Author Topic: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1  (Read 5396 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2014, 09:29:21 PM »
@orzelek: Thank you for this line of discussion.  On further reflection, I realized that the whole idea of money was actually bothering me in this game.  It just was plain unnecessary as a mechanic.  We have bargaining power as a sort of pseudo-currency, and that's the one that actually matters for winning the game.  That is well integrated into the game and is central and fun; it's where you manage your resources.

But the literal money resource was only used for a few things, all centered around basically housekeeping with your fleet.  And essentially being a punishment for not winning efficiently enough -- it would never give you any positive stuff if you had a lot, it would only hurt you if you had too little.  Ugh.  I hadn't realized how much that was bugging me at a subconscious level until you mentioned it, and even then I didn't really recognize it until you pushed the issue and I had some further time to reflect.  So thanks for that.

Incidentally, this game is meant to be hard to win in all senses of the word even if you were managing your money perfectly, so it's not like this will affect the difficulty or the balance in any way.  Like I said above, it was just an un-fun minor sub-mechanic that was there to penalize you if you did not win battles efficiently enough.  That's not actually how it was originally conceived -- not in those terms -- but that is the role it was given in a concrete sense, looking at it now.  Cutting that out entirely definitely makes the game flow more smoothly, and lets you focus on the actual interesting decisions.

And the combat!  Oh boy is the combat fun when you aren't worrying about efficiency.  Keith and I both love it and have trouble not just playing with it in the Combat Practice mode (which lets you try out various scenarios without any context, like money).  This pulls that fluidity and fun and brutality into the main game without weighing it down with the anvil of bookkeeping and cringing at every explosion.

So, thanks.  :D
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #31 on: January 24, 2014, 09:47:31 AM »
Awesome explanation. Thank you for sharing that Chris, I think it all makes us even more excited than before.

One question:
Quote
Interestingly, this means that if you are going to win the game, you are either going to have won or retreated from every battle you entered into.  But you can still do that and lose, because of the larger solar system situation deteriorating and the federation collapsing.  The larger game is made to be difficult even if you win every battle.  Depending on your difficulty settings.  Don't let that scare you off if you're more of a casual player -- difficulty options abound, and this game is often going to be more about having fun and seeing what stories develop than actually winning, anyway.
What's to prevent someone from just retreating from every battle and winning through a pacifistic/diplomatic style? If a person can win well using this strategy, wouldn't that completely defeat the purpose of combat?

I'm kind of getting visions of deep raiding in AI War where people avoided combat where at all possible and yet in the end came out on top by exploiting the game in a way that it wasn't meant to be played. Is combat supposed to be a major aspect of TLF? Or is avoiding it entirely an option you'd like to give the player?
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Offline x4000

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2014, 10:00:57 AM »
Sorry -- to clarify on the retreating bit, you don't gain anything from doing that.  You can't win anything by retreating, you can just avoid dying.  In a lot of strategy games, when you find yourself overmatched, you just go "welp, I'll smash my guys into their forces and see what sort of a dent I make with this wave."  Here if you do that too harshly, you wind up losing the entire game.  So strategic retreats are a way to get out of a situation that you don't like.  As opposed to just being able to brute-force your way through battles by sending increasing numbers of waves of cannon fodder.  That's what I was trying to get across.

There's definitely no way that I'm aware of to exploit the retreats; avoiding combat and/or not winning combat is strictly a way to defeat, as well as not actually being able to do anything in the metagame because you don't have any bargaining power.  That said, if you don't like the actual mechanics of combat, you can enable auto-resolve in the advanced start option, similar to the Total War series.  That doesn't make combat any less central, it just means that you don't have to do it yourself if for some reason that's really not your thing.  But the combat is so fun that I have a hard time imagining many people feeling that way.
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Offline madcow

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2014, 10:18:32 AM »
On the topic of autoresolve. I'm sure this is silly and already addressed but... is it possible for autoresolve to just happen to pick your command flagship (or whatever it's called) as a causality and lose you the game?  It seems like it's been implied your main ship is a unit in the RTS side of things.  Which is true also opens the question of, does it feel like you need to babysit the unit?

Offline x4000

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #34 on: January 24, 2014, 10:59:28 AM »
On the topic of autoresolve. I'm sure this is silly and already addressed but... is it possible for autoresolve to just happen to pick your command flagship (or whatever it's called) as a causality and lose you the game?  It seems like it's been implied your main ship is a unit in the RTS side of things.

No, autoresolve is smarter than that.  It gives you an overall danger level estimate, first of all, and you can be reasonably sure you will win if the danger levels are moderate or below (just with varying levels of casualties).  The flagship of either side doesn't "enter combat" in autoresolve at all until all the ships on its side are already destroyed, so you don't have any sort of the subtleties of flanking or "the enemy's gate is down" sort of play.  If you want that sort of thing, you have to play it yourself rather than auto-resolving.  But on the plus side, you also don't have to worry about pure chance losing you your flagship while half your fleet is around.

