DevDiary 28 - Intro to Tactical Battles
Hello friends and welcome to the 28th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! We cannot hide that talking about the tactical battles in KoH2:S is quite exciting and a little scary for us, as this is one of the features that was (and is) hardest to develop. We know that many of you wanted to see it earlier and we are thankful for your patience.
Our goals in regards to the tactical battles, or “Battle view” (BV), as we call it internally, was to modernize the experience from the original game to the 2020’s, but still without complicating the gameplay too much or making these battles the main focus of the game. After all, KoH games are mainly about the grand-strategy gameplay – economy, diplomacy, politics and warfare on a grand scale.
When a battle is in its preparation phase, players can choose to “lead” it, entering Battle view. This transitions them to a map of the battlefield, generated based on the area or town it is led in. We’ve developed an elaborate algorithm to represent as best as possible the terrain features and even the shapes of the towns, when such are present. While the player is leading the tactical battles, the rest of the world is “paused”, though this does not apply for potential reinforcements – armies, headed towards a battle can still arrive while it lasts and it is not too late to call near-by armies as reinforcements either, even after the tactical battle has started.
As in simulated battles, there are up to three “armies” that a player can control – two led by marshals or other royal court members and one, formed by local defending troops – militia, town guards, garrison troops, etc. Each army consists of up to 8 squads + the noblemen cavalry squad.
There are three different types of battles – field battle, assault and break siege. In the first one, which can be started if armies meet on the field or in a settlement (excluding castle), none of the armies have defensive structures and both armies have “army camps”. In break siege and assault, the defending side of a town or castle has fortifications, which include walls, gates, towers. Within towns and castles there are “capture points”, that have to be defended.
The durability and attack power of fortifications depend on the siege defense and attrition damage of the town/castle. How damaged they are depends on what percentage of the siege defense is lost prior to starting the tactical battle. Entering an assault when siege defense is brought to zero is completely different from assaulting as fast as possible, since in the first case many towers, gates and even wall segments will be severely damaged or even completely destroyed at the start of the tactical battle.
Both assault and break siege battles take place on the same town/castle “map”, but in break siege the attacking force will be waiting outside (defenders have the initiative) and in assault, well, the attackers are trying to storm the fortifications (attackers have the initiative). If the initiative is lost, whoever had it fails their attempt and retreats, which leads to some morale loss and a continuation of the siege. Thus, it is advisable not to sit and wait, if you have undertaken break siege or assault; and nor will the enemies wait, if they are the ones that took the initiative.
There are several ways a battle can end. If an army loses its leader, it disperses immediately, so it is important that the noblemen cavalry squad is well protected. Too dire morale losses of the entire army can also lead to an army’s full retreat. Finally, if one side holds all capture points and/or army camps, it is victorious.
As always, we’d love to hear what you think about Tactical battles. Are you excited about this feature and do you often prefer to lead your armies personally in grand-strategy games in which that is possible, or do you prefer to let the auto-battle do the trick? If you have played the original game, share with us did you enjoyed the battles there and what did you find best and worst about them.
We’ll talk more about Tactical battles in our DevStream on Thursday, July 14th, @ 4:00 PM BST / 11:00 AM EDT. Get your armor on and join in – the Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream. Some gameplay videos of tactical battles will also be played then for the first time.
Next time we’ll will talk more about “Tactical battles”, more specifically about squads – the role their stats play in this mode and what commands will be available to players.
Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!