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Heroes Community > Heroes 4 - Lands of Axeoth > Thread: Combat grid layout
Thread: Combat grid layout
kevyip
kevyip


Adventuring Hero
posted April 18, 2002 07:11 AM bonus applied.
Edited By: kevyip on 18 Apr 2002

Combat grid layout

There is not much information about the exact layout of the combat screen, so I offer a speculation below based on my observations.  

My theory is that the combat screen is simply a grid of squares.  Each square represents the shortest distance a creature can move.  Then I observed the movements of the smallest creatures, such as a dwarf.  I noticed the shortest distance it can move is half its width.  So I decided that one square on the grid is a "half square unit", and two squares yield "one sq. unit".  If a creature has a movement value of 4, it can move 4 sq. units (8 squares).

What seems to be apparent is that the creatures occupy CIRCULAR spaces.  One would have thought that on a square grid, creatures should occupy square spaces.  But as the diagrams below show, if the hydra occupied a square area, the dwarf at its top right side should be farther away from it.  Because a square has corners, which other creatures must stand clear of.  A circle doesn't have corners.

Hence, I took a screenshot from the game and re-created the positions of the creatures with the grid layout below.  Besides occupying circular spaces, creatures also seem to occupy circles of different sizes.  For the first time in the history of HOMM games, creatures occupy 2-dimensional spaces.



That is why I think we see all kinds of odd positioning of creatures on the combat field, such as the one above.  Their positions don't form a "pattern" that enables us to recognize whether the field is composed of a hex grid or a square grid or whatever.  That's why I think some creatures can attack other creatures from a lot more angles (such as a small one attacking a big one) than others can.  

Also, in the positioning above, the hydra cannot move at all!  The space behind it, which seems big enough, isn't really big enough for it to squeeze through.  But if the dwarf to its right move one square (half a step) to the right, the hydra will be able to move out.  Without a grid layout, it is hard for us to notice whether a creature is obstructing another or not.

Again, this is just my theory.  At any rate, 3DO/NWC needs to clear this up for us and modify the combat screen to make it easy for us to look at.


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Jenova
Jenova


Famous Hero
posted April 18, 2002 09:44 AM

Well if you're right, then you can see why they didn't include the grid or shadow cursor then.. So what's your suggestion?

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kevyip
kevyip


Adventuring Hero
posted April 18, 2002 04:55 PM
Edited By: kevyip on 18 Apr 2002

Quote:
Well if you're right, then you can see why they didn't include the grid or shadow cursor then.. So what's your suggestion?

They can still give us a shadow cursor, which can be a circle the same size as the one the creature occupies.  A movement shadow would also be helpful.

Additionally, they should also let us toggle the grid display with a keystroke, so we can measure distances on the combat field.


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Jenova
Jenova


Famous Hero
posted April 18, 2002 04:59 PM

It's too complicated and will confuse people.. that's why they removed the grid and shadow movement. Shadow cursor sounds doable, but what good is it anyway? They don't use integer values for spaces or movement distance anymore, so the grid will confuse more than it helps.

By the way, good work on your explaination. You must have gone through a lot of trouble to do all that.

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The_Gootch
The_Gootch


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Kneel Before Me Sons of HC!!
posted April 18, 2002 05:15 PM

I don't ever do this....  This post deserves a qp.
____________



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kevyip
kevyip


Adventuring Hero
posted April 18, 2002 05:27 PM

Quote:
It's too complicated and will confuse people.. that's why they removed the grid and shadow movement. Shadow cursor sounds doable, but what good is it anyway? They don't use integer values for spaces or movement distance anymore, so the grid will confuse more than it helps.

By the way, good work on your explaination. You must have gone through a lot of trouble to do all that.

Thanks.  It was fun making it, actually.  

What do you mean by not using integer values?  Are you referring to the fact that creatures can move "half a step", not just a whole step?


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Snogard
Snogard


Known Hero
customised
posted April 19, 2002 08:14 AM

Quote:
I don't ever do this....  This post deserves a qp.


I don't ever do this too... I second Gootch.

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UnkaHaakon
UnkaHaakon


Responsible
Famous Hero
happily tilting at windmills
posted April 19, 2002 08:37 AM

Off topic: Bonus Applied

Well, I third it, and besides LOL ... if Gootch is behind it, who am I to argue?

Seriously ... nice work on this. It helps a player visualize why they can't move that big critter to smash those annoying little twerps blocking your shooter. Keep up the outstanding work.

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bjorn190
bjorn190


Responsible
Supreme Hero
Jebus maker
posted April 19, 2002 09:52 AM

Quote:
It's too complicated and will confuse people..


Alot of the worlds evils have started with those words..  remember, its wrong to tell ppl what to do, what to think, or to decide for yourself what they can, and cannot understand.

