Let's talk military!

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 :slight_smile: .

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?


loved that /\

I think it would be just a little bit of both RTS and there minds of there own for example, you would set the destination, then they would travel off on there own, this would then use the system of adventure that will be in place because you would have scouted out the area with some type of scout, and I would imagine that would be done with zones, if you are using a system of scouting.


One thing I’ve discussed in several threads previously on the topic of warfare was individual unit/squad behaviors. Here’s some from the combat feedback thread…

Specifically, I’m interested in how Stonehearth will allow us to use our soldiers. Unlike most RTS games, Stonehearth’s more personal, yet detached playing style goal is opening new strategic and immersive elements to gameplay beyond the general “How do I destroy Player 2?” mentality. Several of us have already begun thinking about the logistics requirements for a full-scale assault on an enemy, especially when you have supplies and camping to think about. Personally, I’d be interested in seeing this, as this commonly is overlooked in a lot of games I’ve played.

As for controlling units in combat, I sort of like the style seen currently in RimWorld, which seems to balance some automatic control and manual directions for units. If we are ultimately aiming for less RTS “hyper-clicking” management (and I say that with both respect and familiarity), the ability to create battle formations and tactics is critical. I mentioned this with @Teleros’s zone thread, since I feel zones can offer the foundation to some of this for the defensive portion of the game–as for offensive and exploration, this will need to be an on-the-go system, so pre-made formations and behaviors seem critical for me.

I still feel the need for direct control, so how will that work? Well, one possibility could be a minor hit to morale; if your army goes in with numerous battle plans memorized and orders ready to be executed and then all of a sudden they’re told to drop them, and perform this action instead–well, this can worry soldiers and throw some panic in the ranks. If you stick to the plans you make (or pre-created stock plans) and don’t directly control units and squads, the soldiers will be more at ease and fight more effectively. If an order falls under the general plan, such as archers switching from one bigger unit to another, and they originally were ordered to “attack larger threats first”, then this wouldn’t really affect their morale–it’s just redirecting fire on another of the same enemy.

Of course, for single squads, this would be less of an element–independent squads can act as your personal soldiers, useful both for strategic movement in a large battle separate from the main force or for exploration and treasure hunting. The downside of having a smaller force could be less morale gain for winning battles (bigger army = more cheering and celebrating afterwards), or perhaps a limit to how many of these special task forces you can make. That way, the smaller entity uses more direct control methods, while the larger army for offense/defense requires a little more logistics to work and tries to follow general battle plans to limit micromanagement in a large battle.

What do you think?


Better be careful, Teleros, you might offend a young Briton with that sort of language.

Remember, this forum is supposed to be family friendly. :wink:

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I would love an option (Maybe call it “Glorious Death” where if your soldiers are outnumbered and you cannot win the battle you tell your soldiers to take as many of the enemy with them into hell! So the soldiers would get a damage buff but would die VERY fast. You could get so many cool Last Stands where one guy kills 50 goblins before going down or with his last breath. banishes Cthulu back into whatever hell he came from.


Genius! I think this is a great idea.

LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!! Great Idea @Teleros

Yeah, that was a nice discussion :slight_smile: . Would definitely like to see at least some basic logistics included in large scale offensive stuff.

Don’t know much (anything :stuck_out_tongue: ) about RimWorld, but sounds interesting :slight_smile: .

The one thing I’ll say against this is that I’m still not sure how much formations will be practical. A dozen pikemen can’t really make much of a pike formation, and at that scale will be rather easily flanked. On the other hand, a few dozen pikemen… well now you’ve got some options starting to appear for formation-based warfare. So this… really I think depends on the size of the military that Stonehearth is aiming for.

I think it’s a nice idea, but I do worry that we’ll see a fair bit of unintended behaviour, because of things like a difference in what you and the game consider “the same thing, but a different target” etc.

In short, I like it. What I’d like to get at though, is the issue of how you control the units/squads/whatever.

For example, select a member of Able Squad and pop their banner down on Cthulhu - Able Squad will now try and fight Cthulhu, avoiding other fights (or possibly trying to curbstomp individual goblins to get past them to fight Cthulhu). Or do you allow them multiple banners so as to say “kill all these goblins”? What about planning future orders via good old RTS waypoints? What about the player who makes each individual soldier into one-man squads and micros everything - do we even want that possibility in the game?

