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Unit Health and Battle Size


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Hi, I am one of the many people who lurk more than post, but I have a question.

I watched the video for download in the media section of the 0AD site and I noticed that the battle at the latter half of it lasts much longer than most fights in these type of RTS games. Were the units just given invincibility for the sake of people being allowed to get a good look at them in action, or will the fights be longer than usual in general?

Compared to say, Warcraft of AOE, where there are many little skirmishes which last less than 5 seconds, and then one big attack that barrels over the enemy and then wins the game. I'd really prefer having longer fights, even if it is kept shorter than I'd prefer for the benefit of playability. Also, I'm wondering how the walls and ships will be scaled. I remembered that there was discussion that the naval units haven't had their sizes nailed down yet because it couldn't be decided what would work best. I think bigger is better. I'd prefer to see large impressive units that can unload a lot of troops and have pleasing sea battles than smaller, more contemporary units just for the sake of higher paces gameplay where whole fleets are downed in seconds.

Also, I have to say that most RTS games that resemble 0AD tend to fail miserably at naval combat and movement. The Age of Empires games were horrid, with sea units that constantly bunch together, clip, and dance around like hover-ships on the water. I'd love to see the movement of naval units restricted, so that ships can't make bizarre 180 turns, and have to have a little room to turn around completely. Also, setting the boundaries of the units large enough that they don't ram into each other endlessly when they are sent to move as a group would be great too.

Any feedback you can give me? It is very arrogant of me to assume that you all could succeed where commercial games fail. There must be a reason naval combat sucks so much in most RTS games not focused on the sea. Must be hard.

I'm also not sure how ramming is going to be handled. Enlightment on that would be great.

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I cannot answer all your questions, but while the exact HPs etc of the units will have to be decided in testing we're aiming for longer battles (and thus units that lasts longer) that give the user a chance (or even a need) to be more strategic and not just create as many units as possible in a short time.

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Imho longer battles are more nice to see and to manage, but it may be more easy for military buildings to "pump out" units after units as reinforcements while battle is running. So a battle may become a fight in the middle with barracks ahead pumping units after units. This is not nice...

So a good fight may be a well-done balance of time between training for units and time of lenght for battles (and cost of units and...)

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Kennylz brought up several points, one in particular caught my attention.

Will Warships be able to carry troops like they did when they were used? Some of the famous Roman ship battles involved troops using planks and crossing into enemy ships.

I was just wondering if warships will be able to hold people and fight? (instead of having a particular ship for it, like in AoE they had transport ship that couldn't deal damage, only transport.)

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Extra damage maybe, but shouldn't they decrease speed? :)

[edit] Wait, we're talking about oared ships not sailing ships... that might change things.

If they did it right you would have ships ramming each other for one hit each, and you would have to have troops to board the other ship, because besides ramming other ships not much else they could do. (I could be wrong but I haven't really studied Roman history.)

And they would be faster since they were all oared ships.

Edited by Silver
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In my opinion boarding makes playability less easy. Also, the ship turn thing makes things a lot harder. You have to keep in mind that while it sure would be cool if the ships where all you had to control, and RTS game is really complicated, because of all the tasks the player are facing.

You have to make sure you have enough food, wood etc.

Also, you probably have more than one army, at least I often do more than one battle at the time, and then it's everything else that you have to think, consider and do when you play a complicated RTS.

Just hope 0ad is more of a battle game than a recourse game. And it would be awesome if you could actually have long battles, where units couldn't just walk right through the enemys army to get to the, ie. archers. Holding lines was pretty important back then I believe, and 10 men running through the enemys army to kill archers (as one often do in RTS's) is not likely. If that can't be done, the player is forced to think "outside the box", maybe make an ambush on those archers, or plan a good flank.

Just what I think anyways

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ZeZar is correct in just about everything in his post. :)

Except that we'll have a boarding function, but you won't see units duking it out on-deck. You won't be commanding a boarding squad, etc. It'll be more like, the ships will lock up next to each other and the one with the most and best troops will take the other one over.

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ZeZar is correct in just about everything in his post. ;)

Except that we'll have a boarding function, but you won't see units duking it out on-deck. You won't be commanding a boarding squad, etc. It'll be more like, the ships will lock up next to each other and the one with the most and best troops will take the other one over.

Thanks, I wasn't actually serious about the boarding idea, I was just using it as an example of how they did carry troops in ships :) but boarding function does sound cool even without seeing the actual combat.

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Just hope 0ad is more of a battle game than a recourse game. And it would be awesome if you could actually have long battles, where units couldn't just walk right through the enemys army to get to the, ie. archers. Holding lines was pretty important back then I believe, and 10 men running through the enemys army to kill archers (as one often do in RTS's) is not likely. If that can't be done, the player is forced to think "outside the box", maybe make an ambush on those archers, or plan a good flank.

This is GREAT it adds an aspect I feel that almost every other RTS has neglected. :)

How will you work that out though? :) Sounds like alot of coding ;)

Will it be that you can't just click your men to attack archers you ahve to manoeuvre them around the main front of enemy army to the sides/back?

