Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Duster's Exclusive: Developer Interview

Recently our blog had an opportunity to interview the CCP Dev Team and ask some of the questions the growing Dust 514 community is dying to know. Brandon Laurino was kind enough to step away from his job and answer some of our questions. Keep reading for why keyboard and mouse won't have an advantage, Sneak Attacks and how serious CCP is about anti-cheating. 

"That said, as we mentioned at FanFest, in null-sec, it’s the wild west, and it will truly be up to your skill and preparedness, no holds barred. In null-sec, it will be the most hardcore shooter ever, period."
--Brandon Laurino, Dust 514 Executive Producer 

1. Dust 514 seems like the perfect platform to build upon, how often will it see new content?

Brandon Laurino: We’re not going to reveal any specific schedules here. Things like tweaks and itemization and content updates we can do as often as we like, every couple of days, theoretically. It will be happening very often. Bigger things such as Mtacs, the new hostile environments, Gladiator arenas, and things like that will be included in a big content update. These we will have on a regular basis, like every couple of months.

2. Hardcore MMOFPS fans have been following Dust for years, how does it feel to be the game these kinds of players have only dreamed about?

Brandon Laurino: To put it simply, it’s an honor, and we are so happy you are as excited about this as we are. We have wanted to play this game for a long time too.

3. Anti-cheating has to be a big focus. How will you address lag-switches and other exploits?

Brandon Laurino: We are following industry best practices, as well as having our own tech to combat this. We don’t want to really give out details, because the less of the nuts and bolts of this we reveal, the more secure our solutions are – especially our homegrown ones.

4. Recently you revealed Keyboard/Mouse controls for Dust. Will that control scheme have an advantage?
Brandon Laurino: No, it will not have an advantage. There’s ways we’re addressing this through matchmaking and tuning handling, particularly in hi-sec and also doing things like gladiator arenas. That said, as we mentioned at FanFest, in null-sec, it’s the wild west, and it will truly be up to your skill and preparedness, no holds barred. In null-sec, it will be the most hardcore shooter ever, period.

5. You've hinted at an interesting merger of FPS skills, tactics and EVE knowledge in Dust that excites many. Would you call it a thinking, persistent shooter?

Brandon Laurino: Absolutely, that’s a great way to put it. This is also what we call the “roles on the battlefield”. We did a whole FanFest session on it, and I encourage you to watch the video of that session, it goes into detail on this. You can watch it here:  At the most sophisticated levels of playing DUST, we absolutely intend for it to be a much more thoughtful, much more strategic shooter than anyone has ever seen before, with much less frantic running and gunning all over the place. That said, we will have game modes and such for frantic running and gunning all over the place for those who want it. You can see this stuff organically emerging in the fanfest 2012 DUST tournament videos as well, just from the fanfest attendees playing an hour or so. The teams that did best, the team that won, worked effectively as a team, communicated, held positions, used vehicles together, and even used vehicle modules. We were so happy to see advanced tactics being picked up like that so quickly and intuitively at fanfest 2012.

6. Our blog did a piece regarding a web-app earlier and the Vita companion app is great news. What other features will it provide? Will we still see a web app for Dust?

Brandon Laurino: We are powering all this through the CREST API we announced at FanFest. With CREST, it’s very easy for us to port this sort of app wherever we want, as appropriate. That’s all we can say for now.

7. Dust intends to be a persistent world that exists even when you log off. So can you be attacked while offline?

Brandon Laurino: No comments on this right now. All we will say right now is that you can look to EVE, and see how attacking and defending assets you own in EVE works. DUST 514 will follow a similar type of gameplay in that regard.

8. Will we have the ability to sneak attack our enemy?

Brandon Laurino: You bet. As a matter of fact we encourage this type of gameplay in DUST 514. If you watch the gameplay footages from fanfest 2012, you can see how the RDV uses cloaking technology as it enters and exits the battlefield. In the near future, players will be able to use that cloaking technology to its fullest on the battlefields of New Eden.

9. Players fear losing Gear/ISK if they die too much. Will there be a healthy medium so players aren't afraid to be aggressive because it’s too costly?

Brandon Laurino: Absolutely. First, there will be tons of free and cheap stuff, and this aspect of gameplay is something that we will pay close attention to as DUST 514 becomes accessible to more players. Of course, we want you to treasure what you’ve worked for, and strive towards preserving your more valuable items. However, we will balance this with items that are essentially disposable as well and leave the choices up to the players.

10. What about explosives like claymores, artillery, mines and explosive charges or their equivalent? Are they in?

Brandon Laurino: Yes.

11. Online Only games are great, but too often that means we learn as we go along. Allowing for newer players who don't understand how to play the game. We believe that in games like that, the one offline mode should be a robust training mode where you learn how to be successful at the game and can practice, flying, shooting and driving among other things. What's your take?

Brandon Laurino: We have already announced PVE, and there will be a solid NPE / tutorials, and missions that ramp users through the learning curve smoothly. There’s also some other cool stuff we are doing with this, which we are not going to announce now, but you will essentially be able to try out and experiment with everything in the game.

12. Weapon Choices are big in shooters. How large is our selection?

Brandon Laurino: The biggest ever. There’s already hundreds, and it will keep growing. Then there’s all the zillions of ways you set up fittings with all this equipment. There’s other things we have planned a little bit down the line to take it even further than anyone has done.

13. Some players are concerned that there may be only one game mode (where we fight over territory) what about contracts where we're tasked with stealing/sabotaging/destroying a corps assets, assassinating/protecting or kidnapping a VIP or perhaps even getting a convoy from one point to another safely for variety? Well?

Brandon Laurino : Yes. We hinted at some of this at FanFest. There’s a lot of stuff in active development. A lot will roll out in 2012, a lot more in 2013, a lot more in 2014, and beyond. There’s a very long term plan for DUST that goes as far as your wildest imagination can take you. Consider all the possibilities that can exist between EVE Online and DUST 514 within the EVE Universe. This is a big part of how we will keep DUST fresh over the course of years. There’s no shortage of awesome things we can do, and are in development now. That’s all we can say for now.

14. Viewing Game was something you touched on during FanFest. Could you give us some more details about it?

Brandon Laurino: You’re talking about Spectator stuff..? This will be a part of the Gladiator stuff. We will reveal more details about this at a later time.

 We'd like to take a second to thank Brandon and the wonderful team over at CCP for taking the time for our interview. While the community is understandably anxious (ourselves included) about game details and beta entry, the most important thing is a well-done and balanced experience. If their being hard at work means less information, its a more than acceptable trade-off.


  1. solid interview.

  2. good info! i bet some people pissed their pants after that sneak attacks answer. best news ever!

  3. different games modes FTW!

  4. Whoo!!!!! some of my consern have been lifted, still i want to have an functional or does more not less of an app :)

  5. make the public beta for PS3 players, we are the ones who will play your game :)

    1. They probable will after the alpha beta?

  6. i've got my fingers crossed on the NPE and tutorial stuff.

  7. i'm a ps3 player too. feels like we're being neglected. we get in last? why?

    1. It's because Dust's economy is merging with EVE's economy. By lettting EVE players get at it first they can point out any pitfalls the economy might have.

  8. Many ps3 players have shared with us feeling left out re: their questions on Twitter and such but keep in mind that CCP is essentially just beginning their marketing push. They're already familiar with EVE players and in the end getting into an early access beta isn't the equivalent of playing a well-balanced finished product.