the Junkyard: The Next Tribes Q&A
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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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A: Probably a bit less powerful and flexable in some areas specifically to limit cheating. We want to give as much flexabililty as possible without giving away the bank at the same time.

Q: Can you promise me that the game will be enjoyable?

A: Well obviously that's the goal, but who knows what you define as enjoyable. For all I know you might require the ability to pull wings off a fly while humming the battle hymn of the republic before you consider it enjoyable, so no. I can't guarantee that.

Q: How will you be listening to the community feedback on progress/once the game is released?

A: Sales of over 2,000,000 units - from my new beach house in the Carabbean. Sales of under 500,000 units - from the unemployment line

Q: ) Will the dev team be with the game long after its release? For patching, code updates, new textures etc?

A: Obviously that's the goal, but since they don't work for Sierra I can't force them to do anything. I believe that the need for patches will be lower than in the past and that this dev team will take pride in continued excelence in their product.

Q: Will TNTG be taking ANY community input? I mean if the community will be playing it, seems best to cater to their likes..

A: I'm here, yes?

Q: T2 came out really buggy when it was released, and I know that due to that fact, it caused a lot of potential players to throw it in their closet and not look at it again. Will TNTG be needing a half dozen patches to become playable to the masses?

A: Is there any possible way I can answer this and have the answer matter? I think not.

Q: Why will T3 need such high end systems? If you look at games like Half Life (Counter Strike mod, it's what, 5 years old?) , they still have massive amounts of players and they will run on my old 486.

A: Like it or not Shooters are judged visually against their most recent competition. If Doom 3 doesn't look as good or better than Unreal 2 then they've screwed up, and the press and fans will let them know about it

Q: Will TNTG have an ingame voice-chat system, like a built in roger wilco?

A: I don't have a concrete answer for you on that. Sorry.

Q: What is the feasability of having some cinematic tools(primarily camera based: Dolly, zoom, pan, tilt) for creating pre scripted type movies if you will?

A: Good question. No answer, sorry.

Q: Will the main gun still be the good old spinfusor or will there be a much wider range of diversity between weapons, so you can use more than one gun instead of just the spinfusor as the main gun?

A: You'll still shoot disks by default, but none of the weapons will be exactly like T1/T2 and some will be replaced with other types of goodness.

Q: Will their be an option for server admins to put a "no rape unless it is 10 v 10" rule in the servers? Or will it just be decided by the community like the other tribes franchises?

A: I don't know, but it's a good idea that I'll be sure to pass on to the team. I know that some other things like this are being implimented so this would be a tiny change.

Q: Will DJ be enabled?

A: It is now, so unless we turn it off it will be.

Q: Considering that the Havoc and some other vehicles are basically useless now in classic, has there been any thought in changing the vehicle system?

A: Vehicles will be different than in either T1 or T2. No info beyond that.

Q: Will there be a central site for TNTG ala IE with intergration with say, TWL and such.

A: As I've said before, we'll provide the minimum, and the community will provide the rest. Nothing Sierra could ever do would touch the size and popularity of TW for instance. And the TWL is doing quite well without our interferance. I see no reason to try to improve on that either. Where there is an abscence of coverage we'll do something, otherwise we'll keep our mits off.

Q: With the developers - have they made (and released) a game or two before as retail, or will this be their first?

A: They've done a game or two, never fear.

Q: Will you be using a 3rd party program to make buildings, or will you make your own/build it in to the engine?

A: Discreet and Maya are both making free versions of their editors now. You should be able to use one or the other to make buildings.

Q: Do you think balancing is needed or maybe we need more AA turrets that not only shoot you while your sitting down and drinking tea but also can solve quantum mathematics problems

A: I think that a good player should be better than a deployable turret, but a good turret bitch (er... that's what we called the position on Cows w/ Guns) should be valuable to a team.
I loved the Rocket turret in T1, though it was a tad easy to kill. Extreamly valuable on Raindance, but not overpowering.
I don't really like the turrets in T2. I hate it when the server kills me. It's about the other players, not the CPU.

