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www.gcvets.net - View topic - Reviving Ground Control


Reviving Ground Control

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby GCMarcos » 29 Sep 2014 04:18

in my opinion,this game was already,Nobody cares more with old games,there is no more what to do(this and the pure truth)Carter :(

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby johno » 29 Sep 2014 20:53

Sorry GCMarcos, I don't really understand what you're getting at...

I thought I'd take the time to post about the fact that I'm making an effort to understand what makes this community tick, and to that end I've been reading the thread about the unofficial GC patches / mods / versions by the community for the community.

The thing that really sticks out is the heated discussions about whether or not the game should be changed AT ALL. Given my plan for making a "spiritual sequel" the premise was of course that it would be hard if even possible at all to get the EXACT feel of the original game; so much of that is in the original source, the myriad hard coded things that we indeed ended up doing throughout development, and the simple fact that this was the first big game that ANY of the devs worked on. It was pretty icky stuff at the end. I remember early on how we filed the problem of "gameplay" under "unsolvable problems" and just winged it. Really we did. Without access to the original source code / data, it would be next to impossible to nail the feel of GC.

I'm wondering if some of the contention around modding / balancing is simply a function of it begin hard and destructive to mess around with the files that the game uses. Would people be more change and / or experimentation friendly if user modding were a more integral part of the game? All the problems you've been having with checksums and the like in multiplayer bring back a few (mostly bad) memories.

In an even more general sense, this all relates to the bigger issue of "user content". Is that a good thing in a game like GC, or just a distraction? Is there a way to maintain a "core game" when (potentially) anyone can create their own maps, units, balances, etc? Is the maintenance of such a thing even desireable? It's like the people (there are some) who would like a table of contents for the Internet vs those who dig the formlessness / cross-linkyness of it.

When I think about it terms of "what is the RIGHT WAY to do a RTT?" I realize that even GC2, which managed to retain most of the original devs (counting coders, designers, and artists) from the first game, was a sort of "mod" and ended up being totally different from the first game. It was really: "Should we do this? Should we do that?" Really experimental, very driven by ego, also very driven by perceived marketability / player acceptance issues.

In the sense that GC2 was a watered down version (which I think it was) it was very much in an attempt to make it "easier" to play. Reading all the stuff about "motion and angles" I realize that GC really was something unique, even beyond the squads and the limited (fixed) resources the player got for a given mission. Trying to make it "more like Blizzard" (which we admittedly did) but sort of half-way didn't really land us in a good spot. But really, we did try tons of stuff. There was even a version of GC2 that didn't have dropships, but I remember there was a huge outcry about that.

I think my whole point is that all of this stuff really relies fundamentally on iteration and the actual implementation of ideas. It's not a thing that you can argue theoretically, you have to "try stuff out" and actually play it before you know. That is really what we were getting at when we said that gameplay was undefinable. Interactivity is really really really hard to predict. You have to iterate, and Blizzard has that much right in any case.

I think Massive dropped the ball on GC2, and I say that even though I was the lead coder. I wasn't terribly proud of that game, more so of the first one. But at least everyone knows that that is NOT the way to go, and it saves people (hopefully) from making the same mistakes.

In the end I think that the process you guys are going through, though painful, is absolutely necessary to get closer to the game that you want to have. And that game, that vision, is also mutable and will change over time. Regardless of what you think of something like Starcraft, think about the hours that are invested in the constant balance, observation and re-balance of that game. Software is (and hence computer games are) about maintenance, about evolution, and the fact that you guys have carried on as long as you have without access to proper maintenance is completely unbelievable.

I think it's a shame that Rebellion doesn't just let you have what you want. Just release everything they have open-source and let the community figure it out. I'm sure they could even figure out a way to let the original stuff be open-source and still retain the rights to do sequels in the future, be it with or without the community's support. I just can't see the downside to that.

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 29 Sep 2014 23:23

Thanks for the remarks Johno. Especially about us keeping it going being unbelieveable. :D

I have some experience in game design and yeah... I think it would open a freakin' can of worms to try to remake the game from scratch... and we'd end up with something that just doesn't capture the nuance of GC. Over the years, we've developed "emergent gameplay"... we all have different styles of playing and the game just keeps delivering on that. It has major depth. (Our youngest player, shpooky, seems to be innovating on still more ways to play... cough... *spamming Order Lights* cough... )

Anyway, at first it would probably be smart to focus only on the net connectivity aspect and just leave the core game code alone - in order to improve the basic new player onboarding process. Hopefully we can reconnect the game using a pier-to-pier server structure (whereas the original game requires dedicated servers). A huge wishlist aspect would be the ability for the game to automatically crossload new maps (we get into big hiccups every time our community mappers, mainly Ninja, issues a new map). Basically, just reducing the clicks required for new players to get into the game.

