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 Giani » 05 Apr 2012, 00:34

What is this thread about? I dont have time to read all of it :/
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 05 Apr 2012, 01:28

Giani wrote:What is this thread about? I dont have time to read all of it :/
The use of Commanders in MP.

Starting from their original conception in 1997-98.

The shortcomings of their retail release state in 1999, where they have remained through 2012 - completely worthless in any winning MP strategy.

Ways to change that. Make Commander use in MP part of any number of winning strategies that open up the game to many more fun combat tactics that are not possible now.

All this done through mods and thus leaving the 1999 unfinished and crippled Commander game state intact for those who are committed to their continued absence from proficient MP gaming. ;)

I trust that answers your question clear enough in brief. If not, let me know. :3

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

Post by Giani » 05 Apr 2012, 02:02

Rman Virgil wrote:
Giani wrote:What is this thread about? I dont have time to read all of it :/
The use of Commanders in MP.

Starting from their original conception in 1997-98.

The shortcomings of their retail release state in 1999, where they have remained through 2012 - completely worthless in any winning MP strategy.

Ways to change that. Make Commander use in MP part of any number of winning strategies that open up the game to many more fun combat tactics that are not possible now.

All this done through mods and thus leaving the 1999 unfinished and crippled Commander game state intact for those who are committed to their continued absence from proficient MP gaming. ;)

I trust that answers your question clear enough in brief. If not, let me know. :3

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Ok, thanks :)
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 05 Apr 2012, 02:30

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All right then. It is worth reprising current work in progress.

The following Mods are in need of MP testing and feedback ~

Experimental Implementations:


~ Shadow Wolf TJC's *2 Commander Types Mod WIP* - 4/4/12

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9196&p=99927#p99927


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


~ Version 2 of Iluvalar's Mod Released (3/31/12)

~ Iluvalar's *Commander Mod WIP* - Need Data - (3/23/12)

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9196


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

Post by Rman Virgil » 06 Apr 2012, 00:48

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~ Version 2 of Shadow Wolf TJC's Mod WIP Released - 4/5/12

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9196&p=99927#p99927

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

Post by Rman Virgil » 06 Apr 2012, 08:08

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In the revived discussion Confusion - Units are Manned or Unmanned? my last post has a direct bearing on this topic so I reproduce it here in the spirit of aggregation.

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

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Iluvalar wrote:Cyborgs are biological and mechanical mix. It's the definition of cyborgs itself. So unless someone want to argue that it is a cat inside, I will guess that there is some human parts inside.
Emdek wrote:Yes, but campaign videos also says about immersion tanks, for what those are used then?
Here's the fictional trope definition and origin of the word "droid".

Pay close attention to the last half (& last sentence in particular) which speaks to the question you raise & which I answered in my last post but will reproduce in sequence here so the storytelling logic is clearer along with the derived GPMs.

Droids are robotic machines, as found in Star Wars films, books and television series. Mostly created for Star Wars by Special Effects worker John Stears, the term is a clipped form of android.[1] The word"droid" is a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. [2][3][4] Droids (sometimes also 'droids, short for androids), were robots: mechanical beings, often possessing artificial intelligence. They were used in a variety of roles and environments, often those considered too menial or too dangerous for humans and other species.

Droids were also used in fields that required extensive specialization and knowledge, such as medical droids and astromech droids. Depending on the model and its corresponding purpose, droids were totally obedient, rugged, expendable, capable of vast memory recall, and mathematically precise.

These characteristics made them well suited for many jobs, though the lack of independent thought in the cheaper, less advanced models limited their capability. This lack of autonomy was simultaneously a vast asset and a glaring weakness—an asset in terms of obedience and control but a massive drawback in terms of effectiveness.

Designers faced a fundamental paradox—make the droids overly intelligent, and they might rebel; yet make the droids not intelligent enough and they would be ineffectual.
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Source: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droid_(robot)

Pumpkin's narrative SOLUTION to that last statement was inspired by Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" SciFi novel and explains the fictional rationale behind the Campaign & comic book immersion tank sequence.... and this in turn brings us us back to my last post.
Emdek wrote:Rman Virgil, personally I think that this should be decided once for all. ;-)

As in case of only one type of units being controlled remotely (exclusively tanks / VTOLs or exclusively cyborgs) then separate experience preserving rules could be applied (why destroyed units should loose all experience if their operators are still alive?), at least in theory (as there could be complications, like what to do when cyborg factory gets destroyed?).
Rman wrote:I agree with your interpretation because it is consistent with "Ender's Game" - but I don't know how that can be decided once and for all...

