Dear Devs a word on automatic roads

By on April 23, 2013 4:16:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nargaff

Join Date 06/2003
+2

I'm sure a lot of people already complained about this but it seems not enough, so I will bring this topic up again. The automatic road building sucks and I really can't understand why you would want such an element of annoyance in your game. There is probably a very good reason why no one had enough time to implement a better road buidling algorithm, but even if I knew the reason and no matter how good the reason was, it would make the situation not a bit less sucking. It just sucks and in every game I play the road building annoys me at some point. I really don't see why it has to stay this way, because there is already everything to solve the problem present in the game. The road buidling skill exists but it is a trait reserved for heros only, which I find even more annoying. Give this trait to pioneers or make a special engineers unit. A champion of roadbuilding is really nothing I want in my army, there are more important and more heroic things to do for my heroes. Really!

I really like the game. It is very good. I've played it for hundreds of hours and I plan to play much more. You really know hot to make an entertaining game, but I have to say, I'm playing this kind of games for over 20 years and a lot of them include road building. After all this time and serveral games you are the first devs that have managed to find a solution for road building that sucks. Nearly every game has the same solution for this, a solution that just works. You could easily do th same and make it something that just works, but the way it is currently it is just broken. Either fix the algorithm or give me engineers. The idea you had is not bad. Manually building roads is really nothing that is very entertaining. Automatic road building can be very conveniant, but the way it currently is, it is not. You implemented it only half, but it doesn't mean you get at least half the goodness of it, you just get a badly implemented feature. A source of annoyance that is totally unnecessary. Please free me of this pain. Thanks in advance.

 

[Update]

Sorry for completely leaving out the detail what it specifically is that is my problem . As other people already said it is the fact that road often go through monster lairs without any necessity. The could most of the time be placed just on one of the surrounding tiles and not on the lair. It would be OK if I had a easy way to correct this, for example with engineers.

Another point that lets me dislike the automatic roads, is just a matter of taste. In terms of 'realisim' I can just can not understand what Uber-Ninja-Road-Workers are able to build roads straight through dargon lairs while the dragon is still present. That seems a bit strange.

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April 24, 2013 12:46:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,



Quoting lpisko,
reply 21


why dont we create an engineer that can build roads and outposts. they dont cost any population but also cant build cities. leave that for the pioneers. this would solve a bunch of issues / complaints and imo makes senseYeah, ill have to think about that.  It could be cool.

However, if an engineer unit is created, I think the first and foremost problem that will arise is road spamming. The AI (and the player) need to be able to realize that roads should only be placed where they are needed (or in the players case, wanted with consequence).

Roads should cost upkeep. That would mean that roads should be faction specific so that the faction that built the road, pays the upkeep. That also means that if another faction takes over ZofC of some roads, that the upkeep of those roads is transferred over aswell.

Now, in order to encourage meaningful roads there needs to be incentive. Earlier (perhaps it was even in another thread) I proposed that whenever a road connects two cities that you control, you gain a trade bonus of 1gp/turn. IF road upkeep were 0.1gp/turn, than you could have a city 10 tiles away and break even. In theory this would balance empire growth since expanding too far would generate too much expense.

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April 24, 2013 1:09:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


A straight 0.1gp/tile cost to roads?  I like it.

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April 24, 2013 1:18:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kaosbain,
How difficult would it be to implement an option to do either-or? Have it a toggle, you turn it on, auto build roads. You turn it off, you have to manually place them. Give every nationality the ability to build their own roads.

This is a win/win for both sides. Personally, I like micromanagement, and a bit ocd, so those funky roads that are autogenerated are annoying. I wish there was a way to get rid of roads as well, that way I can build my own roads, and get rid of the crappy way the game auto generates them.

I like this approach.  Give us the choice.   AI factions could still have the autobuild.

There are several ways manual road building could be implemented.

1) Commanders or pioneers get it as an initial trait.

2) Engineers

3) a trait for designed units

4) An Earth spell

Whatever is done have a toggle on the unit to build a road whenever it moves.  It's very tedious to have to click "Road" after each move.

 

 

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April 24, 2013 4:31:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll reiterate this, since engineers came up.


I think a roadbuilding trait for units (one of their 4-5-6 trait picks) is a good way to go.  That way, those units will also be good for other things besides roadbuilding, so you might want to use them for garrisons or monster duty as well as roads, hence not overly encouraging road spam.  Said trait should cost a bit more, so that people won't just build hordes of 'roadbuilding' units just because they can; i.e. a 'regular' unit should be significantly cheaper than a 'roadbuilding' unit.

Sure, this may make engineers tougher than in other games (depending on how you outfit them), but the world(s) of Elemental are a dangerous place(s), so bringing your sword with you while you are on road building duty is probably a good idea in any case.

 

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April 24, 2013 4:48:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If we do go down the Engineers path (which I approve), it might also be good allow them to upgrade outposts, too. Engineers could also double as spies/scouts, too, which would only add to their usefulness.

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April 24, 2013 4:56:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Reliant,

If we do go down the Engineers path (which I approve), it might also be good allow them to upgrade outposts, too. Engineers could also double as spies/scouts, too, which would only add to their usefulness.

