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Old 2004-03-05, 12:28 AM   [Ignore Me] #1
Seer
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What would you have done differently?


I'll preface this by saying that this isn't a wishlist, or even a claim that I (or anyone else) would have done a better job at designing the basics of this game. Post what you would have done differently in the early stages of game design that now, for budgetary or technological reasons, are impossible. Some of these items are things I have problems with in the present implementation of PS, others are just things that, while satisfactory now, I would have tried to do differently.

Vehicle constraints

One thing that always frustrated me about vehicles was the extreme simplicity of their weapons systems. While I hesitate to use the modern world as a template, vehicle mounted weapons these days exhibit extreme sophistication in terms of targetting and range. The critical weakness of Planetside vehicles has never been about armor, or speed, or even the less than desirable physics. In my opinion, this weakness has always been their inability to identify or engage any target at standoff range.

The devs wanted to keep everything 'up close and personal'--and while its an impulse I respect, I think the game is shallower because of it. Tanks must be literally on top of you to kill you, bombers are restricted to an extremely low flight ceiling. The devs always focused on the frustration players feel at being killed by things they can't see. They don't see the other side of this frustration--the rush of adrenaline a player feels upon successfully countering it.

In other words, when designing vehicles the devs didn't want to make them too mean, or else players would get frustrated and quit. In single player FPS games you're offered a difficulty switch at the beginning, and the devs unequivocally decided to set it to easy. I don't know if it would have moved more product, but I would have set it to hard, or at least medium. Give tanks and snipers a standoff range as far as their clip plane. Double the flight ceiling and make aa somewhat effective beyond visual range.

Day and Night

I would have included a night cycle. You don't need lighting effects from splinter cell to make a convincing night time--everquest did it in 1998. It would add another dimension to the game.

Tracers

This falls under the heading of Planetside being designed as an easy game. No one really has to worry about identifying snipers here because, in addition to the helpful directional damage indicator, you get a bright red line tracing the snipers back to their location. I'm not a sniper, but I would consider removing these tracers. They verge on insulting.

Bases and Terrain

They said they'd change these if they could, so I won't belabor this point. The bases are evidence that the art direction in Planetside was among the least inspired art direction ever seen from SOE. I don't see why they couldn't shoot for the same variety and quality that defined Everquest. If they thought it was expensive, they should have thought in terms of how much money they'd stand to lose by pushing such an artistically boring game as they ended up doing. The terrain feels randomly generated and the bases are some of the most cookie cutter constructions I've ever seen.

Also, they included far too many bases and continents. As a matter of basic game construction, I would have halved the number of continents. If it meant I needed more servers in the end, that's fine, because the servers would be less expensive. This also would have enabled them to breath a little life into the maps and bases they had by making less of them. Bigger is not better, and the idea that you need 10 sizable continents is one that continues to fail this game to the day. Effectively defending the amount of terrain in the game today is like using one of those tiny butter packets they give you at restaurants for two slices of break.

Infantry

The game would be extraordinarily lethal to the infantryman when he was outdoors and on foot. This would be his weakest posture. However, I would have made sure the terrain and base design facilitated the thoughtful infantryman. At bases he would find powerful defensive emplacements that take more to neutralize than a guy hiding behind a tree with a phoenix, or even a tank. Over land he would have trees and would be able to pass over terrain that was impassable by vehicles. No more walking around as an infantryman only to be stymied by a 50 degree embankment.

Terrain would be tougher on vehicles, for the most part. The trees would be impenetrable, the mountains unscalable. Infantry would be able to slip through these elements without even asking nicely. Roads would matter, and ground vehicles would move faster over them. Only tracked or hover vehicles would be able to move effectively over certain surfaces, such as snow or sand. Others would slow to a crawl or bog down entirely.

Air

Combat air vehicles (reaver, skeeter, lib, anything else) would have fuel--they would not be able to stay out long without going back and filling up. Their fuel limitations would be appropriate to the pace of the planetside world. Midair refuelings with the loadstar? Sure, why not. I mentioned earlier that I'd have doubled the flight ceiling and revamped aa. I'm not sure what I would do with air vehicles, but in my mind they would be both powerful and fragile. While I don't think the idea of a reaver rising from the trees and decimating a tank is a bad one, I do find the idea of hitting one with a decimator or two and having it fly off like nothing happened to be really silly. It's toasted in that case, but it should have an advantage on me of sufficient value that it shouldn't be hovering 3 feet above my head and firing a bunch of rockets at me.

I'd give them a better flight envelope, one that included being able to do a full roll. Hopefully between that and the flight ceiling, fragility wouldn't be as big an issue.

Sanctuaries

If an empire loses all of its bases in the world, it deserves to be attacked. War is hard. If a faction loses their sanc, the world resets to neutral--game and match. A little window pops up, like in normal multiplayer FPS games, giving the vital stats for the round. Fight harder next time, wankers!

Conclusion

I guess I've always thought that PS was a little too shallow. The bases are merely edifaces, the terrain is simply there (except for Ceryshen), the vehicles are powerful but in all the wrong ways. Nobody in this game can be very proud of their technical prowess, because everything is so excruciatingly simple. Would it have killed them to introduce a little more simulation at the expense of the arcade?

