Gaming fleeting thoughts

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Yablo
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Yablo » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:49 pm UTC

Koa wrote:Please tell me it has a lot more variety and I'm wrong. I also heard about how the kill-command-whatever thing works, and I'm sure that sort of snowball mechanic definitely helps with the problem I'm seeing, but, eh... Like bandaging a laceration and broken bone. You're just going to have to cut it open again if you ever want to fix the bone as well.

Battletech does have a fair bit of variety and a coherent campaign storyline, but you're right that it focuses primarily on the big, stompy robots. I would prefer some VTOLs, infantry, and power-armor, but it does well enough with battlemechs, tanks, and gun turrets. If you've ever played the tabletop game and/or the MechWarrior tabletop RPG, you'll appreciate how it captures the feel while speeding up the mechanics. Still, I would prefer to find a group of people and run my own tabletop RPG.

You're free to pick your own handicap level, I have mine, but for God's sake don't disparage the games I enjoy simply because I like the training wheels mostly off. I guarantee you that there is far more strategy in any single game of Starcraft than any other RTS, and that's why it's the reigning king of its genre. As much fun as I had with T&T, after two games, I feel like I have experienced the majority of what the game has to offer in terms of strategic complexity.
Not directed at you necessarily, just something I really want to say to many different people, most of which aren't on this forum.

I've always very much preferred turn-based strategy to RTS, but I hold nothing at all against anyone with opposite tastes. I will admit to being in awe of what a good RTS player can do. I spent almost two weeks in South Korea several years ago, and there was a channel on the television in my hotel room dedicated to 24-hour Starcraft matches. (At least, that's all they were playing anytime I checked.)
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Koa
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:42 am UTC

When I play turn based strategy I fully reflect upon every singular decision because each decision is presented in a singular way, wherein you should pick the choices that most benefit your grand strategy. Usually you aren't aware of what your grand strategy is yet, you have to feel around first. But regardless, everything is laid out and presented to you in a very coherent way. You'll probably know what went wrong if you're paying attention.

When I play real time strategy, there is little time to reflect upon any decision until the whole match is completed, or until a muscle memory is developed that smaller decisions can be completed while simultaneously thinking about larger ones. For Starcraft specifically, if there is zero muscle memory to work with, then it is very easy to get overwhelmed with the number of decisions you must make or tasks you must complete almost at any given second of the game. It is easy to develop muscle memory with practice, but... If your first experience is being overwhelmed, then while you can still look at awe at how players are able to complete so many tasks so quickly, that is now all that you see. You see a computer completing tasks, and you completely fail to see the strategy. Starcraft 2 has a million times more strategy than Civ V, I hope we can all agree.

It can take a lot of study to understand what went wrong in a real time strategy compared to a turn based strategy, because while the mechanics might be similar, they are being presented to you in entirely different forms. No longer are the numbers clear, the choice coherent and concise. It's now very complicated and esoteric. It's relentless. It can be exhausting.

You come to identify that the only thing that can be strategy is something that you can reflect upon and feel fully satisfied with your decision, that the decision you picked was the perfect one. (I find this not to be the case throughout all of life's history and its real warfare. It has always been chaotic and unfair, but also always true.) Now it appears to you, that certain strategies where the player did not reflect upon their decision but it was the right one because they rushed you while you were expanding... Those are now invalid. It is not strategy, or so you might think. So some people think, anyway. I shouldn't pin this so much to you because I don't know you.

What I consider strategy is the whole of any singular moments in the game where you can make a conscious decision that has an effect on the outcome of the game. If your units are rallied to your main ramp, you can hold the ramp fine. Your opponent might not even decide to come in by air, and you might be fine. When a player takes half of his units away from the ramp to prepare itself to intercept the high possibility that something will come in by air, that player is playing on a different level. He or she is creating strategy where before there was none. Singular moments like this happen so very often in any given game, and in Brood War it can get even deeper and deeper. Starcraft has an intensely deep strategy and Deep Mind is currently exploring just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

The turn based strategy player looks at this scenario, and thinks, "Oh, that's just what you do in this game. You have units to intercept air." Then, again, they might find themselves confused when they see a player not doing it. They think, "Oh, well that's just what you do in this scenario. They have correctly identified the scenario." They continuously fail to see what is going on in both players minds. They are both trying to read each other. It's a huge game of bluff on top of a game of imperfect information on top of a barrage of perfect tasks to complete with imperfect tools. How you use them defines you. You can't just react to the enemy either, you need a vicious presence of your own. It takes a long time to develop.

So, that's what I mean by disparaging. I don't mean that it's like "not your cup of tea" so much as it's a misunderstanding that causes you to say things that degenerate what I find so compelling, without ever knowing it yourself. I guess. Maybe I just need to get over it, maybe it's just the case that some people get it and some get the wrong idea, and there's no bridging the gap.

Thanks for the comments on Battletech. I'm not really a board game player so I didn't know.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:50 am UTC

Koa wrote:Starcraft 2 has a million times more strategy than Civ V, I hope we can all agree.


A million is a pretty big number. If SC2 has a million times more strategy than Civ V, then what's the multiplier to get from Ludo/Parcheesi to Civ V?

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Deva » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:09 am UTC

Might disagree on level of strategy. Views them as roughly equal. Demands proactive and flexible thinking in both. Added one resource: attention. How much do you gain from focusing on X over Y? Relies on your mental (and physical) abilities as a player. Separates the best of the best by the ability to juggle multiple tasks and actions per minute. Contributes to difficulty, certainly, but less so to strategy.
Koa wrote:The turn based strategy player looks at this scenario, and thinks, "Oh, that's just what you do in this game. You have units to intercept air." Then, again, they might find themselves confused when they see a player not doing it. They think, "Oh, well that's just what you do in this scenario. They have correctly identified the scenario." They continuously fail to see what is going on in both players minds. They are both trying to read each other. It's a huge game of bluff on top of a game of imperfect information on top of a barrage of perfect tasks to complete with imperfect tools. How you use them defines you. You can't just react to the enemy either, you need a vicious presence of your own. It takes a long time to develop.

Why does the turn-based player not predict also? Could be surprised by a water landing, paratroopers, or missiles. Ought to be conscious of tricks also. Might fool an opponent into overinvesting in something (such as navy) with a small threat. Adds up over time, just as in real-time strategy.

Disclaimer: Never watched Starcraft competitive games. Knows Age of Empires 2 decently, however. Assumes similar mechanics. Involves massive amounts of micromanaging. Dodges arrow and catapult fire through quick positioning (until a late technology for the former). Hotkeys a lot of units/buildings. Blurs from one location to the next. Recalls one player excelling due more to their micro ability than overall strategy. (Performed well at strategy too, probably, but less so than the other player.)

Edit note to self: Find competitive StarCraft game tomorrow.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:19 am UTC

The real time component and imperfect tools extrapolates the number of required decisions, many of which will have important effects on the game. In Civ the number of actual decisions you can make are small enough to be calculated (though not without difficulty). In Starcraft I would never be confident unless I had perfect AI playing against each other to suggest its limits. So I don't mind if people disagree with any number we might throw out, but it's certainly a significantly large difference. Every time in Civ if you have a unit that has available movement, and you don't use it, or do use it, or do use it differently in every way that it would make sense to, then that is the spectrum of strategy that that unit has in that turn. And, what, 1000-5000 turns depending on the game settings? In a game of Starcraft, for every unit, for every tenth of a second, something important can change. They're not equal, lol. It doesn't matter whether or not we trim away unimportant potential moves for units in each game, they're still not equal.

Deva wrote:Increases the difficulty, certainly, but less so for strategy.

