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"Chris Roberts answers your questions about Star Citizen in the latest edition of Ten for the Chairman! Chris answers ten questions chosen from development subscribers in each show. Want your question considered? Learn more about subscriptions here.
Questions covered in Episode 53:
2:25 – Org ship sharing and reputation
3:46 – Customizing shared ships
4:49 – PU mission scaling
6:10 – Salvaging ship wrecks
7:55 – PU instance stalking
9:37 – Large ship instancing
12:20 – NPCs and jump points
18:20 – Planetside bounties
21:03 – Mobiglass placement
22:39 – Multiple game packages and NPCs"
"Usual intro and Thanks
Tidbit: Thanks to the community team for their pushing of interaction with members. Chris gave a short speech at DICE recently to show how well the community interaction works, getting ideas/interaction/feedback etc!
- On to the Questions! -
Zhadum Asks: You mentioned that the reputation is tied to the owner, not the pilot. We know an Organization can own ships. Can a player use the Org owned ships to do dirty deeds and as long as the players aren’t identified “Hidden Org Members” will their personal reputations NOT take a hit?
Definitely the owner of the ship is the one that would take the biggest hit on reputation if you do bad things like attack another ship. In so much as the details of the implementation of that, like is there a way that some of that rolls down to others on the ship we haven’t worked out. We know we want to make it at least realistic, so if you’re rolling around in an organisation’s ship plundering trade lanes then definitely that Org will take some heat for it, and potentially the individuals on the ship would take a hit for it too. How much of a hit will probably be fleshed out in the alpha stage of the PU, which we’re rolling out the earliest part of towards the end of this year.
Darkonus Asks: If I loan out my ships to a friend or my Organization, will they be able to switch out the weapons and other components for their own items on their account?
Yes, I thinking they would be able to switch them out, though that does bring up a good question. What happens if I lend you my ship, you switch out for some of the items you own, what happens to MY items… I would assume at the moment that the items themselves would stay where they were switched out, then when you give the ship back to the lender, those items would get put back on the ship the way it was loaned. That aspect of lending in the PU hasn’t been fleshed out yet though, so that’ll be something we tackle further down the track anyway.
K_Cravener Asks: Will PU missions, such as attacking a pirate outpost, scale to the number of players who accept this mission? If so, will the scale also take into consideration others who happen to be in the area during the attack?
It depends on the kind of mission. We are definitely going to have scaling in the dynamic missions we’ll have based on several factors. One will be your skill level, another will be the number of people in your group. Some missions won’t necessarily scale, like some might be really tough so it’d encourage you to get other players or NPCs to help you out, others might be fixed at really small so you do them by yourself as they don’t really pay much. The functionality is there, and it is a part of the whole dynamic mission design already, we’ll just be looking at mission types on a case by case basis and working out what’ll work for the game best.
Shrike Asks: If I’m a law abiding UEE citizen and stubble across a ship wreck in space, Should I have any reservations about salvaging the wreck and selling anything that I’m able to obtain from a legal perspective?
No, I mean, if you come across a wreck in space, generally it’ll depend on the situation. There will be 2 kinds really, there might be players fighting in space, and there could be wreckage from that, which might potentially have some kind of timer on that to avoid “working the system” where their friends can just pick up their remains and both profit from and insurance claim. But there will definitely be instances of wrecks being found just as wrecks, and you can definitely salvage from those no problem. We’ll handle it with some level of distinction between wrecks that are spawned from previous battles which might have some stuff you can salvage, and those that are spawned from PvP battles. We’ll have a system to prevent “pretending not to know the guy that got killed” and taking their stuff.
Zlads Asks: In regards to the PU “Instances”, if I were stalking someone over multiple solar systems, how are we ensured that we will be instanced with that person every time.
In that particular case, that the whole point of the “Person of Interest” system. When you’re tracking someone like that, you’ll find that you can mark them as a person of interest in your mobiglas/ship systems, which will mean you drop into their instance every time. There are different categories here, there are POI’s, Friends, Enemies (those last two are dependant on personal friends/enemies and organisational information). These are all considerations of the matchmaking system so you’re far more likely to be put in an instance with them than any others. This carries down onto planets as well. There was kind of a writeup on this quite a while ago in the campaign which is still kinda the goal for us, we think it’ll work pretty well. We’re still working out numbers in an instance etc, so how many slots do we reserve for friends/enemies/POI’s etc, but that’ll all be worked out as we test down the line.
Raging Simian Asks: Will large ships like the Javelin, Bengal, or even bigger behave similar to the space stations and exist in all instances at once or will they get matched into single instances somehow?
It depends, but the very biggest ones that you can fight and take over, will still be instanced. You can’t have a single bengal over 4 instances being fought to be taken over all at once for example. We’ll have similar rules for instances where the bigger ships exists as we’ll have with space stations and asteroid bases. Space stations exist in just one instance, and that instance can’t be copied. The difference is if you’re in orbit around Earth for example, there might be thousands of people around there, so there might be 100 people per instance and 1000 players, there might be 10 different instances supporting them, which could potentially be at different places around Earth. If you’re one of those players you’ll never really be able to see ALL the players around Earth at once, and the people you DO see will be those that are friends, POI’s or enemies. In the case of a space station or bengals etc, only one of those instances would have that large ship/station in it to be able to be taken over. There might only ever be 100 people that would be on-board or approaching, or fighting the ship at any time, and the matchmaking system would play a part in who gets put in that particular instance.
Fogadus Asks: How will NPC ships deal with jump points? Will the AI fly the point like a player would, or will an NPC ship just auto-magically traverse the point with a small “dice-roll” that results in a jump point accident?
