Arcen Games

Games => AI War II - Gameplay Ideas => AI War II => AI War II - Resolved Ideas => Topic started by: x4000 on September 06, 2016, 04:19:41 PM

Title: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: x4000 on September 06, 2016, 04:19:41 PM
Okay, this is the new design on that: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IdzU90psGas_3UFe23BLvsGQ8fclec49NmnbHfwkZ8w/edit#heading=h.9s53ob5ar9w1

Why the change from the original design, which you can now see in the gravyard section of the document?

1. This is something that sounded much better in the abstract, and the more Chris wrote it down the more small problems kept poking their head in.

2. Further, some of the larger issues were things that Keith had actually solved in the years since Chris was involved in AI War Classic, so they were moot anyway.

3. chemical_art had some cool ideas about candy tech ideas, and Mckloshiv had some cool ideas about some other branches of the tech tree.

4. Ultimately we will be improving the tech tree here, but not removing mark levels, and the result is something that is improved but not so dramatically different.

Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Draco18s on September 06, 2016, 04:28:34 PM
I am ok with this.
It offers new possibilities while retaining the essential "core" difference that made AI War stand out at the time in 2009.  That is, it'll be similar enough for the old guard that we can transition, while reducing some aspects of complexity on new players.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: x4000 on September 06, 2016, 04:31:33 PM
Cool beans.  I'm not sure what will really be less complex for new players in this new model, to be honest.  As much as I would like that to be the case, the only thing I can think of is that the interface is better. :)
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Draco18s on September 06, 2016, 04:34:08 PM
Cool beans.  I'm not sure what will really be less complex for new players in this new model, to be honest.

Reduction in total number of unique units. No more bulletproof fighters, unless you candy-tech to make your fighters immune to bullets.
That right there simplifies one of the major complaints about the game: there being too many different units.  Other people laud it as something to be proud of, but it definitely scares off some people.
This change walks the knife edge, letting both options cooexist.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Tridus on September 06, 2016, 04:35:52 PM
This is less exciting to me, but probably safer. It does work, as a model. Adding some extra "candy" techs and maybe some other techs to specialize or otherwise improve things would be a nice option.

Is hacking coming back? The hacking options we have in Classic right now both fix some issues (ie: having to guard a fab that's just in an undefendable position) and provide a lot of neat things to do (design backup corruption, steaing designs, hacking ARS, etc). Not having all that stuff but retaining the other stuff would kind of feel like a step backwards to me, and the document kind of alludes to that by talking about how Keith already fixed some of the problems.

They're only "fixed" if the tools to fix them stick around, of course. If we go that way, I'm okay with that. The tech side is less interesting than the original proposal, but I love hacking and can certainly see what's being proposed now working well (with hacking).
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Captain Jack on September 06, 2016, 04:44:10 PM
I kinda liked the other version but I was drifting to prefer this... and then you changed it. Hooray!

Quote from: Design Document
Any instances of the word “core” that take the meaning of “mark v” in AI War II will be promptly drug into the street and shot into the shape of a v.

...Can we make the tech tree in the shape of a V? ;D  Oh and we can call any alternate designs "special forces"!
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Cinth on September 06, 2016, 04:46:17 PM
If Core is getting executed then what do we call Core worlds now?
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: chemical_art on September 06, 2016, 04:52:09 PM
If Core is getting executed then what do we call Core worlds now?

I am confident we will find a new word for it quickly. We may decide "annoying" but I have confidence we will find a slightly more more euphemistic term soon.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Tridus on September 06, 2016, 05:03:10 PM
If Core is getting executed then what do we call Core worlds now?

I am confident we will find a new word for it quickly. We may decide "annoying" but I have confidence we will find a slightly more more euphemistic term soon.

Not sure we need to? Core Worlds are pretty obvious as a term, compared to "Core Bomber". They're the core of the AI network.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Cinth on September 06, 2016, 05:06:17 PM
If Core is getting executed then what do we call Core worlds now?

I am confident we will find a new word for it quickly. We may decide "annoying" but I have confidence we will find a slightly more more euphemistic term soon.

Not sure we need to? Core Worlds are pretty obvious as a term, compared to "Core Bomber". They're the core of the AI network.

It was a humor post.  There are several Core items that aren't ships that I'd like to just have executed  >D
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: chemical_art on September 06, 2016, 05:12:32 PM
If Core is getting executed then what do we call Core worlds now?

I am confident we will find a new word for it quickly. We may decide "annoying" but I have confidence we will find a slightly more more euphemistic term soon.

Not sure we need to? Core Worlds are pretty obvious as a term, compared to "Core Bomber". They're the core of the AI network.

It was a humor post.  There are several Core items that aren't ships that I'd like to just have executed  >D

It is a colloquial term. I only discovered the term in describing "core" human world which is an even more fluid term.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Orelius on September 06, 2016, 05:57:45 PM
Reduction in total number of unique units. No more bulletproof fighters, unless you candy-tech to make your fighters immune to bullets.

