VICTARUS

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About VICTARUS

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  • Preferred Side
    Axis
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    Army
  • Preferred Unit
    Panzer 4
  1. Actually, I very explicitly and unambiguously asked for realistic-yet-challenging goals for underpop and overpop players to aim for, not standalone "implement this feature/change" ideas.
  2. There isn't a dictionary to turn to to clear up exactly what constitutes precamping, but in my eyes it's as follows: You go into town when there are no or very few defenders, and then you attempt to make them unable to effectively leave their spawn (primarily the AB vehicle spawn), effectively camping it prior to the actual battle. You might be able to argue that very last point since it holds the defender in their spawn instead of just immediately killing them (although if there isn't a camp alongside it then you can just spawn a rifleman/engineer and quickly clear it up), but in my eyes it's the same garbage either way. also barely touched PPOs other than having to pick up the very tail end of implementing them, so you really shouldn't take what I say as the Word of God in this department: These are really just my personal opinions on the matter.
  3. Ok, I'm going try to explain where I'm coming from here in the hope that it will encourage people to actually participate in the discussion I tried to start. The Big Problem™ is that being on the underpopulated side sucks. Yes, the fact that they're underpopulated in the first place is a part of that, but that particular issue is both something that's been discussed to death and is extremely difficult to fully address without causing a whole slew of undesirable side effects (most ideas boil down to "Pick this side or get punished/kicked"). That doesn't mean it isn't worth exploring, but for the sake of this thread I'd like to focus on the relatively unexplored idea of actually making imbalanced gameplay work. That phrasing is deliberate: I didn't say "Make the game work when imbalanced" because when you think of it that way you get ideas that revolve around the way things already are: Rather than trying to make the imbalanced game fun, we're trying to force the imbalanced game to act like the balanced one. By conceptually splitting the imbalanced game into its own thing, I'm aiming for a game that works on its own, not a watered-down attempt at recreating "Normal" gameplay with different player numbers. Aside: I suggest players take a similar approach with lowpop discussions as well, in fact. This obviously doesn't mean having a lowpop period is ideal, but if you want the lowpop and non-lowpop games to be the best they can be then you shouldn't try to force lowpop to play the same as normal gameplay and/or sacrifice normal gameplay for the sake lowpop. The way I handle this sort of thing, the first step is to figure out what the two sides should be doing. Both sides should have a goal that is challenging but achievable, and success or failure should feel earned. Once we have a list of potential goals in mind we can start to explore various mechanics that support that and consider how things would play out. To give some purely hypothetical examples of this thought process: The goal is fully capture an underpop town in just one hour > Put a one hour time limit on AOs against an underpopulated side. The goal is to keep an overpop town contested for fifteen full minutes > Reward an underpopulated side with supply for every fifteen minutes they contest a town. Yes, a lot of these ideas won't work, and some goals will just end up being dead ends, but if they're never put out there then they're never explored. A lot of the best ideas end up coming about because there was this one really neat idea that just wouldn't work in practice, but then some other dumb idea comes around and the two combine into something that would actually work really well.
  4. It's more of a tech limitation than anything else, really. This actually came up early in the discussion with PPOs (which I wasn't that involved with, to be honest — I kind of took over the tech side of things at the tail end). The biggest concern was players doing this to their own side, but since friendly PPOs are destructible we decided it wouldn't be a big issue without a massive, obviously bannable effort: If you have effective control over a town, cleaning up the mess a troll poured an hour into would take a single engineer like ten minutes at most. The other case is where an enemy places those PPOs. This isn't something we can explicitly forbid since there isn't a clear-cut "Ok, now you've crossed the line" <I don't represent the GMs, so don't take my word for this>, so all we have to work with is the actual game mechanics. Now we could make it so you can't place a PPO anywhere even remotely near an AB, but right now that distance is set for every enemy-held facility (which might include various non-capturable buildings as well? I haven't actually looked at what it checks). Increase this value too much and PPOs become effectively impossible to place in a contested town, which isn't exactly what we were going for. Now we did actually increase that distance a bit for the satchel-only PPOs, but sandbags are far from invulnerable for most vehicles (and if it is, report it: We know the damage is weird, and as soon as we get some of our volunteer programmers coming back we're hopefully going to have them look into it), so ultimately the effects one or two guys can have arriving ahead of a proper attack are fairly minimal. The only real issue is an attacker coming in en masse and just covering the AB with PPOs. And at that point, what you're really describing is just a plain old precamp. Yes, its absolute garbage, but it has nothing to do with PPOs: As long as the game lets attackers roll into an undefended town and then asks the defender to spawn in an already overwhelmed area, what you describe is something that can happen, especially when population is low or severely imbalanced: Whether it's a ton of sandbags or an enemy tank, the fact that it (and a whole bunch of other enemies) managed to get right in front of your vehicle spawn uncontested is the actual problem.
