An educational video

Here’s a great piece of game design advice I’ve found. Basically, it’s kinda the same line of reasoning as the one behind Resources 4.x and this post. IMO this is definitely worth to watch, even though what’s discussed in it might not directly apply to Tremulous.

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well, for me, nothing is new in that video.

details ! what properties of the mod is inline with which design goals stated in the video ?

Not punishing new players for not performing well by denying them the weapons and reverting them to the basic weapon?

“not punishing new players for not performing well” is not a goal stated in the video. in fact, the opposite is stated.

additionally, i’ll note just in case: the goal that “a failure does not require the player to work through a sequence of previously-done tasks again” the applies primarily to single-player games with sequential progressions, u dumbass !

Actually, it is, the video is about making difficult games NOT punishing after all.

Maybe it’s you who can’t understand the difference between “kinda the same” and “exactly the same”?

no, the video is making 2 points: the following r WRONG:

  • requiring a player to re-solve a PROBLEM for a failure that occurred during the prompting for an independent PROBLEM (ie., restarting of the whole (single-player) level); and
  • invoking punishment for a “failure” in which
  • no relevant learning material was presented for the PROBLEM (ie., first access to an otherwise unpredictable PROBLEM) and
  • success cannot be reasonably expected after the given amount of learning and base human knowledge/skills (eg., random dangers with instantaneous reaction requirements).

the “everyone wins” design methodology obviously avoids the said WRONGs, but the video specifically deadvocates that methodology, and instead proposes the bare “minimum punishment” methodology (ie., failures require retries from nearby points).

maybe u’re trying to cover up the fact that u’re WRONG. explain the line of reasoning behind “Resources 4.x”, and explain the similarities and differences between it and the other line of reasoning.

I moved a post to a new topic: Stage removal: Individualized (per-player) Pricing of Weapons and Classes

Its worth mentioning that Extra Credits is garbage for the sheer fact that they try to provide insight into game development by using arguments and examples that don’t actually go into the logic of game design, but rather presenting their opinions as an informed, educated solutions to problems. Thats not to stay they don’t sometimes make good points, but points itself is not enough to take their advice over making actual arguments on a discussion board.

To illustrate my point, at 2:57, EC talks about making something “rewardingly” difficult, compared to “punishingly” difficult. He says that its better to give a player multiple approaches to solve a problem, rather than “memorization” which he then brings up Battletoads. However, this is bullshit since Battletoads does indeed give you all the tools to solve the problem, but you just have to learn how to dodge enemies, cooperate with your teammate and not suck ass at the game.

I think you’re trying to apply this logic back to Tremulous, which I don’t think is the right thing to do. Punishing players isn’t the issue, its whether the player learns from his/her mistake.

tl;dr Telling people to watch a shitty Youtube click-whore’s video instead of making an actual argument sets off my bullshit detector.

Punishing players is an issue for game situations where you are forced to make the same failed moves regardless of skill, like with extreme permanent camping for example.

If a team can permanently camp a certain part of the map, they’re doing their job correctly. Don’t punish players for doing what it takes to avoid defeat, update and change the game so that doesn’t happen.

The point of “conquest” (which is the most common game mode of Tremulous at the moment) is to annihilate the enemy, not to avoid defeat (Which would be survival) .

Are you agreeing with this topic now?

This is incorrect. The part where you ride a jet ski has only one solution, to memorize the position of the obstacles and time your jumps perfectly.

As for the rest of the video, their logic applies to tremulous directly where they say “the more difficult the game, the harder it is to change rules on the fly”. This is absolutely true of the alien team, where each class is drastically different than others, and there is no good system like visible pincers or chompers to show hit feedback, no hit range markers and no attack cool down/recharge indicators. The player must instead memorize all behaviors of a class through a shit-ton of frustrating trial and error. One (non-crappy) example of how the game sets you up to learn: dretches wallwalk which automatically prepares you to basi wallwalk. Can you name some others? I’ll bet you can think of very few because Tremulous sucks at explaining itself to help learn this already difficult game.

there is something extremely important that i have to point out (again !):

the statements (about punishment) in the video apply primarily to

  • single-player games, where a single person is to solve a sequence of PROBLEMs, set by a mechanical system; and
  • multi-player cooperative games, where multiple people work together to solve a PROBLEM.

the logic explained in the video immediately breaks down when at least one person is competing against another, because one’s reward is the opponent’s punishment, period.

suppose that 2 opponents battle eachother in a simple game. one hits the other with an attack. do what?

