With the latest release of Dodgeball bringing it up to a decent quality its time to think about where it should end up when it comes out of Early Access and beyond. Im dividing this up into two sections. The first is a set of features that will most probably be in the final version, and the second section is for features that might not come into the game at all, or might only be half completed. This is of course subject to change and some features might be removed if they aren’t necessary or if there isn’t a demand for them.
Using dedicated servers hosted only by myself, ranked matches would allow for more secure online play where you could get recorded stats when playing online. This would display a rank when you’re playing so you can show off how good (or bad) you are. This will probably be XP based so the longer you play the higher the rank, but the better you play the more you’d rank up. Players would have a ‘user profile’ which displays when hovering over so you can also see their playtime. Each rank allows you to unlock character customisation abilities such as hats or icons that can be put on your characters chest. I think its also worth noting that this feature wouldn’t be available forever. As servers cost money they’d be taken down eventually but id probably just allow customisation with all things unlocked as default so there won’t be a need to level up. But ill do this change depending on the player count.
As mentioned above, you’d be able to unlock custom clothing items such as hats by playing ranked matches, these items could then be applied to your character in a menu which you can then show off in any matches you play in the future.
This is under further consideration and might be removed in favour of players just finding games themselves through the server browser. But if kept in players might use this option to automatically find and join games which aren’t ranked and therefore cannot earn XP. This would also take into account party size and would keep players on the same team. If a game couldn’t be found it automatically hosts a game which others can join. This is similar to how games like Call of Duty do their online part of the game. This would be more prone to cheating therefore you couldn’t be able to rank up.
I can’t confirm exactly what gamemodes will be added, but there will certainly be more than there are currently to add a bit more variety. Other gamemodes need to be further refined to and when creating a custom game it will use these settings as default unless you decide to change them.
More & Improved Maps
Just a few more maps to make things interesting. As from testing ive found that most people would prefer more gamemodes as maps don’t add a lot more in terms of gameplay. This will also need a refinement for other maps, for example Lava currently has floating platforms, whereas they should really be a bit more ‘realistic’, but actually having more planned out good looking maps will be used in the future.
There are some usability & gameplay issues still present in the game, but these are getting sorted in every build slowly. By the end of Early Access I expect most of the big ones to be fixed. Although inevitably bugs will remain but these will also be fixed after being released.
For a while ive considered the possibility of adding a VR mode to Dodgeball, more of an internal experiment for myself. This would form a separate playlist to the non-VR stuff so that players couldn’t mix online and either one have an advantage other another. Although I might allow the mix in a custom game. This could be something added in the future but not something officially supported. If its easy enough to implement I might put some more time into it and add it as a full feature of the game, but this could come after the Early Access release.
Singleplayer Mode & Better AI
If I add better AI with a changeable difficulty level then I will consider a singleplayer ‘campaign’ mode where you can play in a tournament against AI teams that get more and more difficult, and you have the manage the economy of your own team where better individual performance allows you to buy extra and better teammates to play in your team. This should make offline play a bit more interesting and worth playing. This could also be changed into a co-op mode where you can form a team with your friends in a campaign, the mode could also forget about AI entirely and be a ranked match type playing with different people, but this would require a larger player base so there are no plans for this currently.
Replays & Kill Cams
I looked into this a while ago but was quite undocumented then and as there are other priorities, ill come back to this at a later date. But it would be nice to show how you were completely destroyed by a bot while you weren’t paying attention.
Rewind Hit Detection
Think you hit someone but it didn’t register? Thats because the person you hit was probably slightly out of sync with you because of the differences on your PC to the server PC and scoring only happens on the server. Most shooters account for this by checking the time you did something like threw a ball and calculate if it actually would of hit a person if they were in that position at the time you threw it. Sound complicated? It sort of is. This is less needed in a game like this where the projectile is big and the travel speed is quite slow but its still on a plan for the future, especially after Early Access. It will only be done once most of the gameplay changes happen, as most shots, probably about 95% of them (depending on your ping) will register a hit. On a dedicated server at least this will be fair in that everyone will have a similar issue. If more people are playing the game ill spend the time on this to tighten up the gameplay.
So thats cool and everything, but when will the confirmed features be done by? The simple answer is I don’t know yet. Issues can come up in development all the time so it might take longer than expected. However these are relatively simple things and might only take a few weeks to implement. Im going to write fortnightly development blogs on the progress from now on, but if I don’t post one it might be because im doing a bigger update in a few days so there isn’t much point doing a smaller blog before a larger more complete blog post. I do estimate it to be complete by about March 2018 however, but it could be completed before of after this time.
Coming out of Early Access is like another ‘release’ according to Steam. Along with it being a almost finished product at that time the price will be changed accordingly to reflect that. The game will also be going on sale before the Early Access release in order to get a bit more testers involved, so if you’re unsure about buying it then wait till then. Depending on the player numbers the game stats might reset when the game comes out of early access but if there are lots of people already progressed then I won’t touch it.
Well thats everything concerning Dodgeball for now. If you have any questions please post a thread on the Steam forums and ill try to respond. You can keep up to date with progress by looking out for development blogs every now and then on the Steam forums which will also probably just link to the website here. Thanks for supporting Dodgeball and I hope you have some fun playing it.