Tactical Combat discussion continuation

By on May 26, 2010 8:13:42 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

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Beta1z_Tactical (8)

Originally, Elemental was going to have continuous turn combat. That effectively meant real-time. Ultimately, after playing around with it, we decided to implement turn based (simultaneous turns based on combat speed) with tiles.

The evolution of tactical combat in Elemental owes a lot to the beta program.  9 Months of public beta testing of the game engine with corresponding debates has led to some important changes that would not have happened otherwise. 

A lot of the discussion resulted in us thinking about the game in ways we didn’t think of before.  Specifically, how do we address game design issues that have plagued our genre for decades now? If you’re a strategy gamer, you know them well.

For us, the challenge of tactical combat has been about giving the player as much control as possible over how long tactical combat should last.  This ultimately led to the realization that the funnest way for us turned out to be to have the strategic elements of combat very clear and well defined.

Elements of Tactical Combat

In no particular order these are the things that matter:

  • Combat Speed. Your combat speed determines how many “moves” / attacks you get during a particular turn.  In the begging of Lord of the Rings, what makes Sauron such a bad ass is that he can attack so many units at once. He has, in game turns, an incredible combat speed.
  • Morale.  Unit morale matters but for fun purposes, we try to keep it straight forward. Units have High Morale (25% combat bonus), Normal Morale (no bonus), Low Morale (25% combat penalty), and Panic (you don’t control them). It provides a whole new avenue for us to play in.
  • Terrain. This is where the tile based part mattered for us (and for the AI). Some terrain, obstacles, and tiles simply provide better offensive and defensive bonuses, Controlling them matters.
  • WINNER. TAKE. ALL. This is the part where we want to hear your opinions. We do ask that you keep an open mind on what we ultimately go with.  My opinion is that the attacking player has the onus to finish the battle in N turns. After N turns, the attacker morale starts to go lower and lower at which point the defender can come out and make mince meat out of them.  The question is, what should determine what N is?  Or should we allow retreating? Should we allow draws?  I’m against retreats or withdraws because it’s one of those things that allows the game to drag on. It’s a strong personal preference of mine that two men enter, one man leaves. (Your heroes will tend to escape though).
  • Combined Arms. Archers have range. Mounted Warriors have great combat speed. Foot soldiers tend to have better weapons and defenses.  It means putting together your army matters a lot. It also is important to us that players understand precisely why they won or lost a battle.
  • Thresholds. Players can set the tactical battle threshold in the menu. That is, they can say it requires 10 units on each side before it’ll actually go into tactical battle.  At any point, players can have a tactical battle auto-resolve.

Remaining Questions and issues:

  1. Controlling the length of a tactical battle.  We believe that users should have a lot of control over how in depth they want their battles to be. Should a tactical battle finish in less than a minute or should they last 2 hours? How do we make it so that players can control this?
  2. Randomization vs. Richness. I won’t lie to you, we have a trade off in front of us and it’s a big one.  We can randomly generate the battlefields in tactical combat OR we can have it pick from a series of pre-made tactical battle maps.  The randomly generated ones won’t be as interesting but they’ll more accurately reflect the local terrain.  I’m preferring the pre-made ones because we can add some spectacular strategic when we’re crafting them and have hundreds to pull from.
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Climber
May 26, 2010 8:29:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Awesome, glad to see this is finally getting some focus!! I love the idea of terrain providing defense.

As for the Randomness vs. Richness question, I don't want to run into maps that I know exactly what to do because I've seen it before. I definitely vote for random maps.

Combined arms sounds cool too. I really hope that this game is a lot like X-com!

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May 26, 2010 8:30:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have to wholeheartedly disagree with you about "withdraws." Instead of letting a player run away in classic military fashion in an organized retreat, do what total war does. When you withdraw, all your men instantly have 0 morale and do their best to get the hell off the map. That way the other player can take out a sizable amount of men with some effort, but you don't lose everything like in HoMM. 

edit: allow me to give a good reason for why you should do this. Your concern is the game dragging on, but will happen if you don't allow retreats is the battle itself dragging on insufferably. If a player loses all his troops by ending the battle on unfavorable terms, he simply will not end the battle and just try to pick off as many of your soldiers as he possibly can before kicking the bucket. This is boring, long, and tedious (especially when you are the one doing the picking off). Don't let it happen, I implore you! 

