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Looking back on the balancing strategy


Stan`
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And I am inclined to agree that you need a central node of authority, not absolute, but someone needs to set the direction. You cannot all just follow your own path. Something that has stuck with me was that April fools joke, I believed it, because to me everyone seemed disunited in the discussions and many wanting to seemingly create their own version of how 0 AD should be, I could be wrong, I am just someone looking through the window into the workshop so to speak, but this is what the goings on inside seem to me.

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2 hours ago, Fabius said:

It seems a poor metric to sit around and wait for enough players to comment on something before doing anything with it. Especially if that something is exceedingly niche and likely few know or care about it to begin with. I do not care much about Hyrcanians, but I do want to see new features, and I do know Hyrcanians are sad currently. I will likely never use them, but somebody else might.

 

The balancing team's job is to balance. The balancing team isn't in charge of determining what is interesting of desirable. Anyone can express interest or support for a new feature. For this particular feature, no one has expressed interest or support. It's a waste of time for the balancing team to weigh in on every proposal because half of the tickets basically only receive support from the patch's author.  

With that said, three people besides the patch's creator have substantively commented on the patch. Two of those three, including myself, are part of the balancing team. All three have expressed skepticism about the proposal. One person said that the proposal likely won't actually add anything because it will be a useless unit. New features are great. But is anyone excited about trumpeters? No, because it was a new unit that didn't actually add anything. 

It appears that the proposal simply doesn't have support. 

Edited by chrstgtr
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4 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

It's only been two days...

Honestly, a lot of time there is silence it is because there isn't a lot of enthusiasm for the proposed change and the balance team only speaks up once it appears that a patch a legs. I suspect that may be the case here because no one (balancing team or otherwise) have expressed any interest in the proposed patch being implemented. 

Yeah I guess you are right. It's just these units are basically useless at the moment aside from anti ram. So at least now they will be of interest strategically. Surely it's better than the status quo. If you try my mod just to give them a spin, maybe they will be of more interest.

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4 hours ago, Stan` said:

I wonder if they could apply status effects to themselves, granting them an aura, or give a status effect to surrounding entities with a timer @wraitii @Freagarach not sure how hard that is, probably needs a new component to handle the cooldown.

Probably aura's/techs actually being JS functions.

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On 02/06/2022 at 3:19 AM, chrstgtr said:

For this particular feature, no one has expressed interest or support. It's a waste of time for the balancing team to weigh in on every proposal because half of the tickets basically only receive support from the patch's author.  

I would consider this attitude on the impolite side of things. If you can't be bothered to give your opinion on a proposal, you might be in the balancing team, but not in an advisor role.

At least you can say that you disagree with the fact and for an advisor it wouldn't be bad to express what you think of a certain feature that is currently in the game, which is in this case axe cavalry. I hope you have an opinion worth sharing on axe cav yourself.

On 02/06/2022 at 3:19 AM, chrstgtr said:

With that said, three people besides the patch's creator have substantively commented on the patch. Two of those three, including myself, are part of the balancing team. All three have expressed skepticism about the proposal.

Rather than the negatives, we should look for the positives. If there are negatives, we should look for ways to address for the negatives or argue that how the positives can outweigh the negatives. Also in all the posts on the tread, I see some positive things mentioned about the patch. So I don't agree with your view about the skepticism the patch received.

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On 02/06/2022 at 2:19 AM, chrstgtr said:

One person said that the proposal likely won't actually add anything because it will be a useless unit. New features are great. But is anyone excited about trumpeters? No, because it was a new unit that didn't actually add anything. 

 

An useless unit is good, because it doesn't break a civ like the fire cavs of Iberians or Carthaginians' mercenaries. If you think the Gaul trumpeter is useless, then don't train it! If someone else spammed it, since it's useless, it can't hurt you too much. But, this useless unit opened up possibilities for new unit types and new strategies involving them. For example, if I was in a situation where I had to spam infantry with the Gauls, I would add in a few trumpeters to boost the performance of my army. But if you don't want to do that, it's your choice. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 20/04/2022 at 10:07 PM, maroder said:

Generally I would like to help out with that task, but it is unclear what *exactly* the task contains.

