01.Why are you using the CryEngine? Especially now with UE4 released which is better yet also has a free plan for users?
This is quite a reoccurring question so it is only right each part of it is thoroughly answered.
For starters, the matter of which is better of the two in terms of graphics turns into a subjective conversation and matter of opinion in the end, however despite what notions there are out there, CryEngine had the graphical capabilities of UE4 yet years before UE4 did. And historically CE has always been graphically a step ahead. They had more time to refine it and always keep improving and adding to their engine the same way Epic is. What issues many programmers have had are evidently the lack of knowledge on using the engine which is expected since UDK was widely accepted by many more companies and much more work had been added and done to it from third parties with regards to netcoding and more.
Apart from that however, Operation: Hellstorm, or any game for that matter, serves to aim at a specific look and vision unless its purpose is nothing more than mainstream appeal and making money. For this reason CryEngine has been chosen as the result it achieves is fitting and suits the world, look and atmosphere that Operation: Hellstorm strives to accomplish. At which point the engine used should not matter to the gamer as the product should speak for itself. What engine is used however does matter to the developers, and even more so to the person behind a given title who is trying to accomplish a specific result.
End of the day both the CryEngine and the Unreal Engines are cutting edge technology and on par. One engine is better in some areas, and the other in other areas. What is created with the engines is what counts and matters.
With regards to the free plan from UE4. It is in fact more costly in the end, as it offers a plan based on royalty fees. At which point, the larger success a game has, the more money is in total given over for the use of UE4 and in the long run can be much more expensive.
02.Is this title really F2P (free to play) or just another P2W (pay to win)?
Having a background of gaming ourselves, we are strongly against any form of P2W.
All content that can be bought within the game is aimed at aesthetics. There will be the option to unlock content (new character models, new weapons, new maps) which are all attainable through simply playing the game.
Furthermore, all content that can be purchased for an early unlock is balanced so as to never create an overpowered loadout. Our balancing is the main attribute itself that aims to ensure this title remains clear of Pay2Win scenarios indefinitely.
03.Does Operation Hellstorm include some form of single player mode?
Indeed it does.
For the first iterations that will be launched, single player will be in the form of practice alone. Our aim is to however go much further and beyond this.
We plan to release Single Player Campaigns (1 for each known faction at least) at around 5hr length storylines each.
With future additions to the game, we hope to release more campaigns after that for new storylines and events within Operation Hellstorm. For this reason, the entirety of all that we design and create for the title is based on a backstory and lore that will be evident from its early Arena stages.
04.How will you handle single player with a F2P online title?
The idea is to have you always logged on. Even in single player mode. So an internet connection and registered account will be necessary for play at all times.
One of the main reasons behind this is that we plan to add content that will be influenced by both solo and multiplayer experiences.
05.Will the title be F2P only or will there be subscriptions as well?
We do not plan on including subscription models of any kind. For those that want complete access to all the content within the game we plan to launch One-Time-Purchase packs. Our aim is to include different options to cover the varying needs of players, with packs that will include bundles, and the possibility of an Unlimited All Access pack that will give players the option to have access to all the content of the game and all future additions that will be included for the next 2 years after the time of purchase.
06.With such options as the possibility of Unlimited All Access packs that last 2 years, how long do you plan to support Operation Hellstorm?
As long as we can is the short and quick answer.
Our aim is to keep adding content to the title for at least 5 years. In which time we are hoping for some great additions from our part as it will grow into something much bigger than its initial ArenaFPS launch.
This is all a matter of community support as well however. The ideal dream-scenario will be to keep Operation Hellstorm going for nothing short of a decade. At Scionia Games we aim to support each title we create indefinitely.
Furthermore, each title we create we aim at keeping to the one iteration alone. No sequels. This means that we aim to keep a title growing in content additions and not in new versions, and if the success of a title allows it, we are open to rebuilding a game in the future to keep up with the times. Title re-builds will be simply an overhaul in graphics and quality. Content additions are an on-going process that will take place from the go regardless and not during a re-build alone.
In the event of a re-build, players will not need to do anything other than simply download and update to the new version. All their stats and collected content will be still available to them.
07.Aside from Single Player Campaigns, what other content to you plan on?
Co-Op missions (complete with proper co-op mechanics and objectives that aim to more than simply blasting away at enemies in groups).
Random Missions that can include PvE and PvP conditions with rewards.
Faction Wars and Faction Mechanics, along with Clan Wars and Tournaments.
