In this week's feature, Fallen Earth Lead Designer, Lee Hammock, gives a nod to Art Director Steve Coyle noting their continued work on revamping the game's assets, and in response to last week's AP change discussion, Hammock confirmed that Ranged combat will not be "nerfed" to accommodate Melee, but rather elevated the Melee combat in general. Check the rest below:
This week we're working on the same stuff as last week (mutations, special abilities, Depot 66, Odenville) so there's not a lot new to report there.
Last week we posted some new screenshots and we'll have more of those in the coming weeks. I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize our new-ish art director Steve Coyle, whom some of you may have seen in the pictures from Austin GDC. Steve has been the Art Director on Fallen Earth for about seven months, taking over the reins from Fred Rugar after Fred moved on to doing more projects with Icarus Studios directly. Before becoming Art Director Steve served as our chief level designer and technical artist. He's been overseeing the art revamp and a lot of other tuneups on the Fallen Earth asset library for the past few months, adding normal mapping, parallax mapping, etc. to our collection of thousands of items. He's the one that's been sending me the new screenshots, so I figured it was only proper to give credit where credit is due. I'm no good at making the game pretty, but luckily we have Steve.
Some folks seem worried about the changes we mentioned last week regarding AP expenditure in ranged versus melee combat. Right now ranged combat has a much higher "fun" factor than melee combat, so instead of bringing ranged combat down to the level of melee combat we're trying to bring melee combat up. Instead of changing the balance to make melee weapons do even more damage that they already do, we're looking at other ways to make melee combat more fun. Basically instead of nerfing ranged combat, we're trying to make melee combat better.
As it stands right now ranged combat is just more effective than melee combat to such an extent that melee is not a very viable play style. This is really more in PvE combat than PvP since many of our creatures do not move that quickly, so we're looking for ways to change the PvE combat dynamic without changing the PvP dynamic substantially. We're working on a number of ways of dealing with this, such as changing ammunition costs, adding proc effects to melee weapons like a low chance of getting a bleeding damage over time effect when hit with an axe, etc. We've found previously that a well-equipped melee character with enough armor and buffs (primarily speed buffs) can compete with a ranged character if they're smart about it (use terrain, don't run in a straight line), but our creature AI is never going to be as sophisticated as the intelligence of our players. While we want things to feel realistic, no one is going to play a completely realistic game that is no fun, so where fun and realism conflict we prefer to go with fun.
1. Will there still be a question of the week once beta and the game comes out?
Err, not sure. Hadn't gotten that far thinking about it, but it will likely continue in some form or fashion. It's a good way to get info out to the player populace, and I figure we'll still have lots of questions after release. I figure the main change will be from "When's beta?" to "When's the first expansion?"
2. Will there be some sort of transportation system besides player vehicles, like trains or buses with pre-set routes?
I think we've covered this, but just to be sure, we're having limited use of buses and trains between major settlements. It won't help you much getting out to a raider camp or some town on the edge of a sector, but if you want to go from one barter town to the next it can be pretty handy. There will be an in-play fee associated with this.
3. Will player text appear in chat bubbles or in a chat log?
Both. And over VOIP if you're in a group and want to use it.
4. How will the naming process go? Will we have just a first name, or just a first name?
Each name is limited to a certain number of characters, the final limit of which has not been determined. These characters cannot be symbols or numbers, but can be spaces so you can have last names, nick names, whatever.
On a related note some people mentioned something in a thread last week about me fighting a 70th level monkey while demoing at GenCon. I wasn't fighting the monkey, my character's name is Monkey. All my test NPCs are named after different types of primates.
5. So we have giant spiders, giant chickens, giant sandworms, giant hermit crabs, zombies, mutants, 2 headed deers, and tons of other mutated critters. But horses are still horses? Is there going to be some kind of visual change to horses or will there be several kinds of horses? Doesn't need to be "OMGWTFISDAT" noticeable, but some kind of visual change would be nice.
Our horses don't get that weird, but we do have several models. We are hoping to have a number of other creature types players can eventually learn to use, such as giant insects. I'm afraid mounted zombie combat really isn't in the cards, however.