Simple Infantry Fix: Make their Collision Size smaller

If you test infantry in the editor, you’ll quickly see that in small numbers they trade very well with knights. 10v5(equal cost), Longswords win. But 20v10, longswords usually lose. 30v15, longswords almost always lose.

The problem is that knights move faster and are more powerful individually, so it’s easier for units to get into combat.

So, what if we just made Infantry smaller? That would make it easier for them to path around each other, and easier for multiple units to get close to a single enemy. This would make little difference in smaller fights, but make a big difference in bigger fights, and should make them a better choice without changing their stats at all.

Model-wise, you could pretty easily reduce their collision size by up to about 25% and their models wouldn’t be clipping through each other.

Thoughts?

Edit: Size comparison, from lower in the thread.

image

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Part if this is indeed due to pathing/unit size, but I think most of it has to do with speed. There has been a famous test since the AoC days of Celt champions generally beating generics due to their ability to acquire/reach targets faster.

But this is an interesting thought in several ways. In tests/scenarios I’ve made, pathing does improve if you make units smaller. I think the most interesting application of this is smaller villagers (allowing for greater saturation on a resource and less bumping), but it does seem to confer a minor combat advantage as well.

Problem is it’s a tradeoff. To the degree that you make infantry more “stackable,” they become more vulnerable to siege/AOE attacks. Overall I think that’s a liability that the small boost in combat performance doesn’t do enough to justify.

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Speed, RoF, collision size, range, pop, etc.
Just named it.
At this point better nerf the other units.

That’s true - but that, too, could be a good thing. Infantry is currently very strong at lower skill levels, so making it a bit weaker to siege where micro is worse is arguably a good thing.

Meanwhile, at higher elos, experts could use formations and micro to counteract this weakness. Spread formation, for example, or splitting. So a change like this would most effectively help them at higher skill levels, exactly where they need it the most.

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As it is said above, the reason is actually speed. You can also check this by Generic vs Cumans Paladin. The bigger the number, the greater the chance of Cumans winning.

It’s definitely a factor, but the thing is, it really needs to be a very small difference to allow infantry to trade consistently with knights, which is a crucial breakpoint.

Does anyone know how to change unit collision size? I’d really like to test it and see if it works. If not, I’d happily set the idea aside!

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In the Editor, use the Modify Attribute trigger for the unit(s) you want to test. The attributes in this case are “Unit Size X” and “Unit Size Y.” It doesn’t let you use decimals, but you can use simple maths, like using one effect to multiply the current size by 75 and another to divide by 100 (for both X and Y) if you wanted a certain unit to have a collision box that is 75% of what it is now.

On the subject, I’ve done this to a much greater degree in some of my scenarios (for example, reducing trade cart size to 1/5th of its current size), and it definitely improves the pathing/trade efficiency. Honestly think this would be a good civ bonus for a future civ.

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Okay! Thanks to @SirWiedreich , I was able to test it, and setting the scale to 75% did not guarantee victory, but it did shift the dynamic from typically a knight victory, to typically a Longsword victory. Before, the knights usually won a 20v10 fight with 3-5 remaining; after, the Longswords usually won with 3-7 remaining, but knights won ~1/4th of the time with ~3 remaining.

Overall, I think it really makes a big difference, and honestly it felt really good; they wandered around a LOT less and it felt really good.

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wouldn’t there be the concern with infantry dying even harder to siege?

To a point, but the thing to bear in mind is, infantry already:

A. Die hard to siege
B. Benefit greatly from spread formation.

This change would greatly benefit from players choosing spread formation with Infantry(something that is currently largely ignored) which would largely counteract the weakness to siege while simultaneously making them more resistant to siege.

An additional reliance on formation control would help most at higher ELOs, which would be a good thing from an elo-balance perspective.

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Would you kindly share a video demo of your testing? I like your idea but I wonder if it would look weird with smaller collision box.

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Videos are a bit beyond me, but here’s a screenshot comparing them.

image

They’re clearly not overlapping, but they are tightly packed. To me, this kinda looks more realistic tbh; shoulder to shoulder and all that. Discipline.

Honestly, 25% might be excessive. I’m getting some fairly crazy wins here; like 9/20 surviving in some cases. A smaller change, like 10-15%, might be more than enough.

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OP: nice suggestion. This is also crucial for melee units (in particular zerglings) in Starcraft 2.

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This would also make them even weaker against Siege.
Mass Infantry still just dies to Siege already and this woul donly play into that weakness.

It’s really way more complicated - I don’t think there is any like “easy” fix.

True, but as they currently stand, they’re weak to siege and can’t do what they’re supposed to do. I would far rather have a unit that can fill its role, than one that’s a bit more resistant to its counters but can’t fill its role.

If siege does end up becoming too overwhelming against them, we could consider some additional tweaks, but personally, I would be a bit surprised if the difference was too major. Infantry have the HP to tank a few siege shots after all, and the better pathing would also help them counter siege more effectively in turn.

The biggest thing it would do is raise the skill ceiling on infantry, which would honestly be a good thing; moderating their strength at lower skill levels, while offering more opportunity at the highest levels of play.

Thanks! This looks pretty natural. But it looks as if they are also 25% shorter? Is the whole sprite shrinked by 25% this way? (Anyway that should be an easy fix from devs side.)

I really like this idea because it has logic. It supose that the strength of militia comes with numbers, but nowadays it works at inverse, at least vs knights and similar units.

Don’t see the problem of militia being weaker vs siege. Still there is the staggered formstion and split movement.

I wonder if you tested this “smaller” militia vs buildings. Small collision boxes make more militia being able to attack a building at same time? If the answer is yes, then I strongly support this idea.

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Yes. And personally I think it looks best on unit lines that all have shields, and could even be tied to a “Shield Wall” or “Testudo” technology that grants some additional benefit to partly offset the weakness to siege. Say +1 pierce armor or the ability to “block” 1 or 2 projectiles. (Yes, I’m aware that the Shrivamsha mechanic is controversial and I’m not a fan of it myself, but if I had to find a place for it, I think it would be more appropriate and less annoying on slow infantry units instead of the fastest viable land unit).

I’m not sure about this; more testing would have to be done to figure out the average increase in combat efficiency. Like I doubt that the 9/20 outcome is very common and a lot of it will probably come out in the wash if/when pathing improvements make knights fight more efficiently than they do now.

Hit box/collision size is not related to sprite size at all. The Editor doesn’t have the ability to scale sprites.

Yes. It also means that fewer enemy units can attack a single one of your units at a time, but that only matters if you’re outnumbered.

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In the opposite way, I think spears should have bigger boxes. I think cavalry pass throug a group of spear too easly

Yeah, overall I think spears are probably fine at the moment. Their weakest point is early on when in small numbers, after all. Later on, where this would have the biggest impact, they’re already doing quite well. Given the current state of balance, I’d be inclined to leave them be.

Some of the weaker unique units could benefit from a change like this, but for some it might actually hurt their effectiveness; Teutonic Knights, for example, might prefer a bigger hitbox if anything, to make them a more tempting target.

A gentle touch might be warranted.

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