The Problem with Retaliate

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by unstoppableCarl, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. unstoppableCarl

    unstoppableCarl Space Hobo

    I love the game. I have one major complaint: Retaliate. I have played a ton and even designed a few computer and tabletop turn based strategy games. A common game mechanic in these games that halfway does not have is Overwatch.

    Generally the Overwatch game mechanic is an action a unit can take during its turn (often forfeiting any other actions that turn to do so). The unit is said to be watching for a target to appear before attacking usually resolving an attack against the first target to move into or attack within it's field of view (in some games it is up to the player which enemy action to react to and which to ignore). This is essential to reflect the consequences of moving into the open within view of a waiting enemy and to allow greater tactical depth.

    Retaliate in halfway is obviously designed to be a similar mechanic. I feel that its use as a replacement for overwatch significantly limits the tactical depth the game could have.

    Example: 2 characters standing next to each other are watching a hallway for targets. They have both been set to Retaliate.

    Scenario: A target moves crossing into then out of the characters field of view.
    Outcome: :( No attacks made.

    Scenario: A target moves into then ends it's turn in the characters field of view.
    Outcome: :confused: No attacks made.

    Scenario: A target moves into the characters field of view then attacks a target other than the 2 characters.
    Outcome: :eek: No attacks made.

    Scenario: A target moves into the characters field of view then attacks one of the 2 characters.
    Outcome: o_0 The attacked character gets to shoot back (if still conscious) the other does nothing.

    Conclusion: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)

    I realize an overwatch mechanic could bring a lot of unwanted complexity to the code depending on implementation. Retaliate is an appealing choice as it is a very simple to implement mechanic that avoids all of the complexities an overwatch mechanic might bring.

    Proposed Overwatch implementation for halfway.

    When a character goes on overwatch, save a list of all the tiles in their field of view.

    Any time an enemy moves into a tile check if the tile is in that list for any characters on overwatch. If it is, resolve the overwatch attack. If the tile is in multiple characters overwatch field of view check that that target is not dead before resolving each attack.

    Any time an enemy performs an attack check if the enemy's current tile is in that list... (see above). If the enemy is shooting from around a corner, check the tile they appear to step partly into before shooting. Overwatch attacks should always be resolved after the enemy's attack.

    As a developer I know it should be possible to implement this in a few work days probably less depending on your code base (let me know if you want help :)).

    I think an Overwatch mechanic would add a ton more depth than Retaliate does and would allow for new types of missions and maps that would not have worked before.

    Disclaimer: At the time of this writing I have not completed the game I have played about 15 missions.
      DanRiverBrew likes this.
    • DanRiverBrew

      DanRiverBrew Intergalactic Tourist

    • secv

      secv Orbital Explorer

      Yeah, I find Retalitate to be a lot less useful than I hoped. Not having a reactive option to fight melee enemies before they actually start punching you is a bit frustrating at times.
      • Nepomuk

        Nepomuk Space Hobo

        Totally agree! I mean, hey, the characters (at least some of them) are supposed to be trained/experienced soldiers. And they let enemies storm their positions without reaction? That does not feel right.
        • Image Not Available

          Image Not Available Pangalactic Porcupine

          Lack of overwatch is one of the things I found to be definitely lacking. Though I would add that units should only take overwatch shots that have a decent chance of hitting, so no firing a shotgun on a charging melee enemy while hes 10 squares away.

          In addition to the overwatch I really missed a hunker down type of command because sometimes your guys aren't in a position to take a shot and they end up skipping turns doing nothing at all, you could at least give them a cover bonus.
          • Choccoli

            Choccoli Tentacle Wrangler

            I actually really like retaliate, because it forces you to play differently from XCOM. Halfway shares a lot of DNA with XCOM of course, but it's not an XCOM clone.

            The big difference in strategy between Halfway and XCOM, especially when it comes to positioning, is that sometimes putting a soldier in a situation where they can be flanked or fired on from close range is the *right* thing to do in Halfway, whereas in XCOM that is almost always the wrong move, and that is almost entirely to do with the shields mechanic in Halfway. Moving a soldier with fully-charged shields directly into the flanking range of one enemy but not any others and using retaliate, is a great way to push forward into the enemy's position and break up an otherwise dangerous concentration of baddies.

            EDIT: That's not to say an overwatch mechanic wouldn't be valuable and make the game more interesting—I definitely think it would. But I don't think it's fair to treat retaliate as overwatch-light. It serves a different purpose, that's all!
              Dogkiller likes this.
            • Seminus

              Seminus Halfway Developer Developer

              We are talking currently on if and how to improve retaliate. But no final decision is done yet. But some good ideas here.
              • Dogkiller

                Dogkiller Void-Bound Voyager

                I just finished the game and was quite okay with it.

                I didn't expect it to work as overwatch so i wasn't disappointed, although i might have missed it in the beggining.
                I wouldn't mind at all if we had overwatch and/or attacks of opportunity but they still cant fill the gap that retaliate fills. Conter-Attacking those pesky guys hiding behind solid cover.

                Right now the game feels like it was built around retaliate. I wouldn't fear those turrets at all if they didn't had retaliate.
                I would just wear them down while hiding safely behind a pilar.

                That said i wouldn't i am all for implementing overwatch to the game, as long as we still have retaliate as an option.
                You could also merge overwatch with retaliate but that would probably make it overpowered.
                • Gabriel Mourningwood

                  Gabriel Mourningwood Aquatic Astronaut

                  I like and dislike the retaliate command.

                  As the person above noted, it's good in some places with the shield mechanics.

                  As others have noted, your guys will stand there ignoring a guy charging down the corridor at you, which even from my experience of the old Warhammer 40k tabletops was crazy, because Genestealers would be on you in a heartbeat without that incoming fire.

                  Things like Turrets having retaliate is a really good thing though, so - maybe a 2 ap command to set an overwatch, and leave retaliate as is.
                    ScorpyX, Dogkiller and DanRiverBrew like this.
                  • DanRiverBrew

                    DanRiverBrew Intergalactic Tourist

                    I like that ^^

                    Share This Page