How many races?

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by lophiaspis, August 17, 2012.

  1. eukanuba

    eukanuba Well-Known Member

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    Coldboot, FAF has lots of other good changes too, like ships now leave wrecks in the water, lots of units have been tweaked a bit here and there, there's a system where units lose targets if they go under fog of war. The ranking is done using Trueskill rather than ELO, which includes teamgames as well as 1v1. There's also been a league system recently put in and it makes 1v1 seem much more significant.

    It's an incredible effort, mainly by Ze_Pilot, but I know that FunkOff and RagingSquirrel have been major contributors, and several others that I hope i don't offend by missing their names out.

    Well there's 332 logged on at this very moment:

    http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/Tastemycheese/FAF1.png

    And this is the Find Games tab:

    http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b353/Tastemycheese/FAF2.png

    The Create Custom Game bit lets you choose from a list of natively-supported mods. If you scroll down then you see extra ones, including LABwars, Phantom and a Supcom Vanilla balance mod.
  2. ghargoil

    ghargoil New Member

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    I also hope there will be more than one faction in the game... not necessarily radically different, but ala Arm and Core (maybe a bit more different)
  3. johnnyhuman

    johnnyhuman New Member

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    The concept of multiple factions is a relic best left in the past. Think about it philosophically, the role that different factions are supposed to fulfill in an RTS is to allow players to implement different styles of play. Example: one faction boasts fast, nimble units, another boasts slower but tougher units.

    In theory, though, the issue of different play styles can be addressed by choosing different tech trees. You can still have all tech trees accessible, but which ones you choose to deploy first will affect your play style and your strategy. But there's no reason the same tech shouldn't be accessible to all players equally during the game.

    The only thing that having multiple factions will do is to introduce the additional headache of trying to balance all the races against each other. There will never be a satisfactory solution. People will complain about "this faction is overpowered" and then once units are attempted to be balanced it will become "this unit got nerfed, it's useless now!" And then because that unit got nerfed another unit from another faction will become overpowered in its place, and so on.

    I implore you all: it is time to break away from the chains of the multiple factions concept. Let's finally have an RTS where all players start the game on the same footing, every time. Let's have an RTS where you have all options on the table in every game. Let's have an RTS where the focus is on how you implement your strategy during the game, not which race you choose at its start.

    :)
  4. Regabond

    Regabond Member

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    I would have no problem at all with just 1 faction. BUT that faction needs a very diverse set of units. Much in the same way johnnyhuman is saying. Lots of units, lots of options. A good example of this is Zero-K which is basically a new version of TA:Spring. But it only has 1 faction. However, there are like 8 different factories which all produce between 6 and 10 units with similar roles but different executions and styles.

    If 50-60 mobile units are not possible with this one faction, then a second faction would really be required.
  5. umbralreaver

    umbralreaver New Member

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    What about something like how the first Age of Empires worked? All factions draw from the same pool of units, each gets a different 90% or so of those units.

    This might end up with each faction having a few unique units while relying on a lot of the same baseline.

    The special units don't need to be powerful. They could be interesting hybrids of roles, or quirky utility bots that do something unique but don't replace the general useful units that everyone gets.

    Maybe at the start of a game, each player can pick three special units from a list of something like six to nine. Everyone has the same choices, and can make them based on the map or whatever, and can differentiate player styles a little.
  6. ghargoil

    ghargoil New Member

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    Personally, I'd prefer 1 well-done faction rather than 2 or 3 factions which are essentially the same (with modifiers) or otherwise poorly done.

    If they can implement a secondary faction as a stretchgoal, that would be great.
  7. cartoonfoxes

    cartoonfoxes New Member

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    I'd be perfectly happy with one well-designed faction on release, than a hodgepodge of badly-designed ones. Considering the game would be perfectly playable with just one, there's no reason to hold back the first release until we have more.

    Eventually, I'd like to see two factions. "CORE", and "ARM". 15 years later, and they're still at it... No more story, or explanation needed :D. The two were just about the same, but with different art - I like this approach.
  8. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    That would run face first into a bunch of legal redtape.

