Creating a new strategy game

Discuss anything related to warbarons.

Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby fantastory » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:33 am

What I see here -
1. There is many players without programming experience willing to help
2. We are lacking campaign mode.

Maybe one can just start develop campaing on the current possible resources?
I mean create a list of maps with following story. Untill campaign mode is done the maps can be selected manualy.

And we already have a campaign on the tutorials page - yet the maps are not connected.
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby Chazar » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:50 pm

About simultaneous turns:
I don't like the current implementation which combines instant moves with simultaneous turns, since it gives an advantage to players being online at the right moment intercepting enemy turns.

Games that use planning turns, where armies are given conditional orders usually tend too zoom out, losing a lot of strategy. Consider, for an example, the Dominions game series: Armies mostly move one province per turn, rarely 3 or more. This is an entirely different flavor of strategy as compared to Warbarons. I like both, but I think a characteristic of movement in Warbarons are those tricks where your hero is stacked with an eagle, a boat and a dwarf in a single turn to increase the heroes movement range. I really like those tricks and it is something unique that I have not encountered in that form in another strategy game (i.e. changing movement bonus during a turn).

That said, I believe simultaneous turns are a must for contemporary games, since anything else is too slow.

Another option would be the route taken by games like Battle Island, where players either move their units or direct attacks. This works only for as long as there are just two opposing factions, however.

So my suggestion would be to keep the movement as it is, but is is only planning. So players see a shadow icon of their units being moved as it is now, but then all movement is simultaneously resolved. Stacks have, say 3-5 options what to do if they have an enemy in their move range, say "continue", "continue if stronger and retreat otherwise" and "retreat" and another unit stat that determines how good they can estimate the strength of another stack. How about something along those lines?
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby KGB » Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:19 am

The problem with changing how the game turns work (planning moves then simultaneous execution) is that you'll probably lose all the Warlords type players who aren't used to that and don't want to play a game like that (I know I likely wouldn't play that type of game). It's also a confusing system to learn since it's not very common (ie unlikely to have played it before). It would also probably not be fun for single player vs AI's either since you don't see anything immediately 'happen'. I think the current system works just fine and that some tweaks can be made here and there to reduce advantages of who can log on when.

Piranha,

Under your SuperMajor item you plan to redo everything locally including local DB for single player games. I have to ask why do all this. The only 'actions' that the AI has to validate are the same ones players do (move, upgrade etc). So why not just move that PHP code into Javascript and run it locally and let it send it's actions back to the server like the players do. All you'd need is a button for the player to press to 'start' each AI's turn which would then run the javascript to do the AI's turn.

The AI code for War3/War4 runs in the Windows game engine loop (ie the games are not multithreaded) which runs about 30x a second (from memory) and if it's an AI's turn, as part of that loop that animates, does battles and everything else it just calls the AI subroutines to do AI actions (which typically take a few iterations of the windows game engine loop to complete). So your AI javascript engine kicked off by the AI button could also loop as it sends/receives info from the server on during it's turn.

I would think this would make things a lot easier to complete since you don't have to change much other than migrate the PHP code to javascript.

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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby piranha » Fri Dec 06, 2019 9:30 am

KGB:
There are multiple options to how to approach the single player option. The one requiring the least amount of work should be like I think you suggest. Then you will need an internet connection to play single player. Most of the time that shouldn't be a problem.
The most negative with that approach is that I think it will take quite a while to wait for the AI to do it's turn since every action must be sent from client to backend the same way as when a human is playing. Even if the AI script takes very little time to compute its actions the backend calls takes time so waiting will be frustrating. Especially if there are several AIs and as the game progress and gets bigger.
The work required to get that version working in the simplest form should be much less.
In the client the return from the backend will still require a separate action depending on if its the AI playing or a human playing.
Also the player will be able to see everything the AI does in the current form at least :-). That could hidden of course.

But it's probably the best way to get started and then slowly move part by part to the client to speed the AI up and eventually make it possible to play single player without any connection.

I just looked at the AI for the first time. It's in many cases just a random deciding between options. Most of the work is to make it possible to do action without any logic behind the choices (like which hero to pick or what to do with a conquered city). I'll see if I can post the file on github today. If you have a github account and want access please send me your github name. The file still contains direct calls to DB so I don't want to post it in the open until I have time to figure out if there is any security risk.

Chazar
I see what you mean and its hard to find a good tradeoff. The one you suggest is pretty easy to say but how are you going to judge if one army is stronger. Depending on bonuses it can be superior or weaker against a certain army. Where would retreat make it go? It's often very important to move to exactly the right position to avoid being attacked. I think that if it's going to remain the same game the best shot is working with whatever tweaks we can rather than changing the game.
I like sim FFA games but like you say it can often come down to who gets to do an important move first. It's hard to see a way around that situation. No matter how many freeze time type of activities we invent one player will get to do before the other and it can decide the outcome of the game. All we can do it make it harder to control who gets to do first (like before freeze time it was good to do last because then you got to do first the next turn).
I think the only way around that is a different game which is also something that I keep coming back to.

I got Wesnoth yesterday to test it out a bit and see if I get any ideas there. What other turn based strategy games are worth looking at? I've played Heroes 3 and then tried or looked at the others.

Paradox have been successful with Europa universalis. Anyone here who played those games? What is the reason they are so successful?
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby fantastory » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:37 am

As it goes for current warbarons I would not do ANY changes to the game!!!

My point about simulatouse planning is about eventual new game.
The FFA games goes very smooth in turn based if players are engaded to the game, and even on simul turns games crawls if just a single player is crawl.