I don't actually get why making fighters bulletproof would even be an advantage, especially when fleets are so heterogeneous.  They won't be shot at by bullets, sure, but every single other shottype does just fine.  It doesn't even cause a reduction in optimal dps in most cases because the shell-based ships just shoot something else while missile frigates kill the bulletproof fighters.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: tadrinth on September 06, 2016, 06:26:04 PM
I don't use bulletproof fighters because they're immune to bullets, I use them because they're immune to instakill. 

I will note that IIRC, 'candy' upgrades for ship types were not originally in AI War Classic because they interfered with your ability to build an intuition about how fights would go.

I do like the idea of bolting a FF onto a stack of something, but mostly for defense (turret coverage) rather than offense. Only offensive FF I care about is champion shadow shields, and you could make those target and protect a unit if you wanted. 
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Orelius on September 06, 2016, 06:29:05 PM
So what if they're immune to instakill?  That doesn't stop instakill shots from killing the rest of your non-instakill units instead.  It just means your bulletproof fighters die another way.  Unless for some reason you're doing bulletproof fighter + starship raids on ion cannons or something, but a transport full of raid starships can do that too.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Tridus on September 06, 2016, 07:08:19 PM
So what if they're immune to instakill?  That doesn't stop instakill shots from killing the rest of your non-instakill units instead.  It just means your bulletproof fighters die another way.  Unless for some reason you're doing bulletproof fighter + starship raids on ion cannons or something, but a transport full of raid starships can do that too.

Probably worth remembering that the exact implementation of what the candy does isn't important right now. Bulletproof fighters are just an example. Could very well be "armored fighter" or "longer range fighter" or "cloaked fighter".
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Toranth on September 06, 2016, 07:27:11 PM
... Could very well be "armored fighter" or "longer range fighter" or "cloaked fighter".
Not too important, but when reading this, I had a sudden flashback that prompted some questions.  What happens when we give Fighters the new Bulletproof ability?  Do all the units get renamed to "Bulletproof Fighter"?  Or do we need to remember that Fighters are now Bulletproof, or check the info card of every unit, trying to remember which one we made Bulletproof?
If they get renamed, are the names going to just pile up?  Bulletproof Armored Hydra Beam Fighters?  Or will we be limited in the number of candy techs each unit type can get?

(The flashback that started this thought was from Diablo, and the item names.  Will AIW 2 have a "Stalwart Bulletproof Fighter of the Whale?")
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Sestren on September 06, 2016, 07:33:46 PM
I for one quite like appending names like that. It lets me revel in the absurdity of the technological terror I have created.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: x4000 on September 06, 2016, 08:02:18 PM
Hey folks!  Notes:

1. Yes on name appending.  I love that, too.

2. Folks are right to point out that things like the specific mechanics of a bulletproof tech are not important now.

3. That said, part of the idea of "candy techs" is to be attractive but bad for you in bulk.  There are some legit cases where bulletproof would be a good idea on fighters, and if you put bulletproof on a bunch of your ships (goodbye, lots of science!), then you don't have to worry about that insta-kill stuff just taking over something else instead.  Is it a Bad Idea(tm) to do it, though?  If so, that's okay!  That's very much part of certain candy techs, like warp sensors. ;)

4. Makes total sense on the fewer unit types being less overwhelming, I had not thought of that part of it.  Hopefully we can get the number of units actually WAY down using this method, but have the number of permutations WAY up.  That's a great example of "friendlier to new players, but more options in total depth" right there.  I'm actually really excited by that prospect.

5. If you haven't noticed (you have, I'm sure), I've started referring to knowledge as science.  I just feel like that's more common to the genre, honestly.  While we're lowering barriers to entry...

6. As for what to call core AI worlds, I feel like those should probably be "AI Homeworlds," since the explanation of "what is a core world" is always "it's the AI homeworld." ;)  Having some sort of nasty symbol for "scary stuff" that is basically those special units that are worse than a V seems like a good idea to me.

7. I've made a new "Section 6: Terminology Changes" based on the above.

8. Hacking was gone?  I don't really recall saying hacking was gone, although maybe I said or implied I wanted to remove it.  Maybe that thread about hacking came to the conclusion it needed to die?  I haven't poked my head back in there lately (there are a lot of threads, and I'm juggling the best I can, and circling back to each periodically).  Anyhow, I think of hacking as being alive at this point, though I was more iffy a bit ago.