  • increase the score of the attacker (supposedly, first one to reach a target score wins (the other one loses))?
  • decrease the number of hit points of the target (supposedly, first one to reach 0 HP loses (the other one wins))?
  • some combination of the above 2? or, perhaps,
  • nothing?

the attacker succeeded in doing something. he/she deserves something: a (partial) win. to not give him/her anything is to strip him/her of his/her earnings, a kind of punishment (that does not depend on the skill; in fact, interestingly, the greater the skill, the more shall be deserved, and thus the greater the punishment shall be !). equivalently stated, the opponent failed to avert something (not depending on the skill, but the fact that the attacker has a greater skill, something that is beyond the immediate control of the opponent).

still not convinced that u’ve completely misunderstood the scope of the video?

now, suppose that 2 teams battle eachother. member x of team A hits member y of team B. or x builds a team-buildable that works well against the enemy team. as a later consequence, team A wins.

  • in case of score gained by A, it is punishing for other member y’ of B, that the defeat of B, and, consequentually, of y’, was outside the scope of influence of y’.
  • in case of HP lost by y, y needs healing by y’, which takes resources (time, at the least) from y’, and similar logic applies, with the same consequence: this is “unfairly” punishing for y’.
  • in case of credits gained by x, x can use them against y’, and similar logic applies.

what if we made the actions of x independent of x’, y, y’, etc.? that way, punishment (non-rewarding) for each person will depend 100% on the skill of that person ! but then, what we have is independent single-player games played simultaneously, period.

u ppl got fucking heashot-pwnt by a troll.

i’m surprized to find out that Hendrich’s level of intelligence is above urs.

Yes, Tremulous is a zero-sum game for most of the game modes we have discussed, and especially for conquest, where one player/team gaining something (whether it is a small victory, or a win for the match) means that another player/team needs to lose something. But a loss does not have to be the same as a punishment. A loss can still be fulfilling and non-frustrating if a player can still learn something from that loss to improve for the next time when encountering the same or similar challenge.

Also a punishment does not have to be the same as a loss. There are situations where players start to play with a goal contrary to the goal of the particular game mode, for example in the case of conquest, players may work towards the opponent’s non-victory, rather than striving for their own victory (that is playing the majority of a game with the goal of a draw rather than risking a loss to go for a victory). This can be a very punishing experience for the other team, even if the other team ultimately wins.

The concept still applies that there is a difference between being challenged then lose, and being frustrated in prolonged situations where winning doesn’t depend on your skill/experience/knowledge.

camping is a WRONG example. noone is forcing u to make the doomed-to-fail move even once.

no, the point is to try to reach the highest score based on the following scoring scheme: win — 1, draw — 0, loss — −1.

and that is eternally sufficient to play all Tremulous games, each of which is relatively unique. by contrast, in case of retro-style, sequential, single-player games, learning the solution to a PROBLEM is, in general, sufficient for only that PROBLEM, not all, each of which is relatively unique.

now, ofc, there is much more to learn about Tremulous than how to control a class.

melee attacks r similar for aliens. many weapons r similar for humans. aiming and attacking skills even translate from other FPS games. real-time team-coordination is a skill that is related not only to games. through playing with one race, learning its traits, is an advantage when trying to play against that race. etc…

that’s not the key point. when playing against bots, it’s beneficial to make it so that the people can’t lose (eg., game saving and (re)loading is possible), which is very rewarding for the people, and infinitely punishing for the bots; but, obviously, bots can lick my balls. the key point is that the opponent is also a person, for whom the game is also meant to be rewarding and entertaining.

but it is, unless there is some sort of “additional game”, such as achievement/XP collection, which would mean at least some success even for the loser of the main game. (however, if there is an additional game, ppl tend to play like there is an additional game.1)

1 pro tip: scoreboard-whoring

ind33d, some people, typically who r new to a game, but also some others as well, feel satisfied by the game even if they lose; so there is some sort of a “free win” resource. however, the ultimate “fulfillling” occurs when u learn and win, especially if u’ve put in an excessive amount of effort (time, concentration, patience).

why do i get the feeling that u r repeating urself?

the other team is a dumbass. let me speak rethorically:

corrections: “Also a punishment doesn’t have to occur only with a loss”

Better correction: “Also, punishments can occur without loses.”

The point of “conquest” (which is the most common game mode of Tremulous at the moment) is to annihilate the enemy, not to avoid defeat (Which would be survival).

I can say with 100% certainty that the players in-game will give absolutely zero fucks about the “point” of the game mode. If they can camp instead of losing, then they can hopefully waste enough of the other team’s resources so that they can make a comeback. I’ve participated in 9 hour stalemates where this shit happened. I can’t make this up.

