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Lurian

Why fog of war?

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Basically, what the title says.

Fog of war has, on multiple occasions, been cited as a desired core game for Massive Chalice's tactical combat system. I am curious as to why.

I can totally understand fog of war in a game like X-Com where it helps build the tension and atmosphere in a sci-fi/horror setting, but Massive Chalice seems more aligned with the heroic fantasy genre. I don't quite see what it adds that is so desirable. Ambushes? A role for scout classes? It's not a common mechanic at all in the TRPGs I've played - and yes, I enjoy (or at least am more used to) the more chessmatch-like feel the game has when I can see every unit at all times - so I find it curious that fog of war seems to have been a priority since day one.

I'd have made an effort to ask this during the livestream where backers were given the opportunity to call in, but unfortunately I was quite busy working at the time. I haven't seen the question really addressed anywhere else either. Did I somehow manage to miss some video where they talked about it, or has it just flown under the radar so far?

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Even though it may not be a horror label on MASSIVE CHALICE, I have gotten the impression that capturing the tension from for instance the X-COM series has been a focus from the start?

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Fog is also a techincal performance helper , since you are allowed to have a lower far DoF value and increase your object occlusion. SO , you get more rendering power.

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Fog is also a techincal performance helper , since you are allowed to have a lower far DoF value and increase your object occlusion. SO , you get more rendering power.

Actually for top down games fog of war will more often than not worsen performance as it is commonly done an additional full screen pass, and the extra fill rate hit will usually have a larger performance impact than rendering a few additional units, there's also often a CPU hit with calculating what is in/out of the fog of war, though that's usually negligible on modern processors. Remember graphics cards use unified shaders these days so it's much cheaper to process a few thousand extra vertices with minimal screen space than it is to render render the over 2 million pixels for a full screen pass (at 1080p). But TBH I doubt the performance difference would be significant enough to worry about anyway.

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Even though it may not be a horror label on MASSIVE CHALICE, I have gotten the impression that capturing the tension from for instance the X-COM series has been a focus from the start?

The tension from XCOM, and what I'd like to see as the tension in MASSIVE CHALICE, isn't "I can't see them", it's "they're going to make mincemeat out of me if I make a mistake"

The pro of fog of war in XCOM is that you could hear the distinctive sound of a Chryssalid or a Sectopod but you couldn't see them, meaning that you could be walking right into a quick death. That built up suspense and tension.

The con of fog of war in XCOM is that you could hear the distinctive sound of a Chryssalid or a Sectopod but you couldn't see them, meaning that you could be walking right into a quick death. That meant that if you valued your squaddies' lives, you would spend a ridiculous amount of time slowly crawling towards where you think the sound came from, which became an exercise in tedium rather than tension if it took too long.

What's more important than whether there is fog of war or not though is how clever the AI is, especially when it comes to enemy placement. Pretty quickly you began to know that the mind-control capable enemies would be in the center of the crashed UFO, and you would know that as soon as you disabled the bomb a few thin men would drop on top of nearby rooftops. That meant that you know that you have to have all of your squaddies in the proper storm the door position for that last UFO door and you know that you need everyone in overwatch mode the moment you disable the bomb. When the game mechanics become that predictable, some enjoyment value is lost.

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Fog is also a techincal performance helper , since you are allowed to have a lower far DoF value and increase your object occlusion. SO , you get more rendering power.

Actually for top down games fog of war will more often than not worsen performance as it is commonly done an additional full screen pass, and the extra fill rate hit will usually have a larger performance impact than rendering a few additional units, there's also often a CPU hit with calculating what is in/out of the fog of war, though that's usually negligible on modern processors. Remember graphics cards use unified shaders these days so it's much cheaper to process a few thousand extra vertices with minimal screen space than it is to render render the over 2 million pixels for a full screen pass (at 1080p). But TBH I doubt the performance difference would be significant enough to worry about anyway.

I am not actually very sure about the statement i am about to make , but i guess you could in theory generate a single particle instance and then create multiple copys of the transform via a vertex shader and then colorize the result in terms of the depth Z-Buffer in order to achieve propper color bleeding and transaparency effects.

This would result on a single particle object instances ( and only one texture reference) and several smaller transformation objects (transformation matrices actually) wich should in theory increase your performance.

But as I said , I am not actually very aware of the accuracy of my train of thougth.

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I stand with the coalition against fog of war. When I got to battle I bring fans :D

But for real, no fog of war please, I prefer a game that values strategy over blind luck.

