Author Topic: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!  (Read 4010 times)

Offline nas1m

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2014, 04:28:38 PM »
Yup!  Probably late Monday, at this rate.
You know, you guys really make my head spin. Yet another combat model ;)!
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Offline FroBodine

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2014, 07:59:48 PM »
I will be drooling even more than I already am for this game if it is turn-based tactical space combat!  Old school Task Force Games Star Fleet Battles, shades of BASIC language Star Trek from the 80s, with Arcen's graphics?  Fuggedaboudit!  Tactical TBS space combat!  Oh, I hope, I hope!  This could be small or large fleet battles!

I vote for WeGo over IGo-UGo.  I have been playing Combat Mission Battle for Normandy lately, and the WeGo style of an orders phase followed by a minute of the action played out is outstanding, and tremendously fun. 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 08:06:13 PM by FroBodine »

Offline x4000

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2014, 08:09:11 PM »
It's WeGo that lasts a few seconds per go. :)
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Offline Breach

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2014, 08:20:28 PM »
Oh, very interested now. I'm going to be guessing that you've at least slowed down the combat at least somewhat but am interested to see how you've done it without gutting it altogether since it seemed relatively complete mechanics wise. Looking forward to seeing it.

Offline FroBodine

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2014, 08:47:52 PM »
It's WeGo that lasts a few seconds per go. :)

Hoopla!  You have made me a very happy camper.  What a stroke of genius you guys had.  I hope it turns out great!  Too few seconds per round might be problematic.  It will be a balancing act to figure out the length of rounds.

Offline Misery

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2014, 09:53:10 PM »
I really liked how the combat played out in the videos iv seen.

Hope these new changes dont change too much of it before I had a change to play it myself.
Unlike some of you I really enjoy playing the RTS parts of Total War.


Aye, pretty much this here.

I was enjoying the current sort, but.... hmm, other ideas are likely to put me off a bit.  The original combat, for instance... interesting but my patience for RTS stuff is pretty low.  That was neat to test but I would have ended up skipping it later on, and I aint patient enough to do JUST the solar map stuff, good though it is.  The pacing on it is too slow by itself.  I know there's fast-forwarding, but if I have to use that all the time then something's definitely off.

The current combat of this one I thought was doing a good job specifically of breaking up the slow pacing of the solar map stuff with something very fast paced, which allows it to keep my interest.


If this "WeGo" thing is what I think it is, hmmmm....  that'd likely end up as a "neat the first few times, just skip it afterwards" kind of thing in my case.  I like strategy games but I typically avoid that sort.  If I'm right about what it is, that is.

Offline Coppermantis

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2014, 10:53:48 PM »
The "WeGo" stuff makes me think of Frozen Synapse or Flotilla, in that each side sets the units' moves for that turn, and both sets are executed simultaneously?

Though I'm of course not in the Alpha, so I haven't actually played anything, I liked the idea of the way it was most recently the best. Shall be waiting for more information before making a decision, though. Could turn out to be much better.
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2014, 11:04:43 PM »
Quote
The current combat of this one I thought was doing a good job specifically of breaking up the slow pacing of the solar map stuff with something very fast paced, which allows it to keep my interest.
The problem was, at least for me, it didn't seem to operate very well as a bullet hell. The pacing was extremely slow and since the stakes were so high (one death and game over as opposed to the typical bullet hell in which you can start over without much penalty), it lent itself to a very slow-paced and kind of silly "batman in space" type casual top-down experience without much room for failure. Add this to the fact that it apparently wasn't even necessary in the first place, and I just couldn't see myself ever really using it.

Sure, it may have been fun maybe the first few dozen times times, but after that, why bother?

It just didn't seem like it was worth all the work they had put into it to make it an optional and rather mindless mini-game.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2014, 11:17:48 PM »
Oh, very interested now. I'm going to be guessing that you've at least slowed down the combat at least somewhat but am interested to see how you've done it without gutting it altogether since it seemed relatively complete mechanics wise. Looking forward to seeing it.

It's not actually having to change a whole bunch of code, honestly.  And really not having to slow anything down, actually, either, from my experiments so far.  Things take a certain amount of time, then it pauses and you give the next move and attack order, and it goes for a certain time, and repeat.  It's the same game as before, largely, except now there is no pressure on the decision making (time-wise), and decisions all have a much higher opportunity cost (you can't pop off several abilities at once, each costs a turn, etc; you can't be super-fast-aimer-man and spray all over the place, it takes the twitch skill out and puts the brain in).  Lining up shots is still super important, but now it's about prediction and setting up angles of attack, etc.  I'm actually finding this way more fun, although right now the controls are making me rage.  That's something I have a solution figured out for, but I won't be able to implement it until the morning.  It's not exactly a novel solution, I've seen it in other games, so I know it works.

