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A member registered Nov 11, 2018 · View creator page →

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Thanks. Hopefully, the next version will not take so long ;)

Hostages are AI controlled. Next version should land this month sometime ;) 

Not in the near term, because it would take a considerable amount of effort to implement.

In the next version of Merc Tactics will have a free hostage quest. 

Ben Dabi soldiers will surrender if they are badly out-numbered in a battle and then will be taken hostage. Then, one of their comrades will offer a reward if you help to free them. The hostages will be kept in a locked prison building and you can either try to break them out by blowing one of the doors off, or you can just kill all the enemy and they will be freed at the end of the battle. However, once the enemy soldiers detect a break out attempt, they will try to kill the hostages, so you have to protect them.

Hi Petf,

Nice to hear from you again ;)

> I have been playing on a Windows 10 Convertible / Tablet. Performance is good, but the volume buttons toggle the main menu when in combat mode. And when the enemy is moving the volume buttons make the screen rotate.

Yep, I see that that bug. Quite wierd. I will try and fix it.

> One minor issue/bug: When picking up a soldier from hospital after healing, his ability scores still are reduced (due to injuries suffered). When entering the next battle the ability scores return to the normal values though.

I could not reproduce that. Maybe you are taking about temporary AP loss?

> Concerning the gameplay: The  AI is throwing far less nades now, maybe because of the changes to the algorithm you made? 

Yes, the AI algorithm is rewritten, including the code for throwing grenades, but I don't see them throwing less grenades than before. It could be just random luck that you didn't come across situation where AI had chance to throw. 

> And it drops less usable weapons. Before good weapons could be found all over the place after a battle. Now I have to take the broken weapons to repair. 

I did not change the code that decides to drop good weapons. There is a certain amount of luck involved, so it could be just down to bad luck.

> Even Leonidas didn't bring his G36 when he joined my team, only a handgun :-/

Yes, that can happen. Militia have their weapons reassigned after a battle, with strongest soldiers getting best weapons. If Leonidas gets injured then he falls down the pecking list and can get a worse weapon.

> Concerning the AI skills: Great improvement! AI movement is less predictable and they move to very good places to take cover, flank etc. I also found the AI to literally learn from my tactics. When I managed to kill some enemies from a good spot, they just rounded up some snipers and waited for interrupt. This is great because it keeps players moving and stop camping in one place all the match.

That's good to hear :-D

> I am playing on very hard and it is insane! Like a match of chess: when you make one mistake you lose :-) I know you don't want the AI to be unbeatable, but I think it is ok, it is beatable, it is just really hard.

Yep, on hard level even I struggle to beat the enemy ;). 

> You wrote that you will have to  either reduce the amount of enemies, or make them weaker. I don't think you should make them weaker. I think the solution will be the campaign layout: if you make a player encounter enemy teams with about the same strength, the game is playable. But it is impossible if you make a team with a strength of about 1000 fight an AI team of 12000. So I think in the campaign layout the enemy strength could be reduced in some cities and that will do the job. You could also make better weapons available in the earlier stages of the campaign. In my opinion the most difficult matches happen when the AI has better weapons (AK47 against handguns/submachine guns for example, or snipers against AK47). 

The player needs to be careful not to attack an enemy that's too strong. Usually there is a choice of attacking a weaker enemy first. (I even have a help tip that pops up to advise about this).  I think the weapon assignment is ok. Because of the randomised campaigns it's not very predicable what weapons each militia group will have, or if they drop good weapons. The player might get better guns earlier in  one game and not in another.

Don't worry, that's not going to happen

Yep, the latest version is there, 1.6 (not 1.5)

Thanks for the offer, however it's not quite setup for translation yet. I am planning to release on Steam when the game is 100% ready

Merc Tactics community · Created a new topic Revamped AI

I've been busy restructuring the AI algorithm.  The AI soldiers have three main attack strategies: standoff attack, zerg-rush attack  and flank. They also have various "tasks", such as patrol, pick up weapon, investigate noise, change weapon, etc.. 

