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  • Game mechanic points I dislike, feedback for the devs. Gameplay mechanic spoilers.

    ​No story spoilers but a few game mechanic points I dis not like. Don't read if you don't want to know about basic gameplay mechanics.

    I posted this on the homeworld3 facebook channel but it was suggested instead I should do it here.

    With the greatest of respect please consider the below. It's a bit of a mish mash but hopefully it is useful. Basically I liked the story and units but not the gameplay mechanics and wanted to give feedback.

    A) Some vehicle special abilities. 20 seconds for something that would seem natural for instance.
    B) Sometimes vehicles seem to fire through each other
    C) No sub systems to target
    D) No ability to queue research that I saw.
    No ability to queue fleet production to the extent it was in homeworld 1. Fleet capacity modules? What.
    E) Population module... Yuk
    F) Still using health bars.
    G) Formations. Still trying to make cohesive fleet formations that allow movement without blobbing
    G) Graphics.... Nice and stylised but nothing to write home about.

    You could really tell that some coh and Dow people were on the project.
    Apart from these few things I loved it. But don't think I would play it if it was not homeworld. Much better land rts systems and more realistic land systems out there.

    Ever played men of war 2, call to arms, physics in that are amazing. Ever played starshatter the gathering storm, combat mission shock force, wargame European escalation or red dragon, theatre of war, I could go on. Basically these all bring very detailed damage, moral and even terran interaction mechanics. They have proper damage models that have physics tied in. Even company of heroes and dawn of war 2 have this to some degree. Systems get knocked out, men run, upgrades are physically shown etc. Land based rts games have come a long way. Vehicles especially in the small numbers they are in in dok are very much more complex. Games that still use health bars are usually the games with massive unit numbers where there is little micro and more strategy. Like supcom or sins of a solar. Where other features are very advanced. But homeworld was always about unit character for me and 3d... 3d was the big thing that separated hw for me from the other 2d rif raff. How does dok have point of difference? Just art and story really. But hw har sub systems which was advanced for its time and provided a way to really affect units and gameplay and 3d which provided a feature that was needed for space and for its time was also far advanced. What has dok got as a point of difference from todays land based rts games?

    I don't need health bars to dissappear completely or at all. Maybe just more complex for larger craft. Or subsystems. Targeting computers getting knocked out or crew shock or crew killed due to shock of shell or even odds of armour bounc in shells off etc.

    I think red dragon and many others also had terrain that changes speed and bogs you etc. Dok has this to a small degree Here is red dragons vehicle stats example to give you an idea how far dok mechanics are from the mark. No supply mechanic... Unlimited ammo. No moral. No chance to miss,. By health bar I generally mean its a shallow and simple as a health bar with no other mechanic at work. Can still have a health bar. Type of optics etc.

    but from my perspective homeworld should stat at the top of its class for complexity and innovation as was the case with homeworld when it came out. Believe me I am not the first of my friends to say they are disappointed with the mechanics being the same as 1990s.

    I was hoping for so much more and really wonder what this means for hw3 and the long term multiplayer replayability of dok next to games like ashes of singularity.

    I guess I just felt like I was playing Command and Conquer or Dark Reign from the 90s. When homeworld was a first step out of that RTS cookie cutter stage to something more real and wargame like. But instead they regressed imho. Not that its not enjoyable. But it's cute nostalgia rather than a serious game. I don't think multiplayer will last long. Just one mans honest opinion. Trust me, other games I am really happy with, I am not always like this. But when you have homeworld as a base you expect a lot. For example I am a big fan of naval action, it's doing things in a new and realistic way while allowing learning and history's richness to permeate as well as being fun.

    Just tried 15mins of single player skirmish before work. NO save button and what is with the seemingly tacked on static population modules. Not very military or in the spirit of a mobile fleet.

