Battlezone 2.5

Moderators: GSH, VSMIT, Red Devil, Commando

User avatar
Zamu
Scrap
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:53 am

Battlezone 2.5

Post by Zamu » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:28 am

Battlezone 2.5?
Complete Mechanics Overhaul

There seems to be quite a few BZ2 message boards. Chose to post here since it seems to have the most active userbase:
Over the years I have mused with my friends about what Battlezone 3 might look like. How the gameplay would handle. How the mechanics would work. What kind of changes could be made to the formula. I ended up thinking a lot about this, mixing the old with the new to create a strong mental image of what the future could look like. I think a BZ3 is still way off in the distance... Fortunately, most of these changes can be made inside of Battlezone 2! Hence the title of the topic, Battlezone 2.5.

A lot of my discussions about a 'Battlezone 3' stemmed from the way BZ2 turned out in comparison to BZ1.
The biggest gripe I have with Battlezone 2's gameplay was the hop from collecting a dynamic open resource to controlling biometal pools. I feel that this, coupled with a more restrictive tech tree, has condemned BZ2 to having a much more linear strategy than Battlezone 1. The combat also feels slower, with the TTK(Time-To-Kill) on your average unit almost doubled. Cheaper units feel too weak (or useless), and expensive units feel too strong. The shift of focus to biometal pools also creates some strategic issues. Rather than a general focus on offense and map control as in BZ1, most of BZ2's gameplay revolves around capturing biometal pools, defending biometal pools, and attacking biometal pools. The idea behind this is that it creates focal points for the combat, and that control of biometal pools will eventually win you the game. This may sound alright on paper, but in practice I feel it lends itself to turtling and tank spam. Because control of biometal pools is essential to win, it strips the game of a fair bit of freedom.

However, don't get me wrong. I like Battlezone 2. In fact, I find myself playing it more than BZ1. I feel that with some changes to the game's mechanics, as well as some general re-balancing, that the game would not only be really fun, but lend itself to some serious competitive play. That's why I have decided to start development on a mod, one that will hopefully transform BZ2 for the better.

Redesigning the game's core mechanics will be the focus of this mod.
My main goal will be changing the current vanilla version of the game (1.3?) to embrace new game mechanics. It will still be ISDF versus Scion and will try to be different without being too different.
I plan to refocus the game towards collecting open scrap. Biometal pools may still be present on some maps (generally only 1 or 2 though), and will provide a larger benefit if they are captured. Other goals include: Creating shorter, more intense combat. Changing the way vehicles handle. Many minor 'quality of life' tweaks. etc.

Overall, the focus of the mod is to create a new 'hybrid' style of gameplay between BZ1 and BZ2 that has the potential for a high strategy cap and high skill cap. The idea is to free up a lot of the restrictions and let the players define the strategy. Rather than following a strict rock-paper-scissors type of balancing, I am hoping to create a gameplay that flows naturally into many different styles of play, and encourages mixed unit tactics. (I don't feel BZ follows a rock-paper-scissors balance style, but other game designers tend to conform to this structure).

The current list of proposed changes include some of the following:
-Reduction and re-balancing of scrap costs
-Removal of treads from all utility vehicles, converted to hovering units. Builders converted as well
-Reduced size of non-essential buildings, more compact essential buildings
-Revision of tech tree, with possible reversion to BZ1's 'if you can pay for it, you can have it'
-Removal of treaded military units, replaced with hover equivalents or new units
-Mortar rebalances
-Power and building changes
And so on.

Development will be coupled with a video series documenting progress as well as explaining my mindset behind the changes being made.

The way I see it now, development will be cut into different phases:
Phase 1: Minor changes focusing on current unit balance. Learning period.
Phase 2: Major balance changes, major mechanics changes, and asset creation. This will probably be the longest stage of development.
Phase 3: Cosmetic changes & visual polish
Phase 4: Release and further development


A bit about my qualifications: I am fairly knowledgeable in programming. I know 3d modeling as well as texture painting. Passionate for design and am familiar with Illustrator and Photoshop.
I have worked on other mods in the past, as well as another mod at the present. Asset creation and manipulating game variables are not foreign to me.

While I would like to add other races and factions, I am staying focused on what this mod is: A complete rework of BZ2's gameplay. Completing that goal first and foremost is my priority. I'm not sure what to expect as I have never attempted to mod BZII before. As I near completion I will start considering the addition of other playable factions.
On a final note, I don't intend to call the mod 'Battlezone 2.5'. I don't really have a name yet, so I decided to use something catchy as the title.



TL;DR: A mod that mixes the good from BZ1 with the good from BZ2, hopefully to create the go-to platform for competitive play.
What do you think? Would you play it?
===================================== ☭ Greetings Comrade☭ =====================================

User avatar
Ded10c
Recycler
Posts: 3815
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:05 am
Location: Stoke-on-Trent
Contact:

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Ded10c » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:19 pm

This is a good idea that would make a very good Recycler Variant (easy to make and achieve good results with, minimal previous experience required). There are two people I'd suggest you talk to: Nielk1, who made MRVP (which included significant changes to the resource structure and build trees); and Zero Angel, who is responsible for the balance-changing VSR.
battlezone.wikia.com needs your help!

TwinShadow
Sabre
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:17 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by TwinShadow » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:48 pm

Good ambition, but I think two things in particular should remain the same (and one of them can't really be done anyway).

The first is removing all tread units and walkers. That can't really be done, especially with the service vehicles and builders. There are pseudo-hover units, however they still remain bound to the ground and are not "true" hovering. I don't believe BZ2 was built this way unlike in BZ1 where every single unit (except walkers) were hover-based.

Now the removal of treaded units to begin with. This I don't really agree with. There is still a purpose, despite bad AI on them. I'd rather those stay as-is which kinda helps out to balance some of the more powerful units to the lighter units.

But hey, as a recycler variant, you can do what you want. I was going to make one, but had to do other things and put on hold. Either way, it'll be interesting to see what comes out of this.
If you happen to be looking through my posts, I have completely dumped all things related to Battlezone. Do not contact me, do not bother me. Been harassed enough as it is and am done entirely.

User avatar
DarkCobra262
Sabre
Posts: 275
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:13 pm
Contact:

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by DarkCobra262 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:12 pm

This would be interesting to see, but personally, I like the addition of treaded units and such.
Modding/Modelling like a noob...

User avatar
Nielk1
Flying Mauler
Posts: 2991
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Nielk1 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:08 am

I think we have actual hovering versions of everything but deployables now, which is a problem unless you want to deploy your rec on something, in which case it can pretend to be a scavenger.

It has to be noted there there actually isn't specifically anything *wrong* with how BZ2 works, what it is is that it is different from BZ1, and thus the BZ1 diehards hate it. It's not like the BZ1 community was every large enough to justify changing BZ2 drastically either. Sure, BZ1 sold a ton of copies, but that was because it was a pack-in with all sorts of joysticks and related items.

The issue with BZ2 is that in its current state people are too dead set in how to play. If we were to introduce a shifting meta-game it would be far better, however, people would bitch harder than when 1.3 first came out.

User avatar
Zamu
Scrap
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:53 am

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Zamu » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:45 am