And then a variety of pieces of combat and the abilities and the strengths of weapons and such need to be rebalanced, of course.  But that's basically changing integers and floats on data structures, and nothing more.  Except in a few cases, where something like cloaking will last for a certain number of turns before disappearing, and not be tied to whether or not you fire your gun or not, etc.  So some mechanics will adapt to the new system, but actually make more sense doing so.  Afterburner is another one that will be revised.  Those two are the big ones everyone was pointing out as being unbalanced before anyway. ;)

And the Operation abilities will be adjusted in ways that I think people will enjoy.  No longer slaved to your guns, among other things.

It's WeGo that lasts a few seconds per go. :)

Hoopla!  You have made me a very happy camper.  What a stroke of genius you guys had.  I hope it turns out great!  Too few seconds per round might be problematic.  It will be a balancing act to figure out the length of rounds.

Thank you!  I'm hoping it turns out great, too. :)  Most likely it's about 1-2 seconds per round, because frankly more than that and you lose tactical control unless the game is auto-firing for you.  Which isn't too fun.  But that's something that will be experimented with.  It may wind up that we have to switch to route-planning and picking a designated list of targets, and then something like 4 or 5 second rounds, or something like that.  I don't really want to do that, but if we had to that's not a ton of code and could be put together in a day of work.

Anyway, this will take some iterations I'm sure, and there may be some people who deflate on playing the first version of this.  Because, hey -- it's a first prototype, and needs refinement.  But so far my time with the prototype has demonstrated to me that it has the potential to be really fun, and it has been fun for me aside from the controls and the balance, which I need to work on a lot tomorrow before a release tomorrow night hopefully.  I think that if I solve those two things, this will be all set.  If not, then it's target designation and route planning, and that I'm pretty positive would work.  It's more indirect than what I want to do, is the main reason I'm avoiding it now.  But it may be what this evolves into, depending on how the more direct first version goes.

Honestly the pacing right now is sort of like a FFT game, except that in those it's IGo UGo.  Here it's WeGo, but with similar lengths of time to have things happen.  I find it working well on that level.

I really liked how the combat played out in the videos iv seen.

Hope these new changes dont change too much of it before I had a change to play it myself.
Unlike some of you I really enjoy playing the RTS parts of Total War.

Aye, pretty much this here.

Oh!  I have happy news for you guys, too, actually.  So, the problem here is that we've basically built two games, right?  I mean, this action game which I really do like quite a lot, and then the strategy game.  The action game just has to die for this project, unfortunately.  It's just the way it has to be, it has to turn turn-based-tactics.  That's going to appeal to the main crowd for this game more, and not have an identity crisis for the game.  This is and always has been aimed squarely at strategy gamers.

THAT said, we made 70% of a pretty cool SHMUP!  Why the heck wouldn't we finish that?  ;D  I've set aside a copy of the code from right before the switch to turn-based, and we intend to revisit that sometime else this year.  Stripping out the strategy game components from TLF, putting in some other sort of lighter layer instead, beefing up the SHMUP elements a lot and making that way more focused on the best parts of that genre with our own flair tossed in... and boom.  Another game.  Nobody will claim that's too similar to TLF, trust me, heh.  And it's something that will recoup some of the costs that we've had in making this, by being able to get two projects out of it since we... made two projects' worth of stuff out of it!  I imagine we could even make the SHMUP networked co-op, which might be a first for that genre, I'm not sure.  At least I don't know of any examples offhand, I bet you do. ;)

Anyway, one project can't be all things to all people, so we kind of have to split this in half, and really flesh out the purpose of the two sides.  The strategy side, and the tactical element that this combat part is morphing into, need to really scratch that strategy itch with TLF.  The action combat side really needs beefing out if it's going to compete in the SHMUP genre, and it needs a simpler hook than that huge solar map strategy game that TLF hangs on it.  If you're just looking for a SHMUP to play, there has to be a simpler metagame to it.  Kind of like how Bionic did, where there was overarching strategy but that layer was light and quick.

