Battlestar Galactica Online - Dev Blog 33 - "Recap 2017"
7 April 2017
First, sorry if we’ve seemed absent in the past months. There are multiple reasons, but none of them is really worth talking about. We also had some small changes in the team, but we already replaced vacant positions and the overall team size has not been touched. However, we have to invest time to bring everyone up to speed on the project.
In this Dev Blog we want to look back on recent https and browser support changes, talk about the partner client solution and have a look at what’s next in the game.
Recent Technical ChangesEdit
Lately, we had to deal with many technical issues. There was a company-wide change from http to https, and Mozilla stopped the NPAPI support in Firefox.
As most of our users are already playing via BSGO Client, not too many were affected. Nonetheless, certain players still rely on the web version, especially those coming from partner websites.
In the last weeks, we’ve fixed most of the issues encountered due to the https changes, as well as problems with the happy hour system and Facebook login. This is also the reason for several recent “background” patches to the game. As a web user you wouldn’t actually notice them, but the client needs to be patched in those situations, although only after re-entering the game.
Partner Client & Web SupportEdit
As mentioned earlier, the team is also working on a solution for players joining the game from partner websites to be able to play in the BSGO Client.
Two weeks ago, changes to the BSGO website have been deployed. These include a new button logic. From now on, you will have three buttons in browsers that still have NPAPI support (“Play in Web”, “Play in Client” and “Download”), two on all others. This new logic is essential to provide partner users a possibility to play in client.
The login still takes place on the partner website, but players are forwarded to the BSGO website as a logged-in-user. Same as before, but from there on, you can download the client and the “Play in Client” Button will log you into the client, once you’ve finished the installation and patching process. This means you actually have to be logged in on the website and the client, but you are able to regularly play in the client as a user from a partner website.
We’ll also update the website/download page communication accordingly to avoid any issues with the installation and login procedure.
So since that day, partner users can download and play in the client, following the new procedure.
Having the partner client in place, we are also getting closer for the entire web support shutdown. Right now most of the common browsers stopped supporting the essential NPAPI interface. In addition, Unity officially stopped supporting their own webplayer with newer versions. As you can see, a client-only future is upcoming for BSGO.
HUD & Chat RevampEdit
This brings us to the next topic – How will the ingame experience change with the game becoming client only.
Well, the client offers us several new opportunities, especially from a visual standpoint. While several teams were adjusting the HUD gradually, we are currently preparing a revamp of the main HUD all at once.
The current solution is actually suffering from multiple different UI systems, which are not able to communicate properly with each other. In addition to creating several bugs, this also leads to several functionalities we would like to use, but cannot.
The HUD consists of dozens of elements such as:
- System Information;
- Outpost Progress;
- Player and Squadron information;
- Enemy information;
- Loot & Sector Updates;
- System Menu;
- Assignment and Event Tracker;
- Special Offers;
- Ship and Abilities;
- Central Navigation; and
That’s not everything, but it’s already a ton of information that needs to be displayed without distracting the player from the actual space experience. Sub-menus will not be affected by the first iteration, but we decided to start with one bigger adjustment in order to make sub-menu changes easier afterwards.
In order to improve the basic game experience, we’re streamlining the overall information and reducing redundant elements. Following you will see a couple of in-progress mockups (final version might slightly differ) that should give you a hint about our current direction.
The new HUD style combines several former approaches, so it does not feel completely different. Most of the new elements are semi-transparent and retractable to provide the best possible experience.
Biggest change to the former HUD is that we bring player and enemy information closer to the center. In addition, we have updated the information around the DRADIS. Some of the functionality (such as following players/matching speed) will be moved into a new right-click menu attached to the player information and will set the course for a centralized ability bar.
Also, dialog boxes have been lifted and reduced in size. The general special offer and pop-up-layer policy has been adjusted to have less redundancy. The news ticker at the bottom will be removed entirely; most special offer layers will be removed and integrated into a specific HUD area.
As one of the following steps a purged inflight-shop should allow faster and easier ammunition-/consumable selection and purchase.
Last, but not least, we’ve also decided to replace the existing chat tool. We are working with an external service provider to implement a new chat tool to improve the overall communication experience in BSGO. The chat in the mockup is not the final design. As we are still discussing the functionalities, you should ignore this part of the mockup for now.
Below you see a view showing nearly all elements if they were displayed together at the same time.
Another essential part of graphical adjustments based on the client only stage is actually that the BSGO galaxy will get a revamp to.
We’ve started with some smaller adjustments to existing sectors and added new sectors for certain events or to the open space. For a while now, we’ve also been planning big changes that the client only stage will finally allow us to achieve.
We also want to increase the scale of the changes. It is not just about increasing the graphical quality; we also want to tackle several progression issues the game is currently facing.
With these changes, we want to get a solid progression into:
- P v P (e.g. having low level P v P sectors);
- Content distribution (less redundancy, more variety);
- NPC strength levels (different strength levels per region);
- Threat level progression;
- Resource distribution (incl. new resources for crafting);
- Assignments; and
- Sector control.
While some of the mentioned features won’t be part of the first iteration, we will keep them in mind while implementing these first changes so they can be plugged in more easily afterwards.
In order to achieve all of this, most of the existing open world will be “wiped” and replaced by the new one. The overall amount of sectors will pretty much stay at the current level.
The tests we did with Exomera, Toah and Carillon showed that we cannot fill them properly. This is based on the technical restriction regarding the amount of players we can allow to fight in those systems. This is why we will lean towards the size of most of the other systems.
Aside of that, we plan to cluster the galaxy map into regions with specific characteristics including specific assets and conditions that will affect the fighting experience.
That’s it for now, I hope you have enjoyed this blog update. Feel free to provide feedback on the recent topics.
Stay tuned for more information as we keep you up-to-date on the progress of our current feature production.