[Showcase] Special Forces Elite 4 (Thread 1)

Map Showcase
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Special Forces Elite 4: Shared Income has gone live as of August 16th 2012.
This post will be edited in order to provide easy to locate News as developments unfold.
I will be posting in this thread at least every Monday until further notice.

Update (1.10) has been published as of June 1st, 2013.

[Project Information]
Lead: Jason
Assistants: N/A
Status: Slowly Ongoing (A.K.A. Not Abandoned)
Forum Credits: The Community, Drusus, Wings (now sgogeta), and Watashi no kichōna.
Change Logs: I've decided to place the Change Logs into a (view only) Google Doc.

[Project Focus]
• Revamp map entirely
• Review Community input and feedback
• New Heroes (finally)
• Hard to summarize the rest but I’m sure you get the idea

[Previous Threads]
[Special Force Elite Shared Income Ver.] http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/3881714471
[Special Force Elite Shared Income Ver.] 2 http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/4079877730
[Showcase] Special Forces Elite 4 (Thread 1) http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/6247965537

[My original post which started this thread]
Hello community,

Some of you may be wondering what happened to [Special Force Elite Shared Income Ver.] and if and when it will ever get any more updates. I'm creating this thread with the intention of providing information to everyone on the situation.

I had previously worked with Lanzarote on the map but have not contacted him in some time. With the arrival of the 1.5.0 patch I've encountered a number of things that need correcting so I've attempted to contact Lanzarote. This will lead to a few different outcomes that I would like everyone to look forward to:

1) Lanzarote has me take over the project on the map (what I contacted him about since I'm not sure why he has been away)
2) Lanzarote returns and continues work on the map (in this situation I might not even need to assist)
3) Lanzarote does not contact me back and I take over the project on my own...
[Note]: I do have a copy of the map which I can use to continue work with but it's not as recently updated like the version currently published. It would be fairly easy for me to install the updates between the version I have and the one published now but slightly more time consuming.

That's just about all I have for now so I'll throw this thread out and wait to hear back from Lanzarote for a week or two. I'll continue to update this thread as I obtain more information as to what the next step(s) will be as well. I should also mention that in the event I take over the project the map would end up being published under my account; there are certain ramifications to this outcome but thanks to this thread there should be no serious issues.

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Good luck , would really like some new things to do/play on this map .
I guess he's busy with D3 for now. Anyway, this game has not been updated lately. I hope u guys will not drop the project. It would be nice if u made some quests for this game.
What plans did you have in mind for future changes?
I'll no longer be adding the Change Logs to this post since I've now simplified and just created the (view only) Google Document for them (link in my first post).

My original second post in this thread:
Plans I have for future changes include, but are not limited to, the following:

Update the map data to fit better with the 1.5.0 updates (Screen Shots, How to Play, etc.)
Correct general items such as typos
Simplify all existing unit ability hot keys and remove conflicts
Correct behaviors such as Magic Shield which is currently working in reverse
Correct unit/actor animations which have stopped working or do not work properly
Attempt to work on Terrain Editing for greater visual appeal (I'm not a very experienced terrainer)
Seek community input on changes such as implementing a vote-kick system
Input at least 1 additional Protoss Structure to be that races version of the Terran Psi-Disrupter
Create at least 1 new hero
Attempt to provide hero selection information on the hero selection display at game start

This is what I have been thinking about since I decided I would look at undertaking this project. It's as all-inclusive as I can think up right now but I've been really busy lately and could have overlooked some things.
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One thing I would like to see added is the ability to toggle a hero's aura, specifically Zeratul's cloaking aura. This aura can be especially problematic when trying to defend the command center with him. If the only friendly units near the command center are controllable/moveable units (not structures), then those units will all be cloaked and unless there is an enemy detector, the command center will get destroyed since it will be focus fired on. I hate having to keep Zeratul away from the command center when it is getting hit hard.
Hey Jason, there a few things I'd like to talk to you about Special Forces, mainly about a source of lag and terrain editing. Also a few other things I would like to bring up, as there is no PM feature on the forums, feel free to add me, my char code is 423.
This is the best news I've heard in month. Thanks Jason!

I was wondering why damage was going through Protoss armor late in the game, not realizing it was from the Magic Shield buff.

