Day 889 to Day 904: Community Input Wanted: Military Module

June 18, 2013

Well after a month of really no military action, High Commanders finally got into gear this past week or so, and launched into battle.  The result is as I feared as this module was being developed through Closed Beta.  The game mechanics don’t allow for all those who want to be involved, to get into the fun.  So, we are a point of trying to rethink the military module, and are reaching out to the community to get some insights.  Here are the six major issues with the military module as it stands now.

  1. Movement/Getting into battle is not soldier-led
  2. Fighting is time-based. You must be on at the right time to participate fully.  Your citizen does fight when you are offline, but not much fun just logging in and seeing what happened.
  3. Citizens can’t own their “own unit”
  4. Citizens can’t own and equip their own weapons
  5. Soldiers can’t select a Unit or Crew to be a part of
  6. Movement and Fighting disrupts a citizen’s activity queue, by deleting all items.

My attempt was to make the game as realistic as possible.  So, in real-life your average Joe, can’t just create a military unit for their country.  Soldiers typically don’t bring their own guns to the military, etc.  I realize now to make it more enjoyable, that we need to bend the realism rules a little.  So, here are some suggestions we would like to make, to change the gameplay.  We are looking for our community to let us also know their thoughts.

Here are some solutions we have thought of, in no particular order

#4. Allow Soldiers to buy and equip their own weapons

#5. Allows Soldiers to select their own unit/crew.  Ability to make a unit/crew by application only

#6. Have activity queue pause until soldier returns home

#3. Allow citizens to create their own unit.  Unit still must be tied to a country and city and can be moved by appropriate High Command.

#1. With #5 soldiers can now choose which unit they want to be a part of, and obviously if they are in battle or not.  Also #3 allows them to create their own if they wish.

#2. This is the most difficult one.  We’ve bantered about maybe having a collective Health Bar, that you can damage the other side, and add to your own with health items whenever you login.  Every say ½ hour the health damage is then applied to all soldiers and vehicles, probably in a weighted fashion.   This does take away the PvP element we were trying to instill though.

So, there you have it.  Looking forward to hearing what the community has to say about our Military Module.  We would like to get all input by June 23, so we can start to implement next week.

Note: According to my word count, I’ve surpassed 15,000 words in my DevBlogs!



Comments

If you do add Guerilla warfare and make it so that civilians can wield and fight against the government you should add police to handle these things. They could be run by the mayor and if things get to much out of control then they could order "martial law" . Which means that soldiers will come in to put down the revolt. But there would have to be a benefit for being a criminal. Like you can rob banks or rob houses and the home owner won't know who did it unless they had a security alarm. Also add in insurance so I they lose their stuff the insurance will give them the amount of money that the items were worth.
June 30, 2013 | Steve Smith

Add optional mini-games at every aspect of the game, not just for the military module. I would like to have the option of playing mini-games for work (mining, farming, etc.) and training (weapons, tanks). The payoff could be something as small as +20% xp if you do good in the game, or -10% if you for example do nothing. The point is to have the option of going deeper in the game wherever you want, and that should apply to the military module as well. You shouldn't have to play minis or pvp to participate in a battle, but you should have the option to, with greater reward and risk if you choose to.
June 25, 2013 | Andy-G

