Sign in to follow this  
ManaSky

Weapon counters

Recommended Posts

Hi. I'm new on these forums, but I hope it's okay for me to post here. I want som insights regarding a counter system for RTS-games. I'm not talking about a counter system with 'hard' counters, like in the archer<cavalry<pikeman<swordman<archer-counter system from Battle for Middle Earth II, but more a 'soft' counter system, like from the one in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, were specific weapon types counters specific armor types, for instance pierce damage doing more damage to no-armor and light-armor, and less damage to hero-armor and fortified-armor. I want it to be realistic, and the counters should make sense, like Pikeman doing more damage to Cavalry (this counter is used in most strategy games involving Cavalry). I haven't done much research on this subject myself, but is there any historical or scientifical evidence on how different weapon types and armor types have countered each other through times of warfare, without taking practice with weapon into consideration? I mean, if a Two-Handed Swordman engages a Dual-Axes Warrior, is there any scientifical to say about the outcome? I believe there is, but I don't know much about this myself, and I want to know if anyone here have knowledge on this area. I know there are a lot of other factors when determinating the outcome of a battle, like height, strength, weight, agility, practice, preferance etc., but I have another question: Is there for example any "scientifical" prooves on wheter a swift person or a strong person can make the most out of a two-handed sword? I believe these questions are somewhat hard to answer (I can be wrong), but I want to know if you have some kind of feedback on this. I'm sure some games have a counter system like the one I'm asking for, but I haven't played any of them. What kind of counter system is there in Rome: Total War? Would someone make a vital mistake by introducing a counter system based on some, or all, of these weapon types? (I am not interested in how complicated it can be to balance, how complicated it is to learn for new players etc.) Two-handed sword Sword and shield Two-handed axe Axe and shield Sword and shield Throwing Spear Pike/polearm Halberd Crossbow Longbow Shortbow Magic Dual-wield (e.g. two small swords, axes or daggers) Cavalry attack Siege damage et cetera. Just some examples of what I mean: Spearman has 70% hit ratio versus a Two-Handed Swordman Two-handed swordman has 60% hit ratio versus a Spearman Sword and Shield Soldier has 40% hit ratio versus Two-Handed Swordman Two-handed Swordman has 25% hit ratio versus Sword and Shield Soldier Two-handed Axe Warrior does extra damage against Dual-Wield Thief Sword and Shield Soldier attacks less frequently than a Dual-Wield Thief Two-handed Axe Warrior has low attack speed, but high damage per strike Dual-Wield Thief has high damage per second rate and is faster than most weapon types Dual-Wield Thief is vulnerable to Spear, Polearm, Two-handed Axe, Siege and Cavalry attacks/damages Dual-Wield has weak damage output versus Heavy Armor Heavy Armor has slower movement speed, slower attack speed and a higher negative movement speed ratio on rough terrain than Light Armor I know these counters seem rather 'hard', but they are suposed to fit in a game were there are other factors, so that even though you have an army the enemy counters, you can still beat him based on micromanagement etc. That's why it's softer than the counter systems in most hard-counter games. Like if Archer counters Pikeman, and you have an army of Pikeman; the army with Archer would pretty much pwn you, and factors as micro would have little impact on the outcome. That's at least what I tend to think a 'hard' counter system is. I'm not saying any of these 'counters' are right or wrong, but that's actually what I really want to know! If there are any 'rights/wrongs' on this subject? What do you think? And what do you know? Many thanks, ManaSky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I would keep in mind that its not just the weapon, but how its used in the battle, and other factors like terrain, range, etc.

You're example of pikemen countering calvary is true, but *only* if the pikes are massed and in the appropriate formation. A single pikeman would not be able to stand up to a single knight. However, horses will not charge into a mass of long sharp objects. But if the calvary can outflank the pikes and they cannot reform in time, the pikemen will be run down.

Archers used two types of arrows: broadheads and sharp point. Broadheads were made to inflict maximum damage on unarmored or lightly armored troops. The 'broad head' would slice through flesh and increase the chance of knicking an artery or internal organ. Sharp point were used to pierce thick armor like plate mail. They actually did not inflict as much damage as a broadhead, but broadheads would do little to no damage at all against a heavily armored opponent. The degree of armor penetration also depended on range. The arrow slows down somewhat in flight, and the terminal velocity of the arrow will determine the degree of armor penetration. And if you want to get pendantic, it also depends on the angle at which the arrow hits the armor. So sending up a volley of arrows at charging heavily armored calvary probably wouldn't do a whole lot.

Two handed swords were similiarly made for armor penetration. During the middle ages, knights generally wanted to fight other knights and didn't bother with the peasant army. So they were always trying to one up each other. The two handed weapon sacrificed shield protection for additional blow power. But two handed swords were slow and unwieldy. I would also add two handed battle axes and war hammers to this category. In your example a two handed swordsman that was heavily armored would probably defeat the dual-axe wielder at equal skill level, because the axe wielder probably woudldn't be able to penetrate his armor.

What other weapons were you thinking of including. Were you going to get into exotics like guisarmes, morning stars, etc. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Truthfully there are too many factors to every fight to be able to determine the outcome by just looking at weapons and armor and numbers. But for a game thats what it comes down to.

