Gigahaus potential gameplay mechanics for PVP

Golden Xan

Long Dead
Mallius Odium
Ageless
Vampire Scholar
Mar 30, 2019
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Hey everyone,

Ever since I've updated the Gigahaus Class Speculation thread I began to wonder how could the giants potentially fight the undead in a balanced manner. "Balanced" means "equilibrated", not "equal". After all, it is the very nature of asymmetric gameplay to have different mechanics, they cannot be the same.

I don't know about the other Houses, but Gigahaus quite stands out from what we've seen so far by having playable characters be much bigger than the undead. This creates numerous gameplay complications, both conceptually and technologically. For instance, a truly gigantic monster is expected to have certain capabilities that human-sized individuals do not, such as being able to crush the scenery, move through large distances with little effort, and be generally able to sustain much more damage.

But in order to make it balanced you need to give both kinds of characters an opportunity to feasibly fight each other and have fun while doing so.
So how do you make the fantasy of playing a giant fun while also allowing it to be defeated? I'm going to make some suggestion as to how that may be done.

When thinking about Gigahaus and Deadhaus combined, two main issues come to mind, one from each House: First, giants are expected to be monstrously big and destructive, and the game may not be technologically ready to simulate that. Second, the undead don't get to True Death easily. More than that, when it comes to Gigahaus we don't really know how big the tallest of giants will be. While Denis first suggested that he would like them to vary in size and that the biggest of giants would be as big as mountains, that may not be possible, in the end.

With this in mind, I'm going to separate potential mechanisms based on certain assumptions about the game's general technological and gameplay-related capabilities, and I'm also going to suggest all mechanisms with the biggest of giants in mind. The Titan, from the speculation thread, will represent the "biggest of giants", being about 150 meters tall (akin to approximately 80 times bigger than an undead). I'm also going to focus on the possibility of maps not being destructible since this is the most likely thing to happen and Denis also said they do not have this feature in mind as of now.

This is not gonna be a short post. Bear with me, please.

Without destructible environments
Without destructible environments it makes the whole development of Gigahaus much simpler, as maps cannot be destroyed, giants and undead can both have their own traversal mechanisms without compromise, objective-oriented gameplay remains feasible, and the end result can depend more on player experience and merit than chance on how the scenery is destroyed. However, it also doesn't make much sense, conceptually, to have gigantic creatures that cannot destroy the scenery around them. This detracts from the realism and the fantasy of playing a giant. This may be countered by having some destructible elements, such as some buildings, some walls, some trees, etc. where the general gameplay will be occurring.

If the giants cannot take the undead to True Death:
Giants only fight in the Physical realm and cannot hurt the undead when in the Ethereal state of being. On the other hand, the undead have a lessened influence on the world when in the Ethereal state or cause negligible damage to the giants in that state.
-- PVP is not based around killing each other. Instead, it is objective-based.

This allows for a broader scope of possibilites as well as circumventing some of the issues: undead don't need to get to True Death, and you don't need to find a mechanic for slaying giants that makes sense. That does not remove combat from the equation. Some possibilities are:
  1. Race-based: Giants are attempting to reach a certain location on a relatively straight line. The undead are tasked with preventing them from doing so. They use magick, traps, equipment, and their own fighting capabilities to slow down the giants' progress. The giant is forced to fight against the undead if he wishes to get through certain areas or if he wishes to prevent himself from being slowed. There is some form of time limitation against the giants.
    • Eases balancing by introducing artificial mechanisms not related to the classes, such as traps.
    • Potentially makes for a frustrating gameplay if the giant doesn't feel he is making a meaningful progress or if he loses track of what he actually needs to do by focusing too much on the undead themselves.
    • Creates the need of having maps specifically made for this game mode.
    • Does not allow for more Houses to eventually participate unless they are aiding Deadhaus against Gigahaus.
    • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1
    • Recommended Deadhaus players: 6 or more
      ----
  2. Objective-based: Either the giants or the undead have to achieve some sort of objective and it is the other team's goal to prevent them from doing so. The scenarios would have to be different based on who is supposed to complete the objectives. Undead would use traps, siege equipment, magick and their own fighting capabilities to slow down the giants, block their paths, and prevent them from manipulating objectives. The giants could do the same thing using their powers to block paths as well as fighting the undead and taking them to the Ethereal realm where they can't work on objectives. Time limitations are always against the attacking team, the one that needs to complete objectives.
    • Eases balancing by introducing artificial mechanisms not related to the classes, such as traps.
    • Requires different balancing mechanisms depending on who is the assaulting team (the team that completes objectives).
    • Creates the need of having maps specifically made for this game mode.
    • Ethereal undead need differentiated mechanisms to interact with the scenery, such as possession of bodies, NPCs, or objects.
    • Does not allow for more Houses to eventually participate unless they are aiding Deadhaus against Gigahaus.
    • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1
    • Recommended Deadhaus players: 6 or more
      ----
  3. Event-based: One team has to go through a series of somewhat linear stages. Each stage represent a different kind of challenge. The difficulty may increase or decrease for the assaulting team as they advance through the stages. This is a combination of the two previous mechanics.

