I’m stuck in a tourist information centre in rural Japan waiting out heavy rainfall… but there’s WiFi so what better than a bit of Battlescape contemplation?
The last update from Keith mentioned implementing win conditions which I think is a worthy subject.
The obvious win condition is the Battlefield ‘Conquest’ mode where it’s all about respawn tickets.
The match ends when one team runs out of tickets or the match time limit is reached.
Tickets are lost over time when the other team controls more than half the bases, and obviously they are used to respawn.
In BF tickets can’t be gained, but in IB they could be gained via the established hauler->base resource system.
I think this is probably the best system to implement initially but here are some other random ideas:
Build a wonder, eg interstellar gateway type thing to facilitate your corporation sending in reinforcements.
This could require a lot of resources and time.
Match would end when the gate is finished.
Negative is the art asset required.
Defend a damaged cruiser until it can be repaired.
Defend a base/chain of bases while other team attacks.
Create a game of Go from the various facilities that are scattered around the game world. They are interconnected such that if you can isolate one or more facilities without any line of support, then they become inactive and can be converted to friendly use. Converting them takes resources, so you may want to leave them inactive, but that leaves open the possibility that they could be taken back and reactivated because your own facilities could be enveloped (topologically speaking).
The game then becomes one of capturing the facilities that you believe give you the best opportunity to dominate the game world, along with the services of those facilities. Per the rules of Go, once you place a stone (capture a facility), it isn’t removed from the board (lose a facility) unless you lose all lines of support to the interconnected stones (facilities).
A team wins when they have control over some majority fraction of the map. Anywhere from 51% to 90%. Or until one side or the other concedes the fight.
Note that the facilities would be topologically organized into a regular grid, even though their physical locations need not be as regular. I can’t explain that without pictures and I’m not up to drawing anything right now.
Anyway, a game grid of 7x7 or 9x9 is a classic size to learn the game of Go. It’s just a quick knife fight. If placing a stone requires a half-hour fight, then you’ve got a lot of hours of gameplay there. Enlarge the game world for longer and more intricate fights. (Enlarge means to add more facilities, not necessarily add planets or moons or whatever).
I suspect that a respawn ticket system would punish the entire team disproportionately for the poor skill or bad behaviour of a single player.
The simplest game mode that would suit Battlescape would be a control point game. Each station, base or facility would be a control point and teams have to take control of them by spending x minutes with more ships in the sphere than the opposing faction. If that’s too easy then you could also say that there have to have no enemy ships in the control sphere to capture.
You can create dependencies of control points so that the final one can only be controlled when all others have been taken. You could also have a factory that could only be taken once its orbital power facility has been captured.
It gives quite a lot of variety to scenario setup, isn’t very complex and most players will either be already familiar with the rules or will pick it up quickly.
That’s not really that problematic. Yes you can win BF games by playing it safe but that’s a rare case. The proportion is important here.
In Battlefield the Tickets you loose when not holding the majority of the map is proportionally much higher than the tickets you loose by just playing and dying.
The system has multiple functions. The most important part of it is that it allows for the game to end with different world states. Meaning that you can win the game by just holding a position and being more efficient with your lifes or by taking all of the map or by being better shots than the enemy. Many options allowing teams to compensate a weakness of theirs with a strenght.
It’s pretty much Controll Point mode combined with Team Deathmatch, both interwoven into one win condition.
Both modes by themselves can be fun for certain people. Both modes combined are fun for more people. Battlescape can have many many gamemodes … but if the few populated servers are on a rotation and the next gamemode is something you don’t like …
I like JBs idea. Fun thing is that this somewhat allready happens in Battlefield. Maps are build in a way that you can cut off control points. These cointroll points aren’t lost automatically but they usually fall anyway because reinforcements from the team that have cut that controll point off can now come in from multiple directions and this usually leads to the defenders being wiped out … direction in Battlescape is much less important though. Due to how the Warp system works, flying in from the opposite side of a base may take just 10 seconds more time.
So JBs idea of having the bases be connected Go style and being able to cut them off etc is somewhat intriguing. As I mentioned in some other thread: Please have the game inform the players that are about to be cut of so they can do something about it before finding out they cant respawn anymore … either by notifying them or by having some “reserve” respawns before taking the base down.
I support a combined gamemode as the main gamemode of Battlescape.
I personally also would like to see local “tickets”. So as to have mini matches inside a larger match. So instead of having a global pool, each Station/Factory has a pool of “tickets”. I also like the notion that the resource system can increase tickets or is “tickets”. An NPC freighter going to a station primarily increases or transports “tickets” from one station to another and secondarily increases tickets on all bases … anyway.
