One of my favorite shows on TV is Avatar, the last airbender (not to be confused with the recent movie). One of my long term goals with the AI is to be able to have the AI in tactical battles be able to give the kinds of battles back and forth with players (as well as eventually in MP as well) that I see on that show. Of course, such an AI will take probably years to reach that level but we have the luxury of doing that sort of thing (like with GalCiv before it).
Ugh. I wish you wouldn't tell us stuff like that.
Might I suggest while you're modeling tactical combat after a cartoon, you might slip in playing a few *games* that do grid based tac combat well. You sell a couple in your own Impulse store. See how they handle things like combat speed and initiative, movement, counter attacks, target selection strategy, unit roles and tactical variety , which would in turn grant more desperately needed diversity to the unit design process which the game is built around.
With respect, and with apologies for being grumpy, we've had years now of pie in the sky posts about fluffy conceptual goals based on Tolkien or your favorite anime, that have gotten us to where we are currently at. By your own admission during your recent posts, the dev team had become too enamored with that sort of thing during the dev process, at the expense of basic gameplay. We need nitty gritty, down to basics, fundamental redesign of tactical gameplay based on proven mechanisms that work. Not "I want it to be like Dragonball Z...that show is cool!".
I don't know why it was *this* post that I finally snapped on. I've been very supportive on the boards. I think I am just despairing, because this week I actually wanted to play a game that did fantasy tac combat really well, so I re-installed Kings Bounty, and it made me realize just how far removed Elemental currently is from anything that functional, even if it's unrealistic to hope for that much depth to the system in what is basically a "tacked on" combat mode that the game really should have been designed entirely around. It really needs ripped out and rebuilt from the ground up. The Gal-Civ like combat system is completely ill-suited to balanced tactical combat with depth and diversity.
I'm really afraid at this point you guys would be better off getting rid of tac combat altogether, and just focusing on the deep 4x grand strategy kingdom management you guys are good at. You do that well, when you focus on it. I just think you're in over your head on the tac side...I've yet to hear any compelling evidence you really understand why it isn't any good, other than the fact that a bunch of high profile people have criticized the game (it didn't seem to bother you when beta testers would tell you it wasn't ready). Best case scenario, if you successfully remodel combat, that wont really make it into the game for at *least* a year. (if you honestly believe you can get to a polished, successful new combat system in less time from where you are at right now, it just cements the feeling you're out of your depth on the tactical mechanics.)
It's clear I can't handle another year of posts like this from Brad, leading to more disappointment, so i guess I need a lengthy vacation from thinking about the game. It's cool you've made some humbling posts in recent days about that state of the game, but posts like this don't indicate any real change in design philosophy, and I have no desire to play through these mechanics with incremental changes over the next 6 months. I'll check back in a year to see if the game really has fundamentally become any better.
Sorry for the negativity, but "Avatar:TLA" design goals broke me. Good Luck with the game, and I mean that sincerely.