Poll

Would like the proposed prices to be used in RCM?

Yes
6 (85.7%)
No
1 (14.3%)

Total Members Voted: 7

Voting closed: March 12, 2012, 06:36:37 AM

Author Topic: Combat Damage Model (RCM) - merged threads  (Read 429962 times)

Offline MadVader

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2011, 11:47:04 AM »
No, more "realistic" autocalc would very likely disrupt the present balance. After doing one for another mod, I don't think it's worth the trouble. There are always battles that won't compute and (few) people who'll complain about it.
I don't agree that a different battle outcome if the player is present is a game breaker.

What is important for us as designers is to control the autocalc to make certain factions stronger in AI battles, and that's all there is to it.
You as a player have a choice to use it or not. The magical word being choice.
That would be breaking one of the rules of game-design :-/.

An analysis of game design broke it up like this: You have Choices, and you have Problems.

Problems are simple: Which piece of equipment is the best, mathematically? How do I kill all the enemies in this room to get through the door?
Problems can have multiple answers. Killing the guys is possible with a machine gun or a shotgun, but if it is easier to do with the shot-gun, that is the prime solution to the problem.

Choice, in terms of video-game-design, means having more than one option, without any best option. Morality systems in games often fail, in that few people want to be the maniac who kills every kitten they see... especially not when they'd get the same reward for petting every kitten they see.

MMORPGs often give the illusion of choice with their skill-trees and the like. However, skill trees are a Problem, not a Choice. There is a best solution, depending on if you want to do PvE or PvP. Same with equipment in most games.

So, what this boils down to... is it isn't a "Choice", giving the players something abusable. It is the best option, the prime solution to the Problem of winning the game, to run as fast as you can between battles, pop in so that your allies fight ten-times better, and gets tons of renown, prisoners and so-forth. While the solution for the evil side would be to settle all battles with a high Tactics skill, and Auto-Calculate.

That is the matter. Forcing players to handicap themselves is not good design.*
Yes, but... the alternative is not pleasant. It requires complete rebalancing of the parties and the strategic events, and tons of scripting to calculate troop strength according to skills, attributes and equipment. And even then those calculations would only be marginally more realistic than the present, level-based ones. I've done that before, so I'm talking from experience (PoP's autocalc).

Debates are nice, but real work is something else. But if it's in your power to deliver a magical solution, complete with scripts and party templates rebalanced after hours of playtesting, please do so :).
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Offline TheMageLord

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2011, 12:02:30 PM »
Yes, but... the alternative is not pleasant. It requires complete rebalancing of the parties and the strategic events, and tons of scripting to calculate troop strength according to skills, attributes and equipment. And even then those calculations would only be marginally more realistic than the present, level-based ones. I've done that before, so I'm talking from experience (PoP's autocalc).

Debates are nice, but real work is something else. But if it's in your power to deliver a magical solution, complete with scripts and party templates rebalanced after hours of playtesting, please do so :).

You don't necessarily have to make it check skills and stats and equipment and everything. Even a strength boost based on the type of troop would suffice. After the in-battle equipment gets balanced where you want it, just take that same basic idea that drove the equipment balance (say you wanted one elf to equal two goblins or 1.5 uruks or whatever it is your goal is) then add in a modifier to the battle script based on that and adjust the party sizes based on that. The equipment balance is the hard part - after you have it balanced where you want it all you have to do is run a few test battles to make sure it's working right, then use those numbers to work the auto calc.

For example, if an elf party is supposed to be evenly matched with a goblin party in a world where elves are worth 2 goblins, just have 60 elves in a party and 120 goblins in a party. Then make the battle script count adjust the strengths accordingly so that it kills off an average of 1 elf for every 2 goblins.

Offline MadVader

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2011, 12:14:19 PM »
Yes, but... the alternative is not pleasant. It requires complete rebalancing of the parties and the strategic events, and tons of scripting to calculate troop strength according to skills, attributes and equipment. And even then those calculations would only be marginally more realistic than the present, level-based ones. I've done that before, so I'm talking from experience (PoP's autocalc).

