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The Deployment & Objective Systems


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#1 Theel

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:21 AM

The Deployment System

Alright I figure it's time to reveal our last part of our scope for 6.0, I don't have anything nice looking yet. My first goal is to get something functional. What is a deployment system? It's a system by which players get onto the battlefield for the first time or after dying. Currently our deployment system is mixed between RO, a single linear spawn that can advance/retreat or a spawn room that either has multiple rows of doors or paths that advance/retreat. The old RO system is very limited as players can't choose where to spawn, the spawn room allows players to choose, but is very odd and nothing but a world menu. Meaning it acts as a menu, but instead of it being a interface on your HUD, you select things by moving in the world. Hence the new deployment system will be an actual interface menu that allows players to select their spawn point on a map. It is similar to the Battlefield, Planetside 2, RO2, and will be very basic much like UT2004's Onslaught deployment menu. A deployment map/system accomplishes several things.

1) More intuitive and professional, not a boorish system that often allows griefing by blocking doorways. This is the main inspiration of the system.
2) In the spawn room system players don't know where they are going to spawn when running into a door/path. Often creating confusion and may require the player to bring up their map and check. Also, it increases the need to know the level.
3) Allow for more than 2-3 spawns active at once, I guess a spawn room could do the same, but with lots of paths and doors it'd get super confusing and something out of The Shining. Not sure we need this, but an interesting note.
4) Opens the door to new ideas and improvements that we haven't touched on yet.

For time constraints I only plan to implement this new deployment system on a selection of official maps with 6.0, which means the old systems will still need to be intact and supported. I should support old school systems anyways to make it so custom maps will still work. However in the interest of consistency and if this new system works out, I will eventually require all maps official and community to use the new system. This may not be for a while though. There are also a few maps that don't even need a deployment menu, so I'll have to take that into consideration.

I've spoken with some of the community about this idea already to get some opinions and concerns; the only concern was that NCO's won't be able to use their colored smoke to mark the exit they want men to go. Well there are some problems with this concept anyways. Often there are multiple NCO classes and one could easily grief the other by throwing their smoke at the other door/path. I find it much better for the team to just communicate in voice as to which door to take. However, I still want to support such a system and it can easily be done. The question is how. I might make it so the NCO can mark an active objective as the primary objective. Planetside 2 has a similar system; however I might need to do this from the Situational Map instead of the deployment map, so the NCO can do this in the world and not while dead. (Players won't be able to get to this deployment menu unless they are dead). But this doesn't fix the issue of multiple NCOs, so I'm thinking I'm not going to touch this until the squad system; which might change the best way to do this anyways.

The Objective System

Along with this deployment menu, we've setup an entirely new way to setup a level's gameplay. New actors for positioning spawn points, new ways to handle spawning players and vehicles in the world, and other leveling improvements. Objectives are now very powerful and are the main source to handle the flow of the battle. They are now used to create the advancing flow of objectives, spawns, etc. I've also set them up to handle this new idea I have, which is basically about clearing objectives.

Clearing objectives. I've always found it concerning that a team can keep advancing without clearing an objective. However it can be very difficult to clear an objective while also trying to hold it from a close spawning enemy. So I've coded a system by which this should play out nicely. First let me explain not all maps will be setup like this and I want to see it in testing before we convert more maps to use it. Okay, after an attacking team captures an objective it will no longer disable the objective until it is cleared. This gives the defending team the capability to counter-attack it and recapture it, however it will never disable with the defending team retaking/clearing it again. Only the attacking team can disable it by taking and clearing it. If the attacking team captures the objective, it does not advance the attacking team's spawn, but the defending team's spawn does retreat back. This makes it so the attacking team can actually hold and clear the objective instead of being constantly bombarded with a close spawning defending team. If the defending team counter-attacks the objective before it's cleared and recaptures, their spawn is advanced again. Once the attacking team captures and clears the objective, it is disabled and the attacking team's spawn advances. This gives the opportunity for the leveler to place the attacker's advanced spawn in the objective area with the guarantee that no defenders are present. Before, if you put the spawn in the objective area, defenders could be present, and have to deal with enemies spawning right next to them (which is a huge no-no in my book).

Why not just have a delay after capturing an objective to advance the spawn? Well that doesn't offer the defenders the ability to counter-attack and it's also an arbitrary time value that has many problems. For one, what if you capture the objective and while the timer to advance the spawn is counting down, the team takes the next objective, now I have to code it so it knows which spawn to activate, a complicated mess that will be confusing to players.

The predicted problem with this clearing requirement is that larger objective areas will be very problematic and time consuming to clear as the attacking team will have to check and clear every corner of every house in the objective to advance (finding the enemies hiding), all while defending it from the counter-attack. I don't have a great solution to this problem yet.