Some ideas I have in mind:
  • Buff system update so that buff don't repeat.
  • Optimization for the random large wave spawns/Nydus worms.
  • Optimization for units such as Phoenixes/Carriers. It gets laggy when they are on the map in numbers.
  • A tanking structure equivalent to the Terran's bunker.
  • More difficult enemies/Additional spawning structures.
  • A wider radius Command Center. Gets crowded later in the game.
  • Most importantly take your time fixing the issues at hand now before working on new ones. Looking forward to it.
    NICE. Good News!.

    Pls add Tassadar as a starting Hero. He deserves that place.
    @jabs - I'll put some thought into that but I'm no where near messing with that aspect at this time.

    @SwitchView - We talked in game already as you know so yeah. The bug we discussed apparently we/Lanzarote fixed a long time ago and I just didn't notice. Thank you again and I'll keep what you said in mind.

    @Choo - The buff system is definitely something I plan on taking a good long look at. I'm not sure I understand 100% what you mean by "Optimization" for Nydus worms but I do plan on doing something with spawns and nydus worms. As far as Phoenixes and Carries are concerned there probably isn't much I can do there. The "lag" generated by a huge number of them is because of all the computational requirements they produce and especially when they are "massed". The same effects can be felt from massing these units even in standard play melee games. I do plan making protoss and terran structures very similar and I think I'll have some fun making a Protoss bunker. The command center area is a special consideration though but duly noted.

    @AlmoadiN - I've seen a lot of requests for Tassadar as a starting hero or unlockable hero. I'm not near this point yet but duly noted.

    [Update]: Well it's been roughly 5 days and sadly I've not had any contact with Lanzarote. It's possible there was a combination of him falling off the earth and being sucked into Diablo 3 or something else even more impossible to fathom. So at this time I've begun my initial work on producing an updated version of Special Forces Elite Shared Income Version.

    Just to let everyone know where I'm working from I will mention the last version of the map I worked on was 3.277 (published April 2nd) while the current version is 3.329 (published May 6th). To do the math that means Lanzarote updated the map 52 times over 34 days since I last implemented anything. The good news is thanks to _"magic"_ I have all of version 3.329's "data" so to speak except for any modifications to the triggers. I do actually play the game though so I know what changes were made to the triggers and should be able to recreate them as needed.

    So where does that leave us with this project as of this forum update? Well I'm still hoping I do hear from Lanzarote as it would make taking this project over a lot easier. Do to no response though I'm starting work now just to get where we were May 6th. I'll keep everyone updated as I move forward so stay tuned!

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    How goes the map progress? As for the aura thing, it might work to make the aura an autocasting ability that doesn't require any energy, so you can just turn off the ability if you don't want it. I've aggregrated some suggestions into a single post, hope this helps you!

    Some suggestions for the map:

    - non-repeating buff system, someone posted some code on how to implement this:

    - change the menu system so that it doesn't go back to the main page after every unit/upgrade purchase

    - difficulty system, maybe easy/medium/hard/insane, differences would be the times that enemies get upgraded and spawning rates decrease with increased difficulty (ie. more/stronger units earlier) and insane could increase nydus worms spawn rate

    - in general to make things more interesting, add a hard wave every x spawned waves to decrease camping except the initial 3 spawns and also when you destroy a spawn, you should add waves of enemies of that spawn from other points on the map (decrease the units in that spawn and spread them out to the 3 map spawn points - top left, middle, bottom right)

    - if there is no hero festor, don't make infested general be a bonus after popping a spawn

    - orbital healing is still misspelled lol, along with assassin (buff) and psychic (buff)

    - sometimes the base upgrade goes missing, reproduced this when I upgraded the protoss weapon speed to max - not sure if there are any other conditions but basically the box where the base upgrades button is, disappears (normally if you've maxed out that upgrade it would be greyed out)

    Some unit suggestions:

    - mothership (artanis) is pretty weak relative to the other non-starting heroes and could use more HP (shield amount is fine) and it needs to be able to move while using planet cracker (the map, hero attack has this, so it should be doable), it also says he is a detector but he isn't (I think a few other units say this but aren't, can't recall them off the top of head though)

    - terran units with shields need to scale up with upgrades since they become useless (weak) late game

    - swann should have a better repair ability, like an upgraded science vessel beam

    - stetman's healing drone could also be improved, like an upgraded medivac beam (and hotkey fix -> in fact all units with abilities should be set to "qwer")