    For example, the giants have to destroy a dam. On the first stage, they have to climb a hill from afar while the undead slow them down with their powers, siege equipment, traps and magick. When/if the giant reaches the top within a time limit, the second stage requires the giant to fight against an undead horde, with Deadhaus' players in the middle of the fight. If the giant manages to defeat the horde within the time limit, the giant gets to the third stage which is destroying the dam's wall itself. The giant can't work on destroying the dam if he takes a certain amount of damage within a specific time frame (you cannot work on the objective if are taking a considerable amount of damage). If the giant destroys the dam within the time, Gigahaus wins. If not, Deadhaus finishes their goal, such as a summoning or banishing ritual.
    • Balancing is made more complicated by requiring different balancing mechanism for each stage. Each map may have a different balancing system as well.
    • Requires different balancing mechanisms depending on who is the assaulting team (the team that completes objectives).
    • Creates the need of having maps specifically made for this game mode.
    • Does not allow for more Houses to eventually participate unless they are aiding Deadhaus against Gigahaus.
    • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or 2
    • Recommended Deadhaus players: 4 or more

-- PVP is focused on fighting each other.
  1. Giants are more powerful than the undead in every sense.

    One giant takes a lot of effort to kill. At the same time, it plays differently, being slower, having longer cooldowns, not being able to see where the undead are at all times because they are more numerous, and having its own traversal options. Some parts of the map may only be accessible or traversed by giants, or certain passages may only be opened by giants (such as breaking a barrier).

    The undead have access to tunnels, caves, gates and other obstacles that the giants cannot get through or must circumvent. This allows them to gain time and hide while others deal damage. If an undead's physical body is destroyed, they can recover over time and effort or with the help of other undead.
    • Regular difficulty in balancing the asymmetric gameplay.
    • Puts pressure in the Gigahaus players because they are competing with many other players at the same time to stay alive.
    • Requires having open maps where the giants can fit in and move around.
    • Giant fantasy done right.
      1. Combat survival: Giants cannot kill the undead, but they can be killed by them. Giants have health/integrity and have to hold back as long as possible against the undead. A time limit works against the undead, forcing them to try and deal as much damage as possible. At the same time, giants take more damage if he is not actively fighting. This way, both teams are motivated to confront each other. Undead have to recover and get back to the physical state in order to make the best of their time, giants have to destroy the undead's physical bodies in order to do the same. The giants win if the undead can't return to the physical realm anymore or if the time runs out. The undead win if they kill the giant.

