Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

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orangebox
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Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by orangebox » May 5th, 2012, 8:11 am

First off, I've been playing Wesnoth years ago, and I've dropped it due to college. Now I'm back again, reminiscing about the good old times with this game. However, there's something that I really wanted to achieve, and designing my own faction seems to be it. I've had this idea in my head for quite some time, hoping to see it coming into fruition. Call it a selfish desire, but that is what it is haha. At first I wanted to do the modelling and make an RTS game on WC3, but without a knowledge of scripting leaves me helpless.

Anyway, before I continue on, I suppose I'll need to write a little about this avian faction. In my mind, they look exactly like humans however with fittingly sized wings located on their hips and their general physical size is smaller than an average human. Their wings comes in a myriad of bright and fanciful colours usually, but those in the army dye their wings for camouflage purposes. They are a nomadic race in general, with their makeshift camps always around ridges and mountains. Their culture and also their clothing design is mostly similar to the nations around the Silk Road. They are very well accustomed to cold climates due to the elevation of where they stay. The general attributes of the Avians are like a mix of Drakes (for their ability to Fly) and Elves (for their weak but nimble body, actually far weaker in comparison to an elf). I'm thinking that melee ground units are unable to strike at them, since they are flying, thus making it an Ability if possible. Here's a rough thought of the units in the Avian faction.

I am able to do portrait drawings and the general unit and thematic designs. I am looking for interested sprite artists and animators, scripters and anyone who has comments and feedback. More ideas are always welcomed

So, will anyone help me out here?

---
This segment is and will be edited for easy referencing of updates made.
---
Faction Unit List
Hummingbird Base.png
Hummingbird Base.png (1.89 KiB) Viewed 3585 times
Hummingbird:
Hummingbird Change Log:
Kingfisher Base.png
Kingfisher Base.png (2.08 KiB) Viewed 3585 times
Shrike:
Shrike Change Log:
Rhea:
Rhea Change Log:
Pitohui/Ifrit:
Pitohui/Ifrit Changelog:
---

Unit Portraits and Designs

Rough Sketch of HB and KF

Image

---

Flight ability description (For ease of scripters to refer)
  • Upon recruit/recalled, the unit is grounded; thus having grounded area resistance as shown in the chart.
  • When moving from grounded, the unit will change to flying; thus gaining the flying area resistance.
  • However, when the unit moves to capture a village, they will be grounded. They will remain as flying if they are simply resting/defending in a conquered village.
  • In flying, it cannot be attacked by a ground unit using melee. However, flying units such as Gryphons or Drakes can attack them in melee, conversely they can counter attack if they have a melee attack. The counter attack will use the same plane attacks instead of the air to ground attack.
  • When initiating a melee attack from flying against a grounded unit, they will transition from flying to grounded; with the enemy being able to counter-attack the avian unit with grounded area defence and also ending the unit's turn.
  • When initiating a melee attack from flying against another flying unit, the dive special will not apply, and the unit will remain flying after the melee attack. The melee attack will change instead to the same plane attack.
  • Entangle and Net attacks on a flying unit will be able to 'ground' them.
  • The unit will remain grounded for the entire time until it moves at least one hex.
---

Dive special description
For the 'Dive' special, it's basically the same with charge. It only initiates when the unit is on the attacking side. However, it needs the unit to be in flying as well. The status effect could very well be a 'stun' rather than a double damage, so as not to be redundant by having two seemingly different specials (charge and dive) but in actuality are the same.

PS. However, I am unsure if the 'stun' effect is a better alternative to the double damage. Because generally after a dive attack, it is said to be an avian's weakest period; which the skill charge in nature reflects them appropriately.

---

Announcements will be made if this post is updated.
Last edited by orangebox on May 27th, 2014, 12:26 am, edited 19 times in total.

