Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Empires in Arms is the computer version of Australian Design Group classic board game. Empires in Arms is a seven player game of grand strategy set during the Napoleonic period of 1805-1815. The unit scale is corps level with full diplomatic options

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Dancing Bear
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Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Dancing Bear »

Marshal, while you are waiting for the wave of feedback from the release of 1.06 (and assuming you have not yet started on simultaneous phases), can you expand to the skipping function to the movement phase? Skipping seems to be working well (even Neverman admits that others (not him) might find it useful), but it would be good to be able to skip the occasional land phase. Could you add an option for a player to auto-forage the next land movement phase only?
This would be a no bells or whistles option. You get to autoforage and pay for those corps which are in range of a supply depot, and that’s it, no matter what the cost, siege status, etc.
I see this working for two types of moves, the first being the typical player is at peace and nothing is going on, and the second is GB has completed the naval phase, and no one is anywhere near GB territory, so GB isn’t going to do anything anyways. It might help especially with the odd time people are away or for those players in other time zones.
I suggest the next phase only, with no continuous land phase skipping option to avoid the possibility that players might skip for infinity. Skipping the next land phase, if selected during the current land phase and combined with skipped dip, rein, and naval, would allow a player to skip an entire month, doing only every second land phase, which might be handy for year 1806+.
As with the other skip functions, it would be disabled by the DOW by a major on the player. However, the land phase skip, would also need to disable itself, if during the diplomacy phase, the player gained control of a new minor nation (i.e. new reinforcements would clear the reinforcement phase skip and land phase skip as well).
I was thinking this might be pretty easy to do, as there is already an auto-forage function in the game, so it would be worth the small effort to implement.
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Marshall Ellis
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Marshall Ellis »

This might be tough because my skipping ACTUALLY skips so detecting the skip to be land then executing supply without the land phase could be a little difficult???
 
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Jimmer
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Jimmer »

Autoforage is almost never the right way to forage. For everybody except GB, there are usually corps you will "forage on the 5 table" rather than pay for them. Simultaneous movement needs to allow each corps to be selected as having a "minimum forage value allowed". In other words, I might tell a Turkish feudal corps to forage if the maximum loss is 2 factors, but I would never forage my Janissary corps on any table that includes potential losses. GB likewise will almost never forage her corps, but might very well forage a controlled minor free state's corps.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Jimmer »

Oh, and related to that: The feature I defined above could be implemented WITHOUT simultaneous movement as well. It would be very useful to have a persistent value (from 0-6) of what casualties I am willing to take with that particular corps.
 
When I'm playing, especially powers other than France, I'm usually willing to forage most things, but NOT all, and then only on a low-loss potential table. But, there are almost always corps that I don't want to forage no matter what. Also, there may be times when I don't really want to forage, but have to in order to avoid a huge cost. Here's an example that always trips me up playing France against the AI, usually at the very start of the game:
 
Austria gets control of Bavaria. I've got a French corps in one of those mountain regions in Switzerland, and a depot underneath it (pre-game setup for me includes that depot, in supply). Well, I then decide not to go to war over Bavaria, so I put the corps counter into the capital. But, before I do (I always go first early in the game), I forage it (if I remember). Now, it would normally forage on a 5 table (having a potential loss of 1i), but because it's within 3 of that depot in Switzerland, I get socked for $6 if I'm not paying attention.
 
It would be really nice to tell it to forage if the maximum possible loss is 1 factor, rather than have to manually forage it.
 
Now, that example does not include skipping in any way. However, it does illustrate how this feature could be used very productively outside of skipping.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Dancing Bear »

Hi Marshall
I was hoping it would be straight forward, have something like a dumbed down AI hit the autoforage button, then yes, I wish to continue button. Is there a way to have the AI take other instead of skip? But have the AI that took other only be very passive (i.e. no movement).
If it is difficult, it might have to be put off to later. It would be handy however in some circumstances. Jimmer has some good ideas, but I was looking for somehting that could be implmented now easily and then improved on later.

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

This might be tough because my skipping ACTUALLY skips so detecting the skip to be land then executing supply without the land phase could be a little difficult???
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by iamspamus »

YES. Unless there are NO losses, I will never auto forage a cav, art, or gd corps...PERIOD. Some way to do what Jimmer suggests is good.

Oh, and from an earlier version (I haven't gotten to 1.05 yet), a guy sitting on a space that COULD siege, shouldn't autoforage since that prevented the whole stack from sieging...grrr.

