Author Topic: Autocombat  (Read 7559 times)

Offline DiceMaster

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Autocombat
« on: July 30, 2011, 12:02:13 pm »
In original X-Com, especially in late game it is boring to do a lot of similar missions like cleaning another one scout. Many turn-based games like HoMM offers autocombat system for that purpose. You can view result of automatical combat and choise to accept it or do mission youself.

It just general idea, but XComUtils have some sort of autocombat implemented, and I think this idea can be improved in terms of usability, so player can choise between accepting autocombat results or doing mission manually.

Offline Yankes

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2011, 03:38:50 pm »
it wont work, this is because you cant replace easy your solders. how you will balance win/loose ratio (and kill/death ratio)? if you are skilled you can conquer alien base with one solder with L-pistol, but sometimes you whole squad can die from one alien.
you will probably not glad when your Jon Rambo MIA in attack on small scout :)

Offline Daiky

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2011, 04:06:24 pm »
when AI is finished, it would be not a lot of work to attach (that same) AI to x-com units, just for fun to see what happens :)

Offline R

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2011, 08:04:47 pm »
One brainstorm idea:  Keep track of player play behavior/success rate.  If the circumstance is x what result does the player usually get. 

For example:  (4 Sectoids with 4 plasma rifles) vs (6 soldiers with 6 laser rifles) = (4 Sectoids dead) vs (2 soldiers dead)

Then do some calculations based on that. ;)

Offline DiceMaster

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2011, 02:01:35 pm »
it wont work, this is because you cant replace easy your solders. how you will balance win/loose ratio (and kill/death ratio)? if you are skilled you can conquer alien base with one solder with L-pistol, but sometimes you whole squad can die from one alien.
you will probably not glad when your Jon Rambo MIA in attack on small scout :)

Read my post again. This option good for easy and boring encounters, there are you already always wins without looses. Also I propose to give player choise to reject autocombat results and compleet a misson himself.

One brainstorm idea:  Keep track of player play behavior/success rate.

Support. There is no need to simulate whle encounter for autocombat. Just calculate probabilities and give report. Some math will be better than AI simulation. Especially based on previos player's results.

Offline R

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2011, 09:38:47 pm »
it wont work, this is because you cant replace easy your solders. you will probably not glad when your Jon Rambo MIA in attack on small scout

Additional brainstorm idea: If the Auto combat calculates that 1 or more of your soldiers must die, let the soldiers experience be used in the calculations to decide which soldier dies.

For example: Soldiers with low experience has a higher chance to be selected as the KIA soldier and vice versa.

This will help lessen the chance of players losing their Jon Rambo.  ;D

Also I propose to give player choise to reject autocombat results and compleet a misson himself.

Not sure of this. If the player is always given autocombat results before he plays the mission it might hurt gameplay.  The player must feel the consequences of his decisions.
I hope my soldier experience suggestion helps address/lessen the possible frustrations that auto combat entails.

Offline DiceMaster

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2011, 02:21:52 am »
For example: Soldiers with low experience has a higher chance to be selected as the KIA soldier and vice versa.

It seems, that the same thought suddenly disappeared from my previos post. Killing newbies instead of experienced soldiers is a good idea )

If the player is always given autocombat results before he plays the mission it might hurt gameplay.

Let's carry out a thought experiment. Imagine, that before any mission you have to choise to use autocombat or to accomplish this mission by yourself.
So you will play interesting battles and skip boring ones. But that, if you are not satisfied with autocombat result?
It is a bad feeling, when autocombat system just lost half of your squad for no reason. Such situation annoys. Even more annoys, if you cannot fix result.
But stop. You can fix autocombat results by save/load! And this leads to annoying necessity to save game before each battle and to load it after unsatisfying autocombat result.
Such save/load problem can be easily fixed with one button, that allows you to play mission immediately after autocombat report.

This approach works fine in different games, for example in HoMM 5.

Offline luke83

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2011, 11:28:22 am »
Isn't this just going to remove the challenge of the game? if you can just use auto combat to decide how well you would do and if you don't like the result simply attempt to fight it manually it. ???

 Maybe im just old school when it comes to gaming , to me its not about home many hours it took me to finish the game or which one of my mates did it first, its more about the struggle to get there. I Never ever re-load in x-com , if i loose my Rambo , than i start training another one , Yes it hurts for a while, i may even cry but at least then im experiencing the struggle that is X_COM. Also the only time i save in combat is if i have to stop playing, this is how ( i believe ) the game is meant to be , otherwise you loose the fear and the heartache and the struggle to try to save humanity.

