SRB2 Battle! Multiplayer Gameplay Mod

SRB2 Battle! Multiplayer Gameplay Mod 8.6

CobaltBW

Community Noise Maker
Sonic Team Junior
Time has been short for me, and a real update (besides bugfixes) is still a ways out, but I guess this is as good a time as any for me to make a game design post.

Some key points I have learned:

* Slopes impede mobility a little too much, simply due to SRB2's core acceleration curve. There are solutions to this that I would like to try in the next major update.
* Tails and Metal's abilities still aren't especially well-designed for Arena and Survival, due mainly to the fact they make it too easy to avoid engagement with no clear vulnerability period on landing. Further experimentation is warranted.
* Amy would benefit from the kind of button "standardization" that Fang has received, i.e. weapon always activates on spin, midair jump does a mobility action. This would allow me to expand on her native toolkit and improve her depth of play.
* All characters would benefit from having the ability to redirect horizontal momentum somehow, namely because it allows them to make more aggressive plays. This is evident in the evolution of Tails, Fang, and Metal Sonic's ability sets. I intend to apply something similar to Amy in the future.
* Shields should still provide some additional utility even if characters have no-spin "weapon" movesets. I'm going to experiment with potential bonuses for Fang and Amy.

These are the main changes I would see myself making in the next major update.

Fang went through a lot of growing pains, but his final design can basically be summed up through the following:

* Corks can be fired in the air, and Fang can jump while firing on the ground -- This gives Fang the ability to stay more mobile while attacking (a necessity in Arena's environment), and to chain up corks in more interesting ways.
* Corks are a little bit slower than their vanilla counterpart, making them easier to dodge.
* Corks have weak hitstun during a "clash" and inflicted players can try to wiggle out of it early to avoid followups.
* Bomb was replaced with Dodge Roll, giving Fang much-needed evasion and recovery abilities. It also has side utility as a "bump" move, which can tactically knock enemies around, despite not dealing damage. The tail thrust maneuver is largely just a bonus option for getting around faster.


All changes made were done with the intent on allowing Fang to keep up in hand-to-hand combat with more mobile opponents. The cork changes and removal of bombs, in exchange for greater popgun and dodgeroll mobility, simultaneously make Fang a fairer opponent to fight while also deepening his metagame for dealing with more skilled opponents.

While this is a noticeable contrast from bomb-Fang's emphasis on defensive play, which did give him team utility in CTF, the new design allows Fang to be more generally well-rounded and less polarizing in design, making him more fun to play as and against. I learned a lot from redesigning him, and my Tails rework incorporated similar design tactics to make him more engaging. Amy's theoretical redesign is still mostly tentative, but it would likely also follow a similar motion.



As for pipedreams way down the line...

I have been studying the game designs of Doom Eternal and Rivals of Aether. These are two very different games, and it could be said that SRB2 is also quite different from both of them; but considering that BattleMod is an attempt to sort of "smashify" Sonic gameplay in a 3D Doombased environment, it seems that BattleMod could benefit from design philosophies incorporated by both extremes here.

In Doom Eternal's case, the developers have stressed the importance of the "fun zone", and coercing the player to stay in the zone for as long as possible. What this means is that players are discouraged through both enemy design and core gameplay mechanics from simply playing "safe" and camping the corners of the map, instead incentivizing them to get into the heart of the action and deal as much damage as quickly as possible. While this was necessary in Doom Eternal's case in order to properly transition a multiplayer deathmatch style arena gameplay into a compelling single player experience, SRB2 has the opposite challenge in which it must gracefully transition its single player gameplay into a multiplayer format.

I've shuffled through a lot of different strategies for making SRB2 Battle feel "sonic-like", and I feel overall I've gradually made steps approaching the "fun zone", with early examples being the CP system, which encourages players both to explore and collect resources as well as to take risks engaging other players in combat.

That being said, I have consistently found myself running up against a couple issues:

1) It is difficult to consistently promote engagement between to players unless a centralizing objective is at play -- and even a centralizing objective may not necessarily enough to lead to compelling gameplay if the objective encourages one player to simply continue running away. Diamond and CTF walk a tightrope in which players must be rewarded for successful evasive maneuvering in a 3D environment, but it also can't be impossible to apprehend someone who is running away.

