View Full Version : [5/28/2014] The road to the future!

[DEV] Frost
05-28-2014, 03:27 PM
I know a lot of you have been eager to hear more information from us regarding the upcoming Steam release due to our successful Greenlight campaign. We were honestly quite stunned when we received the email about ♥♥♥ getting Greenlit - at first, some of the blues didn’t think it was real and they all yelled at me for lying... However, it is indeed very real and here is how we want to approach it.

Note: We cannot give too many specifics as we are now on contract with Valve.

Due to certain circumstances, ♥♥♥ should be available on Steam for a small fee with a bundle or varying bundles of benefits rather than being posted as free to play, at least initially. If you check out the Steam Store page, you will notice that Valve has very few, if any, ♥♥♥ games featured there. Having our game available for a small fee and running discounts on those bundles can yield us better marketing benefits. There are also a few internal reasons which we cannot make public yet.

To help push ♥♥♥ on the top sellers list, we hope that many of our existing community can purchase/gift the game on Steam for just a few ♥♥♥♥♥, helping start a domino effect which can really make the game as large as we all have been hoping for these past years.

With that, our goal is to release in the next couple of weeks in an Early Access state. This will let users know that the game is still subject to change based on community feedback and list us as one of the new Early Access games, giving us more exposure. Some of you might think this is premature, but we make it clear ahead of time that we are working on the game, taking into account the points that you all bring up in the feedback forum. We too wish that new blood joining from Steam will take part in useful discussions to help us advance the game.

We will also try to work on some achievements of sorts, and in the future, hopefully some trading cards. :D

Here are a few of the changes that are we are aiming for by or on Steam release:

- Increased communication between development staff and the community.
We all know you’ve heard this before, but once we hit the Steam release, we will be drastically increasing our presence with you all - the players. Ever since we were Greenlit, we’ve been focused & working like crazy to get the necessary things prepared - all the paperwork included. Our goal after this period of time is to really push all existing players & new members from Steam towards providing honest, useful feedback on the forums. We want to make the game fun for everybody, new and old players alike, and we will need your help for that. Dev/player interaction will be a huge focus, coupled with as many patches as necessary to address the feedback appropriately.

- Health and bio indicators above players’ heads while aiming, health above alien heads.
In the near future we will be adding indicators above the targeted player’s head when you have a weapon out. These indicators will show their current health level and their current bio energy level. We hope that this will allow more transparent combat, so you can actually tell what is going on with your enemy, and not have to guess at when they might finally bite the dust. We feel that it is very important for a player to feel positive audio/visual feedback during combat rather than not knowing if you even managed to hurt your enemy.

There will also be similar health indicators above Xenomorphs, which will make gauging the difficulty of the fight at hand much easier.

- Skill & Item Changes.
Together, we discussed community feedback regarding the current skill system and item classes. We understand that you all would prefer if we didn’t restrict guns to higher classes / skill time grinding, so that is a part of the proposed changes we have slated before the Steam release.

We will be making it so each item is only available in a single class. For instance, instead of the Orbit having several different levels, there will only be one level (let’s just say Class III as an example). The gun itself will have definitive stats, but here is where we change the current skill system. There will be a skill category for each individual weapon such as the Orbit, where the first skill is quick and unlocks the ability to use the gun, and all additional skill levels increase your specialization with that item. This makes things a LOT clearer for players - one class per gun, that’s it. It also allows you to pick up a gun and use it pretty quickly instead of waiting years. However, the gun will still have a “class” per say, visible on the tooltip, which tells you that you will need Class III materials to produce the item, as well as increased costs. This retains purpose on the different class worlds, making higher level worlds more valuable than lower class ones.

Armor would work in a similar manner. It is very hard to describe all of this in words, so we hope that once you see it, you will understand it further. In a short few points:

1. No more having to wait years to unlock a DOA (example)
2. Leveling up a skill in a certain item makes your use of that item better
3. Each item only has one class, reducing confusion and clutter

We also aim to add more levels than five on some of these skills, ie. 10 levels instead of 5, so that you can achieve more rewards in smaller amounts of time versus waiting 2 weeks for the next level.

- “Fun” vs Current Combat.
Through a lot of discussion and feedback, we will be testing different values on combat related items, aimed at making combat much more fun and rewarding.

Right now, imagine being a new player (or old for that matter), entering the game and getting geared up. Someone wants to fight you, and after quite a while of dancing with no feedback as to whether or not you are even doing any damage to the other guy, you end up dropping. You lose your inventory and your armor and have to go all through the vortex network to regear, and again to return to where you were fighting - not rewarding at all, a bit discouraging actually.

