1st step: the physics, unit size and killrate speed

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1st step: the physics, unit size and killrate speed

Post by Louis Ste Colombe » Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:09

My opinion is that we got to mod unit size first. As anyone who have played normal size game and large size game will tell you, it drastically change the way the game plays.

I don't think it's worth changing unit cost or stat before we got a clue on how the unit size works.

As Annie wrote it down, playing 4v4 means to have a "medium" size for units in between large and normal.
Well, to get started, that medium size is really going to be in between large and normal :P , meaning 50% higher than normal.

That makes cavalry 40, infantry 60, phalanx/ large infantry 90.

My largest concern with that unit size is hoplites: they would be only 60, and I am not sure it's enough to handle a frontal cavalry charge. I am not that worried about pike being 90 (hum... Pontic pike?).
So please pay attention to the hoplite and cavalry charge...

Spectre made a first file with ONLY the size change. It would be nice to have a place where people can download it.
Spectre, I don't know why, but I could not start a custom game with altered size mod. The game would start, I can pick units, but not going on the battlefield. Most odd.


Once everyone will have a look at changed size, I'd recommand trying to play around kill rate.
There are many different ways to mod killrate. We are looking at a small decrease in kill rate to make battles a little less random.
Everyone shall try to mod a bit and gives some feedback on how mod kill rate without changing balance and physics too much.
The purpose is to slow down things a bit... But without changing anything otherwise...

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Post by Spectre » Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:11

It would be nice to have a place where people can download it.
I'll upload the file into my ftp directory, and put a link here.
I could not start a custom game with altered size mod. The game would start, I can pick units, but not going on the battlefield.
Yes... very odd. Well, it works fine for me and we even managed to get an online game going with Mord. I'll post the replay of that as well.

We didn't do anything but swap the original unitstat file (1.2 clean installation) with the new file. Did you do something differently, e.g. use a command line or something?

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Post by Louis Ste Colombe » Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:17

Yes... I tried to use mod: command line.

When picking units, I had the correct roster, with modified unit size. I just could not start it.

I'll try again by replacing unit file in the main data folder.

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Post by Spectre » Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:30

You will also need the world file & directories in the mod folder, got that there? \world\maps\campaign\imperial_campaign\descr_strat.txt, easy way is to extract this zip into the mod dir: http://personal.inet.fi/private/jonsu/world.zip (credit goes to Mord)

And if you go online with the command line approach, everyone probably needs to use the same name for the mod directory. (That's why me & Mord resigned to only swap the files for the first test, it claimed "incompatible mod file")

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Post by CeltiberoMordred » Tue Mar 22, 2005 21:15

KILL RATE

Yesterday I did some tests to quantify the effect of "lethality" of units. Default is = 1. I took 1 unit Vs 1 unit of legionary cohort adn saw what happenned with different lethality values. I did 5 test for each lethality factor. Supposely, the less the lethality, the less the kill rate. Here are the results:

Code: Select all

LETHALITY	AVERAGE MELEE TIME	AVERAGE KILLS	SECONDS/KILL

1		            4'07"			     98.4		     2.51

.6		           4'04"			      87	         2.81

.5		           4'54"			     88.6		     3.31

.4		           4'24"			     78.6		     3.35           
As you can see, decreasing lethality we get a slower kill rate (at lethality =1, it takes 2.5 seconds to kill a legionary, while at 0.4 it takes 3.35 secs).

In addition, we see how melee time is near the same; combined with kill rate, it gives us less average kills. That's because legionaries rout due to exhaustion. So, the only effect we get is that now legionaries rout with 30 men left instead of 15-20 men.

We need to go to lethality values of 0.2 or 0.3 to get longer battle times (5-7 mins), but it has a great impact on cavalry charges, so we cannot go that way.

The conclusion is that we cannot decrease the kill rate without altering morale level due to exhaustion.

To solve this issue I think we should increase morale level a bit to soften the exhaustion morale penalty effect, or give to units more stamina (from normal to hardy, from hardy to very hardy). I prefer first, 4-6 points of increase would be enough.

For the second build I chose 0.5 as lethality factor. Pay attention to charges and kill rate. Maybe you can find the game too slow now.
Keep in mind that there are 2 types of charges head on: while enemy is standing and with enemy moving. Second one has higher kill rate. I've lowered lethality so much because I found cavalry charges too powerful (with leth=1, cavalry charges killed 33% of an unit- Equites vs Iberian infantry. Iberian routed automatically due to lose 20 of 60 men in a second).

The push effect is still there, but cavalry charges get less kills, so it's harder to get instant routs; thus troops use to fight for a while after the charge. In addition cavalry will get kills slower when they pursuit routing units.

I've tested equites charging vs fresh archers standing, and archers rout in few seconds (no instant rout though), so there is no risk of cav getting stuck to missile. They will be even less stuck if archers are already decimated and/or tired. If equites can do the job, sacred band or cataphracts won't have any problem.

