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Games => AI War Classic => AI War Classic - Strategy Discussion => Topic started by: Valectar on January 17, 2016, 11:56:14 PM

Title: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Valectar on January 17, 2016, 11:56:14 PM
It seems my current campaign may be against a Mine enthusiast, as I am getting running in to a lot of minefields on enemy planets. I've mostly been ignoring them so far, trying to avoid the ones I knew about and using debris clearers to remove the destroyed ones, but I just sent a force in which was reduced by 80% at the worm hole from mines! With a serious reprisal wave coming and already having metal problems, I can't afford to ignore these minefields any more.

So my question is, what do I do about them?

I can tachyon them, but when there's only one viable wormhole to send my forces through I can't exactly avoid them. Do I send in cheap units to trigger them and then clean them up with debris clearers? Or can you destroy them easily once tachyon'd with a small force?
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: keith.lamothe on January 18, 2016, 12:03:22 AM
Fighters are excellent minesweepers. Or younglings, if you have them.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Bognor on January 18, 2016, 08:45:02 AM
Yeah Keith likes the "facecheck" method of mine annihilation, and Fighters' low cost makes them good for that.  An alternative is to send some starships along with a Scout Starship or other source of tachyon beams, wait for the starships to destroy the mines (Zenith Starships get a bonus), then pop the starships back for repairs.

I don't think younglings can destroy mines by triggering them as they're all immune to mines, unless there's been a recent change.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: keith.lamothe on January 18, 2016, 12:30:45 PM
I don't think younglings can destroy mines by triggering them as they're all immune to mines, unless there's been a recent change.
Oh, right. Terribly inconsiderate of them, being unwilling to die ignominiously so that the wave behind them can die ignominiously so that the ships-I-actually-care-about behind them can stroll through the wreckage.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Valectar on January 18, 2016, 02:57:40 PM
I tried Keith's method but with infiltrators since they're cheaper, and it worked quite well. The stealth is also a bonus because as long as I get rid of the tachyon sentinel I dont' have to worry about the AI's ship coming to crash the party. Although the fighters have still been useful, as they valiantly move ahead of my fleetblob due to their higher speed to clear the mines around the command station I keep forgetting the AI places.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: tadrinth on May 11, 2016, 04:04:39 PM
Scout starships are mine immune, IIRC; send a few through a wormhole and they'll reveal the mines without getting blown up by them. Then at least you know if you need to send the fighters in first. 

Raiders and some other ships are mine-immune; combine with a scout starship and you can reveal the mines and shoot them.

Decloakers are the best way to kill mines that aren't covering your entrance wormhole. 
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Draco18s on May 13, 2016, 03:59:00 PM
People...actually...deal with minefields? :o
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Pumpkin on May 14, 2016, 05:29:21 AM
People...actually...deal with minefields? :o
Indeed, AI minefields are rather underwhelming. The widow kind is interesting, though. Maybe by adding some !!fun!! AI-reserved minefield types it would be a more nasty surprise to step on those. I'm thinking of reclamation and/or zombie mines, right now. Maybe drone-spawning mines; something like a neinzul cluster turned into invisible mines.

The ability for the AI to at least rebuild them, let aside building new. Maybe the cleanup drone would be something, after all.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Draco18s on May 14, 2016, 11:19:13 PM
People...actually...deal with minefields? :o
Indeed, AI minefields are rather underwhelming.

<deadpan>
Oh no, my fleet has wandered in a minefield. Whatever shall I do.
</deadpan>
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Toranth on May 15, 2016, 12:13:28 AM
People...actually...deal with minefields? :o
Indeed, AI minefields are rather underwhelming.
<deadpan>
Oh no, my fleet has wandered in a minefield. Whatever shall I do.
</deadpan>
Don't worry, I'm sure you can rebuild both fighters soon enough.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Pumpkin on May 15, 2016, 06:10:27 AM
Bha, B srus plz

We have a french expression, I don't know if there is exactly the same in english, but I think it sounds rather self-explaining:
don't shoot the at ambulance

Yeah, okay, AI minefields are underwhelming. We get it. Now let's bring some ideas to it, shall we?

Note:
Just to be explicit: I'm totally not pissed off by two answers having fun of a minor AIW's quirk. I'm not actually reproaching you for that. I just felt the need to insist on the need of an actual solution for that underwhelming-ness. My way of saying "very fun; any serious ideas?" (You know, we all love this community because it's very respectful, and I wanted to make sure you clearly understand I'm actively trying to raining on your parade.) (And I think I overexplained it a bit.) (But you know I really wanted to make sure it's okay.)

