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

Details

Reviewers
borg-
Group Reviewers
Restricted Owners Package(Owns No Changed Paths)
Commits
rP23781: Remove the briton kennel as it's not historically correct.
Summary

This patch enables training war dogs at the barracks (cf. D2532) and removes the Briton kennel. (The actor is kept.)
The kennel structure is problematic for several reasons; see this forum post.
War dogs are limited to a total of 20 instead of a five kennels times ten dogs each, to compensate for the fact they no longer have special requirements.

Test Plan

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

Diff Detail

Repository
rP 0 A.D. Public Repository
Lint
Automatic diff as part of commit; lint not applicable.
Unit
Automatic diff as part of commit; unit tests not applicable.

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).

borg- requested changes to this revision.Jun 3 2020, 12:12 AM
borg- added a subscriber: borg-.

The best idea is train dogs in the houses. This does not the game unbalanced because they are training only in era 2. Can also put a limit of 1 or 2 dogs per house.

This revision now requires changes to proceed.Jun 3 2020, 12:12 AM

No, actually not: although kennels are buildable in town phase, war dogs themselves don't have a phase restriction. So if a player starts with or captures a kennel, he can train war dogs immediately in the village phase. I think that makes sense, humans had dogs long before the first towns existed.
While I like the idea of moving them to the house (in fact, I suggested it myself), I'm not sure that's indeed the best option. Dogs require 0 population, hence the current training restrictions. If each house allows training two, then there would be no upper limit; e.g. 100 houses allow an additional force of 200 war dogs. Moreover, houses are usually one of the first structures to be built, and earlier and in much larger numbers than the barracks.

borg- added a comment.EditedJun 3 2020, 10:30 PM

No, actually not: although kennels are buildable in town phase, war dogs themselves don't have a phase restriction. So if a player starts with or captures a kennel, he can train war dogs immediately in the village phase. I think that makes sense, humans had dogs long before the first towns existed.
While I like the idea of moving them to the house (in fact, I suggested it myself), I'm not sure that's indeed the best option. Dogs require 0 population, hence the current training restrictions. If each house allows training two, then there would be no upper limit; e.g. 100 houses allow an additional force of 200 war dogs. Moreover, houses are usually one of the first structures to be built, and earlier and in much larger numbers than the barracks.

You can put a limit maximum of dogs that can be trained??

Another thing to keep in mind is that this would remove the buy-in cost for war dogs and would thus be a big buff to the britons. Previously you needed to invest plenty of res into setting up the kennels to then be able to train the war dogs when pop capped. Now you can simply train war dogs when pop capped from the barrack/house, so not only would there be no buy in cost players will be able to spam them out quicker from more buildings.

Nescio added a comment.Jun 4 2020, 9:30 AM

You can put a limit maximum of dogs that can be trained??

If you have e.g. a limit of 10 and a limit of 2 per house, that means you can train up to train 10 dogs when you have no houses, plus 2 more for each house, so effectively there is no maximum.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this would remove the buy-in cost for war dogs and would thus be a big buff to the britons. Previously you needed to invest plenty of res into setting up the kennels to then be able to train the war dogs when pop capped. Now you can simply train war dogs when pop capped from the barrack/house, so not only would there be no buy in cost players will be able to spam them out quicker from more buildings.

Good point! Would it be better to make them trainable at centres instead, since that's the more expensive structure and players tend to have only one or a few of those, at least in early game?

borg- added a comment.Wed, Jun 17, 2:13 PM

Rethinking, barracks still seems to be the best alternative.

Nescio updated this revision to Diff 12353.Wed, Jun 17, 6:48 PM
Nescio edited the summary of this revision. (Show Details)
  • rebased
  • limit dogs to five per barracks
  • deleted simulation template, kept actor, corrected relevant map files
Owners added subscribers: Restricted Owners Package, Restricted Owners Package.Wed, Jun 17, 6:48 PM
borg- added a comment.Wed, Jun 17, 7:42 PM

I forgot that detail. If I have 10 barracks then can I make 50 dogs. Seems op? Maybe not for normal game, you need lot of food, but on deathmatch yes.

I forgot that detail. If I have 10 barracks then can I make 50 dogs. Seems op? Maybe not for normal game, you need lot of food, but on deathmatch yes.

The alternatives is setting a fixed limit (e.g. 50), which means you can't train more dogs than that, regardless whether you have one barracks or a hundred. Another possibility is setting a different entity (e.g. centre, which is more expensive).

borg- added a comment.Thu, Jun 18, 4:08 AM

I forgot that detail. If I have 10 barracks then can I make 50 dogs. Seems op? Maybe not for normal game, you need lot of food, but on deathmatch yes.

The alternatives is setting a fixed limit (e.g. 50), which means you can't train more dogs than that, regardless whether you have one barracks or a hundred. Another possibility is setting a different entity (e.g. centre, which is more expensive).

First alternative is perfect. I would say a value like 25/30.

Nescio updated this revision to Diff 12371.Thu, Jun 18, 9:54 AM
Nescio retitled this revision from [gameplay] train war dogs at barracks to [gameplay] deprecate kennel, train war dogs at barracks.
Nescio edited the summary of this revision. (Show Details)
  • war dogs limited to a total of 20
borg- accepted this revision.Thu, Jun 18, 12:46 PM

I agree with new values.

This revision is now accepted and ready to land.Thu, Jun 18, 12:46 PM
Stan added a subscriber: Stan.Thu, Jun 18, 1:12 PM

I just have one remaining concern with this. It's only on the maps. I guess the kennel was used for it's small obstruction in the pathfinding demo?

I guess it doesnt matter much for the sandbox

Nescio updated this revision to Diff 12379.Thu, Jun 18, 8:53 PM
  • different kennel replacement in pathfinding_demo.xml scenario
Stan added a comment.Thu, Jun 18, 8:55 PM

Why no player?

I just have one remaining concern with this. It's only on the maps. I guess the kennel was used for it's small obstruction in the pathfinding demo?

Good point! In this case I don't think it matters, though:


Anyway, I've now replaced the kennel with a longhouse template, which has a similar size:

Nescio updated this revision to Diff 12380.Thu, Jun 18, 9:06 PM
  • restore player line
Stan added a comment.Thu, Jun 18, 9:19 PM

Looking good now :)

Thanks! Are you willing to commit it then?

This revision was landed with ongoing or failed builds.Fri, Jun 19, 8:29 AM
This revision was automatically updated to reflect the committed changes.