Author Topic: A modest suggestion: hull types removal  (Read 2209 times)

Offline tadrinth

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2016, 01:32:54 PM »
 
Each level of armor gives it 10% resistance to damage, with level 10 giving it 100% resistance to all damage. Each level of Armor penetration is subtracted from the Armor value to determine how what percentage of damage it does.

Pumpkin:  In Wingflier's proposed system, Armor is no longer a flat reduction, but instead a percent reduction, which makes the rate of fire not very important.  "Fighter has 0.8 vs Bomber" means that Fighters do 80% of their normal damage to bombers, ie, 5 armor - 3 armor pen = 2 effective armor, which is 20% damage reduction.  In AI War Classic, the equivalent would be to take away everyone's armor and then give fighters a 0.8 hull bonus vs polycrystal. 

Rate of fire matters for overkill; an arty golem can be overwhelmed by bombers, for example.  But to make that have a significant effect on the balance of triangle ships would require the triangle ships to have wildly different ship caps. That's historically been problematic.

suddenly we can have giant laser beams of death shooting at you
The closest equivalent of that in AI War Classic is the Wrath Lance.  Certainly a unit that mixes up the gameplay... but also an insanely frustrating unit, and one that interacts *very poorly* with gravity effects and engine damage.  If I was going to pick a single unit to not return in AI War 2... I'd probably pick the Wrath Lance.  I really hate those things.  If everyone else loves them, or if they can be made less frustrating, then I'd be fine with them, though. 

there are just flat out "worst ever" ship types in the game, and some things are just insanely good and useful
Can you give some specific examples?  Ideally, three of each?  I will give mine.

In the patch notes up to Destroyer of Worlds, the units that seem to get a lot of buff mentions are the Laser Gatling and the Autocannon Minipod.  Gatling lacks a strategic niche; it's just okay vs everything and terrible vs missile frigates.  That doesn't feel good.  Minipods lack a niche also (what unit or situation do they hard counter? I can't think of any) and are outclasses at their schtick by armor rotters, or by actual armor piercing units.  Acid Sprayers have a niche, and I don't think they're underpowered or one-trick ponies, they're just sharing that niche with reprocessors. 

So that just says, make sure every ship has it's own distinct niche. IE, when you think of a ship type, you should immediately be able to imagine a situation where that ship type would be awesome, and then it needs to actually *be* awesome, so awesome that you use it over jsut throwing the fleet ball.

The insanely good and useful ships I can think of are: LTFs, Sentinel Frigates, NCCs, Maws, and Protector Starships. 
Quick, for each of those, what triangle ship counters them?    How good are those ships at killing their triangle counter? How good are those ships at killing their ideal target vs killing stuff in general?

Those ships tend to be countered by starships or teleporters.  Neither of those is common. They tend to be bad at attacking guard posts, but guard posts don't counter them because guard posts can't chase them down and kill them.  OMDs work, but those are even heavier-handed than ion, and like guard posts they don't chase you out of the system.

Ships need their niche to be *distinct*, in that it isn't just good vs almost everything, and ships need to have weaknesses so that there's counterplay. 

For those niches to matter, you need to be able to really clearly distinguish between 'is being used correctly and is awesome', 'isn't being countered and is okay', and 'is being countered and is getting wrecked'.  I think that third case tends to be presented inconsistently; high cap ships will always be the first to report that they're being countered, AND they report that by dying like flies rather than having health bars go down.  I think that contributes a lot to their unpopularity, along with the extra micro required to rebuild reinforcements rather than repairing low health ships. 

you could move your fleets like formations
The units are carefully balanced to produce formation-like effects naturally.  There's a reason fighters are faster and shorter-ranged than bombers: so they charge out in front, to die gloriously soaking alpha for the cause.  There's a reason laser gatlings are slower and longer-ranted than fighters OR bombers: so they stay behind both and offer fire support without getting blown away.  None of that applies if you just group move ships around, of course.  And when the SF charges over, the fighters get so far ahead of the bombers and the missile frigates so far behind that you just defeat each blob in detail.  But in theory, there's some amount of formation-like effects that you can get organically, which I think is kind of cool.  Perfectly open to seeing a more sophisticated system here, though. 
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 01:37:13 PM by tadrinth »

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2016, 01:53:01 PM »
Quote from: Wingflier on Yesterday at 09:06:40 PM

    Each level of armor gives it 10% resistance to damage, with level 10 giving it 100% resistance to all damage. Each level of Armor penetration is subtracted from the Armor value to determine how what percentage of damage it does.


