Where did they all go? (Now Superseded)

NOTE: This blog post has now been superseded by newer functionality. The new Line Of Sight system is now completely in Real-Time! 😛

This is the first update in a while as I took 2 weeks off to go hiking solo on Dartmoor for 6 days. Anyways, I’m back now and it’s been quite a busy week!

The game now understands whose turn it is and now also implements three Line-of-Sight (LoS) models. LoS is quite complex so I will describe the three modes toward the end of this blog post and will provide a video so that you can see it all happening for real.

Before I could get there though, I had to finish off the scenario loading system. In the prior blog post I showed off the scenario briefing window, but didn’t go any further, mainly because ‘any further’ didn’t exist! That’s now been rectified!

Once a user picks a scenario they will now be presented with an options dialog window:

The new game options dialog window. Here one can select the game mode, which I don't want to talk about :P, the side to play, whether to use Command and Control and which Line-of-Sight model to use.

The new game options dialog window. Here one can select the game mode, which I don’t want to talk about (right now) :P, the side to play, whether to use Command and Control and which Line-of-Sight model to use.

Once the relevant options are picked the game will now load the scenario and then display the following side specific mission briefing:

This screen shows the specific army level briefing that is issued when a player is about to start a scenario. Both armies get there own customized briefings. Note this screenshot only shows test data!

This screen shows the specific army level briefing that is issued when a player is about to start a scenario. Both armies get their own customized briefings. Note this screenshot only shows test data!

Once the briefing is acknowledged, the player will be taken to the game, and now for the first time, the player’s view will be based on the side they have chosen and the selected LoS mode.

Ancient Armies has a very powerful LoS system. Not only does it model terrain effects, it also models the effects that the units themselves will have on LoS! Not many wargames are capable of this, so I’m quite rightly proud of this feature. 😎

But, why did I go to all the trouble to model this fidelity of LoS?

The reason is that I wanted a game that ran as a simulation of Ancient Warfare. To be a true simulation, it has to present the player with the same kinds of decisions that a real commander would be faced with. This is simply not possible without having a high fidelity LoS model in place.

I understand that many players will want a game as opposed to a simulation, that’s why I have gone to the trouble of adding three LoS modes so that players can play at a level that they are comfortable with.

But be warned, on the highest levels of simulation, you will not even know where all your own units are, let alone the enemy’s! 😀

The three LoS modes modelled are:

  • Leader based LoS: All LoS is from the perspective of you – the commander!
  • Side based LoS: One can always see one’s own units, plus one can see any enemy unit, provided it is in direct view of any of one’s own units.
  • No LoS: In this mode all units from both sides are always visible at all times.

LoS calculations in Ancient Armies are complex and can take time. I could have reduced their fidelity to get more performance, but this would have undermined my aim of providing the commander with realistic decisions.

To get around this, the system calculates LoS asynchronously in the background whilst a turn is being run. This isn’t real time, but will give the players vital clues as to what is going on. Besides, in real life, people do not always notice things the minute that they become theoretically visible!

When the end of a turn is reached, the system will then fully update all LoS to ensure that everything is up to date ready for the player’s next set of orders. This, I feel is a good compromise between accuracy and timely player feedback.

To demonstrate these LoS modes I have put together a video, which can be seen at the end of this post, as well as the following screenshots. Enjoy! 🙂

This is a test scenario that I'm going to use for the next few screenshots to demonstrate how the different LoS modes affect what is visible. Here LoS has been turned off, so everything is visible.

This is a test scenario that I’m going to use for the next few screenshots to demonstrate how the different LoS modes affect what is visible. Here LoS has been turned off, so everything is visible.

This screenshot is from the point of view of the Orange side's commander (the small orange unit). Full Leader based LoS is in force. That commander can only see one of his units, and three of the enemy's.

This screenshot is from the point of view of the Orange side’s commander (the small orange unit). Full Leader based LoS is in force. That commander can only see one of his units, and three of the enemy’s.

Here we are playing the orange side, with the LoS mode set to Side based LoS. In this mode, one can always see one's all units. Plus one can see any enemy unit, provided at least one of one's units has a direct line of sight to it. In this mode, the only hidden unit is the enemy commander. That's because he is hidden behind the enemy infantry and none of our orange units have a direct line of sight to him.

Here we are playing the orange side with the LoS mode set to Side based LoS. In this mode, one can always see all of one’s units. Plus one can see any enemy unit, provided at least one of one’s units has a direct line of sight to it. In this mode, the only hidden unit is the enemy commander. That’s because he is hidden behind the enemy infantry and none of our orange units have a direct line of sight to him.

In this screenshot we are playing the purple side with full Leader based LoS in force. In this mode our leader cannot see much at all! He cannot see any enemy units as his view is blocked by his own infantry unit directly to his front. In fact, our commander can't even see his own chariot unit to the right of the cavalry unit due to a combination of our cavalry unit blocking LoS and hill curvature.

In this screenshot we are playing the purple side with full Leader based LoS in force. In this mode our leader cannot see much at all! He cannot see any enemy units as his view is blocked by his own infantry unit directly to his front. In fact, our commander can’t even see his own chariot unit to the right of the cavalry unit due to a combination of our cavalry unit blocking LoS and the hill curvature.

Here we are playing purple again, but this time in Side based LoS mode. Every unit is visible in this mode. This is because one can always see one's own units in this mode, and one can see all enemy units, provide that they are seen by at least one of ours - as is the case here.

Here we are playing purple again, but this time in Side based LoS mode. Every unit is visible in this mode. This is because one can always see one’s own units in this mode, and one can see all enemy units, provide that they are seen by at least one of ours – as is the case here.

The system also models the height of the units too. So if you are mounted, you have the potential to see more:

Take is an example of how unit based LoS is modelled. Here we have five units aside. Over the next two screen shots I will show you what the two commanders at the bottom can actually see when the game is in Leader based LoS mode.

Consider this example… Here we have five units aside. Over the next two screen shots I will show you what the two commanders at the bottom can actually see when the game is in Leader based LoS mode.

Here is the view of all the units from the point of view of the blue mounted commander, bottom left. As he is on a horse he can peer all over the other infantry units, but alas cannot peer over the blue cavalry unit at the top. As a result he cannot see the second blue cavalry unit. He can see both brown cavalry units though due to the angles involved.

Here is the view of all the units from the point of view of the blue mounted commander, bottom left. As he is on a horse he can peer over the other infantry units, but alas cannot peer over the blue cavalry unit at the top. As a result he cannot see the second blue cavalry unit. He can see both brown cavalry units though due to the angles involved.

The brown leader is not so lucky! He is on foot, so cannot peer over the intervening infantry units, hence why the other units are not visible...

The brown leader is not so lucky! He is on foot, so cannot peer over the intervening infantry units, hence why the other units are not visible…

Line of Sight can be hard to explain with pictures, so to that end I have put together a video so that you can see the whole thing in action:

That’s it for this week!

Laters

RobP

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One thought on “Where did they all go? (Now Superseded)

  1. Pingback: Line of Sight is now in Real-Time! :p | Ancient Armies

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