Defining Awesome — Current gameplay thoughts
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  • Current gameplay thoughts

    Written by . Posted at 5:14 am on July 29th, 2010

    I fixed bots yesterday cause they weren’t working with the new stuff like ladders and different angled slopes. They still don’t work fully but I got a chance to play a bit on the new map. I have some mixed feelings right now. I shouldn’t write about it but maybe my thoughts will clear out in the process of writing.

    This is about the deathmatch/teammatch gameplay not about the RTS idea. Long story short: I’m not making the RTS idea since when working with Victor we got better ideas. I haven’t done anything in the RTS direction so it was just something I wrote on my blog. I still think it would be cool but as I said I have better ideas. So Link-Dead currently is heading in the normal player-controlled driven game. A couple points:

    – The 2.5d aim point shooting which I described a couple posts earlier is removed. It feels weird, that’s all. I thought it would introduce a new challenge but there are countless other challenges which the player must face in this game. Aiming should be straightforward.

    – Encounters with enemies are very systematic. Meaning, they are like a process which steps can be predicted. For example:

    Player meets Enemy. Both are under cover. If they have equal weapons and health – none attack. They either use grenade or wait for team member to help. If any of the players feels more skilled then they might attack but winning in a situation like this is more of a game of chance.

    In a situation were players are not equal in equipment or health, or one is behind cover and the other is not of course the situation is easy and the outcome predictable.

    It’s like a chess game – a decision game. Mainly because you can’t dodge bullets due to slow movement. Your only defense is your mind – you must predict situations; assess your dangers, surroundings, enemies and make decisions instead of going Rambo and spraying bullets. Aiming skills for winning are needed like 10% in Link-Dead now. This is not bad per se because this is exactly as I have designed it and thought it out in my head. I am proud to have achieved this.

    My mixed feelings come from knowing that if I would make it more like Soldat were movement isn’t so restricted it would be instantly more fun.

    So why not do it like this? Because I get more hooked on games that are not jump ‘n shoot. I will have a lot of fun in 15 minutes in Quake 3 but I won’t play it for weeks. Whereas Day of Defeat takes longer to have fun but I will be hooked for weeks and I know a lot of mature players are like this too. The fun is more mellowed and spanned on a wider range but with a couple moments that are immensely satisfying.

    These mixed feelings also come from the fact that the game mechanics aren’t fully developed yet. Right now it is still a mix of the arcade and tactical approach. Aiming doesn’t have any recoil, bink or nothing. It’s just point and shoot. Introducing more variables to the tactical gameplay will bring more choices. Stuff like different weapons (not only guns but bombs, mines, traps) and attachments, more weapon variables, injuries, medkits etc. Finally I was thinking of going totally to the realistic/tactical side and introduce RPG elements: soldiers would have skill points like marksmanship, agility, speed, health, strength, luck(?). This would bring down monkey-gameplay down to near 0 (aiming would be like 0.1% of the game since whether you kill an enemy or not would be decided mostly by all of the variables and the decisions you made before actually pulling the trigger).

    A lot to think about. It would be really easy to make another Soldat at this point and it would be great but I really want to make something better. I want to make a game that isn’t on the market yet. What I described is a game that does not exist that’s why the idea excites me. I just have fears that it will be too difficult, that players are more acustomed to arcade games and that’s all they want; or that I myself won’t even like it! I don’t know since I never played a game like this before.

    In situations like these I always recall how much doubts I had when making Soldat. This is what happens when there is nothing to copy from – you are stepping into unknown territory. I really thought Soldat would be boring and pointless cause all you would do is run at each other and shoot. Well that’s what you do finally but people seem to love that simplicity. I hope my doubts with Link-Dead are of the same caliber. I really need to release the alpha as fast as possible and play with real people.

    Discussion is very much appreciated.

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    1. Mooseral

      Innovation is generally a good thing, especially when it’s founded upon some degree of iteration.

    2. Hey, don’t make a Soldat out of it at any rate. You can’t change your goals so drastically at this point. Go with the flow and make it as tactical as possible instead.

