Author Topic: Counterattack Posts  (Read 3534 times)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Counterattack Posts
« on: April 09, 2014, 05:14:40 PM »
Was thinking this morning.  Disconcerting, I know.

- Counterattack posts are a necessary part of balance to keep one-chokepoint-to-rule-them-all from being too easy a slam-dunk.  They serve some secondary purposes, but that's the main one in my view.

- Counterattack posts are, to many players (myself included), really, really stinking annoying.  Specifically, they're roadbumps that mostly just slow the game down because you have to pop them manually (often stretches out an otherwise-routine planet cleansing because you didn't see it earlier, etc), you don't want to pop a lot of them close together, etc.
- this is why there's a cheat to just kill all of them, but the understanding there is that one is accepting the breaking of balance

- What if there's another way to achieve the balance goals, without as much annoyance?  One specific approach that came to mind was to do all of the following:


1) Move counterattack posts to an AI plot or something like that, thus they become optional.
- Everyone's favorite subcommander (RudeGesture) couldn't be picked unless the plot was on, but I'm sure we can find the courage to move on.

2) As a new core mechanic, when there's a threatball on a non-player planet and is unwilling to commit to the attack, they gradually accumulate points towards building a "warp relay".
- this would probably not happen at all before, say, the 2-hour mark
- the rate of accumulation would be based on the strength of the threat waiting on that planet
- the amount required to complete the relay would probably be based on the base strengh of waves at that point in the game (so larger waves = takes longer to build a relay)
- an alert would pop up to tell you a relay was under construction, with a % completion, once it reached 50%
- once constructed, the relay could be destroyed like any other structure, though it would probably be semi-robust to require some significant firepower to kill quickly

3) Any human planet within X hops of a warp relay (where X is the AI's current tech level + 1) is a valid warp target.  Planets with a warp jammer command station would still be ineligible as targets.
- of course, this has no meaning when playing with cross-planet-waves and would probably just not happen then, but generally speaking playing hard-chokepoint with cpw has its own challenges already
- similar with warp jumper, as that already blows the chokepoint game wide open as far as waves go
- this wouldn't apply to exos (they would still need a warp gate to spawn at)


Anyway, this may not be a good idea at all, or counterattack posts may be fine as-is, but I figured it was worth discussing :)

Thoughts?
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2014, 05:55:05 PM »
That is an idea that I could get behind.

I would probably make it [Tech]+2 instead of [Tech]+1, but that can be played with.

(As for the Rude Gesture subcommander, I popped the four CA posts within 2 minutes and held off all four waves; helped that they were all going the same place...)

Offline Fleet Unity

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2014, 05:55:51 PM »
Moving the Counterattack Posts to a Plot I think would be a good idea. To new players they may not be aware that attacking one can warp ships to any planet that does not have a warp jammer command station. Like your home world if you destroy a few like three or so at a time if you are not ready and they choose your home world (and not another planet), if it does not have enough defense its usually game over unless you get your fleet back quickly enough. Or at lest have enough turrets to defend or the ally to player roaming enclaves if you are even using that minor faction. You do usually get enough time to prepare unless something has totally gone wrong and your fleet is too far away or you are really low on resources. If it is a MK IV counterattack post those can seem to do the most damage. For the balance maybe put more of the AI Command Station Shield Guardpost in there place with a few guardians or mines by the post to help defend it from player attacks. Edit I meant if the plot was disabled. The idea for them building a warp relay sounds interesting and would add a new way to defend for players who like the counterattacks. Also allowing the Warp Jamming Command to still protect the planet from the waves sounds like a good idea is that is what they can be used for with the current counterattack posts. Also yes I do find them annoying at times as well. :)
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 06:01:22 PM by Fleet Unity »

Offline Aklyon

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2014, 06:17:15 PM »
It certainly could be an interesting idea. The AI doesn't really build much at all (aside from this idea, something hidden in the Astro Trains and Adv. Hybrids plots, and some non-existant things mentioned on the wiki page for hybrids in general), so having it build something to get around you giant fortress sounds like something an AI with a giant warp grid could do.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2014, 06:23:46 PM »
It certainly could be an interesting idea. The AI doesn't really build much at all (aside from this idea, something hidden in the Astro Trains and Adv. Hybrids plots, and some non-existant things mentioned on the wiki page for hybrids in general), so having it build something to get around you giant fortress sounds like something an AI with a giant warp grid could do.
Yea, basically siegery for when the enemy is walled up for a siege.

I'd still want to leave additional production facilities and whatnot to the hybrids, but giving the AI ways to deal with chokepoints seems fair game, as long as the player has reasonable counters to it (as opposed to the once-tried "if chokepoint detected, throw H/Ks repeatedly").  Probably primarily in the form of "get them off my lawn".
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2014, 06:27:46 PM »
Personally, I don't have a problem with Counterattack Posts.  The long lead-time and the lowered wave strength mean they are usually more un-ignorable annoyance than deathly threatening.  Of course, I also tend to pop as many as I find early in the game, when the AIP is still low.  A 400 AIP counter wave isn't exactly nothing.

