Ship of Heroes Community Server

Parkhyeyeon has been kind enough to set up a discord server for people who want to chat about Ship of Heroes. https://discord.gg/YNk2Kx7. See you there...

Login Test Update

The registration phase of the login test is over and emails have been sent out to those who indicated they wished to take part. The email asks you what time slot(s) you would prefer to paricipate in.

If you registered and haven't received your email, you should check your spam folder, etc. If you don't state a preference for any particular timeslot, one will be chosen for you.

It's anticipated that a further email with a download link and login details for the character allocated to each participant will be sent out later this week.

See you there... And remember the discord link - https://discord.gg/Jkj6464

And here's a quote from Consultant on the official forum...

OK, we're closing registration now. We left it open for a bit of extra time, in case there were some who were last minute registrants.

We're also sending out an email to everyone who registered, this afternoon. In it we are asking you to select from a list of three times (all in eastern US time zone):

10 in the morning

1 in the afternoon

4 in the afternoon

In the ideal case you will choose more than one of these and we will then put you into one that allows us to allocate 300 people into three roughly even groups.

The Login Test is Here!



Our chance to get into Apothoesis City again has arrived. The login test we've all been awaiting has been scheduled for about 10am on 15th December 2018. It's open to anyone who has donated $25 or more to Heroic Games for Ship of Heroes.

There'll be no combat and we will be very limited in where we can go. Initial indications are that we'll be restricted to the area under the arch. This is purely a stress test, they want to see how the systems hold up with up to 100 players online in the same area at once and gather performance data.

If you want to take part and meet lots of other people who'll be playing, and the devs - take a look at the official Ship of Heroes Website.


Restorative Nanites Powerset Video Released

Direct quote from Heroic Games:
The 30th of November marks six years since City of Heroes closed.  Two years ago, we launched the Ship of Heroes website and announced that we were using the closed MMORPG as a major inspiration for a completely new game.  CoH had many wonderful traits, one of which was how much fun you could have playing healers, buffers, controllers, and other non-DPS archetypes.  Today we are releasing a video showing our first version of a new support powerset focused on healing and buffing, as an homage to CoH.

Here's the video, or you can watch it and read more about the powers on the official Ship of Heroes website.



The controller in City of Heroes added a lot of options to any team, it looks as if Ship of Heroes similar class if going to be just as much fun to play.

Restorative Nanites is likely to be more of a secondary power for most people, giving healing options to other classes. As a primary powerset, it's utility to a group will be indispensible when dealing with tougher enemies.

The video also shows off a very nice looking character, Nicky Nanite. It's immediately obvious how much better this character looks than some of the others on earlier videos. Heroic Games are making amazing progress on Ship of Heroes, it looks better each time I see it.

Consultant comments on Ship of Heroes beta question

Here's an interesting comment from Consultant, spotted on the official forum:

We're planning to do a Beta at the end of next month, of something. The likely candidates are a big raid, or the CCT upgrades.

Beta for the entire game, with the mission system, leveling, augments, and the whole thing is currently planned for the end of next year. That launch has been pushed back by a few months (we were previously saying the middle of next year) because we now know more about what our schedule in 2019 has to contain.

However, we will be doing more and more activities, in-game, with the community between now and then. Including letting supporters create characters and save names at some point between now and then.

Things are looking pretty good from where I'm standing, or, more accurately, sitting.

November 2018 Newsletter - FPS Success in Ship of Heroes

Heroic Games have released a newsletter in which they go into great detail about the work they are doing to ensure players have a great experience when playing. One of the challenges in MMO's is keeping response times and the graphical quality high enough to please players as more and more resources have to be displayed in real time. The developers of Ship of Heroes are taking this issue very seriously and have taken the unusual step, for a game this early in development, of telling us what they're doing to increase FPS (frames per second) and the results they are achieving. There's a lot of technical detail in the newsletter, far too much to go through here, you can read all about it on the official website.

Of particular note is that they have achieved an FPS gain from 20 to 64 by modifying the character models and developing their CROM 4 system for map optimisation, they have done this with no loss of quality - a very important consideration in an MMO.


Here's are a couple of interesting, and quite important, quotes from the newsletter:
We are currently planning 50-man invasions with 50-70 enemies as a typical maximum.  If these FPS numbers hold up, we may be able to go even higher.
Based on these tests, we think it is reasonable to assume that we can conduct a login test with 50-100 unique heroes, and that we can conduct a raid test with at least 50 heroes and 70 Nagdellians, with the expectation of success.


An FPS test with 103 heroes and 103 Nagdellians under the Arch.  FPS is 31.6. 
Sharp eyed viewers will have noticed that there are some new, hitherto unseen, costumes on show in this image. There has evidently been some exciting stuff going on that has not yet been revealed to us :) We're keeping our eyes peeled for more...

Here's the link to the associated forum post if you'd like to join in the discussion on this latest newsletter.


And, finally, here are some more interesting quotes:

Some of the FPS results are kind of startling.  Screengrabs showing over 200 characters, in motion and using FX, in close proximity are highly unusual for MMOs at any stage of development.  While this is testing, and not gameplay, the shots are still very compelling.  This is a good sign for the MMO industry, which has been running into a rough patch lately.


It seems likely, based on this data that SoH will be able to exceed the numbers of players that City Of Heroes could sustain on raids and invasions.  This spiritual successor to the beloved superhero MMO is looking good.

Ship of Heroes Login test News

Nope, not the actual login test, don't get too excited :) Just news that Heroic Games have said they're looking to carry out a test in 2018 and they're now looking for a guide as to the numbers of people they can expect. If you're interested in logging in and having a chat ingame (there'll be no combat or anything like that - as the name suggests, it's just a test to see how their systems stand up to large numbers logging in) pop over to the official website and vote in the community poll to let them know your favourite day and take a look at the associated thread in the forum.

Apotheosis City at Night Looks Fantastic!

Ok. I have to admit, the city looks great at night. Take a look at the video attached to the latest newsletter where the devs compressed a complete day/night cycle, which will last about 3 hours ingame, down to a few minutes. They're still working on perfecting light levels, etc. but it looks pretty good to me as it is.


More civilian paths and vehicles have been added to the map which is starting to take on a life of its own. It looks like a real city now with movement as npc's go about their business.

We also see our first image of a train in the city, in the image it's below Meltdown as he flies around!

