As TC has indicated, this week is going to be fast.
We've upped some of the baseline velocity numbers to way over their original parameters, so we're at:
- Ship velocity at top normal thrust: 500m/s (1,118 Mph)
- Ship velocity at afterburner/turbo: 1000m/s (2,237 Mph)
- Bullet velocity (added to ship velocity): 2000m/s (4,474 Mph)
- NPC ship velocities will vary when we drop them in to the mix after 20mins gameplay
We're testing this for a number of reasons.
We think this is going to give us some interesting feedback from you guys on the playability of a game running at this speed. We hope it'll be fun rather than frustrating.
We've certainly, in testing, found it harder to tail another ship, and have found that using the AB to boost away is now super-viable. The style of the gameplay - at least amongst ourselves - came closer to medieval jousting than turn-radius dogfighting.
But we're really interested to see what you guys think and how it works for you, because we're the first to realise that we're not the world's best pilots.
Let us know - comparatively with last week, or any other week you've played - your personal perceptions (eg how it felt to play) as well as the realities (eg how difficult it was and how/if your strategies changed).
PHYSICS & NETWORK
We need to know how the physics and network engines will run under some pressure - and not just a pressure of sheer "numbers". We know we can do super-hardcore-large-megadigit numbers of players at the same time - but so far only at specific framerates of the engines themselves (ie not your display fps onscreen, more how the game itself tracks events, at much higher frequencies).
The game engines operate with a degree of relative elasticity - which they have to do given the inbuilt network latencies (we're all playing from different parts of the world when we play AoA) - and which they co-ordinate amongst themselves in the server architecture.
So this test is not only riding the physics engine quite hard (like most of our tests do); but is also riding so hard there are saddle sores on the 'Obi-Wan-hand-wavy' predictive/reconstructive parts of the engine.
These bits are the super-secret-sauce gubbins that say "if I have free cycles, can I precalculate that this is a mathematic inevitability...?... and also, what would have happened had I got this particular event message when I should have got it (but didn't) and can I get away with retrospectively applying it without anyone noticing").
I don't want to get all ontological on yo' ass, but these are both very important things for us to understand in terms of our core measurements, but also in terms of whether it still "feels right" to play.
I think I'd be safe in saying that most everyone who's tested AoA so far has found it responsive and swift, and with a few exceptions (eg a couple of months ago my ship blinked in and out of existence when my browser froze, for example!) it's pretty glitch free - especially for a continued Alpha.
However, this Saturday you may experience weirdnesses, and we'd like you to be especially on the lookout for them. I'm especially interested in any ghosts / glitches / artifacts and generally things that somehow felt a bit wrong or "spooky".
It's important for us to let you know this, because I think that most people who have played AoA have confidence in the engine: you basically think that when the game says you hit someone, you felt it was right... and when you yourself get hit, you don't think "how the hell?". That confidence is critical, especially with what we're doing at scale. However, this week you might find that your confidence in the engine gets dented with things that didn't seem right to you; but please don't lose confidence in the engine as a result - this is why we're testing!
FREE T-SHIRTS FOR RECORDED GLITCHES!
People who record a confirmed and definite combat glitch that they experience this playtest vs any previous playtest - and can highlight the glitch on video for us - will not only get double super mega ace karmic points, they'll also get a free AoA "Bughunter" T-Shirt. Srsly. (We have up to 10 to give away, beyond that apologies in advance).
Hope you have fun!