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Intro To New Exp. & Rank MechanismsEdit

  • We are all aware of the Experience & Rank Mechanisms built into WZ 2100.
  • Woefully inadequate or, on the flip side, full of tremendous, untapped potential.
  • My thinking in this area is based on this premise:
  • The more you care about a unit (or units) the more poignant the gameplay experience, the deeper your involvement.
  • My presumption is that this is a worthy gameplay design goal.
  • Obviously to encourage that careing there has to be a scheme of rewards / bonuses versus penalties or disadvantages.
  • So looking at WZ's existing schema of Experience & Rank.............
  • We will attempt to uncover Gameplay Mechanisms that encourage the gamer to greater "Emotional Involvement & Identification" with, & within, the WZ "Game World".

Apt Game Design Axioms 1Edit

  • These contribute to the immersive gaming experience but DONOT make it addictive:
  • a.) Photo-realistic GFX
  • b.) Compelling Sound FX
  • c.) Believable Voice Acting
  • d.) Apt & original atmospheric Music
  • The following ARE essential to addictive gameing & thus must be the foundation of Gameplay Mechanisms:
  • 1.) Original & effectively dramatic backstory.
  • 2.) Mechanisms of player interaction with the game world that:
  • Challenge but donot frustrate
  • Provoke the suspension of disbelief by engageing the player's Imagination & Emotional commitment.
  • Have a pattern of interaction that can readily be learned BUT that doesnot lead to outcomes that are predictable.
  • Outcomes that arise within an expansive framework of game rules allowing for skill mastery &
  • Rewards that delight because of the visceral depth of the player's engagement with the entire construct & it's imbeded ability to invoke a self-renewing spell of discovery &
  • Hard-won achievement.

Apt Game Design Axioms 2Edit

TW's Exp. & Morale SchemaEdit

  • TotalWar's Experience Criteria Schema Proposal:
  • First off, lets not have a single % for everything, but rather one for several sub-categories:
  • Evasion / Chance of evading enemy fire...
  • Durability / Armor and Hp...
  • Firepower Vs. Buildings and Vs. Units, separate ones...
  • Speed / Tank speed and RoF...
  • Accuracy / Weapon accuracy...
  • First: Evasion - This will only increase during a two sided combat, where each side is using weapons. As the unit is exposed more to combat situations, he will learn more efficent ways to avoid enemy fire...
  • Second: Durability, never changes...A tank cannot suddenly strengthen the material its made out of simply because its been in battle longer...
  • Third: Firepower, Vs. Buildings, increases whenever the unit attacks a structure...Vs. Units, the same except for units only. The reason for the separation, is that killing a mobile tank that is attacking you is much different than destroying a stationary structure...Perhaps that can be combined into one after thinking about it, but.......
  • Fourth: Speed - The units overall speed generally increases with the time its been in motion, simple as that. Its RoF is similar, but only increases during two-way combat, because if someone was attacking a defenseless structure, they would be under little or no stress, while if they were in an actual being fired upon, they would be in serious stress to load and fire as quickly as possible, for its the difference between life and death.
  • Fifth: Accuracy - increases during combat. However, this will increase little for large buildings, factories, a somehat larger amount for single tiled structures, bunkers, a large amount for the slower mobile units and an enormous amount for fast mobile units. Try throwing a rock at a tree, a turtle, and a bird, and you'll see what I mean.

Comments on TW's SchemaEdit

Strata's Morale Schemas Part 1Edit

  • Morale:
  • Can we "remove" upgrades from the player? I.e., negative upgrades, penalties of you will...
  • Don't bother to answer yes/no yet, let me finish my tangent first...

  • There is a set of Universal "Morale Benefits" comprised of Research Benefits/Upgrades that

are NEVER available to ANY players... human OR A.I....

  • These "Morale Upgrades" are handed out on the merits of Surviving, Experienced Units and

Minimal Casualties.

