BattleBoard - Top Down, Turn Based 1v1 Battle

edited in Projects
An updated build may be found here:
https://isyx.itch.io/battleboard

A very early look at a project I am playing with. Just got the path-finding all sorted out and thought I'd give it a show.

You can find a short video demo here:


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Thanked by 1konman

Comments

  • Have made some progress the last week or so. Got the pathfinding working pretty good. Added targeting and switching between units.

  • Added engineers, logistics and a BTR type assault vehicle. Implemented a rudimentary "right of way" for units while moving. Added control groups and double-click functionality. Expanded the UI.

  • The idea is very interesting but the way it mixes block-based positions and smooth move is quite confusing, and I think would lead to weird and unexpected outcomes where one might expect more deterministic outcomes?

    Also I see no fighting happening, is that right? For a "battle sim" I think some battling would be a great thing to start modeling sooner than later?
    Thanked by 1ashashza
  • Yes, I'm still fleshing out the movement system and hopefully the end result will be quite a bit less confusing. Big booms are coming! Targeting and firing functionality is there, but sorting out the movement is my main goal right now.
  • Looks interesting for sure. Agreed with @Tuism modelling battle sooner rather than later, since I imagine that's a core part of the fun and would need heaps of tuning.

    Based on the vids... I'm curious to feel how it plays, so keen to play a build once you've got something to share.
  • Updated unit movement. Expanded the shooting mechanics, added the ability to switch between units while targeting. Can also choose how many rounds to fire and which type of ammo to use. Added action points and movement points.

  • Looks good, reminds me a lot of Close Combat, a lovely game, hope you post a build once the enemy AI is in.
  • A quick video showing the progress so far. Placed limits on action points and movement points. Increased game tile size. Started adding ways of getting information to the player. Added command points and command UI.

  • Added 4 static units which can be deployed by the engineers:

    Depots for storing and distributing ammo and parts.
    Repair stations for damaged vehicles.
    TOW launchers for heavy anti-armour.
    Mortars for long-range engagements.

    Am currently working on getting the supply chain mechanics in place, and figuring out a good way to execute how reinforcements are used.

    A short-ish video of the current state of the game.

  • Have got all the base units and structures up and running. All the supply units can now give and receive parts and ammunition. A supply ship is now available that forms the base of the supply chain. Supply ships can unload to depots or logistics trucks which then can be used to extend the chain. Repair stations also repair damaged vehicles when queued to do so. Mortars and TOWs now have a limited firing arc. Tiles can also be highlighted to show unit firing range, passable terrain and tiles that are in supply range.

    Next I want to get all the command buttons functioning. The command options are split into two categories; Tactical (Bombing run, missile strike, artillery, surveillance drone and a supply drop)
    and Reinforcement ships. Once that's up and running I should have something somewhat playable to post as well.

  • When are we getting a playable build?
    Thanked by 1critic
  • I'm really hoping to have something playable with my next update. There is still a lot of work that I need to put into the enemy AI and that will take some time. For now I'm making some very basic enemy units that can patrol and shoot at targets when in range but will be quite useful for testing. As soon as that's functioning I'll post up a build to play with.

    Also, this is my first real attempt at programming AI and am wondering if anybody here knows of some good books/videos that I should look at to help get me started. I'm actually quite excited to get into it, seems like one hell of a challenge to get it right. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanked by 1Lesedi_Mosadi
  • First skirmish vs the enemy agent.

  • It feels like the units, tiles and UI clash colour-wise. Can I suggest maybe de-saturating the tile colours to make the units and UI stand out more?

    I'm looking forward to giving this game a try for myself!
  • Yeh, that's been a problem from the start. I was actually playing with the saturation levels yesterday but I made it look so bad that I just reverted back to this again. I do plan on switching my focus away from the coding and more towards the art now that the game is actually in a playable state. It does look weird tho and hopefully I can find the skills to make it look more like how I see it in my head.
    Thank you for showing interest in the game! As soon as I've got this AI working a bit better I'll post a build.
  • De-saturating the tiles has made a massive improvement to unit visibility! I believe this is a step in the right direction.

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  • It is still very, very, very rough and needs a ton of work but here is a somewhat playable build for those interested in a game of this sort.

    https://isyx.itch.io/battleboard
  • Can you explain how to manipulate units? I eventually got them deployed but I cannot figure how to move my units.
  • Once you have selected your units you can right click to bring up the actions menu or use the hotkeys "X" to automatically start movement or "C" to start targeting. Right clicking will also bring up the confirmation menu.
  • You can also drag the menus around by holding down mouse right.
  • I played very little but have some feedback for you.

