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# Settings Based Skill Advancement (e.g., Practice vs. Combat)

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Just a couple of questions:

1) Why would you train if it didn''t give you a benefit in actual combat (save your butt)?

2) Is there a corrolary, where 1 training point = .7 combat points and vice versa or is it completely independent? Do they affect each-other''s development?

I had considered a system something like this and ended up settling on straight skill stats and using training to increase the rate of skill gain. Doubling your skill db size and adding more calculations to every combat when not necessary can be somewhat dangerous to gameplay.

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Solinear wrote:

1) Why would you train if it didn''t give you a benefit in actual combat (save your butt)?

Let''s take fighting for example, since it''s often easiest to analyze. Basically there is Skill, and a modifier to Skill, Setting. When you practice your combat skill or use it (i.e., fight somebody for real), your Skill level increases. Raw skill levels would actually increase FASTER when practicing than when fighting. However, your ability to cope under stress when practicing isn''t affected so your actual overall gain in skill isn''t as much as it would be if all things were equal.

Solinear wrote:

2) Is there a corrolary, where 1 training point = .7 combat points and vice versa or is it completely independent? Do they affect each-other''s development?

No. Training is training. You have ONE skill. The settings modify any skill performed in that setting.

Consider: Newbie has 5 skill in Sword, all gained under a Practice setting. His Practice setting ability is pretty good then. It''s all he''s ever done. Practice, practice, practice. His Combat setting ability is consequently nil. The settings act as modifiers (the mechanics of which I haven''t even thought on, but here goes) so if Newb has a 10 Practice setting ability compared to someone who has a 5, then all other things being equal Newb will be 2x better. Same with combat. If Mr. Exp has a 5 Combat setting ability compared to Newb''s 1 (I guess I need to min the settings at 1), then all other things being equal Exp will fight 5x better than Newb in real combat.

Say Newbie has a 5 Sword skill and a 1 Combat setting ability, compared to Soldier''s 1 Sword skill and 5 Combat setting ability. In combat, they will be equal even though Newbie is 5x the swordsman than the Soldier. Why is this? Because the soldier doesn''t flinch from blows which he realizes are aimed to actually KILL him. Because his brain is WIRED for combat, not just practiced moves. It''s the difference between playing soldier and actually being on the field with live fire going over and around you. Sure, Soldier may be slower and strike less accurately, but he strikes and defends with assurance, whereas Newbie is nervous, worried, etc.

A "discipline" stat could perhaps modify the penalty associated with a low setting ability, such that those troops with high disciplines perform better all around regardless of setting.

And let me say this, the Setting abilities are transparent. You have no way of telling how well you perform in combat vs practice vs whatever other setting without observation. You can however tell if you''re Novice, Competent, Adept, etc., in a particular skill. So if in a practice setting you''re evidencing Adept level abilities in a certain skill, but in a combat setting you''re performing like a Novice, blame it on the fact that you''re not used to performing in a combat setting and go out and fight more orcs! .

Solinear wrote:

Doubling your skill db size and adding more calculations to every combat when not necessary can be somewhat dangerous to gameplay.

Same number of skills. I''m simply adding a few modifiers, or stats if you will, to each character.

Thanks for the thoughts! Keep ''em coming.

Care,
Chris

Florida, USA
RTS Engine in Development
http://www.knology.net/~heaven
Jesus is LORD!

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I''m also designing a RPG with a mix of RTS and I was thinking of similar skill advancement. However, I find your ideas a little vague.

Can you write an actual mathematical formula for computing skill advancement?

if you can''t reduce your idea to specific formula, write several formulas
if you use derived variables, write formulas for those variables too

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Sounds like a job for some sort of skill web system. Your skill in any given area is derived from a score for that area in particular plus the scores for several related skill.

Or you might just separate things into Situations and Skills. Each situation will call on a variety of skills to generate your chance of success. For example, when in combat trying to hit a goblin with a sword, the skills the system considered might include Sword Theory, Battle Theory, Goblin Knowledge, and Battle Experience. The situation would decide the relative weighting of the skills, and what function to use to combine them, whether multiplicative, additive, some sort of min/max function, or whatever. The implementation is up to you

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quote:
Same number of skills. I''m simply adding a few modifiers, or stats if you will, to each character.

Actually, no. You need "sword_tr" and "sword_cm". It''s about database structure, unless you want to do a data transform, where you''re clipping the first byte off sword skill to represent training and the second byte represents combat experience. But even then you''re still doubling the data amount (from 1 byte per field to 2 bytes), just playing games with that data (which requires more calculations in the code). How else are you going to tell the difference between someone with 2 training, 3 combat and 5 training, 0 combat?

If you just add training as a skill, how can you tell (in the database) the difference between sword training and mace training? It''s just a field in the db. Ideally you need to keep everything in byte amounts (the smaller the better) and use numbers instead of making string fields, which grow very quickly in comparison to number fields.

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Berserk wrote:

Can you write an actual mathematical formula for computing skill advancement?

I''ll try.

First, it would help to understand what kind of framework I''m using. Something very similar to I.C.E.''s Rolemaster system (paper and pencil) where things are percentile (1-100) based including stats, skill and combat rolls, etc. I plan on using a WORD (2 bytes) to store skill values, and each 64 units equates to a +1 bonus on a percentile system (i.e., Sword of 2048 = +32). This would yield a maximum bonus in any skill of +1024 (ok, +1023.984375, but who''s counting).

Settings act as modifiers to final ability, with some kind of formula used to determine actual rate expressed as a percentage. Probably something like:

mod=min(0.25+settingMod,1.0)

So you would initially get 25% of your skill in an untrained setting, up to a maximum of 100% of your skill. The 25% is arbitrary at this point, and will be adjusted later based on game balance (i.e., if it results in adjusted skills that are too low for a given level of experience in that setting I can always bump it up).

Skills increase with usage, or even studying, so important to know would be the given delta time required to increase a given skill by 1 unit.

dt=SkillTime(skillID,currentSkillLevel,actionID)

SkillTime would return a number based on the skill being worked with as well as the current level of skill, modified by the action being performed to raise the skill (i.e., practicing on target dummies, practicing with live partner, real combat, studying a book, etc.) Certain skills would advance faster than others, and the higher your skill the slower the rate of advancement.

Also, for an example take working with practice dummies to increase your sword skill. There would be an initial state, say up to skill level 960 (i.e., up to +15), where your skill rate would advance steadily with time. From +15 to +25 that rate would double, taking effectively twice as long to raise your skill another +10 points. From +25 to +30 would take twice as long as that, and from +30 to +32.5 twice again as long. This rate would continue such that you could only realistically improve up to about +35 by utilizing practice dummies.

Say you chose to practice with a live partner (i.e., sparring). The same principle would apply but the ranges would be shifted. Say up to +35 would be steady, up to +50 would take 2x the time, up to +65 4x the time, up to +75 8x the time, etc., such that practicing with live partners would only ever be practical for skill gains up to +80. The time could also be modified by the skill level of your partner, with a more skilled partner reducing the time to increase the next unit, or a lesser skilled partner actually increasing it. This would actually shift the ranges such that even if you''re over +80, if you train with a sufficiently skilled enough partner your rate of advancement could be considerable.

Of course things like combat and studying would also have their own ranges of advancement, and the material being studied could also modify the range. An introductory book on swordfighting may have a range even smaller than that of practice dummies (say up to +25), where an advanced swordfighting book may have up to a near +50 absolute resultant increase.