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May 26, 2010 8:30:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd go for the "two men enter, one man leaves" to avoid the ping pong of two armies.

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May 26, 2010 8:47:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd like to make one more request. Can we please see screenshots of what we're debating about here? Turn based with tiles can mean a lot of things - from HoMM to MoM to Xcom, all of which play quite differently IMO. Are there multiple elevation levels and intricate structures to traverse like in X-com or are we looking at a wide-open field with some rocks in the way for excitement like in HoMM or total war? 

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May 26, 2010 8:47:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The way the total war series has managed to allow retreats without it becoming a runfest is to allow units to only choose to run once, the second time they have to stand and fight.  I'm very much in favor of a system like that, but would also like to speak against winner-take-all style of armies being utterly annihilated at a loss.

I'd hate to lose a general without seeing how he dies, and having some say in the matter, you know?

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May 26, 2010 8:48:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ooh, also, in the spirit of X-COM, would there be destructible terrain?

I don't want to stop my war on trees for anything.  NOT EVEN A REAL WAR

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May 26, 2010 8:51:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with premade maps, but disagree with winner take all.

Instead, why don't you use some high level spell or artifact (a la Heroes) that prevents retreating? That way, the game won't drag on in the later stages, but hit and run is still viable in the early stages. If you want to prevent retreating, you can, but it'll be a double edged sword.

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May 26, 2010 8:51:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Regarding Combat Speed:

 

Frogboy mentioned 10 'phases' per turn. How does this actually play out?

 

By this I mean are we looking at whole army turns (ala Warhammer, X-Com, MoM), players taking turns moving one unit each turn (ala Chess, Stratego, Go), players giving units orders simultaneously followed by a resolution (Dominions 3, Kriegspeil, Combat in the Dune Avalon Hill game), or whole army turns played simultaneously (Civ 4 multiplayer)?

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May 26, 2010 8:52:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, here I go:

WINNER. TAKE. ALL. - I don't like the idea of having to finish my opponent in N turns, it could be like in AoW, only the attacker can retreat, or something like that. Draws are part of life at some points, sometimes you don't have what it takes to go and kill your enemy, but you can always give him some damage or even kill some units before retreating. (if you guys, want to make things this way, please keep an option for us who don't want it)

Randomization vs. Richness. - Randomization, always. If I at some point attack someone who are in a place X, I really would love to see the tactical map reflect it. Like if I had already cast a spell in the "tile" where the battle is going to be, should it not reflect what happened? (at least in some ways?)

And I continue to think, that TB is not going to be the more fun. I really would love Continuous Turns... Turn-Based, like in HoMM or X-com are good if you have to manage few or several units, but with armies of thousands (a man can dream...)? With spells? I truly would love CTB (Continuous Turn-Based)

In Continuous Turn-Based, you could interrupt or even kill an enemy mage while he is still casting his spell, or even run for cover before the enemy archers fire another arrow...

Terrain should provide Cover, movement restrictions and so on... This way, I would put my archers in high-ground and slaughter the enemy troops while they climb the hill and something like that... Or even run for cover and wait until the enemy moves in to take him in close quarters...

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May 26, 2010 8:53:02 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I'd rather see that the retreating side loses control of their troops as they try to escape (as was mentioned). Some of the escaping troops will be killed by the attacker, others will desert and not return to the army at all, and what's left over after that is still usable afterwards.

Of course, retreating is exhausting and should be limited to once per turn (or maybe every other turn), so if you get attacked again on the same turn you fight in a very fatigued state and can't withdraw again or fight at full strength, and maybe get a movement speed penalty the next turn.

I liked the way Total War did it (for land troops at least). Your troops could retreat once, if they got attacked again it was a fight to the death.

I think retreating should carry certain penalties and costs, but I wouldn't want to see it removed altogether.

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May 26, 2010 8:58:29 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I too would want withdraws available but have it be dangerous to withdraw because you could lose control of your troops and have the defender pick some of them off.

I would also want random battle maps because it would be more accurate terrain and it would be weird to play on a certain map, then later run into the same map in a completely different part of the world.  No two places in a world look exactly the same.

