Imperator - Development Diary - 25th of March 2019

Trin Tragula

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Hello and welcome to another Development Diary for Imperator: Rome!

Today’s diary will be focused once again on warfare, and many of the considerations you face when conducting military operations in the game beyond those covered in the diary on Battles.

In many ways Imperator benefits from the many games before it here, and most of the things I will cover today are things that will be familiar to players of our other games.


Shattered Retreat
retreat.png

Shattered retreat is a concept present in other Paradox games such as Europa Universalis, and what it means is that a defeated army can retreat all the way to a safe location of its own choice in your own territory without it being possible to intercept it.
It is also not possible for the owner of the army to choose the destination or to abort the retreat or change its destination after the army has shattered.

In Imperator a Shattered Retreat is not only initiated as the result of a lost battle, it can also be initiated at any time by pressing the “Full Retreat” button in the army interface. This also allows an army that becomes trapped in the Zone of Control of enemy forts to retreat back to friendly territory.

Relieving Besieged Forts
defenderswap.png
(Here we can see the valiant Bhoja coming to relieve one of their forts which is currently being besieged by Maurya troops. The Bhoja army is treated as the defender and the Maurya army gets the terrain penalty from the fort being built on a hill)

Throughout history fortifications have been built on the most defensible locations, making use of mountains, passes, hills and just about any static defense feature. This would not only help the defenders, it also often strengthens any attempt to relieve the besieged city, as the besieging army might find itself pegged between the relieving force and the fortifications.

To facilitate this behavior, and to make it important to protect your besieging armies, Imperator will treat any army that is attacked while performing a siege as the offensive side, meaning that it is always the relieving force that gets the bonuses from defensible terrain, even if the besieging force was in position first.


Movement Lock
movement_Lockl.png

While an object can be at any point between two cities in real life, in the game it can only ever be in one of the drawn locations on the map (ie in one City on our map). While this works fine for many purposes it does become a problem with army movement. As in all our games an army has to stay in the location where it started until it finishes moving towards its destination, and only then it will transfer to the new location. This means that if you interrupt a movement order between Rome and Ostia, the army will not be somewhere between Rome and Ostia, as it would in real life, but instead it will be standing in Rome, ready for new adventures.

To get around this problem, and avoiding the silliness of last minute aborting of movement in warfare, movement will be locked and impossible to interrupt or change once you have progressed more than 50% of the way to a new location. New orders can still be given, but these will be queued after the army has reached the adjacent location it was headed towards.

Assuming Control of a Siege
assume_control.png

If more than one army is partaking in the siege of the same city, and you are the war leader, or overlord of the country that leads the siege, you can assume leadership of the siege. Ensuring that it will be you who decides when to storm the fort, and that it is you who will gain control of the city once it falls.


Attaching
attach.png

When your army alone isn’t large enough to defeat the enemy you might want to have it shadow every move of an allied army, and sometimes you may want to allow your allies and subject to follow one of your armies. The army interface has a toggle for allowing allied troops to attach to your army, as well as a button to attach your army to another army that you share location with to automate this behavior.

Transfer Occupation
transfer.png

Securing the territory you want is the goal of most wars, but in the chaos of a war with many participants it is not always going to be the country that occupies a city that want to annex it in the upcoming peace treaty. To facilitate prettier borders and cooperation between allies, we have a button in the province view with which you can transfer the occupation to any country that is on your side in the ongoing war.

AI subjects will also make use of this to ensure you can demand what you are due in a peace treaty (and so will allies, unless they want the land themselves).


Changes to Combat Tactics
overview2.png
Finally a word on Military Tactics. While the system as described in the diary from in October created interesting situations where you are rewarded from trying to predict your opponent's choice of tactics, there were some issues we had with it.

This choice was in many cases quite random since it did not interact with the army composition at all. Having separate sets of offensive and defensive tactics also turned out to be a lot to keep in mind at all times.
The tactics system also overlapped with some of the unique unit abilities from the Military Tradition trees, which were also generally what one would expect to find under the umbrella of Combat Tactics.

For these reasons we have implemented a number of changes to the Tactics system (changes pioneered by @Groogy ).

  1. There are no longer both defensive and offensive tactics, instead you pick one for your army and it will apply whether you are the attacker or defender.
  2. While the bonus or penalty tactics provide is still dependent on how well they work against the tactic chosen by the opposing side, their efficiency is now dependent on the composition of your army.
  3. The unique stances from Military Traditions have now been reworked into Combat Tactics that you unlock, with slightly higher bonuses and different matchings than the base ones (but like all tactics they have to be matched with one that is vulnerable to have an effect).

composition.png

At maximum efficiency the generic Combat Tactics currently confer a 20% bonus, with unlockable Tactics from traditions adding another possible 5%. All generic Tactics will have unlockable tactics that they are more efficient against, and more vulnerable too, and vice versa.
phalanx.png

As an example the unlockable Phalanx tactic is particularly effective against the Shock Action tactic but how much of a bonus you get out of it will depend on how suited your army is to perform it, in the example above it amounts to 9.7%

This new system still keeps the element of attempting to predict your opponent's choice of tactics while at the same time adding to the equation that certain tactics are more efficient depending on your army composition.

battle.png
(In the above battle the Seleucids have picked the Phalanx tactic which is efficient against the Shock Action tactic chosen by the Antigonid. Since the Seleucid troop composition matches the ideal for their chosen tactic reasonably well they are able to )

That was all for this week. :) I will be back next Monday for another development diary, this time focusing on Barbarians, and the various ways you have to handle them :)
 

Voigt

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(In the above battle the Seleucids have picked the Phalanx tactic which is efficient against the Shock Action tactic chosen by the Antigonid. Since the Seleucid troop composition matches the ideal for their chosen tactic reasonably well they are able to )

They are able to what? I need to know!

