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"Ask Us Anything" Event

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How to participate?

Anyone can participate.

You just need to register an account on the forum and post your questions in the Q&A Compilation thread started by Yamamushi here.

 

When does it start and how long will it last?

It started on Wednesday 29th June 2016.

It will last as long as we have questions to answer.

 

How does it work?

There will be one question answered per day, from Monday to Friday, each week.

All the questions in the pipeline will be listed below (coming soon).

All questions will be answered in an order defined by two factors:

- The sooner the question has been posted, the sooner it will be answered.
- The more it is about advanced gameplay, the later it will be answered.

 

Keep in mind we are still in pre-alpha stage, so starting to talk in details about advanced gameplay features when the basic gameplay still need to be finalized, would be like putting the cart before the horse. Questions about advanced gameplay will be most likely pushed at the bottom of the list, in order to have as much info as we can share on the topic. Even if we will do our best to give you relevant info, don't expect a complete detailed answer for topics related to features that won't be available in the Alpha.

 

To keep the thread easy to read, only updates about the questions and answers will be posted in it.

 


 

Questions already answered:

1) If one planet represents already trillions of voxels, how could a whole universe be stored on Novaquark's servers?

2) Planets showed in the E3 teaser looked like heightmaps. Do you plan on making stuff like caverns and archs? How far can we dig the ground?

 

(Full list of questions coming soon)

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Q&A 1: Wednesday 29th June 2016

 

 

If one planet represents already trillions of voxels, how could a whole universe be stored on Novaquark's servers?

 

The trick is we don't store each voxel on the servers. Each planet is generated procedurally in real time by an algorythm, when needed (when a player is approaching or on the planet). So a planet doesn't weight anything in terms of storage. This is exactly how it works in a game like No Man's Sky, the "magic" enabling devs to generate millions of planets without storing anything. Now, as we have editable planets, we go one step further: when a player edit something, we store just the modification(s) applied on the procedurally generated planet. That way, we optimize the storage space by keeping only modifications made by players. 

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Q&A 2: Thursday 30th June 2016

 

 

Planets showed in the E3 teaser looked like heightmaps. Do you plan on making stuff like caverns and archs? How far can we dig the ground?

 

Indeed, the procedural generation algorythm used to make our first planets did the same thing that can be done with heightmaps.

However, we are looking into making 3D procedural generation, meaning caverns and similar things. As you can imagine, R&D is far from being finished in this domain. This is work in progress. As for the max depth you will be able to dig the ground, the exact limit hasn't been defined yet, but we are aiming at a few kilometers (the final decision may be tied to technical performances). Beyond that, let's say the temperature will start to raise too high to be a viable environment. 

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Q&A 3: Friday 1st July 2016

 

Is there any more information available about the new community site that was mentioned at E3? Can we get a subforum for fanart/fanfiction/etc?

 

The wait will be soon over as the community website will be released... next week!

The reason for which we haven't already created a subforum for fanart, fanfiction and other player created content is because we believe it will be more appropriate if all the content created by the community is gathered in one place (fanart, fanfiction and later screenshots, videos or even advertisement for your content created ingame!). With the player-created content gathered in one place designed especially for that, it will be easier for someone who want to know more about what you do to find your profile and look at all your creations in a few clicks. Plus, such website will give opportunities to put a spotlight on the most popular player creations (spotlight that will change regularly, of course!). The website that will be released next week will have the features we considered as the most essential. Of course, it doesn't mean this will be the final version. We have already a few additional features in mind for the future, and as always, we will listen to our feedback to improve it.

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Q&A 4: Monday 4th July 2016

 

How will water work in DU? Will it be a full fluid system, or will it simply be placeholder texture?

 

This point is not decided yet. We have to make a tradeoff between realism and performance. It is unlikely that a full fluid system with multi-scale management will be implemented. A local voxel-based flow system, limited to close-by liquid elements, based on a kind of cellular automata, is in discussion. You would have just limited local flow, a bit like Minecraft. 