SPEED MOVEMENT

As vanilla RTW animations are too fast (specially running infantry), I tried to reduce it a bit, to 0.9, in order to avoid the sliding effect of running troops and to give players more reaction time to counter enemy movements. This change is very slight and I don't know if it's even noticable by players accustomed to RTW speed.

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Post by Louis Ste Colombe » Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:15

Like Mordred, I modded lethality, but I used units which are of lower morale/ stats than legion.
The results are much more linear: decreasing lethality by 25% increase melee time (time between assault and 1st rout) by 15%. That was playing Hillmen versus Hillmen.

The key question is; how does that change legion versus hillmen fight? (I still expect hillmen to rout in 10 sec, and I am fine with it... It's like CMAA versus v0 militia sergeant) Or longshield cavalry versus hillmen? Compared to vanilla?

I had the same kind of result, but with less randomness by adding one to defense and one to armour. A nice sweet 15% increase in melee duration.

So, IMO, there is no need to go down to extreme low lethality. Also, if exhaustion is a concern, I'd rather make units hardy than increase morale, but that's a bit off topic. So I'd prefer your second option Mordred :P

I like instant rout when it comes to light cavalry charging missile units. Or very heavy cavalry charging very light infantry. If that kind of fight last more than 20 sec (or even 10 sec), it's a problem.

Speed movement: I am all against it. First, you can't change one unit speed without changing them all; so if you mod down infantry running speed, their walking speed will be very small indeed. Second, as far as I can tell, it has very detrimental impact on fatigue (you need to walk/ run more to cover the same distance -> you're more tired) , and third, tired units would then be even slowlier than they are today.
Last, that might be a selling point for old MTW vets... but that's the opposite for new players.

There are other ways to get better reaction time: kill rate is one of them, making units agile (more responsive), can also help. I'd investigate that before modding speed down.

Let's see what a file with changed unit size, +1 defence, +1 armour and -15% lethality would give us.... And you still think it's too fast, then we'll think again.

Edit I'd say +1 Armour, +1 Defence for everyone but missile units, and -15% lethality for all. To touch armour of missile is, IMO, a bad idea

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Post by Spectre » Wed Mar 23, 2005 16:07

Speed movement: I am all against it. First, you can't change one unit speed without changing them all; so if you mod down infantry running speed, their walking speed will be very small indeed. Second, as far as I can tell, it has very detrimental impact on fatigue (you need to walk/ run more to cover the same distance -> you're more tired) , and third, tired units would then be even slowlier than they are today.
You're exaggerating the problems a bit to play Devil's Advocate, right?

90% speed doesn't really make noticeable difference as far as infantry is concerned. I've played 6 test games online with 90% speed, and they all turned out to be very similar to 100% speed games. I didn't tell my opponent the changes I had made to the game, and it took a couple of games and a probing question to even notice the speed difference. The answer was something like "Cavalry feels a little slower maybe?"

However, that small difference is enough to make it harder to charge the opponent's missile units with fast cav and insta-rout them before the opponent has time to react with his own cav units (or spears). It has happened to me several times, and it has always been annoying. :P Currently in RTW it takes some serious focusing to properly react to skirmishing action, and I don't find such focusing enjoyable in "fun games".

The points about pre-planning in the other thread are very good, and I agree with you 90%; the main exception is skirmishing action, where reactions are paramount to planning.

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Post by ladyAn » Wed Mar 23, 2005 16:21

It helps if you could tell which parameter in the stat file that was modified for size, speed and lethality.

Although I could figure out which paramter, or watch the difference between the mod files, to know what is going on, it also help to define where the mod takes place.

Size is the second parameter of soldier. The size specified is the size of the unit when player select "normal" in Video Options. Size for "large" setting double the one of "normal" and for "huge", double the size of "large". Size of "small" is half of "normal". Mod#1 is to take all numbers in this parameter and multiply by 0.75. This will force the players to chose "large" as the setting to play. "Huge" is probably playable at 1x1 and 2x2.

Speed of walking/running Where do I get this change?

Lethality is not a documented parameter. I infer that this is the 11th parameter for stat_pri and stat_sec.


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Post by Louis Ste Colombe » Wed Mar 23, 2005 16:26

:P

Of course I am going to give a try at both 90% speed and 100% speed.

I'd argue that if noone can spot the difference, then why mod it to start with? Isn't that creating only additional trouble for little to no gain?

Or is it just a marketing ploy?

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Post by Spectre » Wed Mar 23, 2005 16:54

I'd argue that if noone can spot the difference, then why mod it to start with?
Well, it's kinda hard to argue with _that_ argument, even though it was rather easy to see it coming... :wink: :D

The difference in skirmishing might or might not be worth the trouble. Maybe a good way to find out would be to ask self: "Can cavalry charge & rout archers too easily?" (edited this one a bit for a more general wording)
Or is it just a marketing ploy?
A bit of that, too. :P
Speed of walking/running Where do I get this change?
descr_battle_map_movement_modifiers.txt, and this applies to movement speeds as a whole. There's no easy way to directly affect walk / run speeds.
Lethality is not a documented parameter. I infer that this is the 11th parameter for stat_pri and stat_sec.
Yes, it's the one after the attack delay, which is the last documented modifier IIRC.

