Jump to content
Chainsaw

The elusive "Persistent" style of game play (discussion).

Recommended Posts

I certainly enjoy the experience here at UO. I think we can all agree that it equates to a nice balance of Mil-Sim style of game-play without the stiff organisation of dedicated Mil-Sim units. We come and go as we please. A value which makes UO a constantly active, attractive and dynamic place to play (even if you average 250ms ping and 6am log-ons). The majority of missions are very good. Some almost genius in their originality, made by a base of mission makers who are very dedicated to providing an interesting spectrum of game-play.

I wanted to clear that up before anyone thinks I am currently unsatisfied with what we have. I am not. I purely want to explore a concept

 

I would like to discuss the "Persistent" style of missions I hear about in and around the ARMA 3 community. A concept that seems to suggest a more immersive experience.

Here I hope to start a discussion about people's ideas and thoughts regarding "persistent" game-play. Is it possible? Would it be better suited to events? How would one keep a mission going without suffering server death when people are killed? How do you make a flexible scenario where the number of players online does not impact the continuity of the mission? How do you overcome the fact that it's a game and therefore the pace of combat is quick and fearless?  How would you re-integrate players back into the mission without creating just another King Of the Hill match? Is this something people even want? Does this already exist substantially in other places? How do you handle logisitics? Do we have the content required for such a thing?

So many  questions.

 

I'm curious as to what philosophies are out there regarding the matter.

My first thoughts are that if it could be done, the Team vs Team (TVT) style of mission would make for the most dynamic and interesting form of persistent game-play. For all actions to be accountable to people's decisions would seem to hold more weight on the outcome as opposed to one side being scripted in their actions (Co-Op). Also that re-spawning players in squads (however that may be handled) would retain more structure and co-ordination rather than individual reintegration into the mission.

I look forward to any input on the idea.

Edited by Chainsaw

Share this post


Link to post

Back in my previous clan we used to have an aLive persistent campaign. It drained all the free time of the one maintaining it, by fine tuning it to get as close as possible to the mil sim golas we gave ourselves. It didnt prevent people from successfully ramboing around and single handedly freeing chunks of the map all by themselves. In the end the poor guy retired his availability because debugging the game almost daily and attempting to drag the game back in milsim terms (in both creating interesting game dynamics and preventing players to find gamey solutions to the situational problems like "you are alone and they are 50") took too much effort. Then an update to RHS or ACE or Arma would come and everything would broke, because it being persistent means that you carry what you have along with you. All in all the funniest aLive game we had was an insurgency game where we were the insurgents and had to evade the Army and blow its stuff and run away.

 

In order to play a persistent campaing on -lets say aLive, IMO the best choice if you still have qualms of staying inside the milsim realm- you should make it a periodic event with a start time and a fixed day (or many): leaving it open 24/7 spells disaster. You may leave the enemy's strategy to the AI, or you can DM it, or i guess you might make a TvT splitting the map in half (or creating a stockpile of manpower and equipment for one and a map to defend for the other). And it will take a lot of effort in terms of coding and game vision and direction: stuff like assigning strategic importance and value to points on the map worth conquering, creating scarcity of equipment and ruling about respawning, managing off game time etc.

 

But is it worth it? IMO no. UO has a trove of missions it can play whenever, for whatever number of players, on almost any condition. I saw aLive as a handy replacement for classical mission in those cases where mission makers would struggle in creating new missions monthly. I cannot help but think that aLive will retain a noticeable dose of gamey-ness, and its hiding will take a lot of man hours. I would gladly take part in it, but the burden would be not light and not on me.

Edited by Maffa

Share this post


Link to post

We had an Alive server for upwards of 6 months with no activity on it. I do not expect to put it back up again.

 

I have a number of reasons why I would like Alive style missions as being available to players in off hours, or as a simple way to seed the server on off hours. But the negative issues I have with the style of gameplay that occours falls outside of what we have established UO to present itself as. In an unmanaged/unorganized manner, all it takes is a single random person to destroy hours if not weeks of work in a persistent mission, with next to no accounting for who did what, when, and why, if they just happen to get bored when there are not enough people on for a squad, or greater that would be required for play.

Share this post


Link to post

We had an Alive server for upwards of 6 months with no activity on it. I do not expect to put it back up again.

 

 

This is the first time hearing that we had an alive server for ArmA 3. 

 

I think having an alive mission or even a separate server would be a good way to seed during low player count times. 

Share this post


Link to post

An unsupervised 24/7 alive server is bound to turn itself in a kindergarden pretty fast. Seeder missions like Patrol ops and Insurgency can provide the very same kind of entertainment with bucketful of people to shoot at and goals to pursue with varying grades of effort, with no need for maintenance.

Edited by Maffa

Share this post


Link to post

I think it'd need to be planned as an event, in my opinion, as it does contradict the ethos of UO you very well described. To me, I think a persistent sever needs dedicated players and involved sessions to, well, be successful for the design - very difficult to achieve without a schedule and that, well, negates a 24/7 sever, spontaneously open, which might as well be options we currently have (e.g. Patrol Ops, any seeder mission)! Nevertheless, it'll be awesome to see any emergent outcomes over time (strategically) for this. 

Edited by Limey

Share this post


Link to post

I'll have to look into the Alive mod. I'm only vaguely familiar with it.

