Author Topic: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based  (Read 1718 times)

Offline x4000

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Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« on: March 28, 2014, 02:09:18 PM »
Original: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2014/03/0813-alpha-update-tlf-combat-becomes.html

The Last Federation is a really unique game in that it is a strategy/tactics game set inside a simulation game.  Check out its game page for details, or swing by the forums for the game.  This is Arcen's largest title ever, and we're really excited to share it with folks.

Alpha Information! Private alpha testing with players is currently in progress, and we will be adding more players throughout the coming weeks leading up to release.  If you're interested in signing up, please see this forum post.

This update shows off the next evolution of our combat model for the last federation.  The basic gist is that we took what we had, which was something of a twitch-based SHMUP, and we refined it into a thoughtful turn-based tactics model.  

You'd be surprised how little we had to remove and add to make that transition -- or, at least, we were.  This is something we were kind of naturally building towards as we've gone through our four major combat modes.

The SHMUP version of combat was really quite fun -- it just didn't fit with this game.  Twitch action in one mode and deep contemplation in the other made it a bit schizophrenic.  With the shift to turn-based combat here, it's grand strategy on the large scale, and tactics on the small scale, which is what we originally wanted anyhow.

But!  Since the SHMUP version was so fun, we're going to split that off into its own game later this year, built up around those mechanics specifically.  Essentially this game has split into two much more cohesive pieces.  And boy... this turn-based combat is the most fun version we've had yet.
If you want to read about the behind the scenes of the combat iterations in the game, here's a cool article about it: Behind The Scenes: Iterative Combat Design In TLF.

Enjoy!



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Offline GenScorpius

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2014, 03:59:59 PM »
I'm absolutely convinced after seeing this footage that at least the combat part will be a blast and that this combat model fits best to the kind of game TLF should be.  :)

I'm reserving judgement on the solar map part till I see more from it ...   ;)

Offline x4000

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2014, 04:01:00 PM »
Awesome! :)
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Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2014, 04:11:29 PM »
Looking forward to trying out this new build it's looking more polished than ever. On watching the video I wonder if perhaps a longer period for the actual turn part may prevent it feeling quite as stop start.

Also I'm not sure if this is the case now or not but do shields recharge slowly? The ability to move away from combat to allow a recharge so that the ship can then get back into combat may work well, especially since once your dead your dead in the game.

Offline x4000

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2014, 04:16:04 PM »
Looking forward to trying out this new build it's looking more polished than ever. On watching the video I wonder if perhaps a longer period for the actual turn part may prevent it feeling quite as stop start.

Possibly... but most turn-based games are frankly just as stop-start as this, in my opinion.  Either that or they just have excessively long animations (FFT I am looking at you, even though I love you).  If the turn parts were longer, you could not dodge shots anymore; right now it's kind of precariously balanced at just the level where you can, but you have to be very careful.

Also I'm not sure if this is the case now or not but do shields recharge slowly? The ability to move away from combat to allow a recharge so that the ship can then get back into combat may work well, especially since once your dead your dead in the game.

Yep, they do!  But not if you have been hit within the last couple of moments.
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Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2014, 04:23:06 PM »
That explains why I didn't notice I'm not good at dodging :-)

Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2014, 04:26:23 PM »
just got through watching the video and wanted to say that it looks really good!!  :) Am hoping to try it whenever a slot comes around and you think I can contribute. :)  Really, really nice!!  I hope the guys at RPS and some other places pick up on this... and hope they like it too. 

-Teal


Offline x4000

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2014, 04:27:49 PM »
That explains why I didn't notice I'm not good at dodging :-)

Hahaha.  That's where a lot of the tactics come in, at a higher level of play.  Really that only came in last version .812, though.  Before that, the shot speeds were too fast to do that.  In the older SHMUP model you could do it if you were a twitch gamer, but you'd still take some hits.  Now it's more about prediction, like lining up billiards shots.

just got through watching the video and wanted to say that it looks really good!!  :) Am hoping to try it whenever a slot comes around and you think I can contribute. :)  Really, really nice!!  I hope the guys at RPS and some other places pick up on this... and hope they like it too. 

-Teal

Thanks very much, Teal!  I'm really feeling like this one is evolving well, too.
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Offline Zinc

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2014, 12:01:42 AM »
I notice that the movement 'sphere' between turns is perfectly circular; i.e. the flagship can spin around and cover as much distance going backward as if it continued forward. That may be normal for shmups, but this game is no longer a shmup, and I think it would be worthwhile to make ship movement more restrictive with regards to changing the ship's trajectory. I'm not a tester though, so I don't know how easy or difficult it is to dodge shots in the game right now.

