Gamescom 2018 "Ask Me Anything" Event Q&A


Is the NDA firm for all of Alpha, or is there a possibility that the NDA may be lifted before Beta starts?
There is a chance that the NDA may be lifted, but it's safer to assume that it won't. This is dependent upon the progress of key aspects such as rendering, gameplay and performance.

For some, the biggest disappointment regarding the roadmap announcement was the NDA being extended to cover all Alpha releases. While it is clear that it was a difficult decision to make, could you elaborate on the reasons for extending the NDA?
This has been answered in the official roadmap presentation and video. The reason is to preserve the game’s first impression when introducing it to a wider audience. We’re aware that judgments of products in development can be harsh and we want to give future players the opportunity to experience the excitement of Dual Universe when the game will be in a version closer to their expectations.

Will there be exotic celestial bodies and other anomaly in space? Such as Black Holes, Comets, Nova/Supernova, Exoplanets, Wormholes, or Binary Stars?
Some of these are very good ideas. We may look into these at a later time for the purposes of additional exploration, but most likely not for the initial release. 

What is the plan on server wipes going forward? Will there still be a final wipe right before the planned launch in 2020?
As we previously announced, yes. There will be a final wipe before launch, one likely before beta, and one as well before the alpha stage. However, players will be able to retain blueprints from their constructs, so there is no need to restrain creativity even at this early stage. Upon full release, players with blueprints will be required to gather the corresponding materials/assets involved in said blueprint, and will then be able to regenerate their past constructs. Note that some "light" wipes may affect only the procedural generation (regenerating planets terrain) and would then preserve existing constructs.

Are there plans to implement RCS for attitude control and small translation movement in space?
This can already be implemented using adjusters and/or small thrusters. You would need to edit the LUA code to implement maneuver-specific functions that are not part of the standard flight behavior. This is quite easy to do, and the whole point of our LUA-based approach is to allow players additional levels of customization, putting no limit to how far you can go when fine tuning your game experience.

Is it possible that later, due to overpopulation on Alioth or a will to extend the population across the universe, we see more arkships spawning on further planets where new players would spawn after being discovered? Or will the starting spawn point remain the same for everyone until the end?
The core philosophy and lore pushes for a single Arkship, facilitating player interaction at the start, and providing a central place for organizations to approach new comers in the game. It is possible this decision could cause technical issues during gameplay, in which case we may introduce new arkships within the first system to avoid playerbase fragmentation.

Will there be financial market mechanics with securities like stocks and bonds?
Not at the beginning, but this is definitely integrated into the long term roadmap post release. We could even introduce complex financial instruments to allow for a realistic banking sector to emerge.

Does the planet mass in DU follow the real-life relation to its gravity and radius?
Yes.

Larger LUA scripts are written over weeks or even months. Would it be possible to know the LUA API changes of the next few versions in advance so that we can plan our scripts accordingly?
There is no change in API planned at this time, only additions of new API for new elements. We regularly announce those via small blog posts.

Are there any plans on exposing more of Coherent GT functionality to LUA? For example, having some form of data-binding would be more efficient for animations than resetting all HTML each frame (yes, I know about screen.moveContent).
We are open to suggestions, but so far nothing like this is planned. moveContent is indeed meant to help, but if you have other ideas, please let us know.

Is there any new work-in-progress art or concept art that can be made public?
We’re publishing new artworks and concept arts when available, so keep an eye on our social networks for that. If you haven’t seen any new art lately, it’s also because our focus is on the assets needed for the Kickstarter physical goodies.. Expect some new things in the coming months!

What kind of weapons are you developing for the game?
We're still in the early phases of combat development, so it's difficult to say what the weapons and combat systems will look like. We have ideas that we're currently exploring and will see where that leads us. You shouldn't expect any form of high intensity aim-based combat, neither player nor construct will have this.

Will weapons be customizable? (Scopes and other attachments, adjustable rate of fire vs. firepower, paint jobs, materials, laser shot color, etc.)
It's still unclear at this point in development what form weapons will take. It’s safe to say that there will always be a degree of customization when it comes to what you are able to equip on your character for combat purposes. 

How will water work? Can we swim in water? Can ships go underwater? Can we build constructs underwater?
You can currently build underwater should you wish to. We hope to make water a relevant part of the experience, but there are technical difficulties that we are facing on that front. Depending on how well we resolve with these issues, we may be able to have water specific features.

