Archive for August, 2015

aerowalk for ut4?

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If you were inspired by aerowalk you should check out the other quakelive duel maps. All use teles to some degree and overall they use them well. One thing that sets ut and quake apart is the use of vertical travel devices. ut seems to like using stairs/ramps and lifts/bounce pads whereas ql tends to use bouncepads and teles. Take a look at all the major duel maps and you will see there are really only one major vertical rise tackled with stairs on any quake map. Lots of small up/down areas but overall no big stair cases. Keeping in mind most of these maps have large Z height, especially compared to ut.

aerowalk: RA staircase (2 teles – both one way – one very short)
toxicity: LG staircase, however this is flatter than most ql duel maps and I would disregard it (2 teles – both one way – one very short)
ztn: lower YA. This is a lot older and has another “large” staircase at the GL tele. (2 teles – both one way – both vertical – one could be considered short)
t7: Fuckoff massive staircase at mega – however this is rarely used. (3 teles – all one way – all are short – All give vertical travel)
dm13: no staircases that crossed multiple levels, the largest would be at (1 tele – one way – Vertical travel)
sinister: one giant staircase at RA (4 teles – one pair two way – one short)
Cure: One awkward staircase at 50h (2 teles – both one way – both vertical)
t4: zero stairs. (one tele – one way – vertical)

This might seem uninteresting, but is something to look at. Also these maps do not “feel” flat in any way. There is lots of z-axis fighting and the last thing most people would call ql duel maps is flat. Each “section” does not feel flat as there are many small z-height changes via sets of 2-4 steps. t4, an original q3 map does not have stairs like this and feels very flat in comparison. In many ways the way z-axis action is achieved while having mainly flat “levels” is quite interesting.

The “short” teleports typically elevate a player on the Z axis in a single room/atrium. For example the aerowalk tele is about 3 player lengths onto a walkway just above. Sinister is the stand out with its two way tele.

Then going back to look at ut99 maps. The maps listed as “flat” have low Z axis height and as such staircases/ramps do not stand out as much.

Agony – flat (no teles)
Codex – lifts (no teles)
Curse – lifts (no teles)
Deck – ramps (one tele – one way)p
Grinder – ramps (no teles)
Liandri – ramps (four teles – two pair two way)
Malevolence – flat (no teles)
Phobos – this is the most quake-esque ut99 map, excet it has a weird outside section that ruins it for duel. No teles
Tempest – flat
Turbine – ramps
Viridian – flat

ut99 and its successors have veered away from quake style maps. That is fine as the game is different, but it is worth looking at these quake maps and seeing why they work.

More ut4 spawn protection

rAge: Why respawn protection is bad and unfair? Just watch the video 🙂

Szarkan should get a frag, but he don’t. He wasted his ammo and get some enforcer damage. In the same time his opponent steal him a100 and shieldbelt. After all Szarkan almost lost his life. Why nubaka should be dead? because he choose this spawn itself. The spawn was safe, he could wait there, but he decided to risk and take the armor.

This is a terrible example of spawn protection.

He did not “risk” to take the armor. Because of spawn protection he was 100% safe doing what he did.

The jacket did not spawn for the duration of the video, or if it did it was close to the start, when the player was at pads. It was up for some time before the kill. If the killer previously in control of jacket/belt he screwed up and caused them to be spawning at the same time – or if the jacket had been up while he chased hard for that kill rather than going for it. This is exactly what duel should have more of. Just not because of death+spawn protection or sloppy play. It should be an occurrence that occurs regularly to force decision making and force the in control player to delay.

This is part of duel – the blue player opted to run around dealing damage rather than timing and controlling. That is fine, and a decision he needed to make. Players are aware that spawn protection is in the game currently and thus leaving items up like that could allow a situation like this to occur. The dead players is aware that there is spawn protection. Without spawn protection would he have spawned there? Even if he had would he have run out like that? Essentially not adapting to the game. Stating that he should have got a frag is silly – there is spawn protection and so he should not have got a frag. There is no way of knowing if he would have got a frag had there been no spawn protection because the dead player would not have been able to do what he did.

