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Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336892] Tue, 21 October 2014 15:27 Go to next message
Ablomis is currently offline Ablomis

 
Messages:34
Registered:July 2014
While playing JA 2 once again, i understood that in the context of tactics:
- the game simulates well open-terrain battles (with scopes etc.)
- it is not as good at simulating CQB battles

Partially it is due several things:
- gaps in interrupt system (the concept sounds good but it has its own gaps)
- inability to reproduce CQB tactics in turn-based game, e.g. surprise, speed, violence of action.

Basically often there is no valid tactical solution for some situations (except for nades spamming, which is not a viable option considering the amount of rooms in the game).

What do you think guys?

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Private 1st Class
Re: Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336896] Tue, 21 October 2014 16:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Deleted.

 
Messages:2663
Registered:December 2012
Location: Russian Federation
My thoughts on tactics in ja2 1.13

The AI cannot fight against opponents he does not see them currently, so in the open terrain the sniper squad with good optics will not leave AI any chance. Also the AI cannot use binocs for recon, and he will not try to approach the source of noise crawling and hiding, instead it will run to you and die.

One good solution I often use is increasing view range to smth like 18-20 and disabling view bonuses from scopes, leaving only binocs for recon. Also good approach for binocs is making them guns, like in aimnas mod, so that they require additional APs when raising.

Also interrupt system is not well balanced, for example you will receive interrupt on sight, but if you already seen this enemy, he can run in front you safely. Another not good thing is that you always receive all your AP in interrupt instead of getting only small amount, so you can only take cover or shoot prepared shot.
One possible solution to this is limiting APs for interrupt and implementing something called "reaction fire", when you will automatically shoot at watched enemy or selected tile if certain conditions met, for example similar system was in Incubation game. But that requres some coding.
Yes, there is thing called IIS, but it's much more complicated than stock system and it also has it's own flaws.

Another thing that can be improved is current suppression system.
There are the following problems:
First, the suppression tolerance is calculated as level*2 + modifiers, it usually means that when you land in omerta, your merc will have smth like 1-3 tolerance, and enemy has 15-18 tolerance level, making the whole suppression thing to work mostly against you.
Also, due to the way NEARBY_FRIENDLIES_AFFECT_TOLERANCE option implemented and the fact that you are nearly always outnumbered by enemies 3-4 times and more, you will usually have much lower suppression tolerance than enemy. So I disable this option in my games.
Another not good thing is that cowering level is tied to the current suppression tolerance, so your starting character will not only take more shock and lose APs, but also he will become cowering from 1-2 bullets. It would be good to set cowering level to smth like MAX_SHOCK/2, so with default values it will be 15(+modifiers) for all soldiers, making suppression system more balanced.
Also it would be good to add some AI effects for suppression, but is all again requires coding.
As for current implementation, i use the following options for better balancing of system:
SUPPRESSION_EFFECTIVENESS               = 120
SUPPRESSION_SHOCK_INTENSITY             = 100
MAX_SUPPRESSION_SHOCK 					= 20
SUPPRESSION_TOLERANCE_MAX 				= 15
SUPPRESSION_TOLERANCE_MIN 				= 5
NEARBY_FRIENDLIES_AFFECT_TOLERANCE 		= FALSE
CTH_PENALTY_PER_TARGET_SHOCK 			= 1
MAX_CTH_PENALTY_FOR_TARGET_SHOCK 		= 10
MAX_CTH_PENALTY_FROM_SHOCK 				= 50
SHOCK_REDUCES_SIGHTRANGE 				= 0
COWERING_PENALTY_TO_SUPPRESSION_TOLERANCE = 1
AI_SUPPRESS_MIN_MAG_SIZE 				= 20
AI_SUPPRESS_MIN_AMMO_REMAINING 			= 10
NOTIFY_WHEN_PINNED_DOWN 				= FALSE
MIN_DISTANCE_FRIENDLY_SUPPRESSION 		= 30

I also alter APBPConstants in the following way for more dynamic playing (no full suppression from one shot)
AP_MAX_SUPPRESSED 	=  16
AP_MIN_LIMIT 		= -20
AP_GET_WOUNDED_DIVISOR = 4

unfortunately, most of the tactical gameplay problems (except some mentioned options changes and possible game mechanics improvements) have their source in limited AI, that wasnt changed much since old 2085 release.

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Lieutenant

Re: Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336929] Tue, 21 October 2014 23:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ablomis is currently offline Ablomis

 
Messages:34
Registered:July 2014
The "randomness" of interrupts makes it more a guessing game rather than a planning game.

I know, it is hard to code it, but basically the whole idea of the interrupt is:
I have quicker reaction than you so i will act faster.

For example, i would make a 100% interrupt on move when the target is visible:
e.g. you can't walk into a room, shoot and say "wow i don't like this" and move away. If you decide to make entry - you make entry with several people to make sure you have firepower advantage.

In real life if you are under fire and try to run away you will be shot at.
__________________________________________________________________________

Basically i believe that 1.13 developers although doing an outstanding job are falling into the pitfall of realism: as you make thing "real" you begin to make them unmanageable in terms of gameplay.
Example:
shooting accuracy is affected by dexterity, wisdom, marksmanship and sometimes strength. Makes sense? Absolutely! But isn't marksmanship is an "abstract" parameter that we use to measure if the person shoot accurately or not? How do i compare 2 mercs then? Using formulas?

[Updated on: Tue, 21 October 2014 23:24] by Moderator

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Private 1st Class
Re: Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336932] Tue, 21 October 2014 23:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Deleted.

