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Member Since 27 Aug 2003
Offline Last Active Today, 10:15 AM

#5098761 "front width" how it works?

Posted by Luckless on 04 October 2013 - 10:02 AM



That is a fairly concise overview of Hearts of Iron's take on it. 


The player can make choices that will reduce the amount of frontage some of their units take up, and different kind of units use less area, which means they can fit more combat troops into a fight at one time. The primary reason for this is to limit excessive stacking and generating unrealistic combat where a major portion of an army is shoved down an exceptionally narrow front.

#5097484 Reversed order of "Yes"/"No" button when confirming "Quit...

Posted by Luckless on 28 September 2013 - 01:54 PM

Undo capability doesn't work all that well when the action you've just confirmed fires 100 rounds of 40mm canon fire down range in real life, or flash starts a blast furnace. 


It renders purely accidental clicks nearly impossible as a far more active input is required. There is no way to mistakenly 'click to gain focus' or something and activate the button. You can't run into the problem of having a popup surprise you as you're doing input for something completely unrelated. (More than a few pieces of software suffer from that. Get some error prompt, and it goes away before you even read it because you were in the process of doing something else that happened to share the same controls. FTL: Faster Than Light is a great game example of this. I've let more than a few pirates get away from peanuts and a pile of missiles or drones I don't need because I was trying to select Weapon 1.)

#5097465 Reversed order of "Yes"/"No" button when confirming "Quit...

Posted by Luckless on 28 September 2013 - 12:01 PM

No real clue, but one aspect that I would love to see adopted by more software is one found in some industrial and military equipment I've used where there was no quick "Click here once to do whatever this controls" mechanic. Instead there were sliders. In order to select a given option you had to click and drag across the 'button' zone, or make a very deliberate series of key strokes while holding a set key down. 


For instance you would have a quit with out saving option. To do so you click and hold on the far right side of the popup window for that 'button' zone, drag to the left. The message changes to "Quitting WITHOUT saving, data will not be saved". Releasing the mouse then cancels the order, but dragging it back to the right confirms it. It doesn't even require dual axis accuracy for it, just capture the curser as you slide it back and forth and lock it on the slider plane.


It takes fractionally longer to do, but gives you multiple point warnings in a far smoother interface. It isn't brining up new popups that you then have to then focus on to bring the mouse directly to and click accurately. 

#5097373 "front width" how it works?

Posted by Luckless on 27 September 2013 - 08:58 PM

How it functions really depends on the combat system mechanics you are working with, but it basically boils down to how effectively one side or the other can engage in combat.


I have used systems where "Front width" was actually how long the border between two forces was on the map, which then played into aspects like how much resistance a breakthrough attempt would meet in a given region. (ie, if one side deployed their forces in a mass attack formation, it would greatly deplete their total manpower across the majority of the line, making any attack against them fairly easy at any but a few points. They on the other hand would then have the ability to attack with that mass against any point on the front with relative ease. And then there is the case where both sides deploy their forces in a mass attack formation along a front, but if they don't attack at the same point then neither side meets resistance, and they can both charge head long into each other's territory to do whatever... As often happened in ancient and medieval warfare.)


Then there are other systems where it is used as an anti-stacking mechanic. Rather than just balling all my forces into a single unit for a surprise fist to shove through the enemy in the hopes of crushing their forces in small amounts before they have time to react and reform, there is then a limit placed on how many units can attack at a given time. So the system would allow a front of say "10" points, when most units costing 3 points. If I deploy 4 normal units against an enemies 3, then they both fight as if there were three units, till one of mine is forced to withdraw and be replaced by the 4th. (And in that time the other side may have brought reinforcements.) This mechanic can also be used to encourage mixed units. Rather than bring 3 units of 3 points each, I might bring 2 units of 3 points, and another 2 'support' units that only cost me 2 points. Now I can deploy 10 points worth of frontage instead of nine. Or maybe I'll use something (research/leadership/etc) to bump my frontage limit up, or lower my unit point cost, and be able to bring more units into the fight at one time.



There are lots of options, and it really depends on what you want to achieve with your system.

#5086878 What's so fun about city builders?

Posted by Luckless on 17 August 2013 - 03:56 PM

If you want to give the player "Something to do" while they wait, then either remove the need for the wait with good time advancement options (if single player), or provide a robust "Advanced planning" system where they can lay out what they will do in the future and try different options.



Another big thing is that a player should never have to guess about how things will advance. I finally got time to spend with my PC and an up to date copy of SimCity while I had access to an internet connection on that machine. I haven't played in months, but managed to put in several solid hours of tinkering with a pair of small mutually supporting cities. However this has basically ended in frustration. Why? Because The developers in their infinite 'wisdom' designed it such that the lower tier buildings are smaller than the levels above them. This lack of information to the player meant that despite using the grid lines on road ways have a very sub-optimal city layout for hitting the second and third density levels, as about 1/3 of the developed space has 'room' to increase in density.