Q: Will the new t3 get rid of grenades and mortars bouncing at the wrong time?! And will the disk physics be changed for easier ma's or possibly harder ma's?

A: I really can't give definitive answers on a lot of these questions because the final outcome depends on the game balance. For instance if mortars are too easy to use, adding bounce is one way to make them harder to use. What I can say is that I like things that go boom when they hit my target, as do most of us. (thing + target + boom = good, in the technical lingo). As for the disk physics thing, again itís a play balance issue, but I think that a major part of why itís so much easier to MA in T2 than T1 is the lack of jetpack control in T2. The same issue makes the sniper rifle easer in T2 than T1. Itís not more accurate (I think it may be a bit harder to use in fact), itís just that your target is less mobile.

Q: is 'Tribes The Next' still something thats still an idea on paper? Or have you moved it to working on it on the computer?

A: Actually it's in development and I have a working version on my computer.

Q: Do you intend to make the engine for the new Tribes sequel equally powerful in the scripting aspect, allowing replacement and overrides of existing functions, and the convenient packaging provided by .vl2 (aka .zip) files in the recent version?

A: We are commited to making the game customizeable. The Mod community breaths life into games long after they should be dead (look at Half-Life) and we want to take advantage of that as much as possible. More than that I can't say right now.

Q: you have said that you are wanting the learning curve to be quick to learn impossible to master. does this mean that we will be seeing a more tribes 1 style competitive game play where one or two 'masters' of the game can join a team and drastically change the outcome of the match rather than that of tribes 2 where no matter how good you are unless you get 90% of your team working with you wont be able to achieve anything. Basically I'm asking will the game promote 'cowboys' or will it promote 'team players'

A: I very strongly feel that the T1 = Cowboys idea is a big misconception. Old-Timer story. At Tribes Con 1 in Reckless/Cows with Guns (basically a bunch of people from Sierra for the most part) took on an all-star team from the competitive community. We had good players on our team at the time, but no masters. We played well together and knew each other much better than the all-star team did. We destroyed them because we were a team. In an unorganized pub game against an unorganized defense, yes a "cowboy" should be able to turn the tide. Against an organized defense a cowboy should need teamwork, just like they did in T1. Remember that in battle the defender always has the advantage, and more so when they respawn on site.

Q: you say that scripting will be less flexible to combat 'cheat' scripts. will you still be able to script such things as movement and shooting etc? as i believe that being able to script this enables players to bridge a skill gap that would otherwise be unobtainable i.e. mortar jump scripts, disc jump scripts, 'ski' scripts, auto ski route scripts. all of these scripts made an impact on tribes 1 by taking the skill out of the game and allow players to improve themselves by simply downloading the latest script pack.

A: All of the examples you give should be bridged by playing skill, and not programming skill. And I never said we would make scripting less flexible in general; I said we would potentially sacrifice flexibility for security.

Q: do you envisage the next tribes game to be fast paced on smaller streamlined maps or slower and more strategic on t2 base styled maps?

A: You should never have to drop bread crumbs to find your way back out of a base.

Q: one thing i believe set tribes apart from other games was the ability to characterize yourself, by having multiple voices / models / skins players could differentiate themselves from the crowd, also having a lot of things to play with and have fun with (beacons, targeting lasers, local animations etc.) meant that you could have a lot of fun even if you werenít playing competitively. Do you plan on expanding on or even matching what was in tribes 1/2 ?

A: There will be multiple skins and stuff. Off the top of my head I don't have a count, but a respectable number (whatever that might be).

Q: So, what is your role in the development of this game?

A: I'm the producer at Sierra. Along with Marweas and Menzo I put together the product plan and researched the developer. We researched about 30 different developers (and dismissed many others out of hand) and finally selected... we'll call them CompanyX for now... I was honestly somewhat surprised (but delighted) when they agreed to do the game as they were far and away at the top of our most wanted list.

Q: Will T3 support custom resolutions? Instead of the 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, etc. The reason I ask is I like to play games on my 51" HDTV, and custom resolutions go a long way to making that easier.

A: Send me your TV and I'll spend some time investigating it.

