The Future of The Repopulation

https://www.therepopulation.com/index.php/news/275-the-future-of-the-repopulation

As many of you already know, it has been a rough past few months for The Repopulation team, culminating in the shutdown of alpha servers just before Christmas. The reasons for those situations have been covered in previous articles and posts, so we won’t delve much into that except to acknowledge that they have occurred and the game has been in a state of limbo over the past few months. You can find more information on those reasons here: https://therepopulation.com/index.php/news/274-alpha-servers-going-offline-temporarily

Although we have had numerous discussions on possible solutions to these issues over the past few months, we did not find a good solution that would make absolutely sure we would never have this problem again. Given the circumstances we have decided it would be in the best interest of the game to port to Unreal Engine. This is not a decision that we have taken lightly. While many of our assets will convert over easily to Unreal Engine, the game’s code will need to be rewritten from scratch. We realize that this will set development back by a significant period of time, and apologize to our fan base for the issues. At this point though, we felt this was the best move for the future.

We didn’t want Repopulation fans to be sitting and waiting idly though while we frantically try to get the game ported to Unreal Engine. Starting in February we will begin testing a spin off set in the Repopulation universe which we have titled: Fragmented. This product is a sci fi survival game which is similar to a more action oriented, and much trimmed down version of The Repopulation. This allowed us to not only reuse many of the same assets which we already had in place, but also makes up the reusable foundations of what will become the Unreal Engine based version of The Repopulation. We will be giving away this product for free to all owners of The Repopulation. We are happy to provide a quick teaser video of some early work on the title and look forward to providing more footage and screenshots soon.

We expect that you have many questions and concerns, and as a result of that we have set up a list of FAQ style questions and answers below. We will first tackle questions related to The Repopulation, and then will tackle questions related to Fragmented.

The Repopulation Related Questions

What Does This Mean For The Repopulation? Is It Cancelled?

No, it is not cancelled. Fragmented is a slimmed down version of the same code which will be reused to create an Unreal Engine based version of The Repopulation. We will be splitting it into two code bases, the survival game (Fragmented) and the MMO (The Repopulation). Much of the code and assets will be shared between the two products.

Is it Possible that the Original Version of The Repopulation Gets Released?

We want to keep our options open there, and have been hopeful that something would fall into place to get the game to market. But we’ve yet to find an acceptable solution to do that to date. As of now we are moving forward with the assumption that this is not going to happen, but are happy to discuss options with any third parties who may want to bring the game to market.

How Long Will it Take to See an Unreal Based version of The Repopulation?

If there is one thing we have learned over the development cycle of The Repopulation, is that it is hard to predict dates. Our plan would be to release it piece by piece in modules which would first be similar to an MMO version of Fragmented, and would then add features one by one. We want to get the game into the hands of players as soon as possible and then expand upon the features as we go. There is quite a bit of work to do still though, and the best we could do in the meantime was to give players a free copy of a slimmed down version of the game in Fragmented.

What Improvements Will We See in an Unreal Engine Version of The Repopulation?

Aside from the obvious graphical upgrades we have discovered many things over the past few months which would be improved in Unreal Engine based version of Repop. For starters we’d certainly see destructible structures, an improved harvesting system, and Action Mode improvements..

Beyond the eye candy, Unreal Engine also scales better using the GPU vs the CPU being most important in Hero Engine. This will create a higher minimum spec, but will allow for those with high end GPUs to get more out of the engine. Unreal Engine also has DX12 support currently in the experimental stages for Windows 10 users and offers an opportunity for porting to the major game consoles.

One of the new key “features” that we will be implementing with Unreal Engine is how we will address server management. With Fragmented players will be able to play on official servers or play on 3rd party player hosted servers as is fairly standard in the FPS/Survival world. We will be implementing our server system to allow this to happen as well with The Repopulation on Unreal Engine. In order to run the game in “production” mode you will need a few servers in a cluster, but making use of on demand needs for zones those with a high end computer could technically run a server from their home for themselves and a few friends. We will be implementing the planned modding capabilities as well allowing for a high level of customization on 3rd party servers along with the out of the box options for changing PvE/PvP/Hardcore rules. We are very excited about the possibilities here.