    I like BBI by the way. They have done nothing wrong. Game is solid and works. It's just that imho it's a little on the bland simplistic non-innovative side when it comes to mechanics. Some of the stuff that could have been innovative became simple "coh2 or dow2" style skill buttons... abstract and really just cop outs instead of real mechanics. I mean really, an ability with a 20 second window that allows the raising of turrets for indirect fire? WTF. It's like some of the focus was on making stuff up, rather than making a system that was believable and useful... most things are good but some just seem to be in for the hell of it. Like coh and dow you just expect outlandish magical abilities.

    P.S. Where is the community congregating for homeworld and DOK these days? The gearbox forums are the first to come up and they look dreadful, then you have steam and I guess the old relic forums.

  • #2
    Oh and can somebody explain to me why the high ground is an advantage? Is there some sort of strange physics trick on this planet? I mean I can understand it when we were using spear and shield but these weapons I imagine would be powerful no matter where they are fired from. Is it a damage bonus they get?

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Destraex! Thanks for such detailed and thought-out feedback! The community is pretty spread out at the moment, but this is the best spot to deliver feedback that you want us at BBI to read.
      We debated many, many different gameplay systems during development. As is always the case, it can be difficult to nail down the level of detail in the simulation, how much you choose to represent vs. abstract, etc. In many ways you're correct about incorporating elements of abstracted gameplay as seen in games like CoH, DoW and Starcraft. At the same time, we have many systems in place which fall in line with more realistic games like Wargame (such as our accuracy model where units lose accuracy over distance, and vehicle movement, for example). We intentionally wanted to land somewhere in the middle, and it was often difficult to chose which systems would and would-not be part of the final product.

      For reference, here is an image we used internally to guide gameplay design, relative to comparable titles.



      Ultimately, a variety of factors drove these decisions, ranging from design intent to production realities (such as budget / time). That all said, the future of DoK is bright! Reception has been strong, and we now have the chance to revisit all the things we simply couldn't do previously, or re-evaluate some of the decisions we did make, based on the feedback from our Players.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Destraex View Post
        Oh and can somebody explain to me why the high ground is an advantage? Is it a damage bonus they get?
        ​While the game adds a damage amplifier to units on higher ground, a unit on higher ground gets to choose which side of the hill/dune to be on.

        Originally posted by BBI-ekhudson View Post
        For reference, here is an image we used internally to guide gameplay design, relative to comparable titles.
        I'd actually put the whole franchise horizontally close to StarCraft. My tactical reference would be League of legends, and for strategy, ​Sudden Strike: https://youtu.be/cqHhYpdNeYo?t=1421

        I haven't been in the RTS community for quite a while so my views on them are a bit out-dated.
        Last edited by MufriDer; 27-01-2016, 04:01 PM.

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        • #5
          I agree with D) RESEARCH QUE and E) Population Modules. The rest of your points seem irrelevant to the type of game that was created (IMO).

          Population modules should be more expensive and great more population. It's annoying/serves no function to spam population modules around your CV.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by HW Plainview View Post
            I agree with D) RESEARCH QUE and E) Population Modules. The rest of your points seem irrelevant to the type of game that was created (IMO).

            Population modules should be more expensive and great more population. It's annoying/serves no function to spam population modules around your CV.
            I can see why both of these things are the way they are. If you look at nearly all the design decisions around MP, it's all built around the concept of faster and more competitive MP. This means the more skill based components you can add (to a point I'm sure) the more competitive. Protecting pop modules / managing pop research / managing research queues all play into this more skill heavy aspect of the design. Additionally more control over your resources is also important considering the time aspect they are focusing on as well, trying to keep the MP games between 15-30min.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ForceUser View Post
              I can see why both of these things are the way they are. If you look at nearly all the design decisions around MP, it's all built around the concept of faster and more competitive MP. This means the more skill based components you can add (to a point I'm sure) the more competitive. Protecting pop modules / managing pop research / managing research queues all play into this more skill heavy aspect of the design. Additionally more control over your resources is also important considering the time aspect they are focusing on as well, trying to keep the MP games between 15-30min.
              Also, considering the lack of flux-economy elements to the production/research aspects of the gameplay, an actual research queue would be nearly unusable considering the resource requirements of the research items- depending on resourcing situations, you might barely have enough resources for one item, let alone two or three. If, perhaps, the game actually drained CUs and RUs gradually while construction is completed and research is conducted (flux economy on the resource drain side, like the original Homeworld games), THEN a more extensive queue mechanic would be actually useful. Instead we're left with each construction or research project consuming the resources instantaneously on ordering it, like some generic RTS (the same shameful devolution happened with Supreme Commander 2 - a grand macro-strategy laid low by mainstreamification).

