Sports Fiction - 06/04/16 Competitive Modes
In the game, when you develop at least one of your game characters past a certain level, you will be able to engage in competitive play via the match making system I am developing.
You can solo queue or queue up with your own team. You will not require the single character to be used in the competitive matches, although you may choose to do so. If you do play in a competitive match with a levelled character, the character's abilities, items and level will be constrained temporarily for the competitive sport.
Quoted from my previous update,
Quote: " it is important to establish from now that a competitive mode will exist and will not feature the character leveling system and inventory from the normal game. The competitive mode will have the game mechanics and characters constrained and balanced out so that player skill and team work determine the winners, not the size of one's inventory or quality of ones items."
At the time of writing, competitive play will involve one of two competitive modes; these are Universal Olympia, and Battle Champions.
I will be introducing these two competitive modes in this update with more details provided for Battle Champions since this is much further in development than Universal Olympia. I will continue to sharing my progress building these competitive modes moving forward.
I will now introduce some aspects of the Universal Olympia and Battle Champions modes, and the maps being developed for Battle Champions. The early release will have to occur before any secret aspects are revealled, but there is still a great deal that needs to be introduced to give you an idea of how these competitions will work, so you can get straight on with things when the competitions are activated.
Starting off with Universal Olympia, I will discuss the design for this competitive arrangement.
As the least constrained competition of the two competitions; Universal Olympia is being developed for allowing players with different talents and interested to join squads competing in a wide variety of traditional and fictional sports
The competition will be broken down into monthly and quarterly leagues.
Universal Olympia is established by the in game Sports Federation for allowing athletes and sports professionals to unite and compete in modern sport around the globe and across certain regions of the solar system.
The key differences between the Universal Olympia competition and Battles Champions competition include the fact that all official sports can be played, rather than specific combat sports selected for Battle Champions (discussed further down this post).
• The UO competition separates the players into squads.
• Each squad is broken down into teams and solo players who compete for the squad in a number of sports selected by the team and squad managers.
The number of players required to compete in sports is a variable property of the squads.
On a match by match basis, the number of teammaters permitted are based on the structure of the sport.
Players volunteer to compete in the sports they wish to take part in. The more wins made by teams and solo players, the more points are awarded for the overall squad in competition against other squads; allowing the squad to compete in the monthly or quarterly competitions.
All of these specifications are in plain writing at this moment in time; during the early release period and after monitoring overall experience such variables may be changed to improve the game or find potential for improvements, to be later carved in stone.
A number of procedures for moderating the size and resources for each UO squad are being designed, but I welcome you to suggest any of your ideas
now and during the early releases to make sure it progresses into a fair challenge for the best teams.
More about Universal Olympia and its range of sports will be discussed as they are being developed, so stay tuned if interested following its progress, participating or developing future teams.
I will now go into detail about the Battle Champions mode.
The Battle-Champions competition is established by the in game Sports Federation as an advanced artificial warfare contest
between two teams or a number of solo players in a Battle Royale. Each victory achieved will improve teams and player ranking.
The rules of each contest is determined by a further selected mode.
Given the game mode, being knocked out or getting tagging down from enemy fire eliminates or respawns the armoured players.
Injuries and death will not affect the character's progress in campaign or episode modes. In the worst case scenario, such instances of injury will reduce your characters abilities for the duration of the Battle Champions match. What is at stake is the player's rating, and the chances of victory; after the match all character states are reset.
Within Battle Champions there are a number of round based modes to choose from. At the time of writing, the following are the game modes that will be available in the final release.
(Please note that character roles and classes are not being revealed yet
o Zone, base or tower defense gameplay with two teams or solo player elimination. The players must obtain control of one or more zones to win each round of play. In team play, this round based game features two halves with teams swapping spawns.
o Battle ball requires the players to get the ball into one of a number of goals or rings situated in the map, each offering their own score. There are no rounds in BattleBall, but it features two halves with the teams swapping spawns when initiated with team play.
o Battle racing features armoured vehicles or ships used to race against opponents to the finish line. Each of the players are permitted to use whatever available means to win the race. Supportive vehicles, robots or ships may be used for assistance. There are no rounds or halves in Battle Races. Battle Royale solo play requires the last player to be eliminated from the race at certain checkpoints or laps if their vehicle or ship is still in one piece.
o Battle-Ships is a contest of artificial warfare on spacecraft, watercraft or aircrafts. The players must tag down or commandeer the opponent ship/s in order to elimate enemy ships. In addition to Battle-Races, any permissable means can be used, with supportive ships and robots used to aid the team. There are no rounds in Battle-Ships, but in team play there are two halves with each team playing from each spawn area.
o Treasure hunt inspired game mode where the first to find and extract the treasure from the map wins the game. The treasure is typically a set of golden bars located at certain points in the map. The players and teams battle for access to these locations and must extract the treasure via a certain exit point or must remain standing with the opponents all eliminated from play.
