Dev Log #19 – Build 0.30.0 Highlights, Patch Notes, and Release Update

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Hello Proxies!

Today is a new day and with a new day comes a new build with new features and content. In Dev Log #19 we’ll run through the highlights in build 0.30.0, full patch notes, and discuss updates to our upcoming release schedule. There’s lots to discuss including the addition of version 1 of our progression system, a beautiful new makeover of CTF-Dam, CTF changes, and plenty more.

Oh, and if you missed it, you should check out the full stream with play-by-play commentary from the Bring Your Own 5 LCTF Tournament from last week. It was a lot of fun to watch and there’s some great high-level competitive play showcased, especially during the final matches. Congratulations to Tribes+ for their hard-fought win and thank you to everyone for participating!

Build Highlights

While you’re downloading, here’s a look into all of the features available NOW in build 0.30.0.

XP, Level-Ups, and Skills

Progression is finally making its way into Midair. In 0.30.0 we’re introducing version 1 of our XP, leveling, and skill systems. Please note these are early-stage features that will likely have user experience issues, bugs, and are likely to change frequently before release. For additional reading on our goals and objectives with monetization and progression in Midair, read this blog post from a while back.

XP and Leveling Up

Each player will earn XP in the game and will level up as XP is accumulated. XP is earned by completing the tutorial missions, playing the game, and doing well. When in the game, you are currently rewarded for each minute played (with a minimum play time of 10 minutes), sticking around through the end of the match, and in bigger games, placing in the top 3 players in the server. To help you track how much XP you’ll earn in a given match, we’ve added a Match XP element to the score screen UI.

NOTE: In this early version, you will only be rewarded XP if you are in the server when the game ends. The amount of XP it takes to progress through each subsequent level increases each level gained with a max level of 50. To see your level and current XP vs how much is needed for the next level, we’ve added this information (and also your Steam profile pic) to a new UI widget at the bottom right of the menu. This information is also available in the Progression menu under your Profile.

What’s the quickest way to get your first couple of levels? Play through both tutorials!

Skills

Each time a player levels up they are rewarded a skill point. Skill points are used to unlock most of the gameplay features in the game such as Armors, Weapons, Items, Packs/Augments, Deployables, and Vehicles. These skills are laid out in a tree structure to visually show requirements and dependencies. We are planning to add additional gameplay elements to the tree that are not in this version. You may see some visual gaps in the tree structure due to these missing items.

We’ve added some features like lock icons that should help you visually identify in your loadouts whether or not something is unlocked. Additionally, clicking on the lock icon will automatically take you to that item in the skill tree for quick unlocking.

Your Loadout menu should also inform you when a loadout you’ve selected contains items that have not been unlocked yet. If you attempt to use a loadout with locked items, those items will either be missing (weapons, packs/augments, throwable items) or downgraded (armors).

Tools for Early Testing

In the Progression screen under your Profile, we’ve added some tools to help you test the progression system and quickly bypass progression if you so desire (you all have the Progression Pass after all!). Using Give 500 XP you can add roughly a single game’s XP. Give Level calculates and rewards the XP required between your current level and the next. Give Max Level gives you all of the XP through level 50. RESET will allow you to reset your XP, Level, and Skills progress. Note: Resetting requires a restart of the game, and confirming this action will automatically close the game.

Down with CTF-Dam, Long Live CTF-Reservoir!

The map CTF-Dam has been re-imagined, renamed, and given a full art pass to bring it to life in the Midair universe. We are itching to show off the results, so let’s take a look at the brand new CTF-Reservoir.

The central feature to the map is a giant dam that holds back water from streaming into the valley, creating a reservoir. Mana processing plants use the water to harness the resources this planet provides.

The base interiors have been built with almost entirely new art using our military themed assets giving a distinct feel both inside and out.

We’re excited to see you all experience CTF-Reservoir for the first time and discover some of the neat features and quirks built into the map.

