Author Topic: Outa Track MkIII - Pre-AAR Draft  (Read 1310 times)

Offline Pumpkin

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Outa Track MkIII - Pre-AAR Draft
« on: November 22, 2015, 02:26:33 PM »
Before Action Report. How odd, isn't it? ;)

So, thanks to Malkiel, I'm back on the AAR scene. But not right now, actually. I want to plan ahead and design my settings before playing them and reporting them on the forum. I'm here to write down my thoughts on these settings and let you propose and vote for them.

General Difficulty

I currently have some AIW game going on at 8/8, which is my challenge zone. So as I consider AAR are mostly for fun and profit lore, I'll go for 7/7 and... Let say no auto-AIP or maybe just 1 per 30 minutes. Pushing it higher would certainly put me out of my tracks, but not in a fun way, I think. I reserve this kind of setting for my personal difficulty-outatracks, like 9/9 and red-hard AI types.

Main Theme

I'm rather a fleet boy and it took time for me before I invest at least 1,000 Knowledge in turrets in a whole game. Also, Malkiel reminded me of the Showdown campaign, that I attempted (and barely won) only once. So the theme will be towerdef and the main Minor Faction will be Showdown Devices.

Map and AI Types

There, I'll need help.

On the AI Type topic, I'm rather familiar with all the easier and moderate types. However, I have no idea on which types will blend nicely with this setup. I you're reading this and you have thoughts to share, don't hesitate! I'm sure we can come up with some fun and thematic combos with AI Types.

On the Map style topic, I'm more than puzzled. I need something that's defensible, so exit lattice and the hubs versions. Snake, simple and realistic are just uninteresting, mazes are just trees, and grid and concentric are parts of previous episodes of Outa Track. So what? Something like Tree, Vine or Spokes? However, I'm pretty familiar with Cluster and Wheel, but they are good candidates for a towerdef theme. Honeycomb and Encapsulated are uncommon for me and would be good outatrack-ers, but I'm not sure they would blend well with the theme.

What do you think? Tree-like, fun-yet-known Cluster/Wheel or outatrack-ers Honeycomb/Encapsulated?

Also, which size? I'm rarely out of the 80 planets size. But where must I push myself? More than 80? Isn't it better/easier for a fleet-centered game? Less than 80? Will there be enough room for interesting towerdef? Let me know what you think!

Factions and Plots

There will be no broken golem in this game. Period. But what now? I'm rather uncomfortable with the Spirecraft MF, maybe because they're very different from the golems: they're less straightforward powerballs like a golem fleet or a high end Fallen Spire fleet. They require care because asteroids are finite resource, and most of them are utility units. So yeah, maybe Spirecrafts will be good outa-tracks feature. And the Exowaves will provide a good reinforcement for the towerdef theme.

Zenith Traders? Well, they will be no outatrack-ers, but all their goodies are defense items: Zenith Power Generator for more turrets, superfortress and OMD for bottleneck, etc. Mmkay, why not.

For the rest of the MF, I would rather say no because they have nothing to do in a towerdef.
- Human Colony Rebellion, Miner Golems and Spire Civilian Leaders all reward or punish players for camping. While I'm rather unfamiliar with HCRebellion, I know the two other very well.
- Dyson Sphere is too powerful in a defensive setup. Also, I know it too much.
- Dark Spire, Neinzul Roaming Enclaves and Nomad Planets are already central in previous Outa Track episodes.
- Fallen Spire and Exodian Blade are great campaigns, and I can't imagine playing one of them in an AAR without making it the central theme. So nope for this one. (However, I love the towerdef bits of the Fallen Spire campaign.)

Oh! I almost forgot the champion-side of the setup. Well, I love the nebulae scenarii. (Yeah, two weird plural in one nominal group. Thank for that, Arcen!) However, they are like Fallen Spire and Exodian Blade: big features for an AAR. The alt.champ. progress/nemesis would be great outatrack-ers because I hate them. Er, let me rephrase that. The alt.champ.progress may be too powerful and aggressive in a defensive setting, and alt.champ.nemesis would be a bit weird, thematically speaking. No maybe not.

On the plot side, now.
- Avenger? Well, I already have a big-big !!fun!!-ball for the end game, so nope.
- Hybrids and Premption are pressure, not towerdef. Also, I'm not sure they would be outatrack-ers for me. However, I'm not sure I already beaten them at high intensity. Okay, tagged as "maybe".
- I hate Astro Trains. They would certainly push me out of my tracks, but not in a nice, fun way.
- Beachhead and some combination of Shark plots would be interesting in a towerdef setting. Also, while I know how to deal with a beachhead (fleet boy, remember?), I still make many mistakes and I never cracked up the Shark plots. So yeah, maybe I'll enable the three at the same time!
- Hunter? Nope. They were out in a previous Outa Track episode and blend not very well with a towerdef theme: any assault in AI territory will already be strange to me, without a big fleet to tank the cops.
- Warp Relay and Counter Posts are in my default plots. So yeah, I'll let them be, also because they have the potential to stress a defensive stance.

