Author Topic: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage  (Read 1417 times)

Offline Pumpkin

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CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« on: April 27, 2015, 02:49:21 PM »
So I tried the no-wave-warning + cross-planet-wave combo.

Thing is the CPWaves are nothing more than no-wave + preemption. The AI sent its waves on its own planets and they are supposed to go for human planets via wormholes. On the paper, that sounds interesting. On the battlefield, waves become just preemption.

I could have added "preemption" to the title of this topic, but the problem, albeit the same, isn't a problem for preemption because it is what it is intended. Preemption is reinforcement redirected toward threat: no problem with that.

The problem with CPWaves is that waves are supposed to be attacks. If waves become threatening, there is no more attack, or only fatal ones. Then AI ships on player's planets occurs only if something goes wrong: threat massed beyond stoppable threshold or backstab when the main fleet moves. So players are going to avoid these situations and pay attention to cleaning threat (with preemption, this is OK, because it's intended), but there is no more AI ships at players' planets in normal situation, so no more salvage, and the reprisal/salvage mechanism cease to be a ping-pong game between AI and the players using scrap to send counter attacks at each other. Salvage is supposed to be player's reprisal mechanism, originally intended to give metal and !!fun!! and accelerate the rebuilt phase and make it less boring.

I see some ways to solve this problem.

Lowering the threat go-for-it threshold, in other words making threat attacking more early with less power, would be a way to make CPWaves stacks with each other and the normal threat and the optional preemption, and all of this attack without reaching 150% fatal attack. However, the threshold mustn't be too low because threat would suicide on turrets, ant this is not the goal. However, normal threatfleet would be much less threatening.

Then, this is the core idea (yep, I'm exposing lame ideas while I have the one I think clever in my sleeve).

CPWaves are release on AI planets but with a special "go-for-it" behavior and not a threatfleet behavior: they attack the targeted planet whatever is at stake, a bit like a regular wave slingshot through the wormhole directly on players' planet. Then, like with regular waves, nearby threatfleet ask itself "hey bob, these guys seem to have fun, will we join'em?" If the wave-d fleet make the balance change, threatfleet join in the attack, even if there is no doomsday crapload MkV fleet waiting for the players' fleet to move away and score a fatal touchdown in no time.

I feel I was a bit confused in my explanation. Maybe I should sum it up.

TL;DR:
Change CPWaves behavior from threat to go-fot-it to make them give scrap like regular waves.
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2015, 06:02:55 PM »
See, I disagree with your premise. Scrap is not meant for building your own reprisal waves, it's supposed to be for reinstalling destroyed defenses. The line between the two can get a bit shaky when fleetcraft are involved as a major defensive element, salvage is more about getting momentum going than building waves of mercenaries. (yes I read that thread :P)

Offline Red.Queen

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2015, 08:21:02 PM »
I don't know if I really see much of a problem with this setting, Pumpkin -- sounds to me like it's intended to be the equivalent of Preemption for Waves.  The two settings piggyback on the same mechanic, but it's a way of letting the player choose how they want Threat to build.

Do they want it spread out across the galaxy, growing steadily from reinforcement pulses (Preemption), or do they want it growing in sudden bursts, concentrating in balls on certain planets (CPA Waves)?  Seems like it does a decent job of letting the player pick whether they want to have more unpredictable behavior from reinforcements (which they can influence, depending on what planets they put on alert, how many, and where) or more unpredictable behavior from waves.

It kind of sounds like what I'm thinking you want (correct me if I am wrong), waves that sneak around and pop up suddenly to bite you, would be done just with No Warning enabled.  That way they stick together and attack a planet, but you don't know where in advance.  Granted, you don't have the potential for the wave to sit back and delay for a while, but it wouldn't really matter since it's not like you would know when it triggered until it appeared, and there is variability in when they happen so you couldn't necessarily just sit there watching the clock and predict for sure when one was going to happen.

You could make the time even more unpredictable by pairing two AI types that send waves on different schedules, trying to manually track two would pretty quickly become fatiguing and then slip your mind when you were caught up in something important.  Then the silent waves would get to surprise you just as if they were travelling across the map at will.

The only real downside I see is that you lose the ability to "manually" detect an incoming wave like you could with CPA Waves on, since you can't get lucky and happen to notice the fleet crossing a picketed planet with a purpose (how do you like that alliteration?  :) ).
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2015, 05:50:47 AM »
Okay. I'm glad you're here to temper me (once again).

