Hey Ed, nice to see a new feature being implemented. Will the hostages be controlled by the AI or by the player? Looking forward for testing :) Do you have a schedule for the next release?
Recent community posts
Hey Ed, here are some observations on the new release that I have been testing during the last days:
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.
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.
Concerning the gameplay: The AI is throwing far less nades now, maybe because of the changes to the algorithm you made? 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. Even Leonidas didn't bring his G36 when he joined my team, only a handgun :-/
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.
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.
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).
<You would only kill the first guy and the second would get through.>
Exactly, that is the problem: the AI only moves one or max. two attackers around that corner per turn. And they usually come around the corner with not enough APs to attack. So even if I couldn't kill the second attacker by interrupt, I could simply kill him on the next turn.
<BTW, I just release 1.5.2, this fixes some of the issues that you mentioned>
Yep, it is working fine now. Even with high res shadows activated.
<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.>
Yes, i think it will be the best solution to let players chose how to control the game. And tweaking the tolerance would help a lot. I am playing on a big screen and very often I don't manage to click at the enemy tile i want to attack and trigger movement instead. Maybe I am too clumsy. Now imagine playing this on a smaller device ...
<That's a good idea. To tell the truth, I only use the CTRL key, never the button.>
... now that you tell it: that is pretty comfortable. I didn´t know you could throw nades that way :)
After playing the same map over and over again I can conclude: AI behaviour is really variable now, that keeps the game interesting. Every battle is different, that is really cool. I think that the AI is doing better on open fields or when I only cover behind a fence or wall, i.e. as long as there is a line of sight. When I hide inside or behind a building AI is struggling more and sometime doesn't flank consequently. I think that is ok if you want the AI to be beatable. Because in big battles in which the AI outnumbers you, hiding behind or inside buildings is basically the only way to win (when playing on very hard level).
This situation for example: Enemy strength was 3 times as much as my team's strength. I tried to defend on open field, inside the building etc. I lost many times because I got shot through the windows, AI naded the doors etc. How did I win? I just set up my soldiers like in the picture below and never moved them, just waited for interrupts (except Zanata who killed the enemies who managed to get inside of that building). And the AI did me the favor and moved the enemy soldiers into the line of fire again and again (enemy attacked from the top of the picture).
Do you have a schedule for future development? Just wondering what the next steps are going to be ...
<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.>
Sure, light weapons won't destroy a door. But when a players uses a machine gun it could do some damage. Do you remember good old X-Com Enemy unknown? You could destroy light structures like wooden walls and plants when using powerful weapons. And that feature opened new tactical options. You could use rocket launchers to destroy structures and clear the line of fire for snipers.
<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.>
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.
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.
<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.
<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.
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.
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?
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.
Here are some first remarks after testing the new release for some days.
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...
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.
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.
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?
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).
I like the diagonal movement feature. However, it does not work when trying to move next to allies. That could be changed.
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.
Hey, nice to see that the new release has arrived! I will give it a try during the next days and give some feedback. Can I download the full version at the usual place (changing the version number, of course)?
Nice feature :-) That could make it easier for the AI to beat an enemy who is camping inside a building.
I think this is the first time you enable players to damage objects on a map. Have you considered extending this feature to other objects? Destroying walls or fences could be useful, too ...
I will be holding on for the next release : )
>Maybe, there could be a jail in some villages with Ben Dabi militia imprisoned and you gain reputation if you rescue them
sounds great :)
>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
The problem is that I use my upgrade points to train APs, interrupt and accuracy (and Zanata's automatic-weapon skills) first. These are essential as at the beginning of the game there are not many nades available for the own team. Suggestion: You could allow players to gather upgrade points even faster to get maximum APs and accuracy first and then still be able to train the other skills before the game ends (I have never managed to max out all skills of a single player).
> 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.
OK, I guess I simply got the wrong impression there.
>I don't think that the average user is that interested in editing maps.
Sure, he is not interested in editing maps. But he could be interested in setting certain preferences like: I want xx% of buildings, xx% of rock fields and xx% of desert. I don't know how the building algorithm actually works. But if it works like "create xx buildings with xx size", then you could enable the player to change these settings... just giving ideas for the future development of the game :)
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. 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.
