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hpdvs2

What makes an RTS great?

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hpdvs2    1017

[quote name='Stroppy Katamari' timestamp='1357067170' post='5016442']
Avoid unit/upgrade complexity. It just makes the game more of a boring Excel spreadsheet, and forces a serious player to memorize a ton of stuff. Instead have strongly different units. Make all decisions count.
[/quote]

 

Agreed.  I don't want this to be a mathematics battle.  Tactics often have to do with numbers, but so much more, such as angles, multiple squads, timed strikes, team work, surprise, etc...

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Also, what I don't like about RTS games is the deathballs and AOE effect. Many a times, I see that the deathball system makes game dull. In Starcraft II, you build up a large army for 10-30 minutes in which the game can twist greatly to the side of one player in a matter of 10 seconds. Psionic Storms, Hunter Seeker Missle, Fungal Growth and Colloseus can wipe out large armies extremely quickly. In comparison, I prefer the Warcraft III style of game play. The fighting takes a rather long time which helps to express a player's combat skill better. 

Thats a good point  In starcraft, you go through units like their swiss cheese.  Increasing the life and decreasing the damage might work well to increase strategies. 


It's the opposite. Individual fights being over in a flash favor the strategically stronger player who
- has seen through the opponent's strategy and unit movements ahead of time
- has successfully concealed their own plans and/or deceived the opponent when there is something to gain from it
- has made good choices in army composition, production capacity, upgrades, etc. in relation to their own strategy and their idea of opponent's strategy
- has correctly judged the outcome of a potential engagement before it happens, and avoided as many unfavorable ones as possible
- has maximized their positional and timing advantages for the fight before it happens

High life and low damage causes pretty much all of those to count less. It favors the player with the ability to make simple optimization decisions as fast as possible, and has the mechanical execution ability to carry them out (whether those actions are going to micro or macro). Suppose you are completely terrible at strategy, and have a habit of getting outplayed positionally and walking your army into an ambush. If you only lose 10% of the strength of your army under fire before you have microed it to regroup on a neutral footing, you can pretty much ignore positioning and still win most fights as long as you have a slight efficiency advantage from mechanical micromanagement during battles.

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Unduli    2498

Just for the records, as a control-freak, I hate the lack of ability of micromanage all at once in RTS games.

 

AI can handle a coordinated attack from three fronts but I can't, AI can control all economic activities perfectly but I can't ...

 

This simply annoys me.

 

And I don't think RTS is a good genre unless you are a 'Korean robot' or don't mind micromanagement. RTS simply has to lack in details.

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aattss3    387

Perhaps you could make it so that units are more expensive but last longer, encouraging players to retreat back to base to heal and whatnot?

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hpdvs2    1017

[quote name='Unduli' timestamp='1357604071' post='5018817']
AI can handle a coordinated attack from three fronts but I can't, AI can control all economic activities perfectly but I can't ...
 
This simply annoys me.
[/quote]

 

I agree.   AI can 'click' 20 units, and tell them 20 different commands.  while we click 20 units and issue one command.  What if we had more commands, to control.  Perhaps our own custom attack plans, where a squad separates, and flanks, or runs in fires, and runs off.  then as the chase begins, another set of characters from the squad opens fire, and then runs a different angle, and they tag team.  

 

I also like premeditated bonuses.  For instance, if you plan to shoot then run, your player should have a brief sprint advantage on the run, because they would have prepared themselves for it.  

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hpdvs2    1017

[quote name='aattss' timestamp='1357612732' post='5018866']
Perhaps you could make it so that units are more expensive but last longer, encouraging players to retreat back to base to heal and whatnot?
[/quote]

 

I like this.  Its been said, by me and others, but I think you put it most eloquently here.  And gives me a good perspective towards it.  

 

In starcraft, you don't care if your "squad" wins or loses.  Lives are just another number.  But what if they weren't so cheap.  What if it wasn't a good tactic to send 20 soldiers into a heavily armed base.

 

I like the idea that base defense is stronger.  I like the idea that squad characters cost more, and you want to keep them alive.  I especially like the idea of Veteran/Experienced troops handling better, so you want them around even more.  Heck, even that they take initiative and train them selves in things when not in use.  Like medical, or special weapons.  Because they themselves want to do better, and have a better chance of survival.  Self enhancing characters?  Especially, that these characters are random, particularly having higher chances the longer life and actions a character has.  These characters may actually boost moral of the teams they are in.  

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AoS    935

Well games like Majesty have heroes that buy new items and pay to learn new skills as well as leveling up from exp.

 

Other games are focusing on leveling of units over time. Warlords Battlecry 3 even has units gain exp that aren't hero units.

