Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Discussion about the game and its default mods.
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anjew
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by anjew » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:46 pm

Why are people mad that someone is tinkering with open source software? ORA isn't a game, it's an engine.

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netnazgul
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by netnazgul » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:38 am

avalach21 wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:09 pm
I think people really need to take a step back and look at why these macros even exist. I don't think that cumbersome clicking mechanics enhance the game in any sort of way, so I don't see any issues with streamlining some of these processes. The game is a strategy game after all.. not a click spam fest. So if these improvements allow players to focus more on both micro and macro strategies, then I see no issue. Maybe we also need to take a look at the overall meta design... such as weakening huge infantry blobs so that people dont want to endlessly spam them? While the original RA might have been too "tank rushy" maybe openRA has become too "infantryBloby"?
Exactly what I wanted to convey in OP.

I'd point out Planetary Annihilation here as a nice example of how streamlined and automated the unit production should be - PA effectively allows infinite queues, and there is nothing bad in it, it just expands the gameplay on another level of army control. RA sits a bit lower on the scale of unit count here (TD slightly above it though), but still I think it's on a macro side of things, contrary to that micro levels of Blizzard games for example.

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Sleipnir
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by Sleipnir » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:58 am

avalach21 wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:09 pm
Maybe we also need to take a look at the overall meta design... such as weakening huge infantry blobs so that people dont want to endlessly spam them? While the original RA might have been too "tank rushy" maybe openRA has become too "infantryBloby"?
Definitely this. If all production types across multiple mods (not to mention the original games) had consistent issues then there may be an argument to implement new game mechanics to improve things. This is why we have production queues, after all (the original first-gen games didn't have these).

You're not going to find much support from the dev side to add a fundamentally new production mechanic to address something that, with current evidence, looks like a basic balance problem. C&C is not PA - the series has its own niche that focuses on other areas of gameplay-space. Automated unit production has never been one of them. It would be great to see people build a new game on the OpenRA engine that does focus on these ideas (e.g. the KKND remake includes infinite production queues), but they shouldn't be shoehorned into OpenRA's RA.

lawANDorder
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by lawANDorder » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:33 am

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Last edited by lawANDorder on Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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anjew
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by anjew » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:10 pm

lawANDorder wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:33 am
Still though, it was always my impression that higher skill correlates with higher APM and that this is also true for OpenRA.
That's what would make sense but in Red Alert having a higher APM is not necessarily a good thing (unless producing and microing air etc). Unless you have perfect positioning to attack, most often the person who clicks the most in a battle will lose due to the unresponsiveness of units and the fact they have to complete their movement into the new cell. A lot of this stuff is panic clicking and it doesn't help.
Not saying that higher APM doesnt mean higher skill, just saying a lot ORA clicks are either done out of panic, frustration or over-anticipation. Being strategic and performing confident, yet slower, actions is much more useful than maintaining a high APM. Most of the good players APM is dedicated to pressing f1 and f2. That's not really skillfull.

The core problem is, as avalach keeps trying to point out, this behaviour is supported by current meta and overall balance. I think it would be more beneficial looking down the path of making a the blob less easier to use (eg. slower e3) rather than a nerf. Short of that, I feel only the implementation of an audio cue when a queue depletes would maybe stop other people taking up the behaviour.
Last edited by anjew on Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ZxGanon
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by ZxGanon » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:21 pm

When I see ppl trying to draw a line between Macro games like Plannetary Annihilation where you fight with thousands of units and Starcraft where mechanics are above all (no matter your strategy if your opponent is faster and more trained you will lose) and try to portray this onto Command and Conquer Im getting really sad.

All of those games have way different approaches to begin with. Their design already had a plan before the game was even coded.

Command and Conquer is basically like Starcraft but way more simple and packed with realism like trying to imply world war feeling etc. while Starcraft most units do not even have projectiles just instant hit weapons and instant turn mechanics with less animation as possible to deny any kind of possible imbalance maybe being cause by that.

You also cannot implement something like an auto build queue into a CnC game because that ruins the whol point of why a CnC was made in the first place. Taking away the fact that you do not have to queue in your units and buildings anymore because of the simple fact that an inbuild mechanic is doing that for you already simplefies the game way too much. It is already kinda hard to really to separate the mediocore players from the good ones since it is very easy to copy build orders and timing pushes in command and conquer.

