One of the major things I feel needs to be taken into consideration is the size of the monsters, going from stage 1 to 3 they got too big and as such became far easier to hit. This undoubtedly had a direct effect on a monster’s staying power. If we’re going to learn lessons from Evolve’s shortcomings I would suggest making the size increase per level-up minimal or non-existant.
Your game mode part made think of how awesome it would be to play as goliath in a destructible map of NYC. Armys trying to take you out, you’re climbing the empire state building and throwing air conditioner units like boulders.
Heck yeah man! Aw, leap smashing helicopters out of the sky would have been so much fun…
Charging through the road toppling cars and crushing people as they flee in terror.
I want to play this now.
Imagine just a regular game of Hunt on that map.
To the OP: I would like to request grappling hooks as a mobility option, Titanfall 2 style.
That feel when Broken Hill Foundry…
Naw man. Imagine leap smashing off a skyscraper 40 stories up onto a hunter.
“Hey Hank, what’s that?”
Stage 4 Behemoth. 30. STORIES. TALL.
Wasn’t that game called Rampage?
I love Turtle Rock Studios, and support all their decisions.
Anything said in this thread has a “hindsight” bias associated with it, and the decision made at the time were ones that were made with the best intentions, and knowledge available.
“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”
– Neil Gaiman
Now, with that being said, lets take a look at Evolve as a whole.
Financially, Evolve was a success
Financially, Evolve was a success. 2k made their money back, and TRS now has the funding to support multiple projects. There was an article on it, a long time ago… but I havent bothered to find the citation.
Evolve helped shaped the future of game development
Evolve pushed the Asymmetrical game play archetype into the forefront, pulled attention away from the “Call of Dooters”, and “Moba Clones” that had actively taken over the scene.
Due to its existence (along with other titles), the community was able to support games such as Overwatch (Asymmetrical) due to their familiarity with the bare bones basics of asymmetric lineups. And a plethora of other features that Evolve popularized.
So, Evolve wont be forgotten in the video-games art-form, and we can expect to see more games give credit to Evolve in the future.So yes, i would say that Evolve helped shaped the future of game development and is therefor a success in that category.
Evolve showcased the cost of transferring from a pay-to-play model, to a free-to-play model, and how to do it RIGHT.
When Evolve Stage 2 came out, it was released under the shadow of its bad reputation (i’ll get into this later). Even with this EXTREMELY important factor, it still created a new player foundation that exceeded all expectations. 2k, and other publishers have attempting to replicate this with other titles, to no success. Evolve had something special that people wanted.
People were willing to play Evolve, and experience the beautiful creation that TRS had made. Due to this overwhelming response, there was an unexpected increase in cost, maintenance. With all Free-To-Play games, there is a huge cost of maintenance. If you’re community is small and committed, you can have a dedicated community manager and they’ll keep people playing. But when you have an unexpected influx of players at the level Evolve did (with notably, 0 server issues [atleast to my knowledge] G.J. Network team), the response from the entire ownership collective has to match the communities initiative.
To showcase the scale i’m referring to:
1 community tournament, with a crowdfunded prize pool of $600+, Goes up to an equivalent cost to that of the Evolve ESL majors to start (dont even get me started on that whole mess, i’ll leave ESL issues out of this post and Grizzle can call me for this one…)
At a minimum, thats 10k for the tournament prize pool vs the previous $600.
If you’re looking for an esports title (which 2k was, and that citation is in the same article mentioned previously). These tournaments must be consistent, and scale upwardly in value/cost.
With a successful transition, Evolve showcased the cost of transferring from a pay-to-play model, to a free-to-play model, and how to do it RIGHT! The increase in maintenance cost is something that should be accounted for in preparing for the transition. So, as much as TRS are capable of developing as much content as we could ever possibly want… (I may have been frothing at the mouth, when I was first informed of my favourite medic Lazarus receiving a possible Variant… ) There were events that were unforeseeable at the time.
