Author Topic: Hard-Hat Update ...  (Read 11103 times)

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Offline Deathbot

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Hard-Hat Update ...
« on: March 03, 2010, 04:38:58 PM »


Dammit dammit dammit dammit!
March 2, 2010 - Brandon Reinhart

We're plugging away at the Engineer update. He's an interesting class to work on, because he creates a larger footprint in the game than any other class. This means we have a lot of options to work with, and the resulting set of ideas is truly daunting. Since we've already built and playtested some things that haven't worked out (with no false modesty, I think we've mastered the art of rapidly making things that aren't fun), we thought it might be interesting to give you some of our failed experiments.

The first was a new building internally known as the Repair Node. We gave Engineers the ability to replace any current building (teleporter entrances and exits were considered one building for this) with the Repair Node instead.

While deployed, the Repair Node would draw from a pool of energy to fix damage to nearby buildings. When the node ran out of energy, it would stop repairing and regenerate up to full, creating a window of opportunity for the attackers. When sapped, the Repair Node's repair function was disabled for the duration of the sap.

The goal of the Repair Node was to solve a perceived problem in the Engineer's play experience: always having to be tied to your base. The Engineer often has little to do after his base is built and fully upgraded except wait for the inevitable Spy sapper attempt, or for the battlefront to reach the base. The Repair Node was meant to buy the Engineer time if he wanted to range out to gather metal or harass the enemy with his shotgun.

This is usually how we approach our game design: Identify a problem, then discuss the ways it could be solved. Our experience told us that even when the Engineer didn't feel immediate pressure, he still couldn't range out away from his base. If a Spy, Soldier, or Demoman found the base unguarded, it didn't take long to blow up. The further away an Engineer was, the fewer buildings he would be able to save from sapping. We also felt that the Engineer invested a lot of up-front work to establish bases that were very easily destroyed. Thus the repair node was born.

Play-testing the Repair Node showed us one expected, and two (somewhat) unexpected, outcomes. The expected outcome was that bases were far harder to destroy, and turtling became a super effective strategy. Fortunately, this is the kind of problem that can be attacked by turning the correct game design knob, and the Repair Node had a lot of available knobs. We could lower the rate of repair, lower the amount of repair energy, lengthen the vulnerable period, and so forth. We tried several options. One change we made was to add diminishing returns so that two Repair Nodes working together were less than perfectly efficient, and adding a third didn't really help at all.

Despite the design choices we had available, we were never really able to get the Repair Node to feel balanced for the attacking team. TF2 maps tend to be designed with very specific predicted Sentry placement locations and length of Sentry survivability. The Repair Node distorted both old favorite maps and made testing new ones more difficult by exaggerating intentional choke points and creating new choke points where they didn't previously exist.

The first unexpected outcome of the Repair Node was the team realizing just how valuable the Dispenser and Teleporter were to so many aspects of game pacing. If the Engineer isn't able to build a Dispenser, his team loses the support power that the Dispenser provides. In most games Dispensers are ubiquitous. You don't really realize what you've lost until you've lost it. Fewer Dispensers had the effect of slowing attacking teams down in a variety of ways: Teams were more fragile, metal was harder to get to the front lines, and team rally points were harder to define.

An Engineer who took a Repair Node instead of a Teleporter put his team in an even less viable position. The pacing of many maps became completely broken without Teleporters in play. Teams weren't able to push as effectively and the lines of battle moved closer to the spawn points. This lack of flexibility meant that attackers weren't able to hold gains and matches took longer to complete.

The second unexpected outcome was downstream from the first. Teams perceived Engineers with Repair Nodes as less "friendly", specifically because they weren't building Dispensers or Teleporters. In retrospect, older data at our disposal should have known this would happen. Prior to TF2's release, the Medic had weaponry that was significantly more powerful, leading to highly skilled players playing Medic as a purely combat class. Aside from the balance issues this created, it also resulted in a Medic that wasn't interested in healing anyone, which didn't typically sit well with his teammates. Their perception was that healing is the Medic's job. Medics who didn't do that weren't perceived to be team players -- an identical reaction to Engineers refusing to build Dispensers and/or Teleporters. Like many design exercises we didn't learn what to do next so much as what NOT to do.

    * Lesson 1: The problem of the Engineer being tied to his base still exists, but the Repair Node was too heavy-handed a solution. If we solve this problem in the future, it will have to be in a way that doesn't distort the existing balance between attackers and defensive choke points.
    * Lesson 2: The Dispenser and Teleporter are really good. We already knew this, but we didn't know that they were really, really good. Encouraging Engineers to either avoid build them entirely, or to build them in weird ways, broke the game's pacing immediately. New buildings in the Engineer update will probably take the form of upgrades, or entirely new choices alongside the old buildings, instead of replacements.


These may seem like obvious lessons, but knowing for certain why a particular idea doesn't work can often be as valuable as an idea that does. This process highlighted specifically where and why the Engineer is valuable, and how even slightly altering this value can have game-shattering implications.

