Bad Ideas in 1.3?

General feedback and discussion of the game.

Moderator: Forum Moderators

User avatar
thespaceinvader
Retired Art Director
Posts: 8414
Joined: August 25th, 2007, 10:12 am
Location: Oxford, UK
Contact:

Post by thespaceinvader »

I find the exact opposite in most campaigns, actually - how on earth would an entire village be held by a single individual unit? When the capital of a nation is represented by 20 or so villages (Final scenario of HttT, for example, to name but one), which can be occupied by a total of 20 or so units, it seems pretty clear to me that those 20 units are representative of VASTLY more, similarly that the hexes represent far bigger areas. In this case, with characters, lieutenants etc, i view the character/lieutenant as that character plus a bodyguard of generic units, usually. The name of the unit would be the name of the leader of that particular group - the corporal of a band of spearmen, for example.

However in some scenarios, it seems clear that the opposite is true - that hexes are no more than a few feet across, and each unit is just that - a unit.

The scale clearly is mutable when a battlefield can represent both a tactical-scale view of an entire region, or a close-in-scale view of the interior of a single cave, with the same hexes and the same units.

Bear in mind here, that i play almost exclusively in campaign, and very little multiplayer - multiplayer tends to be a bit more abstracted anyway - maps are designed to be balanced and/or interesting to play, rather than be realistic.
http://thespaceinvader.co.uk | http://thespaceinvader.deviantart.com
Back to work. Current projects: Catching up on commits. Picking Meridia back up. Sprite animations, many and varied.
borsook
Posts: 139
Joined: March 11th, 2007, 9:44 pm
Location: Poland

Post by borsook »

JW wrote:
zookeeper wrote:Sure, but you have to admit a shopkeeper in a square/enix rpg is a very different thing from a Wesnoth unit, since the shopkeeper is actually representing and trying to appear like a real, living shopkeeper whereas what the Wesnoth unit standing on the map represents is much more abstract and varies by interpretation and context.
I actually think this is one of the biggest lies propagated in the forums. To me it's pretty clear that each individual unit in a hex is just one unit. Is a loyalist lieutenant really a squad of lieutenants? Do flocks of gryphon riders and vampire bats really stay in such closely knit formations as to remain in one hex? Do squadrons of elvish fighters really have "traits"? Do schools of mages all stay and dadvance together? Even teleport together? Do characters like Konrad really fight as well as a batch of elves banding together? Does every unit in a group have the same given name?

The problem I see is that the world art corresponds mostly to a larger scale, whereas unit sprites are pretty consistantly all based on an individual unit scale. Because no one wants to redo the art, we make up this lie and say that HAPMA. I mean, I'm okay with that, really I am. But I also think it's misleading to think that the units are anything more than the actual specific, singular unit that they represent.

I don't play many campaigns, but with the experience I've had with them units are all meant to be seen as individual units as well.

---feel free to split this if necessary.
I must say I never had this impression. In fact thinking that units represent just one entity would make the game very illogical for me, esp the villages. For me it's always a squad of some sort, units like Konrad or lieutenant is a squad with that particular person in it. For this is a classic strategy game approach, like nobody playing e.g. CEAW would say that the tank figure is just one tank occupying whole Berlin...
Dave
Founding Developer
Posts: 7071
Joined: August 17th, 2003, 5:07 am
Location: Seattle
Contact:

Post by Dave »

JW wrote:
zookeeper wrote:Sure, but you have to admit a shopkeeper in a square/enix rpg is a very different thing from a Wesnoth unit, since the shopkeeper is actually representing and trying to appear like a real, living shopkeeper whereas what the Wesnoth unit standing on the map represents is much more abstract and varies by interpretation and context.
I actually think this is one of the biggest lies propagated in the forums. To me it's pretty clear that each individual unit in a hex is just one unit. Is a loyalist lieutenant really a squad of lieutenants? Do flocks of gryphon riders and vampire bats really stay in such closely knit formations as to remain in one hex? Do squadrons of elvish fighters really have "traits"? Do schools of mages all stay and dadvance together? Even teleport together? Do characters like Konrad really fight as well as a batch of elves banding together? Does every unit in a group have the same given name?
The claim isn't that each unit is actually a group of units.

