In-Game AMA, Feb 3rd 2018, Transcription

For those who didn’t see the official announcement, you can read about that here. You’ll find the AMA transcript below!

NQ-Sophon: Hi guy, this is JC! Ready for the AMA ;)
NQ-Sophon (aka JC): First time I’m doing this! Be nice :)

Tsunami: When exactly does the second crowdfunding campaign start? Is there any release date?
NQ-Sophon: We are still aiming at Q1, no worries. The date will be announced on the social networks soon

Falstaf: About the armor, will we only see sets or perhaps also hats or coats as separate pieces?
NQ-Sophon: Our goal is to go towards modular armors, for extra customization and fine tuning possibilities

Lethys: The release has been delayed and we are currently in Pre-Alpha. Can we get an updated estimate on the road-map for full release of the game? Including perhaps update on when we might see further and longer tests?
NQ-Sophon: We are going to publish a roadmap before Summer. For the 24/7, this is a high level priority, and we hope to be able to get you there in a few weeks. It won’t be full time however, but more like full week-ends to start with.

Note: For the recent Feb 3rd session, we decided to keep the server open during the entire weekend for testing purposes. Everything went well and the results will better help us know how to proceed with doing this again in the future.

Tsunami: How exactly do you imagine FTL Engines (Faster than Light) and Stargates? How does it works?
NQ-Sophon: It’s a long topic, we will probably shoot a DevBlog on this. But the key idea is that for both, you’ll need anchor points at destination, that you need to setup first. Then you can travel faster between points of your network.

Neutro: Are you guys working on optimization? For smoother and better frame per second experience?
NQ-Sophon: Optimization is a constant effort in the team (there is even one guy in charge of supervising the efforts on that)

Tsunami: How exactly will water physics be implemented later ingame? How does it work?
NQ-Sophon: It’s too soon to talk about water physics. Don’t expect multiscale fluid dynamics, this would kill the perf for little gameplay benefits. But we want to make water interesting gameplay-wise

Tsunami: Is it possible to place a Core Unit in space? Eg. for the construction of a space station. Is there possibly a “Space Core”?
NQ-Sophon: Yes, this is a very interesting idea and we are considering it at the moment. Especially since it’s likely that things like markets will not be allowed on dynamic constructs, we need a way to “statify” constructs in space.

Captain_Jack: JC - what is the biggest hurdle encountered so far?
NQ-Sophon: Lots! Growing the team and hiring more kickass extraordinary people to make the game even better! ;)

Aesir7: Bonjour JC, when do you plan to get out of the Pre-Alpha ? What will trigger this step?
NQ-Sophon: The key factor for Pre-Alpha to Alpha is the capacity to get enough of the basic gameplay, so that people who will see the game have a good idea of the type of experience we will have. For example, getting the gameplay that will allow us to get rid of fully stuffed inventories* (in DU you won’t have a “creative mode”, you need to acquire the resources to build stuff).

Note: For now, resources are given in huge quantities to players so that they can go build stuff and experiment. This will change once scanning, mining, and market features are implemented.

Takao: When do we get a mirror mode?
NQ-Sophon: There is lot of demand for this feature, so we don’t forget it. But we need to devote time to other gameplay than just building at the moment, so it won’t be soon.

Tsunami: How exactly do you want to realize digging? Will there be several and different layers of rock and materials that increase in hardness with increasing depth?
NQ-Sophon: Yes, exactly.

NanoDot: So Alpha is basically planned to be a MVP (minimum viable product) ?
NQ-Sophon: I wouldn’t say a MVP. But a set of feature that does not betray the spirit of the game, and of course is fun enough.

Kulkija: Will we have transparent materials?
NQ-Sophon: This is a quite challenging feature in fact. We might get it if we decide to implement water like this, water becoming full voxels. But it’s too soon to tell.

Kulkija: Ok. Followup: How about colored or tinted class elements?
NQ-Sophon: If we manage to have transparent voxel, I think the colored part will not be a problem.

Tsunami: Will there be “power” in the later game? And if yes, how is it made and distributed?
NQ-Sophon: Yes, power and energy is planned. It will be a big part of the gameplay to build automatic industrial chains for example.

Aesir7: That’s a long way to go, will you be money safe until that point? Because triggering the Alpha, removing the NDA will probably become a boost in your income, but until then, you have to survive :p
NQ-Sophon: Don’t worry, we are OK ;)

Takao: Did you alter the flight physics in the last patches? My shuttle could go at 600 km/h around 2-3 test phases ago, but now only 300 with 2 medium engines more...
NQ-Sophon: I don’t think so, but the complexity of flight is such, that some side effect might occur (atmo density, gravity, friction, etc.).

Costanius: What game features and mechanics are you currently working on for the next few updates?
NQ-Sophon: We are working on Markets, Scanning, and also a LOT on server scalability and stability.

Tsunami: Please explain the space management. How many slots will there be in the inventory? Will there be a weight limit?
NQ-Sophon: The inventory limitation will be based on total volume (no slot limits).

Lethys: We have seen there will be some implementation of “contracts” and “bounties”, will they have forced in-game consequences, or purely player driven?
NQ-Sophon: Contracts and bounties are still a long way (we need PvP first), but we will provide some mechanisms in-game so that it’s better than just a record of players activity.

NanoDot: Will there ever be a way to “paint” the constructs without altering the material type of the voxels?
NQ-Sophon: It’s an option, we would like to, but there are still technical questions to investigate first.