 
Messages:2663
Registered:December 2012
Location: Russian Federation
One thing that can partially remove "randomness" from interrupts is the simple feature that can allow soldier to watch for certain tile, and if somebody will move onto that tile, the "watcher" will receive a bonus for his "interrupt duel points".
There is already a variable in the code that stores the last tile a merc was shooting at, and long time ago (in 2085 release) it was possible to set this tile with "L" key.
So I think this tile variable can be used not only for cth boost, but also for interrupt duel points boost, giving, for example, +1 level.

This can also be extended to "watch on enemy soldier", so if he moves closer or simply stands up you will have a chance to shoot or suppress him.

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Lieutenant

Re: Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336949] Wed, 22 October 2014 01:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
grim is currently offline grim

 
Messages:344
Registered:July 2006
Location: France
@Sevenfm
Interesting input, nice to read.

@Ablomis
Concerning marksmanship, i had similar concerns some time ago. In NCTH, it's become more "knowledge of how to shoot a firearm" actually. A gun enthousiast may know everything of weapons and how to shoot them, yet, if he has shaking hand (dex), a disability to anticipate (wis), or is feeble so can't handle the recoil (Str), he won't be accurate at shooting.
To compare several mercs you have to compare all those stats and choose what type of shooter you want, as those stats don't work on the same part of shooting process. It may be hard but i think it's interesting and gives even more uniqueness to each merc. By the way, many game mechanics were very obscure in JA2. One part of the fun was discovering them and trying to understand the underlying system.

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Master Sergeant
Re: Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336975] Wed, 22 October 2014 14:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Cardinal is currently offline Cardinal

 
Messages:45
Registered:September 2014
I asked a similar question regarding MRK stat importance in another thread.

My main issue is that dexterity wasn't originally meant to represent "shaking hands" when calculating cht, at least not to this extent.
I think that instead of making mercs more unique it actually waters them down, and contradicts original merc designs.

A couple examples:

Old system
Ira - good dex - good at "menial" assignments i.e. medic, low mrk - terrible shot
Hitman - bad dex - bad at menial assignments, high mrk - good early game shooter

Two completely different roles

In NCTH they are both mediocre shooters, and Ira becomes a better marksman a lot faster. (Ok, Hitman got the deputy trait but still)

Razor - his high dex meant he was great at melee, but a terrible shot with 50 mrk.
Steroid - low dex means he's a somewhat slow mechanic, high mrk - good shooter.

In NCTH they're both mediocre shooters, with razor becoming a better marksman faster than his original role intended.

NCTH reduces the difference between early game good and bad shooters, making them all mediocre and puts more emphasis on the physical stats than was originally intended, imho.

[Updated on: Wed, 22 October 2014 14:55] by Moderator

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Corporal
Re: Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336978] Wed, 22 October 2014 15:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
grim is currently offline grim

 
Messages:344
Registered:July 2006
Location: France
True.
Good thing with NCTH is you can change stat influence on calculation. You can keep only MRK effective to restore the original merc design.

[Updated on: Wed, 22 October 2014 15:43] by Moderator

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Master Sergeant
Re: Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336979] Wed, 22 October 2014 15:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2793
Registered:May 2009
Two things that come to mind while reading these posts:

1. In a turn based game it is hard to simulate interrupts. Basically all actions of mercs, soldiers, militia, civilians are supposed to happen at the same time but in reality we use turns. We move a merc from A to B while the enemy moves a soldier from C to D, fires a shot and goes back to C.
We might get the impression "Hey, I was waiting at B. Why couldn't I fire back?". Actually we were doing something else at that time.
The new interrupt system tries to take care of some of the issues, for example check how long we have been watching someone. It's not perfect but I still like it and use it.

2. If you feel that marksmanship should play a bigger role in shooting you can easily modify the values in CTHConstants.ini.

There is a basic CTH for the calculation which represents the part of getting the weapon as fast and accurate as possible in the direction of the target. Experience plays the biggest role here.
BASE_EXP = 3.0
BASE_MARKS = 1.0
BASE_WIS = 1.0
BASE_DEX = 1.0

And then there is the aiming part which relies mainly on marksmanship and to a good a mount on dexterity.
AIM_EXP = 1.0
AIM_MARKS = 3.0
AIM_WIS = 1.0
AIM_DEX = 2.0

So if you want marksmanship to play an even bigger role you could set it to 4.0 and leave the rest where it is or even lower the value for dexterity. Values can go from 0.0 to 100.0. Don't set them all to 0.0. Wink

Btw. using all these attributes really makes sense in my opinion. Combat is not a shooting range and though someone may be a good shooter on the shooting range he can be very ineffective in combat because of a lack of experience and wits.

[Updated on: Wed, 22 October 2014 15:50] by Moderator

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Lieutenant
Re: Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336986] Wed, 22 October 2014 18:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Cardinal is currently offline Cardinal

 
Messages:45
Registered:September 2014
silversurfer

2. If you feel that marksmanship should play a bigger role in shooting you can easily modify the values in CTHConstants.ini.


I did modify them, but my concern is if it affects enemies and militia. I dont know how their stats are generated, so if the physical stats are favored over skills
increasing the importance of MRK would make them less effective.

That's assuming the NCTH calculation applies to them aswell.

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Corporal
Re: Gaps in Tactics gameplay[message #336990] Wed, 22 October 2014 19:57 Go to previous message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2793
Registered:May 2009
Yes, the AI uses the same function to calculate CTH.

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Lieutenant
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