Paradise Lost and embedded mml/lua: how much is too much?

Discuss map ideas, techniques, and give help.

Post Oct 23rd '09, 19:28

I have all of these fantastic visions about subtle "common-sense" tweaks to the gameplay in Paradise Lost. My instinct would be to forcibly embed MML and Lua for said tweaks (see below), since if I include them as a separate download no one would use them. Paradise Lost XIII already has embedded MML to start the player with guns and ammo, and XIV will also include Lua to regenerate that ammo (but only that ammo) when you score a kill since there isn't very much of it on the map.

But then the question becomes, how far is it "safe" to go before it becomes unacceptably far from normal gameplay, and an intrusive annoyance? Given good faith that I would do my best to preserve gameplay as-is and only make subtle changes, if you knew about these changes, would you be annoyed?

Here are some ideas:

1. Starting the player with weapons in-hand. This is already present, and works well; I haven't heard of any complaints, as in all reality it doesn't affect the gameplay much, but it does make spawning just a little bit smoother and spawnkilling is less of an issue since you are never caught spawning without a gun at the ready.
2. Regenerating the ammo for those weapons when you get a kill. This is planned for the next version. The only reason I'm doing this is because one major impetus for #1 above was clearing up some of the item clutter for all that AR ammo that people don't use that often. What I wanted was just to have people drop that ammo, but having Lua give it to you seems a bit more sensible and streamlined. This isn't much of an intrusion either, and it only regenerates AR/SMG ammo, nothing more.
3. A greater suicide penalty. I've thought about this for quite a while. Marathon is sort of stupid in that you lose points for dying, which is a system I've just never agreed with. And for whatever reason, the score-based game limit system is not popular and not very... good? I don't know. So I'd much rather just have the game score by kills only, and leave the suicide penalty as-is, but that might deviate too far from normal play; in that case, I'd rather penalize a suicide with a 2-point deduction instead of a 1-point deduction (that way you can't profit from a sui-kill either).
4. Spawning powerups at rigid, fixed time intervals. This has an advantage of guaranteeing that there's never a drought or a surplus of powerups, but a disadvantage of making powerups even more campable than before. Given where most powerups are on Paradise Lost maps, I'm not too worried about the camping issue, but this is still something to consider beforehand.
5. Adjusting the physics slightly for the bottom-tier weapons (pistol, fusion, alien gun) to make them more attractive or at least reliable. I know the community at large tends to react negatively toward embedded physics, and for good reason, but now that you are guaranteed to start with a middle-tier weapon in PL (the SMG is a reliable killer), I can't see any immediate reason not to give those neglected guns a boost. Think of the Power Drive physics, but less intrusive; the big problem with Power Drive was that the SMG was too good, which would not be an issue here.

Seems like a lot of changes, and maybe it is; our community has a pretty obstructionist attitude toward change like this. Maybe if a vanilla version of PL were available as well (though not the standard version), that way people could have their cake and eat it too? Sensible input would be greatly appreciated.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Oct 23rd '09, 19:36

3. You need to lose points for dying or it won't be maraRthon. -2 for suicide is OK, but sometimes with lag it's hard to avoid.
4. As long as they spawn in different places. Or you could use lua to make sure there is never a drought or surplus of powerups without making it a fixed interval, but is the current system really that bad?
5. Doesn't matter, I doubt anyone will use the weapons even if they are slightly better.

