"You are wasting a good idea."

Whiskey-Tango-FoxtrotWhiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Join Date: 2006-10-31 Member: 58116Posts: 27Members
WARNING: Tough Love
I used to post under "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" and I have been around since BETA 6.

This is going to sound harsh but keep in mind this is tough love and in no way is this meant to hurt anyone...

I recently caught up on the podcasts and in the 7th podcast Charlie and Max talk a little about the commander concept and possible tweaks for NS2. When I finished the transcript I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, specifically, I felt that I have lost all confidence in the DEVs.

About 3-4 years ago, right around the time that the Pub Community for NS Classic was stagnating and there was a raging debate in the community among Pub Regulars and Clanners about the direction of NS. I was involved in a thread (I may have started it) about the evolutioin of the NS resource model that branched into ideas about the future of the FPS/RTS concept as well as gameplay models for NS. It was theoretical as much as practical but we discussed the problems of the NS model and possible improvements.

There were many great contributions to that thread both from regular Pubbers and Clanners, it didn't seem to get much attention from the DEVs (they didn't post in it but I hope they read it). It was shortly after that thread my interest in NS started to wane... I was a NS Classic Pubber and it was a bad time for us, hence my attempt to promote NS Classic and encourage discussions on how to make it better.

That thread was 3 years ago, flash forward to PODCAST 7 and from what I have read Charlie and Max is still theorizing about the commander concept? I always thought the FPS/RTS model has potential, and I had high hopes that concept would be incredible fun for a Sci-fi game in the same vein as NS. However, and I used to express this opinion quite a bit, the model will require rigorous testing to make it fun and practical. It needs to be tested by both Clanners and Pubbers with a mix of both newbs and vets.

I'm going to put it bluntly Charlie, "You are wasting a good idea."

If you want NS2 to be more popular than NS you need to avoid the same mistakes that were made in NS but from what I have read so far, it doesn't look like you guys have harvest anything significant from NS!?!?! How could you still be "humming and hawwing" about something as fundamental as the Commanders basic abilities?

I know games are for Fun, but from your perspective Charlie, it's a business and TIME IS MONEY. I understand you haven't been paid to do much of the work and you have been actively looking for investors but it doesn't seem like the NS model has advanced an inch for years!

By advanced I mean, serious testing of the FPS/RTS model for NS. There was some basic problems in NS that was huge when it came to encourage teamplay in Pubs and for the competitiveness of Clan play. Those problems need to be addressed and unless there is some serious effort into testing alternatives NS2 will just be NS with a visual update. Even though NS was popular relative to the other mods that existed, the problems that held it back from being the top MOD will still be a problem in NS2.

There needs to be some serious discussion and more importantly serious testing if NS2 wants to become more than a niche game. All I see in here is fluff, and what's worse, I hardly hear anything significant about NS2. I don't mean screenshots or a NS2TR... I just mean gameplay elements (ie. RTS/FPS model, resource model) that advance the NS model and possible solutions to the problems we had in NS.

Maybe I'm being harsh but I'm going to give everyone a chance to respond before I post more of my thoughts.

PS: I have long forgotten my password and email attached to my old account but if one of the mods can assist me in recovering it I would love to log in and try to retrieve some of the threads I am talking about. IM me if that is possible.
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Comments

  • invader Ziminvader Zim Join Date: 2007-09-20 Member: 62376Posts: 255Members
    For those of us that wernt playing ns 4 years ago and didnt read that thread, could you expand upon the "problems"

    i think ur comments are interesting but i dont really know what their about, forgive my nievity.

    I didnt realise the DEVS were questioning whether or not to axe the rts.fps idea, i jsut thought they wanted to evolve it and change it abit.

    My experience of playing the most recent versions of NS1 is that there are far more issues with game play on the alien team that the rts/fps balance on the marine team.

    As far as the comms basic abilties goes i think there needs to be debates aobut what has and hasnt worked so well in ns1 which is discussed in another thread.

    I do agree that there isnt much specific info on what decisions they have made for NS2 but i just figured thats the nature of game development.

    And i expect the game will be throughly tested when its in a state for proper testing, they may be testing it atm for all i know. Though one thought is they could release another version of ns1 to test out ideas for ns 2
  • StixNStonzStixNStonz Join Date: 2006-11-06 Member: 58439Posts: 1,180Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    IMO the NS resource model is perfect. Its taken this long to get it to where it is; NS2 can't afford 4 years of overhauls once its on the retail shelf, it has to be ready. Hence why i hold to it that NS2 should remain very close to NS.

    Of course, it could still get some tweaks, but the basic 10-rt, 1 in start, 1 res every 4 seconds, seems like it works very well. Tweaks could be like the suggested 2-res for an alien killing an rt, or any number of other ideas found in the forums that show ways the system could be modified. Im sure many of them would prove unbalanced, but i've always found that the best way to make people play the way they 'should' play to get the best experience, is to give them incentives.

    The problems with NS' popularity are not directly derived from the quality of the game. The game itself is absolutely phenomenal. Its problems with the playerbase are mostly due to being a mod (hence getting the attention of a mod; barely any, meaning that not many ppl hear about it); the learning curve (making it so hard for new people to get into it); the age of the engine (even the NS1 screenshot on the UWE page looks horrible, doesnt do the game justice); and the vast availability of new, awesome games.

    If NS2 was a carbon copy of NS1 but with new, pretty graphics (which would mainly come from the props and map quality found in Source), being sold over Steam with the relevant Steam advertising, I think it would be pretty big. Toss in some video tutorials that not only really help with the learning curve, but can also act as mini-trailers (akin to the Meet the Soldier etc), and NS2 would be huge.

    Add in a bunch of new features, and they could either make it even bigger, or damage the balance or be gimmicky, and hurt it.

    You're right, way too much time is being spent on the planning here, or at least from our point of view. The work they've done on making new tools to help with the development sounds awesome, and i'm sure it will produce some great results; but at some point you have to stop making tools, and start using them. How much of the coding is being reworked? I'd think that a lot would be ported over. Hows the coding coming?

