About Arena FPS

I played a lot of ut99 and 2k3/4 back when they were popular. Probably more 99 than the later titles, but only because the scene in Australia for 2kx was quite small – had the playerbase been there they would have been worth played them for longer. I was an accomplished dueler, beating out the competition in Australia and going to wcg for 99 twice, finishing in the top 8 the first time. My clan at the time of 2k4 was successful at onslaught (27 players – if you happen to read this and never worked out why we were called 27 look at the spawn times :)). Since ut I have played a variety of games, ranging from FPS (rtcw:et, more recently bf3, quakelive) rts (coh) and wow pve. ut99 was not my first FPS but it was probably the one I was most competitive in and put the most thought into. I have never played a MOBA. Unreal and quake are my favorite games and this love stems from them being item driven.

For those from au/nz – this is joel. I played as skar. Hello!

Now the obvious response here is “just because you were good does not mean we should listen to you” and I agree. Nothing irks me more than players who were good at one particular game up on their high horses spouting what they want – which tends to be a complete rehash, often with zero changes, of their old game. Plus gamers who have not played multiple titles have problems identifying with an issue because they just don’t see how it could be better. On top of this many threads on the unreal dev boards with suggestions are simply one small piece of idea, not thought through as to how their idea will impact other aspects of the game. When other things are considered it is quite often along the lines of “this would work in DM but not with vehicles” with little to no explanation why. If I suggest anything I will try to think and cover more than just the direct changes. Initially this site was intended as a look at why certain things work in unreal (and FPS in general) and why some things do not, however given the nature of the beast it may evolve into ideas and other things.

One issue with discussing games, particularly multiplayer ones is players looking at their “original” love through rose coloured glasses. That game can quite often do no wrong and shortcomings are explained away easily, either because they add character or because the player is blind to the problem. Ut99 was not my first game, I played many before it. My duel mind set was built on the idea of timing from quakeworld, which I did not play competitively or even online often, but enough to have a basic idea. Being objective about aspects of a game and recognising that other games might do things better is a good start to building a better unreal tournament.

Another problem with discussing older games is players may have played a specific niche. From a ut99 perspective this would have been duel, ctf and to a lesser extent tdm. But beyond these gametypes there are other less popular ones like dom, rocket arena and assault. This blurs lines of discussion as players put forth what they think is a good idea in the context of their game type, yet it may only sort of work if applied as an across the board change. This will be a key theme across most articles, that a “one size fits all” approach for items, spawn times and armor/health values may not be the best approach anymore.

Because discussions on the dev forums revolve around 3-4 fairly different games, the best solution is to create a game that can stand by itself, not offer mechanics from other titles via mods or options. This is a common theme on the forum – an idea is put forward and a number of people will post “its a good idea for a mutator”. This seems to be the default cop out line, rather than offering feedback, chuck it on the mutator pile. Because of the number of conflicting views (99 vs 2kx vs ut3 vs quake vs non-arena fps players) this response seems fairly common and does nothing to progress discussion. Points should be looked at on their merits and how they change the game.

I will stick to tried and true FPS mechanics that have proven themselves in unreal titles or other games already. Going out into new territory should not be ut4s main goal – it should polish what is already there, making some of the archaic mechanics more obvious and accessible for new players while retaining most of what was there already. The niche is begging for a new title and it should be an easy crown to take for unreal.

It is impossible to balance a game with multiple movement options when the mapper can choose. Movement goes much deeper than just movement. Weapon balance, item times, distances on maps.. and so on. Should there be two weapon sets for two movement sets? Should weapon balance be differ movement depending on the movement type? And so on. We would end up with two games.

Finally this is not intended as a blueprint for creating the game, more it is ideas and thoughts I want to put this forward for the designers and developers to consider. All aspects are not entirely thought through (which is part of the point of posting it, feedback and discussion), nor do I think it is flawless. A lot is looking at other games i retrospect – which is good and can lead to improvement. Mainly it is some ideas that might be useful to someone. Given the lack of armor discussion I would like to think that the developers might read and take it into account. Noone else seems interested.

If any of this rubs you the wrong way or you disagree with things I say I would love to hear. Getting players riled is not my intention at all. Leave your notes in the comments here or post in the respective thread on the dev forums. Keep in mind what I have said on this page about discussion and simple “no it won’t work” attitude.

Questions: Why is this on a separate site and not on the dev forums?

Because it is my content and may be useful to people beyond the unreal community. Each piece will have a summary cross posted to the dev forum.


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