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 Post subject: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:34 pm 
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Alright, so when CWT comes out, the idea is that it will be easy to mod; a balance tester's wet dream, so to speak. So that being said, I thought maybe we could throw out some ideas for making Tags and Forces more usable. To help illustrate the point, let me quickly recap how they affect the cartridge:

Tags
So what do they do to game balance? Well, maybe explaining where they fall on a tier list would let me explain that without a ten paragraph essay. Any Tag can be safely assumed to be about a tier and a half higher than its strongest component CO; so for example, any Tag with Grimm, a 3rd tier CO, can beat any 4th tier CO fairly easily, but not a 5th tier CO. They more-or-less follow the same rules of balance as single COs save for that one difference. I'm tempted to say that one difference is caused by the two-turn aspect of a Tag Break, but not every Tag actually uses this. (Kindle's Tags are a good example.) In those cases, it's the sheer frequency of CO power use that will do it, because if you switch COs right after firing COP or SCOP you eliminate post-power weakness. Since they don't introduce too many new rules, metagaming Tags is rather easy, if not terribly interesting.

Forces
These affect game balance a lot more than Tags do. Most Force combos will just give you a minor boost in power; a few are completely useless outside of the singleplayer modes. There are five in particular that, together especially, completely out-strip the rest. These are the four money skills and Soul of Hachi. The money skills by themselves bring most COs up to Colin's level or higher, but replacing Combat Pay with Soul of Hachi is even more powerful. Pairing the money skills with SoH is powerful enough to bring any CO, even Grit, up to, beyond, or at least very close to Hachi's level. These Forces mostly don't affect the overall playstyle of a CO and serve more as handicaps than anything else.

Change them, maybe?
So this is the part where y'all come in: In what way could Tags be changed to have a bigger affect on game balance? In what ways could Forces be changed so that they are not merely handicaps?

For Tags, I think we should come up with some ways to boost their power. I don't think any single CO should be able to beat any Tag, or at the very least not named Tags. Try coming up with the most overpowered solution you can think of that would keep Tags playable while also making them unbeatable to single COs. Perhaps a "Merge Power" that would merge the effect of both COs' SCOPs for a turn, or something.

For Forces, I think they should be able to significantly affect your play style. Soul of Hachi and Mistwalker already do this to a certain extent, especially in combination with other Forces. Should other Forces be like this? Should you just be able to equip one Force per CO rank, period? (Imagine the mayhem if you had every Force equipped to someone.) Most importantly, should there be other Forces like Mistwalker and SoH that add part of another CO's SCOP to your own? For example, a "Samurai Spirit" Force that gives doubled counterattacks, or a "Power of Money" Force that gives you more firepower for more funds in the bank. Perhaps the first two should be tweaked to give their source CO some benefit as well.

What do you guys think?

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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:16 pm 
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Well, I didn't have much to add to the tag argument. If you wanted to break them, you could have both the CO Power and CO Super ability go off during a Tag Power. The first CO will get a combined strike containing the combined attributes of their CO Power and Super, then it'll be followed by a second turn where the second CO would get a combined strike containing the attributes of his power and super. It'll suck for some CO's, but it'll work better for others. I think it'll push CO Tags to the edge that you are looking for.

As for Force Skills, I think that each CO should have an distinct Force Skill ability that affects the game like Mistwalker and Hachi's does. It might not stop the force ranks from being handicaps, but it'll make the selection more interesting. Another idea that I saw was negative force skills, and those might be cool to add more variety to the game itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:38 am 
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DS is characterised by stupidly fast Powers as a result from individually assigned, and disparate, unit charge values.

Before anything else, replicate the source material as close as possible, then make ALL the variables moddable.

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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:50 am 
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DiamondPheonix wrote:
DS is characterised by stupidly fast Powers as a result from individually assigned, and disparate, unit charge values.

Before anything else, replicate the source material as close as possible, then make ALL the variables moddable.

Thank you, this was extremely enlightening and really moved the discussion along. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:53 pm 
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Rest assured DP, I will make sure to have the original games functionality for AWDS and AWDoR in there and intact. This is just for future discussion of the modifications people might want.


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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:41 am 
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I REALLY like the idea of both SCOPs combined into one giant turn! But that'd be hard to execute with some combinations such as Eagle and Sami. Maybe making a specific SCOP/Tag editor would be an option here - getting to fully utilise Tags like Shaky Alliance in one turn is nice but if you could modify the values so it was something like + 7HP to your units, -3HP (or more) to opponents' units then that'll be pretty awesome (a bit busted if it was 4 or more HP though... But one turn instead of two is good enough)

Forces... Are interesting.
Copying each CO's unique trait of D2D/COP/SCOP as a force would be very interesting...
For instance, Soul of Andy could be +2HP or +5HP (3HP would be enough to keep it moderately balanced so Andy doesn't get completely free heals) but no extra power or movement would be nice while Soul of Sami would make you auto-capture in one turn (I don't want to see this on Sensei...).

Four Forces per CO seems excessive... Especially with Tags, you can combine this for eight. I think it'd be a good idea to go for a point system. Powerful forces are worth more points while fairly mediocre or useless ones are a lower cost. Abilities like the aforementioned Soul of Sami would be worth 100 points out of 100, while someone like say, Soul of Adder (+2 Movement) would be worth say, 50 points. Maybe making some forces cost differently to other COs too... (Soul of Sami + Sensei = 200 points or something).