Plus....here's a fly in the ointment.

Where are the bodies that are remotely controlling armor & Vtols?

Logically HQ fits the bill (Commander bodies in the CC). But if that is the case then the GPM that follows logically would be that if your HQ is destroyed your army (except for Borg, possibly) is dead in the water, kinda like killing the King in Chess. Can you imagine the uproar over that GPM by MPers?

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Following this story logic, and translating it into GPMs, unit experience should NOT be lost upon the unit's destruction because it belongs to the remote human operator in the HQ or CRC and therefore should only be lost with the destruction of those structures. This would make for a richer, deeper, more immersive, gaming experience, IMHO.

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

Post by Rman Virgil » 08 Apr 2012, 18:54

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Where are we at with real Commander MP Enhancements...?

The heuristic of parsimony was exercised at the outset to determine what could be the simplist changes made to Commanders to enable them as a viable, balanced, option in MP Mode such that they could be part of any number of new winning strategies that opened up the game to greater variety and fun gameplay which was also unique to WZ in the RTS genre.

Rather quickly, thanks to Iluvalar and Shadow Wolf TJC, we have 3 such mods that fit that heuristic of parsimony which can also be expressed in the vernacular as the biggest bang for the buck - right here and now, with not an iota of pie-in-the-sky brainstorming jibber jabber (granted such brainstorming is fun but it is only useful to the extent that it translates into pursuing certain actions and determining others best set aside for the time being and abiding an evidence based protocol along the way).

The 3 of us have gone as far we can with single-handed testing.

What is needed now is MP testing & reporting to tweek the mods. The more the better. But, at the minimum, we need 2 individuals that can find a grand total of 1 hour (out of the 168 in a week) to go head to head, on-line or LAN, & provide a brief report of their experience.

For my part I have reached out side of this community for assistance in this MP testing (as I have had to many times over the last 6 years with my own experimental WZ work). My playing buds have agreed to schedule it but it won't make it into next weekends get together and will have to wait till the following gathering which looks to be some 6 weeks out. I wish we could have attended to these mods this coming weekend but we already have a full plate of testing. Many of these folk are local pro indie game devs and so the latest iterations of their efforts are the priority coming up.

So... this is where it's at, pretty much a standstill as of this moment... at least as far as I can see from the absence of any postings stating otherwise.

Having completed my assessment of all Commander proposals offered over the last 13 years (talk about time consuming), it only gets more complex and demanding development-wise, let alone including the testing component. Therefore if we cannot progress from these 3 simple mods then there is no point in investing anymore time and energy into this effort.

There it is in clear, straightforward, & blunt terms.

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Last edited by Rman Virgil on 08 Apr 2012, 21:13, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by vexed » 08 Apr 2012, 21:09

Pardon the interruption, but I don't really have time to read all of these topics, and I was just curious on how are all of you actually testing anyway ?
Are you doing mainly skirmish games with 1 AI ?

If that is the case, did anyone modify the AI to take advantage of the changes ?
/facepalm ...Grinch stole Warzone🙈🙉🙊 contra principia negantem non est disputandum
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 08 Apr 2012, 21:54

vexed wrote:Pardon the interruption, but I don't really have time to read all of these topics, and I was just curious on how are all of you actually testing anyway ?
Are you doing mainly skirmish games with 1 AI ?

If that is the case, did anyone modify the AI to take advantage of the changes ?
I'll let Iluvalar and Shadow Wolf TJC speak to their testing protocols.

Speaking for myself alone, the answer is as best I could I put up the mods vs AI that duped some basic linear winning MP strats & tacs in a fashion that still cannot capture good players overall dynamic flexibility, improv & creativity.

So it really only served, as far as I'm concerned, to make a tentative judgement - the mods are on viable paths. What is truly needed is human players playing against each other to continue to refine the modifications which are intended for MP gameplay and not really for SP vs Bots.....(though there is no reason that that effort cannot be pursued as worthy - it's just not our primary goal.)

