Author Topic: Competition Mode  (Read 3798 times)

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Competition Mode
« on: January 25, 2015, 12:13:43 PM »
I was thinking of a competition mode, still full sandbox but more along the lines of Monopoly or Sid Meiers Railroads where each player or team works and builds a base. The collective value of credits, base, resources etc becomes the metric to value the worth of accomplishments. After a certain time or level of accomplishments a winner is declared and you can start over and play another game or ?


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Re: Competition Mode
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 02:36:43 PM »
Sounds like you want some sort of race condition victory: whichever team reaches the goal first wins. I haven't played too much of Railroads, but I know Monopoly is more of a last man standing or king of the hill victory: gaining value is only a tool to be used to remove your opponent's value. Railroads has a similar mechanism with stocks, but I'm not sure if knocking your opponents out was the only win condition.

The point being that with those two examples gaining value for the sake of value, a pure race, wasn't the point of the game. Even Moon Base Alpha, as close to a pure race as any similar game I've seen, had mechanisms for retarding your opponent's progress when it introduced two competing bases. Given the premise of this game, I think survival may be a better win condition than precedence. You've already identified how teams gain value, so a conversation on how they could lose value or even use that value to place another team in a weaker position would be beneficial. In a scenario where Mars is cut off from Earth, deciding who lives is a more compelling goal than deciding who did better.

Further Thoughts Edited In:

Game theory aside, I've been running through my mind various ways the game could be played competitively to see what makes sense and what doesn't. Here are a couple of concepts:

Score: A cumulative value of real and liquid assets is tracked. The first base to reach a pre-defined goal value wins. The benefit of this approach is simplicity to implement and the theoretical broadest player control. Teams are free to play however they want in order to earn the credits they need to win. The reality is that players will quickly identify the method for the quickest return and always pursue that process, unless there is a tremendous level of effort spent on balancing. For example, if t becomes recognized that, given two equally experienced and coordinated teams, Geology always produces a higher rate of credits than agriculture, then everyone wll mine and no one will grow food.

Objective: A list of tasks must be completed. First team to complete all tasks win. Again, not terribly difficult to implement, as this is more or less equivalent to how MCC played: each phase gave you a series of objectives to complete. The theme of the objectives would probably revolve around self-sufficiency of the base. The winner is the first base that can perform all of the functions of Ares Base.

Quota: A list of items must be gathered and turned in to Ares Base. First team to complete their list wins. Similar to objective, but with less of a focus on the base. It doesn't matter how you get your hands on the items needed to win: produce them at your base, trade for them from another team, or even steal them outright.

I've purposefully avoided combat and direct conflict with these concepts because I don't know if any such mechanic is planned for implementation. I highly doubt we will see combat, but I wouldn't necessarily rule out some methods of tampering with another team's base.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 10:44:29 PM by FlyingCheeseCake »
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Re: Competition Mode
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2015, 09:14:24 AM »
It definitely sounds like an interesting idea.

On the side of Monopoly, one mode could have some resources/supplies be limited in some way, maybe with a little randomness in what players start with. So, while players will always have what they need to progress, they will have to either trade with other players or expand their own production to speed up progress.
 Example. Player 1 trading some spare items that Player 2 needs to build up something faster, so Player 2 is willing to pay a bit more to get the additional resources, when Player 1 is actually trading for something they need fill a shortfall to accelerate their own progress to achieve the goal from another angle.

I would agree that direct conflict or anything relating to combat should be avoided.
I loved a game called Outpost, and the sequel Outpost 2 had a stupid combat aspect crowbarred in which basically ruined the whole feel that made the original game so good.
On the flip side, the basic premise sticks to mind. Of plans for a colony hitting a snag when a group decides to 'take' some of the supplies to go build a second colony, on the grounds that 2 colonies have a better chance for surviving than one.

