Steam Trading Cards and emoticons

Steam Trading Cards for Perpetuum are now available!

If you are a Steam-dweller you probably know what these are, but here is a quick recap:

Playing Perpetuum on Steam will give you trading cards from time to time (every 30 minutes of gameplay to be exact). A set consists of 5 cards, and you can get half of this (rounded up, so 3) by simply playing.

The other half (and more) can be acquired by in-game purchases (Perpetuum Credits) or via the Steam community market. (I'll quote the Steam Trading Card FAQ here: "For every $9 USD spent (approximate) (...), you will earn one card drop. This card will drop at some point as you play.")

Completing a card set will earn you a badge, a random emoticon and profile background, and other stuff.

Summary:

  • 5 trading cards
  • 5 badge levels (plus 1 foil badge)
  • 5 profile backgrounds (3 common, 1 uncommon, and 1 rare)
  • 10 emoticons (6 common, 3 uncommon, 1 rare)

Happy card hunting!

Snowy stuff!

Good news! The annual make-your-wallet-cry winter festivities are underway!

Perpetuum is available at 75% off, credit packs and ICE at 50%, and you can even save 10% on the new premium packs and upgrade kits. This is true for both the Steam store and our own store, where the upgrade kits are also available since yesterday.

As mentioned in the previous blog post, the base game will receive a permanent price drop to 9.99 EUR/USD, and now I can also tell you that this will happen when the sale ends on January 4.

On behalf of the DEV team we wish you Happy Holidays!

Today we're introducing new premium packages and upgrade kits for Perpetuum. Our main goal here is to be able to reach a wider audience by permanently reducing the price of the base game, while still providing something extra for those who are willing to support us beyond that.

The upgrade kits contain varying amounts of Extension Points, Perpetuum Credits, Alien Improbability Devices, and also exclusive new sparks, and the Perpetuum original soundtrack.

These kits are organized into the above mentioned premium packages, which include the base game plus one or both of the kits - the picture below should give you a nice breakdown.

Premium packages

You might also notice that the base game will come with 200 credits and 1 AID from now on, in order to provide a less bumpy road for new players.

Of course the individual upgrades are also available outside of the premium packages. So if you are an older player, you can also purchase these in any combination* and enjoy the same goodies like someone getting a whole premium package for the first time as a new player. (Hence the name "Upgrade Kit".)

* Each upgrade kit can be purchased only once for each Perpetuum account.

Upgrade Kit Zero
Upgrade Kit One

Pricing

Soon after the introduction of the premium packages, the base game (aka. "Standard Edition") will undergo a permanent price reduction and will be available for only 9.99 USD/EUR.

Both Upgrade Kits go for the same 9.99 price tag if purchased separately, and if you decide for one of the premium packages, you'll enjoy a few bucks off on the package price compared to the individual prices. The Premium Edition goes for 18.99 (save about 5%) and the Superior Edition for 27.99 (save about 7%).

Note that these packages are currently available on Steam only, but we'll offer them in our own store soon as well.

Head over to our Steam store page to check them out now!

ICE & Winter Sale

We’ve been thinking quite a lot about whether we should bring back ICE, and if so, in what form. Based on the forums, most of you would like to have it back too, so we finally decided that the most straightforward thing to do of course is to make it give credits.

I.C.E.

For those of you not familiar with ICE (now called Instant Credit Extender instead of Integration Cycle Extender, hooray for multipurpose acronyms!): it’s an item that you can purchase for real money (costs the same as a 2400 credit pack), which gives you an ingame ICE item that can be traded on the market. If you activate it ingame, it gives 2400 credits to your account. The trick is of course that those who don’t want or can’t spend real money on credits but have the NIC to spend can this way obtain credits too.

Some of you have also suggested that there should be smaller credit packs too, because sometimes a pack of 2400 credits can be too much if you just want to downgrade a few extensions. So starting today, we’ll also offer tiny packs of 200 Perpetuum Credits. If this is received well and ICE also works out, we’ll consider doing a smaller version of ICE too, providing 200 credits. And not just because then we can have vanilla ICE and ICE (ice) baby.

To celebrate the return of ICE and of course the Holidays, we’ll have a Winter sale along with the Steam Holiday sale, where the base game and all credit products (including ICE) will be 33% off.

The New PvE - Random Assignments

So, let’s start this. I’ll tell you in advance that this will be a big change that not only affects assignments but general gameplay too, so one blog won’t be enough. But we have to begin somewhere.

Just to get you up to speed, the second stage of our assignment system revamp is about making the assignments themselves random, meaning that you still choose the type of the assignment, but the exact objectives and locations are generated randomly when you request it.

