Coronavirus and me and you

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Smuel, Apr 4, 2020.

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  1. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    To paraphrase:

    "As long as monkeys are stealing test samples and causing pandemic scares somewhere, Zanza will always be with us."
     
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  2. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    This week, on games that Smuel is playing during lockdown, we answer a question:

    What do you do next after creating what is objectively the perfect game?

    Answer:

    First you add additional unnecessary units, and change the atmosphere, and call it "Medieval: Total War". A valiant effort that can't quite live up to the promise of the original.

    Then you completely lose the plot and introduce pseudo-Civilization-style unit movement on the campaign map, while still maintaining the province-based control, resulting in an unwieldy mish-mash of concepts. Oh, and people like missions, right? Yeah, that's what was missing from the first two games. Missions. And historical accuracy. Players want real ancient unit types, don't they. So let's throw away the delicate interplay between archers, infantry, and cavalry, and have the advisor mention that "archery wasn't significant in this time period" and nobody will care that it totally screws up the core balance. It's Rome: Total War!

    Of course, a company is allowed to experiment. Otherwise we never would have got the objectively perfect game that is Shogun: Total War in the first place. And I'm sure that everyone was telling them that a 3D campaign map would be just SO COOL, putting them under a lot of pressure. So, let's forgive them their trespasses, fast forward past Medieval II, Empire, and Napoleon, and see if they managed to fix the issues and claw their way back to greatness with Total War: Shogun 2. Why skip ahead, you ask? Because Total War: Shogun 2 was free on Steam.

    So what's the verdict, have the developers restored their Daimyo's honour and brought glory to their clan?

    Nope! The campaign map is just as bad as in Rome, even though we're now four iterations later. Fog of war covers the entire thing, and you can't zoom out very far, so planning your expansion is needlessly difficult. Will you be able to reach Province A from Province B? Who knows? You can't see the province boundaries anyway, because that would spoil the pretty 3D map, so you're never 100% sure where they are. When you do find out, there might be an impassable mountain range blocking the way, or a nice straight road connecting two cities. You won't know until you get there!

    Will you be able to defend your province from an attack? Who knows? The Civ-style turn based combat means you can face an indefinite onslaught of armies until they take it from you. In the original Shogun, all pieces moved at the same time, and you'd be presented with a screen detailing the whole attacking force, so you could make a strategic choice to relinquish a province if you faced overwhelming odds, regrouping your own army nearby. But now - firstly you can't retreat from a city when under attack, so you have to defend. Secondly, having just clung on versus a full stack, another full stack might appear! Or it might not! OH U JUST WASTED THE LAST 20 MINS DEFENDING LOL.

    If you select a unit and click somewhere, will the unit move as you expect? HAHA MAYBE. If the way is blocked, they might turn around and start walking in the opposite direction around a massive loop. Not what you intended? SORRY U USED UP TEH TURN LOL. That's assuming the unit commander doesn't just shake his head at you and refuse to move, due to an unseen rule. HE SAYS SOMETHING IN JAPANESE THO SO THATS COOL

    Some of the event messages are needlessly vague. "This great man was assassinated." Okay, which man? You can click on the location and see where it happened, but unless you remember every unit and agent you had in that place, you'll never know who you just lost. THANKS 4 TEH INFO LOL

    Also, the unit pictures are unfathomable. In the original Shogun, a spearman would be represented by a silhouette of a man holding a spear, while a horse archer would be represented by a silhouette of a man on a horse, holding a bow. In Shogun 2, a spearman is represented by a drawing of an angry Japanese man, while a horse archer is represented by a drawing of a slightly different angry Japanese man. Even 43 hours in, I still often have NO IDEA what unit types I have in an army until I mouse over each one. Oh, sure, there is a horse's head in the corner of the image for some of them, BUT ITS TEH SAME COLOUR AS TEH BACKGRUND SO U CANT SEE IT LOL.

    In the same vein, aspects of the improved graphics for battles make it harder to see what's going on. Yes, I'm sure it's very realistic that when your viewpoint is 100m up in the air all the people on the ground look like generic grey stick figures. But on the other hand this is a game, and seeing the units is a rather crucial part of it. In the original Shogun I could tell units apart by sight, whereas now I have to pause and mouse over each one to see which type it is and who it belongs to. OH U SHUD GET A BETTER GFX CARD IT LUKS GR8 ON MY NVIDIA SPORT MAX ATI RAGE AMD FURY PRO-X RADEON POWER DOUBLEPLUS 9000 LOL.

