Combat++

White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
edited January 6 in Modding
Hey guys! I've been wanting to work on a mod for NS2 for some time now. Back in October I started thinking that it would be great to bring the combat mode back to NS2. There are many reason why. I know there was quite a big following in the NS1 days. And I know personally that sometimes I just want to login and kill things and not have to worry about all the little nuances of the main game.

Apparently I was not alone in this idea because I came to these forums and found recent posts in the "Combat Mode Relaunch" thread. At the time I had already started some initial work on Combat++. After reading the last few pages of that thread, it seemed like the consensus was that if it were to happen, it would need to be a new mod started from scratch (which is what I had set out to do anyway).

So, I began working on Combat++. I did quite a bit of work back in the fall, took a break and did quite a bit more work on it over the holidays. I'm finally far enough along that I can show off a little bit to the community.

Just a few notes:
- I know there was a NS2: Combat that was released as an official game. I never played it but I have watched lots of youtube videos for inspiration. I feel that it is important that combat mode be reestablished in the main game executable.
- Its been a while (10+) years since I played the NS1 Combat mod so my memory is a little hazy on the fine details. So, if any of the gameplay seems odd or out of place compared to the original, let me know. I'd like to make this as good as I possibly can.
- So far, most of my development has been on gamestate and the Marine team. I'm set to start working on the Aliens next.
- I have several ideas for gameplay tweaks, most of which are tied to the idea of earning skill points for more than just kills.

It would be great to get the community involved. I'd take any help I can get. I just want to see this happen.
The current source code is uploaded on GitHub at the moment. It's still just an early WIP. I'm only about halfway through documenting what I've done thus far.

I have have a little early progress trailer for you guys too. Let me know what you think!

NS2 Combat++ - Early Progress Marine Trailer
BeigeAlertpSyk0mAnKasharicVetinariSupaFredIeptBarakatNintendowsKatzenfleischKeatsNousWandererantouBleuNordicskav2
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Comments

  • VetinariVetinari Join Date: 2013-07-23 Member: 186325Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver Posts: 3,398 Advanced user
    This looks pretty good. Question, though, how do the consumables work?
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  • White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
    Vetinari wrote:
    This looks pretty good. Question, though, how do the consumables work?

    Currently, the only things on the Marine buy menu not implemented are the consumables. The plan right now is to override the 'request med pack', 'request ammo pack', and 'request orders' to use the med pack, ammo pack, and cat pack. These items will persist with the player after they are bought, until used. There will be a visual indicator on the HUD to indicate what consumables the player has in their inventory. I'm still brainstorming on how the scan will work.
  • VetinariVetinari Join Date: 2013-07-23 Member: 186325Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver Posts: 3,398 Advanced user
    Vetinari wrote:
    This looks pretty good. Question, though, how do the consumables work?

    Currently, the only things on the Marine buy menu not implemented are the consumables. The plan right now is to override the 'request med pack', 'request ammo pack', and 'request orders' to use the med pack, ammo pack, and cat pack. These items will persist with the player after they are bought, until used. There will be a visual indicator on the HUD to indicate what consumables the player has in their inventory. I'm still brainstorming on how the scan will work.

    Neat. So basically a heal/resupply ammo/scan/inject drugs ability on a somewhat long cooldown?
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  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,653 Advanced user
    Looking great so far, just don't forget to give a little xp for welding or healing.
    NousWanderer
  • White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
    Vetinari wrote:
    Neat. So basically a heal/resupply ammo/scan/inject drugs ability on a somewhat long cooldown?

    I haven't decided if there will be the need to introduce a cool down or not. The consumables are purchasable so that should be enough to deter spamming. When I say persist, I mean that once you buy a consumable, it stays with you until used (as opposed to instantly applying it). You would have to buy it again after you've used it. The idea is that you can buy med packs and ammo packs when you spawn (outside of being in the middle of combat) and have them quickly hot keyed for use.

    Looking great so far, just don't forget to give a little xp for welding or healing.

