Company of Heroes

Developer explanation on the lack of mirror matchups

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# 1subroutine Jul 30 2006, 19:21 PM
Spotted this post by qduffy, COH Developer on mirror matchups....

"There are a number of practical and aesthetic reasons why mirror matches are not enabled.

We wanted to change RTS games - not drastically, but we definitely wanted some innovation; frankly, there are some things about RTS games that were getting a bit boring - many of us here have been playing them since the very first ones, and the curve of change hasn't been that dramatic over the last dozen years or so. Sure, more races are added (DOW will be up to 7 or something), more tech tree items, more research, more micro in some cases, but they basically all played the same. They were derivations on a theme, two camps represented by the really big titles.

For a non-competitive player, and in the opinion of one non-competitive player, namely me, RTSs were death. You play Starcraft for 2 minutes and lose, you lose at Warcraft 3 in 4 minutes, you're beaten in Age because while you were building defenses and a small army, your opponent had 100 villagers out and was doing nothing but chopping wood. You weren't playing a game in many cases, you're playing an explicit, objective, mathematical economic simulation, and a lot of games, especially some of the fringe ones, were as boring as a lecture.

There were some things we really wanted to inject into COH: we wanted even a casual player to get a decent game in, so the whole economic system is built around being able to survive and compete for as long as possible; we wanted to sell the world and the environment; through the ambience, the destruction, the sound effects, the speech, the unit design, models, physics, armor modeling, ballistics, range accuracy system, movement and flanking, tactics that have never been part of any RTS before, animation and visualization of incredibly detailed units and world objects. There are a variety of cool maps, each of which plays really differently. We've implemented dozens of new gameplay systems - extremely detailed cover, morale and suppression, destructible environments, flanking, a massive world building and combat system, weapons that can be dropped and picked up, squad movement and AI, and a big teamplay focus with elements like shared resources. Our targets weren't always other RTS games, instead we looked at games like Battlefield because we loved the team play elements, and games like Call of Duty because we loved the immersion. There are stories coming out of every game of COH because of all of these features.

We can also look at just a few practical issues. This game is going to ship on a DVD - there are hundreds of MB of sound data custom to playing one team against another, all to help sell the immersion of fighting in a war against a mortal foe. To create audio alone for mirror matching would have practically doubled our install size. Let's also look at our units - these are very realistic looking units. Now imagine playing as Axis vs Axis. How easy is it to tell your units apart without splashing them with big blobs of colour? How easy would it be to tell your Axis ally apart from your Axis opponent? The memory necessary to create dozens of new colour tints for all the mirror match combinations was more than was practical. If we enforced team colour for mirror matches, none of our units would have the detail many people currently enjoy because we'd have to cut texture detail considerably.

Mirror matches also opened up the spectre of playing on mixed teams, which is a MASSIVE balance consideration. Take all the new things we've put into this game, and then balance all that stuff with dozens of different possible combinations of mixed races and different command trees.

Each of the new elements that have been added take weeks and weeks of design work and tweaking to integrate into gameplay. This is a big game, and took a long time to create, so we end up trading what we viewed as innovative features that most players would appreciate, against the time required to balance mirror match and mixed teams, and we chose to innovate within the gameplay. Game design is a zero-sum game - adding in one area often means having to sacrifice in another.

Now if the lack of mirror match is such an issue that you won't buy the game, there are competitors out there - I recommend you play Dark Crusade when it comes out of course : ) - but from my experience, it gets harder to go back to a more conventional RTS. I can have fun with other RTSs - and there are some great ones out there - but I'm not pulled into them the way I am with COH.

Competitive players are all about the game, so these elements factor less into their purchasing decisions, but the vast majority of players who aren't always online and competitive want something a bit more immersive.

If you managed to read through that whole post and got to here, you're undoubtedly aware that WW2 was a big conflict - there were many Axis nations apart from the big 3, and there were dozens of Allied nations, and I'd personally love to explore some of them. We'll also never rule out a feature for purely aesthetic reasons, but if a feature compromises quality in lots of other areas, then we really have to <removed>uate it."

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# 2Elegy Jul 30 2006, 21:11 PM
Wow, interesting read.

I can't I'm not disappointed with no mirror matches, but the game's a blast as it is.

Nice find, Subroutine smile.gif

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# 3zimz Jul 30 2006, 21:44 PM
Im glad they stick to it, and dont bow for the typical RTS setting.

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# 4Fait Jul 30 2006, 23:21 PM
To be honest, i dont perticularly like mirror matches, AND it does take a way the realism of the game itself, we dont want civil war!