Previously, the task would be chosen by hard-coded logic. I changed this to use a generic algorithm, which generates a score for each task based on various parameters and picks the one with the highest score. I've being testing this and I think it improves the AI hugely. Unfortunately, now the AI is much smarter and harder to beat. So, I'm going to have to either reduce the amount of enemies, or make them weaker.


That's because it's better to kneel behind cover rather than staying standing and exposing the soldier to enemy fire.

You can deselect the auto-overwatch feature in settings and then you have control of what the soldier does in overwatch mode.

If you move into location and then discover that it doesn't provide good cover, you can use the undo button, and then take a different position.

> And once I had a moment, when my merc didn't see enemy behind the fence, but enemy saw him.

That can happen. The fence could be blocking his line of sight, but still the top of his head is visible to the enemy. There are some aiming visibility problems in the game. In a future version I am going to add more ray tests to alleviate the problem.

I'm afraid I don't, but thanks very much for kind offer anyways ;)

That's very kind of you.

You can donate via Paypal: Paypal donation

Yeah, the AI isn't smart enough to avoid going into location where it was previously interrupted. In fairness, your scheme would fail if more than one enemy attacked at the same side. You would only kill the first guy and the second would get through.

I don't know when next version is, but from now on I am only releasing 1 new feature per version.  This will make it more controlled and releases will be more frequent.

I'll answer your questions below:

> Sure, light weapons won't destroy a door.  But when a players uses a machine gun it could do some damage. 

a machine gun would make a lot of holes in the door, but it wouldn't cause it to disintegrate

> Maybe you could also make the AI consider the power of both teams and then decide how to behave:  If the AI team clearly outnumbers a players team the AI should decide to rush in most of the cases. If it does not it loses its clear advantage. For example I played a match with my own team's score at about 3.000 whereas the AI strength was more than 14.000. If the AI had started to attack with all or most of its forces it would have been impossible to defend and I would have had to retreat. But the AI decided to throw separate attack waves on my position. That is (too) easy to defend. You could define some threshold: If AIs strength is twice as much as the players strength, the AI should be more likely to attack with all its forces.

That make it impossible to beat the AI and it's not very fun to play against an unbeatable enemy

> As we are talking about tactics: I would prefer the AI to throw even more nades when it realizes that a player is camping inside a building. Sometimes enemy soldiers nade the doors quickly. But sometimes they only stand around, waiting to be slaughtered.

It depends on many things whether a soldier will throw a grenade at a door or not. On easier levels is happens less often, because it makes it hard for newbie players. Also, there may be friendlies in the way, or something obstructing the trajectory, or he could be out of grenades, or out of range. Also, sometimes the soldier will try a back entrance to the building instead.

<on PCs with low end integrated graphics physics runs slowly. You could try deselect the "highres shadows" option and that might improve it.>

Yep, that did  the job for me. Animations are much better now.

It's also fixed in 1.5.2 BTW. Physics now runs at the same frame rate of the game.

<I could make it right mouse click to create path. Maybe that a solution?>

Yes, I think so. Introducing the right mouse button would make things easier. You could also consider: one mouse button for movement only, the other button only for attacks. 

Now that I thought about it,  I'm not so sure. Using right click to select something feels very weird. Maybe, I can just add an option to disable the left-click to create path. Also, I can tweak the tolerance to favour shooting when the user clicks near the enemy.

>Another suggestion concerning attack controls: when activating a nade, the green path will show up. But if you find out that the enemy is too far away and you want to leave the nading mode you have to click again on the nade icon. That is not very intutive. I would prefer to click anywhere on the screen outside the nade path to exit the nade mode.

That's a good idea. To tell the truth, I only use the CTRL key, never the button.

Another issue: If a merc throws a nade over a long distance, he sometimes takes a small damage (only 2hps), although he should be clearly out of reach. Is that an issue or intended to be that way?

Yes, it's intended. A grenade does pressure damage and fragment damage and the fragments fly a long distance.

> And another bug: A player tries to open a door but it is blocked by an enemy on the side of the door.  The enemy is killed by another soldier in the same turn. Still the player in front of the door can't open it (Open door button is deactivated). When moving the player (for example kneel and stand up again), the door can be opened.

