Ask Us Anything - Dev Answers 6/23
Here are the answers to this week's Ask Us Anything from our development team. If we didn't get to your question this week, no worries -- we'll be doing many more of these. Feel free to continue using our existing forum thread with your questions. Thanks!
[Adam Pyle (Lead Designer, id Software) = A.P., Jason Bergman (Senior Producer, Bethesda Softworks) = J.B.]
What is the biggest, most important item that development is currently working on?
AP: Our immediate focus is on improving the performance, network code, and stability of the game and implementing our latest gameplay balances. Making the game more responsive improves the quality of play for all players, and it is important to implement our more recent balance adjustments for Champions and weapons before the Quake World Championships qualifiers begin June 29th. While we will continue to update the game and bring improvements throughout the summer, we will want to limit the amount of balance adjustments we make while qualifiers are underway.
Looking beyond this week, two of our largest priorities remain Onboarding and Progress Loops. Our onboarding efforts include additional tutorials, training maps, and UI/UX improvements to build a better user experience for all our future newcomers. The implementation of new progression loops introduces new game systems we’ve designed to keep players coming back throughout the week, every week.
Meanwhile, our art teams are hard at work at generating additional content such as costumes, weapons, and vanities, keeping your loot boxes full of new items to earn, and our animation team is hard at work on… some big surprises.
Will the disconnect / logging out error be fixed? I keep getting forced out of games and it makes me quit and rejoin numerous times. \
AP: Yes, we are currently testing solutions and will deploy the fix as soon as possible.
When will friends in a party be able to play on public Deathmatch matches? I hate being relegated to either TDM or Sacrifice.
AP: For the time being, all match making playlists are treated like ranked matches, gathering and updating skill ratings. In ranked environments, friends cannot both party together and play against each other, preventing DM and Duel from being available. Currently friends can play together using Custom Game and in the future we may have unranked playlists or treat DM as unranked so that friends may party and play together on public servers.
What are your views on BJ? Do you not think he is pretty overpowered right now?
AP: B.J. Blazkowicz brings a very aggressive push forward type of combat to the game, but even we agree that his first appearance was too strong. Just yesterday B.J. received his first balancing pass where we lowered the rate of fire, and hence damage output, for the high-rate-of-fire weapons, such as the lightning gun. We will continue to play, watch, and monitor matches and balance him as needed.
Will Clutch get more love? I would love to play him but next to Scaley and Sorlag he is like 2x easier to hit and his passive is sadly pointless (damage reduction)
AP: Coming soon: Clutch has a new passive, a hydraulic Dodge, as well as a second-stage trigger to his active ability, we call the Plasma Mining Drill. The combination brings some much needed mobility and offense to our power hungry robot. Rejoice.
Is it possible that other id/Bethesda characters will find their place in the game, beside B.J. Blazkowicz?
AP: Do you want more id/Bethesda characters? Which ones?
JB: It would be great to throw every character in the Bethesda roster into the game, but some make more sense than others, and we have to be careful to add characters with active abilities that work with Quake. We’re open to suggestion.
When is Anarki's lean animation getting nerfed?
AP: We plan on updating many of the Champions animations, but not necessarily due to any response to nerf them.
Are you going to tone down the frequency of the characters' one-liners?
AP: We can reduce the frequency or allow players some control over both the frequency and volume. I personally like the voices because each VO line trigger is part of the audio landscape that gives cues to players when kills, respawns, and other events occur. Once you learn when VOs play and which lines, they can help you pick up on where enemies are located and in what condition. Some of this work is still a work in progress, so everyone should expect both the frequency and type of VO lines to still be adjusted. The goal is to have the voices be both fun and informative.
I admit that I enjoy hearing the Champions talk. It reminds me of the old Q3 bot chat. One thing I loved about Quake III Arena was its wide array of gladiators – males, females, aliens, undead, eyeballs, and machines of all body types. Quite progressive for the 90’s. ;) I always wished we had capitalized more on that amazing line-up which is one aspect that contributed to the concept of Champions.
Can we get an official explanation on how hitboxes work? Are they simple cylinders with a head, or more approximations on where the body, head, and limbs are; enabling people to shoot between a characters arms and legs?
AP: Hitboxes are lower-poly versions of the Champion’s actual model, not simple cylinder or box constructions. These low-poly hitboxes move and animate in sync with their characters, and most importantly are unaffected by vanity costumes and attachments. We have full control to increase or decrease their thickness individually per Champion as needed for balancing reasons. For the most part, what you see is what you get, and you can shoot between a Champion’s legs or under their arms, but if a character is too hard to hit we can fill in that area to increase their hit volume.
think what they should do is having a simplified movement technique, so that by pressing W + jump the character gains 80% of the movement speed achieved with an average strafe jump (not the fastest possible nor the slowest). With that simple addition the field would be much more leveled.
