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A Roadmap to new PvE and PvP Content


Xarius
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So to begin I want to state I understand that not everyone will like or agree with what I am saying below, nor do I expect them to. I am in my last year of College for my Bachelors Degree in Video Game Design and Development and taking what I have learned both from my studies and from many many hours playing Dual Universe I brainstormed the following. Again, I do not expect anyone to agree, nor do I think that my chosen field of future Professions makes me any better or smarter than anyone else. This is my opinion, and I am sharing it. Also, this will be a long post. Disclaimer over.


Phase 1

With there already being auto-generated alien ships, alien cores, and shipwrecks that spawn into the game, the mentality of “Everything in Dual Universe needs to be player made” has already been discarded to an extent. The game, while fun in many aspects, lacks content. Both in PvP and PvE. There needs to be an alternative to running missions, or trying to turn a profit by mining or building industry. Those are core aspects of the game, but they only offer so much in the way of “content”.

PvP also offers a style of gameplay, but it is niche and lacking as well in content. You fly around in PvP space hoping to find someone you can kill that won’t kill you, or trying to mine minerals off a valuable asteroid without your ship being exploded.

NPC Ships is a first step in adding content to both.


Phase 1, Step 1: Ships, Safe Zone PvE Combat and Simple AI
The ability to spawn ships and other things into the game already exists and is being utilized by current systems such as Asteroids and Shipwrecks. Using those systems to build off of, it would not be a far stretch to spawn in functioning ships of Varying types. Additionally, since Autopiloting systems are implemented by players via LUA, it also would not be a stretch for NQ to implement simple AI scripts for the generated NPC Ships.
 

How it could work:
The system spawns a ship randomly, no closer than 30su to a Safe Zone Planet anywhere inside the Safe Zone. Then at random the script choses a destination. One of the SZ planets or their moons, and sets course. As the ability already exists for the game, or a construct to know when you are within a certain area of the game, the ship would despawn if making it within 1su of its target.

Before reaching its destination, it is vulnerable to attack from a player who spots it. Upon being attacked the ship would use whatever maneuverability it can to try to escape. If it’s core is destroyed it is of course available to be looted, ownership taken, etc, just like in any other PvP Combat.

Of course attacking an NPC Ship inside of the Safe Zone should not come without consequences, but those are laid out in an additional update. The purpose of Step 1 is to get the system into the game, see how it is working, and work out the kinks.
 

Benefits:
New PvE Content that helps teach simple PvP to people looking to learn.
PvE content for PvPers who may be on at odd hours and have fewer real player targets.
An additional income mechanic especially with component recycling coming into the game, that does not rely solely on grinding and time gating (other than searching out the randomly spawning ships).
 

Phase 1 Step 2: Law, Order, and AI Update 2
With the implementation of NPC Ships, and the ability to attack them in the Safe Zone, mechanics should be developed to give consequences for being a pirate in the SZ. Aphelia designates a safe zone, but how does she enforce it? Currently it is just a circle around three planets where weapons do not work. Much like the poor NPC ships being destroyed, this step would introduce some new ships and mechanics that offer that enforcement, if even in a limited way.
 

How it could work:
The System Spawns peacekeeping ships that travel the pipes, and a few that travel courses around the SZ in general. The ships would vary from smaller to larger obviously, with different types of armaments and difficulty.

When a player attacks a NPC Ship just as it likely would in a Real Scenario, the ship would send out an SoS on the attacker. This flags the attacking player, or player construct as a pirate for a given amount of time. During that time any flagged character, or character construct that comes into contact with a NPC Peacekeeper Ship can be engaged and attacked by the NPC. The combat can result in the player being killed, the NPC being killed, or by out maneuvering and getting out of contact range of the Peacekeeper.
 

Benefits:
New PvE Content that helps teach a slightly more advanced form of PvP.
Makes being a pirate actually feel like being a pirate running from the PoPo.
Make the Safe Zone a Safe Zone for a reason that makes sense.
 

Phase 1 Part 3: Bounties
NPC Organizations already exist in the game. Aphelia gives missions for them all the time. They also exist in the Challenges. So it would only make sense if you start racking up kills on their NPC Ships that they would start getting cranky with you.
 

