Hoonymode and Round based duel for Unreal Tournament 4

A round based alternative for duel already exists and keeps most of the duel pros while eliminating the down sides.

hoonymode solves a good portion of the less palatable problems* duel has while retaining the core components. It stays an item driven game type rather than whatever 1v1 ra is.

“HoonyMode is a form of tournament introduced in November 2003 which is loosely based on the rules of tennis. During the warm-up, each player chooses a spawn-point or they are randomly generated if none are chosen. One player typically has a “stronger” spawn and the other a “weaker” one. When the game begins the player with the stronger spawn is considered to have the “serve” and each player death is treated as a point. After each point is scored players and the arena are reset and a new point is played; players switch spawn-points, so the player who had the “weak” spawn for the previous point now has the “strong” one, effecting a change of serve. All in-game behaviour (i.e. weapons, physics, etc.) remains the same as in the standard deathmatch.”


Drop the spawn selection as it is unneeded – random alternating spawn pairs work well enough. (1a 2b, 1b 2a, 2c 1d, 2d 1c) Originally introduced to “fix” imbalanced spawns in quake the delayed armor spawn “feature” in ut can be done away with as result as well – allowing players to get straight into it off spawns that are setup with items in mind.

All of the fun fighting over control, none of the problems associated with longer unbalanced play time.

The main aspects lost from traditional duel:

in control – no more killing naked players as once a kill occurs the map resets and the game starts again.
out of control – no more getting back into control after making a mistake that gets you killed.

Completely out of control situations become less frequent as it only occurs when a player takes heavy damage, recognises this and adjusts after damage but before dying. Even then weapons are not “reset”. This is what sets great duelers from the rest – they recognise these situations and back out before getting killed, even if they take large amount of damage.

There would still be in control/out of control situations, however it would never progress to the point of a player having no weapons and not having access to anything.

One possible change I would like over the quake implementation is to see each round progress to +2 points rather than resetting each death. In this way a player can “come back” from a first death, the game retains more of the traditional in/out of control play but the entire game will never snowball to 15 minutes of spawn kills. A close kill (one player dead, one almost dead) can then be followed up on quickly by the dead player to equalise at 1-1. Likewise when a player puts themselves in a strong position and kills a player then follows up quickly they are rewarded by winning that round swiftly. And in/out of control dynamic is preserved and it is still possible to come back from a death. Games where players go neck to neck in points are exciting.

The main reason to change is simply because it is more fun. When players are somewhat balanced stack wise the best games occur. The better dueler will still push the weaker player off items and kill them – much like what occurs at the start of 1v1 currently. This part of the game is quite often the most enjoyable for most players. Unfortunately it is a short part of a 15 minute game.

In addition it also allows smaller maps like aerowalk to be played, which imo is unsuitable for 27 second weapon respawn times due to the small size. The map works in quakeworld and quakelive because of weaponstay on / 5 second respawn. Not to say we should copy quake, however with hoonymode each player is guaranteed to get weapons off spawn. There will rarely be a situation where a player has no weapons unless they royally screw up – and they we will get an opportunity to rectify that screw up after dying on reset.

Now you could say this sacrifices the importance of weapon control in duel, however in many ways it amplifies it and forces players to concentrate on sets of weapons rather than the traditional “get everything” attitude that is so prevalent on the dev forum.

Every round there will be missing slots in a players arsenal and every death players must concentrate on fleshing out missing weapon ranges. It pushes both the player in control and the player out of control more.

Going back to weapons because this was the OPs concern with traditional duel – hoonymode reduces the importance of weapon control from a complete lock out standpoint because players will always have something off spawn. At the same time amplifies its importance in more interesting ways. Each round players will have gaps in their arsenal they need to take into account and they should aim to exploit the gaps in their opponents weapons. As an example a player that receives the shock on a map with a single shock can lock this down for the duration of a round and as a result have a significant advantage. Because of the large number of weapons in ut and both firemode and effective range double up weapon control in traditional duel is less subtle than in quakelive where a player with rl/lg/rail has an advantage over a player with only two of the three main guns, both in combat and knowledge of player movement.

The general attitude towards duel weapon control, at least on this forum seems to be one of “lock out all the guns”. This would no longer exist and instead be replaced by a more interesting and frequently resetting “what do I/opponent have and what do I want to deny in order to keep a gap in their effective range for the current round”.

Problems: How to score and how to limit game duration would be the main problems that spring to mind. If played to +2 points are the full points added to the score or simply 1 point to winner of each round? So four rounds totals look like this

2-0 | 3-1 | 2-0 | 2-4 (9-5) or (4-0)

How would time limits play into this? I dislike the TAM “count down health/armor after 2 minutes” method. Perhaps a running timer that stops once a map has been played for a total of X minutes. Perhaps score numbers based on map – so aerowalk is first to 9(+2) and deck is first to 3(+2).

Lets not forget that the ut armor system in any previous titles is not really suited to out of control play. ut4 duel armor notes

By changing duel to be based on hoonymode this is of less importance and the mismatched armor system would benefit the round based style of play. One player does end up with less favorable items and is then dead. Rather than having to leverage a system that does not really cater to out of control play, the game is reset and the player can try to not end up in the same situation.

It would be important for the gaps between deaths to be quick. Player dies – play stops for three second – players respawn and start straight away.

*I don’t consider them problems and enjoy out of control more than in control play provided the game provides ways back in. However the majority of players do not like this aspect.

Duel is demanding and very hard to get into. Hoonymode is fun, makes losing less demanding, offers frequent resets which in turn improves player learning. In a regular 15 minute game you get one chance to not screw up your initial spawn. In hoonymode you might get.. 10?


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