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Rman Virgil
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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE (Stock Edition) in the Pipeline

Post by Rman Virgil » 30 May 2010, 04:10

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NEXUS wrote:Rman Virgil, I wish you good luck on making this map, as it looks like it will be great when you finish it. :)
Those genuine words of encouragement are much appreciated especially coming from one such as yourself who is speaking from first hand knowledge of the nitty-gritty involved in making WZ stuff that is of a certain level of crafting quality. :D
Zarel wrote:Hey, Rman, do you, by any chance, think it's time for a beta?
Yea, I probably should make a deadline. Let's say next weekend. :3

I was counting on some folks here to help in pre-release Beta balance testing that I am unable to achieve going at it solo with any of the extant Ski A.I.s (none of which can even play the totality of this map on a basic level or even the mentioned Ski A.I. I am developing that definitely can handle the topographic challenges but even this A.I. is still not remotely an adequate substitute for 4 peeps who know how to exploit the games GPMs as they exist at present). So It's just not been looking promising that those folks will step-up & fill the void that is under most circumstances covered by my LAN buds (who will be available again but that's months away, end of the summer, & putting off a Beta release till then, while an option, is a course I've decided not to follow for a number of reasons I'll leave unvoiced.)

I am thoroughly cognizant of the fact that this project can only be properly balance tested by 4 humans (there is just no way around that no matter how much time and effort I put into it solo). 4 peeps who know the nuances of the game, have good communication skills and are NOT taking this as an opportunity to indulge in smug, self-serving, snark or other forms of dishonorable cheap shots.

So I'm giving myself another week to shake out the most obvious flaws, implement the cleanest optimizations I can perceive & get a balance state that while still flawed without a doubt will at least be clear enough for others to assess what specific course correction options I should consider making to improve the MP experience in every way for the FINAL release. I will of course thoroughly acknowledge any constructive contributions to making the final balance the best it can be. XD

So, next weekend it is. We'll see how it plays out. If it turns into a positive, constructive experience, and I can make final balance changes based on good community MP input then I will go forward in continuing the development of the Elite Edition which will be substantively Modded into a different experience & will include a bundled Ski A.I. for those players out there that prefer Skirmish over MP. The bundled A.I. will also be apt for Island maps.

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- Regards, RV :hmm:
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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE (Stock Edition) in the Pipeline

Post by Rman Virgil » 03 Jun 2010, 01:00

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June 2 Overview: Moving along schedule....

I'm having to make topographic changes as part of my current balancing of the Vet Start Positions along with out-of-base resource amounts / positions and the relative opposing Scav Force strength / positions. Actually all these factors are dynamically interlocking and ideally inextricable from each other. What makes it especially challenging beyond the norm is the total topographic asymmetry, the variable skill handicapping within the teams and the introduction of the Player 7 Scav complex influence deployed throughout and deliberately linked to highly favorable geography and the wealth of resources not simply up for grabs between the human players. It is a very atypical high resource map in that respect. You'll feel a little pinch from the get go and you can relieve it at any stage by exploring and fighting smart as opposed to poking blindly and assuming cannon-fodder and spamming is the best course. At least, these are the design goals.

There are also what I call Gauntlets that all Players will have to contend with but which I have made especially more challenging for the Vet positions than the Novice positions. Vets will also have the added responsibility of controlling their own Scav Ally contingent smartly from the outset since they cannot be replenished. These Scav allies afford you many opportunities if you use them well starting with the fact they puncture the fog of war at a remove from your HQ and you also have 2 vectors to initiate maneuver right from jump which takes your decision-making to a realm beyond the usual tunnel-vision, monolithic and linear. These are design intentions to be born in mind when Beta testing for balance as well when playing for a more engaging, expansive & immersive type of fun fighting experience.

The immediate base platforms and shoreline / beachheads are flat.... that's it.... I'm even giving the waters a gentle pitch and roll just beyond the shores and of course most of the mainlands are terraced as well as pitched and rolled making full and creative use of the maximum elevations supported at present.


