Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby fr1tz » 14 Aug 2014, 19:37

Countdown: http://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/to?iso=20140815T19&p0=270&msg=TOL+Play+Session

Be there or... you probably won't miss much ;)

Feedback/ideas stemming from this session should go into this thread.
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby mray » 14 Aug 2014, 19:44

so this is the timer i have to beat in order to get that DAMN game running on the lenovo yoga... :)
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby Wuzzy » 15 Aug 2014, 21:25

I was there but late. Actually, this was quite fun already.
It’s nice to see how much has been implemented already but I guess it’s still a long way until v1.0.

We should things like this more often. This would also raise the odds of finding bugs greatly, by the way. ;)
It came up in IRC but I repeat it here: It is suggested that whenever someone feels like it, it is best to announce it in this IRC channel:
irc://irc.freenode.net/#terminal-overload
This of course assumes that enough people are lurking around in this channel, lol.

I’ll probably be on the game server tomorrow at Augst 16 2014, around 18:00 UTC. I’ll say it in IRC when I’m in.

For your interest:
You may want to check out the MOTD for announced / “official” play sessions.
Here is a server list with alerting function: http://aims.wasted.ch/tolservers/

Nice tools btw.
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby Julius » 15 Aug 2014, 21:44

Well, I blame my bad play all on the >350ms ping. Was surprised how relatively well it worked never the less.
“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: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby thelawenforcer » 15 Aug 2014, 21:45

Hi guys,

I just discovered this game from a thread on Esreality with lots of upcoming arena games - indie and from big/renowned names. of all the games I've looked at and tried this evening, TO is by far the most original in terms of gameplay and visuals. Everything just looks like a clone of Quake3 with some gimmicky additions here or there, mostly clunky movement that doesn't fit the leveldesign principles or something quirky with item&weapon control. Whats particularly impressive about TO is that everything is consistent. The gameplay ideas match the theme, which match the visuals. hard to describe...

I've got lots and lots of ideas and impressions that I will list so that I dont write a long winded wall of text:

- movement feels good. a bit more aircontrol maybe?
- weapons - underwhelming - it seemed to me that weapons with effects suggesting AoE were ineffective - particularly on the 2nd class. 4th Class seems really strong and the biggest damage dealer by far.
- combat in general felt a bit horizontal at times. also a bit spammy. partly to do with the underwhelming weapons.
- terrain collision is perhaps a bit too punishing?
- effects in general underwhelming - impact/hit effects hard to see.
- sounds too harsh and annoying. i understand these are more than likely placeholders; same with the effects?
- would be cool to see when someone has a 'lock' on you.
- discs spinning around a bit too long after intercept etc?
- gun position is a bit awkward. also a bit unoriginal - would be cool to see more creativity with regard to the viewmodels - perhaps look to integrate them into the CAT models - eg, the 4 CAT could have two guns on its shoulder, and have two view models in the top right and left position, slight recessed. the 3 CAT could have some energy thing in its chest and you see it at the bottom with some glow or whatever to indicate charge status.
- hard to visually differentiate different CAT types.
- the target designation box could perhaps show a bit more information - not when at long range, but perhaps when close and when you've had time to 'scan' the 'contact' - could flash up displaying class, hp, range etc.
- when you are engaging a target, or your crosshair is close to one, perhaps the white outline could be alpha'd to reduce the impression of shooting at squares and to make the CAT and the visuals more visible.
- integrating the targeting/disc visuals with the HUD and viewmodels into a pseudorealistic style (but obviously still in the theme and tone of the game) would give a bit more presence to the game - feels a bit detached and floaty atm - sort of like you are moving in a map editor.
- the recoil feels and looks a bit random. perhaps make it more related to your movement vector, and have it reflected in the weaponviewmodel and headbob allowing you to compensate for it.

now it gets freaky...