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May 26, 2010 9:03:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That screen in the upper right is so tantalizing.

 

As for the issues: 

WINNER. TAKE. ALL:

Retreating should be allowed for both parties if on a regular battlefield, if it's the defense of a city then only the attacker can retreat; but whoever treats will still lose a considerable amount of men anyways and yet will be able to not have their whole army decimated.  Now "The question is, what should determine what N is?", I believe that the amount of distance between nearest supply (city) should determine the amount of time given to the attacker before morale drops.

 

Controlling the length of a tactical battle.:

I believe it should be brief,  allowing 2 minutes of fun causing the desire to play again right away while 2 hours would give a sense of "epicness" yet cause dread at knowing the next battle's length.

 

Randomization vs. Richness: 


Gonna say random, I would prefer having it correspond to the terrain rather than be awkwardly placed for the battle; although I don't know which might add more variety in the end as one could require more thinking and the other could give a sense of a grand battle .
 

 

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May 26, 2010 9:04:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Oops, that post didn't work out as I intended it too.  See the new one a few posts later instead.

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May 26, 2010 9:06:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is where the tile based part mattered for us (and for the AI). Some terrain, obstacles, and tiles simply provide better offensive and defensive bonuses, Controlling them matters.

I am curious if there will be hero spells or if units will have moves that can possibly flush an opposing unit from tiles that provide a bonus. There would have to be a trade of for using the ability or spell.

Or do you consider sending many units to unseat the enemy from the bonus tile a flush?

Obviously I don't know how the system works, but it would be interesting to have the ability to do a bunch of damage, heal OR try to flush a unit from a tile.

 

What is N? And Controlling the length of a tactical battle 

I like the idea of the battles time being limited by something other then just a timer bar. Battle is not pretty, everyone takes some sort of damage or the length of the battle brings the hero to a breaking point where he is willing to sacrifice some troops to end it sooner, rather then loose even more troops in a drawn out fight.

Just tossing out some ideas here:

 

Attrition

N would be determined on who's territory the battle takes place and attrition.

If you are on your are within your territory boundary you the enemy side would take light damage at the end of a round, after x seconds or after x number of turns.

If you are within an enemies territory your troops would take light damage.

If you are on neutral ground both sides would take minimal damage.

Obviously this could cause some perplexing balancing issues. It does make you move through the battle as each turn reduces your longevity. It also allows for tower/castles to increase or give a bonus to attrition when fighting in your lands.

Warfare Damage (everyone takes damage in war)

This would be similar to attrition but both sides would take minimal to light damage each round, on x turns or on x seconds. This could be combined with attrition or tweaked so one side takes more damage when invading, but damage would be equal when in neutral territory.

This could also be a stat bonus on a Sovereign or Hero that boosts warfare damage or attrition. Or it could be a stat that reduces the ware of war on your troops.

Heroic Rage

Based on how the combat is going or on the hero's traits over time rage builds within the hero of each site.  The rage can then be channeled into special abilities or super boost a spell that unleashes devastation on the other site, maybe damaging your own troops, but brings the battle to an end fairly quickly give enough time.

 

 

Thresholds

I like this idea. It could run into issues with super powerful units in small numbers. Is there a way to make a simple weighted system based on total combat power, rather then number of units?

 

Randomization vs. Richness.

How about a few custom designed ones and the other randomly generated to match the environment on the overhead map?

For hand made maps there could be a tile on the overhead map with a name, like "Frogboy's Triumph". If you engage in combat within x spaces of one of these special tiles that specific hand made battle maps would show up.

The hand made maps would then be named and could even have some lore based around them. Maybe a big battle was fought there in the past or there are odd stories about the land, etc.

The rest would be randomly generated to match the surrounding terrain. I enjoy the unpredictably of randomly generated content, it tends to keep the "new" feel longer then lots of hand made maps.

When maps are all hand crafted and just randomly selected I tend to think, "Ohhhh, this one... which has no name but I know it well."

This may also open up the ability for the player to try to take advantage of a custom battle map on the overhead map or avoid it.