In building a game I guess it just comes down to common sense. A man with a dual-weild sword kicks ass in damage but would be easily defeated by a guy with a spear and sheild - he has more range to attack making it less likely the dual-weilder will even touch him, and if he does then the sheild can block it. An army of light armed pikemen would easily be defeated by a group of archers.

What I would truly love to see in a war game though is advantage based on strategy. Like SunDog explained a group of pikemen would take cavalry, but what if they were flanked. Technically they should be easily defeated. If you could implement strategy into that would make the counters seem "softer" as you said. Well, thats all I have. I'm sure you'll get better advice though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks a lot guys, your posts are very helpful. I liked the information of different types of arrows, DunDog, I'd never thought about that. :)

I have made board games since I was six years old, and have played RTS-games my entire life. Some years already I've been thinking on RTS-designs and how cool it would be to design a game (doh!). Like I'm the only one... Anyway, even if I'd probably never really develop a game, I've started to put a lot of work on it. The reason why I'm designing an RTS-multiplayer is that I'm so into multiplayer and all the aspects of balancing a game, and because it's fun.

I've been thinking on a counter system for many weeks now, but I want to make something different. I'm designing an RTS-multiplayer game. My ideas mostly relies around balance, inovations, tech-trees, abilities, factions etc., but I'm at a point were I have to figure out the fundament of a counter system.

I have to say that I'm interested in history, but not in historical warship itself, so I have no clue on weapons and medieval-strategies in battles etc. That's why I'm asking for help. I'm totally clue-less on this area.

The game has a traditionally fantasy-feel with creatures as Wood Elves, High Elves, Orcs (big and green like in Warcrtaft), Goblins (nastly little ones like those in LOTR), Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings and dark factions. Therefore, I'm not sure about 'exotic' weapons yet. I haven't put too much thought into weapons before now.

I believe flanking is essential for a competetive RTS-multiplayer game, as flanking gives a little twist to micro, and at the same time gives it a realistic feel. :)

Micro is the key-word, the essential word, the vital word. I want micro to be sweet and fun. I want the factions to be completely different in strengths and weaknesses. When you play your favorite faction, I want you to feel they are overpowered, and they should even be, in some areas. However, that doesn't have to be a bad thing for anyone, because micro is going to be more important.

So I really want an inovative counter system, but first I need to learn how weapons actually work. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_weapons

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_warfare

The first link is a list of all the Medieval weapon types and their descriptions. The second link talks about strategy and seige warfare and all that good stuff.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A few things to keep in mind when thinking about arms and armour.

Armour is LIGHT, swords are LIGHT. Trained Knights don't need a any help getting up on their horse. In a few weeks I might be able to link to a video of a guy doing gymnastics in armour, or at least of a guy running around, jumping, doing pushups, situps, and maybe even summersualts. All of these things are possible in well fitting armour. (Some late period jousting armour is locked in place for added safety, but this isn't something used on a battle field.)
Nearly all swords in history are under 5lbs, many under 3lbs. The ones getting up to 10lbs or more (I think the largest period sword I've ever heard of was 13.5lbs) aren't really meant for battle as much as for carrying around and looking cool. Those that were used in battle were really more of a polearm. A staff weapon basically.

Most things that you will find that people "know for a fact" about history is BS and isn't worth anything.

Mail does not mean armour, the best modern traslation of the meaning of the word mail (better spelled maille for easier digital seraching) is armoured mesh/net/web. Armour can be made up of scale AND maille, and plate AND maille, but don't call them scale mail or platemail. You become a fool that talks about how much he knows about the interweb.


Few weapons actually punch holes in armour, no weapons cut through it.

Maille usually has a heavily padded shirt worn under it, and some are rather stiff. This means blunt force isn't 100% king instant death, but is still rather effective if you can actually hit the target with them.

There is 0 good evidence that arrows of any kind stand any chance of repeatly going through armour to a degree that is deadly. Yes, it is possible. It is also possible that you can be riding a bike and a bee hits you in the face and breaks your nose, sending bone fragments into your brain. But when was the last time you heard about that happening? It is also possible to dent or put a small hole in armour, however in these cases the arrow head rarely goes in far enough to make it past what is worn under the plate. It is however likely to make for an uncomfortable day, and maybe slightly stun the person. Armoured knights that die to arrows are most likely hit BETWEEN plates. There are gaps, this is where any and all normal attacks are directed.

Remember, buying a cheap helmet off ebay, setting it on a tree stump in your back yard, and then wacking at it with a wood axe or cheap sword shaped object you also bought off ebay proves nothing of use. All it proves is you can deform metal that is being held in place. Humans move when hit, absorbing huge amounts of the force that are deforming that metal, and cutting it open.


Armour is your LAST LINE OF DEFENCE. Idealy you DON'T get hit. You block with your weapon or shield, or you attack so aggressivly that the other guy CAN'T attack you. This is what made the norse Beserker so powerful. (Along with lore about them being so powerful and that they WILL kill you not matter how good of a fighter you are. Best weapon of history is that people were dumb)


Attacking someone in late era eurpoean armour means going for between the plates. There are no fighting manuals that mention attacking that large sheet of steel over the guys chest. Those open slots by the shoulders, the neck, between the legs. Those are all rather hard to armour well. Worst death I've read about is a noble that was walking across a bridge as a battle was winding down. A peasent under the bridge saw him, and stuck his spear through the borads.




