I wanted to give everyone an update as to what is going on with the future of Dystopia. Obviously everyone at PHG has been hard at work on Blade Symphony and this has unfortunately resulted in Dystopia being put to the side for the most part for the past two years. This is no longer the case and as of last month I have returned to working full time on Dystopia along with some new people from the community hopping on board. My current gameplan is to get an update out by the end of the year and I'm working hard to make this a reality.
A few of us have been working on and off on a new Dystopia patch for the past year or so alongside BSym development. The original plan was to release a small patch, 1.31, that addresses some of the main complaints with the game. Instead, we're going to be rolling the existing changes out into one big patch along with lots more stuff.
What to Expect in 1.4:
- A new map with a focus on a new gameplay element
- Existing map fixes and balancing, with some boring objectives being reworked entirely
- Weapon balancing
- Bug fixes
- Visual and audio passes on some of the more outdated assets in the game
- A bigger emphasis on accessibility for new players
- Lots of features that should have been in years ago!
As for how all this is progressing, the new map (which constitutes the bulk of the work) is currently fully blocked out, logic'd up and ready to be detailed. It just needs time for any balance issues to become apparent when we start testing. I still have to work on the existing maps, but these range from no changes being necessary for some maps to pretty big overhauls for others. The maps that I suspect will need the most work are probably Assemble, Injection, Exodus and Undermine. Broadcast and Cybernetic will probably get moderate changes. Fortress, Detonate, Vaccine, and Silo will only need minor tweaks if anything (for example, removal of physics props; or slight geometry changes - looking at you, airlock).
There's a lot of other features I'd like to get in as well, especially ones related to making the game more approachable for new players, but we'll see how much time we have for these as we get closer to release as some of these are big projects (for example, overhauling the "helper" system to make it actually helpful).
Here are a few concepts I've made and have been working towards implementing for helping newbies:
- Revamped map helpers and new player info box
- Animated example of map helper
- Reworking HUD icons to be more visible and useful
The New Map
As mentioned above, there is a new map coming as well. Currently it's named "Coast". The map takes place on a shoreline where a corporate facility uses a security company as a front to hide some shady dealings with blackmarket implants. The punks arrive in what the corps assume is a routine shipment via submarine and proceed to assault the facility and take this corp out of the blackmarket scene.
The new gameplay featured here is all about items. Items have been in Dystopia for a long time but have never worked properly. We finally got them working correctly and they add quite a lot of variety to what can be done with objectives! It can really morph some of what usually boils down to "press this button to win" into a much more physical feeling. Such is the case when stealing data in this map, instead of pressing a button, you actually pick up data chunks and bring them back to your node. When the punks have to blow up security terminals to gain access to the facility, they don't just shoot at them until they explode - rather, they have to take explosives from their base and plant them in key positions which the corps can then attempt to disarm. It should be a lot of fun and I can't wait to see how it plays in testing!
With all of the new changes that will require a lot of balancing and general QA, we're going to be opening testing up once again. I'm hoping to have it be open to the public but we're still working out the logistics on it. Testing should start pretty soon, so keep your eyes open! In the meantime, get the NS2 out of your system, because 1.4 is going to be big! :D