Battlescape gameplay suggestions

#1

I'm increasingly enthusiastic about the release of Infinity: Battlescape. I have limited time for gaming so it could be what I'd play even if the full Infinity: The Quest For Earth MMO were available. These days, round based, arena shooters are my game of choice. I don't have the time to play a game that takes 50+ hours to finish.

I look at Elite Dangerous on my Steam account and it feels like its going to be a lot of work so I just click on an arena shooter knowing I can have some quick fun.

The main games I play are Team Fortress 2 and ARMA 3. TF2 is a finely crafted game with class based balance that has stood the test of time. In Arma I've played a lot of coop, KOTH, RPG and of course DayZ. Most recently I've got hooked again on Arma with the Sa-Matra king of the hill mod. This gameplay style could easily translate over to a game like Battlescape.

One thing that both TF2 and that Arma2 mod have in common is a level of persistence between sessions in terms of equipment. In Arma I'm always working on unlocking the next gun or vehicle and it gives long term replayability and encourages player retention. I'd strongly recommend that I-Novae consider using a cloud server to offer character progression in some way. At the very least it should be a stretch goal.

One of the things that makes Sa-Matra KOTH so much fun is that it's a battle between three competing factions. Allowing the weaker factions to gang up on the strongest faction is a good self-balancing mechanic and alliance and betrayals can happen that aren't possible in the regular two faction set up. We have three factions in Infinity so hopefully that will carry over nicely in to Battlescape.

In terms of the specific gameplay for Battlescape there are a number of obvious game scenarios that could be implemented. All of these are inspired by the most popular game modes from other arena based shooters.

King of the hill

Each team starts an equal distance from the conflict zone. This could be a disputed space station or a planet based command facility. The team with the most ships within the conflict zone is in control and gains points. When a team reaches a target points value the game is over and that team wins.

Players would get credits (UC) for being within the conflict zone and for destroying enemy ships. These credits can be spent on upgrades to their ship.

Capture the flag

CTF is the classic arena based game mode. It would work well within Battlescape although probably best on the surface of a planet where the terrain would give more tactical options. Flag capturing could work like it did in Tribes with the flag being on the roof of the opponent's base and must be flown through to collect it. The mode could work with two or three factions with teams competing to capture the most flags until a set number of captures have been made and one team wins.

Players could earn UC by picking up the flag, capturing or destroying enemy ships.

Control point capture

A control point game would work best with just two factions, one attacking and one defending. The teams would spawn an equal distance from the first control point and then battle over each on in turn. Each control point would be captured in "king of the hill" style with the attacking faction needing to outnumber the defenders for a certain amount of time to win the point. This mode would work well as a combined orbital and planetside scenario.

As with the standard KOTH mode players would get UC for being within the control point zone and for destroying enemy ships.

Armed or unarmed racing

The control point mode could be easily altered so that the control points became waypoints in a race.

Each team spawns an equal distance from the first waypoint and must race through a series of waypoints to a finish line. The waypoints would best be represented by features that could be flown though such as space station structures or under bridges on a planet's surface. Between waypoints could be obstacles such as asteroid fields or canyons. These would be particularly useful in armed races as protection from the missiles of ships behind you.

The prize for winning could be 100UC per ship that entered the race with a smaller team prize for all ships on the winning team. If a ship is destroyed or chooses to self-destruct during the race it would respawn at the last waypoint it passed.

8 Likes
General Suggestion Mega Thread LOOK HERE FIRST
#2

I would prefer any "character progress" be cosmetic. I dont like it when, especially in something that is supposed to be a competitive arena game, locks content away from me pending i play whatever many number of rounds. There are plenty of games like that these days like warthunder, world of tanks that extend that grind nearly limitlessly, as far as to call themselves "MMOs" to highlight the length of the content unlocks. Rather we didnt go there.

What i don't mind is in-round purchases, say your team holds enough mines for long enough for you to afford a new ship or upgraded ship or whatever. (side note: its not a good idea to base the source of currency on points or kills because then you get a MOBA situation where people need to farm npc last hits for the endgame pushes and that's very dull and lacks believability. but it can work as a way to divide a team's global income, or if there is a commander role, it can be distributed by them)

1 Like
#3

Nice ideas .... but i think it needs bigger scale - entire solar system after very successful campaign. smile
But as the one layer of the whole thing it seems nice.