Which is true also opens the question of, does it feel like you need to babysit the unit?

Not really.  Think of it like a mobile town center.  It moves incredibly slowly, although it does move.  It is what is deploying your ships, so wherever it is is where you tend to orient yourself around.  The only real reason to move this ship at all is if you want to put it behind some cover, or get a better angle on your enemy, or have it move further into or out of range.  You don't generally do much of that sort of thing.

All of your ships immediately come out in "escort mode," where they just fly around your flagship, protecting it.  So it's inherently passive on your side until you tell them to do something.  You can put your ships into "fire at will mode," where they basically bumrush the enemies kind of like free roaming defender mode in AI War.  Or you can select specific squadrons or just whatever arbitrary groups of ships, pull them off your main forces, and move them around to specific locations and then do whatever maneuvers you wish to do at that time.

Typically the way I play is to have some stuff on escort, then move around my mobile forces in one or more groups that I manually shift around.  That's pretty easy to do, mechanically speaking.  As I then react to the enemy AI, I either exploit weaknesses or draw my forces back, etc.

In other words, you do have to protect your flagship like you would your king in chess or your command stations in AI War.  But there are almost no orders you have to give to it itself unless you want to tweak its positioning slightly (and very slowly).
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Offline madcow

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2014, 11:28:25 AM »
Okay that's great news! I've always been irritated when games give you a unit that's super powerful and then say oh by the way, if it dies you lose. In the end it just means you can't actually use any of the cool powers in it and have to keep it back in the base.

Offline x4000

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2014, 11:29:52 AM »
Ah, yeah, makes sense.  In this case the flagships really are not super powerful mega-units anyway.  They do have various sorts of defense to help them take care of themselves when inevitably some enemy fighters or whatever get past your front lines.  But these are kind of in the countermeasures category rather than in the offensive category.  Your offensive stuff is the things that are more mobile.
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Offline topper

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2014, 01:01:14 PM »
But the literal money resource was only used for a few things, all centered around basically housekeeping with your fleet.  And essentially being a punishment for not winning efficiently enough -- it would never give you any positive stuff if you had a lot, it would only hurt you if you had too little.  Ugh.  I hadn't realized how much that was bugging me at a subconscious level until you mentioned it, and even then I didn't really recognize it until you pushed the issue and I had some further time to reflect.  So thanks for that.

Awesome, that sounds like a great simplification to make the game more fun! Stripping out the bookkeeping variables makes me even more excited to get my hands on this!

Offline orzelek

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2014, 07:55:53 PM »
Thanks for that coins removal - it means that squadrons will be more like automated drones that are disposable but reproduced between combats. Should make fights more relaxed and open field to experimenting :D

Offline Histidine

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2014, 10:47:26 PM »
But what is a flagship if it doesn't have a huge spinal mount beam weapon that evaporates entire fleets in one blow?!

(I'm kidding, I'm kidding. While it would be Awesome McCool, the game likely plays just as well - and probably better - without such a thing.)

Offline orzelek

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #40 on: January 25, 2014, 02:24:58 PM »
I would really like to be able to upgrade flagship in some way - thats my RPG side craving I guess.
In a away flagship will be you through whole game :)

Offline x4000

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #41 on: January 25, 2014, 02:26:14 PM »
You can swap it out with later flagships that you capture from races, so there is that.  In terms of doing outright upgrades to them, there isn't a whole lot of point given that your general goal with your flagship is to keep it out of combat unless the situation really calls for it to be there.  Generally it is holding up the rear in a big way.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #42 on: January 25, 2014, 04:30:29 PM »
Giving the flagship upgrades would increase the depth of combat though. Right now, flagship are supposed to hide. While it makes sense, it makes them boring.

Giving.flagship upgrades would change combat for.the better i think. Consider generals in the total war series, specificly medieval  II. Llike.the flagship, losing them results in doom. However, especially in the.early game, they were by.far the strongest unit. Couple this with their inherent leadership bonus and the result is that generals have a dynamic risk/reward. Risk them and one can battles that they otherwise could lose.

The tension of risk/reward with a flagship that can be turned into a powerful weapon is more interest then the option of just hurtling.
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #43 on: January 25, 2014, 06:30:01 PM »
I want to try out the flagships before I get in on this.
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Offline madcow

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Re: More The Last Federation Info Coming Up! Plus Combat Teaser #1
« Reply #44 on: January 25, 2014, 07:37:27 PM »
As I mentioned earlier my thoughts are the opposite in general. Super powered units with cool abilities that cause you to lose the game if it dies is a recipe for never using it, as you still need to babysit the thing in case it gets focused down.

Imagine if your shadowship dying caused you to lose AI wars for instance.