So, how to balance all your different weapon types? Don't balance the weapon. Balance the skill. A peasent in a knights armour is likely going to be killed by the knight without armour, simply because the peasent doesn't know what he is doing.

Define your weapon types, and then include character's skills/trainings in attacking/defending against that weapon with the weapon they have. Compare attacking skills and defence skills, and you come out with the victor. Removes the total rock-paper-scissors feel to the game, and becomes a game of lining up your skilled troops to counter what needs to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not saying anything is true or false, but that was a great post Talroth. What I intentially wanted to do was in fact make a counter system based on skills and add abilties as a twist. For me, strength, agility and intelligence in a game is not enough, it's too 'wide.' For instance: The brutal and big Orc has a two-handed axe without any armor. He is slow, but very strong... if he manages to get a decent hit on a much smaller Wood Elf, the hit would almost certainly cause instant death. Even if the Orc didn't hit the Wood Elve's head or chest, if it hit his leg, he would be totally stunned/knocked down and incapable to continue the fight (at least the orc would have a great chance to 'finish it'). On the contrary, the Wood Elf is swift and has a potential "evasion" skill. Therefore, he is harder to hit. He also attacks much faster than the orc. However, even if the Wood Elf gets a hit on the orc, the orc is very tought, it can continue to fight even if it looses an arm or get shot by an arrow wherever it hits him, even his head (at least for a limited time). But the Orc can be unskilled, thus he does not manage to hit the Wood Elf, while the Wood Elf for instance use stealth, backstab for flanking bonuses, attacks fast, evaves, and managed to dodge the Orc's attacks while at the same time do more stabs on the Orc. Or it could be the opposite, the Wood Elf is not skilled and is not as good to evave the Orc's attack, while the Orc is skilled and manages to get a deadly hit.

Another thing is that maybe a High Elf has the ability to parry attacks, like a Human Soldier's attack, but then again, can he really parry a brutal Orc attacking with fierce power. He would probably get knocked down (or a chance to get knocked down?).

So basically, I believe a counter system is very hard to make, and I see why they're made so simple in games up 'til now. There are so many factors. Don't get me started on high trolls and dragons, magic etc.

And like... should aggressivness have a role in the game? What is it good to be aggressive against, what is it not good to be aggressive against? What about morale, formations? etc.

One of the first things I wanted to do, was to make different stats than the usual health/damage/movement speed/attack speed/armour-system. And more complicated than a strength/agility/intelligence-system. To be honest, they are boring after all these years with the same stuff in every RTS-game.

I started to have lots of stats for units, like fatigue/endurance, intelligence, willpower, morale, wisdown, strength, agility/dexterity, mov.speed/attack skill/defense skill/weapon/armor etc. Then decide which of them I wanted to bring on. Each category gives various benefits, like defence skill increases the chance to parry or block (if shield) an attack. Later I also thought about making those benefits race dependant, like the more agility Wood Elves have, the higher is their chance to get a critical hit.

But... then again... it's beginning to get very complicated!

I'll give it more thought anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Talroth
So, how to balance all your different weapon types? Don't balance the weapon. Balance the skill. A peasent in a knights armour is likely going to be killed by the knight without armour, simply because the peasent doesn't know what he is doing.

Define your weapon types, and then include character's skills/trainings in attacking/defending against that weapon with the weapon they have. Compare attacking skills and defence skills, and you come out with the victor. Removes the total rock-paper-scissors feel to the game, and becomes a game of lining up your skilled troops to counter what needs to be.


In that case, the more experienced unit will always win, reducing the game to simply trying to build the best units first. Rock/Paper/Scissors allows for shifting strategies depending on the situation.

Also, while the ability of the arrows to puncture armor has varied over time depending on armor technology, it is not an accurate statement to say that there is no evidence that they are effective. The mere existence and use of arrows designed to penetrate them is evidence of their effectiveness.

I agree that the ability to puncture armor greatly depends on the bow, arrowhead, range, and armor. But when simplified for an RTS game, arrows with narrow heads and heavy weapons are the logical choice for the counter to heavy armor.

[Edited by - Galliard on March 10, 2007 9:06:50 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, and welcome to the forums by the way, and some rating points for posting an interesting topic.


A project that a group of us at my university have been picking away at is a large wargame. The weapon of the unit doesn't really matter too much, an old gun is an old gun for the most part. Based on large scale battles, the simulator was designed for controling 1,000,000 men or so.

"units" were basically companies of soldiers, the only 'soldiers' that ever had a name and personal stats are officers that command them.

Units then had stats like:
Number of men at each of the health levels, Prime, regular, unfit, wounded, (and dead, but thats a history thing)

From there we had numbers of men in each basic level of training, and another for level of experience, broken into 5 groups each.

15 shorts and we stored all the main data we needed for unit stats of about 200-300 men.


Since you want more weapons, I would suggest going with far smaller armies, but still with a formation system, rather than what most have of "I'll send a lone swordsman around here". Groups with decent unit and subunit (subunit being a single soldier, unit being a company basically) AI make for great fun to play.



so, you'll have a unit structure.