AP: We are certainly open to exploring these type of mechanics with different Champions. Sorlag does this already and Clutch gains speed without even jumping.
Could we get a speedometer please?
AP: Yes, we will soon be integrating a speedometer, a tool for players to see how fast their Champion is moving, primarily so that players may utilize it in during tutorials, training, and practice matches help you practice and improve your movement skills.
Quake used to have just one character, the same for every player (even if with cosmetic differences). Today such an approach would probably be seen as old fashioned. So, how did you manage to balance all these different characters? Are you also afraid that the "traditional" players will not find favour with this "new" approach to Quake?
AP: It isn’t about old fashioned or new, it’s about having fun and the freedom to introduce new things. We had all these great characters in Quake III who had tons of personality, but you couldn’t do anything with them. Using them as unique characters allowed us to assign the movement mechanics of all of our previous Quake games to individual Champions so that we could develop one Quake to bring them all together. It also gives great potential for longevity as we can introduce new ideas via new Champions without those ideas affecting the movement and mechanics of all player characters.
Any plans to do something to improve the Tri-bolt?
AP: Of course! Given that the Tri-bolt is a new weapon we will most likely be making tweaks slowly over time until we are very happy with the weapon. Yesterday’s update saw the first of these changes, and we have more coming very soon.
The consensus continues to be that the Super Nailgun is barely worth picking up. When are you guys going to up the damage to 16 to match Plasma Gun DPS, and give the nails a constant orange glow to make correcting shots viable?
AP: We’re about to roll out an update where we increase the Super Nailgun to match the damage and DPS of the Quake Live Plasma Gun. We had wanted to correct the projectile delay first, but we’ve heard the user demand and so we’re going to go ahead and make the change. If it proves that both the projectile fix and the damage are too much, then we will have to adjust the damage down again, but for now we hope this makes the weapon much more useful and used.
Are there any plans to tone down rocket speed and splash to QL values now that rail and LG are nerfed back to QL values for the most part?
AP: It would be possible, but not likely. We prefer to have strong rockets, and the general consensus is still that the Railgun is rather dominating.
Why were the item placements on Duel maps different at E3 in comparison to the current beta releases, such as Corrupted Keep with rail?
AP: Trade shows often require builds to be prepared, tested, and delivered long in advance to the event. The E3 build was an older build created before we had finalized the item placement. As everyone saw, we did test the presence of a railgun on Corrupted Keep, and while it wasn’t problematic, we thought that the small size of the arena presented us a nice opportunity to try a non-rail map – keeping the arena from feeling even smaller than it is.
Why did you change item set on Blood Covenant? Please change back to the item set from q3dm6.
AP: Several changes lead to the new item layout. We didn’t want to place a Mega Health on top of the healing pool, and preferred giving greater distance between the Mega Health and the Heavy Armor. With the expansion of the Pillar Room, it created a lot of floor space that was very neutral territory between the two Obelisk rooms to provide a place for teams to fight over the power-up. In the end, we feel this layout is much stronger and better suited to Quake Champions.
Is there any current plan to alleviate unfair matchmaking? Being a new player it gets very disheartening getting completely crushed by higher skill and higher level players.
AP: Improved match making will come in due time as we gather more skill rating information for each player, increase the size of the player base, adjust our match making algorithms, and give players clear insight as to when they are still being evaluated by the match making system, what their MMR (match making rating) values are following evaluation, and allowing players to follow their MMR adjustments as they play.
Do you think it's a problem that the current Sacrifice rules enables one team to get a distinct base advantage for the entire game? Usually in objective-based gamemodes, teams switch sides at halftime.
AP: That remains something that we’re watching as the game meta evolves, but currently teams haven’t been expressing those concerns.
Did you consider fixed obelisks for team 1 and 2 and swap after round 1?
AP: Yes, although this would imply that the third/final round would either be unfair or have a different set of rules specialized for that round. Instead, having both obelisk available as options at the start of each round creates impartiality – both teams have a chance at the obelisk of their choice on any given round.
Are Sacrifice/Duel going to receive changes in spite of the tournament?
