Transcript provided by behindthispost on Reddit in this thread..

A link to the episode can be found here:


Standard intro.

Question 1 - Information/signal/transmission discussion

How would you compare your vision for sharing information across ships (e.g. a Hornet Tracker sharing info to a C&C center on an allied cap ship) to sharing information across crew stations? Will signal/signature visibility, transmit/receive equipment, interception, encryption, etc. be considerations?

–Roland Deschaingun

Answer 1

So definitely signal and signature will be how far you can broadcast will be a factor. Like the power of your arrays, and the power you put to it. Also your CPU power will allow encryption and the level of encryption that can happen. So you will definitely have transmitting and receiving equipment, and you will definitely have the ability to do sort of interception and encryption. That will definitely be one of the aspects of gameplay you will have on one of the bigger ships. So someone can focus on that in terms of communication, disrupting the opponents communication, maybe even cracking the coded channels to hear what people are up to. So it all should be pretty cool, and again adding another level of that team and cooperative gameplay in a PvP setting which I think will be pretty damn cool. So we're planning definitely on having a fair amount of that stuff in the long run.

Chris Roberts

Question 2 - Payment for friends for remote player participation

I've heard a friend can login to an NPC position. But it brings up a question - since I hired an NPC for the position - how does a player get paid for doing that job? Is the NPC paid in escrow and then if a player subs in for X time they X slice of the salary?


Answer 2

It doesn't really work that way. What it does is that you'll hire crew, and the crew will obviously need get paid for that job and so you'll pay whatever you agreed to pay them. Now you can while you're flying out in space is invite some of your friends to sort of take over or control the crew, now that doesn't mean that they get paid what the crew is getting paid it just makes them a better AI in a way. It is sort of a kind of a cheat, we call it a Matrix moment y'know where your friend can take over the NPC. Just so you know you can fly with your friends in co-op without having to coordinate and meet up with your friends on a planet first; which you can still do by the way. But this is like, "Hey guys, I'm doing this mission and if you're not doing anything right now do you want to come in and control my various crew on my ship?" And they say, 'Yes!' That's the line, but no they aren't going to get paid for the job. The NPC still paid, it's a running cost, you have to pay for your crew, your fuel, the repairs, just like you would in real-life.

Chris Roberts

Question 3 - Social status

How will social status play into the game? Will there be a benefit to having earned citizenship? Will there be planets we can't visit without citizenship or limitations on what we can do without citizenship?


Answer 3

Well social status will definitely be part of the game, there's a pretty in-depth status rating. That will track your relationships with various groups and how they hold you in regard and vice-versa. Citizenship is one of the aspects. There will definitely be some stuff that having citizenship will allow you access to that not having citizenship wouldn't. Again having citizenship might be a liability, like with outlaw worlds they might not want to deal with a citizen of the UEE. It all sort of depends. But the idea is that depending on your sort of organizational relationships, some of which are the ones that are already part of our universe (the Merchant's guild, or the Mercenary guild, or the UEE itself), or some of them are player created organizations. It will sort of depend on who you interact with, how they'll reply, and how they'll deal with you, and whether they'll give you access. If you're in good standing with a mercenary's guild then perhaps they might invite you to their guild house, but if you're not they won't let you in. And that definitely applies to citizenship, so you will get access to some stuff as a citizen you wouldn't get without. Maybe you can buy some stuff you wouldn't get if you weren't a citizen, on the flip side, you might be able to buy some stuff without citizenship you might not be able to as a citizen.

Chris Roberts

Question 4 - Jump point discovery

How will jump point discovery mechanic work? Is the jump point discovery expected to be real-time flight maneuvering or is it strictly based on sensors and electronics that can map the jump point?

–Julian Delphiki

Answer 4

So you would need to be scanning for the jump point, I think there's going to be some level of manual, it's not just going to be automatic so you need to be checking frequencies and honing in on stuff when you detect it. Then when you figure it out, and triangle in on the point of entry, then you're going to have to fly it. That's going to be a kind of skill based flight mechanic. We haven't prototyped that out fully, but the concept of that is you're going to be flying down the equivalent of a huge breaking wave down off the North Shore of Hawaii. If you have to go down the funnel, essentially surf it exactly correctly down the path, as long as you keep on the path and get to the end of it, and depending on the size of it the and the length of it we'll have turbulence and all that. Once you get to the end and you've tracked that, and recorded that in your navigational computer, then you can automatically go back and do it again. Some of those will be more difficult than others, and also the navigation computer itself, well some are better at recording than others, some don't have have the capabilities to do the more complicated ones. And that's the sort of equipment you'd want to kit out as an explorer looking for jump points.

Chris Roberts

Question 5 - Undiscovered vs discovered jump point travel

Can someone Re-Sample or Re-Do a jump point sequence that would be faster or less of a thrill ride than the origin data created? Or, once it is accomplished, that will be the only way to do it, ever?


Answer 5

I don't know, you know what? That's actually a really interesting idea or thought. Our current plan is basically you do it, there's one path, and that's it. But it would actually be kind of interesting that there is more than one way to do it. Or maybe one way or another way cuts your jump time down. So I think that's maybe one thing we play around with when we're prototyping all the jump stuff. That's an up and coming task for the persistent universe next year.

