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[SUGGESTION] Feedback from a lapsed player

#1
Hey guys,

I'm almost certain no-one will remember me from playing online. To be honest, I mostly played with friends, and haven't even done that in a while. I tried the preview build of Xonotic and responded to the survey, but since then I haven't played until this weekend (the new automated downloader works beautifully, btw. Thanks!) Anyway, I went back to UT3 for my FPS fix (and recently Section 8: Prejudice, a surprisingly addictive little game,) and now that I've tried a more recent build I figured I'd give some feedback.

Graphics:

The game looks great, I have to give it up here. I'm getting good fps, and everything looks snazzy. I like the direction the team is taking Xonotic's aesthetic, except for two things: I prefer the old pick-ups (mostly for visibility reasons, the new models do look good,) and while the bodies of the models look like they fit the world, the faces still stick out.

I'd be very happy if Xonotic moved further away from Nexuiz's Duke Nukem / Robert Crumb art style and stuck with armor / robots for combatants. Not knocking the modelers, mind you, but the game looks really sleek right now except for all the fleshy bits (which, admittedly, are much harder to pull off - so why not skip them entirely?) The player models are still leagues improved since Nexuiz.

The weapon tweaks are great, although I still think the 'laser' looks funny and the tri-barrel shotgun seems even less appropriate. More on that later, of course. And I'm sure this is no shocker, but after playing Nexuiz and Xonotic back-to-back for comparison purposes, I have to salute the mapmakers. I'm actually getting comparable/better performance on my computer, surprisingly, so I hope this is true across the board.

I'm bringing up my nitpicks, but overall great job so far.

UI:

The HUD looks really good. It's still a little unintuitive to have your active ammo displayed among all your inactive ammo. The highlighting does help, but I'd still like a bigger indicator. The ring counter for the clip weapons is absolutely great. I'd like to see this system adapted for all the guns, actually. I like it when games change your reticle to match your weapon, but this system would let you keep your favorite crosshair while integrating your weapon into the HUD. It could be one of Xonotic's distinguishing touches.

Physics:

Fun fun fun! I'm not an expert, but everything feels "right", which it never quite did for me before.

Weapons:

Did someone say "approaching one"? What does that mean?

Yeah, I have to get into this a little bit. I actually wrote up a really long response to the preview survey (took notes and everything, even made a table of the weapons by function, range, and ammo-types.) I really only have two things to say:

The weapon balance is night-and-day better than the preview build. Hats off to Samual. Smile

I only feel more strongly now that the shotgun and laser should be merged. Why hasn't this happened yet?

[edit: Please read the follow-up posts, I've changed my mind about this in favor of giving the laser melee, making it the starting gun, and making the shotty a pick-up. I might change my mind again, but I'd rather not inspire defenses of something I don't currently endorse. I stick by my points, though.]

Please don't get upset with me for bringing this up, I promise I'll keep all my balance talk to this thread unless/until I get more involved here, but it's a valid point. I've been waiting since Nexuiz for the shotty and laser to merge, and I figured it was inevitable with the housecleaning planned for Xonotic. I saw it was proposed in the "weapon suggestions" thread, where the proposal was almost universally shot down. I think it should be reconsidered. In my opinion, now that the shotty's triple-fire is gone, it's strange that these two weapons are separate. While I'm assuming a bit, I'd guess this is especially true for someone who's playing the game for the first time. Here is my reasoning:

You have two weapons on spawn. Each has a useful primary-fire and no thematically linked alt-fire (every other weapon does.) The laser is useful as a tool, as an offensive weapon its main selling point is to be a "get off me" gun, pushing people around. You can still kill with it, but you'd never pick it over anything else (although you can sort of snipe with it on open maps, amusingly enough.) Its alt-fire acknowledges this intentional offensive inutility by just swapping you to a better gun. The shotgun is a decent short- to mid-range weapon, that can actually still do some damage at range. Unlike the archetypal shotgun, it doesn't crumple or push people around all that much, has little spread, and has a decent and constant rate of fire. Its alt-fire has been debated for a long time, and is currently the melee attack.