Ultimately, the Repair Node was cut because it made the game more of a grind. While it definitely made it less stressful to manage a base as an Engineer, it wasn't fun. The Engineer gained a little bit of fun, but nearly everyone else in the match suffered as a result.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 04:47:16 PM by deathbot »

Offline LuNatic

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2010, 08:59:55 PM »
teleport... check!
dispenser... check!
LvL 1 sentry... check!
CHARGE!!11!!
Ego Google omnia, itaque scio nil...

Offline Rimwar

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2010, 11:34:21 PM »
My opionion if they just let you build up to three levels of each item then that would make more sense. ie Three level one Sentrys or one level two and a level one. This same logic could be applied to all equiptment. Telporters or despensers.

On some of the crit servers its surprising when you build 3 lvl 1 setrys with a good cross cover fire zone how effective they can be without attracting too much attention.! And a simple implementation too.....

ie up to three lvl 1 dispensers
up to three lvl 1 teleporters
up to three lvl 1 sentrys

Update complete with a couple of extra weapons "No brainer update from my perspective"

Offline Frank_Walker

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 10:50:02 AM »
I liked the idea of manual SG instead of Automatic ones.......

Engie builds all things as normal but he has to get in the SG for it to work while in it he can not repair and is vulnerable to back stab.  This will enable him to poor heavy fire into a choke point and put his SG way back in the map making it harder to take out.  Stage 2 in Gold rush the main doors could be covered and it would require ubered demos to get them out this but once the guns are damaged and need repair the engie has to get out to do it and the guns stop working.  Engies will have to work in pairs to make this work.......maybe
We're in the middle of the makin's of the master blaster jammin'

Offline boooosh

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2010, 02:34:13 AM »
what? you mean they might have to work as a "team" omg

Offline tar0t

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2010, 03:28:31 PM »
Love the new community items added in today's patch. Brain slug, pimp hat and elvis hair FTW!  :awe





Offline Deathbot

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2010, 02:19:57 PM »
Stolen from official TF2 blog ...

Small | Large


side-by-side comparison ..

Small | Large



Offline roguesn1per

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2010, 02:28:03 PM »
Fucking great work, That was Awesome


Offline fun-any0ne?

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2010, 03:34:53 PM »
'twas awesome  :grin1

Does anybody have the fake engineer update saved? I've been trying to view it for the last week, but every time I try and load the page my browsers (chrome, IE, FF) can't load it.  :sad1

Offline Koops

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2010, 04:07:21 PM »
 :omg :omg :omg

That was awesome.

Perfectly matched angles and lighting on the models  :awe

Offline Interloper

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2010, 05:33:33 PM »
great!!!  :awe

Offline tar0t

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2010, 09:42:04 AM »
A required update to Team Fortress 2 is now available. The specific changes include:

- Added Sam & Max items
- Fixed the Demoman's Fro not cloaking properly when being used by a disguised Spy
- Reduced the damage bonus the Equalizer receives as the player loses health
               - The speed boost was not changed

Community Request:
- Added a flag to info_particle_system to mark particle systems as "weather" effects

Quote
To celebrate the release of The Penal Zone, the first episode in Sam & Max's new adventure, The Devil's Playhouse, the Telltale team has provided us with some awesome TF2 items. We're going to give them out to everyone who buys The Penal Zone in the next week.

That's right: one week only. It's like the Soldier medal all over again, except this time you have no excuse about being too asleep in bed to download it in time. The items:


Max's Severed Head
    * It's not often you're given the gift of a beloved character's decapitated head by the very studio responsible for that character. Still, we're not complaining. It's soft, it wicks away moisture in the heat of battle, it highlights our eyes. It's got us thinking about all the other game characters we could be wearing around as clothes.

Max's Pistol
    * Who wouldn't want to squeeze off a couple rounds with the murder weapon of choice of a sociopathic cartoon rabbit? Probably quite a lot of people, when you get right down to it. Luckily, those people are all well-adjusted contributors to society with no police records, spotless credit ratings and few unresolvable moral failings. They also probably have no interest in playing TF2, so that means more murder-rabbit gun shooting for the rest of us.

Sam's Revolver
    * This might look like an ordinary revolver, until you realize that it helps a talking dog solve crimes. How many crimes has YOUR dog solved lately? And let's face it, his revolver kind of sucks too. Man, we want to talk about this gun more, but we can't get over how much your dog sucks.

US$35??? I'll pass methinks...
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 09:50:54 AM by tar0t »

Offline Koops

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2010, 10:43:00 AM »




could go for an assassins creed 2/tf2 crossover addon  :roll

spy poison that causes soldiers to randomly fire team killing crockets   :rip :rocket
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 10:45:55 AM by Koops »

Offline Some_Thing

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2010, 12:01:04 PM »
Apparently the weapons don't do anything their counterparts can't already do. So its just a weapon skin.

Offline tar0t

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Re: Hard-Hat Update ...
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2010, 12:43:23 PM »
Well "Bah Humbug!" then... They could've easily tweaked weapon specs on the Luger and the revolver :X