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MatthewMorigeau    1672

Something I'd like to see in RTS is more vertical game play. I realize visibility limitations occur for the average RTS but there is also many well established systems for character selection and unit following now that jumping to a platoon of soldiers on the 312 floor of a building that is being cleared should not only be possible but I should have played it by now. A holographic display of units inside structures, etc would help to keep the player immersed in the look of the game the same way that Company of Heroes sound design uses a static filled radio call from units off screen to keep the player immersed in the sound. Vertical game play could carry over to more creative species like Zerg, enabling units to wall crawl and hide on the ceiling and in vents properly (not burrowing through steel plating). Mage's could control tall spires to summon greater titans and bring down more terrible wrath on the hordes below. Great apes could climb buildings eating people to keep his strength up.

 

In any case, I think you get the idea.

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MatthewMorigeau    1672

I also like the idea of squad building. I've brought this up before but I'm going to try and reword it. If you are going to send a squad of 20 soldiers head long into death, any survivors should be worth more then the average soldier. And by stacking a new group of 20 soldiers on that surviving veteran, that 20 soldiers should be more effective and easier to issue commands to like issuing a single macro command along with a supporting kite skill command to the veteran instead of micro control over the 20 units to achieve a successful kite tactic against the enemy. I like building and customizing my units (even one at a time) but I hate losing them because I couldn't keep track of them or because they "weren't as important". Sometimes you need to crack a few eggs but the idea of these games is that you should be able to achieve a level of play where you don't have to. That's what superior strategy is.

 

This could go further as well, stacking multiple veteran controlled squads onto single platoon leader and multiple platoon leaders onto an outfit commander and issuing a single assault command to the outfit commander then jumping down the ranks to issue skill commands to platoon leaders, squad leaders and soldiers alike to achieve the advantage. Then dropping a nuke on the whole mess because I still failed, that's what superior strategy is ;D

Edited by Mratthew

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ShiftyCake    729

Strategic RTS. Everyone's viewpoints all bottle down to this simple label I slapped on.

A Real Time Shooter,

that requires strategy in order to succeed.

Or, in other words, we're going to fuck you up really fast and really hard while making you think about what you are doing. Strategy RTS's suck. They really really do.

On the other hand, Strategic Lapse RTS. Which I just made it.

It is basically the same thing, yet between fights you are given a brief time of "lapse" as such where you are free to do what you wish. Or, in other words, you are given time to prepare and execute a battle plan. Now THIS is where things get interesting.

 

Take, for example, CoD: Black Ops 2 approach to side missions in their campaign. They have put you as a commander of a force that has to hold off waves of attackers, and they allow you to switch from first-person view (to command a unit or units yourself) and birds-eye view (to command your units to do something, with full view of the entire field). Let's take this, and improvise it a little to fit in with our "time-lapse battle strategy" idea.

 

Say, you have 120 seconds to organize whatever you have on the battlefield before you are put into permanent first-person as your character. This means you could, say, buy c4 and place it at certain choke-points you will lure the enemy in, etc.

 

Then comes the idea of enviromental change, as some people have suggested. Such things as wind being affected will be downright annoying, but if we scrap the idea of having "environmental change" and replace it with "player-created environmental change" we're getting somewhere. That is to say, the environment only changes if the player wishes to do so. Say, the player wants to open up a wall in order to slip by, he can do this by blowing it up with c4. Or maybe he has set up a trap that blows up a buildings structural grounding, causing it to collapse on enemy's approaching him, maybe enable you to "kick" which causes you to hit debris into enemy's distracting them or dust or whatever, etc.

 

"The insert underpowered class here class is overpowered". This is heard too much in games, why? Because people do not allow the players themselves to choose their differentiation's  rather they create pre-made classes, slap labels on them and pretend they're giving players a "true" choice of how to play. Scrap this, no-one really wants classes. Or rather, no-one wants to be limited by their classes. So choose either having classes being able to use whatever they wish, with slightly different stats, or just have one goddamn class who can be whatever kind of bad-ass he wants to be.

 

"I'm level 20 and just unlocked an overpowered weapon, GG". This is true too many times, players simply have to attain a certain level to unlock something so stupidly overpowered you just sit there thinking WHY. Instead of rewarding players with an overpowered gun that makes them invincible for sitting there for 20 games going afk, reward players in a way that does not affect gameplay. Say you play as a thief every game, you didn't unlock an overpowered weapon for it. Rather, you get a special attire for your thief class that says "yeah, Imma thieving all over". And then, say, your a fucking bad-ass who tips hats to snipers all day and assassinate them. You get an attire that says "I'm a bad-ass snipers, prepare to cower in corners".

