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KGFish

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  1. Wait a second - no height differentials anymore???? Nooooooooooooo! Give me some height to block vision, walk around, establish defensive positions... come on, height is one of THE key factors in any battle. Anything that impacts movement and vision is a huge factor. Are all the maps going to be big, fat parking lots too now? Give me height or give me death! And swamps, and rivers, and mountains, and houses, and roads, and trees, and.... you get my drift.
  2. Resurrecting an older thread, but DF did ask for examples of where spaces of control where used: * Panzer Attack (XBLA game). Basically, unit movement stopped as soon as it got into range of any unit. After that, movement was restricted to one. This meant that you could ride up in your bad ass tank right next to the Rangers holding a town, but you couldn't just run past them to your artillery. You'd be inching forward, under constant cross-fire. The tactic works, but requires the biggest, baddest tanks that you have. * It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure one of the later Advance Wars did that (2?). Because you had a lot of troops on the map, it wasn't critical, but it meant your big units couldn't just rush past the front. This meant some careful positioning and softening of the front-line, so that your big hitters wouldn't get stuck dealing with little infantry.
  3. Woah woah woah. Taking a break from work to post on this, because this is just too cool of a concept. I love the idea, love the feedback that's been given, love the metaphysical discussions around how that concept plays out on the thematic level, love how the discussion has taken a turn towards Tao... Since so much cool stuff has already been discussed, I'll just point to a few things in the battle system that I think would help with the concept of fighting time. 1) Plenty discussed already, mostly added for completeness sake: corrosion. Things around the demons corrode quicker, burn quicker, age more quickly. Equipment impact: negative. Things fall apart more quickly. 2) Attacks: demons that move time the most (since I'm assuming that a fight against time is a fight against time running more quickly than expected) are affected more by attacks. F=ma and E=mv^2/2 imply that anything moving more quickly does more damage. 3) Initiative (hoo boy I remember the discussions around this): demons generally have more initiative, and as players get closer to them, their initiative goes down. 4) Environment (oh please oh please oh please have deformable terrain!): - small trees that provide cover grow into impassable hedges. Impassable hedges die off and become passable. - Creeks grow into rivers, rivers grow into deltas, deltas grow into swamps. Swamps drain out and become dry, where a small creek forms again. - Mountains turn into hills, hills turn into flatlands. Sink holes appear and fill in. Flat lands rise up and turn into mountains - heroes age and can die of old age. Children in battle turn into adult heroes (minus the experience that normally comes with it). Two things that I notice as I type things out: 1) There's a cyclical nature to the environment. The environment changes, but there never is a terminal stage. It's all just part of being a point on a continuous loop. Could tie into the Taoist discussion from earlier. The more I think about it, the more I like it. 2) If demons have a time aura, that would heavily skew battles toward ranged fighters. Either the melee fighters need some sort of time boost, or they need to have some special advantage over ranged fighters. Alternatively, the game could set it up that specific demons influence time in a particular way. Just their mere presence alters time on the entire battlefield. Remove the demon, and time starts to flow normally again. Last thought: corrosion also puts a time limit on battles. When all your equipment has corroded and rotted away, battles will become much harder. Manufacturing equipment regularly then becomes important, as well as not making it a pain to do so and to equip your fighters. Example: manufacturing could make sure that there is always a supply of certain bows and swords available, and if you equip someone with it once, they'll always auto-equip it when they lose it.
  4. Glad to see Jagged Alliance 2 get some love - one of my favs. The battles seemed always fair, and there was a lot of potential for interesting game play (smoke grenades -> flank out in the open, run and gun mechanics, etc.) I'll mention some additional ones: Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Genesis version is the only one I played) Pros: * Great story * Individual characters, lords and advisors are key to victory * Strategic map could influence tactical decisions (my fav: send a horse out with a ton of food to run out the patience of an attacking force, and stall for reinforcements). * Great use of political elements to drive the gameplay Cons: * The right advisors, items and leaders can make or break the game Iron Storm (Dai Senryaku VI): Pros: * Can upgrade units * Research influences battles * Winning/losing battles influences how the game progresses Cons: * Not really an RPG. Master of Monsters: * Dragons! * You can upgrade dragons! * field characteristics have significant influence on monster abilities * central hero/summoner unit that had significant influence on monsters, spells, and overall direction * very solid multiplayer * interesting battle resource system Cons: * Upgraded units could be unbalanced - either too weak or too strong) * limited unit abilities (you dealt damage, and that was largely it)
  5. I should read frilansspion more often before I reply. This is a neat approach to let people select their own difficulty. Not to mention that it also neatly creates a certain narrative: the grizzled veteran battling it out in the desolate badlands, versus the tentative fresh meat staying close to home and leaving the tough battles to be handled in narrative.