 

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May 26, 2010 9:08:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
  • Combat Speed: I think Sauron's badassery also came from his ability to hit multiple units at once.  This leads into a question I have about tactical combat (apologies if the answer's elsewhere): Will it be possible for units to perform a variety of actions in combat?  For example, if you had control of a dragon, would you have the option of forgoing a regular attack in favor of breathing fire?  What made Age of Wonders so incredible was the diversity of its tactical combat; in any given turn magical creatures were spitting poison, gigantic spiders were webbing flying units to bring them in reach of ground troops, and leprechauns were teleporting inside castle walls.  From the impressions I've gathered it seems that Elemental's armies will be less like a menagerie, but I'd still be very interested in seeing some sort of unit ability system implemented- even if it's as simple as having pikemen brace their weapons and cavalry charge.
  • Morale: Sounds good.  As long as the system doesn't fluctuate too easily; we can't have battles in which one side's barely losing suddently turn into a rout.  This also opens up possibilities of Morale spells; 'Panic', 'Inspire', etc.
  • Terrain: Excellent.  Just be sure to make the tile bonuses significant enough for them to matter above and beyond 'That's a wall, I can't shoot through it.'
  • WINNER. TAKE. ALL.: I agree with SavageBananaMan in that some form of withdrawal would probably be beneficial, for the reasons listed.  As long as you impose a nasty penalty for doing so it won't drag out the game overmuch.  Losing control of your units and having them all dash for preset 'withdrawal tiles' at the edge of the map would allow the opponent to do some damage while still allowing the possibility of retreat. Oh, and no to draws.  I hate draws.
  • Combined Arms: Important, but be sure to avoid making it too much like rock-paper-scissors.
  • Controlling the Length of a Tactical Battle: I don't have a way to control the rate at which battles progress in-game, but there are many ways of controlling how quickly the players act.  One way is to have a maximum amount of total 'move time' for each player that would scale based on the amount of units in a given battle.  It would tick down when it's your turn to move.  Another way to do it is to set limits on the amount of time for moving each individual unit.  What happens when the timers run out is another decision, the simplest answer is to just have the unit being controlled pass its turn.
  • Randomization vs. Richness: Given a choice, I'd go with pre-made, especially if the terrain makes a significant difference.  If amount of content is a problem people could always create their own and create compilations of them for distribution.  You could always do a little hybrid, of course, although I know absolutely nothing about the difficulty coding-wise of doing so.  But let's say a battle takes place at a cave entrance.  You could create a few unique maps with cave entrances, and then when a battle is initiated have a different skin applied depending on the location.  The tactical significance would remain intact while still reflecting the location somewhat.
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May 26, 2010 9:09:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

On Winner Take All, here's my idea, borrowed from Romance of Three Kingdoms Saturn game.

If a battle takes too long, like 30 turns or so, the battle continues, all sides lose morale, and you go back to the strategic map for the rest of the turn, where reinforcements can come in to aid (and those would increase morale)

You'll need some catchy music for "the battle rages on"

Retreats should be random and chaotic, unless magic is spent to retreat out safely, or you have a general/highly disciplined troops.  Units may dissolve, with some stragglers returning to the capital after a few turns, or turn barbarian, all sorts of bad things should be possible.

 

Tactical battles should be quick I think.

 

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May 26, 2010 9:13:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Not sure what happened to my other post so here's a new simpler one.


Combat Speed.

 So this sounds like movement speed and number of attacks are tied to one another.  If that's true I don't like it.  A cavalry unit may be very fast but that does not necessarily mean it will be able to attack fast.  Maybe I am not understanding this fully though.

WINNER. TAKE. ALL. / Retreating

Well I always prefer things that feel realistic and not gamey as long as it doesn't get too complicated or cause other issues.  That being said I would definitely like to see retreating be in the game.  Just make it make sense.  Retreating can be dangerous so that should be reflected in the game.  Also this make mobile kingdoms much more interesting (or frustrating depending on your view point) as they would be better at hit and run tactics.  I understand your concerns about having the game bog down but these are real tactics people have used.  Just compensate with penalties so every battle doesn't end undecivisely (i.e. retreating will weaken units, elimate some units potentially or even fail entirely, slow units are more vunerable, seige engines are automatically destroyed, etc).  Winner take all is just too gamey for my tastes.  You could also have both of these and let the user decide through options how they want to play.  If you don't get too complicated with retreating I would think that would be a viable option.

Controlling the length of a tactical battle.