Debates are nice, but real work is something else. But if it's in your power to deliver a magical solution, complete with scripts and party templates rebalanced after hours of playtesting, please do so :).

You don't necessarily have to make it check skills and stats and equipment and everything. Even a strength boost based on the type of troop would suffice. After the in-battle equipment gets balanced where you want it, just take that same basic idea that drove the equipment balance (say you wanted one elf to equal two goblins or 1.5 uruks or whatever it is your goal is) then add in a modifier to the battle script based on that and adjust the party sizes based on that. The equipment balance is the hard part - after you have it balanced where you want it all you have to do is run a few test battles to make sure it's working right, then use those numbers to work the auto calc.

For example, if an elf party is supposed to be evenly matched with a goblin party in a world where elves are worth 2 goblins, just have 60 elves in a party and 120 goblins in a party. Then make the battle script count adjust the strengths accordingly so that it kills off an average of 1 elf for every 2 goblins.
It's much more complex than that, and I'd have to write a long explanation how the autocalc scripts work, and how the engine works, which I don't have time to do.
It has been considered and deemed impractical. There is no mathematical model that would replicate the results of a battle, other than playing the battle itself. No, really, there is not. Pick up the module system and try it for yourself, or think about the many different scenarios for a while.
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Offline TheMageLord

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2011, 02:08:49 PM »
Yes, but... the alternative is not pleasant. It requires complete rebalancing of the parties and the strategic events, and tons of scripting to calculate troop strength according to skills, attributes and equipment. And even then those calculations would only be marginally more realistic than the present, level-based ones. I've done that before, so I'm talking from experience (PoP's autocalc).

Debates are nice, but real work is something else. But if it's in your power to deliver a magical solution, complete with scripts and party templates rebalanced after hours of playtesting, please do so :).

You don't necessarily have to make it check skills and stats and equipment and everything. Even a strength boost based on the type of troop would suffice. After the in-battle equipment gets balanced where you want it, just take that same basic idea that drove the equipment balance (say you wanted one elf to equal two goblins or 1.5 uruks or whatever it is your goal is) then add in a modifier to the battle script based on that and adjust the party sizes based on that. The equipment balance is the hard part - after you have it balanced where you want it all you have to do is run a few test battles to make sure it's working right, then use those numbers to work the auto calc.

For example, if an elf party is supposed to be evenly matched with a goblin party in a world where elves are worth 2 goblins, just have 60 elves in a party and 120 goblins in a party. Then make the battle script count adjust the strengths accordingly so that it kills off an average of 1 elf for every 2 goblins.
It's much more complex than that, and I'd have to write a long explanation how the autocalc scripts work, and how the engine works, which I don't have time to do.
It has been considered and deemed impractical. There is no mathematical model that would replicate the results of a battle, other than playing the battle itself. No, really, there is not. Pick up the module system and try it for yourself, or think about the many different scenarios for a while.

I know it's more complicated to make it perfect, but it doesn't have to exactly replicate the results of a battle, just be closer to it than straight up calculating based on levels and such.

Heres a simple example that would probably give good results: If, after running some test battles, you get the following values for approximate casualties during some fairly evenly matched battles (this assuming you have your equipment balance done enough that you can actually set up evenly matched battles by adjusting the numbers up or down on the two sides).

Elves of Lothlorien: 2.5
Dwarves of Erebor: 2
Men of Rohan: 1.5
Uruks of Isengard: 1.5
Orcs of Isengard: 1.2
Orcs of Moria: 1
Orcs of Gundabad: 0.8

In the script where it calculates party strength for the battle (and for various decisions, so it's pretty catch-all) just apply that modifier to the party based on the faction of the party (most parties keep their own faction troops in this mod, and you could add other checks to have non-faction troops rescued sent to their city or something). That way it assigns a higher value for the troops. Then where it calculates casualties, multiply the losses by the strength of the party they're fighting.

That should make it so that a party of 60 dwarves will be detected as equal to a party of 120 orcs of moria. In the actual battle, it should inflict twice the casualties on the orcs as the dwarves.

Granted it won't be perfect and it won't catch everything, but it'd be closer than it is currently.

