Alpha test feedback Feb 7, 2015

Continuing the discussion from Alpha test feedback Jan 24, 2015:

Join us at for a 30 min playtest Saturday, 7th of February, 2015 at 2pm Central US, 3pm East US, 8pm UK/GMT


(embedding is not working, fixing)

Release Notes

  • Jupiter and Europa await
  • Alien scale military grade engine speed to 500m/s and 1000m/s at turbo
  • Weapon velocity increase to 2000m/s + current speed
  • Afterburner burn increased to 7.5s
  • Afterburner cooldown to 20s
  • Some NPC “events”
  • Free AoA “Bughunter” T-Shirt for videos of confirmed and definite combat glitches posted to the forum feedback thread

If you want to know the bigger picture and where we are heading don’t forget to check out: About Age of Ascent

Thank you all for joining us on this journey!

Exploring edge parameters for physics so speed is unusually high this week!

Hi everyone,

As TC has indicated, this week is going to be fast.

We’ve upped some of the baseline velocity numbers to way over their original parameters, so we’re at:

  • Ship velocity at top normal thrust: 500m/s (1,118 Mph)
  • Ship velocity at afterburner/turbo: 1000m/s (2,237 Mph)
  • Bullet velocity (added to ship velocity): 2000m/s (4,474 Mph)
  • NPC ship velocities will vary when we drop them in to the mix after 20mins gameplay

We’re testing this for a number of reasons.

We think this is going to give us some interesting feedback from you guys on the playability of a game running at this speed. We hope it’ll be fun rather than frustrating.

We’ve certainly, in testing, found it harder to tail another ship, and have found that using the AB to boost away is now super-viable. The style of the gameplay - at least amongst ourselves - came closer to medieval jousting than turn-radius dogfighting.

But we’re really interested to see what you guys think and how it works for you, because we’re the first to realise that we’re not the world’s best pilots.

Let us know - comparatively with last week, or any other week you’ve played - your personal perceptions (eg how it felt to play) as well as the realities (eg how difficult it was and how/if your strategies changed).

We need to know how the physics and network engines will run under some pressure - and not just a pressure of sheer “numbers”. We know we can do super-hardcore-large-megadigit numbers of players at the same time - but so far only at specific framerates of the engines themselves (ie not your display fps onscreen, more how the game itself tracks events, at much higher frequencies).

The game engines operate with a degree of relative elasticity - which they have to do given the inbuilt network latencies (we’re all playing from different parts of the world when we play AoA) - and which they co-ordinate amongst themselves in the server architecture.

So this test is not only riding the physics engine quite hard (like most of our tests do); but is also riding so hard there are saddle sores on the ‘Obi-Wan-hand-wavy’ predictive/reconstructive parts of the engine.

These bits are the super-secret-sauce gubbins that say “if I have free cycles, can I precalculate that this is a mathematic inevitability…?.. and also, what would have happened had I got this particular event message when I should have got it (but didn’t) and can I get away with retrospectively applying it without anyone noticing”).

I don’t want to get all ontological on yo’ ass, but these are both very important things for us to understand in terms of our core measurements, but also in terms of whether it still “feels right” to play.

I think I’d be safe in saying that most everyone who’s tested AoA so far has found it responsive and swift, and with a few exceptions (eg a couple of months ago my ship blinked in and out of existence when my browser froze, for example!) it’s pretty glitch free - especially for a continued Alpha.

However, this Saturday you may experience weirdnesses, and we’d like you to be especially on the lookout for them. I’m especially interested in any ghosts / glitches / artifacts and generally things that somehow felt a bit wrong or “spooky”.

It’s important for us to let you know this, because I think that most people who have played AoA have confidence in the engine: you basically think that when the game says you hit someone, you felt it was right… and when you yourself get hit, you don’t think “how the hell?”. That confidence is critical, especially with what we’re doing at scale. However, this week you might find that your confidence in the engine gets dented with things that didn’t seem right to you; but please don’t lose confidence in the engine as a result - this is why we’re testing!

People who record a confirmed and definite combat glitch that they experience this playtest vs any previous playtest - and can highlight the glitch on video for us - will not only get double super mega ace karmic points, they’ll also get a free AoA “Bughunter” T-Shirt. Srsly. (We have up to 10 to give away, beyond that apologies in advance).

Hope you have fun!



is so ready for this playtest

Is it going to be at 3PM EST?

Yes, 3PM EST ( 8pm or 20:00 UTC )

Updated patch notes to include afterburner and extras

Just a last minute note before the test - we’ve discovered a bug in the Internet Explorer implementation that is essentially making the game unplayable due to a performance regression in IE.

We are talking with the IE team about rectifying this issue - but for this particular playtest we are disallowing Internet Explorer to play AoA. Players arriving at the game in IE will be directed to use Chrome or FireFox.

