Author Topic: A few observations  (Read 2414 times)

Offline Toranth

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2016, 11:56:24 AM »
The reason to use all units is for the variety.
The other, more technical reason, is balance.  When there is a fixed hard cap on the number of ships, you can balance the different types against each other.

Energy as a unit cap is a really bad idea.  Energy is easily available, especially with stuff like Grav Drills and ZPGs, that you're almost having no cap - or one with wild RNG swings that make or break a game.  Imagine what you could do with nearly uncapped Maws and Protector Starships?  Heck, don't imagine it, try it out.  Use the "More more more" cheat - it's utterly broken.  Some ships are simply better than others, and the caps fix that.
But energy as a cap is too soft.  Too open to focusing on just a few ship types.  Too open to focusing Knowledge expenditures on just a few ship types.  Too much potential for unbalance if you have exactly the right counter for the AI's units and can spam it without limit - or vice versa, if you choose badly and the AI unlocks the counter for your few ship types.

Right now, each unlock increases the size of your fleet.  This encourages people to get ARSs, to capture Fabricators and Factories (how would they work without caps, BTW), and to do download hacking.  There are shades of the CSG arguments there, but I think it really does help people actually experience the game.
Rather than capture two or three systems, unlock Mk IV Bombers, and then spam thousands of Mk IV Bombers and dozens of Assault Transports to win the game.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2016, 12:11:56 PM »
Just an example of how poorly designed the game is around that armor/RoF mechanism: standard fighters have the highest RoF of the triangle ships, so it must be the more sensible to armors. But it also have the highest armor-piercing perk of the triangle. And the bombers, their natural prey, have the highest armor of the triangle. If I were to redesign that, I would make 0 armor for fighter and bomber (hp increases to balance) and some to armor on frigates, then no armor piercing at all on the triangle: fighters (high RoF/low impact) would have a better dent against the bombers and even less power against the frigates; bombers (low RoF/high impact) would be less effective against unarmored fighters and more against frigates. That would reinforce the hull type/bonuses triangle instead of dampening it.

There's nearly infinite ways to get a triangle to work, by the way.
You may not remember this little thing, but I do.
Mind, the rules are that lower damage shots get the Armor Piercing stat to compensate and Rate of Fire is largely tied to a fixed calculated DPS (and that if it takes more than about a minute to generate, reload, because it still does get stuck sometimes because the rules are imperfect).
Oh that was an interesting result.  One unit was a fighter and another clearly a bomber. (Remembering that #2 beats #1, #3 beats #2, #1 beats #3; it is a classic fighter->bomber->frigate triangle).

Offline Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2016, 12:53:37 PM »
The reason to use all units is for the variety.
The other, more technical reason, is balance.  When there is a fixed hard cap on the number of ships, you can balance the different types against each other.

You could rebalance things by adjusting the energy cost of the various units to reflect their utility.  If you think building fleets of just Bomber IVs would be too easy a strategy, then increase their E (and perhaps M) cost until they come back in line.  Same with Protectors and other highly effective ships.

Obviously, units that generate free energy would still need to remain capped, but there are only a few of those.  IMHO, the main reason "More more more" is totally broken is that it removes the cap on Energy Collectors and ZPGs, effectively giving unlimited energy in addition to removing the ship caps.

Quote
Right now, each unlock increases the size of your fleet.  This encourages people to get ARSs, to capture Fabricators and Factories (how would they work without caps, BTW), and to do download hacking.  There are shades of the CSG arguments there, but I think it really does help people actually experience the game.
Rather than capture two or three systems, unlock Mk IV Bombers, and then spam thousands of Mk IV Bombers and dozens of Assault Transports to win the game.

In an Energy-capped game, increasing your fleet size would come with capturing systems (for additional E-generation), not from unlocking new ships, and with the increased E-cost for (e.g.) Bomber IVs, a player with only 2-3 systems would have neither the resources nor the strategic position to win the game. 

I think there would still be plenty of reason to get new ship designs to give yourself more strategic options, but I'd probably remove the HaP cost increase for subsequent hacks to compensate for the fact that it no longer increases your fleet size.  K-costs overall could probably be reduced, or K made easier to get, for the same reason.  Fabs would still work as they always have, but the E/M costs of MkV units would need to be increased to keep them under control.

I readily admit that this change would require a lot of rebalancing, and that I doubt it's practical for a retrofit.  But IMHO, it would be a more natural-feeling space war simulacrum, with less need for metagame balance straightjacketing, which would make it more fun for me.

Offline Toranth

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2016, 01:47:29 PM »
The reason to use all units is for the variety.
The other, more technical reason, is balance.  When there is a fixed hard cap on the number of ships, you can balance the different types against each other.

You could rebalance things by adjusting the energy cost of the various units to reflect their utility.  If you think building fleets of just Bomber IVs would be too easy a strategy, then increase their E (and perhaps M) cost until they come back in line.  Same with Protectors and other highly effective ships.

