Jump to content

Toggle this categoryToggle Message Visibility   Welcome to our Community, Guest!

Get involved and become a part of our growing community. It's absolutely free! Register an account and join us today. Already a member? Sign in!

* * * * * 1 votes

Max Number of Ground Players (GPs)


11 replies to this topic

Poll: Max Ground Players (6 member(s) have cast votes)

What maximum number of ground players (GPs) should IA! support?

  1. 3 or fewer (1 votes [16.67%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 16.67%

  2. 4 (4 votes [66.67%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 66.67%

  3. 5 or 6 (1 votes [16.67%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 16.67%

  4. 7 (like in Overwatch) (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. 8 or 9 (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  6. 10 or more (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 AndY

    Evil Bunny

  • Coordinators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 889 posts

Posted 06 August 2012 - 04:16 PM

This is somewhat of an unofficial question/poll (which is why it's lacking a bit of.. colour).

Up until recently, we hadn't really discussed player numbers in depth. We sort of collectively assumed that we'd be sticking to the same 1 OP/7 GPs split we had for Overwatch. That changed a few weeks ago when we brought up the topic during one of our design discussions, as we realized that we had started designing aspects of IA! that would be drastically affected (in different ways) by the number of active players in a round.

We started by listing every upside and downside we could think of, based on our experience with OW. We then tossed a few other ideas around. For example: does it really make sense (when we consider IA!'s theme) to send 7 players - a.k.a spies - to an enemy base?

Finally, we came up with a number: Four (4) GPs (+ 1 OP)

Here are some of the notes from the design discussion we had (some of the items might not make sense, but don't worry, upcoming Spotlight Blog entries and other Feedback Requests will reveal a lot of what's mentioned here):

Some things we said:

  • Should we allow fewer total players than in Overwatch?
  • Having AI-controlled GPs is not part of our current plans for IA!
  • Sending a large number of spies to an evil lair just doesn't.. fit
  • + It's a lot easier to coordinate a smaller group of players (cooperative play), avoiding situations such as:
    • Who does what when the group reaches a S/Obj? (S/Obj = Section Objective)
    • Who follows whom when larger groups split up?
  • + We want to prevent players from splitting up at all (smaller groups tend to stick together)
  • + It's better for the OP to be able to spawn units around all the GPs instead of just some of them (surround and flank tactics)
  • + It becomes easier for the OP to target GPs
  • + Level Design would be simpler (both internally and for community mappers) since areas could be slightly smaller, and S/Objs would be simpler to create
  • + Balancing becomes a lot easier with a 1-4 GP count range (for example) as opposed to having 1-7 GPs
  • + Not just that, but much more interesting things can be done when we only need to focus on balancing for smaller numbers
  • + Subsequently, the "fun" factor wouldn't change so drastically based on player count (it also varied somewhat level by level in OW)
  • + Matchmaking with friends becomes easier as you can get a full game with fewer people
  • + Getting a full game in general becomes easier
  • + The OP would rotate much faster with fewer players (very important for IA! since our rounds are longer)
  • + Each GP can have a role as we wouldn't have trouble scaling Roles based on player count
  • + Other aspects of Roles wouldn't need to change: up to two special roles selected by vote at the start of a section, with any remaining players receiving a default role on section start
  • + Team composition would matter a lot more: each player will make a difference
  • + Would the game feel less epic with fewer players? Likely the opposite: one player's actions will have a bigger impact
  • + Furthermore, battles will be more intense and last longer (as opposed to several players gunning down enemy troops within seconds)
  • -- Existing OW players might not welcome the change (at first?)
  • -- Players disconnecting would become a slightly bigger issue (or at least one we'd need to handle)

We feel 4 is a good number. What do you think? Vote in the poll and be sure to leave us some feedback, too!

#2 rickinator9

    Zombie

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • LocationSchagen, The netherlands

Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:18 AM

I think four is a bit low though. If one guy dies or dc's, you are pretty much screwed. I would prefer six players. It isn't really such a low number and a loss of manpower has less effect on the game.

 AndY, on 06 August 2012 - 04:16 PM, said:

+ We want to prevent players from splitting up at all (smaller groups tend to stick together)
I don't really think the OP is going to have a fun time when they just stick together. The OP relies on failing teamwork, which is more common with a larger amount of players. You might try to split them with some shotguns, but that only works 10% of all times. Of course, that's Overwatch, I don't know if this is going to change for IA!

#3 AndY

    Evil Bunny

  • Coordinators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 889 posts

Posted 07 August 2012 - 01:16 PM

Hey Rick,

You bring up some valid points, but I don't completely agree.

 rickinator9, on 07 August 2012 - 07:18 AM, said:

If one guy dies or dc's, you are pretty much screwed.
That's only true if we do a terrible job at balancing the game (or if he was the only good player on the team - which we should be able to prevent from occurring using a smart matchmaking system).

