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  1. A lot of you have seen me posting on these forums over the past few weeks. Many of you are familiar with my Friday the 13th Knowledge Base, which is the result of my having dedicated more Earth hours than any human should to exploring, analyzing, and documenting the mechanics of this game in a controlled and as-scientific-as-I-can-manage way. To those who have gotten value out of it: Thank you for reading, and you are very welcome. Outside of this, I'm probably most well-known as "one of those people who likes to debate about balance-oriented matters and this silly 'advanced tech' stuff that so-called 'high-level players' use." A lot of you have engaged me in productive discussions. I've made some of you angry. This is a heated topic, so I'm grateful to everyone no matter what your position. In the name of not derailing other topics with hoity-toity tech-talk, I've asked @Kodiak to allow me a central place to put these matters on the table for anyone who wants to discuss or debate them. There are a lot of diverse views on advanced techniques ("tech"), and I think (or hope, anyway) that it would be useful to have a central place for the developers to see these views. Disclosure: I earn a significant chunk of my living as a game development consultant. This means that I visit game developers and publishers, look at design docs and play video games well before they're ready for public release, and advise developers on how to improve them for general audiences and press. In fact, once upon a time, I was a consultant for Gun Media, back when they engaged in this type of work for other developers (and before they got into game development themselves). I do not consider or discuss these things willy-nilly; I have a very strong body of knowledge and experience that I bring to discussions about mechanics and balance. I don't like tooting my own horn or throwing fancy claims around, but I figure -- for a discussion like this -- that it is useful for you to know what lens I am looking at these types of things through. All that having been said, I want to use this thread to discuss and debate what constitutes an exploit, what ought to be considered valid and viable advanced tech for the game, and how the developers ought to move forward in a way that caters to both a casual and a hardcore audience. Given that Friday the 13th is a competitive asymmetrical multiplayer game, you need both. Casual players form the foundation that the game is built on, and hardcore players are there to ensure that the game is sufficiently deep, as a shallow competitive game is one that doesn't have a long shelf life. To use an analogy that I like to give game developers about competitive balance: Most basketballs aren't purchased by pro players... but if you don't have pro players, you're not going to sell nearly as many basketballs. Given the developers' current lack of communication, and the fact that the game hasn't been patched for three weeks, there's a lot of hand-wringing here (and on other official Friday the 13th channels) about ongoing bugs and exploits. Some players are quite sweeping in terms of what they consider gross exploitation; others (like me and @Pappus) have a pretty nuanced view of where the line ought to be drawn for advanced mechanics. For my part, I think everything falls into the following broad buckets: 1) Obvious, aggressively hostile exploits. This category is straightforward: It includes anything that involves a player going out of their way to achieve an obviously unintended and toxic game state that gives them an advantage, and for which there is no counterplay. The exploiting player is making direct and intentional efforts to do these things, and the opposing side can do nothing, other than give up and lose the game in all cases. Examples include: Glitching onto the Packanack Lodge roof. Going out-of-bounds behind the boat exit. Warping through the car to reach places that Jason can never get you at (and/or that you could never reach normally). Item duping. 2) Bugs. Some behaviors in the game provide obscene, obviously unintended advantages to one side or the other. What defines these is that -- though there tends to be no immediate counterplay -- these situations are not completely game-breaking, and can often occur completely by accident, with no malice actually intended and no unusual action taken by the offending player. These are obviously things that players should not be able to do, but they are the results of normal and otherwise tactically viable actions. You cannot fault other players for these kinds of bugs; in my view, they just become accepted tech until patched. Examples include: Jason's ability to block traps, firecrackers, and flare guns while in combat stance. Counselors bypassing traps with body-blocking. While there IS counterplay to it (i.e. smarter trap placement), it's obviously something that shouldn't be occurring in this way. Knocking Jason across the map with the baseball bat. Block-swinging. 