Unit One
Health: 10, 20, 30, 30, 0

Exp: 30, 40, 20, 0, 0
Train: 40, 30, 15, 5, 0

offensive weapons stats:
Sword: 0, 0, 5, 10, 10
Spear: 70, 10, 10, 0, 0
Axe: 0, 10, 15, 0, 0

defensive weapons stats:
Sword: 0, 20, 40, 20, 10
Spear: 60, 10, 10, 10, 0
Axe: 20, 40, 20, 10, 0

weapons:
Sword: 20 Spear: 70 Axe: 20

So, this allows mixed units, and this unit is mainly Spear, with 70 elite spearmen, likely 5 good axemen, with 10 medium axemen, and 5 poor swordmen.

They take an attack and suffer 10 deaths, and 30 wounds.

They now loose:
1 prime health to regular,
5 regular health to fit,
and 24 fit health to wounded.
As well as 1 regular to dead,
3 fits to dead,
and 6 wounded to dead.

leaving their health looking like
Health: 9, 15, 8, 48, 10

You then take 1 mid to high level out of each of the other stats, 3 low to mid levels from each, and 3 low levels. (correcting for any negative numbers in a stat)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would argue some points Talroth made in his first post, but that would miss the point entirely, because this:


"So, how to balance all your different weapon types? Don't balance the weapon. Balance the skill. A peasent in a knights armour is likely going to be killed by the knight without armour, simply because the peasent doesn't know what he is doing."

is of utmost importance. But there is another point I wish to add: Morale (has been mentioned before). Why Armies go to war should be considered. A small Army that is the last line of defense against invaders will not falter easily, even if outnumbered. Concentrate on relating Skill, Morale and Numbers. Certainly tactics should have great weight ass well. These are all factors that are more influencial than the weapons and armour of the troops. Yet another important (and often forgotten) aspekt is supply. In general this was one of the biggest problems in medieval warfare. There are other points of interest that hardly ever get covered in RTS: Transportation, Politics (the Doom of many armies), Terrain etc.
For a solid understanding of these fundamental aspects of warfare I recomend reading Sun Tzus "Art of War" (there are a lot more help- and insitghtful txts, but this is a good starting point) if you have not done so already. Concentrate on these things and your RTS will be truly new and innovative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know if it's because I'm very tired at the moment, but I didn't really understand the system, Talroth. I think I'll have to get some more sleep after school, and then re-read it.

The game is not about epic warfare in any sense. You can say there will be fairly many units on the screen, but units will stick to groups (with exeptions). What I've made a lot of thought on, is unit lethality, unit production times, resource gathering rate, tech-rate and map/base designs. I'm sick and tired of all games in 95% of all RTS-games being the same over and over again. After several months, players have found the perfect combination of everything and everything, and players use the same units and make use of them the nearly exact way every single game. It's predictable and boring.

What if players had different patchs to choose? And a huge variation of them? What if you never knew what your enemy was up to? You'd have to really rely on scouting and scouting 'powers', basically gather intel about your enemy. What if the enemy didn't knew what you were up to either? You meet your enemy on the battlefield, a bit unsecure, but then you spot a chance to engage and gain the upper hand. Then suddently, when it's too late, he's done something totally surpricing, and you panic. You try to retreat, but the enemy has concealed some fast cavalry from behind you, and they hunt your retreating forces, so your looses turns out to be collosal. That setting would be great!

Some factions will have more macro-managment then others, like a factions who are good defansive. Anyway, the game I'm working on has many potential features, and therefore, I believe the unit lethality should be low. You should have time to plan even if you've already engaged, you should have time to use abilities (if not most of them are passive) and micro. However, to make good animations, for instance in the battle were the Wood Elf dodges a lot of attacks and the Orc is missing a lot of attacks, will be hard, because it would probably just look stupid if it continued for too long. What this basically means is that the Wood Elves should be really weak versus brutal force, so it has some sense of realism, or the Wood Elf should finish work fast with the Orc, and not make any mistakes, because he knows he can not recive a hit of such brutal force. Therefore, it would make sense if the Elf for instance has to exploit stealth, speed, eventual abilities and also uses his suroundings to kill the Orc as fast as possible, before the Orc can do any damage at all. So the Wood Elf player will have to micro properly and use Wood Elven skills/abilities/magic wisely, because the Wood Elves are fragile.

These kind of 'stuff' (I'm not native English so can't come up with any better word) are pretty hard to balance, but if players have several paths to take, this wouldn't be such a hard problem. In most RTS-games developers try to balance the few paths players can take. Like, the games get fairly balanced in the end, but players counter the same stuff with the same stuff every single game. When most players have done this enough, they get bored and leave. I don't care if it's hard to balance or something is overpowered, because the other faction have other abilities that might be overpowered. Overpowered stuff is FUN, all gamers exept bad loosers and hardcore players agree with that! It's about exploiting your factions overpowerness and compensate for the weakness of your faction. Like the Wood Elf being so fragile against the Orc, while the Orc has to fear... like, powerful archers he can't reach? Or those darn Dwarves taking so much damage without dying, but at the same time being so easy to micro against because they are so slow. I'm not talking about exaggerating what I'm talking about, but you see my point.