Well, give me your definition for 'strategy'. Why can't you strategically manipulate a resource known as attention? Why can't you manipulate your opponent's? Why is this not valid? I do it every game. Every game it is done to me. If you ignore that it is happening, if you don't know that it is happening, then you will be the sucker every time.

Deva wrote:Why does the turn-based player not predict also? Could be surprised by a water landing, paratroopers, or missiles. Ought to be conscious of tricks also. Might fool an opponent into overinvesting in something (such as navy) with a small threat. Adds up over time, just as in real-time strategy.


I'm not suggesting this. I agree that turn based requires cognitive preparation and trickery. What I'm saying is that when a turn based player looks at real time strategy, they can no longer see the magic because it has become esoteric. All they see is APM and clicking and quick micro and just koreans who are slaving away for hundreds of hours a week so that they can click the fastest. It's such an ugly way to look at it.

AoE2 is good but it does pale a bit to other titles in terms of strategy in my opinion. I feel it is still rightly competitive but also probably on the easier end to play. The only thing that makes it really exciting are tower rushes lol. It looks silly aesthetically but it's very interesting mechanically. If the game had no walls or towers it would have been forgotten. People love that it was the first game to really bring that sort of mechanic to the genre by popularizing it. I'm sure it wasn't the first RTS with walls. As far as AoE2 being more strategic than Civ 5, I would say yes, but I do have to hesitate more. I would never say a million. Maybe more like 70, and only because of the aforementioned towers and walls. Otherwise they are very close to equal. AoE2 has some very significant limitations compared to Starcraft. Maybe Starcraft is only like 10,000 over Civ 5. You know, pretty close to a million... ahem. I can't deny rmsgrey's point.

Trust me, if I had a cyborg brain connecting to cyborg hands, I would do some really mind-bending crazy stuff in Starcraft and I would blow away the competition. I just can't do it, no one can. Everyone thinks they can be the greatest, but it takes serious dedication and years of study to merely achieve our imperfect victories, or our perfect victories because the opponent was no match. So I find it best to think of skill as being relative, and you can only truly compare you to yourself yesterday. You can beat someone 9 times out of 10, but why did you lose that one game? That one game, you were the weaker player. You still learned something from someone you might think is lesser, because skill is a huge matrix.

You can't beat me at tic-tac-toe though, so...

Deva wrote:Edit note to self: Find competitive StarCraft game tomorrow.
Tell me which it is and I'll watch it and tell you what is really interesting about it. Stuff you may be missing.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:06 pm UTC

It strikes me that, while you're saying "strategy", what you're actually talking about is tactics. Deciding to go all in on blocking/guarding the ramp rather than diverting some of your forces to guard against flanking air units is a strategic decision, but the individual positioning decisions and timing of movements for units is pure tactics.

There's no doubt that Starcraft has many more tactical options than a turn-based game, though there are quibbles about whether moving a tick later is a real decision for a human player. What's less clear is how different they are in terms of strategic choice.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby trpmb6 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:09 pm UTC

The last couple years I have been extremely busy with work and my kids growing up etc. (Mainly work, as a consultant engineer I tend to travel a lot to get new contracts etc..) So I haven't had much time to game.

I'm a huge fan of RPG format games. Especially ones that I can jump right back into and pickup where i left off a week earlier due to a busy uptick in life. Other than a few PC freeshard online games that I've dabbled in the past year, the last real game I played was Skyrim on PS3. Which is kind of scary considering that's what 7 years old now!?

Anyways, is it worth me getting a PS4 PRO and if so, what are the top 3 games to go after. I'm thinking God of War, The Witcher 3 and probably fallout 4 if i can find it cheap. There are other possibilities too. Monsterhunter: world and Metal Gear solid V. As much as I love MGS I tend to lose interest half way through. They just never seem to keep my attention.

Also.. is there really anything of quality that kids (in the 5-10 yr old range) that is actually worth while?
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Deva » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:43 pm UTC

(Admits to confusing strategy and tactics sometimes.)

Watched this. Undoubtedly missed lots of small optimization, such as base and expansion construction. Liked using the Barracks to spot the Overlord. Noted good early mine placement too. Plays much faster than Age of Empires 2.

Question: Why did Flash stockpile so many minerals in the second half? Hovered around 1000 (and above) for a long time. Was it a shortage of Vespene Gas for tanks, or something else?

Koa wrote:
Deva wrote:Increases the difficulty, certainly, but less so for strategy.

Well, give me your definition for 'strategy'. Why can't you strategically manipulate a resource known as attention? Why can't you manipulate your opponent's? Why is this not valid? I do it every game. Every game it is done to me. If you ignore that it is happening, if you don't know that it is happening, then you will be the sucker every time.


Defines strategy as the overarching choices you make. Includes army composition, expansion timing/amount, resource balance, and offense/defense balance. Do you want to invest in X to counter something? Can you afford population space for an expansion? Do you need more minerals or gas? Do you harass, establish map control, or turtle? Will add attention for real-time also. Treats it as a buff to your current focus. Do you wish to improve economy or military effectiveness?
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:47 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:It strikes me that, while you're saying "strategy", what you're actually talking about is tactics. Deciding to go all in on blocking/guarding the ramp rather than diverting some of your forces to guard against flanking air units is a strategic decision, but the individual positioning decisions and timing of movements for units is pure tactics.

What could strategy be other than a string of tactics? You think that when I employ the tactic of sending units to intercept air, that my opponent isn't also going to assume that I might be trying to intercept them, and that this relationship isn't directly affecting our strategy? It can literally decide what I build in the next five minutes. SC2. If I know that my opponent tried to make a move and it was unsuccessful, I know they're not feeling good. They're probably going to change their plans if they're a random on ladder. I'm playing terran? Do I scan, so that I can be sure, or do I use a mule to keep my build strong? I'm already ahead, as long as I macro strong and build a certain unit comp that can handle everything that I find dangerous, then I can probably survive anything that they throw at me. If they don't throw anything at me, then I can use those units later on anyway. A whole lot of strategy, all the time, everywhere. Within the smallest of tactics sometimes, strategy deciding tactics and tactics deciding strategy, but mainly a product of the series of tactics. It's really hard to say that it is something that only exists in the mind, because then you run into the problem of invalid strategies being highly effective. With the example of warfare in the animal kingdom, bacterial viruses are a very highly effective strategy that appear to be highly invalid or unfair or pointless to our human intuition. The exact same feelings some have towards all-in rushes in Starcraft. I choose to sidestep all those false intuitions by focusing my definition.

But other than that I think you are going to have to provide your definition of strategy if you're going to claim mine is wrong, otherwise there's really nothing for me to engage with here. Maybe your definition is a little more nebulous than you thought?

trpmb6 wrote:Metal Gear solid V. As much as I love MGS I tend to lose interest half way through. They just never seem to keep my attention.

Get it. It's very different from the other games in the series, not many cutscenes and more open world. If you enjoy the mechanics of MGS but felt the cutscenes would drag on too much, MGS5 is for you. It's a little more serious than the other games in tone too, not really for the better, but for me it goes on #2 of your list of games, behind God of War.

Deva wrote:Watched this. Undoubtedly missed lots of small optimization, such as base and expansion construction. Liked using the Barracks to spot the Overlord. Noted good early mine placement too. Plays much faster than Age of Empires 2.

Question: Why did Flash stockpile so many minerals in the second half? Hovered around 1000 (and above) for a long time. Was it a shortage of Vespene Gas for tanks, or something else?


Well you picked good players, and I haven't seen this match before. I'm watching it, and I'll write when I find stuff that really sets this game out apart from others.

Oh and as a prelude, to answer your question: yes, pretty much.

