What is missing in TOL (imo)

What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby mray » 12 Sep 2014, 22:52

Since fr1tz requested my opinion here it is:

A game.

TOL is pretty young so any expectations of "completeness" are silly of course.
A clear vision of what a project aims to be (or not to be), though, can be expected right from the start.
TOL misses that dedication to one aim since it is a whole set of games like ETH/DM, Indoor/Outdoor even CTF seems to be considered.
To me there is just one TOL: ETH/outdoor, and focussing on it is a great challange already.
Having an open mind about other eventually funny variants is wasting ressources and ultimately failing to say what the game is not.
TOL needs to know what it wants to be, and do that right.

Here is what I see necessary to give TOL great potential to attract people:
* proper user documentation, easy to grasp rules (tutorials, ingame-help, training levels, ... this game *is* complicated)
* visual concept that interweaved with the ruleset (HUD <-> Effects <-> Rules <-> World)
* easy and reliably starting game experience (especially under linux)
* minor things like menus, homepage and general polish

Many of the things above are hard to achieve or outright impossible if the goals of the game are too broad.
I'm looking forward to a great TOL, and once it works I certainly wouldn't mind testing to waive a flag or frag some noobs.
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby fr1tz » 13 Sep 2014, 08:13

mray {l Wrote}:To me there is just one TOL: ETH/outdoor


That was my approach to ROTC: Ethernet and from that I learned that your list of things to attract people is missing a crucial point:

* Variety

FPS games generally require quite a bit of effort to get into, games like ROTC/TOL even more so. That's why players tend to choose
"their" game carefully and then stick with it. And because of this, players are not gonna choose a one-note multiplayer FPS game, no matter
how perfect that one note is.

mray {l Wrote}:Having an open mind about other eventually funny variants is wasting ressources and ultimately failing to say what the game is not.


I disagree. Planning ahead to make sure core mechanics such as movement (which in my experience define the core-identity of the game, meaning you can have different types of maps and totally different weapons, but once you change how movement works, it becomes a different game) are compatible with game modes that are not about territory control (like DM, Arena, CTF) is a very sound investment.

Also I just see ROTC/TOL's mechanics work great for tribes-style CTF (except the b.o.u.n.c.e. would have to be disabled near a flag stand). Tribes-style CTF is my fav. kind of CTF and already has an established fan-base, which is why a CTF mode would (aside from being really fun in its own right) attract players. Basically "Come for the CTF, stay for the ETH".

Plus I stick to the opinion that it's perfectly possible to keep focus on ETH by providing mostly ETH servers.

mray {l Wrote}:Many of the things above are hard to achieve or outright impossible if the goals of the game are too broad.


I'd agree with you if TOL were a project by a dedicated studio, but it's an open-source project. How do you expect to get developers/contributors to do unpaid work if you tell them: "See those colors, see those maps? - Now go and make more just like that!" or "So you'd like to add a jetpack mutator? - Sorry but jetpacks is not what TOL is about.".
Open-source projects suffer from feature creep because it's the only way they can stay active and healthy. I was aware of that when I started the project and I'm still fine with it. We just need to make sure that servers that run a non-standard game are clearly marked as such.

tl;dr:
- Variety is very important to attract both players and developers.
- "Focus" of a game is determined by the available game servers, not by potentially available features.
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby mray » 13 Sep 2014, 23:59

fr1tz {l Wrote}:...your list of things to attract people is missing a crucial point:

* Variety

Maybe established titles come along with more modes to keep and not to bore hardcore fans. Once we start having those kinds problems I'm in for having gazillion game modes!

TOL isn't a choice like "Quake vs. Unreal Tournament" back in the old days, where you decided on a camp and lived with the options that came with it. (What would a competing alternative to TOL even be?) Giving early adopters a set of unpolished gametypes to choose from, while barely having enough players to constantly fill one server alone, seems like a way of making sure they get bored.

Please let's rock at one thing first!



fr1tz {l Wrote}:I disagree. Planning ahead [....] is a very sound investment.

Your view of the status of the movement model is spot on. It is a core mechanic, and needs not only to be "ok" or "better than avarage": it needs to be perfect fun. But if a future derivative game mode turns out not to fit with that model - better change (or omit) the derivate game mode later on, than changing a perfectly fine core mechanic now.



fr1tz {l Wrote}:Plus I stick to the opinion that it's perfectly possible to keep focus on ETH by providing mostly ETH servers.

