Author Topic: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships  (Read 662 times)

Offline kasnavada

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
One of the core mechanics for AI war is that you've got 3 ship types at first + one special type.

And then got a crapload of turrets, flagship, which are always fixed. My point ? Let's change that. It was already possible to capture more flagship but that felt cranky. About turrets... well.. even worse. That felt fixed and bad, really. Also it's 3 different systems (which complexify the game).

The proposal is as follow: when capturing science stations, you don't gain a ship type (which might be a flagship).

You gain either a new turret, a new ship, a new flagship. That means multiplying, basically, the number of possible science stations. But, by doing so, you gain focus into the game.  And, to compensate for that, you start with only a few turret types, a few flagship types, and the same number of "regular" ship types.

Offline Draco18s

  • Resident Velociraptor
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,091
I....I am strangely ok with this.

Offline ewokonfire

  • Newbie Mark III
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2016, 11:03:53 AM »
There are some issues with this, I feel.  They're certainly things that could be worked out, but it would probably require a rework of several other systems.

Starships currently are fixed to start with because they're a toolbox.  Most kinds (heavy bomber, riot control, cloaker, raid, and scout at the very least) are highly specialized, and are rarely just used as generic fleet-filler.  The generic fleet-filler starships (Flagship in particular and quite possibly Enclave) probably should be made unlockable rather than just given to you.  But removing the others from a starting player would almost certainly reduce the variety in viable methods of problem-solving, which would probably make the gameplay less fun.  I don't build a cloaker starship unless I have a specific use for it in mind.  Were it to be made unlockable, I suspect I would use it once in a blue moon at most.

Turrets have the opposite issue with being made unlockable.  They're too similar, for the most part.  Were turrets to be excitified more, I'd support making them unlockable, but for now I suspect that getting a new turret type from an ARS would, for the most part, be a boring disappointment.  They don't even have the saving grace that boring fleet ship types have, whereby at least the size of your fleet is increased even if you don't get anything you can use for a specific purpose, as turret numbers are generally limited by energy rather than caps (this might change, of course, but this is why I said significant reworks would be needed to make this work).

Just some things to think about, feel free to explain why I'm a moron to me.

Offline kasnavada

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Re: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2016, 11:25:07 AM »
I agree with that.

Goal of this idea was more or less to "unify" how turrets, flagships & ships work, and to give more to the "steal stuff from the AI to survive" concept.

So... yes, generic "3" or similar idea for starting turrets, ships and flagships, then more "unique" turrets, flagships & ships (already there for ships).

Offline zharmad

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,075
Re: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2016, 03:42:42 PM »
...could be a hacking thing to do for the other thread...

Online Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,198
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2016, 02:58:32 AM »
While I fundamentally agree with this idea (I had a similar idea with starships), I must remind that base starships have a toolbox function. I won't speak about the cloaker or the scout, but the heavy bomber (polycrystal VS fortresses) and the Neinzul Enclave (radar dampening for besieging), for instance, are "tools".

So maybe 3 starships is a bit low. My suggestion would be this one:
Keep as basic:
* Flagship
* Raid Starship
* Cloaker
* Scout
For each pair, consider keeping one basic and locking one away (potentially randomly at each game start):
* Zenith or Spire (they're both big combatants)
* Plasma Siege or Neinzul Enclave (siege tool)
* Leech or Riot Control (effective against fleetships, even if very different)

I didn't list the Heavy Bomber because I think it's not very interesting, beside its polycrystal hull. I believe it deserves at least a revamp.



Now for the turrets, beside the felling that 3 basic is a bit few for a toolbox (I'd like to have at least one long/infinite range, one AoE, and all the special ones: tractor, gravity, tachyon and counter), I don't like the current mechanism for MkIV and V turrets.

Do you guys think turrets would be nice to follow the same unlocking mechanism as Fleetships and Starships?

Namely: unlock MkII and MkIII with knowledge; MkIV is available if MkIII is unlocked and an advance something is captured (or has been hacked); MkV is rarely available with a capturable/hackable core something, independently of MkIII unlocked or not. (Currently, MkV turrets are all available in any galaxy, which kinda ruin the point of unlocking them up to MkIV.) See my old topic about that, here.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline kasnavada

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Re: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2016, 04:16:05 AM »
Do you guys think turrets would be nice to follow the same unlocking mechanism as Fleetships and Starships?

Yes.

About flagship, I'd keep raid, bomber, flagship as part of the starting set, with possibly one version of riot. And that's baiscally it.

About the turrets, yes, I'm aiming more for "damage-oriented" types than others. That means that scout for example would be excluded, as would tractor and possibly the gravity turrets. However, I feel the sniper turret could be capturable rather than part of the standard set. It was only necessary IMO as a hard counter to bombers. I'm pretty sure that the discussions about ship balance will lead to them not being necessary in the "starting set".

About counter turrets, I think they either must be made generic and unlockable, or removed from the game entirely. I feel that they're band-aid for balance issues. Same with radar dampening actually. That's another subject though.


