Changed & Fixed:
- Major bug; right-click to move the rally flag caused the game a crash.
- The final tier 2 units are back, the Eggasus and Frying Doctor!
The Eggasus is not much changed, just some graphics. Finally replaced the wing (original was a clip art), and now has a mane to denote its color.
The Frying Doctor now uses pizza to heal. I’m not sure if the colorization is the best. He still has his cyan scrubs, with the jet pack indicating the color of his faction. His positioning and targeting logic is also different.
- Easy and higher AIs will develop towns.
- Easy and higher AIs will actually train Cheese Graters.
To keep an eye on:
- The Hot Air Balloon might be problematic. If one side masses Balloons, the game can end very quickly. Perhaps only a problem against lower-level AI. The most likely nerf is to reduce their base HP to 12 or 16.
- The Humans seem forced into Frying Nuns instead of Spoiled Brats against either faction. Nothing strong enough on ground to allow Humans to ignore air, and having to rely on turret anti-air is not fun. Even if there were extra-strong ground, it is too early in the game to want a “face race”. Considering adding an anti-air upgrade to Spoiled Brats…could be a second upgrade, or rolled into the first upgrade.
- I’m uncertain about how quickly games tend to end. My stated goal is for early rushes to be a threat, but Tier 4 games should not be rare. Me against the AI is not much of a contest, and AI fights have been inconclusive.
- It feels like the amount of economy added for each additional non-combat unit is too high. (More in separate section.)
- I don’t think the Thieves’ Guild fits well in the game. The first player to get a guild will get a small economic bonus, which stabilizes once the opponent builds one. Training additional Scouts to make your Thieves’ Guild stronger doesn’t add to the primary, fun part of the game. The guild could get replaced with a faction-specific building.
- The cavern AI is bad. Computer uses the same calculations as above ground to determine whether to attack or not.
- Higher-level AI needs to disengage from losing battles more promptly (maybe OK to leave Normal difficulty as-is)
AI Game Mode
- Should no longer use “Defeat” or “Victory” for end screen.
- Show production
- Show AI style
- Show army supply for player 2
- Show economics for both sides
End screen, all game modes
- UI needs improvement. The Continue button is not obvious. General appearance needs to be improved. May get rid of overlay, move stats to its own screen
- Show length of game.
- Show economy stats (average and/or final depending on what makes sense).
I don’t think the economic system is viable. If one side is able to take a strong fight, the economic swing can be very significant. Let’s say one side loses 4 more troops. Since each additional scientist or crew is a +10% bonus, the winning side can get a +20% bonus to both research and construction times, as they can train 2 scientists and 2 crew instead.
Also, the economic system lends itself to gross distortions by players if they wish it. They could choose to ignore fighting, instead spamming mostly non-combat units. Tier 1 was intended to feel “right” at speeds between 100-130. The game feels too fast and “twitchy” when tier 1 and 2 are at double production speed. Economic speeds of 200-250 were intended to be necessary for Tier 3 and 4 techs not to take forever; the hard cap of 300 was not expected to be reached during a normal game.
There are a number of ideas to control the pace of the game better. They can be done in combination.
Each non-combat unit (NCU) provides lower bonuses.
This wouldn’t be a good measure by itself. “Completionist” type players would simply sit back longer and spam NCU’s longer to hit caps.
Each additional NCU’s increases training time.
I dislike this, as it feels unnatural and it also feels like it is “fighting” the player. “That’s your 5th scientist? It takes twice as long as normal to train! For…reasons.”
Make the economic bonus per NCU increase logarithmically rather than linearly. The asymptote can be raised per tier.
This has a similar effect to the prior idea. Leaving the training time the same, but reducing the bonus each time. The flow will probably “feel” better to the player, but it is harder to convey the concept to a new player.
The Eggish Advertising Blimp has a logarithmic increase as well, but since it is a tier 3 unit, it can be assumed the player has some experience. It can make more sense to introduce a more complex concept then.
Hard cap the number of NCU’s permitted per tier.
This has the appeal of simplicity of concept. “You can get 3 Scientists for each fort level” can be grasped easily. There is still a level of greed vs defense, as it’s not viable to train all NCU’s at once.
At some point, once you have a full army and full NCU’s, you will have no units to train. I am not sure whether this is a negative or positive. Reducing the pressure of macroing slightly might be good, as this is supposed to be a relatively low APM game. You can queue up expected losses right away without worrying about sacrificing economic efficiency.
Additional NCU’s provide temporary instead of permanent bonuses.
Less simple to grasp than a hard cap, but it has its own appeal. If a scientist gives “Boost research by +20 for 1 minute”, it will have several interesting effects. There’s increased importance of the steady economic bonuses from towns and mining. There may be cases where a player values an upgrade or building more than army size, and chooses to get that vital upgrade or unit type faster. Psychologically, it changes the rate at which players want to train extra NCU’s.
It also heralds back to earlier EvH builds where assassination of NCU’s was a game feature. It was intended to provide some sort of incentive for players to keep track of their economics, and force tradeoffs between army and economy. (It didn’t work as intended; assassinations could cause severe snowballs.)
Reduce the hard cap to 200 or 250.
Would be used in combination with others from the list.
I’ve never been fully comfortable with how Scouts affect the game. They still feel somewhat “bolted-on” or even superfluous. Here’s an idea of how to change scouts & guild buildings.
Using the temporary bonus idea for economics, Scouts could provide a temporary vision boost that sees more of the battlefield. Furthermore, the guild buildings could change functionality:
The Thieves’ Guild would change to “When you train a Scout, gain +20 to Research and Construction for 15 seconds” (effect increases with level)
The Assassins’ Guild would change to “When you train a Scout, poison 2 random enemy units” (number of units poisoned increases with level)
The Sappers’ Guild would change to “When you train a Scout, your cavern units deal double damage to the enemy fort for 15 seconds” (damage bonus increases with level)
This could lead to some interesting Scout usage. If you had an Assassins’ Guild, you’d want to time a Scout so they poison the enemy just as a battle is starting. If you had a temporary advantage in the cavern, you’d want to train a Scout to get that extra damage in. The Thieves’ Guild essentially lets you trade construction and army training time for research boosts.