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Member Since 17 Aug 2003
Offline Last Active May 14 2014 05:26 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: In what ways can a text adventure have combat?

11 December 2013 - 02:20 PM

If you can get the The Riddle of Steel Combat Simulator from their support page http://www.driftwoodpublishing.com/support/ to work, then that gives a an overview of how text-based combat can work. It's certainly skill based but with a whole bunch of dice involved so it's random as well. Like Poker.


What kind of  "dice rolls" are you trying to avoid? For example, is rock-paper-scissor ok? I choose attack A, enemy (randomly!) chooses attack B. A beats B so I win. As an extra bonus, with markov chains you cam make an AI for it if you want tougher opponents. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/science/rock-paper-scissors.html?_r=0


I like the King of Men's talk of resource management. Let's say a swashbuckler has stamina, health, durability of his sword, four hidden daggers and two pistol shots. Stamina regenerates quickly, health slowly, sword not at all until you find a new one. Health loss in swordfights is inversely proportional to the amount of stamina expended. Throwing a dagger gives you the opportunity to run away. Pistol shots are instakill but rare obviously.

In Topic: Combat System for a 4X Game

14 October 2013 - 07:14 PM

I will restrict the number of elite units that can be produced by other means of course, but I think it will just cause the player to gather them from all around the country and form a doomstack. 

In some ways I think the most interesting army variations come from how they are produced. If you gather your forces from across the land you'll get archers and footmen from the villages, heavy mercenary troops from the cities and knights from the nobles. Or something like that. Heroes of Might and Magic of all games reflected this nicely I think.
I wonder what your problem is with the doomstack. Is it the "elite units only" or the gathering of all forces into one huge army? The former can be solved by having cannon fodder valuable enough to bring along anyway. Your 20 legion doomstack is defeated by my 20 legion + 40 auxiliary legion doomstack. The latter, which a wise man once called concentration of force, is more of a strategic thing. If you don't want wars to always be "I gather my stuff, you gather your stuff and we fight in the middle" then you can make raiding very efficient. The Europa Universalis games do this to some extent, you can cause quite some harm by pillaging enemy provinces with only a few regiments. Combine it with good defensive bonuses so a smaller army can easier hold off a bigger one on home ground while your raiding parties wreck his economy.

The player has no combat input (you send the army to fight, end the turn and pray for the best), possible exception are some orders adjusting the behavior of the army, for example when to retreat.


In EU I've always wanted to tell my troops what the goal of this battle is. Is it to destroy the enemy army, to hold the province, or to delay them as long as possible so my reinforcements can arrive? In a "hold ground" scenario you would get defensive bonuses and inferior units would perform better (they'd be more dug in or on a hill or something) but the attacker could more easily retreat in good order because you wouldn't be in a good position to counter-attack. So now we have a few different situations:
Both attack: Heavy casualties, one side likely to be destroyed.
One hold ground, one attack: Heavier casualties for attacker, but defender less likely to retreat if defeated.
One delay, one attack: Somewhat heavier casualties for attacker, defender likely to be able to retreat. Slows battle down, if applicable.
One hold ground, one attack "if safe": Both sides exchange rude words and the attacker pulls back. Or something like that.

I would love some feedback and of course more ideas on the matter, I'm sure you have some.


I sure do. Like you I had the EU mechanic as a sort of baseline when thinking about this. As a general rule I wanted a little bit of a rock-paper-scissors feeling without having too much "this unit has +50% against that unit". Less gamey but the same result basically. Also the consequences should be relatively easy to understand for the player, as you said.

First of all, scouting. If you have few scouting units, primarily light cavalry, you increase the risk of being forced into a fight you don't want. And decrease the chance of catching the enemy unaware for that matter. This bonus would be capped at a certain number of scout units. By the time you have a scout in every tree it doesn't really matter if you have even more. This would be implemented by some sort of maneuver roll when an army enters the province of another army. If it falls in your favor, you get some kind of bonus, potentially a huge one. Easy number: Risk/chance of ambush.
Second of all, mobility. Light cavalry might not stand up in any kind of battle but they can just run away with very few losses. Mount & Blade illustrates this well with their Khergit(=Mongol) faction. They weren't that much more dangerous than the other factions in a fair fight, but they would never fight fair. If we where equal or I was stronger they would run away. If they where stronger I could not run away, so every fight against them was to my disadvantage, which made them terrifying.
So a more mobile army could more easily retreat in good order which is useful with delaying tactics.
In EU terms, having units that are faster than enemy units might slow them down and/or cause attrition. Enemy quick units would offset this as they fight rearguard actions. In the most extreme case, an army of heavy infantry might be able to force a pure mongol-style cavalry army to pull back 9 times out of 10, but that 1 case when it fails, the infantry army would be surrounded and destroyed. Easy numbers: Some kind of "Pursue" score for each battle which affects chance of successful retreat as well as casualties taken if the army breaks.
Thirdly, "unopposed" cavalry gets a big bonus. Cavalry facing enemy cavalry is going to be an even fight. Cavalry not facing cavalry is just going to attack the rear and cause havoc. And you only have to have some cavalry to threaten with so he just can't surround. They can still be kept in reserve. This could be simulated with a rule like: if enemy has no cavalry, my cavalry get 200% bonus, on account of being able to run around and attack any weak point they find. Combine this with the possibility of routing enemy cavalry off the field and you can now simulate the Punic war! Easy number: That 200% bonus.
Fourthly, fatigue. A fresh soldier is a lot better than an exhausted one. Your hardcore troops might have broken the enemy but they're not in any shape to pursue and destroy. Luckily, even pitchfork-peasants can stab fleeing enemies. This is a great reason to have lots of cannon fodder in reserve. Fresh recruits can also be able to protect better units for short time while they regroup so they can get back and do the real fighting.
Fifthly, formation. A formation score would reflect a units ability to withstand cavalry charges and melee fights. Capped by unit type, so pike infantry can have a very high value, light cavalry and skirmishers have a low value. Skirmishers like slingers can lower this value by being annoying without necessarily dealing or taking casualties. 

