Author Topic: [Nevermind!] Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.  (Read 1997 times)

Offline Cinth

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,527
  • Resident Zombie
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2016, 06:22:59 PM »
You've never seen one of my setups :D

On a one entrance world, you don't need grav/tractor turrets at all.  You can use FFs to create a funnel and stack the AI ships into a killzone for stuff like beams.  Grav 3s can extend beyond FF range so you could use them if you wanted.  Kahuna has some pretty good setups also.

Well, thing is, the main resources you use for those setups, forcefields, and beam cannons are limited and often reserved for that one killworld that cuts off your home systems from the rest of the galaxy.  Making one killworld isn't really a hallmark of how individual border planets should be able to be defended.  It's ok to vaporize things at a chokepoint world, it's weird if every single border planet can come out unscathed from waves, especially if you invest nothing other than MK1 turrets and a shield into it.

You should be utilizing mines also. Mines are a wonderful thing to waste :)
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline Tridus

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,305
  • I'm going to do what I do best: lecture her!
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2016, 06:23:12 PM »
You've never seen one of my setups :D

On a one entrance world, you don't need grav/tractor turrets at all.  You can use FFs to create a funnel and stack the AI ships into a killzone for stuff like beams.  Grav 3s can extend beyond FF range so you could use them if you wanted.  Kahuna has some pretty good setups also.

Well, thing is, the main resources you use for those setups, forcefields, and beam cannons are limited and often reserved for that one killworld that cuts off your home systems from the rest of the galaxy.  Making one killworld isn't really a hallmark of how individual border planets should be able to be defended.  It's ok to vaporize things at a chokepoint world, it's weird if every single border planet can come out unscathed from waves, especially if you invest nothing other than MK1 turrets and a shield into it.

It's also such an extreme thing in a specific case that it's probably not something very many people are doing.

Offline Orelius

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 328
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2016, 06:25:44 PM »
You should be utilizing mines also. Mines are a wonderful thing to waste :)

There's no need to be condescending.  I (and I imagine most people) use everything that's available for no K cost liberally.

Offline Cinth

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,527
  • Resident Zombie
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2016, 06:31:21 PM »
I did mention Kahuna has some very good setups for planetary defenses.


I fully well understand that there aren't many players that play AIWC like I like to play it. 

There's no need to be condescending.
It was a pun.  A funny one at that.  Not in any way condescending.
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline tadrinth

  • Sr. Member Mark III
  • ****
  • Posts: 426
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2016, 06:39:52 PM »
I think I'm going to end up repeating myself across threads a lot.. but here goes again:

If you have turret blobs, you can give traditionally-FF-covered turrets a FF in-stack for free.

Or, you can have variants that do and do not have FF coverage (ie, pick 15 lightning turrets + FF, or 20 lightning turrets). 

Or, you can replace turret blobs with mod forts, that can choose to mount FFs to provide themselves extra protection (but those FFs don't cover other units)

If you want to use mobile ships on defense, what you're actually looking at is a BUNKER, like from starcraft.  Put things in it, and have them shoot.  As far as defensive setups go, I usually pack a BUNCH of crazy stuff into my forward turret array.  Riot control starships, a flagship, a decloaker, maws if I have them.  That's on top of lightning+flak+grav+tractor turrets and the forcefields.  A bunker would allow you to protect your defensively-emplaced utility ships without needed FFs.

Ditch flagships and munitions boosters and armor boosts in favor of global boosts from a military command station. Actually, keep flagships, but combine them with champions and MSDs and make their munitions bonus global. 

I don't think snap-to would be totally unreasonable for the purpose of slapping extra protection on a critical irreplaceable (like your advanced factory).  You can already build spirecraft on asteroids, this could be similar maybe?  I just don't know how you force hard choices as to where you put a limited supply of forcefields. 

Because that's always been the limit on forcefields: you just don't get all that many of them.  Maybe having a different limit for them might be useful because currently they encourage super-whipping-boys.

Offline Tridus

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,305
  • I'm going to do what I do best: lecture her!
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2016, 07:04:45 PM »
You should be utilizing mines also. Mines are a wonderful thing to waste :)

There's no need to be condescending.  I (and I imagine most people) use everything that's available for no K cost liberally.