How will carrier ships work? Can you dock smaller ships inside bigger ships? Will there be a limit to how many smaller ships can be docked on a carrier?
It is possible for a larger ship to house and transport smaller ships. There are no hard limits to how many smaller ships can be docked on a larger one other than its physical space.

Any plans for an External Docking system, like the one used by NASA, and seen in many sci-fi films?
It's something that we've considered, but nothing that we can confirm for now.

What will construct damage look like? Will there be smoke and explosion effects? Can damage be targeted to specific systems like weapons, engines, or power?
We already have element-specific damage when your ship crashes, for example. We definitely want to expand that functionality for ship to ship combat and allow you to target specific areas of a ship.  

Will there be EMP type weapons in game that disable systems, but don't deal damage?
This is something we would like to do, but we can't confirm it at this stage.

Can we have Flamethrowers?
Hmmm… Does Elon Musk play DU?

Can you repair a ship during combat?
Yes, definitely. This is intended to be part of the experience of large ship combat, with dedicated teams within the crew who are in charge of repair work.

Is there any progress on rotating planets? Are these still in the works? If the planets will rotate, how will our scripts calculate latitude and longitude? World coordinates or gravity vector direction (also in world coordinates) will no longer work.
We're unlikely to have rotating planets any time soon, but it's part of what we want to do. Due to the massive undertaking and number technical concerns,we can't commit to when this will be released.

What will the interplanetary distances in the same stellar system be like in the final version compared to the current distances?
We have to find the proper balance between top cruising speed and distance between planets. We don't dislike what we have now, but as the game evolves it could change. 

I have experimented a bit with the radar element and it is not clear how the range works. Can the radar only return constructs that are already known to and rendered by the game client?
As of right now, yes. We hope to expand radar functionality to make it less reliant on what your client sees and more on your in-game surroundings in the future. 

How will flying work? Will it be possible to control the craft with the mouse, the keyboard, or is it customizable? 
Using LUA to redefine the control of the ship, this is already possible. We have not yet integrated this into the default LUA script, so for now it's up to players to try to implement it.

While client-side performance can only get better as we progress from pre-alpha to release, what can we testers do right now to increase performance?
As with every game, reducing the resolution can help improve the framerate. Additionally, we plan to expose a setting to control the level of detail of the voxels. This will allow you to simplify the geometry if the game is running too slow on your machine. It will also give you a way to see your constructs in better resolution if you have a beefy computer.

If a computer is upgraded from an SSD with 540 read/520 write speed to an NVME with 3,400 read / 2,800 write speed, besides spending less time on the loading screen, would I see a significant improvement in game performance or do CPU/GPU performances bottleneck this?
We try to do our IO asynchronously, but there is still some asset loading in the rendering thread. Until we fix this issue, you will have less framerate drops with a faster disk. The full release of the game should not have these issues and the only significant improvement you will see from a faster disk will be a faster loading screen.

Will terrain generation be expanded to have a 3D component? (On Kallass, it's very visible that terrain only has a height above planet core component.)
We already have some 3D features in game in the form of caves. The reason we don't do much 3D procedural generation is because it is a lot slower than 2D. Right now we are focussing on improving performance and loading times, so we are not actively developing new procedural generation features. However, we have a few ideas on how to add more 3D features efficiently to the procedural generation and want to take advantage of our 3D voxel world.

Will we see volumetric clouds (such as those shown in that first E3 video)? If so, will it be before release?
Yes, it is currently under development. There will be more on this soon.

Is NQ aware of plans Unigine has to support Nvidia RTX? I know it's early, but this will be a defining technology in the years to come and as far as I can see, specifically games like DU will benefit greatly from it.
This is indeed too early to consider. We are already quite demanding on hardware and we have to set a limit at some point.

What happened to your monthly dev diaries (we haven’t seen one since last October)?
We decided to try a new approach with this and share information with the community as soon as it was ready. Don’t worry! DevDiaries will be back after Alpha Launch!

What will Construct vs. Construct combat be like?
As mentioned in the roadmap, Construct vs. Construct is not planned before end of next year. It’s a bit early to give away details about this gameplay. Too many things could change before the feature hits the Live Test Server. 

Where can we get one of those sweet Dual Universe jackets we see on JC in the corporate video?
Unfortunately, this jacket was produced in a (very) limited number for Novaquark employees. There’s a good chance that we will have some goodies available in the future though - if there is a high demand - but it's too soon to confirm it.

