Warzone's power system

Discuss the future of Warzone 2100 with us.
Wisler
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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by Wisler » 02 Nov 2010, 23:20

Well ive being playing warzone ever since it was released more or less and always liked the power system, and didn't realize how much I liked it till it was gone.

I dont know why i dislike the new one, mabye its because some of the games ive played whilst using it have been buggy.

Also makes making economic decisions harder for me and totally disrupts my old playstyle that i have enjoyed for 11 years.

Id like the old one back :/
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effigy
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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by effigy » 02 Nov 2010, 23:39

Per wrote:Seriously, effigy? I thought you could do better than that.
Better than what? I've stated opinions and observations. Where did I fail?
First, power flow is what you have in < 2.3.5. You just have it in two stages.
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Yes, I think I understand this.
Maybe the original power flow system was somehow better than the new one, but I have been unable to see anyone explain why that is so.
IIRC there are examples in the posts above mine.

Your explanation on why power flow is better is that there is some form que, like we already have?
If you feel that somehow the new system is worse than what we had, then a careful analysis of the differences in production outcomes between the old and new systems is the way to move the discussion forward.
That's a good idea. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait for the master builds to stabilize.
This is why some features aren't implemented: http://forums.wz2100.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=7490&view=unread#p87241

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by WarTux » 03 Nov 2010, 05:23

Maybe I'm not fit to participate in this discussion but I feel the need to voice my opinion. I honestly prefer the current, two-stage power flow system, and not just because I'm used to it. While playing I have to spend my power on many things at once, and unless the game is dragged out REALLY long I always hit rock-bottom in cash. The two-stage system allows me to see how much power I have accumulated for each task, and I think it's better that the game waits until I have enough power rather than starting the task IMMEDIATELY, and progressing as power accumulates over time. I'd rather not have a direct debit system either, since a power flow system efficiently distributes power among each task.
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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by Per » 03 Nov 2010, 18:05

It just occurred to me that the old power system had one interesting feature that I may have missed.

In the above posts, people who have been against the new power system have argued against how it behaves in the case of power overallocation (you have zero power and start building more stuff). This is the argument that I have found bewildering and unacceptable, because in this case, the old and new power systems behave exactly the same. So you cannot argue that this makes the new system worse.

For those of us who have no problem playing with power flow, and are used to it from other games such as Supreme Commander and Total Annihilation, the change from old to new just meant that an unnecessary split into stages got removed. However, since in the old system the first stage (accrue stage) is far shorter than the last stage (build stage), if you just save up the amount you need first then wait until each accrue is finished before starting the next, you can play as if the old system were a direct debit system. If people have been doing this, and start using the new power system, things will indeed look very different, since the new system does not allow it.

In a sense then, the old system allowed you to play both power flow and direct debit (with a build queue), depending on how you did your spending, ie your play style. The new one only allows power flow style. So if this is what people feel are wrong about the new system, but are unable to put into words, then the new system may indeed be a mistake.

Actual direct debit (as in Starcraft, where you have no build queue) may still be more pedagogical in teaching people how to be frugal with their spending (as Black Project hinted at). I have certainly seen people become overenthusiastic about building stuff, and then sitting on their hands waiting for a few dozen build projects to inch slowly toward completion (while the enemy lay waste to their base). And not learn. But I am not sure that treating players as if they are in kindergarten is always the right approach either. It is not a good idea for all games to adopt the same rules, and we should not throw away the things that made Warzone special.

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by MagickPanda » 03 Nov 2010, 18:34

WZ's resource system s very similar to Total Annihilation's, xept the exact number of income/expense(as +[number] and -[number] text) doesn't show near power bar. Perhaps a similar income/expense number display will help players manage resource better.

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by effigy » 03 Nov 2010, 20:49

Per wrote:...
In a sense then, the old system allowed you to play both power flow and direct debit (with a build queue), depending on how you did your spending, ie your play style. The new one only allows power flow style. So if this is what people feel are wrong about the new system, but are unable to put into words, then the new system may indeed be a mistake.
:shock: Indeed. I'm sorry I couldn't say something similar. :oops:
It is not a good idea for all games to adopt the same rules, and we should not throw away the things that made Warzone special.
I wholeheartedly agree with this.
This is why some features aren't implemented: http://forums.wz2100.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=7490&view=unread#p87241

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by Rman Virgil » 03 Nov 2010, 22:55

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Clarification on Build Queueing: Was NOT part of the original retail game release. After several months of intense play by many in the early community on MPlayer, it was one of the more popular suggestions by players in the Official BBs and was added by Pumpkin in Patch v.1.04 before the summer of 1999.


