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Not like other RTS?

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Sorceresss:
Well ... I s*ck at RTS games, mostly being a turn-based-strategy player. I purchased the game (in fact, my dad's credit card did!) as an impulse buy (pun intended), and I went through the tutorials.

As it is, the game seems overwhelming for RTS newbies. I'm stuck with having to play against TWO A.I.s, which are certainly better than me (although I can customize the gamesetup options to dumb down the challenge).

My point is : why do I have to fight TWO of them ?! Why can't I have the option to have only one adversary ?

Also, to stimulate single-player skirmishes (for those of us who don't have the time to get involved into MP games), why not do as most 21th-century RTS games do : allow the setup option of putting in as many "comps" as desired AND allow the human player to have a comp as ally ?

As an RTS "n00b", I would learn better that way : less pressure & stress. As it is now, you force me to fight TWO A.I. adversaries, with no ally whatsoever (in single-player skirmishes).

I'm aware that you won't be able to quickly modify your code to integrate such options, but I recommend that you expand the game-setup options to offer more flexibility and difficulty-management.

At the moment, your very limited ME vs TWO-comps setup discourages me from getting into a campaign : I feel overwhelmed by the odds. If I play at Sins of a Solar Empire, I can have as many A.I. allies as I wish, and as few A.I. adversaries as I want -- to have a relaxed game.

Not all of us are hyper-competitive RTS "pros". Why would you restrict your market appeal ?

 

x4000:

--- Quote from: Sorceresss on June 01, 2009, 01:10:45 pm ---Well ... I s*ck at RTS games, mostly being a turn-based-strategy player. I purchased the game (in fact, my dad's credit card did!) as an impulse buy (pun intended), and I went through the tutorials.

As it is, the game seems overwhelming for RTS newbies. I'm stuck with having to play against TWO A.I.s, which are certainly better than me (although I can customize the gamesetup options to dumb down the challenge).

My point is : why do I have to fight TWO of them ?! Why can't I have the option to have only one adversary ?
--- End quote ---

Hi Sorceresss,

I see your point, but I think there is a misunderstanding here -- you are thinking of the AI like you would a human opponent, or an AI in another RTS game.  The AI in this game is asymmetrical, meaning that it does not play like you.  There are always two AIs against you, whether there is one player or eight, and the difficulty of the AI scales to not only how many players there are, but also what difficulty level you put the game on.  If you play with them on difficulty level 1, the AIs will only be lightly defended and will hardly ever attack you.

If that's still not enough, you can give yourself a handicap (up to 300%) which will give you a resource boost by the amount you specify.  Also, you can put on the "1/2 Enemy Waves" AI modifier if you want even fewer AI waves coming against you.

I certainly don't expect everyone to be an RTS expert who plays this game; the fact that there are always two AIs has more to do with the story, and to provide variety on the planets that are out in the galaxy, more than anything else.  Even if there was only one AI, it wouldn't change anything for you because the AI players get all of the planets that don't belong to you at the start.  This game is meant to simulate more of a David vs. Goliath sort of scenario than other RTS games tend to, but on the easy difficulty level you should have no trouble taking down Goliath.  Let me know if any of that doesn't make sense, but if you play on the difficulty 1 you should do fine, there's no reason to stress out.

Potentially, if it makes a big difference to you, I could do something like make a "No Attack" AI Modifier that lets you play without ever having to worry about getting attacked.  Let me know what you think.  UPDATE:  Thinking about this some more, this seems like a cool AI Modifier to add, even if it turns out you don't need it.  This will be part of the 1.004 release when it comes out in a couple of days.


--- Quote from: Sorceresss on June 01, 2009, 01:10:45 pm ---Also, to stimulate single-player skirmishes (for those of us who don't have the time to get involved into MP games), why not do as most 21th-century RTS games do : allow the setup option of putting in as many "comps" as desired AND allow the human player to have a comp as ally ?

--- End quote ---

This is not a traditional RTS game in that sense.  It is co-operative only (in multiplayer), as it states in the tutorial screen.  There are a vast number of games out there that let you play skirmishes, but this is the only one that has the sort of scenarios and co-op options that we have.  We wanted to focus on what makes our game unique, and as our article on co-op gaming notes, this lets us do things with the AI that could not be done in the context of a symmetrical, traditional RTS game.  There are a bajillion other RTS games out there that are largely focused on pvp play and AI that simulates pvp play, and we wanted something completely different (this genre gets pretty stale when it doesn't innovate).


