Author Topic: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits  (Read 1185 times)

Offline x4000

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2.d. Power for Stationary, Fuel for Mobile: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IdzU90psGas_3UFe23BLvsGQ8fclec49NmnbHfwkZ8w/edit#heading=h.2jx9ewlef8wg

2.e. Solar Systems and Planetary Orbits: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IdzU90psGas_3UFe23BLvsGQ8fclec49NmnbHfwkZ8w/edit#heading=h.sd2h6gyftkvl

I'll be very interested to hear what folks think.  Particularly on the idea of how to handle wormhole locations within planet wells.  In general I think there's a lot to be excited about here, and it's less drastic than some of the other changes I had proposed.

These are the last of the super huge changes for this game that I'm going to propose (that I am aware of at this time), although the background factions will be a neat thing that has a good effect but not an overwhelming one.  Those are 2.g and I need to write them up tomorrow.

Captain Jack, it's these bits that I've been waiting on for the story purposes.  If people accept the solar systems and background factions, then the story goes one way.  If not, it goes another. ;)
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Offline Arnos

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2016, 09:26:55 PM »
Looks interesting, and I agree with all the changes to power and fuel. One question unanswered by the docs, how big are these solar systems going to be, and how long will they take to cross? eg. If I'm attacking planet 3 with my bombers, how long will it take the fighters on AI planet 5 to come and clobber me? I realize that it's far to early for an exact answer, but some sort of vague idea of how big the systems are supposed to "feel" would be a plus.

Can't wait for the new game :)
« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 09:33:34 PM by Arnos »

Offline chemical_art

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2016, 09:43:34 PM »
It all looks good. I am tired so can only imagine so much how the solar systems will work but it sounds fun.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 09:58:11 PM »
One note so far:

I want the AI to have some notion of power usage (not fuel, just power).  That way I can actually raid the AI's unprotected power generator, then laugh as the forcefields protecting the anti-bomber guard post falls down, allowing me to destroy it more easily.  i.e. strategic awesome sauce.

Offline Tridus

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2016, 10:42:52 PM »
It's late and I'll have to read it again in the morning for full thoughts. Short version is that it sounds good.

Can you move between any planets within a solar system, or do those have a defined path as well? (Eg, earth to mars to jupiter to saturn, or earth to saturn?)

I'm not sure about no fuel in neutral systems. It seems like a weird distinction. What is the AI doing that makes you burn fuel that doesn't exist anywhere else?

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2016, 10:56:10 PM »
Captain Jack, it's these bits that I've been waiting on for the story purposes.  If people accept the solar systems and background factions, then the story goes one way.  If not, it goes another. ;)
« Last Edit: September 08, 2016, 02:31:14 AM by Captain Jack »

Offline Draco18s

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2016, 11:15:31 PM »


Offline Cinth

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2016, 01:38:15 AM »
I'm not sure about no fuel in neutral systems. It seems like a weird distinction. What is the AI doing that makes you burn fuel that doesn't exist anywhere else?

I'm thinking it may work like a modified extension of supply.  Logistically speaking, fuel usage at your planets could happen but it makes it fiddly in that you're able to refuel in those systems.  You can extend that supply line to neutral systems because the threat to the lines are low.  You can't extend into AI territory this way because those fuelers can't, or rather won't, travel through hostile space.


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 skrutsch

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2016, 01:47:43 AM »
Quote
9  Solar systems themselves are owned by either:
I think there's a fifth possibility, namely  You the player :)

Quote
To claim a solar system, at least half of the planets in them must have a command station of that faction, and nobody else can have any command stations in that system.
In multiplayer, it might be best to ignore your teammate's command stations for this.

Quote
Overall there would be approximately 3-12 planets per solar system, most likely.  Usually more in the middle of that range.
Overall this means that the galaxy will have on average 5-9x more planets than in AI War Classic.

So a "medium-sized" AIW Classic game might have 50 or 60 planets, while a "medium-sized" AIW2 game might have 50 or 60 solar systems, so 250 to 500 planets?  That's a LOT more decision points to consider, I may need you to enable P10 through P99. :)

So if I want to protect a planet (or solar system) by gate raiding, instead of neutering say 4 adjacent planets, now I need to neuter 4 solar systems, say 24 planets?  That's 6x the busy work, hooray!

Looks like the orbiting mechanism might reward players for waiting till planets approach (or separate), could be gamey, might be unnecessary chrome.  (Unless one of the stretch goals is the Kerbal Space Program faction!)

How do you move between planets in a solar system?  Drive off the screen?  Mini-wormholes?  All 12 planets are on the same big map and you just fly over there?

Now each solar system has several planets to control as well as "overall control of the solar system".  What does solar system control do for you?