2) Attempts at centralizing the gameplay via Arena and CP sometimes end up feeling claustrophobic and disjointed. This is because small arena maps and CP objectives currently don't have a lot of ways to account for varying player counts. In CP, this could surely be resolved by allowing multiple CPs to be active at once according to player count. But Arena and Survival, which lack such centralizing objectives, must find other means of regulating the density of player conflict.

This is where Rivals of Aether offers solutions. The aforementioned video above suggests three basic design principles to Rivals' character design:
  • Movement -- How a character is able to travel from A to B at a given moment
  • Spacial resources -- How a character influences the stage around them
  • Mechanical synergy -- How a character's toolkit is able to chain into itself

The emphasis on spacial resources is where I think BattleMod's gameplay is most lacking, and is also its one core flaw in comparison to the gametype of Ringslinger. Whereas Ringslinger has means of denying area or otherwise making a certain spacial environment more advantageous to a certain player, BattleMod has less mechanics in place for promoting such stage dynamics, with the notable exception of the elemental shield's fire trail. By controlling or influencing area in some way, it becomes much easier to funnel players into various advantageous/disadvantageous/risky conflicts.

This of course could mean many things.

For example, Sonic could have a move similar to his Sonic Battle kit where Sonic tosses a ring on the field, then catapoults toward that ring later. What if someone could collect Sonic's ring? That person could then be "tagged", causing Sonic to be able to snipe them in mid-air, or to follow up decisely with a thok-to-homing combo. This creates an interesting dynamic for Sonic, where he has some influence over the stage, and it also creates opportunities for aggressive follow-ups or even movement techniques for clearing obstacles.

For Fang, this could mean that successful hits on enemies would drop a cork -- if Fang collects this cork, his next attack becomes powered-up, giving him a trump-card to use in situations where standard corks may not be enough to get the job done. In this case, it is Fang who is incentivized to move around the stage rather than the opponent who is disincentivized from doing so -- but this also works well for Fang, who already has a ranged attack as part of his core toolkit and is well-suited for this type of weave-in-and-out playstyle.

Metal Sonic actually already has stage control in some respects -- his ability to run circles around certain terrain is partly what makes him challenging to deal with in certain arena maps. Improving Metal Sonic's spacial control aspect may just be a matter of making small tweaks to his existing kit.

Unfortunately, reworks like these would be a long ways off. But it's a direction I would see myself going in the long term after everything else is all said and done. This in addition to improving on the CP and Diamond systems would help make the gameplay feel more dynamic and flexibly suited for a variety of gametypes and player counts.
 
rework sonic, he can just spam fire, thok, fire, thok, over and over again to win. even if he runs out of rings he can still just thok spam to wait the cool down. (P.S. please let fang throw bombs on the ground again, I miss the defensive plays, also maybe add a focus meter to charge a homing shot)
 
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Hmm, what if the Piko Spin's tornado trapped opponents in the tornado? I think maybe that'd be a better idea, considering flinging someone to the next dimension is a really annoying gimmick, but it's difficult to actually hit people with said weapon due to if it was easy it'd be unbalanced.

Tornado already disappears after a short time, and maybe you'd get points if you landed the tornado, like the charm beam.
Also it'd give shields to your teammates because that'd be cool. Other idea is maybe it'd just charm a player like the charm beam after trapping them in the tornado for a second and flinging them a very short distance away.

I mean i'll do anything for Amy buffs.

---------- Post added at 02:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:08 PM ----------

Oh and I can definetely see your 1 and 2. I completely agree with this.
 
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CobaltBW

Community Noise Maker
Sonic Team Junior
Hmm, what if the Piko Spin's tornado trapped opponents in the tornado? I think maybe that'd be a better idea, considering flinging someone to the next dimension is a really annoying gimmick, but it's difficult to actually hit people with said weapon due to if it was easy it'd be unbalanced.

Tornado already disappears after a short time, and maybe you'd get points if you landed the tornado, like the charm beam.
Also it'd give shields to your teammates because that'd be cool. Other idea is maybe it'd just charm a player like the charm beam after trapping them in the tornado for a second and flinging them a very short distance away.

I mean i'll do anything for Amy buffs.

Yeah, come to think of it, I haven't really considered an ensnare mechanic. An idea to keep in my backpocket for now.

