Author Topic: Chris's latest design thoughts: Metal Has Got To GO (Edit: nevermind)  (Read 1067 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: Chris's latest design thoughts: Metal Has Got To GO (Edit: nevermind)
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2019, 04:06:14 PM »
A few thoughts:

1. I think that, when it comes to ships that really only work well under specific circumstances for the player, those should be out of the main fleet design lists.  Knowing what those are, and making hand-designed fleet types that show up more rarely would be good.  Aka having Raiders always be in an all-raiders fleet when showing up for the player, or space planes or whatever being in a combo with something else that's good just with them, should help.

2. Disallowing super-duper-expensive things from being part of the regular fleets might have some merit, I dunno.  The point is, there's a lot of flexibility with the fleet design stuff versus it just being "eh, it could be any old combo at all," specifically to deal with some of the more edge-casey units.  But if we're running into more cases of these than I expected so far, then that just means we need to adjust some xml.

3. I do think that potentially lowering the difference between the mark levels would be good, so that things are not quite such huge jumps.  That would then mean we need to definitely make the AI homeworlds mark 7, and their planets in general scale higher on average throughout the galaxy.  It's way easier to get higher-level units now, compared to the first game (and with the XP stuff that will only be even more true), so the AI going up in power to compensate makes sense to me, while downing the difference between all the power levels in general.  If mark 1 stuff is truly useless, well, that's just not good no matter how you cut it.

4. I'm still inclined to make lower-mark stuff cheaper based on... something.  The average mark of ship that CAN be built in that fleet?  Or something more global? KISS principle, and just make it that as soon as you unlock your first mark 3 unit, all mark 1 units get cheaper, and after the first mark 4 unit all mark 1s and 2s get cheaper?  And so on?

5. Overall, when it comes to having some sort of sub-group that makes sense and is good for doing X task, that's really the entire role fleets are supposed to fill in the first place.  Sometimes it's supposed to be "here's an interesting combo," or just a smallish battle group of stuff in general.  But... maybe for the problematic units like autobombs, those need to only ever exist in fleets with just themselves, so they can be managed a certain way. Maybe... in some ways, maybe all of the strikecraft-based fleets need to be that way?  That would be kinda gross, though.

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About economy management, a screen showing the metal drain per fleet (and letting you select fleets from it) is probably good enough: sort by metal drain, look at the top entries, choose which one to pull out of a fight or pause constructions for, done.

I like this idea, and anything that is being captured or purchased from the zenith trader is a part of a fleet of the planet they are on, so this would still capture that use case.
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Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: Chris's latest design thoughts: Metal Has Got To GO (Edit: nevermind)
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2019, 05:20:26 PM »
1. I think that, when it comes to ships that really only work well under specific circumstances for the player, those should be out of the main fleet design lists.  Knowing what those are, and making hand-designed fleet types that show up more rarely would be good.  Aka having Raiders always be in an all-raiders fleet when showing up for the player, or space planes or whatever being in a combo with something else that's good just with them, should help.

That'd help with Fleets that have counter-active unit types (like Raiders and Tesla Corvettes), but doesn't completely fix it, since there's still some randomly designed fleets. It was a nice idea in hindsight but...the tactics side of the game just hasn't stepped up to that well - can't really find uses for many units beyond "toss it blindly at something". Raiders being tied to a Fleet is still a problem for them. If the centerpiece is slower, then they have to wait for it and thus defeats the point of Raiders, or if it's faster (somehow), then the Raiders speed is also pointless since they'd rather hang about inside the centerpiece instead. Either way, they're affected badly by being part of a Fleet.

EDIT: Thought I should say that I still kinda like the idea of the random Fleets (I did support it internally). I think it was just let down by some other parts, not that it itself is bad. Some units...might just need changes to really fit this whole thing. Raiders are just a particularly good example.