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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE (Stock Edition) in the Pipeline

Post by Rman Virgil » 03 Jun 2010, 12:38

'

On LZs:

I have already spoken to this early on here and in passing in other threads but let me consolidate, reiterate & expand.

We all know that the Unit Transport is hard-code locked-out from MP use (or in Ski) for balance reasons. We also know that the way to balance the Unit Transport use in MP is to COPY what is done in Campaign - designated LZs & limited Airlifts. One way to go forward at this point would necessitate unlocking them, provide the necessary constraints through scripting and then bundling a forked binary - not a good idea for many reasons. A second option is to advocate and persuade the developers to unlock - remove the hard-code & do the necessary initial balance work just mentioned. I have chosen a third option.

I asked myself HOW can I provide for some of the Unit Transport type experience by way of the Borg Transport and pure map-making craft.

What I came up with is 3 different type LZs that provide for

~ Air Lift Staging

~ Aerial Hit 'n Run

~ Simultaneous, Multi-Vectored Borg Deployment

~ Obdurate Aerie Strongholds and

~ Ready Resource Caches......

All valuable real estate, all posing challenges to their asset acquisition, all providing distinct advantages especially if one team edges out the other in finding and taking them over and thus qualify as Centers of Gravity in the total conflict. Better Teamwork will also factor into how these possible outcomes play-out.

There are 2 of each of the 3 very different versions for a total 6 on the map. 4 of them are named & 2 are without names.

The named 4 are as follows: "Jian's Hilt", "Jian's Tang", "Red Beard" & "Crimson Mane".

The 2 unnamed LZs are in the following dubbed map regions: "The Bay of Kraken" and "The Dire Straits".

These are just a few of the fresh devices (for a lack of a better word at the moment) you will have to learn on this map.

Naturally these have had to enter into the over-all BALANCE equation effort.

Giving the forgoing information could be interpreted as constituting spoilers. For a number of reasons I do not think it will turn-out that way. Plus I think it is actually essential that I do this.

On a last note here.

I've mentioned that part of this total effort was to promote an overall Campaign-Like immersion game play experience (with specifically constructed challenges) and do so in a cooperative, team coordination, context. These LZs are a core part of the mix of just how I've gone about doing that. There are other components to that mix but those can be left to the purely playful discovery process.

- RV 8)

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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE (Stock Edition) in the Pipeline

Post by Rman Virgil » 05 Jun 2010, 07:28

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... "A.R.T.S.":

This clever acronym sums up my last 2 posts. Correction, it sums up most of this thread, the several months of work it's taken to fill a blank slate with a set of innovative ideas, morph those ideas into specific, integrated, goals and move with indefatigably craft to create the singular, well functioning, reality that is "Aqua Co-op: SE". Let's call that the Yin of how I roll here. The Yang I'll speak to in due coarse. :wink:

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- RV :hmm:
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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE (Stock Edition) in the Pipeline

Post by Rman Virgil » 06 Jun 2010, 18:56

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Hmmm... no takers. Based on what I see in the neighborhood can't say I'm surprised. Not a worry really as I always have my buds (some from the CO Game Dev Group) to help me MP balance test this Stock MP Edition at the end of the summer before i take-off for a stay in Sedona & Chaco Canyon and I'm totally cool with that. But I'll check back in a week or so and see if any in this community step-up - around the time Buggy prepares the SF repository & I begin uploading gigs of photo asset archives.

In the meanwhile I'll get to working in earnest on the Elite SP Edition which entails substantive changes to the map for SP Ski plus Scav Modding, Scav A.I. changes and a Ski A.I. that can deal with many of the challenges posed by the maps design that the available Ski A.I.s cannot at all handle even adequately. Unlike with this Stock MP Edition I will be able to do all the critical MP play-testing for the Elite SP Edition by my lonesome & will thus be able to release it with out making any beta play-testing requests beforehand like I have here.