Currently there is a big problem with the number of available assignments at a specific location. Although we have over 500 hand-crafted assignments, this number gets so diluted due to all the terminals, levels, and assignment types, that we are sometimes left with only 4-5 assignments in the final random pool. And that means a lot of repetition.

The main advantage of having a random assignment system is two-fold:

  • For you, it provides for a varied gameplay experience, providing just an ample amount of uncertainty, without stumbling into the exact same assignments over and over.
  • For us, it frees up a lot of content development power. A properly done template system allows us to simply add a new objective to the pool, and the system will automatically include it in all future assignment assembly requests, exponentially increasing the number of possible assignments.

The assignment template system

Assembling an assignment from a template

So in the new system, instead of creating specific assignments with specific objectives, we only create assignment template schemes. This means that we only set the type of objectives, like “destroy N number of X type NPC”, not specific NPCs, numbers, or locations. Of course we still have to create a number of different templates for all types of assignments (combat, industrial, transport, etc.), but this can’t be compared to the man hours we need to create fixed assignments.

Due to the generative nature of this template system, we can also easily create relations between the number and difficulty of the tasks that get included in the assignment, and the rewards that you’ll get for them. Naturally, this makes balancing changes a lot easier too: a simple reward multiplier that is based on the request location zone can easily add an additional risk reward for beta assignments, while still using the same templates as alpha islands.

Sidenote: There is a certain room for randomness in templates too, but the objectives usually build upon each other and their order must be logical, so that would need a lot of rules which ultimately might not even pay off compared to fixed templates. Even with fixed templates there are a lot of pitfalls that we have to address, like linking together loot and dropoff objectives so they provide and request the same random item.

Another complaint that keeps popping up about assignments is that the walking time to get to and from an assignment is a lot of times longer that the actual time it takes to complete it. The new system employs a combination of various new mechanics to fight this.

For one, when you request a new assignment, the objectives from the random pool will be picked by considering a distance limit from the request location. To be more precise, the first objective will consider the distance from the request location, the second objective from the first objective, and so on. Assignments basically become a daisy chain of objective locations that randomly send you around the world, but with reasonable walking times between them.

Picking assignment objectives on the island using a distance limit - click for a larger version

Assignment terminals

Another new feature that we’re planning are called assignment terminals. These are small buildings scattered around islands that (as their main role) function as assignment request and delivery points. (We are calling them kiosks internally, this is what you see on the diagrams.)

The advantage of these small terminals is that it doesn’t matter if you have wandered too far off from a main terminal, you’ll always have a small assignment terminal nearby where you can request a new assignment, without having to break the action too much.

And finally, there is the idea of providing a teleport home option at these assignment terminals. This would be only offered for a fixed time after you completed an assignment, to give you the possibility of loading off your loot at the main terminal or generally finishing an assignment-running session.

Even more uses

The above are generally meant to make doing assignments more dynamic, but we also plan to give these terminals more, important roles, and these will affect gameplay in general.

  • They will function as persistent, private storage facilities on the terrain. You can drop anything from your cargo into them and they will keep them indefinitely and securely. Assignments will also use them to provide any starting or reward items.
  • They will also make you able to re-equip your robot while on the terrain, using either modules from their storage or from your cargo. This function will probably have the largest impact on the way you play Perpetuum.

So as you can see we have a large part of it worked out, but there are still a few things hanging in the air, mostly related to specific objective types and how they can work together with the template system.

NPC spawns in general are also slated for a revamp that would make us able to create real mixed spawns that work together as a single group, and to solve the orange spawn/red spawn/kiting/AI issues, but that’s already for another time.

Closing Notes

We’re also trying to work out why some of you experience serious lag and disconnects and others not. Unfortunately we’re still tapping in the dark since we can’t reproduce it either, and it’s hard to fix something if you don’t know the cause (assuming that it is a problem with our server). Some internal measurement tools are in the works, which could possibly find their way into the live client as well.

On behalf of the Dev team, we wish you Happy Holidays!

So gamma islands are back, you’ve been busy there for 3 weeks already. With the expected small hotfixes out of the way we can say that we’re happy with how things went down, we hope you’re having a good time too.

This brings me to the main announcement of this blog. As outlined in the previous status report, once we’re looking at a stable gamma system, we’re ending our Early Access phase on Steam.

Originally the EA phase was meant to be quite short, basically to make sure that our new servers work as they should and our integration with Steam is flawless. But because of the removal/revamp of gamma islands the game has lost a large chunk of its content, we decided to extend EA until it’s finished. Of course we could still wait until we’re done with the mission system revamp, and with new PvE content, and the new engine, and and and… but that would be a vicious cycle and we’d be stuck in there forever. With the new changes of the Steam UI it has also become even less desirable to stay in Early Access for longer than absolutely necessary, simply from a visibility standpoint.