    On the plus side, they have more or less restored the unit balance, although archers still feel a bit nerfed. Except during city assaults when you can stand outside and shoot everyone inside. So there is basically no tactical advantage to holding a city, which is, you know, the opposite of both historical realism AND interesting gameplay. While writing this I have realised why the AI's tactic seems to be to leave cities undefended and then have a massive stack waiting nearby to retake them. It's because the game makes it easier to retake a city than to hold onto it in the first place. And the developers realised this, but their solution wasn't to rebalance sieges, it was to tweak the campaign map AI to compensate! JESUS HECKIN CHRIST ON A PLATE OF BANANA WAFFLES I CANT EVEN.

    Sorry, I was going to mention a plus side? Okay, in the interests of fairness, I will now list all the things that are genuine improvements over the original. "But Smuel, how can there be improvements to an objectively perfect game?" Shut up, here they are:
    • Unit attrition in enemy territory, and replenishment in home territory. Great concept.
    • Food is required for key buildings, so you can't just build everything everywhere any more.
    • Agents and generals can level up and get traits and retainers.
    • Improved diplomacy options.
    • Resident defensive garrisons for larger castles.
    • Interplay between different agent types is more nuanced.

    Every other "improvement" is just an attempt to shoehorn Civ-style mechanics into what is fundamentally still a Risk-style territory map. For example, there's only one city per province. The units can supposedly move anywhere on the map, except they can't - they're funnelled between mountain ranges and onto the one road between each city, so in effect they all move roughly one province per turn. Underneath it's pretty much the same game as the original, but with a few more choke points, and a whole heap of frustrating moments. Such as when you want a unit to join a city garrison and they walk all they way up and stop JUUUUST outside, so that when you're defending the city they appear on the field next to the enemy and immediately get annihilated. SUCKS 2 B THEM I GUESS LOL. Alternatively if during the siege you manage to manoeuvre the unit past the enemy into the city to join their fellow troops, and you win the battle, then when the game switches back to the campaign map there they are sitting just outside the city again. HOPE U DONT HAV ANOTHER ENEMY STACK INCOMING LOL.

    So, for the precisely zero of you who played the original Shogun and haven't yet played Shogun 2, the tl;dr is... don't buy it, but if you can get it free on Steam, and like being made so annoyed that you write a 1000 word rant to nobody in particular, then go ahead and give it a try.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
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  3. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    42: The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.
    45: The number of spins that confirm you're no threat to Smuel's mother's honour.
    43: The number of hours that confirm one as a masochist.
     
  4. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    45: I don't get it, but nuts to you, sir. Nuts to you!

    43: Look, I keep playing it because I keep thinking that maybe there's something I'm missing. By all accounts Total War is a successful series, and I don't see anyone else complaining about the above issues. I went looking online thinking that surely someone else must feel the same way, but nope. In lists of "best Total War" games they usually just start with Rome and don't even acknowledge the first two. When they do, it's like "THEY WERE GUD AT TEH TIME BUT OF COZ THEYR UNPLAYABLE NOW CUZ OF TEH SPRITES LOL". There was one post somewhere that said "Their biggest mistake was switching from a Risk style map", but it was in the midst of a load of other people being sarcastic, so I couldn't tell if they were trolling or not. Most reviews of Rome were like "TEH LUSH 3D IS SUCH AN IMPROVEMENT", and nobody seems bothered by things like sub-par gameplay or balance. I guess I'm just weird?
     
  5. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    I've just had another dumb experience with Total War: Shogun 2, and I'm sure you would all love to hear it.

    Situation: I have two archers and a spearman in Yamato, and I want to capture the neighbouring province of Ise. Those forces are enough to do it, because as mentioned the AI doesn't bother to defend cities properly, and it looks like the units can walk from one city to the other in one turn. Okay, great.

    Rather than leave Yamato empty, I move a unit of spearmen into it from another city, then select the three garrisoned units and click on Ise's city, and they walk over and attack in one turn. I use auto-resolve, to save time. One of my archer units dies. Hmm, I think I can do better with a manual battle. So I reload.

