Developer Diaries – Episode 8

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Originally posted: 07/19/2016

Summary
The 8th episode in our new series of behind-the-scenes footage and developer diaries has been released! This week we’re delivering our 2nd Q&A with Medieval Engineers team lead Tim Toxopeus.
A big shoutout and many thanks to players who sent us their questions. As usual, we don’t have time to get to them all, but there will definitely be more Q&A in the future.

 

Q&A
1. “Why square areas? Why not dynamic areas? Why not voronoi diagram style areas?” ~ Ed Frost, Waterlimon, Frostik, Wownerd1265

Several players asked about how these areas came to be. The reason for the fixed areas is that it’s how our planet data structure works. By utilizing this, it allows us to create several features, including a few we haven’t announced yet, to create a coherent system. In addition, this allows us to quickly iterate on the concept and make adjustments as needed.
We could experiment with round areas inside the square areas, but it would be difficult to size them. Right now, due to the way planets work, the square areas aren’t really square near the cubemap’s seams. If we put a circle inside that touches the edges, it would probably be significantly smaller. Additionally, round areas have issues with overlap, or if we don’t allow overlap, then with how to position a claim block.
We could experiment with voronoi cells, but it would add more development time to the current sprint. Right now, we just want to get the basic implementation working so that we can get players to play with it and see how it works out. After that, we will take the feedback we get and make the necessary adjustments.
Finally, square shaped areas makes it easier to navigate and to tell the shape of your land, and all other scenarios lead to all kinds of complexity that makes owning land very intuitive for people.

2. “How will players in the game know where an area for claiming starts and ends?” ~ SaturaxCZ

Right now we are making a thin, transparent border fence, similar to when you are building grids and it shows you to which grid it’s aligning. We don’t know yet if this is the final implementation, but it functions well as a first iteration. Ideally, we’ll give it another pass in the future to polish it up for the real, non-alpha release.

3. “Can I move my claim block?” ~ SaturaxCZ

Nope, you cannot build another claim block while the old one is still alive. The only way to reposition it is to first make sure noone is in your area, then deconstruct it (losing ownership of the area in the process) and then quickly run to your new location, build it, and wait out the contested timer again. That means that right now, during this period, your castle will be wide open for attack, so you’ll have to think about your block’s location carefully. Additionally, being able to rapidly move the claim block is unfair to attackers – it’s pretty hard to find and destroy them.

4. “What will the taxes be? How will we pay them?” ~ RayvenQ, SaturaxCZ

Right now, since we do not have gold, the claim block simply requires upkeep instead, and every resource has some upkeep value. Logs and small stones have low upkeep value, while processed materials are worth a little more. If we add gold, gold will be worth a lot. The process of paying taxes is simple: walk up to the claim block, open its inventory, and drag and drop resources from your inventory into the claim block’s inventory.

5. “How do I claim an area in an intersection of 4 claimable areas?” ~ Waterlimon, Cleardragonf

By placing four claim blocks close together, in the corners you can claim 4 areas without having to build 4 castles to defend each block separately. If a block intersects with the border of your area it will still only claim one of the areas, and that will be the area containing the center point of the pivot of the block.

6. “How do you prevent the gameplay from devolving from ‘Attack and defend castles’ to ‘attack and defend claim blocks’?” ~ Waterlimon

Why would you build a castle if not to protect something? Back when people sieged a castle, they didn’t tear it down completely, either – just enough to attack and take it. How did a castle get taken? By killing the lord. Now, in our game, you have endless life, so killing the lord is a mere inconvenience for the defenders. That’s where the claim block comes in.
We are working on some other aspects of the game design that will change the focus of the gameplay, but we’re not ready yet to announce these. Please look forward to the future installments of our updates. :)

7. “Will we see derelicts like in SE and maybe some barbarian’s stronghold ??” ~ Sabo

We would like to have encounters, and the system we implemented supports barbarian claims on land. We haven’t actually implemented anything beyond this though, simply because of the fact we haven’t had the time for it yet.

8. “How will we deal with people destroying castles when you are offline?” ~ Grave Spawn

Currently, we are looking at adding a world setting where the server admin can decide whether or not grids inside an area are indestructible if the owning player is offline. If the castle is under attack while the player is online, and then he logs off, it would continue to be vulnerable. This is not implemented yet, though, and still under consideration.

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