    Already tracking. Its not in the video but I've started working on tracking welding the same way damage is tracked. Players will receive xp for welding and healing and there will also be skill point awards for doing 'x' amount of welding or healing in a single life span.
  • VetinariVetinari Join Date: 2013-07-23 Member: 186325Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver Posts: 3,398 Advanced user
    Vetinari wrote:
    Neat. So basically a heal/resupply ammo/scan/inject drugs ability on a somewhat long cooldown?

    I haven't decided if there will be the need to introduce a cool down or not. The consumables are purchasable so that should be enough to deter spamming. When I say persist, I mean that once you buy a consumable, it stays with you until used (as opposed to instantly applying it). You would have to buy it again after you've used it. The idea is that you can buy med packs and ammo packs when you spawn (outside of being in the middle of combat) and have them quickly hot keyed for use.

    Oh. But why would you ever buy a consumable when you could get a permanent upgrade instead?

    Do you get the upgrade points back? Is there an unlimited amount of upgrade points with progressively higher XP requirements? Do your XP reset every time you die?
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  • White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
    The more I think about it, the more the 'permanant upgrade on a cool down' approach sounds good. I'm indifferent. I think it would work well either way.
    VetinariIeptBarakat
  • White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
    Vetinari wrote:
    Do your XP reset every time you die?

    No, it persists throughout the entirety of the match.
  • NintendowsNintendows Join Date: 2016-11-07 Member: 223716Members, Squad Five Blue Posts: 188 Advanced user
    This is awesome!

    FYI the ns2 combat mod was recently licensed under the MIT license, so you might be able to use some of the code/assets from it: https://github.com/AlexHayton/NS2Combat
    White_Wizard
  • White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
    edited January 7
    G_Lock wrote:
    The official combat standalone game radically changed the way many things worked from the core NS2 experience, thus making it useless as a way to practice key things from the core game. That was one reason a lot people liked the original NS2 combat mod so much and the standalone failed, because it was the exact same units /w the same stats and ability's just no com/RTS factors. I suggest you don't go down that road and keep stats, ability's/weapons and movement physics the same as the core game. Things like weapon/ability timings or how you acquire them (points per kill, exp or something of that nature) doesn't matter.

    Thanks for the advice! I have no plans to change the way the weapons behave or the alien abilities work. I'm basically changing the res system to an xp/skill points system, removing the commander, and rerouting some of the commander specific things (placing and upgrading structures, becons, scans, etc.) and allowing them to be done at the player level by purchasing them with skill points. I don't plan to tweak the balance of the weapons and abilities, so that as NS2 gets patched, those balance tweaks will automatically be reflected in Combat++. I agree with you, combat mode is a great way to practice life forms and such for the main game.

    Nintendows wrote:
    FYI the ns2 combat mod was recently licensed under the MIT license, so you might be able to use some of the code/assets from it: https://github.com/AlexHayton/NS2Combat