Some remarks on the tactical gameplay:
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.
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.
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.
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?
During extended testing two more minor issues were found:
- sometimes the open /close door button shows the wrong text (i.e. door is already open and it shows "open door")
- 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.
Ok, I will keep on testing / playing. Excellent work, Ed! Do you already know what you will be working on for the next release ?
Hey Ed, thanks for that new version. I have played some maps in campaign mode. Some first remarks on the tactical gameplay (as the strategic map has remained unchanged):
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.
Some minor bugs / suggestions:
- 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
- when switching to nades the throw-icon only shows up when i move to another tile. Shouldn't it show up immediately?
- 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
- 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. So I do the same thing on every turn: Open the door, shoot the enemies that are right in front of my sodliers, close the door again. Maybe a solution could be to make the AI attack through the windows, if it realizes that doors are blocked several times. AI could try to throw nades through the windows. And it should wait for interrupts when facing a closed door.
- 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.
- 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.
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,
Or you could display always closed doors as long as they are out of view. Only when they get into effective viewing range, a player can see if the door has already been opened. i.e. the door image would change from closed to open only when getting into the field of view.
- 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.
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.
> It's not really a problem, because it only gives a hint where the enemy is without revealing the exact position.
Hmm, I don't know. This reminds me of the remote nade shelling that revealed enemy positions anywhere on the map, even if out of sight. I remember that you planned to limit the range where those explosions are visible for the player. Maybe you could add the same feature for opening doors? When you make opening doors visible only in a certain range of the player's units, enemy movement on the other edge of the map wouldn't be revealed.
Good to see the project advance. Do you already have a schedule for the next release?
Some observations of the door feature:
<<If an unknown enemy is behind a door, the player will be allowed to try to open the door. The enemy becomes visible after trying to open>>
IMHO the visibility of the enemy is in conflict with the fog of war that the game sticks to. Making the enemy visible allows a player to see the weapons the enemy is carrying and in what direction the enemy is looking. This could allow a player to attack from another angle without taking the risk of being interrupted.
Suggestion: When trying to open a door, there could be just a message telling "The door is blocked". So it is up to the player to decide if it worth the risk to take a look inside that building from another door or window.
In the video when the AI moves you can see doors opening and closing that apparently are out of view. Those movements should remain invisible unless there is line of sight.
Very nice piece of coding! I like this project, especially for the simplicity of the game. I managed to play it without the tutorial, so i guess it is pretty much self explaining.
The only thing that is not very intuitive are the icons used for the units. Maybe you could use less abstract icons.
I agree with the comments that criticize the final stage of a match. At the beginning movement is quick and the AI can surprise you by sneaking in and conquering a city. At the end there are so many units that the game becomes very static. And when I control a certain number of cities the AI has no chance to win the match anymore. It is just a question of time for a player to line up units and conquer the last cities. Maybe you could add an optional short game, where the match is won with the control of less cities. Or make the cities produce less units towards the end of the game.
Does the AI use any artillery? In the matches I have played so far, the AI has never produced artillery. That is a big disadvantage: when I line up my units (1st row cavalry, 2nd row infantry and 3rd row artillery) the AI has no way to break through, as the artillery will always increase my chances to win and simply makes the difference.
Another suggestion: you could consider adding more terrain types: mountains, rivers, swamp and especially roads. The game reminds me of The Perfect General (early 1990s). In that game moving units on roads would increase their speed significantly. That could also solve the reinforcement problems, that were mentioned here (having to move units from remote cities to the front line).
When there are 3 or more players there could be an option to make allies. To keep the game simple you could simply train the AI to stop attacking a player when that player has not attacked the AI for a certain period time. Alliances could bring new tactical options to the game. ... And the AI could sometimes be nasty and attack the player anyway.
Looks interesting. Maybe with that algorithm you can create maps with complete cities without those deserted spaces that make them look like ghost towns. That could add new tactical options to the game. Maybe in one of the next releases you can try out a variety of different AI generated landscapes and we can find out which one works and which does not.
Looking forward for testing the next release. Do you know when you are going to finish it?
Hello everyone :-)
In fact I think the number of units you can have in this game is very low, having just 2 is fine for the very first tutorial battle, but by the end I only had 3 units, I believe 4 should be the minimum, with the possibility to get more.
