Space Combat: Preliminaries

Past public reviews and discussions.
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noelte
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#46 Post by noelte » Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:26 pm

Orders may be given at any time (paused or not) and are queued to be processed in subsequent turns.
Player(s) may request a pause at any time, but pauses only occur and the ends of turns. Current thinking is that a turn should be somewhere between 3 and 5 seconds.

The stated time of 3-5 only adresses the time of single turns, not the pause time. If you don't pause and a new turn has just started you have 3-5 sec time to give orders for the next turn, because that's exacly the time the current turn will take. If you need more time, you request a pause. I guess there will be an mechanism which prevents people to hit always pause...
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MikkoM
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#47 Post by MikkoM » Tue May 01, 2007 5:36 pm

eleazar wrote:There is no automatic pause at the end of each turn. The idea is that the player normally gives his commands during the 3-5 sec turn, otherwise this line makes no sense: "Conversely, a TBS system can be too slow and make be unable to capture any real sense of tactics (Example: Master of Orion 2)."

IMO It's likely that the ability to pause will strongly restricted or eliminated during MP games.
Therefore the game should be designed to be playable without using pause.


Well I don`t know how this "not turning into a click fest" and "not being too slow" problem will eventually be solved, but since the pauses are in the game, which was the point of my previous post, I think we could use the extra time they can give to the player. So the damage model wouldn`t have to be as simple as in those non turn based games.

Now to justify this I would like to ask the question of, when would you need the extra time that the pause can give you? The answer, at least to me, would be that the extra time is needed when you come into contact with enemies or are fighting against them and are commanding multiple groups of ships. So you would need the time to come up with a plan how to use your ships or to monitor the situation of your multiple groups already engaged in combat. This way you could avoid situations that you face in real time combat games, where you are monitoring the progress of half of your army, but at the same time the AI defeats the other half and so you lose the battle.

And another question. When do the ships systems suffer damage? The answer of course would be that they suffer damage when you are in combat against your enemy, which is also the time; I would think you will be most likely to use those pauses. Although maybe there will be something like mines, which could cause damage before your ships are in contact with the enemy.

So my point here is that at least to me the time when pauses are most likely to be used and when the ships take most of the damage seems to be the same. And so I think that we could use the time that the pauses give us, to give the player at least a little more detailed information about the condition of the ships than in real time based battle systems, where the information tends to be very simple.

And what comes to the multiplayer I also think that at least the paused time will probably have to be somehow restricted. This is also mentioned in my previous post. However I don`t think that pauses should be eliminated from MP games, since then they would just end up being click fests, which is one of the things this hybrid system was aimed to avoid.

Edit: Removed a not so great example.
Last edited by MikkoM on Wed May 02, 2007 2:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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MikkoM
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#48 Post by MikkoM » Tue May 01, 2007 6:12 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:A binary "disabled"/"not disabled" status for a few systems would be simpler to fully display than an all-out complex-damage system.

That's essentially what I'm thinking of as well. Perhaps one overall ship damage rating, and binary damaged/undamaged for individual parts. We needn't keep track of individual part "health"... it would seem fine to just have a chance to damage each part each turn, based on appropriate factors (likely damage done that turn, direction or part location).

This eliminates the need to keep track of a lot of ship status (gamestate) information that's really unnecessary. If part damage chance depends on damage done, then as ships are damaged, it's more likely that more and more parts will be damaged as the chance accumulates. I'm generally not a fan of unnecessary or excessive randomness in battle calculations, but this seems reasonable...


Would it be very much harder to implement a system, which would have three instead of two possible situations, like in traffic lights? This way there would the situation where the part is undamaged (the green stage), the situation where the part is damaged, but not disabled (the yellow stage) and the situation where the part is disabled (the red stage).

Now with this system if you are for example providing cover for your troop transports, you would be able to detect that the enemy has succeeded to damage the engines of the transports, since they wouldn`t function normally in the yellow stage, before the engines are totally disabled. And so you could react to this problem in time.

The reason why I also mentioned traffic lights is that maybe we could use this familiar colour code to make it easier for the player to recognise the condition of the ships systems. So the colours could be used as I have used them above.

eleazar wrote: How do you present the status of 8 (or more) subsystems at-a-glance? However it's done it's info that can only be displayed for one ship at a time, presumably in some info panel at the edge of the screen. The player would have to invoke it somehow, most simply by selecting a ship.
So if you want to see how "healthy" your fleet is you need to cycle through every ship. I don't consider that ideal, especially since the player should be spending much of his time directing the fleet and strategizing.


Maybe there could be a key assigned to this task so that when you are controlling one of your ship formations and press that particular key it would show bars or icons on top or next to every ship of that formation and use the colour coding, which I explained earlier, to indicate the status of each ships subsystems. Also maybe these icon/bars could be always in a particular order so the bars/icons representing the status of the components, which can be found on almost every ship, like the engines, would be at the top and the ship specific component bars/icons would be at the bottom of the list or something similar. This way it would be quite easy to see the exact situation of the formation and then move on to the next. And maybe it could be done even so that you wouldn’t have to control the formation to see that information.

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marhawkman
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#49 Post by marhawkman » Wed May 02, 2007 5:26 pm

MikkoM wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:A binary "disabled"/"not disabled" status for a few systems would be simpler to fully display than an all-out complex-damage system.

That's essentially what I'm thinking of as well. Perhaps one overall ship damage rating, and binary damaged/undamaged for individual parts. We needn't keep track of individual part "health"... it would seem fine to just have a chance to damage each part each turn, based on appropriate factors (likely damage done that turn, direction or part location).
Like I mentioned earlier, the binary thing is for whether or not a part still works. HP is a convenient way to decide whether the binary is toggled on or off. SE5 didn't seem to have trouble with this. It even retained the information outside battle.
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