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WH40K table top style gameplay

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I had a discussion with a coworker the other day about a game play system that combines the awesome customization of creatures/vehicles/objects (a la Spore) with the game play of Warhammer 40K (table top version, turn based). I was wondering if anyone had made a game that does this or to some extent created a turn based system that is similar to WH40K? If not, then what do you guys think of such a game (think starcraft, but turn based, and with custom looking units and stats).

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One thing I really liked about WH40k was (and I hope it still is, but I haven't played since 1st addition) was the whole "point" system for building armies.

You had a massive selection of troops / customizations / weapons, but they each had their respective value. Each side would build an army using the same number of points. So, yes, you could have an eldar avatar (their god incarnate), but it would cost you 300 points, or a 3rd of your army in a 1000 (the usual size in the circles I played in) point army.

I would really like to see this in a video game; Where you build your army and just fight other armies that the game "point" value determines as equal. Obviously it would require a large amount of balancing, but I think it would be nice to see in a game. Building your personal army would be just as important as how you used it on the battle field.

The french semi -MMO dofus arena has a similar system on a much smaller scale, but I really don't have much experiences with it. I believe it is still free: give it a try.

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I played WH40K on tabletop as well, and I was thinking of incorporating the point system into the game as well. So that you battle against an army of equal size/power. (I remember having 12,000pt matches back in the day. Crazy.) But on top of this, you would be able to design the actual units. So your units would be broken down further into smaller subobjects.

For example, a unit, lets use Space Marine since I'm very uncreative this morning, costs 30pts total. But he can be broken down into smaller objects. The unit itself costs 10pts, Armor types range from 5 to 15pts. Weapons are customizable and also range in points. On top of that, you could customize the Unit's abilities (Strength, Dexterity) much like you can in RPGs. Furthermore, you can design and edit each of the items and things you give your unit, much like you can edit the size and look of accessories in Spore.

Gameplay, I envision would be similar to the way WH works. Turn based, scatter dice type combat, etc.

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For example, a unit, lets use Space Marine since I'm very uncreative this morning, costs 30pts total. But he can be broken down into smaller objects. The unit itself costs 10pts, Armor types range from 5 to 15pts. Weapons are customizable and also range in points. On top of that, you could customize the Unit's abilities (Strength, Dexterity) much like you can in RPGs.

Actually, this could be quite annoying if you can't save your designs. So I would say that that would be an essential part of the game.

Although I like the idea of customisability, I think this would be difficult for new players to learn.

The human brain is only capable of handling around 7 options at any one time. More than this and our brains are overwhelmed. However, the more other things we need to think about the less mental resource we can devote to the decisions. this means that practically, we really only can handle around 5 options at a time.

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I would really like to see this in a video game; Where you build your army and just fight other armies that the game "point" value determines as equal. Obviously it would require a large amount of balancing, but I think it would be nice to see in a game.

Actually Point systems exist in any RTS (and some TBS) games as they are. You have to spend resource to build the unit, and these are the equivalent of the points that you would in a game like Warhammer.

As for balancing, it is not different than with current designs.

I feel that if you create a balanced underlying system, then it should be far easier to put additions to this basic system without breaking the balance.

I think the biggest problem for this kind of system for balance is between flexibility and specialisation. If I can just have a squad equipped with the best gear and tooled up to take out any type of enemy, then this should be more expensive than having multiple squads that are specialised for a specific (or a few) task.

The reason this is the biggest problem is that without a lot of testing, it is hard to determine how much of an advantage flexibility will bring.

As an example, if you have a squad of enemies that are easy to kill, but large in number (say a hoard of goblins) and another enemy that is tough but there is only 1 of them, then a team tooled up to kill only one type (the specialist) will do poorly against the other. This would make manoeuvring and positioning very important for the strategy of the game.

However, if you had a squad that was a generalist and c9ould take out hoards or toughs with equal ease, then this is valuable in its self as it means manoeuvring is no loner a big concern.

So if you could customise your squad with say a flame thrower on one arm and a laz cannon on the other, then this would be a generalist.

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I had never envisioned this as your army as something "un savable" I wholly agree that it would quickly become frustrating to re-make your army every time. I thought it went unsaid honestly.

I have been seeing this 7 options at a time number thrown around quite a lot recently (usually in discussions about User interfaces rather than game choices). But anyway I was seeing all army building as a separate entity with no time constraints and also no need to go too in depth in your customizing if you didn't want to. So, for example, you make an army using standard squads and play a few games with them, lose some / win some; then alter your army through the available customizations.

As for RTS' already having a type of point system: This is true, along with build times each unit has a set "cost" that is balanced against all other units. But there is much more to the levels of balance in RTSs, a faction could have incredibly "cheep" units as far as resources go, but they have very poor gathering skills etc. The simplified nature of a up front point system is very appealing to me.

I, for one, like the idea of getting away from the "on the fly" armys of RTSs and wish the OP the best of luck with his project. And don't let the "real time" part get to you...there are still people out there looking for turn based games (me among them).

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Original post by Edtharan
Actually, this could be quite annoying if you can't save your designs. So I would say that that would be an essential part of the game.


Oh you would be able to save all your designs, Its kind of backwards if you couldn't. Sorry I wasn't so clear about this.

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Although I like the idea of customization, I think this would be difficult for new players to learn.

The human brain is only capable of handling around 7 options at any one time. More than this and our brains are overwhelmed. However, the more other things we need to think about the less mental resource we can devote to the decisions. this means that practically, we really only can handle around 5 options at a time.


This is easily over come if you present everything in a very structured way. For example, a weapons category, an armor category, etc. Then break them down into more options, such as plasma weapons, conventional weapons, etc. Then you limit everything by scope.

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As for balancing, it is not different than with current designs.


Its nothing unique, but its a tried and true game concept that has a good chance of getting market appeal (At least, I hope so).

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I think the biggest problem for this kind of system for balance is between flexibility and specialization. If I can just have a squad equipped with the best gear and tooled up to take out any type of enemy, then this should be more expensive than having multiple squads that are specialized for a specific (or a few) task.


That's the foundation of this game. A heavily geared unit will cost a lot but also have profound effects on their stats. For example, a marine wearing 500lbs of armor will have a substantial penalty to dexterity, so that he may not be able to dodge bullets very well or move through difficult terrain very well. But on the other hand will be strong enough (ie. Mechanically assisted armor) to bust some heads when in melee combat. Such a unit might cost the same amount as a lightly armored unit with a smaller weapon.

