BATTLECRUISER ONLINE FAQ

Last Updated : 05/21/03 During the development of BCO, this FAQ will be updated regularly to reflect new design changes and revisions right up to its release. Entries in light green are new entries.

MISCELLANEOUS

Q. WHAT IS BATTLECRUISER ONLINE, BCO? A. BCO is the massively multiplayer online version of Battlecruiser Generations, with several exciting new features and enhancements. Q. WHAT ARE THE SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS FOR BCO? A. Go to the BCO Product Info page. Q. HOW WILL IT BE DISTRIBUTED? A. There will be two distribution models depending on release territory and targeted marketing Q. IS THIS MULTI-PLAYER ONLY? A. No. BCO will ship with an off-line single-player training component. This module will prepare newbies to the BC world, as a well as hardcore fans, to prepare for the strange new online worlds. Once you are confident that you have mastered the basic controls and various play options, you can then login to the multiplayer servers, setup an account and begin your online career. Q. DOES IT REQUIRE A BROADBAND CONNECTION TO PLAY? A. No. BCO is designed for player connections ranging from 56K dial-up modem connections to high-end cable or DSL connections. Q. WHERE WILL IT BE HOSTED? A. BCO will be hosted via the BATTLECRUISER.NET portal. Q. WILL INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS BE ABLE TO PLAY? A. Yes. The plan is to have servers in various parts of the USA including strategic countries in Asia, Europe, Middle East and Australiasia via our deployment partners. Q. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO PLAY? A. Once you have bought the product, there will be a monthly fee to play. There will also be discounts for periods that are paid for in advance. Q. WILL BCO BE TARGETED AT THE HARDCORE NICHE CROWD ONLY? A. It depends on the career choice you make and your starting planet. If you are just playing as a marine assigned to a planetary base, all you need to know is how to use your arsenal. If you choose to move up the ranks and aspire to attain Commander rank with access to a carrier, then you have your work cut out for you. Unless you are an experienced BC player, get ready to die. A lot. Q. IS BCO PURELY SCI-FI LIKE PREVIOUS BC GAMES? A. Yes. No Orcs. No Elves. No Fairies. Just military and non-military castes in a sci-fi setting Q. WHEN WILL IT BE RELEASED? A. Its READY when its ready, and right now it ain't ready! Q. WILL THERE BE A PUBLIC BETA TEST? A. Yes.

