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Ground combat?

Discussion in 'StarLife' started by JarlFrank, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    So, what about ground combat? Would be cool if it also had a tactical component, like space combat. Or at least be in some way more involving than just sending ground troops in and hoping for the best. In most space 4x games, ground combat is a very boring affair.
     
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  2. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    I'm still thinking about ground combat.

    It's pretty stupid for a fleet of ships to orbit a planet, the fleet have no troops (transport) and so the planet is bombarded to death in a few turns.
    First because the planet would probably surrender first.
    Second because even if the fleet is good, it would require a late game tech to be able to bombard a planet to death, also given the size of a planet and the size of your fleet (a dozen ships) you wouldn't be able to carry that much bomb anyway.
    Third because even if troops goes down, they can't take an entire planet, so they will battle some troops down there plus some civilians, not the entire population.

    So if I make some sort of ground combat, it will display some key points in the planet that are important, you choose where you want to send your troops.
    But I'm still thinking about how to make it interesting without killing you into micromanagement.

    Having to build and care for troops on each planet is boring.
    Having troops deployment controlled by AI is unfair. (it won't protect your good planets as you want and probably spend too much on bad planets)

    It should be based on a fear factor, surrender to live today and fight tomorrow.
    So having a good fleet orbiting a planet should be enough for you to access that planet.
    Removing your fleet should let them have their planet back.

    Troops then should be used to secure the planet, you can move your fleet back leaving troops on the planet.
    In the worst case scenario they would not give access to the planet even with your fleet there, they want to fight your troops.
    In this case if you win you get the planet since the other side resistance died.
    EDIT: So you have an option of trying and losing or not trying and being able to get your planet back by just getting rid of their fleets. /ENDOFEDIT

    Since before going to war you have to set a goal, like all planets from a star, or one planet from a star.
    Also you want to make it fast because delaying it too much will give bonuses to who is defending.
    For example: if you win a battle you get a % of war victory, if you take a planet you get more, if you take a planet that is in the goal you get even more.
    The one who controls the goal planet gets the % of time, so you can get the goal planet and hold it until it gets 100% and you win the war.
    You could wipe their fleet so their surrender and give you the planet.
    You could take minor planets so their surrender and give you the planet.

    So you probably will want to take planets using fleets instead of using troops.
    As using troops will get really messy really quickly.

    Also, unless your race is really good at it, you probably want to stay off fighting against other races troops.

    Instead of resolving it at the time of deployment, troops could actually last several turns.
    Where you could keep deploying more if needed. As well as the enemy could try to break your blockade to also deploy more troops.
    So you can really see good ground combat races shining at it since they would be able to stand for much more time.

    In resume, I want to make it simple. Having a good fleet would be way more important than being able to mass produce transports in a war.
    If you have ideas about how you want games to handle it, please feel free to tell me.
     
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  3. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Genocide a planet is pretty easy for a space fleet.

    Asteroid belts. Attach a few simple propulsion systems on it. Your basic missiles will do. Accelerate it and crash into the planet.

    If they have big orbiting asteroids like Earth's Moon. Do as above: De-orbiting that sucker into mother planet.

    He hold the orbit hold the planet. No planet would defy winning fleet unless they feel like a scorching earth campaign is called for, ie resisting to the last man.

    It makes for a boring ground combats in a space game.
     
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  4. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    Propulsion on ships is something since their mass in not that great.
    However the mass of an asteroid or even a moon would make it too much for a simple propulsion system to take care of that.
    You could change it's orbit a bit, if you keep this for a few decades it may crash on the planet since acceleration would be insanely small.

    If genocide is really easy for a space fleet then we would have no life in the universe given a few years after they were built.
    It may be possible with very late techs, but really, no race should be able to go to space able to completely wipe planets.

    If wiping a planet is really possible, it should make colonizing that planet impossible or too difficult later.
    Check http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/fruit-fly-population-experiment.79685/ to see why they wouldn't want to
    wipe a planet, get it for them instead.