I do think charm was a decent mechanic, I just decided its implementation didn't really fit Amy's aesthetic as well as it could have (plus, with the way tornado was designed, it would have been too powerful). During 7.0's development, I actually had thoughts to perhaps give the mechanic to Metal Sonic as a sort of special parry function to divvy up the support roles more, but special parries ended up being left on the backburner.

The tornado already provides shields to allies -- pity shields, and fills up the reserve shield position as well. I believe shield functions will always remain in some form since it's in keeping in function and theme with her hammer shielding function.
 
If a Survival map is too small, it becomes impossible to not be in the line of fire when you have like 7-12 players, and generally not fun. And if they're too big it incentivizes running away and not attacking. Either way I don't find it fun `yet.
Spawning with 50 rings makes more sense on maps that don't have them. There's tons of pits in certain maps which in lag makes it unfun. Of course lag makes everything unfun, and you can't stop lag.
Agreed with the slopes destroying everything, and that collision bumping is stupid sometimes.
Amy can use the double jump without having 10 rings.
Fang can dodge-roll in midair.
Mines should have a fuse time, maybe about 20 seconds, they should still EVENTUALLY blow up.

If you don't feel about changing the tornado move too much, and rather just buffing its current state, i'd personally like a slightly longer fuse so that it has a bigger presence, it should be easier to throw it where you want to throw it, very slightly less time for the move to be completed, and for you to throw a tornado whenever you spend 10 rings for it. Currently you can waste 10 rings if your tornado is already out, yeah I can wait for the tornado to be gone but the whole point of the cooldown system...

Also these moves have good cooldown, consider nerfing how many rings you need in gamemodes that dont have easy to get rings. In that case i understand spawning with 50 rings, otherwise I don't know if I like it yet.
 
OMG Cobalt i fixed the dodge roll in midair thing, i went into ur mod in SLADE and added some P_IsObjectOnGround(mo) and now the dodge roll text is hidden when in midair, and pressing the button no longer makes you dodge roll!!!!

---------- Post added at 04:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:27 PM ----------

Also you can do Piko Tornado and Piko spin with 0 rings. Any amount of rings that's under 10 you can use Piko Tornado / Piko Spin. A different sound effect plays though.
 

CobaltBW

Community Noise Maker
Sonic Team Junior
The ring cost system was changed in 7.0 to allow abilities to be used even if you have 0 rings; going under your current ring amount increases the cooldown before the ability an be used again. It's been found that this improves the pace of gameplay and encourages players to be more aggressive.

Dodge rolling in midair is intentional behavior; among other things, it gives him a recovery option if he's caught offstage.
 
Wait... you can use every move with 0 rings... but they have longer cooldown if you do that... that looks intentional?

---------- Post added at 04:14 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:12 PM ----------

Oh it's intentional behavior? I thought since Fang does his tripping animation in midair that it wasn't.

---------- Post added at 04:31 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:14 PM ----------

hey Cobalt will Knuckles do the drill animation when doing Dig in midair or when doing rock blast out of a wall? I also considered renaming Dig to Drill Claw when in midair.
Just an idea

----------------Post added at 05:48 PM ----- Previous post was at 04:31 PM ---------

I also thought Fang wouldn't have a thok or air-speed related move or anything
 
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What's the point of the ringcost anyway, so that using moves will put you at 0 rings making you more likely to die? The cooldown seems insignificant, you can't spam the moves so it's not like the cooldown matters too much in the long run.
I'm guessing it's the former.
 

CyanKnight

When the nightmare is endless!!!
What's the point of the ringcost anyway, so that using moves will put you at 0 rings making you more likely to die? The cooldown seems insignificant, you can't spam the moves so it's not like the cooldown matters too much in the long run.
I'm guessing it's the former.

The Ring Cost is meant to reward collecting rings by allowing you to have shorter cooldowns on your attacks. The Ring debt is to make it so you aren't completely out of a fight but still punishing for you to not having rings with longer cooldowns.
 

CG64

Sogeking
Seeing Battle today as he is, I feel that he's very nerfed and very slow, it doesn't even seem like I'm actually playing a PVP game for Sonic due to a lack of frantic and a little exaggeration like Ringslinger had. Battle is not bad, quite the contrary, he has the potential to be a "best" PvP for SRB2, but I think there are things that left something to be desired, like the removal of Fang's bombs, Sonic's thok being even more nerfed, since he was already nerfed before, the current Tails's ability that seems to be more useless than the previous skill, involving robots, and the size of maps, which seems to be too small for 32 players.
 
