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Games => AI War II => AI War II - Gameplay Ideas => Topic started by: Chthon on October 10, 2016, 12:30:54 AM

Title: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Chthon on October 10, 2016, 12:30:54 AM
I have heard a number of complaints about how for the AI, fortresses amounted to just overpriced guard posts, and were never cost effective for the player. I agree to a certain extent, but deny that they have been taken out, as they are repeatedly referred to in the AI War II Design Document. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IdzU90psGas_3UFe23BLvsGQ8fclec49NmnbHfwkZ8w/edit# For example, page 87 mentions behavior with regards to fortresses. Instead of denying their existence, I propose we address their problems and find a more creative way to differentiate them, and to improve them.

For starters, in AI War, fortresses were hard countered by bombers. You can send a single cap of Mk 1 bombers to kill most marks of Fortress, so long as your bombers were safe from other threats. This was because of the damage modifier they had towards bombers of .01x damage. Such a cheap counter is counter intuitive for a structure that counterintuitive for what they were meant to be used for. However just removing the modifier has it's own problem, in that now nothing can touch them.

I propose the following. Fortresses have no real main attack anymore. Instead they house defensive fighters for the planet/solar system they are in. What kind of fighters is based on the mark, as well as their range. In all cases, the cap is less effective than their normal counterparts. However they are cheaper (in that they are automatically replenished over time) and soak up some of the incoming damage for the defending fleet.

Lets start with Mini-fortresses. In the past you could place two of these in every system, but they were more or less just a speed bump in the path of the AI. Instead I suggest they have half a cap of planet wide Tactical Superiority fighters available to them. Also, I believe rather than a flat 2 per system, it should be based on the resources available in the system. If the planet has lower than average resources only one will be able to be supported, while if it has average or above, two can be supported. They will also have room for a quarter cap of ships to be repaired each.

For fortresses, there are 3 marks in the original, and a possibility of 2 more marks if added, and Super Fortresses. I believe they should be supported and support a solar system now. Every resource generator effective should add to a pool of support for fortresses. This lets a solar system support a certain number of fortresses of different marks, up to the player how they distribute them. For example if the owned resource pool for a system is 6, a player may decide to build 1 Mk III Fortress and a Mk II, 3 Mk IIs, or 6 Mk Is. This mind you is subject to balance considerations and should just serve as an example of what I am considering.

Likewise, the fighter stock will also support the entire solar system. If a structure is under attack that is owned by the same faction as a fortress in a system, the fortress will launch it's fighters to intercept and defend that structure. If the structure in question is on a different planet in the system, the fortress will warp the fighters into the outside of the gravity well at the destination planet. Mind you the fortress has one set of fighters for all the planets in the solar system, so once they are dead, no more will come until there is enough time to construct more.

Here is a breakdown of what each fortress should have and it's relative resource cost:
Fortress Mk I
Resource Cost 1
1 full cap of tactical superiority fighters
Room for half a cap of ships docked for repairs (more on this part later)

Fortress Mk II
Resource Cost 2
1 full cap of tactical superiority fighters
1 full cap of siege style ships
Room for a full cap of ships docked for repairs

Fortress Mk III
Resource Cost 4
1 full cap of tactical superiority fighters
1 full cap of siege style ships
1 full cap of capital class ships (A small kind?)
Room for one and a half caps of ships docked for repairs

Fortress Mk IV
Resource Cost 6
1 full cap of tactical superiority fighters
1 full cap of siege style ships
1 full cap of capital class ships
1 full cap of special forces ships. Actual kind may be selected by player preference
Room for two caps of ships docked for repairs

Fortress Mk V
Resource Cost 10
2 full caps of tactical superiority fighters
2 full caps of siege style ships
2 full caps of capital class ships
1 full cap of special forces ships.
Room for three caps of ships docked for repairs

Super Fortresses need to feel more super. I feel that each side should be able to support exactly one as it currently stands. Furthermore they are immense structures able to warp ships out of their current solar systems into a neighboring system. As such they service their solar system and any connected solar systems. When warping ships however, they start in the solar system on the edge of the gravity well of the planet closest to the system the Super Fortress resides. As such they will be last of the defensive fighters to enter the battle.

