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Mythos_Ruler

Alternative Combat System

59 posts in this topic

A training bonus is a interesting idea, especially since they cannot convert and relics may not even be used.

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No conversion? Shucks.

I'm really interested by this. I like the idea of one-shot luck-based kills, but honestly, in a raiding party of 20 (which is pretty sizeable given a pop of 200), a little bit of luck can take the meat out of the attack very fast.

I would also warn against the idea of attack speed becoming more important than the simple attack/defense paradigm we're currently in. Changes in attack speed are always less subtle than in attack (you might have five or six states for attack speed, but attack can range from 1-50). In such a situation, squads of cheap, quick attacking units will be able to wipe out a legion of hoplites.

As a non-coder, I can't speak with much authority, but it strikes me that a morale/injury system would be distinctly difficult to do. Imagine if you win a Pyrrhic victory, and your troops are victorious but running ragged. For your next offensive, you mix them with fresh reinforcements. In your next battle, it isn't hard to envision the new troops fighting hard and the old ones bolting.

I've played Age of Empires II and III since their release, and I've almost never used formations. There simply isn't enough time to focus on that. Balancing infantry and archers, FFing, using terrain and choke points (and, of course the handy Patrol trick ;) ), all the while keeping an eye on your economy took all your time. While I like advanced tactics playing a role, I just don't see more than a handful of formations being used (when going through a narrow pass, infantry and cavalry MUST go before archers ^_^ ).

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In your next battle, it isn't hard to envision the new troops fighting hard and the old ones bolting.

If this is part of the game, then it is to be expected of the player to keep tabs on his troop morale/strength. Anyway, morale and fatigue do not factor into my proposal. :)

I've played Age of Empires II and III since their release, and I've almost never used formations.

This is because there is no large benefit to using formations in those games. Plus their implementation is clumsy. :)

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i like a lot of the ideas listed above. it would so much improve the gameplay and really make the difference. i guess the implementation is a lot of work though.

possibly the first step is the implementation of the front/rear/left flank/right flank-differenciation concerning attack and defense and the "total-kill-possibility".

i would recommend to get another pledgie for this ;)

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I agree with almost everything said.

Yes, randomness like mythos proposed is a bit frustrating, BUT randomness isn't that "random" as you people are imagining.

My thoughts may seem a bit confusing, but try to read all, and only then, judge.

Some things may seems a bit overpower, but they can be balanced when implemented, at least in my imagination they are very well balanced.

Unit stats:

Attack power: the basic damage value of the unit.

Attack speed: slow-attack units should be protected or they can overwhelmed by masses, but against single units they can be extremerly effective.

Attack skill: the "expertise" of that unit, the mastering the unit have. Experienced units should have this value substantially higher and well-trained units too (legionnaires are well-trained soldiers, while slingers are only farmers).

Attack type: The type of attack grants bonuses against some unit types. There must be 6 attack types: Melee blunt (hammers), Melee piercing (spears), Melee sharp (swords), Ranged blunt (throwing axes/hammers and catapults, these may ignore some armor), Ranged piercing (arrows and javelins. Javelins have higher base values, but less speed, less range and more accuracy), Ranged sharp (throwing knives, shurikens, etc. These should be very uneffective against heavy armored units, but very effective against light armored).

Defense base: Just a scale of how armored the unit is. Should be a percentage, as defense types are the ones granting bonuses.

Defense Skill: Same as attack skill, but for defense.

Defense type: Defines the lgihtness of the unit armor (light, medium, heavy, building). Grants bonuses for attacks, but these bonuses must be low (javelins can kill some light cavalry, but are overwhelmed by heavy ones).

Unit type: If the unit is mounted (granting bonus for spearmen) or not.

Unit Speed: How fast the unit moves.

Unit Stamina: How tired the unit is. The more tired the unit is, the slower it attacks. Can be base damage instead of attack speed.

Unit Morale: Less morale, high chance to break formation and/or flee. Low morale units can't charge.

Unit Focus: Only four states: In Combat, Alert, Out of Combat, Distracted. "In Combat" is self-explained. "Alert" is when there are military units within line of sight, no "Ambushes" can take effect in this state, but once the Ambush ability is used, it is too late to become alert, they'll take some extra damage. "Out of Combat" is the normal state, when the unit isn't fighting, nor there are any military enemy units in line of sight. And "Distracted" is when the unit has been out of combat for some time. Some units may have the ability to force enemy units from Out of Combat into distracted (why not?).

