Author Topic: Fleet thoughts  (Read 1377 times)

Offline Diazo

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Fleet thoughts
« on: July 28, 2019, 12:47:56 AM »
Alright, time for my first big piece of feedback.

First, a disclaimer that I've only had the game for a week and a bit, there is stuff I haven't seen.

Having said that, this post focuses on Fleets so I think I can give some useful feedback as those are core to every game played.

The one think I do know is planned for fleets is to make them more flexible by allowing fleets to transfer units and that is pretty much the entirety of my feedback. "Fleets are great, but limiting."

A large part of depth to AIWC was the oddball units that were situational but could be so much fun those times you did decide to use them. Things like the Anti-Missile turret or the Grav Turret (slow units in range, might have the name wrong).

However, the current fleet model does not allow for those units because the player doesn't get to pick the units, they have to take the fleet as is, so really oddball/specialized units aren't in the mix because those could hurt the player too much if they are forced to take them in order to capture another flagship. (I assume there is also a time element as adding in a new ship is not a negligible task either.)

There are 4 big points that drive my suggestion:
-More control over my fleets, both mobile and static. One of the games I played I had a bad seeding of capturable flagships to expand my fleet so I had to capture several worlds with a single mobile fleet. I would have loved to sacrifice some of my turrets so my defense Command Station fleets could have helped out on the attack.
-More unit choice. I'd love to see the more oddball/stranger units back in the game somehow and this allows that without potentially crippling the player.
-Keeps the fleets with flagship model as it exists because of all the advantages that brings (and the reason for fleets in the first place).
-Capturing a system should increase your fleet's power. The 3K knowledge covers some of this, but a little boost directly to your fleet every time you capture a system would be nice.


My suggestion is a pretty large extension of the current fleet model that covers several points, first a list of the points, followed by a larger description and my reasoning of why I'm suggesting it.

-All fleets, including Command Station fleets can assign their ship slots from a common pool of ships.
-All fleets, both Mobile and Stationary, can assign all types of ships.
-Captured Flagships no longer unlock new ship types.
-Every (or almost every system) captured unlocks a single new ship (or additional slot of an existing ship) on capture.
-Existing model of knowledge to unlock higher marks stays, but maybe tweaked costs?


1) Assigning ships from a common pool.
This is the backbone of the flexibility I'd like to see added to fleets, of which the already planned swapping of ships between fleets is the beginning of.

Taking it much further the player would have a pool of units available to fill all the slots in their fleets (mobile and static). The player would start the game with a selection of ships and turrets, then assign them as they saw fit to their fleets. There would have to be a "default" ship (or one ship and one turret) with unlimited slots to fill out any leftovers. (Maybe the V-wing and the Pike turret?)

By adding a global fleet assignment screen that shows at fleets at once (instead of the current one fleet at a time), I don't think this would run into the "too much micromanagement" problem.

Then every system captured would add a new ship (and a new turret?) to the pool of ships available to assign to your fleets. (Or increase the times a ship the player already has could be assigned.)
As part of this, when a transport flagship is captured, it would come with no ship unlocks (or maybe 1?) as you are already unlocking a new ship type for capturing the system. (You would start with several ships already unlocked, including several of the oddball/strange ships I'd like to see come back.)


2) Ship assignment is not limited by fleet type.
I see several positives to allowing Command Station fleets to assign mobile ships (as well as turrets) and Flagships to assign Turrets (as well as ships) so there would be a common pool of available ships shared by all fleets.

Allowing Command Station fleets to build mobile ships allows them to hunt threat in adjoining systems or aid in defense of an adjoining system without requiring one of your mobile fleets to do so. Mobile ships assigned this way would need a 1 or 2 hop restriction, they are intended for defense, not offense. The trade off of losing the turrets that slot could build instead would how this is balanced.

Allowing Flagships to build turrets means that if the player desires, beachheading is always an available tactic. It also means that battlestations/citadels seeding can be significantly reduced (or even removed?) as the need for having one of them available for beachheading is no longer needed, and if a player wants to build more turrets in a fortification system, then can use a flagship with turrets assigned to do so. (Maybe need to increase flagship seeding slightly to compensate?)

For balance, there would probably need to be a lower cap for Command Stations building ships, and for Flagships building turrets as those are not the intended roles for them to be playing.

Also, would need to prevent "30-second switches" somehow. This is intended to give the player options, not allow them to micro incoming waves by switching ships assigned to a flagship frequently. (Not actually sure how to handle this.)


3&4) Captured Flagships would no longer unlock any ship types as the mechanic for getting new ships is now capturing systems.

Part of the reasoning for my suggestion is to make capturing a system always be a small power boost for your fleet, every system captured would unlock a ship. (Or 2 ship slots, or one ship and one turret?) I would need to math it out as you want enough ship slots to unlock to give the player some choice, but you don't want to give them enough they can fill every slot with "the best ship".


