Coronavirus and me and you

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

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  1. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    You wouldn't just move one piece at a time though. Each turn, you would move every piece on the board once, and those moves are what get written down and then resolved.

    Evading capture isn't an issue - in fact I'd say that exact feature is one of the things I like about the simultaneous move system - at least in a game where the goal is to control territory. With chess the goal is to take the other pieces, so maybe it's more of a problem there.

    The right of way issue only arises in chess because in the regular game any piece can take any other. A pawn can take a queen if it's the pawn's turn to move.
    In a simultaneous version you could have a ranking system where e.g. the queen beats anything, a rook beats anything except a queen, etc. Though now we're starting to get away from chess, and also that makes the queen unstoppable, except versus another queen were we're back to the original problem. So now the game is broken. Good job, Dark Elf.

    You could probably come up with a method of fixing it if you tried hard enough though.

    The REAL issue with simultaneous turns is - what happens if two pieces (or armies in Shogun, fleets in BOTF) move to each other's positions on the same turn? Do they pass each other invisibly? Do you randomly pick one to have "moved first", and fight a battle at the other's location?

    My current preferred solution is - the units meet in the middle and fight a battle in a generic midpoint battle map. Whoever wins then proceeds on to where they were going. You can still have the option to retreat or abort the move when presented with the midpoint battle dialog. If both armies retreat, they end up back where they began. If one retreats and the other attacks, it defaults back to what would have happened if one hadn't moved in the first place.

    I believe Shogun kind of fudged this though. The AI got to move after you'd made your moves, and so could basically cheat. It wasn't super obvious that it was doing it though. You'd still sometimes get multiple armies landing in the same province in one turn, and if you tried to take a province that had no defenders, it would often just let you take it rather than move an inferior force in there to try to defend it. It would also retreat if your army could obviously beat it. Part of the art of mastering the game was to field a force just big enough that you could beat the AI on the battlefield, but not so big that it would give up the province instead of fighting you. Because if it does that then you know it's going to merge the retreating army with another one and come back later with twice the numbers.
     
  2. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Which is why I suggested determining the winner by rolling die. Yeah, so things come down to random chance then, but that kinda fits since simultaneous chess would be a game of calculated risk anyway. If need be you could balance this with modifiers, of course. There is only one queen after all, so maybe that particular Oppenheimer piece should get a +1 to her rolls to give her a bit more heft than the filthy peasant levies who are more numerous.
     
  3. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Has it been a week and a half yet? Oh boy.

    So, I've been playing Shogun 2 some more, and I'm back to being annoyed again. Here is the latest reason why:

    In the original, each province landscape was distinctive. Totomi was completely flat. Shinano had epic hills. Owari had a river with two crossing points. Mutsu had a large forested area. Kai had a central valley with an impassable edge at one end. Yamashiro (I think?) had layered rice paddies. Wakasa was on the coast, with a large beach area. Compare this to Shogun 2, where every battle is fought on a map that has small lumpy hills with trees on top of them. The landscape is basically the same every time.

    Also, in the original, holding the high ground was a tangible advantage. Archers were more effective the higher up they were. Dislodging an enemy from a hill was quite a challenge. However, in Shogun 2 it doesn't make any difference to range or damage whether your archers are higher up or not. An enemy archer unit can stand at the bottom of a steep slope and inflict equal casualties on your archer unit at the top.

    So basically, aside from "cavalry doesn't do well in forests" the entire terrain factor has been removed from the game. Never mind choosing a force appropriate for a given province, or careful positioning of archers, just send a load of spear units to charge straight at the enemy. BATTLE TACTICS R BORING ANYWAY LOL

    Then there's a load of minor inconveniences that make the game seem unfinished:

    The fast forward in the battle map only goes up to 4x speed. In Shogun you could speed things up at least 10x, which made watching the enemy walk across the entire map to reach you a lot more bearable.

    When showing enemy moves on the campaign map, the map view will randomly rotate, throwing off your sense of where things are happening.

    If you tell a ship to sail to the other end of Japan, it will happily stray into deep water on the way, suffering attrition. So you have to tediously micro-manage a long journey every turn, even if you are at peace with everyone and there shouldn't be any need.

