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Humankind Dev Diary #2

Discussion in 'Humankind by Amplitude' started by Eagle Pursuit, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. Matthias Corvinus

    Matthias Corvinus Chieftain

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    I don’t think that players who settle in a desert should be penalized. If they live in the desert, why wouldn’t they know how to cross it and have an advantage fighting in it
     
  2. Jkchart

    Jkchart King

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    You make a bit of a point, but for most human history these settlements were clustered around oasis's and there were defined paths/routes through the desert to such settlements. Other people that lived in the desert were nomads. It's not just about crossing it, but about the lack of supplies and the brutality of the heat that makes it difficult to move large armies through such a space. Deserts are also made of sand, which is not that easy to cross since it isn't as hard as packed earth. Even in the later eras wars fought in the desert without infrastructure are incredibly taxing. There's a reason why the North Africa campaign stuck relatively close to the coasts and there weren't great maneuvers through the Sahara. Troops can move in the deserts, but it's better for smaller bands (think Lawrence of Arabia). Temperature and lack of infrastructure has an effect that Civ doesn't always account for well.
     
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  3. ehecatzin

    ehecatzin Emperor

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    I wouldn't mind if there were hazzardous terrain, however I would save it for the middle of clusters, for example, a desert tile surrounded by nothing but deserts could get the penalties, you could do something similar for jungles and swamps.
     
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  4. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Easy answer: you are penalized only if you spend more than one consecutive turn in the 'harsh terrain' - which would include desert, jungle/rain forest, ice/tundra.
    OR if the unit is Scouts, which (should be) used to living off the land and a smaller, easier-to-maintain group.

    Once you have established a City in a type of terrain and maintained it there until, say, the next Era, then the penalties are removed - your folks have learned how to deal with it.

    Maintaining armies of Non-Scouts could be another problem: it was always difficult to maintain large groups in the harsh terrain, even if you lived there, until the elaborate Modern infrastructure of supply lines was developed: at least two classical armies took more casualties than they would have suffered in a major battle trying to move through the Gedrosian desert, and one of them was composed of people (Persians) whose territory included the desert - familiarity does not supply water or food where there is none to be had.
    @Jkchart, you are correct that the North African campaign of 1940 - 43 was waged largely within5 a day's march of the coast. That was partly because the only road and railroad ran along the coast, and partly because it took immense resources to maintain anybody even on the edge of the Sahara: The German General Staff estimated that maintaining Rommel's 2 panzer divisions took as much transport (motorized) capacity as maintaining6 panzer divisions in European Russia - and that area was taking more than they had originally estimated already.

    Unfortunately, modeling that in a game requires some sort of 'Logistical Support' mechanism, and that is very difficult to get right: I've seen (and attempted) it in board games and other computer games, and it either becomes a micromanagement Nightmare or so extremely simplified as to be almost meaningless.
     
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  5. Jkchart

    Jkchart King

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    All fair points. I like this info, you're full of great stuff.

    I always had an idea for if I ever made a turn based 4x where there would be a new feature on each terrain: "supply capacity", representing the ability of a tile to support troops due to the availability of fresh water, vegetation, and even improvements. This would allow bringing back a limited form of unit stacking, say more of a "soft cap" that you can go over, but it leads to penalties.

    Say for example I find a grassland tile, and the base capacity there is 4 units. I can have that many units in a stack without penalties. If I go over this, I start accruing attrition, and it gets exponentially worse and my units cannot heal. If there's a farm on that tile, capacity increases because there's food that can be foraged, the land is good, and there's infrastructure.

    Now say I encounter a desert tile without water nearby: capacity should be at 0, providing light attrition to a single unit, but exponentially increasing for each unit. i know this isnt' really relevant to HK, but it was an idea I had that could kind of represent a supply/harsh terrain penalty that isn't TOO burdensome or overly mechanical.
     
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  6. Matthias Corvinus

    Matthias Corvinus Chieftain

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    I agree with this idea moreso than the last. It feels hamfisted to constantly suffer from terrain. penalties even if your people have been living in the region for millennia. It is already enough that deserts are virtually useless in terms of basic yields, further hampering the player makes them useless and just sometging pretty to look at until the very end of the game when oil comes into play.
     