    Also, no sane race should detroy it's enemy planets while their planets are being destroyed in a never ending war, if there are other races around that would just take advantage of the situation and get what's left of the two.

    Holding the orbit, holds the planet makes for a much more fluidic gameplay.
    If you hold it long enough you get the planet. If a bigger fleet appears you flee.
    Even more if that planet has no troops, is not a military colony. (Civilian colonies, mining colonies, research colonies)
    Your home planet would probably hold lots of troops and so you would choose to fight instead of surrendering.

    We are not talking about genociding a race here, they would still exist but under another race empire, so there's really no need for everyone to die to defend one planet.

    EDIT: USA could just throw lots of nuclear weapons on USSR and win the cold war, why didn't they do it?
    It was a last resort weapon, even though they could, they didn't because USSR could retaliate and so USA would also get lots of nuclear weapons on their arse.
    You don't want to star wiping planets because if you do, they will start to wipe yours too. All of them.
     
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  5. tiagocc0 Arcane

    tiagocc0
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    A good read that I think many gamers haven't even thought about:

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_atomic_bombs_will_it_take_to_destroy_the_world

    How many atomic bombs will it take to destroy the world?
     
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  6. Destroid Arcane

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    Tsar Bombs are not the way you cover area. You do it with (relatively) low yield multiple warheads for better coverage, multi-megaton bombs are really only for cracking protected facilities like missile silos and bunkers.

    I generally agree that ground combat should be minimal or absent, a single layer of tactical combat is more than enough in a 4x game.
     
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  7. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

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    This is a pretty good read.
    Also it makes MoO2's ship-to-ship missile nukes being sucky against planets make more sense. Through it does get silly when you win the battle and freely bombard the planet with nukes... from WHERE? You just got a few ships with limited ammo and piddy nukes. You should't be capable of doing that.

    ARGH! *bangs head against desk*

    What's with the sci-fi community and their disturbing tendency to ignore planetary ground combat and just toss rocks like inhabitable planets are cheap and plentiful?! "Oh we just tossed rocks at twelve goldilock planets, let's move on, inhabitable planets are cheap, right?" WROOONG!!

    Even in Warhammer 40K they don't do that much, a grimdark setting where planets often contain hidden tomb worlds full of murderous robots, get corrupted by Chaos, overrun by Orks and turned into Daemon-Worlds or end up munched up by Tyranids; despite wrong generalizations, if the Imperium applies Exterminatus to a world, they usually make DAMN SURE the world is irrevogably damned and lost. By that stage, killing anybody sane or alive living on it is mercy-killing. And that's WH40K, which is a much more utterly insane and GRIMDARK setting than 99% of all Science Fiction out there, and it features things that would make 99% of the most vicious sci-fi baddies cry tears of blood and run like sissies. Hell, and in WH40k inhabitable planets ARE (relatively) plentiful, and the Imperium probably knows how to terraform anyway.

    There's also the fact tossing rocks at inhabited planets is wasteful, unless its retaliation (someone else did it first) or a attack against a very horrible enemy (think Zerg/Tyranid/Chaos/Blight level of "HOLY FUCK THIS SHIT JUST DOESN'T DIE!!). Planets not composed of boring rocks and ices or Gas are VERY RARE in the Universe, ESPECIALLY if they contain life. Planets bearing advanced life are much much MUCH more interesting and important to a space-faring civilization than big ball of scorched rock. All that bio-diversity, along with life-bearing capacity, would be a great bounty for any civilization even remotely interested in genetic research. For all we know, the alien equivalent to instant cancer cure is somewhere on Earth and vice-versa. If the aliens are artistic types, they would also might be interested in studying the culture and art of their new conquests. There's also a very SEIV-thing where a empire can take over a planet a dislocate lots of people from their original to a new planet, a planet whose conditions the empire's main race can't stand, but the other race can live fine. A empire of aliens who live in Methane Atmosphere planets and can't stand to oxygen planets, finds a bunch of aliens who breathe oxygen just fine, tranplants some of them to colonize those once nigh-useless planets and turn them into useful vassal planets. Also, capturing industry and technology from conquered planet is always good.