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They should create a hero that has hot air balloon, who can survey the field. :-)

Smiles

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They should create a hero that has hot air balloon, who can survey the field. :-)

Smiles

That would be funny but I think it doesn't keep with look and feel of the game. My fog of war compromise would be that only some battles have fog of war.

You could do this three ways:

1. A territory intelligence stat that gets higher depending on how many times you've battled there.

2. Random weather based dice roll when battle starts. Some times it's raining or snowing, some times its foggy etc. and rain and snow or intense heat could have global stat modifiers for that battle. You could also have a weather icon on the strategic layer that would tell the player what the battle weather conditions will be like on a particular day.

3. Location based fog of war or weather. Coastal town that is always foggy, a forest where it is always or often raining. Certain very open maps with limited cover/obstacles/chokepoints would be a good choice for a fog of war battleground.

One of my beefs with fog of war is that most game AI need to have an idea of where you are located so they kind of ignore fog of war and it only punishes the human player. If the fog of war does impact the AI it usually makes them completely retarded because they act like there is nobody out there so they just run in and die.

If fog of war is not done right, it can really take away from the game. I hated fog of war in game likes Advance Wars, you had no clue what you were up against and that took away from the planning/strategic feel of the game. You could never blitz through a map, you had to be cautious and turtle a lot. This is why I feel fog of war limits play styles. However I'd be cool if it was a game element that occasionally showed up but wasn't there all the time.

hmn just thought of a fourth way to impliment fog of war, it could be there for the first one or two turns and then lift. I personally hate having to remember what areas might have units hiding in them late in a battle because someone always pops out of the fog and kills you the turn after you thought you killed the last dude.

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I think you definitely should only be able to see enemies and what theyre doing where you have line of sight. both for tension and strategy purposes. scouting and/or overview, placing guards, should be part of strategy. it would also be cool if some sort of strategy layer spies could inform you of location layout (if its a location familiar to you youd already have the whole layout of course), enemy starting locations or guard posts beforehand, so you could plan your battles that way. (solve the same problem without sacrificing the pros of LOS vision. )

the thing I didnt like in xcom was that almost always if you saw an enemy (unless you used scanners or camo) theyd be triggered and now youre in battle. THAT maybe should be worked around ( perhaps with scouts(/scouting abilities) seeing farther or something)...?

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Don't worry, Hot Air Balloon hero was a joke. ;) But the idea still works---that elevation should give you a better view of the battlefield. And since they are going to incorporate height, that'd be nice!

Smiles

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I gotta throw my hat into the fog o' war ring. Love it. LOVE IT! Gives everything that hunter/being hunted feel. Plus I feel it immerses you into the world much better than a chess-style game where you can see where everyone is. It does seem to work a little better for a ranged weapon game like X-Com, but I feel it could still work well with melee combat. I just love the idea of my barbarian bursting into a house, no idea what's waiting for him in there. Also love starting a mission having no idea what's waiting for me. Each step bringing me closer and closer to potential doom.

I do agree that I disliked the pod mechanics of X-Com where as soon as you saw the aliens they saw you, but I think Brad was saying he also wasn't a fan of that and was thinking of going back to a more old x-com style where that was concerned. But I could be wrong there.

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Fog Fog of War can be handled intelligently, and Advance Wars is actually a pretty good example. Height, unit type, and CO choice all had a play there, where infantry could see further then tanks, and could see EVEN FURTHER standing on hills. The only problem I had was that the enemy didn't actually follow it well; i don't think it could fire unless it could se you, but it certainly moved to counter your movements.

Different classes could interact with FoW too. Part of the problem with it tends to be a w»ll, but it doesn't need ti be. I'm gonna copy paste part of one of my posts on the CT thread if you don't mind, as its really relevant here.

» Fog of War, for example, presents incredible opportunities. Each 'class' could interact differently with it; Rogues could have a high sight radius, which only gets bigger when they Stealth, allowing them to scout easily. Archers could have flare arrows, illuminating an area for a couple turns. Assassins could have a death mark that lights up a target even if it runs, but it only marks their current position, but not current status. Knights could have a difficult terrain aura, slowing enemies down if they try to move through the area around them, and also auto detect Stealthed units. Mages could toss spells into the darkness, hoping to clip enemies with their Area of Effect Blasts at lower damage. Martial Artists could have reaction skills allowing then to leap away and move if a hidden enemy rushes out of the darkness at them. There is no reason these abilities couldn't be forged together to make an effective team.