-> Same here. I know you like the idea of maximum 4 or 5 units, Ed. But I agree that there could be a greater tactical variety with more units, maybe 8 to 10. This would also give the option to just keep on playing if one of your soldiers dies. Now you have to restart the battle every time a soldier dies. Maybe you could give it a try in one of the future releases.
The enemy AI is... Not very good, even on very hard, they have a tendency to bunch up in the middle of roads and shoot without seeking cover, rush where I have units waiting for them, sometimes walk back and forth and do nothing else as if they're indecisive
-> I agree. AI is very challenging when taking good cover and when it sticks to a single strategy with all available forces. Splitting up into groups with different tactics (one group attacking, one group camping etc.) makes the AI very weak. I'm looking forward to see the changes in AI behaviour, especially when retreating.
Hi Ed. Thanks for that explanation.
The wall could be anywhere, not necessarily at the edge of the scene.
I have seen the enemy retreat to the edge of the map in many cases. So maybe this occurs because the AI thinks that it can find the only usable wall there (in those cases the wall was placed at the edge of the map as a part of one of those fortifications which are usually placed there).
During retreat they will take pot shots if you pursue them, but only if they have high chance of scoring a hit.
That is true, but it doesn't happen frequently and only few soldiers will stop to return fire. Most of them keep sprinting to reach the wall. I think most of them don't try to shoot because my soldiers are quite far away and out of range for light weapons - but they are within range of my sniper weapons.
I think in fact, having different groups of enemy following different strategies make it more unpredictable for the player.
Yes, I think that will make it more entertaining. So one group could prepare a real ambush instead of only returning fire half-heartedly :-) Maybe you also could tweak the AI to not always look for the big wall structures that can be found at the edge of the map in most occasions. Instead it could look for other (smaller) walls etc. which can be found in other parts of the map.
Hi Ed, thanks for your reply!
I thought it would make the game more interesting having different enemy employing different strategies in the same battle. I will consider making them stick to the same strategy.
I agree for the easy and normal levels. But on hard and very hard level an enemy who sticks together will make the difference.
Another point: When the enemy opts for retreating and camping, they always do the same: line up at a hiding spot at the edge of the map. This is very predictable. When they are escaping I can chase them without taking cover because (almost) none of them will stop to return fire. Suggestion: When retreating, the enemy could chose different places for camping, for example inside a building. Or they could fake a retreat and and prepare an ambush nearby.
Your game is great, but it is over too soon :-) I would prefer more missions and new challenges (in future versions, I know the strategy map is not your focus at the moment).
Hello again, here is some feedback about the current version (played a campaign on very hard):
Nades: The bugs are pretty well fixed. Throwing nades out of / into windows and doors works perfectly. Only when standing next to a building and trying to throw very close to the corner of the building, the nade sometimes bounces off the roof or the corner. But I think it is ok if there remains some risk when handling with nades.
The increased damage inflicted by the nades creates a good balance compared to other weapons now. Anyway, I think at the end of the game there could be even more powerful and longer ranged nades, to create a balance to the more effective weapons that become available at this stage.
AI nades: AI throws far less nades and with less skill than in the previous version. I think you could improve the skill and the number of nades a little bit. I played a whole campaign without getting hit a single time by a nade.
AI tactics: I like the defend building strategy that the AI sometimes chooses. Anyway the tactics sometimes are not really coherent: If an overpowering enemy uses half of its power to forward attack and the other half to camp buildings on the other side of the map, he loses his major advantage. All or most of the enemy forces should stick to a single strategy.
Strategic map: When attacking an overpowering enemy I can place my soldiers next to the retreat zone and wait for the enemy to attack. When I realize the enemy is about to win, I simply retreat, get my soldiers healed in the hospital and then attack again. I think this somehow could be considered a cheat. Suggestion: There should be a penalty when retreating, for example the enemy recovers his former strength.
Bug: When using this strategy and an own soldier dies in battle, his weapons are returned to the inventory, although I left them on the battlefield when retreating.
Strategic map: I think there could be more missions. I can't even get near to the maximum skills available for my soldiers when the game is already won.
