Dual Universe Wiki:Archive/DU Explorers Interview (Sep 17, 2016)

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Dual Universe Explorers - Live Q&A w/ JC Baillie - Novaquark CEO || 09/17/2016

Original Interview by DUExplorers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9Y0YmqGYDM). Transcribed and Edited by Right Big Toe.

Roadmap to Alpha[edit source]

What is the current goal for the roadmap, and what requirements do you have to complete before releasing the alpha?

So there is actually several levels, what we hope to achieve for the initial release, which is basically what is in the Kickstarter.  I am not going to list all of those things, it is on the Kickstarter page, but that is what we are aiming for.  Then the question is what are we going to squeeze into the alpha, which is set to be in the first half of 2017.  I don’t want to give a precise date because it would put pressure on us, while what we want to do is put enough things in the alpha so we can have both something that is substantial in terms of fun, so that it makes sense, gameplay that works, but also that has some of the things that we want to test because they are complicated and not easy to predict how they will react through the actions of the players.  What should be in the alpha because otherwise it wouldn’t make sense, considering what kind of game we are making is building, probably not with all of the features you could dream of for building, but the necessary basis so that you can build stuffs. There should be also way for people also gather materials, so there will be mining, probably a form of scanning that allows people to locate the materials.  So that’s the core thing, you gather materials and you build things. You need also the ability to craft, but we may be able to bypass this by implementing markets so that you can basically buy what you cannot yet craft from bots, NPCs, that would sell them. So that’s, the basis, so once you’ve made a ship for example or anything that you find nice, then you should be able to make a blueprint, we’ve already prototype… implemented that already, so that Im pretty confident that can go into the alpha.  So you can make a blueprint and produce what is in that blueprint through a factory.  So that we can start to see the dynamics of the market, the user generated content, something that is very important is that when people mention user generation content.  Usually they hear the phrase and are rightly afraid that the content will not be of very high quality overall, and the right answer to that is the market that so that you have the best things get sold in the quantity, so that the market sets out what is the best, what people like, because it sells.  Because it sells, people will make more copies of it.  Bit like an evolutionary dynamics, like you have in evolutionary biology, you have evolution, mutation, and selection.  So this is a very powerful mechanism to create powerful things, so complex constructs, complex ships, beautiful things. So we want to test that, and we think this will be the minimal thing you have in the Alpha.  So then, if we have time, we might actually have a bit of combat, territory, and things like that.  So this is certainly not guaranteed for the alpha.  We’ll what we can.

Balloon Ships[edit source]

What happened to the balloon ships from the lore and early dev blog? Are there still plans to have them?

This is a very nice idea actually, and you know what happened is that we stopped talking about it because we were focused on space ships, because when you want to talk about a game like that, you want to talk about spaceships.  That’s the thing that attracts the most attention, and it simply was out of scope at some point.  But I think this feature is not technically a big challenge to implement and I think it makes a lot of sense, because you know it’s a sort of intermediary between hovercraft and spaceship, an atmospheric ship.  Which is basically an airplane in a sense.  So that will be very interesting low-tech {unintelligible} thing that we will try and squeeze in.  The way it will try to be done has not been set.  One idea is that you will have certain tech material that maybe will power it that will actually exert force towards.  So that it will not be a gas, because this is not something you can do easily with voxels, but it will be like a solid sort of floating thing that you can put on your construct.  There will be obviously limits because we don’t want huge things that bypass all of the other tech we have in mind for large structures floating, like the anti-gravity unit and things we have in mind for the long-term features.  So it’s not going to go probably not in the release so I think this can actually be done, it’s a pretty good idea, so we didn’t talk about it anymore because well it went out of scope basically.

Water Dynamics[edit source]

(08:47) Will we be able to build under the water, and will we be able to pump out water, out of this area, or out of constructs for that matter?

That one, we have not put any thought into. It makes sense, we totally understand out of interests for gameplay, but this is not something that we have given any thought.  There are perhaps three types, three levels of idea:  the core, we are sure we are going to do them, we have a very good idea about how we are going to do them, I can speak about them easily.  Usually they are going to be more or less in the release.  There is the intermediary sort of features, which are no so well defined, that will probably not going to make it to the release that will probably not make it to the release, but will make it to the expansions, because we are going to do expansions.  Free expansions, people are asking sometimes, because everybody has to play with the same client, it’s a single-shared universe, having game extensions in a single-shared universe just doesn’t make sense.  So you will have expansions that will actually add more functionalities to the game.  A particular example is stargates which will most likely not be in the release but will come in an expansions, maybe 6 months – 1 year from the release of the game. That being said, this is the second category of features.  I like to talk about them, but its more about the game vision, but I would not like people to think that they will be in the release and be disappointed, but it’s very important for us to communicate clearly on that.  Oh yea it’s a good idea, I never thought about that, maybe I have an idea of how we perhaps would implement it, okay this is not in the roadmap, I can’t make any promise of any kind.  I think building underwater is this kind of thing.  I could you know improvise on how we could do this, and it would be very good ideas I think, but it’s not in the roadmap and it’s not real defining for the game, okay if you cannot do that it will not break the game. We cannot do everything so this is a very good candidate for a feature postponing so that we can concentrate on the core things that will make this game what it is.  So I would probably say the same kind of thing for other features that you will ask that are kind of cool, but we don’t have anything in the roadmap for them so far.