So with that said, we’re officially launching on Steam this Friday, the 17th of October. And as it is the case with all newly launching games, Perpetuum will be -10% off for a week.

Of course this won’t really change much from a development perspective, we’re continuing on the road we have laid out and keep improving the game.

New mineral system

We’re also planning a small patch for this Thursday (version 3.5.2), with a few bug fixes, and something that we wanted to do for a while now. This is a reworked mineral spawning system, which won’t mean too much difference in gameplay at first, but it makes our lives easier and it’s also more optimal for the server and the database.

To get a bit more technical, mineral fields so far have been generated and stored in raw bitmaps, and “fields” as a concept did not actually exist. Minerals in ground tiles had no connection to each other, and we couldn’t tell whether two tiles belonged to the same mineral field or not. This made it practically impossible to create rules and mechanics that would affect a whole mineral field.

With the new system, fields are node-based and are stored hierarchically in the database, which makes it very easy to let a whole field despawn without any residue after a certain time for example.

The system is very different compared to the current one, which will result in all the mineral fields being reset, so please be aware of this.

From a balancing standpoint we’ll also take this opportunity and make the faction-specific mineral difference even more significant, going from a 1:1.5 ratio of non-faction:faction minerals on an island to a 1:2 ratio.

Intrusion and gamma changes

Two relatively small but very significant changes will happen here, based on forum feedback and our observations, which will be deployed in the patch after the next one (3.5.3).

The change related to gamma islands is that we’ll be lifting the limit of 3 terminals per island. We have anticipated this change and mentioned before gammas were opened that we’re playing it safe but this might happen, but now we’re sure it has to go. The remaining terminal-to-terminal range limit and the red no-build areas should be enough to provide a soft limit for the number of terminals on an island.

The change to intrusions will bring an end to the automatic stability increase of beta outposts, and will require the owner corporation to complete their own SAP events as well. This will be the only way to increase the stability of outposts; if an event happens without any interaction then the stability will remain unchanged. Attacking corporations completing SAP events will of course still reduce stability, like they do now. As a result of this change, intrusion events should be more fast-paced and straightforward as defenders won’t have to stand around for two hours waiting for someone to come, but it will also require more effort to keep an outpost stable.

Robot balancing

We’re preparing a larger balancing patch that affects pretty much every robot in the game. The general aim is to boost light and assault class robots, and to stimulate or rather make room for a larger variance in weapon and module choices for all robots.

Listing all the changes specifically would be too much for this blog, but here are the main points:

  • Light and assault bots get additional head and/or leg slots.
  • They also get a slight CPU and reactor boost...
  • ...and a 25% mass increase, so equipped modules don’t affect their speed that much.
  • The current faction-specific weapon damage bonus of all combat robots will be changed to a combination of a larger general weapon damage bonus plus a smaller faction-specific weapon damage bonus. This means that your robot will be less “crippled” when using weapons other than its faction-specific ones.
  • Weapon-specific bonuses of assaults and mechs will be size-independent, so assaults will receive bonuses for medium weapons, and mechs for light weapons too.
  • All robots will receive an extra bonus that is either connected to their intended role or their faction.
  • We’d like to emphasize the scout role of light combats, so they receive a detection bonus.
  • Combat assaults receive an optimal range bonus in order to take on longer-ranged mechs more easily.
  • Light EWs get a small bonus to their faction-specific weapon cycle times to increase their combat capabilities a bit.
  • Combat mechs should be as agile as possible on the battlefield, so they receive a bonus to demobilizer resistance.
  • EW mechs’ main role is to disrupt from the distance, this means an EW module optimal range bonus for them.
  • Combat heavy mechs, being the slow fortresses they are, receive a small survivability boost with the help of armor resistance bonuses.
  • Industrial light robots get an accumulator capacity bonus giving them more working stability or even survivability, depending on their loadout.
  • Industrial mechs will be pushed more towards a combat support role with remote support module and sensor strength bonuses, while still retaining their primary mining and harvesting bonuses.
  • We’re also making indy heavy mechs a bit more sturdy with a bonus to their armor amount.
  • It’s not all that bright of course, so don’t be surprised if there will be also nerfs to some robots’ specific bonuses.

Mk2 robots have special bonuses and those will stay as they are, but basically Mk2s (and other special variants like prototypes) will get the same treatment as their normal counterparts.

These can still change as we will still go through all of these modifications again in the coming week. It will also hit the public test server first since we’re of course curious about your feedback too, so we don’t have an exact schedule for this other than “soon”.

Closing

Although this report is mainly about the impending and shortly upcoming changes, don’t forget that the larger updates outlined in the September and May status reports are still in effect. So the next blog post should tell you more about the incoming second stage of our mission system revamp. Or maybe another one inbetween about the teleport and highway network revamp?