Spoiler:
Jaedong gets two sets of lings (4). Normally this is the worst decision you can make in ladder. You only really need one set to ward off a scouting scv, and generally four lings isn't scary to the terran player whatsoever. However, this is Flash. Jaedong knows Flash, Flash knows Jaedong knows Flash, Flash knows Flash. Flash loves to work with as little as possible. Four lings is a threat to the way Flash likes to play. Flash absolutely had to keep that scv alive. Now it's three lings, now it's more manageable. Jaedong could have went with four lings and let the scv do what it wanted, but the scouting intel was more valuable than the scv kill he might have gotten in Flash's base.

Flash saves his scv from the lings, but the scv surround to kill that ling? That's a crisp move. If I pulled that off I would feel really good about it. Flash does it like it's nothing. He's now safe and in a good lead. 2 marines was perfect. Jaedong is on tilt, but Jaedong is stronger than to let tilt get the better of him. Flash is the better player, but Jaedong is a king.

Barracks spotting the ovie is kind of standard, but yeah it's really cool the first time you see tricks like that. I would have said that shooting the ovie away like that was Flash taunting Jaedong, telling him that he's going mech. But the lings saw everything so it didn't matter this game. If you're playing tvz on the ladder and the zerg hasn't really scouted you, you might not want to reveal that your barracks is lifted.

Jaedong going quick spire, but as the commentators says everyone knows, even though Flash probably hasn't seen it. It's a good move that if you're going to go muta on this map that you do it as quickly as possible, because the window of their usefulness is going to close very quickly, only to maybe be useful again in the late game. Also, everyone knows Jaedong loves his muta.

Flash is super ready, holy crap. Zero danger to him during this window. He spent the extra resources to make himself fully prepared for this. He's reading Jaedong like a book. Playing against a player that can read you so well is terrifying, but again, Jaedong is king.

Muta can't do anything. Oh that's brutal. There's nothing worse than having a bunch of muta and nothing to do with them, and so early in the game too.

Jaedong went in with the muta, because he felt so silly. Ouch. Flash is stomping him.

Flash is building so many goliaths. Does Flash know that Jaedong is going to commit to muta? Is Jaedong even committing to muta that hard? What is going on? What is Jaedong building? Okay it's a huge round of drones. He has to stop with the muta now, Flash is economically forcing Jaedong to stop by building all those goliaths. It's now extremely imprudent for Jaedong to continue, and Flash knows this too. All he has to identify was the third, which I think he already did with the single vulture he built? At least he eliminated a few third base possibilities. God damn. Every single unit has had an exact purpose so far in this game for Flash. I'm not sure about these goliaths though?

Flash goes back into a few vultures and picks off the batch of drones! So, Flash went so many goliaths that it forced Jaedong to stop building muta, and it wouldn't have been the best idea to just go all-in with lings but it would have been a possibility of a sort (vulture to check). So Flash knew Jaedong would go back to economy because he had been forced into it, so he has speed vultures timed perfectly to intercept the new batch of drones. It might seem so obvious, but I can't explain how good Flash is playing in this game. He has prepared for this game so so much. There's a precise playbook in his head and Jaedong is falling into every trap.

Good vulture control. Good muta control too.

Vultures get into the main, kill a few more drones. These vultures are very effective, they're only 50% more than a worker so one vulture killing two workers is a great trade. One vulture gets into the main, kills one worker, can it get the second? Last shot! HA. The drone defends its own life and gets the kill. Jaedong might have a little bit better micro than Flash with gliding units (workers, vultures, air units). That was cute.

Flash is preparing for a strong early-part-of-late-game offensive, but for now Jaedong wants to put on the pressure. Strange. Jaedong sees something I don't. Those mine hits were pretty big.

Flash is pushing out a little bit but it's just posturing. Jaedong is posturing full control of the map, and Flash is trying to lure Jaedong into him as much as possible so that he can pick off what he can. It's very unlikely for a large engagement to happen here.

Those couple science vessels moving out was really dicey. If scourge fly in from the fog of war those two are maybe just too far to get back home in time before they are destroyed. The commentator turns this exchange into something more crude but commentating is really hard to do properly.

Ah, so now I'm at 16 minutes and I see your question. You're right, it's a common vespene shortage for late game mech. The thing about Brood War is that a vespene geyser, even when it's depleted, will still provide a reduced amount of vespene income for the entirety of the game. Minerals are however finite. It's better to stockpile minerals for gas that can come later. Plus there's just nothing good to spend minerals on. If you saw shortly before 16 minutes Flash suicides about six vultures. Vultures, specifically vultures that have already used their mines, are worthless military units in this specific game. They're not even good for fodder (because they take up supply), they're that bad. It just has to do with the sort of units that are being fielded in this game. They can shred lings, but very few lings are built.

There was also a little engagement. I can see why Jaedong went for it but it ended up being the wrong decision, yet another bait from Flash. Flash has so much.

Apollo (the commentator) at 16:50 minutes made me laugh. "148 versus 145... That is--Really close." He second guesses himself. "This game is pretty close." Even supplies at this stage of the game means Flash is in the lead, and Apollo knows it, but he has to roll with what he says because he's afraid because he's being watched by hundreds of thousands of people. I would be afraid as well. He's a cool guy though, and he knows his stuff better than most casters. He has a C&C background though, he played BW but Starcraft wasn't his game until Starcraft 2. I don't know anything about the other caster but I think I've heard his voice before.

Crazy big engagement by Jaedong, but it feels very deflated as well. He's not controlling it as well as he should, I need to see his fpvod to see what he's doing, but it was a little ugly. Somehow he still managed to clear out most of Flash's army, but if you can't break the turtle it just comes back stronger. The reinforcements took too long. Flash immediately claims map territory just outside Jaedong's third. Jaedong's third isn't dead yet, but it's under threat. Jaedong moves in to defend and... Oh yeah, he's going to mop this up very easily. 18:50 I can already tell.

I'm no expert on BW's meta but this mass hydra style is kind of unusual and it seems to be working so far. Jaedong is pretty low on gas though, I don't know. Maybe if he keeps expanding he can outpace Flash? Go figure that's what he's doing. Now I see the grand strategy of both players, but the players have both known a long time ago.

Finally some Defilers from Jaedong. Here's where things get really exciting. Defilers change the whole TvZ dynamic.

Vultures come in and kill some drones again. Again, they probably had no mines left and so they were worthless, and any kills that they can get is alright. This is pretty much the only way for Flash to spend excess minerals. Build a vulture, drop three mines, suicide it, repeat. Costs no gas. The vultures aren't being built to kill the drones, neither player cares too much about a worker kill here and there when whole armies are being evaporated. Apollo focuses on how many kills the vultures are getting, and the audience focuses on it, and everyone misunderstands what is actually going on here.

Wow, Jaedong making a huge move out on what is going to be the main point of contention on the map, the 12 o'clock base. With defilers he might be able to hold, and if he can hold it he might be able to just barely out-produce Flash.

Flash decides to take it to the other base. As Apollo rightly points out, Flash's army is in a giant line as if pointing an arrow from his base to Jaedong's expansion. Each unit is protecting each other. It's as impenetrable as can be. Jaedong tries to defend for a second, roughly how long it took him to visualize and respect this massive push. Jaedong has probably already lost this base and I think he already knows it. I think he's going to posture a defense but then he's going to give it up.

Oh, beautiful drop. Perfect execution. Flash had been weakened on that highground ridge from Jaedong's lurkers, and then Jaedong bit it off. This changes things, but the game isn't over. Flash can hold the rest and rebuild.

