Author Topic: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)  (Read 1245 times)

Offline x4000

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Release notes: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=The_Last_Federation_Alpha_Release_Notes#Alpha_Version_.813

Restart steam to force a quicker update if you like.

Another biggie in terms of its impact on how you play the game. 

1. A big missing component to the solar map was how to defend outposts once you capture them, and that stymied all sorts of things. 

2. Another thing was that you could shoot yourself in the foot with overlong dispatch missions, and not even realize that they weren't supposed to be something you actually do.  Another was that unless you were really expert at building up both science and manufacturing outposts (which we already established was next to impossible) or getting just the right tech upgrades (which could be a major problem depending on your allies, or the fact that some of those are deeper into the tech tree anyway, etc), then it was very hard to get the numbers of months down sufficiently on the research and property development dispatches.

The solution to both 1 and 2 above turns out to be: goons.  Which is something I've wanted to have in the game for thematic reasons for a long while anyway, but these really are the perfect solution to all of the above problems, so I'm really tickled that it fits together so well.  You now have security goons, scientist goons, and construction worker goons.  Keith is the one who named them goons, but anyhow; they're mercenaries that you contract to help you with areas that should be pretty obvious from their names.

3. There are some other minor balance updates to the solar map, but the main thing is above.  That said, non-spacefaring races should emerge much healthier now, heh.

4. Combat-wise, the last version was already looking really good in the main, people seem to be agreed.  But there were some notable lapses with a few specific enemies or abilities, and some things that were problematic (too easy or too hard) in particular on higher difficulties.  Those should all be dealt with now.

5. Combat-interface-wise, the big thing here is the expanded interface that now lets you choose your attack modes in a way more friendly fashion.  It's just way more natural (and attractive) this way, and if you saw the video from earlier today then you've already seen this in action.  Most expert players will wind up using the hotkeys anyhow, but this does still help.

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. I think I have a pretty good handle on making the combat tactical now, and honestly I think we are pretty much there already, in the main.  There are some overall structure-of-special-abilities changes that I am planning that will make those a lot more relevant as well as safer to use as well as making it actually valuable to have more abilities than just the three in your currently-equipped lineup.  Those things I think will add a lot, as will an expanded roster of abilities and enemies in general, and in particular some turrets with some new firing patterns, etc.  But honestly that is just content development aside from the basic changes to the special abilities concept, so it's a matter of having more of a good thing rather than trying to find a good thing, if that makes any sense.  I'm liking where we're at with this, in other words; but if anyone feels differently, please speak up and let me know what you think and (as well as you can) why and what you would want done about it.  I can't promise to actually do that of course, but I want to know these sorts of things sooner than later, as I'm hoping that I can make as many people as possible happy with the combat while at the same time homing in on what my current vision for this has become.


Enjoy!
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Offline Misery

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 05:53:17 AM »
Bah, there's 2 topics with ".813" in the name!  I IS CONFUSE.

Posted stuff about it in the other one.

Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 07:13:40 AM »
Combat is feeling better than ever to me.

I have a suggestion would it be possible to make it so that if you are happy with your turn settings just clicking the left mouse button activates the turn instead of having to press a different key for each attack.

I think this would greatly speed up the flow of each turn. At the moment I keep pressing the mouse button to start the turn then realise I have to press the correct key which doesn't feel natural.

So in summary the player selects where to move to then how the weapons will fire then just clicks the mouse button to activate the turn.

Hope this makes sense.

Offline alocritani

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 07:56:21 AM »

I have a suggestion would it be possible to make it so that if you are happy with your turn settings just clicking the left mouse button activates the turn instead of having to press a different key for each attack.

I think this would greatly speed up the flow of each turn. At the moment I keep pressing the mouse button to start the turn then realise I have to press the correct key which doesn't feel natural.

So in summary the player selects where to move to then how the weapons will fire then just clicks the mouse button to activate the turn.

Hope this makes sense.

I support this!

Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 08:11:05 AM »
Just started a battle and the screen was filled with ships both allied and enemy with me on the outside. Before I could do anything I had to try and break up the mass of ships so I could spot the enemy.