Because look, I really love the current combat, too.  I hate to see it go, also.  But this isn't a case of me bowing to the crowd, or whatever -- it just doesn't feel like the right mix for this particular game to ME, either.  Just for my own playing, the longer I play this, and then certainly from a marketing message standpoint we've realized its a disaster of epic proportions that was brewing.  A few recent articles kind of made that clear, although the articles were positive.  So it's just one of those things that makes sense.  We made two things, they don't need to be conjoined.

I was enjoying the current sort, but.... hmm, other ideas are likely to put me off a bit.  The original combat, for instance... interesting but my patience for RTS stuff is pretty low.  That was neat to test but I would have ended up skipping it later on, and I aint patient enough to do JUST the solar map stuff, good though it is.  The pacing on it is too slow by itself.  I know there's fast-forwarding, but if I have to use that all the time then something's definitely off.

The solar map stuff that you were seeing before was incomplete, since it didn't have the dispatch missions, among other things.  I will likely remove the fast forward option in the solar map, except for in observer mode, because it serves no good purpose.  At the moment, if you want to wait a certain amount of time into the future, you ought to be doing a dispatch mission, not fast forwarding.

And we're definitely not just going only to the solar map itself, or anything.  The combat is just being switch to turn-based tactics as a version of what we already had in terms of combat, rather than action-y.  There won't need to be an auto-resolve, because the combat is quick enough and ponderous enough that it's not something where that sort of text-autoresolve makes any sense anymore.   If we did do an autoresolve, it would need to be where it's like total war and you just push a button.  But I don't want to go there, at this point, because I don't think that the new design will cause a divide like the old model -- or total war -- did.

The current combat of this one I thought was doing a good job specifically of breaking up the slow pacing of the solar map stuff with something very fast paced, which allows it to keep my interest.

My goal with the new combat is actually that you can play it pretty fast-paced if you want to.  The time it takes to issue orders will be two clicks, sometimes less, so you can make it move almost as fast as you can think of what to do.  But it's more tense in a lot of ways, because you also wind up seeing several openings, and you stop and think instead of just shooting.  I find myself going "hmm, who do I shoot first, which is the bigger threat.  What arc are these guys going to fly on compared to me," etc.  And the satisfaction I get of lining up a swath of minigun fire so that in that turn it chews through a line of interceptors is just super satisfying.  It's almost a bit Pachinko-like in how it makes me feel.  Sort of.

The purpose of the combat is and was to provide a tactical element to the game, as opposed to a strategic one.  I think the new one is actually poised to do that better than ever before, because now the opportunity costs to actions are finally right.  With the RTS type of combat we first had, the best strategy was to just burn time and build a cloud of death around you.  Boring.  Not good.  In the recent models, we gave you cool tactical options, but the reliance on twitch skill really meant that you had to be right in the skill sweet spot to have fun with it -- either it was going to be too easy or too hard.  A frustration or a diversion or something you skipped.

If this "WeGo" thing is what I think it is, hmmmm....  that'd likely end up as a "neat the first few times, just skip it afterwards" kind of thing in my case.  I like strategy games but I typically avoid that sort.  If I'm right about what it is, that is.

I am hoping that winds up not being the case, but if it does wind up being the case, then I want to hear all about it, if you'll humor me.  As Cyborg so graciously did, when he didn't like the more action-oriented combat.  Ultimately we've come to a split, and I can't please everybody.  If you're getting kind of bored with the solar map stuff, then you're already at the edge of the main target audience for this particular sort of game to begin with.  Bringing it more in your direction pushes out the core audience.  I hope to find a middle ground where as many people as possible are happy, but that won't always be possible.

For the record, there are a number of WeGo tactics games that I don't really like.  And a lot of tactics games in general that I just frankly don't like.  They tend to be too clunky, or too slow, or disconnect me too much from the action.  Not that I want to feel rushed, but at the same time when I know what I want to do, I want to do it NOW, not "five clicks and waiting for 10 seconds of animations" to play later.  That's kind of what I mean by meeting in the middle: the ability to execute on your decisions as quickly as you care to make them, whatever that means.  So it becomes faster for those who make faster decisions, and slower for those who are more contemplative.

That's the goal, anyway.  We shall see what actually surfaces as we get into this.  But over the next few days, please do bear with me if you find yourself preferring the old model over the new.  I don't think that will be much of our audience, but for those of you who it is, I want to hear from you.  The truth is that I can relate to everyone involved on some level, since I like all of the above genres very much.  It's why they got mistakenly mashed together to begin with.  But for those of you who don't happen to have the exact mix of tastes that I do, that always causes friction when I do that.  I need to stop doing that. ;)

All righty, off to bed for me.  I should have a rough build for people to poke at tomorrow night.  And we'll go from there!

