An AMA with Automaton CEO James Thompson
- What percentage of the map is 100% finished?
- How many weapons are in the game, and ready to play? Attachments?
- Are player models and animations ready to go?
"We’ll be touching up and making adjustments to the map even when The Forge goes live, so it’s not accurate to say that any part of the map is 100% finished. However, the Mavericks map is massive and we’re constantly layering new content and details into the environment. We’re already playing on the map - and it’s fun - but we know there’s more work to do to create variety and unique gameplay spaces, and this will continue after The Forge releases.
There are 3 weapons we’re concentrating on up until the launch of The Forge that are what we need for testing initially - pistol (USP), rifle (AK47) and shotgun (an Ithaca 37 type). We’ve been playing around with all three in testing. Additional weapons can be added much faster, and we expect more guns to be available relatively quickly after testing begins. We actually have designed and modelled a further 10, which will be introduced as The Forge continues. We’ll be starting to show you footage of the initial 3 in action in the weeks before The Forge launches.
As I mentioned above regarding footage of guns, we’ll be showing off more in-game content in the coming weeks. We know that it’s been a while since we’ve shown off any in-game footage and that is a conscious decision we’ve made. After E3, where Eurogamer posted its capture of their demo, we didn’t feel this was representative of the technology or gameplay that players will be experiencing when they play Mavericks. We wanted to make sure that the next time we showed off gameplay it lived up to community expectations. We’ve shown glimpses of gameplay in our behind-the-scenes videos, but we’ll be dropping more substantial footage in the coming weeks. We know this is important, so we’ll be doing it as quickly as possible."
- What was the thing you found in the game that was so fundamentally broken that pushed the launch 2 months?
- Could you open the Forge for example weekend games for the founders before the “full” Forge launch?
"Analytics was the root cause of the delay, but for The Forge this means more than you’d perhaps expect. We said one of the objectives of The Forge was going to be about making rapid, meaningful updates to the game, so we can only launch when this process is robust enough to support this fast-paced approach to game dev. No game has ever supported 1,000 concurrent players at the fidelity of Mavericks, so having everything working together is a complicated distributed systems task. This means it has a knock-on effect to other areas of development, which is why we needed to give more time. We set aside two months to be 110% confident we won’t have to delay again. We’ve had to do some additional bug fixing, as well as adjust the map to better sync with the data we want to collect (optimising for large numbers of players in certain areas). The extra time is also allowing us to fine tune other areas, including gunplay and animations.
We’d honestly love to have people playing now before we have all the tools ready. But that would actually negatively impact the data (and therefore slow down development). Understanding how players interact with the map, the weapons and each other for the first time (and second, and third, etc) is essential to making improvements to the game. Some of the most valuable data will gain is from those first hours you experience Mavericks."
Please explain in detail what the issue was.
How long did you know about the issue?
If you knew about it for a while, why did it take so long to tell the community?
"I’ve explained what the issue was above, so I won’t repeat myself. However, in terms of how long did we know about it: truthfully, we started to realise a couple of weeks back. Once we knew for certain that we would have to push back The Forge launch, we didn’t want to announce it to the community without having a firm date we were confident that we could hit. That’s a process that takes time, as we have to rejig workflows and timelines to be able to define an accurate date that we can launch. We’re a small team, so sometimes that process takes a little longer than we’d have liked - many days in fact. We looked at ways in which we could release earlier but, ultimately, the date we reached is based on a lot of hard work and careful planning so we knew we wouldn’t miss it. And, again, I’m sorry for making the announcement so close to the initial release of The Forge. I know it’s not ideal and I take responsibility for that."
Aside from the data collection tools you’re working on, will The Forge we gain access to on November 29 include anything extra than it would have if we had started now? For instance, will duos and squads be available?
When are we likely to see some gameplay?
"Duos and Squads won’t be available initially with The Forge. It will be added at a later date. The gameplay team will be including more but I don’t want to share the details until everything is locked. We will be doing videos before launch that show gameplay in more detail."
- How are you expecting with competing with the Triple A BRs that will be out by then. Is your BR Formula really that revolutionary. Have there been people that have tested it outside of your network that have confirmed anything of that sort.
"I think we are the only BR that is revolutionary. We will prove this throughout The Forge. Scale is one thing - we'll have 1,000 players facing off against each other, which is incredibly exciting - but our fidelity, persistent areas, dynamic elements and moment-to-moment gunplay will be best in class by the time we move into full launch (post-Forge)."
- How is the Linux support coming along? Still confirmed to be coming?
"Yes. At the moment this is mostly dependent on the stability of Vulkan drivers."
- How many promised Gameplay Features have been already added to the current build of the game? (Destruction, Vehicles, Dynamic Fires etc.)
"Multiple types of destruction are currently in there (with more to follow after The Forge launches). We've made significant progress on both vehicles and dynamic fires/fire propagation but they aren't likely to be available at The Forge launch (but will be soon after)."
- Will the 29th release have a NDA?
"Yes! But we'll remove it as soon as possible."
- Will there be a modding support or a level editor?
This is a significant area of focus for Mavericks after its full launch. We'll be discussing more in the future.
@Anunnaki I think you broke the Forum Script in your AMA Post here because it looks really strange (Questions all Bolt and Super Large Font) compared to the AMA with Stuart Bugg