Dev Diary #2 – CM Chris
Jul.03.2018 BY KIXEYE_Chris
Commanders – CM Chris here with another Dev Diary installment. Today I’ll provide an update on how the team is doing, what our focuses are, what’s in store for the next few updates, and my thoughts on Lebron James joining the Lakers (okay, not that, but I do have a lot of feelings about it).
June was a productive month for us, though not in the way we were expecting at the start of the year. The team was able to wrap up our push on alliance features which dominated most of Q1, and we’re pleased to have made it to the other side. Rogue Assault was suffering from a lack of formal team play, and we delivered multiple games worth in the space of only 6 months. Great job, Rogue Assault team!
Feature output at that pace is taxing, though. It swings the game in big ways and, stacked on top of our new unit cadence, it can feel like the game is moving too fast. The community’s done a good job of escalating that feedback my way, and the game team felt similarly at times. Tough to keep up. So we took a breath, restructured some priorities, and pivoted on the remainder of the year.
The roadmap priorities as they currently stand now look like this:
- Maintain baseline new unit cadence
- Stabilize tech performance and fix bugs
- Continue migrating unit classes over to the shared equipment system
- Quality of life improvements
And that’s it. No major features on the roadmap at the moment. No huge content pushes outside of the normal unit cadence, plus a few turrets that we’ve already built. Our focus right now is on making Rogue Assault a solid, reliable, operationally frictionless game to play.
Oh you want details on those things?! Well, I suppose. Since you asked so nicely.
MAINTAIN NEW UNIT CADENCE
The new unit cadence is down to a science at this point. The regularity is allowing our design team to get several months ahead on units and do greater playtesting to ensure fewer adjustments are needed after the fact. For those unfamiliar with the cadence, here it is:
A new unit deploys in each month’s feature event that helps you become more efficient against the current enemy faction’s targets. The equipment for that new unit is available in Spec Ops for 3-4 weeks before the next feature event. After 3 months of being in the feature/Spec Ops, a unit and its equipment begins to slowly phase out of dominance in current event targets and moves into the Hijack rotation, after that into the Monday La Muerte activity.
Looking ahead at units we have:
- July: Super Hind Helicopter
- August: AC-130J Ghostrider
- September-November: Light Vehicles!
STABILIZE TECH PERFORMANCE & FIX BUGS
In a few weeks, our Chief Technology Officer is going to do his Dev Diary about the performance push the engineers have undertaken and where that’s gotten us. So to avoid being labeled as some type of thunder-thief, I’ll talk about bugs instead.
Most bugs are never seen, or get fixed so quickly that they don’t have a chance to become anything more than a “hmm, that was weird” moment. However, some stick around long enough to impact day-to-day life. That’s a bummer, we don’t like that. But there’s light on the horizon.
A decent chunk of community-reported bugs have been fixed as part of the 2.31 update, and there’s more to come. Here’s a list of the reported issues getting fixed as part of upcoming releases (list is not exhaustive):
- Air takes a long time to deploy or doesn’t deploy at all – Update 2.31.1
- Gold Strikes cause Defenders to run in fear to the edge of the map – Update 2.31.1
- CPs have incorrect alliance owner name – Update 2.31.1
- War Zones NUX triggers early and gets stuck – Update 2.31.2
Additionally, here is a list of our currently known issues that are still actively being investigated (list is not exhaustive):
- A single FOB unit parks at edge of map during combat
- FOB units occasionally stop moving while in combat
- Invisible units in FOB reinforcements (believed to be a replay inaccuracy)
- Unkillable defenders in player bases (zombie units don’t do damage)
- IFV units dying causes all infantry units to have their AI turn on
- F35-A rocket enters screen late (rocket is intended to fire)
- Air Deploy buttons have reduced touch sensitivity at times
- Gold Strikes occasionally cause Error Code 19
- Pantsir follows the DAP around after sustaining damage
- Units can sometimes be directed to move beneath unit cards
- Targets occasionally don’t display a unit deploy area
- Remaining issues with map camera auto-scrolling
We’re committed to continuing our investigations and pushing to fix all existing issues as fast as we are able. Thanks for your continued patience on this front!
SHARED EQUIPMENT MIGRATIONS
Rogue Assault recently underwent the Helicopter shared equipment migration, and in September we’ll be doing the Light Vehicle shared equipment migration.
In hindsight, I made a bad assumption that the equipment migration for Heavy Vehicles was still within the community consciousness and didn’t warrant much additional explanation when Helicopters swapped over. That wasn’t the case, it was a more disruptive change for the community than we anticipated. So here’s some things to always keep in mind when it comes to shared equipment migrations, which I’ll be sure to include in messaging from now on:
- Units are going to change. This doesn’t mean for the worse. Typically what a unit loses in one area, it gains equally in another, with the overall intention of units becoming more siloed to specific functions that they fulfill. That unit function will be listed in messaging moving forward.
- Units become unequipped. Make sure to re-equip your units or it may appear as though they’ve become less powerful than they actually have become.
- Not all changes are visible in the UI. Many parts of unit functionality exist only behind-the-scenes, which is what makes test driving so important. We’re working on surfacing those stats, but in the meantime take your units out for a spin!
- Equipment levels may decrease, but equipment takes you farther. If you lost levels on equipment and can’t see where it was gained back elsewhere, that typically means the equipment item is now shared with units you have not yet unlocked. This shared element is the major benefit of the new equipment system – don’t overlook it! Once you claim that new unit, you can equip the shared item and immediately gain a significant amount of power at no additional cost, and an equipment item being used on multiple units is worth significantly more than any levels lost.
We’re looking forward to giving Light Vehicles their lift in September, and with that we’ll be over halfway through the shared equipment migrations.
QUALITY OF LIFE IMPROVEMENTS
While we’re largely focusing game improvement efforts on bug fixes, stability fixes, and the shared equipment systems, we’ve carved out time to address certain areas of opportunity that the community has identified, which would make life better for players. These items are:
- Balance adjustments to CP Wars. Attackers win CP Wars too easily. Way too easily. We’re experimenting with ways to fix this, with the first of the adjustments going out in 2.31 (extending the Sudden Death timer).
- Mitigate griefing against lower levels in map play. We are currently experimenting with the point at which we expose players to the War Zones, in an effort to provide lower level players a safer early game experience, at least until they reach the point that they’re ready for the big leagues.
- Standardizing cost adjustments of older content. As content gets older and less relevant to the current PvE meta, it should become easier to obtain and to upgrade. This allows for all players, regardless of when they joined, to reach the endgame in about the same amount of time. Part of these econ changes have already gone out, but count on units in general to decrease in cost as they age.
- Providing a more guided player experience. We make relatively complex features in Rogue Assault, because we set out every day to make a challenging, strategic, and rewarding game. However, every player is different in how they learn and in general we can do better in lighting the path for players to progress and gain expertise. We have a newsfeed overhaul in progress that will allow us to put a significantly greater amount of tutorial and informational messaging out than we currently can. Additionally, the largest item on our roadmap at the moment is an improvement overhaul of our existing Dynamic Objectives feature, which will include more tutorials and time-limited missions that reward a unit or item at exactly the time a player is ready for it.
- Looking at Quickmatch. While we don’t have any significant changes planned for PvP Quickmatch, we’re aware of complaints by some of our top users that they get attacked far more frequently than is normal. We’re implementing a soft adjustment to damage protection in quickmatch, which we will monitor to see if it improves the complaints and will continue to keep an eye on this feature as needed.
We’re all deeply appreciative of what you as a community bring to Rogue Assault, and are eager to continue improving this great game. Thanks for playing. Long live Rogue Assault!
- CM Chris