(Let me know if I messed anything up.)
Edit: Here is another list, sorted differently. Also, if you want to see everything that happened, click here for the chat logs and scroll down to about 19:25.
- IRC DAY START
Our first question is one everyone is dying to know! How is your dog? Anything interesting you can tell us that happened with him recently?
Heh heh! Great! Helo is doing very well. He just recently got his AKC Championship! That just means that he is a pretty decent representative of a Schnauzer. [Not that we care all that much, but we are good friends with the breeders and they are very proud.]
Are we going to see you in a few years at one of the big dog shows?
Definitely no! They are fun to watch, but we hate having Helo away from us. I'll upload some pictures later.
Aww. That is still quite a feat. He must be very proud!
Yeah, though he is also very glad to be home. Being in a show for him is work.
I can imagine! Any interesting books your dog have been reading recently?
Ha! Not, not lately. Though he tried to eat the Steve Jobs biography that I was reading.
haha! Maybe he isn't a fan of Apple products.
What is Anacreon looking like now? How is it going? ETA? Any cool things you'd like to tell us
Anacreon is going well. It still has a ways to go, but I hope to do an early alpha release before the end of the year. Of course, you'll all be invited. This version has been re-written from the ground up.
Will it be a private invite-only beta?
Semi-private. Basically, only people that know the URL will be allowed to play. But of course, I'll put the URL up on the forums. The alpha version only has a single scenario, and there will only be one game with all the player in it at the same time. It will be massively multiplayer (where "massively" is defined as <200 people). Later releases will allow you to create private scenarios, but I want to test the big games first.
You said this game was being developed in html5 and similar. Has this changed at all or is the only requirement to play a Web Browser?
The only requirement is a modern browser. I'm using canvas in HTML5, so it needs the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, IE. I'm excited about that part. It's great to have a game that runs on multiple platforms natively.
Has developing it in such a new and constantly changing development language caused challenges?
So there are major changes in the mechanics in store for us?
Yes. I've tried to keep the flavor the same. And the basic concepts are still the same. But many of the mechanics are different. For example, trade routes are a major mechanic in the new version that did not exist in the old version. In particular, you can set up trade routes between your worlds and not have to worry about ordering fleets around to move materials. Having explicit trade routes allows me to use them for other things, such as for the transfer of tech level.
There has been some discussion by people on #transcendence about Anacron having the possibility of persistant services. Will this be the case? (where players can join at any time with their own race in a sort of persistent multiplayer?)
Yes, that's exactly right.
<RPC> How will you make the trade routes /not/ be a managerial hassle? I don't like it when the administrators just let like, ~50 billion people die while I fight the Pirates of Jakarta :/
Agreed! Trade routes are generally expressed in terms of demand. I.e., when you import food from a world you specify that you want to import some percent of total demand. Any additional food requirements are met by local industry. One thing I've tried in the new version is to have the worlds be self-sufficient by default. Nevertheless, you'll still get starvation if things change (e.g., if some attacker destroys your food planet) But it is harder to get it without external actors.
BTW, I should say that one of the points of the alpha test is to explore and resolve these kinds of questions.
<RPC> Will you implement a "leeway" system where there are essential services, where food/water/ etc are diverted if people will starve as a result of an attack?
Yes, that makes sense. The world should produce food instead of ships, for example. My goal will be to minimize the non-fun parts of the game.
<RPC> Is there any timeframe for a particular game? How long does it take to enter combat? like, will there be a week for a particular game or will it be persistent?
So far I'm thinking that it will be persistent. Essentially, everything will move in real time. But I expect games will take weeks and months. For example, the test scenario that I have is around 5,000 light-years across. A slow fleet will take days to cross that span. (real world days, that is).
This next question is from Amariithynar, How is the look/style of the new Anacreon compared to Transcendence?
Well, one of the things that I haven't done yet is all of the graphics. I have some ideas, but I haven't nailed it down. That probably won't happen in earnest until after the start of the alpha test.
TRANSCENDENCE - COMMUNITY
First up is relating to the community. How will we expand the community? What will you do with the Facebook Wall? Do you have any plans for its use?
Great question. First, my plan is to get to version 1.1, which will be designed to increase the appeal of the game. For example, there are many things that we can do to improve the game to make it more accessible. And of course, I want to get 3rd party content (extensions) on the Multiverse. As that happens, I hope that you will see an increase in the size of the community. Certainly I will be promoting the game more and more. For example, as the company starts getting revenue from extensions on the Multiverse, I expect to be buying ad space on Facebook to promote the game.
