Frozen Synapse

Frozen Synapse

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nervous_testpilot  [developer] Feb 29, 2016 @ 9:34am
Multiple Floors / Storeys
Thanks for your feedback in the main Frozen Synapse 2 thread - much appreciated. We're announcing some further details of the game soon and, based on what I've heard on here and on email, I think you're going to like a lot of what we're doing.

One request we've had a lot is for "multiple levels" in buildings. I think this is something which we're going to be unlikely to be able to do - the new game has a pretty vast feature-set already and this is technically pretty tough.

However, I'd really like to hear from you exactly what it is about this that interests you. As FS2 will be a top-down game like FS1, integrating stuff on multiple floors would seem to be more of an aesthetic thing than a gameplay addition. But I'm concerned that I don't quite understand why so many people are interested in this when it would functionally make almost no difference to the game! Keen to hear your thoughts.
Last edited by nervous_testpilot; Mar 17, 2016 @ 4:03pm
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Showing 1-15 of 19 comments
BlaXpirit Feb 29, 2016 @ 9:36am 
Maybe you're forgetting the outside... What if there are multiple buildings with multiple floors...
But I'm just passing by. I don't think this is a good idea in the first place.
Player Feb 29, 2016 @ 11:03am 
I think multiple levels would work if it were 3D isometric (a-la XCOM). However since it's top-down 2D, I think trying to add more floors would add in unnecessary visual complications, and I'm not really sure it would add all that much to the strategy. Height advantages and 3D destructible ceilings is about all I'm coming up with.

In general, the main part of the strategy in FS comes from planning and anticipating your opponent's actions. More than most strategy games I've ever played, it feels like you're playing the opponent, not the ruleset. If there isn't a clear goal and large improvement to the gameplay dynamics that can be implement by adding in more rules, then I feel like it's best to avoid additions that can end up clouding the strategy and the design

EDIT: On a side-note, the only reason I decided to visit the forums now is because my game just downloaded a 500MB update. Anyone know what that's about?
Last edited by Player; Feb 29, 2016 @ 11:04am
Dr Disorder Mar 6, 2016 @ 2:29pm 
how often do squads of mercs clear out bungalows, i'm curious...
Soxxox Smox Mar 9, 2016 @ 8:39pm 
I agree with Subetai. People were excited about the potential of multiple floors because it would be something new, but realistically I don't think it would improve the game. Compared to the neat advantage of multi-level firefights (which, admittedly, would be pretty sweet) it isn't worth both the technical effort and making the game a little more confusing.

By the way, I just checked out the video on the demo you guys did at PC Gamer Weekender - so excited, the game looks fantastic so far! I was initially kind of skeptical when I heard FS2 would be open world. After seeing that demo, I couldn't be happier.

There was a moment where the AI changed its diplomatic status to "secret war." I'm picturing some kind of passive-aggressive proxy war, where the AI is quietly funding factions that are fighting the player, but maybe that's reading a little too far into what might just be a debugging option or something. Is that a thing you could tell us about? (Or is it secret? :) )
Tabush Mar 10, 2016 @ 2:36pm 
Yeah, the demo looks amazing. The smoke grenadier looks really interesting.
Anyways, multiple stories do seem to be kind of irrelevant now, and if you think about it, it would just make the game more confusing, as said above.

Anyways, did you guys ever think about an inventory system? With a few more weapons (kind of like counter strike, where there aren't too many weapons, and they all serve a different purpose), so you could design a squad that's perfect for you.

