Announcement: Pylon Wars

Announcement: Pylon Wars

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Argh
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Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Argh » 19 Nov 2009, 21:12

I am writing a game type called Pylon Wars, as an eventual replacement for the Skirmish Module that ships with P.U.R.E.. I was originally just going to content myself with cleaning up Skirmish Module's logic and adding the two new races, but I eventually decided that this would be more fun. It builds on the strengths of Chickens, and adds additional interest to the game design.

Pylon Wars works like this:

1. All AI players start with a certain number of pylons. These are tough objects that take a long time to kill, and serve as spawn points.

2. Once play starts, new Units come through the Pylons at different intervals. These are then sent against enemy locations.

3. The objective of the game is to destroy all the Pylons. The player who has destroyed the most Pylons at the end (whether the human players are wiped out or not) is the victor.

4. The more Pylons are damaged or destroyed, the harder the enemies get, and the larger the waves get.

5. I am thinking about writing an achievement system module, so that people can unlock silly badges ala Flash games, and some other details.

If you are interested in helping with this project and are a Lua coder, please let me know. I will have the first draft of the basic game logic and a rudimentary UI working today.
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manolo_
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by manolo_ » 19 Nov 2009, 21:27

will it released for all or just included in p.u.r.e.?
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Argh
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Argh » 19 Nov 2009, 21:34

The code / content (bitmaps, any specific models etc.) will be released for all projects to use. It will need adaptation to local conditions, but it will be designed for easy portability.
Last edited by Argh on 19 Nov 2009, 21:46, edited 1 time in total.
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smoth
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by smoth » 19 Nov 2009, 21:35

Image

sorry can't help myself on this one...

Post a picture of the pylon model!
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Argh
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Argh » 19 Nov 2009, 21:41

Haven't built one yet.

Basic design concept in my head is that it's tech-y, has a hoop / losenge like design on a pedestal. In the hoop a black/blue particle effect "void" constantly cycles. New mobs would be accompanied with a smaller "void" cycling, and a nifty sound effect. Ideally, it'd have add-on bitz to show that it has gained self-defense capabilities- I'm thinking anti-ground lightning, anti-air lasers, and a shield when the Pylon People are finally annoyed enough.
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knorke
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by knorke » 19 Nov 2009, 22:40

Sounds like chicken with longer time between waves, so that players have more time to counterattack?
A Problem I see is that the chickens spread out over time and make more nests, where as the number of pylons will go down of the duration of the game.
So with the chicken its easy to see how they are getting more angry but with the pylonpeople it might be harder to make them appear dangerous?
Basic design concept in my head is that it's tech-y
If they are so techy, why would they send large waves of creeps that are killed easily? Maybe go for a ancient/mysterious/w40k choas look.

But overall I am looking forward to whatever new gamemode this will become :)
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Argh
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Argh » 19 Nov 2009, 23:35

Maybe go for a ancient/mysterious/w40k choas look.
Well, I'm open to designs, if people are going to do stuff, but I'm not really interested in talk-talk about it. If somebody comes up with concept model that looks like it'd be fun, we can use it.
Sounds like chicken with longer time between waves, so that players have more time to counterattack?
A Problem I see is that the chickens spread out over time and make more nests, where as the number of pylons will go down of the duration of the game.
So with the chicken its easy to see how they are getting more angry but with the pylonpeople it might be harder to make them appear dangerous?
I don't think that's a major problem.

The difficulty will ramp. That part is being built as soon as I get done typing this.

Eventually, you're facing hordes of the meanest things in the game, intent on blowing you up. Ideally, you want to play offensively early, since each frag will contribute a bit to the "anger" score, meaning that playing defensively and going for Nuke or whatever is probably a bad plan in the end. And ofc, the pylons can just as easily spawn their own Nuke-equivalents- there are no rules saying that they can't get defensive turrets around themselves, etc., so if you wait long enough, they can have strategic means of wiping a player out, not just hordes. And don't forget, the hordes can and will include aircraft.

