Q and A: The Answers

February 7th, 2017

Q and A: The Answers

Thank you all for your patience while we answered every question to the best of our abilities. We shared as much as we are comfortable sharing at this time and we hope that our responses are satisfactory to you all. All the questions below are answered by Elyssia unless otherwise noted and they are left in the order they were asked. I hope you enjoy it, as it turned out rather long!

BowenTheKotoc: Can dragons’ roar and be heard over long distances?

No. It’s certainly a fun and interesting idea to allow players to create sound effects that travel long distances, we aren’t including them in the game at this time. *Update* I have been told to share with you that we have added the idea to our official “Someday” feature list! Hurray for feedback!

BowenTheKotoc: Can you describe more about the current molting process, please?

I’ll do my best here to give as much detail as possible. Before a dragon can molt it must progress a total of eight ranks in its natural abilities. These improvements can all be made to a single ability or spread out across all six, it is up to the player how they want to strengthen their dragon. In addition the dragon must reach 90% fullness in its hunger meter and avoid death for 10 minutes. Once those three requirements are met, the dragon can access the “Molt” option.

The molting process takes several minutes to successfully complete, and during that time the dragon must consume a steady supply of nuggets to keep their breath sac from becoming completely empty. The type of nuggets the dragon consumes during this time directly impacts the time the molting takes, with all copper nuggets taking the longest time and all gold taking the least.

Molting is very taxing on a dragon and they become weaker as it progresses, but they are invigorated when it has completed the process. Allowing their breath sac to run completely empty, permitting their hunger bar to drop below 90%, or dying for any reason will reset the process, but logging out of the game will only pause it.

BowenTheKotoc: Yep, first person perspective! That’s new! Was there a gameplay reason for leaving that out in the past? Or was it simply a time saving decision originally that has now been reversed?

It was left out in the past because of the level of detail required to make things look good in first-person. However, designs change and it was decided that dragons and raknar needed to be able to go to first-person perspective because their large bodies tended to take up the whole screen. Humans getting it as well was a happy bonus.

Iauquai: Will a Dragon be able to interrogate another Dragon?

Interrogation isn’t planned for ToA: Exile. Plus it was designed as a mechanic for civilized races, so even if we were including it, it would be a “no”.

Iauquai: Will there be water currents that could affect boats or swimming?

Water currents aren’t “current”-ly in the design.

Iauquai: Will environmental conditions affect the rate of decay of things like metal, cloth, leather, or wood?

Not at this time, no.

Elegost: How far are you going to go with the mechanics and animations of flight?

I feel that we’ve gone fairly far. Dragon’s aren’t a flight simulator, but they accelerate, decelerate, lose altitude if they slow down, drop from the sky if they slow down too much, the radius of their turning is dictated by their velocity, and so on. Dragons can improve their flight efficiency through their Wings ability, which cuts back the stamina cost. The ability also improves banking speed, and other aspects of flying. There will be animations where needed to show a smooth and realistic flight.

Elegost: Would you consider in the future a system for water travel?

The only way players will be able to travel by water at early access in ToA: Exile is by swimming. That isn’t to say that we wouldn’t consider other methods in the future if they fit within the design.

Elegost: How much freedom does the structure building system allow?

Players can choose between different floor plans, sizes, stories, and completely customize the inside with any interior wall arrangement that they want. The exterior of the building can be customized with different styles of window trim, doors, and wall textures. Roofs are pre-designed at this time, though we hope to offer some options down the road. We also have plans to include “add-ons”, such as porches, patios, balconies, dormers, and so on, which will help to add structural uniqueness to a player’s design. Players will be limited to what they can design by their Drafting skill, which they can improve by making blueprints.

CTheRain: How intricate will melee combat be?

Questions like these are hard to answer, because we’ve been asked to measure something without knowing which scale to use. So instead of giving a direct answer, allow me to elaborate on the combat system and you can decide where it falls.

Each arm is controlled independently from the other, allowing the player to swing with the left or the right, or in the case of two-handed weapons, from the left or the right side of the character. Players can sidestep to dodge an incoming attack. All races have the capability to block defensively against an incoming attack, but humans can kick at their opponent to force them out of it. Attacking and holding a block both cost stamina, while moving, dodging, and attacking all consume balance, which impacts both received and inflicted damage.

Dragons will have their fiery breath attack, while raknar will be able to drop web traps to slow their enemies. Combat is still only in its infancy in ToA: Exile, we still have a long way to go before it is complete. We hope to be able to add more depth to it if there is time, but that is what will be in for early access.

CTheRain: When is testing?

Sometime this year. You can hold us to it smile We understand the frustration our fans have felt because we said we wanted to test last June, asked you all to sign up, then never sent out invitations. It came down to a change of plans. We should have better communicated those plans and for not doing so we apologize.

During the ramp-up to our technical demo, we had testers in at a very early stage, before most features were even in. While this was fun and we highly enjoyed the interaction with the testers, it got in the way of us trying to complete features. Plus we felt suddenly beholden to a testing schedule to appease everyone. Put those two together and we weren’t focused on what we needed to be focused on. So Brax made the call this time around to wait until we were either feature complete or nearly so before bringing in testers. This way, we can best use the testers over a short amount of time and avoid tester and team fatigue. Plus this will give testers WAY more to do when we do what we’ve done before and open up testing sessions to open game play after we’ve asked them to test what we needed.

