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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:14 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
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Here's what I would cut even before the discussion stage:

Engines - Multiple options (I put this in the "too much detail" column)

Engines are relevant directly to the strategic game, as much or more so than to the tactical game.


True. I was only refering to the Multiple options part of the Engines section.

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Battle UI (belongs to graphics team anyway)

This doesn't mean full implimentation details are to be discussed or a UI design to be finalized as part of game design. It just acknowledges that some high level aspects of the UI need to be decided in the game design context before graphics can do anything useful.


This may turn out to be true, but every successful UI we have come up with has come out of the Graphics forum, and every UI that we completely threw away and rewrote has come from the designers and/or programmers.

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When to fight? (frankly I didn't get this one -- what exactly did you mean here, Geoff?)

If we have many players in the game, each with several fleets moving about and getting into multiple battles per turn, we probably don't want to always have players manually resolve all battles. There have been various suggestions about how to allow players to pick which battles to control, and how to limit the number of battles the player feels the need to control, etc. This is particularly important for multiplayer games where we don't want to have several players waiting with nothing to do for many minutes while one player plays through several combats back to back.


OK.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:49 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
tzlaine wrote:
Facings are purely a detail of a single tactical combat, and so I think they have no place in a combat engine in a turn-based strategy game.

Facings are presently in the design because Aquitaine wrote them in. I can't find any discussion where this is actually justified in a logically valid way, however. This leads me to suspect it was added because it's important in the Total War games, which was essentially his ideal for FreeOrion combat, as far as I know. Total Wars' strategic maps are more or less subordinate to the tactical battles though, which are the real point of playing the game. So this ideal isn't necessarily applicable to design decisions for FreeOrion.

So... unless the above is a straw man argument, I am (or rather, remain) receptive to deleting facing from the tactical game design.

As a plus, it would seem to be easily removed without any major consequences to other decisions.

Does anyone have any reasoned objections to this?



Well before deleting facings from the game design it would be nice to know what we are actually giving up.

Now if there are no facings, would a ship just have the same fire power, shield strength and armour strength to every direction? So it would make no difference if you attack a ship from the rear or straight ahead?

The way I see it ship facings might be useful at least in a couple of ways:

- Facings could give ship engines and ship speed more important function than they would have without facings. As with ship facings it might give you a clear advantage if you can for example attack a ship/group from a side, which has only a couple of weapons to shoot back at your ships.

- Facings could possibly support stealth, since as above you might get a more favourable match up when attacking an enemy group/ship from a weak side.

- Facings could possibly give ”terrain”, if there will be anything like that, a nice function, as your ships could possibly ambush enemy ships and attack their soft sides.

Now tzlaine is of course right in that facings are only related to the tactical combat engine and ship design and therefore aren`t so important to the overall turn based strategy game. However it would be nice if both of these parts, the turn based strategy game and the tactical combat engine, are as interesting and challenging to the player as reasonably possible.

Then there is of course the question of, how much extra work would this facings system give to the programmers? And would there be much less work if there would be only one facing type, like weapon facings for example? It would be nice to know the answers to these questions, since at least I can see a few useful things that a facings system might add to the game. What I don`t know however is the amount work that this kind of a system/systems would cause to the programmer/s.

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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:02 am 
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MikkoM, you show with your points about facing, why facing could also be strategic. If a player chooses to use an aggressive approach to gameplay, they could specifically design their ships with intentional facings to support their aggressive nature.

A likely scenario would be ships with almost all weapons place in the front, almost all armour placed in the front, almost all shields placed in the front, and almost all sensors placed in the front (within ultimate final ship design allowances). The engine will highest speed available within the allowance.

Strategic game tactic would be to hit and run planets and installations. Fast burn in, take the punishment on the front, drop your payload, or fire your weapons, then fast burn out of system, not staying for any prolonged battle. As long as these type ships don't get flanked, they will have always have superior firepower to bear on their opponent, unless facing a like built ship.

As MikkoM stated, these type ships would be highly susceptible to ambushes and flank attacks. Another viable strategic use for this type of attacking, would be where a player controls a bottleneck system, and can place all their defenses in this system, and is faced by multiple strong opponents forcing a harassing, hit and run tactic(you are unable to commit to a protracted battle, and depleting your fleet against one opponent, for fear of attack from another).

These ships could also be utilised as additional last ditch directional planetary defensive support.

For the very same reason you don't want every race fighting with the exact same weaponry, you don't want the same shields (and shield facings), and armour (and armour facings).