Do you have any plans to make use of Steam Greenlight or Humble Bundle? To get new players that may not have heard of it? Or getting Transcendence bundled into magazines again?
I will definitely reach out to various sites to distribute the game for free. Steam Greenlight may not be the best fit initially, because it is so crowded.
We have a follow up by RPC again: Do you plan to make use of Twitter as well as facebook for promoting the game?
The short answer is yes to both. However, I need to experiment with the best way to use those two platforms. For example, one issue with both is that you can't reach people who don't already know about it.
Regarding the ad space you're considering purchasing eventually, have you considered services like Project Wonderful, where you can get your ad out cheaply (cents a day) to a wide audience, not just Facebook?
I hadn't heard of it before, but sounds great.
TRANSCENDENCE - GENERAL
Will you have a tutorial system anytime soon? Will this allow a player to ease into Targeting and understanding? Will this be a short adventure extension?
Good question. I haven't thought deeply yet. I want to increase and improve the built-in hints. I think that will help a lot. Beyond that, I think a starting adventure makes a lot of sense. This is something to think about for 1.1.
Any general direction for Multiverse? What broad goals do you plan to accomplish?
My first goal is to get some extensions in there. I've been somewhat conflicted about what kinds of extensions I want there. I definitely want some high-quality adventures, but as we all know, those are hard to create. So I'm trying to think of some simpler extensions that we could create. Lately I've been thinking about a set of extensions that would include more player ships to the vanilla adventure. Beyond that, I want the multiverse to have more player information. For example, I want badges and achievements to be tracked there.
Yes, Ttech asked this question twice.
We are going to shift direction a little for the next question. Any general direction for Multiverse? What broad goals do you plan to accomplish?
As you may or may not know, I've recruited a small set of people to be "registered developers". This means that they will be creating some of the extensions that will go on the Multiverse. It's still early days, but we hope to come up with some new content for the Multiverse soon. Also, the Multiverse encompasses both Transcendence and Anacreon. You will use the same username for both.
Will characters and gameplay be able to be swapped between the two?
I don't know about characters; they seem to be too different. But certainly achievements, etc.
BTW, a quick aside: One of the purposes of all the stats that I'm collecting is to figure out which parts of the game need to be improved. For example, I suspect that many new players quit after a certain point in the game. But which point? Is it at Eridani? Is it before St. Kats? Depending on where it is, we can improve that part of the game.
Are you planning on releasing any additional graphics or new graphics in store for the game in the nearer future?
Not in the near future, but only because I haven't created much lately. Once part II gets going, I'll definitely release more resources.
Do you have any plans for difficulty tiers in Transcendence, like activating a set of mods to make the game harder or easier?
Yes! I would love to have an extension that makes the game more challenging. I'm not sure how to do it, so I'm looking for suggestions. Something like WE5 is great. I think of it as extensions, however, probably not something that is needed at the engine-level.
Another tier question: Why are weapon tech levels so overly tiered and are we going to continue that or are we going to go with different weapons having different effects and weaknesses and strengths so that a level X laser isn't automatically much worse than a level X ion weapon?
The purpose of tech levels originally is to add a specific challenge, to have the player deal with a non-linear increase in power. That is, instead of the player facing a smooth ramp of opponent difficulty, sometimes the player needs to deal with a step-function change in difficulty. If you don't like that step function, you can mod it out in your own adventures (with the new damage curve levels feature), but if you like the step-change, then you can think about the levels independent of the "labels." That is, think of "laser" as just a label that means "damage tier 1."
Isn't it likely there is a correlation between difficulty "steps-functions" and players quitting the game, as opposed to specific locations (i.e. st. K's)?
Yes, that's possible. Perhaps an adventure variant with flat damage curves would be very popular. It would be worth trying out.
For nebula systems/binary systems, can we make it so autopilot can go faster? Can we have an item that lets us "penetrate" the nebula?
Binary systems need some work, clearly. My usual tactic in Binary systems is to tackle one star at a time. But I agree that it can be needlessly frustrating. For nebula systems, I agree that we need an item that lets you penetrate it. This is something that I would like to explore for 1.09 and 1.1.
Is Rigel Aurelius ever going to have guaranteed weapons and armor stations?
I think that's a great idea (if someone could write a ticket, I would love to handle it in 1.09).
The community is currently divided over the usefulness of the Teraton Fabricator. ... Will you make any adjustments to the fabricator based on input from [the group of players that view it as too powerful], and if you do, what will they be? ... Will you add more hints on how to use the fabricator to help the [group that do not know how to use it]?
