Author Topic: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.  (Read 3494 times)

Offline x4000

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About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« on: March 31, 2014, 08:58:50 PM »
Heya folks.

So, despite a number of people loving the combat, we are also getting some persistent gripes.  Some of those were things that I have come to feel on my own anyway (the need for panning, for instance, pains me as well), while others are things that a number of players keep suggesting despite my feeling it's not the best (the "weight" to your ship and limited turning arcs).  And still others I did not think of, but as soon as they were mentioned, I knew they were awesome (managing power between shields, attack, and speed).

This stuff is currently in-progress.  The middle category of things -- the "weight" to your ships -- is actually done, and despite my initial worries, it feels really awesome.  A lot of things have to be rebalanced around it a bit, and shield recharge is one of them.  That's one that's been bugging me, but that nobody had brought up yet, to my surprise.  Anyway, that change is also in, and on Normal difficulty mode it is feeling pretty good to me at the moment.

Oh, and also the little lines that _K_ suggested for marking where shots came from was a stroke of brilliance.  I didn't do it quite the way he suggested, and I actually tried two different approaches today, and the one I chose I think just works extremely well.  It's unobtrustive and really clear.

That said, the panning stuff is not in, and neither are the power bars (though the graphics for that are done, I just have to code it), and there are some other things that are related, as well.  Impacts from shot hits being more noticeable.  Numbers popping up to show the results of damage taken and so on from the past round.  Changes to ship tooltips to give you the effective DPS of all your weapons against them.  Stuff like that.  Oh, and your objectives for the battle at the top of the screen, so you don't feel lost in the oblivion of "what should I do?" during the first battle in particular.

I guess I could release this piece by piece, but honestly I keep touching and tuning numbers on each piece as each further piece gets added.  So I'm thinking that would be a waste of your time to test something that is in that much flux, and a waste of my time to read your feedback on the non-final version.  Saving us both some time, I am hoping to have the most critical improvements done by the end of tomorrow, and then I welcome feedback at that point.

---

In general it worries me quite a bit the number of people who are rage-quitting due to lack of information or other factors, and I'm hoping that the next round of changes here will cut out the vast majority of that.  This really is turning into quite a polished little turn-based tactics system in my opinion, and despite my earlier feelings the "feel" of the flagships in the new version is a lot better and doesn't actually make dodging impossible -- it does make it harder, but that's not a bad thing.  When paired with the recently-changed ability explosions, and with the upcoming power-distribution stuff and the just-added shield recharge changes, I think those things balance themselves out while at the same time giving you more (hopefully interesting) factors to juggle.  I am finding it increasingly fun, and I already thought it was great.  But my great mission right now is to win over the people who want to like it but just can't for whatever reason.  We shall see.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 10:01:53 PM »
I'm really impressed Chris with just how nimble you seem in developing the game to try to expand the audience for this game. I won't know how I will stand once I actually try it* but the effort is impressive.

*My dislike for SHUMPS (is that how it is spelled?) is at least as strong as my liking grand strategy games. We shall see how it goes.
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Offline Misery

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 10:10:38 PM »
Hmmm, interesting.   Dunno what to think of that till it's out, though I have to say the power/shield/speed management thing sounds.... rather annoying, to me.  Sounds like the sort of thing that simply slows down the flow of turns.  At least within the current model, I cant think of situations where I would want to change these.  If I need to change shields, well... it means I'm getting hit too much, so I need to simply stop getting hit too much.  If I'm playing right, I'm probably not getting hit much anyway.  Speed only helps so much and doesnt matter too much with my own playstyle (slow or fast, it's fine to me), and attack power is fine on all weapons so far.

What does "weight" mean?  That bit in particular sounds concerning.  The idea that the ships' simple movement needs changing in a turn-based structure kinda baffles me.  They move in the straight line given... doesnt that make the most sense?   If there's shifting of speeds/angles or something DURING this movement, ehhhh.... I cant see that one as being at all good with this, particularly not at high difficulty levels (will get you really dead, really fast).  It'd drive me up the wall, at any rate.   Some actual shmups do this, and they quickly become a sort of situation where I just go "aaaaarrrrGHHGHGHGHG JUST DO WHAT I TELL YOU" followed by game deletion.

Offline Professor Paul1290

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 11:26:38 PM »
I think ships having more "inertia" to them will fit pretty well with the new combat. It basically means you have a performance ceiling and need to do a bit more prediction to evade effectively, which is a theme the current combat system pushes so this would extend that somewhat. Having better trajectory and speed info for projectiles fits with this as well as that also pushes thinking ahead.