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The reason this is the biggest problem is that without a lot of testing, it is hard to determine how much of an advantage flexibility will bring.


Agreed. I was just talking about testing with my friend and we both agree it needs to be there before the game even is coded.

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So if you could customize your squad with say a flame thrower on one arm and a laz cannon on the other, then this would be a generalist.


I was aiming for a generalist squad rather then a generalist unit. A squad with two flame throwers and would be good for hoard units (ie. Tyranids) but might be useless against heavily fortified units, like tanks. I was going to follow WH40K to a broad sense when it came to weaponry. But, when you build an army, you would be able to populate it with squads that you have created beforehand. So if you have a tank buster squad, you would use them when the opponent has Tanks and other vehicles.

Essentially its WH40K on a computer, but without the trademarks. And with a ridiculous amount of customization.

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I have been seeing this 7 options at a time number thrown around quite a lot recently (usually in discussions about User interfaces rather than game choices). But anyway I was seeing all army building as a separate entity with no time constraints and also no need to go too in depth in your customizing if you didn't want to. So, for example, you make an army using standard squads and play a few games with them, lose some / win some; then alter your army through the available customizations.


You would have this option as well as creating an army completely from scratch. The game would come with stock armies that you can use as a base.

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As for RTS' already having a type of point system: This is true, along with build times each unit has a set "cost" that is balanced against all other units. But there is much more to the levels of balance in RTSs, a faction could have incredibly "cheep" units as far as resources go, but they have very poor gathering skills etc. The simplified nature of a up front point system is very appealing to me.


I agree, although Its not an RTS, its more a TBS. Hence the object of Time is irrelevant and maybe only used for fluff.

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I, for one, like the idea of getting away from the "on the fly" armys of RTSs and wish the OP the best of luck with his project. And don't let the "real time" part get to you...there are still people out there looking for turn based games (me among them).


Thanks, I am intrigued by applying an RTS paradigm to this concept. This needs more thought (and beer).

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Oh you would be able to save all your designs, Its kind of backwards if you couldn't.

Absolutely

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This is easily over come if you present everything in a very structured way. For example, a weapons category, an armor category, etc. Then break them down into more options, such as plasma weapons, conventional weapons, etc. Then you limit everything by scope.

This is a good way, but new players will either not put enough equipment on them to make them effective (easy to check and give assistance with), or will just load one from each category onto the unit, even if it is not useful (but all part of the learning experience).

You could give assistance with this by further categorising them by "essential" and "Extras". Essential components (the base unit and a weapon most likely), would allow a player to know what is needed to have an effective unit. The Extra components would be what is needed to improve their effectiveness (armour, laser sights, jump packs, etc).

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That's the foundation of this game. A heavily geared unit will cost a lot but also have profound effects on their stats. For example, a marine wearing 500lbs of armor will have a substantial penalty to dexterity, so that he may not be able to dodge bullets very well or move through difficult terrain very well. But on the other hand will be strong enough (ie. Mechanically assisted armor) to bust some heads when in melee combat. Such a unit might cost the same amount as a lightly armored unit with a smaller weapon.

But what about the moderately armoured unit with the moderately powered weapon. they would be tough enough to stand in melee against most units, but also have the manoeuvrability of the lighter armoured unit (can cross difficult terrain). Two squads of these units would be far superior to a squad of the light units plus a squad of the heavy units.

They could move through terrain that the heavy units couldn't (so use hit and run tactics on them), and could bust up the light units and out gun them as well. So a squad of these moderate units would be able to beat both the heavy and the light units. So should they be more expensive (or have some other penalty - or give the heavy and light units some extra advantage) to reflect this? If not, why would one buy the heavy or light units at all?

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I was aiming for a generalist squad rather then a generalist unit. A squad with two flame throwers and would be good for hoard units (ie. Tyranids) but might be useless against heavily fortified units, like tanks.

What would be stopping the player from making a squad all identical?

But that is beside the point. Whether your basic component is a squad or a unit the problem still stands. If you can make generalists that are as effective as specialists, then it is better to use the generalists as they are more flexible.

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I was going to follow WH40K to a broad sense when it came to weaponry.

Here are some ideas about weaponry:

Scissors/Paper/Rock
By its self, this system can only produce a trivial system. It can easily be solved by the player. But if you can add in more complexities, then this system can form a good basis for the weaponry system.

The reason that Scissors/paper/Rock is a good basis is that no choice is better than the other, there is always a way for one choice to be beaten.

It also doesn't have to be limited to 3 options, neither does it need to be a symmetrical relationship.

For instance:
A beats B and C
B beats C and D
C beats D and E
D beats E and A
E beats A and B

So each choice beats 2 others and is also beaten by 2 others.

You could also have something like this:
A beats B, C and D
B beats C and E
C beats D and E
D beats B and E
E beats A

Again, no choice is the best as there is always at least one choice that can beat it, but it is not symmetrical as some options can beat more other choices, and some can beat less than others.

It is more interesting that the symmetrical system, but it is still trivial by itself.

Damage Reduction and Rapid Attacks:
In this system, if you have defences that that have a set value reduction of the amount of damage done each hit, then the this has an impact on the effectiveness of various weapons.

In this case if you have a weapon that can do lots of weak attacks in a given period of time as compared to a weapon that only dose a few strong attacks, then the rapid attack weapon is actually weaker.

Here is the reason with maths:
If you ahve a weapon that fires 10 shots each turn, and a weapon that fires 1 shot each turn but do the same amount of total damage (100 hitpoints), then at first these weapons appear to be just as effective.

But if you are firing at a target that reduced the damage from each hit by 4 then the weapons are no longer equal.

The slow fireing weapon does 100 damage over 1 turn in 1 shot. This means that the final damage done when taking into account the target's defence is: Total damage - (Number of Attacks * Damage Reduction)

or

100 - (1 * 4) = 96

but if we look at the weak but rapid attack weapon the final damage is: Total damage - (Number of Attacks * Damage Reduction)

or

100 - (10 * 4) = 60

That is a difference of 36 hit points of damage. That is a lot!

In fact, if the Damage reduction is equal to (or greater than) 10 for this example, then the rapid fire weapon can never damage the target.

To use this in a balancing system, then you could make the rapid fire weapon do more total damage than the slow fire weapon, but include the damage reduction type armour.