Having said all that, you can't possibly have too much random shit embedded into a map!
Last edited by Wrkncacnter on Oct 23rd '09, 19:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Oct 23rd '09, 20:00

I am the obstructionist in question, but I don't oppose things without reasons. I'll list them here, so the community (lol) can discuss them.
  1. This is probably OK. I do miss my other fist. I don't see ammo as clutter, though, I see it as an essential part of a map. Half the fun of the game is hearing "ding ding ding" running over ammo, like a slot machine paying out. Also, I like to keep track of how much I have, and MML makes this more difficult. In decreasing order of desirability:
    1. A map with all the ammo, well spaced, well replenishing--I almost always know how much ammo I have for which gun
    2. A map where some of the ammo is granted with MML--I will have to memorize how much it gives me to know how much I have, though, rather than just knowing how much I have because of how much I ran over
    3. A map with lots of ammo but where it is all smashed on top of itself--I don't know how much I have just by running over it
    4. Maps with bad ammo placement
    5. House of Pain
  2. This compounds the MML problem of "how much do I have?" unless you just give the player so damn much you don't have to bother with ammo tracking at all. In which case, just load him up with the difficulty limit and give him another clip when he uses the first one.
  3. This is the most onerous. Scoring changes should not be embedded into maps. This is the perfect domain for net scripts, and is even one of the things they were designed for. Level embedded Lua is for level-specific features. I don't mind using a net script that penalizes suicides a little extra, although I doubt I'd want to play with Quake-style scoring enabled.
  4. Strictly fixed intervals are going to lead to poorer gameplay. If I know the double health is going to appear at exactly 5:00 remaining, I'll either go get it or lob a couple missiles that way. Which is all a distraction from the main point of the map (assuming these are EMFH maps). One alternative is random placement, which is how I do powerups on most of my maps. Another is using Lua's random number generator, instead of the braindead Marathon 2 default, to respawn power-ups. That gives you total control over how often things spawn, how many players have them, and where--so why fix the duration.
  5. Some of the most rewarding moments are when I get a fusion or AG kill against an opponent using power weapons. Amping those up a little probably wouldn't affect the gameplay enough to be worth it, but it would cheapen those moments. Second tier weapons are also a good way for people who are dominating a map to handicap themselves a bit, so I think they are useful to have in a map unaltered.
Last edited by treellama on Oct 23rd '09, 20:04, edited 1 time in total.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Oct 23rd '09, 20:27

Treellama wrote:I am the obstructionist in question

Not the only one!

This is probably OK. I do miss my other fist. I don't see ammo as clutter, though, I see it as an essential part of a map. Half the fun of the game is hearing "ding ding ding" running over ammo, like a slot machine paying out. Also, I like to keep track of how much I have, and MML makes this more difficult.
The other fist being gone is an mml oversight, that will be fixed, but I somehow imagine that's not a serious complaint of yours. Anyway, it's not like PL13 maps are void of ammo; they're still stocked with shotguns and rockets, as well as top-up stations for the AR/SMG. The only noticeable change is the lack of a ding-ding-ding when you spawn.

This compounds the MML problem of "how much do I have?" unless you just give the player so damn much you don't have to bother with ammo tracking at all. In which case, just load him up with the difficulty limit and give him another clip when he uses the first one.

In practice I've never really had a problem with running out of ammo as-is in PL13, except on tiny maps like Last of the Wilds where you are reliant on the SMG and it is entirely possible to live long enough to run out. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big issue either way, so I suppose it can be cut out.

This is the most onerous. Scoring changes should not be embedded into maps. This is the perfect domain for net scripts, and is even one of the things they were designed for. Level embedded Lua is for level-specific features. I don't mind using a net script that penalizes suicides a little extra, although I doubt I'd want to play with Quake-style scoring enabled.
This is a fair point. The only reason I suggested it at all is that we're all aware that people just don't host scripts most of the time, regardless of how good they are. The 2-for-suicides thing is a much bigger deal to me than the Quake scoring system, which in reality I'm not committed to. Especially with a trifling script like that (the suicides one, I mean), no one would ever bother hosting with it.

Strictly fixed intervals are going to lead to poorer gameplay. If I know the double health is going to appear at exactly 5:00 remaining, I'll either go get it or lob a couple missiles that way. Which is all a distraction from the main point of the map (assuming these are EMFH maps). One alternative is random placement, which is how I do powerups on most of my maps. Another is using Lua's random number generator, instead of the braindead Marathon 2 default, to respawn power-ups. That gives you total control over how often things spawn, how many players have them, and where--so why fix the duration.