Changing topics,

As for the overall implementation of the roadmap, I think we're fine at the moment, and are not over-doing things, yet; although I have two concerns. One is maintaining focus as we expand the game's development with a relatively small focus group that hasn't grown too much since the game's inception. The good part of small is that a consensus can generally be reached easier.

The second concern is the strategic roadmap that tzlaine noted. As Geoff said, creating one is easier said than done. However, I have always thought this should have been done before any mention of ship design, tactical, battles, or even planetary production and development. I think a lot of what can, and can't be done strategically (once decided) has a large bearing on the subsequent ship design, ship roles, planetary defensive roles, and tactical battle design (and etc.). I think there should be a more definitive strategic roadmap decided on, so everyone is looking at the same big picture, instead of everyone using their individual perceived big picture.

This shouldn't be that hard, given that we already have 3 previous MOOs to work off of. And the fact that most of this has been hash out here already. We need to define a firm basic "skeleton" to FO, then flesh it out later. The basics of 4X games are given: races, planets\systems, fleets, diplomacy,growth\production, etc.

Take for example races, when that subject arises, it is quickly dismissed as a subject of a future version, and not to be focused on yet. However, I think the basics of race should be known now, and the details fleshed out later when that version arrives. We should know now a) How many b) What types c) strengths of each d) weaknesses of each e) a general idea of racial gameplay balance f) racial planet preference g) type of ship\building preference (organic,mineral,etc.) . The name of a race or it's story background is not important now and is for later versions

As for ships\fleets A) maximum distance, including any racial modifiers b) movement, both galaxy and in system c) supplied? d)where\how built e) basic racial modifiers? f)number of types g) maximum total number of h)where\how repaired. Details like roles, weapons, shields, identifiers, etc. would be fleshed out after the strategic picture is in place.

Repeat the above for other strategic aspects of 4x gameplay.

I think it would be helpful if there was literally a map. A schematic or flowchart of strategic policy, above the use of the wiki.

Anyway, enough for now.


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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:01 am 
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Regarding facings:

It seems to me that there's no need for individual ships to have differences depending on the direction they're facing in order to have interesting tactics arise from stealth or terrain exploitation such as MikkoM described. This is because different types of ships can work in a group. As such, if you had your control group or task force of ships arranged in a certain way, it would be more or less vulnerable to attacks from the sides or rear by an enemy using the appropriate kinds of ships.

For example, a carrier group might have some point defence ships guarding its front. If a long range enemy fleet attacked from the sides or back, the PD would be poorly positioned to protect the carriers.

Similarly, if a PD and carrier group had some short range ships ships guarding its front, then enemy SR could attack the combined group from the sides or back, and get to the weak-against-SR ships.

As well, if you strafed past or sped towards a group that had its defenders on the side opposite from where you passed, if your ships were faster, there would be less time for the enemy to react to your attack before you arrive in firing range or your fighters / missiles arrived.

Conversely, one might evenly mix up all types of ships in the group, but this would leave it moderately weak / strong to attacks from all directions. This wouldn't necessarily be the best choide though, as if the appropriate defensive line is on the correct side of the group to protect against an attack, most of the group would be shielded, and the group more effective in the engagement overall.


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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:51 am 
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I agree with the general principle that flanking/maneuver should be important. I just don't think individual ship facings should be used to do that. What Geoff describes is exactly how I envisioned making maneuver important.


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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:56 am 
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Perhaps the posts entirely about facings should be moved to a new topic?

I'm ambivalent about facings. I think it could add interest to ship design— in fact our current decisions on ship design are in part based on the assumption that facing is important.

But i fear it could complicate the interface. Without facings you only care about where your ships are. They can be ordered around with a simple "click, click" or "click-drag-release" or something similar. It is rather simple for the computer to figure out how to move a ship from point A to B according to the destination you indicate.

But if facings matter, you also need a way to control the direction the ship faces, which would generally require more clicking, dragging or key-pressing of some kind. Also there is no longer a clear unambiguous best way to move from point A to B While it passes by the enemy perhaps it should cease acceleration and turn it's forward weapons/PD/shields to the enemy. Or maybe you want it to move as quickly as possible. Can we expect the player to control it at this level of detail, or the AI to make these decisions in a predictable way?

I don't really know. I haven't played a game that does things this way, and don't have any ideas as to how it could be simply done, but someone else has ideas/experience.

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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:28 am 
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Yes, this is a double post to make it easier to split the facing stuff. This post is not about facings.

