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Everything posted by ChronA

  1. Why is that? If you mean that it would break a lot of work that has already gone into preparing A26, I can understand holding off on introducing something like this until A27. I can also understand wanting to wait until a more polished implementation can be demoed, since this BuildingAI is obviously janky AF. But if you are speaking more generally... Well, much ink has already been spilled about how this project's development is too conservative. Meaningful changes will always break things and piss people off, but that doesn't make them any less necessary. 0 AD is undeniably a feast for the eyes but in terms of depth and polish of gameplay it sits somewhere around Age of Empires 1, which quite frankly is unacceptable in this day and age. If not now then when?
  2. I think this buildingAI target selection sounds promising in terms of getting gameplay out of its rut. Making a core skill mechanic out of required player micro for preventing unit-AI misplay is a really frustrating approach to game design. It seems that was the case here, if even random target selection is boosting combat effectiveness compared to the old prioritization. This approach also has the added benefit of not requiring any new UI design. Yes this will require some unit roles to be revised for balance purposes (pikemen), but these design conventions were never exactly that interesting and were ahistorical to boot. (To my understanding it is true that pikemen were quite good at maintaining cohesion against missile fire, but they absolutely took casualties from it. And sustained small arms bombardment was one of the best and only ways of dealing with pike blocks in ancient warfare when flanking was not possible.) If the change improves performance too, I heartily hope it will be adopted.
  3. chrstgtr's analysis is based on a faulty understanding of the engine, as explained by Grapjas above. To my mind that answers all of their objections in one stroke. If they want to reformulate their argument based on the actual behavior, I think the ball is in their court. Give them a chance to make a new case before continuing to litigate the old one.
  4. Sorry, that feels like a no-true-scotsman fallacy to me. Yes, everyone wants both balance and new features, but the important distinction is which one you prefer when you can't have both. It seems like this community ends up picking balance over features every time. Perhaps a more useful framing of the problem is that the project's consensus view of what constitutes balance is too narrow for its own good. It's not enough that every strategy has a viable counter; that counter must be tuned to an exacting level of minimal surplus efficiency to preserve the soft counter character of the game. Moreover, you have to do this with consideration to every single civilization in the game. If a new feature makes any one of the game's dozen civilizations grossly over or underpowered then it is automatically not fit for purpose. And forget about trying to deliberately change the nature of any particular strategy or counter relationship, or majorly adjust the unit roster available to any civilization. The community has certain expectations about how things are supposed to look in 0 AD. The problem is, when combining all those constraints the only valid solution is gridlock. With counter margins so finely tuned, every single tiny simulation or stat difference triggers a cascade of unacceptable changes that must be fastidiously counteracted every patch, eating up development energy. Meanwhile, anyone trying to contribute new features has to run a gauntlet of predicting and adjusting for every balance implication across every combination of civs. It is simply not possible to innovate successfully in such an environment. To get out of this rut, this community needs to accept that 1. it is worth breaking things to add features, and 2. that a more bold, rough-strokes approach to balance and counter design will cause less balance problems while the game is in heavy development. Otherwise I think 0AD should accept that its game design has fully matured to its natural conclusion, and slap a beta number on the next update.
  5. I think "general shape" is a bit of an understatement there, Radiotraining . The Starcraft CC has 3 major features: a pseudo-dome body with an open bay on the bottom, a flying bridge on top, and thruster "legs" on the sides. It looks to me like you have just those same 3 features for your design as well. That makes it look less like a stand alone concept and more like a SC2 custom skin. Maybe that's what you are going for, because if the intent is to convey that this building will work exactly the same as a Starcraft CC then the first design succeeds admirably. Otherwise I think you should really try to remix one of the features. Even when using someone else's work as a template, I think aesthetic innovation is an important mark of craftsmanship. It demonstrates that care and thought were invested in the project. For instance, (unless this building can fly like a SC CC) you might want to change the thruster legs into auxiliary habitation pods or armored weapons ports (if it will be able to attack when garrisoned like a 0 AD CC). Or maybe stick a fortified landing pad on top in place of the bridge-looking thingy... Anyway, you get the idea. On the whole this is impressive work and a good start.