In theory everyone can be a Lorrydriver or me if you just keep watching and analyizing our replays until you master our very moves and build order techniques. While in Starcraft every tiny step from building workers to even shifting the timing of a building or push by 5 seconds can really change the outcome of a game.

What I wanna say is that every genre has it´s game mechanics and own feeling. That exists in Command and Conquer aswell. Thats why so many people are mad at EA for not realising what they really want. You gotta pay attention and respect to the very gameplay and lore that these games actually made them what they are. The Command and Conquer franchise.

Adding randomly new stuff from other games because it looks cool or plays nice doesnt mean it is good for a CnC game. It only shows how uninspired and lazy the developers are and that they just dont care about anything that makes CnC awesome.

I cannot wait until EA announces a Battleroyal Command and Conquer.

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netnazgul
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by netnazgul » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:49 pm

ZxGanon wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:21 pm
Adding randomly new stuff from other games because it looks cool or plays nice doesnt mean it is good for a CnC game. It only shows how uninspired and lazy the developers are and that they just dont care about anything that makes CnC awesome.
So adding production queues (which weren't part of the original) is all good and fine, but allow "infinite" on the single queue and you've crossed the true-to-original line somehow. Also, noone yet said about fully automating queue sequences, just simply adding infinite as the number of units in the queue, and circularly switching between several infinite queues.
Also @lawANDorder cut a small part of avalanch's post out of the context. Noone says that APM shouldn't be a part of competitive scene. It's just half of this APM is tedious repetitive mashing on infantry queue for 100 units every minute, which skillfulness is somewhat questionable.

All in all, I don't argue to implement automated queues right away or anything like this, I'm fine with how things run at the moment. I just want people to see the bigger picture - currently the meta is essentially infinite infantry production past 4min mark in any competitive game, maybe only stopping sometimes around late game where there is map resource shortage, and occasionally adding special units into the mix (btw at current balance state Soviets don't even require this, cause flamers are used rarely, going shock troopers is Russia-only and is just "second" kind of queue you'd build through the game, and hijackers/dogs/grens aren't used past 5min at all). The only "skill" here is reminding yourself to fill up the queue and do so in as little time as possible. It is part of the game, but is it really a skill?
It's not even something unique to current balance state - original RA essentially had "whoever has faster and steadier heavy tank production - wins" meta. It's not confined to RA only either - TD mostly revolves around infinitely producing vehicles from several factories, occasionally adding infantry.

PS: And highlighting the fact again, that some macros [mentioned by WhoCares] are actually kludges implemented instead of bulky or missing engine mechanics.

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Orb
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by Orb » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:14 pm

I guess I'll chip in (again).

Comparing to Starcraft is shooting yourself in the foot. Starcraft has UPFRONT cost to unit production. You can't start building the unit until you pay the whole cost of the unit first. This is done on purpose to keep players VERY busy on the macro side to make it harder for them to play perfectly, and players who pay more attention to their macro get more success (less money in queues).

OpenRA has a STREAMING economy. This is where you pay the cost as you build the unit. Repeat queues are a staple in such system for a reason. There's no disadvantage to queuing your units endlessly, which means players will do it, even if it's a boring, repetitive task.

In the original RA you could only queue one unit at a time. I could see arguments keeping that in as a "skill", because that does require your constant attention the entire game. However, the current queuing system is busywork that people seem to have a false impression is some sort of "skill". You simply queue as much as you can, as fast as you can, and then forget about it. One of the reasons spies are rarely used is because it's so much WORK to cancel your entire queue, build a few spies, and rebuild it.

Also I'm disappointed this is seen as some sort of "balance" problem. That's a joke. TD has traditionally been a vehicle only game (vehicles cost 6x as much, and therefore require 6x as less many clicks to maintain production), and nobody plays Dune. I could actually see it being a complaint in Dune with its cheap infantry if people actually played the game competitively.

"Adding randomly new stuff from other games because it looks cool or plays nice doesnt mean it is good for a CnC game. It only shows how uninspired and lazy the developers are and that they just dont care about anything that makes CnC awesome."

We're talking about rapidly clicking UI bits back and forth for 15 seconds and then maybe coming back to it in 15 minutes. If that's what makes CnC awesome for you then I just don't get your perspective at all.