#2 You can make battles last for 24h in order to give the citizens from all timezones the chance to fight. #3 Allow the creation of private military units. It will add more interesting strategic opportunities. Private units can act as merc units or go Pirate. At strategic level, I suggest you implement hexagonal tiles to the map. It is better than the square, it offers more maneuverability. Add roads and railroads which can be used by armies to transport their troops and for companies to transport their goods. If armies don't use transportation lines, they get a travel speed penalty. Make landforms count! Mountains should give big defensive bonuses to infantry, but penalties to tanks (its kinda hard to travel in mountainous regions with vehicles). Plains should give offensive bonuses to tanks and artillery. And so on for the rest of landforms you plan on implementing. Perhaps you can also add weather so it may further influence battles (and agriculture?). For this war module to be successful it needs to be fun and from my experience, I can say that for this type of game, PvP is the best way to go. Don't make a collective health for soldiers to gun down, it is far less fun than actually defeating a real player (speaking from experience). Make a queue for players to join and fight on a first come first serve basis. A tile is conquered when the defending team no longer has any remaining troops while the attackers have at least 1 left (after a certain time has passed). A PvP fight should look something like this. 2 enemy players fight each other until either of them remains with less than 25 health. If they both go under 25, then its a draw. Add a battle score for players (wins, defeats, draws), it is one of those little things that make the experience more interesting (again speaking from experience). Also, add the possibility for the winning player to keep fighting until the goes below 25. Nothing is more satisfying than steamrolling through 10 enemies at once. Of course, only very strong players should have the capability to do sustain so many fights. Add armor as clothes for soldiers to wear. This can differentiate regular units from elite ones. Obviously, armor should be expensive in order to balance the game. An elite soldier with strong guns and high quality armor should be able to take down multiple enemies before going down himself, while regular troops would be able to fight 2 or 3 battles at most. To add more tactical possibilities, add a fight bonus from the win-defeat ration so that it encourages players to fight smart and commanders to carefully plan their tactical moves during battle. While you develop the war module have a few things in mind: - Make it fun - Easy to learn, hard to master - Balance between free and paying players (don't make players buy power, it ruins the experience) - Depth (make the module complex enough to keep veteran players interested) - User-friendly interface
June 19, 2013 | Walenstein

Good ideas. I would like to point out one thing, though, and that is the nature of guerrilla warfare. In large modern nations, citizens -generally- (witness American militias) do not organize themselves with their own equipment. In smaller countries though, it's actually very common. Small bands of soldiers will organize into small, independent units and often operate with great autonomy. They even go criminal sometimes, turning against their own populace and becoming bandits--another interesting idea. Building this concept into the game, you could allow situations such as what's happening in Syria right now, wherein a portion of the populace has banded together with some outside support to fight and overthrow their government militarily. In guerrilla warfare, a weaker group will use it's small size and mobility to it's advantage, attacking supply and communication lines and stealing equipment and ammunition from their larger, more organized opponents. Because their logistics are so simple, they can operate in difficult terrain that larger organizations find difficult to control and evade the large pitched battles that would see them easily overcome. I'm not sure how difficult it would be to code, but if farms and mines could be required to be outside of cities themselves, they could be made vulnerable to small operations by these independent units, who could then hurt the country they're fighting economically, depriving them of production and ultimately tax dollars. Similar to Sid Meiers Civilization games, and tearing up the improvements on resource tiles, except these wouldn't be destroyed, just having their production temporarily halted. I think another important aspect to consider for allowing small unit warfare would be realistic logistics. Armies require supply lines to deliver food and ammunition. If there was a transport cost for these materials associated with the distance a given military unit is from it's base of operations, it would complicate larger unit combat sufficiently to give small units (which could live off the land and use captured ammunition) a realistic chance at having a real effect. Additionally, you could add the concept of military bases and forward control posts, which could be created by large nations and reduce the logistical costs of a large country deploying it's military while at the same time giving small units another object to attack when the larger units leave their bases to do battle. So to put it all together, I think the game needs two separate types of army. Nation controlled army, and militia army. Nation controlled army would follow similar systems of organization and control as it does now, and would have the ability to become very large, powerful and -expensive- to maintain. Militia armies could be organized by any joe schmoe with a newspaper and would be under the control of the organizer. They would be self supplied, and thus capped at a low level of power due to the difficulty of acquiring and keeping artillery and armor. They would be quick and mobile, though, and cost nothing to support once they're out in the wilderness. Dotted lines on a map could indicate supply lines connecting a major army to it's supply center, with the lines themselves able to be attacked to penalize the army at the far end of the line with a sudden unexpected loss of food supply. Additionally, the longer the dotted line, the more alphacoins the nation would have to pay each day to support the deployed army. Military bases on the map could be established with EarthBucks in friendly or neutral (or even hostile but protected) territory, which could be used to supply forward armies, shortening the dotted lines and saving the nation money, at the expense of giving it another map object it needs to protect. I think you should also implement the ability for a nation to do a draft, and to put citizens into it's military against their will. Then you could have draft dodging with citizens fleeing to other countries when theirs performs a draft. :)
June 19, 2013 | Mingre


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