This very news post is going to go over some basic problems we ran into, and that is the matter of player's death as well as how to prevent people from „outsitting” the traps. This will also cover the changes we implemented to fix or balance the issues, while still maintaining a level of balance and making sure they fit seamlessly into the whole. Keep on reading. ;)
Bringing dead back to life
Dying is a part of the game, but obviously keeping a deceased player in that state for the whole match would be a frustrating experience, especially when an average game lasts about 20 minutes. Therefore a clever system was needed, one which allow respawning the dead while also punishing for every death.
The first idea, which had never actually been put to a test, was a jailbreak-style feature. Every dead player would be put in jail and then, if their teammates set them free, they can join the game back. This, however, was as obnoxious as spectating; nobody would want to wait for his team to set him free which could take quite a long time and it also, in the initial implementation, restricted him to prison view preventing from watching the ongoing struggle. Therefore something more flexible and forgiving was required, especially since the prison didn't quite fit into the mod's progressive gameplay.
Next was a basic concept that a group of players would be spawned after a console is hacked. There were a couple of possible approaches – detecting spots for the spawns dynamically or hand-placed spawns linked to the console. This would require designing the areas around consoles with spawning in mind, not to mention the possibility of the spots being blocked by a trap/player/prop. Also, the sudden appearance of teammates made little sense, even in the mod's theme, as they just appeared out of nowhere. This also set up an artificial „moment of spawn” for whole team and, in practice, didn't work fine in the mod's mechanics. Thus a new approach was needed.
The ending result is an entity placed by a mapper in key spots on the whole map which can be used by any rebel to spawn one teammate, commonly referred to as „spawner”. It proved to be straightforward enough, required little room, could be easily explained and also meant that you could go back and spawn more players if a significant amount of them had died instead. However, that also had its drawbacks. Before every spawner had a set amount of spawn, this meant that spawns not used were wasted and therefore teams mainly were being wiped out due to a lack of spawns in a room they are not able to finish, even after flawlessly overcoming any previous challenges. A very simple solution was therefore created, namely to set a global amount of spawns shared by all of spawners. This amount was calculated at the beginning of the round. It proved to be intuitive enough and emphasised the punishment/reward system by decreasing the amount of „lives” the team has with every death.
In addition, to personally affect the dead player every spawn decreases their maximum health and ammo by 15% (by default) also linking trap stage with the battle stage; it's obviously easier to defeat weaker foes.
Move it, soldier!
After a couple of testing sessions we noticed the rebels quickly realise that one of the best tactics is to outwait the traps, as every one of them has a certain duration time after which it disables itself. This was a problem of utmost importance as the whole gameplay revolved around the players putting themselves at risk by making their way through deadly corridors. Therefore, we had a couple of fixes.
The first and the most obvious solution had already been put in place – the Ov was able to build more and more obstacles. Those, however, could still be outsit, and also we didn't want to force the players to move by spamming them with more and more traps the longer they wait, at least not fully. Instead of penalizing them the best solution would be to let them use this tactic, but reward for moving through. Therefore we started using „pressurizers”, something we had already added but hadn't really noticed its full potential, more often as well ass added Ov's health charging.
The former feature is a map element that is placed to exact, according to its name, some pressure on the rebels as well as provide a distraction. This ranges from automatic sentry guns to electric traps and, more radically, instakilling crushing walls. Pressurizers are static traps, enabled by the Overlordess, designed to force the players to keep on moving by inflicting some damage or, in the wall's case, by presenting them with some danger they need to avoid by making it to the end. In most
cases they can still wait, but this way they expose themselves to additional loses. The video below, taken from alpha testing, presents the crushing wall in question. Note how it's stopped inches before
crashing everyone in the room. :)
However, although pressurizers worked fine they couldn't be placed everywhere and also something more persistent was needed to instill a feeling of unsteadiness throughout the entire game. Therefore it was decided that, instead of keeping Ov's health static, it would slowly increase
from a set base value. In result making it through the level as fast as possible would be rewarded with easier final battle, however rushing mindlessly would also cause unnecessary deaths and further
delays. One must therefore, on one hand, be willing to take risk but also slowing down might be more profitable. This provokes interesting choices to be made by players and further promotes teamwork. Also, it means that the time works in the Ov player's favour rather than in the rebels'.
That is all for now, I hope you enjoyed it and we're looking forward to your comments. Thank you for all those you have posted so far, we really appreciate that. :)