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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:26 pm 
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The idea of a ship having no buffer between the first bit of damage, and the first degradation of function, isn't what you first expect from sci-fi battles, but after thinking it over more, i like it. If shields must be destroyed before armor can be hurt, and armor must be destroyed before operating systems can be hurt, you have 2 functionally redundant systems, shields and armor. They both do essentially the same thing. Sure most games make up special rules/weapons that can effect or bypass one or the other, but that doesn't change the fundamentals.

So i like geoff's proposed system, it eliminates unneeded complexity.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
Adjusting in-battle ship speed by health / integrity / damage is fine; I hadn't though of it. Reducing stealth and detection ability would also make sense.

Perhaps indirect fire weapons, including missiles and fighters, shouldn't be reduced in attack power by damage to their ship. Damage could instead reduce some other aspect of those weapons, such as firing / launch rate, or have no effect in some cases.
Makes sense. Probably any other function should be reduced in effectiveness in one way or another.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
LR weapons in a couple places are described as "missiles". IMHO it is easier to intuit that a energy weapon would dissipate over a short distance, than that a missile would stop functioning.

This was dropping some implementation into a design discussion. I was talking about a missile detonating; it would have be right next to a target.

OK, i don't especially want to talk about weapon range. But then what does this mean?:
geoff wrote:
Beam weapons can hit from further away.

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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:34 pm 
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Obviously the player doesn't need to know the exact formula, but if the player isn't expected to know or care about something, then it probably shouldn't be in the game.
Speaking as an anticipatory player -- I have to disagree with that thought.

I think perhaps you guys are far too focused on the idea of how combat will be in end-game scenarios. And that's justifiable. Games get habitually bogged down at end-game time because the designers never focused on how end-game functions would work, where you would have hundreds or thousands (!!) of units manually controlled on either side.

However, and this is the point that I was trying to make that seems to be totally un-noticed so far -- so I will refocus on it -- there's no need for this to be an either-or situation.

The keyword for this post is: scalability. In early combats, a player is going to hoard every last little bit of their vessels. They're going to find the game enriched by having all those extra details -- //precisely// because there's only going to be perhaps three to five ships total in the whole combat. So having that drillability there allows the player to make more informed decisions and perhaps squeeze out that extra vital bit in early games, where it matters more.

In mid-range games, this is only likely to come up near the end of combats where the various sides have had their combat abilities reduced due to simple attrition. Here, we're looking at perhaps fifty vessels in the entire thing -- and they're probably unitized into three or four actual fleets. So this is where having multiple criteria being available by drill-report accessible from a side-bar to the actual area where combat is occurring (with each being reported as either one //single// meter which averages all the things together, or shows the highest/lowest value -- w/ the player being able to choose, and these meters showing above/below/beside the individual vessels) would turn this /complicated/ reporting into something that takes less than a second to evaluate for the entire array of forces on your side.

In very late games, where your fleets are over-sized, there won't be that many more units (fleets) but they will contain more values -- so you would of course need //fleet// averages/reports. If we're going to allow ship radar/stealth or speed to be reduced, that's something that the player is going to want to be able to 'detect' -- after all, it lets the player know which ships to remove from his fleets. It could be as simple as pausing the combat for a second, bringing up a report which shows which ships have damaged engines, selecting them all and putting them in a "reserve" fleet -- this would then speed up the rest of their fleets and allow for a strong sense of combat simulation where tactical decisions must be re-evaluated based on the viability of your vessels.

(That touches on another thing; would fleets be re-organizable in mid-combat? Regrouping is a very common practice in real-world battles. It could be done with hotkeys and group selection, to make it relatively quick and easy -- just reserve the "qwerty" row for fleet assignments, and then allow the player a way to select either manually or by drop-down report, if my suggestion were to be used.)

The point of all this? We want combats to take 4-5 minutes, at end-game //and// at start-game. If we maximize only for that 4-5 minutes at start-game time, then the early-game combats will be nearly automated, and could be totally ignored.

I, for one, would simply not enjoy that. It's too disenfranchising at far too vital a stage in the games. (With my playing style in particular -- in MoO I & II; in Civ I, II, III, IV, Freeciv, and CTP, the earliest stages of the game are usually the most questionable parts. The later stage stuff mostly consists of mop-up. MoO III was really the same way, but only because combat really just became "build up and send another wave". Blargh.)

