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Windows Star Citizen

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Parge, 10 Oct 2012.

  1. Jasio

    Jasio Made in Canada

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    I had a long discussion with a friend about this, and we ultimately agreed that the 100 player idea is broken. It will be an enormous headache, or alternatively damage the game play to a significant enough degree to put off many players.

    But I'll do something that the other QQ'ers on the Star Citizen forums have not done... and that is ... explain why. (*gasp*)

    Let's assume the instance is limited to 100 players. A new one is dynamically created when the 101'st player tries to enter the same region, hence the instances 'stack' over top of each other where there are 100+ users. Where they are less, it is a single instance. This initially appears to make sense, but you soon run into some very odd and complex issues relating to balancing.

    A) What is 100 players? Is it 100 Constellations manned by 4 people each? So it's really 400? Or is it 25 Constellations manned by 4 players each, making it 100? This is a huge deal when it comes to large fights.

    B) How do you intend to ever have proper space battles? If your fleet of 100 friends is heading towards another fleet of 100 enemies, and you have your friends as your POI's (at least the 'Fleet Commander' would) - then you would never meet in battle. You'd be split into two paralleled instances and never fight.

    C) As a branching off of 'B' - what if the instancing system is faulty and only 10 friends get dropped into a fleet of 90 enemies? How is that remotely balanced, when the intent was for 100 v 100?

    D) The game would appear to limit the fights to 50 v 50. But how does the instancing system make sure the teams are not lobsided, it doesn't seem fair to split your team along arbitrary lines if you each have defined roles in your fleet.

    E) What happens if your friend gets blown up, and some unlucky freighter now gets popped into the instance? You have no back-up because your support will jump/warp into a new empty instance. Once again, how can you possibly hope to find a balanced match? The 100 player limit is far too low.

    F) People seem to take this 100 player limit as something positive... well, Chris had to put a positive spin on it. But having been developing with Cryengine 3- what you are likely seeing is Chris hitting a fundamental, underlying, engine limitation rather than a 'feature'. Nobody in their right mind, who claims to want to 'design their dream' would ever arbitrarily cut down the notion of 'open world' without an underlying limitation.

    E) The game is slated for Nov 2014... we will experience at least 1.5 - 2 generations of GPU and CPU during that time (Haswell -> Broadwell for example). We will have shifted to DDR4, and SSD's will likely be far more common. You cannot apply today's processing requirements to a game slated for release in 2 years, on an engine notorious for being beautiful but resource intensive.

    F) EVE Online is single-shard. Can handle 45,000+ players on the shard, and can support battles of up to 1000 players, tracking individual ships, projectiles, and now missiles (with their trajectories) live. Time dilation doesn't kick in until you go North of ~1100+. CCP games is by no means a big company, they run on a tight budget, have had to deal with layoffs and financial difficulties in the recent past, yet they manage to run a server farm that supports all of that, and an amazingly detailed world. Once again- Chris is hiding something more fundamental to the engine.

    G) While the game is high-poly (9 mill poly for the carrier). You will never have that amount of polys in your field of view. Look at the way the cockpits are designed. They are deliberately big, with small windows. Modern day GPU's now have 2GB frame buffers on average, and I don't see why that wouldn't continue to increase as we head towards 2014. Caching the textures into the GPU shouldn't be as big of a deal as they make it out to be.

    H) I don't buy the network issue argument. FireFall (an FPSMMO) is surprisingly small for a game of its type. Why? Because the game servers *stream* the textures live as you move around the world, consuming up to 7-8Mbit/sec of bandwidth (you can adjust this setting in your options from 0.5 - 9 iirc). Chris mentions the difficulties in computing the trajectories and physics of each ship as it moves around the world, citing games like Battlefield 3 as an example of a very intense 64 player environment. But the dedicated servers are not particularly stressed by this (having run several).

    So do I see an issue with the 100 player cap? Yes. Very much. It will be a major hindrance in core systems (PvE/trade centric) and will negatively impact any notion of a 'fleet' fight. You have to keep in mind that Chris constantly cites the poly counts as being one of the core issues:

    ... "Even if you had enough internet bandwidth to handle the data going back and forth and a super computer for the server there’s no PC, even with quad SLI that could render that many spaceships with Star Citizen’s fidelity."


    So how does he intend to counter 9 mill poly capital sized ships in a single 100 player instance? Each capital ship will have 2-5x the poly count of a fighter. And be manned by several players (or their NPC counterparts). Will he then introduce a capital ship limit, making the game even more restrictive? And how does he want to involve NPC ships in this mess when we will have problems with just the players alone?

    The issue is far more fundamental then most players realize. As I see it now; this is not an open world by any means.
     
