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Friendly Fire for Ranged Units


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This is a game where,  for the most part, melee units have the "tank" role and ranged units have the "dps" role.

Pikemen are incredible, as they should be, but for the wrong reason. They should excel against melee units in pure melee battles. But because ranged units do the majority of damage, making them tanky is how the game shows them to be powerful melee units. 

I think what makes getting good balance difficult between ranged and melee units in RTS games is the fact that ranged units are always doing damage to the enemy whenever they are in range (even through walls, and buildings, losing no accuracy), whereas the melee units only deal damage once they reach the target.  In an actual battle this could not be (at least not to this extent) because ranged units would risk hitting their own allies.

Would it be possible to add friendly- fire, not just for bolt shooters, but for archers, slingers, javelineers and crossbows?

I would like to see friendly-fire in the game, but have units by default  not fire if they may hit a friendly.  However, you could change the behavior of units in-game to make them fire even if friendly fire might happen. 

I don't know how this would be achieved technically.  It is my understanding that accuracy is not based on trajectory but on probability.  Could you make it so that all units within 1 (or 2) meter(s) of the target have a probability of being hit? And if one unit is closer to the shooter,  that unit has the highest probability of being hit? 

Then perhaps there could be accuracy upgrades, including tech and rank, that allow them to take more safe-shots.  Champions and heroes of course would have the best accuracy.

Would this destroy computer performance? 

This would radically change the game and a lot of re-balancing would have to be done I'm sure.  But it could make balancing simpler in the long run.

Battlefield positioning would become very important.  Melee units would become more prominent (I think.)

What do you think?  Is it possible?  Would you like to see it? 

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The friendly fire option exists for all units (unless something drastically changed in the most recent alpha). It just has never been turned on for anything except siege units. I don't think any modder has publicly explored the possibilities yet. And I can't blame them, since innovations like this have a snowballs chance in hell of ever being embraced by the wider community.

Personally however, the interaction you describe is exactly the kind of thing I wish 0AD EA would try out. 
 

Edit: I should add, I privately tested precisely this sort of generalized friendly fire convention in combination with directional armor back during alpha 24. For my tastes I thought it was brilliant. It made literally-backing-up a friendly meat shield with ranged units worse than completely useless, because the fire support would nail the friendly guys in their unarmored backs and end up doing more damage to you than the enemy.

To get any kind of advantage you had to send the archers/slingers/peltasts out to flank and encircle the enemy's melee line using their superior speed, at which point they were absolutely lethal. But then they would be very vulnerable to the enemy cavalry and fire support, meaning you would have to pick your moment. And the kicker is that this is MUCH closer to the real doctrine of ancient warfare than what is currently represented by games like 0AD.

However... I can see how players acclimated to the conventions of Age of Empires would have a well founded beef with added micromanagement burden like that. it would either entirely overstrain the attention economy for any normal player, or necessitate a huge shift in focus to the tactical. Successful integration of friendly fire as a game mechanic is mostly associated with the Myth series; and those are very different games...

Edited by ChronA
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I think it would be a fun idea but we should leave it as optional (have a checkbutton at the beginning of the game).

The issue is, in real life archers can shoot up to 200m and slingers can also fire projectiles to a similar range with less accuracy. This long range ensures then enemy to be wounded by a shower of projectiles before reaching your units. In 0ad however, the archers can only shoot 60m, so there is not enough space large numbers of projectile showers before melee units engage each other. The 60m range is reasonable for 0ad considering 200m means shooting into the enemies territory just from near  your CC (on small maps). Unless we can increase the scale of 0ad entities to that of real life dimensions, it is better to leave these realistic features as optional so as not to break the game completely.

Just my thoughts :)

Edited by Sevda
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As someone who has done archery hitting at target at more than 100m is very hard, and they did not have the english longbow then.

In theory you could have an option to add and disable friendly fire (by adding a tech at the beggining of the game that would apply a modifier on everything)

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9 hours ago, Sevda said:

I think it would be a fun idea but we should leave it as optional (have a checkbutton at the beginning of the game).

That would be like having a toggle for allowing buildings to be captured. It might be illuminating in the short term, but eventually you need to make a decision about how you want the game to work.

Friendly fire creates an anti-synergy between ranged and melee fighters, while the lack of it produces a synergy from the meat shield effect. In a properly balanced game these factors should be reflected in unit stats. E.g. with friendly fire, movement speed, HP, and armor suddenly become extremely important to the effectiveness of ranged units, where without friendly fire the most important stats are DPS for ranged unit and defense for melee .

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I am not sure what the benefit of friendly fire would be for 0ad.

Some ideas for breaking the melee=shield, ranged=dps situation are:

attack-ground 
increased melee inf dmg 9% 
charging for melee units
minimum range 

I could imagine friendly fire on catapults, but this would require more control over them from the player.