Sandlapper wrote:
....I think there should be a more definitive strategic roadmap decided on, so everyone is looking at the same big picture, instead of everyone using their individual perceived big picture.

This shouldn't be that hard, given that we already have 3 previous MOOs to work off of. And the fact that most of this has been hash out here already. We need to define a firm basic "skeleton" to FO, then flesh it out later. The basics of 4X games are given: races, planets\systems, fleets, diplomacy,growth\production, etc.

Take for example races, when that subject arises, it is quickly dismissed as a subject of a future version, and not to be focused on yet. However, I think the basics of race should be known now, and the details fleshed out later when that version arrives. We should know now a) How many b) What types c) strengths of each d) weaknesses of each e) a general idea of racial gameplay balance f) racial planet preference g) type of ship\building preference (organic,mineral,etc.) . The name of a race or it's story background is not important now and is for later versions

As for ships\fleets A) maximum distance, including any racial modifiers b) movement, both galaxy and in system c) supplied? d)where\how built e) basic racial modifiers? f)number of types g) maximum total number of h)where\how repaired. Details like roles, weapons, shields, identifiers, etc. would be fleshed out after the strategic picture is in place.

Repeat the above for other strategic aspects of 4x gameplay.

I think it would be helpful if there was literally a map. A schematic or flowchart of strategic policy, above the use of the wiki.


I would also like to have a more definite skeleton to work from. Some general statements of intent for an aspect of gameplay rather than simply listing that element. A clearer picture of the big strategic plan for those of us who haven't been here for years.

But IMHO it's not practical to work things out as sandlapper suggests. The feasibility of high level goals is unknown until the smaller details are worked out— at least to the degree we are doing something original. And up to v.3 most of the implementation has varied quite a bit from any of the MoOs. If there is any aspect of FO we intend to basically copy from another game, that could be stated up front. Since we've played it, we don't need to hash it all out to see if it could actually work.

As an example, my first two ideas about redistributions and blockades, sounded pretty simple, and easily implementable, and people liked it... until it was thoroughly examined, and found to be unworkable.

I really don't see why we need to know all those listed items about race. Only "g) type of ship\building preference (organic,mineral,etc.)" could relevant to v.4, and it's been resolved in a way so that it doesn't matter. All races will use the same tech tree. There will not be different branches open only to specific races. So if we do have organic and mineral ships, their tech tree can be devised without reference to races.

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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:38 pm 
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I wrote:

Quote:
Take for example races, when that subject arises, it is quickly dismissed as a subject of a future version, and not to be focused on yet.


eleazer wrote:

Quote:
I really don't see why we need to know all those listed items about race. Only "g) type of ship\building preference (organic,mineral,etc.)" could relevant to v.4, ...


You apparently missed my earlier statement, yet another argument about version relevancy. My point of contention is beyond any level of version, but concerns all versions at once. We know what will be discussed when a certain version is achieved, by the wiki roadmap, however, what I'm suggesting is a basic skeleton of what is known, and a consensus of what is likely to happen at version 1.0. I realize many, many things will change by version 1.0, but basics can be assumed now. Do we have 6 races, 8, 10, or what? Will we have more than one non-humanoid? What types? For anything that can't be firmly decided on, at least put in a place marker to work with until later decided. There have been numerous times where I couldn't make a comment about a current discussion, because I didn't have enough info about how the game will ultimately handle situations in it's finally form. With at least a place marker, one can make a viable argument relative to it, versus thin air (or one's self perceived notion of version 1.0).


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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:44 pm 
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Sandlapper wrote:
Do we have 6 races, 8, 10, or what? Will we have more than one non-humanoid? What types?

How are those questions relevant to anything being discussed recently or now?

If it's about amount of art or models that needs to be produced, we'll just reuse whatever art or models we have until we get more.

Also, those questions are content issues, not high-level design issues. The basic system of the FreeOrion engine won't depend significantly on this sort of thing, and the answer will probably vary with time anyway, as more content gets created, existing content is refined, and as users adjust their local game settings (which is rather easy to do for something like races in a particular game).

Quote:
There have been numerous times where I couldn't make a comment about a current discussion, because I didn't have enough info about how the game will ultimately handle situations in it's finally form.

Perhaps you could make and state an assumption, or several "if X then Y" cases?

Regarding the future-scheduled main points of the roadmap, including Diplomacy, Ground Combat, Espionage, Government and Leaders; for all we can assume we'll probably have something non-trivial.

Do you have any specific examples where this is inadequate?