When the amount of damage reduction is less than the amount of extra damage allowed for the rapid fire weapon, then it would be the weapon of choice. When the amount of damage reduction is greater than the amount of extra damage allowed for the rapid fire weapon, it becomes less effective than the slow fire weapon.

By having a graded scale of both number of attacks of weapons and damage reduction of armour with pricing, then you can get a system where by a player can get an advantage by using the light armour (cheaper) if the enemy is using their slow firing weapons, but then if they enemy is using rapid firing weapons, then you are at a disadvantage and the reverse is true for the Heavy armours.

By having a variation of the number of attacks between several different weapons, you also avoid the "generalist" problem. By selecting a weapon with a different rate of fire you change the effective "middle ground" that a generalist could select for their armour.

Finally we get to Lanchester's Laws ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanchester%27s_laws ):

This consists of two rules of thumb that describe the effectiveness of an army. The first law (the linear law) describes the effectiveness of an army in cases of melee combat or where it is difficult for more than 1 opponent to engage another opponent, or in cases of undirected fire (and assuming equivalent technology).

This is expressed as: Number of troops on side A - Number of troops on side B

or

N = A - B

This give the number of troops you expect to survive on Side A. A 0 or negative result means that Side B will win (well a 0 will be a draw).

The Square Law is better for directed fire where it is easy for multiple attackers to attack any other enemy group or individual.

This is expressed as: The Square root of the Number of Troops on Side a squared - the Number of troops on side B squared.

or

square root of N = A^2 - B^2

These rules really only apply to wars of attrition, which is the situation in most games, which make it a great tool for designing them.

This last rule (the square rule) is quite important. As it is the square of the number of troops that gives the result, it takes an N squared fold increase in fire-power to offset an N fold increase in troop numbers.

This means that someone who field a lot of cheap units, would have an advantage over a player that field a a few tough but expensive units. Swarm tactics will win.

This is why games like WH40K (tabletop) have factions that use lots of cheap units have much weaker weapons (imperial guard or orks as compared to space marines).

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Excellent Post, Edtharan!

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This is a good way, but new players will either not put enough equipment on them to make them effective (easy to check and give assistance with), or will just load one from each category onto the unit, even if it is not useful (but all part of the learning experience).


Good point. I was thinking that there would be a small stats chart on the screen as you are building your unit. So, the more armor you add, the more armor points they get (or general HP, not sure yet). The bigger/better the weapon you add, the higher their damage range gets (1-2 unarmed, 3-5 claws, 10-25 plasma weapons, etc). I like the penetration rating that the WH40K guys came up with, maybe I can use that to some extent.

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You could give assistance with this by further categorising them by "essential" and "Extras". Essential components (the base unit and a weapon most likely), would allow a player to know what is needed to have an effective unit. The Extra components would be what is needed to improve their effectiveness (armour, laser sights, jump packs, etc).


I like this idea. Cool.

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But what about the moderately armoured unit with the moderately powered weapon. they would be tough enough to stand in melee against most units, but also have the manoeuvrability of the lighter armoured unit (can cross difficult terrain). Two squads of these units would be far superior to a squad of the light units plus a squad of the heavy units.


This will come down to playing around with numbers. Should melee weapons be powerful enough to do anything against massively armoured units? Should moderate units be able to stand up to a swing by a unit resembling a walking armoury? I am not worried about this yet because it involves a lot of tweaking. I will give them generic values for now and tweak them later. But like you said, a moderate unit should be weaker then a specialized unit or possibly make them specialized but against a certain aspect or enemy. But once you give them a bigger gun, that will make them more expensive and might actually cost as much as a heavy unit.

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Here are some ideas about weaponry:
Scissors/Paper/Rock

[snip]


I never really thought of it this way but now that I think about it, a lot of modern RTS or TBS games actually work like this. Most notable is Starcraft. I am essentially trying to avoid the use of a "god" unit because if you somehow manage to design something that is ultra powerful, it will most likely cost way more then a handful of units of lesser quality. That doesn't mean that this "god" until will be completely overpowering. It may have higher resistances to destruction but would not be immune (I will try to avoid immunity). It would be vulnerable to something. But, what I like about the Scissors/Paper/Rock idea is that it is so simple, and from my own experience, simplicity is quick and fun - which instantly gratifies its user (This is a discussion all in itself).

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In this case if you have a weapon that can do lots of weak attacks in a given period of time as compared to a weapon that only dose a few strong attacks, then the rapid attack weapon is actually weaker.


This is true. Comparing the weapon that fires once but hits hard to a weapon that fires three times but hits like a 5yr old girl. The weaker weapon is trumped by the more powerful weapon, agreed. But the more powerful weapon costs three times as much as the weaker weapon. Therefore, if you have one guy with the larger weapon and three with the weaker weapon, it will balance out to some extent. The balance might not be perfect and might lean more to one side but its better then a complete dominance in the game (ie. the player picks units with nothing but huge weapons). Not only that, but if a unit is armed with a heavy weapon, it might actually hinder the amount of dodge ability or armour they have. This will also factor into combat.

but like I said before, its a matter of tweaking values so that they are balanced.

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Finally we get to Lanchester's Laws ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanchester%27s_laws )


Oh nice. Thanks for the link.

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This means that someone who field a lot of cheap units, would have an advantage over a player that field a a few tough but expensive units. Swarm tactics will win.

This is why games like WH40K (tabletop) have factions that use lots of cheap units have much weaker weapons (imperial guard or orks as compared to space marines).


This is where the different types of weaponry come in handy. Area effect or spray weapons are very powerful for closely ranked units (ie. Tyranids). This is why armies and squadrons are customizable so that you can specialize your entire game to try to trump the opponent.

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RealMarkP
But, what I like about the Scissors/Paper/Rock idea is that it is so simple, and from my own experience, simplicity is quick and fun - which instantly gratifies its user (This is a discussion all in itself).


All RPS does for you is eliminate the need to worry about dominant/obsolete units. Unfortunately, as a side effect it basically turns your game into a glorified guessing game. It's annoying enough in an RTS, but in a turn based game where you have to design your forces at the start, it's even worse. Maybe you guessed your opponent would take Pikemen, and chose lots of Archers, but instead he chose Cavalry. Oops, you lost the game because you guessed wrong. It's all too dependent on WHAT you have in your army, and not enough on HOW you use it. The environment barely factors in at all.

I prefer a role-based approach to unit design; this gives the designer much more scope for creating interesting and imaginative units without having figure out whether it's a rock, paper or scissor. A pikeman unit is not a Rock, it's a heavy melee infantry unit.

