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#41 Pedro Falc„o

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 04:02 PM

For the most part, yes. The only thing of the above never mentioned would be the breaking of formation on heavy impact, but it is extremely likely to be implemented I think.


Let's imagine it: You're a spearman on the frontline, druing a battle. There are horsemen coming, you have to stand firmly against the impact that, you know for sure, will be heavy. The horsemen come, some horses refuse to throw themselves into the spears, some die, some trample the spearmen. This is formation breaking by trampling.
But, just to be sure you guys remember, there were also formation breaking by low morale (some soldiers simply flee in fear of dying) that played important roles in the outcome of some roman battles, for a sample.
There is, also, the 'surprise element', ambushes may scatter the units.
Surrounding and attacking by behind contribute for some casualties, so the side the formation is facing is also important. I know it's not a thing to think about now, it's just too early, but, as a programmer, i know things need to be thought of before starting to implement. And even if it won't be implemented in 0 AD, who knows the future? Maybe in 1 AD... :D
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Pedro Falc„o
Latin: Petrus Falco; Literally means 'Stone Hawk'.
English equivalent: ' Peter ';


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#42 historic_bruno

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:44 PM

So I have a patch to fix units ignoring player orders when attacked, which is directly related to stances. It may not be clear what the desired behavior is in all possible cases or even what cases exist, so I've made a table to clarify.

I think it's important to make sure every case is correct (if there's any consensus on what "correct" is), otherwise units do things players don't expect, which is annoying.


Unit will respond to attacks when...

Stance is: violent other
Order is:
------------------------------
walk to point Y N
walk to target Y N in response to a player order
leave foundation Y? N
attack (player ordered) Y N
attack (gathering animal) Y Y* because this is part of a "gathering" order?
attack (auto / LOS) Y Y
garrison Y N
ungarrison* - - garrisoned units can't be attacked (in theory)
gather Y Y
gather near position* Y Y used for rally points
heal (player ordered) ? ?
heal (auto / LOS) ? ? healers can really only respond by fleeing; "violent" stance makes no sense
return resource (player order) Y N
return resource (auto)* Y Y shuttling
trade Y Y
repair/build* Y Y repair and build are the same order
flee* Y Y used by healers when attacked
cheer (promotion)* - - unit is temporarily invincible during promotion


I personally would rather aim for consistency, all player orders are forced and can't be interrupted by attacks, unless the stance allows it (violent). But the above list comes from some IRC discussion with Mythos_Ruler and my own guesses.
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#43 Mythos_Ruler

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:07 AM

I hashed out some thoughts with Pureon the other day about stances. We feel like the stances available for the player to select should be winnowed down from 5 to 3.

Violent
  • Remove. Not enough difference between Violent and Aggressive for most players to notice or care.
Aggressive
  • Keep.
Idle
  • Remove. This would only be used with the behavior of certain (mostly animal) units, and not be an option to manually select.
Defensive
  • Keep.
Stand Ground
  • Keep. In most cases where a player would use "Idle" they probably meant to select or should have selected Stand Ground. You generally want your idle units to fight back if they are attacked by an enemy melee unit, rather than just standing there, even if you want them to not move from their position.

So, as far as "selectable" stances there should only be 3 (I think we should cull the formation options as well, but that's a different thread). So, that's it for selectable stances. I think there should be other stances or behaviors as well, that are inherent to different commands or specific to various units. Including:

Avoid
  • Support Units and most Animals. When they are attacked they run away.
  • Scout Command. Cavalry units given the scout command default to this behavior unless overridden by the player.
Impetuous or Violent
  • The default (and only) stance for berserker units, like Thracian mercenaries and others. Attacks anything and everything in sight. Doesn't respond to player input if it's attacked (kind of like how units respond now).
and maybe others I can't think of right now.
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#44 FeXoR

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:36 AM

I think stances should only effect behavior of units without any player given order. Maybe there could be stances explicitly overriding commands like 'violent' (attack) might as historic_bruno said in the list and an opposite stance 'evasive' (run away). Arguments for and against that can be found in this topic. Then the question arises 'What is a 'player given order'?'. IMO any order not given by the unit AI itself after a unit was idle after fulfilling a player given command. There is a gray area between player given and unit AI given orders however like: Gather/return resources and some future commands 'auto explore' and 'attack move'. But I think they still are player given and the unit AI only helps him to accomplish them. In case of wild animals I agree though elephants will most likely just kill gatherers or even citizen soldiers.
Making a single unit attack or run away will have no big game impact anyways: A single unit attacking a bunch of enemies will most likely die without dealing much damage. A unit running away for a few seconds and then return to it's duty will most likely be attacked again - and die a bit later. If they would just for example gather further or premature return resources if attacked they have better chances to survive or draw the enemy into better defended parts of the own base and so help killing them while still gathering resources. If the aim of stances is to make citizens stay alive a 'return resources if attacked' or 'auto garrison into a building with an attack if attacked' behavior would do better IMO.