--- Quote from: Sorceresss on June 01, 2009, 01:10:45 pm ---As an RTS "n00b", I would learn better that way : less pressure & stress. As it is now, you force me to fight TWO A.I. adversaries, with no ally whatsoever (in single-player skirmishes).

I'm aware that you won't be able to quickly modify your code to integrate such options, but I recommend that you expand the game-setup options to offer more flexibility and difficulty-management.

At the moment, your very limited ME vs TWO-comps setup discourages me from getting into a campaign : I feel overwhelmed by the odds. If I play at Sins of a Solar Empire, I can have as many A.I. allies as I wish, and as few A.I. adversaries as I want -- to have a relaxed game.

Not all of us are hyper-competitive RTS "pros". Why would you restrict your market appeal ?

--- End quote ---

Try out the AI options I suggested above, you should find it very easy. The main disconnect here -- which is understandable -- is that you are approaching this as if it was another version of Sins of a Solar Empire or another RTS game like that.  When in reality, aside from the basic controls and mechanics, AI War doesn't have much in common with those.  Let me know if you still have concerns.

Thanks for playing!

Sorceresss:
OK ... Fair enough : your previous post explains very well the "game design philosophy" which guided you in creating that game. It's a fundamental meta-design choice you made, and I can live with it.

If I'm not happy with it, I could go back to Sins of a Solar Empire ... but if I asked that my dad buy your game, it was because it seemed original, different. I would then contradict myself if I blamed you for not having created a RTS game like so many others : consequently, I won't push the issue I was raising in my previous post.

Like I stated, I'm much more a turn-based-strategy player -- in the veins of the Master of Orion & Master of Magic genres (those were the first two games my dad taught me when I was 7-years old). This summer, I have high hopes for the Stardock Elemental beta, in which I will participate.

But I shall find time for your game, since I was inspired to get it precisely with the intent of experimenting with something radically new. These days, waiting for that beta, I'm mostly playing at Space Empires IV, which is a space-empire game -- but not an RTS. I'll try to find the time to experiment with yours, with more modest game-setup parameters.

Thanks again for your lengthy reply. Like we say in local, Quebec french : « cela m'a donné l'heure juste ».




x4000:
Sorceresss,

Thanks very much for your reply, that is very reasonable of you.  It's a hard line for me to walk, trying to create something that is "familiar" to RTS fans, but that is at the same time radically different.  Sometimes the differences bother people a little at first, but hopefully they grow on you.

However, on the flip side, if the game is doing something that is annoying that could be fixed in a way that is compatible with the overall design philosophy, then I'm more than happy to do it.  If there's anything that would make the game more comfortable for you, coming from turn-based affairs, do let me know.  My main objection to the "1 AI vs 2" thing is that it wouldn't actually change much based on how the game is designed.  But the "No Enemy Waves" AI modifier will be in there, and if there is anything else you think of that might help you out, let me know and I'll do it if I can!

On a side note, I'm actually the only dev on this game, and other than our music composer I'm the only staff member here.  We're tiny, funded out of my own pocket, and all the programming, etc, was done in my own time.  I'm fine with this, and don't want that to be viewed as an "excuse" for doing things in a poor way, but it is part of why we focus just on the game modes that make us unique, rather than trying to compete with the big teams who have millions of dollars in budget and 100+ people on staff.  We do what we can, and try to push the boundaries of what RTS means -- I think that's what indie developers can really offer to the industry at large.  A lot of times we are small and daring enough to try stuff that the bigger devs can't take a risk on.

I'll have to get my wife to translate your French when she gets home.  She used to teach French, and will get a kick out of it. :)

Sorceresss:
Your wife might not be aware of our local linguistic forms. Here, in French-Canadian Québec, we sometimes use 2 expressions to state that someone has given us precise info that "sets us straight" concerning a particular situation :

"Il nous a donné l'heure juste" = He has given us the correct time of day ;
"Il a remis nos pendules à l'heure" = He has reset our clocks to the correct time of day".

That's what you did in the post I was refering to : setting me straight on what was the correct way to approach your game, according to your design intent.

If the A.I. is as good as you suggest and if more game-setup options are added, your game should have lots of lasting, scalable replay-value as a challenging experience. It will be interesting to follow its evolution.

Also : I appreciate that it is a small 197 MB installation that seems to pack more A.I. punch than some 1200 MB+ programs which are bloated with superficial eye-candy. (I have Heroes of Might & Magic 5 in mind, to my very sad regret.)







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