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The Quantum Model of gameplay (Up for discussion!!!)

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  • The Quantum Model of gameplay (Up for discussion!!!)

    This is also posted at the FreeAC forums, but I'd love as much feedback as possible so I've posted here too. Do you think you would like a game using such a model? Play it? But first, read on

    This is a game model which AFAIK has not been used before, it's a RTS TBS hybrid which could possibly be played as both (kind of like RoN, but aimed more at TBS)

    Time is divided into fundamental quantizations, but instead of the Planck time we will use fractions of "years" which for this purpose I'll refer to as "months" or "microturns".
    In brief, every turn is comprised of a set number of microturns, for example one year might be 10 microturns, or 16, or some other number, but it is likely to be one of 10, 12 or 16 because these numbers have nice properties (in particular the many factors of 12 - 2,3,4,5,6 and 16 - 2,4,8 make them attractive). The shortest possible turn will be 1 microturn, and gameplay will proceed at a snails pace! (but possibly okay for WW2 style scenarios)

    Every month basically everything may do one thing, for example an army might move a small distance, or engage in one round of combat vs nearby enemy armies.
    Production will be done in terms of months, it might take 3 months to build a cruiser, if a turn is 10 months then 3 full cruisers will be built, and there will be one 1/3 complete cruiser. Additionally if an enemy army attacks the city on turn 7, it will find 2 complete cruisers in the port.
    Research will be similar, a research project might require 9 months to complete and so with 10 month turns the project will be complete, and the next project will be just started.
    Some events may happen every N months, perhaps farms generate food every 4 months (example only)

    (Queued) Orders will work the same regardless of how many micro turns they cover, orders will be given like "Move to there" and the army will take as many microturns as required. This means it will be quite impossible to do things like moving armies with arrow keys (this lacking wont seem at all odd for players of RTS games, the last game to allow units movement by keys was Dune2 AFAIK - which also happened to be the first RTS game)

    Every micro turn will be resolved completely before the next microturn is resolved, this means no mathematical approximations are made (in the cruiser example, there will be 10 separate deductions of resources towards the construction costs, rather than the game calculating 3 complete cruisers requiring 3xcruiser cost resources...)

    What are the advantages of such a system?
    Individual actions are kept very simple. Individual combat is single-round only basically in bombard style.
    Unit movement is smooth and realistic, armies wont "jump" from tile to tile, making it possible to do things like realistic interception (ie patrolling unit scans for threats, and moves to intercept, rather than having to resort to things like intercept probability and zone of control.)
    Because things are resolved realistically, less need for highly detailed, complex models.
    In some cases may allow for economic models that would be too complex expressed as mathematical formula.
    Fundamentally realistic rather than fundamentally abstract.
    Puts mechanisms in place for the player/scenario maker to control game pace, from highly tactical to empire building.
    Offers the *intriguing possibility of a game that can be played equally as RTS and TBS, in RTS mode orders are transmitted as they are generated by the player, in TBS mode orders are collected for the current turn and sent in one go.
    More familiar to RTS gamers.

    What are the disadvantages?
    Possibly more CPU intensive as calculations must be carried out more often.
    Not familiar to TBS gamers of the Civ line (who are used to action-reward play style)
    Smooth movement complicates route finding.

    Engine Requirements: The primary one is that armies have full freedom of movement, like in many RTS games and some TBS games. The order queuing system must be powerful and flexible.

  • #2
    I like the idea, but i dont really understand when you give the orders in the begin of a year and then 10 microturns happen for which you gave the orders or in the beginning of a microturn more like current TBS games?

    btw GREAT work with the game ofcourse i want to help with as much as my time and ability let me! (time is little and abilities do not go very far ) but again great work
    Welcome to the DBTSverse!
    God, Allah, boedha, siva, the stars, tealeaves and the palm of you hand. If you are so desperately looking for something to believe in GO FIND A MIRROR
    'Space05us is just a stupid nice guy' - Space05us


    • #3
      I believe the intention is, in short (and I'm sure Blake or other more well-read people will correct me if I'm wrong) that the length of the turn will be customizable at the start of the game. This way, the players will be able to choose to be able to order every microturn, which would make the game slower but make it easier to react, or spread it over a number of microturns, which will speed up the game, but allow for the chance that something unexpected happens in the mean time.


      • #4
        ok thanx for the replies
        Welcome to the DBTSverse!
        God, Allah, boedha, siva, the stars, tealeaves and the palm of you hand. If you are so desperately looking for something to believe in GO FIND A MIRROR
        'Space05us is just a stupid nice guy' - Space05us


        • #5
          I'm interested to hear how you plan to incorporate this "microturn" style effectively into the gameplay without problems.

          The first thing that comes to mind is population growth. Population growth is not a quick thing, it happens over a number of years. Adding microturns to the game might make for an absurd length of time to wait for your population to grow any significant amount.

          Games of civ and SMAC already take a sizeable period of time to play. Lots of microturns are fine for PBEM
          (which already takes forever) but I shudder to think what would happen if a SP game was even 3 or 4 times longer than it already is.

          How are you planning on implementing microturns without greatly increasing gameplay time?
          "Luck's last match struck in the pouring down wind." - Chris Cornell, "Mindriot"


          • #6
            By having the game calculate (resolve) mulitple microturns between normal turns. For example if the rate is set at 1 turn = 10 microturns and population grows at 0.01% per microturn then for every turn you play the population will have grown by about 10.4%.

