Death Toll and Immersion

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Death Toll and Immersion

Postby Howard7x » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:38 am

SSG...

Ive been playing COTA quite alot as of late and one of the features i really enjoy is viewing how many of my men have died in battle and keeping a track of how many men there are in my current formation etc.
In my opinion it holds your interest in particular units on the battlefield and creates a level of immersion.

Also seeing how many have died at the end of a game really puts it in perspective what has just happened on the battlefield and in a given conflict. As a unit takes casualties you really feel for them. It gives the game a soul and is one of the reasons why the Close Combat series is so successful.

I understand of course that "STEPS" have always represented the amount of men you have in a division and that it simplifies gameplay somewhat. I just think it would be a nice feature to add to a future game engine. Just a thought but id like to hear your response.... and anyone elses for that matter. :wink:

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Postby Joe » Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:04 am

I too was a great fan of Close Combat ( do you have the recent release - Close Combat marines? - its very good!)

The losses were aoppropriate in Close Combat but I feel the losses in the DB series is not so approriate - it might sober us all up!

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Postby Roger Keating » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:48 am

Losses are a very hard thing to accurately portray in a game. Essentially if a unit losses 30% of its combat capability it is deemed to be out of combat. This can occur by loss of manpower, ammunition or a number of other factors.

Placing a loss number in place really doesn't reflect a real situation, as our step system does not, but both are equally valid as a way to keep the player informed of how things are going.

We try to to present additional information as it does clutter up the screen and can produce side effects in certain scenarios so we are happy with the current system in this engine. In CAW, of course, we show every plane downed and every ship damaged as it is a much more appropriate way to measure a battle in the South Pacific.

Hope this helps ...
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Steps

Postby critter » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:17 am

I like the step system in DBWWII.
I agree about the loses..Every time I resolve a combat I first check which one of my boy's gave the ultimate sacrifice. It hurts to see them go.... :cry:
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Postby Howard7x » Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:12 am

Thanks for the reply.

I fully understand that it would be difficult to portray in the current engine. Ageods american civial war also calculates number of loses down to the last man and is turn based, i was prehaps thinking of something similar in a future engine. Of course the balance is not overwhelming the player with statistics and numbers that are not quick and easy to read.

The DB system sits just right in its level of complexity for me. Any more and i feel like im at work (WitP felt like a chore).

I think the step system is the simplest way to view quickly the state of each unit, i just feel that it could be replaced with something more personal to the player and the number of men shown as a statistic would do that, prehaps a game option to view or hide the statistic would work?
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Postby Roger Keating » Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:11 am

There is no easy way to represent what one step equals in terms of men and material. These would have to be entered in the database and a method of display devised.

As I talk to a lot of the designers of the scenarios I can assure you that any addition to the quite complicated (and it has been called other names) editor system to come up with a standard scenario is difficult to say the least. I try to keep everything out unless there is a real move for it and the pressure comes from a number of sources. There is a now an equipment line in each unit that helps identify what the makeup of the counter is but as to the current strength of a 2 out of 4 step unit in terms of men, material, fatigue and other assorted effects would be hard to implement.
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Postby Robjess » Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:10 am

I agree with Roger's approach. As a scenario designer there is already a heap of work that needs to be done to get the scenario to a state where it can be released. I also think that the step losses approach is a sound approach. As has been stated before, the actual loss of men isnt what always reflects a units combat capability. The step loss system reflects this approach in my mind. I never look at the loss of steps as always meaning the loss of men.. I see it was a loss of combat effectiveness.

The other issue is why mess with something which appears to be working well as it is.
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Postby Howard7x » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:18 am

I fully agree, i was really pointing to the next engine rather than modifying the current one. I realise that the current engine would not really allow for it to be implemented easily and as you say, works perfectly fine as it is.