Other elements of the game are inexplicably there to shield players from frustration. Where were you guys when I was getting bind-camped in everquest by aggressive monsters many times my levels. Where was the babying during the total wipeouts in the Plane of Hate? Truth be told the massive frustrations of playing everquest were easily eclipsed by the exhilaration the players felt on achieving their goals, or making a plan work. Planetside took the middle road. It doesn't frustrate people, but its pleasures are equally small. What it offers is only adrenaline.
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Old 2004-03-05, 12:51 AM   [Ignore Me] #2
Ait'al
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They shouldnt do the reset for the sanc. It should still allow it to be attacked but you should then just have to fight your way through with what you can get your hands on. And what wasnt hacked from you lockers etc. It would give them a damn good purpose and a purpose to being able to hack them besides getting items. If they did that you wouldnt have to worry about them getting stuck because they would ahve ther entire population allowed on it. Or could they would allow a 3 to 1 ration of the Sanc owners pop to the others. They could then be crusshed also after they finally completely take away there items. It could have your sanc taken over and then ahve to orginize like mini attacks everywhere to save your final ground and whatnot and struggle with your basic weapons, after theyve hacked your equipement terminals, if they do. As a final thing they could allow a thing so that if the other two empires disable 85-90 percent of the things on sanc through hacking, they could kick the empire off completely for one hour. At the end of which you could come back to get it back. The enemy could never actualy take control of things, except getting acesss to locker, they could just disable things, so they would then have to leave or sit there and wait for the time to be up. At the end of the hour all hacked/disabled things could return to the home empire and the enemies would have to try to hack everything again to kick them out again. It could also kick all enemies off for like 10 minutes to give the home empire a chance to regroup. The hour could also give the enemies time to to loot the rest of the lockers and items and bodies. they could add more Equipment terminals and locker to make that harder too. The hacking could disable those things for hacked for like 10 minutes making hte enemy do it in that time period. And the hacked lockers could take away access form the home empire and give it to the hacking empire only alont with the things in it. And to stop the enemies form workign together One empire has to have 85 percent hacked and have to rehack the other empries hacked things to get control of them... this is way to long.

And those left off the sanc, or not killed, could stay during the hour thing. They just couldnt respawn or take bases. They could stil kill and get XP and work with there outfits. The ones left. But if they quit they couldnt get back on till the hour was up. They could hack terminals off sanc for ammo, guns, etc too. they could also keep track of this per empire per server as a perminant thing about which empires were stronger when.

Last edited by Ait'al; 2004-03-05 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 2004-03-05, 01:13 AM   [Ignore Me] #3
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This post is about things that will never go in game, but anyway...


Ai'tal, ending the game is an act of mercy. By the time the losing empire has been beaten completely, most of their players would rather log than try to scrounge up weapons to face their vastly more prepared attackers.

While I'd rather not get into specifics, since sanc attacks are a pretty minor idea, for this element I'd recast one sanctuary villa as a veritable fortress of helm's deep proportions and make it so that there are no more sanctuary strikes for at least two days after a successful one. Defenders, man for man, would command a huge home advantage, which hopefully would allow them to hold off their attackers until primetime.
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Old 2004-03-05, 01:15 AM   [Ignore Me] #4
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I really want the full-fledged night. I wouldn't mind having the barrel rolls and stuff either. I think the devs said something about this. I do believe they said they had it on their list of things to do for beyond BR20/CR5.

Also, I like the idea of giving the terrain qualities, IE: Snow, mud, rain, whatever. If you have regular tires it really effects you. If you have treads it semi effects you but not nearly as much as with tires. With hover vehicles, it wouldn't effect you at all, but I think to compensate they should be worse at climbing hills, not better. I don't understand how a floating vehicle has so much push from behind. I dont see anything that gives it power to move. But as it stands right now, they are better at climbing hills than any other vehicle. Treads should be able to climb ungodly mountains with ease, but to compensate for this they should be a bit slower then they are now. As for the wheeled vehicles, they should own the road. And they should also be the fastest on plains. To compensate for this they would suck in rain, snow, mud, whatever, and would be in between for climbing hills.
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Old 2004-03-05, 01:48 AM   [Ignore Me] #5
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I don't like the idea of sanc strikes at all. it takes away the "never ending" concept of the war that I like. I once, a long time ago, programmed a little game. It had little soldiers on 4 teams popping out of tubes and rushing the other side. It was totally random who would kill and who would get killed. I made 2 versions-one where the generators could be destroyed, and one where they couldn't. The latter was VASTLY more entertaining, as I could watch little soldiers fight for their lives forever. Very fun
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Old 2004-03-05, 02:58 AM   [Ignore Me] #6
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Great post Seer. I just wish they could go down some of these roads easily. Unfortunatly, at this point of time, changes like these mean $ and the only way to do them would be in an expansion. Since SOE's last terrible expansion, they probably don't want to risk another. Based on all the proposed changes to force use of caverns, you can bet they lost some big $ on CC. If we are lucky, then maybe the new forced use of caverns will result in more CC sales and the thing will break even. Then we have a chance of seeing a new expansion.
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Old 2004-03-05, 06:44 AM   [Ignore Me] #7
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I want night, and a sky that isn't a bunch of swirly clouds.