CTF Changes

Last time we spoke, we had added a prototype game mode called Spawn CTF that spawned all players in their loadouts and added a spawn time penalty when generators were brought down. It’s clear after seeing the initial response and listening to feedback that two things stand out:

  1. New and casual players have a better and more intuitive experience playing Spawn CTF than CTF that requires visiting an inventory to get your loadout
  2. We need better ways to ensure the base is still an important and relevant factor in gameplay, which is what we committed to since development on Midair started

We’re moving forward with these two things in mind. This means we’re committing to spawning in loadout in Base CTF and will be enabling this as the default setting on all official servers as well as newly created servers. If you’d like to go back to the old style that requires inventory use, we’re keeping that option configurable for server admins. With that said, let’s look at the new changes to CTF in 0.30.0.

Loadouts, Spawn Timers, and You

When players can spawn in their loadout it introduces several design challenges. In particular, when observing Spawn CTF in action, it was apparent that there is little impact when taking down a player in a key role like defensive sniper or heavy offense.  In order to help balance situations like quick respawning of powerful classes, we’re adding equipment spawn penalties that increase the time it takes to spawn in your full loadout. Here’s the list of equipment and their corresponding spawn penalties.

  • Medium Armor: +0.5s
  • Heavy Armor: +1.0s
  • Rail Gun: +2.0s
  • Missile Launcher: +1.0s
  • Mortar: +1.0s
  • Stealth Augment – Invisibility: +1.0s

The penalties are cumulative, so adding multiple of these items will continue to increase your spawn time. For example, a Heavy Armor (+1.0s) with both the Missile Launcher (+1.0s) and Mortar (+1.0s) equipped will experience a total spawn penalty of +3.0 seconds on top of the base spawn timer. The base spawn timer is 5.0 seconds, so the total spawn time for a loadout with those items would be 8.0 seconds. These penalties do NOT apply when using inventory stations.

Generator Importance

In 0.30.0 we’re adding several new effects to downed generators in order to keep base defense and assault important. Here’s a list of all effects that apply when the generator is down:

  1. Base spawn penalty increased by +80% when generator is down (was 60% in 0.29.0)
  2. NEW: Equipment spawn penalty of +50% when generator is down
  3. NEW: Deployable turrets now fire 20% slower when the generator is down
  4. NEW: Deployable sensors now acquire targets more slowly when the generator is down

Using the Heavy Armor example from before, spawning in that loadout when the generator is down will result in a base spawn + gen down penalty (+80%) of 9 seconds, and an equipment penalty + gen down penalty (+50%) of 4.5 seconds, making a total of 13.5 seconds when the generator is down. This means that keeping your generator up saves 5.5 seconds of spawn time for someone with those loadout options.

We’ve added information to the Loadout screen that will help you identify loadout equipment penalties easily, and also see when it is affected by a downed generator. The equipment penalty information will turn red and increase appropriately when the generators are down.

Emergency Spawn

In order to keep decision-making alive and well in base, and give players a chance to make quick decisions and emergency plays, we’ve added the ability for players to Emergency Spawn in a basic loadout at a much shorter interval. In the spawn screen, a shorter timer that is NOT affected by the generator status will decrease separate from the full loadout respawn timer.

Pressing Right Mouse Button will allow a player to initiate emergency spawn after the timer has completed.

Deployables

In addition to all of the above changes, we’ve removed the ability to deploy any deployable near the enemy base within a certain range (map-dependent). This should help make defending and retaking your base against a good offense a little easier, which should help prevent unbreakable base camping.

New Item: Concussion Grenade

The latest addition to the CTF arsenal is the concussion grenade. This grenade deals minimal damage but can knock out a player-held flag and knock the holder around. Its most effective use is stopping a capper from getting out clean or breaking a tough base defense when they are holding your flag.

