Any ideas for making the "slog phase" more interesting?

A human · 4370

Nuhages

  • Community Guild
  • *****
    • Posts: 91
Reply #15 on: April 28, 2018, 11:36:26 pm
I agree Grabz.

I'll add it's all about the mapmaker.

Slog is my style (;D ;D) and even if the games tends to minimize this phase, some mappers (like me) will find a way to build Sloggy maps.
I didn't map CW1 but CW3 gave all the tools to make a mission a pain by limiting units and/or tech.
Delayed and/or double emitters helped increasing difficulty (to a certain point I know).
Painful digitalis paths, overloaded runners....
All we need are the tools. Then it's all about the mappers style, or idea.




I made a dream ... was map making on CW4


The_Mell

  • Jr. Member
  • **
    • Posts: 29
Reply #16 on: April 29, 2018, 10:10:31 am
You can't minimize the slog phase without taking away energy. You can't take away energy and expect players to beat the beginning phase where creeper covers most of the land. See where I'm going with this?

It's impossible to create a gameplay flow where both of these apply:
1. The beginning is a tough struggle to survive against the Creeper
2. After surviving the beginning struggle, do something to minimize the cleanup phase.
Yeah, i see where you are going:
a dead end called impossible and unable to think about an u-turn. :P

Okay, you cannot think about an energy system fulfilling our requirements, but that doesn't mean there is none.

Dark Reign back from the 90s had water wells as primary resource. They produced water at a certain rate and could store an amount.
A tanker would approach a well, fill up and return to base where water was sold. Time for filling up at a well was therefore influenced how dried out it was or if it had enough time to regenerate.
This resulted in a peak of income when you claimed a well, but then with time income would decline to a bottom line.

CW3 has maps without ore but AC emitters. A sprayer can collect it and make it to be used controlled by player.
This means you can approach a lake of AC to be harvested at a high rate at first, but then after lake is dried out production would fall down to emitter rate.

What would happen if we describe energy as a fluid, too?
Emitted at a certain speed at every point of map and sucked up by collectors? No need for height levels, just a simple plain, and technology is already coded more or less. ;)
At mission start land would be already flooded in energy and you could easily collect big amounts - like little siphons everywhere.
Then there would be an energy wave towards your base after some time. This could also mean frontline collectors are more useful&important than safe&secure ones in the back of your base.
And then even this wave would become smaller&smaller, so that you must grab land to get its energy in time.



Lastly, think about this - you have a perfectly defensible position.
Maybe perfection is part of the problem.
Air sacks are a nice threat but snipers destroying their bomb load kinda denies their intend somewhat, doesn't it?
All you need is a 'perfect' defense line of missiles&snipers.

I can remember how weird Act of War and its anti-super-weapon-weapons were.
At first glimps a nice idea and i liked to be able to perfectly turtle up my base, but with time i realized how static this could make gameplay.
C&C Generals, its superweapons and additional Generals Abilities were just more engaging.
Eugen Systems realized it, too, and the addon High Treason for AoW added long range artillery - wow, what a game changer.

Strafers in CW3 are such an oddity, too. Invincible strike everywhere units.
Build some, set a target and forget about them...
Yes, there are air exclusion towers, but that's like paper not beating stone but only stopping it from winning.

And maybe rock,paper,scissors is just the best way - no dead end, but a roundabout.
Have some unit swim in creeper spitting it like artillery at your defenses with no way to defend but to attack them and actually risking some units with this move outside your safe haven called base. For example strafers could be blown away by a new anti air variant of air sack. ;D