 

PEOPLE SEE WITH THEIR EYES. Games just cannot understand this concept, players do not see with their brains but rather with their eyes. Rewarding a player for killing 100 people with a title is like saying "we put zero effort into making your time worthwhile". Rewarding them, on the other hand, with some bad-ass attire is like saying "bitch, we know how things roll".

Let's look at an example, League of Legends. Entirely free game. ENTIRELY FREE. it doesn't not have a shop where you buy a sword that utterly destroy everyone. ever. No, the only thing that you must pay money for is skins. And you know what? EVERYONE BUYS THESE SKINS. BECAUSE THEY SEE WITH THEIR EYES. yet basically zero companies do this, instead they slap in an item shop to buy overpowered in-game swords instead. Yeah, they have clothes for sale, but they're not even worth calling clothes. More like pieces of shit slapped with a clothing label.

 

ohk ohk, that's enough. Not only have I started digressing, I'm getting into a topic that annoys me. Not a good thing when discussing such things. I believe I'll let it be here, and you can see whatever I spewed out of my mouth. Because, really, I have no clue what I just said.

Also, just noticed there were three pages. Only speed-read the first one. So yeah.

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hpdvs2    1017
Strategic RTS. Everyone's viewpoints all bottle down to this simple label I slapped on.
A Real Time Shooter,

 

 

RTS means Real Time Strategy.   An FPS, First person shooter, is always real time.  Real Time was added to Strategy when it was no longer turn based because of computers.

 

Star Craft is an example of this.

Edited by hpdvs2

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MatthewMorigeau    1672

You probably shouldn't talk for everyone Shiftycakes, but you do make a strong point for the shortcomings of past RTS, its time to show off the worth of the individual surviving unit in an RTS. Black Ops 2 took RTS elements and used them in a FPS (fairly successfully from how I hear it) but this couldn't have happened without standing on the shoulders of successful RTS games.

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AoS    935

One of the issues with advancing the powers of units is that it may be hard to tell how good a unit is. Total War games and WarlordsBattleCry3 do have regular units gaining stat bonuses, and WBC3 has RPG style hero units with health and morale and spells and such getting better.

 

I do have a plan in place for my engine to make one of my 8 planned games using extensive veteran bonuses. This applies to generals mainly and then mages and heroes. Generals get new formations or order or options to modify the AI plus stat bonuses to units under their command and so forth. I only have some of the work done and I always get distracted by engine upgrades or other games, but in a year or two I'll get enough slow growth to release it.

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MatthewMorigeau    1672

(babbling edit) Veterans just need to be visually noticeably different, new units don't need to look weak, just basic, while veterans would appear customized and clearly able to achieve specific skills (like the archetypal heroes of League of Legends). But most importantly they should have basic units able to be linked to them and instead of giving micro tactical commands to a squad worth of basic soldiers the player can link basic soldiers to a veteran and give a macro tactical objectives to a veteran soldier and be pretty sure it will be achieved given the veterans ability to survive.

 

The player still needs to achieve the veteran soldiers by playing the same micro command game first, it just means they are rewarded with a veteran for keeping at least one unit alive at the end of a fight.

 

The more of these veteran units a player can collect the more rewarded they are with less need to focus on micro (although they still can use it) but the ability to focus on higher level strategy by stacking veteran units in proper military hierarchy, rewarded with larger army sizes and the excitement of the natural escalation of combat unresolved if it hasn't been resolved yet.

Edited by Mratthew

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hpdvs2    1017
One of the issues with advancing the powers of units is that it may be hard to tell how good a unit is.

 

indeed, and that gives me a thought, involving this response as well...

 

When it comes to military structure, its easy to spot the units that are "stronger" they have a few more bars on the uniform and that's usually the guy dumb enough to be leading the mess onto the field. The only other way to spot the skilled soldier on the battlefield is to be probing the same flank as he is, scouting for targets of opportunity. That's how you spot real combat veterans. But to spot the real threat, look for the guy with the map. New soldiers figit, veterans are calm, even under fire. New soldiers have new uniforms, veterans know the dirt as intimately they know their enemy. New soldiers miss step, you don't survive the battlefield by stepping in the wrong place at the wrong time. New soldiers miss the mark, you don't survive long when you attack an enemy that hits the mark better then you. This is how you differentiate a veteran.

 

 

So the general idea is that 1, it is hard to understand the skill level of a squad, if upgrades can happen without visual cues.  and 2, a method is brought up about making a squad appear more sloppy/less cohesive.  Honestly, I think the less cohesive part certainly should be part of the visual queues, but I have an idea that can bring it out further. 