5) Existing model of knowledge to increase marks of a ship stays. I'm not trying to redo the entire game here.



As I envision this working, in the early game this allows the Command Station fleets to help out on offense when you only have 1 (or 2) flagships, then shift into a purely defensive role as the player captures more flagships as the game progresses.

For flagships, in the early game when ship counts are low enough that individual ship types get sent off alone, this allows the player to pick which ships he wants to use, then as the game progresses and the player can assembled fleets of types (bomber fleet, interceptor fleet, melee fleet, etc.) the strength of the fleet system in reducing micromanagement can shine with the entire fleet moving as one.


So, thoughts? While this suggestion keeps the spirit of the Fleet system around (I think anyway, I did try to), it pretty much reworks/overhauls the entirety of the mechanics of it.

(Also not sure what the current plans for the Fleet system were, hopefully this doesn't clash too badly with them.)

D.

Offline x4000

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2019, 02:52:41 PM »
Welcome back!  It's good to hear from you again.

This isn't directly in response ONLY to your post, but it covers a lot of that topic: https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii/from-the-dev-notes-on-where-i'm-at-on-fleets-techs-and-'1-0'-now-(729)/

A couple of additional random notes:

1. I'm very much with you in the "I want more oddball options," and there's nothing stopping that at the moment.  There are some mildly oddball units already in the game, and it's just limited by what people choose to set up in the xml if we want some really crazy things.  Or unit mechanics that I need to add, as the case may be.

But those things can easily be made not-crippling to players in the current model that already exists in one of two ways.  Firstly, they can be made just exceedingly rare, so they show up in only one or two fleets (or often no fleets) in that you run across.  Secondly, they could be ship lines that are granted to just a few fleets in various specialized ways: 1) the hacking fleet by hacking something.  You see that with the dyson stuff for, example. 2) some sort of "strange but fun" fleet that seeds as a grab-bag of super-odd stuff and that you can choose to capture or not when you find it, and which you can then transfer units out to other fleets as desired.

2. The separation of turrets and offsensive units is basically identical to the first game at this point, from a large view, so that's not something I'm too inclined to change the balance on.

3. I do hope that mercenaries might find more use as a "help me on planet X in offense or defense as needed" solution, though.

4. Capturing a system does increase the power of the fleets capturing it and the fleets not capturing it, in the form of EXP as well as the science.  But it has to be somewhat limited in order to avoid people just having all their fleets at the attacked planets at all time (aka, fleetballing, the #1 problem of the first game.)
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Offline Diazo

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2019, 02:34:10 PM »
Alright, took a look at the thread you linked and can see you have a good idea of where you want fleets to go and it's a very different direction then where this post of mine was trying to take them.

In that case, rather then starting a new thread, a couple things I'd like to run by you:

1) Giving the Command Base fleets a small mobile fleet. I'm talking small here, like 10 V-wings that can't transfer wormholes.
I'm asking for this because I keep running into the "There's a single AI ship on this planet sitting out of range of my turrets, I need to bring my mobile fleet back to kill it" and would like another option to deal with it as I can't really do Picket forces like I could in AIWC.

2) Classifications of strike craft. The actual implementation of this would probably be in a mod of some sort, but the ability for flagships to spawn as a "type", so you might find a "Raider" flagship with fast, deep-strike craft, an "Interceptor" flagship, with strikecraft intended to engage other strikecraft, etc.
This gives fleets a theme, which right now I find my fleets lack.
However, even if this is done in a mod, the ability to classify ships needs to exist in the backend code and that would need to be by you. (Actually, does something like this exist? You make a comment about spawn rates for different ships in your post.)
D.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2019, 03:09:31 PM »
If there are single AI ships just chilling on player planets that could probably be dealt with by adjusting the AI routing code. Do you have a save game?

Offline Diazo

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2019, 03:27:37 PM »
It's not that the AI is getting stalled and just sitting on my planets, it's when the AI gets lucky, either by finding a spot where my turrets don't cover or outranging them and is plinking away at my structures.

Note the AI rolled Snipers two games in a row on me, not sure how common this actually is, but I'll get a single sniper (or 2 or 3) sitting there shooting away without the ability to actually do anything to me (due to auto-repair), but without a mobile ship in system, I can't do anything to them either.

The only mobile ships I have are my fleets, so I bring an entire fleet back to kill one ship and it's kind of overkill.

D.

Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2019, 03:30:04 PM »
1) Giving the Command Base fleets a small mobile fleet. I'm talking small here, like 10 V-wings that can't transfer wormholes.
I'm asking for this because I keep running into the "There's a single AI ship on this planet sitting out of range of my turrets, I need to bring my mobile fleet back to kill it" and would like another option to deal with it as I can't really do Picket forces like I could in AIWC.