For a bunch of attack units standing idle gathering somewhere to attack or as a defense force however it's a different thing. Stances could be useful here. Then the question arises: 'What exactly should stances effect?'. IMO it should only be the distance they walk away trying to attack or evade the enemy from the point of order of the last given player command (or where they where when the player command became invalid like attack a unit that dies while moving towards it. In this case it might be good to let the unit walk to the point of death of that unit to make it gather with other units with the same command). In this case evasive behavior is quite useless because maybe the units will die slower but still won't do any damage to the enemy. BTW: The units should first check if they can get into attack range following the stances restrictions before starting to move.

My opinion in short:
- Stances should only effect 'idle' units (don't interact with player commands)
- Defensive stance is only useful for units without an attack and so may as well be the default and only behavior of those units (if idle). When gathering/scouting/garrisoning they should still do that and only that (while defending against wild animals might be a part of gathering in the wild)
- For units with attacks an aggressive stance is the only useful so it may as well be the default and only behavior (if idle).
- To act more aggressive the 'attack move' order can be used.
In the end there is no real need for stances IMO.

I didn't mention the problems arising when having attack priorities, formations, minimum range and attack restrictions in addition to stances here because it seams a topic mostly focusing on stances.

This all might be considered before reducing the number of available stances like planed by Mythos_Ruler.

Since I'm obviously not a friend of stances perhaps someone more delighted about the idea could explain what stances should achieve in detail.†

Edited by FeXoR, 01 May 2012 - 06:34 AM.

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#45 FeXoR

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:56 AM

Dont forget about Stop Command button(Cancel order). is necessary.


Agreed though a cancel order is only useful for player given commands since the unit AI will start right away with it's previous behavior afterwards anyways. But its good to give full control to the unit AI/stances as well.†

Edited by FeXoR, 01 May 2012 - 06:06 AM.

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#46 FeXoR

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:41 AM

Empire Earth 2 have a button/command Search and Destroy, you cant hunt the only one last standing enemy unit in the dark of Map, that unit cannot move and is in a "border". of the land, if you press this button your unit explore the map seaching enemy units.

Think about this the Ai player have only left unit but you don't see for many reason especially if you don't reveal map.


Yes, this is useful as said in this other topic. I thought this topic however does focus on stances.
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#47 FeXoR

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 09:07 AM

The Rams needs to have Behaviour/Stances because if they need to repair don't follow my order to retreat a safe place.


This would be fixed by preferring player given orders over anything else as well. So I don't see the need for stances here neither. †

Edited by FeXoR, 01 May 2012 - 09:08 AM.

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#48 historic_bruno

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 03:34 AM

In the end there is no real need for stances IMO.

Sure there is. Stances, if they work correctly, let you set up groups of units with specific behaviors and then leave them alone for a while. It eliminates micromanaging hundreds of units on multiple fronts which would get annoying very quickly. It's not always attack or idle. Sometimes units are intended for patrol/watch and you don't want them going all over the map on a wild chase. You might say we should have a patrol command then, but sometimes it's even more nuanced, there may be a dangerous area of the map, and you want units to defend themselves in a restricted space but not chase enemies into the dangerous area (e.g. not fall into a trap). Sometimes you don't want units to move at all, but still defend themselves as much as possible, which is what the stand ground stance is for. Another thing I use stand ground for is defending narrow passages, when there's no walls or gates - it prevents enemy units from coming through. It's also good for allowing a retreat of weaker units in a rout. Good management of stances is essential in my experience, but it may just be my style of play.

