First my regrets on the 'verbal diarhea' nature of this post, but I wanted to get some things across quickly so I've grabbed bits of text from here and there... Hope its readable.
On the question of Individual Unit (phalanx, etc.) graphics, a design-a-unit system, and also tactical combat, there's already been a lot of discussion. Two of the biggest proponents for these issues are temporarily out of service, so I think I need to present a bit of their views (they also more-or-less convinced me that these are good things). Dominique is on vacation returning tomorrow, and can soon speak for himself. F_Smith had a v. busy stretch at work and is off to JavaOne, so we won't be hearing again from him for probably another week. However they are both committed to the Clash project long-term.
A ways back we were discussing the merits of a system where you can design individual units depending on your tech level etc. I don't know if you have scoped out those threads. Much of the discussion is in
apolyton.net/forums/Forum21/HTML/000038.html about 2/3 of the way down
the thread. If you have the time look it over, because its a lot clearer than my presentation below. There are also other good discussions in older threads that I have not looked up yet.
We as a group certainly need to take a position soon about these ideas soon. I am leaning towards them because of both the strategic aspects and the graphical advantages of the system Dominique (I think) proposed. A build-a-unit system (both graphically and characteristics-wise) would also tie in Very strongly if we decide to tack on a tactical combat system later.
Its not Only the graphix I'm talking about. (Although that is a worthwhile part of it) The idea would be to start with guys and you'd add things to make a unit. E.g. add a horse and bow (if you have tech for them individually and used together) you get horse archers. (and you get the pix too, using whatever style armor etc you might want) If you take guys and springfield rifles you'd get a pre-wwI rifle unit. Add tactical doctrine to the mix and you have each units fighting effectiveness, field mobility, shock attack value, etc. If we can do a good job in evaluating each piece added to the bare 'soldier' (whose quality also changes with lifestyle education and culture if we want to get that detailed) you open the field to an almost infinite number of reasonably realistic units. (which would then go into your TFs) This is a help for people who want, say, light horse, when only heavy horse (knights) might normally be available. I think we discussed the concept more thoroughly in the thread I referred to...
Unit display, and a 'battle box':
The idea was to have a graphical representation, say a battle line, of a selected unit. This provides some relatively cheap (in terms of processing time) eye candy, and makes it a lot easier for the player to see just What is in Lee's 3rd army. This view would be made by putting together the figure for the individual units that make up the TF. The Real bonus for making all these units up only comes when/if we do a tac combat add-on where you clearly need all the unit graphics and individual unit characteristics are more important. Also, many in the group, including myself, are 'aesthetically challenged'. However, a large part of our potential market is not. Since we aren't going the mutimedia, marching troops, or crap like that, I think we need some semi-unique graphical features to help bridge that gap. Kull had a good suggestion of actually showing a battle that the player want's to see. I think this would just be in Civ2 'see explosion on hit unit' fashion, but I don't know for sure because we havent discussed it in detail.
Kull Said recently:
And possibly also to appear in a "Battle Box" showing the various elements of each combatant army? Otherwise, will combat consist solely of "Chinese oblong marker goes into battle against Russian oblong marker. Chinese marker wins."? If so, I can hear the yawns now!
Yeah, that's the idea! Although people can optionally turn the battle box off. Or only go back to the battle after suffering a surprising loss to see what happened. Like I said this stuff doesn't need to work for the first alpha versions, but it should be there eventually. And there seems to be substantial interest in a tactical sub-system. I think this is especially valid in Clash, where there should be relatively fewer battles (but sharper and more important) than in Civ2.
Tactical combat sub-system:
I think most people at least know what this is. You fight a big battle on a finer scale of terrain with individual units. I won't say any more in detail here.
Clearly there are Big resource/design issues involved here and we need to talk this one through and arrive at some sort of concensus.
[This message has been edited by Mark_Everson (edited June 05, 1999).]