[AS:S] Map overhaul needed, other core gameplay changes (EDIT: Found some maps!)



  • So this won’t exactly be novel or surprising, but AS:S is dead. It was almost always a low-playercount activity with casual, spontaneous gatherings into it for a majority of its lifespan barring its early days, but that has recently changed. It is constantly dead, regardless of peak hours, the number of regulars on, recent updates to it, the map in rotation, and attempts at coaxing new players into it over CSC with generous handouts of silver. Less than 50 hours of gameplay can rocket you up into the top fifteen ranked on all of Nox with killcount.

    I’ll get to the point now: I have a hard time getting new players into AS:S to enjoy the game so they’ll actually come back, instead of seeing this all the time:

    [Player connected]
    “rofl, what is this”
    [Player disconnected]

    You still seem to care about AS:S since I notice you haven’t quite abandoned it yet with patch support and probably don’t want to kill everything that isn’t ZS, so here’s some of the problems with the gamemode as it is.

    1. Bad maps and 0/10 map design choices

    I get that you want a connection to Counter-Strike, but the bottom line is that counter-strike maps and AS:S gameplay mix like cow shit and pig shit. cs_symphony, for example, is a particularly bad clusterfuck of tight hallways (some can’t even fit more than the width of one player!) and restrictive chokepoints that can be blocked with people with minigun fire. Melee dominates far too much in such a cramped environment, and it stifles the “awesome” part of “awesome strike” when the speedy, fast-paced gameplay with air dodges, wall jumps, slides, and insanely fast player movement you designed the mode around is fitted to fucking hallway shooter level design. In cs maps I can run laps around maps in a tenth of the time the original level designers probably balanced them for.  Most of the cs maps suffer from this in spades, and none of them accommodate or are balanced around the vertical movement abilities players are capable of, which ruins yet another “feature” of AS:S and prevents it from reaching its potential.

    The end result of this contradiction between AS:S speediness and cs gameplay is a poorly fleshed-out gamemode with people ragequitting from being caught in narrow chokes and juggled with hostage carrier bash several times in a corner. I’ve done this many times, I should know. Import some maps from Quake 3, open-source shooters like Warsow and Xonotic, recreations of UT maps in source by mapmakers, and fucking Orange maps from TF2 if you have to. Don’t kill AS:S by shoving turds into rotation.

    2. The gunplay sucks.

    It’s like I’m reading h-doujins where the main heroine becomes addicted to being stuffed with cock, only here the girl is AS:S and the faceless men are Quake, Team Fortress, and Unreal Tournament (all of which also realized vertical movement more gracefully). I appreciate the fact you went out and made projectile leading an essential skill, but those of us that weren’t fortunate enough to be born into the heyday (or last days) of classic arena shooter fare will struggle with this aspect of gameplay. No, I’m not talking about the veteran players that are ranked high on the Nox leaderboards, nor the old Nox crowd, or the regulars. A game like AS:S in GMod needs to have casual appeal or be dead forever. The majority of people who play it will literally run up (no, I’ve seen this a thousand times) to the people they’re trying to shoot point-blank, or main melee, or main other shit, or use the Minigun to compensate. The only weapon in the game with hitscan, the Rail Gun, either sucks ass or sucks less ass highly situationally, and will not be effective against players of equal skill level or greater.

    I am so fucking fed up, too, of seeing the inevitable “lel get gud faggot” responses this point invites whenever brought up. Yes, you need to learn a game. Yes, you need to get good at it to compete and shouldn’t be handheld or win with shortcuts (I’m looking at you, blue shell in MK). No, you absolutely shouldn’t have to fucking learn how to play in an environment where everyone good has been playing forever, while meanwhile you’ve never had a chance to develop the same skills, while meanwhile the game itself panders to said crowd.

    us arena shooter oldfags huh :^)

    These are words similar to those uttered by the Starcraft 2 playerbase as the game slipped into dying, being a shitton of unfun, and lost everything it had (lol at competitive HotS), even as Blizzard released feature after feature for competitive gameplay, oblivious to the fact that it had lost casual appeal and was therefore forever fucked in comparison to the growing MOBA genre (which grew out of casual-appeal custom mapping for WC3 and SC1, a feature blizzard fucked over for SC2.) A house can’t have a roof without walls or a foundation.

