Hello again! Like last time, here is a list of what was said on IRC day. If you want to be sure not to miss anything, read this log instead.
If there is no name before a question, Ttech said it (or I accidentally deleted the name), but most of those questions were from the list made beforehand.
These are all in the same order they were in the channel, so the questions might not all match the categories.
First I want to say thanks for all the bug reports on 1.2 betas. They've been very helpful. As you know, I want to increase the size of the community and having a stable build is one of the most important things. We've had lots of changes over the last year and a half, and I'll answer a bunch of questions today about where we're going in the future. But I just want to highlight how much we've done. The community has been great--the number of mods that we have is awesome, and with the Multiverse starting up, I'm very excited by the possibilities in the future.
What are the current development cycles for Anacreon?
Well, as you know, I've mostly been concentrating on Corporate Command for the last few months. I needed to focus on it and I'm really bad at multitasking. Now that CC is almost done, I'll start to focus more on Anacreon. My next goal in Anacreon is to get to add some more non-player empire support. Right now there aren't that many battles because player-v-player is pretty harsh (the loser can really get hurt). So adding more player-vs-NPE will really help. In addition, I want to start adding some more economic features (trading between empires, etc.). In terms of release cycles, I envision going back to a one-per-month update.
Are you still able/planning to do the quarterly time that you were talking about last IRC day - dividing up time between Transcendence and Anacreon?
Over the course of a year, it averages out. But I go in bursts, as I said, just because something the context-switching is too much for me.
I should also say that over the next few months I'm going to start working on marketing. That will take up some time, but it will help to grow the community.
Can you give us some details on the marketing perhaps?
Yeah, I think there are some questions on that later. Basically, now that CC is almost done, I'll start to contact people to get reviews and such. I'm working on a trailer for the game plus a bunch of other marketing materials.
Will we be seeing extensions and mods in the future?
Definitely. The current Alpha release has a core set of units, but I'm planning a paid expansion called "Heavy Industries" which will include additional (though balanced) units. For example, I'm planning a dreadnought class, which should be much larger than a starcruiser, but obviously much more expensive. Also, I plan to add constructions in the core set, and Heavy Industries will likely have additional constructions.
Will there ever be Transcendence / Anacreon crossover(s)?
Good question! I don't know yet. I'm thinking that Anacreon is far in the future of Transcendence. If Transcendence start in the year 2419 or so, I expect Anacreon is tens of thousands of years in the future. But I don't know yet--we'll see how Anacreon progresses.
TRANSCENDENCE - DEVELOPMENT
Are there any updates on the time tables for expansions and part 2?
Good question. A lot depends on how Corporate Command does. If Corporate Command does well, then I might consider making Part II a series of paid expansions. That means I could conceivably get started early next year and release something by middle of 2014. Conversely, if Corporate Command doesn't work that well, I might experiment first with a different expansion.
I should say, I don't know if it makes sense to do Part II paid or not yet. It might or might not.
Any updates on third-party commits and work on the Transcendence engine? License or such?
As you know, the sources are up on GitHub. Some guy committed some changes recently, mostly to get the source to build under Wine. I really like GitHub, and I hope more people will contribute.
Does that mean we are on our way to a *nix compatible version?
Well, I don't know. It will still take a lot of work! We'll see, though, I'm hopefull.
That brings us to our next question, What is the current plans for the bug reporting? Trac, Github, or the forums? Any updates on this.
Yeah, sorry about Trac being offline. We just couldn't support it on the server.
My plan is to build in a bug/support system in the Multiverse. I've already got crash reporting going straight to the Multiverse, and I hope to add a UI for manual reporting also.
So everything will eventually be centralized!
Yeah, definitely. I hope to get something up and running this year.
One more thing.... while we're talking about the Multiverse, I imagine adding things like support for Succession, eventually. Then people could very easily form succession groups.
<Avan> Hey george, I was wondering if/when the stars in the game (the ones in the systems, not the backgrounds) would be rendered to match the rest of the game's art, since at the moment they appear to be made in photoshop (since that is your 2D editor afaik)
Yeah, good question. Actually, what I want to do is add some lens flare. (I'm actually serious) I think adding a bit of lens flare when you get close to a star will add a lot more realism.
