Suggestion: Queuing Orders


#1

Current Problem: Playing Blight optimally requires jotting down what times your units will reach destinations (or recharge powers) and checking in at precisely that time to execute an order. If you can’t check in at exactly that time, hours are wasted as units wait for you to tell them to claim the city they’ve stopped in.

Solution: Be able to queue Claim, Build, and Ability orders.

Ultimate Goal: Make it possible to play Blight to nearly optimal levels simply by checking in every 8 hours.

Part 1 - Reserve Pools: Mana, Gold, and Valor for queued Abilities, Builds, and Claims should be set aside in a Reserve Pool so the player doesn’t accidentally spend it. The amount in the Reserve Pool should be shown in parentheses next to the current value.

In this example, the player started out with 1499 Gold, but queued three Dwarven Hammer squads. He now has 600 Gold reserved and 899 free Gold left.

Part 2 - Queuing Claims: The player can queue settlement claims by selecting a neutral settlement they currently don’t have any troops at and clicking the Queue Claim button (in place of the usual Claim button).

Once they queue a claim, their flag will appear planted at that settlement. Their next unit to reach that settlement will automatically claim it (even if it’s just passing through on its way to somewhere else).

Here, a player has queued a claim on Bees Stone. Their flag pops up on it to show what they’ve done. When their army reaches it in ~12 hours, it will automatically claim it.

Part 3 - Queuing Troops: Should work similar to RTSes ala Starcraft. Continuing to click on the Train Unit button will queue up additional units that will automatically be trained once the previous units are finished training. The number that can be trained will be limited to the settlement’s current population.

Part 3a - Setting Waypoints for Newly Trained Troops: Settlements should have a Set Waypoint button; if clicked, the player can set a destination that newly-trained troops will automatically head towards.

Units trained in Lost Blossom will automatically head towards Jaggy Mountain.

Part 4 - Queuing Abilities: Probably the trickiest to pull off. When you queue an ability, it will go off the moment it’s recharged & the target is within range. Abilities can be queued against out-of-range enemies and while the ability’s recharging. Potential queued-ability targets are marked by a gray bullseye instead of a red one. Useful for rooting/debuffing hordes at the very edge of a unit’s range- such as when they’re turning a corner away from the unit and will only be in range for a single step.

A Wizard queues a “You Shall Not Pass” against a zombie horde; he’ll root the horde the moment it recharges- provided they haven’t wandered out of range in the meantime.

Each unit can only queue one ability use at a time.


#2

This is a great suggestion that I would highly recommend… however I’m sure it’s a nightmare to program. I’d recommend looking at how subterfuge did it, the system is extremely elegant. If you were to make this change you’d have to change the zombies to have an eventual goal instead of just the next waypoint.

I would absolutely love this change and would make the game a lot easier to manage for the player. Queueing up orders would mean you wouldn’t have to check the game as much. However I completely recognize that this is an enormous change and Jay/Penny: I honestly can’t tell you if it’s essential for it to become a smash hit. For my two cents (whatever that’s worth) If I were in your shoes I would definitely devote time to it even if it’s a six month change. I think it would make the game easier for more casual players. That would in turn bring the player base up. I’m a game developer myself and know it’s easy to tweak endlessly but I think this might be important enough to do.

I’m 100% ok with being wrong though and you can tell me to shut up, I’m cool with that :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

I would love this too (and I think have mentioned it), even small parts like being able to claim settlements in advance by itself would be good, also past these suggestions would be stop a x% along the path, merge 2 armies, use ability when in range, use ability when unit comes into/ out of a forest etc


#4

I thought about that myself and shrugged it off on the notion most would be too damn complex. I suspect the devs deliberately don’t let you stop in the middle of a path. A command to have an army follow the next army it meets could be useful. As for “use ability halfway into terrain”, I think that would be better served with decimal ranges (1.2 leagues instead of 1 league?) and good positioning.


#5

you can stop in the middle of a path - you select the unit hit clear path and save, great for getting dark whiches etc into position (also stopping 5% away from a blighted settlement)

But trying to sort out what would be a good interface for any of the things I commented on seems far lower priority and importance than getting the basics in (like claiming settlements on the way through


#6

So how subterfuge did it (which again was very elegant) was you had a time slider. You could slide the clock forward 24 hours to see where everything would be. At any point when you used the slider you could issue new orders/moves. They would queue up to be performed at that time. I’m not sure I’m explaining it well but it was honestly the most interesting part of that game.


#7

One ‘problem’ with the idea of queuing troop deployments is that sometimes you may wish to queue up training that you don’t have the money for yet, but know you will have the money for before you are next able to return to the game. Something that may be possible is the queuing of orders you do not yet have the funds for, which will be automatically executed when you do. This may help those who are unable to log in at the most optimal times to set training.


#8

EDIT: just realized how long this post became. TL:DR Probably keep it simple, let the players be responsible for having enough resources and their units when and where they need them, and reject their queued orders when they dont.

Another possibility for troop deployments and settlement capturing: instead of constraining the player to their current pool or “flagging” settlements (which would probably need a bunch of work in and of itsself), you allow the player to queue up any orders they wish. So you can tell a settlement to produce as many troops as you want (perhaps using the “pools” mike proposed to show how much they are spending), and tell troops to move somewhere, then buy the town, then move somewhere else if needed.
If the game runs into a command it cant fulfill (not enough money or valour right now, for example), then those orders are immediately discarded. It might discard the entire queue, or simply those orders it cant fullfill and go on to the next one.