The "poorer gameplay" thing I disagree with. I don't see why powerup control shouldn't be at least a small part of the gameplay; after all, they're there. The notion of it being entirely random is some irritating Mario Party crap that doesn't reward people for skillful or intelligent play as much as it does reward the lucky fella who happens to find the powerup. And anyway, the other problem with random intervals is back-to-back powerups, which is an unfair annoyance, as anyone who has seen me with double invisibility (or not seen me, as the case may be) can attest to. I can at least look into Lua-based spawning for an improvement; half a loaf is better than none at all, I suppose.

Some of the most rewarding moments are when I get a fusion or AG kill against an opponent using power weapons. Amping those up a little probably wouldn't affect the gameplay enough to be worth it, but it would cheapen those moments. Second tier weapons are also a good way for people who are dominating a map to handicap themselves a bit, so I think they are useful to have in a map unaltered.

When was the last time you saw anyone handicap themselves? You never do it in my experience, and I've never seen anyone else do it. And it seems to me that the advantages of a broader weapon selection outstrip the advantages of humiliating people with the alien gun. If you want to shame someone, punch them. With the left fist, once I fix that. :/
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Oct 23rd '09, 20:38

An alternative to the 2-for-suicides thing is where if someone suicides on you, you don't lose a point, but the suicide does. Having someone knock you out of first place by suicide rushing is horrendously annoying, and cheeseball gameplay is the most important thing to avoid IMO.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Oct 23rd '09, 21:14

RyokoTK wrote:This is a fair point. The only reason I suggested it at all is that we're all aware that people just don't host scripts most of the time, regardless of how good they are. The 2-for-suicides thing is a much bigger deal to me than the Quake scoring system, which in reality I'm not committed to. Especially with a trifling script like that (the suicides one, I mean), no one would ever bother hosting with it.

I'd host Extra Suicide Penalty.lua if enough players wanted it on. Shouldn't that be their choice? I'm worried you're trying to compensate for being unable to host, by abusing embedded Lua. I share your frustration at the unforgivably awful games some people host, and also at abuse of the scoring system when it comes to suicides.

The notion of it being entirely random is some irritating Mario Party crap that doesn't reward people for skillful or intelligent play as much as it does reward the lucky fella who happens to find the powerup.
That's why I add power-ups to levels, just as a nice treat to random people once in a while. They don't impart a real advantage if used sparingly (I do set the invisibility spawn rate way lower than RS/PL). I can't even think how one could acquire a non-random power-up through skillful or intelligent play; just through knowing the map, which is already its own reward, or camping.

And anyway, the other problem with random intervals is back-to-back powerups, which is an unfair annoyance, as anyone who has seen me with double invisibility (or not seen me, as the case may be) can attest to. I can at least look into Lua-based spawning for an improvement; half a loaf is better than none at all, I suppose.

Lua can spawn them in random places, or from a few starting spots, and you can make the interval random in a range--say 30 seconds to 1:30 instead of every minute like clockwork. You can even keep keep people from getting two. It's the fixed interval / fixed location thing I have a problem with.

When was the last time you saw anyone handicap themselves? You never do it in my experience, and I've never seen anyone else do it.

Why would I do it when you're in the game? I have done this often enough when hosting games where I am the only experienced player.
And it seems to me that the advantages of a broader weapon selection outstrip the advantages of humiliating people with the alien gun.

Come on, the AG is fun independently of humiliation. It is purple, fires diagonally, and causes hilarious flaming deaths! I would like to be able to continue to use it without hearing complaints about how powerful/cheap it has become, even when we both know you won't make it powerful enough to be useful--and nobody would even know it was different if you hadn't started this thread.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Oct 23rd '09, 21:32

Treellama wrote:I'd host Extra Suicide Penalty.lua if enough players wanted it on. Shouldn't that be their choice? I'm worried you're trying to compensate for being unable to host, by abusing embedded Lua. I share your frustration at the unforgivably awful games some people host, and also at abuse of the scoring system when it comes to suicides.