Super Fortress
One per side supported
4 full caps of tactical superiority fighters
4 full caps of siege style ships
4 full caps of capital class ships
3 full cap of special forces ships.
Room for ten caps of ships docked for repairs

Now if you noticed I mention in all of these that they have room for a certain number of ships docked for repairs. With the new fleet system, I believe that we need to look at how we repair our fleets. In the past we had engineers to do that job, and fortresses when the ships were close enough. However since we are already relooking at how we organize fleets, perhaps we should take another look at how we repair ships in a system.

One of the drawbacks of the old system was that we had to build a certain number of engineers in every system in some cases to perform maintenance, not just on structures, but our fleets as well. Rather than do this, I suggest we delegate them to structures and new construction primarily, only performing fleet maintenance when no other duties are pressing. Instead I believe that fortresses should take over the job of repairing existing fleets by placing ships in dry dock.

Wait, you say, do fortresses now work for a solar system and not just a single planet? Do we wish to micromanage our ships going to and coming from the fortress? No, I say. Why not work the new repair mechanic into how fleets operate. I suggest that during time between fights, a fleet will automatically send up to X% of their ships that are damaged (default 10%) to a nearby dry dock. During this time if the fleet is attacked, their missing ships will be warped in with the support ships from the local fortress. As such they automatically rotate out their damage ships to be repaired and they will return when done. This removes the actual action of repairing ships from the player's hand, frees up the engineers to do other tasks, and gives fortresses another important job in the logistics of a system.

But wait, there's more. Repairing a ship in dry dock is far faster and cheaper than doing so in deep space. I'm not going to suggest it be free, but say it's 4x faster, I feel it should also cost .25x the resources as a deep space repair. This makes them a critical asset for controlling a system, and a juicy target for an aggressor. Without them, you either have to devote extra resources to repairs, or rotate your fleet out manually to a nearby system. This mechanism also with Super Fortress's neighboring system range, makes them even more super, as they can support a system that has recently lost it's logistical support.

Just some background on where I got some of my ideas from, some of my favorite modules for modular fortresses were always the ones that provided fighters. The fact that other weapons had range restrictions meant that if you relied on those, enemy ships could opt to simply go around, ignoring the fortress completely. Fighter/bomber bays allowed the fortress to be relevant regardless of it's placement as it's fighters would chase down the enemy, and even intercept firepower for your fleets.

I also don't think they should send waves of fighters like the modules either. While their fighters are roughly the same power as the modules in theory, they should construct and build them over time similar to Preservation Wardens, releasing them all at once when needed. They also should not release replacements that are made too few at a time, instead opting to hold back until they have a meaningful number before launching them. Finally, they are not time limited. If they survive, they return to repair and rearm. Lets leave the time limited ships to the Neinzul.

Let me know if you like my idea, or if you see problems with balance. I am open for debating how this would work, but I feel that this would help differentiate what a fortress's purpose is vs. a guard post, and make them not only worth building, but important logistical structures in all cases.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Cinth on October 10, 2016, 01:04:06 AM
IIRC, repairing is something that is going into the Planet Management screens. 

Your suggestion overall sounds a lot like ship bays for players.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Captain Jack on October 10, 2016, 01:28:50 AM
I have heard a number of complaints about how for the AI, fortresses amounted to just overpriced guard posts, and were never cost effective for the player. I agree to a certain extent, but deny that they have been taken out, as they are repeatedly referred to in the AI War II Design Document.
Err. Sorry Chthon. I'm working on AI War 2. Pretty sure I got an email confirming they were gone.

And yeah, they're being replaced by ship bays and guardposts.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Tridus on October 10, 2016, 06:51:47 AM
This sounds more like Starbases than Fortresses to me... Which I approve of. Could be limited to one per system or some such, as they effectively support and guard the entire thing anyway by launching ships.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: kasnavada on October 10, 2016, 07:05:15 AM
This sounds more like Starbases than Fortresses to me... Which I approve of. Could be limited to one per system or some such, as they effectively support and guard the entire thing anyway by launching ships.

I like this too. It has to be seen if it's compatible with the new energy mechanics.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Tridus on October 10, 2016, 07:19:01 AM
This sounds more like Starbases than Fortresses to me... Which I approve of. Could be limited to one per system or some such, as they effectively support and guard the entire thing anyway by launching ships.

I like this too. It has to be seen if it's compatible with the new energy mechanics.

