How to make sure instant resolve doesn’t make us sad

By on February 20, 2010 3:15:39 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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This techie looking dialog will probably look nicer by release but it isn’t going to go away.

The reason? Transparency to players.

One of my big pet peeves in games that allow tactical battles is that even though they always promise you that you don’t HAVE to fight every tactical battle, you know, deep down, that if you don’t, you’re going to take losses you shouldn’t have.

As the AI guy on Elemental, I want to make sure that the AI handling is about as good as a human player at the auto-resolve stuff.  With the details dialog, we can see what actually happened after the battle.

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February 20, 2010 3:26:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds pretty good. This way the players can give constructive feedback on quick-resolve AI and are not restricted to complaining about it.

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February 20, 2010 3:29:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Very awesome.  For release, it might be better if the replay was more visual than text-based, at least with map snapshots of each turn's beginning.  "Bandit moves northwest" doesn't give a very good image of the move's consequences.

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February 20, 2010 3:54:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Finally!

A new era for auto-resolve.

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February 20, 2010 3:59:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hopefully, this will work as good as possible. I am all for multiplayer games, and tactical games can really slow them down. And as you said, I always try to play battles on my own, because, I always feel that instant result is not fair. Hope you will get this right, it might be very useful for MP games.

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February 20, 2010 4:12:42 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I approve of this.

Now then, the loot tab... Is there any purples?

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February 20, 2010 4:27:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If this info could optionally be written to a log file in some sort of format (not necessarily XML, though that might work), that would allow the community to come up with all sorts of tools to conduct detailed analysis of individual battles.  Just a thought, and probably not worth doing if it can't be done with minimal effort.

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February 20, 2010 4:36:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

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February 20, 2010 4:41:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nice!

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February 20, 2010 4:53:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Doopliss,
Very awesome.  For release, it might be better if the replay was more visual than text-based, at least with map snapshots of each turn's beginning.  "Bandit moves northwest" doesn't give a very good image of the move's consequences.

My main hope for the auto-resolve is that we can step in and out of it, mostly watching tac combat as movies but still being able to step in and go "no, no, stupid AI, target this enemy first." Functionality like that combined with the text summary should be a big help for learning how combat works, if and when we want to take direct control.

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February 20, 2010 5:19:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not sure I grasp the point of having auto-resolve to begin with.

 

The way the system is being described, you can interact mid combat and changed things, or you can just leave it the hell alone and watch things play out as initially set up.

 

If this is the case, those that don't like playing out tactical combat just need a 10x speed button or something, right?  Throw in some preset battle plans, with custom additions for the more picky, and they can fire and forget, max out the speed, and see it all play out.

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February 20, 2010 6:31:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes! Please! Do make auto resolve fair.

There are few things that annoy me more than battles I'm pretty sure I'm going to win, but I must fight or else I'll suffer an overwhelming loss because because the AI is dumb.

Also, I like the sound of the battle log.

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As for suggestions:

Are we going to be able to program the AIs as to how to fight the battles? For instance, if I have *a lot* of fire mana, I might want to tell the AI to cast fireballs, and to use them as much as they want.

Can we be warned when significant units are involved in a battle? For instance, if a dragon is serving in the enemy army, I would like to see "Warning: Dragon sighted" before selecting to auto resolve.

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February 20, 2010 6:45:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting psychoak,


If this is the case, those that don't like playing out tactical combat just need a 10x speed button or something, right?  Throw in some preset battle plans, with custom additions for the more picky, and they can fire and forget, max out the speed, and see it all play out.

 

Autoresolve isn't just for people that don't like tactical combat. It's very useful in multiplayer, as having to wait for everyone to fight every combat manually can easily disrupt the flow of the game, and its very useful for quickly speeding through battles where your forces so outpower the enemy, the outcome is not in the slightest bit of doubt. In both of these scenarios autoresolve is a quick no hassle solution for the players, while watching a tactical combat would likely involve loading up the battlefield, determing the inital setup, changing the speed, and finally waiting for the battle to finish, which would get annoying really quickly.

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February 20, 2010 7:31:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dont make the instant resolve too good! Or people wont wana play tactical battless cause it does the job for them. You still hota give actualy playing the battle the edge.

 

I usume there could maybe be a game mode online where there could only be auto resolve? that would be smart concidering it could take a long time to play a larg game.  The only way i cold see this being balanced is if you give tactical slots to your armys kinda like in dragon age, where you set trigers for the ai to do x when y happens..  but what do i know. im just waiting to get into beta 2! Im sure everything will be world class once the final game is releast!

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February 20, 2010 8:07:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have not personaly seen a game which gave na upper hand to player which use an instant result. It should be fair, for both sides  It should not matter if you are playing battle on your own, or if you just left the battle to resolve on its own. The result should be comparable to what you would be able achieve on the battlefiled on your own. So it should be only up to you if you would like to enjoy to lead your troops into the battle or save some of your time.  But the result should be arround the same. This would really help the flow of the game. not only in the single player, but mostly in multi player games. It would be also nice, to have posisibility to force only auto resolve battles, or only manual battles, or "given number" of player controled battles in multiplayer.... if you have got my idea "which might not be as easy as I type, because of my english, sorry for that "

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February 20, 2010 10:06:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"AI handling is about as good as a human player at the auto-resolve stuff"

This is an admiring goal, but since auto-resolve need to guess how I want (sometimes maybe I want to use up all my mana to win it, some times I don't want to spend any so my unit suffer more damage, for example),  it is difficult make it about as good as human player. 

