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Ideas for a different spawn system (mostly for duel)

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    Ideas for a different spawn system (mostly for duel)

    EDIT: Notice there's a poll up top.

    Hello,

    I see the new build gives duelers the choice of spawns, one of two. I've been working on a design for a spawn system that takes this even further and since I noticed something similar was being tested, I decided I should share my ideas.

    So in my system (I originally called it the "Pick-it System") you always get to choose between any spawns on the map. That's the whole idea actually. Here follows some further notes about how I felt it would affect gameplay and, perhaps more significantly, how it WOULDN'T affect it.

    Firstly my system would be optional... if you don't feel like picking a spawn each time, there would always be a default option which does whatever the game normally does to select a spawn for you. You could even make this a default choice: respawn immediately without waiting for a choice. This would allow people to have a choice of different "spawn-styles" as well as playstyles.

    Secondly, there is an upper limit for how long you can delay your spawn. Let's say it's 5 seconds or whatever the max is now. If you wait for longer than that it's a random spawn again. So this wouldn't affect delaying spawns at the end of the match to secure wins. On the other hand you can still make use of the spawn delay to make it harder for your opponent to guess where you are, even more so than before. You could even spawn right where you were killed if you expect your opponent will go hunting for you elsewhere.

    Spawn-Killing:
    I honestly don't know how important or frequent this is for UT duels (I come from a Quake Live and Xonotic background myself) but some people think this should be preserved. Ofc it's no-good if you could fully predict the spawn to make it too easy. Well, if you have control over where you spawn, it will always at least FEEL like it's your own fault if you let it happen too many times. Ofc it's still some luck too. And it's very dependant on map size and spawn locations, but then again it already is. It minimizes luck is what we can say.

    Spawn-killing and predicting spawns would become much like poker - poker might seem random at first, but still some people tend to win more in the long run. This is because they pick up on your playstyle and tendencies. If you can do that during the match as you're playing, you get the edge over a player who doesn't pay any attention to how they (or you) are spawning. Also it's not like every choice has the same value: that's a function of what items are spawning or up in that area, and how likely you think your opponent will go for them and other subtle factors. Maybe you prefer to play a certain weapon, or you notice your opponent likes to do that. This will affect where you want to spawn or where your opponent wants to spawn. So all in all I'd like to think it's not just luck in the end.

    Another argument I've heard against this idea is it creates a recurring meta-mindgame where you can always go one level deeper (he thinks I want to spawn there, so I'll spawn here instead... NO, he's going to predict that, I'm going to spawn THERE instead...) so that in the end it's reduced to a guessing game that you can't learn (unlike if the spawns are partially deterministic). Well, again this is countered by realizing that EVERYthing is like that in essence. If you freeze a point in time, let's say a tennis match, and you both look at each other thinking "where is he going to position himself/the serve" then yeah, you can go on forever without either being able to guess, but we still play tennis don't we? We still play all kinds of sports. What the argument did was abstractify and simplify the game, removing the elements of time and the varying values of each spawn choice. In reality we have to go by experience and instinct, as well as some deduction. This is what we always do.

    Furthermore you have to think about the risk-reward the whole time: if I always go for the safest plays (both when you're in-control or out-of-control), my frag lead isn't going to get as big as it could be, or I can't break control as fast as I could... and also the safest play might also become the new predictable play and therefore it's no longer as safe... a very dynamic situation, I'd like to imagine.

    If your opponent is left low after you died, you might want to spawn near them and try to finish them off with your starting weapons. This is something to think about. You can respawn very quickly as of current. If your opponent is aware of the spawn point right next to them, they can start spamming it and are likely to at least put you in a similar situation for HIS next spawn if not plain spawn kill you again. You could also try adjusting the minimal spawn delay if you wanted to counter this slightly.

    Because you can choose to spawn near the items that are up, you also would have to think more about WHEN to frag your opponent. This is already a dynamic, especially when their spawn is forced away from you. This means you can't frag someone far away from the item if you can't get back in time. Instead you wanna just hurt them and wait for a better moment for the frag. They can sometimes even suicide in order to get the item. This is seen in Quake Live at least. Increasing the spawn delay would make this less of a thing, but maybe it's not a bad thing? It rewards players who are smart, who have awareness, and aren't just automatic killing machines. But all in all this system would make it more difficult to control everything in the map for a long time, whether you like the idea or not. If you wanted to discourage suicides as a fast form of moving around the map, you could make it have a 2 point penalty instead of 1.

    Another exotic situation you could end up having is NEITHER player wanting to frag the other at a given moment for the same reason.

    Another argument you could make for this system is that it makes spawning have no "black magic" to it like it can otherwise have for new players. It's very simple to grasp why anyone ever spawns where they spawn.

    IDEAS FOR IMPLEMENTATION:
    -so you could go with the 5 second max delay idea, or you could increase this to a maximum of 10 seconds to give it a really wide range.
    means you're missing out on items and letting your opponent stack up BUT maybe less chance on getting spawn fragged, more ways to jux your opponent a little
    -I know increased spawn delay time also means you can kill more time when you're up frags so that's another thing to think about... maybe make spawns happen more rapidly the less time there is left or the greater the spawn difference in your favour.
    -after you're dead you're immediately shown the respawn screen:
    let's say you choose your spawn point either by clicking on something (if you're playing an FPS your mouse skills should be okay) or using a hotkey (numpad for instance) and clicking enter or fire (or better alt-fire) to confirm it. This way you can choose your spawn position first and then spend a little more time thinking when exactly you want it to happen.
    -the respawn screen itself requires the most effort coding and assets -wise, but remember this is also the superior way to even learn the spawns in the first place and bridges a gap between players who have done their "homework" and those who haven't... even after the first 3 or 5 duels you've SURELY memorized EVERY spawn point on a given map because you had so much interaction with them (especially if you died a lot ).
    -if there's a mutual frag and both want the same spawn, whoever confirms their choice first gets that spawn (which interestingly gives the advantage to the player who got fragged FIRST, but then it's difficult to exploit this without a lot of skill)
    -if you try to confirm a spawn where your opponent just spawned the game either won't let you or it will send you to a random spawn point (if you don't want this to happen)

    Specifically the best implementation for how to let players choose their spawns, AFAICS, is an isometric map of the arena. A snapshot that removes the first wall or ceiling so they don't obscure your view taken from an angle that allows you to see any spawn without them overlapping. I'm hoping this could be done maybe just by modding the editor a little bit to make it emphasize spawn points (draw a circle around it) and later using another procedure to tell the game to insert clickable buttons in all those locations when the spawn screen is being displayed. I already suggested this stuff to the Xonotic team but they don't have the resources even though people tended to agree with the principle.

    Alternative (and something you could use during the testing phase at first) is to use numpad inputs or something more primitive, maybe just a screenshot of each spawn and let skilled duelers test it so they know where the spawns are.

    Thanks for reading!
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    Last edited by LotBlind; 06-06-2015, 12:05 PM.
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