So CPWaves are meant to be preemption for waves. Okay.
You're right, R.Q. no-wave-warning alone should be enough for the feeling I'm looking for (and maybe a sledgehammer subtype).
And my point wasn't to make mercenary reprisal, Watashiwa! (You understood it, I just want to precise it if someone else was mislead reading this.) However, I think to remember salvage was intended to accelerate fleet rebuilding, not only for turret. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm sure I remember the ping-pong style of counter-counter(-counter)-attack. Well, maybe I remember what I wanted to hear!

However...
(Yeah, I'll be annoying 'til the end)
... I feel that threatfleet never attacking is... unfun. I know it is its point to be threatening, but... Arf, I don't know how to express it. I think it would be much more fun if threat would attack when forces are just equals, this way it would push the player hard without actually killing it, unless the player handle it poorly and/or it shark-ball and crush everything until the home station. The need to always go in AI territory to clean threat and gaining no scrap for this (and losing at least some ships) is "unrewarding", just a painful duty (like cleaning the dust in a house: you know it's useless because in one week it'll be dusty again, but you have to do it).

Yes, maybe the point is this one: cleaning threat is particularly unrewarding. In my opinion.

Come on! Hold me back! I know I'm wrong, I just don't see it yet. Show me why I'm wrong.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2015, 11:20:42 AM »
I propose a COMBO (TM).

COMBO (TM) would work as follow:
- threat from CP waves does not appear in threat.
- it act as a separate fighting force from the regular threat & special forces. But, as always, if it sees the opportunity, it joins the fun =).
- its "attack" / "defend" AI would be similar to what the "regular" threat does, but try to "hide" from where you have scout placed instead of moving next to your planets, to then attack when you least expect it.

Good scout coverage would prevent this though. Hum. Maybe it could create some "radar umbrellas" around the AI territory (somewhat deep) to hide, which would require the command station be killed in order to be seen and destroyed ? And when it thinks it can attack, then all umbrellas spit their ship out, regroup, and strike to kill. Good scout coverage would then potentially give a 2-3 minutes warning.


Ok, it's quite a large order for a single option. But, does COMBO (TM) feel like an option which would combine both feelings from "no-wave-warning" and "cross-planet-wave" to you ?


PS : I don't think you're wrong. I have similar reserves about threat actually. But I don't see how to fix it, or if it even needs fixing in the first place.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2015, 11:23:04 AM by kasnavada »

Offline Red.Queen

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2015, 02:12:08 AM »
Pumpkin -- If I remember rightly, Threat actually has different thresholds for when it decides to attack its chosen planet.  I think below difficulty 8 or so, it will attack if it's even in strength or close to it.  It doesn't stack up for an overwhelming strike until you go 8+, possibly even higher than that.  Don't have the wiki or the decompiled game info in front of me at the moment to dig up the exact threshold.  I remember seeing a post from Keith or Chris about the changes to Threat behavior while diving the forums during a slow day at work, where one of them mentioned the change to make Threat wait until it had parity of strength or better was deliberate, since the older behavior resulted it in just harmlessly trickling onto your planets.

I don't worry much about meticulously cleaning up Threat in general, partially because it would indeed be tedious if I did it frequently, partially because it can be counterproductive if you have say 300 ships park on an un-neutered planet.  You go, try to kill the threat, wake up the guards, and now you have 400 replacement threat unless you kill that too before it runs.

I just ignore it until I spot it finally picking a planet and building up to a few thousand strength in a nice dense ball -- when it gets to that point, it's likely to tag team with the next wave that aims at that planet.  When it builds up to whatever my current tolerance threshold is, or if I see it start doing this pattern of indecisive "yes I will, no I won't" moves as a group towards and away from the wormhole that sometimes signals the AI is right on the border of deciding it's strong enough to attack, I either kill it manually (can be a great opportunity for boosting your own forces if you are reclamation-heavy) if it's not inconvenient for me to bring the fleet in, or I just (you guessed it) lob a Lightning Mk.I warhead at it and laugh as the survivors flee like cockroaches in the light.

Kasnavada -- I like the idea of the AI trying to specifically hide certain strike teams from Scouts.  Your "radar umbrellas" remind me of the Planetary Cloakers that sometimes seed in the world.

What if there was a Cloaker Guardian that could spawn in the middle of these stealth CPAs?  There are already Shield Guardians so there is a precedent in having certain guardians that have a benefit they extend to ships close to them.  Then you'd have mobile coverage hiding just what was in that group, potentially trying to choose a route to its target that didn't take it through a picketed planet.  Carriers already hide their exact contents, but if they were cloaked, you couldn't check the counts even, for bonus surprise.  The Cloaker Guardian would be the clue left for observant players that something bad was on its way.