  6. I actually agree with this sentiment. There are a lot of things in 0 AD that could be improved, or at least made more unique, with greater realism. However I don't see why anyone would take special umbrage with miss-scaled walk speeds specifically. Distance and time relationships must be inconsistent with reality in a game like this in order for it to be playable. In the real world humans are basically tiny little fleas compared to some of the structures they build and they are positively microscopic compared to the distances they travel in the course of their daily affairs. So to even have actors visible on screen you need to massively inflate them relative to the features of their environments. Likewise with projectiles, you need to massively foreshorten typical engagement distances and inflate and slow the projectile models just to be able to see who is shooting who with what. But the distance dilations for combat are still not even within an order of magnitude of the dilations to the environment. Thus inconsistent space/time scaling is basically unavoidable if you want to have a functioning RTS. Therefore it seems to me that what you are really asking for is that each of those relationships gets its own unique standard of measurement so it will conform to reality. But is this really helpful? Why do I actually want to know the walk speed of my units? Well for me there is only one overriding reason: I want to know how long it will take them to do things in the game. E.g. how many seconds will it take a spearman to close the attack range of a slinger (and thus how much damage is he expected to take during that transit). This is easy to calculate right now. Under your proposed system not so much, because the spearman's speed may be listed as 1.5 m/s and the slinger's range may be 300 m, but 300 projectile m / 1.5 walk speed m/s != 200 s... But lets even suppose coding and mod compatibility were non factors, and the dev team decided to rebase all distances consistently in the engine so that the human actors would be in their proper scale (i.e. 1.5 to 1.8 meters tall instead of 4.5). (And for the record, if coding and mod compatibility were non factors, I agree that this would be a good move because it would stop all the people making stupid mistakes like setting the projectile gravity wrong!) But if we did this, even then would we ever want to give our units their real-world walk speed of 1.5 m/s? I don't think so. Waiting for people to leisurely saunter to a destination is boring. And if you are the omnipotent god who ordered them to go there, anything less than a resolute power walk or sustainable jog implies that they don't respect your authority! There's a reason Doom Guy's default walk speed is 2.5X faster than Usain Bolt's fastest sprint... So uh... it seems from your posts like you have some ambition or interest with respect to the Pyrogenesis engine and 0 AD's asset library. What I am trying to say with my word vomit is that wonky distance and velocity scaling seems like an odd thing to be a deal breaker. Maybe you should give some more thought to what you want to do, and maybe even give us a hint so we can provide more helpful insights.
  7. Not when the people doing the walking are 4 meters tall and can build up a whole civilization from a single building in the space of half an hour! Games like this intrinsically operate on Paul Bunyon logic, which as arbitrary as it seems does actually follow a consistent set of rules. The only thing that is illogical is certain people coming in and demanding engine design choices to conform to their personal understanding of real world physics, without thinking about how that would affect other game systems. You are in the wrong here my friend, but you are welcome to make a mod that changes the walk speed to whatever you want it to be and see how the game plays.
  8. This is the same **** that makes people keep changing the projectile gravity to 9.81! The distance units in the game are not meters! They are their own thing with no consistent relation to real world distances. The numbers have to be fudged for anything feel right or make sense in gameplay. Yes, units walk insanely fast, projectile ranges are absurdly short, most buildings are comically tiny, and in the real world it takes months to plant a farm.
  9. This is the correct answer. Rams, Siege Towers, and perhaps Elephants are the only units is the game that can really be described as decisive in combat from what I've seen. That's not to say they are without counters, but unless they are countered they will be effective at changing the outcome of a battle. Everything else is just indistinct canon fodder; whoever can produce more or marginally better canon fodder wins. There's no fundamental differences in tactics.