  6. Ugh. No, please don't. Granted, my only experience has been with Oblivion, and that was probably the worst way to implement dynamic scaling there was. But while I don't mind it for what amounts to skill, logic or knowledge games (think scrabble, match 3, etc.), I hate it in any sort of role-playing game. Here's why: in a skill game, you'd gravitate to the levels or setups that match your skill anyway. Dynamic scaling just short-circuits what you'd normally do. Heck, it's basically what any FPS does when it matches you to players of your own level. But in an RPG, you will always end up with weird scenarios where the mudcrabs of the game become so strong that they should be able to take out entire NPC armies, or the end-game boss could be soloed by a single peon. In short, the entire premise of the game (generally defeat some sort of unspeakable evil while gaining strength in battle) is broken, rendered pointless, or flat-out negated. I'm ok with there being some minor tweaks to difficulty levels (you just died three times on this map - next time, the Balrog stays home, or other Bloodlines decide to pitch in with troops), but I would hate a constant escalation of difficulty where you're actually better off not leveling at all. Things like tributes (or the skulls in Halo) are interesting approaches, but I don't know how they would work in an RPG. I think that the reason that the pre-selected difficulty levels exist is not because it makes scaling easy for the developers, but because it makes it easy for the players to communicate how they play to the game. I'd hate to see that be replaced by something like the Oblivion-style auto-scaling.
  7. Holy crap! I think this puts everyone's walls of texts to complete shame. I mean, graphics! Excel tables! Actual working code! Awesomeness level of over 9000. The best part is that you conclusively demonstrated how to build a skill system that still feels like a class-based house system. Very cool. With that in mind, I think it also shows where the next tweaks need to come from. #1 Number of house defining characteristics. In this setup, it is necessary to have a good chance of having mates with the same stats. Otherwise, the skill levels will tend to sub-50 levels within 3-4 generations, even for dominant house traits that started at 100. That means that the maximum number of house-dominant traits should be around 6-7, assuming about 15 available pairs per generation (which in turn assumes about 35-40 active heroes at any time). Anything more than that, and you're looking at sparse matrices and will be forced into very specific marriages, quite a few of which will be subpar anyway. This could be easily testable - just create a big fat array of random marriages with increasing numbers of traits, run them a few times, and see where you end up. This means that DF is right to look at a very small set of core traits for the characters. To some extent, 6-7 is still quite a large array, but it's too small to allow for any hybridization due to procreation. Traits will stay as they are, even if the numbers associated with them change. In that context, the familiar int, str, dex, wis, cha, sta come to mind. But it also could be jobs: archery, alchemy, scouting, assassination, brawling, healing, demonology. #2 Maximum level of traits and starting values It also opens the question of what the maximum is: should it be a fixed number like 100? Should training allow you to surpass it, considering that off-spring will always start out lower than their parents? It also opens up the possibility that a child starts at the maximum, if both parents are at 100 and you hit the 3.5% chance of hitting the highest value of the top bracket. What then - child prodigy? Should that be a possibility? Or should there be a maximum value that you can inherit, and the rest comes from training? Personally, I would find a perfect warrior right from birth implausible because it breaks one of the central tenets of the game: that old heroes make way to young ones who have to prove their value in battle, just like their forebearers did. As a result, I could see a system where the top value that can be passed on is 100, but through training and combat can achieve any value higher than that. It also leaves open the question of where the first generation starts. Personally, I loved the example of Lithuania and Basketball (or heck, the Swiss and skiing, Fins and rally racing, Dutch and speedskating), and would love to be able to reproduce it in the game. This would mean you start with wholly unimpressive characters in the first generation - maybe