[Balance] Flying units

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hooster1
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Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:46 pm

[Balance] Flying units

Post by hooster1 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:19 pm

I think flying units should have a better deal in moving across terrain and water.

Right now, they move one hex a time in water, like all other units. Not really sensible.
The same thing over rougher terrain like forests, swamps, hills and mountains. Now I can see say a 50% penalty for the contrary winds around the mountains and through the passes, but the rest...well, the gods gave them wings for a reason.

On the same vein, horseback would do great over flat terrain - getting a bonus in movement, but a penalty in woods and a swamp would be almost impassable for them.

Heavily armored troops would avoid swamps like the plague and rivers? Yes, unless given a breathing spell, it would be impossible for them to ford.

It could make the terrain a useful and powerful force, allowing many of the different types of troops to have different advantages, instead of just going with the units with the best armor and most damage.

Your French Knights could sit in their castle hurling insults down at Monty Python...oh, sorry.

Your longbowman could be in the hex across the river and plink away at the heavy footmen on the other side, knowing the footmen in their heavy metal armor cannot cross the river to reach them.

Terrain can add an intriguing element to the grand strategy portion of this game, like it has throughout history. Keeps were built at fords of rivers. Outposts guarded the passes through the mountains, allowing the farmers in the fields and meadows behind to live in security.

Maybe this might be better moved to long term wishes?

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Ludovic
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Re: [Balance] Flying units

Post by Ludovic » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:07 am

No, I think it's fine to consider this a more immediate balance/mechanics issue. Flying currently affects river crossing, but it should have additional effects as you mention. Cavalry currently do have increased movement, but you are correct that many mounts will not be of much assistance in difficult terrain. However, a giant lizard might a very useful thing to have in a swamp, a giant boar could perfectly capable of moving swiftly through forest, etc. So I think some kind of terrain-specific modifier needs to be used.

The current movement-related abilities are:

Flight: Capable of "true" airborne movement. This includes birds, bats, various flying monsters and some supernatural creatures. Ignores rivers on the world map and affects auto-resolution of battles. Can attack from water into land.

Limited Flight: Can sustain proper flight, but not for extended periods of time and with some limitations on altitude and/or maneuverability. Ignores rivers on the world map and affects auto-resolution of battles.

Leap: Can scale vertical and horizontal obstacles with relative ease. Some winged creatures may be in this category if their flight is very limited for some reason. E.g. draconic humanoids with near-vestigal wings. Affects auto-resolution of battles currently.

Blink: Can teleport or move (supernaturally) at near-instant speed. Allows circumventing various obstacles, but barriers of sufficient thickness or height do prevent passage. Affects auto-resolution of battles currently.

Amphibious: These can traverse water unimpeded. They are not necessarily capable of being fully submerged for indefinite or even long periods of time. Generally considered fully capable of combat or other difficult activities while traversing water. Ignores rivers on the world map and allows faster movement in coastal water. Can attack from water into land

Semi-Amphibious: Have some aptitude for traversing water, but are hindered to some degree, and have a limited ability to conduct combat/activities while in water. Ignores rivers on the world map.

Aquatic: Fully native to ocean and/or freshwater. Might be changed to signify units incapable of land-movement. Ignores rivers on the world map and allows faster movement in all water hexes. Can attack from water into land.

Shore-Only: These cannot venture inland, as they require regular access to water in order to function/survive.

Burrow: Capable of digging tunnels usable for travel. It is undefined how long they can remain subterranean. It may be the natural habitat for some, but others may need very regular access to surface air. Affects auto-resolution of battles currently.

Path Finders: Skilled at navigating difficult terrain of various kind. Currently covers everything from navigating treacherous highlands to dense undergrowth, so may need splitting into terrain-specific abilities. Only effect is +1 Movement from Generals with the Reconnaisance trait. Other effects are unimplemented.

As you can see there is still some work left with implementing all of the relevant effects. Flight is a prime candidate for attention, but path finder is also high on my list.

hooster1
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Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:46 pm

Re: [Balance] Flying units

Post by hooster1 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:27 pm

There are also the effects Generals give the troops. Off the top of my head, there is amphibious assault and path finding as you mentioned. Perhaps Admiral would be an interesting trait - allows 2 hex moves over water a turn rather than the usual one.

It seems you have envisioned a much more robust set of movement rules and modifiers than it appears at first glance at the current game. I think rivers and fords are going to play a much more important role in the game. It might be wise to also improve the hex graphics for river bounded hexes. Right now, the little blue line is hardly noticeable.

With most hex based games, I usually look at the terrain and think, this should really play a more important role in the game. Passes and rivers really were huge obstacles. In WW2, the Germans opened dams to flood areas, denying routes of access. Most games, I shrug my shoulders and play on. There after all, are limits to what is realistic to program into a game.

Still, it sounds like you are taking terrain into account. This can make this a much more complex game.

You also have weather events. Have you thought of actually having them influence movement? Blizzards really sock in passes through mountain and make cross mountain travel more expensive or even hazardous - unit attrition. Floods could make even water capable units unable to pass. Hurricanes could do the above plus make travel anywhere in the province slower. Maybe an overlay over the effected province to show the effect. Right now we get a message. Maybe a gray haze over the province might be sufficient to convey there is a weather event? Haha, Volcano erupts, rivers of lava block movement until it cools.

Yes, I know. There are practical limits to what you can program. It may also not fit into your vision of the game. Europa Universalis does a good job with weather and terrain, but it has a much larger budget and years of iterations and improvements to bring it to the state it is in.

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Ludovic
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Re: [Balance] Flying units

Post by Ludovic » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:04 pm

I would love to add a more detailed and encompassing weather model, but I want to have more of the currently unimplemented / superficially implemented stuff done before adding more to the backlog. Graphics are also a challenge, both from a production pipeline and design perspective. It would probably take the form of a weather overlay which could be toggled on/off. But I will tackle that when I get to it.

Rivers are on the list of items needing new graphics in the relatively near future, and with them bridges and fords (spells like Ice Bridge are really difficult to keep track of without visual representation). You are correct that they do not stand out much at the moment, and that they should have great importance, both from a strategic, civic and narrative point of view. The classic fantasy worlds are full of important rivers and bridges - they are often significant elements of the narratives as well.

Generating river names, and generally improving the toponym generator is also on my more short-to-mid term backlog.

Mountains do serve as a barrier now I think - but not as punishing to traverse as they should be. Basic attrition mechanics is the best way I can think of to address that - on top of movement abilities being implemented and perhaps terrain movement costs given a re-evaluation. Marching an army of lowlanders through perilous mountain passes needs to carry a cost. Besieging a mountain stronghold should be extremely difficult if it has proper provision and motivated defenders.

But one thing at a time. Movement abilities first. Then attrition.

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