Perhaps a better idea is to have the flotillas together on the map but not all bunched up on top of each other so they attack together as fleets this should also apply to the allies. This would make the battlefield feel less random and allow for more tactical play.

In large multi-side battles things quickly become very messy.

Really loving the more relaxed pace in the solar map it's much easier to get a feel for what's going on and try and plan accordingly. It may still be a little too fast but I haven't played long enough yet to say for sure. Building up credit in the early game is key to have any real power later on and choosing your allies and enemies early on is also important.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 08:38:57 AM by Hyfrydle »

Offline Misery

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2014, 08:42:52 AM »
Ok, more experimenting with battles, still alot of unbalance there.

Useless abilities remain the main issue... it's not so easy to test the balance of everything else when only shield/cloak/afterburner are worth using.

There are a couple of major issues with enemy ship types though.  Hypersonic Pods are MUCH too strong, for an enemy type that the player cannot even target due to their speed.  Likewise, Cutters are nigh-impossible to defeat.  Their shots are led too perfectly;  approach them at all to get in range to attack and you *will* get hit, many times.  There doesnt seem to be any way to destroy these without cloaking.... the only other tactic is the always tedious one of leading them far away from the fight and then going back yourself.

The shot-leading thing is sort of an issue with the combat as a whole... you cant dodge this type of shot because your course is already set, you cannot react to them being there.  Typically, if you're in range to attack something that's aiming in this manner, you WILL get hit by it.  Dealing with ships that arent flagships is an issue right now because of this sort of thing.   But the cutters and pods remain the worst.

Offline x4000

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2014, 09:44:13 AM »

I have a suggestion would it be possible to make it so that if you are happy with your turn settings just clicking the left mouse button activates the turn instead of having to press a different key for each attack.

I think this would greatly speed up the flow of each turn. At the moment I keep pressing the mouse button to start the turn then realise I have to press the correct key which doesn't feel natural.

So in summary the player selects where to move to then how the weapons will fire then just clicks the mouse button to activate the turn.

Hope this makes sense.

I support this!

Are you referring to if you are in autofire or hold fire modes?  Because that could work.  But when it comes to the select-targets mode, it doesn't really work because clicking is normally for selection.  And thus we get one of two cases: 1) you are holding shift, so it does nothing, because it's supposed to be adding things; 2) you are not holding shift, and in fact want to change your attack target, but you miss by a bit and thus it confirms the turn with the old settings.

I thought about this a lot when I was implementing it originally, and I figured that consistency is better than having it work for two out of the 3 modes that would be relevant for it.  But I wouldn't be opposed to having a generalized keybind that you could quickly tap to confirm the orders -- I agree that would be really handy.  Part of me is hesitant to suggest spacebar, since that is normally pause... yeah, that really would be a bad idea.  But maybe Return.  And then if you want it to be spacebar, then just remap it yourself.

Just started a battle and the screen was filled with ships both allied and enemy with me on the outside. Before I could do anything I had to try and break up the mass of ships so I could spot the enemy.

Perhaps a better idea is to have the flotillas together on the map but not all bunched up on top of each other so they attack together as fleets this should also apply to the allies. This would make the battlefield feel less random and allow for more tactical play.

In large multi-side battles things quickly become very messy.

The autosave from before the battle would be really helpful.  We're trying to strike a balance between not having things be uselessly empty at the start, and not having things crammed together.  I think that this is something where we're going to need to adjust it by flagship count, in the end.  Particularly if you wind up with a save (before the battle, not during), can you post a mantis ticket about this?  Thanks!

Really loving the more relaxed pace in the solar map it's much easier to get a feel for what's going on and try and plan accordingly. It may still be a little too fast but I haven't played long enough yet to say for sure. Building up credit in the early game is key to have any real power later on and choosing your allies and enemies early on is also important.

Awesome!

Useless abilities remain the main issue... it's not so easy to test the balance of everything else when only shield/cloak/afterburner are worth using.

Yep, as mentioned in the other thread, I figured out a solution to this finally.  I have been noodling on this a lot the last few days, and I think you will absolutely love the solution I have in mind.

