Lead Designer: Firefall Is the Evolution of Tribes

Lead Designer: Firefall Is the Evolution of Tribes

Scott Youngblood finally makes his dream game.

Back in the last millennium (1998), Scott Youngblood made one of the first shooters that elevated the player into the third dimension. Starsiege: Tribes was revolutionary for its time, but Youngblood had even more in mind than just jetpacking around messing up your buddy's day with a shot to dome. His vision for Tribes included a meta-game of resource gathering and territory grabbing, but most of those features were cut to get the game shipped. Tribes 2 had prototype systems in place, but they too were scrapped. Now, nearly 15 years later, Youngblood brings all he wanted to bring to Tribes to the MMO Firefall from Red 5 Studios.

"Those early RTSs made a huge impression on me," Youngblood said, referring to games like WarCraft and Command & Conquer and how collecting resources from the game world can empower players and encourage immersion. Perhaps he sacrificed that feature to make sure the jetpacking worked, but Youngblood has changed all that with his latest game.

Very early on in Firefall - incidentally also a sci-fi shooter spiced liberally with jetpacks - you're introduced to the resource management system. The second quest I went on in my time with the beta at PAX East 2012 introduced me to collecting shiny rocks called coralite and crystite by blowing up rocks. Later, you'll be able to refine and finally craft weapons and armor from all that stuff at special crafting stations.

That's also how Red 5 plans to monetize its free to play MMO shooter. Right now - the game is still in closed beta so this will likely change - the currency players can purchase is called Red Beans. Youngblood promised that spending red beans will never make you more powerful, but will feed into the crafting system by allowing you to speed up some processes. Refining crystite may take an hour in real time, but if you spend red beans, that might be shortened to a minute.

All the equipment will come in handy because each player will likely need a lot of equipment. You see, each character can play one of 5 classes - denoted by different battleframes - at any time and you'll want different gear for each one. "I anticipate the experienced players will have a set of gear for each battleframe, as well as several loadouts for each one too," Youngblood said.

As part of demoing Firefall again, I got myself signed up for the beta. I enjoy sci-fi shooters more than military-focused ones, but I never would consider myself a fan. But given the awesome meta aspect of resource-gathering, the amazingly well-crafted aesthetic, and the fact that I'm not too terrible at it, I am looking forward to giving Firefall a whirl.

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Firefall - incidentally also a sci-fi shooter spiced liberally with jetpacks -

A liberal use of the word liberal, you have 3 seconds of jetpack juice. It recharges, but it's often not enough to even climb to a roof of a building. Which is fine but saying it's an evolution of Tribes is kind of silly at this point...

I would advise Red5 (and I should really do that on their forums but eh) to give players more jetpack power and gliders as a permanent ability (as opposed to currently needing to find a special glide thingamajig somewhere to glide for a few seconds ...), and then we can talk about how Tribesy it is.

edit: I may have sounded harsher than I wanted to, it's still in beta after all and has a very solid base for coop shooter fun.

ThreeKneeNick:
I would advise Red5 (and I should really do that on their forums but eh) to give players more jetpack power and gliders as a permanent ability (as opposed to currently needing to find a special glide thingamajig somewhere to glide for a few seconds ...), and then we can talk about how Tribesy it is.

I assume we'll see the gliders used more freely once the system has been established. After all it needs to contextually determine whether to fire the jetpack (Which sometimes really is that one inch too short) or activate the glider ... Guess that's the main issue there.

That said ... As for the Tribes comparison ... In regards to the strategy part, yes, it does have a tribesy feel. As for the movement, though, it is - as TKN said - rather slow and not too ... vertical.

ThreeKneeNick:

Firefall - incidentally also a sci-fi shooter spiced liberally with jetpacks -

A liberal use of the word liberal, you have 3 seconds of jetpack juice. It recharges, but it's often not enough to even climb to a roof of a building. Which is fine but saying it's an evolution of Tribes is kind of silly at this point...

I would advise Red5 (and I should really do that on their forums but eh) to give players more jetpack power and gliders as a permanent ability (as opposed to currently needing to find a special glide thingamajig somewhere to glide for a few seconds ...), and then we can talk about how Tribesy it is.

edit: I may have sounded harsher than I wanted to, it's still in beta after all and has a very solid base for coop shooter fun.

Remember team energy? Remember how every server always had that set to infinity with no real way to gain more when it was limited? I can see that being the building blocks. Would have added a neat dimension to the game, making teamwork even more essential, although giving trolls ease in using all the team energy and not giving back.

Seriously, Firefall is a devolution if anything. Tribes has fast paced intense gameplay, Firefall is just CoD with jetpacks and a lackluster PvE mode.