That's a HUD update bug, I will fix it.

BTW, I just release 1.5.2, this fixes some of the issues that you mentioned 

Hi Petf,

Thanks for the feedback. I'll answer your questions below:

>Nice improvements! I like the new destructible-doors-feature. The AI makes use of it when I start to camp inside a building. That makes the game more dynamic because you have to change tactics and stop camping. That leads to the first question: Why not make other structures destructible, too? And why can doors only be destroyed by nades - shouldnt a machinegun be able to destroy a door, too? 

I don't use nades to destroy doors, because i prefer to use them against enemies. So destroying structures with guns would be an option. Just giving some ideas for possible further development...

Glad you like it! I could allow guns to destroy doors, but it's not really realistic. In real life a bullet will make a hole in a door, but wouldn't cause it to disintegrate. There are two many different types of object, so to make everything destructible, I would have to create a mesh divide algorithm, which is quite difficult. That's why I would leave that feature  to the future.

> I like the AIs behaviour. Enemies dont rush into a well fortified position anymore, but retreat and try to flank. That feels pretty realistic. And they use a variety of tactics, so it is hard to predict. Really good work.

>So far the AI hasn't tried that all-out-assault tactics that it used before when it had very strong forces. I don't know if you changed that or if the AI for any reason just has not chosen this tactics in the games that I have played so far. I think the AI could chose this tactics more often. In my view it is the most difficult situation to defend when hordes of enemies rush towards your position at the same time.

I haven't changed to AI that much. They could all rush at your position, but it's down to random chance. In the next version, I want to add a "smart charge" behaviour, where they would take cover if they can't reach your position in one turn.

> Nades do a good job now. Throw distance, AP usage and caused damage are in a good relation.

> Some minor issues I have experienced so far:

> When a merc has only 2 APs left, he can still close a door, which results in -1 APs.

looks like a bug. I will try and fix

> All animations run smoothly. However, when a nade is thrown or when a door is blown up, the objects seem to fly in slow motion. You could speed that up a little. Or is it because of my poor hardware?

Yep, on PCs with low end integrated graphics physics runs slowly. You could try deselect the "highres shadows" option and that might improve it. Meanwhile, I am looking to it to see if I can improve the performance.

> After blowing up a door, in later turns sometimes parts of that door can start to fly again for long distances (if a merc passes near the destroyed door).

 Yep, that's a bug. I have already fixed it.

> I like the diagonal movement feature. However, it does not work when trying to move next to allies. That could be changed.

I can't see any problem. Moving diagonally across allies works for me.

> I know that many testers have demanded the new point-and-click movement control. I am pretty familiar with the old drag and drop movement. Enabling both controls at the same time can be confusing. Especially when I try to shoot: sometimes I accidentaly click on the neighbouring tile and make a merc move although I wanted to shoot. Suggestion: you could allow players to chose the control type they want, by enabling and disabling either.

I could make it right mouse click to create path. Maybe that a solution?

It's not in the usual place, because I changed servers. Send me an email and I'll send you the link

Yes, if you agree to do some beta testing I can give a link to the full version. Send me a mail:

Wait a while. I am about to release a bug fix

Thanks. I hope you like it.

Hi Soultrain, glad you like the game. You can already open and close doors. A button will pop up in the HUD when you are next to the door. It's 3 APs to open/close. I don't think that's too much. 

Hopefully the next version will be ready this month ;)

Probably February

I have upgraded the building generation algorithm to handle industrial buildings (previously it only did residential).

These are the results:

I want to extend the algorithm to include all types of buildings, including ruins, shanty buildings, half constructed buildings, etc.

Looks like a bug. I'll check it out.

Thanks for reporting it ;)

Yeah, I'm just starting with the doors to see how it works out, then I will add other objects

I am working on a new feature for 1.5 that allows doors to be destroyed by grenades. The door is either fully, or partially damaged depending on the power of the grenade.

For the next version, I have added a feature that allows soldiers to move diagonally around objects (provided there is enough room). This would make it a lot easier moving through a rock field for example.  