 

Its normal in RTS's, to be able to mouse over for details on enemies, or select them for additional details.  In Dark Reign, enemy troops (and yours) even had health bars over their heads.  But perhaps their general damage can also be listed.  As a Color bar.  Perhaps there can be a valid side bar with scrolling data about what is visible on the screen.  giving constant updates about ONLY what you can see, with warnings about areas out of your visibility with more intensity.  (resolutions are better these days)

 - what if this information side bar delivered threat information about visible forces.  based on what is known.  perhaps you don't really know all he details about an enemy force.  Once you see them in action, it becomes more obvious about what is available.  An AI determines which pieces of information are most valuable to you at the time, and is constantly updated with newly gained knowledge about the enemy troops and force movement.  

 

Of course, then you can pay for more information, by 

1) hiring spies to bring back information.

2) training troops to spot hints about enemy capabilities.

3) installing look out towers and upgrading detection capabilities.

4) capturing enemies, to learn more about general troop/squad setups at the time of the capture.

 

Most games seem to rely on visual appearance of the character to relay information, and/or upon selection, a full readout of capabilities.  I.e. no surprises.  if both sides can see the same unit, both sides know the same things about it, with the exception of its goals.  But in this, perhaps you only know the generic information, but you have to study their capabilities to learn about them.  This game could make information gathering a very important portion of the game.  Camouflaging a caravan doesn't make them invisible while moving cross country, but it does hide the difference between a group of troops being transported, and a Rocket Battery system.  In most games, you would know exactly what was approaching the instant you can see it.  

 

I think it would be good for this information side bar to include known details, and hint at possibilities.  For instance, a jeep approaches, but we don't know what its payload is.      Another thing might be a captured spy.  if it is done in a way where the original player doesn't know it was captured, it can be replaced, with one that gives only information the apposing players deems valuable.  Once information is found faulty, the spy in question would be caught, so what might happen, is that upon returning, the player is given some troop information about the apposing side.  some is correct, particularly about the first wave of weaker foot soldiers.  That way the information is trusted.  But then the second wave includes carrier vehicles, half with powerful rockets, and half carrying more cheap troops.  This wave the information was reversed.  So when the defending player (depending on spy info) sees the approaching forces, they believe the rockets are in one flank, and focus their defenses there.  But as soon as that information becomes faulty (first rocket fire) the spy is terminated, and the information updates.  Also, the defending player's AI bar informs them of the rouse.

 

 

I know a lot of games show these interesting graphics, with shifting information that serves no purpose, accept to look like its more cool information, despite it not being anything but a looping animation.  This could be a chance to start turning more of that, into real information.

Edited by hpdvs2

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Talroth    3247


Also, what I don't like about RTS games is the deathballs and AOE effect. Many a times, I see that the deathball system makes game dull. In Starcraft II, you build up a large army for 10-30 minutes in which the game can twist greatly to the side of one player in a matter of 10 seconds. Psionic Storms, Hunter Seeker Missle, Fungal Growth and Colloseus can wipe out large armies extremely quickly. In comparison, I prefer the Warcraft III style of game play. The fighting takes a rather long time which helps to express a player's combat skill better. 

Thats a good point  In starcraft, you go through units like their swiss cheese.  Increasing the life and decreasing the damage might work well to increase strategies. 
 


It's the opposite. Individual fights being over in a flash favor the strategically stronger player who
- has seen through the opponent's strategy and unit movements ahead of time
- has successfully concealed their own plans and/or deceived the opponent when there is something to gain from it
- has made good choices in army composition, production capacity, upgrades, etc. in relation to their own strategy and their idea of opponent's strategy
- has correctly judged the outcome of a potential engagement before it happens, and avoided as many unfavorable ones as possible
- has maximized their positional and timing advantages for the fight before it happens

High life and low damage causes pretty much all of those to count less. It favors the player with the ability to make simple optimization decisions as fast as possible, and has the mechanical execution ability to carry them out (whether those actions are going to micro or macro). Suppose you are completely terrible at strategy, and have a habit of getting outplayed positionally and walking your army into an ambush. If you only lose 10% of the strength of your army under fire before you have microed it to regroup on a neutral footing, you can pretty much ignore positioning and still win most fights as long as you have a slight efficiency advantage from mechanical micromanagement during battles.
 



I'm going to have to disagree strongly that long living (that extend engagement time) negatively impact any of those points.

whether an action is over in 1 second or 1 minute doesn't change any of those things. Having the right assets in the correct position of the map at the right time is still king. If anything long engagement times forces many of those issues to be that much more important as compared to over in a flash combat.

Having the right elements in the right positions at the correct time is still important. Being able to move a squad of riflemen into a part of the map and know that they're not going to simply disappear the second the first 'counter' unit happens to randomly wander by means they become an important aspect of the battlefield, and that unit has to actually be considered. A long lasting unit won't be annihilated simply by random chance.