      Yea, implement all realistic features you can think of. Field of view, blurred/obstacled vison in the darknes/while moving, handicaped motion in general – eg you can’t switch directions from left to right instantly. And yea, you should glow with bright light/fart loudly any time you try to camp. SOUNDS should be crucial here as well, meaning you won’t last a minute even spreading arrows from rambo bow or berserker mode if you don’t have a decent earphones on.

      I’d skip experience mode if you’re no longer into developing rts style.

      Make it as diferent as possible, if it has gameplay, people will play it no matter how much stuff they have to manage.

    3. Hmm… ‘RPG’? Maybe make military rank system to know who’s commander. And about tactical co-op… Stop kidding everyone. You need players who can listen to you. It’ll be very nice to sit at ass behind cover and think how to flank or attack enemy. It’ll be nicer if somebody will command you (orders system? attack that [marker], go there [marker], stay here, covering fire etc.). And it’ll be paradise if somebody will listen to commander. Real paradise.
      Good it won’t be RTS. Think about Tactical Co-op or say sth about that “better ideas”.
      Hmm… I see now hacker behind cover trying to brake security in turret behind our enemies ;D
      31, over.

    4. Underline

      Well, a much complicated game is fun, but MAYBE you will not gain a large comunity like soldat’s one. That means MAYBE you will not make much money with the game.
      Anyway, you are building a game engine, you can make many games you wanna after (or before) link dead. Dont need to fear!

      Like you said: Get the basic working before moving to your bigger plans

    5. i like the rank idea, but how do you know people will actually use that ?

      more realism is a plus, if you want link dead to be tactical, it should be relevant to present-warfare dangers and variables.( and ofcourse add up the futuristic new weapons, armours, and possibilities )

      Map lay out : Bases, or camps. those should be hard points.

      Fighting in urban terrain with big sealable doors, auto turrets, electric fences, electric mines, buildings to climb on , vantage points. all the electric stuff and sealable doors can be used by hackers, opened, closed, shut off, turned on, set mines on, set mines off…

      If you want to add more depth, add vantage points, putting an MG or a Sniper in a certain position should greatly increase the chance of an assault/defend.

      Exampling ( in my point of view ) an assault on a secundaire base/hardpoint in an urban map, i see something like this:

      – 16 player teams ( just a low number )

      youd have about 3 hackers, 3 heavy support units. 2 heavy armoured assaulters, 6 infantry units, 1 engineer and 1 medic.

      the hackers will work on opening the doors, and turning the autoturrets off for the infantry to move in,

      the heavies will firstly enter the open spaces, because of their armour being able to withstand a lot more of fire

      heavy support will take positions in the already taken/owned structure, and will open cover fire on the likely enemy positions.

      engineers build up energy shields, for the infantry to find cover at, and will move onwards.

      hackers open the door of the enemy building.

      heavies move in, followed by infantry. heavy support units will keep the pressure on the enemy windows so barely any sniper fire or machine gun fire will nail the assault squad.

      the medics patch up wounded soldiers, and the engineers repair the heavies after setting up an energy shield combined with an autoturret.

      hackers turn the autoturrets against the enemy, which will be forced to retreat. heavy support moves into the newly captured structure and will prepare for counter attack.

      engineer sets up new turrets, mines and barricade for the assault squad to hold off the soon coming counter attack.

      This is really what youre looking for. Ive been following this blog since the very start, and everything you came up with, sums up to a Realistic 2D Tactical Warfare game.

      the above following of actions is just urban combat, i can come up with open field/trench warfare with vehicles aswell( ala blitzkrieg ), or labratory/base fighting( indoor combat which involves alot of engineering and hacking )

      How should you do it ?

      Variables are everything, dont make it too easy to kill an enemy. make it easy to be killed. force players to work together, force players to take cover, give covering fire, help their squadmates, help their team.

      i dont know if you ever considered , next to the heavy, a small assault suit ? slightly less armoured than a heavy, but equiped with jetboosters to scale up buildings, enter cracks and clear out buildings from above,

      ofcourse this could be accomplished by black-ops aswell ( grappling hooks ) but even they dont like to be under fire whilst climbing the building.

