Let's see moves as they are being done

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gabba
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Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by gabba »

(I've done a few searches, but I found no similar discussion.)

I've played some multiplayer games recently, and while overall I've enjoyed myself very much, there's an aspect that detracted from the experience: you often see someone's moves only when he has finished his turn, or at least in several big batches when some events happen. In other words, you can't follow his moves in real time.

Currently, from what I understand, moves are sent to the server only when a unit's move can't be "undone" anymore, that is mostly:
- when an attack happens
- when a village is captured
- when a shrouded area is uncovered

I'd be curious to know why it's coded this way, maybe it simplifies the network code? However it gets rather boring for the player who sees nothing going on for a while (on move-heavy turns), and then he makes everybody else wait while he watches the "video" of what happened.

It gets especially annoying in coop games ('been playing Return from Captivity, great campaign) or those where you have an ally such as 2v2. My friend asked me a couple times on Skype "where should I move unit X?", and I had to ask where he moved his other units to have an idea of what good spots were left.
Other akward moments included hearing cheers in Skype, and then waiting for a bunch of units to move before I could see the lucky hit that prompted the victory cry. Quite anti-climactic...

So, all in all, I think it would make perfect sense from a player's point of view to see all moves the current player is doing, including moving a unit and then canceling the move. Maybe a small visual clue or a sound would be appropriate to signal an undo, so it doesn't look like cheating.

This change would result in less dry spells in MP games and would allow commenting moves on-the-go; moreover it would be excellent for ally communication, as you could move a unit, ask "Should I do that?" (without any confusion over which unit you're talking about), and then undo the move if your allies have a better idea.

Edit2: see my "perfected" proposal below, which also addresses human vs human games with fog, and other games where showing undoable movements could reveal your plans to the opponent.
Last edited by gabba on July 20th, 2009, 7:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Blarumyrran
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by Blarumyrran »

It would change gameplay if it werent this way?

Eg the enemy might be checking possible moves into area that is visible to you with his unit, & undoing them, with a unit that is outside your vision before & after these undoable checkings. If his temporary moves are shown to you too, you see the unit that he brings to your vision in his temporary moves; otherwise, as it is now, you can only see that enemy unit after a real move, possibly to the surprise of you (eg the unit might betray what faction enemy is, or just be dangerous himself).

But that is only for fogged/shrouded games; i dont know if theres anything in fogless games for having it as it is now.
gabba
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by gabba »

Won't the enemy's unit probably uncover some fog as it does it's "temporary" move (unless delay shroud updates is set), thus denying it the possibility to undo?

Overall, I realize that undo is being used to check moves, but was it even intended for that purpose? And is it really worth making every game lose in interactivity? When you really need to privately check a move maybe a check move command (or toggleable mode), with an accessible key binding, would better fit the purpose.

(Even with a 'check move' command, the move should be synced to your allies, so you can privately and visually discuss moves together.)
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zookeeper
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by zookeeper »

gabba wrote:Won't the enemy's unit probably uncover some fog as it does it's "temporary" move (unless delay shroud updates is set), thus denying it the possibility to undo?
The syncing happens whenever the player does something which isn't undoable. If you can undo, the other clients won't yet see what you did, but if you can't, they will.
gabba wrote:Overall, I realize that undo is being used to check moves, but was it even intended for that purpose? And is it really worth making every game lose in interactivity? When you really need to privately check a move maybe a check move command (or toggleable mode), with an accessible key binding, would better fit the purpose.
Maybe. But that "checking moves" mode would need to be able to support multiple sequential test moves anyway, so it would end up working pretty much like currently. As a player, I usually want to retain the ability to undo as far as possible.
gabba wrote:(Even with a 'check move' command, the move should be synced to your allies, so you can privately and visually discuss moves together.)
Sure, that might be a good idea. It still sounds like a pretty big can of worms, though.
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by gabba »

zookeeper wrote:
gabba wrote:Overall, I realize that undo is being used to check moves, but was it even intended for that purpose? And is it really worth making every game lose in interactivity? When you really need to privately check a move maybe a check move command (or toggleable mode), with an accessible key binding, would better fit the purpose.
Maybe. But that "checking moves" mode would need to be able to support multiple sequential test moves anyway, so it would end up working pretty much like currently. As a player, I usually want to retain the ability to undo as far as possible.
gabba wrote:(Even with a 'check move' command, the move should be synced to your allies, so you can privately and visually discuss moves together.)
Sure, that might be a good idea. It still sounds like a pretty big can of worms, though.
Hmm ok, what about this:
- You always, always, always have the possibility to undo. (Well, under the same conditions as now.)
- All moves (even those that can be undone) are immediately synced to your allies.
- You have a toggle, Hide undoable moves from enemies, that makes the game act just like now with respect to enemies. It's on by default for human vs human games with shroud or fog, off by default for all other games. If it's off, all moves (even those that can be undone) are immediately synced to your enemies just as your allies.