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Original post by Sandman
[...] Maybe you guessed your opponent would take Pikemen, and chose lots of Archers, but instead he chose Cavalry. Oops, you lost the game because you guessed wrong. It's all too dependent on WHAT you have in your army, and not enough on HOW you use it. The environment barely factors in at all.


I came to the same conclusion this weekend when explaining this idea to my brother. I honestly don't know how to get around this and as far as I know WH40K suffers from this as well (when you don't ask your opponent, obviously). I was toying with the idea of putting squads into reserves so that you would have a 2000pt game with 1000pt reserve. In that case if you are heavily overpowered, you can call in ANY one of your premade squads to make it a fair fight. As an example, a player would call in a squad of Heavy guns to take out tanks. I believe WH40K does have a system like this, actually, using drop pods.

Any other suggestions are welcome.

The system is partially role based because you customize the role of the unit in the squad (ie. Is he a melee guy, a Captain, a Heavy gun). But I don't like the idea of strictly going with this because the creation of your army becomes more aesthetic then functional. Unless I'm missing your point :P.

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Unfortunately, as a side effect it basically turns your game into a glorified guessing game.

Only if it is a hidden information game (ie: that you don't know what your opponent is going to put out until it is too late to change your choice).

In a TPS or an RTS, there are three ways to escape this "Hidden Information" problem. The first is scouting or removal of the Fog of War, manoeuvrability, or generalisation.

With scouting, you use some technique to reveal your opponent's choices and then have the opportunity to change your own choices.

With manoeuvrability, it is about being able to change the positioning of your units so that the one aspect of your army meets the aspect of your opponent's army that it is bets at dealing with.

And finally, with generalisation, each unit of your army capable of dealing with any aspect of your enemies army.

But I do agree that a pure Scissors/Paper/Rock system is not very interesting even with these factors. What you need is something that allow you to change the relationship strengths between the different choices.

For example:
On grasslands, Cavalry can move quickly and close fast on Archers. This means that under normal circumstances, Cavalry would beat Archers (and pikemen would beat cavalry and archers would beat pikemen in a SPR system). And, if that is all you could do, it would be very boring.

But, if Swamplands slowed Cavalry to a crawl (heavy loads and horses churn the mud and thus slow their progress down) but archers, being lighter can avoid this hindrance, then in this situation, archers can beat cavalry (or at least not get beaten so badly by the cavalry).

The relationship between the types has been changed. Even though the basis is that of an RPS system, the environment creates a factor that changes the balance between the units, and if a battle field was made up of many such environments, then how you use the units would become important.

It is not as simple as RPS is bad and not interesting. It is that RPS by itself is not very interesting, but using it as a basis and having other factors that change this basic relationship can make it interesting.

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All RPS does for you is eliminate the need to worry about dominant/obsolete units.

This is the important reason for including an RPS as a base system. It means that in general, the system is balanced, but by having the other factors that can change the basic balance, you end up with a more interesting system.

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It's annoying enough in an RTS, but in a turn based game where you have to design your forces at the start, it's even worse. Maybe you guessed your opponent would take Pikemen, and chose lots of Archers, but instead he chose Cavalry. Oops, you lost the game because you guessed wrong. It's all too dependent on WHAT you have in your army, and not enough on HOW you use it. The environment barely factors in at all.

But the whole point of my previous posts was that you can't just use the simple RPS system. You need to have more than the basic system. You argument is only true is you only have the basic Rock Paper Scissors system and nothing else.

When you add in other factors that can change the balance between the unit types, your argument falls apart. Because if you can then use one of these factors to make your Archers able to beat Cavalry (say moving them into a swamp), then your concern is no longer valid.

Now, lets assume that we only have environment as a factor in winning (this is as you have done to my suggestion of assuming that only unit type is a factor despite the fact that I have been stating that other factors are necessary). Then if you just position your troops in the right environments, then you will win, there is no strategy and the game is boring and the player who places their units first will win. Just like if you only consider unit type as a factor you end up with a situation that if you guess wrong, then you will loose.

If victory is dependent on a single factor, then if you make a mistake with that factor, then you will loose. It doesn't matter one iota what that factor is, [b]IF[/i] victory comes down to a single factor, then you will win or lose on that choice.

If victory is dependent on the combination and accumulation of success in multiple factors, then this naturally means that the players have more control over their victory or defeat.

Although I do agree with you to some degree, I also think your agruments against Rock Paper Scissors is not really applicable to what has been discussed as you argument is a kind of Strawman against it.

A Strawman is when you change your opponents argument form what they are actually saying in such a way as to make it easily refutable.

You have taken my argument for an integration of a Scissors Paper Rock system within a larger system and states that by its self SPR does not factor in the environment of the battle field.

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I prefer a role-based approach to unit design; this gives the designer much more scope for creating interesting and imaginative units without having figure out whether it's a rock, paper or scissor. A pikeman unit is not a Rock, it's a heavy melee infantry unit.

Actually your role based system is not different to a Scissors/Paper/Rock system at all. You specify a role, and then have another role that is to beat it. By any other name, this is a scissors/Paper/rock system.

One role might be range attacks. Then you can create a role that can beat ranged attacks, say something fast so that the ranged attackers can't skirmish against them. Lets call them Cavalry. But you can't have cavalry the best unit in the game, so lets create one that can beat cavalry, but can't beat archers (so they aren't better than cavalry). Lets call these a "heavy melee infantry unit".

But hang on, this is exactly a scissors/paper/rock system, only that we defined it through "Roles" rather than fitting it to an RPS system first. It is no different it is just looking at the creation using different terminology.

A Unit type that is beaten by Unit Type A but can beat unit type C is a role. But it also can be called "Scissors".

If you use your "Role Assignment" system to create unit types, I am sure that if you create a balanced system it will form an Intransitive "Scissors Paper Rock" system (and it can have more than 3 choices in the system and it doesn't have to be symmetrical either).

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I came to the same conclusion this weekend when explaining this idea to my brother. I honestly don't know how to get around this and as far as I know WH40K suffers from this as well (when you don't ask your opponent, obviously).

The answer is simple and what I ahve been saying all along: Have other factors other than just the Unit Type.

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Original post by Edtharan
Only if it is a hidden information game (ie: that you don't know what your opponent is going to put out until it is too late to change your choice).

In a TPS or an RTS, there are three ways to escape this "Hidden Information" problem. The first is scouting or removal of the Fog of War, manoeuvrability, or generalisation.

