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 Wild Ideas 
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Post Re: Wild Ideas
I wouldn't worry too much about what I may need. I need so much of everything that anything is welcome.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:28 am
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Post Re: Wild Ideas
Rewarding Smart Flag-play.

As any Tribes player who has played anything more than simple pubs can probably attest to, having players instantly return the flag when it's off the stand is often times not the best of moves, especially if your capper has the enemy flag and is on his way home. It's much better/smarter to protect the flag when it's off the stand if you can, especially if your entire defense died from a offensive crash and there's no one on the stand. This can severely limit what the enemy capper can do if they're only used to running certain routes, and allows you to do timed returns.

Unfortunately, a lot of people go for those instant returns either because they think it's the right thing to do, or simply to get a few extra points. It's not uncommon at all to get TK'd while going for a flag return just so someone else can get those points. An idea I thought of recently was to reward those who hold off on returning the flag instantly by awarding extra points based on the duration between someone returning the flag and their team capping the flag.

So for example, if you return the flag and 5 seconds later your team caps, you get five points. If it's 4 seconds, you get 6 points. 1 second or less and you get 10. Whether or not there should be points given for anything longer than 5 seconds is up to the developer. This won't necessarily fix the 'issue' of dumb flag play, but it's at least some kind of incentive to play smarter, and something I haven't seen done before.

Another possible idea to go along with this, is to have the flag return timer on the flag itself. You could even display how far away your capper is from your stand, so you can tell exactly how close he is to capping.

Leave No Map Behind

One of the sadder things to see happen in games like Tribes and Legions, and many others I’m sure, is the death of larger maps due to playbases shrinking over time. Legions: Overdrive has a map called ‘Bladerun’ which is a prime example of this. At one point this was a common map due to the game having an active and relatively healthy playerbase. However, as the game started to die off and players left, maps like Bladerun no longer become viable or interesting. They became a chore to play on, and were eventually removed from the server list altogether. They were sent to a corner to collect dust, never to be seen or heard from again.

It’s a sad thing to see happen as a game starts to fade away, especially if a lot of work and thought went into making said map. I’m not saying Bladerun is a particularly special map that deserves any sort of praise or extra attention, but it’s the first one that came to mind when writing up this post. The question is, is it possible to salvage these maps? If so, how? Well, I’ll attempt to provide some possible solutions, some of which are doable, the other…not so much. At least not without a lot of hard work.

The first part of fixing the problem, or any problem I guess, is realizing why the problem exists in the first place. Why are these maps shuttered away as the playerbase shrinks? Why do people groan when they come up and instantly ask for an admin to change the map? There are a multitude of reasons why this can happen:

1.) The distance between enemies increases significantly, and thus engagements between players takes significantly longer to start. Finding a player to engage becomes a chore the less there are and the bigger a map is.

2.) For cappers, routes obviously takes significantly longer to setup and perform. Should you mess up your route or miss the flag, you’ve gotta start all over again, which becomes another chore. The only way you'll get out is if you have enough players to clear the stand, however fewer players means...

3.) Defending the flag becomes increasingly easy the less players there are, which conversely means it’s harder for the one or two cappers to grab the flag. When you’re facing 20+ minute rounds that require 10 caps to win, this prolongs the already boring game even more. Should there be a situation where both teams go on the offense, grabbing becomes too easy and almost always leads to boring stand-offs or capper duels.

4.) Fewer players on a large map means there’s very little going on, which creates a very boring atmosphere in and of itself. Seeing an empty event or chat box gives you the feeling of being all by yourself, which you basically are.

So, how to fix this? Well, one solution is to have dynamic map variables that change depending on playercount. For instance, if the game normally has a 10 cap limit but the server only has 6 players (3v3), perhaps the flag cap limit can be lowered to 6. If it’s 4v4, bump it up to 8. Anything above 5 can go back to the tradition 10 cap limit. This could of course change as players leave or join. Another possible solution is to have the time limit change based on playercount. A normal 20 minute map can be lowered to 15 or 10 minutes depending on playercount. The can also be used in conjunction instead of having one or the other.

The other solution, which is the hard one I mentioned earlier(it is the 'crazy ideas' thread, after all), would to have the map itself scale based on playercount. I don't really know what Unreal uses for map scale measurement, but in Legions there are two possible variables: squareSize 8 or squareSize16. This unnecessarily large image should explain things better (see bottom right).

http://i.imgur.com/wFpJblc.jpg

Tribes 2 also uses squareSize when determining terrain sizes. So if it helps visualize things better, DangerousCrossing, Stonehenge, and Katabatic were 8, and for the life of me I can't find any size 16 maps. Anyways, should a size 16 map not have enough players, it literally shrinks down to 8. All the shapes, flags, spawns, etc, are moved accordingly. Ideally you'd simply have a size 8 version of this map already made and the server simply loads it up. But seeing it shrink in real time would be pretty damn awesome. While this does effectively get rid of the original large map, at least a variant of it still exists.

Image

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Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:01 am
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Post Re: Wild Ideas
Map scaling is an interesting idea just because it allows for a map idea to match however many players happen to be on a given server.

I think that staggered play can help with bigger maps. 24 / 7 games spreads a game population too thin very quickly. Anything that can concentrate when players play will help stave off large map death. Proactively scheduling play for large maps also is a good idea.

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"Not every idea your gonna have is gonna be great, but I guarentee you every idea that doesnt work will somehow work into the idea that does." -Derek Waters

"It's a weird feeling being borderline addicted to gaming and not having anything to play that I can tolerate at the same time." -DejZant

"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

@Saccaed for updates and randomness...


Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:12 am
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