Maybe that can keep focus - but neglecting official support for parts of the own game would be wasting resources in every possible way.



fr1tz {l Wrote}:I'd agree with you if TOL were a project by a dedicated studio, but it's an open-source project. How do you expect to get developers/contributors to do unpaid work if you tell them: "See those colors, see those maps? - Now go and make more just like that!" or "So you'd like to add a jetpack mutator? - Sorry but jetpacks is not what TOL is about.".

The contributors I'd like to see would be craving for guidelines. I know I would.
If you don't have a common goal to contribute to - anything would count as a "contribution", right?
A clear vision and contributions towards that goal should drive a project. Not the number or variety of insignificant add-ons.
Gaining contributors increases only active people, but doesn't advance the games development.
Rejecting contributions based on good rules makes sure the project is moving in the right direction.
Those rules need to be aligend with care and should benefit from constructive feedback. As should contributions that follow the rules.
In contrast to any random map or mutator that might come along.

Please let's define what TOL is rather than what it could be!

fr1tz {l Wrote}: We just need to make sure that servers that run a non-standard game are clearly marked as such.

For that you need a standard to begin with.
Which is my entire point.
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby fr1tz » 15 Sep 2014, 16:48

mray {l Wrote}:Maybe established titles come along with more modes to keep and not to bore hardcore fans. Once we start having those kinds problems I'm in for having gazillion game modes!

TOL isn't a choice like "Quake vs. Unreal Tournament" back in the old days, where you decided on a camp and lived with the options that came with it. (What would a competing alternative to TOL even be?) Giving early adopters a set of unpolished gametypes to choose from, while barely having enough players to constantly fill one server alone, seems like a way of making sure they get bored.


Sorry but I doubt you'll change my mind about this. Working on CTF concurrently with ETH requires comparatively little effort and has the additional advantage of making the game more accessible, since only providing ETH requires new players to learn an unfamiliar game mode on top of unfamiliar mechanics.

mray {l Wrote}:Your view of the status of the movement model is spot on. It is a core mechanic, and needs not only to be "ok" or "better than avarage": it needs to be perfect fun. But if a future derivative game mode turns out not to fit with that model - better change (or omit) the derivate game mode later on, than changing a perfectly fine core mechanic now.

To me it seems there's already a bit of a divide on what players consider "perfect fun". Correct me if I'm wrong on this, but since you want TOL to stick to the ETH1-style outdoor maps I get the sense you're looking for tribes-style non-stop flowing movement, which is required for CTF, but also enforcing it for ETH maps would seriously limit to kind of playing experience that ETH can provide simply by having different styles of maps. I personally like playing both ETH1 and ETH3/ETH4 and I'm not alone on that. If some people only want to play ETH1-style maps they can. And if the people who enjoy maps like ETH4 didn't like ETH1-style maps it would make sense to stick to only one type, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The people who like ETH4 like it as an addition to ETH1-style maps, rather than a replacement. So there's no divide here and thus no need to make this an either/or issue IMO.

mray {l Wrote}:Maybe that can keep focus - but neglecting official support for parts of the own game would be wasting resources in every possible way.

Unless you're only cloning existing stuff there's simply no way to allocate resources perfectly because there's no way of knowing how well a new feature is going to work out before you finished it or at least already put some effort into it. It sucks that in most cases, the effort you put into something new does not compare favorably to the outcome, but there's no way to avoid that. But I consider the chance of something like a CTF mode working out really well to be pretty high and I estimate the effort it takes to add it to be fairly low. So while I can't guarantee that it won't end up being a waste of *some* resources, what makes you so sure that it will be "wasting resources in every possible way"?

mray {l Wrote}:The contributors I'd like to see would be craving for guidelines. I know I would.

Would you be willing to start writing those?

mray {l Wrote}:If you don't have a common goal to contribute to - anything would count as a "contribution", right?
A clear vision and contributions towards that goal should drive a project. Not the number or variety of insignificant add-ons.

Depends on the kind of project. A project like TOL where the main incentive to join development is the fact that it allows people to bring
their own vision for the game into the mix makes it impossible to maintain a singular vision because there's more than
one vision at work.
ROTC had a clear vision because there was just one person developing it, and my hope is that this vision will turn out to be strong
enough to remain somewhat intact, but compromises will have to be made. What do you consider "insignificant" add-ons and what
makes you sure that they're not important?

mray {l Wrote}:Gaining contributors increases only active people, but doesn't advance the games development.

Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? But if we want to find out we have to attract contributors.

mray {l Wrote}:Rejecting contributions based on good rules makes sure the project is moving in the right direction. Those rules need to be aligend with care and should benefit from constructive feedback. As should contributions that follow the rules.

You're vague to the point of not actually saying anything here IMO. Have you already made a list of rules? How do you know the rules are "good"?
I haven't started on something like that because until people are actually contributing, we don't know what kind of issues
are going to arise, so I don't see how I could possibly already make up rules that will actually turn out to be "good" to deal with
the issues that are going to arise.

mray {l Wrote}:In contrast to any random map or mutator that might come along.

TOL is unfamiliar territory for me in many ways.
Open-source projects I've worked on where I was not the only developer: 0
My experience managing an open-source game project: 0%
My experience lifting a project out of obscurity and into prominence: 0%

I'd be really grateful if somebody with more experience in any of those endeavors would be willing to
help me out.

I don't know if that's the case for you, but in case it's not, we're both just speculating.

I expect that choosing what goes into TOL and what doesn't will be delicate balancing act for me.
I will need to learn lots of stuff, and unless somebody with more experience helps out the
only way I will learn is by making mistakes.

Rejecting weaker contributions will probably help make TOL a quality game, but I can easily
see it crushing someone's motivation to contribute, perhaps running off someone who
in time would've improved and contributed great stuff.

How to deal with a dev that really helps moving the project forward but who wants
to make changes to core mechanics that I'm not that keen on.
I think that messing with core mechanics but keeping a productive developer
is a good trade for a project like this, but maybe I'm wrong.

mray {l Wrote}:Please let's rock at one thing first!


Do you have an argument that could convince me that this is really the best way to go? Because even though I have no experience to back this up, I'm thinking that doing lots of things "ok" or even crappy is the way to go for this project because it would create more places where people could contribute. Basically the wider the foundation the more space for additional workers.
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby Julius » 15 Sep 2014, 19:43

I agree with fr1tz mostly, but at least he as the core developer should try to focus on the core gameplay. So far I still think he does that mostly, and adding CTF isn't really that much of a deal.

Personally I am a bit in the "lets wait and see" camp as the game right now really feels a bit non-gamey still (but hey, its a version 0.2). Sure it works and can be played, but the ETH mode probably needs some more fun elements to make it stand out. Otherwise one might just as well play CTF once that is implemented.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby mray » 16 Sep 2014, 01:05

fr1tz {l Wrote}:Sorry but I doubt you'll change my mind about this. Working on CTF concurrently with ETH requires comparatively little effort and has the additional advantage of making the game more accessible, since only providing ETH requires new players to learn an unfamiliar game mode on top of unfamiliar mechanics.


It isn't just about the additional coding time. Gathering ingame experience for testing purposes is most valuable for TOL right now. If every playing minute spent, every feedback given and every ideas tried out are distributed over two seperate gametypes is a setback if your goal is to get to a really compelling experience asap.
Unfamiliar game-mode and mechanics aren't a bad thing! They need to be the strengths that attract people. Presenting them should be a core effort. A pretty challanging one - but that's what it takes, and I like that challange.


fr1tz {l Wrote}:To me it seems there's already a bit of a divide on what players consider "perfect fun".

Having multiple movement mechanics seems out of the question so that problem has got to be solved either way.

fr1tz {l Wrote}:Correct me if I'm wrong on this, but since you want TOL to stick to the ETH1-style outdoor maps I get the sense you're looking for tribes-style non-stop flowing movement, which is required for CTF, but also enforcing it for ETH maps would seriously limit to kind of playing experience that ETH can provide simply by having different styles of maps. I personally like playing both ETH1 and ETH3/ETH4 and I'm not alone on that. If some people only want to play ETH1-style maps they can. And if the people who enjoy maps like ETH4 didn't like ETH1-style maps it would make sense to stick to only one type, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The people who like ETH4 like it as an addition to ETH1-style maps, rather than a replacement. So there's no divide here and thus no need to make this an either/or issue IMO.

Remember the outdoor Quake CTF levels? They are foreign to what Quake3 is.
Similarly all indoor scenes in Tribes (afair) were foreign to what Tribes was.
My observation about games so far is that they tend to clearly fall into one category or the other.
TOL probably won't excell at both. Since both aren't required for a perfect gaming experience it's reason enough to drop the less promising branch - for now.

fr1tz {l Wrote}:what makes you so sure that it will be "wasting resources in every possible way"?

Because by that approach it would be good advice to add any possible variant of extra game modes.
What are the reasons for not also trying King Of The Hill, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, ... alongside with CTF?
There needs to be a respectable amount of feedback & balancing to get either of them really right, no matter how fast they are implemented or how popular they are.
Having all of them may be cheap, but having one that rocks is hard work and costs much time. So a good choice on which one to focus first is crutial.

fr1tz {l Wrote}:
mray {l Wrote}:The contributors I'd like to see would be craving for guidelines. I know I would.

Would you be willing to start writing those?

I started with the style guide and would be thrilled to work on mechanics and gameplay stuff together with other contributors.
Issues we discussed earlier would be integral part oft questions answered in that guide like (unsorted off of my head):
* Is TOL a game that should avoid frustration and be "nice" to beginners?
* How quick is TOLs game flow?
* What role should "momentum" have in game mechanics?
* I how far is TOL focussing on fight action vs. tactics & time management?
* How far does TOL go in terms of complicated game mechanics?
* How horizontal/verical should TOL action/fights be?
* Is TOL indoor/outdoor?
* How many different weapons should TOL offer?
* How far does TOL reward TOL profis?
* Should learning TOL levels be "rewarded"?
* ...

The list is way longer and roots in a few key values that TOL embodies.
I haven't clearly figured out what those key values would be yet, but that's where I would start.

fr1tz {l Wrote}:ROTC had a clear vision because there was just one person developing it, and my hope is that this vision will turn out to be strong
enough to remain somewhat intact, but compromises will have to be made. What do you consider "insignificant" add-ons and what
makes you sure that they're not important?

I hope it will remain intact because I love what you started. Significant contributions should be the ones that lift your vision to a higher level (and maybe change it a bit) while staying true to the basic idea. For example: a super-mario-styled level, a jetpack-mutator or a chocolate-donut-gun wouldn't qualify, even if they might be "fun".


fr1tz {l Wrote}:
mray {l Wrote}:Gaining contributors increases only active people, but doesn't advance the games development.

Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? But if we want to find out we have to attract contributors.

It boils down to quantity vs. quality. I don't claim to *know*, but given a choice I certainly would stick to quality.

fr1tz {l Wrote}:Have you already made a list of rules? How do you know the rules are "good"?

The one above would be a first quick draft.
I don't now the rules are good. There needs to be constructive feedback and ingame testing to get a real clue.
Much will have to be revised, corrected or get discoverd by coincidence. But we need one sensible starting point.
Let's start doing lots of errors and learn from them!

fr1tz {l Wrote}:I expect that choosing what goes into TOL and what doesn't will be delicate balancing act for me.

That's certainly the hard part of being a benevolent dictator. But even in that uncomfortable situation it is good to be able to point to a generally accepted concept of what TOL is/isn't.

fr1tz {l Wrote}:
mray {l Wrote}:Please let's rock at one thing first!

Do you have an argument that could convince me that this is really the best way to go?

hmm... my probabilistic attempt:
"Let's rock at nothing first" + "Let's rock at everything first" aren't even sensible ideas.
"Let's rock at multiple things first" is almost impossible because of the "first" part.
But even if you may raise the interest of more people by trying to rock at more things first, it also distributes their help on a bigger variety of things - making each of those less likely to rock again. Multiplied with the fact that with a growing number of participants and the absence of a clear directive you also increase the probability of having opposing opinions of what rocking actually means, results in a project that just does not rock.
While "Rocking at one thing first" sounds just like common sense to me ^_^
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby fr1tz » 16 Sep 2014, 17:26

mray {l Wrote}:It isn't just about the additional coding time. Gathering ingame experience for testing purposes is most valuable for TOL right now. If every playing minute spent, every feedback given and every ideas tried out are distributed over two seperate gametypes is a setback if your goal is to get to a really compelling experience asap.

What is compelling depends on who you're targeting. From a development perspective the first group TOL should target is developers. There is currently nothing compelling to do for additional programmers. "Open-source game looking for programmers to fix bugs and do menial programming work for no pay" will not attract anyone, while "Open-source game looking for programmers to implement novel/experimental game modes" or even "looking for programmer to implement tribes-style CTF mode" is a lot more compelling.

mray {l Wrote}:Unfamiliar game-mode and mechanics aren't a bad thing! They need to be the strengths that attract people. Presenting them should be a core effort. A pretty challanging one - but that's what it takes, and I like that challange.

I agree with you here, and I'd absolutely love it if you took on the challenge of "selling" TOL based on "Unfamiliar game-mode and mechanics". But why should it be not only the only selling point, but the only thing that players are going to get. A small "Also includes Tribes-Style CTF mode" sticker on the box will catch the eye of a lot of players.
I'd be really interested on what you consider these core strengths to be and how you plan to present them, but you should make a dedicated thread for that.

mray {l Wrote}:Having multiple movement mechanics seems out of the question so that problem has got to be solved either way.

No argument there.

mray {l Wrote}:Remember the outdoor Quake CTF levels? They are foreign to what Quake3 is.
Similarly all indoor scenes in Tribes (afair) were foreign to what Tribes was.
My observation about games so far is that they tend to clearly fall into one category or the other.
TOL probably won't excell at both. Since both aren't required for a perfect gaming experience it's reason enough to drop the less promising branch - for now.

You're kinda making my point for me. Do you think the Quake or Tribes developers are morons? They understand that a game needs to excel at one thing (DM for Quake, CTF for Tribes) while still appealing to as many people as possible. I'm not a hardcore DM player, but all the stuff that's not interesting to those players (the open outdoor maps, the CTF mode) is exactly why I still played it. If quake3 had been indoor DM only I know that me and my friends would have played it for 10 mins at lan parties before switching to UT and never going back.
As far as indoor elements in tribes go, I guess they realized their mistake after the first one and stuck to outdoor only for the (in the meantime 3!) sequels and multiple clones.
Sorry for the sarcasm, but as far as I remember you mentioned not being very familiar with tribes. So having a tribes noob explain to me the virtues of my fav. game feels a little patronizing. Yes tribes mechanics worked best for outdoor, but that's what made indoor combat interesting. For example Minotaur was a very popular map not despite, but exactly because of the "clunky" indoor combat. The indoor parts of tribes created a different, yet still compelling, playing experience without the need for different mechanics.
Tribes is exactly my main argument in favor of providing different game modes and mutators, not against it ;)

mray {l Wrote}:Because by that approach it would be good advice to add any possible variant of extra game modes.
What are the reasons for not also trying King Of The Hill, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, ... alongside with CTF?
There needs to be a respectable amount of feedback & balancing to get either of them really right, no matter how fast they are implemented or how popular they are.
Having all of them may be cheap, but having one that rocks is hard work and costs much time. So a good choice on which one to focus first is crutial.

Well, that why CTF is the first additional mode, because I know that it will work fine with the existing mechanics. I'm not gonna change core mechanics to improve second-class game modes, but stuff like KOTH and LMS should work great with TOL because ROTC/TOL's combat mechanics originate from ROTC (before ROTC became ROTC:Ethernet) being designed to be a compelling minimalist (no pickups or cover) dueling game.
And yeah, I'm totally in favor of having any possible variant of extra game modes. If they're not compatible with TOL's core mechanics then make them total conversions. One of the strengths of torque has always been modding. Using the tribes client you could play all kinds of different games (even RPGs and construction games) without having to download 3rd party client stuff, which was great.

mray {l Wrote}:* Is TOL a game that should avoid frustration and be "nice" to beginners?
* How quick is TOLs game flow?
* What role should "momentum" have in game mechanics?
* I how far is TOL focussing on fight action vs. tactics & time management?
* How far does TOL go in terms of complicated game mechanics?
* How horizontal/verical should TOL action/fights be?
* Is TOL indoor/outdoor?
* How many different weapons should TOL offer?
* How far does TOL reward TOL profis?
* Should learning TOL levels be "rewarded"?

