Home » MODDING HQ 1.13 » v1.13 Idea Incubation Lab  » "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic
"Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #339659] Wed, 25 February 2015 20:08 Go to next message
Morbo513

 
Messages:47
Registered:February 2015
Location: West Yorkshire, United Ki...
This would be an optional game mechanic to make the game generally more forgiving:
Basically, a Merc's health can go no lower than 5hp by taking damage from weapons or whatever. However, when they do get to that 5hp mark, they're incapacitated and will bleed at a rate of 1hp per turn.
The intent would be to make it so you always have the chance to save (a) merc(s) who would otherwise have been killed outright, while still carrying the risk that they will die. It seems that the possibility of a merc getting one-shotted with no opportunity to react puts a lot of people off ironman mode or otherwise sucking it up when it goes bad, this may help alleviate that.
Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #339662 is a reply to message #339659] Wed, 25 February 2015 21:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2462
Registered:May 2009
I believe that this topic has been discussed several times already and the change request was denied for several reasons. One of the reasons was that mercs, soldiers, NPCs use the same code for calculating damage and finally death. There are thresholds for certain stuff that apply to any being in the game. All of this should be changed just because someone doesn't want to load the last savegame? I doubt that any coder would be willing to rework the whole code, playtest it afterwards and fix all the bugs that he implemented in the process.
Also it makes absolutely no sense to give mercs an advantage like this. We can kill the enemy with one shot and our opponents can't? Why?

Players can already play soft ironman mode which allows to save anytime except during turn based combat. Got one of your mercs killed? Just go back to the last savegame if you can't live with it.



Wildfire Maps Mod 6.07 on SVN: https://ja2svn.mooo.com/source/ja2/branches/Wanne/JA2%201.13%20Wildfire%206.06%20-%20Maps%20MOD

Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #339669 is a reply to message #339662] Thu, 26 February 2015 04:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Morbo513

 
Messages:47
Registered:February 2015
Location: West Yorkshire, United Ki...
silversurfer wrote on Wed, 25 February 2015 19:30
I believe that this topic has been discussed several times already and the change request was denied for several reasons. One of the reasons was that mercs, soldiers, NPCs use the same code for calculating damage and finally death. There are thresholds for certain stuff that apply to any being in the game. All of this should be changed just because someone doesn't want to load the last savegame? I doubt that any coder would be willing to rework the whole code, playtest it afterwards and fix all the bugs that he implemented in the process.
Also it makes absolutely no sense to give mercs an advantage like this. We can kill the enemy with one shot and our opponents can't? Why?

Players can already play soft ironman mode which allows to save anytime except during turn based combat. Got one of your mercs killed? Just go back to the last savegame if you can't live with it.

I don't disagree, didn't realise this had been suggested before. Is there a proper ironman mode?
Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #339673 is a reply to message #339669] Thu, 26 February 2015 09:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2462
Registered:May 2009
Let me quote myself:

silversurfer wrote on Tue, 17 February 2015 14:52
AFAIK the iron man modes only differ in the possibilities where the player can save the game. All three modes have in common that you can't save during turn based combat.

"Extreme" means that you can only save at a certain time of day. Check "EXTREME_IRON_MAN_SAVING_TIME_NOTIFICATION" and "EXTREME_IRON_MAN_SAVING_HOUR" in Ja2_Options.ini.

Standard "Iron Man" mode means that you can't save the game as long as there are enemies in the current sector no matter if realtime or turnbased combat mode is active.

"Soft" means you can save at any time even if there are enemies in the current sector as long as there is no turn based combat going on.


You just have to select which mode suits your playstyle best.



Wildfire Maps Mod 6.07 on SVN: https://ja2svn.mooo.com/source/ja2/branches/Wanne/JA2%201.13%20Wildfire%206.06%20-%20Maps%20MOD

Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #354865 is a reply to message #339673] Fri, 14 September 2018 01:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Morbo513

 
Messages:47
Registered:February 2015
Location: West Yorkshire, United Ki...
I'd like to revisit this topic in light of a recent video by Mark Brown (Game Maker's Toolkit):
[/youtube]

It made me realise that one of the things putting me off most from attempting another ironman run is just how punishing failure is in JA2. At the same time, I don't really enjoy the removal of risk from the big picture by having the ability to restart each battle. With your best "takes" of each battle strung together, you will end up with a campaign lacking defeat. You then miss out on a lot of what the game has to offer in my opinion. If you're never on the back foot you won't find yourselves in those fun, intense situations where your squad is just scraping by, limping back to friendly territory with nothing but 2 guns and a hand grenade left between them. At the same time, you avoid the more common scenario which is the squad being wiped out in the space of one battle.

Now as to the suggestion as I made it back then. I think the concept is still worth discussing, even if its technical feasibility hasn't changed between now and three years ago. It'd require, yes, some kind of state between incapacitated and straight-up dead, unique to mercenaries. The idea would be that mercs can never die; Instead, they reach that "limbo" state, and the sector must be cleared of enemies for them to be brought out of this state. Entering this state could apply a permanent stat malus (that could be recuperated through training that stat back up). Otherwise, mechanically they'd behave the same as they do now regarding incapacitation.