If you wanted to be able to handle mixed faction parties (like the player) you could make a script that counts the amount of troops in each faction present, multiplies it by their modifier, adds them all together, and divides it by the total troops in that side of the battle. Casualty inflicting might get a bit wonky there sometimes if it randomly assigns the casualties all to either the low end troops or the high end troops, but on average it should work out.

Just to remind you that you are trying to argue with the guy who knows darn well how to code autocalc, had first hand experience, and abandoned the idea.
I for one, immediately see flaws in your "Heres a simple example". Main one being - factions are not uniform within, all troops are different. They are different on different terrain, in different compositions, on different battlesize/tactics. Throw in couple more factions, and you look at serious matrix of possiblities in party vs party encounter. Throw in 19 factions in TLD, and you are lost forever.
TBN, current level based calc captures more than your example already, cause level is naturally bigger for better troops, and we adjust it, taking into account both calc and training time.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 02:22:10 PM by GetAssista »

Offline TheMageLord

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2011, 02:54:06 PM »
I meant in addition to all the other calculations, I'm not saying gut the thing and just make it treat all troops from a faction the same.

An autocalc like I'm talking about wouldn't be practical in a mod where the factions are supposed to be balanced on a 1 to 1, but you guys are trying to balance the equipment where orcs are inherently weaker. Just making them higher level doesn't seem to be enough, since parties of lowly orcs are stomping parties of dwarves. This mod is a unique challenge due to the equipment differences the troops have, and I'm just saying something like this could help balance things in that direction and make up for the equipment differences.

Something more complex could have modifiers based on each and every troop tree (tested for by checking for the troop range that composes that tree). Every individual troop tree could have an equipment bonus based on how well equipped the line is, and it would add that number for every troop as it cycles through the list. Once it gets the total number it just divides by the total party count and you have an average equipment bonus for the whole party to apply it in the party strength and casualties parts of the script. This way the well equipped troops in a faction would be factored in without having to actually check exactly what the troop is wearing and make all sorts of complex calculations.

The hardest part would be coming up with viable numbers for each troop tree since there are like 50 of them, but a cursory examination of the equipment available to the lines should be able to get you starting numbers. The tests that will need to be done when working out the kinks on the RCM would probably be enough to give you what you need, assuming that someone actually intends on testing it and balancing the factions accordingly.

I wouldn't mind helping on something like this once you guys have the equipment balancing finalized. Not saying it would be a quick fix (nothing is a quick fix on a mod of this scale, it's obvious a vast amount of effort has went into it already), but it'd be worth it imo if the calculated battles got even a little bit closer to the actual fights.


Oh, and just to clarify: I'm not really talking about the player initiated auto battles when you're down. Improving that would be nice, but I'm mainly concerned with the npc vs npc parties. The current thing where you can just ride solo from battle to battle allowing your side to win by a landslide by your mere presence is what I'm talking about fixing. It may not be as much of an issue once proper equipment balancing is done, but I have a feeling it will be if your goals are to balanced based on tiers of equipment where some factions are inherently way better than others.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 02:57:56 PM by TheMageLord »

Offline ghanburighan

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2011, 02:57:06 PM »
Just wanted to say that I fully support Ron, applaud his efforts and CAN'T WAIT for the new RCM!
Rock on, Ron!

And I second that

Offline MadVader

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2011, 03:26:59 PM »
We appreciate the desire, but you really need a lot of knowledge to help and that's always hard to explain. We also don't have much time for academic debates.
But please continue reporting problems.
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Offline Conners

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2011, 02:45:23 AM »
Just wanted to say that I fully support Ron, applaud his efforts and CAN'T WAIT for the new RCM!
Rock on, Ron!
And I second that
Will third that.

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2011, 04:13:05 AM »
Just wanted to say that I fully support Ron, applaud his efforts and CAN'T WAIT for the new RCM!
Rock on, Ron!
And I second that
Will third that.

Hi. I haven't been around much but I saw that TLD was advanced to the last version of basic M&B, yay! Great job I'm sure even though I haven't finished the download yet.