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Q&A 5: Tuesday 5th July 2016

 

Which features from Unigine's Physics Engine are being considered for use in DU? ( https://unigine.com/en/products/engine/versatile-platform )
Will the game feature moving parts that allow us to connect multiple player built structures? like sliding rails, rotors, hinges, and everything that connects one voxel structure to another?

 

So far, we use Unigine's Physics Engine only for the collision system and the force/torque engine.
We are aware that  it can also offer various joints and motors but the dev team might develop this feature in a different way:
We have a plan to go with small size moving parts, but it's really far away in the roadmap. You would have "joint units" that can be use to connect them, and then script them (in LUA). Could be used to make a large door or... battlemechs? giant spider robots?

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Q&A 6: Wednesday 6th July 2016

 

 

Could we get a bit more information about how combat is intended to work?

 

 

It's too soon to give a lot of details, but here are the basics: what we can say is that it will be much more about tactics than reflexes, in part due to the fact that targets will have to be locked and then fired upon. This won't change as it is a technical constraint to make large-scale battles possible. In Ship vs Ship combat, we will intend to make it valuable to have a crew onboard a ship with several people managing weapons and a central command room to help coordinate the action. As ships will be destructible (as they are made out of voxels), we have currently several ideas in mind to develop combat in some unique ways. For example, the ability  to breach a hull and board an enemy ship. This if of course just an idea at the moment, as we still need to ponder if we can implement such gameplay in a meaningful and balanced way.

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Q&A 7: Thursday 7th July 2016

 

How long are you intending new players to play before they are able to build vehicles capable of travelling to space? Will we be playing for weeks or months researching the technology to get there, or will we all be flying around by the end of the first day?

 

(Keep in mind this aspect of the game is still in early development, so what is explained below can change significantly through the game development)

 

Flying from a planet to another should be a real achievement in our game vision. So it would not be available on the first day of the official release. If a player is here from day 1, it might be weeks, maybe a few months before the travel from planet to planet becomes possible. This is still a topic heavily discussed in the team. However, later on in the game, when the global tech level of civilizations built by the players will have reached a certain point, it will be possible for a new comer to simply buy or be given a ship to fly with as soon as he arrives in game (he will still need to learn a few skills to be able to fly it however, but the basic levels should be reachable between a few minutes and a few hours, according to the flying construct complexity). In short, the game experience for a player present from day 1 might be very different from the game experience of a player coming several months after the game has launched, also different from the game experience of a player entering the game one year after official launch (where many solar systems will be, without a doubt, already discovered and colonized).

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Q&A 8: Friday 8th July 2016

 

What pieces of science fiction are influences for the developers? Are there any Jodorowsky (Incal/Metabarons) fans among them?

 

We have at least three Jodorowsky fans in the team!
As for the pieces of science fiction considered as influences for the devs...So many that we won't list them up all!
 
Here are the main ones:
- For the books: Ian Banks (the Wasp Factory, the Culture series), Dan Simmons (Hyperion cycle), Frank Herbert (Dune saga), Ernest Cline (Ready Player One), Greg Egan.
- For the films: 2001, Blade Runner, Dune, Alien, Avatar.
- For the series: Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Stargate Universe.
- For the games: Games in Eve Online universe, Mass Effect trilogy, Halo games.

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Q&A 9: Monday 11th July 2016

 

What are the difference between Building and Crafting? Will there be "personal" level crafting, as well as manufacturing/production opportunities?