Pseudo-Edit: More responses, looks like.

The "WeGo" stuff makes me think of Frozen Synapse or Flotilla, in that each side sets the units' moves for that turn, and both sets are executed simultaneously?

Yes, Frozen Synapse actually does come quite a bit to mind in many many ways here.  I still need to play Flotilla.

Though I'm of course not in the Alpha, so I haven't actually played anything, I liked the idea of the way it was most recently the best. Shall be waiting for more information before making a decision, though. Could turn out to be much better.

Ideally you won't have to choose, if we do two games split off of this.  If you like one but not the other, that won't offend me.  But hopefully if you like the larger concepts of TLF, you will also like the new combat.  We shall see.  I don't see you on the alpha waiting list at all -- did you not have time or interest?  Cool with me if not, but there are spots open for later iterations if you like.  You've obviously been a valuable tester in the past, but I won't presume to impose upon you.

Quote
The current combat of this one I thought was doing a good job specifically of breaking up the slow pacing of the solar map stuff with something very fast paced, which allows it to keep my interest.
The problem was, at least for me, it didn't seem to operate very well as a bullet hell. The pacing was extremely slow and since the stakes were so high (one death and game over as opposed to the typical bullet hell in which you can start over without much penalty), it lent itself to a very slow-paced and kind of silly "batman in space" type casual top-down experience without much room for failure. Add this to the fact that it apparently wasn't even necessary in the first place, and I just couldn't see myself ever really using it.

Sure, it may have been fun maybe the first few dozen times times, but after that, why bother?

It just didn't seem like it was worth all the work they had put into it to make it an optional and rather mindless mini-game.

It wasn't mindless by any stretch, but it didn't achieve as many of the tactical goals as I wanted, either.  And you are right that for people to play it tactically, they had to play it in a way that is far too slow for a proper bullet hell.  Everything you said about what was preventing it from being a proper bullet hell game is spot on.  Hence our splitting that out into its own game, because I do like bullet hell games and with the right balance and some revisions and a different meta layer, I think we'd have a very interesting one here.

As it stands, it looks like we might get kind of double-duty off the work we put in.  The new turn-based stuff is pretty darn tactical (see Frozen Synapse, it gets tense), and then we also have 70% or so of a good bullet hell game that we can make later.  I didn't plan on that, but that's kind of what happened, heh.
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Offline Coppermantis

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2014, 12:13:29 AM »

The "WeGo" stuff makes me think of Frozen Synapse or Flotilla, in that each side sets the units' moves for that turn, and both sets are executed simultaneously?

Yes, Frozen Synapse actually does come quite a bit to mind in many many ways here.  I still need to play Flotilla.

Though I'm of course not in the Alpha, so I haven't actually played anything, I liked the idea of the way it was most recently the best. Shall be waiting for more information before making a decision, though. Could turn out to be much better.

Ideally you won't have to choose, if we do two games split off of this.  If you like one but not the other, that won't offend me.  But hopefully if you like the larger concepts of TLF, you will also like the new combat.  We shall see.  I don't see you on the alpha waiting list at all -- did you not have time or interest?  Cool with me if not, but there are spots open for later iterations if you like.  You've obviously been a valuable tester in the past, but I won't presume to impose upon you.



I'm not in the alpha because I don't really have the time to do much testing.  If I could, I would, believe me.

If it is similar to Frozen Synapse, then that sounds pretty cool. I'm just not so sure how that formula will translate to open space, as while I did enjoy Flotilla, it wasn't quite as fun as more "action" style space games like you had in the earlier versions and didn't hold me for very long. That the campaign was so short also didn't help, though TLF seems much, much better in that regard.

I think it comes down to that with FS, the turn-based WeGo mechanics were made a lot more interesting and relevant by the fact that you really had to plan out each move to work with what you knew about the enemy's position and objective and deal with the terrain and that single mistakes could be catastrophic, so the slow "Chess" sort of play worked really well. Meanwhile, in open space, that doesn't really happen as much, which I'll mostly pin on the lack of "terrain" to deal with, an issue that you discussed earlier when changing away from the RTS format. Thus, the short, simultaneous turns just feel like they're interrupting the combat. Flotilla kind of had to do this for their 3D movement system to work, which was fine, but it wasn't as fun as something like SPAZ.