      Michal, if you would like, i could make some drawings of maps/warfare based ideas. but i wont forget that this is YOUR game.

    6. sorry for wall of text >.> dont hate me plz :(

    7. TLD, you gotta do what you gotta do.
      Know it? In your scenario everybody do his work, good.
      Why people won’t use it? I thought everybody want power and rule or not? Ok, so… oO – make commander man, one per team, he’ll do his job and his soldier’ll do their job. I always wanted to be commander of REAL ppl.
      MM, you said it won’t be RTS. My idea… Hm… I won’t be strategy after all. Of course it’ll be tactical co-op game 😛
      And again TLD, nice text btw. but no, no blitzkrieg. Blitzkrieg is for small maps too “blitz”.
      MM, as TLD said – it’s your game, good luck.

    8. Oh… There’s some mistakes above… ‘iT won’t be…’
      ‘soldiers will’.

    9. NooMoahk

      I like that you’re considering all options but that answer is already before you. Make this:

    10. sergant?

    11. WTF is this “arcade” game ppl are talking about? you mean non realistic? soldat is like quake yes, but it requires MORE skill than if it was a tactical slow paced shooter. Quake require MORE skill than Counter Strike does. I don’t see why people want to play tactical based games. A little slower of a game, sure, but not Link-dead slow. Maybe if you played quake daily you would actually start to see its stretegy and stop thinking of it as an “arcade game”.

      The thoughts your having now everyone predicted, but that’s ok I’m sure you did too. After seeing the first vid of LD I and everyone else had the same fears you have now.

      just do everything you can. it will become something great no matter what. Just make the changes that need to be made until it’s become something. Don’t worry so much. But if it is going to be like soldat, make it better than soldat. Though I think you know that soldat relies heavily on the polygon maps and acceleration.

      WHY SOLDAT EVEN WORKS #1 Jets (make up for loss of dimension.
      #2 Polygon maps and acceleration.

      Can something else work in the 2d shooter world? I dont know at all but you must be finding that out. I hope LD becomes something wonderful that’s for sure. Just be patient and try things.

    12. No man. No.
      “Better ideas” ? Seriously? Just… no.
      This post is a punch in the face and a huge drawback, maybe as huge as the time when you decided to reset link dead.
      Man, this isn’t cutting it… you are, in a way, reseting it again. The entire idea for which the engine was conceived and implemented is now just gone?

      I’m sorry to say this MM, but I think it has nothing to do with any “better idea”, instead I think you just didn’t think you can make it. You thought the AI would be a pain in the ass and the classes would have to be well balanced and so on, and so you just picked the easy way out. But that’s not how great things are done, man. You don’t pick the easy way out. You don’t. That’s how any bullshit game is done. So you just don’t. You don’t go studying physics and after a year say “hmmm, this is tough, but hey, I have a better idea, I made up my mind… maths is a bit like physics, so heck, I’ll just study maths instead!”. But you know what? You don’t start maths from the second year. You start from year one. Again.

      Are you gonna keep changing the idea until the idea fits your programming instead of your programming fiting the idea?

      This is what you’re doing, and I am honestly really dissapointed. This post ruined my day.

    13. robolee

      I think if at this point you don’t have an idea of what the game will be then you’ve basically failed. Tacking a game onto an engine is not the way to go. You design a game and then make the engine based on the game.

      I’m kinda disappointed that you are actually thinking about how the gameplay should be at this stage, when I saw the art or whatever it was a long time ago I thought it was game about fighting in a prison that for some reason was unguarded/abandoned, and the levels of gore and stuff seemed to fit with this setti- whoa whoa hold on I just checked back that was berserker… I forgot all about that and somehow merged it together with link-dead… well I’ve forgotten everything I was going to say now, but I think “MAKE BERSERKER” instead of this game because this game isn’t even an idea, it’s an engine, an engine in which you can easily make berserker which actually looked like it was a game with a concept behind it.