              As for the idea of 'spamming population modules'... An important aspect of the Logistics Modules is the fact they're also Scanners- they're intelligence-gathering deployables you can use for their vision/sensor range as well as their population/logistic limit expansion attributes. I have grown accustomed to using them as early-warning sensors placed around my carrier (at the extreme edge of the deploy ability's range, not right next to the carrier) while it's power capacity is still relatively low and insufficient for it to supply the sensors data itself with Range power while defending itself and its surroundings. The Gaalsien don't have this sort of awareness advantage, and they desperately need sensors coverage to truly take advantage of their prolific railgun usage.

              However, I certainly agree that there needs to be more population capacity as a whole- either through more of them or greater per-module capacity bonus. Either way, an ability to specify whether you want to be able to use larger fleets should be there, as with the previous Homeworld games.
              Originally posted by MufriDer View Post

              ​While the game adds a damage amplifier to units on higher ground, a unit on higher ground gets to choose which side of the hill/dune to be on.



              I'd actually put the whole franchise horizontally close to StarCraft. My tactical reference would be League of legends, and for strategy, ​Sudden Strike: https://youtu.be/cqHhYpdNeYo?t=1421

              I haven't been in the RTS community for quite a while so my views on them are a bit out-dated.
              I feel like mentioning League of Legends in a discussion about RTS is like talking about R-Type in a discussion about flight simulators. It bears more similarities to the Diablo series and Diablo-clones than strategy games, regardless of the fact its genre is based on a 'mod' of an RTS. And Diablo and games like it are better-built for the task, anyway.
              Last edited by Stormhawk; 27-01-2016, 11:43 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Stormhawk View Post
                I feel like mentioning League of Legends in a discussion about RTS is like ...
                ​What I meant by that is how one extreme (of tactics vs strategy) would be the way that League of Legends is entirely focused on the tactics of one unit per player.
                Last edited by MufriDer; 28-01-2016, 02:04 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Destraex View Post
                  Oh and can somebody explain to me why the high ground is an advantage? Is there some sort of strange physics trick on this planet? I mean I can understand it when we were using spear and shield but these weapons I imagine would be powerful no matter where they are fired from. Is it a damage bonus they get?
                  That one is actually pretty easy.

                  Most vehicles in real-life are actually most thinly armored on the top than anywhere else. Even some of the heaviest battletanks of today are so thinly armored on the top(and have no choices due to weight constraint forcing to weaken the armor elsewhere is trying to adress this) that aircrafts using much lighter anti-armor cannons than those fitted on the actual tank themselves can still go through it like it was tissue paper.

                  To not mention other advantages like the angle you can put your vehicle in from the top of a dune(as opposed to the vertical gun movement lower targets might get when they try to aim up at the enemy ontop of these massive dunes), the vision advantage you get and etc.
                  Plus, a vehicle at the top of a dune can easily reverse back into the other side to avoid the counter-attack(and in fact a RL tank tactic was to use elevations in the ground to go "hull down" such that the body of the tank was hidden such only the more armored turret stood out to shoot back at opponent. Retreating like that is really not far from that or even other stuff performed in RL armor maneuver).

                  This is really not the most far-fetched of bonuses to give in a game.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In game the height advantage plays out as a general bonus, which works well enough.
                    Personally I'd like to have seen more emphasis on positional gameplay (flanking and striking from behind) with unit directional armor values (front/back/left/right/top) and terrain/slope based travelspeed differentiation, but alas that's not to be Perhaps it doesn't suit the faster and less strategic gameplay profile BBI set for DoK.

