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April 2017 Contest Discussion (Pt 1)

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sky_lark

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Post Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:28 pm

April 2017 Contest Discussion (Pt 1)

Discuss the levels of the April 2017 Contest below.

There will be a second discussion thread after the next party (Sunday 4/30 8pm ET) for the next wave of levels.

Contest Levels:

    • Bitman (CTF)
    • Cell (RET)
    • Courage (CORE)
    • Enclosed Quarters (RAB)
    • Greenboard (RET)
    • Hive (ZC)
    • Id (BM)
    • Infineight (CTF)
    • Lotus (TBM)
    • Modern Stadium (SOC)
    • O.G. Nexus (NEX)
    • One/Three Way (CTF)
    • Shard (HTF)
    • Small Forts (CTF)
    • Spiro (SOC)
    • Turretorial Control (CTF)
I'm really pleased we were able to get each game mode represented. That's awesome. Keep submitting levels, the next party will be even more fun with more levels to play!

Contest Timeline:

1. Feel free to edit your existing levels and send them to me via PM. I will send an early batch update to raptor midday Friday.

2. The final deadline for updates and any new levels is Sunday, April 30 at 12:00pm ET. New levels will be premiered in Sunday's party at 8:00pm ET.

The levelchange to the contest server is partyparty in case you want to look through them. Please don't abuse it!

PS. Discussion template below:

  Code:
[color=#FFBF00]• Bitman[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](CTF)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Cell[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](RET)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Courage[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](CORE)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Enclosed Quarters[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](RAB)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Greenboard[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](RET)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Hive[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](ZC)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Id[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](BM)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Infineight[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](CTF)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Lotus[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](TBM)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Modern Stadium[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](SOC)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• O.G. Nexus[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](NEX)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• One/Three Way[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](CTF)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Shard[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](HTF)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Small Forts[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](CTF)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Spiro[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](SOC)[/color]


[color=#FFBF00]• Turretorial Control[/color] [color=#BCD2EE](CTF)[/color]


Last edited by sky_lark on Mon May 01, 2017 11:25 am, edited 6 times in total.
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sky_lark

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Post Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:48 pm

Re: April 2017 Contest Discussion (Pt 1)

My thoughts...

• Bitman (CTF)
Really cool design, even if it isn't the newest theme it still has some interesting ideas and a fun style. The problem here is how easy it can be exploited -- players can follow opponents through the lasers and steal the home flags, making it impossible for one team to capture flags. Alternatively, one team can steal all the white flags without capping them, making it impossible for another team to score.

Simple fixes for both: 1. Make teleporter access one ship wide to reduce any extra travelers from sneaking inside. That or use speedzones creatively 2. Have teleporters lead directly onto the team flag, so a team can't carry white flags inside and hide them very easily. Note these are not perfect solutions, but they should help.

Aside from the exploits, I would also encourage a higher level cap -- this goes to everyone, too -- since the rounds are already short the level caps shouldn't really have influence, unless playing the level for the full time gets stale.

• Cell (RET)
Love the minimalist nature and the idea of positioning goal zones away from the spawns. The dotted walls are great for limiting a stalemate when both teams have a flag. One issue that came up here was how easy it was to score once a team had both flags. Transition scoring after one team scores is very common in bitfighter as one team will often expend all of their energy trying to get the score in, so when they do the other team can take advantage of that to score very quickly in return.

This isn't such an issue on its own, but the easiness of scoring once a team has both flags meant that a team with more players, even if they had less combined experience/skill, could consistently score goals simply through brute force. Spawning away from the action, while a cool principle, makes it even harder to stop a team that owns both flags. Like the above, only a simple fix is required however -- make it tougher to score after taking flags from the middle. Maybe add in some obstacles in the middle like dotted walls that players have to navigate and can be vulnerable in.

• Courage (CORE)
I always love me a good challenge and this one is no exception, but maybe too much haha. Offense/defense-oriented maps can be tricky to balance and that seems to be the main issue here. Probably reducing the core shields and taking away a couple turrets would help. It would also be interesting to see if engineer can be utilized here more, perhaps as an aid for offense to better attack the defense.

It is interesting to see offense and defense chosen ahead of time for players. That solves a common decision-making problem present in many core levels where a team that spends any time defending will typically be at a disadvantage over a team that spends all their time attacking. That problem extrapolates if a team gets any kind of lead, as leads are difficult to overcome in core. So an offense-defense set-up takes away some of those issues just by default which is cool.