Basically, for something like sword skill I would internally accumulate a counter every time the trooper swung his sword or studied some material. Data wise this would be represented by having the unit''s actual sword skill (2 bytes), and a dt for that sword skill (1 byte?). When dt increased past 255, I would increase the sword skill by 1 unit (1/64th of a +1). SkillTime could return values greater than 255, so I would wrap the resultant increase of skill accordingly (i.e., if dt was 512 then skill would increase by 2). As an arbitrary example, using practicing dummies when your sword skill is <+15 would yield high dt values, say 8192. Every other sword swing would yield a +1 sword skill (8192/256=32) up to +15. From +15 to +25 would take four sword swings per +1 (dt of 4096), from +25 to +30 eight swings per +1 (dt of 2048), from +30 to +32.5 dt would be 1024, etc., etc. These dt values would all vary based on skillID and actionID as detailed above. If in the actual RTS game swinging a sword at a practice dummy took 1 second of real time, your progression would be as follows:

To get to +15 would take 30 seconds
To get to +25 would take 70 seconds
To get to +30 would take 110 seconds
To get to +32.5 would take 150 seconds
To get to +33.75 would take 190 seconds
To get to +34.956 would take 510 seconds

So you band select 20 sword troopers and then right click on your practice dummies. Assuming enough dummies to go around, a little over a minute later you''ve got troopers with +25 sword skill.

Assuming their practice setting increased apace (i.e., after a minute they have a +25 practice setting ability) then using the mod formula above:

mod=min(0.25+settingMod,1.0)
mod=min(0.25+0.25,1.0)
mod=min(0.5,1.0)
mod=0.5

Or 50%. So when the game calculates their chance of hitting the dummies they''re only getting a +12.5 added to their "hit roll". Note that even if they miss they are gaining experience.

Conversely, their combat setting ability has not increased at all. If you now took your 20 band selected peons with +25 sword skill and right clicked on some incoming orc soldiers, their modified ability in life or death combat would be:

mod=min(0.25+0.0,1.0)
mod=min(0.25,1.0)
mod=0.25

Or 25%. The game would only add +6.25 to each of their rolls "to hit" when fighting the orcs.

Take an example of a group of 20 peons who had fought their way to +25 as opposed to practicing. When "fighting" the dummies, they would be hitting lots less than their more practiced peers, with a practice setting ability of 0 resulting in only a +6.25 "to hit". However when they opposed the incoming orcs they would have a 50% combat setting modifier applied, resulting in a +12.5 "to hit" in real combat. The "veteran" troops would take less casualties and do more damage than their more practiced, yet "green" peers.

Of course the practiced peons who survived the above mentioned combat, and successive combats, would end up being more effective than the "untrained" veterans, having had the +25 as a base to start with.

Finally, all of the math involved above would be completely transparent to the players. They would have no way of knowing how many seconds results in a certain bonus to their skill, or how many seconds it takes to increase their "practice" or "combat" setting modifiers.

Just like in real life, where you only logically know that if you train you will be better, and courage under fire is only bought with experience.

Care,
Chris Rasmus

Florida, USA
RTS Engine in Development
http://www.knology.net/~heaven
Jesus is LORD!

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Solinear wrote:

You need "sword_tr" and "sword_cm".

Actually, no.

I just need "sword" skill. "Training" and "Combat" would be similar to a trooper''s "Strength" or "Intelligence" stat, for instance. They would act as modifiers to any skill used during that setting.

The game would have to differentiate between actions to determine the setting. Say attacking a practice dummy would automagically use your "Training" modifier, and so would attacking your own or allied troops (it''s assumed you''re sparring). However if you attacked enemy troops the game would use your "Combat" modifier.

Solinear wrote:

If you just add training as a skill, how can you tell (in the database) the difference between sword training and mace training?

You''ve got it backwards. Sword and Mace would be two separate and distinct skills, used when your trooper is equipped with a sword or mace respectively. The "Training" or "Combat" would be two separate attributes the unit has which would be universally applied to ANY skill used in that setting, be it Sword, Mace, Swimming, Picking Lock, etc. For things like the latter two skills, the game would have to be "aware" of things like the presence of active enemies nearby, etc.

Care,
Chris Rasmus

Florida, USA
RTS Engine in Development
http://www.knology.net/~heaven
Jesus is LORD!

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This is an interesting concept. However, for character advancement purposes, I don''t recommend you allow a character to be created with skills that are at expert level. Just don''t give the character enough points to do so, even if they dump every point into creating that skill.

I intend to set it up so that every additional skill level is harder to acheive (costs more "experience points"). So, to go from level 10-11 takes 11 points, while from 20-21 takes 21 points (of course, these numbers are entirely arbitrary, but you get my point -- plus, these are "instant levels" -- when you achieve another level+1 experience points in a skill, that skill increases). So, with this system, it would take 65 points to go from skill level 10 - 15, but 115 to go from 20 - 25. Granted, doing more difficult tasks with that skill would result in more points (so, fighting a more difficult enemy would add more skill experience points). Combined with the "skill experience median" I''d discussed in several past threads, this would be an effective way to control skill explosion, but still allow characters to eventually acheive that level of expertise.

So, you can basically give the user enough points to do moderately well in several skills, or good in a single skill (and forgettably in others).

Assuming a base of zero (I plan to actually base all of my skills off of a default derived from a statistic, but bear with for ease of calculation):

It takes 210 points to get to level 20 on a single skill (from base 0). If you want to allow a user to do that well on 4 skills, that would give them a grand total of 840 points. This same point value could be used to buy a skill of roughly 40 points on a single skill (should the user go that route). Hence, instant balancing.

Another thing you may consider is the use of "Disadvantages". Basically, the players could give themselves some sort of "problem" (that could haunt them all game -- kind of) in exchange for points which they could use in initial construction of their character. In the above example, say that the player REALLY wanted to get themselves up to level 50 in swordfighting. That would cost roughly 450 points to get from 40 to 50, so they take a few levels of the "Combat Shock" disadvantage (which would effectively take, say, 5% of their skill off per level of the disadvantage for any true-combat situation -- or at least one where they feel they could lose... if they had to take 5 levels for the 450 points, they lose a quarter of their skill when in combat should they fail some sort of "will" roll -- not a nice feeling).

Anyway, a disadvantage such as this one would be "bought off" over time. In the case of "Combat shock", a percentage of experience points from combat skills used IN COMBAT could be diverted to paying off this "experience debt". The more battles they fight in, the more experience they contribute, and the less combat shock affects them. Say that for each level, they dedicate a 5% of their weapon experience in combat to reducing the disadvantage. They have 5 levels of the disadvantage (at 90 points per level -- remember the 450). So, for every 90 points they contribute, they lose a level of the shock (it affects them less), they lose less experience, as well... this means that it takes them longer to "pay off" the remainder of the disadvantage, but this could be attributed to the fact that they''re no longer "scared to death" of combat, but are just still a little uneasy, which is a little harder to shake (until they become battle-hardened veterans).

Though "slow buying off" works well for certain disadvantages, whole adventures could be based around others. A "cursed" disadvantage could make the player go on a quest to figure out what the curse is caused by and get rid of it. An "enemy" disadvantage could force the player to address the issue -- especially if the enemy keeps "popping up" at the most inopportune time. In this case, there is no need to "pay off" the original experience points, as the quest itself is the work for the payoff (and will undoubtedly result in the player spending large amounts of time and virtual money to remove the disadvantage, with little reward except to get rid of the dang thing)

Unfortunately, certain other disadvantages won''t be able to be removed at all (without excessive amounts of money), such as appearance flaws ("Butt ugly"), and the like. Again, if you do allow ways to get rid of them, make sure the player has to give SOMETHING up in the course of the game. Otherwise, you may as well just give them the free points at the beginning.

