Author Topic: [AIW2] Lobby Revamp Proposal  (Read 3369 times)

Offline Pumpkin

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[AIW2] Lobby Revamp Proposal
« on: April 16, 2016, 10:37:18 PM »
I'll base my work on what I did times ago here about the AI "personality". I'll go tab after tab; some has been added, some has been heavily modified. AI Types have been smashed apart between unlock-packs, aggression/preparation ratios and a list of personal plots.


- Number of Planets
- Map Style
- Seed
- Expansions
- Untangler's button
- Campaign Type

Game Options

- List of On/Off for collections of ship types: Cloaking, Teleporting, Parasites (reclamation), Tractor Beams (turrets too), Swallowers, Fast Drones. (All ON by default.)
- Available ships (Simple/Normal/Complex)
- Combat Style (Epic/Normal/Blitz)
- Unit Cap Scale (Ultra Low/Low/Normal/High)
- Performance Profile (same)
- Visibility (Complete Visibility/Partial FoW/Full FoW/Extra FoW)
* "Extra Fog of War" option's effect becomes "completely hides unexplored planets" (which is the old "show unexplored planets" unchecked option).

- Cheats (on/off)
- Salvage & Reprisal (on/off)
- Crystal (on/off)

Minor Factions

First List: "Friendly Factions"
- Human Resistance Fighters (0-10)
- Broken Golems (on/off)
- BotNet Golem (on/off)
- Neinzul Roaming Enclaves (0-10)
- Spirecrafts (on/off)

Second List: "Hostile Factions"
- Human Marauders (0-10)
- Zenith Miners (0-10)
- Zenith Devourer (on/off)
- Neinzul Preservation Wardens (0-10)
- Champion Nemesis (0-10)

Third List: "Neutral Factions" (or "self-balanced")
- Human Colony Rebellion (0-10)
- Zenith Traders (on/off)
- Zenith Dyson Sphere (0-10)
- Fallen Spire (0-10)
- Spire Civilian Leaders (on/off)
- Dark Spire (0-10)
- Nebulae (on/off)
- Showdown Device (on/off)
- Nomad Planet (0-10)
- Exodian Blade (on/off)

- Broken Golem, BotNet Golem and Spirecrafts have no built-in exowaves. Fallen Spire keeps its own special builtin exowaves.
- Neinzul Roaming Enclaves have only the friendly enclaves.
- Neinzul Rocketry Corp is now an AI Plot.
- Zenith Dyson Sphere is candidate for friendly faction because it's too easy to befriend it, but it's technically self-balanced.
- Champion Nemesis is candidate for AI Plot.
- Showdown Device is candidate for AI Plot.
- Alt.Champ.Progress is replaced by its reversal: if a player takes the "champion" role without activating the Nebulae "MF", it has what is currently the Alt.Champ.Prog, and if the Nebulae is activated, the "XP as K" mechanism is replaced with the original nebulae. While this doesn't present the things in the order as they were designed and added to the game, it's thematically coherent: Nebulae are deeply "minor factions", and the current AltCP is nothing but gameplay.

AI Options

The main difference between AI Options and AI Plots is that Options are ON by default (their presence is meant to be part of a vanilla game) and Plots are OFF by default (their presence is meant to spice up and enrich a game).

- Auto AIP quantity (default: 1)
- Auto AIP frequency (default: 30 min)
- Wave Warning (on/off)
- Core Shield Generator (on/off)
- Special Forces (on/off)
- Strategic Reserve (on/off)
- Deepstrike Threatening (on/off)
- Homeworld AIP Floor (+10 AIP floor for each homeworld's CGPost destroyed) (on/off)

Second column for AI 1:
- nickname (default: "AI 1")
- color
- difficulty (1-10; default: 7)
- aggression (0-10; default: 5)
- preparation (0-10; default: 5)
- preemption (0-10; default: 0)
- technology modifier (0 to +5; default: 0; influence minimum mark used by AI, like technologist AI types)
- resource handicap (+/- X%, default: 0%)

For aggression and preparation: link.

Third column for AI 2:
same as AI 1.

TODO: where to put the unlock-packs?
- List of unlock-packs for AI 1. All OFF by default.
- List of unlock-packs for AI 2. All OFF by default.

