Author Topic: Picking a tech  (Read 3133 times)

Offline Quitch

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Picking a tech
« on: June 08, 2009, 12:57:42 PM »
I see a lot of mention about picking a starting tech, but I don't recall that in the tutorials nor have I see an option for it. It just seems that the last ship in my dock is some new random ship each time.

What am I missing?

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,051
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2009, 02:22:26 PM »
In the lobby, when you are starting a new campaign, there are eight planets with a little ship icon at them.  Those are the valid starting positions, and if you choose one, then you will get that planet as well as the ship that is shown (it says this at the bottom of the lobby galaxy map display).  If you choose nothing, then it chooses randomly for you, so that must be what has been happening for you.

The tutorials don't cover this because it's something that happens before the game even starts, rather than as part of the game.  Choosing a starting location also seemed like a pretty familiar mechanic from other RTS games, so that was also part of why we didn't focus on that more.  Let me know if you feel like it is a larger issue, though.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Quitch

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2009, 02:54:25 PM »
Well perhaps I'm the only person having this issue so it's not an issue at all, but certainly I didn't spot this. I wouldn't say selecting starting position is that normal for RTS anymore, you'd normally just choose between Fixed and Random without specifying a point. In AI War I didn't even pay much attention taking the map simply as a display for whether you'd like the seeding or not and the special icons to represent special events or something on the map.

Even reading the text at the bottom of the display now I'm left with the following questions:

1. Do the other ships remain once I pick a location?

1b. If not, why not a drop down instead of map locations?

1c. If so does the AI get the ones I leave or do they await capture?

2. What if I pick a location without bonus ships?

Everything else was well tool-tipped.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,051
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2009, 03:01:11 PM »
Well perhaps I'm the only person having this issue so it's not an issue at all, but certainly I didn't spot this. I wouldn't say selecting starting position is that normal for RTS anymore, you'd normally just choose between Fixed and Random without specifying a point. In AI War I didn't even pay much attention taking the map simply as a display for whether you'd like the seeding or not and the special icons to represent special events or something on the map.

Gotcha.  I'll leave it for now, but we'll see what other people say.

Even reading the text at the bottom of the display now I'm left with the following questions:

1. Do the other ships remain once I pick a location?

1b. If not, why not a drop down instead of map locations?

1c. If so does the AI get the ones I leave or do they await capture?

2. What if I pick a location without bonus ships?

Everything else was well tool-tipped.

Whatever you ship type you pick is inextricably tied to the location you choose, which is is why it's part of the map and not a dropdown.  There might be a really great ship type in a really bad position, or vice-versa, as part of any given galaxy map scenario.  The other ship types that you don't select have no bearing on your actual campaign, they may or may not show up for the AI or through Advanced Research Stations.  They are neither more nor less likely to show in the scenario. 

The way the AI gets its ship types is unrelated to yours, by the way -- they might have the same types as you, or something wildly different.

For #2, you can't choose any locations without a bonus ship type.  That's part of the point of what it is telling you -- here are the valid starting locations, and here's the bonus type you would start with at each location.  Each of the 8 locations is likely to be a wildly different scenario, even if the map seed is the same and the overall structure of the planet links is the same (in other words, the stuff on each planet, where the AI home planets are, etc, varies by starting location as well as map seed.  Also by AI type and number of players, incidentally.)

Hope that helps!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Blam Stokel

  • Newbie Mark II
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2009, 01:02:40 PM »
I know that you want to force us to pick starting positions even if they don't have what we want, but my friends and I skip over some nice seeds because they don't have the ships that they want. Some way to scramble the choices to increase the chance that a seed would be preferable to us. I know you wouldn't want to make it so you could scramble until you got the exact setup you want, but maybe just the ability to scramble starting ship types a limited number of times per seed. I know this would be a bit difficult to implement, but it would make the map searching process a lot faster.

Offline T-Bone Biggins

  • Newbie Mark III
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2009, 01:16:46 PM »
I didn't know you could pick your starting position...I thought the pick your starting ship thing was random or broken and something was missing. I second that you should explain how to pick your starting position.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,051
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2009, 01:19:20 PM »
I know that you want to force us to pick starting positions even if they don't have what we want, but my friends and I skip over some nice seeds because they don't have the ships that they want. Some way to scramble the choices to increase the chance that a seed would be preferable to us. I know you wouldn't want to make it so you could scramble until you got the exact setup you want, but maybe just the ability to scramble starting ship types a limited number of times per seed. I know this would be a bit difficult to implement, but it would make the map searching process a lot faster.

