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Old 01-22-2009, 06:17 AM   #1
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How do devs balance this game?

For these kind of games with competitive teamplays, I always wonder how devs come to making changes for gameplay balancing purposes.

How do you balance the complaints made by pubbers and tourney players to satisfy both or one of the party? Do you simply make changes based on how vocal people are even if it may seem "dumb" to do so? Do you ever participate in some hardcore playing of your own games to observe some of the "problems" that players may speak about?

If you can answer some of these questions, I would be able to understand what kind of directions you guys are going with this game.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:42 AM   #2
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:56 AM   #3
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The beta team is quite large, and some of the testers secretly want to be designers, so a lot of balance discussion goes on amongst the beta testers then the ideas that seem to have promise are brought up to the devs. The rest is pretty secretive stuff afaik, I heard goats are involved.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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The beta team is quite large, and some of the testers secretly want to be designers, so a lot of balance discussion goes on amongst the beta testers then the ideas that seem to have promise are brought up to the devs. The rest is pretty secretive stuff afaik, I heard goats are involved.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:46 AM   #5
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If you can answer some of these questions, I would be able to understand what kind of directions you guys are going with this game.
to answer your question directly regarding the direction that FF is going, my view is that we are now rapidly heading towards a game that's very skillful and solidly balanced at all levels of competitive play, but also importantly has various gamemodes that are really easy to just jump into a public server and understand the goals and hopefully have fun whatever your experience and skill. imo this is an awesome direction

the thing is, the way i see it, FF is still basically a beta. by this i mean that we still have a load of stuff that we all know needs changing, and it's just a matter of working our way through it all. when we finally do manage to get done all the stuff that's planned, i'll consider that the first "finished" version. obviously development will continue (and probably even increase as the game generates more interest), but the point is that all the big known issues will be solved and development can then focus on accessibility/tweaking/polishing/expanding/etc.

the great news is that we're now actually really damn close to this first "finished" version. for anyone who hasn't experienced a development cycle such as this, i assure you that everything improves exponentially as the last few elements are put into place. when this is all done, and FF is ready, we can unleash FF onto steam and promote the crap out of it! oh yes we will..

so yeah, imo the future of FF is looking really bright now. brighter than ever. when playing FF now i get that buz-feeling that i last felt back when the CS beta was first released - i'm not trying to compare the two, i'm just saying i personally haven't felt that spark since then
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:01 PM   #6
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Trial and error. Make class changes beta test discard or keep changes do it over again.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:13 PM   #7
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The beta version of the mod has the variables exposed for damage, speeds, etc. and testers can tweak them as they play. They report back on what values feel right or keep a class useful but not overpowered.

Of course numbers can't fix everything, so we have to brainstorm features that make each class fun to play. If we agree that the feature would be useful, a coder implements it and we try it out. sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't

A good idea is a good idea whether it comes from pubs, clanners, or the devs themselves. Of course we play the game. If we didn't all play the mod from time to time we wouldn't continue to work for it.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:41 PM   #8
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I think the biggest problem currently facing the dev team is balancing the engineer for both league and pub play. The engineer has been a problem since release and, like the heavy, have gone some dramatic changes since release (the heavy has gone through slightly more dramatic changes, but the engineer has gained more features than the heavy has).

I think, right now, the pub and competitive communities are about the same size. This most certainly creates a problematic dynamic with balance. In most other games, the competitive community is small in comparison to the pubbing community. As a result of this, balance is generally done at a pub level instead of a competitive level and leagues will adjust rules accordingly.

Currently, FF balance is pretty good. There is no one class to rule them all and most classes can be played on any one map without much of a problem. I think the biggest accomplishment is that soldiers and pyros can, generally, be interchanged. Going from a useless "LOL" class in TFC, to one that can actually compete is something of an achievement. Comparing this to the TF2 pyro, who still can't hold his own in competitive play and completely trounces the competition in pubs... I can easily say that the FF pyro was done better.

As I said previously, the biggest task at hand is making the engineer more pub friendly without making him overpowered for league play. As it stands, the engineer is the strongest defender in the game when his gun is protected by someone. This mentality doesn't really work in public play as there is no incentive to protecting an SG that is not yours. There are no points to gain, no frags to get, no bonus, nadda.