Ideally we need one player using the mods and the other using proven winning strat-tacs that do NOT USE the modified commanders.

Modifying the AI to use the commander mods is not gonna help us here, IMHO.

Could be I'm missing something essential here and if that's the case then there many good WZ minds out there that will point it out, I am certain.

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Re: Commander Dev Continues - Still No MP Testing Support

Post by Rman Virgil » 07 May 2012, 15:21

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Shadow Wolf TJC continues to work on Commander improvements.

You can dl and check out his latest work here:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9196&start=30

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Re: Commander Dev Continues - Still No MP Testing Support

Post by Giani » 04 Jul 2012, 02:00

I can't host, but I would test commanders...
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Re: Commander Dev Continues - Still No MP Testing Support

Post by Stratadrake » 04 Jul 2012, 06:32

Going to contribute my personal thoughts to this ....
  • GOOD: Commanders have their own hotkeys -- alt+# instantly selects a commander for issuing orders with. It's unfortunate you don't get a "Commander # Reporting" like you do with numbered groups, but it still effectively gives you an extra five groups of combat units at the click of a key.
  • GOOD: Commander bonuses beyond merely being a group leader and artillery/VTOL strike sensor. The ability to act as factory delivery points means you don't have to manually restock the group. You can even set a factory on unlimited production for a particular kind of unit, and your commander group will get automatic replacements as they come off the assembly line. Hoping, of course, that the factory is close to the commander.
  • BAD: Using commanders as VTOL Strike turrets. There's really not much point here - in my experience I never actually found use for the mobile VTOL Strike sensor. If you want your VTOLs to attack something you can simply access their group number and click the target, right? VTOL's are not affected by line-of-sight checks, and you don't have to keep one unit out in the open solely to paint the target. As a mobile unit goes, even regular artillery sensors are more effective than VTOL Strike.
  • VERY BAD: Commanders are a really obvious target in combat, any and every savvy player will target them first to eliminate their group experience bonuses (experience providing accuracy/evasion/speed/defense buffs). Why is it so easy to just pick off the enemy commander? You can't just charge up to a wall of hardpoints and start picking off whatever soft internals (factories, etc.) of the enemy base are lying behind them, right? Yet you can (and do) do EXACTLY this thing when facing an enemy commander group on the field. A commander leads his units - his units should return the favor be a shield. The rule could be simple - if unit A is trying to attack a commander but enemy unit B is currently in the line of fire, the attack is directed at B instead of the commander.
  • POTENTIALLY GOOD: In light of the above, who says that command turrets have to fire some puny laser designator? Back in the old days I customized commander turrets with several different weapons - I had one that fired Lancer AT rockets (command turret base + Lancer twin muzzles), and then I made one that looked and functioned exactly like a Heavy Cannon. Now there was one really small visual difference between the actual Heavy Cannon and the commander version, in that the turret used the Gauss mount instead of the Cannon mount, but just try to spot that in the heat of battle! I also tinkered around with an EMP commander -- complete with all of the horrifying connotations that ensue once you realize that if you rapidly switch targets, you can disable large groups of enemies WHILE simultaneously focusing firepower upon them. (It also comes in very handy during a retreat!)
  • GOOD: Noncombat support (i.e. repair units) keeping up with commanders, it's another feature a numbered group lacks; if you tell a numbered group to attack a target off in the distance, what happens? The combat units hurry off to the front lines while any repair units - who are not capable of executing the order - stay put and get left behind.
  • LACKING: You can assign combat units to "defend" a noncombat unit - should you not be able to do vice versa and order a repair unit to "defend" their allies-in-arms? This would avoid the whole issue of leaving repair units behind - you don't actually have to assign them to a numbered group or commander, you just tell them to defend a few key units in the group and they'll take care of the rest.
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Re: Commander Dev Continues - Still No MP Testing Support

Post by Searge-Major » 04 Jul 2012, 14:18

Stratadrake wrote:Going to contribute my personal thoughts to this ....

