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  #31  
Old June 25th, 2010, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

What do you mean by a "painful and overly complex" turn-based system? Something like MOO2's initiative system, which while it works well in smaller battles, makes long battles drag on forever so one is tempted to "Z the combat" (Z being the hotkey to autoresolve)? Or did you have something else in mind? Despite what Alikiwi said earlier, we're still not sure exactly how combat will be resolved (player control or AI control? turn based or real time?)... Alikiwi and a few other folks left the team a few months ago due to a disagreement on the direction the project was taking!

One interesting feature we're going to implement, though, and might be able to help us figure out how to do this combat thing, is that of "battlespaces"... Nick (Suicide Junkie) came up with the idea, and basically the way it works is, each ship or other space object, given an amount of time (1 turn, 1 "phase", or 1 "round", with phases and rounds being subdivisions of turns), has a certain "combat effect radius", wherein it can potentially engage in combat with other ships, etc. This radius is equal to the ship's physical size plus the ship's weapons range plus the maximum distance the ship can travel over that period of time.

Whenever a ship encounters an enemy ship within its combat radius for the turn, then, a "battlespace" is formed containing all of the ships involved (whose combat radii overlap). Those ships then have time "slowed down", and the battlespaces are checked again. If we're at the phase level and they don't overlap, then the game just goes on processing those ships at the slower time speed, to see if they ever do actually meet, or if they fly by each other. If on the other hand they DO meet at the phase level, then combat has officially been entered, and time is broken down once again, into rounds. This is where things get a bit murky - do we allow players to issue orders to ships in combat, or are combats autoresolved? If the player is involved, will it be turn-based or real-time? Or will all of the above be game options? We still have yet to figure that out!

In case that all sounds confusing, here's a couple animations that Nick whipped up a while back to illustrate the concept...
http://imagemodserver.mine.nu/nick/p...es/FleetsA.gif
http://imagemodserver.mine.nu/nick/p...es/FleetsB.gif
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  #32  
Old June 25th, 2010, 02:44 PM

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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

Would something like a Baldur's Gate style real time combat system work? Here's I can foresee it...

- Keep ships and groups of ships as well as the speed of combat relatively slow, so players have time to think and strategize without engaging into a clickfest
- Allow players to use the mouse to click on ships or groups of ships to move them to a location or issue commands
- On the GUI interface (just below the combat screen), have several large command buttons with simple commands (i.e. remember the KISS rule!) to order a selected ship or group of ships. Commands buttons are as follows:
(1) MOVE (selected ship(s)moves to a given location subsequently selected with the mouse pointer);
(2) ATTACK (selected ship(s) attack a target that is subsequently selected with the mouse pointer);
(3) RETREAT (selected ship(s) flee by warping out or leaving the battle screen);
(4) SPECIAL (selected ship(s) use their special attack or defense (e.g. breeching pods with boarding parties, fighter wings, cloaking device, etc...))
I would also recommend having an option to pause the battle to issue commands in single player games (I would prefer that option, personally -- I like time to relax to think! )

Last edited by KnightWhoSaysNi; June 25th, 2010 at 03:03 PM..
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  #33  
Old June 26th, 2010, 06:15 AM
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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

I think some of these questions would be made simpler if we knew how the game is intended to play. A game with SP focus can have a lot of functions that would make MP impractically slow, and if the game is meant to be primarily PBEM then questions about direct control of battles become secondary.
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  #34  
Old July 1st, 2010, 02:24 AM

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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

I have to agree with Gregstorm on this one. If the fans here have no idea how this game will be presented, then it makes picking and choosing the basic combat system difficult to say the least.

Will this game play out like Star Treks: Birth of the Federaton Turnbased offering? That is the only game of this genre that I recall being multiplayer and turn based combat in a Masters of Orion style gameplay.
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  #35  
Old July 3rd, 2010, 10:20 AM
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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

Well, sorry this isn't the most definitive answer, but right now we're still at the point of trying to be flexible in terms of singleplayer vs. multiplayer and network vs. PBEM... that's probably a significant part of the reason the combat issue is so thorny - we want to create a satisfying singleplayer experience without making multiplayer too complex or too different from singleplayer! I personally think strategic combat with detailed fleet setup and planning, but little to no player involvement once the battle's started (a la Gratuitous Space Battles) would be a good compromise, but then that might be my bias for multiplayer speaking! One idea that was proposed, though, was to do battles similarly to GSB as described, but in singleplayer and network games (but not in PBEM) to break the battle down into phases - say, every 30 seconds the game pauses and you can adjust your fleet's tactics to take enemy fleet composition and tactics into account!