Its not “unfair”, it is simply how it is. The question is does it make the ut better or not?

ASDF is primarily a duel map, if the author put the bio spawn there specifically for this to occur – a possible spawn after death to get free-ish armor. If this was the goal then all that happens is the spawn is moved from where it is onto the jacket itself to achieve the same thing. Armor spawns are not a thing in ut but they are in a number of quake maps, aerowalk specifically.

He knew about the belt, you can see that he is going in the right direction just after the combo, he turned out when he realised that combo didn’t killed his opponent. Probably he was confused because of that, and made a mistake (but it’s still mistake caused by spawn protection).

He knew about the jacket then. Why leave it up knowing this could occur? Granted the whole situation was somewhat awkward – jacket up, belt spawning. He couldn’t allow the player to goto belt because it was spawning so soon (assuming he was aware of that) and killing him was the better risk since there is only a chance the dead player will get the jacket spawn.

Regardless of this the player was wrong to assume that the combo killed his opponent. Because spawn protection.

UT4 Weapon Switch Speed

Flikswich: Anybody can hide around a corner with flak, it takes no skill do do so but because of the switch time it puts you at a huge advantage. This is completely disproportionate to the amount of “tactical thinking” that went into that move and is just a way for a bad player to get a huge edge over a good player without having to do anything intelligent.

Sorry, what? I’m positive you like quake, this would be considered cooler level mastermind tricks if done there. 😉

It does indeed take “skill”, even ut4 weapons slower switch. Skill applies to all aspects of the game. If this was duel you should have some reasonable expectation where the other player is, especially on a map like asdf. This is skill. If you opted to walk around the corner with the rifle out; walk around a corner into a situation where your weapon is not appropriate for what could occur then it is skill that is lacking. The current switch speed is too slow for stopping escaping players or in combat fancyness, I agree, but it is fully sufficient for swapping regularly while moving around the map. ut99 or quake2 are examples of slow switch that is painful even for this. If you choose to walk around a corner with shock out in a way that puts you at a range where you need to spam secondary vs flak or rockets it is your lacking that has caused the problem. Even with fast switch playing this way is not optimal. Even with cpma instant switch it is not optimal, especially with ut weapons that have the ability for huge front load damage. You are relying on your reaction time + swap speed to counter a guy with the appropriate weapon out.

It could even be argued that with the current abysmal state of player footsteps and audio in general forcing players to swap frequently is a good thing as it adds more sound queues.

The player that commits to this trap has to know the same things. They have to know where you are else they risk standing around achieving nothing for a period of time. Have you taken this route from belt to armor the past two spawns? Seems like a good place to wait. The player doing this is taking a risk – not contesting pickups, not getting weapons, etc.

Now this is not to say that the current switch speed is good (I don’t think it is) or that the current flak is balanced.. just think outside of aim and reaction when considering aspects of the game as skill.

I get the distinct feeling that uters are very hung up on mechanical skills and overlook “brain” outside of “omg timing to the microsecond”.

UT4 Bio rifle – changes?

DSK: Thank you ever so much for projecting your own opinion into your own, fallacious logic.
GitzZz would like to have a word with you:

The bio rifle is like other ut4 weapons; If you put time and effort into it you’ll be rewarded. Why don’t you try to do that instead of throwing your toys out of the pram because you , seemingly, are unable to do so at present and want to remove it from the game because you cannot be bothered to do so.

ehh. I like the bio by itself and would like to see it similar to ut99/2kx implementation firemode styles – albeit heavily tweaked.

Bio in ut99 was useless bar dropping down lifts. Codex shock lift was good for this.

In 2kx it was more useful (your video) but it was a fairly dangerous choice. I don’t know if committing to bio play was ever a good idea when a player had other weapons. It was generally a -ve play. Yes you can probably find examples of players using it but it has never shared the podium with all the other guns. The changes in 2kx that made it more useful were good but some of its other.. issues.. also held it back from being more than a novelty. Yes player use should not be the only indicator of a weapons usefulness but at the same time it should not be ignored. The bio was underused because it was not overly useful.

