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Upcoming dispatch changes in v1.3.1


Tosfera
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Ahoy there Cadets, Chiefs, Firefighters and Life savers (and the rest of you in between). Today is the day where some of you have unknowingly been waiting for. We're here to explain the old and the new, the bad and the not so bad Dispatch system. Before we can tell you what we've changed, let's go over the system as how it currently works.

 

How the current callout system works
Ever drove around and got called to a random callout, IN ANOTHER CITY?! Yeah, you and me both buddy. The system currently holds 2 so called "timers", these timers are basically 2 stopwatches (one for the PD and one for the FD) that countdown from a set time to 0. Once the timer reaches 0, it'll try to initialize a new callout. Since we started growing more and more, we've made small adjustments to these times. 

We started out with a duration between callouts of 2 minutes and decreased that by 30 seconds per online player with a minimum time of 30 seconds. So when we had 30 players online, a callout would happen every 30 seconds. While this sounds all pretty good in theory, it's just a band aid smacked on top of the actual issue. On top of the actual issue? But what is the actual issue, you may ask.

The actual issue is that the script does something extremely stupid and outdated. I'll try to take out all the technical aspects and numb it down so that we can all understand what's going on. The script basically does these steps when we need to initialize a new callout:

  1. We (try to) select an occurence of a callout based on the min and max occurrences available, the higher the occurence, the less frequent it should happen. You can see the occurence as a rarity level. Ranging from 1 until 3.
  2. The system selects a random callout where the callout occurence equal the occurence selected in the previous step. We take all the callouts as a pool, filtered on the occurence. Which, in theory, means that every callout can happen at any time. Whether this is a brawl, street race or a robbery.
  3. We got the callout, but not the available players nor a location. In order to get the available players, we group all the players which are in service and playing in a certain branch (PD or FD/ES) throughout the entire server.
  4. With our players set, we grab a random player from our pool of available players and take a location furthest away from them with a distance of somewhere between 250 and 500 GTA units (something like meters, so to say)
  5. We now have a location and a list of available players. But we've already made a huge mistake, which we'll cover after this list. Moving on to setting up the callout: we create a callout and set all the data the system needs in order to properly function.
  6. Once everything is all set up, Dispatch calls upon the lucky few that are selected and assigned to the callout. Making it all happen.

 

Now that that's behind us; you might've spotted the issue already. In step 4 we made a major mistake; we select a random player from a pool of available players, no matter where they are in the game! Meaning that when there are 30 players in Los Santos and 1 player in San Fierro; the chances of a call out happening in San Fierro is 1 on 31 while the other way around means a chance of 30 in 31. That's 3% vs 96%, which is extremely unfair and makes the rest of the game feel extremely dead and like a ghost town.

In some cases, you even got invited to a callout in a whole other city, that's basically because the system needs to fill out certain slots for a callout and not taking anything else in account. You're available? You're being assigned. This has proven to be an extremely disfunctional way since most players want to play in the city where it all happens; Los Santos.

 

The new system which we'll all love
That's a bold statement, and I mean it. Our testing session have gone from 10 minutes to somewhere between 4 to 6 hours because we're having so much fun with it. We've thrown out the entire dispatch callout system, yes. We've actually done it. We threw away everything about it and started with a fresh look on things. 

The first thing that came to mind was; how are players actually distributed throughout the server? Well, they're packed together because the callouts happen in 1 place. But what if it doesn't? What if they want to chill out, lay back and enjoy some of the county side. Well, they got in their car and drove to the location where it all happens, and we've said it before; it used to be Los Santos.

The second thing that came to our mind was; why are we only starting callouts every 2 minutes for only a handful of cops or firefights or medics? That doesn't sound very fair. A few cops get all the fun while the rest just sits on their comfy chairs eating donuts. This obviously had to change. This all came down to a major new system which includes;

 

1. More frequent callouts

We've changed up the 2 major timers (as written in the old system) to 18 (eighteen!!!!) different timers. 18 you may ask? We got 3 types of players to keep busy, which are; Police, Firefighters and Medics. There are 6 departments/stations for each player which comes down to 6 times 3 equals 18. Having a dispatch system for each department changed up a lot, having the same dispatch handle all the 3 types of players was a world of difference. Every 2 minutes (minus 30 seconds for every 10 players online inside that branch and department) a new call out will occur.

 

2. Department bound duties

You select a department while spawning which means you should patrol your own jurisdiction. We've seen a lot of players move around into different cities because there's where the fun is, or where the big XP drops are, where their friends are or they just want to achieve Sheriff in a department but not actually play in that area. Well that time is over. you only get invited for callouts anywhere inside the department (Flint County only gets callouts in Flint County, nothing outside the borders of their jurisdiction) which means; we don't take a random player and get a location 250-500 meters further away from them to start a callout. We take a random location inside the jurisdiction and make it all happen right there and then. This means that if there are no players in their own jurisdiction, there will be no callouts happening. You'll miss the chance at being invited for that callout and possibly even miss out on gaining experience. The timer is not going to rush to another time to still give you a chance, once you've blew it; it's done. Timer goes back to 2 minutes (max, subject to change).

 

3. Exp reductions / gains

Patrolling in another city will no longer yield any type of experience, which does come with a few side rules;

  1. Doing anything inside your own jurisdiction will grant you 100% experience
  2. Any EXP rewarding (not penalty, they're still painful) activity in an adjoined jurisdiction will grant you 30% experience to discourage players to play in adjoined jurisdiction but not steal their pursuits and such.
  3. Anything outside adjoined jurisdctions will grant 0% experience.