DaHero:
Seriously, Firefall is a devolution if anything. Tribes has fast paced intense gameplay, Firefall is just CoD with jetpacks and a lackluster PvE mode.

The fact you think it's anything like Call of Duty tells me you haven't played it, much less done any sort of research.

deth2munkies:

DaHero:
Seriously, Firefall is a devolution if anything. Tribes has fast paced intense gameplay, Firefall is just CoD with jetpacks and a lackluster PvE mode.

The fact you think it's anything like Call of Duty tells me you haven't played it, much less done any sort of research.

Oh believe me, I've played it, seen the numbers. It's TF2, mixed with CoD, with jetpacks.

The domination maps are nothing more than AoE spams left and right, TDM is a joke, and the PvE boils down to a knockoff of Borderlands, without the fancy gun drops. It's nowhere near as fast, or exciting, as the spinfusor/skiing that is real tribes (Ascend can burn, CoD-pleasing snipers and assault rifles). Red5 has a LOOOONNNNNNNNNG way to go before they're more than a PvP arena (in the beta, the PvE is extremely small, limited, super easy, but worse still: tacked on just recently) and even then, they'll still never "evolve" from Tribes. Now, if Red5 had called themselves an evolution of, say, Global Agenda, I would believe them, but they are nowhere near Tribes, not by a long shot, and being the next Global Agenda is the wrong way to go, by far.

DaHero:

deth2munkies:

DaHero:
Seriously, Firefall is a devolution if anything. Tribes has fast paced intense gameplay, Firefall is just CoD with jetpacks and a lackluster PvE mode.

The fact you think it's anything like Call of Duty tells me you haven't played it, much less done any sort of research.

Oh believe me, I've played it, seen the numbers. It's TF2, mixed with CoD, with jetpacks.

The domination maps are nothing more than AoE spams left and right, TDM is a joke, and the PvE boils down to a knockoff of Borderlands, without the fancy gun drops. It's nowhere near as fast, or exciting, as the spinfusor/skiing that is real tribes (Ascend can burn, CoD-pleasing snipers and assault rifles). Red5 has a LOOOONNNNNNNNNG way to go before they're more than a PvP arena (in the beta, the PvE is extremely small, limited, super easy, but worse still: tacked on just recently) and even then, they'll still never "evolve" from Tribes. Now, if Red5 had called themselves an evolution of, say, Global Agenda, I would believe them, but they are nowhere near Tribes, not by a long shot, and being the next Global Agenda is the wrong way to go, by far.

You are exactly the kind of person that shouldn't be let anywhere near a beta since you don't understand what the point of the test is. The fact that over 80% of the PvE isn't implemented yet and that PvP balance and core class design is still up in the air seems to escape you.

Even so, you're wrong about the current state. Plenty of guns/nanoprints (which can be used to craft guns and armor) drop everywhere. One light thumper gave me 2 guns and 3 nanaprints over the span of ~5-10 mins. Dread/Medic can hold down an area just as easily as 2 assaults spamming plasma shots. The fact that the engineer is the most played class in OCT right now also defeats the "AoE spam" argument, as does the fact that that is 75% of what Tribes does anyway.

But whatever, you already made up your mind on a very early build because you went in expecting a full game. That's why people like you should never be let into early betas.

A Beta is a feature complete version that hasn't been bug tested or polished. You are thinking of an Alpha. Alpha releases are not feature complete.

GoldenShadow:
A Beta is a feature complete version that hasn't been bug tested or polished. You are thinking of an Alpha. Alpha releases are not feature complete.

Actually, an alpha version is tested by the developers. The beta version is tested by someone outside of the developing team. Since it requires less knowledge and competence to be a beta tester, having a large number of them tends to ease the bug finding process. Both products are not feature-complete.

Finally, what makes Tribes tribesy is the speed and the high skill ceiling of the game caused by having no self-viable hitscan weapons other than the sniper rifles. Firefall evolving in neither of those directions, it seems like a pointless comparison. What it seems to be is an evolution on the Global agenda formula which had great ideas shunned by abysmal energy management. Everything that gets a jetpack is not a clone or a copy of Tribes.

...ok now I'm interested. I wasn't before (and I was a longtime player of Tribes 2), but this sounds... well, interesting :)

I would hope that one could trade/transfer materials, at least within teams (clans?) to emphasize the teamwork aspect. I know this cuts potential red-bean revenues off of the spreadsheet, but that's all they are - potential revenues. If a player has to make everything he/she needs to play above a beginner level, I won't be contributing to the game's revenue at all, because I don't have that kind of time, so those potential revenues become mere wishful thinking ;)

deltanium:

GoldenShadow:
A Beta is a feature complete version that hasn't been bug tested or polished. You are thinking of an Alpha. Alpha releases are not feature complete.

