Singleplayer or cooperative modes

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FreeSlave
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Singleplayer or cooperative modes

Postby FreeSlave » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:49 pm UTC

The current problem with the game is lack of a sufficient number of players. It's team vs team game where some should be fighters/defenders and others should be builders. So for a comfortable and interesting game it requires 4 vs 4 players at minimum. And it's hard to get this number of players at the same time on the same server.

The solution is singleplayer/co-operative mode. I.e. human players vs bots. Note that just the game against bots with standard rules is not what I mean. The standard rules imply that both teams should be in equal conditions. And bots are not match for human players here. So we need something else here.

The following ideas could apply for both Tremulous and Unvanquished.

Tower defense mode
Humans start with reactor that they should protect from the waves of alien hordes. They can build defensive structures like turrets and others.

  1. The game start in build-phase: there're no enemies yet, players have build tool and some resources to build up their defenses and buy equipment. Players can see who will be in the next wave and adjust their expenses accordingly.
  2. After some time or when all human players say they are ready, the wave begins. Build tool is replaced with offensive weapon that player selected/bought in the previous phase. Aliens come from their caves and approach to attack the reactor. They ignore other structures until they block the path to the reactor. Aliens also ignore humans until they are too close (that way humans can lure aliens away from reactor). If human dies during the wave the player respawns on some predefined area or pre-built telenode either after the wave ends or after some penalty time passed (can be configured by server).
  3. After the wave is defeated the build phase starts again giving humans time to recover, refill ammo and build new structures. Then new wave begins and it has more and bigger aliens. And this repeats until humans beat all waves on the level (then they win). If reactor is getting destroyed humans lose. Reactor can't be usually repaired so humans should count every hit on it.

Problems:
  1. Tower-defense games usually have the strong separation between the area where defense structures can be built and the path that enemies use to approach the target. The new structure can be introduced: the wall. Humans can stand on the walls but aliens can't jump over the wall or other structures. That way humans can build the maze themselves. Blocking the path should be prohibited or lead to aliens destroying structures on the way to the reactor. If humans build mazes with narrow passages the small aliens will be able to go through the maze, but the big ones may start to destroy structures on their way to reactor effectively freeing the path for smaller ones too.
  2. The small number of towers. Even if we bring Tesla :tesla: back it still will be only 3 kinds.
  3. Limited number of alien bots. I believe the current limit is 64 clients. So e.g. for 4 human players it's only 60 bots. Not so bad actually, but still may be limited.
  4. Maps. Such mode obviously would require new maps or adjusting the existing ones.

Possible features:
  1. Mine-dispenser structure that produces some number of explosive mines each wave. Players can put mines where they want to during the build phase or during the wave.
  2. Classes or special abilities for humans. E.g. slowing nearest aliens, increasing the damage of nearest towers, health regeneration, etc. Player should choose special ability(-es) upon joining the game and can't change them afterwards.

Mission mode
The group of humans start at some area with some low-level weapons. Players should proceed to the next areas fighting aliens and perhaps perform some tasks (collect items, stand against the horde for some amount of time, destroy enemy structure, etc.). Players gradually get new weapons and new equipment and find medicines to recover their health. All kinds of resources (weapons, ammo, medkits and other equipment) are usually limited and should be carefully shared between teammates in order to successfully finish the map. Player don't need money nor build points in this mode.

Problems:
  1. Maps. Again such mode would require new maps fitting that mode.
  2. Connected/disconnected players. It's not clear where new connected players should appear and what are consequences of players disconnected from game. Telenodes can be scattered across the map to allow newly connected players to appear when other players touch that telenode (before that the newly connected players just spectates the game). Same telenodes can be used to resurrect died players (probably with some penalty to the team). Disconnected players can either just vanish or be replaced with bots. Then newly connected player just takes control over this bot.
  3. Same problem about limited number of clients.
  4. World-models of weapons and other items since they will be just lie around the level. As temporal solution armories with limited number of free weapons/equipment can be put in some places of the level.

Possible features:
  1. Storyline!