ORIGINAL: Jimmer

Oh, and related to that: The feature I defined above could be implemented WITHOUT simultaneous movement as well. It would be very useful to have a persistent value (from 0-6) of what casualties I am willing to take with that particular corps.

When I'm playing, especially powers other than France, I'm usually willing to forage most things, but NOT all, and then only on a low-loss potential table. But, there are almost always corps that I don't want to forage no matter what. Also, there may be times when I don't really want to forage, but have to in order to avoid a huge cost. Here's an example that always trips me up playing France against the AI, usually at the very start of the game:

Austria gets control of Bavaria. I've got a French corps in one of those mountain regions in Switzerland, and a depot underneath it (pre-game setup for me includes that depot, in supply). Well, I then decide not to go to war over Bavaria, so I put the corps counter into the capital. But, before I do (I always go first early in the game), I forage it (if I remember). Now, it would normally forage on a 5 table (having a potential loss of 1i), but because it's within 3 of that depot in Switzerland, I get socked for $6 if I'm not paying attention.

It would be really nice to tell it to forage if the maximum possible loss is 1 factor, rather than have to manually forage it.

Now, that example does not include skipping in any way. However, it does illustrate how this feature could be used very productively outside of skipping.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Dancing Bear »

Hi iamspamus
you'd have to be insane to want to skip a land phase when at war with another player (except perhaps GB safe on her Island). I don't think worrying about seige battles during skipping is an issue.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by iamspamus »

I WOULD be insane to do what you suggest! [;)] That was not what I was saying. I quoted Jimmer about auto-foraging while sieging. That was what the last part of the conversation was about. I don't play PBEM, so I would never skip anyway.

ORIGINAL: Dancing Bear

Hi iamspamus
you'd have to be insane to want to skip a land phase when at war with another player (except perhaps GB safe on her Island). I don't think worrying about seige battles during skipping is an issue.
DB.
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Jimmer
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Jimmer »

One more thing (the "mini-AI" comment made me think of this):
 
If a corps has never had the owner tell it what value it should choose, then prompt the owner (unless the owner has turned it off in the options). Also, at the same time, ask the owner if s/he wants to keep that value for the future (as long as the corps is on the map), rather than get prompted every turn.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Dancing Bear »

The real advantage in this option is reducing the stress levels on the less active nations like Spain. Spain can be truely boring to play, which is reflected by the high drop out rates of Spainish players, and it is very hard for the Spainish player to stay motivated to log in several times a day to do his turn, just so the game moves along for other players. Sure he can skip now, but that does not extend to the land phase, which auto-foraging would allow.
It sucks when a game breaks down because a player leaves and this is one way to reduce the stress on players and keep the game moving.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Jimmer »

ORIGINAL: Dancing Bear

The real advantage in this option is reducing the stress levels on the less active nations like Spain. Spain can be truely boring to play, which is reflected by the high drop out rates of Spainish players, and it is very hard for the Spainish player to stay motivated to log in several times a day to do his turn, just so the game moves along for other players. Sure he can skip now, but that does not extend to the land phase, which auto-foraging would allow.
It sucks when a game breaks down because a player leaves and this is one way to reduce the stress on players and keep the game moving.
Spain truly does seem like a "last resort" choice. Except maybe for Prussia. But, boring is truly the right word to use. Except for the early game, when the thread of joining with the French has a very real possibility of happening, the game is pretty dry for them. Being able to skip would be a major advantage to players who really didn't want to play Spain in the first place.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Dancing Bear »

ORIGINAL: Jimmer

Spain truly does seem like a "last resort" choice. Except maybe for Prussia. But, boring is truly the right word to use. Except for the early game, when the thread of joining with the French has a very real possibility of happening, the game is pretty dry for them. Being able to skip would be a major advantage to players who really didn't want to play Spain in the first place.

If someone has the time, perhaps they could go through the replacement players wanted list, and see which countries have players drop out the most. Anyways, anyhting that makes playing a boring country less ardouous, means everyone has more fun and the game will likely last longer. Auto-foraging in one way to help.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Dancing Bear »

Jimmer, I was thinking that this might not be hard to implement. On the text report list of all of a nation's corps and garrions, there could be an extra column, which would be the autoforage tolerance number, from 1 to 6, with 6 being only forage if no losses are possible (and the starting default for all corps), and 1 being forage no matter what. This list format should be pretty easy to edit.

The Marshall might find it useful for improving the AI's use of foraging as well. Maybe the AI would set this to 6 for cav and guard corps, but adjust it down for other corps when the nation finances drop below a certain level.

