OMG this is way too long, sorry guys, too many Wasteland thoughts, I hope it's not all gibberish to everybody but me!
dmazz wrote:Something else that unfairly adds to the speed of phased based combat in Frozen Synapse, is how definite everything is. Specifically instant death and a 100% hit rate. This suits the more chesslike aspects of the game, but if it was more realistically depicted it would slow down the game alot.
I've finally reviewed Frozen Synapse and I think I understand you better now. I see you literally mean certainty; each move is certain in Frozen Synapse like a chess move. It's an impressive game.
I believe the MSPE rules give us a different kind of universe than that; they give us a probabalistic universe, not a deterministic universe. In chess all the events in the game follow with certainty, as in logical deduction or mathematical induction. But in MSPE rules, events and actions follow probably
, as in empirical induction; the conclusion is never 100% certain; the picture is never 100% whole; unspecified or unknown details may affect the outcome. IMO, that model fits the more quantum mechanical nature of the real universe.
But IMO Frozen Synapse has the same problem as Fallout Tactics and JA2 in that those games are focused mainly on the combat. They are combat games. But Wasteland is supposed to be an RPG, so making it into a combat game would be breaking the Covert Action Rule
Let's try a new anology. Chess is an awesome game but I do not want to play a real chess game every time my Wasteland character plays chess. In the MSPE approach, a chess move or several moves would be determined by a dice roll! A character with high Chess skill would make an excellent strategic move or win the game instantly. If you wanted to provide more details of a chess game in the text or model some
real games visually then you might play a chess game in two or three rolls of the dice to represent opening, middlegame, and endgame, or somesuch. That's the kind of universe Wasteland is.
Apply that analogy to combat. Two or three dice rolls (and pictures/excerpts/stages of movement) for a deep tactical maneuver analagous to chess. Some battles will have different stages you want to see, like hide, surround, and ambush. If you are fencing and you want some extra tactical sword moves, roll the dice two or three times to represent different parries, thrusts, and so on.
I'm suggesting that depending on your characters' skills, you might have more than one action for your characters or more than one character contributing to the same action in the same phase of combat. We are familiar with Brawling in Wasteland, and MSPE also has Combat shooting, which allows dual weilding. (it does nothing in Wasteland?) In WL2 we could possibly have combined, cooperative actions. Cooperative acts that combine your characters' efforts together would be literally
simultaneous. (They would also be the basis of recreational games like basketball, laser tag, or RPGs.*)
In the WL system then you could get a text account of how "character A and B focus fire on enemy C for X amount of damage reducing it to a thin red mist." In the WL2 (more visual) system, characters contributing to each other's actions show up in the same pictures together; or, skilled characters (via e.g. Brawling, or Combat shooting) can make more
moves which can be shown in a motion blur
Individual characters act according to their speed; groups of characters (in combined actions) act according to the least speed in the group.
dmazz wrote:Wasteland combat can be built upon. One idea is one could move ones pieces in 'ghost time'. Instead of moving your actual character in combat to a different location or having them perform an action like in turn based combat, you would instead move their 'ghost' which would be a semi-transparent copy of your character. All the more fantastic elements of Frozen synapse combat will be removed (no 100% hit rate, instant kills, omniscience, no fog of war)
I like Wasteland combat and the above, because it injects a sense of action into what would otherwise be plodding back and forth attacks by one enemy at a time. This way the combat is seen to take place simultaneously onscreen and more at anytime can be put into slow motion, for that extra cool look.
The ability of the player to speed up or slow down the action can't be underestimated.
If I understand correctly, you're suggesting the command phase and action phase separation for the whole group's actions, like Wasteland/Frozen Synapse, but with the more tactical options of Frozen Synapse.
Are you saying that WL2 should also give you the optional "simulation phase" too?
Though I like that idea in Frozen Synapse, that doesn't strike me as very attractive in Wasteland. In a probabalistc universe, it's pointless to try to predict so many moves into the future and it's like playing new games every time when you do so, so why not just play new games and let my characters succeed or fail, learn or die. That's more dangerous and more typical of Wasteland than the careful planning of FS is.
I like the tactical options of Frozen Synapse. If we take the MSPE approach to that game as with chess above, then there ought to be some conceivable variation in character performance that can be illustrated one way or another by the game, and those variations can can represent the "dice" and have repercussions on the events that follow. Examples might be individual scars or distinctions, which can be intermingled, since every probability of success implies some improbability of failure and vice-versa.
