Maybe they could somehow re-form their ranks to try and match the spread of the enemies they are facing?
I've tried implementing stuff like this in the past and it's been troublesome. The problem is that it's hard to detect who should be pointed at who and when so that the player never feels like his stupid guys won't aim at the guy he's actually trying to hit.
Like say you have two guys and in front of them are two melee mooks and a slinger between but behind them who's about to sling at you. If your guys auto aim and they pick the two closer threats or something, it's annoying, because if they didn't aim automatically, you as the player could have manually lined them up so that one of them hit the slinger with his shot, preventing a rock from getting hurled at you.
The other problem is that your soldiers can't teleport to be in the right place at the right time constantly, they have to walk there, so any amount of time where you have to wait for guys to be actually standing in front of guys you want them to shoot at is frustrating even if it's very short. It's clumsy feeling. Where as if they don't auto aim, you can just manually move to the right spot and then fire, you aren't waiting on anything that you don't have direct control over, so it feels better.
I left in the auto aim on my pikemen, but only when their pikes are down. It's not so bad for them because THEY SHOULD always be aiming at the people closest to them and since they have the concept of an up state on their pikes, you can just raise pikes whenever you don't want them to auto aim at a time where it might get them killed (like trying to dodge an incoming missile).
I'm basically pretty against anything that causes you to have to wait. I want the formation to feel responsive and that's turned out to mean that I can't have a lot of minute adjustments, I want to give you access to big, fail-proof actions that happen as quickly as possible after you press a button.
It was mostly annoying that having a good-sized army didn't make you any more powerful: it just gave the enemy slingers a bigger target. Especially those ones with the three-knight guard in front of them. It felt wrong to have three times the size of army and not be able to just crush them. If I managed to get there with arquebusiers left in the second row it was much easier. If they re-formed to be narrow and deep to meet those small bands, it would have just been BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! CHAAARGE!
Right now, most of the enemy patterns are designed around the concept that you need to use two rows of shot and your pikes properly to defeat them. If slingers are coming at you, you can shoot their escorts, then shoot them as they run past their falling escorts.
With the groups that don't come at you, the idea is to stay out of their range or dodge to the side and move into position to fire on them in between their shots. Any other mooks that run at you in between your shots, you use your pikes to quickly kill so that you aren't wasting your shots and then not having a row ready to fire on the ranged guys with when the opportunity comes along.
It needs work, and there's the problem of, what the hell do you do when you only have one row of shot to work with? But it's the basic premise for now, "Use shots to kill ranged guys quickly, to break shields, and for everything else use pikes whenever possible"
Managing your limited firepower is important so you really wanna figure out how to use your pikes whenever possible. It's PIKE & SHOT, not SHOTTY SHOT, man!
But you may have some other way to balance it. Adjusting the camera so you could close with the enemy faster might do it too. I tried another couple of run-throughs just now and pushed really hard to stay as far forward as possible, and that let me totally massacre them. Actually, it made me do better earlier on as well: I got there with the biggest army I've had yet.
Hehehehe, It's hard for me to play that test level and not end it with more troops than I started with
. This is why I'm super interested in other people playing it. I'm super interested in figuring out how to better teach the mechanics via the initial enemies you encounter and at what rate I can introduce new/harder patterns.
Anyway. It's a neat concept. Want some programming help?
Hey thanks for all your support man. I could use... a ton of programming help. I just want to design
. But I'm a little squeamish about working on this with anyone else for now for a bunch of reasons I won't get into right now. Maybe in the future though!