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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Shadow Wolf TJC
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Shadow Wolf TJC » 29 Mar 2012, 10:55

Say guys, perhaps we could make commanders more modable by adding a new .txt file called, say, commanders.txt, into the stats folder, and having the game parse through it to determine how many units the Command Turret may have assigned to it at any given experience level, or even whether or not to apply an experience bonus to attached units. Here would be an example of what the file would look like in base.wz:

Code: Select all

TurretName,experienceLevel,unitLimit,applyExpBonus
CommandTurret1,1,6,YES
CommandTurret1,2,8,YES
CommandTurret1,3,10,YES
CommandTurret1,4,12,YES
CommandTurret1,5,14,YES
CommandTurret1,6,16,YES
CommandTurret1,7,18,YES
CommandTurret1,8,20,YES
CommandTurret1,9,22,YES
CommandTurret2,1,6,YES
CommandTurret2,2,8,YES
CommandTurret2,3,10,YES
CommandTurret2,4,12,YES
CommandTurret2,5,14,YES
CommandTurret2,6,16,YES
CommandTurret2,7,18,YES
CommandTurret2,8,20,YES
CommandTurret2,9,22,YES
CommandTurret3,1,6,YES
CommandTurret3,2,8,YES
CommandTurret3,3,10,YES
CommandTurret3,4,12,YES
CommandTurret3,5,14,YES
CommandTurret3,6,16,YES
CommandTurret3,7,18,YES
CommandTurret3,8,20,YES
CommandTurret3,9,22,YES
CommandTurret4,1,6,YES
CommandTurret4,2,8,YES
CommandTurret4,3,10,YES
CommandTurret4,4,12,YES
CommandTurret4,5,14,YES
CommandTurret4,6,16,YES
CommandTurret4,7,18,YES
CommandTurret4,8,20,YES
CommandTurret4,9,22,YES
With this, players could create Command Turrets that would be able to have different limits on how many units could be assigned to them. Whereas one Command Turret could have only a handful of units assigned to it, another could have an entire batallion's worth of units assigned to it.

Also, we could add a new .txt file, called prcomponent.txt, to the stats folder in order to determine what structures need to be present in order to be able to build the component in question. Here would be an example of what the file would look like in base.wz:

Code: Select all

ComponentName,structureName
CommandTurret1,A0ComDroidControl
CommandTurret2,A0ComDroidControl
CommandTurret3,A0ComDroidControl
CommandTurret4,A0ComDroidControl
This would give modders the freedom to not only determine whether or not a Command Relay Center is required in order to be able to build Commanders, but also whether or not certain other components, such as Lasers, Hover Propulsion, etc. would require a certain structure, such as, say, a Laser Lab or a Hover Lab, to be present (though I doubt that we'd actually make much usage of it in future builds of the original game :wink: ).
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 29 Mar 2012, 17:58

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That would be sweet. :)

But something tells me it ain't gonna happen unless Commander efficacy were joined at the hip with an expansive vision for the game's MP GPM future.
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Shadow Wolf TJC » 29 Mar 2012, 19:01

Sadly, I fear that such long-term adjustments to commanders would be too complex to include inside a .txt file, and would be too interconnected to be worth putting in a .vlo, .slo, or .js file. :(

Also, I forgot to mention earlier that we could allow modders to adjust limits on how many commanders a player may control at any given time, by including the code in, say, rules.js.
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 29 Mar 2012, 22:05

Shadow Wolf TJC wrote:Sadly, I fear that such long-term adjustments to commanders would be too complex to include inside a .txt file, and would be too interconnected to be worth putting in a .vlo, .slo, or .js file. :(

Also, I forgot to mention earlier that we could allow modders to adjust limits on how many commanders a player may control at any given time, by including the code in, say, rules.js.
I think the JS API holds great promise for the more complex long term adjustments.... the main uncertainty now is with a new UI widgets schema, I think.

I think 5 is plenty good enough but where the problem lies is in effective, precision, command & control which is essential for executing the coordinated, complex, maneuver tacs of 21st century warfare (as opposed to WW I or earlier, where WZ's been since day one).