In a probabalistic universe, there should be opportunities for spectacular failure and
opportunities for spectacular success! In a RPG, the characters should decide some things that the player doesn't and
be good as some things the player isn't. So, your character can play a great chess game or win a difficult battle even if you (the player) don't have those skills.
I am interested in exploring options for displaying combat and other encounters that resemble Wasteland's format; but of course they can be improved by better graphics. At the very least, Wasteland encounters demonstrate how to depict complicated simultaneous encounters in words and with a small program.
If Wasteland 2 can keep that principle, it can be used to describe
things happening that are important, but for which we don't need to see all the details. Some examples of some encounters we might just want to read about and not see movies of could include social encounters, studying, training, hunting, or tracking. A Tracking skill could be quite useful and checked often in the outdoors, resulting in many different discoveries, but we could read those encounters, or read some and see some, and some Tracking checks can lead to battle encounters.
There could be a lot of other skills like Tracking that tune the character in to certain kinds of encounters and that defines your game, since you will track wild animals or you will scuba dive, or climb mountains, or whatever, to improve those skills. Every environment that requires a different skill to master, ought to have unique flora and fauna and different opportunities for discovery.
In principle, WL2 could give us comics-like slideshows in place of animations. If those can be fit somewhere in the game encounters, in the probabalistic model, they can come in so many variations that no one will ever see all the permutations. The results of a visual dice-roll
can be the basis of the outcome of events, with degrees of success and failure that add up between encounters, giving your characters a unique appearance or identity.
I don't want to consider a WL2 where you can't have an encounter style format where the text informs you you did X amount of damage and pummeled your enemy into a bloody pulp! That is the thing that the game needs more
of! There ought to be lots of new kinds of encounters. Games, puzzles, joinable NPCs, story events, social encounters, discoveries, new skills being learned, being able to enter in your own named skill and describe how your characters use it, and gain XP from it.
Keaton wrote:But even if the actions would happen simultaneously that wouldn't make it RT.
The game mechanic is what counts and that would still be
1. player input for each PC either with a limited amount of actions or with action points
2. turn resolved by the computer with everything playing out simultaneously
3. next player turn
and so on.
It would be perfect TB and much better than any sequential TB system could ever be (well, except chess and poker maybe) because your party could really operate simultaneously giving fire protection or entering and securing a room in a sweep like some elite task force. And speaking of securing rooms, sequential TB systems like JA2 and the original XCOMs always felt very very wrong in that aspect.
actions, I believe you are correct about simultaneous fire protection and things like that. (I've imagined a category of skills for that, that enhance cooperative actions, such as Camaraderie, Bravery, and Leadership.)
But I believe we have to be specific about how we conceive the (2) of your model, the simultaneity. If we arrange group (cooperative) actions we can literally say these are simultaneous because it's two or more characters doing one thing. But some characters have equal speed doing two different
things; and attacks are always "simultaneous" with hits or misses which is another sense of 'simultaneous.'
In the Wasteland combat descriptions we get one paragraph for every character we play, no matter if they are the same speed (going at the same time) or not. The actions are separated by order of speed (initiative). But they all happen on the same turn (phase) together, which makes them (degrees of) simultaneous. The Wasteland characters aren't standing there like Vic waiting for the Chosen One to make his move so that he can have his turn; they might attack at the same time; but the player
sees (reads) them one at a time (in Wasteland).
I believe the following is a good way of handling initiative and simultaneous action phases:
Stainless wrote:On a computer game Winning initiative would allow for you to scroll over NPCs and an "action bubble" would appear over him. The AB would tell you his declared move for the turn; "preparing to shoot," "pulling pin on grenade," "ready to spill your entrails," "shitting his pants," "running towards(location)," "reloading," "applying pressure to the stump where his favorite arm used to be." or any other snarky but relavent information. Those NPCs who have higher initiative will only have their AB revealed when you are declaring moves for your PC with higher initiative.
So your PC with the lowest initiative goes first and only gets to see the AB of NPCs with lower initiative. Your next PC with the second lowest initiative gets to see more ABs and thus the battle unfolds giving the character with the highest initiative last deceleration of action and the best picture of the battle field. Now when you hit the end turn button you see the mayham unfold through success, failures, and botches.