Now, imagine a newer, faster paced combat, in the sense that it takes less shots to kill another player. You go through a fun little battle, but then you die, only losing your inventory and not your weapon and armor. You quickly get sent to the cloning facility, finish cloning (faster time than before by the way), then you leave your tube. You have two options: a) go to the vortex gate and leave the world you are currently on, or b) choose a node and vort straight back to the world you died on. This allows you to jump back into action, allowing a greater chance for reward by beating another player. Of course, durability/cost will be adjusted so that it makes sense that, after a few deaths (let’s say 3), the armor breaks and you then have to regear. You get to fight in a few battles in the same time that it used to take to have one, all while rewarding better skilled players more (those who have better reaction speed, aim, etc.), since you can then drop more players solo than you ever could before.

This change isn’t concrete of course, and we would like to have a large playtesting session with you all later in the week, perhaps even as soon as tomorrow, depending on how quickly our code monkeys can get it ready. Please stay tuned and be super active for the rest of the days before Steam launch as we really will want your input on all of this.

We’ve included an example Cloning Facility update in today’s game patch just so that you all can understand what we had in mind regarding the topic of going back to the same world vs using the vortex network to go somewhere else. This is mainly visual / for testing purposes since the other related features are not yet implemented but will be presented during the joint testing.

- New sounds & music.
We have some sound changes in the works that will cover the entire game. Interface sounds, aggression music, weapon sounds and the likes will all be overhauled. The sounds will be different, and better quality than the aged ones we currently have. A lot of the old sounds aren’t even stereo!

- Removal of Skill Books and Associated Markets.
We will be removing skill books and the markets that go with them. Skills will henceforth be trained straight from the skill interface at no cost to you. We’ve chosen this path to make it less confusing and so that the skill system is easier to get acquainted with.

- One login per session.
Initially we had users log in twice for content distribution. Since we are beyond that now, we have moved to a single login. You will log in to the client once, and then launch the game. You will be taken to an interim screen where you will hit “Play Game”. You can still log out using the wrench to switch accounts without having to relaunch the client. We are doing it this way because when you log in to the client, it judges whether you need new content or not for your installation, making it much easier than sending you to the second login screen just to find out you are missing crucial game files.

- Major changes to server/player optimization.
We have spent a lot of time in the past week preparing for a larger amount of connected users. The patch/download servers are receiving a makeover to enable players to enter the game a lot faster. On the game side of things, we have made significant changes on internal synchronization and other server-side tasks to allow for severely decreased server migration times (it should now be very quick, with the only delay being the local client engine loading the map file and objects). These changes were necessary to ensure that the game doesn’t tank from underpreparedness. We’ll also deploy additional servers overall in conjunction with the Steam release.

- Economy changes.
Okay, we all know that there has been a lot of varying feedback into how exactly to fix the economy. We are working to determine the best way to adjust it, including a fix for “free” item production. If we all end up liking the new combat changes mentioned above, the economy will change a bit to go hand in hand with it. Either way though, we want to ensure the economy is balanced, with proper faucets and sinks throughout the game. If you have a suggestion for this, please do let us know in a detailed reply to this announcement, but keep in mind that it has to be a relatively quick change at this point. More complex changes would likely have to take place after the Steam launch (hence the “Early Access” notice).

- New player experience.
Since new players are the life of our game (and any game for that matter), we have been pushing to make the flow of getting into ♥♥♥ a lot smoother. A handful of the changes include: informative tooltips, setting the player to jog by default rather than walk (with a default tooltip telling them how to walk/jog/sprint), having 10 free storage spots per world rather than zero, making it easier for noobs to join factions, and more. We are constantly finding ways to make elements of the game less confusing, the above are just a few off the top of my head which we received a lot of complaints about (halp, how do I walk faster, halp, why can’t I store anything in the terminal that says STORAGE, stuff like that).

There are plenty of other topics we would like to cover after release based on current feedback. We’ll see how many of these we can implement beforehand, otherwise we will look into it later. We can’t promise any of these things in particular of course since we haven’t yet looked into all the technicalities of each point below.

- In-game VOIP, including positional voice within the game world.
- In-game access to the Marketplace.
- Mining rig adjustments, including alerts when someone hacks your rig, and being able to easily identify who owns a rig. Right now, looking at a ton of rigs can be a bit discouraging when you need to find your one single rig. :)
- Additional deployables, including furniture and other useful terminals. This includes chairs, tables, podiums, turrets, barriers, more casino implementations, and quite a bit more.
- More roleplay mechanisms such as storefronts, clubs, etc. This goes along with the above deployables point since, for example, a player-run club would likely need a cool deployable radio, those sorts of things.
- Faction management improvements, including more emblem features, badges, departments, and more member-specific options such as fines/rewards.
- A better, more capable Xenomorph AI, so that they can hunt down and drop you exploiters.
- Government mechanics to allow world owners (ie. owning more than a certain percentage of a world’s territories, let’s say 50%) to set certain laws which only have effect on that world.
- Referral system, providing benefits to players who invite more users to the game.

In short, these are all things we have planned for the future. We hope that you can all help us test these changes and provide feedback so that we can find a happy middle ground and give the life to Face of Mankind that it has strived towards for all these years.