I've been talking to Stan about this. I really want to be involved here as it is something I think that I can do well. I actually do have ideas about features I want to add to vanilla, but they are not widely accepted now, so I don't think it's appropriate to add them to the DD. I do hope Stan likes and accepts my contributions. But obviously that's an ongoing process, will require revisions, will require updates, and he has no obligation to do so :-p.

Here are two things that I think should be included

  • For additional content civ and unit content. Summarizing how to contribute in a way that maintains balance. For example, someone wants to get Zapotecs added to the game. Well, what thought process do you go through to balance them?
    • Sufficient art, unit, templates, buildings to make them interesting and comparable to other civs. Some comments on art style.
    • Sufficient strengths and weaknesses that differentiate them enough to make them a worthy in game choice.
    • One contribution I would like to make is a combat and Civ balance calculator that can calculate the winner of unit matchups. As well as calculate Civ strength and weaknesses based on template files and user input(an html form inside the DD which can tell you a Civ or unit strength based on the modifications you tell it).

 

  • For the Development team. I think this part is the less clear.
    • Where does the dev team want to go with the game in the future?
    • Is avoiding "Fastest click wins" still a design goal? This requires thinking about how to actuate this. It may need new combat mechanics to give battles more strategic emphasis over numbers. So general ideas like this can actually drive the game forward into deciding which new mechanics should be used.
    • Is removing repetition still a design goal? Building houses and farms and even walls takes time to click. There could be more mechanics to make an AI handle these things at different stages. You could make the AI automate the build order somehow, while allowing the human player high level control.
    • Audience. Who are we trying to market to primarily? Because this majorly affects the vanilla settings, I think.
    • The above two are intentioned as examples of how a design goal can affect the development and choice of additions to the game. Discussions need to take place between the DD Writers with Stan and others about this.

@Stan`

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On 21/04/2022 at 3:22 AM, hyperion said:

What it could describe without thinking much about it:

  • How to update the design document (process)
  • If I want to add a civ, what do I have to fulfill
  • If I want to add a map, what do I have to make sure
  • If I want to add a model, what requirements are there
  • If I want to write a new ui, what must I make sure of
  • How to bring historical facts to the users attention
  • How should city building aspect work
  • How should fights work on a meta level
  • What is territory meant to achieve
  • many more

For instance the removal of kennels without the backing of a design document shouldn't have happened IMHO.

This is helpful.

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The Purpose of the DD(from what I know) is to guide and limit designers, developers, programmers, artists. Limiting can have very negative connotations, obviously, but the idea is that 0AD is not a First Person Shooter set in a futuristic space age. This would be one limitation put in place by the DD. A more specific limitation is on the artist to strive to make somewhat historically accurate depictions, but also to exaggerate them a little to make them clear.

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On 21/04/2022 at 7:10 PM, alre said:

the purpose of a design document is to fix things and avoid always rediscussing them. the document is not enough in itself, a real leadership is necessary to make people respect the document. we actually already have one, the problem is noone cares (the base principles of 0AD design could still be taken as valid, and they say some very clear things about micromanagement, but I remember seing micro role in the game being questioned many many times, and noone ever pointing out the design principles).

What do you mean about micromanagement ? What does the current(very old) DD say about this?

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On 25/04/2022 at 1:21 PM, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Not a bad plan. 2 years seems excessive. Maybe 2 alphas. 1 alpha to enact some changes, and 1 more to fix/tweak these changes.

I sort of like this idea. Each decision maker gets an alpha, or two.

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10 hours ago, myou5e said:

What do you mean about micromanagement ? What does the current(very old) DD say about this?

I was referring to the same concept that you described as avoiding "Fastest click wins". Namely, I had in mind those players that discuss and propose new features trying to preserve or even raise the level of "skill" required to win fights, where "skill" is basically APM.

