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10 For the Designers Episode 03

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Published on May 11, 2015

This week Game Designers Pete Mackay and Matt Sherman stop by to answer your questions.

00:51 - Coop Missions in the PU
01:49 - Hull Breach!
02:45 - TR Talk
03:48 - Thruster Force
05:00 - Fuel Efficiency
06:18 - Weapon Sizes
07:34 - Escaping from a fight
08:40 - Ship speed and acceleration
10:10 - Cargo on Small ships
11:19 - Redeemer Talk

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Matt Sherman: Techinal Designer (Santa Monica) and Pete Mackey: Designer (Austin).


- If I'm a hauler and a friend is running escort for me to a mission site, when a new freight mission comes up will my friend automatically be given a mission to escort me since we're in a group or will he get one to escort random player/NPC?
  • P: We definitely want to keep people together, but we haven't figured out the specifics of that.
  • M: The matchmaking in the PU will be challenging but it is important to keep you with your friends.


- With regards to hull damage on multi-crew ships, will characters not strapped in be sucked into the void in a hull breach? It would be cool to vent compartments to blast away intruders or when boarding to breach the hull to deal with crew.
  • M: That was something highlighted in the Constellation multi-crew demo last year. We want the hull breach to vent people out. If you're under attack you may want to strap in.


- The Hull has TR8s which look physically smaller than the Connie's TR5s. Could I swap out the ones on the Connie?
  • P: The TR rating isn't a size rating. It only describes the thrust it can put out. In this specific case, the thrust of the TR8 would probably sheer off the engine nacelles of the Constellation.


- Would it be possible to link the force of the directional thrusters to the throttle down to a minimum force?
  • M: That's a really cool idea. We're exploring something like that now with some of the updates we're doing.  It's a matter of making sure it doesn't take too long to mind and unbind on the fly.
  • P: Also we don't want you going through huge amounts of thrusts in highly congested areas.


- What's the fuel effeciency difference between large and small ships? If they're carrying the same weight how much difference will there be? How much will we need to right-size our ship to any given mission?
  • P: Right now we're in the analytics phase to look at the total operating costs of hauling cargo. The mass of the non-hauling ships are all pretty close together but now that we're factoring in the huge mass of cargo and that range is getting larger we need to look into how fuel costs will factor into that.  We want to make sure that the big ships aren't the only way to make a profit, but also that we don't want to penalize players with fuels costs if they're using a fleet of small ships.


Will there be an equally strong Size 1 and Size 3 weapons, or will a bigger gun always be better.
  • M: There will be a range of potency in all the weapons and all the sizes. It's one of the big things we're looking at for long-term tuning. But you should be able to take a Size one and really make it perform. Really make it yours. Some other parts of of this question deal with the current sledge 2 which puts out a lot of damage relative to what mass driver should conceptually with no penalty.  One of the things we're doing in going to a physics based weapons system is taking all these weapons and really defining how they should perform.


A common complaint is that in Arena Commander the only way to refit and rearm is to eject. Will we eventually be able to escape the fight instead?
  • P: I have seen some talk of upcoming changes.
  • M: Refitting and repairing your ship is going to be a big component of the game and Arena Commander is the testbed for all these mechanics so at some point we will have a re-equip system in AC, but we're still working on what thay will be so that it is a real part of what you'll experience in the PU.
  • P: So it's going to be a nugget of what it would be like in the full game.


- In space will ships have the same optimal speed but with different acceleration, or simply different speed?
  • M: This is something we've been working on for several weeks now.
  • P: There's a lot of work going on with thrusters in general and with ship movement. And one of the the things we've been experimenting with internally is setting your normal combat speed dynamically based on a lot of different variables. And your acceleration will play a part in what speed you can reach. The goal is to give something interesting and dynamic and not just, "you have a Hornet your speed is 200" or "here's a new arbitrary top speed" but instead having that top speed really figured out by not just the main engines but by the ability of your other thrusters contributing to how your ship performs.
  • M: The total package of how your ship moves should be determining it.


- How will cargo be handled when dealing with the smaller ships like the Aurora or the Hornet and having a cargo box isn't really feasible?
  • P: The items will go into the cargo holds but there's no way to access them in flight. You'll have to land, but you'll never have an issue where you'll have to access that from inside.
  • M: Smaller ships, Aurora Hornet 300s where the cargo box may be outside or may have to be accessed from the outside, you'll be able to open it and see what's in there but you won't be looking at a cargo manifest or interacting from the pilot's seat.


- Would it be possible to design the Redeemer's lower modular section as a fully capable theater-wide C3ISTAR suite to include decoys, jamming, and intel collection?
  • M: Probably not theater-wide because that implies a lot of systems and a massive fleet that you're coordinating. And while we can't say that it will be it's own modular room, you'll be able to outfit any ship by tuning what equipment you use for that type of gameplay, by trading out weapons for comm gear  or tune avionics for defensive purposes or to make you a better info runner.

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