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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:43 am 
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Space Floater

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Last edited by solidcordon on Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:49 am 
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Space Krill

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Im seeing alot of ideas.
The problem is, many of them are very complex an time consumeing.

A 4x game is strategy first, because well your running an empire. The problem is, if the game is about strategy, i dont want 2 hour battles, hell i dont want 30 minute battles. Even the endgame battles shouldnt be takeing more than 5 minutes. A player only has so much time to give to a single session, and that means the game needs to be completed in that session. Its very unlikely someone has more than 4 hours to devote in a single sitting, so an average game needs to be at most around there(average, not huge galaxy 8 players etc.). That means if individual battles take 30 minutes then you only have time for 2-3 and thats still sucking up half the possible time for the strategic game.

I personally dont like strategic games that end with one decisive battle, i want a war to well be a war, with a long string of battles. Loseing this one, winning this one, reclaiming lost ground etc. Not just one single battle that invalidates the rest of the game.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:18 am 
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Pupating Mass
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Of couse a 4x game is about strategy, but many people (like me :) ) also like to test their tactical skills and ship designs in tactical battles. But a decent tactical battle will probably last longer than 5 Minutes IMHO, at least if more that a few ships are involved.
If your primary focus in the game is strategic empire managing, Whitemagebishieboy, you can always use the autoresolve option, which I think will be integrated into the game.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 4:09 am 
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Space Floater

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blah


Last edited by solidcordon on Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:01 pm 
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Krill Swarm

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I think these ideas sound great, adding a tactical & strategic dimension to take success in battle beyond a simple measure-vs-measure approach; as well as incorporating a level of luck that can swing in the favour of a weaker combatant. It also adds so much potential excitement, fear & realism. True sweaty-palms gameplay!

As I said in an earlier post, I think any good combat simulator needs to be referring to/modelling itself on the tried-and-tested historical strategic models of real-world warfare, and your reference to WWII acknowledges this.

Of course, it adds a ton of programming to development ... but whether it is taken up or not is not a contributor's decision. Our role is to provide ideas, not judge the practicality of them.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:58 pm 
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Space Floater

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I would recommend looking at any version of Harpoon (though the later version do get a bit complex). They are a modern naval combat simulator with some interesting features. It is NRTS, with the ability to adjust the time scale (from 1:1, up to several hours dilation). It has a huge scale, and makes finding the opponent as much a part of the battle as actually destroying them.

This can make assymetrical warfare much more feasible, especially if the defender knows the region well. They may have smaller ships, or few ships, or poor technology, but they may have minefields, and assets or bases hidden in asteriod belts, and well developed planetary defenses (which should always be difficult to overcome).


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:06 pm 
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Krill Swarm

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It goes without saying that, traditionally, games have swung in favour of offensive play, with powerful ships being able to all too easily overcome even massive planetary defences ... which is generally dull and disappointing.

Galactic Civilisations II allows for different victory conditions, which require defensive play to be as viable as offensive play.

So let's see more of that!!!

The idea of spending less time engaged in actual combat and more time hunting-out your enemy (or leading them into a trap) sounds more novel and fun than going straight into a face-to-face fight. I don't know of any space game that does that. FreeOrion needs something completely novel if it is to stand-out from the rest. Maybe this could be one novel aspect?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:52 pm 
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Large Juggernaut
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I like the approach of requiring the attacker to destroy planetary defenses before they can attack the planet. Or at the very least attacking with something that the defender can destroy before it does damage. and of course limiting the defnder to one spacestation per planet is retarded......

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 6:00 am 
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Cosmic Dragon
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If think as long as the player can build as many space stations/missile bases/fighter garrisons/ground batteries as wanted and customise them (just like can be done with ships), then this will ensure that offense and defense can be truly competitve.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 12:52 pm 
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Space Krill

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Greets all, just discovered this project today and nabbed it, I have to admit it looks slick so far (though clearly nowhere near completion).

I've skimmed over all this combat mechanics discussion - and I'd like to add that I think it's going to require a basic framework before any specifics can be laid out for real consideration --

That is, it's going to be a great deal easier to hammer out tactical specifics once it's clearer exactly how the basic framework is going to function. Tactics are going to rely on two things mainly:

1) The basic combat format being structured to allow the application of tactics.
2) Knowledge of the combat's basic framework in order to determine where the tactics can be applied.

I have to agree that I haven't ever really played a space-4X game where the tactic wasn't "Fly forward and open fire".

In MOO2 and MOO3, your ability to win combats relied extremely heavily on the ship design portion of the game, not the actual combat tactics (though there was some manuverability in the MOO2 system that didn't exist in the 3 system). This is why in both games the computer always always fell short and couldn't keep up - because a human being can always design a ship to defeat the computer's limited array of design schemes.