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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:53 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
It seems to me that there's no need for individual ships to have differences depending on the direction they're facing in order to have interesting tactics arise from stealth or terrain exploitation such as MikkoM described. This is because different types of ships can work in a group. As such, if you had your control group or task force of ships arranged in a certain way, it would be more or less vulnerable to attacks from the sides or rear by an enemy using the appropriate kinds of ships.


Good, if the facings question can be solved like this without removing interesting tactical options from the tactical combat engine.

Now I can`t really say that I have a clear picture of how this flanking/maneuvering and possibly terrain usage system will eventually work without some sort of a ship facing system, but since I am not a programmer it probably isn`t required of me. And yes, I can understand the basic ideas from 0.4 Design Pad and from Geoff the Medio`s post, but it is just hard for me to see how they will work in practice.

Anyway, the most important thing, at least for me, in this facings issue is that there will be interesting tactical options for the player to take advantage of in space combat. Since I don`t think that a space combat system where the players commands aren`t really relevant to the battle is very interesting, nor is it worthwhile to use huge amounts of game developers time to build such a system.

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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:51 am 
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i just want to make sure we all know that we could develop a broad platform for such detailed features such as shield facing for future mods, and not included in the 1.0 release.

my second point is that while it might be a more than a mouthful to handle features such as stealth, speed, terrain, and X, Y, Z all at the same time in one game (as in one game of FO, not FO as a game) you can still maintain much depth and focus if chosen one or two feature exclude the possibility of others in that game. For example, the darklord spy race gets a bonus in stealth and has special abilities in that area, at the expense of terrain advantage, shield facing... so if you can create more depth if you can limit the features per game so you don't have to dilute each of the features to fit everything in. you might create more interesting dynamics if one player focuses on stealth, another on speed, another player uses a very special detail strategy like shield facings as his main tactical advantage.

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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 4:43 pm 
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skdiw wrote:
i just want to make sure we all know that we could develop a broad platform for such detailed features such as shield facing for future mods, and not included in the 1.0 release.
If there's a feature we don't intend to use before 1.0, then it's best to leave it alone and consider adding it after 1.0. If we try to add everything now we'll never finish.

skdiw wrote:
...you might create more interesting dynamics if one player focuses on stealth, another on speed, another player uses a very special detail strategy like shield facings as his main tactical advantage.

Sure players should be able to focus on different aspects of the game, but it doesn't much simplify things if while not having access to all the options of stealth/facings/etc. you still have to understand how your enemies could use these against you.

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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:34 am 
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eleazar wrote:
skdiw wrote:
i just want to make sure we all know that we could develop a broad platform for such detailed features such as shield facing for future mods, and not included in the 1.0 release.
If there's a feature we don't intend to use before 1.0, then it's best to leave it alone and consider adding it after 1.0. If we try to add everything now we'll never finish.


i don't mean add a full functioning feature, i said consider undeveloped options available for future mods. ever try coding something if the base program didn't support it? it makes the job almost impossible.

Quote:
skdiw wrote:
...you might create more interesting dynamics if one player focuses on stealth, another on speed, another player uses a very special detail strategy like shield facings as his main tactical advantage.

Sure players should be able to focus on different aspects of the game, but it doesn't much simplify things if while not having access to all the options of stealth/facings/etc. you still have to understand how your enemies could use these against you.


i said creating more dynamics between different game elements, features, and strategy. i didn't say it would be simpler because the game is dumbed down because your options are reduced. i meant creating more dynamics and more character to the game by being elegantly simple. take chess for example, it's a simple game with simple rules and simple moves yet a highly intricate game. that's what we should aim for. more features doesn't mean more fun. you did hit a important key of a strategy game and that is you have to understand your enemy's unique strategy. i think it's much more fun interacting with them with your own set of unique ways and counters rather than just competing to see who has the biggest guns because options are all the same.

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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:45 am 
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Goodmorning all;

I've got an idea for the question of Groups of ships being used as one Vessel like object (and some of the ramifications of that idea do touch on the RoadMap in question, other parts of the idea do not quite).

Is there any preferred place for my input on this topic before i (lightly) flood the incorrect discussion page?

Best wishes all.

Robbie


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 Post subject: Re: v0.4 Roadmap
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 10:00 am 
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Unless there is a thread in the Game Design forum that's discussing a game design topic, discussions of that topic probably belong in the Brainstorming forum.

This thread is about the roadmap, or what topics to discuss and when, not actual game designing discussion.


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