What about a timer the attacking team has to hold the objective for unless they clear it? This is currently my best idea for large captures, however it's another arbitrary value that might need to be inconsistent based on the size or importance of the objective. I don't like to have restrictions on how large I can make objectives, and if this is the best solution I'll do it. It'll require some HUD indicator showing the "objective locked" time countdown. The reason why I don't like this solution is it still opens the possibility to have attackers spawning next to defenders.

What about just breaking the objective down into sectors or multiple objectives that sort of act as one? This idea is better, but I currently don't have a system for this without using multiple objectives (which currently I'm limited to 16 max). Also this type of system without some graphical interface or whatever will be confusing and is out of my scope for 6.0.

So you see the dilemma I have! I sort of need to solve this for 6.0, resort to having smaller objectives, or disable the clear system on large objectives. Another solution is having multiple spawn points in such large objectives and after the timer shutout it chooses ones that don't have enemies within a given radius. This is hard to potentially get right and only works with certain objectives and level designs. Again this may not even be a major problem, it could even be fun to try to clear out large objectives, but I want a solution in case it is. And we can always slightly increase the level's time limit higher if needed, which we are expecting to do anyways for the obstacle system.

Things are beginning to come together and I can see the first finish line. Praise you if you actually read this wall of text. And praise you more if you have a good solution for me.
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#2 Kashash

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:42 PM

I'm not in favour of timers for holding the objective because the attackers will be just sitting behind something and watch the capping bar slowly fill up, not wanting to fight or doing any effort in order to get rid of the enemy from the objective first before having it seized. That was the problem on many maps where attackers would hide in gatherings behind the church or safe spot and wait until the capzone is capped and the defenders on the other side doing the same, occasionally one brave one that got impatient of cap bar swaggering 50-50 would run towards the enemy in a suicidal attempt to throw a grenade. Probably the combat on Bridgehead map where people spawned far back and therefore could easily approach the town first and then eliminate the enemy inside was the most natural combat I've ever seen in the game.

When it comes to large objective and hiding defenders, isn't a simple solution to this already present on Bridgehead where you have only a small capzone area inside a large town so that you don't have to be search the whole town? However I think would be better if it was inside 1 or 2 buildings instead just out in the open on the road so that you can easily get shot.

#3 Theel

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:22 PM

It sounds like you are talking about Stoumont, and yes we've fixed that corner so it's not the cap-zone. Maybe this clear thing will work out no problems and will be really fun. Yes we want more gameplay like Bridgehead that has been one of our aims, however it's been kinda neglected as we've been working on these new systems and map updates. The clear thing really wouldn't work on Bridgehead, I think it's better suited for more urban maps.

Small cap-zones... Yes that was the theory of the small cap zones on Bridgehead, however in practice it presents problems. The main one being that it does not represent the town/area at all. Second being a mortar basically made the capture impossible to take. Yea in hindsight I should have made the cap-zones at least contain some central buildings. Bridgehead_V2 is better about that, as I made the objectives much larger.

But yea the deployment system will hopefully support MDVs, if not in 6.0 at least when we revisit the MDV and revamp that system. So you could see the MDV deployed on the map and spawn on it, sorta like a Sunderer in Planetside 2.
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#4 Kashash

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:38 PM

But you still see the bar on the bottom of the screen telling you if there are still some enemies. Having like a mini radar in the corner showing the capzone you are in, the teammates that already have combed through would be marked as checked so you would know where else you'd have to be looking for the hiding enemies. Overall I didn't find it that trouble to search for the remaining hiding defenders in large towns of Bridgehead, it was even all part of the fun.

The MDV really have to be redesigned into a spot placed by the leader instead of a moveable vehicle. The worst is when the vehicle gets destroyed by a lonely tank from 500m away and the team loses entire forward position that they had worked so hard for earlier and lost so many troops for it.
The significance of losing the troops is another problem in the game that is not taken into account. It should at least affect spawn timing or something because right now players don't pay the price or some punishment for their blunders for losing too many troops in the process of gaining an objective.

#5 Dietrich Landrik

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:54 PM

Urban environments SHOULD be pains in the ass to capture. That's just the nature of real life combat.

I love the idea of a defending spawn being outside of the objective FOR THAT OBJECTIVE and that spawn is nullified if the cap is contested. It means there will have to be a counter-attack by guys from a further back spawn and better represents actual defensive combat instead of swarms of men pouring out of bunkers in the objective over the course of a 30 minute firefight. It speeds up the combat in a good way.

