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I'd love having the ability to shift-click to queue up movements (aka. waypoints), even if the pathfinding works flawlessly it'd be a nice feature to have to navigate in close quarters.

 

Also, playing BG2 again, after having played a number of more recent squad/group based games, I've missed being able to tell a character to cast a spell, then shift-click an enemy to queue up an attack command. The commands would be executed in order, and discarded if impossible. I understand adding the ability to queue up any amount of actions can have a number of implications on gameplay, but it's something I actually reflexively started trying to do in BG2 (annoyingly cancelling any other action I had just given that character), because it felt like it should be there. Clicking an action would assign a new command (cancelling the action queue), shift-clicking an action would queue it, clicking an action in the queue would remove it from the queue.

 

Any thoughts? Would adding queued actions remove some of the fun in combat, or would it ease up on tedious micro control, and let you focus on making broader tactical decisions?

 

I like how the queueing system would concentrate the micro management in bursts (which can arguably be equated to making it more fun). Simple fights would be made less tedious, while hard fights would not benefit from queuing more than 1-2 actions, as you never know how they'll play out & you need maximum control.

Edited by mstark
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Yes, I always wanted this feature in Baldur's Gate. Pausing every time I finish casting a spell to make sure that the character is either attacking or preparing to cast their next spell is a mite...unneeded. It'd be better to be able to assign future actions all at once...if the situation changes, then you just overwrite what you did.

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Queuing movements sounds like an awesome way to handle some auto-pause management, it'd really feel like a psuedo-turn-based game. Perhaps there could even be a limit as to how many times you can qeue movements depending on a difficulty?

 

You could queue live or in Pause mode, this way you could pause, queue movements, watch the onslaught. Pause when needed. More like observing your actions. Or queue live. Final Fantasy XI had an interactive macro system that was great, unlike the Gambit system in Final Fantasy XII or in Dragon Age: Origins, in Final Fantasy XI you got to write and figure out the scripting yourself and it was all accessible from start (and not some "collectible" mini-game for Tactics, that kind of sucked, I want all the chess pieces to be available from start. Gambits and Tactics frustrated me to no end because it wasn't all available at the start, you had to spend resources and time on it which sucked. Why did they do that? Anyone got a good answer?).

 

I had a similar idea on a different forum, where you'd direct how you wanted to tackle a situation (basically tell your Rogue to sneak up and take down an enemy from behind with a non-lethal approach and you'd see it happening as well). Basically you'd have a 100% success rate in "Directive" Mode, but the second you press "Un-Pause" you'd be back at Square 1 and now there's dice rolls involved. However, that might be a tad bit too much preparation (Imagine preparing an attack for 30 minutes and seeing it succeed only to fail at first dice roll when you actually "Activate" it, it'd be frustrating I'm sure).

 

Queuing sounds much better, but as aforementioned, I'd prefer if it was limited to how many times I can queue actions. Something I could adjust in an Options screen perhaps by either a custom value or premade values? E.g., 1 Queue, 3 Queues or 5 Queues or even a value I could adjust it by putting a number myself (let's say "105 queues" excessive and not necessarily needed but it'd be possible).

 

Would you be able to change a qeue and switch it out in the queue? E.g., I queue 5 actions on all my party members in Pause mode, unpausing I quickly realize that I am going to have to do another move on my 3rd action (preparing a spell to be cast sooner than I expected) could I switch around and manage which action that hasn't been utilized yet in that case?

 

EDIT: "qeue" into "queue", thanks for spotting Barimaeus and telling me (you learn something new everyday :))

 

Also great suggestion/thread mrstark.

Edited by Osvir
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Also great suggestion/thread mrstark.

Thanks Osvir, your input is always well thought out and appreciated :)

 

Just some additional thinking:

 

An action limit could be a good thing, but I think it might get in the way in unnecessary situations, I imagine this scenario:

 

In combat, you would likely never need more than 2 or 3 queued actions: cast spell, attack or cast spell, move into position, attack target with ranged. There should be little use of queuing more actions than that, because, in combat, the situation will change very quickly. So, while you'll rarely use more than 2-3 actions, I think applying arbitrary limits to the action queue may become very annoying the few times you need to use more.

 

If I would want to make a complex move manoeuvre before charging in, I wouldn't like to be limited by 2-3 queued actions. It'd make me have to sit and wait for action one of three to finish before I can assign another one. It'd become an action queue waiting game, that might be more annoying than having no queue at all.

 

The way I see it, having a limited action queue might be worse than having no action queue at all, since if you have no action queue you'll always pay attention to your party members, while with a limited queue you might repeatedly forget to check if a party member has finished all their actions. Details, I know, but my day time job is all about thinking of details, it's a habit :p.