In this regard you're wrong, as I rack up more suicides than just about anyone I play against; penalizing suicides certainly is no advantage for me. I guess I see where you're getting at with it though; if anything is embedded at all, it should be strictly map related? That leads to...

That's why I add power-ups to levels, just as a nice treat to random people once in a while. They don't impart a real advantage if used sparingly (I do set the invisibility spawn rate way lower than RS/PL). I can't even think how one could acquire a non-random power-up through skillful or intelligent play; just through knowing the map, which is already its own reward, or camping.
You and I have a different take on powerups then, I guess, but I've known that for some time. And I think enough people know where powerups are on the most popular maps that it becomes a nonissue before too long; I do my best to make powerups appear in pretty visible places, because I think having to fight over the powerup is kind of fun. As long as the interval is long enough between them that it doesn't become the centerpiece of the map, of course. For people that don't know the map, it doesn't make a difference if it's on a fixed interval or not; for people that do know the map, it actually inspires less camping if they know a powerup won't appear for the next minute.

Lua can spawn them in random places, or from a few starting spots, and you can make the interval random in a range--say 30 seconds to 1:30 instead of every minute like clockwork. You can even keep keep people from getting two. It's the fixed interval / fixed location thing I have a problem with.

That sounds fine to me. My mapmaking philosophy, at least lately, tends to revolve around "control points" -- high ground, powerups, that sort of thing -- that impart a little bit of depth to the level without breaking it. I don't mind cycling the powerups between a few spots, but as you and I both know Marathon itself is pretty garbage at randomness, so I just pick one good spawn point for the powerup (again, someplace nice and visible) and leave it there. Paradise Lost has so much detail in the polygons that it's hard to use the randomizer option without it appearing in some little nook, even when blanking out polys with Item Impassable, and that's just not fair either.

Come on, the AG is fun independently of humiliation. It is purple, fires diagonally, and causes hilarious flaming deaths! I would like to be able to continue to use it without hearing complaints about how powerful/cheap it has become, even when we both know you won't make it powerful enough to be useful--and nobody would even know it was different if you hadn't started this thread.

I am against making undocumented gameplay changes, that's all. Besides, if I remember correctly, reception to Power Drive was pretty positive, especially in regards to beefing up the weaker guns, because it was fun to use them and actually score kills. The AG is a lot of fun, but I also have fun winning, and if you use the AG you don't win.

edit: reception to the physics in Power Drive was positive, except for the SMG; I think people are just so used to rocket/shotty that it was unpopular for that reason.
Last edited by RyokoTK on Oct 23rd '09, 21:39, edited 1 time in total.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Oct 23rd '09, 21:39

In theory, I prefer maps that are not abundant in ammo. I think it teaches the player to be better with the ammo they have/get. However, that may be my not-subconscious annoyance of the "ding-ding-ding" and my loathing of the green flash. If I could turn off the flash, and lower the volume of the "ding-ding-ding" with out affecting other sounds I would.


I've held back on a few new guys in the past. It's a good way to practice with the lesser weapons, and to keep from discouraging them from coming back. I have seen Erfe reduce himself to Dual Pistols and fusion a handful of times, too; fists one time after Halo noobs complained in-game about rockets ("Rockets make this game too easy!" "Erfe [Fist] guest-20087" "Do you prefer fists?"). Anyhow, of the pistols, fusion, and alien weapon, I recommend upping the rate fire by 1.5x or 2x for the alien weapon. I've found it to be useful in close combat as is, but distance is where it lacks due to how slow the shots move. Perhaps the same could be said for the fusion, though, I feel that weapon is quite lethal by those who understand it.
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effigy

Post Oct 23rd '09, 21:43

Power Drive's changes to pistols, AG, and fusion were:

Pistols: killed in 4 shots instead of 7
Fusion: projectiles traveled faster, damage remained the same; the charge shot also had an area of effect, if I remember
AG: projectiles traveled faster and hit harder

It seemed to work out fairly well.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Oct 23rd '09, 21:46

The other thing with the physics is that now with the MML, you start with the second-tier guns in-hand, and enough ammo to survive with; why would you ever bother to use the weak guns at all, unless you were handicapping yourself or just joking around?
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Oct 23rd '09, 22:46

...or shooting a far distance.

