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  • #8855
    SiriusSirius
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 406

    There is something I recently realized about the robots in Overload so far. They are all really, really tough – it takes a lot of shots to kill them with most weapons.

    I recall the early robots in Descent were not like that (there were certainly exceptions; we all remember the red homing missile hulks). They would often die in a handful of hits from basic weapons. Is this a conscious change in direction for Overload, or are we just seeing later-game robots at the moment – not the ones a player might encounter in the first level?

    #8918
    hypersonic
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 18
    Replies: 220

    I rather enjoy playing a 6DOF carnival shooting gallery mowing down robots left and right like pinatas! Too much time spent on each non-boss robot kind of puts a damper on the fun factor, except when chasing down the thief bot. Having hordes of robots attack you at same time causes one to weave around like a bat out hell dodging the multitude of projectiles, which is fun. Though instant hit (or almost instant) robots like Drillers sort of nullify this, all the weaving in the world can’t dodge those, rather forcing you duck and shoot around corners.

    #8919
    Haunted ParraspHaunted Parrasp
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 31
    Replies: 428

    You could dodge drillers if you were far enough away — the hitscan was timed.

    Ship’s cat, MPSV Iberia
    Check out his original music @ http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com/

    #8920
    hypersonic
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 18
    Replies: 220

    Ya you could dodge if far enough away. Technically Vulcan shots are projectiles that travel at 500 units/second, while other projectiles travel between 135 and 200 units/second. You could change the graphic to make Vulcan projectiles visible. In most rooms in Descent 500 units/second might as well be the same as instant as far as dodging is concerned, Drillers are often placed just around corners where from the gun barrel to your ship’s hull is say a hundred or so milliseconds away.

    #8930
    TwoCablesTwoCables
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 118
    Replies: 1474

    I remember Luke saying way back during the Kickstarter that the bots we’re facing here are bots that would more typically be seen later in the game. Even so, I thoroughly enjoy that it takes several shots to destroy each of them (some require more than others) because of the following (in no real particular order, I’m just “pouring myself onto the page”, so to speak):

    – They gradually break apart until they finally blow up
    – It’s more fun, interesting and challenging
    – There’s a stronger sense of what some call “the dance”
    – There’s a good amount of ‘give and take’ when fighting the bots
    – You get the pleasure of having to fight more intelligently instead of just mindlessly going in and plowing through the bots.
    – You have to be more strategic about how you fight these bots, which is more fun and interesting and challenging.
    – It’s more fun messing around with the bots instead of just shooting them a couple of times and then being done, especially since they’re going to have a superior AI in the finished game to what we’re seeing now.
    – You have the freedom/ability to weaken all the bots in the room bit by bit, lure them into a bottleneck, and then fire a Falcon at one of them and watch all of them blow up simultaneously. It’s hilarious and quite fun.
    – You have a greater sense of danger, which again makes it more fun, interesting and challenging
    – The bots have the ability to escape from you, which keeps things interesting and challenging and fun
    – It sorta increases the creepiness of the bots, compared to what it would be like if much less was required to destroy them
    – It increases the immersiveness by making you more engaged with each bot.

    I truly believe it would be an inferior game if these bots only required a few hits before they blew up. Yes, it would be a faster game, but then it wouldn’t really be as fun or as interesting or as challenging unless you increased the number of bots or gave them weapons that are more powerful, or made them harder to hit, etc. I think their current durability is one of the many reasons why this game is as awesome as it is.

    Prepare for Overload…

    #8933
    hypersonic
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 18
    Replies: 220

    A dance is usually more intricate when dodging hordes of bots and projectiles from many directions all at the same time, something that VR and surround screens will greatly assist in, allowing more situational awareness so that you can dodge more intelligently rather than blindly going this way or that way.

    I don’t suggest just 1 or 2 shots to take them out, but it can get tiresome having to unload dozens of shots onto the same robot, there should be a good balance and variety. Having massive robot HP doesn’t necessarily mean you need to strategize more, it could simply mean you need to grind more, which doesn’t equate to having more fun. Having a few fast and a few high HP robots here and there would be great, as long as it’s not overdone. Descent 2 had a good mix. You could have a high sense of danger simply due to being outnumbered by robots that deal lethal DPS even if they don’t have high HP.

