Who feels the alien commander needs a reboot?

FreemantleFreemantle Join Date: 2002-06-16 Member: 783Posts: 907Members
Firstly, congratulations on the 19x builds. Natural Selection now feels like a game, decidedly a beta and not an alpha. I consistently have a great time playing it and have already made a few awesome gaming memories. It has been a long time coming. When the original NS came out, I was a high-school student. Now I'm a developer/systems analyst for an IT consulting firm. Yes, that much time has passed.

That said, there is still a lot of work to go. Some features are not in yet, and a many existing features "smell bad." While most of these can be fixed with a little more TLC or some revisiting the code underneath the designed feature, the current role of the alien commander seems like a pretty big miss. I'm wondering how many people feel similarly, and if rebooting the functionality is even worth talking about?
«1

Comments

  • TechercizerTechercizer 7th Player Join Date: 2011-06-11 Member: 103832Posts: 1,850Members
    This has been debated to death on the forums; either way, UWE has said the Kham is here to stay.

            Once the infestation reaches the Command Chair, the process begins. One Gorge enters the chair to provide the necessary height. Another climbs on its shoulders to access the controls.

            A Gorge Lab is quickly established, staffed by microscopic Gorges who work tirelessly to unlock the secrets of Frontiersman Technology, stopping only to change their lab coats when they become dirtied. Once the research progresses to a certain point, the Gorgecom gives the order. Nanites are called into service.

            The armature forms. A chosen Gorge, tested many times in the field of battle, enters the machine.

            Servos whir; miniguns spin up in diagnostics; an Exogorge is born.

  • HeymanHeyman Join Date: 2005-03-29 Member: 46895Posts: 406Members
    QUOTE (Freemantle @ Feb 16 2012, 06:35 PM) »
    Firstly, congratulations on the 19x builds. Natural Selection now feels like a game, decidedly a beta and not an alpha. I consistently have a great time playing it and have already made a few awesome gaming memories. It has been a long time coming. When the original NS came out, I was a high-school student. Now I'm a developer/systems analyst for an IT consulting firm. Yes, that much time has passed.

    That said, there is still a lot of work to go. Some features are not in yet, and a many existing features "smell bad." While most of these can be fixed with a little more TLC or some revisiting the code underneath the designed feature, the current role of the alien commander seems like a pretty big miss. I'm wondering how many people feel similarly, and if rebooting the functionality is even worth talking about?


    I honestly appreciate the subtle approach that the alien commander is given. Watching structures and drifters move about while DI slowly spreads lends to that "Hivemind" feel.
  • RockyMarcRockyMarc Join Date: 2009-11-24 Member: 69519Posts: 472Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    I still believe that the Gorge should be able to build chambers and res towers, to help out the Khammander a bit. I do like the Khammander, but the controls feel a bit weird at times, trying to navigate around can be clumbsy
  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Posts: 3,836Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold
    edited February 2012
    I'm not sure quite what I think of it at the moment.

    The relationship between the marine commander and the marines has always been and continues to be awesome. The marine comm directs the whole game like a conductor with an orchestra, and it's delicious.

    For whatever reason I've never seen this happen on the alien side, and I don't know why. The things the alien comm does just seem really decoupled from the aliens. There's a little communication with his gorge buddy, but little about aggressively taking territory or deciding where to push. I can think of a few reasons maybe?
    • Aliens move faster, so going to any particular place is less of a commitment.
    • One alien is out of sight of the base by the time the next one spawns so the aliens coordinate less.
    • The Alien comm doesn't need aliens on the ground to make progress.
    • The Aliens are in general more reactive strategically.
    • Alien's generally win, so there's less pressure.


    Overall, this means that I don't care who the comm is on the alien side. This doesn't hurt my experience, but it doesn't seem like it adds much either. It's good that the alien comm feels distinctly different than the marine comm, but I don't think it's in a satisfying way yet.

