This page is to give an opportunity for the devs to ask mattn what his plans are for the scripted campaign, to better understand his vision and to decide what role it should have in the future. For reference, please see the staticcampaign.ufo file which outlines an example campaign using mattn's new system.
The assumptions I draw from the example campaign are the following (please correct where necessary):
- Each stage of the game defines a number of mission "sets". Each set includes a list of possible maps and a quota that must be reached before the set is complete. When a set is complete, the player moves to the next set.
- The number of UFOs which appear are defined for each set.
- Quota represents some kind of minimum number of successful missions which must be completed for each set.
- Does this represent some kind of fail condition?
- What happens if the number of UFOs is reached but the quota of successful missions are not complete?
- There appears to be some kind of command callback at the end of each stage. This is used in the alien base stage, but how is the alien base actually created? How does it know to spawn the mission?
- I'd like to see an explaining description for each tag used in that script. That's better than guessing.--Duke 19:37, 3 December 2012 (SAST)
Sandbox vs Scripted Gameplay
This is my principle concern: how much randomness do you expect to be possible in your system? How far do you want to go in scripting missions? I agree that the current UFO/mission spawning system is very complex and difficult to balance. I am in favor of a simplified system. However, I believe that UFO:AI's greatest strength is it's sandbox gameplay -- we don't force the player down a single path, we don't treat the player too gently and tell them exactly what and when they should be doing things. When a battle begins the conditions are as random as we can make them within certain parameters (alien spawn positions, sometimes map layout, alien equipment, alien AI -- all emerges in unpredictable ways).
This is, IMHO, one of our greatest assets over the new XCOM. Our entire game is built around the idea that when you play it a second, third, fourth time you can not perfect your performance. Each time you play you'll be presented with different problems. There is no "best" move in any battle, no "best" research path, no "best" strategy. There are only better and worse strategies, and this is largely a result of its "sandbox" gameplay. We set some of the broader conditions, but the player and the AI has very wide freedom within those conditions. This means every time I play the game it's a bit different. This is important to me. When I play most modern games my sense of victory is undermined by the feeling that the game was carefully scripted to ensure I could win. I like knowing when I play a game that everything could go horribly wrong -- it's what makes me feel like I accomplished something when it doesn't.
I am in favor of more scripting possibilities for the campaign, but your example campaign makes me a little bit nervous. Here are a few specific concerns: --H-hour 19:18, 3 December 2012 (SAST)
- Map selection: In the example campaign it seems like you choose exactly what maps are possible during any specific period. If we have 50 maps (for example), I don't want to only have 10 maps possible at any one stage of the game. It would be nice to be able to hold a few maps back for special events (a major terror mission, for example), but I don't want the rest of my maps to be limited. I want it to be as random as possible, so story-elements like special missions or general balancing needs should intrude upon this as little as possible.
- Mission locations: One of the best things about our UFO spawning system is that there is no clear pattern to where exactly events will happen. The UFOs spawn and fly and its up to the player to decide whether to let them land or not, when to engage them, and where to put his bases/radars to capture as many as possible. How does the scripted campaign handle the UFO appearance and flight mechanism? You appear to tie some missions to some specific cities.
- Alien Interest: Every aspect of our campaign is configured according to alien interest at the moment. How can the scripted campaign interact with this?