Dominus jetpacking to the top of my ‘gimme now’ list

If you guys aren’t checking out Dominus, a sci-fi 3-Faction PvP sandbox game currently in development, then you’re out of your freaking minds.  Dominus is one of my most anticipated games of 2012. I want to send these guys some more love, get the word out there, and once again throw my support behind a studio that is really moving mountains to accomplish something with their game that I love.

Pitch Black Games held another one of their live chats.  My schedule doesn’t allow me to watch their videos live (stupid classes), so I’m stuck playing catch-up the day after.  I just watched January 27th’s chat and my mind was blown.  They’ve updated their engine (Hero Engine, same engine SWTOR uses) and given the game a huge visual overall from the last preview I saw.  I think in the video, correct me if I’m wrong, one of the guys said there isn’t a part of the game that hasn’t received some update.  The game looks graphically amazing, and in my opinion better than SWTOR (again, same engine so I’m making comparisons.)

During the video they showed some day/night cycles in zones which looked great, but the scenery really shocked me.  The game is looking fleshed out and gorgeous.  Note: These are screen captures from a video, of a video, of a game.

Read on for more screenshots and thoughts!

Makes me wonder why SWTOR doesn’t look as good. The day/night cycles change the atmosphere/scenery’s look.  Compared to what the game looked like in previous show-offs, they’ve come really far.  I’m not a graphics whore, but I can appreciate a world that captures the imagination.

Looks like they’ve spent their time well, and I’d vote for giving them all the time they need if they’re going to continue making such huge improvements.  Keep going guys and stick to the vision!

I think John’s face says it all.  Gimme that beta!

Check out the Official Dominus website for more information on game features.

  • Really getting pumped about this one. I agree about the engine. Huge difference for the better and makes me wonder what happened to SWTOR… although their art design clearly has something to do with it.

    One of those Betas I really want to help them test so that they can succeed.

  • @Howdy: There are a lot of other reasons to check Dominus out! Gear that degrades, placing harvesters throughout the world, crafters making the best gear, bases to take control of, territory to fight over, contested dungeon, jetpacks in a MMO, and so on.

  • Even though I am playing SWTRO it feels like a fantasy game and I jsut cant see myself playing this game but who knows maybe it will grow on me, but alot of little nit-picking things have me meh about it.

  • Yes, this is exciting. One question though – in SWTOR people complain that the Hero Engine cannot get the job done if there are too many characters on screen in larger PVP battles. Is this bogus and unrelated to the Hero Engine? It would have to be if Dominus uses the same engine but has their game revolve around massive PVP combat…right?

  • @Argorius: It’s true that SWTOR lags when many people are close. Whether or not the Hero Engine is the cause, I’m unsure. I don’t have the technical experience to say if poor coding can be blamed over the engine.

    I’ve seen nearly 500 people in Dark Age of Camelot,in very close proximity, with about the same lag as <100 in SWTOR. That's a decade of tech difference right there.

  • I’ve been following this game for a while since reading about it here. I have watched all of their development videos. They are not really polished but they do provide great information. The questions come directly from their forums and the live chat. They take place every other Friday at 3:00 p.m. EST.

    They are a small company that is not beholden to the gaming giants like SOE, EA, Blizzard etc…. That is huge point for me. I hope they can resist all the money the big boys will be throwing at them in the future.

    IMO they are trying to make a game that reflects what they liked most in SWG, DAOC, EQ and others. Some of the major points I like are, no elves, no dwarves and a UI that can be moved around. Hey Bioware, maybe you should give these guys a call and they can tell you how fix your UI on your Hero engine.

    Crafting where the quality of the materials are reflected in the quality of the item. Crafted gear will be the best gear in the game.

    A 1100 skill point system and each faction will have different skills that are not mirrored. In short leveling to 50, 60, 85 is not in this game.

    When you die in PvP some crafting materials can be looted from your body but not your gear. Crafting recipes that you know can be learned by the enemy that killed you in PvP.

    Of course 3 way PvP action and areas to control for the best crafting material called “ Prime “

    There are many more things the video chats talk about.

    If they can pull all of this off without lag and keeping the skills balanced, the PvP community won’t be bothering the PvE gamers for a long time to come.

    @ Tragabongo they have not mentioned anything about loot bags but I am sure they could show Bioware how to include them during one of their future weekend patches.

  • I read somewhere that Bioware tinkered and changed the HeroEngine version they have so much it’s basically unrecognizable from the default (and ever further away from th Dominus) versions.

  • Well that would sure explain a lot.

    As for the lag, they mentioned in the chat they have had 50 players on screen at once battling and it was lag free. While that is a small sample they did admit it was something they wanted to watch closely and test more extensively. I get the feeling the are gamers themselves and know of this pain and are working to address it. Heres hoping.

  • Is this really scheduled to be released Q2 2012 (according to FAQ which I would read as Q4 2012 by default)? Is a 2012 release even realistic?

    I like that the classes aren’t mirrors – the tears of all the people crying because of imbalances will taste good.

    I am wondering about how powerful the characters will be – in DAOC you had some extremely powerful characters and if you played those characters well, you really could do amazing things. The sorcerer with the long range mezz, the enchanters or mentalists with serious PBAOE spells, Stunguard’s stuns…etc. The individual power made it possible for a well played character to overcome great odds…that is when we see a 1 v. 3-4 or when a group of 8 took out a raid of 20-30.