I think that's a good summation of the main questions. If don't know what would be the best platform to discuss them but if you want I could give you my take on them here in this thread.

mray {l Wrote}:I hope it will remain intact because I love what you started. Significant contributions should be the ones that lift your vision to a higher level (and maybe change it a bit) while staying true to the basic idea. For example: a super-mario-styled level, a jetpack-mutator or a chocolate-donut-gun wouldn't qualify, even if they might be "fun".

If I could right now play TOL ETH inside a super-mario-styled level and use a chocolate-donut-gun I totally would. Hell, I'd even play a bit of COD if it had those features.
TOL needs "hooks" like this. Sure this means we'll also need official server admin guidelines (at least if you want to register with the master server) and a good server browser (I'd even be okay with something like a "Hide variants" checkbox that's active by default) but look what you're saying here... why would I reject something that's fun? We're not trying to make one of these artsy games-with-a-message here, right?

mray {l Wrote}:Let's start doing lots of errors and learn from them!

Exactly! Do you know what I could do to get more people to actually do stuff? Everybody knows lots of things that need to be done, but it seems like the idea of doing them, or even getting started with them themselves does not even occur.
I figured I'd try to formalize the development process of TOL once there are a couple of devs. Is asking people who want to get involved to join IRC or this forum already asking too much? How do I really stress the point that everybody can basically do as much as they want to shape TOL?
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby mray » 17 Sep 2014, 22:14

fr1tz {l Wrote}:What is compelling depends on who you're targeting.

The only people we need to take into consideration about what is compelling is ourselves. Making money isn't our goal.
There are countless projects out there that have the parts "game" and "looking for developers" in any constellation.
They all fail, because people don't care about big plans. And I bet there are *tons* of great plans for games out there.
Showing that projects set goals and achieve them ensures that contributions don't drown in pre-alpha right before they die completely (like most of them).
Why even bother with possible interests of possible contributors when you can work to build something you are proud to show.
I certainly don't fear we will too few new ideas with every new contributor.

fr1tz {l Wrote}:... But why should it be not only the only selling point, but the only thing that players are going to get. A small "Also includes Tribes-Style CTF mode" sticker on the box will catch the eye of a lot of players.

Selling an idea works better if it isn't five ideas. WAY. BETTER. Every additional idea next to our hero idea drags down the whole effect.
The logical conclusion to your approach would be to have KOTH, DM, CTF and LMS and 300 other modes. Quality isn't quality. And while I agree on possibly even having quite a few official ones - I still believe they need to put aside until there is a worthy game to add them to.

fr1tz {l Wrote}:I'd be really interested on what you consider these core strengths to be and how you plan to present them, but you should make a dedicated thread for that.

The first thing to present something is to have a clear vision of what it is about. As long as DM and CTF are considered it is enourmously problematic to get your hands dirty on presenting.
If you're intereset open that new thread!

fr1tz {l Wrote}:You're kinda making my point for me.

The exception to the rule spices things up. There isn't light without shadow and what not, but that does not mean it is important to focus on what you need to excell.
Care about the core, don't take into consideration what could be a by-product to that needs to rock - for now.
... didn't want to sound patronizing because I really *did* hardly play the first tribes game...

fr1tz {l Wrote}:... I'm not gonna change core mechanics to improve second-class game modes, ...

That's what I'm after. But why stop at core mechanics?

fr1tz {l Wrote}:
mray {l Wrote}:* Is TOL a game that should avoid frustration and be "nice" to beginners?
* How quick is TOLs game flow?
* What role should "momentum" have in game mechanics?
* I how far is TOL focussing on fight action vs. tactics & time management?
* How far does TOL go in terms of complicated game mechanics?
* How horizontal/verical should TOL action/fights be?
* Is TOL indoor/outdoor?
* How many different weapons should TOL offer?
* How far does TOL reward TOL profis?
* Should learning TOL levels be "rewarded"?

I think that's a good summation of the main questions. If don't know what would be the best platform to discuss them but if you want I could give you my take on them here in this thread.

I expect every one of them will turn out to require a new sub-thread - better flesh out the pillars of gameplay and mechanics philosophy outside this very thread.


fr1tz {l Wrote}:... but look what you're saying here... why would I reject something that's fun?

Because if the only requirement to become a core part of the game is fun - TOL would become a bad joke.

fr1tz {l Wrote}:
mray {l Wrote}:Let's start doing lots of errors and learn from them!

