Author Topic: Getting frustrated too early in the game O_o  (Read 2499 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Getting frustrated too early in the game O_o
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2010, 12:40:50 PM »
Well, it always depends on the map, but you need to look further afield than just the directly adjacent planets.  Often there are "pockets" of planets that are all connected heavily to each other, but only are connected out into the wider galaxy via 1-2 bottlenecks.  My early goal is looking for those bottlenecks, and on Realistic maps those tend to be there.  On hubs/grid maps, you're going to have to do a lot more gate-raiding, no question, and CPAs are going to hurt more.

The trick is to look out about 3 connections away from your home planet and see what sort of bottlenecks you might be able to create based on how the planets are set up.  Some planets are dead ends (which is great for your purposes), others are connected only or primarily to other planets you control, and others are places where it is easy to create your own bottleneck.

Generally I wind up with maybe a pocket of 10-12 planets in "my" area, with a bottleneck or three leading out.  I gate-raid any of those planets in my area that I can't / don't want to take (maybe half of them, depending), and then possibly even neuter those planets a bit (certainly taking out all train stations and special forces guard posts as I do the gate raids).  Then that's secure enough that I can just maintain light defenses against those "captive" AI planets in my area, and otherwise they pose little threat except possibly in the even of a CPA. I don't cherry pick maps for defensibility in any way, and I can pretty much always do that except on the hubs and grid maps.  Those usually require that you simply give in to having the AI raiding you all over the place, which is a different style of strategy in general, but still possible. :)

In short, I guess, either you are on a really unlucky seed, playing hubs/grid maps (not a good place to start as a beginner if you are defensive-minded), or you're not looking quite far enough afield in your current setup there to identify bottleneck points.  Or, quite potentially, you're wanting to be too completionist about kicking the AI 100% out of "your" area that would be behind the bottleneck.  

Sometimes you'll get lucky and you can have that region all to yourself, but more often than not there's a Mark IV or Mark III planet that is too hard to take at first, and then way too entrenched to take later on.  But those can be made almost entirely harmless, and if they get huge that can actually be to your benefit in the middle game as it is sucking up AI reinforcement points for little purpose.  Assuming you don't go sky-high with the AIP over time, then it doesn't even pose a CPA risk.  I rarely get to the point where the AI is even Mark III for waves and CPA, and I'm less conservative with AIP increases than some here.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline allmybase

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Re: Getting frustrated too early in the game O_o
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2010, 12:55:23 PM »
Thanks for the response  :o

Right now I kept the level 7 AI but turned off astrotrains/mines, they are homeworld and fortress baron. I did wind up cherry picking a map which is very defensible, it starts with 4 wormholes but 3 of the connections all lead to a dead end bottleneck. =)

Unfortunately the 4th way leading out to the rest of the galaxy is a mark 4, but I was able to apply some tricks I learned here which is quickly strike their command post and I dumped 80% of my turret cap on that wormhole (which was scarily almost not quite enough with all the ships pouring in from their spec post and reinforcements).

I defended against their backflow attack but they still kept about 100 mk IVs on their planet so I'm probably going to have to tech my way up to IIs/IIIs - or maybe I should avoid them entirely for a while and just skip around to some other planet cluster.

By the way what do you consider "enough" forces/tech to beat a homeworld? Obviously you do your best to find all the adv science stations and definitely a mark 4 factory, but do you have some sort of fuzzy line at which you say ok I have enough resources/men to beat up their final command station which has like 1000+ core ships?

Do you wait to research all the possible MKIIIs you can, max out IVs from factories, then go in? Do you wait for even more tech like riot starships or the like?

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Getting frustrated too early in the game O_o
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2010, 12:58:07 PM »
Oh, and to add a bit more to that, regarding the gate raiding timing, etc.  Here's a theoretical, but fairly typical scenario for me:

Starting planet: 4 hostile wormholes, two easy to take, two high-level.
1. Take the two that are easy to take.  Home planet hostile wormholes now down to 2.
2. Gate-raid the two high-level home-adjacent planets next, and kill special forces and (ideally) train stations at that same time.
3. Leave permanent moderate defenses on those wormholes, let's say 40ish turrets and maybe 15ish tractors on each.  Consider the home planet completely safe from direct assault, but will add more turrets if needed (and more force fields) to protect against later indirect assault.

Now we're down to our two front-line planets, lets say those each also had 4 wormholes to start, and that we were unlucky and that they did not connect to one another.  That means that we now have 6 hostile wormholes facing us in total.  Between our mobile fleet being able to move between these planets (and come home from offense when you are threatened), and some light-to-moderate turret defenses on all three hostile wormholes at those two planets, you should be pretty well insulated and not losing any harvesters at all.