Q: will recieve first wind of beta signups?

A: Well, we don't know how the beta will work yet, so I can't reasonably say much about it other than I don't think we'll play favorites to anybody. We'll probably send out word to all the tribes news sites we can find, and also HW/CS, Quake, Doom3, VoodooX, Blues, etc to get as diverse an audience as possible.

Q: ...But if you can think a even better way to support demos (serverside tracking of all events so you could observe the game in slo-mo that you just played) feel free to do so

A: We're looking at that. Full tracking replay is very useful to QA - but also hard to do correctly. It requires tracking every variable and being able to reset all of them to the correct starting position. But at that point you can replay the game right up to the occurance of a nasty bug which makes fixing them that much easier. So fingers crossed replay should be nice.

Q: Can you state what year we might start seeing some development images/info? Will an account/login still be required?(ie; Tribes2) Will there be enviromental effects like swaying grass/trees? I've noticed several games being developed lately with tall grass rather than flat textures, will that even be a possibility? A you watching the modding community for possible gameplay ideas in TNTG? Example: I play a lot of TAC2 and I think it adds a new element to the game that most mods do not. It's not just a mod for weapons, rather a mod for gameplay. Will packages be released to the mod community before the official release so that they might get a head start?

A: Sigh. These are good questions, but I'm either not sure or can't answer them. Sorry.

Q: If you plan on having the missile launcher, can you just have them lock on to vehicles, turrets, ect.. not people?

A: if we plan to have the missile launcher then yes, we could have them lock on to vehicles but not people. If we plan to have them.

Q: Any chance of making the enviroment, the terrain not invulnerable?

A: The problem with deformable terrain is partly technical, and partly play ballance. It's easy to make deformable objects, but Terrain systems are all height field based, and rebuilding that height field and it's texture every time somebody farts hard would be problematic. From the play balance side of things the ability to put big divots in all the good ski routs would turn the game into a flyer only cap-fest, which is not what Tribes is about at all. So no to the deformable terrain idea I'm afraid to say.

Q: Also any chance of some real interest in the maps, as it stands they are all hills and valleys of different levels, howsabout some massive sharp cliff-faces, waterfalls, forrests.

A: I think we may be able to take care of some of that for you

Q: Will TNTG be unveiled at E3?

A: That is not currently the plan, no.

Q: Will existing T2 scripts/admin-mods be reviewed for their use as possible T3 features? Not relating on toys like in Tricon there.

A: Yes, they have been.

Q: I apologize if this has been asked already, but the comment on a working version on your computer piqued my interest. How long as TNTG been in developement? When I saw Marweas's poem on TW, I'd assumed it had just gotten the greenlight. But a working version of the game in 3 months seems....impressive.

A: We built a full working prototype to get the green light, then tossed all of that out (except the lessons learned) and stared over for the game. Prototype development started (I think) in April of 2002, and was given the green light whenever Marweas posted his sonnet. The prototype kicks ass.

Q: Do you plan to keep the In-Game map editor? Or plan to use/allow outside programs to create maps for 'Tribes 3'?

A: I can't answer that at the moment. Sorry.

Q: Is there any chance of some Cave maps? Or would that be to hard on the terrain engine?

A: We're actually investigating that, but don't have an answer yet, so I'll fall back on my standard "I can't answer that yet".

Q: I'd love to have a way to playback a battle from any vantage point, and to save snippets of it as an mpeg. Bonus points would be awarded for the ability to re-render the battle using ultra-high quality models. Insanely cool demo reels could be compiled as recruiting tools for new buyers, uh, I meant players. Does any of this ring your chimes enough to make into the game?

A: I certainly agree with you, but that doesn't mean it will make it into the game

Q: In regards to HO, will players expect the main mode of transportation to be heavy transports, such as T2's havok, or by ski routes practiced and perfected like those in T1/T2 classic?

A: My personal preference would be that good heavies would ski, and bad (not yet good?) heavies would fly

Q: One of the deployables I missed from T1 was the sensor jammer deployable. Will this be back in the upcoming Tribes game?

A: I doubt it.

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