Chaos Philosophy: The Game Design of Chaos
Fundamental Laws of Chaos and Subspace
Chaos is THE fundamental zone of subspace -- a pure kill and/or be killed zone based on classic svs settings. This is particularly true for other SVS (Standard VIE Settings) zones which include Pro league (AML, Euro, UL, et al), Warzone, Jackpot, Running, Speed zone, Powerball, and King of the Hill.
The settings will remain in line with SVS and with Pro (and other leagues) as much as possible to ease the transfer of skills between zones.
The settings will be public -- find them on the Chaos website.
Due to the demise of other zones, more games are incorporated into Chaos Zone, including Jackpot, King of the Hill, Speed, etc.
This has always been the training ground for all other SVS zones -- you can find a 'game' here any time, day or night, and you don't have to be asked to join, or need an elite freq to have a chance of 'winning'.
I do wish there was a 'real' alpha that true newbies (only) could go to to learn how to play, before coming to the wolves that inhabit Chaos (and unfortunately alpha). I am working on ideas toward that end. If you are interested in devoting time toward helping newbs, please contact me or the staff.
Anyone can play in Chaos. Regardless of skill level, and lag (within reasonable limits). Therefore: lag limits will remain less restrictive than many other zones. See more about lag below in Section 3.
Anyone can play any style or use any 'legal' tactics in Chaos as defined by the server (which includes the bot). Therefore: Lameness is ok ;) A non-legal style involves cheating (external programs) or use of 'bugs' in the game (see zone rules) - anything else is ok, including: Swarming, Turreting, Soloing, Hunting, Vulching, Dueling, J12, Mine Repelling, Neg Killing, Suiciding, Greening, Etc. Any ‘spirit of the game’ arguments for how people should play simply don’t hold water in Chaos (they might in another zone). However, your chosen play 'style' may not interfere with the legitimacy of any of the Reset Winner categories -- see Section 2.
Turreting is a hallmark style of Chaos -- you can have success doing it here as you can in no other zone. It is a great way for newbies to learn how to shoot, and run up a decent record (which brings them back for more) without worrying about flying at the same time (two separate skills, really). Newbies are the lifeblood and future of the game and we need to keep them here when they come.
Anyone can play in chaos -- anonymously if they choose. Therefore: no permit list. This is an open zone. The only people not welcome here are those that violate zone policy, which includes no cheating among other things (see zone rules) -- in these cases they lose the privlege of anonymity.
One of the great game design decisions JeffP et al made about subspace was that anyone entering the zone and greening for a minute or two will have as strong a ship as the best, most veteran player. There is a level playing field in Chaos – it is fundamentally skill based. Being a vet or playing more does not get you a stronger ship, extra toys, etc. What it does get you is more skill to use against other players. And when I say skill, I mean anything allowable by the server to kill other pilots – e.g. mine repping is a skill (and I suck at it, plus I personally consider it lame). Note: As you can see ranks and bonuses go directly against this fundamental law of Chaos – so I am looking at modifying and toning those down significantly.
The goal of the staff is to get more people playing in Chaos and therefore in all SVS zones. We want to help newbs learn, and allow vets to hone their skills and explore new tactics and strategies while keeping the playing field level. Most of all, Chaos is for fun play!
The "Game" of Chaos
The name Chaos comes from the wild variety of goals (object) of the zone -- it has almost nothing to do with the settings. There are many many ways to play and 'win' (see the list of styles above). What defines 'winning' is up to each pilot - rating, ratio, number of losses, bty attained, “I’m gonna kill that one guy,” or "I don't care tonight" -- all are equally valid in chaos. If a flagging style game is running in chaos, it’s just another possible goal that a pilot might choose. Therefore: each pilot is free to play as they choose -- we're not all trying to do the same thing (or same few things) -- HOWEVER, there are limits -- read on.
