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Theaters of War – New Gamemode Updates

Welcome to some More Star Citizen with some Updates to the Theatres of War Gamemode that Star Citizen has planned. I have another video going over Theatres of War in detail, my experiences and what CIG have said about it from CitizenCon.

But briefly Theatres of War is a Battlefield 5 Rush style objective based PvP Team mode for Star Citizen that uses the scale of Star Citizen’s Planet Tech and Combined Arms to have this massive action Gameplay Beast or at least that’s the idea.

They are still on track to launch (at least for testing) TOW in the first Half of 2020. They need players to test it ASAP and they are on track for that.  TOW is a driver & testbed for combat, balance and optimization… rather than a test bed of new features or roles. They see new features in the PU adding to TOW rather than breaking it.

Theatres of War will allow for more balanced & rapid action large scale battles from the Star Citizen Universe without the risk of PU loss.

TOW should allow for much quicker balance of items & weapons due to it’s more fast paced into the action style of gameplay.

Though I would like to point out that it’s not taking as much into account certain gear and items that are used because they are more reliable or cheaper or are more easy to maintain or easier to charge and find ammo for… in TOW you’ll just respawn in the PU (eventually at least with death of a space man) there is a load more going on with much more of a risk reward.

The Maps in Theatres are a small portion of a full planetary asset. This again aides CIG as the assets and maps they make here can be used for other parts of the game in the PU.

TOW has a much quicker expected match length than a typical Star Citizen PU session.

They will also have Historical Battles / Scenarios from the Star Citizen Lore.

They are working on 1 scenario (Crossroads of Crime the mission shown at CitizenCon) first BUT Once they wrap up the current scenario… they can look at Capital Ships and more maps, PU/Squadron 42 locations could all be used as levels.

They can build some pretty interesting scenarios and these will help build missions, POI, assets and more in the PU as well.

There was a large amount of Feedback that they have gained from the Playtest Demo (Which I also played) at CitizenCon & a survey of 280 people that played TOW from there of which 220 replied to a pretty good response rate to the quite granular nature of it, there was an overwhelming max rating for fun apparently on the survey… tho I am sure the event and LAN nature of playing contributed to this.

There are ideas, feedback and problems that the community identified on spectrum too. There is loads of progress, The demo was based on the Planet Tech v3… rather than the newer much better v4 that CIG are now using, TOW is now running on that v4 tech.

It should look a lot better. Also since CitizenCon The Physics Proxy Refactor was consumed into TOW as was SSOCS.

One of the major problems with TOW in the test was the transition between phases.

Where it wasn’t immediately clear, where to go, how to get there or how far it was.

There were waypoints but the urgency or context for the defending team wasn’t there when having to retreat to the next point… this led to some running kilometers to the next objective rather than spawning there or getting a vehicle there.

CIG are putting some bits in to help with that! I was just Respawning myself when we had another point to assault or defend BUT CIG want there to be teamwork and for the teams to be able to regroup.

What you want is a constant flow of combat without too many breaks.

They also want some form of easy to follow objective or reminder of what you should be doing at any given time… though obviously you can break from that and do your own thing… it is a team game tho. This should mean whether you are new OR just blanked out briefly you should have a goal. There are out of bounds areas too that will give you a timer.

They have reworked the spawn screen to look much snappier.

They have Death Cams working.

Things like the railgun they want to have a trail like the Quake 3. They also want the railgun to be less powerful against infantry and more powerful against vehicles.

Telemetry data allowed them to improve level design and flow.

The game feed was also updated.

They can set vehicles as spawn points, so you could have an Ursa that is the Rallying point for your team.

And a good few more improvements they will talk about later.

They had issues with the Valkyrie being overly resource intensive, so that and other ships are being optimised.

Currently the minimum of 8 players to start so 4v4. They are looking at 20v20 match sizes tho at least for the map shown at CitizenCon, they will look at large server caps here if appropriate.

They can potentially increase player caps further to 100 or more in the future, it will depend on if it makes sense for the game room and how everything evolves.

You can join the match in progress, unless there is only a couple of mins left in the game. This is also a feature of Star Marine/ (and I think Arena Commander) in 3.9

Star Citizen has major network issues that they are solving more recently. The 3.8 branch has some desync issues BUT more generally there is currently a 250ms delay added to character movement to help smooth it out. This is obviously not appropriate as a ¼ of a second delay leads to hit reg, prediction and feedback of your shots issues.

TOW shares the same dev branch and code base as the PU as shouldn’t diverge from that, a bug or a problem in one is a problem in both BUT that should also allow for rapid fixing and iteration.

They have worked on the network upstream refactor which benefits a server with a high or stable frame/tick rate… this means when you are sending data from the client to the server that it is dealt with much quicker and efficiently seeing improvements with delay which is massively reduced HOWEVER the PU requires more server optimization and SSOCS to be dialled in to make proper use of this.

In addition to that they have reduced the previous delay from 250 to be a bit dynamic in smoothing out animations and prediction (They call it rewind time)… so less judder and twitching but also less delay ranging from 50-120ms this will make a massive difference in the PU. The idea is to make all aspects of Star Citizen more responsive and this is potentially going to be in 3.9… it’s being used in the internal dev build now tho… Tho if it’s not there then it will be in our hands and integrated into the PU, SM & AC with the release of TOW.

They are able to use all the ships in TOW but they select specific ships and vehicles that spawn on maps and objectives as well as loadouts for balance and gameflow reasons.

TOW also may see some more vehicles like the Nova Tank get prioritized as ground vehicles are much more suited to TOW currently.

TOW was built with a small dedicated team and they will continue to work on that BUT also on the wider PU experience they are directly connected. They want the PU and TOW to be fun NOW or as early as possible. TOW will see real benefit to Star Citizen.

Bots wise they said it stands to reason they will have a bot mode. They have ACs Pirate & Vanduul Swarm Modes already. PvP is different to PvE though. 

The Team that built the good doctor map also helped with TOW and they do want a PvE mode on that map once AI is in a better place, they are not far from that at all apparently.

Tho there is a focus on TOW as a game mode currently.

They want environments to be more interactive and partly descructable where it makes sense. There will be destructibles in TOW and the PU eventually as well. There are glass panes (2d destructibles) that are in game now, There are also objects that will take damage too some have pre-baked states so the more something gets shot the more damaged it looks but in a preset way, there is also the ability for CIG to have objects damaged at realtime tho that is very resource expensive and more reserved for Squadron 42. The Good Doctor Map will likely see more descrutables in the form of props and objects first… maybe.

Something cool they talked about for the future that they have been working on is weaponizing some transit systems, think a tram or train with weapons on it for the TOW mode or potentially other places in SC.

And that’s it for a little databurst about TOW and what CIG have said about it recently… I am actually quite looking forward to it as it should be in a much more playable state than the PU imo… as it doesn’t matter about Persistence of this mode, I can play it to generally have fun and get better at combat and be more comfortable with Star Citizen… as well as jumping right into the action.