Pumpkin:  In Wingflier's proposed system, Armor is no longer a flat reduction, but instead a percent reduction, which makes the rate of fire not very important.  "Fighter has 0.8 vs Bomber" means that Fighters do 80% of their normal damage to bombers, ie, 5 armor - 3 armor pen = 2 effective armor, which is 20% damage reduction.  In AI War Classic, the equivalent would be to take away everyone's armor and then give fighters a 0.8 hull bonus vs polycrystal.

Rate of fire matters for overkill; an arty golem can be overwhelmed by bombers, for example.  But to make that have a significant effect on the balance of triangle ships would require the triangle ships to have wildly different ship caps. That's historically been problematic.
Oh, yeah, very sorry. I wasn't paying enough attention to the context. Reading through all the new messages made me lose the sense of context. Sorry about that.
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2016, 02:00:28 PM »
Yes Tandrith, you are completely ignoring a ship's other stats when making your calculations.

Bombers have the highest armor penetration, but the lowest rate of fire. They kill a Fighter each shot, but shoot so infrequently that they simply get overwhelmed. Fighters have the highest DPS, are numerous, and shoot quickly -- therefore even with a 20% reduction in damage they easily win the fight. In fact a Fighter's reliable sustained damage is what makes them so good in any fleet when you remove Hull Types.

I feel like you are looking at this in an extremely simplistic way. If you really think that all ships should essentially have the same stats (you keep assuming that in every example you give) and simply rely on the Hull Types system to give them strengths and weaknesses, then you've already proven my point. That's terrible design.

My point is that all you need is stats to create a worthy triangle, and to balance each new ship that comes into the game. Hull Types are a completely unnecessary mechanic.

And no, Laser Gatlings are not "uniquely terrible". Not that long ago, Keith was doing a "Worst ship of the week" poll every week to fix some of the major balance flaws, and every week like clockwork there was a new ship that needed fixing. In fact, the polls were HUGE because there were so many nominations. Eventually he quit doing it, partly because he got busy, but partly because it was a complete waste of time.

In the Hull Types system you are always going to have certain ships that are just flat out better at defeating specific Hull Types than others, and for that reason there's very little motivation to pick the alternatives. Where in a purely stats based system, there are so many other considerations to consider.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 02:02:04 PM by Wingflier »
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Offline zharmad

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2016, 03:14:47 PM »
Hmmm... I'm mildly for the armor focus over hull focus, but there's one thing I'd like to query supporters of complete hull-type removal:

> (How) would you go about assigning thematic stat-biases/abilities to go with the clear-cut graphical designs of Human, Spire, Zenith, and Neinzul vessels?

 I think one of the good arguments to maintain some hull-designations is to uniquely translate the way different civilisations design and build their ships into gameplay terms. If a spire fleet's fighters simply boil down to a reskin of human fighters with slightly varying stats, that would be to me a significant net loss. AI War doesn't currently live in a universe with convergent technology, like the Stellaris's, Masters of Orion, etc. that all have the same units with the same base stats, and I don't think it should full commit to that level of simplification.

 What this means is that I can see in game any white-glowing ship and instantly know my lasers aren't going to be very useful - this kind of visual cueing is very powerful for saving the learning curve. From this perspective, I would assign four hull types: one to each civilisation. For the sake of naming, say:

 Human - "Composite"
 Zenith - "Metalloid"
 Neinzul - "Bioceramic"
 Spire - "Crystalline"

 I don't particular care what bonuses they have, as long as they behave consistently versus ammunition types (which lives and dies with hull types).

Offline Toranth

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2016, 03:35:20 PM »
2. I agree about the higher cap unit DPS falloff, but one of the reason the higher cap units die so quickly is because of the Hull Type system. High cap units, by their very nature, usually don't have a lot of HP, so when enemy counters have bonuses of 5x, 8x, or more against them, they're just going to freaking melt. It's the sheer absurdity of the Hull Type system that allows these ships to get countered so easily and die so fast, where in a system where there were no Hull Type bonuses, they would last a lot longer since nothing would be doing a billion extra damage to them.
This is part of it, but there's another problem with swarmers:  Everything in AI War seems to get huge numbers of shots.  Freakin' MLRS Guard Post fires 150 shots!  When you can take out an entire cap of swarmers in one volley, that's a little crazy.  Yes, the MLRS is a bit of a "It's supposed to be that way" unit, but 150 is just the peak example.  Many units get 5 or 10 shots.  This allows for very efficient distribution of damage against swarmers, rather than massive overkill against one at a time.
And that removes what should have been one of the advantages of having a huge number of ships:  It just takes so much TIME to kill them all.


