Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Discussion about the game and its default mods.
Mo
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:40 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by Mo » Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:28 am

What if you gave the hijacker a 10 cell radius of seeing nearby moving vehicles? This would allow them to choose their prey more easily. On the flip side, it may negatively be used for scouting armies if all they see are moving tanks. So this mechanism would need to be worked out and balanced.

I think the buggy issue they have could be solved if they enter the cell the opponent vehicle is planning to enter from the path planning algorithm.

Even if it's a hack-y solution that needs to be refactored, it might be worth testing that mechanism. I personally love hijackers and used to use them in previous RA builds for surprise factors, and it would be a shame not to see their potential.

maceman
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:49 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by maceman » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:47 am

Not in favour of changing engineers. They already have a strong role in every game.

Not in favour of removing hijacker. Its a fun unit but just isnt overly viable.

Definately in favour of hijackers getting husk capture ability. This evens the playing field where both factions can restore broken mcvs and should bring more hijackers to the field.

Hijackers may be "broken" but so are dogs, tank turrets, the minimap, air rearming, orders in general, path finding, aggressive stance, mine layers. If everything that doesnt work properly got removed there wouldnt be much of a game left! And they work almost *well enough* imo if you have time to micro them.

Splitting the current spy role between factions (giving soviets a thief to steal credits) sounds pretty boring to me. Especially at the cost of husk reclaim and hijackers.

Engineer converting husks to money sounds like it will force players into the tediousness of engineering husks all the time for income. Just doesnt sound fun to me.

User avatar
Sleipnir
Posts: 712
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2002 11:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by Sleipnir » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:50 pm

maceman wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:47 am
Hijackers may be "broken" but so are dogs, tank turrets, the minimap, air rearming, orders in general, path finding, aggressive stance, mine layers. If everything that doesnt work properly got removed there wouldnt be much of a game left! And they work almost *well enough* imo if you have time to micro them.
This comes across as whataboutism, which really sabotages your argument IMO.
If the goal was to present this as "yet another issue that you aren't going to fix, so keep it as-is", then this is also wrong as most of these points are being worked on, albeit slowly due to lack of time / manpower:
  • dogs: #15008.
  • tank turrets: this one was never articulated upstream until netnazgul filed an issue (#15685) just now. A proper fix will probably have to wait until orders in general below.
  • the minimap: (actually the resource layer): #13902.
  • orders in general: If you mean #10223 / #11265 / etc then this is a major project that I have been working on for the last year, and expect will take at least another year (assuming I don't give up) to complete unless new people come on board to help. These need a fundamental rewrite of the attack order logic, which must be done in stages to avoid breaking everything - pretty much all of the in-game crashes in release-20180307 were regressions caused by this work.
  • path finding: this is another long-term project that is being worked on, but won't show much player-visible benefits until after a couple of years of work. release-20180923 shipped major changes to the movement code as a step towards this.
  • aggressive stance: blocked on lack of feedback/discussion in #14816.
  • mine layers: this is the only one with no solution.

maceman
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:49 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by maceman » Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:00 pm

First off I just want to say that I love the game and appreciate all of the work you put in. So don't take what I say as anything against that.

True all these issues have issues raised on github. But so does the hijacker. That is my point.

It just sounds like because it's been an issue for a while and nobody's fixed it yet, the easy fix is just to delete the unit.

As far as gameplay goes this would be a step backwards in my opinion. Even a broken hijacker adds more to the game than no hijacker.

User avatar
Sleipnir
Posts: 712
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2002 11:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by Sleipnir » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:17 pm

I realized that the engineer PR introduced new logic that could be used to prevent vehicle movement during the final moments of hijacking, and this has now been merged to the bleed branch. This should go a long way (but probably not all the way) towards fixing the bogus hijacker behaviour.

While I would still like to see it removed for the sake of reducing arbitrary differences from the original game, i'm prepared to concede on that point and at least see how the improved behaviour plays out provided we implement a different solution to the husk capture problems.

User avatar
avalach21
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:01 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by avalach21 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:51 am

Sleipnir wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:17 pm
I realized that the engineer PR introduced new logic that could be used to prevent vehicle movement during the final moments of hijacking, and this has now been merged to the bleed branch. This should go a long way (but probably not all the way) towards fixing the bogus hijacker behaviour.
This is good news.. it's always good to see the engine support more capabilities.
maceman wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:47 am
Not in favour of removing hijacker. Its a fun unit but just isnt overly viable.
Sleipnir wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:17 pm
While I would still like to see it removed for the sake of reducing arbitrary differences from the original game, i'm prepared to concede on that point and at least see how the improved behaviour plays out provided we implement a different solution to the husk capture problems.
To everyone throughout this thread who has said that the Hijacker is fun... I realize it's an uphill battle starting an argument where you are telling people to have less fun options in a videogame we are all playing to have fun in the first place... but I do think OpenRA has an obligation to be true to its original source material.

