Perhaps a reduced Spectator mode, where you just follow one ship but can’t see any HUD info?
Either make it so you have to pick a team before entering the match, or disallow spectating until your first death? I know spectator mode has its fair uses, but I guess there has to be limitations as well.
This is getting complicated really really fast.
I would like to see how much of a problem this is in alpha or even in beta. Limitations to when and how these systems can be used can always be applied.
Not that I don’t have ideas … it just starts to get much more complex than it probably needs to be.
Only fix it if it proves to be a problem. Don’t worry about fixing problems that might never exist. Whether you do it now or after it becomes a problem, it will take the same amount of time in the long run. If you fix it now and it doesn’t work then you’re adding more time on to the project schedule on both ends.
This is what alpha and beta testing is for.
@spaceJay I really like that Idea. I propose a stealth Ship modification that can be added to a ship and runs off the energy core causing the power bank for the ship to be less entirely and when active then it drains the core. So with that idea or something similar there would be less a need to switch to gain intel. Of course the idea of switching and instantly knowing what and where the enemy bases are is always at play, but we can diminish that.
Another idea I had is, if you can switch then each and every time you do and arising cost and penalty comes into play. i.e: If I switch to another team then my exp gain is lowered if I joined the winning team. If I switch to a loosing team and stayed then I would get a slight bonus but no negatively effected exp gain.
Either way these are just ideas and should be treated as such. Thanks for your time.
Perhaps a reduced Spectator mode, where you just follow one ship but can’t see any HUD info?"
@sab1e I really like that idea of a spectator mode.
A fully capable spectator mode is needed for Battlescape to have any chance of developing a viable competitive scene. Please don’t cripple it.
If you’re spectating, you’re not on a team. Put another way, the spectators are a team of their own.
When you join a match you choose: Red/Green/Blue/Spectators.
Switching from spectating to playing should have (at least) the same minimum time limit as switching between player teams.
Since there is a “problem” of small craft having the same jump abilities as big craft, perhaps using my previous idea combined with no base visibility for that time duration wouldn’t be a terrible idea, if we force everyone to spawn in a tight area at the very start.
You open with a short countdown (1 minute seems to be fairly standard), have a five minute long brawl between sides, then engage no switching and base visibility. Last one standing in this brawl wins the “middle” base. Players could spawn at an NPC carrier, which warps away at the end of the team switching time limit.
Ultimately, there is no stopping a dedicated spy effort. I can just get a second copy, start it on my laptop, and watch the match the whole time. The only concern to me is stopping people from abandoning ship towards a winning team just because they are winning.
Maybe you should be immediately allocated to a team upon joining according to an algorithm, not player choice. After all, the teams must be balanced, and there’s no gameplay difference between the factions. To keep friends together, there should be an out-of-match squad mechanic and the matchmaker would consider them as one unit. So once you join the game, you can choose to spectate only players on your team.
I would suggest that upon dying, players should be placed into a spectator perspective with a respawn button so that they get time to take stock of the situation before respawning.
There could also be an option to join a match solely as a spectator, but squads should not be taken into account here to prevent teams from getting an omniscient scout. With no way to coordinate joining the same match, using spectator mode to spy would be impossible. This could then be a fully capable spectator mode.
This is my main concern with pre spectating.
The alpha and beta test communities are self-selecting to be supporters of the product. They’ll play much nicer than the general internet gamer population.
I’d say that team switching should not be a part of the game. Just figure out a good system for making sure that people can join the team that they want to join at the start of the match. So if six guys are all buddies and they want to join up together, let them declare that they’re mutual buddies. When they come to a game, they can see which teams their friends are on, but that’s it - and only when joining the game. Friendship would be two-way, of course.
Also, spectator mode should be tied to a specific team. Then you can switch between the various members of that team and look around from their ship positions. But, as before, no team switching. The general idea is that it really is for making movies, and you are the war correspondent who is embedded with your troops. You get no intel, nor HUD displays or anything else. It’s all about the visuals. You get camera controls and composition tools or whatever else a war correspondent would want.