Does it still sound nightmarish/can-of-wormish :P ?

Edit: tried to make it even clearer.
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by A Guy »

I would have a checkbox for showing undoable moves to allies as well, and to not be shown undoable moves by other people until they can't undo moves as it is currently.
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gabba
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by gabba »

A Guy wrote:I would have a checkbox for showing undoable moves to allies as well, and to not be shown undoable moves by other people until they can't undo moves as it is currently.
I don't see very good reasons for either of those. And an extra option is already some work to maintain, so, three of them?

Thinking of it, even the Hide undoable moves from enemies checkbox could be done away with, if we can detect which units are shrouded from a player, and not show those units' undoable moves to that player.
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by Blarumyrran »

gabba wrote:I don't see very good reasons for either of those.
agree
gabba wrote:Thinking of it, even the Hide undoable moves from enemies checkbox could be done away with, if we can detect which units are shrouded from a player, and not show those units' undoable moves to that player.
do not agree,

because now that i think of it, there are some reasons to hide your undoable moves from enemies even if no fog is involved - not as relevant as the fog-related ones, but anyway - eg you are playing an FFA, and have formed an unofficial temporary alliance with another player & are preparing to backstab him, checking ground with the undoable moves to see how nicely you can backstab him this turn, possibly postponing the backstab if the conditions are not good enough. Lets say the conditions are bad, you postpone it. The enemy who thinks he is in temporary alliance with you, if he sees you trying different positions of backstabbing him, he will get to know you are about to backstab him obviously, and can make preparations or attack you first - he couldnt do that if he didnt see your undoables.
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by gabba »

Blarumyrran wrote:
gabba wrote:I don't see very good reasons for either of those.
agree
gabba wrote:Thinking of it, even the Hide undoable moves from enemies checkbox could be done away with, if we can detect which units are shrouded from a player, and not show those units' undoable moves to that player.
do not agree,

because now that i think of it, there are some reasons to hide your undoable moves from enemies even if no fog is involved - not as relevant as the fog-related ones, but anyway - eg you are playing an FFA, and have formed an unofficial temporary alliance with another player & are preparing to backstab him, checking ground with the undoable moves to see how nicely you can backstab him this turn, possibly postponing the backstab if the conditions are not good enough. Lets say the conditions are bad, you postpone it. The enemy who thinks he is in temporary alliance with you, if he sees you trying different positions of backstabbing him, he will get to know you are about to backstab him obviously, and can make preparations or attack you first - he couldnt do that if he didnt see your undoables.
Very good input, I never played such a game so I didn't think of that specific situation. So yeah, that one option seems necessary - I think it should be in the right-click menu, together with "delay shroud updates".
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by A Guy »

Well, on one hand, it would constantly annoy you if you wanted to only scroll to moves that were actually relevant to gameplay while you checked the battlefield for other things. You could turn scrolling off but that means you miss out on all the moves if you're not browsing the actual fighting.
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gabba
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by gabba »

I see your point. It might be a nice option to add, but I'm still not convinced it's essential. It seems to me those undoable moves would hardly be irrelevent: if it's your opponent playing, observing him as he thinks in front of you, trying different combinations, should be interesting. If it's an ally, you probably want to watch even closer to provide advice.

Right now I check stuff around the map as well when it's not my turn, but that's because nothing happens and I get bored. If there's something interesting happening at all times, there'll be less of an urge to look around the map, I think. We have our own turn for that.
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by A Guy »

Okay, the only problem I now have with this is being able to see your enemy undo moves. It seems unfair to be able to see everything your enemy might be planning with their allies.
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gabba
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by gabba »

A Guy wrote:Okay, the only problem I now have with this is being able to see your enemy undo moves. It seems unfair to be able to see everything your enemy might be planning with their allies.
Yup. That's why your enemy should be able to use this option to hide his moves:
gabba wrote: - You have a toggle, Hide undoable moves from enemies, that makes the game act just like now with respect to enemies. It's on by default for human vs human games with shroud or fog, off by default for all other games. If it's off, all moves (even those that can be undone) are immediately synced to your enemies just as your allies.
That's the only option I believe we can't do without. But in games without fog, I seriously hope it won't be used much: we see everything anyways, and it will make games more interesting.
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by A Guy »

I would always turn that option on, because otherwise, the option to see undoable moves would be counterproductive, and I would just talk about potential moves as I do now.
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Re: Let's see moves as they are being done

Post by Des »

I’ve noticed this too, and it is somewhat anti-climatic and annoying to see someone’s moves right away at the end of their turn as opposed to a play-by-play. But I understand the reason for it: that it’s less confusing and more efficient to only see permanent moves. Imagine seeing your opponent’s units moving back and forth from undos all the time. At least now, a move on the screen has a finality to it—it cannot ever be taken back. In this way, it keeps the game more fresh than if we saw all the moves; including each undo, to the point when we don’t know a real move from an undo.
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