  7. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    The "Good Thing" about applying a Supply Capacity in a historical 4X game is that supply = food (and fodder) for all of history until Gunpowder, when Ammunition became by far the greatest percentage of needs, (in WWII, generally, food/fodder was only about 10% by weight of all supplies required, while ammunition, especially artillery ammunition, was 60 - 70%, the rest fuel and miscellaneous) and had to be supplied because it wasn't available 'off the land'.
    So, from Neolithic to Renaissance/Industrial Eras, Supply Capacity for a tile can be directly linked to or equal to the Food available from the tile, which at least keeps us from having to clutter up each tile with separate numbers. Add in a Pillage For Food mechanic for armies, and moving a horde of armed men across farmlands will keep the army well-fed but be pretty nasty for the farmers - exactly accurate historically

    After Gunpowder, it starts getting much more complicated . . .

    In designing ANY kind of game, you have to be extremely careful about telling the player he absolutely cannot do something that he really wants to do - like move an army across the map. If in his mind he is Miles Gloriousus, Conqueror Of Millions, being told that a patch of sand will stop him in his tracks will not make him love the game. Rather than prohibit, I find it's almost always better to allow the gamer to do anything, but make sure he understands the Penalties inherent in doing it. Move through the All Hope Abandon Here Desert, but take your lumps.
    Better yet, hire the local desert nomads (in Humankind, Minor Faction?) to operate in the desert and keep your expensive Knights or Legions out of there.
     
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  8. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    Keep it simple, stupid. All I ask for is deserts to receive the same movement penalty swamps and jungles get. What is the purpose of anything more complicated besides binding the brainpower of the player? The harshness of the environment will already be represented by the lower yields, vegetation and rivers in there.

    And it might be interesting to have similar areas on the high seas. I hope (probably in vain) that naval movement will not work the sale way as on land.
     
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  9. ehecatzin

    ehecatzin Emperor

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    besides they could simply use a mechanic similar to Endless Legend, have a chance of a small ice age hitting or a massive drought, reduce yields and add enviromental effects accordingly.
     
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  10. Eddie Verdde

    Eddie Verdde Chieftain

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    I also don't like it when things get too complicated or when there's a lot of micromanagement.
    But making deserts, jungles and swamps harder to cross (not just by movement penalties) could create interesting oportunities that would enrich the gameplay on a strategic level, not necessarily involving micromanagement or binding the brainpower of the player.

    Deserts, jungles and swamps could be natural barriers, so if you needed to reach a civ that was located beyond a great extension of desert, you would have to find alternative paths, maybe even forcing you to develop navigation to send a ship. Or maybe two sub-continents were divided by a great extension of swamp but there was a "path" of grassland where your units could move safely and easily: this few tiles of grassland would become strategic and players would fight over its control.
    You still could try to move your units through the desert, jungle or swamp but not only would it take longer, but there would be the chance that the unit didn't make it to the destination or defected to another civ, which would bring an element of uncertainty that could enrich gameplay.
    With penalty movements alone, you are sure that you can go everywhere, it just takes a little longer.

    And this can be done in a way that's intuitive and not overwhelming to the player.
    For instance, chariots and catapults don't cross jungles or swamps. Infantry units may cross jungles, deserts and swamps, but they loose hitpoint each turn and may not survive if they move there for too long. A king may order an army to march halfway across the globe, but at some point the soldiers loose morale and refuse to go on, or need aditional maintenance because it gets harder to send supplies or wages.
     
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  11. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    I hope we'll be able to push that further, half the model size and twice the number for example.
     
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  12. CaptainUnknown

    CaptainUnknown Warlord

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    I agree. I wonder if looking at previous Amplitude games and their modding capabilities is a good indicator if this is possible. Endless Legend is probably the best one to look at.
     
  13. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Looking at all the screenshots and videos so far, Humankind's terrain is very natural and close to 'natural' size: tiles have tiny deer and elephants trotting across them, city tiles have streets of buildings, yards, structures of all kinds and tiny 'population' figures wandering the streets. Then the Units are grossly oversize, which is appropriate for visibility to the gamer, but indicates that there is lots of room between the 'barely bigger than the terrain features' and 'Colossii' to modify the look of the units.