Weather[edit source]

(11:34) Will there be weather in Dual Universe? Will it be dynamic? Will weather affect players and constructs in any way?

Exactly same answer as before, it’s not in the roadmap, it’s a cool idea, I could elaborate on many ways we could do that.  It’s obviously not completely easy as you have a real planet so suppose we have a hurricane or rain somewhere, you should see the clouds matching that if you are in space.  I think otherwise it breaks the immersion.  So it’s not as easy as in a single-player game or things like that where you just have a graphical effect with rain falling in front of you, it’s more complicated because you are assimilating a universe.  So good idea, interesting, one day we will look into this probably because yes, there could be effects on the players and constructs and we could also have effects on, I don’t know, solar panels and you could imagine this could effects the efficiencies and so on.  We could go into a discussion on that, but it’s not in the roadmap.

Sorry to disappoint, but the thing is what I’m saying is that we are realistic, and we are already crazy ambitious in fact, so we have to make some choices and that’s a good thing, and that’s how well have a chance to actually do it right? If I would say yes, yes, yes to everything, then that would turn out very bad.  And we know what happens with {unintelligible} and we don’t want to go that way.  We are already ambitious enough that people are very… with doubt about what we claim and we perfectly understand that.  So we are ambitious, we have a lot of good things already in the pipe so we are going to say no to a few things, at least for the moment.  Keeping in mind, its an MMO and there’s a future to it fully, and we will add more and more things.

We are also going to listen to the community, if there is a massive demand for the feature, it will obviously go to higher on the priority and we will talk with the community and it will go to an expansion sooner.  If there is just a few players who mention it from time to time, if we like it, personally I like it, we may do it.  But you know we will adjust priority based on what people want and makes sense

Life Support[edit source]

(14:45) What are some ways you may attempt to tackle the issue of air inside ships, and the lack of air outside them? Will we be able to walk in our ships without masks?

It’s a bit the same kind of answer again, but it turns out I’ve thought about it so I can say a few things about how we may implement it one day.  Not for release most likely.  It cannot be, I don’t see any easy way to do it in a realistic way so that you will look for leaks in a closed structure.  And a simulation of air flowing out of it.  For one reason, is the size of the structure we are talking about is in principle unbounded.  So we may have to check for huge structures I mean volumes that are larger like this space station we are showing in our videos.  Every time somebody is removing a piece of voxel, we would have to check for how the whole is actually preserved, or if there is some hole actually in the structure.  So, I think this would be incredibly {unintelligible} so I don’t think we could do that.  Elements that creates a bubble of air I mean a sort of area where air is there, so as long as you are inside this bubble you are fine, then you could get this element destroyed that would create areas where you need to wear a mask for example. That needs some consumable so it is a pain that you have to manage so you would prefer to have this system working, so we can do things like that I imagine.  But I think something realistic that would actually calculate the connectixity of volumes that is probably too expensive and the same goes by the way for connectixity of voxels you would break into two parts, like a huge mountain that you slice off a planet, would it fall? No we would have to constantly calculate connectixity, things that would float like in minecraft if you cut them off the ground, and that’s okay. We break some rules of physics, but its necessary for the game to be something that we can limit.

Application Program Interface (API)[edit source]

(17:33) Will Novaquark be providing API for developers to develop third-party applications using the life game data, and might our LUA be able to providing information for that API?

Okay well that’s an excellent idea, and I think that’s also what EVE Online is doing, and I think it is brilliant.  Will we have time to do this for the release, I’m not sure, but definitely this is something we will want to do, because people will create a lot of apps and software that will be usable by players outside of the game.  I think it’s a pretty good idea.  So we’ll try to implement that, whether it will be connected to LUA I have no idea, it’s always a question of server load and things like that, so I did not think enough of this feature to tell you, but it could be.  You might find interesting LUA also as you know is as something that is going to run on your machine so you need to be logged in and near the control unit that has the lua script.  So if you want something that is basically available for anybody on the internet, your computer would become, if its LUA, some kind of server and you would need to be connected all the time.  I’m not sure, this is not clear.  But the idea of an API is a good idea, we will implement it at some time.

Rare Items[edit source]

(19:30) Will there be items in the game so rare that perhaps only a handful of people have, such as discovered items, perhaps elements, something of that nature?

I don’t think we will do something like that, there’s definitely nothing planned for that.  My concern will always be to break the balance of the games where few people have an advantage over overs.  It could be perhaps a way to actually give you access to certain type of technology through certain type of exploration that will actually let you unlock certain blueprints, for example.  But it will be available for whoever is spending the necessary time to explore.  It will be another way to gain access to these kind of rare blueprints, as opposed to getting them from the markets from NPCs or Bots for example.  So there will be more instead of buying them you can find them.  Of course people will sell them but they will be very expensive I suppose, because they will be rare.  But I think one design principle is player equality, everything should in some way be available to every player, if you make one rare item you break that.  I don’t know every possible games, but maybe some game has made this in a great way and I am unaware of it, so let me know, and probably discuss about that at some point sometime later, but my opinion on that is player equality or equity, they are treated the same.

In-Game Holidays[edit source]

(21:40) Will there be in-game holidays, like how World of Warcraft celebrates Halloween and Christmas in the game?