With scouting, you use some technique to reveal your opponent's choices and then have the opportunity to change your own choices.


As mentioned, this doesn't really work with a 'select your army before you go' type game. The other two do work; but ultimately if your opponent's is strong on hard counters to your units, and you're weak on hard counters to his, you're going to struggle.

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This is the important reason for including an RPS as a base system. It means that in general, the system is balanced, but by having the other factors that can change the basic balance, you end up with a more interesting system.


It doesn't really give you any guarantees of balance per se, at least not unless you make it boringly symmetrical. It does give you a reasonable guarantee of usefulness.

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It's annoying enough in an RTS, but in a turn based game where you have to design your forces at the start, it's even worse. Maybe you guessed your opponent would take Pikemen, and chose lots of Archers, but instead he chose Cavalry. Oops, you lost the game because you guessed wrong. It's all too dependent on WHAT you have in your army, and not enough on HOW you use it. The environment barely factors in at all.

But the whole point of my previous posts was that you can't just use the simple RPS system. You need to have more than the basic system. You argument is only true is you only have the basic Rock Paper Scissors system and nothing else


And by the time you've got something interesting it looks nothing like RPS. So why do we still call it that?

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Although I do agree with you to some degree, I also think your agruments against Rock Paper Scissors is not really applicable to what has been discussed as you argument is a kind of Strawman against it.

A Strawman is when you change your opponents argument form what they are actually saying in such a way as to make it easily refutable.


I'm arguing against RPS systems. What are you arguing for? Because while you might be calling it RPS, it's sounding increasingly unlike it. In fact I think you're more or less agreeing with me. [grin]

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Actually your role based system is not different to a Scissors/Paper/Rock system at all. You specify a role, and then have another role that is to beat it. By any other name, this is a scissors/Paper/rock system.


RPS is a role based system (Rock is a Scissors Killer, Scissors is a Paper Killer, Paper is a Rock Killer), but role based systems are not RPS.

Why constrain your thinking to the idea that everything has to be a hard counter to something else? Some things might not be a hard counter to anything, but are invaluable for other reasons, like scouting or capturing strategic points. Another advantage is that we are now thinking about the unit and it's role in the army in it's own right, rather than trying to place it against every other unit in every other army in existence to try and figure out what it's for.

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The system is partially role based because you customize the role of the unit in the squad (ie. Is he a melee guy, a Captain, a Heavy gun). But I don't like the idea of strictly going with this because the creation of your army becomes more aesthetic then functional. Unless I'm missing your point :P.


If you're going with something like WH40K's system where you have some basic unit types which you can configure to varying degrees it's not too hard; you can constrain your choices to those which fit the role of the base unit. Some units might be completely un-customisable (like for instance, eldar aspect warriors which IIRC have very few or no options available to them) or extremely customisable (eldar guardians, which can be configured almost as you like, with heavy weapons, melee weapons, jet bikes, the works)

If you're going as the OP suggests for something completely open ended like spore, where the unit's role is entirely up to how the player chooses to equip it, it may be a lot harder. It may be that just ensuring that every piece of equipment has disadvantages in line with it's advantages is enough; don't rely too heavily on points cost as a balancing tool. It's often much easier for a player to manage a small army of elite uber troops that can do everything than a large army of highly specialised troops, so steer clear of just making better stuff more expensive. As a rule of thumb, more powerful = more specialised. An uberlaser of ultimate one-shotting might make for a wonderful sniper weapon but worthless at just about everything else, e.g crowd control, melee etc. Make it heavy and hard to move, and give it a whopping great big cooldown time.

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If you're going as the OP suggests for something completely open ended like spore, where the unit's role is entirely up to how the player chooses to equip it, it may be a lot harder. It may be that just ensuring that every piece of equipment has disadvantages in line with it's advantages is enough; don't rely too heavily on points cost as a balancing tool. It's often much easier for a player to manage a small army of elite uber troops that can do everything than a large army of highly specialised troops, so steer clear of just making better stuff more expensive. As a rule of thumb, more powerful = more specialised. An uberlaser of ultimate one-shotting might make for a wonderful sniper weapon but worthless at just about everything else, e.g crowd control, melee etc. Make it heavy and hard to move, and give it a whopping great big cooldown time.


This is why I mentioned that the units would have stats that are more inline with an RPG (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, etc). These will be modified heavily by what you equip your men with. For example, Heavy armor kills your Dex score. Therefore your uber-sniper unit with the uberlaser of one-shotting will be hindered heavily and might have a hard time aiming. So this would mean that the uber-sniper unit will have to be in almost no armor to be effective making it vulnerable to melee or other long range spray weaponry. But, in order to augment the fact that this unit will not need extra armor, the gun will be very expensive and, like you said, have long cooldowns. Therefore, This sniper unit will be expensive and very vulnerable (lack of armor) and possibly very slow due to the size of the gun. But on the other hand, it will be very powerful against single targets, and might have good cover due to the lack of bulky armor.

But to join in on the RPS conversation, this is exactly what it is. Except that the sniper rock can be trumped by much more then just paper. The combat system boils down to RPS at some level but its abstracted and built upon so much that equating it to RPS is rather moot.

My concern now is, how would you handle customizability in real time, on the battle field. So, two parties already created their armies without knowing what the other party has (Maybe I should allow viewing of armies?). When you get to the battle field, party A realizes that the enemy is overpowering and can easily defeat him. In order to get a level playing field, I was thinking that either party can call in reserves. These reserves can be any squad but cannot be over a certain point limit. For example, you find out that the enemy has nothing but uber-snipers which makes your tanks and slower moving vehicles sitting ducks. Without reserves, this is a pointless game that will end in victory for your opponent. In order to level the playing field, you could send in (say, 200pts worth of) fast moving melee units. Its a limited number of units and you can only call in reserves every, say, 5 turns.

Do you guys know of any other ways to call in reserves or to level the battle field?

Also, I was thinking of harboring healers on the battle field that can carry injured or dead units to a safe area and resurrect them or restore their health. Or possibly have them grouped in a squad. This might be a good option to have when reserves are not available. I don't remember WH40K having options like this.

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Original post by RealMarkP
But to join in on the RPS conversation, this is exactly what it is. Except that the sniper rock can be trumped by much more then just paper. The combat system boils down to RPS at some level but its abstracted and built upon so much that equating it to RPS is rather moot.