Planet adjacency meant a lot in AIW Classic and was easy to see on the galaxy map.  How does adjacency work in AIW2? 

If adjacency is considered by ownership of each solar system, that could lead to some gamey decisions - I might want to control a solar system so adjacent solar systems are supplied, but then relinquish control to make adjacent-system raid engines stop producing (or something like that - I'm no expert!)

I like the idea of adding more "terrain" considerations, though…

Half-baked suggestion: 
Each solar system can have at most one command station.  Like in AIW Classic, you must destroy the AI command station before you can build one.  However, you may build your command station on any planet in the system, which will be the one that provides the gravity well size and receives economic boosts, military defense, etc. from the command station.  The rest of the planets are yours to exploit, but without turrets or force fields other "defensive" builds available, only ships, factories, metal extractors, etc.  (The "exploiting" could be too micro if not carefully considered.)

Also, the planet with the command station is the one where the wormholes point to. (Don't know what to do if there are no command stations in a solar system.)

Pros:
- Adjacency works like in AIW Classic.
- If you need to blow up 12 AI command stations to control a solar system, 11 of them are probably boring busy work anyway, so why make the player do that?  This way the AI can choose the most defendable/desirable planet to defend, and your FUN! is more concentrated.
- And do you really want to build and maintain 12 sets of defensive structures?
- This system has three planets with neat goodies, but I can strongly defend only one, hmm, and if I want to guard the others do I just use the Mark I ships I have lying around or do I need a stronger garrison here?
- Your command-station planet behaves like a mini-chokepoint, guarding the entrances to all the other planets in the solar system.  Who doesn't like chokepoints?
- I picture the AI sending a large raiding force, then splitting it into 11 directions...  >D

Cons:

Well, look at the time, I need to sleep. :)

Offline kasnavada

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2016, 02:05:16 AM »
@Fuel & energy: why not. What it'll become is probably building a lot of fuel producer at the homeworld, but I see benefits from not having ship cost power. The removal of global energy cap is a good move, I like that part. 1 tank / planet will change the game in that deep strikes will be more and more possible as the game unfolds. Which is probably a good thing.

The power consumption was there to be a limitation for the parasite mechanic, as far as I could tell, and so the player could not abuse too much the zenith caches too. Also, not have to much spire & golems. I think it's a minor risk anyway, there was a thread somewhere about zombies which should have the idea to solve this issues.

@Planets: huge change here.
Each wormhole solution has pro & cons really. Not sure which is good or bad.




Offline Sestren

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2016, 02:35:49 AM »
Mostly I'm unclear how the mechanism for moving between gravity wells works. Do you move your ships to the edge of the well and auto-magically have them appear another well over? (Like a short range ftl hop or something?) Can any well jump to any other arbitrary well or do you have to make your way through the system based on current proximity?

It would certainly be an answer to the 'AI always attacks me in a straight line, let me min-max my killzone' problem if they could show up from any side of your well (as a consequence of orbital mechanics). Though a static wormhole would make that particular planet defensible in the classic style, which might be desirable for 1.0. I feel like weirder options for wormhole placements directly affect how systems have to be defended, so its probably best to play with that during whichever version sees space platforms and leave it static for now.

Regarding gate raiding, it would make sense to either only have one warp gate per system, or one warp gate per planetary well w/ wormhole with the stipulation that it can only send waves through that particular wormhole.

Having more planets, most else being equal (as seems to be the case so far) is probably going to lead to longer games on average. Even if individual gravity wells are smaller, it might be better to strongly avoid systems with more than 5-6 planets, though I suppose that'll get hashed out during the balancing phase.

Will there exist units that can fire from one well into another within a system?

How does supply (for static defenses and beachheading) work with this? Does it propagate to adjacent systems as before or could it maybe require owning at least one of the planets in a system?

I could see a use case for a stealthy command station that lets you set up a small friendly area on a hostile system but with a whole bunch of "nothing to see here" for the AI. Metal upkeep cost of course just like the current warp jammer. Maybe have it be an alternate function of that station...

If you take one or more planets in a system still held by the AI, are they eligible to send a wave against their own system to clear out those planets?

Just to clarify, the doc seems to imply that the planetary level and galaxy level views are contiguous? Like, you can just zoom out to a desired level of granularity seamlessly? That'd be handy and visually impressive.

If you put down a command station by a planet, do you get scout coverage for just that planet or every planet in the system? Or maybe a proximity thing, either planets that are physically close enough by or one step in or out orbitways.

Can you think of any classes of units/structures that would be better off with a per-system cap rather than a per-planet or global? Or would you rather avoid capping things at that level?

