Slippery slopes and intuitive games - Page 5

Slippery slopes and intuitive games

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Warlord Zsinj
Imperial Winter Developer
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Warlord Zsinj »

I was the one that told you about flags being worth more the longer you held them, nemo :P

The reason that has the potential to work is that safer flags are more valuable to you then flags which are regularly changing hands, so that while you may have lost 20% of the total territory in an attack, you haven't necessarily lost 20% of your total metal income.

The problem is that it's a fine tightrope to be walking - if base points are worth a whole lot more then central points, then there is less reason to expand, and combat chokes up and becomes porcy.
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Nemo
Spring 1944 Developer
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Nemo »

Indeed. and it means that not 100% of the resources lost by the losing player are then gained by the winning player.

I'm still stabbing you in the thigh with a rusty butterknife, though.
Saktoth
Zero-K Developer
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Saktoth »

Of course, some method must exist for stopping the enemy from just clean-sweeping your territory to hold it for a minimum amount of time in order to reset the marker. In IW, you do get a bit of ring-around-the-rosy- chasing the enemy just to clean up the damage he has done rather than killing him directly.

Suggested methods:
1. Cheap, light static defense (i keep saying this kek).
2. Better intelligence to allow interception of the enemy rather than chasing him to clean up the damage.
3. Fast, light units that cant capture to chase down and intercept enemy infantry (best combined with #2).
4. Having the timer be per-player, so it goes back to what it was when you re-take it (kinda defeats the point a little).
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KDR_11k
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by KDR_11k »

Let's compare to CoH again. in CoH:
- Capturing a point consists of decapturing and then capturing it. The decap is faster than the cap.
- A capturing unit is at reduced strength (one squad member is busy praying to the flag...) and cannot move without aborting the capture.
- When a unit stops capturing the capture is aborted, if it was decapping the point remains the old owner's property, if it was already capping the point goes neutral. The capture percentage reduces quickly instead of zeroing immediately though.
- Bunkers can be built on territory you own (must be connected to your base via other territories, no building bunkers just outside the enemy base!) and cover an area with anti-infantry fire while T1 infantry does not have any weapons to hurt a bunker. Off-map artillery will destroy a bunker for a huge munitions cost though.
manored
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by manored »

Warlord Zsinj wrote: The problem is that it's a fine tightrope to be walking - if base points are worth a whole lot more then central points, then there is less reason to expand, and combat chokes up and becomes porcy.
You just need to set up minimal and maximum values cleverly :)
Totbuae
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Totbuae »

Imho, the way solve this slippery slope issue is to have certain units which under specific circumstances can annihilate several times their cost in enemy units. Alas, this would of course elicit unanimous cries of "this unit is too OP" from whoever was on the receiving end of that exchange.

I feel that this is an issue that can only be elegantly addressed by fundamentally rethinking the whole RTS genre and daring to step away from the way things have always been since the times of Dune 2. Failing that, the only solutions available would probably seem artificial and forced.

This is just my humble opinion.
manored
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by manored »

Makes sense :)
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Erom
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Erom »

I've always thought that if you start with two assumptions, that is,

1. There is a war machine "off map" that the on map factions represent (I.E. the unit on map are not completely isolated) and
2. The map represents an area of critical importance to that faction, such that it is willing to throw as much resources as possible at it.

(I call these rules Limited Scope and Unlimited Commitment) then it would make sense when a player loses a unit that they would, rather than falling behind their enemy in resources, be given more resources. Consider, if an army moves into an area of critical importance in real life and encounters resistance, they do not waste resources by leaving troops to slowly fight to an inevitable death, they either withdraw and move to a new objective, or they reinforce until they can secure the area. (Well, sometimes real life armies do not behave totally rationally, so there are some counterexamples.)

I have always thought that a game designed with these factors in mind would be fascinating to play - imagine, when you kill an enemy unit you gain a temporary advantage as they need to redeploy, but they gain back the resources spent on that unit (maybe + some percent?). As a way to envision it in TA, imagine when you killed a unit, that units owner was automatically given the metal cost of that unit.

