Archive for July, 2015

ut duel blah

I will preface this with one comment – I think the armor/health system can be looked at without numbers (maybe %s) and as such I disagree with how you have approached it, this was a key point I wanted to privately address with the group I was – trying to put together, however that is not happening.

I think addressing values is a mistake at this point because weapons and movement are not finalised. So saying that item A gives X health matters little when the amount of damage and the difficulty of applying damage is fairly unknown at this point. It could be stated using current weapon damage / avoidance values but this is not future proof.

Those two paragraphs probably do not make a great deal of sense and I hope they will at some point when I finally post up what I wanted to. Damn you real life getting in the way.

However your messages are much more thought through than the majority we get on the forums so I can let the use of numbers slide 😉

>>These are just spit-balled ideas that could be used in conjunction with one another, but probably not all together.
Nice list. I love how they adhere to fairly traditional item driven gameplay ideals rather than slapping awkward things like “give a wildcard belt to the dead player sometimes*”.

*Interestingly enough this is achieved in quake at the mappers discretion by having player spawns on armor – eg aero RA. quakeworld dm4 RA.

>>Remove overhealth pool all together. It’s OP. This is generally why the keg is used sparingly.

I think ut has a very long history that is heavily rooted in its maps and this is related to design decisions epic made in ut99 (even the unreal dm maps). One of these was not to include the keg on dm maps. I feel this has more to do with vials being strong in ut99 than the keg itself. Vials have 18 second respawn in ut99. The keg was hugely long respawn in comparison in ut99, especially compared to 18 second vials. With the spawn time of the keg a very small number of vials gives the same amount of health over the entire keg spawn. However because vials were.. vials, they never really drove player interaction.

Quake runs with over health perfectly fine – I don’t think in and of itself over health is necessarily OP. Limiting to one resource (armor) limits that resource when the maximum useable becomes lower due to health pool size. ie 200 armor with 100 health is not used at a lower % of absorption before death occurs. It also makes it harder to have “enough” pickups without the pickups becoming very weak. Which is another point I feel ut stumbles on. Regardless of what the community thinks of ut armor – I have seen posts defending the difficulty of running belt and jacket – I think that the “in control” player should have at least stack related three items to worry about in order to keep them busy*. This becomes difficult without a mega style item.

*Either from a stacking or denial perspective.

>>Replace overhealth pool with belt pool. Belt pickups can come in any sized charges. Batteries instead of vials.

This is interesting and creates a different dynamic yet again. If ut99 is the example (the beyondunreal ut99 armor description is incorrect), since it would make the most sense we have health, protected by armor which is in turn protected by belt. This is essentially how it works in ut99 but the armor/health pools are limited by 150 total and not separate. The belt is a single pickup of 150 and wipes out any other armor – ignoring bugs. So it is not as obvious straight up.

Take belt (100 health – 150 armor)
Take 140 damage (100 health – 10 armor remaining)
Take jacket (100 health – 110 armor remaining)
Take less than 10 damage ( 100 health down to 100 armor)
From this point damage is shared

Its not obvious in ut99 because belt is one giant pickup and the above does not happen as frequently as you would expect. Plus because armor is displayed as a single number it is somewhat confusing (another reason to change stuff).

Personally I do not like the idea of removing overhealth.

100 + 100 + 100
200 + 100

The first one is “stronger”. The belt is being used before anything else if the ut99 model is the base.

>>Decay overhealth. Make the in control player do a bit more maintenance to maintain a stack.

I have noticed you post about tick down on the forums quite often. I have also noticed that other players like this idea. Perhaps it is simply because it is “different” to what ut has traditionally offered and the fact it is in uts closest neighbour (quake) has it – and quake has the rep of being “better” in this regard. Lots of posters have suggest “just copy ql” (to what extent? Armor only? Armor and health? Weapon respawn times? What. People need to communicate more. Ahem).

I have watched and played a lot of quake – tick down is never discussed as a reason why players go for items. It is extremely rare for me to feel the need to take an item specifically because of tickdown. Either refreshing your own stack (from damage taken) or denying the opponent are the key drivers for contesting items. If designed accordingly these are enough.