"Fairies Wear Boots" - Black Sabbath


rer24

  • Jr. Member
  • **
    • Posts: 44
Reply #17 on: July 20, 2018, 10:06:21 am
Quote
And then even this wave would become smaller&smaller, so that you must grab land to get its energy in time
An interesting idea, similar to how most RTS have bases that are mined out, forcing you to take expansions. However, this has the same issue as emitters that grow in strength - it puts you in a race against time, which can poorly backfire and in general make map making difficult, as they would have to be tuned to this curve to make the most of it.
Quote
For example strafers could be blown away by a new anti air variant of air sack
With this I definitely agree. This is one reason I loved the Sleeper: it had CBeams, which could shoot Strafers out of the sky unless you manually targeted them. I even suggested this in Virgil's latest blog post. It was annoying because you had to manually rebuild the strafer base, but that could be easily fixed during game development.
Quote
spitting it like artillery at your defenses with no way to defend
I agree with your earlier statement that:
Quote
i must say i'm not sure if i even would like to see an always 'agressive' CW game
I believe the reason for this is that Creeper World is not like any other RTS. On one hand, units are clumsy: they take time to take-off and land and need space to be placed on, meaning it is difficult to react to threats. On the other hand, the Creeper presents an ever-present threat from all directions, so you build static defenses on all sides. If some other threat that you can't deflect were to start wearing your defenses down, it would require Creeper World to become an RTS, with high APM demands. Sure, there's the pause function, but it can only help asses the situation and initiate plans. However, no plan survives contact with the enemy, and constant pausing of the game would severely break up it's flow. In short, I don't believe that forcing the player to constantly be on the attack to either supply or protect his defenses would not work in a game like Creeper World.
   Finally, I have a counter proposal, also drawing inspiration from RTS games. In these games, campaign missions tend to be "hard to win, but hard to lose," in that the enemy has vast defensive emplacements, but only sends small waves against your main base. I believe that to make Creeper World have less of a slog phase, the enemy should be able to defend itself. These defenses should be clearly visible rather than appearing from nowhere, and they should pose NO offensive threat. This way, the player can assault them, fail, fall back to safety, and try again. In fact, this might fix the difficulty curve by raising it significantly, but only once the player has the upper hand/initiative. This may be another reason Particle Fleet was so successful: it had many such defensive features, including patrolling enemy ships, Ticon defense cannons, land mires, and even the Emitter's "Particulate Recall" ability once your ships approached it, which meant you needed more firepower to attack than to defend. Of course, the more powerful of these measures should be as optional as they were in Particle Fleet.

We shall end the infinite cycle of madness!


Builder17

  • Community Guild
  • *****
    • Posts: 1072
  • My account picture is from Nitrome Mutiny.
Reply #18 on: July 20, 2018, 01:13:43 pm
I agree with your earlier statement that:
Quote
i must say i'm not sure if i even would like to see an always 'agressive' CW game
I believe the reason for this is that Creeper World is not like any other RTS. On one hand, units are clumsy: they take time to take-off and land and need space to be placed on, meaning it is difficult to react to threats. On the other hand, the Creeper presents an ever-present threat from all directions, so you build static defenses on all sides. If some other threat that you can't deflect were to start wearing your defenses down, it would require Creeper World to become an RTS, with high APM demands. Sure, there's the pause function, but it can only help asses the situation and initiate plans. However, no plan survives contact with the enemy, and constant pausing of the game would severely break up it's flow. In short, I don't believe that forcing the player to constantly be on the attack to either supply or protect his defenses would not work in a game like Creeper World.
   Finally, I have a counter proposal, also drawing inspiration from RTS games. In these games, campaign missions tend to be "hard to win, but hard to lose," in that the enemy has vast defensive emplacements, but only sends small waves against your main base. I believe that to make Creeper World have less of a slog phase, the enemy should be able to defend itself. These defenses should be clearly visible rather than appearing from nowhere, and they should pose NO offensive threat. This way, the player can assault them, fail, fall back to safety, and try again. In fact, this might fix the difficulty curve by raising it significantly, but only once the player has the upper hand/initiative. This may be another reason Particle Fleet was so successful: it had many such defensive features, including patrolling enemy ships, Ticon defense cannons, land mires, and even the Emitter's "Particulate Recall" ability once your ships approached it, which meant you needed more firepower to attack than to defend. Of course, the more powerful of these measures should be as optional as they were in Particle Fleet.