The challenge, however in a computer game is visualizing all of these actions for the characters
. The fast character needs to know the relevant information about his teammates/enemies, and how should that be modeled? Moving first is only one part of it.
I wonder if this Action Bubble approach can be combined with dmazz's 'ghost time' for a Frozen Synapse with action bubbles?
I am asking because I am not sure how to visualize this in a balanced game. I imagine that in a balanced game, the average combat ought to last about 2 minutes and give you breaks with other things to do for at least 2 minutes in between, unless you specifically seek out more combat than that. A balanced game would also give you, in addition to that, opportunities to do other non-combat things important to the story. You shouldn't have to do too much combat, nor should you be discouraged from seeking more of it out. You should want to see as many variations as you can get!
Ghost time would be like a more advance form of those those 'colored footsteps' in JA2, which you use to gauge where your character can move to.
IMO we all want to see some kind of combat better than Wasteland (but like
Wasteland), where your characters and the enemies all act on the same phase together. But within that regime, we don't necessarily need to see everything (on every turn) playing out simultaneously (meaning in real time). The computer simulation will be easier if we just let it show us one action at a time, whether individual (separated, not cooperative) or group actions. It can also change POV and slow the motion or show fast motion in a blur, and these could be UI (style) adjustments.
We are bootstrapped by the nature of the simulation one way or another. In a PnP game the GM isn't going to know what all happens until he rolls the dice on his side either. If we were to force the game into a chess-like or FS-like mold of certainty, and leave out the probability, then we would just be asking the computer to specify more intermediate steps, whereas Wasteland shows the (converse) power of generalizing more steps. It's in the context of the generalization that the probablity
of success or failure provides the specific information; i.e. the dice rolls tell you the degree of success or failure.
dmazz wrote:Although there would be a default mode, one should on the fly be able to change the pace of combat from Baldur's Gate relaxing onscreen action, to tense nitty gritty precision control exceeding that of Frozen Synapse. That's because each different combat system shines in different combat scenarios. Frozen Synapse is the best for room clearing and fighting indoors. JA2/Silent Storm for the urban combat within 100m. Baldur's Gate/FOT real time for combat further out or against inferior opponents. (or ambushes where it's just a slaughter)
I like your concept, but that seems like too much to fit into a game with a one-year development cycle. Maybe we should set out the individual possible elements of something like that and decide the combination by rolling a D20. Then test those results and repeat until we find one that works for the most people who seem to be interested. Would that be building a consensus?
[*Allow me to elaborate on the cooperative party games. I'm imagining an encounter format where you initiate the encounter between party members. In the command phase, you order your characters; in the action phase, they play a game of baseball, or Monopoly, or Wasteland (the PnP version). They can play games with their own party members or opponents (other parties) as well; 2 parties or a split up party could play two sides of Volleyball. I'm imagining the Wasteland combat format which is mostly words describing what your characters do.
Recreational and occupational skills are present in MSPE. In that system, you can name your own occupational or recreational skill. Maybe you could do the same thing in WL2. Let the player name their own occupational/recreational/social skill and describe how it is used in the game, so it can show up where it works (which I imagine would mostly be in interparty activities), and give you some experience when you practice it.]
drake wrote:Well he won't streamline it , he just will not be able to match the depth of games liike JA2.
The X-Com remake didn't streamline it either . but they have a bigger budget for cinematica or bird eye view.
What I am saying is that Fallout tactics is the most basic of turnbased strategy games , wasteland 2 will not streamline it ,but Improve on it , while tedious micro management that is one of the reason publisher don't want it .
It is exactly the micro management that made those games all time classic for fanbase .
Hard to get into but once mastered , it becomes awesome .
They probaly ad a easymode so people who just play it for the story , like Fallout 2 can just breeze trough it .
Without having to do 6 turns killing a scorpion , cause you move 4 characters , enemy move , npc move .
that is basically the combat system .
The difficulty of jagged alliance 2 was tons more depth cause interrupts , out of turn phases based on skills , cover positions and tons more features with a difficult learning curve . I do not think any modern game can match that depth .
That depth is okay in those games because the games focus on combat. WL2 is supposed to be an RPG, not a combat game. [cf. "Covert Action Rule" above.]