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Long term plans for Campaign and Adventure mode?

#1
Leafing through the discord (devtest_feedback) today it would seem there is the idea going around that the campaign aspect of the game might get slightly toned down due to lack of manpower to keep designs updated.

As such, a small reactionary post aimed at the development team of from the depths.
To put it mildly, I think that's a real shame - To me the campaign mode has always seemed like the hub of activity around which the rest of the game was centered, being strictly a modestly skilled singleplayer. I'm not certain at this point whether these rumours are true, but at least let me offer some counterpoint as someone who's always loved the campaign and adventure mode aspects of the game more than anything else -alongside of course, building stuff in function of the campaign; but who thinks they could still be so much more.

From what I've heard, from the depths after these many years is slowly getting to a point where it is in an advanced pre-release state. I'd like to ask whether the following is up for consideration; when all the stat balancing, bugfixing and optimisation is over with, a lot of designs will likely need to be redone. this has happened again and again in the past years. however, could that final hiatus not be used, while everything is being fixed into definitive state, to overhaul the campaign in the background in concord with these final design updates?

Consider that the main focus of the game is designing complicated warmachines within an impressive variety of niches- does it not follow that putting them to actual use in an RTS-like environment on a world map to conquer with other preset hotrod stylised warmachines goes hand in hand with that as being the core of the game?

A lot of complaints with the campaign mode I have seen so far are lack of challenge, its dull grinding nature, and other issues stemming way back to the very first iteration of this game mode. I think this is not a sign it should be toned down, I think it could do very well for the game if this gamemode got a long overdue update of its own, after having been so neglected from a functional viewpoint for so long.

Having the AI send tailored fleets against the player is one great thing. It would be even cooler if there were actual worthwhile spots on the map worth fighting over; if the tiles were not just garrisoned by patrols, but if retaliatory strikes tailored to the forces that conquered the tiles would be sent from the nearest harbour, sub pen or airfield!

Using triggers and the present framework, all of that is technically within grasp already. And it would make a lot of difference to keep players on their toes I feel.

But you could easily go beyond that. On the forum there is a great post of self-imposed rules by an advanced player, which ties a progression tree into the amount of land conquered and different tiers of shipyards that must be build before vessels of different sizes can be build.

In large part the snowballing and boredom of the campaign is due to there being no pressure on the player; Not much invective to design. tie the availability of technology and vessel types into RTS-like build trees of research centers, dockyards and bases. Get them to build stuff, that is what the game is all about. And it's all the merrier when it has to happen as a challenge to fit within the neccesities of a tense ongoing conflict, not just as a meta roflstomp designer to show of on the workshop.

And at the very next level, tie all of this into the need to expand and make playthrough choices of what areas to progress in most.

Honestly, the campaign could be so much more than a passing curiosity for budding players.

From the Depths is the best custom vehicle designing sandbox wargame out there. I am still in owe of the prowess and Vision Nick has put into this, now alongside many other talented people. But one of the few ways to make it even more awesome I feel; Is to give a valid drive and context to design those vehicles in, and to put them to use in.



And when all is said and done, pls fix adventure mode Tongue
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#2
Yeah, this is something that I also rant about. The thing is, all the stuff you build should have a purpose, otherwise what's the point? It's a common problem in voxel/creative games and FtD seemed like one of the few that tried to add a meaningful gameplay aspect. I think the first post I made was asking about what the campaign mode is like. Well, FtD's campaign mode is actually pretty fun, and innovative in some ways, it has huge potential but remained far too bare-bones in function for years. A major part of the game is about building stuff specifically for conquering Neter (and other planets), that's the main objective. That's why ships have fuel tanks and material storage, it's why fortresses exist. So the "conquering Neter" part of the game should be worth something at least.

My main problem is also the inactive strategic AI, all they do is send fleets at you and nothing else. They don't build stuff, they don't develop, they don't even bother to repair battle damage. They just sit there waiting to be gradually destroyed over time. Let them build new resource gathering fortresses at untapped resource zones, assign transport fleets to move between RZ and HQs, rebuild destroyed infrastructure like villages, make strategic moves like sending out border patrols and establishing blockades. A more active AI will already make a huge difference to the campaign.

Now, as for the quoted rumour, my question is: What is there to tone down if there haven't been any real development progress on the campaign mode to begin with? If it's about keeping built-in designs updated, then sure, that can eat up a lot of time. But why do each faction need to have a million designs anyway? And why do they have to be cheaty overcomplicated designs? Keep it simple, simple can still be tough and challenging (FtD has so much design freedom and customization, "difficulty" really depends on what the player builds). Either way, I would not mind that much if updates break some built-in designs or make them obsolete, reworking them comes later down the line when the dust settles. Flesh out the actual gameplay functionality of the campaign first.