Hmm, that's just kind of the nature of the seeds, is the main thing.  With a seed-based procedural campaign like this, the entire campaign is based around a single seed number; there's not a way for me to predict which seeds will result in which available ships, nor is there a secondary component that I could use to easily scramble the available ship types.  There's not anything I can do about that without rewriting the entire map seeding algorithm, unfortunately.

However, there seems to be some demand for different "styles" of galaxies, with differing numbers of connections and such.  It's an interesting approach to me, since it would allow for some even more different kinds of galaxies that are presently there, but I'm still kind of mulling over my options with that and how best to accomplish it.  Since I'll thus be breaking the single-seed approach there, I think I can probably integrate your "ship type shuffle" request in there around the same time.  This is a very interesting line of thought, so I'll probably approach it some in the next week or so.  Parts of this won't be easy, but I think this will lead to some good things.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,051
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2009, 01:19:48 PM »
I didn't know you could pick your starting position...I thought the pick your starting ship thing was random or broken and something was missing. I second that you should explain how to pick your starting position.

Okay, good to hear.  I'll make something more obvious there. :)

EDIT:  "Good to hear" in the sense that it's glad to find out there is an issue, since there is one.  Not that I was glad there's an issue in the first place. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Quitch

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2009, 01:20:43 PM »
I think something as potentially major as changing the map generation system should probably be expansion material.

Along with AI allies ;)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,051
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2009, 01:23:42 PM »
I think something as potentially major as changing the map generation system should probably be expansion material.

Along with AI allies ;)


Hmm, that's a good point, actually -- this is a pretty huge overhaul, and there's already 16 billion campaigns in there.  What does everyone else think?  Is this, or part of this, a dire issue, or is this something that should wait?  I could always do just a limited extension at first, and then add more "map types" in the expansions.

Along with AI allies ;)

Whoo, that's a big one.  I don't have any plans for that, the existing AI is just too different from how a human plays.  I would have to write an entire second AI system from scratch, which would take months...
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Blam Stokel

  • Newbie Mark II
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2009, 03:32:22 PM »
honestly I would rather have work continue on the actual gameplay in game, the map generation thing is a minor nitpick from my view, and if it would require totally rewriting the seed system, I would be more than willing to wait for it. This issue is far from dire in my opinion, especially since part of the challenge is dealing with the seed you are dealt.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,051
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2009, 03:34:49 PM »
honestly I would rather have work continue on the actual gameplay in game, the map generation thing is a minor nitpick from my view, and if it would require totally rewriting the seed system, I would be more than willing to wait for it. This issue is far from dire in my opinion, especially since part of the challenge is dealing with the seed you are dealt.

Okay -- fair enough, I'll put this on the backburner for now, then.  "Map types" will be one of the features introduced in the first expansion, then, unless this becomes critically important to someone else before then.  Thanks for the notes!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline T-Bone Biggins

  • Newbie Mark III
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2009, 04:30:07 PM »
I like the challenge of playing whatever seed you're given. Now if we can take the seed and add a modifier, like a simple one that mirrors the seeds, basically reverse the X and Y parameters of the map, if there's a Z leave it be. That essentially doubles your maps. This is on the assumption that maps are procedurally generated, then this modifier when clicked just affects the end result of the map.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,051
Re: Picking a tech
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2009, 04:34:18 PM »
I like the challenge of playing whatever seed you're given. Now if we can take the seed and add a modifier, like a simple one that mirrors the seeds, basically reverse the X and Y parameters of the map, if there's a Z leave it be. That essentially doubles your maps. This is on the assumption that maps are procedurally generated, then this modifier when clicked just affects the end result of the map.

Yep, they are procedurally generated.  A lot of the uniqueness of each map is not really visible from the galaxy view, but comes out when you see what is at each planet, etc.  Inputs for that are the starting player position(s), the number of players, the AI types chosen, and of course the map seed.  I'm currently claiming 16 billion possible single player maps with that, but it's actually 16 billion x the number of AI types x 2.  Later I'll also add a "map style" or something along those lines that lets you pick from something like "Standard" (the current style), and whatever other general styles I am able to come up with (perhaps "constellation," "islands," "river," and a few others).  Those will require some other planned features, such as warp ability, etc, though, so will mostly be a good fit for the expansion.

Definitely not hurting for scenarios even before the expansion, though!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!