A long time ago, Ramp put some hard time into building a tooltip system that we simply never had chance to get around to using. Ramp is an old CRS/IMOL hand, he’s far from a rookie, but he is the greentag around the client coding department – for which he takes plenty of flak but doesn’t so often get recognition. His new round of features probably warrant some…
Preparing for the PRC release, one thing our Chinese partner felt strongly about was the lack of any kind of newbie experience. We’ve wanted to spend time on tutorials/newbie experience for a long time now, but with the game so long in the tooth there’s never been a definite advantage to investing our time in it.
With a mandate to implement something for PRC, Ramp went at it with gusto.
These are just coder-art tutorials/tips, Bloo and Gophur are going to be working hard to create the actual tutorials. These will be single-user experiences that build up to a small, organized battle of a somewhat CS/BF’42 nature. There will also be some pre-combat training to get you used to what you might see.
This task now hands over to me – we want to eliminate the need for a training server and have everyone on the one cluster. Why? Because it increases the chances your buddies will be online which helps to foster better battles.
It’s also an excuse to do something we have wanted to do for a while: instancing. Let me get ahead of you again there and just come out and admit it’s the wrong term from a player’s perspective.
Ordinarily instancing is done in terms of zones – rather we are talking about instances of the same world. Players in the tutorials will be able to spawn in to a private, single-player environment which is just our game world sans the other players. If they are stuck, GMs or trainers will be able to port into that instance and interact with the player.
As they go thru the tutorials, we’ll be able to drop them into small, preset battles with strict rules for qualifying them through this basic bootcamp. We can roll up a new instance every few minutes to stop them becoming camped etc.
There’s plenty more we can do with this – training instances, match making instances, and my personal holy grail – squad instances aka the return of Area 51. Squads would be able to have their own Area 51 in which they can train/play/socialize; they would then be able to earn various add-on features in a themed setting like a mail room to allow them to communicate with each other from in-game, a railway station to allow them to communicate with other similarly equipped squads, a vehicle spawn to allow them to spawn armor, a hangar to allow them to spawn aircraft, etc.
There’d be all kinds of other stuff you could earn to put into your squad space, and ideally you’d have the ability to control the layout of the buildings; maybe even a barracks in which each of your squad get their own space in which they can display medals, trophies, etc.
(Note: This squad stuff isn’t even on the drawing board at the moment, just an idea that I’ve been sitting on for a long time)
I’d like it to build up to grander things like a way to invite other people into their space and even a way to have some kind of inter-squad competition where rounds take place in individual squad spaces.