• Enclosed Quarters (RAB)
Team Rabbit is always an interesting mode as it's not actually beneficial for teammates to kill other players, unless of course they are about to kill the rabbit. It would be interesting to see more strategy of teams priming up enemy players for easy kills from the rabbit.

I like the style of this level, but the teleporters have got to go. That, or limit the wall so it's easier to get around. Rabbits have it way too easy being able to camp a portal entrance and go in at the last second. I also think this level could use light speedzones, so players can have an easier time chasing the rabbit.

• Greenboard (RET)
Cool wall design. I like the theme of this level, though I'm not a big fan of eliminating the commander's map. That'll be a personal preference decision, though. The primary challenge here is similar to that of Cell, it's too easy to score once a team has both flags. There's less space in here to move around so I don't think you need obstacles, but maybe adding in flag spawns to change up their locations a bit might help, or adding in some player spawns closer to the enemy zones.

• Hive (ZC)
This is an interesting level that plays on the concept of lots of easy to acquire zones over a few tougher zones. The cluttered shapes and variety of gadgets and trinkets make this a visually appealing level and combat is varied as well. However, I think the extra space outside the primary area hurts the level more than it helps. I think this would be a bit more frantic and interesting if players could not leave the tight area. Otherwise it becomes a bit too easy to flee with the flag.

• Lotus (TBM)
Simple and fun. I love team bitmatch. I don't really have any concerns with this level, except that it might be a bit too simple. It would be interesting to see the team aspect utilized a bit more, perhaps creating simple mini-bases to offer each team some supplies while fighting.

• Modern Stadium (SOC)
Gorgeous level. Don't really dig the name but the pretty design makes up for it no problem. It's pretty easy to score, so I would increase the cap limit a lot. I would also consider adding extra teleporters or moving their destinations closer to the own base so it was a bit easier to have late epic saves. Currently if I'm dead and a ball gets beyond the circles I'm screwed, it would be nice if it could be a bit easier to get late saves in.

• O.G. Nexus (NEX)
Like I said with Greenboard not thrilled with the lack of commander's map. The level itself is interesting, I love team nexus for their strategy in trying to compile flags and gang up on enemies hoarding flags. The balance is actually really solid, it's not too hard to kill an enemy hoarding given the small size and position of aid kits away from the bases, but it's also not too easy due to the presence of the bases offering some relief.

That said, the bases could be a little more navigable, and there could be greater spawning. Bases right now are essentially killboxes, too easy to throw in a couple bursts and force a player out. Making them a bit bigger or offering an additional exit should help with that.

What is up with the flag spawns in the middle right before the nexus opens? That defeats the entire point of hoarding flags throughout the level and cheapens our hard work fighting for flags.

• One/Three Way (CTF)
I was hoping to see some old-school, competitive CTF levels in this contest so I'm pleased by this level. Visually it's a bit of an eyesore in some areas, and the middle passage could have its ends opened up a bit so players aren't bumping around trying to get inside. I would also add maybe another testitem to the side areas; I liked being able to chase a flag carrier inside and shoot the testitem to block the exit. It would be nice to see that strategy encouraged a bit more with the addition of more obstacles or a smaller exit. Good level overall though.

• Shard (HTF)
2-flag HTF with basically one zone each is definitely an intriguing concept. Not much to say here! It was fun to play it and I can't think of anything specific to add.
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sky_lark

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Post Mon May 01, 2017 11:11 am

Re: April 2017 Contest Discussion (Pt 1)

After our party from last night...

Bitman fixed most of the exploits, but there's still a massive one in that you can sneak outside the map by skipping the portal, then just going around to the other team's portal and taking their flags. This has an easy fix though, just needs a wall to prevent it.

Cell didn't get fixed. Our additional play throughs last night showed that it's really fun and challenging when in a stalemate, but as soon as one team scores it's too easy to go on quick runs and rack up the score. We went from like 2-2 to 2-8 in a matter of seconds when all of us died at one time and couldn't get back in easily. I think some kind of simple obstacle in the middle or at least covering the flags with walls so they take longer to get will give folks a chance if they die at the inopportune time.

Courage got easier for the offense, it's still hard though. I wish we had better play throughs, one we had imbalanced teams of 2v3 where the two were on the offense and I was lagging a lot so it was mostly 1v3, and the other one the offense just gave up early on and so it wasn't fun. I think I figured out a strategy, there are a lot of turrets yes but they have slow reload times. So offense should destroy every turret, then engineer turrets of their own to help crack down on cores, then team up on other cores. Teaming up will distract the defense from the engineered turrets placed elsewhere and as cores are unlocked they give aid kits and energy packs which are useful. This is clearly not an everyday map, there is strategy involved so I would like to see a better playthrough before I can add other thoughts.