 

(What is described below are game mechanics for the pre-Alpha version. It might change significantly as the game develops)
 
In Dual Universe, there are three creative activities by default:
- Building: Manipaluting and using voxels of raw materials to create the shell of a construct, be it a spaceship hull or walls and roof for a house, outpost or base. Building will necessitate to have at least one Core Unit, an Element necessary to generate a Building zone where you will be able to build a Construct. 
- Crafting: Refining raw resources, using refined resources to make components, using components to make Elements for Constructs or Gear worn by players. Crafting will necessitate to have several Elements related to Crafting: one to refine raw resources, one to create components (3D Printer Unit) and one to assemble components to create an Element or a Construct (Assembly Unit).
- Manufacturing/Mass Production: When a player will have finalized a Construct (with all the voxels and Elements necessary), he will be able to make a Blueprint of it. He will then be able to use this blueprint with a Factory Unit. With the appropriate number of Elements and quantity of raw matter for the voxels, he will be able to replicate the construct.
 
Building will be as much a single player activity as a multiplayer activity, depending of the scale of what you want to build (building an orbital station or a stargate will definitely be a multiplayer activity, for example). Crafting will be quite easily a single player activity, but again, if the goal is to craft in huge quantities, then it might become a multiplayer activity. Mass Production will be more multiplayer-oriented, due to the sheer amount of elements and resources required. It won't be impossible to manage it a single player activity, but in this case, it will be probably very time consuming.

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Q&A 10: Tuesday 12th July 2016

 

Can we get devblog about how Stargates are going to be built? Will players be able to fly for months to their stargate destination instead of sending probes?

 

We will make a devblog when we have finalized all the details. The preferred method will probably be to use SG probes, but you could very well travel to the destination directly with your ship or your colony. However, it's likely going to be very hard to get there and survive. Think about energy, fuel, and all these elements that will be difficult to acquire on the way. But it could be a hell of a journey, yes!

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Q&A 11: Wednesday 13th July 2016

 

How character progression works in Dual Universe? Do you have character level? What about the skill system?

 

In Dual Universe, you won't have a character level. In fact, it will be more a horizontal character progression like EvE Online: Players will be able to learn skills from various fields of activity right from the start and we're trying to design them in a way that the first level of a skill for a basic activity (gathering resources, piloting a construct, using a weapon, etc) can be researched in a matter of minutes, to make all basic types of gameplay available very quickly. For each basic skill, there will be a skill tree. Advanced skills will provide efficiency improvements, or unlock the ability to use advanced tech for a specific activity.
 
Here is how learning skills is represented on the lore side: Cryogenic sleep maintained during several millenia has damaged memories of the Arkship passengers. It doesn't affect instinctive memory like the ability to talk, walk and such, but knowledge is gone for the most part. Arkship passengers might even have forgotten their family in the process, as an unplanned side effect (after all, cryogenic technology has never been tested on such a long period before!). The way to compensate this memory loss is to learn again selected knowledge through brain implant over time (a bit like when Neo learns KungFu in the film "Matrix", but at a much slower pace). The interesting thing is this automatic and perpetual learning doesn't prevent the character to practise another activity in the meantime. It's like a task running in the background onn a computer. Such automatic learning isn't stopping when you disconnect from the game.

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Q&A 12: Thursday 14th July 2016

 

Will the game have concrete interactions between the avatar and the structs beyond walking in them and sitting in piloting chairs?

 

In the long run (not necessarily in alpha or even beta), you will be able to make hangars where things or ships are stored, you could use "Screen Units" to make interactive games (in LUA), of course you will have to manage weapons, repair systems, fuel management, etc. There will be scanners and probe launchers to be able to analyse planets, explore, etc. The principle is simple: each "unit" is an interactive Element that you can interact with to fulfill a particular function. It's modular and almost always scriptable, so we expect to come up with many fun ideas in the future to provide interesting interactions.

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Q&A 13: Friday 15th July 2016

 

We know that constructing ships and stations will be possible in DU, what about the creation of your own weapons, (perhaps armour) and tools? Obviously, there's crafting (Is there?) but every faction needs their own unique gear (in my opinion). Otherwise, everyone will be walking around using the same weapons, tools, etc.