Virtually all other zones have clearly defined, short term games -- e.g. League has matches, Warzone has a winnable flag game. Chaos, on the other hand, has a 'match' that is on 24/7 -- it NEVER stops. Therefore: This means that every kill and every death count -- therefore, no scoreresets. There are no scoreresets in the middle of a Pro match -- there are no scoreresets here, in the middle of the 'match'. If you have a nick that you don't want to mar with a mediocre record in Chaos, you have two choices -- play well with that nick or don't play at all with that nick. If for some reason, you don't feel like playing well, use an alias.
Stats. Stats are a _public_ measure of a pilot’s performance. We were all new players at one point, and we paid attention to those stats. I want to remind any vet players that might no longer care about their stats that they did at one point, and most importantly, new players will care. Therefore we need to make sure that Stats maintain as much credibility as possible. It’s fine if you don’t care (see 2a) – just remember that 1) the zone needs stats to survive and 2) others DO care, and that’s a positive thing for the zone.
Reset Winners: So every pilot defines his own goals. However Chaos (in the old days VIE) recognizes a few measures of the “Top Pilots” and “Top Squads” of Chaos. Points, Ratio, Rating, Ave – these were the classic Reset Winner categories that VIE had. I have been working on bringing these and new categories to Chaos via a new bot and stats database.
Reset Winners (and stats in general) in Chaos are critical to the health of the zone and to SVS and subspace in general (see 1a). Squad Reset Winners are especially important because the squad culture drives play, brings in new people, and creates more fun with your friends.
Interference with the Reset Winners: Gifting or suiciding or esc-q – who cares? In general, no one -- it doesn’t matter – BUT – if someone is intentionally dying to ‘put the fix on’ a Reset Winner category, that goes against 2e above – it hurts the zone by making the stats less credible. This will be handled on a case by case basis – usually participants and perhaps their squads will simply be excluded from the Reset Winners (which we _finally_ have control of with the new bot) – but more extreme measures could be taken.
Similarly, Quitting, or Ship Changing (SC’ing) when cornered is a type of ‘fix’ of the reset winners – most notably if the person is going for the Ratio category. This is impossible to solve as anyone can quit the zone at any time (e.g. pull your internet cable). Having humans (i.e. the staff) fairly enforce a rule against this is impractical (we’re not going to watch 24/7 – we have lives too), and, since it was already in place for a time, created more problems than it solved. I am working on bot oriented deterrents for this.
Lag -- Lag is part of this game. Everyone lags.. Lag comes from several things:
Ping. Everyone has a ping. Therefore, everyone is delayed at least a little (lags). No one is exactly where they appear on your screen -- it's just that some people are further away than others ;)
Packetloss or ploss. This is a loss of information between you and the server (C2S ploss) or the server and you (S2C ploss). Ploss can actually have unpredictable results -- in general though, high S2C ploss is good for you (you don't see the other's weapons -- good lag), and high C2S ploss is bad (they don't see your weapon fire -- bad lag).
Out of order packets -- also known as 'slow' packets. This is when your route over the net to the server is messed up, and packets are arriving there (or at your comp) in the wrong order. Subspace tries to deal with it, but you (or others) will probably jump around a bit. For some reason, only sysops can see that stat. Most ppl have 0% out of order packets. If you are put into spec with a perfectly decent ping and ploss, it is probably due to too high out of order packets. If you can reconnect -- try it -- it might help.
Unknown factors. Unknown to me at least. I've done tests with pilots who had 0.6 S2C ploss and a fine looking connection, miss 20 to 25% of the weapons I fired (as if they had 20-25% ploss). Go figure.
The bottom line on lag: learn deal with it. If I find someone who is particularly laggy, I often take it as a challenge to try and still kill that person. If I don't feel like dealing with that particular pilot, then I'll just avoid them and go elsewhere.
Do not do anything that increases your lag – it is cheating, and will be treated accordingly. For example, downloading anything while playing. Subspace is laggy enough as it is without you inducing more.