Could one kind of "defence" be something that rarely sends something into your base but in progress removes creeper from map to make it easier strike back?

Edit: "Offense is best defence", right? Also, weakening both sides might make good speedrun strategy maybe?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2018, 02:40:53 pm by Builder17 »



rer24

  • Jr. Member
  • **
    • Posts: 44
Reply #19 on: July 20, 2018, 02:18:54 pm
Could one kind of "defence" be something that rarely sends something into your base but in progress removes creeper from map to make it easier strike back?
That doesn't sound like something that would fulfill the role of a defence, if it weakens the enemy and attacks you.

We shall end the infinite cycle of madness!


El doctor de creatividad

  • Jr. Member
  • **
    • Posts: 7
  • Sometimes abscence is more telling than presence
Reply #20 on: October 31, 2018, 10:57:45 pm
Given that you've been talking about energy so much in terms of difficulty, I have an idea:  A generator of some sort (perhaps one-time built like CW3's forge) builds energy based on area that you don't control, either via land not held in collector area or in terms of creeper coverage.  It wouldn't be as efficient as maxing out the entire map, but it would provide a solid amount of energy to start out with and prevent one from simply spamming weapons constantly with energy being no concern (because it becomes a constant one).  I haven't seen it in any arguments on this thread, so I thought I'd bring it up.

(click to show/hide)

Whatever happens, may quantum mechanics - or whatever the true nature of our home universe may be - may such nature have mercy on us all...


Kalahatze

  • Newbie
  • *
    • Posts: 1
Reply #21 on: January 18, 2019, 04:10:14 pm
   Finally, I have a counter proposal, also drawing inspiration from RTS games. In these games, campaign missions tend to be "hard to win, but hard to lose," in that the enemy has vast defensive emplacements, but only sends small waves against your main base. I believe that to make Creeper World have less of a slog phase, the enemy should be able to defend itself. These defenses should be clearly visible rather than appearing from nowhere, and they should pose NO offensive threat. This way, the player can assault them, fail, fall back to safety, and try again. In fact, this might fix the difficulty curve by raising it significantly, but only once the player has the upper hand/initiative. This may be another reason Particle Fleet was so successful: it had many such defensive features, including patrolling enemy ships, Ticon defense cannons, land mires, and even the Emitter's "Particulate Recall" ability once your ships approached it, which meant you needed more firepower to attack than to defend. Of course, the more powerful of these measures should be as optional as they were in Particle Fleet.

I might be late to the party, and I hope I am not necroposting too much, but I might have an idea. I like your idea of "hard to win, but hard to lose" but I think it could be done in a better way. If an area is too defensive, especially in a game like Creeper World, it can just be annoying to take rather than difficult. My proposal would be something like what Builder17 suggested, except less threatening. There could be a way that the Creeper could fight back against you, but only temporarily. For example, you get a base setup and you are well-defended, but then you need to expand to win. But, as you try and take land, the Creeper actively tried to take it back from you in some way, until a cut-off point. Either you hold the territory for a long enough period of time and the attacks stop, or there are set "zones" and when you conquer an entire zone the attacks stop for that zone or something to that effect. I am not sure if other people would like this as it is still a bit more fast-paced and aggressive than some people would like, however, I am very much in the disliking stressful timed things zone, and this seems fine even to me. Obviously, it could be optional as well.