Fragmented Related Questions

How Does Fragmented Differ From The Repopulation?

For starters it is not an MMO. It is an online game, where users will be able to play on official or custom servers. It also will not feature any missions or inquiry system. It will feature both PvE and PvP content, with different game modes to allow for PvE Only, PvP Only, Permadeath, or Accrued Advancement.

Where The Repopulation was RPG first, with simulated shooter in Action Mode, Fragmented is a First/Third Person Survival Shooter with RPG elements.

What is the Setting of Fragmented?

The setting is the same as in The Repopulation, but generations earlier. You are the first colonists on a new planet after earth was rendered uninhabitable by a cataclysm. Your goal is to establish yourselves and survive, preserving humanity. In The Repopulation you were a fresh clone in an already established society on the planet. In Fragmented your experience begins on the planet’s surface, jettisoned in an escape pod shortly before the Northern Star crash landed.

Technology is advanced, but you need to first make due with whatever resources you can find on the new planet and then build up from lower technology levels such as crude tools, eventually building up to advanced weaponry, cities, and vehicles.

What is the Goal of Gameplay?

The primary goal is simple: Survive and help to preserve the human race. Players are expected to create their own goals in game though. This could include raising a stable of pets, building cities, killing, crafting, or competing with other humans for domination of the new planet. There are many activities which you can partake in. It is up to you to decide how you want to play the game.

Advancement could also be considered a goal. Whether you are playing on a permadeath server or if your advancement is accrued, there are the traditional RPG advancement features of accruing skills, recipes, and items.

Are There Skills in Fragmented?

Yes there are skills. We elected to go with a simplified version of The Repopulation’s skills, merging many trees together to make each skill encompass a variety of areas.

The mechanic for gaining skills is now based on experience which is earned while doing activities in game (killing, crafting, harvesting, etc), and automatically over time. When you gain a level you will obtain skill points which you can assign to improve your knowledge of any of the games skills. As a skill improves you will gain access to new recipes or passive bonuses.

The skills are:

Construction allows you to create buildings, props, storage containers, and various types of crafting stations.
Electronics includes the creation of Electronic Devices, Turrets or Robotics.
Melee provides bonuses in melee combat, as well as the creation of melee weapons and tools.

Ranged provides bonuses in ranged combat, and allows creation of ranged weapons and grenades.
Refining is used to refine raw materials, unlocks harvestables, and creates tools.
Subsistence reduces the effects of hunger and thirst, and allows the creation of foods, drinks or medical compounds. It will also include genetic engineering on the high end.

Survival increases your health and allows the creation of traps, torches, and campfires.
Textiles is used to create armor, clothing, and backpacks.

One of the first major patches will also introduce a Social skill which will be utilized for what was the Entertainment and Diplomacy skills in The Repopulation. We will continue to add to the available skills list over time.

How Will Harvesting Work?

You can walk up to most of the trees or rocks, and many of the plants in-game and simply click on them to start harvesting. Better tools will improve or alter your results. Most objects can be harvested multiple times, before eventually breaking or being chopped down. It is a much more visual process than in the Repopulation.

You will also be able to use tools on corpses to extract different types of resources.

How Will Crafting Work?

Crafting is a huge part of Fragmented, just as it was in The Repopulation. The crafting system is more simplified however. There are far fewer cross-skill components, and crafting is a one click process.

You obtain recipes based on your skill levels. Some recipes require you to be near a specific type of crafting station, genetic engineering station, mortar and pestle, forge, etc in order to create the item.

Can We Create Cities? How Does It Differ From Repop?

You can create buildings and props, and place them together to form cities. We elected to go with a system that allows you to place pre-created structures rather than going with a brick and mortar piece by piece approach. The system is similar to that in The Repopulation.

There are some key differences from The Repopulation’s systems, however. For one, you can create structures anyplace in the world. And unless you are on a PvE server those structures can also be destroyed by other players. This utilizes a destruction system so you can see buildings fall and crumble piece by piece.

