Multiplayer ship crew

Multicrew Ship

Piloting a spaceship in a videogame is a classic of the Sci-Fi genre. Amazing titles have been written based on that idea. Most of the time you get to control a given ship, among a set of predesigned ships, either in first person view within the cockpit (Wing Commander style), or from a third person view outside of your ship (Eve Online style). You will be able do that in Dual Universe too, but there is more.

First, in Dual you won’t have to use predesigned ships, and in fact there will be no predefined ships. We will have some basic ships available at the beginning but nothing will force you to use those. You will be able to build your own, or buy a model designed by another player or organization, from a nearby market. With the balancing provided by the supply and demand selection mechanism (I’ll talk more about the ingame economy in another blog post), the best ship designs will naturally emerge, incremental improvements will be made on them over time and innovation will disrupt the status-quo from time to time. Just like in a real market economy.

The first ship you will pilot will likely be a single seated one-person ship, mostly for transport or small cargo jobs. The experience of piloting such a ship will be similar to the classical cockpit first person/third person view we mentioned at the beginning (you will be given ways to choose which type of view you want).

Now, the interesting thing is that a ship is not a special entity in the game. It is in fact a construct like any other – it just happens to have reactors and ship-like elements that make it behave like… a ship. But in particular, it can be given any shape and any size, provided that you are able to equip it appropriately in terms of power and control so that it can fly. Being on a planet surface, entering a ship and being “in” a ship is also a completely continuous experience for the player, there is no formal boundary. So you could have a truly gigantic ship, hosting a complex infrastructure inside, with hundreds of rooms and corridors. People would be free to embark the ship, walk inside it, jump out of it. Think of all the possibilities.

The control of this multiplayer crew ship would be distributed to several players according to their specialization. People for navigation, some others for left bank/right bank weapon systems, missiles, others for repair facilities, radar, energy systems, com, or for the faster-than-light engine, etc. You would need real team play to fly an interstellar mothership, creating emergent “professions” ingame as people specialize in certains aspects of ship control.

Now, imagine combats. Besides the specialized weapons allocation to various crew members, the fact that the ship is a real object and not some formal 3D image allows for incredible things: partial structural damage that must be repaired (crew members racing to fix this broken hull – FTL anyone?), but also even more exciting is the possibility to board another ship after having cracked open its hull. In my opinion, from an emergent/strategic point of view this is a very interesting alternative to the classical way of completely destroying any enemy ship during combat: instead, board it and take control! Note that we don’t know yet how much of this will be playable in the alpha or beta stage, but it will definitely be something we will support in the long term.

Once again, at the heart of all these ideas are key game-technology changes (real ships created by players), together with emergent gameplay. What players will do with this is still not really known, but the possibilities are huge and exciting!

 

JC Baillie,
Project Lead

Discuss-Now-evolved

28 thoughts on “Multiplayer ship crew

  1. Hello,

    I stumbled across this game a couple of days ago and have since read everything I could find on it. It sounds awesome!

    If the ship is a real object with player avatars inside, and hostile players can board ships through hull breaches, would space be a hostile environmental? If so, how feasible would it be to provide atmospheres and space with some basic physical properties such pressure? I’m imagining players flying out into space when their hull is breached, and suffocating if they’re not wearing a pressure suit.

    You’ve mentioned space ships, do you have plans for land, air and sea (surface and submarine) vessels be buildable in a similar manner?

    • Hi Klatu,

      Implementing space void as a mortal environment is something we’re thinking of.
      But it will remain quite basic at the beginning.
      There will be three environment types: Planet Atmosphere, Construct Environment and Space Void.
      When your character is in one of the two first environments, he will be safe.
      If for some reason he ends up in Space Void, there are two possibilities:
      – If he is wearing a space suit, he’ll still be safe.
      – If not, this will mean instant death for him.
      Physical properties like pressure or atmosphere dilution when a breach is done in a Spaceship Hull won’t be implemented, at least not for now.
      We might develop this in the long run if we think it is feasible (remember that we plan to handle large-scale battles. And such mechanics are really resource-greedy in terms of calculation. This could definitely be a feature for a single player game. But we still need to test if that can be done for a MMO at a reasonable cost).

      Concerning the different types of vehicles:
      We currently plan spaceships and Hovering technologies for Land vehicles, and Reactor technologies for Air vehicles. We are also thinking about sea and submarine vehicles, but this won’t be available at the beginning. It will probably be a addition in the coming crowdfunding campaign ;)

      P.S: As we are now opening the forum, all the discussions about DevBlog Posts will happen there.