I think that at this time we lack important information.
Some of the info we wont know until after the successful funding.

1 Like
#4

True, cosmetic progression can already be a good motive. I remember the old days of Shattered Horizon, which had the simplest of cosmetic progress: a dozen ranks (subdivided in 4 bronze-platinium sub-ranks), with 3 slightly different skins depending on whether you are low-, mid- or high-rank: your pristine spacesuit became a bit more worn-looking and decorated.
IMHO, that was good enough.

#5

In contrast, I play ARMA 3 because I get immediate access to all aspects of gameplay. From there, it falls to me to progress through the process of learning how to use the gear, how to operate in my role, how to interact with other players, how to achieve mission goals, how to organize teams, etc, etc, etc. The progression is organic and specific to me and my goals. I find it insulting to be handed new functionality in tiny increments. "Good dog. Here's a biscuit. Now go fetch 100 sticks."

I would prefer to see a game implement that style of organic progression for the self-directed, with something layered on top of that to help those who prefer to be guided. Fairly standard unlocking stuff.

1 Like
#6

I don't see the problem with character leveling? Surely you've played some MMOs, like WoW or GW2 or whatever.
If the levels are capped and have a reasonnable amount of time to get the top, and as extra if arenas are separated by levels, then I find it more than acceptable. No need to take the extreme spectrum like "World of tanks" wink

#7

I think there should be a little of everything mentioned here in the game and I also think that it's possible to combine them, creating an experience that caters to not only one but many play stiles.

First of all though, everything mentioned until now has already been done in many ways in other games, no matter what we suggest, the development team should still try to find new and exciting ways to use the tech and concentrate on building gameplay arround their unique tech. Because that will make the game an unique experience instead of just another arena/grind/moba in space with pretty planets. I wrote down some of the ideas that came into my mind some time ago here:


I, like Crayfish, sometimes also enjoy the quick fun of round based combat, but after a while it always gets real shallow (both in therms of a single long stretch session or over several days playing the same game) and besides real skill progression (better aim, better teamwork, better tactics) or game item acquisition (which at that point doesn't bring back the fun (read "grind")) these games don't grab me into pouring hours into them, and I think I-Novae should at that point create another amazing feat of scale, gameplay of different scales.

By going back to the Solar system level and dividing the game down into game play chunks one could achieve this.
So for instance, the main, big, overarching goal may be to "Control the whole solar system and drive out the opponent" or to "Gather a certain amount of resources before the enemy does". These goals should take many hours to complete and many battles to beat.

To achieve this players must "crush enemy outposts (spawns)" or "capture/build resource gatherers". Each battle

To do this carriers may need to fly around, which allows battles around them too. Moving battles like those I pointed out I would really like to see.

What I'm trying to say is, you either let those battles be free floating, which has the upside of allowing for more possibilities, or you could close them off, with a typical timer and tickets and whatever, which would give the players the information they need to allow them to feel the rush of winning or loosing in a shorter time frame.

And, I know a lot of people don't like it, this is how Planetside works. You have the overarching goal, to drive out the enemy from the continent, and the outposts with with kill tracking and smaller different goals. What I don't get is why people don't like the system. It combines both short and long term fights.


Concerning weapons, skins, gadgets.

Here I have the same attitude. All the systems mentioned in the above post can be combined.

I personally envision it this way:

  • There is a set of gear available to all players.
  • As a player plays a match he progressively gains access to "better" gear. This is a thing often seen in mobas ... I could live without it and don't really see how this "compressing MMO experience into 30 minutes" is an appeal, for me its always a bugger to not be able to play with my favority weapon and loosing all the progress ... I just don't like "instances". But as I said, it's possible to put it here without harming the rest of the gameplay.
  • As a player plays long term (multiple matches / several hours) he gains ranks and access to "different" gear. Those, may be better in one stat but worse in another, they also should have, for instance slightly different weapon effects or skins. The model on the other hand doesn't have to change.