  2. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    I think fundamentally, the problem you have is that you want to play an MMO, which this isn't. Its a Space Combat game, with MMO elements (as Chris clarified the other day)

    Its already been stated that it isn't about making massive corporations a-la Eve online, but more about small groups of friends playing together in a massive galaxy. Therefore, the 100 player limit isn't a problem (unless you have 51 friends)

    A lot of the other issues you've bought up are things that haven't been decided on yet, or Chris is keeping under wraps, and will be worked through during the development process.

    All in all, from what I've seen, I'm sure this will be one amazing game.
     
  3. Jasio

    Jasio Made in Canada

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    I will admit that the game is in early development. Concepts/ideas will change, that is inevitable, for better or worse. But even if you have a few friends (let's say something reasonable, like 6-8 moving together on an escort mission) it is *possible* that you can be split into a different instance exposing you (unnecessarily) to danger; you have to admit that there is the potential that the cargo/freighter *could* be the one split off into a less than friendly instance as you enter a busy system as each instance can be a PvE event of itself. Your friends would then have to try and jump to you in time. The POI system gives your friend a greater relative weight in determining what instance you occupy, but it doesn't guarantee it (as this could break the 100 player limit).

    I understand that is isn't EVE, nor do I want the game to be like EVE. But you can still use EVE as an example of single-shard scalability (not game mechanics). SC is a space-combat game as you mentioned, but it cannot be an inherently unfair space-combat game where a server determines how you experience the game in a relatively random nature.
     
  4. dolphie

    dolphie What's a Dremel?

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    Ahh, I remember when games had huge ambition. It's gonna be nice to see that come back :p
     
  5. ccxo

    ccxo On top of a hill

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    It will be interesting to see how well this game develops and does at launch, as it could be the kick up the arse that ccp needs to get eve moving, as a 9 year old mmo it has alot of problems and content that needs to updated/added.
     
  6. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    You have your mission pilots, this is it.

    People of Bit Tech - if you haven't backed this game yet, now is the time.
     
    Last edited: 13 Nov 2012
  7. Sarakon

    Sarakon The German

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    I did so last week :D finally got around to do so. I just can't wait for this game to launch. I have been wanting this kind of game for ages!
    Did you guys check the AI test video on their site?
     
  8. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Blasted through $3.50m - currently doing $100k a day!

    New system unlocked:

    Orion System
    [​IMG]

    Ownership: Abandoned

    Planets: 8

    Planetary Rotation (Orion III): 466 days

    Imports: None

    Exports: None

    UEE Strategic Value Rank: Red

    Description: The colony on Orion III (Armitage) began life in a celebrated fashion; it was the end goal of Project Farstar, a UEE initiative aimed at expanding mankind's reach by establishing increasingly distant colonies. To this day it remains the single farthest human world ever colonized. Earth's most distant colony evolved peacefully for six years... until the first attack.

    Armitage was, it would later be established, an occasional Vanduul feeding world. Passing clans had marked the planet as a source of fresh livestock and would occasionally return for slaughter. The violent first contact incident occured in the system and it was followed almost immediately by raids against the colony. It isn't clear whether the Vanduul were angered by the human presence in "their" system or if they were simply eager for new victims… but raids began immediately and only increased in frequency and ferocity. Within six months, Orion had been raided fifteen times; casualties among the colonists were atrocious.

    The UEE was faced with a difficult decision: deploying the Navy to such a distant star would have been difficult and expensive without an established supply chain. Ultimately, Orion was abandoned as a formal human colony, with refugees abandoning their homes and possessions for a long transport ride back to the Empire.

    Today, Orion III is a destroyed world. Shattered human settlements and the remains of occasional Vanduul encampments remain on the service, but it has been largely depopulated and defoliated. The planet's surface, once largely inhabitable plains, is now pockmarked with impact craters and antimatter bombardment scorching.

    There are few reasons to visit Orion today; the system is still in the distant reaches of space and offers no export... thrill seekers and anyone hoping to test their mettle against the Vanduul only.

    Next, at $3.6 million: "Gas giant, used as a refueling planet. Floating settlements. Home of the Murray Cup, a high-speed racing competition."

    Boarding Information

    As promised, we'd like to share the internal concept for ship-to-ship docking and boarding concept. Please note that this is the very early pitch--some details may change as we balance the game and build out/expand the mechanic!

    Boarding Mechanics

    The goal is to develop a system where player-to-player boarding is an occasional reward rather than something that becomes the focus of the game; we’re not building Grand Theft Starship. As such, we need a high cost of entry: players must dedicate both significant resources and skill to be able to put themselves in a position to board in the first place.

    There are two major limitations on docking: 1) the target ship must be COMPLETELY disabled before it can be boarder and 2) docking requires the attacking player to dedicate credits and slots to several gate technologies, including a docking collar and a tractor beam.

    Disabling a target ship is a much more difficult task than it was in Wing Commander, where leech weapons would simply wear down the target. In Star Citizen, the player needs to knock down the enemy ships’ shields and then (without causing a hull breach) pick off the individual thrusters. This is the skill barrier: if you can’t shoot well enough to take apart a ship piece by piece then you can’t board an enemy ship.