    I admit, I'm in agreement with @Gedemon that approximately halving the 'height' of the Unit figures and increasing their number would keep them suitably visible but in better 'proportion'. Hopefully, Modders will be able to 'experiment' with the proportions to find the most visually appealing and visible.

    And on a distantly-related subject, did anybody else notice that in the latest video, in the battles depicted the troops were all Ranged and Spearmen? Hopefully, this indicates that Humankind will have more effective 'spearmen/anti-cav' troop Units so that they form the majority of Ancient/Classical infantry (as was true historically) instead of a Rarely-Built Minority as they are in Civ VI.

    Don't forget also, that there are real-world examples of major effects on the development of entire Civilizations from 'terrain barriers': the Sahara desert was virtually impassable to most trade or political/military/religious/civic influences until the Medieval Era (the camel wasn't adapted to the Sahara until about the 8th century CE) so west and central Africa developed in virtual isolation. Famously, the combination of jungle, mountain, and desert kept the Andean, the Meso-American/Mexican, and North American civilizations and incipient civilizations almost completely isolated for centuries: it took several thousand years for the Three Sisters agriculture system to spread north out of Mexico to eastern North America, for instance.
    In contrast, the steppes/semi-deserts of central Asia were no barrier at all. The people living there acted as middlemen and traded extensively with virtually all their neighbors, so that the Silk Roads were established by Classical Era, and technologies crossed the central Asian expanse along with populations in all directions. Jared Diamond pointed out that east-west contact and communications were much easier than north-south, since it didn't involve major changes in Climate as well as Terrain: that should be in the game, but since only (slight) movement restrictions are in it now, there effectively are no barriers anywhere except for Open Ocean before Caravels.
     
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  14. conorbebe

    conorbebe Prince

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    Surely the unit model count is based primarily on performance and readability rather than realism? I like to be able to see what units are at a glance, and appreciate their models and animations.
     
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  15. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    We have seen what appears to be Unit Models on the Civ 6 style, with fewer figures for what seems to be a 'scout' unit of some kind, and more figures in a regular combat unit: spearmen and archers.

    We have also seen two different sizes of animations: the Unit Models, which may or may not be larger than they need to be (the point of the discussion here) but also a bunch of animations on the tiles, ranging from smoking chimneys and pedestrians wandering the city streets to deer and elephants out in the unworked, countryside tiles. Those are, relatively, tiny - to be exact, they appear to be in scale with the terrain, and so a fraction of the size of the Unit Models.

    It all opens up the possibility that the Unit Models could be scalable, and possibly there is a better balance between the realistic terrain and the Brobdenagian Units. It could be that they are already perfectly designed for Visibility and Utility and we're all wasting our keyboard time, but at this point in the Information Cycle, a large proportion of our posting regarding Humankind is bound to be speculation.
     
  16. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    Realism is impossible at this scale, it's more about epic battles feeling and general aesthetic, the map is beautiful but the units doesn't fit on it IMO.
     
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  17. FinalDoomsday

    FinalDoomsday Chieftain

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    I think 8 men a unit is a good middle ground between having lots of soldiers on the field and being able to see those units and appreciate all the work the art and animation team put into them. It's not like Total War where I can swoop in to head level and inspect every hoplite's shield.

    Of course it would be great if it was moddable so people could have massive formations but for the base game what they have now looks right to me.
     
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  18. Siptah

    Siptah Eternal Chieftain

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    I haven‘t played a total war in ages, but the earlier iterations had the option to increase or decrease the amount of men per unit in the menu. Maybe Humankind will have something similar and there isn‘t even a need for mods to adjust it to your individual preferences. The problem with mods may be that soldiers might die in sync during battles which could look more awkward than having less men on the battlefield.
     
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  19. Catoninetales_Amplitude

    Catoninetales_Amplitude Warlord

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    I am sorry to disappoint you, but I don't forsee the unit size to be easily scalable. As far as I know, there are fairly complex unit-wide choreographies at play governing the attack animations, and I am doubtful we could just double the number of models in a unit without adapting those by hand. (But I am not an animator or programmer, so I do not know how exactly the system works.)
     
  20. Eddie Verdde

    Eddie Verdde Chieftain

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    In the video we can see ranged units firing at the enemy from two-tiles distance.
    I just hope this is properly balanced, otherwise the most obvious choice in warfare will be to spam archers and that's not funny at all.
     

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