Actually, an alpha version is tested by the developers. The beta version is tested by someone outside of the developing team. Since it requires less knowledge and competence to be a beta tester, having a large number of them tends to ease the bug finding process. Both products are not feature-complete.

Finally, what makes Tribes tribesy is the speed and the high skill ceiling of the game caused by having no self-viable hitscan weapons other than the sniper rifles. Firefall evolving in neither of those directions, it seems like a pointless comparison. What it seems to be is an evolution on the Global agenda formula which had great ideas shunned by abysmal energy management. Everything that gets a jetpack is not a clone or a copy of Tribes.

I don't remember the last time a game changed dramatically between beta and release.

...One of the reasons WAR and Aion failed in EU/NA market.

deltanium:

GoldenShadow:
A Beta is a feature complete version that hasn't been bug tested or polished. You are thinking of an Alpha. Alpha releases are not feature complete.

Actually, an alpha version is tested by the developers. The beta version is tested by someone outside of the developing team. Since it requires less knowledge and competence to be a beta tester, having a large number of them tends to ease the bug finding process. Both products are not feature-complete.

Finally, what makes Tribes tribesy is the speed and the high skill ceiling of the game caused by having no self-viable hitscan weapons other than the sniper rifles. Firefall evolving in neither of those directions, it seems like a pointless comparison. What it seems to be is an evolution on the Global agenda formula which had great ideas shunned by abysmal energy management. Everything that gets a jetpack is not a clone or a copy of Tribes.

Take it from someone who does QA for a living. Beta is feature complete, alpha is not feature complete. The terms are just used loosely in most public betas.

Abedeus:

deltanium:

GoldenShadow:
A Beta is a feature complete version that hasn't been bug tested or polished. You are thinking of an Alpha. Alpha releases are not feature complete.

Actually, an alpha version is tested by the developers. The beta version is tested by someone outside of the developing team. Since it requires less knowledge and competence to be a beta tester, having a large number of them tends to ease the bug finding process. Both products are not feature-complete.

Finally, what makes Tribes tribesy is the speed and the high skill ceiling of the game caused by having no self-viable hitscan weapons other than the sniper rifles. Firefall evolving in neither of those directions, it seems like a pointless comparison. What it seems to be is an evolution on the Global agenda formula which had great ideas shunned by abysmal energy management. Everything that gets a jetpack is not a clone or a copy of Tribes.

I don't remember the last time a game changed dramatically between beta and release.

...One of the reasons WAR and Aion failed in EU/NA market.

tribes ascend.
1:removed hitscan.
2:removes 3 classes and ads the pieces to the others.
3:countless other changes.

deth2munkies:
self-entitlement overload, snip imperative

Wrong, I'm exactly the kind of person that should be in beta for one sole reason: I can see where the game is ACTUALLY going.

Red5 wanted to tout this big open PvE environment as their main selling point, but then they turn right around and polish up PvP, the back-end of gaming, THEN try to make a PvE map. They're also promising PvP based balances, meaning clear flavor of the month types will crop up, screwing over the real gamers that enjoy doing more than waving their shortened digit around. If they really cared about PvE, it would be the focus right now, not PvP/arena matches. THAT'S where they lost respect from me. All I see is another Global Agenda: Play tutorial island, level up a few times in the desert (which is just as open!), then queue up for PvP matches in the main city, once you're level 10 and have all the right gear. Never look back at PvE because the AI was made on the cheap side, with a basic horde mode to make things semi-interesting. Beta is when the game is pretty much set as is, and while more map areas might open up, it's clear where Red5 puts their care in.

rolfwesselius:

tribes ascend.
1:removed hitscan.
2:removes 3 classes and ads the pieces to the others.
3:countless other changes.

1: Sentinels still have hitscan, and can lock down a flag single handedly
2: Hid the weapons behind a gold level with an EXPENSIVE XP cap, making it practically pay to win (MIRV/Jackal/Throwing Knives change the whole game, and are way too expensive for a normal gamer to afford with XP, making gold a nessecity)
3: Added CoD styled weapons to please the kids, screwing over the whole concept of using the now pointless spinfusor. Made the idea of base defense laughable, since people spawn with their class, and did I mention killstreaks and SMGs?

I am really looking forward to Firefall. I signed up for the Beta (though I regrettably didn't get in), and I am really enjoying everything I've seen about the game so far.

Now, if only my computer will run it...

DaHero:

deth2munkies:
self-entitlement overload, snip imperative

Wrong, I'm exactly the kind of person that should be in beta for one sole reason: I can see where the game is ACTUALLY going.

