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Tobias Solem

What is the vision, the "Why?" of Epoch?

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It is clear what Epoch is, and how you play it. So that is not what my question is about, because those two questions (what and how) I can understand easily myself, but something has been nagging me ever since Epoch for ARMA 3 was released in its first alpha, and the more information I get on it, the more I realize that there's so much of what and how that it leaves a void in the "why"-department, so basically that's something I would like to have answered, because it would help me understand WHY things like the construct were planned in the first place, and why frequency jammers started out at 300 meters, and perhaps even why the mod balances soldier simulator with survival, with weird toungue-in-mouth items like Purple nurple, funny masks,etc. with building and these fantasy monsters. Without understanding the "why" it all seems a bit like a jumble of ideas thrown into one.

 

Now, before you start quoting me the first paragraph of the mod's front page (which is a bunch of "what") I would like to be clear what it is I am looking for; I'm not so much interested in knowing what it is that you (the devs) want Epoch to be, but what motivates you, why you spend these hours making this thing, what it is that you think the genre is lacking and where you vision this mod to be. Because I think if I learn something about that, I learn something about what's going on "behind the scenes", like I've gotten tidbits of info from streams about AWOL and his brother going through great lengths discussing the mod, I've heard AXLE talk about "this isn't about the money for us", and Sequisha clearly has some sort of vision with the hooded/cloaky guys, the cemetery of the first front page, and the "hype videos" we saw before we were even able to try this mod for ARMA3 (for those who cannot recall, it was some dude stopping his car and walking toward a church where a cultist would slowly walk toward him, with lit up smoke, lighting and doom metal playing in the background).

 

I believe I'm not alone in my curiosity about this, so that is why I made this a forum post instead of a private message to the developers, because I also believe that in answering this central question, we also will have a couple of puzzle pieces fall into place about a bunch of things, and it will help motivate some in their eager awaiting for the big test of 0.3.0 :)  WHYYYYYY... WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?! :D

 

Also, thanks for having the stamina to pay attention throughout this small wall of text, yo. 

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Zombies, base building, and trying to survive for days gearing up to a point you would dare to take on players was key for me in A2.

 

Rock monsters, Antagonists, gearing up in 5 minutes to go full PVP again and die without any repurcussions is killing the game in A3 atm.. We've had full servers, for a few weeks, then it dwindled down to pure zero, even with active admins and a good community..

 

The game, after 2 weeks playing on a server, is BORING.  There's literally no hardcore survival, the thing that made Dayz so successful.

This results in players asking for tanks, planes, launchers and all the other stuff that Wasteland brings, esp. since base building is 99% hard work to build followed by 1% effort by others to undo it.

 

The game is no where close to be balanced / interesting, and the closed server files make it even worse for the real coders and admins that want to make a bit of fun out of the current state.

 

IMO, Epoch should go back to closed beta, with a few whitelisted servers and work on balance, balance and more balance, in stead of adding more ferry wheels, poppy plants and other "cool looking things that I won't bother looking at".

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nedfox is right...

 

Bambis from A2 Dayz usually come and say what the h4x there is no zombies...

 

Some players even play for 2 weeks and then game gets boring for them... Some of them build some base and leave and rest leave after their base is destroyed...

 

And the best for the end... Players come and play, build base 1, base 2, base 3.... Be friends with other clans. Everyone lick everyone's lollypop and play PVE The Sims Epoch edition Players vs. AI Missions datadisc. When someone with PVP intesions accidentaly kill them they say: What is wrong with you shooting other people without telling them and ragequit.

--------

 

With vanilla epoch they get bored and all asking for AI missions then for tanks and etc...

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Epoch in A3 is a mess (right now at least). But an interesting mess. It is like a fresh air for me after thousands of hours in DayZ ForeverAlone. New map which is bigger (and now after a month of Epoch it starts to feel smaller and smaller, but that's expected), more tactical gameplay (possible long range sniping, no shitty weapon sway after 1 minute sprint, etc.), vehicles, helicopters, I like them all, especially Strider. Not some shitty V3S moving at 80km/h glitching through the map and getting stuck in fences.

