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Travis

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Reply with quote  #1 
I've been thinking about survival mode dangers, so here's an idea on how to control it in a gamelike manner fairly easily but, IMO, elegantly.

Let's say there is a variable on the map. Call it MapScore or something like that. This number is super important because it controls what mobs spawn, how often, and what random events the player(s) will have to deal with.

For example.
Map Score <100, starting out. Scattered lowbie mobs, occasional "easy" ranked events.

Map Score 100 to 200. Early game. Mobs spawns are thicker, chance of next tier enemies spawning and causing serious trouble. Events list expanded to include some more dangerous stuff.

One two skip a few...

Map Score 5000+. End Game. Lowbie mobs are rare. The tough mobs of early game are common now and true monsters occasionally will appear to challenge even sturdy defenses. The events' list now contains 100% of available events and there's some nasty crap in there. Players will need a large base with top tech and some clever designs to stay alive/stable.



As for how to increase map score, that's where the most of the game design comes in. (all numbers are made up with no consideration for balance)
  • Time played - very slow (+1 per minute say), but things should get harder over-time regardless. This is to keep the heat up on players. 
  • Milestones - research a t2 tech (25pts), kill your first 50 lowbie mobs (+15pts). Build a vehicle pad (+100 pts). Etc... One time events which mark the players' progression.
  • Failures - first ten deaths (-10pts), first time the core is damaged below 50% health (-25pts)
Milestones and failures should all be "one time" so that sophisticated players cannot overly manipulate the system. ("Oh, things are too hard better stock up on food and kill myself twenty times..."). Ultimately, up is the only real direction until the peek difficulty is reached.

Also, with this system, you can have functioning difficulty settings very easily. Just change the point values as per the difficulty. For example,

Easy mode = +0.5pts per minute time played, +10pts for t2 tech, -100 after first five deaths.

Insanity mode = +4 pts per minute time played, +50 pts for t2 tech, -15 pts after first five deaths.

Lots of great ways to work with this. Having the MapScore system also makes adding content easy since you're just ranking and adding mobs to the spawn list or ranking and adding events to the events list. The spawning system and the events system would function the same, it would just have more variety of stuff it could do.

^_^
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GearStormTrooper

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Reply with quote  #2 
Some good thoughts here.

The main play-mode for the game is intended to be multiplayer/persistent world.

That means that some players may join the game much later. They could be disadvantaged by an older/advanced map.  

But we could take your map-score and make it player specific.  

Right now,  the way mobs spawn is by a "seed" system.  A regular algorithm seeds mobs in the chunks and then these seeds germinate,  or spawn mobs, if they are within an inner and outer radius from a player.  What they germinate into is determined by the biome they are in.

This radius limit is important because events too far from the players won't have terrain to trigger on,  and too close will just "pop up".

What these seeds germinate into though could be determined by the triggering player's Map or Progress Score.

A side-effect would be when multiple players are in the vicinity it could be triggered by any of them and therefore have any of their difficulties thrown in. 
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Travis

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
That means that some players may join the game much later. They could be disadvantaged by an older/advanced map.


Disregarding the MapScore idea for a moment, lemme turn this around on you. 

First, how long do you think a given Gearstorm map will be run on a given server before the players decide to re-roll? Cause I see permanently demolished terrain combined with finite map size. IMO that means there's a finite amount of time any given map is fun to be on. Ironically, the more people on a map, the faster it's going to be "burned up".

(Btw, Nate and I play xbox 360 minecraft, which has limited maps. I'm not sure how they compare in size to Gearstorm. But I know the reality of this really well IMO. You can feel the size in everything you do and you absolutely can hit the end of the game in terms of what the map can provide.)


Second, who is going to want to join a well-populated map that's been running for a long time? Cause it's going to be,
  • A carved up, looted out landscape where all the good stuff is taken or occupied.
  • Full of high-level, high-resourced badasses. If any of them want to, they have all the advantages needed to grind newbs into dirt.
  • Even if the older server residents are friendly, what is there to do that they haven't already done? Imagine dropping into my MC map after I've beaten all the local netherforts and the end. It's just not as exciting.

Just as the game is now, I personally would never want to join an established game of Gearstorm. I would only and always want to be on servers where I was in on the ground-floor. Especially since the game has so much PvP emphasis baked in. I mean, who wants to be a behind the curve punching bag?

But that is just me. Maybe there are other players who don't mind as much? IDK. Still, when you talk about MapScore creating disadvantage to new players on an old server, all I can think of is how many other disadvantages are already present.

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GearStormTrooper

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Reply with quote  #4 
It's important to have multiple game styles for different players.  I get that.

I see really 3 experiences,

1) Small community maps/servers.  A coop survival/building experience.  Remember,  areas without cores will heal and respawn trees.  So limiting core count is important for these.  Players may be limited to only 2-3 or even just one.  We've had up to 5 players on Mason's server and logged weeks worth of play.

2) BF2142 style squad battles on premade maps.  Download a map from the SteamWorkshop (made during #1 above) or in creative.  Have faction vs faction battles.  Our maps or 20km x 20km (vs the Planetside 2 8x8) plenty of room for battles there.