    We have no updates on anything concrete. It could be that not a single texture out of 200 is ready yet, not a single prop out of 100. Im sure there are some done, but is it only 10% done? 30%? Aside from visuals, how close is the game to being 'designed' on paper?

    Bleh
    Professional Game and Level Designer, thanks to NS!
    Creator of Ns_Nexus (ns1); Main thread found here.
  • Whiskey-Tango-FoxtrotWhiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Join Date: 2006-10-31 Member: 58116Posts: 27Members
    QUOTE(invader Zim @ Nov 2 2007, 09:30 PM) »
    For those of us that wernt playing ns 4 years ago and didnt read that thread, could you expand upon the "problems"

    i think ur comments are interesting but i dont really know what their about, forgive my nievity.

    I didnt realise the DEVS were questioning whether or not to axe the rts.fps idea, i jsut thought they wanted to evolve it and change it abit.

    My experience of playing the most recent versions of NS1 is that there are far more issues with game play on the alien team that the rts/fps balance on the marine team.

    As far as the comms basic abilties goes i think there needs to be debates aobut what has and hasnt worked so well in ns1 which is discussed in another thread.

    I do agree that there isnt much specific info on what decisions they have made for NS2 but i just figured thats the nature of game development.

    And i expect the game will be throughly tested when its in a state for proper testing, they may be testing it atm for all i know. Though one thought is they could release another version of ns1 to test out ideas for ns 2


    Don't apologize for being new buddy! smile-fix.gif Good to see NS is still attracting some new players.

    Hopefully a mod can assist me in retrieving my old account because I can pull up some of those threads. Problems that were hotly debated was the resource model for Pub and Clan play. That was central to the thread I referred to. There was also quite a bit of discussion on how to improve the RTS/FPS model because of the integral problem of commander experience. Games can easily be ruined if the commander is not experienced enough. I'll be sure to post the links for those threads when I find them.

    You actually nailed one of the ideas for what the DEVs could be doing. I understand we are far from a playable map for NS2 but it is still possible to experiment with NS1. All it requires is organization and a good mix of volunteers. One of the problems with NS was the less than scientific way the game was tested and balanced.
  • Whiskey-Tango-FoxtrotWhiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Join Date: 2006-10-31 Member: 58116Posts: 27Members
    Thanks for replying StixNStonez! smile-fix.gif

    I don't know the level of play occuring on Pubs nowadays, is it mostly Combat or are people playing Classic? I think a direct port of NS to the Source engine will sell. Will it move in a way that is significant to Charlie's bank account I am not so sure. You have to remember, 5 years ago RTS/FPS was fresh and unique... that is no longer the case.

    That is why my feeling is that Charlie is wasting a good idea.

    I would have to disagree about NS is perfect but I would have to agree that the NS model is very balance sensitive. Even minor tweaks may have major consequences. That is why I am so anal (and others have expressed this opinion as well) about testing is exactly because of how balance sensitive things can be.

    My critcism of the Dev team is that they have not made an progress from NS. By the 3rd year the reached a critical mass of players and NS was out long enough for all the unbalances to emerge. Yet when I read Charlie and Max talk about the gameplay of NS... it sounds as though they are still at the drawing board when they actually have at least 2-3 years of experience to work with.

    I don't want to dig up too much old drama but this whole thing seems to be rooted in a lack of organization in development.
  • ultranewbultranewb Pro Bug Hunter Join Date: 2004-07-21 Member: 30026Posts: 275Members
    If you listened to Valve's developer commentary, they hit the nail on the head - paraphrased:

    "How do you make the game fun when you have a terrible commander, or when the commander has a terrible team?"

    Given the amount of money, time, and talent Valve has and they reasoned to drop the whole idea of the FPS/RTS mix, why do you feel it's a mistake for this team to be seriously rethinking this game mechanic?

  • StixNStonzStixNStonz Join Date: 2006-11-06 Member: 58439Posts: 1,180Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    Well, for one thing, when you have good commander, and a 'good game', it creates way more enjoyment than any round on TF, CS, or practically anything else.

    But it does come at the price of the occasional bad game.
    Professional Game and Level Designer, thanks to NS!
    Creator of Ns_Nexus (ns1); Main thread found here.
  • Steve0Steve0 Join Date: 2007-07-17 Member: 61615Posts: 80Members
    QUOTE(StixNStonz @ Nov 3 2007, 02:20 AM) »
    Well, for one thing, when you have good commander, and a 'good game', it creates way more enjoyment than any round on TF, CS, or practically anything else.



    QFT
  • SariselSarisel .::' ( O ) ';:-. .-.:;' ( O ) '::. Join Date: 2003-07-30 Member: 18557Posts: 2,192Members, Constellation
    QUOTE(StixNStonz @ Nov 2 2007, 10:20 PM) »
    Well, for one thing, when you have good commander, and a 'good game', it creates way more enjoyment than any round on TF, CS, or practically anything else.

    But it does come at the price of the occasional bad game.


    Understatement Alert.

    Commandermode fails for the majority of pub games, which is where the majority of players play. You needed to sample games back when there were actually more than 4 servers around and then make conclusions about how many bad games were caused by bad commanders.

    Honestly, the only reason why it isn't any worse is because there are an equal amount of blockheads that are running in straight lines into marine fire as skulks.

    The commandermode needs to be reworked at the very least for pub play. Competitive play at least has players who understand the basics of commanding theory.
  • CanadianWolverineCanadianWolverine Join Date: 2003-02-07 Member: 13249Posts: 1,010Members
    What have I seen in this thread that adds naught else but criticism, and awfully early criticism at that. This comes across like back seat driving ... before the car has even been started, let alone built.

    You are in the wrong, they are taking the steps to create a flow from implementation, to testing, to balancing - of all their ideas. They openly admit they want "Quality Assurance" to be a integral part of their cycle to put out a bad ass multiplayer game. They do not have a set in stone design document on this, they are fluid to respond to challenges but firm on targets. Even if you have not listened to the latest podcast, I think you would have realized the fault in condemning the work of brain storming along with their actual work in progress.

