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Old 31st May 2004, 01:10 AM   #1
[theDAN]
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Tactical Alien Swarm : Gametype idea

Something my mates and I have been thinking about is a different, more tactical way of playing Alien Swarm. All the present maps are preset, linear missions. We propose a more free-form, tactical gametype.

This gametype would use larger (probably MUCH larger) maps, with a higher degree of interactivity (ie, fixing 'shorted' doors, power lines, etc) and an overall goal which the marines are left to achieve on their own. Basically, an entire 'campaign' played on one map, where the team decides its own strategy and methods to achieve the objective.

We'd like to see some more Aliens-inspired stuff, like getting maps from computers, remotely controlling sentry guns and cameras, destroyable lights, other deployables like sensors and lights, etc etc. In a larger map, a team could control the aliens with sealed doors, sentries, and sensors, while attempting to achieve their objective. Ammo would be a larger issue, and marines would have to gather more from supply drops/armouries etc. The games would be longer, and require a higher level of cooperation, but there would be alot of satisfaction in attempting to 'secure' an area of a sprawling map from the aliens while trying to repair the reactor, grab the data, wait for airlift, destroy the eggs, uplink the data or whatever. With the ability to both destroy lighting and provide new fixed lighting, areas could become designated kill zones, etc.

All this is possible, I guess, but the present maps are linear walkthru shooters. Which is hell fun, but just as ONS is better than CTF, I believe a wider, more tactical approach to Aliens-inspired gameplay would be intense
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Old 31st May 2004, 01:57 AM   #2
Phil
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I really like the aspect of controlling the swarm by sealing doors, planting mines, and deploying sentries to create a perimeter while you wait for a hack, a satellite re-alignment or for the dropship. The sound of aliens trying to break down doors and waiting on the other side with your gun ready for when they break through is not only suspenseful but fun. And rushing your team through a doorway with a welder taking up the rear and sealing the door asap is also pretty neat.

I like your ideas about cameras and such to further control the swarm, and I think sensors and other future extras designed for sealing off areas would be cool. A really neat thing to see would be laser walls like the ones in Unreal 2 or the things they used in the movie Congo when they setup camp. These could be unique to techies possibly.
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Old 31st May 2004, 02:04 AM   #3
[theDAN]
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You've got it; it'd increase replayability AND atmosphere. Like in games like Dynasty Warriors where you can affect the gameworld however you want, and if you do nothing, eventually the aliens control everything. It'd be excellent so see this coupled with some kind of alien ecology, so the alien goop spreads over the base as the aliens spread, behemoths emerge, etc etc... and it wouldn't be the same few missions over and over.

A big thing I'd like is simply the ability to deploy terminals for the control of cameras and sentrys, even if you have to plug them into existing 'puters. So then one teammember can keep an eye out for aliens approaching, monitor the sentry status, use the map to give directions, etc.

As you say, defensive infrastructure (even if just cameras or lights) would allow a deeper level of tactics; indeed, any existing mission wouldbe made harder and more flexible by adding an OP to protect and return to after the mission.
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Old 31st May 2004, 02:09 AM   #4
gruntChiballs
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great idea there [theDAN] ...

This is a proposal for Single Player am I correct ?. As I don't think this would work in Multiplayer unless you could save your progress mid - level (If players drop/quit/don't want to play anymore untill a later time etc).

All in all the looks of the suggestion are fantastic
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Old 31st May 2004, 02:17 AM   #5
[theDAN]
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Actually, I think it'd be okay on multi, I've not had any disconnecting problems. It'd suck to be the dead guys, but you could simply have new marines landing in dropships every several minutes, who need to be escorted into the secure zone etc etc ...

The best part is, these ideas we're throwing around don't get in the way of the rest of the community; its a separate gametype, and you'd only need three or four huge maps and you'd have plenty of flexibility.

The hardest part I think would be moving from the current spawning system to a more 'intelligent' alien system where they avoid boxed in areas, and probe for weaknesses.

Sticking to simple things, remote activation and turning of sentries, along with lights and cameras, would allow the marines to control the situation pretty well... any one got any more ideas?
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Old 31st May 2004, 06:32 AM   #6
gruntChiballs
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Great ideas there ;D...

