Hey everyone, we just had our Q&A that answered a bunch of questions regarding Operation Ares. If you weren't able to watch the live stream, we took note of all the answers.
I recently finished a map and xml'ed it. Can I still submit it?
Yes, you can still submit maps. When it comes time to transition to the new system, the map development team will work on getting the current maps we have in our repository functional. Until then, things are still going to run as normal and we'd love to see what maps the community can create!
Will the new plugin be open source?
Most of the main plugins will be closed source, we want to be able to limit people simply taking our code and recreating their own version of the server or our features. We'll still encourage contributions and discussion - if you want to help out then consider applying for developer.
Will the rewrite cause any big staff changes?
Our goal is that the rewrite will affect as little as possible, and as such we don't plan to rework the staff team in any way beyond working towards more transparent interdepartmental communication and community interaction.
Will the well loved by the community arcade-ish maps still work? (For example, Build Parkour or The Grand Dueling Tournament)
Not at the beginning. We'd love to get them to work, but it's not a current priority. With the new plugin, we'll be able to easily hard-code in ways to get maps like these to function, without having to do hacky xmls like we currently do.
How can the common community member help with Operation Ares?
Get involved with the staff team. Applications are currently open for developer and map developer, if you think you can help out & want to, go for it! Both teams are going to be working closely with the rewrite to make sure everything goes smoothly. We've also discussed the possibility of introducing some form of a more community driven role, something like Badlion's player council (for those that knew of that). Nothing's set in stone, no guarantees either.
Apart from that, as we get further along, we'll be doing some beta testing. When that happens, we'll love to hear your feedback, so stay tuned! We'll have some donor-only beta testing as well as a few open-to-everyone tests.
Will the redesigned version have the same feel as PGM?
Ideally, yes. As mentioned before, we want to make the transition as seamless as possible. That being said, we are going to introduce a few changes - stuff that's focusing on a better new player experience, that sort of thing. But the core, general feel of Stratus will be the same.
Maintainability is the key component for Operation Ares. Are there foreseeable performance increases to allow more maps to be loaded and/or to decrease existing hardware requirements on private servers?
Refer to the gist back in the main post. It goes over a lot of this question is asking. If you're looking for a quick answer, then yes, we plan on improving things to save money and increase performance on private servers.
Are you planning on implementing a public API?
Yes. The API will be divided up into different groups, meaning we're going to be able to keep some things private, should we want. In regards to the public stuff, we're going to document it and its functions, stay tuned for more info.
Do you plan to redevelop the website?
Do you plan to change the hosting provider to save money?
Right now we use Digital Ocean, it allows us to do a bunch of awesome scalability stuff. If we do consider anyone else, we want to keep the ability to all those things.
Will the functionality of the structures module (the ability to change the layout of the map based on things happening in the match) be included in the initial release?
Probably not. We'd be more inclined to write a separate module for maps that currently use them, that way avoiding the hacky get-around, a separate module would allow for less memory-intensive maps.
Will CTW be compatible with DTM/DTC?
We've looked at the analytics, there's not a ton of maps that are cross-gamemode in this way. We'd be putting in a lot of resources to get them to work for little gain. So no, CTW will not be compatible with DTM/DTC.
While this limits the potential of a map idea, maps that have too many gamemodes thrown all in are commonly confusing for newer players to understand. This is one of the positives we've identified, and as mentioned before, we're really wanting to focus on improving things for the new player.
Will 4 team maps be supported?
Yes, just like now.
Are filters going to vanish?
They're going to change. All dynamic filters are going away - they're rather intensive (getting checked every single tick), and we want to avoid that. Games that need specific filters to function can be coded back, which as you probably notice is a reoccurring theme. Filters like breaking blocks and entering regions will still work.
How different do you expect map making will be with the new system? In comparison with the current one.
It'll start with less features, but we're trying our best to make the experience the same. Overall, it's going to be easier to understand and get into. Once the new plugin is out and running, we'll try to add much more community requested features in regards to map making then we currently have been, so look forward to that!
