Horizons 2.3 – Dev Update

At 4pm on the 31st January 2017 Frontier released a Dev Update on their forum outlining some details on the forthcoming ‘The Commanders’ release. It was also announced there would be live streams in the next couple of weeks where further details would be given out, and questions answered (Date TBC). You can read the details below, visit the original post here or read a slightly condensed version on The Commanders 2.3 Preview page.

Hello Commanders!

Now that the dust is settling on the interim update, I wanted to give you a more detailed heads up on what we’re currently working on next.

The first feature I want to discuss for 2.3 is Multi-crew – the ability to join up with Commanders on the same ship and enjoy space adventures as a crew. In this post, I’ll summarise what you can expect from this exciting new update, in terms of structure and supporting features.

Please note that before now and release, some details may still change, as we’re currently in the thick of implementing this feature!

Setting up Multicrew

Fundamentally, Multi-crew is about having fun with friends, so we want to make sure there are as few barriers to enjoying this feature as possible, starting with the crew formation process. We want to make it as easy as possible to start having fun on a multi-crew ship.

As long as their ship has enough seats (different ships have different multicrew capabilities) a Commander can directly invite players, or can set their vessel to allow multi-crew access. Commanders looking to play as crew can either accept direct invites, or activate a new “looking for ship” feature, which will automatically place them as crew on a suitable vessel with multi-crew access allowed, making the process quick and painless.

When joining a crew, a Commander will log out of their current vessel and transfer to the multi-crew vessel, regardless of distance. They can also leave at any time (or be evicted by the ship’s owner) at which point they can return to where their ship was last, making the whole affair a very friendly, drop in – drop out procedure.

Helm, Gunner and Fighter Con Roles

The ship’s owner always takes the role of helm, piloting the vessel and operating fixed and gimballed weaponry. They also control NPC fighter pilots. There can be up to two additional crew members, depending on the vessel, who can perform roles to enhance the ability of the ship. Players can also simply come along for the ride, with the pilot in a mentoring role. The helm also retains control over distribution of power, navigation, and synthesis.

The gunner role allows a crew member to take control of all turreted weapons on the ship. They do not need to jump between turret views though. Using a third person interface, they control a reticule that all turrets within their arc will automatically follow; giving them improved spatial awareness and easy control of all turreted weapons. They also have access to two “quick slot” fire buttons, in addition to normal fire groups, that they can customise with modules, allowing them more options for activating weapons and scanners.

Furthermore, the gunner has access to advanced sensor systems, allowing them three hundred and sixty degree tracking arcs. This lets them activate advanced scanners (such as the kill warrant scanner) and missile launchers in any direction.

The fighter con role lets a crew member launch and control a fighter, even if the helm has already launched a fighter using NPC crew. This allows multi-crew ships to have two fighters active at a time. In addition, if the ship has enough fighters, both crew members can take on the fighter con role, meaning three human controlled ships can be flying at the same time.

Crew members can switch roles dynamically as they see fit. The ship owner is always the helmsman.

Additional Multi-Crew Benefits and Rules

Every crew member also has access to a power distributor pip that they can assign dynamically. This is in addition to the standard pips that the helm controls. This extra power distribution allows the ship to operate more effectively, increasing its capabilities in combat.

Ship re-buy premiums are also reduced for each crew member. Again, the purpose with this is to lower the bar to access and ease of use, especially when dealing with vessels that can cost a lot of credits.

All bounties and vouchers that the helmsman (ship owner) receives are duplicated for each crew member, making multi-crew a great way to have fun with friends without missing out on money-making opportunities.

However, as they share the benefits, so too do they share the punishments. Any crime that the ship suffers is applied to all crew members equally. But when a Commander leaves or ends a session, the crew will have the option of avoiding taking the crimes with them, but in doing so, will lose all credits earned. It will be their choice.

Commander Creator

And supporting multi-crew in 2.3 is the Commander Creator. Commanders will be able to create a unique avatar using a wide variety of options, finally putting a face and character to their name. And with a new, fully-fledged camera system, they’ll be able to view themselves and their crew in real time as they adventure across the galaxy.