Having some degree shield management fits would fit this too, as that means that taking hits is a viable option.

I guess taking a detour into tactics for a bit, this might sound a bit odd at first but recharging shields can often be thought of as an additional replenishing resource you can use to attack.
It might sound like good idea at first to keep your shields full all the time, and sometimes yes it is a good idea. However, having full shields that means that you have room to be more aggressive in your attack and you are not using it. There are advantages to being more aggressive to where you start taking hits to your shields, as that means that "resource" will keep flowing in and you can use it to spend more of your time maneuvering to attack rather than to evade and maximize your damage output.
Sure, sometimes it makes sense to keep your shields full especially in situations that are less predictable and where you need a margin for error, but at the same time there are also going to be situations where you can strengthen your attack by expending them.

Offline Misery

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2014, 01:45:16 AM »
I think ships having more "inertia" to them will fit pretty well with the new combat. It basically means you have a performance ceiling and need to do a bit more prediction to evade effectively, which is a theme the current combat system pushes so this would extend that somewhat. Having better trajectory and speed info for projectiles fits with this as well as that also pushes thinking ahead.



Ehhh.... I dunno.   Frankly, it sounds more like an unnecessary addition that'd just bog things down.  The thing with this type of combat is that, PARTICULARLY if the game is outright pointing it out to you, it's very easy to not NEED to spend any time trying to predict.  It can become effortless.  I realize I'm not exactly the best example for this, but even on the highest difficulty, I find there's no thought involved in figuring out where the shots will be next;  their speed and trajectory make it extremely obvious.  There's no effort on my part to see this.... and that's without this addition that shows you their pathing.

The prediction element never seems to apply to the bullets... it only applies to the enemies.  It's never a question of "Ok, these bullets are going THIS way right now... but what direction might they go NEXT turn?", instead it's that sort of question but related to the ships themselves only... which to me, is how it should be.  The ships themselves can require prediction.... to a point, anyway, as their AI is pretty simple.  But the stuff they fire, there really isnt any need for that as you get used to it.

With the prediction element blanked out, messing with the ship's movement... and making it less "direct" (like it is now) would cause more of a "I wish it'd just move in the straight line at the speed I want it, it's annoying that it doesnt" sort of thing.  Extra effort/time becomes necessary without actually increasing the challenge.


Honestly, the whole idea of this.... if indeed it is what I think it is.... would be something I would classify as "fake difficulty", and that's NEVER a good thing in any game.

Far as I'm concerned, if something like that were to occur, I'd end up just dropping the difficulty as low as it'd go just to crash through and get the battles over with ASAP, if the game does not allow to outright skip them.  Definitely not a game element that I tolerate well.

Offline Professor Paul1290

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2014, 02:28:43 AM »
Ehhh.... I dunno.   Frankly, it sounds more like an unnecessary addition that'd just bog things down.  The thing with this type of combat is that, PARTICULARLY if the game is outright pointing it out to you, it's very easy to not NEED to spend any time trying to predict.  It can become effortless.  I realize I'm not exactly the best example for this, but even on the highest difficulty, I find there's no thought involved in figuring out where the shots will be next;  their speed and trajectory make it extremely obvious.  There's no effort on my part to see this.... and that's without this addition that shows you their pathing.

The prediction element never seems to apply to the bullets... it only applies to the enemies.  It's never a question of "Ok, these bullets are going THIS way right now... but what direction might they go NEXT turn?", instead it's that sort of question but related to the ships themselves only... which to me, is how it should be.  The ships themselves can require prediction.... to a point, anyway, as their AI is pretty simple.  But the stuff they fire, there really isnt any need for that as you get used to it.

With the prediction element blanked out, messing with the ship's movement... and making it less "direct" (like it is now) would cause more of a "I wish it'd just move in the straight line at the speed I want it, it's annoying that it doesnt" sort of thing.  Extra effort/time becomes necessary without actually increasing the challenge.


Honestly, the whole idea of this.... if indeed it is what I think it is.... would be something I would classify as "fake difficulty", and that's NEVER a good thing in any game.

Far as I'm concerned, if something like that were to occur, I'd end up just dropping the difficulty as low as it'd go just to crash through and get the battles over with ASAP, if the game does not allow to outright skip them.  Definitely not a game element that I tolerate well.

Maybe it's the wording of this, but I'm having a trouble following how this goes.