        The undead can hurt the giant both with melee and ranged attacks. Ranged attacks allow them to try and maintain some distance, but also deals less damage. Melee is dangerous because they can more easily be killed, as the giant can only attack within its own melee range, with some exceptions.
        • Can be potentially frustrating for Gigahaus if the undead can postpone their time in the physical state by easily maintaining distance using various mobility skills.
        • Does not require specially crafted maps necessarily.
        • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or more
        • Recommended Deadhaus players: 6 per giant
          ----
      2. Siege combat survival: Much like the previous option, but instead of regular combat the undead have access to siege equipment. Ballistae, catapults, trebuchets, magickally enhanced or not, make up for the main method of dealing damage to the giant. The giant can destroy this equipment, if it is found, but the undead can rebuild them. All other principles from combat survival still apply.
        • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or more
        • Recommended Deadhaus players: 5 per giant
          ----
      3. Colossus-based survival: The undead can either summon gigantic creatures, turn dead giants into undead giants, or grow their own bodies magickally in order to have at least one player as a larger-than-usual undead that can fight the giant a bit more effectively. The match either begins with the colossus available or it is something the undead have to create or wait for it to be accessible. While the colossus is the biggest threat, other undead can still fight and aid the colossus in regular play.
        • Adds another layer of balancing unless there is a simplistic magnification of attributes of a regular undead.
        • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or more
        • Recommended Deadhaus players: 5 per giant
          ----
      4. Horde survival: Giants don't fight against individual players only, but also hordes of computer-controlled zombies and other undead. The Deadhaus players serve as "heroes" in the battlefield, able to give commands, inspire their troops, or simply dish out more damage, slow down the giants, use siege equipment and anything else that they might have to try and stop the giant. The giants wins by defeating the majority of the horde, forcing the undead to retreat. The undead win by killing the giants.
        • Dependent on the effectiveness of the hordes themselves.
        • Epic sense of battle for both teams.
        • Requires a wide open map.
        • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or more
        • Recommended Deadhaus players: 6 per giant

If the giants can take the undead to True Death:
Giants can fight against the undead in every state. In the Physical they fight regularly. In the Ethereal, giants can use their skills and spells to hurt the undead. In the Essential, giants can either destroy the undead's containers, exorcize them, or the battle is automatically won if all undead find themselves in the contained state for a period of time.
-- PVP is focused on fighting each other.
  1. Giants and undead are more evenly powerful, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

    While intrinsically different, both giants and undead can compete relatively well on a one-on-one basis, or the giants are still more powerful but a single undead can turn the tide of battle through skill and smart play.
    • Regular difficulty in balancing the asymmetric gameplay.
    • Makes having a more even level of players on each team easier.
    • Ample examples in other games.
    • Requires having open maps where the giants can fit in and move around, with exceptions.
      1. Weak spot: While generally more powerful, Giants have weak points that are revealed when they approach the undead, or when they attack. Giants must get close in order to attack, but by doing so they expose their weaknesses and give openings to the undead to harm them as well. A time limit gives the win to whatever team has the most "frags", or kills, in a typical team deathmatch fashion, forcing each team to confront each other. Giants cannot postpone the match by hiding their weak parts because they still take damage when damaged in other parts. An example of a weak spot would be a Cyclops' eye, a Titan's belly, a Minotaur's mouth, a Jotun's core, a Golem's joints, an Ent's back, etc.
        • Easily allows for other Houses to fight Gigahaus as well, and also allows for more than two Houses fighting each other.
        • Does not require specially-designed maps.
        • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or more
        • Recommended Deadhaus players: 4 per giant
          ----
      2. Scaling: With maps varying in size, aesthetics and concepts, you can't fit an amazingly big giant everywhere. In order to fix this without making the scenery destructible, you can either have smaller giants (which limits their concept), or allow giants to change their size.