I would also fully agree that FtD is the best custom vehicle designing game out there, imagine how awesome it could be if it was also the "sandbox wargame" bit. It definitely has the potential to be...
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#3
(2019-06-18, 05:43 PM)CrimeanChimera Wrote: I would also fully agree that FtD is the best  custom vehicle designing game out there, imagine how awesome it could be if it was also the "sandbox wargame" bit. It definitely has the potential to be...

I can agree with everything you said - however faction diversity is also a plus for me personally. Especially if individual designs offer different challenges to be overcome.

But I really think that before it can be called a job, the campaign needs to be brought into 2019 from the depths too, rather than lingering in its 2015 state. I hope we're not giving offense by ranting, but I guess it shows we care. I cannot emphasise enough how much respect I have for how far Nick and the other devs have already carried this gem. I hope that 's very clear.

But a sort of map node system sounds fun. Hotspots for the AI to patrol and repair (at), resource zones worth fighting over worth the name, fortresses on the frontline ...

I don't want to push however. I'd rather too they get everything else sorted out first so they don't have to do it a million times over. But there is soo much room for development in the campaign. It could easily be as glorious as the joy of designing itself. And it can enrich the designing phase too, as I said above.

I still think a Tech tree or player HQ/factory requirement using the existing checklists/blacklists could do wonders. to force players to explore different avenues and work under constraint rather than spamming various sizes of metabricks from the very start.

I wonder however what Nick himself thinks of all this? Big Grin 
We can certainly see a lot of unfullfilled potential in this mode. I hope he sees it too.
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#4
Thank you for putting out this post. I could've never organized my words well enough even though I've always thought of the same. When I first got the game I was very happy just playing with the designer; I wouldn't have had something to play in other modes anyway. After about 300+ hours in the designer I have definitely grown itchier and itchier to actually use my craft in an impactful way, it makes what I built feels alive. Personally hearing that there is diplomacy was actually what really got me interested in the campaigns, it would make everything feel so much more alive, not just me.

I don't know if anything would be done about campaign any time soon, since I feel there are still plenty other gameplay related stuff lined up. It might be better to focus on the latter first if many new players do spend their time in the designer first.
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#5
(2019-06-19, 12:23 PM)Ossiana Wrote: Thank you for putting out this post. I could've never organized my words well enough even though I've always thought of the same. When I first got the game I was very happy just playing with the designer; I wouldn't have had something to play in other modes anyway. After about 300+ hours in the designer I have definitely grown itchier and itchier to actually use my craft in an impactful way, it makes what I built feels alive. Personally hearing that there is diplomacy was actually what really got me interested in the campaigns, it would make everything feel so much more alive, not just me.

I don't know if anything would be done about campaign any time soon, since I feel there are still plenty other gameplay related stuff lined up. It might be better to focus on the latter first if many new players do spend their time in the designer first.

This your first post I gather? Welcome to the forums, and thanks for immediately chiming in! Big Grin

"[A framework for] using the craft you design in a meaningfull way" is a good summary of what the campaign for this game should be; And the current iteration of the campaign is still the first and unrefined one. I might PM Nick to ask for his opinion and ideas for this. I hate presuring him as he's already performing superhuman feats currently and I don't like rambling, but it IS feedback at the end of the day Undecided
Imperium Age of Sail Campaign Custom Campaign Dev Idea -> Check it out here!

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#6
Several Ideas I've come up with since seriously starting to ponder this problem, within technical limits. Very ambitious (too, probably)- but think of what could be done!

It would be cool if the AI could start logistics fleets which move to set up preset special fleet permanent deployments of varying type (missile silo complex/Airstrip/Manufacturing+defenses in resource zones)/rebuild lost settlements/subpens/shipyards/dockyards for damaged vehicles) which it then uses to send strikes your way. The AI needs to build radar posts and Sonar Buoy complexes to be able to detect your fleets before it can respond to them, and will send out advance warning scouting groups to find the player out.

This could be done using a sort of node system.

If the logistics Convoy is destroyed on route, the base is not built. This makes surgical raids behind enemy lines actually important. Make a difference between strategic Sonar and strategic antenna/radar. In combo with allowing fleets to be below water level out of play, tie that into fleet detection. The AI will send out smaller convoys to bases to speed up their production and increase chances of spawning godly craft. This makes raiding with subs or lone bombers/planes useful.

The AI will build base types dependant on what the player is throwing against them, using the idea framework of what is currently already available settings. A player with a lot of big pondorous vessels might find themselves subject to a sub raid or ICBM strike. Or ICBM strikes against his own outposts. Or bomber raids?

