Arcen Games

Other => Off Topic => Topic started by: Hearteater on March 03, 2016, 02:32:05 PM

Title: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Hearteater on March 03, 2016, 02:32:05 PM
So I just saw this on steam in early access. It is the first I've heard of it. At first I thought it was just a packaged collector's edition of the first 3, but it looks like a true 4th game in the series. Has anyone been following this that has information besides the worthless "game press" who all sound like purchased marketing drones?
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: x4000 on March 03, 2016, 03:23:16 PM
"It's the most amazing thing since diced butter!  I couldn't believe my eyes.  4/10"
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Mick on March 03, 2016, 03:35:37 PM
The way I feel about Master of Orion is if you took the first or the second (whichever you like more, let's not even mention the third) and simply updated them to modern graphics, it would be... kind of a crappy game.

Don't get me wrong, I loved it back in the day.

Is this game good? I dunno, probably not.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: ptarth on March 03, 2016, 03:47:41 PM
The third was too ambitious in scope, but if you haven't played since release, go download the modfix and have a go. It isn't half bad. Sword of the Stars 1 (SotS 2 is a sad state of affairs) is probably still the king of the Space 4x.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Cinth on March 03, 2016, 06:21:48 PM
MoO III was my introduction to 4x.  SotS I/II (don't bash II, it plays just fine) and AI War all followed suit. 

As far as the MoO reboot,  I'll pass.


Hearteater: WarGaming has been teasing this game for about 6 months or so now. 
http://ritastatusreport.blogspot.com/2015/08/master-of-orion-first-screenshots.html
http://ritastatusreport.live/2016/03/01/master-of-orion-dev-diaries-early-acess/

Look around the blogspot site there for more stuff on MoO.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: chemical_art on March 03, 2016, 10:30:52 PM
The way I feel about Master of Orion is if you took the first or the second (whichever you like more, let's not even mention the third) and simply updated them to modern graphics, it would be... kind of a crappy game.

Don't get me wrong, I loved it back in the day.

Is this game good? I dunno, probably not.

I would agree. I adore the first one, but that is because with a modern computer the game plays like a chess game: The length of the game is really up to how long you take for a move. If you know what you are doing you can get a game done in one session, maybe two. If you were to update and weight it down then it would lose its appeal a lot due to it being slowed down.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: eRe4s3r on March 03, 2016, 10:51:39 PM
I don't see where this fixes any of the issues of 4x games in general.... but it has furry cat people with boo..boooooo... eh, yeah.... ;)

Aside that I think 45€ is pretty ballsy for this especially as EA price. In my mind you would have to offer something of immense scope to warrant that kind of price for a 4x skirmish sandbox without story/campaign and no, furry cat people is not that thing. Though I do like the art style ;) Ships and races look really neat. But graphics do not make a good 4x (see Endless Space)

I still think MOO 3, obviously with the metric ton of you mods that are a requirement, is one of the best, certainly the most ambitious, 4x games ever mad. And this new remake seems more like a casual dumbed down crash-grab by wargaming. If the dude funding this is really a MOO fan, then THIS is definitely not his dream come true. (Basing this on 2 lengthy streams I watched of this... functionality is there, it's a 4x.. but it's not dynamic, has no gameplay progression, nor does it have any staying power)

Point is. It's another fail 4x.. fun to play 1 or 2 rounds to completion.. per race. But then..

Still think 4x genre is really REALLY dead nowadays. Developers seem to cannibalize the same gameplay over and over and over and over.. I am not asking for breakthrough innovation.. but is it too much to ask to not have the SAME GAME remade 60 times?
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Hearteater on March 04, 2016, 01:46:21 AM
My initial feeling on ANY space 4X is it is probably not going to go well. That said, I still play MOO2, because it is just so much fun. Unfortunately, it has a few issues, mainly balance, I really wish could be resolved. I've even toyed with making my own MOO2 clone on occasion, but I agree the 4X genre is not looking good lately.

That said, I designed a space 4X a year and change ago I think would do amazing in the $10-20 price range and is within my ability and resource (one-man show) to create...and then real life decided to be a royal pain in the butt. Starting these things out is always such a pain for me. I've tried Unity, but it just feel so awkward to me. Looking into SDL2 which I think is really promising, but of course setting up the tool chain is never as easy as I'd like.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: eRe4s3r on March 04, 2016, 03:12:23 AM
To be honest I wouldn't be sure I could even define what would make a good 4X in space at this point, I have become greatly disillusioned, which is why I am still curious where Arcen is going with their 4x.., to me it seems like Arcen pulled the plug temporarily because they noticed that mechanically 4x games can be tedious to the extreme, and fixing that is not in any way easy.)

My beef with space 4X games aside from their endless retreading of existing gameplay, is that they are all combat focused. And this turns more and more into the defining problem. Imo the "better" 4x game is one where combat is a tiny PART and not the MAJORITY of gameplay. my own decisions should define progression in games... and how I interact with either other players or AI.

Imo as weird as it sounds, when I think 4x, I have to think of "Fate Tectonics" it's an obscure Indy game that I doubt anyone has ever heard off, basically it's... a weird.. kind of.. building puzzle, but since everything you do in there is based on random parts you need to place in order to make the "fates" not blow up the world you end up with different looking land every single time. Now this is obviously not a 4x, but whenever I think of 4X I think of that game and wonder why 2 rounds can't be different like this in 4X games.