    Obviously, modern MMOs have tuned this all down and the overall effect is more like a feeling of “meh”…no character seems particular powerful…balance is achieved by making characters generally mediocre so that no one stands out (the +1% Extra Damage Syndrom as seen in modern talent trees). However, balance could also be achieved by making every type of character powerful – powerful characters in itself arent a bad idea as long as the opponents are able to react (not a given) and counter the attacks with equally powerful abilities. Increased power may lead to shorter fights (which is probably undesirable) or potentially a twitch contest (also not desired).

    I wonder where Dominus will be though on this scale – it is not like we need a twitch contest with super powerful characters but I am kind of tired of the mediocre abilities that we get these days.

  • There are a whole host of things besides the game engine which can cause slow downs. How information is transferred between all the hardware that makes up the virtual server players see (which is usually a cluster of actual computers, plus often separate servers for in-game mail, friend lists, auction house, etc., which are probably also virtual too) plays a big role in slow downs. Even what appears like a seamless area often involves being switched from one virtual server to another, although usually that is designed to happen in non-critical places, so you won’t really notice it as a player (or else you use loading screens).

    Also the internet infrastructure of the country can make a big difference if the game isn’t designed to take account of poor connections. For instance, games designed in South Korea (very fast internet in most places especially Seoul, where most of the game playing population is) can easily handle hundreds of players at once in the same game area, yet take the same exact game and run it in the USA (mostly slow to outright crappy internet speeds over long distances) and things are a mess, as the servers don’t get fed info from the client fast enough to be close enough to real time (or more accurately, human perceived real time), so you get lag, rubber-banding and players popping all over the place as the servers/clients try to match info and play catch up constantly. It isn’t too bad with low numbers, but as you ramp up the players in an area, you exponentially increase the problem. Good synchronization code is the key, along with initial game mechanics design.

    If your MMORPG game is going to be played in a country with slow internet speeds, you need to make design decisions early on to account for for it, thus the reason for skill cool downs, auto attacking, etc. A FPS game with 16 to 32 players at most is a very different beast than having 5,000 or more players to deal with. I don’t know anything about SWTOR, but they may just not have their systems tweaked yet to handle the load for that section of game; that can often take awhile to iron out. If they didn’t do a good design job, then they’ve got some serious re-coding to do, assuming they can’t come up with an acceptable quick fix.

  • I’m game as long as they don’t send me on a chase the ? trip. Really getting tired of doing quests, just give me an open world with minimal quests that are actually important and let me do my own thing and I’ll be happy.

  • There has been a lot of concern lately regarding the Hero Engine and its general sluggishness in ToR. Bioware was using a heavily modified version of Hero that is largely different than what PBG is using for Dominus and Hero recently added a huge update to the system that has been implemented in Dominus. PBG also has the best servers and bandwidth currently available to ease sluggishness and lag. I’m not super literate regarding coding, but I’m sure that it can have some effect.

    Overall, I’m very happy with the progress we’ve seen on this game. They only announced the game’s existence in July of 2011, and we are constantly getting some new tidbits out of the live chats and the forums. The game certainly is looking much more aesthetically appealing since even the last round of beta and their previous videos. My main concern has always been PBG translating their game that was picture-perfect on paper into a digital actualization, and with what I saw on Friday, it’s looking good so far.

    The next round of Beta is slated to begin this week, and the round after that will see a huge increase in actual amount of testers. I’m sure the testers will get together to try to pack in as many people as possible to test out lag.

    It’s good to keep in mind that complications, problems, or general crummyness can’t be completely attributed to an engine. For instance, one huge difference between Dominus and ToR will be that Dominus is mostly composed a very large, expansive zones, and has fairly limited instancing. I can only hope that the Hero won’t be the culprit in lagginess, because that’s something they simply cannot change at this point. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  • Dominus is looking good. 3 Faction PVP still has a place in my heart. I disagree with the comparisons on the graphics, but really graphics are lowest on my list of what makes a good game. I’ll definitely be giving this game a look when it comes out (I play every MMO I can get my hands on). But what I’m REAAAALLLY looking forward to is Archeage and Pathfinder online. I’m usually firmly against Korean MMOs, but Archeage looks like the first serious Sandbox with a small bit of themepark elements to get you going that I’ve seen from a major developer (it’s being made by the guy who created Lineage)

  • Is GW2 also on your list? I think Dominus looks pretty neat, but GW2 is getting more and more excited the more info I learn (such as the WvWvW feature). SWTOR is my bridge till that at the very least :/

  • @ Mangus

    Been following Archeage a lot myself. The PvE looks boring but there are a lot of solid concepts in that game. Unfortunately the lack of a NA Publisher is somewhat concerning.

  • @Devastator: Yes, GW2 is on my list. I want to try it out. Lots of promises from ArenaNet, so we’ll see how they deliver. SWTOR is also a bridge for me.

    @Mangus: I have no faith whatsoever from the “Korean” developers. Not a single MMO from the East has been one I enjoy. Then there’s Archeage in all its glory… and I find myself waiting for the catch. We’ll see. As Phandy said, they don’t even have a NA publisher yet.

  • Interested to see if this will compete with TSW. So much time with no 3 faction MMOs coming out and now two incoming for 2012.

  • Star Wars The Old Republic looked awesome back in beta also with high resolution textures and certainly on par with Dominus. That is however not the problem with the hero engine. The problem is and same with many other mmo engines that fps goes down to zero when there are many people on screen at the same time.

    As pvp centric game like Dominus can only do worse as the focus will be getting many toons fighting in a small area at the same time.

  • BioWare used the hero engine as a base for SWTOR but it isnt the samo hero engine PB is using for Dominus, BioWare spent 6 years reworking it and making it their own for SWTOR, they look similiar, I wouldnt say Dominus is graphically amazing.