CTheRain: How hard will it be to obtain metal armor if you were to start anew?

It depends on the player’s approach. Players will have to acquire the materials to create a smelter and a forge station(which are arguably the most time intensive to build) then craft the necessary tools, then go back out and gather the raw ore and fuel. After that they will need to have the necessary skill to successfully craft the armor without risk of destroying their stations, tools, and resources in the process.

Or they can kill someone with a full set of metal armor and take it from them. wink

Matriexs: What will the system requirements be?

We don’t have this nailed down yet, but I will share what my own computer has with you all. I feel that I get relatively good performance while playing the game on someone else’s server, though do I not play on the highest graphical settings. The only time I notice game lag is the first time a dragon logs into the server (they aren’t optimized yet).

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 265 (3.3 GHz Dual Core)

RAM: 4 sticks of 2GB DDR3 (8 GB total)

GFX: NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 (2GB DDR3)

I previously had a 1GB NVIDIA card that caused the game to run horribly for me, so I upgraded to the cheapest 2GB I could find and it made all the difference in the world. I hope it helps to answer your question!

Matriexs: How involved will the blacksmithing process be?

Blacksmithing, along with most other crafting skills, is a multi-step process. The player starts by interacting with a Forge workstation. They select the item they want to craft, add their materials and fuel, then adjust several settings to influence the outcome before clicking the craft button to craft the item. Many recipes require combining components, which all have their own recipes.

Since it is my favorite example, we will use the crafting of a sword. The sword recipe requires a blade, a pommel, and a guard. There are different styles of blades, pommels, and guards for the player to choose from, but any combination of them will still result in a sword. Each pommel, blade, and guard component has its own recipe. The options the player chooses when crafting each component carry over to the final assembled item.

Matriexs: How will the death system work in full detail?

When your character’s health drops below 0 HP, the character falls unconscious. If they continue to receive damage, they will die. If they have life counters remaining, they are given the option to respawn in a random location in addition to any saved respawn points they may have created in the world (nests for dragons, eggs for raknar, and bedrolls for humans). If no life counters remain, the player is shown a perma-death screen and then is taken to the character selection screen and the perma-dead character can no longer be played.

diamonds: Out of all the dynamics in your game, what is the most problematic but rewarding development issues to overcome?

I can’t speak for the team but for me it has been island creation. We started out using Unity’s built in terrain maker but learned quickly of its limitations. I worked with engineering a lot to try to overcome them but we saw the writing on the wall—we were going to have to transition to a mesh terrain where we made the mesh ourselves. That meant a total do over, from the mesh, to importing, to adding the caves and points of interest manually and finally having to retexture the whole thing.

While we were reworking the island, we decided to use a whole new approach to texturing that should significantly raise the graphic quality of the island. We’re hoping to show that off here soon. - BRAX

diamonds: I plan to play a ranger/bandit with some of my rapscallion friends and to start a rogue syndicate - how much damage can a small group of players do to an economy, local traffic, etc?

It really depends on the population of the server. The larger the percentage of the total population that your group occupies, the greater the potential damage that can be done. I use the word “damage” literally, because ToA: Exile does not have a hard economy system or NPC merchants. So at this time, a player’s ability to influence other players is limited to damaging their characters and structures, and their words too, of course.

diamonds: Do Raknar taste like chicken?

No, but I hear that chicken tastes an awful lot like raknar.

Riddley: How intricate will smelting be? In particular, will the making of steel use similar processes to the making of damascus steel?

Smelting is a very straightforward process in ToA: Exile. Raw ore is dropped into a smelter station, fuel is added, and variables can be adjusted which can speed up the process at the expense of fuel and ore. A timer counts down as the raw ore is melted and the impurities are burned away. Once the ingots are poured and cooled, the player can remove them from the station. We have discussed the possibility of alloys in the past, but we haven’t included them in the game yet.

Riddley: Will there be any form of ‘town’ system, similar to that of what wurm operates on with regards to defending a settlement… In particular, what will be done to prevent large towns from being destroyed overnight by a dragon?

We don’t have any sort of town system planned for ToA: Exile. The only thing that will stop a dragon from destroying structures is prevention, as a dragon must reach adulthood before it can deal siege damage to structures.

Riddley: What was the most interesting system to implement while working on ToA?
It’s one we’re working on right now but I can’t tell you. We’re holding off on announcing it until we’re sure you’ll see it in Early Access. Sorry! - BRAX

Holmes: have you considered economy influences being implemented similar to Star Citizen? AI plays a large role; the players influence on the economy is essentially divided by these invisible economic forces.

I’m not familiar with the economy in Star Citizen, but we can talk about the economy in ToA: Exile. The economy in ToA: Exile is player based, as the players are responsible for creating the demand for goods and for harvesting the supply from the environment. There are no NPCs to buy or sell anything. Server settings dictate both the density of harvestable resources and their re-spawn rate.