effigy: Quick answer to your question on the "silent majority". I had access to server statistics for many years beginning with the original Pumpkin retail community in 1999 where I was also on MPlayer Admin Staff - and for years after wherein I also made public the raw data to the community along with my analysis. Also over those years I engaged and worked closely with both MP "Pros" and "Noobs" (terms which I didn't use, but thats how they're referred to these days.) Both these "Pros" and the "Noobs" made deep contributions towards keeping the game alive over the course of 5 years - as well both groups were part and parcel of the campaign to liberate the source finally in 2004. Unlike in RL were the "silent majority" can express there prefs every few years in the voting booth, in this domain they just go away, move on to other games, leaving behind a die-hard vocal minority. You really need access to server stats over the course of a goodly time to make these sorts of inferences. And yes, I am aware of Benjamin Disraeli's succinct assertion, made popular by Mark Twain: "There are three kinds of lies - lies, damn lies... and statistics !" ;)

I agree with you that the living future of a game is very much tied to MP. One of the core reasons WZ began to die off in droves in late1999 had more to do with its MP experience & culture than it did with Pumpkin's demise. A number of those MP issues have been addressed the last few years by this development team (and continue to be) and Zarel's contributions to that effort have been second to none.

The WZ MP issues break-out into 2 domains which I call "Game Play" and "Culture". I separate these domains for the sake of discussion but in reality they interlock intimately and clash in ways that are not as simple as we'd like to make them out to be.

I don't want to write a dissertation on this so hopefully in my brevity I'll be careful not to fall into a cognitive trap like the very common one called causefusion.

Since WZ MP was never designed to be an RTS Pro, competitive, E-sport Arena, it is best, I believe, to fortify its inherent middle course (casual, really) and allow for players ranging the spectrum from "Pro" to "Noob" (and all the various play styles in-between) to enjoy the game as suits them and the way to achieve that end is to create a robust framework wherein the like-minded can readily find each other to set-up and play. (Historical Side-Bar: A few years back Lav_Coyote & I put together a site called WZ Toys wherein, among many other things, we tried to address this very issue. Long story short - we ran out of resources adequate to the task.)

- Regards, Rman. :hmm:

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by Nick Morro » 04 Nov 2010, 16:13

Per wrote:[Edited "Nick Morro"'s obvious and insulting innuendo to something more constructive.]
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When I originally wrote that statement, I wrote it the way I did because I was replying to your own statement and trying to address you directly. I thank you for bringing to my attention that it could be interpreted insultingly, and I apologize for my original phrasing.
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Per wrote:However, since in the old system the first stage (accrue stage) is far shorter than the last stage (build stage), if you just save up the amount you need first then wait until each accrue is finished before starting the next, you can play as if the old system were a direct debit system. If people have been doing this, and start using the new power system, things will indeed look very different, since the new system does not allow it.

In a sense then, the old system allowed you to play both power flow and direct debit (with a build queue), depending on how you did your spending, ie your play style. The new one only allows power flow style. So if this is what people feel are wrong about the new system, but are unable to put into words, then the new system may indeed be a mistake.
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I can't help but notice that this point was first brought up in the third page of this thread:
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Zarel wrote:In fact: Even if you're out of power, as long as you only have one thing allocating at a time, [2.3] and direct debit power queue are the same.
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I do not wish to imply that you've done anything wrong (and I understand completely if you accidentally skipped a single sentence in this extremely long thread - I am sure that we have all made worse mistakes), but I am sincerely interested to know whether you did not notice, forgot about, or did not understand this post.
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Regards,
Nick :ninja:
Last edited by Nick Morro on 04 Nov 2010, 16:32, edited 1 time in total.
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effigy
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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by effigy » 04 Nov 2010, 16:22

Thanks Rman, I have an affinity for the histories of my interests. It'd be a natural reaction for me to prod for more details, but I digress. For the moment we appear to be keeping a special part of the game, and I think that's great. I'll leave this thing there. :D
This is why some features aren't implemented: http://forums.wz2100.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=7490&view=unread#p87241

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by Nick Morro » 04 Nov 2010, 18:26