You've selected a department, so play inside that department. No excuses.

 

4. New way of handling callouts means more locations

As a few callouts were made with set positions (building fires, street races, street brawls, etc), we've added up to 42 new locations for these callouts to happen, and are still adding new ones every single day. We're aiming for at least 100 new locations for these callouts combined.

 

But what does this all mean?! What does it mean?!!! Well it means that you can safely get in your car, grab a donut and a nice hot coffee in the department of your choice and throw it out of the window because the streets became much more alive, the streets need you. Callouts are flying through your chat and dispatch is in constant chaos because nothing is what it seems like! Everything happens at a faster pace and everything happens at once. Los Santos is no longer the place to (constantly) be for action, every department is active as long as there are players. 

These changes are coming live in v1.3.1 and will be one of the major parts of the update. We'll be testing this (playing it a lot, because buddy... this is fun!) constantly to make sure it's ready to go live. The change is a drastic one and changes the entire gameplay enormously.

 

That's it for now, my hands need a rest and you all need to rest your eyes. Let us know what you think of the concept which we're currently making either on Discord on as a reply on this post. 

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2 hours ago, Hermann said:

I'm not sure if I like it that much but I actually want to see it in-game and with players to have a opinion. I hope it doesn't get as lonely as I think it may.

What you don't like exactly, and why? Personally I see it has a very solid update, with more variety in calls and more action overall, as a tester myself, I really enjoyed the non finished product, with a few bugs and fixes over there, but the actual finished product should come in strong.

I'd like to see what everyone thinks about this sneeky peek. 

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9 hours ago, Hermann said:

I'm not sure if I like it that much but I actually want to see it in-game and with players to have a opinion. I hope it doesn't get as lonely as I think it may.

How do you expect it to get lonely when each department is literally about to get A LOT more action than they used to by now though? If anything, in the current version I felt "lonely" and honestly bored patroling San Fierro when I was barely getting any calls and nobody really bothered to play SFPD mainly due to the same reason as well.

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I haven't tested the new one so all I know about it is this post. Also, even if I do not like it still a great work, thanks for that! 

I get it - more calls. I agree that it will be a fix to a major problem in SAPD:FR. That is not what I'm worried about, just the way it seems to make everyone more independent leaving less room for random co-ops.

If I see an officer in a traffic stop and I'm not answering a callout I stay and give backup if needed. But the new XP system seems to discourages that.

And yes, a city cop answering callouts in town is great, but sometimes a Code 3 in another city is cool, taking the highway for a few minutes not just staying in town.

15 hours ago, Tosfera said:

42 new locations for these callouts to happen, and are still adding new ones every single day. We're aiming for at least 100 new locations for these callouts combined.

This will improve the gameplay a lot too!

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As much as the XP itself is going to drive players more to callouts you still have to take into account that a large number of our players have already reached the highest rank possible and I'm pretty positive that they'll be more than happy to assist other officers in traffic stops & backup requests and what not.

Additionally, in terms of driving, you're actually going to have a lot more driving to callouts in the new system even if it doesn't necessarily force you to drive all the way to another city / town because new callout system no longer caters creating the callouts close to your locations (250 - 500 units away from you), it actually creates a callout at a random location now.

As an example, in private testing we played in BCSD and we've had a lot of calls that got us to drive all the way to Bayside together and handle calls there. Another town that will get a large benefit of the system is actually Angel Pine for which we've renamed the Sheriff & FD departments to "Flint County" as they'll have a lot more calls driving around entire Flint County now rather than being stuck inside Angel Pine 24/7.

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1 hour ago, Blast3r said:

As much as the XP itself is going to drive players more to callouts you still have to take into account that a large number of our players have already reached the highest rank possible and I'm pretty positive that they'll be more than happy to assist other officers in traffic stops & backup requests and what not.

Mhmm, that's true. Most of the roleplay I do I actually do not earn XP at all.

1 hour ago, Blast3r said:

Additionally, in terms of driving, you're actually going to have a lot more driving to callouts in the new system even if it doesn't necessarily force you to drive all the way to another city / town because new callout system no longer caters creating the callouts close to your locations (250 - 500 units away from you), it actually creates a callout at a random location now.

As an example, in private testing we played in BCSD and we've had a lot of calls that got us to drive all the way to Bayside together and handle calls there. Another town that will get a large benefit of the system is actually Angel Pine for which we've renamed the Sheriff & FD departments to "Flint County" as they'll have a lot more calls driving around entire Flint County now rather than being stuck inside Angel Pine 24/7.

Oh, now it is more clear the random location callout instead of a radius, sounds promising. Thanks for the further explanation.

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The new callout system is really something very groundbreaking and which can maintain or even increase the fun of the game. No more being called to the north of the map as a fireman in Los Santos and being late, which takes away from the fun of the game.
The new system worked really well. Maybe you should check if you can increase the time between the callouts a bit, because if you want to go to the fire department as a firefighter in Los Santos after a callout, you often don't make it. but i think it's really good that callouts are more frequent now and only where you work. 

What i would like to see is a system that prevents you from getting the same missions all the time, because in the long run it's really boring and unrealistic and it takes away from the fun of the game. It should be ensured that you only get callouts that you have not yet received. If you could add this system it would be really great.

 

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