The test last Saturday confirmed that the team volumes approach will help a lot in enforcing the use of sentries for defending the base only, instead of being used to spawn kill the enemy team. Although not all maps were fitted with this latest object, "Rooftops" was, and the results are encouraging.
The team volume is a damage volume that disables the sentries that are not part of the team that owns that volume. That will make sure there are no sentry spawn kills, which would be more painfull since we introduced the spawn delay.
The same damage types were then added as weapons for the infiltration units (our predator spy) as a special hacking device. This will allow the unit to successfully take down enemy defenses without raising too much attention: the sentries just get deactivated instead of emitting smoke or getting destroyed as they do when they are damaged.
Speaking of the delayed spawning, the test on Saturday showed that work is (still!) needed to polish the feature. An inspection over the code showed that I was using the wrong respawn function. Also, Moose_Head pointed out that with the current system, I am retrieving the flag from killed flag carriers (or from people that switched classes using F1) too late, leading to this kinf of results:
The flag gets spawned in the wrong locations
In regards to the videos that got recorded, one of them shows the blue team sentries after being hacked by Vemarkis:
As for the whole test session:
I know that this video would usually spell the end of the news article. We're making an exception now, and we'll end it with the list of features that need to be implemented (many thanks for the feedback given by our testers, this stuff really helps!):
1) MUST DO. These are bugs that break the gameplay.
- team volume, to disable enemy sentries in your own base
- simple triggers, to fix domination points (and flags!) getting stuck.
- crashes when server changes level. Could be caused by disconnecting players?
- own flag status
- trim down the respawn mechanism. We might be able to handle the game without some of the work done for each respawn, thus reducing the respawn lag.
2) SHOULD DO. These would help adopting the mod, and give it a longer lifetime
- custom launcher, to allow user content being played with the mod
- autoupdate utility, usefull to deliver patches
- hints: when respawning, you get a random message displayed, advertising some of the features available for a given class
- at least one pickup in each base. With small teams, if no one is a support class, life can be tough.
- some custom acheivements: people react quite well to rewards. I say we reward: the highest score player (meaning most flag captures), the player with least deaths, the player with most frags. Any other suggstions here?
3) NICE TO HAVE.
- repair the mechanics of EVAC, to keep it compatible with standard evac maps. We can always simply ditch the standard EVAC maps and keep the game mode as it is with the Fortress maps
- ALT-FIRE ammo right when spawning.
- extra weapons (tranquilizer gun for medic, spy hacking ability against sentries)
The list may suffer changes, according to the feedback given. Having a list however is a good thing on it's own: it helps fighting off feature creep.