    This thread is an open invitation to flame when you do not respect your role in the process. If you think you can do better than the Devs, put your money and time where your mouth is like they have.

    If you won't take my word for it, at least listen to the 4 Pillars of the 9th podcast.

    mad-fix.gif
  • digzdigz be still, maggot Join Date: 2002-05-07 Member: 588Posts: 871Members, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Constellation mod
    I think it would be safe to assume that they aren't going to release their final implementations/designs for core features of the game. With that I can believe that the experiences of developing NS has certainly influenced what will come in the next version.
    NS Forum Moderator. Feel free to Message me.
    It only takes 2 bites [insert parasite] to get to the center of a meatpop.
  • StixNStonzStixNStonz Join Date: 2006-11-06 Member: 58439Posts: 1,180Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    Not releasing their features for the final game? Guess they'll have an engine with no maps then. tounge.gif
    Professional Game and Level Designer, thanks to NS!
    Creator of Ns_Nexus (ns1); Main thread found here.
  • BacillusBacillus Join Date: 2006-11-02 Member: 58241Posts: 2,714Members
    QUOTE(Sarisel @ Nov 3 2007, 04:47 AM) »
    Understatement Alert.

    Commandermode fails for the majority of pub games, which is where the majority of players play. You needed to sample games back when there were actually more than 4 servers around and then make conclusions about how many bad games were caused by bad commanders.

    Honestly, the only reason why it isn't any worse is because there are an equal amount of blockheads that are running in straight lines into marine fire as skulks.

    The commandermode needs to be reworked at the very least for pub play. Competitive play at least has players who understand the basics of commanding theory.

    I've never completely understood why its so difficult to learn commanding. After all, the basic mechanics are quite simple: Cap res, tech up and take out the 2nd hive. Player skills changing the outcome so much is probably one thing, but it doesn't explain it all the way. Is it just the fact that ns attracts so many people not familiar with the rts games?
  • SariselSarisel .::' ( O ) ';:-. .-.:;' ( O ) '::. Join Date: 2003-07-30 Member: 18557Posts: 2,192Members, Constellation
    edited November 2007
    QUOTE(Bacillus @ Nov 3 2007, 11:56 AM) »
    I've never completely understood why its so difficult to learn commanding. After all, the basic mechanics are quite simple: Cap res, tech up and take out the 2nd hive. Player skills changing the outcome so much is probably one thing, but it doesn't explain it all the way. Is it just the fact that ns attracts so many people not familiar with the rts games?


    NS is primarily an FPS game, with RTS components. FPS games are usually separate from RTS gamers. FPS gamers are usually not so good in RTS and vice versa. A small subset of RTS gamers will play NS. A smaller subset will keep on playing it. An even smaller subset are any good at RTS and might be able to command.

    As for learning how to command, the basics are simple and many players do get it. However, the basics don't make a decent commander. It is necessary to know how to use medpacks, ammo, where to direct players, what areas of the map to focus on, how to respond to the dynamic state of map control, etc. If anything, commanders ruin games when they know the basics and just play by the basics. It's much more complex than that and there are huge consequences for what appears to be subtle differences in how the commander plays.

    It also doesn't help that NS attracts mostly little children (ranges from age 5-18) who can't afford a good enough computer to play better games. Usually they aren't mature enough or even capable of learning semi-complex things and they are only getting worse with every generation. If you doubt it, just stop by a public school in your area sometime and ask to sit in during a few gr9-gr12 classes. If they actually let you do that (they probably won't), you'll see what I mean. (Well, maybe Finland might be better than North America with that).
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • digzdigz be still, maggot Join Date: 2002-05-07 Member: 588Posts: 871Members, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Constellation mod
    QUOTE(StixNStonz @ Nov 3 2007, 04:05 AM) »
    Not releasing their features for the final game? Guess they'll have an engine with no maps then. tounge.gif


    It's all text based.

    CODE
    Player> Move East

    Game> Player sees a Khara, Skulk Class

    What will you do?_

    Player> Shoot Skulk

    Game> You miss.  You die.

    What will you do?_


    I've already given away too much...
    NS Forum Moderator. Feel free to Message me.
    It only takes 2 bites [insert parasite] to get to the center of a meatpop.
  • Whiskey_Tango_FoxtrotWhiskey_Tango_Foxtrot Mr. Acronym Join Date: 2002-07-05 Member: 885Posts: 29Members
    I understand my thread may have annoyed you CanadianWolverine but thanks for taking the time to reply.

    QUOTE(CanadianWolverine @ Nov 3 2007, 05:00 AM) »
    What have I seen in this thread that adds naught else but criticism, and awfully early criticism at that. This comes across like back seat driving ... before the car has even been started, let alone built.


    We just passed the 5th Anniversary of NS. I think your analogy is a little incorrect because Charlie has expressed in the past that NS is the precursor to a retail game. Even though the title is NS2 it is really just an evolution of NS. The car has been built (NS), test driven , and there has been several revision of the design already. What is the purpose of creating a prototype and testing it? To uncover any design flaws so they can be addressed for the final product. Why I am so critical of the process so far is because of this snippet from Podcast 7 in reference to the RTS-side of the model (Commander Mode). Keep in mind earlier in the Podcast Charlie alluded to doubling the importance of the commander:

    7th Podcast
    QUOTE
    Max: So, some of the things he mentioned, where if you have a bad commander how do you keep that from ruining everyone else’s play experience, um… actually one of the things we mentioned…

    Charlie: How do you want to do that? There are lots of ways, I have lots of ideas, I don’t know what’s going to work, but.


    It was upon reading this that I started to lose confidence in the development process for NS. You must understand that the role of the commander and the relationship between the commander level and the troop level is integral to the whole NS gameplay model. 5 years into the development of NS and now into the development of NS2 (the retail product) and the Devs are still trying to answer this question?!?!

