1. Preview: Halo Tactics

      written by Ray Benefield
      Hope everyone is having a good miserable monday ;). Over the past couple of days I have been working on a new completely unique experience for a new standard gametype. My goal for Reach right now is to make a completely unique game experience with every available gametype. Right now I have Slayer (Flatline) and Territories (Conquest) out of the way. The next one is made out of King of the Hill, but don't let the base gametype fool you. This game is nothing about controlling the hill and all about controlling the field. So what is Halo Tactics in essence? Imagine playing Final Fantasy Tactics in Halo. Yes the turn based strategy game. Read on...

      Hill Moved!

      Alright so with Halo Reach comes the ability to label various objects with a "role" for gametypes. One of the labels is "KOTH_HILL". By using this label you can make many objects a hill for king of the hill gametypes. I originally had a theory about weapons and armor abilities being able to be hills and if they would still work when they were picked up. GunnerGrunt just recently confirmed and tested that a player "carries" the hill with them if they grab a weapon or armor ability that is designated as the hill. By using this you can effectively turn players into hills. This opens up many possibilities including proximity traits and taking turns caring the hill since the hill can be set to move at intervals. Using the second possibility we can replicate a turn based game.

      Turn based gameplay

      The main requirement is finding a way to give every participating player a hill that travels with them. This can be a vehicle, a weapon, an armor ability, or something else that I may be forgetting. Once you have that down the key to creating a turn based game is to disable every possible thing that player's should not be able to do off their turn for base traits and use hill traits to designate what players can do on their turns. Luckily Reach also gives us the ability to set many things to disabled and 0%; including movement, armor abilities, jump height, vehicle usage, health recharge, etc... allowing us to stop players from doing practically anything when it is not their turn. While it is their turn you can have them be able to jump, move, deal damage, use an armor ability, drive vehicles, etc. In order to control the length of a player's turn you need to set the hill move interval trait. It is really that simple. There are some complications like having extra "hills" despawn when they are not needed or else the hill goes to objects that are not part of the game creating "empty turns". Also you have to set a hill to a certain size so it only affects the player in control of it. I may be forgetting other complications. I will refer to this system as the Tactics System in the future (because the Tactics Engine is a well known system in the game development world). The only big issue with the system right now is that the King of the Hill "sequencing" trait is glitched and does not work. So right now turn based games have to use a randomization system that could ruin some gametypes and make it unfair for some players. So I suggest you wait to use this until they fix it.

      Final Fantasy Tactics, Halo Style

      Now with this system I have created a prototype Turn Based Elimination game. The key is to eliminate each other player in the game. Every player has one life and each player has a 3 second turn. Players have no radar normally, but have radar when it is their turn. This acts as a visual aid to tell you when your turn is. Every player spawns on a DMR which acts as the hill that they have to pick up in order to participate and have turns. After a minute all of the DMRs that have not been taken despawn to remove the "empty turns" effect. Also DMRs despawn after a player has been killed after about 30-60 seconds. When it is not your turn you deal 0 damage, 0 melee damage, you can't move, and you can't jump. When it is your turn you have normal damage, reduced melee damage, 110% movement speed, and 110% jump height. Players take turns moving around the map and firing at each other in order to eliminate the opposition. While a player is taking their turn they have a waypoint over them so players can watch where other players move and plan accordingly, attempting to memorize where everyone is approximately on the map. Right now the default weapon is an Assault rifle, but I will be testing various weapons and armor abilities to create a class based system over the next week or so. I will be playtesting this for a while, so if you want in send an XBL text msg to my gamertag GodlyPerfection and I will try to get you in on a game.

      Older Previews

      The other gametypes that I have previewed in the past are sitting on the back burner for now. I am planning on getting to them soon, but the more unique gametypes come first. Hence Flatline, Conquest, and Halo Tactics are the only ones with true playtesting right now. The Plague is more than likely being renamed to Cranial something. Extermination will be in the works hopefully soon and Screwball has a basic gametype setup, but has had no testing quite yet. Expect me to visit these concepts soon since my goal is to create a unique gametype with each base gametype. Also Helix is almost done... I swear. lol... Expect to be playtesting that soon as well. I'm out for now. Gotta go do some playtesting for Halo Tactics (name pending). Btw, if you have any good name suggestions then they would be greatly appreciated. Time Glitch named Flatline, so you too can name my gametypes lol... see you guys online. ;)


      BadCompany Brik said...

      It seems like the whole concept of a turn based Halo game is flawed. If you had 8 people playing, then that means that every 21 seconds they get a 3 second turn, followed by another 21 second wait. People don't like waiting, especially in fast paced shooters like Halo. Have you ever noticed someone get a bit antsy when they die, especially in objective games. Obviously, this is because they want to be playing. Bungie understands that, so what happens when you do something you shouldn't be doing (betrayal/suicide)? You wait longer.

      I could go on with endless examples, but the bottom line is that people won't want to play this game because of the wait. The worst part will be finally getting their movement back, and then having it taken away mere seconds after.