    #8936
    TwoCablesTwoCables
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 118
    Replies: 1474

    There’s already a very good growing balance and variety as seen in the August 2016 Demo. As Luke or Mike said way back during the Kickstarter, these bots are the kind you would typically see much later on in the game. They said that these aren’t the first bots we will encounter and the first bots will be much easier and have a much lower HP, as is tradition. It’s not going to be a game full of bots that all have high HPs. I think we can rest assured that RP isn’t going to disappoint us on this.

    In the August 2016 Demo, we have two new bots and one of them has a super-low HP. It’s just a weak little bot that has one little cannon on it and fires that standard energy ball or plasma ball that the weaker Recoil uses.

    Besides, you can always lower the HP value of all bots by just choosing a lower difficulty level. At the easiest difficulty level, that new weak bot just needs two Impulse shots to kill. Shoot him with a Falcon instead, and he just pops. lol Shoot a full swarm with a Devastator, and all of them die.

    I e-mailed Revival Productions though to get their answer on this because I think it’s needed.

    Prepare for Overload…

    #8937
    Luke Schneider
    Overload Team
    Topics: 10
    Replies: 115

    We’ve been tweaking lots of stuff lately, including some robot’s armor amounts. The smaller bots are a little less durable, while the larger ones have mostly stayed the same, and there are now super-bots that appear once in a while that are even tougher (in Challenge Mode). The focus of the PAX West demo has been Challenge Mode, and beta backers will get it after PAX so they can see all the changes (too many to remember/list).

    Challenge Mode is now *very* challenging and reaching 50 kills (in the appropriate difficulty for your skill) is now a major accomplishment.

    Luke

    #8938
    TwoCablesTwoCables
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 118
    Replies: 1474

    We’ve been tweaking lots of stuff lately, including some robot’s armor amounts. The smaller bots are a little less durable, while the larger ones have mostly stayed the same, and there are now super-bots that appear once in a while that are even tougher (in Challenge Mode). The focus of the PAX West demo has been Challenge Mode, and beta backers will get it after PAX so they can see all the changes (too many to remember/list).

    Challenge Mode is now *very* challenging and reaching 50 kills (in the appropriate difficulty for your skill) is now a major accomplishment.

    Luke

    Oh wow. 🙂 Thanks, Luke!!

    Come on, Time! Go faster! hehe

    Prepare for Overload…

    #8961
    LotharBot
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 1
    Replies: 133

    Interesting — I just wrote an e-mail about this very topic. May as well post it here too:

    one of the most influential things I read in my development as a pilot was an article about how to deal with a dynamically changing environment, anything from military combat to sports to video games. Air Force Colonel John Boyd describes the concept of an “OODA Loop” — observe, orient, decide, act (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop ). The basic idea is, you come in to a new situation, see what’s happening, figure out how you fit in to it, decide how to affect it, and then execute your plan. And then, as a result of your action and other actions, the environment changes, and you again observe, orient, decide, and act, over and over again until you either win or lose. One of Colonel Boyd’s key observations is that expertise is often manifested, not in making the best decisions, but in making good-enough decisions at a faster pace than your competition can keep up with, getting “inside their loop” in the sense that you’re invalidating their decisions before they’ve managed to act. Whether it’s a robot or a human opponent, they’re defeated when you get to the point where they’re reacting to the last thing you did and you’re already doing the next thing.

    When it comes to raising the difficulty at the high end of a game, this concept is deeply important. Expertise is manifested at least partly in speed of decision making. Making enemies into “bullet sponges” doesn’t really feel good for an expert player, because it in essence makes the environment stay the same and makes the player do the same thing over and over again (“ok, keep shooting at the same guy until he goes down” — I already got into position to get the kill shot, it’s boring to sit there and hold it for several seconds rather than making it and then moving on. It makes the pace slower than it was on lower difficulty levels, when the player is ready for a faster pace.) What feels good for expert players is pushing their decision-making to a higher level. D1 was honestly kind of a masterpiece here, possibly accidentally — on the higher difficulties, the robots fired more shots that moved faster and did more damage, which meant that the player had to deal with more information that changed more quickly with deadlier consequences for mistakes. It made the player have to develop a tighter OODA loop with faster decisions, made with more constraints (more shots to dodge), and with fewer mistakes.

