Player Fleet / System Battle Authorization

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Bigjoe5
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Player Fleet / System Battle Authorization

#1 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:23 pm

Edit by Geoff: This post was originally in reply to this post/Edit

I don't actually see the need for there to be a way for players to set their fleets to be hostile or passive, at least in the long term. Players should have the option whether or not to engage in combat each time an enemy fleet is in the same system as one of their own fleets. The idea of having to set a fleet to "hostile" for it to be able to intercept anything is extremely limiting and rules out the possibility of the player wanting to engage the forces of empire A, but not of empire B, even though the player's diplomatic relations towards A and B are technically the same... Also, there could be any number of circumstances where a player doesn't fully know what he's going to come across until he/the enemy fleet arrives in the system. It's not logical for the player to already be committed to combat before any enemy forces are even in the system.

In addition, the player might want to specify which empires to blockade in a particular system.

Edit: I moved the part that was actually relevant to the topic of graphics back to the initial thread, since it is graphics-related rather than game design-related.
Last edited by Bigjoe5 on Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#2 Post by RonaldX » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:45 am

Assuming that players will be prompted whether or not they want to engage in combat anyways, I can only suspect that this setting would be used to set a fleet as "always passive" (for a trade/supply/scout fleet) or "always hostile" (for a death fleet).

It might be more intuitive to have two mutually-exclusive checkboxes, or perhaps a drop-down menu with the options:

1) Always Prompt for Action
2) Always Accept Combat
3) Always Avoid Combat

I don't really like the phrasing of the third option. I presume that the combat will only be avoided if the enemy also chooses not to attack you. If the enemy chooses to attack, the player will have to be prompted on whether they want to fight or attempt to flee to another system anyways. All this is really accomplishing in any case is automating the "Do you want to fight?" prompt which will occur any time non-allied fleets (and perhaps allied fleets?) are in a system on the same quantum. It may or may not be worth cluttering the UI to include the option.

-Ty.

Edits: Clarity, grammar.

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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#3 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:44 pm

RonaldX wrote:If the enemy chooses to attack, the player will have to be prompted on whether they want to fight or attempt to flee to another system anyways.
If one of the players chooses to attack, combat will occur as usual, and a player who wants to try to flee can attempt to actually get his ships to the starlane exit to escape combat.
All this is really accomplishing in any case is automating the "Do you want to fight?" prompt which will occur any time non-allied fleets (and perhaps allied fleets?) are in a system on the same quantum. It may or may not be worth cluttering the UI to include the option.
I definitely feel that the player should have the option to attack allied fleets at any time. This being the case, it makes it all the more absurd to have a fleet automatically engage anyone it comes across, since there's no telling who or what the fleet will come across, be it an ally, or an abnormally powerful enemy. The player should either commit to combat or not based on his knowledge of his forces and the other players' forces, not because of some checkbox he clicked a dozen turns ago when he had no idea what was in store for him.
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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#4 Post by RonaldX » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:24 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:Everything you said.
I'm with you 100% on this topic. I don't see any need to set a fleet to "passive" or "aggressive" in terms of galactic movement. Automatically engaging everything you come across is patently foolish, and automatically declining combat is kind of purposeless. I don't believe it's necessary.

I could see this being adapted somewhat into the kind of tactics the AI will use when you want a fight auto-resolved, but that's a totally different topic so I'll stay away from it.

In terms of the larger topic, "How does a player authorize a combat?".. Should entering a system guarded by forces of an empire you are "at war" with automatically engage you in combat? In that case, is it necessary to prompt a player on whether or not he wants to fight, or only if he wants the combat auto-resolved?

Basically it needs to be determined the exact conditions under which a combat is initiated:
1) For an "At War" enemy (automatic?)
2) For a neutral empire (prompted upon entering the system?)
3) For an allied empire (only if manually done?)
4) For space monsters (depends on monster type?)

Also, it needs to be determined at what point the enemy is allowed to answer the same question (provided that you decline). Having to sit around quantum after quantum while other players fight just so that you can click "no" if someone happens to move past a fleet of yours on the 9th quantum in a multiplayer game wouldn't be fun, but it may be necessary.

Finally, should there be some method of "surprise attack" outside the regular structure, and should it provide some sort of bonus to the attacker in combat? It's probably possible, but might not be worthwhile.

-Ty.

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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#5 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:58 am

Every Time that
Forces that are
1. Not yours
2. are Detected by you
3. In the same system as mobile forces you have

Then the system pops up with
the following 3 options

Auto-Resolve Combat
Directly Control Combat
Ignore
[possibly Hide as an option]

This Happens Every time as long the 3 requirements (Not Yours, Detected, Same system as your mobile forces) are fulfilled by some forces..
This includes every time you enter a system with someone else's colony or outpost (although not if they enter a system with your colony.. as the colony is not a mobile force)

The combat scheduler then works to schedule the Directly controlled combats.