Only MOO3 and SOTS 1 changed the races and combat up fundamentally. SOTS 2 was a monumental failure because the developers did not realize which part of SOTS1 was fun and which part was tedious busywork nobody flat out hated, but nobody wanted en-masse as main feature in SOTS 2 ... ;)

So long story short, I think 4x games in space are dead. The genre is just retreading existing paths and tropes. And not in a good funny "self aware" way either. I honestly think nobody sets out to make a bad 4X, but if your base is to clone MOO then you are 50% to the goal of "bad 4x" ;) No Moo version was ever a bad 4X, but trying to clone it makes it the same as all the other clones that failed, and sooner or later saturation hits.

Apparently there still people who buy 4x games purely for the visual fluff though (ie, Moo 4) and even I fell into that trap with Endless Space.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Hearteater on March 04, 2016, 03:56:43 AM
Ah, Endless Space. What a terrible combat system. Had real potential, and turned out to be pointless.

Anyway, I worked out a 4X design meant to be played single or multi-player in 35-45 minutes total. The entire thing is in real time, combat resolves instantly when fleets encounter each other. AI Wars influenced me in that you have pre-designed ships as part of your empire (5 specifically: colonizer, transport, escort, battle ship, capital ship) that you draft at the start of the game. Your win conditions came from combat, tech, growth, or diplomacy (first one to a win condition in any of the 4 wins the game). Growth required expansion and competition for limited resources, tech allowed for "solitary" play and required limited expansion, combat brought you directly into contention with others but hurt all their strategies expect diplomacy, and diplomacy was a win condition that was a two-way street...the more you use diplomacy the more it can be used against you, but using diplomacy benefited both the tech and growth strategies.

Great, now I really want to get back to it :) .
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Misery on March 04, 2016, 04:09:06 AM
To be honest I wouldn't be sure I could even define what would make a good 4X in space at this point, I have become greatly disillusioned, which is why I am still curious where Arcen is going with their 4x.., to me it seems like Arcen pulled the plug temporarily because they noticed that mechanically 4x games can be tedious to the extreme, and fixing that is not in any way easy.)

My beef with space 4X games aside from their endless retreading of existing gameplay, is that they are all combat focused. And this turns more and more into the defining problem. Imo the "better" 4x game is one where combat is a tiny PART and not the MAJORITY of gameplay. my own decisions should define progression in games... and how I interact with either other players or AI.

Imo as weird as it sounds, when I think 4x, I have to think of "Fate Tectonics" it's an obscure Indy game that I doubt anyone has ever heard off, basically it's... a weird.. kind of.. building puzzle, but since everything you do in there is based on random parts you need to place in order to make the "fates" not blow up the world you end up with different looking land every single time. Now this is obviously not a 4x, but whenever I think of 4X I think of that game and wonder why 2 rounds can't be different like this in 4X games.

Only MOO3 and SOTS 1 changed the races and combat up fundamentally. SOTS 2 was a monumental failure because the developers did not realize which part of SOTS1 was fun and which part was tedious busywork nobody flat out hated, but nobody wanted en-masse as main feature in SOTS 2 ... ;)

So long story short, I think 4x games in space are dead. The genre is just retreading existing paths and tropes. And not in a good funny "self aware" way either. I honestly think nobody sets out to make a bad 4X, but if your base is to clone MOO then you are 50% to the goal of "bad 4x" ;) No Moo version was ever a bad 4X, but trying to clone it makes it the same as all the other clones that failed, and sooner or later saturation hits.

Apparently there still people who buy 4x games purely for the visual fluff though (ie, Moo 4) and even I fell into that trap with Endless Space.

I agree with this bit.

I cant remember the last time I saw a space 4X game that wasnt disappointing somehow. 

I dont play a traditional 4X game to just fight wars all the time.   In a game of that type, there should be alot more to strategy than just fighting.  I mean, there's all that potential for things like political backstabbing, which can be entertaining as heck, or trading or... whatever.  So many ideas.  But alot of these space ones just go "Well we have all these big ships, CLEARLY the player will only want them to fire lasers at each other!", and just... ugh.   That's not to say that combat shouldnt be there, or be a mindless afterthought, but still.


Honestly though, it seems very hard to get a good 4X game of ANY type right now.  I cant remember the last time I found a good new one... ARE there any right now that are decent?  I dont mean Civ 5, I already have that.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: chemical_art on March 04, 2016, 04:37:00 AM

I dont play a traditional 4X game to just fight wars all the time.   In a game of that type, there should be alot more to strategy than just fighting.  I mean, there's all that potential for things like political backstabbing, which can be entertaining as heck, or trading or... whatever.  So many ideas.  But alot of these space ones just go "Well we have all these big ships, CLEARLY the player will only want them to fire lasers at each other!", and just... ugh.   That's not to say that combat shouldnt be there, or be a mindless afterthought, but still.

For better or worst, 4X is suffering an identity crises. Because what you described is great, but I view it as a whole separate genre entirely (Grand Strategy). 4X has exterminate as one of its words, and implicit in that is that unless one is honorable and so loyal as to allow me to win via diplomacy, I am going to kill you sooner or lately. The more that bogs me down from that goal (politics [external or internal]) is just fluff that slows down my goal. Which is what I meant about updates: Adding in more advanced diplomacy just ultimately slows down the overall flow from early to mid to late game.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: eRe4s3r on March 04, 2016, 04:48:26 AM
Ah, Endless Space. What a terrible combat system. Had real potential, and turned out to be pointless.