  • Likewise, they are taken away if the Player starts resorting to arcade tactics of "Ant-swarm / Canon Fodder"....
  • First off, the "starter" morale upgrade (given to every player) is as follows: +100% boost for all Structure/Unit Durability, Repair Rates, & Firepowers.
  • Essentially, this doubles the damage all players can both dish out & receive.
  • Double firepower versus double durability = normal damage inflicted.
  • Therefore, at the start, the players won't even notice the morale in effect.
  • During play, for every target destroyed by one of your mobile units, this morale boost increases by 1% per kill... and 1% again if a commander was being used.
  • This can increase up to +300%, giving you 2x the combat abilities that you started with (which were themselves 2x the defaults).
  • However, for any UNITs you lose...whether by enemy unit or structure, this value DROPS by 10% PER CASUALTY...even to the point where the "morale upgrade" is completely nullified & you're down the "default strengths" of +0%, which is 50% of what you started with.
  • In short, if you battle extremely well, your morale increases to double strength, yet if you play MISERABLY, then your morale falls and you end up down to half strength.
  • You cannot gain morale boosts from base structures/defenses, but they can help make your opponent's morale DROP if he unsuccessfully tries to assault your base... are pretty interesting-- say a player with absolutely crummy morale goes up against a different player with sky-high morale.
  • The poor player is down to 50% attack/defensive abilities, whereas the good player is at DOUBLE their attack/defense abilities. Which is a difference of four-fold...every shell fired by the good player would have quadruple the effect as every shell fired by the poor player.

  • Where training comes into greater focus. Remember my "training camp" image, long ago, in which I depicted my own units simultaneously building & destroying tank traps???
  • There is no morale penalty for losing structures, but there is a morale boost for destroying them with your own units.
  • Translation: if you need to up morale, start training the soldiers using tank-traps.


Strata's Schema Part 2Edit

  • New idea, even if this morale issue isn't possible!
  • Repeatable Training Targets. I.e., it's a structure that looks like a good ol' bull's-eye target. Basically, it can be killed quickly, but whenever you destroy it, you automatically get another one put up in that same locale. Like a target that you shoot down, and moments later it pops back up, ready for another hit.
  • Simple scripting, really.... using the STRUCTDESTROYED callback/trigger, we simply test to see if the particular structure was a practice target. If so, rebuild it at full status instantly.
  • Morale or not, having cheap targets to shoot at, without the drawbacks of building each one yourself, would be a great toy to have and use.
  • Can't be taken away, here's plan B:
  • For every time a player gets "game over" all OTHER players receive a +50% morale boost in attack / durability categories. I.e., as players get crushed, the survivors become even stronger than before.
  • On a 8-player FFA map, this would mean that the last two players standing would have increased to +300% their usual, meaning that they'll inflict QUADRUPLE the damage they started from...how does that sound for "raising the stakes" of combat ??

Comments on Strata's SchemaEdit

Strata On Exp. MechanismsEdit

* From my perspective . . .
  • I do believe that unit experience should have various tangible bonuses in combat. However let's not get too carried away here, after all there's a line between what you CAN improve through experience, and what you CANNOT.
  • For example, here are some things that I do believe should be improveable via experience:
  • Targetting accuracy -- better/steadier aim means less dispersion of shots. More shots hitting the target = more damage. This works up to a point, of course, since if you have a weapon with an inherent 'spray' factor, no amount of experience is going to change that.
  • Targetting precision -- an experienced unit will be able to perform the specialized attack orders "disarm" and "disable" instead of just "shoot to kill". At a most basic approach with stat-randomized calculations (for example, target unit always takes damage, but the odds of the hit counting towards disabling/disarming increases with experience), but I personally like the drastic approach much better, green pilots simply can't perform those orders -- they can only "shoot to kill".
  • Movement & Group AI -- Undoubtably and unfortunately the most difficult to program is to improve the AI behaviour of units based on experience . . . experienced units will avoid "slow" terrain while pathfinding, and they will be less likely to get split off from the group during combat -- safety in numbers, as they say. This also means that in combat, experienced units should move around more often, i.e. knowingly try to stay out of the enemy's optimum weapons range.
  • However, there are many things that I don't think should be improveable through experience, most of which fall into the category of:
  • Raw unit stats i.e. Base Firepower, Speed, Armor -- These values are dictated by factory processes. No amount of battle experience is going to thicken the armor plating on a unit's chassis, for example, or make the engine output more horsepower. Experienced units will seem to exhibit increased firepower and speed but this is because of pilot choices, and not increases in raw stats....
  • An experienced combat unit won't hit any harder with its weapon, but it will hit "smarter" -- and more often than a non-experienced unit....
  • That's my take on the matter.