    To make it worse, has there been any active effort to rigorously test, experiment, and advance our understanding of this major problem?

    You want to use a car analogy, I think what I am questioning it is closer to this; "How can you produce a car to be sold to the public without figuring out how the make the tires spin in the right direction first?"

    QUOTE
    You are in the wrong, they are taking the steps to create a flow from implementation, to testing, to balancing - of all their ideas. They openly admit they want "Quality Assurance" to be a integral part of their cycle to put out a bad ass multiplayer game. They do not have a set in stone design document on this, they are fluid to respond to challenges but firm on targets. Even if you have not listened to the latest podcast, I think you would have realized the fault in condemning the work of brain storming along with their actual work in progress.


    Okay, you say I am in the wrong but you listened to the 7th Podcast right. Where I got the idea of the development process for NS came directly from the Charlie's mouth.

    7th Podcast
    QUOTE
    Charlie: Although I have to say, I really didn’t know if that approach would work at all, it was more like, just get it out there and try it.
    Max: Right.
    Charlie: And we had nothing to lose, and that’s the great thing about making a mod. You don’t have anything to lose. But now we do have stuff to lose, ostensibly, though I don’t know if that’s actually true, but
    Max: But NS1 it did well, so I think at the baseline we know that that concept definitely can work, and that people enjoy it.
    Charlie: Just on raw popularity, you can make a pretty compelling argument that it could work.
    Max: Right.
    Charlie: Or that it does work. Even in the kind’ve naive implementations you saw in Natural Selection 1. Which it wasn’t, you know, it’s not bad, it’s just, we learned a lot from that.
    Max: So that’s kind’ve the base line, we know that the idea works, and that those kind’ve problems are, at least, addressable to some degree.


    At this point in time I would hope they have a process because they are producing a retail product to be sold... but by the way they are still discussing the fundamental gameplay elements of NS... it sounds like they are still in the brainstorming phase... after 5 years.

    QUOTE
    This thread is an open invitation to flame when you do not respect your role in the process. If you think you can do better than the Devs, put your money and time where your mouth is like they have.


    I hope you are not accusing me of starting a flame war because I have tried to be as respectful as possible and back up my opinion. I don't want to make these observations but because of my loyalty to the community and the potential of the idea, I took to time to point out the ugly truths that no one seem to have addressed. I point it out so it can be fixed... I didn't take the time to submit feedback because I'm rooting for NS2 to fail.

    Now, regarding "putting your money where my mouth is..." I think comment is out of line and completely irrelevent to our dicussion. I'm going to ignore this flamebait question and I hope you refrain from any more questions of the type.

    QUOTE
    If you won't take my word for it, at least listen to the 4 Pillars of the 9th podcast.


    I'm planning to listen to it and I will definately post my thoughts. Looking forward to hearing something more indepth (I hope).
  • Whiskey_Tango_FoxtrotWhiskey_Tango_Foxtrot Mr. Acronym Join Date: 2002-07-05 Member: 885Posts: 29Members
    QUOTE(digz @ Nov 3 2007, 05:52 AM) »
    I think it would be safe to assume that they aren't going to release their final implementations/designs for core features of the game. With that I can believe that the experiences of developing NS has certainly influenced what will come in the next version.


    Thanks for dropping by and commenting Digz. Tactical Gamer was one of my favorite Pub servers back in the day. I recall getting my ass whooped and then whooping some ass with you a few times. smile-fix.gif

    I think StixNStonz nailed it, if they are going to the community for maps the DEVs will have to release information about the game so the mappers can properly balance the map.
  • digzdigz be still, maggot Join Date: 2002-05-07 Member: 588Posts: 871Members, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Constellation mod
    edited November 2007
    Whiskey, I think you're taking the Podcasts for granted. Don't read too much into these informal discussions, which are essentially "bonus" news items meant to keep the community involved in what's going on with UWE. If there is something that they really think you should know about they'll write up an official news post/statement.

    P.S. (I respond too slowly...)

    I'm sure with the release of the NS2 map kit, they'll include/make available official documentation. If not, we can always harass them until they do. smile-fix.gif
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    NS Forum Moderator. Feel free to Message me.
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  • MaxMax Technical Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment Join Date: 2002-03-15 Member: 318Posts: 1,650Super Administrators, Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, Constellation, Subnautica Developer admin
    I'm a bit confused about what you're saying Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Are you saying that we are changing the commander role too much or too little (or in the wrong way)? The most confusing thing to me is this comment:

    QUOTE(Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot @ Nov 2 2007, 02:09 PM) »
    That thread was 3 years ago, flash forward to PODCAST 7 and from what I have read Charlie and Max is still theorizing about the commander concept? I always thought the FPS/RTS model has potential, and I had high hopes that concept would be incredible fun for a Sci-fi game in the same vein as NS. However, and I used to express this opinion quite a bit, the model will require rigorous testing to make it fun and practical. It needs to be tested by both Clanners and Pubbers with a mix of both newbs and vets.

    Testing by itself doesn't improve anything. Testing AND making changes based on experience is how things get better. In the podcast Charlie said that when he originally came up with the idea for a commander, he didn't have any idea how it would work in actual games or for the average player. After 5 years of NS, we think we have some ideas on how to make that better and that's going to be our starting point for NS2 testing. That's what we were talking about in the podcast.
    Max McGuire
    Technical Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • FirewaterFirewater Balance Expert Join Date: 2002-12-12 Member: 10690Posts: 2,091Members, Constellation
    edited November 2007
    QUOTE(Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot @ Nov 2 2007, 05:09 PM) »
    I used to post under "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" and I have been around since BETA 6.

    This is going to sound harsh but keep in mind this is tough love and in no way is this meant to hurt anyone...


    okie dokie

    QUOTE
    I recently caught up on the podcasts and in the 7th podcast Charlie and Max talk a little about the commander concept and possible tweaks for NS2. When I finished the transcript I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, specifically, I felt that I have lost all confidence in the DEVs.


