Friday Feature 12/29/2017 – The Anatomy of an Invasion

As promised, our Friday Feature today is about an element of the upcoming GCW system: planetary invasions.

Standard disclaimer: all information below is subject to change during the development and adjustment process. While we believe this will remain accurate, unforeseen circumstances are always a possibility.

In a previous Friday Feature, Political Power, we discussed how players could be elected to their chosen faction’s ruling body, which manages the war effort by selecting enemy planets for invasion, engaging in a sort of dejarik game against the opposing faction’s ruling body.

Today’s feature is about the boots on the ground – how planetary invasions work!

Stage 1: Forces MarshalIt may be a bit of a misnomer to call this a “stage”. As an invasion kicks off, initial defense forces rally around the defending starports. Defenses generally consist of mid-sized squads of troopers, as well as multiple defense turrets. Large-city starports deploy autoturrets both in normal defensive positions and inside the landing ring to prevent attacking troops from bypassing the defenses by using civilian transport.

Attacking forces spawn at a nearby beachhead camp and prepare to march on the target starport. These forces usually have large squads of troops and, depending on the size and value of the target, combat walkers ranging from small AT-RTs all the way up to massive AT-ATs. The walkers are reserved strictly for players; unlike the troops, they will not act without a living commander.

During the “forces marshal” step, PvP zones will be established. Any player entering the invasion zone will be vulnerable to attack from other players.

Finally (though it may not be available for the NYE live server event), players will be able to use factional trooper coordinators to travel directly to a starport (if a member of the defending faction) or to a beachhead camp (if a member of the invading forces) of the world being attacked.

 

Phase 2: Forces Engage

Offensive forces marching on the target will inevitably clash with the static defenders. NPC armies will engage, and without player involvement the defenders will have a small advantage given their autoturrets. Attacking forces, however, can use their assault walkers to crack through the defenses and make their way into the target starport.

Both offensive and defensive forces will regularly respawn and maintain a running battle throughout the invasion time. However, defensive autoturrets and invading walkers will not respawn, and once knocked out of the fight are out for the duration of the invasion.

 

Phase 3: Hostile Takeover

Attacking players need to force their way into the starport and take control! To seize control requires five players – a bounty hunter, a smuggler, a doctor, a commando, and a squad leader.

The bounty hunter will initiate the takeover by jamming the uplink terminal. (This requires the Investigation II box and grants a healthy chunk of investigation XP!) The minigame for an uplink jam is a simple higher/lower guessing game.

The smuggler then slices into the security terminal. (This requires the Slicing I: Terminals box.) This process follows the standard slicing minigame; it is highly recommend the smuggler be prepared with a molecular clamp so he does not screw up the slicing process!

The doctor then uses the override terminal and provides a DNA sequence. It uses a gene letter matching minigame with A-T and C-G DNA sequencing.

The commando switches alignment on the power regulator next. The minigame requires the player to switch all the switches to either “on” or “off”, with the catch that flipping one switch will affect other switches as well.

Finally, the squad leader uses the HQ terminal to seize control of the starport!

 

Invasion Success?

A successful invasion requires the attacking faction to seize all the target planet’s starports inside the time limit.

All the starports must be seized.

The invasion system is programmed so that we can adjust the time limit on a per-planet basis (as well as adjust attacking and defending forces). For initial purposes of the GCW, all planets will have a 60 minute time limit to successfully complete an invasion.

When the GCW is fully released, we will be monitoring the GCW closely and adjusting as necessary to ensure both factions have a chance at seizing planets. We have no illusions that it will be perfect right out of the box; monitoring and adjusting is an important and necessary step.

The dev team is proud of the invasion system, though we ask that players understand the limitations of the SWGEmu code. Elements we are using to pull this off are as-of-yet unfinished, particularly in regards to the NPCs, and some wonky behavior results. We’re waiting in part for the SWGEmu team to finish their AI revamp to smooth out some rough edges.

Remember:

Good luck, have fun, and may the Force be with you!

EiF New Year’s Eve – GCW EVENT!

If you aren’t doing much on New Year’s Eve, come bring in the New Year with an Empire in Flames! Normally Sunday evenings at 9:00 pm EST is our weekly EiF RP Campaign installment. On 12/31/2017, a live test of the Galactic Civil War will take place on EiF’s live server with a planetary invasion! The planet is yet to be determined, but will likely be announced in the 12/29/2017 Friday Feature “Anatomy of an Invasion” which will provide a breakdown of how invasions work.