New Main Menu and Loadout Backgrounds

We’ve added a brand new interactive background to the Main Menu and Loadout Screen. We changed the way we’re rendering this so the background is now be affected by your video settings and should be perform much better overall. Words won’t do it justice, so take a look for yourself:

 

Map Sounds Pass

We’ve started a sound pass on most maps which now have ambient sounds playing at minimum. Most maps with final or near-final art now have additional custom sounds as well. We’ll continue to update maps with sounds as we get closer to release to bring them to life and add polish to the final product. Take a listen!

0.30.0 Patch Notes

General

  • Version one of progression has been added: XP, Leveling, and Skills
  • A Progression menu has been added to the Profile menu with an unlockable skill tree and tools to help quickly test or reset progress
  • The loadout menu has been updated to help players quickly see and unlock unlockable equipment
  • Spawn-in-loadout is now the default mode for CTF
  • Deployables can no longer be placed close to the enemy base
  • Base spawn timer penalty increased to 80% from 60%
  • Using certain equipment in a CTF loadout now increases the time it takes to spawn, which increases by 50% when the generator is down (applies to the Heavy Armor, Medium Armor, Rail Gun, Mortar, Missile Launcher, and Invisibility augment)
  • Deployable turrets have reduced rate of fire when their generator is down
  • Deployable sensors have reduced detection speed when their generator is down
  • Emergency Spawn option added so players can spawn more quickly in a basic/”naked” loadout
  • Added the Concussion Grenade which knocks away player-held flags
  • Interactive Main Menu/Loadout screen background added
  • You must now press “Equip” to add weapons and throwables to your loadout, bringing them in line with the Augments interface, also setting up the UI to be ready for custom aesthetics
  • Because we’ve added a step to equip weapons, you can now double click to equip weapons and throwables in the loadout menu
  • Ammo Nugget pickup radius increased to make it easier to grab in the heat of the moment
  • Slightly reduced out-of-bounds grid opacity so it’s easier to see where you want to go or where you’re landing while near the grid
  • Repair gun now does damage to non-friendlies because why not
  • Updated descriptions of all armors, weapons, throwables, packs, augments, armors, and vehicles for use in the Loadout and Progression menus
  • Added a “Special” field to all loadout equipment info to give more information including any spawn penalties
  • New console command: ShowPerformanceStats (1 for show, 0 for hide) that shows fps, ping, and server performance in the top left to help troubleshoot performance issues
  • Vehicle Flares now have random spread to make them seem more natural

Bug fixes

  • Fixed an animation issue caused by using a deployable inventory to change away from the Reload++ augment
  • The delay between firing the grenade launcher and immediately throwing a hand grenade has been brought in line with other weapons
  • The Blink augment is no longer able to take flags through flag forcefields
  • Removed delay between being able to pick up hp/ammo nuggets
  • The Missile Launcher will no longer lock onto friendly, unmanned vehicles
  • The Bomber now has a description in the buy vehicle menu
  • Auto voice chat messages for flag grabs etc are no longer sent to spectators
  • Reduced bald spots on Light Male character in low levels of detail
  • Fixed some end of match voting issues that resulted in switching to unexpected maps
  • Fixed broken lighting in tutorial missions
  • Fixed broken LOD settings and lighting issues on LCTF-Minora
  • Fixed spots where players could hide underneath level geometry on LCTF-Kryosis
  • Fixed Missile Launcher model slightly clipping through screen in walk animations
  • Wind and weapon switch sounds can now be heard in third person
  • Players are now evenly distributed between teams when joining at all player counts
  • Fixed “{Player1Name} has dropped the flag” message when the match moves out of warmup
  • Vehicle ability cooldown indicator now fills from left to right to match other reloads and cooldowns