Generally the NPC AI, if you’re not SEEING them do stuff, their AI will be resolved on a higher level. The PU servers might simulate 20 million NPC agents, but you might not be able to see that at any one time. So think about it like a civilisation game, so we’ve got all these AI agents that are off working out trading numbers, combat stuff in unseen areas etc. A factory might need a mission for 100T of goods to come from somewhere, that generates a mission, AI might take that mission, then there might be pirates in the aerospace that get close enough to endanger the cargo, the universe would have some kind of simple combat resolution to work out what happened. If you’re not around to see it, then that’s what’d happen, a higher server based calculation. If you’re around that area when it happens, the universe might say there’s a 60% chance that you’ll see a ship of this type taking these goods from here to here, and there is a 40% chance that it’ll be attacked by a pirate of this type and this armament. So when you’re going past that area, we’re calling it an encounter-cue, the universe simulator says ok this is what’s going on in this area of space right now, lets roll a dice, YEP you’re going to see one of those pirates or transports, so you might drop out at that point. Lets say you fight the pirate off and save the trader, that would then go back up to the universe server through the chain, saying that pirate was killed there, it’ll drop off the 20 million NPCs list, so now if another ship flies through that area, the universe knows there isn’t a pirate there, so now there might only be a 60% chance you see a transport ship rather than the pirate/transport encounter someone else had earlier. So essentially what happens is, the big picture simulation of people going about their daily lives all happens on the universe simulation server, then what you see is a snapshot from your part of space on the game simulation server, then your actions and outcomes from instances on that game simulation server are fed back up to the universe sim servers to update everything. It’s not really 100% answering about the Jump Point question, but it’s an explanation as to how things work overall. So basically when things are spawning into your game simulation, they’ll work on proper in-game AI, but if you’re not seeing it, it’ll be done on the higher-level server side, less granularly. The design we’re using is really nice because of the fuzzy-logic approach, everything you see is high fidelity, and everything you do is pushed up to the universal side, so there is a lot of possibility of a living, breathing universe. There are a lot of cool things we’ve got in the works that we can’t really share at the moment, but things like characters or personalities that persist etc. It’s all very next level, definitely more than we’ve seen in anything else we know of.
TheHound Asks: Will we be able to capture notorious NPC bounties planetside, or will we have to attack them in space?
This kind of fits into what I was saying about NPC levels and persistence, no you will not have to attack them in space, there will be opportunities to capture them on planetside, spacestations and space itself. It’ll depend on what encounter scenarios we set up for them and where you find them at any time. To be clear with everyone, we’re looking at setting up the universe with about 90% AI and 10% players, which we think will allow players to have an impact in areas, but not to completely destabilise it. So you’ll mostly see/encounter NPCs. There will be certain areas that’ll attract more players and PvP etc, but as you’re flying around you’ll see cargo traders, cruise liners, pirate etc as NPCs. We’re trying to make it so that it’s not just about space, it’s also the results of these people going about their daily lives, or missions or trading etc. In the event of going after a big bounty NPC for example, there may be a case where you go after him in space, then he goes down to a planet where you have to land and chase him on foot, down to a certain area and maybe have a gunfight down a shady alley. All of these things will be part of the mission system we’re building, where different encounter scenarios can be strung together depending on the outcome of the previous one. It’ll allow for a very dynamic experience, it won’t feel like it’s been scripted, as each one of these mission modules are fairly basic, but these mount onto one another and so feel very different once all built. So yes, on space or on the ground :-D
Leo Asks: We saw pictures of the mobiglas placed on the left forearm. Will it be possible for me to choose the right forearm for my mobiglass if I want?
Um, good question, I think that what we’ll do is stick it to the left. If we support left handed vs right handed in the end we’ll shift it over, but for the mean time no. It’d be too many different model and animation sets to handle for the short term, if it becomes important down the line we might. Generally when it’s projected, it’ll project in front of you anyway then you’d interact, a bit like an iPhone being held up and interacted with. Imagine it like that, but with a “Google Glass” style augmented reality eyepiece as well, but you bring up the “iphone” do do the actual buying of things. We might have a more primitive version that’s more like a tablet than a projection if say you don’t have a top of the line mobiglas or something as well.
Mandulis Asks: Back in earlier days there was talk of multiple game packages being able to be turned into NPCs that you could use as crew. There was mention in the Town Hall that there will not be permanently hire able NPC’s. Does this mean that things have changed or am I still going to be able to have my NPC crew without having to pay their wages all the time?
Multiple game packages are absolutely going to be able to be played as different game characters. You can define those characters and their roles etc. If you’re not playing your character, and it’s appropriate for that character to be crew for you, say I’m a pilot and I’ve got my Han Solo character and my Chewie character, both defined and they both live on Terra, then when I got into the Millennium Falcon as Han, Chewbacca could very well be my co-pilot. Now I could log on next time and play as Chewbacca and Han would be my NPC, but in the case where you have NPCs play roles on your ship, there will be costs involved. Maybe we’ll have some kind of change where they might not need as much for the player owned ones, but we haven’t worked that out yet. The advantage of the player owned NPCs is that you might have the whole crew of your ship customised to however you want them to be, looks, character traits etc etc, and you can play any one of those that you want. Generally NPCs you will pay a wage, with potential exceptions for players that you own, but you’ve got to appreciate that Chewie still wants a share of the spoils!
Usual Extro and Thanks
Tidbit: We’re working hard on AC, FPS and Planetside, all of which have big steps coming up soon, we’re ramping up to the motion capture stuff we’ll be doing in a couple of months as well, it’s all been lots of fun, so thanks again and I’ll see you next week!"