Hope this makes sense (it''s late, and I need to go back to sleep).

-Chris

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quote:
Original post by Heaven
You''ve got it backwards. Sword and Mace would be two separate and distinct skills, used when your trooper is equipped with a sword or mace respectively. The "Training" or "Combat" would be two separate attributes the unit has which would be universally applied to ANY skill used in that setting, be it Sword, Mace, Swimming, Picking Lock, etc. For things like the latter two skills, the game would have to be "aware" of things like the presence of active enemies nearby, etc.

Interesting. The only problem I have with it is the fact that certain skills CAN''T be handled using the same "Training" and "Combat" (or "Real-Life") stat -- bear with me for a second. Though your single stat would work great for melee weapons, what about ranged weapons? Their use in combat is different than melee weapons, because you could conceivably become an expert with a bow without ever shooting at an enemy (if they go hunting, they''ve got unpredictable moving targets). Though combat would help hone their skills, they could certainly achieve a higher level of expertise with a bow without combat than a melee skill without real combat. I have a hunch most snipers aren''t out picking people off to train their skills. People with ranged weapons tend to be in less immediate danger, so they tend to be able to apply their training a bit better and suffer from less combat shock.

Then, you''ve also got magic and "craft" skills to consider. Undoubtedly, magic would actually be MORE difficult to pull off in combat than melee skills (at least initially). Unfortunately, per the current thoughts on the subject, magic would be completely thought-based, while for melee skills, you''ve got adrenaline to fall back on. Then you''ve got skills such as lock-picking that would never be used in combat... however, their use in "real life" would be much different than in training (in training, there''s no chance of being caught).

Just some things to consider. It''s an interesting core idea with potential, but there are many cases where a single stat like this just won''t work.

-Chris

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crouilla wrote:

Though your single stat would work great for melee weapons, what about ranged weapons? Their use in combat is different than melee weapons, because you could conceivably become an expert with a bow without ever shooting at an enemy (if they go hunting, they''ve got unpredictable moving targets).

The same is true for melee weapons. Don''t you think if you practiced "from birth" in fencing until you were twenty years old that you''d be a "master" fencer, even though you''ve never been in a life or death situation?

And concerning the use of missile weapons in combat, I disagree. Their use is different only so far as they are missile weapons and melee weapons aren''t. My "Combat" stat, or modifier is something that represents the fact that you are not at all used to highly stressful life or death situations. Granted, you might not be under as much stress if you''re 100 feet away from the melee troops but you''re still under MUCH more stress than at the range shooting round immobile targets. Perhaps the degree of closeness of the enemy could play into the modifier.

crouilla wrote:

Though combat would help hone their skills, they could certainly achieve a higher level of expertise with a bow without combat than a melee skill without real combat.

Again, I disagree. Certainly the rate of gain of expertise will vary greatly among different skills, but if you practiced long enough you can become an "expert" in anything.

crouilla wrote:

People with ranged weapons tend to be in less immediate danger, so they tend to be able to apply their training a bit better and suffer from less combat shock.

And this is why my advancement scheme would allow skills to up faster when practicing than when fighting. For instance, the amount of gain per swing in a practice environment would be greater than the amount of gain per swing in a combat environment. That''s the whole reason for practice, so you can train yourself to an instinctive, reflexive level of ability, where you do without thinking. And yet without combat experience you are still "green". Why? Because for all your instinctive ability you are still not use to all the extra stimuli from a real life do or die combat situation, and that is what my "Combat Settings Modifier" is for: the more you''re in combat the more mileage you get from existing skills used during. It''s like a miles per gallon rating for your skills. You start out with pathetic mileage, having never seen combat, and advance to where you''re getting tons of miles per gallon. Granted if you''ve got no raw skill to begin with it doesn''t matter how much combat you''ve seen, you''re still going to suck, but I hope you get my point.

crouilla wrote:

... magic and "craft" skills .... ... skills such as lock-picking ... their use in "real life" would be much different than in training (in training, there''s no chance of being caught).

Yes. There obviously needs to be more "settings" than Practice and Combat, but I just haven''t thought through any more than these two. Perhaps a redefinition would be in order. I could use a "Stressful Setting" modifier and a "Relaxed Setting" modifier. Maybe even add Stressfull for all non-combat skills like lock-picking and sneaking and keep the Combat Setting for the skills used in combat (sword, bow, offensive magic, etc.)

crouilla wrote:

... but there are many cases where a single stat like this just won''t work.

Right. Again, there is an obvious need for an elaboration on the number and type of Setting modifiers. Actually this was something I was hoping someone else could help provide some additional examples on.

Care,
Chris

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While your theory has some merit, I think that a person''s abilities would be more affected by their personality than their experience. ie. You could take Joe Street Wise from New York City, he''s tough and never lost a fight, but he was drafted to fight in WWII, gets over to Europe in his first real battle, and shits his pants and drops to the ground in the fetal position. Meanwhile, Joe Potato Farmer from Idaho, never saw a fight in his life is also drafted and is beside Joe Street when he faces the same battle, not only does not freeze, gets a medal of valor for saving his unit from a machine gun nest.

Even if the skills are not gained from battle experience, as long as the practice is serious, the skills gained go a long way to helping a person in real situations. So Mr Experience, with 20 years of battle experience under his belt, will definitly do better than Mr Practise, with 20 years of practise under his belt, in a combat situation, Mr Practise won''t be far behind, as long as his personality keeps him from freezing under battle shock.

Also, tecniques can be learned and perfected in practise that cannot be learned on the battlefield and vice versa. So while there may be a difference, I think it to be minor.

What you might think of doing is take a weighted value, according to the situation. Like this:

Swordfighting = 5
Practise = -0.0
Combat = -0.25

Then in the situation, you just multiply the value by the modifier and subtract that from the main value. Also the values never drop, unless the both become 0 and the next advancement drops one. With a max value of say -0.25 or -0.50.

Heres an example:

   ______________________Level______________________  |   1|   2|   3|   4|   5|   6|   7|   8|   9|  10|SF|   1|   2|   3|   4|   5|   6|   7|   8|   9|  10|Pr| -0 | -0 | -0 |-0  |-0  |-0  |-.05|-.10|-.15|-.20|Co|-.05|-.10|-.15|-.10|-.05|-0  |-0  |-0  |-0  |-0  |So the progression is:Level  Area 1     Practice 2     Practice 3     Practice 4     Combat 5     Combat 6     Combat 7     Combat 8     Combat 9     Combat 10    Combat

---
Make it work.
Make it fast.

"Commmmpuuuuterrrr.." --Scotty Star Trek IV:The Voyage Home

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quote:
You''ve got it backwards. Sword and Mace would be two separate and distinct skills, used when your trooper is equipped with a sword or mace respectively. The "Training" or "Combat" would be two separate attributes the unit has which would be universally applied to ANY skill used in that setting, be it Sword, Mace, Swimming, Picking Lock, etc.

Um... that won''t really work.

Table "char_attr" fields "char_name,str,int,train,combat,blah,blah"

Table "char_skill" fields "char_name,sword,mace,bow,swim"

OK, so let''s say that I have a train attribute of 8 and a combat attribute of 6. I have a sword skill of 9 and a mace skill of 3.

