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Awesome game and some questions

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Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on January 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Ok I read your link instead of skimming it and Rob must be the official response. I thought for sure someone that was a Longbow rep would have stuck out a little more with his pic or have a wierd title under his name. Anyways what I take from that is they know there is an issue and it is something the will work on in the future, but probably will not make it in the gold version.

You got 9 years on me, but my first comp was the Commodore 64 and gaming system of choice was the Intelevision. I use to play the crap out of the Zork series for the 64. I am strictly a gamer also.

Level 9 Human Sage
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Great Britain
Posted on February 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm

yes Rob is from LDA and you can always tell LDA posts by the blue background.

the way to report issues is either here at the forum or email rob@longbowgames.com

however, having said that, youre talking of issues with PoM. Gold is due for release this month, this will supercede PoM since it contains everything PoM contains plus the new content, and many bug-fixes. i think, and this is only my opinion, that support and bugfixes for PoM are pretty limited. Right now all LDAs efforts are being focused on Gold as u can imagine (fact not opinion). Hence the scarcity of LDA participation on the forum currently. (So much so that i was concerned and posted here saying so, however i got the reply "all is well")
i dont know if the archer problem is still present in Gold. my play-style differs. i leave the hoplites and archers groups to attack whatevers closest and i use cavalry to go hunt down the enemy ranged.

anyway by all means email rob with your problems as i said. hes normally very helpful and communicative, however just recently hes so busy trying to finalise Gold hes not been as forthcoming. So try and understand if that email doesnt achieve very much very quickly.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Ok I emailed Rob so hopefully I will hear back from him. Thanks for your help. I use to use cav alot at the start of the game, but I realized that they have a very limited use on the map due to the terrain. Between the mountains, valleys, forests and islands they dont serve much of a purpose. Open terrain they are great especially dealing with the peltasts, but as your empire starts to expand out they lose that usefulness fast for me at least due to the above mentioned reasons. I just have secured everything north, south and west of Mac and my eastern front is up to Central Ods. If the landscape opens up again Cav might be an option for me again.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm

This email response is from Rob after explaining to him about the archers when they are grouped not attacking as ordered. In the original email I explained to him the issue and than went on to tell him that Arcon97 noticed that they will attack as ordered only when you ungroup them.

Thanks for the details. I've tracked down and fixed the problem in gold and will backport the fix to PoM as well. As you correctly pointed out, grouped missile units weren't taking their target from the group properly and so were picking their own targets instead. I don't have exact dates for when the updates will be available but it should be in the next couple weeks.

cheers,
rob

Level 9 Human Student
Alignment: Chaotic
Posted on February 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

While I do think that Longbow intended for us to be able to move food around our empires, I don't think they intended for it to be easy.

There are, after all, areas in the gameworld where it is impossible to maintain a garrison and it is very difficult to campaign in because of the lack of farms. Attack the tribes to the far north (Danube) and you'll see what I mean. There are areas where it is almost not worth going, and I think this is intended.

There are supposed to be places where it is difficult to organise a campaign from due to lack of resources, and what I believe the intention of the game designers to have been is for us to use flocks of sheep to supply our armies on the march. This is certainly always what I have done when food is scarce, and you'll notice that in areas where towns are short of food there are usually more flocks. I gather an army together in the winter, wait for the sheep to spawn and then take one or two flocks with me on campaign.

I completely agree that the pathfinding of slaves is messed up. I just send them to the mines or execute them. Given how cumbersome and inefficient they are for the purpose of transporting food, I've always avoided using them for that.

My points:
1) Longbow intended for there to be areas on the map where food is a problem for towns and armies. This is historical.
2) Longbow provided several solutions to the food issue - sheep (which I use), triremes (useful for transferring food between main hubs), the transfer system (a bit unreliable), and workers/slaves (can't carry that much, plus bad pathfinding).
3) I don't think bad pathfinding was intended, but I also doubt that we were expected to use slaves in the kind of numbers we're talking about here, to transport food. The impression I've always got is that slaves were just fodder to send to the mines.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm

It is not just about slaves because I have tried it with workers. Pathfinding is not all that good for any large group including sheep. I have done the sheep thing just like you. In fact at one point I was collecting sheep preparing for when they might be needed. I had collected 27 flocks of sheep and set them out in a large protected area. At one point I grouped them together to move them out east just in case I needed them and they could not even make it through the mountain passes by the starting cities.

Pathfinding needs to be fixed period.

