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What UT doesn't need. An essay.

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    What UT doesn't need. An essay.

    1. Introduction

    Okay, so hello and first something about myself, if you want to skip this section go head.
    I'm Zoddom, 22, German, studying historically orientated cultural sciences and european langues and cultures. I am a huge fan of UT. I first played UT in 2002, so I was very young and it was one of the first shooters I've ever played and thus it has played a very big roll in my development as a fps gamer. UT is one of those games that I've never really stopped playing, or even uninstall. Honestly I have to say I have never played it competitively but I have enjoyed watching various tournament games etc. The shooter that mostly influenced me as a competitive player was CS, which I played for a very long time. After the 1.6 competitive scene was pretty much dead here in Germany I started to play some UT99 again. I have also played 2003 and 2004 and a bit of UT3. But all in all I wasn't very impressed by them.
    There are many topics which describe key features needed, but rather than discussing the obvious stuff like responsive mouse movement with raw input once more, I will try to analyze what a good Unreal Tournament does not need. But first, lets discuss what the strengths of Unreal Tournament are.

    2. Analyzing the key strenghts of UT

    I have thought about why UT was (and still is) such a good game for a long time now.
    I think it's save to say one for the most important factors that influences someones opinion of a game is its first impression. When I think back to what my first impressions were I have to think of the awesome intro. I have watched it countless times and I still dont skip it most of the times I start the game. But it was not the intro in itself nor the awesome female voice that tells you about the unspeakable violence instrumentalized by Liandri and the NEG. It was the setting and most of all the atmosphere that it put you into. You immediatly had the feeling that you are in a Tournament with brutal competition fighting for honor and glory. This atmosphere was being held up by other game design elements like the maps, their design and lore and that of your competetors. It all just fitted seamlessly. That is were I was disappointed by UT2k3, 2k4 and UT3. They may have tried to fit the "story" a bit better into the Unreal universe or just make it a bit more "epic", but it just made the existence of the Tournament seem secondary.
    Another key feature were obviously the game modes. Theres not much to say, just that it should be clear to everyone that Deathmatch is the key discipline (there's a German term of "K├Ânigsdisziplin" which literally means "king-discipline"). CTF and also Domination were good team gamemodes and Assault was also suited for competitive play, but was very different and imo not comparable to the others. They just added to the atmosphere of a competitive Tournament. Not so much did Onslaught.
    The weaponry is of course also worth a mentioning. Wasn't it Unreal that firstly introduced secondary fire modes? It certainly was one of the first games had this feature and so UT benifitted greatly from that. The original weaponry was innovative, responsive and versatile. Though some weapons were better than others, there was a weapon of choice for every situation, and I think a good player could make every weapon work (except maybe the bio rifle ). That is why I for example didn't understand the change that was made to the pulse rifle secondary firemode in 2003 and 2004, it just removed a certain amount of skill required.
    Another aspect of the game that made it feel so perfect was the movement. It was direct, responsive and smooth. It just added more depth into the game and formed another skill that had to be mastered. Where I don't see a big addition is that double jump that was introduced in 2003 (or 04?). I can't see how it adds to the gameplay and I actually doubt its viability in competitive gameplay, as it just makes you an even easier target than a simple jump. But I will go into more detail in the next part.

    3. What UT doesn't need

    So following my analyze of those key features, let's think about what the game does not need to be good. I think we all agree to the fact that ressources used on unnecessary features are wasted ressources. I go even further and say when ressources are wasted on unnecessary features, the key features will suffer and end up worse than they could be. So I think we can already list some things that UT doesn't need. I will try to not go in too much detail, because I think most of the things can be generalized:
    - overly exotic game design: by that I mean things like super epic looking weapons or maps, which would just distract or even negatively interact with players, like environmental smoke effects etc. In the worst case it would not only distract but also stop the atmosphere or even the whole game seem logic.

    - complex movement: the key is keep it simple. movement must be responsive and reliable. If there is too much going on we will end up surfing around like in CoD or Battlefield and that is certainly not something the UT community wants or expects and thus something UT doesn't need.

    - Ranking(Matchmaking)/Achievements: while I am completely against every form of achievements and will not go into detail because I suppose it is common sense why achievements don't add aynthing to a game, I am not completely against ranking systems. The key here is to actually make it useful. Ranking systems I consider useless are used in the Battlefield series, where it's simply a statistic of how much time you spent in the game and thus has no significance describing the skill of a player, and in CS:GO. Yes I consider the CS:GO ranking and especially random matchmaking useless, because I suppose that every player is able to find others on a similar skill level to play with. Thats how it was done all the years and the playerbase of FPS didn't suddenly lose their ability to socialize and communicate. A useful ranking system could have the shape of an ingame tournament mode which would include matchmaking, where every game mode has its own ranking system and is completely based on the win rate of a player/team (and I say team, not 5 random guys randomly put together) and optionally has prices for the best team/player every month or season etc. Again, the key word here is "non-public", because what we consider as "public" gaming is absolutely nothing that needs ranking.

    - hats: I want to explain this outside of the discussion about achievements because things like hats/weapon skins (don't knw how to call that, maybe I miss some terminus here) can but don't necessarilly have to be achievements. Because UT4 is supposed to be a free to play title, this is an important aspect. I do understand that there has to be something to make money with but if to implement things like this, I strongly disagree to make them a pseudo-warrancy, that generates a pseudo-purchasing power, as we see it happening with Steams Marketplace. The reason why I am against this is - again - that it's needless. There are more direct and less complex ways to make money with a game. For example simply making skins etc. purchasable but not tradeable and/or sellable. Developers have to stop thinking that they have to lure players into spending small amounts of money. If the game deserves support, players will give it.

    - forced simplicity: I really don't think I need to say this, but I want to be sure to stress the needlessness of things like points popping up on screen, tool tips that tell you how to do something etc. Players should be considered intelligent enough to press Tab or watch killmessages in the top corners of the screen which are absolutely enough and even proven by past UT games to be more that enough. Also it is completely needless to know if you get +2 for a kill or +1 for an assist or similar (assists are not needed in UT anyways, no further discussion needed here). The key is: as little as possible, as much as needed, and most of todays developers don't seem to know the right ratio here.

    - Vehicles: not much to say here either. It's a tournament. I don't think the idea of no-holds-barred fighting is to come to a match in a tank. I strongly disagree with adding any vehicles, even hoverboards, because they take up lots of ressources that could be used better otherwise.

    - "framestory": something like we've seen in UT03, 04 and UT3, generally a story outside of the Tournament which is not only told as lore but implemented into the game. Adds nothing to the game itself but only distracts from the original idea of the game and the Tournament.

    4. Conclusion

    As a conclusion I want to remind you of how many developers today rather think of features that would be nice to have in a game than of which features are needless. We all have seen many games where this border between innovative and useless has not been clear to the devs who end up making a game overloaded with needless information or graphics.
    I feel sad about the direction in which todays games and devs are going. On one hand there are just too many developers that try to force innovation and on the other hand many developers that think super simple games are a good business idea. The results are either 70$ games that are not really fun to play or games for 2,99 that you only play once. When it comes to free to play it seems to get simpler. But thats not a surprise because why shouldnt players spend money on a good game that they can play for free if they would definitely buy it if it was a full price game? And why should players spend money on needless things like hats in a game that they already bought for money?


    Thank you for reading and excuse any spelling mistakes.

    P.S.: If I forgot anything, I will edit it into the text, note it here at the end and mark the new sections in blue color.

    EDIT#1: included matchmaking into ranking section (though theres a clear difference I tend to not really differ between those two things)

    EDIT#2: changed my opinion that Assault is not good for competitive.
    Last edited by Zoddom; 05-13-2014, 12:13 PM.
    veritas filia temporis

    #2
    Even if you are young you get all the points right, this is a good post man
    Just one thing: Assault was competitive, maybe more than the other. It required a lot of teamwork and I suggest you to watch some movies on YouTube about it

    Like +1

    Comment


      #3
      The only UT that Epic put effort in i.e. massive effort was UT99. The next UT i.e. UT2003, UT2004 & UT3 never was given so much attention. UT died soon after UT99. Take my word.

      Comment


        #4
        Overly Exotic Game Design:
        That's what makes UT special. Sure, we don't want a giant death star firing glowing ponies every 3 seconds, but a UT map set in space with a death star set to go off sounds incredible. UT isn't supposed to be a drab realistic shooter. It's meant to be a crazy tournament in space with a bunch of supersoldiers. And if those supersoldiers have to fight on a giant ice planet with avalanches and slippy ice, that's perfectly fine by me. People will play the maps they like, so having a balance is good. For every new map, we need a Facing Worlds, a simpler map that makes sense, but making the game "not distracting" is another way to say "make it boring".

        Hats:
        Nope. The game is dependant upon people making and selling market items, and taking away hats or any other form of market is just dumb. We don't need to emphasize it to quite the degree of TF2, but selling skins should be permitted. You say you can just make skins purchasable but not sellable? What does that even mean? Now, making hats a huge feature, nope. But UT99 had skins too, and nobody complained either.

        Forced Simplicity: I have no objection to tooltips like "Sniper Rifle: Left click: Fire. Right click: Scope." as long as I can turn them off, and they are off by default. And what is your objection to assists?

        Vehicles:
        Not all maps need tanks, but if somebody is interested in modding in a tank, that's not a problem. Some of the vehicles worked really well for me, though of course not so much in competitive environments. UT3 was a problem, but that doesn't mean cars themselves are a problem.

        Other than that, I think I agree with the other points.
        Last edited by Keon; 05-13-2014, 11:20 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by van Kuss View Post
          Just one thing: Assault was competitive, maybe more than the other. It required a lot of teamwork and I suggest you to watch some movies on YouTube about it
          hm yeah I see your point, maybe I was a bit fast to judge. maybe its just that this gamemode is so different to the other ones.
          I think I gonna edit it.


          Originally posted by Keon View Post
          but making the game "not distracting" is another way to say "make it boring".
          No you totally missed the point.
          I think youll agree that there were some old 99 maps which were pretty exciting. And I can't think of a single one that contained distracting "material". It is possible to make something exciting without putting 1000000 objects, particles and special effects in it.

          Originally posted by Keon View Post
          Hats:
          Nope. The game is dependant upon people making and selling market items, and taking away hats or any other form of market is just dumb. We don't need to emphasize it to quite the degree of TF2, but selling skins should be permitted. You say you can just make skins purchasable but not sellable? What does that even mean? Now, making hats a huge feature, nope. But UT99 had skins too, and nobody complained either.
          I think I didnt made myself clear enough here. I said it is okay to have such things that you can buy, but making them a "currency" which players can trade or even buy external content with (as in Steam) is not necessary. People will still buy skins if they cannot trade them or sell them to other players themselves. I wanted to prescribe a "selling-monopoly" for the developer.


          Originally posted by Keon View Post
          Forced Simplicity: I have no objection to tooltips like "Sniper Rifle: Left click: Fire. Right click: Scope." as long as I can turn them off, and they are off by default. And what is your objection to assists?
          As long as they are turned off by default, okay. But that wouldnt be the case, because how should a player who needs such tool tips find out how to turn them on or that they even exist? and most games today are just stuffed with tool tips and mostly you cannot turn them off completly.
          with assists I mean kill-assists etc. as known from CoD/Battlefield (although battlefield is a very teambased game were assists like healing etc make sense). As valve has succesfully demonstrated with CS:GO, kill assists in serious competitive shooters are completely needless. If you cannot get a kill, its totally fine that you dont get "rewarded".

          Originally posted by Keon View Post
          Vehicles:
          Not all maps need tanks, but if somebody is interested in modding in a tank, that's not a problem. Some of the vehicles worked really well for me, though of course not so much in competitive environments. UT3 was a problem, but that doesn't mean cars themselves are a problem.
          I dont really understand what you have in mind when you say "not all maps need tanks". Imo, MOST maps (and especially gamemodes) dont need ANY vehicles. UT is a "close quarters" game. the maps have always been small and the larger ones were small enough for players to walk through. Its just not needed.
          veritas filia temporis

          Comment


            #6
            Totally disagree about your achievements points. It helps competition and keeps people coming back to the game to do better.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Zoddom View Post
              - complex movement: the key is keep it simple. movement must be responsive and reliable. If there is too much going on we will end up surfing around like in CoD or Battlefield and that is certainly not something the UT community wants or expects and thus something UT doesn't need.
              I'm kinda confused by this point to be honest. What exactly do you mean here? That CoD and Battlefield have complex movement systems? Because they really don't.

              And yes the secondary fire mode for every weapon was what instantly hooked me to the franchise. Not so much the movement system, because while in other games there was enormous depth with bhopping, hooks, weapon-jumping and whatnot UT only had a small dodge and that was pretty much it. Simple is nice and all but even Call of Duty with mechs has more depth in it's movement system than UT3 had. If you want to attract new players to the franchise (they plain are not old enough mostly to have even known any of the previous iterations), then there has to be something ...well more depth...
              I thought hard about it the last couple days and I got nothing so far...
              If you think about it everything was done before and it didn't really "attract" new players at all. Even combining everything into one game like Warsow did for example wasn't really "hitting the spot" (well granted it is an eye-sore of a game). Maybe there really is no market for arena fps's anymore, but lets not be too pessimistic.
              Last edited by raeg; 05-14-2014, 12:51 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by raeg View Post
                I'm kinda confused by this point to be honest. What exactly do you mean here? That CoD and Battlefield have complex movement systems? Because they really don't.
                Not really complex in ways of mechanic, but "physics", i.e. momentum, acceleration and stuff like that. Things that result in unresponsive movement.

                Originally posted by starman View Post
                Totally disagree about your achievements points. It helps competition and keeps people coming back to the game to do better.
                I don't understand. I for myself have never had ANY ambitions to get achievements (except for BF2 which was the first game with achievements I've ever played, but those were "real awards", which is kinda different to those achievements we know today and MUCH harder to get). They totally do not add anything to long term game fun.
                Last edited by Zoddom; 05-13-2014, 01:16 PM.
                veritas filia temporis

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Zoddom View Post
                  Achievements: while I am completely against every form of achievements and will not go into detail because I suppose it is common sense why achievements don't add aynthing to a game...
                  I disagree with you there: Achievements give players other than competitive ones (casual, normal, once a day, you name it...) a goal to do other than win the round or kill everyone on sight. If done properly, they also give you an accomplishment over time you've played. It basically makes people feel they have done good in their time with the game. Of course not everyone feels that way but if we want new players (and I mean new, guys that never ever heard of or played an Unreal game kind of new) to join the community, we have to cover all bases while retaining competitive scene in mind.
                  Tiny Details That Should NOT Be Forgotten & Dynamic Arenas & UT4 Storyline - Story Design & Gametype Designs: Volleyball - 3-Way CTF & Smartphone/Tablet Integration

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Sounds like: "no fun allowed"

                    get rid of vehicles and you get rid of hundreds of players

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Tuxx View Post
                      get rid of vehicles and you get rid of hundreds of players
                      These hundreds of players are looking for another kind of game

