Exciting Combat

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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Silligoose » Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:48 am

I see. I thought as much as I read there were also stress tests etc etc, but I've seen little media since then, so I wasn't too sure :)

I post the comment I did, because I still remember the first time playing 'GX' and realizing I could weave my ships between incoming fire - it was just a fantastic mechanic imo and one that lured many players to that game, as it set it apart from most RTS titles with that mechanic. I very much look forward to the release of Novus Aeterno and while the forum seems a little quiet these days, will keep an eye out to see what goes for what in the times to come.
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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Johnm81 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:26 pm

Silligoose wrote:I see. I thought as much as I read there were also stress tests etc etc, but I've seen little media since then, so I wasn't too sure :)

I post the comment I did, because I still remember the first time playing 'GX' and realizing I could weave my ships between incoming fire - it was just a fantastic mechanic imo and one that lured many players to that game, as it set it apart from most RTS titles with that mechanic. I very much look forward to the release of Novus Aeterno and while the forum seems a little quiet these days, will keep an eye out to see what goes for what in the times to come.



I see what you are saying. Having weapon projectiles that are more of skill shots vs targeted shots would add an additional dimension of combat to big fights. However, having the server need to keep track of each projectile would probably take up a lot of system resources. Resources that Id love to see used in expanding the amount of unsettled star systems with interesting things to discover via exploration. In addition, one of the things that attracted me to NA was the lack of need to have 200ish APM in large fleet fights ala starcraft.

Id rather the micro be limited to positioning of ships to maximize enemy hull weaknesses and fire arcs imo.
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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Silligoose » Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:13 am

Johnm81 wrote:
I see what you are saying. Having weapon projectiles that are more of skill shots vs targeted shots would add an additional dimension of combat to big fights. However, having the server need to keep track of each projectile would probably take up a lot of system resources. Resources that Id love to see used in expanding the amount of unsettled star systems with interesting things to discover via exploration. In addition, one of the things that attracted me to NA was the lack of need to have 200ish APM in large fleet fights ala starcraft.

Id rather the micro be limited to positioning of ships to maximize enemy hull weaknesses and fire arcs imo.


When it comes to non-tracking weapons, combat systems still implement targeting systems. It's still possible to set your target like in a traditional RTS title and even if the target moves, your ships will still fire to the position of the target at the moment of fire, so that it will hit said target if said target remains stationary in the new position. As such I wouldn't really call it a trickshot - as the attacker you still do what you did to hit the enemy - right click to target it, but as the one being attacked, you have the opportunity to 'sidestep' the incoming fire :)

I'd like to paint a picture: You and another player face off in an engagement. You've set up your ships in positions to maximize enemy hull weaknesses, with your opponent doing the same (thanks to FTL allowing you to enter a ZOC from pretty much any angle and what seems to be very fast ship speed, flanking does not appear difficult). At this point it now becomes a slugfest where the fleets duke it out. If your opponent happens to have the better stats on paper, he will win the initial engagement, with you not being able to do much to stop it - you lose the initial engagement because you happened to have the wrong fleet. Only when you are able to send reinforcements that again, on paper, have the better stats to counter his fleet, can you start dealing out more damage than you take, until your opponent simply does the same when he sends in his reinforcements and so this cycle will continue. Having projectiles not track, means that even if your fleet is weaker on paper, it can still win the engagement as a result of the actions you take during the battle - you as player have a greater say in the outcome of a battle and you have more viable tactics available to you.

The points you bring up are certainly valid concerns: It still boggles the mind that the devs of NA have managed to create a game such as this, while keeping minimum pc specs required as low as they did, as well as making it possible to even play on a connection as slow as dial-up. Without tracking, more system resources would indeed be required. Looking at the efficiency of NA right now, I have no way of knowing how much more resources would be required to accomdate non-tracking weapons.

