Battlescape gameplay suggestions

#21

That’s amazing to me. The very stuff that you linked in the video shows why I left Planetside 2. Sure, the fights are vicious, with huge volumes of fire and many vehicles and aircraft getting involved, but they’re always the same. Given 100 players vs 100 players in the same terrain with the same goals and the same equipment, the fights are going to end up being the same. For players that enjoy those fights, I’m sure it’s awesome. For players like me, who live for variety of experience, the fights quickly lose their luster. But I sure had fun with the game while the fights were new.

I’d get into a class, learn it, get as good with it as I was going to get, then move on. I found grinding out gear improvements to be as annoying as waiting for them in EVE Online, that also placed a limit on how long I was going to stay with a class. I think my favorite activity was anti-air lightning. Kinda stunk when enemy tanks showed up, though.

I keep going back to ARMA 3 as my version of a great game because it allows me to experiment. All gear and all classes are available to me immediately. I play it PvE, which allows me to try lots of different ways of playing, without fearing that I’m not keeping up. The AI is just very tolerant of players doing silly things, like charging in Rat Patrol style with a couple armed trucks and trying to stay alive as long as possible with slashing strikes.

Last night, I was an Apache gunner working with a ground JTAC to direct my fire. Buckets of fun.

This is probably why I’m drawn to PvE games. I can experiment there without destroying my gameplay experience. In PvE, it’s not a question of whether I’ll win, but how I’ll win. That’s more my speed.

If Infinity:Battlescape’s modding tools become available, I may well pursue a PvE version.

#22

It’s interesting that for you PvE ends up allowing more varied experiences than PvP, most of the time i see it the opposite way. Players always react differently to various strategies and its fun coming up with counters and counter-counters on the fly. That was my experience with small gang eve pvp in w-space at least, and also in more arena-ey games like ns2, MW:LL.

Though this doesnt hold true in planetside 2. That game got very stale very fast for me due to the speed of complete map recaptures and lack of more engaging goals than “cap the same base over and over and get like two certs in an hour to get 1% of the way to get 5% more hp”. Generally the mechanics in that game barely interacted with eachother in any interesting ways, making it very dull.

1 Like
#23

[quote=“mattk50, post:22, topic:946”]
It’s interesting that for you PvE ends up allowing more varied experiences than PvP, most of the time i see it the opposite way.[/quote]

It is the players themselves that provide the variety - assuming the gameplay allows them to. For you, it is countering opponent’s moves. For me, it is tuning interactions with my team. Would that a gameplay designer would realize that both can exist in the same game, and that players occupy an entire spectrum of preferences.

Note that cooperation and coordination is more viable in a PvE game because if that stuff helps my team then the other team is going to do its best to prevent us from doing that. The general effect is that PvP combat trends towards ever simpler moves and counters (e.g. brute force volume of fire instead of delicate strategies), while PvE can tolerate ludicrously-complex cooperation and coordination. It might make no sense in practice, but it might be a barrel of fun for those involved.

My ideal is to have tunable AI so that my team can decide how difficult a challenge we want to face. Or the gamemaster (the guy trying to entertain us) can decide.

I agree. Small scale PvP is very different from large scale. At the small scale, interactions with individuals are much more significant, so their personalities can come to the fore. And when I say ‘large scale’, I’m referring to the number of individuals directly involved in a given interaction. An epic battle might rage across the planetary system, but if you and one other guy are in a fight that nobody else will influence, then it’s a 1v1 interaction. Your one opponent’s preferences are really going to become clear - assuming the gameplay allows it.

#24

This is more or less the sole reason I stopped playing Planetside 2. The game’s great, there’s no doubt about that. But the problem is that once you’ve had one epic battle over a particular hub, you’re kinda done. Every other time you do it, it’s just going to be the same battle with potentially a different outcome. It’s the same reason I eventually lost interest in the Battlefield games. There’s never any real sense of progression or need to do better.

#25

Probably because what you’re after requires MMO-esque gameplay feature$.

1 Like
#26

Not necessarily. Games like Nuclear Dawn or Natural Selection aren’t MMOs at all and contain some of the features I proposed in my posts above. Sure they aren’t run of the mill shooters either and they sacrificed other stuff, like weapon diversity, but that makes them stand out.
You should really consider trying to solve the longevity problem without having to resort to feature$ that are co$tly. Increasing the round lenght and filling in the gaps would be my approach.