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Jenova
Jenova


Famous Hero
posted April 19, 2002 03:42 PM

Quote:

Alot of the worlds evils have started with those words..  remember, its wrong to tell ppl what to do, what to think, or to decide for yourself what they can, and cannot understand.


It's part of game design.. No it's not wrong. They have a right to design it how they feel it will be best. There's no way to make a game that pleases everyone. You DO have to assume what is best for the gamers. But no one is telling you what to do or think.

What they can or cannot understand is a very valid design factor. If everyone thought like you, we would all be playing some very complicated games because the developers would not assume we'd be too dumb to understand them.

I don't care about the worlds evils. This is a game, it's not going to start a world war. When it comes to games, developers make all the decisions (with some feedback of course). I believe they must have had a reason for not including the grid or else they would have put it in. They didn't leave it out for kicks.
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bjorn190
bjorn190


Responsible
Supreme Hero
Jebus maker
posted April 19, 2002 03:57 PM

Quote:
I don't care about the worlds evils. This is a game, it's not going to start a world war.


You never know.. some day someone may start a world war because of something you said today..

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kevyip
kevyip


Adventuring Hero
posted April 19, 2002 05:56 PM

Thanks, UnkaHaakon and others.

If they don't give us shadow cursor, grid display, or movement shadow, I would suggest they give us movement *arrows*, the same kind we see on the adventure screen.  Green arrows for normal movement, yellow for moving into enemy's striking distance, red for the next turn's movement.


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a100pieces
a100pieces


Adventuring Hero
posted April 19, 2002 06:58 PM
Edited By: a100pieces on 19 Apr 2002

Quote:
It's part of game design.. No it's not wrong. They have a right to design it how they feel it will be best. There's no way to make a game that pleases everyone. You DO have to assume what is best for the gamers. But no one is telling you what to do or think.



I don't mean to sound rude... but have you ever heard of such a thing called an option?

Options please everyone.  Option to turn on off grid = everyone happy.  I just wanted to point out that incase you hadn't become aware that like in heroes 2/3, the option makes both the people who use it and people who don't happy.  

Shadow cursor would be useful for realizing where you are placing a unit.  It's hard for me to invision various sized circles next to other circles.  

This is my biggest gripe with the game right now.  By trying to simplify everything and remove as much optional information as possible (which should never happen... the more charts/stats/info the better), they are creating a confusing battle interface, and the game relies so heavily on battle, they cannot afford to have such a thing happen IMO.

Quote:
If they don't give us shadow cursor, grid display, or movement shadow, I would suggest they give us movement *arrows*, the same kind we see on the adventure screen. Green arrows for normal movement, yellow for moving into enemy's striking distance, red for the next turn's movement.



That is ingenious!  I love that idea.  That + a grid fix would restore my interest completely in HoMM4.

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Jenova
Jenova


Famous Hero
posted April 20, 2002 06:35 AM

Quote:
I don't mean to sound rude... but have you ever heard of such a thing called an option?

Options please everyone. Option to turn on off grid = everyone happy. I just wanted to point out that incase you hadn't become aware that like in heroes 2/3, the option makes both the people who use it and people who don't happy.

Shadow cursor would be useful for realizing where you are placing a unit. It's hard for me to invision various sized circles next to other circles.


They gave options in the previous games.. The reason they didn't give the option this time is because it would confuse people that used it! That is the whole point I was trying to make. Normally yes, you can have an option to please both. But it wasn't worth it in this case because the grid might have been less help than its worth. THAT is the design decision they needed to make -- whether the option itself would have been helpful or not, instead of whether it should have been in. If they included that OPTION, it might not have helped that much anyway, so that must have been why they didn't allow it.

Some things can be decided by options, but you can only go so far with that. What if someone didn't like the new skills system and would rather have the old primary skills (Attack, Defense, Power, Knowledge)? Could they make an option for that too? No of course not, so options can only go so far. Not everything can be decided by options, which means there are many things that developers have to decide FOR us. Shadow movement is just an example of decision they had to make by themself.

I am strongly opposed to the way they tout 48 heroes but each one is hardly unique. There is no option to remove that, so I just have to accept that their vision for the game would have been better than what I would have done.
____________

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zhuge
zhuge


Hired Hero
posted April 20, 2002 04:28 PM
Edited By: zhuge on 20 Apr 2002

The combat grid may have certain similarities with the adventure map. You can move in 8 different directions on the adventure map but moving diagonally seems to be rather different.

A basic tiling unit made up of regular octagons may be more precise. Octagons are connected flush diagonally with each other and 1 'square' distance away for up/down/left/right. Draw it out for a clearer view. This of course can also be translated to a simpler square grid slanted diagonally with squares connected only by points also being considered adjacent.

It would also seem that on the adventure screen moving up/down/left/right uses more movement than moving diagonally which was not the case in HoMM3 where a non-slanted square grid was used on the adventure screen. I wonder if a similar case can be made for movement on the combat grid.