I personally don't like artifical time limits unless they make sense (like a seige where the defender runs out of food or something).  I think a hard time limit will be difficult for this game because of the huge variance of scale.  Early on battles may only have 5 people on each side but late game might be 10,000 vs 10,000.  Trying to find a time that makes sense for those two scenarios could be difficult depending on how you are handling things.  I would prefer a more natural limit based on time of day and morale.  Instead of having the attacker slowly lose morale after a number of turns, what about having the player that is at a disadvantage taking a morale hit every turn based on the disadvantage.  That feels more natural.  Of course by disadvantage I don't just mean number of troops or troop strength but leadership, defensible positions, training, etc.


Randomization vs. Richness.

Having all premade maps could cause problems as people will learn them and develop special strategies for those maps that make it on the internet.  Then everyone does the same thing.  That's an exagerasion but it will probably happen to a minor degree.  Also unless you have tons of these pre-made maps things will just end up becoming a little less interesting after a while.  If a have to choose I'd say random.  If done right you should be able to make those very interesting as well (something like nethack where you still have special items in random maps).

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May 26, 2010 9:21:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I guess I should give my take as well.

Winner Take All: I like the basic idea of having the attackers morale drop if the battle takes to long, but I have two concerns. First the value for N really needs to vary based on the strength of the two armies involved. The ideal length of a small skirmish between two small bands of soldiers, and an epic final confrontation between two vast armies are not the same, so any static turn limit would likely be too long for some battles and too short for others. Additionally it feels a little silly for morale to always drop after a set point. I can see the attackers getting discouraged if after a lengthy assault the defenders are still in good shape, but if instead after n turns, the attackers have broken through the enemies defenses and are chasing down the last scattered pockets of resistance, having their morale suddenly drop would make little sense. As for withdrawal I agree with most of the above posters that it should be possible, but dangerous. Maybe also it should take a few turns after the battle is ended for the player to actually gain control of the retreating units, who in the meantime would be running as far away from the site of the battle as possible. That way the losing side can salvage some of their losses but would still suffer a big strategic setback, with their forces abandoning the area.

As for the Randomization vs. Richness I don't really care either way for battles that take place on the open countryside, but it feels like for cities at least any battles taking place around them need to reflect the actual city given the level of control the player has over the shape and composition of them.


Everything else seems good.

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May 26, 2010 9:24:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

WINNER. TAKE. ALL. This is the part where we want to hear your opinions. We do ask that you keep an open mind on what we ultimately go with.  My opinion is that the attacking player has the onus to finish the battle in N turns. After N turns, the attacker morale starts to go lower and lower at which point the defender can come out and make mince meat out of them.  The question is, what should determine what N is?  Or should we allow retreating? Should we allow draws?  I’m against retreats or withdraws because it’s one of those things that allows the game to drag on. It’s a strong personal preference of mine that two men enter, one man leaves. (Your heroes will tend to escape though).

 

I was thinking about this for a second and then I remembered what I had experienced in a turn based game called Dominions 3. Basically in Dominions 3, you have commanders that control some of the grunts(figure of speech). If a given commander dies and there is no one left to command them, the entire unit is routed. Also, battle lengths regarding moral could be dealt with in terms of the units stamina (perhaps the units have not eaten, if they do in fact eat), or how fearful the units are. Also also, several units in Dominions 3 have had various attributes, like whether or not they were undead, divine, old or young, summoned creatures, mindless, soulless, etc etc, which determined how they acted on the battle field. This was all done without any fancy graphics so there isn't much to look at, but the mechanics behind this seem really really really solid That's kind of the premise behind Dominion's 3 battle system.

I like all of the ideas that were placed in this dev journal and I can't wait to see this stuff in action later in the beta. . Cheers for the dev journal.

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May 26, 2010 9:25:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
Randomization vs. Richness. I won’t lie to you, we have a trade off in front of us and it’s a big one.  We can randomly generate the battlefields in tactical combat OR we can have it pick from a series of pre-made tactical battle maps.  The randomly generated ones won’t be as interesting but they’ll more accurately reflect the local terrain.  I’m preferring the pre-made ones because we can add some spectacular strategic when we’re crafting them and have hundreds to pull from.

