Author Topic: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)  (Read 3876 times)

Offline kasnavada

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Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« on: September 14, 2019, 02:27:40 AM »
Research is confusing for me.

1) I don't think energy collection and metal generation researches should be in the game at all.
My opinion is that it's a noob trap. A player should learn to not waste ressources.

These researchs tell the player that it's ok to be wasteful.
They take valuable research point away from what the player should unlock: ships & defenses.
They create balance issues, in the sense of what is the "right" amount of metal & energy changes drastically depending on if you unlocked those or not. What could be balanced at energy collection "0" probably won't be at "3".
They create balance issues in the sense of other components (player stations) play the same role. You need more energy ? You have economic stations.

I don't think it's a point of "being balanced properly", as over the years I mostly found these mechanics of resource income upgrade to be "working" (emphasis about quotes) when either they don't exist or that they're cheap enough to be fully upgraded in "no brain mode". I strongly believe in a game design where resource income is predictable (more base, more income).
 :)

2) Tech unlock costs.
Ummm. Again. This is AI War. The optimal way to play is going to be to reduce AIP at the minimum. Assuming a default galaxy of 100 planets, with 8 exploration per "liberation", that means that we get a total of about 13 planets under the player control in end game. Which in turn gives the player about 26k tech. Let's say 40k with data nodes and the starting boon of 10k.  :P

Upgrading a (random) ship line to level 4 costs about 3k + 4.5k + 6k + 7.5k => 20k.  ::)

In my current game I got about 12 tech upgrade lines to choose from, not to mention about 10 "structure" ones (forcefields, stations...).
As a player, I WANT to play around with more than 2 techs in a game that proposes me with 20 options. At least half.

I wanna plays with my toys !!!  ;D

3) Hacking. I'm not exactly sure of how many ARS there is in a game, but basically if I want to hack every single ARS and merc point there is, I got less than 100 points left. Not to mention that I'd like to use said mercs, but they cost hacking points too.

I'm supposing that I should unlock GCA & IGCs... but IMO they cost too much to hack and cost too much to capture (in AIP). As stated above, AI War strongly discourage, via AI progress, and when you get high AI progress, you can't defend efficiently structures that can die. In my experience, they will eventually die.

4) My other issue on this point is that if I do get GCA for more turrets, I don't have the energy to power them. As I didn't buy resource upgrades. They're kind of pointless to me.


Conclusion:
I'm not sure what is to be done there. I feel trapped. In my current game, I explored 83 planets, captured 10, and I still got 10 GCA, 2 battlestations, 8 new fleets not unlocked yet, half a dozen capturables, and 3 factions to investigate... Am I playing too conservatively or something ? Due to having unlocked only 2 techs to level 3 my defenses are barely holding as most of my fleets are "lvl 1 useless", and I got about 123k power left, so not enough to power any kind of defenses if I did capture more turrets. As a result, it takes FOREVER to clean up waves. My AIP is rather high, 180.

I get that we're supposed to make choices, but I feel like I play 10% of the game.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 02:32:56 AM by kasnavada »

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2019, 02:37:10 AM »
I always like econ tech; I used it in AIWC and in AIW2. Maybe I'm a noob, but I like having lots of resources.

If you are devoted to a low AIP strategy then yeah, you're hamstringing yourself in terms of resources, and trying to win a super low resource game. If you want more resources, take more planets. This is the basic tradeoff.
 
But the game shouldn't be designed around one person's style of play, it should empower many styles. If you feel trapped by your low AIP style, don't play that way! The Low AIP style can work, but as a counterpoint, Zeusalmighty just finished an epic game where he earned 1800 AIP (but only had 1000 due to all the reduction). https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii/aar-bubble-bloodbath-(aka-'controlled-chaos')/


Offline kasnavada

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2019, 03:13:29 AM »
It's not just a question of "it's a playstyle". Because it's really not. It's THE playstyle that the game mechanics are pointing players toward.
Game mechanics describe how the game is played and what new players will do.

