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My thoughts on Mental Omega 3.0


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#1 The_Hunter

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:27 PM

First of all i would like to congratulate all of the people involved in this project on their hard work as it certainly shows considering your level of quality thats beeing presented at no charge at all.
 
There are however a few things i would like to mention so i'll start off with the things i like:
-The new map props, i realy like those and it brings everything to live alot more than seeing the same fammilair map props good work on those!
-The new units loving their designs and roles, nothing feels like its outrulling something else and it all seems to work nicely together.
-Voice work is excellent all of them sound like they are supposed to be part of the game i especialy like the voice overs from Volkov :)
-The new game modes are all quite alot of fun from what i have seen on live streams and experinced myself.
 
 
things i don't like:
The difficulty of the single player missions and skirmish AI and i will elaborate why:
 
First of all i have been playing C&C (and strategy games in general) since the mid 90's so i realy don't consider myself a newb or someone who doesn't know how to play RTS games.
Basicly when i first downloaded the MO i was realy interested in playing the campeign because i was (and still am) genuinely interested in your way of re-telling the RA2 storyline.
So i did what probably most people did and start the first allied mission (what i can say about this one however is that its realy nice how you captured the "OMG ITS THE SOVIET INVASION!" atmosphere).
However i did play this on normal at first figured i know how to play RTS games well enough to manage that.... i was proven wrong rather quickly :D
After 3 more attempts i set the game to EASY instead and tried again and only then after i litterly knew every single aproach of the AI i could actualy manage to win this which in my humble oppion ruins the fun if you have to learn the scripts/ai behavoir of the map in order to complete the mission.
 
Second allied mission seemed to have a simmulair case where your given a hand full of infantry to do something and i had to do it over and over because i didn't know some random guard dog patrol route that killed Tanya after which i just no longer felt like trying.
 
Overal i feel like the differculty settings are closer to Hard, Very hard and "I ENJOY HURTING MYSELF" rather than what the differculty names ingame suggest.
 
The skirmish AI seems to be simmulair in this regard since i tried that in the same way.
I was playing a skrimish against a soviet AI set to EASY while playing as russia myself.
Thinking i was holding up quite well with my little defence line with bunkers and sentry guns which held the ground troops at bay untill they AI was like "HERE IS 3 KIROVS TO ENJOY!" at a point which i had just a bunch of flak troopers in bunkers and a few of those Tsivils.
 
To sum this all up i think this effects the fan base of casual players for your mod in a bad way (certainly myself and a few other people i know of who have been playing RTS games for as long as myself).
 
Like i said i'm genuinely interested in your re-telling of the story of RA2 but at the moment the only way to see how it unfolds is going through a rather lengty route of trail and error and frustrations which is realy a big shame.
 
That all beeing said i realy don't expect anything from you guys but do however realy hope that in a future version you actualy make it possible for casual players to enjoy the game aswell by actualy making the easy differculty what its name suggest it is.
Anyone who wants to play the game for a challenge can select the other 2 differculties while everyone else can just play it on easy which seems like a win win situation to me.
 
This all beeing said i'll still be tuning into the live streams (you're a funny and good host btw Doom :D) and keeping an eye on what the future for this project is going to hold.

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#2 Zenothist

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:41 PM

Hello The_Hunter, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts! 

 

It is becoming ever more apparent that Mental Omega 3.0 has reached a much broader audience than any of the previous versions. The skirmish and campaigns of 2.0 and 1.2 really seem to have been created with very advanced players in mind, as it was more of a YR++. 

 

Personally, I'd make easy truly accessible to casuals, both campaign and A.I. Looking around on the Facebook page, I see an increasing amount of fans who haven't played the original Yuri's Revenge, or even Red Alert 2. We do have quite a bit of story planned out for Act 2 and it would be a shame if so many folks would miss out on that.

Naturally, Speeder has the final say in it, as it is still his mod, but I hope he'll see that softening up the difficulty could really bring in even more people than it already does.



#3 Petya

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:41 PM

Bear in mind that missions are very hard due to the lack of save/load. Once it is in the missions will become easier. Also if you practice a lot you can defeat even the most difficult ones. Some of the missions will become easy if you know what needs to be done.



#4 OmegaBolt

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:47 PM

But his point is that practicing missions is no fun, and I agree. A challenge is your ability to overcome obstacles not your ability to remember 'what to do'. At the very least in Easy players should be able to get through at least all but the last missions by working with their own skill and understanding of the mod, not having to spend hours doing trial and error play regardless of save state. In fact if trial and error wasn't the only way to complete missions then save/load wouldn't even be needed. :p

The only time I ever save & load in any other C&C game is when I want to quit, so you can't blame difficulty on that missing function IMO.