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Post by CeltiberoMordred » Wed Mar 23, 2005 17:40

http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=40742

http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=37902

We'd have to modify skeletons to change running speed. Duke John knows how to do it. We can ask.

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Post by ladyAn » Wed Mar 23, 2005 18:47

I look into speed issue and see it has several angles.

1. Spectre talked about "cav charge on missile and don't have time to send up counter". This also includes "slow down to allow better tactics".
2. Community posts talk about relative speed between infantry and cav (infantry being too fast).
3. speed of different armor types are not taken into account in the models.
4. Speed of unit to take order.
5. Allows also tactical reaction instead of positional reaction.

So far, we (A) know how to reduce the speed according to terrain through desc_battle_map_movement_modifiers.txt. We need to investigate on (B) how to reduce relative speed also, as it is clear that different units move at different speed, and the relation between different units are wrong.

I believe the second knowledge is more useful than the first. If we know the second, we could leave the desc_battle_map_movement_modifiers.txt alone.

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Post by Spectre » Wed Mar 23, 2005 20:01

Yes, the ability to change relative unit speeds would be much, much better than using the terrain modifiers. Walk speeds in RTW are ok, no need to change those really.

However, changing the animations means a lot more work. And then there's the problem of actually deciding the unit speeds; would they be based on history, on CA's vision of fast, dynamic battles or would they be something in between or even ad-hoc? Most of the historical data that CBR and others have compiled come from units 10x larger than those in Rome. Using purely historical speeds would probably create a marked discrepancy between "look and feel".

Very hairy, this speed issue could get... :roll:

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Post by Louis Ste Colombe » Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:52

I tested the 3rd build (modded unit size, .85 lethality, +1def, +1armour).

My main issue is that 60 men strong hoplite seems to have problem handling cavalry.

In Vanilla 1.2, armoured hoplites would kill Companion Cavalry somehow easily. In the 3rd build, I got a hell of a hard time. The push back effect nearly disrupt the hoplite.
The 90 men strong pike phalanx are doing good, pretty much as usual (phalanx pike winning over praetorian cavalry...)

I also tried roman legions versus long shield cavalry... It was much closer than I would have liked... It's going to be tough for Romans against cavalry heavy army.

For me, that's the biggest issue so far, otherwise, it looks good, and units are behaving somehow as expected.

Anyone else got feedback of 60 men strong unit against cavalry?

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Post by Louis Ste Colombe » Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:57

Spectre wrote:Yes, the ability to change relative unit speeds would be much, much better than using the terrain modifiers. Walk speeds in RTW are ok, no need to change those really.

However, changing the animations means a lot more work. And then there's the problem of actually deciding the unit speeds; would they be based on history, on CA's vision of fast, dynamic battles or would they be something in between or even ad-hoc? Most of the historical data that CBR and others have compiled come from units 10x larger than those in Rome. Using purely historical speeds would probably create a marked discrepancy between "look and feel".

Very hairy, this speed issue could get... :roll:
My understanding is that changing skeletons and animation is a hell of heavy modding! And that's a much harder mod to test.

Very hairy indeed...

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Post by ladyAn » Thu Mar 24, 2005 16:07

OK, so we rule out changing the speed through skeleton modding.

Now, that means:
- the speed discrepency between cav and some infantry couldn't be addressed by us, only by CA. Reduce speed equally for all units won't remedy this problem. And that's the main complaint of veterans.

- Reduce overall speed by 90% may be the concensus then? I don't see it adds any benefit (testing against AI). But then again, it is not a big change.

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Post by Spectre » Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:26

Spec on vacation:

One more thing to consider: large team games are sometimes very slow, and the new 8-player team games would probably be the slowest of them all. Reducing their speed even further is perhaps not a good idea...

I'm quite undecided on the issue right now. Maybe a few new opinions could be useful?

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Post by Louis Ste Colombe » Sat Mar 26, 2005 1:02

An interesting topic...

http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthrea ... ge=2&pp=30

Increasing defense to slow down kill rate might be misguided...

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Post by ladyAn » Sat Mar 26, 2005 3:16

SPQR produces a lot of knock down
Sounds funny to me.

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Post by Spectre » Sun Mar 27, 2005 18:04

Increasing defense to slow down kill rate might be misguided...
Yes, disturbing results from that thread. Still, +1 or +2 to defense doesn't seem to make too much difference, and since lowering lethality makes charges less effective, it may also be a useful synergy that allows us to drop lethality lower than previously planned. Maybe. :(

It appears that the charge bonus has a rather small effect on charges. I made a few tests, and it seems like Greek cavalry actually outperform Light lancers against most opponents. That's not right... :roll:

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