Here's a quote from the end of the newsletter. See you on the forum...
Currently we are working on multiple efforts in order to integrate a couple of upgrades into SoH  for the future.  We intend to fundamentally test our CROM system to determine just how much of an FPS advantage it gives our players.  Similarly, we are completing a major –and unscheduled – round of player-character optimizations and improvements.  These two activities have pushed us back from our original schedule, but we’ll be showing and quantifying the positive effects of these changes in the near future.  We don’t often see dev teams being transparent about what they are doing on the technical side of a project, but we like to show quite a bit more detail than is common, and we will continue to do so in the future.
The next big thing will be a Login Test, which will occur before the end of the year.  Please keep watching and giving us feedback on the forums.

Civilians and Cars

Realism

 Areas frequented by players in MMO's need npc's to add immersion. The September 2018 newsletter  tells us about the developers vision for populating the city with civilian npc's and levitating cars.


The images above show Dr Strikewell standing in the street with hovercars behind her. The cars levitate constantly, even when parked, to facilitate easy entry and exit. Whether or not we'll actually be able to use vehicles is unknown at this time, though with superpowers at our disposal, we could probably get around faster under our own steam...

 This image shows a bunch of npc's standing around singly doing their own thing or in groups making the city look alive. This is very important in MMO's in order to add a hint of realism. Here's a quote from the devs:
There are over 100 civilians in the Arch Park, and at any given time, a player can see about 20.  We think this strikes a good balance between immersion and FPS.  As a supporter of SoH, feel free to weigh in with your opinion in the forums on whether this is the right density of civilians.

You can read the newsletter on the official Ship of Heroes Site and add your thoughts in the forum.


In Other News

  • Heroic Games are still working towards running that login test they've been talking about for a while so keep an eye on the official site (or here!) for news about that.
  • An engine upgrade is expected, to 4.20, soon which will give the devs some interesting new capabilities.

Cars? On a Ship?

Here's a glimpse of what cars could look like on Ship of Heroes. Note the lack of wheels! We don't yet have a backstory to explain their hovering, no doubt that'll all be made clear soon!


What can I say except... I want one!

Ship of Heroes, Community Poll

Heroic Games like to know what people think. The latest Community Poll asks the question:

"You’re in-game and you come across a new player who needs help with a mission. What would give you the greatest motivation/incentive to assist them?"

If you'd like to add your views, you can see the poll at https://www.shipofheroes.com/ and join in the discussion at https://www.shipofheroes.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=6

What's Being Worked On (first half of 2018)

The team have been working on six main areas of the game:

1.    The characters, costumes, morph targets, and related character art.
2.    The city, props, buildings, mission maps, and other environmental art.
3.    The code that works with the Unreal Engine, and creates the game.
4.    The powers, animations, FX, and SFX.
5.    The mission and big battle systems.
6.    Leveling and advancement.


Taking transparency to a whole new level and going into far greater detail than we'd normally expect from development teams, the lead developer for Heroic Games has provided a long list of work done in the last four months or so.

- Upgraded to 4.18
- Changed GM Calling command structure.
- Lots of meshmerge work.
- I'm not sure if Popcorn FX was added around the time of this upgrade or if it was new from shortly before but I see a lot of the early Popcorn stuff in there. Adding example beams and such. Many popcorn FX integration tweaks which can be branched into this note.
- Lots of Mission and Public Quest work as well as Quest Tracker upgrade.
- Damage Meter changes.
- Improved menu interactions, widget resizing, dynamic UI, and settings tweaks.
- Significance Manager
- Lots of folder restructuring and cleanup, that would break any reference to the moved items.
- Power system revamp.
- Targeting system revamp.
- Focus targeting system for things like target of target and focus assisting.
- Follow target.
- TrueSKY which is our day/night system.
- Status Effect Resistance and other improvements to Status Effects.
- Capsule shadows.
- FPS Meter
- Cast speed enhancements.
- Many optimizations.
- Custom character movement code.
- Civilian NPCs can now be spawned in large numbers.
- Update Rate Optimizations and skipped renders of invisible objects.
- Grounding optimizations.
- Health bars and nametags.
- Inventory slot improvements.
- Ability to hide/unhide UI.
- Target Frame Rate selector.
- Can activate keybinds when using the chat widget now.
- Targeting socket changes.
- Cooldown Buff/Debuff implementation.
- No longer tries to open up secondary programs when launches.
- Mouse controls now in C++.
- Controller ticks now in C++.
- Completely revamped the Character Player Hierarchy
- Re-setting movable UI in place

You can read more about this and any follow-up on the official forum post.


Here's some attached notes:
1. TrueSKY gives us day/night in-game. It as supposed to be a simple plugin but it turned out to be much more complicated than that. And implementing it has had several implications. For example, we can now link our FX intensity to the time of day automatically, so that subtle FX, like buffs, can be seen in the day but not become eye-searingly bright at night. Also, it's a bit of an issue to get the shadows just right. And finally, once we had this working we discovered that the city would look much better with emissive textures on the windows that light up at night. And then we decided that they should be subtly glowing during the dayas if the lights were on in the offices behind the glass. So altering the emissives and integrating them with our CROM system has taken over a month already. But it looks really good.

2. Significance manager is also a pretty cool idea. this allows us to help a player keep his game moving along quickly, as opposed to be stuck with low FPS, if there is a lot going on. This system, which we have custom-coded using capabilities of the Unreal Engine, means that the movements of the guys you are fighting have priority -- they are more significant -- than the distant shadows on buildings, if you are in a situation in which your FPS has dropped below a design setting. That's a simple case. We have a lot of metrics built into this feature.

3. Whenever you see a listing that says we have re-coded something out of blueprints and into C++, this is almost always because C++ is faster. BP are really easy to do, as they are a visual scripting language. You don't need to be a coder to write blueprints. But very few MMOs are every published without going through the BPs and converting them to C++. Unreal has automated tools for this conversion, but the tools do not always give us the very best (fastest) code structure. A skilled coder can do a better job. So we are steadily converting BPs to C++ as we move forward.


Since FPS (frames per second) is sort of fundamental to an MMO, we measure it a lot. Getting decent FPS in any multiplayer game is the coin of the realm. You can't just toss purchased assets into a framework and expect them to function with high FPS in a multiplayer scenario, even if they work well in a single player situation.

So we've done a simple thing. We added an FPS meter to the screen (it can be turned off), so that we can get community feedback on FPS during the upcoming login test. Instead of us telling you what FPS was achieved, we can all tell each other, and relate our results to the kinds of computers and graphics cards being used.

I've not heard of this being done before by a dev team, but it seems like a natural thing to do in a transparent situation like the Ship of Heroes development.

A second item is that we developed our own methodology to spawn scores of NPC civilians with modest FPS cost. Civilians are important -- a city looks empty without them. And the bigger the city, the more NPC civilians it needs to have, or it looks funny, and kind of dead.