This should be easier to program (i think?), since it mostly requires the ability to queue certain orders (and units can already queue moves), and the ability to discard any orders in said queue. It doesnt need to put anything on hold and check all the time to see if it can be done.

Likewise, queuing abilities, if it is going to be put in, should probably be limited to anything the unit can accomplish at the moment it becomes availible. Not sure how hard the recruitment waypoints would be, as awesome as they are.

This proposal does require a lot more foresight and planning from the players, but i think we have enough information to do it, and foresight and planning ahead only to realize you screwed up and now need to run your army at twice its speed to kill a stack three times as big seems one of the fun parts of the game :smile:

Thats just my thoughts though. I could be entirely wrong as well.


#9

Is Subterfuge a 1-player game? Because with multiple players interacting, no plan survives contact with your allies.

Only one way to test it, really: code it out, put in the beta, and see what happens.


#10

Subterfuge is a multiplayer game. Basically similar to neptunes pride. If people change orders that’s not important for Blight, it’s just a state of where you’re currently at assuming the current orders stand. Because Blight is a game that’s multiplayer cooperative the method would work very well.


#11

Indeed. Though planning is half the work in software development. But you can only really be sure it works when it’s out for people to mess with.


#12

I’ve been following another thread regarding have more information about where the zombies are moving, and the more and more I read, the more opposed I become to the idea of queuing orders.

I think the reason for that is, queuing orders is really just an ‘optimization’ of game play that isn’t realistic and probably makes the game less interesting.

In fact, movement right now is a form of queuing commands. In order to add another strategy element I think your units should be forced to wait out their currently commanded movements until they can accept new movement orders, or at the least require them to reach or pass through the current vertex before re-queuing movement; much like the zombies do.


#13

I don’t think that is a very good idea. Being able to move multiple leagues in one order is mostly a massive quality of life improvement. Otherwise, you need to log in every 1-2 leagues, or risk massively screwing yourself if you need to change a long movement order.

Having to complete their current league is more reasonable, but i’m not sure how it improves the game. Making sure people are certain when they give that movement order? Most people already are, and when they do want to change it, it’s mostly because they changed their minds or because or meta-stuff happening (communication between players, being unable to log in for a day or 2 and having to fortify all your stuff temporarily). So it would mostly be very annoying as far as i can see.

As for the realism aspect, we’re already fighting zombies with fantasy races in a highly abstracted manner, so I think we can sacrifice this bit of historical realism on the altar of convienience and preventing frustrated rage.


#14

Exactly… Like in competitive chess there is a rule that if you touch a piece then you have to move it. It commits the player to there action to a greater degree and would put a stop to the stop short strategies some players use to avoid combat for grave clearing.


#15

This is exactly how Neptune’s Pride works now and it works very well in the PVP game.

You were talking about how you would like to see Nightmare more challenging. Do you think this is the kind of thing that would make nightmare quite different / interesting.


#16

I think it would make a fairly good regular game mechanic, not just nightmare. I really don’t like the 6 hours to train a unit discussion we had in a separate thread; mainly because it does encourage the type of game play where players will log on every 6 hours to train their next unit.

I can understand that some changes might be needed, or that you could mistakenly queue an order that you wanted to cancel but were unable to do so.

I would say allow the player to completely change orders as long as they are on a vertex and haven’t taken a step yet. If they are not on a vertex they could still change their marching orders, except they would need to pass the current vertex they are headed to before turning around.


#17

To clarify, I’m not a big fan of using limits to make things difficult. I.E. reducing starting resources, adding a movement restriction etc… I’m also not a fan of using more of the same to make things more difficult.

I prefer adding ‘dimensions’ to the games to make them more difficult. I.E. give zombies powers, make secondary objectives, etc.


#18

Well, queuing orders would take care of that. *wink wink nudge nudge *

That’s the first bit of the movement order they complete, which are 5-10 minutes, right?
That would be a reasonable implementation. I’m still not sure whether it would improve the game or not, but I could live with it :).


#19

On the subject of the locking movement until they pass the current vertex, I don’t think that would necessarily be beneficial to the game. Firstly, I think we can all agree that the movement UI is a little fiddly. I’ve had multiple times when I tried to move from A to B, only to find that due to terrain I was automatically pathed through C - somewhere unsavory. As it is, I can fiddle and readjust my pathing until I have something much more preferable. If I was locked in, even if there was a short timer on the lock-in, I’d have lost many games simply from the AI deciding I should take the flatland with a gigantic hoard rather than the empty mountain pass next to it.

I also don’t think making corpse burning more of a logistical activity is great either, especially from a fiction standpoint. Why must my army walk a league to the east to burn the bodies of the battle a mere minute’s walk in that direction? Personally I would much sooner see the corpse piles either magnetize to the nearest vertex, or be a clickable destination.

If I were to suggest something along the lines of a movement-restricting mechanic, it would be some sort of ‘messenger’ system, where the further your unit currently was from a claimed settlement, the longer it took for them to get their instructions. Perhaps this could differ between races, too. It might encourage more creative settlement claiming strategies for messaging efficiency, too, if it was balanced right. But I’m not sure about that idea myself, it was just a thought I had while considering the suggestions made here.


#20

This feature would be awesome, currently if you book in a command to move to a castle and claim it you have to log in an hit “claim” once you arrive and until you do your army just sits there while the enemy creeps closer. also every time you build units typically it means they will pop out 6 hours later but if you just went to bed or something then they sit there until you log in and give them direction.