Linear skills hitting out of LoS

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by jagrpoker, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. jagrpoker

    jagrpoker Kobold

    Hi. After taking 10mins to calm down and make sure I'm not writing this thread out of rage, I just want to raise the issue that linear skills hitting squares that are out of LoS is just complete bull**** at my eyes. I guess that with the game being around for so long this mechanic is intentional, but can anyone give me a proper reason to why it should work that way?

    Here is why I think it should not:
    1. "LINE of sight" and "LINEAR". These two things should be related...
    2. It's counter-intuitive, and creates serious frustration for players on the wrong side of the skill.
    3. This being a strategic game and all, one should be able of taking calculated steps when wanting to hide behind ****. This linear-los bull**** prevent that.
    Thank you for your time.

    PS: I've heard the "Deadly spark is a lightning skills, and thus it should be able to zig-zag and hit your warrior behind a wall of ****ing concrete" reason times enough, so avoid using that one, mainly cuz it's dumb. First, because it doesn't explain why Acid Jet would also do that, and also cuz all lightning skills should then be able to hit things behind walls.
  2. Robauke

    Robauke Guild Leader

    I think its a nifty thing, a comprehensive mechanic and something adding essential depth to ranged combat. if you want to point at something stupid, point at burst 2. That is really unavoidable.
    gulo gulo likes this.
  3. jagrpoker

    jagrpoker Kobold

    1. "Comprehensive mechanic" - I do not agree, since something that is said to be LINEAR is hitting out of LINE of sight.
    2. (Maybe on this point I wasn't too explicit on my original post but...) - I have nothing against mages having options that allow them to hit things behind walls, and I think that burst already allows for that "depth of ranged combat" you mentioned. My problem is with linear stuff only.
    Offtopic: Regarding your fireball comment, for me it does make sense that if a big explosion (burst) hits next to you, that it should indeed hit given that there is no wall blocking it. If it is good for the game to have Burst 2 or not, I don't know, but it's not the relevant topic here either way.
  4. DunDunDun

    DunDunDun Thaumaturge

    I hope so / it's fun.

    That's your subjective opinion; I've played enough tabletop games where it isn't that it can't be considered a standard.
    Linear's most common definition outside of anything involving walking (a linear path) or discussion of lines (linear angles), is "progressing in a series of steps" (eg, linear progression). If you've issue with the word use, that's more an issue with the interpretation, than the word chosen.

    As far as the pathing itself, I find it absolutely 100% intuitive, and have never once had issue.

    All strategy games have their own quirks, specializations, tactical considerations, and more.
    Since this CAN be calculated, and isn't remotely as random as you seem to think it is, it's just a matter of adapting to the system, rather than any flaw or oddity to the system itself.
    Speaking as someone with certain cognitive difficulties of their own, if there's something preventing you from picking it up easily, I whole-heartedly and sincerelyacknowledge the stress it is causing you.
    And while my methods of thinking can be atypical, and you can argue the intuitive side of things, you certainly can't argue the tactical side of things as 'not being tactical'.
    Even if 90% of people find it unintuitive, so long as it CAN be calculated, it's not "bull****".
    Whether it's adequately fun or not is a different story- and I personally definitely find it to be.

    Acid splashes, fire flares. All the linear attacks used so far have some excuse for why they could hit as they do;
    Nevermind that ACTUAL battles are real-time and involve more extensive actions, so if we're going off of 'legitimate basis', you'd have to assume there's plenty of opportunity to angle yourself to shoot as much around a corner as possible, right when an enemy is peaking around the corner

    Should it do full damage? Probably not, but it matches most tabletop takes on it- take 3rd edition D&D, you'd qualify for cover in that scenario, but that's just a chance to avoid damage altogether, not a reduction of damage taken.
    It's just one of those quirks you kinda get used to, playing the related genres.

    But most importantly- every attack you've mentioned is a magical one.
    There's absolutely no reason you can't add a slight curve to a magical attack, giving it a slight arc-over-time effect, nor that you can't start the attack by extending one arm out as far as possible, giving it more angle, or that you can't start the spell in the air nearby.

    And really, that's going to the be the bit of info that'll trump everything else when considering legitimacy.

    Why would your line of sight necessarily match the line of the spell? Are you shooting spells out of your eyes? That's how you go blind, you know.

