Slippery slopes and intuitive games - Page 7

Slippery slopes and intuitive games

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KDR_11k
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by KDR_11k »

That sounds like a hidden slope, the growth of the econ and power are still decided by player efficiency but the winning player cannot finish the weaker player off early so the game will drag on for a while.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Forboding Angel »

But at least both players would have a good time. And at least the noob could put up a small fight and think that he did at least something, instead of being completely noobed and having no fun at all.

Additionally @z, the new resourcing system addresses that just by the simplicity in which it works, but it's not much point in explaining it. You would need to see it in action tbh.
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Zpock
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Zpock »

Well, when a newbie plays a pro, the game is decided before it starts. So if you don't want to "prolong the inevitable", the only way is to have the lobby declare a winner from just looking at ranks.
A description of what automatic match making does?

If a n00b and much more skilled player want to play with each other so badly they could just use handicaps? Or the skilled player could play badly on purpose. Why tailor the core game to facilitate this bizarre situation that two players with huge skill gap in between them would want to play each other, not using the above options?
Saktoth
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Saktoth »

Easy with CA's deployment mutator to just cut out the ability to make mobiles.

But, +1 to what Slek said. This is what sparked the whole discussion, really. You did read my chat with KDR yes? The powerful com (and other factors) in IW prolong the game past the point that it is already won- the game often lasts 2x longer than it needs to.

Generally, a powerful base or commander merely means there is an extra 10 minutes (or whatev) tacked tacked onto the game, either at the start (you cant do any damage early so why bother, tech to something you can actually hurt the enemy with) or later on (you can totally win the game through early aggression but you then have to sit around and tech to something that can finish him off).

In the first place it just creates a (boring) non-interaction period. If your game has a really complex economy with precise buildorders and timing and execution, and is all about simbasing in a single-player construction phase followed by a matching of the efficiency of your respective bases at the end, by all means adopt this model. Thats probably not really my sort of game, but even i enjoy a bit of GF sometimes. Just be aware that this is the sort of game you're making and ensure that most of the complexity is in the economy.

In the second place it only serves to prolong the game after it is already over, creating a frustrating and futile battle for the losing player and a grind for the winner. Usually the best approach is to take that 75% of the map, then just put up a huge porc line. Let the other guy stew in futility while you tech to something that can kill him. This is the sort of thing that happens on DSD even in BA, with that long 'pause' while everyone techs, even if one team holds 75% of the map.

But lots of people like DSD BA, probably precisely for the reason that it lasts for ages even with imba teams, so obviously i guess you're onto a winner here.
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KDR_11k
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by KDR_11k »

One problem with "buffers" like the fortified base is that they obscure feedback. The more brutal a game is (e.g. BA on CC, seems to be very fault intolerant and after a screwup the loser loses very fast) the more immediate the feedback for bad play. If you lose the game 20 minutes in because it took your enemy that long to overwhelm your porc that means your mistake could have been any time in those 20 minutes, it could even have happened during the first 2-3 minutes. IMO it's easier for learning if you can see where you screwed up and it's best if you can even see how you can avoid making the same mistake again. Of course the more complex a game is the harder it is to find the fault that made you lose and RTSes are plenty complex.

I think Fibre has very little real slope, there's little gain for holding more territory as you can only project limited force on any point anyway, it makes games last very long due to a trench-like progression, you have to destroy the enemy and then claim and develop the land to push forward. The only reason people seem to have an easier time after starting to push forward is that most people don't have a lot of stuff on their inner nodes so there's less resistance. I don't think it's a good thing though, trench syndrome doesn't exactly make for exciting battles.
Warlord Zsinj
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Warlord Zsinj »

I think the problem is that many games simply punish the mistake maker; rather then requiring the victor to exploit the mistake. Mistakes are part and parcel of the game; if the game has gotten to the point where a slight mistake (obvious inequalities in skill aside) ends the game then I think the viable options available to the player have been reduced to the point of choking out gameplay. Of course, at some point your opponent will make a mistake, potentially a brutal one - but the onus should still be on the opposing player to exploit the mistake; it shouldn't simply be 'well, you've now fallen behind in the escalation/resource race. now you lose.' - because that potentially hinges the outcome of the game on factors not necessarily directly to skill, but more in the way of 'oh bollocks, my attention wondered for a few moments there and now I've messed up this build order, so I'll lose.
Last edited by Warlord Zsinj on 02 May 2008, 16:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Deathblane
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Deathblane »

