Author Topic: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics  (Read 29989 times)

Kron

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 337
Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« on: September 28, 2011, 12:00:11 pm »
I haven't seen a thread about this, and it's a bit of an open question. When players die, where do they re-enter the game?

In particular, this has major consequences for boarding actions. I'd rather have a protracted FPS battle over a ship where I die (and kill) some 20 times, instead of a counterstrike-like system where I just die and have to wait for the next round.

Kron

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 337
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2011, 12:24:07 pm »
Here's a simple idea, stolen directly from the Natural Selection series: Infantry Portals.

These are special blocks in your ship that allied players will respawn from (after their death timer is up, respawns aren't instant). They can select which block they want to respawn from by walking up to it while alive and clicking on it.

Infantry portal blocks have their own internal cooldown, meaning that ships with few blocks can't respawn large troops of dead players very quickly at all.


I like this mechanic because it fulfills three purposes in my head:

1) Destroying a ship is still really permanent.
When you blow up a ship, you blow up all its respawn portals as well. Ships don't respawn, its crew does.

2) There are "control points" in a ship that assaulting marines need to deal with.
If players can physically reach an enemy portal block, they can reconfigure it into a FRIENDLY portal block, making it a beachhead inside the enemy ship! This will basically create control points that need to be captured for force logistics concerns.

3) It allows "Eternal Silence" style dropships.
In the space-based dogfight/FPS hybrid game Eternal Silence, there was a special ship that you could fly called a dropship. It was basically a ship with a respawn point on it.

Getting dropships into enemy hangar bays was crucial, since the dropship allows you to respawn near the enemy ship (as opposed to a capital ship far away). Consequently, defensive operations came down to finding the enemy dropship and blowing it out of the sky.


Thoughts?

SnowDragon

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1800
  • First to use a Sigpic!
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 12:28:03 pm »
Why don't we just have respawn points in the barracks and on the invading tool (Ship, torpedo etc). With a limited number of such (Representing the exact number of respawns to be had, which is the crew limit). Control poitns shouldn't be in, if the crew is fast enough they should be able to transfer the ship's command functions to a secure area.

I know the first thing I'd do when boarded is flood the affected areas with Radon gas, if they aren't wearing spacesuits they're gassed like meduim sized stripey rodents, if they are they get radiation poisioning and die anyway, it's this short of thing that should matter, not a pre-determined list of things you can do to take over a ship. Boarding in a lot of cases would be outright silly, as mentioned above. You'd only do it in specific cases, like trying to retrieve an object of value.

Rainman

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 618
  • Loremaster
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 12:29:47 pm »
Kron's ideas sound pretty good to me. I would suggest however that infantry portals not take up an excessive amount of space or resources (though they should probably drain Energy) so that ships don't have to be built significantly bigger than they'd be otherwise to feasibly fit a suitable complement of spawners.
SCIENCE!
...IN SPAAAAAAAACE!

SnowDragon

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1800
  • First to use a Sigpic!
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 12:31:06 pm »
I dislike the idea of just ebing able to warp into any 'captured' point, it doesn't sit well with me. Any reinforcements should come from the dropship in the hangar.

Rainman

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 618
  • Loremaster
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 12:32:33 pm »
Ah, that wasn't how I'd understood it. I understood it as, once boarders make it onto a ship and convert one of these control points, then boarders inside the ship who've died can opt to respawn in boarder-controlled portals. Not that once a portal is captured the rest of the folks on the ship that launched the boarding action can just pop onboard, Star Trek style.
SCIENCE!
...IN SPAAAAAAAACE!

Kron

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 337
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 12:32:48 pm »
SnowDragon: I don't think you understood what I meant. You can't warp to captured points, only spawn at them. Rainman is correct.

I don't mean literally implementing control points. I mean control points will naturally emerge from the spawn point mechanism: clustered spawn points become functionally identical to control points from other games.

Each ship will have its own ship-designer-constructed unique combat layout as well.


Rainman: We need to balance the portals, yeah. Small ships should have few portals and large ships should have more, so I suppose it makes sense to make it a power-supply thing?

Zerebo

  • Super Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 817
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 12:33:18 pm »
For singleplayer there should also be some kind of cloning machine. So you don't loose your ship in deepspace just because something stupid killed you. But there should be a respawn timer and it should be a costly thing.

SnowDragon

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1800
  • First to use a Sigpic!
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 12:48:02 pm »
It's that that has me bugged though. If you're going to impliment control boarders, it should be all player controled (IE, the crew decides where's safe and where's not) instead of some game controlled crap which ruins the whole premise and feel of the whole boarding act. The ability to capture spawn-to points breaks it as well. After all, if you lose your momentum as a ship boarder, that's it. The whole idea is to keep your enemy off balance. If he gets a proper defence together, you're going to bite it.

But before you or I scontinue about spawn dynamics, there's another issue to consider. Even if you manage to get 20 players on a server, ten to each ship, that might work fine if your target vessel is say, 100-200 metres long, but if you have a flagship carrier or something else, it just isn't going to work, no one wants to play a "we're going to lock your ship and force you to wander around randomly for an hour while these five people attack your ship one man at a time over and over again"

A battle for control jsut doesn't seem fesible, although a raid mission does. That's about the only way I can see infantry actions on ships taking place.

Kron

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 337
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 12:52:31 pm »
Well I'm open to better mechanisms for respawning. Unless you want a no-respawn system where dead players are permanently turned to ghosts until the end of the scenario?

