A Beta and a Mandalorian
A BetaTwenty years ago today was the first official beta release of the original Movie Battles by RenegadeOfPhunk. Back then there was just four classes with simple loadouts, a round system to facilitate the last man standing gamemode alterations, and a few tweaks to the original Jedi Outcast combat. Some of those tweaks drastically change the arena style combat of Jedi Outcast by making blaster projectiles faster, adding a reloading system, removing pickups from the world, giving lightsabers more stance variations and new defensive capabilities.
For those last twenty years we have continued to expand upon the initial idea. Adding more features, models, maps, and various balance changes to get to the point we are at today. All of those features have kept us as a notable part of the Star Wars gaming and modding communities by offering an experience that cannot be had elsewhere. However, in the last 10 years we had started to stagnate on innovating our own gameplay. In order to counter that, we had to start dealing with some of the problems we had with the code base. Much of that code base needed major refactoring after the twenty or so years.
In 2018 we introduced the roadmap with many features like new classes, class revamps, etc. It may seem like forever ago now but we had to start somewhere in order to create the items on that list and thus, we started the long arduous task of updating our code base.
In 2019 we released 1.6 with the very first part of that. 1.6 we reworked the entire class backed, how classes are created, maintained, chosen in the user interface, etc. This made the creation of new classes easier than before, and easier to manage going into the future. It also saw the addition of Tutorials which forced us to optimize and refactor a large chunk of the spawn code allowing us to change characters and abilities on the fly, without needing to wait for a round restart. Though some of the kinks would need to be ironed out to be used outside of tutorials. The UI was also redone in that update, separating out many elements to make them more modular and easy to maintain. Now a single change would appear across multiple menus, rather than having to copy that change through 14 different files like in the old system.
In 2020 we introduced our Game Stats system with the 1.7 update. While our intuition for game balance has gotten us pretty far after all these years, in many situations we simply needed more information than we could gather by playing or by speaking to players. Game Stats has helped us do that and will continue to assist with future changes and most importantly allowing us to see the impact of the coming larger changes. That same update saw an expansion of the UI update, making its way onto the class select menu. Getting rid of even more duplicated information. It is now easier than ever before to update class related information in the UI.
For late 2020 & 2021, one of the goals was to start refactoring some of the "smaller" bits of code now that some of the major ones were out of the way, as well as getting some loose-end balance changes and Quality of Life changes out of the way. An example of that "smaller" bit of code was completely redoing how FP drains were handled. Before the refactor the code was a mess of multiple multipliers stacked on top of each other due to slight changes in overall FP drain balance over the years. All of that was decoupled to give each weapon their own multiplier-less specific values. All of those loose-end balance changes we also feel set MB2 on a more solid footing for the changes to come. 1.8 had a small section in the changelog that a lot of players probably missed. "Stage one of weapon slot restructure has begun, starting with grenades." and many will probably not fully understand the significance of the change. With this change we had to cram as much information together as we could into the netcode, but it allowed us to no longer be stuck with only 19 weapons with overrides for specific classes. Theoretically we could now have over 200 unique weapons in MB2.
With 1.9 we released Capture The Flag. Capture the flag revealed the fruits of our labors. Tutorials fixed a lot of the problems with swapping classes on the fly but not all of them. CTF was the finalization of that process, getting rid of all the edge cases and bugs with switching classes and even teams in the middle of rounds. Opening the door for even more game modes and objective types in the future. It was almost a decade in the making as we had made many attempts in the past to get a respawning system working to no avail.
A couple months later we saw 1.9.1 with a reworking of the effects loading system, and config loading as we were nearing engine limits on those items. We needed to free up room in this space if we were going to add more to Movie Battles.
The process is not yet complete. We still have a lot of areas of Movie Battles to refactor. A critical point has now been reached, however. Large chunks of progress have been finally been able to be made towards the revamping of existing classes, the creation of new abilities, and even new classes.
We are happy to finally be able to share the first with you on such a special day. Without further adieu:
A MandalorianIt is fitting that one of the first four classes added to Movie Battles is the first of the lot to have a large amount of new features added to it. There is one new weapon, two new abilities, and one existing weapon getting a major revamp. What you are about to see is still a work-in-progress and the final results will be different.
Amban Phase-Pulse BlasterThe Amban Phase-Pulse Blaster is a new sniper rifle coming to the Mandalorian Class. Inspired by its debut in The Mandalorian as Din Djarin's main weapon it features a main projectile attack and a secondary stun. The primary functions as a hybrid between Projectile and Disruptor rifles with a faster overall fire rate than a Proj. but still requiring a charge up to reach full damage. The secondary stun knocks back, damages, and stuns a target for a short period of time.
Beskar is a new ability choice intended to give Mandalorians an option to choose endurance over sustained mobility. Each level adds protection for specific hit locations giving the user resistance to blasters, lightsabers, explosives at varying intensities based on level.
As a side-grade option for rockets, Whistling Birds allow the user to spread out the damage over multiple targets and multiple engagements with a lock-on style mini-rocket. Using up to twelve rockets the user must engage Whistling Birds, lock on to specific targets, and release when lock-on is complete to fire. Whistling Birds are not one-hit kill rockets, but they will do a decent amount of damage to their target.
EE-3EE-3, with the addition of a dedicated sniper rifle in Amban, has had its sniper functions removed and its primary fire redesigned. Primary fire now consists of a three shot burst, that varies in fire rate based on EE3 level and now more closely matches its canon design. Secondary fire is now an "aim down sight" mode with more traditional full automatic fire.
It has been a long time coming and we hope you enjoyed this little preview. In the coming weeks we plan to announce multiple open betas for these abilities and other features coming in the next update.