Sure the hijacker is fun... you know what else would be fun? If we gave the Soviets the Ghoststalker... in fact we could do it and reskin him as Volkov... that sounds really fun imo... so where do we draw the line? British Snipers sound fun. Garrisoning buildings sounds fun. Just because an idea is cool and sounds fun doesn't mean it should be in the base OpenRA experience.. I know many are attached to the hijacker now because he's been there for a while, but at some point I think some bold decisions in regards to OpenRAs vision need to be made. The hijacker has no basis in the Red Alert universe, and it really isn't necessary to balance in the game.

With the removal of the hijacker... I think you almost have to simultaneously discuss the reintroduction of the thief. If we are going to have an underused troll unit, lets at least keep it faithful to the original game. I know removing a unit from the Soviets and adding one to the Allies sounds like it would be too advantageous to the Allies balance-wise, but the hijacker is barely being used as is now. The soviets have raw power infantry.. grenadiers flamers shocks + dogs, they have enough unique stuff & powerful stuff, let the allies have their proper units. The thief could retain some/all of the hijackers abilities too so its not like we'd be losing them/seeing them go to waste. I think it makes logical sense that a thief would not only be in the business of stealing credits but also stealing vehicles... If that seems to powerful limit him to only stealing ore trucks. Also I feel once you discuss Thief, you have to discuss Spy functionality... so these are all interrelated and need to be discussed/weighed out together IMO

(Hijacker Removal/Reintroduce Thief/Retool Spy functionality) <--- all needs to be a separate discussion IMO

AMHOL
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:24 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by AMHOL » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:56 am

I don't get the whole staying true to the original argument, we have:
  • unit veterancy
  • pillbox veterancy
  • spies that infiltrate buildings to gain unit veterancy (rather than just revealing what's currently being produced)
  • fog of war
  • husks
  • mechanics
  • hijackers
  • flak trucks
  • demo trucks
  • artillery with 12 cell range and mad burst damage
  • build queues
  • a large array of hotkeys
  • infantry as the damage dealer (rather than tanks)
  • build radius
  • custom production facility build rate increases with caps
I've probably missed some stuff, but you get the idea.

All of these things are improvements on the original, if I didn't think so, I'd be playing CnCNet.

User avatar
Sleipnir
Posts: 712
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2002 11:52 pm
Contact:

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by Sleipnir » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:45 pm

I guess that the confusion comes from equating staying true to the original to identical to the original, which completely changes the meaning of the statement. I'm not aware of anybody who is seriously suggesting that OpenRA should be a direct clone of the original games, except as a straw-man to then argue against.

To be precise, when I use words like "staying true to the spirit of the original" I mean "restrict changes to things that intuitively make sense within the game universe and pass the principle of least astonishment test". I won't claim to speak for others who say similar things, but I suspect that they would agree more or less with this too.

For example I would argue that:
  • Veterancy is immediately understandable because in the real world people learn and improve their skills the more they do something.
  • Likewise with the fog of war: if you don't have an active line of sight to an area then you can reasonably guess that buildings aren't going to move, but can't assume anything about mobile assets.
  • Even without a real-life precedent for a construction yard that can instantly magic whole buildings out of thin air, it isn't a stretch of the imagination to believe that this would have a limited area of influence (and IMO this limitation makes it easier to believe in general).
  • It is not usual in conventional warfare (alternative history or not) to train and deploy commandos exclusively to sneak into enemy vehicles, assassinate their crew, and then drive off with them. This makes sense in C&C Generals and Tiberian Sun because the factions that used them (GLA / the mutants) were explicitly portrayed as terrorists / outcasts that use guerilla tactics, but makes no sense and is very surprising to see in the world of RA.
  • (bonus round) Allied hinds can be explained in a way that makes sense in the game universe, but this badly breaks the principle of least astonishment as the Hind is one of the most iconic soviet military vehicles ever.
FYI multi-factory bonuses, mechanics, and demo trucks were all part of the original game (mechanics and demo trucks in the Aftermath expansion).