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The_Other
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by The_Other » May 5th, 2012, 8:42 am

A couple of comments.
First, having wings on their hips would seem to create a problem with balance. Humanoids are top-heavy, so if you put the wings halfway up the body, when they try to fly their centre of gravity will be significantly in front of their wings. As a result, they will tip forward and crash into the ground. Also, I'm not a great sprite artist but I think it will be a problem when animating them (the wings will be at about the same level as their weapons are likely to be, so it may be hard to see what exactly is going on)

The 'Fly' ability is possible but a little tricky to implement, as a weapon special rather than an ability (0% chance-to-hit, filtered by...um, movetype, I suppose...? Not sure if chance-to-hit specials can take a filter for the enemy?) - it seems extremely overpowered though (in default era, Loyalists, Northerners and Knalgans will have no melee unit that can hit them, and Rebels won't get one until level 3/4 when their shamans grow wings - by which time the avians are probably the same level so their melee specialists will tear sylphs and shydes apart).
Also, if you watch drakes in action, they land in order to fight, and I think any flying humanoid would need to do this (if you swoop down on me from above, I will ignore your head and body and just stab you in the wing - which most probably results in you crashing into the ground and breaking your fragile, hollow-boned neck) - in airborne combat, they are just too vulnerable to their wings being damaged. If they fight on the ground, their wings might still get hurt, but at least they won't plummet to their deaths!

Both units' attacks seem overpowered (scout is better at range than an Elvish Archer, and has a poison melee attack, while the spearman also has poison, and charge, with the mobility to be able to poison an enemy, outrun almost anybody who tries to catch him, and cross the map in a couple of turns to find a melee-weak enemy to charge (whose player thought it was a safe distance away)

I really like your concept art though (although I had a chuckle at the steel boots on a weak and frail flying unit!). I would suggest scrapping the Fly ability and just giving them good defense, and increasing their cost somewhat (Come on! A poisonous, flying Elvish Archer must be worth more than 15 gold!)
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francophone
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by francophone » May 5th, 2012, 9:30 am

Wings on hips, I find a good original idea.
"Their wings comes in a myriad of bright and fanciful colours usually, but those in the army dye their wings for camouflage purposes." Very good idea too, I think.
Suggested to give the units the same movement type, and therefore the same resistances. Possibly add in the unit file a resistance to a specific magical type of attack for a magical unit (as the red mage).
For defense, I suggest a 10% reduction (except where it is very small), like griffins. Winged units can have a great defense. Perhaps to compensate for increased HP.

The poison, I think it's a bad idea. It should be reserved for special case of venomous creatures or low unit of a devious faction.

I do not agree with The_Other: Of course the lower wings is less obvious and especially for the balance. However the flight can be a bit like walking. We could move in the air with a thrust under the feet. The wings do not work necessarily in tension, they can also work in push. And watch a pterosaur. Its morphology and its flight are totally different from that of a bird. Its center of gravity is forward of the wings. (I saw this great documentary on the flight of pterosaurs: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xgb5j6 ... iel-1_tech I guess there are also English version.)
edit: here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWwMeI1B1ow

I was considering the possibility of units that can move on "insurmountable" mountains, but not through the cave walls or vice versa.
Winged people is the perfect example. I suppose that people capable of flying at high altitudes may cross the highest peaks, but not through the cave walls. But I do not know at all if it is codable. :hmm:

orangebox
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by orangebox » May 5th, 2012, 2:46 pm

Hey guys, thanks for the time for the wonderful and very satisfying comments! It's rare in the forums that I usually frequent to have more than a few sentences as a comment, and I am thoroughly overjoyed with the response!

The_Other, for the general design part of it, I was honestly tired of the same ol' same ol' wings on the back, so I wanted to think of another method of designing bird people. With the wings on the hips, they honestly look much more similar looking to a bird, especially when their wings are tucked in. And thanks for taking a liking to this idea of mine, francophone XD