These are the kinds of things that get tossed around in the beta forums, and have been for a while. I can't comment on the dev forums though.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:52 PM   #9
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In my opinion, most of the guys who have a say-so in the game play primarily in locked servers doing scrims.... therefore I believe the game in the future is just going to keep leaning towards these players rather than public gaming.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:07 PM   #10
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In my opinion, most of the guys who have a say-so in the game play primarily in locked servers doing scrims.... therefore I believe the game in the future is just going to keep leaning towards these players rather than public gaming.
Just an FYI, most of the beta testing is done in a public game format. That is, there is rarely any structure to it besides "TEST VALUES AND REPORT BACK ON THEM". When we do have structured tests (actual O's and D's), it's mainly on CTF maps... maps that really shouldn't be played in public play that often.
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:17 PM   #11
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In my opinion, most of the guys who have a say-so in the game play primarily in locked servers doing scrims.... therefore I believe the game in the future is just going to keep leaning towards these players rather than public gaming.
and we are actually pretty balanced with pubbers and leaguers close to 45/55 id say
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:48 PM   #12
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These guys don't know what they're talking about. I can tell you officially that we drink a lot of Steel Reserve and Absolut Vodka and just change some numbers around. Add in five or six new CTF maps, and boom there's your patch!
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:55 PM   #13
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In my opinion, most of the guys who have a say-so in the game play primarily in locked servers doing scrims.... therefore I believe the game in the future is just going to keep leaning towards these players rather than public gaming.
False. =(
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:00 PM   #14
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In my opinion, most of the guys who have a say-so in the game play primarily in locked servers doing scrims.... therefore I believe the game in the future is just going to keep leaning towards these players rather than public gaming.
while a few of the devs/testers do play in pickup games often (myself, squeek, mushy, shok, etc), we do not shy away from pubs. Pubs and pickup games are completely different animals with their own personalities. i prefer playing CTF in a pickup format because everyone knows what they are supposed to do and it doesnt end up in games where you have one team of 11 playing all defense and the other team playing all offense, which is just boring and absurd to me. CTF is not a pub friendly format (for that reason), which is why we have taken a larger focus and AvD and the new ADZ gametype, which will be expanding and improving with every new patch. these gametypes are crazy fun in pubs, allowing the whole team to work together to complete an objective, and thats what we are going for. i play as much pub AvD and ADZ as i can, but when the map changes to CTF, usually thats when i leave.

anyway, the assumption that devs and beta testers have only clanstyle gameplay in mind is ridiculously false. we want this game to be fun for new people to pick up and play while still maintaining an ability for high skill gameplay.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:27 PM   #15
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I always wonder how devs come to making changes for gameplay balancing purposes.
well, they just dont do it ... it simple as that.
They've chosen the soldier to be ridiculously overpowered as a reaction to the far to fast conc-classes (and because they like to own everyone playing that class) and the rest has to remain 2nd-rate classes ...
Now they are doctering on that mess ... the solution would be easy:
detune conc-classes -> no handheld-concjumps, larger turn-raduis when on high-speed ... then that overpowerd soly wouldnt be needed anymore, so detune him, bring it on line with the other classes and then the whining about the weak sentry would cease as well ...
but no, they want their need-for-speed,as slippery as an eel, gameplay on such exciting (cough) maps like plasma_b1 so they can enjoy their own l33tness over and over again in pickups so they can quickly forget about the mess on the public-servers ...

Last edited by mixer; 01-22-2009 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:38 PM   #16
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:46 PM   #17
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These guys don't know what they're talking about. I can tell you officially that we drink a lot of Steel Reserve and Absolut Vodka and just change some numbers around. Add in five or six new CTF maps, and boom there's your patch!
Ihmhi beat me to it. I remember quite a few long nights of most of us being fairly drunk and coming up with some crazy features and ideas that would be awesome to implement.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:08 PM   #18
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For the record, I was sober when I offered up the idea that the Demo should be able to make a suicide run carrying a det-pack.

As for Mixer's post.... seriously.... conc classes are fine. I honestly can't conc worth a shit. Soldier is pretty good, although my personal opinion is that Solly and SG rockets should travel faster from point A to point B. I'm overruled on that point.... so we'll all just have to live with it. However, what you say about devs wanting to show off their "1337ness"..... that is so off the mark it's not funny. The movement is something ANYONE can learn. It's not isolated to just Devs and Beta Testers.

As for public servers.... we ARE working on that problem. The new gametype is proof that we are looking to find a way to balance the fun factor, without destroying league play either. Pubs are pure chaos. I know this, and so do you. Most people who play pubs, particularly newer players, want the "instant action" angle. They may not be aware of the objectives, and there are some who simply don't care, they just want to kill shit.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:25 PM   #19
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In my opinion, most of the guys who have a say-so in the game play primarily in locked servers doing scrims.... therefore I believe the game in the future is just going to keep leaning towards these players rather than public gaming.
I fight for pub play. There's been times I get so pissed off that I want to smash my monitor. But that's what I enjoy the most. I started UGC teams to help out and enjoy the structured matches too. But you wont get pubbers out of leaguers, who ever you will get leaguers out of pubbers as the grow and mature in their skills.

But if you look at FF 1.0 to 2.2 the game is improving the Coders, Mappers, Texture guys and all others who (Donate their time and resources to FF) and work on FF in their spare time deserve a little appreciation instead of ridicule.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:48 PM   #20
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As for public servers.... we ARE working on that problem. The new gametype is proof that we are looking to find a way to balance the fun factor
the gametype is ctf, and it isnt broken at all ... get the balance right, look what happens on pubs ... soly ruling the midfield like crazy, this is the shit!
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