You guys may recall that we are currently running Unreal Engine 4.18. But 4.19 was released a while ago, and 4.20 was released withing the last week. After the login test, we plan to evaluate the results that we get, and then double-jump to 4.20, because 4.20 has several things in it that will help us (and all MMOs) to increase FPS and to handle mobs of civilians. So first we'll test what we have already created, and then we will see how much effort we need to apply to get improvements using the engine upgrades.

This is a good example of getting lucky. We built the code systems we thought that we needed for SoH, and now Epic is adding more resources to our toolbox.  :)





Just to finish off, here's a few more screenshots of the (incomplete so far) night sky with partially lit buildings. It's worth noting that the lighting has not yet been balanced and not all buildings are lit - this is very much still a work in progress.



Hero Profile: Meltdown

The latest newsletter, dated 27th July 2018, is a profile of the superhero known as Meltdown.


He is half human, half Vais and gained his powers through exposure to Unobtanium. As usual, you can read all about Meltdown on the official Ship of Heroes website.

He has offices on the ship under the auction house and in the Justice Corps HQ building. Here's the latest interesting image of the interior of the auction house...



The next Ship of Heroes Alpha activity will be a login test for supporters, likely in early August of 2018. Following that, several other Alphas are expected with a first Beta test at the end of 2018. Launch is expected in 2019. Ship of Heroes is being developed by a small team, and appreciates your donations and support. If you'd like to join in the discussions on the forum of donate to the project, you can do so on the official Ship of Heroes site - https://www.shipofheroes.com/

Apotheosis City Projected Night View

Spotted a post on Heroic Games' Facebook feed showing how the lighting in the city at night could look. Posted here for those who don't use facebook..




Those who played City of Heroes/Villians will remember that skyscrapers lit up at night. We expect the lighting in Ship of Heroes' cities to follow a similar pattern, with a far more modern look of course :)

More screenshots of Apotheosis City

Nanite and Login Test News

It's been a good day for Ship of Heroes news!

We have a possible date for the upcoming multiple user login test in which a large number of people will be asked to log in so that critical systems can be tested and useful information gained. It's important to remember that this isn't a play test - there'll probably be little to do except admire the scenery and interact with other people around the Arch, but it's an important test and I'd encourage as many people as possible to sign up for this. The likely date for the login test is early August and a sign-up form will appear on the forum soon™.

We also learned about nanite technology as used about the Justice. Briefly, they are minuscule robots that carry out mundane tasks such as helping to keep the cities clean and tidy. But there's more to it than that, all humans aboard the ship carry defensive nanites which are passed down through successive generations and additional nanites that provide healing and buffing functions. Read more about the nanites on the official Ship of Heroes site.



Notes:
The next Ship of Heroes Alpha activity will be a login test for supporters, likely in early August of 2018.
Following that, several other Alphas are expected with a first Beta test at the end of 2018.
Launch is expected in 2019.
Ship of Heroes is being developed by a small team, and appreciates your donations and support.
Donations can be given on the official Ship of Heroes website.

New Female Soldier Costume

The latest newsletter, dated 29th June 2018, shows off the design for the latest female soldier costume.



If you're anything like me, this is the important bit:
The outfit has nine specific pieces – Helmet, Upper Chest, Shoulders, Bracers, Gloves, Belt, Pants, Leg Armor, and Boots.  These can be mixed with pieces from other sets, or with special single pieces to create unique player costumes.  As always, each costume piece has a primary and secondary color, which can be controlled independently on each piece, or automatically aligned around the color choices made for the chest-piece with the click of a button.  We plan to have cape designs to accompany this costume, and a variety of colors are possible.  We also allow the head slot – helmet or mask – of any costume to be toggled to become invisible, if desired.

The image below shows several possible color variations, but the possibilities in the character creator are endless.  Nine costume pieces, two colors per piece, 256 choices per color… not to mention the ability to customize the character wearing the costume – hair, skin, face, eyes, etc.


 As always, you can read more about it on the official website. Something worth noting is that Heroic Games haven't yet decided on the standard palette for the ships military, so if you have specific ideas for that, head on over to the forums and have your say ;)



And here's the press release - copied verbatim because it's getting late in the UK and I have to get up really early tomorrow morning.

  • Ship of Heroes has three character models and incredible customization potential, which has been demonstrated in multiple videos and newsletters.  One issue that comes from using multiple character models is that costumes need to be re-created for each model, or at least for most of the models.  SoH has now begun this process, and is showing off a new female soldier costume derived from signature hero Ambassador’s design.
  • The screenshots show several possible color variations players, but the possibilities in the character creator are endless.  Nine costume pieces, two colors per piece, 256 choices per color… not to mention the ability to customize the woman wearing the costume – hair, skin, face, eyes, etc.
  • Ship of Heroes has announced that they are working towards a login test with many players logged in, and the expected plan is for each player to be in a unique costume, most created by mixing and matching costume pieces from the costume sets that have already been revealed.  But new costumes may well be revealed to expand the options in preparation for the upcoming login test.
  • The SoH devs continue to make their own unique costumes, reflecting a specialized art design and internal capabilities that are usually associated with larger studios.  Right now, nearly a dozen costumes and unique designs have been revealed and shown in-game.  The SoH devs never simply show a costume without bringing it into their actual game in some manner.  Immediate integration of new assets is part of their design philosophy.
  • Anticipation for the Beta launch of Ship of Heroes is growing.  The dev team has been highly organized so far, and watching their videos and reading their newsletters is like taking a course on how to develop a new MMO step by step.

SoH Newsletter talking about Alpha, Beta and future plans

Heroic Games released a really interesting newsletter on 15th June 2018 talking about their views on alpha and beta phases of game design. The upshot is that they are planning to skip the open alpha and closed beta phases and go straight to open beta, and have more than one open beta phase! The idea being that the more people who play the game early on, the better the feedback will be in order to make improvements, etc.

They also still plan to hold their login test in 2018.

You can read the newsletter on the Ship of Heroes site - https://www.shipofheroes.com/what-makes-an-alpha/

Here's some images from the newsletter, just to make this page more interesting!




New Video - Upgraded Mission Map

We were treated to a new video today, showing upgraded mission maps and more information about the progress of the game. Because I'm really short of time today, here's the text from the press release copied verbatim. As always, you can read more on the official website.