    Maybe if aliens start losing more, and placing forward structures becomes more a part of the alien strategy this will change? I can imagine the area of effect structures being vitally important to hold an area, and as a result, protecting/building the cyst chain becomes vitally important as well. I'd like to see what it feels like to push the game in this direction. The alien comm would become a personification of the infestation.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • ArkantiArkanti pub baddie Join Date: 2011-07-22 Member: 111781Posts: 694Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE (RockyMarc @ Feb 17 2012, 01:00 PM) »
    I still believe that the Gorge should be able to build chambers and res towers, to help out the Khammander a bit. I do like the Khammander, but the controls feel a bit weird at times, trying to navigate around can be clumbsy


    The Khammander needs to have more things to do, not less.
    Mr. Arkanti
    noGG Arkanti
    nova | Arkanti
    Pub Baddie

    Co_Summit - A remix of Summit's unique areas to mould it into a better Combat mod experience. I also broke all the textures. Mad skills yo.
    WildGrass Games - I make video games.
  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Posts: 3,836Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold
    Here's a way to turn the question around a little bit:

    Can we make infestation more important while keeping the game fast-paced and fluid?
  • mokkatmokkat Join Date: 2009-08-30 Member: 68652Posts: 158Members
    edited February 2012
    How about this:

    The humans are the modular race, the tool users - they can swap roles in an instant with a new weapon for example, or swap commander (is it still feasible to jump in a chair to throw down medkits/ammo with your res, or?)

    The aliens are the evolving race, it makes no sense that they spawn from an egg, evolve to a gorge, and then insta-enters/exits hives.
    There should be an evolution to become alien commander - a form that requires evolution time to become or reverse from - you shouldn't be able to jump out of the hive and defend like a marine.
    This new evolution could serve a double purpose - be the only critter to be allowed into hives to serve in the current commander mode + the ability to jump out and roam around, with less overall control but with more active abilities like speeding up buildings, taking control over whips (manual control, only way to bombard perhaps?), send out those small attack critters (those mini skulks in NS1, whatstheirname), etc., thereby making multiple commanders viable with complementing roles. I imagine the evolution to be some sort of little flying beholder, or cluster of flying eyes.

    Wouldn't that add some hivemind?
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    Imagine a really cool picture here, the picture of your favorite fluffy pet crossed with the monster that lurked under your bed when you were five years old.
  • NurEinMenschNurEinMensch Join Date: 2003-02-26 Member: 14056Posts: 1,352Members, Constellation
    I feel there might be a solution in increasing kham-gorge interaction, but I haven't come up with any good ideas yet.
    This is the kind of thing that goes on behind close doors on normal game releases, where they are optimizing it right up until the end. You guys are just getting to play with a version of the game that normally only the developers see.

    --Cory
  • FreemantleFreemantle Join Date: 2002-06-16 Member: 783Posts: 907Members
    edited February 2012
    I don't think the alien commander needs to be removed, but just better aligned with how the alien team works. Structure placement isn't as critical, and situational awareness is taken care of by-and-large by hivesite. I'm sure we all have ideas that are better than trying to shoe-horn a marine style comm on top of aliens. Here are mine.

    1. Remove drifters. Currently, their most useful feature is reminding the alien team that they have a commander.
    2. Remove the build menu. The alien commander will no longer build structures, including cysts.
    3. Before the commander can interact with a hive, he must "mutate" the hive to shade, crag, etc. This declares what hive type it is. Afterward:

      1. The hive is able to be given an expand order, targeting a resource nozzle or tech point. The hive will automatically grow the creep toward that location. Once it reaches the location, the commander will be able to right click and build a hive/harvester.
      2. A hive can be told to "incubate", which cancels an existing expand order. The cysts will slowly grow in all directions via the scheme described below.
    4. All cysts on the map "level up" on the resource tick. The more team resources coming in, the faster the cysts do so. They do not all level up at the same rate: the points radiate from the hive, getting less investment as it spreads to cysts that are farther from the hive. The exception is when an "expand" order is given, in which case there is a "trunk" of heavy exp. gain for cysts that reaches from the hive to the target and radiates outward.
    5. As a cyst levels up:
      1. It gains health and armor.
      2. It spawns branching "child" cysts.
      3. It automatically builds forward alien structures. (Whip, Shade, Crag)
    6. Research structures automatically build at the hive once the hive cysts reach the appropriate levels, and immediately confer bonuses. They are the upgrade research.
    7. All structures can be given a move command.


    =======

    The commander is not spending team resources to maintain the cyst network, they are automatically deducted before the alien comm can even see them. This frees the alien commander up to use the remaining resources to interact with his team. He does so with "Instincts" and "Environments."

    1. Instincts: Put simply: are bounties. A commander can target a region of the map, right click, and use a contextual menu to declare an instinct. The commander's presence will be personified there by some kind of fog, boneses and RFK will be conferred to the alien team inside the fog. The RFK is deducted from team resources after the cysts get their share. Example Instincts would be...

      1. Enhanced vision and movement speed. 2pt RFK (deducted from t-res). Activated/deactivated.
      2. Gas bomb a room, drastically dropping marine vision, corroding armor. 7 t-res per activation, 3 second duration. 1pt RFK (deducted from t-res).
      3. Alien health regen boost. 60 sec duration. All aliens alive inside the instinct receive 1 t-res for each 10 seconds they spend inside.


    1. Environments: Are high-level build orders. A commander right-clicks on a cyst, and is able to give it a command. This sets a "paradigm" for the cyst, similar to city orders in Civ. Some ideas:

      1. Fortify: The default. The cyst continues to "level-up", gaining health and armor, eventually spawning redundant cysts and support structures.
      2. Support: For forward positions. Heavily invests in Crags, Whips and a Shade.
      3. Infest: Aggressively spawns new cysts toward uninfested areas. peppering them with whips.



    TLDR edition: The idea is that the alien commander spends very little time building and more time interacting with his team. Structures are auto-built based on broad orders, and he can handle nit-picky placement by having the structures move afterward. The resource investment for all of this is done automatically. The alien com spends a majority of his time setting up instincts for his team, rewarding those who can take the best advantage of them by dishing out res from the portion of the team res that isn't lost as upkeep to the cyst network.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • PsiWarpPsiWarp Gifted Gorge Richmond, B.C., Canada Join Date: 2010-08-28 Member: 73810Posts: 1,566Members
    edited February 2012
    IMO, the Alien Commander can be more fun. It's not fun to have to wait for energy to make Drifters to build, nor is it fun to put Cysts down click-by-click.

    Suggested changes:

    - Limit 3 Drifters to each active Hive, and have them automatically spawn like Eggs (They're just enlarged glowies right? Those are floating around the Hive anyway!)
    - Remove Drifter from Hive abilities. Cyst and the soon-to-come ability "Catalyze" become the set of abilities on the Hive.

    New Cyst Mechanic:
    - When creating infestation, show the Commander a ghost outline of the infestation-spreading tentacle (once implemented). It can be extended as far as energy per Cyst allow (if Hive has enough energy)
    - When the Khamm confirms the place he wants the tentacle to reach, Cysts are automatically placed along the tentacle at a distance between each other; each Cyst would cost X energy.
    - Each Cyst would have a small build time, and the tentacle takes time to generate along the path, so it would not be instantaneous but gradual.
    - Let the Alien Commander cancel building Cysts to stop the chain from growing (saves Hive energy which is only spent when a new Cyst is growing/grown along the path)
    - If there are existing Cysts near an area the Commander wants infestation to spread, automatically link newly placed tentacle to the closest Cyst (saves Hive energy since tentacle doesn't stretch all the way from the Hive again)

    Basically, a single click is all it takes, to spread infestation automatically along a designated path, with Cysts created at a distance from each other over time. It would free up the Khamm from picking and choosing each Cyst location, allowing him to micromanage his Drifters to build, and activate support abilities from Crags, Shades, Shifts, and Whips along the way.

    I suppose that if a Marine were to sever the connection by killing a Cyst of a growing tentacle, the entire growth process will halt; same thing happens if the front-most growing Cyst is destroyed, so no energy is wasted (otherwise, the game would continuously attempt to place a Cyst to grow the tentacle, free points for Marines camping there :P)

    Less hassle from spawning Drifters (which will be killed either way) and more control over infestation spread ^-^
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    Natural Selection 2 Quick Tabs

    Official Site | NS2HD Blog | Community Hub | NS2 Wiki

    "Comatose on the floor in the office giggling uncontrollably with the most immeasurable happiness" - Strayan, Halloween 2012
  • FreemantleFreemantle Join Date: 2002-06-16 Member: 783Posts: 907Members
    I like a lot of the points above. When we talk about the alien comm, we need to be working around the same set of prioritized problem statements.

    1. How can we make the alien commander more fun?
    2. How can we make the alien commander a meaningful position to the other alien players?
    3. How can we make the alien commander more important in the outcome of the game?
    4. How can we make the alien growth more "organic" to both alien and marine players?


    I spent a lot of time playing alien comm last night, thinking on this. My biggest contributions were:

    1. Expanding to resource nozzels.
    2. Having 2nd, 3rd hive ready when the players want them.
    3. Having research chambers up. Kind of trivial in pub games.


    Things that are sub-optimal:
    1. Babysitting hive energy levels to build drifters and drop pustules.
    2. Issuing orders to alien team members. Especially when a harvester is under attack or a hive is being pressured away from the main front.
    3. Contributing on the front line.


  • FlounderFlounder Join Date: 2004-09-12 Member: 31656Posts: 177Members
    As the alien commander I feel more like a resource manager than a comm. As marine comm, I can help out the rines tactically with meds, shields, scans, etc., but I can't really do that as alien comm. Instead, I spend most of my time staring at the main hive energy bar, waiting to build the next drifter, and praying to jesus that it doesn't get randomly gunned down.

    Not to mention just how bugged and unintuive the interface is, but that's for another thread.
  • Dank McShwaggerDank McShwagger Join Date: 2009-06-10 Member: 67784Posts: 324Members
    I feel the alien commander should be a distant memory.

    Go back to the NS1 roots and give the gorges the leadership role. The more asymetrical the teams are the better IMO.
  • MuYeahMuYeah Join Date: 2006-12-26 Member: 59261Posts: 610Members
    I'd like to see more forward chamber placement. I think atm it's limited severely by hive energy and the fragility of drifters. You can't really afford to just plonk a crag or whip down next to an RT very often. Maybe there just aren't enough gorges spreading mini-cysts?
  • GrissiGrissi Join Date: 2003-08-28 Member: 20314Posts: 454Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow
    The biggest problem with the alien commander atm is that he is so boring to play, you simply have nothing to do. It requires little micromanagement to put down cyst/rt's/tech structures and when that's done its better for you to simply leave the command til you have res for a hive and use your player res for something else. Then when needed anyone can jump into the alien command and put down the next hive/more tech structures and then go out again.
    Truth be told, aliens can manage fine without alien commander giving orders, also I doubt many player listen to the alien commander because you never really interact with him.

    Now how to fix that?

    First thing first, alien commander needs to interact with his team more. The only interaction that is required atm is to tell gorges to drop cyst somewhere and maybe Defences, but most players that go gorge have already spent their res. The role between the commander and gorges needs to be made more important but at the same time simple enough so it won't cause problems in public games. At this point I have no idea how to fix this problem. In competitive gathers gorges are working alright, they extend the cysts in early game and have bilebomb in 2nd hive(+they are forward healing) so maybe gorges don't need any changes.

    So if we decide not to change anything about the commander + gorge problem what do we do?

    One thing is to give commander abilities that cost player res to use. This could be tight to the chambers like umbra in a forward area, cloak skulks in an area, make aliens faster in an area. You could also give him more abilities like infestation wall(to slow marines down) or something else creative. This would probably not be enough to completely fix the alien commander but already makes him interact with the players more. He could order skulks into general area to get a buff of some kind.

    About the infestation, I feel like the infestation is working very well atm, if there is an issue with it it would be that it gives instant sight all game when someone steps on it without upgrades/specific chamber, but it's probably fine. The only thing I don't like about it is that cyst instantly build when place down with 100% hp, they should have lower hp and build from 1%. It's silly to see as marine cyst appear from nowhere and when you kill one it happens again. It should rather be a player res ability to instantly put infestation somewhere where cyst isn't in place giving aliens the advantage in battle.


    Truth be told I have no idea how to fix the alien commander but I think it should be one of the priorities right now. Hopefully we can figure something out that will make the alien commander awesome.

    The biggest issues I see is:
    -Its boring since you have nothing to do
    -no real interaction with players
    -you pile up player res that you are not using.

    Hope that helps, please discuss.
    There is no competitive balance or casual players balance. The game is either balanced or not balanced.
    It's the same game after all.


    NS2 gameplay thoughts
    NS1 competitive play


    All my posts are my personal view, I do not speak for a community or anyone else.
  • lunsluns Join Date: 2010-12-05 Member: 75502Posts: 804Members
    when it comes down to it, simply put it just doesn't work. And charlie refuses to listen about this, he already said "its here to stay". So while the debate is nice and all, its rather useless. This debate started so long ago, and we still having it, if that doesn't scream a problem then I just don't know.

    from my own personal opinion, if you seriously want to keep alien commander give it minor role and allow the gorges do what they always done.
    the idea is, somebody can jump inside the hive do his thing, and leave. At this point all commander does is place cysts..
  • GrissiGrissi Join Date: 2003-08-28 Member: 20314Posts: 454Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow
    QUOTE (luns @ Feb 17 2012, 02:05 PM) »
    when it comes down to it, simply put it just doesn't work. And charlie refuses to listen about this, he already said "its here to stay". So while the debate is nice and all, its rather useless. This debate started so long ago, and we still having it, if that doesn't scream a problem then I just don't know.

    from my own personal opinion, if you seriously want to keep alien commander give it minor role and allow the gorges do what they always done.
    the idea is, somebody can jump inside the hive do his thing, and leave. At this point all commander does is place cysts..


    I do agree that the alien commander does not feel right to the game atm, I also don't like the the drifter idea. However I think we should respect Charlies wishes and try to figure out a way to make it work. If this is done right I can see the alien commander work awesomely, the problem is that the basic mechanics for aliens were not made with alien commander in mind. There might be some rework required to make it work, major changes to classes or abilities.

    We already know alien commander is here to stay so in my opinion we should work together to find a solution to the problem. If it becomes clear it's impossible to make it work I'm sure it will be put down, but I doubt that's the case. It's always hard to work with an original idea because you don't have much to work with. You can't really find another game where there is a similar alien commander that works, it doesn't mean its wrong.
    There is no competitive balance or casual players balance. The game is either balanced or not balanced.
    It's the same game after all.


    NS2 gameplay thoughts
    NS1 competitive play


    All my posts are my personal view, I do not speak for a community or anyone else.
  • Soylent_greenSoylent_green Join Date: 2002-12-20 Member: 11220Posts: 2,788Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited February 2012
    I still dislike the kharaa comm.

    I think placing the commander role back on gorges would feel quite natural. Just let gorges tap into team resources for all buildings they construct(even hydra, so there are no weird exceptions). Cysts need to be dealt with carefully if they are to be kept; to avoid spamming or very rapid infestation growth, make them cost player energy to place and only place a "seedling" that has to be used by the gorge to build up to full size. Other buildings cost team res, so there you only need a small-ish energy cost to prevent too rapid growth rates(e.g. saving up and plopping down 10 whips at once).

    Dealing with upgrades is the only real sticking point I see. Active abilities of the whips etc. feel more like artificial busy-work to keep the commander from falling asleep and can be harmlessly removed or automated away, as appropriate.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • culpritculprit Join Date: 2005-01-07 Member: 33527Posts: 310Members, Constellation
    edited February 2012
    I think the coordination of gorges and the Khaam is way too weak. The limited amount of hive energy really hampers the Khaam's ability to do more than a few things in quick succession. I guess the idea is that gorges can use mini-cysts to help retain higher hive energy levels most of the time. This just doesn't seem to happen very well.

    I think part of the problem is that cyst/mini-cyst placement is a very overlapping responsibility. I know when I gorge at a front-line bottleneck, it is often very irritating waiting for the khaam to expand the DI to my vulnerable garden. Simply put, the hive energy mechanic bottlenecks the Khaam way too much. On the marine side, energy only limits a few bonus abilities (beacon/nanoshield) while everything else is based on TR or PR spending.

    I like the idea of the hive just auto-generating drifters to a max of ~3 per hive. Dispatching drifters is an interesting mechanic, but waiting to spawn drifters is not. Having them auto-created on a timer (like eggs) would be much better. This way, idle drifters are a loss of capability. You want the comm to be using drifters as often as possible.

    I'm guessing the next, semi-final version of DI will incorporate a more gradual growing process. This should allow cyst placement to be defined quickly at the start, but also allow these growth-spots to be altered as needed. I like to think of cysts more like DI way-points. The description above with the vine/trunk growth sounds appropriate. The cysts shouldn't just appear out of nothing, but grow on the DI as it progresses through the way-points. The vine/trunk doesn't even really need to be visualized more than the current sparkle trail. If a marine sees DI progressing, they should be able to kill the newest cyst growth to stop the progression. The DI would then recede back to the last living cyst.

    The queuing of cyst placements would allow a khaam to sketch out a plan of expansion early in the game and move on to managing other things: drifters and structure placement. This DI progression should be easy for the entire alien team to see, maybe as ghost cysts or on the map. This would really help alien players, especially gorges, determine where they should be patrolling and fortifying/supporting.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • FreemantleFreemantle Join Date: 2002-06-16 Member: 783Posts: 907Members
    QUOTE (Flounder @ Feb 17 2012, 06:26 PM) »
    As the alien commander I feel more like a resource manager than a comm. As marine comm, I can help out the rines tactically with meds, shields, scans, etc., but I can't really do that as alien comm. Instead, I spend most of my time staring at the main hive energy bar, waiting to build the next drifter, and praying to jesus that it doesn't get randomly gunned down.


    QUOTE (MuYeah @ Feb 17 2012, 07:47 PM) »
    I'd like to see more forward chamber placement. I think atm it's limited severely by hive energy and the fragility of drifters. You can't really afford to just plonk a crag or whip down next to an RT very often.