What can you do to prepare? I thought you’d never ask!

One thing we definitely know about the invasions is starports can be flipped via the base busting system. You’ll need a busting team with:

  • Bounty Hunter
    Commando
    Smuggler
    Doc (this replaces the BE required in Live)
    Squad Leader

    AND A support group to keep the defending faction from killing your base busters!

If you are an Armorsmith, Weaponsmith, or Chef: get your vendors stocked!

If you haven’t finished your template, or have been waiting for the GCW so you can PvP, wait no more! You have just over a week to prepare!

If you are thinking, “Bleh, I don’t PvP…” Well neither do I, at least not very well, but I’m definitely going to plan to be in a walker pew, pewing!

The EiF GCW is unique and original content. You have never experienced Star Wars Galaxies like this before.

Sandarie
Community Manager, Empire in Flames

Friday Feature 12/22/17 – Welcome to Empire In Flames

((This week’s Friday Feature was created by BluePyros. Great job and Thank you!))

An Empire in Flames is a post-Endor server offering a new, unique Star Wars Galaxies experience!

What’s the 10,000 foot view?

Empire in Flames began conceptually before the shutdown of the live servers with a design friendly to Roleplayers, PvE players, PvPers, and pilots. It started as, “What’s your ideal server?” It started with a new profession system, expanded to housing and races, and dreamed of a Galactic Civil War in practice instead of imagination. In short, it’s the concept of a Star Wars game as dreamed by a small group of long-time Starsider players – players who were RPers, PvErs, PvPers, crafters, and pilots, none of whom fell into the trap that any of the major combat systems – pre-CU, CU, or NGE – was by any means perfect.

A new profession system

Empire in Flames offers a new approach to the system – one that combines the best of the ideas of the NGE and pre-CU.

Trees are categorized as “professions” and “skills.”

Professions cost no skill points (though they require XP to level). However, a player can only have ONE profession at a time. Professions include:

Bounty Hunter
Commando
Doctor
Entertainer
Merchant
Ranger
Smuggler
Squad Leader

Abilities acquired from professions can be used with any weapon, or even unarmed. Professions offer enhancement, access to specialized skills like slicing, vendors, creature harvesting, and so forth.

Skills, on the other hand, require skillpoints and can be freely mix-and-matched. They, too, require XP to level; however, all skills can be learned from their novice box up. Prerequisites are not required.

Architect
Armorsmith
Artisan
Bio-Engineer
Carbineer
Chef
Creature Handler
Dancer
Droid Engineer
Fencer
Image Designer
Medic
Musician
Pikeman
Pistoleer
Rifleman
Shipwright
Swordsman
Tailor
Teras Kasi Artist
Weaponsmith

Skillpoints have been adjusted to allow a player to pickup approximately 2 1/2 trees, with some exceptions. (Image Designer, Dancer, and Musician together reach 250 points, for example.)

A new approach to housing

Like most branch servers, Empire in Flames offers additional housing options not available on Basilisk – and a few not available on any other branch server. However, player cities take a central role; player houses are required to be built inside city limits.

No more crust of housing on the edge of the no-build zone around NPC starports. No more endless sea of houses on Tatooine. Instead, players have more reason than ever to cooperate – “home” is now a community.

New Races

While “new races” are proliferating across the branch servers, they started with Empire in Flames. After unauthorized use of our code on other servers, we decided to release them for other servers to use…and used they have been. Still, we’re not resting on our laurels – we’re working to add even more options, even when it means we’re pestering Timbab for a new tool to make it happen.

A New Setting

The decision to move post-Endor is partly driven by roleplay, but also by a desire to implement a proper Galactic Civil War. While the immediate ramifications of the time shift are largely cosmetic, it does mean new themeparks will be coming – after all, Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader, the Emperor, and Xizor are all dead.

How will you position yourself to rise to power?

We respect existing lore that has happened before Endor, but past that we will be creating our own lore, pulling bits and pieces from varying sources. We simply don’t think the way things go in the new canon with Jakku and all makes for very compelling gameplay or storytelling, but we also can’t trod down the path of Legends as its over saturated and restricting.