There are a couple of major issues with enemy ship types though.  Hypersonic Pods are MUCH too strong, for an enemy type that the player cannot even target due to their speed.

* Hypersonic pods have been rebalanced so that they now do half as much damage as before, and so that they ONLY are able to damage shields, not hulls.  This makes them basically shield-suppressors, which is an interesting role for them, given their speed.

Likewise, Cutters are nigh-impossible to defeat.  Their shots are led too perfectly;  approach them at all to get in range to attack and you *will* get hit, many times.  There doesnt seem to be any way to destroy these without cloaking.... the only other tactic is the always tedious one of leading them far away from the fight and then going back yourself.

The shot-leading thing is sort of an issue with the combat as a whole... you cant dodge this type of shot because your course is already set, you cannot react to them being there.  Typically, if you're in range to attack something that's aiming in this manner, you WILL get hit by it.  Dealing with ships that arent flagships is an issue right now because of this sort of thing.   But the cutters and pods remain the worst.

Not having shot-leading is of course actually simpler than having shot-leading, it's an easy change in code.  But I'm unsure how that will ultimately affect the feeling of battle.  I'm willing to give it a go, though.  I'm turning that off for non-homing shots, but leaving it as an option that I can turn on on a per-weapon basis.  So that might be interesting, we'll see.
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Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2014, 09:48:45 AM »
Quote
The autosave from before the battle would be really helpful.  We're trying to strike a balance between not having things be uselessly empty at the start, and not having things crammed together.  I think that this is something where we're going to need to adjust it by flagship count, in the end.  Particularly if you wind up with a save (before the battle, not during), can you post a mantis ticket about this?  Thanks!

I'll get a save uploaded with info.

Also having a single key to activate the turn would be great, or maybe a start turn button to click on screen would work.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 09:53:48 AM by Hyfrydle »

Offline x4000

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2014, 09:50:31 AM »
Thank you!
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Offline GenScorpius

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2014, 03:35:46 PM »
I'm sure that balancing out the abilities, weapons etc is more important right now but I've got a suggestion to make combat potentially more interesting and adjustable to each player's playstyle: the implementation of an energy system.

Thus, you have a fixed amount of energy which you can split 3 ways between the 3 systems weapons, engines, shields.
The default behaviour would be a balanced mode like it is currently in order not to confuse new players. However, advanced players can sacrifice e.g. weapon power to enhance shields (recharge rate or max capacity) or engines (bigger movement radius) on a turn per turn basis if they wish to. Basically, this allows to make a trade-off e.g. between powerful glass cannon or weaker but more durable flagship...

Offline x4000

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2014, 04:15:49 PM »
I'm sure that balancing out the abilities, weapons etc is more important right now but

I just finished that, and released the notes, so I'm freed up a bit. :)

I've got a suggestion to make combat potentially more interesting and adjustable to each player's playstyle: the implementation of an energy system.

Thus, you have a fixed amount of energy which you can split 3 ways between the 3 systems weapons, engines, shields.
The default behaviour would be a balanced mode like it is currently in order not to confuse new players. However, advanced players can sacrifice e.g. weapon power to enhance shields (recharge rate or max capacity) or engines (bigger movement radius) on a turn per turn basis if they wish to. Basically, this allows to make a trade-off e.g. between powerful glass cannon or weaker but more durable flagship...

I think this is really interesting!  What do other folks think of this?  I think it definitely adds to the feeling of tactics, that's for sure.
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Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2014, 05:04:56 PM »
A very interesting idea and would be great to have the ability to alter things on the fly dependant on the situation.

After playing a good chunk of today I'm finding I only seem to be using auto fire and selected fire modes, how are other people finding the modes?

Offline Kingpin23

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Re: New version .813 now out! (Hiring Goons, Solar and Combat Balance)
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2014, 05:15:44 PM »
I only use Autofire and select mode aswell.

There isnt much reason to try and use the other ones

And left click to begin the turn is a good idea I think.
Using the hotkeys for the modes then click left mouse button.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 09:34:55 PM by Kingpin23 »