<Avan> Ok was just wondering due to the planets being re-rendered lately, and the stars having a different style than everything else.
Yeah, I think with stars, the issue isn't the texture, it's the fact that they are so bright, and I think lens flare will simulate that effect nicely.
What happened to the scores on ships? I looked at the Dwarg master & behemoth and they don't have score= anymore.
Ah, yes. The engine actually computes the score automatically for any ship without a score. Originally, I had to manually add the scores, but that proved to be a pain when ships where changing and such. Now, I tend to remove the score parameter and let the engine compute it.
How does it compute it?
You can use TransData to output the computed score if you want (/shiptable /score). The engine uses a bunch of algorithms, mostly based on the level of your items.
When will we get functions to draw on the galactic map?
There is currently a way to add <Effect> tags on the galactic map. Take a look at how the labels for "Outer Realm" and "New Beyond" are added on the current map. That will likely be the way moving forward.
Will you look at more mission functions in the future?
I'd love to first hear what people are looking for (again, once the bug db is built this will be a lot easier--sorry about that)
You should also know that a mission object is just a normal object (like a ship or station) So many of the obj* functions technically work on missions... ...though not always, which I why I created a parallel set.
Also, I've used missions a lot in Corporate Command and I'm going to go back and redo the core missions. THere's actually a lot you can do already with missions.
Maybe we can get a follow-up on what exactly people are looking for
<Jay2Jay> So what types of missions are you planning to implement? More of the same, or entirely new types?
What I'd like to focus on is more random missions, that is, more missions that are randomly generated based on the current system.... for example, if there is a Sung base, maybe missions get generated dealing with that.
Also, I want to start using missions for reminders... For example, when you go to a Corporate manufacturing plant, it tells you that it's looking for hydrogen or whatever. The player should get the option to get a mission so they remember that they can go back there.
Finally, I want to use missions to advance the main plot. There probably need to be more travel related missions (e.g., "Go over to Point Juno and help them out") to keep players engaged in the core storyline.
(This is from PKodon) Follow up on missions: I'd like to see something like in Wing Commander: Privateer or Protostar, where you join guilds or visit quest givers in bars/restaurants/clubs, get news at stations on things to do, perhaps even patrol missions.
<PKodon> And... Is there some sort of log screen to recall multiple missions.
On the log screen: You can go to the Ship's Status; there is a new command to list your current missions. But there is currently no way to see past missions.
On Wing Command style missions: Yes, I would love that and plan on doing more of that. The nice thing about the mission architecture is that you can add missions without overriding the whole station. It will be possible to add extensions that add missions to, e.g., a Commonwealth Station.
<PKodon> Okay, that's great to hear, as I was hoping that could be done in RPC's network mod.
What does (randomGaussian low mid high)do?
It generates a random number with Gaussian distribution. Mid is the average value. Low and High are...let me look it up (I forget how many standard deviations they are)
Looks like 3 standard deviations. So if you say (randomGaussian 0 50 100) you will get numbers from 0 to 100, but most will be around 50.
What are the different parameters that combatStyle accepts? From existing code, we know there is the default AI, the "chase" parameter, which causes the ship to pursue the target at close range (and seems to mitigate the 40-facings issue somewhat), and the "standoff" parameter, which causes the ship to orbit the target.
Advanced is the new one: It is almost the same as "standard" but with a few differences: If a ship has not been hit for a while, it tries to get closer to its target. If it gets hit, it moves further away. This helps in a few cases: if attacking a slow moving ship, the enemy can get closer. Also, when dealing with the player, this should avoid the problem of chasing an enemy who is out of your alignment angle. The enemy will try to get closer to the player.
What does the manufacturer parameter actually do in the game? Within shipClass, you don't actually see it on the ship select screen when starting a new game.