Endless Space has a combat system? Could have fooled me! ( yea yeah.. that's a lame joke.. sorry ;p) And here I thought everyone loved the pirates that grew infinitely in power (yes, REALLY) random pirates can have higher firepower than your kick-ass battlefleet of doom... and when you disable them you end up with no way to gain any fleet XP.... like.. WHAT? Why?) Also their strength was based on the average, so if you fell behind you could be defeated by random pirates... ;=)

Argh.. shouldn't have mentioned that. There are 3 games in my steam lib that I would remove if I weren't a hoarder ;P And that would be X:Rebirth and Endless Space... (and SOTS2.. ;p)

I agree with this bit.

I cant remember the last time I saw a space 4X game that wasnt disappointing somehow.

I dont play a traditional 4X game to just fight wars all the time.   In a game of that type, there should be alot more to strategy than just fighting.  I mean, there's all that potential for things like political backstabbing, which can be entertaining as heck, or trading or... whatever.  So many ideas.  But alot of these space ones just go "Well we have all these big ships, CLEARLY the player will only want them to fire lasers at each other!", and just... ugh.   That's not to say that combat shouldnt be there, or be a mindless afterthought, but still.


Honestly though, it seems very hard to get a good 4X game of ANY type right now.  I cant remember the last time I found a good new one... ARE there any right now that are decent?  I dont mean Civ 5, I already have that.

Yeah I have the same problem really. It's why I only later added "space" to that 4x ;) For me the last time I saw a 4x that I really really liked it was SOTS 1... and only until the "grind" to win appeared 20+ battles per round ain't fun....

Either I don't like genre anymore, or the genre left me behind and doesn't like me anymore.

Maybe we should make 3x a new genre, and remove the eXterminate as gameplay "pillar" ;)
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: chemical_art on March 04, 2016, 05:12:05 AM


Endless Space has a combat system? Could have fooled me! ( yea yeah.. that's a lame joke.. sorry ;p) And here I thought everyone loved the pirates that grew infinitely in power (yes, REALLY) random pirates can have higher firepower than your kick-ass battlefleet of doom... and when you disable them you end up with no way to gain any fleet XP.... like.. WHAT? Why?) Also their strength was based on the average, so if you fell behind you could be defeated by random pirates... ;=)


I have found the idea of pirates challenging, but I have seen two broad ideas for them:

1) Have the pirates be a faction that owes most of a game's planets / systems / etc. As more and more of units are lost the pirates get increasing stronger. Eventually an equilibrium is established in which it is easier to take other player planets rather then more NPC pirate planets...until the arms race catches up, then the cycle continues. One game did this and also holds the only time I heard the phrase (An AI War-esque mechanic)

2) Pirates are Human controlled. Humans are able to be displaced but not eliminated. Eventually they will resettle somewhere. They can carry out contracts, and their victory conditions are completely independent of the more traditional players.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Misery on March 04, 2016, 05:26:00 AM

I dont play a traditional 4X game to just fight wars all the time.   In a game of that type, there should be alot more to strategy than just fighting.  I mean, there's all that potential for things like political backstabbing, which can be entertaining as heck, or trading or... whatever.  So many ideas.  But alot of these space ones just go "Well we have all these big ships, CLEARLY the player will only want them to fire lasers at each other!", and just... ugh.   That's not to say that combat shouldnt be there, or be a mindless afterthought, but still.

For better or worst, 4X is suffering an identity crises. Because what you described is great, but I view it as a whole separate genre entirely (Grand Strategy). 4X has exterminate as one of its words, and implicit in that is that unless one is honorable and so loyal as to allow me to win via diplomacy, I am going to kill you sooner or lately. The more that bogs me down from that goal (politics [external or internal]) is just fluff that slows down my goal. Which is what I meant about updates: Adding in more advanced diplomacy just ultimately slows down the overall flow from early to mid to late game.


Typically I like the idea of "Grand Strategy" games, but their tutorials always seem to have been designed by extremely drunken monkeys with hammers, so I never get into those.  It was annoying enough to have to learn Dwarf Fortress by watching through over 50 tutorial videos (each at least 15 minutes long).... sure, it was worth it, but I still dont feel like doing that again with grand strategy games.  Which is a shame, really.  I mean, the tutorials for those may as well be "Okay here's the map, you start here, you have a keyboard, and when you hit keys, stuff may or may not happen, dont forget to click stuff, KTHXBAI!!!"

That's another rant though.

Anyway, what I meant was moreso that the 4 different X elements just need to be more balanced than they are lately.  Having war in the game in question is totally fine.  When the time seems right to do battle rather than negotiate, I'll do so. Explosions shall indeed occur.  I'm good at pixellated virtual explosions with lasers and stuff. Anyone who says otherwise doesnt know me very well. The problem is that with current games of that sort, the time is ALWAYS right for that, and anything else tends to be a bad idea (or just dramatically slower, which ends up being the same).  So I tend to get more than a little bored.  The Civ series naturally seems to be the one that handles all of this the best, but... it'd be nice to have another game that ISNT just that.  I've yet to find one.