AI Plots

First List: Grand Plots (common to both AIs)
- Cross Planet Waves (on/off)
- Schizophrenic Waves (on/off)
- Avenger (on/off)
- Hybrid Hives Quantity (0-10)
- Hybrid Hives Evilness (0-10)
- Astro Trains (0-10)
- Hunter (0-10)
- Shark A (0-10)
- Warp Relay (on/off)
- Exogalactic Strikeforces (0-10)
- AI Warheads (on/off; mechanism of Neinzul Rocketry Corp)
- Territorial (on/off; the AIs territories don't mix but form two distinct, continuous territories)

Second and Third Lists: Personal Plots (one list per AI)
- Beachheads (on/off)
- Shark B (0-10)
- Nuclear Command Station (on/off)
- Scorched Earth (on/off; overrides Nuclear CS)
- Backdoor Exo Wormhole (on/off; the ones in human HW, like the backdoor hacker)

Every plot below is neither on/off nor 0-10. It's None/Rare/Everywhere. If None is selected, the button is red. If Rare is selected, the button is like unselected. If Everywhere is selected, the button is yellow (like selected). By default, everything is "Rare".
- Planetary SubCommanders
- Dire Guardian Lairs
- Mines
- Eyes
- Alarms
- Gravity Drills
- Black Hole Machine
- Attrition Generator
- Shield Booster & Inhibitor
- Raid Engine
- Counterspy Eye
- Radar Jammer
- Planetary Cloaker
- Counter Wave Guard Post
- Captive Human Settlement
- Ion Cannons, OMD & Warhead Interceptors
- Fortress
- Super-Fortress
- Neinzul Cluster
- Neinzul Virus
- Neinzul Nest
- Core Guard Post (CGP able to spawn outside of HW; this one's default is "None".)

Plots below are special abilities of AI Types that are not seeded structures. They're all on/off.
- Camouflager
- Speed Racer
- Tag Teamer
- Chivalric
- Cowardly
- Kite Flyer
- Reservist (0-10?)
- Starfleet (Normal/Commander/Fanatic)
- Vanguard
- Mime Reprisal
- Overreactive Reprisal
- Bouncer
- Special Forces Captain
- Golemite
- Crafty Spire
- Support Corp


The "random AI Type" and "reveal random AI Type" still need to be crafted within this system. Maybe the "lobby scripts" can be used for that: setting semi-random plot packs for the players to discover ingame.

The "special abilities" may be true "AI Types", limited to one per AI (maybe two). Same thing for the "unlock packs". However, all the seeded structures (Mines, Fortresses, Raid Engines, Shield Booster/Inhibitor, etc) must go in a plot-like list.

The list of personal plots is rather long. Maybe the seeded structures (None/Rare/Everywhere) can be listed in a separated menu, but that would make 5 lists (1 for grand plots and 2 for each AI) in one screen... However the current AI Type list is rather long too and poses no (big) problem, so maybe it's okay to have a long list of personal plots.

I was thinking of a "is your setup balanced" feature: by assigning some points to Minor Factions and Plots (+1 for Resistance Fighters, -1 for Marauders, -3 for Exo Wave, +3 for Golems, +2 for Roaming (friendly) Enclaves, etc), the lobby would display a ratio by summing these points and say "This game will be too ease. Consider adding Hostile Factions or Plots" or "This game will be very hard. Are you sure you don't want to Remove some Plots or Add some Friendly Factions?"

AI Types are not tweakable/mixable enough but that huge list of plots sounds daunting. To solve that, a dropdown list in the AI Type panel named "automatically setup premade AI type" would allow players to select an old-AI-type-like that would set several parameters (like preparation/aggression/preemption, unlock packs and plots). Players would still have the choice to change these settings after selecting a premade AI.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 07:55:32 AM by Pumpkin »
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline tadrinth

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Re: [AIW2] Lobby Revamp Proposal
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2016, 03:05:19 PM »
Might not be the place for it, but: How much value are people getting out of Combat Style and Unit Cap Scale?

Unit Cap Scales are awesome at what they do, but they have some significant disadvantages:

* Code complexity:
I can't imagine the scaling code is trivial.

* Edge cases/bugs:
Neinzul Enclave Starship drones were not scaling with unit cap properly for a long time; that took forever to track down and made balancing them difficult.

Maws don't seem to scale; a Core Maw can eat 250 fighters in 250 seconds regardless of caps, which is up to an 8x variation in how strong they are vs regular fleetships.  I don't think this can be scaled properly because it would affect their ability to swallow ultra-low-cap ship types, which they're supposed to hard counter.