Maps

  • CTF-Dam is now named CTF-Reservoir and has received a full art pass
  • LCTF-Outpost99 has received an art pass
  • CTF-Tenebris: The flagstand ship has been moved downwards
  • LCTF-Kryosis: Overhauled the midfield ice formations, spawn changes to improve flow
  • LCTF-Minora: Spawn changes, added BYO5 LCTF Tournament winners sign easter egg
  • LCTF-Exhumed: Out-of-bounds grid changes
  • AR/LCTF-Crashsite: Terrain and flagstand gameplay revisions
  • AR-Research: The level layout has been altered to be more open
  • AR-SnowArena: Ceiling has been moved upwards, blocking volumes have been added to stop players getting on top of the outer edges, standing on the middle rock will now cause you to slide off
  • AR-Autumnal is down for maintenance
  • LCTF-FrozenLines: Moved rear spawn points forward, added a front spawn
  • LCTF-Snowfall: Moved tower spawn points, moved some base interior spawn points outside
  • Added spectator camera locations on LCTF maps

Server Admins

  • The SpawnWithInventory setting in your CPanel will need to be set to True/Enabled if you want to stay current and match Official Server settings (It will not change on its own so if you already had it set to true or false and want it to remain the way you have it configured, no change is necessary on your part)
  • There are 2 configurable settings in your CPanel that were used for tweaking spawn timers in SpawnCTF (now CTF) which are no longer used. These will be removed from CPanel soon
  • Make sure you are keeping your MapList.ini up to date with map changes as maps are added, removed or renamed. For example, not changing CTF-Dam to CTF-Reservoir in your MapList.ini can result in server crashes. Likewise, not removing AR-Autumnal can have the same effect.

Official Server Configuration

  • All CTF servers are now configured to Spawn in Loadout by default
  • CTF and Arena servers will only allow CTF and Arena maps respectively
  • LCTF servers will default to LCTF maps but allow for Rabbit maps to be voted as well
  • General servers allow maps of all types
  • Removed all CTF and LCTF maps which have not received final art (Rented servers are still configured to allow prototype maps)
  • Shortened the end of match timer from 30 seconds to 20 seconds
  • All gametypes now have a warmup time of 20 seconds
  • Arena now has a pre-round timer of 6 seconds (was 10 seconds)
  • Regions are now configured to have the following priority server configuration:
    1. General
    2. CTF
    3. LCTF
    4. Arena
    5. General 2 / 3 / etc.
  • Max player count for General and CTF is set to 24 players
  • Max player count for LCTF is set to 18 players
  • Max player count for Arena is set to 14 players

Release Update

We have a timing update for the release of Midair. For the last several months we’ve been aiming for Q1 2018 which basically meant anywhere in the months January to March 2018. As we get closer to the middle of Q1, we’re adjusting our public release projection. As of this post, our new goal is a late-April 2018 release. This is a little later than Q1 but buys us enough time to get the remaining features and polish in on the game given our budget and resource constraints. We’re narrowing down our release window and as you can see from the last few patches, we’re definitely taking advantage of the remaining time to bring Midair as far as it can go by release.

We also want to talk about some timing on some specific roadmap items that have changed:

  • The Transport and Hover Bike will be postponed until post-release – this is due to ensuring we have enough time to iterate and add polish on core game systems more critical to supporting the 1.0 release, as well as lets us work on these features when we have an opportunity to fully rework the vehicle system which is necessary to providing a better vehicle experience across the board
  • Some of the Kickstarter features are likely to come in post-release such as a custom player-voted environment tileset for maps and the player-voted custom gametype – we’re absolutely committed to getting these done but they may come in a little later than release as we focus on improving our core gametypes and tilesets
  • Some of the Kickstarter rewards are likely to come in post-release such as the Kickstarter exclusive aesthetics – we don’t have a specific list for this yet but stay tuned as we get closer to release for more info

With all of that said, we’re still working on these things, they’re just going to come in later than we had hoped. In particular, the Kickstarter exclusives are going to look great. Here’s a peek at the concept for the Kickstarter exclusive armor set we’ve got lined up: