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Squad Community Feedback Roundtable

Hey Squaddies!



The text you’re about to read is the minutes of a meeting hosted by Offworld Industries to gather community feedback. Roundtable events are based on the most recent Recap and we’d recommend reading that first.



Please note that the text represents a dialogue between the community and developers, not a planning document.



OWI Attendees included Axton, StrangeZak, Fuzzhead, and the host, Nordic.



Note: OP refers to Original Poster, someone from the community. Text in Italics represents responses from OWI members, or general overview text sourced from us -- not the community. Attempts to preserve the discussion as it happened between topics and questions have been made.



[Introductions, Rules, and Format. Contact Nordic for further information on participation.]




Localized vehicle damage model.


Part of the point is to increase gameplay depth, especially for APC/IFVs. Increasing their desire to work with infantry and the rest of the team. Also, they are large, very cool vehicles, so standing next to them during a fight is awesome.



The values will continue to be tweaked, as this is just the first iteration of the model.



Community wants:




  • A visible model in firing range (Being worked on. Thanks Chuc! \o/)


  • Yep, there are lots of AT options. Ammo capacities may change with balance, including the availability of ammo on vehicles. (Not likely to be in v11, but maybe v12.)


  • One-shot kills are not desirable. (One-shot disabling may be a different story.)




Ammo


Changes to the way ammo is available in the field are coming, including stashing some on vehicles.


  • Man-portable ammo. (Planned, but likely not for v11.)


  • Resupplying in the field should probably enough for one person, but still in testing/design. (For example, 75 points would be one LAT, or 3 rifleman, etc.)


  • Will there ever be ammo bearer role/kit?

    • Maybe.


    • Inventory customization potential post-1.0. (e.g. Opting for no grenades in favor of more ammunition.)


    • Adding more kits is delicate, since other ones may become unused in your Squad. It does make for more specialized decisions though.


    • It would definitely have to be fun to be implemented.

Interlude


It was agreed by all that it would be helpful to have a larger picture, a bigger sense of the high-level plan for Squad. It’s difficult to discuss some changes, as they are so linked to everything else. (e.g., ticket bleed.)



Heck yeah it is! We're looking at a couple options to expose more planning and more feedback options, such as Trello.


Vehicle gameplay


We expect vehicle gameplay to shift across the next couple of patches, as more armor and anti-armor options are introduced. Additionally, the updated damage model is going to impact vehicle gameplay. Ideally, the shirt will go more toward a "thinking person's game," with increased emphasis on working with vehicles as a team.




  • Make communication between vehicle and infantry more rewarding, and easier.


  • Less dying/ self-sacrifice. Vehicles lose their purpose too easily, especially Logistics.


  • Try to promote more thoughtful gameplay, more risk versus reward.


  • TOWs will be a huge threat.


  • Emphasize vehicles working together. Two vehicles together should be way more effective as a team than solo.


  • Still too prone to flipping.







Q: How do you feel about adding manual transmission? Automatic is bad for hilly maps.



Mapping and design question. We have some of the steepest roads in the world in Squad, more so than actual roads in New Zealand. A US or Ural truck would go at walking speed, if it moved at all. Bumping up the torque would effectively make them mountain climbers up to 90 degrees. Zooooom!



OP: Offroad mode (shift) doesn’t work very well right now.



Noted.


AAS Ticket Changes


Changes to the AAS system are coming, starting in Alpha 11. It’s likely we will move towards "Static" AAS and Random AAS, as well as trying more experimental layers, but they will require testing and feedback. A lot of dynamics of the game will be changing in the next couple patches. Values may need to change, and we plan on working with the community to do so.




  • Teams will now lose tickets when they lose a flag.

    • Currently: +20 tickets for capturing a flag, -40 ticket for losing a flag. +20 for capturing a neutral flag.


    • Ticket loss will be increased in v11. It will also be standardized.

      • The values are standardized for simplicity; nobody wants to have to memorize a wiki for each flag.


      • Squad has a transparency issue with tickets in general.


      • Bleed is confusing, being somewhat of a background element.

        • *Especially* for new players.

  • The numbers are not set in stone. Some experiments with bleed time and values are being examined too.


  • If feedback (yours and ours!) is poor, we will revert those changes.


  • If you’d like to be involved in testing changes, reaching out to Fuzzhead might help.


  • Bleed changes are small -- they’re not going to revolutionize AAS, but they might help you see different parts of the map and think about them differently. They aren’t expected to be a panacea.