Edited by alre
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26 minutes ago, Lion.Kanzen said:

to avoid APMs, combat must be slowed down.
slow peace this way you can manoeuvre your units.

that's not how it works unfortunately. by slowing the pace of the game the mechanics don't change, micro-management only becomes more important because you can give your units finer instructions with the added time.

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34 minutes ago, alre said:

that's not how it works unfortunately. by slowing the pace of the game the mechanics don't change, micro-management only becomes more important because you can give your units finer instructions with the added time.

in theory it would be less SC2. 

Yes, I guess there are more factors. well they said it about the attack with respect to A23.

Units die a bit quicker now.

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22 hours ago, alre said:

I was referring to the same concept that you described as avoiding "Fastest click wins". Namely, I had in mind those players that discuss and propose new features trying to preserve or even raise the level of "skill" required to win fights, where "skill" is basically APM.

I really don't like the APM thing. I want to strategically plan battles. Has anyone done a poll on this to find out how the majority of players feel about this? It was mentioned in the DD that they wanted to avoid "fastest click wins", but I don't know any RTS which in competitive play does not come down to this, combined with memorized build orders, and some knowledge of unit counters.

To avoid this in a game I think requires careful thought. How do you even do that? I suspect it has to do with making a battle of equal numbers go either way, depending on how it gets carried out. Which requires more game mechanics, probably, to do that effectively. I also think that the improved speed of training units in bulk actually reduces the effect that CC downtime might have in Phase 1, I think this is good, because it reduces the penalty of accidentally not clicking "train citizen" at the right time as you can always use that extra food you saved to train  faster.

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Things like Elevation Bonuses are a good way to change it from "largest army wins"(we have this already). Terrain bonuses are another, which I think were removed for some reason. I don't know why. Maybe to do with pathfinding? Things like Stealth and weapon switching could add more of this. We will have weapon switching soon, I think. I understand that stealth is actually pretty difficult to do well so I don't expect to see that for a while even though I would love it.

Edited by myou5e
clarity
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On 18/05/2022 at 1:10 AM, Sevda said:

I propose a solution to this problem: separate multiplayer mode and singleplayer mode

We can allow 2 main mods instead of 1: 0ad-relaxed and 0ad-hardcore. 

For people who want to enjoy relaxed games, good graphics and new features, they can activate the 0ad-relaxed mod. This should also be the default option as it is friendly to newcomers. Within this, the developers can add whatever cool features they want and no-one will ever complain! The developers should commit all of their new features to this mod. This will prevent lobby players who complain about balancing issues from hindering the development of the game.

I agree with this concept, I think a single player and multiplayer mode would also provide a healthy competition between the mods which gives people the chance to evaluate the differences. Yes you can just download another mod in the mods screen :P, but I think that when you start a multiplayer game, having a checked default "multiplayer mode" would be very helpful, because then everyone knows this is a mode designed specifically for competitive play.

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1 minute ago, myou5e said:

checked default "multiplayer mode" would be very helpful, because then everyone knows this is a mode designed specifically for competitive play.

There are casual players in the lobby, and that is acceptable. However, with the split mods, the hardcore TGs will be in grey and they will not be able to join it, and vice versa. 

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On 18/05/2022 at 4:00 AM, Lion.Kanzen said:

I think it would be arcade mode vs simulation/realistic mode.(kind LARP).

For the multiplayer version I like one of:

  • Multiplayer mode
  • Arcade mode
  • Competitive mode
  • Balanced mode [Edited]
  • Hardcore mode [Edited, Sevda convinced me]

For Single player version I like one of

  • Singleplayer mode
  • Full mode
  • Standard Mode [Edited]

I think "simulation/realistic" is probably not clear enough.

For multiplayer my preference is probably balanced mode. The reasoning is because the goal of the multiplayer is to be a balanced competition so I think it's the most clear.  Hardcore, though a reasonable choice, sounds too aggressive to me, as if every unit will die after a single hit or you harvest resources instantly.

Edited by myou5e
completeness
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