Amazingly enough, for a Friday the 13th, not a whole lot has gone wrong today. This amazes me on several levels - Not that I'm a superstitious man by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems that most days of my life tend to suck in general so the fact that this one hasn't been anything dire makes it stand out regardless of the date. We even got the chance to show a player around a bit today - Racheloblade dropped in to check out the office and look at some of the new stuff we're working on; even got to show him the new engine, despite the fact that Parsed is unfortunately out sick today. Despite a few bugs that have cropped up in the last week or so, he seemed to really like what he got the chance to see - At any rate we now have at least one more person in the world who knows that the thing really does exist.
It's been a really busy week for me personally, as I've been cranking out work on the new PvP playfield like mad. This has been my first real step into doing worldbuilding (IE: actually 'creating' playfields) and I gotta admit it's been a total blast; MstrBstrd and Flaptoot both have been huge helps in getting me aquainted to the... er... "nuances" of working with TIDE (our worldbuilding software), and despite the fact that it can be a bit obtuse at times I really have enjoyed messing around in there and getting a chance to actually shape the world as I see fit. There have been tons of changes to the playfield, which will hopefully be hitting Testlive early next week (and with any luck actually seeing Live shortly there-after). Here's a brief list of what you guys can expect to see in the new version:
- HP/NP regain inside the tower area.
- Improved and expanded teleportation into the PvP area (seriously proud of this one, for real).
- Banking and Surgery Clinic terminals inside the tower.
- More distinct 'areas' within the zone.
Warping into the playfield has been removed (no more bacon wrap).Whoops. >< See post here: http://forums.anarchy-online.com/sho...&postcount=169
- Improved building collision - Still no jumping on top of the buildings, but you will be able to run underneath the overhangs and such.
- No more fence near the 'junkyard' area!
- More 'types' of Notum Miners running around with different pathing - They carry the same loot and are the same level, but at least now you'll see more than just the one regular Solitus Male wandering about.
- More lights!
And a host of other little changes here and there. The playfield's really starting to get polished and it's about ready for prime-time; the next version we release to Live will still be just a testing version to make sure that we've got the last of the major bugs squashed out and then our next release after that should be the finalized version. I should note that there's still no shop in the tower area - This will be coming, but we're still working on getting the playfield set up to where you can use the various BS healing kits and such in there, so I didn't want to add the shop in until we have that working. There are a few other things we're working on spurned from the new area which will have a much larger influence on the game in general but I'm going to keep those quiet for just now as they're really dependent on getting code in the right spots - You'll have to wait to see what we've got up our sleeve on that front.
One thing I wanted to mention, though - Initially we talked about this playfield serving as a "waiting room" area for the Battle Stations. Now that we've had the playfield out on Live and have watched people going through, we're starting to rethink that a bit. Here's the thing - The only 'fair' way to tie this new playfield into the BS system is to *force* people to (A) sign up for the BS to get there, and (B) force people to *leave* and auto-join the BS when it runs. Now, in a perfect world, what would happen is that everyone would sign up, go kick it in the new playfield for a bit, and then go do a round of BS once it starts up. However.... I know you people. What's going to happen with that setup is that when the BS starts to run, people will just abandon ship - If we don't force them to join the BS, then it'll start and instantly finish due to a lack of people. If we *do* force 'em to join, they'll just accept the Deserter hit and end up grinding garbage eventually. This isn't fun for anyone - Not the people who want to join the new area, nor the people who just wanna start up a round of the BS. So we're thinking very heavily about separating the two and keeping the new area completely untied from the Battlestation, not forcing anyone to sign up for one just to be able to do the other.
Now, of course, this could potentially come with its own set of issues; naturally there's a chance that it will split the populace some, making BS run a bit less frequently. However, either way we go, there's that chance, and honestly it seems like its greater (and more annoying) if we go the route of forcing people to sign up for BS just to get to the new area. We've been reading the feedback posted in the 18.3 forums and this is a topic that's already come up quite a bit, with opinions from both sides of the debate. Since we can go either way at this point and nothing's written in stone, this is a chance for you guys to weigh in on what you think and how you feel about the situation. Do you guys think we should tie the new PvP playfield to the BS or not? And if we do, should we force people to join the BS after signing up if they're using this playfield? This is a tough decision on all fronts, so by all means share your opinion here in the thread. =)
While on the topic, I also want to thank everyone who's been running around in there and helping test the area/offering feedback. The amount of feedback we've gotten on the area has been fantastic, and most of it very valuable; getting the opinions and thoughts of the player base is always worth-while for us, particularly to me as a designer, and it's one of the reasons I really do wish we had more folks showing up on Testlive whenever we release a new update. Seriously, feedback *does* count for a lot when we're doing stuff like this, and the more feedback we receive the better the final product we can release to live. So if you haven't before, I'd really like you guys to consider checking out our Testlive forums, duplicating a character or two, and heading over there whenever we release a content update. Help *us* help *you*.
One thing I'm sure a lot of you guys are curious about: More Rebalancing documentation. Sorry to say we don't actually have anything this week, though - Between the big July Vacation Month thingy and other stuff cropping up at the office, work there has been slowed down just a bit. The Enforcer doc has been up for our Professionals for a couple of weeks now and is already being tweaked by Genele based on feedback, with the Fixer document set to go out to the Prof crew on Monday. With any luck next Friday will see Means tossing out both the Fixer and Enforcer documents for you guys, along with the finalized version of the long-awaited "Nemesis Nano" document. So yeah, next Friday should be pretty busy for you guys. =D
Aaaaaaaaaaaand... uh... hrm. Yeah, ok, that's about it I guess. Should be enough to get you guys settled into some calm, rational, mature discussion (read: ninteen posts of "first/second/3rd/89th" followed by six pages of people (A) wondering where the new engine video is [no i dont have it] and (B) trolling). Hope your Friday the 13th didn't completely blow, hope you have a great weekend, and we'll see you guys again soon. Cheers! =D
PS: Since I know someone's gonna ask, no, Means is just fine and was in the office today. Just had to dash out a bit early and was running really short on time, so I volunteered to take over the post. Nothing to worry about, The Man is just fine. ;P