Author Topic: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited  (Read 1414 times)

Offline Orelius

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 328
Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« on: September 13, 2016, 02:02:54 AM »
Currently, space docks and starship constructers are dirt cheap and build speed can be scaled practically infinitely with engineers.  The number of docks you make is practically irrelevant because they cost nothing, take no time to build, and can be scaled practically infinitely with more engineers.  Does that have to be the case? 

I think it would provide some good strategic variety if each dock costs lots of metal and built ships faster but could not be supported by engineers.  What if each space dock cost 100k metal and took two minutes (without adjustment) to build?  It'd then be pretty important to place your shipbuilding facilities in important places - you either put it in the back where it's safe causing your reinforcements are slow, or in the front, where they're in danger but they can reinforce your fleet more easily.  The number of docks you have will also be important - the more docks you have, the faster you can refleet, but it will cost more money and require significant investment.  If your shipbuilding facilities are wiped out, forget about having reinforcements for a while, your fleet will have to deal with things alone for some time.

This allows for the AI to have more meaningful but replaceable targets (that hurt but don't nag you for the rest of the game) when attacking human players.  Losing fabricators or advanced consructors in AI War classic sucks hard because their death is often extremely preventable, and you likely just lost something permanently because you were looking away for a little bit.  Losing space docks is almost completely ignorable, you just send your engineers to make new ones in 15 seconds, and everything is hunky dory.  If space docks were expensive and rate-limited, losing constructors would be a hit to your fleet producing capabilities but it won't hurt you for the entire game. 

This also could possibly allow people to make builds, build orders, and play AI War like other RTS's.  Right now, everyone pretty much builds the same stuff - a handful of docks and all the engineers you can get your hands on to churn out ships.  You build caps of your fleet ships, maybe some starships and use them to hit AI worlds.  You make new ships as you lose them, often at the speed of light as long as you have enough metal.  Defenses are probably the most different amongst most players, but that's a different story.  I just think it'd be fun to maybe see people with build orders and guides like: '2 space dock fighter rush strat', or something along those lines.

I'm drawing a lot of inspiration from starcraft, wherein build orders are essential to get X amount of military force by Y time.  I'm not sure how this this would be effective in AI War, however, as it isn't a normal RTS.  You always have the initiative and the AI is almost always as vulnerable as it will ever be.  Attacking at your first planet at 4 minutes and attacking at 8 minutes into the game often has absolutely no difference in the long run.  Even in high AIP games, the early game is extremely survivable.  I have never once really felt threatened in the first 15-20 minutes of a game no matter what difficulty I've played on.



TL;DR:  Make space docks more expensive and rate-limited
-Makes placing space docks a meaningful choice
-Placement location will be a strategic decision that is important for reinforcement time and defendability
-Gives the AI more acceptable targets than your capturables and command stations.
-Allows for divergent playstyles: If you want to be capable of throwing your fleet away and living you have to work for it.  If you don't want to spend your metal on more docks you need to play more conservatibvely.
-Can possibly give rise to a build-order metagame that would enrich the strategy of the game



Thoughts?
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 02:19:50 AM by Orelius »

Offline kasnavada

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2016, 02:17:18 AM »
Build "order" works in starcraft because of the unit cap, and because of no cap limitations of units. I'm not ok with removing those in AI War 2. Ok, who am I kidding. It's an interesting idea, but I think it's going to be too far from the AI war feel - and make the game a tad bit more generic. It did make AI War somewhat unique.

With this proposal, I'd just build, like I do now, one shipyard for each unit type I have and make it repeat build it. (currently, I switch them on / off if I have a particular need).

I'm very ok with making them bigger targets though, this part I like very much.

Offline Mánagarmr

  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,272
  • if (isInRange(target)) { kill(target); }
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2016, 03:29:20 AM »
This would make refleeting slower. Aren't we actively trying to remove the time sink of refleeting?
Click here to get started with Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports.

Thank you for contributing to making the game better!

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,201
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2016, 03:50:00 AM »
I totally support that idea at its core: make space docks more expansive, more efficient by themselves (like if they had half the cap of MkII engineers, I'd say) and forbid pushing with engineers.

I posted an idea earlier that I think should be interesting in this regard.
* better build rate for space docks to let them work without a swarm of engineers (I would even say "remove engineers, make a healer fleetships (between scout drone and triangle) and make self-building at better rate").
I would like to see the engineers as we now consider them disappear. Construction rate would be fixed and depend on the number of expensive shipyards our territory can supply, and "engineers" would be relayed to heal/repair duties as a tool thing. Or even better: every ship automatically and slowly heals itself while in Human territory; only special units could repair in hostile space (Zenith Medic Frigates). I had a similar idea for Remain Rebuilders: autonomous enclave-like drones spawned by command stations when needed.

