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The Next Tribes Q&A

The Next Tribes Q&A

Posted by: Diotoir on Thu Mar 20th, 2003 at 5:25 PM
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Ever since the initial announcement of Tribes 3, people have been swarming to The simple forum website was originally setup to be a site for discussion of what the game should be like, etc. One day, however, a miracle happened. A Sierra rep on the Tribes Franchise, Thrax, started a Question and Answer thread on all of the information he was allowed to reveal. I have collected all that he has answered and put them in Question and Answer format. Its quite a long peice, but definately beats digging through the forums to find out what the game might be like.

And now for the Q&A:

Q: who is developing Tribes 3?

A: You already know that I'm not answering that

Q: Can we expect the same sort of general game dynamic from Tribes 3? Or is it a totally new game? (in the same universe of course) To clarify: will it be the similar to Tribes 1 & 2 as far as gameplay/weapons/packs/vehicles etc. goes, or are we in for something completely new?

A: It's still Tribes, so don't expect it to be like Myst or anything.

Q: One of the great aspects of both Tribes 1 and Tribes 2 was the ability to "dictate" how fast you wanted to go, through a combinations of disc jumps, as well as planned "ski routes." As I understand it, there was no speed cap in either game. Do we plan on using this same model for mobility in the upcoming sequel? (This will also pertain to how skiing and "friction" are handled.)

A: There was a speed cap in T2, dictated by air and ground resistance. My personal feeling is that speed should be capped only by a player's skill level. The actual decision will be based on what is best for gameplay.

Q: Back when Marweas wrote a poem on TribalWar, he mentioned the possibility of an "open beta." I know we are in the beginnings of development, but is this still the plan?

A: At this time, yes.

Q: Do we have a projected quarter for release? If so, what is it?

A: Yes, and I'm not telling you.

Q: One of the issues with Tribes and Tribes 2 is the steep learning curve associated with both. Assuming that the steep curve is brought over to the upcoming sequel, how will this be handled/addessed? To clarify: This pertains to how "newbies" will be brought into the game.

A: We have good ways of making the learning curve (steap or just large) aproachable. Some day we'll tell you what they are.

Q: In Tribes, the most widely accepted format for pubs/matches was 10 vs 10. In Tribes 2, it varies from 14 vs 14 to 16 vs 16. What is the planned size for the upcoming sequel?

A: I prefer between 8 and 12 on a side in competitive situations. It makes it easier to hold a tribe together and distributes the talent acrosss more tribes.

Q: ...using the Tribes 2 Shrike for example, a player could change the blasters to mortars, or maybe rockets. They could also change out the vehicle "pack" to add either a sensor jammer, or maybe an energy pack, resulting in a number of different combinations. It seems like a good idea, as long as it is balanced properly. Is this a possibility for the upcoming sequel?

A: You'll also be able to set the stagger, tire pressure, fuel load, shock package, .... oh wait, that's NASCAR.

Q: Aside from yourself are there any people that play(ed) Tribes or T2 competatively?

A: I'd have to double check, but I believe that there are.

Q: Are you going to add in support for an "auto-download" feature? As it keeps the game fresh for many.

A: We're looking at it, but as always no guarantees.

Q: this is question/request. will you have the option of an "ugly" mode in tribes3? having pretty eye candy in the game is all well and good but i like these types of games for the gameplay not the grahpics. also, i suffer from old computer syndrome which means i'm greatly fps deficient. please aid those of us with low end computers by making this game still playable.

A: If you consider your current computer low end you will have to upgrade to play this game (or any game that comes out around the same time). We're at 3+ GHz now, and probably 4 or 5 by the end of this year. I don't think it's reasonable to think that a 400 Mhz machine would run a game that also pushes the bounds of a 4000 Mhz machine.

Q: Will the game be "Tournament-ready" out of the box? ... T2 was also one of the only games that was "competition-ready" out of the box (Tournament mode).

A: Starsiege: Tribes was also Tournament ready out of the box, so you can expect some sort of Tournament mode.

Q: ...Will the browser, or another method of online team organization, be included in T3?

A: We don't know that yet. If it is it won't be in-game. The browser was a waste of time and resources.

Q: ...MMORPG...

A: No.

Q: Will T3 be a descendant of T2 Classic/T1? Some posters on these boards seem to revel in the old days of Base slowness and boredom... even branding skiing as a "bug" that should be eliminated. Please recognize that T2 Base led nowhere, that the competitive community is the true lifeblood of Tribes, that withou their efforts (Base++, Classic) and the ressurgence of T2 Competition and gameplay, we wouldn't even be talking about a Tribes 3.

A: First, it will not be a descendant of anything. It's a new game. Second, stop trying to tell me what saved tribes. Nothing saved tribes. This project has been under way for over a year, and I promise you that the executives who gave it the final green light in october of last year were not checking on the vitality of the competitive community, they were looking at our project plan and the sales of T1 and T2. In fact, Marweas and I got more resistance to doing anything for T2 than for starting a new Tribes project. "Tribes the Next" was easy to get going in comparison to Classic, TR2 and the new maps.

Q: How steep will the learning curve be?

A: A better question might be will there be a practical cap on player skill?

Q: Will Sierra support early T3 competition with a CPL/CAL push, money tournaments, etc?