Most important of all we do not aim to confine the title to an initial set idea and wish to add even more content after these so long as they fit into the aim and style of the title.
08.How will the balancing work for competitive play?
Everything in balancing is designed around our 3.3 Player Skill System.
Aside from that, the general core to balancing is making sure that all weapon damage and use outputs are the same and that all characters created have the same overall stats.
What we mean by this and how this works?
Each weapon type is included in the game not for a varying count of damage output, but for a varying type of attack. Each weapon is used in this way differently and for different conditions, catering to different play styles.
For example- The Doomsday Rocket Launcher has a damage output of 81DPS (65damage with 0.8 reload time), whilst the Firestorm Machine Gun has 75DPS and the Snapshot Railgun has 80DPS. This range is about the norm for all weapons, and damage output slightly changes according to the difficulty of use to each weapon as well. Whilst the Firestorm has less DPS, its velocity is much faster than a rocket launcher and almost instant on impact, with 5 shots fired per second it is much more aggressive on offense. Whilst the Snapshot has the same damage output of the Doomsday, is instant in velocity surpassing even the machine gun, however needs 1.5 seconds reload time, making it a slower weapon for more accuracy needing more skill to be used.
All weapons are balanced into an equation of what they can do. Some weapons give players a tactical advantage in the field (like the Vortex Canon, or even the Rocket Launcher for rocket-jumps) which can be a great asset for veterans. These are further balanced with reduced damage per second outputs as they lean over to utility rather than damage.
All characters are designed based on their lore.
From there on, the play-style of each character is model dependent.
Stealthier character models might have less effects or metals on them with less shine and may be smaller in size. This will make them more difficult to spot out compared to other characters and target. Their size may also increase their running speed marginally. To compensate for this model, that character will have less health and less armour.
A larger brute with strong defensive armour will be slower, much more visible, perhaps even with special effects on them depending on their technologies used, and are thus balanced out with more health and armour.
These variations however remain within initial design limits. (To humour this, you cannot see a “brute” running around the size of a building neither a stealth character the size of a squirrel, obviously).
All designs are within certain ranges and the differences in speeds, visibility and health+armour levels are small. The purpose is to give each player the ability to tweak their play-style or chose a setting closer to their likes, not to change the style of the combat itself. These marginal effects are enough to deviate a players’ range of confrontations just enough for to alter certain areas of the game-play, but not enough to change it.
For this reason specifically, as well as for the soul purpose of creating a certain immersion, there are no graphical options available the likes of bright models and bright maps. The visibility of each character is an important factor of the gameplay and (as described in the 3.3 player skill system) players will be expected to use their skills of awareness to be competitive along with everything else.
09.How does the 3.3 Player Skill System work into content creation? Are you doing something specific on this?
The 3.3 Player Skill System works into content creation in many forms.
We have included skills, items and movement mechanics into the design direction of Operation: Hellstorm for the skill system alone. The options in movement for example that a player has are worked and designed around escaping, relocating, and ways to outsmart your opponent. This means that content is derived from the skill system itself whilst it also makes the skill system more noticeable and meaningful.
All visuals from there on are all designed around the awareness skills, and so on so forth.
Weapons, characters, maps, lighting, skills, items, enhancements and game mechanics are all designed with the player skill system in mind, and so the player skill system is ultimately worked into all our content creation and many times used to create content that would not have been included in the first place had this system not been taken to account.
10.Without the option of bright models and bright maps, how can this title cater to the arenaFPS pro community?
Operation Hellstorm does not aim to change or alter existing communities neither try to cater to certain groups in specific. For this reason, the design of the game is not compromised with different markets. A reason for which one can be sure that the title they warmed up to will not change drastically to cater to another market.
With regards to pro-gameplay in itself, Operation Hellstorm includes all the Player Skill elements that a First Person Shooter can muster, however it goes one step further as it includes more Player Skill elements and focuses on increasing the importance of existing elements as well.
Pro gaming at this point and competitive play is the same as any other title really. The idea for any title to have such a character is to create a balanced and even field. At this point, all players are part of the same conditions, and player skill truly shines at this point not from the better graphical options tweaked, but from the better players that have learned to dominate within the world of Operation Hellstorm.
What communities, pro or other, deem this as a design element that is wrong, simply are a market that Operation Hellstorm unfortunately cannot cater to and will not aspire to cater to in the fear of losing its identity into becoming another common arenaFPS clone.
