[POLL] Revise Box Formation to be more useful?

People don’t typically think about changing something that’s been the same for 24 years. Box formation is one of those things: it’s basically only ever used by expert players to keep a group of 3~6 units more compact than line formation would, especially when clicking over 10 tiles distance with line formation changes from ‘line’ to ‘file’ with the front units slowing until the back units are in place.

How box formation currently works:

  1. find the unit with the largest collision size/spacing, typically siege
  2. form concentric boxes based on unit formation position, with the most protected units on the inside and spacing between units in every box based on step 1

This results in big gaps between infantry if there is a siege unit in the formation. 50 pikemen will form a box with no gaps around a single monk, but around a single mangonel, the pikemen will form a bigger box with gaps.


Proposed changes:

  1. Eliminate the gaps between units when possible. Even when units in the same box have different collision sizes, keep the gaps between units small.

  2. Try to keep boxes small by forming extra layers, similar to how line formation goes from six units in a line to a line of four units and then three units when you add one extra unit. So instead of 1 monk + 56 spearmen forming a very large box with 14 spearmen on each side (or 15 counting corners), you would get three layers of 4, then 5, then 5 spearmen on each side. If it’s just a single unit type (or formation protection level), then there’s no need for a gap in the middle, and you would have (with same collision sizes) a 2x2 square in the center, surrounded by a layer of 12 units (4 per side counting corners) and so on, with the outermost layer having gaps or the excess being shared to create slightly larger boxes with slightly greater spacing between layers. If you have big units in the middle, like 4 siege onagers + 56 spearmen, then the spearmen would form only one or two layers, but losing three of the SO could cause the spearmen to compact themselves into three layers.

Developer question: what if you have a bunch of small units and then one very big unit trying to form layers? Answer: (how does line formation deal with this?) instead of calculating box side length as “number of units”, calculate it as “linear collision size”. The big unit increases spacing to the adjacent units in the same box and also affects spacing in adjacent layers, so units in the adjacent layers may have a gap in those layers where they touch the big unit. Try to make boxes symmetrical with mixed collision sizes so they look better, and try to put units with larger collision sizes in a central layer. Calculate the thickness of a layer based on the smallest unit in it.

Should the gaps in box formation that appear when units have varying collision sizes be eliminated?

  • Yes
  • No
0 voters

Should outermost boxes compress into multiple layers when possible?

  • Yes
  • No
0 voters