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sunandshadow

Fog of War?

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Just taking a general survey of people's feelings about fog of war. Personally I dislike it, I like exploring an RTS map once but I find it very annoying to have my work undone. It's also visually annoying to see the fog fluttering around at the edge of my base whenever a peon walks by. I'm trying to find out how much of a minority opinion mine is. If something like 80% or more of RTS players liked fog of war I'd have to bow to that.

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Well the main point of fog of war is obscuring your opponents movements. So in order to see where their troops are moving you need to keep a unit/spell/whatever in place to hold the fog at bay. The fog opens up tons of tactics whereas its removal would eliminate a lot from the game: no more surprise attacks, you can't lure your opponent with a small probe attack back in to your giant army, etc. There are whole "libraries" of strategies that rely on the imperfect information that RTS games provide: if you want to know the state of the map you need to invest resources in to units that reveal the fog.

Usually fog stays at bay for the terrain, so once you reveal the terrain you can always see that terrain. It just closes in over user-owned entities

StarCraft2 has an interesting new feature in the MP maps where there are capturable radar towers scattered throughout the maps. Basically the last team to touch one owns it and the fog is permanently revealed in that area until another team captures it.

-me

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I think it is typically implemented so that terrain, once revealed, is left revealed, but enemy units in terrain that is not currently in your line-of-sight is not. Terrain not in your line-of-sight is typically represented somewhat shaded to remind you that it may hold enemy troops in hiding.

I'm sure you can design the gameplay in such a way that enemy troops not in line-of-sight but in previously explored terrain are visible but I don't really see a benefit in this.

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RTS Fog of War has 3 states. In C&C parlance:

Revealed: you can see everything that's happening
Fogged: you can see terrain but not player owned things (units/structures)
Shrouded: you see nothing, just blackness

-me

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Quote:
Original post by Palidine
So in order to see where their troops are moving you need to keep a unit/spell/whatever in place to hold the fog at bay.

That's exactly the part I find utterly annoying. I do not want to spend thought, time, and resources on something as basic as being able to see the battlefield. I've got enough to worry about managing units, structures, and resources and trying to find time to glance at what my opponent is doing.

Quote:
StarCraft2 has an interesting new feature in the MP maps where there are capturable radar towers scattered throughout the maps. Basically the last team to touch one owns it and the fog is permanently revealed in that area until another team captures it.

I'd go for a single fog generator in the middle of the board that players could choose to destroy, defend, or ignore. It would be repetitive to have to destroy it every battle, but better than not being able to get rid of that damn fog. But to people who like fog of war that probably misses the point.

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Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
That's exactly the part I find utterly annoying. I do not want to spend thought, time, and resources on something as basic as being able to see the battlefield. I've got enough to worry about managing units, structures, and resources and trying to find time to glance at what my opponent is doing.


Fighting the intelligence war can be as much fun - if not more so - than the actual battles between forces. Supcom had lots of cool intelligence related features; radar, sonar, cloaking devices, stealth generators, radar jammers etc. Sneak attacks were a very real possibility. This is an area of RTS gameplay I would like to see expanded even further, rather than removed completely.

Remove fog and you lose covert operations completely. You'll also lose out on tactical subtleties, e.g the use of spotters for artillery.


Quote:
Original post by Palidine
Revealed: you can see everything that's happening
Fogged: you can see terrain but not player owned things (units/structures)
Shrouded: you see nothing, just blackness


Personally, I detest 'shroud', it adds very little to the game, and it's really just an annoyance that unfairly disadvantages players who are unfamiliar with a given map.

Fog on the other hand, is absolutely fine, and IMHO absolutely essential for good multiplayer gameplay. Single player, not so much.

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One of the less obvious benefits of fog of war is to help disguise the deficiencies of the artificial intelligence and level the playing field against a human opponent. Since the AI won't be capable of any high level strategies it hinders the human more than the AI while still being fair and rewards the player for strategies that deal with this hindrance. See xcom for a perfect example of this.

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Quote:
Original post by Sandman
Remove fog and you lose covert operations completely. You'll also lose out on tactical subtleties, e.g the use of spotters for artillery.

You're removing the "stratego" element, but you may be adding a bit of the "chess" element. And maybe the "fog" element could be reintroduced somewhat in that the units themselves may be wolves in sheep clothing. Think Warhammer, where a unit of goblins may contain some hidden super fighters within its ranks, only to be revealed when the enemy is too close to react. With a completely revealed map, feints may also become more prominent (even if less effective).

It just seems that every element you'd introduce in the absence of fog could just as well be introduced with fog present.

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Quote:
Original post by Palidine
StarCraft2 has an interesting new feature in the MP maps where there are capturable radar towers scattered throughout the maps. Basically the last team to touch one owns it and the fog is permanently revealed in that area until another team captures it.


I don't have the beta, but it looks to me like you only keep control of the tower so long as you have a unit stationed on it.

Quote:
Original post by Sandman
Personally, I detest 'shroud', it adds very little to the game, and it's really just an annoyance that unfairly disadvantages players who are unfamiliar with a given map.

Fog on the other hand, is absolutely fine, and IMHO absolutely essential for good multiplayer gameplay. Single player, not so much.


I agree wholeheartedly. Particularly in futuristic games where it is unrealistic that the general layout of the terrain is unknown, but even in medieval and other setups, this just gives too much reward to memorizing the map layout versus actual startegy. However, in single-player campaigns this can be acceptable.

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Obviously fog of war isn't required, the best strategy game ever, Chess, doesn't have it. However, it is a tool that opens up lots of strategic options such as the surprise attack and an intelligence war.

Obviously, if you are not interested in these, then yeah, it is just a pain, but there are plenty of games that don't have it, like Dawn of War 2. But if you take something like Civilization, that would loose a lot with out the fog of war because defence would be come too easy.

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