So, in the following scene the soldier can cut diagonally between small rocks and barrels (also can move diagonally between other soldiers):


The soldier cannot move diagonally, if the object is too big. For instance, he has to go around the building corner:

Merc Tactics community · Created a new topic Online manual

I am finally working on the online manual:

This is the link that is open directly from the main menu:

> after playing for 2 days here is my feedback:

>I haven't found any issues! Tactical gameplay now is working perfect. AI skill, balance of weapon power, range and accuracy, generation of landscapes .... everything works flawlessly. As far as I can see, all reported minor bugs have been fixed. 

that's great to hear ;)

> So I guess you can go on with new features. How about different mission types that we discussed before (hostage rescue, escort persons etc.)? The mission goal to kill everyone  is ok but different mission types could make the game even better.

Maybe, there could be a jail in some villages with Ben Dabi militia imprisoned and you gain reputation if you rescue them

> I find myself to almost never use nades. Maybe that is because I try to never get close to enemies but to take them out from distance. If other players experience the same thing you could increase the range for nades.

You can increase the range by upgrading the throw skill. A soldier with throw skill of 3 can throw the lightest grenade (V40) very far

> IMHO  allied Ben Dabi soldiers seem to be less skilled than enemies. Enemies usually find good cover while Ben Dabi soldiers many times just crouch in the middle of a street.

Actually, the opposite it true. All Ben Dabi soldiers have high IQ level.  Maybe, you just see the effects of bad luck. If a soldier gets caught out in an area where there's no cover, then there's not much he can do.

> When enemies find good cover there is one easy way to make them rush: They will stay in cover as long as they see at least one of my soldiers although he is covered and they hardly will hit him. But if put all my soldiers out of enemies' field of view, they will start to leave their cover and try to rush - and become easy targets. So I  just have to move my  soldiers to the back of a building etc. and wait for the enemy to attack and catch them on interrupts.. I think that this AI behaviour is ok, but it shouldn't be predictable. You could teach the AI to simply stay covered sometimes and wait for my soldiers to leave their shelter.

That sounds like a good idea.

> Procedurally generated landscapes are working great. However you could try an even greater variety of landscapes. How about implementing a tool to edit maps for quick battles?

I want to generate more varied scenes. At the moment the building algorithm only generates residential buildings. I want to expand that to generate ruins and industrial buildings too. I don't think that the average user is that interested in editing maps. 

I finally updated the game video to show the latest features:

I never implemented ammunition, instead prefer to spend time on more interesting features like grenades. Most people don't even notice it's missing.

(1 edit)

Hi Petf,

> sometimes the open /close door button shows the wrong text (i.e. door is already open and it shows "open door")

yes, I am preparing a bug fix for that.

> related to the AI having difficulties when attacking soldiers in a building:

When preparing a soldier for an interrupt and aiming at a closed door, the interrupt zone (shown by those circles within the tiles) will end at the door. If the door is opened by an enemy soldier during the enemies' turn, the interrupt zone won't increase into the inside of the building.  However when it comes to my next  turn, the interrupt zone will reach into the inside of the building, if the door is still open. Is this meant to be like this or is it a bug?

I think it would be more realistic to be able to shoot on interrupt if an enemy  opens a door and not having to wait for the next turn.  And the AI should also be able to shoot on interrupt if I open a door. Otherwise it is easy to  evade AI's interrupts by just opening the door, shooting and closing the door again.

You are correct, AI can interrupt your soldier when he opens a door, however your soldier cannot do the same. In a future version I will fix this.

>Ok, I will keep on testing / playing. Excellent work, Ed! Do you already  know what you will be working on for the next release ? 

Next will be another bug fix version. After that, I haven't decided yet. 

Hi Beta Wilds,

Thanks for the feedback. There is a bug that happens if a grenade explodes at the same time that a soldier is interrupting. I will release a bug fix for this soon.

>  I don’t see options to set different volumes

Ah right. 

I can add volume control

Hi Petf,

Thanks for the feedback. I will answer your points below:

> AIs skill has been improved very much. Opponents won't line up anymore and they don't escape to line up at the edge of the map. When they retreat they usually search cover and group up with other soldiers. I also like how they defend buldings and don't start to rush uncovered as they did before. They look for interrupts which makes it a tough mission to assualt a building. It all feels much more realistic now. Great advance.

