Combat pass opinions

First a small aside;
What really drew me to this game was its similarity to dwarf fortress. I love games where you can designate work that needs to be done, and then just sit back and watch the denizens of your town go to work building and enjoying all you’ve set out for them. That being said, I’m also a sucker for pure RTS games (though I’m admittedly worse at them than I’d like to be), selecting units, gathering resources, and building up an army based on research trees in matches that span 1-2 hours appeals to me as well.

However, when mixed together, this can lead to dangerously clunky situations. That’s what I think of the initial combat pass of Stonehearth. Fun, but frustratingly clunky. It takes the RTS approach to commanding troops, which is fine in an RTS game, but Stonehearth must integrate these troops with the “set it and forget it” method the game currently employs for all other job management.

As a result I’ve had troops try to run and sleep when fighting, causing them to back-stagger and take more hits than necessary. Whenever I try to move a unit out of the way of danger, they’ll simply run full speed back to their deaths. Whenever I set a unit to “guard”, they’ll promptly abandon their post and sprint at the nearest enemy despite their current health.

Personally I feel like the method of military control is disconnected from the style and feel of the rest of the game. I’d much prefer a much broader approach to military, the ability to say “group A, fight here.”, pray I’m prepared enough, and watch have the troops respond somewhat intelligently (run away when low health, gang up on dangerous enemies, etc). In my opinion this feels much more in line with the goal oriented style of the game as it currently lies. Trying to control individual units that just end up doing whatever they’re behaviors are set to is frustrating, especially when high level military units die. I’d prefer to watch combat happen as I might watch the Hearthlings building a building, instead of losing a fight because I stopped paying attention to my archer for 2-3 seconds as he runs face-first into a group of kobold wolves.

What are some other thoughts? Do some agree? Some disagree? I’d love to hear what others think on this subject.


I agree that the combat controls are clunky. Micro is almost entirely focus firing on particular targets and juggling the move command to keep wounded out of the fight. It feels necessary since you have the option and it protects your hearth-lings. It also means a lot of pausing if you want to do your best, only trivial combat can be played through at normal speed. Real Time Strategy games are played in Real Time after all, if you could pause and command units in Starcraft you’d never lose a campaign mission - but you’d spend most of your time doing tedious micro.

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That actual premises I look at is the fact you can technically set and forget, as long it is not on hard mode and you have been keep equipment and other colony management things in check.

I find the only times I have to micro manage combat is when my defense force is not ready for new combatants that come out of the wood works. Then with an apt upgrade, addition, or preparation it can go back to set and forget with very minimum micro needed.

Really the only attention that is needed is when something is under developed or under skilled; and possibly when needing certain resources.

One can effectively stop citizens from coming in so quickly so that the combatants won’t get overwhelmed.

There are groups, in fact 4 parties that you can divide your forces into, if you want micro a bit; or at least have a certain amount of forces split up between different parties.

What I do agree with, like probably many do; is them acting as a party. This is just another step forward with combat with this update. I like the improvements to the combat itself. Hearthling behavior is a whole other matter, that in a way is not just combat affecting; which means not just combat. It is overall behavior that does need a bit of tuning.

Certain things shouldn’t really happen while in combat, but I have not experienced a combatant wanting to retreat to bed in the middle of it; at least not yet. I am still early game, as I turtle my way through it all; managing how many citizens I actually have does impact to a degree what my troops would have to fact. I don’t build up numbers quickly.

Also note I take my time with things, and only pay attention when someone is in trouble, or close to it. I guess I am an attentive one.

At least now I have to watch the number of citizens that I have coming in, and manage numbers slowly. Before, it didn’t really matter much on citizen count, as footman could handle just about everything by themselves. Now with the class distribution it makes it somewhat needed to keep in mind the more citizens you have the more threat there will be. Granted I think time spent has a little bit of a bearing as well, but not much as the citizen count.

As to the combat itself, yes behavior or rather reactions do see off, like mentioned; a party should act as such, since we have 4 that we can make.

At least patrol points are easy to make… with a single fallow farm field or empty stockpile. Plus borders now are easily maintained so no spawning within borders; which means you can now focus where the threat will come from if tentative enough to what and how you build the colony.

that is my basic thoughts on this as a whole, even if a bit generalized, I think most can get how I see it. :smiley:

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Babysitting units is the less enjoyable play style, but its rewarded (we can play with fewer military units and tech up and expand our town faster with the freed up labor). But is this a reward? Or is it the absence of punishment, as our incentive to do well is actually the lack of citizens being removed.

