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OOA Special weapons?
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Northy



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just my $0.02: troops are trained to survive nuclear attack. They sense, NOT see the flash, shut their eyes, then hit the ground with their hands under them. (Personal NBC gear includes rubber gloves, so you don't want those fusing to your skin...) Anyway. Nuke goes off, positive shockwave goes overhead, negative shockwave goes overhead, then they get up and run for cover. Brush off radioactive particles, and start decontamination processes. So chances are that if troops were outside the effective blast radius of a tac-nuke (typical radius of 5 miles), and had training, they'd live.

I'm rambling. Sorry. Hang on, where's that thread... oh yeah! I like toast. And tactical nuclear weapons usually (inevitably?) cause an escalating response. That's why they're never used to begin with.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

good ideas
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Lazy Perfectionist



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't read through all the developer diaries. Just recently able to remember my username and password. So, I'm not entirely certain about the world and feel of the game. I have a feeling there is strategical and tactical levels, and factions. I don't know how much a factor diplomacy is going to be in this game. So a few brain fart ideas before I forget them.

Viable material for the warheads is in an extremely limited quantity on this planet. Therefore, in a nuclear arms race, territorial perogatives would shift. Without willing allies to provide the material or a place to extract it yourself... Therefore, counters to nukes are more plentiful, and opposing players can deny the material. Create a no-mans or demilitarized zone perhaps in an entire territory. Can't hold the mines- pack it with more land mines than Vietnam. Consider landmines also having a morale affect on populace, demining costs, other bad stuffs if there is an inhabited area nearby (political consequence?). For strategic level nuclear use, you would not only have to protect your supply, supply line, development facility, but you would have to organize a concerted effort to take out the enemy's anti-missile defense network through sabotoge or tactical strikes.

On a more tactical level, consider Dawn of War's critical points and relics. Meld the vulnerability of critical points with necessity of relics. You could easily design maps to allow or not nuclear proliferation. You'd know from the strategic level if your opponent has developed nuclear technology, and tactical, your intel couldn't miss knowing that a facility was being developed, even if you didn't have recon on its location, word would get out, kind of like Age of Empires & wonders.

Not from a factual basis, but personally I feel that the scale of tactical maps in most RTS is all wrong. A superweapon would affect pretty much everything. A superweapon should have a cost to the weilder. A nuke shouldn't just take out a couple of barracks. We're not talking standard cruise missiles here. I'd like to see something like this: Certain structures would have some level of shielding, perhaps underground bunkers, the headquarters, or pop-up turrets ala Total Annihilation. Players would have a short time to get a small portion of their troops under cover (maybe each player starts the map with a set amount of nuclear shelters). Everything unprotected at ground zero would get wiped, of course. But it would also hurt the wielder. Perhaps half damage to all troops still alive on the map. Or perhaps a poison affect, so that a defensive player's remaining troops will be healthier than infantry that trekked across the entire map. Perhaps needing expensive APCs to cover irradiated ground. A nuclear player could gain an advantage, but only their opponent gave up all initiative. Without APCs, nukes would merely level the playing field, not giving either player huge advantages, sort of a defensive measure. However, if one player did nothing but turtle, the other player could liesurely build the support forces to carry out an assault in a post-nuke environment. Make it an option of last resort defense easier (but not common, perhaps) than an option of first resort offense. But make it viable either way, with costs of course.

There are certainly many games with strategic level examples and ways to penalize, or give depth to the decision. Now, nukes would change strategic gameplay significantly once developed, even though very rare. Without nukes, there is no risk to using superior forces to completely overrun a smaller country. With nukes on both sides, you have to be careful exactly how closely you push the enemy. Also, factions would stay in the game longer to perhaps give future antagonization. If it is almost guaranteed that a player has a chance to retaliate against a nuclear strike, and the resulting weakness will make both sides involved weak against outside takeover, it would give a different flavor.

Perhaps a series of "black tech". Regular, fairly clean nukes would be a dangerous tool, but common in this century. Dirtier nukes, or bio weapons would have serious political and game consequences for mere possession of technology, let alone actually using it. Now, that focuses on human faction interaction. If some alien is focused on destroying all humanity and genocide, certain levels of weapons may find more favor. Ufo Aftermath had one 'false' ending midway through when you developed a certain tech. An interesting option for single-player, but less viable if there is multi. If complete defeat is looming over a single-player, it could be a more palatable alternative than ceding victory to the aliens over several days of playing. A pyrhic victory can have its own challenges, and can be an interesting option as to attempt at a last stand, as long as it isn't too easy and quick. Let the poor player's ego say, at least the aliens didn't wipe out all humanity. Obviously it wouldn't be as rewarding as a regular victory, but it can be interesting. A certain combination of relief and guilt even if the players aren't too attached to the characters.

