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No 1UPT

Discussion in 'CivBE - Ideas and Suggestions' started by nimling, Apr 25, 2015.

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  1. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    One of my biggest gripes with Civ V, and by extension, BE. Removal of 1UPT should have been a dev priority as soon as vanilla Civ V was released and people who know the series could tell you that it was a horrible idea.

    So, how would I remove 1UPT? How about... no units? At least, not in the traditional sense.
    Rather, when a city builds a military unit, units are stored in a city much like air units. Unlike air units, there is no limit on how many units a city can store, though units stored cost maintenance. The same applies to Naval units.
    In order to form units on the map, cities must deploy armies, rather than individual units. An army may consist of as little as one unit, but has no limit for ground forces.

    All units in a stack fight as one, rather than as individual units. This way, there is no longer a game of fighting hundreds of battles between SoDs, and computational processing per unit is minimized. Use of different unit types is encouraged, and has logical effects - for instance, ranged units (archers in Civ, rangers in BE) function primarily as city garrison units and stack defenders, but are not particularly effective at assaulting enemies in offensive combat. However, each unit stack is burdened by their slowest unit - for instance, armies with siege units move slower.

    While multiple armies can occupy the same stack, the following conditions apply to combat;
    - in defensive combat, all units on a tile fight together.
    - units fight in combat with (battle power of combined units) * (combined HP of all units); thus, multiple units stacked together are far more effective in combat than individual units.

    Bigger stacks perform better than two individual units attacking or defending seperately; thus, there is a great advantage to having all your army in one piece, but by having everything in one place, that army can only be in one part of the map at any given time. Committing your entire army to a single battle thus is a huge risk.

    Ranged combat is limited to siege units (range of one tile until the VERY late game) and air units. However, even ranged units are at risk of counter-attack - moreso against units that can effectively counter the ranged unit type (other artillery and archer units for siege, anti-air weapons and interceptors for air). Even normal unit types will inflict damage to ranged units, however, simply because artillery must expose their position to fire. (Air units are highly resilient against something like spearmen however, but they still take a small amount of damage.) There is no more automatic, consequence-free damage, outside of nukes/rockets and (in BE) orbital units.

    Cities still have their own base combat strength, and possess a range 2 attack as they do currently; this attack strength reflects the natural defenses in the city, and functions primarily as a means to stall a city from being taken, and forces players to build enough of a military to post significant threat. No more "conquer the world with 5 units". For BE, the game gives some pretty nice city defense options, but they are generally wasted due to 1UPT and built-in flaws with Civ5.

    Finally, another big difference;
    Simultaneous turns, except done right.

    Rather than each player moving one after the other, each player (including AI) input their orders for movement. If two units stumble upon each other, then they engage in combat; however, units can also be commanded to follow a target army, or stand ready to intercept attacks within their movement range (if movement has not been expended).

    With this, a lot of emphasis is placed on ambushing enemies in pitched battles, and no one can claim unfair initiatives, and the game doesn't degenerate into an idiotic clickfest where spamming ranged units is the only way to go. Even proper turns degenerated into a ranged unit spamfest, and the AI doesn't know how to play that game at all.

    This is of course a VERY rough overview of a potential solution to 1UPT, and not the only one. I'd really, really like to see players of this game put together a system that is better than what we have now, because I'd prefer to play Civ and not be annoyed by cheese.
     
  2. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    That sounds really boring to me to be honest. You basically want to get rid of the somewhat tactical combat we have now and replace it with something that I can only describe as "stack as much as possible and go!"

    1UPT works just fine, even for the AI - the problem the computer has is the terrain. Play the Civ 5 Civil War Scenario and you'll see that it does a somewhat decent job in open terrain, but the normal maps are just extremely narrow and rough terrain has such an enormous impact on how fights go. More often than not the AI blocks itself with its own units.
     
  3. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    Civ 5 combat is not tactical though - it's an exercise in who can spam risk-free ranged units more. That the AI was taught to play 1UPT somewhat well is a really swell accomplishment by Firaxis' AI team, but it doesn't change that 1UPT is inherently flawed.

    Simplifying combat to stacks removes many of the annoyances for what is essentially a civilization-building game. As a war game, Civilization is not particularly good.

    Getting rid of healing units and ranged combat is a net improvement BY FAR. Right now, ultimately the strategy is to bruteforce through cities anyway - 1UPT just masks that reality with an added layer of tactical baggage, one that doesn't really work for the timescale and turn limitations of Civ V. It's even worse in MP, where games are dominated by people who want to turn Civ into a really bad RTS game, and make comparisons to League of Legends (ugh!).
     