Pro and Competitive gaming is irrelevant to this. Bright-Models and Bright Maps cater to precision and reflex focused skill more, which is simply a different preference of play at this point.
11.Cyberdemonic themes. So is this title just another Doom?
Although one of the main descriptions includes (among others) Cyberdemonic, this is not the only style to the game and only a quarter of it. As a result Operation Hellstorm will include elements that are quite different to themes as that of Doom.
Through a more detailed look at all this, the initial title that spawned the inspiration to Operation Hellstorm is Quake 3 Arena. One of the main reasons to the fast paced combat was indeed from this title. And like Quake 3 Arena, Operation Hellstorm aims to blend hell-bent nightmare realms with sci-fi themes, however it goes much farther than that.
Each of the four initial factions (Brokk, Devrand, Propheus and Xzephon) cater to a different style of art to each other. And while the Brokk and Xzephon could be arguably compared to Quake and Doom, they too have their unique styles in them resulting in the inclusion that of Cyber-Punk and Industrial themes as well. Meanwhile, the Devrand and the Propheus take Operation Hellstorm farther still in a direction that includes Robotic and Advanced Alien themes. Far from a Doom clone, or Quake clone at that as well.
12.What kind of gameplay does Operation Hellstorm focus on?
Crazy over the top action. Fast paced adrenaline packed combat for twitch gaming.
Aside from this fast pace, the title aims at giving players controls that will allow them a freedom of movement in their environment seldom experienced today or before, with such additions as wall-running, rocket jumping, and more, all in the one title.
Competitive play aims at learning your surroundings, your opponents, and team tactics as well, but always falls back to classic arenaFPS action within each confrontation. The game allows for flexibility in some slower paced approaches at times, and well planned tactics in team games, however even those are upped in pace the moment the combat begins.
Aside from that, Operation Hellstorm aims to deliver in a diverse gameplay experience. That being, a title with many options on how it can be experienced with interesting match types to take part in and plenty of maps to master. The Match Type variations aim to offer for a larger difference in gameplay style as opposed to simply going up against enemies in solo or as a team.
13.The best of 20 years in FPS gaming. What do you mean by this?
This simply implies that Operation Hellstorm is not confined to a certain FPS era. It does not aim to re-invent classical FPS titles, neither follow the steps of modern FPS titles.
It aims to put together ideas from 20 years of FPS gaming, becoming a result of all that we have learned from First Person Shooters and mixing and matching elements from each era that work towards the direction of this title.
Many mechanics are changed completely to fit into Operation Hellstorm, spawning in a way their own style as well, as we do not restrict the title from any idea that we believe would work in it. At the same time, we do not include any idea that will not work in the title either, simply for the cause of catering to modern or classic FPS games.
14.What is your attention to the community side of the game and what is your target market?
The community for us is as important as the title itself. Understandably the absence of community importance is not an option for any online game.
Our attention to the community falls into 3 sections and in the following order. Community Quality over Quantity, Community Satisfaction and Community/Developer Interaction.
With Community Quality over Quantity we aim at releasing a title that, first of all, complies to what we ourselves would enjoy and love playing. Understandably this could result in a very specific like-minded target market, or perhaps a large one at that as well. Size is hard to predict, and a byproduct of us simply doing our job right and producing a title that we love. In this way, we do not aim at large communities, neither want to mainstream our title to current “trends” that might be present. We also do not limit our creativity with Age Ratings, meaning that yes, our title is aimed for mature audiences.
As a result, we simply do the best we can in bring our vision to life and to create a title we love. And without the soul purpose of simply having a large community, inevitably we aim at a smaller community that will result into a like-minded community. This in end helps increase the quality of a community as well, and our goal is to build and maintain a healthy community of more quality rather than quantity.
To do all this, it is important that we deliver on Community Satisfaction. This means delivering on what we say we will deliver on, and to keep doing it for years to come to increase that satisfaction.
To better help in our journey, we are also very keen on having a great interaction with our community ourselves and want to be active faces that you get to know, and not a digital-wall void of emotion and communication. Feedback is very important to us in all accounts of communication as well, and we take all ideas that are aligned with the goal of Operation Hellstorm seriously and into consideration.
To elaborate on this (aligned with the goal of OH), we obviously will not be basing our game decisions on a request for our game to become an MMO with simplified combat mechanics… Obviously.