[quote=“romdos, post:13, topic:147”]
This is incorrect. The part where you ride a jet ski has only one solution, to memorize the position of the obstacles and time your jumps perfectly. [/quote]

Incorrect, the tools has been given to you in the form of the jump button. The bullshit I called on EC was that he implied giving a player multiple approaches to a problem is better than forcing them to get good at one solution. The fun of that entire section was a trial and error test of your ability to jump over the obstacles on-time. That was the challenge and if you couldn’t do it then beyond the limitations of the NES (poor screen scrolling and hit registration) that was your fault.

its also worth noting that this is irrelevant to Tremulous since a good chunk of the time you’ll always have some other option to consider (Do we rush alien base at hallway or do we try to build forward base at entrance? Grenades or Luci to take down alien camping? etc) unless you are losing badly.

This is absolutely true of the alien team, where each class is drastically different than others, and there is no good system like visible pincers or chompers to show hit feedback, no hit range markers and no attack cool down/recharge indicators.

You are conflating “difficulty” with Tremulous’ lack of feedback indication. These are two separate issues. In fact, I agree with you that we need to build in visible elements into the game that explains alot of the nuances that are poorly explained. Actual difficulty would be the player’s competency to pull off mechanics that the game demands for them to do in order to win the match against other players.

dretches wallwalk which automatically prepares you to basi wallwalk. Can you name some others?

Learning to snipe with grangerblobs helps with learning to snipe with ADV Dragoon. Learning to headbite as a marauder helps with learning to headbite as a dragoon. Charging as a dragoon helps with knowing when and where to charge in a safe direction as a grounded Tyrant. Learned to gas a group of humans as a ADV Basilisk helps you learn to use ADV Maurader lightning on groups as well (they’re both Crowd Control attacks).

Not everything here is a smooth transition to the next thing, since a (for example) a dragoon pounce can go vertically while a tyrant charge does not, but you claim the game doesn’t “set you up to learn” which I disagree with. Each class is meant to be unique, thats a good thing.

These seem like issues that in-game tutorials or better text descriptions/indicators/chompers/etc can help with, not because “Tremulous is too difficult”. It seems more like your issue is that “Tremulous is too cryptic”.

  1. no ur dum stupid nerd talking shit like hes back like backstreet boys

  2. I think thats a bit harsh. I’ve been playing this stupid ass game since 2005 and honestly, I think the issue is that alot of the people here don’t seem to have participated in high-level comp Tremulous play back when it was alive in 2007-09. I could be wrong, but I think it would be beneficial to everyone if we could set up one day of the week where we play Tremulous with each other.

Yes, and once you ran out of lives while miserably failing this part the first 900 times, you’d restart the game and have to play through the first 3 levels again… :-1:

Yes, that’s a fair assessment. The real difficulty factor should be from fierce combat with good players… not from crappy behaviors of the game, lack of ‘telegraphing’ (as the video describes it), and other frustrating bullshit that will make you want to RQ.

Again, I already told that I know about the fact that the video doesn’t directly apply to Tremulous:

If you can’t understand that, well, it’s your own fault that you’ve ruined your mind with Haskell.

One opponent’s gain is another’s loss. As Sparky has already pointed out to you, a punishment isn’t the same thing as a loss.

Maybe it’s because you can’t seem understand the crucial difference between gain/loss (including victory/defeat, success/failure) and reward/punishment? You see, the video clearly makes a distinction between enjoyably difficult games and punishing games, not between more punishing and less punishing ones. Gain/loss refer to the in-game situation, they’re objective. In contrast, reward/punishment refer to the player’s feelings, they’re subjective and do not necessarily directly correlate to the player’s gains/losses. Essentially, a reward is a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment after a victory or an improvement, while a punishment is a feeling of frustration and/or annoyance that makes the player want to rage quit. In my opinion, they should have used the word “frustration” instead of the word “punishment”, but I’m going to stick with the video’s terminology for now.

Some points:

  • The correlation between the gains/losses and the feeling of reward/punishment may depend on the player’s previous history of playing the game. For example, both players A and B lost -5 something during a similar in-game event. Player A lost -8 and -11 during the two previous events and is now satisfied with the improvement, while player B has rage quit because he lost the very same amount 87 times in a row without any improvement.

  • The correlation heavily depends on the individual player’s personality. Some people can tolerate greater losses and longer periods without improvement than others (often applies to completely new players, because they usually don’t expect to win). Masochists might enjoy the losses and detest the gains (inverse correlation). Some people might not care at all (no correlation).

  • The way you win or lose is also a factor. For example, dying in a fair fight feels far less punishing than getting blown up on a hardly noticable mine.

  • A player doesn’t have to lose anything to feel punished. For example, spawning from the last node only to be grabbed by a basilisk and killed without any chance of fighting back. It just adds insult to injury and is generally garbage. Or spawning from a camped egg several times in a row.

