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Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Talk about custom COs, units, classes, weapons or anything else.

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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby Mori » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:07 am

theether is right, although I would add that the original Narts game was Java. And yeah, making COs and units interesting without destroying what makes AWBW so good right now is always a challenge. I think we have a very solid base right now though.
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby headphone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:24 pm

Out of curiosity, you said that all the COs will be of equal power. What will all their strengths be compared to awbw COs?
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby theether » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:26 am

Sorry to make you sad, but we're aiming for high tier with the cos :P
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby Mori » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:30 pm

The objective is to make them all equal. What will actually happen is that some will likely be much better than others haha. But ideally, yes, they'll be around High to Top Tier style COs. But again, we'll see.
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Postby DullPheonix » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:33 pm

Are you keeping the AHC style where COs only represent apex unit loadouts, or are you attempting a traditional AW1-4 CO system?
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby theether » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:45 pm

right now, it looks like cos will be handled like the AW ones with the addition of co-units.
Otherwise i don't think we could expect a good variety of Cos

If you have ideas of how COs could be treated differently than in AW and stay unique at the same time, though, let us hear :)
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Postby DullPheonix » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:07 pm

How will CO units be handled? Are they tied to specific COs or countries?

What sort of game features are a priority at this moment? Is there a rough time frame of when a playable version will be available?
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby theether » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:32 pm

CO units are CO-specific and they'll cost money and/or stars from the CO-bar.

At the moment my priority is getting the game far enough to allow an early alpha test of a game.
Right now i'm able to create games, but can't even join them, though.

Currently my programming speed is pretty slow, due to the finals starting soon, but after those i expect good progress.
The map editor is almost done, though.

A new game feature you might find interesting is the possibility to allow units to move off the map and enter from the opposite side,
as if the map were the surface of a cylinder.
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby Mori » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:48 am

The issue with CO units not just in the balance, but in the implementation. I still think that the idea of CO units are awesome, but I'm already pretty worried about the balance with the existing units we have haha. We have some more odd ideas for changing the way certain matchups work right now. For example, in the current model, the APC + Infantry type unit (Especially Mech) is extremely cost effective right now, so we're looking at possibilities such as when you attack transport units, you do a percent of that damage as additional collateral damage to units inside them.

A lot of what we're doing is seeing what becomes dominant when we add a bunch of additional counters and utility to less used units, like recons and APCs. APC with a weapon (the AHC IFV, essentially), but with health similar to a Recon, when combined with the collateral damage effect, makes Recons a surprisingly effective counter to Mech + APC spam, which Tanks cannot currently keep up with. However, you then have to address whether having those otherwise dead weight recons will be useful afterwards.

Artillery really don't need much changed. Their damage and health are all actually really solid in most AW games, and any time they're used excessively over other unit variety it's pretty much always due to terrible map design. They're great in the current AWBW meta as a unit that can support an army in interesting ways that directs can't, but they don't have quite as large a range of early zoning that a Tank has. It's part of what makes the whole infantry/tank/artillery/copter/AA relationship so cool.

Part of what our current design in this game seems to be doing is weakening the overall durability of the Tank while adding the APC/Mech combo as something viable and powerful, especially on maps where the bases are close enough to easily coordinate it. This is combined with an additional Infantry type that weakens unprotected Artillery, which currently can still tank some damage from Infantry as in AWBW, but is nearly OHKO'd by the more expensive AHC "anti-indirect" Spec Ops unit. This puts Recons in a position to become more viable, since they have the firepower to engage the new APC and win fights cost effectively (somewhat similar to building Infantry against Mech spam in AWBW), and Recons are exceptionally good at picking off Spec Ops while taking functionally 0 damage.

The question then is whether we want the new APC and Recon to be able to do a greater amount of small but noticeable damage Tanks than in AWBW, and if so, to what extent. Otherwise, building Recons against tech Infantry and APC spam isn't as viable against someone who's smart enough to back APC/Mech with Tanks, since you'll have a bunch of units that can't interact in a meaningful way with the opponent's army when it comes to an actual engagement. The fact that Recons could potentially 2HKO an APC with a Mech inside becomes moot if they can't do anything to a single Tank. This is part of what makes Mech/SpecOps/APC so solid right now, it's much more efficient than other more diverse builds for a number of reasons. It's not the end all, but anything that forces awkward builds on your opponent should be looked at closely.