To put simply: reducing AIP feels way stronger than whatever you get for capturing one or more planet. 2k knowledge and 30 hacking is 1/4th of a late game research and 1/4th of hacking an GCA, a little energy and metal (if you can defend it). So I need 4 of them. Getting 4 planets at about 100 AIP is a whopping 80% increase in the stat that tells me how difficult the game is. At 200 AIP, it's a 40% increase. That means I get about 10% stronger for a boost on my side that's 4 to 8 times larger.

Also, what I am going to capture ? Capturing 3 more fleets with a fleet power of 4 is useless to me, I already got half a dozen fleets with level 1 ships. And if I aim to capture new fleets, I don't choose the location of the planets I get, so, as a whole, I can't defend them. So I'm stuck with capturing planets with no value whatsoever just so I could get 1 research that will boost one or two 20 strength fleet to 25 strength.


As a player, I don't feel it's worth it.
You can say whatever you say about other player's playstyles, yet fact remains: this is the playstyle that the AIP mechanic pushes players to.



PS: What this guy is doing in this playthrough is having fun with boosted minor factions on difficulty 7. It wouldn't have worked at all at higher level of difficulty. Dyson sphere 10 as an ally. Hostile to all factions are beneficial to human players because unlike the AI, humans avoid neutral zone of conflicts.

Offline AnnoyingOrange

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2019, 06:45:13 AM »
A player should learn to not waste ressources.

Metal and energy are not wasted if you put them to use, especially if you're running out of energy.

As a player, I WANT to play around with more than 2 techs in a game that proposes me with 20 options. At least half.

Then conquer more planets.
If you want to keep AIP low, you'll have less tech to work with and a weaker economy: that's the entire point of AIP, giving the player one reason not to conquer the whole map and unlock everything.


Offline kasnavada

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2019, 10:29:53 AM »
@orange badger told me the same thing. I answered.
In a nutshell, maybe you are right. But, it does not feel worth it.

Let's try this. Here is how I see the game currently.
5 to 10 planets = 1 maxxed tech. Out of 20 possible tech maybe? Out of 30? I don't have my computer here and cannot check.

So if I conquer half the game (which is insane aip) I got 6-7 techs out of what is available.

There is no tutorial currently but I'm pretty sure I saw some pop-up stating I should skip planets I don't want to capture. Plus, aip mechanics. From that my impression is that expanding should only be done if worth it. Contrary to most 4x where expanding is brain dead decision. You always want to. Here the tips and game difficulty mechanics tell you to be careful.

So, taking this into consideration... The game should reward you more for expanding, or punish you less. It should tempt you.

My current game had pretty low difficulty, yet I have some  trouble expanding. And defending. The effects of aip are seen and felt there. I  feel like getting aip higher might push the limit from fun to chore.

While conquering more stuff could be the right answer, I point that the current state of the game does not convey this impression at all, to me at least. If it's the right answer... If my way of playing is as legitimate as others, then I shouldn't be limited to 2 techs. And have 75% of my fleet being lvl1 useless. Nor feel that I shouldn't take this fleet because it's a 4 fleet power fleet, that will only have the effect of reducing my xp gain of my stations and stronger fleets while being next to useless in a fight. Yet I do.

If my way of playing the game isn't intended... Then the game should tell me that clearly and point me toward a funnier game. It does not,at least to me.

Sorry if I get my point across as confrontational. Am I getting clearer here?

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2019, 11:00:42 AM »
2) Tech unlock costs.
Ummm. Again. This is AI War. The optimal way to play is going to be to reduce AIP at the minimum. Assuming a default galaxy of 100 planets, with 8 exploration per "liberation", that means that we get a total of about 13 planets under the player control in end game. Which in turn gives the player about 26k tech. Let's say 40k with data nodes and the starting boon of 10k. 

Upgrading a (random) ship line to level 4 costs about 3k + 4.5k + 6k + 7.5k => 20k. 

In my current game I got about 12 tech upgrade lines to choose from, not to mention about 10 "structure" ones (forcefields, stations...).
As a player, I WANT to play around with more than 2 techs in a game that proposes me with 20 options. At least half.