Glad you like it. (BTW. the "retreat strategy" still exits, however it triggers less frequently)

> something is screwed up with the AP calculation: I can get negative APs, For example when my soldier already has used all his APs and then gets hit by an interrupt. Or if I shoot twice and immediatly crouch, the crouch can result in negative APs

> when opening or closing a door and then selecting another player quickly (when the open / close door animation is still in progress), the soldier will warp to the position of the player that I just selected

Yes, these are bugs,which I will have to fix.

> when switching to nades the throw-icon only shows up when i move to another tile. Shouldn't it show up immediately?

There is another bug if you switch weapons while in throw mode. I will have to fix that too.

> opening a door can result in locking down a teammate if he stands next to a door and the neighbouring tiles are occupied by furniture etc (see image below). Maybe extending the open/close door feature to neighbouring tiles could help to fix the problem. Or you could tell te building-creation-algorithm not to place furniture next to doors

I will allow closing doors from other side of door in future version.

> defending buildings was a hard task in previous versions because the enemies would rush through the doors. Now that I can block the doors by putting a soldier in front of them, defending a building is easy, in my opinion too easy on the hard and very hard level: AI will keep trying to open the doors but won't realize that they are always blocked. 

That's not exactly how they act. If you hide behind door, the AI can take 3 possible actions:

If they are not close:

1) they move to a spot with good cover and then wait on overwatch for the door to be opened again

If they are close:

2) They try to see if they can open the door. If the door is blocked, then they will try alternative entrance to the building.

3) Immediately assume the door will be blocked and try alternative entrance to the building

> AIs nading skills should be improved a little (I know, before I complained that it was too perfect :-)) Especially when enemy soldiers are hiding in a building or behind a fence, nading from distance is pretty useless.

I made the AI throw a lot of grenades, even if they sometimes miss. If I make the AI wait for the perfect moment, then there is very little grenades thrown and makes the battles less interesting.

> The door feature is somehow in conflict with the fog of war. Similar to the remote nade explosion problem (that has been solved), open remote doors show you where the enemy is moving. Especially when joining a fight with allied Ben Dabi forces, a quick glance on the buildings' doors shows you where the fighting is probably taking place, although allied soldiers are out of view.

I don't think it's such a problem, because you only know that they was once an enemy in that location, but don't know how many, or where they went afterwards.

>Possible solutions: You could leave some doors open by default at the beginning of each map, so an open door would not anymore be a sure sign of hostile activity,

that's how it is already!

- I don't see a real skill difference when playing the same map on normal difficulty and then on very hard. The AI did pretty much the same on both levels. I was camping inside a building, the majority of the enemies tried to shoot from distance and take cover, some enemies tried to rush. You could make the enemies stick closer to their teams tactic on very hard level. Because the rushing attackers are always an easy target.

If you switch difficulty level in the middle of a game, the militia that already have been created will not change. Militia are created when they become visible to the player, or when they expand, or start a battle. Maybe that's why.

Concerning the strategy map:

> Skills increase faster now, I appreciate that.

> I share the opinion that players should be able to start with more soldiers. As of now almost half of the gameplay in a campaign consists in gathering the team. When Leonidas finally joins the team the game changes: you have 5 soldiers, better weapons and stronger opponents. So I think you could (later on, I know that right now you are developing the tactical gameplay) add another campaign mode that allows you to start with 4 or 5 soldiers with better weapons and better skills.

Yes, I plan to add more characters, but that will be in a future version

I tried to reproduce the crash in similar scene, but was not able to.  I have to look into it more thoroughly. (Nice game play video by the way ;)

> Add an option to tweak music/sounds/GUI/effects volume, one by one

You can already do that in the settings dialog.

> Would feel really good to be able to go through windows, and jump over some obstacles.

- Plus other feedbacks i gave before, the more important one for me would really be the click the merc and drag to move, vs click the tile directly.

I could try to release minor update with mouse control changes. However jumping over obstacles would take a lot more development effort.

It's backwardly compatible. You don't need to start a new game