Damnit. I'm such a sucker.
1 What is the balance of power in ranged units?
You can answer that.
You need to extract your combat code from the game, and lots of run simulations on different stack makeups. That way regardless of any changes you make to the system, you can re-run the simulations to find some good balances of x vs x. To easy.
2. Should I attack the closest unit or bypass that unit to go after a more vulnerable unit
Most difficult question you have posted. See idea at end.
3. How important is vulnerablity? No point casting a fire dart at a fire elemental but should I spend a day coding about blunt weapons versus cutting weapons? (remember: time is a finite resource, I don’t get a year to write this, just N engineering hours).
Extremely important if you want to make an AI that kicks arse. See idea.
4. Should I cast a spell? Right now, the AI wastes magic when it shouldn’t (because it rolls the dice rather than calculating it). No point in using burning hands if I can kill you with a sword almost as well.
No-one does tactical combat well. No-one. Probably because of time, probably because there are so many variables and combinations that it just takes such a long time to figure out stuff.
It's all well and good that everyone is here posting ideas, but what you really need is to CAPTURE it in a way that doesn't require you to figure out how the heck it fits in, how you can implement it in code, and what other stuff it needs to get running, but at the same time ensure that we can input our thoughts to this system without writing the code ourselfs. A middle ground.
I would even suggest that this be the first thing you get ideas about. I can start with a concept that might be easy for us to input into, and might be easy(er) to implement those idea with.
So 3 areas where we would try to slot in out ideas.
The Commander - Big Picture
- This fella thinks about things like - Shit, i'm about to go to war, who stole my magic! I need it before we go hunting wabbits! No more magic for you sargent!
- He has personality - and takes input from The Advisor, but is tempered by his personality
For him, we would want ideas that consider bigger concepts that run outside of the tactical battlefield.
The Sargent - Tactical
- This guys thinks about things like who do I need to defend and protect, who do I need to kill, how can I kill him, how do a get my god damn troopers to stay in formation! Damn that big picture pansy commander, I need more magic - I hate having to take orders from him!
- He takes orders from the commander, and makes tactical choices within those limits
For him, we need ideas that talk about who to defend, who to attack, how to position our troops, and such.
The Advisor - Stats and Analysis
- This dude knows every god damn stat on the planet.
- He just advises everyone, telling them this and that, but they never listen. Never!
We would want more technical, formula like ideas for this guy.