Anvil Game Studios

Holdfast: Nations At War => Game Discussion => Suggestions & Feedback => Topic started by: Roach on October 23, 2017, 02:12:22 pm

Title: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: Roach on October 23, 2017, 02:12:22 pm
I love Holdfast: NaW and it especially shines in the roleplaying aspect. But I would really like to see more detail command system for officers especially in regards of visual aids to get a regiment (Or however you call a group of rankers) into a formation.

The idea I have is to uses indicators to indicate for rankers where they have to stand to be in formation. Visually it would look a lot like how Total War does it when you tell a unit to move by holding the mouse button to show the formation (Or when you press Space to see where they move to).

Mechanically it works a bit different though. One of the main difference is that the size of the file(s) should be increasing dynamically as more rankers join the formation and the formation is called next to the Officer that gave the formation command. Officers can set the file amount of the formation (let’s say a single file up to 5 files) as well as on which side the formation starts from their position (Left, right, in front or behind).

Anyone on the team can see the indicators if they are close enough and if there is no ranker standing on the indicator already. A ranker can always see their own indicator they are standing on (Maybe this is not necessary) as well as any empty spots. Occupied spots are hidden as there is no reason to see them and indicators should not be too obvious as else it might ruin/clutter the game.

Later if such a thing as regiments would be introduced into the game, which gives players to ability to group up (Similar how squads work in other games), it might be a good thing to also have regiment specific formation orders.

(Image below shows is a mock-up of how the indicators might look in game)

Technical side of things
The indicators would be decals (essentially a 2D image projected on the ground) with a cylinder trigger on them to detect if a player stands inside it.

Single file
A formation starts when a officer gives the command and a single indicator will appear next to the officer. (Officer can move after placing the order). If a ranker enters the assigned spot a new indicator will appear next to that ranker. This way the officer does not have to set a set size of the formation lines and it will grown dynamically depending on how many rankers joining the formation. (Though the officer might be able to set a max size of a single line or the game will have a max size to prevent a line stretching from one side of the map to the other).

(Gif detailing the single file system)
(If gif doesn't play then this like might:

Double file
If the formation is multiple files deep then the next indicator appears behind the first ranker. Once the spot is taken then it will appear next to the first ranker and so on.

(Gif detailing a double file system)
(If gif doesn't play then this like might:

Ranker dies or leaves
If any of the rankers that is not at the start or the end of the line moves out of the formation or dies then nothing happens. The spot is still available for anyone else to take (Or for the formation to close the gaps) and the formation itself will not automatically reduce in size. If at the start or end of the formation a ranker dies then the formation will shrink. (Still leaving a spot next to the last ranker so new rankers can join the line).

If there are no more rankers left in the formation then the formation should be dissolved.

(Gif indicating rankers being killed or leaving the formation at different spots)
(If gif doesn't play then this like might:

I think it is best to overwrite any old command if a new command is given by the same commander. It will mean that a single officer can only command a single group of rankers but it avoids too much cluttering the field with conflicting commands. I also think that there should be an option to disable the indicators if a player wants to keep the emersion or doesn’t want to bother with formations.

An additional command could be given to order the rankers to face a certain direction. Each ranker that is on a spot in the formation might get an personal arrow telling them which direction the player should look at. (There is no need for other players or players that are not in formation to see the direction indicator of other players).

A ranker (As well as the commander that gave the command) would get a single point if any of the rankers in their formation gets a kill. This is similar how musicians and flag bearers get points though the value is a lot less. This promotes people to stand and stay in formation. (Might want to be able to individually turn of this kill feed else if you have a 50 man volley your screen might be suddenly clouded with 20 or so kills).

Note that the amount of points a ranker gets from other ranker’s kills is very low. It is enough to promote and reward working together/Roleplaying but not enough that people who choose not to stand in formation get punished for it by getting a lot less points.

