Cleb - August 30, 2017
For the last week we have been hard at work creating the new level system. Last week we talked about the new scenarios, but we thought we would take the time to explain what we mean by changing the level system. Right now when you click the button Run Experiment you are immediately transported into a match with a random environment type and the same scenario each time. Our system has a lot more features than just what environment you play in. We can change:
- Level size
- Amount of resources
- How strong the immune system is
- How much negative chemicals or level hazards there are
- What environment you are in
- What scenario will be played
When CURE is in a release state these values would be more or less generated each time you fight an opponent, and each player would have to adapt their strategies to deal with the challenges presented by that map. For example if a match had very low resources, then both players would have to make choices with what units and how many units they would want to play with: perhaps creating many of their cheapest units, or only one or two of their most expensive. We feel this system will force players to keep innovating their playstyles and strategies in order to win the most amount of matches. We had considered enabling this system in the Closed Alpha version of CURE, but instead decided against it. Basically in this early version of CURE, you are playing against a very simplistic AI opponent and basic world hazards and not other players. In the release version of CURE each player will start from the same place and gain a sense of progression by rising through the ranks in multiplayer ladders and facing stronger higher ranked opponents, even though each individual match will be generated and random. In the current state of the game, players would just be playing against the same AI and its same tactics, but with the only difference being the difficulty of the level, which would lead most players to just surrender if the map was too difficult for them.
The next idea we had was to create a linear level system. So basically level 1 would be easy and level 2 would be harder than level 1 etc. This is a solid idea, but we did not like the concept of having to balance a whole string of levels to make sure the difficulty curve was to our satisfaction, and then having re-address it every time we add a new game mode or additional environments. The CURE Alpha is for quickly testing new ideas, and that is something we hope to return to soon; adding more units and abilities so we can quickly get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.
So we decided to let the players choose their own difficulties. The new UI for running an experiment looks like this:
This system will allow players to choose exactly what level they want to play and how, before they start each match. Depending on these settings you will gain bonuses or drawbacks to your mutability and mutation rarity. The former being how often your units can mutate, creating new genes, and the latter being how good those genes can be. So playing on easier to win levels will actually hurt your gene acquisition, whereas playing on harder levels will give you more powerful genes. This is also a great tool for the CURE Alpha because when we come up with new levels and game modes, we don’t have to try and fit it in somewhere within a list of increasingly difficult levels, but instead we can just add them to the list of experiment options. Also if we want to test specific combinations we can easily ask players to set those up or increase the rewards for those game modes. With this change we will be re-instituting the rule that you must win the match in order to get your discovered genes. The difficulty of these new levels and their subsequent bonuses will more than likely need to be tweaked over time as more people test them, so we look forward to any and all feedback that you can give us on the balance of these levels.
In the future we will be working on adding in Advanced Experiments alongside our current system. Advanced experiments will basically be boss fights. In the final game these levels will correlate with the story mode of the game and is designed to give players another avenue of progression. These experiments will be unique and will give players unique rewards. For example one level might be killing a large parasite, which is something not present in the normal game modes. In the Release Version of CURE we plan to allow other players to play as your opponent using these boss units. This will give them an opportunity to earn unique rewards as well. We are still working on the reward structure for the alpha version, but rest assured the rewards will be useful and something to strive for.