                    In the BBI AMA on Reddit Rory mentioned they were at one point temped to try implementing a line-of-sight based unit awareness system, instead of the current omnidirectional viewing range that doesn't take terrain into account.
                    It would've been very cool if they managed to pull that off, but technical limitations forced them to abadon such a system. I really hope they will reconsider it for future title though. Or have modders take a stab at it.

                    With the current height mechanic, positional play is relatively one dimensional, in that superior relative height relates to an attack bonus. Given that most units have relatively fast rotating turrets.
                    Of course the current height system itself is very well done and pretty intuitively conveyed via the movement disc's and Sensor Manager's contour lines, but it's biggest weakness is that there aren't trade offs at play.

                    It would've been interesting if having the high/low ground doesn't relate to an absolute (dis)advantage. If a terrain based awareness system and speed system was used next to the current attack bonus, then there would be different tactical considerations at play. Using valleys to conceal a flanking manoeuver (running the risk of being pounced) and being able to barrel down a slope in a cavalry charge, but being easily spotted from afar.
                    I think any gameplay mechanic benefits hugely from a rock/paper/scissors trade off element instead of a one dimensional advantage-disadvantage system, be it either unit behaviour, techtree composition or map environment.

                    Question for modders and devs:
                    Can't the current LoS system be adapted or used also to generate terrain dependant unit awareness mapping?
                    Last edited by TWV; 28-01-2016, 01:00 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Actually, something often overlooked is that low ground can be itself an advantage at times. You might get a damage bonus on the top of those dunes, but that's still assuming you get line of fire.

                      Someone getting in the low ground behind a dune can still thus protect themselves from units stationed on the -other- dune close by. It's definitively something I used at times during the campaign, using dunes not only to get bonus damages but also to hide in the low-ground behind them to recover.

                      During "hit-and-run" tactics experimentations in MP, I've thus often made use of low grounds between dunes as a place to hide in when experimenting with the self-repair ability of Sandskimmers. Doing a small raid, dishing damages, then retreating as soon as it was possible to disengage without losses to find some place to hide my units to self-repair.
                      It was crude, as I lacked experience and I was starting out, but I still had some interesting results in term of survivability and even getting unit veterancy(damaging/killing some of enemy Coalition units forced to operate away from support cruisers, while slowly racking up veterancy every from the multiple encounters without losses even when I didn't fully annihilate the enemy. All while slowly building up new sandskimmers).

                      At some point I should try to experiment with the idea of deploying sandskimmer in separate groups(probing the enemy on different flanks) rather than just as one huge blob by toying with those terrain elevation and hit and run tactics.
                      .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Using the LoS system to cover behind a ridge is indeed a very useful tactic. However it doesn't factor in with detection range, so you're still visible to the enemy and vice versa.
                        Sometimes this leads to situations were units (usually railguns) are trying to hit enemies that are just beyond line of sight.

                        Btw, the ricochet effects are pretty neat.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          During the campaign, I loved to deploy in defensive(or "offensive frontline", when on the actual offensive) positions with Assault and/or Rail units deployed on the very tip of a dune, with supposed cruiser(s) just on the other side.

                          This led to situations where, if soaking up an enemy offensive or counter attach, my units where being repaired by the support cruisers who themselves never were exposed to enemy gunfire.
                          If an unit would ever get too damage, it would be easily retreated back behind the dune. I thus favored a "convoy" type of formation throughout the campaign where units would move as one large convoy ready to be spread out as described about on a moment notice to crush encountered enemies or counter attacks before resuming convoy formation.

                          As the Coalition this was generally a group of solid Armored Assault Vehicles(later supported by battle cruisers in the same unit) at the front. Then a "support group" of varying composition(but generally support cruisers and AntiAir units, later supported with artillery and captured Production Cruisers) was set to follow them in the rear using a "follow" order.