I don't have a problem with melee being in the game, but it doesn't sit right with me as the shotgun's alternate fire. For one thing, it creates the scenario where if you run out of ammo on the shotgun, you have two starting weapons in your inventory each with one available fire mode (the heck?) Second, I'd expect a melee attack in Xonotic to be (I think I like typing this) either a "get off me" move or a last-ditch effort to finish someone off. I haven't noticed much push or stun on the melee (or cooldown,) and it's quite feasible to keep pace with someone while being shot, clubbing them until they're dead. Being the limited-range alternate fire on the spawn weapon suggests that this attack is a desperation move - your "last resort". It's not quite that defensive (although I have only played against bots so far, many people skirmish against bots to kill time.)

I just don't feel either weapon really owns its identity in their current incarnations. It's never made sense to me that the laser is called that. Lasers are pretty much the weapon which is the least likely to ever impart any noticeable force upon the wielder (not to mention they're, you know, beams of light.) It might have just been part of Nexuiz's (and now Xonotic's) quirky charm, but this bugs me. Similarly, the shotgun still doesn't feel like a shotgun to me. The cryolink absolutely OWNS the spreadgun market in terms of feel and effect, now that the triple-blast is gone it makes no sense that the gun has three barrels, and except for the satisfying "cha-chink" reload sound after each shot there's not much to say it's a shotgun, except for my last point.

Do we really need four ammo types? The shells exist for exactly one weapon; normally exclusive ammo goes to a super-gun (edit: in the games I can think of with combined ammo, obviously not the case for most FPSes, stupid me) but these are for a spawn weapon that doesn't really distinguish itself from the other hitscan weapons in any mechanical way. You shouldn't really ever run out of shotty ammo to begin with, and if you do your first thought usually will be "I need a better gun" rather than "I have to find me some shells!" Shell ammo is, basically, clutter.

The arguments, as far as I can tell, for keeping the weapons discrete are usually their alt-fire modes, quick-switching back from the laser, and tradition. I'm not a fan of the shotgun's current alt-fire mode (and no-one can really figure out what to put there,) "previously used weapon" is by default mapped to "q", and lots of things have been improved in Xonotic by breaking with tradition. The game might be somewhat dormant right now, but it's looking *very* good, so my thought is that tweaks like this should take into account the new players who'll be trying Xonotic after its first official releases.

It wouldn't even be hard to implement. Tweak the shotgun primary a bit so that the gun can function without ammo pickups (say, five shots with a continuous recharge,) give it pink effects to match the laser (this makes it harder for someone to plink-kill on spawn without being noticed, go find a gun!) and increase the spread as well as the damage/range dropoff and push-back. Make the alt-fire a short-range burst, which maintains the functionality of both melee and laser-jumping, while pushing the opponent back so that you don't get the Shaun of the Dead pool cue effect (you know that scene with Don't Stop Me Now? Tongue) And it wouldn't have to be called either a shotgun or a laser. The melee attack could either be replaced, or remain as an option available to every weapon or as what happens when you pull the trigger with no ammo.

Wow, didn't mean to go on that long about that subject. Sorry about that. ^_^ I'm currently taking a break from writing papers, I guess the long-windedness carried over. Anyway, if I had the time I'd look into trying it out myself (might be able to in the weeks to come,) but if anyone already has I'd like to hear about the results.

Anyway, I derailed my own thread. Xonotic = looking really good. I haven't tried all the game modes on the new maps, and I haven't had a chance to test it online (lots of empty servers Sad) but to me it looks like with a few more maps it's pretty much ready for a release.

Seriously, ignore any negativity that might have come across in this post. Great work everyone, can't wait to see what more you've got in store!
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#2
Good post! You made your point in a very comprehensible and totally unoffending way.

I sort of like the shotgun melee very much and have successfully used it already very often. Removing it seems to me no option, putting it as last resort when you got no ammo is equally bad imho as you then cannot plan to use it really. Of course the alternate fire mode of the laser is something which is redundant, but merging shotgun and laser would lead to one functionality (laser, shotgun primary, melee) being dropped. That is, as long as you don't want to implement melee as third fire mode for all weapons, but I don't know if this wouldn't get a bit too complex to use then.

I totally oppose the idea of reducing the current laser to a short range burst, using the laser on mid range to even long range is something I got very attached to. Actually I would not like to see ANY tweaking to the current laser primary fire.

