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What do YOU want to see the fleet management UI look like?

I want it like Homeworld.
Total votes: 14 (5%)
I DON'T want it like Homeworld.
(No votes)
I want complete control over EVERYTHING at all times.
Total votes: 6 (2%)
I want to be able to have complete control, but I want most of it hidden unless I really need it.
Total votes: 38 (14%)
I want to be able to issue a very broad command, and be able to rely on the AI to execute it the way I envision with minimal management on my part.
Total votes: 43 (16%)
I want to be able to manage my orientation so I can pull an Ender's Game in game (No designated ecliptic).
Total votes: 24 (9%)
I don't want to be lost and disoriented in space while playing, and would prefer to not have to take medicine in order to play without getting sick all over my keyboard (Designated ecliptic).
Total votes: 7 (3%)
I want to be able to pause time indefinitely to issue commands.
Total votes: 24 (9%)
I want to have some control over time, but I want it to be a limited resource to be used wisely in battle.
Total votes: 9 (3%)
This is real time, right? (No time control)
Total votes: 21 (8%)
I want to enter a separate UI for Fleet Command Utility.
Total votes: 21 (8%)
I want to be able to order people around, no matter what view I am in.
Total votes: 24 (9%)
I really am looking forward to playing LT like an RTS.
Total votes: 25 (9%)
RTS's are dumb, and I could care less about elements of them in LT.
Total votes: 5 (2%)
I may use Fleet Command stuff, but it wouldn't make or break my experience.
Total votes: 11 (4%)
Total votes: 272
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#16
Depends on how you define strategy I guess. In chess, "strategy" is you're plan for the entire game while "tactics" I'd about the next few turns, which can also be applied to an rts.
But I'm sure Flat already has an extensive post somewhere on this that has so many good points that is impossible to disagree with. ;)
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#17
Dinosawer wrote:I'm sure Flat already has an extensive post somewhere on this
Several. :lol:

It's something I've read and thought about a fair bit. But not out of sheer pedantry; that would be pointless.

I annoyingly distinguish between tactical and operational and strategic arts because you get different kinds of fun gameplay out of them. Muddling them -- as the very term "real-time strategy" does -- means you risk an entire style of gameplay going undeveloped. If you think you're making a strategy game (because that's the term given to a genre) when you're really only making a tactical game with some operational resource management, that's a missed opportunity to actually deliver fun strategic play.

And that makes my inner game designer grumpy.

But so what if I've eaten a library on this stuff? I think I make a reasonable case, but I'm just some random dude. If you disagree, disagree! :thumbup:
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#18
I've given the first one a quick reading and I think the only thing I disagree with is your definition of "strategy".
I would personally define strategy as any form of gameplay planning that encompasses an entire match, as opposed to tactics which encompasses a single skirmish.
For example in StarCraft, strategy would then be which build you use and how you react to your opponents build and map control and all that, while tactics would then be "he's attacking with Immortals so I need to pull back my tanks and let my marines handle this, and then I'll push forward".

This of course doesn't take away the fact that there are, as you say, entire layers of depth in RTS's and TBS and 4x that aren't being explored. In fact, I'd say that the entire RTS scene is a bit lacklustre at the moment.

Also game genre names are awful in general ;)
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#19
Recent strategy games haven't been all that great, I can agree there. The last okay time I had was mucking around in Endless Space. And you couldn't even really manage your ships in combat. :? Ah well, there is always brood war and HW to fall back on. :lol:

As for the definition of strategy and tactics, I am with Dinosawer here. That is pretty much how I define them at least. Strategy is overarching, whereas tactics are sort of miniature strategies you use in battle. You use a flanking tactic as part of your overall battle strategy, for example. It does get kind of murky though as to where the line is drawn between the two though, as everything could be thought of as a part of a larger strategy. I did have an interesting thought about ecliptics though, so I think I'll just throw that in, though it would probably fit better in suggestions. I think it offers a good compromise by letting people play with however much ecliptic control they want, without forcing you to use it, which I think fits well with LT in general. ;)

