Tactical uncertainty and the fog of war

By on September 30, 2009 10:27:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Spitz

Join Date 03/2006
+10

I would love to see the military uncertainty represented by the fog of war extend to encounters at the tactical level, once the tactical battles are implemented.

 

This could begin with uncertainty when choosing whether to flee or engage an enemy group as to the exact makeup of the enemy groups.  Having units with particular abilities, such as scouts, in your group could reduce this uncertainty.  Units good at hiding could have a lower chance of showing up on that initial engage or flee screen.  It might also be interesting to have a unit ability that forces a player to engage rather than flee once the engagement screen has been triggered.

 

During the actual tactical combat, the tactical screen would also use fog of war, with visible area unique to a unit.

 

Because this system would make unpleasant surprises possible, particularly for those who leap without scouting, it should also be possible to retreat units from the tactical screen, perhaps by moving the unit to the last row, then giving it a percent chance to escape every turn that it attempts to do so, modified by its speed and the speed of the units it is trying to escape.

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September 30, 2009 11:22:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

+1  good ideas.

Units which scout the enemy could also screen your own forces from the enemy's view. 

Information about unit level, equipment and motivation could be unknown at the start of the battle and learned through engagement.  Units which you have faced several times in battles, however, may be known in subsequent battles since your forces recognize them.

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September 30, 2009 11:30:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You could even use fake units. Imagine : if you only see the biggest unit of a stack, and an approximation of the number of units (like in HoMM) .. you could build big units that do nothing .. but the enemy doesn't know it .. then you could create diversions.

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September 30, 2009 12:24:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the thought but would prefer uncertainty on the tactical map be tied to the terrain.  We should be able to train units (during the design/build process) to hide in trees and/or mountains.  This would come at the cost of build time.  But could be useful in setting up ambushes.

Also, not sure if anyone here has played Romance of the Three Kingdoms III but the uncertainty of when reinforcements would arrive added suspense.  I'd like, as a player, to be able to designate units to flank the enemy at the start of the battle.  They would not appear on the tactical map for an amount of time determined by the unit's speed and a touch of randomness.  When they entered the battle they would appear beside or behind the enemy army.  This would punish anyone who failed to keep strategic reserves and would add suspense.  Will the reinforcements arrive in time to influence the battle?  This would also add value to mounted units.

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October 3, 2009 3:07:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Uncertainty tied to terrain might be interesting, particularly if there were a line-of-sight effect and destructible terrain.

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October 3, 2009 8:31:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm torn by the idea actually.

I like what the idea would bring into tactical combat. If you mouse over an enemy unit you shouldn't get all the unit info right away unless they are rather close. From far away you'd be hard pressed just to be able to tell if they're carrying a sword or a mace on a foggy morning.

The only part of the idea I don't like is having the actual FoW block out part of a tactical battle. I only say that because the area a battle takes place in is pretty small in game. The only screen shot I've seen of a battle is the one with the army verses the small dragon.

As you can see that's not a large area at all. A general would have to be blind not to be able too see all that. If weather affects are shown on the map and battle map then I can see fog blocking out the sight of the rear of the field. Maybe even a spell that lays a "cloud of darkness" down to block the view of units. Aside from that though I don't think having a FoW on a map this small would make much sense IMO. If the area where the battles took place in was larger, say maybe a 1/4 of a killometer or something, then I could see the FoW being a factor.

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October 4, 2009 3:26:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really (really really really) hope that the tactical battles maps will be more interesting than just some squares and no terrain that have battle influence. We need hills, thaht exhaust troops when climbing, but give a range bonus for archers. "Light" terrain that give bonus to light troops and maluses to heavy troops. Fantays wars/elven legacy had it the right way, I think : several kind of terrain (not too much) with real influence on combat.

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October 5, 2009 12:57:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agreed on the comment on Fantasy Wars and Elven Legacy. That is a series did the terrain system perfectly for a turn based tactical combat game.

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October 7, 2009 2:35:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea of making alternative units with Forest hiding training or Mountain Ambush training, which increase build-times but can be useful in such situations. Also, later tech which decreases or nullifies this build time increase, like Spelunking for Mountain creatures and Shadowstep for Forest Hiders.

 

and yes, looking at that screenshot, I would do well do suggest MUCH larger battle-maps, to allow for tactical flexibility and variation. Although I admit that larger maps are somewhat "easier" for purely real-time battle-maps.

At the very least a hex map!? please? Square grid maps on world-map are perfectly acceptable on a WORLD MAP ... although I would prefer, if grided at all, that battle-maps be HEX MAP.

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October 7, 2009 3:04:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No way is that screenshot what the final battles will look like. Brad keeps mentioning X-Com; that crap looks like HoMM. 

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October 7, 2009 3:26:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No, this is just initial betas. You can bet they will make it all pretty by the time of release. I am not currently concerned with pretty, I am currently concerned with the battlemap.

Personally I would like to see battlemaps ungrided, but for lack of this certainty, I'll have to focus my attention elsewhere.

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October 7, 2009 3:29:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I hope battle terrains won't be .. bland. But with some structures, like in X-Com where you could destroy some walls to create some new ways, or the fact you could save some movement points to react in the enemy turn.

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