Today I want to tell you about the new features we will add to multiplayer mode in Battle of Kuban. Development of these features is planned for the next year, but we already know what we want to get in the end. The most important feature is the Cooperative (CO-OP) mode. Let’s go into the details about it right away.
The current Deathmatch multiplayer mode is a potentially infinite play session (usually its time is limited in the server options, but it can be infinite). A player can log into such server at any minute, choose an airfield and jump into the cockpit of any plane available there. The mission designer can set any goals and targets that can respawn infinitely. Therefore, the player’s plane can’t be a mission target since it is unknown if and when it would take off. Targets in this mode are always static objects or they are controlled by AI. On one hand, this mode gives the maximum freedom to the players, but in scenario missions, where each player has a certain role and task such freedom can be counter-productive.
CO-OP multiplayer mode includes the player’s plane in the mission script, various triggers are associated with it and player actions influence how the mission unfolds. Players have their own mission routes, targets and tasks and they can be unique for each player or group of players. The number of players, their starting places, aircraft, mission routes, armament and fuel reserve are defined in the mission (however the aircraft preferences can be changed by players if server rules allow this). Therefore, CO-OP mode gameplay is much closer to single-player campaign missions, but a CO-OP mission contains a different mission for each of the players which they complete together in one multiplayer session.
Unlike in Deathmatch mode, in CO-OP mode all players begin a mission simultaneously at a time set by the mission designer and there is no way to restart in the same mission. The mission ends either by meeting certain conditions set by the mission designer or if all players are shot down. There is also a possibility of making missions where players are divided into two opposing teams – one team must complete a certain task and another team tries to not let them do it or both teams must complete their own tasks and attempt to not let the enemy team complete their task at the same time (the so called PvP with AI). It is also possible to have missions where all the players are in the same team and pursue a common goal (PvE).
In addition, we plan to make the existing Deathmatch mode deeper for Battle of Kuban. Player actions will become more coordinated thanks to a new major feature – the Marshal mode. At the moment, we have a basic vision how this mode will function and what features it will include. Here’s a rough idea of how it would look from a player point of view:
- If Marshal mode is enabled on the server, one of the players can become a Marshall. We haven’t determined the exact criteria of how a Marshal will be chosen, perhaps it would be a player with most achievements earned or a player from the list created by the server owner as he sees fit.
- A Marshal can’t fly himself, his job is directing others. Each team has their own Marshall.
- A Marshal (and only he) can see objects near friendly spotters, airfields and recon units (recon planes and tanks), therefore he (and only he) can have a complete understanding of the battle situation or as close to it as certain fog of war limitations allow.
- Moreover, the Marshal will have a limited ability of directing the ground forces using special command markers. He will be able to give orders to certain ground unit groups and set their basic reaction to danger (‘fire at will’, ‘return fire’, ‘don’t fire’).
- We are also considering other features to add to this mode assuming development and testing goes well.
Beyond that, there will be an interesting event in our project soon, which is not directly related to our work, but it is the result of work and efforts of a team from the community. This team decided to make a multiplayer game mode with unique add-ons over the standard multiplayer design functionality. Team 72AG-DED have made a server with an online campaign in Deathmatch mode using the processing logs of =FB=Vaal, =FB=Isay and tools that we have provided them. This development is notable for its simplicity and originality. They took all the best we offer servers operators and added something new, which is something we have been hoping for.
The project "Random Expert +" uses a flexible mechanism based on the reference points scattered around the map, transitions between them are given under certain conditions, and thus the players on the server directly affect the movement of the front line in different parts of the map. The control program created by 72AG-DED, which is using this mechanism, is automatically creating the mission and sending it to the game server.
According to the results of each mission derived from server logs, progress achieved by players is counts towards and becomes stored on server. Achieved status is displayed on the site of the server in the form of a schematic map with symbols. Of course in the spirit of cooperation we are receiving their questions and inquiries periodically, which are about additional features and things in development, some of them have already been implemented in the game. Server capabilities are limited only by the imagination of its developers and at this stage the 72AG-DED team has big plans for the development. Now the server is at the stage of closed testing, but very soon it will be available to everyone. From our side we wish the team 72AG-DED much success in this endeavor.
In the end I would like to highlight that since the CO-OP mode is intended for short missions, we plan to restore the ability to launch a multiplayer server directly form the game and allow a host player to become one of the players on this server. There will be a way to host a multiplayer server either using the dedicated server utility, as it happens now, or directly from the game. Basically this will be like it is now in Rise of Flight.
In the meantime, we continue our work on the project and we’re hoping to give you an important update on game version 2.004 next week. Today we can show you several 3D model WIP screenshots of Bf 109 G-4, He 111 H-16 and Bf 110 G-2.