Staredit Network > Forums > SC1 UMS Theory and Ideas > Topic: Replayability
Oct 10 2020, 8:20 pm
By: Milestone  

Oct 10 2020, 8:20 pm Milestone Post #1

I wanted to start a discussion on replayability. (This video is a pretty good intro to the concept if you're unfamiliar)

Leaving melee maps (which one might argue is the most replayable StarCraft experience of them all) aside - What are best multiplayer UMS maps out there in terms of replayability, and what makes them fun to play over and over?

Post has been edited 2 time(s), last time on Oct 10 2020, 11:28 pm by Milestone.

Oct 13 2020, 7:36 am Oh_Man Post #2

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Well you kind of said it yourself about multiplayer. Human players help a lot with replayability because they create those dynamic experiences that AI can't really achieve.

Chess is a good example because the game always starts the same but there's so many variations in the gameplay that people can play it over and over.

Oct 13 2020, 9:25 pm Moose Post #3

I think it boils down to many viable ways to play and providing meaningful choices. While you say to leave melee aside, I think it's worth analyzing how the base game implements this. It's through different builds and strategies. You have three races, they're all viable at different levels of play and skill, they all have different builds. The units and strategies have counterplay. Does Zerg 4-pool, double hatch, triple hatch? Does Protoss fast expand? Double Gateway? Does Terran try a BBS rush or wall up and play a long game? When do you tech? When do you expand? When do you attack? How does the map and starting positions influence the game? There's situations with clear answers, but there's a lot of variability.

Suppose there was an RTS with one side to play and there was one build that was always most effective. The winner would almost always be whoever had the highest effective APM and whoever executed that one build the best. That would be boring and the game would be long forgotten by now. Sure, skill and build memorization are key components of the game and will give a major advantage, but the point is that for players of roughly equal level, there's a of different things that could happen. Those things are fun to play and also fun to watch.

UMS plays a lot differently but the concepts still apply. The human elements adds a lot but the game doesn't need to be PvP to leverage the ideas. Here are some examples of what I consider to be good maps:

Temple Siege: Can probably abstract to other MOBA maps. PvP primary, but some PvPvE elements. The main variable is the range of heroes to choose from. Some counter each other, some don't, they're good at different things. They have different spells that do different things. You have a team to synergize with and an opposing team to counter. The heroes have different builds. Do you get Assims and power up for a long game? Do you slam your levels into upgrades? Do you do a more spell based build? Do you want more mana or do you want your higher level spells? When do you get HP? Where are your teammates and what are they doing? Where are your opponents and what are they doing? Do you want to capture the outposts? There's a lot going on, it keeps the game playing different, but it stays accessible.

Music Mix Defense: Not even PvP. A defense map, super basic, very accessible. Okay, sure, on normal you can pretty much always win once you figure out some basic strategies. Okay, sure, it's heavily RNG based, but still offers meaningful choices and goals. Five difficulties to pick from, five speeds to play on (more/less time to do optimal combos and make decisions). After the last boss, you get a ranking, so you can strive from S rank, SS rank, or even SSS. Which combos and missions do I prioritize for and which do I abandon? Am I managing DA kills well and keeping up with optional bosses? If I'm getting bad RNG, can I adjust my strategy and how so? When do I buy probes, how many, or should I power up? What X rank unit do I go for? Do I focus on one or two or even three upgrade types?

Cave Wars: PvP, teamwork is important, human element is essential to the replayability. The gameplay is very simple but very deep. How does the vision mechanic change the game? Where did my teammates start? Where are my opponents and when will I encounter them? How much can I expand before starting up an army? Do I go infantry, do I go mech, do I go for Protoss, do I go all the way to High Templar? Upgrades are expensive, when do I get them? What about nukes? Where do I expand and how much? Am I overextending myself and leaving myself vulnerable?
Early encounter, do I try an infantry rush? Do I start setting off dynamite hoping not to get caught? Do I throw down some bunker cheese?
Great, I'm fighting someone, am I able to keep expanding in a different direction? Am I able to manage my macro while keeping up the fight? If I'm winning, how can I keep pushing? If I push too hard, my army risks eating dynamite in the dark. Am I losing, what can I do to slow you down? Do I fall back to my teammates and scorch the earth on the way out? Do I tackle an army head on or try to snipe some lights and hope to delay?
Looks like my teammate is in trouble. Do I build up an army and send troops to the front, or do I sneak around the darkness and go for a flank attack? Do I just reach them as fast as possible and start setting off dynamite in their flank hoping the battle keeps their attention elsewhere? Is someone doing that to me while I'm extending myself?
The units have different uses and there is a lot of counterplay.

Catching your opponent off-guard when their focus is elsewhere feels good.
Dynamite sabotage through your opponent's base while your teammate is distracting them at the front is fun.
Tanks aren't strong but the range is powerful, having your tanks shoot over the walls from 2-3 areas away to assist your push feels good.
Locking down a bunch of Goliaths and destroying them with an inferior force is satisfying.
Dropping a bunch of restore on your locked down Goliaths that your opponents thinks they're going to destroy with an inferior force is also satisfying.
Setting off dynamite on your opponent's army they overextended into your base without lights feels good.
Throwing down some Psi Storm on a bunch of tanks or whatever army feels good.
Setting off dynamite on your opponent's range-lacking Zealots and slow to fire Dragoons to take out a thousand minerals of troops with a 32 mineral Vulture feels amazing. (unit composition is important, by the way)
Sending a nuke (or three) over the walls to your opponent who holed up with a bunch of bunkers and tanks is fun. (shoving a huge Protoss army in there is also fun, too)

Post has been edited 2 time(s), last time on Oct 13 2020, 9:44 pm by Moose.

Oct 14 2020, 10:33 pm Milestone Post #4

Thanks for the amazing detailed response, Moose. I really like how you broke down the various aspects of gameplay, especially what's fun/satisfying. I'll give this some thought and come back to this thread.

Oct 15 2020, 5:47 am DaMnUFo0 Post #5

If I remember correctly back when US West and East were very active, people frequently played Helms Deep, Snipers Bald Locks, Laser (Lazer) Tag, Impossible maps, RPGs, RPs, and defense/survival maps (like Poker Defense, Marine 8-way Defense, Individual Random Defense, Zombie series, etc.) the most.

The Korean community, which still has active UMS players, play very seasonal popular maps (mostly defense maps). Some bygone popular defense maps were Random Tower Defense, Individual Civilization Defense, Avengers Marvel Defense, Individual 4 Unit Defense, etc. Most recently, they are playing a new defense map called God of Random Tower Defense. The maps I mentioned all use EUD triggers with the exception of Individual 4 Unit Defense. It's pretty rare to see Korean UMS maps without the use of EUD triggers.

Some other popular maps would be Marine Special Forces, Desert Strike, and Haunted Mansion to name a few. The replayability is there because the maps are all hardcore (at least the ones Koreans made lol).

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