I am aware that balancing is not my strong point haha. But you two make good judgements regarding how the stats work. I'd love to continue tinkering with the numbers with this similar setup though; low health in general (I was considering making them having the same HP as a goblin spearman lol), roughly an elven damage output, generally great mobility, kings in the sky, easy pickings on the ground. However, I'd like to mention that the entirety of the faction is quite dependant on how the ability 'Fly' is formed. My original idea was that it's an active 'skill' (might just need a way to tastefully trigger it) and that it lasts for only 2 turns. Upon use, it ends the turn just as if attacking. Here's the interesting part, the spearman's damage output is generally quite high but I'd like to make it that they cannot attack with the special effect occurring if they attack on a 'grounded pose', or perhaps that the damage on ground is also severely lowered. I'm also envisioning that, after every melee attack, they are 'grounded', thus all area defenses are severely lowered to about 10% - 30%. For the archer ranged attack, perhaps It'll be 3-6. I'm envisioning them to be able to launch quick successive shots thus the name 'hummingbird'. To balance it, I think it'll need to be having a lower damage output. Perhaps I'm scrapping the poisonous daggers too, but I was hoping that they are weak to gryphons by having no melee weapons. Also that they have -10% resistance against blade. Mages can easily kill them though, with -30% arcane. Maybe when they level up, they'd acquire the poisonous daggers.

Name: Hummingbird (Avian Scout)
Level: 1
Advances to: (WIP)
Advances from: None
HP: 23
Movement: 9/10
XP: 42
Cost: 15
Abilities: Fly (Still haven't figured how to work this yet)
Attacks:
Bow (pierce, ranged) 3-6
Throwing Knives (blade, ranged) 1-3 (Poison) -OR- scrapped to be applied to the next adv unit.

Name: Kingfisher (Avian Spearman)
Level: 1
Advances to: (WIP)
Advances from: None
HP: 29
Movement: 6/7
XP: 44
Cost: 17
Abilities: Fly (Still haven't figured how to work this yet)
Attacks:
[If initiated when flying] Spear (pierce, melee) 18-1 (Charge) or (Stun; unit stops moving for 1 turn)
[If initiated when grounded] Spear (pierce, melee) 6-3
Throwing Knives (blade, ranged) 1-3 (Poison) -OR- scrapped by replacing it with Javelins? I can't really think of any other lightweight weapons to be carried into the sky.

Taking the idea from the Drakes however, I have another rough idea on how to implement it, somewhat. When moving, and not melee attacking, they are flying. The moment they initiate a melee attack, they will be grounded. Similar with how the drakes animation go, but with effects of it to go alongside. Thus, they will be easy pickings at this point if I can only do a 'grounded' or 'flying' status effect as shown in the table below;

Area defence/Movement Cost: (flying) | (grounded)
Frozen = 60% / 1 | 30%
Castle = 60% / 1 | 50%
Sand = 60% / 1 | 10%
Forest = 60% / 1 | 50%
Flat = 60% / 1 | 30%
Hills = 60% / 1 | 30%
Mountains = 70% / 1 | 50%
Unwalkable = 60% / 1 | 10%
Swamp = 60% / 1 | 10%
Cave = 20% / 3 | 10%
Village = 60% / 1 | 50%
Deep Water = 60% / 1 | 10%
Shallow Water = 60% / 1 |10%
Coastal Reef = 60% / 1 | 10%
Impassable = (Impassable)
Mushroom Grove = 30% / 3 | 10%

PS. It'd be nice if entangle or net based attacks change their statuses from 'flying' to 'grounded'. :D

The head crunching part is to think of how to design the Fly ability :(

And yes franco, the general advantages of these winged people are for their mobility. And moving through unpassable terrains might be an interesting idea as well :)

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Zerovirus
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by Zerovirus » May 5th, 2012, 6:57 pm

This looks really awesome- the character sketches are really original (and they're tempting me to try to make a baseframe for this)! Hope this faction gets finished :D

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The_Other
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by The_Other » May 5th, 2012, 7:59 pm

If I understand you correctly, the 'Fly' ability could be implemented as a right-click menu option - the easiest method (that I can think of) would be to effectively change the unit into a different type, while retaining HP, XP, name etc. This allows you to easily change resistances, defense and movement (costs and max moves), as well as potentially changing the sprite when they are airborne and even adding or removing certain attacks depending on which 'mode' they are in. By this means, all these changes can be brought about in a way which is simple to reverse when they land.