at 20 out of 100 on average. They kinda suck at everything, but the good news is, so do the demons. Maybe they just face a few random imps instead of full demons. Then, after a few battles, trends emerge: one guy can actually hit a target at 100 feet, another can finally swing that giant 2-hander, and another finally manages to actually get off a fireblast. That's when the houses get their dominant traits set. Alternatively, the dominant traits could simply be the top three stats of the character, and the dominant house traits are simply the top three stats of the bloodline lord. #3 Latent stats Love the idea - brawling suddenly pops up in there, and turns a house from being mage-heavy to brawler-heavy. The only issue I can see though is that over a few generations, characters are going to acquire all traits at least as latent traits, which means that the next step is that all traits surface as normal traits. To keep this from happening would require a large number of possible stats, which runs counter to the solution to the first problem. What I propose is that either latent traits get explicitly labeled as recessive, or they disappear if they fall under a certain threshold. For example, a latent trait can not only emerge only when combined with another latent trait, but the latent trait has to keep being combined with the same trait in future generations, otherwise it becomes latent again. Another option is to just have traits become latent if normal traits fall below, say 30, and latent traits disappear if they fall below 10. That keeps the number of stats from just ballooning to every stat possible. The drawback is that it can be very confusing if stats suddenly disappear from a bloodline. Then again, it's genetics, who exactly knows what a kid will look like? #4 And now, for something completely different Another option (and also mentioned by someone else already): just model the job aptitude with underlying stats that get inherited in the way that bent described. Have values like int, str, sta, cha, dex, wis be combined via dominant/normal/latent calculations, and, based on the resulting numbers, give the kid aptitudes in various jobs. High int, high strength, low wis? Beerzerker is the job for you. High wis, high char, low dex, low sta: go heal others. And so on. Just to spice it up, you could add quirks to it like waterwalking: have waterwalking emerge with high dex and low sta: go scout. This alleviates the problem of having to track a massive number of stats, as the system does it for you. It allows for job aptitudes to be non-linear (or at least somewhat unpredictable) without getting too deep into hybridization issues and the jack of all trades, master of none problem (or the Kwisatz Haderach problem, which is just as problematic). Anyway, this is getting long enough, and I don't have cool spreadsheets and graphics to spruce up my post. Thoughts?
  8. After reading all kinds of cool gameplay ideas, I've got a whole list of awesome things I'd love to be able to do in battle. Random list of awesomeness incoming! * I want to make Stabby McStabby from House Sneaky Sneak climb up a cliff and backstab the main mage, only to be taken down by the swarm of demon bodyguards. Glory Death! * I want to make my knight rush an opposing demon and crash it right into a pit of lava. Glory kill! * I want to set hay bales on fire, destroying cover, panicking demons hiding behind it and lighting up a night map. * I want to see a rookie say "You killed my father. Prepare to die" right before facing the demon that killed his/her father. * I want to create a bloodline of extraordinary archers from some random house with no special skills. * I want to see bloodlines turn demonic after abusing relics on the battle field and dying a coward's death. * I want to walk around my keep and see paintings of my heroic victories. * I want to honor the ancient warriors who died on the battle field in the bloodline shrine. * I want to have old heroes teach the bloody rookies how to fight demons. Who's got things they want to see??
  9. Love the ideas in here. Also agreed that cover shouldn't be quite as critical in XCOM, and that certain units should require far less coverage than others. A knight with shield should be able to march on an archer without too much trouble. To some extent, they could make it a bit rock-paper-scissor like: a knight can march on an archer, but will get nuked down by a mage, while a mage in the open will get taken down quickly by the archer. This might get problematic with hybrid classes, but that's something to be worked out during balance.