Lore, yay!

Red.Queen mysteriously disappeared! The Pirates working for her completely failed! What the main character of Outa Track MkI had become? What does this one-man-army, experimental SupCom thing is up to, now?

Reading it again, I realized the first post of Outa Track MkI is unfinished. I totally forgot this. Maybe it's time to go back and finish it. Or maybe it'll be finished when the first MkIII's post will land on the forum. Who knows? ;)

TL;DR

- I need help on Map type and size, and AI Types.
- As major features, there would be Showdown, Traders and Sharks.
- As minor features, there would also be Beachheads, Warp Relays and Counter Posts.
- There might be Spirecrafts, their asteroids and Exowaves. I'm not sure.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline Toranth

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Re: Outa Track MkIII - Pre-AAR Draft
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2015, 03:26:48 PM »
Shark and Showdown together?  Wow, that's masochistic.  Adding Beachheads could only make it worse, so... go for it?   >D

Be very careful if you add superweapons of any sort to a Showdown game.  Spirecraft, Golems, Fallen Spire, and Champions all increase the power of the Showdown by a significant amount.  We're talking multiples of response... if you have too much super-stuff, 16 times the AI goodness is not impossible.

If you want to complicate a defensive game, you can add Nomad planets - 6-8 of them, and you might as well be on a fully connected map.

Speaking of maps, I find defense to be much more interesting on highly connected maps.  I would have suggested a grid map, but since you have already done one, try an encapsulated that has some significant connections internally.  Honeycomb is interesting, and may be my favorite map type, but it is very similar to the Grid maps (for the connected variety).

For example, these might be fun:
Encapsulated, 80 stars, seed 300699079 - Start at the Zeva planet, closest to the center.  It may look like you only have 4 outside accesses... but that's only if you conquer the entire inside.
Encapsulated, 80 stars, seed 636396693 - Another interesting map, there are several points you could choose to place your Homeworld and still have an 'interesting' showdown.



Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Outa Track MkIII - Pre-AAR Draft
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2015, 04:11:45 PM »
Shark and Showdown together?  Wow, that's masochistic.  Adding Beachheads could only make it worse, so... go for it?   >D
><
How stupid was I to miss this? Okay, bye bye Sharks. That would be for another time. Maybe for a "walking on eggs", damn-low AIP setup. Showdown and Beachhead sounds evil enough for an AAR.

Quote
Be very careful if you add superweapons of any sort to a Showdown game. Spirecraft, Golems, Fallen Spire, and Champions all increase the power of the Showdown by a significant amount.  We're talking multiples of response... if you have too much super-stuff, 16 times the AI goodness is not impossible.
Ow. I wasn't aware of that. Thanks a lot for letting me know. So maybe a poorly handled Spirecraft MF isn't a good idea for this AAR. Good, I dislike them anyway.
But then I loose the Exowaves. Oh, I still need AI Types! I wonder if I fight against a double Vanilla/Exotic, will they still send regular waves on top of exowaves? (I wish CPA and ExoWaves would be AI plots, I would have been AI Plots: I would have enabled regular waves, ExoWaves and disabled CPA for balance.)

Or, provided I'll play with Fire and Ice again, Fire will have a wave-y or raid-y type while Ice would never wave and only ExoWave. Why not?

Quote
If you want to complicate a defensive game, you can add Nomad planets - 6-8 of them, and you might as well be on a fully connected map.
Ow. Nomad have been part of the Core Dive episode, but maybe pushing them at intensity 10 would be both new and !!fun!! . It would also be a hell of a "dominating impact on the game", which is nice for an AAR.

Quote
Speaking of maps, I find defense to be much more interesting on highly connected maps.  I would have suggested a grid map, but since you have already done one, try an encapsulated that has some significant connections internally.  Honeycomb is interesting, and may be my favorite map type, but it is very similar to the Grid maps (for the connected variety).
So you prefer high connectivity for a defensive setup? Well, Kahuna style would be hard to establish. I would need to post a screenshot of any of my defensive planets. Why not?
Honeycomb is indeed interesting, and while Outa Track MkI was on a small grid (40 planets), I won't mind playing on a wider honeycomb. Maybe even a 100-planets honeycomb. What do you think? How does a wide honeycomb feel?