 

At the moment, the ability of designing and crafting customized weapons related to a specific faction or organization is not planned. Designing and building constructs (spaceships or stations) involves voxels, making construct customization possible for players. On the other hand, crafting enables players to make gear and Elements. Those are non-customizable 3d models (meshes). It would require to make a 3D modeling tool inside Dual Universe to enable players to customize their gear and it would represent a tremendous amount of development time. Moreover, the dev team prefers to keep some control on the artistic vision for the game.

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Q&A 14: Tuesday 19th July 2016

 

When will see some gameplay footage?

 

 
As you might have seen, already, the first gameplay footage about Dual Universe has been released Monday 18th July.
This is the first of several videos, the others will be released in the coming months. The first one was a global gameplay presentation while the following ones will be shorter, each focusing on a specific topic.

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Q&A 15: Wednesday 20th July 2016

 

Since there will be creation, destruction and multiplayer interaction, some very negative actions can happen. When somebody join the clan, this person can destroy (or steal) ships/bases/stations owned by the organization. As a result, inviting new members into the organization will be a huge risk. I guess all organization members will have all the information about the organization locations. Also defense systems will not attack these players because they are friendly, but their action could be interpreted as building/rebuilding. Do you plan to secure players from "friendly" harrasment? P.S: Question is not about how would you do that, but "Will you try to secure"?

 

In any game involving PvP and/or Territory control, this is a recurrent question. What if the new player freshly recruited is a spy or someone who wants to sabotage the organization? On this level, what the Dev team can do is to give players the tools to be careful and make sure this will enable them to give limited powers to new comers, powers that could be gradually increased as the new members prove their trustworthiness.
 
This is the goal of the RDMS (Rights & Duties Management System): the Dev team won't try to secure all the organizations ourselves as this would limit the freedom of administrating an organization. However the tools will be given to the players to secure their organizations themselves. Of course, there will be some elmentary security parameters set by default when a player will create an organization, but don't expect to be perfect right from the start to prevent any problem related to a player betrayal. As it's not possible in advance to know how each organization will be administrated, it's equally not possible for the dev team to anticipate all the "loopholes" that could come from a specific manner to administrate an organization.  

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Q&A 16: Thursday 21th July 2016

 

Are the Elements all going to be accessible to everyone or will they need to be obtained/unlocked in some way? If it's the later, how Elements would they be unlocked? Finding and scanning them? Research trees?  skill trees? Purchasing them?

 

(Keep in mind this aspect of the game is still in early development, so what is explained below can change significantly through the game development)

 
To start with, Elements are crafted by players. The skill tree will involve subparts that will define what kind of Element you are capable to craft. You will also obviously need the appropriate raw materials, 3D printer and Assembly to perform the crafting itself, which might also involve some other skills to acquire. Note that 3D Printers and Assembly are Elements that you can craft too. The simplest of the Elements can be directly crafted with the Nanoformer that you always have with you.
 
Once you have crafted an Element, you may decide to use it or to sell it. So, other people might acquire Elements without necessarily being able to craft them. Using a particular Element will involve other skills that you need to acquire. So, crafting/owning an Element and using an Element are two different things, that have their dedicated parts in the skill tree. NB: at the beginning of the game, after launch and some time even after, we will most likely introduce NPC sellers to enable players to buy Elements directly from the markets. 

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Q&A 17: Friday 22th July 2016

 

Will we have Alcubierre warp bubbles? The hitchiker's guide to the galaxy improbability drive? A BSG style jumpdrive? A whole new FTL trope never before seen in sci-fi? What other kind of FTL capabilities will the game provide and what are the implications of said FTL technique? Will there be a "hyperspace" dimension to travel through?