How are you going to actually determine how much of my sword skill is combat and how much is training related? Obviously swimming and some others will be completely oblivious to combat usage and irrelevant for the mostpart to this discussion.

If you aren''t planning on having there actually be a difference between skill points gained through training and combat (which are completely different), then why are you even bothering with training attribute? Simply have actual combat attribute (to represent the person''s hardiness maybe) and the sword skill. Otherwise, if you have 2 people, both with sword skill of 9 (all trained), mace skill of 9 (all combat), training attrib of 9 and combat attrib of 9, where is the difference between using a sword in combat (which he has no real combat experience) and a mace (which he would be extremely experienced in combat with)? None. Without having 2 fields for combat and training skill points, you won''t be able to tell the difference in any database, no matter how fancy it is.

Here''s the real problem with what you''re proposing though:

Player a realizes that H2H is very hard in combat, but sword is very easy. However, H2H is much better than sword when you get to high levels. So he goes out and uses his sword up to level 10 in combat, also getting his combat up to 10 in the process, then trains his H2H skill up to 10. Result: He has a more effective character because of what is considered an exploit in any other game (or in other words, the engine loaned itself to cheating easily).

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solinear wrote:

How are you going to actually determine how much of my sword skill is combat and how much is training related? Obviously swimming and some others will be completely oblivious to combat usage and irrelevant for the mostpart to this discussion.

That distinction for practical purposes is not important. More below. As far as swimming and picking locks and such, yes, but there could be occasions when you are performing under a stressful situation. Imagine a healer performing first aid on the battlefield. Or a thief picking a lock with guards around the corner. Etc., etc.

solinear wrote:

If you aren''t planning on having there actually be a difference between skill points gained through training and combat (which are completely different), then why are you even bothering with training attribute?

Now this is a good question, since there seems little if any use for it. However, as I’ve tried to illustrate in my other posts on this thread there are times when it becomes relevant if you’ve been trained in a certain environment.

Perhaps if I explain everything from that point of view it may become more clear what exactly it is that I’m trying to accomplish with my “settings”. I guess you could actually call them Environmental Modifiers. For example, whether you’re trained in an “academic” environment or a “combat” environment. If I were someone who had obtained all of my training in the sword from combat, then if I attempted to train with someone using swords in an academic environment my ability would be decreased. Our skill levels being equal, they would win. I’m simply not acquainted with “pulling my blows”, and all the other little nuances of sparring. Note that if I actually attacked this same person to kill them then my skill would be modified by my combat experience and their skill would then become modified by their combat experience, and I would win. Conversely, if I received all of my training in a purely academic environment then when I entered combat for the first time my ability would be decreased. At least until I had gained sufficient experience in operating in that environment. And it doesn’t matter where that experience comes from, just that I actually DO stuff in that environment. It doesn’t matter if I’m swinging a sword at an orc who is trying to kill me, or knitting a quilt while arrows fly by my head and combat rages around me. I’m still becoming desensitized to the environment of combat. Heck, if I just STAND there doing nothing my combat experience should actually increase a little.

solinear wrote:

Simply have actual combat attribute (to represent the person''s hardiness maybe) and the sword skill. Otherwise, if you have 2 people, both with sword skill of 9 (all trained), mace skill of 9 (all combat), training attrib of 9 and combat attrib of 9, where is the difference between using a sword in combat (which he has no real combat experience) and a mace (which he would be extremely experienced in combat with)? None. Without having 2 fields for combat and training skill points, you won''t be able to tell the difference in any database, no matter how fancy it is.

There’s a misconception here. The people you described have both spent 9 months training in the gym with swords, and 9 months in the field fighting wars with their maces. Do you honestly believe that when they put down their mace and pick up their sword that they suddenly forget those 9 grueling months in the field, with blood and guts and war all around them? No. Because of their 9 months of EXPERIENCE, they are no longer “green” soldiers, and it has nothing to do with their training. It has to do with experience. You can be taught a skill, but you can only experience an environment. This is why boot camp ends up with troopers crawling through mud with live fire being poured over their heads. So they can get a little bit of combat experience in a pseudo-safe environment (they are after all live rounds).

solinear wrote:

Player a realizes that H2H is very hard in combat, but sword is very easy. However, H2H is much better than sword when you get to high levels. So he goes out and uses his sword up to level 10 in combat, also getting his combat up to 10 in the process, then trains his H2H skill up to 10. Result: He has a more effective character because of what is considered an exploit in any other game (or in other words, the engine loaned itself to cheating easily).

An exploit? Cheating? What you’ve described is real life. If I enter the military and spend 10 years as an infantryman, and actually fight real people in real combat situations and live through it, then you could say I’m a veteran. Say I then take martial arts classes for another 10 years. Did I suddenly lose my 10 years of combat experience? If I’m dropped in a combat situation without my weapon(s), am I not still more effective than a 10 year martial artist who has never seen combat?

Thanks again for the dialogue. Keep it coming! I really appreciate it.

Care,
Chris Rasmus

Florida, USA
RTS Engine in Development
http://www.knology.net/~heaven
Jesus is LORD!

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"An exploit? Cheating? What you’ve described is real life. If I enter the military and spend 10 years as an infantryman, and actually fight real people in real combat situations and live through it, then you could say I’m a veteran. Say I then take martial arts classes for another 10 years. Did I suddenly lose my 10 years of combat experience? If I’m dropped in a combat situation without my weapon(s), am I not still more effective than a 10 year martial artist who has never seen combat?"

Yes. But not as effective as a martial artist will be with comat expierence in martial arts. Sure, you might not pull your blows back, but you might simply not know how much force it takes to break bones.

While I get what yo''re talking about. And I understand the system you''re going after (and frankly, might enjoy it more than some exisiting ones) the whole thing just seems like a little bit of an artificial divider to me.

If you want a better example, compare an archer to a swordsman. Or, a pilot to a swordsman. The situations can become very seperate. Just keep an eye out for them.

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The problem I think everyone here sees with the system is that you''re trying to model a very complicated concept with a simple single statistic. You''re leaving out many very important factors:

1) Courage. Would a person be more likely to be afraid of him and 10 buddies taking on 2 soldiers, or an Omaha-beach type scenario? I don''t care how much military experience they had... in the latter, I''m sure even the most experienced soldier would be just as afraid as the naive rookie (maybe moreso, since they know more what could happen). If a man has been in 50 battles, but in every one simply hung back while everyone else did the work until the enemy was weak enough for him to sneak in and snag the kill, would his combat rating increase?

2) Type of training. Sure -- the training stat would work if all training were equivalent. But a person could be just as skilled with a gun if they were out shooting birds in a field as they could running drills in the Army. Since both are considered "training", does that make the duck hunter as combat-ready as the soldier with no combat experience (except for the training he has in combat simulation)?

3) Stat ambiguity. You''ve got a problem here in that the player would have no clue what this "combat" stat was, or why his fighter with a level 60 sword skill was fighting worse than a magician with a level 30 skill just because the magician had been in alot of battles and had just recently started to learn the sword. So, either you could expose the stat entirely, making the program seem a little too much like math, or hide it entirely and have the above ambiguity problem. Either way obviously treads on the game''s fun factor.

I''ve got to run, but these are simply some of the many issues with the proposed system. I like the idea, but the execution may be a little too mathematical. You''d be better off simply giving more skill experience for combat situations. Whereas a hit in training could give 5 skill points, a hit in combat could give 20 -- meaning that it is in the player''s best interest to go out and fight rather than sit around training all day. Also, if you want, you could have a "Combat Experience" advantage, where every level they have adds to weapon skills when the skills are used in combat. This advantage could be user-settable at the creation of the character (to start some characters with combat experience, such as those with military backgrounds), and then for everyone, it could increase on its own over time.

