Phased Time (aka Simultaneous Turn Based) Space Combat

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utilae
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Phased Time (aka Simultaneous Turn Based) Space Combat

#1 Post by utilae » Thu May 18, 2006 8:31 am

The idea of Phased Time space combat was bought up eons ago, and many people have come and gone since then. There are new people now, so I feel this should be explained again, since we are at the point of implementing space combat (if we ever find our where Aquitaine has disappeared to).

Phased Time
Goal
The goal of Phased Time as a combat system is to be a superior form of Moo2 combat. Moo2 combat had some serious flaws, such as attacker always goes first and the long wait for one player to move all there ships so you can move yours. Initiative has fixed this, but I think this could be done better. Phased Time improves on this by having all players (more than 2) give there orders at the same time.

Stages
1) Order Screen - All players give move/tageting orders to their ships
2) Playback Screen - When all players are ready, combat is played out for x seconds.
3) Back to 1)

Space Combat begins at the order screen. All players are able to give orders for movement and targeting of weapons. Players click the end turn button when they have finished giving orders. When all players have clicked the end turn button, the playback screen is played to all players.

The playback screen plays out all orders that players have give. Ships will follow preset flightpaths, fire at targets when they get the opportunity and follow players AI rules. The playback screen is not able to interacted with by players other than for changing the camera in order to watch playback in 3D. This way you could have orders given in 2D and watch it in 3D. This would mean there would be no complex 3D interface, except for camera controls.

When playback has finsihed (perhaps 10 seconds), players are back in the order screen. They give new orders based on what has happened and what they think will happen.

Other Optional Features
1) System Wide Combat - To have space combat set in the entire system gives advantages over Moo2 in that you don't have to attack each planet seperately and on different turns. This proved annnoying with the micromanagement of having to select space combat at each and every planet in the galaxy, in Moo2. In Moo2 it was not possible to attack more than one planet in a single turn with the same fleet. With system wide combat it would be possible because with improved engine speed and long range weapons you could attack more than one planet in the same turn.
2) Multi Turn Space Combat - In order to avoid space combat taking too long in a single turn without cutting space combat short, after a set time (2 minutes) space combat is saved and continued next turn from where it was saved.

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marhawkman
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#2 Post by marhawkman » Thu May 18, 2006 10:11 pm

I like this idea. :) Takes the best elements of AI driven combat and fuses them with the best elements of turnbased combat.

However.... You mentioned a 2d interface for issuing orders to ships. If the combat takes place in three you'd have a considerable amount of difficulty trying to pick out which ships will do what. Although you could select ships from a list of some sort, you'd still have to be able to see where they are. My experience with ST:BotF has shown me that having a 3d map means you need to be able to change your view angle(and sometimes zoom) to figure out what the orientation of your ships is.
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utilae
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#3 Post by utilae » Fri May 19, 2006 1:17 am

I'm not sure if you understood me correctly.

The order phase would be 2D, ie you would see a 2D isometric layout of all the ships (they would all be located on a x, y grid, so no z level, ie 2D map). This way you can give orders in 2D and that would be simple and easy for the player.

The playback phase would be 3D, because the player does not need to interact, only watch. Graphics would be maxed and enjoyment would be high. The only thing the player would need to do is play with the camera.

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#4 Post by MikkoM » Sun May 21, 2006 1:29 pm

I would also think that this would be the best alternative to do the space combat, since it would allow big and beautiful battles, but wouldn`t give the AI the same kind of advantage as in MOO 3 where it could all the time give orders to its ships whereas the player could only give orders as fast as he/she could react.

However I don`t know how this system fits in with the Aquitaines Design update where he says that they have "settled on an engine similar to GalCiv2." Because as I have understand it there is no player control of combat in Galactic Civilizations 2 and judging by the pictures from the GalCiv2s website the battles are quite small and so I don`t think they offer you the experience of being the leader of a big galactic empire. Graphically the engine looks very good, but since it is missing these two key features I haven`t personally considered it as one of the strongest aspects in Galactic Civilizations 2.

Lets hope that we get more info from this matter soon.

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#5 Post by Magus » Sun May 21, 2006 4:16 pm

I would also like to bring up an addition that was suggested a while ago:
-During the "Action" phase, time is compressed, say like 60x (minute-per-second)
-During the "Orders" phase, the battle is still moving, but in actual time.

As such, you could have properly represented times (i.e. a missile flight time in the multiple minutes), without battles lasting multiple hours.

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#6 Post by jmercer » Fri May 26, 2006 1:30 am

The problem with the action phase running at some compressed time is that while it will work well for missiles, everything else will have a "movie in fast forward" look. Fighters attacking a larger ship will zip around it and then all disappear. A capital ship exploding, which should be an awesome event, will be a quick flash.

I used to be against a 2D battle system, but I guess if we have 3D ships with nice lighting and detail and we just restrict stuff to a plane, that will make things easier to control. A mine field is now a line of mines rather than a wall. It will make strategy easier to implement.

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#7 Post by utilae » Fri May 26, 2006 1:44 am

Magus wrote:I would also like to bring up an addition that was suggested a while ago:
-During the "Action" phase, time is compressed, say like 60x (minute-per-second)
-During the "Orders" phase, the battle is still moving, but in actual time.