Enclosed Quarters should have a score cap of 300. I assume that was a mistake. It's pretty fun, and there's some interesting strategy at play in weakening enemies but letting the rabbit kill them for the points. I still think the barriers around the portals should be heavily reduced so it's easier to chase the rabbit.

O.G. Nexus has a lot of interesting aspects. It's pretty cool being able to take your time and work with teammates to collect flags for a big score. The delay really adds intensity over time as you try to track down the enemy's flag hoarder and chip away at them. This caters to a lot of different skill levels in that newer players would have several attempts to try to kill the enemies since the delay was long.

That said, I think the turrets are too powerful and shouldn't have recharge, maybe no turrets at all. I think they distract from the player to player combat and can be overly powerful with such limited space to play in.

I am really disappointed 20 flags still spawn in the center right when the nexus opens. This means that instead of collecting the flags throughout the like 2 minutes in between nexus openings you can literally just camp middle for the last 15 seconds and get an equivalent if not better score. It's blindsiding to new players who haven't seen the map before and cheapens the hard work players put in trying to collect flags and fight off enemies in the minutes before the nexus opens. It really left a bitter taste in my mouth to fight hard for like 2 minutes then watch as the enemy team blew away our score just because they happened to be in the center when the nexus opened.

Modern Stadium and One/Three Way are really fun levels. I love simple competitive levels like these. I could see some minor tweaks as I posted above but these are very entertaining.

New levels!

Small Forts was actually submitted before our first party but didn't make it in due to a level editor glitch. It's a fun, competitive CTF with plenty of strategy involved. The strategy that seemed to work pretty well was having someone defend base at all times -- it's cramped enough that one player can put up a pretty decent stand. I loved being able to sit inside our base with the flag and fire close range bursters at enemies trying to get in, worked really well. Burster is too often relied upon as a long range distance weapon but it can be so powerful in close quarters as it explodes on impact with another ship.

The other two players (in a 3v3) need to really sprint hard to apply plenty of brute force against the enemy base. One of our games we got butchered because offensively we were too slow in attacking the enemy. With the tight corridors and the lasers at the base, there's not as much value in going slow with sneak attacks. Offense need to rush in and try to prevent the defense from gaining a foothold with repeated attacks. It was cool when we were chasing a flag carrier and coordinating cutting him off from either side.

The fixes I would suggest for this level would be to slow down the recharging rate of the laserbeams a little bit, they're pretty powerful. And please add loadout zones to the level so loadouts can be changed without having to respawn! Not being able to change loadouts on the fly is so frustrating, and imo should only be used in novelty maps.

Spiro what an intriguing soccer level. I'm a big fan of small goal soccer levels. Two soccer balls is interesting, not sure how it plays out with different numbers of players but seemed to work well for our game of 3v3/4v4. I love the wall design -- not the walls in front of the goal, but the walls around the goal. In a lot of soccer levels you can push the ball along the adjacent wall and it will slide right in. In this level if you do that from either side it will just bounce out. So it requires control all the way through to the inside.

It's fun, almost intuitive in some areas to shoot the ball at your goal to get it to ricochet away. This level and Modern Stadium were both great for the underrated "headers" (double tap boost to launch ball in a direction). My suggestions would be to add loadout zones and remove engineer module if it's not being used.

Infineight I'm not sure I understand this level. As soon as you score one you can just take the enemy flag into your base and instantly win. There is an exploit (or maybe intentional design?) with that you can destroy the hostile laserbeams and get out, but even without that being a factor I'm not sure how the enemy is supposed to win after being down one and losing control of their flag. I also don't quite understand the portal delay, I really like the concept of using portal delay but it doesn't really give a big advantage, you can just go around.

If the portals led to inside the enemy base (the area protected by the lasers) that would be a different story, and would make a lot more sense actually for a lot of the confusion. However if so I would think the team laserbeams shouldn't have such a powerful recharge rate, it would be cool to get inside and try to open the door for your teammates.
Last edited by sky_lark on Mon May 01, 2017 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Quartz

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Post Mon May 01, 2017 2:45 pm

Re: April 2017 Contest Discussion (Pt 1)

sky_lark wrote:Infineight If the portals led to inside the enemy base that would be a different story, and would make a lot more sense actually for a lot of the confusion.
They do..?
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sky_lark

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Post Mon May 01, 2017 3:12 pm

Re: April 2017 Contest Discussion (Pt 1)

I am referring to the section inside the laserbeams where players can retreat with the enemy flag and cannot be attacked. Sorry for the confusion, will edit.
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Quartz

