Author Topic: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.  (Read 1041 times)

Offline vigilo confido

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DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« on: September 11, 2016, 12:53:34 PM »
I think we can agree one of the most frustrating experiences in AI war 1 is the AI destroying a fabricator you have held for 5 hours by a large kamikaze attack from the AI. The player has more than enough defenses to defend itself but the AI bruteforces through the DPS the player has and makes a beeline for that fabricator. The player ends up investing in a mark II logistics station more so for the sole purpose of defending a fabricator than a mark II military command station. This is even more annoying because which wormhole the AI decides to attack through can decide if you can destroy the AI fleet in time before the AI destroys the fabricator and you are permanently weakened for the rest of the game. This leads to a DPS clock where you have to kill enough AI ships before they reach the forcefields and destroy the fabricator within the force fields. It is honestly one of the most frustrating parts about AI wars Classic. The AI sends a level 3 reprisal wave, gets a good wormhole spawn and brute forces through all the defenses and ships the player has and beelines for that fabricator. What I wish I could do in AI Wars Classic is make it so fabricators would not be targeted by the AI but are returned to the AI if the system goes neutral. Fabricators and other ship building facilities from the AI take 20 minutes to go online once on the player side though. The AI may also actively try to prevent the recapture of the fabricator to.

I hope this part of AI Wars Classic is changed in AI wars II. I want to feel like I am defending territory. Not the plasma starhsip mark V fabricator and my entire game relies on having the plasma starship mark Vs.


Edit: Upon further consideration, I never considered hacking them. I always played with an unique playstyle that always worked really well. I keep the AIP below 20 for most of the game and clear out all the AI defenses and ships on every planet I plan to travel through or capture at any point. The amount of firepower you can get while keeping AIP below 20 is pretty surprising. The AI is stuck using the reinforcement budget it gets at below 20 AIP for most of the game, which means the planets you clear will never be reinforced with any type of threat. I can then blitz capture every AI systems that allowed me to produce an unique ship and get the zenith power generators and prepare to make my move to end the game. I can afford to not give a hug about the fabricators since I plan to end the game soon with one decisive blow. It is simply a waiting game of getting the ships built and build from the most vulnerable fabs first. This is what I did before hacking came along.

I basically use a very boring playstyle in response to fabs dying so easily and I had no idea people presented this argument before and Chris gave hacking as the solution. I already found my own solution using what was already in the game and it was a boring playstyle. I did not want to do this playstyle in AI wars II.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 02:19:46 PM by vigilo confido »

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2016, 01:23:23 PM »
What I wish I could do in AI Wars Classic is make it so fabricators would not be targeted by the AI but are returned to the AI if the system goes neutral.
The AI doesn't need the fabricator and has no reason to recapture it. Part of the game's premise (and lore) is that the AI's production is outside your reach. The facilities left in the players galaxy weren't worth the AI's time to relocate or destroy. You showing up gives the AI reason to destroy it.

Fabricators and other ship building facilities from the AI take 20 minutes to go online once on the player side though.
I don't like this. It's an extra 20 minutes where you can't use the resource you presumably captured because you planned to use it in the next stage of your strategy. We're cutting netflix time, not adding it.

The AI may also actively try to prevent the recapture of the fabricator to.
It's kinda folded in, but fabricators and factories are the reason that high mark systems are high mark. An active defense wouldn't be bad though.

I hope this part of AI Wars Classic is changed in AI wars II. I want to feel like I am defending territory. Not the plasma starhsip mark V fabricator and my entire game relies on having the plasma starship mark Vs.
Hack the factory.  ::)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 02:07:01 PM by Captain Jack »

Offline ewokonfire

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 01:30:53 PM »
Simple solution: Make Chivalric an optional global game modifier rather than an AI Type.  Now, players who don't want to defend fabricators don't have to.  For an even better but slightly more effortful addition, also add a halfway house between the two where the AI can shoot at your fabricators, but this only disables them and you have to pay a cost (metal/AIP/time/whatever)to get it back online.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2016, 01:39:33 PM »
Your post has good points =). And, in answers to (I think) other points like yours, that had been solved by hacking. I think it was a good solution.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 01:43:56 PM by kasnavada »

Offline Toranth

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2016, 01:43:35 PM »
This is exactly the argument that led to the ability to hack Fabricators, Advanced Factories, etc.  There was a point in time where many players did not bother to capture anything but 'safe' uniques (ones behind your whipping boy, or something else similar protecting it).  There'd be the one you capture for the CS-C, one for the CS-B, and whatever else happened to fall into your lap... but it was never, ever worth it to try to keep them.