It really doesn't do anything right now. Sometimes it is used to compose the name, but not always. Also, just because a ship is manufactured by someone doesn't mean that it is not used by others. E.g., UAS manufactures ships for Charon Pirates, but not because they are afiliated, it's just that the pirates buys their ships from them (through surplus, whatever)
<Avan> So recently in 12b1 you had introduced a new HP system for capships, and had buffed stations to be a bit more difficult than before. The new capship system has certainly provided a greater challenge than the old system, and while small and medium sized stations seem more appropriately balanced, what about large stations? These stations represent a significant investment by their owning factions; they wouldnt want to lose them without a real fight. Some would certainly be more difficult than others (likely relating to that faction's strength in the area)
Yeah, I agree. I want to do a couple of things:
One, some stations just need more hit points.
Two, most of the major stations should be decomposed into sections (like St. Kats ring) or like Sung fortresses. Thus you may have to destroy multiple segments to really destroy a stations. This would be my choice for Ares shipyards, e.g.
<Avan> That sounds good - something like the equivalent to the capital ship's new damage system. Though what about the reinforcements they currently bring in? At the moment its more of a trickle of ships from that spawn table, which doesnt make it seem like they are particularly interested in protecting the station, especially once its clear that the station is losing hitpoints left and right. Perhaps as the HP of the station/segement count of the station gets lower they could bring in more reserves? (If that faction possesses reserves)
Good point! I need to fix the engine a little bit. Right now, the reinforcements are triggered whenever the defenders fall below a certain level. But instead, the level should change depending on situation. HP (as you said) or maybe just number of recent attacks.
TRANSCENDENCE - GAMEPLAY
Do you have any plans for the Mikeno destroyer or will it be deprecated?
I really like the model, personally. I'm just not sure where to use it yet. But having it as an easter egg that modders can use is not so bad either. Maybe it should be permanently unused?
<PKodon> Okay. I've been wondering if it will be possible at some time for players and/or modders to have an option to turn off "friendly fire". It is rather annoying to have an omni-directional weapon targeting an enemy, and the ship you are escorting, or your autons, end up getting in between and getting hit, desroyed, or angry at you (same with stations you may be defending).
Good question. Yeah, that should be pretty easy to implement. There is already a bit somewhere to enable it for specific cases; we could add a global bit and a function to set it.
<Datall> Are you planning to release in futhure only paid extensions ?
No. For sure that's my focus right now because I'm trying to get the business going. But I envision lots of free extensions. Moreover, I expect lots of different ways to get extensions. Even paid extensions will be available in contests, as rewards for participating in the community, etc. Also, part of my goal is to get some of the best free extensions to go to the Multiverse (where they can take advantage of auto-updating, etc.)
<Datall> Will we see in new Transcendence versions refreshed interface/hud ?
Good question. Not for 1.2, but yes eventually. One piece of work I need to do is get the HUD to vary across ships. For instance, the Manticore should have radically different HUD, but I haven't done that work yet.
What is the history on the Ice Farm. But I'm not sure what this question was: Will the Ice Farm buy Water Ice?
I always envisioned them as small companies farming on ice. They don't need water--they've got lots of water in the form of ice. They need energy, of course, to melt some of the ice. And they produce Europan ice moss (originally grown on another icy body).
When will ship changing of any kind become official (i.e., in a non-modded game)?
Good question--I'm still trying to decide on that... The big problem is that the balance between the three original starting ships is based somewhat on late game capabilities. If anyone can start in a Wolfen and later switch to a freighter, that might be to optimal strategy. In that case, I would have to either nerf the Wofen for early game or bump up the other two. Or I might have to limit all starting ships--i.e., limit their ability to progress beyond a certain point... which would make ship switching mandatory. I don't know how to solve the design problem completely yet.
Also, if you dump them, can they be locked so those Nomads can't get into them, while you're off fighting, and can they have random loot in them (lots of it) to sell, when you find them initially?
Yeah--good point. You'd have to defend them somehow. But that adds extra complexity. Remember that right now only the current system is running. If the game has to worry about events in other systems, then we need to add more stuff to the engine. Not impossible--just hard work, and possibly not commesurate with the benefit.
Can we put docking ports on player ships for stuff like cargo containers and autons?
Not sure what you mean. Visually?