Creature stacks (at least some) seem to be made of quite a few 'octagons'. I'm a bit too busy to really test this and would appreciate any help in this area. Will run some tests myself once I have more time.

No grid completely blunts the efforts to develop a good tactical approach. I've stopped counting how many times semi-large units such as Centaurs, Nomads keep getting stuck and having to take a circuitous route around an obstacle.

Let's get to the bottom of this fast. If need be we'll paste a transparent grid(finalized) on the screen to gauge distance before the actual patch for technical corrections becomes available. (if it corrects this problem at all)



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kevyip
kevyip


Adventuring Hero
posted April 22, 2002 09:38 PM
Edited By: kevyip on 22 Apr 2002

An grid made up of octagons would have to be composed of tiles of crisscrossing octagons and squares.  That would seem awkward, and doesn't simplify calculations of distances and areas.  If a coordinate system is to be used, then a square grid with intersecting horizontal and vertical lines would be the most straightforward.  The Cartesian coordinate system (which refers to any point on a plane as (x,y)) is meant to be implemented on a square grid.  

I am unable to understand what you meant by an octagonal tiling that can be translated into a square grid composed of adjacent squares.  On such a tiling method, there will always be some distance between two squares (I'll try to post a picture of it later).

Also, circles are much easier to work with geometrically than octagons.  A circle can be defined with one number only -- its radius.  An octagon has to be specified with its side length, circumradius, and inradius, and whether it is a regular octagon (i.e. being equilateral and equiangular) or not.  These make calculations more complex.

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zhuge
zhuge


Hired Hero
posted April 23, 2002 08:27 AM

OK , I've given it some further thought and I agree that
the octagonal representation is rather cumbersome. The point is on the adventure map, each tile (whatever shape it is) is connected to another 8 and diagonal movement seems different from vertical/horizontal movement.

Note that I've mentioned 'slanted' square grid with squares touching each other by points also considered adjacent in my 1st post.
This representation is also seen on the map editor with grid turned on. (duh, I should have noted this earlier)
Perhaps I should have used diamond shaped grid??

I agree that circles are a clearer representation but the basic layout is similar to that of the octagon in terms of
number of other connected tiles.

Some added observations:
1) A hero is able to attack a Zombie in 12 different directions. With the representation of a Zombie being exactly 1 unit in size, (same for a hero?) and the smallest tile being half a unit, then there are exactly 12 such tiles around the Zombie. However if one were to take a hero's position into account when attacking the Zombie, there are more than 12 possible positions to place the hero (assuming the hero is also 1 unit in size).

2) Moving vertically up/down on the battlefield seem to take a lot of movement points whereas moving horizontally seems to take very much less. Tile size
seems to be disproportionate being wider horizontally than it is vertically. This may be probably due to the view  of the battlefield.

3) Moving on the battlefield in swamp terrain seems to take longer (each unit has shorter reach than normal) which is similar to the adventure map.

4) Crossing rivers seems to take a substantial amount of movement points on the battlefield.

It would be nice first of all to establish:
1) Battlefield size (in HoMM3 this was 15 X 11) in terms
of tiles (once we get a good idea of their orientation)
2) Unit size (I suppose we can take Sprites/Peasants as 1 unit by comparison)

Later on knowing how much hindrance each battlefield obstacle (trees, bushes, rocks) represents in terms of tiles and also line of sight would make better tactical plans feasible.

On a rather unrelated note, on Champ difficulty with the Might faction and no tavern, a map is rather limiting. At certain points I really can't do much except wait for stacks to grow. Or perhaps I've missed some vital tactic? I'm a HoMM veteran but I'm as new as anyone else to this game and would like to hear views regarding battlefield tactics and of course the grid/tiling system.
Thoughts anyone?

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Sir_Stiven
Sir_Stiven


Honorable
Legendary Hero
banned
posted April 28, 2002 04:03 PM

Wow, i can understand why that post got a QP. That post if any deserves it. To bad that the players have to make up for the misses that the game makers did.

The lack of a built in grid is only one of the things i think sucks but i think its vital because the fighting is a big part of this game. I might be able to learn "the beuty" of heroes4 too but i really really hope that they have the battle gird included in a patch.


____________
"Youre zeroes and ones, youre wrong where im right"

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undead_wolf_...
undead_wolf_lad


Adventuring Hero
Undead Wolf Wrangler
posted April 29, 2002 05:09 PM

I'm still trying to figure out how having a grid overlay makes things more confusing
It's as confusing as it can be now because no one has a clear idea how it works. Visual representation couldn't possibly make it MORE confusing.

Quite honestly, I think it's not present because they simply didn't finish it. Features get cut all the time because devs just didn't spend enough time on it and by the time they got to it, there wasn't enough time to implement it properly. I have a sneaking suspicion it'll surface in a patch or exapansion.

But I agree, excellent post.

____________
"where's a damn werewolf when you need one?"

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