No, I don’t think so for one simple reason. There’s also the principle I would like to enforce, is that I want dual universe to be completely disconnected from the real world.  A sort of parallel alternate reality that has no connection whatsoever with the real world. Of course people will talk about things about the real world, you can chat whatever you want, but we are not going to inject elements from the real world.  That will be one of the, what is your Halloween doing in dual universe? It doesn’t make sense.  We want to create a universe where you can live a different life, and we don’t want any interference from the real world.  Real money, things like that, everything is shielded from the real world, like advertisement, some people are afraid of things like that, that will be you know absurd because there is no Coca-Cola in dual universe, so even though you might say this comes from human culture, but its 500 years from now that people escaped the earth.  Our culture is very different and on top of that 10,000 years after cryosleep people basically lost even memory and things like that.  So I don’t think this would make any sense from the back story as well.

Voxel Detail[edit source]

(23:30) What is the smallest level of detail that we will be able to make smooth surfaces, like large rounded or smooth wings, or will everything be blocks and spheres?

You can actually make smooth surfaces, that’s the really cool thing about voxel technology we use.  The voxel technology we use is called dual-contouring, it has nothing to do with the name of the game, it just happens to be called dual-contouring because it is reality to the concept of duality in mathematics.  This will allow players to have smooth surfaces and not only cubes and spheres and shapes like that with the limit being resolution so you are asking what is the smallest level of detail that is going to be 25cm on player-made constructs, and 1m on the planets.  At least these are the values we are comfortable with in terms of the load.  It may change if we have performance issues and things like that.  It’s already very good, 25cm is very nice and we’re going to release at some point a video explaining technology and well explaining its not going to be a course, but it’s going to give some hints on how this is actually implemented and to give you an idea I think a game like everquest landmark is using the same algorithms, the same approach.  Which is a classical thing, I mean its {unintelligible} something that works very well.  And it has the property that you can have both smooth surfaces and sharp angles, which some other voxel technologies cannot handle for sharp edges, marching cube, for example, that does only smooth stuff, it cannot have sharp like cubes as easily.  So short answer, yes, you can have smooth things, you can really sculpt.  We will have to develop some dedicated tools for people to smooth things and you know have to really be like a sculptor, tools that will not be all implemented at start, you will have some of them, but we will keep developing more and more possibilities to do basically what you want in terms of shapes.

Narrative Influences[edit source]

(26:10) What are some of the narrative influences that you have for Dual Universe, such as books, movies, other media? I know that you are basing it a lot off of EVE and other games such as that, but what other types?

Yea well in terms of games, EVE and minecraft to name those two games.  I think you know, both are fantastic games and they both have sort of weak point in a sense.  In EVE, all of the content you are going to see, I’m not talking about the social content which is of course provided by the community, but the ships that you encounter is more or less the same and made by the people at CCP.  So there is no sense of real surprise, which is not a limit of the game, it’s a game with so many other aspects, and you can play without that aspect, but for me I wanted to be able to see things that covers some system that covers space station that is completely different from something I have ever seen.  I got that of course in Minecraft that I could make anything I want, I could visit servers to see things about be surprised, but it was not an MMO.  In the proper sense, a single-shard like everything EVE is actually.  So what we are trying to do is combine these two ideas, make more, more possibilities from Minecraft using the technology we described getting rid of the queues and the things.  In terms of books and movies, in the team we are all big fans of sci-fi, I could say a lot of things, personally I like very much, Bladerunner, 2001, but saying this has a direct influence on Dual Universe is a bit of a stretch.  In terms of book, I read one that was pretty good called Ready Player One, I think some of you might know it.  Which is very nice, and I think maybe some of the ideas are shared between this book and what we are doing.  I am a big fan of someone who is not so well known, Greg Egan and this guy is doing hard science, and I think this guy is making amazing things about virtual realities and simulated environments and he is creating amazing novels in that kind of settings.  He is pushing the limits on the science side, trying to look at the science and making it realistic, and I like that, you know my background in science, so I guess this explains it.  I think in Dual Universe we would like to have a fairly realistic world, within limits, like how I said before where things are going to float, if you cut apart from the ground it will still float, and things like that.  Also there will be some things that don’t make sense from a scientific point-of-view, and we put those things in place for gameplay, and of course gameplay is priority over physics and dynamics, but I think I like this idea.  Of trying to be as close as possible to science so that you could believe in it somehow, and it can inspire you, and at some point you think ah, maybe, this could be true, this is going to be like that.  I really like that, so these are the influences, some of them.

(Interviewer) Awesome, so I heard… did you play vanilla minecraft or did you play modded minecraft or both?

Both, in the modded minecraft I played something called industrial-craft and I think this is really cool, and we will probably, and again maybe not at release but in the long term view, I would like to have something that is fairly complex on the industrial side so you can have chemistry, refining, intermediary machines you need to build.  So you need… building an industrial  {?} chain would be  {?} extremely inspiring. Again, probably not in the release of the game, I’m saying that all the time but we have to be clear, but this is the kind of things we like.  And I like a lot.

Fan Fiction Guidelines[edit source]

(31:30) There was a mention of fan fiction guidelines being released, when might we seem of them surface?

