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Game Design Theory: Automated battles is not necessarily bad

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larienna #1 Posted 05 March 2016 - 01:26 AM

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I had a discussion on other forum about spreadsheet like games and the need to have tactical battles. Are there necessary to make the experience joyful?

 

After some quick discussion, it's not really necessary to have tactical battles or even have any decision at all in battle resolution. What is important is the feedback of the battle resolution, so that when you return to the main spreadsheet game, you know what are the necessary adjustments you need to make. You need to be able to learn your strength and weakness by watching the battle resolution. Being able to interact with it is not a necessity.

 

 

 



Omega_Weapon #2 Posted 05 March 2016 - 03:28 AM

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When I design ships I have  a plan for how to use them. The AI usually does not have the same plan and uses my ships incorrectly. Not having control in battle is a major handicap for any good player. For players who can't do tactical well, the AI probably helps.

larienna #3 Posted 06 March 2016 - 04:16 AM

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That's the case where manual control is possible but you have the option to give the control to the AI.

 

But let say the combat system was designed with no possibility of manual control. Let say for example, that the whole combat resolution is a big giant formula or number munching machine. In that case both the player and the AI use the same system and have no control on the combat resolution.

 

So what matters in that case are the decisions taken before combat, like ship configuration, fleet formation, maneuver and composition, etc. But even when using such automated system, feedback to the player is necessary to make him understand what are his strength and weakness so that after the battle he could make the proper adjustments to his ship configuration, formation, composition, etc. In order to succeed his next battle.

 

So even if they wanted to use real time battles, they could put no tactical control and the game could still be interesting as long feedback is given to the player.



Peo01 #4 Posted 06 March 2016 - 07:35 AM

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Gotta be honest, if I wanted to play a spreadsheet game, then I'd be playing something like Eve Online or one of the "olden days" text games.

However this is 2016 and I expect more than that from my 4x games.

I expect to be in full control over my empire/race/country and I expect the game to either have a fancy turn based or real time strategy mode.

That goes for singleplayer and multiplayer.

 

Otherwise the game will immediately make it's way on the list of games with lazy developers/publishers.

Since the technology exists and there's no excuse not to have proper combat other than: "Cut content to save time and ressources, yay."



kinggore #5 Posted 06 March 2016 - 11:00 AM

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maybe have the tactical combat phase go with a tactical overview and method,
few buttons, like aggressive, limited aggressive (for instance having carriers stay back while fighters fights), defendant, hit and retreat, retreat, covered retreat.

points of focus, receiving or delivering fire.
this could be fluid turns of x seconds before.. new commands can be given.

this would speed up the tactical phase of combat considerably.
one of the main issues I have had with earlier x4 game is when playing many people, waiting for the combat phase.

​also the graphics for combat plain out sucks. it needs a lot of work.


Edited by kinggore, 06 March 2016 - 11:02 AM.


Omega_Weapon #6 Posted 06 March 2016 - 03:38 PM

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View Postlarienna, on 05 March 2016 - 11:16 PM, said:

That's the case where manual control is possible but you have the option to give the control to the AI.

 

But let say the combat system was designed with no possibility of manual control. Let say for example, that the whole combat resolution is a big giant formula or number munching machine. In that case both the player and the AI use the same system and have no control on the combat resolution.

 

So what matters in that case are the decisions taken before combat, like ship configuration, fleet formation, maneuver and composition, etc. But even when using such automated system, feedback to the player is necessary to make him understand what are his strength and weakness so that after the battle he could make the proper adjustments to his ship configuration, formation, composition, etc. In order to succeed his next battle.

 

So even if they wanted to use real time battles, they could put no tactical control and the game could still be interesting as long feedback is given to the player.

 

Taking away player ability to control their ships and making it automated combat under computer control makes the game less interesting. It becomes a math contest rather than a skill contest.

kinggore #7 Posted 08 March 2016 - 12:56 AM

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just played some space empire 5. there the battles are a choice where you can choose the tactical or the automated.

I sort of like that way, it could be further developed though.

played a game long long time ago where you would have a zillion ships combat. if having a fleet of only the biggest ships would actually make you lose since the big cannons often miss small targets. those were automated battles only though.

just something to consider if this should  be implemented or merge some of the ideas into this new game.



Mikko_M #8 Posted 12 April 2016 - 04:36 PM

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View PostEmP64213, on 07 March 2016 - 07:18 PM, said:

 

For me tactical combat is THE reason why you make decisions in the main "spreadsheet-like game".

 

Same here. :) And it is not like the spreadsheet-lovers don`t already have games to choose from, as for some reason it seems most space 4X developers find it impossible to create good tactical combat options for their games. :(


Edited by Mikko_M, 12 April 2016 - 05:32 PM.

Moreover, I advise that the tactical combat must be made more player controllable and informative for this to become a proper MOO game.

 

​The long lost formula for space 4X game success = Good tactical combat + good empire management > than just good tactical combat or good empire management alone.


Mikko_M #9 Posted 12 April 2016 - 05:31 PM

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View PostEmP64213, on 12 April 2016 - 05:19 PM, said:

 

What's worse, I get the feeling that devs genuinely try to make tactical and then say "no, no, no, big nope" when they start implementing it and realize it's not as simple task as they initially thought.

 

​Still it is funny how the developers 20 years ago managed to develop a functioning tactical combat system that we still look up to, but modern game developers are completely puzzled when faced with a similar challenge.

Edited by Mikko_M, 12 April 2016 - 05:35 PM.

Moreover, I advise that the tactical combat must be made more player controllable and informative for this to become a proper MOO game.

 

​The long lost formula for space 4X game success = Good tactical combat + good empire management > than just good tactical combat or good empire management alone.


MOO2MOD #10 Posted 13 April 2016 - 12:51 PM

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View Postlarienna, on 05 March 2016 - 01:26 AM, said:

I had a discussion on other forum about spreadsheet like games and the need to have tactical battles. Are there necessary to make the experience joyful?

 

After some quick discussion, it's not really necessary to have tactical battles or even have any decision at all in battle resolution. What is important is the feedback of the battle resolution, so that when you return to the main spreadsheet game, you know what are the necessary adjustments you need to make. You need to be able to learn your strength and weakness by watching the battle resolution. Being able to interact with it is not a necessity.

 

Think the title of thread is better than actual argument in post.

"Game Design Theory: Automated battles is not necessarily bad"

Indeed its not necessarily bad and for a fair fight player vs ai its probably a better way of resolve.

or in other words- its better for developers who do not care enough to pin some actual tricks on the a.i.'s sleeve so that a.i. can pull off a decent tactical combat

 

because one of the main attractions in moo1/2 is tactical and it is really a lot of fun.

well, that and the whole road called preparation to it. :)

(but that is as much an opinion as your conclusion that it is not necessary)

 

unfortunately, as EmP64213 stated, it is not an easy design task and the knowledge gets lost unfortunately.

 







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