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Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 12/7/2020 11:52:43 AM   
Tac2i


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If Vic were to take on a new game project for a major update to ATG, what would you like to see incorporated/improved? I am speaking a new paid version, not a minor free update to the current game. Since ATG was released in the Spring of 2011, lots of new functionality has been developed in the Decisive Campaigns series and the recently released Shadow Empire. Note: this post is my attempt at soliciting input for a possible new game project and does not indicate Vic is actively considering it, though he is following this post.

< Message edited by Tac2i -- 12/7/2020 5:35:52 PM >


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WEGO - 12/8/2020 3:42:10 PM   
rhinobones

 

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A WEGO system, combined with the universal editor you already have, would be just grand.

Regards, RhinoBones


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RE: WEGO - 12/8/2020 5:04:28 PM   
ernieschwitz

 

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Not so sure I want a WEGO system. To me, that want to make grandscale scenarios, WEGO seems less ideal than IGUGO. Perhaps if a scenario could be made either or.

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RE: WEGO - 12/8/2020 9:43:51 PM   
Twotribes


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I dont like wego.

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RE: WEGO - 12/8/2020 11:58:06 PM   
Tac2i


Posts: 2001
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Here are some of my initial ideas:
1) more immersive leader system as in Shadow Empire.
2) diplomatic system would have depth and variety (player A does this or that and angers player B, demands land (hexes) or it is war, etc.
3) game graphics and user interface brought up to the current standards (as in Decisive Campaigns Series). Bottom panel can be minimized.
4) autosave each turn with user defined naming convention or at least have option to autosave each turn with a date filename.

Thinking about this, if Shadow Empire gets oceans and navies, then perhaps a paid Advanced Tactics Gold 1.5 Mod utilizing the SE system but with WW2 technology and at start empires (vice one city starts).

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RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 12/9/2020 3:42:25 PM   
lion_of_judah


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able to save maps so they can be used in different scenario's instead of having to make a whole new map. Make the terrain tiles more like dccp.

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RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 12/10/2020 3:22:50 AM   
ernieschwitz

 

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I think if there is going to be a newer version of ATG. Call it Advanced tactics 2.0, Advanced tactics platinum, Advanced tactics ultimate, or even Advanced tactics: Rise of the Grolschken Reich.. we will have to come together to finding out what we really like about ATG.

For me I love the ability to mod it as freely as is possible. I'd love more options, more commands, abilities to check everything that has been used to create and input into it. I'd also love for more ways for players to interact with the game. Currently you can really only interact with a player of a scenario, by cards. Sometimes you can interact via researches, and sometimes you can interact via checking if a player has taken this or that hex. .. and that is about it. It would be nice to have some sort of branching choice at the message level. Something like having a message being sent to the player, and then having them to respond, immediately (before any other action could be taken) and to three or more options. These could then again lead to more of these, and so on. Things like that I find missing.

Naturally a lot of the things that are available in DC-Series games, and SE, could be added to a newer version of ATG. For me again, it is most about being able to edit and program things that have yet to be possible. Like having a location in a hex, and that location having a myriad of options for it that could be on or off... things like airport, port, recruitment center, light tank factory... etc. etc. I experimented with this concept as far as I could, in GD1938, and I'd love to be able to do more. As I understand it, this idea actually is part of SE.

I understand that for some players the random game aspect is all that there is to ATG. They are missing out in my oppinion, but, there probably would have to be some random game generation in a new version, and perhaps a campaign... so that new players can learn, or perhaps even be set on a journey through the imagination of the developer (Vic). Personally I always wondered what happened to the Grolschken Reich in Peoples Tactics.... (Vics first game).

But, I guess for this not to be a very boring project, for Vic, we'd have to come up with something new and imaginative. A concept that would make it interesting to actually make a new version, to do things with, that cannot be done in ATG now, or DC-series or SE.

Let your imaginations roll! :)


(in reply to lion_of_judah)
Post #: 7
RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 12/11/2020 10:11:46 PM   
PythonMagus

 

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It is very hard to defend in ATG - I generally build forts, flak and fighters. Flak and fighters have an auto react ability. I would like the ability for artillery and units to have an auto-react mode where they counter attack the first unit that moves next to them, before the reserves arrive.

Obviously, any improvement to the AI would be welcome. It is hard not to play a "hold until they all run out of supply" tactic against a rampaging AI. Also, perhaps have a random doctrine assigned to AIs, so they don't predictably research the same techs in the same order each time. If the AI would attempt a few para drops, it would make them a whole new challenge.

BTW, I can write code if you want some assistance.

