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raeshlavik

ACE Development Partners
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Posts posted by raeshlavik


  1. The best anti-cheat is simply to never trust the client and use server data as authoritative... They did this early on.

    The second-best is to have strong encryption on the data stream to prevent tipping your hand - pretty sure they did this too.

    The third-best is to generate unique UUIDs for every item in the game that can be placed in inventory, because this makes it trivial to detect duplication. Not sure if they did this.

    Finally you get to the typical 'anti-cheat' system which tends to be a utility that runs on the client and watches application memory for injection. If you did option 1 through 3 above, you don't really need this.


  2. I've not really noodled into it, but so far it looks like the passive systems garner, at best, a 10% increase in the base numbers and some crafting unlocks... 10% is not exactly an insurmountable advantage for the proverbial 'noob' to overcome.

    Now - while I'd like the passive skill system to offer more depth and options for individualization, with more depth and options comes more cliff for new players to overcome. If the goal is to not offer any real insurmountable advantage for having been playing for years when compared to someone just starting out, there cannot really be anything "good" locked behind a gate of time. For if there is 'good stuff' to be had, anyone who does not have it is at a mechanical disadvantage and will whine incessantly.

    A possible solution is to once again borrow from Eve; some sort of time multiplier subject to diminishing returns. In Eve you can get egregiously expensive implants that shorten the time-to-skill - but the detractor is that implants are destroyed when you are... So they're great for getting up to speed in a safe area, but tend to be too expensive for general use and the diminishing returns as you get into 14+ day trains makes them fairly useless beyond a certain point.

    Just a thought.


  3. Another no vote on proximity chat.

    Unmoderated voice tends to devolve to 'the loudest in the room wins'... That and everyone+dog has Discord for the low, low price of free. And Discord has the option for someone to ride shotgun on it to prevent it from becoming it's own special level of hell...

    In-game voice services generally only have one option; turn it off - which is what most sane people do.

    Now, I'm willing to meet half-way; perhaps something like Vivox integrated for the EKs (with essential per-user server mute) would be handy as that's a more controlled environment. Though I plan to just have some Discord channels for the EK (market, RP, C&C, etc), so I'm not sure if something like Vivox would actually get used.


  4. Just as a point of reference:

    Generally in development, the internal QA gets administration abilities to bypass time-sinks and progression mechanics to test edge-cases that may have been touched by some change somewhere else. This sort of thing is highly regimented (test matrices, wireframes, function lists, automation, or just walking down the hall to engineering with a WTF? expression). User-land isn't needed for this, and in most cases is a detriment to the structured approach of actual QA.

    The masses (us) are utilized to 'million monkey' the typical user-land experience; where we bang the rocks together and instrumentation actually generates the reports for us... See, monkeys tend to suck at reporting, get too attached to their favorite mechanic (usually from some other game), and are even worse at understanding the design criteria that is feeding into the systems they are testing - so it's best if their input is directed through a few people internally who filter things and then funnel actionable data to the right people.

    So, I'd not be too worried about numbers and functionality that is 6-months to a year distant for user-land. I'm sure it's all being looked at holistically by people trained to do so. :)


  5. Point of reference; we crashed the server over the holidays which exposed a nice bug, and they rolled a fix for it really quick. That was a legit issue with something that was quickly locatable and fixable. So things can (and will) happen quickly when they can.

    Part of the bug -> fix slowdown is that when dealing with untrained testers one person's end of the world the game will never work abandon all hope showstopper bug is another person's minor annoyance. And some "bugs" reported are due to systems that aren't implemented yet, other "bugs" are simple misunderstandings of game systems, and yet other "bugs" are so poorly documented that exploratory surgery has to happen to figure it out... This means that things we see have to be analyzed and prioritized by someone inside the dev loop, and that takes time.

    Crowdsourced QA is cheap, but slow for this reason. You get a ton of data for no real expense, but then you need someone to curate it into actionable intelligence.


  6. Speaking as a games QA guy IRL - testing is pretty boring... You don't know what fun is until you're on hour ten of negative testing the same broken assets in Barbie Dream Castle, on a Saturday, with no building AC... Or on step 500 of 2300 for an XBox certification pass and if you have to look at a config menu one more time you might just jump out a window. ;)

    We're testing/stressing everything 'new' in the patch notes (race/class split, new harvesting systems, new race, new class, changed skill trees, combat tuning, etc, etc.) ... And it's clearly netting some input given the 200 odd posts in the bug thread.

