DAldridge: When Destiny 2 launched three years ago, we had no idea that in 2020 we’d announce a new trilogy of expansions (among other 2020 surprises we didn’t anticipate). At the time, we thought Destiny 2’s arc would look a lot more like Destiny 1 – a couple of expansions, and then a sequel.We learned many lessons from the transition to Destiny 2, and from shipping Curse of Osiris, Warmind, Forsaken, the Year-2 Seasons, and Shadowkeep. When we evaluated those lessons, we decided not to pursue a Destiny 3, but instead to reinvest everything in Destiny 2 and make it all that it can be (check out our longer writeup on this choice here). To support that strategy, we’ve made several tech investments to help us sustainably evolve the game for years to come, and some of those investments are arriving in Beyond Light.Many of these changes are under the hood and won’t affect your experience (except insofar as they help us deliver you more and better Destiny in the future), but some may result in neat improvements, curious behavior differences, or bugs. This means that, on November 10, some places and things will feel a little like Sliders (only 90s kids will get this), so we’d like to give you a rundown of some of the changes and possible side effects.We shifted our mission scripting model to run on the Physics Host instead of the Mission Host (more details on this split here, in the interview with Matt Segur). In the long run this change will give designers options to create more novel mission mechanics by giving the mission scripting environment full access to the game state, instead of the much more limited access the Mission Host had. For example, the Physics Host knows exactly where enemy combatants are and what actions they recently performed – while the Mission Host only knew how many combatants were alive in a squad and what that squad was generally trying to accomplish. In Beyond Light we’re only launching the foundations of this system, and we look forward to evolving and leveraging it in the future.
- What you might notice:
- The new scripting environment changed many behaviors in complex ways, and you may see interesting behavior changes or bugs in pre-Beyond-Light missions (and public events, and similar) that were originally built and tested on the previous system. We’ve tested these missions heavily and stamped out many bugs, but some will undoubtedly slip through. We’ll be monitoring and fixing remaining bugs over time. In some cases, these issues were more severe – for example, they caused the Prophecy dungeon to be unavailable temporarily. We’re all excited for its triumphant return, slated for the end of this year!
- One other cool new feature in this area is face-to-face joins in social spaces, so you can now fireteam up with Tower friends without a long Tower reload!We revamped our content building and patching pipeline for speed and install size. With the tremendous size of Destiny, our complete shippable content builds were frequently taking north of 24 hours. We made investments to bring that down to sub-12 hours, which resulted in a bunch of changes to our content and patching formats. We also took on work to allow us to cull content that we’ve upgraded or replaced – our previous patching system had limited capabilities here (due to trying to minimize patch sizes and other constraints), and the current Destiny 2 install has a significant amount of accreted ‘dead’ content (e.g. assets in the base install that were replaced in later patches).
- What you might notice:
- Due to all these changes, Beyond Light will be a full re-download on all platforms – we know this will be painful for those with slower or metered internet connections, and we’re sorry about that. To help mitigate this, we’re planning to enable Beyond Light preloads sometime in the evening of November 9, Pacific Time, which should give everyone at least 10 hours to download before the gates open.
- Destiny 2's install size shrinks by 30-40%: Due to a combination of culling unused or replaced content, install size optimizations, and moving some content to the Destiny Content Vault, Destiny 2’s install size will shrink to between 59 and 71GB (depending on platform), a reduction of 30 to 40%. These improvements should also help us control install size better in the coming years.
- We hope to use these much faster builds to accomplish two things:
- Help us ship mission-critical fixes faster when game-breaking bugs arise.
- Reduce our overall ship pipeline depth, enabling us to work on Destiny releases closer to their ship dates, so we can react to fresher information about what’s happening in the live game. For example, historically each of our Seasons has had to get deep into production before the preceding season launched, preventing us from reacting to learnings from that preceding season. These tech improvements should give us 1-2 more weeks of flexibility on a Seasonal scale, helping us pivot more quickly in some cases.We rebuilt our character face system. We know that how your Guardians look is important to you, and we’ve long wanted to add more player customization to Destiny. Our original system for player faces had some combinatoric content authoring problems – for example, every decal had to be authored completely custom for each player face permutation. This prevented us from extending this area of the game with more content and features. We’ve upgraded to a significantly more capable system (with e.g. runtime decal projection), which we hope to leverage for more player customization options in the future. As part of this process we reviewed the existing player models with our Diversity Committee and Employee Resource Groups in the studio to make small tweaks to existing player heads. We’re also building a list of Guardian face shapes we should bring to the game in the future in order to increase Guardian diversity in Destiny, with the long-term goal of enabling everyone to imagine themselves as their Guardian.
- What you might notice:
- Your Guardian’s face may look a bit different.We relit portions of EDZ and Nessus. During the early stages of Beyond Light production the Lighting and Skies teams had a desire to provide a visual refresh to the two remaining D2 Year 1 destinations, EDZ and Nessus, as they enter their fourth year in rotation. To that end, the teams performed relights and global lighting updates to a number of locations on both destinations.
- What you might notice:
- Different lighting on existing destinations! The changes are intentional and are meant to bring the visual quality of these spaces up to our current lighting standards, while providing a fresh coat of paint for some of our Year 1 locations. We hope you enjoy these updates to some familiar locations when you explore EDZ and Nessus this November.We’re excited to leverage these improvements to redouble our efforts on Destiny 2, and we aim to make Destiny 2 still feel like your home away from home.Thanks,-David AldridgeP.S. Congratulations on making it to the end of this long and nerdy love letter. If your passion for all things Destiny Tech is not yet spent, you may enjoy the Reddit AMA that Destiny Engineering Manager Chris Kosanovich and I did a couple months ago!
XBOX GAME PASSEarlier this week, Destiny 2: Forsaken and Destiny 2: Shadowkeep became available for Xbox Game Pass subscribers to download and play through Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass members will continue to be able to access these Destiny 2 expansions if their Game Pass membership is maintained. For more information, please visit our Destiny 2 on Xbox Game Pass guide.RESOLVED ISSUESBelow is a list of issues that have been resolved with Hotfix 184.108.40.206 on September 22:
- The Refurbished Black Armory shader now drops 100% of the time when dismantling Black Armory Refurbished weapons acquired from completing Forge Ignition activities.
- Fixed a crash that could occur when too many arrows were shot into a Titan’s Barricade.CURRENT KNOWN ISSUES
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