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Micromanagement - Fun or Just Work?

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I want to see what peoples opinions on Micromanagment are. Personally I think too many games go way too far with micromangment. I didn''t like Black and White, mainly because I got so tired of tearing trees out of the ground (why can''t I grab more than one - I''m supposed to be a god!) Civilization 2 is another example. If you have a lot of cities and units near the end of the game the micromanagment becomes incredible. MOO2 - same deal, except worse. I know some people love micromanagment - but do you?

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I don''t think micromanagement is ever fun exactly, but it is a skill you sometimes need to be able to do well. Eg: just kicking a ball isn''t exactly fun, but you need to be good at it if you want to be any good at football.

I think that this is where B&W fell down. The actual underlying game wasn''t compelling enough to make learning and perfecting the micromanagement worthwhile. Whereas in Civ, I think the game was more compelling, so you put up with the micromanagement.

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I can honestly say I''ve played many games that would''ve been better with less micromanagment. For example MOO2, was in some ways better than MOO1, but I HATED having to build things on planets. I''m a leader of a multi-planet spanning empire - what do I care about building a farm on Zubedubu 4.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
There''s a fine line there. Games either have too much micromanagement, or they don''t offer enough control over your units, and the AI is so lacking that you get frustrated by their stupidity.

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A nice feature (not sure whether it''s been implemented or not) would be to have AI controlled ''lieutenants'' or ''land lords'' (depending on if you''re talking about fighting or building) that could take acare of certain things for you once you had more than X number of units under your control.

For example, if I have an army of 50 I can manage their control myself. But if I have 5 separate colonies or towns and 200 or 300 military units fighting in battles across a huge map, how the hell can I be expected to manage them all? At a certain point I should be able to assign veteran soldiers to manage their own body of troops. I could give their leaders a more general order, such as ''take that town'' or ''hold that hill against the enemy'' and they can, with cleverness, manage the rest. I could of course take over at any time.

Now that would be handy.

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I remember reading an interview with Sid Meiers not that long ago and he said that a developer had to make sure that the computer didn''t have all the fun. What he meant was that a computer shouldn''t be making all the decisions, the player should. Well I must say that a lot of games should let the computer have more fun.

By the way, Sid is no where near the worst offender of micromanagment. I would give that title to Peter Molyneux.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The problem with having AI generals is that they will suck compared to what you can do, so you will feel compelled to do it for them.

I would read up on MOO3. Apparently the way it works is that each turn you have a limited number of action points you can spend doing stuff in your empire. So you might spend 2 points building a farm, 2 points designing a ship, and 3 points fighting a battle and then that''s it, you have to leave the rest of the stuff to the computer.

That sound interesting because now you not only have to worry about the proper decision but also whether it is worth it to make that decision at all. It could also be cool if different generals had very different personalities, like one was good at fighting and poor at agriculture, or one tended to spend a lot on production...it could also be very frustrating the AI was poor though, that is the big danger, people pulling their hair out over the idiotic actions of their generals. I''ve never seen a game where AI delegates acted at all intelligently...

As far a micro-management in general, I would say that for many games if you take it out there isn''t much of a game left.

JM

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
The problem with having AI generals is that they will suck compared to what you can do, so you will feel compelled to do it for them.

here''s an idea though:
as you micromanaged battles that involved these ''lieutenants'' (at an earlier stage, when they have yet to be promoted to general), they can learn how well you fight.
it can either be complex AI that you can teach strategies to, or it can just store statistics about how you handle certain situations (i.e. you always seem to win battles against a certain other country, even when outnumbered; now the generals will be more successful, and you don''t have to worry about micromanaging battles that you know you will win anyways).
then, you release them as generals with their own armies. you give them general commands (hold this territory, send a message if you are vastly outnumbered, take over the town, et cetera)...

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

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