    If you queue up several units to be built, and then next turn decide you don't want them and unqueue them, it says "This unit is in the process of being recruited" for each one, even though they're not - you're just unqueuing them. So you have to dismiss the same misleading dialog box several times in a row.

    One of the loading screen tips tells you about "Shinobi". There are no shinobi in the game. That's the original Shogun.

    If you save, and then while still in the menu, click on exit, it says "If you quit now you will lose all your unsaved progress." I LITERALLY JUST SAVED

    I know those last few are completely trivial, but when combined with all the other things I've mentioned, they contribute to the feeling that none of the developers have tried playing their own game. And certainly none of them understood what made the original so good. It's all been thrown away in a mad rush to provide MOAR EYE CANDY.

    What I still don't get is that most people online rate Shogun 2 as the best one. They even say "It's the most polished." And if you look up Shogun 2 on Wikipedia, at the bottom of the page it say that it won a BAFTA for Best Strategy Game of 2011.

    Best strategy game.

    Best STRATEGY game.

    BEST STRATEGY GAME??!!

    Were there no other strategy games released that year?
     
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  4. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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  5. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    For those of you keeping score, this will be my 7th post complaining about Shogun 2. It's a short one though. I just want to post a screenshot of something that happened to me in the game recently, which I feel sums up everything about my experience playing it.


    Shogun 2 summarized.jpg


    As you will notice, it looks beautiful, but is fundamentally broken. I rest my case.
     
    Ruda and Jungle Japes like this.
  6. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Okay, this isn't hard. Using only a handful of colors and sharp contrast to distinguish between units (or whatever's to be displayed) was necessary in old games due to not having the graphical capabilities to render it more clearly. The more color you cram into a small image, the blurrier it gets, so using 600p screenshots to prove that Shogun is better looking than Shogun II is a bit disingenuous. Use 1440p and I'm fairly certain you can tell the units apart.
    This is an interesting point. In retrospect, I like that too, but I remember that I thought it was much cooler when Rome & Medieval II actually generated maps depending on the exact location your army had on the campaign map. Next to a city - you'll see a city in the distance; on the coast next to your fleet - you'll see your fleet in the distance. It really helped you choose your battlefield (fight in the mountain pass or by the river or in the field) but it came with the issue of showing just how small the world was. If you fought in Greece, you could see the entire Peloponnese from any battle in the area and if you fought along the shoreline you could even make out pyramids in the distance; the Mediterranean was more a pond than a sea. Empire and later games have gone back to a handful of maps that are much more detailed and balanced (Rome/Medieval II mountain maps could be insane) but pretty similar looking. I don't know what to prefer, to tell the truth.

    Going back to the campaign map, another thing that the ability to chose where to station your army unlocked was ambushes. If you placed an army in a forest a long the path to your province, you could intercept the enemy and fight on advantageous terms. That's not really possible in earlier games. I'm not saying that it was a massive feature, but it was useful when playing as a weaker nation against a strong invader.
    It still is? Archers act a bit weird in Shogun 2, I agree (their arrows move so slowly, it's a wonder they actually penetrate their targets) but if you're defending on a hill you'll definitely receive defensive bonuses. Perhaps they've been lessened somewhat, I don't know, but they're there. Actually, Shogun II is the first game where the AI actually seems to care about terrain (at least on higher difficulties) in the earlier games they were all too happy the abandon their defensive positions to assault you, eve if they are the ones who's defending. Regarding "just sending a load of spear units to charge straight at the enemy": obviously you can do that if you have larger army, but it's not an especially good tactic.
    Agreed, there was absoutely no need for a rotating map.
    There are in the expansion though.
    Oh come now you've deleted a bunch of files from the game folder just to prove your point, haven't you?
     
  7. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    The game was running at full resolution, I just shrunk the screenshot so it would fit on the page. That didn't magically change the contrast between the people and the ground though. The figures were just as hard to make out at full resolution.

    Sure, that would be a great feature, if they could have added it without removing the other terrain features. I've heard so much about this "you can pick the terrain where the battle is fought" that I was quite excited the other day when there was a nice handy river and bridge next to a position I wanted to defend. I placed my army just touching one side of the bridge, and sure enough the enemy on the other side marched over and engaged in battle, and the view zoomed in to show the two generals crossing swords over the bridge. Cut to the battle map, and... it was the exact same small lumpy hills map that every other battle has been fought on, with no river in sight. So much for choosing the terrain. The old Shogun 1 system was much more reliable.