GAMEPLAY

Q. IS BCO SET IN THE BC GALAXY? A. Yes. BCO uses the same established galaxy as previous Battlecruiser titles. Unlike other MMOG space games, you have access to over 300+ planets and moons all scattered across 25 star systems. The server you login to, determines what portion of the galaxy (hence its star systems, planets and moons) you have access to. If you've played previous BC titles, then you already know the freedom to expect. And due to the plug 'n play nature of the BC galaxy, there will be a new galaxies added to BCO as the product progresses. Q. WHAT PLAY MODE AND UNIT CHOICES WILL I HAVE? A. This depends on the chosen caste and career. BCO takes the RPG angle a lot further than previous BC titles. Character development is primary to your survival. And just as in previous BC titles, your race, caste, career and unit choices are very, very extensive. In fact, three new careers will be added. Station Commander, Base Commander and Naval Commander. This gives a total of nine careers in BCO, in addition to the thirteen alien nations and over twenty-five playable castes. And when the careers and caste combinations are combined (e.g. Terran/Raider), you have a vast array of sub-careers which in fact, make the caste choice itself a career in its own right (e.g. Terran/Assassin/Commander) Q. DOES BCO SUPPORT A SKILL BASED SYSTEM? A. Yes. Unlike previous BC titles, BCO will support a skill based system for all careers. Q. DOESN'T A SKILL BASED SYSTEM MEAN SCRIPTED INPUT? A. Not really. The action and combat in BCO are not rule based like other MMOG titles. All actions occur in real time. Your skill is only relevant in certain situations and even then, it is still processed in real time. Q. WILL FLIGHT CONTROL STILL SUPPORT JOYSTICKS? A. Yes! There are no plans to remove joystick support. While a joystick is NOT required, gamers used to using this device for flight control, will still be able to use them. By the same token, BCO will also support revised control schemes for keyboard and mouse users - meaning that you won't require a joystick for flight control. Q. BC TITLES DO NOT SUPPORT USER CONTROLLED NAVAL UNITS, WILL BCO SUPPORT THEM? A. Yes. The Naval Commander career will have access to control of naval units including submarines, carriers and other submersibles. Q. WILL DIFFERENT PLAYERS BE ABLE TO OCCUPY DIFFERENT UNIT LOCATIONS? A. Yes. For example a four vehicle, will allow four players at a time. A carrier capable of handling up to 100 personnel, can carry up to 100 players. In positions that are non-command, e.g. you are just a passenger hitching a ride, you will simply have an outside view of the world, as the craft hurtles through space or a planet. Q. WILL I BE ABLE TO PLAY IN FIRST PERSON A. Yes. All career modes offer first person perspective. Just like previous BC titles which support this, you will be able to enter/exit vehicles and crafts at will. Q. DOES FIRST PERSON REQUIRE FRANTIC QUAKE-LIKE SKILLS? A. Yes and no. It depends on what planet you are on and what race, caste, career you are playing. Obviously, if you are a marine, then you are seemingly aggressive by nature. As a trader, you are not. Q. IS BCO PURELY ABOUT COMBAT? A. It depends on the race and career choice, as well as the planet or star system you are in. While combat will definitely play a role in your existence, you don't have to engage in combat, nor should you be afraid to run into players who would otherwise kill you. Several planets are protected by very powerful roaming NPC patrols which protect all bases and cities with Security Level 2 or higher. This means that as long as you are within the base or city limits, you are safe. In fact, any player who draws a weapon within these zone limits, will get arrested and detained. Resisting arrest usually leads to a quick and sudden death. Q. WILL THE REPUTATION SYSTEM HAVE PENALTIES FOR A HIGH REP CHARACTER A. I haven't fully completed the specs on the RepSys yet. But, from my notes, I don't plan on having a system where one player with a low rep, has to trade with a player of high rep, because the low rep player can't get those items. Thats just plain nonsense. RepSys won't have any restrictions on what a player can obtain. It just paints a bullseye on your back. Then of course, you have the bounty hunters (Mercenary players) to worry about. I mean, look at it this way. If you have a low rep (trust me, this is bad) because you've been bad, you shouldn't be able to show your anywhere but amongst your kind. However, if you meet up on a high rep player, who is stupid enough to come within firing range of you, he deserves to die - as that is the only circumstance under which high and low rep players would come into contact. Q. IF KILLING LOW REP PLAYERS IS BAD, WHAT DOES A HIGH REP PLAYER DO THEN? A. Just because you have a high rep, doesn't mean you have a license to kill. Of course you can, but the quandry is yours. Q. WHATS THE SECURITY LEVEL THEN? A. This determines the type of society in that city or base. The higher the security level, the more secure the area is. Q. DO I GET A VEHICLE OR CRAFT WHEN I START A CAREER? A. It depends on the career. A fighter pilot would start off assigned to a planetary base or space station; while a marine would most likely have to requisition a vehicle from his superiors at the planetary base. Q. HOW DOES THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM WORK, IF I DON'T HAVE A VEHICLE? A. There will be a full blown intra-system and inter-system transportation system. Since all planetary cities, bases as well as space cities and stations are in unique locations, you can hop a ride on a shuttle or other transport system to move between locations on the planet, in space, or between the two. This will be a fee based system depending on your destination, reputation and security clearance. For example, unless you have a high security clearance, regardless of who you are, or how wealthy you are, you won't be allowed to transit from the planet to a city or station in space. Another example is that Police caste players, can travel freely without any charge, but going from a planet to space would still require a high security clearance. Also, just because you were wealthy enough to buy a ship, does not mean you are going to be allowed to leave the planet whenever you feel like it. Of course, you are welcome to try - after all, all BC titles allow you to experiment with inventive ways of circumventing the system. I won't make it impossible, but I definitely won't make circumventing the system impossible. BC gamers are very creative, so I expect that if there's a way, they'll find it. And if they do, and it doesn't threaten game balance issues, I won't plug the hole.

You can also use DJPs same as in BCM. Q. HOW ARE UNITS REPRODUCED? A. They are created based on resources allocated to the city or base. For example a planetary base created when the server is started, can have a set amount of units which can be requisitioned by players assigned to that base. If they are destroyed, they can be repaired or replaced when the base gets it new supplies (periodically). Q. DO CITIES AND BASES HAVE DEFENSE SYSTEMS? A. Yes. There are are lot defense systems which include fixed and mobile Surface to Air Missile systems, as well as powerful Surface To Orbit missile silos. There are also several ICBM silos used for planet wide target prosecution. Submarines are also capable of launching ICBMS at land based targets. Even Fleets and Corporations who build their own bases or cities from scratch, can either purchase or manufacturer their own defense systems - or even hire NPCs (marines, police etc) to defend their cities and bases. Q. WHAT HAPPENS IF OUR ENTIRE CITY/BASE IS DESTROYED BY HOSTILE PLAYERS OR NPCS? A. Like in previous BC titles, anything that is destroyed, can be repaired or replaced. So, you can either assign repair crews to rebuild the destroyed units and buildings or you just purchase new ones and replace them. For example, if a base was under attack and lost all its SAM units, they can all be replaced or repaired, before the next wave of attack occurs. Q. WILL WE STILL BE ABLE TO NUKE PLANET BASED TARGETS FROM SPACE? A. Yes. But remember - if you can see them, they can see you. Surface To Orbit missiles do not miss their target. And orbital entry will be implemented in BCO in order to ensure that you are acquired and possibly destroyed if you are in orbit. Q. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I DIE? A. Your clone will be created at a city or base of your affiliation. This is the same as cloning your crew members who die. You will lose everything that you are carrying at the time, but your skills will remain unaffected. Be warned though that you will only be allowed a certain number or resurrections before you are forced to create a new character from scratch. Q. WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CONNECTION SUDDENLY DROPS? A. When you reconnect, you will be situated at the same place you were when you disconnected.