ABOUT THE VIDEO

Just over one year ago, the team at Ship of Heroes showed off a video of their first really cool detailed mission map.  One year and fifteen videos later, they’ve gone back and upgraded this same map with a new look.  They’ve also adapted the map for a much newer engine version.  The devs are relentlessly moving towards launching Ship of Heroes.
The Sci-Fi setting for this superhero MMO is extremely current; most of the hot superhero movies and shows we’ve been seeing combine superheroes with spaceships or aliens in some way.  Ship of Heroes does the same.  The use of props, lighting, and changing size of the rooms and corridors gives the feeling of a larger-than-life world full of exciting new places and inventions.
The dev team is building a game with two primary settings for combat and missions.  There is a large outdoor map called Apotheosis City, which has already been shown in several other videos and one combat Alpha.  This video shows one of several indoor maps, which will generally be dedicated to a solo player or a single team, and will use instancing to prevent players from having to compete for valuable drops or progress.
One conclusion from the release of this revised map is that this dev team does not have the frequent stops and re-starts that plague other teams.  They go back and improve game elements, even ones deemed good enough in the past.  The original map shown in this video was first published twelve months ago.  Now an upgrade is being released, and there will probably be more changes in the future.  SoH is evolving, and the direction is good.
We’re told that this particular map will support a mission instance that will typically take about 30-40 minutes to complete.  However the devs at SoH are pretty flexible about player strategies.  If a team figures out how to complete the mission in 5 minutes, more power to them!
The Ship of Heroes team is almost uniquely willing to show us what they have developed, warts and all, even in the early stages of Alpha.  Even some major studios shy away from letting prospective players see in detail how their games look before launch.
This video proves that the SOH dev team can produce environmental art at AAA studio levels, despite being a small independent team funded by donations and volunteer work.  It also shows how SOH's look and feel reflects their focus on having a positive community.  This is utopian future, not a dystopian one.  It looks like a place where most people would be happy to live.
One thing I noticed is that Ship of Heroes has published over 20 videos, and they have the same powerful announcer doing the voice over narration.  This creates a sense that all of the videos are part of one immersive game, and it creates confidence that this indie team will actually launch their MMO on schedule – 2019, for those who are keeping track.

Ship of Heroes has conducted two successful Alpha tests with community members, and is about to begin a large-scale login test, which is an important prerequisite for any serious MMO.  The devs are expecting to conduct a big raid test later in 2018.

A projection of what we can expect Apotheosis City to look like at night

This is an internal development picture from yesterday, showing our view of what night should be like in Apotheosis City, in the Arch Park. Note the the clouds are lit by the moon, and that we've updated the road surface with a new look.


 Looking good! As I've said on the forum before, the hard part is waiting...


It looks as if the login test might slip to June while they bring their new power set and the day/night cycle into the game and do lots of optimisations that they want to complete before starting the test.

There was a lot of information about progress in May on the thread that this picture was attached to.

And here's a few more of the latest images...



Loads of new images on the SoH Instagram Account

Just a quickie - there are a lot of new (to me anyway) images on the Ship of Heroes Instagram account. Hop on over and take a look at https://www.instagram.com/shipofheroes/.

SoH May Update

An early update for May 2918

  1. A system called TrueSKY has been adopted. It is intended to be used to handle the day/night cycle and some other interesting effects.
  2. PopcornFX is also being incorporated into the game engine with, apparently, good results on effects for powers, etc.
  3. Animation blueprints are undergoing more changes which is being blamed for the current lack of video releases.
  4. A couple of new people have  been added to the team.
  5. What Heroic Games describe as a 'login test' is still on the cards and is expected soon™.
  6. Consultant described the latest round of polishing and improvements for the Arch Park area of the city and says things are looking great. 
 As usual, you can read the full update (and it's a long one) on the official forum.

Further Expansion of the Development Team

We learned that Heroic Games have recently added two new members to the team.

Dave Smith, the new lead coder and Steven, an environment artist/level designer and city prop designer.

You can read more about them on the official Ship of Heroes website. 

They are also in the process of recruiting another guy named Steven, keeping up the unusual tradition of employing people with similar names...

This continuing expansion of the development team can only be a good thing for the future of Ship of Heroes. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

MMOGames: Ship of Heroes’ Casey McGeever on Powersets, Scale, and Player Choice

Here's a quickie - more of a shoutout really, for an article written by Chris Hughes for MMOGames about his meeting with Consultant (Casey McGeever) of Heroic Games.

There's a lot of information in that article of interest to people new to Ship of Heroes and it's well worth a good read.


Massively Overpowered - PAX East 2018: Talking superhero MMOs

There's a really interesting article over on Massively Overpowered talking about Ship of Heroes and an interview at the PAX East 2018 with Casey McGeever.

Of particular interest to me was what Herioc Games has planned for the first half of this year.
  • April, will be work on the day/night cycle, adding more effects, and a new healing powerset.
  • May, will be all about a login test, one revised power set and one added set, also a new mission map and lighting changes.
  • June will see costume testing, peeks at Controller and Debuffing powers, and preparations for raid testing.
  • The overall plan remains for the game to enter some form of beta testing later on this year. 
 The whole article is very well worth a read.


Plenty for solo players to do in SoH

Here's an interesting comment made by 'Consultant' on the SoH forum confirming that those who want to go it alone will have plenty to do.
One of the most common questions we get from the press is about the archetypes, and future variations on the themes. Which contrast with the mail I get which has a common question of "what about solo play?" That question has a very positive answer, so in case anyone was wondering, there will be tremendous opportunity for all kinds of solo play, from street sweeping to door mission to repeatable missions, and more. I always think that everyone knows that, but since I'm getting the question, maybe I need to say it.

Suggested Worlds You Would Like to see in the Game

You really should see some of the amazing ideas people have been coming up with for worlds to visit in Ship of Heroes. Some of them are detailed to an astonishing degree. Take a look at the thread on the official forum.


Ship of Heroes Upgrading to Unreal Engine Version 4.18

UE4 Upgrade to  4.19


 Heroic games have announced the latest upgrade of their game engine to version 4.19

During development, they usually stay one version behind the most current Epic release, but expect to upgrade to UE 4.19 in a month or two. When they get closer to a launch date, they'll decide which version to go with.

Here's an interesting quote:
We are now developing Ship of Heroes in a completely stable version of Unreal Engine 4.18, which is good timing because 4.19 was just released, and is being evaluated by other dev teams that like to be early adopters.

 You can read the full article on the Ship of Heroes wesbite.