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Edit: Sorry for long post, its just that English isn't my strongest language, so I use a lot of extra space to explain! :drunk:

Well, the way I see it, and consider I have NO experience or skills in programming, but how I can think it could be done is this:

First of all, units having more health. - I have always wanted a game with huge armies where people die after being hit by 1 (one) arrow, seeing a lot of deaths and more realistic battles. However, the armies had to be huge to make battles last more than 10 seconds.

But in this game, I think if long battles are an objective, (and remember I would support any decision you guys make!!:crazy:) the health should be increased, or damage decreased. In comparison to other RTS's.

BUT, much health and "long" battles wouldn't do ANY good if you can choose to walk right through the lines, heading right to ie. archers. Why build archers if the hitpoints is high, and it takes long time to kill each soldier, when this soldier can simply walk through your army and kill the archers. I have the impression that a swordman would kill archers pretty fast, like in other rts games.

And how that should be done you ask? :P Well, it's up to the talented and skilled programmers of Wildfire to figure out, but how I see it, some sort of block. When an army is "holding a line", it should be impossible to walk through. So when you drag over 200 units, ie. soldiers with swords, they would have a formation that make them line up in 2 or 3 lines, making a wide line, with archers in the back. And it should be impossible to cross this, without making a whole in the lines of the enemy. Unless of course, you have horses. This should not be for horses, UNLESS again, you use pikemen in front. This would open up some insane (after my opinion insane AWESOME) new tactics to consider while playing. Not just rushing and not really caring how you line them up.

Also, if you would be smart, you would place troops on the rears, like a box, except maybe not putting troops BEHIND the archers. If you guys understand what i mean. I really hope you do, if not, I will explain again ;p

Anyway, longer battles with more tactical focus is something I have missed, and I STILL hope for units on walls, just so you know Michael!!! ;)

And wow, it has to be the first time I actually say something that was right :) Yay, proud of myself! And the boarding thing you explained makes sense, and sounds awesome. Would make people have to actually put big, or good troops on ships. But will you get the ship when it's boarded? If not, I really don't see the point! :)

Thanks for the discussion everyone, looking forward to replies! :drunk:

Edited by ZeZar
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  • 2 weeks later...

I also really like the idea of "shield walls" were the actual positioning of your units disallows the passage of other units. That would be in keeping with the idea of longer battles since these walls would have to be conquered before the units hiding behind could be attacked.

Another thing. If you make the battles rely heavily on tactics, make sure the ai can do everything a human player can do (line units up, group them carefully, take advantage of terrain, etc.) as an ai scripter for AoK and The Conquerors I know too well how easily one can get frustrated with stupid military, especially if no effort to make soldiers halfway intelligent is made at the game engine level.

Good automatic unit-level ai would also make these battles easier to coordinate because, personally, I don't want to be setting up a shield wall unit by unit. Maybe one could select a group of soldiers and then have a command button for shield wall and then allow the player to place it on the map in a similar way to a building. Or have a zone set up where the soldiers should form the wall. The units selected would then automatically form the wall there if possible.

Just ideas...

I also really like the idea of "shield walls" were the actual positioning of your units disallows the passage of other units. That would be in keeping with the idea of longer battles since these walls would have to be conquered before the units hiding behind could be attacked.

Another thing. If you make the battles rely heavily on tactics, make sure the ai can do everything a human player can do (line units up, group them carefully, take advantage of terrain, etc.) as an ai scripter for AoK and The Conquerors I know too well how easily one can get frustrated with stupid military, especially if no effort to make soldiers halfway intelligent is made at the game engine level.

Good automatic unit-level ai would also make these battles easier to coordinate because, personally, I don't want to be setting up a shield wall unit by unit. Maybe one could select a group of soldiers and then have a command button for shield wall and then allow the player to place it on the map in a similar way to a building. Or have a zone set up where the soldiers should form the wall. The units selected would then automatically form the wall there if possible.

Just ideas...

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I think it would be pretty good if you can create squads out of units or have scalable unit squads straight away like 6-hmm 40 units in a squad. Cos when you think about it all soldiers were a part of some unit and they didn't just run around with whoever, they stayed with they commander and fellow soldiers. So if you order a squad of shieldsmen to form a 'shield wall' than a whole squad does that. I think that is going to make things much easier.

I'm not sure would anyone undertand the following, but anyway: I think pathblocking could be used to prevent units, as said in previous posts from just going through a swordsman platoon and slaughtering archers behing. I gues it could be like: the 'friendly' unit size is say 40, but to an enemy its 60. So if u order a swordsman platoon to form a shieldswall and the distance between each unit is like 5, than a minimum of 2 units nearby should be killed to create a 'gap' in the regiment, in which more enemies could move and eventually cut their way through to archers. darn thats a lot of writing for me....... anyway what do u think?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys, I tend to usually read but in this instance I'm posting :P

Perhaps another idea re: Holding formations could be significantly slowling down unit movement. In RTS games large landscapes are scaled down to much smaller areas, so it also makes sense that unit movement be considerably scaled down. There would also be little point holding a solid formation only for your opponent to run around your formation and attack you from behind. By considerably slowing down unit movement this would allow you to use cavalry as they were traditionally used - protecting the flank, and perhaps also bringing up other troops into those positions.