-Chris

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quote:
Original post by ThoughtBubble
Yes. But not as effective as a martial artist will be with comat expierence in martial arts. Sure, you might not pull your blows back, but you might simply not know how much force it takes to break bones.

I disagree to an extent. Take two perfectly equal newbies. One practices in an academic environment for 1 year with the sword. Another goes off to war and after a certain amount of time has a skill level in sword equal to the practiced newbie. Now let me clarify something. I believe it will take the combat newbie longer to get to the same skill level than the practicing newbie. Swing for swing, chop for chop, thrust for thrust, there is more learning in an academic environment than in a combat environment. But let''s put aside for the moment the fact that it takes combat newbie an arbitrary 2 yrs to get to the same level of raw skill as practice newbie got to in only 1 year.

So we''ve got two newbies with the exact same skill level in sword. One has 1 year of experience practicing or performing in an academic/learning environment, while another has 2 years of experience operating in a combat environment. It''s not important that combat newbie has 2 years of combat experience so much as that he has combat experience, period, while practice newbie has none.

So you''re right, combat newbie will trounce practice newbie, even though their skills are equal. Both know equally well how to harm the other, but combat newbie has had more experience doing it.

Now take my example of the soldier with 10 years of combat experience who then trains for 10 years in martial arts. If you had another soldier who performed martial arts during combat for a sufficient period of time such that his skill level was exactly equal to the first soldier, then by necessity his combat experience would be greater. I.e., it takes more combat than practice to get to the same level of skill. So the second soldier might need 15 years of combat to get the same degree of skill that the first got in only 10 years of training. So yeah, right again, soldier #2 trounces soldier #1. But not because he had "combat" martial arts!

I honestly don''t believe that in real life, if you took two perfectly equal people and gave one a year of martial arts in the gym and had the other fight for a year in lethal unarmed combat, that their skill levels would end up being the same. Consider that the former is receiving formal instruction in the ways of the fist, while the latter is simply adapting and surviving, implementing whatever works. It''s almost like the difference between a kid raised in the slums, participating in gang wars and street fights versus a kid raised in the dojo, practicing every day with a Teacher and fellow students in the art of unarmed combat. Street kid has much more practical combat experience, but limited pure knowledge of fighting (i.e., skill). Dojo kid has no combat experience, but a high degree of knowledge and practice.

It is my opinion that practicing yields more skill per unit time than experience. But experience modifies the effect of usable skill! It''s a hand in hand relationship. I smell a chart....

quote:

... the whole thing just seems like a little bit of an artificial divider to me.

Artificial divider?

quote:

If you want a better example, compare an archer to a swordsman. Or, a pilot to a swordsman. The situations can become very seperate. Just keep an eye out for them.

Please elaborate. I''m confused as to what you''re getting at.

quote:
Original post by crouilla
The problem I think everyone here sees with the system is that you''re trying to model a very complicated concept with a simple single statistic.

Exactly! Yes there''s a problem, but I''m trying to generalize it and simplify it enough so it provides a framework both unique and rewarding, fun to play and yet a bit more realistic than contemporary models.

quote:

You''re leaving out many very important factors:

1) Courage.

I do plan on modeling some kind of morale factor, and I suppose some type of attribute similar to courage, or perhaps discipline could be included in the modeling. But again, I''m trying to do all this while keeping it as simple as possible. There can always be a second version, Lord willing.

quote:

.... If a man has been in 50 battles, but in every one simply hung back while everyone else did the work until the enemy was weak enough for him to sneak in and snag the kill, would his combat rating increase?

In my mind his combat rating would increase, yes, but not as much as it would if he was on the front lines. I believe I already mentioned the idea that proximity to enemy forces would be a factor. This would be why an archer would get less combat experience than a foot soldier per unit time. And the guy who hung back and didn''t even fight until the end, well, his skill levels are going to be pretty much stagnant. I mean, if he swoops in for the kill at the end and only end up doing a few chops worth of combat his skill won''t advance nearly as fast as one who is on the front lines chopping the entire time. Of course he might live longer. Heh.

quote:

2) Type of training. Sure -- the training stat would work if all training were equivalent. But a person could be just as skilled with a gun if they were out shooting birds in a field as they could running drills in the Army. Since both are considered "training", does that make the duck hunter as combat-ready as the soldier with no combat experience (except for the training he has in combat simulation)?

This has been something I''ve been trying to say for a while! You''re absolutely right - a person can be just as skilled with a gun shooting birds and targets as one who runs drills in the Army. If you put both on the range, they would perform equally. However, since running drills in the Army DOES involve to a limited degree some, as you said, combat simulation, the recruit would perform slightly better than the bird shooter on the front lines. Note here that both shooters have gained their skill through academic style training. It''s just that the Army happens to instill a little combat experience in their troops through the use of live fire drills and other "live action" training.

quote:

3) Stat ambiguity. You''ve got a problem here in that the player would have no clue what this "combat" stat was, or why his fighter with a level 60 sword skill was fighting worse than a magician with a level 30 skill just because the magician had been in alot of battles and had just recently started to learn the sword.

But the fighter would quickly catch up to and surpass the magician. Meanwhile, the fighter would realize that he is simply "green" and the mage a "veteran", and that until he gets some experience under his belt the veteran will of course outperform him. Where''s that chart?!

quote:

Whereas a hit in training could give 5 skill points, a hit in combat could give 20 -- meaning that it is in the player''s best interest to go out and fight rather than sit around training all day.

This is exactly what I don''t want to do! Realistically, the raw skill advantage comes from pure training. It is to your advantage to train up before going out to combat, especially since I plan on modeling realistic combat, where even a single blow from a dagger can take out a veteran figher in plate armor.

quote:

This advantage could be user-settable at the creation of the character (to start some characters with combat experience, such as those with military backgrounds), and then for everyone, it could increase on its own over time.

This is a very good idea, and something I had thought briefly about. Something akin to background points, which could be spent on various things to enhance and round off your character in an RPG. You could use the points for extra starting equipment or money, or like you said, for military service. You could use the background pts to enhance some stats. Etc., etc. In an RTS game though this wouldn''t be practical, although training could be automated to a large extent.

Oh yeah, a chart!

Assuming our environment modifier is defined thusly:

mod=min(20%+environment modifier,100%)

Also, assuming a learning curve like so:

Skill Gain/Unit Time Gain/Unit Time
0-256 +16 +4
257-320 +8 +2
321-336 +4 +1
337-340 +2 +0.5
341+ +1 +0.25

Then for the Academic who only practices:

Time Skill Env Mod Skill Mod Skill in Combat
1 mo 16 +5% 30% 5 20% 3
2 mo 32 +10% 35% 11 20% 6
3 mo 48 +15% 40% 19 20% 10
6 mo 96 +30% 55% 53 20% 19
9 mo 144 +45% 70% 101 20% 29
1 yr 192 +60% 85% 163 20% 38
1 yr 4 mo 256 +80% 100% 256 20% 51
2 yrs 320 +100% 100% 320 20% 64
2 yrs 4 mo 336 +100% 100% 336 20% 67
2 yrs 6 mo 340 +100% 100% 340 20% 68
3 yrs 346 +100% 100% 346 20% 69
5 yrs 370 +100% 100% 370 20% 74
10 yrs 430 +100% 100% 430 20% 86
20 yrs 550 +100% 100% 550 20% 110
30 yrs 670 +100% 100% 670 20% 134
50 yrs 910 +100% 100% 910 20% 182

And for the Combative trainee:

Combat Combat Combat Resultant Academic Resultant
Time Skill Env Mod Skill Mod Skill when Practicing
1 mo 4 +5% 30% 1 20% 1
2 mo 8 +10% 35% 3 20% 2
3 mo 12 +15% 40% 5 20% 2
6 mo 24 +30% 55% 13 20% 5
9 mo 36 +45% 70% 25 20% 7
1 yr 48 +60% 85% 41 20% 10
1 yr 4 mo 64 +80% 100% 64 20% 13
2 yrs 96 +100% 100% 96 20% 19
2 yrs 4 mo 112 +100% 100% 112 20% 22
2 yrs 6 mo 120 +100% 100% 120 20% 24
3 yrs 144 +100% 100% 144 20% 29
5 yrs 240 +100% 100% 240 20% 48
6 yrs 8 mo 320 +100% 100% 320 20% 64

But what about someone who trains and then goes into combat?