- at the risk of making things a bit too vertical, the jump could give a bit more of an upwards boost - though terrain does give big air this might not be needed, but the flat and open design.
- the risk of this is that you end up with a mess of players in the air too much and few ways to engage them... perhaps a spherical shield around the player that increases their hitbox size - but takes damage proportional to how much of a deflection would be required to make a shot 'ricochet' off tangentially to its impact point on the shield. perhaps this shield could engage when a player is no longer 'anchored' (I saw this in a Revenge of the CATS video, but didnt actually see it ingame, is it still in?) and provide a lock if someone looks at you up there long enough? you could potentially even activate it on the ground in place of that momentary barrier you seem to be able to put up - though I wasn't able to fully try that ability out in the limited playtime I had.

- the map ETH1 I think feels a bit flat and empty; which is kind of the point I presume, but it lacks content. a way to remedy that would be to allow players to expend energy to deform the terrain or build fortifications.
- there arent any identifiably important strategic points/structures. no fight feels particularly important, no push feels like it has a goal to it, other than to defend/cap the next cell.
- i found it really hard to tell whether we were winning or losing.

i will definitely be following this game closely now!
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby Julius » 15 Aug 2014, 23:05

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- i found it really hard to tell whether we were winning or losing.


The colored mini-map helps, but it seems like games can turn around too quickly... there where times when the one team made an easy push half-way across the map just to have it reversed by the other team a few minutes later. This makes things seem a bit erratic.
I guess this is partially due to inexperienced players that use up the energy of all the four CATs and then have to idle in Etherform while the enemies push forward (but they at the same time use up their "stored" CATs also). Never the less, a bit slower progression, or check-points of some sort would probably help.
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby Wuzzy » 16 Aug 2014, 00:03

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- i found it really hard to tell whether we were winning or losing.


As Julius said, a quick look on the minimap helps. But I think it would be better if the HUD could somewhere expose the number of owned cells per team vs total cells. The team with the larger number of owned cells is probably the “winning” team.
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby mray » 16 Aug 2014, 09:52

@thelawenforcer: that was some nice piece of feedback! Thanks :)
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby fr1tz » 16 Aug 2014, 12:40

Yup, quite the feedback, nice :)

Here goes...

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- movement feels good. a bit more aircontrol maybe?

That's something that can be tweaked during a play session. I think I'd be okay with a bit more air control, but only a tiny bit.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- weapons - underwhelming - it seemed to me that weapons with effects suggesting AoE were ineffective - particularly on the 2nd class. 4th Class seems really strong and the biggest damage dealer by far.

I'd also be okay with slightly increasing the weapon damage. But keep in mind that TOL 0.1.0 does not yet implement the "you take more damage the less energy you have" rule, once that's in, weapons will generally be more effective.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- combat in general felt a bit horizontal at times. also a bit spammy. partly to do with the underwhelming weapons.

I'll try to incorporate more height differences into new maps, but generally the gameplay is meant to be flat (compared to tribes at least), with usage of the jump boosters being a strategic decision.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- terrain collision is perhaps a bit too punishing?

Way too forgiving right now, IMO. Pushing enemies into obstacles should be an effective way to severely damage/destroy them.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- effects in general underwhelming - impact/hit effects hard to see.

Yup, everything except the basic game premise needs to be improved.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- sounds too harsh and annoying. i understand these are more than likely placeholders; same with the effects?

Yup, all placeholders. Which sounds specifically did you find annoying? And where there sounds you really liked?

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- would be cool to see when someone has a 'lock' on you.

Once the effects have improved, you will be able to tell what hits will have given someone a lock. Although a lock-indicator would not be hard to implement, just the question of whether it will actually be useful in the end.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- discs spinning around a bit too long after intercept etc?

Hmm... maybe ;)

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- gun position is a bit awkward. also a bit unoriginal - would be cool to see more creativity with regard to the viewmodels - perhaps look to integrate them into the CAT models - eg, the 4 CAT could have two guns on its shoulder, and have two view models in the top right and left position, slight recessed. the 3 CAT could have some energy thing in its chest and you see it at the bottom with some glow or whatever to indicate charge status.

