map-pin Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread

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29 Jul 2021 00:21 #1 by Doomblah
Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread was created by Doomblah
There has been a lot of competing ideas and discussion recently about changing the way multiplayer hunt works in this game. We as a community should take a step back and look at Multiplayer, every aspect of it and what we like/ don't like about it and discuss this as a community. This discussion is going to be the first step in coming to a consensus as a community.

This thread is going to be the central place to discuss possible changes to the way we play Multiplayer. If you have any ideas of how to change it please post it here. Respond to other ideas with why they would be a good/bad idea. Do you have thoughts about how gameplay should work in multiplayer please discuss all of it here. No idea is too stupid, we want to hear everyone's opinions.

This discussion will likely go on for a long time, but on Saturday August 14th at 5pm GMT I will be hosting a meeting in our Discord's Voice Chat about all this, prepare a list of ideas to share with everyone if you want to attend. We'll be trying out a new form of community discussion, we have forum posts, discord discussions, and now maybe we can add big VC meetings to that. This meeting will give everyone who wants to a chance to explain in more detail the ideas they have, the reasons for them and so forth. This is meant to get all the ideas out in the open before we start figuring out what changes, if anything, should be made to this game we all love. I look forward to seeing everyone's ideas and hearing about them at this meeting and in this thread.
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29 Jul 2021 00:24 #2 by Blasted
Replied by Blasted on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
I don't really have anything to say other than platinums should return in PQ levels.
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29 Jul 2021 03:46 - 29 Jul 2021 03:47 #3 by Yoshicraft224
Replied by Yoshicraft224 on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
-All the MP maps should have versions for all the gamemodes
-Finish up all the unfinished modes (most important being Racing lol)
-KotH should have some sort of visual indicator for where the trigger(s) is/are
-Add some good customs every now and then. To the official batch. Or maybe in packs like singleplayer levels are now. I think it's kinda dumb how all the customs that were added later are all just plopped in the big "custom" pile. Also, wasn't Wrap Zone added to the official levels anyway? Not actually sure on that one that's a genuine question
-Speaking of which, make custom MP levels worth the same rating and XP as the other levels

brapdoors mbg #OhBoyFreeAM!
Last edit: 29 Jul 2021 03:47 by Yoshicraft224. Reason: KotH
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30 Jul 2021 19:47 #4 by Regislian
Replied by Regislian on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
Spawn abuse
There was some talk about changing the way respawning works after you go OOB. At first I liked the idea of having you be respawned on the other side of the level, furthest away from the gem spawn, but if the goal for how mp works is that the person with the most precision and endurance wins (was mentioned on Discord, I agree with that), this may have the opposite effect. If you fall OOB, get respawned on the other side of the level, you have plenty of reason to not go back and grab the last gems.
What could be an option is to add, for example, 2 seconds to how long it takes before you can respawn after you go OOB. Another option is to let the game check how many points you got in the last few seconds before respawning and if that's more than a certain amount you lose those points. I'd prefer adding time to how long it takes before you can respawn though, otherwise it just feels arbitrary, both how much time it goes back as how many points you got in that time.

Solo gem hunt scores
A lot of the top gem hunt scores were achieved years ago, back when gem placement was different and, I think, spawn abuse was different. Would be nice of those could be removed.

Gem hunt singleplayer levels
Imo these shouldn't have the gem spawns be random, like in multiplayer. These should have fixed gem spawns.

Camping
Years ago I saw one of the original developers of Marble Blast Ultra say something along the lines of: "if you are ahead strategically the smartest to do is to leave the last gem and go to the center of the level, let the other person pick it up." They viewed it as a part of the game, a strategy which you can choose if you want. I don't think 'camping' can be prevented in a way that wouldn't also fundamentally change multiplayer. The suggestion of having a timer on the last red gem, which, after it runs out, will make it disappear and let the next spawn appear won't help prevent camping, it will enable it. It would change it from being a strategy only for the person that's winning, to it also being a strategy for the person that's losing.

On Discord the question was asked what someones personal definition for camping is. I think we should all use one definition, to prevent miscommunication. A suggestion for a definition of camping is: "Purposely delaying grabbing the last gem(s) of a gem spawn in order to place yourself in an advantageous strategic position to get to the next gem spawn faster than your opponent."

In the current mp tournament the rule is that when you camp for more than 10 seconds there's a penalty. Understandable that such a rule was added but I don't think that's the way to solve this issue. As was shown this can easily be abused.