AP: We have already made several changes to Sacrifice in anticipation of the tournament, and plan on making a few additional improvements before the Quake World Championships. Duel we are continuing to receive feedback and will be making adjustments to the mode as necessary, but in general we don’t want to make many major gameplay changes to modes, Champions, or weapons during the qualifiers. There will be opportunities to consider minor changes between regionals and QuakeCon, but most sweeping changes would follow the tournament.
Given that tournaments will always be a part of Quake’s life, in the future we plan on building that cadence of updates into our tournament schedule, such that we have a preseasons to test changes, and major additions such as new Champions won’t be made available in the immediate tournament seasons.
What is going to be your main game mode to focus balancing on Duel or Sacrifice?
AP: We consider both when making balancing changes; we’re not going to choose a single mode to guide our changes.
Can you tease or give clues about any new modes? Are you going to add Capture the Flag, Clan Arena, or Freeze Tag?
AP: There are several modes we love very much so, but currently adding more modes isn’t an immediate priority. In due time. Additionally, to prevent dividing up our community among a large assortment of playlists, we may explore adding some modes as time limited events; others we may integrate as Custom Game options.
I absolutely love the level of immersion you were able to achieve with the design of the maps, weapons and champions. I love it. Do you plan on expanding the lore around the Elder Gods? Volkerh, Cthalha, Goroth… ?
AP: …and now Ithagnal. Yes! Very much so. I have been a huge champion of integrating and promoting lore. As we’ve mentioned before, one of our design goals was to merge the Lovecraftian mythos of Quake 1 with the gameplay of Quake 3, but given that we’re a multiplayer title we have to get creative in how we tell our story. Some players have already made note of how our maps are organized into four environmental domains, each bearing the name of the four original Quake 1 Episodes. We’re looking forward to integrating some of our lore systems to help unlock some of those mysteries, including who these Elder Gods are and how they come into play.
Seriously what's up with the pots?
AP: They will serve a particular purpose. We’ll hold on to that one for now.
Will you have "seasonal" cosmetics and maps? Like a Christmas hat or maybe replace the mysterious pots with gifts and Christmas trees. Or candies and jack-o-lanterns during Halloween.
AP: We have a history of doing so in Quake Live, and will be looking at how to expand the festivities in Quake Champions.
In games like Rocket League, you can configure your car for what you want look like if you're on the blue team, and separately configure the car for when you're on the red team. Did you guys consider a system like this, and if so why did you choose to go with the unpopular arrows?
AP: While restricting skin and shader customizations to team colors is a valid method, it does restrict the customizations we can allow and we wanted to have the freedom to explore as many customization options as possible and then facilitate team identification through other means.
Could we get team-colored shaders for custom games? (with enemy triangles off)
AP: If the demand is high our team would discuss creating a Custom Game option that could force red & blue team-colored shaders. While I’d prefer not to introduce options that disable or override vanity customizations that we’ve encouraged players to collect and personalize, Custom Game should provide players more control over the way they play the game.
Clan support: I've always been a fan of games that offer clan support. Being able to upload logos, profiles and making and changing rosters makes games more enjoyable in my opinion. It would make it so much easier setting up clan wars or tournaments. Where you can create images of your teams logo and implant them somewhere in the map and in the interface. So my question would be, will there be clan support?
AP: We have robust plans for Clans. Quake not just has a long legacy of clan participation, but was where the term clans originated from. While we can’t share our plans yet, we want to extensively support teams and find new and exciting ways to encourage, facilitate, and reward their playtime and participation.
Will there be an option in-game to record and view demos of previous games? For example in ESEA for Counterstrike, matches are automatically recorded and you can download videos of your previous games to view. Will this be a feature in the full release or something that could be added down the road? This could be especially helpful in the more competitive modes like Duels and Sacrifice.
AP: We have a replay system in development.
Any possibility to put more servers in South America? (Chile and Argentina) the Brazil server works with a Lot of ping in different countries. Would you add a Mexico or a Latin America server?
AP: We are continuing to work with game server providers to bring Quake Champions to additional regions or improve their ping.
Why did you choose a pure free to play business model? I understand the need to reach a broader audience but by going this route you are constrained to make an always online game and restrict access to the server binaries.
AP: The free to play model is one of the better business models to pursue if you wish to maintain developer driven content over an extended lifetime for the game. It allows us to bring new content for years to come as long as players continue to support the game. This is especially important to us as we have a great number of updates planned to improve the game.
JB: One thing we’ve learned is that in certain parts of the world (particularly in Russia, where Quake is very popular) the dominant games are all free to play. That said, I don’t know if I would call us a “pure free to play” game. We’ve done our best to find a middle ground between a traditional release and a free to play game, so that people who want to will be able to purchase all the champions up front. But your question was really about our decision to move to a games as a service/online only title, not necessarily about our financial model. That decision is a byproduct of the financial model, but there are ways to accommodate the things the community wants, such as mods and dedicated servers, which other games have done. We absolutely want to look into that down the line. Other games have done it, but they certainly didn’t do it right away.
