Author Topic: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!  (Read 8907 times)

Offline Jabberwok

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #45 on: September 05, 2016, 01:49:40 AM »
My only worry is that, upon release, this will be compared to the first game with its years of expansions and improvements, and found wanting.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #46 on: September 05, 2016, 01:55:23 AM »
Good point, that is now in the document.

Cool, one of my suggestions made it directly in the design document !
With the ability to switch on the fly, it sounds really good conceptually.

Quote
the rest

Awesome ideas & answers there.

Offline PokerChen

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #47 on: September 05, 2016, 02:26:33 AM »
My only worry is that, upon release, this will be compared to the first game with its years of expansions and improvements, and found wanting.

Happens with every duckin' game/movie on Earth these days. People don't realise how much of a birch it is to update a monolith of old code, rather than obsolete it and start afresh.

Offline ptarth

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #48 on: September 05, 2016, 02:34:48 AM »
From a side perspective, it seems (using SR language) that ships are entities and systems are systems. Then at the next step up, a module ship, is just the same, a ship with some number of fixed systems (e.g., missile, primary, energy). Obvious enough sure. But, you can also extend this to groups, a group entity then has attached ships/systems (each of which is a ship). And then up to the larger level of fleets which either has attached groups or just attached ships. In essence everything is one giant stack with a single major representation in game.

I suppose then the major question is then, when do individual ship actions take place. Do you want to have a wing of fighters than you can separate from a main fleet to go do a job, or is this level of micro too much? I really don't know. I don't have a good idea where the desired level of micro when it comes to invasion should be. Perhaps a discussion of how players would like to spend their time when attacking a system would address the question;.
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.

Offline Tridus

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #49 on: September 05, 2016, 06:49:34 AM »
i hope steamworks and experience with starward rogue has not burned you on steam as a support platform for networking. it is at the least convenient for players to use. i am not sure of the business concerns for intergrating with their platform. despite the naysays that veto everything steam i would suggest to not discount the matchmaking ideas in your core.

What happened with Starward Rogue and Steamworks?

Offline Misery

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #50 on: September 05, 2016, 07:04:21 AM »
i hope steamworks and experience with starward rogue has not burned you on steam as a support platform for networking. it is at the least convenient for players to use. i am not sure of the business concerns for intergrating with their platform. despite the naysays that veto everything steam i would suggest to not discount the matchmaking ideas in your core.

What happened with Starward Rogue and Steamworks?

Wondering this myself.  I don't remember anything related to Steamworks?   Though when I think about it, I'm not entirely sure what Steamworks is.  Which probably sounds really dumb, but my memory is awful.

Offline Tridus

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #51 on: September 05, 2016, 09:27:33 AM »
i hope steamworks and experience with starward rogue has not burned you on steam as a support platform for networking. it is at the least convenient for players to use. i am not sure of the business concerns for intergrating with their platform. despite the naysays that veto everything steam i would suggest to not discount the matchmaking ideas in your core.

What happened with Starward Rogue and Steamworks?

Wondering this myself.  I don't remember anything related to Steamworks?   Though when I think about it, I'm not entirely sure what Steamworks is.  Which probably sounds really dumb, but my memory is awful.

Steamworks is the Steam library & services that games on Steam can use to add things like achievements, matchmaking, leaderboards, and such. It does quite a lot, for free. Most likely, it's what put Gamespy's services and Games for Windows Live out of business, because it was both better and cheaper. It's also why so many games require Steam to work, no matter what store they're sold on (if it uses Steamworks for multiplayer, it requires Steam for multiplayer).

AI War, for example, has the ability to use Steamworks if it's there (mostly for Steam achievements), but continues to work if Steam isn't there (you just don't get Steam achievements). Civilization V uses Steamworks for multiplayer, so the game doesn't function properly without Steam.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 09:30:29 AM by Tridus »

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #52 on: September 05, 2016, 11:20:57 AM »
I would impose a retrofitting time, though, primarily because it could be open to abusive behavior if you can instantly change the design on the fly. If a FF is 95% gone, do you want someone able to instantly swap to a non-FF design, effectively losing nothing because it was almost down anyway? That's not a behavior the design should encourage, and a retrofit time that disables the ship's "parts" would solve that case pretty easily.

Yep, that makes a lot of sense to me.  In the case of that example, whatever it is that is 95% dead in that slot potentially should be 95% dead in the retrofitted version, too, though, in either case.  Retrofitting shouldn't be a way to heal your ship, heh.

to skip to the end of the story they decided to take a step backwards and revert to their matchmaking working more like dd1 had evolved into because it works better for community involvement.
by hosting their lobbies publicly, wether or not they are locked/filled being set by the host/players, they could show that the game was not dead. even now there are dead times but their game oddly from the same timeframe as aiwar1 still is lively and its argued wether the sequel is better or not. They made a choice to run their severs themselves for antihacking concerns(mostly bypassed regardless).

