Is HADES still a MMO RTS?

The Novus Aeterno community has shown it's talents and we want to see more. Come show us your stuff and I might leave your planets alone.

Is HADES still a MMO RTS?

Postby Aetherblade » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:17 pm

Yes.


That is it for today, see you for the next update!
- Nick, Matt, Dan, and Luuk

Website (under construction): http://www.hades9.com/
Discord: UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hades9Game/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hades9Game
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj6w867uhSKjwr3H3M55wBA?
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/hades9game









In the off chance this update did not clarify life, the universe, and everything for you, the below may. If not, do not panic! We are here, and happy to answer more!

Also, we are sorry that we keep spamming you guys with this, but you have no idea how many people keep asking wtf is going on. So check our first update of last year if you haven't yet: http://forum.novusaeterno.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14825


DESIGN RELATED

Q1: Is HADES 9 still an MMO?
A1: Yes, HADES 9 is definitely still an MMO. All players will be playing in the same single universe.

The changes to HADES 9 have actually made it more of an MMO than Novus was. Now that players are not forced to keep to their empire in order to be able to defend it against aggression, they are able to go out and explore at will.

Q2: Is HADES 9 still a RTS?
A2: Yes. If anything, it is more of an RTS than Novus was. Now in HADES 9 your fleet is everything you own in space, so the battles are much more important and much more impactful, while in Novus you could win 50 engagements, but still not get much out of a war if you did not have the time to go all the way through with capturing a planet.

Basically what has changed is that the focus has shifted from owning planets and micromanaging the population on those planets, to commanding a fleet that acts as your mobile empire. This is comparable to the flotilla in Homeworld, and Battlestar Galactica, or the Quarian fleet in the Mass Effect series.

Q3: Is HADES 9 still openworld?
A3: Yes, however unlike Novus Aeterno is will not be procedurally generated. Although on the surface it may seem great to have an endless procedurally generated universe, what regularly ends up happening is that it's just all kinda the same and bland. Infiltrators who played the alpha of Novus will remember this if they ever explored.

To solve this problem we will be hand building the universe of HADES 9, which allows us to add a lot more character and unique elements to it. The overall world will be much larger per player on the server than Novus was, however, it will not be one single flat plain of solar systems, instead, it will be a chaotic mess of ruins of a burning galaxy. With choke points in the form of wormholes and jump gates, and unique areas hidden away to explore.

Image


Q4: Is the HADES 9 universe Seamless?
A4: Yes and no, depending on your definition. There should not be any immersion breaking loading screens in the game still, but the universe will not be a single endless map like it used to be in Novus.
We found that this made making an interesting sci-fi environment very complicated. Because it was so vast, it quickly became quite bare with some interesting things scattered about. This meant that you would just want to FTL jump everywhere since there was nothing much to see.

Our new world maps will still be huge (it can take hours to travel through with your fleet), but they will be hand designed. The main advantage is that we can make the maps much more interesting to journey through and explore, without bare patches or the need to make every square centimeter packed with interesting "Stuff".

So we settled on lots of massive maps with the core “interesting thing” around the center of the map, with jump gates scattered around the more central area, ~10 min apart from each other.
With this we can remove FTL, and make the exploration of space much more beautiful, engaging, and set the stage for epic engagements and whole alliances try to hold off choke point maps.

All of these design decisions for the universe were made to support much more engaging and rewarding exploration. What we learned from Novus was that visiting 1000 unique systems that all had 1-3 stars, 4-15 planets, and some other junk lying around did not make for “fun” exploration, even if “technically” every single one was different. Although procedural generation can be great, it can't really be used to tell a story with the environment, and that's what we want to do with space.

Q5: What can we expect to encounter out in space?
A5: Not only will you encounter many other players out in space, there will also be NPC fleets roaming the galaxy. Depending on your diplomatic abilities and allegiances you may be able to make friends and trade with some of these fleets. However, like wounded dogs, some others will resort to the sword much faster than the pen.