    I select the three units again, and click on Ise's city, and they walk over to it and sit down and camp outside.

    Huh?

    They didn't reach it this time, even though they're the same units.

    So I start to experiment. Turns out, it's repeatable behaviour - if I move the additional unit of spearmen into Yamato first, the others can reach Ise. If I don't, they can't. Why? Who knows! In both cases the yellow "can move this far" highlight looks like they ought to be able to get there. Generals and agents can give a bonus to army movement, but I have neither of those in this case. Public order in Yamato is fine. Nothing in the tutorial or any tooltip explanation I've seen could account for this. Is it a totally understandable feature of the Civ-style movement? OBVS AN EMPTY CITY DECREASES UNIT MOVEMENT DISTANCE DUH. Except I can't find that mentioned anywhere.

    Or is it a bug? THIS IS THE FOURTH ITERATION OF THE GAME ENGINE!

    Seriously guys, is it just me? How come everyone else is playing these games and thinks it's all fine? While searching to see if there was an in-game explanation, the following review came up in the search results:

    "Shogun 2 is where all the series' best ideas have been gathered into one game" - Rock Paper Shotgun

    This is all part of a massive practical joke, right? Shogun 2 was created just to troll me personally, and the entire world is in on it. Currently that's the only explanation I have.
     
  6. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

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    I didn't mind Shogun 2 but I agree the first Shogun was definitely the best in the series. I'm currently dabbling in total war warhammer.
     
  7. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I always liked the Third Age Total War mod for Medieval 2: Total War. While I normally hate mods, seeing as it's an entirely different game I didn't mind so much.

    Medieval 2: Total War was also great, I enjoyed how things ratcheted up with the late game access to gunpowder. It felt like a good enough step up from Rome: Total War (which I would imagine was most people's entry point to the series) without feeling too far away from its roots.

    Here's some riveting Jojobobo guides from back in the day: a very hard/very hard guide for the first five turns with Venice in M2:TW - allowing you to take the whole Italian peninsula barring Rome (any man who doesn't love Venetian Heavy Infantry isn't really a man at all), and a guide to the Dwarves in TA:TW.
     
  8. Jungle Japes

    Jungle Japes Well-Known Member

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    I played quite a bit of Shogun back in the day. Dabbled with the Medievals and Romes. When Shogun II came out, I started a game and was determined to conduct the most masterful campaign of all time. When my first battle commenced, it was a smallish fight against a pretty evenly matched army. I spent probably an hour just planning and deploying my troops. Once the fighting started, I micromanaged each millisecond and the enemy fell perfectly into my trap. It was a meticulously orchestrated slaughter, from the opening salvo of arrows to the final cavalry sweep.

    And then I pretty much auto-calc'd every battle after that.
     
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  9. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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  10. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Sure thing. Go nut.
     
  11. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Sarcasm is hard, but you seem to be complaining about a lack of archers and historical accuracy in a game where every faction has archers and threw historical accuracy out of the window. And there was no "delicate interplay" in Shogun – you ran from monks and spammed heavy cavalry as soon as you got them.

    The inability to zoom out is a major hassle and it started with Shogun II. Rome II is a far worse offender though: being unable to fit all of Italy in the screen with a map that stretches from Ireland to India is absurd. I think you're being overly critical of the 3D maps over all, sure the risk-style is charming (and more importantly, far easier for the AI to handle) but stationing armies in strategic passes and fords is also a rather fun strategic element.

    Frankly, I didn't even remember that it used to be like this so I checked out a few videos and it looks pretty neat. I'd love for them to experiment with simultaneous turns again. But being able to flee from a castle under siege doesn't make much sense. And you shouldn't leave huge garrisons in the first place if you don't want to hold the castle at any cost. If you think you're about to be attacked you have to prepare by retreating not waiting around and complain when the attack occurs.

    Now you're reaching. When holding down right click you see a nice line of the path you'll take. The only thing that will stop you is a hidden enemy army. Do you want pop ups when you issue orders that the game thinks you didn't intend? And do you prefer the English with fake Japanese intonation of the original?
    [​IMG]

    I agree. While I loved the aesthetic of the unit cards in Rome II, I absolutely hated that I couldn't tell them from each other at a glance. (And everything else about the game, too.) I agree that Shogun has the clearest unit cards of all but I never had a problem with them in Shogun II (and 43 hours in, you probably shouldn't either). I think it's a generational thing, too. In Shogun, the graphics weren't sufficiently crisp to be able to tell units from each other on the battle field so you needed super clear cards. Kind of like Fallout needing text to describe how awesome it was to see the sun for the first time with Fallout 3 showing you instead of telling.

