How Dynamic Battlefields Take Shape in DUST 514

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How Dynamic Battlefields Take Shape in DUST 514


In traditional or mainstream FPS games, the mission area, i.e. the layout of objectives, structures, and spawn locations, are fairly static, thus making missions predictable after playing them a few times. This is not the case in DUST 514. Because of its sandbox nature, we want to give players the freedom to change the battlefield through choices and this is where the “dynamic” part of the battlefields will come from. This means that battlefields in DUST 514 could change based on the actions that players make – from innocuous actions such as changing one’s character fitting before a deployment, all the way up to decisions made light years away in a player owned corporate board room.

However, giving players a big sandbox to play in does not simply mean throwing a bunch of random choices at them and say, “go.” For players to experience the uniquely emergent gameplay offered by the EVE Online universe, the freedom that these choices offer must be handled in a meaningful manner. To illustrate this, we will be looking at how battlefields in DUST 514 are made dynamic in two major ways: at the macro and the micro scale.

At the Macro Scale


You might have read about EVE Online’s big player alliances fighting for control over regions of space containing dozens of solar systems spread across a hundred parsecs. You may have also heard about DUST 514’s distinctive gameplay which will allow players acting as immortal mercenaries to conquer planets within the EVE Online universe in a bid to wrestle territorial control from EVE capsuleers. All this, of course, is set to occur in a cross platform new genre between PC and PlayStation 3. And then you’ve probably wondered how it will all work.

Let’s begin by examining planetary conquest in DUST 514. As the leader of a DUST 514 corporation filled with immortal mercenaries, it would be natural for you to cast your hungry gaze at the planets floating within the wine dark space of the EVE universe. And these planets will be divided into separate districts – large territories that contain resources and infrastructures where players can extract materials or to defend it from enemies. When players deploy to fight for control of these districts they will notice that only one thing is static… the landscape. The hills, valleys, rivers and coasts of a district are unchanging from one deployment to the next. However, the placement of and the types of surface structures available will vary based on decisions made about what is needed for that district on a corporate level. And this will be covered in more detail in a later blog focused on Surface Infrastructure. For more context on that you can check out the CCP video on “Seeding the Universe” here.

Other factors can also affect the district from one battle to the next. For example, previous or existing battles may cause the destruction or creation of new infrastructures by orbital fleet bombardments or new deployments by the theater commander that may alter the shape and look of the battlefield.

Players who take part in the successful capture of a district could easily find that the layout of structures and positions of key strongholds are totally different when they return to that district to defend it. From one corporate owner to the next, the surface control center (SCC) or hub of the district could be changed or upgraded if it is present. The SCC’s outposts and the support centers around the SCC may be rearranged, upgraded, or even removed based on the decisions of the owning corporation, and this is only one of many key infrastructures that will be available to players.

At the Micro Scale


So now that you’ve seen how the capsuleer gods and immortal mercenary generals can shape the battlefield from a strategic, macro level, you might be thinking: how does all this play out for the grunts on the ground?

At the more personal level of the soldier on the ground, a key gameplay feature requires that the battlefield be reconnoitered during each new deployment. This is because the initial deployment positions for each mission will vary for each team based on the decisions by their commanders. Therefore, knowing exactly where the enemy is located and coming from will become top priority. Each team’s commander will also be responsible for the deployment of their team’s support systems. These commander deployed installations can consist of any number of component types that are deployed to suit the needs of the team in positions to maximize their effects. Each installation is centered on a Command Node component that provides power and processing (PG and CPU) needed to operate all deployed components throughout a battle. Once the Command Node is deployed a commander has a wide choice of installation components that he can position on the battlefield. The commander can choose from a large selection of Signals Warfare, Electronic Warfare, Installation Support, Player Support and Combat installation components.