I would it to be sooner, but it’s a lot of work, and we simply did not have time to go this way so far.  We will do this because we would like to give you basic guidelines so people can go and create stories.  We have already done a bit of it, there is a short story by Alan Demazio show you all the credit.  Some of the things in this short story are going a bit away from the main axis of the game, the differences, it’s the creativity of Alan {?} that is speaking there. But we would like to actually make some guidelines yes, so that we would have more creative people to the ever backstory or imagining things could happen.  It takes time if you would like to do it properly.  Right now we are in the kickstarter and everything and I would like to be involved in this, and everything that involves me gets delayed all the time because I’m doing so many things.  So this is one of those things that I would love to make… advanced a bit faster, but so far we don’t have it.  We should have it at some point, I will let you know.  As soon as we can work on that  {?} we can then read something good and start to have fan fictions.

Acquiring New Blueprints[edit source]

(33:15) Will we unlock new elements, blueprints by simply acquiring the right skills or will all new blueprints be discovered by some yet to be discussed means?

As I’ve studied this are a bit before, for elements… the proper term probably be schema, a construct has a blueprint, an element has a schema, about how you acquire schemas is through the markets, probably through NPCs who will sell them to you.  You will need a certain skill to be able to run them and use them. We actually may have, as I hinted, we may have  {?} where schemas that are obtained in a different way so it gives motivations for explorers  {?} will be part of the many things explorers can actually discover through a mechanism we have yet to decide.  There is a creative and very nice idea from  {?} and his novel, that while you are interacting with some kind of forms that involves music and sound  {?}. But, whether this can be implemented at the beginning, I don’t think so, we will stick with simple NPCs to start with and we will probably implement this extra new way to acquire certain types of schemas later on.

Territory Trespassing[edit source]

(35:50) How will trespassers be treated? Can you stop anyone from entering your territory or are they just flagged? I know that in one of the blog posts you actually mention that you can stop people from going into your territory with RDMS, I believe that it was, how will that system work?

Probably miscommunication from me, I don’t think you can stop people from entering.  You will basically be able to lock people in sorts of jails with having territories all around them that will not let them go.  I think the proper way, we’ve been thinking about that, and we think the proper way is to cross the border but they get flagged, and because they are flagged they might be fired upon, that is basically this kind of mechanic. That’s I think the proper way to do that.  If you want to prevent people from entering a certain area, that could be part of your construct, castle or whatever, probably the right way to do this is a sort of protection bubble that would actually physically prevent people from entering, but this thing could be broken.  It’s an aggression, its deliberate, its not easy to do, and so on and so on.  So that’s the state of thinking at the moment that you will be able to free to actually enter areas where you’re not welcome.  Of course you will be notified that while you are doing something you should not do, so if you do it by accident.  So you have time to react and step out, but that’s the  {?}.  I think that’s the proper way to handle that.

(Interviewer) Yea I was a little bit confused about that

Yea, otherwise, how do you actually conquer territory if it’s about disabling the territory unit or hacking it… how do you do this if you cannot just approach it. So this will create also sort of indestructible barriers so it’s like absolute shield.  So that will be too easy and will break a lot of things.

Claiming Safe Zone Territory[edit source]

(38:20) Can we claim land around the arkship within the safe zone? Will there be a land rush at launch for that territory?

Hmm okay, I think that the land rush will probably happen but we will limit it by the fact that its very very hard to actually get the territory unit.  So it’s not like you could get 10 territory units in 20 minutes of playtime and go and just collect your territories.  So it would be something very expensive, so once you have one you think carefully about using it.  So there will be, perhaps, in more interesting areas.  It will not be within the safe zone.  You’re talking within the safe zone.  Within the safe zone there will not be any valuable ore or  {?}.  Perhaps nothing at all, just stupid rocks, things so people don’t actually have a reason to start mining it.  So the reason why you would like to save a territory in the safe zone to actually create a sort of area for your friends so you can control who is allowed to build and you know, a little of the policy of how things will look inside this area. And if you think about the size of the safe zone, the idea we have at the moment is 20km and the area that this represents is 1000km2 basically, roughly, 1000 territory tiles, so that’s a lot already, and in the long run, so I don’t know when this is going to be implemented again, the vision is that you can trade territories, so there will be a real estate market where some, perhaps, powerful organizations will want to have that tile within the safe zone of the arkship to show their might.  So your territory will start be very very expensive and an asset you really want to sell because you don’t really care about it yourself.  I think the long term dynamics is probably this territory will be occupied by powerful organizations who want to have them to help them recruit and welcome newcomers.  That’s the dynamic I imagine, but it could be completely different than that, it’s difficult to imagine this complex  {?} but that’s what I imagine.  So yea that’s, I think you will be able to secure territories within the safe zones, it will not give you an advantage in terms of resources, and there will be a lot of them, and it will be very hard to make a territory unit anyways.  It’s not like a player in one evening will be able to cover the area, that’s not going to happen.

Extra-Terrestrial Territory[edit source]

(41:30) Will there be territory in space, perhaps borders, beacons, notified of someone crossing?