You sill have to make choices and judge a battle before, during, and after it has happened. That one squad of riflemen holding up in part of the map matters, and you have to decide how to handle it. Why is it there? What is it doing? Holding ground, or preparing to advance? By attacking it with a large counter force are you moving other elements out of place for you opponent to exploit? If you ignore it or only lightly engage them is it going to remain on the map to be used against you later?

Elements change, but those points you listed are all still equally valid.

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hpdvs2    1017

[quote name='Luckless' timestamp='1357791676' post='5019757']
Having the right assets in the correct position of the map at the right time is still king. If anything long engagement times forces many of those issues to be that much more important as compared to over in a flash combat.
[/quote]

 

Indeed.  And actually, It just occurred to me, how dumb Star Craft is.  Why is it that units destroy each other so quickly?  Because nobody takes cover.

 

I like the idea that if your units are not sheltered, bunkered down, or positioned well, then they should be far more susceptible to damage.  I.e.  Soldier's moving in on an area are far more easy to injure than soldiers waiting in fox holes.

Ruined buildings could provide great cover.  trees, ditches.  This would be a strong reason why bases would become easier to defend than attack.  Also, someone running a base could investigate the surrounding areas, and make sure things are setup strategically so that from the defense points at least a quarter mile out, there are no good cover spots.  forcing approaching units to attack in the open.  Then, backing into natural defenses, producing semi circles with the rest where each circle is again another stage of good bunkering for the inner circle, and poor to none for the outer.

 

Ways to do that would include Explosive charges set in buildings at construction.  they can be set in different ways.  1) desimates, leaving nothing but flat area.  This would be the inner side of a ring.  and 2) crumbles, provides excellent cover.  Not only does this protect from building capture, but the ruins become valuable staging points for military, where the outer part of every ring has bunkering, and the inner part of every ring has none.

 

Also, setting charges anywhere sounds like a good idea.  That you can set off on request only.  Streets, etc...  Again with different levels of presets.  1, destroy street alone (removes speed bonus), 2, create obstruction (Designed to block up the path), 3, Area damage(desimates the road and damages everything with in x radius)  Just because a force takes the city, doesn't mean they get to keep it, and abandoned bases might just be decoys.

 

Then another feature is cheaper construction of buildings that don't do anything, but look like something on the outside.  Make a fake base, guard lightly and rig the whole thing to blow.

 

Now this feels more like strategy and tactics.  Of course the enemy should have ways of detecting/dismantling this stuff, but not too easily, for instance a skill that increases the chances of spotting charges, and another skill at improving their concealment.

 

anyway, thanks for the excellent tangent.

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Individual fights being over in a flash favor the strategically stronger player who
- has seen through the opponent's strategy and unit movements ahead of time
- has successfully concealed their own plans and/or deceived the opponent when there is something to gain from it
- has made good choices in army composition, production capacity, upgrades, etc. in relation to their own strategy and their idea of opponent's strategy
- has correctly judged the outcome of a potential engagement before it happens, and avoided as many unfavorable ones as possible
- has maximized their positional and timing advantages for the fight before it happens

High life and low damage causes pretty much all of those to count less. It favors the player with the ability to make simple optimization decisions as fast as possible, and has the mechanical execution ability to carry them out (whether those actions are going to micro or macro). Suppose you are completely terrible at strategy, and have a habit of getting outplayed positionally and walking your army into an ambush. If you only lose 10% of the strength of your army under fire before you have microed it to regroup on a neutral footing, you can pretty much ignore positioning and still win most fights as long as you have a slight efficiency advantage from mechanical micromanagement during battles.

I'm going to have to disagree strongly that long living (that extend engagement time) negatively impact any of those points.

whether an action is over in 1 second or 1 minute doesn't change any of those things. Having the right assets in the correct position of the map at the right time is still king. If anything long engagement times forces many of those issues to be that much more important as compared to over in a flash combat.
If the engagement is over in one second, then there's no time for the player's (generally non-strategic) micromanagement ability to affect the outcome, and the result is only dependent on those pre-fight factors which I'd call strategic in nature (although execution barriers may be involved with accomplishing some of them).
Having the right elements in the right positions at the correct time is still important. Being able to move a squad of riflemen into a part of the map and know that they're not going to simply disappear the second the first 'counter' unit happens to randomly wander by means they become an important aspect of the battlefield, and that unit has to actually be considered. A long lasting unit won't be annihilated simply by random chance.
A "counter unit" does not randomly wander anywhere; it has been sent by the other player for whatever reason. Depending on the game, various strategic skills can be involved in producing the outcome. Did the players scout properly? How were the players' decisions to send the riflemen, and to send the "counter unit", informed by the players' understanding of the game's probability space in general, and their ability to read the specific opponent? In the end, there's always some randomness of outcome in a game of hidden information (= practically all RTS games) even with mechanics being fully deterministic, but there may be surprisingly little of actual randomness left if you consider and eliminate all other factors. Even then, the randomness tends to very much average out over the course of a match. Edited by Stroppy Katamari

