Transcript generously provided by Nocturnal_Nick in this thread.

A link to the episode can be found here:

Questions and Answers

Question 1 - Single player inspiration/plans

Can you talk about how you will structure the single player elements of the story in the game? Where are you drawing inspiration? What is your plan to balance individual achievements against accessibility for everyone?


Answer 1

Hmm. That's an open ended question, are we talking SQ42? Which is a fairly straight forward narrative that ends dropping you into the PU. OR are you talking about more instance related quests and SP story telling in the PU? As for SQ42 we're going for a war-film like approach, we have a really cool story which I really don't want to spoil, part of the fun is taking the journey, unlike the persistent universe which has a more player driven story. It'll definitely involve a mission deep in vaduul space, things getting weirder and weirder. If I was going to pitch it to you, I'd say take the opening of Gladiator, mixed with the Ninth legion, and some heart of darkness/apocalypse now... All set in space. Pretty sure you guys are going to like it. On the PU side, we'll have small stories/characters you meet, and we'll set it up so that there'll be stuff you can do with other players/organisations, but there'll also be stuff that feels more specific to you/your role in the universe. So there are parts where if you're off doing a specific mission, maybe you'll go into a seedy back alley speak-easy which will drop you into your own instance of that place, where there'll be NPCs there, so you'll not have like, 30 other people streaming into your private conversation, it'll not feel like some kind of theme park with tonnes of people ruining the experience. In that alley there might be people there to mug you, not necessarily players, so little experiences like that that'll make the planets feel more alive, a nice mix of some scripted and some dynamic events for the players.

Chris Roberts

Question 2 - Ship cargo capacities

I have a question about ship cargo capacities. How strictly will they be "enforced"? My DUR Freelancer has a stated capacity of 148 freight units. Let's say that I accidentally (or deliberately?) try to load 148.5 freight units of cargo. Will there be flashing red lights and warning sirens telling me that I can't load that much cargo or will I be allowed to load it anyway?

–Space Lawyer

Answer 2

Well, actually the way that the FU work, is they're actually VOLUMES not weight/tonnage. We realised the tonnage is far less important than the volume in terms of building/designing ships. So when the FU measures are 120/148 or whatever, that's actually talking about the units that can physically fit in the cargo hold. So if the DUR Freelancer can only fit 148, it can only fit 148. Of course the other issue is how much each of these things weigh, so if you're trying to fly with solid gold, instead of, say, pieces of whatever would be light, your ship will handle differently in space. I don't know if we'll have a maximum take-off weight limit for each ship (we haven't figured it out yet), but for now the FU is just about the volume, whether you can fit those into the ship physically. I guess we could probably just have you take off with whatever the heavy stuff is, and then you're just a really slow ship, probably what the solution is at the moment.

Chris Roberts

Question 3 - Multiple banks

In The Lost Generation, the main character observes that the particular interest rates and service fees of a bank are exceptionally high when compared to other banks. This suggests there will be more than one bank in the universe. Will this be the case in the PU? Will players have to shop around for favorable interest rates on their loans and fortunes deposited at banks?


Answer 3

Yeah, we want to create a setup where there is variation between various systems, taking advantage of economic disparity between them. One of the ways would potentially be that in one area of the galaxy it might be more expensive to borrow money than in another area. It's also a way we can control populations a little, if one area is overcrowded, and taxes are higher in that area then players will want to move to another area to avoid them a little. So things like interest rates, loans, all those things will fluctuate in areas and will be different across the universe.

Chris Roberts

Question 4 - Play only FPS in PU

My question is whether or not it will be possible to play this game as a pure FPS specialist? For instance, what if my character is a terrible pilot and hates flying? Will it be possible to exist planetside, engaging only in FPS encounters? Or to be a passenger flying along only as a boarding part member?


Answer 4

So I think there definitely be the option to focus more on FPS. Whether or not you'll be able to avoid flying entirely I doubt, but you could certainly join crews and operate as a boarding party specialist on a larger multi-crewed ship. There will definitely be some planetside encounters that will allow this style. I'd say if you prefer to do FPS, that'll definitely be available to you. We're also planning an FPS style arena commander that'll allow you to practise your FPS skills without worrying about your character being killed "for real". So stay tuned for that down the road, talking more about that this year!

Chris Roberts

Question 5 - Item deterioration

A large problem in the traditional persistent online universe mechanics, is the proliferation of old items versus new items. This leads to power escalation in new items To provide relevant upgrade paths and progression without constant escalation, will we see items deteriorate over time and eventually NEED replacement completely.


Answer 5

Yes is the answer to that. We're building in from the beginning, all ships and items have wear and tear, some items will degrade and eventually need replacing. Ships will last for a LONG time as long as you keep the maintenance up, that's not to say that a manufacturer won't release a newer, better model. We want a player to be able to land on say, an old beaten up mining colony and SEE it that way, as opposed to something bright, shining and new for example. We're building layer blending onto all ships, items and environments so that I can literally move a slider and you can see that item deteriorate/age in-engine. You should be able to see if someone has a well-worn ship, or if it's brand new. You should definitely be able to see someone else's ship/item and thus judge what you're coming up against.

Chris Roberts

Question 6 - 6DoF (Six Degrees of Freedom)

Could you confirm that the "full 6DOF" control/IFCS mode will be implemented, and outline how the various IFCS modes are likely to be implemented (IFCS Upgrades, programmable IFCS options, specific IFCS modules limited to certain ships, etc).

