Author Topic: New version .812 now out! (Improved TBS Combat Balance, Solar Map Balance, etc)  (Read 2665 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,336
Release notes: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=The_Last_Federation_Alpha_Release_Notes#Alpha_Version_.812

Restart steam to force a quicker update if you like.

Well, this is another huge one in terms of playability of the game. 

1. There are a bunch of changes to make combat more enjoyable and balanced.  I'm really having a good time sitting in there dodging the enemy patterns of shots and firing at them in return, now.  Their shots are less plentiful than before, but have the same DPS, so each shot that hits you matters more.  That said, their patterns are cleaner and slower -- appropriately paced for your movement rates and turn lengths, I think -- so you actually can do meaningful dodging versus just taking hits because there is no way to avoid them. 

This is really interesting to me tactically, because it makes your position and your piloting really matter.  And it does so in a way that makes sense for a turn-based game, because I doubt any player could pull this off if it were realtime.  Not with these damage numbers, anyway.  There are some things that I plan in order to make the special abilities more relevant, but in terms of the baseline combat this is getting into a place where I think it is feeling pretty darn good.  Opinions welcome on this.

2. Some solar map stuff has been updated, but there is a lot more in progress with stuff relating to the mercenary scientists, etc, that will be coming up.  If you are trying to do superlong dispatch missions, and then everything falls to pieces, that's something that won't be possible hopefully by the end of tomorrow.  At any rate, that's not an intended sort of thing.

Caveats:
1. All of the Operational abilities are still having their ships slaved to your attacks, and I don't intend for that to remain the case.

2. If you are running into specific mission types that are un-fun slow in the new combat model, then please send us saves.  I tested (for instance) dropping off spacefaring tech, and it was a tense 60-second excursion or so.

3. Ideas on how to make the combat yet-more-tactical are always welcome.  Putting a firing cone on all your weapons (or even most of them) would be pretty annoying, because that would really slow down the pacing a lot as you try to get yourself in exact position.  And it leads to rage when your ship doesn't go into exactly the orientation you want, etc.  Overall I want to try to increase the flow here, or keep it constant, rather than reduce it.  But at the same time, give more options that are interesting.  This is the big thing that I am still mulling.  This aspect of the game is in better shape than it's ever been before in my opinion, but I always like more more more, of course. ;)


Enjoy!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,336
Okay, a new 11 alpha testers being added!  If you see your name below, you should be getting a PM from me shortly with your steam key.  If you don't see it, then shoot me a PM!

Kuer
_K_
Kregoth
Kingpin23
Tridus
Morslok
relmz32
Mick
Lordmarschall
Chomper
Pepisolo
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 08:51:50 PM by x4000 »
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Mick

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Thanks for the invite!

Just a quick question. I'm doing the opening battle, and I'm just flying around in circles, but the enemy ships don't seem to be doing anything, they are not following me or anything.
 
It seems to escape I have to hit end turn 120 or so times with nothing going on (zzz).

Should I expect them to be chasing me?

Actually, it appears they only start chasing me if I fly near them and shoot first, but it still seems super easy to run away.

Offline Kingpin23

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
Just been playing for an hour or something but from what I have seen and experience so far I really
Like the game. There is so much going on and to discover I'm al little overwhelmed. Thats a good thing in
my opinion. I have some trouble in seeing wich color is who in some of the graphs because I'm colorblind.


Example:
In the armade graphs the Boarine/Evuck/Thoraxians

And on the Solar map there a lots of wars going on :) it would be nice if I could point the mouse over the ships so I can see wich ship is attacking what without having to look it up.

Edit : oooh now I see the races are different colors on the solar map aswell(or not?)


Offline johnnyr

  • Newbie Mark II
  • *
  • Posts: 10
My name isn't on that list.  :'(

Offline Misery

  • Arcen Volunteer
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,108
Okay!  Time for feedback:


The new.... everything.... for the combat is great.  This is much better.  It's alot more satisfying to dodge everything with this setup.  It's that much more satisfying to complete a battle while hardly getting hit, or not getting hit at all.  Particularly on Misery difficulty.

That being said, there's still some problems.

