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Topic: What are the rules that determine new borders when exchanging territory?

impactus
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Joined: 2021-04-12, 20:43
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Pry about Widelands
Posted at: 2021-04-16, 16:40

Hey, couldn't find anything about this. Often it feels like I do not understand what is happening to my borders at all. I seem to recall borders were weird even in settlers, so I assume they are not buggy.

So when there's no enemy in sight, everything is clear. Radius of new buildings, that's it. But when another player is involved, there seems to be some "first come, first serve" rule? But not really? Like, I expand to my enemies border. Alright, didn't get my full radius, that's obvious. Now the guy takes one of my buildings. Some of my stuff burns, but obviously not military buildings. I take it back. Now I got less territory? Stuff like this results in borders encapsulating my building in a way I can't even connect a path.

Of course I'm not sure if that's all that happened, but maybe there's an explanation? Often I just look at the borders, where buildings are and go "this does not make sense at all". Fine needles of territory just slicing into my land with no obvious reinforcement. Sometimes it also seems as if enemy buildings with 0 soldiers suddenly help my enemy when it comes to regaining territory.

I would really like to understand how that works, any help appreciated.

Off-Topic Bonus question(s):

Are some small maps just not intended to manage any unit leveling with barbarians? Like, is that a design concept? I just want to know if I'm doing something terribly wrong or if I'm supposed to check out a full economy on a bigger map. Can't seem to find more than one good spot for an iron mine. Oh and slightly related, is it possible the archeologists find resources that are depleted? Or are they just ignoring that the upper layer is depleted? Like, I was looking for a new spot because I didn't want to change my economy to deep mines and that guy was no help at all. Still reported full deposits.

Cheers!


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Nordfriese
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Posted at: 2021-04-16, 17:15

When you conquer a militarysite, you are given just enough fields around it to host the site and its flag. If another militarysite that is no smaller than the conquered one is very close nearby, it protects the land and your loot is burnt down instead. All other nodes around are granted to the player with the strongest influence over it:

  • If the current owner still has at least one building with influence over the node, he keeps it.

  • If he has no influence, we look at all military buildings of all players with influence over the node. The amount of influence for each site is determined by the distance between site and node, and the site's size. The player with the highest total influence score gets the node. Ties are resolved in favour of the old owner.

In effect, this ensures that contested nodes usually go to the player with the largest military force nearby, with a slight bias towards the old owner.

(I don't remember all the details though, this code has not been touched for ages…)


Are some small maps just not intended to manage any unit leveling with barbarians? Like, is that a design concept? I just want to know if I'm doing something terribly wrong or if I'm supposed to check out a full economy on a bigger map. Can't seem to find more than one good spot for an iron mine.

On small maps, Barbarians are a tribe that is more suited to mass-produce cheap rookies and train them evade-only. You need a strong economy before you can use their trainingscamp properly.

Oh and slightly related, is it possible the archeologists find resources that are depleted? Or are they just ignoring that the upper layer is depleted? Like, I was looking for a new spot because I didn't want to change my economy to deep mines and that guy was no help at all. Still reported full deposits.

Barbarian level 1 mines exploit only 33% of the initial resources. Level 2 mines take 66%, and Level 3 mines 100%. The geologist's signs only indicate whether there are more than 10 ("lots of") or 10 or less ("a little") of a resource. So when the level 1 mine runs dry, there are ~13 units of the resource left in the ground (assuming 20 units initially) – hence the geologist may place a "Lots Of" sign while you already need a level 2 mine to get anything.

Edited: 2021-04-16, 17:16

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impactus
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Posted at: 2021-04-16, 18:08

Very insightful, thanks! That's basically all I wanted to know. I'd like to put some constructive criticism up for discussion though.

When you conquer a militarysite, you are given just enough fields around it to host the site and its flag. If another militarysite that is no smaller than the conquered one is very close nearby, it protects the land and your loot is burnt down instead. All other nodes around are granted to the player with the strongest influence over it:

Sure this is how it works? Seems unnecessarily complicated. Guaranteeing ground, with an exception that burns the building down instead, seems like the effect of just calculating necessary influence in the first place.