    Honestly, Shogun 2 doesn't seem better than Shogun 1 at this. Shogun 1's AI was pretty good at playing defensively. If you didn't attack, the enemy would just sit there on its high ground until the battle timer ran out and they won because they were the defenders. If you tried to manoeuvre to one side of them, they would reposition accordingly. If they had a much bigger army than you, they might decide to go on the offensive instead, but I've seen that in Shogun 2 as well. And in both cases you could lure out single units of archers at a time. In Shogun 1 they would definitely not always fall for it, and retreat back to the main force if they were in danger. On the other hand in Shogun 2 I've walked up to the side of an enemy in a forest and killed the units one by one while the others just stood there, so there's nothing in Shogun 2's AI that makes me think it's been worked on at all since Shogun 1.

    I'm not playing the expansion though. Also, if you're going to say "Well, hey, the game code has been updated for the expansion, but you just don't have those data files" then the above "Placeholder!" screenshot looks even worse, since it's not even the vanilla game - it's the 7th game in the series, fully patched with post-expansion pack bug fixes. At this point they've been making essentially the same game for 11 years, and yet the core gameplay is full of new problems that have been introduced along the way.

    Seriously, if the developers had kept the risk style simultaneous turn map (they could have still made it pretty and 3D though), added the good stuff like unit replenishment, agent interplay, and generals as separate distinct units, and then worked on improving the battle AI, instead of throwing away the old code and implementing an all new version with fewer features, then I would pay up to $5 for it in a Steam sale 10 years later.

    So I don't understand why they don't pander to my exact preferences.
     
  8. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Guess what game I'm playing now. Here's a hint:



    upload_2020-8-1_13-17-29.png



    That's right, Crusader Kings II. It's free on Steam, for all those that don't know. It's also pretty good, for all those that don't know, although it has a very steep learning curve, and requires you to be ruthless in a way that doesn't come naturally to me. Even though they're made up characters in a computer's memory, it still feels wrong to be plotting the assassination of a neighbour's 10 year old kid because he's the heir to some land that you've got a matrilineal claim on via his only surviving aunt. But if you can dig deep and find the ambitious 11th Century Machiavellian landed noble within you, it's great fun.

    My best moment so far happened last night, after several nights playing: First ever game, started off as the Count of Norfolk (England). Ten seconds in, William the Conqueror took over the entire kingdom, and acquired (among many others) the title of Count of Suffolk, which is the other one needed for the Duchy of my local region. There's not much I can do as a lowly Count against King William the Frickin Conqueror (except there probably is, but I'm new to the game). So, I search for a good character to be my Chancellor, and send him off to fabricate a claim on Suffolk. Fast forward 30 years, my original character has died of old age and I'm playing as his heir, still only as the Count of Norfolk, when suddenly my claim is successfully fabricated. I still can't do anything with it, because I'm not going to war with King William the Frickin Conqueror, so all I've achieved is to piss him off. However, he's getting old, so I cosy up to his son and heir. A few years after that, William dies of old age and his son inherits the throne. Of course he wants to build a network of strong loyal subjects, and whaddaya know, there's me, the friendly yet humble Count of Norfolk, with a strong claim on Suffolk. Boom, he makes me a Duke, with Suffolk as my vassal. So now I've got double the effective power and as a Duke I can make better matches with my children. Hah! Suck on that, Shogun 2, this is what a real strategy game looks like.

    CKII veterans will probably tell me that the fabricated claim didn't factor into the AI's decisions, so all I did was waste 30 years of game time, to which I say: geez, it's my first game, let me have this one, okay?
     
  9. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Ah, to play CK2 for the first time again...

    It's by far my favorite strategy game and I'm very much looking forward to the third instalment (released next month!)

    I must say that I'm a bit surprised given your preference towards symmetric games. It sounds like you're doing okay, so I'll try to restrain my impulse of spewing you with helpful tips.