[*] VERY BAD: Commanders are a really obvious target in combat, any and every savvy player will target them first to eliminate their group experience bonuses (experience providing accuracy/evasion/speed/defense buffs). Why is it so easy to just pick off the enemy commander? You can't just charge up to a wall of hardpoints and start picking off whatever soft internals (factories, etc.) of the enemy base are lying behind them, right? Yet you can (and do) do EXACTLY this thing when facing an enemy commander group on the field. A commander leads his units - his units should return the favor be a shield. The rule could be simple - if unit A is trying to attack a commander but enemy unit B is currently in the line of fire, the attack is directed at B instead of the commander.[/list]
:hmm: This forum has arguments for and against things related to this particular sub-topic (as well as some of the others)... no conclusion reached though, as usual. :dontknow:

Regards, Searge
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Re: Commander Dev Continues - Still No MP Testing Support

Post by Rman Virgil » 04 Jul 2012, 15:21

VERY BAD: Commanders are a really obvious target in combat, any and every savvy player will target them first to eliminate their group experience bonuses (experience providing accuracy/evasion/speed/defense buffs). Why is it so easy to just pick off the enemy commander?......
Both Iluvalar and Shadow Wolf attempt to address this in thier mods. Without MP play-testing there's no where to go. These are relatively straight foward mods. Without being able to get these tested, considering more complex modifications is akin making a meal outta cotton candy.

Iluvalar speaking to his mods rationale:
Iluvalar wrote:The problem with the commander is that they were balanced in single player. There they are deadly when they reach the lvl 4 or 5 (still need test to know). But in MP, it seem that they dont live quite long enough. They need to be tuned back to level 2-3 (still need test to determine) and everything would be fine.
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Re: Commander Dev Continues - Still No MP Testing Support

Post by Stratadrake » 06 Jul 2012, 05:42

Well, one of the things that made commanders work in the single player campaign was a steady stream of relatively easy-to-dispatch enemies to train them with (scavengers, light body tanks, etc.). Cannon fodder of the same similar quality you'd expect to find in the RPG genre. You do not see the same things in live multiplayer, at least not from the other humans you're fighting against.

I guess I can agree that disguising commanders does add a bit of subterfuge into a mix that doesn't already have it - it would change the underlying assumptions about the game itself, and not necessarily in a good way. If the unique visual design of the commander turret is, in a sense, a necessary job risk then that's the way it has to be -- but there are many other ways in which combat can be improved.

For example, I always have had a gripe about once a unit is assigned to a commander, if you issue the unit any explicit orders he is automatically released from the command group. This is something that does not happen with numbered groups - a unit is always part of a numbered group until/unless you reassign the group number.

You can, say, order a numbered group to split up, flank a target from 3 different directions, then all open fire at once. But you can NOT do the same with a command group, or with mobile sensor artillery. Is that how it has to be, or can it be made better by changing it?

The commander turrets could also benefit from having a more powerful sensor system bundled with the turret. Direct-fire units can only shoot as far as their personal sensor range (which is 8 squares). Even the Mk1 command turret has a range of 12 squares, short and long alike, but as a direct-fire unit the only things he can ACTUALLY target are within 8 squares of himself, rarely any more than the combat units that he leads.

I also think that actual line-of-sight checks (i.e. obstructing friendlies/enemy units) should be some degree of mandatory on all direct fire units. This would not just improve the longevity of commanders, but improve the tactical value of any group that engages in combat. In RL you would not fire your weapon at a target if you would risk hitting a friendly that's currently obstructing your view of said target....

If you look back at medieval RTS games, even tactical RPG's where most combat is initiated on a hand-to-hand basis, a group of melee fighters is barely any more powerful than the men on its front perimeter - the only ones who will actually get to sink their weapons into opposing hides. Sure, you have magic and archery (analogous to the role of artillery and/or VTOL's), but exactly where you position your melee units in the heat of combat is a very important tactical concern. In Warzone this same concern does not exist at all beyond whether or not they are within range of a desired target. Every unit can attack any arbitrary target at any time regardless of what's around it - this is more than unrealistic, it also deprives the game of its potential for tactical "chess".

Adding an ability for one unit to "take the bullet" for another one it's guarding would give positioning greater tactical weight on the battlefield, plus it could be used to increase the longevity of priority units because they're less likely to actually take a hit if they've got friendlies nearby willing to lay down more than just suppressive fire for their sake.
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