All this translates into the very real possibility that if a player thinks he knows the battlefield simply because he fought there before, he might find that nice open short cut from the last battle now filled with enemy weapons, EW platforms and communication disruptors centered on an enemy Command Node. A deadly trap just waiting for him and others who think they know the map. In fact, it might not even be from the last battle… an enemy commander can deploy an installation into position within minutes during a battle. So unless your team has eyes on a position, what you find the next time you’re there could surprise you.

In addition, squad leaders can also have varying roles during each mission on the battlefield. For example, squad leaders have the ability to deploy small fixed gun emplacements to support the offensive or defensive actions of their squads. They will also have the ability to utilize the off-map support available to their squads and will be responsible for directing their squads’ movements on the battlefield.

Of course, this does not preclude individual players from making an impact on the battle. Individual players, squad members and leaders can also change the battlefield situation by the equipment they choose to carry into the fray. For example, let’s say that there is a squad of DUST mercs who got cutoff from friendly forces on the map. As the enemy closes in from all directions with HAVs and dropships, the squad is slowly reduced to its last man. His commander tells him that he must hold the ground at all cost and in desperation, the last squad member calls in a Black Ops HAV equipped with a mobile CRU. Now his entire team can respawn into that location fitted with anti-vehicle dropsuits and begin to beat back the enemy forces and eventually win the battle.

A Bigger Sandbox

As you can imagine, all the choices mentioned above are available to players in DUST 514. From high level strategic decisions of alliance formation (or termination), to mid-level theater command and control, and all the way down to fighting soldiers slugging it out in the muck and trenches of a forlorn battlefield. Each player will face different challenges and be offered a different set of choices whose effects are all interconnected, so that no one plays and make these decisions in a vacuum. Will you favor one alliance over another during a territorial dispute spanning multiple solar systems only to betray them when the time is ripe? Should you send in your mercenary forces to attack a particular district in a concerted effort with another mercenary army in lieu of relieving a besieged outpost in a gamble to alter the frontlines of an entire planet? Do you drop that Nanohive to resupply your squad mates now, or snipe that enemy scout to take out the enemy’s eyes and ears first? Each and every one of the players within the EVE universe will affect each other regardless of the size of their impact, thus bringing a truly emergent kind of gameplay shared by hundreds of thousands that is meaningful to the actors themselves.

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  • When will u finally give us a release date?

  • Where’s my beta code?

  • so it sounds like there is campaign not just online. Am I right?

    • There will not be a campaign mode like most other FPS games at first. Instead you will be able to play in a campaign that is orchestrated by other players in the EVE Online universe. There will be game modes that will let you play without having to be involved in player corporations and alliances similar to team death matches or co-ops.

  • Can’t wait for this game…

  • Ok so we’ve seen a whole lot about this game now, when is the Release date please!

  • This game is on my “Most Anticipated” I really can’t wait to play the beta, as well as own the game :)

  • Nice update on how the game plays on the battlefield!

    I’m really looking forward to DUST 514 – I have been for a few years since it was first teased a while back in 2009. Now since its official reveal last year as a PS3 exclusive and the info we have been getting, I’m even more excited.

    Can’t wait to try it out! Keep up the good work on developing this game CCP! It’s a pretty huge task you guys have taken on and I’m pretty amazed at the innovation and progress you have made with this title!

  • If they said the beta is in May. I predict the game will be released about July or August. :)

  • Loving the artwork on the last picture. I do have a funny feeling that it will be a situation replicated all too often once we start playing.

    As for the content, hopefully this is the blog that will finally get it though to the people who don’t fully realise what DUST 514 is bringing to the table here.

    As for all those asking for a release date, the only answer is this: Soon™, but this year.

  • Awesome blog Cmdrwang :)
    I’m really enjoying the Closed Beta at the moment as well!
    Will continue to support the development of Dust! 100% haha

  • AWESOME, loving and appreciating this hard work guys. This is INNOVATION, this is what I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.