We are sort of the stage of the feature that is something we discuss at coffee but we don’t have any defined plan at the moment. The way it could be implemented in my view is it should be you have territories on the planets.  After a certain amount of territories acquired by a certain organizations, could be an alliance or organizations… at some point if you cover a certain percentage of the planet, than this planet overall becomes an administrative territory or the {?} property of this organization, while of course all of the other territories secured on it remain under control.  So there is a several level system.  So it will be like this planet globally to organization X or Y and then a certain space around the planet will also be considered managed by this organization, and then you can have several planets that are owned by this organization and then you have  {?} that this system belongs to this organization.  This kind of idea is sort of not micromanage of space areas where it gets complicated to visualize… this system is very difficult to set up so we are far from… everything I said might change completely, maybe I did not know something very problematic, the way this also threshold should be handled is a mechanism  {?} that for example if it’s at 70% you need 70% to get it, but if you go below 70% you don’t lose it immediately, but if you go below 60% you don’t lose it immediately  {?} so you don’t have a constant switch of owners for example of a planet.  And we need to precise more how things are happening, for people on this planet that are nothing to do with the organization x that happens to be on a planet that is globally controlled by x.  How would we handle that politically, these are the questions that  {?}.  I don’t think it would be a good idea to have micromanage volumes in space that people would have to claim and things like that.  I think that the core system will be the territory on the planets or territory units, and from there we will try to expand to make sense of ownership of space in general, and we can  {?} larger scale, in larger scale.  These are discussions, there is nothing said, of course we will have to handle that in the long run.  That’s another way to answer that, I think we will need to have some kind of galactic scale power map.

(Interviewer) Yea, we’re not going to be getting into space immediately anyways so

That’s exactly it, to make it clear, the vision we have for release is that people will start to first build the first… {unintelligible} and then from there, they will start to unlock technologies to go at a faster than light so warping to other planets so they will start to explore the solar system and only when we release the expansion that gets the stargate than we start to explore more and more solar system if you want and then the galaxy will be discovered probably. So this is going to be a long process and we want it that way, {?} the exploration is meaningful and an achievement and difficult and incredible success achievement and feeling to unlock a stargate to a new system to say we have been to where nobody has gone yet.  This kind of idea… this is very different from what other games do where you have immediate access to everything.  That is fine for a single player game I suppose but when you plan on making a game like Dual universe that is meant to last for many years if everything goes as we hope, I think it’s very important that you have this sense of progression and achievement and phased conquest basically. So yea, stargates and politics of control of the galaxy, these are things that will come later because of that. And also because we cannot implement everything in the first  {?} this is also way for us to control and stage the development of the game.

Potential for Community Council[edit source]

(46:50) Has Novaquark considered something similar to the Council of Stellar Management from EVE Online or any other player organizations like that?

I think it’s a good idea, that I did not follow myself what happens with CSM in EVE whether it gets positive feedback from the community or not.  Would you say it is a success on your side?

(Interviewer) Oh yea, most certainly.  In recent years their influence has been dwindling, but I think it definitely gets the community involved behind something.

That’s what I like, as you’ve seen we are very interested in getting the feedback from the community.  We’ve tried to open as many doors as possible for this to happen. Along that line, something like the CSM makes a lot of sense.  I would say yes, why not.  This is a pretty good idea.  We would have to look about how it’s happening in EVE to learn from the things that work, the things that work well.  It has to representative of the players, that’s the challenge I suppose. Some players are silent but they are maturity so how would they get the proper representation so that their ideas and interests are represented.  I think this is the tricky part.  We may come up with something completely different that involves some kind of website or community website, I don’t know.  But getting the feedback of the community is the most important thing for us, and for me.  We want to interact with you guys.

Automated Turrets[edit source]

(49:00) Will there be a way to automate turrets for security and area denial, and if so, will we have a way to mark players as hostiles so the turrets can engage them on site?

Okay so there are two questions… can we make players, yes.  And that’s will be very important, I think you can actually have tags associated to any player, and that’s also one of the way the rights & duties management system will decide  {?} the system will decide whether you have the right to do certain things with certain elements or certain assets in the game.  That part of the answer is definitely yes.  Whether we will have automated turrets, most likely not at start. The real question we have to solve, and maybe there is no good solution for that, is to make sure that there’s always a huge advantage to having humans doing things in the game, otherwise you turn the game into an automated game with bots everywhere. {?} because why would you play  {?}  So that applies to mining and that applies to combat.  So could we actually do something like you could automate turrets but they are maybe 10x less efficient than whatever the average human could do.  Would that be sufficient so that you have a large ship… you have a choice between all these turrets automated or having actual people handling them, and then you will obviously want to have the people because the automated turrets will be so inefficient, because you will need 10x more, and cost 10x, and 10x more ammunition, so you will be 10x less efficient that humans  {?}  is that something that stands?  These are difficult questions, because maybe some organization will become so powerful, they will not really care about the cost of ammunition, they won’t care about anything, they will automate anyway. That is not clear, this is a complex issue I think.  We want that player activities are always meaningful, that even the small thing that maybe would be good for a beginner who enters the game actually remains interesting and meaningful for these kind of players so that they have something to start with in the game.  A good example is mining, like if we automate mining who’s going to mine? It’s going to be so inefficient for  {?}. You  {?} this simply activity for newcomers who’d like to make a little money. That is my answer, I don’t know if we could actually automate, it would be nice to have automated defense around your castle so whoever approaches you is not welcome could get fired at, by how could we prevent… escalate this to automate combat completely in the game, that’s the challenge.  It’s not going to be something we tackle at release.  We have time to keep discussing about that, and begin to  {?} the side-effects of these kinds of decisions.

Player Identification[edit source]

(53:19) Will players have their names above them or will they have... or would you have to interact with them in order to have them identified to you?

