Let me start off by saying I have not touched code in years and do not know how difficult it would be to do this. However, the current combat system is sort of lacking in anything intercut apart from the occasional instance where you need to prioritize a target or micro move a unit. I personally think that using the squad concept currently in game to create combat teams that fight in a turn based min-game would be cool and really really fun. It would also be a fun way to add more combat units such as mages as well as fun and unique boss fights. Not to mention that you could further customize the combat Harthings by giving them branching skill trees.
How would it handle all the miniature encounters then? Would I constantly be interrupted every time a goblin snuck into camp?
Personally, this would get annoying quite quick, if I’m trying to set up my crafter and design a building, but keep getting pulled away every few min for a battle, because the patrol ran into them.
Actually I’d pretty like to see some sort of RPG elements in the later game, like when you defeated all the beasts, then you can go exploring those dungeons in the map (just like what Allie said in the stream). Inside of the dungeon, there’s another map, which leaves your town in the outside world and only your combat squad involves in. And anything could be added there… turn-based combat, or getting attacked randomly just like your walking in grass in Pokemon, whatever.
Well, just my thoughts… lol
Well if you have a set level for enemies you could quite easily make it so that when combat starts its just a pop up on screen with a Fight! and Auto Battle option. Most games have that for tanking care of weaklings. If your just saying you don’t want your game interrupted the current combat is more of an interruption then this could ever be, since the current fighting pathing and such is so bad.
I love TBS to death, but I have to disagree with this statement. The current combat let’s the game continue to build & craft while fighting happens, especially during the inconsequential battles early on. And an auto battle system might help a little, but still doesn’t change the fact that later on you are pausing your city building for long periods of time to fight the more important battles.
It’s a fun idea but I think any turn based rpg stuff would better be served as a mini-game (maybe against the goblin chief or a recurring mystery figure that shows up to challenge you now and again)
For the normal map, and how we play now, I’m in agreement with @Solus. BUT, and only IF, we get adventures/quests, then TBS would work really well.
A turn based system is unlikely, to be honest. That said, a hybrid approach like you see in CRPG games like Pillars of Eternity, where it’s pausable real-time combat, could work out fine (and isn’t that far from where we are at, honestly). The main distinction is a question of how much control we expect the player can and should have in combat, which is an open discussion.
Speaking broadly, I currently lean towards wanting to make combat more interesting and meaningful than it is now, but I hesitate to lean heavily on micro-control based mechanics. There’s a game you can play on Steam now called Northgard (which is a cool game and worth your time, btw), that I think exposes some of the problems that mixing broad macro focus and heavy micro focus can cause. There is a noticeable and extreme tension difference between the broader civilization growing setting and the highly rewarded micro experience of the unit combat, and switching between those two states of mind can be really jarring.
My thought process right now is to push more gameplay and interesting choice into the setup for combat, stuff like skill level ups, different damage types and resistances, traps, siege weapons, combat AI, and encounter design. I think there’s a lot that can and should be done to make combat more than what it is, but I think if we get Stonehearth to a place where APM is highly rewarded we’ve gone off the reservation. That said, all of the other ideas @MacGrimson expressed are aligned with that goal.
@Brackhar sounds like you are going to get combat on the right track
I would like to take the time to add my thoughts to this, sorry this turned into a wall of text…
More skills will be great giving our hearthlings more ways to engage the enemy, skills could even be used in combination with each other for added effectiveness.
The more skills the hearthlings and enemies have at there disposal the more interesting combat will become to watch and the higher potential to get good stories out of it.
Damage types and resistances are an interesting topic, as instead of saying this sword does 6 melee damage and 3 fire damage, because it’s a fire sword. Having the fire sword sets flammable armour on fire and does additional damage to enemies wearing cloth or chain mail rather than leather or plate armour (or something to that effect) feels a lot more natural than just having extra damage stats that just have a name to them.
Poison damage could be turned into damage over time after the attack, ice could slow the enemy.
The only thing that worries me with this is, for every skill added to the hearthlings or enemies the combat and for each damage type AI has a vast amount more to consider. It has to consider which armour and weapons everyone has and what skills they have whether the other skills in the group can be combined, if the skills do the same damage type as the users weapons, when the use of a skill is most effective and probably a lot more.
The more complex combat becomes the more chance there is for a human to look at a situation and be like what the hell is the AI doing, this is rubbish, I want control. And this causes frustration in the player.
This already happens because archers don’t understand that they can sit on a high ledge and pick enemies off when they come near, and the footmen don’t realise that they can just wait until the archers have picked most of the enemies off before running head first into the enemy.
There is a simple solution to this that will remove the players frustration, give the player direct control.
APM is a non issue when the game is pause able, every player no matter who they are technically has infinite APM.
The player already has direct control over crafters, we can specify where they sleep, eat, where all there resources are stored, where there goods are stored and even exactly what they make. Giving a crafter an order to make a chair is exactly the same as giving a knight an order to kill a goblin. Giving the order to stop killing the goblin and retreat because there is an army of goblins is analogous to telling the crafter to stop making the chair because actually that crafter has already made 60 chairs.
Currently we can micro-manage crafters. So why not combatants?
Yes have it so we can micro-manage them easily, but make it so they are also autonomous. One could argue that being able to tell the crafter what to make is too much micro and that they too should be autonomous, have some clever bit of AI that just controls the crafter when there is a surplus of raw materials. (That would actually be pretty cool, say the crafter has a thing for flower pots and crafts fancy flower pots as decorative items in there free time.)
It would definitely add to the story telling side of the game, there would be a potential to tie in the conversation system to the crafting system, the conversations a crafter had about there trade could effect what they crafted.
Some good things about the direction of the story telling side of the game where said in this topic a while ago.