A bunch of vultures swing in. This is actually a big deal now, losing workers. Look at Jaedong's money at this point. If 10 vultures swing in and wipe out 8 workers, that hurts a bit. Jaedong burrows. Flash scans and target fires each individual worker, and even picks one off of the geyser but misses the second. Apollo comments on it, nice job.

24:50 another good push from Jaedong. The commentators are focused on how Flash will not die but this was actually a small win for Jaedong. Like 7 tanks went down to only a handful of lings and some hydras, all while under dark swarm. I don't know who is going to win but Jaedong is looking really strong right now even though Flash was looking bulletproof just moments before.

Flash is rebuilding the line.

EVERY LAST SCIENCE VESSEL DIES. Flash has been off balance but losing all those science vessels, all that gas, it's like taking an uppercut. Could he possibly recover? Flash cleans up but oh man. Flash is now rushing to get that base. It needs to die. It needs to die now. Now might be the only chance.

You picked a good game.

Here it is, 26:30, who is going to win this engagement? Flash has put everything into killing this base. Jaedong is defending calmly. 26:38 lurkers get right up in front of the tanks. That's it. I think Jaedong just won.

Wait, what the crap?! Flash, during that engagement, KILLED THE HATCHERY. JAEDONG IS BROKE. Flash accomplished his mission, at grave losses, and he walked the line of total collapse towards the end, but he completed his objective of taking control of the 6 o'clock and he's now no longer on the back foot. The pressure is relieved. Flash doesn't use this to lick his wounds. He uses it to explode. He takes map control everywhere. Jaedong is broke and low on units, he can't contest. Jaedong needs to decide carefully what he does in these critical moments. Every unit counts.

27:19 Jaedong's unit rally gets intercepted. Ouch. Flash tries to bait Jaedong into mines but it doesn't work out and he loses a bunch of vultures. But no matter, he moves on past the screen of mines to attack the drones at the expansion. It doesn't do anything, but I can tell exactly what Flash is feeling right now. He's exploding, he's going for the jugular. He wasn't sure of himself a moment ago, but now he is more sure than anything. He's taking the win. Jaedong is sweating internally, but he has been here too many times before to let it really bother him. He almost had it, didn't he? It was so close. All those hours of practice only for third place, none of the people he practiced against was as good or as prepared as this guy was, as Flash. But Jaedong is beast, Jaedong is king and he will carry on.

Which makes Flash a hero, actual greatness. Some say God.

A few more engagements happen... but both players know it's over. 29:00 now and Jaedong is dejectedly meandering around the map killing mines. I mean, you're right that it's not a bad thing to do, but he is clearly very deflated at this point. It's not something that you want to be doing at this stage of the game. If it were NBA he would be slowly walking down the court, dribbling almost as slowly as possible with his step. He sends his units through the nydus and they just die instantly. GG.


There you go. I can't really proofread it because it's taking too much of my time already, but I did enjoy it anyway and would have done it again. As to your definition of strategy, I think we agree though I do see a little bit more than what you listed. I know if I were to list it, I wouldn't be able to list everything anyway either though, so I accept the incomplete list to define the underlying concept.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Deva » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:52 am UTC

Appreciates the in-depth analysis. Replayed the video with it in mind.
Spoiler:
- Did not catch the heavy air defense investment the first time. (Focused intently on the action and general mechanics. Played a handful of games years ago.) Definitely planned that well in advance.

- Placed a greater importance on harassing during the first viewing. Credits the slower pace and fewer automatic defenses in Age of Empires 2. (Typically requires sending villagers inside a building, for those not aware. Keeps them safe at the cost of gathering nothing.) Proved useful still. Ought not forget the Mutalisks either, despite being stonewalled. Attempted something more pivotal.

- Looked up the Science Vessel cost. Figured something high initially, considering the use of suicide units. Realizes the Vespene Gas bottleneck now too. Lost a fortune in moments.

Have you ever casted games (Starcraft or otherwise)? Seems skilled at it.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:13 am UTC

A strategy is a goal or purpose; a string of tactics is a sequence of actions taken in pursuit of some goal or purpose. It's like the Aristotelian distinction between formal cause and efficient cause.

Selecting a group of Goliaths and moving them from the top of a choke-point ramp to a clifftop on the side of your base is a tactic; the corresponding strategic decision is to reduce your defense of the chokepoint in order to defend against a flanking air attack.

It's the difference between "why?" and "what?"

If you're talking about the number of actions you can direct a given unit to take, and potential timings of those actions, then you're talking about the game's available tactics. If you're talking about the possible reasons for those actions, then you're talking about the game's strategies.

Looking at your commentary on the game, you're mostly talking about strategies (why the players are doing things) and only occasionally about tactics (what the players are doing).

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:57 am UTC

I agree. I specifically highlighted the strategies going on with the analysis, because that is what we're talking about. I also highlighted the human elements, because that is what people often find most difficult to see.

You notice how the casters are kind of all over the place. Sometimes they're exactly right, sometimes they're misleading and missing the more important story of what is happening. Can I cast? I don't know. I kind of casted one thing a couple years ago but it was a low level game and there wasn't hardly anything to say because there were no interactions between the players. No intentions for me to speak on them. It was just a mess. I don't really want an audience for that. That's a dangerous road to attempt to go down.

If anyone has seen Liquid'Tyler cast, NonY the great, that would be my style. A lot of silence occasionally interrupted by insight. I'm not sure you can even find any of his casts online anywhere. People are interested in it but it doesn't fit the typical format of what a caster should be doing. He once described it as "How a player sees the game, not a spectator or a caster. A pro player sees a completely different game from everyone else." Paraphrasing from memory.

See, the cast of that game I would rate like a 5/10. About equal distant from the best and the worst professional stuff I've seen. There were much better casters to choose from but this event decided to reuse their English SC2 casters for BW, or something like that. There are amateur English BW casters that are better than these two, back in 2010 anyhow.

I don't want people rating me, judging me. It would be only fair. All the casters I admire are the ones who can crack jokes all game long and maintain a flow. I certainly can't do that. Right now I love TychoCelchuuu. No one knows about him.

Also I think if Jaedong had pulled back after getting all those science vessels he might have been in great shape to do another drop tactic. Even with the dark swarm Flash had so many tanks shelling those hydras. There are so many what-if's you can do after a game though. What if Jaedong had built a couple less muta and instead gotten faster upgrades, what if his first few big engagements weren't sloppy (17:30)... It can boggle the mind.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby gd1 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:54 am UTC

I thought of this elsewhere, but...

I noticed that video game characters have many powers taken for granted. Megaman can fall any distance and never take damage. Some of them can come back to life and even choose where in a way (diablo 3). Games allow you to save, load, pause, etc.

What if there was a video game hero with the combination of abilities that a character starts with in each game (and the best parts of those abilities where there is overlap)?
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:53 pm UTC

gd1 wrote:I thought of this elsewhere, but...

I noticed that video game characters have many powers taken for granted. Megaman can fall any distance and never take damage. Some of them can come back to life and even choose where in a way (diablo 3). Games allow you to save, load, pause, etc.

What if there was a video game hero with the combination of abilities that a character starts with in each game (and the best parts of those abilities where there is overlap)?


How do you define character? Does the disembodied controller of an RTS count? Or do you need to have a specific player avatar unit?

Are you restricted to player avatars? How about NPCs who join the party later? Or who become the main player-controlled character for a time?

What about series of games? Do we get to choose which Samus we copy powers from, or do we have to go back to the start of Metroid? Or Zero Mission?

Do you count the powers the player has access to at the game's start, or do you include ones that the lore says the character has from the start, but just aren't available for the player until they get brought up later in the game? How about powers that interact with things in the environment so that there's no opportunity to use them until halfway through the game?

