Battlestar Galactica Online - Development Blog 2 - Mines & Minefields
21 June 2013
Hello again and welcome to the next entry in the Developer’s Blog for Battlestar Galactica. We’re hard at work on a variety of new features, and I’d like to talk to you about one of those features you should be seeing live in the near future, specifically mines.
I’ve always been dissatisfied with how mines work, I’ve wanted to update them ever since using them in the game. We’ve come up with a solution that we think will make them more interesting and provide new strategies for players.
With the redesign of an item, we took it as an opportunity change our philosophy on how we design items. We want all equipment to have significant improvements throughout the upgrade process. You may have seen this with the FTL Transponder Beacon update, and we plan to propagate that philosophy across all items. The existing small updates really make the upgrade process unrewarding with small fractional improvements where players get 0.33 points to an attribute. We have instead moved towards much more significant upgrade steps. We want each upgrade step to feel worthwhile, and you’ll see significant improvements in all aspects of an item as you upgrade it.
As we set ourselves to revamping the mines, we looked at some core problems with them. The first problem with mines is they are hard to use. It was really easy for an enemy ship to miss them. Additionally, their damage wasn’t impressive and it made them really hard to use effectively. When we examined the purpose of mines, we realized they were being used as offensive systems rather than defensive systems. The real-world purpose of a mine is to deny the area to an enemy, and we wanted to create mines that did exactly that. Mines have to be practical and deadly. Players should be afraid of them.
Second, I wanted to make sure that mines were used differently than missiles or other weapons. Mines should be used by players to in preparation for an attack rather than right in the middle of the fight. Mines are used for area denial, and I wanted to a make sure this was how they were used primarily. Sure, a mine deployment in the middle of a fight will happen, but it shouldn’t be the first instinct. These items are about planning ahead a little.
With those goals in mind, we decided to increase the lifetime of the mines. Mines will hang around in game for much longer than before. We’re also closing the damage range on the mines so that it’s a bit less wild, and becomes something you can expect to be a bit more threatening. As an example, the damage range for the light mine launcher is 50-100 points of damage, and we’ve changed that to 75-100 points of damage. While that doesn’t seem too scary, that’s a level 1 strike mine launcher, and the damage will increase as you upgrade the mine launcher.
The way ships deploy mines will vary on their class. Escorts and strikes will behave differently than lines and carriers. Escorts and strikes will deploy individual mines, and they will function a lot like they do now. The thing we’ve changed is the collision radius on the mine. We’ve tripled the collision radius to make it more likely that mines will damage their intended target. The goal is to allow escorts and strikes to drop mines near core locations or drop them at the start of a fight, and possibly pull the enemy into the mines.
The real change comes with line and carrier mine launchers. The line and capital ships will drop minefields. We’ve called the new mine launchers “Minefield Launchers” to distinguish them from the regular mine launchers. Minefields will be areas that do damage as you pass through them. This allows larger ships to drop deadly minefields to force players to change their strategy and maneuver around the minefields. Minefields aren’t small either. In fact they are quite large. The minefields effectively become walls a line or carrier can deploy to change the battlefield. Minefields are a passive defense players can deploy.
In closing, the goal is to create a dynamic battlefield where players aren’t able to always use the same strategies. With the improvement to the mines, we’re hoping we can make the game more fun, harder to predict, and provide new options for players who want to play the game in a different way.