    Interesting, after hearing the commander podcast I was actually quite excited

    QUOTE
    About 3-4 years ago, right around the time that the Pub Community for NS Classic was stagnating and there was a raging debate in the community among Pub Regulars and Clanners about the direction of NS. I was involved in a thread (I may have started it) about the evolutioin of the NS resource model that branched into ideas about the future of the FPS/RTS concept as well as gameplay models for NS. It was theoretical as much as practical but we discussed the problems of the NS model and possible improvements.


    There were many great contributions to that thread both from regular Pubbers and Clanners, it didn't seem to get much attention from the DEVs (they didn't post in it but I hope they read it). It was shortly after that thread my interest in NS started to wane... I was a NS Classic Pubber and it was a bad time for us, hence my attempt to promote NS Classic and encourage discussions on how to make it better.


    Given the update system for NS, it would be difficult. Using LUA scripts allows the developers to do live updates.

    QUOTE
    That thread was 3 years ago, flash forward to PODCAST 7 and from what I have read Charlie and Max is still theorizing about the commander concept? I always thought the FPS/RTS model has potential, and I had high hopes that concept would be incredible fun for a Sci-fi game in the same vein as NS. However, and I used to express this opinion quite a bit, the model will require rigorous testing to make it fun and practical. It needs to be tested by both Clanners and Pubbers with a mix of both newbs and vets.


    Testing with players that are new to the game or are not skilled really won't yield any useful results. Those in the lower standard deviations are going to do so regardless of whatever dev changes are made to the game. The game should be tested by those who are competent in the game. The most competent in the game are usually competitive players. Of course there are pub players that can contribute, but to be honest, a lot of pub players would have little to contribute to the balance end of the game because they are gonna get murdered regardless of changes.

    QUOTE
    I'm going to put it bluntly Charlie, "You are wasting a good idea."


    Huh?

    QUOTE
    If you want NS2 to be more popular than NS you need to avoid the same mistakes that were made in NS but from what I have read so far, it doesn't look like you guys have harvest anything significant from NS!?!?! How could you still be "humming and hawwing" about something as fundamental as the Commanders basic abilities?


    The changes in the command system are quite positive. Having less demand/responsibility on the commander significantly helps the marine team. If the marines in NS1 have a crap commander the odds of them winning are significantly lower. 1 player out of an 8 or 9 man team can ruin successful if they are not good at commanding. Giving a little more autonomy will actually attract more users to the game. The more things a player can do on their own the better.

    QUOTE
    I know games are for Fun, but from your perspective Charlie, it's a business and TIME IS MONEY. I understand you haven't been paid to do much of the work and you have been actively looking for investors but it doesn't seem like the NS model has advanced an inch for years!


    I dunno how to respond to this. The changes that are being made to the commander model will actually attract more players because they can still have a good time in the game if the commander is terrible.

    QUOTE
    By advanced I mean, serious testing of the FPS/RTS model for NS. There was some basic problems in NS that was huge when it came to encourage teamplay in Pubs and for the competitiveness of Clan play. Those problems need to be addressed and unless there is some serious effort into testing alternatives NS2 will just be NS with a visual update. Even though NS was popular relative to the other mods that existed, the problems that held it back from being the top MOD will still be a problem in NS2.


    I disagree about encouraging teamwork. Teamwork should be used when it is needed. Of course by working as a team will increase the odds of winning. But at the same token, players shouldn't be rewarded for things that they are supposed to do. There shouldn't be any bonuses for people who are humping each other's legs calling it "teamwork". Teamwork is simply a group of people working together to reach a certain goal. If you look at it from the macro view, you could understand that allowing players to do what they are good at is the best combination of what to do. If you look at it from a micro view, everyone has to be in a squad, and "roleplay" sorts of tactics and strategies, in an attempt to formulate teamwork, players actually formulate maladapative teamwork which doesn't help anyone. The best teamwork is to utilize all the assets on the team as effectively as possible.

    QUOTE
    There needs to be some serious discussion and more importantly serious testing if NS2 wants to become more than a niche game. All I see in here is fluff, and what's worse, I hardly hear anything significant about NS2. I don't mean screenshots or a NS2TR... I just mean gameplay elements (ie. RTS/FPS model, resource model) that advance the NS model and possible solutions to the problems we had in NS.


    They don't even have a playable alpha yet. You are trying to sprint before you can even crawl. I would just sit back and relax before making any critical points about the resource system or any features that have not been announced yet. Your post is preemptive, and really does not have any merit at this time.

    QUOTE
    Maybe I'm being harsh but I'm going to give everyone a chance to respond before I post more of my thoughts.


    Nah just irrational.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
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  • CanadianWolverineCanadianWolverine Join Date: 2003-02-07 Member: 13249Posts: 1,010Members
    QUOTE(Whiskey_Tango_Foxtrot @ Nov 3 2007, 01:03 PM) »
    I understand my thread may have annoyed you CanadianWolverine but thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Now, regarding "putting your money where my mouth is..." I think comment is out of line and completely irrelevent to our dicussion. I'm going to ignore this flamebait question and I hope you refrain from any more questions of the type.

    I'm planning to listen to it and I will definately post my thoughts. Looking forward to hearing something more indepth (I hope).


    In some ways, this is the post I wish you had done in the first post. Your reply was well thought out and I enjoyed reading it. I am glad you also want to see NS2 be a success.

    "Money where mouth is" was not meant as flamebait, only a wake up to that from our position we are watching what someone else is doing. I wish to continue the analogy: I know when I drive, I don't appreciate back seat driving, but I do appreciate help navigating the streets - its safer when I keep my eyes on the road and someone else reads the map and lets me know before a turn is coming up. If you want to drive, I would suggest getting your own car.

    Sure, we have a prototype vehicle, but it was built under different circumstances, with different tools, an lower budget, and different material components. Now they not only building a different model, it is intended for retail release and built in a manner of a factory line, rather than in their home's garage.

    I think others posting before me probably say it better, so I hope you have read their posts.