Could you make the bullets go faster overall? my pistol shots take like 3 seconds to get across a map. That... is not correct. They would actually be useful if they were faster.
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envy
Land of the New Rising Sun

Post Oct 23rd '09, 22:53

The Marathon engine has problems with projectiles that travel faster than 30 WU/sec. I don't know if that was fixed in Aleph One, though.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Oct 23rd '09, 23:50

1. Sure, go ahead. I don't care what you give me, in fact, if you give me all the guns and no ammo, perhaps autoswitch will kill me less.
2. Don't help people that are winning, help people that are losing. Unlike RTSes where you want the games to end eventually, and so put caps on units, or the losing team slowly gets weaker control point-wise. Here in a FPS, we want more neutrality. IE, if the shotgun guy kills someone and gets another bullet, he could use it again to keep one-shotting, and never run out of ammo till game over, assuming he is good enough. Perhaps you should have the ammo normalize over time. Give one ammo back per time period or increase the amount returned based off how much is left.
3. Suicide should start you off at fists and half health at next respawn. Print message so the player knows why he is penalized.
4. Fine. Just make it random. Or, give just it automatically to a random player. Why force them to get it anyways. If it is random on the map, is it just the intrigue of actually stumbling upon it that heightens the experience? (probably, I know I love it)
5. I don't really think that messing with the weapons is the best course of action. Players have expectations. Unless the differences are laid out in full ahead of time, they won't understand why they were killed so quickly, or why they are killing less effectively. This isn't a JUICE map, where the expectations match the map.

If you really want to kill expectations, you should have weapons on the map change every 30 seconds to a different one. Also, make the invulnerability only work against rockets and SMG, still dead-meat with everything else.
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Zott
Earth

Post Oct 24th '09, 00:45

Zott wrote:2. Don't help people that are winning, help people that are losing. Unlike RTSes where you want the games to end eventually, and so put caps on units, or the losing team slowly gets weaker control point-wise. Here in a FPS, we want more neutrality. IE, if the shotgun guy kills someone and gets another bullet, he could use it again to keep one-shotting, and never run out of ammo till game over, assuming he is good enough. Perhaps you should have the ammo normalize over time. Give one ammo back per time period or increase the amount returned based off how much is left.

I don't see why the best player shouldn't win. This isn't Mario Party, why would you want to reward the weaker player for losing? Anyway, the idea, if you had actually read the post, was that only AR/SMG ammo (which is not really present on the map) would regenerate. Those are reliable weapons anyway. But it isn't looking like that will be in, since it's not really needed.

3. Suicide should start you off at fists and half health at next respawn. Print message so the player knows why he is penalized.
So basically, your idea is to deduct two points for a suicide like mine, only you want to waste their time first. I don't like this one.

4. Fine. Just make it random. Or, give just it automatically to a random player. Why force them to get it anyways. If it is random on the map, is it just the intrigue of actually stumbling upon it that heightens the experience? (probably, I know I love it)

Again, I don't really see why people would want it to actually be totally random. I do approve of Treellama's suggestion (I think he implied it, at least) to have a fixed cycle of spawns, say two or three, on a not-quite-fixed interval. Lua's PRNG should make this work without much trouble.

5. I don't really think that messing with the weapons is the best course of action. Players have expectations. Unless the differences are laid out in full ahead of time, they won't understand why they were killed so quickly, or why they are killing less effectively. This isn't a JUICE map, where the expectations match the map.
I think this would be more of a problem if the weapons were substantially powerful, but I want to put them more in parity with the AR/SMG; I don't want them to be power weapons, that's the domain of shotty/rockets.