As for the laser being a beam of light that has no push force - yeah, you're right. Realism got thrown out of the window a long time ago (grenade jumps, rocket flying, air control, bunny hopping, strafe jumping, gravity in open space... coming to think of it even running over health/armor packs or weapons/ammo and picking them up that way seems just a tiny bit unrealistic. In real life I can't upgrade my car by running it over pieces of scrap metal, too - and I never noticed any effect from jumping on a package of plasters or medicine. Maybe I need to try harder.) (Sorry, got carried away)

But the redundant secondary fire mode of the laser really could be used for something useful (and yes I KNOW from personal experience that the "switch to last weapon" is used a lot and you need to relearn because it's all in the cerebellum by now and that's painful as heck). But I can't really see which of the three functions (laser/sg primary/melee) to drop?
[Image: 249.png] Latest track on soundcloud: Farewell - to a better Place (piano improvisation)
New to Xonotic? Check out my Newbie Corner!
<ZeRoQL> i think i got 1 proper quad and that cunt halogen fuck me over with a laser
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#3
(06-06-2011, 03:32 AM)Halogene Wrote: Good post! You made your point in a very comprehensible and totally unoffending way.

I was actually a little worried about that. Thanks!

(06-06-2011, 03:32 AM)Halogene Wrote: I sort of like the shotgun melee very much and have successfully used it already very often. Removing it seems to me no option, putting it as last resort when you got no ammo is equally bad imho as you then cannot plan to use it really.

Just hypothetically speaking, do you like it in conjunction with the shotgun specifically, or just as an attack mode on its own?

(06-06-2011, 03:32 AM)Halogene Wrote: Of course the alternate fire mode of the laser is something which is redundant, but merging shotgun and laser would lead to one functionality (laser, shotgun primary, melee) being dropped. That is, as long as you don't want to implement melee as third fire mode for all weapons, but I don't know if this wouldn't get a bit too complex to use then.

Well, my problem is that we have two fire modes and one melee attack spread over two guns. It's an awkward hole in the design right now, no matter how well the vets can use it. No hate for the laser, but from an outsider's view looking in it's grossly inelegant. If anything, the laser itself is the third fire-mode for all guns, only you have to switch your weapon to access it. That's probably more awkward to learn than being given a melee key or a laser key (although I admit it would be equally, if not more, difficult to unlearn, but these things can be done in the name of the game growing.)

(06-06-2011, 03:32 AM)Halogene Wrote: I totally oppose the idea of reducing the current laser to a short range burst, using the laser on mid range to even long range is something I got very attached to. Actually I would not like to see ANY tweaking to the current laser primary fire.

Point taken. Hrm. I guess my thinking is that the laser is kind of a big part of gameplay, and granted most people who find Xonotic are FPS vets who'll unpack the rocket-jump aspect of it very quickly, it's still just really unintuitive. I mean, it's a gun that never runs out of ammo, is really quirky to use as a gun, defaults as the weapon *down* the wheel from your starting weapon... why make it a gun at all? A lot of people, if you start them off in their own little group or against bots, will just never bother with the thing (or even notice it's there - I don't think I've seen bots using it much.)

The community here might disagree, but I do think something should be done about it. Make the laser an intrinsic suit ability, keep its fire mode exactly the same but have it always accessible. I don't think this is overpowering, since as it stands it's pretty accessible and takes you back to your gun with alt-fire. It would just be going down from two keystrokes to one.

(06-06-2011, 03:32 AM)Halogene Wrote: As for the laser being a beam of light that has no push force - yeah, you're right. Realism got thrown out of the window a long time ago (grenade jumps, rocket flying, air control, bunny hopping, strafe jumping, gravity in open space... coming to think of it even running over health/armor packs or weapons/ammo and picking them up that way seems just a tiny bit unrealistic. In real life I can't upgrade my car by running it over pieces of scrap metal, too - and I never noticed any effect from jumping on a package of plasters or medicine. Maybe I need to try harder.) (Sorry, got carried away)

My problem isn't realism, it's convention. When someone tells me they're giving me a LAZOR, I want a LAZOR! ...just like when they told me if I got a Red Ryder Electrogun I'd put my eye out, and instead gave me a LAZOR... Tongue It's a scifi setting mis-using scifi terms. What it is is some kind of buntgun. Not exactly a flattering name, but you get the point. The name ideally should be descriptive, but in no case should it be entirely misleading.