User avatar
avalach21
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:01 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by avalach21 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:17 pm

AMHOL wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:56 am
I don't get the whole staying true to the original argument, we have:
  • unit veterancy
  • pillbox veterancy
  • spies that infiltrate buildings to gain unit veterancy (rather than just revealing what's currently being produced)
  • fog of war
  • husks
  • mechanics
  • hijackers
  • flak trucks
  • demo trucks
  • artillery with 12 cell range and mad burst damage
  • build queues
  • a large array of hotkeys
  • infantry as the damage dealer (rather than tanks)
  • build radius
  • custom production facility build rate increases with caps
I've probably missed some stuff, but you get the idea.

All of these things are improvements on the original, if I didn't think so, I'd be playing CnCNet.
Unit Veterancy was in Red Alert 2, and a lot of the basis of OpenRA seems to be taking functionality/improvements from RA2 and implementing them in RA1. Tabbed queues/UI -> having defense/superweapons in their own tab/build queue, separating infantry vehicles navy and air into separate tabs also follows this logic. Capturable neutral tech buildings is another example... I think nearly everyone agrees with these changes (I haven't seen a single person state otherwise) so it obviously makes sense to implement these functions from RA2 in to RA1.

The spies & hijacker is funny you mention because it directly relates to the discussion we're having now, and yes I am recommending that we make these 2 things more closely resemble the source material. I even think it would be cool to have the British spy and normal spy have different functions so we could still see both RA2 spy functionality as well as RA1 spy functionality + thieves, which would make the game more fun, open up more fun options for the player, and be more accurate & authentic.

Demo trucks & mechanics are in the original game so not sure what you mean by that. Build rate increases is also standard classic C&C functionality so not sure what you mean by that either.

All the other things you mention fall under the umbrella of general game balance, and for the most part, it seems like OpenRA has done a much better job of balancing the game out and giving under used units some functionality. I can only speak for myself, but for example I am glad that artillery has some range now.. it only makes sense. Artillery was nearly useless in the original RA... so was something like the MRJ... so it's nice to see underused units originally from the game get a revamp so they are now useful. I am hoping the thief also gets this treatment as he deserves his place in the roster IMO.

Of course the mobile flak is not in the original game, but it seems to be very well implemented, it's based on a RA2 unit so it feels familiar and appropriate, and it is quite necessary for game balance so there is justification for this exception.

Sleipnir wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:45 pm
I guess that the confusion comes from equating staying true to the original to identical to the original, which completely changes the meaning of the statement. I'm not aware of anybody who is seriously suggesting that OpenRA should be a direct clone of the original games, except as a straw-man to then argue against.

To be precise, when I use words like "staying true to the spirit of the original" I mean "restrict changes to things that intuitively make sense within the game universe and pass the principle of least astonishment test". I won't claim to speak for others who say similar things, but I suspect that they would agree more or less with this too.
Sleipnir sums it up quite well with this comment... I think it is important for OpenRA to be as true to the original game(s) as possible, but we obviously aren't looking for it to be an exact clone. I feel we also have to mention that RAclassic mod exists and seems to be actively being worked on which is nice to see :-) While still not an exact clone, RAClassic goes a few steps further to mimicking the original while still providing many engine enhancements over the original game.

A frequently seen retort is "well just go play the original if you like it so much" or "go play RAclassic then" but I think generally, people do want to see capturable tech buildings, they want to see the streamlined tabbed UI interface, they want to play in HD resolutions, they want to be able to power down structures etc., but they also want to play something that feels like it is truly Red Alert and doesn't have unnecessary arbitrary changes.

Sleipnir wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:45 pm
It is not usual in conventional warfare (alternative history or not) to train and deploy commandos exclusively to sneak into enemy vehicles, assassinate their crew, and then drive off with them. This makes sense in C&C Generals and Tiberian Sun because the factions that used them (GLA / the mutants) were explicitly portrayed as terrorists / outcasts that use guerilla tactics, but makes no sense and is very surprising to see in the world of RA.
I agree with this to an extent, but it particularly seems out of place to see the hijacker not just in Red Alert, but also as a Soviet unit, since it really doesn't fit their faction profile at all.