For superweapons, my final opinion is that whatever happens, the cost must not be in just resources and times. Also, many RTS's use Supers as game enders. In today's world, super weapons lead to a more diplomatic game or stalemate. (That is, if George W. isn't in office). I can see supers being instrumental to victory, but I can't see them being them being tossed around like baseballs, the means and end.

Perhaps nukes are a fundamental part of the 23rd century and the landscape is riddled with shelters. Or perhaps one player starts developing nukes, and everybody but their closest ally joins in an opposing alliance to take them out OR disarm them. Some sort of agressive UN. Everybody opposed can more easily form temporary alliances and overwhelm the threat, or defeat their forces and cause a surrender with disarmament.

An odd idea. Many games end with taking over the world. There are alternatives, but what if the alternative was the main means of victory. Suppose their is some difficult military challenge. Complete military domination is extra tough due to risk of MADD, but instead they go for the MOO equivalent of fending off the other factions but somehow managing to seize Orion. (Xenarch capital?) Easier than world military domination, but not counter-productive. Two sides to the same coin, perhaps.

I've lost focus, so I'll see what actual information on the game I can dig up before...
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the idea of false endings if only that I haven't seen it done very often, but I wonder about its effect on the players sense of acheivement. A lot of people these days don't have that much time to spend on one title and I can imagine some people being a bit miffed at felling they have to start again.

Quick Battlescape recap - trying to go in a different direction gameplay wise so no building anything in game. Battles are supposed to play quickly 5-10mins (unlike the epic 4hr games I normally have Smile ). Strategic squad selections and tactical deployment decisions influence the outcome. Matches are points limited so that over time the player can amass a great variety in his army but cannot just defeat the AI using numerical advantage. I suppose in some ways this is a bit like magic the gathering (a card game), you collect and modify this huge army but you have to decide on the day exactly what to take and how to deploy it. Each match has different rules specifying how many and which unit types are allowed as well as the way reinforcements are handled (if at all). So it isn't just a case of working out a single optimal army, you have to be able pick and choose from your army to fit the changing battlefield (the initial rules set).

Anyway....

Some examples i'm thinking about, assuming the main game sees different factions of humans fighting each other for supremecy.


1. the player performs well with conventional weapons, allows enemy surrender when offered.

2. the player denies surrender and pushes an enemy to annihilation, the enemy tries to develop and deploy nukes or bio weapons.

3. the player "discovers" remnants of bio-tech or nuke-tech and has the option to pursue that line of weaponry.

4. the player or the AI start to lose and are offered "alien" assistance.


Endings:

Choose path1 and you get to the end with least casualties and all battlefields intact.

Choose path2 and you could still win, but higher casualties and more battelfields permanently poisoned. Perhaps you are heralded as a hero for putting down the "mad dog" state even though you pushed them to it.

Choose path3 and win, very high casualties, poisoned battlefields, hated by the populace.

Choose path4 and your alien friends could easily slip their leash once victory looks certain. Perhaps old enemies now need to become friends to defeat a new alien invader. Even if you win surely casualties will be very high and you will not be remembered by history kindly.
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Lazy Perfectionist



Joined: 31 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To expand on the concept of false endings. In UFO:AM, said ending was not forced upon the player. It was easily avoidable. I kind of liken it to a less entertaining version of Space Quest series charming unique death descriptions for the hundred of ways to die. Sometimes you'd die just to see what the programmers put in to celebrate your ignomious (sp?) and often humourous death.

There may be some spoilers for players of UFO: Aftermath. Fairly unlikely this late after the game's been out.