  10. Lion.Kanzen's explanation is usually correct, however a more precise definition is that the hardness of a counter is determined by the ratio of cost effectiveness of the counter-unit/composition against the thing it is intended to counter. A soft counter requires nearly equal resources to be invested for a counter to be effective, while for a hard counter a small investment in the counter unit can shut down a much larger investment from the opponent. The dividing line between soft and hard counter depends on context, so it is a little tricky to try to generalize a dividing line. But if you are spending less than 75 resources on your counter for every 100 the opponent spends then you are probably talking about a hard counter. If you spend more than 80 for every 100 you are probably talking about a soft counter. I don't want to give the impression that designing a game around soft counters is bad. Soft counters give a certain amount of inertia to proceedings, which gives players more time to consciously strategize. They also lend much more weight to economic activities, which makes the game accessible and "fair." However, when a game is under active development, soft counters have one huge disadvantage: they are susceptible to perturbation. When the margin of victory is small, it is easy to unintentionally reverse the direction of a counter just as a consequence of small mechanical changes; for instance by making a unit slightly faster, or introducing a rotation delay, or changing the speed, range, or accuracy of projectiles. That can cause the metagame to completely rearrange in unintended ways with each patch and makes life very difficult for whoever is supposed to be in charge of the balance design. Sound familiar?
  11. I agree that the addition of some high quality scripted campaigns will be a great boon to 0 AD's value propositions. However, I must point out that in the RTS space, single player scripted (ie campaign) content has only a weak relationship to long term playability. For a lot of serious RTS players, a campaign is only something they might try for a few days (or hours) to get a taste of gameplay. Others might beat all the campaign content over the course of a few weeks then never touch it again. I think it is a only a small minority who find enjoyment in replaying campaign content repeatedly for the duration of their engagement. So let's not lose focus on the real reason Bad Player raised this (IMO very legitimate) complaint: 0 AD has a shallow core gameplay loop. There needs to be more diversity between civilizations. There needs to be more diversity between units. The game needs to have some mechanics-based hard counter cycles so that not every battle is decided by marginal differences in unit numbers or strength that are mostly attributable to the snowballing of minor decisions and tactical blunders from 10 minutes ago. Otherwise the game is too easily "solved" and most players will lose interest almost as soon as they have a taste of mastery (e.g. within 6 months). As for why some people might stick around longer: I would posit the main reasons are they become invested in the drama of the game's development. In some ways I think the evolution of 0 AD's metagame and design philosophy is a much more interesting strategic sandbox than the game itself. Others might be fanatic devotees of FOSS and have literally nothing better they can stomach to play.
  12. edit: oops wrong thread... but I concur with the OP. Having huge freebie mineral deposits right next to the starting CC is odd, in that it effectively negates any strategic choice to take minerals elsewhere on the map until the main deposits are exhausted.
  13. Which is why it would need to be paired with compensatory nerfs to other components of defenders advantage. Maybe get rid of the CC's attack so people will stop clustering their farms around the thing?
  14. How does that work? I'm not disagreeing, but I'm curious if you have a specific mechanism in mind that made pikes more effective against armor than other generic weapons of the age. That would be news to me.
  15. An educated guess: the animals are using a pathfinding preset for a unit class with a larger footprint than is specified by their individual templates and models. Their models are smaller than human sized models (at least in one dimension) but the simulation is pushing them apart as if they were human or maybe even mounted rider sized so there is more room around each unit. Combine with the fact that you are less likely to control a squad of several dozen animals than you are to have several dozen soldiers, the lack of good collision buffering is less apparent. (I haven't tried to verify that any of this is true, but it's my first guess.)
  16. That sounds fine to me. It's the player's job as a commander to keep their units out of dangerous situations, in fact I'd call that one of the core skill mechanics of RTS. If pathing causes an army to get bogged down in a swamp that the player gave orders for them to pass through, then the player needs to git gud and stop doing that. Having unit AI do it for them just robs everyone of the opportunity to improve and for good players to use their game knowledge and foresight. Of course there are exception to this principle. If units got stuck on every tree and hillock then the APM required to micromanage every routine move order would be untenable. But if we're just talking about heavy units being slowed down a fraction in swamps or rough terrain, I don't thing that constitutes an unreasonable burden for players, especially since it is one that can be mitigated entirely by map design.