Of course, I'm basing my thoughts on a single example, so, as I said, I'll wait until I hear specifics before passing judgement. It does sound interesting, I'll give it that.
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2014, 12:37:54 AM »
Just as an aside, if you're going to make a bullet hell, I think it would awesome if it were in the AI War Universe, as it already lends itself really well to that sort of thing.

Think about it, a single ship against a much stronger and seemingly endless overwhelmingly powerful opponent - It doesn't get much more AI War than that.

In addition, you could pull the ship designs straight out of the AI War lore, the bosses could be Guardians, the bigger bosses could be Hunter-Killers etc. Perhaps the player could choose between different human bonus ships as the protagonist, then possibly upgrade into into Starships or even Heroes as they game progresses (can you imagine playing a bullet hell as a Riot Control Starship?! LOL)

Basically, I think you have a wonderful opportunity to please your quite substantial AI War community by creating a bullet hell in a Universe of a game they already know and love, the pieces and story all kind of perfectly fit into place anyway.
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Offline ScrObot

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2014, 01:49:08 AM »
This is sounding a little like the combat in Space Rangers 2, though it's been a few years since I've played that, so I'm having a hard time remember exactly how it worked there. :)

Offline Misery

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2014, 04:41:23 AM »
Quote
Oh!  I have happy news for you guys, too, actually.  So, the problem here is that we've basically built two games, right?  I mean, this action game which I really do like quite a lot, and then the strategy game.  The action game just has to die for this project, unfortunately.  It's just the way it has to be, it has to turn turn-based-tactics.  That's going to appeal to the main crowd for this game more, and not have an identity crisis for the game.  This is and always has been aimed squarely at strategy gamers.

THAT said, we made 70% of a pretty cool SHMUP!  Why the heck wouldn't we finish that?  ;D  I've set aside a copy of the code from right before the switch to turn-based, and we intend to revisit that sometime else this year.  Stripping out the strategy game components from TLF, putting in some other sort of lighter layer instead, beefing up the SHMUP elements a lot and making that way more focused on the best parts of that genre with our own flair tossed in... and boom.  Another game.  Nobody will claim that's too similar to TLF, trust me, heh.  And it's something that will recoup some of the costs that we've had in making this, by being able to get two projects out of it since we... made two projects' worth of stuff out of it!  I imagine we could even make the SHMUP networked co-op, which might be a first for that genre, I'm not sure.  At least I don't know of any examples offhand, I bet you do. ;)

.....well THAT I didn't expect.  A good idea though, one way or another you'd latched onto something fun and interesting there, I think.  Definitely was quite enjoying it, unbalanced as heck or not.  I'll look forward to testing that in extreme detail.



Quote
The solar map stuff that you were seeing before was incomplete, since it didn't have the dispatch missions, among other things.  I will likely remove the fast forward option in the solar map, except for in observer mode, because it serves no good purpose.  At the moment, if you want to wait a certain amount of time into the future, you ought to be doing a dispatch mission, not fast forwarding.

Ahhh..... that's a good point.  I suppose that explains more of the purpose of those.

Hmm, it sounds a bit more like the approach I've seen with Anno, then.... if you're NOT taking some sort of action even when things appear to be going right, it means you're doing something wrong, and are probably not going to be built up enough for situations later.   That type of approach, I like.  As always it's the "waiting" part that just kills it in many games for me, so that being done this other way works out well.

Mere misconceptions by me, then. 

Quote
My goal with the new combat is actually that you can play it pretty fast-paced if you want to.  The time it takes to issue orders will be two clicks, sometimes less, so you can make it move almost as fast as you can think of what to do.  But it's more tense in a lot of ways, because you also wind up seeing several openings, and you stop and think instead of just shooting.  I find myself going "hmm, who do I shoot first, which is the bigger threat.  What arc are these guys going to fly on compared to me," etc.  And the satisfaction I get of lining up a swath of minigun fire so that in that turn it chews through a line of interceptors is just super satisfying.  It's almost a bit Pachinko-like in how it makes me feel.  Sort of.

The purpose of the combat is and was to provide a tactical element to the game, as opposed to a strategic one.  I think the new one is actually poised to do that better than ever before, because now the opportunity costs to actions are finally right.  With the RTS type of combat we first had, the best strategy was to just burn time and build a cloud of death around you.  Boring.  Not good.  In the recent models, we gave you cool tactical options, but the reliance on twitch skill really meant that you had to be right in the skill sweet spot to have fun with it -- either it was going to be too easy or too hard.  A frustration or a diversion or something you skipped.