  • We’re still keeping an eye on the overrun changes made to FOBs.



Community:




  • Focus on tickets can turn into spreadsheet simulators, taking some of the magic out.


  • All of these AT changes might impact AAS in unknown ways. Please be considerate of the balance between attackers and defenders, especially in terms of pacing.


  • HUD elements for ticket changes would be nice, maybe on the map. But don’t overload the UI, please. (Fuzzhead: Squad may have too much HUD. It’s good, but there’s a lot there when you don’t need it.)




Mercy Bleed


OP: Does Mercy Bleed actually do anything for the community? Is it harmful? Where does the feedback come from?



A: It seems to incentivize continuing attack, especially in the first five minutes.



OP: Players may not be incentivized to attack over defend when bleed is active, especially with super FOBs.



A: While it may not change the mentality of the average player that isn’t reading the forums, etc, this would be a change that’s going to impact player behavior.



It’s a choice on map basis: part of it to get large, unused portions of the map involved. People mentioned they were never fighting in many areas of maps.



OP: “We do see on general servers, a lack of motivation, or a give up mentality, when the center point is captured.”



User example: It seems slightly punishing, forcing players to take all of the flags instead of setting up a solid defense with more than half the map.



Different user counter-example: One of the best ways to play AAS right now, especially if you capture Papanov, is to turtle and not fire another shot for the round. You don’t attack them because you don’t have to. That sucks; it’s boring.



Q: “Why should I leave the first flag super fob?”



The enemy has +20 tickets for every neutral flag, they know where you’re at, and you should expect mortars and armor very soon.



Someone will always want to push. We can think up a hundred scenarios, but we won’t know for sure until we test it.




Admin Tools


We’re aware of the frustration server administrators have with the tools and hope to improve upon them in the future. We run into them too, especially during playtest. However, they are not the top priority right now but will receive some attention.




  • Better admin UI being looked at, for example, you may be able to ban someone from a radial menu or the scoreboard.


  • Replay functionality is currently buggy. It can be used, but take care when skipping forward; turrets will disappear, soldiers do some weird stuff. Improvements are being made



Community would love:




  • MOTD (maybe on the loading screen, or during the queue, or a specific tab)

    • Maybe similar to Counter-Strike HTML options -- something that allows it to be recalled when necessary.

  • Warning messages directly to a player, before kicks/bans


  • Visible admin indicators (optional)


  • Improved chat logging


  • Idle/AFK kick


  • RCON


  • Team management tools: move players to squads, etc.


  • Force join squad timer. (There are problems here with locked or full squads, players that don’t want to squad lead, etc.)


  • Access for modders and modding, please

    • Many functions could already be made as a mod. Zak is willing to assist people working on them, but be aware that it requires a custom server. Mod support is still under continuing development too.



Q: Will there be more licensing/guideline enforcement?



That’s a director-level decision, but we expect some changes. Stay tuned.




Patches/Optimization


In the wake of getting to v10, we’re definitely aware we need to work a little harder on our patch scheduling and transparency. Currently, there are several programmers dedicated to optimization. They’re using the tests as opportunities to collect performance profiles, hunt fixes, and eke out more FPS. Further, we’re developing tests to focus explicitly on optimization.



Community:




  • Faster patches with less fixes is a-okay. (“Patch bugs asap! We don’t mind!”)


  • Large patch size is still a concern, especially with small fixes. (i.e., you have to download another 30 gigs.)


  • Latency feels increased. Can’t tell if it’s server issues or other.


  • Some community members confirm some server performance boosts in 10.2.



Fuzzhead: One thing can hold performance back. You may not notice the changes until we find that one thing that’s causing problems, even if other items have been optimized. I think we’re getting close.


Gameplay


Some of the upcoming changes include prone to stand speed adjustments, addressing gun wobble, examining sway (Yep, the m4 needed love.), recoil patterns, as well as changes to ADS timing. We’re also aware of the slight desync between first and third person views and will be tightening that up. Hopefully, this will increase responsiveness in hitting your target, especially when your target is peeking around corners.



Q: Prone to stand is changing. Does stand to prone change?



A: Maybe. It’s something we’re considering based on real world behavior, even among the developers. Most people WILL throw themselves down real fast… even in paintball.)