–Logical Chimp

Answer 6

We are definitely going to be allowing a FULL 6 DOF control mode. SO, and this will be in the release 13 release. There are 2 basic requests, people want to have the full up/down/forward/backward/roll/turn etc and have that sort of additive. So right now you can go into decoupled mode and have some of those controls that weren't available with full IFCS. What we're doing is if you go into decoupled mode you'll have full 6 DOF, but it doesn't take you back to "neutral", so if you tap "strafe left" 5 times and stop, your ship won't just "stop" it'll hold that momentum until you counter it in the other direction, which is true 6 DOF [Newtonian Physics Right? - Nocturnal_Nick]. On top of that we're also going to have the option in the standard IFCS to be able to strafe in the normal IFCS mode, so it'll return to neutral as well. We felt like that was the best option, as it's not really viable to have full 6 DOF AND IFCS as they tend to basically fight each other. So yeah, we'll add strafe to normal flight mode, but in decoupled mode vector changes are all additive now, so the computer won't try and return you to "neutral". Hopefully that'll satisfy a lot of people, and longer term we'll try and give the basic ships, maybe they have basic IFCS and fewer flight options, but on the more expensive ships they might have faster reaction times/more customisation of flight controls etc. It'd be nice to have different flight modules you can customise to how you like, maybe with expensive flight modules etc. From a technical standpoint it'd be really easy, we just need to sort out how these things will be bought/used by the player.

Chris Roberts

Question 7 - Peaceful Vanduul interaction

Will UEE citizens ever be allowed the opportunity to interact peacefully with the Vanduul, or will the UEE continue to force conflict between our two races? I would very much like the chance to engage in trade with the Vanduul at some point and to be able to do more with them than simply fight!

–Vanduul Veronica

Answer 7

I guess you're not part of operation pitch-fork! Generally the Vanduul themselves will be hostile to you, as a human player, but there will definitely be places in say, the more shady areas of the universe where you could trade with some Vanduul, and maybe they'd want weapons which the UEE forbids the sale of to Vanduul, but maybe the player just wants to make a fast buck and take the risk. So those are the kind of things we're looking to do, not sure right now we're going to have peaceful Vanduul, as they're sort of the "bogeyman" of the universe, but we'll likely have an option for players that aren't really aligned or care for the UEE to maybe do some trading for profit with some Vanduul.

Chris Roberts

Question 8 - Safe zones

Can we fight anyone at any moment like in a Bar or in a shop or is there a safe zone on a planet that we cannot attack anyone? On a planet we can doing a sort of large-scale battle for conquer and enemy outpost or a city?

–Hubert J. Farnsworth

Answer 8

Ok, so you should not be able to fight anyone at any moment, there are definitely areas on planetside that allow some combat with NPCs or players. There are definitely going to be areas that have a no-brawling law, so if you whip out your gun or attack a player/NPC you might be met with legal resistance, or put in jail or shot by the local police. But You might be able to start a fisticuffs style fight in a bar, which might be met with lesser resistance. FatSoDa asked similar planetside question, but basically there will definitely be safe-zones when you're down on a planet, but maybe in the case of a really risky pirate outlaw place, there might not be full safety from NPCs, but you'd still have some safe places from players. As for having a large-scale battle for a city or outpost, there won't be anything like that for V1, but long term there could definitely be a discussion about but there certainly will be battles for persistent items in space, like an asteroid belt or space station for control/ownership, and we might at some stage try to shift some of that down to the planet.

Chris Roberts

Question 9 - EM drives

I have just read news that NASA tests microwave engine that produces fuel out of empty space, and finds that it works. Will the devs be considering this, or any other, future engine type that could be discovered or earned as a major achievement reward to reduce costs of space travel?


Answer 9

I think is the EM drive stuff that has been making the rounds, invented by a UK scientist/engineer, everyone said he was crazy but now they've confirmed it with some independent tests. I would say that we all read and watch that stuff and think it's cool, and the more things that sound like Sci-Fi that turn out to be true we'll borrow it and weave it into our fiction. Potentially in the longer term we might have engine breakthrough and you can buy that from, you know, whichever manufacturer it is, but we'll definitely have areas where you'll be able to upgrade engines, sometimes with alien technology you might have found out in the universe etc.

Chris Roberts

Question 10 - Chris' favorite ship

As there are coming more and more ships what is right now your favorite ship and what will in your opinion be the most interesting thing you will be doing with the community? Could you give us some info with your own words?

–G.C.G.B Nash

Answer 10

Well there are more and more ships coming, it's kind of hard to say what my favorite is, but one of the ones we're working on and I'm looking forward to is getting the multi-crew ships working, for that the Constellation has been my favourite. The m50 is another, we've just brought into the hangar, and there are some really cool things coming down the pipeline. The 890 Jump is coming too, and while I wouldn't really want to fly that in combat, I'd certainly like to be cruising in style. There are also a few others that are on their way that are more role/task specific that I think people are going to really like. "what will in your opinion be the most interesting thing you will be doing with the community?" I'm not sure if this is about ships, or what I'LL be doing with the community, but in general what I think is fun is hanging out with them at evens like Gamescom/PAX Australia which is coming up!

Chris Roberts


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