Think of it as Chicken-like, but as the number of pylons decreases, they get harder and harder to actually kill, and may kill you off with strategic weapons, if you just porc. Hopefully, this will lead to an experience which lags less in late game, yet is more challenging. If that isn't hard enough, it'd be extremely easy to double, triple, etc. the hitpoints of the mobs, or simply increment them per round- round 10 might be 200% of standard hitpoints, round 20 300%, and so on, so that we don't have to have waves of hundreds to keep it very challenging. Or the "Anger" score can be a multiplier of the hitpoints... so the longer you dawdle, and don't kill pylons, the more dangerous individual units get. My objective here is to decrease the massive lag Chickens is prone to, basically. I think I like the anger-multiplier idea, I'll probably go ahead and do it that way.





Lastly, I think I'm fine on the game-design end of this. This is really a pretty simple game. I want help with the UI, though, if anybody's willing.

Basically, I'm looking for a UI that looks like a scoreboard, kind've like a baseball game (I was thinking of using a font that resembled the bulbs in one of those displays).

For each human team, it needs to track the following:

Kills (that means we need some code to actually determine who killed whom, via UnitDamaged / UnitDestroyed tracking).
Pylon Kills
Total score (I'm thinking 1 pylon == 100 kills)

It needs an attractive "row" system that adds new rows to hold scores, so that any number of players can play and have their score recorded.

At the top of the display, like an old-fashioned baseball game display, it should have an attractive header showing the round we're on, the number of Pylons remaining, the "anger" score, and the name of the current leader in terms of score.

At the bottom of the display, it should have a footer, and I was thinking it might be fun to have it flash various messages to players.

New rounds / waves should be announced with a sound and a visual display (simple animation using some sprites, maybe some "lights" flash on the board, or whatever)- I was thinking the airhorn sounds they use at professional sports games.

The scoreboard should be movable and resizable (keep aspect ratio, ofc). It needs to respond to LuaUI messages passing the wave number we're on, etc.
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Pxtl
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Pxtl » 20 Nov 2009, 01:55

Reminds me a bit of Gauntlet for Unreal Tournament. The game had a bunch of monster-spawners all over the map and you had to destroy them all.

The problem was the difficulty-curve sucked - you'd spawn in and the map was flooded with monsters and it quickly hit the monster-limit... then you'd get raepd over and over again until you spawned in a safe place and see if you could take out a single gate (probably not). THen you'd die and try it again... until you finally got a few gates down, and then it's a cakewalk.

Getting the difficulty curve just right for this sort of thing is tough.
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Argh
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Argh » 20 Nov 2009, 02:45

It won't have the same issue as a FPS with spawning, simply because everybody starts at the same time, by definition. The bigger problem is setting it up to continue to provide a reasonable challenge in late game. I think that should be possible. It will require some tweaks and settings to allow folks to select an appropriate level of challenge, ofc.

I am done with most of the base gamecode now- pylon classes, etc. I will need to scrounge around for a dummy Pylon so that I can start testing and extending things.
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Gedanken
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Gedanken » 20 Nov 2009, 04:32

Whatever you do, make sure the pylons don't look phallic hth
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KDR_11k
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by KDR_11k » 20 Nov 2009, 13:32

Could easily be done with KP since the Network already has the Ports.
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Tobi
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Tobi » 20 Nov 2009, 16:43

Moved to the appropriate forum.
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Argh
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Argh » 20 Nov 2009, 20:49

This was meant as a global project for everybody, but hey, whatever.
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Gota
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Gota » 20 Nov 2009, 23:00

Yo,show some pylons or somten.
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Neddie
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Neddie » 20 Nov 2009, 23:34

I can move it back if you'd like.
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Argh
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Argh » 21 Nov 2009, 00:59

Eh. I just thought it was strange that it was moved, given the intent.

I have the main gamecode done. The "AI" will attack players and each other, if multiple Pylon factions are present. I have built the basics of keeping score, and am working on ramping mechanics and other details.
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Argh
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Argh » 21 Nov 2009, 07:05

OK, it's getting interesting. The ramping functions are really fun. Well, if you're a game designer, anyhow.

Basically, it works like this:

You cause Anger by either damaging the Pylons, or by destroying the spawn. You also get a wee bit of free Anger every round, but it hardly even counts.

The more Anger you cause, the more enemies show up (up to a certain limit) and the more powerful they get (more hitpoints every round, once you pass a certain point).