  4. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Well, those are still your opinions and no objective facts. I personally enjoy the combat system a lot, although there are certainly still many things still to improve - which I think is a reason to move forward and get rid of these problems, not go back to what is an extremely simple and boring system that doesn't have much room for improvement.
     
  5. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    1UPT being bad isn't an opinion. The mechanic is inherently irrational and causes more problems than it fixes. Stacks of doom were largely annoying due to the single-file nature of combat. In Civ4, stack combat was mostly annoying due to the overwhelming strength of siege units, and the relative uselessness of city defense - it was particularly bad when a city was actually less defensible than open terrain, due to Civ4's brokenly strong city raider promotions.

    A bigger army is a bigger army - but putting an army in one place is inherently more of a risk. The AI doesn't necessarily understand it, but a standard strategic approach to war - if you cannot beat an invading army in the field, open another front for your opponent to fight against, force the bigger army to retreat.

    The inclusion of city bombardment adds an element of attrition to big stacks as well, and big stacks cannot split up to pillage the countryside. Thus, a big army cannot afford to bog down in enemy territory, and that big army has to pay maintenance and hammer costs. Really, if someone wants to fight an enemy competently, they wouldn't commit their whole stack to offensive war - unless they're fighting AI that won't take notice of the natural counter strategy.

    Right now Civ V SP is boring, and MP is either stifled by 1UPT (with proper turns) or absolutely unplayable (with simultaneous turns).
     
  6. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    1UPT is okay but has to be on a smaller scale than what we have in C5 and CBE to make movements a lot easier. Cities could occupy multiple hexes while units occupy one. Or some form of limited stacking.

    Civ5 being boring is a very popular boring game. Firaxis won't go back to unlimited stacks after that success.
     
  7. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    People will buy anything civ, even if combat is stupid. I don't play civ games for a wargame, that doesn't mean that I like bad mechanics or that war should be made too simple (which 1UPT is - it's not tactical, it's just added micromanagement).

    The civilization side of civ 5 has problems but they are things that could be worked with (once Firaxis stops making unique civs - easily the worst design decision that has endured across multiple games, one which steadily got worse from Civ3 on).
     
  8. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    That's a really fancy way of just repeating your opinion. Still doesn't validate it, though.

    Why would I even retreat? I'm already on your territory when you decide to counter-attack and you think the right answer is to ignore me and ... just hope that I don't have ANY units at home and, in an act of desperation abort my attack to follow you instead of rolling over your cities? Obviously it would be stupid to pack every single unit into the main stack, but the decision how many units to not bring to the front is really the only decision that your system seems to offer. Other than that it's still a stack of units sharing a single tile with no tactic involved other than "get more units than him" - no tactical positioning, next to no interaction with the terrain, etc. I don't see how your system solves any of the problems the stack-system has.

    If you think the system would work better if you could concentrate more unit strength on a single tile, well, the Civil War scenario has an answer for that, too. If that really is a concern, then being able to upgrade units to a bigger unit-size (for high resource costs) would be an easy solution, without removing the strategy on the micro-level and just making it macro-level battles.

    Then maybe the game is just not for you. Play Civ 4 instead?
     
  9. Hail

    Hail Satan's minion

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    I too (as the OP) do not like 1UpT.
    civ is a strategy game. that is more strategy. less tactics. however 1UpT is here to stay. :(
     
  10. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    I hope it's reversed, because there has been enough arguments against it - naturally, because 1UPT is a bad idea.

    The original civilization and civ 2 handled it in a bad but acceptable way (one loss = army routed). Alpha Centauri changed it to merely attrition damage to the stack. The AI had no clue and got several units killed, but that's the AI. Those are preferable to the Civ4 SoD with single-file attacks, and far far preferable to 1UPT which is just a mess.

    The problem of 1UPT by itself is one thing, but what really breaks Civ V is ranged units, specifically archers that shoot across continents risky-free. If Civ V did away with the stupidity of ranged bombardment (an idea that was non-sensical on the face of it), it would be at least playable, albeit very limited.
    And it's something that's so bad that the rest of CiV (and by extension BE) becomes unplayable when war is involved. That is a shame, because CiV does have a lot of fun systems, although the domestic side of the game has issues too (game of filling buckets, only one clear tech path for SP).
    Telling people to play a different game is not a solution. A bad game mechanic is a bad game mechanic.