So, several things changed.  First, there was hacking.  If your REALLY wanted to keep that ship type, you could hack it instead of capture it.
Second, the location was moved away from the wormholes.  That's right, it used to be that all uniques and capturables were located at wormholes, which could make them... difficult to defend.
Third, later on, the switch to planet turret caps.  This meant you could actually DEFEND everything you captured, rather than just one or two things.

Now, I like the fact that I can lose important, irreplaceable stuff.  With Chris's intention to make things less vulnerable to a single Raid Starship popping out of nowhere, it turns into more of a "You only lose the unique if you really lost the battle for the system" rather than "One ship got by, and that was all it took".  And I'm perfectly fine with that.

Offline vigilo confido

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2016, 02:00:24 PM »
I think I led my argument with a bias of my playstyle. I like to keep the AIP below 20 for over half the game and get enough of certain starships to remove as many AI defenses possible in all of their systems. I then end the game within the next 3 hours top by blitz capturing all the AI systems that gave me the ability to produce more ships, build a super large army ASAP and then do a simultaneous strike on two AI homeworlds before the AI has the ability to reinforce it's systems. I did this playstyle because of how little response the AI had to this strategy. I also did this strategy because I would not need to keep the fabricators alive because of my plan to end the game so quickly once I blitz captured them. I actually used my hacking points to get knowledge and the rest towards the super terminal. It was so very satisfying to use blitz strategies to take the AI down.

I never considered hacking honestly because I actually changed my entire game strategy to the problems of defending fabricators. I blitz capture all the AI systems at once and then end the game. My playstyle can be very boring though and I wanted less incentives to do it.

Offline Tridus

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2016, 02:58:07 PM »
Apparently the AI will try to retake territory now, which it didn't really do before. You'd think that would lead to them wanting to get these facilities back rather than blowing them up.

I never found the explanation that the AI didn't need them very satisfying. If that's the case, why not disassemble them so the humans can't steal them in the first place?

Offline x4000

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2016, 05:08:18 PM »
Apparently the AI will try to retake territory now, which it didn't really do before. You'd think that would lead to them wanting to get these facilities back rather than blowing them up.

I never found the explanation that the AI didn't need them very satisfying. If that's the case, why not disassemble them so the humans can't steal them in the first place?

I agree with all of this, and in general with the original post.

The reason that things were that way in AI War Classic mostly had to do with the way that AI War 1.0 (and by extension 2.0) were conceived: there was mostly fleet ships, and the focus was there.  Guard posts were nothing special, there were very few special capturables (though these core ones were there), etc.  Going into AI War 3.0 we started having tons of capturablees and a bunch of other things, and the focus shifted.  However, the underlying framework never did shift.

This is a really good example of why I'm approaching the sequel the way I am, and starting completely from the bottom-up and ignoring a lot of certain kinds of discussions until the underlying decisions are made (with those sorts of things in the back of my mind, though).  Hacking was actually Keith's solution, and it was a really good one, I think.

But I also do think that having two ways to go about something, and one of them being more obvious as well as less fun, is not a way to have the design in the sequel.  I'd rather have only one more difficult way to handle it, but that at least is fun.  Or ideally something in the middle difficulty-wise.

---

One of the other core design tenets of AI War Classic from early on in was permanent consequences.  That's still something I really like, and there are times where that's appropriate.  But even AI Progress itself evolved during the course of AI War Classic such that you could reduce it; originally that was absolutely-irreversible, but that went over like a lead balloon.  I don't recall if that had already been changed by 1.0, so perhaps none of you actually saw that, but that was the original design idea.

Anyway, something I've been thinking about is that there needs to be a bit more push and pull, a bit more King of the Hill and a bit less One-Hit Permadeath, so to speak.  The most epic and interesting battles have always been fought in the parts of the game where there's back and forth like that, and in the sequel I'm really upping the AI's ability to engage in that (recapturing territory).