However, as someone who has previously enjoyed TLD to a much greater extent with RCM when compared to without it I would like to make the request that perhaps you design for RCM with the more native damage values being available for plugging in so to speak; sort of the opposite of last time. That way the issue of having both available is still solved, while RCM is able to be used to it's maximum effect without having two differently designed versions of the mod or one version resulting in unbalanced troop composition in armies for example.

The downside is that the native version combat model would possibly have to be re-done to match the RCM's troop composition. However that would only be if the native combat model proves unbalanced or otherwise worse than it already is which would be quite the assumption for me to make now as I haven't even finished downloading the sole existing combat model yet much less been able to compare the two combat models.

Anyways though I will vouch for Ron's work, as he strives for perfection from what I can tell. I've seen the results that he can deliver and they were impressive. I for one would like to see his RCM be the combat model the mod is designed for with a more native one to replace it for those who would prefer to have native values.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 04:25:10 AM by Duuvian »

Offline Conners

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2011, 04:16:35 AM »
Hmm... actually, plugging in Native stats over an RCM base might work quite well. RCM tends to be deadlier at lower levels, and more survivable at higher levels (generally). Native tends to be more even throughout. Therefore, Native stats ought to work just as well, but with a different difficulty curve.

Offline Northcott

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2011, 07:13:24 AM »
Which is pretty much the feel of Lord of the Rings. Along with lighter armour generally offering more protection than most people assume in real life, Tolkien's work focused on characters who traveled and adventured as such.

Offline Conners

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2011, 07:35:12 AM »
Err, not sure which model you're supporting, in that post.

Offline Northcott

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2011, 12:46:57 PM »
My apologies -- I wasn't being clear enough.  I believe that, while consistency and some measure of realism is desirable in such a game, that going for the version of realism that was RCM would lose the feel of Tolkien's work.  I think a middle ground approach is likely the best, otherwise you'll see troops like the Rivendell elite scouts and the veteran Dunedain Rangers dropping like flies.

Offline ghanburighan

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2011, 01:45:48 PM »
My apologies -- I wasn't being clear enough.  I believe that, while consistency and some measure of realism is desirable in such a game, that going for the version of realism that was RCM would lose the feel of Tolkien's work.  I think a middle ground approach is likely the best, otherwise you'll see troops like the Rivendell elite scouts and the veteran Dunedain Rangers dropping like flies.

Scouts and rangers should drop like flies in heavy meelee combat. They rely on not letting the enemy get close. For example, Aragorn likely traveled light in the Shire, but in real battles he of course wore good armour. He was not so stupid to show up in a ranger's gear at the battle of Helm's Deep. That would surely have gotten him killed.

Offline Northcott

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Re: Combat Damage Model
« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2011, 03:05:38 PM »
Scouts and rangers should drop like flies in heavy meelee combat. They rely on not letting the enemy get close. For example, Aragorn likely traveled light in the Shire, but in real battles he of course wore good armour. He was not so stupid to show up in a ranger's gear at the battle of Helm's Deep. That would surely have gotten him killed.

By that logic, none of them should have gotten through Moria. Or survived the orc ambush that later killed Boromir... who gave one Hell of an accounting of himself, even with a torso riddled with arrows. Gandalf certainly shouldn't have lived, riding around as he was in naught but robes.

And if the automatic temptation is to here point out that Gandalf was a strange being of remarkable supernatural powers, I'd say "exactly". It's fantasy. (And yes, the pedant in me is aware he was cloaked in mortal flesh, just as vulnerable as any man's)

It's heroic fiction on a grand, though still human, scale. "Realism" encompasses both the poor sod who takes an unfortunate headshot at the beginning of a battle and dies before even seeing the enemy, and the odd cases where heavily wounded people not only fight on, but make a solid accounting of themselves and manage to recover after.  In Tolkien's fictional world, probability leans heavily toward the latter.

You seem to be under the impression this is "real" medieval combat. I'm more of the opinion that a mod based so heavily on Tolkien's work should carry the flavour of said work. The Rangers of the North didn't drop like flies in combat. It'd suck if the units that are meant to mimic them did. Since there's no option to change the gear of the Rangers as the story progresses, and even advanced Ranger units have the exact same armour as the basic units, my preference is to err on the side of the source material.