Saturday, May 28, 2016

BB 75 Follow Up - More Nova

Here again to share some more ideas for Project Nova.

In my previous post I contributed to the monthly EVE Blog Banter which was about Project Nova and what exactly do we need to make it successful. I will use this space for a continuing iteration on what I already wrote, because I am really excited for this. I love the idea of an FPS set in the EVE universe and will go above and beyond to deliver some good ideas that may help make it a glorious game.

Will note some particular things that I imagine and explain them in detail.

Here we go!

Detection Tools in Nova

Just like in space, we definitely need something that would allow us to detect troopers and vehicles on the ground. But what will that be? Well it can be kinda tricky. In space we do need to rotate the viewing angle of the D-Scan in every possible direction, but on the surface of a planet that same thing would be different. The things I came up with can be applied to both fixed map matches and the open world maps. So far I have been thinking of several ways to search for targets and clues on ground:

Radar Scan

Since the general scans on the ground would be in one plane, there might not be a need for a precise D-Scan. Probably would be nice if we could just scan everything in a defined radius around us. And here is the tricky part. Since such feature would allow us to see the exact location of our targets on the map, there must be some limitations. Actually, who said that it needs to reveal exact locations? Well maybe approximately close at best... Let’s have two variables for the radar: Radius and Signal Strength. The more radius we apply to the scan, the further we can scan on the map around us, to a set maximum of course. And the more Signal Strength we apply the better scan results we will have. However, the stronger the scan signal is, the higher the chance for the other troopers on the map to actually detect our scan and be aware of our presence.

This will lead to some interesting choices when it comes to player detection on the ground. Since some people would prefer to make a low signal Radar Scan, this would mean that they will get results that are less accurate, meaning that they will probably get an approximate location of nearby targets (for example some wide spots on the map would be highlighted with the various signatures listed in the spot that also will not be accurate) giving hints on the approximate direction of their location, but not the exact information of the various targets. It would also be nice to make the scan strength tied to the radius of the scan - the wider the scan, the stronger signal it will need. With the two variables interconnected this way, there can be some more interesting gameplay. For example a full range scan would need at least, let’s say 25% signal strength. Such scan signal would not yield the best results, but it would ensure less chance to be detected by the targets, unless they have better sensors. On the other hand the half range scan would need much less signal strength, let’s say a minimum of 3 or 4. Even with such low signal strength there can be some satisfying results and the chance for the others to detect the scan will go lower. Of course with half the range there can be some room to increase the scan strength and get much better results. Well it would be nice if a trooper is free to make a full range scan with 1% signal strength, but the results would be very inaccurate.

There are more questions here. For example: How would troopers make a Radar Scan, when they will not have their mouse pointing to some module button or slider, like we have it in EVE? Their mouse will be fixed to the camera view. Well I guess a Radar Scan would be possible only when troopers open their Map. With the Map open there should be panning and pointing options with the mouse, while the camera view of the soldier would be shrunk to a smaller window to the bottom of the Map screen. The W,A,S,D keys should move the soldier while still in full screen Map mode. When the cursor go to the small camera view window, the soldier view will move, but when the cursor is on the rest of the Map screen it would allow for panning and zooming. With the map open in full screen we would have some sliders that would allow us to adjust the Radar Scan.

Speaking of a Map, I figured I gotta make some more notes. We will definitely have a piece of the map on the top left corner of our trooper screen. With the introduction of free roam open world areas, it would be nice to have options to change the scale of the top left corner map, in order to see further. Of course a full screen map with the options described above would definitely be needed.

Binocular Scan

We have seen many FPS games with similar designs. In Nova this can be brought to a new level. After going to a suitable viewing point, troopers may be able to use the binoculars integrated in their helmets (probably by pressing the B key). The zoom levels if the binoculars would be controlled by the mouse scroll. To make a scan a left click should be done. To adjust the scan strength, the player should hold right click and move the mouse up or down to go through the scan strength increments (not sure if this is the best key option, just a suggestion). There will be no need to adjust range, cause a binocular should have a fixed range. The binocular scan should be more subtle and less detectable, but a stronger scan should be more or less noticeable. Upon a scan there should be some spots revealed, showing exact or approximate results, in the binocular view, depending on scan strength. Troopers, vehicles, items, installations, buildings etc. This is the Binocular Combat Scan.

There should be some other type of binocular scan, dedicated for explorers. I call it Binocular Survey Scan. It should be performed by a fast double left click. When activated the scan will begin slowly surveying from left to right, focusing on the binocular view. This can work pretty much like D-Scan - zooming in will focus the scan on a smaller spot, thus, depending also on scan strength, yielding better results. This type of scan should be really subtle, hard to detect by other troopers. Only the highest strength levels of this scan should be somewhat detectable. The Binocular Survey Scan should reveal hidden sites and clues, dedicated to exploration and archaeology.

Others will be able to detect a player’s Binocular Scan only if they are in that player’s scan view at the time of the scan..

Well similar to the Radar Scan described above, there should probably be some Survey Radar Scan, that would use the same mechanics as the other Radar Scan, but revealing exploration and archaeology stuff in its radius. Again - it should be available as an option in the full screen Map view.

Planet Scan

This would be an option when the planets become open worlds for all of us to explore.