Though, it doesnt help that for something like Endless Space, which has alot of combat in it, sometimes the combat systems are just outright bad... so you end up with mere drudgery.  Feh.  That game really wasnt very good, was it...  it seemed like it had such potential, too.


Quote
Yeah I have the same problem really. It's why I only later added "space" to that 4x  For me the last time I saw a 4x that I really really liked it was SOTS 1... and only until the "grind" to win appeared 20+ battles per round ain't fun....

Either I don't like genre anymore, or the genre left me behind and doesn't like me anymore.

Maybe we should make 3x a new genre, and remove the eXterminate as gameplay "pillar"


Yeah, I've had that same feeling as of late.  The genre almost feels kinda like much of the RTS genre, in how that genre... which seems to be mostly Starcraft now... ends up just being wild clicking and micro, instead of actual overall strategy.   With 4X games, it says "4X", but much of the time it's moreso "1X with some brief exploring sometimes".  I mean, obviously that's not true in a technical sense, but that's the feeling I always get from them.

Does make me glad I've got AI War though.  That's typically the game that fills this void nowadays.   I mean, yeah, that's combat-tacular, but it still gives me the same feel and there's LOTS of things to do that isnt just direct fighting.  Granted, all of it is to PREPARE for direct fighting, but still.  It sure feels varied as hell... which I cant say for 4X games lately.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: eRe4s3r on March 04, 2016, 06:02:04 AM
Yeah, I've had that same feeling as of late.  The genre almost feels kinda like much of the RTS genre, in how that genre... which seems to be mostly Starcraft now... ends up just being wild clicking and micro, instead of actual overall strategy.   With 4X games, it says "4X", but much of the time it's moreso "1X with some brief exploring sometimes".  I mean, obviously that's not true in a technical sense, but that's the feeling I always get from them.

That's a very clever thought actually, it's why I don't consider Distant Worlds or Sins of a Solar Empire 4x games, they are RTS that have the cloak of a 4x above but the meat of a RTS below.... it really seems like all 4x games want to be RTS games at the core, or that's what I assume since they seem to either focus extremely on combat, or.. they focus on combat.. but abstract it (wouldn't mind that, it's why I think Moo3 was the most ambitious of the 4x games out there). It's also why Sots 2 was a total failure, it focused so heavily on combat (including making it impossible to quick resolve) that all you did in that game was watch 1 or 2 ships dance around each other. Since every scout triggered a combat, and scouts early game could last the entire combat length... yay! ;)

There is also an extreme lack of innovation in rts/4x/management games to begin with. Why can't we play a hive queen and manage the hive for example.. or space-whales or parasitic species or symbiotic species.. and so on.

I think 4x games should move closer to RPG's rather than RTS games... but that's just me.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Mánagarmr on March 04, 2016, 12:30:19 PM
As far as good 4x-y kind of games go, I think Age of Wonders 3 is an admirable game that's enjoyable. Sure, it's not in space and it has more in common with Heroes of Might and Magic than with Civ...but I still think it's a pretty great game. And for as obtuse Galactic Civilizations is it's pretty darn great.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: x4000 on March 04, 2016, 02:37:29 PM
to me it seems like Arcen pulled the plug temporarily because they noticed that mechanically 4x games can be tedious to the extreme, and fixing that is not in any way easy.)

That about sums it up.  We're working on it, though.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: eRe4s3r on March 05, 2016, 06:00:15 AM
As far as good 4x-y kind of games go, I think Age of Wonders 3 is an admirable game that's enjoyable. Sure, it's not in space and it has more in common with Heroes of Might and Magic than with Civ...but I still think it's a pretty great game. And for as obtuse Galactic Civilizations is it's pretty darn great.

AoW 3 is though the perfect example of a 4x focusing waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much on micromanagement and combat. I mean the entire game is combat, even the way diplomacy with non player factions works is combat. Exploration.. 90% combat... ~.~ And turn based combat of all things...  Not that I dislike turn based combat, but turn based combat automatically means that 99% of combats are quick resolved for me. Since every combat would otherwise take 10+ minutes.. you can absically sum AoW 3 up as a game that is built around combat. Everything else they do is a sideshow to the combat....

That about sums it up.  We're working on it, though.

I am hoping for a breakthrough ;) The best 4x game ever made, the pinnacle of gaming goodness! So no pressure ;)
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Mánagarmr on March 05, 2016, 12:45:26 PM
AoW 3 is though the perfect example of a 4x focusing waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much on micromanagement and combat. I mean the entire game is combat, even the way diplomacy with non player factions works is combat. Exploration.. 90% combat... ~.~ And turn based combat of all things...  Not that I dislike turn based combat, but turn based combat automatically means that 99% of combats are quick resolved for me. Since every combat would otherwise take 10+ minutes.. you can absically sum AoW 3 up as a game that is built around combat. Everything else they do is a sideshow to the combat....

