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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:20 am 
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My 2 cents:

If all player agree, infinite battles can be controlled (imagine on a PBEM: who cares if we just play a turn each day?).

Otherwise just one battle can be controlled directly by the player. If a human player chooses to play a battle against another human who DOESN'T choose the same battle, then the first player plays agains an AI who controls the second player's ships (the emperor can't be ubiquitous ;)).
This way EVERY player has AT MOST one battle a turn. And has to wisely choose which one to fight (i.e. the one in which a human intervention could make the difference).

We could consider to let everybody know which battle everyone has chosen to fight, letting changes until everyone agrees: this way we lose a bit of "surprise factor", but at the same time we help humans fight against each other instead against AIs.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:16 pm 
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Well I think two basic systems are possible

1. Battle points
2. Battle Time

Each turn you accumulate Battle points or Battle time
If you Battle points/ Battle time is greater than 0 you can control a battle, each battle you chose to control subtracts
a fixed amount from your Battle points
OR
an amount of time from yor battle time equal to the time the battle takes

That way you could set
1. Battle control limit
Time
# Battles
no Limit

2. amount per turn accumulated

3. maximum amount that can be stored

If you run out of time in a "Battle Time" system, the AI takes over for the remainder.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:58 pm 
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A thought: The main problem to be avoided is that one player controlling a battle will cause other players to have nothing to do. Previous suggestions for how to prevent this have emphasized limiting how much time a player can spend controlling battles, or limiting the number of battles... But this isn't really attacking the problem directly; the problem is players who aren't controlling battles, not players who are controlling battles. As well, limiting number of battles or time in battles for each player could lead to pointlessly preventing a player from controlling a battle when there is no need to do so. For example, if players A and B are in a battle for which they have saved up allowed control time, and players C and D have used up their time, there's no reason to have C and D not control battles while waiting for A and B to play out their battle. C and D controlling a battle doesn't cost A and B to have to wait, since they're already controlling another battle. In fact, preventing C and D from controlling a battle is exactly the opposite of what we'd want to do in this situation.

So, rather than giving players numbers of battles they can control or a limit on control time, we could perhaps instead give players a limited amount of ability to cause other players to wait. For example, if player A is controls a battle that takes 3 minutes, and players B and C are waiting, player A uses up 2*3 = 6 minutes of players-waiting time. If B decided to control a 4 minute battle that started when A's battle started, then A would use up only 3 minutes of time (beacuse C was waiting while A played the battle), and B would use up 5 minutes (3 minutes while only C was waiting, and 2 minutes for the 1 minute of battle after A was done and C was still waiting).

There are some problems with this, though. If A is playing a battle, and B is considering playing a battle as well, ideally there would be no penalty to B for doing this, since anyone else (such as C) would be waiting for A regardless of what B does. However in this system, B would be penalized for C waiting.

This could be avoided by making only the first player or players to choose to control a battle have to pay for any other players who are waiting... I'm not whether that would be a good idea or not, though...

Alternatively, players could be given a bank of minutes to control battles. They would be able to save up minutes, perhaps up to ten mintues total saved, to spend on controlling battles. They would also be able to borrow minutes, if their saved time was insufficient, up to some limit. Each turn players would be given X minutes towards their banks. The catch would be that you would not be allowed to initiate controlling the first battle of a turn unless you had a positive balance of mintues to spend. If someone else had already committed to controlling a battle this turn, then you could always control one yourself, even if you were in control-minutes debt.

Also, time should probably be allotted and consumed in fairly discrete chunks, of about one minute. Controlling any battle would use up at least one minute. The cost to control a battle would be the actual time rounded (up or down) to the nearest round minute, or one minute, whichever is more. A battle would cost one minute whether it took 10 seconds or 85 second, but after 91 seconds, it would cost two minutes, until 151 seconds, after which it would cost three, etc.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:37 pm 
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Another idea: the problem is players sitting with nothing to do, right?

Then why not letting theme "lose time". We could improvise a battle for them to play in, taking one of their fleet and battling against an AI controlled more-or-less-equal fleet. This won't (obiviously) have any pratical effect on the game, but the player could just amuse himself while waiting, and also make some practice with one of his fleets... What do you think?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:42 pm 
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Quote:
This won't (obiviously) have any pratical effect on the game.