This sounds far fetched? It's a possibility already

It is a lot of work, but using the triggers, messages, fleet orders and timer delays in the campaign, you can set up fleet spawns dependant on certain conditions. This includes the spawning of special fleet bases and forces. Those bases can be set up to produce vehicles from specific corporations. that's half of what is needed for this idea right there. how to make those bases respawn depending on the AI rebuilding? It's tricky, but I think it could be done.

Whacked that resource fleet? Retailiatory airfleet inbound, and they build themselves and advance airstrip. plonk. this already possible with the barebones ingame editor

And when all is set up, it becomes a matter of looping.

Now stage two of the big job. tie this into faction wars. Factions will fight over only certain nodes in their bordering regions to prevent them overunning each other. One can easily think of an autoresolve system weighing each sides difficulty classes and fleet point costs against each otehr, seeing what is left over, and dividing that over the biggest designs, who then get to live. Those then return to the repair dockyards to get refitted.

Will this not make the campaign unfair? The player is a lone wolf, and should struggle throughout his quest for dominance. And never forget that the players has a massive edge over the AI as is.
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#7
Maybe if the campaign, editor and strategic AI (And tactical AI too) would get some attention instead of being left behind, more people would play the campaign, more people would fell in love with the campaign and would become a KOTL to replace the dying ranks.

Because right now these aspects do suffer from archaic mechanics that could have been slapped of as a temporary system back in the days but each time a new feature or old feature gets added or upgraded, the problems of editor and campaign become more apparent.

Edit: I think Neter and all base campaigns should be downscalled no matter what and have more effective or iconic units instead, this should cope with the strategic AI ofc so AI knows its arsenal. This could really downscale the need to have multiple vehicles in a vehicle category.
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#8
There are some intricacies with the campaign and its upkeep that I worry that have been oversighted. I'd like to provide some insight on some concerns.


Quote:To put it mildly, I think that's a real shame - To me the campaign mode has always seemed like the hub of activity around which the rest of the game was centered, being strictly a modestly skilled singleplayer. I'm not certain at this point whether these rumours are true, but at least let me offer some counterpoint as someone who's always loved the campaign and adventure mode aspects of the game more than anything else -alongside of course, building stuff in function of the campaign; but who thinks they could still be so much more.

Yes, a lot of the "core" game is based around the campaign and having it as a memorable, exciting experience is vital. Right now the campaign is in shambles and everything is going to be fixed up in due time. There's something vital that seems to be overlooked here; most of the KotL have done this work voluntarily. Most of FtD's designs and such have been brought to light this way. One of the main campaign devs who would oversee the designs had a major family affair and was out of commission for a very long time. One of the main KotLs had to stop a lot of work due to a similar reason. A lot of the other KotLs have just dwindled over time. Back when I was first in the KotL there were at least 2 KotL per faction, which meant we had at least 16 people collaborating with designs and working on them left and right. FtD has been constantly evolving and time has not been friendly to those still working on such stuff. I wouldn't really call it a shame, there have just been circumstances that have heavily impacted the process.

Quote:From what I've heard, from the depths after these many years is slowly getting to a point where it is in an advanced pre-release state. I'd like to ask whether the following is up for consideration; when all the stat balancing, bugfixing and optimisation is over with, a lot of designs will likely need to be redone. this has happened again and again in the past years. however, could that final hiatus not be used, while everything is being fixed into definitive state, to overhaul the campaign in the background in concord with these final design updates?

FtD is scheduled to fully release at the end of September, per Nick on his AMA he had recently. Designs will be brought up to par and their AIs configured before then I'm sure. Strategic AI will bring a lot of changes to the campaign and Nick did confirm that he wants to add this AI. This will change a ton of things.

-------------
(To be continued when I can.)
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#9
(2019-06-26, 01:02 PM)ABYAY Wrote: FtD is scheduled to fully release at the end of September, per Nick on his AMA he had recently. Designs will be brought up to par and their AIs configured before then I'm sure. Strategic AI will bring a lot of changes to the campaign and Nick did confirm that he wants to add this AI. This will change a ton of things.

-------------
(To be continued when I can.)

thanks for considering a reply to (yet another of) my rant(s) Big Grin Angel 

I've read up the AMA (didn't colaborate since I don't have reddit), and the news has been very soothing.
Still, next to simply adding strategic AI and general overhauls, there's plenty of other chique stuff that could be done - to make the campaign more of a real freeform RTS with your custom builds as the units. That 's just my vision however.

I look forward to a continuation of your kind reply.
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#10
Okay, I've finally had time to settle down to look further into this and I will continue.


Quote:Consider that the main focus of the game is designing complicated warmachines within an impressive variety of niches- does it not follow that putting them to actual use in an RTS-like environment on a world map to conquer with other preset hotrod stylised warmachines goes hand in hand with that as being the core of the game?