That said, those spawns should have all the amenities of initial concealment and cover so a perching tank won't be able to absolutely annihilate all of that town's defensive power before the actual combat is underway. Nothing ticks someone off more than spawning in a field and instantly eating bullets. Even Dog Green has guys spawning on ship until a forward cap is taken.
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#6 Father Ted

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 09:40 PM

How about you don't have to clear every last one of the enemy? If you have, for example, a 10 to 1 manpower advantage in the cap, then the remaining enemy "surrender". Actually this means they die and respawn. Effectively it would be like the old teleporting minefields which appeared when you lingered near a new enemy spawn, but would be dressed up to be more "realistic" - perhaps a text message warning you to get out (I'm guessing new voice-content is beyond the scope of DH 6.0?).

I'm thinking that, particularly on the Western front, defenders were very very rarely wiped out, so it's actually more realistic not to have to hunt down one player holed up somewhere in order to cap an objective.

As an aside I like the sunderers in PS2. Perhaps if each squad had its own MDV then that could aid cohesion?

#7 Alvin Fuchs

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 12:22 AM

Could MDV soft skins be a thing? Sd.Kfz. 251s should be a less common, more precious commodity like all German armor ought to be; they could then be supplanted by deployment Opels.
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#8 Theel

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 02:31 AM

Great ideas. I want to see how this clear thing works. It might be fine as is and I can always reduce the capzone to omit certain buildings or whatever.

The MDV will get it's own discussion, but yes I'm thinking about having it be squad based as a reward for a larger squad. Yes I'm thinking that trucks will also be MDVs. I think I want to make it so MDVs have to be deployed to be spawned on. A deployed MDV will potentially require some basic sandbag fortifications to be built up around it. Something the squad can do together, not just the engineer/sapper. I should really create a roadmap for Darkest Hour. Part of the problem with MDVs and Vehicles all together, is the instant pop they all have when destroyed. Most of the time a vehicle didn't just explode in a massive explosion killing everyone. It was much longer and often gave crew/passengers time to bail. Also I'd like to see persistent vehicles that remain on the battlefield until destroyed via explosives or tank ramming.

How about you don't have to clear every last one of the enemy? If you have, for example, a 10 to 1 manpower advantage in the cap, then the remaining enemy "surrender". Actually this means they die and respawn. Effectively it would be like the old teleporting minefields which appeared when you lingered near a new enemy spawn, but would be dressed up to be more "realistic" - perhaps a text message warning you to get out (I'm guessing new voice-content is beyond the scope of DH 6.0?).

Though I respect this idea, I hate that stupid instant death or even if it wasn't instant, I hate having some thing appear that forces me out of the area. I do think you are on to something though about the ratio. Maybe just make it so if it's a 5:1 ratio it just locks anyways on large captures. We'll see though.

I'm thinking that, particularly on the Western front, defenders were very very rarely wiped out, so it's actually more realistic not to have to hunt down one player holed up somewhere in order to cap an objective.

That really depends on the situation. I've read stories and reports of even ost-truppen holding up in buildings and bunkers with pure to the death dedication that often held up companies and convoys.
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#9 Kashash

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 02:08 PM

The MDV will get it's own discussion, but yes I'm thinking about having it be squad based as a reward for a larger squad. Yes I'm thinking that trucks will also be MDVs. I think I want to make it so MDVs have to be deployed to be spawned on. A deployed MDV will potentially require some basic sandbag fortifications to be built up around it.


Yeah I think that the MDV should be dropping deployment points on map as if placing a mine. So for instance MDV drives somewhere and decides this place will be a deployment point so the infantry can spawn in there even if the MDV has been destroyed. And if that deployment point is threatened in vicinity by a large number of enemy then it would be deactivated. And then if the team loses this point they could deploy to the previously set up point, instead of all the way back to the very far rear spawn and drive all over again which feels like all the positions we were trying to gain for were for fought nothing.

#10 Moonbase

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 04:12 PM

On this subject I was trying to make some forward spawns on a tank map, and I found that the MDV feature that only allows you to spawn if no enemies are within a certain radius would perhaps be nice to have. In your case you could have the defenders pushed back, but the attackers will be forced to spawn in the back until the immediate area around the spawn is clear. This way you have a way of ensuring that nobody spawns on top of you. And if you have a nice UI showing the map and available spawnpoints you can choose the closest (non blocked) spawn to the action yourself so you don't have to rely on the game choosing the most relevant spawnpoint for you, would cut down a bit on managing priorities of spawnpoints, and allowing adding more easily.

#11 Theel

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 06:03 PM

So the deployment system has 3 elements, the back-end, the front-end, and the bridge. We have most the back-end coded, but not all of it. I've begun working on the front-end, which is basically what the player will experience. The front-end will be a new menu, what we are calling the Deployment Menu. The bridge is connecting the ends together to work together. I've made some progress on the front-end and though it's extremely rough and not what the final will look like, I've chosen to share it to help give some idea of what this will be like. Ignore some of the debug/random things on there.

