Once I got the server up, the next thing I wanted to tackle was revamping the design for combat. The original combat system was sort of rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock. It worked, but it was a little too complicated for people to be able to figure out intuitively.
The new system is based on the design of Red Alert 2. Each of the 6 types of units (construction buildings, ATV's, tanks, utility buildings, air and superweapons) has one of three armour types (light/medium/heavy.) Players will be able to figure out quickly which weapons work effectively against which unit types.
Each unit has a fixed amount of health, buildings are repaired by the good-old wrench button, mobile units can go to a repair facility, some units support self-repair out of combat, and some really fancy ones support self-repair in-combat.
Shields are back, but a bit simpler this iteration. Each shield has an effectiveness score and a total amount of damage it can mitigate. Some shields can regenerate out of combat, some expensive ones in-combat. The interesting thing about shields is that since shields don't mitigate all damage, if you have a shield on a unit that has almost no health, you could still lose the unit with only a little damage. Because shields multiply the health of a unit, they are going to be quite pricey. But if you have the means, you can stack multiple (theoretically up to 15) shields on a single unit.
Sometimes it is funny how things evolve over time. Every unit in the game is built from components which are big collections of stats. Originally the plan was to take stats from those components and put them into the information that is replicated to clients. Eventually the list of components itself made it into the information replicated to clients so all those stats were now duplicated. As part of the combat revamp I was able to finally take the time to remove all that redundant information. It should significantly speed up the server. Loading time after login is a lot quicker too.
I have quite a bit more work to do yet before I'll be rolling these changes out to testers. I'm looking to add about 40 units under the new system plus some new weapons effects.
Before I could revamp combat I needed to work out the design for player progression in the game, that took three days last week and I'll talk about that next time.
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