    So if you want to make the high end of the difficulty curve interesting, don’t make the robots take more hits. Make them fire more shots that move faster (but not so fast as to be undodgeable) and deal more damage. Make them move faster or dodge more frequently (but not so fast/frequent that they become unhittable; it should be possible to herd them into killzones — using shots to start them moving, and then keep them moving, until they’re in a bad spot.) Add more robots (in challenge mode, at a faster pace with a higher cap.) Put the player in a spot where they’re on the edge of being overwhelmed with too many shots to dodge, coming in from multiple directions, and they have to constantly react to changing angles and positions in the battlespace. The pace at which this happens will be drastically faster for high skilled players compared to low skilled players.

    (Relatedly: one reason I really dislike the current style of ammo management through energy powerups is that it, again, becomes slower-paced at higher difficulty levels. It forces an excessive degree of disengagement, breaking the flow of the game. Whereas a ship with a reactor that recharges at a particular rate, and weapons that use energy at either faster or slower rates, means that at the very worst you keep the same pace on higher difficulty levels and probably actually still play faster.)

    #8965
    TwoCablesTwoCables
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 118
    Replies: 1474

    At higher difficulty levels, the bots already move faster (and smarter), they fire faster, they fire more accurately, their shots do more damage, and they have higher HPs – just like I am used to in Descent 2. Yes, these bots already have high HPs, but I think Luke said that these bots are more typical of bots we’ll face much later in the game.

    Still, adding HPs at higher difficulty levels means you can either choose to concentrate all of your fire on one bot at a time (usually not the smartest thing to do when you’re surrounded), or do some juggling – or a combination of both depending on what works best moment to moment. Or, use your Boost to suddenly get out of the swarm to a safe distance, turn around and kill them all with a Devastator. That’s always fun. 🙂

    I think this is why Revival Productions made it so the bots get stunned when you hit them. It gives you a chance to interrupt their attack and then take advantage of that interruption however you want, moment to moment.. It gives you a chance to juggle multiple bots all at the same time, which I thoroughly enjoy doing when it’s a good idea to do.

    I think having a higher HP than maybe what we’re used to in Descent does a great job of really giving a sense that there’s more to these bots than just their outer textures (graphically speaking). They’re not only solid on the outside, they’re solid all the way through. They’re very real, y’know? It gives the bots some real weight. So, it really feels like they’re solid and aren’t just weak non-threatening enemies that you can just pop like balloons. It means that if you’re facing multiple bots, then you will have to be intelligent about how you handle them, and I think that keeps the game very interesting (and I think it keeps the creepy factor up as well).

    For the maximum number of bots in Challenge Mode, I think the game should ask us before each session regardless of the difficulty level, with a minimum of like say 2 and a maximum of, well, whatever the maximum could be without killing the game’s performance. Actually, I am vaguely remembering here that they said they will be doing this.

    Anyway, I personally think Revival Productions is nailing this spot-on. I really feel that they don’t really need to change much at all. I mean, I personally feel that they are on the right track and just need to keep doing what they’re doing. I think it’s only going to get better from here on out. I mean, compare the very first public release of the Playable Teaser to the Final Teaser, and then compare that to the August 2016 Demo (I apologize to those of you who don’t have access to it, but it is a very big improvement over the Teaser). I mean, wow. It’s like, what’s in store for us for the 2nd summer demo? What about the Beta? What about the finished product? I truly believe they are going to blow us away and leave us 100% satisfied with nothing to complain about at all. In my opinion, they’re already doing that (when you consider that what we’re seeing is just a Work-in-Progress).