Operation Hellstorm has a certain direction and result it aspires to accomplish, and does not aim at “selling out” to a popular opinion or trend if it is not aligned with the game. A like-minded community in this way will always help towards this direction in a very successful manner. And for this, the community we aspire towards building and being ourselves a part of is indeed very important to us.
15.What do you offer in achievements and how does game progression work?
Game progression for the first launch will be simply unlocking characters, weapons, items, skills, equipment, maps, match types and game modes, through playing and advancing through profile levels.
We aim to have a very detailed Profile System in place that keeps track of all your stats to the letter. This progression is like a Veterancy progression, and unlocks the above mentioned content.
Achievements from there on are based on all these stats, and there are achievements that are also used to unlock content. Some of that content is attainable through both Profile Progression as well as Achievements (depending which condition is met first) as a form of both player progression rewards as well as player skill rewards.
For the most part however, Achievements have their own range of rewards that are attained through completing them alone. These are mostly Character portraits, Banners, Medals, and other profile additions that other players can view when checking out your profile or when seeing you in a match (score-boards), whilst there will be an entire range of items that are available through Achievements alone as trophies (unattainable in the shop or any other means). These trophies are decorations that can be added to a players character model and visible in game. They range from medals, to armour-plates, to even more specific decorations (picture a pike on your opponents back with Skulls stuck into it).
Earning each achievement is of course a matter of either player progression (count of kills, or count of hours played, etc) or player skill (kill-streak combo, aerial kill, etc)
16.With all this future Story content in mind, aren’t you going the backward way around it through an Arena Only initial launch?
Indeed we are, and we are doing this on purpose. The reason why is two-fold.
The first is that it is a much more possible endeavour for us in terms of work needed to create the Arena Model for launch and then work on story driven campaigns as opposed to doing it the other way around. In that time we have the advantage of gaining momentum for the later parts and to building a community, something very important for an online game. The Arena is also the core of what drives this title forward as a F2P game, seeing as that Story Campaigns alone are hard to create for free and harder sill to implement a shop in them, forcing a purchase-to-play condition.
The second and most important reason is that unlike other titles, that focus story and add a multiplayer aspect to the game shaped around the content created, in the while many times over needing to rebalance this multiplayer gameplay or tend to experience limitations, we at Scionia Games want to focus on the most important part of a First Person Shooter first and get it right before moving on.
Because lets face it, the longevity of a FPS title remains always in its online play, and definitely one of the most important aspects to such a game.
Having specific game-design ideas in mind for this Arena model and a vision of how it should be, we are excited to get to finish them off first and make sure they work. It is much more important for us to get the arenaFPS side of things complete and working, before being able to move on.
17.Match Types. The basis of an arenaFPS title. What does OH offer for match types?
We are still not revealing such information as we include some innovative match-types in the equation as well we want to hold on to as a surprise.
Players can expect of course the classic additions of such match types as free for all deathmatch, team deathmatch, a form of domination, a completely new and restructured capture the flag, among more. We will be releasing such details in due time.
18.Skills, character selections, pre-match loadout selections. Does Operation Hellstorm cater to class-specific gameplay?
No. There is no class specific gameplay within Operation Hellstorm. Every player has access to the selection of 2 skills, 1 item, and 1 enhancement. 1 offensive and 1 defensive skill.
Skills are used with countdowns, and cannot be spammed. Items are limited to a certain amount per round, and enhancements use up the energy bar of a player.
The choice of skill that each player has is completely free and open. They can chose anything they wish. With keeping to 1 offensive and 1 defensive, no player can be more of one than the other. Items can be more tactical, offensive, or defensive, but their limitation in use-count limits their effect as well.
All these are used to increase the depth of the gameplay and add more possibilities for close situations and what not, as they also increase the player skill required to use different loadouts or play against them.
Lastly, there is but one condition where skills can be limited to a certain character selection. This rare condition is also designed for getting rid of class-specific-gameplay selections. Meaning, a character that is already quite stealthy will not be able to have access to a cloaking skill.
What skills will actually make it into the Arena Model are also subject to community feedback. If a skill does not work, it is simply taken out and kept for the single player purposes alone.
19.When can we expect this to go live?
Well it is a little too soon at the moment to have a date. What is it that Blizzard says? I believe it is “it will be available when it is ready” correct? Well, same thing goes here I guess :)
The game will launch ideally in Closed Alpha and Closed Beta Phases. Then move on to a much larger Open Beta phase that will take us all the way up to Gold/Full release.