        Giants can scale themselves according to circumstances, having different attributes and capabilities per size, but allowing them to get to any place the undead can get to, or luring the undead to locations where they have an advantage. Giants have a base health pool relative to their size. In their maximum size, they are stronger, take more damage, but can't go inside buildings. When taking smaller forms, they lower their health pool, deal less damage, but also gets harder to hit, become faster and gain access to new locations.
        They may or may not be able to freely switch sizes. Changing size may be a choice, but it may also be imposed. Let's say the Titan is made of rock and its integrity gets below 80%. Then, he automatically switches size by losing body parts. He keeps losing pieces of its body and getting to a lower stature as it gets hurt, but it also gains capabilities relative to its size.
        • Easily allows for other Houses to fight Gigahaus as well, and also allows for more than two Houses fighting each other.
        • Does not require specially-designed maps.
        • Makes for interesting gameplay and increase tension as the giant's health decreases.
        • Creates a risk-reward system for Gigahaus, or for some of its giants.
        • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or more
        • Recommended Deadhaus players: 4 per giant
          ----
      3. Hunt: The giant begins the match weak, small or otherwise vulnerable and the undead must hunt him through an open map before he grows in size and power and becomes harder to stop. Giants gain power according to what makes sense to their class, lore-wise, and should initially try to run and accumulate power. A timer works against the giant. The undead are motivated to fight the giants as early as possible, the giants are motivated to grow and fight the undead as soon as possible.
        • Easily allows for other Houses to fight Gigahaus as well, and also allows for more than two Houses fighting each other.
        • Requires open maps with ample space and opportunity for each team to lose each other.
        • All players need traversal mechanisms to cross gaps and gain distance.
        • Very pressure-inducing for Gigahaus players.
        • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or more
        • Recommended Deadhaus players: 4 per giant
          ---
      4. Armor: Giants have some form of protection as they begin the match, but that protection is slowly chipped away as the undead use their various powers, equipment and fighting prowess to fight them. While "armored", giants don't take damage to their health and need to use that opportunity to try and destroy as many undead as possible. After their protection is destroyed, they become vulnerable and lose their capability to exorcise the undead, making them the target. The undead must then work on defeating the giant as fast as possible or it may recover some of its protection again. The match ends when either the giants die or a certain amount of undead are exorcised.

        For clarification, a Titan might be able to exorcise an undead while it isn't taking damage to its health. But without protection, the undead can prevent the Titan from exorcising their allies by damaging him. The Titan can only exorcise again if it recovers its protection or if it manages to isolate from other undead.
        • Makes for a very dynamic gameplay, with vulnerabilities changing throughout the match.
        • Easily allows for other Houses to fight Gigahaus as well, and also allows for more than two Houses fighting each other. It would likely be interesting to see two enemy factions piling up to hurt a giant while it is vulnerable, only to continue fighting each other after the giant recover its protection.
        • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or more
        • Recommended Deadhaus players: 4 per giant
          ----
      5. Climbing: Undead can climb the bodies of giants to hurt them more, possibly in weak spots. The giants must have tools to defend against that, such as being able to use abilities to damage everything around them, or to secrete dangerous materials from their bodies (such as lava), or being able to roll around/move fast in order to make the undead fall. This allows for various strategies in battle and also allow any kind of class to have meaningful roles and participation when fighting a giant.
        • Requires the implementation of climbing mechanics.
        • Amazing sense of "epicness" for the individuals climbing the giant monster.
        • Easily allows for other Houses to fight Gigahaus as well.
        • Flying mechanics may somehow diminish the impact or purpose of having climbing mechanics.
        • Recommended Gigahaus players: 1 or more
        • Recommended Deadhaus players: 8 per giant (depending on how powerful giants are supposed to be)

With destructible environments
Destructible environments are much more complicated to implement, yet they also allow for more realism and a greater sense of fantasy when playing the giants. It also opens up room for physics-based tactics in various levels. I assume this will not be possible on DHS, and even if it is there is no way of knowing how far that destructibility would go, so I will restrict myself to the most differentiated concepts in this regard. Likewise, some of the mechanisms mentioned above can and do work with destructible environments, they just have to be tackled slightly different.

-- PVP is not based around killing each other. Instead, it is objective-based.
  1. Projectile-based combat: Giants are, for some reason, restricted to a far away location. They cannot access where the undead stay, and vice-versa. Instead, both the giants and undead have access to long-range weaponry that allow them to fight each other. Giants can use their powers, throw objects, rocks, etc. to damage buildings and siege equipment, while the undead can use their own tools to kill or destroy the giants.
    • Diminishes the sense of scale and fantasy element of fighting with/playing against giants.
    • Makes for a kind of gameplay unlike anything else.
    • Possibly easier to balance, depending on the depth and effectiveness of the physics system.
    • Requires and entire mode to be made just for this specific PVP.
    • Doesn't restrict other Houses from playing against giants, but requires them to be somewhat similar to Deadhaus.
    • Considering all downsides, I've only mentioned the option for the sake of it potentially serving as inspiration for something else.

-------------------------------------
I have worked on these concepts for some time now. Some of them are more fitting for specific kinds of characters, while others are too niche or complicated, but may still serve as a base for the gameplay mechanics of a specific class, mode or feature. Some of them work well when combined, some of them restrict each other. These ideas are here for inspiration and discussion. Ultimately, only Apocalypse can tell what is going to be effective for their own game.