It's simply that the game is a somewhat abstract game, and that like everything else, units are an indefinite abstraction. They have names and traits to give them a personality, but on the other hand, armies capable of controlling ten different settlements have traditionally been composed of more than a dozen individuals.

Perhaps you control twelve specific individuals in a certain battle, but the outcome of these twelve individuals also reflects and is symbolic of the outcome of the entire battle, involving hundreds of troops.

Who really knows? It doesn't matter. It's abstract and left to user interpretation.

David
“At Gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.” -- Ian Fleming
User avatar
Aethaeryn
Translator
Posts: 1553
Joined: September 15th, 2007, 10:21 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Post by Aethaeryn »

I actually agree with JW and have always seen them as individual units. As for villages? I see them as actually being individual houses that pay tribute (after all, 2 gold is next-to-nothing). Cities weren't that big in a mostly-rural medieval society and I simply see the representations of cities as abstract. Of course, even on top of this the campaigns are not internally consistent - compare the first two scenarios of Liberty (the scale of the village changes) - so I think that the terrain scale changes where convenient but that simply means that the person is covering more ground.

Then again, I mostly play MP.
Aethaeryn (User Page)
Wiki Moderator (wiki)
Latin Translator [wiki=Latin Translation](wiki)[/wiki]
Maintainer of Thunderstone Era (wiki) and Aethaeryn's Maps [wiki=Aethaeryn's Maps](wiki)[/wiki]
User avatar
TL
Posts: 511
Joined: March 3rd, 2007, 3:02 am

Post by TL »

Clearly, Wesnoth units are quantum entities which simultaneously exist both as individuals and as groups of soldiers.

I agree that the arcane damage type has gotten a bit arbitrary over the course of 1.3; what started out as a reasonably intuitive rationale has been bent a few times in the interests of balance. But as far as 1.3 being "pro-undead", this is nonsense. Ghouls and walking corpses received absolutely tiny buffs. The arcane attacks of the dark adept (and to a lesser extent the ghost) affect their damage capacity against undead only. The dark adept is not any better at fighting any mainline MP units except actual undead. The white mage is no longer as ridiculously overpowered against undead, but it still deals out huge damage to them and now they have to worry about elvish sorceresses too. Things have become more generalized compared to the uber-specialized 1.2 system, but on the whole there is no real pro-undead bias.
Truper
Posts: 139
Joined: May 16th, 2006, 6:06 pm

Post by Truper »

You're much too kind, TL. What started out as a completely intuitive rationale has been bent beyond comprehension in the interests of preserving a damage type which, in retrospect, should have been removed entirely.
"If gameplay requires it, they can be made to live on Venus."

Sure. But in that case, they had damned well better be called Venusians, and not Elves, Undead, or anything else.
User avatar
Viliam
Translator
Posts: 1341
Joined: January 30th, 2004, 11:07 am
Location: Bratislava, Slovakia
Contact:

Post by Viliam »

Truper wrote:What started out as a completely intuitive rationale has been bent beyond comprehension in the interests of preserving a damage type which, in retrospect, should have been removed entirely.
Maybe we could remove it in 1.5 version? Better late than never... ;-)
User avatar
irrevenant
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 3692
Joined: August 15th, 2005, 7:57 am
Location: I'm all around you.

Post by irrevenant »

JW wrote:Yeah. Pretty much exactly what megane said.
That's a shame because megane pretty much missed the point. Megane talked almost entirely about the benefits that Arcane brought to MP. I never disputed that, and in fact explicitly stated that Arcane was an overall good idea.

What I objected to was this claim that there was no downside to Arcane when there was. It is a ton clearer what "Holy" means than what "Arcane" means.

I understand that Arcane means "Anti-magic", but how is a newbie supposed to intuit that from the name? Everyone immediately knows what units Holy will work best against - unholy ones. Arcane basically just means "magical".
vicza
Posts: 238
Joined: January 16th, 2008, 11:40 pm
Location: Moscow

Post by vicza »

Noy wrote: You can debate this all you want, but its not going to change. Don't like it? Tough luck.
It strikes me that your comments come from a single player perspective of Heir to the Throne or Eastern Invasion where your favorite strategy of upgrading a bunch of mages into WMs to absolutely devastate the AI no-longer works as well as it once did. So you come here to whine about it.
You know, I'd suggest you to read messages you answer to. Then, maybe, your answers would be more adequate...
So you come here to whine about it.
I came here to express my opinion. I have no right? Change the rules, then.
So you're suggesting we should introduce a "special" damage type to deal with UD-UD matches
Once again: do read messages you're answering to. I did not proposed some additional damage, like arcane is now. I proposed it instead of cold&arcane.

