Road to Odyssey: Lead Designer Q&A - Notes

YT link - Lead Designer Gareth Hughes expanding on Dev Diary 3 / Combat in Odyssey.

His role:
  • Start of process = ideation / prototyping / core ideas & systems.
  • Then into production phases - execution of those systems & content.
  • End phase (hitting now) - balancing / iterating on existing stuff / making sure works in concert / plays as well as possible.

WFH:
  • Had to adapt, but productivity maintained. Changed the way they communicate. Lost the ability just to walk past and drop in on cool things etc. Organic moments like that lost. Compensate by having more meetings. Not quite same. Build review easier when sharing a room. Not been without its issues. Considering those, pleased momentum has continued through the year.

'The triangle of combat':
  • SRVs, ships, troops all in the same space, fighting each other. The challenges were balance and tempo. Think have found way to make that work. Encouraging players to use smaller and medium ships has been good step forward. Especially with conflict zones and settlement gameplay have found decent focal point, which has balance + excitement. [55m40]

Where can combat occur?:
  • Anywhere except the social spaces. As with current game can potentially happen anywhere. In terms of PvE, it's settlements, POIs, & Combat Zones.

Keen not to force players into combat:.
  • Just one strand. Still 'play your way'. Player normally has a choice of how much they want. If they chose an aggro mission can still chose a sneaky approach vs gun blazing. Allows for a variety of outcomes.

Assassination missions, tools & AI:
  • You could literally go into the settlement and just kill everybody, until you happen across the target. In an anarchy system, not so bad, but in a higher security system you'll have a lot more problems.
  • But if you want to take a more considered approach, you could for instance find an information terminal in the settlement, and if you've managed to gain authorisation that allows you access to it, either by placing a hacking device on it, or scanning some of the AI that are already in the settlement, covertly, and basically duping their credentials, you can gain access to the staff list, pinpoint the target that you're after in terms of location, highlight them in-world with one of your AR markers, and it makes it much much easier to track them down. [1h1m13s]
  • Once you've got the target marked you can then use some of the other tools to infiltrate the building perhaps that they're in, to circumvent some of the security measures. And then basically assassinate them completely discreetly.
  • You could have a friend waiting outside as a getaway driver if things go south.
  • The AI guys have done a fantastic job of getting the AI to a place where it feels really responsive and intelligent. It's stimuli based, so the AI is constantly looking for audio and visual stimuli that it can be interested in. Like you say, it might be that it sees a cut panel on the floor - it will be immediately interested in going to investigate that and have a look around that area... If it sees you actually cutting the panel, which is an illegal act in the settlement then they'll basically escalate. 1h2m50s

Settlement Power Core Missions: [1h4m15s]
  • Removing power cores from settlements.
  • The power core is a key component of the reactor powering the settlement. If the core is removed it loses power, the lights go out, everything stops working, the doors stay locked in place. And security ramp up and investigate.
  • You could have a powered down deserted settlement that wants to be back online, who give you a mission to transport the power core back in. Using the cutter tool to cut through closed doors, overcharging it to push the doors open.
  • A mission extension to that can be some of the buildings might be on fire, because there have been fights there previously. You'll be tasked with venting those buildings once they're back online, to put the fires out, then repressurising them to complete the mission. The wrinkle is that there could already be pirates / scavengers in the settlement ransacking the place. Or you could be in the middle of the mission and a dropship could come and drop them in. Can be tense when you're there in the dark, in the torchlight, and you hear the dropship coming in. Sometimes you realise they've dropped in a really powerful crew of 'tier 5' guys.
  • NB You have a visual scan, which gives basic name, health, shield & their 'strength/power'.

'Heist' Missions:
  • Stealing power cores / output of industrial production / data.
  • Can be missions, or just decide that a settlement looks vulnerable to it.
  • NB you could take a power core and use it to power up a settlement that's in need of one etc.

Suits: [1h9m58s]
  • 4 base suits.
  • Remlock Maverick utility suit, good for scavenging. Robust, big backpack size. Unique tool is the arc cutter, that can cut panels away and reveal what's underneath. IE mechanical access to a door etc.
  • Mantecor [sp] Dominator tactician suit. Geared around combat. Tough shields and armour. Can equip 2 primary weapons. Can carry a lot more grenades.
  • Supratec Artemis [sp]. Explorer suit. Geared around sustaining you in the wilderness while looking for bio samples / POIs / soaking in the sights.
  • Flight suit. The default suit. It's 'viable'. You can do activities in it. But it's worse in every way than the 3 dedicated 'on foot' suits.

Damage Types & Shields: [1h13m10s]
  • Kinetic, laser, plasma, explosive.
  • Different manufacturers for each.
  • Very much taken from ship combat gameplay.
  • Plasmas are hard to use due to the travel time etc etc
  • When you engage in combat you turn your shields on. Laser weapons the most effective to strip the shields etc. Ideally you then want to swap to explosive or kinetic to damage armour.
  • All players + AI have the same health value, armour is the differentiator.
  • The 2 primaries of the combat suit now really come into play.
  • Can split shield / armour duty amongst offensive teams etc, from shield sniping to upfront shotgun etc.

Grenades: [1h16m10s]
  • Restrict numbers you can carry.
  • 3 main types.
  • Explosive good against armour.
  • EMP good against shields.
  • NB these affect ships & SRVs too.
  • Shield generator grenade produces temporary shield.