Having one-way-doors of consequences are still also something I really like, but making them some sort of instant penalty I am less fond of.  You being able to pull a "the enemy's gate is down" against the AI feels pretty epic, although can be cheap if done too much.  The AI doing it against you feels kind of head-desk instead, and honestly I don't see it as something that does more than make the player play too conservatively.

That gets into kind of a vicious cycle:
1. Players become very conservative in how they take territory and what they hold because of the fear of irreversible reprisals.
2. The game proceeds very slow, and the player is pretty much perfectly protected in some senses.
3. The AI is then ONLY able to actually cause an irreversible reprisal in ways that are either overwhelming force (that's fine) or sneaking-through-the-backdoor (tends to be maddening).
4. Because of the threat of overwhelming force and the backdoor risk, players tend to both build heavy bottlenecks AND then certain forms of defense-in-depth, and this makes them even more conservative.  And the cycle repeats.

To me, this is negative because it trends a lot of players toward one style (turtling with a bottleneck).  Playing that way is fine (it's my preferred way personally, too), but having the incentive to take some risks after you have a secure core is something I definitely want to do.  Having more things that you can try, fail, and try again without irreversibly screwing up your campaign is a part of that, I think.

Having both the need AND the ability to defend more territory without relying on a single choke point also ups the tension quite a bit.  You get into more 'Indiana Jones holy grail' situations, too: "I can allllllmost reach that!" (and then you fall down the hole and die).  In AI War Classic, players almost never die because they got cocky, except right at the endgame itself.  I don't want to wreck the mood of the game, but having a bit of a sense of "I can take just a little more ground, and it will be okay" as a general sense would be good.  But having you constantly questioning yourself on that, and sometimes it horribly backfiring, too.

Anyway, long rambling post. ;)  But my core point is that more things that are Bad Things That Happen, But That You Can Undo is a good thing, and actually would increase tension and difficulty rather than decreasing it.  Paradoxically as that might sound.  I've seen it happen with various mechanics in AI War Classic and other games, where that sort of "hey, I can always fix that later" mindset leads to all sorts of fun lapses.
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Offline Cinth

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2016, 05:15:41 PM »
In AI War Classic, players almost never die because they got cocky,

Almost...   :D
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2016, 05:33:30 PM »
In AI War Classic, players almost never die because they got cocky,

Almost...   :D
Yeah, any attack with raiders gives the lie to that.

....

Hey, what if taking too much territory too fast got the AI to raid on you? Sort of a "Stop that!!" swat that the player would actively have to defend against. Might be a neat personality.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 01:26:54 AM »
That gets into kind of a vicious cycle:
1. Players become very conservative in how they take territory and what they hold because of the fear of irreversible reprisals.
2. The game proceeds very slow, and the player is pretty much perfectly protected in some senses.
3. The AI is then ONLY able to actually cause an irreversible reprisal in ways that are either overwhelming force (that's fine) or sneaking-through-the-backdoor (tends to be maddening).
4. Because of the threat of overwhelming force and the backdoor risk, players tend to both build heavy bottlenecks AND then certain forms of defense-in-depth, and this makes them even more conservative.  And the cycle repeats.

I so agree with that.

In AI War Classic, players almost never die because they got cocky, except right at the endgame itself.
And that, once the basics of defending against the AI are known, most waves can be ignored. Sure there is a few raider that escape killboxes from time to time... but mostly... that's so true.


Offline zharmad

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Re: DPS clocks in AI wars Classic.
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2016, 02:59:41 AM »
The head desk occurrences are generally because newer players aren't aware of risks, or that the moves themselves are very difficult to fully counter.
I still think the AI obtaining more choreographed / preventable "backdoors" should be considered as ways to increase the dynamic difficulty. Warp counterattacks guard posts were annoying half because of the player choke point mentality, and half because it lands an unpreventable full wave anywhere in your territory (fine if you had contiguous territories).
Choke points will still exist in the sequel, so having clear responses that are not "throw more FF-immune raiders until some get through" would be great at reducing the DPS-check