 

Having the action queue limit user editable would solve the problem for anyone who'd want to limit their queued actions, but limiting the action queue wouldn't make the game more tactical or challenging, just more tedious in the few situations you'd want more than 2-3 actions. I'd compare it to being able to select and move any amount of items between characters in one go versus limiting yourself to only being able to move a few items at a time, forcing you to unnecessarily repeat the action over and over.

 

All that said, I'm hesitant towards any action queue at all because I fear it might overly simplify combat by lowering the amount of attention you have to pay to details. At the same time, I reflexively try to queue actions in BG2 and hate myself when I cancel spells mid-way trying to shift-click, lol.

 

Another idea is to have the action queue "colour coded". Each character has their own action queue, assigning actions while having more than one character selected will warn you when either characters queue is full. Example:

  • Movement actions are green, and you can assign an unlimited (or very large) amount of movement actions ("waypoints").
  • Defensive actions are blue and have a limit of 5 (that way, you can queue up your entire arsenal of defensive spells and execute them all without waiting for each one of them to finish)
  • Offensive actions are red and limited to 2 actions. This way you can cast an offensive spell, and queue attacking after it. But you can't queue attacking every enemy on the screen for automated combat. You can then add any amount of movement actions afterwards, if you want your wizard to run to safety once a certain enemy is down.

Even with a queueing system you'll be performing the exact same amount of actions as you would in a non-queue combat situation, but it'd make combat easier by being able to assign all of them in one go.

Edited by mstark
"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"
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yes to queuing. another aspect that some RTSs do well that can help the RPG RTwP system be more effective.

 

I also like the second color coded idea a lot. probably would be careful about using the red color, because sometimes that can mean different things (chars being attacked, invalid move, etc) Maybe a different symbol? Like movement was the four triangles, attack is a sword, and spells a different symbol.

 

i don't think anything is added to gameplay by arbitrary limitations of queues. players often will change actions based on outcomes in combat, so most people won't be queuing too many commands anyway.

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I imagine the "action queue" to be a number of icons sitting in a row, and they'd be colour coded in the same way spells & ability icons are colour coded in Baldur's Gate. Each character would have their own "action bar" with x visible slots, and further commands being queued up invisibly should you need it.

 

If you queue an attack spell and an attack command, the two (red) icons would line up beside each other in that character's action bar. Add a defensive spell and it adds a blue icon to the bar, etc.

 

Some issues that springs to mind with a queuing system:

 

How should an attack command be interpreted if an action is lined up after it? Should an attack command mean "attack this enemy until it's dead, then perform the next action", or should it mean "attack this enemy for one round, then perform the next action", and should the attack command resume afterwards without you having to assign it again?

 

And what about potions, should they act as queue-able actions, or immediate effects? Should they cancel other actions when used?

 

I think the general design principle has to be that it should be unobtrusive, never letting queued actions cause clearly unwanted behaviour (such as a character dying because it had to finish attacking an enemy before healing himself). I'm not saying the action bar should intelligently prioritize actions (never!), but maybe certain actions should overrule/skip the entire queue.

Edited by mstark
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Honestly, while I think this is a great idea and all - I consider a quick and painless implementation of a "queue action" function to not be too complicated. There are other features I'd rather they work on and I would hope that if they are going to work on the queue action functionality to a huge extent, that it be done in a P:E 2 or something.

 

If it gets too complicated, it becomes tough to do. A few of these ideas are simple and I would hope they implement them, some of them are more involved and wish that they get implemented, but doubt that they will. It's too much work for not enough reward.

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Well, I would say queueing is pretty tedious. Not to mention that it rarely works in real time games

 

So you've put down half a dozen way points for your thief to slip past the enemy ranks unnoticed and do some backstabbing, just as your front line team mates go in for the charge. But half way through some stray guard notices one of your warriors and the enemy charges first. Spells fly around, swords clash, mayhem ensues... while your rogue waltzed down the way points although this kind of discretion is not required any more. Bonus points if you were too busy to cancel the chain of way points and order him to attack instead. But anyway you'll be very unhappy about placing you witty chained actions for nothing. And that's what happens most of the time.

 

I would put all my eggs in AI basket and tactics like in DAO, where you could actually tell what your team mates do in different situations without having the pause the game every time and issue commands manually.

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Well, I would say queueing is pretty tedious. Not to mention that it rarely works in real time games

 

I think it's standard/modern in RTS games and it works very well. I'd like to call Baldur's Gate a RTwP sRPG (Real TIme with Pause Strategy Roleplaying Game). I think that Baldur's Gate is definitely an inspiration to heroes in various games (WarCraft III and StarCraft II specifically).

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It sounds like a cool feature, but I doubt I'd use it much. I prefer to set most of my party to operate from autonomous scripts, and there's always a huge priority conflict between scripts and queued actions, so I either wind up cussing people out for not doing what I told them to do, or cussing because they did EXACTLY what I told them to do . . . when I no longer wanted them to do it.