We hope this will be rectified before the next test.



I like it. Aiming has to be adjusted, but with the increased projectile speed it seems balanced. Speed is a good addition for increasing options. This is why we see yet greater variance in scores. If you keep this up with capital ships, this may be one of the few games 10 players can beat a hundred in.

Nice play test, after a few minutes got re-used to the controls and chalked up 4 kills. Extra speed, and a big boost when needed means it’s harder to kill, but also easier not to be killed, I think that is the first play test I haven’t died in.

Re: weirdness, I only noticed one point of weirdness. When the second red wave came in I was pretty much at ground zero in the middle of the ring. It was like a firework going off, and I saw ships ‘strobing’ in the light wave, blinking on and off. Unfortunately I don’t run a video on this pc, so can’t post it.


Wow. That was fast. I like it. Team tactics really shrine, and someone ‘covering’ a friendly is an extremely effective strategy. This is kind of odd because last week, a 2v1 scenario would almost assuredly grant the more numerical side a win. I noticed there were several times where I could shrug off one or two other attackers while pursuing my target. Health management, and lost of strafing.

Today I played the hunter. I picked a target, and I stayed on them until they fell. No kills of opportunity, not much time in the soup, just look who hit me last and hunt them to the ends of the earth. They were very satisfying kills.

I really, really, really enjoy the after burners. When someone hits their after burners, they really take off.

I noticed some people tried sit still in space and play turret mode. This is probably a lot safer than it used to be.

Unfortunately I didn’t notice any bugs not already present in the game. I noticed some ships would pause in space, then punch it. I think that’s lag though. I’ll review the video footage I have. I did crash twice though. Which made me sad. I had just lost dorkhero after trailing him for a good long while, and had lost him when defense force showed up. When I found him again, he was on my team.

Also as Mellificient pointed out, there were several times that defense force performed their comet singularity maneuver. Bizarre. But pretty. I think that an armada coming out of warp speed should look like that. The equivalent of ‘sally fourth’ in Illyriad.

Also it seems that the bots don’t really make much use of the increased speeds (with the exception of their synchronous comet maneuvers)! I don’t usually take the time to kill bots anymore (was too busy stalking dorkhero, sorry), but if we look at the top of the leaderboard, their bot kills are relatively similar since last week. This tells me that bot time-to-kills aren’t increasing as much as player TTKs are. Which is a good thing for players, as they have something permanent to lose on death, and the higher that TTK, the longer time they have to escape rather than die. Though it’s also an indicator of weak AI.

It’s actually a little staggering. Removing bots from the scores, the top five instead looks like this:
Garruk - 13/3
FRY - 7/2
Psycho Romeo - 12/0
GM Thundercat - 3/4

Video will be at a little lower framerate than usual. I am also hosting a starbound server and my performance took a hit. Will try to have it ready by Tuesday!

Here we go! Spent some extra time on this one.

The only real new issue I came across was a at 21:53 or so, someone appears on my gravidar without a name (just below my crosshair). When the video finishes uploading I’ll double check and verify the time.

A lot of the bugs I noticed were just pre-existing bugs made more visible due to the high speeds. One example is how players instead of shooting in nice arcs shoot instead in triplets while turning. Another would be the position lag (snapping) that is very evident all over the video, which I assume is just lag.

I’ve gotta say though, I really enjoy the speeds and hope they stay.

I think I caught that - blue player around about the 22m mark?

Definitely worth a T-shirt though, PR. It’s all round a very useful video, and I like the annotations.

Send me a pm (or email me) with the:
a) name and address you’d like it sent to
b) Gender and Size (S, M, L, XL, XXL)
c) Colour (Navy, Black, Burgundy, Royal Blue, Red or Purple)

… and I’ll get that out to you.

It was a very useful test for us all round and some extremely useful metrics were caught. We didn’t reach the limits of the system during the test. I do wonder if some of your network performance lag was due to hosting the starbound server at the same time though; European players didn’t appear to see the position lag you experienced and it would be odd if intra-US comms had more base latency than transatlantics. We might need to narrow some tests down on this, or push the system even harder this coming Saturday. Will keep you posted.


Correct, just before 22m.

I also will be re-uploading the video tonight and tomorrow morning, as something seems to have gone very wrong at around 23:15. I’ll get that link out as soon as it’s up. I want to try to make the annotations a more common thing, to give the viewer some insight to my current intents. And to point out certain maneuvers, like the ubluntu spiral, or the very similar GM Thundercat Feeble Corkscrew. Also I figured out how to remove the cursor. Yay.

For the next test I will definitely drop the Starbound server.

New video:

I’ll have to improve my techniques :slight_smile: