Development Blog Update - 13th Podcast

MaxMax Technical Director, Unknown Worlds EntertainmentSuper Administrators, Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, Constellation, Subnautica Developer, Pistachionauts, Future Perfect Developer Join Date: 2002-03-15 Member: 318Posts: 1,737 admin
edited December 2007 in NS2 General Discussion
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Max McGuire
Technical Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment
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Comments

  • SariselSarisel .::' ( O ) ';:-. .-.:;' ( O ) '::. Members, Constellation Join Date: 2003-07-30 Member: 18557Posts: 2,192
    ++ for the weld-bot
  • cerberus414cerberus414 Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2005-05-07 Member: 51098Posts: 217 Advanced user
    edited December 2007
    Interesting pod cast, but can you clarify whether valve asked you to show them your tools or you just felt like showing it to them. Maybe they can license the tools from you and get you some cash flowing. Weld-Bot sounds interesting too.
  • BCSephBCSeph Members, Constellation Join Date: 2005-02-24 Member: 42384Posts: 223
    WE WANT A DEMO lol
    In game: Talking Ant Colony
  • HappyCatChopsticksHappyCatChopsticks Members Join Date: 2007-12-07 Member: 63103Posts: 1
    An art book... interesting enough to me to make my first post and stop lurking (no pun intended). You should think about incorporating maybe some of the older NS1 concept stuff (if you didn't) and printing a larger number of them; I for one would love to buy something like that and if enough of the community also gets behind it, it very well might be another way to help out with funding. NS has been an important thing to so many people not just because of the gameplay, but because of the social aspect, and an art book would be a fantastic keepsake for that.
  • lunchtimemamalunchtimemama Mistress of lighting design Members Join Date: 2007-06-08 Member: 61166Posts: 5
    edited December 2007
    My first post too wink-fix.gif

    This post argues against the welding model described in the podcast and proposes an alternative.

    I share Max's gameplay concerns about welding doors. Some obvious problems:
    - A marine player welds inopportune doors and his team gets pissed.
    - The loosing marines barricade themselves in a room. Aliens get pissed.
    - The "flow" of a map is beyond the map maker's control.

    I also have apprehensions about the mechanics of welding doors. I acknowledge that this is currently in "brainstorm" stage, but I raise these practical points which must eventually be raised. Doors either open automatically or manually. If they open manually, they are problematic for three reasons. First, opening doors is annoying. Second, opening doors is not practical in the heat of combat. A retreating marine under fire has no time for doorknobs or whathaveyous. Third, how, fictionally, do aliens have agency over manual doors? The kitchen scene from Jurassic Park is coming to mind, in a bad way. I feel strongly that automatic doors are better for gameplay, atmosphere, and fiction than manual doors. The model for welding doors, as described in today's podcast, is severely complicated by automatic doors. "Welding down the line of the door" becomes difficult when the door opens upon your approach. I don't doubt that some "manual override" feature is three lines of Lua, but you've suddenly made the very simple notion of a binary door into something much less intuitive. I would strive for intuitiveness over almost anything else, especially with so universal a thing as a door.

    I further question the gameplay benefit of temporarily barricading a door. It only affords the marines so much time before the aliens breach the weld. If the weld is easily broken, then welding is not a strategic element (because it does not buy enough time to execute a new strategy), and if it is difficult to break, it is a nuisance to the aliens. (The welding open of doors is a potentially interesting strategy (opening lines of sight into another room), but if the strategy purchased the marines any significant advantage, then how is that to be countered? The aliens can't knock the doors closed again.) The weld also does not service the shooter component of the game: the action of welding presumably take an amount of time. If that time is too long, it will not save a soldier from an oncoming alien. If that time is too short, welding becomes blasé and, again, is a major annoyance for the Kharaa team. If welding serves neither the strategy or the shootering, then its only virtue is the "wow moment" of the door's surrender to an Onos. While I'm all for spectacles, they don't justify deleterious game mechanics.

    So now for my alternative proposal. Forget doors; the welding system should be abstracted further still. Allow any loose metal to be welded to any metal surface. Here's how this works:

    Physical props are strewn all over the level. Scrap metal, coverings, floor panels, &c.. Some are to be found loose, other must be pried away from their proper function. The act of welding involves two people: one to hold the metal against a surface, the other to weld - not to mention guards. One welds along an edge of contact between the prop and the surface (which may be another prop, even one which has itself been welded to still another surface) and this creates a physical constraint along the length of the weld. Liftable props can only be so large.

    Here are the benefits this system affords:
    - A Gary's-Mod-esk freedom of construction.
    - Encourages teamwork and creates a co-operative relationship between the holder and the welder (much like medics and heavies in TF2).
    - The size constraint on liftable materials means that a pair can barricade something like a vent or duct with relative ease, but that fully obstructing a door or hallway would require significant time and effort (collecting materials and welding them piece-by-piece). This means that teams can easily make useful but minor changes to the flow of the map, but that they are unlikely to make expensive, significant alterations (although such major alterations might be fun for a whole team to undertake).
    - The welder could be used to "write" on any metal surface with solder (just for fun).
    - Ad hoc shells could be constructed around important structures as additional protection (assuming physical access to the structures is not necessary). This changes the way in which an alien must prioritize the destruction of buildings they happen upon: do they attack the more important structure, knowing that the additional time needed to get at the structure might afford the marines time to arrive, or do they go for the easy pickin's?
    - It's entirely physical and, hence, intuitive.
    - Physics in Source is bad ass!

    I believe the key variable to this system's success or failure is the scarcity of loose metal. When metal is rare, marines must economize their supply, or risk venturing to find more. It is a second resource model which is valuable only to co-operative teams. A dynamic system for populating the level with props would allow for a simple Lua variable to control the abundance of metal. There is also the possibility of weldable products. The commander could build some device (or a marine could purchase one) which must be welded to a surface. For example, electrifying structures could involve welding a voltage unit onto the building. Or you could weld it only a wall or floor, electrifying it; the larger the area of the surface to which you weld it, the less damage it does, or damage attenuates further from the voltage device. Or something. You can imagine other such "devices" which are welded to surfaces with sensory, offensive, defensive, or other capacities. Bombs, re-suppliers, cameras, you name it.

    As an alien equivalent, perhaps the gorge could build barriers out of a secretion. Or perhaps aliens could have an entirely different use for metal. Nesting?

    So anyway, Those are my thoughts on welding. Incidentally, I love the weld-bot idea. I wonder if it could also have a use for the aliens (a parasited weld-bot let's them know where things are by where it goes). What does everyone think?
  • SariselSarisel .::' ( O ) ';:-. .-.:;' ( O ) '::. Members, Constellation Join Date: 2003-07-30 Member: 18557Posts: 2,192
    edited December 2007
    ^^ Quality idea. If this is feasable with server resource constraints, it would definitely be a very nice solution to the welding issue. Not to mention, it would add to the atmosphere of the game in that the marines are entering environments that were torn apart in the initial overthrow of the vessel/area by the Kharaa. The team welding and the versatility of the process would probably be very popular for larger games with 14+ players.
  • TheNinthPlayerTheNinthPlayer Members, Constellation Join Date: 2002-05-20 Member: 637Posts: 74
    I like the idea of a weld bot! They had something similar in Gears of War, he would appear & disappear to open locked doors for you, but you have to keep him defended while he does it.
  • MaxMax Technical Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment Super Administrators, Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, Constellation, Subnautica Developer, Pistachionauts, Future Perfect Developer Join Date: 2002-03-15 Member: 318Posts: 1,737 admin
    QUOTE(lunchtimemama @ Dec 7 2007, 09:28 PM) »
    So now for my alternative proposal. Forget doors; the welding system should be abstracted further still. Allow any loose metal to be welded to any metal surface. Here's how this works:

    Physical props are strewn all over the level. Scrap metal, coverings, floor panels, &c.. Some are to be found loose, other must be pried away from their proper function. The act of welding involves two people: one to hold the metal against a surface, the other to weld - not to mention guards. One welds along an edge of contact between the prop and the surface (which may be another prop, even one which has itself been welded to still another surface) and this creates a physical constraint along the length of the weld. Liftable props can only be so large.

    We've also talked about implementing welding exactly like you describe. I have some concerns, but it's definitely still an option we're considering.
    Max McGuire
    Technical Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • schkorpioschkorpio I can mspaint Members Join Date: 2003-05-23 Member: 16635Posts: 3,543 Fully active user
    edited December 2007
    you guys briefly touched on the way marine resources work, by saying that the marines can purchase welders if they wish to.

    I'm guessing that the commander will play a role more like an accountant and hand out cash/res to marines rather than the actual items, and then the marines can purchase what they like?

    edit: i like the weld bot idea also, hope it looks like a hovaring scorpion smile-fix.gif

    please consider the "welding loose items" idea because i don't think i've seen that in any other game before (you do those kind of things in garry's mod but there is no gameplay purpose)
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  • RadixRadix Members, Constellation Join Date: 2005-01-10 Member: 34654Posts: 964
    I agree that welding should be made more major as a gameplay element, but I'm not sure if welding a door per se is the right way to approach it.

    When I think of welding/breaching a door, I think of a desperate situation that needs to be temporarily staved off until some trigger event takes place. Be it a flood or an onos or the Alien breaking through - something has to give.

    This element feels to me like biting down res nodes, which is no doubt imperative, but simultaneously dull.

    What I mean by all this is that perhaps another mechanic would accomplish this goal better, perhaps the goal subliminally suggested here would be a minigame of "block the onos from killing us" via welding a door?

    I see this minigame, if it's what's being suggested, as better accomplished via something like a one-sided lock. i.e. we're in mess hall on nancy, a marine shuts the door and triggers the internal lock (triggering locks being a marine-specific ability). The onos, bunnyhopping (or what have you) down the hall into mess is now cut off, and can't get through the barricade, so he either has to go around through port or mother interface to get to them, or alternately, he can ask a lerk, skulk, or gorge, essentially any lifeform who can fit through the smaller passages, to go unlock the door from the inside.

    I just liked the teamplay element that something like this would add, vs a true brute-force mechanic of "weld the door, break the door" which felt monotonous to me, in my head.
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  • afratnikovafratnikov Members Join Date: 2003-08-05 Member: 18931Posts: 248
    edited December 2007
    Here is another podcast transcript. This time I added some headlines to the overall topics that were discussed to make it easier to navigate. There are also a couple of links to wikipedia for you to check out, if you wish.
    I’m taking the time to write this up specifically to accommodate all deaf NS players!

    *same badass music as last week*
    Max: Hi and welcome to UnknownWorlds podcast #13. Today is Friday, December 7th, and I am Max, and with me here is Charlie.
    Charlie: Hello

    BUSY WEEK

    Max: And as usual we’ll be talking about what’s been going on at UnknownWorlds and a little bit about game development and whatever else
    Charlie: Hopefully some NS2 stuff.
    Max: yes
    Charlie: definitely some NS2 stuff today
    Max: Yeah we’ve got a lot going on. Not all of it is ready to be discussed openly, but should be interesting couple of weeks, I think?
    Charlie: Definitely, it’s been pretty crazy here
    Max: And on of the things we’ve been working on lately is… Well next week we’re visiting Valve and we’re gonna be showing some stuff. So, we’ve been trying to get our things together: sort of putting together a little demoand…
    Charlie: Showing our tools and…
    Max: Yeah, Just showing off all the stuff we have
    Charlie: Sort of. Level textures and some of our framework
    Max: In the process of getting everything ship-shape, you might say
    Charlie: Translation: freaking out and spending tons of time coding, fixing bugs and stuff
    Max: Well, we’re not freaking out
    Charlie: I’m freaking out
    Max: Well we are spending a lot of time
    Charlie: Actually I’m not freaking out, but yeah it’s a lot of work.
    Max: It’s been a long week, long hours. Well so why don’t we talk about some of those things?

    “DEMO”

    Charlie: Yeah. So, we’re giving a demo and - let’s see, you said you wanted to mentions something about demo giving, because you’ve done a lot more demo giving than I have.
    Max: Yeah well we talked about - I think it was last week’s podcast, maybe the week before – we talked about a demo we were going to give to the investors. And based on the comments, it seems like people were a bit confused about what we meant when we said “demo.” Because people were saying “when can we play it?”
    Charlie: Oh yeah
    Max: Something like that.
    Charlie: Like a downloadable file playing demo
    Max: Yeah. I think a lot of gamers probably think when they hear “demo,” they think “small piece of the finished game, which can be played”
    Charlie: If they only knew what we have.
    Max: That’s not really what we’re doing
    Charlie: this is an orange level
    Max: we are just showing off what we have…
    Charlie: Right
    Max: … which serves kind of the same purpose but it’s an early, in development, stage
    Charlie: Right
    Max: And yeah it’s pretty common to have to do those kinds of demos for lots of different reasons. Like in Iron Lore: we ended up doing a lot of demos. Initially, we made a demo prototype of the game to try and pitch it to publishers. And that first demo was actually quite big, you know, maybe like an eight month project.
    Charlie: That’s beautiful when you’re done with it
    Max: To create the demo yeah
    Charlie: Yeah it’s very colossal
    Max: That was basically…
    Charlie: polished, like a vertical slice
    Max: …like a vertical slice of the game, yeah the whole game was there in playable form
    Charlie: Except that you didn’t have anything running below that, right? …hacks
    Max: yeah there is definitely a lot of smoke and mirrors and stuff like that. You know the idea
    Charlie: See we don’t do demos like that here
    Max: Yeah
    Charlie: That’s something we’ve decided. We’re not hacking anything
    Max: that is the problem with demos – a lot of times it can be a huge diversion.
    Charlie: Right. You want something beautiful to show and you end up hacking something in and it’s not stable, definitely not playable

    DEMOS IN E3

    Max: Yeah, E3 is a good example of that.
    Charlie: Right
    Max: It’s also you have to do E3 demos and
    Charlie: Actually you can see in source code all the time “Hack for E3 2006” or whatever
    Max: Yeah, well the problem is you want to show off something usually way cooler than what you actually have…
    Charlie: right
    Max: …and it’s a very firm deadline. And actually in the case of E3 what was always kind of an annoyance was, well I guess it’s a little tangent on E3, but: Because E3 every year would get more and more noisy and difficult for publishers to show the press their games, what all the publishers started doing was hosting their own private events a month before…
    Charlie: Right
    Max: …where they would invite the press and show them all their games. So what happened was all of a sudden your E3 deadline has moved up a month and actually what you had to have everything ready a month earlier. And I guess that is why e3 no longer exists in that form, because all the publishers were doing private press events there was really no reason to go to E3 anymore, ‘cause everyone had already seen all the games.
    Charlie: Right

    PHILOSOPHY ON DEMOS

    Max: But yeah, so that is always very difficult. And yeah what happens is: you have to build that into the schedule you know. We’re gonna spend
    Charlie: 6 months cranking on fake stuff
    Max: yeah
    Charlie: We’re gonna have to rip it all out afterwards
    Max: It’s not necessarily pushing the development forward
    Charlie: Yeah, actually that is also a common problem with software development too is when… you basically making a prototype like a fake prototype of it. Management or other stakeholders can sometimes be tempted to have you use that as the basis of your product.
    Max: right
    Charlie: they say “hey, it looks like you have everything working! Why don’t you just base it of that? And, come on, just go ahead…”
    Max: Yeah it can be very misleading
    Charlie: Yeah and then you end up building your product on top of fake, crappy, rickety demo and then you could be in really big trouble later when performance or compatibility issues pop up, infrastructure elements are not holding up
    Max: yeah
    Charlie: So anyways we decided to not do that kind of demo
    Max: yeah
    Charlie: in fact we’re doing – maybe that means our demos will never be particularly flashy, but we’re not hacking anything in
    Max: And I’d say it’s a lot less stressful than trying to cram in those new huge big things at the last minute
    Charlie: though we are re-factoring stuff in a big way, which is a little scary
    Max: we are making a lot of changes, yeah but you know whatever
    Charlie: But they’re good. I guess it means - the good part is, no matter how the demo goes, it just means that we’re still getting closer to our goal of shipping the game. That’s our number one priority. Demos are always secondary.
    Max: yep
    Charlie: So that’s good. So yeah hopefully that will go well.
    Max: We were going down that path a little bit. There is the temptation ‘cause you always want to make something better and better, right, but there is a point where it’s just unreasonable to add a huge feature in the last minute
    Charlie: We haven’t gotten there yet
    Max: Where it’s unreasonable?
    Charlie: Yeah
    Max: I mean we’re not making big changes in that respect. But like adding a huge, big thing that isn’t really thought out or whatever.
    Charlie: Like welding?
    Max: Yeah that’s exactly what I’m …
    Charlie: Segueing to? Let’s talk about welding
    Max: OK

    WELDING

    Charlie: One of the things we want to show off some cool gameplay stuff in NS2. You know, stuff that is kinda unique to us and our world and all that. So, we’re thinking that maybe welding - we have a new system for welding that we have been thinking about putting in for NS2
    Max: Well we should preface that by saying “thinking about welding in general.”
    Charlie: Yeah ok that’s true
    Max: if you remember a podcast a few week ago, we talked about the pillars of natural selection. One of them is dynamic environments, which effectively makes every game unique or have a lot more variation at least. So, it’s not like there is one strategy that you’re playing on map the same way. A lot more opportunities for different tactics based on ways that you can change the map.
    Charlie: Yep
    Max: And so welding is great for natural selection - is a great tool for doing that
    Charlie: it was in the beginning like NS1 had it
    Max: It just was very underutilized
    Charlie: yeah and I can see why it had some problems but
    Max: Yeah maps didn’t really take full advantage of it. It was difficult to do, because it required a welder
    Charlie: Yeah, which wasn’t difficult to get
    Max: it wasn’t difficult, but you know there is another step
    Charlie: You had to buy your own welder you had to go to someone else to get it
    Max: Right
    Charlie: Now you can buy your own welder and then you can go, if you have an idea for something you can do, you can go, buy it and go do it. But we wanted welding, well I don’t know if Max did, but I wanted welding to be really generic and versatile
    Max: oh I do to
    Charlie: ok good. Then you’ll love my idea for welding, won’t you, where you can weld, basically where you can - we’re kind of arguing about this right now but a slight dispute about how it’s going to be implemented - but I want all doors to be weldable: closed or open. So you can just walk up to any door run a line down through the gap and lay some solder down and the door’s totally shut, until the aliens bash their way through it, which is quite different, but… What do you guys say about that? What do you gonna say?
    Max: well I don’t object to that concept, it’s just I want the welding to be beyond, more than just doors. In Natural Selection 1, a weld spot is essentially just a trigger and the map maker can do all kinds of different things with that trigger
    Charlie: Trigger with a parker spark
    Max: Yeah basically
    Charlie: That’s activated by the welder. And the comment says “please weld me” or whatever it says.
    Max: Yeah so you can do all kinds of stuff: You can repair things you can destroy things you can launch missiles. That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense.
    Charlie: Yeah
    Max: But yeah it’s very flexible and offers a lot of different, interesting variations while it has a uniform appearance in the game
    Charlie: right
    Max: As soon as someone sees that welder icon, they know, they can come up to that and weld it
    Charlie: Right
    Max: So I think that’s good and I think we should preserve that in natural selection 2. It’s kind of an abstraction, which I think is our principal disagreement on that issue
    Charlie: Well I don’t see the purity and purpose of buying a welder then, ‘cause “why are you even welding that in the first place?”, ‘cause they’re presumably not expensive and it doesn’t take much time to actually do the weld so why even weld it, why not do something else? So like trigger that like the missle, why not have something that looks really a lot like something that would trigger a missle instead of this artificial…
    Max: Well, the problem is that if you have all these different things, you know, it just becomes more complicated for the user
    Charlie: Well true, I guess it depends which ones …
    Max: one thing that simplified thing
    Charlie: we’ll figure that out. I can see going either way but I guess the most important thing for me is to make sure that players - that the mapper doesn’t need to choose individual spots to weld. They don’t think “Oh wouldn’t it be neat on my map where if they weld this one thing they can close off these two areas and they can defend this room in this way?” I’d rather this be just a universal concept and then the commander comes up with their own strategies, just like, it’s quite analogous to mobile base construction for the marines side: mobile commande chair. I would think of that just like that
    Max: Yeah, I agree with most of that
    Charlie: Ok cool, the thing that’s really cool I think is showing the lime, so when you pull out your welder you’re showing the lime. I know we can figure out the details, but… I’d like to actually trace a weld with a solder
    Max: I think that would be cool. I mean it makes it like a mini game
    Charlie: Exactly. It would just feel cool it would be fun. And then the idea of: the aliens busting down the doors, just ramming into the weld and deforming the door and smashing and then finally breaking it open - I think that would just be an incredible experience
    Max: I think it would be a cool experience. I don’t know if it might take away. You know there are two things that are kind of at odds: there is emersion/atmosphere, whatever you want to call it, and then there is the multiplayer gameplay and then
    Charlie: It’s annoying to have to bite on this door
    Max: Yeah there are some weighted odds
    Charlie: Yeah you have to balance it at all times
    Max: So I’m not sure and there are a lot of open questions with what you just described How it would actually be implemented, how it would work in game
    Charlie: I think it’s worth trying though
    Max: We’ll have to think about that one
    Charlie: So that’s welding
    Max: We are not ready to start implementing that

    WELDBOT

    Charlie: yeah if we had more time, if we just don’t sleep. And there other welding thing is a Weld-bot, which I have done like the first half of, which is right now I’m just using the Manhack model from Half-Life 2, but the commander will be able to - I have no idea if this will stick stay in the game, or … this just early we’re just playing with it, but. It’s just a little flying bot that the commander can spend money to build and then he just flies around and automatically welds either structures or players to keep them repaired. And I hope that you could also use them as scouts and could also assign them to players and have them follow you around or assign them to squads.
    Max: Mr. Zaps [spelling?] - that’s his name
    Charlie: Really? That’s a good name, Mr. Zaps
    Max: I said it in the podcast
    Charlie: OK, we’ll see, we’ll see
    Max: Let’s see if he stays in the game: community vote. But yeah actually coincidentally I saw some people discussing pretty much the same idea on the forums so I guess we’re on the same wavelength as the community
    Charlie: that’s a good, that’s usually a good sign
    Max: We don’t know if it will make the game better or not, but it’s worth a shot

    ART BOOK

    Charlie: Definitely. So… we also did an art book this week which was very cool
    Max: Yeah we decided it would be nice to take some of the art materials, a lot of which I think we have posted in various forms, some of the
    concept area of the site, some in the blog, some stuff, that people haven’t seen before…
    Charlie: some in-game stuff
    Max: some in-game stuff, put it together into an actual physical book, so that we can bring that to our demo
    Charlie: Yeah, it’s beautiful
    Max: we’ll have to see if it’s shipped in time
    Charlie: yeah hopefully
    Max: yeah combines images with some of our tidbits about the design philosophy behind artwork and
    Charlie: … and game design
    Max: and how that affects, yeah gameplay
    Charlie: It’s fun to actually write up this ###?###
    Max: it was! I think it actually came out pretty nice
    Charlie: Yeah hope so, I mean it;s good just to think about these things I mean we’ve internalized a lot of concepts but just to write out the one concise and it’s about art design it’s just really good to do
    Max: Yep, so maybe we can make some extras of those and have a contest or something
    Charlie: Send some out, that’d be cool. Yeah
    Max:

    RUPTURE

    Charlie: Did you want to talk about Shawn? I think that’s kind of a fun tidbit
    Max: Sure. Yeah, so on top of working hard on this demo we have actually been doing a bunch of other things this week. One of those things was, we met with Shawn Fanning, who created Napster and now he has a new company called Rapture, which is making a social networking site that’s based around games. So we went down there - he’s located in San Francisco – we went down and talked with him about what he’s doing and how that relates to what we’re doing and stuff like that
    Charlie: Definitely looked cool
    Max: Yeah I was really impressed
    Charlie: Yeah, it’s a slick site and
    Max: I mean that one sentence that I just explained, ‘cause would make a lot of people kinda groan like “oh another social networking” but
    Charlie: But if you see how he’s doing it
    Max: Yeah, it’s actual implementation and all the other decisions they’ve made surrounding it. Like how to cooperate with other things. You know, he’s not trying to create a…
    Charlie: … a closed system…
    Max: for Facebook. It’s something, it’s like the way LinkedIn and Facebook coexist - they kind of have different roles and coexisting with lots of games and not trying to replace things like Steam or…
    Charlie: Right, it will fit right into the gaming landscape quite nicely and the stats that they compiled are pretty cool
    Max: Yeah, well that’s the one thing that I felt that will have probably the biggest impact on Natural Selection 2, I’m thinking, is - the way their system works is they gather stats from all kinds of places about the game so they can tell, how many kills you got or whatever in a certain game and stuff like that. And there all kinds of ways of doing this and it seems like it would be in our best interest and interest of the community to equip natural selection with publishing those types of stats so people could do you know whatever with them
    Charlie: Right
    Max: So I mean that’s definitely to keep in mind going forward
    Charlie: definitely. And this site, even though it’s not open anymore, I guess it’s…
    Max: beta
    Charlie: it’s in beta, yeah, it’s rupture.com, I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about it pretty soon
    Max: yeah
    Charlie: It looked very cool, we’re impressed. Learned a little bit how to pitch better I think, cause he’s obviously experienced at pitching – this is his third startup and so he did a good job. I don’t even know why he’s been pitching us; I guess he was just explaining everything to us
    Max: yeah
    Charlie: But it’s like “we have money”
    Max: hey, we’re big industry players! It’s like EA, Activ-Blizzard, UW - UnknownWorlds
    Charlie: yeah that’s right, exactly
    Max: Yeah

    BACK TO WORK

    Charlie: “Activ-blizzard.” So anyways that was cool. And we also did some consulting work on the side
    Max: A little, quick
    Charlie: we just want to be nice to our neighbors in the area that we’re probably going to have our office, so. Some guys getting started there, they had some technical problems that Max was able to help them with. Max helped them, Max [inaudible]
    Max: …
    Charlie: So yeah
    Max: So we gotta get back to work
    Charlie: Yeah that’s pretty much it -
    Max: much to do. So let’s wrap this up
    Charlie: It’s been definitely quite a busy week – not a lot of personal stuff
    Max: yeah it’s been good
    Charlie: Yeah, I don’t want every week to be like this, so, ‘cause my mom will start freaking out and yeah. It’s been good things are moving in the right direction. Its deffinately good to focus and get a lot done. So that’s it and we’ll talk to you next week. Bye
    Max: thanks for listening
    *Music*
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • aeroripperaeroripper NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Constellation Join Date: 2005-02-25 Member: 42471Posts: 2,423 mod
    lol weld bot, that sounds hilarious. There should be a limit of only 1 at a time so teammates would still weld eachother.

  • lunchtimemamalunchtimemama Mistress of lighting design Members Join Date: 2007-06-08 Member: 61166Posts: 5
    edited December 2007
    QUOTE(Radix @ Dec 8 2007, 06:28 AM) »
    I see this minigame, if it's what's being suggested, as better accomplished via something like a one-sided lock. i.e. we're in mess hall on nancy, a marine shuts the door and triggers the internal lock (triggering locks being a marine-specific ability). The onos, bunnyhopping (or what have you) down the hall into mess is now cut off, and can't get through the barricade, so he either has to go around through port or mother interface to get to them, or alternately, he can ask a lerk, skulk, or gorge, essentially any lifeform who can fit through the smaller passages, to go unlock the door from the inside.

    I think it might be equally or more interesting if this kind of dynamism were a function of the environment rather than the players. For example, some area of a map has a malfunctioning security system and if shots are fired, or motion is detected, or radio communication is made, or something, then there is a consequence, such as locks, blast doors, automated turrets, whatever. If anyone is familiar with the movie Cube, at one point five people must cross a room fitted with a sound-based booby-trap. The scene is entirely silent and extremely suspenseful. Recreating a similar sort of situation in a game would be very difficult, but potentially awesome. More specifically:

    Pros:
    - Environments are more dynamic. Adds to the atmosphere and the gameplay.
    - Pacing. Pacing in a multiplayer game is more uniform than in a singleplayer experience. Any event with takes the pace down rather than up (or focuses it into a single sense, such as hearing) provides for potentially great moments.
    - It's unique. Malleable environments are already shaping up to be a defining characteristic of NS2. More is better here.

    Cons:
    - These sorts of things must be understood by the player. The rules of a room cannot suddenly change unless the user knows why they have changed, what the new rules are, and what to do about it.
    - These sorts of things must be rare. If there's "that room" with the trigger for the security system thing (or whatever it is), people will just avoid it. This kind of stuff, if possible, should be as dynamic as possible. Perhaps a number of (or all!) rooms can potentially have faulting security systems (or whatever) and the fault is further determined by the advance of infestation, or something. Thus, rather than have a trigger in a room, you could have a rule like this: If an enclosed space both has power and is overrun with infestation, there is suchandsuch a probability that the security system will freak out, provided that the security nexus hasn't either lost power or been overrun with infestation. Or something. Of course, these events are only for the benefit of the players, so I defiantly think that such things should only happen when both at least one alien and one marine are in the room, so things get interesting. Perhaps a supervisory AI (a la Left4Dead) should be in charge of each player's level of "excitement" and attempt to modify the environment accordingly.

    Or something.
  • BreadManBreadMan Members, Retired Developer Join Date: 2002-12-15 Member: 10854Posts: 128
    QUOTE(Max @ Dec 7 2007, 11:18 PM) »
    We've also talked about implementing welding exactly like you describe. I have some concerns, but it's definitely still an option we're considering.


    I really hope you continue to consider it, because I really, really like the idea.

    I think that weldbots are a great idea too, would be useful to a comm especially in situations with a bunch of n00bs in a pub who won't weld players/sturctures. Agree that player welding should be more valuable tho, too much automation and the game starts playing itself.
  • MasterPTGMasterPTG Members Join Date: 2006-11-30 Member: 58780Posts: 283
    Certainly, reducing boredom (I think) should be a high priority in NS2, and increasing the -amount- of welding without reducing the -boredom- of welding would be a mistake in my opinion. Also, the boredom would be just as high if playing a mini-game were included, b/c if I wanted to play mini-games, I sure as hell wouldn't be playing NS2.

    NS already has lots of boring activities.

    The marines have to build base, build RT's, build mini-bases, and weld openings or weldables. All of these activities are inherantly boring, and I honestly don't know of a single soul who actually finds these activities fun. That is why no one wants to build base.

    Same goes for aliens: hives, RT's, chambers, and OC's all take time to drop but overall less time to 'build' compared to the marines(though the time it takes going gorge has to be considered). But rest assured, these activities are also very boring.

    Instead of making -all- doors weldable, why not simply make -some- doors/passageways capable of being opened by either welding or hacking? The rest of the doorways and doors can be already open or unlocked? Surely the boredom of welding doors shut, and aliens breaking them down would intrude on the -fun-. Surely the marines and aliens should -both- have abilities to try to -block- a passageway, but at least to me, that


    is already served -exceptionally well- with mini-bases and OC's which are 10x more dynamic, fun, and dangerous than boring welding.


    Dynamic, multiple passageways can only be useful so far as they benefit gameplay. Certainly the mapper can determine best how to set a variety of game triggers so as to allow good gameplay.

    To me, fun is not spending 10 seconds biting a metallic object, as there is already enough of this in the game (biting down marine structures. Now you want to add weldable doors too? UG). I honestly don't see how this would increase fun nor strategy (for it would just increase gametime that would be spent biting/welding doors open and closed).

    When welding is needed, it -Should Not- be a boring activity, rather a very neccesary, rare job. A way to solve this boredom problem is by modifying that -genius- idea of having a weldbot. I shall attempt to define a suitable weldbot that could be implemented.

    Weldbot 1.0:
    -Can only be summoned/dropped/built by the commander.
    -Requires armory (and protolab for the upgraded weldbot which can not only weld doors/passageways, but can also repair marines' armor) to be built and dropped.
    -Costs ten resources.
    -Can only be ordered around by the commander.
    -Has a simple pathfinding AI.
    -Can be told to follow a marine and weld anyone nearby (only w/ the upgraded protolab building).
    -Can be told to weld open passageways, and it will go to the weldable as ordered and weld it open.
    -Can not 'hack' open doors, as only marines w/ true intelligence can do this.
    -Can not defend itself except with the welder which does have a longer range than a regular welder (but does not do more damage).
    -Can roll itself into a protective ball that takes twenty seconds of skulk biting to kill.
    -Commander can manually tell it to 'ball' itself up.
    -Commander can manually tell it to 'attack' the nearest or a specific enemy.
    -Will automatically start rolling itself into a protective ball if it starts taking any damage.
    -Can be told to 'roll' back to base, though it goes very slowly and can certainly be delayed or waylayed by aliens playing 'kickball' with it.
    -Weld Bot looks like a spider for all intensive purposes.
    -Can weld open doors with a much higher proficiency than a human. The weld bot can weld five times more effectively than a human on inanimate objects, though when it comes to human armor with their imperfections, it takes twice as long to weld. 5x for inanimate and 1/2x for marines.
    -#1 choice for commanders when they need something welded open.
    -#1 choice for commanders when they need noob marines welded when they have the proto built.
    -Uber idea.
  • StixNStonzStixNStonz Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2006-11-06 Member: 58439Posts: 1,185 Fully active user
    Welding in NS1 IS underused, but there are definitely a few gems. Metal's solo weldable is great, but I seem to be the only one who ever uses it; Tanith's solo weld is pretty good too and has perhaps the best visuals; Hera's arch doors seem to be exactly what the devs wanted, from the examples given in the Mapping Guidelines (suspenseful areas which can group up marines, like elevators or doors).

    For anyone who hasn't seen them, my map Nexus has some really advanced weldables, Mag Pump being the craziest, and others providing some very strategic as well as tactical benefits.

    Frankly, you could leave the simple welding system as it is, and mappers could go berserk with the Source trigger system. Runtime entities are so easy on the engine that a mapper COULD put those weldable-doors on every door (followed by an alien-breakable trigger that would reopen them).

    But, IMO, the idea of putting in an all-encompassing Door Weldable thing wouldn't be worth it. If you look at NS as it is, almost every functional door has disappeared over the versions. While I mostly agree with it, I do feel that its gone too far. Nancy has perhaps the only real button-doors left in NS, but even those are crazy buggy right now (a jerkoff comm can spam the Ship Refueling door every half second). While NS2 should definitely have more doors, it should stay far, far away from having too many.

    With such a powerful trigger and entity system under the hood of Source, if you really want to make NS different, bring mappers more into the loop on the specific kinds of experiences you want to see. Some of us will go ahead and pioneer new and awesome techniques, but many will just make walls and rooms and leave it at that. I always felt that there wasn't much official direction for the mappers, especially when the Official Guidelines don't seem to apply to the majority of the official maps.
    Professional Game and Level Designer, thanks to NS!
    Creator of Ns_Nexus (ns1); Main thread found here.
  • StixNStonzStixNStonz Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2006-11-06 Member: 58439Posts: 1,185 Fully active user
    Just a reply to PTG. I agree that there are a few 'boring' parts of NS, but I feel that they're all necessary. When im biting an RT, I usually find myself on full alert, straining to hear the approaching footsteps of marines. It may take some time to kill an RT, but since the RT hp was lowered, its become far less of a chore. And the great thing about it, is the effect it has on the strategic level of the game. You dont bite RTs for tactical purposes, you do it for strategic purposes. If a skulk could bite down an RT in 10 seconds, they'd never last, and you'd ruin the entire economy of NS.

