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Introducing Zero-K Experiments

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Hello and Welcome!

I'm presenting you a slight spin-off from classic ZK, called Zero-K Experiments (ZKE further on).

First of all I quite like what ZK is right now and greatly admire all the efforts ZK/CA/BA/whatever creators put together to make that game. ZK is indeed an awesome RTS, one of the best in my opinion.

Next I'd like to mention what motivated me to create ZKE. I was reading through [url=zero-k.info/Forum/Thread/21064]this topic[/url] and it became very apparent that few folks would like to see some changes to the way ZK is focused or played right now. So am I.

Although the ultimate goal of ZKE is to allow for rapid in-game test of random ideas [?], my personal preference will be a game focused around mobile units[?] and removal/refocus of annoying stuff [?].

Q & A


1. Q: Why?
1. A: To test what kind of gameplay it would be, if some of the more radical changes were implemented

2. Q: How do I give it a try?
2. A: Currently the best way is to create a custom game room:

Press "Open a new battle" in Zero-K Lobby. Enter room name and optionally password

Press "Show advanced options" button

Enter zke:test in "Game Name" field



As lobby feels ZKE is a new game, it will create default configuration file for ZKE. To enjoy familiar ZK environment such as widgets, windows arrangement and hotkeys following needs to be done:

  • Go to your ZK directory[?]
  • Then to .\LuaUI\Configs
  • Copy zk_keys.lua to zke_keys.lua
  • Get back one sub-directory above then go to Config subdir [?]
  • Copy ZK_data.lua to ZKE_data.lua
  • Copy ZKE_order.lua to ZKE_order.lua

You may need to rewrite mentioned ZKE_ files in case you've already run ZKE at least once.



3. Q: What are the implemented changes so far?
3. A: Here they are:

  • Some changes to sniper [?]
  • Added a modoption to limit maximum level of commander [?]
  • Got rid of offender[?] for now
  • Messed a little bit here and there with Hacksaw[?]
  • Changed warrior a bit[?]
  • Both internal and storage unit capacity are increased to 1000 Metal/Energy
  • Small storage sidearms to eco buildings
  • Sonar is no more, cloak feels consistently on sea and land
  • Undone some of the recent renames [?]

All changes could be observed in the github commit log:
https://github.com/Zero-K-Experiments/Zero-K-Experiments/commits/master


4. Q: Is it official already?
4. A: Yes and No, simultaneously. Although one can run it relatively easy, it has not been played yet. Also no stable version is available [?]

5. Q: What are the nearest plans?
5. A: Generally speaking it's outlined here. A bit longer distance targets are: sea rework, better role separation between air and GS. Also I hope It will be allowed to have two ZKE always-open rooms (1v1 and small teams).

6. Q: How do I contribute/help?
6. A: Actually I welcome any help. Most wanted form of help would be code contribution, followed by outlining ideas how certain areas of game/gameplay should look like.

7. Q: What are the areas where changes are especially welcome?
7. Q: Sea combat and air/GS play

8. Q: Why ZKE is a mod and not mutator?
8. A: Because mutator felt terribly broken and I wanted to have control over individual commits of ZK

9. Q: What are the main challenges for ZKE to live?
9. A: Following:

  • Lack of interest from the community
  • Lack of time and motivation from my side




Feedback is welcome!
+5 / -0
Awesome, I have some radical ideas that always want to experiment with, but too lazy and lack the skills to modify the game, you could try them if any of them make sense to you.

1.Make vehicles/tanks amphibious, it won't have much impact on sea gameplay, as they can't fire in water, but it would allow some interesting map designs that balance them againist the bots.

2.Make Mariner able to build several types of land units, include one type of land constructor, it is probably the most direct way to give shipyard more power on land.

3.Remove the metal storage limit, it doesn't add much depths to gameplay but is probably a major annoyance to newbies.

4.Make secondary factories uniformly valuable, basically how much a factory cost should depend on how much it is useful as a second factory.

5.With 4, land AA units don't need to be all generalists any more, we could probably build some more complex air/AA interactions.
+0 / -0
3 years ago
any plans for eco over here?
+0 / -0
3 years ago
What I would try is removing storage and adding m/e storage to all eco buildings.
Something like this:
Mexes - 25
Solars - 25
wind - 13
fusion - 100
geo - 75
caretaker - 100
factory - 200


This way storage grows organically with your eco.
+3 / -0

3 years ago
CNrankqwerty3w
quote:

1.Make vehicles/tanks amphibious, it won't have much impact on sea gameplay, as they can't fire in water, but it would allow some interesting map designs that balance them againist the bots.

2.Make Mariner able to build several types of land units, include one type of land constructor, it is probably the most direct way to give shipyard more power on land.

3.Remove the metal storage limit, it doesn't add much depths to gameplay but is probably a major annoyance to newbies.

