[Suggestion] Let's talk roads...

By on March 30, 2013 6:08:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nick-Danger

Join Date 09/2009
+28

Let's talk roads...

Frankly, their implementation is unsatisfying, and is 'illogical'.  They 'magically' appear when a tech is researched, and their route is often random and unhelpful.

Fix: first, when the road tech is researched roads don't magically appear.  Instead, the 'engineer' skill is made available (alternative -- engineer unit is available).  The road building mechanic is/was already in game, so this doesn't need to be made from scratch. 

Option1: Only use the first road building tech (roads between cities), drop the second one (economics? -- the one that creates roads to outposts).  This is the simplest option, and allows roads built to anywhere.

Option2: The first road building tech allows roads only between cities.  This would require 'pre-routing' a road -- perhaps by holding SHFT and selecting tiles starting from a city and ending at a second city (and requires a starting/ending city tile check).  The route would then be set and the road constructed 'by hand' on said route.  The second road building tech would then remove the 'pre-routing' requirement, and allow building roads to/from anywhere 'by hand'.  Option2 requires more work, and while it's more in keeping with the current design the extra effort required is not likely worth it.

Benefits of either option:

-We can select routes, so no more routing through an occupied dragon lair, or enemy sov territory, or a new city connecting to a distant random city instead of a more centrally located city, or a city only connecting to one city, etc.

-no more magically appearing roads

-we can build roads towards other sovs  or towards to-be-settled territory

Problems:

-this allows roads to anywhere, and better route selection, so would greatly increase movement.  Partial fix is to reduce road movement bonus to 2x instead of current 4x.

-players are better able to take advantage of roading to anywhere, putting AI at even greater disadvantage.  Fixing this (by improving AI which is th e Holy Grail) would be hard, perhaps not possible given time/resources.  Partial fix is to give AI sovs magically appearing roads as currently implemented (though I'd allow roads between a city and its 2 closest cities, not just 1 city as currently implemented).  Yes this is 'cheating' but we'd be gaining a whole lot (better road placement though slower to appear, while not giving up much to AI sovs).

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March 30, 2013 6:24:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I do like your suggestion. However that does mean I cannot use my infinite mana for roads anymore

(Talking about using Magical Outposts to build custom roads by building them and razing them immediately afterwards ^^)

 

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March 31, 2013 9:34:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well I would prefer if roads built 1 tile per turn (or 2 per turn depending on how it works) from cities. Two cities both build the roads towards each other on a per turn basis until the roads meet and the road is complete. With outposts, however, it would only build roads from the connected city or closest outpost/road . Meaning it would technically take twice as long to complete the road to an outpost than a city.

Settlers are "engineers" by building an outpost anyway. You just don't get to chose the preferred path (place them in shorter intervals).

You can get roads to other nations using trade treaties.

I'd rather roads just have additional functionality tbh. Like spreading Governor/Commander bonuses (via a skill?) to connected cities. If there's a dragon lair in the way, GO AND KILL THAT DRAGON. Don't you know they like to eat pioneers?

Ultimate solution Capitar!

 

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March 31, 2013 10:15:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

In theory, some kind of manual road building would be preferable since it would solve any issues with auto-roads. However, the increased micromanagement is NOT worth it IMHO.

In practice, I love that roads get built automatically. So, if any changes get made, I hope it's only to tweak the logic of auto-road building.

 

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March 31, 2013 10:46:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah, auto build roads leading to the target (Preferably away from god-damn dragon nests).

 

I would be nice if by holding down the shift key, I could grab a section of the road and manually adjust it to my liking.

 

But what about maps that start with roads?

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March 31, 2013 11:19:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd rather have better auto-road logic and the ability to destroy roads. Creating dedicated worker units for all factions would make sense if there was more to do than build roads, like say if they also built outposts and resource improvements on tiles not directly attached to a city, but as is it doesn't really fit the flow of the game. Play Capitar or a commander hero/sov.

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March 31, 2013 12:15:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I believe it is Legacy of Serrane if you play with custom factions.  It is nice. 

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March 31, 2013 4:21:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would suggest that outposts do not get roads built to them automatically. One should upgrade the outpost to get roads to it.

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March 31, 2013 5:00:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I am against the idea of manual road placement on a 1-tile per build basis. While this approach gives more control to the player in how the movement within his empire takes place, we must remember that whatever the player can do, the AI must be able to do aswell.

Please recall the Civ games for the obvious flaw found within 1-tile road placement. Every tile ends up getting a road ... and then eventually a rail. It's very unrealistic and actually removes a strategic element of the game. If the 1-tile road approach is to be insisted upon, instead just have techs along the way that grant movement bonus to all units on a global scale (for EVERY tile)....or this approach could be resolved in more detail: of every tile of a specific type (swamp, hills, forest) receiving a movement bonus from a researched tech....and save the monotonous actions of sending an engineer across every tile.

 

My opinion of road building is to have entire segments of road, where a segment is defined to be between two cities or between a city and outpost, able to be built through the city build queue of the source city that the road is built from. This constuction does not require the need of an engineer unit. The farther a road segment is to build, the longer queue time the build will take (perhaps 1 turn for every two tiles). The route of the road build is still automatically defined by the computer. No duplicates of road between the same two points can exist. Essencially, roads become a 'building' of the city that extends out of the city to a 'sink' location.