I'd like to see something a little different occur for Free Orion - and for building a system that demands tactics, the core of all tactical functions must be promoted: Making Decisions.

Somebody had mentioned things like unit upgrades and such. MOO2 had "levelling up" for veteran ships, but I felt it was a particularly underdeveloped feature. I feel that Civilization 4 pulled one of the best "Level Up" cards I had seen yet with its unit upgrade format. I think the same could be applied in Free Orion to great effect. Promoting units with situational upgrades that make the application of those units relevant.

However I always preferred MOO1's style of "giant groups of ships" functioning as one, to MOO2's individual ships in a gigantic array all demanding individual orders. I was happy that MOO3 returned to a more fleet oriented style, but deeply saddened that MOO3 wiped the board in the tactics department to do so - I don't think these things are mutually exclusive.

So I'll put up a suggestion to upgrade / promote units not by the ship, but by "Commanders". Think of it much like Civ4's unit promotions, you might select an upgrade like "Nebula Tactics I" that gives the attached fleet a bonus to combat rolls while fighting in a nebula. Or a "Advanced Fleet Manuvers" that might give the attached fleet a speed bonus on the galactic map. Commanders could be reassigned from one fleet to another, and when a fleet is eliminated, the commander is dead.

One fleet, one commander - One of the things I disliked about MOO3 was the inclination to build the largest fleets possible because they simply flat out worked better. But if you set a system where one fleet group has a single commander, you can set a gameplay style whereby a player who chooses to cultivate multiple commanders on the battlefield could have a distinct versatility advantage over one who focuses on a single "super commander". Yet a single super commander could provide an advantage with a single unified fleet. It would be entirely up to the player to determine how many commanders he wants to try and keep and cultivate. Adding choice - the fundamental element of tactics.

The overall jist is to keep the system relatively straightforward. You don't want too much a player to keep track of because then war management becomes tedious and annoying, but there should be great manueverability of decisions. Decision making is what establishes tactics in a game, and precisely the reason why MOO3 fails so miserably in the tactics department - there's only one decision to be made, how to design your ships; and once you're in combat your design either succeeds or fails.

MOO2 suffered from a somewhat similar problem, being that with a pretty predictable design scheme on the AI's part; you could build ships that would easily never lose, even with inferior technology equipped on them. The tactical breathing room existed primarily in the ship design system, and for Free Orion, that should definately not be the case.

Terrain
Weaponry Choice
Ship Design
Unit Upgrades
Etc.

There is plenty of places to gear the system so that each decision in those departments can affect the outcome of a battle.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 7:21 pm 
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Programming, Design, Admin
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Crimson wrote:
So I'll put up a suggestion to upgrade / promote units not by the ship, but by "Commanders". [...] Commanders could be reassigned from one fleet to another, and when a fleet is eliminated, the commander is dead.

Having RPG-like classes, stats, ability scores, levels and XP for leaders, which could include ships- and fleets-related skills, might be interseting. This might not need to be a separate concept from admirals for fleets, but instead just one of the options you can pick from for classes / skills for your leaders.

Quote:
One fleet, one commander

That might be a bit simplistic in design and consequently complicated in practice. If fleets can be regrouped (split up and rejoin in different ways) frequently, then there will be a lot of extra admirals / commanders created, and needing to be dealt with when their fleets are merged.

Quote:
One of the things I disliked about MOO3 was the inclination to build the largest fleets possible because they simply flat out worked better.

This is mostly because there's not much use for fleets other than fighting other fleets. We can have various other roles.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:16 pm 
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Cosmic Dragon
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
That might be a bit simplistic in design and consequently complicated in practice. If fleets can be regrouped (split up and rejoin in different ways) frequently, then there will be a lot of extra admirals / commanders created, and needing to be dealt with when their fleets are merged.

The other thing is that an alien race might not even have a system where one person orders another. There form of government might be one which does not allow commanders.

I think if you want to have experience, you just have to go with overall crew experience. You could make it so that crew experience allows between 0% and 10% bonus to weapon damage, ship speed, whatever. My reasoning for limiting the % bonus would be so that players who have been in lots of battles don't become too powerful.

I found this in Warcraft 3. I turtled for a little while, then the computer came and was much too strong because they had been beating all the other units. The only reason the computer beat me was because his units were more experienced, I had the same amount of units. I think that the computers units were too strong in my opinion, I couldn't drop even one of them.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:18 am 
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Space Krill

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Quote:
That might be a bit simplistic in design and consequently complicated in practice. If fleets can be regrouped (split up and rejoin in different ways) frequently, then there will be a lot of extra admirals / commanders created, and needing to be dealt with when their fleets are merged.