    Come on the cavalry has freaking baloons on their back so you can tell them apart.

    This is a fair point. Using loads of bow ashigaru I could take on a much larger force packed in a small castle that would have crushed me in the field. But I think this is mostly a problem with the smallest castles, the larger ones allow the defender to spread their troops.

    Agents, fine, it's nice to be able to specialize them according to your needs. But generals lost so much in terms of personality when the sole difference between them is whether they have a tanto or a fish in their pocket. Medieval II had a superb trait system where characters evolved based on what they were doing - killing fleeing enemies, being stationed for years in a city with a brothel, building cathedrals, and so forth.
     
  12. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

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    One thing I liked about Medieval was unlocking playable factions by beating them. Not a fan of this purchase the ability to play more factions that are already in the game.
     
  13. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Huh, it was genuinely free a few weekends ago. I guess the message stuck around even though the situation changed. Just the kind of problem you'd expect for something involving Shogun 2 lol.

    I've read some more articles and comments discussing "which Total War is best" and it clued me in to something important. As with most things where there is disagreement, people will argue for ages without ever realising that they have a fundamental difference in preferences.

    To abuse a game theory term, one of the main determinants is whether you like "symmetric" or "asymmetric" games. Personally I prefer symmetric games where I'm on an equal footing with the opponent, and I have to outwit them using the same resources that they have. So I like the setup of Shogun, where every faction is basically the same, and you have to field the correct counters to the opposing unit types. If they have a lot of monks then you stock up on archers. If they have cavalry then deploy spearmen, etc. There is no one unit type you can use that will automatically win, and if you think there is then you were probably weren't using the other types to their full potential.

    On the other hand, if you prefer asymmetric games, then you may think the setup of Rome: Total War is great, where the first enemy you encounter is a load of guys wearing pyjama pants, and you can simply charge at them with any of your superior units and win easily. If you like the idea of fielding an uber unit type that crushes all opposition, then yes, you will think that the "rock-paper-scissors" combat of Shogun is boring.

    This gameplay element was present in the Risk style map. Some provinces were easier to hold than others, e.g. if they contained a river or lots of hills, so you could deploy your forces accordingly. You don't need a "walk anywhere" map to add more of this - you can have more granular map sections and make some borders into "can't cross from here to there" mountain ranges. As I mentioned before, underneath the 3D map it's the same game as before, just with a load of needless frustration added as a result of the "walk anywhere" idea. For example...

    Except that if you move your army a tiny bit so that they are standing outside the castle, then you DO get the option to retreat if they are attacked. Which is presumably why the AI does that exact thing all the time. It's a meaningless and rather silly change, not some kind of complex additional layer to the strategy.

    Original Shogun: "Your province is being attacked." Here is a list of your forces, and the enemy forces. Do you A) stand and fight, B) retreat to the castle, or C) abandon the province? You could make a strategic choice, taking into account the types of units you each had, the defensibility and value of the province, and the likely availability of reinforcements next turn.

    Shogun 2: "An enemy army appeared out of nowhere" Do you A) stand and fight, B) retreat, except they can probably immediately follow you in the same turn and force you to stand and fight, or C) oops there is no option C, SO I GUESS UR STANDING AND FIGHTING LOL

    Part of the issue is that in the original Shogun you could always see the size of armies in neighbouring provinces, so you knew what might be incoming. With Shogun 2, enemy armies can walk much further than you can see. Now, you might say that you like this, because you like having to deploy agents in order to reveal the enemy's movements. Except that you don't get agents until you've built the right buildings, so at first you are playing blind. Also, you only get a certain number of agents, and you need to use some of them to boost your economy or keep order or deal with enemy agents. So if "deploying agents to roll back the fog of war" was going to be a core game mechanic they sure didn't make it easy to do.

    Yeah, I eventually realised that I can hold right-click. But that seems like a kludge. Why do I even have to do this in the first place? It doesn't add anything to the game, it's just pointless busy work that takes up time.

    Original Shogun: Click, drag, done.

