Why redo capture in 1.31?

Several people have asked me why we chose to replace the capture system in 1.31: in an already overdue major release, it seems like we could have spent our time on better things.

Opines from Beta

The 1.31 Open Beta has been steadily rocking along. Few little wobbles at the start there, and I’m not sure if Ramp has fixed the gargoyles yet (infantry “statues” that appear when a trooper dies out of your line of sight but inside your vis range; the trooper animation system surrenders the body to the ragdoll system, which promptly disowns it because he’s not in LOS; leaving a death-throws statue).

Started out rough: In short, the debug build of the servers I was building couldn’t handle 20 people simultaneously, the world-update loop was frantically dialing back its capacity and then treating everyone to the “wow, long time no hear” treatment.

I’ll explain the technical issues in a little more detail after the bump, but this post is primarily going to be about the gameplay feedback we’ve gotten…

Specifically, regarding the feel of the new capture system; picking up a discussion I fired up a little while back.

Producer’s reaction to complex capture rules


This, my friends, is a victory. Complex game rules are invariably bad. There are times when they are acceptable.

Our game has historically kept the player in the dark about all kinds of things. For some it was the je-ne-sais-quoi of the game. Knowing wtf just happened was a mark of a pro. Everyone else went to Planetside or WoW.

We are a PvP game, we’re about fighting and stuff. Capture – and victory – are bragging mats. Captures are mean’t to be truffles, not tic tacs.

1.31 Capture Testing

Had my head buried in server code for a while so I haven’t really seen much of 1.31. So I was in for a few pleasant surprises when I went into the game world to test the preliminary guise of the new capture system, and I had to share :)

It’s taken me a lot longer than it should have – there have been countless distractions. But if I’m really honest, I was also struggling from a bit of writers block. I’d done a mental back-of-napkin design of what I wanted to do in the first minute of Ramp and I originally discussing this. But when I actually sat down to code it, I got mired in “how it works” – where “it” is the old, legacy system.

Someone’s been busy…

be131img be131img2

Of course, I can’t take credit for any of the eye candy, but the new capture buildings threw us a curve ball and we felt that the risk of delaying release was worth the effort of getting around to change the way capture works. I have had a burning desire to replace table-bumping with something constructive for a long time.

If the eye candy caught your eye, though, and you want to read more about it, see more screenshots and maybe a few videos… Rafter’s 1.31 preview is right here.

Where I come in right now, though, is those capture changes