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Thread: Battleboard Pacing

  1. #1

    Battleboard Pacing

    Alright guys, the time has come to take another look at the pacing of the battleboard. As you probably know we work in what might be considered a big circle. We work on a single aspect of WoM until it's where we want it for the moment then we put it down until we've got other things worked on. Well, the time has come to pick the battleboard up again.

    I want to make a couple of things clear before we dive in. First, this is a request for feedback and ideas. No matter how good we feel an idea is we're not necessarily going to implement it. We are “polishing” and aren't likely to make major changes before release (unless you come up with something “next level brilliant”). So, although we sincerely want feedback, we're not going to use all of it. Second, by “pacing” we mean the speed at which the battle flows. We're not looking to add new mechanics, only to refine what we have already.

    So, that having been said I'm going to share with you what I feel would help the pacing of the battleboard. I don't claim any of these ideas as my own. Many or you have talked about these before. I'm merely laying out the official “Aaron Supports This” list.

    And here it is:

    Speed up the animations. I think we can all agree that the animations are well done. However, they're just too slow for a good sized battle. We have to speed up both movement and attack. We also need to add options for controlling the animation speeds all the way up to “turn off the animations”.

    Start units in variable positions. This is one a lot of you have mentioned. I think it also ties to the “make the battleboard smaller” requests. We can't really make the battle board smaller because fast moving units need room to maneuver in. However, we don't want “dead turns” in the combat either. The obvious solution seems to be to change the starting positions of the units depending on the composition of the armies involved. If we've got all melee units they should start close together. If either side has ranged units they should start a little further apart. If either side has fast moving units they should start even further apart. We can tweak it until we have it just like we want it. The main thing is that combat should start on turn one and every unit should have the room it needs to be effective.

    Automatically end the turn. We could add a feature that automatically ends the turn once none of your units have valid moves left. This will move combat along without having to click “end turn” every single turn.


    So, that's what we've got so far. What do we think? Do we have more ideas or suggestions?
    Last edited by Troy_Costisick; 09-09-2014 at 10:36 PM.
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  2. #2
    Make attacks simultaneous. From my very earliest concept builds of the battleboard I had attack A, damage A, attack B, damage B. I thought it was important the give the player step by step battle feedback. Well, I've changed my mind. Handling simultaneous attacks (those where First Strike isn't involved for instance) simultaneously will cut the combat animation time almost in half. That's going to make things “move along” a bit. And as we have a combat log anyway the player isn't going to miss anything.
    Quick question: if an enemy unit dies on Damage A, can I manually assign Attack B to another unit or are you locked into using all your attacks at once on a single target?

    Start units in variable positions. This is one a lot of you have mentioned. I think it also ties to the “make the battleboard smaller” requests. We can't really make the battle board smaller because fast moving units need room to maneuver in. However, we don't want “dead turns” in the combat either. The obvious solution seems to be to change the starting positions of the units depending on the composition of the armies involved. If we've got all melee units they should start close together. If either side has ranged units they should start a little further apart. If either side has fast moving units they should start even further apart. We can tweak it until we have it just like we want it. The main thing is that combat should start on turn one and every unit should have the room it needs to be effective.
    This sounds really awesome to me. Definitely do that!

    Peace,

    -Troy
    My RPG Design and Theory Blog: http://socratesrpg.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Mage of the Inner Tower Endless Rain's Avatar
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    -1 to automatic end turn. What if I still want to cast spells at the end of the turn?

    I think that squares should be 5 feet instead of 10 feet like it is now. As of now, the units move too slowly, and this would double their speed. The D20 system has movement speeds of 4-6 squares for a reason.
    I am waiting for the relaunch before playing Worlds of Magic, so I don't check the forums as often as I used to. In the meantime, the main forum I post at is RPG.net, if anyone here needs to contact me.

  4. #4
    You will be able to disable the auto-end-turn. I know it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

    Troy, I posted that before running it past the rest of the team... It turns out the animation sequence was recently tweaked (and I hadn't noticed). Now that's not an issue. Mechanically both attack and counter-attack take place at the same time. Things like First Strike change the order, of course, but still the idea is that now animations play simultaneously rather than one playing while the other waits. It's cut the animation time down and looks better
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  5. #5
    Mage of the Lesser Tower
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    Ultimately, I think we need an Options screen, for setting things like default animation speeds, preferred strategy map View, etc... auto-ending turns (both in and out of combat, maybe separately) should probably be there, too. I like auto-ending turns, though -- it does make things faster, and you just.. have to remember to cast your spell before you move your last Unit.