I like this idea.  Being able to have engineers do an outpost upgrade, rather than having a nearby city do it (hence freeing up the production cue for more important things) would help with game pacing a bit.  And this might make some 'lesser used' upgrades more practical, opening the door for new types of upgrades for outposts (inn, trainer, etc.).

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April 24, 2013 5:10:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Yeah, the only good solution is to be able to build your own roads. You don't necesarily need an engineer unit. We could let the pioneers be able to build roads as well. This would add to the strategy of their use.

To prevent road spam there of course has to be an upkeep cost. This could also be combined with a one time cost every time a pioneer builds a road on a tile.

 

It's not tedious to build your own roads. This is a strategy game, and road building can add alot of hard choices for the player.

Examples:

1. (If the pioneer is the unit that builds roads) Do you build that city first, or start to build the road to the city spot first? Perhaps you ar better of getting acces to some ressources first via an outpost? Hmmmm......

2. Do I build the road arround a spooky monster lair, or do I prioritize to take this monster lair out first, to be able to build a straighter road? (we should also be able to raize roads and rebuild the road network more efficiently later on).

 

3. You have to plan ahead regarding what threats the road builders can come out for. Do you prioritize troops for this task, or will you rather take the gamble?

 

4. What is the best route to take when you plan the road that shall Connect city A and B. Just the straightes line, or another route that will make the total amount of road tiles as small as possible later when city C and B is also built?

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April 24, 2013 5:21:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Another idea that may make implementation a bit easier on this-

What if instead of carrying a maintenance cost, the road tiles cost gildar, which increased over time. It wouldn't be as simple as the first manual road = 1 gildar, the 2nd two, etc., but something like that. Then we wouldn't have to worry about on-going expenses (how would you get rid of a road over time to save money?), but it would discourage road spam because it would become cost prohibitive.

A few, well-placed, manual roads would really add to the game, as troop transport is one of the most tedious parts about late game or large maps.

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April 24, 2013 5:30:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Each road section should require 1 lumber and 1 brick...

(Catan reference)

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April 24, 2013 5:56:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,

Quoting lpisko, reply 21

why dont we create an engineer that can build roads and outposts. they dont cost any population but also cant build cities. leave that for the pioneers. this would solve a bunch of issues / complaints and imo makes senseYeah, ill have to think about that.  It could be cool.

If such an engineer unit comes into play, I recommend a gildar cost to build them... or even a metal cost as well. This would account for the tools required.

If an engineer unit does come into play I recommend the ability to build something that is not an outpost and provides other bonuses. For example, the engineer unit can build a farm instead of an outpost and provide +1 grain to the nearest city, or a lumber camp that provides the same bonuses of the connected lumber camp. I have done this already, but the problem is the upgrade button for the outpost is still there with no way for me to deactivate it that I can see. I have already contemplated lots of things to do with this kind of unit IF the outpost upgrade button could be disabled, and will cause a fun aspect to...

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April 24, 2013 6:02:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting parrottmath,



Quoting Derek Paxton,
reply 23

Quoting lpisko, reply 21

why dont we create an engineer that can build roads and outposts. they dont cost any population but also cant build cities. leave that for the pioneers. this would solve a bunch of issues / complaints and imo makes senseYeah, ill have to think about that.  It could be cool.


If such an engineer unit comes into play, I recommend a gildar cost to build them... or even a metal cost as well. This would account for the tools required.

If an engineer unit does come into play I recommend the ability to build something that is not an outpost and provides other bonuses. For example, the engineer unit can build a farm instead of an outpost and provide +1 grain to the nearest city, or a lumber camp that provides the same bonuses of the connected lumber camp. I have done this already, but the problem is the upgrade button for the outpost is still there with no way for me to deactivate it that I can see. I have already contemplated lots of things to do with this kind of unit IF the outpost upgrade button could be disabled, and will cause a fun aspect to...

I recommend the road cost be free.

Instead, have roads associated with faction ownership and cost upkeep to maintain. (example: 0.1gp/tile)

Then, encourage smart roadbuilding by gifting a trade bonus to a section of road that connects two cities you control. (example 1gp/connection)

Now you have a system where you don't want to build too many useless or duplicate roads between or away from your cities or else your economy will tank.

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April 24, 2013 8:41:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This picture is a good example of one of the issues earlier posters were talking about.

 

It runs through a monster lair, and if built manually, you could shorten the distance

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/77858773/LegendaryHeroes_1366840016.jpg

Roads

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April 24, 2013 9:27:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I had a game tonight that did the same thing- ran right through a monster lair. A banshee, no less, so I couldn't really clear it out until much later.

Even if these other changes can't happen soon, could the algorithm be modified to go around monster lairs?

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April 24, 2013 9:48:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would much prefer to do without automatic roads. A few suggestions.

 

- A game or map setting where you can choose to disable automatic road building.

- Roads as a 'building' you can purchase in a city. Once you upgrade your city to roads, it will connect to the nearest city you own.

- Roads disappear from the map if they no longer connect two cities.

- Roads should only marginally improve travel time. These are muddy tracks at best, not seven lane highways!