It was strong in 2kx but was too much of a gamble to use due to being hard to land a shot. When difficulty of use grows too large players tend to shy away from weapons because it is simply unreliable. For example a weapon that instagibbed players and then killed them on respawn (so two kills per one) with a 1% hit rate would not be usable. This is what the bio was like. There are some posters on the forums who have commented numerous times about high damage weapons that are challening/hard to use/avoidable being “ok”. There are limits.

Charging time : Other weapons deal similarly large amounts of damage and are not hindered by charge times nearly as long. The lg/rifle. Two rockets. Full flak primary. Combos. All of these deal high damage with no wind up time. Rockets being the obvious exception, but even then the load time is much shorter. In a game where many weapons can front load large amounts of damage instantly after weaponswitch it is odd that the bio is limited in this aspect. Why?

Activation sound : Like the previous point, the bio alerts everyone to its whereabouts with audio queues when charging up. Besides rockets it is the only weapon in the game that does this. Now personally I like this and like how rail/lg have audio queues in quakelive. If it was my choice a large number of the ut weapons would have ambient noises added. However because none do (besides rockets loading) the bio is unique. And yet one would assume a weapon handicapped by an audio queue like this would be “stronger”, yet it is anything but.

As to the intention of changing it to something completely different – I don’t think this is required, the base weapon needs tweaking so it can fulfill some sort of reasonably frequently required niche.

Bio is quite often pointed to as a weapon for area denial or covering escapes. It tends to fail at both of these.

Lower the lifespan on bio blobs to 2-3 seconds. Remove the ability for players to destroy them. This allows players to “cover retreats” with the weapon effectively. It allows players to use the bio for area denial more effectively. Give it a higher ROF.

Or use Stolids bio launcher. Also cool.

ut4 Air Control?

euler_2: slows down the gameplay

I don’t like huge air control but I don’t see how it slows down gameplay? Air control in and of itself doesn’t really change the speed of a game? It might make players less predictable and give more movement options, but by itself slows down gameplay? Maybe elaborate so readers have a better understanding what you mean on that point.

makes movement unpredictable
[B]bad movement decisions should be punished[/B]

Agree 100% on punishing bad movement decisions and unpredictable. At their core FPS are about punishing bad decisions and one of the best way they do this is by making players predictable in some way – in this case by choosing to jump off a ledge into the air. Avoiding a damage using movement while airborne does take “skill”, however avoiding that situation entirely and not pressing a button to escape it also skill. Diluting the game to the point where it becomes a see thing -> react is lame.

There was a post in one of the double jump threads a long time ago. The poster commented that he was bounced in the air by rockets in 2k4. He was able to avoid the follow up shot from his opponent by jumping in the air, throwing off the other players prediction shot. This was slated as a good thing as it adds skill and depth.

While this is not exactly the same as air control it does tie in somewhat. Does pressing jump after being bounced really add depth to the game?

Now, this is not entirely bad or good, however it does have ramifications and is a fun scenario to look at. In a game that (this forum seems to think) is dominated by hitscan a player got a nice rocket hit, enough to launch the other player. Good work! The rocket user was then going to follow up with a rocket on the landing spot, one of the more gratifying FPS things imo. This takes “skill” by itself.

renders projectile weapons basically useless and limits them to spam and pullbacks, in trun makes hitscan weapons much more important, which skews the weaponbalance from the get-go

In a way it is like weapon switch. ut99 is obviously one end of the spectrum and cpma the other. In ut99 having the correct weapon out for a given situation was quite important.

Not convinced on the weapon balance point. On one hand it buffs hitscan – lets say this is the case. If a player is falling and cannot alter their course – pulse/mini tracing is very easy + reliable high damage or a projectile can be placed easily where they are falling to. The weapon balance itself is tied to how the ut4 weapons handle. If a rocket is not effective because of air control it can be buffed (examples) faster speed, more damage, larger explosive radius and so on. However what this does is skew weapon balance for players that do not have avoidance movement.

Before watching the video in this thread I was unaware that players could jump sideways then change direction back in mid air in ut3. This seems excessive – quake style air control is generally disconnected from strafe movement. To use it you hold forward and “steer” with the mouse. This is a nice middle ground where players can adjust (in some versions a lot) their direction but cannot strafe left, jump then strafe right while in the air.

