Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I wish I knew how to do this...

If something like this doesn't already exist, it'd be awesome if I knew where to start on making it. If it does exist, point me to where I can download it kthx.

I like the Onslaught mode in UT2k4. I play the hell out of it. I can't help it, it's a lot of fun. I tend to prefer the competitive multiplayer modes that have goals beyond just killing all the other players. I'll briefly explain Onslaught so anyone can understand what exactly I'm saying when I actually describe what I want.

In Onslaught, each team has a power core in their base. Placed throughout the map are power nodes, that are linked to each other in one of a few different configurations. The active link setup is shown with a minimap in the corner of the screen. To be able to take a power node for your team, it must have a link to your power core either directly or via another power node that you already control. As the match goes on, you end up with a chain of power nodes leading back to your power core. The goal is to destroy the enemy team's power core. You can only attack their power core if yours is connected to it via power nodes, so naturally a lot of fighting happens at the power nodes. To aid you there are plenty of weapons, as well as armored vehicles. There are other nuances, but that's the gist of it.

Now that we've got that out of the way, here's my idea. A power node usually has two nodes linked to it, though sometimes more. Each node is constructed when it reaches full health. You can use the link gun to speed it up, and having multiple teammates doing this helps, but it still takes time. Each node has the same amount of health regardless of any other nodes linked to it, which is the subject of this proposed mutator.

What would be awesome is if each node that you have constructed helps your team construct the other nodes that it's connected to. One node (or a power core) would be like it is normally. Two or more would decrease construction time according to some reasonable proportion, and the opposing team could increase construction time along that same proportion by taking another node that's connected to the node in question.

Furthermore, allied nodes connected to the node in question should provide it with armor once it's constructed. This too would depend on both the number of allied nodes connected to it and the number of enemy nodes connected to it. The goal here is to have everything be normal when one node of either team (or one of each) is connected, but have a bonus for node layouts that interconnect nodes with multiple paths. Everything would also be normal if both teams had two nodes connected to a specific node, and so on. Lastly, isolated nodes shouldn't count.

Tipping the balance in your team's favor would become a lot more important, and the node layout would lend that much more strategy to the gameplay. Under normal circumstances all the player really has to do is find the first round dot and turn it their color, then move to the next round dot and repeat, engaging enemies as necessary. With this mutator in place, the player would have to take into consideration which round dot would be the best one to attack.

Here's the minimap from one of the simpler maps, with five nodes.

Map: ONS-Severance

As shown here, the blue team is in a rather dominant position, holding four of the five power nodes. Each node is marked with a number for ease of communication during actual gameplay. I just loaded it up quickly with the console so I'd be the only one there and thus had a controlled environment to make a screenshot.

Note how the node in the middle (node 1) can only be connected to by the red team from one node on the map (node 4), but it's connected to three blue nodes (nodes 2, 3, and 5). With this theoretical mutator in play, after taking node 4, red would be wiser to destroy node 3 before attacking node 1. In doing so, node 1 would become easier for them to destroy since it would then have one fewer node connected to it. If they then took node 3 for themselves, each team would have two nodes connected to node 1 and the proportions would even it out so that node 1 would become just as easy for red to destroy as node 3 was.

On this map, node 1 holds great strategic importance due to the fact that whichever team controls it gets a Leviathan vehicle. This vehicle is very heavily armored, has four corner turrets and a homing missile launcher each controllable by a different player, and the driver can place it into a stationary mode where their homing missile launcher is replaced with a beam that utterly annihilates everything around the target. To balance all of this out, it's very slow, and it's a huge target.

I briefly mentioned isolated power nodes earlier. It's possible for a power node to become isolated from the rest, though this depends on the link setup. In the layout shown above, if red were to take nodes 4 and 3, blue could isolate node 3 by destroying node 4. Isolated nodes slowly lose health until it's all gone, and then revert back to being neutral. The team controlling the isolated node can repair it to keep it alive longer, and still has access to the vehicles that spawn at that node until it dies.

I feel as though the mutator I'm proposing here would make Onslaught gameplay a lot more strategic. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, I have no clue how to make this sort of thing.

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