    [-]The UI is overwhelming, everything is huge, everything has huge amounts of padding to the point of being uncomfortable.
    [-]Making the game turn based and then giving the player a turn timer is counter-intuitive.
    [-]I see no reason for the player to wait for the AI to make a turn for the same amount of time the player gets.
    [-]Game mixes real time and turn based concepts, for instance, units have travel time during the turn.
    [-]Controls are somewhat awkward, it takes 3 clicks to make a move, a simple right click would do the trick.
    [-]Scale feels off, everything from UI to default zoom level is huge, feels like it could be a mobile game.
    [-]You should decide if you want this to be a turn based game or a real time one and stick to the conventions of the genre.
  • Hey I got a chance to play this a bit. I played one round which lasted 15-20mins and I got demolished :P

    My high-level thoughts are that this feels like the sort of game I might enjoy. It feels strategic already and I imagine it would be really satisfying to out think & maneuver your opponent by using a few turns to position and then unleashing a hell storm. It's not there yet (for me) and there's a lot of friction which made me resist trying to play more rounds.

    Notes I jotted down while playing:
    - I got really excited to see that I deploy my units on land from the boats.
    - Moving out of the ships was intuitive with the right click and green indicators for where I could unload .... however moving the units was way more complicated and I had to jump out of the game to see how to do it. Even after playing for 20mins, moving still isn't intuitive. I see you mentioned a move hotkey but there's already so much else going on that I didn't feel I had mental space to start learning hotkeys.
    - I wish the enemy turns could be sped up, especially when I cant see any enemies. Waiting for 30 seconds while nothing happens was dull.
    - Firing from units was really unintuitive for me. Seeing "HE x 0" made me think that my unit had x0 ammo... so I spent a while trying to use trucks to refill or load ammo in my tanks. Eventually I saw on your itch page that you can mouse scroll up to increase that number but there's no way to figure that out.
    - I felt quite overwhelmed white playing. There's a lot of units with different abilities, there's no indication of how many / far enemies there are, different weapon types per unit, abilities during your opponents turn, lots of UI on the screen with different buttons and indicators. All of that added up and just made me feel generally overwhelmed. Perhaps adding a few smaller maps and introducing 1-2 units on each map would help this?
    - The UI seems to get hidden by the fog, which was really frustrating. I used a spy plane to see behind fog, lined up a really good bombing line and just as I tried to click confirm the fog returned and I wasn't able to see / click confirm on my bombs. Made me sad.
    - I agree with critic that taking 3 clicks to make a move feels way too heavy. I wondered if left-click to select, right-click on map tile would work? If player right-clicks on an empty tile ... move there. If right-click on a house/enemy attack.

    I sense that a lot of thought and love has gone into the systems for this game, which made me want to play more.
    Thanked by 1critic
  • @critic and @ashashza, thank you very very much for taking the time to play the game and leave feedback for me to work with. I have found it incredibly helpful in sorting out priorities for the project moving forward.

    I've started working towards fixing a lot of the issues/problems with the game in its current state. I am hoping to find an artist next year to help me replace my shitty attempts at game art and UI design.
    I am also finishing up a hint system for the game that displays dialog boxes with descriptions of the different buttons and icons in the game and also some general game-play hints. This will definitely be in the next update.

    The controls for manipulating units are being tweaked and the ability to customize your keys/controls is being added. For now "X" and "C" are the main keys for controlling your units. Moving units is as simple as tapping "X" twice - now I just have to get that information to the player or set it up to be more intuitive. Hopefully giving the player control of their inputs will help me get this working much more smoothly.

    Also, the player is able to end turns at almost any time. Hovering over the timer with the mouse will display an arrow icon, clicking that will end the turn. During your turn you can do this at any time, during the opponent turn a green indicator on the timer signals that the turn can be ended. There is no need to wait (bored) for the time to run down. That being said, if you are engaged in combat then the AI may take longer to complete all of its actions and this option won't become available. Out of combat , the AI should take about 15-20 seconds to complete its move, then its up to you if you want to switch to the next turn. Again tho, I need to find a good way to get that information to the player while in the game.

    Another feature I'm testing in the game is enemy spotting. Enemy units that are revealed by flares or drones etc. will have a last known position indicator shown thru the fog. I was hoping to have this working a long time ago but got a little sidetracked. I think scouting the board and identifying enemy positions as a pretty vital mechanic and I should have that in the game within a couple weeks. This should be helpful when planning your moves instead of just guessing as to enemy strength/location.

    Thank you again for actually playing the game! Hopefully it wasn't too frustrating and you'll give it another go sometime in the future.


