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  • Laps: solo, competitive time trials

    I've added an opt-in, solo time trials experience to the game server for when no gameplay is in progress. It's called Laps, and it tracks and displays (on the TGNS Portal) the lowest total times in which we all complete various tracks throughout all of the stock NS2 maps.

    I built it just for fun, but I've surprisingly discovered multiple educational side-effects which might lend themselves to strengthened situational awareness during gameplay. Each track is presented as a list of pre-defined, sequentially adjacent map locations, including some which normally don't see a lot of activity during games. As the player traverses each track at speed, HUD text is constantly telling him which room to move into next. I've noticed in my Laps so far that I'm hyper-focused on where I am and where I'm going (and how to get there quickly), which seems to increase my knowledge both of what rooms are near each other (and/or lead to/through each other) and precisely where named locations actually begin and end on the map -- knowledge often useful during games. I've carefully designed some tracks to require vent traversal, too, and my knowledge of vent systems has improved. And, of course, the more time I spend practicing my velocity techniques, the more quickly I'll travel during games, when each second often has consequence.

    For every stock map, I've defined four tracks in loops of sundry size and shape such that that each ends in the same room where it began, allowing for easy repetition of the same track (it's easy to leave one track and begin another at any time -- just move to the other track's starting location on the map, persistently displayed via HUD text).

    There are a few things I hope to still add (for example: the HUD text doesn't yet show the best times -- by you /or/ others -- of the current track, and there are other HUD text improvement opportunities, too...oh, and I want to prevent collision of Laps players, if I can figure that out), but it's now polished enough to offer some joy and adapt to feedback, so I'm sharing it.

    To be clear, this is not you racing other players, per se. It's you trying to beat other times. If the team balance allows it, multiple players may perform Laps concurrently, but no players activity affects the other's real-time experience.

    Learn More:

    Laps Help

    Learn the Tracks

    View Your Best Laps

    View Everyone's Best Times

    I've had a LOT of fun building it. Whether competing against yourself or others (or both!), I hope some of you enjoy using it.

    Laps is accessible on the TGNS Portal's Server Info page.

    Feedback welcome. Please report defects.
    Last edited by Wyzcrak; 08-19-2016, 01:03 PM.
    Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

    Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

  • #2
    Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

    Possible for it to issue you a 'waypoint' to the next room after each lap is completed?
    Like the server? Become a regular! TGNS Required Reading
    Answers to every server question? Yes! TGNS FAQ

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    • #3
      Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

      I suspect so, but I don't plan to add one, as I've come to prefer its absence for two important reasons:

      ) the waypoint would display with an frustratingly inconsistent reliability, as the "next room" is sometimes a forced /vent/ traversal; I can't put waypoints in vents (even if I could, that would be quite the departure from their typical use), and I don't want a waypoint to be misinformation leading you in the wrong direction (a path along the ground that crosses the wrong "next room")

      ) I very much like the educational aspect of being forced to become so familiar with the maps so as to move confidently without the aid of waypoints, including vents and obscure locations
      Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

      Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

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      • #4
        Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

        I've added a "Quick Search" to the "Best Times" on the TGNS Portal. It makes it very easy to filter the posted times down to the specific map or track you're interested in. The map and track lists are dynamically limited only to those for which times have been posted so far.
        Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

        Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

          Remarkably, someone else had the same idea:

          skulk races - Unknown Worlds Entertainment
          Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

          Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

            I've added HUD text which shows your best time for the current track.
            Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

            Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

              Only suggestions I have is to make the 2 location names different from the main text (maybe red?). Also, maybe have it play a brief sound when you complete each leg of the lap.
              Like the server? Become a regular! TGNS Required Reading
              Answers to every server question? Yes! TGNS FAQ

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

                Marines can now use sh_laps. You're given a Jetpack as Marine. Fuel replenishes every time you enter a new location while running a track. Times on the TGNS Portal now include class (Skulk or JetpackMarine), and the fastest times per track per player per class is now displayed.
                Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

                Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

                  I've added more color differentiation to make it easier/faster to pull meaning from the on-screen text, and I've also added sounds for the following events:

                  ) track started

                  ) track halted

                  ) new location entered (only played when track is active)

                  ) new personal best time for active track

                  These additions help, I think, and I'd love to hear feedback. Please report defects.
                  Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

                  Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

                    If you execute sh_laps on a map that has no tracks defined, you'll get an error explaining same. If you're ever frustrated that a regularly played ns2 map doesn't have tracks defined, feel free to define a track (see below) and post it here. If it meets the spirit of the tracks I defined at launch, we'll make your new track available to all players.

                    To define a track, declare a list of location names from the map where the last location name is the same as the first, and each location name in the list is directly adjacent to the location name it follows in the list. Laps: Help provides example.

                    Any regularly played ns2 map can host up to four tracks. The stock maps already have four tracks each, with two exceptions: ns2_caged has none (needs four more), and ns2_derelict has one (thanks [MENTION=97241]Brian_NS2[/MENTION]! -- needs three more). But, really, we're in a good position to add tracks for any ns2 map -- stock or custom -- which is regularly played on TGNS.

                    So, next time you find yourself with a little time to kill on the game server, consider crafting a Laps track for a map that needs it and posting it here for us to consider. Tracks with vent traversal or similarly creative routes are fun and educational, so consider that in your designs!
                    Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

                    Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Laps: solo, competitive time trials

                      Laps has shown your best track time on the right side of the screen.

                      It now shows the best overall time (of all players) as well.
                      Steam Community? Add me. | Free Remote, Encrypted Backup

                      Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

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