Perhaps this would push the system too far into perpetual comeback, but I think it would be at least an interesting experiment to try.
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smoth
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by smoth »

Totbuae wrote:Imho, the way solve this slippery slope issue is to have certain units which under specific circumstances can annihilate several times their cost in enemy units. Alas, this would of course elicit unanimous cries of "this unit is too OP" from whoever was on the receiving end of that exchange.
gundam, rx78-2, can easily kill hoards of troops but fragile enough to take out if the player does not keep him moving and move him right. try it sometime, I hope it addresses this need. The unit is mobile and powerful but it is expensive and not all that tough. I am really curious if this is what you were looking for.
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KDR_11k
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by KDR_11k »

IMO all units should have that potential to some degree, after all it's silly to have a unit that can merely kill its own value's worth of enemies.

I'm not sure that's really going to end the slope but it'll probably make the slope more reversable as the raw numbers of units you field are not the only factor in your chance to win a battle.
I have always thought that a game designed with these factors in mind would be fascinating to play - imagine, when you kill an enemy unit you gain a temporary advantage as they need to redeploy, but they gain back the resources spent on that unit (maybe + some percent?).
Play World in Conflict
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Erom
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Erom »

Here's a nice, analytical way of looking at it. If you plot the dmg your forces have dealt over the dmg you have taken against the probability of winning the game, you can construct the actual curve of the "slippery slope" for a given game. I bet we could even write some LUA that could track this for a given spring mod - record InflictedPain / ReceivedPain every minute, along with which side ended the game, and aggregate over a large enough data set and we could plot the "slippery slope" of different mods against each other.
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Argh
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Argh »

Imho, the way solve this slippery slope issue is to have certain units which under specific circumstances can annihilate several times their cost in enemy units.
What's a nuke? A Krogoth? An OTA MRPC or HLT? A Merl, for that matter? Yup, they're all things, in OTA at least, that could do what you're describing.



There is no real solution to slippery slope. At some point or another, the game needs to tip towards inevitable victory, with only extreme situations (commander death, anybody?) or completely erroneous play on the part of the player that's winning changing that outcome. Otherwise, it ain't much of a game. As much as people hate losing, that's just how it is.

The real issues are:

1. "Why do we get there?"

2. "Is how we get there fun?"

3. "How fast do we get there?"

4. "Can any chain of events in combat reverse the trend?"

Question 4 gets into what you're talking about, which is per-unit balance- that "rock, paper, scissors" stuff of units and their counters which is at the heart of most RTS game designs.

However, most of this discussion is concerned with questions 1-3, although I'm still waiting for somebody to seriously discuss 2, instead of avoiding the issue entirely. After all, it doesn't matter if 1, 3 and 4 are all firing on all cylinders, if 2 isn't present.

And saying, "fun's relative" is just a cop-out. Players obviously find some things more fun than others- we can see sales numbers to prove it. The real question is, "why are some mechanics considered fun?" imo. Or, "why did StarCraft out-sell OTA by huge margins?", if ya wanna get to the point.

My feeling, based on what's been happening with P.U.R.E., is that StarCraft out-sold OTA by huge margins because less stuff was completely automated.
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Aun
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Aun »

I have to agree with the whole "fun" thing. At the end of the day, I feel that slippery slope is less important is less important. I can find losing fun in some games/mods, while in others it can be incredibly frustrating. Admittedly half the time this is to do with imbalances or inherent game design flaws.

I used to find KDR beating me by a massive margin in Gundam games fun, usually because of his immense economy and my lack of aggression were the reason I lost, not because I found the game mechanics or balance annoying.

So, yeah I guess it's all relative. :wink:

(Wow, this post actually said very little. Oh well, let's try again.)

Make losing a little more enjoyable and slippery slope becomes less important, for me at least. There we go. :-)
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smoth
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by smoth »

however, fun is difficult to define, you have players looking for a competitive experience, players who just want to pull off coolshit win or lose, players who are just there for the ride.
manored
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by manored »

For me the most fun strategy game would have many diferent forces conflicting and another goal beside killing everone else, that is, a strategy game allowing room for diplomacy. Something like civilization, but with more action and less boring and semi-eternal buildup :) And It would also have a slow pace giving everone plenty of time to do the stuff, and then they had nothing to think and do there would be lots of cool animations of stuff working/fighting for then to watch.
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Argh
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Argh »

a strategy game allowing room for diplomacy
That's an interesting idea... but in the context of an RTS, how do you actually do that? I mean, we can already trade resources and units... what more do we want? In-game agreements about what areas of the map can be contested? Cease-fires? I have a real hard time seeing how this would actually be interesting, but I'm vaguely curious...
manored
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by manored »

Well the objective of the game would be something diferent from max conquest. Maybe each player could have a diferent objective. It could also work to have the game have multiple winners, or second places...

