Drox Operative Beta FAQ
Thursday, 02 August 2012

I should have written this over a month ago. :) I've been a little busy though.

So Drox Operative is in beta, what does that mean? Well to us beta basically means that we think the game is fun, stable, contains enough content, and it is relatively close to release. We still usually have lots of additions that we are planning at this point though.

Why do pre-orders and beta combined? We do this for a few reasons. First, this gives us a ton of awesome feedback that helps us make our games much better before the official release. Second, the flip side of the first reason is that our core gamers get to participate in the development of the game which is kind of cool. Third, our policy is to release our games when they are ready and having an influx of money at beta time makes this much more financially realistic. It also helps keep our focus on the game and not on a dwindling bank account. :)

If I have a problem, where do I report it? In general the best place is to post on our forums.

Where can I find my save games, screenshots, user config, or logs? It depends on your OS:

Vista/Win7 - C:\Users\YOUR USER NAME\AppData\Local\DroxOperative\User
XP - C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR USER NAME\Local Settings\Application Data\DroxOperative\User
Mac - /Users/YOUR USER NAME/Library/Application Support/DroxOperative/User

Note: The AppData directory in Vista/Win7 is hidden by default.

Is there an email address I can mail a save game or comment to? Yes. You can find our email addresses on our contact page. You want to email support.

How much will change in the beta? Probably a lot.

Will the game radically change from the 0.900 version? A ton of stuff is going to change over the beta period, but the core fundamentals won't change. We are pretty sure if you liked the first version, you will love it when it is done.

How long will Drox be in beta? Usually we are in beta for a month or two, but this one is likely to be a good bit longer than that. Drox Operative is the biggest and most ambitious game we have created. Personally I also think it has the most potential. So we are going to take our time.

Does the 30 day money back guarantee still apply? Yes it does, especially since we don't have a demo.

Will Drox have a demo? Yes, most definitely. The only reason why it doesn't have one right now is because it would be out of date almost instantly.

Do you really listen to feedback? Yes, I personally read and consider everything that gets posted to our forums and many external forum threads.

Will you make the change I suggest? That really depends on what the change is. There are a lot of reasons why we might not make a change that someone suggests: it's not feasible, it doesn't fit or works against the core gameplay, it will make it harder for new users, it has serious negative consequences that you might not have thought of, or it's just not a good idea. In our experience the last one is usually not the problem.

If I suggest something and you implement it, do I get credit? We try to credit who came up with an idea, who helped track down reproducible bug steps, or who finally convinced us to change something by noting it in our changes list. We don't guarantee anything though. We try our best to keep track of who suggested stuff. If you suggested something and it gets fixed and your name doesn't show up in the change list it's because everyone and their mom suggested the same thing, we had already planned the change, or because we accidentally lost track of you suggesting it.

I didn't get any feedback from the developers on my idea, does that mean they think it sucks? Not really. From a design and programming perspective, there is only 1 of us that can make the change. I'm not really outgoing and I'm really busy, so me not commenting on something doesn't necessarily mean anything.

You didn't fix my issue, do you not like me? Liking the person that suggests a change has very little to do with anything. We have made changes based on suggestions from the most annoying people on the planet and had to reject ideas from extremely nice people. It all boils down to what we feel makes the game better.

How often will patches come out? So far it has usually been a couple patches a week.

Everyone wants this change, doesn't that mean you have to change it? No it doesn't. Just because the majority want something doesn't mean they are right.

A suggestion was made and you did something similar but not the exact same idea, did you just want to be another cook in the kitchen? No, we don't really have a wasn't invented here problem. If we did it differently, we thought that was better in some way or just more feasible. We have no problem making exact changes suggested by external people.

Ok I think that's long enough. If anyone has more general questions like these, I will update this.


Drox Operative Challenges
Friday, 08 June 2012

We've recently added a new feature called challenges that I think is going to be really interesting for players. Essentially challenges are special sectors that are tougher than normal, have a specific setup (not random), and do many things that can't normally happen.

How it works is every 6 levels there is another challenge sector, and one extra at level 100, for a total of 17 challenges. This is visually represented as 4 sectors per quadrant and 1 final challenge for the galaxy on the challenges screen. When you beat one, the next one unlocks and you can play any unlocked challenge sector whenever you want. Each challenge has a title and a short description to give you a little glimpse of what you will be facing in that challenge.

The big difference between a challenge sector and a normal sector is that the initial conditions are hand crafted instead of being random. They have a set level, sector size, races present, quests, wars, alliances, and even sector modifiers. This seems a little strange for a game that has so much randomness in it, however they create a cool, shared experience. It always starts out the same, but the random events and the players' actions will quickly make an impact. Then everyone can compare how their challenges went. It will be interesting to see how varied the end results will be and what the players decided to do.