I think we can alleviate that by eliminating the assumption that a fleet must have a commander / admiral and that it automatically generates its own upon creation. The commander/admiral could be a seperately commissioned item that is then assigned to an already created fleet unit.

Quote:
The other thing is that an alien race might not even have a system where one person orders another. There form of government might be one which does not allow commanders.


Granted that's a valid point, but I think that just boils down a matter of semantics. Each race could just have a text string in its design template that tells you what to call the admiral-type unit. One race might have "Overlords" and another might have "Consultants" while yet another has "Augers" etc. Since that's pretty open ended, I think a format can be avoided in which an admiral assigned to a fleet necessarily demands that we imagine that individual is in complete control in the same style as human Admiral or Commander.

I think that single command units works better than crew experience for a couple reasons. The first is that reassignable units provides better flexibility, more decisions, than relying on a single starship that "kicks butt". The second is that its a bit more enthralling and while it could echo of micromanagement at times, if the commanders have to be produced / trained with the same kind of effort it make take to build additional ships, one's individual playstyle might lean more towards the simplicity route of just building more ships provided that a command unit isn't staggeringly mighty.

An alternate way to do much the same thing is to have it so that rather than individual units earning experience, your Empire as a whole earns combat experience which can be used to purchase "officers" that each have some ability that they add to the fleet / colony / whatever to which they are assigned. The officers are just nameless clones that can be moved to any place you wish. You might see an interface that looks something like this:

"Available Combat Experience: 221"

"Commission Officers"
"Navigation: Deep Space Expert - 10"
"Navigation: Nebula Expert - 10"
"Navigation: Wormhole Expert - 10"
"Tactical: Beam Weapons Expert - 10"

And so on. That kind of system also emulates a level up system, but with more direct flexibility.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:41 am 
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Cosmic Dragon
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I would like a system where you design into the ship, crew. So crew take up space (their quarters), but they provide bonuses to certain ship specialties or abilities.

eg
Ship 1 has:
* 1 Commander -each 50 space, +10% increase in other crew bonuses
* 2 Gunners -each 50 space, +10% bonus to hit
* 1 Navigator -each 50 space, Scan Range increased +10%
* 5 Security -each 50 space, Ship Boarding Combat Defense +10%

Ship 2 has:
* 2 Commanders -each 50 space, +10% increase in other crew bonuses
* 1 Gunners -each 50 space, +10% bonus to hit
* 1 Engineer -each 50 space, Engines Repair in combat
* 1 Telepath -each 50 space, 5% chance of enemy ship taking 50 damage each turn, 5% chance of enemy ship changing direction/moving away
* 5 Marines -each 50 space, Ship Boarding Combat Offense +10%

It would be more of a position on the ship, so built into the ship. So it does not mean that you only have 1 telepath, you get one with the ship, but if it dies, the position is filled, based on availability of crew. Of course you can only have a telepath if you have the technology/racial trait.

Whether some crew are actually compulsory is unclear, I mean we could make it so the player has to have at least X commanders, X gunners, X Engineers, etc but it would depend on how fun that would be. Some ships that are controlled by some central homeworld computer, eg hive mind would have no crew, except terminator robots for ship boarding defense.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:17 am 
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Space Krill

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In that regard it sounds like what you're aiming at might be better as a distinct feature of ship design. That is you create the optimal crew compliment as a feature of the design.

How it would relate to combat experience I am not positive, but that can be discussed.

Your post actually got me to thinking that "Crew" might in fact be a pretty tactical feature of ship to ship combat. If one heads in the MOO2 individual ship direction over the MOO1 stack of ships direction - adding the ability to pack weapons design to kill crew members instead of destroying ships might be a rather interesting dimension to integrate into ship to ship combat. Radiation weaponry and such could provide an interesting alternative to missiles and railguns.

So a path that designs multiple distinct ways to lose a fight also creates multiple distinct strategies by which you could win a fight. Having to scramble to refit your ships because you run into a fleet of unmanned ships that your radiation weapons are powerless against would indeed be an interesting dimension to gameplay.

Quote:
Some ships that are controlled by some central homeworld computer, eg hive mind would have no crew, except terminator robots for ship boarding defense.


I'm gonna nitpick that since I'm good at it. If a ship was controlled by a central computer, why would it have decks at all. Nobody can board a ship if there is nothing inside the ship to merit boarding it, so I figure automated marines would be wholly unnecessary for a mechanical / computer directed race. Getting hacked sure would be a bummer though.


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