2. Disallowing super-duper-expensive things from being part of the regular fleets might have some merit, I dunno.  The point is, there's a lot of flexibility with the fleet design stuff versus it just being "eh, it could be any old combo at all," specifically to deal with some of the more edge-casey units.  But if we're running into more cases of these than I expected so far, then that just means we need to adjust some xml.

This feels a bit worrying. If we start making it all specific combinations then it's kinda...not really much to do in terms of trying to find uses for a fleet. It'd be kinda apparent? But on the other hand you can't combine things like Raiders and Eyebots in any useful way in the current system either.

3. I do think that potentially lowering the difference between the mark levels would be good, so that things are not quite such huge jumps.  That would then mean we need to definitely make the AI homeworlds mark 7, and their planets in general scale higher on average throughout the galaxy.  It's way easier to get higher-level units now, compared to the first game (and with the XP stuff that will only be even more true), so the AI going up in power to compensate makes sense to me, while downing the difference between all the power levels in general.  If mark 1 stuff is truly useless, well, that's just not good no matter how you cut it.

What were the reasons for Mark 6 and 7 originally? I don't recall seeing it, and it's always felt weird being able to out-tech an AI Homeworld en masse. Also weird that, because we don't have higher Marks locked behind Fabricators and Advanced Factories/Constructors, and no Design hacks left, that...there are almost no hack options that actually work on the AI. I think there's Science Extraction and...Super Terminal? The Dyson Sphere alone has twice that.

I wonder if not keeping the outdated ships when you increase their Mark level has caused this? With that you always had a sizable bunch, and they could still get something done. Or at least, give the impression of doing something beyond being the first to die.

5. Overall, when it comes to having some sort of sub-group that makes sense and is good for doing X task, that's really the entire role fleets are supposed to fill in the first place.  Sometimes it's supposed to be "here's an interesting combo," or just a smallish battle group of stuff in general.  But... maybe for the problematic units like autobombs, those need to only ever exist in fleets with just themselves, so they can be managed a certain way. Maybe... in some ways, maybe all of the strikecraft-based fleets need to be that way?  That would be kinda gross, though.

Yea, as said above that kinda starts to go towards being fairly straight forward and kinda boring. At that point Fleets are kinda just...bigger power spikes in less planets compared to Classic, and unit organisation. If there are Fleets entirely of AutoBombs or Raiders or whatever, then it's...I dunno, like capturing an ARS, but the unit has a centerpiece it has to follow.

One thing of Fleets that's came up is...regarding things like the Fleet Concentration AIP, or whatever "carrot" approach is possibly taken, Fleets make it a bit clumsy to do unit combinations unless said units are in the same Fleet. Spiders and Agravic Pods can kinda work together (Spiders slow down poor engine stuff, Agravics shoot up whatever is resistant), but if they're in different Fleets then you have to bring both together to do that. If there's incentive to spread them out then...you're really at the mercy of RNG if such interactions are possible. This'd extend to AI planets too. If this thing has a ton of Concussion units, then ideally I'd want to keep units weak away, and bring in units resistant, but if I happen to have only one type in each Fleet, then I have to bring them together...thus, I have fleetballed. Just, more a ball made of several smaller balls.

EDIT: Though maybe the above point isn't that bad. Sometimes Fleets just need to come together for a while, and that's alright.

"Clumsy" is a word I'd use to describe Fleets after using them for a while. The organisation is nice, being able to move groups of units that reinforce cleanly about is wonderful, and something I would've appreciated in Classic, but the things like being tied to the Centerpiece causes a lot of issues, like Raiders and AutoBombs being ruined by it, and the above mentioned awkward scenarios of trying to do combinations. Not impossible to change.