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32 players is alot... I think you mean 10. It's impossible to play with 32 players especially with this thing called wifi.

But yeah, 7+ chars on these maps is not fun tbh, the maps are small and have pits which as cobalt stated above cough these physics / bumping impedes cough momentum whatever

point is i feel like im playing pingpong on that one map like wtf
 

Eis-Kold

Freelance Bug Hunter
why can't I use modded chars they don't have their custom abilities anymore why can you fix this plz?

The entire Battle system got reworked. This means that while some characters may still have code in their files for Battle, it isn't properly formatted. Also, in order to "fix" this, the creators of the modded characters would have to code in support themselves, which a few of them have already decided not to.
 

Velvet

Why hello there ~♥
I'm left with the feeling that Amy's base attacks are more useful than her special attacks. I feel like when she does her hammer tornado attack, the time it takes for her to pause in one place and to charge up her hammer leads to a difficulty in defending herself if the player is facing her. For example, Fang easily shoots at her over and over again as soon as she tries to charge her hammer attack because it takes so long and anyone can come at her to hit her. It's easier for her to use her tornado attack when the players backs are turned which is a mechanic I'm not particularly a fan of (characters that can shoot quickly or run fast can easily dodge this). To get past this you have to use Amy's hammer strike in the air or her piko splash since it allows for far more mobility and control of player input. Her hammer spin technique special in the air doesn't really have good aiming, either, since it flails randomly in the air and has to be timed in a special way to hit its intended target [which is too much to ask for in the current Arena map layout and how Battle Mod is the way it is now] It works like a charm in 2d maps, but that's not really what we mostly play in.




For this reason I prefer CyanKnight's edits of Amy because when she charges her hammer she can quickly dodge a bullet or a special attack by jumping up in the air and unleashing her tornado to unsuspecting players. She also compensates for her slower turns by being able to float up in the air for longer periods of time. Overall I think the characters in this mod are too nerfed and restricted in their ability in what they can do. Perhaps it is trying to emulate some of the base game mechanics, but it doesn't really fit in a game mode suited for combat.
 

CobaltBW

Community Noise Maker
Sonic Team Junior
Version 8.5

This is mostly just a maintenance release. It is worth mentioning that Egg Robo Tag has been removed from the mod, and should be coming out of releases as a standalone mod very shortly.

  • Various bug and map fixes
  • Minor balance tweaks
  • Removal of Egg Robo Tag

Code:
2020/11/15
Version 8.5

Maintenance
	Fixed non-Battle characters erroneously attempting to use the Fang air popgun script
	Fixed certain cp_ console commands failing to execute
	Fixed Diamond gametypes desynchronizing for new joiners
	Fixed Diamond awarding points during "Game Set!"
	Fixed players being able to take force shields into sudden death
	Closed window of opportunity where players could take items into sudden death
	Fixed characters with 0 max shield reserves being able to carry infinite shield reserves
	Exhaustion meter will not refill if player is currently performing a special move
	Fixed an exploit which allowed Metal Sonic to bypass the low rings cooldown on special moves
	Updated priority core script to improve compatibility with custom characters

Gametypes
	Removed Egg Robo Tag and related code
	Game over accumulative penalty reduced (+5s -> +2s)
	Disallowed joining red/blue team in instances where doing so would lead to team imbalance

Maps
	Grass Court Zone
		Messed with vertices to make the map look smoother
		Changed water textures
		Adjusted some slopes to remove a hiding spot
		Lowered the outer wall a bit to make the skybox more visible
		Moved some water ambience sfx
	Aquarium Zone
		Added new death pit with a bubble shield spawner, adjusted item spawns in general
		Changed skybox a bit
	Lost Bridge Zone
		Made the bridge bigger
		Made the side platforms closer to the bridge, and convex instead of concave

Amy
	Piko Tornado
		Tornado duration reduced in 2D mode (3s -> 1.29s)

EDIT: Reuploaded, think there was an issue with the last file.
 
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CobaltBW

Community Noise Maker
Sonic Team Junior
Version 8.6

Code:
Maintenance
	Fixed an issue with team balance not allowing new joiners
	Fixed an issue with attack moves not deflecting love hearts and popgun corks
 

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