Sorry for being such a big C&C nerd (I assume we all are to a degree if we are on this discussion board) but I would like to reference the original Red Alert's "Field Manual" Allied Forces Summary description:
MILITARY STRENGTH: Enlisted forces about 3.4 million. Non-regular forces, including guerrilla and resistance forces, about 1.7 million. Armament classified per DEFCOM document 177.4, Allied Defense Regulations.
If you remember, in one of the earlier cutscenes in the game, General Gunter von Esling refers to Tanya as a "professional... volunteer." To some extent, the Allies are made up of rag-tag "Non-regular" "guerrilla" "volunteer" "resistance forces." If you were to see a unit such as a thief/hijacker in Red Alert, it makes sense that it would be part of the rag-tag component of the Allies forces. This is why I am continuously recommending we see the thief reintroduced as it obviously is how the original game was, but also makes sense in regards to the lore & documentation of the game. If people really want to see the hijacker's abilities stay in the game, it makes sense to have a unit on the Allies side have them, and it makes sense to give them to the thief in my opinion.
Sleipnir wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:45 pm
(bonus round) Allied hinds can be explained in a way that makes sense in the game universe, but this badly breaks the principle of least astonishment as the Hind is one of the most iconic soviet military vehicles ever.
Again this is a separate discussion so I don't want to keep weighing this thread down with what should really be probably 3 separate discussions, but I obviously have expressed my feelings with this before and have offered what I think is a worthwhile solution to this topic. I plan to update my thread in the near future regarding this.
Sleipnir wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:45 pm
FYI multi-factory bonuses, mechanics, and demo trucks were all part of the original game (mechanics and demo trucks in the Aftermath expansion).
Oops looks like you already covered this but yes these are all right in the original game.

eskimo
Posts: 261
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:59 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by eskimo » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:20 pm

As we got kinda off topic, i'd like to wishlist something that will never happen. A checkbox for "experimental/fun units".Where we would have tested and reasonably balanced extra units in fairly large numbers, like 3 extra per faction. We've seen many players bring cool units into mod maps, and Sircake's UOE build was something quite special in my opinion. But yeah, wishlisting...

User avatar
avalach21
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:01 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by avalach21 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:47 pm

eskimo wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:20 pm
As we got kinda off topic, i'd like to wishlist something that will never happen. A checkbox for "experimental/fun units".Where we would have tested and reasonably balanced extra units in fairly large numbers, like 3 extra per faction. We've seen many players bring cool units into mod maps, and Sircake's UOE build was something quite special in my opinion. But yeah, wishlisting...
OpenRA is so highly & easily moddable, and it is so easy to host a map with custom rules/units, so all anyone really has to do is make the custom map and host it. I'm not sure exactly why we would need it as a checkbox when anyone can just host a custom map? I also agree that it is indeed nice to see extra cool/interesting units such as hijackers, as well as british snipers or even volkov, but these should be in mod maps IMO. As long as some effort was put into keeping them reasonably balanced, I also think we could host some dedicated tournaments with some of these extra/interesting units to see how the most highly skilled OpenRA players use them. This would be a way give them some usage and spotlight without relegating them to being used once in a while in custom maps. Just some ideas... :-)

AMHOL
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:24 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by AMHOL » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:48 am

avalach21 wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:47 pm
eskimo wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:20 pm
As we got kinda off topic, i'd like to wishlist something that will never happen. A checkbox for "experimental/fun units".Where we would have tested and reasonably balanced extra units in fairly large numbers, like 3 extra per faction. We've seen many players bring cool units into mod maps, and Sircake's UOE build was something quite special in my opinion. But yeah, wishlisting...
OpenRA is so highly & easily moddable, and it is so easy to host a map with custom rules/units, so all anyone really has to do is make the custom map and host it. I'm not sure exactly why we would need it as a checkbox when anyone can just host a custom map? I also agree that it is indeed nice to see extra cool/interesting units such as hijackers, as well as british snipers or even volkov, but these should be in mod maps IMO. As long as some effort was put into keeping them reasonably balanced, I also think we could host some dedicated tournaments with some of these extra/interesting units to see how the most highly skilled OpenRA players use them. This would be a way give them some usage and spotlight without relegating them to being used once in a while in custom maps. Just some ideas... :-)
Would be nice to have a standard set of YAML modifications which can be patched into existing maps as a feature of the client though, a lot less effort involved in maintaining custom YAML rulesets in maps. I get that the onus is currently on the modder, rather than the devs who already do enough, so can see why this isn't implemented.

SirCake
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:40 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by SirCake » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:44 am

@Eskimo btw. UOEv006 is out :) compatible with the latest release - see modding forums.

C0mrade
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:22 pm

Re: Mechanics, engineers and scrapping and restoring husks

Post by C0mrade » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:06 pm

I don't like hack when soviet teammate building MCV and deliberately destroy it to make possible other teammate to recover it with mechanic and get soviet super power. Will be good and fair move to make Mechanic and Hijacker possible to capture MCV with out possibility to build from other country.

Post Reply