Crafting Revamp

One of the most controversial changes we have adopted is a crafting revamp for weaponsmith and armorsmith.

Instead of the old crafting system, we moved to a “core”-based system. The base of every weapon is a core, whether it’s a pistol, carbine, rifle, or melee weapon. The core determines critical stats like HAM cost, damage, and speed. Additions like stocks, scopes, and customized barrels are done at the weapon-level to modify those core stats. In essence, any weapon or armor can be made good. Empire in Flames is more than powerhammers and T-21s and composite armor.

A Roadmap Forward

Post-launch, the next three major patches are planned: Galactic Civil War, Schisms of the Force, and Underworld. The first is to bring a proper Galactic Civil War to the galaxy; the second to implement the Jedi profession; the third to reveal black markets, smuggled goods, player bounty hunting, and Crime Lords.

Along the way, other content is planned – new themeparks for the New Republic and the Empire, a three-faction questline over the fate of Jabba’s criminal empire, and a series of post-Endor based heroic encounters.

Also check out our Q&A from the summer!
And the whole Friday Feature Archives

Friday Feature 12/15/2017 – The Staff of an Empire in Flames

Over the past weeks we’ve chatted with some of the Empire in Flames staff. We’ve added some special people to the team in recent weeks also and we’ll be doing chats with them in the near future. The Community of EiF feels like it’s exploding and expanding so rapidly recently. The excitement being generated by the new and returning players for the Staff is sometimes intoxicating. We often call that feeling Dev Crack. I felt it would be beneficial to create a chart or list of the current staff for the community, so everyone can see the roles of the varying team members here at an Empire in Flames. My hope is this will help the community to direct their questions to the appropriate folks and get the best responses in return!

Lead Developer/Project Owner
Halyn

Halyn is responsible for the content and direction of EiF. He directs the efforts of his staff, who strive to implement his vision. He gives the team autonomy to create, but his vision and guidance are always the final word. He somewhat jokingly refers to his style of leadership in EiF as a benevolent dictatorship. His roadmap for EiF never has had a timeline associated with it, due to his real life obligations. What he has shared with the community is that he’s actively working on the EiF original content for the Galactic Civil War. The GCW will be followed by our implementation of Jedi, and then the long anticipated Underworld publish. Halyn’s recently been teasing a lot of GCW content in our Discord and on Facebook.

Boss Lady
Kelta

Kelta wears many hats in EiF. She helps with Community Management and is the primary sounding board and sanity keeper for the Lead Developer/Project Owner. She is usually the voice of wisdom to the entire staff and we love her advice and calm presence. She is also a great roleplayer.

Combat Developer
Anishor

Anishor has been spending a lot of time working on his passion for the combat system in EiF. He’s been doing a revamp of the combat professions, looking at the NPCs, and resists. He is also responsible for the implementation of the Entertainer Fame tree, which works to give entertainers meaningful payouts for missions. Anishor has also implemented our Launcher (thanks to Progor from Relics of Corbantis for the base code!), and is the designer of the Skill Builder which is one of his current projects.

In-Game Asset Developer
Gail/Abi

Gail is working to bring items from SWG which are not part of the SWGEmu into EiF. He’s adding them to looted schematics, junk drops, end-game and world boss drops, existing crafter lines, and other things. Some of the items will have been obtainable in other versions of SWG. A few will be things that were in game, but never player accessible have been placed into the game too. If you take a trip to Port Jato, the EiF Space Station, and visit the arena on the lower level, you’ll see the fences Gail pulled from the games NPC assets. Below is the link to the forum thread where you can place requests for in-game assets. Doesn’t mean you’ll get them… but you might! Be sure to follow the instructions for posting requests.:

http://empireinflames.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=34&sid=4ae8adb0c35e8732f28e52a7dc38c282

Designer/New Art Assets Developer
Violet

One of the most creative SWG artists is working with EIF to add art never before seen on any server. Violet has her own test server and develops art for Sunrunner II’s Takhomasak’s planets. Violet is also the Head Artist of Mod the Galaxy. In MtG, she’s working with Sytner on making scripts for animations/organics possible (*a little blue Twi’lek squee is heard*) She is working on a Pazaak deck and an A180 Blaster Pistol currently for EiF. Violet likes to livestream her work and can be found on EiF’s Discord in the #livestream channel. She, too, has a thread on the forums for requesting original artwork. Please read the guidelines before posting requests.

http://empireinflames.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=6

Other Art Assets
Wefi

Wefi is a very talented graphic artist. He’s taken existing and new assets and manipulated them for use in EiF. Such as ships for our starports and weapons. Wefi is an avid RPer and you are very likely to find one of his characters in-game helping with the immersion of EiF. Wefi also handles some of our client file modifications.