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Sandman    2210

Personally, I don't care much for levelling units, particularly the rank and file. If the effect is small enough to ignore then it's pointless, and if it's not, then it just adds micro - I now have to care about where my vet units are and what they are doing. 

 

Supcom had a simple veterancy system, which - for the most part - was irrelevant. However, it did make quite a big difference to some of the better units in the game, particularly the Experimentals which could become dramatically harder to kill once they attain veterancy. This in turn meant that players adopted specific strategies such as withdrawing T1 and T2 hordes from the path of an incoming Experimental as they would do nothing but grant it easy veterancy.

 

The more effective mechanic for making me care about my losses was the reclaim system. If I send a load of units on an attack which fails entirely, then I've basically gifted their mass to the opponent. If I can withdraw it when I see it's not going to work, then I can limit the the economic windfall the opponent gets - even if my forces still get wiped out, it's better that they are wiped out outside his base where it's going to be harder for him to safely reclaim it.

 

Similarly, DoW(1) made me care about my units using simple economics and convenience. Reinforcing a squad is cheaper and vastly more convenient than building a new one from scratch. Therefore, in order to avoid paying the 'squad tax' you have to keep your squads alive - even if there is only one man left. You don't care so much about the individual men, but you do care about the squad as a whole. 

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Talroth    3247
[quote name="Stroppy Katamari" post="5020248" timestamp="1357898357"][quote name="Luckless" post="5019757" timestamp="1357791676"] [quote name="Stroppy Katamari" post="5018579"]Individual fights being over in a flash favor the strategically stronger player who - has seen through the opponent's strategy and unit movements ahead of time - has successfully concealed their own plans and/or deceived the opponent when there is something to gain from it - has made good choices in army composition, production capacity, upgrades, etc. in relation to their own strategy and their idea of opponent's strategy - has correctly judged the outcome of a potential engagement before it happens, and avoided as many unfavorable ones as possible - has maximized their positional and timing advantages for the fight before it happens High life and low damage causes pretty much all of those to count less. It favors the player with the ability to make simple optimization decisions as fast as possible, and has the mechanical execution ability to carry them out (whether those actions are going to micro or macro). Suppose you are completely terrible at strategy, and have a habit of getting outplayed positionally and walking your army into an ambush. If you only lose 10% of the strength of your army under fire before you have microed it to regroup on a neutral footing, you can pretty much ignore positioning and still win most fights as long as you have a slight efficiency advantage from mechanical micromanagement during battles.[/quote] I'm going to have to disagree strongly that long living (that extend engagement time) negatively impact any of those points. whether an action is over in 1 second or 1 minute doesn't change any of those things. Having the right assets in the correct position of the map at the right time is still king. If anything long engagement times forces many of those issues to be that much more important as compared to over in a flash combat.[/quote]If the engagement is over in one second, then there's no time for the player's (generally non-strategic) micromanagement ability to affect the outcome, and the result is [i]only[/i] dependent on those pre-fight factors which I'd call strategic in nature (although execution barriers may be involved with accomplishing some of them).[quote]Having the right elements in the right positions at the correct time is still important. Being able to move a squad of riflemen into a part of the map and know that they're not going to simply disappear the second the first 'counter' unit happens to randomly wander by means they become an important aspect of the battlefield, and that unit has to actually be considered. A long lasting unit won't be annihilated simply by random chance.[/quote]A "counter unit" does not randomly wander anywhere; it has been sent by the other player for whatever reason. Depending on the game, various strategic skills can be involved in producing the outcome. Did the players scout properly? How were the players' decisions to send the riflemen, and to send the "counter unit", informed by the players' understanding of the game's probability space in general, and their ability to read the specific opponent? In the end, there's always some randomness of outcome in a game of hidden information (= practically all RTS games) even with mechanics being fully deterministic, but there may be surprisingly little of actual randomness left if you consider and eliminate all other factors. Even then, the randomness tends to very much average out over the course of a match.[/quote] Even in the real world there are a lot of random encounters on a battlefield. My cousin drove a tank with the Canadian Armed Forces overseas, and her column had multiple hostile engagements during routine transit missions. Both sides knew the other was operating in the area, both sides knew what kind of forces the other had, but her mission wasn't seek and destroy light infantry units, her mission was to drive her tank from base A to base B so they could be used to support missions planned during the following week. However, those engagements still took time. They held up resources, and displaced others that were sent in to support, and were completely random. In Star Craft, I have often [i]Gambled[/i] on a troop of marines or zerglings run around the far edge of a battle while I used a larger main force to draw the other player's attention away from their base. Many times it worked wonderfully, and I caused far more damage than what I invested resource wise in the attack. Other times they met a horrible horrible death from a siege tank that was moved into position since I had last scouted shortly before. And I do remember one instance from a lan party years ago when we got together after to watch replays and comment on the games. Turned out that the units my attack force ran into were positioned there because they were diverted from the main battle to preserve them. My opponent had merely pulled them back from the main battle to a nearby spot that didn't seem active, and was waiting for his next wave of reinforcements to finish building before launching his next counter against the main. He admitted that with slightly different timing they would have been positioned more toward the top of the map, not the left side, and my force would have slipped by and hit his base. The engagement required no real thought from either of us, just [i]boom[/i] "oh, that's over and done with, and I don't have to think about it any more", and was completely random with no strategic thought behind it on his part. Now, if those troops had automatically taken cover, received minor damage, and became involved in a longer engagement, then both of us would have to put more strategic thought into the matter. Do we leave it as is? Pull an element from another part of the battle to tip/ensure the out come? Do we withdraw, having revealed information on force composition within an area of the map?