Unlike some of the other proposals, none of the questions that come to mind with this one are not hard to solve, but there do seem to be a lot of little details to keep in mind.

Offline zharmad

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2016, 03:03:25 AM »
I don't have time at the moment, but will say 100% support on solar systems, and 60% support on fuel. Wormholes still benefit from dedicated thread, will come back with so l visual suggestions.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2016, 03:42:27 AM »
The more I think about solar systems, the more issues I see.

I understand the extra place needed to put new factions in. However, I have issue with the scale & micro. AI war was already a very long game, and if each planet is defended on the scale that old "systems" where defended, games are going to last for 40+ hours. Without counting pause time.

I'm really not sure that a game with a high multiplayer focus like AI war classic had requires a sequel where multiplayer is basically impossible. That said, possibly I missed something, but somewhat of a faster game would be nice.

How could solar systems make the game faster ? That's what I'm wondering.

@wormholes, if the defensive style of the game as it is now is going to be kept, and planets are to be kept like written, the only sensible option I see is a fixed wormhole tied to a planet.
@About solar system, command stations is fine by me, but a system to autobuild will probably be required. In a "standard" AI war classic game you conquered less than 2 dozen planets. There you'd need to build up to 160 ? By hand ?


What I think is a more sensible solution is to ditch the "each planet is a map" part making the "system" bigger, and put the planets there.  Like star ruler does (see image). Then "cut" the "system" map into conquerable sectors / orbits, one per planet, and have the wormhole orbit too. Example : 8 planets, 8 orbits, with 3/3/4/4/5/5/6/6 sectors. This is not part of star ruler so don't look it up there. Or just have "core space" around planets, or forget about sectors, just keep orbits.

« Last Edit: September 08, 2016, 03:56:47 AM by kasnavada »

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2016, 04:21:09 AM »
The Solar Systems stuff raises a lot of questions, indeed. Most of them have already been asked here. I reserve my overall judgment because I need to better see and understand how it would work.

Only considering the thematic addition of the game, having the notion of solar system would make the map much more believable; the isolated, lattice-wormhole-linked planets of AI War Classic made little sense in that regard.

However, mechanically, I'm afraid that would be very difficult for players to wrap their mind around that, and for once, I think "experienced" players would have more trouble un-learning the thing than new players just learning from scratch.

Anyway, zoomable galactic map: ultra-yay! I love that idea so much. I would even love to see a SupCom-like zoom where one can go from one base/fight/zone to the whole map in one big scroll. Aka, I would love to be able to go from planetary view to galactic view (and vice-versa) by just scrolling.


On the energy/fuel topic, I have something to say, however.

I'm completely in favor of a rework of the energy mechanism. I would be happy with simply removing it, but I understand there are several balance points that it must care of (secondary form of cap, interesting brownout situations). However I don't think that Energy is the best answer to these (cap for immobile defenses: return to a sort of galactic cap; brownout: defenses deactivated if OCStation destroyed -- sort of supply). But that local, per-planet energy and brownout kinda seduce me.

The Fuel part, however, I'm against. Not strongly; just against. It would add complexity where I feel no needs. There already are the reprisal mechanism for fleetwipes in enemy territory, the deepstrike threatening, the travel time itself, and for the resource itself we already have the energy brownout and the lack of supply. I believe it would be micromanagement and added complexity and frustration at worst, and barely no impact at best. What's the point of having a resource that only impact the game in very specific moments? It was a good idea to reduce the annoyance of energy and turn it into a more local strategical thing. I feel the addition of fuel just replace that gain with a different kind of annoyance.

But maybe I'm wrong and it would be interesting, not that much annoying, and yet impacting enough.

TL:DR:
* Global Power Is Bad: agreed.
* Power Is Bad For Mobile Ships: agreed.
* Fuel For Mobile Ships: against.
* Zoomable galactic view: ultra-yay.
* Solar systems: meh?
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Offline Lord Of Nothing

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Re: AI War II: Design Document Updates 5: Fuel and Solar Systems and Orbits
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2016, 04:28:42 AM »
Quick note: The way power works in classic is no longer as described in the document- there's the generators for no metal cost, and the secondary smaller ones for a big cost, but no inefficiency setup now, and a hard per-planet limit. But the overall points about why it's bad still apply.

Overall, I really like the fuel/power idea. In particular, yay on a solution that makes it no longer optimal to deepstrike raid the entire galaxy before you do anything else because the AI is sleepy.

However, I am concerned about the size of the game with the number of planets and solar systems you are considering. In a single-player game it doesn't really matter to me, but I am concerned about multiplayer- it needs to be a priority for the game to still be balanced on a map where the total number of planets is something a bit closer to classic, I think.