The second point you bring up regarding APM is a concern others would probably share. SC2 requires a high APM because players need to focus on many things during a battle, such as defense on other fronts, continued production, continued harvesting, continued scouting etc, while in NA that is most likely not the case and during battles the focus would most likely be on the battle, with the occasional sitch to production to send in some reinforcements (I'm guessing as I do not have access to the game). It is my understanding that NA will have a pretty in-depth player-programmable AI system (referred to as the Tactics System I believe) in which they can set up commands for units to be followed during battle, before a battle starts. The system will basically allow players to set up their fleets with certain tendencies, whether it be to attack/heal certain types of ships, ships with lowest HP, supply resources to continue combat as required etc, as well as there being a system in place to maintain and change fleet formations with a single command. This all boils down to the fact that even though there will be a lot of action on screen, with a lot of ships flying about doing different things, the player's attention can stay on the big picture and his input would largely be for fleet positioning and reinforcements. As a result of a lot of things being automated for the player, something like non-tracking weapons would not result in a much higher APM being required.

I spoke of my excitement when I realized I could weave between incoming projectiles in GX, but in reality that only makes up a small part of the gameplay. The more important factors are making sure you have the proper formation of fleets (set up with one command in NA), proper positioning and that you move at an appropriate angle to avoid some fire. It may sound complicated, but in reality it is an easy concept to become adept at, without taxing a player to too great an extent and is incredibly fun and satisfying.

Different people would like to see different things in combat, personally I prefer a higher skill ceiling and seeing my actions have an active effect on the battle, such as seeing shots fired at my ships whizz past my rear thrusters, not because of an RNG calculation, because I gave the command for my ships to not be sitting ducks ^_^
Last edited by Silligoose on Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Johnm81 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:43 am

You can't FTL into a ZOC. So ship positioning might not be as easy as one would think. And keep in mind that the magnitude of fleet fights can get quite large. So trying to fire at targets, dodge incoming fire, re-position to maximize hull weaknesses and fire arcs of 50+ ships would require a huge APM rating for a player.

While your idea is exciting and would definitely add depth to combat, imo, I'd rather not see NA go down the path of high APM micro intensive gameplay. But that is just my opinion.
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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Silligoose » Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:37 pm

I read about an implementation being introduced to prevent FTL into a ZOC as some peeps (looks at devs), were 'abusing' the system (their words not mine :P) .

I'm actually glad you brought up the point of battles where there will be 50+ ships (read the one race could have around 600) within a ZOC. One of the factors regarding non-tracking, is how it affects tactics of an army which consists of many units, vs an army that consists of less units. In short, if you have an army that consists of many units, you will be taking more damage from weapons, because it would be close to impossible to avoid incoming fire as a result of the fleet formation and the sheer number of units in your army, regardless of how high your APM gets - an APM of 200 just won't make much of a difference when compared to an APM of 120 in that case, as a result of fleet movement stats + targets within your army vs projectile/missile movement stats + angle of fire. While your larger army would have this weakness, it in turn gives you advantages - you yourself will have the option available to you to attack from multiple fronts with decently sized groups, as well as having the option to fire upon the enemy with more projectiles/missiles per minute from a greater variety of angles, in turn making it more difficult for the enemy to avoid the incoming fire and quite possibly forcing them into a trap. A player with an army that consists of less, yet more beefy units, will in turn be able to avoid more fire through micro, but he will suffer the penalty of not really being able to attack from as many fronts, or firing from as many angles.

Non-tracking weapons bring about a natural balance in agile ships vs less agile ships without the need for accuracy and evasion stats. It also brings a balance between armies with less, yet more powerful units vs an army with many, less powerful units. Players would have many viable choices in their builds to suit their preferences - if someone likes to micro a lot and enjoy high-intensity combat, they could build fast ships with less HP/shields, relying on skill to avoid or mitigate damage, while players who are not interested in such battles and would prefer slower paced battles, could build slower, more tanky armies, relying on less micro-intensive tactics and placing more emphasis on proper positioning. The aim of the suggestion is not to turn NA into a game where high APM is needed to win, but rather to make viable a broader range of playstyles, to accommodate and satisfy a greater number of players.

