*Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

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Lyx
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Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:28 pm

*Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby Lyx » Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:34 pm

Code: Select all

How does the gameplay work?
===============================================================================

In Frozen Synapse, two teams combat each other. You always command the
green team and the opponent commands the red team. Both players set orders
for their units, while the gameplay is frozen. Afterwards they submit (prime)
their turn, and the consequences are played out simultaneusly.

While both players are planning their turn, they cannot see what the
opponent is planning. They can only guess and test "what would happen if..."
When you make your plan, you can at anytime press play to test what would
happen if you did this. You can also set hypothetic commands for the enemy's
units - these don't actually change "what the enemy will do", but you can
use them to test "what would happen if the enemy did this".



How do i best learn the game?
===============================================================================

Watch the tutorial and click "Play a game against the AI" in the mainmenu.
Play some AI matches until you have a good grasp of the game's basics.

Afterwards, log in and play a few multiplayer games. Don't worry about
losing your first few multiplayer matches. This is normal. On average,
it takes about a week until you have learned enough to win more often.
It may be a good idea to play the gamemode "extermination" on your
first few multiplayer matches. Extermination basically is deathmatch, so
the ruleset is simple. Additionally, the scores aren't too high for this
gamemode, so you will lose less points when losing your first few games.


How do the controls work?
===============================================================================

Default Controlscheme:
----------------------

              Leftclick = Select units, waypoints or orders
   Drag w. right button = Move the map
            Doubleclick = Set a waypoint
    SHIFT + Doubleclick = Set a waypoint manually (override pathfinding)
             Rightclick = Orders menu
        Drag "Aim" icon = Set an "aim here" order
       CTRL + Leftclick = Set a "check here" order (makes the unit do a
                          quick look in a direction and then return back
                          to normal viewing direction)



NOT IMPLEMENTED YET: Alternative Controlscheme (available in options):
-------------------------------------------------

              Leftclick = Select units, waypoints or orders
    Drag w. left button = Scroll the map
             Rightclick = Set a waypoint
SHIFT/CTRL + Rightclick = Set a waypoint manually (override pathfinding)
      Hold right button = Orders menu
            Doubleclick = Set an "aim here" order
SHIFT/CTRL + Doublclick = Set a "check here" order (makes the unit do a
                          quick look in a direction and then return back
                          to normal direction)
Click "Cancel Aim" icon = Cancel Aiming



The following keys work in both controlschemes:
-----------------------------------------------

            Cursor Keys = Scroll the map
                    N/M = Zoom in/out
                  Space = Play/Pause
              Backspace = Remove WPs/Orders from last to first
                 Delete = Remove selected order
                      D = Duck
                      S = Stand
                      C = Continue on Sight
                      E = Engage on sight
                 Hold V = Test visibility
  Hold T and move Mouse = Draw a rectangular "zone" that you can then click on, to make
                          a unit ignore or focus enemies in that area. Warning: Beginning with
                          the next turn, your opponent will see that you drew such a zone.
                    Tab = Cycle through your units
                    1-9 = Select one of your units by its number

To submit your turn, press the "PRIME" button.



Why did i win/lose that firefight? How do the combat rules work?
===============================================================================

The rules why a unit wins/loses are very simple. They are:

1. How much is the unit in cover?
   (behind halfheight obstacles: those windows & boxes)
   Corners do not give cover. Only windows & boxes do.
   
2. Did the unit recently duck or stand up?
   (doing this puts you at a disadvantage for a short moment)
   
3. Is the unit standing still (advantage) or moving (disadvantage)?

4. Is the unit aiming?

The priorities are in the above order. So cover is more important than
stillness, while stillness is more important than aiming. Notice that
ducking does not give you an advantage, but actually puts you at a
disadvantage for a short moment (while ducking down or standing up).

It doesn't matter where the gun of a unit is pointing. "If you can see him,
you can kill him". A unit can attack anyone in it's field of view instantly
without any "turning penalty": So, you don't need to tell your units where
to shoot, only in which overall direction (FOV) they should look.