Chris Roberts

Question 6 - NPC vs player interaction and NPC interaction initiation

How will players be able to establish relationships with NPCs? Will NPCs ever initiate interaction with the player, perhaps coming to them with a job, as suggested by the MISC Freelancer commercial?


Answer 6

Yes, I think I answered this last week. Not exactly this question, but essentially the same question, but yes, sometimes the NPCs will initiate interactions and come to them with jobs. Jobs are put out there on our jobs board, by the economy system which is essentially the AI. Other players can also do it. Players can pick up the jobs. Other NPCs can pick up the job. Our goal in the game is to have our NPCs and AI be active, not just reactive. In terms of you go to some guy that's the guy who gives missions in the bar, and you walk to him and he goes, "Oh I've got a job for you." Well there will be some cases where people or an AI could potentially seek you out and go, "Hey I've got a mission for you." Versus being reactive, and that's kind of a strong underlying goal with what we want to do to make the NPCs seem real and living, and having their own goals and agendas. Where they're not just focused on what they're doing right now. That is what I call tactical AI, y'know they're great at combat, they can hide behind cover, they can try and flank you but anything beyond that instance of combat they've got not sense of what their goal is today, what their goal is this year. Y'know, what do they want to do? They want to be the best pirate or the best trader. So we're working to have what we call Meta AI to do more of that kind of stuff.

Chris Roberts

Question 7 - Long range smart weapons

Will we see longer ranger smart-weapons both for attacking ships and smaller targets that are comparable with present day weapons (i.e. Harpoon, Tomahawk TASM, Phoenix, etc.)?


Answer 7

I think we are probably going to have longer ranged stuff once we have the Large World stuff, which is the 64-bit precision for space. Right now we're plenty limited because getting more than eight or ten kilometers away from the origin starts to give floating point errors in the world and rendering. Once the Large World is in, which is the 64-bit stuff, some of the bigger ships, the multi-crew ships, that's kind of one of the things we're waiting on to get the multi-crew ships going. There's a whole range of long-range scanners and all that kind of stuff that comes into play, so there probably will be some long range smart weapons. I am not sure there will be vast amounts of that, since it's not very fun to have all combat at beyond visual range but there definitely will be some cases of some stuff that will allow you to at least engage in a longer range than you do in Arena Commander.

Chris Roberts

Question 8 - Plug and play modular system

With the recently announced modular approach to ships, are you and the team considering a simple "plug and play" approach, like the current method of configuring small ships in Arena Commander, or would swapping out internal modules be a larger undertaking, perhaps requiring a machine shop and several in-game days of downtime for the ship being reconfigured?


Answer 8

Well that's a good question, I'm not sure if we've really decided on how long it will take you to swap out modules. As you said in Arena Commander you can switch out your weapons and missiles fairly quickly. So on a bigger ship, y'know I am not sure if we're going to keep it at that level of speed or perhaps you say, "I want to reconfigure my Retaliator into this type of setup." And they say, "Okay that's fine and it will take about a day." So we haven't made a decision on that. The default will probably be the plug and play approach, but that's sort of a game mechanic and a gameplay decision that is sort of being put off until we sort out what feels right. There's sort of pros and cons, you don't want it to feel 100% realistic for say unloading cargo and that sort of thing. You want to get back out into space, so if you have a space that's been beaten up pretty badly in real-life that might take months to fix but you don't want your ships to be out for months. You probably want to have some amount of time it takes to get fixed, but not months. You might take a little more to switch out parts that modular but it would not be equivalent to what it would be in real-life. It would probably be enough time you take a walk around, get a drink at the bar, and do a few other things in the interim.

Chris Roberts

Question 9 - Transporting of ships as cargo

How will transportation of ships be handled? For example if I am a trader and I want to bring a few hornets to sell in a war zone will they be transported in parts allowing them to it in my cargo or do they have to be transported fully assembled?


Answer 9

Well I think for right now they would have to be transported fully assemble. I don't think we're really considering transporting ships broken down to their component parts. Which is I guess how it's done in the real world. So if you wanted to bring some Hornets to sell, you'd probably have to load them into a ship that can fit them or hire some crew to fly them for you to the location you want to take them. Then you would have to ship the NPC pilots, or the player pilots back to where they shipped them from for you.

Chris Roberts

Question 10 - Bribe other player's NPCs

Will a merchant player be able to bribe the character slot NPC crew of their competitor to mutiny against their boss?

–Rodent Rascal

Answer 10

That's a really great suggestion, we're not planning on doing that at the moment. We'll probably take that under advisement once we've gotten all the million other things we have to do for the persistent universe. That we may potentially have fun with down the road, like morale and mutiny. We are definitely planning for the NPC crew to have "hidden stats" not necessarily exposed for players to see. You know, like how good a shot they are, what their morale is, what their competency is. That would effect their sort of AI rating, that's how we do it with enemy aces and stuff like that. So obviously better NPCs would probably cost more money, and then after you're fighting alongside and NPC and you win more battles then that NPC will be getting better and "leveling up". So we have that sort of tracking stuff in there and longer term we can probably have fun stuff with the morale and mutiny, but that's not a 1.0 function or requirement or deliverable, so to speak.

Chris Roberts


Standard outro.

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