Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

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dartman
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Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by dartman » Mon May 19, 2014 1:55 am

Hey guys, I've had a few ideas for some different gameplay styles in BZFlag the past few days. Most of these could probably be implemented through server settings or plugins, and I am not at all suggesting that these become "official" and ship with future releases of the game that might not ever happen. I just wanted to spit these out while they were on my mind, if maybe someone interested who hosts a server could try it out. :)

Melee mode: Bullets remain stationary, and die instantaneously, so you have to actually get your gun inside of the enemy tank to kill it. Kind of like SR, I guess, but you still have to aim and trigger the death manually; it won't just kill the other guy automatically if he's within a certain radius. Maybe a flag could be set to extend the bullet's lifespan for a much longer period of time, so that you can use them to set traps. Maybe set a limit to how many traps can be set at a time (say, you set three bullets and then after you set a fourth one, the first bullet dies).

Antigravity: TZBZ said he tried something like this before years ago. Everyone spawns with WG, with a practically endless number of flaps (like on HNSH). Gravity would be set to a positive number so that all tanks will naturally rise, while WG Jump Velocity would be set to a negative number so that it can counteract the gravity. Basically, jumping and falling are reversed. The variables would have to be set so that it's easy to control your tank. This could work really well on a map with no floor, with death zones at the top and bottom so you have to prevent yourself from falling or floating too far.

GM modification: Not trying to replace GM or make another flag idea, but as something to try out on a server to make GM feel like a different sort of weapon. Instead of being a "fire and forget" sort of weapon, this would give you only one GM that you have to guide towards the enemy, so you have to invest some attention into the shot. The GM would move failrly slowly, but have a long lifespan, good turning, and maybe a larger size. You would still control it by locking onto things, but you might have to maneuver it around obstacles to make it reach the target, which you would have to do by changing your lock since I highly doubt BZFlag will ever allow direct control over GMs (and I'm not asking for that). Might be difficult to pull off in practice, but maybe you could use your teammate's positions to help you aim. Also, since you have to pay more attention to the path of a shot, this could leave you vulnerable to attack from other players. As a point of comparison, think of this as being sort of like Snake's side-B missile move in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, if any of you are familiar with that. If not, go to 0:58 here to see what I'm talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV-LKZdhsVc

I think that's about it. Love 'em? hate 'em? Let me know what you think.

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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by ZE BOZZ » Mon May 19, 2014 2:34 am

Interesting ideas. The Melee mode idea would be kinda complicated. The Gm idea I have honestly no clue how to do that, though it sounds awesome. The Antigravity idea, as you said earlier, is one of the ones you could begin to do just by adjusting the server settings.I will mess around on my servers a bit and see what I can make happen. I like the ideas though! I'm sure someone much more capable than myself could figure out a great way to put some of your ideas into play. There are always ways to improve
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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by dartman » Mon May 19, 2014 2:51 am

TZBZ and I were playing around with some of these ideas on his server for a bit today. The main complications we ran into with Melee mode were preventing tanks from running into their own bullets, and making sure the shots remain stationary even if they are shot while moving backwards. Maybe a plugin could be used to cancel out any momentum the bullets have.

GM has several server settings that might make the idea possible (adlife, turnangle, size), so with enough tweaking it might be able to work. But a plugin might be necessary to control the GM shot speed.

Antigravity should be totally possible without plugins, but it would need a good map and some finely-tuned settings to make it easy to control.

I have a few other ideas that could add onto these (i.e. add SW splash damage to the large GM since it might be difficult to maneuver without manual control; make traps in melee mode explode like mines/stationary KR bullets when touched; have a map with contrasting areas of normal gravity and antigravity), but for now just the basic ideas would be good enough to start with.

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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by Mopar Madness » Mon May 19, 2014 12:42 pm

Melee would not be complicated at all, actually you wouldn't even need a plugin. All you have to do is set the reload speed of the tank to reload super quick (reload speed also affects bullet life). You should have the bullet move at regular speed since the bullet would need to move from the spawn point in the tank to the edge of the turret, but that's a low number, you can find it somewhere on the wiki under tank dimensions. Just gotta do a little math. If you don't want the super fast reload time that goes with it, force everybody to use lasers and set the laser distance super low and you can use the laser reload value to control the reload.

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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by blast » Mon May 19, 2014 8:11 pm

You can set the reload time independent of the shot lifetime, from what I recall. The _reloadTime defaults to "_shotRange / _shotSpeed", so you could just manually set _reloadTime to a numeric value based on the normal values of _shotRange and _shotSpeed, and then set _shotRange to a small value.
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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by Pac-Man » Tue May 20, 2014 7:22 am

Melee: Had the idea of shooting stationary bullets for a long time but never thought of a map style where it would be playable. Closest I got to was collecting data on HiX servers and then putting deadly bullets (map objects) where ever people died. Then people would have to think of new/obscure/risky paths to get to bases etc. (Though you could drop a flag where it's impossible to recover.)