The drawback with this method is that the AI doesn't know about the right-click menu - it won't realize that Avians have this ability, so it will always assume they are ground-based units with fixed stats. And if you get an AI to play as Avians, it will never fly since it doesn't have fingers to right-click with. If you can live with this problem, this would seem to be the best way to go. But if you need AI to work properly with this faction, I think you need to work out a single set of stats that doesn't change and yet still encompasses their fighting abilities as you imagine them.

[edit]
If Zerovirus likes the description of Avians as they are, you may wish to ignore my comments about wing placement.
He's one of the best currently-active sprite artists on the forum, so if he thinks it will look good, believe him!
[/edit]
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orangebox
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by orangebox » May 5th, 2012, 9:02 pm

Zerovirus, I'd be more than happy if you could churn out anything at all for this faction :D And if you require more information or have any questions, feel free to drop me a PM. I'll return with descriptive texts or a quick pictorial description :9

The_Other, thanks for the suggestion. I've had the same thought as well, but refrained from making it so because pulling it off using a right click feels very different to how Wesnoth is generally played. I'd not want to change the game how it's normally played if possible. And you even have a valid point about it; the AI won't be using it at all, which simply spoils the whole purpose of it. I'll need to try to sort out how to pull off the 'Fly' ability soon-ish, else the whole flair about this faction would seem to die down lol.

And no worries about your comments, I take critiques and comments well enough to know that they are of good intentions :) Thanks for the thought though!

EDIT:

Actually, I might just go along with having the units permanently on 'flying' stance; specifically the archer. They will only be grounded if they initiate a melee attack, and will require to move again to change from ground to flight. Attacks like entangle and net that 'slows' will ground them however, making them weak to attacks after that. All I have to tinker with are simply the numbers and stats of the units so that they won't be too weak when they are grounded or too strong when they are in the air. Is this possible - having their general attributes morph all the time? :X
Last edited by orangebox on May 5th, 2012, 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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francophone
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by francophone » May 5th, 2012, 9:13 pm

With the ability "fly" and a high speed, it is possible to balance them with very little HP, I think. Speed ​​is a great advantage. And no need poison for that. It is less a question of balancing the game that a vision of the faction. The units that use poison are naturally poisonous or have a dark mind ( :twisted: ). No loyalist, elf, or dwarf does not use poison. The only human who uses it is the most insidious and only at level 3. Birds do not hit in the back. They are unlikely to dodge surreptitiously in the background. I guess they do not have the mentality or the possibility: They do not live in the ocean or forest. They can't find the poison or have knowledge about it.

The ability "fly", I think the most logical and simple is to change the number of attacks on both units when the one with "fly" is attacked in melee.
An attack with an event filter "melle" a second filter with the ability "fly" ... until then it is very simple. Reduce the number of attacks to 0, a priori always very simple. But it would also filter that the attacker no fly. It is indicated in the movement type.
I had a unit that works on water and why I did it flying. The indication of the fly, is used for animation. But in principle it should be a good indicator that the unit flight or not.
Only I do not know of any filter it. If this is not a parameter set, it seems a big problem. But I know too little the WML to affirm anythink.

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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by Shakeshake » May 5th, 2012, 9:15 pm

Would it be possible to make the "flying" ability dependent on whether or not the avian unit attacked that turn--that is, if avian unit attacks it automatically becomes vulnerable to melee attacks and has it's movement reduced (almost as if attacking causes it to "slow" itself), whereas if it doesn't attack it remains mobile and impossible (although I'd personally prefer it do just be highly unlikely, rather than impossible) to hit with melee attacks.
Being "slowed" could result in similar effects for avians (as most "slow" attacks are entanglements that one could imagine being used to ground flying enemies).

This seems like it could be difficult (I'm not much of a coder, so I can't say for sure), but in theory it seems like it could be done. While the right click option seems more straightforward to implement, if you could have it automatically activate, then the computer would automatically use it (although that could create problems as I'm not sure the AI would necessarily anticipate the changes in vulnerability attacking would cause its units).