COMMUNITY

Q. WILL THERE BE LIVE GAME MASTER'S? A. Yes. Most of the official Beta testers and development team will be online as GMs Q. WILL THERE BE REAL TIME EVENTS GENERATED BY GAME MASTERS? A. Yes. GMs will have the ability to create missions and scenarios on-the-fly and in real time, using the advanced scripting system (stackless Python based) developed for BCO. Q. HOW DOES BCO HANDLE PLAYER GUILDS? A. It doesn't. Instead, it has fleets and corporations which cater to specific career castes. For example, a group of traders, and explorers in a corporation can pool their resources to extend their reach across the planet as well as the stars. Fleets allow players in hostile castes (e.g. mercenaries, raiders) to band together and wage war on other Fleets or corporations. Q. CAN I COMMAND A FLEET? A. Yes you can - if you have played long enough to achieve a higher rank. At which point, depending on your alliance, you will be able to convince other players or NPCs to become a part of your fleet. As in previous BC games with fleet support, you will be complete control of your fleet. Q. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF JOINING A FLEET, CORPORATION OR SIMILAR ALLIANCE? A. BCO is heavily into community based gameplay. As such, you will get a more enjoyable playing experience if you are a member of an alliance. Also, the system will allocate EPs, ranks, credits etc to all fleet members engaging in certain actions, missions etc. e.g. if your fleet responds to a distress call by an NPC or player and you succeed in assisting, all fleet members present at the resolution, will be awarded based on rank and participation. Q. WHAT IF A PLAYER IN MY FLEET DOES'NT FOLLOW MY ORDERS? A. As a fleet leader, you have to come up with your own disciplinary actions. You can either deduct their EPs, reduce their rank, suspend them from the fleet or outright eject them from the fleet. There may be an option to request a court-martial of a fleet member, but this will depend on your alliance. e.g. only military castes and affiliations have this concept. Q. WHAT ABOUT POLITICS THEN? A. What about it? BCO is set in the BC galaxy. The political climate will remain uncompromised. However, I am not going to stifle the will of the gamers by forcing them to stick to stringent ideologies. If I did, then it wouldn't be a BC title. This means that for example, if a group of Terran Insurgents decide that they are going to leave harmoniously with a group of Terran Military outcasts on some deserted planet or moon they found, I won't prevent it. But am sure everyone would be sleeping with one eye open. However, a group of player's deciding that, globally, the Vesperons and the Empirians are going to share Polaris 2 and live happily ever after, are going to have a hard time explaining that one to the NPCs and getting them to co-operate. Lets put it this way; I don't want to be there when that happens. Q. HOW IS PLAYER KILLING HANDLED IN BCO? A. This is a very controversial subject. The BC series has always been noted for its freeform nature. Therefore, there will be NO restrictions on PvP engagements. Anyone willing to be pay me $10 a month to play my game, can do what the hell he/she likes, as long as the integrity of the game is not compromised. If you are skillful enough to get a group of your friends together and assault a trading outpost, so be it. Serves them right. Next time, they'll build better defense systems rather than worrying about the price of rice. However, because BCO models a reputation based system, the more lower level players you kill, the worse your reputation gets - and the more likely security NPCs are to shoot you on sight.