I'm sure there are other bits of weirdness out there that change the balance noticeably when you change the unit scale.

* Cross-game comparison:

If you change unit caps, that throws off your intuitions about how strong a ball of ships is, and developing that intuition is a key part of growing as an AI War player.   The best thing to do is to pick a unit cap that supports your playstyle and stick with it forever. 

This is also a concern when reading AARs; if you're used to Ultra Low Caps, it's going to throw off your intuitions when reading an AAR that was on High Caps.

On the other hand, Low and Ultra low caps were added to make 16 homeworld games and 8 player multiplayer games possible.

If a remake can get enough engine efficiency to support a single cap scale that makes everyone happy, I think that would be the way to go. 

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: [AIW2] Lobby Revamp Proposal
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2016, 05:42:48 AM »
I totally agree. Same thing for the speed option (epic/blitz). Balancing these options seems to be a nightmare. I would be rather happy if Arcen stopped bothering about them altogether. However I understand the need for a CPU saving option, but the high cap and the speed options seems useless to me. And... 16 homeworlds and 8 players? That's just nuts. I'm okay about edge cases (I sometimes go with a ultra-low AIP strategy and I know some people withstand huge amounts of AIP) but that's not an edge case, that's just madness. Of course CPU won't cope with 16 homeworlds.

Speaking of multiple homeworld start, I wouldn't personally bother if it get removed, however it doesn't change the balance (well, it doesn't seems to), so I won't hunt it down.

Speaking of to-be-removed options: "campaign type: defender". I think from what I read of this forum that nobody care about it. At least I never saw someone saying it.
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Offline tadrinth

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Re: [AIW2] Lobby Revamp Proposal
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2016, 07:34:05 PM »
Yeah defender is not coming back in any remake; it was flat-out broken for months at one point and no one noticed.

Offline Aklyon

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Re: [AIW2] Lobby Revamp Proposal
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2016, 12:13:56 PM »
Combat style I've never really touched, but Unit caps I most certainly have. You almost for sure needed Low caps in the mp I'd played simply because the game would have Problems with 3-4 players of ship cap, and even then we'd need to lower the performance profile eventually if we were taking a long time.

But with the performance improvements of AIWII, maybe we won't need them anyway. That'd be cool.

Offline x4000

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Re: [AIW2] Lobby Revamp Proposal
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2016, 12:28:16 PM »
One thing I really want to move to is a vastly streamlined lobby that bears no resemblence to the AIW1 version.  I'll be vetting that with you guys as I design it, but the general idea is that there should not be remotely so much clutter on there.

Then having a secondary popup screen (or several such screens) that you can open to basically "get at the guts" if you want to.

But for, say, 90% of players I want them to never feel the need to open those secondary screens to get at the guts.  There should be just the right amount of options on an attractive and non-scary lobby screen where you can get what you want without feeling the need for any extra tweaking.

BUT at the same time, not taking away any of the tweaking ability from players, and in fact possibly expanding on it since there will be more room.

Anyhow, I probably will not be working from this thread as a baseline for the new model just because there are a variety of changes that are coming that I feel like are important to the game and that don't fit with the AIW1-style retrofit being discussed here.  But certainly I'll be having feedback requests at every stage of that process.
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: [AIW2] Lobby Revamp Proposal
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2016, 12:38:08 PM »
Looking back at it, there is several point where I don't agree with myself (my past me, kinda).

However, AI Type is really something that I want to strip things out of. I'm now more okay with personality stuff, but more fortresses, more mines, more BHM (or even brand new stuff like Neinzul Clusters/Nests, etc)... these must go elsewhere. This will also be the occasion to enrich that with the possibility to tweak quantity/probability for other stuff like Dire Guardian Lairs, Eyes, etc.

Also, better distinctions between hostile/friendly/balanced Minor Factions, and Personal/Everyone AI plots. That should be clearer for new players.

One important thing, too (the Astro Train topic reminded me that): the game must clearly show what it thinks is default.
- Minor Factions, AI Plots, etc are off by default: players are meant to activate only a handful of them at worst (or best... depends).
- Other things are meant to be part of the base game but can be disabled: Strategic Reserve (the "lazy AI" do that), Special Forces (why not?), Core Shield Generators, category of ships (swallow, fast drones, cloaking, ...) etc.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 12:44:57 PM by Pumpkin »
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.