If everything went right, what went wrong?
Thats a good question, lets take a look at my OPINION
I’ve gone over this many times, on stream off stream, in threads, and lengthy emails. Release dates for any game, need to be smooth. No confusion, no microtransactions, everything is released as a finished product (we know this AFTER games like Evolve, Battlefront, Mortal Kombat… ), the marketplace does not react kindly to day 1 DLC/purchasable content.
HOWEVER they dont mind Day 1 Loot Boxes… Which is essentially day 1 dlc… but i’m not gonna go on that Tirade…
People were baffled by the game, unsure about it’s performance. You can review several discussions on the issues at launch, fingers are pointed at Marketing, Balance, Dlc practices, Lack of initial support… You be the judge on that.
As Matt Colville said, 4v1 is an archetype that is impossible to balance. At the end of Legacy evolve, there were a total of 5 hunters of each class, and 5 monsters. That is over 3,125 possible combinations of characters ALONE. Most Moba’s start with 20 characters, that are completely interchangeable and have to be strong on their own. Hunters, require eachother to be strong (I’m pretty sure this was an intentional design decision). Even now, League and Dota, only have 115 ish characters, that all have to be INDIVIDUALLY balanced (All Units have to be balanced). Evolve, had to be CUMULATIVELY balanced (All Combinations of Units have to be balanced), exponentially increasing the difficulty of balancing it.
So, how do you balance it. I believe the best option, would be to remove the “class” designation as a requirement within the game. If someone wanted to pick 4 Lazarus, let them pick 4 Lazarus. Switch from a cumulatively balanced system, to an individually balanced system. Give them creative control of their composition (if i pick 4 medics, i’m not gonna blame anyone at TRS that i can’t damage the monster.)
But how do we BALANCE the game?
Ok well the best option is to balance the NUMBERS for the High tier players, and balance the Mechanics for the low tier players. THIS IS A LOT HARDER THAN IT SOUNDS. To do so, you’ll need a strong balance team. People who know the game, in and out Probably best to hire a competitive team that wins consecutively, and is able to effectively communicate with the developers (For those that do not know, this actually happened).
Next, you look at the mechanics of the game and alternative explanations why people might be having problems, gather telemetry data, improve the matchmaking system, completely rework character abilities, and look at accessibility problems within the game. This also Happened
So, what’s left to do?
Keep doing it, and collect more data until you get it right.
They never got it right, most games never do. This is almost impossible. I can’t think of a single game currently, that I would describe as “Balanced”
Lets talk Loot Boxes…
^^ That was a pain to find… But essentially, that.
The reward system did not create the moment of AWE needed for a f2p game. Crates are all about the Pomp and circumstance.
I say this, as someone that has spent WAY too much money on Loot-Crates over the years… (dont look at my dota inventory… i beg you…)
How important is Esports?
In your game, @Chickenprotector, you’re not targeting/marketing as an esport. You’re going to be building a multiplayer game that will be fun to play with friends. You’ve set an appropriate expectation, and will adhere to that. There are lots of games that succeed without esports, it’s not as important as people think (when expectations are set accordingly).
Why this is a long post, why did you write soo many words??
This is more so, an epilogue because i realized that it’s currently 1:40 am, and I started writing this an hour ago… We are most critical of things we love most. I can honestly, say that Evolve was a thorough passion in my life, and I will forever be grateful to TRS/2K for allowing me to partake in that journey. Admittedly, i attempted to record a video “thankyou”, but whenever I attempted it, i ended up crying.
And it is with that Love/affection, that I hope this helps you and your creation. That I may one day enjoy the fruits of your labour. So lastly, what can we learn from Evolve that can apply to your personal project.
- Develop what you’re passionate about. Your passion will make it better.
- When you need help, ask for it. Work as a team (TRS sure did).
- Always welcome new members to your community, no matter how strange they may be (You and I, are both welcome here… despite how weird we all are… Even @deanimate )
- Make your game Maintainable (and i dont just mean the game itself).