In the interim, I'll leave you all with a few more lovely in-game vistas:


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- L8rs, the unflappable RV 8)

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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE (Stock Edition) in the Pipeline

Post by Rman Virgil » 08 Jun 2010, 18:23

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I was gonna wait another week. But what for, I think it's obvious nothing is gonna change here plus I believe in taking active responsibility for every aspect of how I choose to exist - in the cyber-networks as much as I do in so called "RL" (as if the cyber is somehow so far less "real" as to not qualify as such - but that's OT...)

So let me close out this phase of a several months long dedicated effort with a few comments of fact and observation which all told I find interesting, revealing and useful but will graciously refrain from interpreting.

1.) This is a working reality that only lacks now for some final MP balance testing and tweaking.

2.) This is a reality that very specifically addresses many of the pie-in-the sky postings that continue unabated repeating the same wishes for expanded fun game play, in this way and that. Which is to say this reality makes it possible to actually play with those wishes in game and not merely going back and forth in postings hoping somebody will make it so through work. They exist.

3.) This is also a reality that addresses many of the repeated postings concerning very specific shortfalls in MP game play with actually implemented solutions that you can play with rather than merely wish existed. These too exist.

4.) This reality is a high-quality and original effort that has taken much time and care to achieve in it's fully integrated design details. Which is to say it is obviously not some quick, cookie-cutter, repeating the same old tired designs, sloppy, careless, copy-cat, art less, pile of junk, dreck, effort.

There is absolutely no doubt about # 1 thru # 4. The specifics not mentioned are also made entirely clear in my lucid, substantive, postings through-out this thread.

And yet, here we are. Interesting and oh so revealing in ways I shall deliberately not articulate by getting into any inferences, deductions or interpretations I've drawn from the experience to this juncture.

Make no mistake, I've enjoyed all the months of effort put into this - I could not have done it otherwise. I'm also very happy with the results. Nothing can diminish any of that. :D

I also set-out to accomplish a set of goals at the out-set and I have done so with as much art as I would by nature put into an original painting, cinematic, musical composition or literary work.

I am also indebted to those who have shared of their time, ideas and encouragement over the months and, as has always been my style of engagement over a decade with this game & the various communities surrounding it, I have and will continue to reciprocate. I believe absolutely in genuine, demonstrative, reciprocity, consciously averting inequity aversion and - that there really is no such thing as "free lunch" even in a FOSS game. :wink:

And, as sure as the sun rises, I will definitely complete the final MP balance-tweaking by means outside this community as mentioned earlier because those reciprocity resources are apparently non-existent here at this time. And that is what it is. I blithely move on to other stuff I value working on, also making a reality of it as I have done here.

For as much as I enjoy playful joking, high-jinx and witty exchanges, I ain't about beating around the bushes bull-chit, as I hope this makes clear.

Lastly - as I move on to focus working on the Elite Edition of this project for SP Skirmish it is unlikely I will invest any time in making an other thread and posting details about that WIP as I have done here. This thread served to make clear many original concepts, solutions and implementations I hoped others would also benefit from in their own creative works as well guide peeps in how to approach the innovations in MP game play embedded in the Stock Edition. While the Elite Edition continues in that vein of originality & expanded game play beyond what I have already explicated here in passing, I have decided to leave all those understandings to the deductive powers of others to elaborate on down the road.

- RV :ninja:
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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE - Ready for MP Balance Tweaking.

Post by Rman Virgil » 15 Jun 2010, 20:31

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An Aid to MP Game Play I neglected to post earlier on.

This illustration represents about 70% of the major new complex game play elements I designed into Aqua Co-op SE.

These new complex game play elements expand the possibilities of combat FUN beyond the typical or shallow staid and do so without invoking unmitigated frustration while keeping game play fresh & unpredictably challenging. These new complex game play elements are also fully integrated into a thoroughly fresh visual immersion experience. In its many parts and as an integrated whole, it is unique to WZ and, I believe, sets new benchmarks in both areas of crafting.

