January 21, 2018

UPDATE ARTICLE

ISSUE 3

The Update Article is a piece used to
Describe and tell our story of development and
What we learn while working on Expanse and
Expanse: Skirmisher. We hope you enjoy the read.

Meridian and The Senate

Section 1

Meridian Studios is a large team for the Roblox platform, currently at 11 team members and 4 interns, making it a 15 person team altogether. Having 15 people work on one project doesn’t seem that bad, and for the most part, it isn’t. However, when it comes to discussing additions or changes we want to be made, we needed a better way to handle it, and so from the hands of Kotevski, The Senate was born.

You may be wondering, “well, what’s ‘The Senate’ anyway?” The Senate is the backbone of Meridian’s old democracy. It was created on Trello using multiple boards and cards. We used cards to describe and put our ideas out there, and using Trello’s vote feature, we would vote on 1 of 2 cards; for and against, respectively. Most of our recent changes came from using this board.

Trello image

However, the division leads saw a problem with this. Since Expanse is obviously their vision and mostly their work, they created a Veto system. If there was a card that they didn’t agree with or thought would be detrimental to Expanse, they would veto it and it would be removed from The Senate for a week. After that week past, the original poster could repost it, or they could spend that week rethinking their idea into something that could work with the lead’s idea more.

After roughly 5 months of this system being put in place, the summer came around and most of the team was out of school, working, or had finals. Because of these events, a lot of the activity from Meridian slowed down, and that was a big hit on the Senate because no one was online to ever check the cards and vote. We were getting nowhere with new content.

Some could say that they were a good thing. Having so much on our plates, it wasn’t really worth trying to add any more, and to be honest, we’re still working on some items from the Senate board nearly 6 months later. It’s given us less time to worry about thinking up new ideas, and more time to worry about fixing what we already have.

Tester's Thoughts

Section 2

The biggest part of our work is held in the hands of our testers. These people help us figure our, tweak, change, and finalize changes that we make. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Here's what we've been told by testers and community members about our work.

Question 1:“How do you feel about the balance changes to ships? Do you like the skill-oriented gameplay we’re going for?”

"I like the balance changes to the ships, and I believe the main goal should have always been skill-oriented gameplay," AcousticHITMAN45 stated.

Question 2: “If there was one thing you could change, what would it be, and how would you change it?”

"If there was one thing I would change, I would make bombers a bit more useful outside of point-blank bombings that are basically kamikaze strikes," explained AcousticHITMAN45.
“I'd mainly like to see more inner detail to ships,” stated Mockingjay32o6

Question 3:“Do you like what we’ve changed with Skirmisher over the past year or so?”

"Without a doubt, yes," said AcousticHITMAN45.

Question 4: “What would you like to see in Expanse?”

"More fleshed out interiors would be nice, as well as some sort of marine/infantry combat, if such is practical," said AcousticHITMAN45.
"I'd want longer combat," Mockingjay32o6 said.

Apart from these questions, we got some feedback from users across the community during our Open Test Weekends. Such as this statement from Mariodylan, a member of Roblox's QA Testers.
"Like, sure the game is a bit hard to actually get a hang of at first, but after just a few minutes of playing, I was drawn in by the simplistic but realistic design and the natural controls. I also love how if you press "H" it gives you a guide that you can look at whenever. That, I think, within itself is a great tutorial for how you should play the game. Just pressing all the buttons near spawn help [to] give you an idea of when you should use them and when you shouldn't or can't use them."

Written and Edited by Kiyo. Check out our social media to stay up to date on content that may be added in future articles.