Similarly, if this is possible, I think it would be cool to implement "charge" abilities similarly (as I imagine them as more of a "dive" attack out of the air)--that is, if the unit had attacked a previous turn it couldn't "charge" again the next one due to having "grounded" itself by attacking (needing a turn break to take flight again so as to be able to dive in for another charge). This would reduce the power of their charge attack somewhat and for reasons that make sense (maybe you could even create a new type of "dive" attack that works like this to use instead of "charge").

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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by orangebox » May 5th, 2012, 9:30 pm

franco, sound suggestions. I'll take that advise. And that's another way of looking at it, much more in depth even than my shoddy no-scripting-experience version lol. Now we need only a programmer/scripter to pop right in and say, "Yeah, it's doable". I'll buy him dinner :D On another note for the stats, perhaps I'll nerf the Archer's HP all the way to 20, since the unit will not be 'grounded' at all; for having no melee attack. Only entangle or net attacks could 'ground' them.

Shakeshake, you have just grasped what I had in mind entirely, and might have summed it up better than I can lol. Yes, every thing you wrote is what I have in my mind right now. For the 'charge' ability to change it into a dive, I'd consider it honestly. Since it -is- in actuality a dive attack than a literal charge. However, I'm trying to get this by with minimal coding/scripting lol. But, if there's any scripters or programmers consent that it's an easy job, I'd gladly have 'Dive' as an Avian attack special. And yes, by moving, the unit will revert from 'grounded' to 'flight'. Thus they will once again regain the 'charge'/'dive' special and their crazy area resistances.

Edit:
On another note, I'm considering of adding some dwarf units into the faction; seeing that all the other Wesnoth factions in multiplay has one or two units from an 'allied' faction. After all, both are mountain dwellers. Except the dwarves stay inside, while the avians are out in the open.

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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by The_Other » May 5th, 2012, 9:47 pm

Shakeshake wrote:Would it be possible to make the "flying" ability dependent on whether or not the avian unit attacked that turn.....almost as if attacking causes it to "slow" itself...
Yeah, that's possible and in fact pretty simple. Actually, it occurs to me that simply slowing the unit could be a pretty good representation of what happens when it is forced to fight from the ground. If I were coding this, that's probably the approach I'd take (reducing defense makes sense logically, but not in balance terms - a unit that slows itself is already penalized enough)
Shakeshake wrote:This seems like it could be difficult...the right click option seems more straightforward to implement...
Actually the opposite is true, generally an attack-related event is probably simpler (though it obviously depends on the nature of the event, but in this case it's far easier).
Shakeshake wrote:I'm not sure the AI would necessarily anticipate the changes in vulnerability attacking would cause its units
You are entirely correct, to my knowledge the AI does not account for events like this - but it might not actually make much difference in this case, since the AI will still have to attack at some point, and often seems not to value its own units too much anyway.

Basically, it depends on how much you are willing to simplify the ability for the sake of making it easy to code.

[edit]
Didn't see Orangebox's last post until after I wrote this...
If you can figure out exactly what effect you want Fly to have in-game (how it affects stats, under what conditions etc), I'll write it - I could use the practice as my WML skills are very much a work-in-progress, but I know enough to do what you're asking. The Dive effect might be slightly more awkward, but I'll have a go at that too if you like.

And yes, dwarves (or at least, some kind of non-Avian unit) are a good idea
[/edit]
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orangebox
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by orangebox » May 5th, 2012, 10:10 pm

Wow that's awesome. Here I go (basically it's everything that shakeshake already mentioned);

1. Upon recruit/recalled, the unit is grounded; thus having grounded area resistance as shown in the chart.

2. When moving from grounded, the unit will change to flying; thus gaining the flying area resistance.

3. In flying, it cannot be attacked by a ground unit using melee. However, flying units such as Gryphons or Drakes can attack them in melee, conversely they can counter attack if they have a melee attack. The counter attack will use the same plane attacks instead of the air to ground attack.

4. When initiating a melee attack from flying against a grounded unit, they will revert from flying to grounded; with the enemy being able to counter-attack the avian unit with grounded area defence and also ending the unit's turn.