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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:01 pm 
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I agree, however I think that the current is good for 0.4

Eventually I'd like to see
Individual sytems having different levels of damage (probably simply damaged y/n per system)
Accuracy/evasion issues
Changes in damage with Range (as opposed to a cutoff)
Weapons that have differing degrees of Penetration/Damage

That can make the early game important on an individual ship level... that then can be ignored on a larger fleet level.

The player should always know the formulas and be able to do them (if they are so inclined). Hard cutoff points are generally better than complicated mathematical soft cutoff points.


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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:19 pm 
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Krikkitone wrote:
I agree, however I think that the current is good for 0.4

Eventually I'd like to see
Individual sytems having different levels of damage (probably simply damaged y/n per system)
Accuracy/evasion issues
Changes in damage with Range (as opposed to a cutoff)
Weapons that have differing degrees of Penetration/Damage

That can make the early game important on an individual ship level... that then can be ignored on a larger fleet level.

The player should always know the formulas and be able to do them (if they are so inclined). Hard cutoff points are generally better than complicated mathematical soft cutoff points.


I kind of feel the same way.

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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:23 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
...what does this mean?:
geoff wrote:
Beam weapons can hit from further away.

A ship can fire a beam weapon even if it's not at the same location as its target. This is unlike a missile, which must be at the location of its target to hit it (by exploding). This does not mean the hip that launched the missile needs to be at the location of the target.

IConrad wrote:
In early combats, a player is going to hoard every last little bit of their vessels. They're going to find the game enriched by having all those extra details -- //precisely// because there's only going to be perhaps three to five ships total in the whole combat. So having that drillability there allows the player to make more informed decisions and perhaps squeeze out that extra vital bit in early games, where it matters more.

There is more to a ship than just it's health and shield meters and its weapon power... The ship has a design with various parts in it that the player can configure (before building) and various other statistics (exactly what is to be determined). So there are more details that the player can look into if so inclined than the original post might suggest...

Also, what I'm proposing is for v0.4, and possibly for v1.0. This doesn't mean we can never add more complexity to the battle mechanics later. But for a first iteration, we don't really need anything more complicated than what I'm proposing.

But to justify adding more, we need a pretty good reason relating to what sorts of strategic decisions or situations the additional complexity would allow or encourage. So, when or how would having additional detail in damage tracking than % loss in power for % damage to the ship make possible more interesting strategic decisions during ship combat?


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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:21 pm 
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Quote:
A ship can fire a beam weapon even if it's not at the same location as its target. This is unlike a missile, which must be at the location of its target to hit it (by exploding). This does not mean the hip that launched the missile needs to be at the location of the target.
Is it just me, or does this seem kinda backwards to the way I understand space combat to be?

I'll put it in terms of targetting. A beam cannot 'self-correct'; it is a linear striking weapon which in most cases is travelling at near-light speeds. This requires you to know /exactly/ where the target vessel is going to be at the moment your beam weapon will be in range. A missile, on the other hand, will track and guide itself to be closer to the target. This means, targetting-wise, you have to aim for exactly the target with a beam-weapon, but you only have to aim in the 'general vicinity' of the target w/ a missile-weapon. (Less, if its self-correction & range permit). Now, if we're discussing FTL beam weapons (It's possible; here I imagine some sort of spatial distortion wave a la the Alcubierre Drive with a nasty little pocket of plasma contained within) then you still need to know where the target is now. Am I just reading this incorrectly?

Quote:
So, when or how would having additional detail in damage tracking than % loss in power for % damage to the ship make possible more interesting strategic decisions during ship combat?


Well, one very good example off the top of my head is if you have purpose-oriented fleets, and the ability to re-group during combat. If we have general degradation of just % loss in weapons for % damage total, then you never need to make tactical decisions about which fleets to put forward for sensing or scouting purposes. You just pull back your most damaged fleets and rotate out who takes which pounding. Simple, not much in the way of ingenuity. You never progress beyond the massed line or echelon strategically speaking. (I.e.; you put out just enough of your troops to keep the bulk of their busy, and then bulk your troops against one section of theres). In this case, you put all your 'power punching' weapon ships into two fleets, and leave the others for point-defense and sensing. Let the point-defense/sensor groups to get pounded by the enemy ships, and combine your two "power" fleets one at a time against the enemy's. That's the natural evolution of using a close association between ship health and overall damage-dealing capacity.