I merely dislike the idea that white mages and dark ones use the same damage type.

TL wrote:The arcane attacks of the dark adept (and to a lesser extent the ghost) affect their damage capacity against undead only.
How about Lich's melee 5-3 arcane + drain against trolls or woses?
User avatar
TL
Posts: 511
Joined: March 3rd, 2007, 3:02 am

Post by TL »

vicza wrote:
So you're suggesting we should introduce a "special" damage type to deal with UD-UD matches
Once again: do read messages you're answering to. I did not proposed some additional damage, like arcane is now. I proposed it instead of cold&arcane.
There is no such thing as a "dark magic" damage type represented in Wesnoth (although "cold" sort of does duty in lieu of one).

You proposed that a "dark magic" type be added to the game.

This is what is known as, in technical terms, an addition.
vicza wrote:I merely dislike the idea that white mages and dark ones use the same damage type.
Well, you're entitled to your dislikes. I don't see it as being fundamentally that much different from "good guy" royal guards having swords that use the same damage type as the swords of "bad guy" orcs, though.

The crux of the issue from a design perspective is this: the undead MP faction needs a way of dealing appreciable damage to undead units. As I see it, a generic "neutral" magic damage type that deals damage to undead is, for all its faults, somewhat less of a stretch than creating a special dark magic type that specifically deals extra damage against undead (and drakes and saurians, since if dark adepts lost their cold attack the replacement would have to be capable of dealing with the drake problem).
TL wrote:The arcane attacks of the dark adept (and to a lesser extent the ghost) affect their damage capacity against undead only.
How about Lich's melee 5-3 arcane + drain against trolls or woses?[/quote]

Granted. The lich-versus-trolls-and-woses scenario is not really common enough to lose much sleep over, though.
User avatar
JW
Posts: 5046
Joined: November 10th, 2005, 7:06 am
Location: Chicago-ish, Illinois

Post by JW »

Aethaeryn wrote:I actually agree with JW and have always seen them as individual units. As for villages? I see them as actually being individual houses that pay tribute (after all, 2 gold is next-to-nothing). Cities weren't that big in a mostly-rural medieval society and I simply see the representations of cities as abstract. Of course, even on top of this the campaigns are not internally consistent - compare the first two scenarios of Liberty (the scale of the village changes) - so I think that the terrain scale changes where convenient but that simply means that the person is covering more ground.

Then again, I mostly play MP.
I also agree that it's the scale that is abstracted, not the units. I pretty much view villages as houses as well.
TL wrote:Clearly, Wesnoth units are quantum entities which simultaneously exist both as individuals and as groups of soldiers.
Clearly, you are saying this to try to resolve an issue that is unresolved. I maintain that units are individual and that it is the scale of the terrain alone that changes. More support rests in the names of the units themselves:
Elvish archer, not elvish archers.
Lich, not liches.
Troll, not trolls.

Every single unit in the entire game of Wesnoth uses a singular ending. If units were meant to be abstracted then a design decision could have been made in the opposite direction in appropriate cases. Units (and we call them units by the way, not squads) could be called "band of archers" or "squad of knights." A "regiment of spearmen" perhaps.

There is not one single reference that I can think of where a particular unit is referenced to be more than 1 individual. If there is an instance in a current mainline campaign that I haven't played, please share it.

Thespaceinvader has the strongest argument out of all other supporters of the abstraction: his argument of the personification of the group of individuals by their leader. This still has many flaws when traits and non-humans come into play. Even in the human race, it would be hard to imagine a group of assassins travelling together weaving between units in the middle of a battle, and if you argue that particular unit is singular I doubt 1 assassin would be able to stand up against a squad of lower level units as well as he does.

I find it very hard to dispute the notion that units are, in fact, singular by design and usage, at least in the current state of affairs. I have no problem with abstracting units as I do currently with the terrain - but nothing in the game implies to me that I should do so, so why should I?