DarkCobra262 wrote:This would be interesting to see, but personally, I like the addition of treaded units and such.
TwinShadow wrote:Now the removal of treaded units to begin with. This I don't really agree with. There is still a purpose, despite bad AI on them. I'd rather those stay as-is which kinda helps out to balance some of the more powerful units to the lighter units.
I'm considering axing treads on military units because of the AI handling, movement speed, and unit design. I feel that there are better units that could be put in place of the Bulldog and Rocket tank. Nothing's set in stone though. And don't worry, the Attila is not going anywhere.
Nielk1 wrote: It has to be noted there there actually isn't specifically anything *wrong* with how BZ2 works, what it is is that it is different from BZ1, and thus the BZ1 diehards hate it.
Different is good. My love for BZ1 is influencing changes, but is not the explicit reason behind them.
Nielk1 wrote:The issue with BZ2 is that in its current state people are too dead set in how to play. If we were to introduce a shifting meta-game it would be far better, however, people would bitch harder than when 1.3 first came out.
This is actually the main goal of my mod. The reason I find Battlezone 2 left wanting is two fold: I feel that it's too slow, especially when it comes to combat. And then there's elephant in the room: The metagame. Ultimately, a change to the metagame is what I hope to bring to BZ2 with this mod. The current metagame is very flat, both because players have gotten used to playing the game a certain way, and because deviance from the norm is generally not very rewarding. I feel that BZ2 currently has very little platform for a divergent and deep strategy. It's too tied down in places, and your options for mixing things up are limited. Every change I am planning on making is aimed at making the strategy less rigid. If changing something won't bring me(us?) closer to that goal, then there's no reason to change it.
Like I said: Different, but not too different.


Phase 1 of development is underway. General Blackdragon has been instructing me over skype, which has been extremely helpful. Going through the game's files has definitely given me an appreciation for the game's coding. It's really nicely handled, and the game has a lot of mechanics running under the hood that I wasn't aware of. As I have been going through and re-balancing weapons and vehicles, I am finding myself bringing out what is already there rather than imposing my own changes.

You are all invited to playtest with me once an alpha is complete; I'm interested in your feedback on a working prototype.
===================================== ☭ Greetings Comrade☭ =====================================

User avatar
Red Devil
Recycler
Posts: 4398
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:10 pm
Location: High in the Rocky Mountains

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Red Devil » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:48 am

one word: flying maulers
If given the truth, the people can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts - and beer.
Abraham Lincoln

Battlestrat, FE, G66, In The Shadows, Starfleet, Uler, & ZTV

Lifetime member of JBS and NRA

User avatar
Nielk1
Flying Mauler
Posts: 2991
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Nielk1 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:55 am

I consider BZ2 modding to have 3 paradigms currently.
BZClassic (Has BZ1's ascetics and uses BZ1's geyser system)
Stock (*compatible* with BZ2's stock systems, though can be unique)
Epic (Massive maps with huge tile-sets, expanded build trees for infantry and aircraft)

Those are the paradigms I target. It would be interesting to see BZ2 units in a BZ1 setting, and in fact I have a model of the beta-ISDF Recycler that is long like a truck and would work well with some minor tweaks to make it hover (it is old enough its treads are fake anyway) and made to use geysers.

Or you could invent a new paradigm.

User avatar
Zamu
Scrap
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:53 am

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Zamu » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:29 am

Nielk1 wrote:It would be interesting to see BZ2 units in a BZ1 setting, and in fact I have a model of the beta-ISDF Recycler that is long like a truck and would work well with some minor tweaks to make it hover (it is old enough its treads are fake anyway) and made to use geysers.
That sounds really neat. I would like to get my hands on that if possible.

As for paradigms, I think it may end up being a strange breed. I think I'm going to stick with BZ2's standard building layout, with the ability to deploy anywhere. Unit combat will be very close to BZ1, which mostly means harder hitting guns. The building tree will hopefully be less cluttered, and buildings will generally be smaller. Unit composition will try to be varied as possible. Think StarCraft: Brood War. Every unit was there for a reason, and were designed to collaborate with other units, so that your choice of unit sand strategies became the name of the game. The harder decision comes when I start asking what should be replaced, what needs to be changed, and what could be added. Those questions are going to be much more involved than beefing up weapon damage.

