We received a bunch of great questions in our first "Ask the Devs!" forum thread over the last few days. Today we're providing answers from the development team at id Software in this thread. If we didn't answer your question, don't worry. We'll continue to look through and provide updates in future posts.
Quake Champions Developer AMA
Dev Team Responses & Contributions from:
Adam Pyle - Lead Design at id Software
Brandon Riffe – Senior Producer at id Software
Matt Charles - Senior Producer at id Software
John Hill - Esports Manager at id Software
Alexander Larionov – Game Director at Saber Interactive
How are you doing Devs ?
Adam Pyle: I'm so happy you asked.
Matt Charles: Only around ~1.4, but I like to experiment with different playstyles.
Brandon Riffe: Excited!
What is your personal (and some of the Dev teams) favorite Champion? Weapon? Feature? and why? :)
Adam Pyle: My personal favorites are Ranger and Sorlag. I have a large number of contenders tied for third, and am still sorting out who deserves that spot. I absolutely do not have a favorite weapon, but instead enjoy mixing it up and earning combo kills.
Matt Charles: Ranger! Mobility is key. The Rocket Launcher is still my favorite weapon.
Brandon Riffe: Sorlag she is a beast. My favorite weapon is the lightning gun.
Are you willing to compromise competitive integrity for accessibility? In other words, do you value a wide range of skill gaps between players, or do you value the ability for a scrub to start competing quickly against higher ranked players?
Adam Pyle: Absolutely not. Lowering the skill floor doesn't mean you inherently lower the skill ceiling. We hope to make the game more accessible by simplifying some game systems, while adding depth by adding more mechanics to utilize and master. New players do not need to quickly compete against higher ranked players, they just need easy access to players of a similar skill ranking and improve their standing (and their skill) over time.
Is there anything on the horizon you are especially eager/anxious to seeing the community's reaction to? If so, can we have a hint? ;)
Matt Charles: See the next question below.
Tim Willits' moustache. Will it be making a comeback?
Adam Pyle: Hopefully not. Someone really should have told him. ;)
Matt Charles: Yes. Whether Tim likes it or not.
Brandon Riffe: Of course. All styles come back.
Are there currently any champions you are looking at more closely than others, either due to player feedback or collected data? If so, which, and what specifically?
Adam Pyle: We are always listening to player feedback and monitoring match data, both have been important in evaluating what Champions are having success and under which conditions. However, it is worth noting that Clutch has some upcoming changes to both its active and passive abilities.
Any plans to further adjust hitboxes of Champions like Anarki, Nyx, Galena?
Adam Pyle: Hitbox adjustments are one of the many knobs we always have at our disposal and consider when making balancing adjustments. Light Champions, like Anarki, Nyx, Slash, have smaller hitboxes, but that is an important counter-balance to their very limited health pool. Recently we have discussed increasing the padding for one of these Champions, but we are looking forward to evaluating data from this weekend's beta test.
Slash seems weak in Duel now, should you give her 25 ap back?
Adam Pyle: Slash is currently a little weak in Duel and a little too strong in Sacrifice. After preparing this week's CBT build we made an adjustment that increased her max armor points by 25, but reduced her plasma trail lifetime significantly.
Have you considered increasing or reworking the current speed caps?
Adam Pyle: We have no intentions on reworking the fundamentals behind the speed caps, as they are quite important to preserving the fundamental balance between light, medium, and heavy Champions. However, we’re constantly adjusting all aspects of the Champions acceleration and max speed values to improve balance. Most notably we recently increased the speed of our heavy Champions, and have some upcoming tweaks for Visor, Galena, and Clutch on the way.
Will Galena have her base speed increased to 300? I'm sure we all agree that this is a resounding yes.
Adam Pyle: Yes.
Can you explain some of the rationale behind zoom damage?