I am not aware of anyone thinking that AI War Classic is a dead game, but it's also not multiplayer in the same sense as DD1.  It's more "play by yourself or with friends," which is something that really can't "die" per se.  Not like an FPS game can, if you're depending on a large pool of random other players for your enjoyment.

i hope steamworks and experience with starward rogue has not burned you on steam as a support platform for networking. it is at the least convenient for players to use. i am not sure of the business concerns for intergrating with their platform.

Thanks for the reminder to add something about Steamworks integration into the design document.  There's now a section about that in third-party components, which I've copied here:

Spoiler for Hidden:
1.g.iii. Deeper Steamworks Integration
Status: Super-Duper Theoretical
Risk Level: Extraordinarily High

We get asked about various forms of Steamworks integration all the time.  We are not C++ programmers, however, and we really loathe trying to work at that level.  The worst bit is trying to write code that works well on linux, osx, and windows, which are three pretty different platforms and require the use of unfamiliar-to-us IDEs in order to do anything.  This winds up eating up tons of time, and frankly drives us a bit batty.

There have been various C# wrappers for Steamworks in the past, and we’ve had bad experiences with all of them.  The official bindings from Valve were experimental and have never actually been compile-able.  The older Steamworks.NET wrapper that we use in most of our games at this point had a ton of broken things in it that we had to work around in really nasty ways.  Our prior experience before that was us doing our own p/invoke into dlls/so’s/dylib’s that we created ourselves (shoot us now on those).

None of this is really a criticism of the Steamworks API itself, which seems like it is set up well.  However, it is very C++ in nature, which makes p/invoke hard to do against it given that that is more aimed at C-style method calls.

All of that said, there is a new (relatively) Steamworks.NET project on github that we have yet to try, and that we hear good things about.  We will investigate this and see what we can do within a certain time budget, but we want to make sure we do not become overly dependent on Steamworks features in general, since that would be to the detriment of DRM-free and GOG versions of the game (hey, those folks deserve all the cool features, too).

My suggestion is to move away from aiwar 1 and its fixed player numbers to be n ( 8 ) player slots and allow jump in commanders as long as the host allows or even only from steam friend list in a steam hosted matchmaking method. this has worked successfully for both dungeon defenders 1+2 as well as for borderlands. i feel this type of being able to even just watch gameplay would be very valuable both for matchmaking and for advertising and outreach purposes. having even 4 slots dedicated to people observer only could be useful in teaching and sharing the game. having your camera as an observer lockable to a player would be a nice feature if you went this route. I'm assuming in game chat would still be an option. also by using steam integration steam has chat servers built in for communication rather than building your own.

Locking the camera to another player would be very impossible since all of those things are done locally.  There's a reason that there is a delay lag on services like twitch.  If someone is looking to teach others by letting them watch everything, then I would say twitch is by far the best way to go.  In terms of having some folks jump in and either be silent watchers of one player or equal-parts-helpers on that same team, that is something we're talking about in terms of feasibility.

with you mentioning how music and sound often get s moved to a seperate thread anyway i was wondering how difficult issuing commands to the steam music player from inside the game was.... but enough of my musing.

I've never used it, so I'm not sure honestly.

so hyped and breathlessly awaiting the new game i can get my friends to try someday.

Thanks! :)

Switching to a different variant without having to scrap and rebuild

For champions, swapping modules requires an engineer to assist and being out of combat, but is pretty much instant. Switching hull types requires respawning back at base. I think retrofitting to a different variant should probably be a happy medium between those.  Maybe, it has the same costs and reqs as repairing to full health from zero?

At this point I think this topic deserves its own discussion in the ideas subforum.  It's basically getting into the level of design that won't be in the design document, because any one of these approaches is reasonable enough on paper, and quick to implement, so it's a matter of doing some talking about it, finding what sounds the best, then testing that out with players and seeing if that actually matches our expectations of it.

My only worry is that, upon release, this will be compared to the first game with its years of expansions and improvements, and found wanting.

I actually just added a new "Rationale For Scope Decisions" section to the design document, because I feel the same sort of worry.  Funny we had the same thought, although I suppose it's not all that funny a thought.

My opinion on the way to combat that is basically a clear communication of the roadmap, and what things cost to make and add, etc.  Plus there's a whole heck of a lot of new things that this new game can do that the old one can't in terms of having all manner of types of units and so on just by the very nature of it being data-driven, so hopefully that will offset things to doms degree.

Good point, that is now in the document.

Cool, one of my suggestions made it directly in the design document !
With the ability to switch on the fly, it sounds really good conceptually.

Awesome. :)  And yep, I imagine we'll be seeing more of your ideas in there... ;)

My only worry is that, upon release, this will be compared to the first game with its years of expansions and improvements, and found wanting.

Happens with every duckin' game/movie on Earth these days. People don't realise how much of a birch it is to update a monolith of old code, rather than obsolete it and start afresh.

