Welcome back to another State of the Game!
This week I added a very highly requested feature to the server system of M.A.V.. The server operator can now queue up levels, select the levels to play next, and remove levels from the rotation. This has allowed players to really test out the latest version of No Man's Pass and provide great feedback on it!
More progress is continually being made on the 'Commander Update' as well. While the name 'commander update' makes it seem like it was focused on a single role, it is actually focused on expanding out the 3 role triangle of a good team, namely the commander, the scout, and the support role. While the other 3 roles benefit from teamwork, they are much more 'lone wolf' type roles. These heavy teamwork roles are harder to play, but can be a devastating combination when wielded in experienced hands.
That said, I have started working on how artillery fire [currently howitzers and rockets] work. They don't currently fill the indirect fire role as much as I would like, so I have begun tweaking some of the mechanics. The first of which will be a range finder, which will notify you of the exact range your rounds will travel. This is important, because of the long travel time, you need to have additional information to help place your shots. This also allows you to more consistently deliver rounds to the same area, shot after shot.
Now, this 'exact' range firing is a little tricky, as it's mathematically impossible to match up the target ranges, with the required shot speeds and shot angles. I am working on coming up with a solution that will allow somewhat realistic shot arcs, but still provide the functionally that is required.
This also means howitzers and rockets will likely go through another round of balance tweaks [I already started messing with howitzers] that will help them fit their new firing method better.
After that is done, I will need to teach the AI how to use the new method.
So far, the results are exciting! It's much easier to drop rounds on a target at long range and they are less likely to dodge, since the rounds are coming straight down on them. I hope to have a snapshot with the new mechanic out in a few days.
Until next week! Happy M.A.V.ing!
So, this is going to be a little different of a post from me today. I saw some stuff yesterday that really fired me up and now that I am free from all other game studio overlords, I feel I can speak completely free about them. Warning, I am going to use language that I don't typically use.
Really, it all started with reading this article from puppy games. 'The Dark Side of Indie PR'. Quite the catching title.
I don't want to be attacking Puppy game directly here, because I am sure they have reasons for saying what they did. I don't know them, and I haven't played their games. What I DO know, is my experiences and how different they sound from theirs.
If you want to skip their article, they are saying players, as individuals, are completely worthless to them and it makes more sense to just be an asshole and lose the player than spend time trying to 'fix' the issue. Let that sink in.
WHAT THE FUCK?
They also talk about all the terrible abuse they get as developers, how much it sucks, how little money they make, and generally how shitty the whole gig is. Guess what?
I AM HAVING A FUCKING GREAT TIME!
No, really, I am having the time of my life. Being an indie developer is second in joy only to my family. It's freaking great! You know why? Because I don't have players, I have FANS. I have yet to run into these life ruining trolls everyone feels is 99% of the customer base. Oh actually, I take that back. I had 1 troll post mean stuff, but I can't even tell you what it was because one of the FANS, reported it and had it deleted before I even saw it.
Maybe, if I treated everyone like shit, focused only on getting 'players', and generally looked down on everyone that I am trying to build a game for, I would not have any fans and would have a bunch of trolls that haunt me with hate. But that's not what I do. Instead, I treat 'players' like they are people. I treat them how I would want a company to treat me. When I get an email about someone having an account problem and not being able to play the game they bought, I DROP EVERYTHING, and fix it. Right there. I pull off the road and fix it from my phone, if I have too. Because that is MY FAULT. If something doesn't work, that is on me, not the player (in most cases).
It seems game developers try to justify treating people like trash because they are not making any money. Is that the customers fault that you picked a shitty business model? You want to make a free to play game and then treat the free players like trash? That is not the players fault!
All my fans matter to me. They are the reason I am here, they are the reason M.A.V. exists. The guy that went out of his way to break the game, every single day, and tell me about it [even HOUND me about it], I didn't ban him. Some people might have even considered him a troll. I didn't. He is not only a Moderator on the message board but also helps me as a Community Manager. Why? Because he cared. He cared about M.A.V. just as much as I did and he wanted it to be better. Seriously, what single greater thing in the world could you ask from someone than for them to care?