I am hoping that winds up not being the case, but if it does wind up being the case, then I want to hear all about it, if you'll humor me.  As Cyborg so graciously did, when he didn't like the more action-oriented combat.  Ultimately we've come to a split, and I can't please everybody.  If you're getting kind of bored with the solar map stuff, then you're already at the edge of the main target audience for this particular sort of game to begin with.  Bringing it more in your direction pushes out the core audience.  I hope to find a middle ground where as many people as possible are happy, but that won't always be possible.

Ahhhh... this actually doesnt match what I'd thought it sounded like.   That's a better explanation of it.  Very different from what I'd thought it might be.   In that case, I dont think I'm going to have problems with it after all.

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For the record, there are a number of WeGo tactics games that I don't really like.  And a lot of tactics games in general that I just frankly don't like.  They tend to be too clunky, or too slow, or disconnect me too much from the action.  Not that I want to feel rushed, but at the same time when I know what I want to do, I want to do it NOW, not "five clicks and waiting for 10 seconds of animations" to play later.  That's kind of what I mean by meeting in the middle: the ability to execute on your decisions as quickly as you care to make them, whatever that means.  So it becomes faster for those who make faster decisions, and slower for those who are more contemplative.


Yeah.... that.  That bit is my issue with this type of thing.  Some of that sort of game creates way too much of a divide between the "do stuff" bits and the "watch it happen" bits.   The second is simply too long and dilutes the first one.  And making this worse is the fact that it can be confusing to watch the results, you can only look at so much of it at once.  So seeing it one time doesnt then even give you enough of an idea of what happened.   That gets just a TAD frustrating. 



The one thing that bugs me about all of this though is the same thing that bugged me the last time:  It's already been shown off alot, and people watching these can get a little funky about this sort of change.  It's something they dont see "major" (as in, not indie) developers do, and the more any dev does it, the more it seems to push some people away, because "well they cant even decide where they're going with it!".

Which is kinda derpy to me, because alot of indie devs do this one frequently, it sure as heck aint just you guys.  There's another developer I do alot of testing for, named phr00t, who generally does first-person action/exploration/freeform sorts of games (such as one that's best described as procedurally generated Metroid Prime), and I've seen him do this very thing numerous times.... suddenly some mechanic we've all gotten used to is ripped out, with something else jammed in there.  Works out very well in the end, and generally just isnt mentioned to anyone outside of testing.  I've even seen larger moba devs do that one (which is surprising), and it works out there too.  It really is a common thing among devs that dont have to put up with some giant publisher breathing down their necks.  But good luck getting that idea across to people.... there seems to be piles of complaints every blasted time.  It's really pretty irritating to see.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 04:46:10 AM by Misery »

Offline x4000

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2014, 09:19:39 AM »
I'm not in the alpha because I don't really have the time to do much testing.  If I could, I would, believe me.

Makes sense!

If it is similar to Frozen Synapse, then that sounds pretty cool. I'm just not so sure how that formula will translate to open space, as while I did enjoy Flotilla, it wasn't quite as fun as more "action" style space games like you had in the earlier versions and didn't hold me for very long. That the campaign was so short also didn't help, though TLF seems much, much better in that regard.

I think it comes down to that with FS, the turn-based WeGo mechanics were made a lot more interesting and relevant by the fact that you really had to plan out each move to work with what you knew about the enemy's position and objective and deal with the terrain and that single mistakes could be catastrophic, so the slow "Chess" sort of play worked really well. Meanwhile, in open space, that doesn't really happen as much, which I'll mostly pin on the lack of "terrain" to deal with, an issue that you discussed earlier when changing away from the RTS format. Thus, the short, simultaneous turns just feel like they're interrupting the combat. Flotilla kind of had to do this for their 3D movement system to work, which was fine, but it wasn't as fun as something like SPAZ.


Of course, I'm basing my thoughts on a single example, so, as I said, I'll wait until I hear specifics before passing judgement. It does sound interesting, I'll give it that.

Sure, makes sense.  The reason that this works (I believe) for this game is that enemies are all in constant motion (during the WeGo actual turn movement, to clarify -- not while you are sitting and thinking), and so you have to predict their lines of fire and aim more than one bullet at once, etc, to do maximum damage.  So there's some brief predictive work that you do in your mind before each turn, which is really satisfying to execute well (for me, anyhow).  The enemies themselves are so plentiful, and moving around so much, that they are the "terrain," so to speak.  If you were engaging enemies one on one, it would definitely be pretty lame.