As of writing this, I am thinking about making ISDF power locational, much like BZ1. I'm not sure I want to commit to geysers, but I enjoyed the un-clustered feel that BZ1's bases had. The spaces felt less dominated by static objects, and I felt that was special. Your influence was never formal. It was a canyon with howitzers on a ridge, or a sharp turn with a bomber lying in waiting. It was always a span of influence that you knew could break down if you let your guard down or made a tactical error. I REALLY liked that feeling. Something I've never gotten in a normal RTS. BZ2 ropes the gameplay back into normal RTS territory in some places, and I think answering those changes is most important. Because it's not about right and wrong, but rather what makes a game more fun.
===================================== ☭ Greetings Comrade☭ =====================================

User avatar
MrTwosheds
Recycler
Posts: 3059
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:37 am
Location: Outer Space
Contact:

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by MrTwosheds » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:56 pm

Thing is it isn't slow...scrap management is one of the critical tasks, it can be really hard to keep up with the demands of the players, but tweak it to much in the fast direction and every game will just become a 10 min-massive-army-death-machine won by the player who strikes first.
The Silence continues. The War Of Lies has no end.

User avatar
Nielk1
Flying Mauler
Posts: 2991
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Nielk1 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:44 pm

Side note, we don't have hovering deployables yet. You can fake BZ1 style recyclers with a scavenger and a special pool that only it can use (how BZC does it) but if you don't want geysers you need a treaded deployer (or DLL trickery).

RubiconAlpha
Rattler
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:37 am

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by RubiconAlpha » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:12 am

MrTwosheds wrote:Thing is, it isn't slow...scrap management is one of the critical tasks, it can be really hard to keep up with the demands of the players, but tweak it too much in the fast direction and every game will just become a 10 min-massive-army-death-machine won by the player who strikes first.
I agree with this statement.

User avatar
Nielk1
Flying Mauler
Posts: 2991
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Nielk1 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:12 am

And if you make it too slow it becomes impossible to recover from the loss of human ships at the start.

Shadow Knight
Thunderbolt
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:39 am

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Shadow Knight » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:15 am

The main issue I have with BZ2's resource system is that due to how extractors work, specifically upgraded ones, you're much better off spamming cheap stuff like mortar bikes than waiting for an expensive unit like an assault tank because on top of costing more resources, the final half of the required resources come in at 1/3 speed.

This is also why it's many times easier to defend as ISDF than as scion: 50 scrap cost for a gun tower is many times faster to accumulate than 75 for a gun spire. Not even touching the difference in firepower that puts ISDF at a heavy advantage.

I'd recently concepted out a similar mod, but it was too large to undertake.

Here were my plans:

Major changes:

- Scrap capacity dramatically increased. More chance to fight back if the opponent holds most of the map

- Buildings more expensive, but have a lot more health. It shouldn't be feasible to kill a building alone. Also gives repair trucks more of a use because buildings aren't getting one-shot

- Units are cheaper overall. Makes it more feasible to attack the opponent without tower crawling for efficiency

- Ammo capacity on units increased. Goes hand in hand with tougher buildings and more units on the battlefield

- All weapons tweaked. Tending towards the more destructive side of things with a total overhaul of a couple choice weapons (MAG for example). More weapons were to be added as well to add more specialisation towards specific armor types

- Defensive buildings and units significantly more dangerous. In vanilla BZ2 turrets and guardians are almost entirely unused except by the AI (which doesn't have to pay for them). This was also going to alter gun towers and spires to be more expensive but many times more powerful than in vanilla

- Pilots have more health and are equipped with weapons on par with regular vehicle weapons (although on the lower end of the power scale). Whose stupid idea was it that infantry are equipped with weapons that struggle to kill other pilots in a world where it's extremely likely that they'll be fighting tanks? They shouldn't be strong enough to do serious damage to a vehicle, but certainly they should be strong enough to not be negligible

Anyway, that was mostly off-topic but it'll give you something to think about when doing your own rebalance mod.

User avatar
Nielk1
Flying Mauler
Posts: 2991
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Battlezone 2.5

Post by Nielk1 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:18 am

I think you are accidentally going to do more harm than good with such changes to the scrap system.
Might I suggest you look into simultaneous scrap generation? It is possible to make extractors run at the same time with different ODF flags.

Post Reply