Per wrote:If I were to design an e-sports RTS game, I would definitely choose a direct debit power system. However, Warzone is not that.
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I dislike this perceived dichotomy between "hardcore e-sports" games and "casual" games. It frustrates me, as it frustrates me to hear "StarCraft is a hardcore e-sports game, therefore it is not a good game for a casual player." While they do sometimes conflict, more of their goals are in alignment than many would think.
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A fundamental quality of any good e-sport is that it is easy to learn. You've heard the phrase "a minute to learn but a lifetime to master" - any good strategy game has this quality. If a strategy game were difficult to learn to play at even a basic level, it could never gather enough popularity to "take off".
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Another fundamental quality of any good e-sport is that it is simple. The more complex a game is, the more that game requires fast clicking and boring routine to manage all the different complex aspects of the game, rather than a simple game, where strategy matters more.
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  • aside: People often criticize StarCraft's micromanagement. And it's true, StarCraft does require micromanagement. But if you remove it, what do you have left? RTS games before StarCraft generally consisted of doing nothing but the boring routine of building a base, amassing an army, and moving your army to your enemy's base.
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    It's not micromanagement that's wrong, it's too much micromanagement to the point that it overwhelms strategy, which stems from too much complexity.
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    It is true, though, that the amount of micromanagement StarCraft requires tends towards the "too much" category. However, StarCraft II decreases the micromanagement requirement a fair amount, so I would encourage anyone who avoided the original StarCraft because it is too "twitchy" not to avoid its sequel for the same reason.
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As it turns out, these two qualities, "easy to learn" and "simple", are also things important to casual players. So the goals of a good e-sport and a good casual game are very much in alignment.
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This is why I don't understand why someone can say "direct debit is a good idea in an e-sport, but a bad idea in a casual game". Direct debit is simpler than power flow: If price is less than funds, you have enough, otherwise, you don't. Direct debit is easier to learn than power flow: You easily know exactly how much you have to spend, instead of being able to counterintuitively "spend more than what you have". These are all qualities important to a casual gamer.
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I've heard "realism" as an argument for power flow, but we do these kinds of abstractions in real life, too. We pay for bananas all at once, instead of paying a farmer wages hourly. This is because in real life, we usually have better things to worry about, so simplifying the payment situation, though less "realistic", is beneficial to everyone. So even in real life, we value simplicity over realism - why should a game adhere so closely to reality?
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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by Rman Virgil » 04 Nov 2010, 22:10

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I can relate to all your points Nick. They're compelling in the clear sense they make when I think of some of the E-Sport games I've been into over the years, starting with Virtua Fighter. I can see where WZ could evolve along the lines of the criteria you have ably expressed. However, I think it would take more than just a re-vamping of the power system to achieve those ends - lots more. But maybe that's just a fundamental bias on my part in that what interests me is tighter command control over multiple offensive combined arms groups from multiple vectors with variable but coordinated maneuver velocities. I really don't find speeding through a pre-defined optimal build order (as fast as nimble economic management allows) and rolling-out a monolithic swarm, over and over in its symmetric sameness, all that interesting. However, I will admit to the possibility I may be missing the boat entirely here. :hmm:

- Regards, RV :ninja:

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by rbt » 06 Nov 2010, 19:51

Per wrote:It just occurred to me that the old power system had one interesting feature that I may have missed.

In the above posts, people who have been against the new power system have argued against how it behaves in the case of power overallocation (you have zero power and start building more stuff). This is the argument that I have found bewildering and unacceptable, because in this case, the old and new power systems behave exactly the same. So you cannot argue that this makes the new system worse.
One possible solution for those who over-allocate building capacity (I do that occasionally) is to allow the user to mark a item as *important*. This marker, on a single item only, would give that project first dibs over available power to the detriment of other items being built.

This makes micro-managing very easy as instead of pausing or stopping a dozen actions across a number of factories/trucks, you instead mark the single item you want to be done soon as important.

An implementation of this might be a star on the upper left or right hand corner of the building image. Toggle the star on to make it happen faster in low power situations.

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by effigy » 16 Feb 2011, 19:27

*bump*

IIRC we were going back to the old power system, but each master release to date is still under the power flow method. Is reverting to the old power system still on the TODO list?

The more I play master the more I see alot of the negatives that have been mentioned. It really changes the feel of the game for me. It seems like for maybe the first 30 minutes or so of a game you can play as if you have 10 or more power gens, even though you only have 3. That's pretty ironic to me considering all the complaints about "unlimited oil maps" I see from old-timers.
This is why some features aren't implemented: http://forums.wz2100.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=7490&view=unread#p87241

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by Safety0ff » 16 Feb 2011, 19:48

effigy wrote:IIRC we were going back to the old power system, but each master release to date is still under the power flow method. Is reverting to the old power system still on the TODO list?
AFAIK it is, from what I've heard on IRC using the old code has pitfalls and so the old system needs to be re-implemented.

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Re: Warzone's power system

Post by Iluvalar » 16 Feb 2011, 19:55

while at it, introduce a "power spending" upgrade please.

Or... wait, can i do it ? I believe the change must touch structure.cpp, structure.h, function.txt and stats.cpp .
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