    This is great news! Thanks for the heads up!
    Post edited by White_Wizard on
    KasharicpSyk0mAnG_Lock
  • KatzenfleischKatzenfleisch Join Date: 2014-03-21 Member: 194881Members, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver Posts: 166 Advanced user
    edited January 6
    Glad to see new people modding and adding some new content on the game. Keep on the good work and waiting to see it in action (and really nice buy menu btw)
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  • KeatsKeats United States Join Date: 2014-11-04 Member: 199413Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 154 Advanced user
    edited January 7
    From the GitHub Readme's to-do list:
    Find the guy that made the Flame Sentry and see if he'd allow his work to be included in this mod
    That's @Katzenfleisch. Or maybe it belongs to the Wooza collective now.
    One of the things you might want to keep in mind is compatibility with other mods. Specifically Shine (for server admins) and NS2+ (for players). I don't see why Shine would be incompatible but you never know. NS2+ for clients is a big deal though, especially if you have the goal to make Combat a "practice mode" for vanilla. NS2+ helps with performance too so that's always nice to have.
    The more I think about it, the more the 'permanant upgrade on a cool down' approach sounds good. I'm indifferent. I think it would work well either way.
    It might help to know that the old NS2 combat mod used an automatic timer for scans and medpacks.
    - Its been a while (10+) years since I played the NS1 Combat mod so my memory is a little hazy on the fine details. So, if any of the gameplay seems odd or out of place compared to the original, let me know. I'd like to make this as good as I possibly can.
    Here is an old UWE page about NS, including combat. I never played NS so I can't tell you if this is accurate. http://www.unknownworlds.com/oldwebsite/manuals/Natural_Selection_Manual.html
    In your video, the command station is open and displays "Log In". Maybe you want it to always be closed and "occupied"? Same with the hive.
    Post edited by Keats on
    PM sent.
    VetinariWhite_Wizard
  • KatzenfleischKatzenfleisch Join Date: 2014-03-21 Member: 194881Members, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver Posts: 166 Advanced user
    edited January 7
    @Keats The lua/balance work is from me and the model/animation from 4Horsemen from the standalone NS2Combat game itself. (the wooza modding crew is taking care for compatibility issues on it since it was merged into the main server mod (to group things up), leaving me time to spend on ns2). @White_Wizard I will see if I can ping him so you can talk with him directly for feedback :), I am sure he would be glad to exchange ideas with you. Btw you are free to use the flame sentry mod as you like, leave me a PM if you got any trouble with the code so I can help.
    Edit: @White_Wizard did you have a discord account ?
    Post edited by Katzenfleisch on
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  • NousWandererNousWanderer Join Date: 2010-05-07 Member: 71646Members Posts: 228 Advanced user
    G_Lock wrote: »
    A word of advice:
    The official combat standalone game radically changed the way many things worked from the core NS2 experience, thus making it useless as a way to practice key things from the core game. That was one reason a lot people liked the original NS2 combat mod so much and the standalone failed, because it was the exact same units /w the same stats and ability's just no com/RTS factors. I suggest you don't go down that road and keep stats, ability's/weapons and movement physics the same as the core game. Things like weapon/ability timings or how you acquire them (points per kill, exp or something of that nature) doesn't matter.

    Quoting this for emphasis. Fully agreed.
    White_WizardIeptBarakatKasharic
  • White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
    Keats wrote:
    One of the things you might want to keep in mind is compatibility with other mods. Specifically Shine (for server admins) and NS2+ (for players). I don't see why Shine would be incompatible but you never know. NS2+ for clients is a big deal though, especially if you have the goal to make Combat a "practice mode" for vanilla. NS2+ helps with performance too so that's always nice to have.

    I was actually just thinking about this yesterday. Which one of these mods is the one that has changes to gamestate (warmup mode, and logic for how the game starts)? I know when I play on servers with those mods that the game start mechanisms (team balance, shuffle, etc.) behave different than vanilla. The reason I ask is because I have to make gamestate logic changes to short-circuit the no commander and no ip checks and so forth. I think that might possibly conflict.

    If that's the case, we may have to do a fork of the NS2+ or Shine code and do one specific for Combat++. Or is there a way to do some sort of compatibility mod? I will however do my best to not conflict with those mods. I would very much like to see them running along side Combat++. They both have GitHub repos correct? I'll take a look at them and try not step on any toes if possible.

    Keats wrote:
    Here is an old UWE page about NS, including combat. I never played NS so I can't tell you if this is accurate. http://www.unknownworlds.com/oldwebsite/manuals/Natural_Selection_Manual.html

    Thanks for that resource/reference.

    @Keats The lua/balance work is from me and the model/animation from 4Horsemen from the standalone NS2Combat game itself. (the wooza modding crew is taking care for compatibility issues on it since it was merged into the main server mod (to group things up), leaving me time to spend on ns2). @White_Wizard I will see if I can ping him so you can talk with him directly for feedback :), I am sure he would be glad to exchange ideas with you. Btw you are free to use the flame sentry mod as you like, leave me a PM if you got any trouble with the code so I can help.

    This is great, thanks! Is the code in a GitHub repo or something like that?

    Edit: @White_Wizard did you have a discord account ?