I prefer not to micro my troops but I admit I would like to set patrol zone, or have a sentry station to give general directions to. As for attacking, I was thinking about having a system like any gathering profession where you can drag a “attack anything here” box and let the soldiers do the work. But at the most basic I’d like to see some sort of method that you can use to assign who holds the fort and who will carry out your exploration orders instead of having an entire force march into the unknown.

This would be an example of a strategy formula; when the battle first starts, you can specify which groups should be targeted first or in what order they should be engaged–normally, your field of view seems to be fairly large right now, so the player would have a little time to plan a battle outside of an automatic defense plan, in the case of you spotting an enemy while your forces are moving to wherever they’re going (for example, if a group of melee and ranged goblins attack, the swordsmen will engage the closest melee while your archers pick off the respective ranged units; these plans could be activated with one button–like the Red Alert so far-- and there could be several little defensive/counter plans like this for different immediate situations). This is more if the enemies come up so quickly, you didn’t spot them in time to make your neat waypoints or path of destruction for the army; it’s similar to real-world combat, where not all battles can be equally planned for but there are still plans to respond in case of a surprise attack/independent squad encounters. Overall, having the ability to specify certain enemies or a waypoint path is something that should be present, but it shouldn’t be a system that the player is encouraged to continuously redirect and micromanage during battle.

“Formations”, at least in my interpretation of it for Stonehearth, has to do more with specific behaviors of units rather than just physical placement on the field. This was part of the reason why I was suggesting possible perks to spears and polearms, considering the whole “giant legion of anti-calvary” scenario likely not happening, at least in massive scale.

True, but apart from “patrol stockpiles” and “destroy goblins”, we don’t have much behavior for combat currently! For the most part, I think manual control of squads will cover a large portion of combat for now, with the battle plans more of a later-game concept for groups of enemies at least larger than a dozen or so (which shouldn’t be normally common in the game at this point). The automatic system should be more of a way to direct your horde of lesser units, while the independent squads are your more elite, which can be adapted and directed for certain situations or missions.


Something I would love to see in combat is strategy, where your men are placed, ground levels, all that jazz. I think that being able to effect the outcome of a battle based on strategy and not who has the bigger guns so to speak. Personally I’d like to see a bit of RTS feel put into combat otherwise combat will be dry.
Send your men into battle and watch them fight, you can’t really help the outcome other than more troops or better gear. <-- sounds kinda boring and anticlimactic.


Gum isn’t implemented though.

I would hope this would still play a part of the strategy.

The problem here is that the game will become an RTS and no longer a City builder/simulator.

Team radiant has specified that it will be equally RTS and city builder :slight_smile:

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Clarifying this to include non-micromanagment heavy RTS. :smiley:

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Well, That puts that to rest.

I’ll just wait for magic and then summon lots of nasty creatures :smiling_imp:
I hope we’ll see lots of different ways to command our units. Direct control is very important to me, but at some point my little people will have to organize themselves.
Maybe some sort of general-like unit that can create groups of fighters? So you can just say something like: “attack those guys/area/city over there” and the AI chooses the targets for each warrior on its own.
Also some button to tell my guys which ability they may use on their own and which not (fireballs are cool, but could also fry your own troops for example). But this is something for the future :wink:

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Yes, that’s one concept a few of us have thrown around! I kind of explored the idea with my “Tactician” class idea in a previous thread (with a little more focus on specific buffs or abilities that this unit could enable to their respective group). There’s also been some similar ideas of a general or commander to the squad; whether or not that unit is a different class, a unit that gets a bonus for being made the “leader”, or if their stats remain the same and you just use a better unit for the job, that hasn’t really been discussed so far.

So, a new question for the thread!

"How would you like military leaders (generals, tacticians, etc.) in Stonehearth to work? Or should there even be leaders in the game?

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The military system of Total war should be emulated, and/or if people who aren’t babbies want they should be allowed to micro their military units.

I’m not sure about the idea of general / tactician / etc classes, but I could see something along the lines of newbie soldiers being inspired by veterans doing awesome stuff nearby.