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Topic: 'Basic outpost' - low wares start

tothxa
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Posted at: 2023-12-10, 10:47

blind3rdeye wrote:

Incidentally, when I posted the other day I was talking about the empire expanding quickly with a heap of blockhouses... but it turns out that I misremembered the deconstruction cost of those things. I was imagining building and deconstructing them and only losing 1 log; but you actually lose a plank and a log - which is quite a lot!

Blockhouses are actually pretty much use- and meaningless. The sentry costs less to build as soon as you have a quarry, and you lose only a log on dismantle. The Empire can expand quicker than others because of sentries and outposts.


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blind3rdeye
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Posted at: 2023-12-18, 21:08

Yes, you're right about the blockhouses / sentries. I guess my memory got mixed up with my assumptions & intuition of what I'd expect things to cost. There's probably some balance adjustments that could be made there; but that's a story for another day.

Regarding the basic outpost addon, I'm intending to make one final round of changes, and after that I might not change it again for a long time. (I've been playing Widelands a lot recently, but I'm starting to sense the that wave of enthusiasm is waning.) So if anyone has tried playing it, now would be a good time for any feedback and suggestions.

Here's what I've got in mind so far:

  • I think Amazons are probably the strongest with this start, because being able to build new tools cheaply allows them to accelerate quickly regardless of what their surrounding resources are like. But I think the speed and strategies of their early gameplay are good and fun - so rather than taking away some small amount of resources to balance things, it's probably better to leave them alone and give others a boost if needed.

  • The Frisians, as I mentioned last time, are able to build a lot of stuff with their starting resources. So that is a pretty fast and flexible start as well. They're probably fine.

  • The Atlanteans... I haven't played a heap of, but my impression is that they take longer to get established because their mines require so much stuff to operate; but once they get going, they are strong. They start with 6 miners, whereas others only start with 2.

  • The Barbarians I think are one of the weakest currently. They don't need very much to start mining and accelerating, so they don't feel too bad. But they do start with significantly less tools than other tribes, and currently they are the only one that cannot build a toolsmith immediately. (Originally I intended that none of the tribes would start with enough to build that immediately, but various things changed my mind.) I'm intending to give them +1 reed so that they can build the toolsmith; and I'm also wondering if I should give them some extra ore and coal... I did a rough count of starting workers with tools, and I got 21 for Frisians, 25 Atlanteans, 22 Empire, and 17 Barbians. The main thing is that other tribes start with farmers and bakers. I guess I could just give the Barbarians a farmer and a baker too; but I'm wondering if it might just be more interesting to give them 1 or 2 extra iron ore and coal.

  • The Empire still feel the weakest to me. I'm currently trying them with another +3 starting marble, bringing them up to 10 marble and 1 column. That's finally enough that I no longer feel like I'm relying on luck to get enough marble to build the infrastructure to actually start mining marble. (Building toolsmithy + the neccessary basics to start a marble mine costs 18 marble total; so the player still must get 6 marble from the quarry, but there's plenty of time to do that while things build.) ... Aside from giving that +3 starting marble, I'm not sure what else to do. I suspect they're still going to be the weakest; especially if I give the Barbarians the extra iron ore. So I guess I could just throw in even more marble, or perhaps a single piece of cloth... or something else, or nothing. I'm still thinking about it and I'd appreciate any suggestions if anyone has them.

In short, here are the draft changes:

  • Amazons & Frisians: leave as they are.
  • Atlanteans: probably leave as well. Maybe a couple of extra planks if anything.
  • Barbarians: +1 reed, +2 iron ore, +2 coal. (Or maybe just farmer & baker instead)
  • Empire: Perhaps +5 marble, +1 iron ore.

That's what I've currently got in mind; but I'm yet to hear from anyone else about balance, and I haven't done a huge amount of testing. (Games are long, and I generally like to play them to the end.) So I'd appreciate thoughts or suggestions if you have any.


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kaparzo
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Posted at: 2023-12-21, 11:30

This Basic Post is amazing, exacly what i needed to get back into the game.

Thank you!


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blind3rdeye
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Posted at: 2023-12-22, 09:42

kaparzo wrote:

This Basic Post is amazing, exacly what i needed to get back into the game.

Thank you!

I'm pleased you like it. face-smile.png

For me low resource starts have always been the way I prefer to play the game; and I was starting to think maybe I was the only one. (Before this I used 'struggling outpost' almost every game; but that has long time before big choices start to open up - which is why I prefer the starting condition I've made.)


I'm still playing with the 'draft changes' that I posted earlier, and it's looking like I might just go with that and call it done. It's feeling kind of maybe sort of fair to me, and no one has offered me any other opinion. So maybe that's good enough. I'll sit on it for a bit longer though for a bit more testing. (I'd just upload immediately, but I don't want to make some poor admin re-verify the changes over and over again.)

Today I did two ~1-hour games on Crater, one as barbarians, and one as atlanteans. I got roughly similar economic situations at the end for the two tribes... so that seems good. In neither case was I fast enough getting my army to actually win, but it was pretty close. (I didn't want to use any special anti-AI techniques because I wanted the play-test to be a more 'normal' style.)

I think the +1 reed for barbarians is more impactful than the +2 ore and coal (unless you don't have easy access to iron mines or something - in which case the extra iron ore is a big deal). Previously, the reed farm was one of the first things I'd build, so that I could get the metal workshop quickly; but now the reeds feel... almost useless. I mean, reeds are still necessary for a couple of important buildings, but you barely need any of them and it's just easy to forget to build it. Sometimes I end up disassembling the reed farm and just live off the stockpile for the rest of the game. (Unlike the Frisians, for which reeds are so highly used that reed shortages can be a bottle-neck in the early game.) Anyway, I did sort of like that reeds were required to get the metal workshop, but I think if every other tribe can build their workshop immediately then the barbarians should be able to as well.


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tothxa
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Posted at: 2023-12-23, 01:09

blind3rdeye wrote:

I'm still playing with the 'draft changes' that I posted earlier, and it's looking like I might just go with that and call it done. It's feeling kind of maybe sort of fair to me, and no one has offered me any other opinion. So maybe that's good enough. I'll sit on it for a bit longer though for a bit more testing. (I'd just upload immediately, but I don't want to make some poor admin re-verify the changes over and over again.)

I guess it's OK to upload a biggish update that you want to get tested even if you're not sure it's final.


I've played a game with this starting condition with Amazons from my Amazon balancing PR against a trading outpost Atlantean AI. I think it worked quite well. It's certainly quite nice that I don't have to watch out all the time for deadlocks, because there is one of each essential worker, instead of just their tools or raw materials for the tools.


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