Quote:
it makes absolutely no sense to give mercs an advantage like this. We can kill the enemy with one shot and our opponents can't? Why?

First off, this would be an option for the player to make the game more forgiving, and encourage full ironman mode playthroughs. But to answer the question, the AI isn't the one investing the time and energy into playing the game. JA2 can take a long time to fully complete, and it's hard to justify spending it in an experience that more often than not, ends up with you getting kicked while you're down. The nature of failure in JA2 (And many other games like it) is that of a negative feedback loop. Two mercs out of your six die in a battle. This leads to diminished survivability of the rest of the squad, increasing the likelihood that the squad will suffer more deaths. In the case you managed to avoid that, the fact still remains that of those who died, their characters, their skills and abilities are gone for the rest of the playthrough. This results in a diminished ability to secure the means to replace them and their gear in the metagame - let alone maintain what you're left with. Especially early game, it can be not only frustrating but crippling also to lose a single merc.

So, what would such a mechanic do for JA2?
First and most importantly, it would protect players from the frustration of insta-death. You can do everything right in combat and still lose someone to a single shot. Now that would still apply to the tactical situation; as far as that battle is concerned, that merc is dead for all intents and purposes. If you win the battle despite such casualties, you'd still need need to invest time and resources in the metagame to restore them (They could remain in this state for several in-game hours, days or weeks depending on the player's preference and/or severity of their injuries?). It also means that if your squad is wiped, it's not exactly game over. Since they can't die, losing a battle means you can still recover them because they've been captured as opposed to buried (Or left to decay in the sun as is the norm in Arulco) - assuming you have or can get anyone else to break them out.

In summary, it makes the game's difficulty more elastic. You can still suffer devastating losses on several levels, but never anything you can't recover from so long as you still have any mercs in play and/or the means/resources to recruit more.

Edit: It looks like I posted this thread in the wrong section when I first made it, feature requests would probably be more appropriate.

[Updated on: Fri, 14 September 2018 01:51]

Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #354868 is a reply to message #354865] Fri, 14 September 2018 02:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
crackwise

 
Messages:46
Registered:April 2013
I think Sevenfm has incorporated in the recent versions of his AI mod something similar. If I remember correctly, enemy single shots cannot kill mercenaries instantly, they can maximum deal a damage which incapacitates our guy. He explains it in detail in his version history on his google drive, you can check it out.
Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #354882 is a reply to message #354868] Fri, 14 September 2018 20:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
townltu

 
Messages:306
Registered:December 2017
Location: here
I'm glad sevenfm made it an optional switch, where is the thrill if sudden death is excluded,
JA2 is a strategy game which imo should penalize weak tactical approaches,
(and playstyle causing many casualties is weak for specific game if low loss IM runs @insane are doable)
so keep the game unforgiving, else it will become boring for players who want a challenge.
Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #354884 is a reply to message #354882] Fri, 14 September 2018 20:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1732
Registered:December 2012
Location: Soviet Russia
townltu wrote on Fri, 14 September 2018 22:29
I'm glad sevenfm made it an optional switch, where is the thrill if sudden death is excluded,
JA2 is a strategy game which imo should penalize weak tactical approaches,
(and playstyle causing many casualties is weak for specific game if low loss IM runs @insane are doable)
so keep the game unforgiving, else it will become boring for players who want a challenge.

In my implementation, merc can still die instantly if he receives critical hit (head/torso exploding) or simply too much damage (150-200 damage in a single shot or burst should be enough to kill).
But since players were still complaining about mercs not dying instantly often enough, it's optional now. Also, with this switch enabled, enemies will no longer ignore dying mercs. Have fun!



7609+fix | 7609+AI (r847) | 7609 unofficial modpack | Win8+ fix | Experimental project | Vengeance:Reloaded | Youtube

"It's already "dog-eat-dog", friend. Not sure what worse a bunch of zombies could do."


Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #354888 is a reply to message #354882] Fri, 14 September 2018 22:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Morbo513

 
Messages:47
Registered:February 2015
Location: West Yorkshire, United Ki...
townltu wrote on Fri, 14 September 2018 18:29
I'm glad sevenfm made it an optional switch, where is the thrill if sudden death is excluded,
JA2 is a strategy game which imo should penalize weak tactical approaches,
(and playstyle causing many casualties is weak for specific game if low loss IM runs @insane are doable)
so keep the game unforgiving, else it will become boring for players who want a challenge.

The "thrill" is in an incapacitated merc being tactically the same as a dead one - or even more punishing in that you now have to occupy another merc in preventing them from bleeding out. Now that's two guns down instead of just the one.
It encourages riskier play, the failure of which is just as - if not more - punishing in the tactical layer, but if you still succeed in the battle overall there's a better chance of coming out of it with everyone alive, therefore encouraging continued play past poor performances.

