Thursday, September 6, 2007

[feature] A better control on battles

This may require lots of thinking, so it's time to continue thinking in how to have a better control on battles.

To be compatible with real-time strategy games, it will have to be quick enough (a quick way to select targets and to attack them), or to be prepared before a battle (a priority list or a choice of standard behaviours; there is something like this in Dominion 3, even if it is a turn-based game).

About the way to know who attacks and who is attacked, maybe the game should tell in 3D mode the name of the attacker, then play the sound of the weapon, then tell the name of the defender?

Another idea is to automatically slow down the game when a fight is taking place (I have partially removed this feature from beta 8, but it may be interesting later).

Another thing: scouting persistence, and Control backspace to avoid attacking during the travel to a square.


Anonymous said...

I haven't any Google acount, so this comment is marked as anonymous again, like yesterday. Sorry for that.

A very simple idea for the users is to have an "attack" item in the order type menu (with the A key), than select the enemy with tab and enter.
Of course selecting an enemy with tab and then backspace would habe the same effect, even with a peasant in defensive mode (force to offensive it this case?)

In addition, an idea is to have a message like : "footmen 1 attack enemy footmen 3 at D4, 12 health points on 15" when you select one or more units which are on battle.

But I think a priority list is an interesting idea as well, but harder to program I think. Two lists would be fine, one fore defensive strategy and another one for offensive strategy (they might probabely not be the same).

The problem of this type of list is, in my opinion, how to access and how to modify it quickly during the game. Not so easy...

SoundMUD said...

Yes, the priority list is probably not micromanagement-friendly enough, but I wanted to write about this possibility to be exhaustive. Or these lists may be interesting to plan an attack in solo games.

About the attack command, it's probably the next evolution in this domain, and it's very close from how Starcraft works. In fact there are two orders, "goto" and "attack", but there are 3 behaviours! The only behaviour for "goto" is to go to a place, ignoring any enemy during the movement. For "attack" there are 2 opposite behaviours: if the target is neutral, every enemy is attacked (it's a lot like in SoundRTS in attack mode, because it's usually the order that needs the less micromanagement). But if the target of "attack" is an enemy, then the other enemies are ignored (like in "goto" mode), which is very useful if you want to go past the defenses and destroy a critical target. This is useful too during a battle to focus the attacks on one enemy unit.

About the messages, they will have to be very concise, or the battles will have to be slowed down but this should be avoided if possible. Maybe additional sounds, for example by telling the name of the attacker positionned in 3D, then the sound of the weapon, then the name of the defender, then the hit sound? Why not?

Anonymous said...

I find that slowing down game during battles is really not a good idea. It's realt-time strategy, not roll playing game like final fantasy with separated moving phases and fighting phases.

The major problem of this is when you have more than 2 players : Every player don't take part in every battle. However, if the time is slowed down, it's for everybody or for nobody.
So the time must be always constant

3 behaviours : Yes, the best is to let the user choose between these 3 options. All of them are useful in certain cases as you said : simple go to, attack a precise enemy or attack whatever enemy found in sight range.

SoundMUD said...

Yes, so here are 2 more questions:

To give the order to attack a unit, you need to select it. So maybe a scouting remanence would be interesting: the enemy buildings would be remembered for ever (even if in reality they are destroyed), while the enemy units would be remembered ten or twenty seconds, allowing to prepare an attack, choosing the better targets.

Another problem is the default order (with backspace): in Starcraft the default order with neutral locations is goto (without attacking) but it is not the best choice in many cases. So the default order would be: for a location, go attacking what you find on your path (not like in Starcraft); for an enemy, attack directly, ignoring everything else. Another key combination would be nice to go to a location without attacking anything (control backspace, for example).