The real challenge is, in my opinion, to create a long lasting incentive to play the game continuously. Surely, it's fun, is a good one and should be the prime directive. There are a lot of ways to make the core gameplay more fun, allowing for teamwork and insane moves are some ideas. But I would like to see some way to progress, to build up something that is at least in some way physically represented in the game world, something that's more then a number beside my name.

I would like to discuss the part about the long term, overarching goal, a little more with the community. It never got discussed properly as everyone seems to have different expectations to how the game should feel.

What if the main goal is a real challenge to achive, taking hundreds of players (not necessarily the same throughout) weeks to build and fight their way to the final victory, kinda in the time frame of a wolf game smile Wouldn't that be fun?

3 Likes
#8

There's nothing wrong with that in Planetside 2. It's a pretty good construct. But it gets old.

The problem is not the hierarchical fight system, but the fact that the fights are all interchangeable. Spend enough time playing Planetside and you've played it. You're done. You're not going to see anything new.

As far as I'm concerned, the longevity of a game is determined by its community. The more the player personalities can come to the fore, the greater the game has a chance of lasting.

Skill-based games are good at letting player personalities come out because you'll be drawn to activities that you are personally good at. You are personally known as a good medic because you're good at it. Or you're a crack shot with a sniper rifle. Or as a horseman. Whatever. This is why I constantly rant about making each activity in a game a complete game unto itself. It is so that the players can really get into the activity and explore it and use it in the game in a way that demonstrates who they are.

Without that, every player you meet is simply a chat buddy with the same skills as the next guy you meet. He's going to be shoehorned by the game into the same tight-fitting straight jacket that almost all games provide (e.g. same 'best' gear, same 'best' tactics, etc.). It's okay for a game to provide a metaphorical suit of clothes, but it needn't be as restrictive as a straight jacket.

Infinity:Battlescape needs a skill system that allows players to use the skills in ways that let the player personality through. Not only that, but the environment needs to allow the other players to witness it. If you are one of 100 guys providing volume of fire on a target, is anyone really going to care if you're a good shot? On the other hand, if you're one of four guys clearing a set of buildings, you can be sure that your fire team members care whether or not you're any good at what you're doing.

Having that sort of intimacy means that you'll try to find skilled players. Some will be good at taking point, while others will be good at support tasks. Skilled support tasks. Folks here dismissively refer to them as "mini-games", but that's the whole thing about each task being a game unto itself.

So what's all this rant about community when I started out observing that even hierarchical fights get old and repetitive? The takeaway here is that player personalities keep a game new. Create gameplay that gives the players enough freedom to express their personality, and keep gameplay intimate enough that you can see that personality when it is expressed. Done that way, players will seek out those that make their gameplay experience interesting. Perhaps its the collection of misfits and screwups. Perhaps it is a finely-tuned machine. Maybe it's just a bunch of guys who agree not to talk much.

I mentioned two things:

  1. Freedom to express. This is stuff like skill-based systems, voice communications, imperfect control over the environment, etc. Who the player is will come out through their approach to tackling the skill system, and voice will allow their unique communication style to come through.

  2. Intimate gameplay. This means that you want small-scale activities by groups that need to work as a finely-tuned machine. They don't have to sit in the same ship, but they have to be in agreement and interacting with each other. So the scouts scattered through the system need to coordinate what they're investigating, letting each other know what's going on, etc. The members of a combat wind need to coordinate how they're attacking.

Note that there are piles of gameplay formulations that don't adhere to these two principles, and it's fun gameplay. For a while, anyway. If you want to have lasting gameplay, then the gameplay must be constantly shifting and changing. That means letting the human element express itself, because the players are all different, even if the gameplay only has one implementation.

6 Likes
#9

I agree with that statement and also came to the conclusion that this is Planetside 2's downfall when it comes to longevity. Planetside 2 allows for different approaches in many ways and does allow for some of the freedom you described when it comes to face to face, tactic and strategic approaches a player or a group of players may take. They also provide a host of different "terrains" for the player to be challenged. But this diversity runs out as the locations and approaches settle in and stiffen.