The Commanders: 1.8 & 2.3

Updated – 19th April 2017.

The Commanders was released on the 12th April 2017 and is the third part of Horizons expansion. It follows on from the release of:

1.5/2.0 – Horizons
1.6/2.1 – The Engineers
1.7/2.2 – The Guardians 

This major point release features three additions to the game: Multi-Crew, Holo-Me, a new Camera Suite. There are also numerous other additions, improvements and fixes. Please note that: + signifies Horizons content only.


MULTI-CREW +

Note: Images and video below are taken from Live stream and a pre-Beta/Beta build of the game.

Multi-Crew allows a team of up to 3 players players to play together and assume roles aboard the same ship or just tag along as a passenger. Frontier state that the aim of multi-crew is to allow players to team up together on their own or other vessels whilst trying to make the experience “a very friendly, drop in – drop out procedure.” This works as follows,

  • A pilot wanting to invite other players aboard their ship (up to two more players depending on the available seat numbers in the ship) can set their vessel to allow multi-crew access or actively invite other players aboard.
  • A player wanting to travel on another ship can choose a ‘looking for ship’ option which will automatically place them as crew on a suitable vessel. This will cause the player to log out of their own ship, regardless of the distance to the ship they are joining.
  • The ships owner always takes the role of the pilot and cannot swap out of it. This also includes taking control of fixed and gimballed weapons, NPC fighter pilots, power distribution, navigation and synthesis.
  • The other crew members can take on two other roles which they can swap between if they so wish. These are:

Gunner

  • Allows a crew member to take control of all turreted weapons on the ship. Using a third person interface they control a reticule that all turrets within their arc will automatically follow; giving them improved spatial awareness and easy control of all turreted weapons. They also have access to two “quick slot” fire buttons, in addition to normal fire groups, that they can customise with modules, allowing them more options for activating weapons and scanners.
  • The gunner also has access to advanced sensor systems, allowing them three hundred and sixty degree tracking arcs. This lets them activate advanced scanners (such as the kill warrant scanner) and missile launchers in any direction.


Fighter Con

  • This allows a crew member launch and control a fighter, even if the helm has already launched a fighter using NPC crew. This allows multi-crew ships to have two fighters active at a time. In addition, if the ship has enough fighters, both crew members can take on the fighter con role, meaning three human controlled ships can be flying at the same time.

Additional Information

  • Each crew member has access to a power distributor pip (extra to the ones controlled by the pilot) which they can dynamically assign to allow the ship to operate more effectively in combat.
  • Ship re-buys premiums are reduced for each crew member which will hopefully lower the bar of access and ease of use – especially for expensive ships.
  • All bounties and vouchers received by the ship owner are duplicated for each crew member.
  • Any crimes that the ship suffers are also applied to each crew member.
  • A commander finishing the session for whatever reason will have the choice of taking any crimes with them or lose the credits they have earned.
  • Turreted Mining lasers would be available for those who want to mine in a multi-crew environment.
  • There is no multi-crew based SRV action available to players “at the moment”.

In order to manage all these changes there have been additions to various UI menus in the game.

Comms Panel:
In-game avatars created by players will appear as they have been made in the Holo-Me. Holo-Me images will also appear in the friends list.

screenshot-45
New Communication Panel UI menu

Invite Players: This gives three options for you planned activity: Piracy, Bounty Hunting and Mentoring along with what this will involve.

Join a ship: To join a ship gives a similar layout with the key exception is you will be able to see how many ships are looking for each different play-style.

screenshot-57
Commander teleporting into position.
screenshot-58
Commander in position aboard a multi-crew ship.
screenshot-59
View from a multi-crew ship
screenshot-61
New UI view from a teleported pilot.

screenshot-62

Another view from aboard a multi-crew ship showing alternate radar UI.

History Tab: This tracks previous sessions and allows you to add friends from previous sessions and additionally block players.

Landing Page: Players have a page giving a description of the session they have joined including what roles are available.

screenshot-60

Session Report: This menu keeps track of breakdown of events, kills, fines, rewards and time spent during play.

screenshot-63

  • When the gunner selects the turret the camera switches to outside the ship to a third person view where the gunner can then use the reticules to target other craft.

You can view a GIF of the above view in action here, thanks to Cmdr DiddyCarter on Reddit.


HOLO-ME +

  • Holo-Me is the in game lore term for software stored in ship that allows you to create your in-game character. This is essentially a hologram of your in-game self and allows you to change your actual appearance.
  • Access is via the right status pane and can be changed in-game at any point other than when in the SRV or SLF.
  • There are likely to be 40-50 preset faces available if you don’t wish to create a character from scratch.
  • There are a number of tabs to change the various attributes of the faces – of which there are lots and the fine tuning is very detailed, changing everything from: hair, eyebrows, lips, age, skin type, beard, face size & symmetry, nose, eyelids, scars, freckles and many other small details.
  • It’s also possible to randomise each particular feature if you don’t want to dial them in individually.
  • You can also change the decals that are applied to your suit, which can also be changed colour. Further more detailed suits will of course be available via micro-transactions.

THE CAMERA SUITE

  • This allows players to take control of the views both inside and outside of their ship and replaces the old debug camera and allows the player to control the ship from a 3rd person point of view.
  • It’s accessed as previously by selecting CTRL+ALT+SPACE allowing you to change the level of blur, focal distance and camera speed as well as various other preset camera views from above or below the ship. Other features include the ability to drop the camera in space and fly your ship away from it in external view, lock the camera to the world view, ship view, zoom and control its roll and elevation.
  • Weapons can be used but there is no UI to give the usual heads-up information. The camera can also be used with the SRV.
  • Camera Suits is accessible to all crew members on a ship meaning all three can create different shots of the same event.

You can view the video of the live stream demonstration here, or take a look at the beautiful video below by Cmdr Hoppryngil that shows off the new camera suite.

aspthruster
An in-game photo taken with the new camera system.

NEW CONTENT & QUALITY OF LIFE FEATURES

As per previous releases some new additions would be left for players to find themselves. There is also a very long list of smaller tweaks and improvements that can be found by reading the full patch notes.

Dolphin Liner +

  • 2.3 sees the introduction of the Dolphin liner produced by Saud Kruger. This ship can land on a small landing pad. You can see the video of it here or look at the images below courtesy of Cmdr. Raj Matheo.


Ship Naming

  • You are now able to name your ship and have it appear in the UI, but if you wish it to appear on the hull of your ship you will have to purchase a special ship decal from the Frontier store in the same way you would for ship skins.

    “Everyone will be able to rename their ship for free in game and there will also be the option to purchase cosmetic name plates which will allow Commanders the ability to display that name on your ship’s hull via a special decal. These additional features will be made available in the near future with a catalogue of designs. We’re looking forward to seeing you display your ship names with pride.”

shipname
Ship naming will be available via the Frontier store

Mega-Ships

  • These are a variety of large non-flyable ships, some of which have docking capabilities and can be interacted with in-game. The one seen below is the first of many and has been named ‘Fisher’s Rest’. You can see images and a video clip below. They are listed in the patch notes as being as follows:
    • Tanker
    • Cargo
    • Asteroid Miner
    • Flight Operations
    • Prison Ship
    • Science Vessel
    • Passenger
    • Unknown Variation #1
    • Unknown Variation #2


Asteroid Bases

  • A new asteroid base type station (including air traffic controllers) added including 32 in various deep space locations.
screenshot_0986_1
Interior of Asteroid Station thanks to Vasious27


Mysterious Things +

  • Further ‘mysterious things’ added into the game.

Organic Surface Content +

  • More organic surface discoveries added into the game.

Passengers & Missions

  • You can now choose to add prisoner cells as alternatives to passenger cabins.
  • There are updated mission variations for passenger: Bulk, VIP and VIP Conflict as well as delivery and variant mission templates.
  • Players can now choose to accept or turn down passenger requests to be taken to a new destination. In the same way delivery, collections, Passenger Bulk, Piracy, Rescue, Salvage and Smuggle mission change destination wrinkles are now optional.
  • Multi-stage mission support has been added to the game, these are different to the current ‘wrinkles’ that take place during missions.

Challenge Scenarios

  • Some new challenge scenarios have been added into the game:
    • 4 new Incursion scenarios
    • Speed docking
    • Driver challenge
    • Ship launched fighter challenge

Points of Interest & Unidentified Signal Sources 

  • Lava Spouts now have proximity effects around them. Depending on the ferocity of their eruption, they deal heat and damage to the player. The more ferocious the eruption, the hotter and more damaging they become.
  • There are also various new passenger USS scenarios as well as new wreckage types and space scenarios can also now have localised fog. Additional installation scenarios and colour variations have been added:

Engineers

  • New blueprints have been added to the game as follows:
    • Manifest/Killwarrant/Wake scanner:
      • Long Range
      • Wide Angle
      • Fast Scan
    • Ship primary sensor:
      • Light weight
      • Long Range
      • Wide angle
    • Detailed Surface scanner (affects how fast you can basic/detailed scan planets):
      • Long Range
      • Wide Angle
      • Fast Scan
  • New blueprints added to:
    • Bill Turner:
      • DSS to grade 5
      • Sensor/scanner to grade 5
    • Felicity Farseer:
      • DSS to grade 3
      • Sensor/Scanner to grade 3
    • Heri Tani:
      • DSS to grade 5
      • Sensor/Scanner to grade 3
    • Juri Ishmaak:
      • Sensor/scanner to grade 5
      • DSS to grade 5
    • Lei Chung:
      • DSS to grade 5
      • Sensor/scanner to grade 5
    • Lori Jameson:
      • Sensor/scanner to grade 5
      • DSS to grade 5
    • Tiana Fortune:
      • Sensor/scanner to grade 5
      • DSS to grade 5

Station Services

  • To account for the introduction of new ships in the game, you can now store up to 35 of your ships at a station (increased from thirty).

Pirates

  • NPC pirates will now ask the player for a cargo amount from a player. Complying will result in the NPC pirate not opening fire.

Interdiction

  • Players in supercruise can now visually see other interdictions taking place. You can see this taking place in this video.

Tourist Beacons

  • 100 new tourist beacons have been added into the game.

Data Link Scanner

  • It’s still to be confirmed but Frontier are hoping to include in 2.3 the ability to use the Data Link scanner in your ship. It’s not yet known what exact uses this will have, but it will be bound to a button in your fire groups, as below.

Weapons

  • It’s now possible to use a turreted mining laser

Audio Changes

  • New additions include audio for the FSD supercharge including voice alerts, added ambient audio details to the starport inner-dock variant, three New flight controllers types for the Empire, Anarchy, Independent powers, some additional wave scanner improvements and what it listed as ‘Secret stuff. Shhh’.

Corvette Ship Kit

Exactly as it says on the tin.

Network

  • Experimental IPV6 support has been added to the options setting. Read more about that here.

Horizons 2.3 – Beta Date

At 4.25pm on the 27th January 2017 Frontier confirmed that the Beta for 2.3 (The Commanders) will be available at some point between: Monday 20th February & Sunday 26th February 2017. Its duration has not been confirmed but going by previous releases it could be a month or so in length. It will be available for anyone who has previously purchased the Horizons Beta. Frontier have said they will announce if the Beta will be made available for purchase for people who currently don’t own it. You can read the announcement, here.

Information already known about its content can be seen on the Horizons: Preview page. A new section will be made available on this blog when the information starts to be made available.

Frontier Q&A – Dav Stott

Frontier’s Q&A with Dav Stott on the 17th January covered a whole host of topics around the background simulation, servers and other technical areas of the game. You can view it below or read a brief rundown here, as kindly provided by forum user Golgot.

As far as new information went there wasn’t much to report aside from the brief mention that somewhere along the line Frontier might be looking to alter the appearance of stations and settlements to reflect the current system state.

Q: Will there be an effort to make the background simulation more visible and audible from out of your spaceship’s cockpit? Having the look and audio of stations and settlements change depending on system states, for example.

A: Nothing to announce today, but planet bases already change decals if faction changes. (since Horizons launch). Nothing more to announce at the moment.