    I hope, when Civ 6 comes around, Firaxis will get rid of 1UPT once and for all. Even straightforward SoDs like Civ3-4 are better.
    I for one don't see the problem with having one big stack. The arguments against it are more aesthetic, that it "looks ugly" - but the carpet of doom and restrictions created by 1UPT are worse. For instance, someone with open borders blocking worker improvements? Stupid. Obviously stupid, and that affects people who don't even want to play war.
     
  11. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    See, ranged units are a simple example of something that could just be adjusted, instead of just getting rid of the whole system. I can think of a ton of things that could be changed to get rid of the Range-Dominance and still have tactical combat on the micro-level. Some ideas:

    - Reduce damage and add support-skills instead, like for example increasing melee damage taken after being attacked by an archer, reducing movement points after being attacked by an archer, reduce attack strength after being attacked by an archer, give melee units a defense buff when adjacent to an archer, etc.
    - Introduce stronger Counter-units against Archers. Mounted Units are supposed to take that spot, but we all know it's almost impossible to sneak behind enemy lines in time with Zone of Control
    - Make Units take less damage from ranged attacks after being hit by a ranged attack (for the rest of that turn)
    - Make "Attack after Moving" a promotion instead of the default to reduce the offensive capabilities of archers a bit.
    etc. etc.

    So many possibilities for interesting systems.
     
  12. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    The problem with 1UPT on the map sizes involved is that combined arms basically doesn't exist, especially in MP. It's just "spam ranged, have a few melee-capable units to function as blockers and take cities". It's even worse on the ocean (and whoever considered melee ships a good idea made bad design even worse; why not fix the speed of embarked units instead?)

    1UPT can't be fixed. It shouldn't be fixed, it should have been scrapped in the first Civ V expansion.
    It's telling though, most of the people who saw how stupid 1UPT was just gave up on the series, because it's seriously a game-breakingly bad mechanic. I stuck with Civ V in hopes that some day, an expansion or mod would eliminate this problem with Civ V and return the game to playability. (Sadly mods can't be used in MP, so that cuts down replay value significantly...)
     
  13. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Did you even read my Post? No? I see.
     
  14. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    All those things are hampered by 1UPT... even with proper turns (simultaneous turns in MP is literally one of the most unplayable messes I've ever seen, only appealing to total idiots), armies are still mostly "spam one unit type", and because of ranged being OP that's usually what armies will consist of.
     
  15. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Are you incapable of arguing properly, or why are you just repeating your opinion? I gave examples of how the system could be changed to bring synergy between different unit types and your counter argument is that ... what, ranged units are op right now? Yeah, we've already established that, that's why I gave examples of how to reduce their strength, while still keeping them a valuable part of the army. You have not given a single reason why any the systems I suggested (and all of them were what came to my mind spontaneously, I'm sure there are way better ideas out there) can't work if balanced correctly.
     
  16. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    The point is simple - because of 1UPT, use of combined arms is severely constrained. If ranged units weren't a thing or were severely limited (like, say, only cats could fire at range, had to ready, etc.), then battles would just be melee slogfests. I'll repeat my "opinion" because I'm right, it's not a matter of opinion, this isn't a debate club or an argument and sophistry is the bane of worthwhile conversation.

    If Civ V maps were larger, and armies were constrained to a single technological period, and Civilization were primarily a war game with limited empire-building, then 1UPT would work better - maybe. 1UPT is still problematic, but for a game like the game Civ V's 1UPT was inspired by, it worked a lot better. It doesn't work so much for a game with smaller, procedural generated maps, where the focus of the game is primarily on empire-building.

    Now, I'm not saying that a one-dimensional army is necessarily a bad thing. Many historical armies were focused on a unit type and conquered the world with that. However, the way ranged combat works with 1UPT is... not fun, not realistic, and not strategic at all. I'd prefer the melee slogfest even, but with so little space to maneuver it leaves little choice but to hulksmash and send wave after wave of melee at each other.

    The only way to fix this intractable problem is to allow one big army to fight, rather than individual units. Civ4's problem, I repeat, wasn't Stacks of Doom, but that siege was ridiculously strong even after BTS, and unit promotions were a bad idea. If BE did anything right, the best thing is that veterancy promotions are restricted to +10% buffs for each level, and other promos are inherent to all units.