Stances are more useful than formations IMO, and we need them, but we need their behavior to be consistent and sensible too.
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#49 FeXoR

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:38 AM

Assuming here we only speak of attack units:

Sure there is. Stances, if they work correctly, let you set up groups of units with specific behaviors and then leave them alone for a while. It eliminates micromanaging hundreds of units on multiple fronts which would get annoying very quickly.


I setup some control groups for attack units so I only have to manage about 3 attack groups which reduces the amount of attention needed for them... as far as they follow my orders and don't run everywhere. So they should be able to move a bit (lets say 1.5 to 2 * max attack range of any unit so that melee cavalry has a chance to chase down ranged units) and attack if enemies are close but otherwise approximately hold the position. Don't know which stance that is...



It's not always attack or idle. Sometimes units are intended for patrol/watch and you don't want them going all over the map on a wild chase.


I never want them to do that automatically. If I want them to attack I'd use attack move if available.

You might say we should have a patrol command then, but sometimes it's even more nuanced, there may be a dangerous area of the map, and you want units to defend themselves in a restricted space but not chase enemies into the dangerous area (e.g. not fall into a trap).


That is indeed a good point for stances. However, I'd try to build defensive structures in such a case and gather my units behind. An patrol order is IMO not that much needed but helpful and stances doesn't cover it as well IMO. Just to make sure we get each other right: I assume patrol (as attack move/auto explore/search and destroy/gather) is an player given order with vast help of the unit AI. In that cases effecting them by stances might seam useful in theory but as far as I thought about how that should be in detail (with the help of some others like e.g. feneur) in most cases it turns out it isn't. So the units with a patrol order should IMO act like said before as well (be free to move and attack but approximately hold the 'position' - in case of patrol don't run away to far from the 'patrol line')

Sometimes you don't want units to move at all, but still defend themselves as much as possible, which is what the stand ground stance is for. Another thing I use stand ground for is defending narrow passages, when there's no walls or gates - it prevents enemy units from coming through. It's also good for allowing a retreat of weaker units in a rout.


That way ranged units will rip your units away without much danger to themselves.

Good management of stances is essential in my experience, but it may just be my style of play.


Same in my case. I don't have any problem with stances to be implemented as far as they don't disturb my style of play. But 'as is' they mainly reduce my influence on the units (mainly because of the missing priority system and the stances implemented 'prematurely').

Stances are more useful than formations IMO, and we need them, but we need their behavior to be consistent and sensible too.


I agree that stances are more useful then formations. But AFAIK formations are planned to 'cheat' by disabling enemies to use focused fire (kill one unit after the other) and make them 'attack as one' (whatever that means?). My hairs raise thinking of such things... Perhaps open a discussion about formations as well and let the PPL explain their thoughts and ideas?


I'm not entirely sure I get you right. Are you agreeing that stances shouldn't interact with player given commands? If so I'm fine because it doesn't interacts with my style of play ;)


I'm open to discussions about stance usage for commands making vast use of the unit AI like attack move/gather/auto explore/search and destroy/patrol (if those are implemented) but as far as I see this is only helpful in edge cases and mainly makes the player to click more (the stance buttons) so I'm not thrilled with that idea either.

Edited by FeXoR, 02 May 2012 - 01:26 PM.

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#50 Pedro Falc„o

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:23 AM

please, remember to let the player set the default stance for new units at the options menu, it's very useful.
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Pedro Falc„o
Latin: Petrus Falco; Literally means 'Stone Hawk'.
English equivalent: ' Peter ';


Undergraduate Computer Scientist by UFCG
Shotokan Karate Adept, 3rd Kyu (Green Belt) & Muay Thai initiate

#51 FeXoR

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 01:28 PM

please, remember to let the player set the default stance for new units at the options menu, it's very useful.

Yes! Really good point (y)

I forgot to mention this one.



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#52 k776

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 07:04 PM

I don't know if we want to make things too configurable... We'll probably just have 3 stances as default, Aggressive, Defensive (default for soldiers), and Stand Ground, with a hidden (unselectable) stance for women (Flee when attacked unless tasked to fight back).
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#53 historic_bruno

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:57 PM

That way ranged units will rip your units away without much danger to themselves.

That's certainly something to take into account, either by having your own ranged units to respond or just turning the melee units loose, or have them retreat further. The exact tactic will always be up to the player, stances don't change that, they only enhance it (with a good implementation) :)

Same in my case. I don't have any problem with stances to be implemented as far as they don't disturb my style of play. But 'as is' they mainly reduce my influence on the units (mainly because of the missing priority system and the stances implemented 'prematurely').