Techs upgrade multiple units, and some units are affected by multiple Techs i.e upgrade both once, and that unit is now MK3). Both mobile combatants and turrets benefit as well. So getting units that benefit from things you already have is a part of it. Grabbing Fleets of MK1 units that have no investment, or you don't plan to is naturally going to lead to you being strained.

You start with 15,000 Science here, not 10,000. I admit I'm confused as to this:

Due to having unlocked only 2 techs to level 3 my defenses are barely holding as most of my fleets are "lvl 1 useless"

I'm unsure as to how you only have 2 Tech lines to MK3-4, with 37,000 Science total, unless you picked the two most expensive lines only (Light and Heavy, which is because they are some of the most common to find).

PS: What this guy is doing in this playthrough is having fun with boosted minor factions on difficulty 7. It wouldn't have worked at all at higher level of difficulty. Dyson sphere 10 as an ally. Hostile to all factions are beneficial to human players because unlike the AI, humans avoid neutral zone of conflicts.

He has 3 AIs. Each of which are 75% that of a single. A Difficulty 7 AI has an income multiplier of 2x, so each of his are 1.5x, totalling 4.5x, which is nearly a Difficulty 9 AI. He also has to destroy three AI Homeworlds, each with their own spike in AIP. They also have their own Warden Fleets, meaning it's harder to trick them.
Autistic, so apologies for any communication difficulties!

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2019, 11:04:18 AM »
Well, also keep in mind that there are more AIP reducers by default in this game. I started a game with all the defaults and I have on the map the ability to reduce the AIP by 340, not counting the superterminal. So you can completely negate the AIP gain from at least 17 planets. And you can change the seeding rate for AIP reducers in the game lobby if you want more.

And you can also just hack planets you haven't captured for more science... So those 17 planets I can capture "for free with AIP reduction" gets me enough hacking to then hack a bunch more planets for their science (and you can also hack the spire archive for a bunch more science on top of that). 

And you do have to capture a bunch of planets just for exploration to find things. You can't be as minimalist about AIP as one could be in AIWC; the same principles about keeping AIP low do still apply, but not as strictly as in AIWC.

Also, you say you want the game to tempt you; well, you really sound like you want more science and hacking points. Consider yourself tempted!

Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2019, 11:23:48 AM »
but as a counterpoint, Zeusalmighty just finished an epic game where he earned 1800 AIP (but only had 1000 due to all the reduction).

I had more science than I knew what to do with in this game. Tech affects multiple units, generally, so you get a lot of value from a small investment. This encourages spreading science around on cheaper mark upgrades.

I played super low AIP mind you, keeping AIP 70 - 120 for 80% of the game.

Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2019, 11:28:26 AM »
PS: What this guy is doing in this playthrough is having fun with boosted minor factions on difficulty 7. It wouldn't have worked at all at higher level of difficulty. Dyson sphere 10 as an ally. Hostile to all factions are beneficial to human players because unlike the AI, humans avoid neutral zone of conflicts.

Working just as efficaciously on my diff 10 game with no minor factions other than trains =P
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 11:33:04 AM by zeusalmighty »

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2019, 12:03:49 PM »
I thought I was clear. Apparently not. I am not looking for advice on how to win the game. I'm looking to improve the game do players, including those that don't go to forums, can have fun. So the game itself point them toward what is fun and good ways to play.


I don't have access to my game here. So I can't tell you which lines I got. I do have 9k left. I probably raised heavy. Not sure which one I raised. Doesn't change a thing. Again it's too low to have fun. Most of what I've got is lvl 1 useless. I tried a game by levelling more stuff at level 2 but that way felt weak. Also the xp mechanic is pointing you to get few elite fleets rather than large amount of underdeveloped cannon fodder.

What is attacking me, however, are wave fleet with power at 15-20. My defences have about 6-10. So, as it starts to take forever to wipe them, I stopped conquering stuff. Also I got about 150-200 threat waiting around. The game is clearly telling me aip is high enough. It's telling me stop right there. So thats what I do.

