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Holiday News Update (Sabers, Jetpacks, and more!)


eezstreet

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Seasons Greetings!

 

It's been a long time since we've released any news. Since the last news update in October, we have released 4 versions of the mod, so it can be a bit hard to keep track. Let's take a moment to refresh what has happened in the last few months:

 

  • JKGalaxies 1.1.1 released. It was in a relatively buggy state, being a patch to 1.1.0, which was bringing the mod to OpenJK. We adopted a new versioning scheme around this time as well.
  • JKGalaxies 1.2.0 released. It featured a new shop menu, Linux client, and we did a scrimmage match on this patch, which was a success.
  • JKGalaxies 1.2.1 released. It featured Capture the Flag mode, and a whole lot of bugfixes. We did another scrimmage match, which was an even bigger success than the first.
  • We announced JKGalaxies 1.2.2 as a patch to 1.2.x and a new development tree, 1.3.0. 1.2.2 will be a small patch with important crash fixes and Mac releases. We hope to have another scrimmage match in January with this release, and the testing version is now live.

 

So now that 2017 is on the horizon, let's talk about what the new year will bring.

 

Patch 1.3.0 - Mega Gunplay Update

 

1.3.0 will have a huge number of important changes to the game that will shake up the current balance.

 

For starters, there will be jetpacks.

 

Jetpacks will add an interesting element of verticality to the game. There are several different types of jetpacks that can be purchased, and each can have a different look and feel to them. For instance, simple booster jetpacks will launch you high into the air to reach a tricky ledge, while more expensive Mandalorian-style jetpacks can sustain flight. The flame effect, model, fuel consumption rate, and speed of movement in air are all things that can vary based on what jetpack you have equipped. Jetpacks occupy a slot on the ACI, and in the future pressing their ACI key might do a special effect, such as launching rockets or shooting flames at your enemies.

 

We had to totally rework the physics of jetpacks in Jedi Academy to achieve the movement that we wanted - there's no longer restrictions on how high you can fly, and there's much more friction for tighter movement. Pressing the SPRINT button will also let you lean forward, to accelerate forward at a much more rapid pace.

 

Shields were also added. Like jetpacks, these occupy a slot on the ACI. People who have played any of the Borderlands games will be instantly familiar with the mechanics involved, although our system was designed before that game even came out! By equipping the shield to an ACI slot, it will begin to recharge until your shield points reach the maximum amount that they provide. When the shield reaches 0, it might need a moment to begin charging again - this is dependent on the shield model that you have equipped. Developing these now, our goal was to have two main archetypes - a big, slow-recharging shield that is passively working, and a small, fast-recharging shield that needs to wait after being broken before it can recharge. There are various shades of grey between these two, and certainly upgrades and sidegrades to be had.

 

Consumable Items have been totally reworked. They now use Lua scripting on the server (instead of preset effects), and in general they are used to restore health, stamina, or provide temporary buffs. They can be equipped to the ACI for quick use, and the amount you have left will be shown next to the ACI slot number.

 

Armor also received a rework. For starters, it is much faster to render and uses new .arm files (instead of .armour). It also now has a purpose - it provides the player with some protection. Our inspiration here was League of Legends, in terms of how armor protection is calculated, and Warframe in terms of how the armor interacts with different damage types. Armor will list the Effective Hit Points it provides, as well as any modifications to your maximum health. Think of Effective Hit Points as being like having extra health. If your armor has 50 EHP and you have 100 health, it's equivalent to a 50% reduction in damage taken. But if you have 150 health, it's equivalent to a 33% reduction.

 

Damage Types were solidified in this patch. Each weapon will now do damage of a specific type (the damage type will be listed in parenthesis) - the types being things such as fire, cold, poison, and other, more common types such as slugthrower, ACP, blaster, and ion. A more detailed write-up of all the different damage types can be found here. The damage type you are using will impact the death message that is played, but more importantly, you will need to think about the type of damage you are using and what your opponents are using. Some damage types, such as slugthrowers, render shields completely worthless (the drawback being that it's more affected by armor), but other types react differently. You might find yourself switching to another weapon that's more aptly suited to the job.

 

Or...you might switch your ammo.

 

Special Ammo is currently being implemented, and it will be part of a large-scale ammo overhaul.

All of your ammo will be listed on a second tab of the inventory. By clicking on an ammo item in the list, you can see the special effects that an ammo might provide to you - it might light targets on fire, or it might simply have modified damage. Ammo can override many different parts of a weapon, and so it will be a very complex system to program. Another wrinkle in this is that ammo will now be based on the firing mode of your weapon, not the weapon itself. Grenade launchers for instance, will now be using a different ammo type for the launcher than for the main gun.