A: This is a marketing question that I can't answer. I can say that we won't be doing it out of my budget (which goes to about zero on the day we ship). I would hope that we will support things like this, and I will push for us to do so, but it's not my call.

Q: A great part of the ressurgence of T2 is the efforts of the competition players and teams, especially, which has shown itself to be the center of that community. Are there any plans to support the TWL in an official way?

A: They seem to be doing fine. Why would we want to spoil that with endless streams of lawyers and contracts?

Q: Will waypointing, or a similiar feature be a part of tribes 3?

A: Currently we do plan to have waypoints. Avoiding the WP cheats from the previous Tribes titles is an obvious consideration.

Q: In the day and age of online "personas" and "identities," one of the important aspects of any online game is the exclusivity of a person's online "nickname."

A: We haven't decided how this will work yet. My opinion is that we don't need exclusive names at all, just a clear way to uniquely identify a person. My nick is "Thrax" which I've used since college, so I'm fairly certain that I've been "Thrax" for longer than just about anybody else in online games, but that doesn't mean that I should have exclusive rights to the name, just like I don't have exclusive rights to the name Chris. As long as there is a way to uniquely identify a particular Thrax (or RangerX, or Aragorn, or whatever) it shouldn't matter if there are more than one. Perhaps if you do a nick query on me in a game I would come back as Thrax_00001, and the next guy who claimed Thrax as his main nick would be Thrax_00002, etc... The actual method doesn't matter, but I think the idea is sound.

Q: And...I dont get it, why are you keeping the dev team secret? whats the point of not telling us?

A: Honestly? A couple of reasons:
1. It's fun. Watching the gussing is a total gas!
2. It's information that you want, so it's valuable information, which means magazines want it, which means we can trade exclusivity to a magazine for a nice cover story. But if I tell you who it is that cover story goes away.
3. Did I mention how much fun we're having with it?

Q: I want to agree with Flawed's idea to include links in the game, support tourneys, and keep the browser system. Also, I would like to know about the armour classes in T3. Are we going to just keep the 3 existing classes, or try to make new ones with specific aspects from each? Perhaps by making more armours, the specific advantages and disadvantages of the existing ones could be blended for more variety in the gameplay?

A: I'm not going to answer this at the moment. Sorry.

Q: I haven't read all of the other questions, so excuse me if this has been asked. Will we see the login/t-mail/tribe tag system return verbatim or in some form?

A: Let's just say that I'm not a fan of t-mail, etc., but I recognize a need for some of the features it provided.

Q: Also, are there new vehicles coming about? I've heard of a one man bomber, but how bout some new vehicles to give one person a bit more punch in the air or ground?

A: The one man bomber was in Tribes Aerial Assault.

Q: As we have seen from T2 if dynamix's server or database has a problem it effects upwards of 200,000 people with that in mind .. Questions about the games "back end"....

A: any back end will be made using industry standard solutions, not gum and paperclips.

Q: Clicking in game and going out to a web link is a great idea. Will the game support it's own internal web browser so you don't have to use another program to browse the web?

A: No. Microsoft spends a lot of money making a perfectly good browser. I'm not going to spend game development money recreating a crappy version of it.

Q: Will there be a way to auto download missing maps? (this is a big problem for newbies)

A: Perhaps.

Q: Will there be a map depository where people can upload maps to Dynamix for auto downloading?

A: First, Dynamix doesn't exist. More to the point, probably not. The community is very good at providing for these sorts of things and we'll likely let them do their thing.

Q: Will in game IRC chat connect directly to so people can use mirc out of the game and chat with people in game?

A: You assume that we will have in game IRC?

Q: So my question is, will Tribes3 maintain vehicles as another effective tool to use, or will they dominate (like t2 base) or be a novelty (like t1)?

A: First it's not going to be called Tribes 3. As for your question, Tribes (the franchise) is at its heart about people fighting people. Earth/Starsiege is about vehicles fighting vehicles. From a general standpoint Tribes the Next will have vehicles, and they will be fun and useful, but not primary.

Q: Can we get a project lead that actually listens to the community rather than his massive drug induced "visions" of a game he's never had a part of until he got signed on contract?

A: Do I count?

Q: Any chance there will be rag-doll type physics for deaths? It could be hilarious.

A: Maybe

Q: Is Sierra planning on distributing a free server package separate from the client for the next Tribes game?

A: Good question. I'm not going to answer it

Q: one of the things that's always kept T2 incredibly addictive for me has been the immense ability to customize your game, from GUI to sounds to skins, ect. Will this ability to personally enhance your game be kept in mind for the next Tribes game?

A: Yes, what we call "modability" is very important to us.

Q: Will there be hand to hand weapons or any other changes from the disc, chain, nade, laser, plasma, etc, etc line up that we know now?

A: Not as far as you know at the moment

Q: Given that it is the Tribes universe, what time period will the game take place in in relation to the storyline and the other 2 games?

A: Excelent question! Somebody who knows a bit about the universe. Start a side thread on this and we'll discuss

Q: Will mechs have a place in the game, if so what is that place?

A: Yes. Back in the empire.

Q: will there be a heavy female? or will there just be a heavy that is both male and female? :X Heavy female = win

A: I don't think any of us want to be spammed by a heavy female.

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