Author Topic: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind  (Read 2490 times)

Offline nas1m

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,254
New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« on: August 05, 2014, 08:11:05 AM »
Just an (unfinished) idea I just had.

The Motivation:
I often find myself wishing for being able to play shorter, more streamlined campaigns of Bionic. This may be caused by my playstyle (I tend to go after every bot in each mission and check every piece of loot for benefits), but even if going after each and every Robot Command Center, the remaining number of (25? 30?) days still feel fairly long to me. I would prefer a duration of 10-25 days/missions here.

The Idea:
  • Halve the number of days until the final confrontation
  • Bots get double benefits from each passing day (with regard to the selected difficulty)
  • Robot Command Centers give the same benefit (i.e. the number of days they take from the clock is halved as well)
  • Factories give double benefits (i.e. they take twice as many levels form the bots)
  • Equipment stats for exos are scaled by some factor as well, although I am not sure about the exact value here, see below)
  • Map size, i.e. the number of generated missions might have to be halved a swell to provide the player the means to actually reach the juicy special targets

To let the player have a chance equipment benefits would likely have to be scaled as well as said above - at least somewhat. But if we scale them by the same degree (i.e. 2x), it would likely be no additional challenge, right?
This is the part where I am not yet sure of how to accomplish this best :-\...

As I said, this all is still fairly half-baked, I know, but maybe somebody is able to fill in some of the gaps :).

What do you guys think?


EDIT:
Thinking about this further, maybe there is no need to scale anything at all to make for a shorter, more streamlined game (of approx. halved duration), aside from the following:
  • The number of days until the final confrontation needs to be halved (naturally)
  • The number of days the predesigned bot mix is used needs to be halved
  • The minimum spawn day counts for bot types need to be halved
  • The number of days cut by destroying a Robot Command Center needs to be halved)
  • Map size *could* be halved

Stats would stay somewhat lower all through the game, but this would not necessarily be a problem right?
If it is, this could be remedied by "simply" using a progression that runs twice as fast, both for bot stats as well as Exo part stats. At least in theory?

If then additional challenge is wanted aside from the simple reduction of overall campaign length, these factors could be tweaked differently for both factions. Thoughts?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 08:25:06 AM by nas1m »
Craving some more color and variety in your next Bionic run? Grab a boost and a couple of custom floors!

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,506
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2014, 09:30:50 AM »
Something like this could work, yes, though I'm not sure what you mean by halving map size.  If you mean the overall city map that basically needs to fully populate its graph or it won't work right.  But like you said it's not strictly necessary that it do that.

Anyway, I have some ideas on how to make the customization phase not take so long (in terms of how long it takes to check and consider every piece of loot, etc), and I think that might help with the game feeling too long. 

But after that we could also add this as an option for basically a half-length campaign.  Possibly by just making every normal mission take 2 days instead of 1, and that might handle it right there.


Overall schedule-wise I'd like to:
- get another polish update out this week
- next week, if things are looking stable, make it an official update
- the week after that, start on more polish, including the customization changes
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline nas1m

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,254
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2014, 10:00:55 AM »
Something like this could work, yes, though I'm not sure what you mean by halving map size.  If you mean the overall city map that basically needs to fully populate its graph or it won't work right.  But like you said it's not strictly necessary that it do that.
I was indeed thinking about a smaller city map with half as much missions. The thought behind it being that the player might have trouble to reach certain "juicy" missions (like Factories etc.) otherwise. Do you think it could work to tweak graph creation in a way that puts all the juicy stuff within X hops of the player HQ and simply omit to show the missions on the outer rim?

As a related question: Do you think it would be possible (mid-term that is) to bring Bionic to take handcrafted maps and mission layouts? I am thinking of hand-crafted  alternates to port city here. As I said probably waaay mid-term ;). Just interested whether this is at all possible given Bionic's overall code structure.
 
Anyway, I have some ideas on how to make the customization phase not take so long (in terms of how long it takes to check and consider every piece of loot, etc), and I think that might help with the game feeling too long.
I would definitely appreciate this, yes. Sometimes I think the problem is the sheer amount of effects every piece of loot provides. Weighing one a given combination of N benefits with another combination of M benefits really gets hairy after a while...

