Transcript generously provided by Reddit user Nocturnal_Nick in their [comment reply here].

A link to the episode can be found here:

Questions and Answers

Been in England for the last couple of weeks to have a summit to figure out much of the character side of things, from SQ42 to the PU to FPS all had to be hashed out and agreed upon. The following week I went to Germany briefly, which is related to a couple of exciting announcements we have planned for early next year hopefully. Then went to London for a test shoot and shopping for motion capture equipment to be used for SQ42 and the game in general. Partnering with Imaginarium for this! More UK office activity because of support from the British Government for Game development in the UK.

Question 1 - Science vessels in combat

One of my favorite parts of Star Trek was watching the crew come up with interesting ways to use their non-combat equipment to trick, distract, disarm or otherwise overcome more heavily-armed or numerous opponents. That said, will science-oriented vessels like the Carrack be able to use their non-combat equipment in novel ways against aggressors, beyond their standard applications?


Answer 1

Good question, I think we're definitely building in the idea for electronic countermeasures etc, we have certain ships in development that have specific systems to allow that to be one of the things you can do as crew. I'm not so sure that those features will be necessary or present on the Carrack, but we are making the bigger ships capable of heavy modular customisation, so you could plug-in and use different tech on different ships etc. The two prototyping ships we'll be using for that new tech are the Avenger and the Cutlass to start with, which is being handled by the UK studio at the moment, and it's pretty cool stuff, can't wait to show you guys. Even the Hornet or the Aurora's functionality comes from the items that are plugged in at any given time, they both have a radar item, they both have CPU etc, that runs a targeting computer, lights, weapons, missiles, shield generators, thrusters, power-plant, cooling systems, all of which "plugs in" via the pipe system and balances between each other to create a ships's systems as a whole. The same would go for an ECM station, which might need power and CPU cycles, but would provide electronic warfare functionality. You'll probably be able to plug in modular systems like that on the Carrack, although I can't say 100%, but the general systems are there and we ARE planning on the modularity. In AC 1.0 we run signatures now, so you create these signatures based on your systems present in the pipeline, so you might be able to hide these behind an asteroid, or turning down your power etc, which will make it much harder for a radar to detect you or a missile to lock on. I think all of this will allow for much more varied gameplay options rather than just straight-up combat which'll be cool.

Chris Roberts

Question 2 - Jump Point navigation failure

What happens to your ship if you fail to navigate a jump point? Are you pulled out at an unknown system location between the two end points or somewhere else?

–Julian Delphiki

Answer 2

I think we are deciding that several things could happen, one of which is you get spat out at a random location, perhaps between the two, another would be that you would perish, but it'd depend on the kind of jump point, the turbulence, and whether there are places that you COULD be spit out along the way, and if you were, you'd probably be quite beaten up and damaged.

Chris Roberts

Question 3 - Alien tech production

Will players be able to own and operate factories that produce (alien) tech and how does a factory get founded?

–Marko Fowles

Answer 3

I'm not sure about alien tech, but you'll definitely be able to own and operate factories, which will be limited. A lot of the economic nodes (factories) will be NPC controlled, then say 10% might have the potential to be player controlled, that's part of what we'll expect players or organisations could own down the track, perhaps it might become their business more than trading or combat roles. So they'll be available, then over time as things expand, perhaps as a colony becomes more popular or bigger, there might be more slots/opportunities for economic nodes to be created or owned as well. As the game goes on, as we see more planets getting explored etc we might take them and add things to them, and just make the universe living, which is really our goal with all of this.

Chris Roberts

Question 4 - Scanning/listening and Comm officer role

Will a comms officer be able to scan for and listen to other player's/NPC's ship to ship or EVA communications over various frequencies? Will it be possible to encrypt and hack communication signals?


Answer 4

Yes, we're planning on comms officers be able to hail, and break protocol and perhaps hack another player or groups comms to eavesdrop on what's going back and forth between them, so there would be, say, a mini-game to allow the comms officer to have challenging things to do other than just opening communication channels etc. There will be different levels of encryption, signal strength etc, that depends on the comms array and say the computer you have etc. This is another example of some of the more interesting things players/NPCs have to do on bigger ships besides flying or manning turrets.

Chris Roberts

Question 5 -

Can you please tell what kind of tools will be available to organizations to help track expenses, ships usage, supplies, missions etc?


