Author Topic: Swarmer ships  (Read 4267 times)

Offline TechSY730

  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,562
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2013, 02:15:14 PM »
What I would like to do, assuming we remove the armor mechanic entirely, is have an entire thread devoted to giving each bonus ship a role, as voted on by the community, in the wake of armor's disappearance.  This way we could get a nice consensus on what players would actually USE them for, instead of what would be good in theory (such as Spire Armor Rotters or Zenith Chameleons). I wouldn't even mind cutting down the amount of bonus ships by about 25% if the ones that were left were all extremely well-defined and useful, with little overlap. No reason to keep things around just for novelty's sake, but then again, I'm not a very sentimental person.

Although simply removing bonus ships is an option (because the depth of the engine does not offer enough distinct roles and sets of tradeoffs to support the current number of ship types, which I am beginning to suspect would happen if armor in any form was removed), I'm not sure how difficult coding wise removing ships (or rather, removing any way to access or see them save for cheats and save-game editing), especially when it comes to save game compatibility. Plus, we don't have a precedent for removing fleet ships.


Personally, the best option I have seen so far is to make armor like armor piercing, limited distribution, aka, most ships don't have armor (and wont show an armor stat), and the ships that do have it become part of the "gimmick" of that ship. (This is in addition to modifying armor rotting and possibly armor piercing to give a slight bonus against ships with no armor)

Offline Hearteater

  • Core Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,334
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2013, 02:39:01 PM »
Still my preferred armor mechanic replacement:
Since there was a little veering into armor, and since a good armor system will have an effect on what the multipliers can look like, I'll throw out a quick system that would make it easy to have ships specializing in armor piercing be different from those that don't, while also being both simple to both understand and implement:

Rate unit's Armor as Mark I - Mark V (with some ships have no armor, effectively Mark 0).  Armor reduces all incoming damage by a percent as follows: Mark 0: -0%, Mark I: -20%, Mark II: -40%, Mark III: -60%, Mark IV: -80%, Mark V: -90%.

Armor Piercing is also rated from Mark I - Mark V (with some ships having no armor piercing, effectively Mark 0).  If the attacker has an equal or greater Mark Armor Piercing than the target's Armor, then the armor is completely ignored.  Otherwise the armor is fully effective.  This means you have distinct matchups between ships.  Mark V armor ships really want Mark V AP ships to counter them.

Armor Rotting reduces the Mark of Armor by one (and doesn't stack within a single ship type, but does stack between multiple ship types, so Acid Sprayers and Autocannons together could knock off 2 Marks of armor).  This gives those ships the powerful ability, but also makes it very clear intuitively.  Armor can't be reduced below Mark 0, so ships with no armor to start with aren't affected by armor rotting.

Lastly, Armor Boosting adds one Mark of armor, capping at Mark V.
This isn't without a possible downside.  Heavily armored ships that meet something with the appropriate Armor Piercing will get shredded.  It may be better to instead of having Armor Piercing ignore the armor completely, have it half the effectiveness.  Otherwise a Mark IV Armored ship which normally takes only 20% of all incoming damage will suddenly take x5 relative damage from its counter.  At "half armor effectiveness" you'd take only x3 relative damage (60% from the ship with Armor Piercing IV compared to 20% from everything else).

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,505
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2013, 02:44:11 PM »
It may be better to instead of having Armor Piercing ignore the armor completely, have it half the effectiveness.
Real quick, but how does that vary from "ignores completely" + doubling the health of the armored types?
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 Cinth

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,527
  • Resident Zombie
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2013, 02:51:31 PM »
It may be better to instead of having Armor Piercing ignore the armor completely, have it half the effectiveness.
Real quick, but how does that vary from "ignores completely" + doubling the health of the armored types?
Wouldn't that be a buff against non AP ship types?
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,505
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2013, 02:54:49 PM »
Wouldn't that be a buff against non AP ship types?
Probably, my mind is split in a lot of different directions right now ;)
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 Cinth

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,527
  • Resident Zombie
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2013, 02:58:44 PM »
Wouldn't that be a buff against non AP ship types?
Probably, my mind is split in a lot of different directions right now ;)

That's why I usually don't engage in these discussions :)  Lot's of reading and re-reading and re-re-reading for me lol.

Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline Kahuna

  • Core Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,222
  • Kahuna Matata!
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2013, 03:07:12 PM »
Wouldn't that be a buff against non AP ship types?
Probably, my mind is split in a lot of different directions right now ;)
Split personality.. I knew it!
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
echo Kahuna matata!

Offline Hearteater

  • Core Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,334
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2013, 03:09:58 PM »
It may be better to instead of having Armor Piercing ignore the armor completely, have it half the effectiveness.
Real quick, but how does that vary from "ignores completely" + doubling the health of the armored types?
I'm not entirely sure what you are asking :) .  But the "problem" is, in case I wasn't clear, that assuming Armor Piercing is a fairly rare bonus that Armored ships will have their health set to sane values for ships that don't have Armor Piercing.  As a result this would cause ships with Armored Piercing to do such a huge amount of damage (compared to those without) that that'd likely end up countering extremely hard.  You can't increase the health of the Armored ships to compensate because that also makes them vastly harder to kill for ships without Armor Piercing.

Another solution to this problem would be to make the Armor Marks much smaller reductions, like -10% per Mark (so Mark V is -50% damage).  Then it probably matters a lot less if Armor Piercing totally cancels Armor since at best you get x2 relative damage from Armor Piercing ships (in the case of Mark V Armor getting pierced).  You don't get the massive -80% that is possible now from the Armor system which may be a concern.  Modifying the health of units that are expecting to get -80% (Hardened Force Fields for example) should solve that problem.

