Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future ?

Ideas and suggestions for how to improve the Warzone 2100 base game only. Ideas for mods go in Mapping/Modding instead. Read sticky posts first!
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by dak180 » 15 Mar 2012, 14:39

Rman Virgil wrote:It was during one of those discussions that the inspiration for Commanders and their relationship to the player came out.

The character of Ender Wiggins from Orson Scott Card's first novel in the Ender series called "Ender's Game". If any one is interested in getting into more details about this influence, go right ahead and initiate it. We'll follow. It is a rich vein of insight into Commanders visionary design origins.
That gives me an interesting idea for an interface for commander programs; instead of trying to make it something customizable in game have a number of predefined, named, variants using the names of Ender's commanders.

Something tells me that I would be using Hot Soup and Bean. :D
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Emdek » 15 Mar 2012, 14:45

Hehe, maybe that could be good idea indeed, but I would need to get to know that "source" first to fully get it. ;-)
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 15 Mar 2012, 15:53

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In reading your guys posts I was struck by a common thread that harks back to WZ Creator's community atmosphere and energy as well could account, in part, for the games longevity & promising future. To wit - WZ 2100 as a sandbox for gaming creativity. This was also something I had hoped Will Wright's "Spore" would be but... well that's another story.

Another common thread is the ability to more readily make UIs and their linkage to the JS API.

@ dak180: I have no doubt that would be hella popular and also tap into the huge Ender following. Which also raises another thought. Orson has been close, supportive & open to his fan community for well over a decade now. He's a really cool guy. When the time was appropriate I would be willing to get in touch with him to solicite his blessing on your idea. :)

- Regards, RV. :hmm:
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Iluvalar » 15 Mar 2012, 17:59

Ideal life of a commander According to Iluvalar :

Level 1 (4/6 units) : The commander is subobtimal. Close to useless. It have a very expensive price for the small amount it gives to you. At least, that very expensive price make it worthy as a ~wall~ . Since it is not efficient, nobody spend ammo on that.

Level 2 (5/8 units) : It is still inefficient.

Level 3 (6/10 units) : Now you got a fair deal for your money. The bonus it gives to your units worth the price you paid. At least you are economically ok... The enemy generally prefer the "reduce" tactic. IE. Shooting the small units first and then deal with the commander because of mass effect. thx to the high price of the turret.

Level 4 (7/12 units) Now you have something ! You finally recover the time wasted at researching and planification. The commander is useful for macromanagement. However, the enemy knows it and he now try to kill the commander first. You will need to make extra efforts if you want him to survive any longer...

Level 5 (14/14 units) It became unbearable on the front line... Not only the enemy target your commander in micromanagement, but now he also do it on macro scale. Hunting him around the map. You have no choice but to retreat your commander in some defensive position to keep him alive. He now play the same role that a defensive fort. He keep a frontier close to a repair factory. The fact that he now regrouped with his units make him strong enough for the new role.

Level 6 (16/16 units) You had many of such commanders that survived... you covered more ground than the opponent with such defensive beast. If he still alive, the commanders can make the final assault all together.

final tough
I believe that mostly, the reason why the commanders are unused is because they are balance for level 6, from a single player experience. The ai dont target the commander, it doesn't try to hunt it... so of course, it become very useful near the end...

But for MP games, we need to balance it for level 3-4. Not over...
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Shadow Wolf TJC » 15 Mar 2012, 18:54

@Iluvalar: I'd personally like to eliminate unit-assignment restrictions altogether, though I'd be willing, as a compromise, to increase unit-assignment capacity by 4, so that a single commander, fresh from the factory, could have 10 direct-fire units under its direct control.
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by iap » 15 Mar 2012, 19:37

I like the commander :)

Some things that must be fixed, because they are bugs, and not just bad features (These are mentioned before):
* Artillery get suddenly unassigned, or not responsive or not going to repair when needed
* Trucks that go to repair and get stuck with trucks that return from repair, although they have PLENTY of room to avoid each other. (This happened to me not only with commanders)
* Assigned repair droids that don't know what to repair, and just rush forward to the enemy line (The commander first, then the others)


Things that I like are surprisingly things that others didn't like:
* commander have a big limit on the number of units to start with, but then get power and can have more units. While the artillery assigned has no limits.
* commanders are much stronger and give bonuses to other units
* Commanders loose their experience when die

Features that will make me smile:
* The ability to recycle and upgrade a commander exclusively, meaning that even if other droids are being manufactured, his experience will be preserved to the next commander, and not go to a one lucky lancer cyborg bastard
* The ability when retreating that the artillery that is far behind the commander will not wait until the commander pass it, but start retreating immediately

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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by aubergine » 15 Mar 2012, 20:08

@iap - maybe a setting on the CRC to determine what happens to recycled experience - by default it would go to next unit produced, but user can select different mode where all recycled experience goes to next commander to be built.