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Even in the real world there are a lot of random encounters on a battlefield. My cousin drove a tank with the Canadian Armed Forces overseas, and her column had multiple hostile engagements during routine transit missions. Both sides knew the other was operating in the area, both sides knew what kind of forces the other had, but her mission wasn't seek and destroy light infantry units, her mission was to drive her tank from base A to base B so they could be used to support missions planned during the following week.
So you somehow know the opposition was not there with intent to engage?
If they were, then your cousin's convoy not knowing where the enemy would hit doesn't make it random - that makes it an ambush.

Anyway, that is the real world. It has a lot of more randomness in it, and that randomness generally makes it a bad, uninspired strategy game if you want to think of it as that. We're only motivated to play and practice it because winning has real-world rewards. I should know - I'm a army lieutenant in reserve and tactical analysis work is kind of my specialty. Edited by Stroppy Katamari

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In Star Craft, I have often Gambled on a troop of marines or zerglings run around the far edge of a battle while I used a larger main force to draw the other player's attention away from their base. Many times it worked wonderfully, and I caused far more damage than what I invested resource wise in the attack. Other times they met a horrible horrible death from a siege tank that was moved into position since I had last scouted shortly before. And I do remember one instance from a lan party years ago when we got together after to watch replays and comment on the games. Turned out that the units my attack force ran into were positioned there because they were diverted from the main battle to preserve them. My opponent had merely pulled them back from the main battle to a nearby spot that didn't seem active, and was waiting for his next wave of reinforcements to finish building before launching his next counter against the main.

He admitted that with slightly different timing they would have been positioned more toward the top of the map, not the left side, and my force would have slipped by and hit his base. The engagement required no real thought from either of us, just boom "oh, that's over and done with, and I don't have to think about it any more", and was completely random with no strategic thought behind it on his part.
So there are situations where you send troops into an area blindly, there are enemy troops in position there, and your troops get owned. Or the opponent's troops get owned. The outcome of this kind of event indeed seems "random" at first. But suppose it was a monster like EffOrt or Flash playing. Would they have done something differently, seen something differently? Yes and yes - though what they would do and see, I have no idea. My point is: they probably would not "gamble" a lot. You should be careful about pointing at something and saying it "is random". Your previous actions largely determine what kind of "random" you will risk, what kind of "random" you will invite and what kind you decline entirely.
Now, if those troops had automatically taken cover, received minor damage, and became involved in a longer engagement, then both of us would have to put more strategic thought into the matter. Do we leave it as is? Pull an element from another part of the battle to tip/ensure the out come? Do we withdraw, having revealed information on force composition within an area of the map?
... or you could, for instance, have had the map sense *before* the event to be aware of the enemy troops there, or even just more cognizant of the possibility, and therefore spending some focus on the advancing ling hitsquad in case of trouble? More buried zerglings and overlords in better locations to scout the enemy movements? And so on.

One additional thing which makes things seem "random" is playing against weak opponents. You need a pretty tough opponent until they are consistent enough to be read. Weak-random opponents can do whatever at weird timings, but everything they do is weak. Good strategy for a better player going against them is to play a reliable plain style that survives against any weird stuff (even if somewhat inefficiently and inelegantly) and then grows into pure efficiency and delivers the killing blow, and not guessing about their plans. You can defeat yourself by reading too much into a weak opponent. Strategy really starts opening up when your opponents start having the consistency necessary for you to read them, and goes up a notch when they are starting to get the reading ability necessary to successfully fake them.

