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Community Campfire for June 2, 2015

Posted by dunkelza , 02 June 2015 · 1,714 views

Community Campfire for June 2, 2015 Howdy, folks!

This picture is an updated version of a concept for the drone bay user interface (UI) that we showed to the Underground last week. The art team has been checking out the Undergrounders' feedback and we now have this newer version to share with you.

Last week, I wrote about the way that your megacorporation is a bit like a nationality, or at least a culture and a heritage. In this image, you can see your corporation in the upper left.

If you look closely, you can also see that the company logo is painted on the back wall behind the Typhoon. Yes, I know the description says "Predator"- this IS just a work-in-progress (WIP), after all.

You can also see a ship customization screen on the left. On the bottom would be your ship selector and a pop-up for quickly selecting different configurations if you want them.

That way you can switch from your clan style to your personal samurai warrior style (or whatever) without having to manually reconfigure the ship each time. It's just another way we're trying to support player groups and individual tastes.

Speaking of supporting player groups- Organizations, clans, etc. are important to a vibrant game community and we are working on ways to do that, both on our community website and in the game.

We plan to ask our Advisory Board for, well, advice on the topic. After that, we'll be taking the top suggestions from them to our Undergrounders for feedback, and then presenting a plan to the community at large for comment.

Oh, and that contest I mentioned awhile back?

It's still coming...

Keep watching this blog for more on that, and take a look below the cut for a look behind the lore.

Also, remember to tune into our Twitch Channel at 11am CDT (1600 UTC) on Friday, June 5, for another fun-filled Wingman's Hangar, and be sure to submit your questions for FFFForum FFFFeedback!

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to get the latest updates as soon as they appear!

Thanks for your support!

Fly Safe, Folks!



Advanced Technologies in Descent: Underground

Utility Fog
Every drone in Descent: Underground is surrounded by a cloud of microscopic and nanoscale machines suspended in an electromagnetic field. While not terribly complex individually, taken together these nanomachines allow your ship to harvest clouds of floating resources, manipulate complex objects (like powerups), and to protect themselves from attack.

When your ship has an excess of nanites, they can clump together into a point shield, sacrificing themselves to prevent damage to your ship. However, each hit destroys millions of the tiny machines, meaning that you can quickly run out. Once you fall below 0% shielding capacity, you can still harvest resources and grab powerups, but any damage you take will affect your hull directly.

Sometimes, when a ship explodes, a portion of the utility fog will survive. These survivors will clump together, forming a "shield orb" powerup.

Warp Drives
Faster-than-light travel is possible, at least in relatively clear areas of space. However, the Alcubierre Drive is horrendously expensive to build and operate. It is not unusual for several corporations' harvesters to travel together on one transport carrier. Some harvesters also rent out drone bays to smaller corporations or independent contractors to make sure that every trip is fully booked.

Humanity has launched (at fantastically great cost) several interstellar exploratory missions, but none of them have yet returned. The last one ever launched is more than forty years overdue.

Jedlik Fields
In the mid Twenty-First Century, humanity exhausted the last of our easily extractable fossil fuels. Renewable energy became commonplace, but it still suffered from a number of limitations. First of all, renewables require a lot of space- a solar farm to power a city has to be many, many times the size of the city. Second, they aren't terribly portable. While batteries have significantly improved, they are not efficient enough to power long-range vehicles.

The solution came in 2063, when a team of Korean scientists patented a system for extracting usable kinetic energy from the Earth's magnetic field. Because the system relied on flywheels and magnetism, they named the system after Ányos István Jedlik, a Nineteenth Century physicist who developed some of the world's first electric motors. Jedlik Field systems removed the world's last major demand for gasoline and Diesel fuel. While synthetic petroleum is still manufactured in great quantities, it is used for manufacturing purposes (plastics, medicines, flavoring, etc.) and not for fuel.

Because they rapidly lose efficiency around other Jedlik Fields, these systems are generally only used in long-range vehicles that operate outside of the arcology campuses. Nuclear- and renewable-charge grid-linked or battery systems are typically used for short-range transit.

Artificial Gravity
In Descent: Underground, the kinds of artificial gravity we see in certain famous TV shows and movies hasn't yet been developed. Most spacecraft and stations use rotation to impart a sense of gravity. However, in some cases, mass multiplication is used to increase the apparent gravity of a ship or other object. These systems take enormous quantities of energy, but they can temporarily boost the mass of an object.

For obvious reasons, mass multiplication is not used by ships that are trying to manuever because it makes it harder to turn and accelerate. However, many compound harvesters use mass multiplication when docked to an asteroid so that they slowly draw in harvestable resources that are floating nearby. Coupled with the harvester's own utility fog, this allows pilots to quickly unload cargo and get back to the fight.

Speaking of compound harvesters, they are so called because they can also refine and manufacture using the raw materials they harvest. This is possible because of the complex machinery nicknamed "nanofactories". While nanomachines are actually only used for manufacturing in a few key processes, they are vital to the adapability of these systems.

Of course, in a future run by above-the-law megacorporations, there are strong licensing controls enforced on these nanofactories. Only those with the correct licensing can manufacture items. Rumors persist of pirate nanofactories on rogue harvesters, but all official Underground Games participants have their licenses checked by CPIA before, during, and after matches.

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I'm digging the drone bay. Looks more lived in and the layout of the info is real nice too. I really like the look of the Typhoon too. 

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Lore man - supplies the LORE !


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I love the story behind the sheilds. A fascinating way to maintain the arcade style sheild powerups, and yet make them plausible enough to maintain the game reality. GENIUS!

I also like the nano-factories. The drone bay looks good. Keep it up!

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So the orbs aren't only electricity carriers anymore? Yikes!

It's a nice interpretation as long as you really don't make the nano stuff too complex, like giving the nanites an artificial intelligence. 

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Yeah, we're talking "dumb" nanites. They need the ship's field and control to do anything, otherwise they just float there in a ball.

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