If You choose combat with them, and they Don't choose combat with you, (either because they can't detect you, they thing you are friendly*, or because they don't want to bother)
*may depend on diplomatic status
Then you can get a 'surprise attack' bonus... ie additional flexibility in positioning your troops (they get less) and possibly a first action.

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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#6 Post by RonaldX » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:21 am

Krikkitone wrote:Every Time that
Forces that are
1. Not yours
I like everything except this.. I think it should be Non-Allied instead. You should have the option to attack allied fleets by going into the actual system and manually engaging in combat, but it's not something I would want popping up, and risk blowing an alliance over mis-clicking Auto-Resolve instead of Ignore.

-Ty.

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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#7 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:11 pm

RonaldX wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:Every Time that
Forces that are
1. Not yours
I like everything except this.. I think it should be Non-Allied instead. You should have the option to attack allied fleets by going into the actual system and manually engaging in combat, but it's not something I would want popping up, and risk blowing an alliance over mis-clicking Auto-Resolve instead of Ignore.

-Ty.
I don't think that will be a big problem. The default setting for when only allied ships are in the same system would be "Ignore", and they would be visually separated somehow from confrontations involving diplomatically neutral empires and openly hostile empires.

A battle quantum in which the player is not prompted for combat will automatically end and roll over to the next battle quantum. This means that if there is a circumstance in which the player could potentially be involved in combat, he needs to be prompted so that he doesn't miss his chance.

What I'm envisioning for combat authorization is essentially what Krikkitone described, with all potential combats for that quantum in a list, arranged and colour-coded based on the most hostile empire present (enemy, neutral or allied). The choices for each of them are something like "Manual Resolution", "Auto-Resolution", or "Don't Engage" (the exact wording is irrelevant at this point). "Hide" doesn't seem very useful, since hitting "Don't Engage" when there are only cloaked ships in the system is essentially hiding, and if the player has cloaked ships in the system, what good would trying to "hide" do anyway? The best way to implement "hiding" is already in the game: some ships can't be detected by certain enemies, and those ships have the option not to engage the enemy in combat.

For hostile enemies, my guess would be that the default setting would be "Manual Resolution" for the maximum allowed number of manually resolved combats per quantum, then the rest would be set to "Auto-Resolution". In the future though, it might be nice if comparative fleet strength determined whether or not each individual combat is preset to "Don't Engage". For neutral or allied forces, the option would be preset to "Don't Engage", so that the player would have to actively change that setting before moving to the next phase if he wanted combat in that situation.

Another question which this brings up is how to decide whether or not a player manually controls a combat for which he selected "Don't Engage", or simply didn't select anything because he didn't detect any forces in the system. One possibility could be to separate this into two phases; the first phase determines whether or not combat occurs, and the second, once all players know exactly what combats will be occurring and where, determines which combats will be auto-resolved and which combats will be manually resolved. There are several other possible solutions to this problem, though...
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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#8 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:14 pm

Reason I see for "Hiding"... well if the ship has non combat 'business' in the system (exploring, moving) that might break its stealth

But I can see that being possibly redundant

Engage in combat
Ignore/Hide
Contact, do not engage (possibly only for forces of an unknown empire)
(opens a 'tactical diplomacy' option where you negotiate your initial stance with the empire and what These forces are going to do..ie is one side going to turn back/can they just 'move along' to certain other starlanes, etc.)

As for which will be manual, and which auto, I'd say the default is if one player selects manual, the other is manual as well. (although in the middle of any combat you should be able to turn the manual over to the AI for the remainder of the combat)

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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#9 Post by RonaldX » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:24 am

Bigjoe5 wrote: Another question which this brings up is how to decide whether or not a player manually controls a combat for which he selected "Don't Engage", or simply didn't select anything because he didn't detect any forces in the system. One possibility could be to separate this into two phases; the first phase determines whether or not combat occurs, and the second, once all players know exactly what combats will be occurring and where, determines which combats will be auto-resolved and which combats will be manually resolved. There are several other possible solutions to this problem, though...
A two-phase system makes the most sense and is probably the most user-friendly.

I'll get a list at the start of the quantum of all shared systems, and the option to fight or ignore. I (and the other players in multiplayer) all submit our orders for the quantum. They run through the server and it's determined which battles are actually going to be fought (presumably any time at least one party selects to fight).

Now I get a second list that pops up with the actual engagements for that quantum, and from there I determine which ones will be auto-resolved or manually-resolved. In single player you can manually resolve as many as you want, in multiplayer you only get to pick one.

I don't think that the order they are resolved in is really relevant. No fleet is going to be able to move anywhere until after that quantum is over (minimum of 1 quantum spent in a system) so it's not like finishing one battle ahead of another is going to open a fleet for use elsewhere later in that quantum.

-Ty.