While FO is definitely not meant to be a combat simulator or wargame, I don't feel that this does the genre justice. IF you allow for a heightened degree of complexity, you have to begin to choose between whether you want specialized fleets which run the risk of being immobilized for their specific purpose (point-defense fleets that are slowed down by having some ships' engines damaged -- a problem which could be 'solved' by re-grouping the slower ships out of the fleet) or having very generic fleets which don't excel at any given function. It allows for player ingenuity to crop up in the form of non-linear logic -- you could also take your slowed point-defense fleet and leave it in a "forward" position and then move your less-well defended but swifter fleets back into the range of your point-defense unit because you're using short-range weapons, or just link your assault fleet and your point-defense fleet together and not move much because you're already using long-range weapons yourself.

The //absolute// key of course is to keep the level of reporting necessary to make sound decisions on the part of the player as simple as possible.

I am, however, a //huge// fan of 'optional complexity'. (That is, let people who //want// complexity be able to draw it out -- and if they //want// to have longer combats, they can. But you don't /have/ to do so in order to play the game basically as well.)

And while this naturally gives the player a potential 'advantage' over an AI -- because it's damned near impossible to program an AI to think non-linearly this way, you could simply program it at core to pick from a list of strategies at seeding and then give it "cheats" based on difficulty settings. (That thing about regenerating ship part structure for AI's).

It also throws a bit of a loop into the game overall. Every once in a while you might have a whole combat decided by a ship having it's engine blown out at an inopportune (or /very/ opportune) time. While as a negative this can be extremely vexing, it's also something that seems "natural" about combat in general. "The fortunes of war" after all. I wouldn't want the entire game to be deterministic just because we want to avoid complexity.

Quote:
Also, what I'm proposing is for v0.4, and possibly for v1.0. This doesn't mean we can never add more complexity to the battle mechanics later. But for a first iteration, we don't really need anything more complicated than what I'm proposing.
More than fair. What I'm suggesting seems like it would be a lot tougher to code and buggier to boot -- more opportunities to go wrong. I just don't feel that the idea of linking structure % to weapon strength % directly is "worthy" of the kind of game that FO seems to be shaping into.

It makes sense for a MoO I -era game. But I have this problem of thinking of FO as being ever so much more than that. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:11 pm 
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IConrad wrote:
In early combats, a player is going to hoard every last little bit of their vessels. They're going to find the game enriched by having all those extra details -- //precisely// because there's only going to be perhaps three to five ships total in the whole combat. So having that drillability there allows the player to make more informed decisions and perhaps squeeze out that extra vital bit in early games, where it matters more.

In the bolded section you have it backwards. Having simpler game mechanics so that the player can take in all the info more or less at a glance, is the ultimate way to allow informed decisions. The more fully a player understands the mechanics, the better strategies he can devise, and thus eek out a win in a tough spot.

Of course having a great, usable GUI is always going to make understanding easier, but no-one is arguing for a bad GUI. There probably will be different ways to emphasize different information on the battle field, but you shouldn't have to continually flip through different views to know what's going on.


IConrad wrote:
If we're going to allow ship radar/stealth or speed to be reduced, that's something that the player is going to want to be able to 'detect' -- after all, it lets the player know which ships to remove from his fleets.

With the proposed system it's easy to detect. If the ship is 50% damaged, then radar, weapons, engines, probably all functions are at 50%.

IConrad wrote:
selecting them all and putting them in a "reserve" fleet -- this would then speed up the rest of their fleets and allow for a strong sense of combat simulation where tactical decisions must be re-evaluated based on the viability of your vessels.

There's nothing in any of the proposals that makes this more or less possible.

IConrad wrote:
(That touches on another thing; would fleets be re-organizable in mid-combat? Regrouping is a very common practice in real-world battles.
quite possibly. how grouping works is scheduled to be evaluated after we have something testable.

IConrad wrote:
We want combats to take 4-5 minutes, at end-game //and// at start-game. If we maximize only for that 4-5 minutes at start-game time, then the early-game combats will be nearly automated, and could be totally ignored.