#27

Procedural terrain, procedural installations and procedural capture points would go a long way to keeping that game fresh.

Beyond that, setting up a progression over time such that the terrain shifts from flat plains to mountainous to forests to icy areas, etc. The terrain changes should influence the way the game systems work, favoring this or that gear and tactics. That would mean that from week to week, the gameplay would change in significant ways.

Note that if terrain is changing hour to hour, and tactics are impacted by terrain, then players will probably want to make wholesale changes to their gear all the time. But if terrain changes are incremental, then the game can make gear changes more difficult (e.g. logistical burden), inspiring players to consider when they’ll make the change from warm weather gear to winter gear. Or from tracked to wheeled vehicles. And so on. Different players will change at different times

Other things can be done as well, such as making gear available based on the conquests of a given team. Planetside 2 has a hint of this in their current game, but it could be taken much farther. Not gear that allows for power-ups, but gear that allows a team to employ new tactics. Gear that changes the tactical tradeoffs for a team.

I’d say to make all gear available to everyone, make each piece of gear require player skill, and make any tracked progression along a different axis - what you have done with the gear. If there are sniper rifles, then track the longest range kill of each type of enemy. If there are shotguns, then track the closest range kill. If there are engineering tasks, then track the construct involving the most components. Medics track the worst injuries but where the patient recovered. And so on. If more complex accomplishments can be tracked, so much the better.

If a game would normally unlock a weapon stabilizer for an anti-air gun after a certain number of anti-air kills, dump the weapon stabilizer, but include a technique in using the anti-air gun that allows the operator to stabilize it. So if they stand in terrain that allows them to rest the weapon against one point, and brace their feet against two other points, then the weapon is more stable, and stability is a function of the spot they set up in. If they don’t find such a location, then the weapon is less stable and is not as accurate. An experienced player will learn this sort of thing, while a novice will just be trying to figure out how to deal with IFF issues and not getting left behind as friendlies maneuver.

1 Like
#28

“Progression” is very subjective to the player though. There are ofc things we can do in a limited resource environment, but the expectations of character/game/game world progression can get out of scope rather quickly.

#29

What do you understand under progression? Progression of your character, the virtual war, the story or something else? And isn’t a lost fight a call to “do better”?

#30

In the example of Planetside 2 in particular, I don’t really feel like my contribution matters much of the time. If I play for an hour or two one day, then the next day my contribution to the war effort is undone.

Because the landscape never changes and campaigns don’t last a long time, it kinda just feels like a never-ending round of BF2 (I say that one because it’s still the best in the series), except you get to switch between the maps.

Some of this is probably a function of the maps not being much larger than those in BF2 and the player count is low enough that even a small disparity in side population can result in one side’s domination

I probably had unrealistic expectations out of the game though, and I admit there have been times where I’ve had fun playing in it and joining in assaults, but I just get the nagging feeling of it missing something more

2 Likes
#31

“TF2 has stood the test of time”, and my main question is… Why? How? I couldn’t stand playing any more of TF2 shortly after it went f2p.

@Topperfalkon I think that it just isn’t possible to get a significant impact on the war in Planetside 2 by design. To me Planetside 2 seems like a game that is about immediate gameplay. Log in, look where there are 'splosions and then shoot people until you’ve had your fill. Rinse and repeat. Sure, if you’re part of an outfit, you can do some major operation, where everyone logs in at the same time and then do some major damage, but once your outfit logs out, the enemy can just regain access. Even locking the enemy out of a continent seems like an unfavorable thing to do, since you then will have 64km² with nothing to do.

Battlescape-wise I am kind of hoping that we get a solar system, which we then fight over for supremacy. Once the enemies are wiped out, you are declared as supreme winner of awesome, and this “wars” major events will then be put in some type of war-log, which is shared between all users. A new system is generated, with a new planet, rinse and repeat. But that’s just me, and I probably will play what I get.

#32

IMO Guildwars 2 World vs World is a good blueprint to longevity gaming warfare.

1 Like
#33

The big setback was the culling problem.
Having a stealth rogue destroy you in 5 seconds, when his invisibility should have ended right when he attacked but is still not shown to you after 8 seconds is a gameplay breaker :frowning:

Possibly, the “cho cho” train is too strong, even without culling, but hey, this is massive arena :slight_smile:

#34

I never played Guildwars 2, but a quick read on the gameplay structure reminds me of Dark Age of Camelot. That game did not have staying power for the same reasons that Planetside 2 lacks it; neither game has long term progression. They both allow fighting over a set of terrain, and wins never mean anything of consequence.