Online Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,198
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2016, 07:18:22 AM »
About flagship, I'd keep raid, bomber, flagship as part of the starting set, with possibly one version of riot. And that's baiscally it.

About the turrets, yes, I'm aiming more for "damage-oriented" types than others. That means that scout for example would be excluded, as would tractor and possibly the gravity turrets.
I wasn't able to find where, but I remember having the same kind of discussion with old community members (maybe even Chris). I proposed to lock away most starships and they explained to me why it wouldn't be wise. It's a basic toolbox that any player always have access to, no matter what RNG is throwing in the game. You can't remove basic tools from the game. Some can be more or less removed from the basic pool (the damage-only, for instance), but not the ones with special abilities. The same is true for turrets: tachyon, tractor, gravity, mines, etc, are basic tools for the fundamental towerdefense component of the game. Some damage-only may be moved away in a shuffled list of random goodies to add in the game, but not all. I would be like moving the scout drone in the bonus fleetships pool because it's not part of the triangle: it can't, it's a needed tool.

However, it would be a good idea to have a pool of turrets from which RNG would pick some to add in each game (what it currently does with the fleetships). But that pool mustn't be made with basic tools striped from the "always available" pool. However, making that pool with many new turrets would be interesting. Let's just take the list of ship mechanism we don't find in turrets, shall we? Imagine engine damage turrets, reclamation turrets, vampire turrets, swallowing turrets, Neinzul (drone spawning) turrets, armored turrets, etc. That can make a nice pool of unlockable turrets that would not always be available in each game. But, believe me, don't lock away basic tools such as tractors, tachyon and gravity.

With starships, the call is even easier: the problem is that the pool of random locked starships is very small (6, counting the protector) and mixed with the fleetships, so there is few chances to get a starship design in an ARS or a design backup. So, same strategy: instead of locking basic tools, add more in the locked pool. And there is where it's easy: if all fleetships with cap <10 are made starships (they would be "high cap" starships), that would add a dozen new units into the locked starships pool. Also, if fleetships and starships designs are no more mixed together, it would be more common to have one random starship in the base mix. (We need to come up with a good idea for that; maybe something like, in the lobby, each starting position offers one fleetship, one starship and one turret from the unlockable pool.)

I can see a nice symmetry, easy for new players to understand. Three categories of units (for the Humans, at least): fleetships, starships, turrets. For each, you have a basic toolset that never changes and one more, different in each game. MkII and MkIII are paid with Knowledge, MkIV requires MkIII and the capture/hack of the advanced stuff of this unit type, and MkV requires capture/hack of a specific Core Fab. that grants a single unit MkV no matter MkI-IV.

It must be like a nice table, in the newcomers' heads: three columns for three unit types, one row per mark with the same mechanism: MkII-III Knowledge, MkIV Advanced, MkV Core. No exception, clean design.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 07:25:03 AM by Pumpkin »
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline Tridus

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,305
  • I'm going to do what I do best: lecture her!
Re: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2016, 08:08:02 AM »
Do you guys think turrets would be nice to follow the same unlocking mechanism as Fleetships and Starships?

Namely: unlock MkII and MkIII with knowledge; MkIV is available if MkIII is unlocked and an advance something is captured (or has been hacked); MkV is rarely available with a capturable/hackable core something, independently of MkIII unlocked or not. (Currently, MkV turrets are all available in any galaxy, which kinda ruin the point of unlocking them up to MkIV.) See my old topic about that, here.

Yes, if only for the sake of consistency. Turrets were done the way they are now in AIW for good reasons, but AIW2 is a chance to correct some of the fiddily stuff that built up over time and make the design more consistent and cleaner.

Offline Tridus

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,305
  • I'm going to do what I do best: lecture her!
Re: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2016, 08:20:04 AM »
I wasn't able to find where, but I remember having the same kind of discussion with old community members (maybe even Chris). I proposed to lock away most starships and they explained to me why it wouldn't be wise. It's a basic toolbox that any player always have access to, no matter what RNG is throwing in the game. You can't remove basic tools from the game. Some can be more or less removed from the basic pool (the damage-only, for instance), but not the ones with special abilities. The same is true for turrets: tachyon, tractor, gravity, mines, etc, are basic tools for the fundamental towerdefense component of the game. Some damage-only may be moved away in a shuffled list of random goodies to add in the game, but not all. I would be like moving the scout drone in the bonus fleetships pool because it's not part of the triangle: it can't, it's a needed tool.

I agree.

Quote
However, it would be a good idea to have a pool of turrets from which RNG would pick some to add in each game (what it currently does with the fleetships). But that pool mustn't be made with basic tools striped from the "always available" pool. However, making that pool with many new turrets would be interesting. Let's just take the list of ship mechanism we don't find in turrets, shall we? Imagine engine damage turrets, reclamation turrets, vampire turrets, swallowing turrets, Neinzul (drone spawning) turrets, armored turrets, etc. That can make a nice pool of unlockable turrets that would not always be available in each game. But, believe me, don't lock away basic tools such as tractors, tachyon and gravity.

