Elemental: Tactical battles

By on March 3, 2009 3:56:43 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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One of the major differences between a game like Galactic Civilizations and Elemental is going to be the tactical battles.

Players won’t have to actually fight these if they don’t want. If you’ve played Galactic Civilizations, you can pretty much imagine how the tactical battles in Elemental will work in the sense that they’re really just the next step from what we had in GalCiv II.

The idea is that you zoom in to a given battle and you see all your units there. From there, you can set the speed you want the action to take place (from “turns” to real time). 

On the map you give your units orders and those orders appear on the screen and they go and fight it out. You can zoom in and out as much as you desire on the map to see either the whole epic battle or down to seeing individual units fighting.

Our goal is that if you want to see the whole “Battle of 5 armies” type thing you should see each and every soldier fighting if you want or you can zoom out and see it more abstracted.

There will be quite a bit of skill involved in managing the battle in terms of where you place your forces and how you handle your hero.  However, the AI (which I’ll be writing) will be designed to wage war as effectively as possible.

One of the concepts we’re playing around with is a leadership ability. Leadership basically gives a general bonus to your side. The idea there being that players who don’t want to monkey around with the tactical battles can focus on having heroes who are also excellent generals (high leadership) who you can have confidence that they will fight a battle with maximum capability.

The AI too will be allowed to invest in leadership skills to help their generals get better and better.  Early on, leadership won’t mean much.

Sizes of armies

As a player, one of my questions about this kind of thing would be how big are the armies going to be?  The answer is that it’s going to vary a great deal.

At the start of the game, I would imagine the sovereign walking around alone or maybe with 10 foot soldiers armed with pikes. Those early battles will be pretty straight forward.

Later on, however, you could have battles with thousands of soldiers with a few recruited magical creatures involved along with your hero.

Hence, even if you enjoy watching the tactical battles, you may eventually want to build up your heroes leadership ability so that you can have confidence in letting them call the shots so that you can just sit back and watch the show in fast motion.

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March 3, 2009 4:10:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yay, another update. The concepts are great. I am really looking forward to this game.

 

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March 3, 2009 4:13:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

THOUSANDS!

 

I love big stuff. 

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March 3, 2009 4:15:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the Leadership skill.  Real world history has numerous examples of powerful and brilliant generals and their impact on the field of battle.  Having a skill to reprsent that in Elemental is a good idea.

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March 3, 2009 4:30:56 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I really like the idea of being able to have some control over the fights but I am a little bit wary of using a skill like leadership in the manner suggested. Wouldn't it cause people who are not interested in micromanaging battles to feel somewhat forced into investing heavily in Leadership for their heroes? That might make some people feel that the game mechanic is "forcing" or encouraging them to play the game in a manner they do not enjoy.

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March 3, 2009 5:28:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have been waiting for this.    (not metal gear solid quote)

I still see a grid, though I guess thats because its on graph paper.   I guess it still does not give us much info about the combat mechanically.   So here 'turns' or stated, but its mentioned that real time be a factor as well.   Are turns just going to be set-time frames in an otherwise real-time environment?   How is animation going to scale for this?  In many classic turn based games, units move on their turn and stand there just waiting when not their turn.   In something that is designed to run in real time, I'd imagine that units would pause mid action from time to time.  What ideas are in the works to handle this?

so there is a baby dragon?  Do dragons age over time?  or are they just different ages as like different levels (weak dragon, not-weak dragon, F*** old and powerful dragon) with no real cross between them.   I notice that it is acting on its own, since I see no rider.   I'm curious to learn more about other creatures and how they differ from that dragon.

I'd like to see the battle of the five armies, especially because I have dibs on the birds (I could probebly be talked out of them if somebody really likes eagles) and I want to find that little slacker hobbit that sleeps through half of it.  I'd trace my mouse over every inch of that field to find him.  But seriously, does this mean possibly more than 2 players per battle?

What is a "knighs" (found in lower left of image)

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March 3, 2009 5:32:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is a great post! It clears up a lot of questions, I think, although it still leaves some very significant ones (like what exactly you mean by continuous-time turns).

And I agree with Jentz... It sounds like you're planning on the leadership ability to determine the quality of orders that the AI will give your toops, but that sounds like a bad idea to me. For one, it means that if you don't have good leadership skills with a general but don't want to deal with the micromanagement, the AI controlling your forces will be gimped. The only thing this will do is encourage people to take control of each and every battle and just ignore the leadership ability...

I think it would make more sense for leadership to do something that is ~equally beneficial whether the player takes control or leaves it up to the AI. Like, if you implement any sort of morale modifier, leadership could significantly affect that in some way.

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March 3, 2009 5:40:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Very nice update! and so soon after the last one!

This game is going to be EPIC!

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March 3, 2009 6:08:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting landisaurus,
What is a "knighs" (found in lower left of image)

Probably a typo of 'knights'. Just like it says "Fledgeling Drago" in the context bar at the bottom, instead of drago.

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March 3, 2009 6:41:19 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I agree with you about the leadership skill. It's something we'll have to play with during the beta.  Hope you all pre-ordered.

