How much of a game's AI should be customised by the player?

by Alex Mitan   Last Updated September 11, 2019 23:13 PM

Basic premise of the game: in a wasteland full of artifacts, scavengers, monstrosities, weather and settlements, the player controls one or a few parties roaming around, collecting and fighting things, managing supplies and exploring.

Combat would be mostly automated, with squads of 1 to 100-ish units resolving combat automatically over time by auto-targeting each other with abilities (sort of like Mount&Blade but if the combat was simpler and zoomed out and you didn't do half of it yourself).

My question is, how much of the tactics should the player customise that it adds value to the game?

On the one end, we have the units having built-in, rigid AI (armor piercers target armoured units, tanks try to tank, healers heal random injured allies). On the other end, you have a very granular programming minigame where a mage will use lightning bolt on an enemy healer that has 10% life left, otherwise it will heal an allied tank under 50% health.

Also, when travelling, squads would either go shortest-path towards the destination, or take the safest routes, preferring to avoid big enemies and disadvantageous areas. In this case, customisation would be sliders for how much to "care" (heuristically) about enemy units, resources, terrain...

What would be a "sweet spot" of tactical flexibility without turning it into a programming game with 100 sliders?

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Updated December 27, 2017 20:13 PM