Its probably a bad sign when the most efficient play style is not in line with the designers vision. The Destiny Loot Caves were an example of that - here’s a quick sound-byte about them (3:27up to 4:03) :

In this case they’re discussing the use of progression mechanics to encourage a particular type of play, but clearly that isn’t the only system which can serve such a purpose

Even if we only had group commands, we could direct them as individuals until we have five hearthlings. Perhaps the number of group designations allowed could also scale with the number of military units, even then the ability to designate groups during combat creates a loophole. :worried:

That really got me thinking, I can’t think of any games where you could freely pause real time combat to directly control units. At first I thought of Neverwinter Nights, but thats really a turn based game with real time visuals.

Can anyone come up with examples of this working well? I don’t actually play many games despite ranting about them on the internet :pensive:

I agree that your combat party need to be more coordinated and work together without your input. Like a footman falling back to not get hurt more, say to be the last line before the archers if a enemy sink past.
But I also think that you as a player need to have the ability to control them directly. So I propose that if you have the grupp selected, then you are in control and need to micro that grupp. But the grupps you don’t have selected, they will work on there “fine” without your input. This would allow you to have the AI tack care of combat on fronts that you aren’t focusing on, and let you take care of the main battle, if you need/want to.

Having 1 per party is redundant since each combat unit has those commands already. A party is by definition more than one.

The directing with individual part is what i was referring to micro-management. Which can be done without the party system. select unit/character and issue command from then. That is unit individual commands. They will act on those before the party commands.

What I was talking about with party, is something along the lines of regrouping or along the lines that they patrol together. Then within combat having at least some basic formation. Like archer will stand to distance themself while the others hack away, and the healer will mostly heal and be within range for the entire party to be in the aura.

I know it is a fairly complex thing to setup to work effectively. But something that would make sense for their roles. Also certain things like bedding in middle of combat when still a lot of health is … variable whether some want that or not. It is going to bed, then immediately waking to return to combat that should not happen, as they have not rested long enough to heal.

There I am sure will be tuning as things progress, but having something at least simple to the eye that looks about right for what they are, would be best.

As to pausing RTS to micro manage… Quite a few RTS have a pause button, at least every one that I have taken interest in… O_o So unsure what to make of that comment, or am I misunderstanding…

That’s not actually how military strength is calculated for encounters anymore (by number of total Hearthlings), at least in Normal mode. Now it’s based on Military Strength, which is a value composed from the total attack and defense values of your combat classes (and possibly some small numbers for other jobs which can fight, like Trappers). So now there’s an advantage to NOT having a huge army of combatants ready to roll at any time. Keep your current combat force light and you will get easier encounters.

That must have been changed or tuned a little, because by that anology I would be able to use my A14 Sorenia and be able to continue from there.

I only had 2-3 footman and 1 herbalist. This is with a total pop at 20. Do have a trapper among them too.

I guess I play that save to see if it actually will be the case. Maybe I can survive after all. The only thing that will spawn would be nothing from the goblin campaign for an obvious reason of peace with them.

I thought pop has at least some bearing on spawning, even if a little bit… hmm… still learning on certain things. As well mainly the wealth that one has being catchy, but that I am unsure of…

Thanks though, always nice to know exactly how monster spawning works or the scale in which the curve takes; as to what affects.

This is a very new change, it happened right before A16 was released.

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This is a really great conversation! Thank you. Please continue to discuss. As I mentioned in another post, Stonehearth sits right between 2 genres and where they conflict worst is combat. XD

As it so happens, all three of these are bugs, and ought to be fixed in the current release. If they are not fixed in A16 stable, please let us know!

Paging @Albert and @yshan for addtional coverage

  • Combat should always take precedence over sleeping/eating. If not, this is a bug!
  • If you move a unit out of range of the combat (over 64 squares) they should NOT run back to the combat. This should reset their priorities, in case something more pressing is happening (ie, need to go to a bed, to heal up)
  • If a unit is set to guard, they are supposed to stay within a leash of the flag, and not run off anymore. If this is still happening, well, @albert. :wink:

We’re trying to get here, but the AI is rather tricky. We’ll keep adding AI and see how it goes!

In normal mode, anyway, you should NOT need to micro your dudes in order to win combats, assuming they’re suited up properly and healed. In hard mode well… no guarantees. :slight_smile:

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A build or two ago I’d have guys run off for food or sleeping but now I’m able to wake them up and keep them fighting or keep fighting while hungry.