Tickdown on armor was introduced in q3 beta in an attempt to combat heavy +back in duel – there were a few tournaments towards the end of q2s life that had boring +back finals. The problem was with the maps more than the armor system itself, dueling on the stock q2 dm maps not the greatest. This occurs in ut as well, tempest compared to malevolence is a good example. They play completely differently because of their size and item load out.

Sufficient to say that tickdown to 100/100 does not stop defensive +back play in q3/ql since 100/100 is more than enough to play in this manner.

However tickdown could be used as a “timer” if it was fast enough. I have not seen a game with an item like this before so cannot point to an example where it works.

>>Cut over health to 50. Reduce pool size.
Yup, is a good start. Keg could still be 100 but caps out at 150. In this way it becomes an important pickup for players <100. >>Cut belt pickup to 50, forcing the need for two to stack.
This is also good from the perspective of keeping players busy, ability to stack etc. Spawn time needs to be less.

>>Cut keg to 50. It stacks with itself and vials already. 50 health is still very significant.
I cheated and read your proposed outline. I think 50 is fine but I also think that the spawn time suggested is too long. You are very concerned with pickups being roughly the same value but

>>Make armor pads generic, and allow them to stack.

>>Change belt to a timed pickup like the amp. If you don’t run out of belt AP before X seconds, it dies.
I don’t think timed items have a place in duel.

>>Move amp to charges like the boots. Next X shots are double damage.

I dislike amp in duel. This change makes it better and worse.It makes it better by removing the possibility to run away for the amps duration. It makes it worse because the in control player now has amp that never runs out. I guess it limits spamming from the player who has it if they want to utilise it effectively.

I don’t think there is a good way to include amp.

ut weapons tend to have huge damage potential already which make the armor system difficult to work with.

>>Cut merged belt and armor pool to 150 total again (UT/2kx).

>> Now, I don’t have a ton of experience in duel. You sound more versed than I do. That said, this is what your posts have inspired me to come to, in conjunction of course with some other ideas I’ve had in my pocket, my experiences, etc. etc.

[i]Only addressing potentially duel relevant stuff (no serk, deemer, invis, etc.)[/i]

[B]Max Health 150
Max Armor 150[/B]

[list][*]Belts and armors all stack.
[*]Belt takes priority over armor.
[*]AP is dampend 75/25.
[*]* = Dampened 95/5
[*]+ = Restores health, and overflows to over health.[/list]

[U]20s Spawns.[/U]
Ammo and Weapons
Health Pack = 20hp
Health Vial = +5hp
Helmet = Blocks extra damage from one head shot (still takes normal shot damage)

[U]35s Spawns.[/U]
Belt Charge = *50ap
Armor Pads = 50ap
Jump boots = 3 low grav jump charges.

[U]45s Spawns.[/U]
Health Keg = +50hp

[U]55s Spawns.[/U]
Amp = 2x damage for 3 shots (stacks)
Vest = 75ap

By making most of the pickups more comparable, it will hopefully matter less what mappers decide to use, both in spawn cycles, and pickup values. Mappers could use one of each, multiple of some, none of others, etc. The vest’s total value will sell it’s higher spawn time, and because the keg is not dampened, and subs for regular health too, it gets the intermediate spawn time, over belt and pads. Pads and Belt share a spawn time since one is invisible armor, and the other is less dampened armor, calling that a wash (even though it may not be “berfectly balanced”). The original Unreal™ damage amplifier was a little box that only amplified certain weapons, and did so in a charged manner. You fired so many times, and it was gone, just like boots. So that concept is not new. Number of shots, and amount of multiplier can be tweaked (1.5x@5 shots, 2.x@2 shots, etc, etc). Small pickups down to 20s, because 30s was very lockable, and felt like an eternity. 10s like QL, however, completely trivializes weapon denial, which I don’t mind, but may not go over well in UT. Might as well just turn stay on.

I look forward to seeing any holes you can poke in that system.[/QUOTE]

Overall your idea is good and would improve duel. There are no holes, perhaps a shorter spawn on the keg and the vest.

The main issue I have with ql style stacking in ut is the weapon burst potential. This is much higher than ql which is one of the reasons why the belt and larger pickups feel more suited to ut. How well would it work?