Slow stacking non-binary armor and time restraints in duel

Sir_Brizz: Yeah, for add stacking or in relation to the concept above of having “mini shield belts”, for example.

Lets call this slow stacking.

TLDR; It takes longer/is time consuming to build/maintain stack and makes out of control stacking to reduce stack differential via pickups rather than just damage an option. It restricts the in control players time, movement and opportunity to pressure the out of control player while giving them a way to stack to challenge the in control player.

It depends how the armor system is setup. To simplify pretend we transplant the ql stacking armor (only armor) with the current ut values, everything 30s spawn, max 200, belt becomes 60% (or whatever , no shards, no mega, nothing else. Obtain two pads and have 100 armor. Obtain 2 jackets and have 200 armor. Obtain a jacket and pads and have 150 armor. Obtain 4 pads for 200. Etc.

Slow stacking/non-binary duel is about time management. Control and stack comes at the cost of having time to push the out of control player and out of control costs more time to build a stack that can be used for a direct confrontation.

Player stacks and actions are controlled by time – in order to service a large stack and heavy denial a player should have little opportunity to pressure their opponent. At the same time the out of control player has freedom of movement at the expense of stack. This also ties to their aggression as a failed attack, even without dying costs them the next X period of restacking time.

In my opinion control should not mean one player has all resources and the other has none, which is typically how ut armor/duel works. Control should mean that a player has a resource advantage, at the expense of time and predictability. This resource advantage should not be permanent (provided items are collected) and by giving the out of control player a method of stacking that allows the resource difference (stack differential) to be equalised they have a method of contesting control that does not rely on execution – with ut damage this would always be an option anyway. The in control player must use the advantage in the window it takes out of control to stack to an amount in order to challenge them – the in control player must take the out of control players potential stack into account.

There are other repercussions – +forward is slightly more favorable before critical mass is reached as players take longer to stack. There are more opportunities to control players stack when contesting pickups. This means if three items are run by the in control player, the out of control player can apply some damage at each pickup, negating the pickup the player is currently taking. It has a potential to introduce a “balanced” state where players trade damage and pickups for longer periods than with the current setup, even after one dies.

To highlight the difference using the current ut4 duel – if a player has control (jacket + belt) they can ignore the pads. They are a one time boost to the out of control player that is small compared to belt, they can still be one shot with current damage values. If pads stacked the in control player has to make a choice – spend more time denying the pads or deal with the other player having 100+ armor at some point in the future 30-60 seconds. This is actually why this change alone would not fix duel – in control player would just move pads higher up their priority list and take three items instead. Some claim that this is required currently, some not, however allowing stacking would make it a serious consideration.

The easiest way to balance duel is by looking at it as time management which can be spent on different aspects. This change is more about providing options to out of control.

Watch the first map in the video below. See how Dahang ends up with heavy control yet cannot push onto Cyhper, in large part because doing so would allow items to spawn which he could potentially miss. Notice that while Cypher is under pressure it is not the same as +forward pressure you might expect and he has a decent amount of freedom to move around.


Showdown – a new round based ut4 gametype

Takes duel and flips it on its head. Where in duel its about controlling various objects in the world as they spawn, here all objects spawn, everything is live in the world. Including powerups and you can only pick things up once.

As a fan of hoonymode and FPS that lack resources this gametype struck a chord. Round based gametypes are probably more palatable for many gamers these days but keeping the game item driven is awesome. It was interesting seeing it on stream and hope it becomes the staple for non-flag/objective type game.

Thoughts after playing some and watching some.

Showdown Pros

Showdown Cons

The defensive aspect could possibly be addressed using smaller maps for 1v1 – something like Rocket Arena 1v1 arenas. However with the current map options it turns into a huge +back fest if anyone takes it seriously.