But damn, the strategy part looks amazing. I hope there will be a lot of stuff we can do there. For example, if you take a building, you will get something from it, as long as you have it, so you'll have to defend it if you think it's important. Can't wait for the beta! I just hope I'll be able to afford the game.
Uncle Zeb Mar 15, 2016 @ 12:44am 
I always imagined this as a board game in which you move your pawns so one level is perfect imho. Hey wailt... what about a physical frozen synapse board game? That'd be cool :)
Soxxox Smox Mar 16, 2016 @ 7:25pm 
Originally posted by Uncle Zeb:
I always imagined this as a board game in which you move your pawns so one level is perfect imho. Hey wailt... what about a physical frozen synapse board game? That'd be cool :)

Holy crap I would buy the hell out of an FS board game. Not sure exactly how the mechanics would transfer, though... What if you had something like a board that both players saw and they drew their plan out on eraseable board that the other player couldn't see? Something along those lines?
Nervous_testpilot, @nappingkitsune here. As a person that's played (and enjoyed) tabletop games like Shadowrun, the appeal and possibility of infiltrating a multi-story building comes with the thrill of successfully stealthing one's way not just into the main floor, but up (or down) multiple levels, acquiring the macguffin, and getting out successfully. Or conversely, the horror involved when someone invariably screws up and you have to escape, fight, or die on the way.

With an infiltration-based game, multiple levels seems almost impossible to leave out, especially when high rises have their most valuable shinies on the upper floors. Or most secret labs have their best loot on the bottom floors.

It also puts in the possibility of rooftop extractions (and daring underground subway/sewer escapes to vary up terrain options).

The question is HOW to execute it while maintaining the scale and aesthetic (and gameplay) of FS without compromising it? It's very simple. Take a cue from Hotline Miami. Every floor is its own map. No heights to deal with. Clear indications of stairs and elevators you can use to progress (even with marked 'extraction zones' so if you get your guys on the marker, they move on to the next floor').

For a further layer of complexity, you could split your squads up between floors to cover more ground, or have a couple of heavies hunker down on a stairs to protect the runners upstairs, and all you'd need to do is swap maps and finish out your turns. And a little 'picture in picture' action could easily let you monitor your alternate crews because your turns would be effective on both maps simultaneously. So no parking your guys in Map B for the building and letting them play cards while your other guys do the dangeorus stuff.

It might be more overhead to run more simultaneous turns for the AI for multiple floors at once, but I can also see that there'll be more confined (and classic FS-style) environs in smaller ways to work with in most cases.

And who wouldn't want a daring rooftop insertion like in the beginning stages of Perfect Dark, leading down into a gloomy lab, infiltrating it to the deepeest depths to steal intel, extract a VIP, and make it all the way back up to the top unscathed?
nervous_testpilot  [developer] Mar 17, 2016 @ 4:05pm 
Thanks for all this. I think it's unlikely we're going to be able to put multple floors in the initial release, but I'm realising more that it's about playing into the realism of assaulting a building. I'm definitely going to chat to everyone about this a bit more because there might be some way of doing it which makes sense eventually. It's a really difficult one though - as many have pointed out in this thread it has some big gameplay implications which are not necessarily positive, as well as being extremely hard to implement.

Anyway, I really do appreciate the feedback here - it's helping to clarify our thinking.
Profile Name Mar 17, 2016 @ 6:29pm 
But I'm concerned that I don't quite understand why so many people are interested in this when it would functionally make almost no difference to the game! Keen to hear your thoughts.

I know you already replied, but: This makes the tactics more interesting, it's more realistic. What if I/my team of AI want to assault the building but landing or rappelling up to the roof, breaking a skylight and rappelling in? Or starting from a fire-escape/elsewhere? Or they see an enemy on the upper/lower floor and try to fire on them to suppress them?

I guess what I'm getting at is look toward Rainbow Six (which some people compare to Frozen Synapse in regards to the classic R6's "planning phase"): Siege or the older ones in regards to multi-story tactics and how those plan/play out.
ShadowPhoen1x Mar 17, 2016 @ 6:34pm 
I think this goes back to the mission planning in Rainbow 6: Rogue Spear. It was a very unique concept that was lost in the later games. It had multiple levels, it was the best part about the game IMO
Spectator6 Mar 18, 2016 @ 4:20pm 
In my opinion, one of the greatest features of Frozen Synapse is how the encounters are deterministic per the governing ruleset. For instance, if two machinegunners face off with one another in the open, the one that fires first will win the fight every single time. This is an important distinction from other combat systems and its effects cannot be stressed enough.