My favorite concepts are the ones that put giants and undead in somewhat equal levels. I believe the more encompassing concepts are the ones that put any House in somewhat similar levels, making things modular, allowing you to combine multiple Houses together. I find the idea of being able to kill the undead just as much as be killed by them to be more favorable for everyone. Likewise, I think having some destructible parts in the environment is the way to go, with specific parts' destruction being exclusively possible to Gigahaus. This is a nice compromise between technological limitations and the fantasy of playing a giant.

When looking at other games that have created asymmetric gameplay in a similar fashion, these games come to the top of my head:

  • Evolve (later changed to Evolve: Stage 2)
  • Giants: Citizen Kabuto
  • Shadow of the Colossus
  • Drakan: Order of the Flame
  • Depth
  • Primal Carnage
  • Natural Selection II
  • ORION: Prelude
  • Titanfall
  • Dead by Daylight
These games feature considerable elements of asymmetry or the very definition of giant playable characters. I advise getting to know them in order to explore possibilities, especially Giants: Citizen Kabuto and Evolve. That is not to say that DHS should try to recreate experiences from other games--it shouldn't. Instead, they should serve as examples of what can be done effectively, and what cannot.

I hope this contributes to the development of DHS. :)
 
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Livin

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This is a scenario in my head of a pvp between undead and these mountain sized giants, treating their bodies as maps.

Scenario:
Giant is making it's way over to destroy something that the undead wish to protect, city or sanctuary. The undead has to find breaks in the giant's body or have to make those breaks beforehand to enter through and reach its core so as to kill it, getting inside could then involve the climbing aspect you mentioned. The giant has the ability to physically destroy the undead on the outside with greater ease but by no means is it guaranteed. Once the undead is inside the giant's movements are slowed as part of its focus is now directed towards expelling the intruder by channeling minions that reside within it that the undead will have to fight through, there could possibly even be guardians that the giant's player can take over and fight the undead with while the giant becomes stationary. If the undead's primary state is slain while inside the giant then they are expelled from its body, having to regain that state and get back inside the giant to try killing it again before it is able to fulfill its goal.
 
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Livin

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Not sure about whether this belongs here or the other thread but with the undead they just regain their states after being defeated and falling into another, has there been any talk of what happens when the giants lose?
 
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Golden Xan

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We haven't talked about that yet. While something may happen to them, gameplay-wise I think they'd just fall dead. I don't see them as having other existential states. That is something that I believe is more fitting for the undead themselves. But who knows what they have in store?
 
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Livin

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We haven't talked about that yet. While something may happen to them, gameplay-wise I think they'd just fall dead. I don't see them as having other existential states. That is something that I believe is more fitting for the undead themselves. But who knows what they have in store?
I have few thoughts but I'll post them in the other thread once I've got them down better in my head.
 
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Roband

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A lot of interesting ideas as always. Wich makes me wonder... if a "player world boss/bosses vs other players mode" will ever be inplemented, could others houses have a similar pvp mode? like one or more legendary undead abomination (also controlled by players of course) for dead house that would need a similar effort to the one required to defeat a "mountain level giant"?

In my head i imagined giga house to be from 5 to 10 meters of heigh at max, with the biggest that are basically walking mountains being just raid bosses controlled by AI (maybe with the house superior strenght being balanced by lesser speed, agility, ranged attacks or magical abilities). However with different pvp modes being implemented the possibilities are indeed a lot, and we could see also a "world boss/bosses vs world boss/bosses mode", that would be insane.

I especially like the idea of Golden Xan about giants potentialy changing size if they take damage (or even to scale to the number of players), what if we take the same concept to leveling too? Every time you "level up" you also gain among other things also increased heigh: i think that would also increase the diversity among the house (in addition to the usual things like different equipment and physical features), so basically the giants would channel their powers directly in their bodies.
 
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Livin

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Had a thought related to pvp and the scenario I outlined earlier. The giants are largest in the world, but to become the size of mountains they must merge together. One player steers the thing as it moves to take the objective against the enemies that opposes you on the outside while the others function as the guardians that protect the core from the enemies that get inside.