When you say a character "starts with" a power, does that mean they have the power during the first section of gameplay the player experiences after starting a new game? How about if the game starts with a prologue set in the future? Or has flashbacks to earlier times?

What about cutscene-only abilities?

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:29 am UTC

There are no rules imposed on Megaman's world that suggest he should take fall damage. You can look at it as a power due to an unexpected lack of consequence, or recognize that your expectations have been subverted and that it is not a game rule. Falling long distances without damage allows for game mechanics that involve falling. Whether or not you look at no fall damage as a power, the challenge of a fall room is going to require no fall damage, at least when you have a game that is as mechanically tight as Megaman. In Megaman, there's little room for error but it's also not as difficult as it could be.

So, what challenge opportunities does saving and loading provide? Well it's kind of a meta power. There are definitely some games that use it as a narrative mechanic. It's also arguably a crutch for poor pacing.

Creating fun abilities is no where near as difficult as giving the player purposeful uses for those abilities.

What immediately popped into my head was Half-Life 2 Substance Mod. You can swap between characters with different powers at any moment. You have a lot of power at your fingertips with lots of enemies constantly charging you. It gets boring really quickly.

I could maybe see something like a Duke Nukem where instead of pop culture references the joke is game rules and powers. Something more digestible than Pony Island, less random than Half-Mind, not sadistic like IWBTG. A very focused yet unfocused narrative style, like Stanley Parable but not with a literal narrator. A game where you aren't sure of anything other than you're being messed with. Somewhat the opposite of combining all the best powers.

What about a game that allows you to move on all 3 axis of movement freely, at any speed you choose? You aren't even restricted by level geometry, you can move right through everything. What if you could sculpt the very environment? Make whatever you want! Finally, you, the player, has full power!

Oh wait I'm describing basic 3D modeling software.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby gd1 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:39 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
gd1 wrote:I thought of this elsewhere, but...

I noticed that video game characters have many powers taken for granted. Megaman can fall any distance and never take damage. Some of them can come back to life and even choose where in a way (diablo 3). Games allow you to save, load, pause, etc.

What if there was a video game hero with the combination of abilities that a character starts with in each game (and the best parts of those abilities where there is overlap)?


How do you define character? Does the disembodied controller of an RTS count? Or do you need to have a specific player avatar unit?

Are you restricted to player avatars? How about NPCs who join the party later? Or who become the main player-controlled character for a time?

What about series of games? Do we get to choose which Samus we copy powers from, or do we have to go back to the start of Metroid? Or Zero Mission?

Do you count the powers the player has access to at the game's start, or do you include ones that the lore says the character has from the start, but just aren't available for the player until they get brought up later in the game? How about powers that interact with things in the environment so that there's no opportunity to use them until halfway through the game?

When you say a character "starts with" a power, does that mean they have the power during the first section of gameplay the player experiences after starting a new game? How about if the game starts with a prologue set in the future? Or has flashbacks to earlier times?

What about cutscene-only abilities?


+Specific player avatar unit
+Just the one player avatar (party based games not allowed)
+Each game of the series is treated as a completely different game
+Only what they have access to at the start. Nothing from the lore.
+If they have them but can't use them because of the environment it still counts
+I mean once you start the game and move past any (look left, look right, control check, etc.) tutorial part
+Disallow prologue set in the future games and flashback abilities
+If a character would be customizable, ignore all options of customization and take base adjusted stats if possible, otherwise only take meta abilities/game engine abilities such as saving, loading, double jumping, etc.

Starting:

Mega Man X3:
+Can slide down walls with no friction issues indefinitely
+Can jump-climb walls
+Never gets tired
+Never needs to eat, drink, breathe (environmental delay ability example), or sleep
+Can fall any distance with no damage taken
+Can fire energy blasts rapidly or charged with no limits
+Limited number of lives allows respawning at a designated area after death

That may not be all of them, but it's something
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:17 am UTC

So we don't get the portal gun, then, or can we count all of Portal until the final fight as the tutorial?

Asheron's Call: can "tie" to a Lifestone and will resurrect there in pretty good condition and with most equipment after death (-5% max health, stamina and mana and -5% all skills until you earn some more xp and your most expensive item of each type is left on your body) plus only you can loot your kills and your own dead bodies. Can also recall to that Lifestone voluntarily from anywhere any time. If you have a home, can also recall to that home from anywhere any time, and if you join an allegiance that has a mansion you can also recall to that mansion. On top of that, if you examine someone you can see a name that is totally unique to them (made so by adding place of origin if necessary), the name of the allegiance to which they belong, the name of the person immediately above them in that allegiance hierarchy and the name of the person at the top of that allegiance.
City of Heroes / City of Villain, if you choose to play the Stalker class: so damn stealthy you can ride up in the lift with the guy attending the meeting and his bodyguards and sit in on the meeting without anyone noticing you.
Enemy Territory, if you play as Field Ops guy: can cause a mortar bomb to fall anywhere you can see that's vertically exposed to the sky, exactly five seconds after you choose the spot.
From Dust: can float over the world, slurp up earth, water or molten lava in quite large amounts and dump it anywhere.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y8l8kEI354

An inassailable, indestructible, glowy deity that can fly anywhere and move the world around at will ... and can see who's really loyal to what faction. That could be really useful. 5000 cubic metres of molten rock isn't really a precision instrument, but it could still be useful.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:37 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:So we don't get the portal gun, then, or can we count all of Portal until the final fight as the tutorial?


Either way, the Long Fall Boots should be available, along with Chelle's uncanny cat-like ability to reorient with her feet toward the ground in moments.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:03 pm UTC

I'm not sure your character in Elite (BBC Micro ~1980) counts as a hero or as an avatar, but you so get to start the game with a collection of hardware for which any rich government currently on Earth would happily pay you a stupefying amount of money. Where we are now, the Transporter would be more useful (can carry passengers, can go planetside and can land on pretty much anything except molten lava or acid) than the Cobra III (stuck in space forever) and we're no in a position to refuel it but if we could add the fuel scoops we'd have a thing that can go from the ISS to Proxima Centauri and back today.

Speaking of space flight, there are certain engineering issues to be addressed but the ability of every L4D and L4D2 character to refill a pistol magazine just by withdrawing it from the gun for a second ought to have applications. You'd need to make complicated plans involving bullets burning up in the atmosphere and not hitting the ISS or orbiting the planet and hitting the other end of the ship, but still, infinite ammo is infinite fuel at maybe 14 kg m s-2 of momentum transfer (until your finger gets tired).
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:13 am UTC

gd1 wrote:+Specific player avatar unit
+Just the one player avatar (party based games not allowed)
+Each game of the series is treated as a completely different game
+Only what they have access to at the start. Nothing from the lore.
+If they have them but can't use them because of the environment it still counts
+I mean once you start the game and move past any (look left, look right, control check, etc.) tutorial part
+Disallow prologue set in the future games and flashback abilities
+If a character would be customizable, ignore all options of customization and take base adjusted stats if possible, otherwise only take meta abilities/game engine abilities such as saving, loading, double jumping, etc.

Starting:

Mega Man X3:
+Can slide down walls with no friction issues indefinitely
+Can jump-climb walls
+Never gets tired
+Never needs to eat, drink, breathe (environmental delay ability example), or sleep
+Can fall any distance with no damage taken
+Can fire energy blasts rapidly or charged with no limits
+Limited number of lives allows respawning at a designated area after death

That may not be all of them, but it's something


So, like, Super Mario Crossover?

That's the second one. And I know there's another one out there that allowed you to play through some stuff as the guy from Blaster Master. And his car.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby emceng » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:25 pm UTC

I'm getting a little tired of Civ. On the one hand I do enjoy the game, on the other it is a slog, especially when playing at Immortal. On standard maps or larger, culture victories are pointless. Pretty much the only way to do a culture victory is pretend diplomatic and science victories don't exist.