Jaycephus

  • Jr. Member
  • **
    • Posts: 6
Reply #22 on: April 30, 2019, 06:04:38 pm
This is my biggest problem with CW, is the point you get to where the win is inevitable, but it's another thirty minutes to get to it. To me, PF was even worse in this respect, because the official maps had this problem, not just custom maps. Granted, it's newbie to mid-level players that are going to suffer this the most, because advanced players might make an air assault across void and cut 2 hours off of their newbie time. But custom maps often have the slog built in because the goal is to kill every emitter.  >:(

The main problem is how passive the threat is. Granted it, ramps up, but that is a necessary game mechanic because the player is also having to build up, so the enemy can't just start throwing a huge wave of creeper and dozens of spores at them from the beginning. Once you have successfully built up to be ready for that initial ramp-up, it often enters the 'slog' phase where everything is just a long wind-down

My favorite custom maps are the Sleeper maps with units that come at you and fight back. Those could be improved with the Sleeper trying different tactics at the end-game if you seem to have the map wrapped up.

With CW4, it looks like the airsac could serve this role, especially if it tries different pathing into your territory each time. But I really look forward to an RTS type enemy like the Sleeper, too, as people make custom maps and units.

Another way to make a better late-game is to have a constraining feature at the mid-point, for example, a choke-point that provides difficulty in assaulting across it. The slow, steady, no-brainer advancement is what needs to be avoided.

If killing an emitter or other unit can trigger a phase, then you might have a fresh, increased-difficulty-wave based not on time, but on advancement across the map, basically. If you rush to kill that mid-point emitter and unleash the response without proper prep, you get pushed back or overwhelmed. This type of map can create a 1st crises point followed by a chance to wind-down, rest and recover for the next push. That push can trigger the next crises-point where things get hot again.

I think CW4 is going to be better than PF for this problem, on the official maps, and it looks like the player-customization is going to reach new heights. Really looking forward to this.



Grabz

  • Community Guild
  • *****
    • Posts: 156
  • Where will you be when the creeper waves hit?
Reply #23 on: May 01, 2019, 11:19:26 am
If killing an emitter or other unit can trigger a phase, then you might have a fresh, increased-difficulty-wave based not on time, but on advancement across the map, basically. If you rush to kill that mid-point emitter and unleash the response without proper prep, you get pushed back or overwhelmed. This type of map can create a 1st crises point followed by a chance to wind-down, rest and recover for the next push. That push can trigger the next crises-point where things get hot again.
This has been tried, and killing an emitter doesn't work for a simple reason - you don't have to kill the emitter, you can just cap it with blasters and bypass the triggers.



Builder17

  • Community Guild
  • *****
    • Posts: 1072
  • My account picture is from Nitrome Mutiny.
Reply #24 on: May 01, 2019, 01:33:00 pm
This has been tried, and killing an emitter doesn't work for a simple reason - you don't have to kill the emitter, you can just cap it with blasters and bypass the triggers.

Before emitting creeper, check if there is any creeper/very low under emitter? If true, self-destruct emitter.



Jaycephus

  • Jr. Member
  • **
    • Posts: 6
Reply #25 on: May 02, 2019, 12:25:36 pm

This has been tried, and killing an emitter doesn't work for a simple reason - you don't have to kill the emitter, you can just cap it with blasters and bypass the triggers.

That's a very technical opposition to a general concept. Point is that placing any unit within capping/nullifying range could be the trigger. Boom, fresh hell is generated, hope you were ready for it. Hope you weren't rushing. #SlogNoMore. (conditions could be 1) nullification, or 2) three units within capping-range, for example, or just a unit that has been placed in an advanced zone, indicating you are containing (not-capping) and trying to bypass the 'trigger' emitter.)

I'm probably more sensitive to slog because the vast majority of my recent Knucklecracker game playing has been PF (notorious slog), or player maps in CW3, so the mid-to-late-game slog is real, and something that bothered me before I came here and saw this thread. The custom maps that redefined the game for me were the Sleeper maps, where just defending the initial surge of creeper itself does not result in an automatic win.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 12:37:07 pm by Jaycephus »