- Set appropriate expectations
Lastly, Define your own measure of success. Dont let others tell you that you didn’t succeed, when you’ve accomplished all your goals.
Sorry i never got into the core gameplay mechanics of the game, and any issues i had with that… HMU if you want more over a voice call or something…
Yes, but I need a modern rampage with goliath as a playable character.
I’m just curios,what is the scale/scope of your project ?
Nothing, the game was perfect. I really loved the way it was designed. Since I grew up in the early stages of the internet I was used to play and communicate with teammates and Evolve is a team game.
This is just normal movement, right? So, it was annoying that you had to use fuel to get up a rock as a Hunter but on the other hand, you had to pay a bit more attention to your fuel. It’s like a sword. I liked it and I hated it. Running, boosting, jetpacking (is that a word? :D) and jumping felt really good. On monster side: Kraken and Wraith felt clunky from time to time with their traversal. Especially after getting stopped by a harpoon. I had the feeling that, compared to Goliath and Behemoth, those 2 had a harder time getting away from Hunters. Kraken felt like you traverse 5m with full speed and go down to your normal flight speed. It might be imagination but it was super hard to break LOS and be save.
I see a problem here. Like I mentioned in my first answer, that communication is the key: If you want to make a game more accessible, you have to consider the fact that most of the people, that are able to talk, don’t want to talk. That behaivor is not a problem in games like a Solo-Battle Royale, public server in CS or random dungeon/BG runs in WoW. People will fail as soon as their want better stuff (more wins, better gear) and don’t realise that communication brings them together. Communication is key. There is no way around (maybe with money). As soon as you start talking about certain events, it will get easier because everyone can adjust. That’s what I told the guys in chat back in the day. Communication = biggest win for the whole team.
Legacy. Darker maps and a lot of stuff to hide in. It made the atmosphere so amazing. You hunt a Monster on a Planet that’s dark and scary was just SOOO GUUD. If I could change somethinge, it would be a combination of Stage 2 and Legacy maps. I really liked the updated caves on Weather Control and Distillery and, before the release of Stage 2, the new cave exit on Barracks. What I was missing in Stage 2 were some proper choke points like we had Rendering Plant
The problem here is, that you have to come up with proper ideas which is very hard. One of the easiest way is always learning. People had problems with decoy because they were lacking experience. People had problems with Kraken because they turn stupid when something flies (me included). I think one thing that was truly missing, was a proper tutorial. Don’t care if it would have been a video or an ingame tutorial. We needed one. I was so amazed by the tutorials we’ve got in S2 and I remember @Chloe saying it on stream, that I was blown away by it because it was just amazing. Imagine: You get an advanced tutorial that teaches you how to dodge Wraiths decoy or a Lightning Strike. It might have been a way to balance around with the knowledge, that people don’t complain because they don’t understand, but people complain because X is not optimal tuned because Y needs too much Z.
My tutorial design would have been something like:
- basic tutorial: how to move around and controls
- basic character tutorial: what are the abilities of my character
- basic combat tutorial: what should I be aware of during combat. Icons and so on
- advanced tutorials: how to handle/dodge abilities (Wraiths Nova – Just jump straight up)
- and maybe some sort of “pro” tutorial that gives you even more input in a short amount of time like, I don’t know… How to handle Sunny’s Shield Drone with Monster X or how to use your shield proper as an Assault (looking at you P.)
I would combine most of the stuff into one tutorial but that was certainly missing.
But experienced showed me one thing, to make it more accessible, you had to tune it down. Easiest would have been left click only I guess. Because; even with those great character videos at your first round (and later on with the leveld up mastery), people didn’t watch it. Even tho the video were forced.
I am not really sure what to think about the strike system. I liked it and I hated it. Losing HP just to die as a one hit against a S3 monster wasn’t that good but what else could you do? Reducing damage/healing/shield? Increasing cooldown on your strongest abilities? Combination of 2 or even all 3 things? I’m not sure but it had to be something that made it worth fighting early on.
