Wish List

Ideas for expansions and improvements to Defcon

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rkyeun
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Wish List

Postby rkyeun » Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:09 pm

I realize most of this is likely to be impossible for the mod community to do, but if the ideas are good perhaps the developers will add it in future versions. If we can learn to solve some of these ourselves, well that's just awesome.

Spherical Map - Much like the globe on the title screen, the world could be a large sphere floating in vectorspace instead of a flat plane. Zoom in (until it looks flat) or out (to see half the world) for perspective, mouse to the edge of the screen to scroll/rotate the world, and have a key (or an algorithm to automatically) rotate the world clockwise or counterclockwise (otherwise going E 90 degrees, N 90 degrees, then S 90 degrees back to your starting point would cause a tedious to correct clockwise rotation). Perhaps the opacity of the front half of the sphere should depend on the level of zoom, so when we're zoomed in for close work we don't get distracted by things on the other side of the world cluttering up the battlefield, but when we're zoomed out the world is mostly transparent so you can at a glance tell what's going on back there.
The Spherical Map idea might best be used with:

Great Circle Path Mapping - Even with the distortion inherent in a flat plane projection there are formulas that can be applied as a correction to 'straight lines' which will produce a great circle arc. Imagine firing up over the north pole from Russia into New York, seeing the missile's trajectory flatten and its speed increase as it zips over the tiny distance near the pole that stretches through the entire map. Apply the same speed and trajectory patch to ships, bullets, aircraft... this would appear perfectly seamless on the spherical map. For sanity, it should be assumed all nukes choose the shortest path, so no you don't get to fire almost all the way around the world, only to the other side. (Maybe not even that much! Suppose Silos have a range only 1/3 the circumference of the world? Bombers and subs can take up the slack...)
This can lead to:

Playable Australia - With Africa, South America, and Australia firing down over the south pole, sideways across each other, and up through the ocean to hit northern countries, Australia is a good staging point for a strong naval battle, completely surrounded by coast with no land neighbors and able to intercept missiles flying overhead that follow a great circle.

Losing The Least - This is a new proposed scoring method. Instead of kills gaining you two points and deaths subtracting one, I would have kills add one point, multiplied by your survivors. Because if you have no population left, it doesn't matter HOW many people you brought down with you. Nobody's left to throw the party. I've seen entire maps reduced to radioactive nothingstorms, and if everything is dead, then nobody lost the least. They're all equally gone. 0 for everyone. But if you can take out all of Asia and only suffer the loss of Chicago? Yes, you do deserve some 8000 points for that.

Text Avoids Cursor - Ever had the game point something out to you, and in doing so it plops a nice big text box over it so you can't nuke it? Seriously, just make any text messages that pop up scatter out of the way of an incoming cursor. If multiple units are close together, zoom in automatically as the mouse approaches them to keep them distinct and zoom out to where you were when it pulls back away.

Sonar Bouy - A new "land unit" idea. Functions as a radar dish but may only be placed in your oceans (Alternately, perhaps a Sonar Bouy is what you get if you try to place one of your six radar dishes in the ocean, thus not requiring an extra unit type be made). They can also detect submarines like a carrier does, but have no capacity to deal with them. Provides decent defense to coastal silos by extending its anti-missile range, but because it will be in front of the silo they're easy to take down. Even a lone bomber could probably pull it off. It can mean doom for a careless sub group cruising along your coastline. By the time they spot it and change course you've spotted them. Would you trade a radar dish for knowing where an enemy sub fleet is?

Select All Of Type, Box Select - What if I want all submarines to go here now? Pick a sub, hit a hotkey, all subs act like one fleet and go where I said. Need all silos to open and fire a round here? Pick a silo, hit a hotkey, queue the command. What if I want this mass of bombers flying around over here to head away from the incoming fighter wave? Drag a box over them, issue the move order.

Radiation Damage and Evacuations - When a nuke hits a city, half of everyone dies. The rest just live out their merry lives in the middle of the glowing dust?
No. Population should flee from the most contaminated cities steadily over time and scatter to your other cities, inversely proportional to how radioactive those cities are. So if New York gets slammed and Los Angeles only took one hit, people are evacuating from New York to all the small little towns and the big cities who never got hit, and a small trickle of New York's refugees are going to Los Angeles. Los Angeles simultaneously is sending its people (and turning away some of the New Yorkers) from its slight (by comparison) radiation problem to meet up with the New York refugees in each city, but Los Angeles will not send anyone to New York. In the early game this makes the small cities slightly juicier and affects silo placement strategy, and at the endgame it rewards anyone who still has a nuke left to hit the one pristine city where everyone has gathered to pray for the dead. Of course, you have to scout cities with a fighter or bomber now to know their real population instead of their starting population... but that's just an added bonus to tactical play. If the enemy doesn't know where your people are hiding, they can't nuke them.