As shown, Fog of War doesn't and shouldn't be a hard wall; it should be, well, fog. Easy to give through, doesn't stop attacks, and able to be handled in different ways.

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It's worth mentioning that in the weapons thread someone mentioned having torches as secondary weapons. Torches could provide a bonus to sight radius, at the trade off of that characters holding one could only use a one handed weapon and no shield while holding the torch (for obvious reasons).

Going in that direction, if your hero mages or your craftspeople have the ability to make flaming weapons, those should also get torch benefits.

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How about instead of the traditional fog of war, we just use the limits that come with natural eyesight.

* If I have a hero that is standing 20 feet away from a demon, that hero is going to have a pretty good idea of that demon's specifics. The hero is going to be able to see the demon's type, how injured it looks, and what equipment it is using.

* If I have a hero that is standing 60 feet away from a demon, that hero is going to have a decent idea of the demon's specifics. The hero is going to be able to see the demon's type, have a less precise grasp of how injured it is, and have a less precise grasp of what equipment it is using.

* If I have a hero that is standing 100 feet away from a demon, that hero is going to have a mixed at best idea of the demon's specifics. The hero is going to see that a demon is there, and might be able to tell what kind of demon it is if the demon has distinguishing features (oh, it's flying and leaving behind a cloud of yellow-brown smoke, it must be a _____), but the hero won't be able to tell the health or equipment of the demon.

* If I have a hero that is standing 200 feet away from a demon, that hero is going to know that there is a demon there, and will know if it's very large or more average sized, but won't be able to tell anything else.

This can be achieved by, instead of covering areas that are outside of the vision of the heroes with black clouds, just blurring the edges of the field of vision, with it getting progressively more blurry the further out from the heroes you look. Mousing over enemies will still give the player information about them, but how much information is determined by how close the heroes are. This means that you're imparting some information (and therefore don't have to turtle as much) without giving everything away, and also has the benefit of giving the level artist a way to fade out the edges of the map so that it doesn't just cut straight to missing space.

Things like special training, classes/bloodlines with better eyesight, and equipment like torches or hand telescopes can still come into play, but this is a more realistic and more fair way of limiting player sight.

(Note that I pretty much drew the 20/60/100/200 numbers from air. Those numbers aren't likely to be accurate, the important point is the scaling of information based on distance, not the numbers themselves)

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Here's a mockup.

The hero would have a very complete idea as to what he was facing at distance 1, being able to clearly tell what type of enemies he's up against. At distance two, he can still tell what the enemies are, but he's not able to hone in on how healthy they are or what they're armed/armored with (yes, I know that in the example you can clearly see the sword. Pretend you can't, or at the very least that you have no idea how good it is). At distance 3, the hero can tell that they are normal sized, and appear bipedal. At distance four, all the hero knows is that there are hostile indistinguishable blobs moving towards him.

http://i42.tinypic.com/2v8snc4.png

This doesn't have fog of war, in the traditional sense, but the hero is still being given less and less information the further out the demons are.

I'm sure a proper artist, like the ones that Double Fine has, can pull off this kind of system better than I can, but you get the point.

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You could do this three ways:

1. A territory intelligence stat that gets higher depending on how many times you've battled there.

2. Random weather based dice roll when battle starts. Some times it's raining or snowing, some times its foggy etc. and rain and snow or intense heat could have global stat modifiers for that battle. You could also have a weather icon on the strategic layer that would tell the player what the battle weather conditions will be like on a particular day.

3. Location based fog of war or weather. Coastal town that is always foggy, a forest where it is always or often raining. Certain very open maps with limited cover/obstacles/chokepoints would be a good choice for a fog of war battleground.

I'm very much a fan of all 3 though i don't think 1 will be all that necessary since they player themselves will get to know the terrain better.

Also if fog is going to be part of this , can we have actual fog where you would be more likely to actually see the enemy the closer you are (gradually getting clearer like the above post), rather than them suddently popping into view like xcom.

Though i'm very much in favour of a weather system.

Maybe even down the line getting towards late game, there could be ways that you may be able to influence the weather on the battleground . Not necessarily instant change of weather but maybe you could influence it in a way that meant in x number of "turns" the weather was going to be sunny on "the meadows" so you could try to plan ahead for future battles.

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Here's a mockup.