  • A player can win and still feel punished, for example when dealing with prolonged perma-camping, or NintendoLand-like teleport camping.

  • Consider a H vs A 1vs1 game, with both players having the same level of skill. H has a Lucifer cannon and a battlesuit and 1000 spare credits, A has a Tyrant and 5 spare evos (assuming that the Lucifer cannon and the Tyrant are even, which they should be). Let’s say the A died to H, twice, and was late to kill the retreating human (bad luck happens). Now A is a dretch and H has a Lucifer cannon and a lot of credits to spare. This is punishing for A, and is a garbage game “design”.

Bots can’t be punished because they don’t have emotions.

About the new players, firstly, almost no one starts playing a new game with the expectation of becoming a decent player immediately, secondly, the new players are rewarded with the novelty and learning how classes / weapons / buildings / upgrades work (this is what the “free win” resource you mentioned is).

You are entirely correct.

This is also entirely correct!

But the thing is, Tremulous fails to take this in account. You see, if the player/team A is more skilled than the player/team B, he/she/it is going to win even at parity, but the game makes it so that the losing player/team has fewer resources to work with than the winning one! The skilled vs unskilled gameplay should be tweaked to allow the unskilled players to at least establish a base and have a fair fighting chance (fewer dretch vs. Luci) instead of the game rapidly devolving into a straight-up beat-down. It’s a backwards kind of “gameplay”. I agree that high consequences for failure add to the strategic depth of the game, but, in my opinion, the price of that depth is way too high. I admit that Resources 4.0 solves this poorly (I didn’t think it out properly), I’ll probably try to fix this in one of my next proposals.

One recurring pattern I’ve noticed on New EDGE is this: a few very skilled players join a team, and then no one joins for a long time (with the opposite of the stacked team having 1 player fewer), probably out of fear of the skilled players.

Sparky also wrote a post on this: Stage removal: Individualized (per-player) Pricing of Weapons and Classes - #4 by dGr8LookinSparky

I think the right approach is this: to establish basic public servers with fewer constraints on resources (for example, more free credits/evos, credits/evos for damage, more BP, post-warmups where the teams can build but can’t fight, so that both teams can establish their bases, etc. and etc.) and pro servers with tighter resource constraints, so that high-level players can enjoy the increased strategic depth, all while keeping the core gameplay (weapon, class, building behavior) the same for both server types.

There’s no need to go that far. But I think it’s important to ensure that, for example, if the skill of a player A is greater than the skill of player B by d, the gains of the player A (and, consequently, the losses of the player B) are reasonable and certainly not d times 999 or . Of course, given enough skill difference, being defeated will still often feel punishing for the losing player, there’s no way around that, but it’s important that that punishment due to skill difference is kept in check.

The problem is that there’s still a lot of feeling of frustration. Players rage quit Tremulous, potentially forever.

I think a part of the problem is that when you’re unskilled and you try to fight using a higher class, you die and lose evos. Lose enough and you revert back to dretch (which you’re likely bad at as well) and have to earn the evos again to get another try at using a higher class. It’s made even worse by the fact that aliens have to get physically close to the humans to fight and big aliens can’t fight together effectively, while unskilled humans can play more defensively.

Where did he tell you that it’s not?

No, a loss is not necessarily a punishment, and yes, achievements will also help a lot.

Honestly, I think that scoreboard-whoring is not all that bad, to gain a lot of score you have to kill as many enemies and their buildings as possible. It still contributes to the team (if not optimally). It’s not like it’s a “shoot your team mates to become an outlaw Texas ranger with a revolver” type of an additional game.

On achievements: yes, players, if there’s an achievement system in place, obviously players will try to get them, sometimes playing recklessly and not contributing to the team as well as they could be otherwise. However, firstly, there shouldn’t be any achievements that involve actions that are obviously harmful to the team (eg. blow up your own base 3 times in a row), secondly, if that keeps some players playing the game, it’s a price worth paying. Also, it’s not like you have to enable achievements on every server… some pro-servers should have them disabled.

There’s nothing mysterious about the headbite, you simply have to aim at the head. The main problem is that the game gives little/no indication that head bites are actually doing more damage than torso/leg bites (and that dretches can bite directly from the floor).


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Scores should be based on how well you play as accurately as possible, so that the actions that give you as high of a score as possible are the same actions you would take for playing as best as possible. This is more than killing as many enemies and their buildings as possible. Good strategic building, Good strategic attacks, the difficulty of a combat scenario, as well as good team coordination (for attacking, defending, and coordinated base expansion) should all be appropriate factors in the score.

I should probably clear this up. A Texas Ranger would probably not be an outlaw, since Texas Rangers are in law enforcement.