Bug: Sometimes the death animations do strange things to the dropped weapons. A gun can keep spinning on the ground or instead of being dropped, it is thrown for a long distance, as happened here (the gun at the top of the image was "dropped" by the enemy at the bottom of the image):
sounds as if you resolved many issues and suggestions that have been reported here by the beta testers (including me :-) . I am going to do some testing as soon as I will be back from my vacations in 2 weeks. Is the full version available on your server?
Some final remarks:
Weapon balance: in the final stage of the campaign the FN SCAR seems to be too powerful. If I manage to equip my soldiers with 2 or 3 of these guns, they are about invincible. It has a range that comes close to a sniper rifle, incredible accuracy and power and needs only 8 AP for a single shot. It therefore outperforms most of the sniper rifles. My soldiers have an average of 30 APs at the end of the game. So they can fire 3 shots with the FN SCAR, whereas most sniper rifles only allow 1 or 2 shots, depending if I have to move that soldier or not.
Issue: In the tactical game the "retreat" button is messed up with the "menu" button, when playing at the highest resolution (and moving soldiers to the retreat area, of course).
That's it for the moment. I am definitely going to do some more testing as soon as you are going to release the next version.
After more testing the campaign mode (very hard level) here are some other issues / suggestions:
Weapon balance: Nades are doing a great job in about the first half of the campaign. But when the soldiers get better weapons (like the AKM or FN SCAR), nades become more and more useless. The AP/damage/range ratio for most nades is too bad, compared with these weapons. Especially when soldiers are armed with FN SCAR, there is no way to get close enough for throwing a nade. So usually I don't take the risk to get close to any enemy at this stage of the game. I rather try to take them out with long range weapons before they get too close. Suggestions:
- when long range weapons are available, there should also be better nades: with more power (like the RPG) and a better range (maybe by adding more bounciness the range could be increased)
- throwing skills could improve during the game
- when the available slots are occupied, the following occurs: when I drag and drop an object to the active (hand) slot, the current object is dropped to the inventory. But when I drag and drop an object to the secondary slots, I can't drop the object there. I first have to free that secondary slot, then I can drop an object there.
- when I move a weapon from any slot back to the inventory it will appear in the broken-weapons-tab, if that tab was open while removing the weapon
- there could be an easier solution for getting the attachments found on broken weapons from battle loot: I have to move the broken weapon to any soldier's weapon slots, move the attachment back to the inventory, move a new weapon to the soldier's slot, look for the attachment again and finally attach it to the new weapon. Suggestion: When receiving broken weapons as battle loot, the attachments should automatically be stored in the misc.- inventory.
- nades sometimes crash the game: so far this has happend twice to me: an enemy soldier throws a nade but it doesn't explode. Instead it keeps turning around on the ground, resulting in a permanent loop with no way to skip. See this image (the soldier tried to throw the nade, it bounced off the wall and never exploded):
Allied AI is more defensive. It'll only fire one shot, which leaves more APs to retreat further to better cover. However, this leads to the soldier constantly moving back and forth. That's OK for allies, but it makes for an annoying enemy to fight against. So, the normal AI tries to take cover, without moving out of range - that leads to less back and forth movement. I don't think it's a problem, because the objective is to make the AI challenging, but not unbeatable.
The enemy will randomly adopt a "defend buildings" ploy for 20% of the battles. That means they will wait for the enemy inside the building instead of charging forward. I could change it so they use the "defend buildings" ploy only when they realise they are over-powered.
I completely agree with you that the AI should be beatable on skill levels easy to hard. But on very hard skill level in my opinion it should be almost impossible to win for causal palyers (as I am). Even for me the very hard skill level is too easy, especially when allies are involved, as they will always draw the enemies attention (and bullets). So I can stand back and make use of my sniper skills :-) When I play without allies things become much harder though.
To make it more difficult on this skill level you could improve some enemy AI skills:
- better nade skills.
- more tactical variety: it's really challenging to beat the enemy when he is camping inside a building. They could do this more often. And they could also use the allied tactics of "back and forth" sometimes. It may be annoying, but it is also challenging to beat an enemy who is well covered in his shelter.
- more discipline: the majority of the enemy soldiers sticks to their strategy. Anyway at the end of the match I always find some enemies who are hanging around somewhere else and not taking part in the battle at all. When the AI chooses to attack, all available soldiers should be involved.