ECONOMICS

Q. CAN I OWN PROPERTY OR A BUSINESS? A. Yes. Traders can own shops and buildings, complete with goods. Players who form a corporation and pool their resources together effectively, can build a city, a base or even a space station. Because the engine supports it, you can build on a planet surface, under water or in space. If a group of players pool their resources together, they can also purchase large pieces of property from NPCs whose sole purpose it is to assist in population control. However, only certain castes can build and/or own property. e.g. colonists, explorers and traders are more likely to obtain construction permits than a bunch of lawless mercenaries. Q. HOW IS TRADING HANDLED? A. You can trade with NPCs or players in a traditional barter or financial exchange fashion. Q. HOW IS REAL ESTATE HANDLED? A. Thats a good question. The game world and galaxy will have enough cities, bases and units, to server the server limits of 1000 players. Due to the size of the galaxy, even if each of these players were rich enough to build a city of their own, the world will never run out of real estate. And if it does? Well, thats why, from day one, you develop a system that takes this into consideration. So, I'll just spend a day building a new planet, populating it, dropping in all the necessities (NPCs, bases etc), find a place to put it, upload it to the server, and go back to chewing bubble gum. Besides, you can build on the ground, under ground, under water, on water, in the air, in space. So, I don't think a planet is going to run out of real estate very quickly. However, there will be limits in order to prevent over crowding. There will be limits on how much property a player can own and operate. So, just because you can afford it, doesn't mean that you are going to get security permits to build five space stations out in space. As for population, you will only have 1000 players per server, so the system hosted on that server, will be designed to handle that many from day one. Remember that one very powerful server, can host several worlds, so, have a dual or quad processor box, serving five systems (5000 players) is very feasible. In short, you'll never run out of places to go. And if the galaxy gets too crowded? Well then, I'll just build another on and find a link point for it in the existing galaxy. So, for example, I could create a brand new galaxy and stick a worm hole at, say Actis V, that links both galaxies. And the second galaxy would most likely be on a completely different server. Q. WILL I BE ABLE TO SELL ITEMS ON AUCTION SITES? A. Yes. You paid to get that far. As such, you can sell items in order to recoup your investment. Makes no difference to me, as long as it doesn't ruin the game for others. If you own it, you can sell it, trade it, or give it away - in the game or external to the game. So if you've worked hard and built a station and want to sell it, you can do with. I won't stop you. Q. WILL I BE ABLE TO PURCHASE UNITS FROM 3000AD? A. Yes. I have plans to allow gamers who have played for a few months, to pay up to build certain sites for them. For example, a player or group of players who just wants to build a station, can put in an order. We will then sell them a plot of land, build the station and hand it over to them. From that point on, its yours to do with as you please. Because buildings, cities, sites etc, don't get removed (just like in BCM), but instead, get rebuilt, even if your brand new station gets blown up, you can just pay engineers to rebuild it. Or, again, pay us to rebuild it. You also have the option to hire NPC defense units to protect your station. And of course, if the station belongs to a guild of players, then naturally those players would be defending their base with their lives.

TECHNOLOGIES

Q. PREVIOUS BC TITLES DID NOT SUPPORT INDOOR ENVIRONMENTS, WILL BCO SUPPORT THIS? A. Yes. BCO will have an engine extension which supports indoor rendering. This will allow you to enter planetary buildings as well as space stations in first person perspective. Q. WILL I BE ABLE TO ENGAGE INTRUDERS WHO BOARD MY CAPITAL SHIP? A. If BCO ships with indoor levels for the capital ship in question, yes. However, due to the tremendous amount of work involved, this component may only appear later in the form of an add-on. Q. CAN I TRAVEL ACROSS SYSTEMS HOSTED ON DIFFERENT SERVERS? A. Yes. Since the world is already connected using jump anomalies, you can. For example, if Sol is hosted on Server A and Sirius is hosted on Server B, jumping from Sol (via the Jupiter wormhole) would take you to server that is hosting the Lyrius system, IF that target server is online and has not reached its player limits. And if you do change, depending on whats going on at the target server, switching may affect your ping. However, only capital ships commanded by players with high security levels, will be allowed to server hop. You can view the galaxy map online. Q. HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO PLAY ON A SERVER? A. Due to the immense size of the galaxy, the plan is to have several linked servers host portions of the galaxy. Due to the size of the planets and space regions, the 1000 players per server rule established, is more than enough to ensure that no overcrowding occurs. Q. WILL BCO SUPPORT THE SEAMLESS SPACE AND PLANETARY TRAVERSAL AS IN PREVIOUS BC TITLES? A. Yes. If you are playing a career with access to a craft, you will still be able to move seamlessly between space and planetary worlds, just as you could in all previous BC titles. No limits. If you are playing a career that is surface bound, e.g. a marine, then you can hitch a ride on the NPC controlled transports which move between star systems or use a DJP. Several planets have regular shuttles that go to specific planets at specific times. So, for example, if you know that there is a shuttle between Earth and Mars that runs every hour on the hour, you can plan your travels according to this schedule. Also, in BCO, some DJPs will link you to different planets, not just the current planet. Q. WILL THERE BE BUDDY LISTS AND MESSAGE FILTERS? A. Yes. You will have buddy lists which tell you if your friends are online or not. And if they are online, you can tell exactly where in the galaxy or what server, they are on. You can also send them email from inside BCO in case they are not online. And they too can send you email even if you are in the game. This way, you don't have to close the game in order to monitor your normal email account.

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