North-South Nuke Trajectory

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Gloworm
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North-South Nuke Trajectory

Postby Gloworm » Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:41 pm

There appears to be a disadvantage to playing a southern country due to the default north to south nuke arc. If a non-allied player plays the country to your immediate North, then you pretty much have to attack that country first, or you risk loosing all nukes on route to any other target country due to nearby anti-air.

One solution may be to implement an alternative nuke trajectory of south to north. It would be nice if this were player selectable, but perhaps a simple way to implement this would be automated determination of what side of the equator a nuke launch originates from; if from north of the equator then the default north-south trajectory would be used, but if from south of the equator then the alternative south-north trajectory would be used.

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Re: North-South Nuke Trajectory

Postby xander » Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:44 pm

Gloworm wrote:There appears to be a disadvantage to playing a southern country due to the default north to south nuke arc. If a non-allied player plays the country to your immediate North, then you pretty much have to attack that country first, or you risk loosing all nukes on route to any other target country due to nearby anti-air.

One solution may be to implement an alternative nuke trajectory of south to north. It would be nice if this were player selectable, but perhaps a simple way to implement this would be automated determination of what side of the equator a nuke launch originates from; if from north of the equator then the default north-south trajectory would be used, but if from south of the equator then the alternative south-north trajectory would be used.

~Gloworm

On the other hand, if that country is an ally, or fighting against the people sending nukes in your direction, they will swat most of them out of the sky before they reach you. People have complained about both aspects. To my mind, that implies that it is fairly well balanced :)

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Postby daset » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:00 pm

<snip>
Last edited by daset on Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: North-South Nuke Trajectory

Postby Gloworm » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:50 pm

xander wrote:On the other hand, if that country is an ally, or fighting against the people sending nukes in your direction, they will swat most of them out of the sky before they reach you. People have complained about both aspects. To my mind, that implies that it is fairly well balanced :)

xander


In that scenario, the issue of solely north-south nuke arcs is simply affecting someone else as opposed to you. If by balanced, you mean "what's good for the goose is good for the gander” then I agree -- as long as you don't find yourself without a northern ally and/or neutral country in most of your games. ;)

Having solely north-south nuke arcs could eventually result in common and predictable strategies. Nothing ruins a game quicker than knowing at the very start that you have already lost due to the initial conditions and inherent game mechanics. Having an alternate south-north nuke arc for launches south of the equator would require players to re-evaluate building placements vs. strategic alliances, which IMHO might enhance the overall longevity of the game by adding even more flexibility to possible alliances and tactics.

~Gloworm
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Postby Moleculor » Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:42 pm

The arc thing is definitely a problem. And I'm not sure the southern arc is the proper solution. What do you do when firing at a northern target from the southern hemisphere, or the other way around? Is that a northern, or southern arc?

What it should be is an altitude thing. In the middle of flight, the nuclear missle should be 'out of range' of AA defenses. Only when it's coming down should it be capable of being shot down.
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Postby jfore88 » Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:15 am

daset wrote:Perhaps a tragectory based on the latitiude of the strike as well as the latitude of the target? The south latitudes would make a southern arc, and the northern latitudes, a northern arc. At the equator, there would be no arc, perhaps causing the problem of a shorter path for nukes.


Moleculor wrote:The arc thing is definitely a problem. And I'm not sure the southern arc is the proper solution. What do you do when firing at a northern target from the southern hemisphere, or the other way around? Is that a northern, or southern arc?


[TL:DR]
The solution is simple. Just take the northern latitude of the launch/target point, subtract the southern latitude of the other point (launch/target) and base the trajectory on the resulting number. If the number is negative, the missile travels on a southern arc, if it is positive, the arc is to the north. The number itself could also determine radius of the arc (as opposed to the current system which seams to generate an arc with endpoints about 90? degrees apart along the circumference of a circle.