Adam Pyle: I'd love to! :) Currently two weapons deal extra damage while zoomed-in: the Heavy Machinegun and the Railgun. We are certainly aware that this is a hot issue and many players have expressed their dislike. So let's take a moment to look at our rationale behind the bonus damage and our plans moving forward. The Heavy Machinegun currently does 9 damage, with a 75ms rate of fire, resulting in 120 damage per second at 100% accuracy. (And note, the weapon is only 100% accurate at point blank due to spread.) While zoomed-in the weapon deals 10 damage at 80ms RoF, resulting in 125 DPS. While the extra 5 damage per second is very minor, it does not present an interesting player choice. The player needs to zoom-in for more damage, has little consequence in doing so, and it would always be to their advantage to do so. What is of interest to me is giving the player a risk vs reward choice. Let's make the HMG deal 10 damage, but lower the RoF to 100ms, resulting in 100 DPS vs the current 120 DPS. And for our player choice, let's consider the HMG Zoomed to deal 15 damage per shot, but at a much lower rate of fire – twice as slow – 200ms between each shot. This results in more damage per bullet, but lowers the weapon's DPS from 100 to 75. In this design, choosing to zoom-in too soon or for the entirety of a combat situation would not be a wise decision, but as your opponent becomes weaker or if they begin to flee, you could choose to sacrifice your sustained DPS in favor of more damage per shot to try to finish them off. In doing so you risk dealing insufficient DPS due to missing critical shots, or losing the escaping enemy if they were healthier than anticipated. For those not familiar, this same mechanic existed for the Machinegun in Quake 4, and was well received and enjoyed by that community. We would like to implement this change to see players enjoy this strategic choice that may add some depth to the gameplay. Concerning the Railgun, our intention is to introduce a radial charge meter around the crosshair upon zooming-in, and only once charged would the additional 10 damage become available. This would provide players both the UI and audible feedback to understand when the damage is available, and eliminate the ability for players to quick-scope their shots. It positively reinforces that the railgun is a long-range weapon, rewards the player for using it at long-range, but it comes at a cost of remaining in a tight FOV for an extended period of time leaving the player vulnerable to being flanked from the side or having reduced mobility through the arena, all while still fully allowing the weapon to be shot from the hip at any distance or on flick shots. Our current plan is to see it through as designed and then re-evaluate both player feedback and statistical match data to determine our path forward.
Any possibility of getting rid of flash effects while doing an LG battle? All the particles and flashiness make tracking and even seeing sometimes, nearly impossible.
Adam Pyle: Yes. It is a normal cycle to generally have new flashy effects put into place and over the course of testing fine tune them to address those issues. We reduced many of our weapon effects after QuakeCon, after PAX, and will continue to take player feedback to address extraneous effects as we continue through our CBTs.
Alexander Larionov: I absolutely agree. We will try to integrate some adjustments in the near future.
Do you believe forcing all weapon effects to use team colors (red/blue) would help out in team based game modes.
Adam Pyle: Yes and no. While making all effects adhere to a friendly/enemy effects color helps you easily distinguish who fired the shot and which shots are threatening, it also begins to detract from the weapon identity. The more effects that become team colored, the less you can identify what type of shot it was. We obviously do this quite a bit with the abilities where we color effects like Clutch's Barrier, Slash's Plasma Trail, and Nyx's Ghostwalk smoke, so there is a bit of a balance there we need to maintain. We also want to preserve some of our art style and not just turn everything red and blue. Are we open to suggestions? Sure. I know quite a few people are interested in team colored rails and lightning beams options.
Have you considered adding rail color customization like in Quake 3 Arena?
Adam Pyle: Those types of weapon customizations may be best served through our existing weapon customization systems. So for instance, vanity weapons could come with their own effects.
Do you have any additional plans for the Super Nail Gun? Right now it stands as the most underused weapon in the game. A slight DPS boost might be in order.
Alexander Larionov: We need to fix the input delay (the same issue as the rockets) before making any damage adjustments. In theory, fixing the input issue will significantly improve the feeling of this gun.
What is a rocket's speed and splash damage area in size? Will this be prone to change in future updates?
Adam Pyle: Weapon values are constantly evaluated and tweaked. We do plan on settling into values as much as possible, but in these early stages we are always listening to feedback and reviewing stat data. Currently the Rockets move at 1200 ups, faster than any previous Quake, and have a splash damage radius of 132u – slightly larger than the 120u radius found in Q3, Q4, and QL. All weapon stats are subject to change at this time.