 

We have in mind to introduce FTL drives at some point. We want to gamify this notion, to make the FTL drive a central element of a large ship infrastructure. You can imagine being heavily damaged during a battle and unable to flee because the FTL drive is detroyed or scrambled, which would start a race to try to repair it and escape. Some people in the ship crew will most likely be dedicated to maintenance of the FTL drive, no matter what. To clarify: the goal of FTL drive is to allow your ship to do interplanetary travel.
 
Interstellar travel will be the realm of Star Gates, which is another matter entirely. FTL is just "super fast speed" with something like the Alcubierre warp bubble as the underlying tech, and Star Gates are about "instant travel between two nodes" with something like wormholes as the underlying tech. We are not yet sure whether ships in FTL mode will have a physical presence on the server side, if they will effectively travel in some hyperspace and can be intercepted.

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Q&A 18: Monday 25th July 2016

 

In the E3 video, it shows what looks like a pre-made cockpit. When it comes to things like that and ship cores/engines, will we be limited to pre-made assets? Or, will there be a possibility to design our own?

 

It won’t be possible to design its own assets. However, we are thinking about a way to let people customize optional logos that could be visible on certain Elements, probably at the level of an organization. Besides, in the long run, we hope to be able to produce a wide variety of different styles for each Elements, so that you get the possibility to find what looks best for you and your play style. But, as you can guess, it will take time (and money) to do this, so don’t expect a lot of variety at start.

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Q&A 19: Tuesday 26th July 2016

 

I am thrilled with the idea of player made content, but I also don't want to see many horrendously ugly/joke construct designs, silly ship/organization names, or anything that breaks the immersion of being in a sci-fi universe. Does the dev. team have any ideas about how to make the game mechanics favor better aesthetics?

 

Yes, we have been thinking a lot about this question as it is a fundamental challenge to balance the quality and user experience in the game. We cannot  censor every possible construction in the game ourselves: it would be too costly and wouldn’t make sense in a player-driven emergent game. So we definitely want to give freedom for anyone to build anything, and, without a doubt, all sorts of various things will be made.
 
There are however two key factors that will help increase the quality of what is created: 
 
1) Building a construct, and especially mass producing a construct, is a costly activity, so the number of copies you’ll find for any given construct will depend on the efforts the builder is willing to make. It has to be “worth it”.
 
2)  The amount of copies of any given construct you will see in the game will, in most cases, directly depend on its success as a product on the in-game markets. Any ship that sells in quantities will, by definition, be something that the players like and buy in-game (well, if you assume the majority of players have bad taste, you could get bad taste ships proliferating, but after all, if everybody likes it, it’s not bad taste anymore. Vox populi, vox dei). Most people will like to fly in kickass ships, for sure, and not ugly bad designed shoe-like potatoes. So, following this reasoning, we can hope that even if jokes/ugly experiments will exist (there is no way to avoid it), they will remain in minority because of costs and market selection. Finally, a last point: as an organization owning territories, you will be able to control quite precisely who and what people are allowed to build on your territory. This should ensure that certain areas at least are developed according to some rational policy, and not randomly. In other words, we would delegate the “censorship” job to the players themselves. This overall “quality control” problem is a very complex matter however, and we don’t pretend to have solved all possible issues. So, we are very much interested in the feedback and ideas of the community about it!

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Q&A 20: Wednesday 27th July 2016

 

In the interview with mmorpg.com you guys describe how the single shard will split the server spatially based on the number of players (and I am guessing the size and level of details of structs?). I would like to know how this would effect syncing between those servers, when in dense player populations even the most basic interactions can end up running on more then one server. If I fall in the middle of a shopping mall where each floor has enough players to count for its own servers, would I end up freezing every few meters?

 

The server synchronization is done transparently in the cluster side. You, as a client, will not see any change. There might be a bit of delay internally for the different actors to synchronize within the cluster, but it will most likely be unnoticeable by the user, as the typical Internet latency will be ways beyond the kind of latency your have in a high performance cluster. You, as a player, get regular updates about what is going on around you, not mater which physical server these updates are coming from. As you fall in the shopping mall, your avatar will register and de-register from several zone several times, and people subscribed to these zones (the people “living” on each floor) will get a notification of your passage. Well, that’s the theory and what we get from our first testing scenarios.