In Topic: Post Mortem on 4x Strategy Games

04 October 2013 - 09:41 PM

Well most empires fall apart because the people in them don't want to be part of it anymore. When ypou're so strong that nothing external can defeat you, the threat must come from inside the empire.


When I make a 4X game I plan to have an "external threat"-meter. If you are attacked everywhere your subjects will want your imperial protection. When you've defeated every credible threat and just have to conquer everything, people might prefer independence. Expect unrest and rebellions in the fringe worlds. The people of your enemies OTOH will stand united against the threat of invasion from you since you're the massive imperial power in this scenario. 


This way mightier empires grow weaker awhile smaller ones make last stands, hoping the big empire might crumble.



In Topic: Making Newtonian Spaceflight Accessable

12 March 2012 - 01:30 PM

Based on the following assumptions:
a) There is no stealth in space. Anything of any power worth noticing puts out far more heat than any chunk of rock.
b) Weapons have an effective maximum range (as argued above).
c) Newtonian (or Einsteinian if you go fast enough) physics apply.
d) Orbits around the sun take months - decades to complete.
e) Weapons are powerful enough to be 1-hit kills to anything (even cities).

It follows that
I) Everyone can see everyone else (a) and will able to easily avoid confrontation by making a slight orbit change months in advance (d).
II) Everyone's flight path is predictable (a, c, d)
III) You have to get close (on an astronomical scale) to hit a target (b) but once you hit something it's dead (e).

Regarding (I), if a ship can dodge with a slight orbit change, a guided projectile can do a slight change too. If ships have plenty of energy, so have the projectiles. It might be possible to drain ship's energy by forcing him to keep dodging. Much like a dogfight I might add. :)

I don't see why (e) has to be true. Sure a projectile might be guaranteed to go straight through whatever it hits, but what if the ship is massively redundant? So what if the engine got taken out, we got another twenty. If it's an explosive projectile the warhead can be destroyed by counter fire. Energy beams are very dependent on your tech level, but you could easily say that whatever defensive measures you have (disruptive gas emissions, mirrors, whatever) takes less energy than it does to keep the beam firign.

(I) You might avoid confrontation in open space if you want, but what about protection of planets? This would become similar to medieval wars where most battles where sieges and pitched battles only occured when both sides thought they could win.

In Topic: Medieval MMO, stuck in design

09 September 2011 - 10:23 AM

This actually looks like it could be fun one day, and educational at the same time! :)

Anyway, since it's medieval, why not go feudal all the way? As a player grows more powerful he will have more lands than he can control with the action points available to him. Therefore he will have to recruit another player as a vassal to manage that land for him. If many new players arrive causing a shortage of land, new settlements could be built on the fringes of civilization. If there is too much land available (and if it's a problem) then plague, bad crops and other events could make the pool of lands shrink.

So a player would advance by showing his skills as land manager or as a warrior in battle. The most reliable and trusted vassals would be promoted by their lord when new resources or lands become available. You could also make it so there is a maximum number of vassals that a player can handle given the maximum action points available. But have no fear! Your vassals can recruit vassals too, so after awhile you will have a truly feudal web of loyalties, pledges and alliances. To make it even more complicated (and realistic) this does not have to be a strict tree structure. Lord A can rule over some lands that pays taxes to Lord B while Lord B is a formal vassal to Lord A and have to answer his call to arms. You can make it as complicated or simple as you want, basically.

But what would a player do then? As a general rule, you want to keep local troubles from bubbling up and annoy your liege lord. So keep crime low, order high and troops well trained. And when war comes, be useful! I'd love to see battles being lost because a player is too eager to impress their commander and charges into a trap. The lord could also dispatch various "quests" to his vassals, like arranging hunts/feasts, training troops, gathering resources or building structures. The key to good leadership is delegation.
As a lord, you must protect and help your vassals when they need it. Certainly it's your duty to protect them if they're attacked.

Other random idea: Spy networks. I wanna recruit spies among my enemies, my superiors, my vassals and just everywhere in general. This would be a social game, so better keep an eye on them.

This would definitely be a niche game if it would depend so much on player interaction, but it sounds fun to me.