Wednesday, May 23, 2012


So, this last Saturday (the 19th) was one of the bigger playtests of World in recent memory. I took the excuse of a Diablo 3 LAN and made some peeps play the game.

For this purpose, I decided to make a new type of scenario to hopefully make the game a bit more dynamic. Actually I wrote a whole bunch of new stuff, so it was perhaps good for inspiration to work if nothing else. I think this post will be a combination mini-postmortem and World Update.

New stuff written for LAN:
  Territory Control scenario type:
     Team score / Team score boosting actions / Team score winning conditions
     Auto-join smallest team.
     Mid-scenario respawn for dead commander groups / players.
  Database functions:
     Can make interactions from GDocs.
     Interactions can channel.
     Added 'SoloGrant' effects, which grant an ability to the target, but when granting to subsequent targets will remove the grant from the first (so that only 1 has the grant at a time).
     Units can join the commander now via interaction (territory control points use this).
     Built two new types of enemies with some new tech needed: Earth and air elementals, they use a different rig and have some different abilities (which were too strong)
     Added per-enemy grant state that stacks for every hostile player in the game. This scales up enemies for multiple players.
     Updated logic that connects gridcells together; it can now span empty area for knockback/projectile paths, so non-infinite slopes can still have knockbacks/projectile fired over them.
     Did a lot of cleanup work to allow building a fairly large scenario map.

Stuff written that I probably haven't mentioned:
   Primary units can now res unconscious commanders by using a long channeled action. The commanders' action bar is replaced by a button that grabs any available primary to do the res. This channel is 'weak', and is interruptable by any damage, in addition to normal interrupts.
   Maneuvers update; no longer transition between formations.
   Out-of-combat idle animation switch.

How'd it go:
  The scenario was too big and the client chokes. The ray intersections needed to run locomotion for all the entities, even just the ones in close proximity, brought it to a painfully low frame rate. I think I'll get rid of loco. For the LAN I just had to remove a pile of units, making it boring-er. On top of that, the scenario map was probably a good 3 times too big; it's really easy to mis-estimate size when building maps. Traversing the map would've probably taken a good 2 minutes at normal walk pace, withOUT enemies killing you en route.
   The navigation and pathing code for formations broke pretty bad too; that system may need a fundamental readdressing, rather than tweaks. Occasionally groups just stopped behaving reasonably.
   And, the scaling was WAY WAY off. Each single enemy was massively massively overpowered with the per-player buff in place. As in, a single kobold being nigh-unkillable, rather than dead on arrival. The elementals in particular were extremely unforgiving. A higher level group (10ish) with some game knowledge, can fight them and its hard. Level 1 groups (since the kobolds were too hard and I removed most of them, noone levelled), with introductory players? They died. A lot. At least they have respawn :p
   BUT. Aside from one server bug that I patched up really realy quick, the server managed running the scenario with 4 players without too much trouble. The combats worked, even if they were unbalanced. The new mechanics written for the scenario worked, even if they weren't terribly relevant.

And hopefully people had at least a little fun.
The final score was 200 to 198. Of the 6 control points, 3 of them were actually reached by players. There were '0' PvP combats in a PvP scenario, but there was plenty of death caused by the random assortment of PvE mobs on the map.

air elementals are fun :)


1 comment:

  1. It was a lot of fun. We'll have to try it again at some point once you've adjusted things a bit.