Ideas? Comments? Suggestions? Balance issues? Thank you for reading.

===
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furtim
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Postby furtim » Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:27 pm

This should really go in the Think Tank. Aside from Playable Australia (which some people have made mods for already), these suggestions would require major recoding of Defcon, well beyond anything that can be done in mods.

Would a moderator like to bump this over? (Also, a thought: Perhaps we should have a sticky "What Can We Do With Mods?" thread to hold the current state of our Defcon modding capabilities.)
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Postby kaikai » Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:05 pm

on the 'losing the least' option, its allready in the game, at least in a sort.

there are three main game modes, normal, genocide, where you dont lose points for losing population and survivor, where you all start with 100 points and lose points when you lose pop.
closest to 100 at the end wins.
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Postby VANGUARD » Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:18 am

Don't need a globe. What we need is a REAL GOOD polar projection map.
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Postby xander » Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:31 am

VANGUARD wrote:Don't need a globe. What we need is a REAL GOOD polar projection map.

That is perfectly possible. Why don't you download zanzer7's modding tools and create one?

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Postby GeneticFreak » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:33 am

Yeah I agree that globe is just overcomplicating, just make custom projection maps :D

Anyways at losing the least mode the game will get defensive I guess. I myself avoid survivor games cause... its just not fun. You need to have penalty for having casualties but maintaining survivors isnt my primary objective in any strategy game. The hell with my citizens, right or wrong, MY country.
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Re: Wish List

Postby scholt » Fri Oct 20, 2006 8:10 am

rkyeun wrote:Radiation Damage and Evacuations - When a nuke hits a city, half of everyone dies. The rest just live out their merry lives in the middle of the glowing dust?
No. Population should flee from the most contaminated cities steadily over time and scatter to your other cities, inversely proportional to how radioactive those cities are. So if New York gets slammed and Los Angeles only took one hit, people are evacuating from New York to all the small little towns and the big cities who never got hit, and a small trickle of New York's refugees are going to Los Angeles. Los Angeles simultaneously is sending its people (and turning away some of the New Yorkers) from its slight (by comparison) radiation problem to meet up with the New York refugees in each city, but Los Angeles will not send anyone to New York. In the early game this makes the small cities slightly juicier and affects silo placement strategy, and at the endgame it rewards anyone who still has a nuke left to hit the one pristine city where everyone has gathered to pray for the dead. Of course, you have to scout cities with a fighter or bomber now to know their real population instead of their starting population... but that's just an added bonus to tactical play. If the enemy doesn't know where your people are hiding, they can't nuke them.



I find this Idea interesting and think it would be cool if they move to another city. But after thinking about it I came up with some Problems:

1. What if you "carpetbomb" (like sending all bombers, launching silos and subs) so there is missle rain?
2. perhaps you noticed the green glow, and I think the population would stay in bunkers and shelters because it don't really make sense to walk through the fallout.

but perhaps if a city gets hit, the nearby cities "evacuate" after some time to more distant cities?
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Re: Wish List

Postby xander » Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:41 pm

scholt wrote:I find this Idea interesting and think it would be cool if they move to another city. But after thinking about it I came up with some Problems:

1. What if you "carpetbomb" (like sending all bombers, launching silos and subs) so there is missle rain?
2. perhaps you noticed the green glow, and I think the population would stay in bunkers and shelters because it don't really make sense to walk through the fallout.

but perhaps if a city gets hit, the nearby cities "evacuate" after some time to more distant cities?

Not only that, but on the timescale represented by the game, radiation sickness wouldn't have such a profound effect. It generally takes a couple of hours, except in the mose severe cases, and those people have already been vaporized. So, is this something that you add to the score after the game is over? Then how do you tell who is winning during the course of the game? A somewhat legitimate strategy with radiation caused deaths would be to land nukes near enemy cities, without hitting them. Then, you don't get any points during the game (so you are not a target), but you get many after the game is over. Furthermore, if three people all drop one nuke on New York, who gets the radiation kills? The first one to drop a nuke? Are they split evenly? I think that such a mechanic adds more complexity than is necessary.

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Postby NeoThermic » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:02 pm

furtim wrote:This should really go in the Think Tank. [...]

Would a moderator like to bump this over?



