Pick-ups picking system

From turbos to missiles, discuss Grip's pick-ups here
Whiplash
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Pick-ups picking system

Postby Whiplash » Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:54 pm

This is actually one of the most irritating (senseless) things for me in both of the RC games, and all the other similar games. For me it's really senseless to have, as Rob liked to say, "balanced" weapon picking. Cause, why would the game make balance between good and bad drivers? If the pick-ups picking system is, from another side, totally random - that could also make the game frustrating very often (cause random = senseless).
That's why the game should have more options there:
1. Visible pick-ups: All the pick-ups should be visible on the track, so that you actually know what you're picking up. Once some pick-up is picked up, the game should randomly generate another one on that spot. (This could give some advantage to a player who's leading, but at least you can change your destiny by your skill, not by luck or by game "balancing").
2. Controlled random pick-ups: The game should randomize pick-ups, but not totally. A player should never get 2 the same pick-ups as long as he hasn't picked up all the other pick-ups. (This way all the players will have chance to get the same pick-ups during a race. They will get them at a different moments, but at least all the players will potentially get all the same pick-ups. They will just need to be skillful enough to pick up a lot of pick-ups in order, maybe, to keep those which are more powerful and needed for the last seconds of the race.)

It would be good if other people could also think of some other less "balanced" (read: unfair) and "random" (read: (un)lucky) system.

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Stinkinmushroom » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:48 am

I dont think visible pick ups would be fair at all. Way too big an advantage for the leader. I think totally random is the best way to go. Like it or not, the purpose of pick ups in racing games is to add a bit of 'luck' so that it's not purely based on skills.

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Unreal.2K7 » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:55 am

I vote for them being random as well. Also, persistence of pickups will mean that everyone will do the same exact trajectory because they don't have to go out of their way to reach other still available coins.
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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Whiplash » Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:45 am

Well, if choosing between totally random and balanced (like it's on RC), I prefer totally random either. I don't enjoy in tight battle if the tightness is programmed. It stops to be fun after a while. Anyway, I think that having more options will be the best approach.

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby potterman28wxcv » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:42 am

Here is what will happen with visible pickups :
Let's suppose there are currently 3 pickups on the portion of the track :
1) turbo
2) normal missile
3) normal missile

The first car arrives ; as he's first, he gets to choose between turbo or normal missile. The choice is obvious here : turbo.
Then the second and third car arrive. They only have normal missile left.

Result : the first one is even more advantaged than before ; and anytime there will be a turbo on the track, the first one has higher probability to take it than the other racers, resulting in an unfair advantage for the first one.

Actually, such system is implemented in Quantum Rush. When I was in the closed beta, I could see that the first one on the first laps was very often the first one in the end of the race (assuming he was good enough), simply because he had more boost bonuses than the others (also, there was no catch up mechanism).

That's why I disagree with the visible pickups

Now about the semi randomized stuff ; I believe what you describe is something like "Pick a random pickup from a pool of pickups that you haven't picked yet". Once the pool is empty, you reinitialize it. So assuming there are only 3 pickups in the game called A, B, C, you could have this kind of order :
A, C, B (reinitialization of the pool), B, A ,C (reinit of the pool), ...

(actually you didn't state about the reinitialization ; but after all pick ups have been picked up, you have to do something, or else your system will be effective only for the 3-4 first laps ; that's why I assumed that you were just reinitializing, which is the most simple way to handle it)

The big problem of this approach is this : Let's assume there are n different pickups in the game, and let's assume you have taken a particular pickup (let's say an armor), but a couple of seconds after you need it again.
Let's suppose we are in the worst case possible, which is that the armor was the first of the pool of pick-ups.
Then you have to pick (n-1) pickups before the pool is being reinitialized. And then, in average, you will have to take a little less than n/2 pickups (didn't make the computation but it should be lower than n/2 for sure) to pick the armor.

In the end, you would have to take a little bit less than 3n/2 - 1 pickups before you can have the armor again. Now let's suppose it's Rollcage 1 with roughly 10 pickups. That would mean you would have to wait in average 14 picks before you take again the armor. If you want the min-max, it's between 10 and 20.