I definitely agree that it needs work. Originally, the Teraton fabricator was inspired by Nethack's polypile feature. Basically, a way to transmute an item from one to the other. I added embelishments that I think ended up causing more trouble that they're worth. I don't have a good suggestion for a change, however, but I agree that we need to do something.
There is some interest in getting the musically talented members of the community to make music for the game. Are you willing to support this as a part of the core game in some manner? Could we use the attributes system for music?
That's a very interesting suggestion. This would also be most appropriate for dock screen (a la Star Control). I would love to provide the engine support necessary for something like that, though I'm not sure exactly how it would work. What triggers a change in music? The transition between pieces of music could be a problem also. But conceptually, I like the idea. As I said, I would love to add engine support for it and have people write the appropriate extensions/adventures.
<WillyTheSquid> if someone has an idea of how to set up the music transitions etc., can they contact George? Cause I have been thinking about it
I generally think it is better to discuss it in the forums (and poke me if I don't respond). Once we get consensus on how the feature might work, then a ticket is the best way to get it to happen. I like a public discussion because I can never think of all the ways that it can affect mods. And lots of people have great ideas.
Do you have any plans to add additional sounds into the game?
Not in the near future (simply because of lack of time [and also talent]). But I would love to get more sounds in. I believe there are some packaged sound libraries that I can purchase. I should investigate that.
That sounds interesting! But I'm sure as a community we can likely manufacture sounds as well. Something that might be interesting to look into.
BTW: I should also say that I need to come up with a way to get more community involvement in the shipping game. The registered developer program is one way, but I also want to be able to take submissions from people for sounds, images, etc. I need to work up some very simple legal documents for that, however. [Similar to how other open source projects deal with it.] That's the main blocker right now.
The latest version of Transcendence is currently 1.08k, but the official, stable download version is still 1.01. What's the criteria for you updating the 1.01 on the download screen?
The next stable release will be 1.1. Once that is release, I will update the main web site. At that point also, I hope to have some content on the Multiverse so that people will be able to download free and paid extensions. But I can't 100% predict when that will be. As I said, I want the game to be more accessible to people. And I want to fix most of the little annoyances that it has now.
Is there a chance the beta version can get more publicity? This is one of the biggest confusion points on the game when new people start playing. Many do not realize there are new updates past 2010.
Well, with some of the recent bad builds that I've had, I'm not sure that they would have been better off. But I hope that 1.1 will solve that problem.
Anyway, next question is from Cimanyd, Why are fusion triggers illegal, Lucifer missiles not illegal, and according to the trigger description they're used in Lucifers?
Ah! Good question. My original goal was to have two ways of acquiring Lucifer missiles: legally, via the Military, and illegally via the Black Market. Thus the inconsistency. That's a game design explanation)
In terms of a Transcendence universe explantion, How about this: It is illegal to build your own nuclear missiles (because the contract for building nuclear missiles specifies things like IDs for where you got the material. Moreover, it forces the manufacturer to label the missile in such a way that it can be identified as nuclear. If you have an illegal trigger, you can by pass those controls. Of course, that implies that a missile created with a nuclear trigger should not be "military" (and thus not confiscated). That might be a good change.
<Cimanyd> Why are there superfreighters out past the edge of systems? Are they testing jumpdrives, or are they looking for the Huaramarca stargate?
Well, I'm not sure I have a good answer (other than because that's how the random encounter code words). But perhaps this: Maybe the freighters are trying to figure out what you are doing out there. Perhaps they think that you have found something valuable out there.
<Cimanyd> I was talking about the missions to rescue superfreighters, actually
Oh, those! I always expected that they had engine malfunction and had drifted out to the edge of the system. But maybe it has to do with the Lamplighter...perhaps they are looking for antimatter? I have to think about that.
Are there any plans for support for a colourblind mode/changing HUD colours? There was a ticket written up for a simple colour switch flag.
Yeah, I think that's a great idea. I don't know if I've scheduled the ticket, but it should be for 1.09 or 1.1.
There are a growing number of international players who do not speak english. Are there plans to support internationalization in the menus and gameplay?
Unfortunately, not for 1.1. This is a difficult problem because so much of the text is distributed throughout the XMLs. I would be very difficult, unfortunately, to do.
But it is set for sometime in the future?
What I'd like to do is to (over time) move most or all of the text to the <Language> element of the XMLs. Once that happens then internationalization is a lot easier.
As well as additional fonts to support other languages, or for readability?
Yeah. That's an easier problem once we can separate all the language elements.
Do you currently have any plans for future Oracus Powers, or the option to select Oracus as your "superbeing" at the beginning of the game?