    I think the re-do on the 5.3.4 Tyranny map is just because there was a couple of weeks of holiday mixed in there where not a lot happened at ACE... If I'm guessing.


  7. 1 hour ago, Brindylln said:

    EKs should have upkeep.  But...

    Trade and Craft is meant to be a fulltime profession, according to the advertisments and game descriptions that ACE has put out previously, and the skilltree backs that up.

    I think MOST people will prefer campaign world battles, but SOME will spend all their time in EKs making a living on trade and craft, and funding their EK assets accordingly.

     

    Yep.

    I'm hopeful that players will be locked to a single campaign for its duration, but can come and go to the EKs as desired. The import/export rules seem to back up this idea; where you can leave the campaign and go buy stuff in an EK, but might not be able to import it when you go back - depending on ruleset.

    If that's the case, the weekly EK Event can still be attended by everyone even if they're a full-time EK resident or on campaign with the Legion.


  8. 52 minutes ago, McTan said:

    Question for you. I am on board with all the ideas regarding EKs in this thread. What I want to know, however, is:

    Do you think you (and others) should have to enter and win Campaign Worlds in order to build or maintain the parcels and parts that you have bought with real money?

    That is, should EKs have upkeep, including real-money purchased EK materials?

    I think, given that only some of the farm parcels I got with my kickstarter pledge are marked "tax free", that even real-money EK assets will have upkeep fees - if only to cover the server instance costs...

    Being as at the end of the day it's all about making a real dollar so that employees can eat, I'm guessing that EK asset taxes will be paid either via in-game assets (campaign materials) or via real money. This will allow people like myself with spare cash but not a lot of spare time to contribute just as well as people with a lot of spare time but not a lot of spare cash.

    People playing is a very valuable resource in an MMO, so it's only fair that their time nets a monetary reward - even if it's only covering their subscription cost or building upkeep in Crowfall's case.

    As for me personally? I'm okay with paying real money for EK upkeep as it's not having a direct impact on campaign PvP - and someone has to pay for the server/bandwidth costs for that EK instance... For example, I pay ~$300 a month to SecondLife for the "land" I have there, which is mostly to cover server/bandwidth costs - so Crowfall won't be too terribly different in that aspect if EK assets can be paid for with real money.

    Ultimately entering (and winning) campaigns will still be the fuel everything runs on though. Even if I can just pay for all of the buildings each month, all of the materials needed to make, well, anything must come from the campaigns. Which is why Vigil has a pretty amazing combat and crafting team. :)


  9. 14 minutes ago, Brindylln said:

    I want to live in your EK.

    Soon (TM)

    Vigil (my guild) has the palace parcel and parts, and a huge assortment of everything else ACE offers, so it should be pretty spectacular. I'm importing the RP setting we've been using in SL for ages now, so there's pre-made history, events, names, locations, etc, etc. I'm also writing a lot of new material specific to the lore of Crowfall as ACE releases bits and pieces of it - so when the time comes we'll be all set to bring the Empire to life. :D


  10. 20 minutes ago, Brindylln said:
    • PVP flag in EKs must be area-specific, not EK global (cell-by-cell?)
    • Access control lists for locking out players (I'm pretty sure this is a firm deliverable already)
    • EK market places (I'm pretty sure this is a firm deliverable already)
    • Supply carts (I've heard of these)
    • EK player housing (vassels, this is supposed to happen)

    Hmm.. When I initially read the post, I thought it was going to require a hell of a lot more that wasn't already planned.  I guess I need another coffee.

    Yeah, most of what I have planned is based on systems that have either been announced or heavily hinted at already... For example:

    EK_KingdomBuilder_RC1.png

    Already shows the granularity needed to do everything I want to do at a kingdom level.

    The crafting system allows/will allow custom text fields - so if I want the players to find a specific object in some ruins, I can (in theory) just place a manufactured item with the appropriate text in a box somewhere - and if they survive to get to the box, they can bring me (the NPC) the item to prove it. :)

    Thralls also play into this as some sort of basic interaction will be available - so i can leave "quest items" on them to be acquired as needed.