The way it is done at the moment, they have their name above their head, but it’s possible you can add visual information to their tags… so you can actually get quick information about who is there.  We might have something that scrambles it so you have to have a descrambler  {?} its not clear its interesting, the thing is anonymity  {?} so if you let people be completely anonymous it might actually turn everybody into a pirate, and it’s better to be transparent in that aspect. At the moment anyway, the plan is to have the names, yes.

Player Banks[edit source]

(54:23) Will there be player-banks where players can store money in a physical location, like cargo, or will money be purely digital?

Money is purely digital and we hope to implement at some point the game mechanic where people can create banks. {?} so we may need to implement particular mechanics, so this might come in an expansion at some point, so yea.  Money is completely immaterial, you cannot lose your money if you are killed for example. Short answer.

Market Terminal Details[edit source]

(55:15) What features will we have with market terminals? Will we own them? Will we be able to set taxes on transactions?

Yes. That’s a clear yes, that’s the way markets will compete against each other.  And in like EVE Online, markets are not a given, they are player made.  So, you can imagine that a lot of markets created around the arkship to start with and compete with each other.  Either by specialization or the fees, we might actually allow to set fees or in a different way, depending on the volume, or the volume in terms of amount of money, so you might differentiate your market on that line.  We want to have competition if possible within the markets, and of course markets should be a profitable business for whoever is operating it, because it will be costly requiring containers and energy, and of course protection modules, I mean if it’s not in the safe zone and it will actually be a costly activity and fees will be the way people pay for it.  And because they are competiting you will not have those absurd fees that will be too high for example so that’s the way I  {?} the markets themselves will work with the mechanism of buy orders and sell orders very similar to EVE Online, so that you can actually sell something ??? or buy order of something {?} and compete with other people  {?} So this gets a bit complicated to explain, but the thing is markets should be realistic for people who don’t care about that, you can just go to the market and say instant sell or instant buy, you can get the best offer from the sell and buy orders.  It will be very simple for people who don’t care about anything like that.  But for people who care about the economy side they will be able to  {?} the markets in a fun and exciting way.

I could talk a lot about that, but we said we would make short questions, but… There is the particular way you access physically the markets, how you are going to be able to put whatever you are going to sell inside the market’s container, so we might make a dev blog about that where we can give more information… mechanics… we have to think, basically the challenge here is if your market is very successful you can have a bottleneck, you have to be able to spread access points.  You need to have some console or something that is remote access to your market within the construct that is hosting the market unit.

Billboards[edit source]

(59:13) Will we be able to have lit or animated billboards?

Yea, that makes a lot of sense for people to advertise so, Yes.  What we are going to be able to make for the release, I don’t have a clear plan on that. At minimum it should be possible that you have a screen, what we call screen units, on which you can write text. That’s an easy one.  It can of course be LUA scripted so it could be interesting things going on there.  The problem is with a billboard, if the content of this billboard could be anything. Basically talking about broadcasting a video too potentially, I don’t know, thousands of people who are happening to be nearby and watching it.  So it’s not easy technology, it’s not impossible either, but it’s not something we can just say, yea yea we are going to do it next week.  One easy thing is just text, because it will be just like a chat, or something  {?} you can display things.  There will be also elements that you can light, so that you can switch on and off, and there will be limitations on that as well, because we cannot have, again for the server, you cannot have LUA scripting tens of thousands of lights real time all the time, and all this is broadcasting through the servers to all of the people watching, 1000 people watching the screen.  {?} at least not with the current state of technology.  We will have to put limitations on the numbers of things you can send to the server per minute or per second, and/or the number of elements you can have in a certain area.  I am just letting you know that there will be some constraints. {?} that will limit the extreme cases that you could imagine too, because of practical server limitations.

Broadcasting[edit source]

(1:01:40) Will we be able to broadcast to other players, perhaps through a global audio stream, radio station, or in-game video stream? Or in my case maybe a hologram?

I think it’s a bit like what I just said before, if you broadcast image it’s not a completely easy technology, so we don’t have anything planned for that clearly in the short-term.  Now there are also some companies providing technologies in-game, so we might actually be able to contract these companies and get this kind of technologies into the game.  This has not been investigated yet, but I think it would add a lot of immersion, quality of the immersion would be better, I’m talking about listening to people around you speaking.  Also talking about having an image of yourself broadcasted to others, these are different things right, so at least on the side of hearing people who are nearby you, I am pretty sure we could probably get this at some point in the game through third party technology.  And for the rest, we need to think on.  So, I don’t know.

Hailing Other Spaceships[edit source]

(1:03:10) Will we be able to hail other players on other ships similar to Star Trek?

there will be a way for different constructs to communicate with eachother, at minimum with the chat, the chat  {?} that’s obvious, you need that.  You need to be able to talk to people, before you shoot at each other, so that’s for sure.  Will we have some kind of big screen that would be super nice for immersion, I don’t know  {?} technology questions that I already mentioned before about transmitting images in real-time between a potentially unlimited number of players, both outside the transmission channel.  I cant promise that, at least not in there short-term.  It definitely is cool and it would be nice to have, but we need to think about it properly.

Blueprint Details[edit source]

(1:04:30) What will blueprints look like? Will it tell us details about the resources needed in the blueprint, kind of like it does in EVE? Is it a physical item that can be stored and stolen? Will there be any way to protect our blueprints from being stolen?