But after that we could also add this as an option for basically a half-length campaign.  Possibly by just making every normal mission take 2 days instead of 1, and that might handle it right there.
Nice! I would enjoy a shorter campaign very much I think (and I think I am not alone at this).

Overall schedule-wise I'd like to:
- get another polish update out this week
- next week, if things are looking stable, make it an official update
- the week after that, start on more polish, including the customization changes
Sounds good!

Did you have a chance to look at my propositions from the 1.012 thread? Anything doable among them?
I think these would make the game a lot smoother/potentially less frustrating.

EDIT:
And if we really get to call the new "fast" mode/conduct "No time to grind" we are bound to think of a way to introduce a DiggleBot using the existing assets :). Fair is fair ;D...
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 10:04:40 AM by nas1m »
Craving some more color and variety in your next Bionic run? Grab a boost and a couple of custom floors!

Offline ScrObot

  • Newbie Mark III
  • *
  • Posts: 47
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 07:53:22 PM »
I'm not sure what you're looking at for customization changes, but I figured I'd dump a couple thoughts here -- I can Mantis them if you'd like.

  • Not being to equip or sell items directly from the Archive view is annoying to me.
  • If the Store view could be integrated as another tab in the normal customize screen, that'd be really great. Right now there's no way to compare the items in the store with what you have equipped, which leads to a lot of going back and forth and guessing -- and if you buy and item you actually don't need, you're out a chunk of money due buyback being a percentage of the sale price. (Perhaps an alternative would be to allow 100% buyback value if you haven't gone into a mission since buying that item -- but that sounds like a lot of work too. ;))
  • With the above -- do we need "Equipped" as a tab? Does anyone actually use that?

Bonus!

  • On the City Map screen, it'd be cool if there was another panel along the side or bottom with an icon for each type of mission, and when you hovered/clicked on it, it would highlight all of those missions on the map (same style as the new mission tagging, but in a different color). And maybe shift-click on it to tag/untag all of them. I often have a hard time finding the Reactor missions, as the icon is similar to the Lion's Den and Salvage icons.

Offline nas1m

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,254
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2014, 01:51:59 AM »
I'm not sure what you're looking at for customization changes, but I figured I'd dump a couple thoughts here -- I can Mantis them if you'd like.

  • Not being to equip or sell items directly from the Archive view is annoying to me.
  • If the Store view could be integrated as another tab in the normal customize screen, that'd be really great. Right now there's no way to compare the items in the store with what you have equipped, which leads to a lot of going back and forth and guessing -- and if you buy and item you actually don't need, you're out a chunk of money due buyback being a percentage of the sale price. (Perhaps an alternative would be to allow 100% buyback value if you haven't gone into a mission since buying that item -- but that sounds like a lot of work too. ;))
  • With the above -- do we need "Equipped" as a tab? Does anyone actually use that?
1: Selling items is possible by now using shift+rightclick. I agree on the equip part :).
2: Seconded. I also mantised this somewhere.
3: Never used it. Seconded!

The bonus idea sounds useful as well.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 01:55:35 AM by nas1m »
Craving some more color and variety in your next Bionic run? Grab a boost and a couple of custom floors!

Offline Aeson

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 176
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 02:35:32 PM »
Quote
I was indeed thinking about a smaller city map with half as much missions. The thought behind it being that the player might have trouble to reach certain "juicy" missions (like Factories etc.) otherwise. Do you think it could work to tweak graph creation in a way that puts all the juicy stuff within X hops of the player HQ and simply omit to show the missions on the outer rim?
An alternative to tweaking the graph creation could be to double (or maybe add 1?) to the city map mission/scouting range of each of the pilots. This would let you cover a similar fraction of the map to what you'd hit in a normal game, to keep the difficulty from jumping too much from being unable to pick up Epic exos, although it also makes the game a bit easier since it lets you be a lot more choosy about what missions you actually perform.