This is my argument and I await any contradictory evidence.
User avatar
Jetrel
Art Director
Posts: 7242
Joined: February 23rd, 2004, 3:36 am
Location: Midwest US

Post by Jetrel »

borsook wrote:For this is a classic strategy game approach, like nobody playing e.g. CEAW would say that the tank figure is just one tank occupying whole Berlin...
Unless Arnold Schwarznegger was in it. :lol:
Aethaeryn wrote:The problem that's arising as art gets better is that you basically have to be a sprite artist in order to do factions/eras/etc. and that could make many good ideas die.
Darkly speaking, that's always been true. Good ideas are a dime a dozen - if I had an implementation for every good idea I had, I'd have turned out a fantasy novel's worth of diverse cultures, and fantastic creatures. The only thing that's ever been in short supply has been execution of those good ideas.

:( It sucks, but even in the old days, it always been a matter of crossing a threshold. Once you know how, it's not to hard to make sprites, although it takes time. Even the the old days, UMC by people with low spriting skills demonstrated their low skill - even if the units had only one or two frames, it was usually obvious that they were poorly made, even if they were frankensteined (frankensteined units often suffer from inconsistent lighting direction, and off-balance figure posing).
Aethaeryn wrote:That being said, I think the new bat and ghost are cool (though I don't quite understand directional animations and how they work - it could look messy if every unit is facing a different direction on a clear battle line).
No - units on a clear battle line face towards the direction of units they interact with. This means that all units on a clear battle line will be facing their enemy.

Zookeeper wrote:Sure, but you have to admit a shopkeeper in a square/enix rpg is a very different thing from a Wesnoth unit, since the shopkeeper is actually representing and trying to appear like a real, living shopkeeper whereas what the Wesnoth unit standing on the map represents is much more abstract and varies by interpretation and context.
Yes, and I'm sure that most cities in a square/enix rpg were really meant to have < 10 houses. :| Ironically, I disagree completely - I think the level of abstraction regarding individual characters representing larger groups in square/enix rpgs was almost exactly like it is for wesnoth. Each of them were visually, interactively single, but were generally implied to a simplified representation of a much larger, more complex group/society. A city might have only one weapon shop, rather than the several blacksmiths and tradesmen that a real city would have had. The city guard would only have a dozen visible soldiers. The monster dungeon you invade would only have a few dozen orcs, rather than the raging hordes you'd ostensibly expect.

The visual presentation of a creature is the only thing that matters, here. And the visual presentation is the same - in both cases they look like a single human being.
The Hidden Hippogriff
Posts: 27
Joined: January 23rd, 2008, 10:21 pm

Post by The Hidden Hippogriff »

I understand why greyscale wont work, But why cant he just have a 40% grey?
User avatar
thespaceinvader
Retired Art Director
Posts: 8414
Joined: August 25th, 2007, 10:12 am
Location: Oxford, UK
Contact:

Post by thespaceinvader »

JW: They have to be one way or the other. Calling a single spearman 'spearman squad' would then explicitly prevent a single spearman unit from representing just one spearman on a small scale map, in the same way that to you, calling it a spearman prevents it from representing a unit of spearmen. Using singular units is much easier from an artistic perspective - designing and animating a spearman squad unit to fit the hex would be next to impossible... And to my mind, one unit can represent multiples of itself relatively easily, whereas many units do not boil down to single units so well IYSWIM :).

I'm not quite sure why you can cope with abstractions of scale in terrain, but not in units - it makes no sense for the terrain to be able to represent multiple scales, but for the units to only have one - a battle fought over terrain measuring many miles across and encompassing cities simply cannot be fought by the same number of individuals as a battle fought over terrain measuring yards across and encompassing the area of a single cave passage.

They both are abstractions. The one is just by necessity (since you have to refer to units as either singular or plural, whereas terrain is invariably singular whatever they scale) slightly more defined than the other.

This strikes me, as i mentioned before, as something which seems to hinge on whether the player is more used to campaigns or to MP. MP is much more abstracted and chesslike anyway - it tends AFAIK to be a much more board-game-like play than being representative of realistic battles, where campaign is the opposite - in MP i'm quite happy for a battle to be fought by single units over single houses, because in MP it's clearly a competition between 2 players. IN campaigns, it just doesn't work in some scenarios, because the scenarios concerned are not just a competition between player and computer, they're a story. And that story does not make sense in some case with single individuals - one cannot fight epic battles for entire nations using armies composed of 20 or 30 troops...