When it comes to guarding though, should they leave their post to eat? I had one guy set to guard then went to being hungry to taking damage from starving. I had to clear the guard post so he’d go eat.

Also, for the AI ensuring they survive, would it be possible to have the archer leash to the cleric in the party even if it means getting closer to the fight? If not the leash mechanic then move in range of the aoe heal rather than hope/wait for the cleric to move to target? I find I need to manually move them closer when fighting large groups as a level 5 archer can be out of range of the cleric’s aoe heal. If I don’t notice a Kobold hiding under a large tree, those just love to find my archers.

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In my current game, I had an issue where I pulled back from a fight (one I was losing) and the enemy AI happily went back to their camp.

My troops, however, kept trying to go back and fight even if I placed them at the far side of the map. As I needed another soldier, I had to play the game whilst constantly moving the existing soldiers to a far-away place. Took forever to prep to fight again.

It was like keeping plates spinning in the air.

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I said can when I meant could, I was talking about the hypothetical solution of only allowing group commands.[quote=“Ludocrat, post:4, topic:22169”]
Still, we can direct them as individuals until we have five hearthlings.

Will edit for clarity, thanks.

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That was good to hear, and makes sense. I last night got a chance, and was right in what I mentioned. Yes I can continue my beloved Sorenia. Got to see my first ork… I think that is what it said it was, but my footman were able to handle it; with some damage that they had to rest up on. Which is fine compaired to what it was before with 8 giant zombies with long swords.

At least it was just 1 ork and I think kobold wolves? Something like that. I don’t get attacked often though, which is fine and does make sense due to my peace with the goblins.

Now just have to get back into the mindset to figure on what to build next beyond the market stalls I plopped down. :slight_smile:

Regardless, with that last minute change it actually made it possible to actually continue on with my town.

Will edit for clarity, thanks.

ah, ok… Guess I misunderstood a bit. Although if that were case it would have been pointless; So I am glad they have both individual and group commands separate, for those that do want to micro. Even though at the moment at least with “Sorenia” and my new game I haven’t really had to micro much at all.

but yeah there will always be workarounds if things change. Sure someone would find one, or if not; mod one in. :stuck_out_tongue:

Obviously you people have never played total war. It’s super strategic, challenging game with (imho) very superb micre mechanics AND you can pause the game to give orders. Not in online battles of cause, but when fighting an overwhelming NPC army (which is exactly what we do in stonehearth too) it can be crucial. However, as i said, the total war games offer good micro controls, which is something you cannot say about stonehearth. Yes, soldiers should keep positions if told to, their should be better contols and so on.

? I have played many RTS. I have played a few in the Total War Series. They have quite a few games. The one I had in mind was Total Annihilation, the original one. But I have set my eyes on many, and have played quite a few, and like I mentioned; I have not really played a single RTS that would not let pause when single player. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am one to more or less watch my hearthlings more than micro. Of course I usually play in normal, as I like to build. Besides the point though, I actually like the minimum approach to micro, because it makes the hearthlings a bit more lively. Sure micro when needed to save a soldiers life, but in normal mode I usually don’t have to all that often.

Now only if the would act as a group within their group; that would be nice.

Well… hearthlings have as much brains as a toast, so I’m afraid “working as a group” won’t happen anytime soon^^ Anyways, sorry i somehow read initially that people said they don’t know any games where it IS possible to pause. My bad.

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Hi, glad you chimed in! I looked around for the definition of the 64 tile range and realized its tied to a sight_radius config variable that defaults to 64, but its then halved.

self._sight_radius = radiant.util.get_config(‘sight_radius’, 64)

self._defense_radius = stonehearth.terrain:get_sight_radius() / 2

Since lua files aren’t safe to override while modding do you think the defense radius and sight radius could have separate variables? Or have I just totally misunderstood this?

For the curious (who are familiar with JSONs), you can alter the sight radius by adding this to the user_settings.config file

"mods" : { "stonehearth" : { "sight_radius" : 32 //default is 64 } }

I haven’t tested if that effects aggro range, but it does work for sight radius, so I can’t see why it wouldn’t.

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I think (@Albert!) what’s going on here is that sight radius generally defines what hearthlings can and cannot see. The Defense Banner command is then limited to half of that. It does make sense to break it out, in case that wants to be configured separately.

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