To relate it to the video I posted, it changes JA2's "Failure spectrum", adding several more degrees of failure between the squad taking no deaths and taking any casualties, and taking any casualties and the entire squad dying together. I imagine it will have those fights where because one guy went down, everyone else starts getting picked off too, result in the majority of them being taken captive because they were still alive but unconscious (With maybe a death here or there depending on how long the battle goes on for), as opposed to just straight up dying. It makes the game more elastic and interesting, because with a few exceptions, most of the time you'll be able to recover those losses and regain those characters instead of having to play on without them for the rest of the game. For that reason too, it encourages retreating early - You stupidly sent one guy too far forward and can't get to him without taking a huge risk, so now you're more often faced with the choice of taking that risk, or pulling the rest of your squad out so he's taken prisoner instead of bleeding out, and the rest of your squad retains the capacity to rescue him later. It also makes your strategic objectives more dynamic in rescuing your captive mercs and having that be a more likely occurrence. Don't get me wrong - a squad-wipe can still be practically game-over whether they're all dead or all captive, but it reduces the number of instances where that's the case.

Bottom line, it means you have to fail worse and more consistently to render a playthrough unsalvageable (reloading saves notwithstanding).

I've not played in a while and don't know how the last 1.13 version I played differs from 7609, but one thing I hope has been or can be resolved is captured mercs bleeding out. I'm not sure if it's something that happened specifically when the player initiates surrender, or if it's always behaved that way.

@sevenfm
After having played a couple battles with your sub-mod, I'd like to request an extension of this mechanic; Ideally imo, an incapacitated merc would remain as such for several turns after being treated, instead of getting back up almost immediately after. Also the battle that happened in, they stood up after being bandaged without the APs to go prone again which I find kinda silly, but I think that's normal JA2 behaviour. Is there any way that these can be changed? The two birds could be killed with one stone, assuming this plays well with how this stuff's coded: For X turns after a merc's health has been increased past (less than OKLIFE), force merc prone and AP 0.

[Updated on: Fri, 14 September 2018 22:11]

Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #354894 is a reply to message #354888] Sat, 15 September 2018 10:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ZedJA2

 
Messages:144
Registered:January 2018
I have nothing against Morbo513's suggestion, but I think that SevenFM's current options covers most of it. When I saw it, I immediately thought of it making the Mercs heroic, like in a movie, able to survive the last shot provided it is only a flesh wound, but otherwise a crit would take them out.

But, all of this depends on how committed you are to any mechanic. For example, if you have your Mercs harder to kill outright with one bullet, but able to be incapacitated and then imprisoned -- then you have to set your mindset to commit to such financial costs of an imprisoned Merc on the roster, and rescue missions (perhaps deciding how long you have after each capture to mount that mission).

Likewise, with the death at any time normal game, you have to commit to accepting the deaths and not go back to the last save.

But, for all practical purposes, I find it funny that people will argue a lot more about an option like SevenFM provides or Morbo513 wants, yet not put limits on how many IMPs they can have. Some will have only Mercs and no IMPs. Some have all IMPs and may produce 6. Some go with just 1 to represent their custom Merc, or be their avatar, or they leader hero. But in no way are those various uses of IMPs, in Ironman or otherwise, equal in difficulty for that campaign. It's patently ridiculous to worry about the chance to save someone and call that more unfair, while the same purist runs 6 IMPs, ups the initial funds to $100K in order to afford better Mercs, and increases Bobby Rays to Great Stuff, and Great Amount.

That may be a bit off topic, but sometimes I don't understand why some of the vets here act like they are purists when in reality they are just doing it the way they want. I used to laugh at all those purists who had to go Night Ops in regular JA2. That was, technically, scamming the system. Or they'd have to fire rounds off to attract the enemies to them. Sure legal, but you are scamming the A.I.

My point is, Morbo513's request, and SevenFM's options, actually institute an option that allows one to play it pure, but with that option. Since you decide for yourself if you are going to live with it or not.

Anyway, what is the point. I feel some of the vets here have an arrogance based on habit of doing it one way or the highway. Yet, there are other ways that can also be high roads. The key to it all, is committing before the campaign how you will deal with each scenario.

Guy gets incapacitated, if you commit to recovering him no matter what the cost, or realize he will be imprisoned, costing you his pay, costing you to mount a rescue mission, you are committed to a path just as rough and long-term as one where you let him die, and then just pony up the money for a replacement.

What really makes you "dat gud" is to change it up each campaign and then commit to doing it that way. Options are good. Thank God, SevenFM has the goods and the guts to creat that one. I'm enjoying being committed to avoiding critical hits but if a Merc dies to a crit hit, I'm going to accept it like a man, cuz he made them heroes, so they take it like heroes. Only fair. The other way they take it like Jack O'Lanterns, that's okay for my Halloween Campaign. LOL.
Re: "Forgiving" Merc Incapacitation mechanic[message #354898 is a reply to message #339659] Sat, 15 September 2018 15:04 Go to previous message
LatZee

 
Messages:100
Registered:December 2015
Considering that this option has been a part of standard 1.13 for just about a year now (http://thepit.ja-galaxy-forum.com/index.php?t=msg&th=20659&goto=351135&#msg_351135), all of this seems kinda unnecessary cheeky
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