I used to get so annoyed if someone I was playing mp with camped, even for a few seconds... I decided that, since I couldn't get myself to accept camping as part of the game, it's better to stop playing multiplayer altogether. Which I did. Now I feel that camping will always be a part of multiplayer, since it's the most logical thing to do when you're winning.
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31 Jul 2021 01:35 #5 by Doomblah
Replied by Doomblah on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
Here's my list of ideas about Hunt multiplayer.

Big picture I don't think much should change, I'm a big fan of the gameplay that Hunt currently offers, but I still think some things can be added to make competitive and casual play a lot more fun. I think there should be a split between Competitive and Casual play. Competitive mode should stay pretty much unchanged from how the game plays right now, but casual would have many more changes. I think some maps can be added/ removed, I don't think many maps need changing. The way gems spawn I believe are perfect and should remain unchanged, no adding back platinums (maybe for casual).

Competitive/ Casual Split
The current gameplay of hunt works near perfectly for competitive 1v1 matches, but when it comes to big groups of people (5+) it starts to drag a bit, less skilled players start to struggle to get any gems at all and the differences between low/high skill gets exaggerated. Casual gameplay could do things like spawn more gems per spawn, have double (triple, quadruple?) spawns as well, and there's an idea for each gem having a random value instead of specific spawns having set values. I think it would take some testing to find a good balance of features for casual play.

There could be maps set aside in competitive mode specifically for it, sprawl, horizon, etc. And there could be a selection of maps just for casual play, maybe even different versions of the same map, one for competitive and one for casual. I also think there's some maps that could be removed entirely, and a fair few custom levels that could be added to the selection especially for casual play.

Gem Spawns
For the current competitive gameplay I think the current gem spawns are perfect, I would say there's two main types of spawns. First there's the ones like the ones from Concentric, Parkour Peaks, or All Angles where there's only a handful every spawn where it's all about getting the one yellow or blue, or just getting 2 of the 3 gems that spawn every spawn. Second there's pretty much every other map that has far more gems every spawn that are more spread out and where it's more important to get lots of gems in a row as opposed to one or two key gems, and where getting a blue doesn't matter if your opponent gets every other gem in the spawn. These feel so close to the core of multiplayer that I wouldn't like the way gems spawn to change.

I do not like the idea of adding back Platinum Gems to competitive gameplay, they're worth far too much and it's just not as much fun, they were removed for a reason. However, I could see them being a lot of fun in a casual gamemode.

Double Spawns. The way it works now is that it spawns two groups of gems and only once every gem from both groups is gone does it spawn two more. I think each group should be separate and if one entire group is collected then that group respawns somewhere else. Also for even larger maps or bigger MP parties maybe an option for triple, even quadruple spawns would be interesting.

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31 Jul 2021 21:34 #6 by main_gi
Replied by main_gi on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
I've wanted to do things for a long time to make multiplayer really great. I'm going to split this post into two - this post contains things that I have already implemented in the dev build.

There are three competitive problems with MP modes. **Distance variance, trading, incentivized stalling**. Or, in more general terms, luck, non-interaction, and waiting. I want to address all of them, but the last one of camping is obviously the biggest issue due to its winner feedback loop. The common picture of "camping" where the winner sits next to a red gem is actually incredibly harmless. The position is equal. The actual issues with camping have appeared in other matches, like MBOUltimate vs. Tue27 in 2017 (Blue positional camping), and main_gi vs. Xedron (Red positional camping) which give the winner a feedback loop of points advantage.




There is also a kind of camping where losing players can rewarded from the presence of a camping rule, although it hasn't really come up yet. Invictaa vs. Nockess had the winning player slightly disadvantaged due to perception of the camping rule, Nockess ignored a spawn acting like their winning opponent would be punished for not going for it. (however, this wasn't actually true due to the specific wording of the camping rule)




Competitive Mode: Adds two anti-camping mechanics - a global gem timer of 25 seconds to get a spawn or else it respawns on its own, and a leftbehind of 2 points. That means you can leave 2 points behind in the spawn and a new one will still spawn.

MBOUltimate proposed 1 gem behind, which was originally something I thought of and then discarded. It's easier and more intuitive to explain 1 gem leftbehind than 2 points leftbehind, but in my opinion 2 points is going to be better mechanically, because camping a pair of red gems is equivalent to camping a yellow and also happens often. I am going to try both.