Just as an aside, if you're going to make a bullet hell, I think it would awesome if it were in the AI War Universe, as it already lends itself really well to that sort of thing.

Think about it, a single ship against a much stronger and seemingly endless overwhelmingly powerful opponent - It doesn't get much more AI War than that.

In addition, you could pull the ship designs straight out of the AI War lore, the bosses could be Guardians, the bigger bosses could be Hunter-Killers etc. Perhaps the player could choose between different human bonus ships as the protagonist, then possibly upgrade into into Starships or even Heroes as they game progresses (can you imagine playing a bullet hell as a Riot Control Starship?! LOL)

Basically, I think you have a wonderful opportunity to please your quite substantial AI War community by creating a bullet hell in a Universe of a game they already know and love, the pieces and story all kind of perfectly fit into place anyway.

It could work, to be sure.  I wouldn't want to have the name "AI War" in the title anywhere, though, because I would not want to confuse people who thought this was more strategy goodness and accidentally bought a SHMUP, or people who thought this was more strategy scariness and stayed away even though they like SHMUPs.  I tend to like working with fresh storylines, though, because it gives me a lot more room for creativity to be honest.  But we'll see.  Exodus of the Machine had been set as a prequel inside the AI War universe, but that was Keith's story, not mine.

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Oh!  I have happy news for you guys, too, actually.  So, the problem here is that we've basically built two games, right?  I've set aside a copy of the code from right before the switch to turn-based, and we intend to revisit that sometime else this year.  Stripping out the strategy game components from TLF, putting in some other sort of lighter layer instead, beefing up the SHMUP elements a lot and making that way more focused on the best parts of that genre with our own flair tossed in... and boom.  Another game.

.....well THAT I didn't expect.  A good idea though, one way or another you'd latched onto something fun and interesting there, I think.  Definitely was quite enjoying it, unbalanced as heck or not.  I'll look forward to testing that in extreme detail.

Me too!  I was just having a super fun time with it, so it was not the sort of thing I wanted to just discard.


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The solar map stuff that you were seeing before was incomplete, since it didn't have the dispatch missions, among other things.  I will likely remove the fast forward option in the solar map, except for in observer mode, because it serves no good purpose.  At the moment, if you want to wait a certain amount of time into the future, you ought to be doing a dispatch mission, not fast forwarding.

Ahhh..... that's a good point.  I suppose that explains more of the purpose of those.

Hmm, it sounds a bit more like the approach I've seen with Anno, then.... if you're NOT taking some sort of action even when things appear to be going right, it means you're doing something wrong, and are probably not going to be built up enough for situations later.   That type of approach, I like.  As always it's the "waiting" part that just kills it in many games for me, so that being done this other way works out well.

Perfect!  And yep, exactly.  You should always be busy in this game, is the idea.  Waiting around is what kills games for me, too.  I adore FFT, but I can't stand how long it takes to go through the animations for each turn in battle.  It's a testament to how much I love the underlying game that I sit through those animations time and time again, heh.  Or with Civilization, I love playing that game primarily in co-op because it's fun, but I find the waiting between turns absolutely interminable.  We play in the WeGo fashion, but I'm inevitably faster than everyone else I happen to play with on 80% of the turns, and so I literally bring a book and read between turns.  Not exaggerating.  That drives me up the wall.

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My goal with the new combat is actually that you can play it pretty fast-paced if you want to.  The time it takes to issue orders will be two clicks, sometimes less, so you can make it move almost as fast as you can think of what to do.  But it's more tense in a lot of ways, because you also wind up seeing several openings, and you stop and think instead of just shooting.  I find myself going "hmm, who do I shoot first, which is the bigger threat.  What arc are these guys going to fly on compared to me," etc.  And the satisfaction I get of lining up a swath of minigun fire so that in that turn it chews through a line of interceptors is just super satisfying.  It's almost a bit Pachinko-like in how it makes me feel.  Sort of.

Ahhhh... this actually doesnt match what I'd thought it sounded like.   That's a better explanation of it.  Very different from what I'd thought it might be.   In that case, I dont think I'm going to have problems with it after all.

Sweet!

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For the record, there are a number of WeGo tactics games that I don't really like.  And a lot of tactics games in general that I just frankly don't like.  They tend to be too clunky, or too slow, or disconnect me too much from the action.  Not that I want to feel rushed, but at the same time when I know what I want to do, I want to do it NOW, not "five clicks and waiting for 10 seconds of animations" to play later.  That's kind of what I mean by meeting in the middle: the ability to execute on your decisions as quickly as you care to make them, whatever that means.  So it becomes faster for those who make faster decisions, and slower for those who are more contemplative.