 

I think what some people want it to be (when they ask for tanks and other military grade toys) is wasteland, KOTH, whatever... But it is not the point of Epoch, in my opinion, despite it not having an actual point except one's imagined.

 

A3 Epoch has potential, as it is based on A3 it should not be surprise to anyone that it has some military gear. Now, I imagine, that the point is not PvP of this game. Battle Royale is PvP mod, Wasteland.. but Epoch should be focused on collaboration/cooperation, completing missions, gathering supplies, maybe role playing a bit (I dislike Altis Life, so just a bit RP shouldn't hurt), building base for your stuff to hoard (lol), looting, killing some antagonists and scripted AI patrolls and so on. It is open ended, there is no "one winner" like in BR for example and everyone forgets it when they start playing it and then get bored and complain.

 

So far it is far from boring for me.

 

For example, DayZ SA also has absolutely no point at the moment and it has been for a year. Yeah, they invented a little bit of crafting, but I heard they break something everytime with new patch and currently it is not possible to craft a splint. I mean WHAAAT? It has been possible for months and now not possible? Middle finger to devs, still can't complain too much as I was addicted to DayZ a lot that's why I mention it in every sentence. So that game is open ended too.

 

Speaking about "hardcore survival", I do not want Epoch to turn into that, personally. It should be relatively easy to gear up and get started, cause I noticed in some server dynamic AI spawns, and it is terrible terrible feeling to be shot at no matter which route you take, take cover or not, you get seen, get shot. It is stupid and admins of such servers overdone their AI scripts and probably do not even know this cause they never play in their own server.

 

Anyway, I agree with OP and few others, I need some answers too. What's the future of Epoch?

 

My only hope it won't turn into some hyper realistic cooking/fishing simulator and getting warm if you run and getting cold if you stop for 1 min. I always loved that military aspect of the game.

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I too am curious about what the future plans are for Epoch and where the focus will be... 

 

I am hoping base building will be a huge focus because for me thats what separates Epoch from the other mods...

 

I'd like to think the Dev's have big plans for buildables and base building - half the fun for me is getting creative with my base design, at the moment its rather limiting what you can achieve with just floors and walls... I'd like to see more half-pieces like sandbags, or windowed walls that we can use to prone behind if we need to defend from a high-tower like structure...

 

Right now the focus seems to be on mostly random things like makeshift hatchets, ferris wheels, silly face masks and vegetation? What is the point of these things at this stage of development? Could these things not have come in .6.0 or later? I would love some dev insight regarding their priority list so we can get a feel for what they have in mind, what we can look forward to in the near future and what we can expect to come in a years time...

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What is the point of these things at this stage of development?

 

I think, that DEVs wanted to fill some gaps so the server will be better in Vanilla state and not over-scripted. As you can see nearly everyone will do 1-click install and fill server with shit scripts for events and zombies which are even worse then all public AI mission systems..

 

Maybe i am wrong but atleast when they do things you mentioned then they don't have to do it later.

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@ Tobias is correct , If "Epoch" is a descriptive name , then it is a "Period in Time " , usually " Marked by Notable Events " by definition . So the story should outline those events , should it not ?

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Here are my two cents for what they're worth:

 

Right now, it's not possible to understand what Epoch is about simply by going blindly into the game, you have to be spoon-fed the "technology went wrong, and all this happened" story from the devs and other people who have second-hand knowledge, and even that story is still difficult to swallow straight.

 

Think of this from a new player who's just downloaded the Epoch mod and is logging into the game without any understanding of what Epoch is. Chances are, you've just logged into an Altis server and your character spawns in a confined box with tubes with clothed people inside. The only way to exit is by using teleporter items on the ground - why? Is the game trying to imply that the world's setting has teleportation technology? Or is it because the game is in alpha development and other spawning methods are being looked into?