Obviously, units that generate free energy would still need to remain capped, but there are only a few of those.  IMHO, the main reason "More more more" is totally broken is that it removes the cap on Energy Collectors and ZPGs, effectively giving unlimited energy in addition to removing the ship caps.
If you balance Energy to prevent the player from building 1000 Mk IV Bombers, how will you allow things like Golems into the game?  "More more more" doesn't require overbuilding ZPGs or ECs to be broken, it just requires unlocking one top tier bonus ship.  Try it - Pick a nice super bonus ship or two, and roflstomp the AI on your preferred difficulty.


Right now, each unlock increases the size of your fleet.  This encourages people to get ARSs, to capture Fabricators and Factories (how would they work without caps, BTW), and to do download hacking.  There are shades of the CSG arguments there, but I think it really does help people actually experience the game.
Rather than capture two or three systems, unlock Mk IV Bombers, and then spam thousands of Mk IV Bombers and dozens of Assault Transports to win the game.

In an Energy-capped game, increasing your fleet size would come with capturing systems (for additional E-generation), not from unlocking new ships, and with the increased E-cost for (e.g.) Bomber IVs, a player with only 2-3 systems would have neither the resources nor the strategic position to win the game. 

I think there would still be plenty of reason to get new ship designs to give yourself more strategic options, but I'd probably remove the HaP cost increase for subsequent hacks to compensate for the fact that it no longer increases your fleet size.  K-costs overall could probably be reduced, or K made easier to get, for the same reason.  Fabs would still work as they always have, but the E/M costs of MkV units would need to be increased to keep them under control.
Right now, with 2-3 systems, you can win on Diff 9.  On Diff 7, it's easy.  On Diff 10, you want to keep the AIP as low a absolutely possible.  If I could just grab a few systems for K and maybe an unlock or two, then spam Bomber IVs and Assault Transports, I could probably win most of my games.  Assuming CSGs are off, of course.
  - Just tried it on Diff 9.  Captured only two systems, one with a Fac IV in it.  Unlocked some turrets, stations, and Mk IV Bombers and Assault Transports, and spammed them hard.  Win in 2 hours of gametime (+10).  Was harder than I expected, though. 
If you reduce K costs, it makes is easier to obsolete units, rending low mark units even more meaningless.
If you increase Metal costs, it just takes more time.

I readily admit that this change would require a lot of rebalancing, and that I doubt it's practical for a retrofit.  But IMHO, it would be a more natural-feeling space war simulacrum, with less need for metagame balance straightjacketing, which would make it more fun for me.
Yeah, it would basically require rebalancing everything - Tiers, stats, energy, metal, knowledge, unlocks, hacking, and so on.  I, personally, don't think it'd be a good idea.  I like the fact that AI War makes everything you get relevant throughout the game and every little bit adds up, so it means that every choice matters the entire time.  Sometimes getting a bunch of low Mark units is better than getting a few high Mark ones.  Sometimes it is a disadvantage.  But either way, they're always an option that someone other than an idiot would take.
I'm not saying it can't be done, and done in such a way that is fun.  But I'd miss the variety having all the different types of units around, even when they aren't the best tool for the job.

Offline Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2016, 02:35:55 PM »
You could rebalance things by adjusting the energy cost of the various units to reflect their utility.  If you think building fleets of just Bomber IVs would be too easy a strategy, then increase their E (and perhaps M) cost until they come back in line.  Same with Protectors and other highly effective ships.

If you balance Energy to prevent the player from building 1000 Mk IV Bombers, how will you allow things like Golems into the game?

Golems might not need to change at all.  They're not buildable, so they wouldn't need to have their E-cost increased to keep them under control.

The center part of your post seemed to be proving that "more more more" is broken without changing E-costs or overbuilding E-generators.  You might be right, but in any case, that's a tangent since I'm already assuming E-costs would have to increase.  Also, it's possible that your test mainly shows that ATs are OP.  :-)  How many BomberIVs and ATs did you end up with?

Quote
I readily admit that this change would require a lot of rebalancing, and that I doubt it's practical for a retrofit.  But IMHO, it would be a more natural-feeling space war simulacrum, with less need for metagame balance straightjacketing, which would make it more fun for me.

Yeah, it would basically require rebalancing everything - Tiers, stats, energy, metal, knowledge, unlocks, hacking, and so on.  I, personally, don't think it'd be a good idea.  I like the fact that AI War makes everything you get relevant throughout the game and every little bit adds up, so it means that every choice matters the entire time.  Sometimes getting a bunch of low Mark units is better than getting a few high Mark ones.  Sometimes it is a disadvantage.  But either way, they're always an option that someone other than an idiot would take.
I'm not saying it can't be done, and done in such a way that is fun.  But I'd miss the variety having all the different types of units around, even when they aren't the best tool for the job.

