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a title design opportunity I don't know how to articulate

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  • a title design opportunity I don't know how to articulate

    Originally posted by Samn View Post
    Commanders: Try to get the other team to surrender. If you try to kill their last base [when it so often intuitively makes sense to], you risk losing it all. ... Lock down your base with observatories and drifters to prevent Hail Mary rushes. Kill cysts to make aliens think they have less ground. Kill their base RT. Demoralize them and make them concede the game. It's not farming, it's legitimately safer.
    This is 1000% accurate -- especially that last sentence -- and I've long since been convinced that our necessary kowtowing to this design flaw has significant quantities of joyful suspense as its opportunity cost.

    Someone better than me at game design stands to significantly improve the title by taking steps toward solving this.
    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
    I'd like clarification, are we trying to get this to happen more or less? Is the goal to make it so that forcing the enemy to surrender is more intuitive or to make it less possible so both teams have to end the game decisively?

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    • #3
      Part of my 3 hive rush lately is exactly that. We often have 3 hives, 3 spurs, and MAYBE metabolize, but the fact marines now face 3 hives often wins the psychological war, and we soon see a surrender.

      I don't like prolonging a game, so a counterpoint is I'd rather play an aggressive loss than a stalemate win. Make sense?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Twiglingen View Post
        I'd like clarification, are we trying to get this to happen more or less? Is the goal to make it so that forcing the enemy to surrender is more intuitive or to make it less possible so both teams have to end the game decisively?
        Surrender is a fine end-game mechanic, but I'm not saying I'm wanting more or faster /surrenders/, per se.

        The title often motivates winning teams to long deny losers sweet finality, instead spending obtuse time and resources delaying otherwise-certain victory to defend against potential behind-the-front-lines cheese attacks (it's "cheese" only when the team which has clearly otherwise played the less impressive RTS and FPS game /wins/ -- such imbalance isn't always the landscape of a behind-the-front-lines attack, but it too often is).

        Winners often "drag it out" when the losers have NO intention (or practical ability) to attempt such cheese -- OFTEN when the losing team just wants it to eeennnd (and, really, much of the WINNING team just wants it to end, but -- in their ignorance of the other team's intentions -- they know the risk of attempting straightforward victory NOW is suddenly losing). In this scenario, losers don't concede because "obviously the winners will end it any second", and the winning team doesn't end it because "obviously we could lose our entire tech tree and half our map control in 8 seconds if we move too aggressively here".

        I'm saying that the fragility of the winning team's end-game strength too often makes winning -- let alone losing -- feel like a drawn-out chore. The opportunity cost of time spent defending against "blue shell" cheese is better-balanced play (in future games) that is delayed for everyone because the title hasn't yet reached its best end-game design. However subconsciously, I've "lost" MANY games because I'd rather move on to more suspenseful play than remain rote's servant long enough to "win".

        All of this in the context of many end games being fantastic for all involved, and all that. I'm just saying -- in all my design inability, I'm convinced there's a title design opportunity that frequently rears its ugly head, and it's caused by teams paying too high a price for sneak attacks executed by holistically losing teams which have otherwise played the altogether worse game.
        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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        • #5
          Originally posted by rad4Christ View Post
          Part of my 3 hive rush lately is exactly that. We often have 3 hives, 3 spurs, and MAYBE metabolize, but the fact marines now face 3 hives often wins the psychological war, and we soon see a surrender.

          I don't like prolonging a game, so a counterpoint is I'd rather play an aggressive loss than a stalemate win. Make sense?
          Right. Prolonged games in the manner I describe above (subtly different than the prolonged games you talk about above) are the manifestation of the design weakness I'm saying exists (and that I'm saying I don't know how to fix).

          Aggressive loss is easy enough to swallow in expedited durations. I lost, but the opportunity cost is lower because the loss took less time. And, in scenarios like the one you described, I knew going in that loss might be the cost of my novel strategic aggression.

          Sudden loss seems "cheese" when you've played the overall superior game throughout most or all of a more normative playstyle AND duration. It's in this scenario that I wish the title made the end-game more normative, so the clearly stronger team (or the clearly weaker team, via surrender) had the confidence to expedite finality (and therefore expedite more balanced, suspenseful play).

          All of this is influenced by my strong personal preference for suspense (with victory running a very close 2nd). I /like/ to win, but I LOVE the suspense of playing against similar RTS and FPS strength, and cheese -- however victorious, and once its novelty is played out -- is for both teams an unsatisfying RTS mechanic (and of course isn't typically much of an FPS mechanic at all). I recognize and respect that others have different priorities in their play.
          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
            One thought on this imbalance. Right now, the ONLY reason for a second chair is redundancy. No tech is tied to the amount of chairs a marine team has, so the importance of the chair is ONLY for redundancy. With this in mind, could we decrease CC cost to 10 res? Opens some new strats (I'm thinking remi's two chair, dual spawn early game), and makes redundancy a lower cost to marines trying to keep an upperhand.

