Stock CTF mode is unfinished and bad for testing

Discussion in 'Team Fortress 2 Talk' started by Pocket, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    This is something that's been bugging me for a while, but I never put my finger on exactly what the problem was until last night when I ended up spending about an hour on a CTF rotation server.

    Simply put, TF2's Capture the Flag mode feels like Valve never got around to really finishing it. Think about it: Every other mode has its own special entity setup. You've got your tf_gamerules and your train watchers and your control point masters... CTF just has the flags themselves and the capture zones. The "timer" just shows how much time you have until the round changes, and even the goal is controlled by a server setting. And when the timer runs out, is it a stalemate? No, whichever side has the most points (which I assume means the total of all the players' points on the scoreboard, so basically whoever has the most frags — see, it really is Deathmatch!) automatically wins.

    Not only is this a shoddy and unprofessional way to design a gamemode, it's a lousy testing environment to boot. If you look at, say, the stats recorded by our feedback system, the RED/BLU win ratio tells you absolutely zippo because there's no way to tell if a given "win" happened because they actually captured all the flags, or because time ran out and they had a higher score. Nor how much time the round went because maybe out of a 30-minute test, it took them three minutes to win one time, twenty-one the next, and then won by default when the timer ran out.

    It's kind of no wonder there are so few good CTF maps; nobody has ever been able to gather good stats on how playtests turned out! As someone who currently has two CTF maps in the works, this is rather disconcerting.

    So what should be done about this? Personally, I'd like to see the same standards used for 5CP applied to CTF. Start with about five minutes on the clock, add some time whenever there's a successful capture, end with a stalemate if the timer runs out, no matter what. Hard-code a three-capture win condition into the map. If a round ends with less than five minutes left on the map clock, we're done; if the map clock runs out before the round is over, keep it rolling until it is.

    There are other ideas I have for improving the mode, which I mentioned in the 2fort thread (have the flag constantly heal whoever's carrying it like the Payload card, implement the respawn time manipulation mechanic that was removed from Asteroid) but that's stuff to be experimented with down the line. For now, the stuff I described above seems like a good place to start, and given how malleable stock CTF is (I don't think SD uses any entities that weren't already in the game, for example), it should be possible for the map creator to hard code them into their map without demanding any work from Valve. What do you all think?
     
  2. shadowslasher11

    aa shadowslasher11

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    I like the idea that was implanted into CTF_Mercy, where the intel room had a 10 second security door to prevent chain capping
     
  3. wareya

    wareya L7: Fancy Member

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    The only thing I want from CTF is shorter round timers and a default of four caps to win.

    What I REALLY want is a fundamental change to how the individual flag timers work. The game itself is a lot slower and you can't just throw your whole team at the flag, so attacking is harder, but conversely, coming back from a lost defense is so much harder with the time taken to respawn and set back up and sometimes secure part of your base again that TF2 CTF maps are designed around making it hard to lose your defense. It should balance out, right? But it doesn't feel like it, the game is a lot slower. It turns into cohesive pushes one at a time by a stacked team. Otherwise it takes tens of minutes to get a single capture.

    I think that when you pick up the flag its reset should charge up over a period of the time instead of restting. There should be a map option for the timer to work that way. This way, when you just jump on the flag, it doesn't completely reset, which make field defenses inherently easier. CTF maps can start to open up like they need to to speed the action up and bring back the old dynamics without becoming a ridiculous leakfest. Gang Garrison 2 already did this to keep its old maps viable after it added reloading.
     
  4. ibex

    aa ibex

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    What's funny is they simply removed the clock (and subsequently overtime and the half-victories you are talking about) from Special Delivery. The only way for the map to progress is for a team to capture the intel. This is why doomsday is currently deathmatch.

    (Also, this causes problems for testing on tf2maps gamedays because when that serverside 30 min timer hits 0, nothing will happen. So people see my sd maps as "broken".)

    Feels like they acknowledged the issue and then swept it under the rug. (What did they do for asteroid overtime?)
     
  5. wareya

    wareya L7: Fancy Member

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    I'm not sure how CTF overtime currently works, but there's only one way the timer should work:
    - If a team has a clear advantage at time over, give them a win
    - If the caps are tied, but either intel is on the field, go into overtime until one's capped or returned
    - If the caps are tied and it's a stalemate, just give them a stalemate

    SD only works without a timer because it's so unended. Someone HAS to get the intel, and then their team has a COMPLETE advantage right on the way to winning the map. In CTF, caps aren't tied to rounds, so SD's timer mechanics don't make sense.
     
  6. ibex

    aa ibex

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    Definitely true, but instead of developing a system that would run similar to ctf tied flags/timer end, they just said "forget it" and relegated sd to deathmatch like play.

    I wonder if it would be possible to force an arena type overtime (on tie) on ctf/sd maps that disables the flags and sets up what amounts to a central point and perma-death.
     
  7. wareya

    wareya L7: Fancy Member

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    Sudden Death already exists, you know. It just breaks the gameplay of TF2 so horribly that stalemating and starting over is preferable.

    Disabling the flags and having an extra, useless objective would make no sense at all.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, I forgot. Cap crits should be removed. Just removed. Such a bad idea.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
  8. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    Back when Hightower came out, I was frustrated that PLR didn't have a round timer, and I guess SD could use one too, but then there's the question of how it should work. You can't do it like CTF because, again, you run into the issue I mentioned where each round has less and less time until it's considered a stalemate. But you don't want to set a limit of, say, 15 minutes because then you might have a situation where you're punished for going too long by having to start over. But if the limit is 25 minutes — enough to ensure that the map change is triggered when it ends — you could still have a single round run way longer than people want, and a session of two or more rounds could still stretch well beyond the map timer.
     
  9. ibex

    aa ibex

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    I know Sudden Death exists. I've only really experienced sudden death in ctf (2fort). And in such cases it feels ultimately lacking, and promotes turtling. Not that arena doesn't prevent turtling, but the central objective forces people to compete for something more fair and direct than a flag in a base.

    Maybe not arena with perma-death, but creating a straightforward, quick objective that becomes available at clock end to therein end the match would be preferable. Something simple like 30sec koth.
    I'm just making up ideas here.

    And yes, cap crits are horrible.
     
  10. wareya

    wareya L7: Fancy Member

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    Let's just make this one gamemode a completely different gamemode just to break stalemates. How about no, and just go to the next map instead? That's what stalemate endings are for.
     
  11. UKCS-Alias

    aa UKCS-Alias Mann vs Machine... or... Mapper vs Meta?

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    nightfall has the stalemate breaking system plr should have. It simply rolls forward and all progress you made is kept. If it was a stalemate then this last moment becomes a rush moment. If you are ahead you can keep it ahead a bit easier. Its a rewarding system for making progress.

    Any reset based event with a progress like payload is a bad idea as at any point it could enforce a reset moment that is unwanted. You might have been stick at the hill for 12 minutes, but then rush to the last point in 3 minutes only to find out you are already too late. I totaly agree with you on that.

    For CTF it works since its a short event and still has decent detection on progress. As long as the flag is taken it cant stalemate which is a good detection for progress there.
     
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  12. A Boojum Snark

    aa A Boojum Snark Toraipoddodezain Mazahabado

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    I think this is interesting, and should be possible to implement.
     
  13. Di Gorgonzola

    Di Gorgonzola L4: Comfortable Member

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    There were a update some weeks ago, where they implemented something similar to what you are talking about to the flag mechanics in rd_asteroid:

    I have no idea if this only works for RD though.