 

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April 24, 2013 10:14:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Schepel,

- Roads should only marginally improve travel time. These are muddy tracks at best, not seven lane highways!

 

Roads should be upgradable: Path - Road - Hiway

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April 24, 2013 10:25:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would much prefer to pay a one time per square cost on building roads than to have yet another item requiring upkeep.  As it is now there are hardly any times I'm able to move the Taxation beyond "Low".  Ever.  The counters to Unrest are limited.

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April 24, 2013 11:30:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If roads are going to be insta-built then at least limit their establishment within territorial borders.

How about this:

+ Roads can only be established within friendly territory
+ Each settlement can support one connected road per settlement level.
+ Each settlement's road can only extend up to twice its current border strength
+ Each settlement has a button to "link a road" to either a valid (friendly territory + range limits) settlement or outpost.
+ Each outpost can support two connected roads, more with outpost upgrades or tech research
+ Each outpost's road can extend only up to its current border strength

My objective is to make roads obtainable in a meaningful way to balance their incredible benefit to a faction. Also, I want to counter "insta-pop" roads when you throw a settlement 50 tiles away from your borders and you are awarded a road into the heart of the frontier without much effort at all.

This would promote the idea that far off settlements without a string of supporting outpost roads will be isolated from quick reinforcements and highly vulnerable.

One problem then is how do trade routes between factions get established. How about, trade routes act as they do now but instead of a regular road, they create a graphically smaller and thinner road. Only small units would get a travel bonus on these roads (heroes, unit groups 3 or less, small-medium in size, ie no Juggernauts/Ogres/Slaags getting speed boosts) that are low maintenance and designed for small trade caravans. These roads would also immediately disappear when trade is stopped for whatever reason (war, broken trade treaty, etc).

*Edited to flesh out the idea some

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April 25, 2013 3:48:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Semi-automatic road building with some user control:

1) When a city or an outpost can connect to the road network it creates an alert
- First road has to be built from the capital

2) Select the alert, press "connect to road network", and click a spot on existing road network where to connect.
- You may connect only to closest road plus a few squares (should give some options)
- Route from spot to spot will be plotted by algorithm
- It cannot connect via hostile land, this includes any spot where there is currently a monster, a lair or enemy unit
- If a route cannot be plotted with shortest route plus some squares, road building will fail and you need an outpost to connect

3) You can build one more road from the city by building "improved road network"

Yes, I know, won't happen, too far from current system. It's still fun to think how it could work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April 25, 2013 3:49:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Schepel,


- Roads as a 'building' you can purchase in a city. Once you upgrade your city to roads, it will connect to the nearest city you own.

Quoting GFireflyE,
Roads should be upgradable: Path - Road - Hiway

This is how it works in Total War series (Medieval2 at least probably others).  You pay to build a "Road" improvement in a city, which when constructed auto connects a road to all adjacent cities.  Would need more smarts in LH because there is no real concept of an adjacent city.

There's like 3 levels of roads and each provides increased trade revenue.

That would work great here.... basic roads provide x2 movement and some basic revenue from trade (caravans), and building better roads would improve movement and income.

 

 

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April 25, 2013 9:41:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting abob101,
This is how it works in Total War series (Medieval2 at least probably others).

This is a poor example as the total war series map is NOT random. There is a fixed map with fixed cities and therefore the roads created there could be hand placed.

I wouldn't mind seeing instead of a circle loop road but a goodie hut pop up like an inn with a series of small quests at road intersections (although that is asking too much).

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April 25, 2013 11:03:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I know that the autobuilt maps are quirky as heck, but I don't mind them. I like the idea of the engineer unit doing upgrades or for building short roads. Upkeep for those roads though sounds like a nightmare. It isn't as if we can build lots of cities any more.

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April 25, 2013 11:39:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting parrottmath,

Quoting abob101, reply 44
This is how it works in Total War series (Medieval2 at least probably others).


This is a poor example as the total war series map is NOT random. There is a fixed map with fixed cities and therefore the roads created there could be hand placed.

Well, correct in that the maps are not random.  However the roads are definitely not hand placed on the map (the cities yes but not the roads).  Their path is generated based on terrain etc when the game loads the map... so although the game doesn't have to deal with terrain being raised and lowered etc during the game... it does generate roads to and from cities, around terrain etc.

Anyways, that's not the point    The point was that some of the suggestions being made (build a road from the cities, upgrade-able roads) have been implemented in other games and it can work well, in my opinion.

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April 25, 2013 11:40:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sorry double post

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April 25, 2013 7:40:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Gah, way to make it overly complicated! I don't want to spend 40 turns controlling an engineer to build roads between my towns. I don't want to do it manually even if the engineer has 40 moves and I can do the whole road in one turn.

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April 26, 2013 11:43:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Necaradan666,
Gah, way to make it overly complicated! I don't want to spend 40 turns controlling an engineer to build roads between my towns. I don't want to do it manually even if the engineer has 40 moves and I can do the whole road in one turn.

This is why a game option has been suggested.   Auto-build for you that like it.  Manual build for those of us that hate the squirrely auto-built roads.

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