  • If the current owner still has at least one building with influence over the node, he keeps it.

Hmmm. This is the main thing establishing "first come first serve"

  • If he has no influence, we look at all military buildings of all players with influence over the node. The amount of influence for each site is determined by the distance between site and node, and the site's size. The player with the highest total influence score gets the node. Ties are resolved in favour of the old owner.

That seems ok, the need to resolve ties is interesting. Maybe one could resolve this by letting the contested ground go neutral. Anyway, a bit of finders-keepers should be ok, why not.

In effect, this ensures that contested nodes usually go to the player with the largest military force nearby, with a slight bias towards the old owner.

This is not at all what I experience. Not saying that's not the rule, just that the logic of this doesn't really make it into my game experience. Most of the time I'm attacking 3-4 sentries their full range away, in the hope that the next one might collaps the strange foothold my enemy has got for seemingly no reason. And I actually suspect unmanned buldings play a role in one of these assesments. But maybe that's just as something holding the ground passively like any other building. These passive buildings do seem to have some weird range maybe?

Maybe the "weirdness" I experience is due to some reinforcement by a stronger building "far" behind the lines, but it's hard to tell.

All in all I really think it would be better if the calculation would be as close as possible to being "order independent". That means looking at a static map, one should be able to calculate the borders. With the slight catch of equal influence, but certainly no more of that first-come-first-serve than absolutely necessary. I would almost suspect Settlers 1 had it in a similar fashion because it was costly too recalculate a full map state.

But that's just my opinion, not trying to tell you your game is wrong.

On small maps, Barbarians are a tribe that is more suited to mass-produce cheap rookies and train them evade-only. You need a strong economy before you can use their trainingscamp properly.

Ok, that's great. Winning that way against the AI was no problem, I was just bumping my head why I can't bring it to a glorious overwhelming victory. Makes sense.

Barbarian level 1 mines exploit only 33% of the initial resources. Level 2 mines take 66%, and Level 3 mines 100%. The geologist's signs only indicate whether there are more than 10 ("lots of") or 10 or less ("a little") of a resource. So when the level 1 mine runs dry, there are ~13 units of the resource left in the ground (assuming 20 units initially) – hence the geologist may place a "Lots Of" sign while you already need a level 2 mine to get anything.

Alright, explained as well. Thanks again! Though I think the indicator should somehow match these relevant levels at least a bit. You just can't be told "max iron, bro!" and then a regular mine does nothing.

Edited: 2021-04-16, 18:18

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WorldSavior
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Posted at: 2021-04-16, 18:37

impactus wrote:

Very insightful, thanks! That's basically all I wanted to know. I'd like to put some constructive criticism up for discussion though.

When you conquer a militarysite, you are given just enough fields around it to host the site and its flag. If another militarysite that is no smaller than the conquered one is very close nearby, it protects the land and your loot is burnt down instead. All other nodes around are granted to the player with the strongest influence over it:

Sure this is how it works?

I can confirm most of it, but I think that a player always keeps the node if he keeps at least 1 military building which covers that node. Or am I wrong?

Seems unnecessarily complicated.

I don't think so, for example it makes sense that you can't conquer a sentry which is right next to a fortress. Why would the fortress burn in this case down instead of the sentry?

  • If he has no influence, we look at all military buildings of all players with influence over the node. The amount of influence for each site is determined by the distance between site and node, and the site's size. The player with the highest total influence score gets the node. Ties are resolved in favour of the old owner.

That seems ok, the need to resolve ties is interesting. Maybe one could resolve this by letting the contested ground go neutral.

Neutral ground right next to manned buildings would be somewhat counter-intuitive... The ties are probably only happening if there are more than 2 players at one place? As I said: Nodes are kept by the defender if he has at least 1 more building for the node. So there can't be a tie if there are only 2 players in one place?