Or you could throw in a "Damping Field" property that is an additive -X% incoming damage ignoring Armor Piercing.  So you could a Hardened Force Field with Armor III and Damping Field 30% which takes -60% damage unless the attacker has Armor Piercing III+ in which case it still takes -30% damage thanks to the Damping Field.  Very few units would have this propert (maybe Hardened Shields, probably H/Ks, Mothership, and maybe a few Golems).

Offline keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,505
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2013, 03:10:17 PM »
Split personality.. I knew it!
Yea, one side likes to see players lose, and the other side likes to see players lose while having fun in the process, and the other side likes to see players lose while running into hilarious emergent/unintentional behavior in the process.
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 LaughingThesaurus

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,723
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2013, 08:58:34 PM »
Well implementing hilarious behavior's always a win, Keith.
Although you are the DM, so making us lose while also having fun is probably ideal.
...I can see why you like making us lose though, too.

Darn it. You got me doing it.

Offline Wingflier

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,752
  • To add me on Steam, click the little Steam icon ^
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #40 on: April 02, 2013, 10:08:28 AM »
The problem I see with Swarmers is that many of them could use Area of Effect Immunity.

There are so many mechanics in the game that just garbage dump large numbers of small units, that even increasing their health would only mitigate the issue, not solve it.

Why, for example, do Frigates have AOE immunity? Frigates by definition are supposed to be long-range support units. They can avoid the battle with their high range. Wouldn't it make 10,000x more sense that those small swarmer units which have to be on top of their targets, and who are very susceptible to AOE have the immunity to it?

To me, Space Planes are pretty much the pinnacle of what a "Swarmer" should be. They have amazing damage and multipliers (Heavy, Structural, AND Polycrystal...that covers the most important targets in the game by far). They have Cloaking. They have Radar Dampening. They are Blazing Fast. They can remove key structures from the game extremely well, but also contribute well to a fight if microed correctly. They aren't just cannon fodder, because with their unique characteristics, they add a unique blend of bonuses to your army that it's hard to find elsewhere.

Most other "Swarmer" units do not fit into this category however, because they have no cloaking, and no radar dampening, and they rely on the "brute force" method to be useful. Yet they simply get evaporated by TONS of different types of AoE weapons, and have so little health that it never really works out in practice.  Swarmer units need some kind of epic survivability mechanisms like the Space Plane in order to be useful, otherwise they're just going to be an underpowered ship type.
"Inner peace is the void of expectation. It is the absence of our shared desperation to feel a certain way."

Offline Histidine

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2013, 10:47:44 AM »
Yea, I think the main impact armor has on the game is "make swarmers stink" ;)
This is why I hold the position that tying armor damage reduction to damage-per-shot makes balance way harder than it needs to be.

On swarmers: Faulty Logic is correct, secondary mechanics all disfavor them.
We could just make a cap of them much stronger than a cap of non-swarmers to compensate, but I have an alternative idea: emphasize their Neinzul-ness. Make them dirt cheap to build/replace, not as effective as a cap of regular fleetships but way more expendable. Make them good for whatever the player might need cannon fodder for, basically.
This gives them a distinct role as a group, and makes the cap-strength imbalance less important.

Offline chemical_art

  • Core Member Mark IV
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,952
  • Fabulous
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2013, 10:50:30 AM »

Most other "Swarmer" units do not fit into this category however, because they have no cloaking, and no radar dampening, and they rely on the "brute force" method to be useful. Yet they simply get evaporated by TONS of different types of AoE weapons, and have so little health that it never really works out in practice.  Swarmer units need some kind of epic survivability mechanisms like the Space Plane in order to be useful, otherwise they're just going to be an underpowered ship type.

I think part of the problem is that the roles that swarmers fulfill can be so by other units.

Swarmer units need roles that swarmers do best. Deflector drones are on the right track with that: With so many drones in your fleet, it is hard to remove them all so their protective aura lives on. A swarmer that paralysis for a short while would another potential example, or an infiltrator that needs to setup to fire like the Siege engines...but have cloaking boosters (OK, that would hurt but you get the idea)
Life is short. Have fun.

Offline Wingflier

  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,752
  • To add me on Steam, click the little Steam icon ^
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #43 on: April 02, 2013, 10:54:25 AM »
Or like if Raiders had more health and more damage, while also being immune to Ion Cannons and AoE damage, they would instantly become useful in a fleet.

Autocannon Minipods could also use some AoE Immunity, because they evaporate so fast it's comical.
"Inner peace is the void of expectation. It is the absence of our shared desperation to feel a certain way."

Offline chemical_art

  • Core Member Mark IV
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,952
  • Fabulous
Re: Swarmer ships
« Reply #44 on: April 02, 2013, 11:00:44 AM »
Emphasize their Neinzul-ness. Make them dirt cheap to build/replace, not as effective as a cap of regular fleetships but way more expendable. Make them good for whatever the player might need cannon fodder for, basically.
This gives them a distinct role as a group, and makes the cap-strength imbalance less important.

This could work. Currently, with unit costs you have neinzul - fleetships - starships - FS - Golem

Having swarmers straddle the line of neinzul and fleetships by being cheaper but vulnerable compared to most fleetship and low cap fleetships in particular could work.
Life is short. Have fun.

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk