Modular Commanders

Modular Commanders

A dynamic game undergoing constant development and refinement, that attempts to balance playability with fresh and innovative features.

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maackey
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Modular Commanders

Post by maackey » 13 Jun 2010, 23:31

So I've been working on a system of an upgradeable commander off and on for a bit now, and have decided to really commit to it. This is a skeleton in a wip state, with no really cool features yet (but will someday)
Image

So here's whats planned as far as module upgrades go. There will be about 5 different "levels" of commander and each time you level you can choose one option. (level 2 need the prerequisite, can't choose an option twice) upgrading will have some m/e/time cost, but it would be nice to have discounts for XP earned.

more hp --lv2--> even more hp OR higher regen rate
personal shield --lv2--> bigger shield OR deflector
cloak --lv2--> bigger cloak OR stealth

anti-swarm gun --lv2--> bigger anti-swarm gun OR riot cannon
hlt beam --lv2--> penetrator beam OR dgun (the big boy one)
aa laser --lv2--> missile salvo OR flak cannon
torpedo --lv2--> long/fast torpedo OR depth charge

jumpjets --lv2--> hover ability OR underwater speedjets
econ boost --lv2--> even more econ boost or more nanopower
radar/sonar --> longer range maybe?
specops (can build specops units)
paralyzer gun

Its a tentative list but should give a good idea of how everything will work out.

I'm making this post because I could use some help. Models of various parts or weapons are appreciated and will speed things up, but I can do those eventually. I need help with the implementation mostly.

I believe I can restrict some weapons with the lua script, but some of the other upgrades (hp, radar, hover movetype, etc...) I can't really postulate how I would implement. (and making a thousand unit files isn't really an option) The interface for upgrading I also don't have the ability to do, although I am trying to learn how to make some gui stuff in chili.
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Google_Frog
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Google_Frog » 14 Jun 2010, 03:26

Well I don't really like the idea as it looks like what CA has been trying to move away from. Though if the upgrades have reasonable costs it might work.

Spring.SetUnitSensorRadius()
Spring.SetUnitMaxHealth()
(not sure about hover movetype)
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Pxtl
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Pxtl » 14 Jun 2010, 03:55

... all that stuff is already available on units you can buy. I'd think it would be more interesting to give the comm stuff that *isn't* normally available to units. Stuff like long-ranged jammers, long-ranged jumping, a powerful capture weapon, stuff like that.
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Gota
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Gota » 14 Jun 2010, 15:12

Powerful capture really doesn't add much.
What are you gonna do?capture a solar in the enemy base while there is fighting going on?Maybe you'll be capturing defensive structures as they are attacking you?
It makes little sense and in many ways is not different to a regular weapon.
This is especially true on a commander.I can understand a capture ability on non offensive units.
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Licho
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Licho » 14 Jun 2010, 17:03

I like this idea because i would like upgrades to be unlockable (in lobby shop) with player minutes and lowest level of upgrades could even be preinstalled at start of game.

If possible I would also like different chassis - like static commander (with potentially more powerful weapons or eco upgrades), hover commander etc..


Note this serves no actual gameplay purpose imo. Main purpose is personalization/customization - avatar feel and sense of progress. Check how its done in league of legends with hero talents, runes etc.

If possible I would also like different skins - to reward people who donate to spring and devs.
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Pxtl
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Pxtl » 14 Jun 2010, 17:38

Gota wrote:Powerful capture really doesn't add much.
What are you gonna do?capture a solar in the enemy base while there is fighting going on?Maybe you'll be capturing defensive structures as they are attacking you?
It makes little sense and in many ways is not different to a regular weapon.
This is especially true on a commander.I can understand a capture ability on non offensive units.
Huh? You mean a long, slow, useless capture like the comm has now? I meant something more like a "d-gun that captures". You know, blast the target and *snap* it's yours. Or are D-guns useless too?
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CarRepairer
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by CarRepairer » 14 Jun 2010, 18:43

Licho wrote:I like this idea because i would like upgrades to be unlockable (in lobby shop) with player minutes and lowest level of upgrades could even be preinstalled at start of game.

If possible I would also like different chassis - like static commander (with potentially more powerful weapons or eco upgrades), hover commander etc..


Note this serves no actual gameplay purpose imo. Main purpose is personalization/customization - avatar feel and sense of progress. Check how its done in league of legends with hero talents, runes etc.

If possible I would also like different skins - to reward people who donate to spring and devs.
This sounds fun and I fully support it and I'd like to help. As long as there is absolutely no advantage whatsoever to someone with these upgrades. Not even a tiny 0.01% advantage. It will bring back memories of planetwars upgrades. No matter how small the advantage, the player opposite him will feel the game is unfair. Yes, no game is perfectly balanced, but my point still stands.