What if we had the solar ecliptic that was the default, and then you could define your own reference ecliptic on the fly using your ship, a landmark, or just basing an ecliptic off of the solar one. You rotate your ecliptic around a point, such as your center of mass, a planet, or whatever, and then define a position in space ala homeworld. You could send individual squads onto their own reference ecliptic, while another squad uses another. You could also lock the ecliptic to a ship's center of mass, so it could be used to keep in orientation with a squad leader or your own ship. I could see that also being useful for handling how the camera orients to looking at a fleet, in whatever fleet view we get. Just orient your camera to your new ecliptic and you are set, and able to redefine it at a moments notice, for whatever sized group you please. You define what is up, and what is down, just as you would in real life, while still providing an option to stick to a predefined ecliptic as to not force anybody to get queasy if they can't deal with or don't want the extra hassle. Not having any ecliptic to speak of could be enabled as a hardcore option. Just base movement commands off of a 3D graph (origin on player, some random player defined point away from the player's ship, or some other object), which you can pitch, roll, and yaw. Maintains intuitive commands while giving more control. A possible issue might arise from it becoming a disadvantage to not use at least the modifiable ecliptic the system, as I am sure the AI would have a field day getting angles on your ships that you can't get on them if you stick to the default ecliptic.
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#20
Hmm. I think I would say that those definitions are somewhat outside the most typical way that "strategy" is understood (by people who do it professionally, of whom I am not one).

I won't argue; as I said, friendly disagreement is valuable. I hope it's OK, though, if I try to summarize why I see strategy as a particular level of behavior, and thus as a very particular kind of gameplay.

For StarCraft (which I've played more than once and enjoyed, just so it's clear I'm not speaking from a position of mindless hate), I'd say that it's at best an operational-level game. You could, in an extremely loose way, say that a player might have a "strategy" going into a game. I wouldn't freak out about that. But if I'm doing careful analysis, what I think would be more accurate -- and, my goal, better for understanding game design -- would be to say that you're using tactics when you make a momentary decision to zerg an opposing unit or to move to a position from which your next attack can be more effective.

But decisions about how to approach one map are almost purely tactical, even if gathering resources is part of those decisions, because the space and time are so compressed that what's actually being measured is not how deeply you think (which is a strategic function), but how quickly you can think (to adapt to local problems and opportunities). And in an entire game of single-player StarCraft, the lack of the player's ability to choose the maps played means that it is, at best, a tactical-operational game. I would call it a full operational game if some resources carried over between maps, but they don't. So it's mostly an enjoyable series of tactical scenarios.

And there is nothing wrong with that! To say that that StarCraft is a tactical game or an operational game and not a strategic game (because you don't really get to make strategic decisions as described below) is in no way whatsoever a criticism of StarCraft. It's not putting down StarCraft or Blizzard; it's not an insult from which they need to be defended. It's an observation made for the purposes of understanding specific forms of play in a game design context that the kinds of things that are done when you're functioning at a strategic level simply aren't available to you when you play StarCraft.

You can't perceive slowly shifting patterns of massive force across a vast area; you can't command huge numbers of units across multiple fronts simultaneously; you can't develop and order the implementation of multi-operation engagements that take weeks or months of real time to process; and -- because all your decisions must be made in real time, you never have the time that is needed to think on any of those previous things deeply and (one hopes) effectively. A flanking maneuver spanning a small area over a very short span of time is simply a tactic to win an engagement. A sequence of engagements with logistical and possibly psychological support that cover a number of neighboring areas over a moderate span of time, and which are coordinated to achieve a specific form of dominance over those areas, is an operation. And a carefully designed combination of operational actions, utilizing a large number of multi-purpose force-applying groups over a culturally large front spanning weeks or months or even years in real time, and intended to be one of a small number of components of winning an entire war -- that's strategy.

When you say, "I have a strategy for X," what you're saying is that you've imagined or been given a vision of an entire large-scale new ordering of reality (sometimes called "grand strategy"), you have examined the space in which that vision is to be achieved to identify the controlling elements and perceive their changes and movements, and you have developed a plan intended to bring that vision into existence through successfully executing a small set of coordinated very high-level applications of substantial force.

That has virtually nothing to do with any tactical action. ;) And it definitely isn't the kind of thing any non-savant human can do in real time. Understanding what the changes on the Big Map mean, and designing large-scale movements of personnel and materiel that can effectively counter those changes to the advantage of your vision for how reality should be -- that requires time to think deeply and carefully, because if you're wrong it will be difficult if not impossible to adapt to the significant losses at a cultural level of strategic failure.

