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0 A.D. A24 gameplay patches


Nescio
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Could a, not exactly great, solution be to increase the carry capacity for slower units? e.g. spearmen can carry 12 res instead of 10, etc...

I feel like the combat implications of having melee units walking as fast as ranged not to be good for gameplay.

Edited by badosu
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Currently there is a backlog of about 50 open gameplay patches; see https://code.wildfiregames.com/search/query/4pPnEvE_Ol0A/ for a full list. Not all of them are ready to be merged; some have been ignored so far, and many need to be rebased because of commits in the months since they were last updated.

Earlier today I've rebased those patches that have been accepted at some point:

And a few others:

All of the above are ready to be merged. However, team members are very reluctant to commit anything that might alter gameplay balance, therefore more people are needed to have a look at these patches, and click “Request Changes” (if you think they shouldn't be committed in their current state) or “Accept Revision” (if you approve of them).

Edited by Nescio
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39 minutes ago, badosu said:

I wouldn't mind relaxing the criteria for releasing a24, however I'd rather have unmerged gameplay patches in the release than a worse balance than a23.

It's an Alpha. I know I'm in a Stark minority here, but shouldn't detailed balancing wait for Beta releases when the game is deemed feature complete? Or does alpha and beta or any of that mean nothing to the development of 0 a.d. hmm 

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As I said, I don't mind a24 being released as soon as possible. I even advocated multiple times for reaching beta status.

But we have a player base, that's been dwindling (at least with regard to the competitive scene) with the lack of progress on balance/performance/addressing the dos issues.

Making at least one of the above worse does not help. But then, I was not even aware we had blockers for a24, especially given the lack of responses to raised questions about it on the forum (do we have a roadmap?).

That said, releasing a24 would do more good than bad for the momentum at the current stage.

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Patchs risk 0: D2950 D2939 D2856 D2493 D2951 D2992

Patchs risk 1: D2972 D2866 D2843 D2853 D2863 D1762 D2886 D2993

Patchs risk 2: D2494 D2815 D2801

Patchs risk 3: D2507

Risk 0: Can be committed without biggest problems.

Risk 1: Slightly change the balance. No greater risk of damaging a new alpha.

Risk 2: Units or civilizations can benefit more than others, enough to make a new alpha boring.

Risk 3: It can completely ruin the current gameplay.

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1 hour ago, borg- said:

Risk 3: It can completely ruin the current gameplay.

The ability to lame resources could definitely be problematic, but provided that there are significant nerfs to palisade stats outside friendly territory, that could be regarded as a non-issue.  Is there something I might otherwise be missing?

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7 hours ago, badosu said:

As I said, I don't mind a24 being released as soon as possible. I even advocated multiple times for reaching beta status.

But we have a player base, that's been dwindling (at least with regard to the competitive scene) with the lack of progress on balance/performance/addressing the dos issues.

Making at least one of the above worse does not help. But then, I was not even aware we had blockers for a24, especially given the lack of responses to raised questions about it on the forum (do we have a roadmap?).

That said, releasing a24 would do more good than bad for the momentum at the current stage.

Beta would mean the game is feature-complete and no new mechanics will be added; 0 A.D. is not at that stage, hence alpha. There is a roadmap (https://trac.wildfiregames.com/roadmap), but no date. While team members are busy or working on technical and complicated tickets (e.g. upgrading SpiderMonkey 45→52→60→68→78), it makes sense to continue improving other things, such as art or gameplay.

Not every patch has to be accepted and committed, of course. However, if something seems an improvement or an idea worth trying, it's better to have it merged sooner rather than later, to give people playtesting the development version more time to figure out the combined effects of all changes and spot aspects that are poor and should be improved. If a committed patch turns out to be a change for the worse, it can always be amended or reverted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

https://code.wildfiregames.com/D1762 (gives fortresses a territory root; see also this forum poll)

Territory control having been exercised mostly via castles and other fortifications makes this a reasonable choice.

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https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2493 (make siege engines uncapturable)

Never particularly liked capture mechanic (maybe mostly due to unit behaviour / maybe also capture-delete meta). While only slightly averse to capturing buildings I clearly dislike it for sieges.

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https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2494 (overhaul artillery attacks)

This is dropping splash damage and lot of unrelated changes. Such do a bit of everything patch makes it incredibly difficult to follow the change in codebase. Further the description only says what the patch does which can be just inferred instead of why this changes is positive or what it hopes to achieve.

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https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2507 (allow building palisades in neutral terrritory)

Well everyone only ever plays mainland.

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https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2801 (enable stable for all civilizations)

https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2815 (give all civs rams)

https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2950 (keep population for houses)

Generally any patch that reduces the difference between the civs I consider bad. This trend is ongoing for a long time already and I can only see it stop when civ is just a skin for the same unit roster with possibly only absolutely inconsequential differences remaining. The above are very obvious examples of horrible in terms of diversity. Some of the other patches listed do have a similar effect albeit less obvious.

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Thank you for your feedback! See the opening post or https://code.wildfiregames.com/search/query/4pPnEvE_Ol0A/ for a full list of open gameplay patches.

1 hour ago, hyperion said:

https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2494 (overhaul artillery attacks)

This is dropping splash damage and lot of unrelated changes. Such do a bit of everything patch makes it incredibly difficult to follow the change in codebase. Further the description only says what the patch does which can be just inferred instead of why this changes is positive or what it hopes to achieve.

All changes are related. While I like splash damage in theory, in practice it's rather flawed. The aim of the patch is to have artillery attacks that are easier to understand and balance.

1 hour ago, hyperion said:

https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2801 (enable stable for all civilizations)

https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2815 (give all civs rams)

https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2950 (keep population for houses)

Generally any patch that reduces the difference between the civs I consider bad. This trend is ongoing for a long time already and I can only see it stop when civ is just a skin for the same unit roster with possibly only absolutely inconsequential differences remaining. The above are very obvious examples of horrible in terms of diversity. Some of the other patches listed do have a similar effect albeit less obvious.

This deserves an explanation. First of all, I like diversity :). I fully agree civilizations are currently rather similar and ought to be diversified. However, differentiation for the sake of differentiation is not always desirable. If something makes sense, it can be kept, but if something doesn't make sense, it ought to be removed. The aim of these, and other, patches is not to make civs more similar, it is to work towards a clean and consistent situation.

Proposals for further differentiation (e.g. new civ bonuses) are certainly welcome!

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59 minutes ago, Nescio said:

All changes are related. While I like splash damage in theory, in practice it's rather flawed. The aim of the patch is to have artillery attacks that are easier to understand and balance.

There is a reason why @wraitii split spidermonkey update to v78 into more than a single patch where the patches in the whole series are arguably more related than this one. With the argument "all changes are related" you could even merge all commits between a23 and a24. If I were the maintainer I wouldn't accept your patch even if I agreed with the changes.

Ideally this patch would be split into a series. Let's make "[1/x] remove splash damage" the first one. The commit message should reference the commit which added splash damage. That commit ideally explains the rational for adding it in the first place and how it's supposed to work. The removal patch then further discuss why in hindsight this was a bad decision / design and why removing instead of tweaking is the better choice.

Unless the commit messages explains why "in practice it's rather flawed" I have no way to know. Proposing alternatives then is impossible. This sort of feels like there is "dancing" so "there is a flaw with unit motion" therefore lets remove "units" just that the consequences are less dire when doing this with splash damage.

Similar with "if something doesn't make sense", how does a miller living in a mill are nones living in a cloister not make sense. So pop cap boni for various buildings is perfectly justifiable from a realism point of view and I don't see how this hurts gameplay at all.

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4 minutes ago, Stan` said:

I like splash damage and I feel like it's an intereating mechanic that should be kept and not be put in the trash. Sadly I don't have more reasonable arguments for it. I do feel like "hard to understand" is not a good argument, too.

As long as it's not taken out of the engine, you will see splash damage in DE. ;)

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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@hyperion, you're right, commits such as 15713 or 19095 ought to be avoided. On the other hand, committing every single modification separately is undesirable too. Where to draw the line is always a bit arbitrary. D2493, D2494, D2495 affect the same entities; I did it in three because each of those can make sense on its own (or not) and can be implemented indepently.

D2494 removes splash attacks and raises default damage of artillery, but having one patch removing splash attacks and another raising default damage is not really an improvement, these changes make much more sense together than they do separately. Likewise, the <PreferredClasses> changes are because of the damage changes. You have a point that the summary does not really explain why the patch is as it is. I'll rewrite the summary to be more argumentative rather than descriptive.

4 hours ago, Stan` said:

I like splash damage and I feel like it's an intereating mechanic that should be kept and not be put in the trash. Sadly I don't have more reasonable arguments for it. I do feel like "hard to understand" is not a good argument, too.

One problem is that the actual splash damage inflicted depends not just on the splash radius, but also on the distance from the centre of the entity hit; because structures (and warships) tend to have long footprints (longer than the splash radius), they don't take any splash damage in practice. Also, the AI does not seem able to take splash damage into account. Another issue is that ancient missiles were not exploding shells; splash damage is anachronistic.

4 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

As long as it's not taken out of the engine, you will see splash damage in DE. ;)

To be clear, I'm certainly not arguing to remove the mechanic. I'm actually in favour of having a cheat unit that has a splash attack (perhaps a mortar; or some Greek fire, or the dragon?).

