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What's wrong with the end of survival...
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Lothar
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Joined: 21 Dec 2003
Posts: 522



PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 12:13 am    Post subject: What's wrong with the end of survival... Reply with quote

I know it's been discussed before... something needs to be done to "beef up" the end of unlimited survival mode, somehow. Rumor has it something might be done in the 1.6 patch. What, exactly, should this "something" be?

In order to find a solution, first we must clearly identify the problem. What exactly is wrong with survival? Why isn't it as fun as it could be? What *should* survival mode be like?

I point to 3 events that hurt survival:

1) Usually, by about 9 minutes in, I have the biggest baddest ship I can get. From that point on, there's nothing more to upgrade to -- all I'm saving for is the ability to repair and buy ammo.

2) at the 12-minute mark, all of a sudden, stuff stops dropping minerals in the amounts they were dropped before. Instead of getting 30-50 mins worth of drops from your average cap ship, you get 5-6 mins worth. (Fighters don't drop anything if you're fully upgraded.) This means the vast majority of minerals you will get during a survival game come in the first 12 minutes -- no matter how long the game lasts. If you make it to 12 minutes with a reserve of 200 mins you can repair about 6 times; if you make it with 900 mins you can repair 30 times. It might take another 20 minutes (or more) for that to actually play out, but for the most part, your fate was sealed by the size of your min stash at 12 minutes.

3) at about the 18-minute mark, worms start spawning in faster than they can be killed.

Fundamentally, each of these 3 events causes the same problem: a reduction in the variety of tasks, goals, or courses of action available to the player. When I've got the biggest baddest ship, there's nothing else to buy; that's IT. There's no more decision as to whether to repair or reload my ammo vs. upgrading; I just simply maintain what I have. And when the mineral drops suddenly slow to a trickle, mining is no longer a very worthwhile goal; I have X many repairs I can make for the rest of the game, and can only increase that by a small amount if I stay aggressive on the cap ships. And when the worms start to dominate the action, it becomes much more difficult to engage various other enemies -- it's not just that I can't fight them on perfect terms, but often, I can't even get on the same screen as them because there are 15 worms around. The action becomes, essentially, worm-driven.

How could the variety be increased?

Here are a few suggestions:

1) Don't make the minerals stop quite so sharply. Cap ships should still drop some interesting mins -- maybe not an info node and 3 packages and 20 big green blobs, but perhaps a single package and a small assortment of mins. Fighters should also occasionally drop stuff.

2) Add another ship or two to the end of the line, using made-up tech if you have to. If you can make a prowler with plasma torps, why not make a devastator with torpedo-drones or even lightning-drones? Now that shield 3's are better than shield 4's, why not make the top ship have shield 3's?

3) Instead of just ramping up the worms, keep the other stuff coming and use worms for variety. I saw a screenshot of a possible crazy-boss for survival. Add other boss-types that have cutting disks (like the zone 2 boss) or that shoot the occasional lightning bolt. Fighting them with even a few worms bearing down on you could be very difficult, but still far more interesting than "blast the worms blast the worms dodge the worms shoot the stuff behind the worms run from the worms shoot the guy on the far side of the screen run from the worms repeat"...

4) Mix up the late-survival minibosses. Give me 5 anti-warp guys at once, and then 3 anti-shield guys with 2 clamshells, and then 4 armored minelayers with 4 regular minelayers, and then 1 of each, and so on. Don't necessarily give them a big set of fighters, either -- fighting a bunch of minibosses and 3 worms with no fighters would be a new experience.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good suggestiong there, i'll make a note of them.
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Fost
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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some other stuff in this old thread.

I think the main problem always seem to be hitting the 'worm wall'. It was originally intended to be the finale, because the worms would always wipe the floor with you, but then people developed the perpetual retreat technique, and whilst that worked, it was not a lot of fun. End result - you have a manic game, it's really difficult, but you manage to make it to the final ship, then at some point, the worms start up, and you either fight them, or drag out the action by running away and picking off the occasional bit of worm.

I think everyone agreed that we need to make the latter technique into the less rewarding option, and not go so full on with worms quickly. Also, as a general rule, people don't feel completely satisfied when they get killed by worms.
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Lothar
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Joined: 21 Dec 2003
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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fost wrote:
I think the main problem always seem to be hitting the 'worm wall'. It was originally intended to be the finale.... drag out the action by running away and picking off the occasional bit of worm.


I don't usually shoot at the worms, because:

- They're worth very few points. I leave clamshells alive and attack their wimpy-but-valuable fighter clouds whenever I can get a clear path to them.

- Headless worms are unpredictable. Predictable worms are easy to avoid; worms flying every which way and then coming at you from all sides are not so easy.

- Exploding worms tend to make other worms "bounce" and spread out. The more spread out they are, the more likely they are to cut off your escape route.

I do shoot at single worms that are blocking my escape path, and usually I'll be very aggressive about taking them out, but as long as the worms are busy just chasing me I don't care about them at all.

That's why the "worm wall" doesn't work the way it was intended -- worms don't make you die fast if you've learned how to herd them. They make it hard to shoot at whatever else is on the map, but they only kill you if you make the mistake of shooting them or if something else slows you down. So the "worm wall" turns into a very long worm chase that eventually will catch you when you make a mistake.

Quote:
I think everyone agreed that we need to make the latter technique into the less rewarding option, and not go so full on with worms quickly. Also, as a general rule, people don't feel completely satisfied when they get killed by worms.


Personally, I don't mind getting killed by worms. I think getting totally overwhelmed by dozens of worms at the end of survival is a good way to go, though I wouldn't mind having enough other threats that worms aren't the only thing to regularly kill me.