  17. Yes, this irks me as well. As much as I think projectile dodging is lousy as a skill mechanic, homing projectiles are a big stylistic mismatch for an ancient warfare RTS. Apparently they ditched all AoE2's elevation based attack bonuses too. It's a very odd choice considering the game sells itself on other terrain effects like the concealment-inside-forests thing. In my book a next-gen history RTS ought to have all the terrain effects.
  18. You guys can scoff all you like, but based on what I'm seeing and reading I'd lay even money that AoE4 is going to be a game that dictates the expectations and mindshare of 0 AD for the next 5-10 years. Let's talk about the good things they are doing: The game runs smoothly in a performant, modern, 3D engine with serviceable graphics that will almost certainly improve over time thanks to patches and modding. The gameplay we've seen preserves most of the complexity of AoE2's timeless systems, while also adopting a much more asymmetric roster of civilization designs. (Some of these new civilization concepts might significantly expand the design space of historical RTS.) It explores some interesting micro-gameplay concepts. History RTS tends to fixate on projectile dodging and kiting, which are high skill floor and low ceiling, so having a high profile game try to showcase something else is good. AoE4 has faster matches and tech progression than a lot of games in its space. Military buildup is also fast and action looks like it will start early. This is a nice concession to the reality that the people who grew up with this genre are now adults under a lot of time pressure. Non-rush games don't need to take 50-60 minutes to resolve. The game is doing some really interesting things with contextual doodads around buildings. The game's ambient sound design is reportedly superb - although there is clearly still room for improvement. (ding ding) It is releasing in a finished (or nearly finished) state on October 28, 2021. This is all amazing in my book. I'm not sure good enough to usurp AoE2's e-sports throne. It might not even be enough to prevent it falling into semi-obscurity like the other entries in the Age series. But for 0 AD it will do one thing that is tremendously important: demonstrate that it is possible to make a high quality, modern re-adaptation of the AoE2 design philosophy. AoE4 is (in all the ways that matter to a broad audience) what 0 AD is supposed to be. It's the promise this project was sold to us with, and it's coming to you in a few weeks from the hands of a bunch Microsoft MBAs who are more interested in this quarter's profits than making great games. This stings to anyone who believes in FOSS, but the answer is not to nurse our insecurities. It's time to start taking notes. What works and what doesn't? What should 0 AD copy and what can it improve on? Can Wildfire use any of their design research to break out of its multi-decadal development pace? These are important questions, because if AoE4 is good (or even just pretty good) 0 AD will have to change its sales pitch to remain relevant. "Sort of like AoE4, but antiquity, and you get what you pay for" will not cut it--particularly if mod support is coming.
  19. I second this with every fiber of my being. The ephemeral unit non-collision really detracts from my enjoyment of the game. In fact, I would call it a deal breaker personally; I am really not interested in engaging with any of the single or multiplayer content in the game unless this is remedied. (Luckily modding exists.) The only thing I would disagree about is that the situation was any more acceptable before alpha 25. Maybe units weren't sliding through each other quite so fluidly before, but they were still doing a lot of their fighting in infinitely dense knots where range and surface area did not matter; where you could not tell where one unit ended and the next began. It has always struck me as one of the most egregious failures of polish on this project. I would even suggest a different interpretation: more than a gamplay choice, this is a simulation performance and optimization failure. In theory this game supports 200-300 population per player in team games. (With the amount of performance degradation on display, I'd question that assertion, but whatever.) However 95% of units spend 95% of the game sitting inside each other and acting in lockstep within these horrid little singularities. Why then is the game wasting so many resources simulating so many individual units when it could be treating them in aggregate? Why not increase the separation of units, increase their pop cost by 5-10 X make their attack proportionate to HP, and call each one a battalion? I bet the game would run loads better and most players would not notice any real difference. (Here's my preferred setting in simulation\data\pathfinder.xml to ameliorate this issue. I'm sure the performance cost is horrendous, but...) <MaxSameTurnMoves>20</MaxSameTurnMoves> <Pushing> <Radius>1</Radius> <StaticExtension>2</StaticExtension> <MovingExtension>20</MovingExtension> <!-- This could be lower if there was a separate slider to scale the pushing force --> <MinimalForce>0.05</MinimalForce> </Pushing> <PassabilityClasses> <default> <Obstructions>pathfinding</Obstructions> <MaxWaterDepth>2</MaxWaterDepth> <MaxTerrainSlope>1.0</MaxTerrainSlope> <Clearance>1.5</Clearance> </default> <large> <Obstructions>pathfinding</Obstructions> <MaxWaterDepth>2</MaxWaterDepth> <MaxTerrainSlope>1.0</MaxTerrainSlope> <Clearance>3.0</Clearance> </large>