Couldn't the "stamp-like-tool" system, as described here by mittens, be used to create some sort of compromise? Have the maps use some (semi-)random assortement of interesting strategic elements (the stamps), combined with some (quasi-)randomness to make them reflect the local terrain more accurately.

Or create a random map (one that accurately reflects the local terrain) and use some algorithm to identify potential places for the strategic stamps, to enhance the maps strategicness?

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May 26, 2010 9:28:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

First thoughts:

Morale -- Great!  Very important.  And let Champions have a trainable 'morale' skill to raise their troops morale and to allow routing units a chance to rally.

Terrain affects battles -- Great!  Defending behind a river, etc. all are necessary for Strategy&Tactics.

Winner Take All -- No.  A small force, well-led, using terrain, hit&run, etc. being effective is impossible with WTA as it'd be wiped out in the first skirmish.  Many historic/fantasy battles involved such small forces taking on larger but poorly led forces.

Combined Arms -- Great!  Intelligent use of the 'rock-paper-scissors' unit types adds a lot.

Thresholds/length -- options are good, as we Elementalists are a diverse and persnickety lot.

Random vs Richness -- First, while exquisitely crafted maps would be nice, I want the battlefield to reflect where I chose to stand and fight.  Otherwise we're losing an important facet of Strategy&Tactics.  Second, while having hundreds of pre-made maps would solve the 'fought there done that' problem, I question the time/resources to craft hundreds of maps that still are sufficiently unique to avoid that problem.  Together these 2 reasons pull me towards random.

Can't there be crafted "spectacular strategic" parts plopped down into otherwise random maps that reflect the chosen battle area, combining the best of both? (yes, another 'want it all' request' )

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May 26, 2010 9:40:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

WINNER. TAKE. ALL.

I don't like the the N turns to win.  Attrition and tactical withdrawals are viable tactics.  Once ranged unit expend their ammo (assuming ammo limits) then you will typically want to have them retreat due to their reduced combat capacity.  I would make them have to move off of the map at certain retreat spots.  However, I don't want to see a surrounded unit be able to be removed from the map just because they hit the retreat button--if they can't make it off of the map, they are fair game.  If I knew the attacker had a limited time to win I might be inclined to just take my quicker units and continually run them away from the attacker until time runs out (the attacker may lose and potentially not even take a point of damage in this case).

Controlling the length of a tactical battle.

Honestly I am a slow player and in single player this would be brutal and not very fun for me.  I typically much prefer taking extra turns in order to create a greater advantage (i.e. I wil do more damage or my unit will take less damage).  If I want a quicker paced battle, then I can just play at a quicker pace.  I would agree though to modified rules for multi-player in order to speed things up.

Randomization vs. Richness

Typically I am always for random because I get bored quickly if the battles become predictable because a limited number of maps.  But in this case the richness is intriguing to me.  As long as there are a large number of maps, they are terrain appropriate (no mountain maps when there are nothing but plains tiles around) AND that player MOD maps are easily added in.  I think I would also like to see that once a battle map is revealed for a certain tile in a game that you always get the same battle map when fighting in the same tile in the future (the same battle maps can represent many tiles however).  In this you can discover advantageous maps as you reveal them on the tiles and make certain spots more valuable than others (i.e. you know where the defender advantaged mountain pass map is and you lure the enemy into a trap or make that last ditch effort there.  see--"300")  Also in other games it seems silly to me when I go back and have a battle at a spot I have been before and the map is different.

Please let me ask again for a smart auto-resolution AI to battles--I know that the AI is in good hands, so I am sure that won't be a problem. 

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May 26, 2010 9:51:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

WINNER. TAKE. ALL. This is the part where we want to hear your opinions. We do ask that you keep an open mind on what we ultimately go with.  My opinion is that the attacking player has the onus to finish the battle in N turns. After N turns, the attacker morale starts to go lower and lower at which point the defender can come out and make mince meat out of them.  The question is, what should determine what N is?  Or should we allow retreating? Should we allow draws?  I’m against retreats or withdraws because it’s one of those things that allows the game to drag on. It’s a strong personal preference of mine that two men enter, one man leaves. (Your heroes will tend to escape though).