Yes, I suppose that does imply real-time combat... sorry for the confusion about having "decided" on a turn-based system! Not sure where Alikiwi got that idea, and he's not working with us anymore... the whole combat resolution mechanic is really still up in the air; I'm just presenting here the option that came up and I remembered and I liked!
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  #36  
Old July 4th, 2010, 05:03 AM
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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

Thanks for the info. FWIW, I'm with you on the GSB-type battle planning.

As far as the SP/MP/network/PBEM debate goes, I'd definitely like to see the plan in advance concept used. I remember network MOO2, and in a larger game it could get very frustrating for nations at peace to wait for two players in a major war to resolve a series of battles. And as noted in posts above, if you're having battles on an epic scale (dozens of ships on each side) then taking direct control of a combat can become cumbersome.

It also offers the distinct advantage that battles can be resolved in the same way whichever type of game is being played. This means tactics learnt in SP games still apply if a player goes into MP, which helps avoid a potential barrier between the two game types.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

@Ed Kolis:

Too bad Alikiwi doesn't work with you guys anymore.
May I ask why? You're not asked to give too many details of course, I can understand that it is something not fit for the general public. Just curious.
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  #38  
Old July 4th, 2010, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

Basically there was a dispute about what kind of game we were building (an SE4 clone, or a brand new game), and the folks who wanted to build an SE4 clone left, since Ken took the "new game" side.
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Old July 4th, 2010, 04:24 PM

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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

The "new game" side contained about all the programmers in the group, no wonder Ken choose them... you... whatever.

As far as I know the "cloners" formed another group, making their own space strategy game. I don't hear much about that though, it's a secret project bound by an NDA as I hear.
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Old July 6th, 2010, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: Combat Mechanics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Kolis View Post
Well, sorry this isn't the most definitive answer, but right now we're still at the point of trying to be flexible in terms of singleplayer vs. multiplayer and network vs. PBEM... that's probably a significant part of the reason the combat issue is so thorny - we want to create a satisfying singleplayer experience without making multiplayer too complex or too different from singleplayer! I personally think strategic combat with detailed fleet setup and planning, but little to no player involvement once the battle's started (a la Gratuitous Space Battles) would be a good compromise, but then that might be my bias for multiplayer speaking! One idea that was proposed, though, was to do battles similarly to GSB as described, but in singleplayer and network games (but not in PBEM) to break the battle down into phases - say, every 30 seconds the game pauses and you can adjust your fleet's tactics to take enemy fleet composition and tactics into account!

Yes, I suppose that does imply real-time combat... sorry for the confusion about having "decided" on a turn-based system! Not sure where Alikiwi got that idea, and he's not working with us anymore... the whole combat resolution mechanic is really still up in the air; I'm just presenting here the option that came up and I remembered and I liked!
Been following this so thought I would chip in now we are getting some idea of possible combat format.

For me one system makes sense & from what you are saying thats set strategys at start & let the computer do the rest.
If you allow single player to change his tactics in phases the AI has to be capable (inteligence wise) to do so to or it always needs a far better fleet.
Why not apart from its hard program plug in behavior routines & let the player set 3-5 tactics at start.
By this I mean the following
Ships would be given routines based on there weaponry this would select the targets they chose in actual combat & may be modified possibly by orders.
Hence like I say plug in routines the ship follows.
Orders you could set up to 5 conditions in a queue ships would maneuver to try & perform them.
Attack Capital Ships, Bases, Heavy Weapon Equiped Ships, Fighter Screen
are some examples
The ships would try to do this but ship routines are what makes them sensible.
Based on threat level or to hit chance will engage other targets so a ship going for the base will automatically engage threats on the way.
Should also look at if a ships nearly down or its sheilds are & a good target engaging that instead so ships automatically group fire at a target.
Like I said the orders could be queued & better than examples once it carries out one (base gone as example) it switches to the second.
Or they could act as a priority with 3 giving a weighting to what it goes for say - base, fighter screen, capitals

This is by no means easy have to think of all the factors & program & would be best if can be edited or new ones added.

Earlier freighters were mentioned & capturing cargo so using this set some to engage escorts others with priority of targeting freighters engines.
Some weapons only can target subsytems & would need a high hit chance to be able to do so. Of course could still miss it simple second to hit determination if hits XX chance to hit normaly or get the subsystem.
Probably best done as a percentage of original to hit roll if 33% chance a weapon with a 90% hit chance would hit the system 33% of the time so if it rolls 0-30 got it 31-90 normal hit 91+ normal miss.
Could use to target other systems like sensors weapons sheild generators & they could have a diffrent chance to be hit. A small weapon say 10% of original to hit instead of 33% for the big engines.