  2. Will there be a guild or clan system that we can have. Even be able to have guild/clan battles for, lets say a certain sector control. Like lets say they can control a certain sector and set the price for entering to mine that certain place(But not allow them set it to high).

    • Hi Joshua. Yes there will be struggles to fight over territories. This is a big feature planned for the game.
      For the guild / clan system… well, it’s the subject for the next blog post (coming soon)! :)

  3. Since we’ll be building our own ships, will it be possible to build a carrier ship equipped with fighters and/or bombers? Also, and this is probably just the fanboy me talking, would it be possible to build mobile suits like those seen in the anime Gundam?

    • Hi Austin. Yes, it will be possible to build a carrier with fighters and/or bombers piloted by players.
      For mobile suits… Even if the game is not specifically design for building mobile battle suits, from a technical point of view, nothing should prevent it.
      But it’s a bit early to confirm this right now. ;)

  4. hello,
    another question on ship design, would there be moving parts on ships that can interact with the real world?
    for example what if i want to build a pirate ship that had arm-claw-things
    on the bottom to attach to other ships for boarding or destruction purposes? would this be possible?

    curiously – estevan

    • Hi Estevan,
      Yes it should be possible to have moving parts on a ship, with the use of “Anchors” (a special unit type). But keep in mind this is still a very early design, and there is no promise this will be implemented in the game from start. You can see a Concept Art research here on our Facebook page: http://ow.ly/JUxPX . However, to have these moving parts used in PvP Mechanics is not what is currently intended, but this is definitely an interesting idea that will go in the Idea Box on the forum once it will open! ;)

  5. hello,
    Youve been talking about teams and alliances being an important part of the game. Would there be social areas that make finding people easier? Like lets say maybe postings at a pub that request a crew for a mission? or perhaps a specific place to meet possible allies? Also should there be people whod want to be a “crew for hire” would there be parts of the game that would incorporate that?
    Please reply I appreciate your time,
    sincerely -estevan

    • Hi Estevan,

      This will go directly in the Idea Box when it will be operational ;)
      Creating social features making life easier for players to interact with each other is on the list. Having “social hubs” where people can put requests looking for people (example: Mercenary for hire, Advertising to join a Player faction/corporation, etc) is something we are thinking about. This will be discussed in a blog article in the future.

  6. That is awesome, but will we be able to create a faction like the CSI in star wars, entirely made out of automated robots and “battledroids”? will there be a AI controlled repair system, so if an automated ship gets attacked, it can auto repair once finished? Will we be able to craft advanced game components like star trek like replicators, that use E=mc2 energy to create matter, and materials, and that can auto craft raw and manufactured materials(simple ones, like water stone, iron, glass, porcelan, food etc…) but needs to be programmed to do it first, and has a 80% E-M conversion efficiency?

    • A faction entirely automated wouldn’t be a playable faction. We must keep in mind that we are building a MMO, to encourage players to gather in groups, around a common goal. Playing as a lone wolf will be possible to some extent. But you won’t have the advantages as a faction with many players in it. Having some droids as helpers for several tasks (repairing, mass producing, etc) is something in discussion.
      But right now, we can’t promise anything as this is a topic in progress.

      • OK many thanks, I meant robots for more like automated transports between outposts, and for defence while offline. And for keeping factions from getting fully automated you could add a way to “hack” into the droids/system and disable everything and disable all, but it would be difficult if alone (you would be able to do it if you have a equal or superior force,or get to sneak into the central command core). And I hope you will in some time make an Idea box where people can post ideas (it will filter duplicates and link the people to the already existig idea) and up or downvote on them (and report if abusive or duplicate).

        I am insanely exited about the game.

      • Hi Wicpar,

        This is an interesting concept.
        We have already some ideas about how players will protect their base or outpost, but what you’re suggesting could be an interesting advanced possibility once all the essential features of the game will be implemented.
        We will discuss it in the team. And about crafting advanced components, you won’t have start trek-like replicators but you will be able to create “Alloys”. These advanced components won’t be available right from the start: The Alloys will be discovered with research done by players. And for the Idea Box… Don’t worry: it’s coming right with the forum opening (which should happen soon ;)).

