Development Update #15

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Necidious

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Jun 1, 2017
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Hello Citizens,

Over two months, we have been profoundly contemplating presenting the community with innovative ways to play Mankind Reborn while in full development. We are keen on finding a way you can start playing the game in a pleasant and stable setting. This is why we have decided to publish the ARENA module ahead of time. Let me promptly explain what the ARENA module exactly is...

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ARENA MODULE
(THIS IS NOT INGAME AND WON'T BE UNTIL BETA! WE'RE JUST SHARING DESIGN INFORMATION AND THINGS ARE NOT FINAL– WE'RE AWARE OF THE IMPLICATIONS AND POTENTIAL ISSUES WITH THE LET'S BET PLATFORM AND CAN BACK OUT AT ANY MOMENT. THE ARENA MODULE ITSELF IS NOT TIED TO THE LET'S BET PLATFORM, SO IT WILL WORK WITHOUT THE PLATFORM IF NEEDED)

The ARENA module is a battle system that massively focuses on the player's determination and skill— it is initially part of Mankind Reborn as an in-game service in which players can battle it out virtually and place wagers on who they believe will dominate the rest. It will contain several themes in which players can battle; think battle royale, 1v1, team fights, to cite a few. Each theme will have its dedicated levels and unique extras; each is providing exotic brand-new locations and settings. We may or may not implement the aforementioned battle system with a ranked/unranked leaderboard, to spice up the competitiveness, wink wink.

To expand on what I had previously mentioned about the battle system being an in-game service— factions can control and manage these services just like any other service in Mankind Reborn. Every player will be required to purchase a ticket in order to participate in the clashes. When players initially enter the arena, they will be transported to the arena and provided with a loadout and ruleset catered explicitly to that arena, which is set by the owning faction. There will be a section for spectators where players can bet in-game money on who will win.

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So what is Let's Bet & Premium Battles?
We need to make it crystal clear that players can both wager in-game money and real-life money. Where conventional battles will demand in-game currency, premium battles requires real-world currency. We are implementing premium battles to complement our partnership with the Let's Bet platform on which players from all around the world can challenge each other and wager real life money in Mankind Reborn. Exciting!

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Yeah, I know what you're wondering... how does it work in a game environment? Well, challengers will receive a special battle ticket which they can use in-game in order to compete against each other. Also, an excellent addition to all of this is the fact that all stats will be tracked on the Let's Bet website. Let's Bet will also handle payments, that's marvelous, and because it is so lite in terms of implementation— it means we can add something pretty impressive with little to no impact on the team or development time of the game. Examples are shown below of how the interface is looking.

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EASY ANTI-CHEAT

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We have implemented the Easy Anti-Cheat software into Mankind Reborn to keep out those pesky hackers. It offers a non-intrusive way of battling hackers while keeping the core game unchanged. A lot of AAA development companies have implemented it in their products, so we feel we chose a solid piece of software to accompany us in the fight against hackers.

You will not be able to spot any differences in performance or gameplay when you play Mankind Reborn.

















ECONOMY REVISIONS

When we organized the playtest back in April, we acknowledged how poorly designed the economy mechanics were. This is why we are extremely determined to bring the economic system up to par with the combat system in terms of development time and effort. We are delighted to say that a lot of time went into overhauling said systems; revising large portions of the mining and production system to ensure an expedient and intuitive process.



You can now have two active mining processes on each world that has a mining service available— you can also hold up to eight complete processes which will automatically expire and delete after 24 hours.

That being said, we have also revised the PMOD system as that was one of our primary concerns as it was pretty weak in design. Now, we chose to divide the production process in two; production and refinement. To refine items, you can now select an item in a list within the production interface— meaning, acquiring individual PMODs is no longer required in order to refine as everything is available via the in-game interface. We have also made it so players can issue production tasks through storage for a convenience fee.


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The production of items also requires a PMOD license now which you can conveniently purchase from the PMOD market terminal. This license allows you to freely produce an item for a duration of time, which is yet to be determined by us (could be an in-game month, two months, etc.). This adds an extra money sink to Mankind Reborn and will push players to budget their production processes and specialize their licenses; instead of just purchasing everything and being able to produce all items only by hoarding resources.

Every PMOD item will remain in the game, but the way you obtain them will change. You will be able to get them through world loot, killing enemy AI, or as a premium for completing public contracts. PMODS will essentially allow players to produce an item without the licenses as mentioned above, moreover at a cheaper rate. We are currently reviewing the market interface as well so that navigating it matures into a much more productive and user-friendly experience.

LAST APRIL PLAYTEST

I think it is appropriate to shed some light on recent events, particularly the exclusive faction leader playtesting sessions we organized for about a week or two before opening up the game to donators. This was intended so that faction leaders could establish a solid foundation for new players to ease into the game. But since this is game development, things will eventually go the way you least expect it. We quickly figured that out and faced reality. Lots of server and client crashes plus the backend couldn’t keep up with players from all around the world; the backend service drops packets at a more frequent pace with players outside its region.

As you can see, it was quite a nightmare, and the experience wasn’t pleasant for our players. This prompted some issues and threw the development into a limbo where we couldn’t proceed with factional mechanics, as they rely heavily on backend servers (to allow persistence on throughout all game servers). We quickly pivoted and found a quick temporary solution which drastically diminished the errors and allowed us to continue the playtest.

After the temporary solutions provided immediate results, we started slowly allowing players into the game, working closely with donators to ensure the system handled the traffic finely, while also identifying bottlenecks and working on automating the donation system fully. This playtest has been extremely helpful in locating a lot of bugs and balancing issues, as you could see from the patch notes, there’s been a lot done in a brief period of time thanks to the data gathered from the playtest. So, thank you!

The playtest was put on hold in preparation for the economy test in which players will have to mine and produce items and go over the full economy loop. Apart from that, there’s a lot more coming, especially in network optimizations, that will be outlined further below. For now, enjoy a few of the gazillion images we took! :)

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TECHNICAL NETWORKING REFACTORING

When we did the stress test and had around 30 players fight, we finally saw those hard limits in the networking, thanks to a bunch of profiling data recorded during this period. This has helped immensely in optimizing and reducing bandwidth consumption. We've entirely reworked most of the default replication in UE4, including the character movement. We've changed the replication rules of most actors, which prevents replication unless something has changed. Also, actors go asleep after 3-5 seconds of replicating. Briefly put, all of these changes will result in a lighter game, network-wise, and this will be a priority alongside the game development itself as most of our audience right now is away from the US region— we want to make sure the experience is as best as it can be for these players.

We have learned some new methods when it comes to saving and loading backend data, which should reduce cloud code response time by quite a bit. This will significantly improve the saving/loading performance– which is the leading cause of players losing their data between sessions; this is scheduled to come after BioXide is done with all the economy overhauls.


This is before the optimizations

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This is after



DISCUSS HERE!
 

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