How it could work:

When you reach a certain notoriety with a NPC Organization a bounty could be issued by them through the mission system that lasts for a certain amount of time. If a player has a bounty on them, they are free game within the Safe Zone. This, much like the Pirating flag that instructs Peacekeeping Ships that you are attackable, allows you to be engaged by other players, even within the Safe Zone. It would have to come with some features though, and consequences for being a bad pirate and getting yourself killed by a Bounty Hunter.
 

1: If you are killed while you have a bounty on you there would be a cooldown that prevents you from being able to attack the NPC’s in the Safe Zone for a certain period of time. This would help prevent someone spamming the system to let their friends kill them for bounty money.

2: Players in an organization you are in are not eligible to collect the bounty. No gaming the system peoples. 

3: During the cooldown you would also not be available for Special Missions outlined in Phase 2.
 

Benefits:
Eases players into full PvP situations.
Additional Content for PvPers who wish to be Bounty Hunters.
A more realistic universe.
 

Phase 1 Part 4: Beyond the Invisible Safe Wall
Taking everything learned and refined from the first four phases, extend this system to the other outer planets and areas. Higher profile NPC Targets with more goodies and parts. Except these ships are armed. This would provide both a PvE avenue for out of Safe Zone Combat Content, while also allowing for PvP players and Organizations to hunt down, and even fight over the NPC Ships. The same Bounty System would apply to these ships, and likely give a higher reward fee considering the ships taken down were more valuable. Could easily see a Scenario where a few players are fighting over the same ship, while also fighting each other, as the ship fights them as well. Pure Chaos. Love it.
 

Benefits:
PvPvE
More fun content and options
 

Phase 2
Now that we have added some new features and life to the Universe, things are definitely looking up. But we can expand upon the new systems and the old to add more things for players to do and make their place in the Dual Universe.
 

Phase 2 Part 1: Work Orders
With the prices, especially of T1 ores constantly fluctuating in value, generally in the case of T1, dropping like a rock, Work Orders could be an amazing solution to this problem. Many Elements can be made with the cheap ore, such as wings, basic engines, containers, etc, but unless you have mega factories with a generous flow of materials, Life can be rough to build your empire. Works orders a Solution to that problem. Markets can already give you the average value currently being set market, region, or universe wide, so why not integrate that into Work Order Missions.
 

How it could work:
Work Orders for T1 ore can be issued by various Markets or Organizations for delivery. This can be adjusted and valued by averages. In addition to being paid fair market price for your ore at the going rates, you could also cash in on some mission income for delivering to complete the order. Much in line with how missions work now, the missions would require you to deliver OreX to PlaceY.

Work Order for Components can be issued by various Markets or NPC Organizations.  These could range from parts, manufactured materials, or complete elements. (Someone has to make those Ailerons being delivered to Market 12). Again, paying fair market value plus a mission completion reward.
 

Benefits:
* Offers additional ways to make money without having pure bots to buy up ore at the Market, which NQ has said will not come back while utilizing the Mission System.
*Someone just dropped 200 Wing M’s on the Market and undercut you? Fine. Sell the ones you have made to Aphelia for components plus the mission delivery award.
*Stimulates the Economy and helps diversify the monopoly of component manufacturing.
*Give industrialists more incentive to do what they enjoy doing and make an earning off of it.
*With Ore, Components, and Elements being flushed into oblivion, it would help raise the actual value of the Ore used to produce and make T1 more profitable.
 

Phase 2 Part 2: Extended Bounty System
Someone blew you up while you were just trying to run that mission package to Jago? Do you want to return the favor, but aren’t much of a PvPer? Do you just want people to blow up people from Legion?  Is it -worth- it to pay someone to enact revenge on your behalf? Then the Bounty System is for you.
 

How it could work:
A bounty system added to the current mission system. You offer up a Bounty, choose the target, and place the bounty. When/If someone kills the target with the Bounty mission, they get the payout, minus Mission Fees of course. Of course they will know who put the bounty out on them... So might want to watch your own back!
 

Benefits:

Sweet Sweet Revenge.
More content for players wanting to be Bounty Hunters.
 

Phase 2 Part 3:
With the implementation of the mechanics in Phase 1, a dark opposite to Aphelia has emerged, just on the edge of the Safe Zone and PvP Space. A Rogue AI working for who knows who or what, has missions available at its station. These missions send you after specific targets for specific things, and none of it could be considered legal.
 