Am I supposed to ignore the game interface telling me I'm outnumbered and outgunned by the ai mobile fleets? It's fair to assume that the immobile forces can be higher. However, the mobile part?
Am I supposed triple my power levels, to compare to the ai power levels, before assuming aip is high enough?  How am I supposed to know this? The game gives no hints. And, again, an answer in a forum ain't what I'm looking for.

Oh yeah. My power level.

Out of the 9 transports I got, after reshuffling a bit, one fleet has 37 power. Most lvl 5 planets have in excess of 100... Cause it's only a lvl 5 game. One of my fleet had 11. Other fleets have less than 6. One of those is useful ad it has autobombs and the parasitic autobomb (forgot the name). They're stupid op,  if a bit costly in metal.

Am I strained because I captured too many fleets? Possibly. Yet without combining said fleets with the same research so my first research boosted 3 ship lines in a single fleet,  I would not have been able to clean those lvl 5 world's. And get the autobomb fleet.

The autobomb fleet + the 37 fleet are the only one making a dent in the enemy defenses. The others can,  barely,  pass reinforcements in skipped planets and threat. And clean waves.

I didn't get turrets as they are mostly badly placed for capture. And I don't have energy for placing them anyway.

I followed the game rules. They blocked me.

@badger except my point is... I don't feel tempted at all.
Also, 2k research for 30 hacking point is not worth it. As stated above I'm trying to get the remaining hacks and therefore short of hacking points. I got all aip reducers I could get safely. Nice tips but no.

 Actually I think that I'll never use any option but hacking for more ships & turrets. I don't understand why the other options are there. I tend to want to play without wasting stuff and frown, as a whole, over temporary boosts. Reducing turret power? What's the point? You will kill an ai core later or. There is no reason why you would need help killing a lvl 5 planet, if the game is balanced correctly. That is irrelevant to the topic. Let's go back:

I don't blindly want more hacking points and research. I want the game to be balanced so that playing as the mechanics of the game hint you to leave you room to have fun.

My opinion is that the game is currently failing to do that. I'm under the impression that you try to convince me to get more planets. That's not my issue. If that's the standard way if playing, the game should point it out. Not people on a forum. 

Something as dumb as an ig color indicator stating that 300 aip is low, 500 high could be an answer. Assuming it's true. I don't think it's enough though.

If I had a simple solution here I'd propose it. I don't. I knew starting this topic the that people would probably not see this as an issue.
As it currently is, this issue is no draining the fun out of this game.

Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2019, 12:20:10 PM »
Apparently not. I am not looking for advice on how to win the game. I'm looking to improve the game do players, including those that don't go to forums, can have fun. So the game itself point them toward what is fun and good ways to play.
out of curiosity, do you refer to the objectives tab at all? You want the game to give you clear directives this should be the go-to resource. I know my objectives but new players should be encouraged to use this. If the objective menu isn't helpful, feedback from an inexperienced player would be welcome

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2019, 12:25:38 PM »
kasnavada, could you upload a save game so we can see what's going on more clearly for you?

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2019, 12:25:57 PM »
PS: What this guy is doing in this playthrough is having fun with boosted minor factions on difficulty 7. It wouldn't have worked at all at higher level of difficulty. Dyson sphere 10 as an ally. Hostile to all factions are beneficial to human players because unlike the AI, humans avoid neutral zone of conflicts.

Working just as efficaciously on my diff 10 game with no minor factions other than trains =P

Thanks for pointing this out. Yet...

 :P
Winning 10 is a bug.
 8)

Good luck!

It's still going to end up impossible later!  8)
And getting the entire game at low aip kinds of goes my way too. Not much of a surprise. Still, nice to hear.
I did underestimate having 3 ai though. Sorry.

@badger in my current game I've reduced 80 aip. I cannot get the 4 things to blow up which gives -140 aip reduction because they are not all explored. I'm missing one or two. I cannot get the - 80 aip ones because their location are 3-4 jumps away (i think) from where I am and are in a bad location to defend. They'll probably blow up.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 12:45:37 PM by kasnavada »

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2019, 12:33:03 PM »
I don't have my computer here. Can't upload.