The sniper is an example of a Spiker. It's strong at range against high value targets, but vulnerable vs any melee and massed weak range troops. It's also vulnerable out of cover (where it becomes a target) or in dense terrain that blocks its line of sight.

While you could fit it into some kind of horrendously complicated multiply nested RPS framework, I don't think there's much point in doing so. It's behaviour was not created by deliberately saying "well we have all these scissor units wandering around, lets create something to beat them". It was designed with the following principles:

1. Everything needs one or more useful role.
2. The more powerful a thing is within its role(s), the narrower it's scope.

The RPS terminology tells us nothing useful about it's behaviour, all it tells us is that it beats something and something else beats it. Which may not actually be true of all roles; like the scout or spotter, which is a completely useless unit on it's own; it's effectiveness only becomes apparent when combined with the rest of the force.

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For example, you find out that the enemy has nothing but uber-snipers which makes your tanks and slower moving vehicles sitting ducks. Without reserves, this is a pointless game that will end in victory for your opponent. In order to level the playing field, you could send in (say, 200pts worth of) fast moving melee units. Its a limited number of units and you can only call in reserves every, say, 5 turns.

Do you guys know of any other ways to call in reserves or to level the battle field?


You might be able to get away with allowing the player to drop back into the customisation screen to create reinforcements in a TBS, but it's definitely going to slow things down a lot. It would probably better to try and find ways of avoiding this if possible.

Some ideas off the top of my head:

Mercenaries: Developer-designed mercenaries (which will be designed reasonably sensibly and will have something for all the major roles) which can be hired at any time, although perhaps they take a turn to arrive.

Weapon drops: The ability to drop supplies onto the battlefield that can effectively reequip the unit that picks them up, perhaps changing their role completely. It could be interesting to limit the times and/or places that the drops can happen; so getting the right men to the resupply point at the right time can become a temporary objective in itself.

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Just an idea (using arbitrary numbers); each player gets 1500 points to build their army, but they can only bring in troops worth up to 1000 points. Troops are organized in groups with a point limit off 100. Each turn (or after 5 turn or whatever) each player brings in 1 additional troop from his army. So you can make your specialized troops if you want, and as the game progresses you can choose exactly the ones that you need.

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Original post by Spencer Bowers
Just an idea (using arbitrary numbers); each player gets 1500 points to build their army, but they can only bring in troops worth up to 1000 points. Troops are organized in groups with a point limit off 100. Each turn (or after 5 turn or whatever) each player brings in 1 additional troop from his army. So you can make your specialized troops if you want, and as the game progresses you can choose exactly the ones that you need.


Thats what I was thinking, except with squads instead of troops. Everything is squad based.

Another idea I had was to accumulate extra bonus points either by capturing objectives, getting these "power ups" that randomly appear (as mentioned in a previous post), or by redeeming points from kills. These will all add up and when you really need reserves, you can use them to call in those reserves. Mind you, by this point the user will have a fairly large array of squads to choose from (both custom built or stock).

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Original post by RealMarkP
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Original post by Spencer Bowers
Just an idea (using arbitrary numbers); each player gets 1500 points to build their army, but they can only bring in troops worth up to 1000 points. Troops are organized in groups with a point limit off 100. Each turn (or after 5 turn or whatever) each player brings in 1 additional troop from his army. So you can make your specialized troops if you want, and as the game progresses you can choose exactly the ones that you need.


Thats what I was thinking, except with squads instead of troops. Everything is squad based.

Another idea I had was to accumulate extra bonus points either by capturing objectives, getting these "power ups" that randomly appear (as mentioned in a previous post), or by redeeming points from kills. These will all add up and when you really need reserves, you can use them to call in those reserves. Mind you, by this point the user will have a fairly large array of squads to choose from (both custom built or stock).

Sorry, every time I said troops I meant to say squads (or units. Units are good.) I don't know why I chose that word...

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Original post by RealMarkP
Another idea I had was to accumulate extra bonus points either by capturing objectives, getting these "power ups" that randomly appear (as mentioned in a previous post), or by redeeming points from kills.

This is a positive feedback loop. The more kills/objectives/powerups you get, the more troops you can get. The more troops you can get, the easier it is for you to get more kills/objectives/powerups.

One idea I have been toying with is to have a slow acting Negative feedback loop that attempts to maintain the status quo of the game. But then also have short lived (because of that negative feedback loop) positive feedback loops that a player can exploit to change the status quo.

For example:
There might be several strategic points scattered over the map. A player has to maintain these points by keeping troops near them or they revert to neutral.

The player who has only their troops near a strategic point keeps the point. If there are no troops or enemy troops are also near the point in sufficient numbers, then the point will slowly, but eventually, revert to neutrality.

To capture a point, you need to eliminate all enemy troops from near a strategic point for a certain period of time.

Strategic points give you resource, but not much, just enough to maintain the force needed to keep the point.

This forms the slow negative feedback loop that maintain the status quo. No matter how many point you have you only have enough troops to maintain the points you have.

The positive feedback comes from the fact that points won't revert to neutral instantly. This means that a player can increase their army size by easily capturing neutral points.

They can also attempt to capture enemy points, but it will be likely at the cost of their own point reverting to neutral (which they can then recapture later if desired).

In a WH40K game, this would be implemented on a territory map (rather than a battlefield map). Each territory would only be able to support a certain number/points of troops.

Too many troops in an area would mean that the resource could not support them. Too few (or no) troops in an area would mean that your ability to maintain the territory is reduced and it reverts back to neutral. If too many enemies are in the territory, then they disrupt your ability to maintain that territory, and Neutral territories are easy to capture as there is not significant opposition for you to overcome.

The main difference is that you don't accumulate points/gold/resources/support/whatever over time like in typical RTS/TBS games.

More territories allow you to have a larger army, but not an increased ability to concentrate them.

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Original post by Sandman
While you could fit it into some kind of horrendously complicated multiply nested RPS framework, I don't think there's much point in doing so. It's behaviour was not created by deliberately saying "well we have all these scissor units wandering around, lets create something to beat them". It was designed with the following principles:

1. Everything needs one or more useful role.
2. The more powerful a thing is within its role(s), the narrower it's scope.

The RPS terminology tells us nothing useful about it's behaviour, all it tells us is that it beats something and something else beats it. Which may not actually be true of all roles; like the scout or spotter, which is a completely useless unit on it's own; it's effectiveness only becomes apparent when combined with the rest of the force.