And it's worth repeating here that in the realm of RTS, even to this day, Commanders remain a signature creation and core to WZ's unique identity. It's just that their full potential is yet to be realized. But if it ever is - watch out RTS world. ;)
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Shadow Wolf TJC » 29 Mar 2012, 23:42

Indeed. Still, and forgive me if I repeat this over and over, while I'd like for them to not be underused, I don't want them to be overpowered either, even if they're supposed to be one of Warzone 2100's more special features. For me, an overpowered feature can be a killjoy for an RTS game. For example, I don't like Command & Conquer: Generals (and its expansion, Zero Hour) because of how overpowered some units, including Suicide Bombers (especially on bikes), Aurora Alphas, and Minigunners, seemed to be compared with the rest of the units in the game. (A single Suicide Bomber could blow up any faction's main battle tank, which usually costs over 3 times as much money to produce, for crying out loud!)
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 30 Mar 2012, 00:15

Shadow Wolf TJC wrote:Indeed. Still, and forgive me if I repeat this over and over, while I'd like for them to not be underused, I don't want them to be overpowered either, even if they're supposed to be one of Warzone 2100's more special features. For me, an overpowered feature can be a killjoy for an RTS game. For example, I don't like Command & Conquer: Generals (and its expansion, Zero Hour) because of how overpowered some units, including Suicide Bombers (especially on bikes), Aurora Alphas, and Minigunners, seemed to be compared with the rest of the units in the game. (A single Suicide Bomber could blow up any faction's main battle tank, which usually costs over 3 times as much money to produce, for crying out loud!)
Agree 100%.

Here's the thing concisely - the potential to win via asymmetric tactics because Commander efficacy provides you with the means to victory by being smarter and braver.

Think about that last clause..

Its quite the opposite of an over-powered unit or winning by following predictable compulsions or by massing an overwhelming linear force along a monolithic front line. These new means by way of enhanced (but not OP) Commanders would present a whole world of in theater tactical possibilities that are presently impossible, are truely thought provoking, fresh, non-rote and exciting. I have merely scratched the surface here. :3

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

Post by Shadow Wolf TJC » 30 Mar 2012, 00:35

I'm just worried about how overpowering the ability to provide the experience bonus to so many units at a time would be. A 5% bonus may not sound like much of a bonus for an individual unit, but it adds up pretty quickly when it's applied to, say, 20 units. A 10% bonus would add up even quicker, and it's not very difficult to level up to Green, or even Trained. See why I'm concerned?
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 30 Mar 2012, 01:41

Shadow Wolf TJC wrote:I'm just worried about how overpowering the ability to provide the experience bonus to so many units at a time would be. A 5% bonus may not sound like much of a bonus for an individual unit, but it adds up pretty quickly when it's applied to, say, 20 units. A 10% bonus would add up even quicker, and it's not very difficult to level up to Green, or even Trained. See why I'm concerned?
I do now...and it's a good valid point. :3

Only testing can answer that ultimately ... and if it turns out to be the case then you dial back on the bonus %.... till it's balanced to not make everything else irrelevant or not viable.

As we continue with Iluvalar's Mod WIP I suspect we'll come to deal with this issue to some degree if we set-up experiments to specifically expose it.

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

Post by Shadow Wolf TJC » 30 Mar 2012, 13:08

We could sort of test the effects of how pitting a new commander leading 20 or 30 units against an enemy group of 20 to 30 units would turn out, though since commanders are currently limited to having 6 units assigned to it at a time, we'll need to use multiple commanders to test this out.

What I propose that we do is pit a group of 20 or so Cyborg Machinegunners, 20 or so Python Heavy Cannon Tracks, etc. against an opposing group of the same exact thing, only that one of these groups is being led by freshly-produced commanders (preferably light-bodied commanders if leading groups of Cyborgs or light vehicles, and heavy-bodied commanders if leading groups of heavy tanks) while the other has none. However, as soon as one Commander is destroyed, the player MUST unassign all his/her remaining combat units from all other commanders, in order to mimic the effect of losing a commander in battle, one that, while freshly produced, could lead up to 20 or so units.
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 30 Mar 2012, 14:48

Shadow Wolf TJC wrote:We could sort of test the effects of how pitting a new commander leading 20 or 30 units against an enemy group of 20 to 30 units would turn out, though since commanders are currently limited to having 6 units assigned to it at a time, we'll need to use multiple commanders to test this out.

What I propose that we do is pit a group of 20 or so Cyborg Machinegunners, 20 or so Python Heavy Cannon Tracks, etc. against an opposing group of the same exact thing, only that one of these groups is being led by freshly-produced commanders (preferably light-bodied commanders if leading groups of Cyborgs or light vehicles, and heavy-bodied commanders if leading groups of heavy tanks) while the other has none. However, as soon as one Commander is destroyed, the player MUST unassign all his/her remaining combat units from all other commanders, in order to mimic the effect of losing a commander in battle, one that, while freshly produced, could lead up to 20 or so units.
I think that's a good test under the constraints of hard coded limits. (I wish this was externalized for modding because changing the source and compiling a new binary is not something I want to get into - at this stage anyway. Though down the road it may be unavoidable.)

