Organised Play Systems

Posted by 7 years ago

Since launch, NS2 has kept on getting better and better. Gorgeous and Build 242 are the highlights, but features, fixes, and improvements have been being steadily added. One big feature we hope to add in a few months is a comprehensive organised play system.

What would such a system look like? How would it work? What is an organised play system actually trying to achieve? Instead of starting with specifics, such as examples of systems, we decided to think about organised play on first-principles. What are the key entities in organised play and how do they interact? Our initial answer to that question is the following diagram:

Natural Selection 2 Organised Play

The key entities in an organised play system

On the left side, the player is the most granular entity in the system. On the right side, a competition is the most complex entity. Competitions could be leagues, tournaments, or a simple two-team ‘clan war.’ They are invariable composed of one or more matches, which are a sequence of one or more games. For example, a match may be a best of five contest. Games are played by a set of teams, made up of players. Facilitating the interaction of these five key entities is the primary objective of an organised play system.

Starting with these basic entities, it is possible to think about the ancillary entities and relationships that can go along with them. For example, casters, player profiles, automatically assigned servers, and more. Adding these entities to a diagram starts to get messy, as the following incomplete draft one shows:

Natural Selection 2 organised play

Some possible relationships inside an NS2 organised play system

Assigning casters to matches, building team profiles, reporting game results to competitions and more: All of this from within inside the game. Right now we are at the planning stage, but the possibilities are exciting. NS2 is best played in an organised manner, a reflection of its Real-Time-Strategy core nature. When this system is built, finding such play will get a whole lot easier.

Importantly, the system is being designed as a tool and not a competition in and of itself. ‘Official’ competitions could be added to it, but in all but name they will act in the same way as competitions added by regular players. Rather than force any particular type of play on players, the system aims to be the tool that allows people to create whatever play they want.

The system is tentatively code-named ‘Sabot’ – Because giving things names makes them just that much more awesome. You can guess why Hugh chose this name in the comments! While you’re there, give your feedback on the draft diagram and your thoughts on what an NS2 organised play system should do.