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casual mod

Release and discuss things you've made, including mods.
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freem
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casual mod

Postby freem » Fri Jul 16, 2021 4:07 pm UTC

I have in mind the idea of building a "casual mod" for unvanquished since few months. All text that follows is just my opinion, I'm stating this once at start to make it clear and avoid repeating "in my opinion", "I think", etc. Consider all statements about current unvanquished gameplay state prefixed with those.

Currently, unvanquished is a game which require the players to be already skilled to play aliens, the stronger species, and to focus almost non-stop for more than one hour (or loose credits that you will have hard time recovering depending on your opponents).
Humans are weaker, but much easier to play since most people will already be used to at least some of their notions, plus they put less pressure the player (you can do barrage tactics from somewhere relatively safe). They also benefit from the strong bases, and medium-range weapon which encourages them to camp, killing fun for people trying to learn aliens.

Another problem is the huge amount of damages dealt, especially by aliens: dragoon claw damage is 80 base. Humans with have a 1.5 modifier when hit in head, meaning 120 damages, instant kill.
Usually, one will expect the opponent to have some armors, or to not head shot, so that's 2 shots per kill in average. Humans have no other choice than to learn dancing and camping against that.
Aliens have, usually, lot of health points, which are required to survive a melee fight, especially since humans are so good at dancing, but skilled alien players will benefit from those and alien's speed to flee (pouncing, walljumping, wallwalking), and then, humans won't usually be able to hit them: chaingun miss all the time from afar, aliens are faster than pulse's shot, other weapons are too weak and only kill on lucky shot or against smaller forms.
In the end, I've found that the most useful human weapons for common fights are: the basic SMG and the shotgun. Bonus: they don't cost much, and thus don't give much to enemy when you die (0 or 75 bonus credits are given).

This all makes unvanquished a very elitist game (single error and you die, single second of inattention and you die), and the result is, there's not enough players to have balanced games on a regular basis, only players having fun with aliens are the ones which learned how to play them in tremulous, which I've heard is less nervous?
If I need to give a proof of that, I'd say, spectate games. Usually, games have more players in human side than in alien side. Some players switch teams naturally to try to balance them, but most seems to go humans first.
Another proof would the AI. The AI have skill-based reaction times, matched skills. Human AI only wins in few, rare maps: yocto and "old" parpax, especially on my server where AI goons pounce to flee: there, humans rarely unlock pulse rifle before aliens unlock tyrants (which are only useful at feeding human team).

Remember: all that is my, and only my opinion (some may share it, at least partially). I'm ok to discuss it, but I don't think this thread is the idea place for that, since here I want to gather ideas on how to make a less elitist mod. Of course, each idea will require balancing, which is not easy, as balancing current state of the game was not easy neither.

There are several things I would want to achieve with a "casual mod", notably:
  • keep the idea of species with very different gameplays
  • continue to improve toward the [uri=https://wiki.unvanquished.net/wiki/Design_Document]currently targeted gameplay[/uri]
  • make skirmishes (fights in the middle of the map) longer, instead of during less than 10s in average
  • allow players to breath, sometime
  • make aliens playable even to beginners
  • make strong human players able to compete with strong alien players

I have several ideas which might help toward those points, all would, obviously, require tweaking in the values, but ideally they should not invent concepts which are foreign to current unvanquished gameplay.

Give aliens a chance to reach their target

Human weapons with a single, big clip or infinite ammo can just keep firing, aliens never can go close without good skills.
Keeping one clip or infinite ammo is fine, but I would reuse the jetpack's overheat system and apply it to those weapons: painsaw, lasgun, chaingun, flamer, mmaayyyybe luci, but I think this one is rather fine.

Give aliens a chance to hit their target

Currently, humans are very nimble. It's hard to hit humans when they start dancing. I think their base movement should depend on their armor, like the alien's speeds which are reduced when their sizes increase.
I also think they should have reduced lateral speeds, more than they currently have, and probably better sprint, which would cost more stamina: less dance, less average speed, but higher max speeds.
Maybe give all human's equipment a mass, and use that mass to impact the speed and stamina costs?

Give humans a chance to kill fleeing aliens

Currently, humans can hardly finish a fleeing dragoon. Their really effective long range weapons for mobile targets are: smg, lasgun, mass driver. Of those, only smg and mass driver have a decent damage throughput. Pulse rifle would fit, too, if it's shots were not that slow to travel.
I would give aliens stamina, which would be used with melee attacks, jumps and pounces.