Extending what you have said to a bigger scale implies that what is needed to extend the longevity is to give the players more freedom, not only to what they can do with themselves and theirs ship, but to go even further and give them control of game objects that have influence over several million kilometers or even the whole solar system.

If the players get the control over the placement of points of interest, they will be able to put their personality into the game even further, trough their placement ... or movement ... of POIs they influence other players that have to adapt to new environments or dynamic movements.

#10

As before, when placing such things, there should never be an ideal or optimal location otherwise everyone would use that location (or locations). Every game system should be an exercise in multiple spectrums of tradeoffs about which the player makes decisions specific to their situation. A procedural environment is awesome for setting the stage for such a system because players need never encounter the same environment twice - which is a serious problem for games with static environments such as Planetside 2.

#11

Need never, should be phrased more like "It's not the same, it's only 99% alike!" with how most current Proc Generations work.

I agree, but disagree on principal of Call of never going to actually be real, and world of paper tanks.

Reminds me of Play by email on Civilization or Risk. Not the same because this would be real time and those are turn based.

#12

I'll play the game first before giving out concrete ideas, i still don't know what the dev's vision is. Personally i don't care about arena shooters at all - they are boring and shallow and offer little in terms of gameplay, progression or story. There's plenty of those in the market already anyway.

1 Like
#13

I agree.
However it is necessary stepping stone.
We cant force Inovae to do something that they never done.
That could be disastrous. Look at Elite Dangerous forums.
People are bashing Frontier development for unfinished, shallow game. (....well... i haven't been noncritical myself)
Yet perhaps we underestimate how complicated this might be.
Inovae, just don't want to end up like that.

They want to do something that they feel, they are able to do.

Question is:

Can we with good conscience promise, to be critical yet supportive if they:
Promise to try make an MMO, the true Infinity - Quest for Earth, like we all envisioned over the years with them, BUT fail miserably ?

They cant do it.... yet. So lets just take it one step at the time.
We all were led to believe with recent boom of space games, that it is just around the corner.
That ultimate space game is almost here.... "you just have to wait a little while longer".... and look at it.
Nothing changed.
And nothing will change any time soon.

We are, where we were before this whole thing started.

Biggest potential is still here.
You know ... when i look back at it, it almost feels like Roberts and Braben saw back then what Flavien had (every proper space nut knew about it smile ). They saw that potential too and knew they had this one last chance to cash in on the genera, before its too late.

ouch. I stop now i completely gone of the hook..
....sorry for Off Toic!

1 Like
#14

By that time it's allready too late.

It also doesn't help to point out that you found every arena game you played yet boring and shallow and wait for Inovae to fulfill that expectation. This thread is here to try to change that.

1 Like
#15

"progression and story" implies a depth to the game that we surely would like to provide, but with any such features, they are funding dependent. A minimum funded Battlescape project is likely to be a bare bones arena shooter, especially if we try to optimize/minimize what we ask for our minimum goal.

1 Like
#16

Ok, not every. World of Tanks is kinda fun i suppose, tho there's just TDM tank battles, nothing else. No campaign that tells the story of real ww2 battles, the tank progression is quite arbitrary.

I generally don't like any MOBA games either (same style) but i really enjoy Heroes of the Storm for example. I generally also don't play any shooters, the only exception being Planetside 2 which i'm an avid fan.

As i said: i'll see when the kickstarter goes live and i pledge to get into the alpha/beta and give feedback on the things i'd improve, like to see or change.

#17

In what way is Planetside 2 different from other shooters?

#18

It's persistant, not instanced, progression tied to effort and skill (unlike EVE where you wait for skills instead). It has multiplayer vehicles (driver + shooter) so i can invite my friend to play the game and have fun doing the same thing instead of waiting for him to "level up". it has a "virtual training area" where i can try out all weapons and gadgets before investing into them. The gameplay is extremely varied, supporting almost all playstyles you can imagine - you can even help without shooting a single bullet (very important for some types of players). There are a lot of moments which are really #justplanetsidethings and remind me that no other game can even come near this. Couple videos: 1 2

1 Like
#19

How long have you been playing Planetside 2?

#20

Since launch.