I'm not 100% sure where you're getting at with this point since the active campaigns try to utilize proper designs within faction standards. If you're referring to awkward craft such as spacecraft outside of Scarlet Dawn, that would be a conflict of lore. I may be missing the point of this entirely.

Quote:A lot of complaints with the campaign mode I have seen so far are lack of challenge, its dull grinding nature, and other issues stemming way back to the very first iteration of this game mode. I think this is not a sign it should be toned down, I think it could do very well for the game if this gamemode got a long overdue update of its own, after having been so neglected from a functional viewpoint for so long.

Strategic AI will alleviate a lot of this. Also whenever the editor gets some love I would like to request to have some random "triggers" take effect that may cause a faction to have a surplus of resources and send around more fleets, utilize "supply paths" so you can raid craft that are on said dedicated supply paths, maybe even have unexpected attacks on the player. The limitations of this are dependent on what strategic AI brings to the table. The campaign craft, again, are more in responsibility of KotL and such and the reasons in the previous post are all I have to explain it.


Quote:Having the AI send tailored fleets against the player is one great thing. It would be even cooler if there were actual worthwhile spots on the map worth fighting over; if the tiles were not just garrisoned by patrols, but if retaliatory strikes tailored to the forces that conquered the tiles would be sent from the nearest harbour, sub pen or airfield!

Strategic AI will once again alleviate this. In theory, it will allow opposing factions to assess the player's fleets and send craft to counteract said fleets. In fact if you check the designs in the planet editor now there has been long-standing evidence that this was intended to be added. You'll notice a few odd settings about certain player fleets with an adjustable value. As for where fleets come from, the current makeup of the game forces HQs to send out fleets, not just structures at resource zones. Perhaps I can convince Nick to make a subsidiary fleet type that isn't counted as an HQ but still produces fleets. Alternatively it would require multiple HQs per faction. I'm testing this right now with a faction on Terrus.


Quote:Using triggers and the present framework, all of that is technically within grasp already. And it would make a lot of difference to keep players on their toes I feel.

See paragraph above the one just above this.


Quote:But you could easily go beyond that. On the forum there is a great post of self-imposed rules by an advanced player, which ties a progression tree into the amount of land conquered and different tiers of shipyards that must be build before vessels of different sizes can be build.

Progression/unlockables was something discussed in the past and technically it's possible to set up. The problem is making the trigger system work. Perhaps a copy of Neter can be set up with an unlock path for parts based on what HQs you destroy? Alternatively, perhaps a toggle to enable/disable an unlock feature?

Quote: In large part the snowballing and boredom of the campaign is due to there being no pressure on the player; Not much invective to design. tie the availability of technology and vessel types into RTS-like build trees of research centers, dockyards and bases. Get them to build stuff, that is what the game is all about. And it's all the merrier when it has to happen as a challenge to fit within the neccesities of a tense ongoing conflict, not just as a meta roflstomp designer to show of on the workshop.

See above; perhaps an unlock system can be a toggle based off HQs of factions you destroy. This could technically be driven further by having standard fortresses safeguard some of the unlockables. Going off a "tech tree" isn't really something of high interest since it would require a recode I'm sure, but unlocking stuff is already possible. In tandem with strategic AI and an overhaul, not to mention random triggers possibly throwing wrenches into the player's plans, those may be sufficient to alleviate the stagnation concerns. I too can't argue against that being an issue because it definitely is.

Quote:And at the very next level, tie all of this into the need to expand and make playthrough choices of what areas to progress in most. Honestly, the campaign could be so much more than a passing curiosity for budding players.

We hope to bring the campaign to the light of which it used to be and much more. You do make some solid points and you've said them in a concise, relatively polite manner and I can agree with pretty much all of it. I'm hoping a lot of the stuff I said will come forth to be true because I have hopes to not have some campaign work be in vain.

Oh, I wanted to quote another paragraph, this time from another post.

Quote:My main problem is also the inactive strategic AI, all they do is send fleets at you and nothing else. They don't build stuff, they don't develop, they don't even bother to repair battle damage. They just sit there waiting to be gradually destroyed over time. Let them build new resource gathering fortresses at untapped resource zones, assign transport fleets to move between RZ and HQs, rebuild destroyed infrastructure like villages, make strategic moves like sending out border patrols and establishing blockades. A more active AI will already make a huge difference to the campaign.

I hope that when strategic AI is established that this becomes a possibility. It may be easy to have them rebuild fortresses on resource zones though the problem is them attempting to reclaim said resource zone. One idea I had in mind is that resource zones could be much wider spread throughout the map and factions will slowly build on them over the course of the campaign and becoming stronger, just like the player does. Right now there's typically 3 resource zones per faction. What if there were about 7 or 8 and while they may start off with control of a couple, perhaps they could send a fleet to an empty resource zone and it can establish a fortress, which then causes the production zones to increase in potential? That's just my thought.
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