Pathing

Discussion about gameplay and balance of Achron.

Pathing

Postby merlvingian » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:51 am

I know this has always been a hot subject and even more so since the beta campaign release.

Is there any plans for improvements on the short list of tasks to do at this moment or are we looking far into the future for any changes?
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Re: Pathing

Postby Hazard » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:12 pm

We have spent a LOT of time working on path planning (many many months of dedicated effort). Path planning with multiagent systems (any RTS) is a hard problem to begin with. However, we have about 1/20th of the CPU, and about 1 millionth (no joke) of the memory available in Achron for path planning when compared to other RTS games due to time travel.

We know it's an issue, and we continually revisit it. However, all of the easy solutions we can think of have been exhausted and all that remain are ideas that are either risky (a lot of effort and don't know how much it will actually improve things) or would very negatively impact gameplay.

It's very important so we will be making at least one more push on this front before final release, but we can't guarantee anything.
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Re: Pathing

Postby Haiku » Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:34 pm

have you thought about adding some sort of map specific extra pathing help data, which says "a ground unit in region A wanting to get to anywhere in region C must pass through region B first" It would eliminate units heading towards cliffs when there are perfectly usable ramps nearby, and ensure that long windy corridors are followed.
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Re: Pathing

Postby Hazard » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:05 pm

Yeah, we've discussed a variety of hierarchical decomposition techniques. However, many of those techniques don't work well with some of our gameplay elements for the amount of memory they cost.

That said, 2 or 3 of the "risky" ideas we have are variations of hierarchical decomposition. They're just a lot of work to implement given our gameplay without having terrible edge cases (that aren't all that rare).
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Re: Pathing

Postby merlvingian » Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:37 pm

Hazard wrote:We have spent a LOT of time working on path planning (many many months of dedicated effort). Path planning with multiagent systems (any RTS) is a hard problem to begin with. However, we have about 1/20th of the CPU, and about 1 millionth (no joke) of the memory available in Achron for path planning when compared to other RTS games due to time travel.

We know it's an issue, and we continually revisit it. However, all of the easy solutions we can think of have been exhausted and all that remain are ideas that are either risky (a lot of effort and don't know how much it will actually improve things) or would very negatively impact gameplay.

It's very important so we will be making at least one more push on this front before final release, but we can't guarantee anything.



I appreciate the response and your honesty on the situation. I know it is a massive task but I fear if it is not solved to some extent it could do serious damage to the games reputation and continued population. From your statements at this point nothing is going to be easy to get it corrected, but is it more of an impossibility problem or not wanting to raise the minimum specs up to high?

I'm going to great great effort to get pathing to acceptable levels in the multi player maps I create but I have the luxury of the map not having to make sense in the same way a single player one needs to. My biggest problem at this point is map design with close by air far by ground is impossible to make. I also have many more ramps and pathing opportunities I don't really want to include but the end result is it needs to work,

I really want to digest the new content you have released more before I comment to much but I am on mission 7 I think and the pathing has frustrated me to no end. I am not sure if I was not so heavily intrigued by the time mechanics if I would stick with the game from these issues. Luckily I started long ago with it and have learned to accept things and fell in love with the multi player. I fear new users might not and the game will get over looked and rated down to the point possible customers will not even attempt it.

One last comment on the new content; I think your story is incredible and I have not seen the entire thing so I can not comment to much on pacing, but from what I have read on the wiki and web site you are cutting out a lot of background story that was some incredible writing and needs to be conveyed more to the end user. I would like to have herd your side story as an audio log or something that is simple and cost effective somehow woven in very early in the campaign (on that note, I know it cost more and is a little harder to pull off but all the side info between missions as audio logs can really convey the emotion and draw people in deeper). I think you might need to hit harder with the great story form the opening scene since there is so much us beta people know already. It almost feels like watching a great book as a movie and all the greatness got watered down.

Sorry to get off on a tangent, I know you are all working your best to solve the issue and I know it eats you up as much as it does us.
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Re: Pathing

Postby alfie275 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:16 am

Part of the problem to me seems to be that units try to stay in formation too much, perhaps there could be a toggle between formation mode and just generally sticking together (they'd still slow down for each other, but path such that the blob deforms ).
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Re: Pathing

Postby Hazard » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:50 am

*space bar / priority*
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Re: Pathing

Postby alfie275 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:46 am

My understanding was that that made the fast units go ahead, which may be undesirable. I generally do not make much use of formations anyway, since they don't rotate to face direction of travel.
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Re: Pathing

Postby ChronAberant » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:58 am

I really don't see why you can't make a close-by-air, far-by-land map with the current pathing limitation. First off, pretty much every location on every map is close-by-air, far-by-land right now just because of all the pathing issues! :lol:

Seriously though, if you want to delay transit between two bases by land without completely breaking 1 click pathing, just stick a large concave barrier between them eg: x U x, where x are bases and U is a barrier connected to the top boarder of the map.
In fact you could even get really creative and put slingshots on the barrier for each player, just out of range of land, thereby allowing instantaneous transport for air across it.

But honestly, as a map maker I must question why you would want to make a map close-by-air, far-by-land. Like I said, close-by-air, far-by-land describes pretty much every large map on the mod server. If you want to do something unique, perhaps you should be thinking about close-by-land, far-by-air. ;)
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Re: Pathing

Postby Echo35 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:40 am

I only got the game recently, and beyond checking the blog now and then, haven't been involved with the community until now, but what exactly has been discussed in the past, and what do you mean by CPU/memory limitations? The game barely touches my hardware, so are you talking memory pools from a programming standpoint or what? And has threading been discussed/is it even possible? Not trying to be rude or anything, I'm just curious as to what the issues are exactly.
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