I thought the Counterattack posts were there to prevent the player from just killing every AI Command Station willy-nilly.  By being forced to kill the posts and trigger a counter-attack to the player's backfield, there is a reason to not kill that CS, or to take multiple slower raids on the planet.
From what you are saying, it seems like I'm wrong and that's not the goal anymore - the goal is more to have a method that will bypass the chokepoints?  And the non-targetting of the posts plus the delays to pop multiple posts in a controllable fashion is now just drag.  Maybe switch the Counterattack from a Post to a Command Station type and keep the effect without making it an external plot...


2) As a new core mechanic, when there's a threatball on a non-player planet and is unwilling to commit to the attack, they gradually accumulate points towards building a "warp relay".
- this would probably not happen at all before, say, the 2-hour mark
- the rate of accumulation would be based on the strength of the threat waiting on that planet
- the amount required to complete the relay would probably be based on the base strengh of waves at that point in the game (so larger waves = takes longer to build a relay)
- an alert would pop up to tell you a relay was under construction, with a % completion, once it reached 50%
- once constructed, the relay could be destroyed like any other structure, though it would probably be semi-robust to require some significant firepower to kill quickly

The immediate objection to this that springs to mind is that it sounds like this is a permanent structure - whereas Counterattack posts are each one-off structures that the player can control when they fire.  If you are suggesting that this Warp Relay self-destruct when used, then I have much less concern, as it becomes a lot closer to what the Counterattack posts currently are.  Or if it actually transported the threatfleet as the attacking incoming wave, even better, since that would also prevent constant repetition.
But a new, permanent structure that continually launches deepstrike waves?  That has the potential to be very mean.  Imagine if the Threatfleet gather point that this structure was built on was on the other side of a Bunkerer subcommander with a Tachyon command station and a Black Hole Generator?  The RNG could determine win/loss with just that one decision.

Now, if you made the permanent version an Advanced Hybrid plot, it would seem appropriate.  You're already asking for 'mean' when you turn that on.


I'm also a little concerned over what could happen after a CPA.  Would the strength of, say, 10,000 ships be so high it could charge waves in just a few minutes?  What if things like Golems, Dire Guardians, or Nemesis Champions get into the Threatfleet?

Would the threatfleet code be reworked to be a less exploitable by rope-a-dope/lure strategies?  IIRC, the threatfleet will move towards a weak Human world, then retreat to a different holding spot if that target becomes strong again.  It'd seem easy then to lure the Threatfleet into motion, then raid the structure at leisure once it is no longer charging.

I wonder what CSG-Ds would be attached?  Hmm.  Retalitory AI type?

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2014, 06:39:47 PM »
But a new, permanent structure that continually launches deepstrike waves?
To clarify, it wouldn't cause any waves.  But the waves that would have happened anyway would (potentially) be able to target planets they couldn't otherwise.


Quote
Imagine if the Threatfleet gather point that this structure was built on was on the other side of a Bunkerer subcommander with a Tachyon command station and a Black Hole Generator?  The RNG could determine win/loss with just that one decision.
I was mainly thinking of threat creating these, rather than threatfleet.  Threat always waits right on your doorstep.  Or, rather, the doorstep of whatever looks like could kill it.


Quote
I'm also a little concerned over what could happen after a CPA.  Would the strength of, say, 10,000 ships be so high it could charge waves in just a few minutes?
It's not charging waves, actually, it's just building the relay.  Also, this is only waiting threat doing this. 

If the threat comes straight through to your territory, then it has made no progress towards a relay. 

If your defenses are so strong that an entire CPA just goes into camp-mode outside your gates, then yes, it's going to build a relay relatively much faster than most normal threatballs, I expect.  But the rate of waves won't change.


Quote
Would the threatfleet code be reworked to be a less exploitable by rope-a-dope/lure strategies?  IIRC, the threatfleet will move towards a weak Human world, then retreat to a different holding spot if that target becomes strong again.  It'd seem easy then to lure the Threatfleet into motion, then raid the structure at leisure once it is no longer charging.
I'm currently in the middle of rewriting the threat logic to better account for nearby (3-hops-out) human mobile strength, so it will be harder to lure, yes.  The threatfleet logic is elsewhere and will require separate attention, but I also hope to get to that soon.


Quote
I wonder what CSG-Ds would be attached?
I'd just seed them like E's.


Quote
Retalitory AI type?
Just as the Train Master AI Type automatically enables the trains plot, Retaliatory could automatically enable counterattack posts.