    Things I've not seen but would like:

    • The ability to place guards of various (user-defined?) abilities anywhere I want. I know the forts spawn faction-aligned guards in defined locations - but I'd like them to be furniture I can place where I need them to be in the EK. Hell, sell them in the shop to cover the server-cost of running scripted agents.
    • Scripted agents in general. I'd like thralls I can fill with flavor text that respond to keywords - think old-school Everquest. Just some basic interactive text would be good.
    • The ability to spawn / define MOBs. In keeping with the EK idea of them not being useful for campaign power, limit the EK variety to not being able to drop anything we don't load them with in the first place. This way any "loot" an EK-MOB drops, was gained though the campaign loop anyway.

    That's pretty much my wish-list.

     


  11. On 12/26/2017 at 1:13 AM, Brindylln said:

    I think it's not exactly PvE that is missing, but rather exploration and discovery... the mystery... the themepark attractions.  PvE in this game is quickly repeative, so there is quickly no potential for exploration and nothing new to discover.

    PvE heavy games have lots of "content".  Content provides opportunity for people to explore and discover, whether that means the landscape, ruins and temples, dungeons, enchanted forests, etc... or whether it means finding new recipes, discovering skills you didn't know existed, etc.   PvE games have a rich sense of "mystery" and the game has stories, puzzles, and quests.

    Content, however, is *expensive* to produce.  You need bucketloads, then truckloads, then stadium loads of content for a game to compete in this space.. and even then players will eventually consume it all.

    A PvP game can derive all of its "exploration" potential via the mechanics and interactions themselves.  Eve Online takes years to master... it has essentially no 'landscape" to explore (all the systems look pretty much the same), but the mechanics are deep and complex, the ship fits are very complex and interesting.  That is the kind of model Crowfall seems to be aiming for.

    A game that does both things well (PvP and PvE) would be the Holy Grail of the MMORPG world, but nobody has done that yet.  IMHO because (1) it is very expensive, perhaps at least 200 million to develop, and (2) it is very hard to be very good at both aspects, and (3) there is a risk that, due to PvP reasons, players destroy or block access to PvE attractions, causing all those $$$ spent on content development to be mostly wasted.

    I've heard that Dark Age of Camelot combined both pretty successfully, but I haven't played it.

     

    I think this is where the EKs start to really shine - in the right hands of course.

    The design spec for the EKs indicates that there will be some user-definable flags at a pretty granular level for things like PvP and whatnot. So, I'm currently operating under the assumption that for my guild's EK we can have an episodic series of events following a 'local' storyline of political intrigue and inter-kingdom tensions.

    If the PvP flags are as granular as indicated, then the palace area will be PvP enabled to allow players to try and dispose of various faction leaders who will be protected by bodyguards, mercenaries, etc. in bids to claim those factions (and the problems that entails!)... Even the throne of the land will be claimable - a group will simply have to get through the house guard and kill the crown. We will (if possible) even open this up to groups from other guilds who might like to participate in the RP-PvP storyline as they can carry that back to their guild and use it to create inter-guild tensions for flavor.

    In theory, once a player is killed I (or my officers) can lock out a player from the EK for the three day death cool-down - to limit the rinse-repeat on failure and give losing some teeth. ;)

    The area around the palace will be markets and manufacturing, and will be safe from general combat - so if you're in town for the story-driven PvP or just general RP, feel free to do some shopping while you're there. This drives commerce for crafters, which drives desire for gatherers, which makes the world go 'round.

    Weekly random 'cells' will be spawned, flagged PvP, and set up for various storyline events; a quick example would be group-A needing to get the supply cart from one location to another, while group-B gets to play highwaymen and stop this from occurring - winner gets to keep what's in the cart (rare mats or something)... Stuff like that will be going on every week.

    The rest of the EK will be player housing for anyone who wants to be local to the action.

    This is basically the stuff I've been doing in SecondLife for over a decade now, so I have literally volumes of storyline events and interactions that can be re-created in the EK to entertain folks... So, if the EKs actually end up with a lot of the functionality that was proposed early on, I (and others like me) will be the themepark elements. :D


  12. I've been in the software QA business for like two decades now, and while functional and usability issues are always good to note - it's just as important to point out the pieces that exceed expectations.