I was mostly responding to your claim that stances aren't necessary, which is just wrong IMO. What we have is broken, that's why I bumped this thread and I'm working on a patch to fix it :) Being an alpha means lots of stuff is broken or incomplete but we don't just abandon it.

I'm not entirely sure I get you right. Are you agreeing that stances shouldn't interact with player given commands? If so I'm fine because it doesn't interacts with my style of play ;)

I stated my own feeling above: "I personally would rather aim for consistency, all player orders are forced and can't be interrupted by attacks, unless the stance allows it (violent)." It seems rather that the response will depend on the type of order: attack and move will never be interrupted, but more passive orders like gathering and repair can be interrupted (but only after the unit reaches the build/gather target).
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#54 FeXoR

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:41 AM

Well, lets see how it works out when order priority is in place and maybe stances are redone as well. I think I made my points clear and perhaps it needs some playtesting for further investigation after those are in.
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#55 historic_bruno

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:06 PM

BTW, I committed some changes for Alpha 10, they should make a noticable difference. Next will be making stances more modular and decreasing the available choices per Mythos' suggestions.
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#56 picobyte

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 12:08 AM

My patch at ticket #1492 enables several hotkeys including changing stances. It's currently implemented as follows
select your unit: Idle hotkey . , or mouse (one of my patches actually allows shift . or , to select all your idle villagers/warriors on screen)

Now make a selection for an action, in this example we choose the last one, to modify the stance:

H => Garrison
J => Build
K => Train (not applicable for units)
L => Ungarrison(not applicable for units)
; => Formation
' => Stance

Then choose the stance with the same keys:
H => "violent"
J => "aggressive"
K => "passive"
L => "defensive"
; => "standground"

You can switch between stances for the selected units before doing something else.

Forward slash unsets the first choice, so we can do something else

A similar scheme applies to Garrisoning, Building, Training, Ungarrisoning and Formations
H to backslash for choices 0 to 6, capital H to double quotation for choices 7 to 12.

so e.g. to set stance and formation:

select unit

' H / ; L

And now your stance is violent and you have the fourth formation (not sure, box? - only if it was actually possible ;-)

The patches apply a lot more features for the input, but that's off topic here. If you're willing to try I'm interested if you can find any bugs or unexpected behavior.
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#57 natholas

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:23 AM

I have an idea.. What if certain units were limited in stances because of the type of unit they are? like weaker cheaper units cant be set to stand ground because they are too scared? or historically more violent units cant be set to run away..

In my opinion i hardly ever use the stances in 0ad mainly because they are just confusing.. limiting them to 3 will help but i think also just letting only some units have stand ground.. and only some units have aggressive would be helpful and make it easier at the same time for newer players. (i find qbot challenging sometimes :P)
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#58 Mythos_Ruler

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 04:58 PM

I have an idea.. What if certain units were limited in stances because of the type of unit they are? like weaker cheaper units cant be set to stand ground because they are too scared? or historically more violent units cant be set to run away..

In my opinion i hardly ever use the stances in 0ad mainly because they are just confusing.. limiting them to 3 will help but i think also just letting only some units have stand ground.. and only some units have aggressive would be helpful and make it easier at the same time for newer players. (i find qbot challenging sometimes :P)

Some barbarian units can have a custom stance, I'd call "Impetuous." Basically, they attack anything that comes into range without orders and don't run away. Thracians, for instance, are well known for this. This would balance their uber stats a bit, as they are hard to control (they tend to have a mind of their own).
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#59 natholas

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 06:01 PM

Ye I like that idea.. but what about the other way around? making cheaper units flee when they are attacked even if the player tells them to attack?
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#60 Pedro Falc„o

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:24 PM

I think it is easier to make new players understand the uses for each stance than to not let veteran players use them for their strategies, since the focus of the game IS to weave new strategies (and the why it is called "Real Time Strategy") and execute them with perfection, instead of just sending a unit X against a unit Y and pray it is enough.
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Pedro Falc„o
Latin: Petrus Falco; Literally means 'Stone Hawk'.
English equivalent: ' Peter ';


Undergraduate Computer Scientist by UFCG
Shotokan Karate Adept, 3rd Kyu (Green Belt) & Muay Thai initiate