Sorry, that may have been longer and/or ramblier than i expected :)
http://thespaceinvader.co.uk | http://thespaceinvader.deviantart.com
Back to work. Current projects: Catching up on commits. Picking Meridia back up. Sprite animations, many and varied.
User avatar
TL
Posts: 511
Joined: March 3rd, 2007, 3:02 am

Post by TL »

JW wrote:
TL wrote:Clearly, Wesnoth units are quantum entities which simultaneously exist both as individuals and as groups of soldiers.
Clearly, you are saying this to try to resolve an issue that is unresolved.
Mostly I was just kidding, but nonetheless it is accurate. Earlier you went so far as to say:
JW wrote:The problem I see is that the world art corresponds mostly to a larger scale, whereas unit sprites are pretty consistantly all based on an individual unit scale. Because no one wants to redo the art, we make up this lie and say that HAPMA.
Which is ludicrous, to start with. If we take units to solely represent individual soldiers without abstraction, then we have one hex defined within Wesnoth's gameplay as being approximately 15-20% of the distance that a typical human soldier can cover on good terrain in 4 hours' time, moving at a sustainable pace (given 5-6 MP per turn as human average). This gives a conservative estimate of a hex being at least 1 mile across. Sure, there is some room to fudge beyond this, but we're still talking about hexes being a couple of orders of magnitude larger than what would be sensible for a one-person-per-unit scale. HAPMA is definitely not just a face-saving response to an art issue!

In many aspects of the game's presentation and gameplay, each terrain hex clearly represents territory vastly out of proportion with what individual soldiers would be holding and fighting over. Ranged attacks, for one--we must assume at the least that Hexes Are Perhaps A Hundred or So Meters Across (if not miles) for the single-hex "ranged attacks" to make any sense at all. Recruiting, for another. You can assemble a large formation of soldiers where one did not exist previously--on the scale of large formations, unorganized individuals generally are not worth notice, so it is not a stretch that there is an abstract pool of manpower available from which to build units. But with the exception of a few magical units such as undead, you certainly cannot assemble a living soldier where one did not exist previously, which raises the question of where exactly these recruits are coming from; there is no smaller constituent unit to assemble human soldiers from. In a battle where every individual person on the battlefield is represented by a unit, how is it that recruits get spontaneously teleported to the keep without being previously noted on the map?
JW wrote:I find it very hard to dispute the notion that units are, in fact, singular by design and usage, at least in the current state of affairs. I have no problem with abstracting units as I do currently with the terrain - but nothing in the game implies to me that I should do so, so why should I?
There are, as noted, various discrepencies in scale within Wesnoth. There are essentially two possible interpretations:

1. Wesnoth represents battles between large-scale formations on a large-scale map. Formations are persistently represented as individuals for various reasons: it appeals to RPG fans, it's simpler to represent them that way and faster to process relevant information, it's easier to individualize them, and it's been done that way many times before (not a very good justification in itself, but worth mentioning). The Civilization series does the same thing as Wesnoth, with units named in the singular and depicted as single individuals in spite of the fact that the game is on a scale altogether more vast than that of Wesnoth--and so help me, if you try to suggest that units in Civilization represent individual human beings then bad things will happen.

If I may generalize a bit, in short this is the interpretation that the gameplay is representational and the presentation is abstract.

2. Wesnoth vaguely represents battles between tiny numbers of individual soldiers on a map with an impossibly distorted scale. Many of its mechanics don't make any kind of sense for small fights of this scale, but exist as arbitrary abstractions. Here, by and large the presentation is representational and the gameplay is abstract. To be sure, in any game there is going to be by necessity a measure of abstraction in both presentation and gameplay, and the two are moreover intertwined. But if the game mechanics do not model the movement and interaction of individual soldiers, why bother arguing that units absolutely must be individual soldiers?

The matter of which interpretation to take is more personal preference than anything else, given the amount of conflicting examples set by the game. Hence my original assertion: units behave in some ways as individual soldiers and in some ways as larger groups of soldiers.
Post Reply