This is a big one I talked with @Chickenprotector about already. I think not being able to pick the same hero but being able to pick 4 medics is the idea. A lot like if you wanted in Overwatch you could have 3 tanks instead of 2 which is the normal meta.
Its also a case of making all the hunters self sustainable and not have to completely rely on others. Team work is important but if one player wasn’t getting there job done it would bork the whole thing for the hunter side.
I don’t think that there’s a problem with movement in the game as it was in Stage 2. I think that depending on what happens with the gameplay you’ll need to have monsters able to have a certain level of effort that means that they can break free from CC, strong or weak, and I feel that any situation whereby the hunters can basically keep up with the monster is one that should be eliminated from the game
Skill-floor (and related gameplay bits)
I think, from the viewpoint of a casual player that is also a regular player that wants to get better, pretty much all the choices made to move from Legacy to Stage 2 were positives for the accessibility of the game. The choice, especially, to work with dynamically adjusting values in game based on the skill rankings of those taking part, was an inspired one and one that for the casual base of the game only went towards making the game more fun to play. If it were me, with my programmer head on, I’d monitor the values of wins on a daily basis algorithmically, normalising for game length and skill ranking discrepency, and change the damage/health/healing values of characters on the fly by appropriate margins. You’d also do a lot to eliminate smurfing this way, as your own individual skill ranking would have less of an effect on the buff or debuff your character feels.
The main problem the game had, and has had in both versions, was the snowball effect combined with the cat and mouse nature of the game. The fact that a good win in a fight didn’t just give you an advantage in the next one, but effectively sealed the game, was probably the main source of frustration in casual games. You knew when you were beat, and people would after one fight that really didn’t go their way start giving up, on either side. You need a reason for people to continue to have drive.
TRS originally said that part of the inspiration for this game was the traditional “boss monster” fight in games, but where someone is playing the boss monster. If I were looking at the game again with a potential for a clean sheet then I wouldn’t have the power curve that changes so drastically (or at least that isn’t able through player action to mimic the other side). An asymmetrical game doesn’t have to be asymmetrical in relative power of the two sides, and perhaps that is where Evolve’s gameplay caused problems for people that led to them moving on. In a single player boss fight the typical route is that you as the player or co-op of players get stronger as you move on, and the boss is harder to cope with the next time you face them, and again, until the final time you face them when you and they are both at their maximum potential. Evolve never followed this model.
So how I’d look at it is that hunters are never going to be wiped out, the aim of the boss is not to kill these technically insignificant individuals, it’s to destroy the reactor on the map. The purpose of the hunters? To eventually kill the monster, of course, but to do so through a combination of trying to weaken it and/or boost the reactor’s defenses, and so the likelihood of that monster ever getting killed before the reactor fight would be slim to none. The aim should be that the monster and the hunters are at “full health” with their up to date compliment of abilities/upgrades every objective they come to, until the final fight where the damage levels for both sides are higher, but other in-game and in-map features come in to play to help level the playing field or tip it in the hunters favour if they did well enough earlier
If everyone knew that every game was going to end at a reactor fight, and that those reactor fights would land with two sides that are somewhat comparable in power levels, but the advantage tipped based on sub-objectives that the monster/hunters destroyed/defended more than the damage dealt to either side, then I think you’d have a game that people would be able to engage with and understand as one that is likely to be pretty fair throughout, and that is based on some level of attrition rather than burst damage.
Which brings us on to the next thing that’s a real problem for casuals… the bursty-ness of everything. Damage, healing, shielding. You name it, if it’s happening too fast for anyone but a dedicated player to deal with then it’s a situation that’s going to create anger, quits and ultimately abandonment of the game.
