Author Topic: Construction with out-of-planet destinations?  (Read 2338 times)

Offline Admiral

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Construction with out-of-planet destinations?
« on: June 23, 2009, 12:48:42 AM »
Hello all,

Is there a way to set a constructor (starship or regular ship) so that ships that come out will go to another planet? If so, how?

If not, please add that as a request, with these considerations:
a) Which planet to go to
b) Where in that planet to go to
c) What mode (regular, attack-move, free-roam)
d) What group move (group or lone, assuming "group" is for all the ships in that constructor's queue). If not, always default to lone instead.

Although I certainly could destroy my 16+ constructors and move them all, I just prefer to leave them in one place and change my reinforcement point to the appropriate planet.

However, the real annoyance is for the Advanced Constructor (level IV) which I have to constantly check back for and tell them to go the right place every now and then.

Thanks!

Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: Construction with out-of-planet destinations?
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2009, 07:42:24 AM »
I'm also interested in whether this is an existing feature as it would make things much easier to manage. One other thing I would love is to set and overall build queue for a number of ship construction facilites to a single rally point either in the same system or on another planet this would make building and managing fleets much easier.

I'm currently getting the final fleet together in the intermediate tutorial and need 1000 to 1500 ships and it's a bit of a pain manually moving the ship types to the main fleet.

Offline x4000

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Re: Construction with out-of-planet destinations?
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2009, 09:56:23 AM »
Is there a way to set a constructor (starship or regular ship) so that ships that come out will go to another planet? If so, how?

No, that's not presently a feature.  A couple of other players have asked about this so far, and my response has been that the planets are just more separate than that -- think of them like islands in a multi-island terrestrial RTS game.  However, this has been asked enough times that I'm rethinking my position on this, and have added this to my to-do list.  However, there are certain limitations given the architecture of the game (see below), since it is really built around the concept that the planets are very separate.

If not, please add that as a request, with these considerations:
a) Which planet to go to
b) Where in that planet to go to
c) What mode (regular, attack-move, free-roam)
d) What group move (group or lone, assuming "group" is for all the ships in that constructor's queue). If not, always default to lone instead.

Being able to set a waypoint inside a planet is not something I ever plan on adding, simply because it breaks the separation of the planets model, and also would require me to pretty much recode half the command structure for the game (literally), unfortunately.  The architecture prevents me from doing that, but even if it didn't that's not something I am real excited about doing just because I want this to feel like multiple separate smaller battlefields rather than one big one with a lot of choke points.  These planets are lightyears apart, there should be a little bit of cost in moving from one to another.

The modes of the ships (regular, attack-move, or free-roam) can be set for ships coming out of constructors, but if ships are given a cross-planet move order then they always move in regular mode (otherwise they are unlikely to ever make it).  So, only one of those can really be used at once.

Group move also isn't compatible with anything except movement orders that you give manually.  If you think about it, those are the only times when there is any "group" in which to give such an order.  In this example the ships are just popping out of constructors as lone units, so there's really no grouping there..

Although I certainly could destroy my 16+ constructors and move them all, I just prefer to leave them in one place and change my reinforcement point to the appropriate planet.

See, that's what I don't want people to be able to do too easily -- that makes it far too easy to defend your constructors.  However, if you're okay with the limitations above, and the (potentially long) amount of time it can take reinforcements to make it to a distant front, then certainly you'll be able to play with all your constructors on one planet.  But if you want them to be popping out in an appropriate mode, or at a certain location at a planet, you need front-line constructors instead.

I'm all for different playstyles, and this particular one has enough drawbacks that it doesn't make for too easy a turtle strategy, so I'm okay with the shift.  I still don't think it will be the optimal approach against very high-level AIs or on large maps, but to each his or her own!

However, the real annoyance is for the Advanced Constructor (level IV) which I have to constantly check back for and tell them to go the right place every now and then.

Yep, this is the part that really convinced me.  Having to babysit these is really annoying, I agree.  Having the ability to at least route them to another gather point on your planets for better use will, I think, be really helpful.