I play a lot of Warhammer (WH), which manages to mostly avoid a slippery slope type of game. It is turn based tactics rather than real time strategy but it's not unusual for a player to win a game after one or more bits of bad luck or mistakes, and I think many of the mechanisms that create that are applicable to spring games/mods.

As far as I can tell this is primarily down to the ability of a force to destroy significantly more than its own value (in both points and combat ability). This is due to several factors:

a) The speed of manoeuvre. In WH combat is significantly faster than manoeuvring, meaning the formations during combat are usually set up beforehand. This allows a player to achieve local force supremacy (and win a combat) even if they are outnumbered on the board.

b) The importance given to flanking. A significantly more powerful unit can be largely negated by an attack from the flank or rear.

c) Moral. A unit can be broken far more easily than it can be destroyed (each individual element being killed), and then subsequently broken units are far more easy to destroy. It allows a unit to be defeated without having to be annihilated and then makes the defeated unit vulnerable to significantly weaker forces.

d) Luck. In WH luck is omnipresent. Every action you take is determined by a dice role. Because of this philosophy there are certain mechanisms (gambles) that allow for luck to significantly influence a game. This does lead to inferior players occasionally beating superior players, or a losing player to change the course of the game, but this is accepted as part of the fun of playing and the odds will even out over several games.

Although these mechanics are from a turn based game many are implementable in a real time engine like spring. Moral is the most obvious (as seen in Dawn of War and Axis and Allies), but it works best when it is roughly equally across all unit types and affected more by manoeuvring or battlefield conditions rather than straight damage. Flanking has again already been implemented in many games, including S1944, and can include damage and/or moral modifiers for both the flanking and flanked unit. Manoeuvring (local force supremacy) comes down to range vs speed vs damage. If ranges are to small then it's difficult to concentrate your fire, but if they're too long then there├óÔé¼Ôäós little need to move stuff and the player with the most stuff on the map wins. If it takes too long to destroy an enemy (compared to the speed of most units) then reserves can always be mobilised and it again comes down to the player with the most kit in the game winning. Finally luck can also be implemented, but I think most gamers dislike the idea. Not that we don't have some randomness already but it's usually subsumed beneath the shear number of units/shots and so usually devolves into a predictable percentage.

While these suggestions are designed to address force imbalances they don't of course directly affect the economic slippery slope, except in its modulation by combat results. Basically if the economic imbalance is such that the winner can afford to lose hordes of units to a inferior enemy and still win due to his economy then none of this will make the slightest bit of difference. Therefore ideally the economic model should be strongly influenced by battlefield success until a tipping point is reached somewhere towards the end of the game.
Warlord Zsinj
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Warlord Zsinj »

I don't think luck has much place in an RTS. It is already there in the factors that can't immediately be processed by the human brain; the complex interactions of physics that the engine calculates but you can't - that can be written off as luck. But intentionally factoring in luck (through a simulated version of a dice throw) ruins the predictability of games.

In an RTS, unlike a TBS, you must make decisions on the fly - and in order to make succesful decisions you need to have relevant intel on your forces and the enemy forces, and you need to have a good appreciation of what your forces and the enemy forces are capable of. Throwing luck into the equation makes the game frustrating and unpredictable. The unpredictable thing in the game should be your opponent, not the outcome of the combat between two forces (within reason).
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Deathblane
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Deathblane »

That is a good point. Of course there is that fact that the current spring engine does not simulate a lot of the events that we call luck in real life (for example small terrain effects). I think however the bigger issue is (as you said) that unpredictability would make the game frustrating. At the moment spring is so unforgiving of actual mistakes that unavoidable ones would drive most players over the edge. But then that is one of the problems this thread is trying to address
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smoth
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by smoth »

luck already exists in spring having a HIT HIT MISS show up above a target that was obviously hit is not good. It is a primitive throwback to tabletop days and does not need to exist in a game where the player can screw up his attack just fine.
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Zpock
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Zpock »

Randomness yes/no is an interesting question and I think it has it's pro/cons so you can't really give an absolute answer... It's there on so many levels in a RTS as well with the fog of war / scouting being pretty random, missing shots would be something entirely different and then you have the inherent randomness of the opponent himself.