Forming Squares
An secondary idea is, as cavalry will most likely becomes a thing in the future, forming a square might become a necessity if not for roleplaying sake. Now a square cannot really auto grow in size as it is a square with no real beginning or end and it needs to be a closed square. Instead the officer might be able to set the size of the square. Let’s say 6 x 6 would be one of those sizes which means 6 rankers at each side that becomes a formation of 24 rankers.

Once the square is full or nearly full a secondary line can become available behind the first line within the square. Let’s say there are 34 rankers in total then the remaining rankers will stand behind the first line and still get points for other rankers kills and can fill in the gabs where needed. Or there could be a designated area within the middle of the square for any reserves (As well as officers, flagbearers and musicians), again those rankers will get points for other ranker’s kills and can fill in the gaps.

(Gif detailing forming a square)
(If gif doesn't play then this like might:

Moving in formation
My last idea (but also somewhat flawed) would be to use the same system and use it for movement as well. Rankers line up next to their officer and as the officer moves so will the rankers automatically (Maybe after pressing a key which locks them into line). This would mean that it will become a lot more ordered when moving into rank but it has a lot of potential to go wrong: What if the ranker in front of another ranker stops? What if a ranker lags, will the entire formation lag as well? Will rankers turn automatically together with their officer at the start of movement (Left face, right face ect.) If so then this will take away from the roleplaying.

A smart AI might be able to fix this, so that rankers automatically go around a ranker that stands still in front of them though performance might be an issue here (Granted it might be done locally for each ranker as they know which spot they have to be in in within the formation).

Feedback very welcome
Well and that is my take on things. I really love the game and I thing a system like this would in my opinion enhance both public games as well as private role playing events. It will promote working together and there are clear indicators for players to follow orders.

I would really like to hear other people’s feedback on this especially people who play the game for the roleplay aspect. (Also let me know if anything is unclear, I tried to be as clear as possible but you never know)
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands; detailed suggestion
Post by: Charles Caldwell on October 24, 2017, 10:09:49 am
Great post and thanks for the effort you put in. In WoRs you have the ability to quickly draw an extended line to aid the placement and formation of the unit. You also get a clear 'In Formation' signal so that you can avoid the penalities for be out of formation.

For me, for this game to go to the next level this type of feature is vital. Great work!
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands; detailed suggestion
Post by: Destraex on October 24, 2017, 03:39:21 pm
I agree with Charles.
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands; detailed suggestion
Post by: Luke192 on October 24, 2017, 03:59:31 pm
+1 for idea and the amount of effort put into the post
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands; detailed suggestion
Post by: dragon_12dk on October 24, 2017, 05:31:24 pm
Great suggestion!
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands; detailed suggestion
Post by: James Brock on October 24, 2017, 06:06:48 pm
Love every bit of it. I had essentially the same ideas, but a lazy ass like me would not make a thread like it.
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands; detailed suggestion
Post by: Roach on October 25, 2017, 06:48:59 pm
Wanted to work it out, figured I might as well post it. Hope a system like this will be implemented.
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands; detailed suggestion
Post by: Roach on October 26, 2017, 02:14:09 pm
Also @Charles I think a clear 'In formation' and 'Out formation' signal should be clearly be given yeah. Maybe it can be done with an icon same as you get when a flag bearer is close.
Though I think you should never punish the player for not being in the formation only reward (Granted I don't know the game you took as an example).
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: RickReaper on October 28, 2017, 02:56:33 pm
I am new to the game but can see how good that idea is and how much it would help and encourage new players to work as a team
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: Madvillain on October 28, 2017, 09:22:22 pm
Great idea, I was wondering, any reason why the square shouldn't be formed with the officer in the middle?
I think it could be quite problematic for officers finding them outside the square, as a easy target for cav and in the fire line of their own troops.
I really hope the devs will pick up your idea!