Q6: What function serves the Bridge?
A6: It serves multiple functions:
  • It provides a location for many of the UI's in the game. We found that it was much easier and more comfortable to use UI's when they were spread out over a (limited) area, instead of having them stacked in massive and complex UI trees on your HUD.
  • The bridge provides a logical location for the player to interact with the immense crew, and specifically the commanders of the ship, to immerse the player even more. These crew members can also share lore, bits of their own background, etc. as the Admiral becomes more comfortable with them.
  • Leaders need people to lead. This is one of the main reasons. It is very hard to feel like a leader -to embrace your role and responsibilities- if you can't see the faces or hear the reactions from those under your command.
  • It helps fix "travel boredom". One of the cliches of both MMOs and space sims is that you often need to travel incredibly long distances to get where you want to go. This can be fairly boring, being able to explore the inside of your ship and interact with your crew while your ship is underway keeps the game engaging and smooths out some of the less eventful segments.
  • You can't deny, it is pretty cool to watch a massive fleet engagement from the bridge of a capital ship :P

Image


Q7: Why are you focusing so much dev time inside the capital ship instead of on THE GAME!?!?
A7: Actually, we are focusing most of our time on the RTS/space elements of the game. The reason we show the inside of the capital ship more in screenshots, or have more updates about it is because it's much easier to make progress on it than space / RTS gameplay. Right now the only developer working on the RPG environments is me, Nick, and its because I'm not a skilled programmer, able to help with the RTS gameplay. So focusing less on the RPG environment would not make the RTS develop any faster, it would just give me more free time




DEVELOPMENT RELATED

Q1: How will you fund the Development of HADES 9?
A1: There are 2 options we are looking at now, which we will want your feedback on:
  1. We go to a publisher, I feel fairly confident that this game could attract a publisher. It's shiny, and they like shiny. However, the publisher would take over the monetization, meaning a good chance it will end up *despite our best efforts* being some form of f2p / lootbox thingy. I say this because that's how every monetization conversation ended with our old publisher.
  2. Or, we can self-publish it, gathering the funding via some sort of founders program. Personally, I and the other 3 devs prefer this idea as we are sick of “game design” meetings turning into “monetization” meetings. However, this is only possible if you guys, our backers are supportive of this direction. (I do not mean financially supportive, I mean you are willing to spread the word and be the foundation of a healthy community.)

These 2 roads will be discussed more in upcoming updates. However, it is a decision we all need to make together, as it will affect all of us. Even those people who think we are the devil incarnate and just want refunds to buy voodoo dolls of us. If we go with a publisher I guarantee they will not be giving the refunds out of their %, so we will out of ours, which will probably be only about ~35% of profits. Meaning it will take us a lot longer to get everyone refunds as we only have ~35% of the net profit to put towards refunds instead of all of it.

P.s. It may sound like I am biased against the publisher option, because I am. I really don't want to go down that road again. However, in the update where we go into more detail on this, I will try to be a fair and unbiased as possible when introducing the pros and cons of each option.

^^^^^ This is a important one for everyone to start thinking about ^^^^

Q2: When can we get into the game?
A2: Development is moving fairly quickly, my estimation is that at the end of Q1, or early Q2, we will have pre-alpha ready for Infiltrators. However the point above (going with publishers or independent) does have an impact on this as these kinds of schedules are normally set by them, not the developer.

Q3: Will we keep rewards if we backed the NAE kickstarter?
A3: Yes! As far as possible we will transfer all your rewards over to HADES 9. For the less straightforward rewards we working with all the backers to find a suitable replacement.

This is a complicated issue that will be dealt with personally and on a case by case basis with some of the more complicated rewards/addons.

Also just as a reminder for those who didn't read the previous updated (you really should, a lot has happened) If you are not pleased with the new game we will be offering refunds out of launch profits, our sole objective here is to try and recover from a long fucked up journey and do right by our backers in whatever way possible.

Image

(for higher res, and the related conversation on facebook go here.


Well, this was actually it for today :). We hope to see you all for our next update again!

Cheers,
Nick, Matt, Dan, Luuk.


Website (under construction): http://www.hades9.com/
Discord: UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hades9Game/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hades9Game
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj6w867uhSKjwr3H3M55wBA?
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/hades9game
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Re: Is HADES still a MMO RTS?

Postby Tason5 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:46 pm

Thank you for the information and most of all the answers to many questions.

If you do end up taking donations again please let us all know quickly, I'm more then willing to donate more each month or so right now compared to when I first came across the game. Far more stable in my own income now then before.
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Re: Is HADES still a MMO RTS?