    - nova's MC ability is a bit useless since it only can do one unit at a time vs. raven, though both get different buffs to MCed units, I think it should be the other way around or at least give nova the same permanent control of multiple units at a higher energy cost and cooldown (and better buffs than raven)

    - fluffy is way too weak since other heroes get upgrades, should get upgrades based on time such as the other enemy zerg units (free but time based vs. cost based) or at least needs to attack faster so that late game he can actually do damage

    - infested general should be cheaper by 10k IMO since it's the only hero to not have included hero leveling (so you have to spend 10k to make it a hero)

    - reaper's main attack is way too weak late game (max dmg is 80, while every other unit is double or more), I'd say upgrade so that the max damage is around 120 would make it significantly more useful, yet not overpowered

    - same with predator, it attacks way to slow end game to do any significant damage, especially since it's a melee unit - I'd increase the attack rate and add a chance to stun with the lightning attack, it also could use an ace buff (along with siege tank, raven, medivac, science vessel, and all the infested units - considering every other unit have an ace buff)

    - consider having starting and non-starting units receive a special ace buff as well

    - summoned infested terrans should be called infested civilians (like their actual game unit), while spawned infested terrans late game need to be a bit stronger (end game mule has 800 HP, while a spawned infested terran has 350 HP)

    Some bugs:

    - ghost and spectre ace ability psi shield doesn't work
    - hellion not getting 2000 HP bonus with ace
    - vulture spider mine hotkey needs to be fixed
    - energy tower ace only gets 20 armor/shield armor, not 30 as stated
    - photon tower ace gets a bonus 10 armor/shield armor (not in description)
    - missile turret ace gets gets 20 armor, not 30 as stated
    - wraith ace ability bugged

    Great to hear that someone is working on an updated version of this map!
    @Wings - Thank you for your post as I did read it entirely. I should mention I find posts like this very beneficial as it helps me remember things to work on and ideas to consider especially when it comes to bugs.

    [Update]: I have finally got my version of the map to the exact same state as the currently published version. This means all the data, triggers, terrain, layout, and well... everything is matching as of now including the bugs. Sooo... I'm going ahead with the project at this point since I've still not had contact with Lanzarote and it's been about a week now.

    [Coming up]: I will soon begin work on correcting bugs and implementing some updates as well perhaps. Once that is done I will do testing and move onto publishing. Before publishing I am going to have to decide on a map name to publish since I will not be able to use the same as the currently published map (unless I magically turned into Lanzarote himself). The reason I am thinking about the publishing name now is because of the Arcade's search bug which has already been reported (see link below).

    That's all for now so I do want to thank the community once again for your support of this map and I will do my best in continuing to keep you all involved.

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    [Edit]: @Wings - I've been a bit torn on whether I should modify the buff system. I appreciate the link to that post as that's one of my ideas for modifying it should I choose to do so. The menu system kicking you back after unit selection should be a quick fix that I do plan on implementing. I am probably closer to changing up spawns and such to mix up difficulty than I am putting up a selection system for it. The Infested General reward will taking some looking into as far as the suggestion you posted; there is a possibility I will make him no longer a reward but always available for the Festor. Typos will be corrected and you have helped me to remember some so thank you again. There is something connected between the Protoss Speed Upgrade 50 and the Base Upgrades even being visible which I do plan on correcting. The requests for Artanis improvements would not be hard to implement for me and I will take a look at this (balancing and such). Not sure what I want to do about the Terran Shields thing but I know what you're talking about. I had the same feelings about Swann's advanced repair and Stetmann's abilities so expect changes there. I already mentioned I will be handling hotkeys and conflicts in an earlier post :) . Nova's Mind Control will be a difficult thing for me to decide on but I'll think about it. I'm thinking about attaching the Fluffy units to the Festor as rewards and thus having them upgrade through its tree as this would resolve a number of community concerns. Kinda touched on the Infested General earlier in this response/edit. The Reaper will be another hard topic for me but I see your point. Boosting the Predator is something I do plan on for sure only because I feel the unit is vastly underused and rather entertaining. Ace Buffs are something special I want to make for every unit but this is something I need to be careful with; I'll just mention Ace Hoarding becoming a severe issue as a possibility. Ace Hoarding might not become an issue though should I rework the Buff System so it's a big grey area right now. The bugs report is very helpful as I mentioned above too. Lastly, I should say I read the information on the Infested Civilians as a "now for the lighter side of the news" type of thing but I'll take a look into it. I'm glad you appear happy I am undertaking this project and because I want to show the community I am involved that's why I chose to edit this and respond to you like I did everyone else.
    Thanks for the reply, if there is anything I can do to help, I will be happy to. Let me know how things are going (well to everyone, through here). Good work and I look forward to playing your new map when it's ready to be published!
    08/13/2012 11:19 AMPosted by Wings
    Good work and I look forward to playing your new map when it's ready to be published!
    @ AlmoadiN - Thanks!

