From the desk of Michael Brookes
In this week’s dev update I will continue on from last week’s with more details on the mission changes coming in The Engineers update (2.1). Don’t worry I will be covering other topics in the coming weeks as well!
Last week’s update covered the first of our high level goals – personalisation and this week I’ll cover the second with progression. Progression within a game can mean many different things, but in this case those aspects combine into telling your narrative while playing the game. Situations change and the game reflects those changes to you. Now we do quite a lot of these already, but we can improve the way we communicate these. And as with personalisation there is quite a bit of overlap in the details of achieving our aims for the update.
Currently there are five levels of reputation with a minor faction (Hated, Disliked, Neutral, Liked, Allied) and we’re adding an extra level on the positive side for a smoother, but also longer transition from working up from neutral. This should be a journey and rewarded accordingly, not only with the various in-game rewards, but also within the narrative of the experience by highlighting events like increasing your reputation level.
The mission givers will provide a sense of progression so that as you improve (or damage) your relationship with the faction your worth to the organisation is reflected in who you deal with. The ranks and tone of these mission givers in turn is coloured by the type of organisation they represent and feeds into their character portraits as well.
The mission board in station services replaces the old bulletin board, while some of the information remains the same, we’re working to make things much clearer and to present them in a fashion which highlights their importance to the minor faction. There are number of specifics here which will be covered in next week’s topic about variety, but some also apply to progression. One example is what missions are available. This is supported in game already, but where possible we want to ensure that the reasons the mission isn’t accessible is communicated correctly so that they know what to do to gain access to the mission, or another of its type later on.
This aspect also matters for the other end of the mission flow, so when a mission is completed or failed. In particular the mission giver will communicate what effects the mission ending has on their organisation. At the moment this is more opaque than we’d like and so player’s aren’t necessarily aware of the results their actions has. This aspect features heavily within the consequences goal.
Traditional gameplay progression usually corresponds with the difficulty of available activity increasing in line with developing skill with the game. This allows for an escalating sense of challenge being available as you develop the relationship with the minor faction, but also with other entities in the game. So missions requiring higher Pilots Federation ratings should also require extra effort to complete, but also providing appropriate rewards.
The final key aspect for progression is the communication within the mission itself. We’re expanding the functionality of the inbox so that messages will persist, so important or interesting messages do not get lost. This allows us to highlight the different stages in the mission more effectively and so creating a richer experience with it.
Last week I mentioned that we had some more huge weapons coming, but without providing any details, so we have huge beam and pulse laser and multi-cannons being added. There will also be a new large multi-cannon.
Discuss the update in the forums here.