- more discipline: when the enemy decides to camp, he should stick to this strategy and not be distracted when he spots my soldiers. Frequently all enemies begin to rush when I send a single soldier.
Maybe on this sill level the allied AI could also be reduced to prevent a player (like me) from using allies as human shields and avoiding direct confrontation with the enemies.
- anti-camping skills: when I camp inside a building the enemy AI is great. They approach quickly and from different sides, which makes it really hard to defend. Anyway if crouching behind an object (fence etc.) the enemies keep trying to shoot at me, altough there is almost no chance of ever hitting (the old problem: there seems to be a line of fire and a hit probability, although there isn't). AI has already improved, as some enemies now try to flank when they realize that they are suffering casualties without ever hitting. However, they aren't really determined to flank: only few enemies follow this strategy and they only do it half the way, they still stay on the other side of that fence and don't get a better chance of hitting my soldiers. So again, maybe you could adjust the enemy AI to make all or at least most of them follow the new strategy of flanking.
Bug: At the end of the allies' turn the enemy had an interrupt. Then it was my turn, but the interrupt-message would not disappear and it was impossible to select and of my soldiers. So I had to restart the match. I got a message in my console, but I am not sure when and if it has anything to do with it: <<ran out of objects!>>
A quick feedback on version 1.3 after playing about 70% of a campaign at skill level hard:
Nades. Awesome! Now i want a bazooka, too! Nades offer new tactical options when an enemy is camping or attacking with too many soldiers in one area. The attacking range and the damage inflicted in relation to the APs required to throw nades are in good balance, i think. Things that could be improved:
- the timer could be much shorter. When enemies and allies throw nades it slows down the game because i always have to wait for the nades to explode although they are fighting in remote areas where they can do no damage to me.
- a turn can be over altough the nade has not exploded yet (due to the nade's timer still counting). When you are lucky you can still move away from the nade before it explodes. In a turn based game all attacks should be executed before the next player's turn starts.
- when enemies or allies throw nades in remote places i still can see the smoke. I think this should be hidden by the fog of war. Spotting the smoke makes it pretty easy to locate enemies and allies.
- sometimes the nade path indicates green light but anyway my soldiers manage to throw the nade against a wall etc. and it will bounce back to them. Is this meant to be this way? (is the nade path indicator meant to be inaccurate to some extent? In that case there should be a waiver of liability :)
AI improvement: very well done. Especially allies don't behave like lemmings anymore. When they see that there is little possibility to attack they take cover and wait for the enemy. Some ideas:
- i have the feeling that allied AI has improved much more than the enemies AI. Maybe it depends on who is attacking and who is defending or how many soldiers are on the map. But enemies still tend to make massive attacks without any cover when my soldiers are well hidden and covered. Often they rush out of their cover when i send a single soldier to attract their attention (or even better: let my allies draw their attention). Then i move this soldier back to cover and the enemy will keep attacking without any cover. Usually AI tries to escape when it is too late, when only one or two soldiers are left.
On the other hand i found the enemy AI chose a defensive strategy on one map, hiding the soldiers in buildings all the time, which made it very hard to attack.
In short: I think the enemy AI should try to take more cover and hide in buildings etc when they are overpowered.
- enemies and allies often throw nades with a low path when the opponent is covered behind an object. AI should try to get closer and throw with a high path.
- when the AI tries to throw a nade and it comes back bouncing off an object, it shouldn't try to make the exact same throw from the same position again.
Allies are overpowering in last quarter of the game and keep attacking enemy cities with waves of soldiers (each wave with a strength of about 200 or more). This results in battles of 25 or more (very poorly armed) allies - this makes these battles almost unplayable: i have to wait more than 3 minutes until the AI finally completes its turn (including the above mentioned delay caused by nades). Maybe there could be an option to speed up / skip the animation of the AI's turn or only show those actions that happen next to my own soldiers or could have an effect on them.
-I am testing on Ubuntu 20.04: when moving objects or dragging the walking path for soldiers, the bars showing AP, health etc start to flicker in different colours. When i release the mouse button, the flickering stops.