Now throw CO units on top of all of this. Do these CO units force you to build specific units? Are some units as strong a deciding factor as, say, an Eagle SCOP, in that they can win fronts extremely quickly as soon as they're on the field?

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So in short, the balance of all of this is pretty delicate haha. What I'm getting at is that while I love the idea of CO units, they're damn hard to balance when compared to the established concepts of COP and SCOP, hence why designing new CO units and their implementation isn't as big a priority, at least for me anyways. I would rather just have a solid game that expands on what makes games like AWBW so cool. I model things off of AWBW because contrary to what many people have said in years past, the variety in how fronts develop and what gets built at the upper level on the current League maps is actually kind of astounding. It's an extremely diverse mix of Infantry/Mech/Tank/Arty/Copter/AA early on, and there's plenty of maps where defensive MD Tanks are actually viable. A lot of that has to do with the mapping and the solid design of the units. I want to stay far away from a model that encourages only building Tanks, or APC/Mech, or Infantry/Artillery, as the most efficient strategy on any given map. I also want the maps to have enough variety to encourage different ratios of units in builds.

Here's some examples of the kind of gameplay I want to encourage in our game, on two completely different styles of maps.


http://awbw.amarriner.com/game.php?games_id=172178
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See, maps like this show what makes this game so awesome. Battleships, Rockets, APC use, and a significant AA presence all make an appearance here. Battle lines have formed, and you need to chose carefully when to force an engagement and when to fall back. The fronts are divided by terrain, but there's key links between them that you also want to control. Fronts are dynamic, but develop around commonly valued areas. This is the kind of gameplay I'd like this game to encourage.

http://awbw.amarriner.com/game.php?games_id=184645
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On maps like Imperial, there's a more fluid approach due to how the fronts are constructed. Conflict is forced around the towers, and the terrain dictates which areas of the map need tanks, and other which need artillery. A map like this would have even more intricate setups when you factor in combat viable APCs, more Recon use, and another infantry type with greater movement.


http://awbw.amarriner.com/game.php?games_id=180092
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Even when maps encourage a lot of direct play, like the use of Tanks and Copters on Build that Wall or nb4DS, there's still a ton of variety to be had in how fronts can be set up. I'd like to think that in AHC, the APC/Infantry combos will be really interesting when it comes to taking contested property, as it's usually buildable before a Tank is due to the cost, and a Mech/APC may be better at holding a location than a Tank depending on how close the bases are and how easily they can coordinate on direct heavy maps. You can have a ton of variety even when there's only 3 or 4 units being built, we're just trying to see if we can make any other viable builds within this framework (Recons, APC/Mech) without destroying the viability of the original builds (Tank/Copter).


http://awbw.amarriner.com/game.php?games_id=182514
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I also value these kinds of games. Here, a long term macro game has developed. Many people see this as a negative, and that this type of build-up and stalematish gameplay is bad. I don't really see it that way at all. We're seeing the use of some of the most expensive units in AWBW in this game, despite the fairly low amount of funds available. This is because this style of map encourages a different approach than the last. This is why map variety is important, you can create entirely different dynamics and flow through simple design choices.

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There are certainly maps that encourage certain gameplay over others. nb4DS is a very direct heavy map, with Tanks as the common mainstay, whereas on some older maps Artillery dominate, but well designed maps usually strike a solid balance. So when even on well designed maps APC/Mech spam is viable in theory, it is a...little worrying right now. I want to work out the base mechanics of the game before anything else, really. CO units are just kind of a wrench into everything right now, although I am always willing to take suggestions. I want a game where there's a small pool of units, but they all serve a specific purpose in the meta. Basic mechanics first and foremost.
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby DullPheonix » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:22 am

It seems you prefer tight micromanagement over the generalised guidelines which have long littered AW nomenclature. To that end, you might consider going more in-depth with unit veterancy which was featured in both AHC and AW4. These focused on rewarding unit preservation while still using them in combat and made unit-joining a worthwhile consideration. In lieu of CO zones, you may also consider some sort of "upgrade" option to confer veteran status, particularly to non-combat units. Of course, this also adds another layer of complexity, depending on how in-depth the options are, which may prove difficult to decipher in the short-term.