Why does Quake Champions not have any semblance of a First Time User Experience (FTUE)? In my opinion (based on 20+ years of Quake playing experience), Quake's biggest flaw has always been that it relies on skill-based movement systems, but does absolutely nothing to help convey this to the player. Strafe jumping and bunny hopping is not something that comes naturally to people. For one thing, they had no idea how to play the game. So why not add a FTUE to Quake Champions that can help get them in the right mindset.
AP: There will be vast improvements throughout the course of our beta, including Onboarding. We are currently hard at work on introducing tutorials and training to improve user’s first time experience.
So many People complain about rocket Delay and server problems and Frame Drops. Maybe you can say 2-3 words to this For a little bit understanding that would be nice.
JB: We hear you. The team is actively working to fix these problems. We have rolled out improvements over the last few weeks and will continue to make positive changes as we go.
Are you using internal stats as feedback to revert previously made decisions, or is everything just set in stone?
AP: We’re in beta, and willing to take feedback and make may changes. Nothing is set in stone, although, we do have to be mindful of the development time and cost that may go into each change.
Do you plan making Matchmaking system for TDM based on profile levels?
AP: In general match making should be derived from Skill Rating values, not profile levels, but it is common to introduce additional exceptions that prevent more experienced players from playing with low level players who may have little or no map knowledge.
Max FPS in graphic options?
On June 29th the first online qualifier will take place. Do you think that the game will be tournament-ready until then? Will there be at least any kind of anti-cheat for the online qualifiers?
AP: We’re hard at work on an update slated to make improvements before qualifiers begin.
Do you have plans to make gibbing more "meaty"? And also make corpses gibbable?
JB: Regarding gore, we’re working on something really special we hope to show you soon.
Pings on a scoreboard are apparently showing wrong numbers. Are they going to be fixed soon...?
AP: Yes. In fact it should already be fixed by the time this is posted.
What Anti Cheat are you working with, and when will it be implemented?
AP: Our anti-cheat was just recently integrated and we will be gathering data and making use of it this summer.
Any progress on Vulkan?
AP: Yes, progress continues.
Are you going to work on interactive tutorials or will it just be videos
JB: The training videos are just the first, and simplest stage in our training system. We’ll be adding much more to it in the future.
Can you share a roadmap of content?
JB: We’re reluctant to do so because game development isn’t easy, and priorities are constantly shifting. If we told the community today that a feature was definitely, 100% coming, and then we dropped it, you would understandably be upset. That said, we do want to be more transparent with the community moving forward. It’s a balancing act, and we’re working on it.
Would you add a minimap and cam of main items in spectator mode and we can have a difference point of view?
AP: Yes, we would like to add a minimap for spectating in the coming months. Room cameras already exist (you can toggle the spectating camera mode with L-SHIFT), but we do plan on improving the position, angle, and FOV of the room cameras.
Will there be an option for player name? I don’t like my player name now, but can’t change.
AP: No eta, but we will be exploring solutions to provide user name changes and/or display name options.
BETHESDA.NET & OTHER PLATFORMS
Why do I need to download the game every patch bar one?
JB: You shouldn’t, and most likely you aren’t. There are a couple of things going on here, so please give me a minute to explain: currently, the launcher doesn’t do a great job at telling you what it’s doing. If the game is 12 GB, and the update is 1 GB, it will show a 12 GB progress bar, but only actually download the smaller patch. It’s very confusing, and thankfully we should have an update out soon that changes that. The problem is compounded by the fact that we have had some very large updates recently. When we push out map updates (as we’ve done), the patch can be 10 GB or more. Because the launcher still shows the full game size, there’s no way for you to know it’s downloading a patch (even though it is). On top of that, we also have problems where the launcher isn’t resuming downloads if you quit, get disconnected or crash in the middle. Again, we know this is a major problem, and an update will be out soon that resolves this issue. Look for those updates in the coming weeks. One update that has been released already is the ability to adjust how much bandwidth the launcher uses. You can set that in the settings screen under Downloads.
Quake Champions will be release on Steam?
JB: Quake Champions will indeed be released on Steam. You will still be required to have a linked Bethesda.net account, but users playing the game from Steam will not go through the Bethesda.net launcher. During the current beta period the game will only be available through the Bethesda.net launcher.