The other possible variation is retaining that leftbehind gem or not. Currently, the leftbehind gems disappear after one spawn (or the 25s timer running out). This cleans up the map and is more similar to regular gameplay. The more experimental idea is to keep them (they have a black smoky light to tell them apart from the main spawn), so if players keep leaving gems behind, they stay in the world. Being able to collect tons of leftover gems if your opponent is doing nothing is a great incentive against camping.

MBOUltimate also suggested that the leftbehind doesn't trigger a new spawn, but instead shortens the gem respawn timer to like 5-10 seconds. This still has some stalling effects and is way less visible than an immediate spawn. It might be good but does add explaining difficulty.

[MBO's] suggestion of having a timer on the last red gem, which, after it runs out, will make it disappear and let the next spawn appear won't help prevent camping, it will enable it. It would change it from being a strategy only for the person that's winning, to it also being a strategy for the person that's losing.


That suggestion prevents the winner advantage but still has some stalling. It would be an improvement, I strongly dislike your implication of "it makes camping worse", it's completely backwards.

Party Spawns: All gems can spawn as any color, with some bonus modifications like platinums spawning in the air and 2x gem size. There's no reason to elaborate on this mode too much, but it has been done.

The regular gameplay is otherwise unchanged for now. Both of these modes are toggles, to not force an always-on competitive/casual mode that hasn't been tested enough.

Here are minor changes that have not been implemented yet:




- Prevent gems from spawning super close to any player. I'm just wondering if it should try to equalize distance as well.

- Regular blasts will not push other players away.
Regular blasting is highly inconsistent and almost always does almost nothing in its pushes, but occasionally it happens and it's unexpected.

- Respawning no longer has a cooldown but costs some number of points to use.
Respawning and the respawn cooldown is pretty much a hidden mechanic, and if you care massively about competitively using it you have to count to 25 or something every time you use it to keep track of the cooldown. Nature Freak said this idea and that it should cost 1 point.

I think the respawn button is not a great idea in the first place. This feature should be something you use when you get stuck in the ground or something, not a competitive tool. It increases map knowledge even more, which is annoying when spawn points are not visible on the map at all and the respawn button is by default far away and hidden (backspace).

In its current state I would not put the quickspawn penalty at 1, it would be 4 or 5, because it's way too abusable at 1, with the ability to randomly spawn near gems, quickspawn just before your opponent takes the last gem, or just avoid waiting to fall. This is partially because the quickspawn code is a joke, the code literally tells it to intentionally fail 1/10th of the time, and there are some maps where quickspawning is very strong just due to the placements (Sprawl, Exoplanet, Citadel, Layered).

What could be an option is to add, for example, 2 seconds to how long it takes before you can respawn after you go OOB.


Deducting points is better because players get to play the game more.

- Double Spawns has a scaling effect instead: 1 spawn if 1-4 players, 2 spawns if 5-9 players, 3 spawns if 10-14 players etc.

I think Double Spawns having separate new-spawn conditions is a good idea, but doing only this would create visual issues if the two spawns spawn too close creating one big spawn, and then you don't know which gems are 'which. Force the spawns to be more distant or just treat it like 1 spawn?

I also kind of want Double Spawns to be on by default, so the host doesn't need to really worry about turning it on and off, and also, it makes the scaling make more sense. (otherwise scaling would only start at 8-9 points or something)
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01 Aug 2021 00:05 #7 by Weather
Replied by Weather on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
This is kind of dumb and maybe irrelevant (I appeal to the "every aspect of it" in the first post), but I think it would be nice to change the gem beam model to something that looks better and is less laggy. Maybe a better gem beam would extend below the gem around four tiles, and tapering the beam would give a good indication of vertical position . . . or do we not want gems to be that easy to locate?
I wouldn't mind providing a few new shape files. The old one should be left alone for the sake of existing custom levels.

I wish there were less of a gap between beginner and advanced players. But in events with many players I found the extra struggle to get a few gems, and even camping, rather thrilling.
I think double spawns (treated as one) with no minimum distance is the best remedy so far.

I really like main_gi's competitive mode idea, specifically the idea of letting leftover gems accumulate, for the reasons he stated. I don't think camping would need to be nerfed any more than this.
What would happen if a leftover gem's value increases over time (a red turns into a yellow and then a blue)?

Not sure about randomizing gem color. It would increase chance's influence on scores; easy gems may be given high values and such. There would also be less control for the level makers.
Alternatively, there could be a chance for a gem's value to be increased or decreased a step (e.g. yellow might spawn as blue or red).
Limiting values to red and yellow, or even delaying the spawn of blues and platinums (okay . . . I really like this idea), would reduce the divide between beginner and advanced much more, I think.