A game with real staying power is one where not only are there wins to be had, but there are cumulative wins. Wins that are not discarded, and made irrelevant at the whim of the game designers. “Well, you fought tooth and nail to win that one, and you’ve got some good memories out of it - so let’s wipe out all traces of it and start over.”

Instead, have the players spend a few hours fighting to control a space station. That space station allows the winners to control some resource that alters the way their team plays the game. In-game command and control systems. Multispectral sensors. Jammers. Stuff like that. NOT better combat capabilities, just stuff that allows the players to play the game in ways that they couldn’t before.

Players want all that stuff so that they can win the system. That’s a cumulative goal that can take a day or a week or however long. There can be plenty of places and things to fight over and control before the system falls to one team or the other.

What then? Wipe the system and start over? Absolutely not. Leave it there. It is the memory anchor to let players take a trip down memory lane. Each system will have unique memories associated with it.

Winning a system is just like winning a station. The winners now have access to the system’s stuff, and that allows them to its long-range capabilities when they move to the next system - but only while in range. All the systems that they’ve conquered and that are within range add to the team’s capabilities. Some are just a check of either “in range” or “out of range” while other systems attenuate their capabilities based on distance. If a team is on the verge of losing an important capability from a distant system, they’re going to fight hard to get it back when it next hangs in the balance in a new system. Or fight hard to make sure the next system is still in range.

That means that teams have a natural tendency to try to conquer systems that are well-supported by their territory. The other team is trying to do the same thing. The victor of the last fight decides where the next fight is going to be, but the possible jump targets from the last-won system are limited. All of the next targets may benefit the other team, but you won’t know that until you’ve won the system.

The next design task is to create a cumulative progression system for the game that both teams go through. Start with small-scale gear in the first systems, and incrementally allow the teams to get into bigger and badder hardware with more complex gameplay involved. Instead of allowing individuals to gear up by grinding out accomplishments, allow both teams to progress through the game system bit by bit. It’s a bit like a reverse Ender’s Game.

Introduce the new gear in a procedural way such that no two games have the same progression sequence. Certainly the network of systems that the teams can fight through would be procedural.

That sort of a formula could carry on for months, perhaps a year. Players who like it at all will want to go through it all again. If a player wants to go through a given game experience three or four times before they get bored with it, then you’ve got a couple years of life from a pretty simple game structure. The most difficult part of this is coming up with the stuff through which the players can progress. If you can only afford to develop one class of ship and two weapon systems, it’s kinda difficult to provide any sense of progression over time; there just isn’t enough content.

Lastly, the trivial increments that most games present are not going to cut it here. Winning a system and getting a 1% upgrade in turret performance on one type of weapon system is the stuff of aggravating grinds. Each 10 systems or so should bring some significant change to gameplay. A new class of ship. Or a new weapon type (e.g. missiles, laser, mines, rockets, etc.) Or those multispectral sensors. Something big each time.

1 Like
#35

This. I like this. The idea of progressing through nearby star systems. If it’s possible to generate multiple systems for BS, some sort of “multiplayer campaign” where your two teams own multiple solar systems. The arena itself is the solar system and you can choose where to attack and move forward, and what systems to defend. That way, you could even go back to fighting in a familiar system. Sooner or later the “war campaign” will end and whoever has more systems wins? /shrug. I see problems with this idea being mostly lack of funding and probably out of scope, but it would definitely add another level of depth.

#36

Now this is a cool idea. And in some way remiscent of “low level” campains, like the one in Star Wars Battlefront 2.

BUT

We need to make it scaleable, or show other scaled versions, to make I-Novae not di$mi$$ thi$ again becau$e of re$ource $hortage.

One way would be to, instead of Star Systems, apply this to planetary systems. And maybe even going as far as to put even the most rudimentary gear in those installations. One team may for instance only have missiles at the start while the others have more easily access to the planetary system producing lasers.

Still, it’s totally opposing what Crayfish would like to see. Just saying. Like Arma there could be different servers serving different play-styles though. There may be servers who have all gear unlocked from the start and the Planetary Systems don’t provide any advantage bare spawn point, or some other small buffs and Servers with the described progression system and maybe even servers with a normalized outfits for both teams for e-sports reasons.