  5. Actually, the real issue here isn't an imbalanced population. The issue is an inconsistent population. Whether you believe it or not, player numbers tend to be fairly balanced overall: Both sides will occasionally have a few hours where they have a slight-but-not-massive edge, but that advantage tends to fluctuate between sides from day-to-day and it tends to not be that large. The issue is when severe imbalances start — usually one side having a sudden downward spike in population mid-day while the other side's numbers are still growing normally — and the ensuing death spiral that can cause to the losing side because our underpop gameplay simply isn't fun. The population balance not being 1-1 isn't an issue: If one side was outnumbered 2-1 every campaign we could design with that in mind, problem solved. The population balance not being absolutely fixed also isn't a problem either since these imbalances tend to be temporary, fairly minor, and regularly go both ways. The problem is when that minor temporary imbalance turns into a massive long-term one because being on the underpop side sucks so much that players stop playing.
  6. I'm not asking how to balance the population, and there's a reason for that. Temporary imbalances are simply going to happen: The side that loses a battle generally has a few more players log off than the side that won, certain timezones naturally favor one side or the other, holidays can have an uneven effect on population, etc. Occasionally, from a few hours to a few days at a time, one side is simply going to have more players. All trying to "fix" this accomplishes is dragging down the numbers of the overpopulated side, and in general discouraging people from playing the game is a Bad Thing™. The actual problem here is how do we make it so the game still "works" when the population is imbalanced for those temporary stretches, improving the game and avoiding the death-spiral where players aren't having fun because their side is underpopulated so they log out, making the problem even worse?
  7. ...it invites a lot of concerns with player distribution, but that actually would improve a lot of things, wouldn't it? :-/ I rephrased the question to continue the original topic, but I'm actually going to ponder what can be done with that in the short-to-medium term.
  8. A game's population has a huge impact on how it's designed. The balance between sides doesn't necessarily have to be even for a given game, but for a design to work that balance does need to be consistent. That doesn't mean you can't deal with differing player numbers within the same game, but conceptually you're kind of talking about two separate games at that point (or modes, if you will): The rules and feel of a 1v1 game work are very different than those of a 1v2 game. Really, balancing the game for a skewed population isn't that hard. Let's focus on a battle scenario where Side A has twice as many players as Side B as an example. Broadly speaking, there are two ways to handle this: Option #1: Change the mechanics so the underpopulated side can fight on even ground. [Side A has just bolt-actions and Side B has SMGs; Side A captures slower; Side B gets alerts when something's being captured; etc.] Option #2: Give each side different goals. [An attacking Side B immediately wins if they hold more than one building; a defending Side B wins if they still hold any facility after an hour, etc.] The problem I have is "balancing" discussions always focus on the overall campaign goal — taking enemy towns while defending your own — and in a campaign that's made with a roughly balanced population in mind, a side that's outnumbered 2-1 simply should not achieve that goal. Again, 1v1 and 1v2 games just feel drastically different, and without changing the side's goals you need to transition between "Evenly Matched Armies" and "Small Elite Force vs The Horde"; making that change is really clunky and jarring mechanically, feels unfair to the people on the overpopulated side, and likely requires sacrificing the quality of 1v1 gameplay to achieve. So I'm looking for player feedback to help figure out what our "Imbalanced Mode" should look like: In a battle that's even except for a massive numbers imbalance, what should each side be aiming to accomplish to keep the game challenging to the overpopulated side and worthwhile for the underpopulated one? I'm definitely not saying mechanic changes should be off the table (especially to achieve that "otherwise even battle"), but first we need to figure out the kind of game we should even be aiming for in that situation. Should the underpop side be focused on guerrilla-style defense and raiding while the attacker attempts to hunt them down? Should the overpop side feel pressured to press their advantage while the underpop side desperately holds out for reinforcements? Should the underpop make every inch as hard-fought as possible while the overpop side tries to win the quickest victory with the lowest number of lives lost? What kind of gameplay would make 2v1 "work" for you?