I'm inclinded to agree...

*snaps fingers*

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Radiation Clarification

Postby rkyeun » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:06 pm

The 'radiation' wouldn't actually kill people in this proposal. We assume that everyone who is eventually going to die of radiation sickness is tallied in the initial half-population bodycount. The people hunkered down in the bunkers are the portion of the remaining half who haven't evacuated yet. We assume unbunkered people died in the initial blast and were counted. The radiation is just a visual motive force that repels population and determines the flowrate out of a city. New York's bombed out husk has a high outflow rate, while Los Angeles has a moderate outflow rate. Because New York's outflow rate is higher, Los Angeles effectively can't send people there (it tries, but the net result is only a slight dent in New York's outflow). So the formula would be a simple one which for every game second a city splits (very small radiation proportionate)% of its remaining population among every other city evenly. Cities which are more radioactive than the ones the people came from will have higher outflow rates so nobody can actually get back in. Scoring proceeds as usual, only the population of some cities can actually increase as a result of people fleeing Dead New York to Clean Houston. This means that most of your survivors can wind up in one hidden city deep inland and people will have to scout it out to know where to throw the last nuke. In the case of carpetbombing where every city is radioactive, people have nowhere to go really and this is represented by the cancelling out of flowrates from everywhere to everywhere by everywhere.
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Postby scholt » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:13 pm

I think you got me wrong xander, I don't meant to count deaths on Fallout/Radiation sickness ... that would "overcomplicate" things there I agree with you.

But perhaps after some time a City is nuked, the nearby cities evacuate some people to more distant cities because they are scared. That would make it a bit harder to concentrate on the point where the population density is very high.

The population you want to kill runs from you.. so if you hit very early lets say the West Coast of USA ... a Radar Station or an Airbase... (not even a City) then want to wait until NA makes his move you have to consider that if you're waiting most of the population (not all of course) moves inside the country so it's a bit harder to hit them

Thats perhaps not as easy as it sounds because London would be in disadvantage etc.

Could this be another strategic aspect?

(and as I'm a programmer I know such feature would not be easy to implement, but it's nice to think about)
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Re: Radiation Clarification

Postby xander » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:16 pm

rkyeun wrote:The 'radiation' wouldn't actually kill people in this proposal. We assume that everyone who is eventually going to die of radiation sickness is tallied in the initial half-population bodycount. The people hunkered down in the bunkers are the portion of the remaining half who haven't evacuated yet. We assume unbunkered people died in the initial blast and were counted. The radiation is just a visual motive force that repels population and determines the flowrate out of a city. New York's bombed out husk has a high outflow rate, while Los Angeles has a moderate outflow rate. Because New York's outflow rate is higher, Los Angeles effectively can't send people there (it tries, but the net result is only a slight dent in New York's outflow). So the formula would be a simple one which for every game second a city splits (very small radiation proportionate)% of its remaining population among every other city evenly. Cities which are more radioactive than the ones the people came from will have higher outflow rates so nobody can actually get back in. Scoring proceeds as usual, only the population of some cities can actually increase as a result of people fleeing Dead New York to Clean Houston. This means that most of your survivors can wind up in one hidden city deep inland and people will have to scout it out to know where to throw the last nuke. In the case of carpetbombing where every city is radioactive, people have nowhere to go really and this is represented by the cancelling out of flowrates from everywhere to everywhere by everywhere.

How long do you figure it takes to get from New York to LA? In an airplane, a couple of hours, which might have an effect by the very end of the game. However, how many airplanes do you think will still be flying? I would imagine that only military planes would be up. By car, you can get from NY to LA in 3 days if you don't sleep much, and there is no traffic. Even in ideal conditions, it could not happen fast enough to make a difference. Anyway, if the nukes started dropping, I would get out of any large, densly populated area pronto.

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Postby rkyeun » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:19 pm

Spherical Map - It occurs to me that the great circle arc map patch idea can be implemented by applying the formula to the map instead of the firing arcs. So I'd need to compress the land under the areas where the missiles are arcing so they 'go faster' and distort the overall map shape so that those paths are great circles. The math is a bit beyond me right now, but it should be possible... It wouldn't look much like a polar projection, though. Hm.
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Postby furtim » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:56 pm

We can have migration if and only if the mechanic is visually represented by little Darwinians running around the map. :)
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Postby xander » Fri Oct 20, 2006 5:54 pm

furtim wrote:We can have migration if and only if the mechanic is visually represented by little Darwinians running around the map. :)

That would be awesome!

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