Development Blog

Where we pretend to know how to code.

Some musings

Published: 2013-03-03

Author: Santamon

I know you’re all going to be upset that this isn’t an RP post, but we promise we’ll try and get something out regarding that soon!

As some of you may be aware, I’ve been working on Escape from both the gamemode (With Teddi’s help) and the map from the development perspective. Due to my time off work, this allowed me to speed up the development of it and run some very crude alpha tests. Whilst most people who read this won’t be interested, I thought it would be worth collating my thoughts and observations from the testing.

A quick summary for those not aware – Escape is a gamemode which is all about escaping your surroundings. At the moment, there is only one map for this, which is cube, however I hope to change this one day! The project spawned from a night when I was playing a rough cube gamemode on Lord Ivan’s map called ‘gm_cube_v1’; it’s a very fun map, however after an hour or two, you learn all the possible escape routes and you get bored very fast.

I then thought, hey, let’s see what I can get source to do in regards to make a procedurally generated maze and voila! My Cube map! It wasn’t quite as simple as that, but you get the idea. The whole object of the cube map was to get a different experience each time - and for the most part, it pulls that off.

Anyway, over the past month or so, I’ve been doing some very early alpha testing so I thought I would collate my findings and ponderings, and put them into a blog post.

Enjoyment Factor

This may sound odd, but I actually didn’t expect the gamemode in many ways to be ‘fun’ so it was a pleasant surprise. It was very interesting to see people actually play the gamemode and enjoy it. If I’m honest, my expectation really was for people to go ‘Well, is this it?’ and just get bored after a single round. This is not to say the gamemode is perfect – far from it; the main flaw that is currently in the gamemode is that it is so heavily based on team work, and on that note:


Teamwork was a very interesting dynamic I observed. Whilst the test groups were biased towards working together due to me picking them all off mumble, people still wouldn’t always work together as a team. The most apparent team work issue comes from a lack of communication when people first start in the cube. Generally what happened is that people would split up and test multiple cubes around the start cube at the same time; this is an astronomically huge waste of boots and so did shorten their life expectancy. Another behaviour that was observed was that there would always be a player (If not more) who would splintered away from the group and go solo. This impact the team as a whole due to the fact they have less boots (and people) to test traps with.

What was interesting though, is that normally, the team would shrink fairly quickly with people getting picked off due to a lack of teamwork; once you were down to 3 – 2 people however, they would last a fair while and normally, were able to get quite close to the exit.


I actually underestimated players in regards to the trap rate. Whilst the trap rate will be dynamic in the release, I still needed a good benchmark of trap % v player count. I’m not going to disclose the actual percentage, but it was a fairly precise amount; 10% less, and it too few traps, 10% more and too many traps. Initially, someone escape almost every round was played, however once the trap ratio was tweaked, this quickly stopped.


Considering I’ve been hosting this off my home computer whilst equally stretching the source engine to its limits, I’m surprised how few bugs have actually turned up. Okay, there were some big ones such as the maze not spawning, but I’m aware of the cause of that and it (should) be fixed now. I did have to change the door system as this was using too many touchlinks and preventing more ents from spawning – it also wasn’t very precise and upset the impatient players out there.

I know this blog post isn’t a lot, but I thought I would post a few findings and what not.

Oh, and if you want in on when I test this, just make sure you’re active on Mumble! I’m always after new people to see people’s variations in tackling the cube.

Thanks goes out to those who have taken part and hopefully, you’ll realise that the testing was a lot more than a “We’re bored, let’s play something new” with this blog post; okay, I’ll admit, it was a little of that!

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