One of the major differences between a game like Galactic Civilizations and Elemental is going to be the tactical battles.
Players won’t have to actually fight these if they don’t want. If you’ve played Galactic Civilizations, you can pretty much imagine how the tactical battles in Elemental will work in the sense that they’re really just the next step from what we had in GalCiv II.
The idea is that you zoom in to a given battle and you see all your units there. From there, you can set the speed you want the action to take place (from “turns” to real time).
On the map you give your units orders and those orders appear on the screen and they go and fight it out. You can zoom in and out as much as you desire on the map to see either the whole epic battle or down to seeing individual units fighting.
Our goal is that if you want to see the whole “Battle of 5 armies” type thing you should see each and every soldier fighting if you want or you can zoom out and see it more abstracted.
There will be quite a bit of skill involved in managing the battle in terms of where you place your forces and how you handle your hero. However, the AI (which I’ll be writing) will be designed to wage war as effectively as possible.
One of the concepts we’re playing around with is a leadership ability. Leadership basically gives a general bonus to your side. The idea there being that players who don’t want to monkey around with the tactical battles can focus on having heroes who are also excellent generals (high leadership) who you can have confidence that they will fight a battle with maximum capability.
The AI too will be allowed to invest in leadership skills to help their generals get better and better. Early on, leadership won’t mean much.
Sizes of armies
As a player, one of my questions about this kind of thing would be how big are the armies going to be? The answer is that it’s going to vary a great deal.
At the start of the game, I would imagine the sovereign walking around alone or maybe with 10 foot soldiers armed with pikes. Those early battles will be pretty straight forward.
Later on, however, you could have battles with thousands of soldiers with a few recruited magical creatures involved along with your hero.
Hence, even if you enjoy watching the tactical battles, you may eventually want to build up your heroes leadership ability so that you can have confidence in letting them call the shots so that you can just sit back and watch the show in fast motion.