Good question. Perhaps one can play the game as a Penitent. That would be an interesting extension. I don't have any short-term plans. But it fits with some of the ideas that I'm planning for new player ships, etc.
Would this be something that might be supported via an official mod?
Possibly, but I don't want to discourage anyone from working on it now. I will be a while before I could get to it.
Elysium - What will happen here? Will we see this soon? Perhaps a way to jump back to human space?
I would like Elysium to be both a way to travel from place to place but also a mystery in itself. Who built the station there? What was its purpose? In Part II, I think there should be analogues to Elysium.
How do nano weapons work? What about dark matter/energy weapons like the Penitent cannon?
I would like nano weapons to incorporate various nanomachine effects, such as corroding your armor, or mutating your devices, etc. Just like ion weapons have various effects (EMP, blindness), I would like nano weapons to cause various (hopefully interesting) effects.
The top two damage tiers are dark matter/dark energy weapons. In generally I think those are going to be indistinguishable from magic. You'll only get those powers towards the very end of Part II. (at least in their full form. The Penitent weapons are a very limited version.)
Will we ever get a set of stealth armors? What kind of extra UI bits to indicate stealthyness and enemy awareness can you add?
Good question. Stealth armor sort of works now, but I don't think it materially affects the tactical situation. I would like to add some engine changes that make stealth better. For example, the AI should miss much more often if you're using stealth.
What are your current plans for ports to other operating systems - are there plan to make Transcendence play nicer in mono / wine?
I would like to fix various bugs with Transcendence in wine, but I haven't had time lately. I hope that having the sources on GitHub will encourage some people to submit some bug fixes. As for a port, I hope that we can do something similar. Gambit has done a great pass with TransPort (also on GitHub) but we need help.
BTW, I should emphasize: I personally don't think that a port is as important as getting some of the game balance and game usability fixes in. Those are much more likely to increase the size of the community.
What sorts of APIs will 3rd party developers have - such as stats and other information. Will we get a way to generate systems though a web API? "Network Systems" and will there be improvements to Gating system if this happens?
I assume you're talking about APIs on the Multiverse (as opposed to the engine). Most of the APIs will be for querying data. I'm definitely open to request for Multiverse APIs.
QUESTIONS FROM EVERYONE
This is after the channel was opened up for questions from anyone. I tried to include almost every answer from George and, each time, what I think the question was. I've probably missed things or messed up things in here, though.
<FourFire> Will there be more systems in Part II?
<GeorgeMoromisato> FourFire: Yes, definitely more system types
<FourFire> I meant Numerically; will there be more systems in part II than part I
<GeorgeMoromisato> FourFire: Yes, Part II will have over a hundred systems.
<pm912> Will ships continue to use 20 or 40 facings, or will all ships have as many facings to turn smoothly?
<GeorgeMoromisato> pm912: For player ships, I think I will stick with 40. But I want to fix the bug that prevents ships from working with more.
<Amariithynar> GeorgeMoromisato, How often do you look through TRAC tickets? (I'm curious because I have one that's three weeks old that hasn't been acknowledged, and was wondering at the timeframe, considering you're a rather busy fellow)
<GeorgeMoromisato> Amariithynar: I tend to look at critical/blocker tickets first.
<GeorgeMoromisato> I generally check during my bug fixing periods, which have been 1 week per month lately.
<CygnusX1> Please consider strafe thrust keys, or at least three more keybindings that trigger events and I'll make a lateral thrust vector mode for you.
<CygnusX1> this could give us left right and back thrust to start with, but more keybindings could be useful for many things
<GeorgeMoromisato> Cygnus: Agreed.
<pm912> When will we get png support?
<GeorgeMoromisato> pm912: On PNG support, I have it scheduled for 1.1 (I think).
<GeorgeMoromisato> That's probably about right, but I can put it in 1.09, if really needed.
<Avan> Quick question on major versions; is 1.1 now going to be modding stuff & accessibility at the same time, or will we have a relatively fast major version after that which focuses mainly on getting a lot of accessibility things cleared up before proceeding to part II stuff?
<GeorgeMoromisato> Avan: 1.09 will do playability, accessibility, etc.
<GeorgeMoromisato> Avan: 1.1 Will likely be more + any modding requirements for extensions.
<storm366> What are the planned features for the multiverse (aka your vision of Granduer for it)?
<GeorgeMoromisato> @storm366: I want to support official extensions. Also more achievements and badges for players.
<Adran> GeorgeMoromisato: I presume you use your own custom written https server? why .hexm?
