Development Blog #16

Hey Folks!

First of all thanks for all the positive feedback and your interest in our latest project!

We have been working on this mod for quite some time and are happy to see that many of you are eager to try it out.

We received and noticed a lot of questions about the scope of the multiplayer and especially the Early Access phase. So here’s a Q&A:

Question: “Will you support mods in the multiplayer?”

A: Yes.

In the early access phase we have no mod restrictions or specific handling of file modding. For the future, we are consindering different options and types of “playing with mods”:

  1. Servers provide a list of mods that are hosted on Curseforge. When connecting, the client downloads the mods and mounts them into the game. Any additional modifications of your game files will restrict you from joining the server. This is our preferred approach because it is the most secure version for players, as files on Curseforge go through validation before being made available for the community.
  2. Servers provide and host the modded files. When connecting, files are transfered to the client and mounted into the game. Any additional modifications of your game files will restrict you from joining the server. However, this approach could bear a security risk as we cannot validate which files are downloaded and if they contain any harmful content.
  3. Servers specify that players can join with whatever mods they want. The downside of that approach is that clients could make any changes they want, which can cause synchronization issues.
  4. Servers do not allow or use any file mods at all.

Question: “What is included in the Early Access?”

A: The Early Access will allow you to play with up to 32 players in a specific, closed down, area in a free-for-all mode. That means that everyone is fighting against everyone. For now, this only includes MP5 and Pistols. 

Features like hacking, melee and takedown are not enabled yet. As mentioned in the announcement post, we want to use the early access phase to stress-test our multiplayer implementation. We want to check performance and stability and see if any bugs occur.

We plan to release additional features, such as improving synchronization or adding missing features like melee or takedown during or after the Early Access phase.

Question: “Are you using the game’s original multiplayer? Or are you doing synchronization with own methods?”

A: Our synchronization does not use the built-in multiplayer from the game and does not require any of Ubisoft’s services, except the usage of Ubisoft Connect which is required to start the game.

From a technological point-of-view: While Legion Online uses Peer-to-Peer networking, Legion United is implementing a Client-Server architecture. One of our core concepts is something we call “server-side state-awareness”, which means that the server is fully aware of what is happening within the game world and will expose that information to our Scripting layer.

Question: “When will the Early Access phase end?”

A: This is not entirely clear yet. It depends on the amount of issues we encounter and if we need to address them immediately. 

However, we aim to end the Early Access phase during summer / end of summer 2022.

Question: “What can we expect after the Early Access?”

A: After the Early Access has concluded we want to release a new major version featuring vehicle synchronization and the release of dedicated servers, allowing the launch of community servers.

Question: “Will you release the mod on consoles?”

A: Unfortunately not. Developing for consoles has always been quite a challenge and requires a decent amount of time. 

Furthermore, it’s also not technically possible due to the way this modification is built and interacts with the game. Additionally, implementing those things on consoles would require us to agree to requirements of Sony and Microsoft which we cannot fulfill.

Question: “Has this modification been approved by Ubisoft?”

A: Yes. As with all of our modifications for Ubisoft games, this modification has been developed in collaboration with Ubisoft and is officially approved and promoted by Ubisoft.

Question: “What part will Curseforge take part?”

A: We want to use Curseforge not only as a distribution platform for our modding platforms, but also for you to share your gameplay scripts, assets, maps and more. We aim to create a central place to share resources for the multiplayer mod with the community.

Question: “Will there be a map editor?”

A: Yes and no.

We have already shipped a Map editor in the ScriptHook, allowing you to place new objects into the world. We have plans to to enhance the Map Editor, allowing you to export the map creations in a better format for use in the multiplayer mod.

Looking into the future, we could implement additional features such as removing or re-positioning existing map objects. However, please note that this will be limited to a certain extent due to the way how the game’s maps are built and due to certain technical limitations.

Question: “Will this be a modification like FiveM, SAMP, MTA etc.?”

A: Yes, our concept and planned features are very similar to these mods. In the future, we want to provide a similar feature-rich platform. But developing a full-fledged multiplayer takes time, especially considering we are a relatively small team. However, we are confident that thanks to our collaboration with Ubisoft we can one day push the boundaries further than ever before.

Question: “What about your Watch_Dogs: 2 multiplayer modding project? Is it dead?”

A: Kind of. We decided to put the WD2 multiplayer mod on hold in favor of developing one for Legion. It is unclear at this point whether we will consider resuming work on that project.

Question: “Will there be more than 32 players in the future?”

A: Yes. In recent tests, we managed to spawn more than a few hundred players. 

However, we want to slowly increase player numbers as we monitor performance and stability.

Obviously, increasing the maximum player numbers also brings risks and may introduce potential performance issues, especially on low-end and mid-end hardware.

Question: “What about AI (traffic, pedestrians)? Will you support that?”

A: Yes, we aim to do so.

Synchronizing AI can be quite a difficult task and needs to be implemented and executed with care. If we were to work on AI synchronization, the earliest time would be after the Early Access phase has concluded.

Question: “What do you mean with ‘a community project’?”

A: We want everyone to contribute and shape the future of this mod. Your requests for certain features help us make a decision on which things to work and implement next.

We also want to ask you to share any creations you have on Curseforge, so that we can build up a solid resource catalog for helping new people who join the Watch_Dogs community to quickly start creating servers.

Question: “Will you support custom UIs (such as using CEF and HTML/CSS/JS)?”

A: Yes. While it won’t be available during the Early Access phase, depending on how many people want to access this feature, we plan to unlock it in the future.

As always, protecting the player has the highest priority for us. This means that we want to ensure no harm can be done by running custom UI code (as we’ve already seen with other modifications).

Question: “Will there be client-side scripting?”

A: Yes. We do not currently have a release date for this feature, but first experiments with our scripting layer show positive results.

Question: “What kind of scripting languages will be supported?”

A: For now we will only support JavaScript. We are considering to add Lua as an additional scripting language, but will wait for community feedback to make a decision.

On the server side, JavaScript is powered by the Node.js backend, allowing you to access hundreds of thousands of packages on NPM (the Node Package Manager) to quickly build new functionality.

On the client side, due to security reasons, JavaScript will only be powered by the V8 engine, meaning that you cannot access certain features Node.js provides, such as arbitrary file access.

The next Development Blog will be released next Sunday, June 26th.

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