Also agree. It really gimps the tower defense portion of the game if most of the tools used to make that work effectively against harder waves disappear. The other options help make it interesting by letting you build defensive systems, rather than just a pile of stationary DPS.

Quote
With starships, the call is even easier: the problem is that the pool of random locked starships is very small (6, counting the protector) and mixed with the fleetships, so there is few chances to get a starship design in an ARS or a design backup. So, same strategy: instead of locking basic tools, add more in the locked pool. And there is where it's easy: if all fleetships with cap <10 are made starships (they would be "high cap" starships), that would add a dozen new units into the locked starships pool. Also, if fleetships and starships designs are no more mixed together, it would be more common to have one random starship in the base mix.

Good idea.

Quote
(We need to come up with a good idea for that; maybe something like, in the lobby, each starting position offers one fleetship, one starship and one turret from the unlockable pool.)

Great idea! That would really mix up the starting options, whereas right now, ship wise, there is often a clearly superior one (and you just hope the location isn't horrific). It also helps people get exposed to a wider variety of other ships, because even if they always want to pick their favorite whenever it's there, that will give them another ship and a turret they might not normally use to try out.

Getting people exposed to all the different options is important to how people's understanding of the game grows, and this lets them get exposed to it even while they pick their favorite (and/or familiar) ship.

Quote
I can see a nice symmetry, easy for new players to understand. Three categories of units (for the Humans, at least): fleetships, starships, turrets. For each, you have a basic toolset that never changes and one more, different in each game. MkII and MkIII are paid with Knowledge, MkIV requires MkIII and the capture/hack of the advanced stuff of this unit type, and MkV requires capture/hack of a specific Core Fab. that grants a single unit MkV no matter MkI-IV.

It must be like a nice table, in the newcomers' heads: three columns for three unit types, one row per mark with the same mechanism: MkII-III Knowledge, MkIV Advanced, MkV Core. No exception, clean design.

Definitely. That's good even for non-newcomers, because it's clear and easy to follow. Frees up head space for other mechanics, rather than trying to remember all the different ways unlocks can work.

Offline kasnavada

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Re: AI War moddable ? Then let's go for capturing turrets / flagships / ships
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2016, 09:17:33 AM »
I wasn't able to find where, but I remember having the same kind of discussion with old community members (maybe even Chris). I proposed to lock away most starships and they explained to me why it wouldn't be wise. It's a basic toolbox that any player always have access to, no matter what RNG is throwing in the game. You can't remove basic tools from the game. Some can be more or less removed from the basic pool (the damage-only, for instance), but not the ones with special abilities. The same is true for turrets: tachyon, tractor, gravity, mines, etc, are basic tools for the fundamental towerdefense component of the game. Some damage-only may be moved away in a shuffled list of random goodies to add in the game, but not all. I would be like moving the scout drone in the bonus fleetships pool because it's not part of the triangle: it can't, it's a needed tool.

First, sorry I was unclear about what I said.
- tool starships : scout... no idea what else. I'm not sure that cloaker & raid starships should be in the game at all. IMO all they brought in was balance issues. But yes, they'd be "tools" in this idea if they were in, because they're not really starships. Much like the scout ain't a fleetship. Or the engineer.
- turrets : tachyon, gravity (even if that mechanic should probably be ditched completely in favor of something else), tractor... and basically that's it. All others are damage dealers.

I agree with the other part of your paragraph though, but with a different goal. Careful thought must be put into the (few) ships chosen so that they cover whatever the game can throw at you, rather than the current concept of "put a lot so it covers everything by default". Because "let's put a lot" will, in a few month, become "hey, 90% of the game is useless, use only unit_type_B, all the other are trash", and because modding.

IMO, it's only good to have lots of options if they're meaningful.

That said, I said "3" "because", nor because of careful thoughts. Balance may find that 5 are necessary, or more. I'm just for limiting the player options at start, make it steal more stuff from the AI, so it reinforces the feeling of "we were on the brink of destruction, stole the tools and emerged victorious", which I feel is a large part of what AI war is about. Also, having less at start fills one of my other goals of "simpler to learn, still as complex to win". By limiting some option which I feel are redundant, and making the three "big unit player types" work similarly.


That said, I don't wish for a removal of mines & other utilities. Just making the turret / ship / starship more "coherent" in behaviour for the player.


PS : On a "bet", I made a game on diff 7 a few years back which demonstrated that the player had too much. I won handily WITHOUT using any point of knowledge but scout II fleetship (no golem, no asteroid spire ships either). I think I had 58K knowledge at the end, or so. The next days, a nerf to science stations was done where the MKII were not free on capture anymore. I'm pretty sure it's still doable now. Thing is, I'm pretty sure that the community members you spoke with at that time, on that particular point, overestimate by a lot what's necessary to counter the "RNG" part of what the game throws at you.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 09:21:29 AM by kasnavada »