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Note that an affix system is also a great way to get flavour in.
I noticed that there are no tooltips in science and production tab. Is this a bug or was this removed when the UI changed?

It was a bug. A hotfix just got released to put them back in.
I noticed that there are no tooltips in science and production tab. Is this a bug or was this removed when the UI changed?
Yep, that's similar to what I'm thinking of.  I may need to just make it outright that and no explicit numbers that are randomized.

One of the things that I think with the legibility here is that:

1. These are going to be simpler-to-comprehend options than what you see in AIW2 or AIWC currently.

2. You don't just choose from some options, you use all of them and choose where to deploy them.

3. You're running a really long campaign (4-13 hours) with the same set of units, gradually increasing them, so you'll get used to them by trial and error at worst.

Not that I'm completely blind to the issue, but I do see this as being mitigated by the above.  I do think that an affix system would be easier in a lot of ways than what I was going to do, which was reverse-map to affixes after rolling a random for the stat, and put an affix for a given range of stat multiplier.
1) From a replayability standpoint and an anti-net-decking standpoint, I love the idea.

2) From a legibility standpoint it scares me.

In borderlands I'm juggling 4 guns with a few stats that I can see instantly applied to the target in front of me.  I also get hundreds to thousands of choices that I get to filter for the top 4.

In AIW I have a half-dozen to a dozen (or more) ship types, with a handful of stats each, interacting all over the screen against a mass of different enemy types.  If I roll 148 damage versus 149 damage on my lightning bombers, I hopefully will see it's not a big deal, but I may not know I really need 200+ on my lightning bombers to be effective against their intended targets (which may also have random defensive stats?) when the 50 point difference is magnified by mk4 ships (of course this is complicated again if they also have randomized firing rates).  I also don't get nearly as many chances to find a good loadout.

Have you considered an affix system?  Lightning bombers of lightning a la diablo?  Obviously don't show it as such, because it's a sci-fi and not fantasy, but:

Lightning bomber Mk1
Stat block

Developmental variances
Light frame: -10% hp, +20% speed
Nukular: explodes on death, dealing 0 damage to other nukular ships, and (damage block) to other ships in (radius)
Big gun: +20% damage
Clever!  That reminds me of the auto testing code I had in AIWC for determining the balance of units.  It wasn't setting procedural stats, though, but calculating which units would win in which scenarios by fighting them against one another.

Yep, I think that's where I got the idea. Or part of it.
I'm kind of surprised I never shared that here before.
Clever!  That reminds me of the auto testing code I had in AIWC for determining the balance of units.  It wasn't setting procedural stats, though, but calculating which units would win in which scenarios by fighting them against one another.
Procedural unit stats.
This is interesting.
*dig dig*
Fak, this isn't online any more...uh...DROPBOX, HELP ME.

I did this back in...2011? Looks right.  Give it a minute or two to run.

Loosely based off of the kinds of stats that AIWC had, not 100% balanced, but it was just a proof of concept.

Worked on a point buy system. I think 1 armor was worth the same as 10 hp, 2 Armor Piercing was the same as 1 damage, rate of fire was calculated to give an approximate equal total DPS (AP was not included in this). And some really dumb AI logic.
I was skeptical about Procedural stats when you first mentioned them, but I've totally talked myself into them being awesome now. That said, I think you need to start with a basic set of boring, consistent units that can hit most of the niches. Or at least, make sure the starting ships include a ship with reasonable range and a ship good against structures/shields. I'd hate to start a game and realize none of my ships did anything to Shield Generators, for example.

Also starting with relatively boring makes it harder for someone to just reroll a game until they get some OP ships, and makes people appreciate the later ships more.

I think this is spot on. There should be a balanced baseline that is true for every game. But from there, procedurally generated "mutations" sounds great in terms of unique strategies and replayability.

Yep, I agree that folks need a balanced basic set of tools.

Currently, Advanced research stations serve the purpose of adding new ships--a function I don't want to see changed. But perhaps a structure akin to this for mutations (with the possibility of hacking to choose one of three) would be a straighforward way of adding this functionality.

This actually is something I've been mulling this morning, so it's funny you bring it up.  Basically in the first game there were a lot of things that evolved over the span of 5ish years, and wound up being extra complicated in the later years because they had been suboptimal to start with.  ARSes are one of those things.  Originally it was just "here's a random new ship for you, you get no choice, you want something and you'll work with what you get, thank you."  Then later it changed to having them be hackable and you can choose options from them, and things get complicated.  This makes me love ARSes a lot less.

I kinda prefer a system where I there are more options scattered about the galaxy, and I can choose from those things more directly.  I dunno.  I have to think about it more, but there were a few things that were being done in a crutch-y sort of fashion that I feel like can be better done in the future.  Without reinventing the game, just some of the loot structure, essentially.
Cheers guys. :)

In response to a question from Badger in an email about how I was thinking of handling the stats, and to Nargasse's point, here's what I wrote:


I've talked myself into procedurally generated stats, though I think some things like Golems should probably keep the same stats. I think some other minor factions (Nanocaust in particular) probably needs to use the same ships each time. And maybe Dire Guardians should stay consistent between games?

HRF, Marauders and Dyson Sphere ships currently steal from the existing ship pool, so something will need to be done there.

I'm curious to see how you'll do the generation. I am guessing there will be some sort of power budget for each ship, and a given ship will have a set of available features it can purchase? Incidentally, one of those features should be "Spawns drones", and the drone spawning code seems to be broken.


The procedurally generated stats would be customizable for each unit, so no unit would use them unless it was specified.

Basically the idea is that we'd specify ranges on each unit that would deviate off a central norm, and those ranges could be zero.  So technically it's all about the xml, and if none of the xml was set up to have random ranges, they'd be non-procedural.  Same deal with systems, the idea would be to make it so that they'd have a certain chance of appearing.

My personal preference is to just go completely random with the stats so that sometimes you get a limp noodle and other times you get a powerhouse, but I understand that's not going to always be palatable, heh.  So a couple of different schemes have occurred to me, such as deciding "we want x number of units that are 80% normal strength, x number that are 95-105% strength, x that are 140% strength, and a few that are 200%."  Or whatever the case is.  Then within each of those, we look at the available stats that can be randomized, order them randomly, roll within the full random range for the first in the list, and then gradually clamp each further stat to a range that makes them adhere to the overall strength goal.

Aka, if ship X is assigned to be a 95%-105% range of aggregate stats, then I'd randomly order the list of attack, speed, and hp, potentially, let's say.  If each of those have total possible variances of 0.6 to 3, just for the sake of argument, and I pull speed as the first stat to get a random roll, then I'd roll that one as rand( 0.6, 3).  Whatever that comes out to will further clamp down on attack and hp so that the average of the three stats lies somewhere within the 95%-105% range.  So even if it was in the "boring range," it might still average out to be really unusual in terms of having lots of speed but not much health, or whatever else.

For something that is supposed to be 140% strength, I might adjust that so that the minimum roll for any stat is 0.9, just so that we get something that is not very bad in any stat, and thus not TOO incredible in any other stat.

If we later need to get even fancier with this, then we can put weights on each stat in terms of "what does it mean to be 105% strong on average."  Perhaps attack is more valuable toward that than strength.

Or we just go with random soup, true roguelike fashion. ;)
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