    I suggested something like that once in a topic.
    The idea is that there would be a difference between taking over a planet like that and taking over the planet with ground troops. The idea is that a planet taken with orbital power would be like a vassal in Crusader Kings (under your command and submitted to you, but not 100% under your control), whereas a conquered planet would be 100% under your control.

    Oh yeah, Planetary Force Fields. Your ships arrive, the enemy planet is protected by a ginormous force-field fed by a immense network of force-field emmiters and energy reactors placed under mountains, underground and well under the ocean floor. Their side of the force-field also includes A LOT of immense weapon plataforms, disposable missile launchers, submarines packing nukes (if it has a ocean), asteroid fortresses and orbital weapon satellites. Which can shoot at your fleet but you can't shoot at them without breaching their force-field, which can't be taken out in one stroke and is well beyond the strength of a ship-sized forcefield due to scale. What now?

    Also, depending on how your ships and FTL are, you might have small Pirate-Empires where a bunch of pirates get ships and use them to terrorize small groups of solar systems instead of normal planet-based Space Empires. That shit probably would't work with Wormhole Gates as the main method of FTL, for example - One or a few points of arrival make for easy solution to the Pirate Problem; just deploy lots of defensive satelites near gate, watch as pirates appear and get blasted on arrival.

    Yeah, this needs to appear in 4X fast, I hate how in MoO2, SEIV and GalCiv2, ground combat was a instantaneous activity. No world-wide vietnams, no nothing, aparently everyone just lines together at the same time and shoot it out until one side is dead or something. Retaaarded.
     
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  8. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Let's spell it out for you: G.E.N.O.C.I.D.E.

    Not planet capturing. Killing every resistance on that dirtball. That's the point of planetary kinetic strikes, ie throwing rocks down gravity wells. Or a word you might understand: WMDs. Kill them all, let god sort out the rest.

    Because capturing a planet is really a very goddamn serious business indeed. There's too many places to hide any group of guerilla that cares to fight. Imagine a jungle Vietnam the size of whole planet. Or mountainous Afghanistan.

    Not that there's not a way. It's just too goddamn expensive. Like throwing budget to the sun.

    One critical infrastructure: Ring the globe with a system of orbit-to-ground laser satelites. Beside providing intel coverage, they will provide on-demand air strikes.

    Second thing: a central starport. Depend on the kind of techs allow, probably a ground-to-orbit space elevator. Why not several you asked? To attract active terrorist's strike, and to reduce the needs for active defense. If you have several, resistance will have options and your needs for defense will raise skyhigh(er).

    Third thing: consolidate your supporters of surrender into one place and try goddamn hard to protect them. Or at least several central places. That will fractures the political opposition. This will be pretty hard to do but must be done.

    Several things more, but all in all they say the same thing: Capture a planet is sirius biz.

    You talked about WH40K doesnt help your case much.
     
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  9. Telengard Arcane

    Telengard
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    One should stick to one type of gameplay.

    You've already got ship invasion on tap (spotted in the manned missiles). Whatever manner you use to deal with ship invasion, you should use for any kind of foot combat. If ship invasion is abstracted to a few sentences and numbers, then ground combat should be abstracted in the same manner. And then, the issue is already decided - aside from what minimal decisions the player gets to make during that abstracted combat.

    On the other hand, if you've got some kind of tactical on-ship combat going on, then some other possibilities arise. With tactical ship battles already in play, you already then have gameplay that can be applied to certain other situations, such as space stations, allowing those to be conquered using the exact same system. Of course, on-planet, large-scale warfare wouldn't translate well to such a system. So, one would choose whether to abstract just this piece of the gaemplay, or use the existing gameplay to allow the player to achieve limited objectives on planet.

    Such as (some random possibilities):
    • seizing supplies
    • helping to take down the government in order to put someone up in the chair who is more favorable to the player's cause
    • capturing and holding some important personage hostage
    • eliminating a competitor/some faction who is interfering with one's plans
    • destroying some resource to deny it to the enemy
    In other words, small scale things that already play into the hand you have already created. That way one isn't expending additional resources on new and separate types of gameplay, and then dividing those resources across those separate types of gameplay. Plus, more importantly, the game stays a cohesive whole.
     