This is not entirely incorrect and while sometimes I'm absolutely not in the mood for that, I don't quite dislike that focus. The combat in AoW3 is enjoyable in itself to warrant playing. I basically only auto resolve minor encounters such as bandits and others, but most of the time I play out even those battles in order to maximize XP and minimize health loss.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Cyborg on March 05, 2016, 09:27:37 PM
The problem with auto resolve is that it's always suboptimal. It's always going to be a punishment, and for players who optimize all the time, it's hard to accept that.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Mánagarmr on March 05, 2016, 10:15:43 PM
The problem with auto resolve is that it's always suboptimal. It's always going to be a punishment, and for players who optimize all the time, it's hard to accept that.
It's not really a punishment as much as a tradeoff. You pay with a suboptimal battle (perhaps a lost cavalry unit or ranged unit, or less XP, or more damage than assumed) for saving RL time.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Cyborg on March 05, 2016, 11:14:02 PM
The problem with auto resolve is that it's always suboptimal. It's always going to be a punishment, and for players who optimize all the time, it's hard to accept that.
It's not really a punishment as much as a tradeoff. You pay with a suboptimal battle (perhaps a lost cavalry unit or ranged unit, or less XP, or more damage than assumed) for saving RL time.

It is a punishment and a very bad one. You accept suboptimal results not for a mistake, and not for a lack of understanding, but rather for not having all minutes in the universe to solve uninteresting problems. I consider that a failure in the game design, but it's one that we all put up with.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: eRe4s3r on March 06, 2016, 02:43:20 AM
The problem with auto resolve is that it's always suboptimal. It's always going to be a punishment, and for players who optimize all the time, it's hard to accept that.
It's not really a punishment as much as a tradeoff. You pay with a suboptimal battle (perhaps a lost cavalry unit or ranged unit, or less XP, or more damage than assumed) for saving RL time.

It is a punishment and a very bad one. You accept suboptimal results not for a mistake, and not for a lack of understanding, but rather for not having all minutes in the universe to solve uninteresting problems. I consider that a failure in the game design, but it's one that we all put up with.

We don't all put up with that ;) But when games like that get 81% average meta rating ... you may realize now why I called the genre doomed. It shouldn't be called 4X to begin with, AoW 3 is a combat focused turn based strategy game, the stuff aside combat (and not directly related TO combat) is less 5%, and the auto-resolve is of course a really bad crutch that developers put in once they notice that their fancy combat takes up way too much time. That is why Civ, Moo 3 are the superior 4X, you don't have influence on combat aside from how you designed your ships, battle orders and fleet order. Every combat is thus on equal footing with the AI and every combat requires the same (very short!) time. Same for stacks in Civ 4 or how it works in Civ 5... these games do not put any micromanagement on each combat engagement, they put micromanagement on the 4X aspects of combat.

I guess if I had to explain this better, I would say that a 4x with combat has to make that combat part of the gameplay. Not an additional game (I mean, often combat even has loading bars.. in this day and age!). As soon as there are basically 2 games, you end up with tons of problems when it comes to auto-resolve... not to mention the fact that battlefield and overland map don't fit together often...
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Cyborg on March 06, 2016, 03:19:22 AM
No disagreement on combat. Galactic civilizations 3 has an interesting solution. You get all of the visual giant space battle mental pleasure, but it's cinematic to the strategy and designs you implement as a player.

I would like to see a Dragon's Age (1) sort of solution, where you could design AI strategy for space battles. In this way, you still have to solve the general battle, but once you develop your strategy (and it works), you can reuse it later and apply it when needed.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Hearteater on March 06, 2016, 02:45:46 PM
Turn-based combat in a 4X is still doable. Imagine if you had command points that limited your ability to manually run fights. The further the fight is from a military base, the more command points it costs to manually resolve. Balance that appropriately and it could still be a workable system as long as command points are so high that you can still manually resolve everything.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Mánagarmr on March 06, 2016, 02:46:29 PM
...really bad crutch that developers put in once they notice that their fancy combat takes up way too much time. That is why Civ, Moo 3 are the superior 4X, you don't have influence on combat aside from how you designed your ships, battle orders and fleet order. Every combat is thus on equal footing with the AI and every combat requires the same (very short!) time. Same for stacks in Civ 4 or how it works in Civ 5... these games do not put any micromanagement on each combat engagement, they put micromanagement on the 4X aspects of combat.

So in one game autoresolve is a really bad crutch, in the other where it's forced, it's intelligent design. What? How does that even make sense? Are you also arguing that a 4X game can't have an interesting combat system? It has to be a quick rock-paper-scissors affair? Then I guess Endless Space really IS the perfect 4X.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Hearteater on March 06, 2016, 02:51:55 PM
So in one game autoresolve is a really bad crutch, in the other where it's forced, it's intelligent design. What? How does that even make sense? Are you also arguing that a 4X game can't have an interesting combat system? It has to be a quick rock-paper-scissors affair? Then I guess Endless Space really IS the perfect 4X.
If a game has no manual combat, then 1) combat can be resolved instantly keeping the time cost down, 2) combat can be balanced around auto-resolve results. If a game ALSO has manual resolve, it will always be basically always be better than auto-resolve and so optimal play requires you always manually resolve non-trivial combat. So auto-resolve isn't bad, but auto-resolve + manual combat generally is unless you do something special that limits your ability to always manual resolve.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Cyborg on March 06, 2016, 03:34:16 PM
If a game has no manual combat, then 1) combat can be resolved instantly keeping the time cost down, 2) combat can be balanced around auto-resolve results. If a game ALSO has manual resolve, it will always be basically always be better than auto-resolve and so optimal play requires you always manually resolve non-trivial combat. So auto-resolve isn't bad, but auto-resolve + manual combat generally is unless you do something special that limits your ability to always manual resolve.