I'd rather that there be a either a small number of AoE units that can be used to crush swarmers, or some sort of 'Size' modifier: So a flechette gun would do lots of damage to little ships, like swarmers, but very little against large units like Spire Capital Dreadnaughts.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2016, 05:08:05 PM »
2. I agree about the higher cap unit DPS falloff, but one of the reason the higher cap units die so quickly is because of the Hull Type system. High cap units, by their very nature, usually don't have a lot of HP, so when enemy counters have bonuses of 5x, 8x, or more against them, they're just going to freaking melt. It's the sheer absurdity of the Hull Type system that allows these ships to get countered so easily and die so fast, where in a system where there were no Hull Type bonuses, they would last a lot longer since nothing would be doing a billion extra damage to them.
This is part of it, but there's another problem with swarmers:  Everything in AI War seems to get huge numbers of shots.  Freakin' MLRS Guard Post fires 150 shots!  When you can take out an entire cap of swarmers in one volley, that's a little crazy.  Yes, the MLRS is a bit of a "It's supposed to be that way" unit, but 150 is just the peak example.  Many units get 5 or 10 shots.  This allows for very efficient distribution of damage against swarmers, rather than massive overkill against one at a time.
And that removes what should have been one of the advantages of having a huge number of ships:  It just takes so much TIME to kill them all.


I'd rather that there be a either a small number of AoE units that can be used to crush swarmers, or some sort of 'Size' modifier: So a flechette gun would do lots of damage to little ships, like swarmers, but very little against large units like Spire Capital Dreadnaughts.

Or you could make specific guard posts / units with low number of hits and high damage more numerous.

Offline Wingflier

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2016, 08:47:59 PM »
Quote
Hmmm... I'm mildly for the armor focus over hull focus, but there's one thing I'd like to query supporters of complete hull-type removal:

> (How) would you go about assigning thematic stat-biases/abilities to go with the clear-cut graphical designs of Human, Spire, Zenith, and Neinzul vessels?
Well to be honest, I'm not sure how the current Hull Type system in any way benefits the thematic elements of the 4 AI War races anyway. I mean it's not like all human ships use a specific Hull Type, and all the Spire ships use another type, etc.

All the differences between the various factions is purely based on stats and game mechanics anyway.

So for example, Spire ships are usually very few, but very powerful, with several immunities. They specialize in Starships and often use beam weaponry. Neinzul ships obviously operate in huge capacities but die over time, doing as much damage as they can before they expire. Human ships are pretty faithful to the standard sci-fi lore, except for the Hull Types of course. Zenith ships (except for the Golems) usually aren't that different from Human ships (I believe the Zenith race is very humanlike) but they usually have some kind of special ability or mechanic that makes them unique.

So to make a comparison:

A Human bomber would just be the Bomber. Moderate cap size, fires slowly, does a lot of damage, medium stats on everything else.

A Zenith bomber would be the Chameleon. Stats similar to the human Bomber, but it has a special mechanic that allows it to hide and avoid enemy attention, perfect for ambushes and covert operations.

A Neinzul bomber would be the Youngling Tiger. High cap size, low individual health, fast, has automatic attrition, but still operates like a bomber in every other sense.

A Spire bomber would essentially be a miniature Starship. The best example would be the Spire Armor Rotter. Small cap size, lots of health, does massive damage each shot but fires slowly. However, the Armor Rotting ability would actually be good in my proposed armor system because 0 armor value means a ship is taking full damage from everything.

All of these retain the Bomber archetype in that they share the essential bomber attributes. They all have 5 armor, they all have 10 penetration, they all fire slowly and counter big, heavily armored targets -- However, they all retain their own individual strengths and weaknesses.

See, in the current system, many of the ships I just named are useless. Nobody uses the Zenith Chameleon, it sucks. Nobody uses the Spire Armor Rotter, because the armor system is wonky and its stats aren't so great anyway.