5. When initiating a melee attack from flying against another flying unit, the dive special will not apply, and the unit will remain flying after the melee attack. The melee attack will change instead to the same plane attack.

6. Entangle and Net attacks on a flying unit will be able to revert them to being grounded.

7. The unit will remain grounded for the entire time until it moves at least one hex.

8. ...Might have missed something but I'll inform you if I remember any lol.

---
Here's the chart for easy referencing!

Area defence: (flying) / (grounded)
Frozen = 60% / 30%
Castle = 60% / 50%
Sand = 60% / 10%
Forest = 60% / 50%
Flat = 60% / 30%
Hills = 60% / 30%
Mountains = 70% / 50%
Unwalkable = 60% / 10%
Swamp = 60% / 10%
Cave = 20% / 10%
Village = 60% / 50%
Deep Water = 60% / 10%
Shallow Water = 60% / 10%
Coastal Reef = 60% / 10%
Impassable = (Impassable)
Mushroom Grove = 30% / 10%

---

For the 'Dive' skill, it's basically the same with charge. It only initiates when the unit is on the attacking part. However, it needs the unit to be in flying as well. The status effect could very well be a 'stun' rather than a double damage, so as to having two seperate specials, rather than having one special with two names. However, I am unsure if the 'stun' effect is a better alternative to the double damage. Because generally after a dive attack, it is said to be an avian's weakest period; which the skill charge in nature reflects them appropriately.

---

Remind me to buy you dinner btw The_Other ;D You have my thanks!

Edit:
The_Other wrote:Yeah, that's possible and in fact pretty simple. Actually, it occurs to me that simply slowing the unit could be a pretty good representation of what happens when it is forced to fight from the ground. If I were coding this, that's probably the approach I'd take (reducing defense makes sense logically, but not in balance terms - a unit that slows itself is already penalized enough)
Well, yes you have a point. We'll need to beta test them in the field before any final changes can be affirmed :) However, I'd like them to be literally the king of the skies, but easy pickings on the ground. Though, not to the point of totally being excessively imbalanced.

Edit 2:
However, here comes a question in my mind. Since the effect of slow applies the moment the attack connects, is it possible for the area resistances to change at that same time as well?

Edit 3:
Edited point 4 on the list. I was just reminded that there are counter-attacks after initiating an attack lol. This makes them far more weaker during the attack with the enemy returning the strikes, I hope that they are not severely underpowered. It's quite like a kamikaze strike lol.

Edit 4:
Updated the list regarding attacks towards the same plane (air to air or ground to ground) and of different planes (air to ground).
Last edited by orangebox on May 6th, 2012, 1:58 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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The_Other
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by The_Other » May 5th, 2012, 10:35 pm

Orangebox wrote:is it possible for the area resistances to change at that same time as well?
Yeah, I can do that.
I'll get started on this tomorrow morning (had too long a day to start writing code now!) - it might take a couple of days as it will probably need lots of testing and bug-fixing, and I have to share my computer with my Facebook-obsessed girlfriend! I'll get back to you when I have something that works, and you can try it out and see if it does what you wanted.

I think I'll pass on dinner for now :wink: , a day may come when I need a free meal! Most probably when my girlfriend kicks me out for not letting her on Facebook...
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orangebox
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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by orangebox » May 5th, 2012, 11:19 pm

Awesome! Take your time though, since the faction is yet to be completely laid out nor are there any sprites available for it. After all, my skillset expands only to portrait arts and faction design. The meal's here any time you want ;D lol. Also, a fair pointer so that you noticed, I've done a slight edit on the list. It's explained on Edit 3. Might even start a story/script for a campaign to play them :)

And as usual, to everyone, extra ideas and help is very much appreciated! Hop right into the team if you feel like it as well, you are more than welcomed! Of course, it's fair to say that I'll be deciding which one to use lol

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Re: Avian Faction (The faction of winged people)

Post by Zerovirus » May 6th, 2012, 1:28 am

Not my usual style since I borrowed some of the Aragwaithi units' palette, but I figured I should post it here nonetheless. It's a pretty cramped design!
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