More randomness allows for more "risky bold moves" but too much could make everything totally unpredictable and ruin the ability to predict outcomes. On the other hand randomness adds another whole dimension to those predictions and make them more interesting when you have to consider the probabilities of what will happen and reacting to unforeseen events.
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smoth
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by smoth »

spring has randomness, the next version of gundam makes use of it, but if your unit misses it is because the unit DOES MISS.
highly inaccurate vehicle

Also see weapon shot spread. The target is actually the line.
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Aun
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Aun »

One of the main reasons I stopped playing tabletop games years ago was dice rolls. I would have consistent bad luck with dice rolls, which meant that I often had little control over battles, leading to a serious lack of fun. And I was sick of working for lumps of plastic. :roll:
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zwzsg
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by zwzsg »

Saktoth wrote:In the first place it just creates a (boring) non-interaction period.
You still have early interaction in the fight for the middle. And to the contrary, there'd be even less building-up phase if the base is already built.
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Erom
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Erom »

Battle for Wesnoth abused luck to a ridiculous extent. It was totally the worst part of that game.
manored
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by manored »

Aun wrote:One of the main reasons I stopped playing tabletop games years ago was dice rolls. I would have consistent bad luck with dice rolls, which meant that I often had little control over battles, leading to a serious lack of fun. And I was sick of working for lumps of plastic. :roll:
Luck is the factor that never allows me to win a game of "war" :)
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smoth
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by smoth »

Deci, I reread your supply depot suggestion, it seems like it would slow the game down both because the player has to worry about that extra bit of stuff and because the game would have to track that extra stuff, supply vehicle pathing etc.

That sort of thing seems like it would go away from the automated bases that you and I were talking about.
imbaczek
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by imbaczek »

Battle for Wesnoth is not for the faint of heart. It's basically about risk management, which is damn hard. You have to play really defensively, because exp is everything when campaigns take up to 25 (or more?) missions.
Saktoth
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by Saktoth »

Dice-Roll style randomness is just a bad idea in almost any game imo (Even WH40k), go play snakes and ladders. >_>

A game can be complex enough so as to be out of the players control, which is better- say, a pinball physics system. But then, i never enjoyed pinball, not enough control. Equally there can be information that is hard to get (say, fog of war) so as to have hidden aspects of gameplay, but there is a rational agent working behind it all.
zwzsg wrote:
Saktoth wrote:In the first place it just creates a (boring) non-interaction period.
You still have early interaction in the fight for the middle. And to the contrary, there'd be even less building-up phase if the base is already built.
If the fight for the middle is meaningful, that is, the resources gained from it having that territory have enough impact on the game that fighting for them (rather than porcing in your 25% or so) is worthwhile, then you get the second situation i outlined- the middle is taken by one player or the other, and the base then serves only to prolong the inevitable.

Its possible the game could be paced and balanced well enough that by the time you conquer all the territory outside his base, you are at a stage where you can take the enemy base out relatively easy (though that would probably be heavily map dependent depending on the economic setup). Still, i may contest then that the base is npt really being useful at all in offering the opportunity for comebacks and keeping the player in the game. Id have to see it.
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smoth
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Re: Slippery slopes and intuitive games

Post by smoth »

I don't think that take the center should require an economic reward. If you have the center, then you have the forward initiative towards the heart of the enemy along with a great buffer for your real base.

For example:

by having a forward base you could construct slow artillery that would otherwise take a long time to reach the target right outside of the enemy base. Making the final blow easier to strike because your troops have less distance to travel and reinforcements are close by.
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