Offline Istrebitel

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2011, 11:40:08 am »
Let me suggest something non-trivial.

If you have a game mechanic becoming a boring process, think about making it interesting, not about letting player skip it.
Original game didnt have autocombat and full remake of only original game shouldnt have it.
If we talk about modding the game though, i'd suggest making the game interesting up till the end, instead of allowing player to skip.

This could include:
- Engineers and leaders with blaster launchers randomly popping up on any ufo later into the game
- High ranked aliens showing up on ufos later into the game
- Etherial leaders showing up on ufos of non-psionic races later into the game, sectoid leaders showing on smaller sectoid ufos instead
- After all aliens switched to heavy plasma, they would develop better armor, first for high ranked officers, then for everybody
- Again after item progression is finished, maybe istead or together with armor upgrade they would get more TU's and health

And:
- As a very crazy but interesting idea, a classificator could be added into the game, remembering which kind of starting layouts made player suffer bigger casualties (including those where player had to reload the game), and make later ufos utilise those layouts (and keep adjusting if player starts to beat them easilly)

On that, read on SVM or linear classificators on wiki. Its pretty simple thing - we try to divide all starting layouts into two classes - HARD and EASY. That is, for given x-com craft, alien craft and alien race and terrain, the layout of the blocks, position of both craft, and possibly position of aliens are evaluated. Each x-com craft, alien craft, alien race and terrain type (and light or dark of course) are separated cases. Block layout, position of x-com craft and alien ufo, and possibly position of aliens on spawn points (but this may be not a good idea) are the factors that make the exact map case HARD or EASY for the player (depending on the casualty level - casualty level over medium is considered HARD and lesser is considered EASY). Then, further into the game, it would istead of randomizing the terrain randomly roll to pick up the hardest possible terrain. This is done by trying to classify randomly generated terrains against the knowledge base (we roll the terrain composition and craft positions and then check if its considered HARD or EASY by the classificator) and finding one that is hardest than the worst ever encountered before by the player, or just using one of the remembered "presets" where player suffered greatest casualties.

This would however require player account analysis since throughout a game pleyer doesnt do that many missions to "feed" a classificator. Maybe even a worldwide gathering of statistics (players agreeing the game to upload its data to some universal sever, from which then every client can download it to feed the classificator so it has enough values to work with. However, this could be very fun as it could really make missions "not that simple" since very hard layouts would be generated.

But its a crazy idea :)

Offline R

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2011, 12:10:55 pm »
So you will play interesting battles and skip boring ones. But that, if you are not satisfied with autocombat result?
It is a bad feeling, when autocombat system just lost half of your squad for no reason. Such situation annoys. Even more annoys, if you cannot fix result.

The idea behind auto combat, as you have pointed out, is to skip boring (Easy) missions.  Missions with low risk where rarely you will lose a soldier.  If you try to use auto combat with a risky mission, where you could lose half of your squad, then it should be costly and risky!

But no combat results before you even started a mission.  Remember:  The play style of Xcom should be serious and scary.  You should walk into/out of a mission sweating.  It should feel like an uphill battle, where humans gradually start to turn the tide of the war.

We can, as a compromise, add a new gameplay feature to help the commander (you) measure the risk of a mission in the Endgame.  For example you research scouting (or whatever) to give you, as the commander, an evaluation of the mission.  Put a Risk tag of low, medium and high on each mission. We can also add terrain, weather or whatever reports to the evaluation.  Then you can decide if you wish to use auto combat knowing the risk.  

But stop. You can fix autocombat results by save/load!

This right there is what we should avoid.  To give people a reason to cheat.   Saving is there to help a person save his process in the game.  Saving should NOT be used as a cheap way to reduce the risk of a game.  If a person has reason to continually save and load then there is a problem with the game.

Edit: Lol! As i was typing two replies!  Both of them I agree with.

Offline cysten

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2011, 07:10:36 pm »
As long as the save/load feature is there people will use it. With or without the autoresolve. As I recall in the original, you could save or load within a mission!

I very much support the statistics based on past performance idea. I was just about to post it myself.

I don't play the original anymore for this reason. The game gets very tedious and you have to go after the elerium.

Offline Chiko

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Re: Autocombat
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2012, 09:18:20 pm »
I agree with this idea. A good way to avoid those boring and easy missions. I would never use it for like Base Assault missions, for instance.