This may be the last chance for you to see this! (reason below) So if you are interested in helping out with the mods development, join the discord and ask questions.
The Last Dev diary before the news hub?
So, it just so happens that in a few days time there should be a wonderful new way of viewing the news, which makes this post one of the last posts to show up before the transition. It also means that the future of Nomads dev diaries is a little uncertain. The nature of the new news hub will mean that we might be moving away from posts and towards little bits of info, such as tips and tricks. There is still some scope for dev diaries, but it may be reduced, or even made obsolete. In any case, interesting times await.
Update to the T2 destroyer
So Marlo has been busy working on all sorts of models, and among them is the destroyer, whose design has just been finalised and is now moving to the cleanup stage, where it will get some slight tweaks and optimisations before being UV unwrapped, and textured. There is still plenty of work to do, with the unit being somewhere past the halfway point in its development.
As the model was being worked on, there were ongoing discussions with Apofenas – who is in charge of balancing the faction – as to what role it should have, with weapons being added and removed up until last week. For example, there were going to be some torpedo defenses on the sides of the ship, however they were removed entirely in the end to make the unit more specialised, and rely on support units such as the planned EMP boat to provide that functionality. You can see what the defenses would have looked like below:
This was quite an interesting process as we are having to design many units at once in order to make sure they will work with each other later, as opposed to working on them one at a time. Additionally there are other considerations as well, such as the transition between old and new units – if we replace a unit that has different weapons on it, it will affect the balance of the faction and will need to have that taken into account until the other units are replaced. For reasons like this we may have to wait until multiple units are done and release them together, which is what we are considering for the Artillery boat and the T1 Frigate replacement, which are designed to work in tandem.
And thats it for now! If you want to see top secret stuff, join the discord server where you can chat to the devs, ask questions, spy on the process and get all the exclusive goodies and more! Also feel free to leave feedback either on the forum thread or in the discord. Remember, feedback is very important!
Lastly, we are always looking for more contributors, so if you are interested in creating things, whether thats code, 2d art, models, music or anything else, do get in touch! We also provide all the resources and guidance needed, so don’t worry if you think you are missing any skills, we will be glad to see you!
And below you will find previous dev diaries for your enjoyment:
Dev Diary #24
Artists still wanted
If you can draw or make models, the mod needs your help. We run on contributors wanting to work, and there is only a handful of people working on it right now. If you are interested in helping out, you can make a huge difference, so ask around on the discord server if that sounds like you.
Power generators, Mass-fabs, and other structures
So, last week we posted a picture with no rhyme or reason, and this week we get to explain it! Clockwork has been hard at work making all sorts of neat models and animations for Nomads buildings, and what you saw there was an early try at the T3 Pgen, here it is again:
That said, its most likely no longer going to be used, instead being taken apart and added to the building kit, since it looks pretty cool but doesnt quite show that its a power generator at a glance. Here are some of the earlier models and things explored. Can you guess which is which?
Here is a closeup of one of the buildings, this one is a try at the T2 mass fabricator, which is meeting a similar fate to the T3 pgen above – repurposing into building parts. This may seem like the model isnt successful if its not going into the mod, but since the style is pretty inkeeping it gets to be reused later, and serves as a style guide for future models, meaning that it is still very useful on its own.
Here is a more updated version of the T2 power generator, or at least a candidate for it. Currently there is a little debate on whether it is more suited to being a mass fabricator or not. Which role do you think it suits most?
And finally here is another mass fabricator concept which resulted in this fantastic animation – instead of having fabricators, the nomads could have landing pads that recieve materials from space. Its a great idea, but can also provide some of its own issues in terms of visual effects – this model is currently very small so the pods would be hard to make out. Additionally there is the issue of where the pods should appear, since you cant have them actually coming from space, as that would cover the screen with tiny pods falling. We are currently exploring other options for how mass fabricators could look like, with this being one of them. Perhaps this particular model might find use somewhere else, as part of a larger scale building or maybe even a campaign objective.
Dev Diary #23
Even more artists wanted
Following our previous advert, we got a couple of great guys contributing to the mod, but we need many more than just one or two. The last post got covered up almost instantly so most people missed the follow up, so here it is again: If you can draw or make 3D models, and are interested in making something for a project, then talk to us in the discord server. We will be glad to have you, as well as provide you with tools and top secrets.
Also, we thought it might be interesting to put up a top secret picture up there with no explanation of what it might be. Can you guess what it is? The answer will be covered in next weeks post!
Disruptions to diary postings
So in the past week there has been quite a bunch of stuff going on with news posts, a whole new promo councillor appearing, and nomads getting shoved aside to make way, which led to one post getting delayed and then the next one cancelled entirely, finally with this one getting delayed as well. Hopefully things will calm down a bit and we can resume our scheduled sunday posts again. We will have to see.
Surprise game ender
Well, its not quite a surprise to us, since the Nomads have been missing one for a while now so we had shared some ideas for one a while back and decided on something that has a pretty unique flavour to it – a game ender factory. Unfortunately after that the idea sat around for quite a while with no development on that end, which ended quite suddenly when Utter asked me for a drawing of it:
I quickly threw together the first idea that was floating around and put it on, not really expecting much.
By the next day there was already a sketch model up. This still has quite some work to do but it was very surprising that it was there at all. I thought that there would be more time to get some more concrete ideas together, so i really quickly rushed out some more, after thinking that there might be a lost opportunity with the more traditional dry dock approach to the model.
None of those really turned out that well since they were done so fast, but we will see where that might lead us in the future.