Creator of Worlds
Takhomasak

Takh is the creator of the planet Taanab on EiF. Takh is the Administrator and Lead Developer of the SWGEmu server Sunrunner II. His server is in testing right now, but the stuff he’s doing is extraordinary. EiF and SII are sister servers with different goals. We share assets and camaraderie and laughs together. Two of his new planets, Kuat and Mon Cal will figure prominently in the upcoming GCW on EiF.

swgsunrunner2.com

Instance Developer
Lasko

Lasko is also part of the Sunrunner II team who is partnering with EiF. Lasko brings an extensive background in SWG, as a staff member at Mod the Galaxy and creator of the MTG asset compilation. He’s helping Halyn with some of the GCW projects and soon(™) EiF will enjoy some of the instances Lasko has brought back from SWG Live.

modthegalaxy.com

Co-Wbsite/Forum Admin
BluePyros/Andarta

Blue has been part of the EiF team since way before launch. He is the reason all of our housing deeds are holos! He has a talent to dig into code and manipulate it. Part of his role in EiF is to help get people settled on the Website/Forums. If you are having trouble getting in, contact Blue or Sandi on Discord.

Community Manager
Sandi/Sandarie

Sandi has been with EiF since before it’s launch. Her role is to be a liason between the community and the developers when needed. She normally maintains a presence in Discord and in-game. She’s known to read EVERY post in Discord and Galaxychat. She’s also the Co-Website/Forum admin and writes most of the Friday Features. If you have ideas for the Website, forums, or ingame events, Sandi is the one to contact.

Clearly Not Combat Princess!

Friday Feature 12/1/2017: Political Power

Disclaimer: All systems described here are subject to change during development and testing.

“Chancellor, is this really the time to call for new elections? The very people that may lose office are those who have risked everything for the Rebel Alliance!”

Mon Mothma, Chancellor of the New Republic and longtime figurehead of the Rebel Alliance, rubbed her eyes wearily. Night had long since fallen on Chandrila, but the government never really slept. “I understand your military sensibilities, Crix, but this is the realm of politics.”

“We dealt the Empire a crippling blow at Endor, and they are on the back foot as their forces have splintered. But changing leadership now could still cost us the war. The Imperial military is just as capable of crushing us now as they were a year ago, should we wage war poorly. This is still a military issue.”

Mon Mothma offered a small smile. “We must be a Republic in fact as well as name. To call for elections now is to show the galaxy that we are not just another domineering force in the galaxy. These actions may persuade more worlds to our cause than Admiral Ackbar’s navy could liberate in a decade!”

The Galactic Civil War is a core design for Empire in Flames – it is one of the earliest systems the team designed, though development of it was pushed back to post-launch due to the scope of changes the EiF team has wrought.

Especially of concern was ensuring combat was in a better place than SWGEmu – and, given the most recent balance pass, it definitely is. While we will continue to make tweaks going forward, we have a stable foundation to build upon, with relatively balanced combat skills, a fully-functioning core crafting system covering all weapons and armor, and a housing system encouraging player cities.

The design elements for the GCW included, in broad strokes, three major goals:

  1. A system that encouraged large events, rather than a system that discouraged engagement.
  2. A system that encouraged PvP.
  3. A system run by the players.

This Friday Feature is focusing on point #3 – player control.

“You cannot be serious, Admiral Sloane.”

“Grand Admiral Sloane, Moff Maksim. And I am very serious.”

The Moff raised an eyebrow at her. “Return control of the military to the Imperial Senate? The same Senate that the Emperor saw fit to disband nearly five years ago?”

The Admiral shook her head. “Hardly the same Senate – not a Senate at all, in fact.”

“You’re talking about holding elections!”

“Yes, I am. Look around you, Moff. The Imperial navy is shattering. The admiralty has no loyalty to anyone who has tried to claim power in the Empire. The civil service will not pledge fealty to the military High Command. If we do not change course, in another year there will be no Empire.”