Ok, so how about some actual examples? The first challenge starts off with all ten main races present when usually the max is six. It is really crowded and pretty chaotic. In one of my runs, I changed my allegiances at least three times. The fourth challenge starts with most of the sector colonized, only two races are left, and there is a huge war already. You can't possibly make them both happy, so which one do you choose? The twelfth challenge starts with one race in a huge lead, but they are at war with a four much smaller races who are allies with one another. Can the giant win or will all of the bees sting it to death? Even more importantly, who will the Drox Operatives help?

Oh, did I mention that the reward chest you get when winning a challenge for the first time is much better than a normal sector? Well it is. :)


Drox Operative Weapons
Friday, 13 April 2012

Today we are going to talk about the weapons in Drox Operative a little. In a fantasy game, there really isn't that much of a difference between the various weapon types except their DPS (damage per second), who can use them, and sometime range. In Drox, there are way more variations. They have the usual variations in damage, speed, who can use them, and range. However, there are also many broad types that work very differently, they don't all fit into the same slots, and they cause different types of damage.

First of all, there are a lot of different types of weapons. Ballistic weapons fire a small, physical object at very high speeds (think railgun). Beam weapons fire some kind of particle beam (like a laser). Bomb weapons launch a bomb directly to the specified point in space and explodes. Doomsday weapons are massive, one use weapons which are explained more here. EM weapons fire an electromagnetic pulse of various sorts that damages and causes lingering problems. Fighter bays launch fighters of course. Freezer weapons do damage, but at the same time are designed to impact the movement of the enemy in some way. Mine weapons launch mines. While mines lack enemy tracking, they makes up for it with power. Missile weapons fires missiles that track their targets. Virus weapons use various particle beams to do damage, but also upload a virus to disrupt the enemy's systems. Then there are various other weapons that don't fit into any category very well, things like Lightning Fields, Hellfire, and Big Bang.

All of these weapons types have different damage, speeds, and ranges like usual. Missiles do a lot of damage and have great range, but are slow. Beam weapons are fast, but they're not as powerful and their damage diminishes as the distance to the target increases. EM and virus weapons do less damage, but they also have powerful debuffs. Mines and bombs do a lot of damage because they forgo tracking for pure explosive power.

Unlike a fantasy game there isn't one weapons slot (or two if you count duel weapons). The bigger more direct weapons typically fit into a heavy slot and the more tactical ones typically fit into a medium slot. Also there isn't anything from preventing you from installing multiple weapons, well except for crew requirements, power load available, and empty slots of course.

The use of weapons is also a little different than in a fantasy game. In a fantasy game you either do a generic attack or use a skill attack. Both of these are assumed to use your equipped weapon. In Drox your weapons and skills are somewhat combined so you use them more directly like you would skills. So you might use your laser beam on the fighter right next to you and launch a missile at the mothership that is further back.

And finally, all of the weapons don't cause the same types of damage. Weapons like missiles, bombs, and mines cause explosion damage. Beam weapons cause thermal damage, ballistic weapons cause kinetic damage, EM weapons cause EM damage, and while no whole category causes radiation damage, some specific weapons do. 

That's about it. That should at least give all of you a little more insight into how the weapons work. Thoughts?


Drox alpha
Friday, 16 March 2012

So Drox Operative has been in alpha for a week now and I thought I would write up a short blog about what that means especially since alpha tends to mean different things to different developers and publishers.

For Soldak, alpha generally means the game is playable from start to finish, is fairly stable, and we hope is already fairly fun. It doesn't necessarily mean all of the assets are done or that all of the planned features have been implemented though. Alpha is also where we start getting people that aren't on the development team to play test, so we can get some outside opinions. These are almost always family and close friends.

So far the alpha seems to be going really well. We are up to our 3rd alpha build and have already made tons of changes. Sectors have been conquered, wars have been fought, there have been a few crashes here and there but it's very stable for an alpha, and most importantly it seems like everyone is having fun despite the rough edges.


Doomsday Weapons
Friday, 24 February 2012

I believe I have briefly mentioned Doomsday weapons before but they are so much fun I thought I would devote an entire blog post to them. So what is a Doomsday Weapon? Well it's basically a weapon so big and nasty that it really might be the end of the world. Luckily there is usually more than one inhabited world.

So how do they work? You use them just like any normal weapon, except they are completely uncontrollable once launched. They will do a massive amount of damage to anyone that is too close. That includes your enemies, your allies, and even your own ship. Everything in a Doomsday Weapon's path is going to be destroyed. You need to be really careful when you let one of these loose.

This sounds way too powerful doesn't it? Well unlike a normal weapon, you can only use a Doomsday Weapon once, they are really rare, and they are extremely expensive if you can find one to buy. You're probably going to want to wait for the right opportunity to use them or when frankly you are really desperate. Oh, and what about all of those empires that are fighting each other for the galaxy? They tend to be quite fearful of those that use Doomsday Weapons, so don't expect many friends afterwards.

However, the most important part is that they are insanely fun to wield. When the Fringe treat their citizens like cattle, get pissed at you when you don't help quell the resulting revolution, and then declare war on you, there's nothing better than wiping out an entire Fringe fleet in a few seconds with your handy Armageddon Device.


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