The desynch between 1st and 3rd person: 3rd person view is sped up a little over it. Side effect: latency has you showing up a little sooner, but the speed compensates. If you’ve never noticed it, you should notice it even less now.
It’s often a trade-off between looking a little silly and playing how people expect it.




Leaning movement: Try walking while you lean. It’s hard. Especially with a weapon. Your feet don't move the same way. But we understand it’s a game too.



Fuzzhead would limit crouched movement and movement while leaning would be slow. This is a preference, not an edict.



Fine-tuning is an on-going process, especially looking forward to vehicles.



Community: Leaning could limit stamina regen.







Fuzzhead would like to see less restrictions on logistic trucks. May not happen, because of the obvious issues, but the benefits may outweigh it. Additional admin tools could help with this. Because Squad’s audience is bigger, we have to be aware that new or toxic players can impact things like this.



Making sure small squads are still viable is important, especially for specialization. Occasionally mirrors real life too.




FOBs and Spawns




Q: FOB changes? What’s the ideal version? Are you happy with spawning now?



Fuzzhead: Oh no, it’s going to change. The drasticness of the changes is up for debate. Definitely, it’s not in its final form. Rally points definitely need a pass. A hard overhaul to how they work and their relationship to the pacing of the game. There’s a fine balance; you want a game that is accessible and squad leaders have this ability to keep their squads together, having fun, in the action. Too much reliance on rally points creates a game more about placing spawn points.



The overrun mechanic on the FOB is subtle, but it changed the pacing a lot. We have to be careful when changing spawn mechanics, even small changes.



We have lots of feedback coming in for spawning. We have our own takes. And there’s a lot of ways to go; Fuzzhead would like to trial a couple of them. the PR system (rally expires in x seconds, can’t place again until y.) might not work for Squad. A wave spawning system for RP’s, e.g. every 90-second rolling wave, the whole squad can spawn on RP, keeping them together. However, it doesn’t impact pacing, it would change squad movement. Incentives could be introduced to reduce spawn time, for example.



(Community: Remember, nobody likes waiting.)







Fuzzhead understands the limitations of rally points may have been implemented as temporary measures to adjust the pacing of rallies. Needs to be re-examined, as it feels outdated. Fuzzhead would really like to try some changes in testing, especially to see how it impacts pacing.



It could add some depth, opens up more roles for people, and increases the importance of logistics.




Game Mode Intent


First flag is always neutral on Invasion. We know… it’s not ideal, may change. If you’re seeing back caps lost in other ways, it may be a bug -- tell us. =)



Some Invasion flags had issues in the v9 -> v10 merge. Many issues (e.g., loss of flag lock) were caught, but some did get through, especially on older maps with more layers. They will get looked at though; we’ve learned from our mistakes there.



Respawn resources have been tossed around as an idea, but generally seems pretty “gamey” and silly. It could have merit if it worked, though. (e.g., If a rally had no reloading capabilities, you’d need a supply truck with ammo, or more respawn, etc.)



AAS isn’t necessarily the right mode for irregular forces, and we'd like to showcase them more/make them more fun.



Q: What’s the motivation for game modes? We need more content! Is AAS supposed to be the primary, one-trick pony?



Random AAS will likely be a topic for the next roundtable.



AAS was the primary mode for PR, because it was easy to modify. It was a good start for Squad, but isn’t necessarily the “flagship.” Like Fortnite experimented with modes, one game mode may rise organically. The problem right now is the other game modes haven’t gotten as much polish, but that will be changing.


Smaller, shorter seeding game modes to get people into servers might be an example. You might not want a two hour AAS session mid-week, so offering other options is important.



Additionally, we've previewed the territory control mode, and briefly discussed the potential for Fog of War mechanics, especially in Random AAS.



Crewman Kit


Beef up the driver capabilities a bit, give them a periscope. Every APC, IFV, tank, and helicopter will have a Crewman kit requirement. As a squad leader, you may need to have a crewman, or it may be allowed to drive as a SL, work as “vehicle commander” setting points, etc. The first iteration of the Crewman Kit may not have any special toys, other than meeting the requirements for driving some vehicles.



More abilities are still up for discussion.



We’d really love to see more combined arms, especially when 50v50 platoon-scale combat is an option.


Closing Thoughts


A big thank you to everyone that took time to join us for the roundtable. We look forward to seeing you again after the next Recap! Your feedback is invaluable to us and we're looking forward to building a better Squad with your help!



And yeah, we're working on improving the roundtable format too.


Continue reading...


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