Release 115: Beacons and Trading Now Live

Today we’re releasing the first version for player placeable and controlled Beacons (:snowflake: It’s a Christmas miracle! :snowflake:). This release introduces a lot of the functionality of Beacons, but it’s quite skeletal and doesn’t include a lot of visualisation, feedback or interface. We thought it was important to do a real-world test with the community before we fully commit to this model. Behold the Beacon in all it’s Apple Store esque debug visualisation glory!

As this is a really big and important system for Boundless I’ll explain how this first release works and some future stuff. Here’s the tl;dr:

  • Beacons are placed and controlled using the Beacon Control block (recipe: glass + stone)
  • Plots can be added or removed from Beacons using the Beacon Plotter tool (recipe: glass + stone)
  • If you place a Beacon, you’re the mayor. You can add friends as villagers by exchanging Friendship Tokens (recipe: glass + stone) in trading and then add them in the Beacon Control Block.
  • The plot limit for this release is 12. It’s not going to be the final limit (nobody panic!)
  • Old Beacons are still live.
  • You can now trade in game with other players. Press E on another player to trade.
  • Beacons are no substitute for bacon.

Beacons and Plots 101
A Beacon is a volume of space that allows players to protect their creations. Players choose who can and can’t add or remove blocks in their Beacon. The size of a Beacon covers is expressed in the number of plots it is made of. A single plot is 8x8x8, and a Beacon can’t be smaller than one plot. Plots are laid out on a fixed grid across the world.

Beacon Control
You can start a new Beacon by placing a Beacon Control block. This is where you can add and remove friends. As the creator of that Beacon (the mayor) only you can add and remove friends. Anyone you add (a villager) can add or remove blocks, so only collaborate with players you trust. You can add multiple control blocks within a Beacon, but all Beacon Controls configure the same set of permissions.

Adding and Removing Plots using the Beacon Plotter
A Beacon can be added to using the Beacon Plotter tool. Point at the edge of a Beacon and right-click when it’s green to add a new plot to that Beacon. Left-click and hold on an existing plot to remove it. You can’t remove a plot that contains a Beacon Control block. To fully remove a Beacon the mayor will need to smash all Beacon controls (the last one takes a while to break). Adding or removing plots will subtract or return plots to your Plot Limit.

Plot Limit
Every player will have a limit to the number of Plots they can have placed at one time. The current limit for this release is 12. This isn’t going to be the maximum limit (don’t panic!) but every player will have a finite number of plots in 1.0. Additional plots will be unlocked through player progression. We’re going to ensure every player has a decent amount of space at 1.0 (we care a lot about getting this balance right).

This first release of the new Beacon system isn’t really designed to cover existing builds. Most players won’t be able to cover many of the huge areas they’ve already built on. In testing we’ve found it more productive to claim some space, start building and then extend as and when you need to. We’re hoping to see lots of new shared areas with this release. Beacons should give the community plenty of confidence to build alongside each other.

Private vs Shared Beacons
The grid based plot layout means players can build Beacons with different sets of permissions next to each other. You can have a large shared space, with small private Beacons dotted throughout. We expect to see lots of diagrams and ideas for city layouts, roads, shared spaces.

Cubes vs Columns
As mentioned, the plot size is cubic, not a full height column (as the old Beacons were). This was a decision we debated about at length. In the end we made the decision for cubic Beacons because we didn’t want to add incentive or disincentive to the shape of players builds.

For example: in a full-height model we’d have to give players a much smaller amount of plots because columns are much, much bigger. This would put a massive incentive on tower building, and make building things like roads or other flatter structures really expensive. Ultimately it would force a cost onto the shape of player builds and creativity. For that reason, plots are cubic. Claim space for the shape of the build you’re making, and don’t worry about cost.

But Also Columns Though…
The current system does have an aspect of the column system to it. When you claim a plot you reserve the right to claim any other plot in that column. This avoids any cases where players place Beacons directly above or below you. Having the right to claim plots above or below you doesn’t really give you anything (and the world will regenerate in those areas in future releases).

Designed to Scale
This Beacon system is designed to scale with our player base and feature set. There may be some decisions that seem unimportant today but will make much more sense in the future. Beacons are directly tied to how world regeneration, guilds and floating structures will work.

Ye Olde Beacons
The old Beacon system will be sticking around on current worlds. At some point we’ll migrate the player base to a new set of worlds and those old Beacons won’t come along for the ride. As Google might say, they’ll be ‘sunsetted’ (taken out into the car park and whacked with a stick).

Trading 101
Get close to another player (not that close) and press E to trade. Both players can put items into the trading container on their respective sides. When you’re happy with what you’re trading and what other player is offering click the tick or ‘make trade offer’. When the other player agrees a 3 second timer will countdown, during which either player can cancel, and the trade will complete. If at any point during trading after a player has made an offer the state of either container changes the offer will be cancelled (this is to avoid any item swapping shenanigans).

Friendship Tokens
This is a way to add friends in Boundless. Craft Friendship Tokens using stone and glass. Anyone you give a Friendship Token to will be able to see you in their friends list and add you to a Beacon.

Beacon Control – Stone + Glass
Beacon Plotter – Stone + Glass
Friendship Token – Stone + Glass

As always, questions, community feedback and thoughts are appreciated. Use this thread to organise new build areas and villages as well (Ben has his own, he’ll be starting it soon).

Go forth and Beacon!

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