I was prehaps moving ahead of time thinking about ways you could improve the current system, but in a different engine. I dont know if you were ever thinking of moving to a new engine with the same rule set (not the same battles), which is quite possible to do with the engines we have now, but id love to see it done! :D
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Postby Carl Myers » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:55 am

If a Civil War era regiment has a 100 casualties, this would represent a significant loss in the regiment's strength. If a WWII regiment has a 100 casualties, this would not result in a significant loss in the regiment's strength after reorganization to man critical weapons systems and leadership positions.
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Postby Howard7x » Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:21 am

I was using that as an example, however CotA uses exact numbers for men and seems to do so just fine. In fact it was that game i was referring to in the first post.
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Postby Roger Keating » Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:49 am

100 casualties in one unit could mean a great deal, in others it would mean almost no loss in fighting capabilities.

Axis units fighting in Russia would often show resilience even after taking significant casualties while in Normandy, Allied units would often start folding when they received fire from the flanks. To make any comparision of these events based on loses alone would be fairly meaningless. There are just so many other factors.

In all wars the various units had strengths and weaknesses that could never be measured in simple terms and so we resort to a number of important parameters that can be adapted for most battles of the WWII period.
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Postby Brubaker » Wed May 21, 2008 12:53 pm

Hi guys

I just found this thread and it is a good one! I agree with Howard's concept that immersion is important. Otherwise a game can be reduced to a battle of calculators and tables. I also agree that the SSG method as currently used (steps) is a good one. Reading you posts Howard I wonder if you are not inviting a complete change but perhaps more of an enhancement/detail level?

I remember the old Microprose "Crusade in Europe" (and others) by Sid Meier I think. The units in these games had their strength represented by data that was not unlike steps. An armoured unit for example might have the following data 'steps'

14400 and 90 tanks
12200 and 75 tanks
10500 and 45 tanks
8500 and 30 tanks

As you can see this data is really just another way of displaying a step method. But in my opinion it gives a real feel for the construct of a unit. The 'steps' would always remain the same data, for instance a unit with only 2 steps remaining would only ever show 10500 and 45 tanks, so the troop and tank 'labels' were just that - labels. But it felt like you were commanding men not just moving counters.

I like the SSG way of modelling steps, but I also like the idea of smaller detail like the new equipment line that gives a feel for the tanks being used etc. I second Howard's concept of the addition of troop numbers if only to give a gritty feel to combat and add immersion. I understand it could well clutter up a display so may never happen. Food for thought though.

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Postby Howard7x » Thu May 22, 2008 3:24 am

Prehaps if the number of men and tanks were to be displayed in the unit dialouge box when you right click on the unit? Theres certainly pleanty of room in that box and i dont feel it would clutter it up.

Whats this new equipment line your talking about Bru? Is that part of DotD new engine?
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Postby Brubaker » Thu May 22, 2008 10:10 am

Hi H

The equipment line is there in Battlefront as well. It is the line that tells you the type of tank or vehicles or commander a unit has. Roger mentioned it above as an example in the way the engines have developed over the years and I was concurring that the addition of that line has improved the system by adding a little immersion. Now all we need is for blood to leak out of the screen when an overrun occurs and we will have the perfect game.

In years gone past Joe and I would play Close Combat online and my wife would walk into the room and ask me to close the door because the sounds where scaring the cats!

The was a soundtrack mod that a fella nicknamed 'Future' did for Close Combat that replaced the music. It was essentially an empty echo type of sound (sounds excting doesn't it :wink: ) but then there would be battlefield noises coming in from all directions and timings. Artillery crumps, the tearing sound of an MG, sound indistinguishable voices yelling commands, a propeller plane flying over. It was all very subtle and echoey and just ran constantly in the background in place of the music track. It was absolutley superb. That one mod alone turned the game from a game into an experience. Now that was immersion!

Brubaker

PS: I might have to dig that track up - I have got myself all excited thinking about it - I wonder how something like that would sound in the background of a turn based game...?
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Postby Howard7x » Fri May 30, 2008 5:01 am

That track does sound rather cool. Let me know if u find it... 8)
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