I have a feeling that we might also be able to remake the visual unit models, perhaps upgrading them to higher resolution (again: a wishlist item only). However, I suspect that we wouldn't be able to make the maps higher resolution without getting into a major iteration of the game itself, which could prove disastrous. But that's okay.

Basically, I think this is more of an esports play than a new game play.

There are two other issues. (We've discussed a lot of this, and having grown up with the game a lot of us are now professionals out there with educated opinions.)

Crinckle has pointed out that the original game was probably mis-marketed. It was marketed as an RTS (or RTT, the kid brother of RTS). But that was probably not a good move. He said that a more accurate term would be a "third person shooter with tanks". I've come to call it a shooter-strategy game. Basically, GC is its own genre (except maybe World in Conflict).

Really, in a reboot it would probably be smarter to target the shooter crowd more than the RTS crowd, because the game has a strong third-person-shooter element: both in the camera control (which feels very shooter-like) and in the use of the Special Weapons, and also in the absence of resource collection and unit building. So I think we'd like to focus on re-marketing the game in that direction if we ever got the budget.

I wouldn't worry about the graphics fidelity too much. Minecraft shows that the young generation has no problem with lower graphics fidelity, as long as there is solid gameplay. (So graphics improvements are wishlist items.)

Anyway, if there were one significant change that might be good to make, it would be going back to the onboarding issue - this time in the game itself: it would be to induct new players more slowly into the core gameplay. I believe that new players, used to a two-dimensional RTS camera/gameplay, tend to play GC like an RTS, only to get overwhelmed by the 3D-nature of GC and then get crushed. Then they leave with a bad taste. (Often they'll drop with Crayven, do a zerg-rush, get destroyed, then leave never to be seen again.)

Like a system where players have a basic rank level, and as they begin they're only allowed to bring, perhaps, 1 dropship, with only infantry and lighter vehicles. Then graduate them up to heavier tanks. Then support units. Then maybe Crayven later on (unless we balance Cray out... Crayven is a tricky faction to play). Then give them the option for the second and third dropships.

But again, I imagine the core game engine is a labyrinth of connections, so it would be good to be cautious about that.

Also, we have tossed about an idea to fund a reboot of GC, getting access to the actual IP.

Anyway, I've got a contact who knows the leads at Rebellion. With your approaching us, I guess the time is right to begin this journey, so hopefully we'll have an audience with them soon. We'll see what happens.

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby shpooky » 01 Oct 2014 04:19

in order to improve the basic new player onboarding process. Hopefully we can reconnect the game using a pier-to-pier server structure


yes plzz!!!! we need this done first stat,johno idc who it is fix this first!!!!!! the connection problem with GC and GR is driving me insane!
i only work in cyan and sometimes really really bright blue :D so bright it burns your eyes!!!!!

(if you have any questions don't be afraid to PM me or you can contact me via email ddavidshpak@aol.com)

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby Ninja_Prime52 » 01 Oct 2014 20:01

Image

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby shpooky » 01 Oct 2014 21:02

it would be difficult to have the new game feel like gc but no one said it was impossible
i only work in cyan and sometimes really really bright blue :D so bright it burns your eyes!!!!!

(if you have any questions don't be afraid to PM me or you can contact me via email ddavidshpak@aol.com)

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 03 Oct 2014 01:32

I got an introduction to the leads at Rebellion and sent an email with a detailed proposal basically revolving around what we've been talking about so far.

To sum it up, here's the first line of the email:

I think we can hand you a new esports league on a silver platter.

*keeps fingers crossed*

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby shpooky » 03 Oct 2014 03:36

can i be in the gc esports? :D
i only work in cyan and sometimes really really bright blue :D so bright it burns your eyes!!!!!

(if you have any questions don't be afraid to PM me or you can contact me via email ddavidshpak@aol.com)

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby shpooky » 03 Oct 2014 17:57

can you pm me the rest of the message carter? i wanna read it
i only work in cyan and sometimes really really bright blue :D so bright it burns your eyes!!!!!

(if you have any questions don't be afraid to PM me or you can contact me via email ddavidshpak@aol.com)

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 03 Oct 2014 18:13

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll put it up in a bit. It takes some formating work.

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