Holmes: for those of us who paid for the alpha and beta, I know we’re not receiving it… but you can’t guarantee the MMO and its ages away, anyway. Very frustrating and it feels like the money was stolen away from me. I’m sure others feel the same. How do you plan to bring back all the others who left after the failed KS?

While we have been making incredible progress in development, we are still only in the in-house testing phase; we have not yet reached alpha testing. When we begin alpha testing for ToA: Exile we will bring in the fans who contributed to our fundraising efforts, prioritizing those who chose alpha and beta access as their rewards. We hope that those invitations will go a ways in helping those who have supported us in the past feel more positively about that support.

Brax is working with members of the team to flesh out a marketing plan that we will put into place as we get closer to putting our game up for Green Lighting on Steam. We aren’t ready to share any information about it at this time.

Holmes: besides the types of races we can play, what do you think most sets apart ToA from other survival games?

We’re building ToA: Exile so that the races can offer completely different experiences. That has always been a cornerstone of our design. That said, when you dig into the details of what all the game has to offer, there are a lot of things that set it apart such as:

  • Our crafting uses a system in which both materials and your decision of techniques while crafting determine the various properties of the item. Using a heavier metal for example will result in a weapon with a much stronger durability but also increases the cost of balance with each swing.
  • Weapons are constructed using various pieces such as a hilt, guard and blade, each of which contribute different attributes to the final product.
  • Every type of flora, fauna and mineral is unique in its stats and what it will offer in the way of resources.
  • We’ve implemented a large amount of customization in server settings, ranging from PvP settings to island types to number of life counters per character.
  • Our construction system is “design, then build” instead of designing as you build.
  • Many other survival games model a version of Earth, while we have a very strong fantasy/magic theme for ToA: Exile.

Mata: In what ways can races interact with each other in a diplomatic/friendly way, if there is any?

Races cannot communicate with one another. That is by design and while we might introduce a language skill at some point in the future, it has never been a focus of mine to have most races be compatible with one another.
That said, there is nothing stopping two players from playing two different races and using VOIP to work together. - BRAX

Mata: How will the group systems work for Raknars and Dragons?

There isn’t a group system in ToA: Exile. If you don’t want to hit someone, you should be careful where you attack.

Mata: Give us your expectations for how the flying mechanics will work, such as if there’s going to be a momentum and aerodynamic system, like diving and grabbing? And if this extra part is allowed, how it will affect their ability to hunt?

To build on the explanation of flight that was the answer to Elegost’s question; yes, dragons can dive and they will be able to grab. Diving is possible with the controls, as the player simply needs to angle the dragon down to the ground and then pull up when they want to gain elevation again Diving increases the dragon’s speed, while climbing without flapping the dragon’s wings will slowly decelerate it. Dragons will be able to grab mobs, including other players, while in flight. What exactly can be grabbed would be determined by the age of the dragon and the weight of the target. We believe it will give players an alternate way to hunt their prey, if they can master the flight controls enough to avoid splattering themselves all over the ground.

CreeperKing101: What Races Of Dragons Will There be If any Besides Ice And Fire?

There will only be Fire dragons to start. We hope to add the frost dragons in the future, but we don’t have any plans for any other variety after that.

zlajo: Do you know what you still need to do before the game is ready for release? I mean which and how many road points need to be finished?

We have a list of “Must Have” features that need to be fully implemented before we will consider starting the Green Lighting process with Steam. We won’t share at this time how many tasks are left, but we are well over halfway there.

zlajo: Will there be an option to quickly change from one equipped item to another without entering the inventory, but just swapping it with the item that is belted?

We have plans to allow weapon cycling but right now you have to manually swap items out. Crafting currently automatically un-equips an item in your hand or hands and equips the required tool during the crafting process. - BRAX

zlajo: Will a house need a fireplace to keep it warm? Or is it warm(er) automatic?

We can currently designate items as sources of heat and set how hot they are, how fast they raise the temperature around them, the range of that heat and even the amount of falloff based on distance.

Right now, being in a house would not make you warmer but it will protect you from the rain which does make you colder. - BRAX

Achilles2511: Can buildings be designed with accessible rooftops so we can maximize our use of space?

Not for the current style we have ready, but it is something we can consider in the future.

Achilles2511: Are dragon enchanted gem traps still in, but not in Exile?

Gem traps are currently on the “postponed” list, meaning you probably won’t see them when we launch the Early Access version, but our schedule is constantly shifting as we try to cram in as much as possible before we feature lock the project, so who knows! - BRAX

Achilles2511: How high can a tower get, in terms of floors? (assuming max skills, best materials, drafting etc.)

The tallest a building can currently be built is three stories.

Ildefonse: How are you all doing?
We are all doing well, thank you for asking!

Ildefonse: Is an OS X client actively being developed and tested? If not, why?

No, and it is only because we do not have anyone on the team with an OS X computer. Fortunately, it is very easy for us to build a Mac client in Unity, so we will be able to provide one for testers when testing begins.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we did writing it! We will definitely have to do another in the future. Thank you for your support and interest as we continue to develop ToA: Exile. Please share your thoughts with us over at