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Post Mon May 01, 2017 3:22 pm

Re: April 2017 Contest Discussion (Pt 1)

sky_lark wrote:I am referring to the section inside the laserbeams where players can retreat with the enemy flag and cannot be attacked. Sorry for the confusion, will edit.
Ahh, I see what you mean now. Thanks :)
Exploits of Quartz and bobdaduck - My maps on Pleiades
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raptor wrote:sometimes I think getting Quartz to use plugins is like getting my mom to use a computer
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Post Mon May 01, 2017 4:01 pm

Re: April 2017 Contest Discussion (Pt 1)

Lotus - It’s a standard arena-style Bitmatch. It’s a team Bitmatch to make things slightly different, and the colors are pleasant enough. There’s nothing objectionable nor anything particularly marvellous. Not much to say here! 7/10

Modern Stadium - This is an excellent Soccer map. It makes excellent usage of curves and open space without being so open it becomes tedious — a very difficult balance when it comes to crafting Soccer maps. Literally the only thing I would change is making the portals go to maybe three different points on the map — even if they are very close together — because some tiny bit of randomness is good so people can’t attempt to spawn camp. 10/10

Spiro - This is another excellent Soccer map — I’m sensing a theme here. The odd angles of the outside wall make for difficult but not insanely difficult ball movement. The bit of wall in front of the goals is perfect. The two balls is risky but amusing. Well done. 10/10

O.G. Nexus - A really good Team Nexus I would love to play often. The only issue with it are the flag spawns and the lack of a C Map. That said, the joke behind the C Map is pretty clever. 9/10

Bitman - I believe this map makes the mistake of putting flag spawns on top of flags in the editor, since flags can spawn on top of one another. This is an easy fix — the flags count as flag spawns as well. Other than that mistake, I will attest this is by far the best execution of the Pacman idea I’ve ever seen, and there have been a LOT of Pacman maps over the years. Great job. 10/10

Shard - Nothing terribly special, but nothing wrong with it either — besides the lack of loadout zones — a solid map. It’s frustrating to play at times, but that’s because of teammates, not the map. I appreciate the rapid scoring — nothing worse than a slow tick on HTF. THANK YOU. 8.5/10

Small Forts - A solid CTF. Props on making regenerating stuff not regenerate freaking instantly like so many others, although I think it would be good to slow down the regeneration on the projectors just a bit. The score limit is a little too high for my tastes. My biggest issue with this map is the goalzones, which are a real eyesore. If you want to designate colors to the sides for gameplay reasons, a better method is to implement line items in some way or another. I like the wall design. 8.5/10

One/Three Way - I like the concept, and I like the flagspawns so insta-return capping is a die=roll instead of the best possible strategy at all times. What I don’t like is just how bottleneck the middle hallway is. Hell, I’d remove it entirely and just leave the two side ones personally. 7/10

Cell - It’s clean, and I’m a sucker for designated spawn areas that actually penalize the enemy team for dying (something not common enough in Bitfighter maps), but those flags are just too damn close to the goal zones. Given the contest theme, this issue is basically impossible to avoid. 7/10

Unnamed Level - I don’t know where to begin. I honestly hate everything about this map. 1/10

Enclosed Quarters - A very rare breed called “a decent Team Rabbit.” My only issue with this are the teleporters that are a little too effective. 7/10

Greenboard - The c map is pretty and all, but I’d like to be able to use it, thanks. Pretty bland Retrieve, and the flags are too easy to camp when they respawn. 6/10

Infineight - Cool concept with the teleporters. I would give the flag areas turrets instead of the middle. I dig the Triple Fire turrets. The biggest issue is the ability to score once and then pretend you’re from HLG (Hidden League Gaming) — yes that was a Halo 3 reference. 7/10

Hive - Really nice concept. The execution is another matter. I really like it, and I like the way you can go outside for some relief from the claustrophobia, but I also don’t — it makes things too easy for the flag carrier. 7/10

Turretorial Control - Much as I tend to enjoy maps which have more than two teams, this is not one of them. Bland and uninspired, and turrets can shoot through the laserbeams at certain angles. 3/10

Id - At first I thought this must run a script akin to MazeRacer, but it does not. A metric crap ton of repair items for no reason in particular, some random teleporters ... it's not like it's unplayable, it's just not interesting. 4/10
Exploits of Quartz and bobdaduck - My maps on Pleiades
Current self-serving quote:
raptor wrote:sometimes I think getting Quartz to use plugins is like getting my mom to use a computer

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