            I know for 10 res, the moment I secure a tech point with gate, I'd be MUCH more likely to build it and relocate an IP to the new location.

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            • #7
              Additional chairs offer more than redundancy. They diversify spawn location and beacon destination options and so influence map control.

              I'd like reactions to your idea with those clarifications in mind.
              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


              • #8
                This is something that I think the original version of the MOD did very well. A lot of the game mechanic changes since then seemed to be geared more towards better, more even competition game play. Lifeforms were more powerful, but locked to hive counts. Marine tech seemed more powerful at each tier, so without hives to match, marines would easily win.

                The current version of the game can still achieve these decisive victories, but it requires so much more team work to do it. For example, on Veil with 3 hives, all base onos rush the chair. A lot of players resist that because they don't want to lose their lifeforms, but if they trust in the team to fully commit, it happens too fast for the marines to stop it. Marines rushing a hive has the same effect, but too often people shoot things other than the hive. (Sometimes, marines go the other way and tunnel vision on just shooting the hive and a single skulk wipes them all out before the hive goes down.)

                Maybe add in something else as a game tweak towards the end. I think somebody had a MOD a while ago that would give extra res to a losing side. Maybe link it to a concede vote that is over 50%, but not enough votes to actually concede. Then allow the losing side for the next x minutes (probably linked to the retry interval for a concede vote for a player) to gain p res as though they controlled two additional resource nodes. (max of maybe 4 to reduce possible abuse) I doubt that it would change the end result in most games, but it would give the winning team a reason to end the game faster than they may be ready to do it. It would also give the losing team a reason to try a little harder at the end, even when most of the team wants to just end the round.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wyz, true beaconing to a second CC earlier in the game because of lower cost is a concern, but it still requires the 10 res investment in OBS, and the beacon cost. I feel like use, and especially overuse would be detrimental.

                  Outside of that, an IP in a location is the same as a gate in most ways. In fact, I think having one IP in two locations is MORE dangerous, because aliens aren't split between two spawning marines.


                  xavier, A hail mary chair rush ends games. Mainly because there's not a second chair. aliens who are winning almost ALWAYS have multiple hives, and the chances of two successful rushes, with med support, and pres equipment, is MUCH smaller. Marines need a chair rush end game mechanic, or (what I'd prefer) aliens need to have a harder hail mary.

                  A second chair at lower cost increases its use for redundancy and other strats, promoting a playstyle that decreases the last minute chair rush scenario.

                  It's not OVERPOWERED because you still have an arms lab, AA, IPs, and proto that can be lost in such rushes, but the lowered cost would hopefully allow commanders to put resources to other redundancies.

                  Or I'm just talking out mah bum.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I feel the lowered res cost of the chairs would allow for marines be more aggressive in ending games to allow for more aggression.

                    Alternatively, what if we gave chairs greater utility so that you'd want more chairs? Perhaps make it so chairs have a "airborne nanite repair station that repairs nearby structures slowly and marines armor or perhaps like rad's biomass spawn rate idea, make it so that each chair increases spawn speed of the marines at IPs. I feel this wouldn't be too detrimental to the game as marines never really have a problem with spawn times and usually aliens need to kill marine mobility so their spawn rate usually isn't a problem. Also base level marine while effective aren't going to murder decent aliens without some p-res armaments like JPs. Another idea would be commander support abilities getting cheaper or more effective with each chair.

                    Again going with the idea of incentivizing chairs, what if we could make some sort of research that could only be gained with number of chairs? Maybe add in certain passive research options for structures? Like armories now clear parasites thing or repair armor?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Two solutions come to mind.

                      The first solution is to make it easier to surrender. There are four ways I can imagine doing this.
                      1. Lower the number of votes required. For example, a simple majority could be the threshold.
                      2. Make commanders more influential in surrenders. Commander votes could be worth more
                      3. Increase visibility to the concede vote by making it the standard left-side F1/F2 vote box. I've mentioned this before and Wyz disagreed that visibility was a challenge. I disagree with that disagree. I think 3 things happen.
                        1. Regular players legitimately don't see the message or they tune it out
                        2. Newcomers to the server don't see the message or don't understand it or know how to act on it
                        3. Six out of Eight players do see the vote, and do want to concede, but 1 of those players keeps missing each subsequent vote after the vote expires. They lose track of the repeated votes and whether or not they've voted in this new one yet. They see the message and they assume it's still the last vote
                      4. A hybrid of 3 and 4 - ONLY the commander can summon the left-hand F1/F2 vote box. Everyone else can only summon the normal call to surrender.
                      The second solution is to give marines a game ending super-weapon. Aliens with three hives don't have to worry about strung-out wins ever since contamination was introduced. If the marines had a similar super weapon, they could do the same thing.