(06-06-2011, 03:32 AM)Halogene Wrote: But the redundant secondary fire mode of the laser really could be used for something useful (and yes I KNOW from personal experience that the "switch to last weapon" is used a lot and you need to relearn because it's all in the cerebellum by now and that's painful as heck). But I can't really see which of the three functions (laser/sg primary/melee) to drop?

Well, I haven't quite gotten hooked on melee yet. Honestly, the shotty never was a bad weapon (I remember it being insanely good at one point.) It could stand on its own. Maybe it could move into the bullet ammo category and become a pickup, and the laser (with a defensive alt-fire) became the only starting weapon.

If melee (which is currently always available to the player) is such a success, why not just put *that* on the laser and give the shotty it's triple back? I can kinda see a player, infuriated with trying to blow someone up with a buntgun just smacking them with it instead. And the shotty's triple-fire wouldn't be too good if the weapon was balanced on the same plane as all the other pickups, right?

[edit: the more I think about this, the more I really like this solution. It just works. It adds some more tension on respawn, puts the laser... excuse me, buntgun... front-and-center, gives melee to a weapon where it makes perfect sense, and packs the only two infinite-ammo abilities onto one starting gun. Plus for all those player's who want a slight buff to the laser, it would be stepping up to the realm of the big-boys as a full blown gun, so maybe it could get a little tickle. Is there a quick way to test this out?]

Anyway, still writing, still looking for distractions. Smile Thanks for the kind words, and yeah, I'm really not suggesting anyone's fun toys get taken away. I'm sure there's an elegant solution to this somewhere, I'm just not sure if it's a big enough deal to convince people that it needs an elegant solution.

Cheers!

[edit2: Ha! Halogene, I just saw your poll about the laser pushback. How would you like to test out a combined tweak? I don't know if you feel comfortable editing the weapon properties, and I'm super busy this week (graduating, actually! yay!), but I'll have some free time come next Sunday, so I'd dig in under the hood. Not proposing anything to anyone yet, but it's worth a trial run, right?]
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#4
(06-06-2011, 05:11 AM)Swithin Wrote: If melee (which is currently always available to the player) is such a success, why not just put *that* on the laser and give the shotty it's triple back? I can kinda see a player, infuriated with trying to blow someone up with a buntgun just smacking them with it instead. And the shotty's triple-fire wouldn't be too good if the weapon was balanced on the same plane as all the other pickups, right?

Yah, I agree that putting the melee on laser secondary could be an improvement, though we need a new model for the laser then. Swinging this neat little plastic something around wouldn't feel like doing much harm at all, though realism isn't one of the virtues of this game, but anyway. That would leave room for something on the shotty, dunno if we need the triple burst again but I wouldn't oppose that either.


(06-06-2011, 05:11 AM)Swithin Wrote: [edit2: Ha! Halogene, I just saw your poll about the laser pushback. How would you like to test out a combined tweak? I don't know if you feel comfortable editing the weapon properties, and I'm super busy this week (graduating, actually! yay!), but I'll have some free time come next Sunday, so I'd dig in under the hood. Not proposing anything to anyone yet, but it's worth a trial run, right?]
Good luck on graduation (or rather, retrospective)! Unfortunately, I am no good at fiddling with any weird nerdy text config files at all and I also am on vacation for some time soon (so I'll be absent from this forum most probably).

If you feel like your concept for improving the laser/shotgun balance/function is thought-through and valid, I'd recommend you to hop on IRC (#xonotic at quakenet for game chat or #xonotic at freenode for development chat) and get in touch with Samual, he'll probably have advanced ideas/concerns about your plans so he'd be a good person to discuss this with. Since you seem like a person who's able to put ideas in reasonable words, this could be very productive.
[Image: 249.png] Latest track on soundcloud: Farewell - to a better Place (piano improvisation)
New to Xonotic? Check out my Newbie Corner!
<ZeRoQL> i think i got 1 proper quad and that cunt halogen fuck me over with a laser
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#5
(06-06-2011, 10:07 AM)Halogene Wrote: Yah, I agree that putting the melee on laser secondary could be an improvement, though we need a new model for the laser then. Swinging this neat little plastic something around wouldn't feel like doing much harm at all, though realism isn't one of the virtues of this game, but anyway. That would leave room for something on the shotty, dunno if we need the triple burst again but I wouldn't oppose that either.