So I want a sweet and inovative counter system that helps maintain this 'goal.' And that's where my problems are at the moment. Maybe the counters actually should be based on skills(woot!), like strength countering another attribute or something totally random, and when using a two-handed weapon strength has to be vital.

Another issue is wheter the stats (experience/training/morale/health) should be given to each individual soldier in a group or the whole group as a whole. If they were given to a group, it would be easier to have an overview of your army, while at the same time it would look stupid if the entire army died at once. Maybe each soldier has its own stats for health, but were the group as one has this and that much experience/training, like in several games already. Another question, then again, is reinforcement of soldiers in a surviving group. The reinforced soldiers don't have the experience as the remnants in the group if we look upon it that way, but most would probably ignore this fact.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Galliard
Quote:
Original post by Talroth
So, how to balance all your different weapon types? Don't balance the weapon. Balance the skill. A peasent in a knights armour is likely going to be killed by the knight without armour, simply because the peasent doesn't know what he is doing.

Define your weapon types, and then include character's skills/trainings in attacking/defending against that weapon with the weapon they have. Compare attacking skills and defence skills, and you come out with the victor. Removes the total rock-paper-scissors feel to the game, and becomes a game of lining up your skilled troops to counter what needs to be.


In that case, the more experienced unit will always win, reducing the game to simply trying to build the best units first. Rock/Paper/Scissors allows for shifting strategies depending on the situation.


I don't think that when a combat system emphasizes skills over weapons and unit types the rock-paper-scissor strategic element is necessarily reduced; it can and should shift from unit selection to tactics.
If I understand correctly, Talroth suggests a convergence of unit types towards similar roles with a mostly unchanging ranking of overall strength; but the less specialized units can be balanced by a wider choice of more specialized attacks.

For example, imagine cavalry vs infantry. If cavalry charges, infantry closes its ranks and makes a pike wall. Then cavalry can cancel the charge and stop to shoot arrows, or steer and extend the charge to attack from behind.
When infantry disperses and tries to assault the cavalry, they can either run away and charge again while the infantry is dispersed, retire behind friendly units, or prepare swords and polearms for close combat and possibly dismount.
If units are well trained and well armed like this, there is much more room for "shifting strategies depending on the situation", like Galliard rightly advocates, than with the inflexible attacks and defense of typical overspecialized RTS units.

Moreover, the dominance between units could be less straightforward, requiring more work on the part of the player.
To exploit RPS relationships in a simple RTS where unit type A unconditionally deals much more damage to unit type B than it receives, the player only has to send an adequate number of his A to engage some enemy B, leave them to their job and think two steps ahead by building unit D that dominates unit C that the opponent is going to build because it dominates unit A.
If instead the edge of unit A over unit B is that infantry A can move and change formation somewhat faster than otherwise identical infantry B, its owner would only realize the advantage with complex and well timed micromanagement (move to the flank of the B formation, form a line and attack with a flanking bonus, retreat when the B unit turns and move again to its new flank), while the opponent's strategy is not simply to build cavalry, but to break the cycle of circle strafing (for instance, by retreating the B infantry to an obstacle or by running straight away).
It's also a difference of time scale: combat must be slow enough to give many orders before damage is irreparable. In Starcraft, at maximum speed, an outmatched group often doesn't survive long enough for scrolling the map view to see the battle, let alone giving more complex orders than running away or attacking better opponents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll explain the skills and combat system better later, I was kind of tired while I wrote that, between trying to code in C without actually having learned C yet for an assignment. (Prof seems to think that telling us it comes after B and there is a D that comes after C, but we won't touch either of them, and they are all 'like' java, that we already know C,... Good guy, just not one for explaining things well)

Quote:
Original post by Galliard

Also, while the ability of the arrows to puncture armor has varied over time depending on armor technology, it is not an accurate statement to say that there is no evidence that they are effective. There is clear evidence of the use of armor piercing arrows by Roman auxiliaries. The mere existence of them is evidence of their effectiveness.



Do you have a source for this? I would really like to see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nothing to do with counters, but since you asked about medieval warfare and weapons...

There probably was no such thing as dual wielding in medieval battlefield (at least in europe). Off hand was usually reserved for shield, or to support heavier weapons. In asia dual wielding was practiced in many martial arts, but I dont know if it was really used in battles.

Also in medieval europe swords were often sidearms to be used when your main weapon failed. Most used weapons were spears, pikes, bows, lances etc. Range becomes very important factor when fighting in tight formations.

Some good information can be found here:
http://www.netsword.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Talroth
I'll explain the skills and combat system better later, I was kind of tired while I wrote that, between trying to code in C without actually having learned C yet for an assignment. (Prof seems to think that telling us it comes after B and there is a D that comes after C, but we won't touch either of them, and they are all 'like' java, that we already know C,... Good guy, just not one for explaining things well)

Quote:
Original post by Galliard

Also, while the ability of the arrows to puncture armor has varied over time depending on armor technology, it is not an accurate statement to say that there is no evidence that they are effective. There is clear evidence of the use of armor piercing arrows by Roman auxiliaries. The mere existence of them is evidence of their effectiveness.



