Shootmania « Power Up! »
This operation is three things: a start, a trip and a destination
The start is a first update to arrive within a week. The trip will be about multiple updates of the gameplay & rules, based on your feedbacks and our solutions. The destination is the goal I gave in Hello Planet #4 to have an indisputable FPS champion to welcome the noobs, gamers and competitors from around the world in the horizon of the beginning of 2015.
This start, trip and destination are going to mainly be on three elements: competitions, modes and gameplay
At the start, for the competition amateurs, we are setting up in place an evolution for the ladder. Competitions will be able to award ladder points directly to players through a player page tool. So, if someone would win on a regular basis some competitions, he will be first of the ladder without having to prove it in matchmaking. We want to start small, with simple communication with some competitions organizers.
The trip will then be to update the rules, bring more automated systems like votes from high ranked players for high ranked competitions to decide of the number of points given to which competitions, enable to provide ladder points in a different ways depending of the level (an Echelon 7 competition to bring ladder points only to Echelon 7 and under) dealing with map packs etc.
The destination is to reach a situation where the ladder can represent the accurate level of the competitions. We made an earlier attempt of designing a complete and integrated system of competition, but we believe that this destination is more agile and even compatible with automated system later.
There is two works for the modes. One is about the Nadeo modes and the other about making custom mode creation more powerful.
Modes are about the design of a macro game around micro actions. In order to help develop both, we are going to provide first versions of libraries in maniascript to help include the so common concepts of “class selection” and “class based bonus stores” The goal here is to reduce the time to make sophisticated modes while simplifying the collaboration between the amateurs, like by the use of action scripting to split the complexity of the whole. Meanwhile, the action maker will be improved during the trip in order to empower even more the creators to create more diverse power ups, like a grapple that works anywhere, beam weapons, jet packs or else.
Power Up! may have more modes improved during the trip, but here are the four we will start with, to go toward the destination of having the best modes for noobs, gamers and competitors.
At start, it will be closer to a 'discovery' missions to help get familiar with the core gameplay. At destination, it should be a good solo platform game that uses diverse power ups along the journey of the player. Various items, like elements to pick up in the maps, are being prepared or will be done in order to reach this goal. These items are likely to bring diversity to mode makers for their own, like the two firsts: fuel & gold. Fuel will represent the source of energy and gold, the source of credits, that could be used in other modes.
The goal is to raise the current obstacle discipline as much as possible to offer it a wider variety of actions while making it more solid for its very own foundations like quicker respawn at checkpoints. And it shall also have a more official perception since it will probably be the top ladder mode of the main Storm station, as racing represents the most popular single player discipline of the sport, and a cross genre reference in gaming through the speed run exercise. We are also preparing an item fire at, in order to enhance the solo, but also to make it possible to include shooting in the multiplayer experience. After, during the trip, we may also go toward cooperative actions to bring cooperative races.
This mode is my vision of the 5vs5 mode you can see in gaming, where each players have a more specific role, with matchmaking, items to buy, progression during the play of the map etc. While the basic RvL Siege will stay and be supported (the demo release will include some improvements) and enable to reach the top of the ladder, the Siege mode will be enhanced with new power ups, new balances and updates during the trip. And the goal is to reach a destination that is stable to avoid to expect players to learn again all the macro at each change.
In the next update, the « attack ratio » displayed in bottom right will be greatly improved. It is designed as a first element of statistic that could support the interest of the spectators, as well as for the players themselves. The attack ratio is the odds for an attacker, into a given situation (number of armors & defenders, at what time) to win the point. And the trip of "Power Up!" here is to innovate and move toward more, and good statistics. Elite has been designed to represent the skills of the FPS as pure as possible. It should feed of the popularity of all other modes, as the athletic expression of the micro required in them.
On the gameplay side, we constantly have to make the balance between players expression of desiring of more things and the benefit of stability. We know that when we change, it breaks so much of training and that it's equivalent as if we were breaking creations. And even if we will let the previous gameplay accessible, like we would do for creations, we know that it's less efficient to split players by having various gameplay among the same title various servers. So, the target destination of power up is to reach a really stable situation, with improved power into the gameplay. The trip will be to keep it opened for changes, even if it may break training and maps. It is a strong decision, but I believe we can win another level of quality thanks to this. In order to help the competitions, we will try to keep as much as possible both gameplays at the same time. And especially for Elite where the gameplay shall change with one version of delay, meaning that in next update it will not change, when the new one will be chose for the other modes by default. And here are the significant changes:
It will decrease more slowly when you are keeping your trajectory and speed, and more quickly otherwise. It will represent more the effort of change, and it will enable to move through long maps more efficiently without providing endless amount in fight. You will also lose stamina if you fall to quickly on the ground.
The freelook will enable to set a new target trajectory with strafe key and will provide a little zoom that will also adapt the tri-laser. The recommanded key is the spacebar that you will be able to bind directly from the system bar.
Instant action keys
Like the switch action keys from 1 to 4, two keys will be in the control key to set up actions to be used once, like the throw of a grenade that we made that prevent the opponent to use the weapon or stamina for some seconds. The recommanded keys are Q & E on a qwerty keyboards.
Walljumps will be higher than before to compensate the loss of the progressive power (and especially when combining them too quickly) You will no longer stick to the ground when activating the stamina at the latest before landing. The hitbox will less in the back of the players. The bobbing will be removed in the walk mode.
We made games that went to various competitions in the world, such as ESWC, ESL Pro Series or WCG. And I met many organizers from around the world. One from China was telling me that the rules are the most important things. One from Korea told me that violence should be removed from competitive FPS. One from France was telling me that a key would be to have a clear ranking. One from Germany was telling me that it was about the gameplay. But I know that the most important things today, in addition to all these subjects we work on, are that you need a lot of players. And this is why that while we work on these topic, we will also put strong efforts on the welcoming aspect of Shootmania and the long play that gamers seek to enjoy diversity of play style over athletic competitive FPS.