It would be an interesting concept for a competitive mode of sorts, of enough materials to make a good sized, self sufficient colony, but having the resources split among 2 or more teams, the main goal being which team can achieve the kind of colony that was intended to be built in the first place.
To further the idea, each team gets the most basic of supplies (enough to survive but not thrive), with a main 'stockpile' (enough to build a good sized colony off the bat) that is broken down into an equal number of 'packages'. Then each team takes turns (order decided at random) selecting a supply packages (be it for farm stuff, mining equipment, extra rover fuel, extra medical supplies, etc) until all packages are taken. For added randomness, some key items (like rovers), don't appear until certain (random) things are taken from the stockpile (akin to some stuff being stuffed in the back of a storage room and not initially visible until other stuff is moved out), so people can't just get the good stuff and get a major advantage just by having first choice.

On the competition side of things, one side thing could involve rover races.

Or an Easter Egg Hunt type start. The basis, the teams need to produce X amount of items, however, the basics needed were on a lander that broke up when it 'landed hard' scattering supplies over an area, so teams need to sort through random bits of debris to find intact containers that have the needed elements, supplies and parts, and even usable bits of scrap that could be 'recycled' at a later date. Again, each team has the basics off the bat. While lucky players could get extra supplies off the start, another team with better management and more motivation could still make a comeback despite the first team having an early lead, while a third team could get a foothold by having a solid plan to recycle scrap debris others chose to ignore, allowing a short tern alternative to mining for some resources.
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Re: Competition Mode
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 10:35:33 AM »
The game that my mind keeps returning to for inspiration is Natural Selection and its sequel NS2. Yes, combat was an integral part of the game, but at its heart it was a battle of economic decisions. For those that are not familiar with the series, it was (originally) one of the many Half-Life multiplayer mod spinoffs, and it sold itself as an RTS/FPS hybrid. Two teams, one player from each team was designated as the commander and played in a top-down, RTS style while every other player played in a FPS style. The commander would be responsible for building base buildings and researching new equipment and buffs for the other players, who would use these advances to fight the other team.

The important point that sticks in my head is this: merely killing another player was rarely beneficial to ultimate victory since respawns were fairly quick, and directly attacking the other team's base usually only happened at the very end of the match; however, much of the gameplay and usual success revolved around gaining and holding more resource nodes than your opponent and then spending those resources wisely. Particularly in tournament matches where individual player skill was fairly even, the difference between winning and losing could be found in the early control of resources and the research decisions of the commander.

Applying some of these concepts to Version 2: Each team has a Mission/Base Commander, which is currently the first person to claim a base. Only the Commander can build new modules or order the upgrade of current ones, as well as choose any path of research (if that concept makes it into the game). As each team member performs actions that earn credits, those credits are placed into a team fund with a sort of commission percentage also paid to the player. The team fund is used for those purchases named above that benefit the whole team (new modules, research, etc.) while each player's personal fund can be used to purchase equipment or upgrades that only affect him or her. The Commander can also use the team fund to purchase that same personal equipment for specific players (for example if an upgraded version of equipment has been unlocked, the commander can use the team fund to quickly purchase it for everyone rather than making each player spend their own credits on it).

In keeping more with the idea of Monopoly, the only thing I can think of is to break the map up into resource zones and then have teams purchase mineral rights for each zone. If another team wants to mine in a zone that another team has purchased they must pay some sort of rental or upkeep fee, either in percentage of resources mined or straight credits.

A lot depends on how directly each team is allowed to affect another team. We have a scale that ranges from combat (where each team literally tries to destroy the other) to race (where each team strives to reach a set goal first, but otherwise have no interaction at all in order to "keep the running lanes clear"). I imagine Hyper plans to find something in the middle akin to economic warfare, where one team can either slow the gain of value of the other or directly transfer that value. I can see this taking the form of thievery (such as swiping the contents of an auger before the owner has a chance to empty it) and sabotage (breaking the auger so that the other team has to take the time to repair it). The problem I am having is coming up with effective defenses against such actions other than the use of force. Stealing from an auger while no one from the other team is around makes perfect sense, but I can also picture the rather silly image of one stealing from an auger while there IS a player from the other team standing there can he stop him?
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