To me, it would seem that while multi-level fighting may add to the realism of representing of an actual firefight, in the context of the Frozen Synapse combat system, it may become a moot point. In real life, multiple levels would add to the chaos and unpredicability of the engagement, but Frozen Synapse is not attempting to represent a realistic fight with varying odds and probabilities. It abstracts the fights in a rigidly defined ruleset.

For this reason, even if multi-level engagements could be appropriately represented to the user (which is a feat unto itself given the perspective) the next very difficult nut to crack would be to decide on the rules that would govern the encounters. For example, does a unit positioned on a higher level always win against a unit positioned on a lower level? If so, then how would a lower level unit ever win against a higher positioned opponent? If not, then what is a fair sighting threshold? How would those rules be modified to account for half-height walls that currently give favor to the unit behind cover? Because if we assume that a higher level unit would be shooting down from behind some form of railing (ie a half-height wall) at an open target, then that unit would already win in the fight per the current ruleset. But what if the target himself is behind cover already? Situations like these may be where multi-level arenas start to muddy up the rules in odd ways and keep the game from being the consistent, tightly wound "puzzle/chess with guns" that we currently enjoy.


Edit: words
Last edited by Spectator6; Mar 18, 2016 @ 4:23pm
I'd like to reiterate my point and suggestion on making multi-level engagements/missions be confined to multiple maps. It would maintain the flow of the combat structure, as having to complicate rules to accomdoate alternating heights would not be required.

Splitting squads/muti squads could be possible, but it might also overcomplicate the more intimate nature of FS engagements. Having marked zones as elevators/stairwells gives us an explicit location for defensive positions (and ambush points) for both enemy and friendly actors.

The potential issue of having to deal with multiple maps of an office park can be mitigated in a way that missions in FS are handled anyway, where one map of the mission is clearly infiltrating the lab, then the next map is finding the person, and the third map is exfiltration. A 60 story skyscraper can easily be distilled down into three or four maps.

The dynamic nature of the open world could easily work and make this even more interesting, with a pair of buldings that might be connected by skyways on higher floors. So if infiltrating the bottom level of the building you want to be in is less feasible, you go in ground floor on the adjacent structure (that's map 1), then map 2 is the connecting skyway floor, which gives you some fun potential for firefights across the skyway (and even through windows), and map 3 is a rooftop exfiltration (or sub-level car park or drainage) of your squad, depending on the mission parameters.

Running multi-floors as instanced maps that are built on the building floorplan's seed doesn't sound, on the surface, too difficult to implement, nor does it alter the core gameplay we want to maintain.

Sure it will still rule out gunfights from upper mezzanines into lower levels, but I think the potential for bullets flying between buildings from upper floors while tactical advances with shield guys (which I believe are confirmed?) across connecting skyways is an epic possibility. (Null space just needs to be taken into account so unit pathing isn't screwed up and grenades don't bounce/linger)
Spectator6 Mar 18, 2016 @ 10:42pm 
@Crowbar - That's a really solid idea! If I'm reading you correctly, you're talking about having single-elevation arenas tied together by stairwells/elevators/etc to get the sense of going up and down floors, correct?
@Spectator0 - That's exactly what I'm suggesting. If I'm not mistaken, several of the missions in FS were pretty much that in the first place. The first two or three took place in the same building, if I remember correctly. So the concept isn't far away from what already have at all. It would just further reinforce the seamless open world concept by giving us more to work with.

..and I'm going to keep trying to push the idea of buildings connected by skyways because I think snipers and machine gunners firing across dead space to reach an opposite building is a really awesome idea.
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