 

Once your character has teleported to the outside world, you're venturing out to the towns and cities of Altis. Everything looks just fine, buildings are intact but people are missing. After a few hours, this is what you encounter from the game (not including player encounters):

 

- Armless monsters that appear after you go looting for a while, and explode if they get too close. The player may be thinking, are these zombies? The first thing that goes through the player's mind is definitely not "a mad scientist's strange idea for turning people into living weapons".

- A UAV that searches for the player and calls in what seems to be a small military squad. The player is thinking, why is the military after me? Why is there a UAV? Are they somehow related to the armless "zombies"?

- At night time, a strange cloaked figure is chasing the player. The idea that this cloak is some invisibility armor controlled by an AI and reprogrammed by a cult of monks will definitely never cross anyone's mind in a million years. Many will think it's a clever Slenderman reference.

- Weapons, foot, and other loot can be found just about anywhere. With so many weapons and so much food lying about, what made the island's occupants suddenly disappear like that?

 

I think reliance on the Antagonists to push the Epoch story of "technology gone wrong" is what's causing Epoch to fall flat on its face in terms of its identity. If you take a look at DayZ, the equivalent of "antagonists" were zombies that were easily recognized as zombies, and you needed no story or explanation to make the player realize that they're playing in a zombie apocalypse. Weapons were very rare, weapons that you could find were clearly intended for civilian use and hunting, and military-grade weapons were very difficult to come by. The difficulty of keeping your blood levels high and your character fed/hydrated added to the survival feel.

 

With the Antagonists and base building as Epoch's main distinguishable features, to the average person it looks like that Epoch is trying to be a combination of Minecraft and DayZ without zombies. By simply playing Epoch, a player will never understand the "technology gone wrong" story, while playing DayZ, it's quite in-your-face that you are playing in a zombie apocalypse.

 

Again, this is just my personal view on things, and I do think that it definitely has potential to develop its identity and story with time and effort from the devs. Right now, I just think that Epoch needs to pick a direction and go with it as hard as it can, because it's trying to be too many things and succeeding at none of them.

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It is clear what Epoch is, and how you play it. So that is not what my question is about, because those two questions (what and how) I can understand easily myself, but something has been nagging me ever since Epoch for ARMA 3 was released in its first alpha, and the more information I get on it, the more I realize that there's so much of what and how that it leaves a void in the "why"-department, so basically that's something I would like to have answered, because it would help me understand WHY things like the construct were planned in the first place, and why frequency jammers started out at 300 meters, and perhaps even why the mod balances soldier simulator with survival, with weird toungue-in-mouth items like Purple nurple, funny masks,etc. with building and these fantasy monsters. Without understanding the "why" it all seems a bit like a jumble of ideas thrown into one.

 

Now, before you start quoting me the first paragraph of the mod's front page (which is a bunch of "what") I would like to be clear what it is I am looking for; I'm not so much interested in knowing what it is that you (the devs) want Epoch to be, but what motivates you, why you spend these hours making this thing, what it is that you think the genre is lacking and where you vision this mod to be. Because I think if I learn something about that, I learn something about what's going on "behind the scenes", like I've gotten tidbits of info from streams about AWOL and his brother going through great lengths discussing the mod, I've heard AXLE talk about "this isn't about the money for us", and Sequisha clearly has some sort of vision with the hooded/cloaky guys, the cemetery of the first front page, and the "hype videos" we saw before we were even able to try this mod for ARMA3 (for those who cannot recall, it was some dude stopping his car and walking toward a church where a cultist would slowly walk toward him, with lit up smoke, lighting and doom metal playing in the background).

 

I believe I'm not alone in my curiosity about this, so that is why I made this a forum post instead of a private message to the developers, because I also believe that in answering this central question, we also will have a couple of puzzle pieces fall into place about a bunch of things, and it will help motivate some in their eager awaiting for the big test of 0.3.0 :)  WHYYYYYY... WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?! :D

 

Also, thanks for having the stamina to pay attention throughout this small wall of text, yo. 

 

The TLDR version: If the story of DayZ can be summarized as "Zombie Apocalypse" then ours would be "Technological Apocalypse".

