Better mission briefings and spicing up challenge missions

PutchucoPutchuco Member Posts: 1,289
edited February 2018 in Suggestions & Ideas
I had mentioned some of this in another thread, but I believe it might be worth expanding on a little more.

OK, we typically see these two typical screens before a (challenge) mission:

Certain features/conditions are not listed in either information, e.g. gates, crates, spawn, etc

Furthermore, we see a nice change in The Distance every week. We are using the exact same mission maps there, but NG keeps it interesting by changing the parameters for each map from week to week. Sometimes we see an 'auto-spawn' (ie spawn every round no matter the threat counter), a gate we have to open, a gate counter, etc.
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  • PutchucoPutchuco Member Posts: 1,289
    edited February 2018
    In the Distance it currently looks like this:

    I guess you get the picture.
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  • PutchucoPutchuco Member Posts: 1,289
    edited February 2018
    How about we were to combine those two features and use them in the challenge and the Distance?

    1) Comprehensive mission briefing
    Instead of spreading the mission info over two screens and omitting other info, why not skip the first screen and combine all (!) info into one screen?

    For Hilltop it would look like this:

    A tab on the left side would allow us to swap between survivor selection and map preview:

    Note: we would also be shown where the three survivors would be placed, and in what order (Left/Middle/Right).
    If we really wanted to spruce it up, we could change the order of placement here, in some missions it makes a difference. :smile:

    2) Changing map features

    Why not spice up the challenge maps by using some of the features introduced with the Distance?
    This would make the maps more interesting as they don't play exactly the same every time.
    Mind you, I am proposing changing up a challenges maps ONCE for the week, not between every round.

    - Introduce a gate we have to open (variable gate counter)
    - Add/remove the threat counter
    - add/remove auto-spawn

    All of this under the aspect that NML is a strategy game, not a 'oops-surprised-you-now' arcade shooter.

    Who hasn't gone through this:
    - 'Let me try this map in the Distance to find out what the setup is for this week. If it is too hard, I will sacrifice a survivor and restart.'
    - 'What map was this again, where do the walkers spawn from, how long was the gate counter again?'

    When we get a proper briefing we can properly consider and setup our team for a mission, taking all facts from the briefing into account.
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  • PutchucoPutchuco Member Posts: 1,289
    @Shteevie is this something we can consider?
    Doesn't look like a huge deal, would streamline the user experience and emphasize the strategic components.
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  • ShteevieShteevie Staff Posts: 1,335
    This is a really cool idea, and would definitely increase some strategy elements of the game. A few pointers from my perspective as a developer might be pertinent here:

    - You are playing on a tablet; we don't have nearly as much room on phone devices, especially non 'plus' models.
    - We haven't loaded the map in the menus, and therefore haven't yet determined where the walkers will spawn, or which types they would be [this is why there is a loading screen between the menus and gameplay when the mission map, models, textures, and lighting are all put together].
    - We could make some "preview images" for every challenge map in the game, that suggest where the spawns might be, or at least show the geography of the area, but these would significantly increase the file size, memory needs, and loading tomes of the game, so we have to make a judgement call of cost vs benefit.
    - Somewhat randomizing the maps could be cool, but for fairness' sake, we would want to to it the same for every player in the game. Say, on a player's 1st round of the challenge, the map has adjustment X, and on the second, adjustment Y. For 3 adjustments [giving 8 possible permutations], across the 150 challenge maps we have, would take quite a lot of time and development resources, especially from level designers.
    - Sadly, I would estimate this feature as probably needing 6-9 months of development time, mostly for level creators to work through our large catalog of missions. In that time, we couldn't be developing new Challenge missions, new Season missions, or any other feature that would require new maps to be made.

    I can definitely see the desire for something like this for players who have been with the game for a long time. I usually can't remember every map in the game by name only, either - there are just so many of them. Elements like the changes to spawn timer and adding one extra armored guy in at random [not the craziness that was UltChall2 Hilltop] are intended to get close to this idea, but without needing massive development time.

    However, it is definitely more in keeping with the brand of The Walking Dead for there to be some unknown elements to every mission before you start. The trick is to build missions, traits, and enemies that a player reacts to differently than saying "I don't know what's ahead, so I guess I'll bring 2 Hunters and an Assault, like every other mission". This is something we need to improve at.

    For what it's worth, we have learned a lot from the Distance, and will be continuing to use some parts of the toolset we developed there to help improve the game. We can do more with the Distance missions than we could before because we built those from the start to be more modifiable. This is also something we need to improve at, but I appreciate that you feel that the Distance is a good start.
    Development Team Member - The Walking Dead: No Man's Land
    Please note: Development is a fluid process, and suggestions and implementation take time and iteration. Any discussion of future features, deadlines, updates, balance changes, and such should be considered prospective and subject to change.
  • PutchucoPutchuco Member Posts: 1,289
    @Shteevie I hear you on your response, points taken.

    - yes, tablet is definitely a different animal, I agree. Nevertheless I am not proposing a huge deal to be added, 'just' a few topics on the upcoming mission.

    - in terms of dev time, I would naively suggest to make this change gradually and incrementally. Start by including all available mission goals in one screen, then add varying goals to one set of maps, next week/month add them to another, not all at once.

    - some unknown elements? yes, absolutely, we wouldnt want to know exactly where what walker stands all the time and how to kill him. But exactly as you say, we would want to go away from the 'safe bet' of bringing 2x Hunter and an Assault every single time. Or, like in The Distance, have to bring a less valuable survivor along that you can sacrifice if it gets too crazy at first. Funny and possibly exciting once, very annoying after a while.
    - a firm 'yes' on keeping the map changes/randomization the same for all. Possibly throughout the entire challenge, but at least for every round and every player. Pretty much what you are doing already in the Distance: each week a different set of changes, but for all.
    - I would love the map preview, and I bet a lot of others would too. It would remove the need for a map overview collection that probably most guilds are maintaining ;)

    In short, all in good dosage, I wouldnt want to ask for the moon and the sun, and have it shot down because the overall picture is too big ;)
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