The biggest issue:  http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=13495

Lance-type turrets are a complete mess. Granted, they kinda have been for awhile, but with the spawning issue in previous versions I never got a chance to properly test these. Considering the way the combat works and the things it emphasizes, having turrets that can *always* hit you.... as opposed to being dodgeable... goes against all of the concepts.   In addition, their range is absurd, and... lots of other issues.

Gave a detailed suggestion for replacing them with something that'll fit this combat model much better, while providing an interesting attack pattern to add to everything else that's flying around.


Next up:  The "search for Hydral tech" missions.  The golem things are a mess.  Their mass driver shots are too perfect;  because of the nature of the player's movement, their ability to perfectly lead their target makes for an undodgeable attack, no matter what you do.  The only way to get around that is to be at extreme range, but obviously you cant do much from there.   Combine this with their high range and the fact that there's generally a bunch of them in each of these battles, and... yeah, it's a mess.   I've found one way, and only one way, to beat these on this difficulty level, and it's *very* tedious.  Involves drawing them away from the tech thing, which takes about 5 zillion turns.  There's more to it than just that, but that part alone takes forever.

Even if you could fight them, their health is so extreme that doing the "draw them away" bit would actually take alot less time.  They should definitely have alot more health than your typical flagship, but not THAT much.


Some abilities also definitely need some work.  The virus one for example, completely useless.  The range is WAY too short.  Getting stuck with this as one of your starting abilities is pretty bad.  Some other abilities should be strengthened a bit as well, so they have more impact on the situation and are more satisfying to use.


Solar map:  Non-spacefaring races are a bit of a problem.  Bad stuff happens to them.... either they get attacked (frequent) or they get some horrible disease (not AS frequent, but still often enough), or something like that, and because they're not spacefaring yet, there's nothing that can be done.  They can get wrecked before they're even fully in the game, so to speak.  In addition, races that become spacefaring very late are bound to get wrecked as well, as they wont have the strength to defend themselves.  This is the biggest balance issue I'm aware of so far, particularly considering that spacefaring races are often attacking other planets very early in the game.

Loot Pirate Convoy missions:  I just realized something.... these do not give any loot.  Maybe have them give a bit of some sort of material?  Also, I notice that you are supposedly helping a given race do this, but that race currently doesnt actually get anything at all for it...


Uhhhh..... there's more, but I cant remember what it was. 

Obviously they still need to be a powerful threat, but their current setup just doesnt work.   I'll attempt to think up a suggestion for an attack pattern for them but I dont have one yet.

Offline alocritani

  • Jr. Member Mark III
  • **
  • Posts: 92


And on the Solar map there a lots of wars going on :) it would be nice if I could point the mouse over the ships so I can see wich ship is attacking what without having to look it up.

Edit : oooh now I see the races are different colors on the solar map aswell(or not?)

TIP: If you pause (SPACEBAR) and hover over an armada, you can see details about it. And yes, every race has a different color on solar map.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,336
@Mick: That first-battle laxness on the part of the AI is not intended.  It's mainly an artifact of some AI rules we put in place before the switch to turn-based.  In multi-party battles, which is mostly what I've been testing, this particular issue doesn't come up.  But thanks for the note, I have it on our list to fix that.

@Kingpin23: Glad you're enjoying it!  And yes, all the races have different colors.  Though we had to use some similar colors since there are 8 races and the color spectrum of hues is only so large.

@johnnyr: Your name is on the list for a future batch, though, so don't worry!

@Misery: Awesome, glad you like the revised combat stuff!  I was hoping you would, as I really do as well.  Makes sense on the lance turrets on the higher difficulties in particular.  They are not so crazy-ranged at lower difficulties.  I will mess with those, and I think you'll like the results.  I also like your idea for that "wall" kind of turret, as I think that will really add something very cool.  I plan to do both.

Noted on the mass drivers with the golems; that's not a scenario that I had time to test yesterday, so I'm not surprised it's still off.  Thanks for the heads up.  Same deal with their health.

Definitely agreed on the abilities; those have kind of been getting the short end of the stick when it comes to my attention lately, just by necessity.  I plan to add 20+ more, and I've been working on gradually improving these, too.  As examples that are bad come up, please let me know.  Good note on viruses.