- when picking up an object from the ground it replaces the currently held object, which is fine. But the replaced object appears to be on the ground now although it is stored in the backpack.
Keep up this excellent work, Ed!
Nice! Can be very useful when used against groups of enemies:-) I think you could make the impact/damage zone a bit larger so that each of the nades that you are you are throwing at them in the video causes damage to both of the enemies .
Are you going to add smoke nades, too?
Sometimes the enemy drop weapons in good nick, but usually they need repair. Also, the guns wear out the more you shoot. Eventually, you will get a gun jam if you don't repair.
I know that and the idea of repairing weapons and armors is ok. I only believe that having to employ gunsmiths etc. to do these jobs, watch if they have enough to do and eventually sack them etc. could kind of overload the strategic part of the game. I would prefer the current design with some modifications. Major cities could be the places where you can buy and repair weapons and armors, sell stuff, heal your soldiers, hire squad members etc. So the players would be able to concentrate on the core of the game, which is assembling and equipping a squad with the gathered funds.
One final thought: You could maintain the current campaign mode as a "simple campaign mode" and add the strategic part you are currently designing as another alternative, "complex campaign mode". I see pros and cons for both modes and you would give players the choice whether to play a more or less predetermined campaign with a focus on the tactic battles or a campaign that allows them more strategic movement and opens a multitude of strategic options. IMHO the current strategic mode is almost ready to use, only some minor bugs can be found. So I don't see the need of stopping its development.
Ok, that's it for now. I will wait for the next beta to do some testing :-) Keep up this incredible work!
Sounds very promising : )
I like the idea of being able to add more soldiers to your squad. In the current version I can't afford to lose any of my soldiers and I keep restarting the battle until I manage to win it with all of my soldiers surviving. Your draft could bring back some of the the good old x-com strategy: train a core of good soldiers and hire normal soldiers to provide back up - and who can be reemplaced if they are killed in a battle.
Personally I don't see any need for equipping gunsmiths and armourers. This could turn the game into another "gain resources and start to produce goods and weapons" strategy game. I suggest to keep the strategic part simple. Collecting taxes and hiring people etc. sounds good. But I think it would be sufficient to be able to buy (or repair) weapons in bigger cities, without having to take care of employing and equipping a gunsmith. Until now I actually never have bought (and very rarely repaired) a weapon. The weapons dropped by dead soldiers are more than enough to equip the own squad.
Non-aggression agreements with stronger clans seems an interesting strategic element. Have you thought about other types of agreements too? Maybe instead of non-aggression agreements players could also try to ally to another clan and not have to pay tributes. The player than has to join this clan in battles (maybe against an enemy both have in common) to gain reputation. If the player's reputation with the clan is good, the clan won't attack, but if the reputation is too low, the clan will abandon the agreement and start to attack.
You say that all enemies stayed in the same position, but I see in the second image two of the bodies are in different positions. It looks like two of them did try to move in (obviously you were able to kill them before they got any closer).
The AI algorithm works as follows: if it has already missed in previous turn and does not have a good shot it will either: 1) move for a better shot, 2) wait for an interrupt
You are right, some of the enemies will try to move closer in order to hit me, but most of them stay basically at one spot. This occurs most frequently when you hide behind a fence or an object like a car. When you hide in a building the AI most of the times works great: they will try to enter from various sides and kill you if the enemy outnumbers you. So I think that maybe the calculated hit probability is is misleading the AI: If someone hides behind an object and you aim at him, the crosshair turns green. I think you mentioned earlier in another thread that the obstacle is not taken into account when calculating the hit probability. Maybe this is the reason why the AI keeps trying to kill you and misses almost all the time.
And yes, it is true that some enemies wait for an interrupt. But the majority keeps trying to shoot and stay uncovered.
I don't see a problem. If you take good cover, you should be able to defeat the enemy. That is the whole point of the game.
I think it is ok for easy and normal skill level. But pro players will discover this exploit easily and win almost any battle (i am only a casual player and discovererd it quickly). I think that very hard skill level should be insanely difficult, making it almost impossible to win when your players are outnumbered.
Your answer from the other thread: > If you overwhelmed by enemies, then you could just play on an easier level. Apart from that, I could make Ben Dabi take a more defensive attack.