The war correspondent would be able to free fly within perhaps 100km of any ship on the team. SpaceJay would probably be the best source for figuring out what a war correspondent (filmmaker) would want to be able to do.
Getting back to team switching, if a team is getting low on members, boost their abilities. Like I said, if you’re the only guy left on your team and the other team has 20 guys, then you’re somehow 20 times more effective. Just make sure that gameplay doesn’t rely on winning by being in 20 different locations at the same time.
As of “Filming” and making Machinimas one of the most effective tool one such filmmaker can have is the ability to replay a recorded match in-game. The filmmaker gets his actors together on a private server. Directs the action and then later on can do all the camera work as much as he wants and from any angle he wants.
Using a spectator view is better than with a modded interceptor view but still not the most optimal solution, if you want multiple angles you either have to re-shoot or have multiple camerapeople.
I don’t think filmmakers play war reporters. It isn’t a larp thing … some Machinimas might be designed in such a way but limiting the tools to only be able to do that isn’t a good Idea in my oppinion.
I don’t think much consideration should be put into that aspect of the spectator view.
Spectator view is mostly used to watch players do their moves. Some games put you in spectator because you aren’t allowed to respawn anymore. With even less information than the players being spectated have it will be really hard to use it as as such because you can’t even guess why players did what they did. Spectator view often has even more information than you would have if you had 3 games open with a player in each team.
So I think spectator view should be more geared towards trying to analyse how people play and I think being able to fly a camera around or lock onto people with the ability to disable the hud is enough consideration for taking nice screenshots and some filmmaking.
Just because there shouldn’t be team switching such a consideration should be applied to the whole game?
I don’t feel like this is a good idea. Balancing the game this way can lead to some quite weird and complex challenges …
When do you start to balance power? When do you stop? Downing cruisers in an intreceptor in seconds? Players unable to trust their effectiveness of their weapons due to fluctuating player numbers?
I think trying to keep the teams balanced when it comes to numbers and skill is a much more well known problem to solve.
What if there’s very little concrete reward for your team winning? In fact, I would suggest that the winning team gets nothing but pride and maybe a little public recognition. That way there would be very little incentive to switch to “the winning team”. You may actually get more rewards for joining a weaker team because you might have a chance to have more impact, or get more action.
Isn’t this the point of having NPCs?
Maybe it’s easier to think about how the gameplay de-incentivises (is that a word?) team switching. If spying is the only real issue, then I’m sure we can find a way to restrict it.
It could be used for that. But that too might have unforeseen consequences.
I think the main reason why there are NPCs now is for testing reasons and to get a match going when there are no players around. Using NPCs to jumpstart a game and keep the action at a consitent level works for many games.
Many players prefer to join player only server though, I think the main reason is that they want a consistent challange and not consistent action.
The default sever settings could be in such a way that NPCs would only appear when they are really needed or maybe they will play a more substatial role, like mobs in MOBAs.
Could or will discourage team switching? If there is out of match player progression such discouragement could have some backlash. I think I heard from Star Wars Battlefront 2 that there was very little difference in reward gained when winning compared to loosing.
With small match length most of these problems wouldn’t be there. If there aren’t enough players you end the match early and restart it after some (auto)balancing.
I agree that the game should be designed in a way that it is fun, no matter what situation the match is in. The “last stand” obective idea sounds like quite some fun for instance. Some very popular competitive games do this very well and all of them don’t allow switching teams when played competitively … most of them don’t allow joining while a match is running either though, but that would be definitely needed for I:B.
One thing we always have to keep in mind that a player always can leave a game. And leaving a game is simmilar to switching sides in some respect.
I think the problem should be looked at from a holistic level. How do we keep the game fun with fluctuating player numbers while not building in exploitable loopholes.
Flavien mentioned that he might consider changing up the map significantly between matches and also doing some adjustment based on available player numbers. I suggested doing this dynamically while in match before but depending on match length this might not make much of a difference.
I think one extreme solution would be to have the game server look at and control players joining and leaving. Every player has its unique state per sever and match. Once he joins he can choose or is assigned to a team and is stuck there until the match ends. If he leaves and comes back he enters the same team.