4.Make secondary factories uniformly valuable, basically how much a factory cost should depend on how much it is useful as a second factory.

5.With 4, land AA units don't need to be all generalists any more, we could probably build some more complex air/AA interactions.

1. Do you want all vehicles/tanks to be able to travel under water? I'm a bit concerned that cons ball of land units can start building up porc.
3. Metal excess is a part of the economy management. What I've done though is that I increased initial innate storage and storage unit capacities to 1000. Also Metal and Energy producing buildings have small storage sidearms as per USrankFealthas suggestion.
4. You mean decrease the factories cost? It's a bit of trade-off here. Factory destruction is a big thing in the early or mid-game, so decreasing the price will decrease destruction value. In the same time the easier it's to switch factories - the better. So perhaps it makes sense to lower weight of factories along with health a little bit.
5. Better explanation would be nice here

DErankpnoepel
quote:
any plans for eco over here?

Economy is reasonably good in ZK IMO. What change(s) specifically would you like to propose?

USrankFealthas
quote:
...adding m/e storage to all eco buildings.

Done, although with storage capacity increase (see above), eco buildings contribution to total storage capacity doesn't look very tangible.
+1 / -0
ivand:

1.If it is possible in engine, perhaps disable the nanolathe of land units when they are underwater too, not just weapon. Or halve the BP when they are underwater.

3.Not having "destory BP to cause metal excess" is a loss, but allowing the players to be more inconsistent in resource spending would be good for the variety of strategies too, so I think it is probably a worthy trade-off.

If you think it is better to keep the current resource management, then I would really like to see the storages become more cost worthy, like make them mobile and cloakable so we can see them in games more often.

4.You might be able to compensate that by reducing the hitpoints of factories so the players can kill the factories more often. Or making the factories morphable, the initial free factory could be a morphed version, and the pre-morph factories are cheaper but lack some of the hp, bp, or units.

5.Most AA units are generalists partly because the players usually stick to a single land factory for the most part of a game, it would be less a necessity if the other land units are more accessible.
+1 / -0


3 years ago
CNrankqwerty3w: Why are you opposed to factories as factions? You've brought up opposition to it before IIRC, and your radical change #4 is derived from it, but I'm curious why? Is it just because you want something more like OTA/SupCom, or is there a specific design goal you have in mind that factories-as-factions impedes?

That's not sarcasm, I genuinely don't understand the motivation.

Also, if I were to make a radical change (and I don't plan to, I mentioned before I'm burning out on coding) it would be

1. Strip down ZK to mex, defender/lotus, and glaive. Test ZK in this super-raw state for a while to get an idea of the core of the game
2. Create units to fill out design roles as necessary, keeping the game relatively raw.
3. Figure out different factories and defenses from different points in the design space, then build units around them making sure they handle the raw game (though less raw now)

Basically, re-approach ZK from the other side. Prototype the hell out of the game's core, which I'm pretty sure is the tension between taking territory and securing it, and then try to only add elements that support that. Slight exception for different factories, since that's more about exploring the peripheral design space for different ways to support the core. I would expect the game would end up with most of the factories it has now, though probably with something other than weight to differentiate vehicles. It also probably would either not have terraforming at all, or have an entire factory dedicated to using it in various ways.
+3 / -0
I hate you CArankAdminShadowfury333[?]
+0 / -0

3 years ago
That stripped down version would be really nice for AI competitions.
+2 / -0


3 years ago
Come to think of it, I kinda forgot the other core element of being flexible in army construction at all times (i.e. the tierless aspect), but that part would be more in step 2.
+0 / -0

3 years ago
Taking into account what CArankAdminShadowfury333 wrote, I think it's necessary to explain that although I'm planning 'more radical' changes, they are only relatively more radical than usual ones of ZK. I'm not planning to turn ZKE into medieval RTS or strip it down to glaive, mex and llt level, etc.

Few folks like @Rymarq had some fresh ideas regarding various aspects of gameplay. Although these ideas were never admitted into the ZK. I'm providing a proving ground, that is easy to use here. Ideally the changes (if they are successful) could then be proposed into ZK mainline.
+1 / -0


3 years ago
If you are doing this as experiments, it probably makes sense to isolate individual experiments rather than bunch them together.

This would allow you to produce good data (assuming you can find testers) and thus recommend changes to ZK proper.

You were talking about a sea rework. Do you take suggestions?
+0 / -0
quote:
If you are doing this as experiments, it probably makes sense to isolate individual experiments rather than bunch them together.

I don't think it's possible with current rapid as it doesn't respect git branches/tags. If it does and I'm wrong, please suggest how?

quote:
You were talking about a sea rework. Do you take suggestions?

Surely, as per Q&A, I take suggestions, moreover I'm very much open to code PRs.