As you say new game & strategy for combat please make ships so they can be diffrent, certain classes can only fit certain weapons etc to a degree.
Large ships will be easier to hit & detect for example but can carry bigger weapons fire control sensors ECM etc
(Think about this for a plug when players resolve combat in phases/turns
Talking simply to hit big ships (best firecontrol) could target everything better so they would be best guys to target the smaller ships & could open fire at range first.
The smaller ships could have if you like the same chance to hit a big ship as it has to hit them because its firing at a bigger target.
Adjust fire control so falls off at diffrent ranges & have it as the main factor for to hit modified by the weapon & ships become diffrent)
Needs some thought to get to work as even a low tech fire control should be good close up better ones probably gain benefits to range & size or speed & possibly more capable of subsystem hits.
You now have aplug in for some time in the future if people want more detailed combat system. Oh think about diffrent degrees or how you handle ECM & point Defence, effects just the ship or produces a globe. My opinion last is better ships can have overlaping fields efficency falling off fairly quickly. Could become very powerful though despite being more realistic sitting in the jamming cloud probably need fire penalties if over do it)

Anyway back to ships being diffrent could have smaller specialist ships they can put space over to carrying systems above their class/size. Theres your scout ECM AntiECM Missile/Fighter defence boats. They need to specialise due to energy requirments & aux power plants.

Small ships could also be faster more maneuverable but not have the range of big boys as not enough space for consumables. Perhaps only one way to jump etc etc etc. Bit of thought & theres a reason to buy diffrent ships & tactics you set at the start of battle depending on whats in your fleet.

As you are talking small universe with detailed systems (the far better way in my opinion much more absorbing) you can take advatage of ship characteristics.
Small can hide & manuver better in astoroid fields for example. The best guys to find them though would probably be the capitals with a big sensor pack but once detected these are not the guys to send in there.

Within a system also trade between planets (& other systems) could improve productivity be its food luxury goods ore etc.
Intercepting freight routes could cause problems on planet or take out the ore delivery & the shipyard workers are twidling their thumbs. Now laying siege to the planet to tough to take on so we will blocade it, where are the runners More strategic options to take it

One problem here possibly if using grand fleets route freighters need to travel in packs with fleet as an escort.
Or could be automated run seperatly for safety on quickest route then routine makes them possibly change course if one is destroyed. Player knows roughly where they will be running to start with, quickest route between planets.

Another thing as said new game route the Tech tree.
Lets not make it baffling & enormous & make it so you can select a tech press a button & it shows you the possible paths to it. Possibly with 2 options highlight it or collapse the tree & just show required path.
Any prequisites should be included.
Does anyone enjoy trying to figure out tech trees?

Also to stop the best path every time yawn or because you cant be bothered to figure it out more make it flexible.
Possible idea as said can nick freight retrieve ships with tugs have a chance to get salvage or upon invading enemy planet spies etc.
Once you get a bit of enemy tech you can research it (could fail chance of success based possibly on prequisites from your tech) & if succesful may or may not be able to produce it. Better I think is it opens up a new avenue of research for you.
Example if you salvage an enemy beam weapon chances of understanding (or research time) is based on how far along you are in beam tech.
You figure out how to combine it with one of your beam weapons & a new weapon is born.
Now the tech tree gets new branches depending on the foes you meet & you might have to wait till get some salvage before you can research it despite knowing its good.
Also opens the avenue of coming across a ship mounting something new you just might want to try & capture one relativly intact.

For added variety the discoveries you make from alien tech could vary give some % to the possible new paths & see what you learnt. Damn last time capturing that gave me a great weapon this time its given me a very minor benefit to shields vs it.

Sorry so long & disjointed just wrote down ideas as thought of them.
Something a bit diffrent please it would be really nice if you produce a game that is not a rewrite of some 70s game like 99% are. Better graphics does not cut it gameplay is what counts. Oh & an easy interface another modern day failure in many games.

As a futher thought as seen posts about research moons etc some could give diffrent benefits. Ore extraction colony is obvious but think out of the box Research centre might find organisms or a mineral that cures cancer improves food production gives bio tech allows water breathing absorbs radiation etc etc etc.
You then might or might not need to extract it & finding could open up another tech branch so the tree becomes specific to that generated universe. Or at least the chance of when you find it & why not have the odd catastrophie research went badly colony quarantined wiped out or mutates, space zombies
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Last edited by Imp; July 6th, 2010 at 10:54 AM..
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