Are maps where you get points for a combination of the following impossible now? Controlling a hill, getting kills, score-boxes, and capturing flags
Any gamemode that works the way it does now will continue to work in the rewrite. So TDMs with score-boxes, yes. TDMs with flags that give point based values, sure. If it's meant to be there, we'll get it working.
Does this mean you will be able to standardize aspects of maps? Such as hot bar setup, keeping team colours red and blue (instead of some weird colour like black and gray), and other things too.
You'll be able to choose hot-bars per gamemode, more information will come on that later. In terms of team colours, we still want to allow map makers to have the freedom to choose what team colours to assign in their maps, so no, we're not going to standardize it to always be blue & red or anything like that.
Don't you think that rewriting PGM in its entirety is a bit of an overkill?
No. It's hard to get things done as is, read the announcement post for more information on that. The idea is to build a better plugin that allows us to get things done easier, be cheaper, etc. We also want our codebase to be easier for new developers to understand and to build new features.
Who's working on each part of the rewrite?
Good question. In regards to our development team, ShinyDialga will working on our back-end & API, ALM is going to be working on the plugin, Shawnn is focusing on the web end of it all, and then all our other developers and trial developers will work where they feel comfortable. We're keeping a share of them to still develop towards and maintain PGM, that way everything's not in a complete standstill until Operation Ares is complete.
Going further into the staff team as a whole, mitchiii_ and ViceTechnicolour are working with the map development team to get them all ready for the rewrite. We've recently introduced back a marketing team (as you've probably seen on the staff page), they're focusing on new player retention, the new player experience, and more community engagement. They'll be working closely with the developers and admins to ensure that we market the hell out of our new plugin, when it comes time.
Will maps with classes still work?
Yep, no plans to remove that.
How will the website improve?
We have a secret forums project in the works, but we don't want to go into too much detail just yet. Overall, we'll be able to do a lot more, a lot easier. As mentioned before, we're swapping to Amazon to host the website on, so everything should be faster.
Is the league happening?
Something similar, if not a league system itself would be nice. We want to focus on being the competitive server, so we're turning a lot of attention to that. The events team back on OCN had a lot of great ideas in regards to the league system, and we definitely want to carry over some of that to Stratus!
Is an anti-cheat going to be viable / easier to implement?
Yes! Not all the details have yet been worked out, but we'd really like one so it's up there on the agenda.
Are there any plans for after the rewrite?
Sure, we have some ideas of what we want to do, but for the time being was want to focus all energy on Operation Ares. As we get closer to the release, we'll look into the future a little more.
Speaking of developer applications...how long do they usually take for a response?
It depends. Right now we've been a little busy with school and midterms, but you should expect a response soon. If we haven't replied, don't worry, it doesn't mean you were denied!
What if the rewrite doesn't achieve the progress you expect?
We're in a position where we can't expect to keep going forever with PGM, so we're going to put a lot of effort into this to hope that that doesn't happen. In the event we totally flopped, we could go back to PGM, but again, it's not a viable long term solution.
Which version will be the most affected?
The server will be 1.8. Other versions will still be supported (1.7 and onward to the latest version), but 1.9+ features will be lost.
Will pre-match structures using monument modes still be supported? For example, adding glass to indicate where you can build in void gaps.
Ideally we want to avoid doing a hacky solution like this. We'll probably create another way of doing this.
What's the ETA on the rewrite?
We don't know. As soon as we feel comfortable, it'll be released - but not before at least a month of beta testing!
Will overtime mechanics be implemented for 5CP, Payload, KoTH?
We might add that per game, but not on a global scale. It's something we'll discuss to figure out the exact details of.
Will King of the Flag be supported?
Anything that's a "big gamemode" in our current system will be brought over. It's big in tournaments and we want to keep it.
What will happen to private servers?
They'll still be around, it'll be a better system.
Will the map build server get a rework?
Yes! We're currently working on that. The plan is that it'll get out of beta and be open to everyone. We'll add some special donor perks, stay tuned for more details.
With the rewrite will it be easier for community members to host unofficial tournaments?
As mentioned before, private servers will be improving - which is bound to be the host place for your unofficial event. If you have any great ideas you think we can help out with, try contacting an admin or event coordinator.