Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hunter Games

Hey, I got an idea!

Actually it was totally inspired by The Tuskers' DeathRace initiative, led by Rixx Javix, which felt so good! I missed the whole party, but I do see the reactions and I’m so happy. Thank you for this, Mr "Famous Pirate"!

The idea is called "Hunter Games".

It is influenced by some existing examples from books and films, I’m sure you will remember them. Basically it involves a bounty hunting pack, chasing a smaller group of fugitives that have a chance to defend and get out, following a define pattern in order to get their reward.

I think I have read about something similar in the EVE blogosphere, but haven’t heard anything about practicing it ingame.

To the point.

Let’s define the parties involved.

First we gotta have someone that would issue and organize Hunter Games. I will call these people Admins. Secondly – there should be one team of Hunters and of course, one team of Fugitives.

In general, Hunter Games may have two different versions: Player Made and Ingame Implementation. Let’s take a look at them.

Player Made

The Admins should promote their Hunter Games in public space or pick the teams some other way, defining the reward that Fugitives may get, the reward that Hunters may get, both may be different, and also defining the rules for the games.

Hunters and Fugitives teammate count ratio should be something like 2:1, 5:1, 10:2, 10:5, 20:5, 30:5 in all cases Hunters should have superior numbers.

Then the Admins should specify the starting point for each team. In order for the Fugitives to have some advantage, the Hunters should start several jumps away from the constellation where Fugitives team starts.

The Fugutives’ goal will be to find and reach named Secure Containers. These should be their checkpoints. All Checkpoint Secure Containers should be named and their names should be known by both Hunter and Fugitive teams (but not their location). Admins should tell Fugitives the passwords for all Secure Containers.  Once a member of the Fugitives team reaches a Checkpoint Secure Container he/she should enter the password, and get a specific item from there, let’s say 138 units of Zydrine (don’t ask why, I just picked this type) – like a code item or Key. Once they have the Key, they should tell Admins what it is exactly (in our case 138 units of Zydrine) in order for the Admins to confirm and tell them where they should look for the next Checkpoint Secure Container – they should point them to a new Constellation where the Checkpoint is hidden.

Hunters should also be looking for these Checkpoint Secure Containers in order to keep track of their prey. At the start of the games Admins should tell them the Constellation where the first Checkpoint is hidden. Once they find a Checkpoint, they should tell Admins its exact location and then Admins should tell them the Constellation where the next Checkpoint is hidden.

And here goes the fun part. Fugitives must be fast enough to locate the Checkpoints and get the Key items in order to advance further. Their reward will always await them in the last Checkpoint Secure Container. Only Fugitives would know the containers passwords. In case of slow performance it would be very probable that Hunters find the Checkpoints first and set some ambush for their beloved Fugitive bunnies. Once Fugitives reach their last Checkpoint and grab their reward, they should proceed to the last stage of their struggle – something I will call "The Final Run". Simple – Fugitives must reach a safe place – a station where they can keep their Reward Items. Until that happens the Hunter Game will not be over and Hunters will still have a chance to kill Fugitives and get a double reward – one time for killing the prey and second one for getting their Reward Items.

The goals and the rules are clear.

  • Hunters must kill all the Fugitives in order to win.
  • Hunters will have a list with the names of Fugitive team members.
  • Fugitives will NOT know who their Hunters are (exceptions of this rule may be possible).
  • Fugitives must reach the last Checkpoint in order to get their reward and then they must bring it to a safe Station in order to win the game.
  • Fugitives can attack and kill Hunters.
  • Kills must be proven to Admins with killmails. Once a kill is made, the defeated pilot is out of the game and not allowed to help their mates.
  • Fugitives will NOT be allowed to use cloaking devices.
  • Hunters will NOT be allowed to use Combat Scanning Probes.
  • Every ship - from Rookie Ship to Battleship will be eligible for the game. No Capitals. No Industrials. No Transports.
  • Admins must communicate with both teams in order to guide them through the Constellations where Checkpoints are hidden.

