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Wush

Tactic in games

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Some basic theory, hope you help me to find eventual gaps Note: Although my terms and examples might be Rpg related this theory is also meant for other type of games. (1)Definitions: Strategy involves decisions based on the static properties of yourself and your enemy when entering combat, Tactics are desisions based on "situations" that arise within combat. (2)Principles of tactic: 1 choose a strategy,(character creation,equipment,chosen skills,predecisions) 2 There have to be "multiple" valid(effective)/on their own senseful actions, which in turn have "multiple" senseful reactions/responses. (otherwise no choice exist and there can not be multiple strategies that might succeed) 3 Every choice has to be meaningful, leading to a remaining difference in "situation"(whatever parameters define situation) 4 Tactical choices should be rewarded, when compared to repetive attack/offense (for example expotential increase in damage based on the "quality" of an attack) 5 The use of "stronger" actions should be limited trough recharge times, resourcemanagment(stamina, mana etc) or other means and there should be a difference in effectiveness based on situation and point in time it is used. 6 There should be situations where it is not possible to prevent a shift of situation in a certain direction, or only trough suffering severe (negative) sideeffects. 7 A situation is defined trough rated(better<->worse) and ambivalent(just a scale of difference) parameters. (edited/added: 8 For tactic unpredictabilit and such either randomness or a limit of knowlege is necessary.) tactical sucess is: To use the reactions of the enemy for your own puposes To create actions the enemy can not or only with limited effiency react to. To use opportunities the enemy presents you (by making a mistake,trading some form of benefit for it or beeing forced by the situation to do so) in the most effective way. A model of actions and reactions: Actions: a)manipulations: Attacking and influencing the situation(-parameters)of your enemy. b)restores: Changing your own situation(-parameters) c)defensefoci: Stronger reduction(see reactions) of enemy manipulations,eventually decrease of costs(situation effects) involved with a reaction Reactions: a)reductions: Decreasing the effect/one of the parameters of an enemy manipulation. b)modification/redirection: Changing a manipulation (or one of its parameters) to another mainpulation(type of parameter) c)transformation: Trading an effect "already inflicted" by a manipulation against another effect or preventing a manipulation by paying a "cost". (b is for example is changing piercing into blunt damage cause you have better armor gainst it, the manipulation is changed before taking effect, c is for example when damage inflictetd to your hp is instead inflicted to stamina or mana instead or if you pay a large mana cost to prevent a manipulation altogether) [Edited by - Wush on June 5, 2007 12:50:14 PM]

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Looks good. A couple of criticisms:

I don't think you should "choose a strategy" within tactics. Strategy is usually considered a higher level process than tactics, when the two terms are being mixed. So call it "choose an action" or "choose a behaviour", etc.

"The use of "stronger" actions should be limited trough recharge times, resourcemanagment(stamina, mana etc) or other means" -- is it always necessary for 'stronger' actions to exist? Perhaps a better way of looking at it is to say that each action carries a combination of positive and negative attributes, where negative attributes include recharge times and mana costs. The last part, "there should be a difference in effectiveness based on situation and point in time it is used", can be interpreted as meaning that the value of the positive or negative attributes of an action differs according to the context.

Generally I think a large part of the playability of a tactical game comes in making it almost impossible to perfectly estimate the value of those attributes, easy to learn how to make a very rough estimate, with a sliding scale in between accommodating player skill.

I don't understand principles 6 and 7.

I also don't see much use in subdividing reactions into those 3 categories. I can see a lot of overlap and ambiguity.

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Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
I don't think you should "choose a strategy" within tactics. Strategy is usually considered a higher level process than tactics, when the two terms are being mixed. So call it "choose an action" or "choose a behaviour", etc.


Well its meant to express that tactic basically supports strategy and you choose your behaviour, you base your general choices (your tactic)according to that.
So using "choose a behaviour" as a phrase, would that not imply a third level between strategy and tactics?

Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
"The use of "stronger" actions should be limited trough recharge times, resourcemanagment(stamina, mana etc) or other means" -- is it always necessary for 'stronger' actions to exist? Perhaps a better way of looking at it is to say that each action carries a combination of positive and negative attributes, where negative attributes include recharge times and mana costs.


Of course there does not need to be a "stronger" actions and its not without reason i used "..." to write that, however there can be and I just wanted to point out that the negative effects have to be appropriate.
Indeed i also look at it as a combination of negative and positive attributes (and neutral), thats already hidden in combing 3 and 7:
A change in situation can be a positive or negative effect(rated parameters)or a neutral effect(ambivalent parameter, like changing the dominating element(water,fire,air,earth-- iam not really a fan of elemental systems) when nobody is bound to a specific element)
Besides it help to have negative effects to fulfill point 2(multiple valid effects)

Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
Generally I think a large part of the playability of a tactical game comes in making it almost impossible to perfectly estimate the value of those attributes, easy to learn how to make a very rough estimate, with a sliding scale in between accommodating player skill.


I would disagree, of course aquiring experience and gaining intuition(in estimating correct values) is an important part of the game, but besides most games not providing enough feedback information to actually learn if you did a good or bad estimation, and information flow is vital for a tactical game, these estimation often only hide that you are following a linear course of having only one best choice option at any moment, and besides if you can not see the differences and effectiveness of actions accurate enough you can not make valid tactical decisions on what course of action to take.
(i often enough have no clue which attacks actually is better against certain enemies)

Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
I don't understand principles 6 and 7.


6 means that if every action has a reaction that cancels its effect this will lead to a stalemate between experienced players who do not easily make mistakes,
so in order to prevent that there have to be situations you can not simple neutralize an effect.(not with atleast creating another chance in the situation that at one point will break the stalemate)
7 just means there are parameters like stamina or balance where more is better and there are parameters like "swampiness"(limiting movement) of terrain where it depends on your strategy if more or less or different(think of elemental charges) is better.

Quote:
Original post by Kylotan
I also don't see much use in subdividing reactions into those 3 categories. I can see a lot of overlap and ambiguity.


Its true that b and c could be summarized in one point but I feel better of having atleast 3 points and it helps inspire people thinking of different possibilities.
regarding a in comparision to b,c its basically the difference betwenn having a rated parameter and something ambivalent.
a is like defense would decrease the strength of an attack (if you lucky enough for the rest to be absorbed by armor) and b,c are like deflection, evasion you redirect the attack more outward and if your lucky you deflected,evaded it totally if not the outside zones of your body are usually less vulnerable , but you might be unlucky and deflect it to a part of your body without armor and then take the full "not strengthreduced" impact of the attack.

P.S.: If shield and armors could break down during combat(would be repaired when you rest) this could also be used as a kind of resource and there could be attacks directed to deplete that resource(for example you first reduce the balance to prevent evasion, deflection forcing the enemy to defend and than hit the shield with a powerful blow to damage it), there also could be funny effects, like wood armor is damaged by fire ball, iron armor gets hot(of course getting colder with time) and if you use enough fireballs the armor is hot enough to deal damage over time.

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