Author Topic: A few observations  (Read 1871 times)

Offline Elestan

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A few observations
« on: July 30, 2016, 12:48:13 AM »
A few small surprises I've noticed while playing:
  • Despite having 72,000 Health, reclaimed Dyson Gatlings have a build cost of one, so they can be repaired instantly.
  • Hardened Force Fields are not appreciably better than normal FFs.  They've got 5000 armor, but 1/4 the health, and since 1/5 of damage bypasses armor, they're only marginally better against normal attacks, and much worse against high-powered or armor piercing attacks.
  • I've got multiple Mk3 engineers set to FRD in a system, but they never seem to repair each other unless I manually order them to.  Is this deliberate, or a bug?

Offline Kahuna

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2016, 02:34:30 AM »
Yay I get to quote my own guide again
I've set the "Engineers Do Not Assist Large Projects" value to 451 because Mark III Engineers cost 450 metal per second which is one of the highest build rates in the game.. but it still doesn't ruin your economy. So with the value set to 451 Engineers will auto assist Mark III Engineers and pretty much everything else. Except very expensive things like Golems or stuff from the Zenith Traders.
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2016, 03:14:05 AM »
Yay I get to quote my own guide again

Thanks!  I did read your guide when I first started playing, but it's been a while.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2016, 06:01:59 AM »
Hardened Force Fields are not appreciably better than normal FFs.  They've got 5000 armor, but 1/4 the health, and since 1/5 of damage bypasses armor, they're only marginally better against normal attacks, and much worse against high-powered or armor piercing attacks.
Disclaimer: I'm not entirely sure of what I explain below. A player with better technical knowledge of the game might prove me wrong.

Technically, with 5,000 armor, everything that doesn't do more than 5,000 impact damage or have the "ignore armor" perk (actually it's 9999999... armor piercing) only do 10% damage to it. In this case, the rate of fire has no influence because the 10% apply to each projectile (contrary to a lower armor rating where each impact loses damage). For the triangle's bombers, they have x6 against FFields but /10 against that armor: they do 60% damage instead of 600%. The HFField has 25% the health of the same non-hardened FField? I will lasts 250% longer (as far as the offending ship qualifies for the 10% damage: no impact > 5,000 and no infinite armor piercing).

Armor, armor piercing and RoF/impact (and how they are distributed across the units) is something I really want to streamline and give a better overall design. I can't wait for AIW2.

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.

(I keep a long list of design and gameplay tweaks for AIW2; armor/RoF is highly ranked. I did some maths and the Armor/RoF/Impact can have a true meaning in that game... if it were better designed.)
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 Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2016, 01:12:18 PM »
Hardened Force Fields are not appreciably better than normal FFs.

Technically, with 5,000 armor, everything that doesn't do more than 5,000 impact damage or have the "ignore armor" perk (actually it's 9999999... armor piercing) only do 10% damage to it.

Wait, armor reduces damage to 10%?  The wiki says 20%, which is what I based my statement on.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2016, 02:47:32 PM »
Hardened Force Fields are not appreciably better than normal FFs.

Technically, with 5,000 armor, everything that doesn't do more than 5,000 impact damage or have the "ignore armor" perk (actually it's 9999999... armor piercing) only do 10% damage to it.

Wait, armor reduces damage to 10%?  The wiki says 20%, which is what I based my statement on.
Disclaimer: I'm not entirely sure of what I explain below. A player with better technical knowledge of the game might prove me wrong.
If so, the armor mechanism is worst (design wise) than what I thought.

Anyway, 20% damages received for 25% total health still sounds better than 100% received & 100% health. Only marginally better.
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 Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2016, 03:08:14 PM »
Anyway, 20% damages received for 25% total health still sounds better than 100% received & 100% health. Only marginally better.

Marginally better in the basic case, but way worse against heavy hits or AP damage.  I think I'd prefer Hardened FFs to have the same Health as their normal counterparts, plus some amount of armor (say, 1000 per FF Mark), but make them a size smaller.  That way they're generally better than the non-hardened versions, but also distinctive enough to make them interesting.

Offline Toranth

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2016, 07:12:43 PM »
The biggest advantage of unlocking Hardened ForceFields is that you get MOAR FORCEFIELDS.  The armor / HP balance is just for a little variety, in my opinion.

Offline Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2016, 07:44:30 PM »
The biggest advantage of unlocking Hardened ForceFields is that you get MOAR FORCEFIELDS.

I agree, though I don't really like it.  But that's really a disagreement I have with the meta-game-ness of the ship cap - I try to visualize the engineers coming to me and saying "I'm sorry sir, we just can't make any more fighters.  But we can whip up a giant space fortress, if you like!" - and the whole verisimilitude of the game breaks down.

I would prefer to have just used the energy limit to control unit production, instead of having such an artificial ship cap, but I'm sure that's far too basic a mechanic to ever be changed at this point.

Offline Toranth

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2016, 08:27:20 PM »
The biggest advantage of unlocking Hardened ForceFields is that you get MOAR FORCEFIELDS.