Can there be a COP Tag instead of a SCOP Tag..? I think it'd be nice to have COP Tag to have the two turns with the weaker COPs while a SCOP tag would be a single turn with a combined and powered up SCOP. (Grizzly Vets... How to break that one even further..?!)


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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:57 am 
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I aim to please.

As for replicating the official games, that part should be easy. The hard part is making the system robust enough to accept whatever inane alterations players want to make. For example, adjusting stats is simple compared to replacing DS's Power system with DoR's or AW1's, or combining them into an unholy hodgepodge of debauchery. The latter reminds me: will the code be open to those more industrious with their customisation?

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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:58 pm 
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A noble, highly ambitious and very dedicated attitude you have there - I am worried that you may have set the bar exceptionally high for yourselves...
Even if you only perform but a fraction of the things you've proposed, I think it will be SO much more than many nay-sayers, pessimists and doubters would ever have been able to accomplish. Especially without due payment.

The fact that you (and your team) are working on this essentially for free already puts you high in my respect books - nor have you asked for donations either (to my knowledge). Nintendo would never do anything like this because they don't make games for gamers anymore (better save that rant for another time...).


I like the idea of burning down forests to clear pathways and such - it's a small but nice touch. Hopefully, the trees will burn for a day or two and units will be injured upon entering it or being in it if there is a wildfire kind of effect.


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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:17 am 
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One thing that kind of sucks about moderator powers is hitting "edit" when you meant to hit "quote." Fortunately my browser history saved the page, and so I was able to salvage his post.

JakeSamiRulz wrote:
Well, there is going to be officially 3 parts to the customization engine. It was divided up so that you guys can decide how much you want to change Custom Wars from the original game play. The more wild and crazy the customization, the harder it'll be for people to add it to the system. However, simple data changes, like changing unit damage, will be as easy as going to the unit file and changing it. Here are the customization options for the offline client.

User edits

These will be available to everyone right from the start (when game is officially released). The plan is...

- You can add unit, terrain, property, and CO files to the engine when the game is running.
- You can change existing units, terrain, property, and CO files.
- Of course, there will be a map editor and campaign editor for saving/loading maps/campaigns.
- You will also be able to save and load games. A replay mode is planned that will allow you to step through game saves.
- There will be other edits I will allow as Easter Eggs as well.

To settle online, we are going to have official unalterable files for online play. We are currently testing to see if it is possible for people to upload their own altered files to a database so you can play on the CW server with them. However, if that option is not possible, I will try to at least let people be able to play test their creations both offline and over LAN.

Modification Edits

These will be available for people who want greater control over how actions in the game are performed. They allow you to change the behavior of units, CO's, properties, and terrains much better than just simple data changes. The only drawback is that you are going to need to learn a little bit of scripting (or rules). (I'm going to try very hard to make it so you guys don't need to learn Javascript or Java to make these changes.)

This section is for those people who have CO powers that are a little bit out of the box. It is also for people who want to put a flamethrower effect in the game for units that destroys the forests. Here is the plan...

- Ability to alter the actions of units, terrain, CO's, properties, and game rules by using script.

Our goal for this section was to add flexibility. We wanted people to be able to add CO effects without having to come to us. However, the selection of effects you will be able to do will be limited. I've looked through the forums and gathered the ideas for abilities from them. For a list of abilities you guys would be able to add to your own creations, take a look at...

http://code.google.com/p/cwtactics/wiki/CommanderSyntax

New ones are going to be added as they are found, or you guys can write up new ones you think of in the ideas/suggestions section if you like.

Programming edits

If those two options are not sufficient, then I believe that you guys are the ones who need to help us design the game better. Therefore, this entire project is open source and editable by anyone who wants to improve on the design. This project uses GitHub, which is a repository that allows you to see all the real time edits we are doing to the code. All changes to the code can be tracked here...

https://github.com/ctomni231/cwtactics

The good news about Github is that people just need to create an account (free) and fork the repository in order to create a new, or updated version of the code. It doesn't even need my permission. I'd recommend that you guys learn Java and Javascript before venturing into that realm. We did try very hard to document everything we did so programmers and users alike can read files and know how they relate to the entire program.

Conclusion

I hope that these three levels of customization would help people design their own CW modifications easier. However, the levels are just prototype for now until the distinction becomes more clear with testing. At the moment, my team is working to keep the game fast and robust enough to handle the amount of data that will be streaming through daily. Customization can be very expensive, and I don't want anyone to have a crappy experience.

I encourage anyone who wants to make this project better step forward. There is always people who are thinking the same way that fail to say anything at all.


Anyway, I was going to say that resolving compatibility issues might best be done by having players sync up their game files, hosting a game, and having other people join manually by entering the IP address of the host.

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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:16 am 
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What if forces also had some penalties?

For example if you want to use a force to buff CO's ability, something else would be decreased.


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 Post subject: Re: Drumming up activity... Let's talk Tags and Forces
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:49 pm 
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Cagesrry wrote:
What if forces also had some penalties?

For example if you want to use a force to buff CO's ability, something else would be decreased.

That's been bandied about a bit, actually. Xen over on Wars World News made a hack that turned all of the forces into debuffs. Having some of those would certainly help with evening out the tiers so you can have a mismatched battle still be fair.

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~SF Debris, on Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

"It's like they took everything you shouldn't put into a movie... and made a show out of it."
~JakeSamiRulz, on Boku no Pico.

My blog.
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