Why isn't there a BFG?
Adam Pyle: Two reasons. 1.) The BFG has always had a tumultuous past in Quake. In Quake 2, the BFG was fun, but so effective it had to be banned and disabled in competition. In Quake 3 the BFG was only scarcely available on a few maps, and none of those maps stayed in favor when it came to competitive play. Quake 4’s Dark Matter Gun again was only present in a handful of arenas, and wasn’t well received outside of Deathmatch. We would prefer that all of our weapons be embraced, and all of our maps be viable in both casual and competitive play, without altering the item layouts. 2.) We just released DOOM and while the BFG has found its way into several Quake games, it is a weapon that clearly originates from DOOM and is a key piece of that game’s identity. In that respect, I prefer to give the brands space to define their own identity.
Getting a headshot is pretty unrewarding for the time being , wouldn't it be better if a headshot would do 33% more damage than a bodyshot?
Adam Pyle: While there is nothing inherently wrong with headshot damage in other games, Quake has traditionally stressed the importance of the hitting rather than overly concerned with location based damage. Our Headshot medal brings some fun to the action without altering the gameplay, and while they do not deal extra damage, they are meaningful as earning medals generate both XP and Favor. Headshot damage sounds like something that we could include in a fun mini-game, but not in normal play.
Any chance of an all new gun?
Adam Pyle: Spoilers.
Matt Charles: The Spoiler Gun: it shoots tiny Orbbs.
I would love to know the design intentions behind the changes to pickups, more specifically things like removal of yellow (and green) armor, health and armor pickups being rounded instead of flat values
Adam Pyle: One thing Quake 3 successfully did was make simplifications that improved the game for both new and returning players. Quake 3 took a rather complex tiered armor system and reduced it down to three pick-up items: Body Armor (Red) and Combat Armor (Yellow), and Shards (Green). In Champions we have maintained that same concept of two more significant armors, the Heavy and Light Armor, but have moved Shards from being a pick-up item to a kill reward. The catalyst for this change was our introduction of Hourglass Cooldown Reduction pick-ups, which to our designers felt like a better small item to chain throughout the map. Like in Q3 where Shards were often meant to be small bonuses most useful to the player out-of-position, we place Cooldowns in locations where we help bolster players who may not have the high ground or item control. Looking at how Quake 3 managed to simplify game systems, making them more accessible to a broader base of players while still creating what is often touted as the most skill based competitive shooter of all time, we began to reconsider many of our own similar systems. Ultimately refining things down to Major Items and Minor Items felt really good as a way to both reinforce the importance of key items and ensure that players always maintained a good stack of health and armor. Concerning our move to a container system over flat values, one thing I had noticed over the years that greatly divided the good players from those who were struggling was their lack of control over their health and armor stack. But not just item control – they were missing health management entirely. Players when weak would often wait until they were below 25hp to begin gathering health (when it was too late) and others would walk over health bubbles when already at full health. I thought, if we could improve everyone's health management habits, then we could begin building better players. We hope that over time our move to a container system, much like Heart Containers popularized in adventure games, would help players begin thinking about health differently. If you have one empty heart container and you understand that all you need to do to refill it is run over one single item, you are more likely to do so. Over time as we make improvements to our HUD, we hope to make health management be more intuitive to all users. Ultimately, this nicely ties into our concept of Major and Minor items. Minor items, be it health or armor, will refill one of these containers, while Major Items restore you to full with the potential of overmax bonus points that decay over time. This makes the game easier to learn, without taking away from the greater experience.
Could we have in the future weeks an option to test the maps only to master champions movements, please?
Matt Charles: We hear the request for this feature and have it as an item on our list.
Will we get an offline practice mode with bots?
Matt Charles: Quake Champions is developed to be an always-online game, but that being said we understand practicing against bots is a frequent request. While I can't speak to the timeframe for this, we are looking in to this feature.
Are you going to add practice and training maps? Will the practice/tutorial mode include also learning each unique ability of champion, for example special map for Sorlag bunny chop/acid accuracy, different for Slash crouch since each hero is like completely different car?