Also, make the invulnerability only work against rockets and SMG, still dead-meat with everything else.

This coming after "players have expectations?" Come on now.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Oct 24th '09, 04:50

Oh it better have been fixed... that would bring balance to the game, and it would also make me a supreme warlord. (=
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envy
Land of the New Rising Sun

Post Oct 25th '09, 13:14

Personally, I'd be happy with just the maps, but embedded physics would be nice to experience, and maybe a survival map that constantly spawns huge amounts of aliens, like Monster Menagerie of M1A1SE.
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Dugit
Hampshire, UK

Post Dec 21st '09, 05:28

I'm also one of the "obstructionists", athough I've always used the term "purist". Call us what you want. =P
Now that you know what I am, bear in mind that even though my opinion differs from yours in certain areas, I'm not at all trying to attack or criticize your creative vision. I'm just voicing my opinion, and hoping it might have some sort of positive effect. So please don't get the wrong idea. I'm a big fan of yours! I just want to help in any way I can.

Here is my prevailing opinion of the topic at hand. Everything after the following paragraph will be specifics.

Essentially, you're designing two things here: tangible physical environments, and intangible gameplay mechanics. While it's more than permissible for any one person to design both, I strongly feel it would be best to keep them both separate if the map in question is a net map (and we know it is). As I understand it, merging the gameplay ideas into the map will limit the options of the user (he will only be able to play your maps with your gameplay ideas). But if you keep them separate, as in a map pack with no altered gameplay coupled with a Lua script with altered gameplay, then the user will have options. He will be able to mix and match maps and scripts as he pleases, which is how it should be! I find it very difficult to make a solid argument in favor of melding gameplay with architecture in a net map. That having been said, there are certain minor gameplay innovations that I wouldn't have a problem with even if they were embedded into a map (see #1 and #4). But my general take is that I think the gameplay is great the way it is (weaker guns and all; I don't completely neglect them), and if it's altered, it should be in the form of a Lua script so we can decide on any given day whether or not we feel like using it. Embedded gameplay means less options. A separate Lua script means more options. Wouldn't more options be better?


RyokoTK wrote:My instinct would be to forcibly embed MML and Lua for said tweaks (see below), since if I include them as a separate download no one would use them.
Why not keep the Lua script separate from the map pack, but include them both zipped up in the same download file? Then people will have to download your script, but at the same time they will be given a choice as to whether or not they want to use it in conjunction with your map.


RyokoTK wrote:But then the question becomes, how far is it "safe" to go before it becomes unacceptably far from normal gameplay, and an intrusive annoyance? Given good faith that I would do my best to preserve gameplay as-is and only make subtle changes, if you knew about these changes, would you be annoyed?
My answer really depends on how exactly you change the gameplay. For more detail, see #5.


RyokoTK wrote:1. Starting the player with weapons in-hand. This is already present, and works well; I haven't heard of any complaints, as in all reality it doesn't affect the gameplay much, but it does make spawning just a little bit smoother and spawnkilling is less of an issue since you are never caught spawning without a gun at the ready.
This is one of the few cases where I'm okay with embedded gameplay alterations, since a nearly identical effect can be achieved by placing weapons on spawn points and maxing out their frequency of re-appearance. So your current solution works fine for me the way it is. But to be compulsively honest, I actually enjoy the two-second thrill during the deadly freshly spawned phase. But I might just be the only one.


RyokoTK wrote:2. Regenerating the ammo for those weapons when you get a kill. This is planned for the next version. The only reason I'm doing this is because one major impetus for #1 above was clearing up some of the item clutter for all that AR ammo that people don't use that often. What I wanted was just to have people drop that ammo, but having Lua give it to you seems a bit more sensible and streamlined. This isn't much of an intrusion either, and it only regenerates AR/SMG ammo, nothing more.
My opinion here is that nothing about this needs to be changed; I haven't noticed any item clutter. But hypothetically, if I did feel it was a problem, I would have to say your solution seems like it could potentially create more problems than it solves. Currently, the game has a natural way of evening out the playing field just a little bit. Typically speaking, the longer a player survives, the more his health runs out, and the more likely he is to be caught without a fresh clip stuffed in his gun. These things make the player who is the hardest to kill just a little bit easier to kill. By giving more rewards to the player who is already doing the best, it has the potential to make the hardest player to kill even harder to kill, and thus create a slightly less even playing field.

