General Category > AI War II - AI Discussion

Doom Clock

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--- Quote from: kasnavada on September 16, 2016, 01:46:43 am ---Which also means that game has to provide better incentive to actually have the player raise his AIP. CSG forced you to do some capturing, but apart from that... Frankly, assuming default options (1 AIP / 30 minutes I think ?), unless floored, there is little reason to take an additional planet. The AIP raise from taking one is it's the equivalent of playing 10 hours more. There are very few planets in a game, if any, which give you enough of a boost to be equivalent to playing 10 more hours.

Possibly, "forcing" the player to want to raise his AIP needs another thread though. ::)

--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: AI War II Design Doc ---9. That said, their attention is divided quite a bit as they wage a many-many-front-war against parts of the galaxy both known and unknown to human settlement.
a. Some of the larger spire factions are in particularly fierce conflict with the AI well away from where the humans have ever traveled, and this is fortunately deflecting enough processing power that the AIs are not instantly murdering everyone here (they’re giving it a pretty good shot, though).

--- End quote ---

I've seen a couple of different complaints that I think could be addressed at the same time with one mechanic.
1) Games are 'typically' too long. Part of this comes down to specific balance numbers, but a large part is that the optimal strategy involves a lot of patience and waiting for advantageous openings between AI attacks.
2) The benefits of increasing AIP are vastly outweighed by the increase in AI reinforcements, especially at higher difficulties and therefore the best option is to always minimize AIP.

So I propose adding a flexible Doom Clock. Flexible how? Increasing AIP *increases* the time left on the Doom Clock, trading a long term defeat for short term stress. This clearly makes ultra-low AIP nonviable, encourages spending AIP to get an advantage now because the game is going to be over in X many hours (no digging in for a 30 hour campaign) and generally results in faster and larger conflicts.

Super easy to justify lore-ways too. The doom clock is the approximate time until the AI finishes defeating those other powerful unseen spire factions. At which point, rather than just handing the player a "You Lose" actually flood the playable area of the galaxy with the ships from that offensive. Would make for a cool spectacle and allow for rare but neat stories in 11th hour victories as well. More time is added to the clock as AIP goes up because the AI is redirecting focus and resources from fighting the elsewhere-spire to fighting you, thus giving you more time until the other faction loses and the main fleet arrives. For bonus points, if AIP goes high enough, the AI switches primary targets and dumps the main fleet on you IMMEDIATELY (I'm talking like the equivalent of current 1200+ AIP, some absurdly large number).

The main and obvious con is that this suggestion would completely annihilate the idea of leaving the game tempo with the player, so I would of course advocate it being a toggleable option, but it could very well make for a faster and more entertaining default version of the game.

So what do people think? Good idea? Relegate to an option somewhere? Kill it with fire?

Lord Of Nothing:
I definitely like the idea of this as an option, possibly with an intensity setting, possibly varying with difficulty. I don't like the idea of it being in any way mandatory though.
As for the AI's main fleet showing up to kill you, that would be cool, but might have to wait a while as to do it justice is going to require some VERY big toys for the AI that are probably of a scale too big to have in the base game for any other reason...

personally I've always hated timed missions with a passion, for me personally it no longer is about fun and screwing around and becomes more serious and a job, however as long as it's an option I'd say why not, dead rising 2 is an entire timed campaign and people seem to like that, so yeah just make it an option and I don't see why not.

I'm for it too.
Option is kind of mandatory. Setting the pace was a defining part of AI War. Then again, there was a complaints against its passivity. So, default or not default ? (I'd go for default).

About timers as a whole, they generally force you to take risks, and pry you away from the safest paths. I like that idea, that you've got to choose your risks. If you can stomach it, however, you can go see Firaxis X-Com 2 VS X-Com 1 threads for the complete argumentation against each side repeated for months.

For comparison, how does AI War Classic solve this problem?

1) AIP auto-progress.  If you sit around, the AI will eventually consider you a threat no matter what you do.  The higher the auto-progress, the more worthwhile it is to save time by paying AIP (either in the form of capturing planets or using warheads).

2) CPAs.  If you sit around long enough, the AI will throw ever-larger chunks of threat at you, and eventually you will be overwhelmed... unless the AI runs out of ships. Ideally it wouldn't run out unless you went well out of your way to force that situation.   

3) Core guard posts having +10 AIP floor on death.  The first AI HW you kill is guaranteed to raise the floor by 80.  That encourages you to accumulate some AIP before then, or to take some planets afterward.  On high difficulties, the floor goes up by 1/3rd of any AIP gained.  In effect, if you're riding the floor, you get a 66% discount on any AIP gained.  However, on sufficiently high difficulties at sufficiently high AIP, even a 66% discount might not be enough to justify taking more planets. 

4) Exos?  I believe some exos just keep getting bigger every time they launch, up to a very high maximum.  This encourages you to win before they get too big to handle. 

5) 200+ AIP reinforcement => wave redirect.  Once you go past 200 AIP, the AI reinforcement budget is capped, and the excess instead adds to the next wave. This results in VERY large waves past ~AIP 250 or so.  On the flip side, it makes AIP below 200 very cheap, because it doesn't increase waves all that much; ergo, you might as well capture some planets.

6) Playtime: I'd rather not spend 10 hours clearing if I don't have to; if I can take 20 AIP and win sooner without dying, I'll do that. However, some people are clearly willing to spend the 10 hours. 

If you want shorter games, play on smaller maps! I'm using 60 planets as my default going forward.

I feel like more auto-progress would actually solve this problem pretty well, possibly combined with increasing the impact of the core guard post floor increases and/or upping the threshold for reinforcement => wave redirection.  Increase the time pressure a bit but also increase the headroom a bit.

I really want a graph of AIP over time for a game displayed when you win or lose.


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