Yup, stuff like that is on my mind quite often. Problem is that the shoulders are already used for disc and grenade launcher and the other weapons should be universally usable by anything with human-like arms. The chest idea is something that could work, not yet sure how to incorporate that in a way that makes sense.
As far as classic gun position is concerned I'm looking for ideas, quite often I find myself zoomed in so that I don't see the viewmodel at all or only a tiny bit of it. So I'm open to rethinking the whole "viewmodel at the bottom left/middle/right" trope to come up with something totally new/unique.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- hard to visually differentiate different CAT types.

Yup, until they use different models (which should only happen after the properties of the classes are set in stone) you can tell using the minimap or by their weapons and how they hold them.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- the target designation box could perhaps show a bit more information - not when at long range, but perhaps when close and when you've had time to 'scan' the 'contact' - could flash up displaying class, hp, range etc.
- when you are engaging a target, or your crosshair is close to one, perhaps the white outline could be alpha'd to reduce the impression of shooting at squares and to make the CAT and the visuals more visible.
- integrating the targeting/disc visuals with the HUD and viewmodels into a pseudorealistic style (but obviously still in the theme and tone of the game) would give a bit more presence to the game - feels a bit detached and floaty atm - sort of like you are moving in a map editor.

Yup, those are all issues that I plan to address.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- the recoil feels and looks a bit random. perhaps make it more related to your movement vector, and have it reflected in the weaponviewmodel and headbob allowing you to compensate for it.

Agreed.

now it gets freaky...

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- at the risk of making things a bit too vertical, the jump could give a bit more of an upwards boost - though terrain does give big air this might not be needed, but the flat and open design.

You know you can "jump" while in the air as long as you have enough energy? Just wondering if you already considered that and still want more boost to a jump.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- the risk of this is that you end up with a mess of players in the air too much and few ways to engage them... perhaps a spherical shield around the player that increases their hitbox size - but takes damage proportional to how much of a deflection would be required to make a shot 'ricochet' off tangentially to its impact point on the shield. perhaps this shield could engage when a player is no longer 'anchored' (I saw this in a Revenge of the CATS video, but didnt actually see it ingame, is it still in?) and provide a lock if someone looks at you up there long enough? you could potentially even activate it on the ground in place of that momentary barrier you seem to be able to put up - though I wasn't able to fully try that ability out in the limited playtime I had.

Adding the "take more damage the less energy you have" mecahnic and upping falling/impact damage to ROTC levels will take care of that to a large degree. There are already enough weird mechanics in the game so that I generally don't want to add any more unless the problem can't be solved in a simpler way.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- the map ETH1 I think feels a bit flat and empty; which is kind of the point I presume, but it lacks content. a way to remedy that would be to allow players to expend energy to deform the terrain or build fortifications.

Nah it's not really the point, that map needs to be downsized and get some more structures on it.
Deforming the terrain and/or the ability to build fortifications has been on the TODO list for a long time, but I want to get the basics right and polished before adding a TOL/Ace Of Spades hybrid mode :)

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- there arent any identifiably important strategic points/structures. no fight feels particularly important, no push feels like it has a goal to it, other than to defend/cap the next cell.

There are no good maps yet, sorry ^^

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:- i found it really hard to tell whether we were winning or losing.

Future versions will provide:
- a ROTC-style "health balance" indicator letting you know which team has more health
- the ability to see how each team is doing in terms of their "class health" (for example: be able to see that team 2 can't manifest a single sniper unit at the moment)
- dynamic music like in ROTC that let's you know how your team is doing

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:i will definitely be following this game closely now!