Reflections on GDC 2018

 (From Casey/The Consultant - CEO of Ship of Heroes/Heroic Games)
https://www.shipofheroes.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&p=12251#p12248

My reflections on GDC 2018


1. About Epic Games: Epic had a huge booth, as usual, not too far from the Amazon Lumberyard booth. There seemed to be less of a focus on engine developers this year, except for these two. Epic was in fine shape, and we had some very meaningful tech discussions with them and made a couple of new contacts for the future. This year Epic was busy explaining how they made Fortnite, in an entire series of talks. This was, in many ways, the technical highlight of the convention for us. We're still watching and re-watching the videos form a couple of these talks. One of the key conclusions was that upgrading to UE 4.19 is very significant for any team making an MMO with Unreal. Shortly we'll have a newsletter out about what we are doing with the SoH engine version, and why. But changes in 4.19 are significant enough that a lot of key tech suppliers are also releasing updates geared around the 4.19 release from Epic.

2. We were able to speak with a lot of industry insiders and experts at the convention. Not only do they often present, but they are generally accessible before and after their talks, as well. We walked the show floor multiple times as well, speaking with devs from SpeedTree, TrueSKY, and many others about their technology.

3. We were able to set an appointment in place with the founder and CTO of PopcornFX, with their superb game FX technology. This was really exciting, since Epic is moving away from their Cascade system and toward a newer system called Niagara, but has fully enabled PopcornFX in the Engine. We are going to be doing much more with PopcornFX (this also relates to engine version for us), which is part of our strategy to upgrade and also level the FX from superpowers in Ship of Heroes. It's hard to convey how exciting the Popcorn stuff is, when you see it. But our community is going to be seeing more and more of this kind of advanced stuff in-game.

4. On a personal note I had a number of very meaningful meetings and lunches. I have a favorite little Thai restaurant near to the Moscone Convention Center. I was able to meet Gordon Walton of Crowfall for lunch there one day. Gordon always offers me insights into MMO development -- he's an incredibly smart and generous person that I first met several years ago at GDC 2016. I also had a really fun meeting with Andrew Ross of Massively Overpowered. This was the first time I'd met Andrew, and we had a wide-ranging, fun talk, which became a very in-depth interview on MO. If you have not read it, it is worth looking at.

But one of my favorite moments was meeting up with one of our coders in person at the show. As some of you may realize, SoH is a small team, but we've still managed to get two guys named Casey, two named Chris, two named David and two named Justin. We also have two surnamed Smith (no relation). So here we were, in my favorite Thai spot -- the two Casey's, talking shop. As a virtual team, this was an unexpected bonus to the trip.

5. Summarizing: we spoke with many people, listened to many talks, and visited many booths. Some of my takeaways are the following:
  • The big move in MMOs is toward having more players on the screen. This is a good thing for SoH, as the underlying tech issues for this feature are significant, and every tech company that helps with this feature is directly good for SoH's development.
  • In single player games, the big trend continues to be in the direction of movie-quality visuals.
  • AI is big and gets bigger every year. Applications are apparently unlimited, from writing dialog to monitoring chat.
  • I think there is a move back toward subscriptions for MMOs and multiplayer in general.
  • More and more people and organizations are pushing back against toxicity in gaming.
  • I did not see anything that suggests to me that a niche game like SoH will not succeed. Just the opposite in fact.
  • I am always interested in the stories of other development teams and what kind of market research they utilized, when they decided to make a new game. I think this is an under-published field, along with some confusion over the difference between features and benefits, in gaming. Features are about the game. Benefits accrue to the player.


Anyway, this post has become far too long. But I enjoyed the conference, as I do every year, and I learned a lot. We're still following up on meetings we had last week. Now it is back to work for me. :)

The Map of Apotheosis City


  Just released - the official map of Apotheosis City




Every new MMORPG gets to the point where they can begin sharing the current version of the persistent level with their community.  Ship of Heroes is at that point right now.  The map above is the first viewable version of the map of Apotheosis City.  While every part of the city has not be allocated to a zone yet, it is clear that there will be about a dozen zones in the first playable level.

Apotheosis City is one of the most important cities on the FHS Justice and benefits from its proximity to the engineering level. It was one of the first 8 levels built of the Justice, while still in Earth's orbit and is the one of the most Earth-like environments, including a body of water, green spaces with grass, trees, and vegetation, and a holographic Earth-like sky, which will offer night and day and eventually changes in season to accommodate its human residents. Of course, many engineers live in Apotheosis City – it also has a special problem with Prometheans who inhabit unmapped access ways under and through the city and the Ship at large.

The Apotheosis City level is large – larger than the starting maps in City of Heroes and probably also SWTOR, for any of the first four game-entry worlds.  It is a large open world, not unbounded but large by modern game standards.  The devs have managed to avoid the dated look of endless prairie, desert, or similar-looking Soviet architecture that became common 10 years ago.  Comparing to modern games, Apotheosis City is about the same size as the map of Fornite’s Battle Royale, for example, but with much more urban space.

The FHS Justice uses a modular in construction with 20 levels (and sublevels) along with helm and engine levels, each level is .75 miles in diameter, like Apotheosis City but very different in function and appearance. The ship is 20.4 miles long. As the game grows, each level will become playable area for missions, careers, harvesting, and possible bases but there is a literal universe of potential expansion with alien and human ships and other worlds. 

This map will become a tool in-game, as well as providing fans with the ability to zoom in and place some of the scenes they already become familiar with – such as the Arch, the Science Park, Heroic Plaza and the Warehouse District.

The maps were created by the environmental art team at Ship of Heroes and exactly replicate the in-game maps from the beginning of 2018, which was used for the successful combat Alpha which was just completed.  The map will be periodically updated, and the next update will likely be in April of May.  Now that the first combat Alpha is over, the devs have a backlog of improvements to install into the game, and some of these will affect the map.

The devs at Ship of Heroes know that it can take an Indie team a long time to make a playable space really immersive – it’s all in the details – so they have been giving regular updates on the persistent level of Ship of Heroes for 15 months, and still have the rest of 2018 to complete the planned portion of the map before Beta begins.  The devs plan their newsletters, videos, livestreams and Alpha activities to showcase sustained progress in creating the new world aboard the FHS Justice.

The Devs of Ship of Heroes will be describing the zones in greater detail in future updates - for now players can speculate on the roles that each zone will play in Apotheosis City, the base level for launch where the adventure begins in Ship of Heroes. 

What Was Learned from the Combat Alpha

Heroic Games have released a newsletter listing the things they are working on and are intending to seek more thoughts from the community on as a result of their first combat alpha runs.They've listed some of the main points from the Alpha Run Highlights Video they released last month.