All the above is not to say it's necessarily a good idea, just answering the objections as I see them.
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Offline RockyBst

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2014, 06:54:00 PM »
Sounds like a good plan to me, it would be nice to see the AI do something a touch more aggressive with all that threat than just sit around all day. My one concern is the charge rate - if I have 2,000 threat just sitting around (quite possible by mid fallen-spire) and that means I have to go micro my fleet to kill one of these every 5 minutes, that could get annoying. Maybe a 30 minute minimum between builds, with any threat points accumulating from the first second. So you could deal with one being instantly built every half an hour, but not more often.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2014, 06:57:11 PM »
My one concern is the charge rate - if I have 2,000 threat just sitting around (quite possible by mid fallen-spire) and that means I have to go micro my fleet to kill one of these every 5 minutes, that could get annoying.
That is a potential pitfall.  Two thoughts:

1) The rate can be capped to make sure it takes at least X minutes, or something like that.  Like you suggested.

2) Even if it was allowed to throw them up really fast, there are defensive strategies you could use to avoid the threat piling up right outside your citadel.  A lead planet with lesser defenses, for instance.  Of course, that may not be an appealing option.
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Offline Aklyon

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2014, 07:12:10 PM »
My one concern is the charge rate - if I have 2,000 threat just sitting around (quite possible by mid fallen-spire) and that means I have to go micro my fleet to kill one of these every 5 minutes, that could get annoying.
That is a potential pitfall.  Two thoughts:

1) The rate can be capped to make sure it takes at least X minutes, or something like that.  Like you suggested.

2) Even if it was allowed to throw them up really fast, there are defensive strategies you could use to avoid the threat piling up right outside your citadel.  A lead planet with lesser defenses, for instance.  Of course, that may not be an appealing option.
Or a fallback planet with just as many defenses might work, assuming you haven't just dumped everything into one planet.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2014, 07:14:57 PM »
Or a fallback planet with just as many defenses might work, assuming you haven't just dumped everything into one planet.
The "everything AND the kitchen sink AND the factory that makes kitchen sinks, all on one planet" approach is the main one I have in mind in terms of needing a counterbalance :)
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2014, 07:22:02 PM »
Imagine if the Threatfleet gather point that this structure was built on was on the other side of a Bunkerer subcommander with a Tachyon command station and a Black Hole Generator?  The RNG could determine win/loss with just that one decision.
I was mainly thinking of threat creating these, rather than threatfleet.  Threat always waits right on your doorstep.  Or, rather, the doorstep of whatever looks like could kill it.
Ah.  I was thinking this would be more like the stuff the Hybrids build, off inside AI space a few hops.  If it is always going to be adjacent to a player world, that means it is almost always attackable.
Much less of a concern in my mind, then.



2) Even if it was allowed to throw them up really fast, there are defensive strategies you could use to avoid the threat piling up right outside your citadel.  A lead planet with lesser defenses, for instance.  Of course, that may not be an appealing option.
Would that still work if the AI will now notice that your 1-deep planet has enough mobile strength on it to reclaim the sacrifice?  If the threat won't attack unless it will a) win on the planet it attacks, and b) there are no reinforcements close enough to help the human defend, then aren't you just moving the planet that the threat waits on?  It'll attack, win, and then you'll be left with a threatball next to a human world again.

Offline Mad Rubicant

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2014, 07:56:24 PM »
Oh hey, something near and dear to my heart. I don't really have a problem with counterattack posts apart from them being an annoying speed bump (really, I just kill them last, then send my fleet home), but Rude Gesture just ruins my day. Depending on the command station *cough* gravity *cough* and AI type, it can take up to an hour to kill a Rude Gesture planet.

How tough to destroy would these warp relays be to kill? Force Field hard, or Guard Post hard?

This wouldn't have anything to do with my AAR, would it?

Offline Faulty Logic

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2014, 08:01:05 PM »
Quote
1) Move counterattack posts to an AI plot or something like that, thus they become optional.

2) As a new core mechanic, when there's a threatball on a non-player planet and is unwilling to commit to the attack, they gradually accumulate points towards building a "warp relay".

3) Any human planet within X hops of a warp relay (where X is the AI's current tech level + 1) is a valid warp target.  Planets with a warp jammer command station would still be ineligible as targets.
I strongly approve of this.
If warheads can't solve it, use more warheads.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Counterattack Posts
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2014, 08:26:54 PM »
2) Even if it was allowed to throw them up really fast, there are defensive strategies you could use to avoid the threat piling up right outside your citadel.  A lead planet with lesser defenses, for instance.  Of course, that may not be an appealing option.
Would that still work if the AI will now notice that your 1-deep planet has enough mobile strength on it to reclaim the sacrifice?  If the threat won't attack unless it will a) win on the planet it attacks, and b) there are no reinforcements close enough to help the human defend, then aren't you just moving the planet that the threat waits on?  It'll attack, win, and then you'll be left with a threatball next to a human world again.
But the threatball will have been reduced during the fight, and thus easier for you to repel by other means before it gets a relay up next to your main choke, etc.

And if it won't commit to an attack on the outer defenses due to the presence of your mobile strength (and remember your main choke's static strength won't deter outlying attacks), then even if it does get a relay up it won't be able to warp as deep into your territory.  Whether it's enough of a distance difference would vary from case to case, of course.
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