Author Topic: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking  (Read 870 times)

Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2018, 06:03:07 PM »
Those changes are good to see in action, hard to judge them without seeing the mechanics actually work. Stacking hasn't changed since its inception so there's reason to hope that it is salvageable. The performance boost alone is something that would be sorely missed.

But I'm honestly in favor of bringing back classic's carriers, albeit with modifications to make them more suitable for AI war 2 (basically, its stats and how it should change depending on how full it is).

The late-game could get really interesting when you end up having like 100 carriers on your planet. Then you really have to ask yourself, "should I push the big, red button?" Hell, in my Showdown game I had to nuke several of my OWN planets to give myself a chance (*spoiler, it worked and I won  8))

I don't know if those scenarios will be common or possible in AI war 2, but then again, warheads have yet to be reintroduced 

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2018, 01:41:26 PM »
May also be worth reducing debuff strengths or durations by some amount as well, at least those imparted by non-aoe attacks. Stunning 1 unit in 5 isn't really the same as stunning a whole stack of 5, regardless of killing from the top or bottom.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2018, 01:49:01 PM »
So I added some code that allows the player to tune how many AI ships of a given type need to exist on a given planet before the game starts Stacking them, and per Puffin this really makes things better. Turning that number up will decrease the amount of stacking, and some cost in worse performance.

I'm going to see what people think with that new change before I do more.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2018, 04:16:00 PM »
Carriers in AIWC did have some of the same problems.  They were 'solved' mostly by just making arbitrary overwrites to the stats.  For example, to handle to engine damage/stun/paralyze/tractor problems, carriers were simply immune to all of that.

This led to one of the long-standing issues that annoyed me about AIWC:  How carriers ignored the player's primary 'terrain' effects.  The player basically had gravity, tractors, and forcefields to manipulate the AI's movement (at the tactical level)... and the carriers just ignored all of that.

Whatever solution is settled on, I just really hope it doesn't re-implement the immunities part of AIWC carriers.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2018, 03:00:53 PM »
What if there was a mechanic that said "Whenever a stacked squad has a unit die, if the stack has > 10 units, try to split it in half"?

Also, how do people feel about status effects persisting across a unit in a stack dying? Should all effects persist? Some effects? And if so which ones?

Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2018, 02:32:50 PM »
I think stacking in gameplay shouldn't even be in the game. I played an hour now fresh since the squad stacking mechanic was added and I can already declare I dislike it with fervor. Tractors and engine damage applying to a whole stack (as it has to be..) make stacks complete deathtraps and gameplay wise easily exploited. But worse, it makes huge waves feel like tiny waves and introduces huge imbalances with anything that has multi-shot or AoE (also, whatever is going on with the game effects? Weren't there supposed to be huge explosions when things die?) currently the effects look really wonky and as THE guy who wants better effects always I think this is even a step back from AI War 1 visually. I know I pushed for better shield impact effects, but in AI War 2 I can't even tell what's hitting and what isn't. And that's at 0.5x (I want 0.1x I guess)

I think squad stacking does nothing for this game aside from making it look smaller scale than it is and just like carriers they are a clutch that should be optional at all times. And I think it's also a sign that the AI should probably have a different attack mechanic, have it jump in with waves matching your strength rating (ships + turrets) that way you don't exceed unit count barriers and AI might offer some more interesting battles.
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Offline AnnoyingOrange

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2018, 07:27:37 AM »
I just did a ridiculous Super Terminal hack vs a 5 diff AI, and I've come to the conclusion that stacking (at least in its current form) breaks the game completely.
I hacked the ST for over one hundred net AIP reduction, I only stopped because I noticed I reached the AIP floor (that really needs to be shown in the UI, by the way), the hacking response was on 5.0 from most of it, the only way I could have made it any worse would have been negative hacking points.

By the time I pulled the plug, over 6k enemy ships were on the field, for a total power value in the 700s, almost thrice that of my fleet: and yet, during the entire fight I did not lose a single fleetship.
The battlefield was full of 50x and bigger enemy stacks, capped at 5x the damage of a normal unit, mostly caught in tractor beams, and completely unable to outdps my engineers and mobile docks.
What should have been an unavoidable game over was an incredibly boring fight with no risk for the player: I left the game on x5 and my fleet blob, its only ship above mk2 being the gyrn ark, slowly chipped away at an enemy limited to a microscopic fraction of its offensive power by the stack mechanics.
The ST could have spawned millions or even billions of ships, I would have still won.

Imagine if AI War 1 carriers could be tractored, only shot a single projectile no matter what, never dumped their cargo, and you could only kill one of the carried ships per shot: that's how bad stacks are.
The newly introduced stacking setting can maybe act as a bandaid for a while, but it's clear a different approach is needed long term to keep fleetships balanceable.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2018, 09:10:24 AM »
Could you give us a save game like that? With a ton of stacked ships stuck and helpless? It would make a good scenario to test stacking changes to make it more interesting.

Offline AnnoyingOrange

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2018, 09:41:55 AM »
Here is an autosave from a few minutes after the ST hack ended, with the bulk of the enemy ships still alive.
Unfortunately leaving it running at x5 means I don't have older autosaves, I could create another test campaign if needed since this one was mostly meant to test golem related exploits anyways.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2018, 10:52:12 AM »
Stacks will now split up if they are hit by status effect weapons (engine stunner, tractor beams, etc...). This should make things more palatable.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2018, 05:17:18 PM »
What do people think about the current state of unit stacking?

Offline AnnoyingOrange

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #26 on: December 25, 2018, 05:30:24 AM »
What do people think about the current state of unit stacking?

I'm trying to exploit it while testing Puffin's new golem proposal, so far noticed no glaring issues.
I think stacks should inherently be slightly worse than separate units to discourage cheap unit spam, so the current situation seems mostly ok: only annoyances are the somewhat unintuitive and questionable interaction between stacks and any multi-target effect (aoe, multishot, tractor beams...) and the x5 magnification of status effects making crowd control situationally overpowered.
I'm glad to say that ST hacks are at least somewhat challenging now and no longer an "I win" button.

Offline Kahuna

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2019, 05:20:05 AM »
1:

Things like the Beam Cannon and Spire Frigate are near useless when stacks are in play. Because they vastly reduce the amount of actually damageable units the enemies have, stacking makes these things not worth using at all.
In my opinion this alone is enough to justify removing unit stacking.

On the other hand..

..These units AI ships don't seem to be stacked and the game became_extremely_laggy. So laggy that when I zoomed in and minimized the game even my browser became laggy. In addition the lag accelerates camera movement near the source of the lag (the ship blob) so it's hard to control the camera.

Save file attached.


EDIT:
After a few seconds the AI units became stacked which vastly increased the performance and basically entirely removed the lag. With this number of ships ship stacking seems to be necessary but the number one point made by RocketAssistedPuffin should be addressed in some way at some point.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2019, 05:24:46 AM by Kahuna »
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
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Offline AnnoyingOrange

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Re: Gameplay Problems with Unit Stacking
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2019, 07:00:24 AM »
Something I don't understand: why is there a x5 damage cap for stacked units?