    I apologize if I was overly harsh, I just feel this need to defend what Unknown Worlds is trying to accomplish.
  • IncitatusIncitatus Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 4316Posts: 165Members
    oh cool NS2. been a while since I played NS, it was great fun specially if you got some good team play going
  • resresresresresres Join Date: 2007-10-16 Member: 62652Posts: 169Members
    QUOTE(Incitatus @ Nov 5 2007, 07:19 AM) »
    oh cool NS2. been a while since I played NS, it was great fun specially if you got some good team play going


    Random?

    Anyhoo, interesting ideas in here...
    I'll edit this post later when I have more time.

    skulk.gif



    End transmission.


    image
  • SuperflySuperfly Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 3485Posts: 245Members, Constellation
    Seems like a somewhat simple solution could be a commander ranking system where you can rank your commanders performance. The rank could stick with the player from server to server, so that the highest ranking commander/player gets first shot at command. Rank votes go both ways and could include an in game insignia to note a players commanding rank.

    There are no guarantees, but at least you can get a feel for whom you might want to command a tough map.
  • Whiskey_Tango_FoxtrotWhiskey_Tango_Foxtrot Mr. Acronym Join Date: 2002-07-05 Member: 885Posts: 29Members
    edited November 2007
    QUOTE(Max @ Nov 3 2007, 08:00 PM) »
    I'm a bit confused about what you're saying Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Are you saying that we are changing the commander role too much or too little (or in the wrong way)?


    Neither. I am talking about the Commander Role in general. Charlie obviously thinks it'll work, you think it'll work, and the whole reason I am here is because I think it'll work. But you know who doesn't think it will work that great... Robin Walker at Valve. I know they only spent months on it but a company with so many resources and minds must have researched and tested potential models and they couldn't come up with anything for some of the fundamental problems of the RTS/FPS gameplay model.

    I'm going to address some of Firewater's reply along with your reply Max. And thank you Firewater for replying BTW, I remember you are one of the most vocal voices and wicked players in the NS clan scene. We've probably tango'd before on threads about Pub and Clan play LoL. I'm honored that you took the time, even if it's to disagree with me.


    QUOTE(Firewater)
    Interesting, after hearing the commander podcast I was actually quite excited


    QUOTE(Firewater)
    The changes in the command system are quite positive. Having less demand/responsibility on the commander significantly helps the marine team. If the marines in NS1 have a crap commander the odds of them winning are significantly lower. 1 player out of an 8 or 9 man team can ruin successful if they are not good at commanding. Giving a little more autonomy will actually attract more users to the game. The more things a player can do on their own the better.


    Firewater I didn't say I hated their proposed tweak to the commander mode, in fact, I think it is a damn fine idea and well worth a try.

    But that is what it is right now... an good idea. How do we know if it will work? How will we figure it out without testing it? Which leads me back to your reply Max.

    QUOTE(Max)
    Testing by itself doesn't improve anything. Testing AND making changes based on experience is how things get better. In the podcast Charlie said that when he originally came up with the idea for a commander, he didn't have any idea how it would work in actual games or for the average player. After 5 years of NS, we think we have some ideas on how to make that better and that's going to be our starting point for NS2 testing. That's what we were talking about in the podcast.


    I don't disagree with you, I wholeheartedly agree. It's not the way your testing that bothers me Max, it's the LACK of testing.

    I'm totally thankful Charlie thought of the idea, implemented it, and made NS. I have been around for a chunk of that time supporting the idea and the game... but I am not just some drooling fanboy, I'm an honest, drooling fanboy and the ugly truth is; after 5 years, we still do not know on what level the commander mode works the best.

    Valve worked on the problem and Robin said one of the major issues was the bad commander/bad team under commander problem. Another one of the problems we have discovered through the development of NS is how to cultivate good commanders for Pub games.

    If I haven't made myself clear I apologize, that is my fault. Let me clarify;

    My worry is that the Devs have not considered and employed some method of testing the commander ideas that Charlie has harvested from 5 years of NS. Could those ideas be thrown on the HL engine and use NS as a testbed? If any of it can be tested, it should be tested with what we have.

    Now I do understand maybe not all the solution you and Charlie have come up with may be testable on the HL engine and that they are potential solutions that require the capabilities of the HL2 engine.

    QUOTE(Firewater)
    They don't even have a playable alpha yet.


    Remember Firewater, my problem isn't their ideas for the game, my problem is the time wasted while we have important ideas to see if they will work.

    When we talk about, "How will the commander mode work best?" we are asking Basic Concept and Overall Design questions. That is the first stage of game development.

    I want to look at the big bigger for a second guys.

    Let's say "Sketching" and "Basic Element Construction" takes another 3-4 months, which means releasing a NS2TR in Feb/Apr of '08. Maps will need to be built before a playable Alpha can be released so let's say that takes another 3-4 months which takes us into May/Jun '08. Hopefully that will lead to the Beta which can be used for balance testing Maps and that takes 3-4 months which take us into Aug/Sep '08. Let's add 3-4 months for buffer (unforeseen problems) and we have an estimated release date for NS2 for about Jan '09.

    Now this is a very generous time-line and from someone who does not work in the industry. I don't know the financial situation of Unknown Worlds but I wonder can they afford to bank 1 year of work on something that on a basic concept and overall design level is really uncertain.

    NS was a moderate success, Charlie can't live off it but it has sustained him long enough to go on to developing NS2. Like he said, he learned from the problems of NS and he will implement those solutions in NS2 which will be a retail game. I'm not sure Charlie thinks if NS was a proof-of-concept for NS2... this part of the discussion can only be answered by him. However to me, if something as fundamental as a basic concept and overall design question cannot be answered, it's not a proof-of-concept... it is still an idea that may or may not work.

    But as I have briefly outlined, it may take another 6-8 months before we have a playable Alpha. Is there nothing that can be done between now and then to test some of these solutions Charlie has come up with?

    QUOTE(Firewater)
    You are trying to sprint before you can even crawl. I would just sit back and relax before making any critical points about the resource system or any features that have not been announced yet.