      • Amazing, thanks :),
        I would like to add another request for very late improvements:
        have the ships be able to melt with a voxel based temerature. if it melts, it would convert itself to a metaball representing liquid metal (or use the system you use for water) that can cool too and be changed back to a voxel, but it would keep the approximate shape of the metaball :)
        so we could make huge furnaces and melt ships down :D, with all its crew :D and then sell it as salvage steel or whatever the material is ^^.
        or even build stuff like this: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/World_Devastator

      • Hi Wicpar,
        As already answered to PetdCat, implementing temperature mechanics is very unlikely, for many reasons: resource cost on server side (always remember we must develop for large-scale interactions, so what could be really cool in a single player or a multiplayer game is not always a good thing in a MMO), very low priority even if it’s feasible, game balancing, etc etc. Don’t get us wrong: the idea is really cool. But it just seem to us it’s not really compatible with the project.

  7. The idea of being able to disable/board a ship, or provide a diversion while the special ops team attempts to infiltrate is a great idea. That is a mechanism that we have not really seen before and would provide an whole new level of strategy to the game. If you also think about it, in a voxel game, weapons matter. if you melt through a hull with a laser or particle beam, is the opening “hot” for those attempting to enter through it, possibly damaging their suits if they touch it? If you use something kinetic, like an explosive, can the pieces blow off the ship you are fighting damage your ship if you get too close? If you do so much damage to a ship that it explodes while you are along side attempting to board, can your ship take damage?

    A great deal of possibilities for things we have never been able to do before.

    • Hi PetdCat,

      You’ve brought very interesting ideas to the topic.
      However, we must also take into account what is feasible in terms of large-scale battles. Representing that some voxels can be warm due to a weapon shot and damage approaching player might be possible in a single player or a multiplayer game, but probably too much resource-consuming on server side to be represented in a MMO. Imagine if this was handled for hundreds or even thousands of ships present in a conflict… we need to keep in mind to make the game run smoothly even in these cases ;)

  8. Thank you, that answered my question very well. I look forward to seeing it first hand in-game as soon as it comes out. Very excited for the game, it seems pretty awesome, I cant wait for the update on its progress.
    Thank you

  9. I agree that a built in voice chat system would be incredible beneficial as far as teamwork is concerned, still though I am wondering if you have any ideas on how to deal with talking in crowded areas. Many games have a talk key that only allows your voice to be heard when it is held down. I find that method cumbersome especially in games that require a lot of your focus. As an idea, I have always wanted a game with true voice mechanics so that if your talking your voice only carries so far and if your yelling it can be heard farther away. I don’t know how this might be accomplished or if it is even feasible for a game, but I think it would fit in well with a game designed around immersion and a real world feel.

    • Hi Jared,
      This is definitively an interesting idea! You’re 100% right on the fact it would improve immersion.
      We will discuss about it in the team to see if this can be developed in some ways.
      If this seems achievable, it will most likely be a stretch goal for the crowdfunding campaign! :)

  10. Hello,
    This seems very interesting. How would the player design the ship? Will there be individual pieces that can be put together in different orders? or is there some form of base model then editing it with color and adding shape changes? Im curious about this aspect.

    • Hi Estevan,
      As we really want to give maximum freedom to players creativity, there will be several steps to create a ship:
      – Creating the hull: this will be basically voxel manipulation/sculpting. Like in Minecraft, but with Dual Contouring (it will be possible to “polish” the voxels).
      – Adding “Elements”: it will consist in plugging interactive 3D props (obtained by using a crafting system) on the hull from different categories: Control Units (to pilot the ship: Computer Screen, Cockpits), Engine Units (Reactors and such), Weapons Units…
      – “Painting” the hull : As this is still work in progress, we can’t give many details on this step for the time being but we are definitely looking into painting voxels ;)

      We hope this answers your questions :)

  11. I’m really excited about this game, I’m so glad that you are trying new things and are expanding into new areas of game development. As far as multiplayer crew goes how will communication be possible will the game support its own voice chat system or will players have to rely on third party voice chats such as Skype. Again I’m really stoked for this game and will be following its development with much interest.

    • Hi Jared,
      Thanks for your encouragements! :)
      As gamers ourselves, we are aware that nothing is better than a voice chat system to coordinate teamplay in real time.
      We are currently exploring possibilities on this side, to implement a voice chat system directly into the game. Some popular voice chat systems are evolving this way, to offer some “embedded solutions” like Teamspeak. However, we are far from having decided anything on this aspect for the time being. If you have any suggestions in mind, feel free to tell us! ;)

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