Level 9 Human Sage
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Great Britain
Posted on February 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Pathfinding needs to be fixed period.

i disagree. i think unit numbers need to be capped, especially slaves, and food stockpiles need to be capped. unless the AI is considerably improved so the AI provides more of a challenge. its already too easy. if it gets any easier it will be a boring grind with no challenge at all.

pathfinding isnt great - agreed... but i think the mistake the devs made is that ppl are using far larger quantities of units than was foreseen. massive use of slaves to provide more food distribution in turn enables more troops to be deployed in any given area. ive said it all before. either the game needs to be completely overhauled with pathfinding improved, AI improved massively, and terrain improvements and/or units footprint reduced, OR the players unit numbers need to be limited by limiting food (thus limiting troop deployment in any given area).

This applies even more to Gold than PoM, I know phauren youre dicussing PoM. So excuse me if i hijack this thread by discussing Gold. Gold is still way too easy because of the reduced enemy spawns. The AI improvements have not (yet) balanced out the reduced AI troops numbers, the AI does not transfer food, the AI does not use catapults (in Gold cities are virtually impossible to cap without them unless you starve them out), the AI has no cohesive strategy (ie when sieging an Athenian city and its about to fall the AI is still sailing right past with a huge army to go and burn your farms way back in your empire instead of asssiting the sieged city). Lack of food is the only challenge in Gold, but i think the AI suffers more from lack of food than the player does, there are constantly starving AI troops somewhere on the map. Therefore anything that reduces the lack of food for the player would widen that gap even further.

The reason i am saying this is because i cant imagine, with Gold being released this month, these major improvements to pathfinding and the behaviour of large groups (and therefore the ability to move large quantities of food) being made to PoM without also being applied to Gold. And if they were applied to Gold it would be a disaster for the reasons stated above.

Level 8 Human Paladin
Alignment: Lawful good
Posted on February 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Having improved pathfinding and unit caps are not mutually exclusive events. Personally, I don't see that extra unit caps are necessary, because there's only so many troops you can throw into a physical area at a time before you start running into each other. There's also limited space around cities during sieges, so that shouldn't be an issue either. No matter how much food you have, if your troops can't swing their swords or use their spears, they're going to be useless.

If you happen to have enough food to field a large force, I don't think you should be penalized in that aspect.

Instead, shouldn't combat crowding penalties be increased? I'm not sure what they're currently at, but they don't seem too major in PoM. I don't see a physical number in-game either. Penalizing a unit's attack power by 33-50% and defense by 25-33% (or maybe both by 33-50%) seems more reasonable. That alone would help keep people from overrunning a battle by just dumping units into it. I'd also like to see modifiers like that given quantifiable numbers in-game.

What sort of unit caps are you talking about, and how different are they from the regular population caps?

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 5, 2011 at 12:56 am

So excuse me if i hijack this thread by discussing Gold.

No worries it is something that pertains to both versions.


pathfinding isnt great - agreed... but i think the mistake the devs made is that ppl are using far larger quantities of units than was foreseen.

I dont know in PoM I have a lot of gold that I am not using and I have a lot of native and mercenary points that I am not using also. In my current game I am around 18000 gold and I am only using like 13000 of that money. I will admit that probably 4000 of that is being spent on trimeres though (excessive I know, but I like to have boats everywhere for quick travel). I dont have huge armies. I dont know what other people are doing though, but like I discussed my main armies are only 5 unit armies with 2 catapults.


either the game needs to be completely overhauled with pathfinding improved, AI improved massively, and terrain improvements and/or units footprint reduced, OR the players unit numbers need to be limited by limiting food (thus limiting troop deployment in any given area).

I agree that the pathfinding and AI need to be improved. I dont know what you are looking for in terms of terrain improvements. I think the terrain is great right now and I use it to my full advantage in battle all the time. Kami I am a little lost when you say units footprint reduced. What does that exactly mean. I really dont know what that means.


Instead, shouldn't combat crowding penalties be increased? I'm not sure what they're currently at, but they don't seem too major in PoM. I don't see a physical number in-game either. Penalizing a unit's attack power by 33-50% and defense by 25-33% (or maybe both by 33-50%) seems more reasonable. That alone would help keep people from overrunning a battle by just dumping units into it. I'd also like to see modifiers like that given quantifiable numbers in-game.

What is the actual penalty for over crowding? I really like this statement because I hardly see any negative effect from this when I am playing or at least from what I can tell. It really does not hurt me because like I said earlier I use small armies and use the terrain to my advantage. This would be nice to see crowding give some real negatives. This would also keep people from producing large armies as Kami stated if that is actually what is being done.

Level 9 Human Sage
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Great Britain
Posted on February 5, 2011 at 9:49 am

What sort of unit caps are you talking about, and how different are they from the regular population caps?

theres is no population cap in Gold just whatever u can afford (so maybe the amount of cash needs to be reviewed). but there is no cap, or any other limiting factor, on slaves in either PoM or Gold. as ive said ive seen ppl talking about using groups of 40 slave units and complaining they dont move well. and the food those slaves transport allows a much higher concentration of troops in one area of the map. as opposed to the troops being spread over several different armies on different borders, which is how PoM needs to be played because of the AI aggression from all directions.