So.
Reclamation mines? Zombie mines? Neinzul mines? Any comments? Any other ideas?

AIP mines might be on the other side of the spectrum. overwhelming. (+1AIP if it totally goes off; able to spawn only on MkIV or core worlds?)
Wave mines? Like multiple tiny one-shot Raid Engine? Targeting its own planet like a Raid Engine or a random human planet like a counterwave GPost?

Well, that sounds more like alarm triggers than mines. If the "theme" of mines is to harm the ships that fly through, I think I just get too far.

Ow, implosion mines dealing higher damage to big things could be interesting.
Or something like "arachnid" mines that only harm starships but cast big holes in them.

Listing through the (mental) list of damage types we have, I see engine damage (widow mines do the same already) and armor damage. Would be "corrosive" mines interesting? Maybe a bit underwhelming too.

Maybe we need some sort of "poison" damage. A ship with those would do very low alphastrike damages but much more damages on the long term. Like, for each hit, the target loses N hp, then after T seconds is loses M more hp, with N < M, and with X being an average damage for a ship of the same price/cap, N < X and N+M > X. The "poison" damage is a bonus in raw dps at the expense of a malus for killing with a delay, allowing enemy to fire a bit longer. ("You're dead but you don't know yet") A ship with poison damages could have two strategies: being bulky and armored, killing its targets slowly and tanking damages in the meantime. Or it could be tiny suicide craft that dies fast but does damages "after death".

Back to the mine topic: poison mines would have a much longer lasting time (for much bigger damages for a single strike) and could make up the kind of situation where a fleet walks on poison mines and the player goes "ow crap! poison! get back in friendly territory to repair before the loses are too high!" or "crap! my fleet's already dead! Let's charge now and try to deal all the damages we can in the meantime!"

Or, you know... "crap, this lame mines again. Let just scrap the fleet now. %#$ game."


*preview before posting*
That post got longer than I expected...
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Toranth on May 15, 2016, 08:13:29 AM
Yeah, okay, AI minefields are underwhelming. We get it. Now let's bring some ideas to it, shall we?
;)

The real issues are that 1) they just don't do enough damage, and 2) cheap units can face-tank them away.
1 can be fixed by just upping the damage.  Imagine that normal AI mines did 100,000 damage.  You'd be a lot more careful with your units (especially Golems and such) right?
2 is more difficult.  Your "Arachnid mines" are one idea:  Make the mines not trigger on the first thing they hit.  Another idea is to bring back AI mine rebuilders (or have them auto-regen from debris back into normal mines again after X minutes).

Unfortunately, both problems need to be solved to make mines a real concern again.  Fix 2 only, and still no one cares.  Fix 1 only, and it's sacrificial Mk I Fighters first through every wormhole.
The ideas about Spider Mines or Reclamation Mines are interesting, but again: 1 and 2 still apply.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Kahuna on May 15, 2016, 08:15:54 AM
Make AI Minefields as powerful as human Minefields and give Hybrids the ability to build and/or rebuild them.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Pumpkin on May 16, 2016, 06:57:58 AM
Make AI Minefields as powerful as human Minefields and give Hybrids the ability to build and/or rebuild them.
The hybrid thread is kinda leaking into this one. How funny. Hybrids are definitely sneaky.

Your points are very interesting, Toranth. I add them to my notes.

EDIT:
I just got an idea. Kinda extreme, but you tell me.
Make AI mines never self-damage. Everything that goes through them take damage (or some kind of funny effect) but the mines stay here, cloaked and full-life. Players NEED to bring some tachyon (scout starships, tachyon drones, decloakers, etc) and be super careful about scouted cloaked AI units. Infinite mines can be a special kind of mines, but I believe it would be a very interesting way to solve this problem by making all existing mines (and new types) infinite. In Toranth's list, it would solve (2) and make (1) irrelevant.
(I love gameplay asymmetry.)
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Draco18s on May 16, 2016, 04:50:02 PM
Infini-mines (or self-rebuilding/repairing mines) is pretty much the only change that I think would actually make me care about them and do something to get rid of them, rather than toss a timber rogue (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=4858.15;wap2) at them until they go away.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: chemical_art on May 16, 2016, 05:04:39 PM
Against the idea of infinite HP AI mines, it would lead to loads of frustration (and bug reports) for a new player, and still would be frustrating for a veteran player.