    Shogun 2: Left click, hold down right click, hmm, will that actually reach or not? Sigh. Save game. Left click, right click, wait for the animation. Possibly reload to undo the move if what you wanted to happen didn't happen.

    Erm... are we playing different games? The entirety of Shogun 2 is English with Japanese accents, whereas the original gave you the option to have real Japanese instead. Oh, right, except in Shogun 2 when a unit won't move where you want. THEN it's actual Japanese. Cool, cool.

    Again, are we playing different games? In the original Shogun, I could easily tell monks from no-dachi from yari samurai, and they had clear different colours. In Shogun 2, beyond a certain zoom-out level, everyone is the same generic grey stick figure. Sometimes the ground is grey too. Yes, it's very atmospheric and evocative, but I'm trying to play a game here.

    Actually, that brings me to another core difference between people, which is the extent to which they care about spectacle. Personally I don't care much at all, and always play everything on the max zoomed out level so that I can see what's going on at a high level. Whereas a lot of people probably don't care all that much about symmetric -vs- asymmetric or whatever. They like to select all their units, click on the enemy units and then zoom in and watch the cool sword fights. Ooh, a cavalry charge. Haha, that guy went flying! Oh, look, those guys are throwing firebombs! Boom! Haha, awesome!

    They're probably the same people who watch Hollywood blockbusters for the effects and fight scenes and roll their eyes when people like me complain that the characters were two-dimensional, and that actually it's a massive plot hole that the Obscurans weren't able to- YAWN SHUT UP SMUEL ITS JUST A MOVIE LOL

    Those people are actually the majority, so I certainly understand when developers spend most of their time adding eye candy. It's what sells the game. What makes the Total War series so frustrating for me is that with the first one they created the perfect game, and then with subsequent releases they ruined a large portion of the core gameplay mechanics in the interest of said eye candy, and they haven't been able to fix it since. A shameful display!
     
  14. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Same reason why Heroes of Might and Magic went to shit after III, really. It had to go 3d and flashy effects, where I'd be happy with... essentially the same, just crisper and cleaner, you know? There are things you can do that don't involve the equivalent to Knights of the Round summoning materia.
     
  15. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Both Shoguns are symmetric games so this discussion is a bit beside the whole Shogun I vs Shogun II showdown. I find that symmetric games are generally more fun against human opponents as once you've defeated the AI you can't really get challenged again.

    I do, as you can start off with easy factions and move on to the more disadvantaged as you get better. Asymmetric games are generally a better fit for historical settings, for obvious reasons, but Shogun is a notable exception.

    I don't think there is a major difference in how the battles played out in Shogun and later Totalwars. Sure, the balance in Rome was a bit wonky (not a fan of that game either, although I admit I found it super cool when I was younger) but the basic tactics were the same. Maybe if you play competitive multiplayer you can get into the ”rock-paper-scissors” aspect but I managed just fine locking horns with the bulk of the enemy force with a bunch of infantry (yari samurai in the original; yari ashigaru in the sequel) and then smashing them repeatedly with heavy cavalry until they mass routed. The battle AI could rarely outmaneuver your cavalry and they haven't gotten much better over the decades. Empire was the first game that actually challenged the combat by introducing musket troops (incidentally, arquebus troops in Shogun II are far more worthwhile than in the original, as is Christianity on a whole) and cannons, which completely altered the role of cavalry. In the end the AI wasn't very good at handling it but mods (and multiplayer) allowed me to enjoy it none the less.

    Moving back to Shogun

    Before you can afford to field your army of choice you have to consider the value and utility of the various units (again, this is true for all total wars but more visible in the symmetric Shogun titles) but later it's all about production capabilities. My earliest campaigns usually resulted in slow and steady progress but once I had a third (or fourth) of the map an AI had conquered the rest and where I could field one stack they could field twenty. In later campaigns the situation was reversed.

    As these two complementary comments point out (and was implicit in my earlier post), if you're retreating when the enemy attack it's already too late. When you see enemies at your border, you have to retreat (or reinforce) before they attack. I'm not saying that one version is superior to the other, they're different that's all.

