The biggest topic of disagreement in my previous suggestion thread…
… was on the subject of controlling your military units, and how best to go about that without making it too similar to an RTS. As such, I thought I’d make a new topic to discuss this in detail. I should point out that, unlike the above topic, I have no firm ideas on how best to go about this.
1. Unlimited Map Size
Unlike Dwarf Fortress or Gnomoria, Stonehearth is planned to have maps that are effectively infinite in size. Crucially, this means that you are not always going to be fighting defensively - it will be possible to go out into the world to kick arse and chew gum, or whatever medieval arse-kickers chew. The zone model for unit control is thus probably unsuited for this kind of offensive work.
2. Target Priorities
Even when defending, there’s the issue of how you go about prioritising enemies. If Cthulhu attacks alongside a goblin horde, who attacks what? Do your archers shoot Cthulhu as he advances, or do they thin the ranks of the goblins so you can focus on just the one big bad? This could be done with waypoints, direct commands, or priority queues for individual squads (ie “first kill cavalry, then titans, then infantry, then casters, then finally archers”, etc).
3. Scenario / Dungeon Raids
Related to #1, sending teams of hearthlings to a distant scenario or dungeon will be more easily accomplished with direct commands, waypoints, or similar.
4. Small Unit Adventures
I don’t know if anything like this is planned for Stonehearth, but what happens when/if you have say half a dozen units and must guide them as individuals through a dungeon / scenario? Direct control is probably the best way of going about this. Whilst if it isn’t planned it can at least be left to modders to find a solution for, if it IS in, then it probably needs to be thought about .
5. Grand Expeditions
Suppose you outfit a couple of dozen soldiers and send them off to lay waste to a goblin town… how do you go about organising and marshalling this force? The later Age of Empires games had AI that allowed units in a formation to all move at the same speed, which could prove useful in this, but again, making them move off in a sensible formation (ie baggage trains in the middle, cavalry on the flanks, etc) is, or should be, important.
So, without recreating StarCraft 2, how would people prefer to go about taking offensive actions with their military units?