I re-installed EU4 yesterday. Going to try that.

Either way, I am only playing while working out, using a steam link and controller. Turned based strategy is perfect for this, and Civ is really good. Large icons, easy to see what's going on, easy to interpret. Space based 4x like Galactic Civ doesn't work nearly as well. Hmm, also makes me think - is there a space 4x that does units like Civ? Most of them do the rock paper scissors thing with lasers, rockets, and guns, then you can customize your ships endlessly. I think that's one frustrating thing about those games - I see a ship, and have nfc what it can do, either on my side, or an opponent. In Civ, I see a warrior, archer, tank, etc. I know exactly what it does, what to watch out for, and what will be needed to defeat it. I do really love the huge tech trees in space 4x. Same with RPGs with huge skill trees. I just think they're neat, and fun to use, even when pointless.



We'll see how an RTS does with the steam controller.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Zohar » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:58 pm UTC

You could try Into the Breach, from the makers of FTL. It's a turn-based, mostly-deterministic kaiju-mech tactical game where your main goal is not to defeat the kaiju but to protect the local residents. Played on a series of 8x8 grids. Very interesting game that requires you to find clever solutions where every move is basically a puzzle.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:11 pm UTC

Koa wrote:When I play turn based strategy I fully reflect upon every singular decision because each decision is presented in a singular way, wherein you should pick the choices that most benefit your grand strategy. Usually you aren't aware of what your grand strategy is yet, you have to feel around first. But regardless, everything is laid out and presented to you in a very coherent way. You'll probably know what went wrong if you're paying attention.

When I play real time strategy, there is little time to reflect upon any decision until the whole match is completed, or until a muscle memory is developed that smaller decisions can be completed while simultaneously thinking about larger ones. For Starcraft specifically, if there is zero muscle memory to work with, then it is very easy to get overwhelmed with the number of decisions you must make or tasks you must complete almost at any given second of the game. It is easy to develop muscle memory with practice, but... If your first experience is being overwhelmed, then while you can still look at awe at how players are able to complete so many tasks so quickly, that is now all that you see. You see a computer completing tasks, and you completely fail to see the strategy. Starcraft 2 has a million times more strategy than Civ V, I hope we can all agree.


I'm not sure this comparison even really makes sense. There are very different types of strategic and tactical depth in both games. It's like saying that soccer is more strategic than chess.

It's also worth noting that games like Civilization in particular, most people's experience is playing against the AI, which is somewhat predictable in terms of the types of strategies that it employs and the kinds of tactics it uses, and there's an upper limit to its ability. Playing these sorts of games, multiplayer, at any level, let alone the elite level, is pretty rare (and even then these games are often played 1v1 on small maps or something, which in and of itself limits the strategic depth). Try playing a Civilization game with 6 other human players and the strategic and tactical calculations scale dramatically.

What could strategy be other than a string of tactics? You think that when I employ the tactic of sending units to intercept air, that my opponent isn't also going to assume that I might be trying to intercept them, and that this relationship isn't directly affecting our strategy?


In Starcraft parlance, strategy is macro, tactics is micro. At the highest level, strategy is also medium independent. A strategy might be "I'm going to surround my opponent and starve them of resources." Am I playing Starcraft? Civilization? Settlers of Catan? Am I a general of in an actual war? Doesn't matter. It's an abstraction. Tactics are much more grounded in whatever medium that you are using.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:06 am UTC

There's not a lot for me to engage with given that in a few brief paragraphs you went from strategic depth being unique and incomparable, to the rules of strategy being universal (implying comparability?). In a way I can agree with both of these statements but I must admit and state that I have to change my frame of reference mid-way through.

As an aside, I feel like when strategy of one kind is most different from strategy of another kind, that most happens when communication and teamwork are major elements. I don't think soccer and chess can be compared, much like I don't think 7 player Civ can be compared to 1v1 Starcraft, or even 1v1 Starcraft to 4v4 Starcraft. Playing Civ against AI doesn't require any communication or teamwork, or more accurately, you can't apply communication or teamwork to Civ played in that manner to gain any benefit. In multiplayer Civ it's at least a potential. Civ isn't really designed to be played that way (or at least not anymore) and neither is Starcraft, so I don't see it as too important. I feel like both games are less interesting when played in that way as the nuance is destroyed. For instance, in Starcraft if an opponent in a 4v4 goes heavy into air units, static (immobile) air defense is no longer the proper response for your team because every single player would need static defense, and while static defense is cheaper than the air force of the opponent, it's not cheaper when 4 players have to do it. The correct response is for one player to have very mobile anti air defense to protect all allies. This eliminates some of the nuance of Starcraft's design, and there are many other examples that are more difficult to explain. Going back to Civ, I feel like Civ is less interesting when you know those people are going to stay allied all game long no matter what. The lines on the map have already been drawn outside of the game the second you can find anyone willing to sit down and finish a single match.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:12 am UTC

Strategy is where officers and secretaries push markers around on a map.
Tactics is where bullets fly around.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43zVRey2XEs

0:00 to 0:11 is tactics.
0:12 to 1:05 is strategy.
1:06 to 1:13 is scenery.
1:14 to 4:21 is tactics.
4:22 to 4:48 is death.
4:49 to 5:16 is tactics.
5:17 to 5:36 is some of Donald Trump's biggest fans taking a bath.
I'm sorry. That was really unfair on the brave pilots and aircrews of the Luftwaffe.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXf1bhEEXd0

0:00 to 0:12 is strategy.
0:13 to 1:15 is funny.
1:16 to 1:58 is advanced tactics. Those are the guys who won the Battle of Britain.
1:59 to 2:52 is kind of amusing.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:44 pm UTC

Koa wrote:There's not a lot for me to engage with given that in a few brief paragraphs you went from strategic depth being unique and incomparable, to the rules of strategy being universal (implying comparability?). In a way I can agree with both of these statements but I must admit and state that I have to change my frame of reference mid-way through.


That's why I specified both "at the highest level" and "strategic depth". There are obviously strategies that apply to the specific medium that you're working with. But many strategies can be abstracted at a high level because the objectives are independent of the medium.

Going back to Civ, I feel like Civ is less interesting when you know those people are going to stay allied all game long no matter what. The lines on the map have already been drawn outside of the game the second you can find anyone willing to sit down and finish a single match.


I wasn't referring to forced alliances here in Civ. I was referring to independent human players, who may choose to ally strategically with each other for parts of the game (or later backstab each other) or not. This is a very complicated scenario because human players don't play by the same rules as the AI.

Like take this for example:
your units are rallied to your main ramp, you can hold the ramp fine. Your opponent might not even decide to come in by air, and you might be fine. When a player takes half of his units away from the ramp to prepare itself to intercept the high possibility that something will come in by air, that player is playing on a different level. He or she is creating strategy where before there was none. Singular moments like this happen so very often in any given game, and in Brood War it can get even deeper and deeper


How is this different from defending against a Keshik rush in Civilization (using 4 here because I don't know 5)? Keshiks are fast, highly mobile, and do decent damage against soft targets and are great for harassing an opponent's economy (killing workers, pillaging infrastructure, etc.). They have a hard counter in spearmen, but spearmen are much slower than Keshiks, so you need to have a significant road network to properly defend against it, as well as a mobile squads of spearmen covering your territory and defending critical infrastructure. Positioning your troops correctly to defend against such a rush is critical, but over-building spears means you neglect your economy, or leave yourself vulnerable to a different type of attack (such as one from axemen, which are the hard counter to spearmen)... an unlike a typical Starcraft map, you probably don't have a convenient strategic choke point that you can just plug up with units, but need to be prepared to defend your entire territory. Playing against the AI, sure, this calculation is easy. The AI is dumb and attacks in predictable locations with predictable attack patterns in predictable unit stacks, and you can even predict from the diplomacy screen whether it's planning a war or not. This is much like how the AI plays in Starcraft. Humans don't play this way. All of this:
They are both trying to read each other. It's a huge game of bluff on top of a game of imperfect information on top of a barrage of perfect tasks to complete with imperfect tools. How you use them defines you. You can't just react to the enemy either, you need a vicious presence of your own. It takes a long time to develop.