At the very least, I think there should be more hotkeys. A x10 hotkey for example would be nice, and a x3 hotkey.

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Orb
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by Orb » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:35 pm

*Edit: LawandOrder deleted his post asking how if I said production was easy, why would players want a Macro. Since I spent like 10 minutes on this I'm just going to leave it up.

Macros allow you to set up a custom queue that gives you an inherent advantage.

The usual way to queue up units is to do it in groups of 5 (the x5 multiplier). So, common infantry builds are 15-5 or 10-5. These require 4 and 3 clicks respectively, and you repeat them until you get to the hundreds, and then forget about it. It's annoying, but doable in the early stages (player queues often run out when they're lazy about it in the early stages and queue too little, or have to cancel their queue for whatever reason).

However, you will run into instances where you have too few rockets, or maybe too many, especially in smaller fights. This is because you might be at the part of the queue where you have 30 rifles and 5 rockets, which is not the ratio you want.

This is where macro's come in. I can queue 3 rifle to 1 rocket ad infinum, giving me the perfect ratio at all times. To do this manually would require 5x as many clicks as normal, pushing a normal rapid clicking session from maybe 20 seconds to more than minute, which is just unfeasible and a pain in the butt, which is why nobody does it.

x3 and x10 multipliers would give more flexibility in queues. I could do 9-3, for example.

Another thing to note is there's a distinction between what is doable and what is enjoyable to do. I'm sure every player in most games could get their infantry queue high enough in the early stages to never look at it again without impacting other aspects of the game. However, I'm a lazy person, and usually I queue for only the next 12 in game minutes, since that is usually how long a match is. A macro would let me avoid this tedious task, AND let me queue the entire rest of the match in one click.

Tbh I'd rather just have a repeat queue, but since some people like clicking lots of buttons maybe a middle ground could be achieved by having more multiplier production hotkeys.

lawANDorder
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by lawANDorder » Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:02 pm

Sorry Orb

SirCake
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by SirCake » Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:19 pm

totally agree to orb on the usage if special infantry (aka spies) and recommend a mod hotkey to add units to the front of the queue (resetting currently building stuff). However, this request has been rejected in the past (similar to infinite queue). And a mod key to cancel everything in a prod.-tab.

IMO, if OpenRA is to be a mod framework, new features should embraced, even if they are not applicable to current mods.

On the other hand I have trained myself to queue mixed single infantry units quickly (using hotkeys and mouse at the same time). The result is fun to use. :) Not sure if it would be competitive though. But thats also a balance issue (nerf rockets).

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WhoCares
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by WhoCares » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:20 pm

When I gather all the facts here :

-Queuing infantry is tedious
-Queuing infantry in perfect ratio according of your playstyle is even more tedious
-Absence of a way to quick cancelling/re-queuing unit or inserting new units in front of the existing queue prevent lots of player to fully appreciate the unit diversity of the game. they sacrifice that diversity in favour of maintaining competitive macro
-Features needed to solve/accommodate the up-mentioned issues are not wanted or planed by the dev team (and probably some players whatever their reasons is).
-Using external macros allowing to workaround the up-mentioned issues is unfair if one sided in a game by giving comfort or advantage to only one player.

From that i have one question :

Would it be (in your opinion) something beneficial or detrimental for the competitive community to document and make accessible and easy the installation of "external build macro" (like a tutorial).? Leading in a personal choice to use them (or not) rather than a restricted access for some people having either the knowledge to code/find/install "external build macro" or simply having advanced gear (witch some players can't afford) and a forbidding rule with controls.

same question but short : macro; allowed and accessible to everyone or forbidden,controlled and banned. ?

SirCake
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by SirCake » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:10 pm

No. Dont publish it.

And from my personal XP in masters I can tell you one thing: No diversity in Infantry is not a macro issue.
There is just nothing better than rifle/rocket spam. No other composition beats it.
Other stuff just doesn't cut it, if it comes down to it.

camundahl
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by camundahl » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:05 pm

Yeah I mean maybe a spy rarely to gain start rank or a mechanic to pick up a husk but I agree with SirCake.

But I also agree its a bit of a hassle to "add a unit" into production when you are already que'd up and micro'ing battles and building production.

camundahl
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Re: Using of software programmable macros in competitive games

Post by camundahl » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:05 pm

There should be a modifier to "Put this unit to front of que" I think.

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