Regarding units...I might make a separate topic on that. There was a complaint in Discord while we were doing the original Fleet update about everything dying too fast, it all seems like generic hammer compared to scalpel, etc. Might be something in that...hard to notice things like MLRS doing more damage to stragglers if everything dies instantly anyway.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2019, 09:26:27 AM by RocketAssistedPuffin »
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Offline MaxAstro

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Re: Chris's latest design thoughts: Metal Has Got To GO (Edit: nevermind)
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2019, 11:53:09 PM »
That'd help with Fleets that have counter-active unit types (like Raiders and Tesla Corvettes), but doesn't completely fix it, since there's still some randomly designed fleets. It was a nice idea in hindsight but...the tactics side of the game just hasn't stepped up to that well - can't really find uses for many units beyond "toss it blindly at something". Raiders being tied to a Fleet is still a problem for them. If the centerpiece is slower, then they have to wait for it and thus defeats the point of Raiders, or if it's faster (somehow), then the Raiders speed is also pointless since they'd rather hang about inside the centerpiece instead. Either way, they're affected badly by being part of a Fleet.
Other than verisimilitude, is there any reason the centerpiece of a Raider fleet couldn't just be a slightly more buff Raider?  I feel like some fleets - Space Planes also come to mind - really benefit from being homogenous, but I don't see any reason the current design doesn't allow that.

Just have a unit named "Raid Leader" or "Space Plane Commander" that has a slightly distinct icon and "centerpiece powers" but otherwise functions exactly like the rest of the ships the fleet is made of.

Offline ptarth

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Re: Chris's latest design thoughts: Metal Has Got To GO (Edit: nevermind)
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2019, 02:12:58 AM »
I like the conceptual idea behind the re-evaluation of the economy, but like many others, I'm not sure the initial proposal was the right way to go. I do think that the core ideas were reasonable though. Here are my tweaks.

  • Energy is MP. Stop energy as a ship, turret and fleet cap currency. Instead it is as a recharing fuel for special abilities.  Abilities with powerful, but limited effects would drain from it. E.g., Big shields, high powered weapons, etc. (Optional: Rebuilding and repairing in hostile systems also requires energy)
  • Metal is the new Energy. Metal doesn't represent stored metal, but metal per time unit. All fleets have a metal cost to maintain, you can't add more ships to your fleet without having them fit under your cap. If your metal economy drops below your fleet cap, your new ship construction speed declines, but that's it. All ships have a passive (low) health and shield regeneration. Current mechanisms that provide one time metal bonuses would need to be converted to something else, or to continuous metal production.
  • Factories are the only source of new ships. Fleets can repair anywhere (slowly) when outside of combat, but can only acquire new (rebuilt) ships when in systems with factory (or mobile factories). Production speed is based on metal 'cost' of a ship and production speed of the factory (plus engineers). Engineers can help repair, for free, but repairing cannot occur inside of combat.
  • Battlestations don't provide turret caps, but empower turrets. An active battlestation in a system provides passive ability upgrades to all turrets and local mobile defenses in the system. Your turret and mobile defense caps are still limited by the type of command station. Battlestations would empower turret and mobile defense functions (more DPS, longer range, etc) and possible unlock higher level functions (basic turrets now also slow ships, poison shots, piercing, etc, etc). The type of empowerment would depend both on the type of Battlestation and the type of turret/mobile defense unit.
  • Fleets start small but upgrade. Fleets start out as a Fleet Core without any ships. By taking it to your homeworld you can activate it and create a real new fleet. Once activated, you'd choose a ship class for the Core selected from an appropriate set based on the type of core (e.g., the basic Human choices would be the generic battleships, cruiser, carrier, stealth, raider, etc; The Spire core would choose from Spire Ships, etc). The Fleet can then be upgraded (Metal Upkeep cost, fleet xp, or science would all be viable choices) to include a set of news ships based upon the the ship class. So with a human fleet core you could initial choose a Carrier Transport and start it out with Fighters. As it grows more powerful you could add either more fighters or add bombers, and so forth. (Optional: Provide a somewhat painful mechanic to reset a fleet ship choice.)(Optional: Mothballing ships. At some point you might have a fleet that you really don't want. Provide some way to scrap or store it so you can build a fleet you do want. It can't be painless to do, but it shouldn't be prohibited.) Ships will probably need to be locked to stay in the same system as their flagship in order to prevent abuse. When a flagship transitions through a wormhole, some sort of auto-docking mechanism will be needed.
  • Salvage I don't know. Perhaps as suggested turn salvage into XP or Science? Actually, combining XP and science might be worth considering. It reduces the number of resources, while still giving you interesting choices and rewards you for defending. Of course, there is a problem with infinite science generation based on leaving the game running overnight and collecting salvage. Perhaps salvage would only provide build speed enhancement to allow even faster refleeting?