There are a few critical points in the game, that generally herald a extra significant change in the difficulty and tech tree available. The first is Area 51, and the second is the Russian Base. Around the time of the Russian Base mission, the game tends to get much more difficult. Your previously high rate of expansion leads to a high rate of alien development in weapons and so for. They hit back hard and fast. However, there's been heavier tolls to the aliens than they expected. They didn't expect an expanding opposition after their worldwide biological attack at the beginning of the game. The aliens are only slightly malevolent. Their original opinion of you was stupid chimps. Their casulties forced a grudging respect for human-kind. They only want to transform your planet into a living supercomputer and don't particulary care about wiping out mankind (we were in the way and couldn't be allowed to interfere). After all, they were outlaws who had to wrap things up before their own civilization caught on. So, they send you an encoded message. Research it and maybe some prerequisites, and they provide you with a choice.
The gist of it is, they'll evacuate your people off Earth , and find you a new planet to live if you let them have Earth. One reason I liked this option was the game was getting suddenly more challenging (alien rocket launchers, mind control, lions and tigers and bears, oh my!), and stressful. I could keep on going, but it was a way for me to restart the game without outright defeat and the complete extinction of humanity. It kind of gave an excuse to quit without really feeling like it was quitting. You had to work hard to get that option to leave the game. At least your first time around.

Onwards....
The recap makes it sound a bit like the RTS equivalent of Allied General, or Warhammer 40k: Rites of War and their army selection system. See SSI. I like the sound of that. Thanks for the clarification.

On your paths to ending, from a gameplay standpoint. Some interpretations. Its certainly possible to just stick to endings.
1). Surrender (interpretted as Tribute states, not complete ownership)
Pro: maximum useful territory. Tribute, tech, etc. Less
micromangement. Quantity and quality. No need to drag on the
inevitable defeat of your opponents.
Con: your control over land is firm, but not absolute.
Perhaps like Germany in WWI, they pay for the cost of the war, but
possible future difficulties. Or perhaps, a simpler surrender with some
small territorial concessions or American Revolution -> British allies.
May occasionally have to defend them from liberation by others.
2). Complete military conquest. Desperate attempts for black tech.
Pro: control is absolute within your domain. On a purely military scale,
have technological edge, more toys. What's left is yours to do with as
you will. Only occurs when you are pressing the advantage on the AI.
Con: Significant challenge if you choose not to develop black tech
your self. On the other hand, to present such a threat to the AI, you
would have to be in a dominant position with a significant advantage.
A great way of scaling difficulty during the game. If the player wants
more challenge, they stay 'good' and do not develop equivalent
weapons. If they just want victory, they start their own research to
keep the edge.
3). Perhaps one or two factions sticks with you, but great for people
who want to take on the world, low diplomacy, super weapons vs.
ridiculous numbers of opponents allied against you. The enemy may
be able to develop their equivalent technology, or your super
weapons may be enough to crush enough opposition first that strategic
victory is inevitable. Leads to a quicker strategic game. Brings on an
epic battle(s) that determines who is left with the power to conquer all.
Alternatively, M.A.D. situation develops if you don't use them, leaving
you free to focus on defeating the alien threat to near exclusion of all
else, if you so desire. You reap the reward of looting alien bases.
4). Oooh... where to start. So much to say, so little time to decide what
to say. I am reminded of X-Com and how countries not defended
would defect to the aliens. In the end, quiet is the better part of effort
There is so many worthwhile directions to take this, I'll opt for
minimalism until later contemplation or revelations of design.
After all, Mr. Robot is on the hurry now.
-Possibility for a radically different game- hybrid tech tree w/unique
alien equipment for tanks, etc. Wildly different goals.
-Two factions in Starscape, doesn't necessarily have to be an evil
choice. Stick with invaders for maximum ebil, toys. Help the good
guys for some minor allies, few unique units bit of tech, stay on good
side of other human factions. The friendly aliens help slow hostile
aliens. Since you are still on the side of humanity, certain techs
available only from human allies are still possible.
-All the aliens gotta die. You get a unique strategic location to launch
attacks from that no other human faction has. OR, you are seen as
sort of a champion. Propaganda machine makes human units less
expensive, more enthusiastic.
-Alternatly, if you join with evil aliens, certain quotas must be met.
Need so many captured troops for conversion into cybernetic army.
If you fail to capture instead of kill, the aliens will need some of your
cannon fodder as food. Or perhaps, since some humans are seen
as resources for recruitment into mad machine mix/slave race, the
evil alien player can no longer use any weapons of mass destruction.
No good conquering a slave/cattle race if there is no booty left.
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BloodWarLord



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

man, have u guys ever heard of paraphrasing.......damn, you type way too much
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icarus
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aggreyed
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Lazy Perfectionist



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2004 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oooh boy... I type to much. Hilarious. Look at my total posts, and Blood Warlords. Paraphrase, definetly, type to much, never. But seriously, if I typed any less, I'd disappear from the face of the internet.