I don't want to come across as a stick in the mud or resistant to new ideas with my above post, but the main reason I feel the way that I do about the separation of planets is that it increases the strategic options and the difficult choices players have to make.  If it's too easy to turtle and just win from that position, then that becomes a defacto approach for a lot of people (myself included, actually -- I'm very much a turtle in most RTS games), and that just really reduces the strategic options available.  While I am quite a turtle in other RTS games, in games like Chess or CivIV that don't really have such a concept, I find those to be a lot more varied and interesting. 

So with AI War, I took great pains to make sure that there was no good way to play it too safe and still be completely successful.  That's why the knowledge acquisition requires taking more planets, part of why the planets are so separate as they are, amongst a plethora of other design decisions in there.  On the flip side, I also wanted to make it (like Chess or CivIV) comfortable enough to be stretched out like this, so that you don't get the unpleasant feeling of trying to defend forward mass extractors in SupCom, or something like that.  So hence all the turrets, the tractor beams, and the gate-raids, and so on.

Everything is a balance, and letting the players protect their constructors too easily is something that can throw off that balance to a fair degree if it doesn't have a counterbalance in place (since having the AI raid and destroy front-line or near-the-front-line constructors is an effective goal for them).  In this case, the sheer time it will take to route all the ships to your destination is the main drawback, but also the fact that they will all just be trickling into the destination planet in regular mode with no orders is the other thing that, I think, helps to keep this balanced.

Anyway, hopefully that gives you some idea of where I'm coming from -- I try to support as many styles of play as possible, as long as those styles of play don't lead to dead-end "best paths" that will reduce the strategy of the overall game.  So I wanted to just explain my resistance to some of that (aside from the architectural structuring limitations, which are only limited because I went into the design with these assumptions in place), rather than just saying "I'll do this part, but no to the rest" without giving a good reason for it.

Thanks for the great suggestion, and thanks for playing!
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Offline x4000

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Re: Construction with out-of-planet destinations?
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2009, 10:05:03 AM »
One other thing I would love is to set and overall build queue for a number of ship construction facilites to a single rally point either in the same system or on another planet this would make building and managing fleets much easier.

You can pretty much do that, in the most recent release here.  Just select the multiple docks at once, and then right-click the gather point you want (on your current planet), and then if the queues are different you can hit the Reset button, otherwise you can still give compound orders to all of them.

I'm currently getting the final fleet together in the intermediate tutorial and need 1000 to 1500 ships and it's a bit of a pain manually moving the ship types to the main fleet.

The best solution is usually to build some space docks on your front-line planets.  I tend to build 3-5, with 1-3 engineers on each, depending on my income level at the time.  You can always pause the queues on your home planets when you start building out into the galaxy more, which is usually really helpful.  In a big game, having clusters of docks on four or five planets is not uncommon, and you just unpause the ones that you need at the time, depending on where your current front (or need for defenders) is.

But, there's certainly more than one way to play, so hopefully having this new feature (as described in my last post) will aid you with your preferred ways!
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Offline x4000

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Re: Construction with out-of-planet destinations?
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2009, 05:07:43 PM »
Okay, a new prerelease is now out with this feature:  http://arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,137
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Offline Admiral

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Re: Construction with out-of-planet destinations?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2009, 06:17:08 PM »
First off, let me say it's your game and you get to do with it as you wish. The only practical constraint is to do with it what you think will sell the most copies, if you are economically motivated. :) If it were open source, I could do what I wanted to it, but frankly being closed source means I can just bug you for the changes and hope you will make them. Much easier on me!!! (Just to show my age: xconq as played by me and my friends was not the same game as anyone else's back in the early '90s.)

Anyway, thank you for turning around an improvement so quickly. I look forward to trying it when I get back from a vacation!


However, there are certain limitations given the architecture of the game (see below)

Ah, whenever I end up saying things like that the next thing I do is put a task in for a refactoring. :) Maybe in AI War 2...