Which is what I was saying. I thought this was an obvious fact about these kinds of games but maybe not.

Remember when AI war had manufactories, and it had a solvable solution? Keith got rid of it because it was no longer an interesting problem to solve and just busy work. A player would always have to do this uninteresting toggle or else accept suboptimal results. It's the same kind of thing, in a way. I would rather have the player working on strategy and being rewarded (or not) for interesting problem-solving than to repeatedly kick them in the ass for not playing whack a mole with some tedious mechanic.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Mick on March 06, 2016, 05:34:13 PM
I don't think you can ever say you can't have auto-resolve with tactical battles. The purpose is simply to skip the "gimmie" battles. In games like AoW the tactical battles are the focus. If you don't find them fun, it's frankly not the game for you.

I do think auto-resolve could be done better. For instance, it could be very clear to the player what the results would be. I think what frustrates players is they see a battle as a "gimmie", but the auto-resolve decides they are going to lose half their troops.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: crazyroosterman on March 06, 2016, 05:36:59 PM
I don't think you can ever say you can't have auto-resolve with tactical battles. The purpose is simply to skip the "gimmie" battles. In games like AoW the tactical battles are the focus. If you don't find them fun, it's frankly not the game for you.

I do think auto-resolve could be done better. For instance, it could be very clear to the player what the results would be. I think what frustrates players is they see a battle as a "gimmie", but the auto-resolve decides they are going to lose half their troops.
+1 although for me this on mount and blade seriously the auto resolve in that game is the utter worst.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Toranth on March 06, 2016, 07:22:34 PM
I don't think you can ever say you can't have auto-resolve with tactical battles. The purpose is simply to skip the "gimmie" battles. In games like AoW the tactical battles are the focus. If you don't find them fun, it's frankly not the game for you.

I do think auto-resolve could be done better. For instance, it could be very clear to the player what the results would be. I think what frustrates players is they see a battle as a "gimmie", but the auto-resolve decides they are going to lose half their troops.
+1 although for me this on mount and blade seriously the auto resolve in that game is the utter worst.
My personal hate for auto-resolve is Endless Space - it's one of the main reasons I quit the game.  It didn't simulate the battle at all.  It just compared the summary stats of the fleets.  I used a bunch of cheap disposable missile ships to wipe out much higher tech uberfleets... in manual (MAD FTW!).  In autoresolve, the game just said "Oh, your fleet has much lower HP, it was wiped out doing no damage".

In an ideal world, the game would actually simulate the battle in entirety as if it were manual, just without the user input.  Some games do something like this (Worlds of Magic) but unfortunately the AI they use is... well, 'dumb' would be unfairly complimentary.
I've been playing Endless Legend, and it's generally OK.  But even simple stuff like "Set up on the cliff, and wait for the enemy to approach you and your archers" doesn't happen.


The idea about command points could be a good play mechanic, if "manual" mode brought something special to the table beyond human input.  Maybe a "commander bonus" or special abilities or something.  But as Mánagarmr pointed out, if it is just a restriction on how many fights you can prevent from being brain-dead suicide fests - it isn't fun.  Again, Endless Space tried limiting manual battles per turn, and it was hated.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: eRe4s3r on March 07, 2016, 03:35:07 PM
...really bad crutch that developers put in once they notice that their fancy combat takes up way too much time. That is why Civ, Moo 3 are the superior 4X, you don't have influence on combat aside from how you designed your ships, battle orders and fleet order. Every combat is thus on equal footing with the AI and every combat requires the same (very short!) time. Same for stacks in Civ 4 or how it works in Civ 5... these games do not put any micromanagement on each combat engagement, they put micromanagement on the 4X aspects of combat.

So in one game autoresolve is a really bad crutch, in the other where it's forced, it's intelligent design. What? How does that even make sense? Are you also arguing that a 4X game can't have an interesting combat system? It has to be a quick rock-paper-scissors affair? Then I guess Endless Space really IS the perfect 4X.

Ehm, my point was that combat has no place as a separate element in a 4x game. I am looking at this maybe differently than you, so my point is maybe lost in translation. To me combat that doesn't change screen/instance to another ruleset is "inside the 4x element" while combat that brings you to an entirely different ruleset is "outside of the 4x element". And CIV4/5 has no auto-resolve, combat is executed directly in the main gameplay element. So I have no idea how you got the wrong idea there ;)

Endless Space with it's rock paper scissor nonsense and auto-resolve that compares HP values is thus exactly the opposite, it is among the WORST 4x. Because the AI plays by the auto-resolve rule only, every combat between AI's is resolved the same way, meaning the AI fights a different ruleset in the entire game against other AI's and pirates than the one you encounter when YOU fight manually. This is BAD game design to the extreme. Because it means you design fancy ships, but unless you fight EVERY battle manually you gonna have a really bad time. Or a really easy time... which is then already an exploit, because the AI can't counter you when it has to work in a broken combat system in auto-resolve but still face you in manual battle with completely different rules.

My point was that there is a distinct disconnect between AI vs AI and AI vs Player in most 4x games, and that automatically means that gameplay is gonna suffer, because it means you have to either auto-resolve everything, or fight everything manually. And focus your "designs" of ships, armies or whatever, towards 2 different gameplay rulesets.