If you remove the Hull Type system, then you can rebalance their stats to be actually useful and focus on the individual mechanics themselves, because you've simplified things a great amount. All the Hull Type system does is make things more complicated and harder to balance.
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2016, 12:03:55 AM »
there are just flat out "worst ever" ship types in the game, and some things are just insanely good and useful
Can you give some specific examples?  Ideally, three of each?  I will give mine.

Armor Booster (boosting *armor* 2x when counters are 6x or 3x is totally pointless, not because It doesn't do something, but because these ships ALWAYS DIE FIRST and so when it gets to actually fighting this boost never has any effect on me. They are not even a problem with the AI, because on wormholes I have lightning turrets... armor boosted you say? Ha ha... lightning strikes ftw ;P

Space Tank (a worse bomber, small range, slow... and doesn't actually damage a high tier fortress all that much) in my book *the* worst unit in the game, and that's saying something, my current game is against 2 fortress fetish AI. The problem is they don't outrange a fortress, unlike siege capitals....  and incuring losses for every fortress isn't gonna help me in that game... I need a good way to kill fortresses, Space tanks are (surprisingly) not that.

Tachyon Microfighter (because swarm fighters detecting cloaked ships don't instantly die when they uncover anything (capital ship scale) that is cloaked..... no wait, they do ;p) in the few times I had them they surely detected cloaked.. and died instantly after doing so. Not even sure what the point of that is when I can build tachyon capital ships... it reduces the effectivity of my blob.

(put in here for future hate, Bulletproof Fighter & Armor Ship)

What makes a good ship?
Either it is useful in a blob (more damage increase than decrease through larger blob size)
Or it is useful against a specific MAJOR threat (fortresses/structures) can you see a space tank doing a fortress raid? Because I can't ;P Usually I kill fortresses BEFORE moving my blob into the planet... bombers are already a huge issue here, if they weren't unlocked by default I'd say they suck at their designed job as well. It's just... I think they weren't designed to work well against 2 heavily defensive AI's
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Offline Elestan

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2016, 02:36:52 AM »
I'll just add my vote for now:  I wholeheartedly support the removal of damage multipliers; I think they seem very arbitrary, and add a lot of probably unnecessary complexity to the game.

I agree with the idea of creating "natural" triangle relationships by varying other ship characteristics:  Speed/armor/rate of fire/range/damage/AP.  I could see adding an 'Agility' stat if we needed another dial to turn.

I also like having hull materials, which could be better or worse vs. different weapon types.

I think each of the alien races needs to have certain common properties (both visual and tactical) to its ships, to make the races distinctive.  In particular, the Nebula allies' ship art needs work; right now they all look more like each other than to their race of origin.

It might be cool to establish a triangle-ish relationship between Spire, Zenith, and Neinzul.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 02:41:33 AM by Elestan »

Offline tadrinth

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #39 on: September 02, 2016, 10:24:49 AM »
Yes Tandrith, you are completely ignoring a ship's other stats when making your calculations.

I used all of the stats you gave me.  This is your proposal. Give me the ship caps, health, damage, and reload for your triangle ships and I'll happily use them.

You've asserted that your proposed system would be intuitive and easy to balance.  If that is true, then I would like you to back up that assertion by giving two sets of numbers.  In the first,  1.5 caps of fighters loses to a cap of frigates, but 3 caps of fighters beats a cap of frigates, and so on around the triangle.  In the second, 4 caps of fighters should lose to a cap of frigates, but 8 caps of fighters beats a cap of frigates, and so on around the triangle.  Use whatever mechanics you want to get there, as long as the mechanics behave consistently between the two scenarios. 

While that might seem pretty unreasonable, I am imagining the following conversation inside Chris's head:

Chris 1: Hey, everyone really wants these organic unit counters with things like armor and swarms and fire rate.  Wingflier put together this organic triangle, and it doesn't need hull bonuses at all!
Chris 2: Awesome!  You can still tell at a glance if you have enough missile frigates to kill that huge wave of fighters, right? That's really important.
Chris 1: Uh... well, yeah, I did some testing and a cap of missile frigates can kill TWO caps of fighters.  And so on.
Chris 2: *huge round of playtesting* Hey, due to other gameplay concerns, I actually need one cap of missile frigates to kill SIX caps of fighters, not two. Same for the rest of the triangle.  Make it happen, and it needs to go into tomorrow's build.
Chris 1: Uhhh... hey Wingflier?  Lil help?