    Tractor Beams are a dangerous technology. They take up a standard gun slot and are designed for collecting material significantly less massive than their host ship (escaped pilots, cargo pallets, bobbleheads, etc.) As such, there’s a constant danger of overloading when using them to dock, especially with cheaper models. Additionally, they require that the target ship be ABSOLUTELY DISABLED – firing a tractor beam at a ship that still has functional thrusters will overload it and severely damage the attacker.

    A docking collar is needed to attach ships together. As with tractor beams, different levels are available which will allow connections to different sizes of ships; boarding something large like a carrier is much easier than something your own size, like a Constellation (disabling another Constellation's thrusters will require a crack shot, to say the least, and a much more accurate collar.) If the game hits the $4 million mark, collarless external ship combat will be added with pilots in pressure suits wearing EMUs able to battle it out in space; explosive charges would be used to open the targeted ship's airlock.

    The standard VDU will not identify whether or not a ship is completely disabled; it will have a gut feel/skill element to it. Higher software upgrades will provide more in-depth scans of a target that will give you a better assurance that no maneuvering remains in place… for a price.

    Also note that docking mechanics do NOT apply to ships with a single crewman or certain smaller bombers; the general rule is that if there’s not room to walk around then only the salvage mechanic can apply to it. You need a crewed ship to board in the first place and you can only board crewed ships which are larger than your own (in crew size.)

    Combat

    Once a ship has successfully tractored in a target vessel, it will dock at a pre-determined location on the hull (ie, you will always dock at one of the same doors on the Constellation.) There will be a 30-second period where the attacking player cuts open the target’s door. The defender can use that time to set up to fire back. Think an interactive recreation of the opening scene of Star Wars, with the Rebels nervously waiting to defend the corvette from Stormtroopers.

    Players will have access to a variety of upgrades to help/hinder boarding operations. Armored space suits, hand scanners, explosives, more powerful (or functionally different) weapons and so on will be available to players on both sides of the equations.

    Defending players will have upgrade options that can help put the battle in their favor: a self destruct process, a dead man’s switch, automated miniguns they can position in the cockpit and so on. It’s going to be a challenge to get onboard a targeted ship successfully, one that you’ll need to work with your friends to accomplish.

    Finally, the cost to recover a boarded ship will ultimately be high. Since you’ve disabled and otherwise crippled it in battle (and cut into the hull to board) you must conduct repairs in deep space if you wish to keep the hull rather than simply looting it… during which the ship is in danger of being boarded by a third party. Boarding parties should plan to carry an advance repair bot with them or to suffer the difficulty of flying in a depressurized cockpit (limited life support time, less responsive controls.) Finally, only one ship can be flown at once: you will need to work with a partner if you wish to keep a boarded ship and your own craft.

    $4.0 million Level Additions

    Melee & Heavy Weapons
    Zero-gravity Simulation
    Suit HUD Options
    Increased Customization
    Outside-the-ship combat (magnetic boots on a hull; think Moonraker)
     
  9. DLDeadbolt

    DLDeadbolt Space Cadet

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  10. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Star Citizen now absolutely smashing it through the stretch goals. I woke up this morning with three new emails detailing unlocks!

    This could well be the biggest crowded funded game ever!
     
  11. GravitySmacked

    GravitySmacked Mostly Harmless

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    It's good to see isn't it. I'm all squadroned up now too, maybe a tad early but why not :)
     
  12. DLDeadbolt

    DLDeadbolt Space Cadet

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    Aye..

    Told the guy sitting next to me at work about the game this morning and what level the pledges were at, and keep updating him every hour or 2... Him and another guy are shocked its raised $60k + in 6hours or so
     
  13. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    I hope you've forced them into pledging. I've even hit up the uber geeks in the IT dept to make sure they were on it.
     
  14. Jasio

    Jasio Made in Canada

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    Heavy bomber is out now too. Odd specs, and 6 man... sounds very narrow in role.
     
  15. DLDeadbolt

    DLDeadbolt Space Cadet

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    Nah.. none of them are gamers
     
  16. DLDeadbolt

    DLDeadbolt Space Cadet

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    Well, they got the 3.9mil mark, and already around 20k over, now getting a message that the site is down lol
     
  17. DLDeadbolt

    DLDeadbolt Space Cadet

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    $4 million blown out of the water, $4.1 mil also torpedo'd


    With over 2 days to go, i reckon they can reach atleast close to the 5mil mark
     
  18. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    The last 2 days are always the biggest too. £5m might be a stretch but wow, I'm soooo excited.
     
  19. workingclass

    workingclass What's a Dremel?

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    This is very exciting for pc gaming and the space sim fans.
     
  20. dolphie

    dolphie What's a Dremel?

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    So chuffed their budget is going so well! Should result in a pretty deep game. Got my fingers crossed the Elite game gets a similar treatment.
     

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