    The bottom line is that you need to balance the game around both hitscan and projectile, instead of destroying hitscan as a viable strategy (remember the complaints when Initiate was removed from RTP?) You don’t have to make the game hitscan-centric; maybe keep it at Chaingun (UT/quake)-weak levels, keep glowyneedlespam around somehow to reward good aim, add more variety to projectiles, et cetera. Players are likely to be familiar with Team Fortress 2, so if, for example, the Awesome Launcher was given rocket-like properties instead of the gimmicky remote ball, it would a.) be a lot more fun to use and b.) allow players to remain within their comfort zones while still learning the game. A final gripe here is that in the game’s current state far too much time is spent reloading than shooting in the current game, which adds value to melee, which also makes melee more problematic in the cs maps, like my point above.

    3. Other concerns.

    I touched over this briefly earlier, but the game is too damn fast. When I see people running at each other with miniguns I also see them spinning around in circles confused because they simply can’t track opponents that are running at several times the normal HL2 speed, let alone equipped with dodge/wall shenanigans. Yes, skill should be rewardable, but a critical tenet of game design is that a player needs to be informed of why they failed; games that make no sense or are full of random clusterfucky bullshit are unenjoyable. The enormous differences between casual-level play and veteran-level play mean that it’s fun for player Abby to run circles around player Bob comboing him in seconds with her awesome rifle altfire + bsword combo, but not so much fun for Bob to be on the receiving end because to them a random rape train came out of nowhere and fragged them faster than they could blink while they were recovering from melee knockdown. High skill ceilings are nice for rewarding high-level play but at some point they need to not be skill walls.

    I might be the only one who cares about this gamemode ever, but if I need to stand still afk in spawn letting newbies frag me for free to have fun as opposed to fighting through Jetboom’s poor design to get them to play the game I’ll fucking do it.



  • So this won’t exactly be novel or surprising, but AS:S is dead. It was almost always a low-playercount activity with casual, spontaneous gatherings into it for a majority of its lifespan barring its early days, but that has recently changed. It is constantly dead, regardless of peak hours, the number of regulars on, recent updates to it, the map in rotation, and attempts at coaxing new players into it over CSC with generous handouts of silver. Less than 50 hours of gameplay can rocket you up into the top fifteen ranked on all of Nox with killcount.

    I’ll get to the point now: I have a hard time getting new players into AS:S to enjoy the game so they’ll actually come back, instead of seeing this all the time:

    [Player connected]
    “rofl, what is this”
    [Player disconnected]

    You still seem to care about AS:S since I notice you haven’t quite abandoned it yet with patch support and probably don’t want to kill everything that isn’t ZS, so here’s some of the problems with the gamemode as it is.

    1. Bad maps and 0/10 map design choices

    I get that you want a connection to Counter-Strike, but the bottom line is that counter-strike maps and AS:S gameplay mix like cow shit and pig shit. cs_symphony, for example, is a particularly bad clusterfuck of tight hallways (some can’t even fit more than the width of one player!) and restrictive chokepoints that can be blocked with people with minigun fire. Melee dominates far too much in such a cramped environment, and it stifles the “awesome” part of “awesome strike” when the speedy, fast-paced gameplay with air dodges, wall jumps, slides, and insanely fast player movement you designed the mode around is fitted to fucking hallway shooter level design. In cs maps I can run laps around maps in a tenth of the time the original level designers probably balanced them for.  Most of the cs maps suffer from this in spades, and none of them accommodate or are balanced around the vertical movement abilities players are capable of, which ruins yet another “feature” of AS:S and prevents it from reaching its potential.

    The end result of this contradiction between AS:S speediness and cs gameplay is a poorly fleshed-out gamemode with people ragequitting from being caught in narrow chokes and juggled with hostage carrier bash several times in a corner. I’ve done this many times, I should know. Import some maps from Quake 3, open-source shooters like Warsow and Xonotic, recreations of UT maps in source by mapmakers, and fucking Orange maps from TF2 if you have to. Don’t kill AS:S by shoving turds into rotation.

    2. The gunplay sucks.

    It’s like I’m reading h-doujins where the main heroine becomes addicted to being stuffed with cock, only here the girl is AS:S and the faceless men are Quake, Team Fortress, and Unreal Tournament (all of which also realized vertical movement more gracefully). I appreciate the fact you went out and made projectile leading an essential skill, but those of us that weren’t fortunate enough to be born into the heyday (or last days) of classic arena shooter fare will struggle with this aspect of gameplay. No, I’m not talking about the veteran players that are ranked high on the Nox leaderboards, nor the old Nox crowd, or the regulars. A game like AS:S in GMod needs to have casual appeal or be dead forever. The majority of people who play it will literally run up (no, I’ve seen this a thousand times) to the people they’re trying to shoot point-blank, or main melee, or main other shit, or use the Minigun to compensate. The only weapon in the game with hitscan, the Rail Gun, either sucks ass or sucks less ass highly situationally, and will not be effective against players of equal skill level or greater.