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  10. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    Yes, it will probably have the same or very similar system.



    You can kill the whole resistance, tomorrow resistance may reappear with a whole new bunch of people.
    Resistance is something very, very nasty. To go down this level of detail I would have to make another game.
    Instead, depending on the race you capture they will have a level of resistance that will cause all sorts of trouble, it will slowly decrease with time, you can choose to spend resources on fighting it.
    It's a service you will run on the captured planet that have high maintenance costs.
    You can also choose to let the planet go, because the resistance was too much for you to handle.

    In any case, genocide is not the point of the game either. Killing an entire population is a serious business, and if you go that road all the other races will hate you and will start to genocide your planets.


    Pirates would have small ships, maybe one big or medium, never a fleet of large ships like a race military would have. So planets wouldn't surrender to pirates and pirates wouldn't want to capture anything either, they just want to raid.
    Planet defenses will be possible, but quite expensive. A Planet is a very big thing for you to defend, we have to remember that Earth is in reality a very small world.
     
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  11. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    Yep, the article says that for maximum fallout coverage of Tsar Bombs are also not adequate.

    :salute:
     
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  12. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I'd say this: don't get distracted by ground combat too much. You already have a pretty huge scope for the game, having everything and the kitchen sink would be grand, but better to get what's important first, then, if you have time and inclination, build additional systems.
     
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  13. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    Yep. No problem ;)
     
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  14. Commissar Draco Codexia Comrade Colonel Commissar Patron

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    Game play is the issue if you want to make it good it's Emperor of the fading suns Warhammer 40K Epic/Panzer General scale with single planet conquered in hours, when you do it bad you will get MOO 2 fights, so just implementing simple system with garrison/assaulting fleet ratio auto resolve is much more sensible way. I agree the isolated planets should not be so suicidal and surrender much faster though especialy when threatened to exterminated from orbit.
     
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  15. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    If you have superior troops it should be in a few hours, so you get the key points of the planet.
    The defeated troops would actually mostly flee and turn into rebels, so in such a case the % of rebels would increase.

    If you have similar quality troops, unless you have at least 4-5 times more troops than your opponent, then you should not be able to do it in a few hours, but rather it would take a long campaign. With possibilities of reinforcements arriving late.
     
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  16. Norfleet Moderator

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    I don't think ground combat in such a game will make all that much sense: By the time an invader is in a position to attempt ground combat, he has such overwhelming air superiority that the population is effectively forced to submit to some degree or face total destruction. Should the population refuse to submit and the invader is not willing to perform a show of force, an all-out invasion would be logistically infeasible. A planet could contain billions of beings on it. To take such a planet would require that you transport a like quantity of troops to invade. The ensuing conflict would last years or even decades, and everyone there would wind up dead and everything destroyed anyway.

    So, in all likelyhood, conquest of an alien planet, if it is even psychologically possible, would be more a campaign of pacification than a campaign of invasion. Assuming your targets will submit to you in any form at all, a show orbital supremacy involving the destruction of key targets and insertion of troops into important political areas would be enough to secure titular conquest...and then you will spend the next several decades pacifying the planet in low-level guerilla warfare until the natives finally accept your rule.

    Any major organized resistance would be impossible, since you could just flatten them from orbit: There would be no pitched battles involving large armies of tanks and mechs waging war over the ground: If they had such an army, you'd just toast them from orbit. Your only realistic options: Intimidate them until they submit, with varying levels of destruction depending on the psychology of your target, or kill them all by nuking them from orbit.

    Aliens with human-like psychology could probably be persuaded to submit after an appropriate show of force. Aliens of a completely alien psychology may be completely incapable of comprehending the notion at all: Protoss can be pacified, Zerg can only be cleansed by fire.