3) Small Party Adventure mode.  Download a premade adventure map, your borderlands style squad of 4 (or so) plays through premade quests and dungeons.

We even talked about a collapsing deathmatch style where voxels actually fall into the sea collapsing the map into smaller areas.

"Infinite" maps aren't off the table,  just not immediately on our roadmap.


The big differentiator for us is that we want to combine Content Creation and Game Play into one package.  One of the to-dos is a Dialog and quest editor for players/gms to create.


But to your question...

Rust,  7 Days to Die, and a bunch of other games play this way
The paragon of this is the Arma Mod Epoch.  


DayZ and this single-handedly resurrected Arma 2.

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GearStormTrooper

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Reply with quote  #5 
To answer, why join an old server...  H1Z1, Planetside, and other games have this persistent map experience.  As does Epoch.  The answer, is to play an FPS and horde riches for yourself.

Player bases won't take up a substantial portion of the landmass so most of the premade areas for fighting etc, will still exist.
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Travis

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
1) Small community maps/servers.  A coop survival/building experience.  Remember,  areas without cores will heal and respawn trees.  So limiting core count is important for these.  Players may be limited to only 2-3 or even just one.  We've had up to 5 players on Mason's server and logged weeks worth of play.

2) BF2142 style squad battles on premade maps.  Download a map from the SteamWorkshop (made during #1 above) or in creative.  Have faction vs faction battles.  Our maps or 20km x 20km (vs the Planetside 2 8x8) plenty of room for battles there.


Oh, right on. I think I was conflating these two then. I thought the survival mode pitch was too include warring player factions and such. NVM then.


Quote:
To answer, why join an old server...  H1Z1, Planetside, and other games have this persistent map experience.  As does Epoch.  The answer, is to play an FPS and horde riches for yourself.

I have only played PS2 out of this list, but it's not a good counter-example IMO. PS2 has a non-destructible map and unlimited resources. It also has very very limited upgrades for player power, sticking to side-grades instead. 

I can make a BR1 in PS2 and be effective. Not as versatile as the BR100, but I can still kill a BR100 easily. It's at most a 20% power difference between those 100 ranks. (So no head on gunfights until I too have max rank armor defense slot)

Gearstorm looks like the opposite of that to me. Resource harvesting, personal bases, tiered resource access, a tech tree, logistics infrastructure to produce resources, mods for weapons and armor, presumably tiers of weapons and armor as well. Time looks to equal Power in Gearstorm much more so that it does in PS2. How far apart in TTK and capabilities is a new player vs an old player? 2x power difference? 3x power difference?
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GearStormTrooper

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Reply with quote  #7 
The Survivor mode will have factions in conflict.  Most of the entities will be NPCs though. And more of skirmishes and cold war.  This should be portrayed in the default quest & dialogs as well as the random encounters.

Examples...
  
1) Player encounters Rogue EDI patrol.  And then "Gunfire"
2) Randomly spawned MSF merchant outposts
3) ICA trader needs escort from Point A-B (EDI ambush along route)


The predefined bases on the map will be heavily guarded,  so if a player or group wants to take them on,  they can.

Hopefully nothing prevents squad battles on the default map but NPCs could get caught up in it.  That could be interesting...

---
I knew PS2 was a bad example when I listed it.  My point is that some people love grind fests.

Overall we plan to keep the power curve for player weapons fairly shallow.   The materials cost for vehicles fairly steep and the defensibly of bases rather effective. So...

- Going after a well developed player base should require planning and preparation.
- Player encounters away from bases are fairly balanced even with newbs.
- When a player gets a vehicle, they are very dangerous and a valuable target

Bases and cores will require power and upkeep.  Pushing players out to find new materials.

Weapon Upgrades...

We don't intend to get into the balancing hell that is PS2 but players can improve weapons to a degree.  Many items will be sidegrades and have soft counters (Reflective armor vs. Lasers etc.)

Also,  weapons can be looted from dead players.  Making that gold-plated pistol could paint a target on you 😉

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Travis

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Reply with quote  #8 
Gotcha. I was asking cause it's not about grind, it's about unfun power imbalances. I've been in MMOs and other games where the older players have a lot more power than the new ones. It sucks. For every nice person who gives you stuff or helps with a quest, there's ten who will corpse camp your ass for an hour just to laugh. (Not an exaggeration, this has happened)
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GearStormTrooper

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Reply with quote  #9 
Here we want even the baby snakes to be lethal.  There is a lot of range and stealth in this game.  Corpse Camp at your peril XD
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GodParticle

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Reply with quote  #10 
On the Map playability, we had plans to have the terrain "heal" that was outside of a core range and have in-maintained cores deteriorate and disappear (along with any blocks in their radios).  Obviously, like most things in GearStorm, the admin would be able to override this to create bases and cities he/she wants to persist.  For example, any cities or bases we build to send with the game.

However, if all the player terrain changes and blocks heal over time, the map should remain fresh to play on.  For now though, a "refresh" cycle could be interesting and keep the pressure on the players, I guess it would be disappointing if it were a simple reset, maybe retain the character on the server so you get to keep the mods and inventory on you?
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Travis

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Reply with quote  #11 
That's great to hear. I was really worried about what a long-running map with lots of players would look like (ie a war-torn husk).
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