The spells is a kind of idea but the sorceress is already the game breaker unit, so further increasing her strength would do not good.
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby Chazar » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:27 pm

Well, I misunderstood: I LOVE Warbarons as it is! I thought this thread was about brainstorming how to get create a different game that will appeal to more players?!

When I look at my strategy-game-liking-friends (n=8; 4 of them played a few games, but they all left within a year and play other games instead) who did not play Warbarons beyond a 2nd game, I believe the big obstacles I observed were 1. not on steam but in a browser with subscription and 2. long turn wait times.

1. Warbarons is by far the most expensive game I ever payed for, since I bought continues Gold status for a while; wheras otherwise I only buy non-subscription games at 40€, rarely up to 100€. That's why most of my age cohort don't even look at subscription based games, despite being financially well-off at that age.

2. I really believe that simultaneous turns are a must have if you want a large player base. What I wrote above were just some ideas to start thinking about it. I absolutely hate the current way simultaneous turns work, since I had opponents waiting online to spring their traps due to my slow reaction. Hate it.

@piranha: "Stronger" and "weaker" don't have to be absolute: stack size would do, or level sum, or something fuzzy like level_sum * random_number, where the spread of the random number depends on a new units stat for scouting.
A simple mechanic would do and it would be part of the game for player to find ways to exploit it to their advantage. Since the mechanic is mandatory for all, this is fair.
Consider Dominons: Everybody plans their turns and attempts to combine their armies to powerful attack stacks, but it is part of the game to try and disrupt certain army parts to reach the main army (i.e. I predict the enemy armies in provinces A, B, C to all attack my province D, so I try and prevent army A from doing their move (having faster armies, using magic, etc. - the game engine provides well defined ways for that ) so that B & C will be an easy victory for me (say army a has all the good bonuses).

So it is okay if you don't have 100% certain control, as long as the rules are perfectly known. No need to react quickly, but a need to predict correctly - and that involves guesswork as it does currently in this game!
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby KGB » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:07 pm

Piranha,

I don't think slow AI turns is that big a problem. If you actually go back and play War2/DLR/War4 and set up an 8 player game (1 human, 7 AI's) you'll see that mid to late game a single pass through the 7 AI turns easily takes 5 minutes or more. Anyone used to playing Warlords will be familiar with waits in the 5 minute range.

As far as hiding the AI moves, just open a hidden/invisible tab and run the AI turn in that tab :D

Chazar,

1) I agree on subscription based games (I'm in my early 50s'). I just don't do any of them. I prefer a 1 time cost to play. I do play micro-transaction games on my phone but essentially in free-2-play mode. The free-2-play mode here actually works nicely allowing players 2 games (I think it should also restrict to max 3 AI opponents in solo mode so there is incentive to get at least silver for 5-7 player AI games). Isn't silver/gold still fairly reasonable (10/20 dollar range)?

2) Simultaneous turns work best in Warbarons when played in real-time games (ie the ones where you have 3-5 minutes for your whole turn) and everyone is online at the same time. DLR used that model and was ultra successful (so did Civ3 and beyond).

The other simultaneous games (the ones most often played in Warbarons) are annoying for all the reasons you state. I don't like them either esp in a game where players are worldwide in different timezones etc. To be honest, I'd be fine if those were eliminated entirely.

If you have a semi-competent AI I suspect a vast majority of games will be AI only / campaign mode. I say that because I remember Steve Fawkner telling me once that less than 5% of all DLR/War4 games ever sold went online and played (they could track that by serial number obviously). Now many more probably played hotseat/LAN mode but it still says that most players want a solo experience over a true multi-player one.

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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby makmak » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:57 pm

Just an idea to resolve simoultaneous execution of plannned orders that might be helpful:

Each order is given an internal priority among orders of each player.

The first order of all players are executed in random order, then the second order of all players are executed in random order etc.

I hope it helps :roll:
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby makmak » Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:17 pm

makmak wrote:Just an idea to resolve simoultaneous execution of plannned orders that might be helpful:

Each order is given an internal priority among orders of each player.

The first order of all players are executed in random order, then the second order of all players are executed in random order etc.

I hope it helps :roll:


To explain my previous post:
Each player give orders that do not execute until all press end turn
Orders have internal priority 1-to N
Player A gave attack or move or defend order to 8 stacks with internal priority 1-8
Player B gave attack or move or defend order to 5 stacks with internal priority 1-5
Player C gave attack or move or defend order to 12 stacks with internal priority 1-12
etc.

When all players end turn orders execute simoultaneously as follows:
1st order of each player is executed in random order
2nd order of each player is executed in random order
...
and so on.

Order 1 of player A will be executed before order 2 of players B and C but in random order among order 1 of all players.
The same concept applies to all orders of all players
:ugeek:

That is, giving an attack order 1st internal priority you have high chance to catch the opponent before he moves (50% in 1vs1)

Giving an attack order Last internal priority you have high chance that the opponent is no longer there :lol:
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby Smedzlatko » Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:27 am

I started creating a new online turn-based game as well (with the help of some other Warbarons players from Horders of Chernobyl). It's a post apo game where you control a clan of survivors and assign them actions. Twice a day, at fixed times, these actions are evaluated and you can plan your next steps. The game takes 45 turns (~3 weeks) and the current era started today. If anyone is interested, I am more than happy to hear your feedback :) It takes approximately 10-15 minutes per day to play the game and it is currently in beta state, so bugs are to be expected :]

Game URL: https://game.withergate.com

Registration is required but it should not take more than 5 minutes.

EDIT: This is not meant for hijacking the topic. It's just something related to new game concepts. Please, don't start a discussion about this in this thread. I am really looking forward to the new game from Piranha. If its going to be at least as good as Warbarons, I will be happy to check it out.
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