The idea of an AI replacing minefields is fine, but the standard mechanics of a stealthy minefield causing infinite havoc just doesn't sound fun.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Pumpkin on May 17, 2016, 06:25:02 AM
Against the idea of infinite HP AI mines, it would lead to loads of frustration (and bug reports) for a new player, and still would be frustrating for a veteran player.
I respect your stance, however I must precise that mines wouldn't have infinite HP, rather they wouldn't loose any HP when stepped upon. One can still get tachyon in and destroy them. I bet you've understood, Chemical Art, but I think it's best to precise that for other people that might get it wrong.

As a reply, I thought it would indeed make mines a very potent trap, but as a fleet deploys around a wormhole when crossing it, only a fraction of them would be hit by the mines. Also, mines would hit each ship only once, and with a rather low attack value, most mid-mark ships would be just scratched.

On the frustration issue you raises, I'm sorry to avoid it, but AIW is a harsh, unforgiving and frustrating game. And I think we love it for that, or rather beyond that, us who went through that frustration to find... that undefinable thing we love in AIW. (Also, in my lobby revamp idea, it would be possible to totally disable frustrating things like mines, eyes, fortresses, etc. Or, y'know, put them everywhere.)

Again, I hope AIW2 will come soon. I really can't wait to test all these ideas and see how they actually impact the game experience.
Keith, if you read me...
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: chemical_art on May 17, 2016, 01:01:30 PM

I respect your stance, however I must precise that mines wouldn't have infinite HP, rather they wouldn't loose any HP when stepped upon. One can still get tachyon in and destroy them. I bet you've understood, Chemical Art, but I think it's best to precise that for other people that might get it wrong.

As a reply, I thought it would indeed make mines a very potent trap, but as a fleet deploys around a wormhole when crossing it, only a fraction of them would be hit by the mines. Also, mines would hit each ship only once, and with a rather low attack value, most mid-mark ships would be just scratched.

On the frustration issue you raises, I'm sorry to avoid it, but AIW is a harsh, unforgiving and frustrating game. And I think we love it for that, or rather beyond that, us who went through that frustration to find... that undefinable thing we love in AIW. (Also, in my lobby revamp idea, it would be possible to totally disable frustrating things like mines, eyes, fortresses, etc. Or, y'know, put them everywhere.)

Again, I hope AIW2 will come soon. I really can't wait to test all these ideas and see how they actually impact the game experience.
Keith, if you read me...

I appreciate you clarifying this, however I still do not believe it is a good idea:

The first key aspect I ask is that what is to be gained from this. It simply forces a player to bring along another ship in their fleet as they attack. It is added micro.  It would be like forcing a player to bring a scout to be able to see what a planet has outside  of the fleet's firing range. It really doesn't add anything, it just forces added aggravation. It doesn't actually change any tactics.

The downside is that it adds micro. It adds an unnecessary obstacle that forces the player to act a specific way. The method is not really clear at the start, and once it is clear it is no less annoying.

In short, it just sounds aggravating and not fun. Challenge for its own sake is not enough. AI War is not fun because it is hard. It is fun because it is a complex blend of carrots and sticks. Complex =/= frustrating.

Complex is that you can use a ship to decloak mines to avoid suffering casualties. Frustrating is that you have to decloak mines or mines hurt forever.

This idea does have legs though, either as an AI plot or type. This idea would be great for defensive or cloaking AI's. It is just too niche to force onto the main game.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Pumpkin on May 17, 2016, 01:27:36 PM
EDIT: I think out loud in this post. Don't take it as rhetorical questions with obvious answers. I'm questioning myself.

In short, it just sounds aggravating and not fun. Challenge for its own sake is not enough. AI War is not fun because it is hard. It is fun because it is a complex blend of carrots and sticks. Complex =/= frustrating.
I guess I'll have to learn that in order to become a game designer, because I won't always have someone to remind me that. Always ask an idea "why?".
Thank you for that. I'll try to keep that in mind.

You know what? Even as an AI type or plot, I think it would still be just annoying. Just like Astrotrains. Pain and no fun.