    There's a lot of emphasis in this game to build off types, what you're trying to suggest is that linear-casters shouldn't be able to compare to the already potent burst casters.
    This would be a potential example of a jet of fire, keeping in mind that a standard tactical terrain tile in a miniature game is at least 5' in width, and linear effects often start smaller and end slightly larger, than the breadth of a single tile; and are often assumed not to hit adjacent tiles near the end of the stream, solely due to those tiles also being 5', and thus giving room to duck out of the way to any units in those tiles.

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  5. Sir Veza

    Sir Veza Farming Deity

    I think it's all about how computers do linear. I know it's been this way at least since Atari "Missile Command", and graphics programs use the same mechanic. See the picture below. "C" is the caster, the red spot is the target, and the yellow is the path of the linear effect. Straight lines and diagonals are easy (first figure). After that it gets a bit non-intuitive for normal humans (exclude some computer/math geeks).
    Note that any white square may be blocking terrain, but no yellow square can be.
    As a DM, I didn't do linear like this. As a game dev, I did. SSI's "Pool of Radiance" (and all the Gold Box games) used the same mechanic for Lightning Bolt. I've never seen a linear effect in a computer game that didn't, but there are tons of games I've never played.
    There are a few things about the game that really tick me off (though this isn't one of them), but I like it so much I still play it. A lot. I hope you come to the same conclusion, but that's entirely your call.
    Thanks for taking the time to cool off before posting! :) I try to do that too, now that I'm older and wider wiser.
    karadoc, Jarmo, timeracers and 6 others like this.
  6. DunDunDun

    DunDunDun Thaumaturge

    Thanks for calling me abnormal :p
    Not that I can argue it ;P

    I do find that hex grids tend to avoid that sort of confusion; even on standard LoS miniature maps, players are always wanting to pull out string to determine if they have LoS :p
    I've seen a fair number of computer games put hex to good use in that manner.

    I can't really think of any standard tile based games that do the mechanic notably different.

    I guess if you're coming into the genre blind- having perhaps only played 3d RPGs before- it might be a bit startling.

    I'll tell you what I don't miss about the Gold Box games- having to figure out where the next floppy in the sequence is. :X
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  7. Sir Veza

    Sir Veza Farming Deity

    I am too. I've been doing this stuff too long. Also, I wrote it before you posted, and didn't read your post until mine was up.
    And side 1 or side 2. I have them all on CD and hard drives now, so those days are over for me.
  8. Bandreus

    Bandreus Thaumaturge

    You need to understand the difference between having Line of Sight and Linear

    A cell/target is in LoS if a straight line can be drawn between the center of the tile the caster is standing on, and the center of the tile the target is standing on.

    Linear, on the other hand, affects all cells/target in a line to the target square. (where "a line to the target square" is meant in the LoS way).

    I.e. Linear spells move in a straight line (they do not zig zag) and, as long as the path from the source tile to the target tile is not fully blocked (say by a wall), it will hit all tiles the line is passing through.

    Would post images explaining all this, but can't right now. I have faith you can understand all the implications.

    Hexes help with this somewhat (though the problem is far from being completely avoided).

    The the true purpose of hexes is solving the diagonal movement issue w/o resorting to other cumbersome systems.
  9. DunDunDun

    DunDunDun Thaumaturge

    I've been playing D&D and genre-related CRPGs since the early 90s, so that's certainly a factor in my case.
    Additionally, being autistic, I relate really well to certain patterns with no effort at all, so that may also be a factor in why it seems so clear to me.
    Definitely wasn't arguing the abnormal assessment; and there's definitely reason to doubt anything I consider intuitive as being more generally perceived as such. :p

    Heh. Even those old 4+ disc JRPGs were a hassle, but hey, at least they weren't floppies..
    Digital distribution has some quirks, especially in how erratic pricing can be [versus the straightforward lower-cost-over-time earlier game releases had], but it's definitely a step up from having to fiddle with complex physical product management.

    Well, one thing to point out as well, is that even in a more mechanical, mathematical usage, linear means 'straight or nearly straight', not 'perfectly straight', and is synonymous with 'direct' and 'undeviating'- not with 'all-encompassing along its path'.
    Ergo, a line that follows any specific nearly-straight pattern will be considered linear, even if essentially follows a repeating Chess-Knight-esque L-shaped path.

    Line of Sight, on the other hand, is generally considered to be perfectly straight.
    For better or worse, the two don't always match up in RPGs.