Exactly! Do you know what I could do to get more people to actually do stuff? Everybody knows lots of things that need to be done, but it seems like the idea of doing them, or even getting started with them themselves does not even occur.
I figured I'd try to formalize the development process of TOL once there are a couple of devs. Is asking people who want to get involved to join IRC or this forum already asking too much? How do I really stress the point that everybody can basically do as much as they want to shape TOL?

It it is a bad idea to invite people to come and do what they want.
If that's true for them it will be true for all other contributors that join - and *they* probably don't share your interest - so you're working alone again.
In the best of all outcomes everybody would have different things in mind and no collisions of interest would occur, because by what standard would you want to resolve them? Everything is good to go, right!

I see the only way to succeed is to gather forces on a common goal.
Not to gather goals and reach them with common forces.
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby fr1tz » 18 Sep 2014, 08:52

What you're telling me here is basically that my approach to TOL should be the same approach I took with ROTC.
Why should I do something again when I know it doesn't work?

ROTC/TOL are multiplayer-only. What good is a "perfect" multiplayer-only game that has no one playing it?

I mean let's look how ROTC stacks up to your list:

The only people we need to take into consideration about what is compelling is ourselves. - CHECK
Making money isn't our goal. - CHECK
Setting and achieving goals. - CHECK
something you are proud to show. - CHECK

According to this both players and contributors should've flocked to ROTC. They didn't. The only contributions to ROTC were made by people who needed something to put on their resume in order to get a job at a commercial games company.

So while I don't know if the whole "invite as many cooks as possible" approach to TOL will work out, I know that the ROTC approach won't.

Besides, while it's still true for TOL that making money is not a goal, how do you expect TOL to be developed if its only dev is flat-out broke? Unless I figure out some way to make money while working on TOL, I will be forced to take a break from TOL-dev pretty soon. And if I'm still the only one working on TOL when that happens, TOL's momentum is going from slow to absolute zero.

With that in mind perhaps it makes a little more sense why I consider attracting more devs to be the highest priority for TOL right now.
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fr1tz
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby mray » 18 Sep 2014, 15:57

ROTC was unfinished in terms of being an effortless game experience.
It was complete, playable and came with a great atmosphere and gameplay.
But grasping - and ultimately controlling the game - was too hard.
I don't see this has been addressed back in ROTC, and it needs to be adrdessed in now.
So do something different this time by putting away additional game modes, mutators and indoor maps
and consider this contribution:

Vision & Mission: https://github.com/fr1tz/terminal-overl ... -&-MISSION

What is redundant, not precise enough or missing?
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Re: What is missing in TOL (imo)

Postby fr1tz » 18 Sep 2014, 17:18

I agree with most points but there are a couple that need discussion:

easy & non-frustrating gameplay

Gameplay being non-frustrating is a big issue for me, but people disagree on what that means. In my experience "easy" more often than not simply means "random & unbalanced". A lot of the mechanics that make the game non-frustrating for experienced players seem to frustrate newbies to no end. From my own experience I can confirm that the lack of frustration for experienced players does not come from the fact that they can easily beat less experienced player (which is boring to me). I enjoy the game the most when it's really challenging and forces you to constantly adjust your play.
ROTC/TOL being "hard" is what makes the game interesting to me. Making "easy & non-frustrating gameplay" the point of TOL would turn TOL into something completely different.

action is permanent & versatile

Disagree somewhat on the first part. Something that's at 100% all the time becomes boring really quickly. The game needs a dynamic both within the context of a particular map and in terms of playing experience overall (for example having a really fast map being followed by a slow one in a server's map rotation or having a quick round of mindless FFA after a long and drawn out ETH session).

balance in favour of newcomers

Nope. Find ways to keep newcomers playing until they're good other than making the game uninteresting for experienced players.

make moving around fun

Players ability to move should not create a sense of annoyance and helplessness in other players. Some players really enjoy Etherboarding mindlessly through the map while occasionally pecking at an enemy. Might be fun for them, but doesn't help their team and just annoys the other team. People like that would IMO better served by other modes than ETH.

build open maps for constant confrontation

I don't hate open maps, but they become booooooring fairly quickly.

build and adhere to a style-guide

Don't know if that can even work. I don't see a divide between design&implementation working for a project like this. I know that for example if I'm gonna spend a lot of time modeling new player models I'm sure as hell going with my own design.

And now the big question: Who is going to do what?
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