Antigravity: A lot of mapmakers have independently thought of this. Problem was in 2.0 it was not possible to jump downward with wings no matter what server settings. I doubt it was changed in 2.4 either.

GM modification: To modify GM paths according to player motion is not totally impossible but it is basically impossible. Instead the idea is to have remote control of shockwaves or clusters of bullets. This is exactly what I do with one of my custom flags called Guided Ghost. Again the tricky part is to make it playable; how can you make the shot cluster have intuitive controls and give intuitive feedback about targeting direction?
blast wrote:You can set the reload time independent of the shot lifetime, from what I recall.
Only server plugins can generate shots with different lifetime. Otherwise for player shots, reload time is exactly the same as how long the shot lasts. The long standing bug related to shotRange and shotSpeed is that if they aren't concordant with reloadTime then players that join after the change in server variable can only shoot "broken bullets" that they see but the server doesn't pass them on to other players because they are deemed to be illegitimate. The first players to join the server can kill anyone but the late joiners can't kill anyone.

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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by blast » Tue May 20, 2014 10:43 am

Pac-Man wrote:
blast wrote:You can set the reload time independent of the shot lifetime, from what I recall.
Only server plugins can generate shots with different lifetime. Otherwise for player shots, reload time is exactly the same as how long the shot lasts. The long standing bug related to shotRange and shotSpeed is that if they aren't concordant with reloadTime then players that join after the change in server variable can only shoot "broken bullets" that they see but the server doesn't pass them on to other players because they are deemed to be illegitimate. The first players to join the server can kill anyone but the late joiners can't kill anyone.
Yeah, JeffM mentioned that on IRC last night. Seems that _shotRange is only used by robot players to know if they can hit a target, but that assumption is wrong since apparently _shotRange isn't the range of the shots.... The bug for this was marked as "invalid", but I feel that is incorrect.
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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by JeffM » Tue May 20, 2014 6:25 pm

It's a technical limitation. We only store MaxShots shots per player, and that includes those in flight. So if the reload time and shot life times added up to where you could have MORE then MaxShots alive at any one time, we'd not have anywhere to store them. So it's a bit more then a simple "bug". The bug should be to rename that badly named variable :)

We do need to solve the problem, but to do that we have to redo our entire shot management system. The design has been complete for years and several attempts to implement it have been tried but nobody has finished it. Needless to say it'd break protocol :).

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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by optic delusion » Wed May 28, 2014 2:39 am

The problem with antigravity is keeping them from flying up into the wild blue yonder. You need a ceiling, and they can't spawn above it.
Looking at my old files, I tried this in late 2006 and again in Jan 2008. Neither time was I completely successful.
I had a real problem trying to keep tanks inside the play area. They'd lag thru the ceiling (on purpose sometimes).
You had to keep a small portion of the play-area floor uncovered, (exposed to the sky) , or the spawn algorithm would go bonkers... "just dropping the sucker in"... Since BZ 2.4, I *think* this limitation has been solved.

In the second map I used a low ceiling and of course _shotsKeepVertical. The Idea was to have tanks without wings able to kill the winged freaks. It worked out OK but wings has much better control over it's vertical speed, so it RULED .
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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by dartman » Wed May 28, 2014 4:43 am

I was thinking you could just make it so the map has no floor or ceiling (say, a large vertical tube) and the player dies if he either floats too far up or falls too far down. Could be even cooler if the tube could be split long-ways so that one half is anti-gravity and the other is normal gravity, with a barrier in the middle that is either drive-through or solid with a few small openings to allow tanks to pass from one side to the other. But I'm not sure if there can even be two kinds of gravity settings on the same server based on map location. Would it be possible for a plugin to do something like that?

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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by dartman » Wed May 28, 2014 5:35 am

This is sort of along the lines of what I was thinking of above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trXY24V52LE

Disregard the glitch the guy is trying to show off, as well as most of the outer areas of the stage. But notice how there's this energy lift thing that he can hop in and ride upwards, but if he hits the top, he dies. Same thing if he falls through the hole at the bottom, so he has to carefully maneuver himself to avoid reaching either extreme.

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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by JeffM » Wed May 28, 2014 5:19 pm

The current game doesn't support different gravity in different areas, just the setting of it's acceleration and direction. The only other force effect is a Physics Driver that affects a tank when it hits an object, not as it moves through a volume.

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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by dartman » Wed May 28, 2014 5:47 pm

Hmm...if I remember correctly, aren't there different settings for default gravity and Wings-gravity? And if so, would it be possible to get the same effect by setting those variables differently from each other and having the server automatically give/take the Wings flag from players in specific areas?

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Re: Some fun/weird gameplay ideas

Post by JeffM » Wed May 28, 2014 6:00 pm

Yes but that has several issues.
1) the server does not accurately track client position
2) there is lag
3) players could not have any other flags
4) Players can drop flags

It would be a buggy hack at the most

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