I put in a change for the next version related to events for non-spacefaring races that should help a lot.

Are loot pirate convoy missions not giving you bribe items?  That's what they are supposed to give you.  If that's not happening, that is a bug.  Can anyone confirm?
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Mick

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911


And on the Solar map there a lots of wars going on :) it would be nice if I could point the mouse over the ships so I can see wich ship is attacking what without having to look it up.

Edit : oooh now I see the races are different colors on the solar map aswell(or not?)

TIP: If you pause (SPACEBAR) and hover over an armada, you can see details about it. And yes, every race has a different color on solar map.

I found myself being kinda annoyed that the solar map wasn't simply paused all the time, because I would do something like move my ship, and it would end up being in the non-paused state. While I'm poking around the interface and reading things, I pretty much never want time to be moving forward.

Is there really any purpose for the star map to run in real time? Why can't it just move time forward only when you're moving your ship, or say holding down the spacebar or something? That would remove the issue of a tooltip only appearing when the game was in pause mode, because pause would be the default state.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,336
Well... it's food for thought.  One of the problems with showing those tooltips even during pause mode is that when armadas get too plentiful around planets, then you can't hover over the planet.

That's a pretty interesting idea, though, in truth.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Kingpin23

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
I dont think thats a good idea Mick.
So instead of you having to push spacebar once to pause the game , I have to hold spacebar for 10 minutes
to let the game progress forward. Things should just move forward when your moving or not i my opinion.

And about the colors , is it not possible to implement a colorblind mode or is that to much work at this point?


Offline Mick

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
I dont think thats a good idea Mick.
So instead of you having to push spacebar once to pause the game , I have to hold spacebar for 10 minutes
to let the game progress forward. Things should just move forward when your moving or not i my opinion.

And about the colors , is it not possible to implement a colorblind mode or is that to much work at this point?

I think if you were holding the space bar for 10 minutes to advance the game forward, that would be an indication that the game isn't giving you enough to do. I mean, the real time component was removed from combat, so it seems odd that it would remain at the solar level where you have a lot more information to process, and when solar time is a resource for the player to spend.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,336
And about the colors , is it not possible to implement a colorblind mode or is that to much work at this point?

We do have a colorblind mode in combat, which shows friends versus foes.  Although apparently it's not working properly on the minimap at the moment, I'll have to check on that.  When it comes to the lines in the line graphs, I have something on the list which should help there -- basically hovering over a legend item would show you which thing it is that you are hovered over.

I dont think thats a good idea Mick.
So instead of you having to push spacebar once to pause the game , I have to hold spacebar for 10 minutes
to let the game progress forward. Things should just move forward when your moving or not i my opinion.

And about the colors , is it not possible to implement a colorblind mode or is that to much work at this point?

I think if you were holding the space bar for 10 minutes to advance the game forward, that would be an indication that the game isn't giving you enough to do. I mean, the real time component was removed from combat, so it seems odd that it would remain at the solar level where you have a lot more information to process, and when solar time is a resource for the player to spend.

Right, I think that is pretty spot on.  If you are holding it for all that long, something is off.  What I am planning to do is add a new mode that works the way you suggest, Mick, and make that the default.  And for anyone who doesn't like it, they can turn back on the current mode in settings.  If most people prefer the current way, then I'll switch which is the default.  But based on my own playing, and the general comments from others, I think that your way will be preferred as people get into the game more.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Kingpin23

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
Having the solar map proceeding in real time gives you more of a feeling that you are a part of something
bigger. When you make that turn based that feeling will be gone.

There are many things to do on the solar map already , but you dont always have to interfere and thats
One of the nice things about it.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,336
Having the solar map proceeding in real time gives you more of a feeling that you are a part of something
bigger. When you make that turn based that feeling will be gone.

There are many things to do on the solar map already , but you dont always have to interfere and thats
One of the nice things about it.

This is... really true.  That's one of the reasons we made it realtime to begin with.  Okay, you've sold me on leaving it the way it is as the default.  Though Mick, if you want the alternate mode I can add that in.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!