Can You Explain the PvP System?

Servers will be able to specify the rules of engagement for PvP. Some can be completely co-op based, and others may be PvP oriented. PvP is a popular feature in survival games and we expect it to be no different in Fragmented. You’ll be able to attack structures of your enemies and vehicle combat will also be supported. You’ll be able to defend your bases with turrets or pets.

What Can We Do in PvE?

Harvesting and Crafting have been covered in other sections, so we won’t delve into them too much except to note that they are a big part of Fragmented. As is the aforementioned construction system.

In addition to those systems though there are also indigenous species which you can attack and harvest for resources, or to use to tame or genetically engineer if you prefer that approach. Trapping is also an option.

Will There Be Pets?

There will be both tamed and genetically engineered pets. In the future we may also add robotic pets.

Are There Vehicles or Mounts in Fragmented?

Yes there are vehicles, and they can support multiple passengers. Mounts will also be supported.

Can We Expect Entertainer Skills?

Not initially, but they will be added in one of the early patches.

Will Fragmented be Moddable?

The initial release will not be moddable, but we will release a modding kit relatively early on. In the future we expect players to be developing worlds, missions, engagements, and outside the box features or total conversions for the game. We’re really excited about the possibilities that modding will enable.

Is It First or Third Person?

Both modes are supported. First Person is the default mode. You can simply use the mouse wheel to rotate the camera in out of both modes. Both modes operationally work the same and is just a matter of preference.

Will There Be VR Support?

VR Support is planned. We aren’t sure yet if it will be in the initial early access release or not. But we have designed the game to function in VR, and it is mostly functional in VR already. There is a 3D GUI option in place specifically with VR in mind.

Is There a Day and Night Cycle?

Yes.

When Did Work Begin on Fragmented?

Work began in Mid-November.

How can I help Test?

We will be conducting testing during the month of February and will be looking for participants that wish to help. Please keep an eye on our website and social media during the month if you are interested. We will be looking for both feedback and doing stress tests on the software/hardware in various ways.

What are the Recommended System Requirements?

We are still working on finalizing this and the Testing sessions will help to establish the baseline for minimum and recommended specs. We expect them to be a higher than The Repopulation due to the 64bit client and much higher dependency on the GPU.

We expect the recommended system is going to need 4 cores, 8GB of System Memory, Windows 7 64 Bit or Higher, and 2GB VRAM.

Isn’t That a Very Quick Time Frame to Launch?

It definitely is. We didn’t want to leave Repop players in limbo for a long period of time, so we focused on a smaller survival specific set of rules for the initial release. The fact that we already had many assets available also helped a lot. Last but not least Unreal Engine is great for productivity.

What Happens to Fragmented When The Repopulation Becomes Available?

We would develop the two games simultaneously with one another. Most of the gameplay from Fragmented would be directly reused in The Repopulation. The Repopulation would have more complex systems and be more of a traditional RPG, driven by missions and engagements. The added complexity would make it focus on a different audience, though we would share resources between the two wherever possible.

What Would You Say To Those Who Question Why You Didn’t Finish Repopulation First?

Our goal would have definitely been to finish The Repopulation first. If you had told us in September that we may face a situation where Repop wouldn’t reach market as a Hero Engine product, we would have laughed it off. We expected Repop to be launched by the time Fragmented is now slated to launch in. But a lot has happened over the past four months. And we couldn’t stand by idly, we had to react and do what we could to save Repop, and to save ourselves as a company.

Given the way events unfolded here, we felt that starting on Fragmented during the downtime would be the best way to go. If the Repop situation changed we could put Fragmented on hold to finish Repop off. But at this point none of that has happened, and we have to be realistic and move forward. We are still open to bringing out the current version of The Repopulation, but we also need to be prepared to simply salvage what we can from it and allow it to be reborn.

Owners of the Repopulation will receive Fragmented for free. And they will still of course receive The Repopulation when it launches. We realize the way events have played out over the past few months is hard on everyone. Fragmented gives us the opportunity to get something into the hands of our players quickly, while we build up the new code base.

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