3) Advanced techniques. This is, for the most part, everything else -- anything, unintended or not, that can be done to create moment-to-moment advantages for a player or disadvantages for the opponent. The key factor is that there MUST be some sort of clear opportunity for counterplay. Examples include: Counselors can hit Jason through doors or walls, but he can do the same to them (which makes for some tense standoffs). Jason can Shift over traps without harm, but he is also choosing to expend a valuable resource (i.e. his ability cooldown) in order to gain that advantage, and a savvy counselor could evade him by window-hopping. Counselors can animation-cancel with dodges to land several quick blows in combat stance, but Jason can block these. Jason can cancel a knockdown animation (after mashing E) by entering the knife throw animation. He can currently choose not to throw the knife, but I'd say this should be patched to require him to expend the knife in order to cancel, so that there is a non-negotiable resource cost involved in the choice. Morph-blocking or Morph-trapping. This itself IS counterplay which relies on good map knowledge to defend against Jason's most frequent and/or dangerous Morph spots. Body-blocking Jason's Shift requires careful timing and positioning on the part of a counselor. Again, this itself IS counterplay to -- for instance -- safeguard someone who is using the phone. Body-blocking in general. If you're positioned in front of a repaired phone box to prevent Jason from breaking it, or a car door to prevent the driver from getting grabbed as they turn the key, that -- again -- is counterplay in and of itself. Abduction (grabbing a counselor just as Jason enters the Shift animation, and moving them away from the group) sacrifices a valuable cooldown, which both forces Jason to catch the counselor without it in the first place, and also moves Jason away from others and gives them space to finish objectives, regroup, or flee. Car-surfing (getting onto the roof of the car) might be an edge case, but it does not prevent Jason from attacking and killing the counselor, or forcing them into a situation where they are vulnerable to a grab. If you're one of those who questions the value of advanced tech, I'm afraid I simply don't understand what your stance accomplishes. Advanced tech is a major skill differentiator in any competitive game -- and again, Friday the 13th is a competitive asymmetrical multiplayer game. Without advanced tactics, a game becomes shallow, and shallow competitive multiplayer games are never long for this world. It doesn't matter whether you're an advanced player or not, or whether you "play for fun" or whatever (don't we all play for fun?); it's important to recognize the value that these types of mechanics bring to the table, for the long-term health of this or any other similar game. You may not care about advanced play right now (or ever), but it gives everyone a path to growth and mastery (quite literally moving from the shallow end of the pool to the deep end). I'll remind you all that Street Fighter II's combo system was the result of a programming error, as hits were not supposed to leave opponents in a stunned state long enough to enable more successive hits. The entire fighting game genre owes its existence to an unintended bug (which turned out to be a feature!). So these are sometimes good bugs, even if the developers didn't anticipate them. And if you don't think Friday the 13th has anything to do with fighting games, I say look again! You are directly fighting an opponent in a 3D space, and moves have startup frames, active frames, and recovery frames. Different attacks have different properties, swing times, stun chance, and so forth. The fighting mechanics are similar to 3D fighting games like Tekken or Soulcalibur or even For Honor, and this provides a useful frame of reference for how to regard Friday the 13th. I know Friday the 13th is not ONLY these mechanics, but as this is the area where most of the angst around advanced tech comes in, it's really useful to think about it in similar terms. Gun Media is not reinventing the wheel here, after all. As a final aside, I will say this: Really skilled players of any game approach things with something resembling an "exploit-y" mindset. The players who discover new data and powerful techniques are the ones who approach systems with an intent to learn how they work, and leverage those systems to the fullest. The difference between top-tier players and actual exploiters (like whoever came up with the account spoofing script) is how they use their information. It's kinda like the term "hacker" -- when we hear this, we all think of the bad people who use ransomware and such for personal gain. But a lot of hackers out there are who they are because they are curious about how things work. What I'm ultimately saying is that the core mindset of these two groups is not so different. The value of these kinds of players cannot be overstated, when it comes to "breaking" games and ensuring strong balance. To close out: Thanks for reading all of this, even if we don't see eye-to-eye. I really like this game (probably a little too much). I don't want to see it taper off, either from lack of support or from shallow mechanics. I hope this starts a good conversation, I hope it doesn't drive @Kodiak mad enough to lock it, and I hope it gives Gun Media (@wes @Randygbk @GunMedia_Ben) some good info. TL;DR Advanced techniques breathe life and longevity into a competitive game, and shallow games die. Skill differentiation is good for the game, and for players of all levels. Whoever you are, and whatever your reason for purchasing and playing this game, this should matter to you.
  2. Hello! You may know me as Geekboxing on the Friday the 13th subreddit, or Rydog on Steam. I've spent the last several weeks researching the stats and abilities of counselors and Jason, to help the community with theorycrafting and learning more about the game. I have created a keyed guide to the game's maps, an extensive counselor stat guide, a Jason ability guide, and a data-driven counselor tier list (with a similar one soon to follow for Jason). I am currently in the process of migrating these guides to Steam, and I would love for you to check them out. I will happily migrate them here as well, if that is useful/not frowned upon by mods. Also: Hello to Wes and my old friends at Gun. I am glad to see that this game is doing well! Clearly, I am very taken with it.
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