 

I've been playing the BG:EE, and the only control issue that REALLY bothers me is that it's frackin impossible to time anything. It's sheer dumb luck if you manage to interrupt a caster during a spell, because initiative runs off this weird internal round timer. If you order someone to attack, they may or may not attack right away, even with a ranged weapon. It's infuriating.

 

Of course, if they use better spell mechanics than the stupid BS of 2nd ed, this will not be a problem.

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I would really like holding a key down to show the paths characters are taking, so that I can use way points to make sure they don't do something ridiculous. So many games, so many needless deaths.

 

Not only is this a splendid idea, but I think we should be able to designate our characters' paths easily as well. A lot of times, you want to send your character to the opposite side of an enemy, but you either have to tell them to move to that point and watch them run suicidally through the fray (as Ocelot said, you don't always know what route they're taking) or essentially reposition them again and again and again until you've finally gotten them around the battle along a safe route to the desired destination behind the enemy. Perhaps a path-drawing control would work well. Just click and drag the route you want them to take so that they go to where you want them to HOW you want them to. *shrug*

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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BGEE uses shift click and it works amazingly well :)

 

Will probably be using it, or learn to use it. Wanted it when I originally finished BG. Seeing the path (in the form of a straight line like SC2) would work as well.

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BGEE uses shift click and it works amazingly well :)

omg, I didn't know that, must buy it now :D
"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"
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Well, I was thinking that actually designating the movement path (basically click and drag, even non-straight lines) would give you a lot more control than simple waypoints. With waypoints, getting your character to travel around something rather than through it requires many waypoints. I've seen the draw-the-path mechanic used in some simpler flash games. While I'm no experienced programmer, I would think that it might be fairly easy to implement. If it would require too many resources compared to the waypoint system, then I will gladly not worry about it.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Also, playing BG2 again, after having played a number of more recent squad/group based games, I've missed being able to tell a character to cast a spell, then shift-click an enemy to queue up an attack command.

 

The closest you can get to that in BG2, is to enable "auto-pause when finished casting a spell", and then wait for for the game to auto-pause before giving the next command. You'll still have to give the commands one-by-one, but at least you won't waste any combat rounds in between and won't accidentally give a new command before the spell has properly finished casting.

 

While I hope the auto-pause solution will be available in PE, I agree that having a queue feature in addition to that could be useful too.

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BGEE uses shift click and it works amazingly well :)

 

BG2 (at least with ToB installed) also has shift-click for setting simple walking waypoints, but it's not that great (each time a waypoint is reached the character pauses for a short time, slowing him down overall).

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There should probably be a limit on action-queuing. The more commands you queue up at once, the less likely each subsequent command is to still be what you want to happen by the time your character gets to execute them.

 

For example, it would be ridiculously difficult to go ahead and tell your Mage to do 4 different things in order, then cast fireball at a designated location. You'd either be targeting a group of enemies who was currently clustered together (and who might move apart at any point in time), or you'd be trying to anticipate exactly where and when a group of enemies was going to become clustered together. It just isn't very feasible after a certain point.

 

Movement waypoints/commands, sure. If you want a character to run in a figure eight the entire battle, then by all means have them do so. But with action commands, there are only so many you can effectively queue.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Continuing along the path-drawing idea, I think it'd be neat if each waypoint showed icons indicating queued actions at that location for clarity. That way I wouldn't need to cycle through my party to confirm their queues, but could read them from a glance. Maybe I could add or remove actions from these waypoints, though this might be a bit much considering that the queues shouldn't be too complex, as elaborated below:

 

Also, I'm with mstark on the queue limit. I can trust myself not to overqueue simply because it would be far from effective anyways. There's no need for a limit on this, as players can determine for themselves intuitively how complex their queue should be with consideration to unpredictable combat elements, and this is likely to result in fairly short action queues.

 

My biggest concerns are of queue behavior as mstark has also already addressed.

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Continuing along the path-drawing idea, I think it'd be neat if each waypoint showed icons indicating queued actions at that location for clarity. That way I wouldn't need to cycle through my party to confirm their queues, but could read them from a glance. Maybe I could add or remove actions from these waypoints...

 

That seems like a pretty good idea. The icons could just be simple command categories, so that, at a glance, you'd know "Oh yeah, once he moves there, he's going to cast a spell... and once he gets there, he's going to enter stealth."

 

One other thing to consider, regarding allowing for unlimited command queuing, is how to allow for viewing and control of the queue itself in the interface. If you limit it to, say 6 (arbitrarily picked for simplicity) actions that can be easily displayed as icons in a small amount of space on the HUD/interface. But, if you allow players to queue up 50 moves, how do you show all of these so that the command-queue may be interpreted and edited? It's just an obstacle, is all. I'm not saying there's no way to deal with that. I just don't know how, off the top of my head.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Queuing sounds superb. Visually the GUI could be a row of empty icons that players can drag/drop action icons into it, drag out unperformed actions and insert new ones in between.