    [Update]: I've begun work on correcting the map and fixing bugs while focusing primarily on triggers so far. The reason the work on triggers is a primary focus right now is because there was a greater deal of updates I needed to apply to them then I anticipated. To put it simply: "The triggers were and kind of still are an ugly mess." The good news is I've made significant progress on the map as a whole.

    @ Wings & Kyreth - The suggested resolution for avoiding duplicate buffs posted [ http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/4079877730?page=16#302 ] was very helpful. I didn't use the array method but I did implement a successful resolution to the issue.

    The ability when used on a target unit fires the initial (example) trigger here:
    Special Buff Checker
    Unit - Any Unit uses Give a Special Buff at Generic6 - Complete stage (Ignore shared abilities)
    Local Variables
    General - If (Conditions) then do (Actions) else do (Actions)
    (Stack count of Buff 1 on (Triggering ability target unit)) == 1
    (Stack count of Buff 2 on (Triggering ability target unit)) == 1
    UI - Display "That unit already has all 2 buffs!" for (Player group((Owner of (Triggering unit)))) to Subtitle area
    Give Random Buff Example((Triggering ability target unit))
    The initial (example) trigger acts as a validator for the secondary (example) trigger here:
    Give Random Buff Example
    Options: Action
    Return Type: (None)
    Unit = No Unit <Unit>
    Grammar Text: Give Random Buff Example(Unit)
    Hint Text: (None)
    Custom Script Code
    Local Variables
    Buff = 0 <Integer>
    Variable - Set Hero = (Random integer between 0 and 1)
    General - Switch (Actions) depending on Hero
    General - If (0)
    General - If (Conditions) then do (Actions) else do (Actions)
    (Stack count of Buff 1 on (Triggering ability target unit)) == 0
    Unit - Add 1 Buff 1 to Unit from player (Triggering player)
    UI - Display "Learned Buff 1!" for (Player group((Owner of (Triggering unit)))) to Subtitle area
    Give Random Buff Example((Triggering ability target unit))
    General - If (1)
    General - If (Conditions) then do (Actions) else do (Actions)
    (Stack count of Buff 2 on (Triggering ability target unit)) == 0
    Unit - Add 1 Buff 2 to Unit from player (Triggering player)
    UI - Display "Learned Buff 2!" for (Player group((Owner of (Triggering unit)))) to Subtitle area
    Give Random Buff Example((Triggering ability target unit))
    Now I am not 100% sure if this is the most effective way to do this but I like how it works so far. Essentially the initial (example) trigger simultaneously prevents the secondary (example) trigger from firing out of control while allowing it to fire when it is still necessary. The way the secondary (example) trigger is written actually spits out a nasty error message and near client crash if it is allowed to run on a unit which has all of the buffs it can apply. It is thanks to the primary (example) trigger's IF Then Else Conditions that everything runs smoothly. (The actual triggers contain all the buffs which is what I've been testing and do not appear to lag the game so far.)

    [Coming up]: I'm going to make my focus very narrow for now and work towards publishing. With the random buff system's primary issue resolved I will work on correcting all the buffs themselves so they work properly next. I'll try to handle some additional things afterwards but I think the sooner I publish what I've done so far the better.

    [Small Note/Venting...]: Some of the issues I originally figured would be very easy to resolve are turning out not to be for different reasons. One of the biggest reasons though is why I'm focusing primarily on the triggers because a greater chunk of the map was coded there than I realized. I just wanted to post this to kind of vent and give a heads up that some things I said wouldn't be any issue might have turned into something bigger. That's all for now though and I will say I'm really close to publishing so stay tuned!

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    Just keep us updated! If you have any issues post and maybe someone in the community can pitch in a solution. As stated before, I wouldn't mind helping out :)
    Glad to read about the progress being made!