    Definitely can't say the game lied about it- the hover-text on linear never even mentions 'straight line', just 'line'; so it's definitely a matter of coming into the game expecting one thing, rather than a matter of getting two conflicting bits of data from within the game itself.
  10. jagrpoker

    jagrpoker Kobold

    @DunDunDun : Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and also for adding a bit of humor to it. It is appreciated in such long posts.

    That's cute and all, but they remain exactly that: excuses that justify (imo) a badly designed mechanic. How do you justify that Acid Jet splashes to tiles out of LoS, but Acid Spray doesn't? Why should Deadly spark hit someone out of LoS, but other electric effects not be able to? (not even the arcing spark is able to do it :x )

    It is how every other skill in this game works. you shoot out of the middle of your square, and if there is no blocking terrain between that point and the middle of the target square, then you can cast it there. This also goes touches the intuitive part of things. If everything i a game works one way and then linear spells don't, i argue how intuitive we can call that system.

    Nope. Did not try to suggest that.

    As for your fire jet example, I would say Magma spray is the closest match we have to it. And yeah, that doesn't hit adjacent squares that happen to be out of LoS either.
  11. jagrpoker

    jagrpoker Kobold

    @Sir Veza : Thank you for the images and the explanation.

    From a programming perspective, I can imagine that it wouldn't be too difficult to filter the resulting SSI's "Pool of Radiance" with the caster's LoS.

    But oh well, despite this being the one thing that annoys me most about this game, it is surely not enough to make me stop playing it. Just wanted to raise discussion on a (small) improvement on a game that is already fantastic.
    Sir Veza likes this.
  12. Kalin

    Kalin Begat G'zok

    Allow me:


    Red line shows that elf is not in LoS, but the blue line shows why she was hit by an attack targeting the tile behind her.
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  13. Bandreus

    Bandreus Thaumaturge

    It's actually pretty straightforward if only you don't derp about it too much.

    In all honesty, the whole issue with differences between how LoS and Linear effects are calculated is nothing new. It's simply a consequence of simulating reality (i.e. a continuous world) via a quantized representation of it. You get the advantage of a simpler model, but you also do get some quirks with it (I already mentioned the diagonal-movement problem, which is an additional problem which is tied to square-tiles specifically).

    It's not even a problem having to deal with how computers implement it at all (i.e. the exact same concerns and problems arise even if you attack the problem from a purely mathematical angle).

    The fact tile-based games (using any shape of tiles, squares, hexes, triangles, and I'm not even talking about videogames exclusively) have been almost universally adopting this standard approach to the problem for decades speaks a lot to how non-trivial this entire matter is.
  14. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    Green can't target blue directly because that would go through blocked terrain (purple line), but he can target the square behind blue (red line) and if it's a linear attack it affects every square the line of sight goes through, therefore hitting blue as it passes through the square.
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  15. jagrpoker

    jagrpoker Kobold

    @Kalin @Scarponi : Thank you for the images. Allow me to use them and elaborate on it.

    Left = How it currently works.
    Right = How I think it should work.

    I take the "it would be too hard to code" argument, but is there really anyone who thinks that the image on the left makes more sense than the image on the right?!?


    Attached Files:

  16. hatchhermit

    hatchhermit Hydra

    The image on the left makes more sense to me because the red line passes through the square that is highlighted yellow. In the right image the red line passes through a square that is not highlighted. The square that is highlighted it barely touches. It would make the most sense to me to have both squares highlighted since in most minis games touching the corner counts as LoS. But if I had to choose I'd go w/ the left since the red line hits that square more.
    DunDunDun and Bandreus like this.
  17. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader

    Line of Sight and Line of Effect aren't the same thing IMO. Anyway, as already mentioned in this thread, 2d grid-based games like these rarely have anything to do with realism. If more people think the current functionality is right, there's no real point to changing it.
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  18. Robauke

    Robauke Guild Leader

    But glad we talked about it!
    This thread will school noobs for ages to come.
  19. jagrpoker

    jagrpoker Kobold

    Agreed. I believe I've made my point across now and will stop discussing it. Thought more people saw it the same way I do. But since not, let's have it as it is. :rolleyes:
    Merdis and Sir Veza like this.
  20. Xayrn

    Xayrn Hydra

    The main problem I have with the current system is that it's not always immediately apparent where someone can hit with a linear spell. If linear-reachable squares were highlighted with their own color (say yellow) when viewing line-of-sight and we had this/this implemented, I think playing wizards could be a more enjoyable experience for some.

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