As a side note, I'm not sure how prevalent kiting is in NA, but if your opponent has a speed advantage and a range advantage where weapons track, it usually means you die, whereas if the weapons do not track, you have a chance of springing a trap and coming out the victor.
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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Lord Tyrius » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:56 pm

As already mentioned: Tracking ALL the projectiles in the HUGE na universe would be a damn load on the servers.
Most of the things you mentionen are instead achieved with buffs/debuffs applied to ships inside a ZoC and CP.
Also: The aim is not to have to much need for micro, as it could be you have multiple fights going on in various locations.
Instead some micro/tactics is done "before" the actual battle happens, by configuring tactics and assigning them to your ships.
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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Johnm81 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:27 pm

You really arent saying anything new. We all agree non tracking weapons would be alot of fun but that doesnt speak to the two main issues with it. System load as each particle would need the server calculating its physics and increase of demanding micro. It really does sound like fun and I dont oppose its implementation. But it does have issues.
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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Silligoose » Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:03 pm

The server load it would create is an unfortunate thing. My hope is for the game to run and evolve for a long time as it looks very promising, so maybe one day technology will evolve to a point where a server would merely smile at having to track all those projectiles.

Given the features of the programmable AI system (found a link to it), the queuing of orders and the option to set and change formations with the touch of a button, the concerns regarding micro-intensity jumping to a new level when fleets with big numbers engage in battle can be laid to rest, as it would not be an issue.
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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Johnm81 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:34 pm

Silligoose wrote:The server load it would create is an unfortunate thing. My hope is for the game to run and evolve for a long time as it looks very promising, so maybe one day technology will evolve to a point where a server would merely smile at having to track all those projectiles.

Given the features of the programmable AI system (found a link to it), the queuing of orders and the option to set and change formations with the touch of a button, the concerns regarding micro-intensity jumping to a new level when fleets with big numbers engage in battle can be laid to rest, as it would not be an issue.



While I don't see how order queues would lessen the micro load, I do agree that as time goes on and technology improves the sky is the limit for what features a game and have in it.
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Re: Exciting Combat

Postby Silligoose » Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:48 am

Queuing orders allow you to give a unit or a group of units multiple commands in the space of a few seconds, which they will then follow and execute without any further input from you, which in turn will free your focus up, so that you as player can focus on other tasks at another battle for example.

Very simplistic example: You face an enemy that mainly uses on weapons that get a massive accuracy debuff if they target moving targets. Your ships' defense and offense are strongest to the front. You have your enemy semi-wedged between two of your forces (your 2 fleets are 135 degrees spaced from one another) and you are happy with your fleets' position on the battlefield. Best scenario for you - maintain movement, while more or less maintaining the same position on the battlefield, while keeping your ships pointed to the enemy, ie continuously strafing your fleets left and right, with them changing direction at around 5 second intervals.

Queue order input: Select fleet 1, queue up ordered waypoints strafing left followed by right 6 times (relative to selected fleet) , select fleet 2, queue up ordered waypoints strafing left followed by right 6 times (relative to selected fleet), done. You can now sit back and watch the battle unfold for the next min or so with no more micro needed. This will free you up to do other things, like focus on another battle, or have a sip of coffee.

No queue order available: You have to select fleet one, tell them to strafe left, select fleet 2 tell them to strafe left, select fleet 1 again after 5 seconds, tell them to strafe right, select fleet 2 again, tell them to strafe right. After around 5 seconds, select fleet 1, tell them to strafe left, select fleet 2, tell them to strafe left, having to do this continuously for a minute - the focus, APM and micro needed from the player to do this is now a lot more and if his attention gets diverted (to another battle for example), he might take to long to input new commands to fleet one and two, leaving them stagnant.

A quick, more visual representation of inputs required over that min:

Input Legend:

Select fleet 1 = 1
Select fleet 2 = 2
Order waypoint right = R
Order waypoint left = L

Player input with queued order: 1LRLRLRLRLRLR2LRLRLRLRLRLR = 26 inputs (done at the beginning, leaving player free to focus on other things for the next 50 seconds)
Player input without queued order: 1L2L1R2R1L2L1R2R1L2L1R2R1L2L1R2R1L2L1R2R1L2L1R2R = 48 inputs (done at timed intervals for the duration of 1 min, leaving only small 4 sec gaps for a player to do something else).

Hope this clarifies what I meant.
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