  10. Just one point on death.... Personally, I hate the idea that the best move is to send my grizzled veteran to die. It really is just a personal choice: I like giving my heroes a hard-earned rest, with surviving to live another day being the 2nd greatest accomplishment - right behind helping others live another day. Plus I'd like to make the choice when they're better off training up the next generation instead of fighting, instead of just counting the battles until they're just cannon fodder. It just feels like a waste to sacrifice someone who defeated countless demons just because his body is going. There's gotta be some experience that can be leveraged! Anyway, just my final 2 cents on the blaze of glory versus peaceful death. That said, going out in a blaze of glory should give you a nice, fat legacy. Conversely, dying like a rat running from the enemy should have a significant impact on your legacy as well, even if you were a big bad ass hero before.
  11. Seconded on the "one topic per post" comment. I am used to reading walls of text, but I find it hard to find something specific to reply to without feeling that I'm derailing the thread. Nevertheless, I'll pick one topic: controlling hit rates/criticals via QTEs or rhythm games. Personally, I'm not keen on it. I was actually ok with the XCOM system, as it meant that you couldn't just reload a shot until you got the hit/critical that you wanted. Maybe that's just having been raised on the cruel mistress of the RNG, but I find that it gives just enough unpredictability to make each battle a bit unique, instead of playing out exactly the same every time. Not to mention that I like my tactical games to be mostly about positioning, commanding troops and making long-range strategic decisions, and I'd rather not have to worry about getting rhythm hits right. That said, I'm of the same mind as dragomort: there are many, many different ways that DF could go that could profoundly impact whether your approach would work or not. Until then, I'll keep advocating for traditional tactical games.
  12. I have to admit, I wasn't convinced initially, but as I keep reading examples, I'm starting to get very excited about it. I especially like the matrix of honorable/dishonorable and battle/old age death. Kamikaze attacks The issue with kamikazing guys into certain death to gain an epic relic is certainly something that needs to be addressed. First step, it ought to actually hurt to lose a guy in battle. This means two things: training up the next generation needs to be a real job that requires a lot of people, and you can't just sacrifice people in battle. Next, each battle need to be set up in such a way that you don't know whether you're going to need that guy or not. That requires fog of war and an unknown number of enemies. Second step is that benefits should be calculated in such a way that merely sacrificing a character should net little benefit, and that dying of old age should come with some benefits. That should settle the issue of it being too obvious to just sacrifice people to some enemy. Next, some details. Old age death Dying of old age in an honorable way could involve having trained up lots of characters who have done well on the battle field or who themselves have trained up characters. Each kill by a trainee or 2nd generation trainee could add to the honor, which at death gets transformed into relic power. That relic could confer bonuses to training, or, at a certain level, the ability to specialize into chosen classes or upgrade certain stats. Conversely, dishonorable old age death could be someone who hasn't trained anyone and who has seen little combat. Little honor would have accumulated during the life. Death at that point could create a weak relic, or even corrupt the bloodline and make if easier to fall prey to the demons. Battle death An honorable battle death that would be more than just a random kamikaze attack would need something that would actually helped the battle. Intercept an attack that would have killed someone. Tank some overdemon so that the rest of the team can actually kill it. Hold an exposed position (defined by how far away the rest of the team is) so that weaker units can stay grouped and work through the demons. A support character dies after healing/reviving another character. In an escape/escort scenario, delay the demons long enough so that the mission succeeds. A dishonorable death would be dying while facing away from a single enemy (assuming the facing mechanic gets implemented). Dying after a weaker character died. I think the key part is that the death has to have achieved some measurable positive effect for an honorable death or has to have come from a measurably dumb move to be dishonorable. Honor vs XP The comment that honor might turn into a secondary XP bar is valid. I think it might be possible to just replace XP with honor. Killing blows would not gain any additional honor, but honorable actions would: intercepting an attack, healing someone while under fire, drawing damage, holding off overwhelming odds, dying while keeping weaker characters behind you, etc. Conversely, certain actions could reduce honor: facing away from an enemy, abandoning a weaker character who then dies, etc. Other than that, honor would come from successfully completed a battle, and dishonor would come from running from a battle. It would become an interesting trade-off: do you lose honor by running from a battle to fight another day, or do you go all-in, sacrifice a unit and go for the win? All in all, I think this has tons of potential. The devil is totally in the detail of how much honor is gained by what actions (is it totally useless to have a character train units? Is it better to just use ranged units to just dish out damage, or is there some value in jump attacks, push/kicks, setting hay bales on fire?), but I can see this creating a really cool story for a character. Bonus if there's some sort of memento from particularly epic battles (massive damage dished out, massive damage taken, badass demon taken down, etc.)
