No patch went out this week but the next one isn’t too far away! On Monday we put out a post on the Current Priorities & Role of the Community which a number of players appreciated – so take a look if you’d like to find out more 🙂
Where is everyone?
In Outscape, new players spawn near each other. Their planetary scanners aren’t close enough to detect each other, and it can be a while until a new player orders a fleet outside of their home system. While their fleets remain in their home system, they aren’t visible to other players (fleets in a system aren’t visible to scanners outside that system, likewise, fleets in orbit of a planet aren’t visible to scanners outside that planet’s orbit).
Which means when a new player joins the galaxy, it can be more than a few hours until they discover the other players nearby. In the meantime, they assume they’re alone in that part of the galaxy and are disappointed – it’s not very exciting to play an MMO and not see any other players – and their early game experience suffers as a result.
Discovering other players sooner
As it’s important for new players to discover other players sooner in their game, we decided on a new scanning feature to help them do so:
- The player clicks a button to start the scan (the scan originates from their home planet and is initiated from the star map)
- Once it’s finished scanning the player will see a list of the 3/4 nearest player colonies detected (it won’t detect fleets or minor factions)
- When private messaging is introduced it will be possible to send a message to any of these players
- Hovering the mouse over a name on the list will indicate that player’s approximate direction on the map (within a 45 degree angle – the exact star system isn’t revealed and the player could be anywhere in that direction)
Showing the approximate direction only
Only the approximate direction (within 45 degrees) of the detected player is indicated (see ‘A’ in the above image). The detected colony could be within the 35 LY range of the planet’s scanner or much further away (not even on the screen in the above image).
Does this give away too much intel?
We think that if it does give away too much intel it’s a tradeoff worth making to ensure players realize very early on in their game that they aren’t isolated – which is very important. Furthermore:
- The player still needs to actively scout each system if they want to discover the exact locations of these 3/4 players
- The exact locations of nearby players are soon detected anyway:
- Once a player starts exploring star systems in their neighbourhood it doesn’t take long to visit them all
- As nearby players also start venturing to other star systems the player sees them
- Players that are further away are still going to be hard to find because more systems are covered as the range widens the further away it goes (and travelling far to look for other players alerts other players to their own position)
We’re hoping to have the first version ready for the next patch so that players can try it out (we can always adjust the parameters once we have some hands-on feedback).
Let us know your initial thoughts. See you again soon 🙂
– The Outscape dev team