What if Anark10n let us use this?: http://forums.xonotic.org/showthread.php...7#pid25797

I can't imagine a modeler putting his work on the boards *not* wanting it to be the default gun (even in a test balance config.) Smile It actually looks like the kind of gun we'd want, and a nasty piece of work with which to hit someone over the head.

(06-06-2011, 10:07 AM)Halogene Wrote: Good luck on graduation (or rather, retrospective)! Unfortunately, I am no good at fiddling with any weird nerdy text config files at all and I also am on vacation for some time soon (so I'll be absent from this forum most probably).

If you feel like your concept for improving the laser/shotgun balance/function is thought-through and valid, I'd recommend you to hop on IRC (#xonotic at quakenet for game chat or #xonotic at freenode for development chat) and get in touch with Samual, he'll probably have advanced ideas/concerns about your plans so he'd be a good person to discuss this with. Since you seem like a person who's able to put ideas in reasonable words, this could be very productive.

Thanks, have a good time on your holidays!
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#6
Thanks, too. Maybe I sum up the conclusion this thread is tending to for all those who don't want to read all the stuff above:

Presumption:
Laser and Shotgun have together 3 firing modes which don't seem in line with the rest of the weapons.

Suggestion:
With shotgun melee being somewhat totally different (in terms of MORE different than usual) from the other firing modes, this could maybe be better on laser secondary (which is redundant anyway). The laser is the most weird weapon in the whole set so this melee weirdness would fit the laser quite well imho.

We could use this model http://forums.xonotic.org/showthread.php...7#pid25797 for the laser (maybe add some fangs to it for swinging?)

For shotgun secondary we could have something more shotgun like, like the three shots burst we had before.
[Image: 249.png] Latest track on soundcloud: Farewell - to a better Place (piano improvisation)
New to Xonotic? Check out my Newbie Corner!
<ZeRoQL> i think i got 1 proper quad and that cunt halogen fuck me over with a laser
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#7
How about they add the ability to block shots to the laser's secondary, similar to how skilled players are able to use the impact hammer secondary in UT99 (NOT UT2k3, 2k4, UT3) to stop some shots from hitting them. It could be like a small quick shield that fires up for a third of a second.
ECKZBAWKZ HUGE LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS GOES HERE....


Oh wait.
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#8
You're right about shells being a redundant ammo type. Someone (jaykay I think) had this idea to make shotgun use bullets instead. You'll spawn with some bullets, yes, but it doesn't seem to be a problem.

Also, Lee_Stricklin +vote.
chooksta Wrote:640t ought to be enuf for antibody
- microsoft windows
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#9
Ok, I'm back home but I'm going to grab a nap. Incorporating suggestions, this is my current plan:

Shotgun:
1. Remove Shotgun from spawn weapons
2. Modify Shotgun to use bullet ammo
3. Increase spread of normal fire, if possible attach momentum loss to hit, if not light push-back
4. Change alt-fire to a simultaneous three-barrel burst, high damage, triple-ammo-consumption, very high spread (point blank weapon,) cycle rate = primary/3, moderate kick-back (why have a multibarrel shotgun if you can't fire a full-blast? Three consecutive shots isn't nearly as cool. Oh, and no, no shotgun jumping. Unless you ask nice. Tongue)

Laser: (seriously, can we call it a Shunt-Cannon/Shunter/Buntgun/Anything Else?)
1. Increase push-back 50% *ONLY* on air-shots (just tested this, it doesn't need more generally, and you can juggle easily off the first hit)
2. Add melee attack alt-fire, push-back = grounded direct hit, dmg = current melee, energy effect destroys shots (basically spawning a laser-blast on your front that is bullet-opaque)

Note:

For the time being, this is a two-fold test, most importantly to see if I can do it (and I won't be attempting it for a few days,) and second to see what it looks like. I'm not ever going to propose a balance change I can't test first unless something goes *horribly* wrong in which case I wouldn't be the only one.

That said, keep the opinions coming, but be reasonable about the complexity - no "charge melee shield burst" or whatever. I might have to ask for Samual's help, but I'm not going to try to pawn any work off on someone unless they want to do it.

Special request: if you guys have any opinions of how much bullet ammo the shotty should consume per trigger-pull, it might narrow the experimentation range.

Special request 2: If Anark10n sees this, mind if we try out your gun?

Special request 3: If Anark10n sees this, agrees to let us use the model, but doesn't feel like texturing said gun, does anybody volunteer?
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