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[SVN/A24] Default formation for walking


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Hello everyone,

This message to inform you that I have merged in SVN the 'default formation' patch, which is a rather substantial behaviour change, though it can be de-activated.

In Alpha 23 you have to put units explicitly in formation. In SVN and A24, units will now go into the 'default formation' when walking, and will act as individual when given orders like 'gather' or 'repair'.
This is intended to leverage formations for movement, but to avoid issues with specific orders where formations make less sense.

The "box" formation is the default. You can change this in your config file, and by right-clicking on a formation icon in-game.

If you want, you can deactivate this entirely and go back to A23-like behaviour by choosing the 'no formation' as a default.

Modders, you can easily chance which orders get which formation by changing the calls to g_AutoFormation. Since this is all GUI-only, you can mod it locally and still play games with unmodded players, too.

Hope you enjoy playing,
Wraitii

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22 hours ago, OptimusShepard said:

The movement on Sahyadri Buttes is really bugged. I tested it with 30 horseman. Maybe such maps needs exceptions?

Can you be a bit more descriptive? Testing right now, it doesn't look great because the formation rotates un-naturally, but it's functional enough.

For these maps, you can de-activate the default-formation manually anyways.

On 2/1/2021 at 2:15 AM, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Extend this to make batch-trained units (or exiting garrisoned units) arrive at their rally point in the chosen default formation.

Mh, that's a good point that I didn't think of. It's unfortunately not that easy because it needs to be synchronised for MP play, I'll see if I can do something not too tortuous.

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7 hours ago, wraitii said:

Can you be a bit more descriptive? Testing right now, it doesn't look great because the formation rotates un-naturally, but it's functional enough.

For these maps, you can de-activate the default-formation manually anyways.

E.g. the units often stop for re-formating.

Seems to, you have to download the video, to see the picture.

Edited by OptimusShepard
Video doesn't show picture.
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17 hours ago, OptimusShepard said:

E.g. the units often stop for re-formating

Yeah that's what I was describing above, it's because the controller rotates and we have pretty bad handling of rotating formations.

I'm afraid it's essentially unfixable at the moment, and the movement is still working (maybe even better than with an individual order), so I'm going to call that a "won't fix" for now, unfortunately.
You can, if you want, de-activate the default formation feature on those maps.

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I think this is a visual thing, movement remains rather faster in formation.

That being said, I think increasing the formation controller turn-rate makes this look much better, so I'll do that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's not only a visual thing.
When I send rams to attack something and there is a straight way through some smaller gap, they first regroup and then choose to go a long way around cause their formation doesn't fit through.
If they wouldn't be using formation they'd reached their goal way faster.
The constant regrouping is also a bit annoying within a fight.

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It's not only a visual thing. In my last game I get annoyed by following behavior. Some of my units were already fighting against the enemy units. Then I selected all my units by double click (left mouse) and send them to attack the enemies. The idea was that the non fighting units help my fighting units to strike back the attack. Instead of that the units who were already in fighting leaved the battle to regroup. Following that the archers of the enemy were killing my regrouping units.

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Movement in formation has been improved but still has flaws in the way it deals with obstruction. If you want to pass through a chokepoint small enough, the formation will not find a path here and will need to go around, whereas in 'no formation' they can go through. Also when there are small objects which obstructs the path, the formation will be slowed down, sometimes more than necessary. Also there is no option to temporarily select 'no formation' to deal with these cases.

For these reasons I deactivated it.

Edit: That said it is true it might still be faster for when there are small objects obstructions. However it makes the movements less predictable (could hurt when you enter a fight)

Edited by Feldfeld
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Hmm, the argument that it's foiled by small spaces is certainly convincing, as the formations use a large pathfinder class.

I think a 'simple' solution to improve behaviour would be to have the 'auto-remove formation' feature on, but not the 'auto-activate formations'. So you could put units in formation and then attacking would take them out of formation automatically, but walking wouldn't.

Edit -> good point by Freagarach that attack-walk will not behave as it used to, which is probably a problem.

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I've merged the above patch. You can now turn the default formation off, put units in formation, and they will leave the formation if any order but "walk" and "patrol" is given.

I'm unsure at this point if I should change the default configuration for "default formation", since it is only used for walk & patrol (e.g. attack-walk moves units individually). I haven't done so in rP24703.

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