I think there are loads of ideas around commanders, but realistically I think the whole game needs to be way more scriptable (in something super-accessible like JS) so that many things can be played with to see what works and what doesn't.

Note to self: Must spend more time working on the mutator project!
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 15 Mar 2012, 21:29

aubergine wrote:........

I think there are loads of ideas around commanders, but realistically I think the whole game needs to be way more scriptable (in something super-accessible like JS) so that many things can be played with to see what works and what doesn't.

Note to self: Must spend more time working on the mutator project!
Yes. On all counts. Prototype testing efficiently & externalizing as much as viable to scripts.

That is exactly how the Torque Engine / Torque Script have been working for many years. We actually got into all this for months in 2004 after we were told the source would finally be liberated and while we waited for that to happen, this was what we concluded the best way to go - no doubt influenced by Garage Games strategy.

All that said.... I still think there are a set of changes that can be made now (or in the near term) to make Commanders more of a fun, victory promoting asset in MP than than they have been heretofore. This would also be a useful criteria for organising the change proposals, I'm thinking. I can already see worthwhile changes identified whose viability in MP can be tested straight ahead because they are relatively uncomplicated to implement and could very well provide the biggest bang for the buck upfront.

- RV :hmm:
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Last edited by Rman Virgil on 16 Mar 2012, 08:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Mirefrost00 » 16 Mar 2012, 00:17

If the Forum will permit, I would like to transfer to this thread a post I made some time ago, regarding this very topic. I have, since first playing this game in its retail incarnation, and off and on over the years since as a liberated game, been quite fond of the Commander system in WZ. I agree with all who say that there is still room, still *need* for them to be further refined. As that was the original intent of the game creators, so much the better!

Understand that I am by no means an elite veteran of MP, but believe that I have a bright vision of what the Commander unit could be, as provided by a different entity of science fiction literature: the Bolo, as first written by Keith Laumer, and since extrapolated by many different authors since.

The post follows:
Re: Commander things

by Mirefrost00 » 10 Aug 2010, 18:42
Earlier in this thread, someone mentioned this concept as a negative outcome of advancing the Command Turret's abilities, but I really think it would be cool!

Perhaps there could be a fifth generation Command Turret, implementing a rudimentary AI/psychotronic brain like Bolos possess. This would allow the Commander unit some degree of autonomy in target selection, roaming the map, and possibly other areas.

Rarely do I ever leave my Commanders in Pursue mode, and that seems the most appropriate mode for granting a Commander autonomy. If possible, there could be an extra menu window that opens upon selecting that mode, giving a few basic options to guide the Commander's target selection, such as "Oil Derricks", "Factories", "Assault Intercept", "Counter Battery" when assigned a Counter Battery Sensor unit, any other ideas an ambitious developer came up with. An interesting idea would be "Scout the Map", wherein the Commander dispatches two or three units groups to random pathable map locations, like AI Players seem to do automatically.

Adding still further, the Commander could actively designate Repair targets for assigned Repair units, rather than having them loiter about itself uselessly during an engagement. Perhaps instead damaged-retreating units might stop at the Commander and the Repair units, instead of a distant Repair Facility.

This last bit borders on horrendous bloat, I suppose , but imagine now assigning a truck or two to such a Commander. When set to "Oil Derricks", the Commander might stick around after destroying an enemy resource outpost, automatically commanding trucks assigned to it to build a new oil derrick as soon as the fire is out, construct a wall around it, and establish a few defensive structures, much like the AI Players currently do.

Essentially, this would be akin to assigning such a Commander to an invisible AI Player upon selection of Pursue mode, but with the ability to still select/control and override/assign units to it. I can imagine that this idea certainly wouldn't be accepted by everyone, hence why tying it to Movement Order Pursue would be best. To [somewhat] further balance what would have to be an outrageous price tag on any Command Turret V unit, you might still further upgrade the armor, or take a page from the Bolos and stick a Hellbore in the weapon slot. :)
These ideas may be somewhat limited in comparison with what you're driving at, Rman, but they could at least provide several steps in the right direction. Thanks for your time, folks! Hopefully, my words may be useful.
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 16 Mar 2012, 00:22

Rman Virgil wrote:...