RPS does not tell us about its behaviour, instead it allows us to analyse the role of a unit to see if it is balanced with others. It can also allow us to locate parts of a system that needs some unit to fill it so as to maintain that balance.

For instance,if you had a Sniper unit, and a Sniper Killer unit, then these are two roles. However, using just pure roles it doesn't actually highlight what type of unit is necessary to make the balance. However, RPS analysis does. We can see using RPS that a unit has to fit in so that it can kill the Sniper Killer, but be vulnerable to the Sniper (or ahve several units that form a chain to fit those constraints).

With Role analysis, you can know that you need a sniper Killer Killer, but without RPS analysis, you don't immediately see that you also need the unit (or chain of units) to be vulnerable to the sniper.

With such a trivial system as a 3 unit system it is easy to intuitively see this, so that does not invalidate this. If you had a system where you had 11 units for each faction, and with 5 factions, then you can't simply "intuit" the role that is needed. An analytical tool that can be used to aid you in this task is therefore invaluable.

And that is what RPS is used for. And it is also why it is a good idea to use RPS to build up you system in the first place (while using role analysis to specify how the units interact).

The two system are complimentary rather than exclusive as you seem to think.

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Original post by Edtharan
RPS does not tell us about its behaviour, instead it allows us to analyse the role of a unit to see if it is balanced with others. It can also allow us to locate parts of a system that needs some unit to fill it so as to maintain that balance.


Except it doesn't tell us much about balance either, unless our RPS system is boringly symmetrical. As soon as you get into more complex mechanics and start fiddling with DPS figures, cooldown rates and unit costs, build times etc. RPS becomes completely useless for balance, and you really need to start playtesting. All it does, as I've said, is give you a guarantee of usefulness. However, so does the role approach, as you're specifically designing units to be useful.

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With Role analysis, you can know that you need a sniper Killer Killer, but without RPS analysis, you don't immediately see that you also need the unit (or chain of units) to be vulnerable to the sniper.


I'll grant you that the RPS can make a useful design pattern within a role system. But it is far from the only system.

The Uber Sniper unit I described does not need a specific counter unit at all. It's basically strong vs. high tier (high cost, low number) units, and weak vs. low tier (low cost, high numbers) units. It's also strong vs. ranged and weak vs. melee. Note that this is not really RPS: it beats and is beaten by entire general categories of units, without needing to know much about what those other units do to each other. All we need to know is that each faction has something in each of those categories, and we know the sniper is useful, without being invincible.

Other roles are even less RPSish. What about the Spotter, or the Tank? Neither of these roles exist to actually kill things by themselves; in the case of the former, it's job is simply to give Line of Sight to some powerful ranged unit (like perhaps, the Sniper) sitting miles away across the map. In the case of the Tank, it's job is simply to keep the enemy occupied while flimsier, but more damaging units can get on with the business of killing stuff undistracted. They're both support units that can make a big difference to the effectiveness of your army, yet neither of them specifically need to 'beat' anything at all.

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With such a trivial system as a 3 unit system it is easy to intuitively see this, so that does not invalidate this. If you had a system where you had 11 units for each faction, and with 5 factions, then you can't simply "intuit" the role that is needed. An analytical tool that can be used to aid you in this task is therefore invaluable.


I think the more complex case is a fantastic example of why you DONT want to use RPS.
With the uber sniper mentioned earlier, you could try and concoct some kind of giant, sprawling diagram that represented all 5 factions' eleven units and how they interact to try and understand where everything fits in. It would probably take months to create, and any small changes in the unit statistics could quite possibly change it significantly.

Or you could just check, as I already suggested, that each faction has something in each of the categories that the sniper wins against, and each of the categories that it loses against. Twiddling the numbers might shift the size and frequency of those categories, but ultimately so long as they still exist, then your sniper is good.

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The two system are complimentary rather than exclusive as you seem to think.


I don't think they're exclusive, I think RPS can be a useful design pattern within a role-based system. It's useful to be familiar with it, but I don't believe it should lead your unit design.

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A RPS structure, as already noted, leads to unwholesome gambling in army creation (as opposed to thinking strategically of a balanced roster) in the common case of incomplete information.
We can reduce the problem by making this gambling not convenient or by reducing the amount of incomplete information.

Saving and reloading games, or playing with random strangers on the net, might be an incentive for unnecessary risks, but in real life Warhammer matches and tournaments armies tend to be rather balanced because
1) A balanced army is likely to have moderate advantages or disadvantages against other balanced opponents, ensuring a fair and interesting match, while a match between overspecialized armies is likely to be won or lost too easily and without a true test of skill.
2) A balanced army is likely to be flexible enough to have an edge against most overspecialized opponents and, in the hands of a good player, beat them almost as reliably as their respective dominant strategies.

Regarding incomplete information, players can buy units in small increments after seeing most or all of the opponent's army so far. This ensures that anything specialized finds some counter in the opponent's army.
For example, if you buy tanks I can buy snipers with rockets and fast units that aren't easy to hit with the tanks, then you can buy cheap infantry to delay and harass my special units, then I can buy large area of effect weapons to kill infantry effectively, etc.
This kind of informed army building could be accomplished in alternating turns, starting with a player that makes an arbitrary purchase then buying enough units to exceed the already committed points of the opponent, or simultaneously, spending some minimum number of points each round. In both cases, the granularity of purchases should be small: not a "squad", which could represent a large portion of one's army, but individual men and maybe even extra weapons and equipment for previous units.




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The Uber Sniper unit I described does not need a specific counter unit at all. It's basically strong vs. high tier (high cost, low number) units, and weak vs. low tier (low cost, high numbers) units. It's also strong vs. ranged and weak vs. melee. Note that this is not really RPS: it beats and is beaten by entire general categories of units, without needing to know much about what those other units do to each other. All we need to know is that each faction has something in each of those categories, and we know the sniper is useful, without being invincible.


This is exactly why RPS is not the right terminology for this example, or the game. What's stopping a tank or a howitzer unit from firing a shell in the direction of the sniper. Whats stopping a whole squad of units armed with machine guns from emptying their clips in the general direction of the sniper. What's stopping your fast attack squad from charging his squad and getting into melee range. Since the sniper is geared with the minimal of armor, it should die very quickly. On the other hand, this sniper can get off a few shots before dieing, possibly at a tank or commander unit. So, the sniper unit doesn't necessary have ONE rival, it can have many.