For the night, you would need IR and spotlights of sorts. However, having lights like the headlights on vehicles or the one on the NC MAX's head, would take some configuring. You wouldn't be able to make a beam, and have it change the brightness of the object that it hits, because that would tax everyone like a bitch. Something more akin to HL's flashlight would work.

I hate the skies.
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Old 2004-03-05, 08:26 AM   [Ignore Me] #8
Diddy Mao
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Only thing that I would have done Differently is

A) Pop lock situations
B) Find more ways to break up the zerg and impliment them
C) Better Day and Night Cycle that is more believable (it doesn't have to be pitch black, just enough for the feel/ambience of night fighting)
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Old 2004-03-05, 08:29 AM   [Ignore Me] #9
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I would have added Defensive Exp
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Old 2004-03-05, 09:30 AM   [Ignore Me] #10
Batousai
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Sorry Seer but I think you need to hear this for your own good.

Planetside takes place millions and millions of years in the future so im sure by this time they solved there energy crisis. (I.E inflight refueling not need.)

And whats wrong with the continents. Here on earth theres 7 continents so would it be strange that a world in a far off galaxy would have 10.

I think the Infantryman role is just fine. In a real war infantry are very weak thats why they call in air strikes and artillery. Infantry can hold there own in a fight but they wont win.

I'm Batousai and this is me Flaming some one. Call it constructive criticism =)
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Old 2004-03-05, 10:00 AM   [Ignore Me] #11
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Batousai (the man Slayer) you make some good points and other bad points. I agree with you whole hartedly on the opinion of Continents. As for Aircraft and Fuel... i think that can go both ways. the Current Aircraft in PS fly and operate in such a way where fuel is there but the drain is so negligable there is no point in including it. Even Hydrogen Fuel Cells drain their Energy. Heck take it a few further. Even in Star wars and Star trek fuel is considered. in star trek all their ships are designed around the nuclear engine style concept. YOu have enough fuel to go strong for years at a time before depleteing your crystals. In star wars the larger ships use energy harvested from the space around them to refuel. The TIE (Twin Ion Engine) Fighter's wing arrays are actually huge solar panels which catch as much energy as they can at all times in order to charge the reactor. the x-wing actually has to have ground crews charge it's energy cells which is seen occuring in episode 4.

now onto the infintry aspect.

Now your completely off base. Did you even read his post?

Infantry

The game would be extraordinarily lethal to the infantryman when he was outdoors and on foot. This would be his weakest posture. However, I would have made sure the terrain and base design facilitated the thoughtful infantryman. At bases he would find powerful defensive emplacements that take more to neutralize than a guy hiding behind a tree with a phoenix, or even a tank. Over land he would have trees and would be able to pass over terrain that was impassable by vehicles. No more walking around as an infantryman only to be stymied by a 50 degree embankment.

Terrain would be tougher on vehicles, for the most part. The trees would be impenetrable, the mountains unscalable. Infantry would be able to slip through these elements without even asking nicely. Roads would matter, and ground vehicles would move faster over them. Only tracked or hover vehicles would be able to move effectively over certain surfaces, such as snow or sand. Others would slow to a crawl or bog down entirely.
Here are the key exerts for you

powerful defensive emplacements

Over land he would have trees and would be able to pass over terrain that was impassable by vehicles.

Terrain would be tougher on vehicles

The trees would be impenetrable, the mountains unscalable. Infantry would be able to slip through these elements without even asking nicely. Roads would matter, and ground vehicles would move faster over them. Only tracked or hover vehicles would be able to move effectively over certain surfaces, such as snow or sand
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Old 2004-03-05, 10:04 AM   [Ignore Me] #12
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What he is getting at is make the place so it facilitates the use of Guerilla warfare. I'm in a tank going down a road through the swamps... I WANT a guy with a decimator to be able to pop out of the Gunk and unleash three decimator rounds at my weaker real armor. only to be able to disapear into the forboading marsh where my tank can't hope to follow. As it is now some guy pops out you charge into the trees and squish him as the water slows him down.
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Old 2004-03-05, 10:15 AM   [Ignore Me] #13
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Easy. I would have put in a competition server (or servers) and had a SoE sponsored and controlled ladder for outfit competitions ala TWL or OGL. I made a post a long time ago that outlined it, maybe I'll see if I can dig it up.
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Old 2004-03-05, 10:19 AM   [Ignore Me] #14
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Bio should i bring over the BH Custom Concepts?
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Old 2004-03-05, 12:09 PM   [Ignore Me] #15
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While I appreciate the fact that some of you think my ideas are good enough to argue over, they're not exactly in danger of being listened to. The way PS is these days, only small things would change. The things I wrote down, for the most part, are basic concept things.

The minor bits are part and parcel with the rest. In the current implementation aircraft refueling wouldn't make sense. In a ground up re-interpretation, it might.
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