I can't think of a more frustrating system to be honest :P
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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby KazzyMac » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:00 am

Well, saying that, that was also a problem on Blur, potter, because weapons were pre-placed.

But in that instance the game had two weapons that 2nd place could rely on to catch up 1st - shocks (lightning fields in front of the leader) and shunts (homing missiles basically). So, with the right balance of the effects weapons have, having pre-placed power-ups would be something that would work. It's also why I suggested the power-up in the thread that seemed similar to Blur's shocks (protip: they also take shields out, so people had to learn to dodge them or just hit them and end up stopped dead. :p)


But, I think for the most part Rollcage's system works very well. It's pseudo-random - not entirely random, but predictable. I mean, I get leader missiles in 1st and yet sometimes I get turbos. I don't think Grip really needs to tamper with that and perhaps having 'set' weapons would just result in a boring 'optimal' line through the track with many areas ignored in entirety due to having 'no advantage'.?
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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Broscar » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:23 am

I like Rollcage's psuedo-random powerup system.
The lower placed you are, the higher the chance for good powerups.

But let's talk about WipEout 2048's method of powerup acquisition.
You have green pads, which give non-aggressive powerups (shields and turbos etc.) and orange pads, which give aggressive powerups (missiles and minigun etc.).
I never played WipEout 2048 because lol vita, but how does this sound to you guys?

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Moo » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:03 am

Broscar wrote:I like Rollcage's psuedo-random powerup system.
The lower placed you are, the higher the chance for good powerups.

But let's talk about WipEout 2048's method of powerup acquisition.
You have green pads, which give non-aggressive powerups (shields and turbos etc.) and orange pads, which give aggressive powerups (missiles and minigun etc.).
I never played WipEout 2048 because lol vita, but how does this sound to you guys?

I have a Vita. Now I regret buying it.

But hey, WO2048's weapon system was pretty genius indeed. Why not try it and see what happens?
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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby harrisonosirrah » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:39 am

I agree with Broscar. I like the semi-random RC1 pick-ups.

I've never played 2048 either, but I've been wanting to since it was announced. I really should pick up a Vita soon. You selling Moo?

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Moo » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:56 am

harrisonosirrah wrote:I agree with Broscar. I like the semi-random RC1 pick-ups.

I've never played 2048 either, but I've been wanting to since it was announced. I really should pick up a Vita soon. You selling Moo?

Never been a fan of selling stuff online, sorry. :P
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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Whiplash » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:54 am

potterman28wxcv wrote:I can't think of a more frustrating system to be honest :P

Hmm, yes - seems you predicted well a bad consequences of that. But that system could be redefined a bit in order to overcome the problem you've found.
Let's say that each player has some virtual pool of pick-ups at the beginning. That pool is the same for each player at that moment. But inside of the pool you could have different number of different power-ups/weapons. For example, you could have 3 turbos, 2 normal missiles, 1 homing missile. Once you've collected all the power-ups, the pool will be restarted. That will overcome the problem you noticed, but also make a more fair battle.
Once again, I'm not against the current RC1 system, but it would be really bad to be sticked on it ultimately. Its logic always creates the same type of fake tight battle which I'm not amazed by.

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby potterman28wxcv » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:21 pm

potterman28wxcv wrote:I can't think of a more frustrating system to be honest :P

Whiplash wrote:Hmm, yes - seems you predicted well a bad consequences of that. But that system could be redefined a bit in order to overcome the problem you've found.
Let's say that each player has some virtual pool of pick-ups at the beginning. That pool is the same for each player at that moment. But inside of the pool you could have different number of different power-ups/weapons. For example, you could have 3 turbos, 2 normal missiles, 1 homing missile. Once you've collected all the power-ups, the pool will be restarted. That will overcome the problem you noticed, but also make a more fair battle.

The pool effect will be almost nothing compared to the weight randomness effect, because the pool will be much larger (i suppose the pool would contain more than 20 ; the time you consume the pool, it's already half of the race).

And besides, the problem i told above is still there. If you have consumed all the shields of your pool, you end up by having to wait an extra time. And you *will* consume them all at least one time in the race.