I need a good way to kill fortresses, Space tanks are (surprisingly) not that.
Space tanks are longer range than bombers... and they take 0.01x damage from forts.  Whatever is killing your space tanks, it isn't the fortress.  Nothing kills fortresses fast, but space tanks can kill them with minimal casualties if you clear the mobile ships out of the system first.

Offline Timerlane

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #40 on: September 02, 2016, 10:49:52 AM »
I need a good way to kill fortresses, Space tanks are (surprisingly) not that.
Space tanks are longer range than bombers... and they take 0.01x damage from forts.  Whatever is killing your space tanks, it isn't the fortress.  Nothing kills fortresses fast, but space tanks can kill them with minimal casualties if you clear the mobile ships out of the system first.
Or, if you can't reach them all without getting close to the Fortress(es), use Heavy Bomber Starships as escorts. 'Bomber-type' fleetships are usually pretty abysmal at self-defense, with low base damage(against non-bonus modifier hulls) and 9-12 second reload times; HBSs have neither of those problems, very high health by Starship standards(technically, they're tougher than Zenith Devastators, having the same HP per Mark, but with a tiny amount of extra Armor), and are faster than most fleetships to boot.

Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #41 on: September 02, 2016, 12:04:12 PM »
I need a good way to kill fortresses, Space tanks are (surprisingly) not that.
Space tanks are longer range than bombers... and they take 0.01x damage from forts.  Whatever is killing your space tanks, it isn't the fortress.  Nothing kills fortresses fast, but space tanks can kill them with minimal casualties if you clear the mobile ships out of the system first.

Yeah, which is why I said that if bombers weren't unlocked by default, I'd call them the worst balanced ship class in the game ;P

Space tanks are also one of the slowest (to build, and moving) units in the game and their cap is low... by the time they reach a fortress, mobile ships WILL have come through since as I said, I don't wipe planets beyond a buffer zone, I merely want safe'ish passage for my stuff, specifically an engineer + transport pioneer blob that creates beachheads at vital areas, to use as warp targets for my factories.. (the point of a low AIP game is to not amass AIP after all ;p)

Or, if you can't reach them all without getting close to the Fortress(es), use Heavy Bomber Starships as escorts. 'Bomber-type' fleetships are usually pretty abysmal at self-defense, with low base damage(against non-bonus modifier hulls) and 9-12 second reload times; HBSs have neither of those problems, very high health by Starship standards(technically, they're tougher than Zenith Devastators, having the same HP per Mark, but with a tiny amount of extra Armor), and are faster than most fleetships to boot.

That's what I am doing... I have full cap of all heavy bomber starships and a lvl 31 champion as escort as my main spearhead to remove fortresses near wormholes ;P But against super fortresses (or whatever the AI has, it is definitely not a normal fortress) this pushes the limits, you do need quite a few shots after all.

Against specific fortresses the AI has I actually had to build sniper turrets to whittle them down... forgot what the fortress AI was called, but it is one of these mixes that make sitting there with bombers not a real valid tactic ;p (imagine tons of shields, and tons of fortresses)
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #42 on: September 02, 2016, 01:49:01 PM »
Space tanks are also one of the slowest (to build, and moving) units in the game and their cap is low... by the time they reach a fortress, mobile ships WILL have come through since as I said

There's this unit called a transport... ;)
Seriously, once my fleet is more than about 5 different ships, I just shove them into transports if I plan on going more than 1 hop.

Offline zharmad

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #43 on: September 02, 2016, 01:58:40 PM »
Space tanks are also one of the slowest (to build, and moving) units in the game and their cap is low... by the time they reach a fortress, mobile ships WILL have come through since as I said

There's this unit called a transport... ;)
Seriously, once my fleet is more than about 5 different ships, I just shove them into transports if I plan on going more than 1 hop.

*chuckles* I rarely ever use transports, but rather line my galaxy with the highest logistics commands. I would cope with space tanks because I have to cope with missile friggin's.

Offline Tridus

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Re: A modest suggestion: hull types removal
« Reply #44 on: September 02, 2016, 02:12:45 PM »
Space tanks? As if anything is getting shot with my Protector Starships there. ;)