If giving the ship movement more inertia and making it less direct doesn't increase difficulty at all, I'm not sure how it can be called "fake difficulty" as it isn't introducing difficulty to begin with.
At worst it's slowing the flow of combat and that seems like it would be more of a pacing concern than anything else.

If it does introduce difficulty but it becomes a habit to the point of being trivialized, I'm not sure how that's much different from anything else. Most moment to moment actions in games become trivialized given enough time with them time, that's part how you get better at games. Not to mention that would mean that it can be learned and trivialized seems to directly contradict the idea that it can be "fake difficulty".

I'm sort of reading the idea that somehow making control of movement "indirect" results in "fake difficulty", but that seems a bit too sweeping to make sense.
This would pretty much hold that any game that involves much of a physics engine that affects your movement would involve "fake difficulty". Games that involve maneuvering a size-able vehicle or aircraft would involve "fake difficulty". Even Dark Souls would have a lot of "fake difficulty", as it's combat system was intentionally designed to have most attacks and moves be pretty slow compared to most other games in its genre.


The biggest thing I'm getting from this is the vague idea that somehow making movement control more "indirect" somehow "feels wrong" and is "annoying".
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 02:32:35 AM by Professor Paul1290 »

Offline Cyprene

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2014, 02:51:56 AM »
So what's the release date on this again?  Is it announced yet?

Offline Misery

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2014, 07:38:32 AM »
Ehhh.... I dunno.   Frankly, it sounds more like an unnecessary addition that'd just bog things down.  The thing with this type of combat is that, PARTICULARLY if the game is outright pointing it out to you, it's very easy to not NEED to spend any time trying to predict.  It can become effortless.  I realize I'm not exactly the best example for this, but even on the highest difficulty, I find there's no thought involved in figuring out where the shots will be next;  their speed and trajectory make it extremely obvious.  There's no effort on my part to see this.... and that's without this addition that shows you their pathing.

The prediction element never seems to apply to the bullets... it only applies to the enemies.  It's never a question of "Ok, these bullets are going THIS way right now... but what direction might they go NEXT turn?", instead it's that sort of question but related to the ships themselves only... which to me, is how it should be.  The ships themselves can require prediction.... to a point, anyway, as their AI is pretty simple.  But the stuff they fire, there really isnt any need for that as you get used to it.

With the prediction element blanked out, messing with the ship's movement... and making it less "direct" (like it is now) would cause more of a "I wish it'd just move in the straight line at the speed I want it, it's annoying that it doesnt" sort of thing.  Extra effort/time becomes necessary without actually increasing the challenge.


Honestly, the whole idea of this.... if indeed it is what I think it is.... would be something I would classify as "fake difficulty", and that's NEVER a good thing in any game.

Far as I'm concerned, if something like that were to occur, I'd end up just dropping the difficulty as low as it'd go just to crash through and get the battles over with ASAP, if the game does not allow to outright skip them.  Definitely not a game element that I tolerate well.

Maybe it's the wording of this, but I'm having a trouble following how this goes.

If giving the ship movement more inertia and making it less direct doesn't increase difficulty at all, I'm not sure how it can be called "fake difficulty" as it isn't introducing difficulty to begin with.
At worst it's slowing the flow of combat and that seems like it would be more of a pacing concern than anything else.

If it does introduce difficulty but it becomes a habit to the point of being trivialized, I'm not sure how that's much different from anything else. Most moment to moment actions in games become trivialized given enough time with them time, that's part how you get better at games. Not to mention that would mean that it can be learned and trivialized seems to directly contradict the idea that it can be "fake difficulty".

I'm sort of reading the idea that somehow making control of movement "indirect" results in "fake difficulty", but that seems a bit too sweeping to make sense.
This would pretty much hold that any game that involves much of a physics engine that affects your movement would involve "fake difficulty". Games that involve maneuvering a size-able vehicle or aircraft would involve "fake difficulty". Even Dark Souls would have a lot of "fake difficulty", as it's combat system was intentionally designed to have most attacks and moves be pretty slow compared to most other games in its genre.


The biggest thing I'm getting from this is the vague idea that somehow making movement control more "indirect" somehow "feels wrong" and is "annoying".

Aye, my wording isnt always very good.

