Strategy Jot

I’m pretty tired, but I thought I would jot down the ideas I created today while walking to school. This is for the relativistic, AI-based strategy game.

The tactical fighting style is playbook-based, like football. Each time you come across a unique situation, you grind it out, micromanagelike. Then you can watch a replay and encode your tactic into a play in your playbook if it was effective. At the beginning of the game, you have no plays at all in your playbook, and you don’t even have guidance about what a good play looks like. This encourages (even forces) users to come up with their own unique style without even realizing it.

Units have “wake units”. You can store up three wake units; that is, you can be awake for three “days” without sleeping. Then you must sleep, and you must have a good night’s sleep (you can’t sleep for ten minutes every hour and be rested). You get 3/2 of a day of wake for every day of sleep. This allows “fatigue battles”, where you just keep tormenting a defending army, keeping them from sleeping. Then when they are forced to sleep, you just roll over them (but you have to figure out how to get your own armies rested in the process).

Unit-to-unit battles are determined by a weighted random walk. When one unit engages another, the two units may not disengage until one of them is wounded. At the beginning of the fight, a counter is set to zero. Then every unit time it is incremented by 1 (say, with 70% probability), or decremented by 1 (with 30% probability). The first unit to reach an absolute value of 4 wins. This means that equally matched units take a long time to fight, so you can use them as a blockade. Say, for example, that you are fighting a line of swordsmen with a line of pikemen behind them. You don’t want to send in your cavalry, which will own the swordsmen, because your cavalry will just get owned by the pikemen. Instead, you should send in a line of swordsmen to stall the other swordsmen while you reposition to the back of the pikemen, or something.

Eliteness changes the value of 4 above. An elite swordsman versus a novice swordsman still has a 50% random walk, but the novice swordsman gets a higher threshold. It’s kind of like giving elite units more local-scale endurance. Here are some concequences of this battle system:

The probability that your unit will eventually win, assuming both units are level 1, and you have a p to (1-p) matchup against your opponent:

The expected time that the battle will take, assuming the same:

The probability that your unit, who has a 40% to 60% disadvantage, will win battle against a level 1 unit as a function of his level:

(Not very dramatic, but here’s the interesting one:) The expected time of the battle assuming the same:

The probability that your unit, who has a 60% to 40% advantage, will win the battle against a level 1 unit as a function of his level:

The expected time of the battle assuming the same:

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One thought on “Strategy Jot

  1. Interesting, I wonder how the game will be able to handle the stress of massively massive battles? I suppose battle calculations are cheap, nowadays….

    Have you given much thought to unit types? I mean, are you going to use the standardized midieval unit set? Any modifications? What about non-combat related attack styles, such as poisoning food / water supplies, spy-type units capable of sabotage and assassination, etc.?

    I think these questions are at a completely different level than you’re currently thinking at, though whether above or below, I’m not sure.

    Idea: If you have a mission campaign with C&C style briefings, we should record crappy mock briefings using lame props and poor acting (the initial prototypes), and include them in the game which can be unlocked at campaign completion. Muahaha.

    - Jude

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