Well there’s been a few threads where I’ve touched on these ideas so I’m bringing them together here. Probably going to make a few edits eventually as well, depending on how long I can focus on getting this stuff out.
- Combat feels too dissimilar o the rest of the game
- The granularity of unit control and agency of hearthlings are too contextual
- Combat could inform other aspects of the game further
- Get combat interface to work like economy interface
- Help Hearthlings maintain autonomous decision making in combat
- Preserve importance of tactical decisions while broadening their scope
- Reduce failure consequences below the ‘save-scum’ thresh hold
- Share core more mechanics between economy and combat
New life system
I propose we allow hearthlings to resurrect. My ideal implementation of this solution is a three-strikes-your-out system. Instead of spawning a tombstone they would spawn an item which retains their characters data. That would be used in lieu of a wood item when the next fireplace is lit. The hearthling would then return with 1 health and a removed life.
Zone and Harvest controls for combat.
This would be better illustrated with a mock-up. I’ll try to convey the idea anyway. I’d like combat to be treated more like the economy - preserving some autonomy for the Hearthlings while giving the player broad tactical decisions to make. Here’s my favorite of several ways to do this.
Zones: Guard zones are similiar to fields. Under the combat menu there should be a button to drag out a guard zone. When the field is created / selected you will have the option to chose a ‘crop’ just like in the farm zone. However, this time you’ll be choosing from one of the four group flags. When a flag is selected each member of that group protects that zone. (The AI tree will be described in a later post)
Harvest Instead of directly saying which Hearthling chops which tree, we just designate all the trees and let them sort it out themselves. I propose a similar approach to issuing combat commands. These are options available to each or all groups.
Sword > Drag a sword around a group of enemies and the footmen will attack them. If there are no Arrow or Shield designations then those units may also assist (?)
Arrow > Same as above, but with archers, and other classes will not pitch in. Lets you focus down particular units. This is especially useful if you want to focus down a wall-breaker without opening the door with your melee units.
Shield > This could get more complex, but it asks knights to create aggro on those units. This may mean switching targets until they have each designated targets attention. Other variations on this idea will be elaborated later
Cross > Clerics will stay near targets (including Hearthlings) under this designation. This is a suboptimal solution, and can be retooled depending on final complexity budget.
Before I elaborate on more possibilities for this sort of thing, I’m going to solicit comment from any modders or develoeprs who have experience with this sort of thing. Are there any brick walls you see in any of these ideas? Is there a particularly arcane API I’ll have to work with at any point? I’m really interested in prototyping these ideas.