    14. Thanks for the encouragment guys!
      I think I’ll go all the way “tactical” and just see how it goes…

      TLD: That is a perfect Link-Dead match! I really want to achieve that.

      Tenshi: Man, this isn’t cutting it… you are, in a way, reseting it again. The entire idea for which the engine was conceived and implemented is now just gone?
      Haha no. The engine is perfect for both kinds of games. It was “conceived and implemented” with both in mind. Remember that I wrote you could control a player in the RTS?

    15. “MM: That is a perfect Link-Dead match! I really want to achieve that.”

      When I read the post I thought the entire class-concept goes, together with the RTS ideas.
      But if the concept around hackers, heavies, scouts, engineers etc. remains intact, then maybe it’s not THAT bad…

    16. Marc McMillon

      I like the concept of tactical gamplay, but the game will be more serious instead of fun – A.K.A Gears of War.

      I think the game needs gadgets and non-realistic signature weapons.

      – Grapple hook: Can change the tactical side on the battle field so you not so limited on movement.

      – A weapon where u can link two objects together then shoot them at an opponet. Simply fun and entertaining to see.

      – Type of portable cover or something that can create cover on the spot.

      – Destructible enviroment: Won’t make the game seem like its revolved around chance.

    17. i think saying soldat is like quake3 can fit. matches on public servers (with more low skilled guys) are often about to only kill the opponents, but as in q3 matches with good-pro guys are really intense and tactical as well. You also said you would not be able to have playing Q3 everyday or even for years , compared to soldat but as you see people are playing soldat for years daily! just because the battles/matches simply never get boring cause you managed to make a game with LOTS of opportunities. It has much more to offer then any other game i have even seen. Compared to CS where you can just walk and shoot you can make unbelievble things in soldat which requires a lot of experience & skill like throwing knifes, moving properly, doing boosts and more.

      I think Soldat is a Great Game but as you are doing a NEW Game you should NOT move in the soldat direction.
      But you should implement something like there is in Soldat “Realistic Mode” “Arcade Mode”.
      Your words were to not let influence by anyone cause only your thoughts are the thing which gonna make you happy. Of corse the community ( players voice ) is important in that excample but you should really try to not make a completetly new idea as you/we always liked the things you involved.

      “RPG”: Its yet difficult to say if this would be good, as we never played a proper map yet. but where would those “skill points” help you ? If a Berseker had more strength? what could it be helpful for ?

      public Ranks: are very important in my opinion, and maybe even something like achievements,levels cause they´re a huge motivater for playes to continue/start playing a game.

    18. As ever, I implore you to write a design document. I have no idea what your overall plan for LD is anymore, so while we can discuss particulars, it means nothing if you don’t know where you’re taking the game.

    19. The RTS idea was the same game just the controls where different. Instead of human players there would be AI players that you controlled.

      Marc McMillon: good points
      Destructible enviroment: Won’t make the game seem like its revolved around chance.
      Why is that? Elaborate please?

      darDar: “RPG”: Its yet difficult to say if this would be good, as we never played a proper map yet. but where would those “skill points” help you ? If a Berseker had more strength? what could it be helpful for ?

      More strength = more weapons you can carry without loss of speed and maneuverability.

    20. MM: Ever played Tribes (1 or 2)? One of the best team play FPS of all time :) – it also had jet packs.

      It evolved around teamwork. Literally you could not survive against a competent team, even in pub play.

      If you’re after more depth for Link Dead, maybe consider borrowing some of these elements from Tribes:

      1) Inventory Stations: You use these to change your loadout which included: Your weapons, your ‘back pack’ ability (such as a shield pack or ammo pack), and your armour (light/medium/heavy – light is weaker, but more agile).

      2) Armour / Backpack system: As above, you could mix and match your abilities as a player by picking what you wanted to use. For example, an offensive player may choose Light Armor and ‘Energy’ pack to jet pack faster. A defensive player may choose the heavy armor and a shield pack to help keep the base secure.