Okay, so yes, yes, yes.  The blueprints are physical items, you will be able to actually display the materials that are required for them.  {?} need to know what is required to operate it.  We may if we have time, add a preview, sort of a 3D view of what is the blueprint about.  We will see if we have time to do this, but yes, definitely the materials and things that are important will be displayed.  And, protecting your blueprints, there is no, it is something that somebody can steal from you, so you have to be very careful.  In blueprints, you can have, like in EVE Online, master blueprints, that are the source of every copy you can make, and copy blueprints with a limited set of runs.  That you can actually do them in series and sell on the markets.  So moving around with your master blueprint in your pocket is a very dangerous  {?}. You could lose it, be killed, it could be stolen.  {?} Even if all of your constructs are destroyed  {?} you can have these things called snapshots, that will allow you to rebuild your constructs, just your constructs, that will allow you to rebuild  {?} if it is destroyed.  It is never the end of the wall, but getting your master blueprint stolen is something you don’t want to happen.  It’s something that you have to be responsible, if there is something you have to hide it or protect it, or make sure nobody knows it exists, things like that. So, this is the answer, there will be a lot of things to say to that, blueprints are going to be used in factories that are basically factory units that come with containers and you can actually sort of a slot where you can insert your blueprint, things like that. We could talk a lot about this aspect of the game, the blueprint factory thing, but I think it will have several  {?}

Interesting thing also is that you can have specialization between people having blueprints, you can be good at designing stuff, but they don’t know how to mass produce them.  They don’t have the infrastructure or the logistics of people to provide them with the materials.  So those people just sell blueprint copies, and some of the guys just buy them, they don’t know how to design things, but they know how to produce them.  {?}This is very exciting to have this idea of specialization between players.

Stellar Anomalies[edit source]

(1:08:20) Are there going to be stellar anomalies, like solar flares and wormholes?

Nothing is planned in the short-term, so again this could be something that comes in an expansion, really huge demand from the community.  We need to figure out what would be the gameplay meaning of that.  If it is just cosmetic or {?}.  So we don’t have any thought for that.  {?} we could make something really cool, we could dream about a lot of things, but right now I don’t have a clear answer to give you.

Weapons Systems[edit source]

(1:09:00) What are going to be some of the different types of weapon systems we will have available to us in-game? Lasers, artillery, missiles, plasma, etc.?

Okay, so, the way it’s going to be organized is that there will be different types of damages and for all these types of damages, you will have different types of armour you can build or shields that you can actually activate, so shield units {?} its always based on the idea of elements, and armors are different types of materials used to build your ship.  So there will be different types of damage so in front of that different types of weapons that are more or less efficient for different types of damages.  The precise names of the weapons, you know laser, missiles, cannon, and things honestly we have not set that kind of detail.  But the gameplay principle, is that there will be this trade-off you have to make, you can’t have it all, you have to make some choices either on the offense side or the defense side.  This is {?} fairly standard gameplay design, along that line, and we are going to take a lot of inspiration from games, many many games, that implement that in a proper way.  We are going to do something very standard that makes it very interesting because there’s no winner take all with an optimal configuration. You have to make choices {?}

Just to say also, you know the we are going to announce soon I hope the stretch goals, the ship vs. ship combat will be a stretch goal.  So it’s not something we will necessarily have in the first release.  I totally understand that this is a defining feature of the game, but we have to be careful in what we promise.  I totally prefer to have a game that has pretty good player vs. player combat that you can actually board a ship and take control of it that way, and we implement later a super well designed ship vs. ship combat rather than trying to rush everything.  It will depend on how much money we have, it will depend maybe on the time it takes.  It’s very hard to predict everything. Personally I would like to have ship vs. ship combat, at least in the first iteration of it that makes sense and is fun in the release, but let’s be careful in what we promise.

(Interviewer) And then on top of that, we are not going to be in space anytime soon, so construct vs. construct battles won’t really be a thing right at the moment at release so.

That is the idea.  It will take time to create a space civilization, planetary civilization, inter-planetary civilization, inter-solar system civilization.

Directional Shielding[edit source]

(1:13:00) Are we going to have working shields systems? Will they be modular-based or a single construct?

What do you mean by modular based?

(Interviewer) Something where you have multiple different elements that project the shields at varying degrees.

The idea for the moment is that you have the shield unit that is going to create the shield around your ship.  We don’t have more thought at the moment than that.  What you mean is that you would need to have multiple shields units to certain different areas before it becomes active?

(Interviewer) I think what this question is about, like in star trek when they can say things like power to the forward shields or?

Ah, I see, well, we have not thought on that.  I think the first iteration of this feature will be global shield but that’s interesting, we could think about… I don’t know.  We… okay this is a typical example of a feature we did not think about, but its interesting. {?}

Power Generation[edit source]

(1:17:45) What are some ways that power can be generated and stored? {?} like fusion or generating with zero-point energy?