Turning down the worms can't be the whole solution. If that's all you do, it just delays the inevitable, but in the end, it's still the ridiculous wall of worms that get you. It just takes them longer to catch you.

-----

If you want a finale to wipe the floor with you, here are some alternative possibilities:

- have missile guys spawn in, one every few seconds, randomly across the map (bypassing normal limits on the number of fighters that can be on screen at once) right after the worms ramp up. Eventually enough missile guys will end up out in front of you that you'll get knocked back into the mass of chasing worms. In other words, the chase will end fairly quickly.

- make all (or perhaps just a percentage) of the worms in late-game survival always behave on their "drifting" AI instead of their "chasing" AI. This way you can't just run from the worms -- there will always be some out in front of you drifting and blocking the way.

- make some new bots that are even more dangerous, such as:
--- fighters just as fast as yours that shoot a spread of missiles and blasters. These could knock you around and do a fair bit of damage.
--- fast kamikaze fighters, kind of like mines but fast enough to actually occasionally hit you and strong enough that you can't wipe out a dozen of them just by sweeping your beams. Same as above.
--- fighters that spend most of their time wandering around (instead of flying as part of a little "herd") that just occasionally close and fire at you. These would tend to hit you from unexpected angles and get in your way.
--- new or upgraded minibosses -- say, pancake stacks with more layers, more sweeping beams (that cross each other like near the doors on the zone 3 boss), and longer range. These would just plain kick your butt if they got close.

- more minibosses, possibly with modified AI. Instead of 2 pancake stacks, throw 12 on the map. Or, put 6 or 7 antiwarp guys in and let them clog up space. Let half a dozen armored minelayers run around in their "I want to ram you" mode. Have a couple of gravity guys stuck on gravity mode so they'll throw off your flight path whenever you get close. This could be nasty even if there were only 4 worms chasing you, especially if once you dealt with one threat the next showed up. If you managed to make it through 12 pancake guys, next time make it 16, 20, and so on...

- start throwing worm-asteroids on the screen (spawning at the edges), and have them moving fast like they do in the zone 5 worm nodes. Trying to run from worms, dodge constantly spawning big-exploding rocks, AND fight a few fighters/cap ships would kill most pilots quickly. Again, if you managed to dodge the first few rocks, sending more after you would be nasty.

- fight all 5 bosses at once (and let the zone 5 boss spew fighters like there's no tomorrow.) The zone 3 boss is busy chasing you around while the zone 2 boss' cutting disks are blocking the way, and oh yeah, don't forget the zone 4 guy shooting those lines of stuff all over the place. And, geez, if you survive all of that, maybe "survival" should end with a screen that says "you survived!"

- keep turning up the amount of stuff on the screen, especially stuff that's worth a lot of points. Go from 50 fighters to 100 fighters to 150 fighters to 200 fighters and so on, as well as adding a few worms. My wife commented that she likes games where, if you survive the hard part, you get a lot of points. This would definitely qualify -- the longer you survive, the more fighters you'll be killing, so you'll rack up points REALLY fast. But you'll also die pretty fast.

Personally, my favorite options are either making some of the worms drift around, or pumping up the number of fighters until you get swarmed to death. The drifting worms make you really test your dodging skillz, while jacking up the number of fighters gives you the ability to score a TON more points the longer you survive. Doing both at once might be a really good option.
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Max Gene



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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheesh, if you did all that I'd personally hope you could set the difficulty of survivor to build up to it!
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Lothar
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those weren't suggestions to pile on top of each other... they were all alternates. Like, any ONE of them should do it for you. Pick the best and implement it (or, perhaps, combine two of them.)
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icarus
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mabe keep adding enemies until the computer crashes. So only the person with the strongest computer will survive. ZOMG secret message
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a couple things i think could spice things up a bit:

Expanding on Lothar's gravity guys perma-stuck in grav mode idea, make it so after a certain point in the game when destroyed they create a gravity well which lasts for the remainder of the game. Within reason of course.

I personally love the swarming aspect of crimsonland survival as it becomes how long you can keep them at bay and how many you can take down before they get you after a certain point. I dont know if it would work so well with starscape due to the enemies firing stuff at you and if there would be any performance issues involved with a large swarm of arachnid, but it would be far more interesting than a mass of worms.

Maybe not all 5 bosses at once but have them jump in in quick sucseesion so that if you arent fast enough in defeating the first one, you now have 2 + whatever worms/ships/minibosses youve got going on.

Perhaps after youve maxed your ship out you could have the option to customize it via some sort of store interface when you press upgrade. Have a bunch of optional parts and a price list. Although this would require a decent amount of work and is probably not worth the effort for the result, i though i should throw it out there anyway.
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Lothar
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did have a really unsatisfying Survival death today:

ran into a purple mineral with my last little bit of hull. OUCH!
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icarus
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

File that one under embarising deaths.
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Reeunk Afterburner



Joined: 19 May 2009
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a crazy idea: make it winnable.

Like Kirk winning the Kobayashi thing, you're not "supposed" to win survival, but maybe if you're really good you break the rules and beat the game.

THAT would be a satisfying ending.
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SethP



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Location: Connecticut, USA



PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reeunk Afterburner wrote:
Here's a crazy idea: make it winnable.

Like Kirk winning the Kobayashi thing, you're not "supposed" to win survival, but maybe if you're really good you break the rules and beat the game.

THAT would be a satisfying ending.


I feel like it'd be fairly simple to "reprogram the simulation" by finding a trainer that would allow you infinite shields/health.

Of course, then you'd get Spock all up in your grill.
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myy



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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