This illustration is of an earlier iteration which does NOT reveal current resource amounts and positions or Player 7 Scav Force strength and positions (both mobile and fixed). That current state is on temporary hold pending the opportunity for MP beta stress-testing with all human players to ascertain feed back on modifications to achieve the critical optimal balance in those areas.


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For those unfamiliar with or who may have forgotten my earlier postings here, COG = Center of Gravity which is a traditional term in War strategy.

Back to working on the EE or Elite Edition.

- RV :ninja:

EDIT: The tactical use of the unidentified Islands will be obvious. What won't be so obvious, even though I spoke to it a while back here, is the use of the Sand Bars... & they do have a very interesting use. I call it Multi-Vector Borg Deployments from the Troop Transport.


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Last edited by Rman Virgil on 16 Jun 2010, 18:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE - Ready for MP Balance Tweaking.

Post by Saberuneko » 15 Jun 2010, 21:05

Interesting, seems like drawing an strategy on this map will be really complex.

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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE (Stock Edition) in the Pipeline

Post by Zarel » 15 Jun 2010, 21:57

Rman Virgil wrote:Yea, I probably should make a deadline. Let's say next weekend. :3
It's past "next weekend" now. :3

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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE - Ready for MP Balance Tweaking.

Post by Rman Virgil » 16 Jun 2010, 14:36

Saberuneko wrote:Interesting, seems like drawing an strategy on this map will be really complex.
The idea is that you will have many, many, options on how to play this map successfully.... not just 1 or 2 ways. It will not be easy to exhaust the game play possibilities of this map. You will discover new ways of going about it every time you play if you want to explore tactics creatively.

- Regards, RV :ninja:

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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE (Stock Edition) in the Pipeline

Post by Rman Virgil » 16 Jun 2010, 15:09

Rman Virgil wrote:Yea, I probably should make a deadline. Let's say next weekend. :3
Zarel wrote:It's past "next weekend" now. :3
Yes.... & I busted my ass to meet that self imposed deadline... & I did.

I posted to that end and asked for volunteers to help me MP balance test as per my parameter description.

None have stepped forward to this point.

I'm not just gonna throw this out there without at least some MP beta testing for balance modifications. That seems all wrong to do in such a manner to me. Goes entirely against my grain and standards.

I know what I'm asking for is gonna be a real challenge. The merely curious need not apply. This phase of balance testing is work. It can be a fun, interesting, rewarding challenge for those with the apt dispositions.... but, make no mistake, this is not just entertainment - it's definitely serious work.

To restate. I need one person who can step forward and speak for 3 others and commit to MP balance testing this project and giving me constructive, specific, feedback so I can make make crucial modifications I can not arrive at in solo testing vs the Ski A.I...... before a mass, open, distribution. This is how it's done in RL game development and this is how I choose to go about it for many reasons.

If that can't happen out of this community, well then so be it. I'm not gonna worry about it because I will be able to draw on my own circle of game play-testing buds when they reconvene in the Fall for our next series of LAN parties.

But, to reiterate, the offer still stands here as outlined in my last few postings.

If someone steps up and says "Me & my 3 buds can do this." - well then I will gladly and gratefully pass the file on to them and after I follow through on their recommendations (giving them all due public credit and acknowledgment for their crucial input).... then, and only then, will I put the file up for mass distro with the appropriate license.

That's the deal and I am not wavering from it.

In the meanwhile this Stock Edition is on hold and I am working on the Elite Edition scripting and text modding on my Netbook while I'm on the road doing RL stuff. I will be back home Sunday. If any step-up in the interim, I'll pass the file to them at that time.

- Regards, RV :ninja:
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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE - Ready for MP Balance Tweaking.

Post by Dylan Hsu » 16 Jun 2010, 15:15

Can I take a look at what you have so far for the Stock MP edition? The screenshots look great, I just want to take a closer look at the actual paths and oil of the map - if you value my opinion, that is.

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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE - Ready for MP Balance Tweaking.