    Just one thing, we need more of gameplay trailers please, its best to show the game in action :)

    Before this I was watching the new DLC trailer for BF3, I almost threw up seeing that “Close Quarters” crap. They transformed BATTLEFIELD into CoD. Anyways, got so pumped when I read this, and saw that middle screenshot :)

  • Epic… This is a free to play MMO on Playstation right? With cross-play to users on PC? I read that somewhere…

    I’m actually interested in this for the first time since its announcement.

  • Yes it’s free. The cross platform stuff is more that EVE players can use their space ships to shoot down on the battlefield when we call in for their help. if you want to see it in action, watch this keynote from Fanfest 2012: I will warn you, it’s a little long. But it’s worth it.

  • I would love to have a release. I can not wait to play. highly look forward to DUST 514, CCP. :)

  • Follow every blog, facebook, and twitter yet no invite. Why did random people get invites. Still great blog can’t wait for this game.

    • We love you still. Don’t lose faith and it won’t be long before we let more people into the Closed Beta.

  • @REGIS_MARK_V: because of :Sony:. Come on, you know that already. In good new though, Fanfest guys have had redemption open and they should be playing soon. Which means you guys will be playing soon, but not quite as soon.

  • The art looks fantastic but this should have been a PS4 launch title/app. The PS3 won’t do the art or studio justice. NEED MORE POWER

  • @LandmineSalesman Who’s to say CCP won’t give it that extra level when PS4 comes out? Considering it’s a download only title receiving constant updates like any MMO should, it’s not out of the question.

  • Great Post CCP CmdrWang , Enjoying the closed beta so much right now!! Cant wait till more players hop on to get a taste of what this yeas Hit game will be!! Cheers!

  • Dood Iam so freaking excited for this game. I would love to get into that beta!

  • Simply can’t wait for this one. I have been watching DUST since late in 2010 and I am stoked. The question Ii have is if these ground structures will be race specific (like Frigates or Cruisers) or if they will be the same for all (like ORE ships)?

    Mad props to CCP for undertaking such an ambitious project.

  • heres what Id like to know, will Dust be all shooting/fighting 99.9% of the time and nothing else? For example in EVE when youre not wandering the vast reaches of space and fighting for your life, you can also physically walk around your ship, see and talk to other crew members in it, you can go to corporation bases and check out their hangars and lockers (if you get permission obviously some random stranger just can waltz in)… remember that big scam pulled on EVE in 2005?, that consisted of players in other locations and doing other things than just blasting eachother in space with their ships, they had ppl inside bases stealing stuff from corps, probably even killing the ppl in those bases.

    well you have that level of exploration/freedom in Dust or will it be all shooter all the time?

    Also i remember reading on Dust yu could make your living selling war supplies (like ammo) and never see a battle if you choose, umm how am i gonna make money or find the materials to make ammo without killing anyone? If sure thats possible in EVE but that doesnt seem to be the case with Dust, if Im missing something please do enlighten me

    • We are focusing on the first person shooter experience at first, but will be offering a lot more later on. You will be able to walk around in merc quarters and interact with others in war rooms now and we will be expanding that game space in future expansions.

      As for trading, there will be a secondary market that will allow players to trade with each other similar to EVE, so that you don’t have to play the shooter aspect of the game if you don’t want to.

  • So it seems to be PvP all the time???
    Can I go to any planet my Corp/Faction own and do PvE missions, or am I stuck attacking/defending????because I can do that on MAG/BF3???
    Sure the MMO aspecs are cool but not sure if its enough….

    • Our initial focus will be on PVP, but we are currently working on expanded game modes that will include PVE. As the game grows we will continue to add more missions and types of missions for both PVP and PVE with future expansions.

  • Well good to know things will open up a bit more than just “shooter” in the future (lets hope Im still playing by then.. I tend to get bored with shooters fast while I can play an mmorpg, or something like EVE for 8 years and still be interested lol), maybe because those games combat focus more of skill, strategy and stats and less on your twitch reflex and strafing skills

    well lets hope in additional to expanding the merc quarters and war rooms theyll also be new non battlefield areas too explore and maybe the possibility to shoot in merc quarters/war rooms etc etc, Id love to see something the scale of EVEs 2005 incident happen on Dust, but in its current state that level of complexity would be impossible, I hope CCP makes it possible one day.