Is just as true of a multiplayer Civ game as it is of a multiplayer Starcraft game.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:25 pm UTC

I think you misunderstood me a little in the second quote, but I'd rather go past that and ask a few questions. Would building roads be a strategic or tactical decision in your example of defending a rush? Also, if you happen to be next to a convenient mountain range that does provide a choke, and when you don't have to build roads because of that, is that tactical or strategic? Does the map that you're playing have a relationship with the tactics of the game, the strategy, or both? If it's strategic in any sense, do you think it fully medium independent, or partially? I guess I don't see the rhetorical purpose of boiling down strategy such that they're equal across games if it's almost never fully medium independent.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby SuicideJunkie » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:02 pm UTC

I'd say that building roads in general is a strategic decision. Having a road wind left or right around a particular tile vs driving through, and the exact distance from the mountain to the road is the tactical part of it.

The topology of the map (such as mountains and open fields and the existence of points of interest... not boundary conditions) impacts strategy most.
The individual tiles around points of interest are what impact tactics the most.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sizik » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:16 pm UTC

Tactics is thinking about how a move impacts the next turn. Strategy is thinking about how it impacts the next 1000 turns.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:31 pm UTC

If you're going to put static sentries in towers around the enemy camp, one way or another I can deal with that.
If you're going to put mounted sentries on loops around the enemy camp, one way or another I can deal with that.
If you're going to put trolls too big and tough to be fought on foot inside that enemy camp, by using my warsteed I can deal with that.
If you're going to put them in a big group deep inside where getting them to come out into the open where I can use that warsteed is kind of tricky, well, I can work something out and hit one while jumping a fence nearby in order to get their attention, so I can deal with that.
If you're going to make warsteed attacks do almost no damage without a long run-up, I have space to ride back and forth to get that run-up, so I can deal with that.
If you're going to make the trolls give up, go invulnerable, run back to their spawn-spots and return to full health if I get too far away, well, I can stay close to the perimeter to keep them busy, so I can deal with that.
If you're going to make the warsteed run out of power before I can wear even one troll down, I can slow down and still stay out of their reach while I build some power back up, so I can deal with that.
If the mounted patrols respawn on top of me and attack me while I'm doing all that twice in the time it take to kill one troll, I am not going to be happy.

Related: If I just spent ages wearing down the big, bad boss with my tough-but-low-damage Guardian and have finally beaten him, I'd rather not get attacked by him respawning 10 seconds later whiel I'm trying to get past his respawned bodyguards to continue the quest.
Oh, Willie McBride, it was all done in vain.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Koa » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:37 am UTC

SuicideJunkie wrote:I'd say that building roads in general is a strategic decision. Having a road wind left or right around a particular tile vs driving through, and the exact distance from the mountain to the road is the tactical part of it.

The topology of the map (such as mountains and open fields and the existence of points of interest... not boundary conditions) impacts strategy most.
The individual tiles around points of interest are what impact tactics the most.

So I'm going to continue under the assumption that we all agree on this. The map has rules which have a strategic relationship with gameplay, which while it does involve tactics, does not necessarily involve tactics. From what I can tell of keshik rushes they're highly map dependent. You need to play a certain khan, you need to have horses in your immediate territory, and you need to have a nearby target (or you need to be near the enemy player, as distance can become crucial). Nonetheless, you could have an unlucky scout and get blind sided by the rush, so you might be compelled to soft defend it blindly in certain situations. When it comes to blind defense against invisible threats, I don't think any game specializes more in that than Starcraft. Part of it is the design, and part of it is just the highly evolved meta through decades of highly motivated young e-athletes trying to break the asymmetric balance.

Civ, in a practical sense, isn't played at a high level. Maybe there are a couple of single digit groups out there, a tournament now and then... It's not really relevant to my argument since I assume we're talking about potential strategy rather than a comparison of a practical strategic level, but Civ doesn't have a developed metagame like Starcraft. While most players new to RTS find the concept of the metagame off-putting, "rules" that you have to learn and follow, it's really more like learning important relationships. You don't have to follow the rules. I know I don't. Sometimes things don't work, sometimes they work spectacularly. Metagame is always strategy, but it's a form of strategy that can only exist in practical application.

I also feel that unit relationships have a strategic relationship with gameplay. For instance, if spearmen were cheaper and relatively even slower than keshik, then I think roads would become less useful and you would instead use road money to build more spearmen and cover more ground. The relationship that spearmen have when fighting keshik can make roads, once a strategic decision, now an altogether wrong choice. Starcraft has more varied and tighter relationships of this nature. When more tactics are available, so to does the potential strategy rise, but correlatively. Not always, but usually.

I also think, if we're talking about raw numerical potential and not aggregated potential, that having millions of abstracted tiles is going to have a higher potential strategy than tens of thousands of tiles. So I guess we're talking about aggregated, non-practical strategic potential, in order to give Civ the best framing. If we're not willing to grant that strategic depth can be influenced by the aforementioned relationships, then sure I guess Civ is basically the same thing.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:29 pm UTC

I recently noticed the joystick on my steam controller was looking a bit the worse for wear. So today I replaced it with an aluminum joystick from Amazon and so far it's great.

There aren't any 'steam controller' specific replacement joysticks that I was able to find, but in my research I discovered that pretty much all modern controllers use the same ALPS joystick mechanisms. Xbox and PlayStation joystick knobs are basically interchangeable, but they don't fit in the Steam Controller without some minor modification.

What I ended up doing was using a drill press to shorten the inside stem of the replacement knob so it fit a little lower on the shaft of the joystick. Some people on the SteamControllerMods subreddit have instead cut a bit off the shaft to get pretty much the same effect without needing any special tools or anything. I just didn't want to do that because I have access to a well equipped workshop, and I had a spare knob if I screwed up on this one. I mean, the mechanism is just through-hole soldered onto the circuit board, so it's not like it would be difficult to replace if I had messed up shortening the shaft, but it would have been more difficult than just tossing the ruined knob and starting again with the other one.

Ended up not being an issue anyway, I pretty much just eyeballed the amount I needed to remove. Probably even using a drill press was overkill, a handheld electric drill or dremel type rotary tool would likely have worked fine as well.
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby SuicideJunkie » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:37 pm UTC

Koa wrote:I also think, if we're talking about raw numerical potential and not aggregated potential, that having millions of abstracted tiles is going to have a higher potential strategy than tens of thousands of tiles. So I guess we're talking about aggregated, non-practical strategic potential, in order to give Civ the best framing. If we're not willing to grant that strategic depth can be influenced by the aforementioned relationships, then sure I guess Civ is basically the same thing.

I feel like strategy ought to be measured on a logarithmic scale at least.

When you go from 9 tiles to 64, there's a huge leap, but going from 64 to tens of thousands isn't as big a jump. Going to millions of tiles doesn't increase the strategy much. And jumping from there to 10^120 tiles gets you noticeably more, but not all that much in absolute strategy game value. Mostly just longer campaigns and higher rez graphics and more detail in the units.