On this note, teamwork was a great thing in Evolve, but it is also its biggest weakness. If any game that is inspired by Evolve and follows its model closely wants to do well, then it needs to allow for individual effort to better carry the team. I feel that if the game moves towards a series of encouraged fights around sub-objectives, rather than the more hunt and be hunted gameplay of Evolve, then this possibility is on the table.
Other’s poo-pooed the notion in a different thread, but if you want a casual friendly game then body-area specific damage multipliers aren’t the way to go. No headshot buffs, no limb shot debuffs. You hit the monster or you don’t. Skill ceiling should, to my mind, come from positioning, comboing abilities, objective awareness and utilising synergies between characters.
And despite what was said throughout the game’s life… the game shouldn’t need a tutorial to be able to pick up and play in any free-queue casual sense. In game tooltips should be more than enough for a game to work. If it isn’t, then your game is not accessible to anyone who isn’t already interested enough to invest time before they’ve actually worked out if they enjoy the gameplay or not.
Now… to sign off, if it’s also a game you have intentions of taking to being some kind of pro-league game that has actual esports aspirations rather than just competitive scrimming and community tournaments, then bake that in to your game from the start. Put a dividing line between the “casual” play and the tournament play modes. Custom matches should be able to obviously opt out of the “automatic balancing” if it ever existed, and so there would at some point need to be efforts made to have specific balance values for competitive play and a whole community that you obviously know is out there ready to advise on those balance issues.
But don’t cross the streams.
Casual players do not (generally) care about the min-maxing tactics of those who are looking to play competitively most/all of the time. They care about having a fun game that feels competitive, like they are playing their part. Game developers need to start being courageous and saying that they have a way to balance for the disparate and diverse skills and experiences of the casual queues, and that they care about competitive games too, but both as separate concerns. This is undoubtedly more work, which is why I’d always suggest getting a fun and accessible game running first that you can gain popularity with first, get a playerbase and then work on providing a truly competitive outlet for those who want it.
Tough call on what’s better. I think that the Legacy maps were easier to not get lost in, but the Stage 2 maps gave more regular players options that made it feel more like a hunt rather than a “let’s go and camp spot X because basically this is the place to go for the maximum advantage”. If hunting is a primary aspect in the game, then the monster being able to move freely unless the hunters actively do stuff to track it down or divert it into their path is vital.
See what I said above about dynamic balancing. I think that it’s easier said than done for sure, but on a simplistic level tweaking core stat variables regularly based on the outcomes of real games is the way to make things fair.
Now… making things feel fun is a different matter, and Legacy wraith was a mistake. Learn the lesson of legacy wraith, don’t presume that it can be fixed, IMO.
Again, see above about sub-objectives. I think that there should be power stages but I don’t think there should be power gaps that aren’t the result of outcomes between the two sides. A monster going to stage 3 quickly in Stage 2 created a massive power gap that only map specific geometry could provide (thus making maps you play on more important in some situations than the characters or way you play). Hunters need to be able to, on a slightly lower curve, track the power levels of a monster through their own successes and actions.
However, like I said above, I’d like to see a system whereby the final fight is “hardcore mode” for hunters that fail to stop the monster at any sub-objectives, or fail to attain any enhancements of their own, and vice versa if the monster has failed in their sub-objectives or stopping the hunters from gaining the enhancements they can access. Power gap at the end should come from the results of the rest of the match and, with that, should generally end up fairly equal at the end. I’ll repeat what I said above, asymmetrical game play doesn’t mean we need actually opposing power levels from the start to end of the game.
Good luck with it, I’m impressed to see that someone from the community wants to take this on, and I want this to succeed
Alright, I just got out of bed about an hour ago and mulled over what was here with my morning water & piece of fruit. I’m typing this up before I head into work, so bare with me.
So let’s get to the meat of the post here, and I was up till about 11 last night doing some crap.