    So, in that regard, with the current build coming to a close - what are some of the things in 5.3.4 that really worked well for you?

    Here's my list:

    • The 'world' in general was amazing; cell stitching worked great, features all populated in, features were varied enough to be interesting, and combined with movement speed it was sufficiently large to make travel to distant POIs something that needed to be planned and prepared for. I especially liked that everything is walkable and I was able to get to the tops of a few mountains.
    • Action harvesting is a fantastic idea; I like the feeling of having some control over the final output of the node based on player skill/attention versus straight numbers skill. Maybe there is more that can be done with this in the future such as measuring the time-to-target and using that to influence the weak point damage, or even various colored weak point indicators tied to various 'attacks' for bonuses... Future stuff.
    • The buildings, fortifications, and POI assets are top-notch. The art style is fantastic, I didn't find any broken geometry or physics issues in any that I tested, and the sizes feel spot-on.
    • I really liked the race models and how each race feels slightly different to play, which is good. The non-standard races are one of the things that hooked me on Crowfall back in the beginning, and I'm glad to see that paying dividends now.
    • The EK functionality so far is fantastic; the ability to design the lay of the land and set it up however you like is the other big that that hooked me on Crowfall. Really looking forward to making a meta-game in the EK that follows an encapsulated storyline.
    • The crafting system is even more impressive than I'd expected. The fact everything has a use, every material has some sort of input on the final design, and there is a plethora of skill choices all tied into it is amazing.
    • The skill system is equally impressive and more detailed than I'd expected. Being a career-type, Eve's clock-based skill system has always appealed to me as it levels the playing field between my hour each weeknight of free time and what may be another player's infinite free time. Crowfall's skill gains are shallow enough to not make time an insurmountable advantage, but still offers a ton of specialization - and I like that.
    • That old Shadowbane mix of 'I wonder what's over there' mixed with 'I'm going to die any second now' was a really nice thing to get back to as well - thank you.

  13. On 12/21/2017 at 8:19 PM, Scorn said:

    Unable to pick up Castle Wall: Straight Corner 1x1in EK
    It displays F to Interact but no G to Loot

    Was able to replicate this.

    Additional info: mouse over reticule goes away when the raycast hits the corner object. Logging out to shut down the EK and restarting it did not change the behavior.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKNAiUQTMW0

     


  14. 2 minutes ago, Vodswyld said:

    I am having a similar issue, however I am unable to close any menus.

    Stats, Spirit Bank, Crafting, and Skills will open but not close. Also, the Crafting, Spirit Bank, and Skills menus will not move when clicked, or close when the X is clicked. 

    Try clicking just below the "X".

    I just had a similar issue when I resized the screen from full screen to window. The hot areas for the menu items in in the escape menu were all just slightly off from where they should be.


  15. Two hours of game-play:

    Bug:

    • I've seen it mentioned a few times in thread, but I was stuck in a rock spawn as well. Log out / log in did not move the character so I just dug my way out... For now, just carry an emergency pick and hammer. :)
    • Also mentioned prior - the weak points on harvesting, especially with smaller items, can appear far enough away from the item as to appear to not register the hit.
    • I had one instance of a harvested log land on a smaller rock and become immune to pick-up. I ran through the log object about a half dozen times before it timed out and vanished.
    • After adding banked time to a skill, setting up the same skill to continue training will generate an error. Attempting a second time will work.

    Notes:

    • The Elkin run animation is ... odd. Looks great from the side, looks painful from the camera position.
    • For a noob player with no real experience with Crowfall (but 20 years of MMOs), zero to a full set of basic armor and a basic weapon is about an hour and a half.
      • Ten minutes of that was figuring out the UI enough just to get to the crafting menu.
      • The crafting panel, at 3440x1440, will open just off-screen enough at the bottom so that the "Abort / Next" buttons on the assembly page aren't visible. Took a few more minutes to realize the windows are movable and there were more buttons. :)

    Good stuff:

    • Action harvesting is quite fun; I like it.
    • Crafting so far has been great. It looks like it will be a really deep system, and with decay / loss being a real thing I can see good crafters being just as important as good fighters.
    • The game is gorgeous. The beachhead areas are fantastic and I appreciated the slight safety of walls so that I could figure out the UI without too much worry about being roflstomped instantly.
    • The Elkin model is really nice, kudos to the artists. It's the race I've been waiting on since the first teaser art for kickstarter, so it's nice to see them in game finally.