Post by Rman Virgil » 16 Jun 2010, 15:48

Dylan Hsu wrote:Can I take a look at what you have so far for the Stock MP edition? The screenshots look great, I just want to take a closer look at the actual paths and oil of the map - if you value my opinion, that is.
Absolutely. :D I'll send you the file when I get back home Sunday. Didn't bring it with me on my Netbook (can't run it on it). It's on my LT & DT at home.

Thanks !

- Regards, RV :ninja:

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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE - Ready for MP Balance Tweaking.

Post by Rman Virgil » 20 Jun 2010, 15:45

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Have to extend my trip for another day to complete my assignment so I won't be back home till late Monday night, 6/21.

To Dylan Hsu, & others who have expressed interest in helping beta test "Aqua Co-op SE" for MP Balance (Oil resource amounts & distribution / Player 7 Scav Force strength & distribution), please PM me the email addy you'd like me to send the file to and I will do that before I crash-out after I get home tomorrow night. If I can get some clear, constructive, feedback this coming week to make the positive changes needed, it's quite possible I can but this up in the Showcase BB next Sunday for wide public distro and further input.

When I get home tomorrow I will also post an updated graphic detailing the exact MP Co-op Team Set-Ups on a much more current map topo than the one posted a few months back now.


A few quick thoughts.

In my final push to complete and solo test as best I could a couple weeks back I was struck by how pronounced I had made the Campaign-like feel in the game play. So, by extension, I feel that since this is designed as a Co-op MP experience, folks will also get a bit of a taste of what WZ Co-op Campaigning might be like.

Another thing I experienced, which could merely be an extreme bias on my part, is that when I wasn't working on this project and sought a little WZ diversion on other maps I could not because after a mere couple minutes the virtual world experience seemed so terribly uninteresting in the most basic areas I quickly lost any desire to continue. Strange. Maybe this will pass.

Lastly....

I already spoke to "Aqua Coop SE", this project, being strictly designed for Co-op MP with all human players and that I am already working on "Aqua EE" which is designed for SP Skirmish with an A.I. I'll bundle with it that will be able to handle some of the basic challenges presented by "Aqua EE's" topography.... along with some modding to Scavs that will make for a very different battle experience: I'll be giving Scavs Air Power and Air Defense..... among other changes over the "Aqua Co-op Stock Edition" experience.

What I haven't mentioned is that "Aqua WZ" is a Trilogy Project. There will be an "Aqua CAM" that will provide a one on one genuine campaign experience. I have a bunch of unreleased campaign scripting that I will be adapting so as to resurrect Nexus in a new form and new context which will involve Scavs and is something of an expansion based on several short stories already written one of which is posted in this thread called "Mastar of the Scar".

Since "Aqua CAM" will definitely be a solo project I am keeping my ambitions to a very tightly manageable scale. However, there will be original music in strictly the WZ style which I have already started composing-playing-recording as well there will also be a FMV which will intersperse topo-map stills with some quick cutting to WZ Machinma, my voice-over work throughout and some original 3D animation that will itself surely be in the range of 30-45 seconds running time at most.

- RV :ninja:

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Re: 4-c Aqua Co-op SE - Ready for MP Balance Tweaking.

Post by JDW » 21 Jun 2010, 12:04

Rman Virgil wrote:.
What I haven't mentioned is that "Aqua WZ" is a Trilogy Project. There will be an "Aqua CAM" that will provide a one on one genuine campaign experience. I have a bunch of unreleased campaign scripting that I will be adapting so as to resurrect Nexus in a new form and new context which will involve Scavs and is something of an expansion based on several short stories already written one of which is posted in this thread called "Mastar of the Scar".

Since "Aqua CAM" will definitely be a solo project I am keeping my ambitions to a very tightly manageable scale. However, there will be original music in strictly the WZ style which I have already started composing-playing-recording as well there will also be a FMV which will intersperse topo-map stills with some quick cutting to WZ Machinma, my voice-over work throughout and some original 3D animation that will itself surely be in the range of 30-45 seconds running time at most.

- RV :ninja:

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RV, are you saying that you are working on a new campaign? For real???

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
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