Do you have a source for this? I would really like to see it.


I remember finding some information on archaeological finds while researching a paper regarding the Decline of the Roman Military in College. I'll see if I can dig it up again. However, I do want to clarify that the majority of their arrows were the broadheaded kind, since the majority of fighting was against unarmored "barbarians".

Also, after rereading your point on the combat system, I think it understand it better. You make a good point that skill is very important, and a single Knight should definitely defeat a single Archer simply due to differences in training. The skill of an individual unit can be balanced based on cost, but when an equal cost group of unit A faces an equal cost of unit B, one should be the clear winner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Galliard
Also, while the ability of the arrows to puncture armor has varied over time depending on armor technology, it is not an accurate statement to say that there is no evidence that they are effective. There is clear evidence of the use of armor piercing arrows by Roman auxiliaries. The mere existence of them is evidence of their effectiveness.


Exactly, if they wern't effective, they wouldn't be used. The fact that they were used for extended periods, is evidence of their effectiveness, at least in certain situations. Even with plate mail, the armor is weak at the joints, so if they could hit them there, they then could inflict damage. Perhaps not enough to kill, but it would definitely reduce their fighting effectiveness, also with calvary you have the chance of hitting their mount, even if they use barding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by SunDog
Quote:
Original post by Galliard
Also, while the ability of the arrows to puncture armor has varied over time depending on armor technology, it is not an accurate statement to say that there is no evidence that they are effective. There is clear evidence of the use of armor piercing arrows by Roman auxiliaries. The mere existence of them is evidence of their effectiveness.


Exactly, if they wern't effective, they wouldn't be used. The fact that they were used for extended periods, is evidence of their effectiveness, at least in certain situations. Even with plate mail, the armor is weak at the joints, so if they could hit them there, they then could inflict damage. Perhaps not enough to kill, but it would definitely reduce their fighting effectiveness, also with calvary you have the chance of hitting their mount, even if they use barding.


I think you misunderstood what I mean. Arrows do NOT punch holes in armour and kill the knight inside it.

Yes, they can still kill a knight, armour has gaps, it is hard to spend a day with your helmet on and the visor down. Shots to the face/neck are what are actually the most likely to put a man in armour out of action.

However if ANY weapon could put holes in armour with ease and kill those inside, then why did armour last for hundreds of years?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Talroth
Quote:
Original post by SunDog
Quote:
Original post by Galliard
Also, while the ability of the arrows to puncture armor has varied over time depending on armor technology, it is not an accurate statement to say that there is no evidence that they are effective. There is clear evidence of the use of armor piercing arrows by Roman auxiliaries. The mere existence of them is evidence of their effectiveness.


Exactly, if they wern't effective, they wouldn't be used. The fact that they were used for extended periods, is evidence of their effectiveness, at least in certain situations. Even with plate mail, the armor is weak at the joints, so if they could hit them there, they then could inflict damage. Perhaps not enough to kill, but it would definitely reduce their fighting effectiveness, also with calvary you have the chance of hitting their mount, even if they use barding.


I think you misunderstood what I mean. Arrows do NOT punch holes in armour and kill the knight inside it.

Yes, they can still kill a knight, armour has gaps, it is hard to spend a day with your helmet on and the visor down. Shots to the face/neck are what are actually the most likely to put a man in armour out of action.

However if ANY weapon could put holes in armour with ease and kill those inside, then why did armour last for hundreds of years?


Because its not an all or nothing thing. Like I said before it is going to depend on range, the strength of the bow (not to mention the archer), the angle that the arrow hits, etc.. This all adds up to to a % chance that the arrow will get through. If the armor can reduce the chance of a hit by say 50%, then hell yes people are going to wear it(who can afford it). And like another poster mentioned it is also going to depend on period - armor tech and bow tech kept advancing and not always at the same pace. You are probably right in that even it does hit, it is going to cause a superficial wound. But humans are not machines and getting cut too much takes its toll on people, even the galliant knight.

Its a similar argument that people keep making with infantry AT weapons during WWII. (except in reverse, I guess). Sure a cheap AT weapon could destroy/disable a a tank. But it depended on so many factors that in reality, the AT weapons were not all that effective, at least not in open terrain. (Cities were a different matter, because it was much easier to close in on the tanks)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by GalliardI remember finding some information on archaeological finds while researching a paper regarding the Decline of the Roman Military in College. I'll see if I can dig it up again. However, I do want to clarify that the majority of their arrows were the broadheaded kind, since the majority of fighting was against unarmored "barbarians".


Apparently I didn't include this data in my final paper, so I don't have a reference as to its location. Since I can't backup my claim, I've edited it out of my other post.


To try to relate our latest discussion back to the original poster's question, I suspect that the true issue is whether armor is more effective against melee weapons or ranged weapons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think a big factor that can be used is "Frontage". This is the effective way a weapon can be used in a particular situation.

take a knight for instance. A lance can really only be used to the Front of the troop (and only on one side or the other). Where as this might be good for a charge, once the knight has engaged, the lance is next to useless. However, knights also had swords and the Sword (from horse back) could easily attack to one side or the other (but not forwards). This would allow them to rapidly kill any enemies that surrounded them. So if knights can get in amongst an enemy squad (ie a panicking squad), they can cause a lot of damage, but if the knights can't get in amongst them (ie tightly packed infantry) then they can't do much danage at all.