Grabz

  • Community Guild
  • *****
    • Posts: 156
  • Where will you be when the creeper waves hit?
Reply #26 on: May 02, 2019, 02:51:43 pm
That's a very technical opposition to a general concept. Point is that placing any unit within capping/nullifying range could be the trigger. Boom, fresh hell is generated, hope you were ready for it. Hope you weren't rushing. #SlogNoMore. (conditions could be 1) nullification, or 2) three units within capping-range, for example, or just a unit that has been placed in an advanced zone, indicating you are containing (not-capping) and trying to bypass the 'trigger' emitter.)
There's no real definition of a capping range. You can cap an emitter from any range with enough blasters/mortars. Usually capping an emitter means placing blasters right next to it, but if to avoid triggering the next deadly phase you have to form a wide ring of 30 blasters, that becomes the strategy. And if you try stretching the capping range further, you risk units that are next to an emitter but not capping it triggering another phase.

It might seem like an easy problem when you look at it from the perspective of just trying to make it work, but if you look at it from a perspective of how to make it work in a way that's not easily exploitable to avoid the intended route, it becomes a lot more difficult. Exploits make some maps fun, but I think in this case I think it would just ruin the game.



Jaycephus

  • Jr. Member
  • **
    • Posts: 6
Reply #27 on: May 03, 2019, 05:03:30 pm
There's no real definition of a capping range. You can cap an emitter from any range with enough blasters/mortars.

It might seem like an easy problem.

Yes, it is an easy problem to address. Furthermore, we are talking about CW4, and the possibility of creating new hooks for this, not limitations of past versions. This is about options for CW4, and it is a mental cage to think that no new modes of event-triggers can be considered.

Obviously, the range of cannon and mortars are the capping range I was speaking of. Why would you think I am talking about some short range as the capping range? Why would you think that tht matters? You have to be within firing range, but this was so obvious that I didn't think to specify "firing range." Yes, if something, or more than some number of things, is withing that range, then that could be a trigger. Or some user unit is placed in a defined zone, that can be a trigger. That is a very easy way to define progress across the map.

CW4 could provide a way detect specific units within a zone around a creeper-unit, or a zone defined by coordinates in 4RPL, if this isn't in CRPL already.
An invisible unit could be used to detect progress across the map, or detect creeper levels at its position.

Don't be stuck in the past. Let yourself grow and consider new things that might be possible out of the bounds of a mental cage.



Karsten75

  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 6826
Reply #28 on: May 03, 2019, 08:19:10 pm
We should be careful to differentiate between enthusiasm and something a little more aggressive towards people responding in good faith.  Discussions are based on a open, frank and fair exchange of viewpoints.  Many of us have been here for years and have heard many of the suggestions put forward multiple times.

Sometimes we interpret responses and ideas slightly differently and a true meeting of minds do not occur. Some ideas have been put forward many times - some were even implemented either experimentally during game development or as part of custom maps using built-in scripting (CRPL, PRPL etc.)

Let's keep things civil. :)

"Any leftover cabbage can and will be mixed with mayo"
   - Cole's Law


Grabz

  • Community Guild
  • *****
    • Posts: 156
  • Where will you be when the creeper waves hit?
Reply #29 on: May 03, 2019, 11:53:37 pm
I apologize if I came across wrong, I don't intend to pick a fight.

Jaycephus, I've been over this before, and I've seen, played and exploited maps attempting to do this. I don't agree with you and you don't agree with me, but in this situation all we can do is discuss what we believe - neither of us have anything to show. If you would like to take me up for the challenge, I strongly urge you to join the KC Discord and I will gladly help you make the exact sort of map that would feature the mechanics that you have in your mind, using the CW3's scripting language. If you do not wish to learn scripting, that's perfectly okay - I'll be happy to take the time to write all the scripts for you, provided you design all the mechanics.

If you truly believe you're onto something, then we will all benefit. I don't mean to shut you down. The best way to tell is to show, and if you think you can make this work in a way that's worthy of being a base game mechanic, showcasing a well done map is perhaps the best way to get KC to consider the idea.

I help people with scripts on the KC Discord regularly, so it would not be new for me to practically make a map for someone.

https://discordapp.com/invite/knucklecracker