How it could work:
Taking a mission would provide you a general location where the target will spawn, and a general time frame of when to expect the target to be passing through. The missions could range from just destroying the target and pirate what you want, or maybe the mission requires something from the cargo hold of the ship you just blew up for cash. What it would ever want with the Terran DNA samples, who knows. Value of the mission reward would depend on the difficulty of the mission. Some targets may be armed, or not, or maybe there is a very brief window in which you would be able to find the ship. Regardless, you like getting your hands dirty and as long as you haven’t failed recently being successfully hunted for being a pirate, these missions are for you.

Benefits:

PvE Pirate Missions in both Safe Space and PvP Space.
More Content = Things for players and new players to do except grind = Good.

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So as stated previously, this is just a thought experiment based on my own opinions and things I think would bring some much needed content and life to the game. What are your thoughts? Would you like to see these types of things implemented? Are you hardcore ZugZug stay the course? What do you like, what do you dislike? Please discuss.

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11 minutes ago, Wyndle said:

You put a lot of thought into this and, for today at least, I don't want to be the grouchy old guy pointing out the nit-picks.  So, thank you for your contribution.

Please do! I invite discussion, and through thought things can only be made better.

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If we had any non-negative evidence that NQ was paying attention (i.e. distinct from reading) to the forums I would be glad to help flesh out great ideas.  If this were a means to provide value to the overall project that I've already given so much to, then I could see some return on the value of my thoughts being expressed.  As it stands I would rather walk away than become permanently jaded.

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Would be a plus for DU an addition and will give more options to spend your time enjoying DU . So yeah I am positive about this .

But on the other hand is server load and how this will affect gameplay in terms of extra lag in an already "slightly" laggy server. 

My humble opinion that is .

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I am very impressed by your post, particularly with how you have broken things down into distinct phases and summarized the benefits of each one. This is obviously not the first time someone has suggested expanding on PvE mechanics or adding in NPCs but it is the most detailed implementation plan I have seen thus far.

 

Honestly I am not sure if parts of what you are proposing here are possible from a technical standpoint or if such a development direction aligns with the desires of the DU community. While it is true there are currently mechanics for asteroid and space wreck spawning, adding in more complex behavior could be very challenging. Perhaps there would need to be a phase zero to assess the viability of the plan and the time investment required to see it through. Performing these kinds of checks helps to avoid wasting time and potentially disappointing the consumer. Maybe start off with some internal testing to see if adding motion to the currently static wrecks and/or asteroids presents any issues and continue from there?

 

As to the bounty system you mentioned, it goes together quite naturally with the idea of NPC hunting but there has been some criticism about formally implementing it for pvp. The problem really boils down to enforcement. There needs to be something to prevent a target from claiming the bounty on themselves via friendly fire or by making side deals with their hunters. I think if you can somehow solve that dilemma then it would add more viability to system since more people would feel inclined to use it. 

 

Your idea of work order missions is particularly interesting and I agree it has a lot of potential applications both for economy regulation and encouraging diverse play. Even if profits were negligible it would assist with new player introductions to crafting by offering smaller bite sized production goals. Personally I would place this as phase 1 due to its high versatility.

 

PS: I love the idea of adding a villain NPC for distributing nefarious missions. "Dark Aphelia" gets a +1 from me.

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4 hours ago, Xarius said:

Bachelors Degree in Video Game Design and Development

 

 

Did you notice that however you turn it around, you are basically only talking about PVP ... as in "ships shoot at other ships" ...

 

This is a space game, it lacks EXPLORATION, MYSTERY AND AWE.

 

Shooting ships should only come as a BYPRODUCT of the above, WHICH IS COMPLETELY MISSING.

 

It is amazing that I seem to be the only person in this forum who keeps bringing this up.

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A few months ago before launch, Deckard was asked directly and answered that NQ has no plans to add AI ships/constructs/npcs

 

He also said we'd get bot orders refreshed, and that the system should have refreshed those orders.... 

 

So hopefully they backtrack on this, and go forward with AI ships/combat. It's needed. I have yet to see anyone besides NQ against it. 

 

As it is the game isn't fully player controlled due to an NPC called Aphelia that rules over the game, collects taxes, denotes safe spaces and paying players to move things around that don't really exist as cargo. But I guess saying DU doesn't have NPC's is technically true if it only has the one... so NQ can continue with that cognitive dissonance.