In my mind I think a persistent event spanning the length of any other event would negate a lot of the issues with low player count that you've all thoughtfully raised (Rambo and spoiling efforts). More so a mission that lasts 4-6 hours containing dynamic objectives that could change depending on the outcome of the prior one. I wouldn't expect a low player count in the middle of such a time-frame. Maybe even having side-missions for the "dead" might hold the player base while they are no longer present in the operation around main objectives. It would also help to cut down a lot of the administration and organisation required to start a completely different mission every time during each event which extends the down-time and possibly hampers the ability for some players to stick around for multiple missions. That said I suppose it begins to sound like a seeder mission although the seeder mission is generally designed to be a re-playable game type targeted at the 1-10 range before the mission is changed to something more deliberate as the server grows.

 

I'm interested to see what considerations people feel are necessary in a technical sense. Could the Alive mod make things far more simple than hand made scripted events?

 

Lots to consider. Perhaps a Bridge Too Far.  

Share this post


Link to post

You have quite the dilemma, really - a persistent experience needs organised participation for the benefits of such, but UO is very much spontaneous in sessions as an ethos. Maybe people could coordinate terse public updates on the outcome of meaningful missions as strategic developments  (i.e. eliminating SIGINT disables a QTF's) and that'd reduce any detachment from fresh/less participation causing discouragement? I want to reiterate, too, I'd love to see a UO campaign, but it'd need to be organised and communicated flawlessly to ensure: 1) It's open to all as UO intends, 2) It fully achieves the benefits of a persistent world as the design purpose, 3) It's organised to not be an inchoate session that, well, might as well be any regular mission. 

Share this post


Link to post

I have had only one experience with an aLive campaign. I know aLive is highly customizable, and besides the possibility to save the mission state or keep it running it can be tweaked almost as a normal mission. This is what i took from it.

 

These were our settings. Our own campaign was a coop set on Altis. The whole of Altis was occupied by the enemy AI (that meant 1000+ AIs, which were virtual entities unless a player got any closer than 5 km). The campagin was 24/7. OPCOM Ai was set so that it couldnt move its pieces on the map if no player was inside the server, and in any case the BLUFOR base was never to be attacked: Ai strategy was set on defense and reinforcement of what has been marked by the admin as major strategic sites. Since it was a 24/7, respawn for players was set on 3 (IIRC, a short wait in any case) minutes, and unlocked vehicles for 10 minutes (IIRC again). Player OPCOM acted as a sort of DM, setting several artificial strategic objectives (small and big) and assigning points for their completion, points that awarded better vehicles and equipments: these missions were meant for those that connected outside "clan hours" and they were meant to be separated from FT or less (reconnaissance mainly) and squad or more, leaving the bigger ones for clan operations. By the by, player OPCOM was Neuro (hey mate feel free to correct me or comment on this).

 

This said, the issues it generated where:

 

  1. The admin faced a massive workload just to make the game run in a playable state. For two three weeks the server couldnt be bugged to output more than 15 FPS, and it had to be optimized on full server load. There have been tens of versions one after the other, that meant a persistency reset after each iteration. That was when i understood that beta testing is not a thing for many, because i -and several others- were so fed up to play the same thing over and over that we werent enjoying it anymore (well, i did, but not as much as i thought i would). I would underline the magnitude of this: mantaining an aLive server is HUGE in terms of hassle and time
  2. Outside clan hours, it was an extremely gamey situation, not so much different than any DayZ/KotH/Exile whatever situation. Where you were supposed to go and do some quiet reconnaisance you saw people stockpiling thermal sights on sniper rifles and ATs and soloing whole towns. Which i also did, because it was there, and it is fun and instructive because that's some CQB instruction you get, expecially if you knew that in a few days the server would have been restarted all over again. This was also made possible by the relatively short time for the respawn, because -this was the reasoning- since the server is open 24/7 it's no use punishing players for dying with a 10-20-30 minutes waiting time fpr respawning if they wanted to make use of the server: just let them play. (For the same reason, stuff like MEDEVAC for respawning was discarded). But as instrucive the experience were, it was not much different than throwing a number of enemy squads on the editor and killing them on preview.
  3. And all in all, aLive clan missions were just unoptimized missions. Say player OPCOM decided that it would have been nice liberating Sofia and Molos (which we did something glike a couple times a week back then): why bothering having a 1000+ AI around the whole map acting erratically and sucking away all the free time for the admin, when having just a mission, maybe with a DAC in place if you liked the unpredictable AI, would have done the very same with much less of a hassle? If OPCOM decided that a power station or an antenna site were important, why bothering giving it a score, then planning a mission, then play it, instead of -again- playing a normal mission where you have to take down the very same antenna or power station? Instead of having a mission maker and a commading officer, you have an admin, an out of game HQ and a commanding officer: why the middle man? Where is the added value?

We used it in order to fill the gap for a lack of new missions: we tried to have aLive as a replacement for missing mission makers. I wont say that since my experience was bad then aLive is useless. Maybe several things we did were unoptimal. Maybe our admin was too much inexperienced, maybe we made the wrong choices, maybe we were just too few, maybe having a TvT kind of aLive plays different, but if the need is to give the players something to do outside peak hours, seeder missions are much easier to mantain than aLive, and if the goal is to have an ongoing situation, like a campaign, then we might think of an ongoing event with ad hoc missions. Missions are tailored and are optimized to give the best results in terms of immersivity and performance, IMO. 

 

Again, i want to be constructive. This was my experience. If an aLive mission were to be established i'd very gladly turn up to play. 

Edited by Maffa

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...