The points they're raised are as follows (you can, as always, read them on the official site as well):
  • 0:16 Characters like Sword Blossom and Ambassador should be able to sheath or holster their weapons. We’re working on this now, starting with the animations.
  • 0:59 Unbalanced FX. Some powersets like Fiery Blast are too visible.  Dark Magic Blast is in the middle, while Dual Swords is invisible in the fiery holocaust.  We’re evaluating possible improvements.
  • 1:52 Recharge times on some powers are too long. We need more instant-cast powers, and we are reviewing our global cool-down for powers.  This will also become a poll question in the future.
  • 2:36 One of Sword Blossom’s blink powers has developed a flaw. She has gained the unwanted ability to teleport outside of the ship, but not to return.  We’re fixing that.
  • 3:01 Enemies should attack relentlessly. We have already begun an enemy AI upgrade.  This upgrade will be affected by the poll results you’ve given us on this subject.  Our goal to is to add a new level of challenge to the AI.
  • 6:56 More combat stances are needed. You can see that while some of the powersets have combat stances, Iris and Green Pants Man simply return to a standing pose between attacks.  We will upgrade this soon.
  • 7:42 The jumping ability in SoH is different from most MMORPGs. One element of this is that we have realistic physics; you cannot jump into the air headed South and change direction to move East in mid-air.  But in many games you can.  We’ll be running a poll soon on the website to see which option the community wants to embrace.
  • 8:24 Rooted vs non-rooted balance of powers. It has been suggested that we should reduce the time spent rooted.  This is going to be discussed, and polled, in the near future.
  • 10:54 Sound FX needs review. Some loved the sounds associated with the powers, some disliked a few.  We’ve added a game sound designer to the team to review what have now, and review again as we add additional powersets.

NOTES:
  • As always, the place to share your thoughts, and shape the development of the game, is on the SoH  website and forums, at: https://www.shipofheroes.com/
  • You can donate there as well, to help create this new game and establish a community with a positive, fun atmosphere.


 And Some other important points Heroic Games wanted to make about the Alpha Combat tests:

Many dev teams solicit feedback from their alpha activities.  Only a small fraction of dev teams will come out and publish a list of things they are going to upgrade as a result of community feedback.  The devs at Ship of Heroes just made the grade, once again showing true transparency and a commitment to continuous improvement of their new MMO.  Their closed combat Alpha began in February and is just wrapping up right now.

By identifying nine issues that have come up in their Alpha, the dev team is committing publicly to work on those issues, and to have either answers or improvements in the future.  Of course, one man’s improvement is sometimes another man’s unwanted change, so we’ll have to see how the SoH devs do with their list.  But simply by publishing a real list, and being open about how they are developing Ship of Heroes, this dev team has set a high standard. 

Showing video of actual gameplay by non-devs, and then making improvements based on the feedback are critical steps that should be taken before any MMO goes to Beta.  The Ship of Heroes team still has nine months before their projected Beta launch in December of this year to complete this set of upgrades, along with other work.  They have enough time to make the upgrades they are describing.

The devs at Ship of heroes are conducting an ongoing progression of Alphas, preferring to involve small groups of their community at many stages of development, and then openly share the feedback and results.  In 2017 they completed a first Alpha on their character creator, allowing players to work with the Alpha version of their CCT for weeks, and to publish characters (some beautiful, and some kind of monstrous) as a result.  Now they are allowing players to make combat runs and give feedback on the powers, enemies, movement and other elements of the current version of the game.  Next up, the dev team wants to enable players to test some kind of raid situation.  Testing raids in Alpha is unheard of for MMOs.

Anticipation for the Beta launch of Ship of Heroes is growing.  The dev team has been highly organized with their development activities, and watching their videos and reading their newsletters is like taking a course on how to develop a new MMO step by step.

Ship of Heroes expects to begin Beta testing at the end of 2018.

CEO of Heroic Games going to GDC2018

Spotted on facebook!

Ship of Heroes will be attending GDC 2018 next week! Casey [the CEO of Heroic Games] will be attending sessions, doing interviews and meeting with other devs, so keep an eye out for updates and photos (and if you are a developer or press and will be there, let me [him!] know).


Casey on SoH Alpha Feedback/PC Req/Optimization

Note from The Consultant (Casey McGeever) about the computers used for testing:

You can see it on the thread on the official website.

"We have a few other comments about using the lower power computers. First, we will likely give an option to turn shadows off. This actually doubles (or more) FPS without doing much damage to the player experience at all. Also, simply choosing 1280x720 (which a lot of games are built for) also doubles (or more) FPS on my laptop. Also it is important to realize that we see much higher levels of performance from desktop 970GTX than from the laptop versions, except in some circumstances. So the other elements of the hardware (like the CPU) do matter, as does your connection speed.

And we will have pull-down menus for helping with lower power computers, which UE4 enables now. And we are looking at the option of turning off the FX from other players (whether your computer is robust or not -- it seems some people like this option because they have used it in other games, so it has become a matter of personal play-style, and we are about enabling personal play-styles).

But finally, we also need to remember that we are putting a lot of effort into optimization, and we are not done yet. All of the pieces are not in place at this time. Just since we made the Night of the Clones video we've implemented a bunch of additional changes to enable higher speeds, and more importantly, more players in the game simultaneously.

Most dev teams really spend the last few months trying to optimize in a sudden rush before launch. We're working on these issues throughout development. This extra work kind of annoys our coders and artists, to be honest, but we think it is important to plan and implement our plan as we go, and not to rely on fixing under-performing systems and processes at the last minute. We will likely end up fixing things at the last minute anyway, but the year+ that we've been focused on optimization already gives us a better starting point than many MMOs.

If we were making a single player game, or accepting that only 20-25 players could be in a city zone at once, we would not need to do all of things we're doing. But that is not our aspiration."

More Alpha Runs Planned

On the official Ship of Heroes forum, Consultant said they they are planning a live stream with Neith today at 1:30 Eastern Time (presumably that's pm!). He also said he's looking for some volunteers to do an alpha run!

Quote from the thread:
We'll likely be starting to make runs this week, during the afternoons (US Eastern time) around 2:00. We'll be looking for a few volunteers who want to give it a whirl on a weekday, so if you are really enthused, send me a PM.


