Echo #84: Complete map rework

This week I’ve been trying to improve combat HUD and graphics. I’ve changed HUD to cover less of the screen and made collisions more impactful.

Next week I will be preparing for one of biggest Sector Six updates ever - complete map rework!

Map rework is a solution to levelling problem.

Because enemy level scales with player level, levelling up is not that beneficial to a player. Sometimes even harmful.

I want to change that.

There are 3 ways I can do it:

1) Allow the player to change a level of enemies manually in the map screen.

Player levels up > Returns to map screen > Increases the enemy level > Player starts another mission. It would be effective, but it’s a very lazy way to do it. And possibly exploitable.

2) Scale enemy level with player level whenever the Machines move.

I liked this idea, but it’s way too easy to exploit it. With a simple strategy, the player could easily become 10 levels higher than enemies. I could make it impossible to exploit, but those fixes would hinder the game even more. I can do better than this.

3) Get rid of the dynamic map and create different level zones.

Sector Six had so-called dynamic map since the early versions of the game. In other games, wars and invasions don’t really affect the game. I wanted to be original and make the world into a battlefield, where player actions affect the course of the war.

Currently, every 10 missions player starts - either wins or loses - the Machines moves, occupying other regions. Because there’s 8 of the Machines, it’s possible to recover regions faster than the Machines destroy them. Secure regions are where shops are located and the Machines are able to block access to them, by invading secure regions.

It’s an interesting system, I really like how it works. However, it only works with enemies scaling to the player.

Similar games to Sector Six like Torchlight or Path of Exile have completely different map system. There are connected zones with different level enemies.

The player plays in level 1 zone, then reaches level 2 and moves to level 2 zone. And so on.

I want to this with Sector Six.

I will have to create a zone for every player level. Every zone will have 3-12 regions, a story mission and a different set of enemies.

E.g.:

Deep Path

Level 1 area

Minions: Collector, drone, demolisher, probe, tank, swarmling

Mission: The Beginning

The Core

Level 10 area

Minions: Heavy, anode, dagger, revenant factory, veteran, swarmling

Mission: The Core

Tarion Link

Level 11 area

Minions: Veteran, dreadnought, probe, killer, gatherer, scion

Mission: The Eight Keys

Enemies, item rewards and cities will be the same level as the region. E.g.: Deep Path cities will sell level 1 parts, enemies in Deep Path will be level 1 and drop level 1 parts.

Players will still be able to secure/destroy regions. I might make some missions more punishing than before - failing them will damage status of multiple regions in the zone.

This seems like the best solution - it will permanently fix problems with levelling, create a strong feeling of progression and increase variety. By dropping that Machine invasion minigame, Sector Six should become into a much better game.

The only problem is that between every part of the story, players will be required to level up, which might feel grindy.

But if it will end up being a problem, I’m confident that I can fix it as well.

So, that’s the news! Hopefully, I’ll be able to include screenshots or even a video of the new map system the next time I post.

Until then!

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