    I am so fucking fed up, too, of seeing the inevitable “lel get gud faggot” responses this point invites whenever brought up. Yes, you need to learn a game. Yes, you need to get good at it to compete and shouldn’t be handheld or win with shortcuts (I’m looking at you, blue shell in MK). No, you absolutely shouldn’t have to fucking learn how to play in an environment where everyone good has been playing forever, while meanwhile you’ve never had a chance to develop the same skills, while meanwhile the game itself panders to said crowd.

    us arena shooter oldfags huh :^)

    These are words similar to those uttered by the Starcraft 2 playerbase as the game slipped into dying, being a shitton of unfun, and lost everything it had (lol at competitive HotS), even as Blizzard released feature after feature for competitive gameplay, oblivious to the fact that it had lost casual appeal and was therefore forever fucked in comparison to the growing MOBA genre (which grew out of casual-appeal custom mapping for WC3 and SC1, a feature blizzard fucked over for SC2.) A house can’t have a roof without walls or a foundation.

    The bottom line is that you need to balance the game around both hitscan and projectile, instead of destroying hitscan as a viable strategy (remember the complaints when Initiate was removed from RTP?) You don’t have to make the game hitscan-centric; maybe keep it at Chaingun (UT/quake)-weak levels, keep glowyneedlespam around somehow to reward good aim, add more variety to projectiles, et cetera. Players are likely to be familiar with Team Fortress 2, so if, for example, the Awesome Launcher was given rocket-like properties instead of the gimmicky remote ball, it would a.) be a lot more fun to use and b.) allow players to remain within their comfort zones while still learning the game. A final gripe here is that in the game’s current state far too much time is spent reloading than shooting in the current game, which adds value to melee, which also makes melee more problematic in the cs maps, like my point above.

    3. Other concerns.

    I touched over this briefly earlier, but the game is too damn fast. When I see people running at each other with miniguns I also see them spinning around in circles confused because they simply can’t track opponents that are running at several times the normal HL2 speed, let alone equipped with dodge/wall shenanigans. Yes, skill should be rewardable, but a critical tenet of game design is that a player needs to be informed of why they failed; games that make no sense or are full of random clusterfucky bullshit are unenjoyable. The enormous differences between casual-level play and veteran-level play mean that it’s fun for player Abby to run circles around player Bob comboing him in seconds with her awesome rifle altfire + bsword combo, but not so much fun for Bob to be on the receiving end because to them a random rape train came out of nowhere and fragged them faster than they could blink while they were recovering from melee knockdown. High skill ceilings are nice for rewarding high-level play but at some point they need to not be skill walls.

    I might be the only one who cares about this gamemode ever, but if I need to stand still afk in spawn letting newbies frag me for free to have fun as opposed to fighting through Jetboom’s poor design to get them to play the game I’ll fucking do it.



  • As much as I find AS:S occasionally fun, I seriously doubt it’s going to undergo any kind of major overhaul anytime soon at all, notably because it’s already released too (sort of retired). Maybe you should suggest a list of maps you feel are mediocre.



  • If I pull off this wall of text will you die?



  • @Raox:

    As much as I find AS:S occasionally fun, I seriously doubt it’s going to undergo any kind of major overhaul anytime soon at all, notably because it’s already released too (sort of retired). Maybe you should suggest a list of maps you feel are mediocre.

    I suppose. I’m not sure if the server maintenance costs are honestly worth it at this point. As for maps that are mediocre, I want to say every single cs map, but asides from porting from Quake 3 (which is easy) I know Jetboom doesn’t have a lot of time/effort to invest in replacing virtually 90% of the list at once.

    @The:

    If I pull off this wall of text will you die?

    I was under the impression that this is a forum, which primarily serves the function of discussion, as opposed to an imageboard.



  • If you’re willing to find suitable maps then I’m sure jetboom would upload them, but I don’t think any overhaul of the gamemode itself will come. List them specifically and maybe post some screenshots.



  • As much as some of these changes would improve the game….  it’s a free game that some guy made in his free time.  He has no commitment to this game mode and anyone that thinks he does should take a step back and try to understand why they feel so entitled to bash the work put into it. And don’t give me any free speech bullshit.

    BTW  this is a general message to anyone.  Suggestions are great, but tone down your ass-hat factor for fuck’s sake.



  • @ChiRaeDisk:

    As much as some of these changes would improve the game….  it’s a free game that some guy made in his free time.  He has no commitment to this game mode and anyone that thinks he does should take a step back and try to understand why they feel so entitled to bash the work put into it. And don’t give me any free speech bullshit.

    BTW  this is a general message to anyone.  Suggestions are great, but tone down your ass-hat factor for fuck’s sake.