And yes, I maintain that auto-resolve in ALL 4x games with optional manual combat is a broken gameplay element and if it there, means the disconnect between manual battle and AI vs AI battles is SO huge that there is no way to connect both gameplay elements properly. The list of games that commit this sin is endless indeed, and goes even into Total War games. The disconnect between AI vs AI and AI vs Player (even simmed) is so absurd that at no point you are playing the same game as the AI. Not even when you fight the AI manually, since you are quite likely much smarter than the AI.

What maybe I didn't make clear, is that to me CIV4/5 is the only good 4x game made so far. There is no good space 4x game with the exception of the galciv series, whose only flaw is that it is generic sci-fi to the extreme AND that is has way to few gameplay features ;)

Ps.: And auto resolve in Mount and Blade, by the gods, don't remind me. This is even worse in that game because you later on have lieges that fight in the AI vs AI ruleset, but when you join the fray, everything is suddenly different ruleset, your presence (not your actions!) can completely alter how combat of equal forces turns out in Mount and Blade... but MB is not a 4x, so I grant it that flaw ;) Manual combat in MB is great fun and there is really never a reason to skip it ^^
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Mánagarmr on March 07, 2016, 05:13:50 PM
In an ideal world, the game would actually simulate the battle in entirety as if it were manual, just without the user input.  Some games do something like this (Worlds of Magic) but unfortunately the AI they use is... well, 'dumb' would be unfairly complimentary.
I've been playing Endless Legend, and it's generally OK.  But even simple stuff like "Set up on the cliff, and wait for the enemy to approach you and your archers" doesn't happen.

The AoW games (and the original Master of Orion 2) did simulate battles in auto resolve, actually. Or am I mixing MoO up with Space Empires?
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: chemical_art on March 07, 2016, 08:11:42 PM
Regarding combat I feel it is a very fine line.

You can remove player input nearly entirely with games such as galactic civilizations, but the result is the player is very inflexible and limited as a whole. No designing ships in a meaningful way, no potential for tactics of any sort, etc.

On the other hand, the multiplication of options on the player side leads to what feels like exponentially longer games. It is easier for the player to exploit the AI and once battles get so large tactics start to lose a sense of cohesion and/or takes a longer then satisfying time.

If I had to design a system, i would have it actually be a lot like MOO 1. There is some player input, but the scales of the battles do not really change if there are 100 ships versuses 10000 ships due to stacks. I find it strikes the best balance. With the age of the internet it could be possible to have players upload ship designs that others could download, and winning ship designs could be put as AI ships in the next expansion.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: chemical_art on March 08, 2016, 02:55:37 AM
I will also add that MoO did tech right. Tech was great, however:

1)You did not need to research every tech
2)Some techs are more important then others
3)Not everyone gets every tech
4)As a result of 2 and 3 you need to trade tech some times, but you yourself can hoard techs as well for a while

The results are less are memorizing tech trees and more about adapting to the techs you are given, and either trading or stealing the rest that you need at the time.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Mick on March 08, 2016, 10:27:51 AM
I will also add that MoO did tech right. Tech was great, however:

1)You did not need to research every tech
2)Some techs are more important then others
3)Not everyone gets every tech
4)As a result of 2 and 3 you need to trade tech some times, but you yourself can hoard techs as well for a while

The results are less are memorizing tech trees and more about adapting to the techs you are given, and either trading or stealing the rest that you need at the time.

I agree, but players hate random so what can you do.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: eRe4s3r on March 08, 2016, 01:54:34 PM
I will also add that MoO did tech right. Tech was great, however:

1)You did not need to research every tech
2)Some techs are more important then others
3)Not everyone gets every tech
4)As a result of 2 and 3 you need to trade tech some times, but you yourself can hoard techs as well for a while

The results are less are memorizing tech trees and more about adapting to the techs you are given, and either trading or stealing the rest that you need at the time.

I agree, but players hate random so what can you do.

Make the perfect game ourselves... A mix of Factorio, AI War and Civ 5 ;P

Btw, I would not be against procedural tech trees ;P
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Mick on March 08, 2016, 02:35:20 PM
I meant to post about this the other day but I got distracted halfway through so I'll try to remember most of it.

I want to step a bit away from 4X and think more about "strategy games that have tactical battle elements". In this way, games like Total War and XCOM fit together under a broader umbrella. Both of these games have tactical battles that are interesting/fun in their own way (even if they aren't for everyone). Please don't get hung up on the specific mechanics of these tactical elements, I'm speaking in more of an abstract sense.

Now, both of these tactical elements have a strategic layer connecting each of the battles together. Each layer has an impact on the performance in the other. But here is where I think the XCOM example "does better" in the layer interaction. Every battle has meaning. If you are playing a Total War type game "correctly", you manipulate the strategic layer such that the battles themselves are extremely lopsided. Playing the strategic layer well means the tactical layer becomes boring. This can cause very negative feelings if the tactical battles are meant to be a huge draw of the game.

I think this is something strategy games need to think about if they are going to have multiple layers. I don't think it's good for one layer render the other to feel boring or pointless. So in a way, auto-resolve really is just an apology for a flaw in the game design. You need to find a way so every battle is interesting, either make it so one-sided battles are interesting in a different way, or make it so one-sided battles aren't even an element in the game at all. Both of these are difficult to do, and I think designers will need to unlearn some things in order to really accomplish it.

Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Wingflier on March 08, 2016, 03:43:17 PM
Honestly, I think the 4X genre should probably just be abandoned altogether by the greater indie community.

Certain genres worked in the early '90s because it was a very different crowd, which had a very different set of priorities and tastes than they do today. Most of those gamers are in their 30s or 40s now, many of them too old and with too many responsibilities to be interested in the same types of games they grew up with. Today's generation of gamers is not the 4X type, valuing patience, mechanics, and imagination over all else, and I think that has become abundantly clear.

Even the RTS genre in today's modern world is a nightmare. People just don't have the patience anymore. Amazing games like Grey Goo, Deserts of Kharak, PA: Titans, and to a lesser extent Act of Aggression are just getting pushed to the wayside. It doesn't matter how much advertising or free updates the companies provide, they just can't keep sales up high enough to justify the costs of making the games anymore. Then it creates somewhat of a snowball effect because a lack of players gives the people who are dedicated enough to play no reason to stay, because they can't find any matches, so they leave too, creating a dead zone where there was supposed to be a game.

So if people don't even have the patience for modern RTS games, I don't think for a minute 4X games are going to fare much better.

My biggest problem with 4X games, barring everything else, whether that be the tedious mechanics, the huge time sink, the often repetitive and boring nature of building up an army for hours before you can even attack, etc. is definitely the diplomacy. I've never seen diplomacy done right, in any game, 4X or otherwise. There's just no way to do it without making the patterns of the diplomats so predictable that you can take advantage of them, or so chaotic that it doesn't really contribute to the game in a positive way.

That isn't to say that it's impossible to create such a diplomacy system, it's just that to my mind, it's never been done before, and even if it were done, it still probably wouldn't attract enough of an audience to merit all the time and effort that went into creating it so it's a moot point.

Are there elements of the 4X genre worth implementing into a new form of game? Absolutely. I feel that AI War did this wonderfully, because I think we can all agree it was never a true 4X. Building a genuine 4X in today's gaming climate? Big mistake in my view.

Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: eRe4s3r on March 08, 2016, 07:22:10 PM
Abandoning genre constraints and merging the elements that work across genres would be extremely good news imo.. but most AAA developers don't dare to do that, and most indies are stuck in the weird belief that the world waits for yet another 4x that doesn't change anything in the basic formula over and over.

Being in my 30s I can definitely agree that my acceptance of "wait times" in games has become near zero (it's gotten worse since I got me a decent SSD, I am allergic to even loading screens that take too long.. and maybe also lulled in by many games that don't need more than 1 loading screen

In the end maybe it would really be the best end result if 4x and RTS genre with each of their current dogmas would disappear. It would allow developers to realize that just because you make a strategy game does not mean you can't have elements from this or that other genre...
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: crazyroosterman on March 08, 2016, 08:16:00 PM
Abandoning genre constraints and merging the elements that work across genres would be extremely good news imo.. but most AAA developers don't dare to do that, and most indies are stuck in the weird belief that the world waits for yet another 4x that doesn't change anything in the basic formula over and over.

Being in my 30s I can definitely agree that my acceptance of "wait times" in games has become near zero (it's gotten worse since I got me a decent SSD, I am allergic to even loading screens that take too long.. and maybe also lulled in by many games that don't need more than 1 loading screen

In the end maybe it would really be the best end result if 4x and RTS genre with each of their current dogmas would disappear. It would allow developers to realize that just because you make a strategy game does not mean you can't have elements from this or that other genre...
personally I wish we didn't need genres as a tag at all to many people are bound by them and it would mean wed more interesting games.
Title: Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
Post by: Misery on March 08, 2016, 08:53:21 PM
Ya know, something occurs to me, through all of this:  we're all talking about how unviable the 4X genre is, and... Arcen's most anticipated game right now is a 4X game. 

There's alot of interesting feedback in here that maybe could be condensed, and handed over to the devs? 

There's a variety of things I cant say about all of that which is being worked on, but it occurs to me that with where they are at the moment on it, some generalized thoughts on the genre, and what has gone right in the past with it before and what has gone wrong, might be something they could use.  And as we all know, feedback of any sort is always useful.

I really dont know if they have too much time to roam the forums right now, or at least, not enough time to read through every post... Chris as usual has alot of things to do, and Keith as well, so yeah, getting a big pile of condensed info might help... what do you guys think?


I agree, but players hate random so what can you do.

Bah, those players are boring.

Though, dont alot of 4X games actually still use plenty of randomness?  I mean, most of them seem to use maps that are randomly generated, which I assume has a pretty big effect on the game, regardless of which game it is...

Also, I like the idea of procedural tech trees that someone mentioned.  That to me would be alot more fun than just going through the same "most efficient" lines of techs every single time.

Though honestly, I tend not to like how tech trees are done in most games, either 4X games OR RTS games.  Tons of branching paths, often requiring you to get techs you dont really want in order to get techs you DO want.  I really prefer the way AI War handles them, where it's more like you can get "base" stuff for different ships whenever, and when researching, you pick a unit type to level up.  Instead of having to go through confusing paths of units every time.  It ends up feeling alot more varied, and like there's alot more freedom there.