    Therefore, only "outposts" should be effectively seizable by ground invasion. Once something hits the stature of a full-fledged colony, any ground force is basically just there for pacification. Either they'll submit to you after you torch their army from orbit, or they never will and you'll have to kill them all.

    Another thing worth noting is that planets are pretty damned big. A planet may not even have a single owner on it. You might have one race that has colonized one area of the planet, and another race comes along and plops their own colony on the other side of the planet. By the time they start getting into disputes over the territory, both sides are pretty settled in there, and who gets the planet is largely dependant on which side is willing to nuke the other one off from orbit...if neither side is willing to engage in orbital genocide, low-level squabbles will characterize life on that planet indefinitely.
     
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  17. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    Yep, pretty much this Norfleet.

    EDIT: I could only argue that not all ship weapons would be able to do damage that much damage to a planet, nor any small sized fleet would be able to terrorize too much either.
     
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  18. Norfleet Moderator

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    Well, in terms of "damaging a planet", while weapons like lazors or even ship-to-ship missiles may not be extremely ineffective at inflicting mass destruction on a planetary scale, a fleet that achieves decisive orbital superiority can easily afford to tow and drop a few large rocks onto the planet. Depending on the size and speed at which you fling these rocks, they can inflict very impressive levels of damage, and requires very low tech levels to do. So, any fleet, even a small fleet, if it can simply sit there unbothered for a few months, can conduct a devastating bombardment if it chooses.

    Taking a planet with a small-sized fleet therefore involves a balance between the attacker's willingness to destroy the target and the defender's expectation that the attacker will be repulsed by the arrival of a defending fleet before the attacker can execute a bombardment.

    I would recommend that it be modelled in the following manner: An attacking fleet possesses a siege power which reflects how quickly it can devastate a planet. A small fleet without bombardment equipment that must fit bolides for bombardment thus has a lower siege strength and may require many turns to ready a bombardment, depending on how long a turn is. Once a besieging fleet has accumulated sufficient siege accumulation, it may bombard the planet. This may occur instantaneously with sufficient force available, such large battleships with bombardment weapons. At this point, the attacker is in a position to demand the planet's surrender, or just flatten it. The inhabitants have no choice but to comply or be destroyed. Depending on their psychology and prior relationships, they will thus choose one of these options. If the inhabitants choose not to surrender, the attacker may choose to flatten the planet. If the attacker does not flatten the planet, obviously, his credibility goes into the toilet.

    Should the defender surrender, the actual process of conquest, however, has only just begun. The attacker must maintain some manner of orbital and/or planetary garrison to maintain order, or else the conquered planet quickly throws off its shackles and reverts to its previous ownership. Without anyone to threaten them, they won't stay put. So, you're looking at an expensive occupation force that the attacker must then maintain. Even with an official surrender, there will likely be guerilla and passive resistance: the planet isn't going to produce anything of real value for its conquerors. This is especially true if the planet's original owners are still fighting, much like how in the various Paradoxian games, a taken province is only occupied, and the war has to be concluded in order to reach a more final state.

    So, once it is clear that you are not merely a temporary occupier, either because you have subjugated the target's entire race or polity, or because the war has ended on terms that make it clear they're not getting the place back and you are their new overlord, the process of pacification and integration of these new people into your empire begins: How do they fit into your empire and culture? You may eat them, enslave them, attempt to culturally convert them, integrate them into your own culture, etc. How you go about this depends on how those people are like yours. If they're the same race as you, merely a different political entity and relatively-similar culture, integration will be easier than if they are a completely alien race with a completely alien culture.

    That, of course, brings up the next point: Beings in the game should possess both a species, which is obviously unchangeable, and a culture. Even a single species, such as, say, humans, wouldn't have a homogenous culture. Cultures should have varying degrees of compatibility with the species and with each other: Human cultures, for instance, are based in humanoid biology, and therefore are more readily comprehensible to each other than, say, an egg-laying reptiloid culture, which are in turn more comprehensible to each other than the culture of a hydrogen-breathing gas-giant dweller that lives for millenia and therefore has an entirely different perspective on time. All of these cultures are still more compatible with each other than a culture of mindless insectoids that simply devour and consume all in their path.