    QUOTE (Grissi @ Feb 17 2012, 07:55 PM) »
    The biggest problem with the alien commander atm is that he is so boring to play, you simply have nothing to do. It requires little micromanagement to put down cyst/rt's/tech structures and when that's done its better for you to simply leave the command til you have res for a hive.

    First thing first, alien commander needs to interact with his team more. The only interaction that is required atm is to tell gorges to drop cyst somewhere and maybe Defences, but most players that go gorge have already spent their res. The role between the commander and gorges needs to be made more important but at the same time simple enough so it won't cause problems in public games.

    One thing is to give commander abilities that cost player res to use. This could be tight to the chambers like umbra in a forward area, cloak skulks in an area, make aliens faster in an area. You could also give him more abilities like infestation wall(to slow marines down) or something else creative. This would probably not be enough to completely fix the alien commander but already makes him interact with the players more. He could order skulks into general area to get a buff of some kind.


    Of those who haven't given up on the idea of the Alien commander altogether, there is a consensus as to what is wrong beyond "it isn't like NS1." There is a lot to be done here, which could and should affect the balance of the entire game. These changes should happen very soon, and I acknowledge that this conversation has gone on ad nauseam. Perhaps if we can remove the "Charlie refuses to give up on the alien commander" rhetoric from the conversation we can get a lot of good ideas flowing and start seeing some action on a new alien commander prototype?
  • YuukiYuuki Join Date: 2010-11-20 Member: 75079Posts: 1,731Members
    One idea behind infestation is to implement a hard graph theory problem, to keep the kham busy. You can imagine that the rts are sources of some liquid that need to flow into the hive through infestation network, the size of the veins defining a carrying capacity. Then you need to find the optimal topology to maximize the resources flow, something like that :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_flow_problem

    In general the number of possible topologies can be huge, and that make this kind of problem interesting. But in ns2 the map constrain the topology a lot, so there is not so many solutions.

    Settlers 2 did that well :

    image
  • BonesXBonesX Join Date: 2007-02-04 Member: 59883Posts: 49Members, Constellation
    When I played Khomm for the 2nd time today I noticed a few things.

    1. For a first time its very confusing to find all the upgrades to research- you are told there is a new ability availible but good luck finding it to research.

    2. NS1 had a clear graphic to tell you what lvl your ability level was in each of the 3 spheres. so far NS 2 does not- I could not figure out if I had enough shells/shades/whatever planted to upgrade the aliens to max ability. (or if there even where lvls to carapace/ect!)

    3. energy is interesting but having each hive grow energy independantly rather than dumping into a combined pool was annoying. If it is doing so- then perhaps I was having bugged issues with using it and assumed it was independantly pooled.

    4. The drifters are a neat idea but they are very expensive and were a huge bottle neck to building structures. i felt like I was so busy building drifters and give them orders to build up defences in the hives that I ignored my team. They started gripeing that I was not extending creep to give them early warning of rine incursions. This would have been helped if #2 was implimented so I felt like I had a better handle on what was going on.

    5. Gorge mini cysts are expensive! When I gorge I comm the commander to tell them I am building cysts towards point A to extend creep for Res nodes. I rarely hear others doing this ingame. This helps out the team alot and free the Khamm to send a drifter there. However, I feel like I run out of res really fast doing so and dont really have any left to build Defences when I get there. Either I help extend crep OR I save for Towers. I cant do both for the team. NS1 gave a larger share of Res income to gorges. They did have more to build though so...


    My 2c anyhow. Building all the towers AND extending creep constantly was alot to juggle but really most of it was not directly involved with my team. I have newfound rescpt for teh Khamms that can build up tons of stuff and move it up to directly reinforce the front lines with whips and Crags.
    Grandma Juju- Thanks for getting me into NS. Miss You! RIP
  • FlayraFlayra Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment San Francisco Join Date: 2002-01-22 Member: 3Posts: 6,823Super Administrators, NS2 Developer, Subnautica Developer admin
    The alien commander is going to see a lot of love in the coming patches. The UI is going to be completely redone, the dynamic infestation added properly (cyst placement isn't fun yet), pheromones added and more.
    Charlie Cleveland
    Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • twilitebluetwiliteblue bug stalker Join Date: 2003-02-04 Member: 13116Posts: 1,796Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue
    edited February 2012
    QUOTE (Yuuki @ Feb 17 2012, 04:26 PM) »
    One idea behind infestation is to implement a hard graph theory problem, to keep the kham busy. You can imagine that the rts are sources of some liquid that need to flow into the hive through infestation network, the size of the veins defining a carrying capacity. Then you need to find the optimal topology to maximize the resources flow, something like that :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_flow_problem

    In general the number of possible topologies can be huge, and that make this kind of problem interesting. But in ns2 the map constrain the topology a lot, so there is not so many solutions.