Python Magus aka David Bowman

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RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 12/16/2020 12:14:46 AM   
Bombur

 

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My wish list
-Port and airfield with different sizes limits. You cannot service a battleship in a small port and you cannot land a B-29 in a small airstrip
-More slots for SFT in each unit (maybe 20-30)
-Individual ships with damage and ability to repair only in ports.
-Seaplanes and seaplanes carriers
-Helicopters and helicopter carriers
-Ship based long range missiles
-Each ship is rated for ability to carry long range missile/aircarft/helicopter
-Each aircraft is rated for ability to be carried on ships
-VTOL aircraft
-Ability to interdict production of oil and ore
-Ability to build every kind of road (but more realistic costs and building time)
-Improved system of air interception based on aircraft speed, radar technology/instalations and distance from interceptor to target, with random interception for each unit
-Mandatory "historical units", like in Shadow Empire and HOI-IV (but you can edit them)
-Recovery vehicles
-Submarines cannot "block" ships from passing, but there is a chance of being attacked if they do so
-Mines and minelayers

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RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 12/16/2020 2:12:25 AM   
Ormand


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I've been thinking about this a bit, and ernieschwitz has a point as to what should the "hook" be to entice Vic to go the route of a major update of this classic. And classic it is. After all, how many games are there that are nearly 10 years old, and have a devoted following?! Towards this end, I would start with what makes ATG unique, or at least why I think we like it so much:

1. An excellent combat engine allowing simulations of combat between units with different components - it is the core of the DC series

2. A powerful editor that gives a modder or scenario designer a LOT of control over just about everything - basically the ability to design and build your own game

3. A basic economic engine that allows for production and simulating some national functions

4. Random game generator - giving a fresh new game

In many ways, making the engine and editor better to make historical scenarios is probably not enough, partly because that is kind of what the DC Community Project. Although, I would like to see the system in enhanced to make it the best simulator available, something that can be utilized to put TOAW to shame as a historical operational simulator, but an editor that adds new features and control into scenarios.

But, I also think random games are a big part of it. Historical games are great. You can learn about the operation, all the challenges, and the history. But, they have the problem that they are static and get old. There are only so many times you can invade Poland, fight Russia vs Finland, simulate WW2, etc. before you are a beating a dead horse to with a stick. You try new strategies with each game, but after awhile it is hard to get something really new as any reasonable historical simulation is bounded by several historical realities that you already know. Plus, the sense of danger and unknown leaves after a few replays. Thus, I would advocate for a really good random game generator. Indeed, I would like two aspects, (1) a random operational scale game, with a random map and objectives within say 20 turns or so and (2) a "Nations at War" simulator. For (2), the core is here, but it should be more than just an everyone out for themselves to dominate and conquer the known world (on the map). To make it exciting, there should be purpose. Kind of a backstory for the regimes to fight - say, a random regime that is hell-bent on world domination (maybe two, together or opposed), neutrals, and bystanders that need to respond. Ideally, when you start, there is the option that you don't know who has what role. Along these lines, it would be nice to be able to select regimes.

All this would be really hard to do, but it would build on the success of the franchise and will keep it fresh and on lots of hard drives for a long time.

BTW, I think the DC:Ardennes project sounds very interesting. The fact that there is no hex ownership is something that I haven't seen in a while. At first, when I heard that it was a (edit) batallion scale game that it would be much like SPI's "Wacht am Rhein", which would be interesting and kind of a monster. But functionally, it is actually more like the old SPI's "NATO Division Commander", with roughly the same scale and blind movement. I played a few times in the 1980's and it was fun, i.e., tense and challenging. It was a turn-based board game with two blind maps and a moderator, so it wasn't that easy to get a game going. It is also a system that would likely be very exciting and successful with random battles.

There are lots of features that I would like for the category of "Like ATG, but Better" as well.


< Message edited by Ormand -- 12/16/2020 2:23:50 AM >

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RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 12/16/2020 6:43:48 AM   
Vic


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I am reading this thread :)

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RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 12/17/2020 3:08:47 AM   
ColRosenberger

 

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I have a few things in mind :) .

Introductory Campaign

Personally, I discovered Advanced Tactics Gold by playing People's Tactics first. I really enjoyed the initially fairly simple, easy to approach and tongue-in-cheek fictional campaign that gradually scaled up to bigger scenarios. It let you familiarize yourself progressively with the available units and tactics. I had a really hard time getting into AT Gold because of the lack of a similar campaign - small scenarios were mostly very dry affairs without context, and big ones were a bit too large-scale and intimidating. Not to mention that all you have to know what a scenario is about is a file name with no preview of the contents! And I'm actually not aware to this day of a single campaign shipping with AT Gold.

So I hope that an AT Gold sequel provides a similar campaign which starts small and introduces units and mechanics somewhat gradually (NOT asking for a "use WASD to move the map" tutorial here, just starting with infantry scenarios with no production and building up from there should be enough) to get your feet wet.
A proper scenario/campaign browser with preview image and description is kind of a must too.