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Talroth    3247

Even in the real world there are a lot of random encounters on a battlefield. My cousin drove a tank with the Canadian Armed Forces overseas, and her column had multiple hostile engagements during routine transit missions. Both sides knew the other was operating in the area, both sides knew what kind of forces the other had, but her mission wasn't seek and destroy light infantry units, her mission was to drive her tank from base A to base B so they could be used to support missions planned during the following week.

So you somehow know the opposition was not there with intent to engage?
If they were, then your cousin's convoy not knowing where the enemy would hit doesn't make it random - that makes it an ambush.

Anyway, that is the real world. It has a lot of more randomness in it, and that randomness generally makes it a bad, uninspired strategy game if you want to think of it as that. We're only motivated to play and practice it because winning has real-world rewards. I should know - I'm a army lieutenant in reserve and tactical analysis work is kind of my specialty.
 



The opposition sure wasn't there with the intent to engage the entire force, and debriefing of captured survivors suggested they had engaged a target of opportunity when they saw the lead element of the column approach the village they were hiding in (A pair of APC/LAV type vehicles based on what my cousin had said.), and were unaware that 5 MBTs and nearly a dozen light armour vehicles with their supporting mechanized infantry were 5 minutes down the road. Needless to say it didn't go well for the attackers, but it wasn't over in a flash.

And nothing you have stated actually goes against what I've said about long engagements not mattering. You suggest that you should be able to 'read' the situation and think ahead of time. Well, guess what, you still have to read the situation from the past and present, and figure out what is going on in the future. The difference is that in one option things are over and done with and no longer matter, and in the other they remain a consideration for a longer period of time.

Also, the move in my example was a damn good gamble. The area was clear from the last scouting moments before, the units in question were seen heading for the main battle at the moment I began moving my surprise force. The time involved meant that they engaged my units at about the same time I expected them to arrive at the main battle, and they were accounted for up until that time. My opponent admitted his choice was arbitrary and random during our review, he had two equally secure places that he could divert the force to delay the next engagement which would allow him the time required to bring in more forces. He changed his strategy mid way through an engagement when they just happened to be out of my sight, adapted to the moment as he saw it, but he had no idea of the secondary force. My surprise force did not enter into his plan as I had been working hard earlier in the game to deny him as much access to information as I could manage, and either location he could have sent his extra troops to would have been equally valid for his plan.

Had I not split off that next wave of reinforcements on an attempt at a surprise attack and instead included them with my main force, then the next engagement would have been far more of a draw instead of a victory for him. Had he sent his extra units to the other location instead, my surprise force would have been enough to cripple one of his expansions and delay his economy. His victory in the next main engagement would have been rather pyrrhic in nature as I would have gotten the upper hand in resources.

And frankly you are being rather insulting by suggesting that either party involved were weak opponents. As far as I'm aware you know neither of them, you have not played against them, nor seen the match in question.


And I'm sorry, but all games are a gamble and calculated odds. If they weren't, if there wasn't some random element to them, then the game would open with players shaking hands and one congratulating the other on their clear and obvious victory before play begins.


You have not offered any evidence or logical argument that long engagement times decrease strategic value of game play. Everything that you've said still applies with long engagement times. If A troop gets involved in a fight I didn't want them to, then they're not engaged in the area I needed them, therefore I still need to know what is going on in the map and think about engagements Before they happen.

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hpdvs2    1017

[quote name='Sandman' timestamp='1357912224' post='5020303']
Personally, I don't care much for levelling units, particularly the rank and file. If the effect is small enough to ignore then it's pointless, and if it's not, then it just adds micro - I now have to care about where my vet units are and what they are doing. 
[/quote]

 

So perhaps a good concept on this would be that there are very little unit upgrades that you control, but the more experience troops get, the more they learn.  Perhaps it could be more that survivors learn to do more and get better weapons and such.  

 

[quote name='Sandman' timestamp='1357912224' post='5020303']

The more effective mechanic for making me care about my losses was the reclaim system. If I send a load of units on an attack which fails entirely, then I've basically gifted their mass to the opponent. If I can withdraw it when I see it's not going to work, then I can limit the the economic windfall the opponent gets - even if my forces still get wiped out, it's better that they are wiped out outside his base where it's going to be harder for him to safely reclaim it.
[/quote]

 

So somehow the vet status of a character stood out?  It sounds like something good, but I'm not quite sure how to represent that

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