Matt Charles: While I can't comment about specifics yet, we are looking into various ways to train players how to use each Champion effectively.
Adam Pyle: Onboarding and training for new players is one of our top priorities right now.
Will there be features such as APIs that allow the community to come up with basic things such as stats, like what was allowed in Quake Live via QLRanks and now QLStats?
Adam Pyle: Creating a Stats API is an important step towards building the competitive esports and social features infrastructure we have planned. That work is a significantly large task, but is already underway. While building it for our own internal use is our immediate priority, our goal is to make it accessible to either partners or the public to allow the community to build robust tools that depend on match stats and player rankings.
Any plan to add first person spectating or demo replay features?
Adam Pyle: Yes, we already have some nice spectating and replay features in the works. Spectating is incredibly important to both esports and community-building, so we are trying to improve the spectating experience beyond what we've offered in previous Quake titles.
Currently, Quake Champions (game is refreshing and feels like a quake btw) doesn't put much emphasize on weapons control. Why?
John Hill: Weapon control in Quake Champions is similar to Quake Live. Weapon respawn is 5 seconds so the technique of grabbing the weapon to deny your opponent won't be as effective. However the technique of using your positioning to protect and prevent your opponent of obtaining a weapon is still very much a part of Quake Champions. We've seen in the beta that a common tactic on Blood Covenant is to occasionally check on the Railgun to ensure your opponent is not attempting to grab it for their benefit.
Visibility is still an issue. Would you consider having red outlines always on? That would almost completely solve the problem.
John Hill: We are continuing to monitor model visibility.
Do you plan to add ranking system with MMR etc? If yes, when?
John Hill: Yes, we do plan on adding a ranking system in the future.
Will we see "Seasons"? Any thoughts on the season lengths and so forth? :)
John Hill: We look forward to sharing information about our esports landscape soon.
How satisfied are you with the sound/sound cues in the game? Are you working to improve more the shoots and footsteps directions?
Matt Charles: The audio team is continuously evaluating the mix. We keep not helping them by changing how things work. It's a never-ending cycle.
Have you considering to adding wall clipping?
Adam Pyle: Wallclipping, or SlideMove in idPhysics, is something we are currently testing but need more time to fully integrate.
Can you talk about the armor shard pick up delay?
Adam Pyle: The pick-up delay is a known issue to be addressed in the future. Don't worry, it bothers me too -- I really looking forward to addressing it.
Have you considered increasing or removing the frag limit in duel?
Adam Pyle: We plan on adding these options within Custom Game. Lately the average length of Duels have been extending, producing a significant number of comebacks, and it spectates quite well. We are interested to see how it evolves.
Are there any plans for adding Capture the Flag?
Adam Pyle: Maybe. Am I allowed to answer this yet?
Are there any plans for adding Clan Arena?
Adam Pyle: We have no current plans.
Thoughts on a game mode that does not allow duplicate champions, such as a random draft
Adam Pyle: We will be testing similar variations in the future, but it is not something we're actively working on.
Any plans to introduce Space levels? I was a great fan of them in the old Quakes, especially DM17.
Adam Pyle: Although we have discussed it, nothing currently in the works. We know that space maps, and Longest Yard in particular, were quite popular and memorable arenas but they are also many who dislike space maps. We feel it would best to wait until we have more maps in the pool.
When do you think the game will support Vulkan?
Matt Charles: Vulkan is being considered, but currently we are focusing on getting the game done.
Are netcode improvements coming? Will warping players be fixed?
Matt Charles: Yes, we are actively working on the netcode.
Adam Pyle: We have a fix for the warping checked into a development branch that will be rolled into the CBT testing at some time.
Game loading and menu loading between games has to be way faster, i know it’s a beta, but this long loadings look really bad on streams. Can you rework the queuing process for games? There are way too many loading screens and as there is no auto loading of the map it always kills your flow.
Matt Charles: We want to make loading as fast as possible; we are actively working on load-time improvements.
When you stop to upload debug code? Due this bandwidth usage a lot of player were not able to play, or at least with really low FPS.
Matt Charles: When it's ready. We know it's frustrating to not be able to play now, but we're gathering valuable data right now in an effort to allow as many people as possible to play in the near future.
