Impossible? No, I give you that. But ( assuming we can come up with a solution that addresses the design issues) a challenge you'd have to be able to pull off. Trying to succeed where even big commercial products are prone to fail is a risk we should consider carefully. We could easily end up with biting off more than we can chew (in fact, that already happened with the first attempt at implementing tactical combat during the 0.3.x versions).The Silent One wrote:@ Vezzra: You bring up good and valid points, but I don't think it is impossible to solve them satisfactorily.
That said, I think the approach you proposed looks promising. Something like that could acutally work, and work well. IMO it shows the potential to address all the major issues (design and implementation).
I can understand that feeling, it's not that I don't share it at all. But, as I said in another post above, my skepticism is based on past experiences. The games I played failed to deliver when it came to tactical combat (some more badly than others), so those potentially memorable moments weren't as memorable as I hoped for. In most cases they sucked so badly that I've eventually learned to enjoy those games more without resolving any battles manually.I feel removing tactical combat would take away a key part of 4X games and with that some of the most memorable moments ... also, I think players want to have influence on the outcomes of their battles. To me, the game feels incomplete without tactical combat.
And that's exactly what I want to avoid for FO. If we do it, we really need to do it well.
The challenge with this is mostly that you need to get auto-resolution done in a way that the dynamics aren't too different from manual resolution. Another point where most of the games I played failed miserably. I actually had to design my ships differently depending on if I want to auto-resolve or not. A design optimized for one kind of resolution could suck quite badly if used with the other kind of resolution. And that was no fun at all (and another major reason why I finally only used auto-resolution)....in my opinion the option to auto-resolve is a viable solution for this. Pick the fights that are fun, leave the ones that are boring.
That's also something your proposed approach takes care of
Based on my gaming experience with even just three people playing a multiplayer strategy game I think that your option 1 might even become a big problem with as few players as that.I would imagine three multiplayer options: "let players control all fights", "players may choose which fights to control", "auto-resolve all fights". In games with lots of players the players could choose option 3, in games with few players option 1.
Option 2 will confront you with yet another challenge: what to do in a human-vs-human battle, where only one opponent decides to resolve the battle manually? Force the other player to participate in the manual resolution? Inform him that his opponent opted for manual resolution and let him then decide if he want the AI to take over for him or do it manually also? There are several possible ways to handle this, but I fear there's no easy solution that isn't going to be ackward in one way or another, or opens up another can of worms (like having an AI take over for one opponent in a human-vs-human battle, very messy!).
Option 3 is the only viable one for multiplayer IMO.
With your proposal however all these problems don't exist. You know, the more I think about it, the more I like it.
You've no ideaSo it's a challengeVezzra wrote:* [...] last problem: the AI. All 4X games I've played which had a tactical combat engine worth using had the problem that a human player can take too much advantage of an AI in tactical combat.
Seriously, this is one of the major points. If you can't come up with a tactical combat engine where the AI isn't outsmarted by a human too easily, forget it. Also past experiences, and probably the point where the games I played failed worst (besides the different dynamics dependent on kind of resolution thing I mentioned above).
And probably yet another aspect where your proposal might score.
Sort of an "evolutionary" approach. That of course presents the challenge that each "incarnation" of the implementation needs to play well, but that's probably something we can actually pull off.incremental improvement. start simple, improve over time, just like with the map part of fo, or just like BfW
If we did 3D tactical combat, sufficiently decent 3D models for the ships, a interface that lets you handle even large scale battles without them becoming unmanagable, etc. Graphics don't have to rival GTA V or other games on that level (graphically), maybe something that isn't too far from how space battles are done in this game (actually our former graphics lead, PD, is part of that project). Geoff mentioned once that something like that is how our 3D tactical combat might be done.What are todays "standards"?
I'd avoid doing something that works and looks like tactical combat e.g. in Space Empires III. That you can do if you try to make a retro game, but wouldn't fit into FO.
Sure, but that was only possible because the people involved in this project over all those years have been aware of the limits we have to deal with and acknowledge (most of the time). They resisted the temptation to want too much, or pack too much into the game and cut corners when it has been necessary. FO is (IMO) an exceptionally well designed game (I'm always considering us, who carry on this project now to be standing on the shoulders of giants ). FO avoided the pitfalls that spelled doom for so many (over)ambitious open source projects.I agree space combat is, as you put it, a gargantuan task, but so was making the game up to this point. FO also started simple and has since developed into what it is now.
But even so it took us 12 years to get to where we're now - version 0.4.5. Based on the comments about FO I read on the internet sometimes I get the impression we're most famous for our unique development speed (e.g. comparing the speed of our advancements to glaciers). I think we can and should continue taking on challenges, we wouldn't be where we are if we didn't, we just need to be wise about it, like our predecessors have been.