So actually this system would act as a weighted randomness as long as there are enough elements (big amount of elements -> the pool effect is negligible), and then it would turn back into your old pool system (if there are only something like 10 elements left).
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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Whiplash » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:35 pm

potterman28wxcv wrote:And besides, the problem i told above is still there. If you have consumed all the shields of your pool, you end up by having to wait an extra time. And you *will* consume them all at least one time in the race.

Yes, but look what you have now. If you're first, you can wait for a certain weapon/power-up as long as you want, but you'll never get it. In my case, by waiting an extra time you'll at least be able to get what you need. You can theoretically get anything you want at anytime you want, just like all the other drivers - and that's the point here. All the players having the same picking chances, that's the goal.
A solution could also be just to make percentage for every weapon to be picked up. But that percentage should be consistent for all players.

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby potterman28wxcv » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:42 pm

potterman28wxcv wrote:And besides, the problem i told above is still there. If you have consumed all the shields of your pool, you end up by having to wait an extra time. And you *will* consume them all at least one time in the race.

Whiplash wrote:Yes, but look what you have now. If you're first, you can wait for a certain weapon/power-up as long as you want, but you'll never get it. In my case, by waiting an extra time you'll at least be able to get what you need. You can theoretically get anything you want at anytime you want, just like all the other drivers - and that's the point here. All the players having the same picking chances, that's the goal.


I'm getting that, but the pool thing does not really make the system better. Having just a normal weighted randomizer, independent of the position of the player, would be ok ; i don't think there is a need to do that pool system.

Then the real question is : should the picking system take into consideration player's positions or not ?
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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Whiplash » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:51 pm

potterman28wxcv wrote:Having just a normal weighted randomizer, independent of the position of the player, would be ok ;
Then the real question is : should the picking system take into consideration player's positions or not ?

Well, at least we now got to something. The game should have them both (system dependent and independent on players' positions) ; nobody will cry; everybody will be happy. :)
I'm sure it's not a big deal for developers, and the game can only profit from having more options.

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby potterman28wxcv » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:34 pm

potterman28wxcv wrote:Having just a normal weighted randomizer, independent of the position of the player, would be ok ;
Then the real question is : should the picking system take into consideration player's positions or not ?

Whiplash wrote:Well, at least we now got to something. The game should have them both (system dependent and independent on players' positions) ; nobody will cry; everybody will be happy. :)
I'm sure it's not a big deal for developers, and the game can only profit from having more options.

Well, you still have to define a default option ;)
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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby KazzyMac » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:40 pm

You've actually got me wondering whether the catcup mechanic in Rollcage 1 also affects the powerup weighting?

But I'm sure that even if initially the weapon weighting is a bit too biased, through the alpha/beta/early-access testing it'll get tweaked to perfection. I don't even think Rollcage's weighting is even that bad.

I mean, I get fuckin' Leader Missiles in 1st. That's weighted enough!
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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Tazeram » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:50 pm

If you were last place, you would get Boosters, Time Warp and Wormholes for days!

I suppose Pseudo-Randomness is good, as when someone next to you gets that hit on you and sends you spinning, it would often send you far, far behind.

You need some mechanic to help you catch back up, mainly the addition of boosters. If you can control the car around the track with boosters, then you deserve to give another shot against the pack!

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby Whiplash » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:32 pm

potterman28wxcv wrote:Well, you still have to define a default option ;)

Sure. That would be done trough the game's testing phase.

KazzyMac wrote:You've actually got me wondering whether the catcup mechanic in Rollcage 1 also affects the powerup weighting?

No. Catch-up influences the car's handling only. If the catch-up is turned off, the RC1 is still giving better pick-ups to slower drivers.

Tazeram wrote:You need some mechanic to help you catch back up...

That's not necessarily fun.

All in all, more options = less mistakes. ;)

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Re: Pick-ups picking system

Postby harrisonosirrah » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:35 pm

Whiplash wrote:I'm sure it's not a big deal for developers, and the game can only profit from having more options.

I disagree on both points.

I feel like I always see this in pre-release and early access games.

When people disagree, someone just ends up saying "just make it an option". In my opinion, that is rarely ever the right solution. At least when it comes to how the game actually plays. It ends up splitting the community and forcing the developers to do twice (really more) the work.

(and this whole 'pool' thing sounds way too complicated to me. I don't want to have to worry about my loadout in a racing game)


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