Having as many gamemodes as balanceable inside the main Battlescape gamemode would be fun in my opinion. I would be ok with the variable controlling the win condition being either “tickets” or “resources”. All gammodes are interwoven by influencing this main variable.
Control points influence map control and income.
Team Deathmatch uses up or shifts available resources from one team to the other.
Capture the Flag/Intel shifts available resources from one team to the other.
Protect/Destroy Freighter denies/destroys resources of one team.
I would also be okay with frequent balancing patches that tweak the importance of each gamemode to accommodate possible shifting balance.
Once all resources or all available spawnpoints are used up / destroyed. It’s game over.
If someone wants to play one (sub-)game mode primarily, they can and still contribute to the teams success while still being on the same server as players primarily enjoying other game modes.
My thoughts on what’s been suggested:
I have an issue with “a certain number of respawns for the team” because in reality it doesn’t affect gameplay. You fight, sometimes you die, then eventually your team runs out of reinforcements and you hope it happens to the other team first. It’s Team Deathmatch in a pretty dress.
It only becomes more interesting if combined with something else that provides a win condition.
Map capture is a good example. Capturing control points is a staple of many good shooters, as long as the losing team never feels powerless.
(I reference Star Wars Battlefront 2 here, where if one team is dominating, they often also have more battle points, so they steamroll the enemy).
My suggestion: I like the idea of Influence.
The teams can operate using resource generation from bases and respawn mechanics yadayada. But behind that, their actions could build Influence for their faction (e.g. winning battles, destroying stations, protecting haulers etc.) It’s a race to build enough influence to the point where the enemy’s main base is eligible for attack (almost emulating political/public support for it).
Then everyone attacks that base, and if they succeed in destroying the defenders, they win. If the defenders fight them off successfully, they could receive a large boost to influence that maybe even allows a counterattack on the other base.
So I propose the main phase (building influence) followed by the sudden death phase (trying to knock out the main base/defend)!
As with all undeveloped/untested/speculative systems take this with some salt:
I like objective based gameplay and therefore objective based win conditions. Tie it to ground base/station ownership i would say.
I think with the scope and scale of Battlescape, looking at RTS victory conditions might give better insights than looking at FPS win conditions. Though Battlefield Conquest Mode and such are also viable referenches.
All win conditions / rewards / stats / achievements encourage certain player behaviours and discourage others. Ultimately you want to reward things that are fun in the first place and beneficial to the entire team.
We do not know yet the extend of player influence on ground installations and space stations. Destruction only? Repairs possible? Buying/constructing later? Capturing? All those would play a role in chosing good victory conditions, imho. Personally, if we magically got the funds to deliver most of the Kickstarter stretch goals, i would afterwards ( or even before adding the second faction ) prioritize adding a dedicated assault shuttle/troop transport that is lightly armed and used to deliver “Armed Security Personel” in order to capture/reenforce installations/stations. No need to have any actual infantry models or such, just some status bars on buildings “good footmen” vs “bad footmen” that you fill up and that determine ownership when one is depleted.
Although probably more fitting for an alternate game mode/mod, I’m reminded of one of Homeworld’s game modes.
Basically, each team is assigned a certain number of carriers, which are the only spawn points. When a team loses all carriers, that team loses the ability to spawn, and when all remaining ships are destroyed, that team loses. The team with carriers remaining wins.
Really? Most RTS matches are “over” long before the in-game win condition is triggered. Players usually concede.
I find “tickets” in the Battlefield Series good because they limit the lenght of the game. An alternative would be just a timer but that is mutch less dynamic.
What’s the point of pounding the last enemy base with the whole enemy team fighting with virtually no chance to recover? The game was “over” long ago. They made a mistake, lost most of the map or resources and weren’t able to recover for a big chunk of the game. Reset, maybe shuffle the teams and lets start on fair grounds again.
I’m not saying there can’t be comebacks. I’m saying that they are rare and mostly happen before the situation becomes completely hopeless.
Imho, the stronger the economic aspect in Battlescape, the more value is in looking at RTS mechanics. And regarding victory conditions, there exist a lot more than “kill every building to the very last hidden one in some corner of the map”.
( Though, if done right, kill every building on the map can actually be a very fun thing. That however requires a design where the less targets the weaker team has to defend, the better they can mount “last stand” - style battles and possibly make the stronger team overcommit and bleed too much so a comeback is possible. This usually involves some sort of strongpoint/fortress/defensible chokepoint map design that wont work in a space game. )
A timer based victory is good if you want to have consistent match length. But assuming matches will run with both low and high player numbers, any system should be able to scale, so fixed timers appear less favourable for me.
While I agree that Team Deathmatch (TDM) should be avoided, I disagree that the ticket system is mostly equivalent to TDM.
