7 September 2020

Interview with Star Conflict developers

Pilots! Today we present a large interview with the Star Conflict development team. The questions for this conversation were put forward by you — in the comments under special posts (convenient, isn't it?). There were many questions and almost every aspect of the game was discussed! 

Artists, programmers, designers, community managers and many other members of the Star Conflict team answered the call from the pilots. So it's time to put the helm down, sit down in a comfortable chair and start reading the interview! It turned out to be really big, but very interesting.


Question: Are you going to introduce a detailed in-game tutorial? Info about resistances, for example, about setting up the HUD, about the finer moments of game mechanics, about the game modes (not just the usual PvP), about the techniques of piloting and tactics (don't attack crowds alone, always move and stick to cover).Right now the tutorial ends at “Controls 101”? 

Answer: We had ideas and notes about this but they were postponed. In the near future, we plan to update the game help feature, but we do not plan to completely redesign the tutorial missions yet.


Question: The big problem — bots in PvP. Are you going to solve this? The most important part is the presence of bots with a laser with 100% precision that burns everything before the player has time to react.

Answer: We plan to work with the competitive segment, including PvP after the new year, that is, in 2021. 


Question: A question about Seed-chips. Will there be a separate menu/window showing the damage of weapons, modules and missiles from Seed-chips? Players who play with them practically use calculators to count the values. Many people consider this a shortcoming of the mechanic. 

Answer: The effect of Seed-chips is more subjective like that of PvE levels. We were actually thinking about this functionality. This can be implemented as a separate check mark in the hangar, showing effects, but in the near future such functionality is not expected.


Question: Why do developers hide the project's player numbers?

Answer: The data on the current number of players is confidential information that developers disclose at will. For example, once a year we may report the maximum online numbers. But it is not desirable to post this figure on a permanent basis. These numbers can harm the game — for example, they can show the load limit on servers and provoke an attack on them. If we are talking about Steam, this platform's position is to show the numbers for projects. They do not show the full picture when it comes specifically to Star Conflict


Question: Why have there been no new developments in PvP and other competitive modes lately except for ships? For example, new modes for PvP, new dreadnought equipment in conquest, etc.

Answer: As mentioned above, we are going to do it after the New Year. Of course, one of the fundamental branches in further development is your suggestions, which we read regularly, and some we write down.


Question: Why are there so many hidden mechanics in the game? Here is an example. When combining two identical characteristics, we get not a simple addition, but a calculation using a special formula, which was mentioned only once in 2015. https://forum.star-conflict.ru/index.php?/topic/44534-блог-разработчиков-от-23-января-сложение-эффектов-модификаторов/ When are these mechanics going to be announced to players directly so that everyone understands how a particular function works.

Answer: In any games there are similar mechanics, SC is no exception. The disclosure of all mechanics reduces the research interest of players and increases the probability of abusing mechanics.


Question: In my opinion, developers are not communicating enough with the community of the game, and such a format is already good. Hence the question: are you planning to continue to communicate with players through such articles or is this a one-time event? And it would be even better if developers conducted special streams with answers to questions live (let's say they talk about new features and the future of the game). In my opinion, this is a common practice in the development of online games and Star Conflict lacks such a thing. Can we expect the streaming format?

Answer: Of course, this is not the last such article. We communicate regularly with players on the forum and in official communities, where you can ask us questions. This format is only a form of structuring all questions into one large article, which may answer questions for players if they previously could not find answers or did not know where to look for them. As for streams — we won't promise anything, but we will try :)


Question: Can developers answer the question on changing the game engine in detail? After all, it seems to everyone that each time we get the same mechanics in a new wrapper, and new ones can't be made because of the engine.

Answer: There is no engine change in our plans. It is a long and expensive process. Most often, it is easier not to change the engine on the current project, but to start development from scratch. There are no such plans right now.


Question: How do you rate the interface? Don't you think that in some places it's very raw? Many windows are extremely different in style, icons in HUD are barely distinguishable.

Answer: In general, problems with the interface are not so critical, so for now it remains as it is. It may change or be modified slightly, but we do not plan any major changes in the near future.


Question: Your pilot in the game used to have an affiliation, a background, something like that. It was cut out of the game. I suppose to push the PvP content. However, the game has come to a different path, and PvE content has become its basis. The question: Is it possible to add/return the character (the ability to create one without a 3D model) into the game, with the choice of history, faction affiliation (4 sides of the conflict, and possibly 5 — if pirates are recognized as the 5th party), subfactions (Wardens, Legion, Revenants, etc.).