I'll be following this base protocol when I begin my experimental testing set-ups for Iluvalar's Mod starting tomorrow. :3

BTW - in order to follow the one variable difference protocol between Commander led groups and opposing forces without, what unit will you substitute to maintain parity in unit numbers? In my experiment set-ups I was thinking of using a sensor unit.

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

Post by Shadow Wolf TJC » 30 Mar 2012, 15:35

Perhaps we could create the 2 groups of 20-30 units based on budget constraints, and maybe research and infrastructure constraints as well (such as a lack of Factory Modules, or Medium or Heavy Bodies), like having enough power to produce 30 Cyborg Machinegunners for one test, or having enough power to produce 30 Python Medium Cannon Tracks for another test, etc.? Of course, for the group that's going to be led by commanders, we would devote part of that budget away from producing the group in order to produce just 1 of the commanders that would lead the group.

Due to the need to manually unassign all combat units from commanders once one of them is destroyed, I'd recommend slowing down the game speed to a pause while you unassign the units. This is if you're playing offline, in which you'd be using cheat mode to control both groups.

Oh, and we wouldn't necessarily need for the 2 groups to be equal in terms of numbers. In fact, we should probably be looking at the total cost of the units that survived as opposed to the total number of units that survived.
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 30 Mar 2012, 18:48

Shadow Wolf TJC wrote:Perhaps we could create the 2 groups of 20-30 units based on budget constraints, and maybe research and infrastructure constraints as well (such as a lack of Factory Modules, or Medium or Heavy Bodies), like having enough power to produce 30 Cyborg Machinegunners for one test, or having enough power to produce 30 Python Medium Cannon Tracks for another test, etc.? Of course, for the group that's going to be led by commanders, we would devote part of that budget away from producing the group in order to produce just 1 of the commanders that would lead the group.

Due to the need to manually unassign all combat units from commanders once one of them is destroyed, I'd recommend slowing down the game speed to a pause while you unassign the units. This is if you're playing offline, in which you'd be using cheat mode to control both groups.

Oh, and we wouldn't necessarily need for the 2 groups to be equal in terms of numbers. In fact, we should probably be looking at the total cost of the units that survived as opposed to the total number of units that survived.
Testing using budgetary constraints, instead of a 1 to 1 relationship between unit number and type, is certainly valid and valuable but also a bit more complex in scenario testing variants and subsequent analysis.

To get started with Iluvalar's Mod i'm gonna go with the K.I.S.S. 1 to 1 relationship between unit number and type. Later on I'll explore the budgetary constraint protocol. Glad you brought it to the forefront because those variant scenarios should be tested as they do represent real in-game context.

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

Post by Rman Virgil » 01 Apr 2012, 14:11

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Version 2 of Iluvalar's *Commander Mod WIP* Released ~

Check it out here:

viewtopic.php?f=5&p=99673#p99673

This is ground-breaking work. The first serious practical attempt to make Commanders an MP viable, balanced, win option in 13 years. Any feedback to advance the cause would be appreciated and would amount to an enduring contribution to the game's longevity & uniqueness in RTSdom . Thanks.

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

Post by Rman Virgil » 04 Apr 2012, 07:04

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Only at the beginning of testing-experimenting with version 2 of this Commander Mod but far enough along to say it is a game changer - a fundamental opening up to new and interesting ways to prevail. More MP data is needed to refine the balance, no doubt. But right here and now, this line of change, of enhancement is potent, pivotal, and will set the stage for real, enduring, viability going forward. Little bets, little successes, big victories in the end.

As far as this thread - I will continue with the total aggregation of extant proposals, their analysis & plugging in the results into the 2 tripartite structured development templates at the beginning of this thread.

Beyond continued testing of Iluvalar's Mod my personal area of focused interest will be enhanced command & control within commander led combat groups and in the coordination of multiple command vector offenses.

Any other commander mods that may arise I will also assist in testing towards viability-refinement.

That's it for now. :3

Yebo sanibonani, Rman. :hmm:
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Re: Commanders: Original Vision, Crippled Default, Future De

Post by Rman Virgil » 04 Apr 2012, 20:25

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Another interesting Commander Mod to test. XD

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

Full explanation & D/L link:

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


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