Also, giving the player ammo upon scoring a kill might also make things easier for campers. They wouldn't have to leave their spot to look for more ammo. Not a good thing. And while it's true that most campers don't use the AR, it is a possibility -- especially if you plan on making it a deadlier weapon. And the SMG is already an effective camping tool.

But If de-cluttering items is your objective, why not have every player spawn with extra ammo? This seems more fair than only giving it to people who score kills.


RyokoTK wrote:3. So I'd much rather just have the game score by kills only, and leave the suicide penalty as-is,
Not a bad idea. However, I do think it does deviate too far from regular gameplay to embed into the map. But I think it would make a fine Lua script! The only potential problem I foresee is players abusing the feature by suiciding whenever they're low on health in order to start fresh again with full health.


RyokoTK wrote:but that might deviate too far from normal play; in that case, I'd rather penalize a suicide with a 2-point deduction instead of a 1-point deduction (that way you can't profit from a sui-kill either).
I had almost the exact same idea! A long time ago, I actually had a short lived attempt to make this script a reality, before I got a firm grasp on just how much time would be required before a person with zero programming experience could become competent enough with Lua to craft a script. Higher priorities consumed my free time and I stuck with what I was best at and what I enjoyed the most, but to this day, I still think it would make a great Lua script. The only difference in the way I envisioned it was that players would still receive the standard 1-point deduction providing they didn't kill anyone with their suicide (-2 points seems a bit harsh for an honest mistake that doesn't hurt anyone), but if that distinction isn't possible with Lua, then my preference would be exactly what you're talking about -- a 2-point deduction for any suicide.

Even though I'm on your side with this idea, my preference would still be to have it as a separate script.


RyokoTK wrote:4. Spawning powerups at rigid, fixed time intervals. This has an advantage of guaranteeing that there's never a drought or a surplus of powerups, but a disadvantage of making powerups even more campable than before. Given where most powerups are on Paradise Lost maps, I'm not too worried about the camping issue, but this is still something to consider beforehand.
I'm really not sure how noticeable this change would be if you implemented it, but it is an interesting idea. I guess you never know til ya try, so go for it.


RyokoTK wrote:5. Adjusting the physics slightly for the bottom-tier weapons (pistol, fusion, alien gun) to make them more attractive or at least reliable. I know the community at large tends to react negatively toward embedded physics, and for good reason, but now that you are guaranteed to start with a middle-tier weapon in PL (the SMG is a reliable killer), I can't see any immediate reason not to give those neglected guns a boost. Think of the Power Drive physics, but less intrusive; the big problem with Power Drive was that the SMG was too good, which would not be an issue here.
I have a very strong opinion regarding this. As far as I'm concerned, changing projectile damage is acceptable, but changing projectile speed is not*. Now when I say projectile, I mean everything: rockets, grenades, fusion blasts, alien weapon blasts...and even bullets. Yes, bullets. Absolutely. People who have played a long time know exactly how far ahead of a moving opponent to fire based on how far away that opponent is. Change bullet speed, and all that goes out the window. Now players have to relearn how to aim and fire using a new set of physics, and consequently, will even have to re-adjust how they aim when reverting back to map packs with standard physics. Or worse, they won't even figure out why their shots are missing so much in the first place.

So it's not so much the learning a new bullet speed that I have an issue with (although that is still an issue), but more so the fact that it has the potential to actually make me a worse player when I go back and play maps using the original default bullet speeds. If I were a better player, this wouldn't be an issue at all. But I'm not confident that playing with altered bullet speeds for extended periods of time won't affect my ability to aim using the standard physics when I go back to them. That's the immediate reason I have for why these lesser guns shouldn't be given a boost -- at least not the kind of boost that includes changing projectile speed.