Where can community members send their user generated content, such as videos and screenshots? Are there any guidelines which may make it more likely for their content to be accepted and used as advertising for Dual Universe?
You can send them to community@novaquark.com

What will Player vs. Player combat be like?  Will it be dynamic like Mass Effect or other similar FPS games?
It won't be similar to games like Mass Effect or any other FPS/TPS style games. As announced during the Kickstarter campaign, combat systems will be "Lock & Fire" type. This is a technical compromise we have to do in order to be able to handle large scale battles in a Continuous Single-Shard Universe.

In a Twitter reply on 6/19/18, JC stated that “we will ultimately introduce players to modify voxels at the level of the HDF (Hermit Data Field) so you can enjoy optimal precision.” Where in the roadmap does this fall?
If we're talking about "point voxel edition", as in moving voxel points/vertices to modify precise spots on the resulting voxel shape, it's already a suggestion mentioned on our Community Suggestions Trello. This should be available before release, but we can't be more precise about that topic yet.

Some people are currently mastering strange voxel behavior and are elevating this to an art ("Voxelmancy"). Will this type of voxel building remain in the game after the release or will the tools be altered in a way to prohibit this? Will future tools allow players more precision in the creative process?
A “point voxel edition” tool will appear in the future, allowing for 100% expressivity. Allowing voxels to behave strangely is a topic that we haven’t made the final decision on. We will base that decision on the following criteria:  
Does allowing strange voxel behavior impact the player experience negatively by generating bugs/instability or gameplay imbalance? Will it be confusing for new or inexperienced players? Will the use of the “point voxel edition” tool be considered too advanced for the average player? Does the majority of players accept that these results will only come from use of this new tool?

The strange voxel behavior may be fixed at some point should any of the above mentioned criteria become an issue at any level. 

Are painting voxels still being considered?
As in replacing one voxel material with another? Yes.

Are we gonna get more complex UI features such as complete orbital displays, full system map, etc? Or will there always be room left for player-created solutions to be superior and more desired?
Both. 
We will be adding additional layers of complexity to the UI in the coming releases. The UI is intuitive by means that we build a framework able to be understood and enjoyed at any experience level. At the same time, we want to give players the freedom to alter how they perform UI actions (most notably with LUA). 

The balance is not to intimidate the user experience with complexity, while also not dumbing down or closing doors to those who want it.

Crafting is introduced in the first alpha, what can we expect of it? Is it going to be the full range of objects and constructs?
All current existing items (elements and materials) will be craftable via a Nanoformer Crafting Interface. No structures or elements enabling crafting will be available yet and you will only be able to craft a single item at a time.

Could you elaborate on the galaxy that will be available in beta? How many star systems will players have access to? Will there be faster modes of travel, such as warp engines, so that players can get there? Will the star maps be implemented by this time?
There should be a few solar systems and a special, faster way to travel in between them. The exact number of systems will evolve with player base size and additional factors during that phase. A basic star map visualization should be available by this time.

How is the progress on the next update coming along? Any word on the new engines? Which unreleased elements (like bumpers) that have been announced can we expect soon?
Development is making steady progress. As we have stated in the past, our goal is to hire more people to accelerate and deliver more content more often which takes time.

With r0.12 fast approaching, you can expect some performance optimization and UI improvements when it goes live. New engines will come later since more work is needed to make sure they're ready. It will be before the end of 2018, though! Same thing for the Antigrav Generators (read this news for more information)!

The roadmap doesn't make any mention of server uptime. When can we expect the servers to be up for extended periods of time (24/7)? Is this something that we can expect during a specific phase of Alpha? Can we expect server uptime during the winter holiday season this year? Is there a clue of sorts hidden in one of the videos that were recently published? 
We know that the community is anticipating more server uptime in the near future and we’re working hard to achieve that for you. During the final r0.11 tests, we'll have a full weekend test on Sept 8th-9th and a 48-hour long test on Sept, 13th-15th. When r0.12 goes live, we'll try to have 24-hour long tests as soon as possible.

Let's be honest here: 24/7 uptime is one of our top priorities at Novaquark, but it won't be attainable in 2018. We don’t want to drive unnecessary hype, so it’s hard to give an estimated date at this time. Also, no hints were given in our videos whatsoever.

Best Regards,
The Novaquark Team.