    Settlers 2 did that well :

    That gave me an idea:

    What if, structures such Harvesters off infestation are less effective (eg generate less resources), instead of slowly dying?

    It is already quite easy for Marines to kill a Harvester. It really rubs the salt in the wound when Marines break a cyst chain, and alien structures slowly die, even without any effort from the Marines. Replacing lost Cysts is very costly, with the painfully slow energy regeneration rate.

    When playing as Kharaa Commander in pub games, I've often faced lose-lose situations, where I had to either replace Cysts repeated to save a Harvester, or build Drifters to rebuild a Harvester, but coming short on energy for Cysts, which are required anyway.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • BonesXBonesX Join Date: 2007-02-04 Member: 59883Posts: 49Members, Constellation
    QUOTE (Flayra @ Feb 18 2012, 04:16 AM) »
    The alien commander is going to see a lot of love in the coming patches. The UI is going to be completely redone, the dynamic infestation added properly (cyst placement isn't fun yet), pheromones added and more.



    Hooray! <3
    Grandma Juju- Thanks for getting me into NS. Miss You! RIP
  • WheeeeWheeee Join Date: 2003-02-18 Member: 13713Posts: 4,160Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE (twiliteblue @ Feb 17 2012, 11:20 PM) »
    That gave me an idea:

    What if, structures such Harvesters off infestation are less effective (eg generate less resources), instead of slowly dying?

    It is already quite easy for Marines to kill a Harvester. It really rubs the salt in the wound when Marines break a cyst chain, and alien structures slowly die, even without any effort from the Marines. Replacing lost Cysts is very costly, with the painfully slow energy regeneration rate.

    When playing as Kharaa Commander in pub games, I've often faced lose-lose situations, where I had to either replace Cysts repeated to save a Harvester, or build Drifters to rebuild a Harvester, but coming short on energy for Cysts, which are required anyway.


    rather than collect resources slower, i think it should build up in the harvester (i.e. the team doesn't get any resources unless it reattaches the cyst chain) and then the harvester disburses its collected res (perhaps scaled to the harvester's health). that huge bulb on the top has to be good for something right? might as well store res in it.
    QUOTE (EEK)
    Don't assume that because I said something it means I actually was thinking that the core of the sun was going to be replaced with hot dogs.
  • ZekZek Join Date: 2002-11-10 Member: 7962Posts: 4,604Members, NS1 Playtester, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited February 2012
    I hate playing alien commander mainly because Drifters are very tedious to use, as I wrote in my last thread:

    http://www.unknownworlds.com/ns2/forums/in...howtopic=116193
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • RisingSunRisingSun Rising Join Date: 2004-04-19 Member: 28015Posts: 899Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow
    QUOTE (Freemantle @ Feb 17 2012, 03:16 AM) »
    I don't think the alien commander needs to be removed, but just better aligned with how the alien team works. Structure placement isn't as critical, and situational awareness is taken care of by-and-large by hivesite. I'm sure we all have ideas that are better than trying to shoe-horn a marine style comm on top of aliens. Here are mine.

    1. Remove drifters. Currently, their most useful feature is reminding the alien team that they have a commander.
    2. Remove the build menu. The alien commander will no longer build structures, including cysts.
    3. Before the commander can interact with a hive, he must "mutate" the hive to shade, crag, etc. This declares what hive type it is. Afterward:

      1. The hive is able to be given an expand order, targeting a resource nozzle or tech point. The hive will automatically grow the creep toward that location. Once it reaches the location, the commander will be able to right click and build a hive/harvester.
      2. A hive can be told to "incubate", which cancels an existing expand order. The cysts will slowly grow in all directions via the scheme described below.
    4. All cysts on the map "level up" on the resource tick. The more team resources coming in, the faster the cysts do so. They do not all level up at the same rate: the points radiate from the hive, getting less investment as it spreads to cysts that are farther from the hive. The exception is when an "expand" order is given, in which case there is a "trunk" of heavy exp. gain for cysts that reaches from the hive to the target and radiates outward.
    5. As a cyst levels up:
      1. It gains health and armor.
      2. It spawns branching "child" cysts.
      3. It automatically builds forward alien structures. (Whip, Shade, Crag)
    6. Research structures automatically build at the hive once the hive cysts reach the appropriate levels, and immediately confer bonuses. They are the upgrade research.
    7. All structures can be given a move command.