Time Skill Env Mod Skill Mod Skill in Combat
1 mo 16 +5% 30% 5 20% 3
2 mo 32 +10% 35% 11 20% 6
3 mo 48 +15% 40% 19 20% 10
6 mo 96 +30% 55% 53 20% 19
9 mo 144 +45% 70% 101 20% 29
1 yr 192 +60% 85% 163 20% 38
1 yr 4 mo 256 +80% 100% 256 20% 51

Now let''s quit fooling around and go to war:

1 mo 260 +100% 100% 260 25% 78
2 mo 264 +100% 100% 264 30% 106
4 mo 268 +100% 100% 268 40% 134
8 mo 272 +100% 100% 272 60% 272
1 yr 280 +100% 100% 277 80% 280
1 yr 4 mo 288 +100% 100% 288 100% 288
2 yrs 304 +100% 100% 279 100% 292
2 yrs 8 mo 320 +100% 100% 320 100% 320
3 yrs 8 mo 332 +100% 100% 332 100% 332

So we can immediately see that with just 1 year and 4 months of combat training we can maximize our skill level when in a combat environment. In other words, 16 months is all it takes to desensitize our troopers to operating at 100% efficiently in combat.

Comparing, we see that a 2 year trainee is equivalent to a 1 year and 4 month pure combat soldier, and that someone who first trains for 1 year and 4 months, then campaigns on the front for 8 additional months end up being better than a 50 year trainee and a 5 year pure combat soldier.

While the above figures are all arbitrary at this point, the charts at least show the general idea behind my reasoning. Namely that training produces skill the quickest, and that you need experience to be truly effective.

Care,
Chris Rasmus

Florida, USA
RTS Engine in Development
http://www.knology.net/~heaven
Jesus is LORD!

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The arguments that you''re making are pitiful to say the least. You''re basically saying that 10 skill != 10 skill.

There are too many holes in your arguments and I''d much rather see you change your db model to include the ''train'' variant for every skill than what you''re talking about.

I was trying to point out the loopholes, but instead you found a way to argue around it and say that 2 people who would very obviously have completely different levels of ability would have the same ability with the statement:

quote:
Did I suddenly lose my 10 years of combat experience?

Obviously the answer is no, but you also didn''t gain 10 years worth of combat experience with h2h combat. Of course, now you''re talking about guns and hands. Are you trying to say that learning to kill someone from 300 meters is the same as being able to fight someone h2h? Keeping your head inside the foxhole is the same as dodging the punches, kicks and other h2h attacks that are coming at you? Not even close. Might as well compare driving a tank to flying a plane at that rate.

Honestly though, it sounds like you''ve already made up your mind about how you''re going to do it and are just looking to hear us say "Wow, what a good idea" when we honestly don''t seem to think that it is a good idea. We, as a whole from what I''ve read of these posts, think that it''s a bad idea.

Good luck with what you''re doing though. I''m not going to find a way to agree with you. Sure, combat as an attribute might be a good edea, but using it to represent the combat experience that you have with all your skills is just not a good idea in my opinion.

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quote:
In a previous post I had said:
Did I suddenly lose my 10 years of combat experience?

quote:
To which solinear responded
Obviously the answer is no, but you also didn't gain 10 years worth of combat experience with h2h combat. Of course, now you're talking about guns and hands. Are you trying to say that learning to kill someone from 300 meters is the same as being able to fight someone h2h? Keeping your head inside the foxhole is the same as dodging the punches, kicks and other h2h attacks that are coming at you? Not even close. Might as well compare driving a tank to flying a plane at that rate.

No, of course skill in sniping wouldn’t be applicable to martial arts.

However, let me ask you a few questions. Maybe I need to go back to the drawing board and redefine a few things, for my sake. Say we take someone as a child and train them in “sword fighting” for 10 years, and then take another person of equal ability with no prior skill or knowledge of sword fighting and put him in life or death situations for 10 years where he must use his sword to defend himself. Let’s assume equal time as well, so if the trainee gets 8 hrs/day of practice the combatant gets 8 hrs/day of combat.

Now tell the two to kill each other, with their swords. Who will win?

The trainee knows far more about the theoretical application of the sword in a fight, and has probably been taught things like the most effective areas of the body to strike, how to fight against different types of weapons with his sword, and he has probably learned an awful lot of deadly combinations (e.g., katas). However he’s never had to fear for his life while practicing, and he’s always been in an academic environment.

The combatant however has far more practical knowledge. He has also probably learned the most effective areas of the body to strike through experience. He probably has picked up quite a bit of skill fighting against people armed with different weapons. He has also probably learned a few deadly moves, but no doubt he simply sticks to what kills the quickest and easiest. He’s always had to fear for his life while fighting, so he no longer thinks anything of it. It’s as natural an environment to him as a walk in the park.

So who would win? Probably the combatant. Sure, the trainee is “better” and knows more, but the nervousness and anxiety he would surely experience would allow the combatant to no doubt score a quick kill. That’s what he’s good at in any case, killing. Not fighting, but killing. He didn’t live 10 years fighting 8 hrs a day, he lived 10 years killing 8 hrs a day. 

That is why if you take the two back to the gym and gave them wooden swords, the trainee will probably best the combatant. After all, the combatant is now forced to fight within certain restrictions (i.e., no throat or eye strikes, no knee strikes, etc.), purely academic restrictions he is simply not at all used to. He is used to doing whatever it takes to down the enemy.

Do you agree with this example?

Now let’s take our combatant, and instead of a sword let’s say he fought with an assault rifle. He’s got 10 years of 8 hrs/day combat experience with the rifle. Say he now goes and gets 10 years of academic instruction in the martial arts. Pure training and practice, practice, practice.

His opponent will now also be a combatant, but one who has fought 8 hrs/day for 10 years using his bare hands (and feet and teeth and whatever other body part worked). So they square off, the combat veteran who killed people for 10 years with his bare hands and the combat veteran who killed people for 10 years with his rifle who has also been trained for 10 years by [presumedly] a Master in the martial arts. Who will win this time if they try to kill each other with unarmed combat?

Do you really think the raw, unfocused acquired ability of the one martial artist will prevail over the refined, focused methods of the other? Both are used to killing and being the target of someone trying to kill them, so neither would give a second thought to the fact that their life is on the line. One is experienced in “getting the job done” with his fists, and the other has been highly trained to get the job done with his fists.