Another alternative would be for this setting to cause the outer rim missions to just spawn barricades and firefights so that while the map is fully populated and you can theoretically go anywhere, there's just little point to going towards the outer half of the map because all the rewarding missions are closer in. A further thought would be to create a special mission type similar to the firefights and barricades just to specifically advertise that there's nothing interesting but more of the same beyond this point, to avoid giving the region the appearance of being one of those clusters of less useful missions that might hide something interesting just a mission or two beyond the point you can see.

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,506
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 02:44:07 PM »
Btw, the graph itself, in terms of where the nodes are and which nodes connect to which other nodes, is not randomly generated.  That's the same every time.  The randomization comes in what type it assigns to each node (including the HQ node, and thus your starting position).

But Aeson's idea of just increasing the city-scouting-range of all pilots (probably by 1, at least for the first try) would probably solve the problem very neatly.

So basically this conduct could be implemented by two simple changes:
- Each normal mission consumes 2 days instead of 1.  Probably would leave the robot control centers at 5 days.
- Each pilot's city-scouting-range is increased by 1.  Axis still has the advantage there (since in graph-depth thing each "point" counts for a whole lot more than the previous one).

I'd rather wait until after the next official release so we can get some of the new goodies out to a broader crowd, but I'll certainly keep this in mind for then.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline nas1m

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,254
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2014, 03:28:58 PM »
Axis still has the advantage there (since in graph-depth thing each "point" counts for a whole lot more than the previous one).
I don't think I get what you are saying here. Isn't being able to take missions one extra jump away exactly what Axis special ability is and what Aeson proposed as a "fix" for certain missions being too hard to reach?
Or do you simply want to provide the player with the visibility part of the ability, but not the ability to take a mission further than one hop away ????
 
I'd rather wait until after the next official release so we can get some of the new goodies out to a broader crowd, but I'll certainly keep this in mind for then.
Cool :)!
Craving some more color and variety in your next Bionic run? Grab a boost and a couple of custom floors!

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,506
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2014, 03:30:39 PM »
Axis still has the advantage there (since in graph-depth thing each "point" counts for a whole lot more than the previous one).
I don't think I get what you are saying here. Isn't being able to take missions one extra jump away exactly what Axis special ability is and what Aeson proposed as a "fix" for certain missions being too hard to reach?
Or do you simply want to provide the player with the visibility part of the ability, but not the ability to take a mission further than one hop away ????
I mean that all pilots will get +1 to that range.  So Axis's will still be further than everyone else.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline nas1m

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,254
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2014, 03:33:38 PM »
I see. That would be okay I guess ;).
Craving some more color and variety in your next Bionic run? Grab a boost and a couple of custom floors!

Offline Teal_Blue

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 935
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2014, 01:20:09 PM »
I know Bionic is on a rather delicate upgrade phase, thank you for the nice additions and love for a game that is really cool!. But was wondering if the player could mod some areaa, as nas1m mentioned, (city maps and mission floors...) and if you could add the stats area and the art area for the enemies, then it could allow the players to add new enemies art and stats. I suppose we would have to be able to name them too wouldn't we? But if you did then the player could add  'bots or even aliens or humans or whatever, on new city maps and new mission maps.

That could allow the players to increase the difficulty of a the game, or for a single map, or change up map styles or the enemies, bots, aliens or humans etc that could be added to that map. It could mean a whole bunch of player added maps and enemies to extend the game life of Bionic.

Making some 'cake walk' maps for beginners or 'near impossible' maps for players that like that sort of thing.
Does that sound workable?

-Teal

« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 01:27:46 PM by Teal_Blue »

Offline Aeson

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 176
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2014, 11:40:00 PM »
This isn't exactly related to the topic at hand, but ...

But if you did then the player could add  'bots or even aliens or humans or whatever, on new city maps and new mission maps.
I don't know about the new enemy types, exo types, or mission types, but it is certainly already possible to create a new city map and associated grid, and it may be possible to have both the user-created map and the default Port City map in the game at the same time.

If you wanted to create a new user-defined city map, then there are two ways you can approach doing this: way one is to find the current city map information and overwrite it with whatever you want your new city map to be; there is a possibility that this will not work if you change the city map image size (4096x2400, PNG format) or the number of grid nodes (125 nodes and about 135 connections).