I agree, though I don't really like it.  But that's really a disagreement I have with the meta-game-ness of the ship cap - I try to visualize the engineers coming to me and saying "I'm sorry sir, we just can't make any more fighters.  But we can whip up a giant space fortress, if you like!" - and the whole verisimilitude of the game breaks down.

I would prefer to have just used the energy limit to control unit production, instead of having such an artificial ship cap, but I'm sure that's far too basic a mechanic to ever be changed at this point.
The big problem there is that it would render 99% of the game's units useless, and they would never be built.  Why would you ever build a Mk I unit after you'd unlocked the Mk II?  Why built a normal Fighter after you've unlocked Tachyon Fighters, or Blade Spawners, or Protector Starships, or... yeah, well, I'm sure you get the point.
Caps make the player use ALL the units, keeping everything relevant for the entire game.

While I agree that it hurts the world-building, it greatly improves gameplay (IMO).

Offline Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2016, 09:30:58 PM »
Caps make the player use ALL the units, keeping everything relevant for the entire game.

Why should that matter?  Once a ship is obsolete, why is it a good thing for the game to force me to keep making it? 

Quote
The big problem there is that it would render 99% of the game's units useless, and they would never be built.  Why would you ever build a Mk I unit after you'd unlocked the Mk II?  Why built a normal Fighter after you've unlocked Tachyon Fighters...

So, I think there are three rough categories of new units that you get in the game:
  • "Upgraded" units that are strictly better than their predecessors (like a higher Mark).
  • "Specialty" units that present a different balance of costs/capabilities (like bulletproof/tachyon fighters vs. normal ones)
  • "Unique" units, like the Protectors, etc.
I enjoy being able to retire (or upgrade) my previous generation of obsolete ships once an upgraded model becomes available.  I don't enjoy being forced to build a specialty unit like say, bulletproof fighters instead of normal fighters if my enemies aren't using shell ammo, or tachyon fighters if my opponent isn't using cloaked ships.

Quote
...or Blade Spawners, or Protector Starships, or... yeah, well, I'm sure you get the point.

It's likely that energy costs would have to be significantly adjusted if the ship caps weren't there - ships that currently have low caps would probably have to require a lot of energy to put a "soft cap" on them.  But that actually allows for more interesting strategic choices.  The way the game currently works, in my experience, once you're past the early stages of the game, you just build full caps of every unit you can make, and there's really no need to pick and choose.  Without ship caps (but still limited by energy), picking what to build becomes an important strategic decision.  I think I would still build a good variety of the ships in the game - especially if the AI kept adapting to what I was using - but I would have to make choices about which ships I wanted to build at any given time.  IMO, this yields a better gameplay experience than the status quo. 

Offline Kahuna

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2016, 11:40:02 PM »
There could be a supply cap like in Starcraft and the player would decide how to use it. And instead of unlocking additional versions of the ships the old ships could just get upgraded.
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2016, 11:58:31 PM »
There could be a supply cap like in Starcraft and the player would decide how to use it. And instead of unlocking additional versions of the ships the old ships could just get upgraded.

That would be fine with me - it seems like the energy cap already functions almost identically to a supply cap.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2016, 04:52:43 AM »
I enjoy being able to retire (or upgrade) my previous generation of obsolete ships once an upgraded model becomes available.  I don't enjoy being forced to build a specialty unit like say, bulletproof fighters instead of normal fighters if my enemies aren't using shell ammo, or tachyon fighters if my opponent isn't using cloaked ships.
New ship designs are obtained by capturing ARS and download-hacking Design Backup Servers. You can also hack the ARSs to diversify your choices, and there is one out of 5 you're not forced to capture. In the end, all new designs you take are choices. If you took bulletproof fighters or tachyon microfighters and there is no interesting target in the AI ranks, you just made a bad strategic choice.

There could be a supply cap like in Starcraft and the player would decide how to use it. And instead of unlocking additional versions of the ships the old ships could just get upgraded.

That would be fine with me - it seems like the energy cap already functions almost identically to a supply cap.
Replacing unit cap with energy cap (or global cap and upgrade) sounds like an excellent idea. Very design-shaking and maybe it would rip the game apart in the end, but definitely worth checking. I note that on my personal to-test-when-AIW2-is-out list.
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 Elestan

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Re: A few observations
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2016, 10:22:43 AM »
Replacing unit cap with energy cap (or global cap and upgrade) sounds like an excellent idea. Very design-shaking and maybe it would rip the game apart in the end, but definitely worth checking. I note that on my personal to-test-when-AIW2-is-out list.

The one tricky bit I see is how to translate system cap vs. global cap units to an energy cap framework.  I could see two options for those:
  • Each system gets a certain number of "free" turrets that it can have.  Units in excess of that number cost energy out of the global pool.
  • A slightly more flexible, slightly more complex variant would be for each system to get a certain energy quota that apples to units with the "Can't use wormholes" flag.  Again, energy use in excess of that quota would come out of the global pool.
Perhaps these limits/quotas could be determined by command station type, so military command stations could support larger defensive batteries.