Being overwhelmed by the enemy is not the problem. I manage to win most of these battles (also on hard and very hard skill level), but my Ben Dani allies are only useful as human shields: The AI will always try to shoot them, as they are standing around completely uncovered. I put my soldiers in covered positions and take out the enemies while they are busy killing the Ben Dabis. When they finally eliminate the Ben Dabis I usually have managed to kill a lot of enemies. The remaining enemies now will try to attack my soldiers, but are too weak to achieve this. This tactic is ok, but I would prefer my allies to do a better job than only playing human shields :)
Ok, maybe I got you wrong there, Tchey. Nothing against optional controls. But I think the default controls / interface are quite good: click and drop movement, one-click-shots, only 3 available attack modes, unlimited ammo, no need to reload, easy picking up weapons etc. All this is really intuitive and I wouldn't like to see it getting messed up with too many additional stuff by default.
I am still fighting the last villages in the full version and my allies are so annoying... They seem like lemmings, rushing for the enemy and trying to catch some bullets. And when all allies get killed before you win the battle, the Ben Dabi forces won't move in to these places (on the strategy map). So the enemy can easily retake these places once you have left. Is meant to be designed this way?
I would suggest some kind of communication with allied forces on the tactical map. It is ok that you don't share their FOV. But there could be some interaction like status infos (enemy spotted, enemy in this building etc.) and I would suggest a way of asking the allies to do certain things (take cover, stick together, attack, flank the enemy etc). Maybe this could increase the probability to survive for some of them.
+- Deployement is too often similar, a road, some buildings, an open space to deploy first turn i run to cover and wait for the AI to attack, as they always find me it seems.
- AI was "stuck" a few times, while my men where behind heavy covers, untouchable. I just stand, shot, kneel, the AI shot at my cover, repeat until victory.
Same here, watch the images I uploaded in my last reply in the thread I opened here: Testing V 1.2.1. The AI will always come for you so there is no need for taking any risk and leave the cover. Sometimes you have to send one of your soldiers to wake the enemy up, then run back and prepare the ambush. It works many times, also on very hard skill level.
Also the AI of allied troops could be better. I am currently playing the full version and I am fighting the cities that are not available in demo. There are so many enemies that you need some allies. But it is disappointing to see Ben Dabi forces running into the opponents' fire completely uncovered.
I also agree with the proposed improvements for the "strategy map". Anyway I think Ed is going to change some things there, so I will wait for future updates.
I don't agree with the suggestions Tchey makes for the "tactical map". IMHO the controls are very simple and intuitive. I don't see any need of adding anything, would only make it more complicated.
The game crashes when I go back to Ben Dabi in order to meet my fellow merc and it also crashes when I have earned enough reputation to make Leonidas join my squad: When I go back to Ben Dabi on the strategy map to meet Leonidas, the game crashes (on linux and windows).
I checked the flickering issue again and it it caused by firefox hardware acceleration, so nothing wrong with the game.
But I found a bug on strategy map on very hard skill level: When you return to Ben Dabi to meet your partner and to make him rejoin the squad after conquering the villages he indicated, the game crashes and reports a memory access error. This bug can be reproduced.
I am playing a campaign on very hard skill level and it is really hard, so don't get me wrong. If the enemy outnumbers me, there usually is no chance of winning the battle. Anyway sometimes the AI doesn't manage to defeat you when hiding your squad. They just stand around, try to fire at you but hardly ever hit, because your soldiers are well protected behind some objects. See these images:
7 enemies attacking 3 mercs armed only with light weapons. I tried to hide in the building some times but they came from everywhere and kicked my ass. So I restarted the battle some times and tried this place. For whatever reason the AI in this case doesn't try to attack from various sides. All enemies stay basically at the same spot and wait for me to take take them out.
My soldiers move one field towards the street, fire and hide again. The opponent's bullets all end up in that fence/wall where I am hiding. One remaining enemy approaching from the top comes too late.
This sometime occurs in buildings too. Normally the AI moves in quickly and kills your mercs. But sometimes it doesn't move in and tries to shoot through the windows from the outside. That makes it easy to kill them because the own mercs are protected by the building and the enemies are completely uncovered. Doesn't happen frecuently, but frecuent enough to restart the battle an win it after some try and error.
