Author Topic: New version .814 now out! (Special Ability Blast Waves)  (Read 2205 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: New version .814 now out! (Special Ability Blast Waves)
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2014, 09:51:19 PM »
Thanks!

1. As you play through the game, the tech upgrades for stuff gives you more health and enemies more damage.  So if you pull ahead in that race, you become the gorilla.

2. If you get better guns earlier, you also become the gorilla.

3. As you gain more special abilities, you can afford to "waste" more of them just clearing shots, which also is more gorilla-like.  And "wasting" abilities becomes less of a thing, as that can mean using one sub-optimally but it doesn't matter because you have 15 more anyway. ;)

4. If your weapons hit a point where they are just clearly overpowered, then you can power them down to a lower base level and divert that to your shields instead, making it so that you can absorb a lot more shots while still nailing the enemy.

5. Makes sense on the bullet hell comment being all about the implementation.  I quite agree.
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Offline Misery

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Re: New version .814 now out! (Special Ability Blast Waves)
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2014, 09:54:27 PM »
So I agree that if this is basically "turn-based bullet hell" (not touhou-level shot density by a long shot, but lots of fire you're supposed to dodge) then the multi-turn thing would ultimately detract more (via confusion of the interface making it too easy to push the "I'd like to see the game-over screen now" button) than it would contribute in ease-of-use.

The larger question in my mind is whether the bullet-hell/shmup aspect belongs at all in a strategy game (or even an adventure game like Space Rangers, which had a lot of positional tactics without needing to specifically dodge stuff).  The turn-based aspect helps it not be reflex-based but there's still the motivation (and flat-out need on higher difficulties) for extremely precise maneuvering that seems a strange fit (to me, anyhow).

To me, I think that is the unique hook for combat in this game, honestly.  A few various thoughts:

1. In games like Total War or Age of Empires 1, positioning guys super precisely actually mattered a lot.  Be on this hill, or that elevation relate to the enemy, or micro these guys into just the right formation, to win at a high level.  The problem I have with all that is that it is largely invisible.  You can't learn this naturally by experimentation, at least not in my opinion, and it's something that uses artificial bonuses based on position to achieve its aims.  I do LIKE the idea of it, but the execution bothers me.  Oh, and Skyward Collapse does this, it's worth noting, but it does it in a way that you don't have much control over.

2. In a game like AI War, it bothers me to no end that the "terrain" of space is basically empty.  We ultimately got around that with the addition of guard posts, and then making them ever more interesting, and then clamping some units to them, and then not clamping others, and then filtering down ship mixes, and so forth and so on.  But I feel like that has been explored as well as it possibly can be in AI War, and I feel like it requires the scale of the unit counts of AI War to pull off at all.

3. Games like Sins of a Solar Empire make it so that it's kind of like base capturing, where you have a planet with some ships on it, and either there are enemies there or not.  And if there are enemies there, then it's kind of forces-committed.  There aren't any bonuses to my knowledge.  This requires vast tracts of space, and lots of units, and while that works for Sins (and to some extent that also works for AI War), it doesn't fit the scope here.  And it really drags out the pace in a way that doesn't fit combat here.

4. A game like Final Fantasy Tactics makes it so that units get bonuses to hit chance based on their relative position to one another, the facing of the target, and the relative heights of one another.  This works really well, and is something that you get easily trained on because the game kind of tutorializes you through it once, and then after that it's obvious what is good and what is bad based on the percentage chance projections on the "do I do this attack" confirmation windows.  So that works out really well, I feel, and is a great example of position mattering.

5. In Chess or Civilization, position matters because space is constrained and units block units.  So that makes position matter a lot, but again it's relying on lots of units.

6. By contrast, in TLF, what we have is a battlefield that has constantly-changing danger-zones and opportunity-zones.  That you can _predict_!  That's amazing to me.  It's just this awesome thing that came out accidentally, and I love it.  You are trying to balance your desire to hurt the enemy against your desire not to get hurt, and you are thus tracking your position, the position of the enemies, and the position of the shots of the enemy, all at once.  You can do this pretty quickly in your head (particularly now with _K_'s suggestion of the shot lines being added during your movement phase, though that's not public yet).  It is extraordinarily visible and intuitive compared to Total War or Age of Empires 1, and even compared to FFT: nobody has to tell you "avoid those bullets" or "shoot those guys."  Those are kind of implicit things to most gamers, which is why I love that that shapes the battlefields here.  It also doesn't rely on high unit counts or high distances (high distances being one of the things that we ran into with Bionic that could make things frustrating in a turn-based context).


This is what excites me so much about this model, as I feel like it is a whole new peg in the tactics/strategy milieu.  I'm not sure how many other people feel the same way, or agree with that, but anyway that's where I'm coming from.  It's not about being merged with a SHMUP for me, it's about making position matter in empty space, which is a problem that I have literally been wrestling with since 2008, with great frustration and many different attempts.  And the answer just finally fell into my lap in the last month or so, completely by accident! ;)


Aye, I can agree with this for the most part.  The ideas of positioning, weapon selection VS enemy type (and tactics VS enemy type) and the ever-changing battlefield are what make this work.