  16. On the builder region to do some exploratory on the building tools and whatnot: managed to place a wall on top of myself, and then could not loot it because there was no space in my inventory as wall segments do not currently stack once used with similar unused segments.

    End result: "Typical... First day of testing and you manage to entomb yourself in your own walls..."

    Fixed by managing to rez another wall nearby to make a space for the one I was inside of. :)

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    Otherwise everything ran smoothly for me, even amidst a lot of other castles. Only got one really good rubber band over a two hour period, but that was it.

    This is the first test I've managed to get into since September or so, and I have to say the game is looking fantastic! Great job!


  17. Also, if you plan to be testing, take a moment and create a hardware profile for your machine (DXDIAG)

     

    1. If you are running Windows Vista or higher go to your task bar.
    2. Click on, "Start Button".
    3. Click on, "Run".
    4. In the pop-up window enter DxDiag and hit ok.
    5. The DirectX Diagnostic Tool pop-up window should appear.
    6. Click on, "Save all information".
    7. "Save As" window should be present.
    8. Click on, "Save" (The file should be saved to your desktop as DxDiag.txt)
    9. Exit the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.

     

    Now you have this handy if the devs ask for it or you can attach it to your bug reports. This is always a help in determining various potential issues. :)


  18. I'm fine with slower combat if it did make use of physics and make for a more strategic experience, but the current build doesn't do that for me.

     

    Have collision, some aiming/projectiles, and a bit of push/pull powers, but for the compromises that come with this tech, not sure how much it is worth that can't be done with less "real" physics.

     

    Hopefully they can figure it all out and the experience loses the clunky feel that many have voiced concern about, but there is no guarantee and I doubt that the non-combat features will make up for it.

     

    Yeah, I definitely get that - and I'm hopeful that what we are seeing are just limitations of the test builds specific to the test environments.

     

    Which is another thing I wonder if folks might be overlooking; that these are test environments... Normally when doing testing you don't have a win condition, because your testers will fixate on winning versus testing and start to get the impression the build is the real deal - when it isn't.

     

    Hell, for all we know the poor performance could be all the additional instrumentation in the test builds as ACE tries to compensate for bug reports of "it sucks". :D


  19. I think one of the big things people need to ponder on is that comparing Crowfall's combat to Game-X's combat is, in general, really hard - for one big reason; physics.

     

    What I mean by this is that it's relatively easy to have super-fluid high-flash combat when your only concern is if two volumes connect at any point in time: bounding box A collides with bounding box B while key C is pressed is the sum-total of the procedure in most cases... Usually weapons don't even have volumes; you equip said weapon and said weapon may make the player's bounding box bigger to create a longer reach, but the simulation is still looking for the intersection of two volumes - period...

     

    This is why most games don't have player physics, because it's orders of magnitude harder when you want to declare values on those volumes and test against those values in real time. But what you get for the extra work is a far more tactical simulation where player position, vector, inertia, and target leading are important, and the player's interactions with the world around them begin to have importance, but the cost is you have to limit combat speed to perform those calculations - which impacts twitch noscope headshots and the mad jumping about that many people call PvP.

     

    So right now, in my humble opinion, we're seeing a lot of grumbling about the combat system because many people are expecting a game made almost entirely of high-speed ganking, like Game-X - when what I get out of the design doc for the game seems to indicate a slower pace of combat with more emphasis on group composition, tactics, and world dynamics in order to fully utilize those physics.

     

    Hopefully the game as intended, with its myriad tactical problems of resource control and management, supply lines, defensive positioning, terrain considerations, and inter-guild relations leading to numerical superiority will better illustrate the full scope of combat over simply beating each other over the head. Right now it's a bit like flying a few starter frigates in Eve Online and orbiting each other while cycling weapons - and assuming that's the whole of the game. :)

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