    Mike
  9. jabbawocky

    jabbawocky New Member

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    I personally just want to see one really well designed 'race'. Since people seem to be all up in arms about it, I would suggest a simple "customise the units" type deal, with a bunch of interesting side-grades to differentiate the factions. So there is a base tank unit and then it is up to the player to add on extras that will allow the tank to focus more on damage, or speed, or stealth, etc, etc. Possibly the side-grades could change the unit model slightly (bigger guns, spider legs, jump packs, etc).

    However I also kind of DON'T want to see a research tree, my reasoning being 4,000 years of war tends to exhaust research options - the factions would have stolen designs and research from one another 1000s of years ago. Also there is the fact that 99.999% of any faction is made up of non-sentient robots that take orders from a single commander (who probably doesn't have time to don a labcoat).

    So in my vision all factions have access to the same base units and to all the upgrades, and maybe only have 100 free slots (an arbitrary amount) that can be filled with customised units. Slots can be freed by deleting the design, and the units redesigned as the game goes on, which should add another level of tactics. But since everything are side-grades rather than straight up upgrades, it should maintain a certain level of balance.

    Also, as a random side note, in case the devs read this, I LOVE the art style - it maintains the clunkiness of TA, but provides strong colours/silhouettes so the units can easily be differentiated from one another and the background. And thank you for the linux-love :D.
  10. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    This is only going to matter until the "best" configuration is found, then it won't matter at all.

    Also it's just more work trying to balance something that wasn't needed in the first place.

    Mike
  11. jabbawocky

    jabbawocky New Member

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    I mainly suggested the idea as a middle ground approach to the seemingly polarised opinions on multiple races. My actual opinions on the matter is to have just a single faction - nice, simple and more or less following the example set by TA. I also want the project to succeed and get funding and there seems to be quite a lot of "if there aren't multiple factions, I'm not funding" responses...
  12. yogurt312

    yogurt312 New Member

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    The same could be said for many situations, including the tech tree approach to races. With access to the entirity of the game from one faction people will always have access to the most appropriate tactic. While vastly more simplistic, competetive starcraft play with only protoss players would perhaps be a rush to see who can "four gate" the best as no other tactic is as good, despite the presence of those tactics (and even if that specific example is not true, the spirit of it is my point). Different maps and the expanded playing field might change this up but given the economy is the most powerfull thing a player has, their direction in a tech tree is only ever two minutes away from the peak of another direction in a tech tree. Tech tree's dont make good factional differences if you do not give up something for your specialisation.

    This is of course only if you want factions, which it appears many of you think are a relic of a bygone era. That is fine if you want to think that way.

    However, the inherant narrative of a single faction fighting itself will always lack an identity as it has nothing to compare itself to. When there is a second faction that it is fighting against both of them gain definition because of the conflict. This definition leads to an identity and reason for the conflict (even if that reason is annihilation). Without that identity the goal of annihilation, while deliciously ironic, becomes irrelivant and the very act of winning is therefore meaningless. The triumph over something external on the other hand (even those who are the same as you but trecherously siding with the external) will always have meaning. I don't expect that this distinction is relivant to all players and plenty of people would enjoy the game regardless, but the additional level of meta narrative adds volumes to the game.

    I'm not proposing that the game should include a second faction as a goal, but i would like to see it at least as a stretch goal or aknowledge as existing within the future. Its existance is more important than the actual differences it has, as long as there are differences.

    While it is important to me personaly as part of the meta narrative it is also important to me as part of the culture about the game. No matter how similar the two factions are, what minute differences do exist will favour certain play styles for the race over others, like tech trees you can choose which direction you will want to go but you must then give up something for those advantages. All this information is then presented to your opponent as well as you become a player of a certain faction, this is information which you can use against your opponent by bluffing them. A simplistic layer that adds complexity to your ability to play.
  13. Raevn

    Raevn Moderator Alumni

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    As an avid ARM player, I can agree that even if the factions are functionaly (more or less) identical, the ability to pick a faction that you can side with in the metaverse adds alot to the game. Beating the CORE almost becomes personal (sorry everyone).