The hero would have a very complete idea as to what he was facing at distance 1, being able to clearly tell what type of enemies he's up against. At distance two, he can still tell what the enemies are, but he's not able to hone in on how healthy they are or what they're armed/armored with (yes, I know that in the example you can clearly see the sword. Pretend you can't, or at the very least that you have no idea how good it is). At distance 3, the hero can tell that they are normal sized, and appear bipedal. At distance four, all the hero knows is that there are hostile indistinguishable blobs moving towards him.

This doesn't have fog of war, in the traditional sense, but the hero is still being given less and Less information the further out the demons are.

I'm sure a proper artist, like the ones that Double Fine has, can pull off this kind of system better than I can, but you get the point.

I really like this idea. My biggest problem with Fog of War is that its SO binary. Either you can see them, or you cannot.

What it sounds like we want is a way for the player to be unsure if WHAT they are facing, but still have an idea of WHERE the enemy is. If Im looking across a meadow, Im gonna be be able to see the twelve foot tall ogre. i might not be able to tell that his club is actually a +12Great Club of Bleeding, but there is clearly tomething i can tell my archer and mage to shoot. In indoor maps, i could see something a little more Xcom, where you actually can't are a guy hiding in a room with la closed door, but this don't tend to be as common in most fantasy Trpgs as battles in fields, forests, and mountain tops.

The board game Space Hulk does a pretty great representation of this with its Blip system. If the enemy is deployed out of line of sight, he puts down and plays with a tokens with a hidden face down number on it. It could be one, two, three, or even zero, but the opposite player doesn't KNOW that until his models actually see the Blip token. Only then is the Blip flipped over, the player gets to grin as his opponent realizes he's suddenly overwhelmed, or has successfully stepped into a trap the lips are all zeros ad the main force is elsewhere.

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an easier and cheaper way to have that effect is to not allow free scrolling around the map (only center the camera on your characters or limited around them somehow) BUT allow to zoom out. that way things that are far away will appear small even in a top down perspective.

to incorporate distance in the amount of information you can display on an enemy is also a really cool idea!

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Time of day visibility could also be pretty great, maybe forcing you to take up an item slot with torches in order to see enemies better. (Moonlight could also provide slight visibility so it's not pitch black)

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Here's a mockup.

The hero would have a very complete idea as to what he was facing at distance 1, being able to clearly tell what type of enemies he's up against. At distance two, he can still tell what the enemies are, but he's not able to hone in on how healthy they are or what they're armed/armored with (yes, I know that in the example you can clearly see the sword. Pretend you can't, or at the very least that you have no idea how good it is). At distance 3, the hero can tell that they are normal sized, and appear bipedal. At distance four, all the hero knows is that there are hostile indistinguishable blobs moving towards him.

http://i42.tinypic.com/2v8snc4.png

This doesn't have fog of war, in the traditional sense, but the hero is still being given less and less information the further out the demons are.

I'm sure a proper artist, like the ones that Double Fine has, can pull off this kind of system better than I can, but you get the point.

Decent idea.

Smiles

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Time of day visibility could also be pretty great, maybe forcing you to take up an item slot with torches in order to see enemies better. (Moonlight could also provide slight visibility so it's not pitch black)

My concern with time of day is that with the seasons already being something that they want to do (even assuming that they do something like cut it to three seasons, a springlike, a falllike, and a winterlike, which is doable), that's three palettes that the art team has to come up with. Doing day and night palettes for each season would bring it up to 6 or 8, which might be too much for the budget MC has.

If it's doable within budget though, I'd like to have it. I just would rather have seasonal differences than daylight differences if forced to choose between the two.

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Please no fog of war. The only way that fog of war is a legitimate option, in my opinion, is when there are massive overview maps where your characters are more like units rather than heroes per se... like Civilization. I envision MC to be more of the typical Strategy RPG with more intimate maps and personalized heroes.

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If it's doable within budget though, I'd like to have it. I just would rather have seasonal differences than daylight differences if forced to choose between the two.

lighting differences is probably by far the easiest and cheapest to do out of everything discussed in this thread.

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An omniscient overview of the tactical map seems very unlikely given the premise behind the idea of the game.

A good alternative to the fog of war and myopic heros on a small map is to have mechanics for concealment via direct line of sight and camoflage.

A high wall between the hero and the demon: they shouldn't be able to see eachother.

Green guy among the foliage: may not be spotted depending on distance and skills/abilities involved.

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