Multi-Ship Combat

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streu
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Post#16 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:35 am

Havok wrote:
B A N E wrote:
Commodore Cherek, IRJTN wrote:Possibly
If it were FLAK?
FLAK's still a beta. I wouldn't want to run a game in that unless everyone knew what they were getting into.
FLAK is still beta because there hasn't been too extensive playtesting yet. It can only get out of that state by being played. Knowing that it's played will also encourage me to tighten the loose ends it still has (i.e. add a decent camera direction for the Win32 version).

If you're fearing technical problems, well, I usually read my mail each day, and if you're using good topic headings, also this forum. And don't tell me TKF or TVCR2 are free of technical problems.


--Stefan

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Post#17 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:44 am

We need to get a game going!
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Post#18 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:46 am

Akalabeth wrote:I always wished there was a fleet combat mod that was more akin to the basic VGAP combat. Like basic VCR but with more ships. So maybe there are three to four rows of ships in formation and using FCs a person can say which row which ship will be in. Then when the fighters and the torpedos come in they target the rows in succession (ie fighters hit the first row then pull back). So first row gets destroyed then the second row then the third.
[...cut...]
Actually, FLAK was designed out of those very ideas. It uses the well-known and well-understood PHost battle mechanics, extended to support more ships. We've added targeting and movement decisions, and modified the formulas a little to make it feasible to use it with existing ship lists.
Of course depending on FCs maybe the ships all fight in the same line. Maybe sometimes it's more advantages to do one line than three ranks. So the idea would be that all three ranks can fire (depending on range, so just like normal VGAP the beams would be able to fire immediately, but in terms of torpedoes, each row would come into range of the enemy ships in succession), but only the first rank can get targetted by enemy fire. Or maybe, each row/rank by default holds 5 ships so with 5 ships per side the ships are all in one row. When you get 6 ships there's automatically two rows, when you get 11 ships there's 3. 15 ships should cover most battles. But if there's more than 15 then the ships are maybe added 1 at a time to the first, second and third row (so a 19 ship battle would be 7/6/6).
FLAK works exactly this way :-) It even uses friendly codes to group ships into "ranks".

We've done a few modifications, though. For example, beams cannot fire immediately like in VGAP 1:1 dogfights, because that just looks very silly in real big fights. You have to be in firing range. Also, ships in second rank are not immune to being attacked, they're just less likely due to their larger distance.

Maybe your brain is visualizing a two-party fight right now. Remember that a real multi-ship combat system must deal with multi-party fights, which complicates matters a little more.
How ships within the first rank are targetted would probably determine a lot of the balance/tactics. I would think that not all the ships would target same ship because that would look a little dumb, at the same time the ships shouldn't be targetted evenly because that would make one-rank combat more desirable (to spread out the damage).
We've decided for "one group attacks one ship". Splitting damage would be silly, and everyone firing the same big evil Borg cube doesn't look silly at all (IMHO).
Would require playtesting of some sort. . . .
Like FLAK :-)


--Stefan

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Post#19 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:20 am

PHOST isn't my strength. However Stefan if you build the game, I'll put it up. :) I don't think we'll have a problem finding players.
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Post#20 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:18 pm

OH!OH! Dare I hope for a game?
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Post#21 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:19 pm

Havok wrote:PHOST isn't my strength. However Stefan if you build the game, I'll put it up. :) I don't think we'll have a problem finding players.
Why not use PHost default setting? Any ship list will do for me.

I've been dieing to test out FLAK for quite a while now.
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Post#22 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:45 pm

Commodore Cherek, IRJTN wrote:
Havok wrote:PHOST isn't my strength. However Stefan if you build the game, I'll put it up. :) I don't think we'll have a problem finding players.
Why not use PHost default setting? Any ship list will do for me.

I've been dieing to test out FLAK for quite a while now.
If you decide which ship list to use, I can probably prepare a bundle containing the FLAK add-on built from most-current source code, and a matching configuration. It's mainly a question whether you use Tim-list-compatible combat or PList combat (and whether you're using PHost 3 or PHost 4. FLAK ought to run with host.exe but this has never been tried).

Am I right that the CM host runs on Windows?

My first test game so far, "flak0", was hosted on Windows, and used PList with PHost 4.


--Stefan
Last edited by streu on Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post#23 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:47 pm

Use PHost 4.0.
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Post#24 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:49 pm

streu wrote: We've decided for "one group attacks one ship". Splitting damage would be silly, and everyone firing the same big evil Borg cube doesn't look silly at all (IMHO).
Well. the thing I would think would be silly is if you've got like 10 ships and they all fire at one ship, destroy it, fire at the next one, destroy it, and so on. That way the ships are really just "hitpoints" of a larger force and at the end of combat you'll get like X number of mint ships, one damaged ship, and a bunch of destroyed.

I'm not saying 1:1 targets or something. But if you've got like a row of 10 ships per side maybe 3-4 ships fire at one target on the enemy side so you get 1-3 targets in that scenario. And yeah a whole bunch of ships shooting one massive target like in First Contact looks damn cool but in VGAP the big ships aren't that massive. Though that may not be true with Phost. I've never played phost or plist.

But yeah you're right I forgot the whole multiplayer aspect.