This would also mean that it would be possible to manage multiple battles/demands at one time. If a group of your opponents units were quickly sent around your formations flank then you could possibly miss it if you had been quickly dealing with a different problem. By slowing down unit movement, you would have a lot more time to deal with a possible flanking manoeuvre, even in multiple battles.

Just my two cents :)

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About the squad(s) idea, I believe I remember someone told me a while back form WFG that they were gonna have a "Grouping" feature. Say, you select a certain amount of troops of a particular troop type, and than you hit ctrl + 1. Kinda like in Warcraft. That should be a very doable hotkey for WFG programmers. It also makes it a heck of alot easier when you can just press 1... 2... 3... on your key board, and than right click on the mini-map to move them in the general area.

If you're going to have ships double as transports... enemy triremes should not be able to take out your vessel with one hit. That would suck in some cases to lose your army in the middle of the ocean (but I guess that's the point). Maybe if you ram an enemy trireme, give it a "sinking time" or something... like watch the health bar go slowly down due to the trireme itself being hit and filling with water. This should enable the player to bring up reinforcement triremes and transfer his units onto fresh transports.

... I remember playing a few games in AOK where I was the Koreans and had a poor land army. But the enemy was on a different continent, and he was forced to keep resupplying his forces against my defense. I eventually figured it out that if I send turtle ships to blockade him; he couldn't do squat. :):P

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-EDIT-

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Forgot about this... but if you guys also want huge and long lasting battles; maybe WFG can look into gameplay that is similar to Cossacks. In Cossacks gameplay was quick. The population limit was also huge. That enabled the player to create (literally) thousands of units. Military production was just as quick as gameplay, but the research was just a tad bit slow. Maybe 0 A.D. can adopt something similar?

What is the population cap for 0 A.D. atm... 200 - 250 right?

Thanks,

- HG

Edited by HistoryGuy
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Population cap will have to be determined by playtesting, at the moment there is none AFAIK (apart from the fact that the number of houses/City Centers you own limits how many units you can build of course :P )

That is NOT how it will be at release though :)

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Could write a book to discuss this I guess, but I just want to say something about the popsize. Because that is something that is a BIG deal.

When you play Age of Empires, doesn't it bother you that the cap size is so small? I realize, back then computers wouldn't handle more units on the screen (It all comes down to computer hardware right?). And that is great at start, but now. Couldn't computers handle a cap size at a thousand in i.e Age of Empires? Just using at as an example.

My point: When the cap size in 0ad is to be set, you should consider that computer hardware evolve, so in a few years, more units can be handled.

And that is not all, why not make it like in Empires: Dawn of the Modern World, where they have the usual "200, 300" and so on, and then 80.000 (don't know why it is that number), so that people who play on modern new computers can build huge armies! My point is: Cap size should be an option, or at least make it an option to make cap size not matter. If you know what I mean!

About the shields: Not slow-down. Would affect a lot of gameplay. However, I think there should be some form of... I know I use a lot of examples and that most of you have never even heard of these games, but Praetorians. When a group (they use group-systems, you control a legion instead of single soldiers) enters the battle, and start a fight with another group, you have no control of what they do. You can pull them back, because they are deep into the fight. It's realistic. I think. You can't control them until the fight is over. This prevents a quick pull-back and flank I think. And also, it should NOT be impossible to flank. It should be up to the player himself how to deal with archers, soldiers and horsemen.

Btw: Horsemen should cost much, _IF_ the "run over soldiers" feature is added. (like the ones in the Battle of Middle Earth games)

Thanks ;=)

And feneur (Erik:p), it's great that you answer us here. * Jeg er takknemlig for det :P *

:)

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Regarding Pop Cap sizes, I have a lot to say there, but I'd like to say that it is not all just about hardware limitations. It is also software (engine limitations), as well as gameplay (important) and most importantly of all HUMAN limitations (how much a human player can deal with at once). Like you said, I could write a whole book on the subject. :P

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I think taking cossacks as an example would be a mistake in a way - i like the unlimited resources + nearly limitless population, but the combat especially in later stages of the game just becomes quite stupid: build more barracs, more farms, mines and other buildings, so that your, LOL, production of units/per second increases. When I was playing skirmish game my city produced like 10 pikeman, 3 horseman and like 2 gunners per second + other cannons, and some ships, and than combat just becoms stupid - nearly no tactics, because you dont have time to actually build up a regiment with proper officers and drummers, you just need to constantly make and send units at your enemy to prevent your him from advancing towards your city. :P

I strongly suggest that the unit cap should be modifiable - say 100 -1000 units or and the resource availability should increase ans a result of increasing unit cap. So people on high end PCs can play the game with maximum unit scale, while people with slower machines could play it with nornal or low unit scale while still enjoying the game. :)

Charging Cavalry would be fun, as long as they dont look too unrealistic - like sending units flying all over the screen.

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