    You accuse me of trying to sprint before I can crawl... which is exactly what I'm concerned about with the development of NS2.

    QUOTE(Firewater)
    Your post is preemptive, and really does not have any merit at this time.


    I hope this post has no merit at all... and that I am just overly critical. However we have both been around for a chunk of the development and evolution of NS. When we say Charlie has had 5 years worth of testing with NS we are being very generous. What about the time spent making NS:Combat. What about all the time spent on the BUS?

    In the past I have not been quiet about my concern about the way NS is tested. Frankly I think it is less than scientific and prone to the influence of vets in the community that may or may not have an agenda (ie. promoting Clan play over Pub play).

    As for being preemptive... this kind of post has to be preemptive.

    EDiT: Typos and bad tags.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • FirewaterFirewater Balance Expert Join Date: 2002-12-12 Member: 10690Posts: 2,091Members, Constellation
    edited November 2007
    QUOTE(Whiskey_Tango_Foxtrot @ Nov 5 2007, 07:22 AM) »
    I'm going to address some of Firewater's reply along with your reply Max. And thank you Firewater for replying BTW, I remember you are one of the most vocal voices and wicked players in the NS clan scene. We've probably tango'd before on threads about Pub and Clan play LoL. I'm honored that you took the time, even if it's to disagree with me.
    Firewater I didn't say I hated their proposed tweak to the commander mode, in fact, I think it is a damn fine idea and well worth a try.


    I'm sorry to say that I do not remember you, but I will offer you the same respect you offered me. I will only attack your logic, not your person.

    QUOTE
    But that is what it is right now... an good idea. How do we know if it will work? How will we figure it out without testing it? Which leads me back to your reply Max.
    I don't disagree with you, I wholeheartedly agree. It's not the way your testing that bothers me Max, it's the LACK of testing.


    You are punishing the dev team for a crime they have yet to commit in this game. That crime is faulty testing. There has been no testing going on, save internal testing. The best way to test the commander mode is to see how it will work with a controlled environment of players that know what they are doing. I will agree that their testing methods were not the most effective in the first game, however a lot of ideas that were suggested would just simply not coincide with the game engine. I have confidence that the developers learned from their errors that were bound to be made by any developers making a game of such a novel concept as NS. I would give them the benefit of the doubt, even after how critical I have been.

    QUOTE
    I'm totally thankful Charlie thought of the idea, implemented it, and made NS. I have been around for a chunk of that time supporting the idea and the game... but I am not just some drooling fanboy, I'm an honest, drooling fanboy and the ugly truth is; after 5 years, we still do not know on what level the commander mode works the best.


    Again, there were some ideas that could not be implemented into the HL1 engine. There are also somethings that could be changed for betterment. I think you are punishing the developers for a crime they have not commit in this game. If you want to get your ideas across, trust me this is not an effective means of doing so.

    QUOTE
    Valve worked on the problem and Robin said one of the major issues was the bad commander/bad team under commander problem. Another one of the problems we have discovered through the development of NS is how to cultivate good commanders for Pub games.


    One of the methods that they discussed, giving more autonomy to the marine team, is a way to solve a problem for bad commanders.

    QUOTE
    If I haven't made myself clear I apologize, that is my fault. Let me clarify;

    My worry is that the Devs have not considered and employed some method of testing the commander ideas that Charlie has harvested from 5 years of NS. Could those ideas be thrown on the HL engine and use NS as a testbed? If any of it can be tested, it should be tested with what we have.


    Testing commander ideas in HL1 without knowing the engine/movement/OTHER schematics of the game really is not a good idea. I understand your frustration, but going back and testing ideas on the HL1 engine without important aspects (new marine weapons, dynamic infestation, etc...) really is not going to help any. It would just waste more time to develop the game to retro-fit ideas on an outdated engine that the dev team has no more further use for.

    QUOTE
    Now I do understand maybe not all the solution you and Charlie have come up with may be testable on the HL engine and that they are potential solutions that require the capabilities of the HL2 engine.
    Remember Firewater, my problem isn't their ideas for the game, my problem is the time wasted while we have important ideas to see if they will work.



    We won't know until we test it. Given the evolution of LUA into the source engine, the dev team will be able to implement different commander modes/designs in like a quarter of the time. So when testing begins they will be able to test whatever variables they want to with minimal amount of coding, given the framework they setup.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
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  • FirewaterFirewater Balance Expert Join Date: 2002-12-12 Member: 10690Posts: 2,091Members, Constellation
    QUOTE
    Let's say "Sketching" and "Basic Element Construction" takes another 3-4 months, which means releasing a NS2TR in Feb/Apr of '08. Maps will need to be built before a playable Alpha can be released so let's say that takes another 3-4 months which takes us into May/Jun '08. Hopefully that will lead to the Beta which can be used for balance testing Maps and that takes 3-4 months which take us into Aug/Sep '08. Let's add 3-4 months for buffer (unforeseen problems) and we have an estimated release date for NS2 for about Jan '09.

    Now this is a very generous time-line and from someone who does not work in the industry. I don't know the financial situation of Unknown Worlds but I wonder can they afford to bank 1 year of work on something that on a basic concept and overall design level is really uncertain.


    I wouldn't begin to estimate time lines, especially since you are not involved with the industry. Since you do not know the financial situation, its best to leave this part unspeculated.

    QUOTE
    NS was a moderate success, Charlie can't live off it but it has sustained him long enough to go on to developing NS2. Like he said, he learned from the problems of NS and he will implement those solutions in NS2 which will be a retail game. I'm not sure Charlie thinks if NS was a proof-of-concept for NS2... this part of the discussion can only be answered by him. However to me, if something as fundamental as a basic concept and overall design question cannot be answered, it's not a proof-of-concept... it is still an idea that may or may not work.


    NS was a GREAT success in the beginning. A lot of people flocked to download it. It was the number 3rd party mod for like 3 years, and it still today beats out most source mods.
    Also, if you admit the developers are learning from their mistakes, it kind of defeats the purpose right?