So there are 5 Battle-Champions game modes planned; each team or player must reach some type of goal or must eliminate the enemies, and no information about character roles or classes are being revealed at this moment in time which will have as much significance as the challenges themselves.
At the time of writing, in team play, each team will consist of 7 players, and each of the players are to select one of the Battle Champions' team player roles.
Importing a character from PvE campaign and episode play is also an option where feasible.
In free-for-all Battle Royale, the Battle Champions 7v7 game mode rules still apply, however there are no teams, just single players attempting the same challenge with some minor map layout changes.
The aim of the Battle Royale game is to eliminate the opponents or meet the game map's challenge.
To conclude this update I will introduce the 12 maps which have been designed over the past two years and are in active development, with hopefully at least half made ready for the pre-alpha release.
Competitive Early Development Map Pool
Based on the mode of play each map will have a number of game modes which may reveal and conceal areas of the map to better suit the mode of play for 7v7 or Battle Royale solo elimination.
Most maps have been play tested with placeholder mechanics, AI and physics
for about 50 - 200 hours gameplay on early release maps, and about 5 - 50 hours on the newer, less refined maps. Some maps have yet to be prototyped for a play test.
SF Competitive Map Creation Principle
The maps are designed to avoid obscuring vision, placing invisible walls, cluttering of the view and causing hindrance to the flow of movement throughout. They are to be kept with a consistent colour scheme to aid playing concentration and to make the maps look cool without losing competitive value.
Although the difficulty of maps vary, both teams or players are to share a similar if not identical balanced challenge. Players are to be encouraged to seek special vantage points or key position if skilled enough to claim the advantage.
Scientific method, play tests, stress tests and analysis play a significant part improving the design of the maps and the arrangement of the challenges. It is the best performing team or player that is to decide the winner the game, not the map.
Asymmetrical. Sand dunes, artificial ancient Egyptian architecture, relics and artefacts. Pyramids.
Style of play:
Ramps and sandy hills. Breakable stone walls. A combat arena composed of stone, sand pits and artificial monuments is being used to host the treasure hunt. Sandy roads, desert plains and obstacle courses used in the battle race.
Tombtown features 7v7 or solo treasure hunt or racing battle sports. This map was brought to the pool quite late in comparison to earlier concepts, but has proven to be fun to play early on and is being developed efficiently due to the amount of experience gained from working on the earlier maps.
The hills and ramps in the map make for an interesting experience finding cover and shooting opponents. I am considering adding the ability to have projectiles affect the structure of the sand, but I am not yet sure if the feature is going to make it into the release given the potential for network overhead; it is a matter of coming up with solutions when tasks of higher priority have been completed.
I have constructed some ancient themed artificial buildings on desert plains which the players are able to enter into and engage in combat to gain access to the treasure. In battle race mode, such structures are mostly obstacles or part of the backdrop; however you will be able to use such buildings for planned or improvised strategic attacks for slowing down or taking out other racers.
There are paths and gateways leading into interiors which can be used to set up camp for repair armoured suits, robots and turrets. The treasure will spawn at different locations within one of these interior builds which make them a priority for your team.
The next development task for Tombtown is to make it look great. More on Tombtown in the next competitive map update.
Las Vegas, USA
Action takes place in the Jack of All Spades, a casino turned combat sport arena. Traditional and futuristic casino games tables. A vault stashed with gold for treasure hunt mode.
Style of play:
Quasi symmetrical. a battle for middle map control. Extraction of gold in hunt mode, or secure marked zones in zone mode. Projectile resistant glass makes for interesting encounters.
