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Improving Tactical Combat

Combat UI

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Mathias_Zealot #1 Posted 03 March 2016 - 11:47 PM

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Many complaints have been made about the state of the combat system as it stands currently. The devs have stated that the combat is not yet complete and the AI for it is still a work in progress. As such, it seems prudent to provide the best feedback we can manage for improving the combat now, so that it can be implemented and the AI developed to take advantage of the combat options and be as challenging as possible.
 

Tweaks from current gameplay
Pause/Unpause should resume previous game speed, not jump to 1x speed
Movement Destination and Firing Targets should be separated (Imagine how ridiculous World of Tanks would be if you'd right click to lock the turret onto a target and your tank lurched forward to drive closer)
AI Control should be able to be toggled on an individual ship level (for players who would like to admiral the biggest ship around and leave the AI to support)

Ship Speed controls might be nice
 

Additions to Gameplay and User Interface
Deployment Time

In addition to starting the battle paused, it should be possible to position the fleet into a starting formation. Click and drag and box select and drag should be sufficient. Ideally this should be maintained between combats to avoid the pitfall of having to set the deployment every time.

 

Camera Control Selections

We could really use a wider variety of camera controls than the current Free/Cinematic toggle. Some options that would be nice:

 

  • Top Down View
    • A camera snap-to option that rotates to a top down view angle
  • Isometric View (current default)
    • A camera snap-to option that rotates to the default view angle
  • Target Follow Camera
    • A camera option that pans along with the selected target
    • Manual Panning switches back to Free Camera, but Manual Rotation does not
  • Cinematic Camera
    • The current cinematic setting: focuses on the big explosions and such

 

Incremental Pause Option
The idea here is that we have the option to get as close to turn based as possible without overturning the whole current combat engine. This should be a New Game menu option, disabled by default (much like the tactical combat option from MoO2). Enabling this should begin tactical battles paused, and pause the game every 2-5 seconds (not sure what time span would feel right). This would allow for reassignment of targets between volleys, changing movement orders, and use of tactical weapons (once they're added) as appropriate. So to speak, this setting seeks to have the game do automatically what someone seeking a turn based approach would be doing manually.

 

As part of this mode, selected ships/missiles should show movement path based on current orders with dots indicating where it will be next time the game pauses. Like the starlane travel marks, for a consistent feel. Missiles targeting the current selected ship should be animated in place while paused.

 

Weapon Controls
As part of the movement and targeting separation tweak above, the UI should be modified to allow for weapon groups to target different targets. Heavy inspiration from MoO2's functionality and UI. Essentially, targeting is based on weapon group, rather than ship. There's a bit of reorganizing the weapon group list and ship stats for a bit more room.

 

  • All weapon groups have three states: Active, Wait, or Disabled (green, yellow, red).
    • These states can be cycled through by clicking on the weapon group.
    • Active weapon groups will change target to the next selected target, Wait and Disabled groups will not.
    • When a target is selected, Active groups switch to Wait and Wait groups switch to Active (maybe, should make multi-targeting easier)
  • Longer recharge systems (Tactical systems) should probably be Disabled by default

 

Mockup


Combat Screen Mockup



 

As there are already numerous threads asking for a fundamental change to the game's combat engine, I'd like to close this by asking to please keep those arguments in other threads.

Edit: typo and Deployment section


Edited by Mathias_Zealot, 04 March 2016 - 08:50 PM.

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Vahouth #2 Posted 03 March 2016 - 11:50 PM

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I like these suggestions. +1

I'd also like to be able to rotate the facing of a group in formation ala Total War.



Mathias_Zealot #3 Posted 04 March 2016 - 03:15 AM

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View PostVahouth, on 03 March 2016 - 11:50 PM, said:

I like these suggestions. +1

I'd also like to be able to rotate the facing of a group in formation ala Total War.

 

hmm,
right click + drag fleet to change facing in place
right click + drag in space to set a move order and facing
shift + right click + drag in space to add a waypoint and facing
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Vahouth #4 Posted 04 March 2016 - 12:51 PM

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Exactly. :)


Michael_Faber #5 Posted 04 March 2016 - 01:59 PM

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For those players that want a decent RTS combat system might want to look here as a source of inspiration including game features.

https://www.youtube....h?v=HICqhncRD6o

 

This also clearly shows why MOO4 can never achieve the same quality that it is needed to make a good RTS game......

So those MOO4 players that are looking forward to playing RTS combat spacegames should play Battlefield Gothic Armada in the first place^^. The civ gamers will feel at home by playing GalCiv III.