*Although I would rather neither damage nor speed be tampered with if we're not talking Lua scripts; some of my most satisfying kills have been executed with the humble magnum, and I attribute this satisfaction to the aura of uselessness surrounding the weapon.

As for accuracy, I'm not a fan of adjusting that either. Again, I'm used to the existing accuracies of the weapons and don't want to tamper with the techniques I've learned.

Here's an idea. You actually don't have to change the bullet's damage, speed, or accuracy. What if the weapon simply reloaded faster? I mean way faster? Think about it. It might look a little funny, but I think that feature alone would make the weapon much more effective -- and players wouldn't have to retrain themselves or learn anything new. And if that doesn't quite suit your palate, consider this alternative: have each clip hold way more ammo, which would have a very similar effect to the idea I just mentioned, only you would have to redesign the visual representation of how many bullets/shots are remaining. Slightly different, but the end result is the same -- the lesser weapons become much more effective at killing. Obviously this is the only way to go with the alien weapon, since reload time and remaining shot representations are nonexistent. So perhaps a combination of these two ideas would work best...if you decide to go this route.

And here is yet another option. Up until now, you've discussed strengthening the weaker weapons. But what about placing limitations on the stronger weapons instead? Namely their ammo carrying capacity? As it is right now, the carrying capacity for shotgun shells is 80. This is ridiculous. I can't imagine Bungie arrived at this number with net maps in mind. Nobody is ever going to fire 80 shots before they die, and even if they did, that would be way too much hell for any one man to unleash in one incarnation. Without changing anything about how the weapon attacks, altering how much of its ammo the player can carry will make it much less advantageous, especially if you limit ammo placement on the map as well. A carrying capacity of 6 means the player gets a total of 8 shots -- plenty of hell for any one man to unleash before being forced to switch to a less lethal weapon. But if you're really striving for balance, you could go with even less.

As for the rocket launcher, the current carrying capacity is 4, which also strikes me as high (though nowhere near the 80-shotgun-shells stratosphere), and is likely the source of woe for the players who frown on liberal use of the rocket launcher (I'm not one of them). 4 means a total of 10 shots if you include the 2 that come with picking up the weapon. A more sensible number to me would be a capacity of 1, or maybe 2 max, giving the player a total of either 4 or 6 shots respectively.

Or perhaps your answer lies in striking a delicate balance between weakening the strong weapons and strengthening the weak ones. But again, my preference for all of the ideas I just proposed would be to keep them as separate Lua scripts rather than to embed them into the map.


RyokoTK wrote:Maybe if a vanilla version of PL were available as well (though not the standard version), that way people could have their cake and eat it too? Sensible input would be greatly appreciated.
I think two versions is going to make things confusing for the masses, who tend not to do so well with anything other than simple. I would go with the idea I mentioned earlier about including the script as a separate file bundled with the map download.

But if you end up being absolutely sure that you want to embed your map with new gameplay, then I guess I would have to go for your double version idea so people who like the gameplay alterations can download one version, and people who like the standard gameplay can download the other.

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Ares Ex Machina

Post Dec 21st '09, 08:28

Your saga of ideas is very plausible, and I happily accept the separate script idea; good for choice. And yes, I don't agree that lower-tier weaponry should be modified for the better, as they are meant to be lower-tier weaponry, and yes, killing someone with a modified lower-tier weapon doesn't have the same rewarding feeling as killing someone with the humble Fusion Pistol or even the humblest Pistol.

My humble idea is that, for players below the 0 point barrier, their health regenerates slowly but enough to give them a small reprise, and a chance to move further up the board. This of course, makes it harder to stay at the top, and it would give the player at the top (at the end) a greater rewarding feeling.
Polyplicity my second (less sucky) net pack. Go on. Download it. You know you don't want to.
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