I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years and holiday. It’s been a while since we have last done one of these, for which I genuinely apologize. These last two months, we have profoundly concentrated on level design (specifically Mars), the implementation of security barriers, game lore, teleporters, throwables, and our psionic mechanics. I believe it is also the first time you’ll be learning about our psionic mechanics or security barriers in a development blog, and oh boy, it’s quite exciting! We have talked about Mars before and have also showcased a portion of the map whilst showcasing our vehicles, but the time has come to finally unveil some more. Let’s dive right into it.
Mars is one of our more intriguing worlds. It is one of our only maps that offers you an enormous open-world experience, and with that in mind, we are developing Mars with the intention of absolutely astonishing everyone who ends up playing there.
The landscape is considerably barren with stations/domes all across the world. At this moment in time, we have one station/dome which the team will develop further as development advances. The intention is to design and develop various stations and domes across the world which players can visit using a mixture of methods such as vehicles, teleporters, and more, .. or even on foot; but be advised, the latter is not recommended. But please bear in mind, the level is still very much in development, meaning it still requires a lot of polish and passes before it will be ready for full release.
How security barriers in Mankind Reborn will function is actually pretty simple and straightforward. Anyone can hack security barriers, but its complexity will principally depend on its degree of difficulty. The ownership of these barriers will depend on where they are placed or which faction owns the territory. The current system used for hacking the security barriers is a placeholder and will most definitely be revised and improved, but it will do the job for now — and that is, keeping your adversaries at bay.
We have also implemented a new terminal called Power Switch. We’re currently using it for the shield barriers and these terminals will allow us to connect powered actors to it and allow us to turn them on/off. In the near future, players will be able to place these dynamically on their territories and connect powered actors to them (traps, doors, generators, etc) to control them.
Teleporters will transport an individual from point A to point B on a specific map. They will have a cooldown built in so that players cannot abuse the system during combat. Eventually, players will be able to hack teleporters enabling them to temporarily shut them off and create potential chokepoints. The owning factions will need to maintain their teleporters in order to preserve its ownership.
Throwable items are now in the game as well. These can range from throwing knives, grenades and quite possibly even more than that! At the moment, there are four types of grenades in the game and we are looking to add more in the future.
BIONICS & PSIONICS
Bionics, or augmentations, are devices which can either alter someone’s core stats or it can possibly activate something we call a ‘Bionic Ability’. The latter being remarkably rare and efficacious. It is possible to install a Bionic on eight slots; brain, eye, shoulder, torso, arm, leg and there is also one slot that would occupy all slots. This presents the player with the capability to customize their character in how they deem fit. Take a look at one of the animations we have for it down below.
‘Psionics’ are powerful abilities, both supernatural and paranormal powers related to technology and electronics which players can utilize during combat. In order to utilize these abilities, players would need to install a Psi Glove on their character which takes up the Arm Bionic Slot. Whenever a Psionic-implant is installed on a player’s character, only Psi-abilities can be equipped in its weapon slots but they can be swapped for different abilities at any given point in time. Players can only have three Psionic Abilities installed on their character.
We are designing the Psi-mechanic in such as way that going down the Psi-path is a conscious and deliberate choice, so players would need to determine for themselves whether to commit to the Psionic role or if they want to use conventional weaponry in combat; using both at the same time will not be possible.
The study of psionics is a relatively new field within the Terran Union having only officially been recognized in 2158, though it is widely believed that the Agencies and Corporations (particularly Oda) were researching psionics long before these powers were revealed to the public at large. Psionic powers are activated via a Focus, an implant that is attached directly to the nervous system in the palm of each hand with extensive artificial sheathing over the nerves creating a highly efficient pathway between the Focus and the spinal column. Unfortunately, the implantation of a Focus has the unfortunate side effect of requiring retraining of manual dexterity meaning the use of firearms is near impossible.
While a blank Focus is capable of being used to direct ones will, this requires a significant amount of raw power and talent. Since most Focus users are lacking in the requires power and talent Shards are used. A Shard is a data crystal that plugs into a Focus allowing it to be used for a specific Manipulation. Most Focuses have three slots for Shards though some have more and some have fewer slots. Focuses are powered via Will which is a rhythmically determined estimation of a person’s willpower when a power exceeds a person’s will, it begins to affect their health and can lead to death through aneurysm. The amount of Will available to a person and the speed at which it regenerates can be adjusted with modules attached to a person’s Focus.
New shards are generated by using the Power ‘Channel’ on builder artifacts ((which are rare finds on Aurora and maybe alien drops)) with a random chance for which shard is generated.
The various shards are shown below powers marked with an asterisk * are possible additions within the first year of gameplay but not present at launch.
Powers are divided into utilities and types. Utilities are merely the categories of use that a power may have (Support/Healing vs Offence/Instant) etc. Type is the visual/mental effects that the power may have – when all the shards in a focus area of the same type there is a slight bonus to Will, Universal powers may be used with other types for a reduced bonus.
Channel (Universal): Channel allows a psionic to transfer his Will to another psionic on a point for point basis.