I like the ability of blast to knock players away, but I agree it needs work. Possibly it could have full force (which would depend on how high the blast meter was) up to a certain distance away but none beyond that, as opposed to a gradient.

This is very minor, but it might make things more fun for custom levels if the non-hunt colors were assigned values (e.g. green is 3). There could be hazardous negative gems (outside of spawns, of course)!

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01 Aug 2021 01:12 #8 by Mazik
Replied by Mazik on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
Along with removing any impossible gem hunt scores in multiplayer, if double spawns are still a toggleable option in the future, we need to make it so double spawn scores are separate from single spawn scores. I really don't feel like going for multiplayer hunt records if I have to use double spawns to get them

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01 Aug 2021 15:22 #9 by main_gi
Replied by main_gi on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
I'm not sure about the gem beam. I've never felt like it was laggy and that the radar was the thing that caused lag (fps would go down by 10-15 with the radar on). I think almost everyone uses the arrow radar anyway and the gems are pretty easy to locate, although I have had occasional issues with gems behind walls because I don't know exactly how many walls it's behind.

Map knowledge about spawn abuses is probably half the factor of the skill gap, I wouldn't mind if it was slightly nerfed to go OOB with like a -1 penalty or something.

Leftover gems increasing in value would be another thing that would need to be kept track of by players (in the sense of counting how long it's been since leftover gems happened so you're ready for it) and I don't feel it's necessary. It would already regulate itself because at some point going for only leftover gems would be more valuable than going to the spawn (and then it gets cleared out), but that's if both players ignore them for a while.

Control for the original gem spawns seems like a good idea (I implemented this recently), it makes sense that gems that were originally blue should be higher valued. It does create lots of 'easy' gems, it's usually in maps like Sprawl or Cube Isle where it's a mess of getting a lot of gems at once that it doesn't work so well, compared to Playground/Horizon/Zenith/Spires where they're pretty far away.

The problem with the double spawns on the LB's is that, unlike the old platinum-gem score that created very obvious scores above 300, practically any score could be a double spawns score and there's no way to tell. Would basically have to clear everyone's scores.

By the way the code to try to prevent double spawns was embarrassing, it was doubleplusungood, the pref was named "DoubleSpawnGroups" but was coded to prevent "DoubleSpawns", which did not work. Even then it wouldn't have worked because you could turn on Double Spawns for the whole match then turn it off at the end. Anyway I fixed that in the dev build.

The idea of 'delaying' gem spawns (I think this means:) where higher valued gems spawn later in the match, has been thought of before and is even implemented in vanilla PQ as a "SpawnRamp" MPPref, although this is not accessible as a server setting by players. It has a nice effect of allowing endgame comebacks more, but also a minor downside of a match being less consistently meaningful in terms of scoring how good a player is. (for an exaggerated example if gems were 10x value at 1 minute left, the first 4 minutes of the match would be almost meaningless, so it's like you only have 1 minute of accurate scoring - if it was 2x value instead you'd still have this effect, just lesser)

I think the inconsistency I feel of blast is partially due to the game's ping, like it sends a noticeably low number of info per second about movement. Even the Ultra Blast seems inconsistent often.

Other colors actually appear in Party Spawns. I think you'll like them. I'm not going to do the platinum gem nonsense of only adding different values with it, though.

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13 Aug 2021 18:05 #10 by CylinderKnot
Replied by CylinderKnot on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
I won't be able to attend the meeting, so I'll post my thoughts here.

Wipe the scoreboards for any levels that had changes made to the spawns. Some levels have scores that are currently impossible to achieve because the spawns were nerfed. Also wipe the scoreboards because some records were achieved by multiple people. King of the Marble is an obvious example. As we found out during the 2021 summer tournament, the host tabbing out of the game and tabbing back in causes the timer to skip backwards because of synchronization issues. This can be abused by playing a solo Hunt round in someone else's server while the host constantly tabs out, allowing the game to be played for longer.

Extend the gem "ping protection" to powerups. It's not fun having nearby powerups suddenly disappearing because of high ping. A laggy player can appear behind you and take your powerup, which used to be an issue for gems.

Do not submit scores achieved by multiple players. Also, do not submit scores if Double Spawns was enabled at any point during the game. At least one world record (Ramps Revamped) was achieved with double spawns.