I don't follow. 4-6 mins is the desired maximum length of combat (which i didn't make clear earlier). I don't think there's a good way to make most early-game combats take that long, nor is it necessarily desirable.
Nor do i see why a shorter combat is "nearly automated". You have many of the same tactical choices with 5 different kinds of ships at one of each kind, as you do when you have 50 of each kind. Additionally there are a variety of goals each player may have in a battle, and guessing what your enemy is up to and trying to block his probable intentions is about as interesting at either end.

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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:30 am 
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Quote:
In the bolded section you have it backwards. Having simpler game
mechanics so that the player can take in all the info more or less at a
glance, is the ultimate way to allow informed decisions. The more fully
a player understands the mechanics, the better strategies he can devise,
and thus eek out a win in a tough spot.

Bolded section being: "So having that drillability there allows the
player to make more informed decisions and perhaps squeeze out that
extra vital bit in early games, where it matters more." (Repeated for
ease of reading).

I could not disagree more. Simplified game mechanics does not permit
inherently for better strategization; it instead limits the range of
available strategies. Simplified reporting allows for better informed
decisions, and simplified mechanics does inherently make for
simplified reporting. But complex mechanics is not inherently linked to
complex reporting. That's what I'm talking about w/ scalability.

What this means is that, in an early game, while you might know
//exactly// what's going on there's no options available to you to "eek
out a win in a tough spot." If you have five ships and the enemy has
five ships, each of which are equal, and the other guy hits you first
three of your ships to 75% strength, you have instantly dropped in
firing power and survivability by 15%. If you immediately return fire
you're only going to do 85% as much. There really isn't much,
tactically, you can do about that.

Quote:
Of course having a great, usable GUI is always going to make
understanding easier, but no-one is arguing for a bad GUI. There
probably will be different ways to emphasize different information on
the battle field, but you shouldn't have to continually flip through
different views to know what's going on.
Of course not. But one
could always give summarized reports by including averages -- i.e.;
allow for multiple items to be selected in the drop-down; so you can see
how both ship speeds and weapons are doing as an average (one bar that
shows the overall of both, which is the lowest -- whatever the player
prefers). You could even use mini-icons which are colored and show how
the average is for each fleet. Speed, weapons, sensors, etc. -- and
have that underneath the 'health bar'. (White = 'good (100%-75%)',
green = 'okay (74%-50%')', yellow = 'poor (49%-25%) , red = 'failing
(24%-1%)', black = 'gone (0%)' -- and you could then allow the
drop-downs to select which icons the player cares about having
underneath the bar, and what level the player wants to see these things
at. (Individual ships or fleet average). This, again, puts the
information there but allows the player to assess it very quickly
without it getting in the way of the flow of the game -- which of
/course/ is the primary concern.

Quote:
There's nothing in any of the proposals that makes this more or
less possible.
This being: "allow for a strong sense of combat
simulation where tactical decisions must be re-evaluated based on the
viability of your vessels." Well, certainly. But it's a question of just how much that sense is enriched? The series of choices one must make is between "This ship is at 50% capacity. Pull it back or let it be sacrificed?" And "This ship has all its weapons but it can only move at half speed. Do I leave it behind and blast until destroyed or do I hold it in reserve and lure the enemy in to me?" -- again, it's the //range// of options one is left with when damage is recorded variably from one system to another. You could easily scale that up to higher-level events.

The key is, how quickly can this information be processed? //that// is where decision-making delays can come in. Nobody wants to turn the game into a button-masher, but if combat maintains a relatively quick pace at all times then I'm pretty sure that the 4-6 minute range can be maintained.

Quote:
I don't follow. 4-6 mins is the desired maximum length of combat (which i didn't make clear earlier). I don't think there's a good way to make most early-game combats take that long, nor is it necessarily desirable.
THIS -- *This* is the crux of our conversational difficulties. I'm //offering// a mechanism to make it wholly viable. And yes, it /is/ desirable to have early and later combats be roughly equivalent in length and levels of decision making. I stand as living proof of exactly that. The key to it is to think in terms of scalability. Allow the player the opportunity, at earlier levels, to be more in-depth and micromanaging. But as the scale of the game expands, decrease the "depth" of the management by leaving filters and grouping mechanisms in place that can be utilized as managing fleets becomes too complicated.