Yeah. Couple options there:
- Put it on a planet and have it draw a LOT of power there, which is a tradeoff making that system more vulnerable but providing defense to everywhere else in the system
- Give it internal power generation, effectively letting it not consume power. If you're limited to one per system due to the scale, then it's not a particular problem.

I like where this is going. :)
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Chthon on October 10, 2016, 07:52:21 AM
I have heard a number of complaints about how for the AI, fortresses amounted to just overpriced guard posts, and were never cost effective for the player. I agree to a certain extent, but deny that they have been taken out, as they are repeatedly referred to in the AI War II Design Document.
Err. Sorry Chthon. I'm working on AI War 2. Pretty sure I got an email confirming they were gone.

And yeah, they're being replaced by ship bays and guardposts.
Listen, I'm not calling you a liar in the slightest. However the evidence I have at my disposal consists of a 150+ page design document written by the head of Arcen Games, going into painstaking detail about every facet he can think of, and the word of two people. The document does not at this point say fortresses are out. In fact it suggests the opposite in it's tone.

What I am getting is conflicting information, and for now I'm going to go with what I feel is the most reliable source. It also doesn't hurt to talk about ideas here either, as things can change.

Also, either way I'm going to be supporting the KS. I'm excited about it.
This sounds more like Starbases than Fortresses to me... Which I approve of. Could be limited to one per system or some such, as they effectively support and guard the entire thing anyway by launching ships.

I like this too. It has to be seen if it's compatible with the new energy mechanics.

Yeah. Couple options there:
- Put it on a planet and have it draw a LOT of power there, which is a tradeoff making that system more vulnerable but providing defense to everywhere else in the system
- Give it internal power generation, effectively letting it not consume power. If you're limited to one per system due to the scale, then it's not a particular problem.

I like where this is going. :)
Hrm... good point there. My idea was to have them operate as if their resource draw was handled behind the scenes so players didn't have to worry over it. You know, one less thing on their plates. However with power and fuel splitting, it wouldn't make sense to have them use neither. They are a defensive structure, so I would go with power consumption making sense for them. After all, power is a resource that the player should have to manage, and managing the power for the fortresses/starbases (I like that term) might be a good trade off for the convenience they provide. I.e. You don't manage where they send their system defense ships or their repairs, but you do have to manage their power or they stop working.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: kasnavada on October 10, 2016, 08:34:17 AM
::)

Or fortress replacement could be a fixed "unique" structure that would consume all of the energy in the planet and that would completely replace any other structure but the command station and energy boosters. It's total power being tied to the energy level on said planet.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: tadrinth on October 10, 2016, 12:29:36 PM
As soon as mod tools are available I expect there to be at least three different reimplementations of forts available. 
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Tridus on October 10, 2016, 12:49:55 PM
As soon as mod tools are available I expect there to be at least three different reimplementations of forts available.
Yep. That could work, really. Try stuff out and see how they work, then Chris and Keith can see results without doing anything. If they like one of the implementations, go from there. I expect a lot of mod authors would be happy to see their idea make it into the core game if they get a note in the credits or some such.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Cinth on October 10, 2016, 01:08:13 PM
What I am getting is conflicting information, and for now I'm going to go with what I feel is the most reliable source. It also doesn't hurt to talk about ideas here either, as things can change.

I'm going to share part of an email from Chris to Keith and me.
Quote
3. For turrets, I'd like to have them be player-side guard posts instead, for now.  Could you design those?  I'd also like to take away fortresses and mini-forts as redundant (on the player side).  Actually frankly on the AI side I'm not sure how relevant they are, either; they're basically just guard posts.

That was a week ago and the only updates to the doc were from me adding the rest of the units.  We even had a conversation on chat while I was doing this, so I know you know I was adding to it.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Chthon on October 10, 2016, 09:43:47 PM
What I am getting is conflicting information, and for now I'm going to go with what I feel is the most reliable source. It also doesn't hurt to talk about ideas here either, as things can change.

I'm going to share part of an email from Chris to Keith and me.
Quote
3. For turrets, I'd like to have them be player-side guard posts instead, for now.  Could you design those?  I'd also like to take away fortresses and mini-forts as redundant (on the player side).  Actually frankly on the AI side I'm not sure how relevant they are, either; they're basically just guard posts.