Increase the probability that the gems spawn closer to the player in last place. The current system of purely random spawns not only benefits the leading players, but it also encourages camping, which additionally benefits the leading players. The game snowballs in favor of first place. A simple way to bias the gem spawns slightly in favor of the losing players: Attempt a random spawn. If the spawn is closer to the leading player, try the spawn again and leave it. The number of attempts can be tweaked.

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14 Aug 2021 21:06 #11 by Doomblah
Replied by Doomblah on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
Today we had the big voice chat discussion, and the turn out was amazing! I think at the peak there was 20 something people in VC. I'm blown away by how many of you care about this, thank you to everyone who showed up and participated! I want to apologize for showing up late, not having any plan going into this and for not writing anything down as it happened, I screwed up and the blame can fall entirely on me for that. However, towards the end Hypedmaniac came up with a list of things we discussed, thank you so much for doing that. This list of topics discussed might be incomplete, please respond with more things if I left something out. Next time I do something like this I will try to be better prepared. That being said the discussion that happened was excellent. Everyone shared their ideas, everything remained civil and stayed at least mostly on topic. I'm so glad we all are able to have a big discussion like this and i'll definitely do more things like this in the future. With all that being said let's get into the summary.

- Maps: This topic came up many times and each time we had to stop talking about it because theres just so much too it. Hunt maps need adding and removing, collection needs more maps, mega wars needs more maps. More maps was a consistent thread through all of it and this will no doubt become its own dedicated voice chat discussion in the future.

- Powerups: The biggest idea with the most agreement was the idea to have powerups be picked up the same way gems are, ie where if two players pick it up with in a certain amount of time they both get it. This is currently how gem pickups work but was not added for powerups. Ideas for changing the mega marble powerup, one was to make it last 5 seconds instead of 10 as well as reducing how much it knocks back other players, lots of ideas all good ones. Other powerup discussions were ideas such as adding more powerups to certain maps, rebalancing the distribution of powerups in maps, as well as potentially adding anvils to PQ maps.

- Quick Respawn: A lot of discussion happened around this topic, no general consensus was reached. Ideas ranging from various penalties for using it, to extending/ reducing the cooldown, how far away from the gems you spawn when you use it, or even disabling it entirely. This might become its own dedicated discussion, theres way too many ideas for how to change this, if we even change it at all.

- Alternate Multiplayer Gamemodes: Collection, Mega Wars, most of the discussion for these centered around map ideas, but most of everything else for this was fixing all the various bugs that happen with them and general quality of life improvements. Ideas were thrown around for reintroducing old gamemodes such as Matan mode and maybe a No Jumping one.

- Competitive/ Casual Split: The idea behind this was to have a better option for large multiplayer games (5+ people) that also helps cater to the lower skill players who struggle to play well against more skilled opponents. Lots and lots of ideas for how to change gem spawns in this casual mode including bringing back platinum gems, randomizing values for each spawn, coming up with a brand new truly randomized location gem spawning system. Double, triple spawns scaling automatically based on number of players and the size of the map. And loads more I'm sure I've forgotten.

- Camping: Another topic likely to become its own dedicated discussion. Camping is very nebulous and hard to define, lots of ideas were thrown around for eliminating/ discouraging camping such as Main_gi's idea of each gem spawn having a 25s limit, if they aren't all picked up in that time a new group of gems spawns. Some think camping is just fine and doesn't need to be discouraged, like I said the community has no consensus on how to deal with this.

- Platinum Gems: This topic came up a couple times. People want them back on all the Platinum Quest maps. They were originally removed because it was determined to be less fun with them in, giving skilled players a really easy way to get a massive lead over lower skilled opponents. However people were less opposed to the idea of adding back platinums in a casual gamemode.

- Bug Fixes: Not much to say here, people want bugs fixed. Spectator mode not having the correct gravity when spectating, adjustable camera speed when spectating, fixing some buggy behaviour in Collection and Mega Marble Wars, etc.

- Steal Mode: Very briefly mentioned, some want it gone, some think its fine being a toggle right now.

I almost certainly missed some things we discussed, the discussion lasted nearly 2 hours. If anyone remembers anything else discussed not mentioned here please respond and I'll edit them in.

Thank you again to everyone who participated this turned out much better than I had hoped. I will try to do a better job being better organized next time.
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15 Aug 2021 02:14 #12 by hypedmaniac
Replied by hypedmaniac on topic Multiplayer Gameplay Changes Megathread
I forgot to include changes to blast in the powerup section :/
Though tbf I don’t think we talked about it much

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