(One note on strategy in games: when I talk about "weeks or months or years in real time," that does not mean that's how long it must take in a game! That span of time can be compressed through abstraction, and through game mechanics like the "turn" that give the player enough time to think. That's why "turn-based strategy" is a reasonable genre term.)

I'm running long here, but I'm making an effort to explain why I try hard to use that word "strategic" with precision: if you just make tactical or operational play and call it "strategic," you miss the chance to make truly strategic gameplay. And I think that's a shame, because just as tactical and operational gameplay can be great fun, so can gameplay that really is strategic, that exercises not your quick thinking or logistical thinking, but your deep, pattern-perceiving thinking. We need games that offer that latter kind of fun, too... but making a game that doesn't, and calling it "strategic," doesn't help.

I hope this stuff helped, if anyone managed to plow through it all. Truly, it's not about beating up on a kind of gameplay that a lot of people enjoy. Why would I do that? It's about trying to insure that the folks who enjoy the deep-thinking kind of gameplay get what they enjoy, too.

And to bring it back to the actual subject, fleet command can live somewhere between operations and strategy. A fleet is probably going to carry out particular operations, broken up into tactical engagements through the individual units of the fleet. But several fleets, especially if they require specialized planning for logistical support over large areas and spans of time... hey, now we're talking strategy!

I can see fleet command as an RTS game (even if that "RTS" term makes me cringe a little inside :D). How that might work is worth discussing.

I'm just hoping that Limit Theory also has some provision for managing multiple fleets in a big-picture, whole-civilization kind of way, too... which might be worth discussing in another thread. ;)
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#21
gosh where do i start.

the most fun controlling armys i ever had was in mount and Blade Warband (with floris mods so much commands *droll*)

you could keep stuff simple and just let your troops follow you or let them just charge stupidly into the enemy.

But soon i discovered more complex things. Splitting troops into different groups, telling them to hold fire, ready shields, prepare for volleyfire, skirmish and more complex formations, density of the Battleline and combined with the possibility to give orders from the battlefield or from a tactical map made it near perfect (even if the ai is plain stupid).

For space combat i would want a few more orders like fall back if shield is <% or hull is <%. Also i would like to give a general order what weapon on my ships should attack which (type, size, hull?). In other words i want to give general orders to my ships which weapon to use on which target etc and order them around realtime ^^. (implementing a game pause and giving orders "rts" function shouldnt be that hard either.

(Warzone 2100 had a good commandsystem, Commanders got units directly assigned to them and an order given to the commander was given to its fellow vehicles, the commander was able to retreat with the hole group if its hp got low or send damaged vehicles back for repairs (and join the battle under his command again automatically), he could also be assigned as a target for finished ship productions.)

Fleet command is probably the most interesting late game point in every space game for me :angel: .
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#22
Thank you for that very interesting wall of text, Flat :lol:
I understand your point better now. I agree that it's a valuable distinction to make, just keep in mind that most people will have something different (and more vague) in mind when they speak about strategy. So explaining your tactics-operations-strategy definition is a good thing before saying rts isn't strategy. ;)

Also, you should make games. :thumbup:
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#23
Dinosawer wrote:Thank you for that very interesting wall of text, Flat :lol:
They usually are... I mean walls of text and interesting. :angel:
Dinosawer wrote:Also, you should make games. :thumbup:
I've told him that, Dinosawer. I think he lacks the confidence although heaven knows why. His reply (probably contained in another wall of text) will be that he is a game theorist and lacks the necessary skills to accomplish such an undertaking. I just wish someone would hire him so that we could see a new game like the original System Shock or perhaps his own take on an open world RPG. :P
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#24
HappyGhecko wrote: (Warzone 2100 had a good commandsystem, Commanders got units directly assigned to them and an order given to the commander was given to its fellow vehicles, the commander was able to retreat with the hole group if its hp got low or send damaged vehicles back for repairs (and join the battle under his command again automatically), he could also be assigned as a target for finished ship productions.)
yeah, that would be really useful in LT too

the commander could be the one who you give more general oders to. (like fortify this system and such)
and the commander then uses his allocated resources to fulfil his goal.

