Author Topic: Name the difficulty levels!  (Read 1305 times)

Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,040
Re: Name the difficulty levels!
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2016, 07:25:55 AM »
5) You'll die. Or find a bug.

I love this one.

Same here, that's easily my favorite.  It's hilarious.

Offline BadgerBadger

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 668
  • BadgerBadgerBadgerBadger
Re: Name the difficulty levels!
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2016, 11:32:22 AM »
I think it would be cool to allow a more fine grained approach to difficulty. What if there were different knobs for "How intelligent the AI is about exploiting weaknesses", "How heavily fortified AI planets are", "How many player-useful things there are (fabricators, progress reducers, design backups, etc)", "AI CPA recharge rate", "AI reinforcement rate" and so on. When a user sets it to Difficulty 7 (or whatever that's going to be called in the new regime), what that means it is sets all the knobs to the appropriate places for Difficulty 7. If the user then clicks on the "advanced settings menu" then they can further tweak things.

Offline dotjd

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 65
Re: Name the difficulty levels!
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2016, 01:08:05 PM »
i don't think there should be so many difficulty gradients as there are in classic. the difference between 2 and 3 and 4, for example, or 7 and 7.3 and 7.6?  completely lost on me. or at the very least those kinds of gradients shouldn't be exposed by default. i wouldn't necessarily be averse to hiding an advanced options menu somewhere.

anyways, difficulty name (aiwc difficulty it would roughly correspond to)

Sandbox (1)
Be Gentle (3 or 4)
Easy (5 or 6)
Normal (7)
Hard (8 )
Extreme (9)
Watch Me Die (10)

I've been meaning to play Doom 64 sometime and it has great difficulty names...

Offline NickAragua

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 280
Re: Name the difficulty levels!
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2016, 02:04:22 AM »
Taking a page from Bungie's difficulty naming convention, a fairly straightforward name, and a longer description:

Trivial - You will face bug-ridden software programmed by inebriated college students as an undergraduate computer science project. Military experts are still puzzled as to how it managed to defeat humanity in the first place. When you are inevitably victorious, you will feel as if you have defeated a small child.

Easy - Your opposition is a decent combat simulator suite used to train officer cadets before a wiring mishap led it to take over the galaxy. You are very likely to be victorious, unless you lack tactical and strategic flexibility.

Normal - The foe is a fully sentient artificial intelligence spanning across galaxies, but its resources are not infinite. If you are clever and resourceful, you may very well defeat the enemy and be rightfully proud of your accomplishment.

Hard - An ever-evolving enemy will test your skills to and beyond their limits with a bewildering array of deadly weapons and tactics. If you survive and are victorious, all will praise your undeniable strategic ability.

Impossible - Your opposition is the gods striding across galaxies, and you are but an ant scurrying about underfoot. The machine may crush you without even noticing what happened. If you win, it's probably because you cheated.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 02:06:42 AM by NickAragua »

Offline Peter Ebbesen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 164
Re: Name the difficulty levels!
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2017, 12:14:21 AM »
I love the simple numbering system with the fractional difficulty levels from #1, but if names are required, how about keeping it simple and letting the difficulty levels denote the requisite understanding of game mechanics to stand a reasonable chance of success?

This is based on my own AI War experiences, where difficulty 7 was fairly easy and required minimal strategic planning to succeed once I understood the fundamentals of gameplay, while 9 was hard and required that I pay attention to the logistics of mineral flow and production; Not that AI War has a great focus on logistics, but what little it has becomes increasingly important as the difficulty level increases and the player is pushed to achieve more with less, operating with razor-thin margins for error.

  • Tactics novice - tooltip: "You want to learn the fundamentals of the game in a relatively safe environment or just fool around a bit against an AI that provides minimal resistance."
  • Tactics student - tooltip: "You understand most of the fundamentals or are willing to learn on the fly, and you don't mind a bit of AI resistance."
  • Tactics master - tooltip: "You build it, and the AI will come. Expect AI opposition that will punish serious mistakes.
  • Strategy novice (7) - tooltip: "You understand the fundamentals of the game mechanics and would like the AI to put up a real challenge."
  • Strategy student - tooltip: "You are confident in several strategic approaches and would like to fight an AI to match."
  • Strategy master  - tooltip: "Your plans have contingency plans. Your contingency plans have contingency plans. Bring it on, AI."
  • Logistics novice (9) - fairly hard - tooltip: "You master tactics and strategy or you wouldn't be playing at this difficulty level. Now things get tricky."
  • Logistics student - tooltip: "You understand: The line between disorder and order lies in logistics."
  • Logistics master  - tooltip: "You grok: If you aren't living on the edge, you are taking up too much space."
  • Conqueror (10) - tooltip: "You are a glutton for punishment. Being repeatedly whipped by the AI does not mean you are friends in a mutually satisfactory BDSM relationship. It really, truly, isn't. Life is too short to waste on playing something this difficult. That being said, should you disregard this fair warning and go on to win anyway, please consider filing a bug report to the developer explaining how you won so the AI weakness that allowed your victory can be remedied."

(An even better name for the final difficulty level would be "Kahuna" or "Faulty Logic" as in-jokes, but the former would be completely uninformative to the uninitiated and thus a bad idea on general principles and the latter might suggest that the player didn't fully deserve all the pain coming his way.)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 01:59:55 PM by Peter Ebbesen »
Ride the Lightning - a newbie Fallen Spire AAR - the AAR of my second serious AI War game. Now completed.

Offline Wanderer

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,577
  • If you're not drunk you're doing it wrong.
Re: Name the difficulty levels!
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2017, 05:10:41 AM »
I'd say the old AIWar, except at the extreme end of 9-10, was a bit too granular.  The reason for 7-8 granularity and 9-10 granularity was because of trying to tune just the right level for some folks... however, once I beat 6 I blew my way through to 9, so some of that granularity was lost on me.

I'd say five, perhaps six, levels of difficulty would be roughly right for a steady progression:

1) The AI's in the sandbox, go make a castle with it.   (old 1/1 equivalent)
2) Very distracted AI.  It's forgotten about the Humans. (old 5/5)
3) You're a threat the AI respects.  (old 7/7)
4) The AI hasn't forgotten you.  It's still angry.  (old 9/9)
5) Exterminate... EXTERMINATE!!!  (old 9.6/9.6)
6) Deux Ex Machina... and you owe us an AAR if you win.  (old 10/10)
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline NichG

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 125
Re: Name the difficulty levels!
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2017, 11:41:57 PM »
It's a bit ambitious, but could we do something like an ELO ranking of the various difficulty levels (or AI opponents for that matter)?

Basically collect statistics from volunteering players during the Alpha and Beta as to win/loss rates (with quitting the campaign after the first hour = loss, lets say) at the different levels and then make a sort of  '+1 point difference = *1.25 win probability' type of scale? That might help make things like 7.3 and 8.7 difficulties concretely interpretable (and as a plus, it's a way to give players feedback as to how easy/hard they're making their game by toggling various options).