My chief hope is to combat that with communication and detail.  A lot of games and movies and whatever don't actually explain anything and just hope for the best, and so of course people don't understand.  I'd rather give people the cold hard facts instead.  We shall see what happens.

i hope steamworks and experience with starward rogue has not burned you on steam as a support platform for networking. it is at the least convenient for players to use. i am not sure of the business concerns for intergrating with their platform. despite the naysays that veto everything steam i would suggest to not discount the matchmaking ideas in your core.

What happened with Starward Rogue and Steamworks?

Wondering this myself.  I don't remember anything related to Steamworks?

Wondering that myself, too -- I also don't recall anything related to it, and that would have been me. ;)
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Offline Nuc_Temeron

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #53 on: September 05, 2016, 12:18:45 PM »
A few thoughts on AI War II:

a. AI War is a magical thing. It's this amazing formula that's unlike anything else, a timeless classic. While I'm glad to hear that you're working on AI War II, I'm also concerned. Remember when Star Wars Episode I-III came out and they were so atrocious that it made everyone like the first Star Wars trilogy less? Don't pull a George Lucas.

b. Regarding removing AI Progress: I do not particularly like that idea. I think AI Progress is part of the backbone of the game, and removing it would be a huge departure from the current gameplay.

c. Make it a remake, not a sequel. If you make basically the same game with a new engine and new maths and a more modern look, I would be thrilled.

d. Squads sound great. My fleets moving in a realistic formation instead of a ball would be wonderful.

e. The ability to play a much shorter game somehow, scaling the difficulty so I could reasonably play a tiny map in a day, would be nice.

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #54 on: September 05, 2016, 12:35:02 PM »
Splitting AIP bothers you?  I suppose this could be considered high risk.  Hmm.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #55 on: September 05, 2016, 01:20:55 PM »
I would consider splitting AIP high risk. The weakness of being so singular (and the resulting lack of options that go with it) is also a strength of sorts due to its relative simplicity.

Perhaps keep a "base" AIP, but allow secondary options to influence it? Like temporary sources that increase/decrease it? Not sure. But changing it does involve risk.
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Offline x4000

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #56 on: September 05, 2016, 01:33:23 PM »
Agreed.  I have made shifts to the document since writing that with new notes at:

Section 3: Graveyard of Discarded New Ideas
3.a. Replacement of AI Progress

and then

4.a. Temporarily Added AI Progress
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Offline Tridus

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #57 on: September 05, 2016, 01:40:23 PM »
Splitting AIP bothers you?  I suppose this could be considered high risk.  Hmm.

I don't think it's low risk, at least. You (and others) identified lots of things that could be improved about AI Progress, but in identifying problems and things people want to to do improve it, it's easy to gloss over what's good about it. A single number is easy to understand, especially when people get the idea that bigger = more aggressive AI response. It creates easy to understand trade offs between figuring out if doing something is worth the AIP increase, makes alternative means to do things potentially very attractive to avoid AIP increase (see: hacking), and gives you reason to go after potentially far flung objectives to cause AIP decrease (co-processors, data centers, etc).

In the haste to do something better, there's a risk of losing the parts that honestly work pretty well.

That's not to say that it's not worth trying, but there should be an awareness that this is a core thing to the game and it's not broken to start with.

edit - I guess it's a moot point now since it's off the table. I think that's the right decision for now. You could come back to this later, but it's a big thing for 1.0. :)
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 01:45:02 PM by Tridus »

Offline kaffo

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #58 on: September 05, 2016, 03:59:08 PM »
Created an account to post here after I saw the announcement! So excited! :D

Splitting AIP bothers you?  I suppose this could be considered high risk.  Hmm.

I think it's moderate risk.
Also I while I love the idea of the sub systems, I also like the idea of a 'global progress'. Maybe have global AIP shown on the tool bar, then on hover it shows the different components of it and how they are contributing to the total?
That way players can choose to ignore the sub systems for a one glance "oh christ..." or go and really dedicate some time to knocking down the AI's logistics, for example, if it's spiralling out of control.

Still I think the subsystems idea needs to stick about.
Loving the rest of the doc too!

Offline Nuc_Temeron

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Re: AI War II: Design Document First Unveiling Is Now!
« Reply #59 on: September 05, 2016, 04:55:26 PM »
A few more thoughts:

f. No whimsy, please. The Last Federation has a whimsical AI voice, and I love it in that game, so I'm not strictly anti-whimsy; just not for AI War. The serious tone fits. Please call me tedious and insignificant again! Perhaps you could use the same voice actor. It adds such mood, context and character with one simple word.

g. Please don't use animations to move from screen to screen, like they did in XCOM. It looks nice the first 20 times, then it becomes an annoyance.

h. I typically ignore lore pickups in games, but in AI War, I would actually read them. I'd like to know more about the story. I'm glad you've decided to add this.