Now you may say that Admins' job will be too boring and they may not get enough rewards for organizing these games. No. They will organize everything but they will also collect the Bets! Yeah, Hunter Games may be promoted to the public for that purpose. Actually Admins may also benefit from the Games entry fees. Bets must be accepted from neutral parties only. The guys that lay the bets must be informed for the members of each team and Admins must ensure that none of the betting parties will contact Hunter or Fugitive team members.

I don’t know about you, but I would gladly organize such events. They will be super exciting! Imagine the possibilities, the struggle for survival, the development of various tactics, the thrill of the chase! There is a great potential here.

However, the Player Made version of these Hunter Games has some disadvantages. If someone decides to disobey the rules, there might not be a way to control them. Not to mention that placing all the containers, all the Key items and passwords, setting container names and keeping communications with both teams would be a little unpleasant for some Admins, especially the lazy ones. There is a solution of course and it is the other version of the games – Ingame Implementation.

Ingame Implementation

Implementing Hunter Games in EVE through CCP’s programming wizardry and design Kung-Fu, would be real fun if you ask me. And the results may be spectacular!

Starting with the basics, the process of setting up a Hunter Game would be completed through a dedicated ingame interface. It would provide an interactive star map that would allow Admins to select each and every starting point and Checkpoint location with just a few clicks. Using remotely controlled Camera Drones, they would even be able to view and change the exact location of their Checkpoints as if they were flying with their spaceships. Possibly there should be an option for Automatic Random Checkpoint route generation so that they can quickly and easily create a game and then do some minor adjustments to it.

Some Betting system should also be developed in order to make things more interesting for others and for Admins to get extra revenues. There should be Team Bets and Individual Bets – for each Hunter Game competitor.

Next - Checkpoints would no longer be presented by Secure Containers. Strange Key items would no longer be needed. Instead there should be some special Interactive Beacons, designed to provide Datapad Keys for Fugitives, granting them access to the next Beacon as well as pointing them to the Constellation where they should look for it. Yes, some beacons would provide a single Key, while others would provide more Keys, and some would provide Keys to all of the Fugitives, defining the Hunter Game variables and excitement accordingly.

In most cases Beacons should point to Constellations. But they would also be able to point to a specific System or even an exact location in that system, or point to a Constellation, but give a hint for the type of the location where the Beacon is (asteroid belt, station, outpost, star, planet, moon etc.)

By default, once Hunters reaches a Beacon, they would be able to access it and have guidance to the next stage. 

There may be some additional options here. For example some Interactive Beacons would give the Fugitives a choice like:

a) Providing a Key for the next beacon and directions to the Constellation where it might be, and

b) Providing intel about the Hunters – a list with their names, their current shiptypes and even the AU distance between the Beacon and the closest Hunter! When that happens all the Hunters will be marked with distinguishable brackets, making it easier for our running bunnies to spot them. The thing is that when Fugitives choose this option the Beacon would lock itself for like 10 or 20 minutes and they would have to wait until they get another chance to access it.

Hunters should always be able to easily distinguish Fugitive team members, because they should be marked with special brackets (and maybe colors) for as long as they’re participating in the current Hunter Game.

Also - some Beacons would provide hints to Hunters. For example when a Fugitive access such Beacon, it would immediately send its exact coordinates and/or the name of the Constellation where the next Beacon is to any Hunter in its defined Range. Isn’t that cool?

Alternatively some other beacons would provide different type of info to Hunters – they would indicate whether a Fugitive has already accessed them or not yet. In case they have been accessed, they would give a thorough intel on how many times have they been accessed, who has accessed them and when (exact time and date). This is how Hunters would be able to keep better track on their prey.  

Some Beacons would be able to be hacked by Hunters and be temporarily programmed to point to a different Constellation or maybe an exact system or location, sending Fugitives in selected direction, giving Hunters the option to set ambushes in a better way. If Fugitives manage to survive that kind of trap, they should return to the Beacon, that should have overcome the hack and have its correct directions back. Once such Beacon has been hacked by Hunters it would run its adaptive defensive program and not allow to be hacked again. So Hunters would have only one chance to do this when they find this type of Beacon.
And for bunnies’ joy some Beacons would be able to be hacked in order to make them inaccessible for Hunters, at least for a define period of time, giving them some fresh air and time to escape. So it may be very important for each team to reach a Beacon first.