Epoch is set in 2035, just two years after a massive world wide extinction. The exact cause is unknown and the only people left are clones with no memory of the past. Documents found in the world tell a us that before the mass extinction event, The largest technology corporation had made great breakthroughs. This technology changed the world in many ways and is thought to be the cause of the extinction.

Epoch Mod is a hybrid of genres with elements of science fiction and horror.  This type of genre gives us freedom to try new things and see what works and what doesn't. We have many stories to tell and some will go online (via the wiki or the website) but most are planned to be added in-game in some way by version 0.5.

 

Thanks for the post Tobias, I certainly understand the need for more documentation and information in general, just keep in mind we are a small volunteer team and do what we can in our free time.

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Cloning is considered by many to be unnatural and unethical, as it goes against the laws of nature.  Nature has a way of maintaining its own balance.  Who's to say that the rock monster and the monster with the mouthful of teeth aren't natures way of evolving natural predators to help get rid of the abomination that is the clones?  The drones that spawn AI could be hunting parties trying to track down all the escaped clones to kill them to clean up the "mess" left behind by a careless scientist.  There's tons of ways you could spin it.

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All I am going to say i am is I am more disappointed having read the changelog for 0.3 than I was before, I was hoping to see a lot more work in the building side after all that is what epoch was what epoch is ! a lot more crafting !

 

I understand its alpha and I am really hoping for more options to build in the next updates,  for now myself and our group have gone back to playing epoch on A2 until further updates to see if anything interesting will be added.

 

The community is still big there and I would encourage everyone to do the same if you still find yourself like us trying work out what it is at this stage! give it a break and enjoy some crazy ass building on A2!

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Im seeing a danger here.. 

The "why" backstory while important, is not as important as the "why" build, gather etc. 

No matter how polished and technically perfect a mod may be, if the world feels empty where is the conflict?

Epoch is going to stagnate and lose playerbase because its empty. Three solutions present themselves immediately (at least to me).

 

1) - cop-out solution is make it PVP. This means that the player base has to be, and remain high or we go back to the empty world. Also brings in the spectre of skill disparity, new player frustration, griefing control etc..

2) - The reason I have been testing at this time, Faces re-work of DZAI, that is a good AI system. However from a mod developer perspective it seems to me to also be a void filled by someone else.

3) - bring back the zombies. Yup. No rest unless you build and defend. Loot gathering is not safe. Make it optional, configurable, whatever. Epoch was, and is still seen to be a Zombie survival game. Zombies. Survival.

 

As an example, look at Keens Space Engineers. Highly polished, technically spectacular, and empty. I gathered, built, but was never challenged. What are the weapons for? Who is the base defending against?

 

Maybe what many were expecting was A2 Epoch pandemonium on a nice shiny A3 engine. A2 Dayz, in the forefront Epoch, has a special place, and is in spirit owned by many who created content, addons, scripts, options etc to make the game tailor fit the needs and tastes of groups of people gathered around a server that was important to them. I take my hat off to those that have picked up the flag, unpaid, and carried it forward. But you are in danger of losing the roots and spirit of what made the game great. Open the bloody thing up for people to contribute, ask permission or collaboration from earlier contributors of A2 systems and addons, and put the bloody zombies back in :)

 

My 5 cents. Not because Im whining, but because I actually care. 

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I just thought I would mention as a hobbiest developer that focusing on one part of a project for too long has a lasting detrimental effect on a developers willingness to continue. They spent a lot of time and effort on base building and I would understand if they wanted to make something different or more interesting with masks and other items.

As they say they are volunteers who work on this mod in their free time, I assume as/like a hobby. They enjoy a challenge and have made great progress with their ingenuity so far. They are working on backend and main features but they need "fun" things to create to keep them interested.

My 2 cents

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Zombies are too over-played right now.  Look how many DayZ copycats have come out in the past 2 years.  The change is nice, but people don't take to change too well.  A technological apocalypse is far more realistic than a zombie apocalypse.

 

Was going to add more, but I think it would be better off in the feedback area.

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Zombies were never part of the equation before they even started the project. They don't need zombies, but I do agree with that there should be more of a constant challenge. However, zombies just don't work in the arma engine, I'm sorry. A2 zombies were just an annoyance and I'm happy to be rid of them. I think some people just wanted something to shoot and have a reason for stock piling weapons.