    I've played for years and I still don't understand AI reasoning. It's probably why CK2 feels more 'human' than any other strategy game. The AI will try to make obvious moves to please vassals. You're the count of Norfolk and has been given the duchy of Norfolk (or East Anglia depending on culture), therefore the count of Suffolk is your de jure vassal and is therefor transferred to you, as being denied control of de jure vassals is big no-no in the liege-vasslal relationship. The claim has nothing to do with being granted the duchy though, that's likely due to your friendship with the new king and your primary title being part of the duchy (this means that you 'desire' the duchy which is an opinion penalty towards whoever holds it). Had the King liked the count of Suffolk more than you, you'd be his vassal instead.

    Your fabricated claim isn't wasted though: when the realm laws allows revocation of titles you will be able to lawfully revoke Suffolk from your vassal count and add it to your personal demesne.

    There I go, gushing all over you anyway.

    I won't argue of course, but you will come across stuff like weird placeholder text, lying tooltips etc.

    The Wiki contains lots of useful information regarding mechanics that are poorly explained in game.
     
  10. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Is it not symmetric? I may be starting with different amounts of holdings compared to AI players around me, but we're all operating under the same rules with the same unit types, as far as I can tell. To be fair I've only played within England so far - maybe the Turks get war camels or something.

    Yeah, I wasted it. I have such a measly demesne limit, and haven't worked out how to increase it yet, that I didn't revoke Suffolk's land. I know in theory I can marry a super-stewardy wife and then my kids might have a higher limit, but I'm trying to marry for land and alliances instead of for stats, because that seems more in the spirit of the game, and also because I'm a noob. So Suffolk kept his land and then the guy with the claim died and his heir didn't inherit the claim because it hadn't been pressed in war. On the plus side, Suffolk is my best bud, so I think that's okay for now. Also, since I have gavelkind succession I think if my previous generation had owned both counties, the second county would have gone to my brother, who has an automatic claim on my land, while Suffolk himself doesn't, so that seems safer somehow.

    Thanks, although I believe Jojobobo appreciates that kind of thing even more.
     
  11. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    The fundamental rule set is the same for everyone, but different cultures and religions have different bonuses. Catholics have to deal with the Pope but also have access to super-powered crusades, whereas all Muslims have to deal with creeping decadence. On the other hand almost all Muslims have secular religious heads (Sunni & Shia, in particular) which means that they're playable. I guess that you could still argue that it's symmetric as you can convert to another religion (and culture) so no start have bonuses that are completely unavailable to others. That's a pretty generous definition of symmetric though.

    The only exception I can think of are the mongols under Genghis Khan, who gain access to huge armies that are completely attrition and upkeep free.
     
  12. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    The symmetric thing is a scale. Examples of a perfectly symmetric game are actually hard to think of. Even something like chess isn't completely symmetrical because whoever goes first has an advantage. So generally any turn-based game is ruled out unless it has true simultaneous turns.

    Football (i.e. soccer) and basketball may be completely symmetric, depending on whether one team starts with possession of the ball or not. Street Fighter 2 is symmetric, unless there's some kind of psychological advantage to starting on the left side of the screen.

    A perfectly asymmetric game would be something like space invaders. Most single player games are fairly asymmetric. Even ones like Baldur's Gate or Arcanum, where the NPCs are nominally following the same combat and equipment rules as the player, are still heavily loaded in the player's favour.

    I guess Crusader Kings and the Total War series could be classified as something like "unbalanced symmetric games". On a fundamental level they have symmetric gameplay, but depending on starting position and what units are available one team may have a massive advantage. CK2 seems more towards the balanced end of this sub-scale though.
     
  13. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    I'd argue that Shogun in particular in more symmetrical than Crusader Kings. Total War does give bonuses to the AI on most difficulties but otherwise you're playing on the same terms. And in Shogun most factions have basically the same units (more so than in other Total Wars except maybe Empire) and the same amount of provinces (although some locations may be more favorable). Crusader Kings might be more 'rule neutral' so to speak, but is certainly less balanced.

    Chess can be played sort of like Tennis, you switch sides and you have to win by two games.
    Ice Hockey is slightly more symmetric than Football, as the timer pauses when the game is stopped, and always starts again with a face off.

    What I'm trying to say is that I get your point.
     
  14. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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