<GeorgeMoromisato> Adran: Yes, custom written server. .hexm is my own version of server-side script (like PHP except using TransLisp).
<Cimanyd> GeorgeMoromisato: oh, one more question (but not a very serious one) Which will come first, 1.08z or 1.09? :D
<GeorgeMoromisato> Cimanyd: Heh heh. I hope 1.09 is the next release!
<Adran> I wonder how the https server handles load compared to nginx or such.
<GeorgeMoromisato> Adran: on server load: definitely not as good as nginx (because its not optimized yet) but it uses the same concept (message based)
<Avan> In that case followup: will 1.09 be a major version or still a beta?
<GeorgeMoromisato> Avan: 1.09 will likely still be a beta. 1.1 will be the stable version.
<GeorgeMoromisato> Avan: I'll probably have lots of letter releases for 1.09
<storm366> will there be limits to prices, size(of the mod), etc.?
<GeorgeMoromisato> storm366: I don't know about price limits yet. Still working on that.
<GeorgeMoromisato> storm366: P.s.: Most everyone here will get free stuff, though.
<Adran> GeorgeMoromisato: Thats pretty nice setup there.
<Adran> GeorgeMoromisato: Its running on linux?
<GeorgeMoromisato> Adran: No, running on Windows, but maybe someone will port it to linux someday?
<GeorgeMoromisato> Adran: Will be open source.
<jimj316> GeorgeMoromisato, this is a bit of a fluffy question, why are your other projects (Luminous, Teraton, Neurohack are the ones that come to mind) named after things in T?
<GeorgeMoromisato> jimj316: Hah! Usually I came up with one name and stole it in the other project. With Luminous it was in T first then separate. With Neurohack it was the other way around.
<Cirevam> GeorgeMoromisato, about ships in general: we know that everything in Transcendence is scaled exponentially, but have you ever decided on physical dimensions for some of the ships? Like length/width/height.
<GeorgeMoromisato> Cirevam: Remind me on the forums and I'll post the exponential scale.
<Amariithynar> GeorgeMoromisato, will you ever give definite inner dimensions and other "fluff" information like crew size, number of decks, power usage, etc. for ships to give them a more fleshed out functional history?
<GeorgeMoromisato> Amariithynar: Good question on inner dimensions. I think for the player ships that would be cool.
<StarWeaver> GeorgeMoromisato, We've got an exponential scale for planets, do you also have one for ships/stations?
<GeorgeMoromisato> StarWeaver: Yes, I have one for ships (somewhere). Remind me and I'll post it on the forums (or the wiki).
<FourFire> GeorgeMoromisato : is there any particular reason that the sapphire yacht seems to be the game's "mascot" ?
<GeorgeMoromisato> FourFire: No *good* reason. I think it is the most distinctive of all the ships.
<GeorgeMoromisato> FourFire: Also it came first. Early versions did not have the other player ships.
<Amariithynar> that's another query, GeorgeMoromisato: Will there ever be more official player ships than the EI500, the Sapphire, and the Wolfen?
<GeorgeMoromisato> Amariithynar: Yes--more player ships will be coming. ETA uncertain, however, hopefully early next year.
<The_Shrike> One question I've got, and forgive me if it's been asked before: Why exactly does Charon exist, ingame? It makes little economic and military sense to have a station full of hostiles right next to the commonwealth capital, and while the mission is a great combat experience, it feels somewhat out of place....
<GeorgeMoromisato> The Shrike: Agreed. I think of it as a system in transition. It used to be a regular Comm system, but recently the pirates got too strong.
<pm912> GeorgeMoromisato: Sapphire needs more cash at least. I can sell all of the EI500 cargo and start with MORE cash than Sapphire.
<GeorgeMoromisato> pm912: That's a good suggestion (on more cash). I think it makes sense.
<Avan> GeorgeMoromisato: without regards to specifics, are you open to a complete rework of the mining system?
<GeorgeMoromisato> Avan: Sure. Again, I would like it yo have some sort of challenge (unlike today).
<TVR_> GeorgeMoromisato: What do you think of Komoro Station Adventure? Details: http://neurohack.com/transcendence/foru ... 3ba79dfbdf
<GeorgeMoromisato> TVR: I love the concept! I can't wait to see it running.
<Amariithynar> GeorgeMoromisato, what is your thoughts on the Mining Pack made by WillyTheSquid and TransGeek as a possible inclusion into the official game as a replacement for current mining functions?
<GeorgeMoromisato> Amariithynar: On mining pack: I haven't looked at it closely yet. But I've heard great things about it and I think it could make a good extension for the Multiverse.