This map has undergone 2 reconstructions since its original design in December 2013, the most difficult one to get right so far. The challenge in designing this map comes from the placement of the vault for treasure hunt mode. After a great deal of tests and changes I have put together the layout and theme that I will push for release, hopefully an early release.
The map has symmetrical features but is not 100% identical on either side. Each team has a set of rounds starting from each side so a different strategy will be required to excel at winning both halves. The upper area of the arena is circular, which provides some interesting gameplay since the opponent could potentially flank from either direction from your standpoint in the circle.
The vault has been made accessible only through the middle of the map. All players and teams must access the treasure through the same route. With each team situated on the opposite sides, the key battle takes place in the middle preventing the other team from entering. An upper area has been constructed to allow the teams to flank the opponent spawn area. After obtaining the treasure, the treasure holders can exit via the lower vents, or back up the middle of the arena if the vents have been controlled by the opponents.
Projectile resistant glass has been used throughout the Jack of All Spades; at a number of points in the map you will see the enemy through glass, but will not be able to tag them down with bullets or lasers through this glass. The glass will be displayed with a distinguishable texture and impact animation to better indicate that you should not aim through it.
My next task is to work on the aesthetics for the map. The mechanics are for the most part ready for pre-release. In future map updates I will discuss some of the techniques being used.
Battle-Ball, Battle- Zones
Futuristic architecture. Old transportation networks and landmarks. Underground networks.
Style of play:
Asymmetrical. Underground, ground and rooftop access. Vents, tunnels and old abandoned trains. Obstacle courses for battle-ball mode.
This is the first map developed which introducing the ball. Most of the details about battle-ball will come during the pre-release period.
The central structure used in this map is one of the earliest map creations, and one of the most fun to play. I was so interesting to compete in I decided to use its fundamental design again in one of the other maps now called Detachment.
Sports Federation have acquired a small abandoned London for use in Battle Champions TV. A number of derelicts, old subways and underground tunnels have been used as a battle ground for the players.
The asymmetrical layout of the map is complex and much like London city. The arena consists of streets, underground networks, abandoned trains and roof tops.
Each team will be given a set of rounds to start from each of the two spawn areas. Teams or solo players must either claim control of the scored zones or score with the ball, given the selected game mode, with the option of tagging down the hit-points of other players and robots. The battle-ball area of the map needs most of the work, with the battle-zone area requiring textures and models for completion.
This has been one of the most fun maps to play so far with the prototypes and alternative engine tests. Lots of vents, tunnels and interesting ways to flank the opponents.
I hope to get it ready for the early release but it is a complex task with lots of architectural structures and transportation entities in the backdrop; hopefully it will be ready sooner rather than later.
New York, USA
Freight trains fabricated into a mobile arenas. Mix of classical and futuristic New York architecture and landmarks.
Style of play:
Combat for zone control or for treasure extraction whilst staying onboard a moving train. Other obstacles must be dealt with along a straight route.
I was hesitant to attempt making this map, but after pushing myself and playing it, I am glad I took up this development challenge. It has great potential and offers hours of gameplay even in its early stage of development.
The Sports Federation have purchased old freight train services in a futuristic New York setting. They have set up an artificial warfare contest between two teams or in a Battle Royale solo elimination format.
In Battle-Hunt mode the players must extract hidden treasures which spawn in secret containers on the special train. In Battle-Zone mode, each contestant must claim control of certain carriages on the train.
Most of the construction work requires the construction of the buildings, roads, tunnels and landmarks used to set the scene in New York along the straight route. I will need to implement wind and vibration from the moving train to simulate such effects on projectiles and their impact on the game.
A mixture of old and new armoured containers have been used to fabricate the train. From carriage to carriage the players have to adjust their style of play to best survive in each presented situation.
The train has two decks of containers at certain points along the train, creating the potential to walk right underneath or above your opponents to secretly access key sections of the train.
Seeking higher vantage points early on is crucial for control of the train since the sniper rifles can tag down opponents along the outside of most of the train carriages. Certain projectiles can also penetrate through the surfaces of some of the older carriages. Only a certain class of robots can manoeuvre effectively in this mobile scenario, since there is not much ground to stand on.
The vast quantity of dynamic entities in the map could cause issues over a network unless optimized effectively; although most maps have their issues, and this is not the most complex construction task in the map pool; so most of the work ahead relates to simulating mobile combat effectively without reducing the competitive nature of the map.