So, if you use this in your games, then knights with lances might be good at the initial charge, but useless in an sustained melee. They would, in fact, be good at breaking a group of infantry up (pike are different again, I'll get to them later) ready for the knights with swords (or just switch to them).

In a game, this could be done with micro management. You could tell your knights to use their lances or swords. However, if the knights switch to a sword in melee, their must loose the lance (but can regain it with a resupply) as it would be hard to holster the lance and draw your sword while people are trying to pull you off your horse and stick other weapons into you.

The lance charge would be devastating against any infantry that did not have reach melee weapons. This makes archers especially vulnerable. But this is not because of a hard counter where Knights are explicitly counters to Archers, but because of the ability of knights to charge with a lance and break up the massed infantry. IF the archers can form up and hold the line against the knights, the knights will not be nearly as effective against them (and knights being expensive - the armour, the horse, etc) they would be out numbered by the archers and so the archers would win. The knights would have to pull back and begin another charge (and the archers would shoot them all this time).

It's not a hard counter as it depends on weather or not the infantry can maintain a packed formation or not.

With Pikemen, these weapons have a reach longer than a lance, so any knights charging into this would be hit first by the pikes. However, the length of the pike makes it hard for the pikemen to turn around. So a fast moving unit, like light cavalry could out flank the pikemen and gain the advantage. The other weakness of the pike is that once an enemy is in melee with the reach of the pikes, they can't really hurt him. So if a unit can deflect the pikes (say with shields) then the pikemen will have to discard their pikes and use a weapon with less reach.

So, how does this all relate to the concept of Frontage?

Well, the squads of knights with the lance has a Frontage that is directly in front of them. However, they have no frontage in an overlap. The knight with the sword has a Frontage only in the overlap, but no frontage in front of them.

Pikemen have a frontage with a reach, but none up close.

Melee (swords, axes, etc) all have a Frontage up close, but none at reach (but some can have a defence against reach).

Archers can shoot from any place in their squad and hit any target in another squad, however, the chance that their shot will hit and do damage is low (and because of this they can't actually shoot targets in an overlap - unless they wish to also hit friendly units).

Another factor is terrain. Some weapons work better in certain terrain than others. In trees, the archers can not shoot from anywhere in their squad, as the tree branches will block and overhead shots. So this changes their frontage rules. The can only shoot in a line of sight, which means that only the enemy in direct line of sight can be shot at (they can no longer hit everyone in an enemy squad). Also, pikemen have a much harder time in forests as there is more obstructions to their movement (pikes are long and will get caught on things).

The other effect forests have on squads is it is harder to maintain large formations while moving (those damn trees again). Also cavalry will find it harder to charge as the lower branches will effect them (clunk!).

This changes tactics and strategies and unit counters somewhat. It is harder to break squads up (unless they are moving themselves) so knights aren't as effective. Archers can't send volleys into enemy squads, limiting their killing rate and reducing their psychological impact. Pikes will be less effective except in static lines (and then will have to positioned so as not to interfere with the Archers lines of fire). What seems to occur is that fast infantry become far more effective in these situations and the advantages of other terrain (like hills, ridges, etc).

On hilly terrain, the troops higher up have an advantage. The archers have a greater range, they can see the enemy squads clearer (and therefore easier to hit), the knights can use the momentum from the hight to increase the power of their charges (and enemy knights are slower charging up the hill and so do less damage).

With marshy ground cavalry and heavy infantry find it difficult (if not impossible) to move, so this would slow down (or stop) the charges of the cavalry. This makes Archers very effective in this terrain as they are usually lightly armoured and can attack at range.

Frontage combined with terrain can be used to completely rewrite the weapon "Counters" chart.

Most hard counters that are devised only consider the effects on open, flat, hard terrain. Most of the time (in fact in all the games I have played) Terrain only effected the movement rates of troops. Adding in terrain (with more than just the movement effects) will make the combat more tactical and adding in the frontage mechanics will make microing more effective and eliminate the Hard counters (because the positioning of the troops and hown they relate to the group they are attacking is important).

Another aspect that can be considered is to make the stats as an enhancement of particular weapons.

In a game I am designing (not an RTS though) I have 4 close combat weapons: Swords, Axes, Short Blades and Staves. Although not historically accurate, I created a system that uses the character stats to enhance the weapons.

Axes will do more damage the stronger the character is (but the lower the stat the less damage it does). Short blades will increase the attack rate the more nimble the character is (but the lower the stat the lower the attack rate it has) but not change the damage due to the character's strength, Swords use the character's strength to increase the damage (the lower the stat the less damage it does - although not to the extent that the Axe does) and also use the characters nimbleness to increase the rate of attack (the lower the stat the lower the attack rate it has - but not to the extent that the Short blade swords do) and finally the Staff is not influenced by the character's stats at all (so a character with low strength and nimbleness stats will benefit from using a staff).