Unit Abilities (examples):

- Camouflage: Celts may be invisible next to trees, but they become visible as the enemy draws near or if they attack.

- Charge: Melee units-only. Once enters combat, runs faster towards the enemy and delivers a stronger blow, but needs some range to take effect.

- Shield: Passively adds a blocking chance and may be activated to dramatically increase protection against ranged and giving a small area aura that increases protection against ranged. Can be raised against charging units, but are uneffective against mounted units. Each type and material of shield must have different specs for this ability.

- Trampling: Mounted units have increased charge bonus, can eventually charge into more targets.

- Long Spears: They can be positioned against charging units, having an average chance to break their charge and when charge-breaking works, has a very small chance of critically hitting the charging unit (higher against mounted). In this state, they are very vulnerable against ranged attacks (can be solved by placing shielded units behind them with their aura.

- Sun Resistance: Carthaginians and persians (who are used to the desert) have more stamina.

- Morale Aura: A general or hero may increase morale of surrounding friendly units.

- Inspiration: Heroes may shout inspiring words to their soldiers, temporaly increasing some stats, like morale, stamina or attack base, depending on the hero.

- Weapon-Duo: Units that carry a weapon in each hand can deliver 2 independent attacks at once, doubling the base damage and critical strike chance, but since they don't have a shield, they also take more damage and are very vulnerable against rangeds, especially javelins.

- Crushing Attack: Units with heavy weapons (like two-handed swords/mauls/axes) have a bonus against well-armored units, but just like Weapon-Duo, they don't have shield, so take even more damage. These units should have very slow attacks, high morale (like the celtic fanatics, a buch of naked celts almost naked going to war totally "high", so to have less fear). Ideal for ambushes, as they have a high damged first attack exactly when the enemy is distracted.

- Military Training: Passive ability that grants the unit higher morale, higher stamina and increases the time before they go distracted. Military training is a researched tech. Units trained in Civ Centre don't have military training, but those trained in Barracks or Forts already have (when it is researched) and with the same resource cost, but a bit higher training time. A unit can receive military training with some metal cost and a quick training time (about 10 seconds). Units can't go into formation without military training.

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I forgot to add that i asked the opinion of a friend of mine who never played 0 A.D. about what he likes in strategy games and he told me that graphics aren't essencial, but the strategy and the dynamics of the game are. RTSs in wich units don't have special abilities usually have less strategy dynamics, so aren't that fun no more. He said RTSs with flying units are funnier because flying units add a lot more of dynamics to the game. And units with special abilities add even more dynamics and planning. Planning strategies is fun, so the more dynamics, the funnier the game becomes... And also harder to balance!

Edited by Pedro Falcão

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I think, even if you keep a fairly basic combat system, that doing different damage depending on where the shot comes from is an -absolute- necessity. This is something I've never actually seen done... Perhaps it was, perhaps it was not. Anyway, this should be in the game, and it should be documented.

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Is anything being done with this idea? I hope I'm not being a thread necromancer, but I think this or something along these lines would be excellent. I know formations and other features will change the game dynamics a great deal, but I think something like this could go a long way to allowing us to set up interesting scenarios, campaigns and historical simulations. For instance, how would you have a battle like the one between Vercingetorix and the Romans at Alesia with the current system? It might be possible once walls and formations are figured out, but I think something like Mythos proposed would allow greater realism and fun in this regard. And as was pointed out, it takes me out of the game personally when attacking individual units all at once is such a better strategy than using formations and facing the enemy all together. Additionally, when one unit meets an identical unit, the one who strikes first always wins, this takes me out of the game and reminds me I'm looking at a computer screen. Anyways, not criticising whats been done so far too hard, but I look forward to seeing this line of thinking continue to influence the mechanics even if this particular system isn't adopted. i.e. Formations, Facing and Environmental factors and perhaps a small bit of chance to mix the game up a bit.

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I also dislike "dice roll combat", for the reasons cited by others. If I am more skilled than my opponent, I want to win. If I suck, I want to loose.

However, I agree an element of chaos (which is something distinctly different from randomness) would add a nice dimension of realism to the game. Perhaps, instead of "dice rolling" in combat, the game could randomize the stats of each unit when they are created. If the stats of each unit are visible to the player, that would still allow him to strategize with them - for instance, for an ambush on your opponent's workers, you may want to send a small platoon of your strongest soldiers, so they can finish the workers off quickly while minimizing risk of detection (due to their small numbers). But in all-out battles there will still be a large degree of chaos (as there would be in such a battle) because neither player gets to micromanage which soldiers (strong or weak) will be facing each other in combat.

