Author Topic: AI War II: Design Document Updates 4: 4X-style Techs (Kinda) Replace Mark Levels  (Read 901 times)

Offline x4000

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Offline kasnavada

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At end-game, AI war had you manage a dozen different "fleet" ship types, a dozen "starship" types, each with randomized upgrade trees, potentially among 40 level high ?

I'd suggest something like M.A.X. did. In short, they had 2 researches "trees", one with "gold", the other with research (that point is completely irrelevant to AI war). What was relevant though, was that the research upgrades gave a bonus to ALL of your units / structures, like +10% hull to litterally everything. Second, "gold" upgrades were given to individual units / structures, and cost far less. Of course, the cost rose exponentially for each upgrade taken, ensuring that you had to use both systems.
In AI war the same system could be used, either pay for single units for upgrade or pay for an higher cost empire wide bonus... that would apply for everything.

The exponential costs would have to be balanced to ensure that no units are completely left behind, or possibly, you'd have to take an empire wide bonus for 5 "single unit" bonus (and buy them as packs).

I thought of them because they also used marks and roman numerals =). And, it went up very, very far.

One thing is sure though, I'd keep the name of levels "mark" and make it visible on the units, even if it goes to XV. And, keep roman numerals. Under C, everyone should be able to read them. But maybe an option to switch to regular numbers could be cool.

Offline x4000

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Having some upgrades to literally everything would be possible in this system, and be a good idea, I think.  I don't think a different currency is the way to go, but perhaps only getting one of those for every X upgrades you put into individual ships.

And yeah, keeping the names at mark and with roman numerals is fine with me, so long as it isn't confusing to anyone.
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Offline chemical_art

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I echo kasnavada in that late game things will just be as jumbled as before, except instead of 5 tech levels there are know 40 tech levels being thrown around. How good will my lvl 30 fighter be against a lvl 40 bomber?

Another worry is that even the tech levels themselves will be jumbled. A lvl 30 fighter which invests in engines is not the same as a lvl 30 fighter who invested in guns.

I feel like on the AI side at least, it needs to be pretty uniform on the fleetship and starship level. They all upgrade together and they all follow a standard tech tree. Let the guardians and other AI only toys have the fun, but keep them standardized too between games.

Thirdly, while I do appreciate the diversity of techs between games (MOO 1 did it great) I wonder if AI Wars is really developed to take advantage of all that diversity. Increased engines sound great on paper, but even if it costs more I will always invest in other things.

I feel like _standard_ upgrades should be homogenized just to make things manageable for everyone. Let the "candy" techs be unique. But even then I wonder how fast where it will be everyone is clamoring for the candy techs to always be available because one is better then another.

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Offline Tridus

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I seem to be getting in early on all the feedback today. :D

I really like this one, too! Seems like there's some details to work out, but this time it doesn't stand out to me the way it did with space platforms. The upside is pretty clearly signalled.

What I especially like is not having this silliness of having mk I ships/turrets mixed in with mk IV/V ones where they're totally ineffective and largely there because why not? Instead, they're all more effective, and I can get more of them too. Yay. That by itself could clean up a lot of the base defense side of things by making the turret count smaller, because again, no mk I ones taking up space next to the mk IV ones.

I see that adding a lot of clarity to the screens in terms of what's going on.

Questions:
1. Are new ships/turrets/stations/etc still available to buy in the tech tree?
2. If yes to #1, are these available right from the outset, or do I need to invest 5 techs into something before I can unlock Spider Turrets? (aka: are there dependencies?)
3. It's not spelled out here, but it seems like Core Fabs could still exist, only they unlock a new design rather than actually make things (either by holding it, or by capturing it). Could also go for the Backup Design Servers that you can currently hack to gain the ship (or block the AI from using it, but that's a hacking thing). Any comment?
4. If you get a +2 booster, would that be a generic boost of some kind, or would it just pick a couple of techs randomly and grant them to you as long as you hold it? (Generic boosts are probably easier to predict and code for.)


Offline chemical_art

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Following up on the candy tech idea, I actually do see some fun uses for how it can go. Full disclosure, this is definitely ambitious and doubt it will be implemented.

The candy techs provide three options: each give new abilities which mimic what were possible in the first game but are designs now considered too tame for new units.

Example: A candy tech for the fighter is bulletproof. Turning into what was a previous ship which was not unique enough for a unique ship but useful enough as an upgrade.
Example 2: A candy tech for bombers that greatly increases armor. Ditto, mimicking a previous ship.
Example 3: A candy tech for frigates giving them minor AoE. Ditto, mimicking another ship.
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Offline kasnavada

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4. If you get a +2 booster, would that be a generic boost of some kind, or would it just pick a couple of techs randomly and grant them to you as long as you hold it? (Generic boosts are probably easier to predict and code for.)

I think the complete tooltip could be
"+20 tech "
"+X% damage *6"
"+X% speed *5"
"+X% armor *6"
"+bulletproof (3)"

Ok, let's hope there is no monsters with that many stats. But to show the concept. Generic bonus to all sound good too, less complicated.

Offline Orelius

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I'm not really too hot on this idea, I think a fighter should just be a fighter for the human player and the AI.  Adding upgades like this would further obfusicate strength estimates of fleets, which is already fairly tenuous.


Offline Tridus

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I'm not really too hot on this idea, I think a fighter should just be a fighter for the human player and the AI.  Adding upgades like this would further obfusicate strength estimates of fleets, which is already fairly tenuous.

I don't really see that.  In the past, we saw weird things where a given mark would get substantially more effective than the previous one because it got enough damage to actually punch through the armor, or some such. The mk III is how much more effective than the mk II, which means what when both of them are piled up in your fleet ball anyway?

This seems clearer to me. Maybe that's because I play lots of games with tech upgrades so I'm used to it, I don't know.

Offline Draco18s

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I am not too sure about this one. Not saying it can't work or that I wouldn't like it, but that I have strong reservations.

At the same time, I could see how proc-gen ship units could fit into a system like this.

Offline Cinth

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This seems interesting enough to me.  The whole mk thing I was actually hoping to dump anyway.

The only thing I would add is that upgrades need to be meaningful for the cost.  Speed +1 had better come with one heck of a cap boost because speed by itself just isn't enough.
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 Draco18s

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Speed +1 had better come with one heck of a cap boost because speed by itself just isn't enough.

Depends on the unit.  An average speed unit that out-ranges things, but is ever so slightly slower than the stuff typically destroying them, then a boost in speed means now they can kite those units endlessly.

True, there's a certain threshold for which "+1 speed" is a useless/trivial upgrade, but it's not always.

Offline Cinth

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If it's group moving with the rest of the fleet, speed is pointless.  It's only going to be useful if you plan on micro, and I hope we are still going to keep from encouraging that kind of play.
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 chemical_art

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If it's group moving with the rest of the fleet, speed is pointless.  It's only going to be useful if you plan on micro, and I hope we are still going to keep from encouraging that kind of play.

This is why I am against engine upgrades for the most part. In some games, increased engines increased defenses, so you had fast small units or armored large units. That is not within the realm of AI Wars, so engines for units aside from true raiders seem moot.
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Offline kasnavada

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If it's group moving with the rest of the fleet, speed is pointless.  It's only going to be useful if you plan on micro, and I hope we are still going to keep from encouraging that kind of play.

This is why I am against engine upgrades for the most part. In some games, increased engines increased defenses, so you had fast small units or armored large units. That is not within the realm of AI Wars, so engines for units aside from true raiders seem moot.

I second this, speed is also a higher balance risk on a game like AI war. And, in AI war "classic" speed was next to never upgraded.