This may be seperate from the subject but related to the MP side of things:

If in MP a certain player keeps TK'ing or is very reckless with they're aim...(as has been experianced by everyone I would think) instead of allowing that player to keep participating in the game, have them be automatically transported to a room/prison type place where they have to spend a certain period of time.....would make it less frustrating for others and less harsh than banning new players with limited skills to the game...

Your thoughts ?
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Old 31st May 2004, 01:31 PM   #7
darkgiga
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I have something to add to this great idea.Maybe they could have an area in a map like a "main control room" where one team member can stay in there and monitor turrets and open doors for team members.He/she could also give orders and display maps in there.
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Old 31st May 2004, 04:13 PM   #8
daveodeth
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This tactical thing sounds the danglies, it would be nice to have teams split up occasionally to perform tasks better.
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Old 31st May 2004, 04:47 PM   #9
Phil
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 Originally Posted by daveodeth:
This tactical thing sounds the danglies, it would be nice to have teams split up occasionally to perform tasks better.
So long as maps aren't too linear this should happen by itself. At least when I play with my friends we split up into teams which works for multiple purposes. We cover mroe ground, are able to fight the swarm on multiple fronts as opposed to just one or two, and it reduces crowding so the explosives guys are less likely to blow the whole team away with a stray shotgun shell or a flamer blowing up an ammo guy :p
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Old 31st May 2004, 05:59 PM   #10
[theDAN]
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My idea was instead of having a control room, the marines would bring their own computers and terminals with them. But I hadn't thought of remote-operated doors! I'd like to see 'broken' doors actually be 'fixable', instead of techs just hacking doors...

As soon as there are less linear maps and a deployable 'map computer' that lets you monitor sentrys and cameras, then we'll already have the need and the means for coordination. So long as the maps are exremely hard, and require planning and teamwork just to weld/mine/sentry up a safe area, then it'd be a blast to take a team out to get access to uplinks/computers/alien nests etc etc.

I was also thinking that this'd make the techs extremely useful; in different parts of the map, there are those autoturrets and cameras, but to use them, the tech would have to physically go to that computer and drop a wireless card in, or set up his remote access, and then be able to control that stuff from the OP; if the 'puters were destroyable objects, this would make gaining control over the existing hardware a risky and exciting venture. Ideas?
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Old 31st May 2004, 06:26 PM   #11
gruntChiballs
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The deployable camera/computer for players would be an invaluable asset, as well as that if they were made destructable (by both Human/AI/Aliens alike) as suggested by [theDAN] it would make it an interesting venture indeed (having an alien suddenly take out a deployable computer/camera would make for more tactical play...having to protect those points where deployable computers are situated would add another great element to this gametype idea
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Old 31st May 2004, 06:43 PM   #12
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Sounds fun, but an epic mapping job..
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Old 31st May 2004, 06:51 PM   #13
[theDAN]
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The maps would be larger yes; but I don't actually see the need for much new development. There already are cameras, autoguns, etc; the marines merely need a method it tap into them. The idea of the marines holed up in a closet while the tech tries to activate the gun outside to stop aliens bashing in the door is good

Indeed, if mapped well, just one map would be fine; different marine 'drop points' and alien spawns could be used to make the map seem different, because you start in a different place and the aliens come from different places, but its just the one map.

Respawning handled as dropships landing would mean you'd either need the safe area to be near the landing pad or otherwise escort the new players in (by opening doors, turning sentries, etc)... and I was thinking airdropped ammo etc to reward players for leaving the safe zone and returning.

Actually, deployable 'ammo bins' would be interesting; it'd let people empty their ammo bags into it, and then go grab another one. Like a central ammo respository, it could be used to fill up ammo bags too. Recovered ammo from dead marines could be stored here as well, ensuring maximum ammo usage. Of course, it'd be extraordinarily explosive...
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Old 31st May 2004, 08:11 PM   #14
Sarge
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I don't have any suggestions to add, but I really like where Dan is going w/ this and I think it'd be extremely fun to play w/ strategic choke points etc.
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Old 31st May 2004, 08:27 PM   #15
[theDAN]
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What's needed now is a map to test the scalability of AS; I'm not much of a mapper but I'll knock something up to see how well it handles large map areas, alot of aliens, etc. Any mappers who'd like to try their hand at a larger, perhaps partially outside (a small 'village' of colony buildings perhaps) should definately try to push the envelope size wise; we'll see what happens in a few days.