The bit without the difficulty is ONLY the prediction.  That bit is effortless.   What I essentially mean though, is adding stuff like inertia and whatever can make you crash into the damaging stuff ANYWAY, in the exact sort of manner that should only exist in a twitch-style game.  Your movements are no longer exact, so even though you know where you SHOULD go, you may not end up there.  For a game like this, that's exactly the wrong way to do it, and that's where the "fake difficulty" comes into play. It's adding difficulty in a very artificial way.... not by altering the attack patterns, not by increasing the intelligence of the AI, not by adding new and dangerous mission types or elements like more turrets or something, but instead just by going "Well, now your ship doesnt move directly anymore, so, yeah, good luck with that". The fake difficulty concept goes deeper than just that, but that's a good enouch explanation.

This game working like it does, the movement should be very direct;  you click a spot, and without any funky movements or wonky curving, or speed-up/speed-down your ship moves to that spot, and that spot is where it ends up.  Anything beyond that adds nothing but frustration and cheap deaths.

Offline Mick

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2014, 07:46:00 AM »
I think it's best to see it in action before making judgement.

Offline Misery

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2014, 08:14:09 AM »
Yeah, I know.  This concept of "weight" might not even mean any of that, but that stuff is the only explanation I could think of.

Offline x4000

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2014, 10:36:34 AM »
@chemical_art:  Thanks, I appreciate it. :)

@Misery:  I will indeed be particularly interested in hearing your feedback on these things.  The goal with the shifts here is not to increase difficulty at all, but rather to give it a more... pleasing feel to the space game crowd.  To feel a bit less fighter-like and more flagship-like.  That's a big part of why I'm making many changes at once, is specifically to avoid the annoying "fake difficulty" factor. 

In terms of projections of where bullets are headed, that's something that if you are good at it, bully for you I guess. ;)  I'm good at it, too.  That said, the sine shots do still surprise me from time to time, and for new players who are just getting the ropes, and are not used to these sorts of games with lots of shots in general, letting them have a visual aid to immediately understand shot movement doesn't seem to be to be a big deal at all in terms of it being something that should bother you or I.  That's something that I would classify as "fake difficulty," actually, if we're making people play the memory game there.

All that said, again, I will be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this.  Like you, I really prize the flow and speed of the battles, and my interest is not at all in slowing these down.  Fiddling with the power granted to each subsystem is not normally something I would want to do, but here it actually does increase some tactical options AND it actually will allow you more flexibility for playstyles, too.  Let's say you are very good at dodging: fine, turn the shields way down, and apply that to movement.  A lot of the turning radius restrictions will then ease, and you can move more freely.  BUT you won't have the benefit of your shields.  Or in a different battle, let's say you really outclass the enemy in terms of your health and so on, but it will take a boring amount of time to whittle them down.  Crank down your shields and maybe even your movement (who knows), and throw all that into your attack.  Blast the heck out of them in just a few turns, not even bothering to dodge, because you just own these guys.  Another situation is that you need to retreat.  Take all the power out of your guns, and put it into shields or movement, and use that to help you withdraw better.  It's something to help you adjust to tactical situations, not to fiddle with every turn.

@Cyprene: Sigh, likely the 18th of this month.  Are we insane?  Yes we are.  If we had to we could push it back as late as the 23rd, but we really don't want to.  We have a metric ton of stuff to do in a very short amount of time, which is frustrating.  But we are out of money, plain and simple.  So we're going all-out guns-blazing trying to make this into everything we want it to be before D-Day.  I think we can do it, but it's going to be extremely tight.
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Offline Kingpin23

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2014, 10:50:49 AM »
This is an idea I have and its not about the gameplay or something its about this forum.

I dont understand why new games show up at the bottom of the category list. Some people who play
Ai war didn't even know Bionic dues exist and that is strange. I would put TLF under Ai war or even above it
and made a subsection in the Ai war forum to come checkout  your latest game.

This is just an suggestion maybe you dont agree with it but atleast I've got it out of my head. :)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2014, 11:03:10 AM »
I dont understand why new games show up at the bottom of the category list. Some people who play
Ai war didn't even know Bionic dues exist and that is strange. I would put TLF under Ai war or even above it
and made a subsection in the Ai war forum to come checkout  your latest game.
I mentioned and linked TLF in the latest AI War update blog and forum post, partly for this reason, and will probably keep doing so until they all buy it until a bit after release :)
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Offline x4000

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2014, 11:17:00 AM »
Good point on the categories.  I've rearranged them all, thanks. :)
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Offline Kingpin23

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Re: About combat and updates, circa 3/31.
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2014, 12:32:20 PM »
Good point on the categories.  I've rearranged them all, thanks. :)

No problem
Hope it helps a little.

 

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