 

I hope NQ reads your post and the devs reconsider

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Thank you all for your feedback!

I know a lot of people are jaded with development and or feel like player voices are not heard. The fact you took the time to read and comment on my ideas instead of just passing it by because something like it is likely not to happen is not lost on me. 

 

3 hours ago, sHuRuLuNi said:

Did you notice that however you turn it around, you are basically only talking about PVP ... as in "ships shoot at other ships" ...

My post was intended to build upon mechanics already in place in the game. I do agree with you though that beyond ship wrecks, asteroid hunting, and scanning tiles for ore there is no much of an exploration aspect to the game. Though I don't understand what you mean by turning it around? The ideas I suggested offer both PvE and PvP elements. 

 

4 hours ago, Msoul said:

IAs to the bounty system you mentioned, it goes together quite naturally with the idea of NPC hunting but there has been some criticism about formally implementing it for pvp. The problem really boils down to enforcement. There needs to be something to prevent a target from claiming the bounty on themselves via friendly fire or by making side deals with their hunters. I think if you can somehow solve that dilemma then it would add more viability to system since more people would feel inclined to use it. 

I think the solution to this is kind of already in the thought process. Need to make it annoying enough to get caught by a Bounty Hunter that it's not worth letting it happen.

 

4 hours ago, Msoul said:

Your idea of work order missions is particularly interesting and I agree it has a lot of potential applications both for economy regulation and encouraging diverse play. Even if profits were negligible it would assist with new player introductions to crafting by offering smaller bite sized production goals. Personally I would place this as phase 1 due to its high versatility.

 

PS: I love the idea of adding a villain NPC for distributing nefarious missions. "Dark Aphelia" gets a +1 from me.

 

You are definitely right - I think my thoughts were going more toward what could possibly make the world feel more alive and draw them in aspect. But definitely adding the Work Order system could do the same for Industrial Minded players, plus maybe keep some of the ones who are currently discontent with recent changes and where they see things going from there. 

Also, Long Live AI Aphelion, may he sew Chaos forever! (Or at all!)

 

1 hour ago, BlindingBright said:

A few months ago before launch, Deckard was asked directly and answered that NQ has no plans to add AI ships/constructs/npcs


Yeah I am painfully aware of the current stance toward anything NPC unfortunately. I posted in full knowledge of that. I do not expect all or any of these ideas to go forward and be implemented, it was more of a viable path I could see going forward. I am learning a lot by being part of this community and watching out NQ handles player feedback, a lot of it falls into the "I would never go that route" - but at the same time to be fair, I am not developing the game so I personally don't know what obstacles and challenges they face. 

I do also though hope they change their mind. There is much potential in adding even basic NPC Mechanics, even if they didn't scratch the things I was talking about in the OP. I think the argument of "We want everything to be player done" is out the window though with Alien and Autogenerated Ship Wrecks.
 

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13 minutes ago, Xarius said:

 but at the same time to be fair, I am not developing the game so I personally don't know what obstacles and challenges they face. 

NQ has a few challenges. Most of the game is calculated on your computer, the ships physics, voxel deformations/model updating from combat, Lua, etc. 

 

Easy solution would be to run the NPC' ships physics on your computer as a sort of second player controlled ship, first person to enter radar range would become the 'parent' and simulate the Lua and physics needed, sending that data to the sever, and the sever serving it up to everyone else. At that point just have the ship auto pilot around some way-points, and boom, basic NPC ship...

 

In Beta at one point I could remote control a ship several SU away from me, even using autopilot... range on the remote controller was bugged... but in theory, the basic components are there if NQ really gave it some thought. If they renabled it, and allowed you to control more than one construct.... boom NPC Ships, controlled by players. That's what I ultimately want to see,  not what we have with Aphelia as a game controlled entity.

 

So in theory not much stopping NQ from doing this. If I a player could pull it off while the game was bugged, NQ should be able to intentionally DU it... and the way I suggest it be done would require arguably minimal dev time making use of things they already have built out. 

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Very good work for basic thinking!
Naturally, each of the points and phases could be expanded and detailed. If NQ were interested in it.
In the game, you can implement a lot of different interesting things based on existing mechanics.
For the author of the topic, this is also a good practice. After all, it is better to learn from the mistakes of others. Now some comments.