@Seedsy fundamentally, I completely agree with all of the points you’ve made in the first half. Evolve is/was a success… financially anyway. That’s not to say there was room to improve the core gameplay of the game. Don’t get me wrong, I love everyone on the team, they did a hell of a fine job with what they had.
Release issues aside - as that was largely due to the publisher, not something the devs were in control of; at least as far as the DLC is concerned - it was new ground, you can’t expect it to be completely correct outside of the gate. Balance & support will be a big thing at launch (if it gets that far - I’m being realistic).
Balance - Also true, and I’ve mentioned this with Grizzle from a post that Matt did a few months ago on Reddit. As Grizzle stated, the original dynamic would be subtly encouraged, but not enforced. If you wanted to play 4 different Assaults, you could. You’d get your ass handed to you though unless you played perfectly.
Esports/competetive will be a focus later in development, likely after release.
As far as Essays, dude, I’m asking for essays on the damned subject so I can get it right.
@LemonTree Full scope, F2P game (initially)
@Wednesday13 That’s what I was thinking, monster movement was largely fine, except for getting your toe caught on a tree stopping your movement completely, Hunters could’ve been better handled though. Tutorials will be something in the game at launch, and the basic ones you cannot skip.
@niaccurshi Essentially making the environment dictate where fights will occur instead of the monster dictating it. As far as competitive, I will build in a system when it comes down to it. E-Sports will not be a primary focus, at least initially. Imho, making the game and getting a workable demo to show people before I finish polishing the final touches would be the easiest thing to do.
Exactly, I am a fan of the theory that a hunt means you can trap a monster in a location that is disadvantageous, or that as a monster you can bait the hunters to fight where it’s advantageous… the realities are that the same locations tend to be used, except by those with low experience or skill, in which case the lack of using optimal map locations hindered whichever team got in to that predicament.
From an accessibility point of view this accentuated the negatives while on higher level play you generally fought in the same relatively balanced locations anyway. In practice you might as well bake that in, and in case that isn’t clear, I think that means getting rid of the battle arena nature of the game entirely and dealing with the repercussion of that change.
I feel this would only sound offensive to the ideals to those who really disliked the Legacy -> Stage 2 change on how domes worked, and honestly I feel that those who preferred legacy doming did so because of the high skill ceiling it required, and that in itself should tell you the direction of travel you should be looking at.
I’d still like to retain the dome, removing it would defeat the point of having a series of skirmishes while scrambling for the next objective. Its either that or the gameplay would be even faster-paced than Stage 2.
What’s preventing the monster from running away as soon as the armor goes down? That’s the fundamental issue I’m speaking of.
Absolutely, like I said, there would be repercussions that would have to be considered because of it.
But, and this is completely spitballing and plucking rubbish from thin air…
But what if the gameplay for the two sides wasn’t about specifically hunting, but rather protecting the colony (for long enough for colonist to escape) with destroying the threat a secondary and desirable outcome?
What if the hunters gained their progression via bringing “generators” online, that once they started drawing power became known by the monster who senses their energy draw? If the monster wants to stop the generator from powering up (and thus providing some kind of defense or environmental advantage to the hunters at the end fight) then they would need to fight at and destroy that generator.
They could run, but the result will ultimately be that they get a disadvantage at the end-game phase. Their job will be managing how much of their health is worth giving up to stop those hunter advantages from happening. And if they do decide that running is the answer, then the hunters don’t feel angry or frustrated about it either. They were never going to destroy the monster in that phase, they’ve gained an actual advantage for themselves… it’s not the same dynamic as the “down and flee” tactic that monsters employ with early domes.
But, and I want to just double, triple, stress this… I have zero idea about how compatible any of this is with your own direction and am not suggesting it would or could work… only that within my experience of Evolve I don’t see how on-map objectives, with proper balancing for things like armour recovery versus time for generator-like objectives to be complete, would see any possibility for monsters to employ a non-aggressive strategy by fleeing regularly and early from fights, or avoiding engagement.
Watching, reading, and enjoying this thread. Carry on.