That wasn't intended to be condescending. I thought it was pretty funny. :)

Offline Elestan

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 156
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2016, 10:20:50 PM »
I'll just say that FFs are really pretty eye-candy, and I'd hate to see them go away completely.  That said, I wouldn't mind seeing them limited to a particular tech base of ships (Only Spire?)

It always seemed to me that Spire ships, being crystaline, should have decent armor but low health (hard, but fragile), and strong Force Fields.

I also wouldn't mind saying that ships had to be somehow officially grouped with a shield ship to share in the shield.  Otherwise they're above or below it.

Offline Elestan

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 156
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2016, 10:27:20 PM »
You've never seen one of my setups :D

On a one entrance world, you don't need grav/tractor turrets at all.  You can use FFs to create a funnel and stack the AI ships into a killzone for stuff like beams.  Grav 3s can extend beyond FF range so you could use them if you wanted.  Kahuna has some pretty good setups also.

Right now normal waves are of no consequence.  Especially in low AIP games.  In fact, I don't think anything regular is a threat.  It's the special mechanics that hold threat.  Stuff like CPA and Exo.

IMHO, most of the defensive degeneracy comes from the AI moving so predictably (usually a straight line from wormhole to target).  If it could recognize and avoid killboxes, or even just randomize its approach vector, setting up a good defense would get a lot more interesting.

Offline chemical_art

  • Core Member Mark IV
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,868
  • Fabulous
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2016, 11:24:36 PM »
MK II thoughts on my end:

Command stations as a whole need a lot more hull. Shields filled that gap before. If stations filled that gap themselves shields would not have too.

Shields act as great "black holes" in that they force the AI to not move through planets. If command stations can further fill that role, shields do not have too. Even if just two of the three do.

Mines are awesome. But the keybinds are really hard to find to use them fully. Simplify where it can be.

Mini versions of current AI trader units to boost armor and other attributes are fine to remove the logistics of snapping them to squads. I still wonder on the starship level how that will work but at least on the fleet level you can side step that entirely.
Life is short. Have fun.

Offline kasnavada

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2016, 01:40:11 AM »
I don't exactly see what the problem is with forcefields. Is it that ?
- CPU hog => needs to be recalculated all the time because it applies to moving units and / or immobile units.
- Round shape, needs round shape "posiionning" for units
- Movement blocking capability
- reduction of size when hit ?
- They apply to units ?

Then again, AI war is a tower defense(ish) game, and basically they were the only "mechanic" that allowed us to "defend" by funneling the enemy where we wanted.

I have 2 ideas:
1) remove the movement blocking only, and have them give a buff to every immobile unit in range of the shield. Which actually is the shield, like before, just... it would only apply to structures, basically. That means that there is no calculations because structures don't move - only one check is needed at construction. No CPU Hog, but a redirection of HP lost to another structure. You could even keep the current visual effect => However the reduction is size would need to be changed to color coding or something, to convey damage visually (yes, I'd remove the reduction in size).
- I like that idea because "undefended" places shouldn't have high defenses. If command stations are boosted then even the places where you've not build defenses are very strong. Which is an issue, at least for me.

2) For movement blocking, introduce fences. Basically you build 2 (or more) linked unkillable structures, which allow you to control the movement of the AI. The fence itself has hit points, and once the fense is down, it explodes and allows movement. Or "wall projectors", a structure that would project a straight wall a small distance from itself (but positionning for those would probably be a pain).

2') Another idea would probably be to rework tractor beams for the same effects.

The main idea is that forcefields, like you said in the first post, could be "personal" for ships. Remove "AI war I effects" shields from ships and make it apply to immobile structure only. In the case of fortress (which could move), make it so it works only after being immobile for 30 seconds for example.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 01:54:55 AM by kasnavada »

Offline chemical_art

  • Core Member Mark IV
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,868
  • Fabulous
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2016, 01:48:15 AM »
I don't exactly see what the problem is with forcefields. IMO it's that:
- CPU hog => needs to be recalculated all the time because it applies to moving units and / or immobile units.
- Round shape, needs round shape "posiionning" for units
- Movement blocking capability
- reduction of size when hit ?

Then again, AI war is a tower defense(ish), and basically they were the only "mechanic" that allowed us to "defend" by funneling the enemy where we wanted.