  • After a bit of a break and working on a couple other things, I've managed to get some changes done to the game. I re-worked the fog of war to try and make it feel like you're playing on a game board. Have also been working on improving the spotting system and the way enemies and terrain are revealed thru gameplay. It's all still a bit rough and the ranges and timings still need some work but it's given me a good starting point i reckon. Also added a C-130 aircraft for the airdrop animation.

    Here's a bit of gameplay from the current build.

    Thanked by 1Leslie
  • Just finished with a rather large update to the game. I had a recent burst of productivity and managed to get quite a bit done.

    A quick overview of the changes made:

    ​Reworked the turn system into a squad based one. The player is now able to form squads with the units of their choosing before the match begins.
    Removed movement points. All unit actions now only require action points.
    Command cards may now be dropped into the turn list via insertion points at any point during the match.
    Reinforcements are now assigned to a squad before being deployed.
    There is now an option to set UI scale.
    Moved the project from GM:S 1.4 into GMS 2.
    Updated the particle controller to handle all explosions. Still a bit buggy as some effects may fail to appear as expected.
    Reworked unit stats display and alerts.
    Set new baselines for units (damage, movement speed, action costs, view range, action range, damage received, movement range, etc).
    Increased base tick rate of actions.
    Increased base movement speed of all units.

    There is still millions of work to be done before I think it will be in a state that I am happy with, but this is a step closer.

    A very short video of the current state of the game:


    And the Itch.io link if you'd like to give it a go:
    https://isyx.itch.io/battleboard
    Thanked by 1konman

  • Hi @Isyx01, this reminds me so much of games like CC: Gateway to Caen which I have enjoyed a lot in the past and there certainly is a niche, I think.

    I do find I am bouncing off the extreme grid like map a little bit TBH. Have you ever considered using more natural terrain with a grid overlay perhaps?

    Awhile ago I experimented with a prototype using satelite maps etc from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) website. Information there resides in the public domain and may be used without restriction.

    Not sure if you'd be interested in that style for your game, but I thought I'd mention it as an alternative. Hope I don't offend as it is completely subjective.

    Excellent work so far. It looks super cool!
  • Thank you for the feedback! I'm glad you bring up the map and terrain as I'm currently exploring new methods to generate the maps. The semi-random map generator that's in the game now I only built as a quick way to test the maps and fiddle with the properties of individual tiles. Right now I'm aiming to improve the maps visually and add variety/complexity to the terrain (such as actors that may only partially obscure line-of-sight instead of just having terrain that either blocks sight or doesn't). I did experiment quite a bit early on with importing real world terrain data into UE4 with some pretty good results. My original intention was to create maps exactly as you suggested, but at the time I decided I was starting something too large in scope for a single person to finish in any reasonable amount of time and moved the project into the 2D realm and out of Unreal. I'm going to try my best to get the maps looking better and I've got a couple ideas to play with too.
    I really like the way the terrain looks in Hangar 18, it also reminds me of Close Combat. I hope I can achieve a similar result. Hangar 18 was a blast too! The map looks great and it's a pretty good size, I flew around quite a bit wishing for more. I did chuckle that an Airman Basic was the pilot, they never let me fly a Warthog when I was an Airman Basic!
    Anyways, thanks again for taking the time to give feedback. It is much appreciated, and I'll try and put it to good use.
    Thanked by 1konman
  • Still early but I like where it's going. Can also toggle the grid off/on.

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    Screenshot Terrain2.png
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    Thanked by 1konman
  • Have made some changes to the overall gameplay and visuals. Hopefully this is a bit of an improvement to the game.

    https://isyx.itch.io/battleboard/devlog/163270/small-update



    Thanked by 2Fengol FanieG
  • Have added the player ability to set which faction/nation to play as and which faction to set as the opponent. For now it is the classic USA versus Russia, more factions will be added if/when I can get the appropriate assets.

    Players can now also choose which side of the board to play from (default player 1 is north-facing). This meant that all non-GUI menus and text displays had to be reworked to display correctly at the chosen rotation. This process led to a simple solution that also allowed for easy scaling of the action menus in reference to the camera zoom level.

    Reworked the visuals of the fog of war. This is the first iteration and will likely be looked at for improvement.

    Basic networking for the game has been set up. LAN matches are possible but a number of features must still be added to allow for easy host/server broadcasting and discovery before the feature will be unlocked. A method for broadcasting/discovery is also being tested for internet matches but since this is my first time dealing with networking it will likely be some time before I unlock this feature fully.

    Also moved the project into version 2.3 of GMS2 . This caused a number of game-breaking issues which may still be lurking in the game. I will keep patching them out as they are discovered.

    And a quick video of the latest version:
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