Ideally buildings would be based on general areas/volumes, not fixed lot sizes, and structures will conform to the city layout rather than forcing the user to design the city layout purely to the buildings. Do you really think a developer in New York City would say "Oh no, I won't use that extra twenty feet between these two roads... we'll just leave that as nothing and generate zero profit from it". You should still have minimum sizes for various things, but the user should not be completely blocked from expanding something just because they didn't leave an area in the dimensions you as a designer picked. If something is normally 5x5, but I have something 4x7, then I should not be completely without reasonable options.



Reasonable flexibility on remodelling should also be a feature if you have various transit/connector options. I have always hated having to decimate part of a city in order to upgrade it, rather than simply paying that much more if I need to run a wider road through an area. (Especially in relatively 'low density' areas. Properties could have a 'set back' value, how much room they have from the centre of the road they are built on before the building itself must be demolished to expand the road. Low set back then being less desirable for most property types)

#5086205 starship death and regeneration

Posted by Luckless on 15 August 2013 - 12:59 PM

Another few options to consider:


1. Wave spawns: Dead users will spawn with the next 'wave', time adjusted to the game. This means a player rarely spawns totally alone, hopefully making camping less effective, and counter attacks more deadly (As you are likely to face multiple opponents rushing out of spawn that you have to deal with as a group, rather than single players coming out one at a time over a longer period.)


2. Mobile spawn points. While the default spawn becomes the 'home world' or whatever, forward spawning becomes an option. Also giving the player a choice of where to spawn from limits the ability of people to camp a spawn. If someone is consistently camping one spawn point, then you simply pick another spot.

#5085606 What's so fun about city builders?

Posted by Luckless on 13 August 2013 - 01:25 PM

Personally I enjoy the "What if" aspect of design and management. 


How can things be arranged in such a way as to produce a favourable and productive outcome?


Ideally there should be more than one way to tackle any given problem, and no truly dominate solution that completely outstrips any other.


I'm also a very big fan of general sandbox form with light goals, or alternative paths. Choice is a big factor, so if there is really only a single style that works, or very few options with which to use to advance, then the game is less interesting. (On the other hand, if anything and everything 'works', then the game is generally boring as there become no setbacks.)


One part that I feel is really lacking in city builders is some semblance of actual realism. I would be very interested in a project that focused more on how a real city works within a larger geo-political framework than itself, of which the city has some influence but no control.


Another thing that I would really like to see more of is better road and traffic simulation to a reasonable scale. SimCity has a horribly small and disappointing scale, with utterly foolish traffic simulation for things like emergency response vehicles. (As in taking months for a firetruck to make it two blocks while half the city starts catching fire)


Something more organic in nature where the player buys land to build roads and services, basically to modify the environment from its default set of conditions, and from that 'people' come in/grow up, and 'do stuff', like buy/sell land to build homes and businesses. You then set policies and deal with some form of a petition system that is generated by the 'people', and your choices then feed back into the system to change the outcome and how things develop. 

#5082796 Brainstorming Multi-party combat systems

Posted by Luckless on 03 August 2013 - 12:25 PM

So, the goal of your thread is to brain storm various mechanical elements before deciding which will work best for the general storyline, look, and feel of your game?


In that case you shouldn't forget the more 'hands off' options, where as the player you generally have less control over much of the party, but rather set goals for  your agents to then carry out. 

#5079182 How should I make knifing in my game?

Posted by Luckless on 20 July 2013 - 12:12 PM

Personally I've never really cared for the hot key insta-death knife that some games use. Always made it feel far too cheap when I came around a corner and found someone I wasn't expecting when they weren't expecting me either. One of us would end up dead in a cheap kill.


I would much rather see a 'melee' hot key than a magical knife option. If I pop up behind someone unexpectedly then I can bash them in the head with my rifle to stun them. If I hit, then the other player gets a chance to drop their weapon, vision goes wonky for a bit, and hopefully I either have time to aim a proper kill shot, or switch to the knife for a near silent take down. (Which should take a second or two, leaving me open to counter attack from their allies if I try to do it somewhere too exposed.)


Such mechanics can also make hacks on your game a little less critical. many games over the years have become far less fun due to players zooming through levels like lightning insta-killing everyone they come across with a knife.

#5078154 Radio in a post-apocalyptic world

Posted by Luckless on 16 July 2013 - 09:05 AM

You will likely want to sit down and look at the history of radio communications. Post Apocalyptic times will mean a far less cluttered radio spectrum in most cases, as there would be far fewer people transmitting. (Possibly some of it will be less useful due to environmental effects)


So much of it will be cobbled together with different era of tech, depending on what tools and knowledge are available at the time. Totally understandable to have someone transmitting with a very crude spark gap pulse code (morse code) working next to someone with a digital field video point to point radio. One would be something made from materials on hand, the other most likely a surviving relic. 