I look forward to seeing how players deal with this challenge.
Caribbean and pirate themed treasure island.
Style of play:
Air and ocean combat for access to Tidalstorm Island in Battle-Ship mode with obstacles that must be dealt with on route. Treasure hunt takes place on the small quasi symmetrical island, with swamps, ocean waves, rope bridges and cliff edges.
Here we have the first map to introduce the Battle-Ships game mode. It also features a Battle-Hunt mode requiring the players to extract treasure from certain locations on the treasure island.
This is where things are going to get interesting because players must commandeer or take down aircraft and watercraft, a task that requires effective planning and execution. Each team or solo player have a selection of watercraft or aircraft to choose from.
Tidalstorm island has been designed from a symmetrical pentagon shape. The combat on foot is fun to play in the test engine. The placement of shacks and rope bridges adds tension and challenge. The challenge with building this island is its organize nature and the surrounding ocean.
The rope bridges will be kept static. I could not justify having animated rope bridges because it would lag the server and is not consistent with the dynamics of the other maps.
The map features a variety of terrain surfaces, a swamp and steep cliffs. I have placed some ropes at certain points in the map for climbing. The central area of the map features a ruins, where some of the treasure may spawn. I have been working on a number of displacement and sub surface functions for making the verticality of the terrain look impressive on DirectX 9.0; I will continue to enhance these functions as time progresses.
Having symmetrical features on the island, the two sides may access each spawn area in similar ways when engaging in treasure hunt combat directly; or they may choose to flank uphill or across a cliff edge.
In Battle-Ship mode the island may be used as a base for striking down passing ships, repair robots and performing other character roles.
Satellite Arena, Planet Earth
Futuristic satellite space-arena. Abandoned space satellite docking stationed turned into a combat arena.
Style of play:
Close encountered combat within the space station arena. Take control of turrets on the base station for attacks on ships. In ball mode, the players can detach areas of the satellite arena, removing contained players from access to the ball. Artificial gravitation varies the state of physics from section to section.
The Detachment concept is based on the Sports Federation's use of an abandoned space-station turned into an arena used for artificial warfare arena which orbits earth.
Players are able to detach parts of the space station into orbit in order to prevent access to goals and key areas of the base.
Most of the development so far has been focused on the central base. A great deal of the concept will require the development of advanced entities yet to be implemented.
From what I have experienced in test engines, the gameplay is really cool. It features close encounters because of narrow corridors and vents. The futuristic theme of the map is also nice to experience, even though not ready.
The futuristic space-arena by today's standards is somewhat science fiction; but in the setting of the game, the base is dated, no longer in use for docking much of earths satellites and space shuttles; recently acquired by the Sports Federation for artificial spacecraft and turret combat, with the docking facilities fabricated for battle ball.
Turrets will be made available for players to use to tag down opponent spacecraft. Taking control of the turrets in Battle-Ship mode will require entry into the station from your vessel and using your character to interacting with the turret. Robots and special character classes could then be used to turn the station into a temporary base for maintaining your team assets.
Artificial gravity is available in certain areas of the base station, but in some parts you will need to use propulsion to move around effectively.
The gravity needs to be taken into consideration when playing with the ball away from earth, much like the wind needs to be taken in consideration when playing with the ball on earth.
Namibian ghost towns. Abandoned city themed arena surrounded by wastelands. A wall of fire separating the middle two halves of the zone map.
Style of play:
The battle zone map is 100% symmetrical; both sides have an equal chance of vacating a number of demolished towers in a large tower defence zone control map. Battle-races take place around Namibian planes in surrounding abandoned towns and desert plains.
This epic large scale arena is has a symmetrical base used for the Battle-Zone mode. In 7v7s, teams start on opposite sides and must work towards controlling the central area of the arena.
The artificial abandoned city consists of demolished buildings, leaning towers, industrial derelicts and broken down diamond trains. The central area of the map is set on fire, so accessing the opposite side will require access through buildings on the sides or upgrading to make use of jet packs to fly over the wall of fire.
Because most of the map has demolished buildings and leaning towers, your character is able to access most areas of the map on foot. With such a large map it will be interesting to see how players make use of their radar and robots to track down the positions of the enemy.
What is fun about this map is its long range combat.