Linked considerations:

1) With the local energy production/consumption, having space docks eating a good chunk of it would make it interesting to place: on a frontier planet, it would take too much turret-space, so a "shipyard world" would require a strategic position, with either a higher-than-average available energy or an external crust of well-defended planets.

2) With the "fatal refleeting" idea lurking around, we could consider that expensive space docks enter in the condition for AI "finish off" behavior: "The last reprisal destroyed X% Human refleeting ability; let's close this case."

3) I proposed a merge between fleetships and starships (as a consequence of the "size" idea being removed and replaced by the "class" idea). So the space dock and starship constructors could be merged into one, with a nice, tab-sorted UI with on/off buttons "do this dock build this ship?"

4) With the terminology concern and the AI shipyards/bays (ex-barracks) around, I think we'll need a clearer term. I propose "factory" because it very clearly convey the fact that ships are constructed here.

This would make refleeting slower. Aren't we actively trying to remove the time sink of refleeting?
For me the point would to to increase the refleeting power and to get rid of the annoying engineers. A space dock would be able to spit tons of MkI fighters each second on its own.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline zharmad

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,075
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2016, 04:21:26 AM »
Refleetng would be faster as long as the docks aren't destroyed - each acts as if boosted by a team of engineers already. Although, since the home command station is mobile, making this change will bring back some of the static nature of Classic as it would be an effort to move bases of operations.

The more important implication is that it helps to remove engineer micro. Another thread, I think

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,201
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2016, 04:26:02 AM »
Although, since the home command station is mobile, making this change will bring back some of the static nature of Classic as it would be an effort to move bases of operations.
I had forgotten that! Thank you for reminding me/us.
("linked considerations"... so important...)
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline Misery

  • Arcen Volunteer
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,108
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2016, 04:26:31 AM »
I personally would be against anything that creates any need for a "build order".   I always hated that in other RTS games.  Getting blown up because I didn't somehow know just what order to build things in would be pretty irritating.

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,201
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2016, 04:34:38 AM »
I personally would be against anything that creates any need for a "build order".   I always hated that in other RTS games.  Getting blown up because I didn't somehow know just what order to build things in would be pretty irritating.
I forgot to respond to that part. Indeed, game order encourages theorycrafting and dominant strategies (or more exactly, it's the syndrome/symptom of dominant strategy). Also, with AIW's randomized tools and challenges, I don't think build orders will emerge at all. That's why I'm not worry about that. Giving more importance to factories won't change that.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline zharmad

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,075
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2016, 04:37:57 AM »
On build orders in general, I am. Okay with having some of it when there isn't a time pressure that most RTSes have to use. Discovering a build order is also an one time puzzle against a given meta game or balance state - this is one of the reasons why StarCraft 2 and the like constantly shift the balance stats to keep the build order aspect interesting for its players. Won't have that luxury on an indie game.

While in AI War your build order depends on the location of stuff in the galaxy, it isn't fundamentally flexible - akin to why half the people unlock scouts asap, or another half unlock mark 2 triangles asap.

This is mostly independent of making factories more central to player logistics. Nevertheless, I'll personally rely on mobile space docks 90% of the time.

Offline chemical_art

  • Core Member Mark IV
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,952
  • Fabulous
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 12:51:37 PM »
This would make refleeting slower. Aren't we actively trying to remove the time sink of refleeting?

+1
Life is short. Have fun.

Offline Tridus

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,305
  • I'm going to do what I do best: lecture her!
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 01:04:31 PM »
-Makes placing space docks a meaningful choice
-Placement location will be a strategic decision that is important for reinforcement time and defendability
-Gives the AI more acceptable targets than your capturables and command stations.

I think these are great goals to try and achieve. I'm not sure the rate limiting part achieves them. Docks being more valuable/expensive does help with it. Perhaps they should also carry significant power costs, or have an option to use more power to go faster, which  would give you reasons to not put them on worlds with tons of defences (as those are chewing up power).

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,201
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 01:40:35 PM »
This would make refleeting slower. Aren't we actively trying to remove the time sink of refleeting?
+1
This would make refleeting slower. Aren't we actively trying to remove the time sink of refleeting?
For me the point would to to increase the refleeting power and to get rid of the annoying engineers. A space dock would be able to spit tons of MkI fighters each second on its own.



Perhaps they should also carry significant power costs, or have an option to use more power to go faster, which  would give you reasons to not put them on worlds with tons of defences (as those are chewing up power).
1) With the local energy production/consumption, having space docks eating a good chunk of it would make it interesting to place: on a frontier planet, it would take too much turret-space, so a "shipyard world" would require a strategic position, with either a higher-than-average available energy or an external crust of well-defended planets.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline Orelius

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 328
Re: Make Space docks more expensive and rate-limited
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 01:54:04 PM »
The whole point of rate-limiting is so that you can't run 72 engineers on a single space dock to make it run at hyperspeed.  There's no sense in making docks more expensive if construction speed can still be scaled infinitely.