Station Keeping Assault Frigates are essentially this. Only Economic Stations have none.

2) Classifications of strike craft. The actual implementation of this would probably be in a mod of some sort, but the ability for flagships to spawn as a "type", so you might find a "Raider" flagship with fast, deep-strike craft, an "Interceptor" flagship, with strikecraft intended to engage other strikecraft, etc.
This gives fleets a theme, which right now I find my fleets lack.
However, even if this is done in a mod, the ability to classify ships needs to exist in the backend code and that would need to be by you. (Actually, does something like this exist? You make a comment about spawn rates for different ships in your post.)

"Types" also already exists, to a limited degree. We have a general mix, all Cloaked mix, mostly Frigate mix, a Raid mix, a tanky unit mix, a mix of downright weird variants, one full of units that make more units, one that's all suicidal, etc. The general mix is the most common, with the Frigate one next. The rest are all fairly rare.

AI War 2 -> GameData -> Configuration -> FleetDesignTemplate

for those. AIShipGroup and AIShipGroupCategory for what the AIs use.

The StartingFleet files work by them saying something like "These ships are part of me", but the rest like the random Fleet designs work more in a way of...the V-Wing saying "I am part of "BasicOffensiveMix" and "FrigatesWithSupport". You'd find that data on the units themselves, as well as the data for what AIShipGroups they're in.
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Offline RocketAssistedPuffin

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2019, 03:35:46 PM »
Note the AI rolled Snipers two games in a row on me, not sure how common this actually is, but I'll get a single sniper (or 2 or 3) sitting there shooting away without the ability to actually do anything to me (due to auto-repair), but without a mobile ship in system, I can't do anything to them either.

AIs don't "roll" for unit types anymore. They have everything at all times available. Each AI planet has its own theme of units that it has as reinforcements, and what it'll send in waves from its Warp Gate. Sentinel Gunboats and Snipers just so happen to be a common theme.

Those are the AIShipGroups I previously mentioned.

I believe Counter Attacks have their own theme for each planet as well.
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Offline Diazo

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2019, 03:39:28 PM »
1) Giving the Command Base fleets a small mobile fleet. I'm talking small here, like 10 V-wings that can't transfer wormholes.
I'm asking for this because I keep running into the "There's a single AI ship on this planet sitting out of range of my turrets, I need to bring my mobile fleet back to kill it" and would like another option to deal with it as I can't really do Picket forces like I could in AIWC.

Station Keeping Assault Frigates are essentially this. Only Economic Stations have none.

That's where I'm running into this, AI facing systems are Military but these leaker ships are getting through to my back end systems which are Economic. Maybe give Economic Stations a single Station Keeping frigate to deal with this? (Cap doesn't increase.)

Quote
2) Classifications of strike craft. The actual implementation of this would probably be in a mod of some sort, but the ability for flagships to spawn as a "type", so you might find a "Raider" flagship with fast, deep-strike craft, an "Interceptor" flagship, with strikecraft intended to engage other strikecraft, etc.
This gives fleets a theme, which right now I find my fleets lack.
However, even if this is done in a mod, the ability to classify ships needs to exist in the backend code and that would need to be by you. (Actually, does something like this exist? You make a comment about spawn rates for different ships in your post.)

"Types" also already exists, to a limited degree. We have a general mix, all Cloaked mix, mostly Frigate mix, a Raid mix, a tanky unit mix, a mix of downright weird variants, one full of units that make more units, one that's all suicidal, etc. The general mix is the most common, with the Frigate one next. The rest are all fairly rare.

AI War 2 -> GameData -> Configuration -> FleetDesignTemplate

for those. AIShipGroup and AIShipGroupCategory for what the AIs use.

The StartingFleet files work by them saying something like "These ships are part of me", but the rest like the random Fleet designs work more in a way of...the V-Wing saying "I am part of "BasicOffensiveMix" and "FrigatesWithSupport". You'd find that data on the units themselves, as well as the data for what AIShipGroups they're in.

Sounds like what I'm asking for pretty much already exists then. Works for me.

D.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2019, 03:51:30 PM »
I think if the AI forces sneak past your outer defenses you should have to use your fleets to clear them out. If you want to build Economic Command Stations then this is the disadvantage that comes with them.