    So, forming an empire out of all these potentially different beings and cultures should be as interesting, if not more so, than the process of blasting them in the first place. Do you create a benevolent multi-cultural Federation-type society with many accepted and tolerated cultures and species, or a brutal mostly-monocultural Empire that enslaves and exterminates the filthy Xeno scum? The politics should be at least as interesting as the military side! So few games ever cover this.

    And, of course, if a player doesn't want to deal with aliens and their weird cultures, and simply goes Exterminatus on everything, well...that's his choice, and may negatively affect what other beings think of him, not to mention what his own people think of him.
     
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  19. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    You don't need a soldier for every inhabitant to invade a place. If that was the case wars would never have happened.

    The vast majority of the populace isn't going to do shit.

    Look at the Norman invasion, France conquered England with somewhere between 3000-30,000 troops.

    I think MoO3 actually had a nice idea with ground combat where there were different zones that you had to take over.
     
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  20. Norfleet Moderator

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    That REALLY depends on what you're invading. And "a place" is a far cry from "an entire freaking planet". Consider WW2: Tens of millions fought and died in Europe alone.

    MOO3's combat model didn't really have "zones", at all, just a sliding bar of conquestination that would progress, although at least they made a nod to the fact that it WOULD potentially take more than a single measly turn to pull it off.

    They did, however, largely ignore the REAL difficulties of conquering anything: How to integrate your new subjects, or maybe slaves, into your empire. You took over the place, morale was disgruntled briefly, and that was it. The sociopolitical implications of such an act were never explored. Even MOO2 at least put them in yellow pajamas and made you process them slowly.
     
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  21. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    How many German soldiers died to invade France or Poland? Not that many relative to the populations of the countries.

    Most of the casualties were on the Eastern front, Battle of Britain (which was not an invasion) and the Allied invasion of many countries.

    I just checked and the population of Europe in 1930 was 500 million, so you're talking about ~5% of the population in armed forces, which means to invade you only need ~2.5%.

    Also, MoO3 was 99% shit, it was just one cool idea they had.
     
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  22. Norfleet Moderator

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    So, if you're invading a place which could contain, say, 10 billion humanlike beings, you will need to land on the order of 250M troops to even have a chance. This is an enormously massive undertaking. The sheer number of transports needed to transport that many troops and maintain their logistical supply lines is simply mindboggling, and far exceeds the kind of gameplay where having a fleet of a few dozen ships is considered a sizeable expense. The fighting could last decades. And it gets even worse if you're invading non-humanoid opponents with non-human psychology. If you land on the Zerg Homeworld, you're going to face a lot more than 10 billion, and every last one of them is going to fight viciously to the death. There is just no taking that.

    It's also totally unnecessary and pointless, since you can flatten people from orbit...and doesn't even begin to address the issue of conquering the place. The Germans simply never got around to entirely conquering their takings, and we never really conquered them, either. You're looking at continuing years of resistance. THAT is the big issue, not titular occupation, which you could likely accomplish by threat of orbital incineration if you could do it at all (not vs. the Zerg).
     
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  23. Destroid Arcane

    Destroid
    Joined:
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    Well, in the 2003 Iraq Invasion US armed forces personnel comprised ~3.5% of the population of Iraq, although obviously a lot (most?) of those are non-combat. The technological, and in particular air space superiority of the invaders I think is a reasonable approximation of invading a planet once you have orbital control. It only took a couple of months before that switched from intense fighting to an occupation, although of course the insurgency dragged on.
     
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  24. Commissar Draco Codexia Comrade Colonel Commissar Patron

    Commissar Draco
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Well sometimes planet has resources which Exterminatus would damage too much.... but to do those planet wars well enough you need engine for planet wars like in star general. I'm not saying it is mission impossible but it will be difficult for small team to make.
     
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  25. tiagocc0 Arcane

    tiagocc0
    Joined:
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    The way norfleet described seems reasonable. It abstracts enough to be still interesting and possible to make given the timeframe.
     
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