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March 3, 2009 6:57:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Will there be a limit of one hero per army? I quite liked having a wandering band of heroes in MoM, it was like having a little D&D adventuring party going on

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March 3, 2009 7:04:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
I agree with you about the leadership skill. It's something we'll have to play with during the beta.  Hope you all pre-ordered.

hell yeah!  (said in a really deep and raspy voice for dramatic effect)

I had money set aside for this game prior to it being announced.       I pre-ordered the moment I could!  (even applied for a programing job posted on the sins site in hope to get my hands on the action)

Do you think there will be many skills included in the 1st run of betas that might not make it to the final version?  I mean, It sounds like 'leadership' could possibly be the top of the iceberg?

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March 3, 2009 9:42:39 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Brad,

have you looked or played dominions 3?  very crude graphics...but interesting take on the ai for your soldiers....basically you control the 'god' character and the ai acts our your customized pre-set orders for your soldiers.  Was a very fun game (tho quite 'hardcore') and might give you some good ideas on the how to handle battles in elemental.

looking forward to elemental.

 

 

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March 3, 2009 9:57:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dude.... WOOT! HECK YA! and all the above. When do ya want me to start BETA testing!   What I need to stop...

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March 3, 2009 10:01:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not sure if it's in your scope or not, but I've always enjoyed TBS tactical battles where I had some oversight and influence on the turn of events, but I couldn't simply step in and order immediately detailed, wonderfully clear, and 100% followed orders to all my troops at the drop of a hat.

I'm not talking about a Domininions style of play, where almost all battle behavior is scripted, but maybe something where there's a real opportunity cost for changing orders or deviating from  your initial battle plan.  The Legion games had a little of that--it didn't work out so well, because it made the tougher battles start to feel more like a puzzle than a battle.  If memory serves me right, I think some of the Steel Panthersgames even had that kind of "command points" dynamic.

 

Anything you can do to insert the fog of war into a battle, and make adherence to my own orders a bit more problematic, will make battles more dramatic to watch.  There's a sweet spot between "completely out of my hands" and "I sure hope my orders work out as planned", but I'd love it if you all can find it.

If not, I don't see how the tactical battle wouldn't just be a lot of window dressing on Master of Magic and the variety of other TBS strategy games we've had down through the years.

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March 3, 2009 10:29:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Still no word on morale and whether troops will break and run yet!  Still hoping and waiting.

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March 3, 2009 11:00:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The leadership as its suggested, or at least as I understand it, feels a bit shallow.

I'd prefer leadership to give more straight forward bonus's to the units, higher offense, defense, resistence to fatigue, better morale, etc, or perhaps some sort of combination.

Also, if its not planned, you're standard bred and trained Generals should be available, either as a unit you make, or as an evolution of a unit after experiencing many battles and some luck.

If heroes/generals are to have varying levels of Intelligence as far as how they manage the troops under their command, I'd rather it be from traits inherited, perhaps they are reckless, or cunning or something else, all of which could be changed with investment if it wasnt a trait you wanted.

Least thats my 2 cents.

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March 4, 2009 3:21:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Hope you all pre-ordered.

 

Don't forget the promise of a special pre-order phase for PayPal users!

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March 4, 2009 3:43:43 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting lwarmonger,
Still no word on morale and whether troops will break and run yet!  Still hoping and waiting.

Also interested to know this, although I'm pretty sure the game is going to be great with or without it. It would certainly be more realistic and tactical than MoM battles were, but they were plenty fun as it was.

 

cheers,

Kul

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March 4, 2009 3:44:00 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting ,


There will be quite a bit of skill involved in managing the battle in terms of where you place your forces and how you handle your hero.  However, the AI (which I’ll be writing) will be designed to wage war as effectively as possible.

Happy with the requiring skill thing, but "placement" is this setting up every indiviual soldier?  Or is this a little like Disciples 2 where you have "tanks" on the front line, and healers behind?

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March 4, 2009 6:12:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I wonder if the ground plays a role, too. Would be nice if we could have little hills on which to put our archers (getting a range bonus) surounded by pikemen to keep those charging knights at bay...

Would be cool, if weather could play a role, too (heavy wind is bad for archers, as it is more difficult to hit a target.) One would need a basic weather forecast in the game, though. Otherwise battles would be too much dependent on luck (damn, I ordered my crossbow men to attack during this hurricane...)

Yeah, preordered... Looking forward to beta testing...

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March 4, 2009 7:36:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love reading these journal and watching things evolve from concepts. Keep them coming!

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March 4, 2009 7:59:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What will be the cause of increasing the number of troops?  So, if at the beginning you have only a handful and later you command thousands, what is the major reason for that?

I imagine the answer will be a variety of reasons, but I'm curious how big a role magic will play in this versus creating settlements/civilizations versus your channeler and heroes' abilities.

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March 4, 2009 8:14:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What will be the cause of increasing the number of troops? So, if at the beginning you have only a handful and later you command thousands, what is the major reason for that?

I'm gonna go ahead and assume it's primarily down to population growth.. I mean at the beginning when you have only a small hamlet under your charge then fielding an army of 10,000 people seems a little unlikely.. whereas in the late game where you've got cities spread all over the place all with hundreds of thousands of people in them, then that could happen So yeah, surely it's mostly down to infrastruture and population needed to create/support bigger armies.

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March 4, 2009 8:34:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I hope the zoom to mouse option will be in again... I really love that feature in Sins and GalCivII...

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March 4, 2009 9:03:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This makes me think of a total war style tactical battle... But with dragons!!!

Dragons + Total War battles = EPIC WIN!

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