Using a system like this, you Orcs would do more damage with the Axe and a Human would. Goblins (and Elves) would end up doing more damage (damage over time) then if they used Axes, and Humans might do more damage with swords (balanced stats).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rather then have counters build advantages and disadvantages into the different weapons stats. Then allow the players to build their own strategies around those advantages and disadvantagies.

For example:
Axe
Damage: 2 ;Determines amount of damage done if a wound is inflicted
Effective Range: 0-1 ; The distince an enemy has to be in to be able to use the weapons.
Pentration: 0; The negative to the enemy's armor save
Weight: 5 ; Factor in determining how often the unit can attack

Pike:
Damage: 1
Effective Range: 2-6
Pentration: 10
Weight: 15

Bow:
Damage: 1
Effective range 6-60
Penetration: 20%
Weight: 3

Plate Mail:
Armor Save: 70% ; Chance in resist damage when hit.
Weight: 20

Shield
Armor Save: +10%, +30% versus arrows
Weight: 5

Every weapon and armor then has its uses, advantages and disadvantages. Without the need for any sort of hard counters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for your outfilling replies, I'll consider all ideas. I've also thought about something similar to what you said, Edtharan, on the buttom of your post. For example letting the Wood Elf get an increased chance to do critical strike the more agility he has, and that a 'backstab' ability requires daggers. Furthemore, with the weight/attack speed-system by TechnoGoth it would make sense to make heavy two-handed axes for the Orc so he has a slow attack speed.

Do you suggest morale is included, making morale a deciding factor on how well a pack of soldier is able to hold lines before they run away in panic?

I'm not sure how many yet, but I don't want too many soldiers in each squad.

I'm going to use significantly time on weapon counters. I've not decided wheter I want to include heroes or not, and if I do, I'll probably stack them up with a group of soldiers, or I would have to make them extremily powerful compared to "normal" units. I've just gone through many ideas lately, and I've not come any longer, to be honest. The only ideas I've decided to bring on is that weapons type should have different functions and that terrain will be a strategical factor. I also want unit abilities and attributes to be important.

The system I want (yet to come up with) may seem complicated under the surface, but players don't need to go under the surface, they will only get the information they really need in-game (some players might want to ask for all the detailed stats, and this can of course be published somewhere) on unit stats et cetera, and a discription of units and other will suite well in adition.

What is going to be included?
- A unique tech-tree for each faction. Players earn tech-points by engaging in battle, and can use these points to unlock 'faction-techs.'
- All units in the game will have uniqe abilities
- A system of attributes
- All units are aimed to be as unique as possible and have several functions, not only one, like they have in many RTS-games I've played
- Weapons should have different functions and I want a 'cool' counter system that contributes to make the game strategically, while at the same time adding twists to micro-management
- Terrain should play a role
- There will be siege (ups! more questions incoming), magic and huge beasts like dragons, trolls etc.
- I would also like to remind you that this is a fantasy-setting. Maybe the Human faction has the ability to engage in formations, but what about a small pack of Elves, or berserking Orcs? It's a great idea for at least the Human faction, Edtharan, with the "Frontage," but I would need other factions (different types of units) to counter them too. Like pikes for example (not saying it's right or wrong) being vulnerable to archers and pikes spread out being stronger againt spesific huge beasts, or the opposite. There are tons of other factors I also have to consider, and I fell I'm pretty blank on this area... :( There's so much information to deal with.

So the question is how deep everything should be, before it is to hard to learn? What I have in mind is not complicated for the player. The player should not have to worry about lots of lots of numbers, they should test all the options themselves and learn stuff while playing, and have a discription of the main functions of a unit/ability/upgrade/magic. I want the player to be able to play creatively.

However, I want a lot of numbers, I love to balance a lot of numbers and include lots of cool attributes and skills (that might be a problem?). What I have in mind is that players will get a discriptoon of what abilities do and what attributes increase, but not get the numbers in-game (if hardcore-players want all the detailed numbers they can be published somewhere else), only the most important. Like when something increases, they want to know how much it increases. Somtimes it's enought writing: very small inc, small inc. medium inc, significant and so on, while others want to know specifically number of 7% or similair. Many game companies have similair solutions. Some numbers have to be included though.
--------------------

I've put some thought into your ideas, and I like them. :)

[Edited by - ManaSky on March 13, 2007 10:15:56 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by ManaSky- I would also like to remind you that this is a fantasy-setting. Maybe the Human faction has the ability to engage in formations, but what about a small pack of Elves, or berserking Orcs?



Well, there are two ways that I can think of to handle this:

1) Come up with a series of roles that you want for your counters, and then come up with creative ways to fill them. For example, the Humans will have Pikemen, while the Orcs might control some hideous tentacled beast that serves the exact same purpose. Another example would be to match the Orcish berserkers with Elven Animal Handlers that control wolves.


2) Build a morale/discipline system. Make it so that your Human Pikeman, Orcs with really long Axes, and Elves with Long Spears can all form up. But make it so that they can all screw it up differently. For example, Orcs might get bored and charge the first enemy they see, the Elves might panic and flee, and the Humans might get distracted and stop paying attention.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WarCraft III is a good model. But be careful, you have to keep it simple so that players can remember what beats what quickly, and also it should be pretty much intuitive, so that players who never read the charts etc can still play well just by feeling it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this