In other words I think one is simply lucky enough to be alive after 10 years of killing people with his fists. It doesn’t mean he has more skill than the 10 year trainee who has never seen combat. Consider…

From our first example with sword fighting we concluded that the 10 year combatant with no training would probably kill the 10 year trainee with no combat, if they both squared off in mortal combat. However, what if the trainee had acquired a certain amount of combat training himself? How much combat training would it take the trainee before his 10 years of skill would enable him to overcome the untrained veteran combatant? One year? Two years? Five years? You certainly don’t think that it would take him 10 years of combat training before he could fight on a level footing with the 10 year veteran combatant, do you? That would mean his 10 years of focused training with the sword would mean nothing. I would think that in a relatively short amount of time he would have enough combat training to compensate.

If you went by my [admittedly arbitrary] charts and extrapolated the combatant down to 10 years, it would only take the trainee just about 12 months of combat to make it so the two had equal ability. Give the trainee another 4 or 5 months and he will be operating at 100% in a combat environment, and with the full benefit of his 10 years of training.

What it seems you are trying to tell me is that there are certain ways you handle the sword (or the fist) which are fundamentally different in combat compared to academic environments. Your contention is that someone who has 10 years of combat with a weapon is able to beat someone with just 10 years of training with that weapon. With this I agree. But you go on to claim that it doesn’t matter if the trainee also had 10 years of combat experience in a different weapon, he would still be inferior.

My claim is that training produces more raw skill. You learn more ways of utilizing the thing you’re being trained with than someone who simply goes out and starts using it. What makes a unit veteran as opposed to green? Seeing a good deal of combat. Same principle applies to other fields. A 4 year certified auto mechanic might not be as good initially as someone who’s been working on engines for the 4 years the former was being trained, but given some time (and less time than the initial 4 years it took the experienced mechanic to get to his level of skill) the certified mechanic is going to become better than the uncertified. Such that after a set amount of time the trained mechanic will always be better than the untrained, all other things being equal.

Don’t you think?

quote:

Honestly though, it sounds like you've already made up your mind about how you're going to do it and are just looking to hear us say "Wow, what a good idea" when we honestly don't seem to think that it is a good idea. We, as a whole from what I've read of these posts, think that it's a bad idea.

Ack. I apologize for coming across that way when it’s the furthest thing from the truth. I crave constructive criticism, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted.

quote:

Good luck with what you're doing though. I'm not going to find a way to agree with you. Sure, combat as an attribute might be a good edea, but using it to represent the combat experience that you have with all your skills is just not a good idea in my opinion.

And why not? You haven’t explained why you don’t think the environmental experience you have enables you to perform better with another skill in that same environment.

Isn’t that how it works in real life? That’s all I’m trying to do, model real life progression. In paper and pencil games this is cumbersome and severely inflicts gameplay and fun, but with computers can be completely transparent. You simply have your units train, you have them fight. If you’re smart you’ll train them before you fight.

I look forward to a response. I sincerely desire continued dialogue on this topic. I don’t want you to agree with me if I’m wrong. And that’s what I want to hear, why I’m wrong. Feedback will allow me to refine my model, my ideas.

Care,
Chris Rasmus

Florida, USA
RTS Engine in Development
http://www.knology.net/~heaven
Jesus is LORD!

[edited by - Heaven on March 25, 2002 3:53:42 PM]

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Okay, so the goal is to differentiate between skill learned from training and skill learned from actual use.

Let''s use on stat to combine the both:
skill learned from actual use/skill learned from practice plus skill learned from actual use

or

actual skill/total skill

If I practice with a sword I will gain a certain skill.
Let''s say I achieve practice skill 20.
I''ve seen no combat though, so my stat is 0/20.

Now I''m wandering the wild, thinking all high of myself. I meet someone who''s only had a little bit of training, but who has learned most of what he knows from actual combat. His practice skill is 3, but he''s gained actual skill 12 by fighting.
His stat is 12/15.

His total skill is lower than my total skill (15 < 20) but he is still much better at fighting than I am (12 > 0).

You could create a system to determine which stat would ''beat'' which stat.

12/15 would beat 0/20, but would it beat 9/20?

Using this split stat, players would practice to raise their total skill, but they would have to actually fight to make sure that the ''actual skill'' keeps up with the ''total skill''

Practice would most definitely help.
5/15 should beat 5/10.
Maybe 5/15 even beats 6/10, maybe not (depends on system you want to use).

Of course, these split stats could apply to just about anything. Swordfighting, archery, pottery, swimming.

In a regular situation, the total skill could be used (for example, a character wants to take a swim in a pool), but for a dire situation the actual skill is used (for example, a player is forced to cross a river to get to his destination).

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All right, some things are the same, but it''s still very different. I could explain it to you, but I fear that would lead to very long posts... very long indeed.

Combat experience is better than training experience in every way. Yes, the combat soldier does learn to take a hit to give one, but what he learns better to do is avoid a hit. While the training master will be very good at winning, what are the consequences if he gets hit? Nothing. What are the consequences if the combat experienced soldier takes a hit? Dismemberment? Serious blood loss? Death? All of the above?

The combat soldier learns weakpoints and how to exploit them. Sure, he might not learn about specific styles, but he lears what actually works. While I do agree that the most important thing that he learns is nerves of steel, his skill will still be vastly higher than the combat experienced soldier''s will be in any situation.

I do think that general combat experience is important (indeed, Offense and Defense are two of the skills that I have put in the design that I''m working on), but it isn''t a situation where all skill is equal.

And no, the trained master won''t win against the combat experienced soldier in a sparring match, he will lose very quickly and probably brutally. Why? The combat soldier has one objective: Win. The alternative is death or becoming a prisoner/slave/whatever if he''s (un)lucky enough to not die. The trained master has the same objective, but the consequences of losing are... oh yeah, nearly nothing beyond a little embarassment and a lower portion of the ''kitty''.

If you want to maybe put both in there, make training safer, but only worth 66 or 75% of combat experience and take longer. Also, put both in there for each skill. You can put combat in as a general experience based skill or attribute, but the only thing that will teach in and of itself will be the nerves to stand there and not run in the face of the enemy or freak when you get hurt.

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quote:
Original post by solinear
All right, some things are the same, but it''s still very different. I could explain it to you, but I fear that would lead to very long posts... very long indeed.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but my posts ain’t exactly short.

quote:

Combat experience is better than training experience in every way. ….

I think it would help if we defined a few things.

First let’s define experience. From Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary we find the following:

An act of knowledge, one or more, by which single facts or general truths are ascertained; experimental or inductive knowledge; hence, implying skill, facility, or practical wisdom gained by personal knowledge, feeling or action; as, a king without experience of war.

Also in Webster’s we read a quote:

Experience may be acquired in two ways; either, first by noticing facts without any attempt to influence the frequency of their occurrence or to vary the circumstances under which they occur; this is observation; or, secondly, by putting in action causes or agents over which we have control, and purposely varying their combinations, and noticing what effects take place; this is experiment. --Sir J. Herschel.

I also like what the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition says regarding experience:

Active participation in events or activities, leading to the accumulation of knowledge or skill: Or, the knowledge or skill so derived.

Next we’ve got knowledge. Webster’s says:

That which is gained and preserved by knowing; instruction; acquaintance; enlightenment; learning; scholarship; erudition.

And from the American Heritage:

Familiarity, awareness, or understanding gained through experience or study.