If this were a game where you were in control of multiple units, then things'd be different... but when you've only got just one, it's not always so easy to keep things interesting and actually tactical.  Like Roguelikes.... even in the most hardcore and complicated of Roguelikes, actual COMBAT, between the player and an enemy, is usually a bit.... dull.  You smash into them, they smash into you, you repeat this until one is dead.  Sometimes this may occur at range, but it remains the same effect.  Individual battles in games like that are usually oddly simplistic, because there's not enough complexity for the fact that there's only one unit under your control.  The tactics just dont get to show much.   Of course there are games like BD that use different ideas to make it work, but as a rule that type of game often has combat that isnt very interesting.

The constantly shifting field as well as the need to make decisions on target priority as well as when to use abilities and when not to, among other things, and the need to make sure you're watching and avoiding all those shots that are currently nearby, to me it keeps things in this one very interesting.  There's enough sheer STUFF going on that even my attention is held easily for the duration of each battle.


There's still alot of balance issues, and things like that, but I reiterate my opinion that this is by far the best combat model out of every idea brought up to this point.  It's a bit unusual in it's way, but it's unique and challenging while remaining engaging the whole time.   Wont be for everyone, but.... I can say that about ANY game of this type.


Forgot what else I was going to say.

Offline doctorfrog

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Re: New version .814 now out! (Special Ability Blast Waves)
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2014, 12:55:55 AM »
Thanks!

1. As you play through the game, the tech upgrades for stuff gives you more health and enemies more damage.  So if you pull ahead in that race, you become the gorilla.

2. If you get better guns earlier, you also become the gorilla.

3. As you gain more special abilities, you can afford to "waste" more of them just clearing shots, which also is more gorilla-like.  And "wasting" abilities becomes less of a thing, as that can mean using one sub-optimally but it doesn't matter because you have 15 more anyway. ;)

4. If your weapons hit a point where they are just clearly overpowered, then you can power them down to a lower base level and divert that to your shields instead, making it so that you can absorb a lot more shots while still nailing the enemy.

5. Makes sense on the bullet hell comment being all about the implementation.  I quite agree.

Interesting, thanks for describing that form of progression. Of course, I can't lose sight of the fact that this is one form of progression in the game, and that I'll be needing to also meddle with the growth of other species. I think in a way, exploring this topic has allowed me to avoid looking into that so far, since it's substantially more complicated, and likely to evolve quite a bit.

I think also one thing I'm also looking forward to is variety on the battlefield. The sheer variety of weaponry and ships available in AI War do show quite a bit of creativity, as well as bot types in Bionic Dues. A lot of space shooters rely on the old rock paper scissors of weapons: beams, mass drivers, and guided missiles. It'll be cool seeing this evolve. (As well as Bionic Dues, I wanna see that evolve too.)

Offline PokerChen

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Re: New version .814 now out! (Special Ability Blast Waves)
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2014, 05:03:50 PM »
 A little bit of additional perspective:

 Other games in which simultaneous resolution happens include Flotilla (turn-based simple order), Laser Squad Nemesis (turn-based complex order), and XCOM-Apocalypse (pause real time with detailed order system),  other than Bionic Dues.
 This could be just selection effect on my part, but I noted that games that adopt this kind of system generally wants you to delve more time into fewer turns, so that the turn-by-turn decisions you make can be generally more impactful. The 10-second turns+command system in LSN work out to be way too detailed in practice, since you have to account for lots of possibilities in that time, which generally results in up to ~30 seconds worth of orders being issued. Apoc is far more bionic-like but fine-grained. Flotilla uses squads and directional offense/defense in 3D to flesh out a very simple concept.

 Comparatively, TLF at this patch is a little thin on tactical depth. It has a lot of holdovers from the twitch elements of schmup-likes, but few of the old RTS trappings. Question is, what do you want to add to it? Making position matter in space appears more difficult in practice than you make it out to be in terms of "solution dropping in your lap a month ago". EDIT: I think for non-Misery players, bullets aren't going to be enough. I speak in terms of game difficulty. As for me, solution space too small.
 
 = = =
 On energy management between weapons/shields/repair/ECM/etc....

 Starfleet Battles, the table-top version, does all of this very well, but is horribly complicated as a result.  Its video-game adaption just streamlined everything into realtime, and the three incarnations of Starfleet Command iteratively streamlined and pared down until you got to III with only a chunk more complexity than space-combat games (Wing Commander/Freespace/etc.)

 Knowing what else is out there and how they performed on the markets over the years, I'd advise not going overboard with that kind of management - but I would like the equivalent operational abilities removed from the games and wrapped into this. I haven't suggested it because it frankly wasn't necessary in a schmup-like environment.


EDIT2: Movement changes feel better, consider complexity statement somewhat alleviated until I get more time to play.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 05:55:58 PM by zharmad »

Offline x4000

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Re: New version .814 now out! (Special Ability Blast Waves)
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2014, 08:30:26 PM »
Awesome. :)

I had another idea tonight, as well, that might add some added tactical complexity.  I'm going to be looking at that in the next couple of days.
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