In fact, with only 4 GPs to worry about at most, we'd be able to do a much better job at it (since we'll need to only balance for 1 OP vs 1, 2, 3 or 4 GPs), compared to having larger numbers (like in OW where the game needed to be balanced for 1 OP vs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 GPs).

I also believe it'll make things more interesting for both sides. For example:
- For the OP, every bit of damage inflicted counts (in OW, you could have killed half the enemy team and it wouldn't have made much of a difference)
- For the GPs, the engagements will be more exciting (since you don't have a big 7-person squad all mowing down the enemy with a barrage of bullets). Your specific loadout might be all it takes to tip the scales in your favour

 rickinator9, on 07 August 2012 - 07:18 AM, said:

I don't really think the OP is going to have a fun time when they just stick together. The OP relies on failing teamwork, which is more common with a larger amount of players. You might try to split them with some shotguns, but that only works 10% of all times.
Sure, but why should failing teamwork only be "people splitting up"? Because in large groups, that's mostly what it is (unless the entire group scatters). Proper tactics and the use of Roles, for example, almost didn't matter as much (in OW) as the number of live players.

As an OP, I'd rather use tactics like surrounding the GPs, preventing them from taking cover, flanking them and hitting them from behind, etc., or even making proper use of my many different kinds of units, abilities, traps, etc.

You also need to keep in mind that there are levels of "sticking together". If the GPs are all bunched up in one tight group, a single trap could take them all out. There's more smarts involved this time around (as opposed to just raw firepower).


Finally:

 AndY, on 06 August 2012 - 04:16 PM, said:

The OP would rotate much faster with fewer players (very important for IA! since our rounds are longer)
I should have mentioned that there also isn't any reviving in IA!. Combine that with longer rounds, you'd be sitting in spec for quite a bit if you were 1 out of 6 GPs to die.

#4 AndY

    Evil Bunny

  • Coordinators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 889 posts

Posted 07 August 2012 - 02:13 PM

 AndY, on 07 August 2012 - 01:16 PM, said:

That's only true if we do a terrible job at balancing the game (or if he was the only good player on the team - which we should be able to prevent from occurring using a smart matchmaking system).
I probably shouldn't have used "only" there, because yes, it'll have an impact no matter what. However:
- I don't believe you'll always be "screwed", as you put it, any time you lose a player (it's circumstantial, and we could find ways to mitigate the impact)
- I believe that, in most cases, people are more likely not to randomly disconnect mid-round if they'd be leaving a small group of players behind to fend for themselves. In other words, I won't feel bad rage quitting a 32p Battlefield game, but I might feel bad leaving a 3p or 4p game.


Another reason for picking 4 that I haven't mentioned is this: 4p co-op is almost the "norm" these days (L4D/2, Alien Swarm, Borderlands, that Sesame Street video, etc.). It might sound silly, but it's what people expect.


Let me know if you don't agree. :)

#5 leiftiger

    Headcrab

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 44 posts
  • LocationStockholm, Sweden

Posted 08 August 2012 - 04:42 AM

Will there be some kind of punishment for players who disconnect in the middle of the round or in the start of the round? (this could be a problem at start if you have lots of griefers who join for matchmaking only to disconnect instantly)

Of course you'd also have to account for people with bad connections though, I have a friend of mine who can barely play any online game for more than 10 minutes without getting some weird lag which usually disconnects him.

Edited by leiftiger, 08 August 2012 - 04:43 AM.


#6 AndY

    Evil Bunny

  • Coordinators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 889 posts

Posted 08 August 2012 - 01:10 PM

 leiftiger, on 08 August 2012 - 04:42 AM, said:

Will there be some kind of punishment for players who disconnect in the middle of the round or in the start of the round? (this could be a problem at start if you have lots of griefers who join for matchmaking only to disconnect instantly)

Of course you'd also have to account for people with bad connections though, I have a friend of mine who can barely play any online game for more than 10 minutes without getting some weird lag which usually disconnects him.
Hey leiftiger,

I'm not sure about punishments per se, but we could come up with ways to "discourage" it.

In the end, we can (and definitely will) try to reduce the impact griefers can have on the game, but there's no way to prevent griefing 100%. We just need to make sure that what ever it is we do implement doesn't affect non-griefing players in any negative way (as you pointed out).

#7 Sabre

    Manhack

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts

Posted 10 August 2012 - 09:01 AM

I voted for 3, will explain why in a minute, but first, my take on disconnects is that it tends to be people quiting because they don't get what they want. In OW, after the OP player was picked, GPs would quit out, seemingly waiting to see if they would picked, and when not, quit out in frustration. In Left 4 Dead, it's either when a player keeps dying, or when one team has played a poor infected round. People seem to like playing the infected and it's L4Ds unique thing.

Also, if the responciblity and effect of each player is boiled down to a point where it's irrelivent, why bother playing? Brink, while far from perfect, made it feel like you were valuable whatever your class. One of the reasons I don't like the large game modes in CoD or Battlefield, is that the indervidual is almost worthless. The main upshot of large players in this situation is that it's more consistent. A total n00b isn't going to cost GP the game, and one skilled player will be unlikely to carry the team.

People often moan that Call of Duty Spec Ops or Gears of War Campaign only has 2 player. While 4+ might make sense to a few (game journalists, clan leaders, large rich familys who can afford a LAN) for most people, 3+ is rare. Usually it's 2 players, with sometimes a third if our scheduels happen to sync up.

Although I feel it is a moot point because as games like Left 4 Dead and Sven Co-op have shown, people will crank up the max players with server mods. Also large player games, as mentioned, tend to reduce the indervidual player to worthlessness. In Sven Co-op, Killing Floor, Obsidian Conflict or any other large player count co-op game, you either get stuck staring at someones arse while they have all the fun until the heard has thinned a bit, by which point the map is about done, or you suicide charge so you can get some action before the game ends.

This is not always the case obviously, but it's generally a better game with small numbers. In Halo, 2v2v2v2 is much more fun than 4v4 or 8v8, at least imo.

#8 AndY

    Evil Bunny

  • Coordinators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 889 posts

Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:53 AM

Hey Sabre,

 Sabre, on 10 August 2012 - 09:01 AM, said:

Also, if the responciblity and effect of each player is boiled down to a point where it's irrelivent, why bother playing? Brink, while far from perfect, made it feel like you were valuable whatever your class. One of the reasons I don't like the large game modes in CoD or Battlefield, is that the indervidual is almost worthless.
Yep, exactly.

 Sabre, on 10 August 2012 - 09:01 AM, said:

People often moan that Call of Duty Spec Ops or Gears of War Campaign only has 2 player. While 4+ might make sense to a few (game journalists, clan leaders, large rich familys who can afford a LAN) for most people, 3+ is rare. Usually it's 2 players, with sometimes a third if our scheduels happen to sync up.

This is not always the case obviously, but it's generally a better game with small numbers. In Halo, 2v2v2v2 is much more fun than 4v4 or 8v8, at least imo.
Sure, but that's the point. By limiting GPs to 4, we can focus on making the game play just as well with fewer numbers (1-3 GPs), unlike OW where things got a little boring with only a few GPs. If we set up Matchmaking à la L4D, you'll be able to host friends-only games and play with only 2-3 GPs.

The idea here is to figure out a good max (full server), and I believe 3 GPs + 1 OP is just slightly low.

 Sabre, on 10 August 2012 - 09:01 AM, said:

Although I feel it is a moot point because as games like Left 4 Dead and Sven Co-op have shown, people will crank up the max players with server mods.
Yeah, but I don't think it'd work as well in our case. Levels (and the game as a whole) will be balanced for a certain number. We might support custom (i.e. community-made) maps with different maximums, but it's still too early to know for sure.

#9 Sabre

    Manhack

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 57 posts

Posted 12 August 2012 - 02:02 PM

 AndY, on 10 August 2012 - 11:53 AM, said:

Yeah, but I don't think it'd work as well in our case. Levels (and the game as a whole) will be balanced for a certain number. We might support custom (i.e. community-made) maps with different maximums, but it's still too early to know for sure.

One thing about maps I have ranted about and continue to be confused by, is why don't servers select a map based on the number of the players? Let's say a server has 4 player maps and 12 player maps, why is it games continue to select based on a list, vote, or random, without, let's say, have a 4 player small map list, and a 12 player list, and choose based on player count? Is "if (playerCount > 7 select from list A,) else (select from list B)" not possible or something? This isn't sarcasm, I'd really like to know as I've been waiting for that since Unreal Tourniment. It seems obvious to me, but I've never seen it in any game.

#10 ScrooLewse

    Zombie

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 248 posts

Posted 13 August 2012 - 01:59 AM

I originally considered 5 would be a good number, but as I considered this I realized that my reasons were pointless and had nothing to do with gameplay.

4 sounds excellent. (You're welcome for your flagship character bases.)

But it also means you have to refine the balance of the different team elements and make sure they work with each other in a variety of ways in such a way that players feel like they're pulling their weight and having fun doing it.