For me, having to use obsolete ships is irritating, not entertaining.  I think there would still be enough variety (assuming proper rebalancing) to keep it fun without ship caps, and it would feel less gimmicky.  But hey, different strokes, etc.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 10:24:07 PM by Elestan »

Offline Kahuna

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2016, 02:37:16 PM »
Btw
Quote from: WikiAI War:Armor
This page is up to date for game version 5.033 and should still be correct.
Most of the Wiki is outdated. Or at least was a while ago.
EDIT 2: Meh I read the wiki wrong first. It seems to be correct even though it's for version 5.xxx. I've heard armor used to work differently in the "stone age/version".

If I remember correctly the damage dealt to a ship is Damage-Armor=DamageDone. And the armor can reduce the Damage by 80% at most or something like that. Hardened Force Fields are slightly more durable against most ships than the normal ones.

EDIT 1:
Yep
Hardened Force Fields are slightly better than the normal ones so when you unlock additional Force Fields you should prioritize the Hardened ones. The differences between the Hardened and the normal ones are in their health and armor. Even though Hardened Force Fields have much less health they still last longer than the normal ones:
-MarkI Bombers vs MarkI Force Field:
MarkI Force Field destroyed in: 200000/(96*96*6)*12=43s --> 43/12=3,5 --> destroyed in 4 reloads = in 48 seconds
So a cap of Mark I Bombers destroys a Mark I Force Field in 4 reloads which is 48 seconds.
-Hardened Force Fields have 1/4 of the health but take only 20% of the damage thanks to their armor:
A Mark I Hardened Force Field will be destroyed in: 48/0,2/4=60 seconds
-MarkI Bombers vs MarkI Hardened Force Field
MarkI Hardened Force Field destroyed in: 50000/(96*96*6*0,2)*12=54s 54/12=4,5 ---> destroyed in 5 reloads = in 60 seconds
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 03:46:14 PM by Kahuna »
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Offline Elestan

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A New Observation
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2016, 12:48:54 AM »
Interesting...there appears to be a rule such that any ship caught in a tractor beam can shoot the tractoring ship, even if it would normally not be in range.

Widow Golem is sad.  :-(

Also on tractor beams, it seems like the Widow Golem's beam works subtly differently from the Riot Control Starship's.  The former can grab ships with their engines disabled; the latter cannot.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: A New Observation
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2016, 12:29:46 PM »
Interesting...there appears to be a rule such that any ship caught in a tractor beam can shoot the tractoring ship, even if it would normally not be in range.

Yes. This is so that units stuck in tractor beams can get themselves untractored.  It's not actually a nerf against the widow golem (although it is subject to it) but rather a buff for short ranged units against standard tractor beams.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2016, 09:24:55 PM »
The thing with tractor beams is anyway not to keep them away from the tractor beam but from your other units with the tractor beam (for example widow golem) tanking the attack for you.

Offline Elestan

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Re: A New Observation
« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2016, 01:38:20 AM »
Interesting...there appears to be a rule such that any ship caught in a tractor beam can shoot the tractoring ship, even if it would normally not be in range.

Yes. This is so that units stuck in tractor beams can get themselves untractored.  It's not actually a nerf against the widow golem (although it is subject to it) but rather a buff for short ranged units against standard tractor beams.

I guess I just don't see a balance problem large enough to warrant a special rules case.  Tractor beams are (I believe) supposed to be a counter to most fleet ships.  If you want to counter the tractor, there are plenty of ways to do it...Starships, Guardians, Tractor-immune ships, or a large enough swarm of fleet ships to overwhelm them.

Offline Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2016, 01:41:03 AM »
The thing with tractor beams is anyway not to keep them away from the tractor beam but from your other units with the tractor beam (for example widow golem) tanking the attack for you.

The main use I've found for tractor beams is doing drive-by grabs of chunks of enemy fleets and dragging them back into your defenses to be annihilated.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: A New Observation
« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2016, 11:51:11 AM »
I guess I just don't see a balance problem large enough to warrant a special rules case.  Tractor beams are (I believe) supposed to be a counter to most fleet ships.  If you want to counter the tractor, there are plenty of ways to do it...Starships, Guardians, Tractor-immune ships, or a large enough swarm of fleet ships to overwhelm them.

It's more of an AI Get out of Jail Free card than a Player Get out of Jail Free card.  The edge case it covers is a handful of units trapped in player-tractor-beam-turrets on an otherwise dead world with nothing shooting at them and nothing for them to shoot at.  So they're allowed to shoot at the tractor beam turret to eventually free themselves.

Offline Elestan

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Re: A New Observation
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2016, 12:32:41 PM »
It's more of an AI Get out of Jail Free card than a Player Get out of Jail Free card.  The edge case it covers is a handful of units trapped in player-tractor-beam-turrets on an otherwise dead world with nothing shooting at them and nothing for them to shoot at.  So they're allowed to shoot at the tractor beam turret to eventually free themselves.

I guess I don't see the problem with letting the ships just sit there.  Eventually, someone will probably pass through and kill off either the ships or the turret.  And if not, who cares?