Forodrim: Do you already have an idea how to deal with abandoned structures? To avoid having a landscape that is littered with ruins? Will there be a decay or simply a way to allow other players to salvage those structures?
NQ-Sophon: We had a meeting on this last week actually! Yes, we are considering some form of salvaging for abandoned constructs, with lots of warning for the player (via email, etc.) before we “de-own” his constructs. In any case, Blueprints will be granted in case the player comes back.

Bragolatch: Any specific reason you went with action assignments in Lua instead of keybinds? Seems pretty limiting in a way since we won’t be able to assign a key to a code we’ve written ourselves unless you add that action into the game or will there be a way to do that ourselves?
NQ-Sophon: It’s a better system because it will allow anyone to remap the key binding of any Lua script that they get from somebody else (as part of a ship, for example). We will add a lot of actions for the more standard things you might want to do with a construct, plus the optional 1-9 for more generic stuff.

ATMLVE: Do you know yet how the discovery and naming of planets will work?
NQ-Sophon: Not planned yet. It’s too soon to discuss this.

Aesir7: Maybe you already answered, but when does the fighting part will be released ?
NQ-Sophon: PvP* is going to be released during the Alpha stage (not Alpha 1, but before Beta!)

*Note: Avatar vs. Avatar combat is what is meant here. Once this feature is implemented, the Construct vs. Construct feature will be as well, as promised during our Kickstarter campaign.

Anslem_Vry: Do you plan to have any more Open Doors events?
NQ-Sophon: Most likely, yes. We like it and it’s really nice. Would be nice to do it in other countries as well, we are thinking about it.

Velenka: How much do you know about what materials will be available (for mining and crafting)? Are there more to come or do you have a full list already picked?
NQ-Sophon: There will be more materials, we are working on this at the moment. It’s related to the crafting and recipes and procedural generation, quite complex stuff ;)

NanoDot: When will the resources and elements get their proper mass assigned ? We can’t really tell how anything will fly before that happens I think.
NQ-Sophon: About the mass of elements: we are getting close to the final settings now, but honestly we allow ourselves to still change things at this stage.

Zamarus: I know combat isn’t priority right now but will there be melee combat in the future combat or just ranged weapons?
NQ-Sophon: We will have a lock & fire mechanism, so with auto-lock on close enemies it’s a possibility to have melee. But nothing is decided on this at this stage.

CptLoRes: What are your thoughts on improving object collision, physics and having mechanical/movable parts within constructs? Like making large custom hangar doors, elevators, lifting cranes etc.
NQ-Sophon: There will be no collision physics between constructs, for gameplay reasons (no missile constructs). For hangar doors, we will introduce elements. Now, having subvoxel structures that move is a possibility, technically, but it is really low on the priority list. Maybe in an expansion at some point.

SirJohn85: Is there an alternative energy, as example, with solar planned?
NQ-Sophon: Solar panels will be there at some point, it’s related to the question of energy (electric energy). Coming later during development.

Kulkija: Will there be structural integrity?
NQ-Sophon: You will have “holes” in the voxel structure when damage is taken, but no ship dislocation, which would be cool but taxing a lot on performance.

Takao: Will the combat system against voxels be damage vs HP or penetration against armor thickness?
NQ-Sophon: Too soon on this question, sorry ;)

ATMLVE: So I heard you’re having more Open Doors events, may I recommend my hometown? ;) Nah but do you think DU will ever get to the point of having a DUcon, like EVE and... Star Citizen have?
NQ-Sophon: DUcon, why not! (it just sounds very bad in French*...! lol)

*Note: It’s actually a more vulgar version of “moron”, so we’ll probably choose a different name if such an event should ever occur. DualCon is better for example but again, nothing like that is scheduled for now.

Aesir7: Will be the voxel tools be improved so we can handle more complex shapes? Right now I’m building a ship and voxels totally fail at doing complex shapes and angles.
NQ-Sophon: I agree there is room for improvement on the voxel tool (myself trying to build an outpost I can see the limitations). But again, we need to go forward for the other features, and then get back to improving the things we have a bit later.

Bragolatch: More of a comment then a question, but you overdid it on the smoke put out by damaged componentes. It is so thick that I can’t find the part to repair in it. It doesn’t highlight or the highlight is not visible in the smoke.
NQ-Sophon: Agreed on the smoke.

Fitorion: For large constructs... multi static cores will there be a way to align their grid?
NQ-Sophon: Yes, it would be nice to be able to align multi Static Cores. We have not worked on this yet, and we would like to introduce larger Core Units first (256 and maybe 512).

NanoDot: Will the recently shown wiring and ducting elements have a functional purpose later ? :D
NQ-Sophon: In principle no, they are just cosmetic. We still keep the “abstract” linking system for now.

Zamarus: Will you be able to go prone as your character? Crawl and such?
NQ-Sophon: Unless there is a gameplay purpose to it, no, at least not in the roadmap for now.

OnePercent: When will we have basic piloting heads up display, altimeter, attitude indicator for example?
NQ-Sophon: That would be cool and we are considering it. You can already program a short range altimeter with a telemeter unit and Lua.

ATMLVE: With only 512m cores how will it be possible to make stations like the big one shown in promotions?
NQ-Sophon: In principle by connecting Core Units, or we may introduce even larger Core, but with lower voxel resolution (50cm, 100cm, etc). Still WIP and I cannot guarantee it.

Wardonis: Will we have a creative mode for Blueprint design? Not for construction obviously.
NQ-Sophon: No creative mode is planned, we would like to have all activities take place within the game world.

Costanius: Will You talk with us more on the Pre-Alpha forums in the future? We could have monthly AMAs there for example.
NQ-Sophon: There will be other AMAs, yes, it’s really nice to have these kinds of direct discussions (I wish I had more time for it!).

We have to stop now, it was a pleasure and thanks to all of you!