But before you or I scontinue about spawn dynamics, there's another issue to consider. Even if you manage to get 20 players on a server, ten to each ship, that might work fine if your target vessel is say, 100-200 metres long, but if you have a flagship carrier or something else, it just isn't going to work, no one wants to play a "we're going to lock your ship and force you to wander around randomly for an hour while these five people attack your ship one man at a time over and over again"

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Lock your ship? Why would this happen?

Battles of control would work if multiple sides had respawn points. For an example, look no further than Eternal Silence. Momentum is important there too.

SnowDragon

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1800
  • First to use a Sigpic!
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2011, 01:01:39 pm »
Lock wasn't a literal term. if you're being boarded, the response would be for every player on that ship to grab a gun and go to battle, with maybe one man on the bridge, especially if you're being boarded by a bigger ship which has more crew.

A no respawn system would be great, excellent in fact. But in lieu of that, I'll offically prepose a system which would be quite effective.

Attackers gain one respawn point for each method of entry. This can be for seperate dropships in different hangars, boarding torpedoes, or shuttles hooked to airlocks. These can also be destroyed by the defenders as they free the objects from their ship.

Defenders gain a respawn point (An armoury or barracks type location) one for each deck of ship. These points cannot be captured by the attackers, but there won't be any spawn invulnerablity for the respawning players. That way, a deck can be 'captured' if the attackers set up in there, it's lost, and the crew won't know it until it's reported in. (if you spawn into a held area by the enemy, you'll get shot to bits)

This also ensures that boarding actions are rolling movements towards the COC/bridge area and vital systems where a temporary command post could be set up with the ship's command functions (or in my case, the computer core) because if they get bogged down, reinforcements could come out of hiding (IE respawn) at the lower decks they left when they moved up. This also represents maintaince accesses to that area and otherwise shortcuts that only the ship crew would know about.

In short, the crew has to communicate to not be destroyed, the same with the boarding attackers. Each side would have a reinforcement counter availible to them, when there's no more points you can't respawn, but you don't lose either. That doesn't happen until you either surrender or you run out of people to attack/defend with, or your ship is taken over.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 01:03:13 pm by SnowDragon »

Kron

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 337
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2011, 01:07:05 pm »
Wait... that isn't that different from my system, with two major changes:

1) Respawn counter.
I actually really like this idea and I've been thinking about it myself. I'll post my thoughts on this soon.

2) You can't take over enemy infantry portals.
But presumably you can destroy them or disable them.

Yeah, I like your modification, SnowDragon. One thing though: I'd rather that the game doesn't procedurally generate spawn points; it would be nice for ship designers to design their own spawn zones. Could that be done in a non-exploitive fashion?

Zerebo

  • Super Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 817
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2011, 01:12:19 pm »
Make spawn points big enough to be hard to hide and make a limit for them for each ship. Also they should just work when connected to the energy system of the ship.
That should kill most exploits.

SnowDragon

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1800
  • First to use a Sigpic!
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2011, 01:14:48 pm »
I think it could be, but I'm sure it would involve difficult code. You might be able to enforce a 'mimimum' distance in the X,Y and Z axis' in order to force the player to spread the spawn 'portals' out, which will also help in restricting the number of these points in smaller ships as well.

I think a good distance might be 50X and Y (50 metres between spawn points across an entire deck, sufficent to limit to one a deck unless you have a really big/long/wide ship, in which case you should get more (represents the difficulting the attackers will have in controlling ALL of the ship's possible access points) And 5 Z, along the vertical up and down axis, which should be enough to restrict one per deck as well in any one location if all of these portals are placed within the floor pads of the specific locations.

As for linking them to the power system, I'm not so sure. I can imagine trying to board a ruined ship in order to steal it's cargo, kidnap it's crew, and if that ship can't spawn troops it's kind of unfair. What I WOULD like to see though is a dynamic reinforcement counter based on ship damage and depressurised areas. So a damaged ship would be much easier to board because some of it's 'crew' are dead due to being blasted out into space. The more heavily damaged a ship is, the less resistance it can put up.

Kron

  • Founder
  • *
  • Posts: 337
Re: Death & Dying: Respawn Mechanics
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2011, 01:19:01 pm »
Limited Respawn:

Many games have a "reinforcement ticker" of sorts, most notably the Battlefield series. Each time you die, you respawn and your team loses one point on its global counter. Once the points reach 0, you lose. Simple enough, yes?

It would be a great idea to implement this in Blockade Runner, with some modifications (for example I like SnowDragon's mod where 0 points means no more respawning, not instant loss).

Criteria I'd like to maintain:

1) Locality.
I don't want counters to be 'global' in any sense of the word. It's awkward, and it means that battles on different ships may affect the flow of combat on your ship. If one griefer dies 50 times in one location, he shouldn't immediately crush the defence of his allies on a neighbouring cruiser.

2) Explainability.
We should wrap this up in sci-fi as much as possible and not just handwave it.

So here's my idea: We use a modification of the "matter buffers" concept from the Marathon series.

1) Each respawn point will be wired to a "matter buffer" that is used to fabricate new bodies.

2) Multiple respawn points can be wired to a single "matter buffer", but it requires expensive wires. This is to incentivize clustered respawn zones and not decentralized scattered portals all over the ship.

3) When a player dies, he can respawn from a respawn point as long as the matter buffer has enough matter to recreate his body. Players with more expensive equipment or augmentations will cost more to respawn.


Point #2 is my solution to the decentralization / limit problem. I'm not sure if matter buffers should be able to recharge themselves slowly via ship power or not. I say we treat it as a special sort of fuel that needs to be resupplied at stations?

Thoughts?