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Q&A 21: Thursday 28th July 2016

 

Can a ship in a large battle shoot a missile at someone in another server? What about pathfinding for NPCs? Large concentration of Player Characters: How far are you in developing the server architecture to support this? How far have you managed to push and stress-test the system?

 

There are no NPCs in the Alpha version of the game, and if/when they are made, they will have very simple AI movements to start with. Pathfinding would be an interesting problem in a dynamic voxel world, but we have not worked on that yet. As for missiles, they will most likely have no physical reality, beyond the visual FX that will be client-side only. The way combat will work will be through basic lock + fire mechanism, where the actual impact is probabilistically calculated based on various parameters (skills, distance, armor, etc). As for the server technology to handle lots of players: this is what we call our “continuous single-shard” technology. It is developed and works in testing scenarios around 10.000 players in the same area. We need to do a lot of live testing still, but the fundamentals (maths & theory) are in place. This technology is a key element of Dual Universe. We believe that the fact that everybody is in the same world at the same time will massively (and positively) influence the type of gameplay you will see in the game. In fact, this is THE central value proposition of Dual Universe.

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Q&A 22: Friday 29th July 2016

 

Will the mentioned stargates function as point to point or more like a dial system from the trope-naming show/movie?

 

Stargates will be part of a player-made network of nodes. A given node is able to let ships jump to any node that is within its maximal range, which depends on the level of the Stargate. Effectively, this draws a map to where you can go in the galaxy, but unlike most other games, the map is not static and not predefined. Players are creating the stargates, and players can also destroy stargates, nearly blocking routes or even isolating some part of the universe for some time in the process. Building a stargate will involve sending a proxy probe to the desired new stargate position. The probe will travel at FTL speed, but will still need weeks to reach distant destinations. Once deployed, the probe will allow for just one jump, that you can use to send the necessary material and personel to start building the effective Stargate and activate it.

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Q&A 23: Monday 1st August 2016

 

Will players be able to see which organizations you belong too? Is there a minimum number of players to start an organization? Will the organizations themselves be able to place limit on which other organizations you can belong too in the case of conflicted factions? Will you be able to be a citizen of a player nation and an employee of a corporation and the leader of the Thursday space knitting club? Will there be a limit to how many organizations can you belong too? will organizations have a max number of members? if an organization is a member of a larger one, will all of its members be members of the larger one? Legates of the larger one?

 

We will definitely make it possible to hide the information about what organization you belong to. Whether the decision to show or not will be made at the level of the player or at the level of the organization is not decided yet. Regarding the various restrictions on organizations, we have not yet seen any good reason to put constraints there: you should in principle be allowed to create a single-player organization, to belong to several organizations, or to have mega large organizations counting thousands of players (or other organizations). We consider the possibility for an organization to forbid its members to belong to some other organization but the exact mechanism to do this in a flexible way is not set yet. As for members of organization A that is itself a legate or member of an alliance organization B, they will not be members of B. A will have to designate someone to represent itself at the level of B. This is all linked to the "Rights & Duty Management System" and the way organizations work. Have a look at the devblog for more about those.

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Q&A 24: Tuesday 2nd August 2016

 

Will there be some kind of bulletin board in game, so that players can leave requests and announcements?

 

We have big plans to create the equivalent of job markets for organizations and players to advertise their needs. Announcement could be made into dedicated chat channels, but we could also allow people to create giant screens to broadcast their messages. We need to be careful however that this does not turn into a kind of Time Square permanent nightmare! So the exact gameplay around this is not set, but we need people to be able to communicate and, most likely, to make the efficiency of this communication depending on costly investments. This will create an in-game profession of advertiser, from who you could rent access to valuable channels.

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