In Battlefield, tickets lost through ‘ticket bleed’ (when the opposing team controls more control points) is far more significant than even the most incapable player repeatedly dying. This places the emphasis firmly on fighting for control of the bases.
In fact, the tickets needn’t be related to respawns at all.
Additionally, if comebacks and long matches are desirable, tickets could be gained via the hauler resource system.
there are one or more guages
guage(s) are added to or subtracted from by some action(s)
a full or empty guage results in a win for one team or the other
the developers can choose what those actions are to put the emphasis of gameplay wherever is desired
Whatever win condition is used, I hope that it involves fights at multiple locations. Having everyone converge at a single point such that there are hundreds of ships blasting away at each other in a final, hopeless battle doesn’t sound like anything more than a good way to end each game on a frustrating note. The server and the clients will be pushed to their limits, meaning that the climactic battle will be the worst experience of the match. That would be a situation to avoid.
Normally, I like to trot out Unreal Tournament Onslaught as an example of a fun way to network facilities and fight through those facilities. However, it suffers from the problem of all players converging on one final battle. In Onslaught, you start at your own base and start capturing your way through the network of connected facilities. When you bump into enemies trying to capture the same facility, intense fighting begins. There can be multiple fights, depending on the layout of the network. But in the end, the match always ends up at one team’s base. Everyone fights there. So unless the server and the average player’s client is able to handle all players in one fight, such a game formula is best avoided.
In contrast, the Go approach involves players spreading out to tackle many objectives simultaneously, spreading forces out. One challenge would be figuring out how thinly you want to spread your forces. The more thinly, the slower your progress in capturing any given facility. The game could provide a fixed number of “facility capturing devices” that limits players to no more than N simultaneous captures. They could be manufactured, purchased, statically provided, whatever.
If you don’t know how Go works, it’s worth taking a bit of time to learn. It’s an incredibly simple game to learn and incredibly difficult to master.
I would not suggest that INS try to build a 19x19 grid of facilities. That would require 361 facilties. Novices use a 9x9 board, which would involve 81 facilities and is much more manageable. It would certainly present the potential for matches that last several days (not that I understand how a match could fairly be contested while the interested parties are asleep).
I’ll close with the observation that if Battlescape was based on the game of Go, it would have incredible depth and could attract a lot of attention in the Asian market.
Wanted to have some fun mocking something up.
A simple algorithm could connect the lines. The one I came up with in my head would have the drawback that it may sometimes connect a random base with some far off station. Eh.
@JB47394 so what if someone took a station? Can it only be neutralized by taking adjecant stations? If not it would be quite some change to the Go rules. Do you think it would still work with the option to take stones off the board? If initial capture is much much faster and easier … sure.
Sure. If you surround a facility that I control, it reverts to an “uncontrolled” state. You can then go in and control it for your own use. I can contest that control for as long as I like, but I can’t control it myself. That’s because that facility has no “liberties” for me; you control the immediate area.
That said, I can take steps to break your influence in that area per the rules of Go, capturing various facilities in a certain way that I work back to the facility that start it all. Or I can just abandon control of that area in general because you’ve already got so much influence. That’s the beauty of Go - the permutations are mind-boggling.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the sort of gameplay that makes a game immortal.
Battlescape’s ship combat would come in when one team is trying to control a facility. They have to do something to control it, and the other team can devote resources to stop them. Conversely, they have to defend their own attempts to control facilities. The number of simultaneous fights would be determined by the number of simultaneous control efforts going on. If each team can try to control two facilities at a time, then you can have up to four simultaneous fights. It would certainly spread out the players.
Edit: I was reading my post about multi-day matches and realized that if a given match was only played during specific hours of the day, then it would be fine. You’d just go back to the same game each day at the same time (or whenever you play during that game’s time window).
So imagine a server set up to run game 3917 between 15:00UTC and 19:45UTC each day. Perhaps only each weekday. The same server could run game 1141 between 0:00UTC and 4:45UTC. Another server might handle games between 6:00UTC and 13:45UTC only on Saturdays. (I have no idea how those times translate for anyone around the world)
Each such server would save the state of the board at the end of the session, then reload it at the beginning of the next. Burn 5 or 10 minutes at the beginning of the session to allow players to connect before the game actually starts and you’re good to go.
I like the idea of a planetary destruction by a superweapon, though more like something on a capital ship and not something that’s too death star-esque.
So, you have to destroy the superweapon before it can blow up the planet with a military or civilian target.
One team rides in on the super massive, planet destroying capital ship, the other team takes off from a base on the planet with some additional ground-to-space weaponry and it’s tweaked until it’s as equal as can be. Then, once that’s resolved, you switch sides and do the exact same thing in reverse.
Such a scenario would be a great basis for the MMO.