Granted, a lot of players picket all planets surrounding their borders, so the stealthed CPA would need to have logic to, if no unscouted path is available, say balls to it and just charge through, but that's not fatal to the idea.
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2015, 02:58:43 AM »
On the threat attack threshold, maybe my personal nerve threshold is way too low. Maybe I should wait for it to attack with a false backstab opportunity. Like "Oh, look, I'm attacking you and my flank just get unprotected, such a shame!"

On the cloaker guardian idea, I totally vote for! Content serving the AI design: very nice.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2015, 03:28:40 AM »
Kasnavada -- I like the idea of the AI trying to specifically hide certain strike teams from Scouts.  Your "radar umbrellas" remind me of the Planetary Cloakers that sometimes seed in the world.

What if there was a Cloaker Guardian that could spawn in the middle of these stealth CPAs?  There are already Shield Guardians so there is a precedent in having certain guardians that have a benefit they extend to ships close to them.  Then you'd have mobile coverage hiding just what was in that group, potentially trying to choose a route to its target that didn't take it through a picketed planet.  Carriers already hide their exact contents, but if they were cloaked, you couldn't check the counts even, for bonus surprise.  The Cloaker Guardian would be the clue left for observant players that something bad was on its way.

Granted, a lot of players picket all planets surrounding their borders, so the stealthed CPA would need to have logic to, if no unscouted path is available, say balls to it and just charge through, but that's not fatal to the idea.

I assume that the threat from those wave still isn't in the threat counter ?  That could work too, actually, but it enables the player to hunt the hidden waves. I'm not sure if it's a better or worse idea, but... it's AI war. Let's have both as proposals =).

My point about cloak is that I generally aim to have full scouting coverage, unless the AI rolled anti-cloak somewhere (damn trains).

Offline Red.Queen

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2015, 06:08:22 AM »
On the threat attack threshold, maybe my personal nerve threshold is way too low. Maybe I should wait for it to attack with a false backstab opportunity. Like "Oh, look, I'm attacking you and my flank just get unprotected, such a shame!"

Very doable, especially if you use the cloaked but not attacking -- still gets counted as "engaged"  AI hole I found.  Typing that out makes me chuckle a bit, lines right up with the HAP in-game explanation.  It's fun when the line blurs a bit between what you're doing in game and out.  ;D I need to Mantis that today before I forget.

Quote
On the cloaker guardian idea, I totally vote for! Content serving the AI design: very nice.

Thanks Pumpkin.  I may have to try modding that in, at least the barebones form of granting some type of guardian a Cloaker starship-type area cloak, and see how it feels in play.  Going beyond that right now would be improbable, I haven't mapped out near enough of the codebase yet and absorbed it into my own databanks to understand much of how the wave attack logic works.  I know where to look to potentially get an example of waves having a chance to force spawning a special unit though -- the rarely-used Beachhead option.

I assume that the threat from those wave still isn't in the threat counter ?  That could work too, actually, but it enables the player to hunt the hidden waves. I'm not sure if it's a better or worse idea, but... it's AI war. Let's have both as proposals =).

My point about cloak is that I generally aim to have full scouting coverage, unless the AI rolled anti-cloak somewhere (damn trains).

Turns out CPA ships do show up in the Threat counter, though if you're not playing Full Vis it won't show where they are unless you have scout coverage wherever they are hiding, so it still keeps a fair bit of the surprise.

Ah, I had assumed the "radar umbrella" you were talking about would be a spawned structure or ship, which would naturally be findable.  You were thinking more of attaching a new property on the fly to a certain command station so it would be impossible/very very hard to find.  Fair enough!  There's precedent for something like that already with CSGs and the lesser shield posts granting removable invulnerability to command stations, or Eyes tracking guardpost count to determine if they should suddenly stop existing.

I agree, there's room for both suggestions.  :)  It's AI War -- the more ways the AI can make your life miserable, the better.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2015, 06:11:22 AM »
Yeah, pumpkin asked for "no-wave-warning + cross-planet-wave combo".

But cross wave are threat which is a warning. So I tried to think of a way to remove the warning =).

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: CPWave, Threatfleet and Salvage
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2015, 07:16:21 AM »
Yeah, pumpkin asked for "no-wave-warning + cross-planet-wave combo".

But cross wave are threat which is a warning. So I tried to think of a way to remove the warning =).
Oh, you know, forget it. CPWave + NoWWarning is just preemption for waves. NoWWarning alone is enough for the surprise attack.
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