What this starts to do is force the players to use strategy instead of raw power. It adds to the complexity of the game by having circumstantial advantages and disadvantages to a role. Snipers, when out in the open, are easy targets, therefore the best thing to do is to escort them to some cover. Have them in a mechanized transport vehicle, for example. Then use that vehicle as cover for your melee heavy units so that they can get into range. That is a strategy that can be effective when executed correctly, or it can be toppled if the opponent is smart enough.

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I don't think they're exclusive, I think RPS can be a useful design pattern within a role-based system. It's useful to be familiar with it, but I don't believe it should lead your unit design.


I agree, RPS cannot be avoided in this case because, due to the point system, all units will have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by at least a handful of other types of units. Therefore, it will come down to strategy to decide a victory. A player will try to hide vulnerabilities while trying to exploit the vulnerabilities of his opponent. But this isn't RPS and like I said earlier, its RPS on steroids.

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Note that this is not really RPS: it beats and is beaten by entire general categories of units, without needing to know much about what those other units do to each other.

You are essentially saying that the RPS system is therefore not applied to individual unit types, but top groups of units.

RPS is an abstract analysis. So it does not matter to it whether the choice is selecting a specific unit type, selecting an upgrade, using a unit in a specific way (placing archers in a swamp for example), or whatever. So yes, RPS does not even attempt to analyse a unit as to how they defeat an enemy, only that one choice (or even sequences of choices) beats another (or multiple) and is itself beaten by another (or again multiple) choice.

the reason you are dislike RPS is that you are using it wrong. I bet I would dislike screwdrivers too if I tried to use them like hammer.

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With the uber sniper mentioned earlier, you could try and concoct some kind of giant, sprawling diagram that represented all 5 factions' eleven units and how they interact to try and understand where everything fits in. It would probably take months to create, and any small changes in the unit statistics could quite possibly change it significantly.

The thing is, whether or not you create that diagram, the relationship between the units still conforms to that. If you don't have need for the analysis, then don't do the analysis (that is a no brainer). If however, you have need (balance issues) then it is a good idea to use the analysis tools you ahve to solve your problem.

The other thing is that it is easy to expand a RPS system diagram than it is to create it at full complexity from scratch. So if you start off with a 3 way RPS system, then you can add options onto it and expand it without much effort and still retain the balance that it brings.

As RPS system can easily be represented in a spread sheet, then making changes to unit stats can easily be handled automatically and this therefore eliminates these problems.

Doing it by hand would be hard, but then we are creating computer games and therefore I assume that one would have a computer handy :D .

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What about the Spotter, or the Tank? Neither of these roles exist to actually kill things by themselves; in the case of the former, it's job is simply to give Line of Sight to some powerful ranged unit (like perhaps, the Sniper) sitting miles away across the map. In the case of the Tank, it's job is simply to keep the enemy occupied while flimsier, but more damaging units can get on with the business of killing stuff undistracted. They're both support units that can make a big difference to the effectiveness of your army, yet neither of them specifically need to 'beat' anything at all.

Well the Tank unit would likely be good against the Spotter unit as the spotter unit as you stated is weak. So the Tank beats the spotter.

Now if the Sniper can kill the spotter, then the Spotter is in trouble as it is beaten by the Sniper. So this means that Spotters, although useful are not necessarily a good choice. However, as RPS is about choices (and series of choices) then a Sniper and a Spotter is the Strategic choice that is represented by a single node on an RPS diagram.

It would be better to model the Spotter, not as a Unit, but as an Upgrade for the Sniper (although one that can be removed).

Also RPS is about interactions between units. If a unit can only be acted on, then there is no interaction. A Spotter by its self can act on a Sniper (the sniper range is too great) so at best the Sniper beats the Spotter, but as the Spotter can act on the Sniper, it is not really part of the RPS diagram.

This is what I was talking about why you are using the RPS analysis incorrectly. You are trying to use it to analyse all choices, even ones that don't have interactions, but as RPS is a model of interactions, if you try to use it to model non interactions, then it will not work.

It would be a bit like trying to use the Role analysis method to analyse something that does not ahve a role. It wouldn't work.

For example: In Starcraft each unit displays a little animation depending on its unit type. Why unit role dose this animation window have compared to other units?

The whole question is pointless as the window does not have a unit role. Just as if there is something that does not interact, then trying to model it with interactions is equally pointless.

Don't use a Screwdriver like a Hammer.

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Except it doesn't tell us much about balance either, unless our RPS system is boringly symmetrical.

Nope.

RPS systems don't have to be symmetrical. I gave one example earlier so let me repeat it again for you:

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A beats B, C and D
B beats C and E
C beats D and E
D beats B and E
E beats A


This is not symmetrical and yet it is still an RPS system.

That's that criticism disproved.

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As soon as you get into more complex mechanics and start fiddling with DPS figures, cooldown rates and unit costs, build times etc. RPS becomes completely useless for balance, and you really need to start playtesting.


With RPS systems, you don't only just have the hard counters. You can also factor in costs as well.

Role analysis does not allow you to factor in cost and strengths for balancing. Therefore RPS is superior to Role analysis here.

Instead of just A beat B beat C, you can also use a chart like this:


A | B | C
A| 0 | 1 |-1
B|-1 | 0 | 1
C| 1 |-1 | 0


As you can see this chart describes the RPS system but it has hard counters.

Now what if you change the chart like this:


A | B | C
A| 0 | 6 |-3
B|-6 | 0 | 6
C| 3 |-6 | 0


This is still an RPS, but now we can see that it is no longer as simple as before. Using a bit of maths, we can work out that the relative unit strengths would result in both A and C being used twice as often as B.

This can easily be calculated in a spread sheet and this makes using this kind of analysis very convenient. It in fact explicitly tells us what the balance will be.

That is another concern disputed.

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It's basically strong vs. high tier (high cost, low number) units, and weak vs. low tier (low cost, high numbers) units. It's also strong vs. ranged and weak vs. melee.

Actually it look remarkable like RPS. From this I would say it is part of either a symmetrical 5 way system, or part of a larger asymmetrical system.

So

Sniper beats High cost/low number units and ranged units but is beaten by low cost high numbers or melee.

or

A beats C
B beats C
C beats D and E

It is a section out of an RPS. And so this doe snot actually make a good argument against RPS analysis.

The High Cost Low Number and the Low Cost High Number could even be removed from the specify unit analysis as these are specifying larger strategies. Either Hero (High cost low number) or Swarm (low cost high number) strategies as you could always be using Low Cost units in low numbers (Spotters?).

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