“So why aren’t you on Coruscant, making your case there?”

“I will make my way there soon, but without Kuat, there will be no Empire. The shipyards here are critical to the war effort. If I do not have your support – if this proposal loses Kuat to the hands of a warlord or to the so-called New Republic – the Empire is just as doomed.”

The Moff leaned forward, a smile spreading for the first time since Sloane had begun the conversation. “You aren’t entirely foolish, Grand Admiral. Let us discuss your proposal.”

To recap, the Galactic Civil War is based around planetary control. Planetary control is determined by planetary invasions. The big missing chunk is obvious, then: who determines what planet a faction targets?

Ultimately, we wanted control to be in the hands of the players – the best systems in SWG always involve the players as deeply as possible. But what is the best route to take to get to that point?

We could give only high-ranked players a voice – Imperial and New Republic colonels, perhaps? But every player in the game can reach that rank, and it’s not a particularly time-consuming investment to do so.

Guild leaders, then? No, because any player could form a guild just with his own characters to get a voice on military matters.

City mayors, perhaps? Now we’re getting warmer – after all, mayorship requires support from the citizenship…sort of. Two players can found and maintain an outpost with just a little work. But we’re on the right track.

Ultimately, we decided to tie it to the Politician profession. It doesn’t require skillpoints, but it does require support or a lot of time to level. It almost certainly requires support and interaction with the community to do anything with.

With that in mind, we knew the server had to have established itself, with player cities, elections, and citizens before we could roll it out. And now Empire in Flames is established as such.

But what about the nuts and bolts of such a system?

The Chancellor’s voice rang with the clarity of a bell in the New Republic Senate on Chandrila. Her words echoed her discussion with Crix Madine days earlier, and were underpinned with conviction. “The transition from Rebel Alliance to New Republic has not been an easy path. We are no longer concerned only with overthrow of an illegitimate, despotic government, but with governing the worlds within our sphere of influence in a just manner.

“While the Emperor ruled with an iron fist, issuing decrees as he saw fit, we must represent the will of the people. And I believe we have during the years of our government-in-exile. Even while we conducted war, we planned for peace. We offered aid where we could, enforced law when we were capable, and protected the citizens whenever possible.

“But times have changed, and we must change with it. I call on all those who are faithful to the New Republic to prepare for elections. Select statesmen from each world to join this august body as it not only oversees the war effort, but works to build a lasting peace so that our children need not fight again the war we have sacrificed so much to win.”

As with city elections, New Republic Senate and Imperial Council elections will be held regularly via in-game voting to select the leadership for their governments. These elections will soon be available at city voting terminals, and will be rolled out shortly before the GCW hits the live server.

To register to run for high political office, a character must be of the appropriate faction (New Republic or Imperial) and a citizen of the planet where he seeks to run. The character will register at his local city hall, but the character’s name will subsequently show up on all voting terminals on the planet.

To vote, a player must be a citizen of a city. Players who have, for various reasons, citizenship outside city limits will not be able to run for high office, nor will they be able to vote for candidates.

Only politicians are able to run for the Senate or Council.

The New Republic Senate requires the Statesman title – 0040 politician.

The Imperial Council requires the Warmaster title – 0400 politician.

Characters do not have to be a mayor to run for high office.

High office elections are scheduled monthly. Once in office, officials will have votes once per week to determine their faction’s next GCW target. In the event of a tie vote, the body is considered “deadlocked” and the faction will forgo their turn at an offensive assault.

Moff Maksim’s voice was rich and calm, hiding any discomfort so deeply that Rae Sloane couldn’t find trace of it.

“Ashamedly, our great Galactic Empire has fractured with the death of our beloved Emperor. Too many of our military leaders have chosen the path of conquest, turning their guns on fellow soldiers and citizens and declaring themselves rulers of territory.

“Those few members of the Emperor’s court who have chosen to attempt governing have proven inept, losing further support of the both military and citizenship – even driving some worlds into the hands of the Rebels!

“Now is the time to turn this tide of treachery and defection. I call upon the loyal sons and daughters of the Empire to select leaders among yourselves – those who have known both war and peace – to step forward and take up the reins of government of the Empire.

“This new body, this Imperial Council, shall act upon the will of both citizens and soldiers, and will lead the Empire to a final victory over the treacherous dissidents that have caused so much death and pain in the galaxy!”