    On this note, perhaps you could try a small overhaul, such as putting RTs to half or 1/4 HP, but doubling or quadrupling their res output, or adding more accessible automatic defenses. Elec is expensive; what about upgrading an RT with its own Turret? (pops right out the top!). A decent skulk could still avoid the fire by walking around the RT. Or you could try implementing an idea along the lines of a Power Generator, which would be the requirement for Elec (instead of TF), but when damaged/destroyed, would shut down all elec for a certain number of seconds. That way, you could lower the cost of elec, but give it a viable counter.

    That was quite the tangent.

    But what I originally was talking about, was the boring aspects of NS. I feel the need to make the distinction between 'boring' features, and features that make the player vulnerable. The latter would be building, egging, welding, being the GLer, and being the gorge. These may all seem like boring things from a quick glance, but IMO they all create a vulnerable position that derives special benefits from its danger. A marine building could be attacked, but he could also finish the building and now have a PG up. A GLer will lose almost all battles without cover, but we all know the damage a good GL can do. Egging is a requirement for any lifeform, and its really not hard to maximize your chance of finishing gestation (go on the hive, ppl?). But, one of my most memorable NS moments was jumping down the ladder in Vent hive on Caged with a shotty and popping two side-by-side onos eggs, only to see the eruption of laughter from the alien team because of how much both of them were freaking out on the mic.

    Its rare to find games that actually offer temporary (sometimes enforced) vulnerability for future gain, but i guess it ties into a lot of the strategic element of NS. IMO, its one of NS' best features, and its a feature which DOES distinguish it from every other game.

    (a note on the vulnerability thing; BF2's engineer and TF2's engineer are similar comparisons, and each offer some great dynamic gameplay, but even these are shallow when you look at the depth in which NS uses the same techniques)
    Professional Game and Level Designer, thanks to NS!
    Creator of Ns_Nexus (ns1); Main thread found here.
  • GaroGaro Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver, Subnautica Playtester Join Date: 2005-01-07 Member: 33134Posts: 81 Fully active user
    I really like the ideas with welding. I personally don't like how current maps in NS1 have such a few welding points.

    One idea for welding a door shut: First when you weld it shut, it gets a certain amount of hitpoints or something, so that aliens can destroy the weldings by attacking/pushing it . Marines can heal the door by welding it, but as aliens eat it more, it comes harder and harder to heal the door by welding. This way the aliens will eventually get through any door even if there's a full marine team welding it. After a door is fully destroyed, marines could (for example) re-weld it together (Takes some time) so that the door is just as good as new one. Also it would be cool if there's some kind of visual referene of the doors health.

    I can personally imagine following scenario: The marines secure a small portion of the map by welding a door shut. The aliens eventually find the marines and they start to eat the welded door open. One of the marines notices this and quickly welds the door back to 100% health. As more and more aliens notice, that the door is the only efficient way to get to the marines they start to gather up at the door and destoy it faster and faster. The marines are forced to put more soldiers to weld the door to keep it secure, but eventually they realise that it's only a matter of time until the aliens get through the door. They back up a bit, form a line and wait until the door cracks to dozens of pieces. Immediatelly four skulks leap towards the marines only to die immediatelly to heavy weapon fire, but only to be followed by two fades and a onos which form a devastating eating party torning all marines to peaces and gaining the control of the room as the dynamic infestation comes...

    - Garo
  • TestosteronTestosteron Members, Constellation Join Date: 2006-12-29 Member: 59299Posts: 82
    edited December 2007
    Here is the German summary: http://www.lerk.de/2007/12/uwe-trifft-sich-mit-valve/

    I think that the perfect welding system is something between the static ns1 welding points and the no-barrier-weld-anything-you-like idea. And Mr Zaps is a really cool idea!
  • AlignAlign Remain Calm Forum Moderators, Constellation Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 5216Posts: 8,206 mod
    QUOTE(lunchtimemama @ Dec 8 2007, 06:28 AM) »
    welding props and stuff

    I love this idea, but I worry about the idea of blocking in structures with it. To stop this, they'd have to be removable somehow, yet if they were too easy to remove there'd be no use in blocking off a vent.
  • hkttzhkttz Members Join Date: 2005-04-15 Member: 48514Posts: 1
    That's great skulk.gif

    Hong Kong people supporting =)
  • Sinnister81Sinnister81 Members Join Date: 2002-11-30 Member: 10308Posts: 23
    Can you record the demo on camera and put it on google video so we can see what you have?
  • NeoGregorianNeoGregorian Members, Constellation Join Date: 2003-02-04 Member: 13093Posts: 84
    Nice podcast, as always.

    Welding things sounds great but, as has been pointed out, must be made smooth in order to not be an annoyance.
    Time is a resource and welding things must be time efficient as well as richening the game experience for it to really add anything to gameplay.
    I'm sceptic if welding really will be an improvement, but would be delighted if you proved me wrong =)

    As far as weld-bots, I find it slightly low-tech considering the background of nanobots. But having a bot-agent doing the repair rounds sounds really nice and could definitely add play value... and a snack for patrolling skulks.
    Insert witty signature here...
  • CanadianWolverineCanadianWolverine Members Join Date: 2003-02-07 Member: 13249Posts: 1,010 Fully active user
    Looking at all the discussion on welding and "boring bits" (which I agree are not so boring when there is tension because of being vulnerable), I gotta say, I love the Natural Selection community! We are some awesome gamers who really delve deep into what makes games great experiences!

    Say, want to see an example of what is possible in Source with "welding"? There is a whole mod dedicated to it called Source Forts.

    I like what we have been discussing as options (combinations of those options) as so much friggin sweeter than that!

    - Weldable map parts, that can be deformed, break, repaired, and even cut through!
    - Weldable mods to existing buildings!
    - Weld not working on Dynamic Infestation possible counter (it may shut down power in a room too!)
    - A new resource of sorts, armor plating, possibly and engineering building and/or robotics building: weld bot?
    - Weld is a counter to Kharaa speed, so they counter attack!
    - Welding enhancing teamwork and covering fire!
    - Welding enhancing atmosphere by building tension and team build ups!
    - Welding providing strategic and tactical options, even special events!
    - Welding graffiti!!!

    ... and it seems to go on and on! Dynamic Infestation VS Nanite Welding!!! Awesome sauce!