Basically, if the paths are to be displayed as accurately as possible, they would have to be calculated using spherical geometry (the shortest path between two points on the surface of a sphere is an arc along a circle with the same radius and center as that of the sphere)*. An accurate path would also appear distorted in the game if the real latitudes and longitudes are to be used, because any flat map of a sphere includes distortion at some point on the map. However, I think that for the purposes of the game, simply performing the calculation described above would be sufficient to model the paths of missiles flying from one point to another.

*More info on spherical geometry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_circle
[/TL:DR]
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Postby palehorse864 » Fri Oct 06, 2006 6:21 am

This seems to be one place where graphics took precedent. I mean, it wouldn't look right if the nukes just flew in a straight line more or less. The reason they arc north and then south is so it appears they are rising and then falling. Since there is no Z axis in this 2d representation, the only way to make it look right is to move them north and then south.

If the representation of the game were on a 3d table, we could just have them rise above the table but travel on a line as far as the trajectory is concerned. Since it is 2d though, they chose the best graphical representation.

As for the great circle, that could look really cool and be more realistic than just a visually straight line, but I don't want to wrap my head around that. :) I had enough of that in Geography when we switched units and had to learn a northern part of the world with all of the previous countries we learned at an oddly different angle.
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Postby N0ught » Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:29 am

One solution may be to implement an alternative nuke trajectory of south to north. It would be nice if this were player selectable, but perhaps a simple way to implement this would be automated determination of what side of the equator a nuke launch originates from; if from north of the equator then the default north-south trajectory would be used, but if from south of the equator then the alternative south-north trajectory would be used.


You know, I like this solution better than any other I've heard. It is simple to implement, yet still dogmatic enough for a game with arcade-style graphics. Two thumbs up. We should really bug Introversion about this.
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Postby Anax » Fri Oct 06, 2006 10:09 am

Allowing a choice between N-launch and S-launch might be an interesting option. Balance is an important consideration, too, though. I'm planning on doing a serious analysis of possible launch vectors from each country to each other country soon, examining time spent in the potential airspace of intervening countries. For example, we all know that most shots from South America to Europe and vice-versa will pass the North American coast on the way--but what possible paths wouldn't? (Would the farthest south point reach the farthest east point without coming near North America? What about Africa? How much time will various pairs of points expose missile fire to?)

The point is: as it is now, countries generally have one region directly to the north or south that they can hit with a minimum of interference from other nations' defenses. They have one or two regions to the east and west that are more or less accessible. (Asia<->S.Am. is nearly impossible, and Africa<->Asia is hard except for the western extremity of Asia.) For shots further afield than these, it's necessary to at least have a cease fire in effect to allow ICBMs to pass through, or it's necessary to use mobile launch platforms. And the countries that make the best allies for these purposes are also dictated by the geometry: If South America allies with North America, South America not only puts off any direct across-the-border conflict, but also gains the ability to fire on Asia and Europe fairly easily.

If southern arcs are available, then Africa<->Asia and South America<->Asia become much more reasonable. North America<->Africa becomes easier, too. Not to mention Europe<->South America via Africa and Europe<->Asia via South America.


Now--I'm not saying this is bad, just that it changes the game tremendously. Switchable launches makes many more targets and many more alliances workable--which is both a good and a bad thing. It's good, because it provides a larger number of options, which can spice up gameplay. It's bad, because it removes some of the constraints that make gameplay interesting. If the option was "north arcs", "south arcs", "choosable arcs", and "arcs based on difference in latitude", you've added a huge variety to gameplay--and each choice is going to have different strategies that are appropriate.