I'm against this.  I'd rather have retreats with the retreating side suffering some sort of severe penalty.  I understand the concern about having games drag on, but a winner takes all system will make battles much too risky.  It would seem to also eliminate a lot of strategic possibilities, such as delaying attacks, etc.  Allow retreats, even if it means that the retreating side is sure to take high casualties or suffer a morale hit for X number of turns. 

As for draws...that's interesting.  It would be fun if one side or the other could request a parley to ask for a cease fire. 

Remaining Questions and issues:
Controlling the length of a tactical battle.  We believe that users should have a lot of control over how in depth they want their battles to be. Should a tactical battle finish in less than a minute or should they last 2 hours? How do we make it so that players can control this?

In Sword of the Stars, you can set the maximum length of a battle.  Maybe this would be the simplest way to go?  Another way to determine this would be to implement some sort of logistics factor in armies where the more supplies an army has, the longer it can fight (or morale, for that matter).

Randomization vs. Richness. I won’t lie to you, we have a trade off in front of us and it’s a big one.  We can randomly generate the battlefields in tactical combat OR we can have it pick from a series of pre-made tactical battle maps.  The randomly generated ones won’t be as interesting but they’ll more accurately reflect the local terrain.  I’m preferring the pre-made ones because we can add some spectacular strategic when we’re crafting them and have hundreds to pull from.

 

I'd rather have random battlefields.  Never being sure just what the terrain is going to be like makes these things much more interesting.  Also, it adds greatly to replayability. 

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May 26, 2010 9:51:47 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

First, I am very glad concernng the decision that the combat will be TBS.

Remaining Questions and issues:

  1. Controlling the length of a tactical battle.  We believe that users should have a lot of control over how in depth they want their battles to be. Should a tactical battle finish in less than a minute or should they last 2 hours? How do we make it so that players can control this?

Maybe the amount of heroes present could help decide this? The idea being that the more heroes/commanders present from both sides decides how long a battle will last (more tacticians on the field makes the battle take longer).

 

 

  1. Randomization vs. Richness. I won’t lie to you, we have a trade off in front of us and it’s a big one.  We can randomly generate the battlefields in tactical combat OR we can have it pick from a series of pre-made tactical battle maps.  The randomly generated ones won’t be as interesting but they’ll more accurately reflect the local terrain.  I’m preferring the pre-made ones because we can add some spectacular strategic when we’re crafting them and have hundreds to pull from.

I like the idea for more richness. I think that expansions would help alot by adding more pre-made maps if people really became good at older maps. I like seeing challenging maps over again so I can figure out the best strategy to use if I run into them again. The fact that pre-made maps can add strategic depth is something that interests me.

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May 26, 2010 10:31:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

WINNER. TAKE. ALL. This is the part where we want to hear your opinions. We do ask that you keep an open mind on what we ultimately go with. My opinion is that the attacking player has the onus to finish the battle in N turns. After N turns, the attacker morale starts to go lower and lower at which point the defender can come out and make mince meat out of them. The question is, what should determine what N is? Or should we allow retreating? Should we allow draws? I’m against retreats or withdraws because it’s one of those things that allows the game to drag on. It’s a strong personal preference of mine that two men enter, one man leaves. (Your heroes will tend to escape though).

While at first I would prefer non-decisive battles (as in: most battle doesn't see either side completely crushed), I have to agree that having a winner-take-all system will help prevent the game from dragging on.

As for the allowing draw and the morale penalty for the attackers over time, I have a suggestion: Have some gauge describing how heated the battle is going. That gauge would start at some intermediate value, lets say 75%. It would increase whenever a unit is damaged or killed, and it would decrease over time (some other effects could increase it too, like having sovereigns cast spells). If the gauge goes below some value, lets say 50%, the attacking units start to get cumulative morale penalties, to represent them being bored, or not being confident of being able to kill the defenders. As the gauge only indicate how much morale goes down every turn, having the defenders goes out to kill the low-morale attackers, and therefore filling the gauge, would not result in the attackers instantly regaining the lost morale.

As for the draw, it would happen when the gauge reaches 0%. At that point, the battle is considered to be only about two armies looking at each other with frowny faces, and is aborted, with no penalty on either side. The attacker may keep their morale penalties thought.

That would be similar to what happen in chess: if no piece is captured and no pawn is moved in 50 turns, then the game ends as a pat (draw).

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