a nested structure could then be used for command hierarchies.

your supreme commander has a couple of fleets under his command, and every fleet has its own fleet commander and in the fleet every task group has its own group commander.

giving the player different levels of command abstractions

this would make
Flatfingers wrote:pipelines
:angel:
allocation a bit easier, as you have now defined groups of ships,
dont send the material specifically to the supply ship, send it to the group and the group allocates its resouces itself.
(from the sum of all needed/produced resources)
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#25
Victor Tombs wrote:I've told him that, Dinosawer. I think he lacks the confidence although heaven knows why. His reply (probably contained in another wall of text) will be that he is a game theorist and lacks the necessary skills to accomplish such an undertaking. I just wish someone would hire him so that we could see a new game like the original System Shock or perhaps his own take on an open world RPG. :P
I do have a project that I'd need someone with Flatfingers' imagination and level of analysis for - but it'll be quite a few years before I actually get to working on it.

Well, either a few years or a few tens of thousands in my bank, one of the two. :mrgreen:
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#26
DigitalDuck wrote:I do have a project that I'd need someone with Flatfingers' imagination and level of analysis for - but it'll be quite a few years before I actually get to working on it.

Well, either a few years or a few tens of thousands in my bank, one of the two. :mrgreen:
I'm hoping Flat is giving Gavan any assistance he may require to make Voxel Quest the success it deserves to be, DigitalDuck. ;) He's always been an asset for the Limit Theory project and I'm sure he wouldn't mind giving you some general advice which would be useful for your project. Flat is stuffed to the gunnels with ideas on gaming. Anything more than general stuff would probably need to be a contractual arrangement. :angel:

I hope I get to see your project one day. You could always try KS. It worked out well for Josh. :D
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#27
Victor Tombs wrote:Anything more than general stuff would probably need to be a contractual arrangement. :angel:

I hope I get to see your project one day. You could always try KS. It worked out well for Josh. :D
I'll need to hire a(nother) designer of some kind for that anyway, so it probably would. Not now, though.

You'll get to see lots of crappy projects in the meantime, don't worry. :mrgreen:
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#28
Victor Tombs wrote:
DigitalDuck wrote:I do have a project that I'd need someone with Flatfingers' imagination and level of analysis for - but it'll be quite a few years before I actually get to working on it.

Well, either a few years or a few tens of thousands in my bank, one of the two. :mrgreen:
I'm hoping Flat is giving Gavan any assistance he may require to make Voxel Quest the success it deserves to be, DigitalDuck. ;) He's always been an asset for the Limit Theory project and I'm sure he wouldn't mind giving you some general advice which would be useful for your project. Flat is stuffed to the gunnels with ideas on gaming. Anything more than general stuff would probably need to be a contractual arrangement. :angel:

I hope I get to see your project one day. You could always try KS. It worked out well for Josh. :D
We actually discussed that in the weekly dev meeting last night. Specifically, we were going to ask about what might make the game exciting/fun and keep it interesting for the long-term, and it was mentioned that Flatfingers in particular would probably have a field day with it. :P
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#29
Talvieno wrote:We actually discussed that in the weekly dev meeting last night. Specifically, we were going to ask about what might make the game exciting/fun and keep it interesting for the long-term, and it was mentioned that Flatfingers in particular would probably have a field day with it. :P
That sounds like an intelligent approach, Talvieno. :thumbup: I'm sure Flat could come up with a few pages of ideas. :D
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Re: Fleet command, do you read?

#30
That's why I've been politely nagging Gavan & Pain & Co. for a written v2.0 design doc. :D

I can fling out ideas as the day is long, but that's inefficient in the extreme if those ideas don't advance Gavan's overall vision for Voxel Quest. A design doc that includes a high-level "this is what you'll experience when you play this game" statement is the guidance that allows people who aren't Gavan to suggest mechanics and dynamics and aesthetics that fit together efficiently to create that particular game and no other.

(That's not to exclude iteration on implemented ideas. Sometimes things sound better on paper than as actual gameplay. But you need a starting point.)

Anyway, thanks for the nice words, but let's get back to Fleet Command concepts. I'd think there might be some new ideas we might have after Josh's devlog today in which he specifically talked about fleets in LT.

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