Then you've got yourself a little nugget that is pretty well protected, basically.  The next decisions depend on the map, and how it grows outward.  Such as:

- Is there a planet that is adjacent to both of those two secondary planets you captured?  Take it!  Unless it is really high level, in which case gate-raid it.
- Is there a planet that is adjacent to one of those planets that is a dead end?  Take that!  Again, unless it is too overpowered, in which case maybe gate raid it, or leave that as an ingress point, depending.
- Is there a planet that is really highly connected, and borders everything?  Either gate raid it, neuter it, or completely take it from the AI but don't build on it if you need to travel through it.  The high number of inbound connections can make it not worthwhile to capture, but very worthwhile to take from the AI.

And so on.  This is the general decision pattern I typically go through, and believe it or not you can generally scale this outwards without having exponential growth in your surface area -- and without gate-raiding every planet on the map.  Gate raids are early and ongoing for me, but I would guess that I don't do more than... I don't know... maybe 15-20 total in an 80 planet map throughout the entire game?

Thus the breakdown of planets at the end of a successful game for me might be:
80 planets total
20-30 planets belonging to my team
0-3 planets that were taken from the AI, but that we did not capture for whatever reason (nice to have buffers sometimes)
15-20 planets that were gate raided, and had their special forces guard posts and train stations killed
27-45 planets that I never touched, except to perhaps pass through with transports or a convoy, or possibly to knowledge raid or kill data centers on.

Out of my 20-30 planets, usually it is good if somewhere between 8-14 of those are reasonably secure from attack by the end of the game.  Those are producing resources and not really at a whole lot of risk except when the AI slips past me on the front lines.  If I lose some, I rebuild, and if a planet it just too hotly contested I might let it go fallow and just stay neutral.  

The remainder of those planets  are ones that I captured further out into the galaxy usually for advanced research stations or factories, and I mostly ignore the resources on there, and concentrate defenses in such a way to protect the valuables without having to try to defend all the wormholes individually (which is impossible on those planets, usually). And some of the remainder of those planets were ones that I captured specifically to create staging areas for attacking AI targets.  Those sorts of planets also tend to be really isolated, and I protect the stuff on it all in a cluster of turrets and force fields near the command station, but I leave the harvesters to their fate.  I guess those planets would be an obvious case for harvester exo-forcefields, but I don't tend to think of that for some reason.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Getting frustrated too early in the game O_o
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2010, 01:06:37 PM »
By the way what do you consider "enough" forces/tech to beat a homeworld? Obviously you do your best to find all the adv science stations and definitely a mark 4 factory, but do you have some sort of fuzzy line at which you say ok I have enough resources/men to beat up their final command station which has like 1000+ core ships?

Do you wait to research all the possible MKIIIs you can, max out IVs from factories, then go in? Do you wait for even more tech like riot starships or the like?

Ehh... it really depends on the map.  I tend not to research all of even the tech 2s for all my ship lines, but I do tend to get all 5 of the ARS.  I suppose I tend to have mark III/IV of at least 3-4 lines of ships, but I don't usually use that many starships.  I tend to manage tactics in key battles, though, so I tend to have really good kill to loss ratios compared to my level of ships, which are kind of upper-middling at best.

My strategy for the homeworlds tends to be repeated waves.  It usually takes me 10+ waves to take out one, but I have an economic backbone so huge it doesn't even matter.  I send a wave of around 1400 ships against the homeworld from my forward base two planets away, kill or mostly kill some guard post or other advantage, and then by the time that is done I have another 1400 ships and I repeat.  This is with some turrets, or transports, or something, making transport through the intermediate planet possible, because I don't mess with planets next to AI homeworlds for fear of making them too reinforced with that advance warning.

Incidentally, that is mostly without mark IV ships, too, because typically my advanced factory is not all that convenient to the forward base that I'm striking from.  Mark IVs queue up and then I move them over there, but that means that they are only in every... I don't know... every fourth wave or something.

I'm a real purist, strangely.  I tend not to use many warheads, except for the occasional nuke, and I only sometimes use starships, even.  When I play multiplayer, my partners tend to use starships a lot more, though.  The dynamics of then making our final assault is a bit different because individually we are a bit poorer resource wise, but our combined income is much greater than in single player, and we can mount combined waves of 2000 ships, with starships, instead of the smaller ones that I prefer in solo.  But the AI is more reinforced and larger in multiplayer, anyway, so it's about even, really.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline allmybase

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Re: Getting frustrated too early in the game O_o
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2010, 01:22:18 PM »
I don't like starships either, I find the AI is really good at "sniping" them out with their counter units.

So I guess the "core economy" is not necessarily linked directly to your homeworld? Sometimes you have to move out a few jumps then cluster those up? Or should you always attempt to have some sort of direct string of controlled planets with your homeworld?