Edited by OmegaBolt, 04 December 2013 - 07:49 PM.

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#5 Zenothist

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:56 PM

But his point is that practicing missions is no fun, and I agree. A challenge is your ability to overcome obstacles not your ability to remember 'what to do'. At the very least in Easy players should be able to get through at least all but the last missions by working with their own skill and understanding of the mod, not having to spend hours doing trial and error play regardless of save state. In fact if trial and error wasn't the only way to complete missions then save/load wouldn't even be needed. :p

The only time I ever save & load in any other C&C game is when I want to quit, so you can't blame difficulty on that missing function IMO.

 

QFT. Trial and Error is something that should be at a minimum. Pulling bastard tricks and crazy stuff is good in late game when you need to make stuff interesting again but doing it right from the get-go can turn new players off hard.


Edited by Zenothist, 04 December 2013 - 07:56 PM.


#6 The_Hunter

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:14 PM

Bear in mind that missions are very hard due to the lack of save/load. Once it is in the missions will become easier. Also if you practice a lot you can defeat even the most difficult ones. Some of the missions will become easy if you know what needs to be done.

Beeing able to save games would obiously help but thats not realy my point here.

 

Like Omegabolt pretty much allready said it practicing a single player mission is not my idea of having a good time.

Ontop of that not everyone has the time to do all that to begin with when i have done all my daily bussines and finaly get time to sit down for some gaming time i just want enjoy my game and not get spanked over and over because i don't know all the hotkeys or routes from the ai scripting/behavoir :)


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#7 Solais

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:22 PM

This part really is one of the hardest part when it comes to game design. For the game to be accessible, but also challenging, there needs to be difficulty levels (whatever UbiSoft believes in). And as such, you basically have to make all the missions thrice, in some way or other. It's a lot of extra work, but I'm sure it will worth the effort!

 

The thing is that from what I've seen after playing 4-4-2 missions, is that some early missions really get the "feel" of an early, mostly easy mission (at least on the Easy difficulty settings), while others feel just like MO2.0. I think, when it comes to the early levels where you have to build a base, defences and units, they are really good and fun, fitting as early missions. However, when it comes to the commando missions, they all seem to be overly difficult, based on trial and error (maybe with the exception of Epsilon Mission 1, which is easy enough; not to mention it reminds me of the first NOD mission in C&C3). I think those need to be toned down a little.



#8 Atomic_Noodles

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:45 AM

You also have to take into account the Map Makers of Mental Omega consider all the recent RTS Hardest Difficulties as "Easy" so while the difficulty has been watered down its still undoubtedly difficult. (More so if your aiming for Par Time)


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#9 Solais

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 06:54 AM

There were any recent RTS besides Starcraft 2? :p

 

(Seriously, the RTS genre have been basically dead for like the past 5 years. It's saddening. This is why I'm glad that we have things like Mental Omega.)



#10 Atomic_Noodles

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 10:48 AM

There were any recent RTS besides Starcraft 2? :p

 

(Seriously, the RTS genre have been basically dead for like the past 5 years. It's saddening. This is why I'm glad that we have things like Mental Omega.)

 

Well they said RA3,Uprising,Tib Wars,Kane's Wrath,Generals,Zero Hour and Starcraft 2 as easy.

 

Mind you i still count those as recent... (I was able to play the 2008+ Games when it was around 2011.


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#11 lovalmidas

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 01:39 PM

Glad you like many aspects of the game. :)

 

It's true that I'm one of the more 'hardcore' mission designers. Some of the hardest missions and coops were made by me (not Panic Cycle though, but it was my foremost inspiration, lol). :p

 

I often get my source of inspiration from the campaigns in MO2.0. Those missions were fun and challenging, and to me those were one of the major selling points of Mental Omega. In fact it led me to play MO2.0 for years (with some months of break in between) and not lose interest. Maybe it is just me who sees defeating one part of the mission as a mini-mission accomplished.

 

Reducing trial and error will be something I'll work towards in my future missions. The first mission I made for MO3.0, E11 Singularity (way back in 2012), is a painful trial and error mindwrecking puzzle on Mental. The later missions I made were designed with quite a bit more randomness (e.g. Allied coop: Attack on Buggy, Soviet coop: Thunder God, Epsilon coop: Brain Reset) to combat prior knowledge. I might considering scripting semi-smart AIs that deploy based on the player's actions (mission scripting only), as though they have seen you coming and developed a counter to it. But yes, I am going to make the players think hard to even get through 10% of an Act Two mission.