Generating dynamically a fictional campaign where you get to take your core units from scenario to scenario would be a nice stretch goal. (Very cool, but a big chunk of work to get it right.)
Hopefully, manually setting up campaigns should also be dead-easy. Right now, barely anyone dares to use the campaign system in AT Gold.

Empire Deluxe-style map conquest

The other role that People's Tactics/AT Gold fulfills for me is a kind of more advanced successor to Empire Deluxe (or somewhat similar games like Advanced Wars, Battle Isle, even M.A.X.), or perhaps a more complex computer game adaptation of Axis&Allies. Basically, painting the whole map your color with satisfying Land/Sea/Air combat, conquering resource and production points, and managing your logistics is what I'm after. In that sense I really like the old Risk for Three scenario (recently revived by ernieschwitz - thank you!) which is basically a mad land grab where you can produce from any city you capture.
So I hope that even as Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 no doubt becomes even more complex to satisfy the demands of its grognard audience, it gets along the way these abilities:
  • AI able to handle land, air and especially SEA units properly.
  • AI able to recognize that the situation is a land grab and that it should rush to capture production points to gain an advantage (currently, it spreads a lot and takes its time
  • even if every town is neutral, the enemy is far and there's no fog of war).
  • Availability of a somewhat casual ruleset where you can use anything you conquer Risk-Style and don't have to worry about town nationality for production purposes.

    To be clear, I'm also interested in more realism and in historical scenarios, but personally I save those for when I have more energy and time.

    Learn from other modding communities

    I wish AT Gold 2.0 would open up to modding on a larger scale using some of the same strategies I've observed in other very successful modding communities I've been a part of:
  • Tolerate reverse engineering for modding purposes like Cities Skylines, Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program (this implies a change of EULA). For C:S in particular, this allowed an explosion of interesting mods including the mind-boggling Traffic Manager where someone completely rewrote the traffic AI, to great success: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1637663252 https://github.com/CitiesSkylinesMods/TMPE -- it's mostly done through injecting hooks into the Unity C# code through the Harmony library. For Minecraft... well, the sky is the limit. Let's just say that people have coded tornados ripping through the map, new fluid systems, and completely replaced world generation thanks to this permissive approach.
  • Open-source part of the game code like Civ IV, V, and VI. This allowed among others the majestic and unprecedented Fall from Heaven II and Rise of Mankind mods and their modmods, which modify the C++ open-source code released by the devs.
  • Let people script in something standard. If you want to provide "safe" visual scripting, the best frontend these days which seems to match and exceed the capabilities of your current script editor, seems to be https://developers.google.com/blockly/ or other similar techs. But I'd strongly recommend finding a way to let more advanced users code in C++, Java, C# (perhaps .csx hosted with ScriptCS or Roslyn) or a well-known scripting language like Lua (like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat does). No matter what you do, the ability to dig through text files using standard tools and make mass changes is key, otherwise you're severely restricting the scope of mods that can be built and maintained.
  • Provide at least a basic modding API. Cities Skylines provides one which allows basic modding through code and provides a good place for people who reverse engineer to set up their hooks. Civ of course lets you interact with the closed-source part of the game with a fairly extensive API.
  • Organized game data into records that can be overriden through mod load order, like Skyrim and its predecessors. This allows combining an unprecedented number of mods, lets any mod depend on another mod and tweak it (a more advanced application of the Master File concept in AT Gold) and is overall the most solid way I've seen to handle tweaking single values for balance without needing to replace a whole file.
  • Specify up front that mods should be open-source and that building upon other people's mods and combining them into modpacks is allowed. This lets the community grow to its full potential and avoids the incredibly bitter internal wars I've observed around modpack permissions in the Skyrim and Minecraft communities. If your game is successful, in the end you can end up with thousands of mods, and end-users who don't have hours to wade through user-generated content databases honestly just want to download a pack with the hundred best ones and start playing. But for this very good thing to happen you must set clear rules from the start for mods.
    Some communities such as the Civ one has a much more relaxed approach to this which helped people build on each other's advancements with minimal bickering and helped build such incredible mods in the first place.
  • Try to have in mind some popular modding organizer as the go-to way to download, install and manage mods. This way mod packaging can be standardized from day 1. The Nexus Mods community spawned Vortex and Mod Organizer 1 and 2, which are worth looking at. Of course there's always also the Steam workshop, but while very easy to use for simple stuff it shows its limits quickly and isn't friendly to Matrix Games or GOG purchasers.

    I think the modding possibilities with such a flexible engine as AT Gold (2.0) are very exciting, if the proper conditions and infrastructure are put in place.


    EDIT: added new section:

    Overall quality of life

    This might seem like an obvious addition for a sequel or iteration, but I'm afraid the consideration might get buried under the feature requests. (The following points BTW go beyond mere quality of life. They can make the difference between a game people feel they can play at a somewhat casual level, and one that requires so much minutiae that only the grognard need apply. All of that based on differences in the interface.)