Actually this could be a good way to gain experience points for the ships/crew as well. Naval ships have done and do have simulated battles and exercises all the time. The question is, how does this translate to single player, when there are no waiting times?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:54 pm 
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pd wrote:
Actually this could be a good way to gain experience points for the ships/crew as well. Naval ships have done and do have simulated battles and exercises all the time. The question is, how does this translate to single player, when there are no waiting times?


Honestly I think that experience should only derive from real battles, from a "realistic" point of view ("ok, you know the tehory, but in a real battle you could just panic") as well as from a "gameplay" one (it is not right to give bonuses outside the game).

Anyway in a single player campaign (i.e. where Num_Of_AIs==0) you just play every battle.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:13 pm 
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Minigames or other distractions when not battling are off topic in this thread. The topic is when to fight, not how to kill time while others fight.

While also off topic, crew training / experience from player grinding (simulated) battles is definitely not something we'd want to add. Discuss in a brainstorming thread if so inclined, however.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:14 pm 
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The idea is We are Also trying to dvise a system where players feel 'Content' with the waiting they have to do, And feel that the limits placed on them are fair.

There are a few ways to do this

let's say A has to wait for 6 minutes while other players battle so A GAINS 6 minutes of Battle time

Those minutes are Taken from C+B... probably in a divided fashion so they both lose 3 minutes (even though they bothe spent 6 minutes battling)

So if the battle is
C for 5 minutes
B for 3 minutes
A for 0 minutes

C loses 1.5 minutes for the first 3 minutes and 2 minutes for the next two
B loses 1.5 minutes for the 3 minutes and GAINS 2 minutes for the next 2 [net gain of 0.5 minutes]
A gains 5 minutes

Essentially that time would be how long you can force Everyone else to wait (with some cap on the maximum any player could have)

If some other player steps in then you are losing less time, but the time that you lose doesn't depend on how many players there are, and the time that you GAIN is independent of how many players there are.

So the players would just set the "Max Battle Control time"

In any case, Ideally you'd be able to do domestic stuff (change focuses, etc.) while the battles were going on, since those changes wouldn't actually take effect until the game state changed.


There is one other issue and that is the battle ordering mechanism. Ideally it should be designed to run as many player controlled battles in parallel as possible, and allow players with fewer battles to finish those battles.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:22 pm 
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To be honest I don't really like this kind of "timed turn based strategy". If I want fast paced game I play an RTS, if I want time to think I play a turn based mechanism. I don't really like hybrids.

(and having an AI cut you off during a battle because you finished your "playing minutes" sounds really like a peep show :D)

If you don't want "minigames" to avoid boring non playing players, then let's just limit battles to 1 per turn (only one can have the emperor attention). This way any player will have to wait (getting bored) for AT MOST the duration of a battle (10 minutes maximum?) per turn. I think could be acceptable :)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:44 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
Krikktone, is right.

One of our design goals is to avoid making a game that the AI plays for you.

While it's necessary to provide a way to auto-resolve battles to make multiplayer playable, we're not interested in methods to permanently take away control of certain kinds of battles from all single and multi-player games.


OK, this is understandable. But I don´t say "lets every battle solve by AI" - as the discussion here is by the way, only with "everything minus X". And this is great feature indeed, I also
apritiate not to manage every encounter in game - plus the possibility to write "combat tactics for fleet via script - super.

My point is elsewhere.

It can be also be modified by current comm tech - in the meaning of "this fleet is to far for real-time management from and I can only observe the result of the combat.

So I mean that my current tech is Level 4 in Fuel and Space flight but only Level 1 in communication. Therefore *this* battle cannot be solved by me personaly even if I as a player want to, e.g. this fleet is to far away to coordinate.

In practice - I send a huge army deep into enemy territory, but I can only observe the result. My best try is in preparation and fleet tactics. But my human opponent can defend his homeworld personally. So I have sent a very huge army or have very good fleet tactics (commanders as special character, my own tactics, computer Tech onboard - you can imagine possible variables here). Or simply wait to get better tech.