Red5 wanted to tout this big open PvE environment as their main selling point, but then they turn right around and polish up PvP, the back-end of gaming, THEN try to make a PvE map. They're also promising PvP based balances, meaning clear flavor of the month types will crop up, screwing over the real gamers that enjoy doing more than waving their shortened digit around. If they really cared about PvE, it would be the focus right now, not PvP/arena matches. THAT'S where they lost respect from me. All I see is another Global Agenda: Play tutorial island, level up a few times in the desert (which is just as open!), then queue up for PvP matches in the main city, once you're level 10 and have all the right gear. Never look back at PvE because the AI was made on the cheap side, with a basic horde mode to make things semi-interesting. Beta is when the game is pretty much set as is, and while more map areas might open up, it's clear where Red5 puts their care in.

rolfwesselius:

tribes ascend.
1:removed hitscan.
2:removes 3 classes and ads the pieces to the others.
3:countless other changes.

1: Sentinels still have hitscan, and can lock down a flag single handedly
2: Hid the weapons behind a gold level with an EXPENSIVE XP cap, making it practically pay to win (MIRV/Jackal/Throwing Knives change the whole game, and are way too expensive for a normal gamer to afford with XP, making gold a nessecity)
3: Added CoD styled weapons to please the kids, screwing over the whole concept of using the now pointless spinfusor. Made the idea of base defense laughable, since people spawn with their class, and did I mention killstreaks and SMGs?

actually ive been playing tribes ascend for fucks know how long, and i just might disagree with you on several things.

1:i have NEVER sen a sentinal lock down a flag single handedly. EVER. and thats after dozens of hours of playing that game. oh you mean the lil claymores they put? yeah youre supposed to SHOOT those beforeyou go in, numbnuts.
2: i sort of agree with you on this(althou if you are afraid of a MIRV, you must really suck at tribes) in that the XP is a bit over expensive, but i unlocked pretty much all the classes wich come with decent weapons without gold, and i still managed to play fairly decently in my opinion. as for the jackal and throwing knives, the only prolem is that they released those without releasing stuff to counter balance them for the other classes, say a upgrade to the techs who have to deal with infs the more often..
3:spinfusor is by far the most used and useful gun in the game. any good player will tell you the assault rifles n bullet guns in Ascend SUCK. i honestly dont understand where you got this idea from. as proof, i got so frustrated that the inf came with two shitty bullet shooting guns i went n got gold to get a spinfusor for him, because it was annoying me too much, and i couldnt wait to unlock it normally. as for base defense, its pretty good if you have the right players. the orbital strike things are the only thing i agree with you here, since ther shouldnt be one at 5000 points. i can understand the 10000 one, since you wont get many of those in one game.

so summarizing, youre right about jackal because it was released alone, and killing streaks. i honestly dont get what tribes youre playing, the one i am doesnt have issues with bullet guns, and sentinel is the weakest class ofthe game.

draythefingerless:
Learn to punctuate, for your own sake.

In the Tribes: Ascend I played, Sentinels can stop Pathfinders from grabbing the flag, single-handed, with their rifle, at ludicrous distances. There is no such thing as flag chasing without a Shrike, Pathfinders and Heavies prefer the bolt launcher to the spinfusor (if they can afford to buy it), Juggernauts are up close base assault, instead of artillery, infiltrators can kill anyone they want to with the Jackal/Throwing Knives, and there's never any incentive to defend the generator.

The first thing I thought of when I read the title was "I want to go play Tribes" and I did

*disappears*

deltanium:

GoldenShadow:
A Beta is a feature complete version that hasn't been bug tested or polished. You are thinking of an Alpha. Alpha releases are not feature complete.

Actually, an alpha version is tested by the developers. The beta version is tested by someone outside of the developing team. Since it requires less knowledge and competence to be a beta tester, having a large number of them tends to ease the bug finding process. Both products are not feature-complete.

Finally, what makes Tribes tribesy is the speed and the high skill ceiling of the game caused by having no self-viable hitscan weapons other than the sniper rifles. Firefall evolving in neither of those directions, it seems like a pointless comparison. What it seems to be is an evolution on the Global agenda formula which had great ideas shunned by abysmal energy management. Everything that gets a jetpack is not a clone or a copy of Tribes.

Incorrect. There are often closed alpha testing with people outside the dev team. I've even been on alpha testing teams for a few games. In fact any good video game designer should start game testing as soon as possible, before the alpha phase even.

well regardless of what pre-existing labels anyone wants to put on it...it is a rather good game even when not a lot of it is there atm.

PS. its Unreal Tournament crossed with Dune crossed with Starship Troopers mmmkay :P

 

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