Author Topic: # of planets and difficulty scaling  (Read 1274 times)

Offline Spikey00

  • Lord of just 5 Colony Ships
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,703
  • And he sayeth to sea worm, thou shalt wriggle
# of planets and difficulty scaling
« on: December 02, 2010, 02:19:25 PM »
Hey!  This is somewhat of a discussion and an inquiry to how the game sort of works with how the difficulty scales with the number of planets you choose to play with to see if there's a concrete difference.

Currently, I'm assuming the game doesn't really scale with the number of planets you decide to play with (do correct me if I am wrong); players who play with less planets will always have an easier time with those who play with more planets.  I'm mainly speaking about the AIP, and the general difficulty progression.  When I do short playtests with 10 planet universes, it's always far more easier than in comparison to a 40 or 120 planet game, and 40 planets are always easier than 120.  Why?  Because a) you are closer in proximity to the AI homeworlds in most cases, and thus you will require less planets to take between the homeworlds, b) akin to that, the AI progress is always lower with fewer planets, and c) more often than not, it's generally more easier to hold few planets than in a larger situation.

Theoretically, a 120 snake map would be far more difficult than in comparison to a 10 planet snake map, or 40.  The 120 planet snake would definitely be more of a grinding than the 10, and especially with the recent updates to AI waves/difficulty, wave sizes will continue to exponentially increase.  40 and 80 planets would be of similar case, though I assume to a lesser extent.  Reinforcements should be the same, if we assume it's just a string of planets without breaking off into shorter subbranches.

So, is there more to this that I've missed, or are there no functions in place to ensure a relatively consistent difficulty across varying system sizes, and if not, should there be?
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 Vinraith

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 806
Re: # of planets and difficulty scaling
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2010, 02:23:12 PM »
http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_Choosing_A_Map_Size

I can't speak from personal experience as to how right that is for current versions, I've never played a map with less than 80 planets.

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,504
Re: # of planets and difficulty scaling
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2010, 02:24:40 PM »
In general the game doesn't try to make the lower numbers easier, so they tend to be harder.  120 tends to be harder because it tends to seed a lot more mkIII and mkIV worlds than on 80 (at least, last I checked).

Snake isn't a good map to judge difficulty by, it's an extreme case that provides major advantages (mega chokepoint potential, batman) but also major disadvantages.
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 Spikey00

  • Lord of just 5 Colony Ships
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,703
  • And he sayeth to sea worm, thou shalt wriggle
Re: # of planets and difficulty scaling
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2010, 02:29:30 PM »
Well, as a more stable assumptions, as the other map types can be skewed differently.  Having "one planet after another" is more consistent, but yeah, larger map sizes on maps such as simple and realistic will--in most cases--prove to be a more difficult venture.

More so recently I see this becoming a significant issue because the wave sizes aren't being calculated linearly anymore.
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 keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,504
Re: # of planets and difficulty scaling
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2010, 02:32:04 PM »
What's nonlinear about the calculation?  With respect to planet-count/AIP, I mean.
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 Spikey00

  • Lord of just 5 Colony Ships
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,703
  • And he sayeth to sea worm, thou shalt wriggle
Re: # of planets and difficulty scaling
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2010, 02:36:30 PM »
*I mean to say AIP [and its relation to the number of planets the player would have to capture/travel upon within a larger galaxy.]
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 ShadowOTE

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 517
Re: # of planets and difficulty scaling
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2010, 02:53:42 PM »
I'm also curious to hear how the scaling mechanic works. Presumably it's somewhat similar to how multiplayer works.

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,504
Re: # of planets and difficulty scaling
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2010, 02:56:22 PM »
I'm also curious to hear how the scaling mechanic works. Presumably it's somewhat similar to how multiplayer works.
I believe Spikey's talking about the number of planets on the map, not the number of homeworlds you pick.
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 Spikey00

  • Lord of just 5 Colony Ships
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,703
  • And he sayeth to sea worm, thou shalt wriggle
Re: # of planets and difficulty scaling
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2010, 04:20:36 PM »
That would be correct.

MP is, to my knowledge, simply * waves/reinforcements by number of initial homeworlds picked.
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
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,011
Re: # of planets and difficulty scaling
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2010, 04:57:48 PM »
Multiplayer and the number of planets in the galaxy are scaled entirely differently.  Multiplayer and the number of starting home planets you choose are scaled exactly the same.  Just to be clear there.

In terms of multiplayer/multi-planet-starts, it's mainly that the AI gets more of everything, and gets 2x the number of human players/starting-home-planets in terms of waves.  Also there are some other things in there, like extra resources getting seeded into the map when there are multiple players, and the AI is implicitly a bit harder because of your increased surface area for your planets (but also implicitly a bit easier since ALL your home planets have to be destroyed before you lose -- well, in multiplayer, not multi-planet starts).

In terms of the size of the galaxy, if you play 10-15 planets it's brutal hard due to lack of knowledge, etc.  Anywhere up to 80 planets uses pretty much the same percentage of mark III/IV worlds on the map, and so depending on the map type the higher-planet-count maps might be easier or harder.  Harder, because you have further to travel.  Easier, because there is less density of stuff, and thus you can get goodies without tripping over quite so many major weapons of the AI.  And there's knowledge galore.

On higher than 80 planets, it uses a slightly larger percentage of III/IV planets, so that takes another jump in difficulty, but again since there is so much more room it tends to work out pretty evenly, I'd expect.  The game was designed around 80 planets, but most people seem to like 40, 60, 80, or 120 planets.  I think it's reasonably the same at any of those, with the biggest thing that changes being game length.  Assuming you're not going for a completionist strategy, and are using sensible strategies for planet hopping, etc.

I didn't say identical, though: just within a standard deviation either direction until you get below 20 planets, in my opinion.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!