Great Change to the Combat Tactics, but I still would like for relieving Fort Sieges to just remove Terrain Modifiers for both sides, instead of always giving the penalty the besieger.
 

Nattack

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Are we ever gonna get descriptions for nations in the Alps, Pannonia and Illyria?
 

Numahr

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Will the AI know how to play this mini-game? Can it adjust to the enemy's tactics?

Otherwise, playing in SP, this will just give the player one more way to exploit the AI weakness, as it will be quite easy for a human player to adjust tactics to what can be expected from the enemy.
 

Groogy

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Will the AI know how to play this mini-game? Can it adjust to the enemy's tactics?

Yes @Chaingun implemented base system for the original system and I added support for it to be aware of these changes and then after that I think @Chaingun improved it even further.
I am not working on Imperator though so I am not 100% in the loop on what exactly he's been doing :)
 

ArzhurG

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Most of the changes seem really interesting. However, I'm not sure about one of them.

In Imperator a Shattered Retreat is not only initiated as the result of a lost battle, it can also be initiated at any time by pressing the “Full Retreat” button in the army interface. This also allows an army that becomes trapped in the Zone of Control of enemy forts to retreat back to friendly territory.

I feel like this could be used if you have done a sup par job of moving your troops and are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Now you can just phase through the hard place. For example during the EUIV Grandest LAN 2, Florry came up with a great move to block a large portion of the Asian army in France with no chance of retreat, thanks to zone of control. If you play that well, you should get the reward for pinning the enemy, i.e. killing them all. Now the pinned army can just retreat away.

Also, can you shattered/full retreat through a blockaded strait, or is it just trough zone of control?
 

MrGrindor

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Most of the changes seem really interesting. However, I'm not sure about one of them.



I feel like this could be used if you have done a sup par job of moving your troops and are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Now you can just phase through the hard place. For example during the EUIV Grandest LAN 2, Florry came up with a great move to block a large portion of the Asian army in France with no chance of retreat, thanks to zone of control. If you play that well, you should get the reward for pinning the enemy, i.e. killing them all. Now the pinned army can just retreat away.

Also, can you shattered/full retreat through a blockaded strait, or is it just trough zone of control?

I agree with that being able to just cheese your way out of a tough situation should not be possible. At least the retreating army should then get some long term debuffs for retreating.
 

ArzhurG

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Will the AI know how to play this mini-game? Can it adjust to the enemy's tactics?

Otherwise, playing in SP, this will just give the player one more way to exploit the AI weakness, as it will be quite easy for a human player to adjust tactics to what can be expected from the enemy.
Depending on how fast the AI is at changing its tactics, you could send a single 1k (or the 10th minimum to not get stack whipped) stack of light infantry ahead of a major battle to see what tactic they are using and change the one of your main army accordingly.

That leads me to a question. If you have multiple armies, which tactic is employed during the battle? Is it the one of the 1st army in the battle, of the army of the main commander, of the largest army, or does each army use their own tactic (or something else totally different)? All but the 1st one would make it easy to select the best tactic.
 

Rhaegar1

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I think I can get behind these changes. Seem a bit more engaging and less hassle to deal with. That being said I'm still mildly disapointed that we don't get to make up the centre, reserves and both flanks separately in our armies. with different commanders, tactics and our own choice of units in eacht part of the army. I've never played it but from what I've seen it seems reasonable fun in March of the Eagles and especially in this age this approach could have allowed us to mimick real life battle tactics like the Weighted right flank of the Diadochi Phalanx or even the withdrawing centre of Hannibal's Cannae.
 

Ezumiyr

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So one of the few things I actually liked about this game (different combat tactics) was simplified into a bunch of small modifiers that won't change anything in most situations.
Maybe you should have kept the former title of "Europa Universalis: Rome", because that's what this game is. Europa Universalis roughly applied to the antiquity. Too many modifiers, too few things you can actually play with.
 

Dusk313

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In the last picture we have Seleucus Seleucid and Antigonus Antigonid.. so why not have Ptolemy/Ptolemaios Ptolemaic or Ptolemid?

(I am aware that the name Lagid comes from his father Lagus)
 

zz77

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Animal heads do not look informative enough as icons for battle tactics, and their interpretations are rather subjective. For instance, imho elks are more suitable for phalanx, while rhino is better for shock. Maybe it would be better to show the units which are most characteristic for certain tactics, like hoplite(s) for phalanx, or light cavalry for shock action.
 

Ragnarrr

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In Imperator a Shattered Retreat is not only initiated as the result of a lost battle, it can also be initiated at any time by pressing the “Full Retreat” button in the army interface. This also allows an army that becomes trapped in the Zone of Control of enemy forts to retreat back to friendly territory.

I'm not sure I agree with this change. I think the idea of being trapped in Zone of Control due to pushing in too far could be a great gameplay feature and not something that should be intentionally removed. Is there a reason why this change was implemented?