I'd love purely visual upgrades, and we could set up a webpage where each player's commander is shown and they could design skins and so on. It would be a nice way for players to feel their battles mean something and progress them, like in planetwars. It will bring players back for more.
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maackey
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by maackey » 14 Jun 2010, 18:53

google: thanks for the functions. I know that commanders aren't really the center of attention in ca, but I also know that a lot of people like individual units which they can grow attached to. Also it helps if I juggle a bunch of different stuff at once; if I get bored of something (which happens all too often) I can move on to something else. For instance, yesterday I finished up about a half-dozen weapons for some shiny new nota-like ships. (hooray!)

pxtl: the list is tentative, for just this purpose :) I like the idea of a powerful capture upgrade. The concept lab even has a really awesome capture cannon. And long range jumping and jamming are nice upgrades too, just have to fit them in (but keep in mind other units can jump an jam too 8) )

licho: I was planning on making different "skins" but yeah, I'm notoriously slow and it would probably take a while. I've never played League of Legends, so I'm not entirely sure what the upgrade paths are like. I don't mind changing it, but it would be nice if I could somehow get a finalized list of upgrades that I could model and stick on the commander. (ie. speak now or forever hold your peace)

edit:
car: I was thinking the actual gameplay upgrades (if any) would be independent of contribution, and if I get around (or others) to making new skins/designs they'd be purely visual. I've always been adamantly opposed to purchasing gameplay upgrades -- I find it just makes terrible games.
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SirMaverick
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by SirMaverick » 15 Jun 2010, 01:48

Google_Frog wrote:(not sure about hover movetype)
Different unit.
Licho wrote:I like this idea because i would like upgrades to be unlockable (in lobby shop) with player minutes and lowest level of upgrades could even be preinstalled at start of game.
First,
Note this serves no actual gameplay purpose imo.
second and
Main purpose is personalization/customization - avatar feel and sense of progress.
third reason not to do it.

You should be motivated by different strategies and maps you can play and how you get better at it over time. You cannot expect motivation by playing unfair games.
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Pxtl
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Pxtl » 15 Jun 2010, 02:51

Yeah, I gotta agree - I'd love to see a game about pre-customized units... but not CA. In-game upgrades good, but pre-game upgrades bad.

Customizing just for decoration would be nice, though.
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zwzsg
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by zwzsg » 15 Jun 2010, 10:10

SirMaverick wrote:You cannot expect motivation by playing unfair games.
There's about a hundred PvP MMO that disagree with you.
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Licho
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Licho » 15 Jun 2010, 11:22

SirMaverick you cannot tell people how they should be motivated.

Customizations/identity work excellently in other games and bring lots of mainstream people (who are NOT bad players).

Spring is crazy place full of geeks, because only geeks have patience to install, configure and learn its unaccessible mods.

If we want players, we have to change that.

Car - imo upgrades could affect game a little, but not in significant way and you have to invest resources ingame to activate that anyway. For competetive play there would be mod option without upgrades.
Also Car wtf - PlanetWars was height of CA! It had most players. People complaining were mostly devs - Saktoth, Google and you..
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Beherith
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Beherith » 15 Jun 2010, 12:17

This is absolutely amazing, especially since unlockable upgrades that still must be purchased ingame minimize the imbalance risk.

Visual only upgrades would rock as well.

In fact - both of these could be a valid incentive against smurfing.

If my boy could have a wizard hat...
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SirMaverick
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by SirMaverick » 15 Jun 2010, 14:52

zwzsg wrote:
SirMaverick wrote:You cannot expect motivation by playing unfair games.
There's about a hundred PvP MMO that disagree with you.
Spring is not a mmo. Games in Spring are independent. They aren't a continuous game like in WoW where you have a developing character.
Licho wrote:SirMaverick you cannot tell people how they should be motivated.
Let's reformulate: the motivating factor should be the game itself - not some polishing overlay.
Spring is crazy place full of geeks, because only geeks have patience to install, configure and learn its unaccessible mods.
If we want players, we have to change that.
Right, but how does Customizations help there? Also Customizations implies configuration.
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Pxtl
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Pxtl » 15 Jun 2010, 14:56

Take note of the TF2 approach: you can unlock customizations BUT most of them are purely cosmetic and the ones that aren't are balanced to be equivalent in power to the default.

In such a case, every unlockable would have to be equivalent power to not having it. That said, players might be scared off just by "he's got a goody that I can't have!"
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Licho
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Licho » 15 Jun 2010, 15:10

Try league of legends sirmaverick. Its a game where every game is independent, yet it has tons of customizations. And it works.