That was a week ago and the only updates to the doc were from me adding the rest of the units.  We even had a conversation on chat while I was doing this, so I know you know I was adding to it.
I didn't know that you could add things actually. I thought it was all Chris doing it. Even still, you never know what can happen. If we come up with an idea you like here that is unique enough and helps the game, then you might implement it for us before the game is released. :P
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Cinth on October 10, 2016, 09:51:31 PM
I didn't know that you could add things actually. I thought it was all Chris doing it. Even still, you never know what can happen. If we come up with an idea you like here that is unique enough and helps the game, then you might implement it for us before the game is released. :P

I wasn't trying to stop discussion of the idea in general, that's why I tried to keep it in the other thread.  Right now everything going into 1.0 is fairly set.  The doc needs some things explained and polished up.  That's what my last thread was for.

Just understand that unless something changes, it's looking at post 1.0 content :)  (I'd like to have my fortress back too).
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: TheDeadlyShoe on October 12, 2016, 02:05:06 PM
I am unclear on what fortresses add now.

They can't be used to concentrate defenses for the player, because of perplanet power - regardless if they are gun batteries or shipbays.  Since there are no longer large battlefields, I don't see them adding much to the AI that you do not get with a cluster of guard posts.  (in AI War, the occasional 'super grouped' clusters of enhanced command station + shields + numerous guard posts is far more dangerous and interesting than fortresses ever were.) 

Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: kasnavada on October 12, 2016, 02:19:28 PM
Energy mechanics are surely going to change, but since there is still the "energy base building" + additional buildings that eat metal. Only they're on the planet now, and provide energy on the planet. So fortress "could" be possible there, as would big defenses on one planet are still a possibility.

In any case, Fortress "now" are probably a bit less interesting than turrets... but the idea would be to rework them to be cool =).
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: tadrinth on October 14, 2016, 04:05:49 PM
Crazy ideas so far:

* Fortresses retain a global cap but cost very little power.  That would make them an unlock oriented around reinforcing your choke planets, or beefing up a beachhead.  If you make them cost zero power, you can build them anywhere since supply is not longer required, which would be kind of crazy, but it also means that they can keep fighting even after the local command station goes down. 
* Fortresses include a forcefield which doesn't reduce turret firepower; while modules are out, multi-part ships are still in, so this is possible.  This lets you provide some extra protection for your primary combat turrets without reducing their damage.
* Fortresses make any command stations in the system invincible.  That lets them tank for your command station, which otherwise causes all your defenses to go down if it gets destroyed.  Lets you counter infiltrators and other FF-immune units. 
* Fortresses can repair and rebuild nearby turrets, allowing for rapid recovery from attacks. 
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Cinth on October 14, 2016, 04:11:52 PM
Pretty neat ideas there!

One thing I want to point out that isn't easily apparent in the DD, is that stuff that uses Fuel has a global cap and stuff that uses power (for the most part) has a per-planet cap.  If we keep this concept, it will be a lot clearer in the end about what you can and can't build and where you can and can't build.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Chthon on October 15, 2016, 05:56:40 PM
Crazy ideas so far:

* Fortresses retain a global cap but cost very little power.  That would make them an unlock oriented around reinforcing your choke planets, or beefing up a beachhead.  If you make them cost zero power, you can build them anywhere since supply is not longer required, which would be kind of crazy, but it also means that they can keep fighting even after the local command station goes down. 
* Fortresses include a forcefield which doesn't reduce turret firepower; while modules are out, multi-part ships are still in, so this is possible.  This lets you provide some extra protection for your primary combat turrets without reducing their damage.
* Fortresses make any command stations in the system invincible.  That lets them tank for your command station, which otherwise causes all your defenses to go down if it gets destroyed.  Lets you counter infiltrators and other FF-immune units. 
* Fortresses can repair and rebuild nearby turrets, allowing for rapid recovery from attacks.
It seems that you are coming up with your own ideas for how fortresses should be changed, which is fine. I just don't see this as necessarily similar to my own idea.

My idea was a radical alteration of them:
They no longer had guns of their own.
They fit into cross planet mechanics like the Ion Cannons and Mass Drivers now do, where they could threaten other planets as well as their own.
They were a necessary part of logistics in a planet, specifically for repairing your own fleet after battles.
They provided a defensive system fleet of ships, that allowed you a sort of home field advantage against incoming enemy fleets, no matter where in your system the enemy attacked.