… or even “Solar System Life:stuck_out_tongue:

I should check out GW2 World vs World in that case.

#37

As I said earlier, things quickly get out of scope… Meaningful persistence is a tough nut to crack in a resource scarce development environment. We’ll do our best though.

4 Likes
#38

A quick response to @JB47394 thoughts before moving on.

If you’d play GW2, you’d see that winning World vs World have an actual impact in PvE: the more you control zones of the arena, the higher tier of reward in PvE, and partially in PvP. The rewards are better rare loot %, better ressource gathering, more money from mobs, etc. The reset of controled zones would be every two weeks, if memory serves.

However, the devs were very aware of one important caveat. One world means one server. And more often than not, the competitive players will gather on the same server, meaning they’ll regularly crush the others on a large scale. Not necessarly because the others are bad, sometimes just because the others are more PvE oriented.

If you reward only winners through yet another PvP advantage, that means that the strong teams will keep getting stronger and the feeble even weaker. Plus, you’ll feel a sensation of uselessness because you can’t do much to stop their progression.
Therefore, long resets are IMO only good when there is some balance between team levels. This is already hard to achieve when you look at most of MOBA game’s matchmaking (like LoL of HotS). It will be even harder on a scale this big.

On this, I agree with you. If arena games like LoL are still thriving, it is not only because they get out new content, but also because with more than 100 champions, you’ll rarely see exactly the same matchup on a given number of games.
Diversity and taking care of balance so as not to see only one build is most probably the key to a long-lasting PvP game.

1 Like
#39

I was like… what? Then… oh Sa-Matra’s king of the hill. Not a connection to Sa-Matra.

We do. But only one is going to be used in Battlescape, Star Fold Confederacy. The factions will either be subfactions of SFC or SFC simulation scenarios.

I know Unreal Tournament has game types with 4 players, specifically Capture the Flag. Not sure if they chose 4 to not have 2 gang on 1 in a 3 way CTF.

#40

I was assuming that a system, once resolved, is never revisited. I would fear that one team or the other would find value in returning to the same system over and over again, to keep getting back a certain form of support. That would make the game an infinite loop of the controlling team just stomping the weaker team.

I did want to allow players to privately revisit past systems so that they could reminisce over prior fights. Clearly not a core feature.

Sure. Limiting the scope of gameplay will reduce the cost - and reduce the lifetime of the game. C’est la vie.

Given the existence of No Man’s Sky and the developer claim of “18 quintillion planets”, the bar has been set rather high for games that use procedural generation.

I would start with identical gear for the two teams. Once I have learned enough about how teams operate, I might start to introduce asymmetric combat. However, I’d be very leery, because teams want to win and will exploit any asymmetry available to them, intended or not.

I intentionally tried to keep persistence to a minimum. What I added is essentially a star system layer of persistence that consists of the network of stars, the condition of each from the standpoint of team control, and the long range support provided by each star to each team. Only the team control levels need to be stored somewhere, and then only at the end of fight for system control. This is persistence at the level of a parlor board game.

Development tasks would require a hand-built star topology, including information about long-range support available from each. A display of that information to allow teams to make intelligent decisions about where to go next. A voting mechanism to allow them to decide collectively (or to pick a team captain who will decide). A hand built technology road map to determine what technology is included at what points in the topology. Hand built planetary systems.

Preferred is procedural implementations of any or all of the above.

Put everything into XML files. Procedural generators produce those, and modders can either build stuff by hand or build their own generators.

The content of the game itself is whatever you guys come up with. Three ship classes, four weapon types, an advanced sensor system, armor, shields, etc. It gets staged across the star topology. One hitch is that some of the technology would have to be packaged into long-range support systems. So something that might work all the time in the original design would only work according to the current system’s distance from a support node.

The fiction behind it all is that the players are discovering a network of ancient installations. If not alien, then past human civilizations. It climaxes in finding and controlling something important, like a jump gate that would take the players to one of the MMO cores. The initial implementation is that the jump gate just triggers a flash of light and the closing credits for the game. When the MMO is ready to launch, have the jump gate actually work. Make that the way that people experience the beginning of the MMO (the jump gate only jumps fighters, by the way :slight_smile: )