    My discord is WhiteWizard#0548
  • KatzenfleischKatzenfleisch Join Date: 2014-03-21 Member: 194881Members, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver Posts: 166 Advanced user
    @White_Wizard Here you go: https://github.com/woozasmoddingteam/Wooza-s-Potpourri/tree/master/dependencies/flamesentry/. I sent your discord name to 4Horsemen so he can contact you.
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  • SantaClawsSantaClaws Denmark Join Date: 2012-07-31 Member: 154491Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,054 Advanced user
    edited January 8
    This is great. However. If you're up for it, I understand if you would rather not, but at least consider turning away from the frags->points mechanic.

    It's an inherently snowbally mechanic that the original combat mod suffered from as well. Not only is it anti-rookie, just because they get crushed that way, it's also somewhat anti-social, because it introduces the concept of "feeding". It's frustrating to be dragged down by a team mate that seems to just die over and over without contributing. This is especially a poor design philosophy for a game that proport to be a good "training" tool, because if you pick a lifeform you are not familiar with, you risk feeding the opponent.

    So what I'd suggest is maintain the spirit of NS2, and predicate the points players gain through secondary objectives, instead of frags. For example, keep resource towers in the game, have the players cap RT's in order to gain personal resources. This way, the top fragger, who is likely also the best player on the server, won't also be the best geared fueling the snowball. Instead you are progressing based on your teams progress.

    You will still have the 'jump in, frag, jump out" nature of combat. But suddenly you allow teamplay, you allow strategy, you allow yourself to play a weaker lifeform without feeding the opponent and ruining the game for your team mates. All this without necessarily taking away from the fragging.

    It is more work I imagine though, but I think it will be a much better mode for it in more ways than one. :) Either way good luck with the project.
  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,653 Advanced user
    @SantaClaws You're just trading one snowball for another, you propose a team getting an advantage through map or objective control which would cement the control they already have.

    Sure that screams ns2 but that isn't necessarily better than what was already there.
  • SantaClawsSantaClaws Denmark Join Date: 2012-07-31 Member: 154491Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,054 Advanced user
    edited January 9
    @IeptBarakat . You CANNOT avoid a snowball effect. Any game that has ANY form of impactful economy, inherently has snowballing.

    So the goal here is not to solve snowballing, that's fundamentally impossible without compromising the level system. But that does not mean that it doesn't matter HOW it snowballs. So yea, it's trading one snowball for another, that's precisely the point. It matters which aspect of the game you decide to reward. Attempting to "solve" snowballing would be a fool's errand as far as I can tell.
    White_Wizard
  • White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
    @SantaClaws One of the things I'd definitely like to prevent is only giving awards for frags. One of the things I've done to alleviate this is to give xp for assists and just dealing damage. That's whats implemented at the moment. I also plan to award xp for welding, healing, and constructing. In addition to awarding xp, I am awarding skill points for other activities than just leveling up. While there is a killstreak related skill point award, I'm also awarding skill points for 'x' amount of assists in a single life span, 'x' amount of damage dealt in a single life span, 'x' amount of welding done in a single life span, etc.

    I remember seeing the suggestion about using RTs in Combat Mode somewhere else on these forums. I'm not opposed to this type of game play mechanic but it is quite a change from the original mode. Perhaps that's a good thing. I was hoping to try and take some sort of middle ground. I'd like to respect the ideas introduced in the original mode but maybe fix some of the shortcomings like you are alluding to. But I'd like to do that by introducing some team play mechanics without making it too much like 'base NS2 minus commanders'. I'm always open to suggestions on what those improvements should be.
    NousWanderer
  • SantaClawsSantaClaws Denmark Join Date: 2012-07-31 Member: 154491Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,054 Advanced user
    edited January 9
    @White_Wizard Sounds reasonable.

    Just to bring it home though. RTs are not the core of my suggestion. Any type of secondary objective (SO) will do the trick.

    I'll just add that SOs have this neat property of being able to direct the battles to different areas. If there are no SO, you tend to just meet in the center of the map and duke it out. That isn't necessarily bad, but good SOs seem to really enhance the maps and add a sense of variety in the games.