Please add a team option (or even ffa) as I think showdown would shine even more in this format. 4v4 on the 1v1 maps would probably be ok. Possibly with team spawning on one point rather than all over the map, with the same spawn selection. Allows teams to do things like “2 go belt, X grab flak and go sniper, Y go to pads scout for them…”. Pinata or backpack drops may be required – or not, perhaps swapping off weapons to not give them to the other team is interesting.

Here are some comments from the stream where showdown was introduced. These are not 100% word for word as I was in a rush transposing. I feel most of these apply to current duel or duel could be made to have these features without massive changes.

Ties and Player Interaction.

+back play is/will be a problem. There is little reason to push the opponent after pickups.

Currently the winner is decided by remaining health. This benefits the player who gets pickups more than their opponent and forces the less stacked player to be offensive. Having the weaker player attack is not ideal in a game that is already skewed towards the defensive. Rather than this my suggestion would be to tie break based on damage given. This decouples the outcome from pickups and +backing onto health cannot win a game – that would be somewhat lame. A last second attack to deal a more damage to push over the line would be more showy.

With this in mind a “player is in the lead” indicator (1 or 0, not damage dealt) should be added to the hud for the current round. This way stack estimation is not required and players know exactly what is going on while keeping estimation important when pushing to kill.

This also has other ramifications – one player is essentially assigned offense and one defence, but this will switch during the course of a round. Randomly assign first round, then from round two onwards the “advantage” is given to the player that lost the previous round, the assumption being that the lower skilled player lost. Or it could alternate – but the idea is that someone always has the “advantage”.

Even if a player has less stack they have the option to go offensive, deal some damage and then make the higher stacked opponent come to them. This could create some dynamic situations where the leader swaps and strat change as the round progresses.

Finally change ties to +1 point and kills to +3 points. This also pushes the player who perceives themselves to have an advantage to be aggressive rather than being defensive due to greater rewards.

It would be hard to say if this would fix the overall defensive nature of the game but it would be a step in the right direction.

Overall a good start!

Some quotes from Epic stream

Make bee line to things you can make plays with, things you can make stuff happen.

The mechanic is now rather than players fighting around two places in the map its more about figuring out what your critical path is from where you spawn and how to defend after that.

Its also about conservation of ammo, conservation of health

One of the things I like about it is that it makes the game feel closer with players that are much better. Lowers humiliation factor. Getting destroyed makes me not want to play.

What you often see where one guy gets ahead and its hard or impossible to dethrone him. Learn how your opponent is playing and “counteract” his opening sequence.

Implies duel is over once a player has control of belt and jacket.

Fun when you are playing with someone better than you, awesome playing someone about the same skill.

Not about two armors and how to fight over them. This is more about he spawned X and I need to go Y, how to do this, etc.

Archer6621: I like the sound of this, could have something like a coin-toss on who gets to pick the very first spawn (first round), and then in the second round it will be inverted, third round the other person will pick first, fourth round inverted again, and goes on like that until it’s over.

Round 1: Pick from map (only know your spawn)
Round 2: Invert spawns (both players now have 100% spawn knowledge).

Potential problem is both players selecting the same spawn. Random off to two nearby spawns?

Aggressive play relies on a degree of uncertainty which is in large part facilitated by not knowing your opponent’s location. This is potentially problematic when the gametype has a limited window for smart aggressive play (during item collection) after which the difficulty is increased. Knowing your opponents spawn removes element of surprise almost entirely. In addition some spawn mash ups – lower rocket vs upper rocket (corner near link) on ASDF for example would never occur. At this spawn the rocket players (probably) best move is to rocket -> lift dodge to shock, take shock. The upper spawn has less options, however this is one of few that can beat the rocket player to shock and escape. With the knowledge that the player is spawning above the rocket player can simply change the lift dodge into a hammer jump for faster movement at cost of health, deny shock then also deny flak. Obviously this is possible regardless of where the other player spawns, however it is a much more gambling move (spending health for uncertain out come) rather than almost foregone conclusion.

Perhaps a less confusing option would be to give players the option for the game to “pick for me” rather than pick from the map. So you have the benefit of stealth but you cannot select where you start.