    The variable-starting-points sounds wicked cool and very... logical! Though I would actually suggest that pure Melee vs Melee should `engage' at least one `empty turn' back, and probably two -- I think the way it worked out in MoM was about three turns back for regular units advancing towards each other, and it gave you time to set up your Heroisms and Eldritch Weapons anid lay down a Prayer before the big clash. And one of the big advantage to strong Ranged attacks was that it often let you start taking out enemy Units before the opposing Wizard could buff them.

  6. #6
    Mage’s Assistant baenre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    Start units in variable positions. This is one a lot of you have mentioned. I think it also ties to the “make the battleboard smaller” requests. We can't really make the battle board smaller because fast moving units need room to maneuver in. However, we don't want “dead turns” in the combat either. The obvious solution seems to be to change the starting positions of the units depending on the composition of the armies involved. If we've got all melee units they should start close together. If either side has ranged units they should start a little further apart. If either side has fast moving units they should start even further apart. We can tweak it until we have it just like we want it. The main thing is that combat should start on turn one and every unit should have the room it needs to be effective.
    I may be in the minority here, but I would prefer not to have a variable distance, but just a set distance, preferably similar to MoM's distance. I believe the starting distance in MoM was 5 squares between your front line and the enemy/city. Now the distance itself is usually irrelevant, it is how fast the average unit can cross it. The average unit in MoM only went 1 square, with unmodified heroes going 2, midgame you'll start getting more 2 movement units and heroes will get enchantments/items to go 2-4 and end game everything changes.

    I think it is important for you to have the distance to really let your ranged units and magic skills shine, allow the better wizard to win even if he may have an inferior army. If the average starting unit in WoM moves x, I would like the distance between armies to be x times 5. If both armies want to rush , it will take 2 turns. If one or both side has archers, they will get sufficient time to actually be effective, and if one or both sides has competent battle magic/buffs it will also get it's chance.

  7. #7
    Adept Sorcerer Gazz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    Speed up the animations. I think we can all agree that the animations are well done. However, they're just too slow for a good sized battle. We have to speed up both movement and attack. We also need to add options for controlling the animation speeds all the way up to “turn off the animations”.
    How about an auto-adjust feature?

    The more units are on the map (regardless of owner), the faster the animations are played. As your empire grows (and the battles), the pace of tactical battles stays healthy.
    That would be a neat default-on feature.
    Of course, some player will want to speed up things permanently.

  8. #8
    Lintking, we certainly need an options screen and we will have one. Whether or not we have one before beta is another matter.

    Baenre, I see what you mean, but I think the variable starting positions could really work. And it's the kind of thing we might make optional.

    Gazz, that is a thought. One of the real “lag” issues is the number of units on the field.
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  9. #9
    Adept Sorcerer Gazz's Avatar
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    I don't have the alpha/beta but the issue is the same with every game that has a strategic part and then allows you to bring ever-increasing numbers of units into the tactical battle.

    Another idea in addition to the above:

    Repeated types of animations speed up dynamically.
    This is intended to speed up repetitive phases where for instance you move many units towards contact.

    Example:
    Number of units on the board results in global animation speed x1.5. (higher is faster)
    This is the base for this battle.

    You move Swordsmen 1, movement animation speed is upped to x1.7.
    You move Spearmen 1, movement animation speed is upped to x1.9.
    You move Swordsmen 2, movement animation speed is upped to x2.1.
    You attack with Bowmen 1, movement animation speed reset to x1.5, attack animation speed is upped to x1.7.

    Repetitive phases or maneuvers are sped up.

  10. #10
    Archmage of the Inner Ring ampoliros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baenre View Post
    I may be in the minority here, but I would prefer not to have a variable distance, but just a set distance, preferably similar to MoM's distance. I believe the starting distance in MoM was 5 squares between your front line and the enemy/city. Now the distance itself is usually irrelevant, it is how fast the average unit can cross it. The average unit in MoM only went 1 square, with unmodified heroes going 2, midgame you'll start getting more 2 movement units and heroes will get enchantments/items to go 2-4 and end game everything changes.

    I think it is important for you to have the distance to really let your ranged units and magic skills shine, allow the better wizard to win even if he may have an inferior army. If the average starting unit in WoM moves x, I would like the distance between armies to be x times 5. If both armies want to rush , it will take 2 turns. If one or both side has archers, they will get sufficient time to actually be effective, and if one or both sides has competent battle magic/buffs it will also get it's chance.
    I am split in agreement with baenre.

    I think there should be more distance between the armies. I do not think that combat should happen on turn 1 like Aaron suggested. So here I agree with baenre.

    But I do like the variable start locations. But not necessarily to let your units start more forward. Rather to be able to spread them out horizontally. I really really think WoM needs a "Tactics" either Discipline or Hero Perk.

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