Also; how does UT2k4 handle terrian changes? Could a level be partially demolishable?
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Old 1st Jun 2004, 01:10 AM   #16
Ropponmatsu
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I really enjoy this idea!

I like the fact that Tech's would have to activate disabled turrets by visiting that location and repairing it. I envision a nifty little feature where someone in the "command center" could view from a first person perspective what the marine is seeing via a "helmet cam" so you could watch as a marine slowly creeps down a dark hall and then see several aliens leap out of hiding and pounce on the hapless marine as the connection is the lost and the screen goes static! Freaky eh...

I like the idea of not having an infinite supply of ammo, having to go out retrieve ammunition off a dead marines or from ammo lockers and lugging them back to a stockpile. But a dropship would bring in supplies and fresh troops every few minutes.

So if you died then you would be out of the game or say 2-3 minutes which would make you value your life a little bit more then running into some un-secure area alone. Players would have to work togethor to secure an area without casulties.

Obviously the Alien A.I. would definitely need improving. It would have to analyze where marines are focusing there attacks, how strong of a force it would need to put up a reasonable fight with the marines (depending on difficulty, Hard would probably attack with a somewhat overwhelming force). Could there be a system that allows aliens to spawn anywhere on the map? For example if marines retrieve an obj. and must carry it back to there base, aliens can randomly spawn around them and then attack.

"Central command" itself would be prone to attack. If all but 2 of the marines venture out of the base with only several sentries. the A.I. will notice that and recognize that the marine base has weakened defense and may try to attack with a large force. Marines in the field will have to fall back to base to defend, or the Alien Swarm could completely take over the base (no defenses or marines left). The dropship will not be able to land and the marines will be forced to try and re-take the base from the Swarm. Or, if there are tech's left they could set up a small remote center and call a dropship from there and hopefully reconstruct another base.

The list goes on of ideas, and most likely the majority of them are quite a feat to tackle but there nice to think about none-the-less. I'm sure plenty of other people can think of plenty of more ideas. This new game-type would make AS very strategic, an actual action-RTS but with no single high-commander giving orders, players will be forced to work togethor if they want any chance of surviving! With the large maps I'm sure you could 16+ players with little network slowdown.

I'm very impressed by what the AS team has done so far and I have high hopes for v1.1, v2. etc... I'm looking forward to playing this game for a long time to come!
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Old 1st Jun 2004, 01:36 AM   #17
[theDAN]
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An important aspect is that the 'command center' would simply be wherever the marines set up their stuff; a broom closet, or a nice open hallway, or an old medical lab; anywhere they can deploy their computers and start organising. I love the idea of using headcams - that stops the game from becoming too rts-y, with the guys at the command post tensely watching every firefight.

With both 'landing zone' and 'command center' flexibility, each map would be replayable, each inital 'landing zone' would require a different plan to set up and secure, then move out on the objectives.

Objectives could be quite ordinary, but they'd be made more interesting by the inclusion of a longer stay in the level; the first map for instance, would be made much different if your marines landed near the reactor, set to blow in 10 minutes, and they had to decide whether to try and charge in to fix the reactor, or take it slower and safer, but risk running out of time.

Loading maps with triggers would make for lots of interaction; like rerouting and repairing power boxes to reactivate lighting, doors, guns cameras etc.

If you wanted to be really ambitious, you could allow the marines to configure the dropship to bring down what they need... of course, that needs access to an uplink, so off goes a tech with an escort to hook into the communications system.

Also, since everyone hates waiting, why not allow medics to use medical bays? If someone brings a body back to medical, perhaps allow a chance to revive them without waiting for the next dropship? Of course, this needs medical supplies (which will run out), power to the medical systems, etc...

I think all the ideas contributed are great; theres a bright future for Alien Swarm
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