Author Topic: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?  (Read 9664 times)

Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #30 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.
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #31 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.

Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #32 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 ^^
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 03:42:09 PM by eRe4s3r »
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #33 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?
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #34 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.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #35 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.
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Offline Mick

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #36 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.

Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #37 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
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Offline Mick

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #38 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.


Offline Wingflier

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #39 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.

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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #40 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...
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Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #41 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.
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Offline Misery

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Re: Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars?
« Reply #42 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.