    It's a debate technique I picked up here actually. Include a provocative flaw among your arguments to force a response. Of course, it helps if the rest of your post is flawless...
    Me so solly

    This was the point I was making earlier with Fallout. The current graphics capabilities are sufficient that we no longer have to rely on color coding to tell units apart. You may scoff and call that spectacle but I don't miss it. I generally play zoomed out all the time but might indulge in a little eye candy once the battle is settled. Additionally, there is a certain charm to not quite being able to tell what enemy you're facing (turning off the unit captions/tooltips helps) and trying to position your own units as efficiently as possible. It often results in more emergency maneuvers and you can hopefully keep track on your own units at least.

    I can get behind some of these objections and would certainly be interested in a more basic risk style campaign map of Shogun (and Medieval) mostly due to the AI being able to handle it better. As for other core mechanics, I think your glasses are a bit rose tinted.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  16. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, my main gripes are with the campaign map. My only complaint about the battles themselves is that they made it harder to see what's going on. For example...

    Shogun - Shimazu.jpg

    The above is a screenshot from the original Shogun, with some Shimazu units on a forested hillside. You can clearly see the troops, and that they're on the green team. Once you have an eye for it you can see the ones in front are holding spears, the ones in the middle aren't, and the unit at the back is the general.

    Shogun 2 - Shimazu.jpg

    Now here is an equivalent screenshot from Shogun 2, with roughly the same Shimazu units on similar terrain. I don't deny that it looks much prettier and more realistic, but it's very difficult to make out the colour or type of any of the troops. The banners are easier to see, but the general's isn't as distinctive, and the banners don't help much when the units are engaged with the enemy, because then you just have a mass of similar colour people fighting each other with a bunch of banners next to each other.

    Some people probably prefer this. It is more realistic after all. But it would have been so easy to have a different colour palette which makes things more visible. So they could have had two modes in the game, a "battle realism" mode, which looks like the above, and then a "wimpy Smuel" mode where it looks more like a computer game.

    Wait, what's this... there IS a battle realism mode in the game? It's even called "Battle realism"! Except... the above screenshot is with it turned off. That's right, you're looking at the "make it easy to see everything because it's a computer game" mode.

    Maybe I should play the Warhammer ones. I'm guessing with those everything is brightly coloured.

    Anyway.

    What I'm complaining about is that you can't see the enemies at your border. They can walk further than you can see into the fog of war. Again, some people might find constant surprise attacks fun, but I don't.

    Clearly not - see screenshot above.

    Not sure what other mechanics I've been complaining about besides the change from a Risk style campaign map. I listed the things that I thought were actual improvements in my initial post on the subject.

    I've calmed down a bit now though. In part because I got validation from you guys that I'm not crazy, and in part because I went and actually read the rest of the article that I linked to earlier, and the reviewer basically admits that the campaign map gameplay was ruined by Rome and never really recovered. He's just inclined to forgive it because he loves eye candy. For example he rates Napoleon over Empire because it got the regimental uniforms right. Um... okay? Then in the comments there are a bunch of people saying what I basically said. So I guess I'm not about to become the world's foremost expert on why the Total War series sucks.

    Now excuse me, I have to go and sink another 43 hours into Shogun 2. So prepare for another Smuel screed in approximately a week and a half.
     
  17. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Feb 6, 2013
    The fundamental flaw here is that using "equivalent" screenshots immediately places modern games at a severe disadvantage. Shogun II is not intended for 600p displays and enforcing such conditions obviously make things a bit blurry. Spears are not difficult to make out in Shogun II "once you you got an eye for it". Earlier, post Shogun totalwars (up to Empire, I believe) switched to 2D sprites at a certain distance (the new ones does that too, but at a much greater, unwieldy, distance) that must hightlight the units' defining features. But preferring one over the other is really a matter of habit.
    Your screenshot brings me back to this. I can't tell whether the archers from the Shogun screenshot are samurai or ashigaru. The yari troops I can tell apart (ashigaru troops have pointy hats) but their defining feature is that they are turned i opposite directions. Super clear! Corresponding unit cards in Shogun II are much better: the samurai have armor and carries a spear, the ashigaru troops carry their distinctive weaponry and lack armor. So the basic unit cards are sufficient. The obvious counterargument is that Shogun II has loads variants on basic units (long yari ashigaru etc) and unique units that are much more difficult to tell apart. And yes, you're right about that Smuel, so would you stop going on about it? Jesus.
    As I said earlier, the generals have balloons on their back, so they were among the units that I never got confused. But I agree that the general's banner is needlessly nondescript, in earlier games I believe they were squares and easily stood apart.
    I played Oda (yellow) in Shogun II and never had a problem telling my troops from my enemies. Maybe other clans are different, but there are major color differences. In general I agree with you on colors, I couldn't really get into Europa Barbarorum due to all the grey - in sharp contrast to the colorful palette of vanilla Rome. (And loads of other reasons too, that I shan't go into.) I think that Shogun II found a good middle ground between the extremes, but I'm not going to continue arguing the point.
    I'm waiting with bated breath.