I mean the biggest I have with TKF is that it's ugly. Having my whole fleet stacked in one spot looks dumb. I play these boardgames, where spaceships duke it out, and some people put all their ships into one piece of the map. It looks dumb there and it looks dumb here. So yeah, please, spread the ships out so it looks like a battle formation, then when ships drop out of formation and get blown apart and holes start to form then everyone watching the battle can get their jollies. If the battle looks good enough that I'll enjoy it even when I lose then that's a good thing.

Something like this for example: http://positech.co.uk/gratuitousspacebattles/ look damn cool. Now obviously:

A - any 3rd party program won't look like that, there's no budget
B - the ships are way too big.

But if you think about something like that but with much smaller ships to accomodate fleets and decent (ie PlayVCR) graphics it would look damn cool.

Heck one thing that I think would be really cool is that if ships had different "states" of health. So maybe when a ship gets 50% damaged then the icon changes or some little particle "burn" points pop up. Or some sparks. Of course if most ships last 5 seconds this is pointless. But if a ship has the potential to last a bit longer (ie less concentration of fire) and be damaged for a while you can say "oh no! My Nova is going down. Stay in there" and then a few more torpedos slug into it and BOOM.

But yeah anyway.
Last edited by Akalabeth on Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post#25 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:53 pm

Maybe you should download PCC II and install only the VCR player (PlayVCR) and try a few sims. I use it for all my VCR's.
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Post#26 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:46 pm

streu wrote:
Commodore Cherek, IRJTN wrote:
Havok wrote:PHOST isn't my strength. However Stefan if you build the game, I'll put it up. :) I don't think we'll have a problem finding players.
Why not use PHost default setting? Any ship list will do for me.

I've been dieing to test out FLAK for quite a while now.
If you decide which ship list to use, I can probably prepare a bundle containing the FLAK add-on built from most-current source code, and a matching configuration. It's mainly a question whether you use Tim-list-compatible combat or PList combat (and whether you're using PHost 3 or PHost 4. FLAK ought to run with host.exe but this has never been tried).

Am I right that the CM host runs on Windows?

My first test game so far, "flak0", was hosted on Windows, and used PList with PHost 4.


--Stefan
Yeah the host is with AutoTroll on a XP machine.

Phost 4.0 definitely. Shiplist is your choice since you're building the game.
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][avok

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Post#27 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:50 pm

Akalabeth wrote:
streu wrote: We've decided for "one group attacks one ship". Splitting damage would be silly, and everyone firing the same big evil Borg cube doesn't look silly at all (IMHO).
Something like this for example: http://positech.co.uk/gratuitousspacebattles/ look damn cool. Now obviously:
That did look damn cool. If anyone hasn't watched the video on the link, take a minute to check it out.
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Post#28 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:53 pm

Akalabeth wrote:
streu wrote: We've decided for "one group attacks one ship". Splitting damage would be silly, and everyone firing the same big evil Borg cube doesn't look silly at all (IMHO).
Well. the thing I would think would be silly is if you've got like 10 ships and they all fire at one ship, destroy it, fire at the next one, destroy it, and so on. That way the ships are really just "hitpoints" of a larger force and at the end of combat you'll get like X number of mint ships, one damaged ship, and a bunch of destroyed.

I'm not saying 1:1 targets or something. But if you've got like a row of 10 ships per side maybe 3-4 ships fire at one target on the enemy side so you get 1-3 targets in that scenario. And yeah a whole bunch of ships shooting one massive target like in First Contact looks damn cool but in VGAP the big ships aren't that massive. Though that may not be true with Phost. I've never played phost or plist.
Actually, ships *are* that big in VGA Planets. Ever tried to damage, say, a Biocide with a fleet of 10 Rubies? The Bio didn't get a scratch. The idea of FLAK is to let the Rubies team up. And if there are now 2 Biocides, isn't it better to have the Rubies fire all at one, to destroy it, instead of letting their lives for just making repairable damage?

That aside, this is the tactical decision you can make in FLAK. You can group your ships using combat friendly codes. If you wish to make one group, you make one. If you wish to make three groups, you make three. However, you cannot force them to attack different enemies (yet). If both think it were beneficial to attack one particular enemy, they'll do.
But if you think about something like that but with much smaller ships to accomodate fleets and decent (ie PlayVCR) graphics it would look damn cool.

Heck one thing that I think would be really cool is that if ships had different "states" of health. So maybe when a ship gets 50% damaged then the icon changes or some little particle "burn" points pop up. Or some sparks.
The Win32 version of the FLAK viewer (i.e. PlayVCR) has two modes of display: a raw top-down view to the battle-board using circles and crosses, and an isometric 3-D view. For the 3-D view, it uses bitmaps and turns them around a little, much like TKF does. But turning around bitmaps in pseudo 3-D looks quite dumb. It works in two-dimensional TKF, but not as well in FLAK.

I like most the full 3-D view of the DOS FLAK viewer. It's ugly because it has only circles and crosses, but it has decent camera work -- the rest happens in imagination.

For real 3-D, we'd need some sort of 3-D models (and someone able to implement them).


--Stefan

PS, FLAK user documentation (99% current) with a little rationale, is on http://phost.de/~stefan/flak/flak-user-doc.txt. The programs in that folder are probably out of date. And the jpegs document how we developed FLAK at a VGAP convention :-)

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Post#29 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:11 am

If a FLAK game starts after the 26th of July,
I can join, if not, perhaps in the next run of FLAK.

My prefs would be Phost4 & Plist 3.1.
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Post#30 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:30 am

B A N E wrote:My prefs would be Phost4 & Plist 3.1.
Heavy, Standard or Lite :?:
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