Friday, May 17, 2013

Things to do in San Paro when you're Dead

We all know that San Paro can be a pretty volatile place to live, but when you're dying and coming back within thirty seconds, death really is more of a speed bump than anything worth writing home about. We figured it'd be pretty great if you could pick where you re-spawn, so over the last couple of months we've been working on a feature called Elective Spawning, which lets you pick your spawn location. We spoke to APB Reloaded's Lead Designer, Qwentle for more information about this latest revolution in resurrection...

Current System

The spawn system in APB: Reloaded has long been a bone of contention for players. It doesn't garner a mention when it runs okay, but when it screws up it can lose you missions and cause massive frustration.

When you die, the current system grabs all the spawn zones in the district, then starts a process of elimination to find the best one for you. First, it removes everything too far away from your death location or teammate locations (we don't want players suiciding to teleport large distances). We then remove any objectives too close to enemies. Once we have this initial list of valid points, we run a formula to determine which of these is the 'best' for you. This weighs positively towards living teammates and objectives, and negatively against enemy players, your death location, and the death locations of teammates. The objective of this system is thus to get you as close to your teammates and objectives as possible, and at the same time far away from enemies and direct death locations.

This can fail in one of three ways. First of all, the system has to use direct distances when determining this, as it would be much too heavy on the server to determine likely foot patterns between the objectives / teammates and the hundreds of potential spawn zones (see below for every spawn zone in the game):

This can lead to situations where it picks a location that's best as the bird flies, but leaves you stranded behind a block or otherwise out of the way; for instance, the piers in Waterfront can be quite bad for this. Here's an image of Waterfront spawn points:

Secondly, there is a potential that the constraints fail to find any valid spawn zones (this mostly happens during large matches in edges of the map). In this case, the system will revert to the original spawn system, which will simply pick the nearest spawn zone out-with 70m of your death location. This fall-back system doesn't take enemy location into account, so may result in you spawning on an enemy. Finally, you can be in a situation where the current spawn zone is the best as far as the system is concerned, due to lots of live teammates nearby and objectives, but you keep dying and it sends you back to the same spot each time. Not ideal...

New System

We've been working on an Elective Spawning System which will allow players to choose where to spawn themselves. At its core, this uses the same set of rules that our current spawning system does, but instead of choosing the best one, it chooses the top five. We have also added an additional rule to remove spawn points close to chosen ones, so once it chooses the first spawn point, it won't pick the one beside it as well.

Now, when you die, you will be returned to a spawn map with a selection of spawn zones. The system still picks a favorite (and it will eventually spawn you here if you don't pick yourself), but if you feel that one of the others is better for you, you can use that instead. During the spawn time, you are free to change where you are about to spawn, and when the timer is up it will spawn you at your chosen point. In addition, you can see where any other dead teammates are about to spawn, allowing you to make tactical decisions about where you want to be.

There is one caveat here. If an enemy gets too close to one of your spawn zones, that spawn zone will be rendered invalid as long as they are close. Any players that have chosen that spawn zone will need to select another.

On top of this system, we have also added Spawn Waves. If you die shortly after a teammate, you will inherit his spawn timer and his choice of spawn points. This will especially help fights in public groups, where players often attack piecemeal. Now, if you all die close to each other, you'll spawn together, which will help increase group cohesion and provide more opportunities for teamwork.

Finally, we've added a fairly major feature to this new system, which is a modification for spawning within vehicles. Any group with these mods in their vehicle can choose to spawn directly into it instead of at one of the other spawn points, as long as the vehicle isn't too close to an enemy, on fire, and has available seats (and to avoid some exploiting, is within bounds). This is a huge change. It potentially opens the game up to be much more heavily based around player vehicles, and hunting them down / protecting them. As such, we need to open this functionality to everyone, so this modification will be unlocked to all players by default, and will also be available on the default starting vehicle.

Next Time

Next time we're going to ask StuartReloaded to explain a little more about the technical side of Elective Spawning. He programmed it and - well, you'll have to wait until next week because things are going to get in depth and they're going to get weird... Trust us, it's gonna be great.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep comments on-topic and reasonably civilized. The moderators reserve the right to remove any off topic, uncivilized or troll-ish comments.