As a result, the game plays less like a 1st-person shooter, but more like
a game of chess. What matters are the above four simple rules, terrain,
timing and your ability to mindread the opponent.

If you are unsure why you won/lost a firefight, select the unit in question
and play the turn again. During playback, messages will be displayed next
to the unit, explaining why it won/lost.



The unit types
===============================================================================

Machine Gun:
Your general multipurpose unit and often the backbone of your team.

Shotgunner:
Fast and almost unstoppable at short range (even if the enemy is behind
cover). He can however not attack at medium to long range at all. If you're
threatened by a shotgunner, keep distance at any cost. It is possible
for an MG to beat an incoming shotgunner, if the MG is behind cover,
still and aiming (so, you pretty much need all advantages on your side
to beat him).

Sniper:
Slow but good at long range and area-denial (use him to cover large
open spaces so that the enemy cannot go there). The way to neutralize
a sniper is the opposite way around: Exploit it's closerange weakness
and slow speed (A shotgunner is a sniper's worst nightmare if in range).

Rocket Launcher:
Fires a rocket in a straight line. The explosion destroys walls and kills
nearby units. If you fire while ducking, the rocket can also hit windows
and boxes (else it travels over them). The rocket has infinite range,
but only explodes when it hits obstacles, not units or the map borders.
The rocket launcher moves slowly and can only fire every 5 seconds.
If threatened by a rocket launcher, stay away from walls or make sure
that there is a second wall between you and the rocket launcher. A last
option is to seek close distance: The RL cannot attack close range without
risking to blow himself up too.

Grenade Launcher:
Like the Rocket Launcher, but the grenades can bounce of walls. This is
useful in that the unit does not require line of sight to it's target.
The grenade has a limited range and the explosion does not destroy obstacles
(which means that you can survive a grenade explosion, by ducking behind
cover). Grenades do not bounce off map borders. Options against a
grenade launcher are staying on distance, going into closerange, and
using walls and boxes as shields.



How does multiplayer work?
===============================================================================

Multiplayer is like play-by-email, except of that the email-client is the
game-client, and the email-server is the game-server. After a game was
started, both players plan their turns. They don't need to do this at the
same time: One player could submit his turn on monday, while the other
player submits her turn on wednesday.

When both players submitted their turn, they are notified that a new turn
is ready - either ingame or via email. They can then watch the outcome and
plan their next turn.

Because of this, you can have multiple games active at the same time.
You can see a list of your currently active games in the "feed" (the page
you see after logging in) on the right side under "My Active Games".

The easiest way to start a multiplayer game is as follows: Log in.
Take a look at the right side to see who is online. Then look at the red
square at a corner of the screen. You can click it to set it to a new color.

The meaning of the colors is:

   Red = You are not looking for a game.
Yellow = You're willing to accept a game, but aren't asking others to play.
 Green = You want to play and are actively asking others for a game.



How do those gamemodes work? What does "dark" mean?
===============================================================================

"Light" and "dark" define what the players can see:

Light: Both players can always see each others units. This puts more
       focus on "mindreading", since both players have the same info.

 Dark: Each player can only see what his/her units can see at a given
       moment. This puts more focus on gathering information & stealth.

All gamemodes can be played in light-style or dark-style. To get more
info about a gamemode, click on the "?"-Button while in a game.
If then you're still unsure, ask other players.



Where to get more help or chat with other players?
===============================================================================

While logged in, click on the speech bubble button. This will make you
enter Frozen Synapse's IRC chatroom. If you prefer to use your own
IRC-Client, then here's the necessary data:

- Server:  irc.maxgaming.net, port 6667
- Channel: #mode7games



I keep losing. How can i improve my tactics? (by Lyx)
===============================================================================

What works well depends on you, your opponent, the gamemode and the terrain.
However, here are some generic hints:

- Make sure you understand the combat rules (why units win/lose fights)

- Test before submitting. This is important. However, do not rely on
  things happening precisely as in your tests. Even if the opponent
  overally does what you expect, there may be small differences. Give
  your plans some headroom for variations.

