Dev Update (08/10/2015)

Hi everyone,

This week has been another busy week and saw the simultaneous release of both Xbox One and the CQC update for PC and Mac. There were a few bumps with scaling out the servers,  which should be addressed today. As with previous releases we plan a minor update to sweep up some other issues as a title update for the Xbox One and minor update for PC and Mac once this is ready.

As part of the release some of us took part in a live AMA on Xbox One subreddit with a long list of questions that we had fun going through – I think we managed to answer most of them! You can read the AMA here:

Thanks to everyone on the subreddit for their questions. Later in the day Ed Lewis hosted some live chats with a number of developers and thanks again to everyone who took part.

Alongside the releases we also announced a CQC tournament with total prize value of over $100,000 - which includes some cool cash prizes of $15,000 for the final – you can expect more details on this soon! 

Next on the horizon (I can see this pun being used a lot :-) ) is the start of the second season of expansions with Planetary Landings and the accompanying 1.5 Ships update. I talked a bit last week about the mission changes coming, so this week I’ll look at some of the new enemies you’ll encounter on the surface in the Planetary Landings expansion. 

As can be expected there is a significant difference between the offensive and defensive capabilities of the ships and the smaller SRVs that you drive on the surface. While it is theory possible for an SRV to shoot down a ship – it’s really not something I’d recommend! From the ship’s perspective this is balanced by the SRVs being hard to hit, although if they do manage to hit, it would be devastating.

To provide the ground operations a more reasonable level of opponents we have added ‘skimmers’ which are capable of limited mobile operations to defend locations. Skimmers are remote controlled security and defence drones primarily designed to protect positions and restrict movement. They are designed to be hard to engage with ships, so the SRV with its rapid fire guns is the best way to tackle them. Be warned that while most rely on their armour, some may have shields.

They are remotely controlled and will usually have a command and control system or relay nearby – these define the area in which the skimmers linked to that system can operate. They are specifically designed for operations on planets and are very manoeuvrable, although incapable of space or high altitude flight. They operate best close to the ground.

Skimmers utilizes many standard manufacturing patterns and are built by  various corporations across the galaxy – including big names like Core Dynamics. They are available in different variants, each suited for a different role:

•Core Dynamics S4 ‘sentry’ skimmer – this is the most widely used skimmer in the vast semi-automated security and protection industry throughout the galaxy, and a mainstay product for Core Dynamics. Comes as standard with a belly-mounted standard recoil-ready small weapon mount, which will take both kinetic and thermal weapons. Designed with an automated alert system so a single pilot can operate multiple such drones.

•Core Dynamics S5LM  ‘guardian’ skimmer – Based on their S4 skimmers, but with reduced weight, and with an enhanced missile launcher weapon mount. A more expensive solution, but often used to protect higher value installations. It sacrifices armour to carry the weight of missiles and so is more vulnerable.

•Achilles Corp Stinger-2 attack skimmer – Smaller and quicker than Core Dynamics offerings in this sector, and also cheaper to buy. It has no weapon mount, but carries explosives, and can be directed by its pilot to self destruct, taking out its target.  Some installations use these skimmers to form a last line of defence for sensitive bases and outposts. In essence they are a flying bomb. The Achilles Corporation cut down its range of skimmers just to the Stinger-2, but it is rumoured they will be launching new skimmers to their range in the next few years.

•Core Dynamics S9 ‘goliath’ skimmer – A very effective solution to your security needs. Using four surface thrusters this armoured and well-armed skimmer is the most effective on the market. Its greater cost means it is generally only used by military clients, and use is not permitted in some jurisdictions given their offensive abilities. 

While most skimmers are usually found near bases, given the recent rise in scavenging of shipwrecks, some transport vessels with higher value cargoes now carry automated distress response packageswhich include skimmers, and they are deployed automatically in the event of a crash to secure the site and help protect any survivors.