I think the question would be, dock with a ship and talk to then, or fly along side them
Well you can already dock with ships (e.g., CSCs). And you can already talk with ships via comms. Sorry, not sure what you mean.
I think the question was for general ships that are going by, like cargo freighters and such.
Ah, got it! Thanks. Yeah, that would be great, and with the new comms UI in 1.2, I really want to do that. I think it would be awesome.
Will there be new wingmen on Corporate Command?
Not in Corporate Command, unfortunately. But I would like to add more wingmen to the late game (CSCs, etc.) in core.
George, would you be willing to create moddable volume and music controls for Transcendence? One of my mods still in developemen, is an iPod style device which would play songs loaded from "modules." The main problem with this is that although the song will play, one cannot control the ingame volume. Modable audio functions, selectable from within the game itself, would be of great assistance, and would help to encourage, if not expand, this particular type of mod to other modders.
Yes--I want to support that. Best bet right now is to post in Shipyards (put my name in the topic) and request the exact set of functions that you need. Thank you!
PKodon wanted to get some clarification on the cargo question
<PKodon> Yes, on the docking ports, I had found a derelict cargo ship, was able to cart 3 of those big white crates to a station to sell them.... What I would like to do, though, is be able to possibly 1) find them full of sellable items (they're huge), dock them to the ship for added storage (and transfer cargo to/from the main cargo bay), dock autons to the ship like to a station, till needed.. Oh, and perhaps tractor the entire cargo ship to a Korolov to collect salvage (if my ship/autons are big enough).
Got it. Yeah, that's doable as a mod. You can use the overlay code to attach something to the ship. The big problem, I think, is in game-balance. Not sure how to make that balanced.
Will the Huaramarca be found in the Corporate Command adventure and if so, will the player's status with them carry over from Part 1?
Sort of. Corporate Command is an expansion, so you can't play it stand-alone. All it does is add to Stars of the Pilgrim. So yes, you can find Huaramarca if you have Corporate Command.
Why didn't star carriers get interior? Phobii seem so much more dangerous now
Definitely an oversight. They should definitely get interior. Next beta!
Do the ringers have a homeworld?
I haven't fully developed the Ringers. Their "homeworld" is probably Saturn (its rings) but I suspect there is a large concentration of Ringers somewhere in the Outer Realm. It would be a cool adventure to visit there for some purpose.
Is it possible to have a player ship add shipping containers it might pick up from a derelict (the big white ones), attached to some point on the ship, adding to it's cargo space (and mass), dump them if you get in a firefight and need speed, and access them from a dock screen in-ship (and transfer cargo to/from main cargo bay and shipping container).
As a mod? Yes, that sounds possible. And it sounds cool!
TRANSCENDENCE - GENERAL
Will TransArt be updated to the new add redesigned ships featured in 1.2 and similar? Also TransSaver.
I haven't had time to update those. TransSaver in particular could use an update, so I'll likely work on that, maybe this year. For TransArt, I probably need to do an update with some of the new ships in core (like the new Sotho, etc.) To be honest, though, I'm not sure yet if I'll release the Corporate Command ships as 3D files. Not sure yet.
Will TransSaver support network support so "computers" can play against each other? Electric Sheep like?
That would be awesome! I don't know whether it would be worth the effort right now, unfortunately. I'd rather figure out how to add that to Transcendence.exe for battle arena support or something. No promises, though!
What is planned immediately next for Transcendence and Anacreon following the release of 1.2 and Corporate Command?
Well, that's a great question. Could we do a quick survey? I'm going to name a few topics for the next paid expansion for Transcendence, and I'd like people to vote on their favorite topic. No promises at all, but I'm curious about people's desires...
Note: This was similar to this poll. It's in the log linked at the top of this post, at 21:13.
Can we also get lore curators? (people that contribute to community made content for your approval)
Good question. I've been working with Wolfy/Avan and Atarlost on lore. We've started something called the Expanded Universe, which is a superset of the core game. I hope to expand that with player contributions, etc. Basically, if you're interested in lore, you should ping me or those two and we should figure out how to work together.
