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ysotuff

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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Guest Anonymous Poster
An easy way (not the best way) to get rid of this would be: You get some guys over to an area, then select them, press a button and they become computer controled allies and build the new town themselves (while you give them orders like: Gather, hold territory and so on)

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quote:
Original post by ysotuff
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.

I like that.

To me micromanagement is a double-edged blade. On one hand it gaves the player a lot of control over his assets, whatever they may be. On the other hand, it makes the player do more work and all of us lazy gamers whine over that. The thing to consider really is whether micromanagement enhances the gameplay.

Also think about whether micromanagement really goes away when you let the computer do things. Say you have an economy to watch over and have to build farms. Well building the farms is too much trouble - let the computer do it. So okay the computer does it, but then you''ll still have to track and manage the expenses taken by the computer to build the farms. So you see, even tho you are no longer responsible for building the farms, you still have to watch to make sure the computer doesn''t make you bankrupt by setting budgets and such. So does the micromanagement really truly go away?



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Actually, you may need to look at micromanagment in terms of batch commands. Rather than select a unit and then select an action, you may need to do it in reverse, select the action, and then select all units that will take this action. To use ysotuff''s example, rather than grabbing an individual tree and throwing it, a set of options that make it clear that you want to throw every second tree, but not the tree in the middle. This needs some finely planned UI, but it''s doable.

:: Inmate2993
:: William C. Bubel
"Please refrain from bothering Booster."

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I think there should he a few guidelines that developers should try and follow when they are considering micromanagement.

1. Is this fun?
2. You have to do it 40 times - is it still fun?
3. Is the task directly related to what the player''s responsibility in the game should be? - e.g. commander of star fleet assigning janitorial duty.)

4. Is there any option for not doing it, if a significant percentage of the players won''t find it enjoyable?

5. It''s easily manageable with x units, but is it manageable with x * 20 units?


That''s a start anyway.

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quote:
Original post by ysotuff
1. Is this fun?

This question is nearly impossible to answer comprehensively, as different people will consider different activities to be fun. Therefore, you should allow those who enjoy it to do more of it and those who don''t to delegate (or automate). You really should take a look at that link I posted earlier; it discusses this in full.

[ GDNet Start Here | GDNet FAQ | MS RTFM | STL | Google ]
Thanks to Kylotan for the idea!

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