Suggestion: AI should notice that its soldiers are suffering severe damage while causing very little damage to the mercs. When the ratio is too bad for the AI, it should change its strategy and attack in a different way.
And another thought: The AI always attacks. I just have to wait for them to come for me with the advantage for me to kill some of them uncovered. The AI could use different strategies, for example hide in a building and wait for me to attack.
Thanks for your reply and yes, I would like to test the full version of the game.
I just came around some issues:
1. Tactical map: When you kill an enemy next to a car, the death-animation goes through the car. It is really a minor issue, because at the end of the animation everything is fine again.
2. Strategy map: When you move to the last available village in the demo version and don't do anything for a long while, your allies will conquer almost the whole map. After that, nothing occurs for a long time. But at about day 200 the paths on the map start to flicker at random. The flickering increases and finally the whole screen flickers and leads to a total system crash, forcing you to perform a hard reboot (tested on Ubuntu 20.04).
First of all: Incredible work! Unbelievable that You did this all alone. And thanks for taking into consideration players' suggestions.
I tried V 1.2.1 at easy level in campaign mode and completed all the missions that are available in the beta versions. Today I gave it another try and completed the (demo) campaign on hard level.
I didn't find any bugs. Some thoughts on how to make the game even better:
All the battle-maps are designed more or less in the same way: a street in the middle and some houses on both sides. This can get boring after a while as it allows players to use the same tactics on about all the maps.
I think you could add greater variety to the map design without even creating new artwork by just balancing houses, streets and landscape differently on each map. With the objects included already in the game you could create a map without the notorious street in the middle and set it up for example with only houses and narrow paths between them. This would create a sort of urban warfare battleground allowing players to take advantage of light wapons. Other maps could be forests or fields, consisting of only bushes and trees, forcing players to use different tactics (and weapons) on each landscape.
The mission objectives could me more variable. What about taking/defending a certain object (building or bridge)? What about hostage rescue or protecting civilians / refugees? Or giving cover to a person that has to walk to a certain point on the map? The person could be an unarmed member of your team, allowing you to control his movements in these missions...
Grenades have already been demanded. I would like to add a sniper rifle, smoke and flashbang nades to the wishlist, providing new tactics to the players. And what about a rocket launcher? (remembering the good old x-com days...)
A way of healing your soldiers without having to drive to the hospital all the time would be nice. Continuous self-healing or pop-ups offering medical aid for cash would be an option. What about medi-packs in the game?
I am collecting loads of useless weapons and have to drive a long way to sell them. You could also add pop-ups with merchants offering to buy those weapons, maybe for a worse price but without having to drive to another city.
You could add more interaction with allies. They could request assistance for attacking certain places. And players could request assistance for their intended attacks.
I would also apreciate (as other players have mentioned here), to be able to fire although the enemy is out of range. There can be reasons to shoot although the hit probability is very low. For example when a group of enemies is approaching you may hit any of them when shooting at random. This would also enable you to draw the enemies' attention to a certain player (in safe distance) and leading them to an ambush you prepared for them.
Reverse Angle Camera: works great, but what about more angles? or even free camera rotation? When you are in a building sometimes none of the available angles will work for you.
Diffculty: On easy level most of the missions are a piece of cake, that's ok. But 2 or 3 cities in the middle of nowhere are defended by about 2 or 3 times as many defenders equipped with powerful weapons which makes it hard (i think almost impossible for novice players) to win these battles.
The hard level could be more tricky. Once you learn the AI's tactics it is easy to outskill them. You just have to build your fortress in a building or behind a wall with all your soldiers assembled at one place - and let the enemy attack. They will do the favour. After some hiding they will start to run uncovered into your ambush and you can take them out 1 by 1 (which ist fun anyway :). Just stand up, shoot and crouch again. Your soldiers are almost invulnerable behind objects. Those enemies who manage to make it into your fortress will be killed by one soldier who has saved some APs for exactly this purpose. This tactic allows you to collect the assault rifles your dead enemies leave on the floor although your soldiers were only armed with pistols. Suggestion: AI (enemies an allies) should try to take better cover and not head directly to their opponents but look for a sneaky way, where you can't spot them or where they are covered.