ORIGINAL: Jimmer

Oh, and related to that: The feature I defined above could be implemented WITHOUT simultaneous movement as well. It would be very useful to have a persistent value (from 0-6) of what casualties I am willing to take with that particular corps.

When I'm playing, especially powers other than France, I'm usually willing to forage most things, but NOT all, and then only on a low-loss potential table. But, there are almost always corps that I don't want to forage no matter what. Also, there may be times when I don't really want to forage, but have to in order to avoid a huge cost. Here's an example that always trips me up playing France against the AI, usually at the very start of the game:

Austria gets control of Bavaria. I've got a French corps in one of those mountain regions in Switzerland, and a depot underneath it (pre-game setup for me includes that depot, in supply). Well, I then decide not to go to war over Bavaria, so I put the corps counter into the capital. But, before I do (I always go first early in the game), I forage it (if I remember). Now, it would normally forage on a 5 table (having a potential loss of 1i), but because it's within 3 of that depot in Switzerland, I get socked for $6 if I'm not paying attention.

It would be really nice to tell it to forage if the maximum possible loss is 1 factor, rather than have to manually forage it.

Now, that example does not include skipping in any way. However, it does illustrate how this feature could be used very productively outside of skipping.
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Jimmer
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Jimmer »

Good idea, DB.
 
One caution, though: It IS possible to lose more than 6 factors foraging (force march in winter into a zone with two other corps, for example). I would think it would work better in terms of "maximum losses I'm willing to take with this corps". The game would calculate what will be the mods, and if the maximum loss potential is higher, spend the money.
 
Humans do this without even thinking about it. Almost everybody will roll against a 6 (i.e. maximum lost potential = 1). The only typical exceptions are special corps, GB's corps, and Turkey's Janissary corps.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Dancing Bear »

Well, if that is the case, then the 6 becomes 6 or more factors.

Also, we could add 3 columns of tolerance settings instead of one for different supply costs, one setting for costs of $1 or less, one fo $2, and one for $3 or more.

Again this would help not only help the PBEM, but also the AI with logical decisions about foraging.
ORIGINAL: Jimmer

Good idea, DB.

One caution, though: It IS possible to lose more than 6 factors foraging (force march in winter into a zone with two other corps, for example). I would think it would work better in terms of "maximum losses I'm willing to take with this corps". The game would calculate what will be the mods, and if the maximum loss potential is higher, spend the money.

Humans do this without even thinking about it. Almost everybody will roll against a 6 (i.e. maximum lost potential = 1). The only typical exceptions are special corps, GB's corps, and Turkey's Janissary corps.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Dancing Bear »

Marshall
the game still needs improvements in speed.
For the auto-forage option, can you tell me what happens when a host overides a players turn, by having the AI play the turn for them? Isn't the autoforaging, in its most basic form, essentially having the player, instead of the host, telling the AI to take over for the land phase (or at least the part that pays for supply).
Others have suggested more complexities to an autoforage option that maybe should come in later, but you should be able to program a simple, do no movement and have the AI select autoforage option in your sleep by now.
This assumes that you can use the same "AI takes over approach" that the host can use to override a player, in the same way you programed in the options for players to select to skip instead of the host.
Forget the more complex options put forward for now, and can this be done simply? We still need to figure out ways to make this game faster. It a major obstacle in making this game open to a wider audience. The market for war gamers with the patience of a saint has to be quite limited.



ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

This might be tough because my skipping ACTUALLY skips so detecting the skip to be land then executing supply without the land phase could be a little difficult???
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Marshall Ellis
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Marshall Ellis »

This would be the only way that I could do it if we were to do this but I still think that skipping land is done so little that thi swould make little difference in game speed.
 
 
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Dancing Bear
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Dancing Bear »

Hi Marshall
I don't disagree that the speed improvement would be marginal (maybe 5%), but it seemed easy to do, with all the major parts already in place. Sim dip and eco are really what is needed.
I'm curious about the mechanisms of how the AI on Player A's machine can play Player B's turn. I think you are saying that this can be done, which is interesting because it opens up some possibilities.
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by Marshall Ellis »

Actually, skipping the land phase will be VERY difficult. Skipping (Today) skips the player and doesn't even touch the player BUT skipping land will force me to almost touch the player (for supply, foraging) so as opposed to skipping all the way I must now circle back and play some of the land :-/. I'm not sure this would be worth the code effort???
 
 
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RE: Skipping expansion 1: Auto-forage

Post by AresMars »


Since when did SKIPPING become part of playing the game Dancing Bear?


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