 

In the absence of pre-saved spell sequences (think BG2 mage battles), queue's great.

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One other thing to consider, regarding allowing for unlimited command queuing, is how to allow for viewing and control of the queue itself in the interface. If you limit it to, say 6 (arbitrarily picked for simplicity) actions that can be easily displayed as icons in a small amount of space on the HUD/interface. But, if you allow players to queue up 50 moves, how do you show all of these so that the command-queue may be interpreted and edited? It's just an obstacle, is all. I'm not saying there's no way to deal with that. I just don't know how, off the top of my head.

Without introducing arbitrary queue limits, I am 99% sure that in 99.9% of situations a player will never queue up more than 2-3 move commands + 2-3 action commands. Remember, attacking an enemy already includes moving up to that enemy by default. Even the most complex of movement paths, a half circle to skirt around the battle field, could be executed with 4 movement commands, then add stealth & attack move in there and we're at 6.

 

But queuing up 4 movement commands + stealth + attack may very well already have changed the tide of the battle, so, while it'll be useful in a few situations, 6 commands is still almost an extreme limit of what you'll ever be using even without introducing arbitrary limits. So what am I trying to say by this? Just that an action bar showing the earliest 6 queued actions for that character will be plenty, and further queued actions can appear outside of it and once the first action has been finished, each queue item is shifted one step, putting another one in view. There could be a subtle glow showing that there are more than 6 actions queued.

 

6 actions visible in the bar sounds like quite a good number, at least in the scenarios I can imagine. It's going to be exceptionally rare that you have 10 actions queued up and figure out that you just HAVE to change action 7 right now or everything will go to hell, without being able to wait for the first action to finish so that it gets into view. And if that situation happens, it's a matter of seconds to reassign those 10 actions from scratch in a new order (simply click anywhere without holding shift and the entire action queue is cleared, as an action that isn't explicitly queued by holding shift will overrule the queue). For people wanting mini-games, this is actually one I can get behind, it's like a mini-game of tactical planning before every fight. It encourages thinking the fight through before unpausing and charging in, and allows for fine tuning by adjusting/changing queues during battle.

 

Either way, what I really only want queue-able actions for is to be able to cast a few spells, and then queue a ranged attack with my mages. Or cast heal, and queue attack. That's where it'd help ease up on micro-management the most, the whole "tactical planning mini-game" that would be allowed by endless action queues sounds like being potentially awesome, though.

 

Another thing, let's assume we're going to have queued movements displayed similarly to how they are in StarCraft 2, where each waypoint has a line drawn between them. Potentially, this would mean we don't have to display movements in the action queue, or a movement could "intersect" actions in the action bar with a slim green line. Say you have 2 blue icons for defensive spells/abilities queued up, then a slim green line indicating movement, then a red attack icon. And, as Pipyui said, actions assigned to a certain waypoint would show up as mini icons in that location. And in case that'd make the battlefield too messy, with icons everywhere, you'd also have a very clear relation between the number of movement waypoints and the number of green intersecting lines in the action bar, making it very easy to make out at what time an action will be performed. Remember, unless you're just playing around with the system, you'll never have more than 4 movements queued with actions in between. Easy to glance. And if someone's brain can handle more, there's nothing in the system hindering queuing more actions :).

 

And a final thought, between waypoint matrixes, actions bars, and action icons on waypoints, the battlefield could become quite confusing for anyone not familiar with the system. This won't be a problem, so there's no need to make the functionality an optional one. Why? Because it's completely unobtrusive. You'll never see it unless you know it's there, and once you find out about it, you'll learn it intuitively. It's also something you can learn about in the external tutorial area, or stumble upon by intuition (trying to execute commands using shift). The game will still function by issuing commands one by one.

"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"
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Even without an explicit queuing system, one way to improve interaction would be to at least optimize the order in which the steps of a single command are executed.

 

If I remember correctly, in the Infinity Engine games, if you selected a party member who was currently in hide-in-shadows mode, and click an enemy, what happened as a result of that click was:

  1. the party member becomes visible
  2. the party member walks towards the enemy
  3. the party member attacks the enemy

I would have found it much more convenient if the order of 1 and 2 had been reversed.

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So basically you want similar to Knights of the Old Republic only deeper meaning including movement changes as queued actions? Personally I think queues are fine but does have issues such as the unpridictability of enemy actions and tactics, my ideal is similar to DAO format/system battle conditions alongside pause-play change or issue different commands. I don't dislike Kotor style queuing but it did lead to some bad situations if take eye off the ball even for second for all party members then having to erase an entire queue of actions because the enemy does something else.

Edited by Dragoonlordz
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