    =======

    The commander is not spending team resources to maintain the cyst network, they are automatically deducted before the alien comm can even see them. This frees the alien commander up to use the remaining resources to interact with his team. He does so with "Instincts" and "Environments."

    1. Instincts: Put simply: are bounties. A commander can target a region of the map, right click, and use a contextual menu to declare an instinct. The commander's presence will be personified there by some kind of fog, boneses and RFK will be conferred to the alien team inside the fog. The RFK is deducted from team resources after the cysts get their share. Example Instincts would be...

      1. Enhanced vision and movement speed. 2pt RFK (deducted from t-res). Activated/deactivated.
      2. Gas bomb a room, drastically dropping marine vision, corroding armor. 7 t-res per activation, 3 second duration. 1pt RFK (deducted from t-res).
      3. Alien health regen boost. 60 sec duration. All aliens alive inside the instinct receive 1 t-res for each 10 seconds they spend inside.


    1. Environments: Are high-level build orders. A commander right-clicks on a cyst, and is able to give it a command. This sets a "paradigm" for the cyst, similar to city orders in Civ. Some ideas:

      1. Fortify: The default. The cyst continues to "level-up", gaining health and armor, eventually spawning redundant cysts and support structures.
      2. Support: For forward positions. Heavily invests in Crags, Whips and a Shade.
      3. Infest: Aggressively spawns new cysts toward uninfested areas. peppering them with whips.



    TLDR edition: The idea is that the alien commander spends very little time building and more time interacting with his team. Structures are auto-built based on broad orders, and he can handle nit-picky placement by having the structures move afterward. The resource investment for all of this is done automatically. The alien com spends a majority of his time setting up instincts for his team, rewarding those who can take the best advantage of them by dishing out res from the portion of the team res that isn't lost as upkeep to the cyst network.


    Anyone else really like this idea?
  • Egad!Egad! Join Date: 2011-10-19 Member: 128250Posts: 143Members
    I also like this idea. Techercizer and I talked about having a Zombie Master style role for the Kham in a previous topic here. I said:

    QUOTE (Egad! @ Jan 17 2012, 09:53 PM) »
    Personally, I think the alien commander should be intrinsically attached to the infestation. As things are now, the hive/alien comm is just a retextured command station.

    I think there should be a sixth alien type -- the infestation. You are the infestation, rather than just some alien camping out fetus like inside the womb of a hive.

    There's been a lot of talk about making the infestation feel more alive, and I think this is best achieved by making the alien commander, in essence, be the infestation. Controlling the release of pheromones, exploding cysts, or releasing obscuring fog/insects, etc. Less of an emphasis on building, and more on spreading, like a virulent plague. Also, more on setting traps, which I think would be very cool. You are manipulating the environment to find novel ways of leading your foes to their doom. That sounds very fun to play, and fits the guerrilla style warfare the aliens so excel at.


    and Techercizer:

    QUOTE (Techercizer @ Jan 17 2012, 10:30 PM) »
    Ja.

    And to people who don't know what I mean by Zombie Master, it's a popular HL2 mod that pits a single intelligent player against a team of (supposedly) coordinated survivors via control over environmental traps and the ability to influence/direct (but not micro) the zombie horde. It's a really alien feeling, and you get a nice twisted pleasure from springing your traps on them and watching them try to adapt, suffer through it, or just freak out. Then next round you wind up a survivor again and get just as much fun trying to stick it to the new master and/or freaking out as your team falls apart.

    It might seem like a digression, but I think that sort of *detached overseer* has a lot to contribute to our *cosmic gardener*'s playstyle. The ZM team already spent years trying to figure out ways to make a passive environmental role entertaining to play even when there wasn't direct action to be taken; I think looking at a few of the lessons they learned might be worth a shot.


  • SilverwingSilverwing bulletsponge Join Date: 2003-11-23 Member: 23395Posts: 494Members, Constellation
    Re-boot? More like re-move. Or just the boot.
    Silverwing
    QUOTE
    If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.
    QUOTE (ASnogarD)
    It is fine to add a skill that can be aquired by playing the game, not a skill that requires non intuitive movement/gamestyle to aquire... thats counter intuitive and bad design.
    A skill that is first discovered by accident, and then learnt by others via social networking isnt a cool feature, its a popular glitch.

«1
Sign In or Register to comment.