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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:10 pm 
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IMO at this stage it should be pretty much irrelevant whether combat is rendered in 3D or not (assuming we're not going for homeworld style full 3D movement) - the combat resolution engine should be the thing to worry about - and it should be something that works equally well with a simple 2 polygon system that fancy 3D models can be pasted onto at a later date.

I think what i'm trying to get at is dont let the combat mechanics be driven by the need to show off your spaceship models (looks pointedly at SotS).

Also, i agree with pretty much everything sandlapper has said on this topic, particularly with the use of defensive advantages to reduce the number of irrelevant combats.

Having said that, its always kind of annoyed me how you never get much in the way of combat in the early parts of the game - and so large chunks of the tech tree rarely get to see the light of day, when was the last time you had a Moo1/Moo2 combat involving lasers and nuclear missiles?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:22 pm 
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Daveybaby wrote:
I think what i'm trying to get at is dont let the combat mechanics be driven by the need to show off your spaceship models (looks pointedly at SotS).

Much agreement.
Flashy graphics can dazzle, and get commercial sales, but for FO to grow we need solid underlying game-play that can keep people interested— even while using junky preliminary graphics.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:41 pm 
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Daveybaby wrote:
when was the last time you had a Moo1/Moo2 combat involving lasers and nuclear missiles?

Well in Moo2 nuclear missiles are the abused early game weapon in multiplayer. Though the AI never uses lasers or nuclear missiles, you might still find yourself using them. And I have seen an AI using both in their ships.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:15 am 
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Daveybaby

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Having said that, its always kind of annoyed me how you never get much in the way of combat in the early parts of the game - and so large chunks of the tech tree rarely get to see the light of day, when was the last time you had a Moo1/Moo2 combat involving lasers and nuclear missiles?


If we do have defensive advantages in the context I proposed, I would imagine that in the very early stages of the land rush for systems, that there would be a brief, yet intense, amount of combat to take/defend systems until those defensive advantages are built.

In multiplayer, in paticular, human players know from the start that those defensive advantages are going to kick in soon, and this should lead to some early heated exchanges (and use those lasers and nuclear missles). I'm not sure how well the computer AI will be programmed to be initially sufficiently aggressive in anticipation of the coming defensive bonus.

If more frequency of early combat is desired, we could delay the defensive bonus by two, or three tech levels before they kick in (however, as I just mentioned, this could hinder the computer AI. Humans adjust early, in anticipation,, AI adjusts only after first contact with bonus).


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:45 am 
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utilae wrote:
Daveybaby wrote:
when was the last time you had a Moo1/Moo2 combat involving lasers and nuclear missiles?

Well in Moo2 nuclear missiles are the abused early game weapon in multiplayer. Though the AI never uses lasers or nuclear missiles, you might still find yourself using them. And I have seen an AI using both in their ships.
And God help us if somebody gets out Nuclear missiles with MIRV and armor. :D THE early game choice for getting rid of monsters.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 3:24 am 
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Sandlapper wrote:
...in the very early stages of the land rush for systems, that there would be a brief, yet intense, amount of combat to take/defend systems until those defensive advantages are built.

This is reasonable sounding, but needs to be thought of in a larger context of ebb and flow between offensive and defensive advantage throughout the game.

For context, consider Advance Wars and Battle for Wesnoth, and World War I trenches.

In AW, there are Commanding Officer Powers, which take some time to "charge up", but make a significant change to the strategic balance of the game when used. Often the use of a CO power is very effective in breaking a stalemate between opposing well-fortified armies. This allows an attack to overcome what would otherwise be a defense too strong to make attacking strategically effective. However, a few turns later, the opposing side will have charged up their CO power, and can often counterattack. This back and forth from powers keeps things from getting to dug in, but means there's still use in setting up defensive formations.

In BfW, ever few turns, the time switches between night and day. During the night, evil/chaotic units get bonuses to damage, and lawful/good units are penalized. Conversely, during the day, lawful/good are at the advantage. By switching back and forth between these, there's an ongoing interesting and fun tug of war between the two sides (assuming the sides are differently aligned). If good, one must do attacking and finish during the day, then get set up to defend without being too vulnerable during the night counterattack. Similar to Advance Wars, this keeps things changing and interesting.

Compare to the trenches of WWI. In this case, there was an extended period in which defense (the machine gun) was more effective than offense (infantry, cavalry, etc.). Attacking was generally suicide, so instead of attacking, everyone just defended... by making trenches that barely moved for months at a time... Or so my uninformed reading would lead me to believe, anyway.

So... for FreeOrion, the point is that we need to have a similar ebb and flow over the course of a game, between advantage to attack and advantage to defense or turtling. We don't have any simple analogue to day or night, or CO powers on a strategiscale. So, likely we'll want the balance of each plateu of tech advancement to swing back and forth between offense, defense, and various other nonmilitary strategies in some varying combinations. Doing this will hopefully keep things from getting scale and repetative.

