Sneak Peaks

Hey everyone! It's Jorden again with another quick update. (I just finished writing the blog. It wasn't that quick. I'm sorry).

Today I just wanted to let you in on what I'm currently doing. Bit of a preview of something we're hoping will be in the game at Early Access. Now, I have to give the disclaimer:

There is still work to be done to prepare the game for Early Access and we want to give our players the most content possible. We want everyone to come away from their first experience with our game feeling like it was well worth the time and money invested and so I really can't make any guarantees as to exactly what will or wont be a part of the Early Access release of the game. Nonetheless I can say that if all goes well this particular thing will either be in the initial release or very probably in the first content patch.

With that out of the way, I'd like to talk about the first dynamic scenario of the game, "Raiding the Lost Ark" (working title, subject to change). As I mentioned two weeks ago, dynamic scenarios are the largest events in the game and are intended to shake up the status quo when they occur. Currently the primary game mode is intended to progress in open stages or "zones". Zones are a little complicated to go over without their own blog post but they're basically how we structure the narrative of the main campaign mode. There will be other options that won't have zones or will have different zones but the important aspect is that zones are not "maps" in the traditional RTS sense, they simply represent the player's progress through the narrative. They're relevant here because my current intent is to have one dynamic scenario trigger per zone. That does not mean there will only be one scenario written for every zone, rather that each zone should have a dynamic scenario as a sort of climax for that zone and that ideally a dynamic scenario will always trigger before the player moves on to the next zone. For Zone 1, "Raiding the Lost Ark" will be one of the potential dynamic scenarios and since it's the only one I've come up with so far it will probably trigger every time you play the campaign until we get some other options in.

So what is it? The setup is pretty simple, something falls to the ground out in the Martian desert and impacts pretty heavily. Because this is a dynamic scenario it isn't only the purview of any one empire so all the current empires in Zone 1 (a small section of Mars to get your feet wet) will recieve the same alert about this event. Something to the effect of a message from Ares stating "Our sensors have detected what appears to be an orbital strike. The location has been marked for you, I recommend immediate investigation. If another corporation has the ability to bring the sky down on us, we need to know about it." (I wrote this just now in the blog, it may very well change). The player is given a nav point where they simply need to send any ship with sensors to go investigate. When they get to the location they find an ordinance box that can't be scanned but which is clearly from before The Isolation. There's no way to know what's inside but Ares will tell the player that it's possible it might even be technology from the height of the Asteroid Engagements (this would be well beyond the player's current tech level). The first conflict of the scenario is that the AI empires will have also sent scouts and maybe even fleets. Only one corporation can claim the box so the player will need to fight for it. Once any corporation manages to perform a salvage on the box all corporations will recieve an alert that the box will open in five minutes. This changes the conflict from simply eliminating enemies in the area to a sort of "King of the Hill" situation where the area near the box has to be successfully held until it opens.

What happens when the box opens? You'll have to see, but there is something inside the box. It won't be the same thing every time you play, though, it's one of three options (eventually four but the fourth option is more complicated and will require a ton more playtesting so the first version of the scenario released to the public will likely see only three outcomes). The current obstacle to this scenario being part of the first Early Access release is the state of the enemy AI. Currently the enemy AI is a state machine, as Art likes to say, so it doesn't react to the environment. This means that we cannot make the box a desirable objective for the current AI and so the scenario can't serve it's primary purpose, which is to kickstart a conflict in the early game and force players to act quickly. Upgrading the AI is a critical part of our pre-Early Access work but the inclusion of this scenario will depend heavily on how long that upgrade takes and whether it leaves us with enough time to fully test out the scenario and squish any bugs. Still, I hope this was an interesting look into what I'm working on and I hope you're as excited to play this scenario as I am to bring it to you. That's all for this update, see you next time!

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