Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

I was reading on the forums today people complaining that even in a post-civilization world (one where people are basically getting together from the ruins) that they would “know” how to do all kinds of things like make bows, swords, etc.

I have a lot of friends who are active in the Renaissance and Medieval communities out there who always laugh at this kind of thing. The conversation goes something like this:

“Really, you think you can make a spear? Ok. Let’s see you do it. Let’s see you actually make a weapons-grade spear. In fact, tell me how you would do it. Do you really think you can just get a stick and sharpen it?”

Some is true about agriculture. It’s amazing that people who can’t manage to keep their house plants alive think that farming is technologically trivial. Gardening isn’t that hard but unless you’ve actually farmed some real acreage, involving a plow and doing a real harvest, it’s not something one just inherently knows how to do.

Or how about making bows and arrows. Not the kind for shooting a bird or something but a weapons-grade bow, one that could kill a soldier.  It requires a level of knowledge that the average lay person, even a medieval peasant, would have no idea how to do. 

As someone into this stuff, I can tell you the mechanics of how to make a bow (lots of ash trees around here). But could I make one that would be actually useful in a battle – i.e. where I’d use it over a good club?  I don’t know.

And that’s before we even talk about metallurgy…


Comments (Page 2)
on Mar 14, 2012

I could make a crappy sword out of scraps I find in the wasteland, sure.  It's more Fallout than 10,000 BC.   The knowledge of is certainly there and the knowledge how might have slipped, but I doubt it would take years.  I work in a mental hospital, and had a friend that worked in a prison.  I doubt these people knew how to brew their own alcohol, light cigarettes with a AA battery, and make homemade weapons and armor befoe they came in...but when you really need/want something, you find a way to do it pretty quick.

 

Also, its more of a fun factor than anything else, its not fun to research a spear and shield, especially since for some strange reason you can't use them together.

on Mar 14, 2012

Which is a different argument all together.  Starting out with swords is "fun" but not clubs? The starting point, game-mechanic wise, is irrelevant.  

Either weapon technology is a progressive thing or it's not. If someone thinks it shouldn't be, then they're really looking for a different game. If they agree that weapon technology should be progressive, then it makes sense to start it at a point that people can agree that your average peasant could make -- i.e. clubs and work your way up from there.

And in the world of FE, swords, bows, magical staffs, etc. are all around. They're there. But the game makes a distinction between a "one off" as opposed to manufacturing them from scratch.

on Mar 14, 2012

But you aren't just researching a spear. You are developing a training method, gathering books to research tactics and crafting, pooling knowledge from sages, learning the proper military tactics and developing a solid system of production. That is not fun, but neither is being trampled by Mites.

on Mar 14, 2012

Are the starting techs at least removed as a standalone power?

 

Now I could see a Civ Trait that gave a starting tech ... and ALSO gave a % bonus to teching in that tree.

on Mar 14, 2012

Totally agree Brad, relearning all these skills would be hard and they are fine as techs in the tech tree IMO. The same goes for the modern world; most people in the developed world don't have basic survival skills because we don't need them - but if you dumped the average guy in the middle of a rainforest with nothing but the clothes on his back I think he would have a tough time.

It's one thing having an awareness of something (like swords), it's totally different mastering and applying the associated skills.

on Mar 14, 2012

Now with regards to the GAME (FE) the issue some people have with learning Spears I think is because they feel like they have to learn that tech.

But that's a design failure, not a problem with Spears. If you have to research something then it's not really a choice. And if it's not a choice, then it doesn't belong in the game.

on Mar 14, 2012

Draginol
Which is a different argument all together.  Starting out with swords is "fun" but not clubs? The starting point, game-mechanic wise, is irrelevant.  

Either weapon technology is a progressive thing or it's not. If someone thinks it shouldn't be, then they're really looking for a different game. If they agree that weapon technology should be progressive, then it makes sense to start it at a point that people can agree that your average peasant could make -- i.e. clubs and work your way up from there.

 

See that's the thing. Swords wouldn't be any more fun than clubs if they were the only weapon we had to choose from. I don't have any issue with progression. I like progression. The issue of fun is that there are no choices at the beginning. If I started off with a club, a sling, a staff, and a spear at the beginning and all those choices had meaningful advantages such that one was not the best in all situations that would be fun. Then later there can be a progression clubs and spears give way to swords and pikes.

But always there needs to be choice and the choice needs to be real with reasons for choosing any of the options. Otherwise the choice is simply an annoying chore for experienced players and a hurtful noob trap for beginners.

on Mar 14, 2012

I agree with Sarudak.

on Mar 14, 2012

Sarudak

The issue of fun is that there are no choices at the beginning. If I started off with a club, a sling, a staff, and a spear at the beginning and all those choices had meaningful advantages such that one was not the best in all situations that would be fun. ...

But always there needs to be choice and the choice needs to be real with reasons for choosing any of the options.

Yea. Maybe a sling/rock thrower and a Club at the beginning ... if we are starting in full stone-age mode.

 

We don't necessarily need a ton of gear that does the exact same thing, but we would like some early choices (in gear I guess, but DEFINITELY in buildings) in the beginning of the game that actually matter and do different things.

And I think to build on that, Level Up choices for buildings (and champions) should have a huge impact on how you specialize that part of your empire (whether it be city or unit).

on Mar 14, 2012

Turn one weapon for each faction that exemplifies their culture. Make staff more viable. In my mod it has a counterattack and does 5 cutting defense. Something I came up with when one of my friends suggested we do a real world test of my staff skills against his kendo training. I won. Or we both lost if you count blood loss. 

Add a terrible version of every weapon in the beginning. Call them Crudes, since we already have that name in the xml. 

 

If you are looking for variety on turn one, that would do it.

on Mar 14, 2012

The issue of fun is that there are no choices at the beginning.

That is where we agree.

The issue in FE 0.86 is that when you start out, you research the exact. same. path. every game.  Standing Army. Training. Logistics.

But it has nothing to do with whether w should start out with swords vs. spears.  That wouldn't solve the underlying problem.

I made a quick video that talks about that: http://forums.elementalgame.com/420074

on Mar 14, 2012

Slings would be a good starting ranged weapon I think as that can be made with just a piece of cloth although it takes alot of practice to use a sling well so that should be reflected in the labour time - it takes alot more skill than just swinging a stick

on Mar 14, 2012

Good to hear we're on the same page. The other thing I would really like is if there was a more meaningful difference between the different weapon types. I see a sword an axe and a hammer in the first weaponry tech and when I look at the stats I get the feeling that it doesn't much matter which one I choose as the differences seem so minor.  Don't force the player to make choices if the outcome is so minor that their choice doesn't matter. That's really no fun at all. If we're going to have unit design and we have to pick a weapon it really needs to have some meaningful strategic/tactical effect.

on Mar 14, 2012

DGB246
Slings would be a good starting ranged weapon I think as that can be made with just a piece of cloth although it takes alot of practice to use a sling well so that should be reflected in the labour time - it takes alot more skill than just swinging a stick

I agree. We should get some slingers to start out with ... but less cost effective than a club I think. (training wise)

on Mar 14, 2012

Love the new weapon changes. Especially that spears can incur to counterattack. That is so well thought, makes my balance look rather dull. These longer beta waits are very fruitful. I especially like that first strike has been dealt with. Somebody has been working overtime on that.