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# 5Tiberium Tyrant Jul 30 2006, 23:38 PM
QUOTE(Fait @ Jul 30 2006, 07:21 PM) *
To be honest, i dont perticularly like mirror matches, AND it does take a way the realism of the game itself, we dont want civil war!


Why not? Rommel wasn't fond of Hitler anyways. There we go. Rommel Versus Geobbels! (Blitzkrieg vs. Terror Doctrines.)

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# 6Elegy Jul 30 2006, 23:41 PM
w00t.gif

Sounds fun tongue.gif

I'd like mirror matches but the game is excellent as is, so w/e.

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# 7WISE Architect Jul 30 2006, 23:55 PM
I have a different view of mirrors now after reading that.

Great find. thum.gif

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# 8prepare Jul 31 2006, 00:08 AM
yeah the absence of mirrors makes it damn important to have this matchup column in the forum tongue.gif

one practically cant disagree with what he said


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# 9TheGoodEvil Jul 31 2006, 00:24 AM
Without 1v1 mirrors there can't be any real tourneys. as what if the 2 best players in the game are allies?

TGE

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# 10WISE Architect Jul 31 2006, 01:30 AM
Yeah!
And what if 75% of the community choses to play Allie rather than Axis?

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# 11Tiberium Tyrant Jul 31 2006, 02:33 AM
QUOTE(Architect/Jace @ Jul 30 2006, 09:30 PM) *
Yeah!
And what if 75% of the community choses to play Allie rather than Axis?


That's the way it is now kinda. I just really really wish they'd put this in here. I can understand from a developing perspective why, but its really rather lame that they're not in there.

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# 12subroutine Jul 31 2006, 05:41 AM
QUOTE(TheGoodEvil @ Jul 31 2006, 01:24 AM) *

Without 1v1 mirrors there can't be any real tourneys. as what if the 2 best players in the game are allies?

TGE


Good point . Also, Sides are normally chosen because of a persons play style . EAW did this and it wasn't popular.

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# 13HERO Jul 31 2006, 14:10 PM
QUOTE(Architect/Jace @ Jul 30 2006, 09:30 PM) *

Yeah!
And what if 75% of the community choses to play Allie rather than Axis?


THEN FIGHT TILL THE LAST MAN YOU PUSSIES.

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# 14HERO Jul 31 2006, 14:11 PM
Other than that; I think there will be an expansion following the release of this game.

Japan for Axis and Russia for Allies.

It would ONLY make sense :X

This post has been edited by HERO: Jul 31 2006, 14:12 PM

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# 15TheMystic Jul 31 2006, 15:21 PM
Right now there's a good balance between axis and allies so I'd imagine retail will be the same. Plus on ranked there will always be Random players as well. I'd imagine that if you want to get serious in a competition scene, you'll have to be a random player and have a good game on both. Tournaments will probably have to require an agreement on sides before game otherwise forced random.

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# 16prepare Jul 31 2006, 16:51 PM
that tournament thing isnt really a point

simply play double elemination with switched sides. One side player may have problems with that but so what.

the only real problem is if its imbalanced. then the better side will always win between good players. but if they improve balance a bit more its fine


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# 17WISE Architect Jul 31 2006, 20:28 PM
QUOTE(HERO @ Jul 31 2006, 03:10 PM) *

THEN FIGHT TILL THE LAST MAN YOU PUSSIES.


lol glad you back HERO! biggrin.gif

QUOTE(HERO @ Jul 31 2006, 03:11 PM) *

Other than that; I think there will be an expansion following the release of this game.

Japan for Axis and Russia for Allies.

It would ONLY make sense :X


Soviets* tongue.gif

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# 18blaznee Jul 31 2006, 21:17 PM
I guess you can't be the best player in the world in CoH unless you know how to play both sides really well..

I've never been part of an RTS competetive scene, but so far I'd imagine the high-level competition taking place with victory point matches, and the with two rounds.. Then counting the totals from both rounds, and the one with the highest score wins.. Very much like Battlefield actually..

Otherwise perhaps Relic makes somekind of "random team assignemt" button on the ranked games setup.. So it's luck of the draw, and you have to know how to play both sides on all maps..

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# 19WISE Architect Jul 31 2006, 21:19 PM
^I like your point of view. There are allways solutions for evrything. smile.gif

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# 20subroutine Aug 1 2006, 05:35 AM
QUOTE(blaznee @ Jul 31 2006, 10:17 PM) *


Otherwise perhaps Relic makes somekind of "random team assignemt" button on the ranked games setup.. So it's luck of the draw, and you have to know how to play both sides on all maps..


That's how EAW quickmatch operated, random assignment.

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