Latest from the February 2018 Alpha


Here's the press release:



This documents summarizes why the Ship of Heroes team thinks the Escorted Combat Alpha video is very significant (a direct quote from the press release):
  • Ship of Heroes has released video highlights from their successful combat Alpha, which focuses on team combat.  The team of six is comprised of three supporters who have never played Ship of Heroes before and three developers.  With one exception, each team member is playing a signature hero from SoH, and employing superpowers shown in previous videos. Sword Blossom, the Dual Swords Brawler, shows off a new offensive melee powerset for the first time.
  • This Alpha comes almost exactly one year after the devs first published a sneak peek at combat in early 2017, with a single character fighting a small group of Nagdellian raiders.  SoH has advanced a great deal since then, showing team combat, healing, tanking, buff and debuff, five offensive powersets, and three enemy groups.  The fight concludes with a boss battle against a giant mech lasting just over one minute.
  • The devs tell us they are making improvements, bug fixes, and expansions almost every day.  They’re also listening to their community; for example, some supporters on the SoH forums requested X- and Y- axis inversion as an option, and it has already been added to the Alpha.  In fact, one supporter was playing with his mouse controls inverted during the video.
  • The devs at Ship of Heroes plan to continue repeating this successful Alpha test with new groups of supporters for some time.  Dozens of people will get the chance to play the game, and give immediate feedback to a few of the senior developers.  It’s an unheard-of level of transparency for a pre-launch MMORPG.  We’re told the devs also plan to livestream at least one Alpha run.
  • The devs at Ship of Heroes usually record their videos in-game using a client-server arrangement to provide the same appearance that a player will experience, and they did it again in this video.  Each of the six participants downloaded a client, and then logged into an SoH server and played the game.  Participants for these tests were located all over the US and in Europe.
  • The three enemy groups in this video all pursue different combat strategies and possess different powers.  For example, the Nagdellians use ranged weapon attacks and can beam in reinforcements during the fight.  The Yekus can ignore taunt, and identify and attack the team’s healer, draining her energy.  The Promethean boss at the end can hit a large area with a powerful AOE attack, and can also target individuals with a nearly-lethal strike.
  • Ship of Heroes is making remarkable progress.  The SoH devs are using a process of continuous integration, expansion, and improvement, not trying to build a final work product in secret.  As a result, the Alpha video shows familiar elements such as the characters that have been made in the SoH character creator, the same persistent map – including recent improvements – and upgraded versions of previously-revealed FX.
  • This is the 20th Ship of Heroes video published in just over a year. A timeline of progress would show the first two devs getting started 22 months ago, recruiting a mixed development team of players, volunteers and contractors, and delivering steady progress.  Less than 16 months have passed since the SoH website went live, and 14 months since the first video, which showed Apotheosis City, appeared.  A previous successful Alpha test of the SoH character creator (CCT) occurred five months ago, and the devs are reported to currently be working on a CCT upgrade based on community suggestions. 

Ship of Heroes is being developed in the Unreal 4 Engine, and is planning a Beta launch at the end of 2018.




And here's my take on things so far:


  • I was lucky enough to be invited along for one of those runs and I was very impressed with the way the city looks: Yes, it really is that clean and shiny and new and you can jump up onto things and run around all over the place... and we did.
  • The signature heroes we played were created in the character creation tool that Heroic Games have built. The same one that the players will use.
  • The combat is smooth. There was no lag at all connecting from Europe with Skype (yes, I know!) running in the background.
  • I mostly played as Iris, the witch. Her dark powers activated without any issues apart from the global cooldown on most of them and the block on using them while moving - both of which I promptly complained about mentioned as possibly requiring further consideration :)
  • We identified a few things that we thought should be changed, such as the aforementioned overly enthusiastic block on using powers when moving and the current lack of feedback when you hit an enemy as melee, and the devs were receptive to the ideas. In fact they'd identified a lot of those themselves but hadn't had time to change them while preparing for the alpha tests.
  • The sound effects are the same placeholders as in other videos.
  • The enemies, as we found out, have vastly different aggro ranges and tactics they can call on by design. It's going to be interesting meeting these for the first time in the live game.
  • Most components of the UI can be moved around and locked in place and, yes, we do now have an x/y mouse invert (yay).
  • We also found out that Sword Blossom is a trouble maker...


All in all, considering this was an early alpha run to get feedback from players, it was very impressive, as well as being reassuring that things are going really well. I'm looking forward to the next updates and waiting (im)patiently for the game to go live. Open beta is currently planned for the end of 2018.

Tale of an Unlikely Super Hero, part 1 published


In a shameless bit of self-promotion... I've just published a (free) short story about a teenage girl on the FHS Justice who barely survives an horrific accident in which she is smothered in Unobtanium dust. The resulting changes to her DNA result in her gaining some awesome super powers.

This is part 1. The rest of the series will be written when Alice actually has a ship to call home. More details on lunawisp's blog.

Alpha Test Combat Features

A newsletter and a new short video have been released by Heroic Games giving us a flavour of things to come.

Here's an interesting quote:
The next major event on our milestone schedule for 2018 is to upgrade from 4.16, our current Unreal Engine version, to 4.17 and then 4.18.  That will allow us to continue integrating the engine improvements Epic Games builds.  After that, we will likely begin planning a closed raid test using a mix of supporters and devs.

And a list of recent improvements which they say show the current state of the game but are expected to change as a result of further development and from feedback from the upcoming alpha.
  • Power trays can be added, can be vertical or horizontal, are moveable over the screen, and are lockable. In addition, most of the UI is resizable.
  • Game volume is now adjustable in the settings.
  • Enemy nametags are coloured, now showing the difference between the enemy’s level and your character’s level.
  • Intelligent tab-targeting now accounts for both proximity, and which direction your character is looking.
  • Auto-targeting in combat is enhanced, as is retargeting once an enemy is defeated.
  • Auto-rotation to face a new target now occurs only on power use, and is slowed down to prevent motion sickness.
  • Combat against groups of enemies is now smoother.

You can read the newsletter on the Ship of Heroes website.


Latest Ship of Heroes Schedule

Spotted this on the official forum and decided to share it... bear in mind nothing is fixed in stone, the game is in an early state of development and dates are liable to change.

Current schedule, although this may change;

Limited Combat Alpha - REALLLLLLLY SOON! probably within two weeks. They will get as many people as they can into this phase, but sadly it will probably be less than 100, including press tours.

More general alpha should be Q2-Q3 this year.

Beta testing (this will be paid beta to finance finishing the game) will probably start as an early Christmas present.

Open beta will be sometime in Q2 2019. The length of this phase, or how long before release is unknown.

Release date is currently scheduled for July 4th 2019, although this is tentative - that is Consultant's birthday, and I really really really think he wants the game release that day as a super birthday present!


It's worth mentioning that Consultant said "No dates in 2019 have been even roughly penciled in yet."
So don't go marking any firm dates in your diaries just yet ;)


Also noted, on the same thread...
If you donated to at least the $25 level, you will have access to the character creator two weeks before release! You will be able to fuss and fine tune as much as you want, and when the game releases, you will be one button click from joining into the fun!

SoH Alpha Test News

We've learned that the first escorted alpha tests are due for the second half of February, they will be run in teams of devs and 3-4 of our donors, supporters, and members of the press. Together they'll run through the Science Park area of Apotheosis City and fight a series of enemy mobs. It's expected that the fights will be recorded and there's a possibility that one of more of the fights may be live streamed.