                          Finally, my LAVs and Railguns would be set to guard this "Support Core" by being ordered to follow the most critical units of it(generally support cruisers) by which point they'd deploy automatically in a circle formation around the unit in a way reminescents of the sphere formations of HW1(but without actually having to fiddle with actualy stance/formations commands). Sometimes, AA units were deployed around units of the support core in a similar fashion.

                          The result was that by just ordering the lone AAVs units at the front to move, this whole thing would move up as one united convoy that was always ready to be deployed into battle lines at a moment notices. Armor at the front, then railguns. Then the support units were split with artillery and AA in the rear and Support cruisers moved just behind armor.
                          Finally LAVs were kept as a "free agent" ready to move on an enemy flank(using the terrain to avoid line of fire) or just speed through their ranks(using the LAVs' speed burst ability) to immediately hit at enemy rails behind the enemy defense lines while the rest of the force plowed the front.
                          LAV mobility would then be used to redeploy them behind the safety of the battle lines for repairs or resupplying lost units.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LMercier View Post

                            That one is actually pretty easy.

                            Most vehicles in real-life are actually most thinly armored on the top than anywhere else. Even some of the heaviest battletanks of today are so thinly armored on the top(and have no choices due to weight constraint forcing to weaken the armor elsewhere is trying to adress this) that aircrafts using much lighter anti-armor cannons than those fitted on the actual tank themselves can still go through it like it was tissue paper.

                            To not mention other advantages like the angle you can put your vehicle in from the top of a dune(as opposed to the vertical gun movement lower targets might get when they try to aim up at the enemy ontop of these massive dunes), the vision advantage you get and etc.
                            Plus, a vehicle at the top of a dune can easily reverse back into the other side to avoid the counter-attack(and in fact a RL tank tactic was to use elevations in the ground to go "hull down" such that the body of the tank was hidden such only the more armored turret stood out to shoot back at opponent. Retreating like that is really not far from that or even other stuff performed in RL armor maneuver).

                            This is really not the most far-fetched of bonuses to give in a game.

                            To be at the top of a dune to me offers these disadvantages and is why it makes little sense to me:
                            I) The angle for top armour hits is extreme and would not be exposed my cresting a dune in most cases unless the enemy was directly below and the dune extremely steep. Top armour hits are much better off done with specialised weapons like javelin missile systems of today.
                            ii) Silhouette - every enemy can see and attack you clearly and more easily from 360 degrees in a lot of cases.
                            iii) Thin belly armour potentially exposed. Just as top armour is thin belly armour is also thin.
                            iv) To fire down on top armour your angle would be such that you yourself expose your top armour. Think looking down at the enemy without a hat.
                            v) presumably the weapons they are using do not need a gravity advantage as direct fire weapons in the game all seem to fire on a perfectly flat trajectory.

                            So I am still confused as to why a little plus sign gives me a magical high ground advantage. Perhaps a sight advantage but not an armoured one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Some of the bonuses are abstracted somewhat since not ever real world advantage of high ground can be accurately simulated. For example the damage bonus is not only there to simulate the advantage of firing into the less armored top of enemy vehicles but also to simulate the information advantage of being able to see and more accurately aim weapons into vulnerable targets. The defense bonus is to simulate the advantage you would have defensively with regards to being able to more clearly see what an enemy formation is doing as a whole whereas your own formation and/or movements are much easier to be obfuscated or concealed. Also, unless you are right on the exact ridge line, you actually present a far smaller silhouette than anything below you.

                              Some of the advantages of high ground, or rather the exact topography of the terrain is a lot easier to more directly showcase, like ducking behind a hill to avoid incoming fire, to have indirect fire units hide behind the safety of a dune or cliff, etc. Other less tangible but as demonstrated in real life no less effective advantages need to be simulated in a more abstract way since this isn't a 1:1 real life simulation.

                              High ground, while perhaps slightly less important in modern direct warfare, has been recognized as being at the very least advantageous in most circumstances for over 2000 years.

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