For the past few months Bungie has been hard at work on some much needed updates to the back-end of Destiny 2 according to Destiny Engineering Director David Aldridge in the most recent ‘This Week at Bungie’ blog post.
These updates, that are planned to ship with Beyond Light, are said to come with a whole swathe of improvements ranging from greater mission variety to improved patching speed.
Before listing the upcoming changes Aldridge gave a quick rundown on the reasons behind said changes.
“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,” Aldridge said.
"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
Changes to Mission Scripting Model
Currently, the scripting model for Destiny 2, the coding that determines actions such as AI behaviour, runs on the Mission Host. With Beyond Light the hosting of this scripting model will be changed from the Mission Host to the Physics Host which will come with some interesting benefits.
In simple terms, this will give the designers at Bungie many more options to create different mission mechanics since the mission scripting will have a larger amount of access to the game state on the Physics Host than it would on the Mission Host.
Aldridge gives a quick example of the difference in access between the two Host systems: “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.”
An added benefit of this shift in the scripting model is that players will now be able to join the Fireteam of another player in the same instance without having to reload the instance.
Bungie is tempering expectations with this initial release as only the foundations of this new script hosting will be put into place. On top of this Bungie has admitted that a few bugs could still be present in older activities that ran on the old Mission Host. A rather severe bug caused by this transferring of the scripting model has caused the Prophecy dungeon to become unavailable.
It seems that this is the reason behind Bungie stating earlier in the year that the activity would be unavailable during the first half of Season 12.
Revamped Content Building and Patching System
It has been no secret that for a long time Bungie has been struggling with the immense install size of Destiny 2 and how it has made patching and generating content for the game rather difficult.
Bungie has finally conducted a revamp on their content pipelines that has allowed them to both lower the time it takes to ship complete builds from 24 hours to sub-12 hours but to also shrink the overall install size dramatically by 30-40%.
According to Aldridge this shrinking of the install size was done by getting rid of a significant amount of ‘dead’ content such as older assets in the base install that were replaced in later patches.
This means that the install size for Destiny 2 will be lowered to between 59-71GB depending on platform. This is a huge reduction of over 20GB on the upper end.
Unfortunately this revamp comes with a downside.
When Beyond Light releases, players will need to conduct a full re-download of Destiny 2 on all platforms. Bungie has stated that preloading for Beyond Light will begin on the evening of November 9th Pacific Standard Time to allow the community at least 10 hours to complete the download before the content becomes available.
Rebuilt Character Face System
The character creation system has seen a small amount of tweaking to allow for a larger variety of face shapes and to allow decals such as face tattoos to automatically fit the selected face shape. This tweaking is still not fully realised as Aldridge thats that the team will continue to add a larger variety of face shapes to the game in future updates.
The simple long term goal here is to enable everyone to imagine themselves as their Guardian.
Aldridge warns though that a side effect of this change is that the player Guardian’s face may look a little different when Beyond Light releases.
Relit Portions of Nessus and EDZ
With the release of Beyond Light the two remaining Year 1 locations of Nessus and the EDZ will be given a small lighting makeover in order to bring the quality inline with that of Europa.
Aldridge admits that this is a minor change but is being done to give a uniform quality to all the destinations available in Destiny 2.
These really are some exciting changes coming to the foundations of Destiny 2 in November. These changes will not only give a boost to overall performance but also allow Bungie to deploy patches quicker and create missions with a much greater level of mechanically diversity.