NOTE: This blog post has now been superseded by newer functionality.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:
Once the relevant options are picked the game will now load the scenario and then display the following side specific mission briefing:
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! 🙂
The system also models the height of the units too. So if you are mounted, you have the potential to see more:
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!