Mass Extractor Models
Armaster has been working away at the mass extractor models. Since those can upgrade into each other we start with the T3 version and work our way down. So far this is still very early stages for the model, with just the basic idea nailed down. Check out the pretty pictures:
Dev Diary #22
Artists (still) wanted
Last week we mentioned that we are looking for artists and modellers, and this week we are letting you know again. We already got a couple of prospective contributors from the previous post, but as always more are needed. If you can draw or know things about 3d modelling, then this may be for you. We have quite a number of concepts that need drawing, developing, with fan art also welcome. If that sounds like something you are interested in, give us a ping on the discord.
Today is Monday
There has been a bit of a queue this weekend in posting news, and so we decided to wait until Monday to post, to avoid upsetting people too much. There is rather little organisation going on on that front so we can either post in each others faces or check before we post. Next week hopefully things will clear up and the post can be on time again.
This is the mostly finished model of the artillery boat, which is planned to be added to deal with anti air and ground targets for the Nomads. The T1 frigate will also get a few changes to make them work together, such as having its anti air removed. The model itself is now almost ready for being finalized, it just needs a couple of tweaks, and then it will be optimised for the game, unwrapped, and textured. Check it out:
Currently the model doesnt have any team colours, which are going to be added at the texture stage, so everything looks rather grey. At this point we dont add any of those designs, aside from really basic indications of what is going to be what, such as the glowing faces, and which faces will be dark and which will be light.
The overall idea for T1 nomads units is that they are pretty bare bones. As such we looked at having a sort of sled-like quality to the boat, where its bridge is minimised to the point of being non existent. You can check how low its profile is above the rest of the boat. We made it progressively lower every iteration, and it now has an interesting quality to it as a result.
The boat also features space-craft style engines on the rear and sides, to help give it that spacefaring look. One of the ideas behond nomads navy is that the ship designs were very hastily converted to work in the water from existing spacefaring blueprints, so things like engines and such are modified to work in the water instead of designing a new navy from scratch.
One of the largest complaints with the ladder system we currently use on FAF stems from the inflexibility of it. We need to essentially create some sort of compromise between making the barrier to entry into ladder small enough to encourage new players to play it, while also making it engaging enough for higher rated players/players with a lot of activity to continue playing.
Oftentimes this results in the constant struggle between the two major camps for changing the ladder: the people that want a smaller pool and those that want a larger pool. A smaller pool should make it easier for individuals to learn maps and less intimidating as it is easy to look up a replay of a map when it’s practically guaranteed to be played in a 5-7 map pool. It’s also easy to adjust to your mistakes in prior games as the period between games on that same map will be far shorter than it could potentially be in a 15-20 map pool.
However, the problem then arises: what if you dislike a specific map within the pool and now 15-20% of your games in a small pool are now likely to be on that map. Another problem is the sheer exhaustion of playing a map with the same sort of meta over and over again. While a common rebuttal to this attrition argument is the fact that a small pool will allow for a variety of interesting metas to form on a map and thus create more diversity in itself, that argument seems to fall flat outside of theorycrafting. Contrary to other RTS games, the diversity in macro elements on FAF stems almost entirely on the map layout and while the most interesting maps allow a variety of potential ways to play the map, these styles are still going to converge around similar elements of the game. If you dislike navy, even if you can do a com drop or air focused game on Roanoke Abyss, you will still be heavily interacting with navy and will be forced to either play with a gameplay element you dislike or you will be forced into a few rogue strategies on the map. This holds even more true on the lower levels of ladder in which rogue strategies are often not seen as they are more difficult to pull off than a more macro based win through elements such as map control or economy.
Now, these last two paragraphs were JUST about the size of the pool and I didn’t even address all the potential arguments about it. There are also similar arguments around the length of each pool as well as the map distribution within a pool that are just as long if not even longer. I hope that gives you an insight into the impossibility of solving the problem.
These issues are what caused the FAF team to instead accept the giant variety in opinions on the ladder and build a system around it rather than attempt to make a ladder system that attempts to minimally satisfy as many people as possible. We are planning on creating ladder pools that differ based on the rating ranges of players on the ladder. What those rating ranges will be? We don’t know! That’s the point of the survey.
I want to see the map preferences for players in a wide variety of rating brackets and create a system that creates pools that appeals to as many people as possible within each subgroup. If the people 1500+ all desire a ladder pool of the exact same characteristics, then that group could be a pool subgroup. If it turns out 1800+ prefer a pool different from other groups, then that would be a subgroup in itself. The point is, I need as many data points as possible to make the right choice, and I can only do that if as many people as possible on FAF help me help them.
Forged Alliance Forever Maps & Modifications Council
Did you know that there is a place where mappers, modification authors, and more exist within the Forged Alliance Community? I invite you to find out more if you want to share your thoughts on the contents of our vault system for these community-made items, come to learn from some of the best, and understand what is allowed within.
This is a place where current and prospective mappers, modders can collaborate on knowledge, discuss the editing tools, create some nifty modifications, and help build a collection of information for all to use.
It is also an area to know and understand how to comply with rulings on the maps and modifications that are within the vault. The Ever since the vault system became available, it has for the most part been free of any regulation. This has led to broken content or “less-than-ideal” works to be distributed among the community. In an effort to keep content clean, useful, and fun, a set of rules and regulations were outlined. You can find the exact requirements here:
The goal is – in time – to ensure that content is not only functioning, but suitable and easy to navigate for those who use the service. The idea behind each was derived with experience and knowledge among the top designers in the community, but they are not set in stone. I welcome anyone to discuss the rules in the M&M discord or on the message board forum to help improve how the community utilizes its content.