- Look at the overall situation and think before planning.
  Most good plans have a macroscopic aspect and a microscopic one.

- Don't set your unit's FOV to point exactly at an enemy.
  Set the unit's FOV to cover the area which you want covered.
 
- Use the V key to test where your units can shoot.

- Rewatch your games and other player's games. Analyze what worked and
  what didn't. If you're unsure why a player did something, ask him/her.

- In dark matches: Don't let the enemy see your units if you can prevent
  it with little effort. Be aware that lack of data can be information:
  By knowing where the enemy isn't and taking terrain into account, you
  can sometimes pinpoint exactly where an enemy is, and even know where
  he is looking (and therefore, where he can fire).

- Sync your plan to turn transitions: A common trick for example is to let
  a unit look around a corner at the last moment of a turn. You can then
  in the next turn either quickly retreat, or continue what you planned
  to do (however, the enemy will be able to do the same).

- Don't be greedy and know what you can pull off and what you cannot.
  Sometimes, playing safe and setting for a minor win or even a draw
  is preferable over trying to kill all enemy units.
Last edited by Lyx on Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:13 am, edited 8 times in total.
Lyx
Posts: 101
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby Lyx » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:28 pm

Update: Added info that ducking does not improve the odds in a firefight, and that corners do not provide cover. Both seem to be frequent misunderstandings.
Lyx: "Wot? Why do i lose that one?"
Chem: " if(playerIsLyx()) chanceOfWinning *= 0.3f;"
Lyx: "Damnit om!"
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blenderer
Posts: 51
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Location: Detroit
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Re: Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby blenderer » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:35 pm

Thanks for the clarification. A wiki-type documentation would be nice. I would contribute.
"We forgot to add a quit button."
-Mode 7's first step at brainwashing us
roy7
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:42 pm

Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby roy7 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:49 pm

I don't have the game yet, hope to buy it sometime, but I'm wondering. If you duck behind a half height item (box, window?), can you still see over it? Can the enemy still see you with an aiming penalty, or not at all?
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smart bunny
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Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby smart bunny » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:53 pm

You cannot be seen :)
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Oddball
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Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby Oddball » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:35 am

smart bunny wrote:You cannot be seen :)


actually u can be seen over it and shot at a certain viewable range. i had a game where i was in a room with 2 guys crouched. my opponent came to the half wall and shot both guys.
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limavictor426
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Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:33 am

Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby limavictor426 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:24 pm

Im suprised by that Oddball. I thought you were ok if crouched behing half cover. Do you think its by design that you can be hit or was it a bug??
Hehe hehe....of course, it might just be you have a big head that pokes over the top after that narrow win you had against me :lol: :D
Also Oddball, stick your avatar on mate, its a great one !!
"Good play inspires luck,bad players moan about it"
Lyx
Posts: 101
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby Lyx » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:41 pm

The cover and visibility rules aren't that obvious if you look at the situation from a topdown perspective. Will post details in a hour. The short version regarding cover is:

You cannot be seen, if you duck behind a window.... but if you duck too far away from the window, you are still seen (especially if the enemy is near to the window).
Lyx: "Wot? Why do i lose that one?"
Chem: " if(playerIsLyx()) chanceOfWinning *= 0.3f;"
Lyx: "Damnit om!"
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Oddball
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:08 pm

Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby Oddball » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:01 pm

LV as lyx said, its by design but not made obvious in the game text. i found out the hard way!
he was next to the window and i started moving away aiming towards him though.
it is how it should be, i wouldnt like troops not being targetable if crouched in a room with no obvious way in.

so

0|X 0 being team green x being team red and the line being the window both cant target each other.

i think the advantage is given to the standing player though. but not tested that to see who gets the better visual first for a shot.
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Epicurus
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Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby Epicurus » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:20 pm

Oddball wrote:i think the advantage is given to the standing player though. but not tested that to see who gets the better visual first for a shot.