  9. The top priority is to at least get the core gameplay stuff up and running: Players can spawn/join missions without jumping through hoops, capturing works properly, etc. While we recognize the value of the current commands, there is a chance that some of them might not be in the initial public release because of the extra work — and, therefore, time-to-release — they'll require. So I can't really make a guarantee that X or Y command will be there until I actually start to work on them, but I can say that we'll at least try to keep things as complete as possible, and if it isn't in the initial version and is still useful it will hopefully be in one of the following releases.
  10. I've been a big proponent of this for a while actually, but it's kind of been off the table until recently since it really doesn't work well with flags. ("Ok, you guys took the town. Too bad we can't move a brigade in without messing up the map, so it was a huge waste of time.") While I definitely like the idea, there are also some very real concerns about how things will actually play out in practice. Could a side be permanently stuck on defensive mode because they can't pry enough people away from where there's obvious action (i.e., where the enemy-placed AOs are)? When the population is low will downtime between attacks cause a feedback loop where players just log in, see there are no AOs, then leave? Etc. We've discussed looking into throwing together a quick-and-dirty hack for an intermission to see what might happen, but because of the amount on our plates right now there's nothing firm planned yet.
  11. Oh no, I'm entirely on board with changing it. I definitely don't like that we're losing that aspect of things, but what we have now is severely hurting the actual core of the game so we really don't have a choice. If it was 100% my call and I got to choose between killing flags and letting flags continue to kill the actual main game, then flags would still be getting the ax. I can't just pick a pet feature and try to cram it into the game no matter how it affects everything else, and with what we have now there just isn't a way to get flags working in a reasonable timeframe. I'm not a PR guy so I can't really say too much, but I can say that time is one of our limited resources as well. I'll poke around the forums when I'm taking a break, but in general the more I'm answering questions and explaining every little action I do, the less I'm actually doing anything useful. The same goes for Xoom and everyone else as well, and even if we had a 24/7 "Answer the players' questions" guy it would still take up a big chunk of our time to keep them up to speed (assuming you want an actual discussion and not a boilerplate answer to every question), and having that middleman would just increase the chance that misinformation gets passed along. Things also sometimes change as we progress, either due to testing with a more solid product or due to technical hurdles that weren't obvious at first, and then we post all these little changes as we run into them internally, and some players miss some posts because they aren't constantly obsessing over them, and there are twenty different versions of our plans out there depending on what you have and haven't seen, and every update there will be players wondering why we changed something that we actually changed a month ago because they missed a post, and... ugh. There's a reason I'm not a PR guy. Really, I kind of feel like we're about as open as we realistically can be. What's really important is that every player feel like CRS is competent, and that there's someone on the inside fighting for the game you want to play. I think we're doing all right in the competence department — we have some pretty smart people giving us their time, we're extremely wary of repeating past mistakes, and we tend to put a lot of thought into gameplay-related changes instead of just throwing in random ideas because they sound good — so that just leaves feeling like your voice is represented. I'll be honest: I don't represent every player. I prefer planned team-oriented operations to anonymous instant action, I want battles and campaigns to feel "real" in how they unfold, I prefer a straight-up fight and despise players trying to be sneaky, and I tend to favor slower "hardcore" gameplay and hate players rushing into combat to just respawn five seconds later and repeat. Don't get me wrong, I'll try to keep all types of players in mind when I'm actually looking at the game, but ultimately the game I push for is the game I want to play. Now if that sounds unpleasant for you that's fine, because I'm not the only one on the team. I generally have gameplay discussions with Xoom, and he's usually voicing concerns about how players who don't fit my playstyle will be affected. Sometimes we'll come to a solid conclusion that works for both of us, sometimes we'll find a compromise, and sometimes ideas will bounce around for a really long time, but the point is players who agree with my "vision" of the game can trust that, as long as I'm around, we're going to work toward something that we'll enjoy. If I didn't think it would happen then I wouldn't even be here. So if you want a meaningful strategic game then don't worry: So do I, and I think everyone else on the team does too. (Hell, I think in the meeting where we decided we had to get rid of flags, two-thirds of it was talking about what we could add in future versions to give the HC more strategic options.) We're taking a step back here because, again, we don't really have a choice: We looked at a lot of options, including ones players have posted on the forums, and decided that they either wouldn't fix the actual issue (the strategic game completely trumping actual battles so players just give up); would introduce new ones; or, most frequently, wouldn't be something we could implement in a reasonable timeframe.