Also, we could add stuff, particularly near the late game, that's analogous to CO powers... several turn charge up powerful effects, or buildings that do particularly notable stuff.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:43 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
....
Compare to the trenches of WWI. In this case, there was an extended period in which defense (the machine gun) was more effective than offense (infantry, cavalry, etc.). Attacking was generally suicide, so instead of attacking, everyone just defended... by making trenches that barely moved for months at a time... Or so my uninformed reading would lead me to believe, anyway.

So... for FreeOrion, the point is that we need to have a similar ebb and flow over the course of a game, between advantage to attack and advantage to defense or turtling. We don't have any simple analogue to day or night, or CO powers on a strategiscale. So, likely we'll want the balance of each plateu of tech advancement to swing back and forth between offense, defense, and various other nonmilitary strategies in some varying combinations. Doing this will hopefully keep things from getting scale and repetative.

Well said. A game where planetary defense is like trench warfare would be dull. There needs to be a tendency to ebb and flow.


But i fear we are beginning to veer from the topic.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:54 am 
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Haven't played AW or BfW, but both concepts sound great. As for WW1, the trench stalemate was eventually broken by new tech, primarily the british tanks and the new high fire of rate, recoiless (thus accurate) french howitzers.

I like the early defensive bonus, to limit irrelavent conflicts, and allow empire developement, however late game should definately have offensive bonuses to let the best empire reach a descisive victory. I like the alternating CO concept.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:33 am 
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Tyreth wrote:
• How important is combat to the whole game?

I suppose we could slightly tweak this question to ask,
"Should the grand combat confrontation usually happen in the final stages of the tech tree, or is any point in middle-late game a likely point for a combat victory?"

I haven't considered the question much yet, but i'd tend to think to keep empires on their toes, it technology should allow a military victory at various points of the mid-late game.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:50 am 
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eleazar wrote:
...i'd tend to think to keep empires on their toes, it technology should allow a military victory at various points of the mid-late game.

Usually you can't win any sort of victory until the mid-to-late game. However that doesn't mean you aren't involved in various activities related to achieving that victory throughout the whole period of the game... Any sort of conquest (by force, trade, influence, etc.) is unlikely to happen suddenly during the mid or late game. Rather, in this case, you'd be fighting wars throughout the whole game, but would only be able to actually do enough conquering to win by the later stages of the game.

Being able to win doesn't really keep someone on their toes though... Rather, it's being able to lose at any time that does that. Even if it takes until the late game to win by any means, it can be possible for many empires to have lost in the earlier stages. For military conquest, each empire that is conquered leading up to a military win has lost, and was apparently not toes-on-enough.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:16 am 
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I think it would be great for combat to move through different paradigms based on technology.

I imagine it could go something like this:
Early Game - Weapon A / Weapon B / Weapon C in this paradigm.
Mid Game - Weapon D / Weapon E / Weapon F in this paradigm.
Late Game - Weapon G / Weapon H / Weapon I in this paradigm.
Very Late Game - Weapon J / Weapon K / Weapon L in this paradigm.

Maybe there would be cross paradigm counters, eg something from early game is effective in late game through refinement or simply because late game paradigms have ignored a specific tactical weakness.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:39 am 
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Tyreth wrote:
Combat should be important, but other paths to victory should be playable. Combat will not hold the central role it does in Total War games, but it will be important nonetheless.

Battles should not take long to complete, thinking of times around 5-10 minutes at the most.

Combat will take place whenever a player chooses, but will play very quickly for small forces.

OK, we've addressed combat's share of the game's time, but what about combat's share of the game's complexity? In other words, if we made a FO manual, how much a share would combat/ship building take up? Now that i think of it, the question of the relative complexity of combat is over all more relevant to the design thread.

So far, i'd judge that (from a player's perspective) research is the most involved, of the approved portions of FO. It is IMHO more complex than research in MoO1,2. (and i theoretically like it better) Managing planets looks like it will be simpler than MoO1,2. Terraforming also looks to be pretty simple.

But from many posts in the combat design threads, many people seem to want combat and ship design that is many times more involved than FO's currently most involved aspect— Research. Sometimes i get excited by the possibilities of adding "feature X" to the game, but other times it seems the intricacies of all the "feature X"s proposed for combat could take it beyond the level of simplification that FO has so far aimed for.



Or to put it another way: There seems to be a tendency to ask, "What are all the features that could be added to combat?"
When instead perhaps we should be asking, "What features can we take away from combat without making it lame?"

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:22 pm 
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I don`t know if this conversation has already ended, but since I was gone when it was most active I am going to add my comments.