    God, I love the NS Community and Unknown Worlds' ambitions & past accomplishments!
  • gamakungamakun Members, Constellation Join Date: 2007-11-20 Member: 62971Posts: 146
    I want Mr. ZAP. XD
    *Lurking the forum since 2003*
  • FD2FD2 Members Join Date: 2005-07-24 Member: 56649Posts: 9
    Just had to post saying that Afratnicov misquoted Charlie, who didn't say:

    In fact we’re doing – maybe that means our demos will never be pretty, girly, flashy, but we’re not hacking anything in...

    but did say:

    In fact we’re doing – maybe that means our demos will never be particularly flashy, but we’re not hacking anything in...

    tounge.gif


    Idea for the weldbot sounds amazing. Look at games like ETQW, there are mines, walkers, welders, jetpacks and artillery cannons. NS2 looks to be far less confusing.
  • TechwidTechwid Members, Constellation Join Date: 2002-11-13 Member: 8440Posts: 178
    Valve has a history of being very supportive of it's community and from a consumers perspective it seems like if they find something they really enjoy they take measures to incorporate that product directly into Valve's offers. Much the way they did with Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, and more recently Portals. It seems like Charlie has been pretty invested in the idea of doing his own startup company but I'm interested in the purpose behind this visit. I believe Charlie was asked if Valve showed an interest in acquiring his skills and resulting product NS, would he be interested? To which I believe his response was something to the effect of he would hear what they have to say but ultimately he wanted to remain his own separate operation.

    Has this changed now that the difficulty of finding investors is more known? Is this visit more of a Valve outreach in support of it's developers community?

    I was just hoping more light could be shed on the agenda of this visit and what it means for UWE. Obviously if this is confidential information at the moment I can understand, but if more details could be shared it would be greatly appreciated.
  • MaianMaian Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Gold Join Date: 2003-02-27 Member: 14069Posts: 1,804
    I love the welding ideas presented in this thread, and I don't have much to add to them.

    One comment on the boring aspect though: Some aspects of the game are just going to be intrinsically more boring than others. This is inevitable in a teamwork-based game, especially if a player doesn't appreciate the role s/he was given. This is especially true for aliens IMO because of the class system. In the example of welding, I expect a skulk is going to have to spend a lot of time chewing than an onos which could just bash through; it's more boring for the skulk but that's intrinsic in the difference of abilities. Actually, that applies right now in NS1 with RT hunting.
    user posted image
  • EmpVEmpV Members, Constellation Join Date: 2005-01-10 Member: 34556Posts: 103 Advanced user
    Many good suggestions for welding here, but I do not think a new system for welding can be determined until the changes to gameplay have been revealed for NS2.

    I am hoping that the gameplay and ballance will be completely different from NS1. There will be so many new features to take into account such as Dynamic Infestation, Flame Units(hopefully), and a host of new things that are possible with source such as lighting and physics.

    There is no need for me to give another idea of how welding will work since most have been covered already. So I will focus on some of my ideas about how some of these new features offered by source can enhance and change the welding system.

    Physics Objects:

    The ability to pick up an item and use it to weld shut a vent is a great idea, assuming the marine can reach the vent. It might also be possible to just weld objects to the floor in key locations to slow down or keep an onos from escaping. Maybe heavy armored marines can pick up and carry heavier objects than light armor marines?

    Dynamic Infestation:

    Dynamic infestation is going to change NS gameplay completely and can effectively change a map. This could include things like lights, electical circuits, and Doors. Dynamic Infestation is effectively a "welder" for the alien team. It can block out lights forcing marines to use flashlights or night vision, take over doors allowing only aliens to use them, and interfere with marine technology. A darker area allows aliens to use their unique abilities to gain an advantage in these areas. Marines can use their flame units and welders to regain access to the systems taken over by D.I. By default, most of the map is marine territory when the game begins. An extra option is for the commander to be given control of the systems in marine controlled territory. He can open and close doors, control lights, and possibly have some control of other systems that may evolve. This control would be lost when the Infestation takes over these areas.

    Flame Units:

    We all want flame throwers just for the fun factor, but this weapon/tool will be critical and can give the marines what they need to fight D.I. and penetrate deep into alien infested areas. Idealy the aliens will be weaker than in NS1 because of the other advantages given to them by D.I. forcing them to use more tactics and adding to the atmosphere of the game. Flame units can satisfy some of the functions of a welder depending on the situation.


    In conclusion:

    The welder is underused in NS1 because of the lack of features in the HL engine to make it more interesting. Some maps have lights that can be toggled, but the graphics in the HL engine and the flashlight are just not good enough to make it useful. NS2 can change that and make the welder much more useful.

    NS1 Marine Vs. Alien ballance is too equal in stand up fights and this makes head on battles the focus of the game.
    Aliens will get a huge boost in features in NS2 that will justify making them play a different game and possibly weaken some of the lower life forms. Perhaps the Onos will be feared once again... tiny.gif
    image EmpV "Emperor Vaul"
  • schkorpioschkorpio I can mspaint Members Join Date: 2003-05-23 Member: 16635Posts: 3,543 Fully active user
    QUOTE(Maian @ Dec 9 2007, 07:07 AM) »
    I love the welding ideas presented in this thread, and I don't have much to add to them.

    One comment on the boring aspect though: Some aspects of the game are just going to be intrinsically more boring than others. This is inevitable in a teamwork-based game, especially if a player doesn't appreciate the role s/he was given. This is especially true for aliens IMO because of the class system. In the example of welding, I expect a skulk is going to have to spend a lot of time chewing than an onos which could just bash through; it's more boring for the skulk but that's intrinsic in the difference of abilities. Actually, that applies right now in NS1 with RT hunting.



    absolutely right, if its going to be boring for a skulk to bite through, then a skulk biting though a door isn't the right counter for chewing doors - the skulks should take the vents.
    its like trying to shoot a hive with lmg's its boring because its the wrong way to go about it - build a seige or run in with some shotguns smile-fix.gif
    its important to have "boring bits" so that players use the right counters/tactics against the appropraite obscales.
    Want to make an NS2 map but short on time? Join the NS2 Community Map Project
    thou shall slide!
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