That's a lot more difficult to do when one person's loadout in relation to another's can turn the tide of a battle. This will become even harder as you begin filling niches with alternate weapons and new unlockables and the possible avenues for fun, non-situational weapons shrink.

Random idea: Let players see eachother's loadouts as they pick them, and let them get some vague idea of what the Mastermind has in store while he prepares.

Edited by AndY, 13 August 2012 - 01:10 PM.
Changed to a colour that can actually be seen :P


#11 AndY

    Evil Bunny

  • Coordinators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 889 posts

Posted 13 August 2012 - 01:49 PM

 Sabre, on 12 August 2012 - 02:02 PM, said:

One thing about maps I have ranted about and continue to be confused by, is why don't servers select a map based on the number of the players? Let's say a server has 4 player maps and 12 player maps, why is it games continue to select based on a list, vote, or random, without, let's say, have a 4 player small map list, and a 12 player list, and choose based on player count? Is "if (playerCount > 7 select from list A,) else (select from list B)" not possible or something? This isn't sarcasm, I'd really like to know as I've been waiting for that since Unreal Tourniment. It seems obvious to me, but I've never seen it in any game.
Well, the problem is: when would you make the count? I believe Natural Selection (the mod) has a system where it counts players during a round, then selects the next map based on that count. That works fine for rounds after the first one, but it also has a few problems that come to mind:
1- What happens for the first round?
2- What happens if people disconnect mid-round?
3- Is the server locked to prevent additional players from joining past the level's player limit?
4- Won't all servers eventually end up with small maps?

- For #2, if you have a 12p game going (on a map that's balanced for 8p-12p), what do we do if a lot of people disconnect during the round?
- With #3, if a server is running a small map, how do you get it back to a large one if no one else can join?
- #4 is similar: as servers start to get empty, they'll auto-switch to smaller maps. You'll end up with no servers running large maps.

I'm sure there are solutions to all of these issues, but:
- The above obviously assumes it's a "server browser" kind of game (like Overwatch). You'd need to consider a completely different set of issues if it's a matchmaking-based MP game (like Left4Dead).
- Assuming we come up with a perfect system, it might solve some of the reasons why we wanted to switch to smaller player counts, but not all of them.

That all being said, it definitely wouldn't hurt to start a new thread (quote/copy our two posts) to get a discussion going on this.


 ScrooLewse, on 13 August 2012 - 01:59 AM, said:

Random idea: Let players see eachother's loadouts as they pick them, and let them get some vague idea of what the Mastermind has in store while he prepares.
We already want players to see each other's loadouts, and if we go with 4 GPs, that'll be easy (imagine having to display/sort through the loadouts of 11 fellow players!).

As for what the OP has in store, I was going to say no, but.. giving GPs a "vague" idea might work.

We'd like different weapons/equipment to affect different enemies in slightly different ways. For example: a flamethrower would be a bit more deadly to an organic enemy and take a bit longer to kill a robotic one (I wonder how it'll affect cyborgs.. ;P).

The reason why we want to vary things this way should be obvious: it'll keep things interesting round after round, and proper teamwork (and a good diversity in GP loadouts) will be crucial.

Giving the GPs too much information about the OP's loadout at the start of the round would pretty much ruin that! So all we need to do is define what "vague" information we can share.

This also seems worthy of its own thread. :)


I'm a bit sick, so if my reply's a bit messy, well, sorry! :P

#12 A1win

    Designer

  • Developers
  • PipPip
  • 87 posts
  • Twitter:@A1win
  • LocationFinland

Posted 13 August 2012 - 02:55 PM

Changing the level based on the number of players is technically not a problem as the server could just let more players join than what the level supports, have them spectate until the round ends, and then switch to a larger level. However, this would mean that the extra players would have to wait the entire round until they get to play. In IA!, we'll let new players join mid-round at "checkpoints" where all GPs respawn anyway, and that wouldn't be of much use if the level didn't support those extra players.

Another reason is that it's more efficient to only make levels that all support the same number of players. If we wanted some levels to support let's say 1-8 players, and some only 1-4, the time working on those levels would be much better spent if all the levels supported 1-8 players instead, since 1-4 is included in 1-8. It's true that those smaller levels could be better with 1-4 players than the larger ones, since they could be optimized for the smaller number of players, but creating those levels doesn't seem worth the required time.

On top of that, because we think that 4 GPs is optimal for IA!, it doesn't seem reasonable to spend time working on levels that are optimized for more than the optimal number of players. It's not only the level that defines that number. Balancing by scaling various values, such as the number of OP units and their health, is only useful within certain limits, after which more of the game rules would have to be changed to keep things fun and interesting, and the result would practically be a different game. That time would be better spent actually making a different game. ;)





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users