Author Topic: Combat Simplification Overhaul  (Read 702 times)

Offline Pepisolo

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Combat Simplification Overhaul
« on: April 04, 2014, 03:55:23 PM »
One of the things I dislike about this game is that combat seems unnecessarily fiddly. This is mainly due to certain actions needing confirmations, others not, and generally there being too many clicks needed to accomplish basic functions.

The current flow of the combat is:

Move>Firing Mode>Potential Confirmation>Next Turn

I would like it changed to:

Move and optional Firing Mode change>Next Turn

For this to work, let us say that the Autofire/Fire at Selected Ships/Fire at Exact Point/Hold Fire GUI is visible and usable during the move phase. So, when the game says Set Movement, the player would at this time also have the option to toggle their ship into one of the different firing modes – let's not forget that the game has already set a precedent for other actions such as Specials being available during the move phase.

Let's say that the default firing mode upon first entering combat is Hold Fire, and the player would like to change to Autofire. I'll try and break this down.

The first thing the player sees is Set Movement, and the message "currently holding fire" underneath. The Hold Fire icon could also be highlighted on the GUI. The player now has the option to toggle to a different firing mode BEFORE making a move action if they so desire. Let's say the player chooses to only move this turn, this would result in the player moving to their location while maintaining the current (default) fire mode of Hold Fire. At the start of the next movement phase the last action is always remembered, which in this case is Hold Fire. With this in mind, the player can now move easily around the map, holding fire, with only a single click for movement. No confirmations necessary.

OK, so let's now say that the player is bored of holding fire and wants to switch to Autofire. This is accomplished with a single click on the GUI (or keypress) on the next move phase. Now the ship is set to Autofire, and under the Set Movement message it could say "currently autofiring". The player can then take move actions and single click their way around the map while maintaining this Autofire until they decide to change the firing mode. This is a single click versus the current two clicks of the current system.

Hopefully the general mechanics of the simplification are understandable based on what I've written so far. I will quickly go over the other firing modes, and any complications, though.

If the player chooses Fire at Selected ships, the choose targets overlay would appear with the message about using shift for multiple targets, however there would be no confirmation, to maintain consistency. Instead, if the player were to shift click multiple targets, the action would be set on depress of the shift key (as long as at least one target is selected).

Fire at Exact point would work very similarly to it currently does, which would be consistent as no confirmations are currently requested.

Something along these lines would be a considerable improvement in usability. Of course, feel free to point out any flaws in the idea.

To sum up: firing mode can be optionally changed before taking a move action. No changes would result in the last firing mode being set. The player would not be caught in an endless loop because the move phase will always allow the player to switch to a different firing mode.

Thanks, guys!

Offline x4000

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2014, 04:00:57 PM »
Quoting myself from mantis:

Quote
I suggest you post it on the forums and see what others think. I'm not feeling it, though, to be honest. What you're proposing shows more buttons to the player more of the time, and seems to me to have an enormous potential for accidental actions, which are the worst thing. If I am in select targets mode, for instance, and I give an order to do move, then it would automatically fire again when I might not have meant to. You're asking the players to consider two things at once, rather than one.

We'd also have to figure out a way to show the guns at the same time as everything else, too. And in general, a number of TBS games have a move -> attack pattern to them, so combining those is something that I think will just be more alien to people who already understand the genre. A confirm action is not even that uncommon with these sorts of games; in FFT, for instance, your last action is to set your facing choice.

I'm fine with streamlining the controls where it makes sense, but you're dragging it away from what I've experienced with other tactics games. I've also not heard much in the way of complaints about this aspect of the controls (people wanted the right click for cancel, and left click for confirm, which they got, and then seemed happy with). Again, I suggest a forum discussion so that you get more perspectives than just mine. I am always down for simplification, except when it's at the expense of clarity or precision.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 04:05:55 PM »
A use case I commonly find myself wanting is "keep the autofire from last time, just move where I'm clicking now".  Being able to do that with one click per turn seems both helpful and reasonable.

At the same time, it is way more susceptible to mis-click.  And 1 mis-click can mean game over.  For that reason alone I don't see how this could be the default control mode.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 04:07:32 PM »
Per player request, confirm on autofire is just another click.  So literally just double-click to do what you want right there.  Yes it's two clicks, after a fashion, but you can do them like 200ms apart. ;)
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2014, 04:15:12 PM »
Yea, I do use that :)
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2014, 04:16:37 PM »
I haven't checked the defaults lately but iirc the default firing mode is target-ships.  Perhaps it could be changed to Autofire?

That would prevent getting "stuck" on the first combat because probably the players would just try clicking again after the move click didn't do anything and they didn't know what else to do.
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Offline Mick

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2014, 04:50:31 PM »
Auto fire would be a nice noob friendly default I think, and on easier difficulties you can get away with using it almost exclusively so it makes sense.

Offline x4000

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2014, 05:01:45 PM »
Yep, I am changing it to autofire by default at the start of each battle.  Thanks!
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Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2014, 05:17:51 PM »
I had thoughts along these lines to try and get away from individual hotkeys to start each turn. The player begins by choosing movement then selects weapons and fire mode then a left click on the mouse activates the turn. Each turn then proceeds in the same way with left click defaulting to the previous chosen fire mode if it's not changed.

This I feel would improve the flow of the turns and also be less confusing.

Offline x4000

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2014, 05:21:38 PM »
I had thoughts along these lines to try and get away from individual hotkeys to start each turn. The player begins by choosing movement then selects weapons and fire mode then a left click on the mouse activates the turn. Each turn then proceeds in the same way with left click defaulting to the previous chosen fire mode if it's not changed.

This I feel would improve the flow of the turns and also be less confusing.

That's how it works now. ;)
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Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2014, 05:34:37 PM »
That's cool  :)

Is there a reason for capturing escape pods yet? I keep killing more than I capture at the moment.

Offline x4000

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Re: Combat Simplification Overhaul
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2014, 07:26:31 PM »
That's cool  :)

Is there a reason for capturing escape pods yet? I keep killing more than I capture at the moment.

Next version, coming tonight. :)
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