SRVs in combat zone:
  • Actively encourage it / not an afterthought.
  • Have just been working on AI behaviour re SRV dodging. Had to dial it back as they were too effective at jumping out of the way ;)

Base Defences:
  • Point defence re incoming missiles
  • Anti personel turrets that can help the AI take on SRVs.
  • Anti ship turrets do a whole load of damage.
  • Loadouts will vary. Mili settlements will outgun farms etc.
  • Individual troops will struggle with SRV, but 3 - 6 troops can take it out pretty swiftly if it's poorly placed / static etc.

Engineers: [1h21m15s]
  • We can visit the Engineers in game now face to face, and more are being added.
  • New Engis will be primarily about weapon and suit upgrades, modules etc.
  • Can't re-engineer a weapon once altered (?). Need to get a new one.
  • Don't want them to be 'throwaway', to replace with slight increments.
  • They want you to 'love' your gun. Slowly build up the engi modules, tailor it etc.
  • Then outfit another model of the gun for different speciality perhaps etc.
  • And similarly with suits.
  • Says there will be a degree of grind / currency earning / 'playing the game' to earn the mods. But at same time quite keen that entry level to try out the base items is a low barrier. Will be able to try them all early on.

Favourite Combat Dev Moment?:
  • First time he saw a combat zone up and running, flew in with the dropship, with the AI all kicking off in a settlement he knew quite well. (IE knew the BGS had moved it into a conflict footing). The scale of it, the laser fire pinging around, the grenades going off, looked awesome.
 
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Was there any chat about whether AIs can drive SRVs or AI wing or crew mates. (Beyond SLF pilot)
I know it's not in the above, just wondering if such questions were ignored or if asked and answer was.no.

Thanks
 
Was there any chat about whether AIs can drive SRVs or AI wing or crew mates. (Beyond SLF pilot)

Thanks

Not specifically that I heard. They did say that when settlements flip into a Combat Zone that the AI sides are fighting each other, but all of the examples mentioned were regarding troops. Not clear if AI SRVs involved.

(Arthur talked about ships flying over taking anti-air fire but wasn't clear if they were devs or AI in the example he saw)
 
  • Anti personel turrets that can help the AI take on SRVs.
  • Anti ship turrets do a whole load of damage.
Hmmm... I wonder if we'll be able to hack base defenses and turn them against them, and use them as cover for an escape?

Right now my biggest pet peeve of mine is doing so much work on a settlement, only for an npc "system security" ship or whatnot else show up and two-shot my srv when I'm about to leave.
 
Hmmm... I wonder if we'll be able to hack base defenses and turn them against them, and use them as cover for an escape?

Right now my biggest pet peeve of mine is doing so much work on a settlement, only for an npc "system security" ship or whatnot else show up and two-shot my srv when I'm about to leave.

That would be class.

The bits about identity theft for gaining higher access levels (and the AI detection / arc cutter access) make me wonder if they have gone for some classic RPG hack / stealth / loud dynamics. Doubtless lighter than a full blown RPG, but if they've added a set of approaches / tools / mechanics for each aspect, I could well see that being something they'd add for 'hacking' :)
 
What about:
  1. Hiding bodies for a stealth approach
  2. Do we have a cover system (behind walls, crates etc)
  3. Can players use anti-ship weapons such as a rocket launcher
  4. Will NPC ships show up to defend bases
  5. A new SRV type for combat
 
Is there a cover system

Sounds like there might not be. Obsidian got told there's no lean out option for example. (Might be more of a shield tank / jump-pack out of dodge scenario? Juggle your pips or stay mobile etc)

Can players use anti-ship weapons such as a rocket launcher

Yeah would be good to know. They showed that explosive big boi in the Dev Diary, but only really mentioned taking out troops and having lower mobility.

The stuff about grenades damaging ships/srvs intrigues though. Sits in that 'can chip away at ships' niche for infantry. (Could imagine a low-G world becoming a reverse rain of precious EMP grenades ;))

Will NPC ships show up to defend bases

Yeah would be good to know. A shame they didn't clarify Arthur's own confusion about whether the ships he saw in a CZ were devs or AI.
 
Let's say you wear the Supratec Artemis (explorer suit). It is not suitable for direct combat, yet you still want to do a dangerous mission. The viable way is to sneak into the base, go undetected, complete the objective (collect, deactivate something or neutralize a target). It is important to have an option to hide bodies so that patrolling NPCs won't notice. Frontier needs to look at Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex.
 
Let's say you wear the Supratec Artemis (explorer suit). It is not suitable for direct combat, yet you still want to do a dangerous mission. The viable way is to sneak into the base, go undetected, complete the objective (collect, deactivate something or neutralize a target). It is important to have an option to hide bodies so that you don't get detected by patrolling NPCs. Frontier needs to look at Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex.
It will be fun trying to complete some of the missions without any weapons, just to see if it can be done. From what has been said so far, it seems it might be possible.
 
It will be fun trying to complete some of the missions without any weapons, just to see if it can be done. From what has been said so far, it seems it might be possible.
Everything is certainly possible in Elite.

Some Cmdrs became triple Elite by traveling the galaxy only with a Sidewinder. 😊

🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠😷
 
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