It offers hours of fun gameplay, allowing you to plan strategies and engage in combat to claim control of the surrounding towers. It will be quite interesting to see how it works in the real engine with better AI and realistic graphics.
Most of the development thus far has been on the Battle-Zone mode; no major work has been spent building the racing course. The artificial subway constructed at either spawn point may be used as part of the race course leading into surrounding desert.... who knows.
This is the largest contest map featuring land buildings thus far. The development of the Apocalypse map has been straight forward at least so far. It is one of the most recent concepts and is likely to be one of the early releases.
Apocalypse, along with the Labyrinth Castle and Oblivion, are epic sized maps making them the largest maps in the contest map pool so far.
Labyrinth Mountain Castle
A castle arena constructed with gothic ornaments, visual puzzles and middle aged Dutch architectural themes placed on a snow mountain.
Style of play:
The map features a castle with a number of visual puzzles, a maze garden and a labyrinth leading from one key area to another.
The Labyrinth Mountain Castle is a large map which contains a number of interesting puzzles, the main one containing visual challenges inspired by optical illusions pioneered by Roger Penrose and M.C. Escher, depending on your characters standpoint.
The gameplay for the main area of the map has been tested in placeholder engines, and make for a fun challenging game, and is quite spooky and nerve racking especially when you are the last player on your team.
There is a great deal work completed, with a great deal of work yet to be done due to the complex nature of this map.
Team work will be essential for navigating the tricky parts of the map while evading attacks from the enemy. Robots will be a useful tool for keeping the enemy on your radar who could just be around a corner.
At the front is an area for battle ball entry into the puzzle castle. Set in a cold climate, the level features icy floors and lakes which may affect the friction of movement in certain areas of the map. At the rear is a maze garden; being a maze it features more than one path and exit.
The labyrinth region of the map features a single path from one side to the other side of the labyrinth, with a number of interesting stairwells and access points throughout the interior.
The middle of the map contains a set of stairs leading to a an inner tower which provides a great advantage for the first team to control it.
The first goal is to obtain control of this central tower. Then the next step is to extract the treasure whilst keeping map control. In Battle Royale solo play, gaining control of the tower would be a luxury since the competition for access of this map region is great.
At the lower regions of the castle the players will find the treasure plus some interesting surprises.
Red hills, canyons, cliffs and peaks surrounding a cold dark cave network.
Style of play:
Key areas of the map have been placed in a dark cave. Much of the game play will require the players to conceal themselves and the ball in darkness while keeping an eye on any moving object in the light which could potentially be an opponent. Rough terrain battle races on the surrounding surface.
Oblivion is a cave network discovered by Martian miners which has been acquired and fabricated into a Battle-Ball and Battle-Ship arena by the Sports Federation.
This map was recently started and is based on the concept of using light and dark areas of the cave to reveal or hide the ball or your spacecraft given the game mode. It can be quite tense especially when you can hear noises but are unable to see anything moving up until the point where one player takes a bad step and ends up in the light or falling off one of the steep cliff edges.
The gravitation on the planet is less than half the gravity on planet earth.
The progress of this map is at 20% because a basic layout has been built and I have managed to play test it for more than 5 hours, but it is still early in development with just a few cave textures here and there. The details of the map will have to be provided in a future update when the map structure matures.
Fractal Jungle Maze
Ancient Aztec themed architecture arranged in a circular arena situated within a fractal jungle themed maze.
Style of play:
To be revealed.
The details for the Fractal Jungle Maze will be revealed in a future update.
Outer space high temperature regions surrounding planet Venus.
Style of play:
Space racing and combat on board spacecraft around the Venus space base and on the volcanic surface of the solar system's warmest planet.
The details for Celsius will be revealed in a future update.
Caribbean and pirate themed islands.
Style of play:
Air and ocean combat for access to the treasure island. and battles for treasure extraction on a quasi symmetrical island. Other obstacles must be dealt with along the route.
The details for Rings will be revealed in a future update.
Now that the competitive map themes are out in the open, future updates can go straight into entity level detail without having to make an introduction of the maps.
The maps for the other game modes are either tied to the terrain or area of gamespace assigned to the campaigns, or will be fabricated for specific sports or generated for party or olympia modes.
The next step is to refine the earth topology functions; keep the thread tracked.