      Last thing, people will still be able to move slightly by melee lunge. It probably won't affect that much, but someone might find an exploit related to it.

      Bartoge said...

      You shouldn't be to quick to judge. The best gametypes take something that seems that it would be so dumb or stupid and they turn it into something addictive and fun. Look at conquest. In theory, running down one path and shooting and dieing doesn't seem like very much fun because it removes all sorts of flanking and such tactics which people like, but Conquest happened to be probably the biggest gametype in Halo 3's lifespan.

      So while it may seem like Halo Tactics may be no fun, when you are actually playing it, I find it enjoyable. That is, when there are not 3 rounds each lasting 15 minutes. Also, even when you've died, its pretty fun to just watch the people take their turns, as some pretty crazy stuff can happen.

      Lastly, I think the only exploit is standing on people to get more turns which I don't know if Godly has fixed or can for that matter.

      Anyway, Godly for loadouts you have to have sprint and evade. Also, could you set a grenade to a hill and instead of picking up a DMR on spawn you auto pick up the grenades. The only rule would be no throwing grenades as that would lose you turn eligability, but I think it might help your class thing by picking different weapons at start like an AR, DMR, Plasma repeater, spiker, etc. Just a thought.

      The_Ardly374 said...

      I'll definitely be trying to get in on some testing of that.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      First of all you are definitely right Bart that sometimes learning the standards and then figuring out how to break them and still make it fun are what make for some of the most innovative games of all time.

      As far as the exploit to standing on each other's head some of the changes that I made make it so that you can't really coordinate in a free-for-all game very well to keep the free-for-all focus and stop people from getting ganged up on.

      As far as loadouts go right now we have it so you can use armor abilities at anytime. Sprint and evade don't work when it isn't your turn because your movement is set to 0. Drop shield doesn't heal your health with no shield recharge so it works as a bubble shield with a long recharge. Hologram now works because of the new settings that I have. And we tried camo, but it feels much too over powered because you don't waste any of your charge bar just crouching and not moving so you can be invis for far too long.

      For grenades in place of weapons, I wouldn't do because I am not a fan of honor rules (which is why I hate tremor blast and clue) so I won't be doing that since you can throw the grenade by accident and just ruin the game for yourself. I would have loved to do armor abilities, but you only get 4 of those per map.

      For weapons that work the only weapons that will actually work is the AR, DMR, and Magnum. Plasma weapons are pointless because there are no shields so they are just terrible ARs. Spiker is the same deal. And most of the other weapons are too powerful in the damage race. I am thinking about making the pistol as the hills and having a couple of classes with the DMR instead of the Assault rifle for range and they can use the pistol for close range. You sacrifice the AR's superior close quarters for a longer range weapon and more accurate weapon as the trade off. At close quarters DMR players can spam the pistol since it doesn't have a fire cooldown like the DMR does. I think it will work great.

      And Ardly I will definitely try to get you in on some testing bro. ;)

      IxFlashPointxI said...

      You are actually very wrong. The time varies because of randomized hills, Godly initially wanted sequenced hills but there was a bug in the gametype so it was impossible. It is also pretty slow paced comparing to CoD on normal Halo Matchmaking but it adds tactics. Thus the name.

      My Thoughts on the Gametype:
      First time I played it was great even if it didn't work most of the time. But, you Bartoge and Legolum took the time to fix it and then re-invited Sol, Neo, and I. We played again and it worked pretty well aside from a few small bugs.

      But then, you figured out how to make it so all the Extra DMRs disappear and turns came by alot more often. The Gameplay was exceptionally well, aside from the shields.

      You then removed the shields and we tested again. It played even better. It truly felt like turn based combat.

      Then My favorite part: The Classes. The classes added so much variety into the game. I loved using all of the armor abilities we had available. I agree with you about JetPack being broken though.
      You had some odd weapons with some of the classes but it still played well because they all did the relative same amount of damage.
      You then came to just putting AR's on the loadout and then you had made the gametype perfect, aside from the Elite problem. I loved every game we had played. You and Neo remember confusing me with your magic Hologram trickery? Well, you should. I hate Holograms! Drop shield was also great stealing from you guys. Sprint was nice if you were on a higher elevation to. Evade was my favorite though. I liked the ability to roll in, shoot, roll out. It really grants the player a fast paced class.

      Godly you made this gametype near perfect. I hope you can make it perfect.

      Legolum said...

      good gametype but we need a better map, until bungie fixes KOTH it is far from perfect. still, you have the basics down godly can't wait til' its perfect!

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Well I am working on that map bro. And yeah once bungie fixes KOTH then it is going to get great.

      Prod said...

      This is definately a breath of fresh air.

      I LOVE this!

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Glad you liked this. Gotta get you to like something that I make in Reach right? lol... you know since you dont' like flatline and all. ;)

      CrazedMeatball said...

      wow... I cannot believe that I didn't think of that...
      Very clever Mr. Godly, very clever indeed.