Rman's Response To Strata's ConceptsEdit

  • Cogent, Strata.
  • Let me steer this to a particular continuum suggested by your analysis.
  • Senors, Situational Awareness, Velocity of Effective Response
  • For example:
  • If the common denominator is 'sensor tech' then succesfull experience will impact the pilot or troop's:
  • Situational Awareness 1st...
  • Then the
  • Velocity of Effective Response
  • Now, this brings us to Accuracy, but not in the typical shot-gun approach.
  • It also points to Sensors or Tech Eyes for targeting.
  • Let me strip this down to the quick.
  • Greater Successful Experience yields a specific accuracy boon:
  • Priority targeting of the enemy unit's eyes thus mitigating their accuracy in-turn.
  • On the flip side: higher rank enables your unit to avoid a lesser ranked unit's targeting accuracy of your eyes aka sensors.
  • This is by no means exhaustive just simply to introduce a line of thinking.
  • Also, I am making this assumption:
  • This is the year 2100 and high tech at level 1 is a given.
  • Ergo all units, including ground troops, possess targeting sensors to supplement LOS.
  • Rman.

Troman's Views on Exp. Schema Pt. 1Edit

* QUOTE:

  • "Movement & Group AI --
  • Undoubtably and unfortunately the most difficult to program is to improve the AI behaviour of units based on experience . . . experienced units will avoid "slow" terrain while pathfinding, and they will be less likely to get split off from the group during combat -- safety in numbers, as they say. This also means that in combat, experienced units should move around more often, i.e. knowingly try to stay out of the enemy's optimum weapons range."
  • I think the main improvement for the units when gaining experience (apart from accuracy etc) should be actions like going out of enemy fire range, like Strata already mentioned, also the more experienced units could try to stay in movement during the battle etc.
  • But we shouldn't go too far here, because otherwise it will be too difficult to control unit behaviour with scripts. If units will start running around, controlled by engiine, they will become too unpredictable for the scripts (like unit location, current order etc).
  • Target prioriting is also a great idea I think.
  • QUOTE:
  • "It could be fun if we can get the commander to act on they`re own.

Just set some options like offence/defends/guard/hold position/scout and them attach some units to him. Then the commander acts on his own and commands your army.

  • This could be usefull if we could make bigger maps. Easyer control because you have to control several armies all over the map."
  • Yep, it's one of the idea I definitely want to implement. I liked this idea since I played Battlezone.
  • In Battlezone you can give a unit a 'hunt' order and it would scout the map for enemies. It wasn't very effective, but it's not the point. I don't think we should go here as far as allowing the units to go attack the enemy base, this is still what the player is for, on the other hand this can also be a very interesting feature, if implemented correctly.
  • Nonetheless, I think the main idea of 'automized' commanders (I think these new orders should be available only in connection with a commander) must be tasks like base defence, outpost/chokepoint defense, maybe scouting and similar tasks.

Troman's Views on Exp. Schema Pt. 2Edit

  • Also, consider this: you give a unit group (consisting of a commander and some tanks) a move order far away from your base. While moving the commander encounters an enemy, it could try to automatically go around the enemy, to stay unnoticed, simply because right now it looks so dumb when it doesn't. In reality no unit would just ignore an enemy (unless you order it to) and bump into the enemy, even if it has absolutely no chance to survive and carry outthe order.

But the player must get a way to turn it on and off.