I dont know what you are looking for in terms of terrain improvements. I think the terrain is great right now and I use it to my full advantage in battle all the time. Kami I am a little lost when you say units footprint reduced. What does that exactly mean. I really dont know what that means.

i'm talking of the area that each individual in a unit requires on the map. another way to think of it is the scale of units versus terrain. mountain passes and valleys werent so small that they could only squeeze armies thru one man at a time. thats what i mean by units footprint, it just seems too big in so many locations. Triremes footprint has been reduced in Gold, its around half the size and works much better. so either the area of accessible terrain (where units can actually stand) in tight areas would have to be increased or the units footprint reduced (or both). this is what causes a lot of odd behaviour, in both large and small groups.

This would be nice to see crowding give some real negatives. This would also keep people from producing large armies as Kami stated if that is actually what is being done

what i'm talking aboout isnt affected by crowding. a group fighting off reenforcements, a couple of groups cutting off supply lines, a couple of groups waiting in your cities radius. then a kind of relay action, bringing groups out from the city and sending depleted units back to recover. in Gold, apart from spearmen garrisoning each city, theres nothing to stop you having every available unit in the same area of the map as i stated above. nothing that is, other than the amount of food available. the AI doesnt stand a chance. ive never lost a city in Gold, and only once or twice have i ever been beaten back from an assault on a city. and thats without using slaves to transport food. and this is on "Expert" difficulty.

what i loved about PoM was the ebb and flow of the war. you could never take anything for granted. cities might change hands 4-5 times before they were finaly secured. your armies could be beaten soundly in an attempted assault and then a counter-attack could come and take back a city that you had thought was secured. again, this was without using masses of slaves to move food around, and food was often a major factor in these events. with virtualy unlimited food transportation its just grab and hold, grab and hold, grab and hold, endless progression across the map with little variation or challenge. much the stage i'm at in spartan campaign in Gold atm, only very early in the campaign was there any challenge. i deliberately refuse to use slaves to move food but i used 10 triremes to bring 10k food to the frontline on several occasions after our discussions in this thread, to see what effect it had. its killed the game. i cant even motivate myself to continue, its so boring, theres no challenge just grinding.
this is why i believe there needs to be restrictions on the transportation of food and/or the actual stockpiles of food (unless, as ive said, other changes are made to the game to provide a challenge).

Level 8 Human Paladin
Alignment: Lawful good
Posted on February 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Again, if you've got the food to supply that many troops, more power to you. I don't think you should be penalized. There's still a limit to how many troops you can physically commit to a fight at a time; having reserves is not uncommon. If you don't want to overwhelm an area to the point where it's ridiculous as you say, don't do that. I would agree that perhaps the AI should be more aggressive. In PoM, they're too quiet, though perhaps this is a good thing with the way the unit cap works.

However, I've never lost a city in PoM either. I took a region, expanded to whatever strategic chokepoints there were, and held them. Raiders would show up every now and then, but I'd keep enough troops in centralized cities and border forts to be able to respond to them effectively.

But honestly, what strategy game doesn't become, as you say, a grindfest at some point? Sooner or later, you'll either lose, or you'll have the enemy beat back enough for plenty of breathing room, and your heartland will be an unassailable fortress. I've never played a strategy game where that didn't happen. Enemy AI in some games might attempt a quick stab, but it's rarely a serious concern.

Level 9 Human Student
Alignment: Chaotic
Posted on February 6, 2011 at 10:20 am

Yes, I suppose enemy raids are more annoying than truly dangerous, especially in areas where your cities are walled. However, in unwalled areas Athenian landings have captured my towns occasionally if I didn't have a big enough reserve in the area (especially difficult in places with food problems).

I haven't played since a few patches ago and I thought that the game was pretty challenging. Raids were irritating enough to slow down my progress a lot because I had to remove my focus from the front, and maybe pull some units out of my campaigning army to fight off the raids along my coastline. In exceptionally poor coastal areas where I could only afford to maintain a tiny garrison, towns have changed hands quite a bit.

I do think that pathfinding should be improved. I also think it's a bit gamey to use 40 groups of slaves or 27 flocks of sheep and I'm not surprised that it causes problems for the engine. I doubt the developers thought people would use that many at the same time so it wasn't playtested, which is why we have issues.

PoM is a balanced game, in my opinion. The changes in Gold have thrown out the balance a bit, so any change to the pathfinding will have to be considered in terms of the effect it has on long-term gameplay.

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