A cute side-effect of this would be that the strongest units would be promoted faster, and thus rank above, weaker units, as they would in real-life.

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Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but I would like to see an projectile range done with real physics, so that units on a hill can fire farther. After that, maybe even go a step farther from basic quadratics, and add wind and air resistance to the range computation.

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I also dislike "dice roll combat", for the reasons cited by others. If I am more skilled than my opponent, I want to win. If I suck, I want to loose.

The effects of the dice roll outcome are not random, even if the dice roll is. Stats are still the major component of the combat calculations.

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Perhaps, instead of "dice rolling" in combat, the game could randomize the stats of each unit when they are created. If the stats of each unit are visible to the player, that would still allow him to strategize with them

Think this way: do you really want to spend time hand-picking your elite guards and your raiders? This can be funny once or maybe twice, but as time passes it becomes boring. To solve the attack speed issue, a global cooldown on all abilities, or increasing its effect based on the units' strenght could ease, if not solve the problem. I.E.: The unit X has a "critical strike" ability. while speed increases its chance of proccing per second, the attack of the unit could increase its damage. This way, the player can equally choose between high amount of low damage procs or a low amount of high damage procs.

Or, the other way: the ability Y has N% chance of proccing each every 2 seconds. If it procs now, the unit can only do it again two seconds from now, even if the dices say to proc.

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I don't know you guys, but I would really love a way for units to actually engage in men to men combat (one in one), like in the Total War series... the animations were cool...and it was quite ramdom the way the units were killed - at least it looked prety ramdom.

Just my dream :P

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Allow me to explain Michael's proposal better.

Consider this equation here where Y-axis is the chance for the attacker to hit the defender and the X-axis is the attacker's attack minus the defender's defense. You can see that when the attacker's attack is equal to the defender's defense the chance for a hit is 50%. As we give more of an advantage to the attacker the chance to hit approaches 100% and as we give more of an advantage to the defender the chance to hit approaches 0%.

This system is nice because it allows crap units to occasionally hit well uber units and for uber units to miss sometimes.

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In general I like the normal, 'simple' solution with structural points/health, attack and armor. A 'chance to hit' for ranged units can be added by checking if the tile that is passed by an projectile contains a unit that has at least the hight of the actual projectiles hight. That way a mounted unit may be hit more often than a foot soldier.

There might also be a chance to be hit smaller then 1 (100%) for smaller or more agile units. That would represent luck and avoidance though avoiding an arrow for example is quite impossible when you are in a battle facing an enemy in melee combat.

A chance to block may be added depending on the equipment. Peasants and archers have no close combat weapon or shield so they have 0 chance to block anything (though they may have a little higher chance to avoid attacks like 10%). Units carrying close combat weapons like swords, clubs/maces or axes may have a chance to block melee attacks of 10%. Swords are indeed designed to block melee attacks and so may have even 20%. Shields are designed to block both, melee and ranged attacks so they could give lets say 30% chance to block melee and 20% chance to block non-siege ranged attack. Units wearing spears or polearms could deal higher charge damage instead. Javelins get the bonus for the shield if present and can use their weapon for both, ranged and melee attacks, but don't get a block chance for their weapon.

The reason why I like the 'normal' system is that something like blocking/evading can be added by simple mechanisms that are understandable for the player and can be displayed to him properly and consistent.

A short list of example equipment with block modifier for the more detailed part below:

- Helm, chest/leg/other Armor: Adds armor as it is now, no block (perhaps lower chance of evade but evade is not that important IMO as stated above)

- Sword/saber: ~20% chance to block melee attacks (melee block 2) and of cause enables the unit to deal damage (as it is now)

- Club/Mace/Axe: ~10% chance to block melee attacks (melee block 1) and of cause enables the unit to deal damage (as it is now, perhaps a little higher to balance the block)

- Javelin: No block, grants an ranged and melee attack (as it is now), can hold a shield as well.

- Spears or other two-handed weapons: No block, enables the unit to attack at melee range and deals high (charge) damage. Some of them may be able to attack above 1 tile. Since such a unit can't hold a shield it has no block at all. Those units should get attack bonus versus cavalry IMO.

- Shield: ~30% chance to block melee (melee block 3) and ~20% chance to block ranged (ranged block 2) but adds no armor! Block values may differ type dependent.

- Bow/arrow: No block, for balance reason (and realism) they may get higher range.