                      Problem with the second solution is what do you attach the conditions for the super weapon to? If the marines have to own three tech points, you're changing the way marines are supposed to want to play. Plus com chairs are cheaper than hives and faster to build. You could make it something arbitrarily stupid like three prototype labs.

                      It would be cool if marines could spawn a drivable nuclear bomb vehicle, similar to an ARC. The vehicle would be very slow, have to spawn at a tech point, and be practically indestructible. Aliens could only kill it with focussed and sustained fire. Its job is to be driven by a player (similar to being inside an exo suit) slowly and inexorably into the heart of the last alien hive where it detonates everything to pieces. The aliens' only realistic options would be to wait for death, abandon the targeted hive and try to move operations to another hive, or surrender.

                      Could still be a problem, though, when aliens are tightly turtled to get the thing into the hive. Maybe it could be detonated from one room over.

                      Or maybe the marines could summon "reinforcements" that are AI bots that double the size of the marine team that storm the hive. That'd be pretty sick.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think the root of the problem here is the marine team's vulnerability to back door base rushes. Aliens lose very little by attempting this, and the only way for a winning marine team to guarantee that it won't work is to play very conservatively and invest some players to ongoing defense and safe area denial as Samn describes. The main weak points of the marine team are the power node and the observatory. I've argued in the past that power nodes are a relic and should simply be removed or repurposed but I think that ship has sailed and I wouldn't suggest TGNS attempt it. Making beacon an ability of the CC that only requires an obs be present somewhere would help as well, but again probably too disruptive for a server mod.

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                        • #13
                          one of the issues i've seen that its alot more unforgiving for the marines to lose a location than it is for the aliens
                          and aliens can take down a location like that alot faster than marines can, meat grinder phase gates are the perfect example, you can't really meat grind a gorge tunnel
                          couple of ideas that i have could be
                          phase gates could cost less but instead of being one big circuit, the mechanic works like a gorge tunnel
                          one phase gate to one location,
                          a 2nd phase gate to a different location, you could have 3 different phase gates in base
                          it would have back up phase gates more feasable and if you were leaving from point 1 but there is a meat grinder on point 2, you can take an alternate gate to point 3 still be relatively close instead of the 25 second run from the spawn because by the time you get there you've lost the phase and power node and one of your other phase gates is about to become a meat grinder and your now too far from a phase gate to do anything about it

                          although xavior brought up an interesting point about a losing team getting extra resources,
                          throwing a suggestion out there, maybe after 7 or 10 minutes of gameplay or something if a losing team only has one res tower it starts to generate resources of 3 towers (if you had capped your naturals) but that bonus ends once you cap the 4th tower, so regardless of 1, 2 or 3 towers the team will generate 3 towers worth

                          as marines getting welded is one of the biggest problems there is, its a long down time for marines to weld base and each other, aliens just need 1 structure a crag and it heals everything in range
                          so i suppose i'd like to see repair welding (from marines and macs) made alot faster, cos it takes longer to weld it than it does to build it
                          and the marines have the ability to weld their own armor, or the armory repairs armor.
                          a hive repairs aliens armor why not an armory repair the marines.
                          build times are fine dont need to change that at all
                          or perhaps an option that the commander can repair a structure at a cost of 2 resources or something and it regenerates its health
                          or even more encouragement for marines to carry welders, instead of a cost of 3 personal res make it 1, would it be to overpowered to have marines spawn with welders ?
                          just throwin some ideas out.
                          There can be no greater pride than the egotism to quote yourself in an internet forum signature -Geriatric

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                          • #14
                            another idea i just thought of was some power node options, ive never really liked the power node set up of NS2 a whole entire base gets shut down from a power node, late game its much more of a curse
                            a storyline follows, the war between the kharaa and marines has been raging for a decade now as alien infestations have been pushing harder into human bases as such a power overload function has been built into the power nodes
                            causing the power node to explode to either cause a **** load of damage to the aliens / everything in the room
                            or it works like an EMP and stuns all alien beings and structures for 5 seconds
                            causes a hive haemorage and the ejects the commander and prevents anyone from entering that hive for 30 seconds
                            There can be no greater pride than the egotism to quote yourself in an internet forum signature -Geriatric

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                            • #15
                              I agree with with several of that points put forth. As Samn points out marines lack a game ending weapon meaning it isn't easy for the marines to end an entrenched alien force and as Zek and Geriatric pointed out it is risky for marines to push lest they lose an important gate or their chair. In order to win, marines have to maintain gates, push hives and lifeforms, prevent hail mary rushes, and maintain their economy all at the same time. Aliens on the other hand don't even really need to push the marine main at all to end a game, take away map control and a 3rd tech point from marines and aliens have the game if they can hold the line.

                              Pushing needs to be less risky for the marine team or they need something that lets them end the game without needing to heavily push if they play well.

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