Are there any plans to include further client customization like crosshair style/color, particle/lighting effects, HUD size and placement, timer direction, FPS counter...?
Adam Pyle: We're open to a lot of options as long as they don't grant any competitive advantages. Right now our focus is on improving the core game, but soon we will start integrating more options.
More crosshairs of different type/size/color?
Matt Charles: We agree this would be cool. It's in our future plans.
How about things like mouse acceleration and raw mouse input?
Adam Pyle: Mouse acceleration is nearly ready for testing. The current mouse implementation uses DirectInput. Raw was tested early on and found to produce higher latency under the current conditions. However, I'm personally a big fan of raw input and moving forward we hope to reevaluate and provide more options if they provide superior input quality.
Alexander Larionov: Also, we are actively working on other mouse settings, such as m_filter, m_pitch, and m_yaw.
Will be there an option to disable hit markers and damage plums (numbers that fly around to indicate how much damage has been dealt to the enemy).
Adam Pyle: We intended to add these.
Custom HUD was teased, what about a main menu rework?
Adam Pyle: While we will be continuing to improve our Main Menu UI, we don't foresee ever allowing custom main menu layouts... if that's what you were asking. :)
Are the devs planning on keeping the store fresh and updated monthly with vanity items to allow users a way to create a unique look for their favorite champions?
Matt Charles: Yes! The pacing of the updates may vary, but we do want to continuously update the game with interesting new content.
Do you plan to keep adding new cosmetics post-launch? Do you plan to add more types of cosmetics? (i.e. Announcer packs, weapon projectile effects/coloration, pre-match countdown poses, victory-lineup poses, etc.)
Adam Pyle: There is absolutely more to come.
What are your plans for cosmetics? Currently the choice is pretty limited, the old weapons are cool but there needs to be much more unlock-able stuff if you're going to keep people interested in earning/buying crates.
Matt Charles: We have a ton of cool customizations planned for future updates - and even a few surprises along the way. Stay tuned!
Will there be any skins from Quake Wars or skins from other ID software games?
Matt Charles: Maybe! We're keen on that idea.
Do you plan on adding either more challenges per day, or alternatively, "higher-order" timelimited challenges - 3 day Challenges, Weekly Challenges, etc., to further encourage progression-folk to keep at it?
Adam Pyle: While Daily Challenges will continue to offer digestible tasks that can be accomplished over the course of 1-5 matches, we do have additional progression systems coming online that fill that gap of providing more sustained challenges and goals. The first of which we're bringing online is the Rune Book, where players complete Champions specific Rune Challenges to unlock rewards to show off your mastery of a Champion.
How is the matchmaking system for team modes working / planned to work in regards to parties vs. solo-queue, skill level (all players on similar level, or just similar team averages), and preset matchups where team A wants to play against team B.
Alexander Larionov: We have several factors that influence team modes matchmaking: skill levels of participants, party size, and difference between median skill of two teams. The system tries to fill the match with players of same skill level/same party size, but if it cannot find matching opponents in a given amount of time – it prioritizes the search for teams with lowest difference in median skill.
Are you going to add west coast servers by any chance? Playing from California is unbearable! What about the middle east, and asia!
Matt Charles: We currently have servers available in Portland to serve most of the west coast, but we're actively looking to add more data centers across the globe.
What feedback is the MOST helpful? The BUG REPORT button or POSTING on this forum?
Adam Pyle: Please report any and all bugs via the in-game BUG REPORT when possible. In fact for those really interested in reporting bugs, I recommend keeping a notepad or text document that you can update while you play to make notes of issues you encounter and feedback you wish to provide. Bugs that result in technical issues are best suited for the forum, just be sure to search for existing threads to contribute towards first before creating a new thread.
Regarding server locations! Are there going to be Singapore, HK servers for SEA region or at least Japan servers anytime soon?
Matt Charles: We have servers available in South Korea at the moment, and we're looking into Japan and Singapore as well.
How can the community help make Quake Champions a success ?
Adam Pyle: Create and share content. Be a positive and welcoming force for all of the newcomers. Play as often as we let you, and invite your friends.