The turn based players that are into XCOM and HOMM3, Battle Isle and stuff, like I am, better continue with MOO2 ;-(



Mathias_Zealot #6 Posted 04 March 2016 - 07:10 PM

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So, pretty much what the devs said when talking about tactical combat?

http://forum.masteroforion.com/index.php?/topic/798-the-devs-on-combat/

Block Quote

 Usually good turn based strategy games require the following:
 

  • An Interesting board layout (usually provided by terrain or ad-hoc restrictions to movement like in chess).
  • A small set of pieces or units (to make each turn and the whole match bearable).
  • Distinct units with specific roles and intransitive relations between them (melee, ranged, artillery, etc / rock, paper, scissor, etc)

 

space chock full of terrain stuff, 4-7 ships on the board, and specific skills/systems on those ships. Of course, pointing out that a game that combines empire building/management with tactical combat will never achieve the same quality of combat as one built solely for the tactical combat doesn't really help in improving MoO.

 

At best I hope that the devs work out including the tactical weapons (Displacer Device, Assault Shuttles, Spatial Compressor...) in a sensible manner


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Rustypipe_2016 #7 Posted 04 March 2016 - 08:19 PM

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If they are truly going to continue with only this RTS tactical rubbish and shove it down our throats like every other 4x space game has done in the last few years then it needs to be leaps and bounds better.  I really hope a 3rd option comes in so we have a choice between turn base, tactical, or simulate but I don't think that will happen.  None the less if they are going to continue to run down this rabbit hole they need the RTS to be like some other titles out there that still gives the user CONTROL.  One example of this is Star Drive 2.  When the battle starts you have a deployment area your ships warp in at.  This gives you the chance to setup your formations.  You then can pause, and play at various speeds.  However you can select different weapons, fire at different times, and execute on special abilities to make it much more interactive.  Also if in Star Drive 2 if you get behind a ship and get past its defenses you can destroy the engines.  This renders the ship immobile so it can be used as a tactic.  Same goes with the front or side of ships you have the possibility of damaging modules on the ship or shutting down systems.  This all adds to the feel and also allows for boarding to take place again. 

 

 



die4dark #8 Posted 04 March 2016 - 08:34 PM

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Francly I would really like a turn based simulation like in the original moo2 game , exept mayby that all action would play out at the same time when i would press turn button. Miss the feel of old games like moo2.

Edited by die4dark, 04 March 2016 - 08:34 PM.


Mathias_Zealot #9 Posted 04 March 2016 - 08:45 PM

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Ah right, deployment zones. Knew I was forgetting something.

 

Block Quote

 Francly I would really like a turn based simulation like in the original moo2 game

 

Original Post

 As there are already numerous threads asking for a fundamental change to the game's combat engine, I'd like to close this by asking to please keep those arguments in other threads.

 
Some times I wonder.

 


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Provinfistoris #10 Posted 05 March 2016 - 02:40 AM

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I like these suggestions, as it brings the combat closer to TBS without actually making it TBS. IT's as much as I could hope for, without massive recoding to make the combat good.

Lucian667 #11 Posted 05 March 2016 - 03:15 AM

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Yes some good ideas here, I especially like the idea of an incremental pause option although I dont think we're ever going to see it (outside a mod). Not because it would be too hard but because the devs seem to have decided that TB is not something they want in the game. I like the weapon control suggestions too, they are actually pretty essential. Other things I would like to see...

 

- Shield Arcs with some sort of feedback as to the state of the shield.

- Boarding.

- Orders that can affect an entire fleet or a single ship (whatever is selected) like Standoff and fire at extreme range, close to point blank, maintain broadside fire, maintain centerline fire..... etc.

- Crew quality that starts off green and can increase through experience.

 


Edited by Lucian667, 05 March 2016 - 03:37 AM.


Mathias_Zealot #12 Posted 05 March 2016 - 05:03 AM

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Good input. I don't think the incremental pause would be that difficult to implement by itself (literally a timer and the pause button command). It's probably the additional bits of displayed information that would make it more of an investment.

You know, as much as I enjoyed the concept of boarding I don't actually remember using it much because of the immobilized requirement (enemies tended to go from badly damaged to dead very quickly). Would still like it to be there.

Movement and positioning controls really need work, yes.

Crew quality: very yes. I want that old destroyer that's seen more refits than god to have that hardened crew of veterans.

 

Also: Custom ship names for said ship


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Lucian667 #13 Posted 05 March 2016 - 08:07 AM

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View PostMathias_Zealot, on 05 March 2016 - 05:03 AM, said:

Good input. I don't think the incremental pause would be that difficult to implement by itself (literally a timer and the pause button command).

 

No I agree it would be easy to program, I just dont think the devs will do it because its not what they want for the game. They haven't been shy about stating that they already tried a turn based approach and rejected it based on advice from their MOO 3 consultants. It could probably be done if the game ends up being mod friendly, OR It might even be possible to do it something like this....

 

https://www.reddit.c...ing_autohotkey/

 

Which would be an acceptable workaround. Even something simple like this would make tactical combat a lot more attractive to me.



Mathias_Zealot #14 Posted 05 March 2016 - 02:07 PM

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That's certainly an interesting workaround. That said, the tactical combat that MoO2 was so well loved for was just an option in the new game menu. If it's easy to add to the game and would be a sufficient substitute for actual TB, then it would be in the best interest of the devs to add it (read: cheap to add and increases sales).
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