+0 / -0
quote:
I don't think it's possible with current rapid as it doesn't respect git branches/tags. If it does and I'm wrong, please suggest how?

Rapid does not support this, but you choose when releases are released on your own. So you could run an experiment per week, then stash it into a branch and do another one.

quote:
Surely, as per Q&A, I take suggestions, moreover I'm very much open to code PRs.

I would like to see an experiment with removed sonar:
- "Sonar required for sight" modrule is removed
- All units which gain radar also gain sonar (so they can "radar" underwater units)
- Cloak also provides sonar stealth. Jamming also jams sonar.
- Units in water (altitude below or equal to zero) have cylinder decloaking.
+2 / -0
You miss the point RUrankivand. CArankAdminShadowfury333 meant to strip ZK to its very basics and then build it back up instead of patching what was already done (such as is the way of this project and current ZK development). It would be a way of remaking Zero-K from base 1 instead of patching and adding layers to already existing system.

To be frank I expected this innitiative being your streamlined vision of what you want ZK to be RUrankivand rather than grounds to allow anybody to add random things as they please.

What i am afraid of that random balance changes, features added and new things developed won't enchance the game experience as is. They might however also make the gameplay even more convoluted and possibly break interactions between certain gameplay branches since they will ople eg. be inspired by other people eg.: CNrankqwerty3w eco change and @Rymarq sea rework.

Generally speaking RUrankivand: do you have any greater picture or idea how you would want to acheive your goals that is the sea and air reworks.
+0 / -0
PLrankOrfelius, I'm not a fan of breaking everything. before making something.

ZK is reasonably good as by now. I have no intent to change the core of how it plays. SF333 suggestion kind of hinted I should start the mod from the scratch, which has never been my intent nor within my capacity.

As outlined in the first post I propose a bit of refocus in terms of what group of units get focus (raiders, assaults) and what we hope to see less (porc creep, BSS, riots, trollcomms, all-around good units). As the current sea and air play is probably not in the best shape, these could undergo a bit bolder change.
+0 / -0

3 years ago
How about getting rid of all the blatant OTA names and making each factory have a consistent naming scheme?

Sorry, I had to. :P
+1 / -1
3 years ago
This has been done before though! This is how ZK was basically created: it was made for ashes of CA.

quote:
ZK is reasonably good as by now. I have no intent to change the core of how it plays.

Yeah but the whole point of this change would be extracting the core of how it plays and peeling off the unnecessary things and adding new stuff. It is not starting from scratch. It is: breaking the game into fragments, figuring out what each one does, rejecting unnecessary parts, building it back up with good parts and then
The whole point is to extract the core gameplay and then break the whole down to parts.
Then figuring out which one does what and how it interacts and then picking ones that are considered 'good' and trashing ones considered unnecessary or 'bad'.
Finally it would be built back up with old content that was picked earlier with new stuff added. All within the core gameplay that was figured out in the first step.

I absolutely understand. If you are not up to it or just feel that it is not a right way to do things then have it your way. I was just explaining this option since you seemed that you misunderstood the concept that CArankAdminShadowfury333 presented.

quote:
As outlined in the first post I propose a bit of refocus in terms of what group of units get focus (raiders, assaults) and what we hope to see less (porc creep, BSS, riots, trollcomms, all-around good units). As the current sea and air play is probably not in the best shape, these could undergo a bit bolder change.

Key is to not know WHAT needs to be changed but HOW to fix it. Everybody knows that sea is shitty and that air combat is somewhat bad but they don't know hot to change that. I just wanted to know whether you have conrete ideas on how to acheive your goals instead of every random person telling you what to do. Keep in mind that most people have no idea what they are talking about and have extremely different visions on how they want ZK to be [instert leverer sidearm joke here].
+0 / -0

3 years ago
EErankAdminAnarchid, regarding your sea suggestion:

quote:

- "Sonar required for sight" modrule is removed

Won't it ruin stealth part of sea game? Most of the units have sight >= sonar range. They will be able to see terror from the deep from relatively far away. Currently most units that don't have underwater weapon don't have sonar either and therefore can't even see what's hitting them and from where. With aforementioned modrule change they will see everything with their naked eyes.

quote:

- All units which gain radar also gain sonar (so they can "radar" underwater units)

So you don't want to get rid of sonar as a concept (radar underwater), but rather sonar as a unit (expensive & fragile one)?

quote:

- Cloak also provides sonar stealth. Jamming also jams sonar.
- Units in water (altitude below or equal to zero) have cylinder decloaking.

That part shouldn't be very hard to do.

Anyway I guess I need a more extensive elaboration how you see sea play with sonar abolition.
+0 / -0

3 years ago
quote:
Won't it ruin stealth part of sea game?

The stealth part already ruins the sea game.
+3 / -0
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