  12. The very first program I ever wrote was a tool for planning brigade movements. I'm not even exaggerating either: My "Hello World" took an image of the map split into squares and a text file with all the CPs, links, and units that I filled out by hand and clumsily drew it using some code that was obviously inspired by a "How to draw things in OpenGL" tutorial. You selected your side/unit using keyboard shortcuts that weren't hinted at anywhere, moved things around by clicking on the CPs, and a memory leak would crash the program if it ran for more than five minutes. You could also save the map's state using F1-F4 and load it using F5-F8, but one of the keys didn't work for some reason (F5/F6 both loaded the same state, IIRC). I mention this because, to me personally, moving flags is a big part of what WWIIOL was: I joined the HC very shortly after I joined the game, and despite my low rank I was regularly running the map because I just loved the idea of it. While a lot of the core team members were around before flags and largely see HC as a way for in-game leaders to reach players (which is also true, of course), I'm the person on the team who actually enjoyed playing "HC Chess": As flawed as the system is, I still love the strategic element it adds to the game. That's an extra element of the game though, not its core: The core of the game is players fighting battles, and everything in the game needs to support that, or at the very least not get in its way. Right now, flags are doing the opposite: For 9/10 campaigns, the map doesn't move because of battles; it moves based on which side made the first blunder at HC Chess — which, more often than not, is the side that didn't have anyone even around to play it. Very few people are willing to participate in the strategic element of the game, most of those who do find it a thankless and stressful task, and when one side makes a mistake it renders almost every battle up until that point almost meaningless: Battles are almost just a background activity that last until one side's HC f*cks up and the map can really start to move. So flags are undermining the core gameplay, and there isn't a quick way to fix the underlying problems. It doesn't matter if it's a part of the game I enjoy, or that my history as a developer is closely tied to it, or that removing it will be a big step backward in terms of the strategic game: That one simple fact means that the flags need to go. I appreciate everyone proposing solutions, but pretty much everything I've seen proposed invites similar problems, has other major flaws, and/or requires way more development time for what is a critical, needs-to-be-fixed-yesterday issue. We're not taking this measure because we want to get rid of any sort of strategic play; we're doing it because we need campaigns to be decided by players' fighting ASAP. This is not the way we plan to keep the game forever, and there are even some ideas on the table for 1.36.1 to start building the strategic game up again in a way that works for where we're at now. At this very moment, though, this is what we need to do, whether we want to or not — and believe me, I very much do not.
  13. Nothing's been touched recently in terms of weapon performance. There are a lot of moving parts in the code that we still don't fully understand (as we recently discovered when implementing the new PPOs), but we're at least starting to get to the point where we know what's going on and can start changing things.
  14. Except for the foxhole, all of the defensive ones are currently set to three or four hours (I forget which off the top of my head). This might change at some point: We're going for "Things don't magically disappear mid-battle", but also have to consider performance issues since PPOs have never been used this heavily before.
  15. Durability's being upped a bit in this next version, although Xoom can also play with those values on the fly based on what we see. There have been a lot of PPO tweaks based on player feedback and what we've seen in-game, so I'm feeling fairly confident that we'll be campaign-ready either with this next version or with a few small adjustments by Xoom if need be. Based on what we've seen so far, I don't think there's really a hard limit to how many PPOs we can have. In fact, one of the ideas the old team was experimenting with was having the entire map be defined based on STOs (which PPOs are a subset of). The only reason there isn't a "destroyed" sandbag state is because there just wasn't anything like that in place for us to build off of, and we can only really go one step at a time.