            An excellent analogy of how it would work is RTS games with a pause mode where you can give orders to units and buildings (such as Total Annhilation and some others....)
            Imagine that you have really bad reactions so every 30 seconds you pause the game and update all your units and buildings orders. You then unpause the game and sit back and watch the action unfold for 30 seconds before pausing the game again and giving orders, sitting back for 30 seconds and watching, pausing...
            (Note: In particullary lagged games of TA with lots of air units to target this is about the only way to play )

            You arent giving orders for the 30 second watch periods but the action continues to unfold, that is almost exactly how microturns work.

            Because gameplay will proceed at a paint-drying rate at 1turn=1microturn it will be very rare to play at that pace, instead the standard will be around 1 turn = 10 microturns. For the RTS analogy, it's stupid to pause every second because not much changes, the same for microturns, you dont NEED to give orders every microturn because not much changes, instead you just give orders every 10 microturns (or whatever number is chosen at game start) because enough has changed to warrent your attention.

            In realtime mode (if we implement it) the rate would be something like 1 micro-turn = 1 second but you would be able to give orders at any time.

            It is important to note that queuing orders will be very central to gameplay, adding multiple builds will be as natural as breathing, for example you might click on a unit to add one to a build queue, shift-click to add 10, ctrl-click to build the unit indefinitely (until you manually remove it from the build queue). There will be no arbitary restrictions like "1 build per city per turn" a city will be able to build as many things per turn as it has resources to build and there will be full carryover.


            • #7

              One correction to Blake's post, he meant "For example if the rate is set at 1 turn = 10 microturns and population grows at 1% per microturn then for every turn you play the population will have grown by about 10.4%" not " 0.01% "



              • #8
                I do like this idea, Blake. Possibly, we could extend it :
                Since religion is what organize our time, there could be a variation of number of mikcroturns in a turn : example, at the beginning 1 turn = 10 microturns, at the end 1 turn = 16 microturns. This would be quite like the goold old civ, were first turns last 20 years, and at the end, its a year a turn. The difference is that the number of microturns in a turn would rather be according to the faction's general achievments than to the date. How does it sound ?
                "Just because you're paranoid doesnt mean there's not someone following me..."
                "I shall return and I shall be billions"


                • #9
                  Bad, because the action is more intense near the end of the game so you want less microturns per turn. I missed what it had to do with religion , my preference would be to have the # microturns / turn be constant for the entire game, but give the host/gamemaster the ability to change it at players request. The primary reason to want shorter turns is for tatical combat, so if the game devolves into a world war the players might petition the host to say halve the # microturns / turn that they can have more complete control over their units, when the war is over they might like to resume a faster schedule that the game may be completed faster. IMO trying to have the game decide such things is just needless complication and sure to not add anything useful to the game.... (because the game will always get it wrong, as is the way with automations )


                  • #10
                    The Clash of Civilizations works partly like that.
                    Except we call them ticks and not microturns.
                    Military units have 10 ticks per turn of movement. That works by pushing an end turn button when you have finished giving orders.
                    Acutally, interception can be quite tricky as moves are simultaneous. That is more realistic, but if you don't plan your opponent's speed well, you are bound to miss some interceptions. So movement is tick-based and it works quite well. Combat inside a tick is more complicated though, and I don't think economy runs ticks, but there is no reason why it shouldn't work. Actually, you probably would like to allow the player to tune the ticks number (number of months) per turn, because high number = strategic decisions only, low number = more (tactical) control.
                    Clash of Civilization team member
                    (a civ-like game whose goal is low micromanagement and good AI)
                    web site and forum here on apolyton)


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LDiCesare
                      The Clash of Civilizations works partly like that.
                      Except we call them ticks and not microturns.
                      ... and there I was, thinking that the idea of "cycles" as we called them in GGS (may he rest in peace) was something original...


                      • #12
                        Thanks for answering that question Blake. One more...

                        Doesn't the system of using microturns promote more micromanagement? What if your orders for a unit are finished after only half the turn. Now you have another few microturns of movement to use. You don't have to use them, but it can't hurt to. This is the kind of thing I am concerned with. The microturn system sounds great, but I really would try and make sure it doesn't baloon the gameplay time way up.
                        "Luck's last match struck in the pouring down wind." - Chris Cornell, "Mindriot"


                        • #13
                          Could there be two options. A short game (with bigeer turn gaps) a medium, and a long (with longer gaps)


                          • #14
                            You'll be able to set any number of microturns per macroturn... I wont even add a "within reason". I guess a few "default" options wont hurt either. And you cant count

                            Re: Micro
                            queuing and simialler managment features will be central to gameplay... with queued orders there generally wont be no-order gaps, except in a few restricted circumstances, prehaps like an army that is unloaded from a ship. And the other player is under the same restrictions anyway...
                            I suppose it's feasible that players will try to time unloading actions so the unit will unload at just the right microturn... altough the benefits would be pretty minimal and ofcourse there has to be a few negative tradeoffs to everything....


                            • #15
                              MicroManagement is central to all TBS strategies. The RTS factor gives added flexibility, but the TBS gives a proper strategy factor.