Okay, then what? Removing AI mines just like AI turrets? In the name of asymmetry? Why not. I would be okay with that. But then what is "fun" in AIW? I don't know anymore. I mean, I feel this fun when I play, but right now I'm unable to understand it and to explain it. Is it in strategic choices? Like evaluating chances of success of one strategy or another? Maybe. Or in all the things you need to remember or they'll bite you in the... knee? Apparently not: while there might be sort of fun in learning a danger and its counter (roguelike player speaking), once you figured it out, applying it all the time and being punished for forgetting once might be very un-fun.

What is the role of mines? I don't know. What is the role of AI eyes, fortresses, BHMachines, Gravity Drill? Changing the balance and testing the player's skill to evaluate strategies (or creating new ones). If AI mines are to survive, I guess they'll need to achieve something like that.

Final question:
How to make AI mines change the balance of a fight in a way that would be interesting for the players to evaluate and test and build through or around?
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Toranth on May 17, 2016, 04:11:20 PM
Final question:
How to make AI mines change the balance of a fight in a way that would be interesting for the players to evaluate and test and build through or around?
I think the role of mines should be to strengthen the defense of a system, either through applying damage/effects to the attackers, OR by creating 'terrain'.

If AI mines were mostly visible but not attackable, they'd provide the player with a choice:  Face tank a path open, or go around.  There might need to add a third, anti-mine unit option (Cleanup drones!) just for those that don't like those paths, or maybe allow AoE attacks to damage the mines.  That way warheads, Martyrs, etc, could be used instead if necessary.
Other types could do less damage, but be cloaked.  All the other types of mines (EMP, Spider, Reclamation) could be in there for the AI to play with, too.

Imagine some reworked, or new, AI Subcommander types taking advantage of high-damage visible, or cloaked, mines...  !fun!

My initial distaste for your infinite-use mines is that decloaking is something difficult for the human player to do.  There are not many sources:  Decloaker, Tachyon Warheads, Tachyon Microfighters, Tachyon Drones, Scout Starships, hacking.  All have very low caps, are fragile, are not standard, or even cost AIP.
On the other hand, it would actually encourage players to do something about the mines in systems they traverse regularly.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: chemical_art on May 17, 2016, 04:59:55 PM

Imagine some reworked, or new, AI Subcommander types taking advantage of high-damage visible, or cloaked, mines...  !fun!


TI like this idea, it is a brilliant extra challenge. Having visible mines (on both sides) with high amounts of health (thus potential offense) sounds interesting as well.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Pumpkin on May 18, 2016, 05:17:08 AM
(...) decloaking is something difficult for the human player to do.  There are not many sources:  Decloaker, Tachyon Warheads, Tachyon Microfighters, Tachyon Drones, Scout Starships, hacking.  All have very low caps, are fragile, are not standard, or even cost AIP.
I disagree. Scout starships MkI are metal-cheap, cost no knowledge and are not that fragile because of their cloaking (and cloaking booster). I always have the 5 MkI with my fleet (option "brave scout starships") and I never unlock higher mark of them. The decloaker cost a small amount of knowledge (support tab), is a "military" unit (come along the fleet) and has a huge tachyon range, sufficient for being a huge help against a stealth master.

Decloaking mines is far from difficult. Tedious, I agree, but not difficult.

Imagine some reworked, or new, AI Subcommander types taking advantage of high-damage visible, or cloaked, mines...  !fun!
TI like this idea, it is a brilliant extra challenge. Having visible mines (on both sides) with high amounts of health (thus potential offense) sounds interesting as well.
Visible mines on both side? Will AI waves avoid visible human mines? I doubt.
"Changing the terrain" is an answer I like much. But how would you do that? Put thousands of uncloaked mines on AI territory? Also, I'm afraid there would be plenty of cases where these huge mine "fields" would be in bad (uninteresting) places, like too far from wormhole links. Your idea sounds interesting in theory, but I really don't see how it would be implemented.

Also, it would be a special subcommander; mundane mine fields around random wormholes would be removed from the game. I mean, why not, I would be fine with it, but if the goal is to find an interesting role for commonplace AI mines...

Ah, if only we had a mod support to test it... ( :P )

Honestly, I'm sorry for being only negative and not providing new ideas, but I really feel confused about this whole mines' problem. I can only wait for AIW2 to test how this ideas work out.
Title: Re: How do you deal with Minefields?
Post by: Mánagarmr on May 18, 2016, 08:31:39 AM
Hybrids are arseholes. Making them build mines would make me seek every hybrid in the galaxy out and rub his face in the mines. Just to make a point on what I think of his hobby.