Answer: In fact, the suggestion is not new, and we have this in our plans, however, we will not disclose the details yet, so as not to lose intrigue ;)


Question: Will karma be reworked in the near future (until the end of 2020)? It's not used by players at all. If so, would it be similar to the SeraX proposal? And also, will it be global? (it can be linked to access level and its mechanics, with the Sector Conquest and in general with any action of the player)

Answer: Karma will remain as an indicator of PvP aggressiveness in the open world, individual values will be used for factions


Question: Pirates have been touched upon repeatedly. Whole updates dedicated to their activities… if there is no total annihilation of them — by lore or by design) Is it possible to recognize them as a faction? Without creating a branch of ships. Opportunity to hire/join them, make the long-suffering Fort Muerto a station)

Answer: Much depends on the actions of players in this war. However, there are some changes in plans. About a separate faction and a new hangar — we will consider it, of course, but we won't promise anything :)


Question: A question about hidden values. Would it be possible to add lines with the output of optimal range, crit chance, cargo hold space and the like (and there's enough stuff like this) during the next update of the interface, which is useful to know. If you are afraid of cluttering the HUD with information, you can make 2 modes of information output - compact and extended. Toggle either on the info output window itself or call it with an advanced key combination. 

Answer: It is already possible to enable advanced information about ships. The examples given here (firing range, crit chance) are not particularly applicable, because each individual entity (ship, weapon, module) has its own window with the necessary information. As for places in cargo hold — the offer is interesting, we will consider it. 


Question: Will the sights be updated? Expand their settings (alignment of different sights, adjustment of mark positions (color palette, etc.)

Answer: We do not plan this in the near future, but thank you for the suggestion.


Question: Questions regarding customization. Let's take it slow.
1) Now all ships consist of 3 main colors, like all templates. It seems to me that this hinders the development of cool templates, which are not tied to the “three” things, but to the ship as a whole.

2) Will it be possible to change the colour of ready-made templates (including Invasions (the main color of this “lightning”), etc.) for an additional fee? 

3) Will it be possible to combine templates? “DIY”)) Are there plans to add a full-fledged RGB|HEX color palette in the ship window? This will enhance customization capabilities.

4) Decor. Why can't we decide where to put our add-ins, as well as rotate and scale them? Some ships barely show the decor at all, and it costs money. 

Answer: Regarding paragraphs 1-3, we do not plan to make such changes yet. We regularly add new and interesting paint patterns to the game, as well as new colors, and changing the methods of overlaying these patterns when there is still a lot to try is not really great. 

Regarding the position and decor rotation angle — the ships where the decor looks bad or is hidden by structural elements, can be fixed, please post bug reports on the forums.

As for scaling — there are standard sizes, decorations follow them.


Question: Can developers disclose the formula and/or explain how location impact points are accrued in SecCon. There are many problems with points and influence, for example, for beacons and the capture of points you get an exorbitant amount of points, so the pilot who really did nothing to win can get to the leaders, and the one who had difficulty holding the point gets nothing. The same with the bomb planting in conquest. They don't give points for it, and it very strongly affects the outcome of a fight. 

Answer: For most actions there is a decrease in the strength of the enemy dreadnought (including the destruction of opponents, drones, torpedoes, expansion, the maximum is really for the capture of control points). At the end of the battle, points knocked out from the enemy dreadnought are distributed to the team in proportion to the usual game efficiency, which is displayed in the debriefing table, but not more than 20% per player. If winners managed to knock out all dreadnought points of the opponent then they get half of the saved points of the dreadnought. Also there is a difficulty factor, on locations of 10-15 ranks it is higher, than on 7-9, on locations with fights once a week even higher.


Question: BIG PROBLEM. A LOT OF REQUESTS. Why can't I mass-buy resources in trade or containers? Or mass sell something? I am constantly kicked with the error “Too many requests”. Are you going to fix this?

Answer: Recent patches contained a bug with requests, but it has already been fixed. You should not get kicked right now, but if you encounter such a problem, let us know by leaving the corresponding bug report. 


Question: Why there is still such a concept as “Unique modules”. Why are they not distinguishable in the interface and I always have to look at the counter of whether the module is unique? What prevents you from giving all modules to all ships? Why is some ship better because of the presence of this module, and another without uniqueness at all?

Answer: The availability of all modules for all ships can create an imbalance or an absolute chaos when balancing all the builds becomes nearly impossible.


Question: I have a question for developers. What is your game direction? By that, I mean, where do you hope to move the game next year? I believe that an important part of development is the presence of direction and vision of the game!

Answer: As mentioned above, the plans include work on PvP and the further release of new content. Stay tuned! 