For example, one possibility (and example to make understanding clearer) would be a game with 8 players and, lets say, 16 artifacts, with
2 artifacts being from each player. Each player would start with one artifact (never one of his), having 8 of then being hiden around the map. To be considered winner (this game system would allows multiple winners, tough maybe we could say the true winner was the first) a player would have to recover at least one of his artifacts and other 3.
to make things more interesting if a player lost his last artifact (they would be keept in special buildings to be considered captured) he would lose.

One more realistic possibility would be that you were the leader of a country and needed your population to grow as much as possible, so you would need to fight (or negotiate) for territories. spreaded around the map there would be diferent resources that you would need if you wanted to do certain unique things, wich would be a aditional reason for imperialism.
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Pxtl
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Pxtl »

manored wrote:Well the objective of the game would be something diferent from max conquest. Maybe each player could have a diferent objective. It could also work to have the game have multiple winners, or second places...

For example, one possibility (and example to make understanding clearer) would be a game with 8 players and, lets say, 16 artifacts, with
2 artifacts being from each player. Each player would start with one artifact (never one of his), having 8 of then being hiden around the map. To be considered winner (this game system would allows multiple winners, tough maybe we could say the true winner was the first) a player would have to recover at least one of his artifacts and other 3.
to make things more interesting if a player lost his last artifact (they would be keept in special buildings to be considered captured) he would lose.

One more realistic possibility would be that you were the leader of a country and needed your population to grow as much as possible, so you would need to fight (or negotiate) for territories. spreaded around the map there would be diferent resources that you would need if you wanted to do certain unique things, wich would be a aditional reason for imperialism.
Sounds like Cosmic Encounter (a complicated board/card game). In CE, you each had 5 planets, and you had to conquer 5 other planets to win. The first player to 5 enemy planets won... so when a player had 4, everybody would rally to the defense of whoever he was attacking.

The other trick with the game was that your adversaries were randomly assigned - each turn, you'd get assigned an enemy, and then you'd both have to call for allies - you could choose who you would offer alliance to, and they, in turn, would choose how much to commit in acceptance of the offer. People who assisted in the defense would get cards (resources for later combat) and those who assisted in the attack would join in holding the claimed planet, and thus would get a victory-point.

Alternately, there was Critical Depth - a PS1 game similar to Twisted Metal. In CD, the map had 5 artifacts that were randomly dropped, and were always shown on the map (and you could see which player had each artifact) - the first player to claim all 5 would win. Each artifact imparted a unique power, so a player with lots of artifacts was a fearsome sight... however, he also had every other player on the map gunning for him. You didn't have to kill players to extract the artifacts from them - there were plenty of ways to bludgeon it out of them too, and if you'd stored up energy to use on afterburners, you could "steal" an artifact away with a combo of shaking them and afterburning to race away.
manored
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by manored »

Well, you forgot to say the most important part... are those games fun? :)
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Erom
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Erom »

IMO, Starcraft outsold TA for more reasons than just better micro...

1) Blizzard was a bigger name game company and SC got a bit better exposure. Not a huge factor, but nonzero
2) SC has much, much, MUCH better content. Yes, TA looked amazing with it's full, physics driven 3d, but SC had a top-notch story, incredibly well done single player, and _every_ single unit had a fun, unique, and consistent flavor. The UI, the units, sounds, everything hung together perfectly. TA looks noobish in a side by side comparison.
3) SC was better balanced. No, it was. It may not have allowed as rich an array of valid strategic choices, but it also wasn't full of useless and redundant units.
4) Everything in Starcraft had personality. Zip. When the siege tanks fired, it was amazingly perfect mechanical ka-chunk FWOOOSH, and then the enemy would, often, splatter with a satisfying squelch. Even most modern RTS's fail to capture the emotive power and depth of Starcraft units. This is also where most Spring games fall flat for me.
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