Capsuleers and troopers should be able to perform a Planet Scan if they have the appropriate equipment. Basically it would open a screen with a view of the desired planet and there should be options to scan either a defined sector of the planet, or the entire planet all at once. Since each planet will probably be charted with parallels and meridians, they should allow for some precise quadrant scans. If a player needs to know what is in their spot of operations, they should totally do a quadrant planet scan. And if an explorer needs to know what is there on a distant planet, in unknown space for example, they should totally do a full planet scan. The larger the planet area that is scanned, the slower the scan should be. A single quadrant scan should last probably a few seconds, while a full planet scan should probably take hours to complete.

A Planet Scan should reveal a wide range of information. Structures and large vehicles, hot spots where combat is taking place (heat signatures and explosion signatures), potential relic, data and other exploration sites, wreckages, energy anomalies and natural phenomena, flora and fauna composition, player hideouts that are not well hidden, installations, outposts, as well as harvestable resources. Probably it would be nice if all the things that are able to be found on a planet, are arranged in categories so that a scanning player can filter them for faster scans.

Overall a planet scan should be a nice way to get info on what to expect from a planet before landing on it in our dropsuits.

Of course all these types of scans should be different  - with all their pros and cons. For example the Radar Scan should give best results, but should be easier to be detected by others, the Binocular Scan should reveal a little less information, but harder to detect, and finally a Planet Scan should bring a wide range of information but will not be very precize in terms of location, while it should be the least detectable by troopers on the planet.

These are the Detection Tools that I have been imagining. I don’t know if they are good enough, but still it is good to share ideas. Moving on to the next stuff.

Trooper Stamina and Adrenaline

In DUST there were some cool trooper stamina mechanics. Stamina decreased when they performed a jump or sprinted. This lead to some limiting factors during combat, making it more tactical and interesting. I want to add some more variables to this mechanic. This will be especially needed when we have open words for trooper to explore and roam. Taking a realistic approach, there should be something more that affects our stamina, especially during combat, and this is Adrenaline. It is known that in dire situations a human is capable to do amazing things. So would it be nice if there was some Adrenaline bar that would fill up when our troopers get in combat, giving them a boost to stamina and stamina regeneration rate? Would be cool and very realistic.

The Adrenaline bar should fill just like the stamina bar, but only when shots are fired near or at the trooper, explosions occur nearby, vehicles going at high speed at the trooper, the presence of a vehicle that is shooting at the trooper, when some environmental dangers occur, or in the presence of hostile flora and fauna, when the trooper is free falling from a great height etc.  It should be some dynamic feature and the more adrenaline boost the trooper has, the more overall stamina they will have, plus the more stamina regeneration rate. Of course when things settle down, the adrenaline will decrease and the Stamina will go back to normal.

Both Adrenaline and Stamina should work together to bring us some realistic and exciting new ways to interact with each other. I feel that this might be an interesting way to introduce a great and innovative gameplay.

Trooper Inventory and Backpacks

Again, this would probably be more appropriate for the times when we got open world maps, please excuse me for looking that much ahead, I am just eager to get there… Nova will initially have some limited maps where matches will be played, that is for sure. I really like that part, but I am more excited about the exploration and archaeology part of the FPS.

As we roam the open world maps, we will definitely need some space to put the things we find along the way. That said - probably it would be nice to have some inventory space in our dropsuits and vehicles. This is pretty straightforward. Just like the ship cargoholds that we use in space, we should have our inventories with some limited space, where we can store some stuff, be it trooper boosters, some important items or whatever. Additionally there should be backpacks for troopers (in an equipment slot) allowing them to carry more things.

To bring this stuff to a next level, maybe some more advanced backpacks should have built in turbines for faster underwater travel for example. There are many options here. Extra ammo packs, better scanning equipment, signature concealing abilities - these can be some of the backpacks bonuses, or maybe some modules should have these abilities as well.

Vision Modes and Flashlights

Small details add to the gameplay tremendously. In some cases there will be the need of some extra light to the environment. This is where flashlights integrated in our dropsuits will come in handy. Of course if you are waving a flashlight in the dark, someone else might see you. So how about Night Vision, Heat Vision etc.? We need something like this in Nova.

Vision modes may be integrated in some items that we need to have in inventory in order to use them, they could be equipment modules or they could be used in some other way. All of this will add some good touch to the experience.

Climbing and Parkour in Dropsuits

This is definitely something I want to see in Nova! Being a trooper on the ground will be really exciting if we have the freedom to overcome various terrain, use the environment in different ways and reach remote places on the map.

Well there should probably be some modules or parts built in our dropsuits that would allow us to climb rocks or trees, climb walls or whatever. There will be no need to grab ledges, maybe just sticking to an appropriate surface or something. In addition to this - our gravity compensating devices that we use to land from a great height, could be used to help us in the jumping and climbing activities. For example if you decide to run along a wall, the gravity compensator should allow you to do so.

Also - our dropsuits should be equipped with some propulsion elements that should help us jump and climb, swim better or move in zero gravity conditions.

There are various games that have made climbing and Parkour very well integrated in their setting. Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, Mirror’s Edge, Assassin's Creed, the Uncharted series to name a few. I recently watched an Uncharted 4 walkthrough and oh my God, what an awesome experience! Especially in terms of climbing and story. If we have such things in Nova (integrated in the EVE Sci-Fi setting of course) it will be totally amazing!

This is the stuff that I imagine. Will probably write more ideas on this topic in the future. As I said, I am very excited about Nova and will do my best to contribute to this thing and make it remarkable.

Thanks for reading!

See you next time!

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