How do we get more people to get the game and stay players? Fork of just Arena for mulitplayer? Or advertising? More content?
This gets into some of the marketing issues I was talking about earlier. First, let me say, marketing is very very hard. Most good games fail due to a lack of marketing (bad games fail because they are bad games). So we really need to spend time on this.
One thing I've been looking at is Spelunky's daily challenge.
Imagine this: Every day, there is a save game on the Multiverse that you can download and play. (Basically a randomized version) Everyone is playing the same game and we get to see how different people solve the same problems. E.g., the game might start in a freighter with no targeting ROM. How do people end up finding one. The trick is that the particular saved game only ever appears that one day and its forced permadeath.
I'm not really describing it properly, but on Spelunky it is very popular.
The other way to get more players is just through more exposure in media and sites. I plan on contacting people for reviews, so hopefully we'll get more. Once the trailer is done I want people to start sharing it around.
Another thing I want to do is be more active here in the local (Bay Area) game developer community.
What is the plural of Phobos? (kinda fun question there
Heh! My Greek is terrible--I don't know. "Phobi"? "Phoboses"? It's probably just "Phobos"
Will there be further free extensions for Transcendence (and Anacreon)?
Yes, for sure. I would like more free extensions on the Multiverse. And once the business is running, I'll do a bunch more myself. Short term I also expect some image extensions (like an extension adding more planet images).
And the most important general question - How is your dog?!
Ha! He is as crazy as every. He just went sheep-herding! Wasn't afraid at all!
Yeah! I'll see if I can dig up a picture.
I didn't know such a thing existed out in the Bay Area. But thats pretty cool!
Well, we had to go to Sacramento for it. And we're not likely to do it again, but it was fun once.
Any pictures from the event? (If we might inquire)
I'll see if I can dig some up!
Note: picture in Other Stuff
Also, has your dog eaten any more books?
No, but he's shut down the Anacreon server once.
Any plans for an achievement type system (ie, registered extensions and core game) that could possible award some stuff either on websites (something for your profile) or, why I was asking this: unlock maybe a special gift extension?
Yes! For sure. I would love achievements across games. For instance, you should get an achievement (on the Multiverse) the first time you reach St. Kats. There are lots of possibilities and that's definitely what I want in the Multiverse. And, of course, like other things it will be moddable. You will be able to add your own achievements.
Can we update the http://transcendence.kronosaur.com/explore/index.html so its filled out? Missing stuff-St Kats and such. Community Update day perhaps?
My plan for that is to (again) move it to the Multiverse. I want to hook up TransData to the multiverse so we can auto generate stats on every ship, station, sovereign, etc. Since it will come straight from the TDBs, it will be easier to keep up to date. And it will work with other extensions. We'll have to add extra fields (for larger images, descriptions, etc.) But I'd rather add that to the TDBs than have a separate place.
PKodon suggested this Get Transcendence as a Free to Play game, and get Steam Achievements for getting to St. Katherines, or saving the Ares, or something.
Yeah, I think that's a great idea!
OTHER STUFF (AFTERWARDS)
<GeorgeMoromisato> FYI: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hkbn8jpavyi0lqa/P1060591.jpg
<Avan_NewLaptop> GeorgeMoromisato: any plans on reworking mining soon?
<GeorgeMoromisato> I'd rather get a really good (free) mining extension up on the Multiverse first.
<Avan_NewLaptop> GeorgeMoromisato: Also any plans to improve stations with only marginal interaction or none at all? (CW residentials, centuari occupations)
<Avan_NewLaptop> I remember doing a quick modification to the latter that allowed them to vend some basic items, and I think gave them basic refueling too
<GeorgeMoromisato> I'd like to add more missions to them. At minimum I want to add mission hooks so that if anyone else creates missions you can access them from there.
<PKodon> GeorgeMoromisato: Oh, that reminds me, are all the star systems being generated at game start, now, or is it still somewhat random what you'll get when you go through a new stargate?
<GeorgeMoromisato> All the systems are generated on game start.
This is a sub forum for all past IRC Days and events!
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- Fleet Admiral
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