While not having the ability to detail precisely where roads are to be built on a tile by tile basis, this approach would give enough control over road building that their placement no longer is an issue.

An additional bonus to this approach would be that road segments could be upgraded or enchanted now. Perhaps you start with building a 'path' ... which than can be upgraded into a 'road' ... which can further be upgraded into a 'highway'. The UI graphic of each could be different to show what to expect as movement. Here too, the different road types would be connected with different techs and would grant different improving amounts of travel upon the tiles they are connected with. As for enchantments, if the road passes on a tile that grants essence, the road could have an essence slot. A few spells could exist that would assist your troops travel or hinder opponents.  

This is a relatively old idea of mine....I'll look for the thread I originally suggested the idea in and attach it to this post.

edit: Here is the thread I mentioned: http://forums.elementalgame.com/429562

 

Thoughts, comments, questions....

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April 1, 2013 12:40:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,

My opinion of road building is to have entire segments of road, where a segment is defined to be between two cities or between a city and outpost, able to be built through the city build queue of the source city that the road is built from. This constuction does not require the need of an engineer unit. The farther a road segment is to build, the longer queue time the build will take (perhaps 1 turn for every two tiles). The route of the road build is still automatically defined by the computer. No duplicates of road between the same two points can exist. Essencially, roads become a 'building' of the city that extends out of the city to a 'sink' location.

While not having the ability to detail precisely where roads are to be built on a tile by tile basis, this approach would give enough control over road building that their placement no longer is an issue.

 

This.

In the game I'm currently playing, I have 4 cities situated around a mountain ridge that breaks them up, so I have more or less a large square with cities at every corner, with their respective influence zones just touching in the centre of the ridge, making a cohesive unit. The problem is that the only way to get from my capital city (in the upper right of the square) to my fourth city (in the upper left) is to

A) Follow the roads clockwise in a gigantic circle, which takes something on the order of 4 or 5 turns.

Fight through forests and rivers through a 2 space gap in the mountain ridge, taking 7 or 8 turns.

The biggest frustration here is that my road auto-pathed from my bottom-left city to the upper-left, rather than the upper-right. If it had gone from my capital, it would mean a 1 or 2 turn travel time to my city. There are only open plains where the other road is situated, so if it had gone the other way, all my transport problems would be solved. I just dislike the fact that my road system is messed up on some 50/50 whim of the pathing system.

I'd be more than happy to sink upwards of 10 turns of construction time in my capital (!) into building that second road, just to save me the constant frustration it brings.

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April 1, 2013 12:53:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've been playing Mancers since they got +1 move rate, and I really like having the Road Building trait that they get (it's not in their description, but they get it).  When I'm sending my Pioneers out to settle a new city, I have them build the road along the way.  Later, if I decide I'd rather have a different route, or I'd like another road somewhere, I can make a cheap unit with the Road Building trait (it's available as a 0-labor cost trait for custom units) and have him make that road.  I even add road building to my scouts, and have them build roads as they're scouting, so when they find goodie huts, my heroes can get out to them quickly, and when they find yields, my pioneers can get to them quickly.  It just makes exploring and expanding so much faster.

In short, I like the manual road building.  I don't get auto-roads because there's already a road connected to my new city's tile when I settle it.

The +1 moves is also nice in combat with the swarm mechanic and with spear-wielding units (they move around the side easier to get the strike-through).

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April 1, 2013 1:00:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The mancer trait is nice, but I really think for the non-standard races that they didn't polish them as nice as the others. I truly think that some more work on these races are in order. The other standard races feel pretty well made, I'd like to see these other races moved to the same standard.

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April 1, 2013 11:26:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Something I have noticed in LH is that your army no longer takes a straight line to it's destination but sort of zig-zags all over the map.  Has this something to do with roads?

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April 1, 2013 12:07:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Pioneers already have a build a road one tile per turn ability.  

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April 1, 2013 7:28:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One MUST for the auto-generated roads...  Roads need to go through your OWN territory and not enemy territory.

 

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April 1, 2013 7:37:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I always looked at the roads as being neither your empire or their empires road, but more or less the merchants roads. One doesn't have direct control over these roads and where they are built. But in the same vein of thought these roads need to make sense and we should be able to commission roads to be built. These roads that we build should have the requirement that they stay within your OWN territory, but the other roads generated by the merchants can go where they feel.

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April 1, 2013 7:50:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,

Please recall the Civ games for the obvious flaw found within 1-tile road placement. Every tile ends up getting a road

I eventually do this anyway. By mid-game I have a road building hero/unit/s just going around building roads in every tile in my influence area. Helps a lot of the derpy AI auto-pathing.

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April 1, 2013 7:53:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ElanaAhova,

Pioneers already have a build a road one tile per turn ability.  

Oh boy, one tile at a time that you need to babysit. Maybe this would get used more if there was a "Make road from current position to here" button.