Offline x4000

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2019, 10:16:39 AM »
Coming next build:

* Added a new "Watchman Frigate" to the station-keepers section of all command station types that players can control.
** Description: Small, fast station-keeping Frigate that aids in cleaning up straggler enemies that might otherwise camp out on your planets or hide just out of range of your turrets.
** Your military and home command stations get 4 of these, logistical gets 3, and economic gets 2.
** Why add these?
*** The only other built-in station-keeping frigates were the Station-Keeping Assault Frigates, and those were never available on economic command stations.
*** The assault frigates are stronger and more expensive, and let your project significant force.
*** The idea of the watchman frigates is that they are cheaper and weaker, but available everywhere; they may be too strong at the moment, but we can adjust those down as needed.
*** The core purpose behind the watchman frigates is to give you a small number of mobile ships on every planet, without you having to move fleets around, so that if a small ship or two gets past your defenses into your inner economic planets, you can defend against them without having to withdraw a fleet or try to play "chase me with turrets."
*** On the one hand you could argue that you need to be better at creating a shell around your economic planets, but frankly making an "annoyance tax" for stray units isn't how we'd really like to enforce that.  The idea of these watchman frigates is to help with the minor cleanup where only a mobile ship will do, and we almost called them "Janitor Frigates" for that reason.  If it's more than the janitor can handle, then hopefully your turrets are in good positions.  If not, then... well, the onus is on you, and/or the AI did a good job of slipping your defenses.
*** The TLDR is that this is supposed to alleviate the annoying case where there's some small set of AI ships just out of reach on a planet of yours, and you need something, anything, that is mobile.  But it's not supposed to be some major combatant or something.


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Offline x4000

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2019, 11:32:18 AM »
Alright, took a look at the thread you linked and can see you have a good idea of where you want fleets to go and it's a very different direction then where this post of mine was trying to take them.

In that case, rather then starting a new thread, a couple things I'd like to run by you:

2) Classifications of strike craft. The actual implementation of this would probably be in a mod of some sort, but the ability for flagships to spawn as a "type", so you might find a "Raider" flagship with fast, deep-strike craft, an "Interceptor" flagship, with strikecraft intended to engage other strikecraft, etc.
This gives fleets a theme, which right now I find my fleets lack.
However, even if this is done in a mod, the ability to classify ships needs to exist in the backend code and that would need to be by you. (Actually, does something like this exist? You make a comment about spawn rates for different ships in your post.)

Cool beans, I appreciate it.  Hopefully the Watchman Frigate handles your #1, so let's talk about this one.

As Puffin noted, this does already exist, but it's a matter of how it's configured.  Some thoughts in no particular order:

1. Right now we have very broad categories that ships are in, and that's something that only goes so far.  They are:

BasicOffensiveMix (all the non-super-strange stuff)
CloakedMix (anything cloaked)
FrigatesWithSupport (more frigates, and then some random basic stuff)
FragileOffensiveMix (special variants that are more glass-cannon-y)
ReplicatingOffensiveMix (hydras, etc)
UnusualMix (anything that is just really off the wall, typically variants)
SturdyOffensiveMix (stuff with extra health from the basics)
RaidOffensiveMix (things designed for raids)
SelfSacrificingOffensiveMix (stuff that kills itself over time or while attacking)

2. There's nothing to stop us from having any number of more categories, and each category itself has a frequency for appearing already.  There are 100 tickets (think of a raffle) for the basic offensive mix, 50 for frigates with support, and then all the others just get 5 tickets each at the moment.

So if we were to add more, that were more hand-designed, and give them something like 50 tickets each or 100 tickets each or something, then those would start diluting the frequency of these other fleet designs without any new code.

<time passes>

Okay, actually, I just went ahead and added a bunch of new stuff, including some new variants of existing ship types.  All the new ships are player-only at the moment, which should be kinda cool.  What I added is here: https://wiki.arcengames.com/index.php?title=AI_War_2:_The_Refinement_of_Fleets#New_And_Adjusted_Player_Fleet_Designs_To_Discover

It's certainly possible to add more variants and more fleet designs that are good at specific jobs, but this should get the idea across without completely obliterating the more random fleets we have at the moment.

---

And a bit higher up in this same release, under the balance section, I made snipers less common for the AI (that was annoying), took away etherjets and thiefs from the human players (those were annoying to use and kind of pointless in player hands), and made autobombs and nanoswarms not part of the general mix of ships that show up in random fleets (those tended to be highly unwelcome; they still show up in the self-sacrificing-focused fleets, though).

---

So... this should be getting us a bit further along in general on all this, and provide an obvious template for anyone wanting to add similar new stuff if they wish?  I also added Heavy Fusion Bombers, Heavy Stingrays, Tarantulas (Heavy Spiders), Parasitic Pike Corvettes, and Parasitic Fusion Bombers in order to support this.
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Offline Diazo

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2019, 11:26:38 AM »
Wow, that was way more then I was hoping for.

Also sounds like it covers everything I was asking for as well.

Will spin up a new game as soon as I can to test it out.

D.

Offline x4000

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Re: Fleet thoughts
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2019, 02:25:03 PM »
Wonderful!  The new build with all those things in it should be out today. :)
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