Also don't forget the issues of radio location, bandwidth, and power. It is possible for someone to be heard by you, but you being unable to reply. Someone can use up a huge amount of bandwidth on a high power signal, which drowns out other signals in an area. (It isn't unusual for some radio operators to use max legal power on their signals to talk to someone on the other side of a town, which is basically just their way of showing off big their gear is. Highly annoying to other operators.)

#5072951 Fleet Limit

Posted by Luckless on 26 June 2013 - 07:52 AM

Well the emperor, if he is to have any control over military strategy, should still be able to say "I want a stockpile/troop depot HERE, make it so", and have the logistics system automate things and pull suitable resources from else where, and divert resources accordingly. If you have a weak freighter infrastructure then any kind of reorganization of your troops/ships would be delayed. If you keep your investment strong then you will have fewer delays (but will likely have fewer ships and trained staff to work with)

#5072859 Fleet Limit

Posted by Luckless on 25 June 2013 - 04:19 PM

As far as saving crew goes I would first look to your actual battle model. Just saying "The ship has escape pods, and X% of crew magically teleports back to the home world for reassignment" sounds kind of dull to me. Instead having various levels of ship damage (ie, weapon of mass destruction impact on main reactors causing the whole ship to go up vs the hull getting chewed by small weapons fire to the point it is no longer deemed spaceworthy) come into play, as well as the results of the engagement (Your fleet routs and retreats vs a draw with both sides pulling out vs a resounding victory) being the deciding factor in how many actually get to return.


Options like a focus on Search and Rescue tech to recover escape pods in battle, or intelligence and special operations for recovering POWs, could really make a difference in a game that fell into total war. 



As for crew, I suggest limits on logistical movements. Have the player sort out trade/convoy routes which have a set speed and volume, and let the AI move crews around. Have it prompt you if it detects shortages and such so you can quickly spot if you need to enable an emergency convoy or something to move additional forces around. Planets then become resource pools and sinks. 

#5071135 Minimal ship customization in a 4X games (Part Two)

Posted by Luckless on 19 June 2013 - 08:31 AM

Look at Civilization and Alpha Centauri. Both have highly limited customization as compared to some games, and both are generally very well received by players. 


I don't see customization as all that important. I would be perfectly happy with a game where I had even just 3 or 4 classes of ships that I can improve over time with research. Older fleets get sent back to dry dock to retrofit at a fraction of the cost of constructing entirely new vessels.

#5064279 Strategic Defensive Elements in a 4X Game

Posted by Luckless on 23 May 2013 - 03:46 PM

Tossing some random thoughts out for people to pick through.


What if sensors/communications were a key part of the game? If your sensors are disrupted then you lose detailed information on what is going on in a region. Life on the planet would still continue, and they would carry on as they were, but if an enemy fleet with suitable jamming equipment got in range they could black out part of your map and allow a fleet to move without you knowing exact details.


Combine that with the long duration battles to actually conquer planets, and it gives a viable defensive measures with attack counters: Defender can strategically place their fleet that is moved to where they are attacked, while the attacker can strategically place decoy/jammer fleets to try and hide where the actual attack is going on. Of course, relying on building a fleet of jammers means you give up resources that could have gone towards your attacking fleet, which puts you at risk of being clobbered that much easier if you run into the opposing battle fleet. 




Area control and surprises. What if fleets weren't always easy to see, especially for attackers? Set up sensor girds to better detect vessels entering your region of space, so the defender has the advantage of knowledge. Use some kind of webbing mechanic to allow a smaller fleet to delay a larger one, possibly giving the defender time to reposition and intercept, possibly having their webber fleet clobbered as the attacker focuses on the now exposed stop-gap. Attacking becomes more complex than simply assembling a large fleet and throwing it at the nearest enemy planet.

#5063045 What an emperor of a space empire does?

Posted by Luckless on 19 May 2013 - 12:13 PM

Actually an absolute monarchy feudal system makes a lot of sense for a vast civilization. (There are very much major problems with democracy, namely it is hard enough to get twenty people in a club of shared interests to fully agree on something, let alone a few hundred billion spanning dozens of planets.)


At that scale the emperor doesn't need to make direct decisions, he handles high level elements and delegates the actual work and details to others. The emperor is the one setting goals, others do the work to actually achieve them. The key point of the emperor is then to basically bully everyone into making sure the job gets done, and ensuring the right people are in the right places at the highest level. He becomes who the lesser people answer to when things go wrong.


Factories in one sector are under preforming, and that is impacting Imperial Economics? Emperor yells at his minster/lord/whatever in charge of that region, who in turn yells at his subordinates, who yell at their subordinates, etc, etc, and eventually the problem is fixed, or another round of yelling takes place and a few heads roll. If it continues with changes (that the emperor doesn't even really need to know about) at the lower level not having an effect, then the emperor 'steps in' and puts someone else in charge of the whole mess.