In the end, these are simply variables, if many, that you can change to create a game which is desirable to you. AWBW uses a set of variables that attracts a group different from those that prefer AW4, both of which are distinct from, say, fighting games which also have their own variables.

While it is far from my right, I highly advise you and other projects to build a system which appeals to you, and thus others, letting the ensuing activity hammer out the points of your metagame, and then adjusting them to the finer aspects of your liking. If you obssess over the details now, before there is even a tangible product, nothing good will come of this.
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby Mori » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:29 pm

Unit vet is definitely an interesting idea. I've always found it awkward in the implementation in many other strategy games, in the sense that it can cause positive feedback loops for winning players if used incorrectly. The idea of purchasable vet is very interesting though, the Wehrmacht faction in the game Company of Heroes relied heavily on that concept, and for a while until a patch removed it, Modern Combat had a CO doctrine that had an ability that could grant a single unit veterancy for resources. Perhaps that could be an interesting CO power, grant a single unit two levels of Vet for a certain amount of CO meter. I think that's a very cool concept for a COP. I'm also still thinking about a CO Day to Day ability that grants a very slight attack strength bonus when their units are at lower health, which has been done many a time in hypothetical and real AW clones, with mixed results.

I still love the idea of CO zones, or Command Zones from specific units in general. I think it's one of the best ideas AW ever had. One of the ideas I was toying around with is making Recons buff units slightly when they are close, but the buff doesn't stack. This would make Recon placement very valuable if handled well.

One of the aspects that I've always found interesting is the notion of Luck calculations in AW games. People are usually quite split on that issue. I personally think it would be interesting to see a popular AW game that did not use Luck at all in damage calculations, but I know a lot of people prefer to have that kind of variance.
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby headphone » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:06 pm

Have you considered making it so comtowers, instead of having a global boost, only affects a radius around it? or even as its own structure?
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby Hellraider » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:54 pm

The way that AWBW works is that smaller maps emphasize tactical skirmishes, while bigger maps force players to do more long-term thinking. Elements like CO units/zones, local towers and veteran units will shift the game more towards tactics, and while that is not bad by any means, adding too many of them might remove interesting strategic aspects of the game. That being said, I think that CO units are easier to balance than the current COs that AWBW has, simply because their impact is overall smaller. Compared to having one good/unique unit, the abilities that even mid-tier COs on AWBW have are much more extreme.
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Postby DullPheonix » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:20 pm

You know, if I remember correctly, Narts already implemented zones, veterancy, and precise damage in later builds of AHC before moving on. There was also charging on offense and HP rather than defense and monetary worth.

If you are torn on whether to go one way or the other, why not make them toggable? Like CO and unit bans as well as weather settings or, at the logical conclusion, map choice. I realize you would have to make the features as such as opposed to already having them, even in part, from a previous engine and adjusting the parameters, but that may be one way to do it.

Speaking of which, what sort of modability will this engine have, if any? Will it be open source?
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Re: Competitive Advance Wars Modification (Online Capable)

Postby theether » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:22 am

headphone wrote:Have you considered making it so comtowers, instead of having a global boost, only affects a radius around it? or even as its own structure?

We haven't until now, but i like the idea.
It seems they would mostly be of use if they're near the fronts, making them a contested property most of the time.

Hellraider wrote:Elements like CO units/zones, local towers and veteran units will shift the game more towards tactics

What is your definition of strategy/tactics?
I always conceived tactics as steps towards the strategic goal (like HQ-Capture or killing all enemy units) whereas a tactical goal would be something smaller, like capturing a contested property or strengthen one front over another.
In my opinion more distinct opportunities for action would make both, strategy and tactics more interesting, not tactics alone.

DullPheonix wrote:If you are torn on whether to go one way or the other, why not make them toggable? Like CO and unit bans as well as weather settings or, at the logical conclusion, map choice.

If a vet system is to be included, I would definitely make it toggable.
The question we're discussing is, wether it's worth it, if it adds to the game

DullPheonix wrote:what sort of modability will this engine have, if any? Will it be open source?

It won't.
This is partly for security,
mostly because it would split the player base.
Also, i don't usually comment my code much, so few would actually understand, what is what (I know, this is a generally a bad idea, but i always forget to comment :? )
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