The modes of the ships (regular, attack-move, or free-roam) can be set for ships coming out of constructors, but if ships are given a cross-planet move order then they always move in regular mode (otherwise they are unlikely to ever make it).  So, only one of those can really be used at once.

Perhaps it would be possible to add a mode "go into this mode when your current move is finished." Do you follow? (Not that you agree, and I infer you wouldn't.)

I don't want to come across as a stick in the mud or resistant to new ideas

See above. It's your game.

(I love all the discussion of SupCom, but I still think the definitive best RTS of all time is SupCom's predecessor, Total Annihilation. At least, I logged the most hours playing that in huge LAN games.)

rather than just saying "..." without giving a good reason for it.

That is appreciated.

While on the constructor thing... Do you think allowing additional engineers to support an Advanced Constructor should be considered? After all, there are only a few in the game and the ships, unaided, take about 30 seconds to produce.

Cheers!

Offline x4000

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Re: Construction with out-of-planet destinations?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2009, 10:00:26 PM »
First off, let me say it's your game and you get to do with it as you wish. The only practical constraint is to do with it what you think will sell the most copies, if you are economically motivated. :) If it were open source, I could do what I wanted to it, but frankly being closed source means I can just bug you for the changes and hope you will make them. Much easier on me!!! (Just to show my age: xconq as played by me and my friends was not the same game as anyone else's back in the early '90s.)

Anyway, thank you for turning around an improvement so quickly. I look forward to trying it when I get back from a vacation!

Sure thing, I understand what you mean there.  The main thing that people seem to appreciate with the game is the strategic depth, though, so I'm careful to safeguard that above most all else, as long as it doesn't conflict with usability.

However, there are certain limitations given the architecture of the game (see below)

Ah, whenever I end up saying things like that the next thing I do is put a task in for a refactoring. :) Maybe in AI War 2...

Well, in a general sense I am the same way.  However, in this case it's an architectural limitation based on assumptions that I still believe in.  :)

Perhaps it would be possible to add a mode "go into this mode when your current move is finished." Do you follow? (Not that you agree, and I infer you wouldn't.)

Yep, that sort of thing would definitely be possible under the hood, as long as there was a clear way to do that on the interface (which I can't think of).  Really, the problem with games set in space is that there is nothing out there -- just emptiness.  There's no sense of place, nothing particularly meaningful about one location over the next (no forests, no hills, no higher ground or cover, etc).  So in a game like this, I also have to do a lot of things to really make the planets feel like unique places.  Again, I was going for that "separate islands" sort of feeling from terrestrial RTS games.  It's just one of the design decisions I made, and I think in general it results in a lot of good gameplay that might otherwise not be present (if players are able to entrench too easily, there's no challenge in it at all, and it quickly becomes boring after a game or two).

(I love all the discussion of SupCom, but I still think the definitive best RTS of all time is SupCom's predecessor, Total Annihilation. At least, I logged the most hours playing that in huge LAN games.)

You know, I've heard that, but I never played it.  I was into AoE and then Empire Earth, etc, back then.  I didn't catch that series until SupCom and FA.  Kind of sorry I missed TA, but it just never crossed my path...

While on the constructor thing... Do you think allowing additional engineers to support an Advanced Constructor should be considered? After all, there are only a few in the game and the ships, unaided, take about 30 seconds to produce.

You can add up to 3 engineers to any kind of constructor, and basically adding 3 total makes it so that the time to build is about thirded.  That does make it so that your supply of Mark IV ships is more limited than the others, so that's a good reason to be more careful with those ships, repairing them instead of just sending them to their doom, etc.  One thing I learned over the course of this game is that scarcity provides many more interesting strategic decisions than proliferation tends to.  In earlier builds of the game there were no ship caps, for instance, and people just spammed the highest possible level of their favorite ship, and there were many other similar issues.  Just adding on some limitations made for a much more interesting experience overall!

Thanks, as always, for your thoughts and suggestions!
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