Which brings me full circle back to combat. The word simulation is thrown around a lot with Stonehearth yet when it comes to the combat, there is very little simulation, it is about as simulated as Starcraft 2 i.e not at all.
If an enemy retreats before a footman has finished swinging his sword, the attack still “lands” even though the enemy is like 10 metres away. Arrows follow there targets and always hit, they don’t behave like projectiles, more like magical entities that defy gravity. Look up Supreme Commander Forged Alliance, that has the best model of any simulation/ strategy game for ranged combat.
I think I’ll leave it there for now, as you can tell I quite like talking about game design
My feels on where combat should go is actually reducing player control from where it is now. Obviously, soldiers will need to be wayyyyy smarter than they are now, but personally I lean towards the player crafting a squad or two of folks with particular talents and abilities and equipment, and then watching them tackle combat challenges on their own. I’d rather my Footpersons be brave on their own having me use a red flag to force them into combat against difficult odds.
I haven’t thought too deeply on it yet, though, so don’t panic if you disagree with me
This is always what I wanted from Stonehearth, i just resigned myself to thinking it wouldn’t work/popular demand would squash any hope of it.
So good luck!
Might be cool. But, personally, I feel like this would break the typical gameplay of Stonehearth.
Still a cool idea though!
I think I’m more down the lines of Rabid Llama
Wouldn’t this kinda go against the “No Micro” ideal of Stonehearth though? I mean as it stands, we can’t choose what weapons or armor they have, as they always equip the best. This would make it that each individual soldier you’d have to customize down to the base level, and for every single one.
Having the archer now able to change their arrow type is nice, as it’s only a click of a button, but I don’t that’d work the same when you end up with 6 element types vs how many different types of armor. Yes it’d look nice, but I feel it goes a little far.
This actually breaks the game right now…
But you can. You can command an entire army or a single soldier. That’s what the buttons next to the banner are for.
Green is Go Here
They will leave whatever they’re doing to go to that new location, even leaving combat,
Red is Fight Here
They will attack anything on their way to that location, and fight anything around that location. If you select an individual, they will change what they’re doing and attack only that one.
Guy Hold The Flag is Defend This Area
Title kinda says it all. They will only leave this area to sleep or eat, then return to it when done. They will not attack things outside the area but instead wait for something to enter their area.
This tells them to stop whatever custom command you gave them and return to normal patrolling AI.
So how much more micro do you want, as this is pretty equal to a carpenter.
Only reason I’m against this is because of the following reasons:
- Current patrols are horrible. My bright bells inside my castle walls do not need you to walk on top of them to guard them.
- If I want to station them somewhere, such as at the entrance to my domain, would I still be able to?
See I strongly disagree because some of the promises the devs are making would fall flat if you removed player input. For example the Epic Boss Fights with the Titans would not be anything more then a distraction if were not commanding your harthlings to new heights of challenging combat.
I wonder if the concept of Stances would solve some of the player agency issues here. Stances being basically AI behavior presets that the player can choose that fit their play styles. Examples:
- Aggressive: Always bring the fight to the enemy once in sight.
- Passive: Do not attack unless attacked first.
- Defensive: Do your best to defend your assigned position. Move only short distances from your post in order to gain advantage on your incoming enemy, leverage a better line of sight, etc, and strategically bait enemies into approaching, but always retreat to your post and protect it.
The other thing that I know would help me is to be able to define a strategic zone and then be able to assign combat parties to those zones, with per-squad Stance assignments.
This would allow automated combat to continue similar to today, but give the player the ability to essentially “govern” area defense like a General would before a skirmish.
You know if you implemented that along with maybe an order system that would probably satisfy everyone. For example those players who just want to set patrols and let combat see to its self would be able to do that more effectively.
And if you add an order system (kind of like the crafting order system) you could get really technical if you wanted to. For example you could make the orders a exactly like crafting were you can manually queue up certain actions in a specific order. So say you select your foot men you could then order him to do specific actions over the next few seconds. So you could make him ‘move here’ then ‘switch to aggressive stance’ or ‘attack specific enemy,’ then have it queued up so that they then ‘attack specific enemy’ again after the first one has died. Heck you could even add a simple logic if than such as ‘if your HP drops to below 50% walk to here before continuing actions’
So combine our current system with @megashub’s stances system?
Sort of only the current system dose not let you queue up multiple actions to a single footmen to be executed in order. It dose for workers but not combat that I am aware of.
We use this phrase kind of loosely, but to be clear, this is more a statement about APM reward loops than it is about fine control. I don’t have any problem at all exposing a pathway to allow players to directly equip specific hearthlings, though I’d probably push for more of an override or preference based system than something that requires player intervention to equip anything.
As I mentioned above, I’m primarily interested in adding more control to combat choices you can make before combat starts, and I don’t have a problem with adding complexity there. Inside of combat itself I think we have to be more careful, but I do think there’s room to do slightly more than we do now. For instance, I’d be fine adding a skill to knights that might say something like “Raise Shield: Reduce damage dealt and received for the next 30 seconds”, but I wouldn’t be interested in adding a skill that increases archer run speed with the intent for it to be used in kiting. The former is a fire and forget, but is a tactic that requires continued focus over a period of time.
How would this affect those of us that just let the footmen auto-defend?
So basically…League of Legends like controls for the troops?
Oh, totally - I’m not saying that what we have now is good enough, or that I want to remove all player control. I just think the right spot for the player is being a General rather than a battlefield commander. “You guys guard this, you guys go flank, you guys charge the middle. Go.”
Right now, it’s kind of half that, and half “you in particular, go here. You in particular, back off. You in particular, run to this tree”
But yeah, giving the player the right kind of good controls is what matters to me