What it all comes down to is that these choices are all intriguing, so long as they're options that can be chosen per game. Making arcs always be choosable wouldn't really provide the same game as exists now, because the constraints have been removed for all time. Making it a game option means that you can choose *which* constraints you want--and a huge amount of the fun in variant rules is choosing between different constraints which force different styles of play. The "bad arcs through intermediate countries" problem isn't an unforeseen consequence of making pretty missile tracks--it's also an interesting part of the challenge of the game.
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Postby gazz07 » Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:07 pm

Leave the missile path intacted, but make it so only the country you are firing at can shoot down the nukes. Missiles don't run along the ground in some wierd round about way so your neighbors can fire at them. They go straight up and straight down. Only the target country would have a chance to shoot them down.
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Postby xander » Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:47 pm

Gah! People! Really, the mechanic is just fine. It is part of the game. It works as intended. It is balanced. If you are having trouble getting your missles to land, even when you know exactly how they are meant to behave, the problem is the way in which you are playing the game. Defcon is a game, not a simulation. It is not meant to be realistic. It is elegant in its simplicity, and the north arcing missles really do not create a disadvantage. Some people complain about playing in the southern hemisphere because all of your nukes get knocked out of the sky. I love the southern hemisphere, because the northern countries knock incoming nukes out of the sky. Currently, the game is balanced, even if it does not work in the way that you want it to. Finally, just to reiterate, Defcon is a game, not a simulation. It has been out for one week. Give it a chance, learn to work within the rules.

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Postby GeneticFreak » Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:18 pm

Also think this way. Playing a north continent means you have to shield nukes from above and below. While as a south continent you have less to worry about below (subs? everyone got the same problem with them)
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Postby gazz07 » Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:36 pm

xander wrote:Gah! People! Really, the mechanic is just fine. It is part of the game. It works as intended. It is balanced. If you are having trouble getting your missles to land, even when you know exactly how they are meant to behave, the problem is the way in which you are playing the game. Defcon is a game, not a simulation. It is not meant to be realistic. It is elegant in its simplicity, and the north arcing missles really do not create a disadvantage. Some people complain about playing in the southern hemisphere because all of your nukes get knocked out of the sky. I love the southern hemisphere, because the northern countries knock incoming nukes out of the sky. Currently, the game is balanced, even if it does not work in the way that you want it to. Finally, just to reiterate, Defcon is a game, not a simulation. It has been out for one week. Give it a chance, learn to work within the rules.

xander


Yes. The game is fine as is. However, many people don't like the nuke arc thing. Its not a matter of whether the mechanic is fine or not, but what people will find as more fun. The mechanic really isn't fine though, its dumb.

You may like, thats fine. It makes no sense. Like having a shield of flowers you can deploy to protect cities. You could balance it, make it simple and all that, just like the nuke arc'ing, but it would make just as little sense.

Simple!!! Add an option so the server can choose whether or not only the target nation can shoot down nukes.

Now everyone is happy!!!


The game simulation aregument doesn't change the fact that this part of the game is just silly. Nukes don't go up in the air in this game. They travel along the ground in a non linear path. Its corny.

Please explain how its better in its current form? All you've said is that its ok because this isn't a simulation and its balanced. Its not nessacerly more fun then having nukes actually act like nukes is it? Thats what this is about. Fun. If your really stuck on this element of the game, make it an option we can turn on and off.

With a game like this you can really go to town with having lots of options. Let us really tailor the game. Make everyone happy!
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Postby xander » Sat Oct 07, 2006 7:07 pm

gazz07 wrote:Yes. The game is fine as is. However, many people don't like the pawns can only move forward and attack on the diagonal thing. Its not a matter of whether the mechanic is fine or not, but what people will find as more fun. The mechanic really isn't fine though, its dumb.

The game has been out for one week, and, instead of learning to deal with the mechanic, you have decided that it is broken. The mechanic is fine -- it works in a very predictable manner. If it were unpredictable, then there would be a problem. However, it is predictable -- it works the same way ever single time. If you are having problems with it, perhaps it is because you have not yet learned to use it...

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Postby DrFreedom » Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:02 pm

The nuke trajectory doesnt bother me so much, what does bother me, is the lack of bomber's using great circle routes. bombers from the middle of russia are not going to fly over france to go to washington dc. they are going to go up through the artic to greenland and down through canada. i understand how hard this would be to implement, but it is kind of annoying.

bombers need great circle routes.

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