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Old 17th Jun 2004, 08:58 AM   #1
jerryku
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Alien Swarm RTS!

I play Natural Selection a lot, which is an Aliens-themed real-time strategy/ multiplayer First person shooter hybrid mod for Half-Life. It's Marines vs Aliens, with both teams fighting over resource nodes to get money, which are then used to purchase better weapons/alien forms/upgrades. I don't actually enjoy the game's core combat mechanics very much (definately the least enjoyable FPS game I play), but the fact that the game objectives are always changing keeps me coming back for more. Meanwhile, Alien Swarm's gameplay is very enjoyable, while a major downside to AS is the never-changing mission objectives... forcing you to wait for the slow trickle of custom maps and so forth.

So while I was playing NS tonight, I thought "Hey, if you could combine Alien Swarm's action packed fun gameplay with Natural Selection's real-time strategy side... you'd have a best seller on your hands."

So yeah, just a thought
I think if something like this were to be done, the easiest route would be to where the Marine team was exactly as it is right now. No commander, just a group of players... and perhaps a map that keeps track of everything. The Marines would have many objectives to fulfill, as usual.

Meanwhile, the Alien team would only consist of one or two players. And these players would be in control of their alien AI army. The Alien team's objective would be to wipe out the marine team / stop them from completing their objectives. If you've ever played the game Dungeon Keeper, you probably have an idea of what I mean. You could call the players Alien Overlords. And these Overlords would direct their aliens around the map, hunting down the marines. Examples: How many aliens do you leave to protect the Hive? How many aliens do you send to hunt the marines in free-roam AI mode? How many should setup an ambush in location A, location B?

Finally, a resource system could be thrown in that lets both teams compete over resources in order to respawn their forces.

Well that's my dream game idea anyway
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Old 17th Jun 2004, 03:07 PM   #2
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So, you want NS in topdown shooter view with the aliens as player-controlled bots? Also, res is used to respawn players/bots instead of purchase structures/upgrades/whatever? I think it would be cool if it was basically top-down NS w/ aliens having a commander type character too. However, aliens shouldn't be bots IMO. Aliens gain personal res that they can spend on upgrades/life forms themselves by killing/damaging marines, and the alien commander gets the res taken from res nodes. He can purchase hives/structures or transfer res to players for use in life forms/etc. Sounds kinda cool. Maps would be more NS style I think.
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Old 17th Jun 2004, 03:23 PM   #3
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Why do so many people want a NS clone? Why not just play NS? That's what it's there for...
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Old 17th Jun 2004, 05:00 PM   #4
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My guess would be because the half-life engine is very old and ugly, not to mention unstable, inefficient, and often buggy. All of this is due to the fact that it was built off the Quake 1 engine and heavily modified first by Valve and again by mod developers; the result is a Frankenstein-like engine with too many limitations.

Meanwhile, the UT2004 engine is stable, highly-polished, fast, and pretty. Which would you prefer to have a mod on?
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Old 17th Jun 2004, 09:59 PM   #5
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Back in 98 or whenever HL came out, the engine was fine. Judging by the number of extremely successful mods that are still around, the engine isn't bad for what is was made to do. However, it does have limitations as to map size and such. Since it's so old, it can't handle larger polycounts, true. But personally, I think that NS is pretty nice, graphically. I'd say maps are kinda ugly compared to newer games, but NS has nice models and stuff. Games like 2k4 or it's mod RO certainly have some impressive eye candy, but I play HL mods more than 2k4 and mods. I get sub-30 FPS in some areas on 2k4 and mods, and probably 75% of NS players have inferior computers to mine. Many are still on like P3's. If NS were magically ported to 2k4, I bet the HL version would still have 80% of it's current players.

Also, NS is unstable and buggy? Errr, where? when? It's not like AS is bugless (yes, I realise AS is newer). NS incorporates things like dropping equipment/chambers, so naturally it has some obstacles to overcome in that area. I think NS does very will in this area.

Many of the advantages of the 2k4 engine are pointless in NS. Bigger map? NS maps are definately large enough. NS does not use vehicles and will not. It would be like putting DoD on the BF1942/BFV engine. Not worth it, only slightly improved.
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Old 18th Jun 2004, 12:04 AM   #6
jerryku
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My idea wasn't a NS clone precisely because the amount of work required to transfer AS into an NS clone would be massive. So I tried to maintain the AS format as much as possible in my idea. Remember that NS took years to implement to its stinking pile of dung format it is in now ;-)

Plus, I've always believed NS to be an extremely flawed game. if it ever goes retail it will be a huge failure (which is why it's NOT going retail, every game publisher realises it's a huge stinknig mess that only hardcore gamers appreciate). So I don't actualyl want a clone. But I do want dynamic mission objectivse that are changing because of player actions. This makes the standard map really fun, because the gameplay can unfold in so many non-linear ways.

Anyway, if you read my first post closely you will see that i'm extremely fond of AS's combat gameplay, while I find NS's combat to really poorly done. That's why I'm not asking for a clone, i'm asking for a deeper AS. Ahem, but this is just a dream idea for discussion purposes. So nevermind
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Old 18th Jun 2004, 07:39 AM   #7
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I would agree that the idea of a alien-controlling player entity sounds good; it'd be the 'easiest' way to implement some flexibility on maps, for instance, if alien behaviours could be influenced somewhat by an Evil Player(tm), even if it was extremely basic like 'run away now' or 'wait in the vents' etc etc.
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Old 18th Jun 2004, 08:36 AM   #8
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another mod.

I like NatSelection, but i dont think that AS should implement such features like in NatSelection.

It is a nice idea for a totally new Mod for UT2k4 - remember, that in NAtSelection the textures changed colors and appearence. Although as Alien you should be able to walk at the ceiling, so it wouldnt make sense in AS.
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Old 18th Jun 2004, 09:28 AM   #9
Akalamanaia
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Enyone played Aliens Versus Predator:Extinction Strategy game for Consoles?That kind of gameplay would be fun(each alien player making its own hive and battling against each other or team against the marines)
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Old 18th Jun 2004, 01:27 PM   #10
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NS style gameplay might feel a bit clunky on the current AS maps, since they're all planned for linear traversal and there isn't as much strategy for the aliens.

I think that a mod like that should be made, but AS probably isn't a good base for it... AS was built around a coop enviroment, not a competitive one.
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