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I personally would like to see more low end antagonists like Sappers and fewer Drones. I hate drones. I also really wish antagonists were not "sudden". I don't like when things suddenly spawn right next to me. I'm the type who scans an area as I move in and clears it and spawning mobs who spawn suddenly behind me drive me nuts. I have to live with it, but at least in DayZ mods the zombies would spawn in an area and you could clear it out for a time and then move through. In the Epoch Mod it seems like things only spawn after I have hung out for a while in an area. 

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Yeah and in some servers admins even increased the chance of antagonist spawning, so you get a drone almost everytime you loot something.. Kinda irritating. I do not mind sappers as it is easy to avoid them, but drones are just terrible. Especially in the nigh where it is hard to spot them in the sky.

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All of these things mentioned above are configurable with the DZAI port. Number of antagonists, how good they are, how long till they re-spawn (allowing you to clear an area) etc. 

The antagonists dont have to be Zombies, its just that zombies are the defacto antagonists that fulfill the following criteria:

 

Not a threat in fewer numbers

Will become a threat if left untreated.

Not allow breaks in infested areas, cannot be totally ignored.

Adds a need to be steathy, If you shoot they will come.

Uses up precious resources if you stand an fight.

add danger to resource gathering, are there before you gather.

Melee only, safe at a distance.

 

could be achieved with packs of dogs, mutants, aliens, or to keep the techno theme, run down droids.

But if its not Zombies, why take the Epoch name?

Horror Genre is fine,. Alternatives are fine, just put something pre loot visible and swarmable in?

 

not a whine just a discussion :)  

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Yeah and in some servers admins even increased the chance of antagonist spawning, so you get a drone almost everytime you loot something.. Kinda irritating. I do not mind sappers as it is easy to avoid them, but drones are just terrible. Especially in the nigh where it is hard to spot them in the sky.

 

I kinda agree. I never once found a drone encounter "fun" or challenging.  For me, it's just a 100% nuisance that does nothing more than break my immersion by making me notice things about the game that annoy me.

 

For instance, I'll stand there casually shooting at the drone non-stop until I hit it. This is a reminder of how there is almost 0 PvE threat in this game. At least in a2: epoch if I shot my weapon, I'd have to worry about zombies hearing me and rushing me. Shoot in a city? TONS of zombies running at you. It made you think and decide. Now? You can just stand there casually unloading the thirty 200-round lmg drums you found in a chair without a worry in the world (unless you're on a small map with other players or a high-pop normal map). 

 

After almost every drone, I also just have this nagging feeling of "wow, I just can't stand the new weapon-sway in arma 3."  I know some people like it, and some people like wringing their cloths out in Dayz Standalone, but I really think a lot of people also don't like the new weapon sway. What better way to make it all that more noticeable than playing a shooting mini-game with a tiny drone buzzing 200m in the air.  lol don't get me started about this thing they do where they fly into areas you somehow can't aim your gun at such as directly above your head. 

 

I mean in the end, for me, drones are 0% challenge and super easy BUT also somehow at the same time 100% annoying and retarded.  It's sort of like a fly buzzing around your computer screen when you're trying to watch a video.  

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After almost every drone, I also just have this nagging feeling of "wow, I just can't stand the new weapon-sway in arma 3." I know some people like it, and some people like wringing their cloths out in Dayz Standalone, but I really think a lot of people also don't like the new weapon sway. What better way to make it all that more noticeable than playing a shooting mini-game with a tiny drone buzzing 200m in the air. lol don't get me started about this thing they do where they fly into areas you somehow can't aim your gun at such as directly above your head.

Honestly I think it just takes getting used to. It bothered the hell out of me when I first started ARMA 3, but after playing koth for like 700 hours I don't really notice it anymore, I know what I have to do to pull a shot off and hit the target.

As far as aiming over your head goes, I've brought this up myself a few times now and I'm sure they'll be changing some things up in the next patch.

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