About the objectives tabs...
There are 30 objectives of so? It does tell you to capture stuff, reduce aip and so on but gives no indication of what the impact of doing it is. I occasionally look in it for stuff. I  like the list but it is not what I'm looking for. It doesn't tell why either. Even if it's mostly logical.

I don't think it explains what a good action in the game is. Not sure that it should. Or can.

It gives a list of possible actions.


And... Sorry for the numerous typos. On my phone atm.   ::)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 12:42:46 PM by kasnavada »

Offline x4000

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Re: Research (also hacking, which I think of as research)
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2019, 10:01:58 AM »
I think that a key takeaway, for me at least, is that it's not clear "how much is too much" when it comes to capturing planets. This is not a new thought or new problem, and the first game also had it. People who experiment a certain amount find what is comfortable to them, but those with limited time and a certain amount of risk aversion wind up playing low AIP games out of fear. Plus out of a general pack of clarity thst they can turn a low value fleet into a high value powerhouse with a few more planet captures.

A good example: capturing one more planet is stupid, in a lot of scenarios. The benefits are definitely not worth it. Capturing FOUR more planets, particularly a certain set of them, will be brilliant and make everything easier.

The ability to see past the futility of the one planet capture to see the benefit of four planet captures is hard. A lot of people wound up with mid-game paralysis in the first AI War partly because of this.

Color-coding the AIP to explain what is dangerous and what is not would certainly be welcome, I agree. But as noted, thst only goes so far. I think that the obvious benefits of capturing planets are too few at the moment. Aka, we need a clear reason that capturing four more planets is a really good thing, and then the extra benefits of doing that become obvious once you have done so.

I don't see this as an education issue, as the game mechanics themselves do encourage players to not take planets, and so any education is basically saying "ignore your instincts and the subliminal messages of the mechanics themselves." So while I do see the color coding of AIP as a good idea potentially, that falls under education and thus doesn't get at the core issue.

I think this takes me back to the Four Horsemen concept, except something more flexible. We need a reason for fighting the AIs to be easier once you've taken more planets, DESPITE the AIP being higher. This sort of mechanic will make it obvious to players that this is a balancing act, and what range they should be balancing into, and not an "optimize to the minimum AIP" game. Though those playstles should not be invalidated.

So, ditching the four Horsemen for a variety of reasons, here's a new concept:

1. Add a new "Overlord CoProcessor" mechanic, or something to that effect, where the Overlord normally gets a 5x boost to health and attack power, but for each of 25 planets you destroy the command station on, it loses part of that power until you get it down to what it is now. So you still CAN fight the AI with fewer planets taken (by you), but it's harder to do. And the game makes this obvious.

2. Add a new "mark level floor" for player units. By holding 6 planets, you will have all your ships at a minimum of Mark 2, regardless of what else is going on with your upgrades. By holding 15 planets, minimum of Mark 3. By holding 25 planets, minimum of Mark 4. And no more than that. For a lot of advanced players this won't do much except shore up some otherwise unused extra ship lines. But for everyone else it gives a clear benefit not just to taking territory, but to holding it.

3. Anything else I'm missing? I think some flexible systems like this could go a long way to making it clear that capturing stuff is valuable beyond just unit counts and whatnot. I was thinking that maybe the number of fleets you have could buff all your fleets slightly or something, as one other idea.

Hopefully what I'm driving at is clear, even if these specific mechanics aren't the best yet. I do see this as a serious issue with both games, as I've seen players who don't have a ton of hours in one of them, but do have a lot of critical thinking skills, get led down the wrong path repeatedly and have a less fun time because the game mechanics themselves are clearly telling them to do something that people on the forums then day "nah, ignore that." It creates a distinct feeling of discomfort for those people, and they wind up abandoning those games mid-game over and over. I remember RCIX having similar issues back in 2012 and I couldn't figure it out at the time. I think now it's more clear to me.
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