I would like to think that combat would be at least as important as it was in MOO2, but this doesn`t mean that other ways to victory shouldn´t be important as they at least in my opinion where not in MOO2.

I think that it is quite hard to answer questions like how often combat occurs, without the diplomacy system and the knowledge from the races that will be in the game. Now if you are in a war with your neighbour for example then there probably will be frequent combat as the other side is attacking you or you are attacking it. Also if there are a lot of war hungry races in your galaxy and near you then there probably will also be a lot more wars and combat than if you are surrounded by some peace loving scientists.

However I would like to think that the diplomacy system will be so effective that even if you are surrounded by war hungry races you can effectively hold the peace with those empires most of the time or at least find similarly acting allies so you can concentrate on research or some other way to victory which you would like to choose.

My whole idea is based on the assumption that the diplomacy system will be a really working one where the AI will understand its position in the galaxy and work accordingly. Now I don`t know if this kind of system is possible to be done, since in most games that I have played the AI makes very questionable decisions and at least with the more challenging difficulty settings it can be clearly seen that the AI is not commanding a real feeling space empire or nation, but is only concentrated on destroying the player. But I think that an AI which truly understands its situation in the galaxy is the only real way to achieve a " a living, breathing universe " as it is mentioned in the Vision Statement.

Tyreth wrote:
Combat should be important, but other paths to victory should be playable. Combat will not hold the central role it does in Total War games, but it will be important nonetheless.

Battles should not take long to complete, thinking of times around 5-10 minutes at the most.

Combat will take place whenever a player chooses, but will play very quickly for small forces.

I'm going to close this thread shortly.


Now about the combat length. Personally I think that the most important thing in space combat is the way it is balanced so that it won`t be like in MOO3 where you spend most of your time looking for enemy ships and then maybe 20 seconds watching when your carefully designed and ages been built fleet was being wiped out by the enemy ships. So like I already have said in some other thread I would like to see the clear effect of new technology in the battles so that you won`t need an atomic watch to notice the difference between your old and new shield versions. Also if the actual battle is too short then there won`t be much use for tactical elements since your ships are already destroyed before you have had time to come up with any short of plan on how to use your ships against enemy formations.

Now I am not saying that the 5-10 minutes time frame is a bad thing. I just hope that the content of the battles will be more important than some tight time limit.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:03 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
OK, we've addressed combat's share of the game's time, but what about combat's share of the game's complexity? In other words, if we made a FO manual, how much a share would combat/ship building take up? Now that i think of it, the question of the relative complexity of combat is over all more relevant to the design thread.

So far, i'd judge that (from a player's perspective) research is the most involved, of the approved portions of FO. It is IMHO more complex than research in MoO1,2. (and i theoretically like it better) Managing planets looks like it will be simpler than MoO1,2. Terraforming also looks to be pretty simple.

But from many posts in the combat design threads, many people seem to want combat and ship design that is many times more involved than FO's currently most involved aspect— Research. Sometimes i get excited by the possibilities of adding "feature X" to the game, but other times it seems the intricacies of all the "feature X"s proposed for combat could take it beyond the level of simplification that FO has so far aimed for.

Or to put it another way: There seems to be a tendency to ask, "What are all the features that could be added to combat?"
When instead perhaps we should be asking, "What features can we take away from combat without making it lame?"


Now this is the sort of thing that I am most afraid of in the Freeorion development process that is everything being done so macro that the game becomes more of a movie than a game and so the player feels he/she has very little control over what is happening in the universe.

The main reason why I would buy a game like this is the ability to really feel that you can control a real space empire. Now I do realize that a real world emperor probably wouldn`t use his time on designing ships etc. but the great thing in games like these has always been for me the ability to do all sorts of interesting things. So the reason why I am hoping for a rather complex space combat is that at least for me the space combat belongs to the "interesting things that you can do category" and so I would want to have as much options in it as possible.

So what I would like to see instead of making everything too macro would be as much interesting options offered to the player as possible with a relatively simple interface so the options would be easy to understand and to use.

Now once again I am not saying that eleazar`s suggestion would take the space combat to a too macro level, but this post just seemed like a perfect opportunity to answer the question why at least I am hoping for a rather complex space combat and other future things.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:23 am 
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MikkoM wrote:
Now this is the sort of thing that I am most afraid of in the Freeorion development process that is everything being done so macro that the game becomes more of a movie than a game and so the player feels he/she has very little control over what is happening in the universe.

Huh? The player makes all the decisions. However FO tries to only present the player with significant decisions, rather than overloading the game with more decision than most people can deal with and then putting an AI on it. There will be no sitting back and watching the AI do your job for you, as things happen outside of your understanding and control.

I dare-say the macro approach FO is taking will create empires that the player can truly control, since the consequences of any decision should be more apparent in a game without many superfluous decisions.

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