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Tycerax View Post
                        I disagree with you there: Achievements give players other than competitive ones (casual, normal, once a day, you name it...) a goal to do other than win the round or kill everyone on sight. If done properly, they also give you an accomplishment over time you've played. It basically makes people feel they have done good in their time with the game. Of course not everyone feels that way but if we want new players (and I mean new, guys that never ever heard of or played an Unreal game kind of new) to join the community, we have to cover all bases while retaining competitive scene in mind.
                        okay, I just repeat that I strongly disagree with "luring" new players into the game with stuff that isn't really useful. It adds nothing to the game and wastes ressources.
                        additionally, I just dont understand how anyone could believe that achievements would really keep someone playing. I wouldn't be surprised if this already has been scientifically proven.
                        Achievemts are just the sign of the degrading of the quality of gaming.

                        Originally posted by van Kuss View Post
                        These hundreds of players are looking for another kind of game
                        Totally agree
                        Last edited by Zoddom; 05-13-2014, 01:30 PM.
                        veritas filia temporis

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Unreal Tournament didnt become popular with vehicles, it died with vehicles.
                          PayBack

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by -jay- View Post
                            Unreal Tournament didnt become popular with vehicles, it died with vehicles.
                            That's the kind of post that doesn't help at all. It's nothing but opinion and no facts to back it up. We aren't in church here, but are trying to come up with a game design.
                            <elmuerte> you shouldn't do all-nighters, it's a waste of time and effort
                            <TNSe> nono
                            <TNSe> its always funny to find code a week later you dont even remember writing
                            <Pfhoenix> what's worse is when you have a Star Wars moment
                            <Pfhoenix> "Luke! I am your code!" "No! Impossible! It can't be!"
                            <@Mych|Lockdown> ...and the award for the most creative spelling of "Jailbreak" goes to ... "Gandis Jealbrake Server"

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Wormbo View Post
                              That's the kind of post that doesn't help at all. It's nothing but opinion and no facts to back it up. We aren't in church here, but are trying to come up with a game design.
                              I would disagree, opinions are very valid bits of information when designing a game based on past experiences.

                              The whole genre of fps and vehicles has saturated the market. Its pretty much a staple of any few FPS to have vehicles that people can run around in and blow each other up. Why? Because it sells games copies and its easy. No one likes to start a game and just get destroyed over and over again by experienced players. Giving them a vehicle levels the playing field and adds a safety zone to explore and learn. When I first started playing UT I would get destroyed, just like just about every other person, but the reward for getting better in the long run far exceeded the reward for easy kills. Vehicles are boring in the long run, honestly whats so challenging or hard about driving around in a tank and blowing people up? The problem with vehicles is that they put new players into a safe zone. No one likes losing, so why leave the vehicle? This in turns makes it so that everyone needs to be in a vehicle in order to really play. No one ever gets good at the game being on foot, they only get good in vehicles which are majorly limited in game experience.

                              Now a lot of people might say so what, you dont have to play in a vehicle game mode if you dont want to. I agree, you dont. However the reason any great game has lasted for as long as they have and had the kind of popularity they had is because they had a player base that grew with the game. The more time you invested into a game, the better your skills at the game became and the more you wanted play because now, instead of being beaten on all the time, you were doing the beating. Another element that is needed for a game to really be great is that it needs a large player base, one thats big enough to form a community. Clans are pointless if the game type you play only has a handful of active clans, without clans you dont have the big paid for a custom servers. Think back to all the time you spend playing UT99, what were the best and most fun servers to play on? Big well known clan servers. The servers always ran well, the admins kept ********/cheaters in check, and the clan made for a familiar environment of people that you could get to know.

                              So when I say vehicles were the death of Unreal Tournament, they really were. They coddled players by creating safe zones and never needed to grow their skills. They bored players in that they didnt grow there skill sets, so all they knew were vehicles. This led to a rapidly declining game population.
                              Last edited by PayBack; 05-13-2014, 02:00 PM.
                              PayBack

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