    QUOTE
    But as I have briefly outlined, it may take another 6-8 months before we have a playable Alpha. Is there nothing that can be done between now and then to test some of these solutions Charlie has come up with?
    You accuse me of trying to sprint before I can crawl... which is exactly what I'm concerned about with the development of NS2.
    I hope this post has no merit at all... and that I am just overly critical. However we have both been around for a chunk of the development and evolution of NS. When we say Charlie has had 5 years worth of testing with NS we are being very generous. What about the time spent making NS:Combat. What about all the time spent on the BUS?


    Well if combat was used the way it was supposed to be, there would have been more people playing classic. But its the player's choice on what he or she wants to play, thats not the dev team's fault. And given that there are going to be LUA scripts for everything, people will be able to customize exactly what they want.

    QUOTE
    In the past I have not been quiet about my concern about the way NS is tested. Frankly I think it is less than scientific and prone to the influence of vets in the community that may or may not have an agenda (ie. promoting Clan play over Pub play).


    The irony behind that is that the vets (myself included) always wanted to push for a more scientific means. In order to achieve balance, you have to test with the least amount of variables possible. Putting the top 2 teams against each other is the best way to eliminate variables from the game. Putting together random teams with random experiences, is not an effective way to test balance.

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  • CrispyCrispy Jaded GD Join Date: 2004-08-22 Member: 30793Posts: 3,225Members, Constellation
    edited November 2007
    QUOTE(W-T-F)
    Neither. I am talking about the Commander Role in general. Charlie obviously thinks it'll work, you think it'll work, and the whole reason I am here is because I think it'll work. But you know who doesn't think it will work that great... Robin Walker at Valve. I know they only spent months on it but a company with so many resources and minds must have researched and tested potential models and they couldn't come up with anything for some of the fundamental problems of the RTS/FPS gameplay model.
    Valve dropped it because it wasn't going to be applicable for their goals. Their goals included breaking onto the much more mainstream console market, shifting shelf units and in general making a universally playable game. Valve couldn't have achieved as much success in those goals if they'd gone for a game model which relies heavily on experience, as a commander mode does.

    NS is different in that it's much more smallscale, it needs to aim at a small niche market and work towards its existing fans to be a success, because UWE doesn't have the funds or the core game concept to compete in the mainstream with the big players who can absorb losses made on 'safer' games that don't get any bites. UWE also has a decentralised dev team and probably the same goes for the dedicated playtester group if they're at that stage because financing an in-house PT group is (I guess) beyond their current means. This means they can't afford to be -too- experimental with their existing game model because they don't have the luxury of playtesting features with a full server twice a day like Valve do and they can't dedicate cabal groups to experimenting with ideas.

    Commander is integral to NS. It works for the experienced players of NS today. There are plenty of refinements that can be made to the commander model to make it easier to learn, more intuitive, less split-second and more tactical. That is what NS2 should aim to do, hopefully.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • ShadowedEclipseShadowedEclipse Join Date: 2007-08-15 Member: 61886Posts: 54Members
    I'm a bit confused, you see to have a problem with the fact that the devs are discussing base idea's that you seem to think they should already have down because they were used for years in NS1. But they aren't just copy and pasting NS1. They are making a different game, and even though the base idea for some part of NS2 is in NS1 it won't be the same, and considering that NS is already a fantastic game I would HOPE that the devs are putting a lot of thought into things before actually doing anything, and being careful about what's getting changed and yes, even going over things that have been beaten into the ground in the course of NS. I think all this meticulous attention to every aspect of the game, while not very exciting for us, will make it a better game in the end. Which means discussing the commanding system again, which means lots of waiting and thinking.

    I think that the dev's going back and reviewing the fundamental questions of NS is a good thing, not a sign of waste.
  • crodecrode Join Date: 2002-11-09 Member: 7876Posts: 141Members
    Sorry in advance i wasnt able to read everything in the thread but I think I can sum up the difficulties in the commander mode.

    From my experience in pubs and clan play, things do need to be thought out and changed in regards to the commander.

    1) Our main clan commander was very good but I believe he found it as boring as hell. Sometimes you want to just get out of the chair so you can just shoot things. Does anyone 'really' enjoy the role of commander and nothing else?



    2) In pub games it can be difficult to get your commanders attention to get some buildings dropped. Inexperienced commanders or griefers that just do nothing in the chair.

    This is pretty much solved with vote kicking the commander. But what if nobody on the team wants to be a commander or is capable of being a commander. A solo player training map with scripts to teach a player how to do commander activities would be the best way for new players.




    3) If your going to remove things that the commander does such as having the marines on the ground selecting locations for turrets and other buildings, something else has to be added for commanders. The more you remove from the commanders, the more useless it feels to be a commander.

    In the maps I created a while ago, I tried to add more essential things for the commander to do. I tried to make it so commanders would feel more directly involved with the battle. Commander could crush aliens with lifts and electrocute aliens at certain locations. Commander could open and block certain locations. One of the more obvious ideas is to allow the commander to use the turrets much like was done in Tribes1/2. To balance out the fact that aliens dont have a commander, the hives could also be used as command chair for aliens. This might allow for a more balanced feel between the 2 teams. Just thoughts off the top of my head.

    Anyway before this can become a 'retail' AAA title there has to be more thoughts on design of the commander to make it less of a potential of handicapping a team and making it extremely fun for that player.
  • StixNStonzStixNStonz Join Date: 2006-11-06 Member: 58439Posts: 1,180Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE(crode @ Nov 8 2007, 07:23 PM) »
    Does anyone 'really' enjoy the role of commander and nothing else?


    I command pretty much one out of every 3 games. If not more. Every server seems to always have a commander these days, whether hes decent or not.

    What i'm saying is, those people WANT to command. People often fight over it. I think its just you who doesn't enjoy commanding.

    Oh and giving the comm the ability to electrocute aliens via buttons and such? Sounds like a really, really bad idea.
    Professional Game and Level Designer, thanks to NS!
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