Yeah.... that.  That bit is my issue with this type of thing.  Some of that sort of game creates way too much of a divide between the "do stuff" bits and the "watch it happen" bits.   The second is simply too long and dilutes the first one.  And making this worse is the fact that it can be confusing to watch the results, you can only look at so much of it at once.  So seeing it one time doesnt then even give you enough of an idea of what happened.   That gets just a TAD frustrating.

Right, for sure.  Right now, with approximately 1-second bursts of play, I'm not having that trouble in terms of understanding what is going on.  But I'm still tuning things.  I think somewhere in the realm of 1 to 4 seconds is the ideal range, at the moment.  Your ship is actively carrying out your orders and you are mentally processing feedback and planning your next move during those 4 seconds, so it's not like in FFT where you are spending 5 seconds watching your guy walk to the enemy, 1 second watching him make the hit, half a second watching the other guy react, and then 2 seconds with various popups coming up, and then another second or two while the screen pans to the next guy.  And then repeat that process for n number of enemies in the battle, etc.

Here you are much more engaged during the parts even when you can't control anything, I find.  That's again something that makes me think of Frozen Synapse.

The one thing that bugs me about all of this though is the same thing that bugged me the last time:  It's already been shown off alot, and people watching these can get a little funky about this sort of change.  It's something they dont see "major" (as in, not indie) developers do, and the more any dev does it, the more it seems to push some people away, because "well they cant even decide where they're going with it!".

The pool of people who have never heard of the game is far far far far FAR greater than the pool of those who have heard of it and might feel that way, trust me.  And our core audience of wargamers is a pretty dedicated bunch, and has a lot of goodwill to us from AI War.  I really don't see them turning on the game because of that.

Anyway, beyond that, I can't let that sort of thing be my concern.  I have to make the best game that I can, period.  Our choices are easily boiled down as:

a) Don't do any marketing until we are 100% positive that the game is essentially in final form, to avoid this very issue (we did this with Bionic and Skyward and others with mixed to poor results).
b) Do early marketing, and deal with the fallout of rapid changes (we did this with Valley 1, and despite lots of criticism that remains the game that has sold second-best to AI War).
c) Stay committed to any course of action we have started on, simply because we said we were doing it publicly (we've never done this, and it's one of the reasons I really don't want to use KickStarter -- being that trapped into a design would be disastrous).

We've tried (a) a lot recently, with poor results for good games.  So we're back to (b).

Which is kinda derpy to me, because alot of indie devs do this one frequently, it sure as heck aint just you guys.  There's another developer I do alot of testing for, named phr00t, who generally does first-person action/exploration/freeform sorts of games (such as one that's best described as procedurally generated Metroid Prime), and I've seen him do this very thing numerous times.... suddenly some mechanic we've all gotten used to is ripped out, with something else jammed in there.  Works out very well in the end, and generally just isnt mentioned to anyone outside of testing.  I've even seen larger moba devs do that one (which is surprising), and it works out there too.  It really is a common thing among devs that dont have to put up with some giant publisher breathing down their necks.  But good luck getting that idea across to people.... there seems to be piles of complaints every blasted time.  It's really pretty irritating to see.

So far there hasn't been fallout on this particular game that I've noticed.  We'll see if that changes.  The particular complaints on this one so far have been the "identity crisis" issue with the game "not knowing what it wants to be" in the sense of it mashing up two disparate genres.  Do you want me to think, or to twitch?  I think that's what was bugging people the most, for anyone who was bugged at all, and presumably our addressing that will be seen as a good thing.  Except those who will see it as us kowtowing to the market to compromise our creative vision, or us crowdsourcing design, or whatever.  Neither of which this is, but so it goes.

The bad with the good, there's always bad with the good.  It's just one of those things I have to accept about this job.  One certainty is that I will be criticized by someone no matter what I do, all the time, any time I make anything.  It's just a question of who, and how much it matters, really.
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Offline Mick

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Re: Seeecrit combat stuff coming!
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2014, 01:13:44 PM »
This is sounding a little like the combat in Space Rangers 2, though it's been a few years since I've played that, so I'm having a hard time remember exactly how it worked there. :)

Space Rangers 2 is pretty much exactly what I thought of when Chris described it. If it's anything close to that, it sounds like a good direction to me.

Interestingly enough, Space Rangers 2 pretty much defines the concept of genre "identity crisis" in a computer game.