    OrangeKnight also makes a good point, it's all well and good to say "tech trees give variety", but different tech trees eventually get broken down by the playerbase into rock-scissors-paper: The "best" ones in given situations are identified, then the whole premise collapses as everyone plays identically, hoping they are milliseconds faster than their opponenents in order to win.
  14. lophiaspis

    lophiaspis Member

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    I see where you're coming from. But if faction personalities are what you want I don't think you need two sets of units. I think you can get that with purely cosmetic changes like special VA, a unique look for the commander, things like that. In terms of plausibility, robot armies fighting each other for 1000s of years would probably evolve pretty much the same technology. Not to mention the game isn't even singleplayer focused, it's a toss up whether we'll get a campaign at all. So I maintain that in terms of unit functions, one big faction is the best option. For a SP campaign they can be by distinguished by their backstory and personalities, but the only difference gamewise should be stylings or even just colors. Like TF2's war between RED and BLU.
  15. Raevn

    Raevn Moderator Alumni

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    This. It doesn't need to be a drastic difference, just something that gives each race a difference, and a backstory/alignment that players can identify with. Even the whole "single pool of units with each faction having 1 or 2 unique units" would do.
  16. lophiaspis

    lophiaspis Member

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    Yep. Like I've said elsewhere, the Transformers lore is good raw material for a campaign. Two factions, each with a 'hero' commander inspired by Megatron and Optimus Prime respectively. Other 'hero' units inspired by Starscream, Ironhide and so on. All other units merely reskinned, if that.
  17. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    While 2 Races with only Cosmetic changes does only leave you with 1 faction to balance, it does basically double the work required from the artists, arguably the process that takes the most time.

    Just something to keep in mind.

    Mike
  18. GoogleFrog

    GoogleFrog Active Member

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    I would advise against multiple races which are significantly differentiated. I tried to create a significant distinction between Arm and Core but then gave up and merged them into one. Here are a few of the issues I had:
    • Asymmetric Toys: Significantly different races would each have their own set of mechanics and abilities. I think that is a bit counter to the TA style. As in when compared to Starcraft TA looks like a sandbox rts with many options and branches. To me saying something like 'side X cannot get nukes late game' needlessly limits the possible strategies.
    • Balance: It is much more difficult to balance multiple races. Also if one side has some sort of great ability then you often feel obliged to add something to the other side as well.
    • When to differentiate? If the factions are significantly different from the start of the game then balance is very tricky. But if they only differentiate later on then a player's race choice locks them in to a few late game choices.
    • Team Games: All this difficult work is for nothing as soon as players play team games. They will just pick races such that they have access to everything. Inter-race synergies may even create more issues. I'd say this is the trump card, asymmetrical factions only really matter in 1v1 (or FFA) and I think as many options as possible is more interesting.

    This doesn't say anything about artistically different factions. I don't mind one way or the other for those.
  19. jabbawocky

    jabbawocky New Member

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    Yes - this is exactly what I meant.


    Well why do the cosmetic changes have to be anything further than a colour and possibly a 'badge' on the model and possibly, POSSIBLY, a different commander model? We already know that they plan to have multiple commanders. Also, as mentioned before, 1,000s of years of war would most likely lead to all possible war machine designs being the same.
  20. ghargoil

    ghargoil New Member

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    This is why I think Total Annihilation did it right: there were minor differences throughout the units (ARM lighter and faster, CORE heavier and slower), with some unique units (the ARM sniper k-bot versus the CORE ... somethingsomething...)

    And honestly, I suspect the constant influx of new units (official, at the beginning) helped keep players on their toes and keep the balance of power from shifting to one side for to long. (I'd love to see unit DLC ... either free or for the cheap)

    And... geez.. so much hate for the CORE here :p

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