Getting more detailed: In the code it may be useful to work with exponential functions to make sure no unit has 0 chance to hit a specific other unit. The chance to hit can be then calculated by 0.9^n where n is the sum of all 'melee/ranged block' values of the targeted units equipment. If a unit for example has a sword and a shield (somehow the maximum block to get) it has a chance to get hit in melee combat of 0.9^5 = 0.59049 and in ranged 0.9^2 = 0.81. The rounded values than can be shown in the gui:

41% chance to block melee (1 - 0.9^5 = 0.40951)

19% chance to block ranged (1 - 0.9^2 = 0.19)

This hast the additional advantage that moders may add raising block values and the chance to get hit will never reach 0.

With an attack/defense value system the chance to hit/get hit/block depends on the pair of units fighting and so cannot be displayed directly. Instead some values are displayed that doesn't tell the player much about the strength of the unit when he doesn't know the formula (and even then he will rather know due to gathered experience then actual calculation).

To randomize attack damage units could have a minimum and a maximum damage and the actual damage is randomly chosen out of this range. Indeed only a maximum damage would do (and actual damage = random number between 0 and the maximum damage).

As it is now is the armor just the value subtracted by the incoming attacks damage? Because that has to be kept in mind when randomizing damage. IMO an attacked unit should at least loose 1 health/structure point if hit. 

Edited by FeXoR

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I think it could be useful to add a very simple (and extremely quick) 3D approximation to each unit by representing them as a small bunch of spheres. Projectiles and even melee attacks could then be done on a more 3D basis, preventing arrows from flying through buildings and allowing some very believable hit detection. Each individual sphere would have different combat system attributes, so that a hit to a shield would do little damage but a hit to an unprotected head would instantly kill. An infantry unit could be made up of 4 spheres: legs, body, shield (offset to the front of the unit), head. This should allow far faster collision detection than using a polygonal collision mesh, and could be comparable to the cost of using trig functions to determine attack direction.

This might allow for the best of both randomised and predictable combat systems, as the predictable part chosen during the positioning of each unit would depend on the orientations of each unit whilst the effects of arrows would be far more random due to their deviation and would depend entirely on where they hit. Moving the positions of the spheres would allow certain formations to gain extra protection from archers by interlocking shields or raising them above their heads.

A similar system could be used for buildings, where a flaming arrow to a thatched roof would start a fire but a flaming arrow to a stone wall on the same building wouldn't. A full polygonal collision system might be more suitable there due to their flat surfaces, though.

Edited by Jonny

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The combat system of Rome Total War is very good.

Look this video:

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Honestly as long as there is a bonus for flanking I will be satisfied. Like Rise of Nations has. This would of course apply to all units and all attacks. And it would allow horsemen to completely destroy spearmen who weren't turned the right way. This would of course encourage formations and grouping of units to get correct frontages.

This is my first post here and I am incredibly excited for this project. I've been wishing for an "Aoe4" for years and for a remake of the original AOE games...and my wish has been granted. You guys have all done an amazing job.

Edited by ironbmike

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Kinda hoping that this is still being considered. I really like the idea of a more in-depth combat system.

I'm not sure if this is the area to discuss this, but how are you planning on implementing Javelins and Throwing spears to the melee troops of the Celts, Iberians and Romans? If so, will it be a unit ability with a cooldown ability? This is kind of an important thing for the Celts and Germans, since almost every man carried some kind of throwing weapon into battle.

Edit: Posted this really late last night.

Edited by OrganicHallucinosis

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^ I like that idea.

I made a suggestion in another thread, but can there be an alternative melee for ranged units? I dislike watching my melee troops attempt to chase down a ranged unit across the entire map. I have a friend whom abuses ranged units and currently the most useless troop to me is a hoplite which should be ironic. I would rather field an entire army of slingers and ranged units than melee troops.

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Cavalry should be used to take out ranged units. I'm not saying it works perfectly yet, but just that using melee infantry to take out ranged units never should work well.

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What if when melee units get too close, ranged units switch to a knife or something if they are set to Stand Ground stance. Otherwise they'd run.

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What if when melee units get too close, ranged units switch to a knife or something if they are set to Stand Ground stance. Otherwise they'd run.

I like that. But they shouldn't run in Aggressive/Violent stances either.

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I like that. But they shouldn't run in Aggressive/Violent stances either.

Then when should they run? lol. Perhaps only two stances for ranged units then (Stand Ground and Avoid), where melee units have 3 (Stand Ground, Defensive, Aggressive).

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