Yea, you know we just discussed the industrial craft and this is the inspiration we will look into, different machines with all kinds of elements that will be able to produce all kinds of electricity either from fuel or from {?} light on it, and this electricity can be consumed right away or stored into batteries.  This kind of mechanism will make it way into the gameplay once we {?} into the energy aspect.  It might be very simplified in the beginning, we will see how we can go.  The core idea is to gamify complex chain of production of energy that you can actually store energy either in batteries, which will have limitations, or sort of implicitly in fuel, fuel that can be more and more powerful.  Yes there can be in principle fuels that are incredibly powerful, like nuclear fuel. In that case if we do it properly we will have this kind of fuel will actually generate heat and you will have to transfer heat to some kind of elements {?} heat into electricity.  So this kind of refinement or so we have to build chain that is not completely obvious, I mean it is not complicated, but its not just you put something in and get electricity out.  You will have to build some generator and it should be big so powerful things will be big so {?} large, things like that.  So its not a very precise answer, because we still have to work on the details of this part of the gameplay, but the direction we want to go is that one.

Resources[edit source]

What are the resources going to be? Will there be real resources, resource types, such as from the periodic table? Or fictional, or a combination thereof?

Most likely combination.  Because if you want to sort of explain certain amazing sources of power or technologies or things like that, it is much easier to invoke the some kind of magic material that is not yet discovered that explains somehow that we are able to do these kinds of things.  It will be a mix of familiar things like copper, iron, and so one, and some more exotic materials that are explanation also {?} and also that will be extremely difficult to find so that we give… so that {?}.  Of course everything will be generated procedurally, according to certain statistical signatures, some materials will not be available on the {?}.  So basically you will need to go to other planets to find them.  This is also the way we will stage technological process, softly.  Simply because you don’t have the materials to unlock certain blueprints, certain schema, before you have built your first ships to go to the next planet.  This is the way its going to be.

Automated Ship Production[edit source]

(1:22:30) Will we be able to automate ship production? How will blueprints be made and how will blueprint interface with shipyards for automated production?

I think this is related to what I said before about what I said about automation to make this particular activity meaningless to players.  Because it’s so efficient to make, nobody is actually doing it.  It kills this part of the gameplay.  So, I am not sure how we are going to allow people to automate the production, if it is {?} thought about in the direction of what I am saying, it should be still meaningful for people to produce by themselves.  So I don’t think so, I think you will be more like… first of all I mean the building of a large ship will take time, it’s not like you put the blueprint, press a button, and poof you have a thing.  It will take sometimes a lot of time. So automating will not be so passive in that case, because you always have time to press the button again if it’s every week or so.  That’s one part of the answer, and I think I would rather have a set of players who are dedicated to running a factory set, rather than having {?} you are not interested, production is so efficient you flood all of the markets… we need somehow to keep the principle that the volume of production and also the amount of money in the economy is somehow is somehow related to the number of players.  This is {?} to maintain an equilibrium, so {?} a no for automation, at least definitely not for release, we’ll see later.

In-Game Technologies[edit source]

(1:24:50) Can you provide us a few hints of a few technologies we might see in game?

Well, okay, there are many directions we could discuss about that.  One of the things we would like to do, hopefully very very soon, is to have different types of engines that would have different area of functioning.  To be clear, engines that work in atmospheres, engines the work in space, engines that works in both atmosphere and space, but you know they have some… they are not practical if you are always in space or always in atmospheres, so they will be used for transition.  So this kind of technologies will of course different sizes of engines for each kind of technology.  You can imagine some kind of ship equipped with different engines that switch on and off depending on where you are.  So this kind of things we find very interesting.  {unintelligible} what can I say, I don’t know, I mean everything that we mentioned, stargates and everything that will come at some point, tech that will be unlocked by skills also.  Skills will be associated with the capacity of operating different engines or different elements, radar, weapons.  So you are becoming maybe a bit efficient in operating these elements depending on the skills you have.  Maybe you are not able to operate a control unit that is connected to certain elements that you don’t have the skills for.  Control units themselves will be also ranked with different levels that {?} how many elements you can plug into them and potentially script together.  There will be different kinds of control units, for example some will be dedicated to piloting, some will be general, all sorts of elements with that.  Piloting one will be more about engines, gyroscopes, things like that.  These are some elements, but its pretty much impacting the whole gameplay so you could talk for hours about this.  If you have a precise question maybe I can answer but maybe what you are asking is about the skill tree also, and the idea is that skills will be associated with everything and you will be able to improve what you do by a very small amount, but nevertheless improve, depending on the skills you train.

Miscellaneous[edit source]

Mining ships, will we have them or will it be by hand?

No, for the reasons I have mentioned before, it will kill mining for people.  Or it will be so crippled that people will complain about them.  Probably no.

Is there a possibility for offline protection?

That means that you will have this protection extremely simplified, like an action-reaction that will be handled by the server.  No for the moment, but it’s not completely ruled out.  We need to make this controlled in terms of how much CPU this is going to use.  Definitely not LUA script on the server-side.  So it’s something interesting and tempting.  At the very least if some of your construct is attacked, you will be notified and you will know about it, and if you have a protection bubble you will have some delay in which you will {?} as soon as there is combat will have to be implemented.

When might LUA script be in-game?

There will be {?} we have already implemented that. The thing that might not be in-game at the beginning is all of UI to write the code inside the game, debug the code… it might be that you have to open a file on the side of the game that is a certain path on your computer so this will be very hot core, mod-like kind of way of handling the script.  This is almost certain because we already have it, but having the proper implementation of that in-game will take a bit of time.

Will ships behave the same way as those in starmade where they don't have to be physically connected to each other?