Having more tiles generally means each tile is much less valuable.
Having numerically more options isn't worth anything; having more unique and useful options is what's important.
I've seen a lot of game mods go by where people added a bunch of stuff just because they can, and all that adding made things less complex because they had no sense of balance.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Magnanimous » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:11 am UTC

I know this may be foolish, but I'm getting hyped again for Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord. Yes the game was announced six years ago and there's still no release date, but the presentations from Gamescom look awesome. Here's the newest trailer. Apparently one of the developers said they're planning to release the game "before the end of 2019".

... And yes, they were originally planning to release in 2016 (before a bunch of delays happened and also they rebuilt the engine from scratch). But I'm still hyped.

Unrelated GFT: I'm playing Danganronpa after a friend recommended it to me and it's pretty great so far. It's basically if you combined Phoenix Wright with the Hunger Games.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Sableagle » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:19 pm UTC

SuicideJunkie wrote:When you go from 9 tiles to 64, there's a huge leap, but going from 64 to tens of thousands isn't as big a jump.
That depends how big a tile is. From street-to-street and farm-to-farm to taking a large town is more of a shift in tactics than a move to strategy, but at the level where you're deciding which town to take based on railway junctions, river crossings, swamps, fuel supply lines and mountain isotherms, that's strategy. That strategy can then extend from a 50 km square to a 500 km square, but suddely you find yourself on the shore and there's a whole other country on the far side of the water, or your Blitzkriegers get as far as the English Channel and find it's to deep to wade, too wide to swim or bridge and a rather dangerous thing to try to cross by boat because of all the RAF that would happen to you if you tried, and you have to come up with a strategy for that. Also everything needs fuel and the oil fields are in another continent and you have to think strategically about how much of your forces to dedicate to controlling them, to cutting your enemies off from them, to driving towards another oil field elsewhere, to destroying enemy coal mines versus enemy shipyards or airfields, ...

From a 4000 km square of an infinite plain of uniform density covered in procedurally-generated ocean and islands or land and rivers
to a 40000 km square of an infinite plain of uniform density covered in procedurally-generated ocean and islands or land and rivers
to a 400000 km square of an infinite plain of uniform density covered in procedurally-generated ocean and islands or land and rivers
would just get tedious and stretch your ability to remember wtf is going on in a particular region if you're playing Age of Conquerors with pikemen, archers, heavy cavalry, mounted archers, monks and trebuchets, but with the introduction of the logistical nightmare that was The Settlers and some regional and seasonal weather variations it goes back to increasing the levels of strategy players need to consider. Your tanks are faster and better-armed, but bog down too easily in bad weather. Theirs can operate in almost any weather, and they're upgrading their weapons. Are you going to invest in designing a new all-weather tank, in improving the existing ones, in infantry anti-tank capability, in tank-busting aircraft or in artillery? Do you want to advance in any conditions or hold during winter and push forward only in spring and summer? Do you try for their capital in the often-frozen north or for the oilfield in the warmer but occasionally swampy south? Do you take the two-month build-up approach to vaccinations, or risk your soldiers' health to get them ready for deployment in two days? To go to a 400000 km square, you have to introduce interplanetary travel, and with current technology that's months of journey time and weeks or even years of planning and waiting for each launch. A small, fast ship, coming in from an unexpected direction, could get to the ISS before we could react to its approach and get our own ship there. A large iron rod, painted black, with exactly the right position and momentum at exactly the right time, could stab the Kremlin with maybe 1 or 2 seconds' warning and scatter central Moscow over a 30 km radius. That's a strategic consideration rather beyond "Mangudai get a bonus against siege engines."
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby SuicideJunkie » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:49 pm UTC

A tile is the finest resolution of terrain (and to a degree, unit size) that matters to the player. It doesn't have to be proportional to anything.

Consider Tic-tac-toe, Chess, Go, Civ, EVE. The number of tiles (and the size of zipped savestates) goes up immensely, but the strategic value of each detail goes down dramatically. In terms of game strategic-ness, there's a quick rise, and then it flattens right out.

From a single player's perspective, the game is going to have a fixed scale, (or at most a small number of similar scales and take a lot longer to play).

A lot of your strategy examples sound like tactics or logistics or just background mechanics to me, but it also sounds like you're blending drastically different scales. That requires a massively multiplayer game to do, and in that case you should spread the strategic value over all the contributing players, not add them up as if it were a solo game.

If you're doing strategy such that you are deciding between a trade deal and a declaration of war, then your tactics are going to be at the level of choosing to lead with infantry and tanks, diplomats, spies, ballistics or 3rd party trickery.
Picking which satellites to fire the rod from, or which tank division will lead the way is not even in scope. Your feedback will be a success chance, and varying effectiveness and side effects.

When you're doing strategy such that you are deciding you need to get into a barn for cover, jumping over the fence or sneaking under is your tactic. Your feedback comes directly from getting shot at or not.
But you certainly can't count the previous paragraph's strategy decision of using infantry and tanks in your tally for this game.


If you want to think about a game where you gradually drill down from DEFCON mechanics to Counterstrike matches in a singleplayer mode, then time is a significant diluting factor. At any one point, you don't have all that much strategy value.
Conversely, Rock-Paper-Scissors has a respectable amount of strategy if you spend 15 minutes playing against someone.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:26 pm UTC

I miss the days when Alphas were "Hey, the gun shoots! No, the monsters don't die, that's in the next update." and Betas were "Okay, so we're probably going to scrap all the graphics and we actually have no idea if the mechanics are fun yet so... let us know?" and demos were actual "Here is the game more or less in it's final form, some changes may be made later, but this is basically it"
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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby Ranbot » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:18 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:I miss the days when Alphas were "Hey, the gun shoots! No, the monsters don't die, that's in the next update." and Betas were "Okay, so we're probably going to scrap all the graphics and we actually have no idea if the mechanics are fun yet so... let us know?" and demos were actual "Here is the game more or less in it's final form, some changes may be made later, but this is basically it"

So, I don't care if developers release alpha, beta, demo, early access, or whatever they want to call it, but don't ask me for my credit card for anything less than Version 1.0.... that's what I miss.

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:20 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:I miss the days when Alphas were "Hey, the gun shoots! No, the monsters don't die, that's in the next update." and Betas were "Okay, so we're probably going to scrap all the graphics and we actually have no idea if the mechanics are fun yet so... let us know?" and demos were actual "Here is the game more or less in it's final form, some changes may be made later, but this is basically it"

So, I don't care if developers release alpha, beta, demo, early access, or whatever they want to call it, but don't ask me for my credit card for anything less than Version 1.0.... that's what I miss.


Version 1.0? You mean you don't wait for the 3 DLCs to fill in the missing mechanics and provide a complete game? (the missing story is waiting for game 4 of the trilogy; unfortunately, the series will be abandoned after the second game fails to meet the target of selling five times as many copies as the first, and rebooted as a free to play mobile game with almost no connection to the original)

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Re: Gaming fleeting thoughts

Postby rabidmuskrat » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:55 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:I miss the days when Alphas were "Hey, the gun shoots! No, the monsters don't die, that's in the next update." and Betas were "Okay, so we're probably going to scrap all the graphics and we actually have no idea if the mechanics are fun yet so... let us know?" and demos were actual "Here is the game more or less in it's final form, some changes may be made later, but this is basically it"

So, I don't care if developers release alpha, beta, demo, early access, or whatever they want to call it, but don't ask me for my credit card for anything less than Version 1.0.... that's what I miss.


I mean, if you want to ask for money on something that is less than version 1.0 that's fine, as long as you are very upfront with that fact. If people want to gamble on an unfinished product, that's their prerogative. I just won't be one of them.


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