Most of the time I'm attacking 3-4 sentries their full range away, in the hope that the next one might collaps the strange foothold my enemy has got for seemingly no reason. And I actually suspect unmanned buldings play a role in one of these assesments. But maybe that's just as something holding the ground passively like any other building. These passive buildings do seem to have some weird range maybe?

Unmanned buildings influence territory only if they have been manned before, which is a very rare case (bug).

What are these passive buildings you're talking about? Headquarters, ports? Their range is not so weird in my opinion (9 / 5 )


Wanted to save the world, then I got widetracked

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impactus
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Posted at: 2021-04-16, 19:28

I don't think so, for example it makes sense that you can't conquer a sentry which is right next to a fortress. Why would the fortress burn in this case down instead of the sentry?

You're right, burning down is something different, i was thinking about his one-sided. I think I would still reflect that protection as "infinite" influence on owned (and manned) military buildings, as part of the regular influence calculation. Unless whatever rule wants to burn down the house instead. That could be a purely technical difference, I admit.

Neutral ground right next to manned buildings would be somewhat counter-intuitive... The ties are probably only happening if there are more than 2 players at one place? As I said: Nodes are kept by the defender if he has at least 1 more building for the node. So there can't be a tie if there are only 2 players in one place?

Agreed, neutral is weird. My main point would be that resolving these ties should be the only "history-based" effect. I don't see what they add and they are very confusing.

What are these passive buildings you're talking about? Headquarters, ports? Their range is not so weird in my opinion (9 / 5 )

I was talking about any non-military building. Allowing these to stay despite what the influence calculation says is the main culprit regarding what I would prefer. Any range (regarding land ownership) on those would feel even more wrong. But that was probably just a misunderstanding.


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tothxa
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Posted at: 2021-04-17, 01:45

I kind of miss the large scale destruction that was possible in Settlers by conquering the right building. Also the races for finishing the new military building on the border before the enemy does it.

Not that I have anything against this first come, first served approach in Widelands. It also has it's own tactical quirks.


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impactus
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Posted at: 2021-04-22, 17:50

Personal preferences aside, is this (hope the attachment worked) how it should be? The enemy sentry is unmanned. My territory is pretty much what I got from my two sentries behind the fortress. Manning the fortress did not modify the disputed border at all. Going by the rules stated above, I get that the enemy was allowed to keep the building if it is indeed in range of his next sentry. But clearly, the enemy was able to sustain more territory than the "guaranteed" amount, that can be observed with my captured sentry up there. I also don't see what could be holding that "needle" of red territory above my captured sentry.

Am I on to something, or is this as you guys would expect things to go?


Attachment: borderDispute.jpg (168.4 KB)

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Nordfriese
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Posted at: 2021-04-22, 18:02

No, it all looks correct. Red still has a manned sentry southeast of yours, which conquers a radius of 6 which includes the narrow needle. I have modified your graphic to show the spheres of influence of two of the red sentries. As long as red holds these sentries, he cannot lose the land they guard.


(edit: The perspective of the photograph makes it a bit hard to see the node-distances clearly)

Edited: 2021-04-22, 18:03

Attachment: wl-conquer.png (1.4 MB)

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impactus
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Posted at: 2021-04-22, 18:17

Wow, you explained that with great speed and precision! Sorry for the photo btw, it was this or nothing since I previously discovered an actual screenshot just turns out black in fullscreen mode.

I think I somehow expected that while buildings are protected even if there is greater influence, naked land is not.

So, back to personal opinion. I think I get the thought behind the system, but at least when the difference of influence becomes that obvious, it just feels wrong.


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mxb2001
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Posted at: 2021-04-25, 21:31

This explains a lot. Wow. So newly taken sentries only control the absolute minimum by design. That's weird. What would have been natural would be that all land goes to whomever is closest to it.

I mean that red sentry is holding land (6 away) BEHIND the blue sentry that is right next to it (2 away?).


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