 

You can switch to special ammo in either the ammo menu, or by pressing the switch ammo button, which will trigger a reload. (Ammo can be switched while reloading)

 

Ammo won't regenerate on spawn anymore. Instead you can purchase more ammo at the shop by selecting your weapon and pressing the "Buy Ammo" or "Buy All Ammo" button. This will hopefully help to alleviate some of the snowballing we've seen in games - repeaters will now require strategic use, not just spray and pray. Special ammo is treated as an item that instantly transforms into ammo when purchased. You can't sell ammo back to the shop.

 

Grenades, Mines, Charges, and some other weapons won't use ammo types - instead they have a quantity which will show up on the ACI, like consumable items. Unlike consumable items, they are not skipped and instead treated like weapons. They won't show up in the ammo menu either.

 

Essentially, Patch 1.3.0 is still very in development, and ammo types and the ammo menu are the last systems being developed for this patch, however this last development will require some large-scale overhauls across the board. The Patch 1.3.0 development branch is about 70 commits, with 273 files modified, and 10,136 lines of code added so far, although that number will quickly balloon with the addition of the new ammo menu. All things considered, it will be a total revolution of the Versus game and I'm happy to say that we're on track for a January release.

 

Patch 1.4.0 - Return of the Jedi

 

This patch has one of the most-requested things in it - the lightsaber.

 

Since the game launched, we have received a huge number of people who have wanted to see the lightsaber make its way into the game. Many have said that they won't play the game until there are lightsabers. The pressure is mounting to deliver something which tops the experience of Jedi Knight and leaves the other mods in the dust.

 

I think it's safe to say, based on the tests that have been done in the past, we've exceeded those expectations.

 

We won't be sharing any details on the lightsaber mechanics until after 1.3.0 has been completed, and patches for it are underway. This is not us over-hyping it, rather, we are still in the conceptual phases of how lightsaber fighting will work.

Here's what I can say, however.

 

Inspiration

  • The primary inspiration for lightsaber combat will come from the original trilogy and where it came from - traditional Japanese swordplay. The developers of Jedi Knight 2 also tapped into this, although our mechanics will have a tighter feel.
  • The lightsaber combat will have a high skill ceiling but be very intuitive and easy to learn. The focus won't be on gimmicks or special moves.
  • There will be lightsaber crafting.
  • There will be manual blocking and a block meter, although the block points won't matter nearly as much as say, Moviebattles.
  • Blaster bolts won't be reflected automatically, but it won't be difficult to reflect them either.
  • Lightsabers will be a rare, special weapon in the main Faction Battle and Capture the Flag modes.
  • There will be a Duel mode similar to Jedi Academy, with the goal of attaining a certain number of credits instead of kills. Players can choose to exit the duel queue, and spectators can place bets on people who are currently fighting. Credits can be used to purchase lightsaber components and craft better lightsabers.

Technical

  • It will be using SFX Sabers at first, but we will be working on a new saber rendering technique that has never been used before in Jedi Academy - it'll both look better and use far less polygons when completed.
  • It's being written from scratch, not using other saber systems as a base.
  • Stances can be defined very easily, using .stance files.

Hopefully we will be showing you guys more of it soon!

Edited by eezstreet
Minor corrections, some more info on Patch 1.3.0 development
Smoo, Onysfx, Morabis and 7 others like this
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Everything sounds great, but I wonder if we will see melee weapons that aren't necessarily lightsabers? 

Well, if you mean vibroblades, I'm not sure about that - I kinda don't want them to have the same mechanics as sabers.

 

There are a few other weapons such as stun batons, and of course, the fists.

Noodle likes this
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I want to issue corrections to this news post. I've been made aware that the shield design concept is not based on Borderlands, and instead was designed a lot longer ago than I previously thought - it was actually designed before Borderlands was even released. Also, the concept for Effective Hit Points comes from League of Legends, not Warframe, although the armor interactions with different damage types was inspired by Warframe.

 

I'm curious to see how gun vs saber combat is going to shape up the most.

Fortunately, I think that part is mostly set in stone. In current builds, by holding the ADS button (block mode) and pressing the attack button, you will enter Projectile Blocking Mode. Basically you want to be entering Projectile Blocking Mode almost at the exact same time that the projectile will be hitting you, or just before. Your timing will dictate how well the projectile gets reflected back at the attacker - if you have perfect timing, the projectile will shoot right back at them. Hold the button for too long and it won't reflect - just absorb the shot. And holding the button for too long will drain resources (force/block, the exact resource and amount is TBD) with each absorbed shot.

 

There is some tweaking to be done to this system, as currently it's too hard to block repeaters and other rapid fire weapons. I think with the balance changes of 1.3.0 though, repeaters will start to lose favor because of the expensive upkeep on them.

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