    Sorry for bothering you with my tone. I understand JetBoom’s doing everything out of his own free will, and I appreciate that with the hours I sank into it. We also have something in common with the “free speech” excuse peeve, apparently.

    @ritzbits:

    If you’re willing to find suitable maps then I’m sure jetboom would upload them, but I don’t think any overhaul of the gamemode itself will come. List them specifically and maybe post some screenshots.

    I’m tied up at the moment with exams so I can’t compile an exhaustive list asides from a few. I want JetBoom’s input on what game artstyles/assets he’d tolerate, which makes it a bit trickier.



  • get good or get rekd nerd you sound like a butt hurt angsty teen



  • @Apathetic:

    These are words similar to those uttered by the Starcraft 2 playerbase as the game slipped into dying, being a shitton of unfun, and lost everything it had (lol at competitive HotS), even as Blizzard released feature after feature for competitive gameplay, oblivious to the fact that it had lost casual appeal and was therefore forever fucked in comparison to the growing MOBA genre (which grew out of casual-appeal custom mapping for WC3 and SC1, a feature blizzard fucked over for SC2.) A house can’t have a roof without walls or a foundation.

    SC2 got better editor than wc3, it’s just noone want to make maps / game genre not in “trend”.
    They didn’t fuck up “casual-appeal custom mapping”.

    P.S.
    Too many casuals. Consider getting gud at games.



  • Edit: After going into dm_airfusion myself, I’m formally requesting all 23 maps from the Maps-Competitive section download list of the website be added into rotation on a trial basis and evaluated. I don’t think anyone will particularly care, and they’re providing them freely, so why not?

    Edit again: dm_icepick appears to use non-css and stock HL2 assets, and also is glitched to allow players to see the lower levels upon crouchsliding (probably a brush error). If JetBoom adds these maps to rotation or asks as a preemptive requirement, I’ll go in and playtest each one.

    I think I might have found a solution to the map problem.  A site for competitive hl2dm, which apparently exists (believe it or not),  has a number of decent looking maps that would be much better for AS:S than the current lineup. They take more influence from arena shooters, are balanced for faster movement, don’t have as much random props lying around, and have better vertical movement design (less railings for example).

    They’re balanced around small playercount, which fits the current state of AS:S, and use preexisting assets, so not much work would need to be done to port them. As long as permission can be obtained/no one cares it would be perfect. I haven’t gotten to try them yet (will get home later), but I like the look of dm_airfusion and dm_metalbase in particular.

    Link to maplist:
    https://hl2dm.net/osg/download/list.php

    Their steam group, which is not dead and might be a good starting point for getting in contact:
    http://steamcommunity.com/groups/hl2dm_oldschool_community

    @ReaM:

    SC2 got better editor than wc3, it’s just noone want to make maps / game genre not in “trend”.
    They didn’t fuck up “casual-appeal custom mapping”.

    P.S.
    Too many casuals. Consider getting gud at games.

    Off topic, but Blizzard gave the community a powerful map editor, then shitted on it with the abomination called Arcade and BNet 2.0.  They had no reason to change or scrap the functional lobby system, hence the saying “don’t fix what ain’t broke.”

    As for that P.S, I just explained why extremes towards anti-casualization are bad for AS:S, and also want to point out again that the reason the game is dead is because the upper skill-level playerbase can’t and won’t keep it alive by itself.



  • Arcade did jackshit to editor itself. It’s just: “fucked up server browser”. And f2p.



  • @ReaM:

    Arcade did jackshit to editor itself. It’s just: “fucked up server browser”. And f2p.

    More OFT. Yeah, I agree already with the powerful editor being okay, although I’ve occasionally seen people argue the unnecessary complexity turns off new mappers (tutorials exist for a reason, so whatever). The lobby browser was the real issue. It could have been designed similarly to 1.0 with main chat as the focus ("lol gamers aren’t social what do you mean we need to care about a social component in our game ;^) "), currently-open-lobbies browsing, with a separate “manage my maps” section that would make use of the “hottest” or trending functionality. Instead everyone had to use the shitty inorganic popular browser where a map wouldn’t be played if it wasn’t popular and wouldn’t be popular if it wasn’t played. The damage was done quickly enough at release that it never recovered.

    On f2p, it pains me to say this but even with the BR influx it wasn’t a bad move. Broodwar was free and guaranteed to be installed on a pc in a pcbang in korea once you were in the door, and LoL also being free and objectively successful from a numbers standpoint (whether or not you like LoL) sort of also validates F2P as an effective strategy. Granted there are market differences between the east and the west but the trend towards f2p is obvious over here as well.


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