    In terms of the name, keep it as similar to Special Forces Elite as possible, maybe without the shared income part in the title.
    Actually I'd keep Shared Income in the title as it's fairly unique title words for searching for the map.

    Also as hotkey and typo's would be nice not even a remote priority imo.

    Top 3 priorities in order as I see it are:

    1/ Fix magic shield buff - it makes it a negative impact on using the random buff skill to try and get specific buffs as a unit with just an ace buff from a kerrigan or brutalisk is usually tougher than a unit with all 16 buffs with how much it affects late game damage. (it's to the point if I get the buff in my core units unless it's a 1 of unit I just kill the unit and start over so it won't die when I need it most and once the unit gets ace I stop and consider the ones I got without Magic shield a bonus)

    2/ Buff repetition - just for economical reasons I have gone through up to 500-550k to get all relevant buffs on hero before, Also to avoid error messages and the lag associated you may want to code it to intentionally spit out ace repeatedly after all 16 in the array are used.

    3/ XP for non starting hero/non one of/support units, medic with hero enabled in a bio ball will get zero xp at almost all times even if only one unit is damaged(can be semi bypassed at times by holding position as they will attack if nothing in range to heal) this doesn't determine if it's just splash reason or what that cause hero/1 of's to level significantly faster. Frequently I use a core group of about 6 units usually hero'd within 6-8 levels of eachother at end sometimes with non dying and always very close together the gap at higher levels which should narrow the gap from more xp per level actually is up to 20 levels (I've seen 28-50 when none of the core had died) Short of keeping it to 3-4 total xp gaining units counting hero I've never gotten any non hero/1 of's to 60 (I've intentionally done this for firebats/fluffy a few times)

    Edit - does anyone know how to check how many times total you've played a specific map like this I am curious about this one.
    I would like to see a couple of things...

    Hero descriptions... Won't help me now but the first 6-7 times I played I picked heroes that looked familiar only to have some of their abilities be completely not what I was thinking. This should be VERY easy, Hero selection screen already populates the right hand pane with the name... Just add info maybe even a background story for fun...

    Ability to change difficulty level...
    @Wings - Will do and thanks; should I need help I do plan on asking for it.

    @Choo - Thank you as well and I did choose the name "Special Forces Elite 4: Shared Income".

    @Beseige - You were right with the map naming and what I came up with should work. I've also gotten to the point where I really just wanted to publish what I've done so far and work on this like a live beta. I did fix the Magic Shield Buff and the Buff Repetition, but the experience thing is something else entirely. Since I know what you're talking about I'll take a look into it but I can't promise anything at this time. Also, I can't think of any way off the top of my head to check how many total times you've played a specific map; I'm sure there are tools out there so all I can suggest is to Google it.

    [Update]: Good news everyone (think Professor Farnsworth's voice)! I've got the map to a point where I was comfortable with publishing. Consider the map, right now, to be in a sort of open beta version as I will continue to implement fixes and changes in the future. The map name for publishing I decided upon was Special Forces Elite 4: Shared Income. I feel this holds to the naming for the genre style of the map and since Lanzarote left off on version 3.xxx I felt choosing the number 4 was also logical.

    [Notes]: There were a number of changes I wanted to implement which involved the new Battle.net Arcade system. The ability to test any of the changes required that I publish the map which is what sped me to this point. I ultimately decided to publish the map publicly since I've already implemented resolutions to some of the biggest concerns.

    [Coming up]: More work. I'm going to just plug away at resolving things one step at a time and publish as I go. Eventually we'll reach the point where new stuff starts getting implemented and this project turns from a revival to forging new territory.

    [Disclaimer]: Admittedly I have not really checked to see if everyone who is due credit has been given credit in the published version as of now. I will check on this at some point and make sure credit is given where credit is due.

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    @Madbovine - I can assure you that the right pane on the hero selection is for exactly what you're asking. I do plan on filling out everything with solid information on the heroes and such. I'm thinking maybe I should ask the community for back stories on the heroes and put those in for fun, flavor and to involve the community. Lastly, as mentioned before I'm a bit of a ways off on creating an actual difficulty system but I am looking into it.

    [Edit2]: To find the map in the new Arcade system try searching "elite 4" or "elite 4 shared" as those two search phrases seem to have the highest chance to find the map. No nomé­koP pun intended obviously but what works, works.

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