This can be upgraded more in tech tree and space colonization/militarization and building outposts or jamming technologies.

And my second sentence mean that "this combat is vital - I will fly with fleet, but Empire will be managed by AI". I mean that I want the attack coordinate myself, so Iam with the fleet and a few turns (distance/speed) the Empire will manage itself.

Imho this feature doesn´t interfere with any other rules discussed here ("more combat" token, X combats per turn and so)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:33 pm 
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Flatline wrote:
(and having an AI cut you off during a battle because you finished your "playing minutes" sounds really like a peep show :D)

We would likely not forcibly end battles that players are controlling. If you started a battle, you'd be able to play to the end, regardless of how long it takes. The consequence of taking too long would be that you'd have no time available to start future battles.

Quote:
If you don't want "minigames" to avoid boring non playing players...

There is no ban on minigames; we may have them. The point is that minigames aren't a solution to the problem, and we can't rely on them to avoid finding the best way to deal with the issues.

Quote:
...then let's just limit battles to 1 per turn

Sounds good, unless multiple players want to control separate battles all with the same player in them. The common player would play one battle with one other player, and then the rest would be unable to control a battle because their opponent had already controlled a battle this turn. This isn't really fair for those other players.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:25 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Quote:
...then let's just limit battles to 1 per turn

Sounds good, unless multiple players want to control separate battles all with the same player in them. The common player would play one battle with one other player, and then the rest would be unable to control a battle because their opponent had already controlled a battle this turn. This isn't really fair for those other players.


I think it will be MORE than fair. If we consider a common human more intelligent than an AI (I hope so), the first player will have to chose ONE battle to play in, while in the others he will substituted by the AI, thus making other players' life a lot easier ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:55 pm 
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a few things
1. Having the Battle limit modified by events in game (techs, etc.) is a VERY VERY bad idea... just because I have a certain tech that doesn't help other human players get less bored.

I could see a limitation on battles contrlled in a turn that depended on your empire size, etc.


2. The limit should be decided by the players at the beginning of the game: 1 per turn seems reasonable but how about 10 every turn, or 1 every 10 turns, or 0. If the players want those settings they should have them at the beginning of the game.


Since the primary goal is avoidance of multiplayer boredom then I think exclusively time is probably the best way to manage it (let the amount of time you have stored go negative, but in that case, you can't control any battles until it is positive again)... someone who controls one 10 minute battle is just as boring to me as someone who controls 10-1 minute battles.

A simple time bank (with a maximum cap and an amount added per turn) might be the best and most understandable

The idea of "getting paid" for wait time might also be the other idea.

Perhaps you pay a simple amount for every second you are in battle, but after all battles you get 1 second every time someone else was in battle. (so if someone else was in battle 5 minutes and you were in battle 3, they lose 5, you lose 3... and after battle, everyone but them gains 5 (they gain 3 from you))

That way the time you have stored is a simple realization of how much time you have.... and if there is some maximum cap [say 5-10 minutes] then people will be encouraged to spend their time if they are at the limit anyways.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:48 am 
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This doesn't fully solve the problem... but i think a very good start is to limit the number of battle turns that can be played at one time.

I.E. if a battle isn't resolved in X number of turns, it is considered to have lasted the entire game-turn, put on hold, and will be continued the next turn.

This would make the max time a battle could take up in a turn something which can be reasonably guessed at, and spread huge battles out over multiple game turns. It would go a long way to preventing human players from running out of things to do.



But surely this isn't a new problem. I nearly never play strategy games MP, because this sort of problem really bugs me, but surely some of you have played turn-based strategy MP games (not RTS games) that solved this issue in a good way?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:12 pm 
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I'm not sure exactly how it would be implemented, but considering orders are still turn based in FO battles why not have a tab system by which a player can switch between each battle they want to fight themselves. Perhaps the tabs flash when that particular battle is ready for your next orders. And if you manage to complete all of your battles and there are still other battles being fought you can start off other battles assigned to your AI, then these 'secondary' battles woul be cut short and handed back to the AI resolution once combats from other players had been completed.

This system would make it harder to concentrate if you had many important battles to fight at the same time but it would also speed the process up significantly because you wouldn't have to fight all of your battles in a row.

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