the faction and get ♥♥♥♥♥ from them poses a dangerous threat to faction stability. A system however has been put in place to make it possible to sell them to other players, so fear not.

Public Apartments

http://mirrors.♥♥♥.nexeontech.com/updates/apartmentupdate/Screenshot_2.jpg

Public apartments themselves haven’t changed much, but have been made easier to sort through and manage. Entrance restrictions are still in place, but in-line with the apartment theft system, they can be hacked into with a hacking tool. The weapon fire lock has been removed, and the level of customization has been scaled back to prevent people from being able to abuse the system to provide too high a level of safety. The sum of all this is a system that gives players enough control to manage a business, but not so much that it undermines other elements of the game.

Management
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http://mirrors.♥♥♥.nexeontech.com/updates/apartmentupdate/Screenshot_4.jpg

The changes made to the system need reflected in the management of it, and so the multicom has been given an overhaul to allow better management. In the future, additional security options will be added that let owners further secure their apartments with fun features that make it safer. Deployable objects are allowed inside apartments, which means that players will be able to place shields, medical terminals, and turrets inside apartments.

It does also mean that in the future, it might be possible to place furniture and decorations. While it isn’t planned right now, the deployables system does have room for things like this, and more.

Apartment Theft

http://mirrors.♥♥♥.nexeontech.com/updates/apartmentupdate/Screenshot_5.jpg

The centerpiece of the new apartment system however is the idea of theft. The ability to break into another player’s apartment and take their items is an enticing one, but with it comes the risk of finding more trouble than value. The main balancing factor to this is the randomness of it, and the main incentive to use apartments is cost. It is significantly cheaper to store your goods in an apartment, but it is also more dangerous.

Apartment storages are all independent of each other, and every apartment you buy will have a separate storage. More expensive apartments require higher class hacking tools, with the best apartments only being accessible to the greatest of thieves.

Infiltration

The act of infiltrating an apartment is difficult, but not so difficult that it becomes impossible. The easier it is, the less valuable the resulting items will be, at times possibly not even being worth the hacking tool used to get into the apartment.

The first change to support the hacking system is the creation of a server-side logout timer for the game, and a timer on entering apartments. Once you have declared your intent to logout or enter an apartment, your character will begin playing an idle vortex animation, demonstrating to the world around you what you are doing. If you cancel the process it will be stopped, but this is when a thief would need to strike.

Those with the Infiltration augmentation will gain the ability to scan players during this moment. Once the scan is complete, they will be given an apartment ticket that gives access to your apartment’s hacking interface. If they take this to the apartment territory, they will be able to activate their augmentation, and drag it into the special interface. Once they begin the hack, the ticket will be consumed, and if they fail, they will need to scan you again.

Public apartments are similar, but do not require the special ticket to hack into them. If the interface is viewed with the augmentation active, it will not filter out faction restricted locations, and will enable a right-click option that allows hacking.

Theft

Once inside, infiltrators will have full access to your apartment. If you have deployable objects, they can make use of them, and if they hack it, they can gain access to your safe. From there, they will be able to take any items in your safe for themselves, at the cost of having them flagged as “stolen” and leaving behind their name for hunters to find.

Stolen items cannot be placed in storage, only in a safe. They cannot be recycled, but they can be used. This means that any value exists in usage or reselling, rather than in just taking the items and forgetting all about them.

After being stolen for a while, the items will become “clean,” losing their stolen status and becoming normal items. They will them be able to be sold on the markets and recycled, and will then be impossible for reclamation. If the item is returned to the owners inventory in time however, it will automatically be removed anyway, and the items will become normal.

Hunters

To make the life of a bounty hunter easier, a special augmentation will exist to track individuals around the galaxy. By entering a name, your augmentation will lock to them, allow you to refresh their location every so often. You must wait a while before selecting a new target, unless you override the target by using the visual scan feature.

Visual scans will allow you to scan players and then track them, or scan certain terminals and see who used it recently. When used for tracking down thieves, this can be used to see who used an apartment safe, which will allow the user to then track them by name.

The longer a person remains in the same area, the more precise the scan becomes. The progression goes:

Cannot Find -> Sector -> World -> Area

Whenever a node in this tree changes, everything including and below it will be reset. For example, if you change areas, it will only say the world. If you change worlds, it will only say the sector. If you change sectors, it will be unable to find you. The best way to keep from being tracked is to keep moving, as staying in the same location too long is dangerous. The augmentation itself will not be too quick to locate people, and a counter-augmentation exists to prevent tracking.

Cloaking

At the cost of an armor slot, you can hide yourself from tracking augmentations. After being active for ten seconds, the augmentation will fully reset your tracking information, placing all scans back in the “Cannot find” tier. In addition to this, simply having the augmentation equipped will decrease the effectiveness of tracking.

If the tracking augmentation is the same class as the cloaking augmentation, then the tracking augmentation will be unable to find the exact area on the world, no matter what. If the tracking augmentation is a class or more lower than the cloaking augmentation, it will not be able to find the world, only the sector. However, if the tracking augmentation’s class is higher, this effect will be nullified entirely.

The result of all these mechanics is a very in-depth theft system that allows ample reward to those who are willing to risk their reputation and life, without making it so easy that storing items in an apartment is unadvisable. It will be up to the players to decide whether the cost of storage is reason enough to keep items in storage, despite the potential dangers that exist.

The mechanics in this system also apply to other systems, as the Hunter augmentation will prove a useful tool for bounty hunters and police officers alike. Criminals will begin carrying cloaking augmentations, and it becomes a little clearer who to watch out for, and who to fight alongside.