    Another major problem with Civ4 an Civ5 is that healing trivializes unit losses and attritional fighting. Get a unit almost wiped out? No biggie, just park your ass for 8-10 turns, take a city, or hey, get HP for promoting units too (this is the worst by far). Losses should matter, that way the big army that gets bogged down taking cities has to spend resources to replenish lost troops, has to garrison each city for obvious reasons, and so on.
     
  17. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    I guess in that case - and due to the fact that you don't seem to understand how synergy invalidates the "Spam the strongest unit!"-idea - I'll just leave it at that.

    My final verdict: I think your idea sucks. And I'm glad Firaxis chose another route.
     
  18. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    Anyone who supports 1UPT the way it is implemented in Civ V is an idiot, full stop. I'm only interested in hearing from people who understand correctly that it's a problem and want to find constructive solutions.

    My idea wasn't fully fleshed out (do you really think I can put together a fully coherent system in one post?), but at least it's something alternative. I think most of the people who saw 1UPT and said hell no just gave up on the series so I'm treading in water. The same people who think 1UPT is good think the absolutely idiotic situation with MP is also "strategic", which is the biggest load of garbage I've ever heard and supported by the stupidest people.
    Making an independent game is tough work, but if Civ 6 turns out even worse, someone will have to step up and make a civilization clone with proper mechanics. Maybe it's possible to hack in multiple units per tile - I know there was a mod to that effect for Civ V, but it malfunctioned and as far as I know is no longer supported. (I didn't like the way it was implemented there either, from what little I could play, but even the hope of multiple units per tile is something a modder would really need to work on. I think AI programming on mods is hairy though.)

    Moderator Action: Do not call others idiots just because they have a different opinion than you
    Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889

    Moderator Action: The edit that added PDMA reverted.
    Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889
     
  19. Fins

    Fins Warlord

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    1UPT is not inherently flawed. I can tell you one of mightiest TBS games of all times (and i mean _ALL_ times), which is
    - highly praised for its replayability,
    - complexity,
    - general brilliance,
    - and is - you got it - 1UPT.

    You certainly know it: Chess! ;)

    The real problem with Civ:BE (and Civ5 alike) is that units lack range. You see, in any 1UPT game, for military excercise to be really fun, interesting and rich, most units _must_ have either the ability to make ranged attack in their turn for many tiles, or move during their turn for many tiles, or both.

    You see, in chess, only pawns are 1-tile-range "attack" and either 1 or 2 tiles range movement per turn. All other "military" units of chess (which is everything else except the king) - move and attack 3 (horseman) or up to 8 (other figures) tiles per turn. In Civ:BE terms, all chess "units" are melee units, of course. No true ranged ones (which attack from afar and stay afar).

    It has quite very simple explanation, this "for 1 UPT, most units must be able to attack and/or move many tiles per turn". You see, the more range per turn your units have, the more _choice_ there is; game becomes more and more tactical. The higher range (in tiles) the bulk of players' forces are able to move/attack per turn, the more variation and complexity can be created in any given particular battle.

    On the other hand, make the range for units too high, and things get _too_ complicated, inconvinient, awkward.

    This same mechanic of 1UPT is also true for RTS, and you can see how it works in Starcraft, for example, based on ranged units' performance there. Only on ranged, because it's impossible to define how far movement per turn there is - since there are no turns. But ranged units still present "how far we can fire at any given _instant_" ability of theirs - and while there are no "tiles" there either, you can still count "space which is occupied by a single ranged unit" as being a "tile in terms of this kind of units".

    For example, when you make, say, a dozen hydralisks in Starcraft 1, you can clearly see that their attack range is more than a dozen times larger than width of the space a single hydralisk occupies. For dragoons, the ratio is lower; for marines, is higher. But overall, lots and lots of RTS/TBS/tactical games you check - you'll see the same picture: often 1UPT in some or other form is used, and often most units move/shoot over a dozen tiles (or "tiles" virtually).

    In Civ:BE, max ratio you get is 4:1 with SABRs for ranged units, and up to ~8 with naval units and tacjets. Too low. The only exception to this is fighting within completely magrail-covered area - there, the ratio for melee units increases to appropriate values. However, ranged units remain unable to fire that far (they can _move_ that far, but can't fire from that many tiles afar). And anyhows, who would build magrails over whole continents?

    So you see, both Civ5 and Civ:BE has that flaw; i call that not "1 UPT problem" - i call that "too slow / too short range units" problem.

    The solution? Rather simple in theory, but of course i doubt Firaxis would implement it... Still, here goes.