 

I have often considered making a separate set of easier missions, as well as some kind of a (fan-made) tutorial in the past, but constraints led me to shelve these ideas and focus on the main missions, and coops, instead. No promises here yet, but perhaps I'll return to thee as a direction to expand the scope of the singleplayer aspect of the game. Parallel with Act Two or in-between Act One and Two, I hope :p.

 

(I will need guides to check the 'easiness' of a mission. Too often a time have I made an originally easy mission much more difficult because I fall asleep while playing it. Yes, really. :p

 

And yes, I agree that Doomy is a good host.

 

 

 

EDIT: Okay, all three mission designers are hardcore. Don't know if RP likes the hardcore label. :p


Edited by lovalmidas, 06 December 2013 - 01:42 PM.

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#12 Shadelight

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 06:39 PM

I've gotta agree with this guy on the skirmish AI. It definitely feels like they're cheating since they can build a whole army of tanks before you even get a war factory or air field up, and this is on EASY.



#13 WhiteDragon25

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:51 PM

I've gotta agree with this guy on the skirmish AI. It definitely feels like they're cheating since they can build a whole army of tanks before you even get a war factory or air field up, and this is on EASY.

 

The Computer has always been a Cheating Bastard, it's been that way since day one of Mental Omega. Hell, the Computer being a Cheating Bastard has been a staple of game design since the 90's.

 

This is mostly because of the fact that the Computer's also a complete idiot - Artifical Stupidity has been a problem in game design for years - since it relies on preprogrammed algorithms and such, and does not actually have any sort of sentience in and of itself. It thus must compensate by cheating like high hell.

 

Though I must agree, toning down the level of cheating the computer engages in would be nice.


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#14 Graion Dilach

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:50 PM

Oh, looks like someone else is a troper here...


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#15 someonebutnoone

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:11 AM

Oh, looks like someone else is a troper here...

Damn, the campaign is Nintendo Hard for newbies.
It's almost like I Wanna Be The Guy, RTS-version.
I know what you feel, OP. The Mental Omega universe has recently fascinated me, but the gameplay? >.>

#16 Solais

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 08:26 AM

Heh, interesting, a friend described Mental Omega as "I Wanna Be The Guy, RTS-version" as well when I introduced the game to her.



#17 Petya

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 02:42 PM

The Computer has always been a Cheating Bastard, it's been that way since day one of Mental Omega. Hell, the Computer being a Cheating Bastard has been a staple of game design since the 90's.

 

 

This is mostly because of the fact that the Computer's also a complete idiot - Artifical Stupidity has been a problem in game design for years - since it relies on preprogrammed algorithms and such, and does not actually have any sort of sentience in and of itself. It thus must compensate by cheating like high hell.

 

Though I must agree, toning down the level of cheating the computer engages in would be nice.

 

Well I can ask a good programmer to create a SHODAN like AI just for you. :D Then you can't say that AI is stupid :D



#18 WhiteDragon25

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:14 PM

 

The Computer has always been a Cheating Bastard, it's been that way since day one of Mental Omega. Hell, the Computer being a Cheating Bastard has been a staple of game design since the 90's.

 

 

This is mostly because of the fact that the Computer's also a complete idiot - Artifical Stupidity has been a problem in game design for years - since it relies on preprogrammed algorithms and such, and does not actually have any sort of sentience in and of itself. It thus must compensate by cheating like high hell.

 

Though I must agree, toning down the level of cheating the computer engages in would be nice.

 

Well I can ask a good programmer to create a SHODAN like AI just for you. :D Then you can't say that AI is stupid :D

 

 

 

I was refering to the general tendency of computer games to have incredibly moronic AIs, not Mental Omega itself (which still does, by the way, just not as bad as other games... mostly).

 

And I'd prefer not to face a SHODAN-like AI... or a GLaDOS one... or a CABAL one... or hell, any type of crazy evil AI that wants to take over the world and kill all human life.


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#19 someonebutnoone

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 03:01 AM

HAL 9000, anyone.
Or even my idea of a rogue A.I. commanding an army of machines?

#20 lovalmidas

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 07:17 AM

Talking about AI, I remember once when I scripted a Centurion to attack and also retreat to base when he is severely damaged (this is not something that is implemented so far, I've not found a lot of use for it :p). It did manage to crawl back, pause, and reinitiate attack. xD

 

Yeah, expanding possibilities is possible without hacking directly into the game AI. My originality accounts for some 400kB in a map file, lol.


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