Its also free game which only lives from selling cool looking skins for heroes.

We now have hardcore inaccessible RTS played by few geeks and linux users while there are millions of potential players.

Check etherpad for current plan. Customization/unlocking GUI will be part of lobby - just like in LoL.
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zwzsg
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by zwzsg » 15 Jun 2010, 15:30

SirMaverick wrote:
zwzsg wrote:
SirMaverick wrote:You cannot expect motivation by playing unfair games.
There's about a hundred PvP MMO that disagree with you.
Spring is not a mmo. Games in Spring are independent. They aren't a continuous game like in WoW where you have a developing character.
So let's make CA games dependent, to make the experience closer to an (heavily instancied) MMO.
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maackey
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by maackey » 15 Jun 2010, 18:23

SirMaverick wrote: First, ... second and ... third reason not to do it.

You should be motivated by different strategies and maps you can play and how you get better at it over time. You cannot expect motivation by playing unfair games.
I want to do it though. If that makes me unreasonable oh well. I don't want at all unbalanced games. That is not the goal of Modular Commanders. The commander gives the player something to relate to, and personalize. Not everybody is motivated by the same things. If we only have excellent strategies on varied maps we'll only attract people who want excellent strategies on varied maps. Some people (the majority, most likely) aren't motivated by that, but like to customize their own units; make them unique (as unique as can be).

Also I think polish is extremely important for games. (as much as I sound hypocritical for all my unpolished/unfinished models) Its hard to describe, but a well put together game can be leaps and bounds better than an otherwise equivalent one.

@pxtl: In game customization would be ideal, at least in my opinion. The big setback is the interface and getting the real-time changes to the commanders to work during the game.

Otherwise it seems like the only disagreement is whether upgrades should affect the game or be just purely visual. I'm not too fond of just visual upgrades, however I also don't want upgrades that are flat out bought external to the game.

I think unlockables would be really neat though, you'd still have to pay for them in-game when upgrading -- but you could only access certain special items if you have the required gametime or contributions or the like.
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CarRepairer
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by CarRepairer » 15 Jun 2010, 18:32

Okay, if upgrades actually require you to pay metal then I can handle it so long as the game remains balanced. The player pays metal to upgrade his comm while his opponent without upgrades pays metal to build his base and no one gets an advantage that way, that's fine.

And of course have the option to let hosts disable such things if they really want. We'll never please everyone but we can do our best to give them the options they want.
Licho wrote:Also Car wtf - PlanetWars was height of CA! It had most players. People complaining were mostly devs - Saktoth, Google and you..
I complained as a player, not as a dev. A casual player who played rarely and got very few upgrades compared to my opponents. It didn't play like CA at all to start the game facing an army of 15 tanks before I could finish building my first unit.
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Neddie
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Re: Modular Commanders

Post by Neddie » 15 Jun 2010, 19:20

PlanetWars did bring a number of people into semi-regular games but failed to retain them, for various reasons.

Maackey, I think the idea of modular commanders is a good one. I don't particularly think a lobby shop or staggered upgrades over time are, however. I understand the theory behind Licho's idea, but question the applicability - and I don't mean to cut into the motivation behind it, I'm just going to point to a key problem and offer some solutions.

Target Audience
League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth both serve as successor titles to a highly popular noncommercial title in a particular niche (RTt or real time task management) which was limited primarily by the lack of development control over the core engine. As a result, they entered the market with large preconstructed audiences, and found room to both flourish - there was only one serious prior competitor. Complete Annihilation is not as well favoured by the market situation. It is the third tier successor in some senses to Total Annihilation, with marked similarities to titles like Earth 2140. None of the titles it relates to proved market dominant, and it is competing in the greater RTS market which has dozens of active titles, many of which boast fewer than five thousand active players online. As I and others mentioned in the past, Complete Annihilation has a steep upward battle to capture an audience - right now the player base is present, in general, due to interest in development (Developers, Contributors, Ex-Developers) or due to opportunity, as the game is free.

There are a number of routes which could be taken to improve the footing of Complete Annihilation, besides rebranding and other things currently in process. I'll mention two; redirecting toward another market which is less saturated like RTT (Real Time Tactics), or gathering media support through commercial and viral advertising.


There are other problems, but I figure you can mull on that for now. I don't mean to derail, I simply felt pointing this out was a good idea.

It would be interesting if you offered abilities which appeared different but were functionally analogous - new visual effects, same game effects. This would increase the novelty of modular commander upgrades while limiting the balance difficulty posed by them. I don't necessarily advocate this route, I must admit that truly new abilities would be just as interesting, but I mention it as an option.
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