Oh one more thing, when it comes to moving in formation, perhaps a system where the ranker selects or targets his "spot" could work?
this would make the other spots invisible not to clutter the screen with unnessecary symbols and point out the ranker exactly where he has to go (maybe on minimap, or maybe as a waypoint similair as in for instance ARMA)
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: Almqvist on October 29, 2017, 02:42:04 am
What program did you use to animate this?
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: Roach on October 30, 2017, 02:18:08 pm
@Madvillain, yeah indeed it would make a lot more sense if a square is formed with the officer in the center. It would also iliminate the fact that you need to specify which side of the officer the square forms. I will make an updated gif a bit later, thanks.

As for the spots, it is already the idea that any spot an other player is on will not be visible for anyone else only empty spots will be visible for everyone except. However if a player is standing on a spot then that player will not be able to see empty spots, after all that would be unnecessary.

As for walking they would essentially automatically "be linked" to their spot if they are standing on top of it and simply has to press a key to enable walking in formation, but on a roleplaying front this would be quite boring to do for the actual rankers.

Auto walk on timer
I had another idea for the walking though and that is to adapt something similar to how Guild Wars 1 and 2 enable players to sync up emotions. Eventually in Guild Wars you can do an emotion by typing "/dance" or the likes in chat and the character will immediately execute the emotion. However if the player types: "/dance *" with a * instead. Then the emotion/action will be executed on a server timer. My knowledge on servers isn't the greatest but what I think happens is that there is always a timer running (lets say count down from 10) if player 1 types "/dance *" when there are 5 sec left on the timer and player 2 when there are 2 seconds left then they both execute the emotion at the same time as soon as the server timer reaches 0. Because it is executed on the server time the players will be in sync no matter what their ping or the ping of anyone watching is.

So how this would potentially translate to Holdfast is that there would be a timer running on the server and there would be an new "auto walk on timer" action assigned to a button for every player. Officers could be able to see the timer counting down. So if they see that the timer is 10 seconds they can just say: "Left face" and once that is done: "Prepare to move" on prepare to move every ranker will press the new "auto walk on timer". It doesn't matter if people press the key immediately or a couple seconds later as all rankers that press the button will start moving all at the same time when the server timer reaches 0. This way a regiment is able to move out perfectly in sync and you don't have to worry about setting up a formation first. (It might be handy though if the auto walk starts in formation that the formation will be preserved and move with the group, or simply follow the officer who issued the formation and also pressed the "auto walk on timer" button,but that might be a hard thing to do).

Just having a timer running would take pretty much no power from the server and keeping track of a queue of people who need to move at the same time and execute the walk command for them wouldn't take to much either as far as I can tell.

Do note that the player needs to be properly informed that they pressed the "auto walk on timer" button and probably see the count down themselves as well as having the ability to cancel the autowalk by pressing the same button again or doing any other action. As it would suck for people if they suddenly start moving forward and they can't figure out why.

It might work, let me know what you all think though :)

Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: Roach on October 30, 2017, 02:19:21 pm
@Almqvist I made it in Photoshop using the timeline function and saving it for web (Legacy) where you can actually save the file as a .gif
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: Philson on March 29, 2019, 05:24:30 pm
Looks great. Good idea
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: Elkjær on March 30, 2019, 09:27:56 am
Great thread. The ideas I like the most are the Square Formation and Moving In Formation. Would love to see something like this in the game. Could help a lot with teamwork.

And +1 Charles.
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: J. Campbell on April 01, 2019, 07:17:47 pm
Only issue is, not everyone is on for the public aspect. Some of us, most of us bigger groups, prefer the way we've been doing for years. Maybe to have this as an option on public servers/ public events would be great. Would get annoying and not show true skill in a regimental aspect.
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: Elkjær on April 02, 2019, 02:55:13 pm
Should definitely be an option on Public servers/Public events.
Title: Re: Officer Formation commands [Detailed Suggestion]
Post by: Czechu on April 02, 2019, 07:55:47 pm

This system is necessary if you want to introduce any kind of lines at public servers. Without it people will always go skirmish. You can always try to gather some guys via voicechat, but casual players will more willingly join the line if something like this be implemented.