Invasion mode
Similar to what Xonotic has now, but with aliens instead of monsters. To make it more interesting we should find a way to enforce players to change their location during the match. E.g. equipment may appear in random places on the map.
Aliens may come in waves too to give players a rest between waves.
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Ishq
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Re: Singleplayer or cooperative modes

Postby Ishq » Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:37 pm UTC

In general, I'm in favor of these types of modes:

The most interesting one to me is mission mode. We've been working on adding Lua scripting for maps that would allow anyone to create their own missions on any map. These missions could extend from anything like a campaign to training maps to practice aim, dodging, strafe jumping, etc.
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FreeSlave
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Re: Singleplayer or cooperative modes

Postby FreeSlave » Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:42 pm UTC

Clarification about Invasion mode: it does not feature buildables or feature them in very limited amounts. As I said it would be better to enforce players to constantly change their location on the level and the presence of buildables would make this task harder since players could just build the one strong base and sit there which is not very different from tower defense.
Possible solution is to place small outposts (armory+medi+repeater) across the map with only one outpost working at a time (e.g. per wave) so players would come to it and prepare themselves for the next battle. Of course players should be aware which outpost is in working state at the point of time.

The good thing about Invasion mode is its simplicity. The existing maps could be reused for it.

Comparing to other existing games we could say that
Tower defense mode is Sanctum.
Mission mode is any co-operative game where players are advancing through the level from the start to the end with possible mini-quests on their way. Examples are Left 4 Dead and Sven Co-op.
Invasion mode is Killing Floor.
Last edited by FreeSlave on Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:52 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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illwieckz
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Re: Singleplayer or cooperative modes

Postby illwieckz » Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:50 pm UTC

There was a kind of “mission server” that was advertised as a “training server”, and it helped to keep some players on server.

By the way, I want to warn about something: we advertised the game or got the game advertised on techie websites (phoronix.com, linuxfr.org, etc.) but we never tried to really reach new players and grow up a player base. Our current player base is mainly tech guys who are enjoying themselves watching the project growing-up and being alive, and sometime, play a game. So, even if we seen how the “training server” helped to keep a larger player base so newbie can play some interesting games when waiting for real players (because non-mission games against bot all look the same, the training missions added diversity), we must not lose so much time in developing accessory gameplay. People are already complaining about the development being long, and they are right: waiting is not fun.

So I think it's Ok to make some mission stuff, but not so much. Or, we can have this kind of agenda: introduce enough basic “mission” mechanism to make some mission servers like the training one was, and keep some more-exciting-but-time-consuming “mission” implementation for later, to feed the player base once it has reached a significant size and we want to keep them. So, there is alternate-gameplay development needed to keep the lone player when there is no player base, and there is alternate-gameplay development needed to feed and grow-up an already critical player base.

About missions, there was some experiments on tremulous age. There is for example that tremship map we can reuse if we fix the map the way bots will not stuck themselves. There was also that tremulous siege map we can tweak (the 1.1.2 was released without source, but the 1.1.1 was).

But, there is something we must implement to make this really convenient: map voting and/or gameplay voting. People must be able to join a server to play some missions against bot, then, once enough people joined in, vote for a normal game without having to leave the “mission” server. People had to do that on the training server and it just ended in splitting player base while everyone was online, also, when no one leaved to not take the risk to split-up the player base, people just quit because of the boring nature of training missions, or just their inability to provide the joy of a real human vs. human game.
Last edited by illwieckz on Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:57 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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FreeSlave
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Re: Singleplayer or cooperative modes

Postby FreeSlave » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:00 pm UTC

illwieckz wrote:About missions, there was some experiments on tremulous age. There is for example that tremship map we can reuse if we fix the map the way bots will not stuck themselves


You mean they block each other? Just make them non-solid to each other.
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illwieckz
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Re: Singleplayer or cooperative modes

Postby illwieckz » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:11 pm UTC

No, they just stuck themselves on their path to the human base, it's like a zombie movie where zombies never attack humans and live their own life far from civilization, such a move can't have success. :tongue:
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FreeSlave
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Re: Singleplayer or cooperative modes

Postby FreeSlave » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:26 pm UTC

Another reason why singleplayer/co-operative modes are important is the lack of competitiveness. It's not so irritating to lose against hordes of AI controlled monsters than constant loosing to pro players. Also in singleplayer and co-operative games you die less, so again less irritation.

The one thing that I liked on tremulous FServer is that even if you were absolute noob you still could kill some bots and have fun (that also led to small deaths/kills ratio which is good). For those who did not play on that server I clarify: it was normal human team (consisting of living players) vs a small amount of living alien players + many alien bots. Alien players were much stronger than alien bots so they could also kill many humans (so again, small deaths/kills ratio).
In standard gameplay you're doomed to always die from claws or bullets of more experienced player and that may kill the whole fun.
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ViruS
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Re: Singleplayer or cooperative modes

Postby ViruS » Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:43 am UTC

Funnily enough fuma's done that except a mine dispensing structure before for his 1.1 server

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