    It would simply be enough to introduce "combat tiles" into the game, each "combat tile" being akin to a simple square on a chess board, but in Civ:BE that's of course hexagonal combat tiles; and the size (area) of each combat tile would be exactly 1/4 (25%) of the current in-game tile. Normal game tiles would remain for means of tile improvements, citizens working them, satellite coverage, etc. But for means of keeping 1UPT rule operational, those new 4 times smaller combat tiles would be used, and all units would need to be rendered, correspondedly, 2 times "shorter" and "thinner" (2x2=4) to fit those tiles perfectly. The latter part, i find rather desirable, personally: when i see a Xeno Titan which is larger (literally) than a settlement which he attacks, i start suspecting something's not quite right there... %)

    This new sub-grid of combat tiles fits old "normal tile" grid perfectly: you make a hexagon "combat tile" which has all 6 of its sides being exactly 2 times shorter than sides of a normal tile, and then you put this smaller "combat tile" exactly into the center of every large tile. The remaining space - it's easy to see if you draw few "big tiles" and then "combat tiles" on a piece of paper, - will easily form additional "combat tiles" of the same "4 times less space = 2 times shorter side" size. Each normal tile will end up having one smaller combat tile right in the middle, and 6 more "halves" of combat tiles at each side.

    Obviously, refinement of ranges for units would likely be needed, but roughly, their ranges would remain of the same scale, but now expressed in terms of combat tiles. So, gunners' range would still be 2 normal tiles, but now it'd be expressed as "range = 4" with combat tiles in mid; and their movement would also be 4 (or may be turned down to 3 huh?). City attack range =4 (perhaps bumped up to 5); upgraded SABR range would become 8, and its movement would be 2, etc.

    And if you still don't get it and the question "what's the difference then?" lures in your mind now - then just imagine this: your SABRs will become able to in fact _move_ and then _fire_ in a single turn and without no road underneath; your Supremacy 2 attacks-per-turn gunners can now move a whole normal tile (two combat tiles) in addition to those attacks; you can put a line of a _dozen_ missile rovers all hitting a same target, if you'd want; and of course, your enemies can do all that - and more, - as well! ;)

    And as for terrain, it would still remain defined by large "civilian" tiles we have in the game right now, while those smaller "combat" tiles - would have movement defined by either the single "civilian" tile they are in the middle of, or by two "civilian" tiles they are between of; in the latter case, the harsher of two terrain kinds (if they differ) would be taken into account, so that if a unit moves through a combat tile which is half forest, and half tundra - 2x movement penalty would be applied. Coasts, obviously, would have combat tiles which are 1/2 land and 1/2 water - and those should be made passable by land units.

    This solution i have in mind for a long time; it is simple, it removes most of "1 UPT" trouble, virtually allowing to _quadriple_ number of units every player can have within a single "normal" tile, gives more tactical flexibility and variability, allows for more complex tactical formations, and more.


    But, again, i guess we won't see this ever implemented. Sadly...
     
  20. nimling

    nimling Prince

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    Chess doesn't have risk-free ranged damage without movement, and it isn't trying to be a strategic or tactical wargame.

    The biggest problem with Civ5 is that Ranged units are brokenly strong. It's more pronounced and ridiculous in Civ5 than BE (seriously Firaxis? 4-move ranged unit with no non-unique equivalent later in the game? how is that not a game breaker?) You can see how ridiculous it is when Crossbow units are favored up until the Industrial era, unless the other really broken ranged unit can be used - frigates with huge move range, and melee ships that can somehow capture cities now, thus trivializing the difficulty of amphibious assaults.

    Didn't this problem exist in Civ3? I played Civ3 the least out of the series.

    BE seems to understand that ranged units are a major problem, and gave them actual vulnerabilities, with gunners and missile rovers getting crushed by blocker units. It's still not a solution, but it's better than Civ5's ridiculous chariot / composite bow / crossbow spamming (with the even more ridiculous limitation against muskets and rifles firing at range, never mind the idiocy of archers hitting across continents). IF anything, the silliness of ranged combat is something BE should nerf more, or at least make rational as with tacjets taking damage on airstrikes.

    I would be fine with a system that grants flanking and adjacency bonuses for armies on seperate tiles, if the AI can be taught its value and it isn't gamebreaking.
    Mostly though, splitting armies should be done because military force is needed in more than one place, not because of an arbitrary restriction. Splitting an army to pillage the countryside, for instance.
    Having city defenses that are strong would force a minimum army size to take each one, one that would be enhanced by a relatively small garrison.
     
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