The gameworld adjusts (bots, available bases, maybe even strength of weapons) in order to provide fun game for both sides, going as faar as ending the game if the imbalance gets too extreme or some limit (attrition) is reached.
I feel like ending a game would only become frustrating when it keeps happening at the wrong time. Too early and the players still had the feeling they could have made some impact (had fun), too late and people loose hope and start leaving the match.
It’s a really fundamental decision after all.
If “scuting” is really that important in the game such an extreme measure might be needed.
… if it is important in the first 15 minutes … set the limit switch timer exactly to the time you think people would need to find all the bases … or even make it a function of unscouted bases. >90% unscouted bases = no switch, >50% unscouted bases = switch in 10% of projected match time, >10% unscouted bases = half current switch countdown …
As said this is getting complicated.
Correct, you are rewarded for your performance against objectives/helping teammates/kills.
I don’t think adjusting the power of players on a smaller team is a good idea. It would be extremely hard to balance. Rather, when players are in the out-of-match hanger interface or whatever and are looking for matches, have in-progress matches be specially marked. Players joining these matches would be allocated to the less numerous team and given some sort of reward immediately until the numbers are even.
There’s also a distinction to be made between being part of a match and being active. If it’s possible to play in a single match for multiple sessions, the ability to return to a match would be important if they’re actually supposed to last hours or days, but then there will be inactive players filling team slots. During inactivity, a bot would replace you. I’d say that there needs to be a maximum inactivity time before you get ejected and new players could replace you.
Winning in and of itself is usually more than enough to cause people to switch.
So downplay “winning”, and play up “achievements”… It’s a bit like laying out the statistics of your involvement in the fight. Your firing accuracy, the number of bases that flipped to your team while you were present, the number that flipped to another team while you were present, the number of successful transport runs that you escorted, the number of ships that you transported in a carrier, etc.
Emphasize the player’s personal performance in group activities, and measure a lot of stuff. That way, the people obsessed with numbers will try to get maximum values on their numbers - which will mean contributing to their team’s effectiveness. So a player can feel like they won the match if they repaired a bucketload of ships, even if the team didn’t control the majority of bases in the game world.
It can even be played up to a console level where flipping a base is a win. Put up big, friendly letters on the screen saying “Base Won!” with a nice reward sound. People might play just to be involved in an hour-long fight for a base and then leave the game. They might come back later for another base flip. It is simply that there are permutations of bases that are significant that drives the overall battle forward. No two base flips need be the same.
Make matches end when they stagnate. So if no base flips for 20 minutes, the match is done. Report how many bases your team controls, how long each was held, their status, what they delivered to your team, etc. Don’t bother stating what any other team had. If the number and placement of bases is highly variable, players may never figure out who had more bases, or who had the most ship creation bases or whatever. Definitely don’t allow inter-team communication. Your team is your world.
This is a problem with selling beta access for more than the standard cost of the game. The fact remains that the goal of beta testing is to find bugs and exploits in the game. If your beta community is not a good sample for discovering exploits then it’s not doing its job.
This could be partially alleviated by having open beta weekends where the general population can play. You could also have an open beta phase after the closed beta for backers.
You can try to second guess the behaviour of your players, but it’s only testing that will give you reliable answers.
It’s a ‘problem’ with all alpha and beta communities. Those community members are enthusiasts of the product. They’re willing to make extra effort to experience the product. They’ll deal with the incomplete product, the installation difficulties, the bugs, the crashes, the downtimes, etc. A Kickstarter just means that they are declaring their enthusiasm in a material way in addition to being willing to deal with the shortcoming of a product under test.
It’s a step in the right direction, but still far from finding out the truth of the matter. It takes time with the systems to find out how they can be used for good and for ill. Then there will be the contest of wills to decide whether the enthusiasts can win out over the griefers and keep Battlescape games focused on Battlescape’s gameplay or some meta game of preventing the griefers from spoiling everything.
Perhaps designating some players as test griefers would be a way to approach things. Not random players, but people who actually enjoy grief play. They’d become very familiar with the systems in an effort to use them against the gaming community.