I have 2 ideas:
1) remove the movement blocking only, and have them give a buff to every immobile unit in range of the shield. Which actually is the shield, like before, just... it would only apply to structures, basically. That means that there is no calculations because structures don't move - only one check is needed at construction. No CPU Hog, but a redirection of HP lost to another structure. You could even keep the current visual effect => However the reduction is size would need to be changed to color coding or something, to convey damage visually.
- I like that idea because "undefended" places shouldn't have high defenses. If command stations are boosted then even the places where you've not build defenses are very strong. Which is an issue, at least for me.

2) For movement blocking, introduce fences. Basically you build 2 (or more) linked unkillable structures, which allow you to control the movement of the AI. The fence itself has hit points, and once the fense is down, it explodes and allows movement.

2') Another idea would probably be to rework tractor beams for the same effect.

Intersting ideas, I cannot think of times where a mobile fleet took advantage of a static shield, so the idea that the shield is balanced while ignoring mobile units is more refined.

The idea of "fences" sounds further unique, but I would think of them as simply "unkillable" as that as long the command station stands, so do the fences. Just as the player as unique raiding unit which bypass certain rules, I am sure the AI can as well.
Life is short. Have fun.

Offline kasnavada

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2016, 01:53:30 AM »
I updated my post. Sorry. :o

About unkillable fences, tower defenses games show different stances on why it's a good / why it's a bad idea. When you can "wall in" completely the path, generally units move completely through the forcefield / tower used to block the path, which makes no sense to me. There is also the "long path, where we build / unbuild exits on both sides" strategy, which I'd consider an exploit. Which is why I'm preferring the destructible version... but not by a large margin.

About 2') => finally but words on that concept. Repulsive turret. Tractor beams that move units back.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 01:56:12 AM by kasnavada »

Offline chemical_art

  • Core Member Mark IV
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,868
  • Fabulous
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2016, 02:00:47 AM »
I feel like human technology in practice tries to replicate AI technology in the form of "black holes".

Every defensive world I created in no small part tried to prevent AI units from penetrating that world. I would place my [military] command station with a ton of shields to prevent the AI from going down that rabbit hole. My better defended rabbit holes would give some minor protection from auxiliary planets, but not like the "primary" wormhole would have.
Life is short. Have fun.

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,194
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2016, 03:49:52 AM »
I read the topic diagonally (the first post thoroughly, though) and, beside that weird crystal thing, ... eh.

Core thing: no adjacency bonus/protection. That seems to be the root of the CPU-pain.

First mildly satisfying solution: planetary effect. There are planetary munition boosters (and Human Military OCStations), planetary armor booster/inhibitor, planetary cloaker, etc. That sounds good for wide effects, but we need something more local. Well, that will be tough to find a local solution with no adjacency-based bonuses.

Second mildly satisfying solution: personal shield. When attached to a structure (OCStation, Guard Post, etc), that structure gains X hp. That would be very similar to the "candy tech" for individual ships.

Vein of ideas: external invincibility. There are already several of them in AI War Classic: The CSG networks are that idea brought to the galactic (and whole game) scope, but there are smaller ones. The Command Station Shield Guard Post is just that; the Warp Counterattack Guard Post is that plus a vengeance wave. The eyes are nearly made invincible by local guard posts (and I think they should be completely invincible; bashing a wormhole guard post is really annoying and the game mustn't encourage annoying behaviors). Instead of a FField dropped over an OCStation, Human players would have access to the equivalent of the CSShield GPost: station can't die before the shield generator. This Human version would eventually require to be just next to the station.

I won't regret the FFields protecting units because I never use them for units but instead for one (or close) structures. The game strongly discourages protecting units with FFields by dividing damage from within one. Also AI fleets around a FField'ed GPost are pain-and-no-fun. So FFields for one structure. So personal shield or external invincibility provider.

On a completely utopian note: I would like to have Human big-armed-things defending OCStations. For example, a special version of Human Fortress -- maybe less tanky (or a "candy tech", maybe) would provide invincibility to its local OCStation. A bit like you must destroy all the Core Guard Posts before the AI Home Command Station... Yeah, as I said, "utopian".
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline kasnavada

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Re: Forcefields need to die, help me kill them.
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2016, 04:20:06 AM »
@pumpkin
I like the idea of protectors "defending" another unit, making them invicible until the protector's dead... but it sounds like you'd have to manually set / reset those links and therefore it would mean much micro-management, especially when rebuilding. Any idea on how to remove micro-management issues ?