  13. It's a good point. Then again, I'm pretty sure this question would have come up sooner or later anyway. Might as well get it out of the way, and have a thread to point people to if they ask about why or why not.
  14. Never had the chance to buy Orcs must die 2, so I had no opportunity to find out how their multiplayer was implemented. I don't think though that co-op requires that campaigns are either too hard in single player or too easy in multiplayer. The simplest way to deal with it (and Diablo has that down to a t) is to simply scale the number and strength of the enemies to scale with the number/level of players. Oddly enough, not too many games implement coop that way. That said, I don't know how coop would work in a turn-based game, or at least what the reason would be to have another player. In real-time games (Diablo, OMD, SC, etc.) the appeal comes from being able to be in multiple places at once and actually being able to give commands to a large number of units. Turn-based games don't have that issue. It just takes longer to complete a turn. I guess I'd compare it to Civilization having a coop mode... I can see the mechanics easily enough (every one gets one or more cities), but that just reduces the scope and scale of Civilization, which is what makes it fun... You go from ruling a people to administrating a city. Furthermore, have you played a multiplayer Civ game? Those things take forever, and they're basically best implemented as move by email, where everyone doesn't have to sit in front of a screen all the time. Otherwise, everyone but the person making the most moves is just going to be in it on occasion. However, there is one way that I could see coop become interesting: something a la Chromehounds, where everyone controls their game, but the games are played on a linked overmap. Certain battles could involve two forces, with appropriately scaled enemies. The main drawback is that this requires a central server from where all participants get their updates before they get in their game. And that's a fairly significant investment on the part of DF. There is one more way that I can see multiplayer work, but that's the standard head-to-head battle. Again, XCOM has a pretty simple setup that I think works very well: everyone gets a set of points to buy from the same unit pool, and then the head-to-head battle starts. You could even do it with more than 2 people. The bonus is that it doesn't involve anything more than building out a few symmetric maps, network code and multiplayer menu. The game logic stays the same, the units are already balanced (although the point system has to be carefully tweaked) and there is no issue with one player being overpowered due to having played longer and having better units. But I've got to agree with God Complex: coop in this game would not be super productive - mainly because I can't figure out a way to make it compelling and engaging. Everything I can think of is just handing another player half my responsibilities, without much of a change in game development. At that point, it's not much different than how I play games in coop with my wife: I handle the controller, and she points out things to pick up or makes suggestions for solving puzzles.
  15. I think Overwatch might be too XCOM-specific, which is why started referring to reactions. Overwatch in XCOM specifically refers to reaction shots as an enemy leaves cover, which indeed would only apply to archers and mages. But others had some cool ideas for melee units as well, like a protect ability for a knight, etc. As for it encouraging camping... I can definitely see that. But XCOM also had a counter for it: units that had the ability to make the first Overwatch shot miss. At that point, the strategy for me was always to send in the heavily armored soldier, trigger an overwatch and identify a unit, and then have the rest of the team hail down fire. I like the idea of "equipping" a reaction ability. That requires some thought ahead of time and some planning based on the team you're taking with you, and also means you're not constantly fiddling with reaction abilities at every turn. Regarding the ambush only working occasionally, I would think that the mere threat of it forces you to move carefully and check around corners, instead of just rushing straight ahead. Lose one of your heroes to an unplanned ambush once, and you'll spend the rest of the game moving much more carefully. To some extent, that's one of the things I appreciated in XCOM (and Jagged Alliance): movement across the map was a very carefully planned undertaking. Units were set up to cover each other, provide protection from flanking and provide overwatch interrupts in case I do scare up an enemy. Compare that with most other tactical games, where the only time I don't move at max range is if I want to stay out of someone else's range for one turn.
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