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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#10 Post by Krikkitone » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:16 pm

RonaldX wrote: I don't think that the order they are resolved in is really relevant. No fleet is going to be able to move anywhere until after that quantum is over (minimum of 1 quantum spent in a system) so it's not like finishing one battle ahead of another is going to open a fleet for use elsewhere later in that quantum.

-Ty.
That order is relevant for reducing time
If you have human players, they can't resolve multiple battles at once
If both sides are human, then you might have to wait for your opponent

So for 4 human players, if the battles queued are
AvB
AvC
BvD

It is not possible
Basically the system should go
first: CA, BD
second: BA

so that less time is spent sitting around by D (B still needs to wait for the CA to finish or A needs to wait for the BA to finish)

Basically the rule would be to resolve human-human battles first (human-computer battles would only take place if there is no human-human options for that human)

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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#11 Post by RonaldX » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:58 pm

Krikkitone wrote: Basically the rule would be to resolve human-human battles first (human-computer battles would only take place if there is no human-human options for that human)
Most of this is irrelevant. No player can manually control more than 1 combat per quantum anyways. I wonder, though, if it is in fact possible to resolve more than one combat at a time if they involve separate players.. for example, could AvB and CvD happen simultaneously?

The entire question is only relevant in multiplayer, and even then, it has been established that a player can only manually control 1 combat per quantum in multiplayer and the rest must be auto-resolved.. Therefore, the maximum amount of time a single player would have to wait around in a given quantum is (Number of players - 1) quanta worth of combat, if they are the last player to go, and everyone else elected to manually control a different battle.

Presumably a player could elect to manually control a combat against an AI rather than a Human if he felt the battle was more deserving of direct control. I would certainly be more inclined to manually control a battle against an AI death fleet than be forced to manually control a battle against a Human scout. I shouldn't be forced into the second combat simply by virtue of the scout being Human-controlled (This could be hideously game-breaking if you were smart enough to send a bunch of scouts at an enemy on and around the same quantum an AI player was attacking them, forcing them to auto-resolve all these important battles and forcing them to manually engage your scouts instead).

As a fairly lengthy example, let's say there are 3 combats occuring on a given Quantum, in a 2 player game:
1) Player1 vs AI
2) Player1 vs Player2
3) Player2 vs AI

Player1 could elect to manually control 1 or 2.
Player2 could elect to manually control 2 or 3.

-If both Players elect to control Battle2, then they will square off human vs human.
-If Player1 elects to control Battle1, and Player2 elects to control Battle2, then Player1 fights against AI, and Player2 fights against AI (controlling Player1's fleet).
-If Player1 elects to control Battle1, and Player2 elects to control Battle3, then both Players fight against AI, and Combat2 is auto-resolved.

The question which remains is, can the server handle multiple combats simultaneously? In the above example, let's say that Player1 and Player2 both elect to fight against the AI opponent (Battle1 and Battle3)... Why shouldn't these be able to happen at the same time? As long as the battles are all summed up and reported to the server at the end of the quantum, I don't see any reason why any player should have to sit around waiting at all.

This train of thought is starting to drift off-topic so I'll leave it there.

-Ty.

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Re: passive/hostile fleet UI

#12 Post by Krikkitone » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:11 am

RonaldX wrote: Most of this is irrelevant. No player can manually control more than 1 combat per quantum anyways.
-Ty.
Why?

If I'm in a four player game, and we all want to allow multiple battles on the same quantum, why not?

I wasn't talking about Which combats would be manual and which would be automatic, I was talking about which manual combats would go first and which would go second, third, etc.

I was also presuming that if one player elected to manually control, that the battle would automatically be manually controlled by the other side as well.

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Re: Player Fleet / System Battle Authorization

#13 Post by RonaldX » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:31 am

From the Movement/Combat/Production Timing thread:
viewtopic.php?p=41426#p41426

Bigjoe's first response. He answered my question regarding multiple human-controlled battles per quantum here. Since nothing in that thread contradicted it afterwards, I took it to be the decided-upon solution.

-Ty.

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Re: Player Fleet / System Battle Authorization

#14 Post by Krikkitone » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:30 am

RonaldX wrote:From the Movement/Combat/Production Timing thread:
viewtopic.php?p=41426#p41426

Bigjoe's first response. He answered my question regarding multiple human-controlled battles per quantum here. Since nothing in that thread contradicted it afterwards, I took it to be the decided-upon solution.

-Ty.
In Some multiplayer games that would be the case, not in ALL, in some the limit mught be 4 per quantum, in others it could be 0 [all battles auto-resolved], in others it would be unlimited.

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Re: Player Fleet / System Battle Authorization

#15 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:34 am

RonaldX wrote:Bigjoe's first response. He answered my question regarding multiple human-controlled battles per quantum here. Since nothing in that thread contradicted it afterwards, I took it to be the decided-upon solution.
Posts in brainstorming threads are not, are and do not become, decided-upon design decisions, just by not being contradicted later in the same thread.

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