Say you have a crouched person on one side of a window and a standing person on the other side, both facing each other and both close to the window, just like your example.

If the crouching person stands up, they will lose the exchange, because the act of standing up or crouching down imparts a disadvantage for a short time, just like when you are moving (I think it may be less extreme than the "moving" penalty).

So don't stand up while facing a target on the other side of cover unless you have some other advantage - like a shotgun, or the other person is facing the wrong way.

EDIT: P.S. Great post Lyx, very helpful to me personally and, I'm sure, every other newbie who visits here!
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Oddball
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Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby Oddball » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:12 am

Oddball wrote:LV as lyx said, its by design but not made obvious in the game text. i found out the hard way!
he was next to the window and i started moving away aiming towards him though.
it is how it should be, i wouldnt like troops not being targetable if crouched in a room with no obvious way in.

so

0|X 0 being team green x being team red and the line being the window both cant target each other.

i think the advantage is given to the standing player though. but not tested that to see who gets the better visual first for a shot.


i didnt stand up because i knew i would lose the exchange but still lost moving away
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smart bunny
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Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby smart bunny » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:25 pm

Yeah, but you were still moving Oddball, so when you got far enough away from the window for you to see each other, your opponent then had the 'standing still bonus' (which I don't agree with as I think it encourages boring games where you stand still because it's too risky to move lol)!!
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Oddball
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Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby Oddball » Tue May 04, 2010 1:54 pm

smart bunny wrote:Yeah, but you were still moving Oddball, so when you got far enough away from the window for you to see each other, your opponent then had the 'standing still bonus' (which I don't agree with as I think it encourages boring games where you stand still because it's too risky to move lol)!!


agreed and in the games current random form means unless u stay camped in a room u cant escape without losses most of the time.
DrazharLn
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Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby DrazharLn » Mon May 10, 2010 11:46 pm

Thanks for this guide, it's really useful to have a concise and clear explanation like this.
PaulC2K
Posts: 2
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Re: *Unofficial* Intro & Gameplay Hints For New Players

Postby PaulC2K » Wed May 19, 2010 1:36 am

I have a question, a lack of understanding for why i seem to end up on the losing end 3/4 of all situations.

Im only playing vs the AI at the moment, played maybe 20 games and theres been a couple of things which really frustrate me.
1) Having someone stand right at a window aiming out, AI off at an angle say >45', he walks towards window and just shoots while my guy stands there in a deep sleep, which quickly becomes a very deep sleep.
Im seeing this all too often, at first i thought it was because i was ducking behind windows thinking i was good for shooting, but since common sense kicked in i've obviously not done that, and still seem to die while my guy daydreams.

2) My last game, 2 vs 1, both in open area but with a room for cover between us. Both my units are to the AIs SW, i send 1 running & ignoring AI to get behind additional cover, and while he's drawing the attention of the AI who opens fire, my other guy is moving through the room directly below the AI and should have an easy kill. Instead, the decoy works perfectly drawing fire from the AI, my other guy moves into place but stops to shoot despite there being a wall between them (theres also a window there, but no direct line of sight) and after the AI joins in the firing it shoots through the wall killing my guy.
Correction - despite the decoy causing the AI to draw fire, he instantly turns and is shooting before my guy is! How is the AI able to turn and switch target immediately after shooting elsewhere, fire the first shot when my guys already facing the same direction and isnt moving, with the AI shooting through a wall in order to get the kill (and it is a shot through the wall, ive checked frame by frame).

Both instances make little sense to me, why 1 angle is fine for one person to shoot and kill, but the other cant do anything, and the 2nd how its possible to be looking 90' from someone behind a wall and despite being 2nd to fire still get the kill.

Its things like this which are stopping me from going online with it, i'd want to spend more time understanding the game anyway before going MP, but whats the point when it seems like its making things up as it goes along. What am i doing wrong??

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