10+ waves to kill one AI, wow O_Oa That's patience. I guess that tutorial really spoiled me, I was able to kill it in one swipe in the tutorial.

Offline Spikey00

  • Lord of just 5 Colony Ships
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,704
  • And he sayeth to sea worm, thou shalt wriggle
Re: Getting frustrated too early in the game O_o
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2010, 01:35:09 PM »
Chris... you're a monster.  You impress me the more I know you!  :D

--

Heh, all I have to say from my side is, simplistically:  successful spamming is successful.  Spam everything:  turrets and units alike, but spam only those which are cost efficient and useful.  170 basic turrets are easy to spam, along with the occasional tractor turrets in accordance to arriving waves.  20 => 200 ships.  Always have a few tractors on your outside planets with some turrets to catch the wanderers, or they will FUBAR your economy.  CTRL group a nice group (mid game) of engineers to repair your fleet until you attain MRS (I spam all seven too), afterward use them for dock assisting/turret repairing/construction.  Obviously though I don't tiptoe across the AI, I assimilate everything, and thus capturing planets = more income = more ships = more of everything until the AI waves counter my inertia (or lack thereof).

(Hm, I shall try in my next game to spam T3 bombers early game with transports and wall up home planet with turrets and see how that will work to capture planets ASAP before they reinforce with units/fighters.)


--

What a horrible post I have; heh, though glad you are enjoying the game [and spanking the AI], allmybase.
I'd take a sea worm any time over a hundred emotionless spinning carriers.
irc.appliedirc.com / #aiwar
AI War Facebook
AI War Steam Group

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
Re: Getting frustrated too early in the game O_o
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2010, 01:46:19 PM »
Two notes:

1. I tend to have my core economy be more or less around my home planet, though there might be some AI planets in there, too.  Having the home planet be off by its lonesome with no buffer from the front lines is a really bad idea, because you want multiple tiers of defense.

2. I don't think it really takes that much patience to wear down the AI as I describe.  I accomplish something permanent on each wave (guard post out, etc), and I manage to skip a lot of knowledge raiding and force building that I would otherwise have to do in order to make a decisive wave.  See, the final planet in the tutorial also takes me about 4ish waves right there, but I imagine that my total game time on that would have been much lower than yours if you were able to do it in one big wave.  Play the way you like, of course; I doubt you will be able to do these in one single wave, but you might be able to do it in far less than 10.

And Spikey, many thanks. :)

Now I've got to get back to work on Tidalis for now -- hope that helps!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline allmybase

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Re: Getting frustrated too early in the game O_o
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2010, 03:45:32 PM »
I'm doing much better, thanks for all your advice.

My current strategy now is I bottled up my dead end of 3 planets + homeworld. The MKIV world that leads to the rest of the galaxy I had to improvise and build MKI raid starships. I was trying to brute force it, but it literally had thirty three (33) mkIII lightning turrets, so I wasn't making any headway with conventional masses of ships, no matter how balanced.

Raid ships are really really handy. I like how fast they move, how good they are at "unhinging" the enemy by surgically removing command posts/stations. And they are cost effective. 24k metal per one, so 72 k metal for 3, I could not do nearly as well with say, 72 mkiii bombers. The bombers would get nowhere quick against all those lightnings. Raid ships are the perfect answer for my scenario, and I suspect many many scenarios not just this one. They are easy to repair instead of having to slowly bleed smaller ships to snipers or trying to repair 200 ships with 5 engineers, you just repair 3 of them.

As handy as they are, I'm not positive I would research higher marks. This is a preference thing; I think the MKI will serve their role perfectly well to unhinge planets, MKII/III would be a lot more convenient to have but the knowledge might be better spent building some true combat units to deal with the eventuality of the AI homeworld.

To deal with the insufferable amounts of mkiii turrets on that MKIV planet, I went ahead and unsupplied it : )

And now the raid ships are on their way to relieve my target cluster of planets of posts/stations so I can get a strong economy going.

This style of play clicks with me the most. Instead of hemming and hawing and slowly pushing each planet and figuring out how to defend its wormholes, I instead look at the target cluster, then remove all their stations and posts before even harvesting one for resources, then after a wave then I quickly swoop in and expand like a madman to all the 6-7 planets and set up huge defenses at the ingress points to the overall system which should be few because I planned it all out to have maybe 2 points which wandering ships come through and 1 point where the waves will come through.

I think after that I should be able to skip around the starsystems looking for adv stations and do some knowledge raiding + set up a forward post near the AI homeworld, and then it should be a snap.

Right now I'm doing the "no no" of using my homeworld as a whipping boy, but I am ok with that risk until I get my cluster of planets together to become the next whipping boy. I really plugged up that one point of ingress into my homeworld, nothing gets by. I haven't quite capped on turrets but I don't need to.