 

Anyway, this discussion is getting quite specific. Could we please continue it over there on phabricator ( https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2494 ), where the actual review is supposed to take place?

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Today it's a year ago that I started this thread. Dozens of gameplay balance patches have been reviewed and committed since then. Many thanks to all who participated!

However, there are still dozens of open gameplay patches and more will be added. For a full list, see https://code.wildfiregames.com/search/query/4pPnEvE_Ol0A/ or the opening post.

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4 hours ago, Nescio said:

Today it's a year ago that I started this thread. Dozens of gameplay balance patches have been reviewed and committed since then. Many thanks to all who participated!

However, there are still dozens of open gameplay patches and more will be added. For a full list, see https://code.wildfiregames.com/search/query/4pPnEvE_Ol0A/ or the opening post.

Congratz and tnx for you hard work

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On 10/01/2021 at 2:34 PM, hyperion said:

The only concern I have is that the differences between civs once more decreased.

  Guilty as charged :).

It's a valid concern and you're certainly not the only who dislikes this. Since I wrote the majority of gameplay patches, you can blame me. My focus is primarily on improving consistency and addressing things that don't make much sense, and also on more clearly separating structure functions (e.g. barracks is for infantry, stable for cavalry, arsenal for siege engines, fortress for territorial defence, and houses for population) and differentiating units (e.g. axemen and swordsmen are separated from swordsmen templates). As a consequence civs became more similar, yes, which is unfortunate. The aim is to get to a cleaner and somewhat more balanced state, from which it's much easier to add new content. I certainly do hope 0 A.D.'s civilizations will be further diversified in the next release.

Having said that, allow me to cherry-pick a few commits that did make civs less similar:

And highlight some patches proposed today, waiting for feedback:

 

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Someone needs to commit your patches. ;)

The argument of "doesn't make much sense" is bogus. I can come up with this type of argument for pretty much everything in the game and make it sound sane. I feel every time this argument is part of the commit message the patch should be rejected straight away for being misguided. That doesn't mean the change can't be made but at least use sane arguments, "doesn't make much sense" never is.

Lets take https://code.wildfiregames.com/D3329 Ptol houses now cost wood even they are built from bricks without any wood. Doesn't make sense at all! Before they were houses and to make gameplay different from other civs the resource cost was substituted by higher build time and larger footprint (important). Perfectly reasonable. As you see I claim the inverse as making sense and no one can say I'm wrong. By the way I consider this another horrible change for the game as in "fun to play".

 

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20 minutes ago, hyperion said:

Someone needs to commit your patches. ;)

The argument of "doesn't make much sense" is bogus. I can come up with this type of argument for pretty much everything in the game and make it sound sane. I feel every time this argument is part of the commit message the patch should be rejected straight away for being misguided. That doesn't mean the change can't be made but at least use sane arguments, "doesn't make much sense" never is.

Lets take https://code.wildfiregames.com/D3329 Ptol houses now cost wood even they are built from bricks without any wood. Doesn't make sense at all! Before they were houses and to make gameplay different from other civs the resource cost was substituted by higher build time and larger footprint (important). Perfectly reasonable. As you see I claim the inverse as making sense and no one can say I'm wrong. By the way I consider this another horrible change for the game as in "fun to play".

 

Balancing cannot be done using the reference fun. Fun is subjective. I don't think it's fun at all to have 80% of the players choosing ptolomeus all games, cuz some buildings are free.

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1 hour ago, hyperion said:

Someone needs to commit your patches. ;)

Indeed. :)

1 hour ago, hyperion said:

The argument of "doesn't make much sense" is bogus. I can come up with this type of argument for pretty much everything in the game and make it sound sane. I feel every time this argument is part of the commit message the patch should be rejected straight away for being misguided. That doesn't mean the change can't be made but at least use sane arguments, "doesn't make much sense" never is.

You're right, taken out of context the phrase “doesn't make much sense” has no value. There ought to be an explanation why. If an argument is unconvincing, it shouldn't be accepted.

1 hour ago, hyperion said:

Lets take https://code.wildfiregames.com/D3329 Ptol houses now cost wood even they are built from bricks without any wood. Doesn't make sense at all! Before they were houses and to make gameplay different from other civs the resource cost was substituted by higher build time and larger footprint (important). Perfectly reasonable. As you see I claim the inverse as making sense and no one can say I'm wrong. By the way I consider this another horrible change for the game as in "fun to play".

While sun-dried mud-bricks were used for walls, they still need roofs, doors, furniture, and firewood.

In this particular case, @Sundiata (and others) complained about free houses on the forums more than once (this thread is one example), I wrote a differential, @borg- reviewed it and requested changes, I updated the patch, @borg- accepted it, and @Freagarach committed it, as rP24590.

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  • Nescio changed the title to 0 A.D. A24 gameplay patches

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