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[gameplay] train war dogs at barracks
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Authored by Nescio on Jan 3 2020, 8:28 PM.

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Summary

This patch enables training war dogs at the barracks (cf. D2532) and disables the Briton kennel.
The kennel structure is problematic for several reasons; see this forum post.

Test Plan

Apply the patch, play-test with Britons, agree this is an improvement.

Event Timeline

Nescio created this revision.Jan 3 2020, 8:28 PM
Vulcan added a comment.Jan 3 2020, 8:29 PM

Successful build - Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/vs2015-differential/941/display/redirect

Vulcan added a comment.Jan 3 2020, 8:32 PM

Successful build - Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/macos-differential/37/display/redirect

Vulcan added a comment.Jan 3 2020, 8:32 PM

Successful build - Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/docker-differential/1459/display/redirect

Why not train them at a house? I like that idea on the forum.
(I've got not really a clue about balancing, so please ignore me as appropriate.)

Making them trainable at the house is a nice idea, but as @Thorfinn the Shallow Minded pointed out, it could easily unbalance the game (because players tend to build many houses early in game), therefore the barracks is the safer option (war dogs are military units, not unlike cavalry).

elexis added a subscriber: elexis.Jan 4 2020, 1:53 PM

The kennel structure is problematic for several reasons; see this forum post.
its cost: 50 wood, 50 stone, 200 metal. Wood I can see, but I don't understand the stone or high metal costs. (For comparison, a large tower costs 100 wood and 100 stone)

If that is imbalanced, then it warrants changing the cost (not disabling it).

its height: assuming a male is about 1.7 m, this structure is about 3 to 4 m high
why does it have a door?
why is there a Gaul faction emblem above the door?
why is there a human shield against the wall?

To me, the kennel structure looks like a tiny house more suitable for a single human warrior than for keeping dogs.

These arguments relate to the VisualActor, not to the template, so it warrants changing the actor if the arguments are correct.

its height: assuming a male is about 1.7 m, this structure is about 3 to 4 m high

The scale of units is not proportional for many units (perhaps most notably ships?)

why does it have a door?

I could imagine some answers to that, perhaps it was used to hold multiple dogs, perhaps it's to allow trapping body heat, perhaps it's to ensure that the dog(s) will be found in the same place the next day.
Perhaps it's plainly to reduce the number of polygons.

why is there a Gaul faction emblem above the door?
why is there a human shield against the wall?

Sound like decoratives.

I'm not sure dog houses such as this actually existed in Antiquity; my guess is dogs were simply kept inside or outside (human) houses, but not in special structures such as this.

Perhaps, but there are also gameplay aspects that may warrant having to build a special building.
For instance

  • it allows training dogs only at a later age
  • only after having spent some resources (barracks and houses are built anyway and dont cost metal for instance)
  • allowing the enemy to scout the buildings and deducing army composition from that (making scouting more relevant)
  • allows distinguishing civilizations gameplay more from each other

Making them trainable at the house is a nice idea, but as @Thorfinn the Shallow Minded pointed out, it could easily unbalance the game (because players tend to build many houses early in game), therefore the barracks is the safer option (war dogs are military units, not unlike cavalry).

Barracks are built early in the game as well (age 1), kennel is currently set to age 2.

The strongest argument against the proposal I have is that it makes civs more equal instead of distinguishing them more.
If we are bothered by the building, it should be replaced by either a different VisualActor or a different template or gameplay concept feature that is not making britons more equal to other civs but by something that keeps the civ more distinguished IMO.

Nescio added a comment.Jan 4 2020, 4:31 PM

The issue with the kennel is not just its costs (if so, I would simply have proposed a cost change; cf. D1863) or its visual actor (then I would have posted a request on the art forums); it's also gameplay (players don't build kennels) and historicity: there is no evidence for Briton kennels. The reasoning “Britons had war dogs” + “nowadays people keep fighting dogs in dog-houses or kennels” → “therefore the Britons must have had doghouse-like kennels” is just as logically flawed as the reasoning “Columbus travelled from Spain to Cuba” + “nowadays people travel from Spain to Cuba by aeroplane” → “therefore Columbus must have used an aeroplane”.
In short, the kennel is fundamentally problematic. By deprecating it and making war dogs trainable at structures players would build anyway (e.g. barracks, corral, house), chances are that some might actually try out this unique unit (they're weak but cost only food and require no population).