I'll give you one extremely good example of what I mean. I assume that ships having the ability to repair themselves is something we're going to include into the game, on whatever level. (Frankly, since everyone uses that -- in my experience -- it makes more sense to include it automatically and have techs/widgets that modify the rate.) At the early-stage micromanagement level you have the ability to go in and tell ships which system to focus on repairing first. At later stages, you let ships repair based on the weakest system in a running evaluation. (Weakest until it equals next-weakest, then both until they reach next weakest, and so on). That is a scalable feature of gameplay. As your fleets get larger and larger, you automate your decisions. You could, for example, assign one fleet the responsibility of maintaining it's weapon strength at the cost of all else -- 'cause you've decided you want to pound the enemy into dust as quickly as possible. OR, you could decided that you're loosing too much in the ability to sense them, so you assign that. OR, you feel you don't want to make that decision at all and let the 'averaging' mechanism do its thing on its own -- which would in fact average out /my/ proposed system into the one currently being followed w/. That's what I mean by re-emphasizing scalability. Sure, it'd take a little more playtesting to keep it to that 4-6 min combat times (Which optimally would be more like 2-3 min) -- but for one, I feel it would be worth it. Again, I'm just a noob. I know I have no control over the shape of the game. I just get to play it. :)


Quote:
Nor do i see why a shorter combat is "nearly automated". You have many of the same tactical choices with 5 different kinds of ships at one of each kind, as you do when you have 50 of each kind. Additionally there are a variety of goals each player may have in a battle, and guessing what your enemy is up to and trying to block his probable intentions is about as interesting at either end.
A shorter combat is "nearly automated" for the reasons I outlined above w/ five equal ships on either side. Basically that would boil down to who got the first shot off / who was luckiest with damage totals. There's really very little you can do.

And since we're (By which of course I mean the Code Gods and us puny players) going to be building a game where everyone's fleet strengths start out equivalent to one another -- balanced, anyhow -- then this is a major issue. You might as well, according to this logic, use the automated resolution found in GalCiv (or any of the Civ & Civ-likes for that matter) for the early combats. While, yes, players can choose to move around a deal, at the very early stages (especially when it's one scout v. one scout) these things are essentially non-existent.

And I cannot tell you how many times in MoO I I had to save/re-start when I was running early games because I refused to be the one whose scout fled, and lost the possible resource-advantage that went to the first player to explore a system. These are the kinds of edges I'm talking about. :) I know, I know; FO isn't MoO. I'm just using an analogous situation to describe where my sense of importance for this is coming from.

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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:48 am 
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I'll try to summarize my understandings. All ships have Shields, Armor and Structure (or Health/HP/SI/Hull whatever, I like structure) Most weapons must break through Shields and Armor before they can cause Structure damage. A ship's performance (Accuracy, Speed, Stealth, Detection etc.) is directly linked to its Structure, a ship at 50% Structure operates at 50% capacity and so on.

Well for starters, I went ahead and mocked up a concept for a status bar showing (downwards) Shields, Armor and Health.
Image
The Green Structure meter obviously should stand out as it is the most important, and when it goes down it fades to yellow at 50%, Orange at 30% and Red at 10%. The bar would show up under each ship, the whole thing would be quite small only ten or twenty pixels top to bottom, and the bars could be toggled to always show for all ships, selected ships only, or only when the mouse is hovering over them (or their Squadron if they are grouped)

Well just to add some mechanics I'd suggest making all weapons have a slight piercing ability, so even a laser cannon doing only 10% damage to shields on a direct hit would still do a tenth of its total damage against the target's Armor and Structure.

Also, to appease a few more prideful tacticians like IConrad and myself I'd suggest adding a new dimension to the consequences of movement (which in many situations is more important than firepower, numbers or technology).

I reluctantly accept the fact that ship facings will not be included, they open up far more strategic opportunities but I guess it is simpler without them. Instead I'd like to see the concept of limited onboard power come into play. The idea is that a ship moving is much harder to hit and finds it harder to hit others, that goes without saying. However my suggestion would be that when (All Einstein fans please look away) a ship "isn't moving" the power required for its thrusters would be diverted into everything else, so its shields work better, its energy projectiles do more damage, its weapons are more accurate and reload/recharge faster.

Another idea expanding on power use could be that you could give BFG-esque special orders to ships and fleets like "Divert all power to Shields/Weapons/Thrusters," just something simple that every ship would have access to.

How about those ideas to mull around the old noggin?

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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:14 pm 
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IConrad wrote:
At the early-stage micromanagement level you have the ability to go in and tell ships which system to focus on repairing first. At later stages, you let ships repair based on the weakest system in a running evaluation. (Weakest until it equals next-weakest, then both until they reach next weakest, and so on). That is a scalable feature of gameplay. As your fleets get larger and larger, you automate your decisions.

This sort of design, where there's a lot of detail that gets to be too much to handle if you have too many ships / planets, is something we've generally avoided. It sounds good, but the reality is that if there's a motivation to micromanage things, by which part of a ship to prioritize repair for, or what small detail of planet function to pick each turn, then players will need to manually deal with these decisions no matter how many ships there are. There will be some advantage gained by checking each ship and prioritizing repairs, so unless players do this, they'll be at a disadvantage, and thus players will feel the need to do this, and decisions can't be automated without an effective penalty against that player.

Quote:
A shorter combat is "nearly automated" for the reasons I outlined above w/ five equal ships on either side. Basically that would boil down to who got the first shot off / who was luckiest with damage totals. There's really very little you can do.

Note that the FreeOrion combat system is not alternating turn-based where one side takes all its shots before the other gets a chance to shoot at all. Rather, FO is "phased" real time, in which two exactly-alike groups of ships could both take their first shots during the same battle round, before either has had a chance to damage the other. And if there are any weapons other than direct-fire instant-effect beam weapons, then it will take some time between launching of missiles or fighters before the opposing ships would actually take damage, meaning the launching of missiles or fighters would happen before the damage from the opposing fire could take effect.

Quote:
And I cannot tell you how many times in MoO I I had to save/re-start when I was running early games because I refused to be the one whose scout fled, and lost the possible resource-advantage that went to the first player to explore a system.

Hopefully we can avoid such annoyances by careful design. For example, why can't more than one empire's unarmed scouts explore a system at the same time? Scouts don't need weapons, but if you put a weapon on your scouts, they'll cost more and might actually be able to stop another empire from exploring a system, so there's a possible strategic tradeoff there. The cost of the extra weapon should be enough at the start of a game to make this decision non-trivial.


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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:58 pm 
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With the scout - weapon decision: It might be a better trade off if the scout had to chose between firepower and more effective scouting: more fuel for example than just being more expensive.


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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:04 pm 
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Quote:
This sort of design, where there's a lot of detail that gets to be too much to handle if you have too many ships / planets, is something we've generally avoided. It sounds good, but the reality is that if there's a motivation to micromanage things, by which part of a ship to prioritize repair for, or what small detail of planet function to pick each turn, then players will need to manually deal with these decisions no matter how many ships there are. There will be some advantage gained by checking each ship and prioritizing repairs, so unless players do this, they'll be at a disadvantage, and thus players will feel the need to do this, and decisions can't be automated without an effective penalty against that player.
That argument is only true if and only if the tools provided for mass decision making are not provided.

And frankly, if a player //wants// to have combats last forever, why should we forbid him that? The point was that we should instead of straightjacketing for end-game combat times all the way through, instead we ought to look at providing tools to make wide-swath decisions. The 'filter' approach w/ icons and prioritizing on a fleet level really don't mean anything when you've only got one vessel in each fleet. (It's like how quantum mechanics 'scales out' to newtonian physics despite being //very// different at the quantum scale.)

To reiterate: |...| if there's a motivation to micromanage things, by which part of a ship to prioritize repair for |...| then players will need to manually deal with these decisions no matter how many ships there are. This point is precisely why I made mention of being able to set those priorities by //fleets//, and then being able to regroup your fleets in mid-combat. Are a couple of your fleets going slower than you'd like? Mass-select all your ships with disabled engines, regroup them into your reserve, and then set the reserve to prioritize engine repair. Using the line-and-hammer tactic? Set the priorities to your "clobber the crap out of 'em" fleets to maintaining your weapons strength, and in one group action mass-select your other fleets to be 'averaged' or 'maintain hull integrity'. These should be things you can do with hot-linked buttons and a mass selection -- or at worst a drop-down.

You get //all// the benefits of having that micromanagement on a per-ship basis but you can do it ever so much quicker because your //reports// tell you which ships are in which status all in the blink of an eye. Complex math -- simple execution. :) Oh, sure -- there'll be a bit more of a learning curve with this example -- but, again; you could just assign your fleets to repair "on average" and then let the nature of the ships you put in decide their roles as well. No fuss, no muss -- and it's all in the style and strategies of //the player//.

Quote:
Note that the FreeOrion combat system is not alternating turn-based where one side takes all its shots before the other gets a chance to shoot at all. Rather, FO is "phased" real time, in which two exactly-alike groups of ships could both take their first shots during the same battle round, before either has had a chance to damage the other.
The realities of a system which includes ship detection schemes to know where the enemy is, as well as stealth, really puts a lie to that statement. :)

Quote:
And if there are any weapons other than direct-fire instant-effect beam weapons, then it will take some time between launching of missiles or fighters before the opposing ships would actually take damage, meaning the launching of missiles or fighters would happen before the damage from the opposing fire could take effect.
Which only prioritizes for a highly stealthy fleet w/ missile weapons and a highly mobile fleet packed w/ sensors. Doesn't allow much room for ought else.

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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:50 pm 
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It has been decided against micromanagement. This is not the place to discuss this. Please come back to the original questions asked and make it easy on the design team - help them, don't fight their decisions.
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how do ships take and keep track of damage, what determines how powerful a weapon is and how much damage it can do, what do shields and armour do for ships, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:56 pm 
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It has been decided against micromanagement. This is not the place to discuss this.
Where would be a proper place to discuss it, then? Just because a decision has been made doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't possibly a mistaken approach.

Insofar as I understand it, the decision was to mitigate micromanagement as much as possible to avoid prolonged battles at end-games. Anything that is conducive to that end is fully viable with the game-plan. Or am I mistaken in that assumption?

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 Post subject: Re: Design: Battle Math
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:50 pm 
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General_Zaber wrote:
I'll try to summarize my understandings. All ships have Shields, Armor and Structure. Most weapons must break through Shields and Armor before they can cause Structure damage.

Some people have argued for that, but a case has not been made that we need both shields and armor to do essentially the same thing-- protect the ship's functioning. I believe it is redundant.

General_Zaber wrote:
Another idea expanding on power use could be that you could give BFG-esque special orders to ships and fleets like "Divert all power to Shields/Weapons/Thrusters," just something simple that every ship would have access to.

It's been discussed before, but looks like too much micro. Look it up.


IConrad wrote:
And frankly, if a player //wants// to have combats last forever, why should we forbid him that?

If there's only a single human player, he can probably pause the game as often and as for as long as he wants. However this is a multi-player game and combat has to work in that situation too.


pd wrote:
It has been decided against micromanagement. This is not the place to discuss this. Please come back to the original questions asked and make it easy on the design team - help them, don't fight their decisions.

In fairness to IConrad, he doesn't' know that ideas similar to his have been extensively presented at dozens of points over the course of combat design. And the game design philosophy has been debated in probably thousands of posts. In all aspects of the game, this project has always decided against complex mechanisms which the player won't want to mess with most of the time and thus requires some sort of automation. For a project as big and slow as this one, trying to including those sort of mechanisms would be fatal.

I agree with PD that there is no more benefit in discussing something radically more complex than what is presented in the first post, especially if it's based on a rejected design philosophy.


Quote:
how do ships take and keep track of damage, what determines how powerful a weapon is and how much damage it can do, what do shields and armor do for ships, etc.


* I think the "battle math" would benefit from an occasional roll of the virtual dice. I don't want randomness to have a huge role, but a certain amount keeps things from getting too predictable. Weapons could have a stat called accuracy, which does what you might expect.

* I also think we need a stat that controls rate of fire. You expect some weapons, like missiles to fire much less frequently than stuff like slug throwers.

* Shield regeneration during battle is an interesting question. To include it might improve the tactical options, by making a withdrawals more useful, rather than always going toe-to-toe and slugging it out. On the other hand, it might excessively encourage to run around the battle-field waiting for shields to recharge whenever they get hurt.

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