My total posts from Aug. 31, 2003
4
[0.05% of total / 0.01 posts per day]

Your total posts from Oct 21, 2004
48
[0.60% of total / 1.37 posts per day]

I wonder if this gets my ppd up to two hundreths. According to the current rate, my next post should come in one hundred days.

Out of curiosity, how many WPM can you type?
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Darth Dallas



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2004 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its hard to paraphrase when your writing about ideas on a game. Believe me, I know Smile

Good post LP, I await your next one in another hundred days or so Very Happy

Geopolitics or even politics in general is a turn off to me i'll admit it. However, what I do find interesting are the results. The consequences of a choice a player makes in a game. So when considering WMD here, I like what's been said of late. I think if included at all, the context of the pursuit of them must be clear. I mean, I feel you couldn't really diminish too much the fun of using them, or for that matter, even navigating the consequences thereafter could also be equally as fun.

I like what you said about the Arachnids LP, the whole thing about if allied with them, and you used WMD, the Arachnids would see that as counterproductive to their end goals of domination and start feeding on their ex-friends for parts. They have a different take on extinction which isn't about destroying their resoucres, but absorbing them.

What's more, I like that it sorta makes that faction now have to grovel to the ones it had taken down several notches in order to take on this Frankenstien (stein?) they've unleashed on themselves.
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BloodWarLord



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazy Perfectionist wrote:
Out of curiosity, how many WPM can you type?


about 80

Lazy Perfectionist wrote:
if I typed any less, I'd disappear from the face of the internet.


meh...... would that really matter?

Lazy Perfectionist wrote:
Paraphrase, definetly, type to much, never.


of course u type too much..... i mean making complete sentences already too up too much space.... so /meh
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Fost
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Lazy Perfectionist - I found your post interesting Very Happy if you have a lot to say, then there's nothing wrong with a lot of text!

Conversely, it has been followed by even more text with very little to say, which I found quite uninteresting...
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Gravitron



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would not go onto cons, pros, suggestions, reviews and what not of strategy and incooperation of super weapons.
Instead, I would only say this:

Syndicate Wars
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jollyreaper



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Poo Bear"]
BluePhoenix wrote:
Some ideas:
1. Negatively effects (Weeble?) your own morale.
2. Permanently contaminates parts of specific battlefields (the assumption is the player will revisit the same battlefield a few times).
3. Excessive use makes a battlefield totally inaccessible.
4. Contaminated battlefields effect available unit choices.
5. As the player uses nukes the AI starts to use them too.
6. If it escalates beyond a certain point the game ends prematurely (even though you might have been winning) with a "nuclear winter" type scenario.
7. Once nukes start being used, more powerful versions come along to help with the escalation.
8. The area and power of contamination is unpredictable, you could end up doing more damage to your own troops.
9. Once pandoras box has been opened you will have to take one, if you don't the AI will and hten what will you do?
10. Nukes are the most powerful weapons available and can easily get you out of trouble if you're cornered or outnumbered. This is the one and only reason why they would be so attractive, why not just take one with you just in case, you don't have to use it, honest Twisted Evil

Sounds doable, but it's a lot of effort to implement something that would most likely result in a negative player experience. Still, a nice thought experiment anyway.


Already kind of done in Civ. Nuke use makes other players upset with you, use too many nukes you upset the environment and cause climate change, ocean levels can rise. In Alpha Centauri, your nukes could even reshape the geography of the planet.

What you're talking about here are consequences of strategic importance. Isn't Battlescape more of a tactical game?
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No reason the two should be exclusive, mixing play activity genres only becomes a problem if they are done in great detail requiring time and effort from someone who just wants to throw different units together and charge about. There are two ways of approaching this:

1. the game consists of multiple discreet activities developed to an equal level, the player can assign "advisors" to any or take control of all. I've seen this done in some of the more complex space empire strategy games.

2. the main game (creating and modding units and flinging them round the battlefield) is fully developed. There are secondary issues connected to the main game that the player is forced to consider but only at quite a shallow level of interaction. So we have the option to use nukes but after their use we might get a little message from an ally telling us how disappointed they are. Perhaps in the summary screen we see our standing amongst the main protagonists diminish. Eventually the world map might show certain areas have become permanently contaminated and if taken to an extreme this could lead to a total failure condition. So this part of the game only requires minimal player attention, but is important as in theory it could lead to total failure, but it elevates what felt like a basic battle game into something that has a world stage.
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