Offline Misery

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2014, 12:49:17 AM »
Ok, before I even mention anything else.....

Experimenting with abilities, and these are turning out to be a major balance problem.   Almost all of them are terrible. Getting a starting ship with abilities that actually make it viable takes many, many restarts.  The issue is that with the range most abilities have, the mechanic of not being able to move when using them means that you *will* get hit, because that range is generally within most enemy ships' ability to strike you within that same turn, or to fire so that there's alot of shots right next to you as you enter your next turn.  Things like the Gigacannon, nuke, virus, all sorts of others... are generally suicide if used.

This also goes for most abilities that are not attacks.  For example, the cloak.  The only viable way to use this is to be quite far from any enemies, which means that you use up most of it's active turns just returning to the fight so that you can do something.

And these abilities are necessary in many situations, such as dealing with heaps of Cutters (which I have deemed the "Goddamn Bats" of this game.  Could also call them "Stupid Medusa Heads" after those aggravating things that knock you into pits in the first Castlevania)


The good thing is, that other than this, there's not that many issues with the combat now.   The combat system is alot of fun, and it's pretty deep as well.  Plenty of challenge to be had as well.  Turned out to be a really great idea overall.


EDIT:  Also I'm really glad you made those changes to all the bullets and such.... it's all muuuuuuuch easier on the eyes now.  Much less eye-strain and generally just good-looking too.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 12:55:05 AM by Misery »

Offline Cinth

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2014, 02:52:25 AM »
Possibly... but most turn-based games are frankly just as stop-start as this, in my opinion.  Either that or they just have excessively long animations (FFT I am looking at you, even though I love you).
Off topic.

If you didn't play a summoner, the animation length wasn't bad.  I think it's about time to kick off another round of FFT (how to fit it in though?).   8)
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Offline Ipkins

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2014, 06:56:17 AM »
Hi everybody!

I am not part of the alpha round (not enough time for testing) and so I am watching from a distant while waiting for the game to come out. :-)

Anyhow, just a small comment from my side after watching the video: If you set your movement destination within your range, but smaller than it (say, at half range), currently the ship will move there at full speed for the first half of the turn and afterwards just stop.

While this might be the desired behavior in some cases (e.g. I want to quickly dodge these bullets and then stop to do some damage from a good position), in other cases it might be better to adjust the ship's speed so that it is moving for the whole turn with a constant speed, so to speak.

If this is not too much of a hassle UI wise it would be great to be able to choose between the modes (e.g. left-click or right-click or however).

Just a random thought to ponder. Since I have not played the game yet it might also be bullshit, so feel free to ignore it if this is the case. :-)

Keep up the good work, it is shaping up nicely and I am really looking forward to lay my hands on the final game (or a public beta or whatever).

Regards,
Ipkins

Offline x4000

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2014, 09:18:16 AM »
I notice that the movement 'sphere' between turns is perfectly circular; i.e. the flagship can spin around and cover as much distance going backward as if it continued forward. That may be normal for shmups, but this game is no longer a shmup, and I think it would be worthwhile to make ship movement more restrictive with regards to changing the ship's trajectory. I'm not a tester though, so I don't know how easy or difficult it is to dodge shots in the game right now.

The main thing is how long turns are, and that thus makes it so that you really can't predict well exactly the turning arc that your ship would have.  I tried it with a slower turning arc for the flagship in this model, and it just felt terrible.  You also can't really effectively move between lines of enemy shots, which is really a key thing to do.

Ok, before I even mention anything else.....

Experimenting with abilities, and these are turning out to be a major balance problem.

I know, I've been stewing over that for a few days.  I figured out a solution last night, though. :)  I think that with the changes I have in mind for abilities, this will be the final thing that really makes the combat shine.  Stay tuned, I should have it before Monday. :)

The good thing is, that other than this, there's not that many issues with the combat now.   The combat system is alot of fun, and it's pretty deep as well.  Plenty of challenge to be had as well.  Turned out to be a really great idea overall.

Awesome!  Really glad to hear that from you, since I know you loved the old model too.

EDIT:  Also I'm really glad you made those changes to all the bullets and such.... it's all muuuuuuuch easier on the eyes now.  Much less eye-strain and generally just good-looking too.