Awesome, and thanks again for the feedback :)
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby thelawenforcer » 16 Aug 2014, 17:15

I have to say that the combat felt quite at odds[*] with the movement. on the one hand, the movement gives many possibilities, but the combat on the other hand seems to encourage static play - especially with this damper system I'm reading about. it doesn't make much sense to design a highly mobile movement system, and then try and enforce a vision that distills the combat down to ground strafing on flat and featureless maps at relatively close range. as you say, perhaps I or they are playing the game wrong, but this is what made sense and felt natural on first contact. the 'proper way' to play doesn't take full advantage of all the features and actually seems a bit 'antifun'. the movement system is for all intents and purposes very similar to tribes - it seems to me that at that point, you can no longer simply decide that it should be more horizontal, you are committed to verticality by design. in order to undo that, you should tone the skiing down and increase the gravity or something so that players get less air. otherwise its a bit like giving a kid an icecream but telling him its poisoned ;(
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby fr1tz » 16 Aug 2014, 18:04

I know what you mean, but the basic philosophy of the game is to place little restrictions what players can do, but instead of having the game (for lack of a better word) "punish" players for certain actions, instead provide mechanism that give the opposing team the chance to "punish" players for certain plays. For example check out the map in this video: There's no other way to move from one tower to the other without losing anchoring and exposing yourself to snipers, but you can use grenades on yourself to trade some hp for the ability to move wherever you want for a couple seconds without being affected by sniper fire. When inexperienced players play that map it's a total clusterfuck (as seen in the video), but the interactions of different mechanics work really well with experienced players to create gameplay that is both tactical and fast paced.
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby thelawenforcer » 16 Aug 2014, 18:56

"but instead of having the game (for lack of a better word) "punish" players for certain actions, instead provide mechanism that give the opposing team the chance to "punish" players for certain plays."

high fall damage and strict collisions are very much a punishment for going too high or for not hitting a downramp just right though arent they? this is literally the game saying 'you broke the rules and are now punished: -20 health'. the thing is that its so easy and natural to do so means that the world is punishing you much more often than players. also:

other than hitting another player, using a repel disk, or using another disk when you hit him enough to get a lock etc, what mechanisms are exclusive to punishing an airborne target? other than the loss of anchoring which boosts knockback?

also seems to me that the damper system whereby energy reserve is relative to your damage output/intake constitutes another game punishment for using energy to move around? yes, other players can punish use of energy, but this is universal and not just tied to movement.

another comment relating to the combat and guns feeling underwhelming: its not just the damage output, there is little also to no interplay between the weapons. none of them feel that different from the others or differ that much in their usage. there is also little in terms of combo potential - not surprising considering some classes have just the 1 gun!
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Re: Play Session: Fri, Aug. 15 2014 @ 7pm CEST - TOL 0.1.0

Postby fr1tz » 16 Aug 2014, 19:49

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:high fall damage and strict collisions are very much a punishment for going too high or for not hitting a downramp just right though arent they? this is literally the game saying 'you broke the rules and are now punished: -20 health'. the thing is that its so easy and natural to do so means that the world is punishing you much more often than players.

With a bit of practice it's really not that hard to fly across the map without taking fall damage, there's no case where you need to use so much energy to reach a point that there's no more energy left to cushion the landing, imho.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:other than hitting another player, using a repel disk, or using another disk when you hit him enough to get a lock etc, what mechanisms are exclusive to punishing an airborne target? other than the loss of anchoring which boosts knockback?

None, players have always moaned when I tried to implement something ;)

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:also seems to me that the damper system whereby energy reserve is relative to your damage output/intake constitutes another game punishment for using energy to move around? yes, other players can punish use of energy, but this is universal and not just tied to movement.

Yup, but using energy for movement is unique in that there's no way to get it back, unlike with the shots where you get the energy back if the shot hit.

thelawenforcer {l Wrote}:another comment relating to the combat and guns feeling underwhelming: its not just the damage output, there is little also to no interplay between the weapons. none of them feel that different from the others or differ that much in their usage. there is also little in terms of combo potential - not surprising considering some classes have just the 1 gun!

That's something I want to work on. Classes 1 and 2 have some interplay in that the main weapon is meant to "scratch" the enemy while the second weapon is meant as a finisher (more damage but considerable reload time). For the sniper I plan to have a secondary weapon that does little damage but can deactivate the stealth other players get from being hit with the primary weapon.
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