As such, you could have properly represented times (i.e. a missile flight time in the multiple minutes), without battles lasting multiple hours.
This is unnecessary. Why would a missile take so long to get to it's target? In the order phase you order the attack using missles, a missile is launched. During the real time phase the missile travels, and ends up making half of its distance. If we need to make it go vast distances in a reasonable time, we would just change the scale of distance to the missle to allow faster travel.

I don't know what would be a good scale of time, but:
Orders - Paused - I see no reason to have it moving
Action - Real Time, Lasts 30 seconds - The 30 seconds is the only thing I would change based on balancing needs.

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#8 Post by Magus » Sun May 28, 2006 6:28 pm

Why would a missile take so long to get to its target? Well, lets look to the real world first:
A Tomahawk Cruise Missile has a speed of about 880 km/h
Same missile has a range of 1,100 km.
A maximum range flight would take 1.25 hours.

Lets look at another thing: hitting Mars from Earth.
The furthest away from the sun that the Earth gets is 152,097,701 km.
The closest Mars gets is to the sun is 206,644,545 km.
Assuming those two things happened simultaneously during a planetary alignment (not likely, maybe not even physically possible), Earth and Mars would be 54,546,844 km apart. That is over three light minutes. Unless you're working with superluminal missiles, missile flight times would be in the multiple minutes. As would beam weapon travel time. If you plan on doing systemwide combat (a great idea), time compression, superluminal weapons, or physics violations would be required.

jmercer, not necessarily. If missiles are flying at these long times, fighters certainly wont be faster. If an antimatter core is breached, yes, a capital ship may vanish in a matter of microseconds, but otherwise the ship could be battered into a nonfunctional hulk, spitting fire, debris, and electrical arcs for hours. Ships may be moving at tens of thousands of km per true-second, but on a map millions of kilometers to a side, time compression would make ships seem to be moving at a fair clip rather than paralyzed slothes entombed in amber.

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#9 Post by utilae » Sun May 28, 2006 7:40 pm

That doesn't really matter. I doubt that wer'e gonna have object movement in scale anyway, let along have ships be the right scale to planets and planets the right scale to stars, etc.

Moo2 didn't keep to scale. So it was not an issue then, and won't be an issue now.

MikkoM wrote: However I don`t know how this system fits in with the Aquitaines Design update where he says that they have "settled on an engine similar to GalCiv2." Because as I have understand it there is no player control of combat in Galactic Civilizations 2
In galciv 2 space combat is pathetic. Combat involves moving your ship into the same square as the enemy ship. Then combat occurs. You are presented with a screen with play, pause, fastford and rewind and camera buttons. You can press the camera button to change the view (randomly) then press play. Your ships move torward each other firing at each other. The winner is decided from a dice roll as far as I know.

So yeah, that game would be better if it had space combat that was any good.

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#10 Post by siron » Mon May 29, 2006 10:38 pm

In galciv 2 space combat is pathetic. Combat involves moving your ship into the same square as the enemy ship. Then combat occurs.
The pre-1.2 battle system was completely absurd....attacker had even first shot....and therefore it was pretty easy to take out the AI. I am stunned they can release such a broken concept...and they still received good reviews.
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I would recommend looking at Harpoon

#11 Post by Airshipjones » Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:05 pm

It has a nifty time dilation feature such that incoming fire automatically slow the time scale and (and the user can at any time as well). In addition, since ships are going to be at least Kilometers apart in space, why not just show them as blips on a radar screen, with different colors for driend and foe and unknown contacts. Harpoon also handles this quite well. It has some default setting for how fleets work together that are okay, and could use some expansion for use with FO, but I think it would be a good place to look for ideas.

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Re: I would recommend looking at Harpoon

#12 Post by utilae » Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:58 pm

Airshipjones wrote: In addition, since ships are going to be at least Kilometers apart in space, why not just show them as blips on a radar screen, with different colors for driend and foe and unknown contacts.
Because then the game would suck, and the graphics, well I'm glad your not making the game.

Realism, kills games.

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Hmmmm....

#13 Post by Airshipjones » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:43 pm

Airshipjones wrote:

In addition, since ships are going to be at least Kilometers apart in space, why not just show them as blips on a radar screen, with different colors for driend and foe and unknown contacts.

Utilae wrote:
Because then the game would suck, and the graphics, well I'm glad your not making the game.

Realism, kills games.
Well. Thank you for your *gracious* and *helpful* commentary. I'm sure that under your expert leadership, FO is destined for greatness.

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#14 Post by marhawkman » Sat Sep 02, 2006 12:45 am

now that the "pleasantries" are done with.... :roll: The "radar" idea is good when not done as the main display. MoO2 had one to supplement the main display. But that's the point here. Not the main display.. great as a supplement, but far less useful as a main display.
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Re: Hmmmm....

#15 Post by utilae » Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:14 am

Airshipjones wrote: Well. Thank you for your *gracious* and *helpful* commentary. I'm sure that under your expert leadership, FO is destined for greatness.
Sorry, just had to smack some sense into you if you were thinking of going to turn everything into blips. lol

Anyway, yeah having a radar map in a small window would be ok, they do that in Space Empires IV. There is a greater focus on solar system movement. I don't like that though. Moo2 style with star to star movement is better imo. But you could have a small window, if you want to do multiple galaxies, eg main window stars like Moo2, then a small window with 5 galaxies. Click on one and main window shows stars from that galaxy.

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