And that is why I say I don't have players I have fans. I have people that log in and play the game, every single day, for a YEAR! Mind you, M.A.V. is not even done yet! But they care. They want M.A.V. to be as great as I do. They want M.A.V. to be as successful as I do. Hell, I didn't have a successful kickstarter campaign because I am a marketing genius, I was successful because the fans went out and told everyone they knew about M.A.V.. They contacted the press [when the press wasn't listening to me] and got news coverage. They made videos and shared on youtube and twitch. They RE-BOUGHT the game, just to continue to help.
So, puppy games and all developers like you. I am sorry your community sucks, but that is your fault, not theirs. Treat them with respect, show you care, and maybe, just maybe, they will treat you as well as the M.A.V. community treats me.
Welcome to this weeks State of the Game! Work continues on the new version of No Man's Pass and it has brought up a very interesting discussion on the forums.
The basic idea is, what are the ideal ranges to be fighting at? This has a major impact on the level design and it's something I had gone through a lot when creating Giant Leap, a big reason why that level is much smaller than the other levels.
Since No Man's Pass is the biggest level so far, it really started to become apparent that there was something off with the ranges and level sizes. So I did some tests.
Here I have a 'range test' setup showing what it is like fighting at 400 meters and 200 meters.
As you can see in these images, 400 meters is actually a really LONG ways to be engaging the enemy at.
The issue is, most of the levels were designed for engagements at OVER 1000 meters, and are several thousand meters across.
To me, this seems like a fundamental flaw. This also means movement speeds are designed for covering hundreds of meters, which leads to snipers have a big disadvantage. Even on a completely open level like Crater Arena, a sniper can not disable a target faster than the target can close the distance in engagement ranges.
I will be spending this week tweaking values and building some prototype versions of no mans pass to help be choose a course of action to peruse.
I would love to hear your feedback on the forums!
This week has a few updates, so this will likely be a short State of the Game.
I did release the new snapshot build, and players are already having a great time on the new No Man's Pass. If you forgot what it looks like, here is the final concept again:
Already, there is a lot of feedback about the new level and how it plays. You should join in on the discussion!
Well, that is all for this week! I will continue to improve on the level and take gameplay feedback into consideration.
It's time to announce the T-Shirt contest winner! The winner is shadow0716, with their 'Iceberg' design. I will be working with them to get a free shirt to them and get this design added to the M.A.V. merch store.
In development news, I continued work on the next snapshot, which will include a work in progress remake of No Man's Pass. I have a basic level design laid out and will be tweaking the sizes of the combat zones and 'battle flow'. The new level will be 36 sq km, of which a full 16 sq km will be playable area. Compared this to the old No Man's Pass, which was 16 sq km, with only 9 sq km being playable.
At these distances, it would take ~3 mins for the fastest M.A.V. in the game to go from HQ to HQ, in a siege battle.
I am also experimenting with different times of day, so the current version is actually set at night. I am doing this because it is a feature I have been wanting to support for Campaign mode, but I have not fully tested it out.
Also, there are some additional changes that I have in the snapshot already. While the snapshot is not ready today, do to an issue I am having with unity, I do plan to release it before next week, so here is the change log:
* Changed HQ health on all maps from 5,000 to 30,000. This will help prolong Siege games and prevent single attacker base rushing.
+ Added 3 new camo patterns. These patterns were user created and include some very cool designs. They are, bananas, fuzzy camo, and the 'uber camo' a very multi-use pattern.
* Upgraded Unity to version 4.5
+ Added No Man's Pass v2 as a playable level. It is available for arena and siege mode, in both single and multiplayer. It's marker is next to the old No Man's Pass marker.
Well that is it for this week. I will see you soon!