In my idea they had their own set of drawbacks:
You were limited in how many you could build per system by the amount of wealth the system could hold.
If you did not own every planet in the system, you were further limited in how many you could maintain.
Defense forces were typically late to the battle, allowing AI quick strikes to be something you had to watch out for.
As infrastructure they were defenseless once their garrisons were depleted, making them juicy targets by the AI.
They could not be used for offensive maneuvers.

I was trying to move away from players having one system that makes a good choke point tactically as it's the only system the AI can use to get in and out of your planets. Instead the player more typically would have to distribute defenses over a wider area, and against overwhelming forces, fall back from planet to planet until they could finish the AI off. This was accomplished by the fact that the player cannot guarantee that any system that could act as a choke point, could also have enough wealth to support a large garrison force. It also supported spreading out of the fortresses by allowing the fortress to cover a wider area as a result, with the super fortress covering the widest area.

At the same time they still assist your fleet, but in other ways. They provided other bodies for the AI to shoot at. Ones that were free so long as the fortress was well supplied. These could arrive at times during a large conflict pushing attrition into your favor without completely overpowering any AI force. They also helped repair your own force once the battle was over, without you as a player having to worry whether you wish to repair turrets, or ships first. Each now has their own preferred method and happen simultaneously so long as the fortresses in your systems survive.

Because of that, I don't think your idea of having a global cap of fortresses would work very well with my idea. It would go back to encouraging the player to put all of their fortresses in one place. This was one aspect I wanted to avoid. You generally don't want to put all of your eggs in one basket after all.

Shields might work well, but only if the AI is attacking the fortress itself. This does make it an interesting for the player though. Now they have to decide if they want their system cap of fortresses, which do not add directly to firepower for the planet they are on, on a certain planet where they can raise the health of their turrets, or if they want them to instead be out of the way for the AI, and safe so long as the AI does not make a trip just for them. This is a possibility.

I don't feel that they should just make a command station invulnerable. Perhaps if combined with the shield idea they could protect a key command station, but what other mechanism would cause this? I personally feel that command stations should control the economy (metal, fuel, energy), while fortresses/starbases should manage military logistics instead. That was part of my idea with my reworking of them.

For rebuilding nearby turrets, this is something they already did. I was moving their repair abilities inside of them. In dry dock it should be much easier to repair a ship. My question though is how big are turrets really? They should be similar to orbital platforms or satellites. Are they manned or unmanned? These questions should be answered first before we decide in my model whether they should be able to dry dock a turret. Also keep in mind this would be infringing on the engineer's remaining role in repairs.

If you have any ideas how we might reconcile these, or other ideas, let me know :)
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Cinth on October 15, 2016, 07:39:11 PM
cross planet mechanics like the Ion Cannons and Mass Drivers now do

That feature got cut.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Chthon on October 16, 2016, 01:09:15 AM
cross planet mechanics like the Ion Cannons and Mass Drivers now do

That feature got cut.
You mean cut for now. It says so in the document! :P

I mean it still would work in a similar manner as those anyways.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Cinth on October 16, 2016, 02:18:12 AM
You mean cut for now. It says so in the document! :P
In terms of 1.0, which is my biggest concern right now :)

Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Tridus on October 16, 2016, 06:52:13 AM
cross planet mechanics like the Ion Cannons and Mass Drivers now do

That feature got cut.

What, when did that happen?

That's disappointing.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Cinth on October 16, 2016, 01:38:48 PM
What, when did that happen?

That's disappointing.
Modify message

It was a cool idea, but something that needed to be moved to a post 1.0 type idea. 
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Captain Jack on October 16, 2016, 05:16:19 PM
What, when did that happen?

That's disappointing.
Modify message

It was a cool idea, but something that needed to be moved to a post 1.0 type idea.
Actually, Ion Cannons and Mass Drivers and Swallowing and basically every kind of instant death effect is out and won't be returning. If the Cannons and Drivers come back they won't at all be the same.
Title: Re: Idea for Fortress reworking
Post by: Tridus on October 16, 2016, 05:22:12 PM
What, when did that happen?

That's disappointing.
Modify message

It was a cool idea, but something that needed to be moved to a post 1.0 type idea.
Actually, Ion Cannons and Mass Drivers and Swallowing and basically every kind of instant death effect is out and won't be returning. If the Cannons and Drivers come back they won't at all be the same.

There's a whole thing in the document about how they would work, which is where the cross-planet shots are coming from. At some point it got chopped for 1.0, though. Disappointing, that was an interesting feature.