Would it be nice that if the auto-resolve result is not what I (or my opponent) want, give us a "Take me to Tactical Battle" button to fight it again?

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February 20, 2010 10:18:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That's a good pet peeve.

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February 20, 2010 10:41:17 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Would be nice if we could try have good units preserved in an auto resolve. So many times in Total War im fighting with a full stack vs a 3 unit malitia stack and ALL of my units take damage. ALL of them. Including the important cannons which are harder to replace.

Why are my support units loosing men in that battle? (I know why its because it just does a % based loss for the whole stack pretty much). If it dosn't do that - thats a massive step forward.

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February 20, 2010 11:08:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Would be nice if we could see the autoresolved battles if we want (to see what happened exactly there, how are units armed,...).

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February 21, 2010 1:20:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dont make the instant resolve too good! Or people wont wana play tactical battless cause it does the job for them. You still hota give actualy playing the battle the edge.

Maybe some people don't actually want to play tactical battles. I for instance, get tired of fighting tactical battles very quickly. I consider "Rome: Total War" a bad game because it required me to fight battles to get good results, and there were far too many battles to fight. Repeating the same battles over and over again is quite tiring for me.

For me, tactical battles is like a science. If there is nothing to be gained through my hard work, then its a wasted effort.

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If you want me to fight tactical battles, make the fights interesting. I know in other games that I'm good at city defence and can reliably fend off armies of men, but dragons...

 

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February 21, 2010 2:49:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GhostKingGeorge,
Dont make the instant resolve too good! Or people wont wana play tactical battless cause it does the job for them. You still hota give actualy playing the battle the edge.

The key, I think, is an autoresolve that isn't a substitute for fighting serious battles with a chance that either side can win, but IS predictably successful when attacking a weak force with a strong one.  A mop-up autoresolve, if you like.  If autoresolving hurts me in a challenging fight, that's reasonable, but it's autoresolves that slap me with casualties for a fight I ought to win without a scratch that really get my goat.

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February 21, 2010 5:01:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Unicorn McGriddle,

Quoting GhostKingGeorge, reply 13Dont make the instant resolve too good! Or people wont wana play tactical battless cause it does the job for them. You still hota give actualy playing the battle the edge.
The key, I think, is an autoresolve that isn't a substitute for fighting serious battles with a chance that either side can win, but IS predictably successful when attacking a weak force with a strong one.  A mop-up autoresolve, if you like.  If autoresolving hurts me in a challenging fight, that's reasonable, but it's autoresolves that slap me with casualties for a fight I ought to win without a scratch that really get my goat.

Exactly - I've been playing Age of Wonders Shadow Magic lately, and this is the exact problem it has. In AoW SW, one can beat an army even three to four times larger than yours with proper spell/abilitiy usage and clever fighting and tactics, especially if you're defending a well-fortified city (it's still possible to beat overwhelming odds outside of a city, it's just a lot more work). This is never possible with autoresolve (rightly). However, Autoresolve, vs weaker units, sometimes the computer does incredibly moronic things, like sending the single, fastest unit in alone, having it get mobbed and die, then sending in the rest, when all could have easily survived. They also tend to not pull back wounded units, and charge straight at the dragon with your half-dead fully equipped high level hero.  Thankfully, they added a skiparound for it - if the attacking force is TRULY overwhelming, there's a third button that pops up sometimes - accept surrender, in which the enemy unit just vanishes without incurring wasteful damage or losses from autoresolve.

This happened a lot in Master of Magic, too, with Auto-combat but it was much, much worse... nothing worse than watching them try to solo all 9 enemies at once with a hero simply because he's faster than everyone else.

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February 21, 2010 5:49:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Maybe autoresolving should include a preliminary "sanity check" which compares the cost (or similar value) of each force and delivers a shutout victory if the disparity is beyond a certain threshold.  The "accept surrender" option also seems reasonable.

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February 21, 2010 6:01:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What about "hit and run" tactics from speedy units ? Will the auto resolve allow to simulate such things ?

Or formations (magicians behind, tank in front) ?

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February 21, 2010 6:58:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting VicenteC,
Would be nice if we could see the autoresolved battles if we want (to see what happened exactly there, how are units armed,...).

 

I fully agree especially in complex battles to review a special battle would be so much easier than to scroll through tons of text to find the point, why one battle was last.

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February 21, 2010 10:52:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I second the idea of the sanity check. Play the game twice (autoresolve and if I don't like the result again on the tactical combat) is cheating. Imagine the multiplayer game: two players attacking each other. One or the other lose the battle. After that: o no, let us try again!

I suggest such behavior:

1) the game does the sanity check

2) both players may decide, if they want the tactical battle (AI players allways choose autoresolve). If at least one of them chooses the tactical battle, the next battle is tactical

3) In the dialogue with the sanity check shall be tactical strategy settings for the battle:

   - full attack (= use everything to beat the enemy)

   - magical mayhem (= minimize loses, try to use magic as much as possible, units are not eager to fight (except ranged units), but if they are in the range of the enemies, they fight)

   - hit and run - as previous, but flee

   - spare mana - cast only dispelling spells on units that cannot attack or move

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