      3) Bases: Each side had a home base. A base held several structures such as: Inventory Stations, Base Turrets that shot enemies, sensors, and generators.

      Generators powered the entire base. If the generators were destroyed, Inventory Stations and Base Turrets would not work.

      Taking the enemy team’s generators offline was always useful, you cripple them a bit as they could not pick new weapons or switch to heavy armour.

      4) Skill based weapons. Tribes’ main weapon was a ‘disc launcher’ that shot a spinning disk like a rocket; you had to lead your targets.

      Those are some of the big concepts from Tribes, and they really added a huge bit of depth to the game:
      * Each team had players pick one of several roles: Light Offence (try and capture their flag, or harass), Heavy Offence (try and destroy the enemy base and take control of it to disrupt them), Light Defence (protect your flag), Heavy Defence (protect your base from oncoming attacks, or protect your flag).

      * Each role was valuable. If you were simply sitting in your base with heavy armour and a ‘repair pack’ to repair the base incase it was attacked, you were valuable because you kept your team’s ability to change loadouts and defend itself that much easier, for eg.

      Have you considered adding something like that to a game? You would really bring another level of depth to a game instead of it being ‘deathmatch with flags’.

      – Andrew

    21. In addition to my above post ^^, I wanted to reply directly to “- Encounters with enemies are very systematic. Meaning, they are like a process which steps can be predicted. For example:”.

      In Tribes it really varied.

      If you were a Light Offence player, you didn’t want to get in contact with anymore – you are weak (but fast) and just want to grab their flag and get out!

      If you were a Heavy Offence player, you were a bit vulnerable out in the open but once you were near their base you could shoot your big ‘mortar’ gun that had huge splash damage.

      Players would try and kill you quickly but you dealt heavy damage if they let you get so close to their base.

      Often times several Heavy Offence players would sit within the enemy base, keeping it offline.

      Whenever two players met in-game it varied depending on their roles and individual abilities.

    22. @Wes

      Skill required in Soldat would be a different kind of skill required in something like Link Dead.

      It’s pretty much dexterity (in games such as quake and soldat) vs logical thinking which would be more present in a tactical shooter.

    23. I always thought that you were gonna make Link-Dead even more customizable than Soldat, as in scripting. If one can script almost every aspect of the game, so much so that the only thing that could make it more customizable would be to release the source code. If you were to make it HIGHLY customizable, the game WILL be a hit, there’s just no doubt about it. That’s the ONLY reason Soldat still has 1,000 players. That’s why I’m still playing it every week at least. Variety is everything.

      Once you get scripring to a point where one could create a Soldat script INSIDE link dead, you know the game is gonna be a hit. Variety Variety Variety! Some will play regular link-dead, while others will play Soldat Link Dead. See?

      The RPG aspect you were talking about sounds great, but the probably your gonna have to overcome is high leveled players easily killing the newbs. That’s how to NOT get a fanbase xD

      What about moving objects? If implemented correctly, like a swinging bridge, it would greatly enhance the gameplay.

    24. Marc McMillon

      When there are destructible enviroments, the tactical decision can change at any time.


      1. Say there is a sniper 50 feet away. You know your outmatched. Throw a grenade to create a trench for cover until back up arrives.

      2. Both of have the same weapons and are in cover, except your opponet is under a large crate hanging from the crane. Shoot the chains holding the crate to give you a more satifying kill.

    25. Idea: Engineers can design items or weapons or something that others can use.

      If the game is to support scripting, a separate [sub]gamemode could be with RPG elements: experience, weapons and items available for use, items having weight limited by how much strength you have to carry and room, etc.

      The official gamemodes could be tactical co-op based, but the “less” official (could still be official) could be made to be completely unique gamemodes that that the public can make via scripting or special map setups (Soldat examples: climbing, or dodgeball).

    26. curious

      I second NooMoahk about your one epic battle/week idea.

    27. Useful stuff, thanks guys.

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