Besides – who said that there should be only one straight Checkpont (Beacon) route? And who said that there should be only one beacon in a staging Constellation? Yes, there might be two, three or even more Beacons for Fugitives to reach, meaning that it may not be so easy for Hunters to catch them. These additional beacons may all point to one Constellation, but it would be possible for some of them to point to some alternative route, giving different Keys accordingly. Yes, the route may have its branches that would lead to a shortcut or to a longer route. Eventually all the alternative routes should get back to the main route, at a certain point or at the last staging Constellation.

Some Beacons should be visible on D-Scan. Others should be only visible to probes scan. And there should be beacons that are totally excluded from scan results.

I think that Beacons should also grant some temporary immunity to Scramblers/Disruptors, let’s say between 10 seconds and 10 minutes (depending on their type), to every Fugitive that reaches them. They’re supposed to run after all.

To prevent cheating Hunters and Fugitives should not be able to be probed down by anyone. However… bringing helping buddies for each team will be allowed and even encouraged! Just remember that helpers would not be an official part of the game. You would just have to find a way to make them join – be it with a promise for a share of the prize or motivating them in any other way you find. This is how you would start an innocent Hunter Game, hoping to get some extra items or cash, but end up in some colossal conflict between huge fleets.

It is highly possible that during a Hunter Game some of the pilots that play it may have difficulties with pilots that are not involved in the game. This is why a Hunter Game kill should be scored only if a member of Hunters or Fugitives team defeats their foe. In case some other guy kills a Hunter Game participant the latter should be able to get a new ship and continue playing the Hunter Game.

Again – during a Hunter Game Fugitives should not be able to use cloaking devices. Also – Hunters should not be able to probe down their prey because all Hunter Game participants should be excluded from probe scans by default, no matter who is scanning them. Exceptions of the last rule may be possible in case Admins specify them through the Hunter Game Setup Interface. There might be an option for Hunters to pay some ridiculous amounts of cash to Admins in order to be allowed to probe down the bunnies.

Oh and Locator Agents should refuse to collaborate when someone asks them to locate a pilot that is currently participating in a Hunter Game.

Basically members of Hunters and Fugitive teams should have just one chance to win – meaning that if their opponent(s) kill some of them, they would lose the Game and don’t get official reward. But some of you might want to add a Hardcore element for Fugitives and allow Hunters to return to the chase until the game is over in one way or another. If you do this every additional Hunter kill that Fugitives make would bring them extra rewards. If specific rules allow it Hunters would be able to return to the chase in case they die, without needing to be officially in a Hunter Game (no rewards in that case), but it would be hard for them to swallow the shame of being defeated by Fugitives. In other cases there should be restrictions. For example once a Hunter or Fugitive team member dies, they should not be able to lock any of the Hunter Game participants.

One more thing. Once the Fugitives reach the last Beacon it would give them a special Reward Key. From then the Final Run should start and they would have to bring the Reward Key to a selected Station, usually in High-Sec. Remember that this would be the Hunters’ moment to have a chance of getting a double reward. Once Fugitives manage to reach the station, they should dock and Done! They access a defined stationary terminal, use the key and get their reward.

Now looking at this some of you may say that Hunters would have much better chances to locate the Beacons first, since they would always have superior numbers. That may be true, but they would be able to do this only of they split and search multiple locations at once. In that case if Fugitives keep together, they would be able to kill the separated Hunters one by one. There are chances. And lots of variables.

Aaand if you’re a respectful pirate it would be really nice and honorable to give your victims a chance to “voluntarily” participate in your Hunter Games instead of just ransoming and killing them. Think about it.

Yeah. The Ingame Implementation of these games would definitely be the better choice.

These are the basics. Other options may be added with time, to make the Hunter Games more intriguing, interesting and exciting.

All these things may bring PvP to some unparalleled levels. The thrill of the chase, the thrill of being chased. Teamwork. Excitement. Tears. Rewarding experience. And of course good memories.

Man I really want to organize an event like this in EVE. I’m so curious to see what will happen.

Anyone else want to try?

This whole thing makes me wanna drink beer. I wonder why…



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