Entry 42 - First Version of PvP Mode

In the next few posts I want to talk about how the gameplay of the new game evolved, what problems I encountered, how I solved them, and why several times I had to make difficult decisions and start development from the very beginning.


Simpsons Warcraft 3 Custom Maps already did it!


From the very beginning of the development, I had a pretty good idea of the gameplay I wanted, because I had already played a similar game. I'm talking about the map for Warcraft 3, which was called Island Troll Tribes. In short, here is the idea of this map. Two teams start in different corners of the island. In each game, all players initially have the first level and a completely empty inventory. First of all, they begin to collect basic resources, such as logs, stones, and choose a place where to set up a base. Then they begin to hunt, chop trees, mine more complex resources, construct buildings that allow them to cook food and produce weapons and other power-ups. By performing certain actions players earn experience and gain levels (in a game that lasts 20-30 minutes players can earn a dozen levels and become much stronger at the end of the game than they were at the beginning). The team needs to become as strong as possible and destroy the opponents' base. In fact, it is a strategy game, except that not a single player manages the entire settlement, but several players. And each player controls one unit.


(an example taken from open access)


Overall the description is very similar to survival games where you build your base. Therefore, this is exactly how I imagined a team battle mode that I could implement on the basis of FoN2. All the necessary mechanics have already been implemented, many resources, buildings, weapons, clothing, food are already available, the network code that allows multiple players to play the same game is also ready. Then what's left to do?

  1. Divide the players into 2 teams. Players must be able to attack players from the other team. Players should also be able to attack the other team's buildings and not be able to use them. Research conducted on the science tables should not be revealed to the enemy team.
  2. Rework the camera. When several people are playing, a lot of things can happen at the same time. To make it easier to control what is happening, the camera should not always be attached to the hero and the player should be able to look around the base and the surrounding area.
  3. Implement fog of war. If you implement a free camera, you also need to make sure that teams can hide their actions from each other.
  4. Prepare the map. The location where the events take place should be compact enough so that the teams can interact with each other. At the same time, the map should contain all the resources necessary for crafting and building.
  5. Rebalance crafting and building. Each match should take 20-30 minutes. During this time, players should have time to develop their settlement from scratch. For this purpose, many crafting chains and recipes should be significantly simplified, and the time intervals for production and resource mining should be reduced by an order of magnitude. Some mechanics should probably be abandoned altogether (such as taming animals and growing crops).

Although the list looks quite impressive, it took me about a month to implement it. The technical part (the first three points) was the easiest and was completed in just a couple of weeks. The whole map at that time consisted of one small island, similar to the first location from FoN2. However, this island also contained small patches of a tropical biome with ferns and bamboos. All available metal was limited to copper. Growing crops, taming animals, changing day and night, temperature and weather changes were completely removed. The pick and axe were combined into a single weapon. Experience was given for destroying rocks and trees.


Next, the testing began. Unfortunately, at that time I had not yet recorded full battles, so I only have small fragments that show the free camera and the fog of war.


Almost immediately it became clear that this kind of gameplay has a lot of drawbacks, and if you want to make a really interesting game, you will have to change a lot of things. I'll tell you about this next time.

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