 

1. NPC. They are needed primarily for solo players and small groups so that people have something to do in the game. And for big group players who need a break from socialization. If we put aside the combat NPCs for now, then all the rest can be implemented with ordinary scripts like FTUE. The mechanics are there, just programming is enough.

 

2. Now about combat NPCs. Why do I think this is important. The fact is that only warriors were deprived of content from NQ. Yes Yes. Exactly. Those who want to shoot can only do so at other players and nothing else. Pilots - can fly missions. Miners mine and sell ore. Manufacturers - make items and sell them. Constructors - make ships and sell BP or finished ships. The case is for all professions except for those players who are aimed at combat gameplay. This is why piracy is so widespread. People are trying to entertain themselves somehow.
Combat NPCs would be a good help. And you can start small. With a swarm of crazed drones that will be an indivisible model. For killing which you can get quanta and randomly take out loot from them (tickets for a special store, schematics, etc.). The stupidity of AI bots can be balanced by their number. And the most important thing. Run spawning bots locally on the player's machine without using a server. And with the server to exchange data on the success / failure of the mission, loot, damage to the player's ship. Techniques how to do this is the prerogative of specialists.

 

One way or another, the gaming industry is rich in various options for how to do this. If the developers are willing.

But in general, one thing upsets me. That this cool initiative of one person (and possibly a group of people) will again not be heard by NQ.

 

I really want to be wrong in my opinion...

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Why would you think there is a Roadmap or a Future? Have you seen the content they have added since release? They touched more stuff then they added content... NQ just like breaking and redoing systems that exist normally making them worse or less enjoyable. They lost half their Vets just messing with the entire mining system at the end of Beta ish...

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45 minutes ago, kulkija said:

PVE do not need NPC:s

Thanks for your opinion!

 

 

12 minutes ago, StoneLegionYT said:

Why would you think there is a Roadmap or a Future? Have you seen the content they have added since release? They touched more stuff then they added content... NQ just like breaking and redoing systems that exist normally making them worse or less enjoyable. They lost half their Vets just messing with the entire mining system at the end of Beta ish...

Whether they do, or do not is not the reason for this thread. This is for constructive suggestions and because I wanted to share my thoughts. I respect your opinion but I did not post this thread as yet another avenue for other people to flame NQ. I am sure you could find better places to do that. Thanks though.

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2 hours ago, ColonkinYT said:

Very good work for basic thinking!
Naturally, each of the points and phases could be expanded and detailed. If NQ were interested in it.
In the game, you can implement a lot of different interesting things based on existing mechanics.
For the author of the topic, this is also a good practice. After all, it is better to learn from the mistakes of others. Now some comments.

Thanks so much for your input! I definitely know a lot more could be done, even with the suggestion I made, that's why I wanted to discuss it. I love the idea of drones to battle, and how to effectively implement it so it doesn't add a bunch of extra server load. 

Wonderful Ideas!

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Frankly, PvE does need NPC, but not those we have now, there should be in the exploring part, the crashed ship part, even the drop on your tile part. But for that to happen there will be a whole overhaul needed. You can think indeed about npc to npc battles over the planet and the shot ships drop in atmos, but that is totally viable and easy to mod in SE, in DU its not an option probably at this moment.

 

And dont forget you first need a healthy PVE environment before you can get a healthy PvP environment, NQ does not believe in that or misses that knowledge but you can see that clearly in all other mmo. There cannot be a healthy pvp without a healthy PvE, Unless there is No PvE but then in general safezones are erected and frankly thats the same as PvE.

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On 11/23/2022 at 5:57 AM, Aaron Cain said:

Frankly, PvE does need NPC, but not those we have now, there should be in the exploring part, the crashed ship part, even the drop on your tile part. But for that to happen there will be a whole overhaul needed. You can think indeed about npc to npc battles over the planet and the shot ships drop in atmos, but that is totally viable and easy to mod in SE, in DU its not an option probably at this moment.

 

And dont forget you first need a healthy PVE environment before you can get a healthy PvP environment, NQ does not believe in that or misses that knowledge but you can see that clearly in all other mmo. There cannot be a healthy pvp without a healthy PvE, Unless there is No PvE but then in general safezones are erected and frankly thats the same as PvE.

I agree totally. 

In a good balance, both feed off of each other. 

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