Give aliens a change to kill in melee

Currently, aliens have high damage, but slow hit-rate attacks. I would increase hit-rate but decrease damages for several of the bigger aliens (goons and rants). This would both increase the usefulness of those classes for beginners, and also increase chances to fight back for humans, instead of being one-shotted each time by pros (and maybe cheaters, dunno if there are some for now).

Make humans bases more rewarding to attack

Well... on this one, I have no clue.
I suppose applying overheat to human defenses would help.
Remove auto-repair, or remove ckit repair function might help too.
Maybe reintroduce the repeater's mechanism?
Give turrets a HP boost, but increase their BP cost?

Make tyrants useful

Hard task, too. I would start by increasing slightly the jump height, so that it would be easier to go through acid tubes and barricades, for a start, but also over turrets.
I would also give them huge mass increase, so that when they jump/trample on a building, they deal huge amount of damages to it. I would actually also increase dragoon's mass, since for now, the only moments I see a player dying because of someone else's weight, it's always a human stomping on an alien.

This is already a pretty long (and possibly not pleasing to read) post, so i'll stop here. I think I described most if not all the ideas I have to build a newcommer-friendly mod, and described which problem each idea would try to fix.
Since some of Illwieckz 's work, most configs are located in the same directory, and most of those changes might be applied within reasonably short time. I just think it's better to talk about them before doing anything, since some might just be really bad ideas, there are some aspects I probably have not seen, etc etc.
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freem
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Re: casual mod

Postby freem » Fri Jul 16, 2021 5:25 pm UTC

Another problem beginners seem to have is the understanding that building miners too close do cost BPs to a team. Maybe (certainly, actually) the build system is too complex, but maybe the bigger problem there (thinking they're gratis when they're not) could be avoided with a symbolic cost? Or, to have a hard-limit preventing to build barriers of them... like repeaters had.
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Gireen
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Re: casual mod

Postby Gireen » Sat Jul 17, 2021 10:50 am UTC

More experiments with gamplay changes are always good :thumbup:
And if its just changing values then just trying it out is quicker then long discussions. :grin:

make skirmishes (fights in the middle of the map) longer, instead of during less than 10s in average

How about just reducing the damage that is dealt? Players wont die as fast and need more time to kill enemys.

Maybe (certainly, actually) the build system is too complex

yes :repeater:
the problem is also that building wrong is punished hard the longer a game goes on.
A new regression since tremulous is that its possible to feed with buildings and quickly lock or lose BP.
fear ma engrish :granger:
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freem
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Re: casual mod

Postby freem » Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:28 am UTC

Gireen wrote:And if its just changing values then just trying it out is quicker then long discussions. :grin:


I mostly ask for some quick thoughts on those points, really. And also because I have no idea how to make bases more balanced, so that it's not "the campy humans" vs "the rusher aliens" which is how I feel the game is currently. And that's one of the reasons I dislike playing aliens: I was never a rusher, and it's even less fun when I need to fight campers in bunkers.

Discussions here are mostly so that I can get new ideas, I do not intend to do everything other people want or stuff I don't like, since I think this mod would be really a different gameplay, and it's hard to get those correctly.
Oh, I'll need your building mode, too, for alien side only: moar differences of gameplay between teams would also be good :) (plus, alien buildables are reeeaaallyy slow).

make skirmishes (fights in the middle of the map) longer, instead of during less than 10s in average

How about just reducing the damage that is dealt? Players wont die as fast and need more time to kill enemys.


Yes, altering how fast damages are done would work, but currently it's just very hard imo for aliens to get a hit. And when aliens flee, humans just never can finish them... except with the tier0 weapons !?!

Maybe (certainly, actually) the build system is too complex

yes :repeater:
the problem is also that building wrong is punished hard the longer a game goes on.
A new regression since tremulous is that its possible to feed with buildings and quickly lock or lose BP.



Agree. I remember a system which made a number of BP near structures, instead of whole team BPs. I don't know if that was trem or a solution which was dropped by unvanquished, maybe bit of both, but I think this mode would be less a punitive BP system, and would even encourage building fallbacks bases, in case the main one is eradicated.
Pretty sure the code is no longer around, but that does not seems too hard to redo, just check for distance, basically, plus a 2nd check for height, to prevent areas through roofs/ceilings.

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