Quoting from the newsletter:
An alpha test is more than just the first shot at playing Ship of Heroes – it is real work, and we appreciate the help we’re getting from our supporters.  This is not a balanced combat scenario.  Instead, we’re testing how people think combat should “feel” in Ship of Heroes, and we have deliberately eliminated some important elements for now.  For example, accuracy is set to 100% for both players and enemies, so every attack will land. 
In many MMOs, combat against a mob of enemies is brief – 5 seconds, give or take.   Instead, we’ve set the difficult level to provide fight durations in the range of 20-30 seconds so that videos of the fighting will show more action, and allow players to exhibit more complex tactics. So, these alpha runs are not an indication of how difficult ordinary (street sweeping) combat is going to be in Ship of Heroes.

This isn’t a typical early alpha.  We’re taking an inclusive approach to get meaningful feedback.
We have mixed teams of devs and supporters, and we’re taking feedback directly from the community during combat. We’re showing you how the latest build looks, live.
Even if something goes wrong, we don’t want to hide it from you. We’re not waiting until we've decided the final DPS numbers to let third parties try the combat. Don’t expect the relative strengths of powersets to be the same as the alpha when we launch, or even in three months.
Some aspect of the balance changes every week. We’re showing hard fights to demonstrate roles other than doing damage, but we’re also showing them in Apotheosis City, because the city is now optimized enough to do that. An indoor map would be easier, but we think this is more exciting.  In the post-launch game, you’ll have to go into hazard zones to find enemies this tough… or crank up the difficulty settings.

Heroic Games are asking for feedback on the overall feel of the combat, even well before the balancing is decided.  How does it look?  How does it sound?  What do people think of every enemy group having different powers and tactics? How about the idea that enemies will have in-combat regen? They want feedback on their forums from everybody.

https://www.shipofheroes.com/

Additional alpha activities, and a second test of the character/costume design tool, and at least one big raid event are planned for 2018.

What we Learned About SoH Villains

There was a lot of interesting information released during the video interview with the MMO writer Neith. Some of it about the villains is summarised below. A forum post on the Ship of Heroes Official Site goes into more detail.

The Villain Groups we have so far, and which were shown in the video are:

  • The Nagdellians: ruthless alien invaders bent on domination of the Justice.
  • The Prometheans: a secret sect of Cyborg/Dark Magic Users that wish to create a super race of cybernetically-enhanced humans to rule the Justice.
  • The Yekus Mercenary Clan: a widespread group of soldiers for hire that serve as muscle for the highest bidder.
  • The Red Sigil: a group of powerful magic users committed to revolutionary overthrow of the government of the Justice.

The Nagdellians have been expanded into four models, including enhanced soldiers, two Lieutenants, one with undisclosed super powers (one has the power to summon reinforcements); and the newly introduced Nagdellian Boss. It's rumoured that there may be Nagdellians with the ability to heal and some may exhibit typical controller and mastermind type powers.

The Prometheans live and build their army, by abduction and by a few foolish volunteers, from the safety of secret, inaccessible engineering access sublevels aboard the Justice, representing a serious threat to the security of the ship from within. They use cybernetic enhancements to improve their ability to make war.

The Yekus Mercenary Clan recruits members from all parts of the galaxy to create a large army of general muscle and soldiers that operate in multiple worlds. This is the first time the Yekus are shown in game – concept art was shown in October 2017. The line up of Yekus soldiers includes a Captain, with and without longcoat, and a super powered brawler with a cybernetic arm.

The Red Sigil is a secretive, revolutionary subgroup within the much larger community of magic-users aboard the Justice.  While they tend to favor old-fashioned and formal clothes, the Red Sigil has no uniform; any mage could secretly be a member.



The new Nagdellians are primarily the work of noted character artist Robert Brown.


Villian Groups - Video Interview with Neith

Another exciting video interview with the devs;  Consultant (Casey) and Matt talking with Neith live on twitch. I missed the stream but the video has been posted on Youtube and I've indexed it here, as usual.

Neith writes articles about game design, game theory, general reviews, etc. and has started a Patreon Page to support her game writing activities.


Villian Groups - Video Interview with Neith
01:30Introducing Iris, a witch aboard the ship
02:00Brief discussion of npc costumes, associated bandwidth issues
03:10Introducing the Red Sigil villian group
03:40Talking about magic users on board, mostly good
06:20Youkas are one of the primary mercenary clans, such clans don't always get on
07:40The Nagdelians, size and red flashes on uniform indicates higher rank/caste - can call in reinforcements
12:20Different castes of Nagdelians, hoping for for 5-6 at launch
12:40Talking about the Nagdelians motivations
14:00How the aliens get on board
17:20Confirming that Nagdelians have control/buff/debuff powers, maybe healers
17:40Giving mobs the sort of powers and tactics that players use to add to the challenge
19:30Meeting the Prometheans and talking about their motivations (they're all linked back to their keader)
22:30Promethean history and their possible bases in the deep engineering sections of the ship
23:25No playable villians, at least at launch
24:20A note that Sword Blossom is the head of the engineering section
26:50Introducing the Yekus
28:00No decision made at this stage to allow players to wear villian uniforms
29:20Talking about hair shaders and performance issues
31:10Motivations for the Youkas
31:40Explaining how citizens/mercenaries are resurrected after defeat in the same way as heroes
32:30Why the mercenaries are tolerated on board - employed by some others for protection, etc. Complex storyline around creation of mecenary groups, etc.
35:00Robots, a future enemy group - robots can become hostile when they attain consciousness (caused by unobtanium)
38:00'Evil' robots could potentially 'turn' other robots to their cause
39:30Introducing a new work in progress costume for females based on requests from testers in the last Costume Creator test
42:00Confirmation that costume items can be mixed & matched and colours changed as the player desires
48:00Summary by Consultant of what's been done so far wrt enemy/villian groups
49:30Confirmation of achievement/levelling/exploration badges, etc. - some of which will be account wide
50:00Talking about the importance of the established community to new players
50:50Decals for costumes are a future possibility
52:50Different flight poses will be available at some stage but animations for male/females/large are all different and it takes time
55:00About computers, performance on older machines, optimisation, etc.
56:50Still aiming for February for the next alpha test
59:00Consultant talking about Neith's Patreon page
1:00:50Showing off some interesting multiple power effects
1:03:55Neith talking about herself and her background
1:06:30Showing a female character with (moving/flowing) long hair in action, currently using APEX but it may change in the future
1:08:50Looking into an option to turn off other players effects but it'll be a player choice