Answer 5

We're definitely going to allow Orgs to pay its members for missions, as well as taxing or tithing them for being part of the org, that way an Org can have it's own bank account as a separate entity, that way Orgs can own things, or have common assets for different members do use etc. While organisations have a presence on the web site, they're not implemented in-game at all. The first in-game org related stuff will be in V1.0's Lobby system, then onto the Planetside module (early next year) etc.

Chris Roberts

Question 6 -

How do you forsee snub fighters being deployed on capital ships? Will it be launch tubes similar to Battlestar Galactica or do you have something else in mind?

–Pendulum Effect

Answer 6

We don't necessarily have launch tubes on ships, but there are some "quick-launch" areas on the Bengal and the Panther I think but the rest you might hover up then fly out from the flight-deck. The quick-launch ones you might be on rails, and you can fly out there. It's not so much just about the snub-fighters, this all applies to the proper fighters as well, like the hornet and the gadius etc.

Chris Roberts

Question 7 -

How much interaction can we expect from the AI in the PU? Will AI on my ship or planet-side come up to me and start a conversation or tell me something important or will players need to approach every AI that they in order to ask a question or interact with?


Answer 7

Well, our goal with the AI, and this is what you'll see in SQ42 is to make them active in a lot of ways, so you won't need to go up to them specifically, they'll come to you if its relevant and they need to talk, so they will engage you and ask you do things for them, or tell you something. This is going to be true across the parts of the game, the AI in SQ42 and the AI in the PU are going to be sharing pretty much most of the same systems. The idea is if you have ship crewmates running around they'll have their own personalities, so they might be making themselves a cup of coffee if there's not a task for them to be doing, or chilling out in the bunk, or might come up to you every now and again to say a line or two, maybe crack a bad joke or something. They'll be context aware as well, if you're going on a particular quest, maybe they'll seek you out when you're on a planet with information related to things. We're trying to distance ourselves from the static conversation tree, where you know where a character is all of the time and you have set communication options with them to navigate. We're really trying to make our AI REALLY dynamic, and SQ42 will be the first test of that. In that we're trying to make a living environment, so when you're aboard a ship there are particular crew going about their daily life, and they might come and talk to you or you can chat to them etc. We're really shooting for a level above anything else, or at least anything else I've ever done. Hopefully it'll be cool.

Chris Roberts

Question 8 -

In the PU, if I choose one of the planetside hangars can I leave the hangar and visit shops and pubs on the planet? If so, what if I choose the Asteroid Hangar? Will I have to fly with one of my ships to a planet or will there be some sort of shuttle service?


Answer 8

The idea of the hangar that you have is you can leave it to go to shops and pubs or whatever else on that planet, which also means if you have an asteroid hangar and it's a rather large asteroid, perhaps with some shops/stores and a bustling pirate community you could do the same. But it'd all be connected to the hangar. There wouldn't necessarily be a shuttle service. If the shops that you wanted weren't on the planet/asteroid that your hangar is on you'd have to get in your ship and fly to them specifically and land there to access those places. There will be some level of public transportation between planets, you'll probably book passage on say a star cruiser, but I can't promise that a lot of that would be going between say a pirate outfit and a regular UEE controlled planet, because that doesn't make much sense, but that's kinda how that'll work.

Chris Roberts

Question 9 -

How much additional support will drop-shops be able to provide to their ground teams? For example, a pilot has just deployed a squad of marines onto a space station. Will the pilot be able to assist the strike force with an additional pair of eyes by monitoring their motion sensors, vital signs, helmet cams etc?


Answer 9

Obviously when you bring other players in with the ship, you can provide direct support in the normal way by shooting people while you're dropping troops to the landing area. It'd actually be kind of cool to have a situation where you monitor a team almost like Aliens, that's something we should consider doing because that'd be a really cool role. We were thinking when you land a dropship either the pilot would take off again and go back out, or potentially get out of the ship and join the rest of the team on the assault. But like I said I think that'd be a really cool feature, so we'll definitely take that under advisement.

Chris Roberts

Question 10 -

Once Squadron 42 is complete and out the door and the PU up and running, are there any plans to work on other single-player campaigns? Maybe something non-military, or maybe play as a member of an alien species?


Answer 10

Yes, definitely. We're planning to do plenty of single-player or story content for players as we think that'll be a big part of what people will like about SQ42/SC. It'll also allow us to advance and tell stories in a way you can't really do in an open sandbox. So we are planning on doing stuff past SQ42, some will be military, some will be more civilian style. We haven't decided fully on what those stories will be, but we do plan to have them once we have the SQ42 and the initial PU out and playable. Hopefully enough of you like what you're playing and enough new people join in for us to continue doing a lot of content development!

Chris Roberts

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