Question: Why do you have such a quiet update policy? Your blogs are released just before the update, why do you not develop what is primarily interesting to players, but roll out everything as a “Surprise”? It is even more annoying that there is so little information about updates in recent patches that we simply do not understand what has been added specifically if we do not spend hours looking. Why not write a little more about everything to give us more interest? “Pirates attacked, go fight back” is not exactly equal to what was actually introduced into the game — “We have a new reputation system, full of new bosses, a loot, the opportunity to side with pirates and a full-scale war of factions in Open Space”. It looks like this “-we fixed and added a lot of things” “-what exactly?” “-we won't tell you”.

Answer: Just like in many other games :) This is a feature of advertising and marketing. You can't tell much about updates in advance, because plans can change (a sudden serious bug, for example, will interfere with the release) and the feature will not appear in the patch. It will be a deception of expectations, because we have already announced it earlier. It will harm the game, its promotion, the attitude of players will deteriorate. But in any case, thanks for the constructive criticism, we will try to make changelogs more detailed! 


Question: Will the referral links ever be returned?

Answer: It is not yet planned.


Question: Could there be a PvE mission voiceover contest or something? In fact, we want everything to seem more alive thanks to this kind of accompaniment. Just remember the quests for the new year at the first invasion. That was the atmosphere! I'm sick of the text, really.

Answer: We do not plan to make an additional voiceover yet, thanks for the suggestion!


Question: Will there be any use playing for the enclave? We want resources, blueprints, Seed-chips. 

Answer: It will all be a little later:)


Question: Why can't I just throw away a Seed-chip for another person to pick it up?

Answer: Seed-chips at the moment are personal equipment, it can not be transferred in any way


Question: What will happen to mining? Why does this system work “quietly”, and someone who knows about it receives resources when as many people do not even know that it can be done

Answer: Exploring the open world is an important aspect of PvE. Asteroids themselves are clearly defined as objects that can be destroyed, the message about overheating does not allow you to shoot uncontrolled. In general, the mining system is quite intuitive.


Question: Tell us about the fate of racing in Open Space. Cool mechanics, but in fact, I can't say that someone needs it. 

Answer: There are possible improvements in the plans.


Question: Will the Content Creator Partner Program ever be redesigned to support people who have a community based around the game, rather than supporting only those who have a large out-of-game audience and who can advertise people who are not yet playing? Currently, there is no incentive for the already developed community to make videos, except for what the viewers themselves provide to these creators in the form of feedback, and how about benefits in the game, except just press accounts for advertising? Maybe YouTube or Twitch avatar aerography? Related titles/taunts?

Answer: We will think about promotional accounts for more bloggers — this way of interacting with content makers has worked well on other projects.


Question: It has long been known that there is a system of replays in the game. Why is it only available to those who have a press account? Why not make it for all players? The capabilities of a regular camera are not enough to create videos or screenshots for many people and often everyone gets discouraged right at the start. 

Answer: Unfortunately, it is not possible to make this functionality available for all players at this time. Additional servers are needed to write and store replays. Therefore, so far, content makers with promo/press accounts have this tool 


Question: Now there is a big problem with rank 15 crafts. They are destroyed either with premiums with uniques or crafts of rank 16-17? And they cost as much or even MORE in resources! Perhaps you should finally give them something unique or reconsider their existence in the game?

Answer: We will definitely think about prices, work out different options (discounts, promotions, etc.). About “uniques” — right now, the priority of the development team is the creation of new ships. Judging by the statistics, this is more interesting for most players. Nevertheless, we have not forgotten about the balance of already existing ships in SC. Perhaps in the future there will be specific patches dedicated to balance tweaks.


Question: There Is a big problem on American servers. We've had enough of shouting that ping often jumps to the limit. It feels like you can't hear us. When will this be fixed? And also — why “Priority search region” doesn't work? I set it to America living in Canada because it is closer, and I get to Europe, because even a fool understands that there is no load there.

Answer: If a user is in the US, then they should not have problems with American servers. High ping is observed when the player is on the American Star Conflict server, but lives in another part of the world. If those who live in the United States still have a problem with high ping, then we will welcome your report on the game forums — we will definitely consider it and try to solve it. If American players do have such problems — it is better to make reports on the forums, then the team will definitely hear you.

Question: Why does “Priority search region” not work? I set it to America living in Canada because it is closer, and I get to Europe, because even a fool understands that there is no load there.

Answer: The game provides a choice of only the preferred server on which you would like to play, the game takes this into account, but does not promise that all games will be on this server. Roughly speaking, if in search of a fight one player wants to play in America, and 9 more people set it to Europe, a fight has to be created in Europe. It's different with the Open Space. Again, it is only the desired server, but Open Space checks if there is someone in the location or not. If an instance with two players has already been created, the player will be put in this location, and will not get a separate copy.


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Star Conflict Team


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