    RTs are just a familiar type of SO, but you could make it what ever you want. Like a bomb plant ala Cstrike? Idk :p Could be anything.
  • _Grendel__Grendel_ Join Date: 2015-05-07 Member: 204238Members Posts: 86 Advanced user
    XP awarded for damage/repairing (not frags) is how combat SA works. Also have random xp drops and an auto catch up system. Highest/lowest level gap never gets more then 4 or 5 levels apart.
  • NintendowsNintendows Join Date: 2016-11-07 Member: 223716Members, Squad Five Blue Posts: 188 Advanced user
    Combat standalone is practically solved. Marines hide in their base at the start, and the only way aliens can get at them is by parasite and spit, but marines can easily shoot back and gain more damage and XP than aliens with their hitscan weapons. Once marines get exos or jetpacks, they roll out with most of their team (leaving some behind to defend) and kill the alien hive. This happened all the time with the old combat mod too.

    Combat standalone tried to fix this issue with a more aggressive catch-up mechanic and the "random XP" drops, but it doesn't make up for it enough and it feels pretty unfair for the game to just rubber band player XP because you're ahead of them.
  • White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
    edited January 9
    I did some brainstorming today. What if we implemented a system where you gain XP for kills, assists, damage, constructing, healing, welding, etc. However you also have to cap RTs. The RTs would not provide res, but would provide a global team modifier to the XP earned. This would add a secondary objective like @SantaClaws suggested. It would also prevent the Marine turtling strategy that @Nintendows described. It would add a team element while still maintaining several of the personal gameplay concepts introduced by the original combat mod.

    I think it could work something like this. Each XP award type has a base value. Then we factor in an RT count and an RT count modifier. The RT count modifier would be to balance how much the XP scales for each RT controlled.
    xpEarned = awardBaseValue * rtCount * rtCountModifier
    
    Kasharic
  • SantaClawsSantaClaws Denmark Join Date: 2012-07-31 Member: 154491Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 1,054 Advanced user
    Sounds like a big improvement from the original mod as far as I'm concerned :+1:
    KasharicWhite_Wizard
  • KasharicKasharic Hull, England Join Date: 2013-03-27 Member: 184473Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester Posts: 519 Advanced user
    @White_Wizard

    I was thinking you could potentially have a system where xp is granted for distance travelled too, adjusted for each lifeform/marine of course.
    This would prevent marines from camping base at the beginning because aliens would be able to just roam the map doing nothing but moving and they would out-xp the marines... so the marines have to actively chase down and kill the aliens.

    I definitely like the idea of capping RTs though, that is a really nice idea and I would love to see how it would work out!
    Meph isn't an NSL admin anymore!

    #blameHefty
    White_WizardNousWanderer
  • White_WizardWhite_Wizard United States Join Date: 2018-01-01 Member: 234742Members Posts: 30 Advanced user
    @Kasharic That's not a bad idea either. I'm sure I can work in distance traveled into the progression system somehow, whether by granting XP or an alternate Skill Point award.
  • pSyk0mAnpSyk0mAn Nerdish by Nature Germany Join Date: 2003-08-07 Member: 19166Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Silver Posts: 1,638 Advanced user
    Wasn't there something in NS1 Combat, which forced marines to move out? Like aliens getting XP very slowly without doing anything ?

    I'm not a fan of adding some big res tower element to vanilla combat just for the sake of camping marines, but in general adding res towers would definately spice up combat.
    There was a territory combat mod for NS1 Combat, which added some res nodes to maps, but I can't really find much info about it now.


  • VetinariVetinari Join Date: 2013-07-23 Member: 186325Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver Posts: 3,398 Advanced user
    Kasharic wrote: »
    @White_Wizard

    I was thinking you could potentially have a system where xp is granted for distance travelled too, adjusted for each lifeform/marine of course.
    This would prevent marines from camping base at the beginning because aliens would be able to just roam the map doing nothing but moving and they would out-xp the marines... so the marines have to actively chase down and kill the aliens.

    I definitely like the idea of capping RTs though, that is a really nice idea and I would love to see how it would work out!

    Everyone will just go adadadawedasdawdasdasdawdasdadadadaddwsdasdawswswsadadadadasdsdwwswsadsasdawdasdadwwadadad in base.
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