Postby Kyrie626 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:52 pm

Hey devs,

Really glad to see there is development still going on for a game. ;-) As a $500 founder for the original Novus game, I bought in on the chance that you guys would keep to the very hard road of building an awesome game. So kudos to you guys for hanging in there!

A few questions -- originally I was intrigued by the idea of empire-control, I was thinking "Mankind". To everyone else who may not have had the chance to play this game, it was a truly ground-breaking MMORTS, way too ahead of its time. Aside from issues relating to technical errors in development (can we say spaghetti? ;-) ), the main culprit that killed the game were broadboand and datacenter costs that were simply insanely high compared to today's prices. The salient features that made me a hardcore addict:

1. As an individual, you could build a true empire, with insanely strong fleets. There was a pretty good balance between veterans and new players, with new players bring able to build inexpensive and fairly good short-range ships, and long-time players building ones with massive jump capabilities.
2. The way the map was organized in a quasi-3d display was simply awesome. There were millions of systems, that were procedurally generated but created conflict based on super-rare resources, each constellation was organized into a cube, and cubes in a grid.
3. Acquiring resources to build fleets was the central axis of conflict -- building planets was an art-form. Planetary defense was realistic in that -- once you lost control of orbit-space your defeat was inevitable -- but you could make it expensive.

So while I am intrigued by that is being proposed for Hades, could you go into why the new direction? I will admit my bias openly and frankly -- I am searching for Mankind 2. ;-) I realize Novus/Hades is meant to be different and distinct, but I am curious why you are abandoning planet and empire concept.
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Re: Is HADES still a MMO RTS?

Postby Nick » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:45 pm

Kyrie626 wrote:So while I am intrigued by that is being proposed for Hades, could you go into why the new direction? I will admit my bias openly and frankly -- I am searching for Mankind 2. ;-) I realize Novus/Hades is meant to be different and distinct, but I am curious why you are abandoning planet and empire concept.


Mankind was a fucking amazing game agreed!

Many of the reasons for why are touches on in this post: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=14825 and this far more detailed post-mortem timeline: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1M5h ... vdnSM/edit

Which if you have not read I highly recommend you do, however, the bigest reasons were:

  1. The growth problem, Its very hard to grow slowly with this kind of game, its something we saw happen a lot in the infiltrator alpha after Kickstarter, 300 people would log in over 3 hours, but whenever anyone logged in, there was no one online directly around them, so there was no "mmo" so they would stay around for a few min waiting, no one near them should show up and they drop off. this would happen many times per min. there is a "critical mass" point where an online game starts to get fun, a minimum number of players needed. most games its a fixed number, like league of legends, you need 10 players online for it to be fun. PUBG you need about 60 I think? but we have a unique issue, that our "critical mass" for the game to be fun was not a number, it was a percentige, if less then 20% of people are online, then its fairly boring and more a game of asymetrical PVP where you attack another player when they are offline, and they attack you back when your offline, and both players dont really "enjoy" and the less % online, the fewer people interact and the lessp eople log in, its like an incredably negative downard spiral. There are ways to improve on this, however, it is a huge handicap that honestly I didn't expect to be as big of a problem as it ended up being. there were some solutions I came up with for this that I discuss in the timeline, however with the loss of the publisher they were no longer really an option, so we needed to refocus on a design with a much more reasonable critical mass number of players to be able to support a slow growth

  1. Finances and required polish level for modern games. a game like mankind has an insane amount of "things" in it, and that's what we were trying to recreate with novus. however, today the require polish level both graphics and user experience wise (simple UIs, ultra-intuitive controls etc)is insanely higher then it was back in mankind's day. and unfortunately that mankind style of game really does not have a smaller viable version, its not a wall built of bricks that you can build the bottom half and its still very fun, then add slowly, its more like a bridge, if it does not have all of the core features to reinforce the entire gameplay experience across all the directions a player can take it, it falls flat.

