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Steam Marines
Kuja Sep 22, 2013 @ 6:34am
Gameplay mechanics discussion
There is a lot of turn-based games with cones of view and different mechanics, tons and tons of them i played. Decision to make rotation AP-cost is really 'alpha'. There are a lot workarounds and variants how to solve it, without overcomplexing it.
Well, i see you point. Im not talking about 360 facing\fire, im talking about spending AP to simply rotate character (like i hit an arrow - minus 1 ap). Now you need to move, and then rotate. Each direction takes an AP, which is some sloppy feel to it [mechanics]. Sure, free spinning will allow you to freely look around, but your vision (i.e. guard mode) still will be cone and still will be 1 direction, and still will be blurred\fogged, so you still can be flanked by bots on their move, but that cone does not matter much on you turn, while you decide your actions.
I like all "cover flanks and back" mechanics behind cone vision and line shooting mechanics.
I understand your desire to make things reasonably complex and interesting, but now, as i said, it feels like movement system is overcomplexed, i.e. it is playeble, it might be enjoyable, but it take to much effort to deal with it, and even more to get fun from it.
Im myself fan of such games as Frozen Synapse, where controll taken to absolution, but even there everything is much smoother.

For example, make player to choose direction, when AP is 0, or you enter guard mode - that is the most fluid addition to current system, which can be made, i guess, and use view-direction buttons only to interact with objects and stuff [if possible].

>look in all four directions every single move.
Also, you can possibly limit number of shots in guard mode to AP's left, when you are ordering to guard, and lower initial AP pool of characters by some points, or not.

>I promise you're not the first one to say/think that
Even more, if im not the only one, you must take a deeper look into it.
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apsyse  [developer] Sep 22, 2013 @ 6:49am 
>Even more, if im not the only one, you must take a deeper look into it.
Lots of people complain about lots of things - permadeath, single save slot, only four marines in a squad, only four classes, why can't marines use all weapon types, how come aoe does friendly damage, et cetera. I'm interested in the arguments about -why- they find mechanics bad, but I won't change anything on a majority vote alone. That is a very poor way to design almost anything!


I think you may have misunderstood the reasoning behind the 1 AP for facing. If it does not exist, and all the other mechanics stay the same, the optimal method of play adds tedious actions. If you do NOT look around in all directions every single unit move you are playing suboptimally, unless certain areas are visible due to other marines's cone of vision.

This is very bad from a gameplay design perspective, akin to having each turn restore 1 HP per marine and so the player stands on the elevator and spams end turn until the squad is fully healed - because the mechanics allow it and it's the optimal, but tedious, path.

Allowing the player to manually choose a direction to face when AP is 0 is both finicky from a code perspective (do I disable auto-switch or allow 0 AP marines to face freely) and is also bad for the same reasons facing is not free. Allowing it after Guard Mode is entered saves no actions. The only thing allowing a player to enter Guard Mode + change facing does is to extend the range a marine may enter Guard Mode at the cost of making every Guard Mode action cost an extra keystroke.

By default marines can only take one Guard Mode shot per enemy turn. This was reduced from remaining AP = max number of GM shots because it was too powerful. I am not sure why you bring this up.
Kuja Sep 22, 2013 @ 7:10am 
> I won't change anything on a majority vote alone. That is a very poor way to design almost anything!
You are wrong and right, both. You can make anything good, if you listen to what everyone's saying, but otherwise you are missing opportunity to polish mechanics and stuff.

> tedious actions.
For now, 1AP rotations are tedious. It does not give any gameplay enjoyness, but still drains attention.
>suboptimally
Thats really, really, really contradictionary argument. The game is pretty enaugh hard, to make it even harder, by emplementing sloppy mechanics. I know about "easy to learn, hard to master" type of games, but making complex mechanics instead of complex content is the easiest, yet not the best one, way of making a complex game. My point is that you are loosing balance betwen conten and mechanics, while content is fairly complex, when mechanics is annoyingly complex.

> I am not sure why you bring this up.
Im not sure too. Just thinkgin.
apsyse  [developer] Sep 22, 2013 @ 7:16am 
I should be clear here - I don't like the facing mechanics. If you follow me on Twitter (don't, I rant a lot :P) I've been wrestling with it for a long time.

Unfortunately the only argument you've mustered is that it feels unnecessarily complicated to you. I don't doubt your sincerity, but you haven't given me a better solution. Removing the AP cost is a net negative for the reasons I listed above. Furthermore you're not arguing from a position of tediousness - removing the AP cost does not do anything to remove tedium, it only allows the player more room to make mistakes.

Essentially, giving the marines more base AP would have alleviated all of your concerns.
Kuja Sep 22, 2013 @ 7:35am 
Well, one thing must admit - you are making kind of mistake, when rejecting to mess with mechanics in different way, while in development, because you are limiting number of information you might get from your players, and analyze, to make better solutions. You simply could implement 0AP rotations, and get the feedback from community and your forums.
In progression it may lead to point, when some features cannot be change, while they should be changed.

> Removing the AP cost is a net negative for the reasons I listed above.
None of them feel like a deal-breaker to me, i.e. removing rotation cost wont break much.
>, it only allows the player more room to make mistakes.
Well, thats a good point, AND, thats not a bad thing at all. Most turn-based tactics games have their planing phase, i.e. you give order, you examine chain of actions you make, and then you execute them. This gives you the oportunity to check for mistakes, and CANCEL actions, in case you make mistakes.
You see, now (from your words), it looks like game has pretty weak mechanics in general, and giving players ability to fix mistakes, will clearly make it casual-style game. This is a major flaw to game itself, not the specific gameplay actions you emplement.
Its like, "gameplay should not forgive mistakes", not "controlls of a game should not forgive mistakes". For now, it is more second variant to me.
apsyse  [developer] Sep 22, 2013 @ 7:55am 
Steam Marines was in open alpha for months (since 2012) before being put on sale. One of the mechanics I tried was 0 AP for turning even though I knew it was a bad idea. It was reported almost universally as a bad idea and it's still a bad idea.

I think we strongly disagree on what makes for good mechanics in a cohesive system. To be perfectly frank most TBS games do not allow a planning phase, and certainly most roguelikes do not, either. They are typically commit-to-an-action types of games. A recent example of why this is a bad idea was the Space Hulk game's undo action which simply allows repeated fire on Genestealers until the bolters hit. It's heavily criticized for good reason. Ostensibly implemented to compensate for finicky controls it can simply be used to cheese the game.
bun Sep 24, 2013 @ 10:01am 
Well... i do really like the mechanic to use AP to turn around.
If u remove that. the strategic element will be gone.
Decision u make will vary if u die or live.
The mechanic is good.
Tedious it might be but this is a good tactical game.

If facing with ap remove, the game difficulty will be reduce.
Looking around takes time and therefore takes AP.


Last edited by bun; Sep 24, 2013 @ 10:15am
apsyse  [developer] Sep 25, 2013 @ 7:59am 
I agree, although I'm still trying to streamline all the tactical positioning elements. I would like to bump the base AP of all marines by 1 so there's less 1) move, 2) turn, 3) fire, 4) Guard happening with slower marines.

People have mentioned retaining facing while moving and although there are some benefits to that, as well as being more internally consistent with AP costs, it makes for more confusing movement imo.
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