I want to take a second announcement to go into a bit more depth about how we plan to solve the biggest issue people have with VS. Saxton Hale: the neverending stalemates. One of the weak points I've felt we've had at times is the Valve-tier communication outside of internal communities such as the Discord, and I'm going to attempt to change that starting with this followup to this announcement. (Please read it.)
It's no secret that one of the biggest issues a lot of people have with VS. Saxton Hale is that select classes can cause drawn out rounds, which becomes a snorefest.
Adding a simple round timer would be a simple fix, but still draw out those rounds to the maximum time limit. And frankly, it doesn't address the core problem of watching an eternal stalemate between 3 Scouts jumping all over the place, slowly chipping away at a boss with near-full health.
So, we came up with something that would be easy to understand, and based on other games' tiebreaker mechanics that would be easy to port over. The constantly shrinking blast zone from the Smash Bros. series was the go-to at first, which we've combined with ideas from the various battle royale games that have flooded the scene, which usually make use of a constantly shrinking gameplay area, which slowly damages over time.
We've expanded on those two core ideas and hopefully have something workable that will directly solve one of the mode's biggest complaints.
What we currently have is a mixture of a local round timer and a shrinking blast zone, where being within a set distance from the edge of the play area will cause instant death for non-boss players. (Think Smash Bros. stamina battles.) This local timer decreases during normal play and is topped up by certain events within the round, such as the boss killing players. Upon hitting zero, the play area begins to shrink at a steady rate with a visible perimiter closing in within a point (usually the Control Point, but we may change this later.) on the map. Events that add time to the local round timer within the game will suspend the shrinking of the play area, so as to encourage gameplay and not cause any more problems.
We're trying to stick to a Smash-esque "blast zone" solution with the insta-kills to keep things quick and speed up rounds, which should directly address the issue. A slow-kill zone more akin to battle royale games would drag rounds out, and could potentially be a lot more exploitable, which isn't what we want.
This also has the added bonus of dealing with griefers abusing the current control point mechanic
We're still working this out, so some of it (or all of it) might change.tl;dr: game area gets smaller like smash bros to stop people dragging rounds out
As for Super Zombie Fortress, there's currently feedback going back and forth between a few people with internal changes on the development server, mostly to try and get a feel of how some suggested rebalances would work before committing them to the repository. It is still early days for the rebalance I've seen a few people call for, but it's probably for the better that it take place as change is appreciated now and again.
If there are suggestions or problems with the changes above, please feel free to leave a suggestion within the forums or email me directly at tohru[at]redsun.tf with your feedback.
Now if you excuse me, I'm going to go and hide away for the rest of the festive season, or until I have something more to post.