    You mentioned players trading so you dont have to play the shooter aspect if you dont want too, but then how would one acquire things to trade if theyre not taking down opposing teams? Will there be mining locations scattered throughout a battlefield or maybe a place where you can fight and kill AI controlled enemies and use their parts to sell/trade or make ammo yourslef?

  • @Emadeowa There is PvE, but not at launch. This might help a bit (but be warned, it’s not CCP’s work)

  • I’ve been following Dust for a couple of years now and I have to say anytime new info drops i am always amazed and even more excited to play this game. I’m glad Fanfest attendees are in beta now because soon more of us will be able to get in. Keep up the good work CCP!!

  • I’ve got an invite recently to join the Closed Beta. I entered to check what this game was all about, but I didn’t understand a single thing.

    All of a sudden, I was in a room, with so many options and I couldn’t understand how or where to start? A new users’ guide would be so useful. Maybe post some guidance here on the Blog or on the forums for help? :)

  • When is the Open Beta coming. From what I’ve read that was supposed to go live this month :/

  • I want that beta so bad.I have been researching this game since January.This is a game that i have always wanted, a campaign like fps mmo on a console.Oh i have dreamed a game like this my praying for a game like this has come true.(wipes tears). This will be the mother of all wars, a game where we make a difference from our actions(GOOD or BAD). We kill to survive, we kill for honor,we kill for glory AND we kill to CONQUER THE UNIVERSE .Anyway, i was upset of how you guys kept your mouths shut about the game untill fanfest 2012 but i waited to watch it live on my ps3.The first day of fanfest i watched it for a good hour untill my girlfriend kicked my ps3 and it dropped on my floor and it broke.I was so mad when that happen but i rushed in my brothers room to watch the rest of fanfest on his computer.I was so excited when your developers use the orbital strike.Watching that happen made me had a flashback of the death star in star wars episode 4.After fanfest i started saving money to buy another ps3 which my girlfriend is helping me buy it for breaking it.Not to long ago i seen new updates about sony giving random beta keys and i rushed to my email and seen that i didn’t get it. :( I was upset and i was like WHY sony WHY?.

  • @Shadow-Man_4 Double check the email you got the code in. There should be a link to the manual. Just make sure you don’t share it as it’s also covered by the same NDA as the rest of the beta. If you really can’t find it, send me a message on PSN and I’ll see what I can do.

    @BigMistake The open beta is supposed to go live some time around E3.

  • Wow, so thats going to be a while >.>

  • I’m very excited for this game, and have not been so for a game since…Vice City I think. I scour the intrawebz every night after work for any new news. First, thanks for the blog post, too bad I already read it on ;), see what I mean. It would be great to have an official forum up on the official site. I remember during FanFest a lot of your staff where adamant about getting people’s feedback on the game to make it a player driven game, so an official forum would help I would think. But then again seeing some of the posts on, I’m reluctant on the aforementioned suggestion, as a number of those post seem to be written by 12 year olds. I could go on and ramble, but I won’t. But I will say one thing. Come through with your K/M support, DO NOT drop that.


    • We already have a Closed Beta forum up and are working on a more public forum where you do not need to be in the Closed Beta to visit and post.

  • I hope this is a disc release, don’t have much space left on my HDD.

  • @28 umm E3 usually takes place in May… its the end of april now so umm whats your definition of “awhile”?

    @30 its digital only, just delete game data you dont play anymore (or get rid of DCUO or free realms if you have them) or just upgrade your hard drive.. you can get a 500 gig for the same price as buying a brand new retail PS3 game..

  • @30 no disc release as it is a free to play game. Get a new HHD, I saw a 1TB drive on sale for 69.99. If you have the coin go with an SSD, it does wonders for things like texture loading in streaming heavy games, and loading in general.