    ---

    Before you go though, I was hoping that you could jog my memory regarding this:
    How did this work when more than two alliances entered a province? Was there a great free for all rumble or did they take turns? Could neutral armies enter the same province?
    The thing is, I have this weird memory from Medieval where I fought an enemy army as the English and there was a neutral army on the battlefield that just stood and watched. It was nice parading in front of them though.
     
  18. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Haha, what? A minute ago you were claiming that modern graphics were so superior that there was no need to use colour to distinguish units any more. Now you're saying older graphics have the advantage? I mean, it's nice that you agree with me, but I am also a little confused about your actual stance.

    They're samurai because the original didn't have ashigaru archers.

    Actually the cards in Shogun 2 are at their most annoying on the campaign map. Surprise - it's the campaign map where everything is ruined. The difference being that on the campaign map it shows chevrons overlaid on the top right to indicate the unit's experience, but the "distinctive" part of the weapon can also be in the top right. E.g. the Samurai archer's bow is straight where he holds it, and then curves at the top right. The curve is hidden behind the chevron, so he looks like a guy holding a stick. That then makes it difficult to distinguish from a Yari samurai, who is drawn as a guy holding a stick. That was the one that annoyed me the most when I started playing - I'd be moving an army and couldn't tell at a glance how many archers it had. How about - maybe showing a bow and arrow on the card?

    You have it right. Because everyone moves simultaneously, you could get any number of factions landing in a province at the same time, and then battling it out all at once. Allies would be on the same side, and some armies could be neutral, and I believe whoever had the most troops left at the end would be the owner of the province afterwards. It was great. Admittedly it could be frustrating if you attacked a province at the same time as your ally, and he had more troops, and then he'd end up with it afterwards with your own troops kicked out. But that's frustrating in a "Ooh, you sly dog" type way, not in a "I wanted to garrison my army in this city but they stopped just outside so now I have disorder" type way. YAH BUT IT SHOWS AN ANIMATION OF TEH GENERAL PULLING OUT A LITTLE CHAIR AND SITTING DOWN WHICH IS COOL

    I love simultaneous turns in strategy games. Unfortunately hardly any games seem to have them these day, everything is either an RTS or uses Civilization style turns. The only games I can recall that had proper simultaneous turns are Shogun/Medieval, and Star Trek: Birth Of The Federation, which I believe was a clone of Master Of Orion 2, although I never played that. That's another reason why it's particularly galling to me that the ONE gaming franchise that easily could have kept going with simultaneous turns instead ditched them for Civ-style.

    upload_2020-6-12_16-47-16.png
     
  19. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    You guys were supposed to respond with a list of your favourite simultaneous turn strategy games so that I could try some of them out. But never mind, it's fine. No, no, really. It's absolutely fine.

    No, no.
     
  20. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    I wonder what simultaneous turn chess would be like?

    Both players scribble down their move on a note, and then they show each other their notes and take turns, simultaneously.

    Potential issues and how to solve them:

    Pieces evade capture - if you aim to capture your opponent's pawn with your bishop or whatever, and the pawn moves forward during that turn, your bishop moves to the square you've designated while the pawn moves forward, evading capture.

    Right of way - situations are likely to arise where two pieces will move to the same square. This presents a problem, and I would suggest using a die roll to solve it. The player who rolls the highest result on a D6 wins (re-roll in the case of a tie). The winner has the right of way. This probably means that the opponent cannot move their piece. Alternatively, the die roll decides which piece survives and which one emerges victorious when they both arrive on the same square and duke it out like drunks fighting over some HoL member's mom. This is probably the better option.

    Probably a slew of other issues that will inevitably crop up if anyone tries this.

    EDIT: Apparently and obviously, googling this shows me it already exists (though it's different from what I've laid out).
     
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