  • I also think if would be an interesting feature if we could give construction units a way to 'auto-build', let's say a base, or an outpost. For example you have discovered some oil wells and want to secure them quickly, you select a program and send a truck to do the basic stuff for you, while you are fighting back the enemy somewhere else. maybe it shouldn't be anything advanced, just some basic stuff.
  • What I think we can do here is combining these automized stuff with unit experience. If we take construction units as example: we can assign different amount of experience points to each structure and with every structure built a construction unit gains experience.
  • After some time it will be able to perform some basic programs, like building a row of defences etc.

This way the player will get a motivation to keep this unit for the entire game and don't use it as cannon fodder. What do you think guys?

  • The automization of some basic tasks is a great idea, I was always thinking of a way to implement something like this, but we had to way to interact with the user, without the source code.
  • Just some other basic stuff I could think of before pressing 'Add reply' button. During the battle an experience commander could make critically damaged units to withdraw and to let the fresh units continue the battle. I don't mean they should run back to base, they should just change the formation, so that the damaged units would fight from behind, avoiding enemy hits.
  • It would be just so much fun to watch a battle between an experienced unit group and a group with a rookie commander. The experienced group could be 2-3 times as effective and this will be motivation enough for the palyer to try to get this units and the commander back safe to the base, because it would be just too valuable. Sounds cool *drool*.
  • We just must make sure that we don't over do it and preserve some role for the player in the game. He could be like a coordinator or a trainer for the unexperienced units.
  • But if we think about it, does a general tell the soldiers how many steps to make and when to stop? No, he gives a general order to attack the enemy base and this command is carried out by soldiers and commanders.

Comments On Troman's ThoughtsEdit

Strata On Target PriorityEdit

  • QUOTE:

"Target prioriting is also a great idea I think."


  • Related to that idea, something that would be cool (in theory, at least) is the ability to target an entire group rather than a single enemy unit/structure at a time. You know how we click-and-drag to select units?
  • Sort of a click-and-drag to select targets. Then the units in the group will size up the targets and start attacking them in priority order based upon their variety of weapons and which targets are most critical, will fall most easily, or other criteria we can assign.

Rman Sums-upEdit

  • Troman:
  • I agree with all your provisos.
  • Let me put it in the broad stroke.
  • The distinct flavor of RTS is that it puts you squarely in the role of a GENERAL.
  • In a sense RTS subsumes Role-playing. Your taste of gameplay is to BE a General.
  • Accepting that premise, it follows that any mechanism that enhances or enriches the player's experience as a GENERAL, is worth considering.
  • In shorthand:
  • RTS = General POV
  • IMO, all the specific suggestions you made, Troman, clearly advance the WZ gameplay experience in that favorable direction.
  • Heretofore, the bane of RTS, as far as playing the role of an effective General, has been the click-fest necessary to micro-manage the most routine of tasks.
  • And this need to excessive micro-management of ultra routine tasks (imbeded in design mechanisms) has contributed to the over-simplification of deployment and engagment tactics as manifest in the typical and boringly predictable ant-swarm, canon fodder strategy.
  • Let me reduce this to a design goal:
  • Effective base & economy management while simultaneously haveing the real opportunity to deploy at least 3 combat groups and engage, in an ordered manner, in more than one theater of operations.
  • Lest I forget, I spefically like your scheme of integrating experience boons, as well Troman.
  • Your caveats about automation are also necessary considerations, IMO.
  • I opt also for Fire & Fade as the designator for that command-script you described.

Troman ExpandsEdit

  • QUOTE: "Related to that idea, something that would be cool (in theory, at least) is the ability to target an entire group rather than a single enemy unit/structure at a time."
  • I have never seen this feature before, sounds interesting. Rather than firing at the same target and wasting time and ammo the group could find individual targets and be more effective this way. Long ranged weapons could aim at the targets that can not be reached by units witn shorter range of fire. I definitely like it.
  • Could be difficult to implement, but that's another story. And again I think it shouldn't be possible without a commander, we can decide if the commander will be able to perform such an attack on default or if he has to gain some experience first.

Comments on any of the aboveEdit

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