I think that discussing new ideas that challenge our views of Widelands is one thing that makes open source games so great - everyone gets input! The game cannot hold its appeal without looking at the fundamental ways that it operates and asking "Is this the best way?"
Exactly! And you sometimes come to the point, where complex matters make you want to try new ways and see whether the game benefits or not.
Still, as everything requires quite an effort from those who implement it, we need an in-depth discussion and every opinion, especially from those with experience, is very welcome.
The way I see it, this is not about pushing a suggestion (it's not really mine anyhow ) but about finding enough reason to try it out.
In that sense, thanks for you input!
What you are saying, simplypeachy, is not really: "Look, this is a bad idea, because", but more "not really needed", right?
So, given a suggestion that "solves" three minor problems at once (even though you think they could be resolved otherwise or need not be resolved at all), why should we not invest a bit and see if if works better?
But I want to comment your point in detail:
The problem of a player not knowing the mechanics and requirements of making new soldiers should not be solved by creating another building - it is a matter for education through the tutorials or the documentation.
Generally speaking, everbody should agree with you here: The cure for ignorance is teaching and learning, not simplifying a thing that is fine for the learned; and in fact the in-game help system that is currently worked on is an effort in this direction.
The other problem you mention is a player's ability to stockpile the required wares so they can produce large amounts of soldiers, quickly. This is not a problem in my opinion.
We could of course, instead of trying to prevent this, officially declare the "instant soldiers" to be a valid tactic.
I have taken for granted, that it is an undesirable variant.
The part that I personally do not like about this tactic is that it comes as a surprise to the defender.
I see Widelands' basic challenge more in a strategical weighing of economical decisions, not in tactical considerations.
This is because you do not have many ad-hoc options to react to the latter.
Informing all other opponents about your stock of basic weapons, on the other hand, opens up a new set of problems and simply "feels wrong"
This is not a problem in my opinion: the lowest-level soldiers are no match for trained soldiers, however large their numbers.
Again, you are very right with your last point. I have tested a lot of endgames with huge economies in endless-resource-state scenarios for all tribes (with various conf modifications). The result is often the same:
Hundreds upon hundreds of low-level soldiers getting killed by the same highly trained garrison in a few castles or citadels, without those even taking losses.
So the obvious tactic to drain hitpoints from the defending garrison by assaulting them with ever increasing frequency and higher numbers of untrained soldiers, doesn't really seem to work well. It currently works for a human aggressor in some cases, but not for the current AI.
Without going too far into the details, I think it's fair to expect some more balancing here (Healing rate, soldiers' retreat-level when wounded, and the question whether wounded soldiers should be allowed to retreat unchallenged.)
It would be an advantage IMO to have the freedom to experiment with these settings without the extra worries of how it influences the instant soldier phenomenon.
On the subject of controlling whether resources go to new soldiers, or upgrading existing ones, I am not sure. I do find sometimes that when I am low on resources I must manually reduce the resources used by, or disable, training sites to get soldiers. Arguably if you do not have the resources to run a training site (at full, or any capacity) then it is up to you to reduce the drain it has on your economy.
I was thinking about the opposite problem, which I find harder to solve :
What can I do to dedicate more steel to training my soldiers and get fewer young ones?
Currently we have no other way than periodically stopping the evade training facilities (the main cause for demand), and then re-open them when we see that we get fully trained soldiers missing the evade training.
Or you could try to match the rate of trainingscamp graduates with that of your Battlearena (for Barbarians) by building multiple Trainingscamps. But you'd need a very advanced economy to do so.
Having a casern that you could throttle or stop, would be helpful.
It's clear you've put a lot of thought into the new structure, the advantages it offers, and how it would work. Please don't be disheartened by the response to it - Widelands really needs people who put so much effort into such ideas!
Thank you,- always trying to make sense ... and I'm not disappointed at all, but happy to discuss things.
This game should please many. Suggestions are not a matter for personal vanity.
Being no programmer, I apologize for all my suggestions that imply undue workload and for other misjudgements due to lack of expertise or relevant skills.
I am on Win32, have no means to compile, and rely on prefabricated distributions (Thanks to Tino).