  20. Agreed that the banking during the turns looks wrong right now, but otherwise this is incredibly cool. I hope it can make it into a future alpha. Naval gameplay seems like its more of a placeholder right now, so maybe concerns about gameplay implications won't be too much impediment. How do other games handle pathing for units with wide turning radii? Only one that comes to mind for me right now is Zero-K. There I believe rotational and forward movement are disconnected. So if a tank, rover, or ship hits an obstruction it will stop moving along the component normal to the obstruction, while retaining its tangential velocity, and continuing to smoothly turn the whole time. It looks kind of stupid in action but I guess it plays well for them.
  21. Hm... Slings are certainly formidable weapons, but to suggest that they could propel shot of a similar mass to a .45 at comparable velocity to modern firearms does not parse. Even .22 LR with an energy of under 200 J can easily shred all but very high quality reproduction plate armor. If slings could approach those kinds of energies, they would have been MUCH more effective than crossbows or high poundage war bows against mid to late medieval armor. Yet I have never heard of any medieval army fielding slingers as a core part of their infantry complement. I'd want to see some pretty extraordinary evidence before I'll buy that ancient slingers could reproducibly break 75 m/s. Don't take that as me contesting the idea that slings should be effective against elephants though! Even if it was just 50 m/s, slingers with lead shot would still open up wounds that would drive an elephant crazy, and if hit with enough I'm sure would eventually make them bleed to death.
  22. It does. There are a couple of different approaches (off the top of my head) that could be used to change that behavior, not all of which have been discussed yet: Add a preferred target preference against ranged unit to ranged units (or perhaps only to some subset--like archers--so that they become specialized as a ranged superiority unit). Changing the overall damage rate (or directional armor bonuses) of the game such that flanking maneuvers produce a positive increase in damage dealt. Right now if one tries to move ranged units to the enemy flank in order to target the ranged back lines, it appears that the additional damage the suffered + forgone during the maneuver will usually overwhelm the benefit from increased targeting efficiency. Revise the target acquisition algorithm, perhaps to have units first target the lowest HP target already within their attack range. Some sort of attack ground or volley functionality. etc
  23. The elephants as siege weapons trope is definitely ahistorical. However the game engine right now doesn't really simulate the things they were actually used for: breaking enemy morale and stampeding through otherwise immovable infantry blocks.
  24. Some good idea here... just thought I'd point out as an answer to the original question: Targeting the nearest enemy maximizes damage for ranged units because there is less chance of them missing closer targets due to projectile spread and travel time. It is also protective, because for a ranged units focusing on the closes6t units makes it more likely that they will kill melee opponents that are in a position to do damage before they can do too much of it. And for melee, attacking the nearest unit reduces the chance that they will become stuck getting ravaged by the enemy while trying to reach a target that is out of range or behind an obstruction.
  25. The simulation treats the mount and the rider as one unit. (On visual side, the rider is actually just a prop that the mount is "wearing," like an infantryman might wear a helmet.) For the future, I think changing riders and mounts into separate simulation entities could be really interesting, and a way to differentiate 0 AD from other historical RTS franchises that shall go unnamed. (You could have horse archers that can move while focusing fire on a target for example, or horsemen that dismount to fight anti-cavalry.) However, this would require a lot of new simulation code, and probably some new animations. It would take a long time, and would probably require a fork in the project as I don't believe the competitive scene has a stomach for such major gameplay changes.
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