We will have to agree to disagree that all items needing to be equal or tying the amount of “health” from a pickup to its spawn time. This is one of the failing of belt vs jacket in ut99. In many ways it would have been easier to play out of control with the belt on the same spawn as the jacket. In its own cludgy way the longer belt spawn simply made it even easier for the in control player. I don’t think tuning pickups so mappers can include “whatever” and work is really the way to go either, if they are not putting thought into their pickups their maps are unlikely to play very well anyway.

Are modular meshes a replacement for BSP?

Tidal Blast says stuff here

Many years ago, game level creators were both designers & artists.

Really? I have followed thirdparty level design on an off in quake and unreal since ’97 and very few mappers created textures, about the extent of “art” back then. Making levels look “nice” was fairly straight forward. Take textures and create some architecture that is modular-ish using these. Wall panels, supports, lights, trim, floors, etc. This ends up being on a power of two grid – with quake the minimum used was 16 from memory due to stair height. When mappers around here talk about “keeping it on the grid” this is what I think of – not making sure it is snapped to a single unit grid, which is quite often what they mean.

This is essentially what you are spruiking, but using meshes instead of textures and brushes. Good level design has always been like this and bad level design looked shoddy in comparison. But it was not art. By ‘99 this should have been simple and should have slapped anyone interested in level design in the face. The problem is many maps were not released this way and as a general rule they looked terrible as a result.

If level designers used a similar methodology blockouts would go a lot smoother.

quakeworld maps

At some point, game studios started to split the job into multiple jobs and now we have level designers and environment artists. Essentially these days… level designers create a blockout, test gameplay for two weeks, then artists arrive, they break down the level to create modular assets, they’ll change some areas of the map to fit the art, they’ll create unique assets to fit the blockout, etc. However, when it comes to the creation of game levels, the art is the bottleneck and there are many issues with the method that I just described. Designers waste a lot of time testing the gameplay when some areas will change anyway when artist will touch the map. Artists waste tremendous amount of time trying to break down the map. Artist will have to create more meshes than they should to fit the custom blockout, etc. The workflow that Hourences uses is a lot more efficient. He creates the modular meshes first and then build the level with those. Right from the start, that means that he doesn’t create a blockout and waste his time trying to adjust the gameplay when it will change later anyway. Because he uses meshes to build the level, he doesn’t have to break down a blockout into modular meshes, etc. He basically works at least 2-3 times faster than usual, plain and simple. And because most level designers these days aren’t also 3D artist, the quality of their map layouts often take a hit.

This sounds like web design ~8-10 years ago. You could contact a designer (level designer), get a layout slapped together in photoshop then have it converted to a page (primarily HTML/CSS) by a developer*(environment artist). Depending on the layout this could be a nightmare for the developer. The argument was that a good developer could make anything work, but unless the designer was aware of the pages restrictions it could be challenging and time consuming to do so. Of course there would be overlap, designers that knew limitations of the medium they were designing for and even designers that could put the final product together. The thing to keep in mind here is that the designers that knew how to put the final product together also generally easier to build as they were aware of these limitations.

While I do not work in the games industry it seems that you want modular assets created then levels made from that point? Essentially what Hources talks about in one of his videos (22minutes) – making 600 meshs that should cover most common uses. Then using these lego pieces to create maps. These meshes are standard sizes giving enough choice, but translate easily into some sort of blocking out methodology, be it BSP or something else?

In an ideal world where we have level designers and environment artists and it would make sense for both parties to have at least partial understanding of the both work flows. Using the quake screenshots quake you can clearly see how different assets would be created for these bits of architecture.

Level designers ignoring this and going full 13, 29, 42, 87, 429 units is dumb. Outside of a few edge cases like stairs and narrow openings (which could be a “standard” size anyway) I fail to see the reason to do it.

Your gripes with the industry sound like a mix between two groups that do not communicate, two groups that do not understand each other or deliberately go out of their way to make things difficult for each other. Or even a group that has forgotten its roots (level designers) and just make things 100% free form. How is that ever going to work?

In the past maps that did not follow some sort of style similar to the quake examples tended to be bad.

*Not sure this is really the correct term for the simplistic example but it should do to illustrate the example.