This creates an interesting (imo) conundrum for the human players. If you attack the Pylons early, you may destroy a few, but then you've raised Anger so much that from there on out, you're facing maximum-tech waves in huge numbers that arrive frequently (and get more powerful over time, because their hitpoints keep going up). This is a big problem for the Chickens, because snacking on a Pylon looks like such a tasty way to get Materials (did I mention they have a weird economy?).

If you wait and tech 2 Krog, you might have Pylon-smacking armies, but you don't have a lot of time before casualties cause enough Anger that you're right back in the same fix. So... timing, timing! And if you play with multiple AIs, they'll tend to attack each other's Pylons, which is good, but also bad. I have this feeling that this game's going to get downright vicious played co-op.

Needless to say, this is going to require a very gentle touch for each difficulty level. I like SP games that are fairly hard, but it's quite obvious after messing with the mechanics a bit that I'll need to let people adjust this to taste, with a very wimpy option for beginners, because once it ramps up, it's really brutal- the curve between speed and the fact that they get a little harder to stop each time... yikes.
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Google_Frog
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Google_Frog » 22 Nov 2009, 01:49

Sounds a bit like the design for chicken before someone ruined it with predefined waves.

How do the pylon spawned enemies choose targets? If they choose the closest target or actually scout then this could be an interesting FFA dynamic. FFA with chickens would be interesting but every spawned chicken attacks the same unit which makes the FFA too random.
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Argh
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by Argh » 22 Nov 2009, 03:44

They don't scout; I just have them target the most valuable things atm- your factories, fusions, etc., and if you don't have those, then they go for your remaining stuff. They are using Patrol, so they tend to do a fair amount of killing wherever they get sent.

Targeting... they choose three targets, priority on certain things first, then other stuff. They choose three targets, and patrol between their locations at the time the order's given (theoretically, this means that they can be spoofed; IRL, it's not been a major issue yet, they tend to end up in your base, or blowing chunks out of your perimeter defenses).

Difficulty-wise... I have tech levels that you cross as Anger goes up, and the enemies keep getting tougher to make up for the fact that I keep the total unit-count (both per-wave and total) a lot lower than Chickens got. So, they do come in waves... but the waves are distributed a lot differently than Chickens (the more pylons you kill, the more predictable the spawn location, but the harder the game gets- after 3 or 4, you're facing waves with multiple Overlords atm... prolly needs to be toned down a bit, heh).

I figured that a scouting routine would just slow it down too much, CPU-wise, and thus far they do a fine job of killing; the real question is setting the ramping so that it's fun. Right now, it's still too vicious to be fun to most people, at least in P.U.R.E., where you can't d-gun, there aren't any Nuke-class things that can one-hit them, and I don't allow the Pylons to be captured, etc.

But my objective isn't to build a "real AI", by any means, but a game that can be played for lolz and to learn the units and timing of P.U.R.E. well enough to play it MP. Something a lot more robust and easy to work with (and hopefully less buggy) than Skirmish Module, basically.

Oh, and if you set them up MP (in TASClient; SL doesn't work atm) they'll fight each other as well as players, which gets brutal really fast, for anybody caught in the crossfire.

I didn't go for the wave approach though, because, after having coded a bunch of waves for the Skirmish Module, which is basically just a hack of a hack of Chickens, I didn't like how it worked. That, and Skirmish Module ended up being a giant muddle, code-wise, and I wanted to start with something really straightforward and clean, because the basic concepts can be used for other game variations- you could use a lot of this to do arcade-style run-and-gun games (spawn stuff off screen, either patrol or send them at the player's position), amongst other stuff, or do a Gauntlet-style game where the Pylons are the monster generators. There are a lot of uses for robust, simple things that create a basic dynamic like this, so the actual gamecode is kinda just a concept demo really.
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AF
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Re: Announcement: Pylon Wars

Post by AF » 22 Nov 2009, 21:55

Scouting never was a huge hit in the AIs. Infact arguably of all the mechanisms in the AIs, scouting was one of the fastest and cheapest.

I would not rule it out on performance grounds. If you must, make them move to random resource spots and you've got an uber uber cheap scouting algorithm thats highly effective.

It would also allow you to attempt to hide from the pylons. A lot of more emergent behaviour would also become possible.
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