    I have one last thing to say though regarding the difficulty of this game (for things like the HP value of the bots). I think that Revival Productions has to be careful about how difficult this game can get because not everyone can play as well as some of you Descent MP veterans. For example, look at me. I’ve been playing Descent 2 since 1996 and I never stopped, but I’ve never played in MP nor have I ever played any sort of a Challenge Mode like this in Descent. So my skills for this style of fighting were severely lacking, but Challenge Mode is definitely making me better. However, I definitely have a long away to go. I’m not saying that Challenge Mode and MP are the same. Don’t get me wrong on that. I’m just saying that I know that if you’re experienced in Descent MP, then Challenge Mode is going to be far easier for you than it is for someone like me.

    Prepare for Overload…

    #8999
    AzuvectorAzuvector
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 11
    Replies: 71

    FWIW, just chiming in to say I’m also not a fan of “bullet sponge” enemies, barring a few that are deliberately meant to be difficult-to-stop tanks. I’d rather see stuff blow up or dodge and fire high-damage shots around, than have to beat on a handful of robots until they blow up.

    #9004
    SiriusSirius
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 406

    It looks like this has been improved for the PAX demo, for the record.

    #9006
    bemosabemosa
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 39
    Replies: 240

    FWIW, just chiming in to say I’m also not a fan of “bullet sponge” enemies, barring a few that are deliberately meant to be difficult-to-stop tanks.

    I really enjoy the process of grinding away at a robot while simultaneously avoiding weapon fire, as that process of readjustment to ‘dodge/lock on target/dodge/lock on target’ is a skill in itself. Of course I agree that having variation in bots dodging/aiming/speed also makes the game interesting and provides a fitting challenge to seasoned players. To me the feel of these mechanics is already working very well in the game.

    I think that another measure of this balance will become apparent as the single player campaign is developed. Having earlier bots be easy to kill is of course essential for easing newcomers into the game.

    #9007
    TwoCablesTwoCables
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 118
    Replies: 1474

    It looks like this has been improved for the PAX demo, for the record.

    Hmm. I didn’t notice. Were the HPs of all the bots reduced for each difficulty level?

    I might have been too focused on the differences in difficulty between Hotshot, Ace and Insane because that was the main focus.

    FWIW, just chiming in to say I’m also not a fan of “bullet sponge” enemies, barring a few that are deliberately meant to be difficult-to-stop tanks.

    I really enjoy the process of grinding away at a robot while simultaneously avoiding weapon fire, as that process of readjustment to ‘dodge/lock on target/dodge/lock on target’ is a skill in itself.

    Exactly.

    Enemies with higher HPs require more strategy to fight. It’s more interesting because you have to be intelligent about how you play. It’s boring to just fly into a room and shoot each bot 2-4 times and then be done. Yes, I want a variety and I’m pretty much 100% sure we will have that, but I don’t want Revival Productions to be pressured into making a spiritual successor of Descent 1 and 2 that doesn’t have a good variety of HPs just because the community is complaining that the bots we have in the Playable Teaser and in the demos are tough. I haven’t felt they are too tough at all, so I don’t get it.

    Of course I agree that having variation in bots dodging/aiming/speed also makes the game interesting and provides a fitting challenge to seasoned players. To me the feel of these mechanics is already working very well in the game.

    I think that another measure of this balance will become apparent as the single player campaign is developed. Having earlier bots be easy to kill is of course essential for easing newcomers into the game.

    I don’t think we need to worry about it. I mean, let’s not forget that Descent 1 and 2 has a very nice variety of bots ranging from bots that have very low HPs to bots that have very high HPs (and everything in between). So, to think or assume or be worried that Overload won’t have this variety is a mistake. As I’ve said, we already have a new bot that only requires 2 or 3 hits to kill, and they still have 7 months until March 2017, and y’know, they could already have a lot more bots with much more variety up their sleeves and just haven’t told us yet.

    Remember, these guys made D1 and D2, and there are “many former Parallax alums” helping out as well. Remember what it says at the bottom of the “TEAM” page:

    “In addition, many former Parallax alums will be contributing their expertise to ensure that Overload becomes the ultimate six-­degree-­of-­freedom shooter.”

    This is a part of the reason why I’m not worried about anything in the least bit. The other part is, again, they made D1 and D2. Making great games like that is what they do.

    Prepare for Overload…

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