The first wave is the “resource rush” wave. In this wave, if players spawn far from each other, they will rush to first get a powerful weapon followed by the best armor in their area, or vice versa depending on what is closer. Any immediate altercation is going to more than likely be defensive. Players are rushing for resources and if they happen to see the enemy while doing so they may only throw a few shots and leave to keep on collecting.

The second wave is the “aggression” wave. Here is the most exciting* spectator part of the match. Both players are stacked with armor/health and their assortment of weapons.[/QUOTE]

Nice overview in general. I disagree with where the aggression phase starts however. Once players have their pickups there is no incentive to push each other, outside of guessing stack. Aggression from a logical stand point occurs as soon as a player has a weapon. The viability of this varies between maps of course, ASDF is pretty small and possible well on but maybe solo not so much due to being more spread out.

With the current spawn setup reading where your opponent starts and attempting fast damage with what you have available is much more exciting (compared to your example, which is also exciting but has less riding on executing it well) than waiting and has potentially bigger pay offs – killing before armor pickups, driving off armor pickups, denying weapons, damaging them then forcing them to spend time going for health rather than weapons early. This last point has further repercussions as your opponent now has no fall back point if you play between him and other health resources as the round progresses.

Think of it like denial in duel when a player has control, except you need to deny things quickly off spawn. And you can contest anything as having an extra weapon is huge.

Players have a limited window for playing aggressively using items as the main way of doing so (he is going for X, I will shoot him)/reason to do so (I’m going to stop him taking it or I want it) is the initial item pick ups. Compared to regular duel there is more urgency to obtain resources since you cannot wait out the respawns for weapons you failed to get initially.

If you play it as you would “normal” duel with armor spawning (collect items, +back to avoid being killed early, stack up for next spawns) you potentially put yourself on the back foot for the defensive phase. Having an extra weapon pickup is a fairly big deal when the game progresses to the +back stage. If your opponent runs out of ammo before you do. And because of 200 health another valid option is to ignore the armors and push for more weapons.

For example, if you spawn at lower rockets on ASDF an option other than rockets -> Armor/Belt would be rockets -> hammer to shock (if they did not spawn directly above you near the shock ammo) then listen for flak or helmet pickup. Depending on their spawn you then have the option to deny flak. At no point have you been near either armors.

The belt is significantly better than the jacket+pads, purely because (ignoring the map) it takes less time to obtain the same benefit, freeing up the belt player to do more. Also belt can deny pads.

Sure, if you are playing for fun or just to play the aggressive phase probably occurs after most pickups. Not to say that you have to play aggressively at the start, of course players can play the way you have described as well, going for pickups, then fighting.

Mysterial: Another option that has been discussed is to change the scoring so that wins by kill are 3 points and wins by timelimit are 2 and 1, so there’s more reward attached to being offensive… but I’m skeptical that would have a substantial impact

Players knowing they have an advantage (stack or weapons) would be key for this to work. It essentially makes one player the “control point” other posters are keen to implement. The current setup of “highest stack wins” is asking players to read damage output exceptionally well. This is probably one of the highest level skills. Please add an indicator – perhaps update it every ~10? Or 5 seconds after last damage dealt. Delay to avoid it swapping back and forth and allowing players to back off as soon as they take the lead.

Perhaps stopping healing over 100 using normal health packs would also help. Unless heavy damage is landed players tend to go to 200, to close to, twice per round. Is much more dangerous backing off to heal with sub 50 health compared to doing it at 150.

luauDesign: Anyway, something else:if rounds ends and noone is dead, why not just respawn [B]everything[/B] at once as the countdown reaches zero (you don’t even have to “time” things)? In that case, up the score-worth of the round cumulatively. Noone got the +1 from the round? Respawn everything, and now the round is worth +2. Noone dies yet? Respawn everything, and now it’s worth +3… +4… (there’s a bit of a similarity with betrayal gametype here, for those who didn’t notice) This whole thing would work better with 1min rounds, this way there’s less down time.

+1 This is a nice idea, it keeps the game item driven while removing the “annoying timing” aspect duel gets hammered for. Could allow interesting setups where players try to get additional items they missed the first time round. However this would need to be combined with no normal health packs over 100. Also maybe no ammo respawns?