Bless (Light): Bless allows a psionic to heal another character at two points for 1hp
Heal (Light): Heal allows a psionic to increase another character’s health regen for 3 points every 30 seconds
*Heal Greater (Light): Heal Greater allows a psionic to greatly increase another characters health regen for 6 points every 30 seconds
*Sacrifice (Blood): Sacrifice allows a psionic to use his own hp to heal another character at an increased rate (no will cost)
*Sustain (Blood): Sustain allows a psionic to transfer his own health regen to another character (no will cost)
*Bolster (Light): Bolster allows a psionic to instantly heal another character 10hp for 10 points
Nightsight (Light): Nightsight allows a psionic to see in the dark for 3 points every 30 seconds
*Major Nightsight (Light): Major Nightsight allows a psionic to allow everyone in his ‘group’ to see in the dark for 6 points plus 2 points for every person in the group above 3 every 30 seconds
Stamina Boost (Wind): Stamina Boost allows a psionic to grant another character 1 point of stamina for 1 point of Will
Speed Boost (Wind): Speed Boost allows a psionic to increase his movement speed for 3 points every 30 seconds
*Group Speed Boost (Wind): Group Speed Boost allows a psionic to increase the movement speed of everyone in his group for 6 points plus 2 points for every person in the group above 3 every 30 seconds
*Jump (Wind): Jump allows a psionic to increase his jump distance and height for 3 points per jump
*Group Jump (Wind): Group Jump allows a psionic to increase his jump distance and height for 6 points plus 2 points for every person in the group above 3 per jump
*Cushion (Wind): Cushion allows a psionic to negate falling damage for himself or his group for 1 point per every hp neutralized
Camouflage (Earth): Camouflage allows a psionic to make himself ‘invisible’ for 3 points for every 30 seconds
*Group Camouflage (Earth): Group camouflage allows a psionic to make everyone in his group ‘invisible’ for 6 points plus 2 points for every person in the group above 3 every 30 seconds
Slow (Universal): Slow allows a psionic to reduce another character’s movement speed for 4 points every 30 seconds
*Entangled (Earth): Entangle allows a psionic to reduce all characters entering into a radius movement speed for 10 points every minute
Trip (Earth): Trip allows a psionic to force a character to go prone for 5 points
*Earthquake (Earth): Earthquake allows a psionic to force all characters within a radius to go prone for 40 points
Bludgeon (Universal): Bludgeon allows a psionic to cause stun pistol damage for 5 points per ‘shot’
*Buffet (Wind): Buffet allows a psionic to cause stun damage within a radius for 50 points for a 10 stun damage AoE blast
Blind (Light): Blind allows a psionic to temporarily blind a character for 10 points for a 1-minute effect.
*Greater Blind (Light): Greater Blind allows a psionic to maintain the blind effect on a character for 5 points per 30s of effect.
*Drain (Universal): Drain allows a psionic to reduce a character’s stamina on a point for point basis
*Distress (Blood): Distress allows a psionic to stun a character in exchange for the loss of 20HP (no will cost)
Bash (Universal): Bash allows a psionic to cause ballistic pistol damage for 3 points per ‘shot’
Blast (Fire): Blast allows a psionic to cause energy pistol damage for 3 points per shot
Burn (Fire): Burn allows a psionic to cause energy rifle damage for 5 points per shot
Pummel (Universal): Pummel allows a psionic to cause ballistic rifle damage for 5 points per shot
*Incinerate (Fire): Incinerate allows a psionic to cause significant energy damage for 10 points per shot
*Lesion (Blood): Lesion allows a psionic to cause an equal amount of damage to himself and another character (no will cost)
Damage Over Time
*Ignite (Fire): Ignite allows a psionic to cause energy pistol damage every second at a cost of 15 points for 30s of effect.
*Life Link (Blood): Life Link allows a psionic to link their health bar with that of another character for 10 points for 30s of effect
*Life Drain (Blood): Life Drain allows a psionic to drain health from another character and to add it directly to their own health bar for 10 points for 30s of effect.
Immolation (Fire): Immolation allows a psionic to cause energy grenade damage to all characters within an area of effect for 5 points per shot
*Gale (Wind): Gale allows a psionic to cause ballistic grenade damage to all characters within an area of effect for 5 points per shot
*Cataclysm (Fire): Cataclysm allows a psionic to cause massive energy area of effect damage for 20 points per shot
*Hurricane (Wind): Hurricane allows a psionic to cause a massive ballistic area of effect damage for 20 points per shot
Shield (Universal): Shield allows a psionic to negate damage to himself at the cost of 3 points per damage negated
*Iron Skin (Earth): Iron Skin allows a psionic to negate ballistic damage to himself at the cost of 2 points per damage negated
*Light Bubble (Light): Light Bubble allows a psionic to negate energy damage to himself at the cost of 2 points per damage negated.
* Wall (Earth): Wall allows a psionic to create a temporary earthen blockade that can absorb 100 points of damage (or last for 5 mins) for 50 points
We are also working vigorously to conclude our revamped website and pledge system. When this happens, we will take our donation system offline and fire up our pledge system. We have chosen not to crowdfund through Kickstarter, but rather to fund Mankind Reborn on our own platform. It is worth noting that this does not imply that those who supported us financially will lose any of their primary rewards; on the contrary, chances are rewards will be added to your pledge depending on how much you have donated.
We have developed a system which allows us to fully integrate Mankind Reborn into our official Discord server. Server status, killfeed, it’s all there as we speak. We will expand this even further in order to support territory ownership changes, broadcasting messages, world events, market changes, you name it! Everyone adores integration.
We have also optimized our game files once more in order to increase the rate at which Steam will patch Mankind Reborn.
Our game servers also restart every 24 hours automatically. We have found some defects in the Unreal Engine 4 dedicated servers, which essentially means that the longer the uptimes, the more unstable they become. This defect is present in multiple UE4 games, and at the moment, we’re currently trying to find the exact cause. So far we’ve lessened some of the rubberbanding issues that were present in our older builds by doing some tweaks. We will continue to further optimize the game’s network as much as we can until we switch to SpatialOS in the near future.