    Also, if you think about how buggy mankind was, then how incredibly simple each individual component was, imagen how many layers of added complexity there would be to reproduce it to modern polish standards, there ends up being so many layers of shit that breaks every time you make a single addition or change development goes progressively slower and slower (this is something we experienced first hand with Novus)

There are more reasons and smaller things I go into in the other updates, and I'm happy to go into more detail if you want, however thises where the major walls we ran into that without a publisher or funding we had no chance of scaling.
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Re: Is HADES still a MMO RTS?

Postby Kyrie626 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:01 am

Nick,

I begin to see the problems. I am trying to recall the details of how the new-player-experience worked in Mankind, and I recall that dead-planets in empire-base systems (the starting point for all new players) was a definite issue. However, the way the game was structured it was pretty much assumed that player interaction would be low until you got to point where you needed to fight for the ultra-rare resources. In fact, the main appeal of the game was that you could hide yourself away from other players, research tech, develop logistical and manufacturing capacity and then begin fighting over the high-tech resources. Some players did it in the starting empire systems, many choose to hide away making about 20-25 jumps in the starting ship, or if really intelligent, looking up tradebases that were selling starter-base kits.

I suspect the problem is the differences in the basic approach -- Mankind had a research tree that assumed about 1 year of play assuming average commitment, 2 years if very casual. From what I recall in Novus, the approach was to have the potential for immediate day 1 pvp being a realistic thing. In Mankind, building your first major star system was supposed to take about 1 month hard-core, or much more if casual. Even with a 8-hour day commitment, getting the capacity to mass-produce the first effective units would take at least a week to 2 weeks of effort. In fact, one of the key things I loved about Mankind was the fact that you could hide yourself in the millions of star systems (at least until the automated db-scan programs came to light ;-) ). If you gate the content of the game through an extended research tree, empire-building could help the issue of astrographical player distribution.

In my mind, the issue of problematic astrographical distribution could be mitigated with a content-gating system (i.e. research tree), and a focus on empire building. The axis of pvp conflict could then be ultra-rare resources required to build end-game fleets. In other words, the new players would be well advised to "hide" until they were in a position to compete with say tier2 units to be used to acquire resources for endgame tier3 tech.

This leads me to suspect that there is a fundamentally different vision -- the idea for Hades is to build a much more casual-friendly RTS, with much less build-up required in terms of logistics and research. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, its just definitely different. ;-) If I understand correctly, you want to build a game that is much easier to get into than MK.

Another way to limit the problem of astrographical distribution would be to build meeting-points that would engender conflict. For example, the empire-bases of MK were an axis of conflict in themselves as they were the only way to inject game-currency into the system for new and intermediate players -- new wealth was generated through mineral sales at the bases, and the bases were structured so that only a limited amount of ships could use them at a given time. Attempting to control these systems was the second significant axis-of-conflict in the entire game. That is until the player was able to build cities for revenues ;-)
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Re: Is HADES still a MMO RTS?

Postby Flatlander » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:37 am

Love the update, but you mentioned how you wanted our feedback on how you will sell Hades 9 to us.

I didn't want to hi-jack this thread completely (I'm pretty bad at Hi-Jacking Threads), so I made a seperate topic.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=14836
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Re: Is HADES still a MMO RTS?

Postby Nick » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:13 pm

Kyrie626 wrote: If I understand correctly, you want to build a game that is much easier to get into than MK.


Kyrie, Yes, I like you am a die hard MK fan however the inability for new players to get into the "Meat" of the game I think was one of its greatest downfalls, in a game that is all about player interaction, you need a better way to onboard new players and show them why they want to love this game early on. this is especially true in the modern gaming culture where most people will only invest 30min in a new game, and if they do not clearly understand why they will love this game, they will stop playing after 30min. MK was blessed by being launch in a time where people like us where the majority, with much more patience and willingness to work for long-term goals.

I know it is not a perfect solution, but its one that I think has the best chance in the modern gaming culture and I think if done properly we can still capture a lot of that priceless intensity that made MK great.

Flatlander wrote:(I'm pretty bad at Hi-Jacking Threads), so I made a seperate topic.
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=14836


Flatlander, Awesome topic, I game my initial opinions on it already, thank you for making it this is EXACTLY the kind of discussions I want us all to be having!
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Re: Is HADES still a MMO RTS?

Postby Kyrie626 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:33 pm

Nick,

Yes, I see where you are coming from :) I am looking forward to seeing the new game being fleshed out.
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