It was your idea -- I was really skeptical at first, but I really do like it.  It fits with having fewer bullets that do more damage, too.  That also will help performance enormously with low-end machines (Cinth's laptop has suffered in the past, while his desktop flies).  The number of shots out during a battle is something like a third what it used to be, if that.  But that makes each shot more meaningful, and actually so you can dodge, etc, etc.  So the larger size made a lot more sense there.

Possibly... but most turn-based games are frankly just as stop-start as this, in my opinion.  Either that or they just have excessively long animations (FFT I am looking at you, even though I love you).
Off topic.

If you didn't play a summoner, the animation length wasn't bad.  I think it's about time to kick off another round of FFT (how to fit it in though?).   8)

In FFTA, the Elementalists were the worst, in my opinion.  But Solar Prominence and so forth were just SO useful.  But just watching your guy slowly walk over, hit the enemy melee, damage pops up, you set your turning direction, camera slides over to the next guy, repeat... whew, I hate how long all that takes.  Granted, it hasn't stopped me from putting like 100 hours into that series, but still.

While this might be the desired behavior in some cases (e.g. I want to quickly dodge these bullets and then stop to do some damage from a good position), in other cases it might be better to adjust the ship's speed so that it is moving for the whole turn with a constant speed, so to speak.

It's something that would be easy to code, and we could certainly make GUI buttons for the modes.  I'm kind of skittish of making too many specialized modes, though, to be honest.  The more decisions a player has to make, the longer things tend to take -- whereas if you have a simple set of rules, then the player must play within those rules.  IE, in Chess you only get one move, you can't opt to "save" a move and use it later, or just skip moving anything.  So that cuts out a certain kind of complexity in Chess that would be just overwhelming.  If you could save moves and use them in pairs, you could set up forks and skewers with ease, for instance.

Not to say that this is on the same level as that sort of addition to Chess, but my goal is to keep things fluid, and the more things players have to consider at once, the less fluid it gets.  So there's just kind of a sweet spot that I'm aiming for between being overwhelming and being simplistic.  It's kind of a judgement call, the closer you get to that line, and right now I'm not really aware of situations where the alternate movement mode would be so useful that it would be worth adding.

Keep up the good work, it is shaping up nicely and I am really looking forward to lay my hands on the final game (or a public beta or whatever).

Thank you very much! :)
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2014, 05:28:42 PM »
EDIT:  Also I'm really glad you made those changes to all the bullets and such.... it's all muuuuuuuch easier on the eyes now.  Much less eye-strain and generally just good-looking too.

It was your idea -- I was really skeptical at first, but I really do like it.  It fits with having fewer bullets that do more damage, too.  That also will help performance enormously with low-end machines (Cinth's laptop has suffered in the past, while his desktop flies).  The number of shots out during a battle is something like a third what it used to be, if that.  But that makes each shot more meaningful, and actually so you can dodge, etc, etc.  So the larger size made a lot more sense there.
Oh, it still suffers, I just have held off on pummeling that horse for a bit.  Soon,  >D

Possibly... but most turn-based games are frankly just as stop-start as this, in my opinion.  Either that or they just have excessively long animations (FFT I am looking at you, even though I love you).
Off topic.

If you didn't play a summoner, the animation length wasn't bad.  I think it's about time to kick off another round of FFT (how to fit it in though?).   8)
In FFTA, the Elementalists were the worst, in my opinion.  But Solar Prominence and so forth were just SO useful.  But just watching your guy slowly walk over, hit the enemy melee, damage pops up, you set your turning direction, camera slides over to the next guy, repeat... whew, I hate how long all that takes.  Granted, it hasn't stopped me from putting like 100 hours into that series, but still.
I tend to not use more than the most basic stuff.  Just what you need to win.  Compared to its PS1 peers, I don't think the game had a lot of speed issues (I'm actually playing the PS3 version right now), and Square has always put a lot of flare into visuals ;)
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Offline Azurian

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Re: Video - 0.813 Alpha - TLF Combat Becomes WeGo Turn-Based
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2014, 06:00:08 PM »
A. I noticed that the "movement sphere" took a tiny bit longer to show up when you had the afterburner on, which makes sense since the radius of the movement sphere is larger.

B. I love the presentation and the atmosphere of combat. Having it been Turn Based is a great choice.

Probably for post 1.0 / expansion

B.  have some sort of reward system if you managed to defeat enemies in combat under X amount of Turns.

C. Certain Enemy flag ships can have the ability to Teleport small distances.

D. Certain Enemy flag ships can have "reflector" armor /shields that can deflect certain weapons like miniguns back.

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