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April 1, 2013 8:19:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
yes, make road from here to here is excellent idea.
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April 1, 2013 10:11:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,


I am against the idea of manual road placement on a 1-tile per build basis. While this approach gives more control to the player in how the movement within his empire takes place, we must remember that whatever the player can do, the AI must be able to do aswell.
Good point.  It would likely put AI further at disadvantage.  AI is currently the most limiting facet of LH.

Please recall the Civ games for the obvious flaw found within 1-tile road placement. Every tile ends up getting a road ...
Excellent point.  Precluding this isn't easy.  The thread you cite mentions:

"The concept of a road should be "select starting point of road" then "select ending point of road", then road is built."
That still leaves the route auto-generated, which is the problem we now have.  Better to allow the player to select the route (hold down SHFT and select the tiles, requiring starting/ending with one of our cities?).  Problem with this is that one could exploit it to make the route hit every conceivable tile.

Perhaps one way to mitigate exploitation is a cost (time + gold) per roaded tile?

ElanaAhova: Pioneers already have a build a road one tile per turn ability.
First, the applies only to Mancer race, or am I mistaken? (if so then apologies, and which other races as I've not discovered them)

Second, this isn't mentioned anywhere in the Heir-whatever-its-called, or am I mistaken? (if so then apologies)

Third, this isn't mentioned in the racial description of Mancers, or am I mistaken? (if so then apologies)

Fourth, no default starting Sov has Mancers race, or am I mistaken? (if so then apologies)

The above leads me to wonder if this ability is on the way out.

I also wonder how a new player would know of this.  Hardly fair to them.

Are folks commonly using mancer race to get this ability?  If so that suggests it's pretty powerful.  If not...

 

 

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April 2, 2013 1:11:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Nick-Danger,



Quoting GFireflyE,
reply 8

"The concept of a road should be "select starting point of road" then "select ending point of road", then road is built."

That still leaves the route auto-generated, which is the problem we now have.  Better to allow the player to select the route (hold down SHFT and select the tiles, requiring starting/ending with one of our cities?).  Problem with this is that one could exploit it to make the route hit every conceivable tile.


I believe I meant for that quote to be in context that the start/end of a road can only be a city or outpost you control. Autoroads isn't near as much a problem as segments of road from city A to city D just not existing...

and as parrotmath mentioned, it's like the merchants get to build the roads....you just get to use them. Add to the fact that the AI NEEDS to be on similar grounds in order to stay competitve, auto-road building is really the only solution.

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April 2, 2013 12:24:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Why do people insist on imposing their view of how the game should be played?  In particular I object to the opinion "we must remember that whatever the player can do, the AI must be able to do aswell."
I'm willing to compromise on this and other issues.  Make it an option when setting up the the world.   If you want auto-road building, turn on the option.

 

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April 2, 2013 5:05:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,
...and as parrotmath mentioned, it's like the merchants get to build the roads....you just get to use them.
That's not a design decision (hey, we could make logical routes but let's make them wonky because it's merchants not sovs that design them!), it's merely a way to excuse/justify current implementation (it's too hard to make decent AI routing so let's pretend it's merchants not sovs building roads).

Add to the fact that the AI NEEDS to be on similar grounds in order to stay competitve, auto-road building is really the only solution.
It's not the only solution, it's the easiest solution.

Best solution is to hire a(nother) AI guy to improve the AI.  Not just for road routing, but to fix the stupid AI in things like:

-spiders web already-webbed units in tactical battles

-units pass through undefended goodie huts without claiming them

-(peruse the forums for many more examples that have usually been repeatedly mentioned going back to WoM)

With the improvements to balance/etc. in FE and LH the AI has become the most limiting factor.  The other parts of the game are improving at a much greater rate than the AI.  The rest of the game really is greatly improved since WoM, and is a very good game now.  The greatly improved 'rest of the game' makes the AI look even worse by comparison, and the gap is increasing.  This is a single-player game so it lives/dies according to its AI.

The poor road routing is a symptom, the disease is the current state of the AI.

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April 2, 2013 5:47:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Nick-Danger,
That's not a design decision (hey, we could make logical routes but let's make them wonky because it's merchants not sovs that design them!), it's merely a way to excuse/justify current implementation (it's too hard to make decent AI routing so let's pretend it's merchants not sovs building roads).

I would say that it is more of a design desicion. Look at the only race that gets to build a road (mancers) which their lore say they were the merchant kings.

Don't get me wrong that I wouldn't mind a change in the system. I like the suggestion that the sovereign get the ability to comission roads between cities like that GFireflyE mentioned, but the actual manual placement of roads gets rather tedious for my taste.

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April 2, 2013 5:50:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting parrottmath,

I always looked at the roads as being neither your empire or their empires road, but more or less the merchants roads.

Sorry for not being crystal clear...  Of course I meant the roads you spent time researching to connect your cities and outposts.  The trade treaty roads are a bonus and can go wherever they want.  But YOUR roads should connect YOUR cities/outposts through YOUR territory.

 

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April 2, 2013 5:51:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting parrottmath,
I would suggest that outposts do not get roads built to them automatically. One should upgrade the outpost to get roads to it.

This, and drop the tech requirement from economics to trading.

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