    Less clicks to do common things, especially to create a unit:

  • Creating a regular unit: Click Create Unit -> Select Unit Type -> Click Map to find and cycle to desired HQ -> Click out of the way button to confirm -> Click Map to find HQ to transfer from -> Click Transfer or hit T -> Click Map to find and cycle to unit we just created again -> More clicks to transfer stuff. Total clicks most of the time: 8+, but more likely 11+ as a typical unit will be composed of three subformation types.
  • What creating a regular unit could be, most of the time: Select unit on map -> Clone Unit button -> Summary screen appears showing which commanding HQ, source HQ for subformations, amount and type of subformations to be transferred and cost in Transport Capacity of the source HQ will be used, based on what was done for the cloned unit -> Adjust HQs, types and quantities as needed and select a highlighted location to clone the unit to (highlighted locations are those reachable with the selected source HQ/transport capacity total). Total clicks most of the time: 4.
  • Creating a TOE unit: Click Create Unit -> Select Unit Type -> Click Map to find and cycle to desired HQ -> Click out of the way button to confirm -> Click Change Model Type button -> Select desired TOE -> Click out of the way button to confirm. Total clicks most of the time: 7+.
  • What creatin a TOE unit could be: Select commanding HQ -> Create TOE unit for this HQ button -> Select Model in screen that opens -> Select location. Total clicks most of the time: 4.

    Location, Unit and HQ cycling

    A simple concept present in Civ and Panzer General-style games that helps you go through every unit with movement points left. Typically paired with a feature to skip a unit for this turn or put it on standby (or "guard until enemy spotted") to remove it from the cycling until called upon.
    The absence of this feature in AT Gold means I often double-check and triple-check my stacks to ensure I didn't forget to move or attack with all units before ending my turn, which is a waste of precious time.
  • Either a single key that cycles through Locations, HQs or formations depending on what you have selected (defaults to formations if nothing is selected)
  • Or more power-user oriented, separated keys to cycle between locations, HQs and formations.

    An actual Scenario Browser

    It's not much, yet it's missing from every VR Designs game I've tried so far.
  • Expand the scenario and savegame format to include any number of screenshots, and a title, short description and long description. Also information on whether you're looking at a single scenario or campaign.
  • When opening a scenario or savegame, instead of being dumped to the system's file select dialogue you get an interface where you can preview what each scenario looks like because the game parses the beginning of each scenario file to extract the preview data.
  • You've just made your game 85% more accessible than AT Gold as-released. Having to figure out what you want to play from a list of short folder and file names is a huge turn-off.

    Color-blind friendliness

    A sizeable proportion of the male population (and a small portion of the female population) is partially color-blind. That's why things like the supply indicator being just a small square that switches from green to red ain't a great idea. You need to change shape not just color if you don't want those players to completely miss out on that UI element.

    < Message edited by ColRosenberger -- 12/21/2020 4:38:49 AM >

    (in reply to Vic)
  • Post #: 12
    RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 6/6/2021 11:01:04 PM   
    CSO_Talorgan


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    It would be worth buying a new copy of Advanced Tactics just to enjoy all the smoothed out goodness we have become accustomed to in Decisive Campaigns. Features like NATO counters, leaders, TOEs, research and maybe even Lancer's mods should be options, available at the flick of a switch, rather than afterthoughts bolted on. The new features promised for Decisive Campaigns Ardennes, namely non-ownership of hexes, lines of site, and extra detail of what is happening in the combat hex would be very welcome too.

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Tac2i

    option to autosave each turn with a date filename


    If the autosaved file could be modified then we have ourselves a campaign manager. Advanced Tactics could be a campaign manager for other games. I think this is called "Frankenstein gaming" or "Schizophrenic wargaming". Alternatively, Advanced Tactics could be a campaign manager for itself! By that I mean that combat at the "strategic" or "operational" level could be resolved on a more detailed "operational" or "tactical" map with smaller units; lots and lots of extra detail of what is happening in the combat hex.

    The other new feature I'd be interested in would be to make supply less abstract.

    (in reply to ColRosenberger)
    Post #: 13
    RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 6/7/2021 12:12:46 AM   
    balto

     

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    The God of Wargaming is always there, watching, listening, ..., pondering. All hail him, "Vic, the God of Wargaming."

    < Message edited by balto -- 6/7/2021 12:13:07 AM >

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    Post #: 14
    RE: Advanced Tactics Gold 2.0 - 6/7/2021 12:29:50 PM   
    ernieschwitz

     

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    Just like Odin, who sacrificed an eye, is not able to see everything that goes on, has two ravens that are his eyes and ears all around the world, Vic too has others to see everything for him ;)

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    (in reply to balto)
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