Finally, what is skill? From Webster’s:

The familiar knowledge of any art or science, united with readiness and dexterity in execution or performance, or in the application of the art or science to practical purposes; power to discern and execute; ability to perceive and perform; expertness; aptitude; as, the skill of a mathematician, physician, surgeon, mechanic, etc.

And American Heritage:

Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience.

So what do we have? We’ve got knowledge and experience which combined yield skill. Skill then is based on one’s knowledge and experience. To increase knowledge or to gain experience is to increase in skill. Knowledge is gained through experience or study, and experience is gained from observing or doing.

Now let me try and make my paradigm fit within that framework. To increase knowledge is to increase skill. To increase experience is to increase both knowledge and skill (after all you learn from your mistakes, right?) Let’s take the extreme possibilities:

Study – large amount of knowledge gained, no experience
Practice – some amount of knowledge gained, some experience
Application – large amount of experience gained, small amount of knowledge

We need some kind of formula to determine one’s skill based on one’s knowledge and experience. What are the weights given to each? Does knowledge yield more skill than experience, or vice versa? What does observation of real life situations teach us? I would think that the ratio would vary depending on the type of skill. Say for skills which are less physical, then more knowledge would seemingly result in higher skills, and for more physically oriented skills I would think that experience would benefit more.

Sword Fighting Skill = 25% * Sword Fighting Knowledge + 75% * Sword Fighting Experience

Or not? But that’s not the only consideration. How fast can one increase one’s knowledge? How fast can one increase one’s experience? Doesn’t real life teach us that knowledge can be increase rather rapidly compared to experience (or wisdom, as it were)? One reason the frosty head is sometimes equated with wisdom, since it is assumed that all of those years must be worth a load of experience. So we need another formula or two:

Sword Fighting Study Gain = +10 Knowledge (K)/ unit time and +0 Experience (E)
Sword Fighting Practice Gain = +6 K / unit time and +2 E / unit time
Sword Fighting Application Gain = +2 K / unit time and +4 E / unit time

Quick and basic (i.e., no skill curve) example. Several troopers, all with 100 units of time to spend. One spends all 100 in Sword Application, resulting in Sword Knowledge of 200 and Sword Experience of 400. His Sword Skill is thus 25%*200+75%*400=50+300=350. Another spends all 100 in Sword Study, yielding a Sword Knowledge of 1000 (this dude KNOWS the sword ). His Sword Skill is 25%*1000=250. One other dude opts to practice his 100 points away and gains 600 Knowledge and 200 Experience resulting in a Sword Skill of 150+150=300.

So this bears out what you’ve been getting at and seems to make sense as well. Let’s mix it up a little though. This time our first trooper studies half the time and practices for the remainder, yielding Knowledge of 50*10+50*6=500+300=800 and Experience of 50*0+50*2=100. His skill is thusly 200+75=275. The next trooper studies 50 and applies (i.e., fights) 50 yielding K of 50*10+50*2=600 and E of 50*0+50*4=200. Skill is 150+150=300. Last trooper practices 50 and applies 50 yielding 50*6+50*2=300+100=400 Knowledge and 50*2+50*4=100+200=300 Experience. His skill is 100+225=325.

Further examples wouldn’t be productive without a learning/skill curve, where it gets harder to gain knowledge/experience after a certain level (i.e., 0-255=100% gain, 256-383=50% gain, 384-447=25% gain, etc.) as the troopers would simply “equal out” and have the same skill.

So everything you’ve been saying seems to be held out with the above model. And yes, I suppose I really would need to have two items in the database for each skill (knowledge and experience). Where does that leave me?

Well, what about the environment the skill is applied in? In our first example the first trooper fought 100% of the time. Naturally, depending on the unit of time he could be considered a “battle hardened” veteran, unaffected by the tension of combat. The second trooper studied 100% of the time and of course had no combat experience. Never took his nose out of the books. Finally, the third trooper had a little taste of combat experience from his practicing but nowhere near the level of real life (i.e., his life was never in any real danger). This is where my Combat Environment Modifier comes into play.

Combat Environment Modifier Study Gain = +0% / unit time
Combat Environment Modifier Practice Gain = +1/3% / unit time
Combat Environment Modifier Combat Gain = +1% / unit time

Combat Trooper with 100 units of time in Sword Fighting Application would thus have a 100% Combat Modifier. Book Trooper with 100 units of Study has 0%. But remember from my charts that we minimized this at something like 20%, so he’s got a 20%. Finally, Practice Trooper has 100 units of time / 3 = 33%. Their modified skills in the heat of combat, with life threatening enemies all around? Combat Trooper has, unsurprisingly, a 350 Skill. Practice Trooper has a modified skill of 100. Finally, Book Trooper loses out big time with a modified combat skill of 50 (but he KNOWS his swords!)

Do the same thing, but with some kind of Academic Environment Modifier for modifying their skills used in a practice or non-stressful environment.

Shall we revisit our 10 year Rifleman turned 10 year Practiced Martial Artist vs. 10 year Combat Martial Artist argument? Gee, I thought you’d never ask! Well, if their combat environment modifiers are the same (after both had 10 years of combat they would be) then it boils down to a case of Book/Practice Trooper vs. Combat Trooper. But wait! I could argue that Martial Arts has a different ratio than Sword Fighting, and I would think real life would bear me out. In other words unarmed combat seems a lot more mental than sword fighting. Maybe:

Martial Arts Skill = 50% * Martial Arts Knowledge + 50% * Martial Arts Experience

Thusly, our Book Trooper would have 1000K/0E and a Skill of 500, Practice Trooper would have 600K/200E and a Skill of 400, and Combat Trooper would have 200K/400E for a Skill of 300. Hah! I win!

Ok, ok, just kidding. But there would certainly be skills where such would be the case. Tell me this, what do you think the ratio for Martial Arts Skill should be, Knowledge vs. Experience? How about for Sword Fighting?

quote:

I do think that general combat experience is important (indeed, Offense and Defense are two of the skills that I have put in the design that I''m working on), but it isn''t a situation where all skill is equal.

What you’re talking about here, and what you termed above “nerves of steel” is what my Combat Environment Modifier. An example would be the ability to calmly and effectively continue the assault while under heavy fire. Green troops would be prone to cower, flinch away from attacks, or even flee.

quote:

And no, the trained master won''t win against the combat experienced soldier in a sparring match, he will lose very quickly and probably brutally. Why? The combat soldier has one objective: Win. The alternative is death or becoming a prisoner/slave/whatever if he''s (un)lucky enough to not die. The trained master has the same objective, but the consequences of losing are... oh yeah, nearly nothing beyond a little embarassment and a lower portion of the ''kitty''.

Well, if you put their gloves on and tell them to kill each other maybe. But by placing himself under the restriction of a sparring match, a lot of the killer’s skills won’t transfer. The trained master will be in his element, the killer with one leg in, one leg out.

quote:

If you want to maybe put both in there, make training safer, but only worth 66 or 75% of combat experience and take longer. Also, put both in there for each skill. You can put combat in as a general experience based skill or attribute, but the only thing that will teach in and of itself will be the nerves to stand there and not run in the face of the enemy or freak when you get hurt.

I think I covered this good above. I have redefined my model to include two attributes for each skill, Knowledge and Experience, which combined yields a resulting Skill Level for that skill. This Skill Level is modified by an Environment Modifier depending on the environment the skill is used in. Be it Combat, Practice, In The Middle of a Lava Field, etc.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for the dialogue. Very constructive. Can we keep it up?

Care,
Chris Rasmus

Florida, USA
RTS Engine in Development
http://www.knology.net/~heaven
Jesus is LORD!

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