EARLY WORK IN PROGRESS Deployment Menu

We hope this menu will replace the Role Menu you see currently in 5.1 and though not all maps will have proper spawn point setups (yes many maps will still have spawn rooms), maps that do have proper setups you will be able to spawn on a point by clicking it on the map. Maps that still have spawn rooms, you will just click the map or the continue button.

This new menu won't have role pictures or role and weapon descriptions, we've decided that was a waste of space for such a menu. Currently you'll see a lot of blank space that could fit such things, but it's very early work in progress. I can always later make a customization tab or a encyclopedia tab that offers such descriptions/images. But that isn't a priority. That is information better suited for a manual or wiki. I hope everyone agrees.
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#12 Theel

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 06:10 PM

All parts functional, just need to fix bugs and exploits. Then, one more cosmetic pass on deploy menu. Once we finish cleaning up our build, testing phase will begin.
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#13 Cpl.Guillemette

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 11:38 PM

That is really nice!
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#14 Moonbase

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 08:19 AM

Is that a vehicle selection menu?!

#15 Theel

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 03:34 PM

I'm stepping over the first checkpoint! We've begun setting up the test environment, however I'm still working on the deployment menu. I've been working on this darn thing for too long!

There are some technical problems I've had to work around with the vehicle spawn process. It's actually the same technical problem I have with Mobile Deployment Vehicles (MDVs). Speaking of which, MDVs are a thing the past, we've removed MDVs in 6.0, don't freak out! All half-tracks are now deployment vehicles!!! That's right, you can use the deployment menu to deploy to any friendly HT, however we've changed the requirements to do so and how it works.

1) You can only deploy to a HT that's engine is off (it won't show on the map otherwise, yes it will show it's location on the map if it's engine is off)
2) The HT cannot be in an objective area (or be turned off in an objective *still working on this)
3) The HT cannot have enemies near it (the radius is what I've used in Bridgehead V2 (not V1))
4) When you deploy to the HT you are spawned at one of it's exit positions instead of put inside it

The reason for #4 is the same technical problem I mentioned, it's where your view doesn't update correctly and you can't see what's going on, even though you are actually in the HT. Until we find a proper fix for this problem, we won't be changing our approach to #4.

Is that a vehicle selection menu?!

Yes that is a vehicle selection menu. The deployment system will handle all spawning (infantry & vehicles). No more spawn rooms, teleporting, or the need for the giant vehicle spawn buildings. Players will select the point they want to spawn at, even if only 1 choice is available.
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#16 Father Ted

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 07:20 PM

Excellent news and great work! I have to admit that I do sort of like the bizarre spawn rooms of DH and the polite behaviour ("After you", No, after you") they tend to engender.

#17 Theel

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 07:59 PM

Well that won't be completely gone, a lot of spawn locations are in buildings.. However hopefully there are multiple exits :P
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#18 Kashash

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 11:37 PM

1) You can only deploy to a HT that's engine is off (it won't show on the map otherwise, yes it will show it's location on the map if it's engine is off)

4) When you deploy to the HT you are spawned at one of it's exit positions instead of put inside it


Theel I've got to say well done because those are actually really good ideas. One of the problem was with MDV that people would fill it up while it was still on the way to the objective and just not ready to deploy yet. And because of that it would often get destroyed by an enemy gun/tank thus unnecessarily losing a whole squad of men. Now that would solve the problem of MDVs being blown up with a full squad inside, once the engine is off then they can deploy. Great !!

And I think that spawning outside is actually better because that way people won't feel safe if they park their halftrack in a dangerous area to deploy to and will have to look for safer places. Also if the halftrack gets destroyed then players who just deployed to it will still probably survive instead of being ignited along with the halftrack.

#19 Theel

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 06:11 PM

Glad you like the ideas/changes. We do have some issues regarding team-tanking with the current vehicle spawning design. Our solution is to allow crew/infantry to spawn where the tanks spawn, so if you spawn a tank you can wait where you spawned for another crew or infantry to get in/on. Maps with 1-2 tanks and 2-6 roles will suffer if the first guy spawns the tank and drives off right away, guess it's not too different from how it is currently. But it might be more problematic now as the player spawning can begin driving right away after spawning, giving no time for others to run to it before it begins motion. However, once we implement the squad/crew system (post 6.0) we'll fix this design flaw and team-tanking will once again have advantages over solo tanking. Not exactly sure how just yet, but we'll make sure crews get all priorities.
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#20 Kashash

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 10:32 PM

Maps with 1-2 tanks and 2-6 roles will suffer if the first guy spawns the tank and drives off right away


I wonder if it would be possible for crews to be spawned inside the tank that has just left the spawn but hasn't engaged in combat yet. Kind of like it was with deploying into the MDV that was already on the move to the objective.




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