Way two is to figure out how to insert your own city map into the game. This would require you to create a new city map image (the one included with the game is in PNG format with 4096x2400 pixels; I don't know if it has an alpha channel as I haven't looked into it) and a city grid map (the one included in the game is a list in XML format and contains 125 nodes and a number of connections between the nodes), and I suspect that you would need to go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Bionic_Dues\RuntimeData\Language\en and edit the file a_bionic.XML found within that folder to include the lines

<ln id="CityMapType_Name_PortCity">Your City Name</ln>
<ln id="CityMapType_Desc_PortCity">Your City Description</ln>

possibly with modifications to the tags (i.e. you may need to change the name of the city in the tag name, though I would hope not). The city map image and the city map grid node/connection listing are found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Bionic_Dues\RuntimeData\Images; the grid node/connection listing for the map provided by the game is PortCity.XML, while the map image is PortCity.PNG.

Grid node coordinates appear to be pixel coordinates in PortCity.PNG, with the horizontal coordinate listed first. My assumption would be that grid coordinates start at 0,0 in the upper left hand corner of the map image, with positive down and to the right, though I may be mistaken on this. I do not know whether or not the game requires the map image to be the same size as PortCity.PNG is, but if it does, that image is 4096x2400 pixels, nor do I know if the game requires an alpha channel for the city map. Grid node connections appear to be point to point and bidirectional (i.e. you do not need to list node 18 as being connected to node 17 if node 17 is listed as being connected to node 18, which suggests that a good way of creating your node connection list is to do so in order until you run out of nodes with connections to nodes whose node number is greater than their own).

I was unable to find references to Port City, PortCity, Port, or City (case insensitive) in any files other than the ones I have listed above, though that does not necessarily mean that there are no additional locations which would require modification before you would be able to add your own city maps into the game. I expect that Way 1 would work, at least as long as the total number of grid nodes and connections and the image size were unchanged (it may work even if the total number of grid nodes and connections, and the image size, were changed, so long as the game does not check to ensure that these files match a certain set of parameters based on their default condition); Way 2 would be the better way to do things if it does work, but might not depending on what the game expects to see for a city map to work.

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,506
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2014, 10:03:14 AM »
The game does indeed support having multiple options for which city you play a game in (though it will just be one city per-game, no cross-city stuff).

But to actually add one (rather than replacing the port city one, which you could do by yourself) I'd need to add an entry to the city-type enum.  But I could add some "Custom" ones that would be ignored by the game unless it found matching files, basically what I did with the floor types and floor edge types so nas1m could mod those without competing for space with the stock assets.  Though there'd be a few more wrinkles in this case like having a separate language file (modifications to a_bionic.xml will typically be overwritten with every update).

Possibly something I could add support for in  the next few weeks, if anyone is actually serious about cooking up their own city :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline nas1m

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,254
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2014, 10:48:33 AM »
The game does indeed support having multiple options for which city you play a game in (though it will just be one city per-game, no cross-city stuff).

But to actually add one (rather than replacing the port city one, which you could do by yourself) I'd need to add an entry to the city-type enum.  But I could add some "Custom" ones that would be ignored by the game unless it found matching files, basically what I did with the floor types and floor edge types so nas1m could mod those without competing for space with the stock assets.  Though there'd be a few more wrinkles in this case like having a separate language file (modifications to a_bionic.xml will typically be overwritten with every update).

Possibly something I could add support for in  the next few weeks, if anyone is actually serious about cooking up their own city :)
I would like to give this a try. Sometime ;).

Any chance to expose some mapgen parameters as well?
This could make custom cities really interesting...
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 10:53:35 AM by nas1m »
Craving some more color and variety in your next Bionic run? Grab a boost and a couple of custom floors!

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,506
Re: New conduct idea: No Time To Grind
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2014, 11:25:35 AM »
Any chance to expose some mapgen parameters as well?
This could make custom cities really interesting...
That would be considerably more involved, but it can be done.  I'd probably prefer that you tell me what you want done differently (or optionally differently) and I try to make it happen ;)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!