Quote
For example, these might be fun:
Encapsulated, 80 stars, seed 300699079 - Start at the Zeva planet, closest to the center.  It may look like you only have 4 outside accesses... but that's only if you conquer the entire inside.
Encapsulated, 80 stars, seed 636396693 - Another interesting map, there are several points you could choose to place your Homeworld and still have an 'interesting' showdown.
I hate Encapsulated and I never played it. That sounds like a good outatrack-er. Thanks a lot for the seeds, BTW. While I'm familiar with clusters, I never played on encapsulated. Arcen should add achievements for map styles; I didn't keep track of all the styles I tried and/or won.
Anyone played with both cluster and encapsulated? How does it feel? How does the outer ring impact the cluster playground?

Also, maybe a snake with 10 nomads would be a lot of fun. And while the initial position of the planets matters for the Nomads, untangling the snake until it looks like a snail would be interesting for Nomad-hopping. Oh-hey, I saw some encapsulated where the clusters weren't connected with each other; the nomads may form some very interesting temporal links.

Currently Planned Setup

So where are we now?
- Major features: Showdown, Traders and Nomad/10.
- Minor features: Beachhead, Warp Relays, Counter Posts.
- AI Types: wave-y or raid-y for Fire, exotic for Ice.
- Map: Concentric? Snake-Snail? Honeycomb?

Hey, that makes few things in my favor...
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline Malkiel

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Re: Outa Track MkIII - Pre-AAR Draft
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2015, 05:47:26 PM »
Showdown is the mechanic that finally got me to turn off all but 1 superweapon option in a game, because it gets insane fast. running it with 1 superweapon enabled isn't so bad.

That being said, emp guardians turn on at difficulty 8 or above if memory serves. This would mean you won't have your turrets and fields getting shut down hardcore during the showdown. I had a pack of twenty some come into my core worlds once.. thank goodness for regen golem and fleetships not present when they arrived. Not having that might balance beachheads a bit... remember what people where saying about altering settings to tweak difficulty? beachheads make it more like a 7.3 or 7.6 for my playstyle.

If you want to abuse yourself a bit, could try neinzul youngster with kite flier for a secondary (fire), have the other be the exotic/support corps (ice)

I personally favor you turning on spirecraft for this scenario, a man's gotta have some big toys. Also you will never learn to use all your tools if you don't pick up the lame ones. (looking at you, Laser Gatlings)

One last note, I believe you said in another thread months back you'd have hybrids in outta track 3.. I just read it, undefined I believe was the OP of it here in the AAR subforum.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 07:36:43 PM by Malkiel »

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Outa Track MkIII - Pre-AAR Draft
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2015, 03:32:48 AM »
Showdown is the mechanic that finally got me to turn off all but 1 superweapon option in a game, because it gets insane fast. running it with 1 superweapon enabled isn't so bad.
I personally favor you turning on spirecraft for this scenario, a man's gotta have some big toys. Also you will never learn to use all your tools if you don't pick up the lame ones. (looking at you, Laser Gatlings)
Well, I'll consider that again. Maybe I would do a short, easy game with them enabled just to make me a bit less uncomfortable with them. Thanks for being part of the informal poll! :)
This is an Outa Tracks, after all!

If you want to abuse yourself a bit, could try neinzul youngster with kite flier for a secondary (fire), have the other be the exotic/support corps (ice)
I already made several games with the youngster (my current game has one) and I'm rather fed up with them. However, exotic/support corp for Ice is a neat idea! Thanks! For Fire, I was thinking of Sledgehammer + beachhead. That would make dangerous regular waves. We'll see.

One last note, I believe you said in another thread months back you'd have hybrids in outta track 3.. I just read it, undefined I believe was the OP of it here in the AAR subforum.
I have a fun recommendation: Hybrids! I never see anyone play Hybrid games, and it'd be interesting to see how the buggy bastards hold up as power creep has increased everywhere.
Oh yeah!!! I'll definitely do an Outa Tracks MkIII episode with them. Thanks for the idea!
Well. People change, I guess. I made a game that I called "Pressure", recently: double Hybrids & Advanced Hybrids + Preemption. I think the setups weren't high enough for a real impact on the game, or I don't know why, but I found the hybrids rather easy. And I remember turning them higher and being thrown in a nightmare. I'm growing familiar with them, and I'm starting to believe they're not that fun, after all. They're just threat: they roam the frontier and attack only to let you know that you've lose ten minutes ago by not clearing them. I'm being a bit sarcastic; I hope new players won't overlook them because of what I say. But from aside from the Hybrid Factory hunting that might be fun, they are neither mechanically complex neither thematically rich.

So... Well. No hybrids in my towerdef setting. Sorry.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!