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19 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

minimum range

We had this in the past and was removed. The issue was that ranged units kept distance on their own. Melee inf had no chance to ever get close to ranged cav for instance. So this would need to be carefully designed.

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On 08/03/2022 at 8:26 PM, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

Some ideas for breaking the melee=shield, ranged=dps situation are:

attack-ground 
increased melee inf dmg 9% 
charging for melee units
minimum range 

6 hours ago, hyperion said:

We had [minimum range] in the past and was removed.

Yeah, sorry, but I truly have very little faith that any of these ideas (including friendly fire) will ever get used... or at least not in any way that permanently fixes the problem they are supposed to fix. I mean, just for this one issue we have 5 different proposed solutions for the same flaw, all but one of which each entertains half a dozen competing implementation options, with just as many pros and cons for each.

There is no way this group will ever come to a consensus to use any of them. (Except maybe the 9% buff, which does nothing to change the flimsy unit-role interaction model that's creating the issue to begin with, and will therefore break the second anyone so much as sneezes on the pathfinding or target selection code.)

This is to say I do not believe the value of these kinds of discussions is in identifying solutions to this game's balance problems. What it does do is indirectly illuminate the organizational deficiencies that perpetuate this and so many other problems in the 0AD constellation, so that if ever someone emerges with the drive and vision to fix it, maybe the wider community will have the sagacity to rally around them.

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4 hours ago, ChronA said:

This is to say I do not believe the value of these kinds of discussions is in identifying solutions to this game's balance problems. What it does do is indirectly illuminate the organizational deficiencies that perpetuate this and so many other problems in the 0AD constellation, so that if ever someone emerges with the drive and vision to fix it, maybe the wider community will have the sagacity to rally around them.

Well so far nobody has stepped up. I mean the last “great vision” we had was that of Nescio, and everyone loves A24, right?

Even when Mythos Ruler was leading there was no big consensus. Probably much less dissonance from the forums because the multiplayer community was less vocal (Or maybe time soften the discussion they had then)

 

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Yep... it's not fun waiting for a messiah (especially when one can envision some of the solutions that are needed, but recognize that it is beyond your power to deliver them). :mellow: 

For all my @#$%ing about these topics, I do have a great deal of respect for you active developers who are keeping the lights on and consistently delivering incremental progress (and valuable experimentation) in so many areas. You guys deserve more praise.

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6 hours ago, Stan` said:

Well so far nobody has stepped up. I mean the last “great vision” we had was that of Nescio, and everyone loves A24, right?

Even when Mythos Ruler was leading there was no big consensus. Probably much less dissonance from the forums because the multiplayer community was less vocal (Or maybe time soften the discussion they had then)

 

the ideal is to create new test gameplay mods together.

It's hard to test patches, you have to make a list of the best ideas.

For that we created a testing team.

It's just reorganizing our logistics.

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18小时前,hyperion说:

我们过去有这个,并被删除。 问题是远程单位自己保持距离。 例如,近战 inf 没有机会接近远程 cav。 所以这需要精心设计。

But this is very realistic, isn't it? For range cavalry, the best way is to use cavalry to drive away or shoot them with shooters. The two legs of the infantry will definitely not be able to catch up. Crassus's end is the best example.

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I think some ranged units should have it. Besides the obvious variation in stats there could be some more distinctive features for ranged units. For example, the chad javelin thrower is all the rage now due to their olympic attack speed and dmg while the vergin infantry archer is completely overshadowed now. In short, make a mod where we give javs friendly fire to make them more risk-reward : 1-more a skirmishing force, ie before the frontlines mee. 2- making them a dedicated flanking force since the probability of hitting your guys should be reduced if you flank the enemy, and see how it turns out. I would also make archer a ranged unit counter but as of now, units will only attack their closest target unless told otherwise this is a mute point.

Edited by PyrrhicVictoryGuy
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  • 1 month later...
On 07/03/2022 at 5:25 PM, ChronA said:

Edit: I should add, I privately tested precisely this sort of generalized friendly fire convention in combination with directional armor back during alpha 24. For my tastes I thought it was brilliant. It made literally-backing-up a friendly meat shield with ranged units worse than completely useless, because the fire support would nail the friendly guys in their unarmored backs and end up doing more damage to you than the enemy.

I've been dabbling with modifying 0ad for a little bit now.  Other than messing with 0ad I have no programming experience.  How did you do the directional armor?  Share notes?

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attack code is pretty simple, one of these days I can upload a mod that introduces directional armor, which is based on a previous mod by @ChronA. his mod is for A24, mine is for A25. in any case, we are talking about a few changes to javascript code.

edit: I may add that I never advertised my mod because I wasn't satisfied with the result. units in 0AD rotate quickly and suddenly, and it's hard to appreciate the effect of directional damage.

Edited by alre
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