All that said.... I still think there are a set of changes that can be made now (or in the near term) to make Commanders more of a fun, victory promoting asset in MP than than they have been heretofore. This would also be a useful criteria for organising the change proposals, I'm thinking. I can already see worthwhile changes identified whose viability in MP can be tested straight ahead because they are relatively uncomplicated to implement and could very well provide the biggest bang for the buck upfront.
-
To follow-up on that thought. 2 concise list slots divied-up as follows.

1st concise list slot...

Shorter-term to Dev Commander Improvements:

* Combat Mechanics

* Experience & Rank Boon Mechanics linked to Commanders.


2nd concise list slot...

Longer-term to Dev Commander Improvements:

* Combat Mechanics

* Experience & Rank Boon Mechanics linked to Commanders.

* Command UI changes

============>

I put out 2 questions to you all.

1.) Does this way of appoaching & organizing proposed changes make sense?

2.) If yes, where specifically are each of the proposed changes so far to be assigned - Slot 1 or Slot 2? (Naturally the criteria would also apply to any forthcoming proposals.)

What say you, WZ Think Tankers? ;)

- RV :hmm:

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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Mirefrost00 » 16 Mar 2012, 00:30

*SNIP*

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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by aubergine » 16 Mar 2012, 00:36

@Mirefrost00: That bit about oil derricks sounds very much like what I want my EggPlant AI to do - in that some troops would be sent to destroy enemy derrick, then protect the trucks it sends while building takes place to build and fortify and new derrick.

I too feel that commanders (and the CRC) should be able to run mini-AI scripts. Furthermore, I think that upgrade should expose more of the JS API over time, so that you can write a script that checks what's available in the API and does the best it can with what it has at the time. When more of the API gets exposed, it switches to using different functions (very easy to do with JS) that give it more competent abilities.

Unlike Bolos, I wouldn't want commanders to get to the point where they could take over entire planets on their own - that would make the game boring (despite at first seeming really awesome feature).

I'd ideally like to see more interaction between HQ and CRC. IMHO the HQ should act as a strategic hub, detecting what's on radar and identifying threats and key goals (like "need more power, get me another derrick") and the CRC should be responsible for designating targets and issuing orders to commanders. The commanders would then be in charge of tactical manoeuvres to achieve various tasks. This would make HQ, CRC and commanders, and their respective upgrades, incredibly important in the game.

All the time, the player would be responsible for setting the overall agenda and diving in to micro manage units where necessary - for example, player should be able to select a unit that's assigned to a commander, and when the unit is selected the commander knows that the human has taken control over it and temporarily relinquishes control of the unit over to the human so human can micromanage, etc. Thus, the human can augment the AI in the commander!

Furthermore, I think commander units should not be called commanders, because the human is THE commander, or put another way, the human is Ender. It would be much better to call commander droids "Bolos" or something like that - and in doing so possibly attract interest from people fond of Bolos (you could even give Bolos names like in the books).
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by iap » 16 Mar 2012, 00:49

You have forgotten to mention that fixing the two major bugs about pathfinding and u its get unassigned.
After this, all the rest is abonus, as far as I see it.

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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 16 Mar 2012, 00:57

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@ Mirefrost00: I'm glad you re-posted here. I missed it the first go around and I didn't see it till after I made my last post. aubergine's feedback is spot on. I can think of nothing more to add at this time.

In truth, my mind is directed now at understanding the proposals so far presented in Short or Longer Term feasibility action catagories to bring this effort into practical focus. What can be done in the immediate future and what is further out because it is more complex to implement and more dependent on the maturation of the JS API ecology / UI Widget schema...

- Regards, RV :hmm:
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 16 Mar 2012, 01:02

iap wrote:You have forgotten to mention that fixing the two major bugs about pathfinding and u its get unassigned.
After this, all the rest is abonus, as far as I see it.
I'm pretty sure it's in the historical reference links at the top of the thread which I have not transfered over yet. We are still at the very begining of compiling the short & longer term action lists. Your point is well taken and won't be lost in the shuffle. :)

- RV :hmm:
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