    PS stay away from OCZ drives as they do not work with the PS3, or at least not with the old firmware. Crucial SSD drives seem to work with no problems.

  • umm i dont think youre gonan get a 1TB SSD for 70 bucks lol

  • He said a 1Tb mechanical drive for that price, not an SSD.

    @Falaut Do post on! It’s better than nothing! Some posts seem like they’re written by 12 year olds due them not being natural English speakers. I will admit we do have some genuine 12 year olds, but for the most part it’s not that bad.

    @Tecnoboy1 Like the others said, It’s a digital download. Chances of seeing it on a disc are virtually none at this stage. Upgrading the HDD is a good option.

  • Is there going to be trophies for this game?

  • @34 I do post on there, but very rarely. Between the rocket roller skate ideas and people whining about things like K/M support to pre recruitment corporations with names that belong in a gangster movie, its kind of hard to find relevancy in that board.

    That is a worry I have. Due to the in price of this app being nil, there is understandably a lot of young gamers being excited for a FREE game. But what does that do to the current a VERY important install base of EVE players. I don’t play EVE, but if I did, at this point of my life, I would feel very concerned about the IP I so heavily invested in being over run by junior. Especially taking into consideration the effect/part that Dust514 is supposed to play in the EVE universe.

    Hopefully the very deep gameplay, and complexity of everything in DUST514 will weed out some of these “concerns”.

    Now CCP, where is my beta code!!! ;)

  • *sprinkles a couple of “?” on his previous post*

  • Well don’t worry. The complexity is already reportedly taking it’s toll on some of the beta testers. And that’s before they roll out the serious gameplay areas on lower security regions.

    And don’t worry about EVE. They’ll be nuking planets as much as they can and loving every moment of it. And for those serious areas, they’ll only employ serious people that can get the job done.

    And I don’t remember rocket roller skates! I would have though I would have remembered that at least. Maybe someone was suggesting something similar to the mechanics from Tribes?

  • Can’t wait to get my hands on Dust 514.

    How many players are allowed in a room (on map) at a time?

  • as so many people have posted already Cant wait!!! just hoping it doesnt break my heart and pull a HUXLEY on me…we all know how that ended!

  • @Falaut Grideris is right the kids who could potentially ruin DUST 514 won’t be able to hack the depth of it. I play EVE( though my trial ran out I need to subscribe asap )and it is a very deep game DUST 514 follows a similar format when people realize they can’t just be care free in their upgrades without thinking of the effects and that the skills take seven years to max out the casuals will leave and go back to CoD. DUST 514 will draw a serious hardcore group of gamers that will be as immersed in it as PC players are in EVE trust there is allot of talk among serious gamers about DUST and we all are anxious to get together and play. MINMATAR FTW!!!!!!!!

  • omg omg omg i would die just to get a chance to play the beta in fact i would lover to play the whole game soon i need a release date for this been exited for ages and anyone know how much room on your playstation it is gonna take up plz and thank you

  • Please tell me that second image is a screenshot and not concept art.

  • REALLY REALLY looking forward to this game. I really hope enough players embrace this project to make it worthwhile for CCP to continue supporting it and we see a great community come out of it. Can’t wait to get into the BETA.

  • I hope there will be a decent number of Aussies in the next beta phase. I’ve heard of 1 so far :(

    I hope someone is testing the netcode for us poor high-pingers.

  • I would LOVE to get my hands on a closed beta code. This game has been on my radar since 09

  • I hope Dust514 straight up head shots the current FPSgenre then T-bags it so bad congress brings up a bill to declare it a national holiday!

    I been waiting for this kinda gameplay on consoles since I hooked up my PS2 for the first time.

    I hope we get more genres start implementing this style of game play, or IF YOU MUST consider the sandboxMMO gameplay its own genre, that it becomes a big thing on its own then.

    We need more FF11, DCuo, Dust514, FreeRealms type games on the console…its not PCs exclusive right to reign over the sandboxMMO.

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