Noteable Results
  • Planets matter. Your ship cap is limited by metal. You can survive without particular planets, but you can't get stronger without keeping them around.
  • No terrible fleets. You design your own fleets for your own purposes. If you want several diverse fleets, go for it. If you want just one really big nasty fleet, why not? If you somehow mix raiders with civilian transports, that was your fault. And you have a mechanism to fix it, but you'll have to pay for it.
  • No turret micro. Your turrets are purely planetary well resources. If you need to bolster your defenses, you shift your battlestations into the area.
  • Refleeting isn't slow. Your fleets rebuild quickly ONCE they get home. Constructing ships in hostile systems will be rare.
  • Swamping AI system with numbers will be generally ineffective. A fleet can generally be attacking OR rebuilding, but not both. You can continually rotate in new fleets to siege a system, but that's not unreasonable. Plus you'll need to keep expanding and maintaning systems to keep your fleet cap increasing. That's a lot more area to protect, and makes brute force reprisal waves more serious to defend against.
  • Even more assymetry in game play. The player has unitary 'hero' fleets that act as one. The AI has a swarm of interchangeable and independent units.
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: Chris's latest design thoughts: Metal Has Got To GO (Edit: nevermind)
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2019, 06:25:52 AM »
Other than verisimilitude, is there any reason the centerpiece of a Raider fleet couldn't just be a slightly more buff Raider?  I feel like some fleets - Space Planes also come to mind - really benefit from being homogenous, but I don't see any reason the current design doesn't allow that.

Just have a unit named "Raid Leader" or "Space Plane Commander" that has a slightly distinct icon and "centerpiece powers" but otherwise functions exactly like the rest of the ships the fleet is made of.

No reason that I can think of, it'd be trivial to do. There are things like RaidOffensiveMix and CloakedMix fleet designs, but they occur on any Ark or Golem currently, with low chances. RaidOffensiveMix seems to have only Raiders and Mirages (a Space Plane variant) in it, Strikecraft wise.

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Offline AnnoyingOrange

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Re: Chris's latest design thoughts: Metal Has Got To GO (Edit: nevermind)
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2019, 08:59:57 AM »
1. I think that, when it comes to ships that really only work well under specific circumstances for the player, those should be out of the main fleet design lists.  Knowing what those are, and making hand-designed fleet types that show up more rarely would be good.  Aka having Raiders always be in an all-raiders fleet when showing up for the player, or space planes or whatever being in a combo with something else that's good just with them, should help.

Trying out unit combos to see what works and how is part of the appeal of strategy games, streamlining it is very VERY risky.

5. Overall, when it comes to having some sort of sub-group that makes sense and is good for doing X task, that's really the entire role fleets are supposed to fill in the first place.  Sometimes it's supposed to be "here's an interesting combo," or just a smallish battle group of stuff in general.  But... maybe for the problematic units like autobombs, those need to only ever exist in fleets with just themselves, so they can be managed a certain way. Maybe... in some ways, maybe all of the strikecraft-based fleets need to be that way?  That would be kinda gross, though.

Fleets have a lot more potential than this, they don't have to be a glorified control group and nothing more.
The current choice between micromanaging or sending a bunch of ships against targets they're weak to is squarely in the "optimize the fun away" camp already.