9. That said, the other fixes to the stuff relating to advanced factories and core fabs was that once you control one, you can build them from any space dock.  The player warp gates are something I'd like to see die in a fire if we can: those were always a band-aid, and I'd prefer to avoid having band-aids as much as possible.  The change mentioned there really solves that issues, which was the most fundamental one (that meaning that even if the position was defensible, the situation was annoying).  Hacking adds that final touch to indefensible positions, of course.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Nuc_Temeron on September 06, 2016, 08:22:45 PM
I love this new version. Excellent!
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Tridus on September 06, 2016, 08:27:58 PM
8. Hacking was gone?  I don't really recall saying hacking was gone, although maybe I said or implied I wanted to remove it.  Maybe that thread about hacking came to the conclusion it needed to die?  I haven't poked my head back in there lately (there are a lot of threads, and I'm juggling the best I can, and circling back to each periodically).  Anyhow, I think of hacking as being alive at this point, though I was more iffy a bit ago.

I don't think it did, no. But you've also never said hacking is in, and it was never clear just how much you wanted it in, since you were iffy on it earlier. That seems to have changed some.

A lot of the talk has been coached in "if hacking is in" type stuff, because it wasn't clear. If it's in, yay. :)
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: kasnavada on September 07, 2016, 01:24:00 AM
Yes, that does seem safer & more fun than the original idea.

I'm a bit sad at the reduction of ship types, but then again... having a bulletproof fighter of the immortal whales =)...
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: PokerChen on September 07, 2016, 03:41:12 AM
Hmmm. A mixed feeling.

> Candy Techs
 The idea is powerful and enticing (Path of Exile works the same way with skill augmentation). However this can - in fact, probably will, - encounter significant balance implications down the track. For the sake of illustration, if we take Wingflier's trangle ship model (no hull types, use damage/armor/RoF/AoE), armoured+piercing+AoE fighters will end up either being able to counter everything, or the upgrade being severely limited so as to be almost useless.
 Before we commit to this functionality, we should discuss its roles in player progression. Should players gain power via:
 - getting more ships by unlocking more base ship-types, or
 - or augmenting their existing ships?

 One method to make this work would be such that every "chassis" (my term for the base unit-types that players use or unlock: fighters, bombers, blade vortices, etc.) can be augmented by a limited number of candy techs, say up to 3 max (maybe higher for starships). This prevents players from developing super-expensive but super-OP hero bombers by concentrating all candy techs on one unit.

> Tech tree itself
Ultimately, I prefer separating research and development: Large knowledge costs to expose a new mechanic, followed by small costs to adapt this to ship-types.
 Example combining tech tree with candy tech:
 (1) Lasers are a base knowledge unlock path that provides additional anti-fighter punch. After first adding lasers, Players commit to retrofit fighters, and combat flagships. This retrofit takes up one of the available "candy tech:" slots: "fighters" become "laser fighters". "Flagships" become "Laser-PD Flagships".

 (2) An capturable research station provides a small number of new knowledge directions: "teleportation matrix", and "knock-back". Players again must choose to commit knowledge to understand these potential techs, and after that to choose which chassis to receive the candy tech. "Laser Fighters" become "Teleporting Laser Fighters", who can teleport a short distance to mitigate the range gap.

 (3) Another capturable station actually provides a new chassis, "Conductive-frame". This provides access to a new base unit type/chassis, and comes with a default special ability that we believe should not be widely available, like the ability to EMP-paralyse its target. Such technology clearly cannot be candy techs available to all of the player's assets.


> Elongating ship names "X Y Z fighter of A B C"
Too unwieldy for my tastes. It's an esoteric text-spam that's hostile to new players - who will probably lose the essential noun Fighter amidst all the adjectives.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Pumpkin on September 07, 2016, 04:19:28 AM
I will note that IIRC, 'candy' upgrades for ship types were not originally in AI War Classic because they interfered with your ability to build an intuition about how fights would go.
My main remark is basically that. Please don't do "small little insignificant upgrades" all over the place. Also, how would AI use these candy techs? I can only predict battles (and the whole game) will be even less clear.

I would rather like something similar to what Blizzard made in Starcraft II - Heart of the Swarm. (I don't remember that kind of thing in Wings of Liberty and I was disappointed in the series and didn't buy Legacy f the Void.) Thing is: in the campaign, each unit had one among two upgrades which really twisted it. The choice was interesting because each upgrade were exclusive, had impact, and the overall complexity was very limited because it was only one per unit (and the choice range was two per unit).

That would be something that I would love to see in AI War 2: two (or three, but no more) mutually-exclusive "twists" for units, with a deep impact. (And only one choice per unit.)

Here are some examples:
Note: they are just illustration. I won't even support these specific ideas if they would be actually proposed. My point is to present
* Fighters: either double their speed or make them tanky (immune to instakill, +armor; bulletproof if you insist but I'm strongly averse to ammo-immunities)
* Frigates: either give them small AoE as a crowd-control theme (basically turn them into long-range grenade launchers) or make them more apt against big targets (even lower RoF, higher damage, ignore armor, hull bonuses against structural and/or starships, or something).
* Bombers: no idea, right now.
* XXX: either give them cloak or double their speed (sneak or raid)
* etc

Wether or not this would be reserved to fleetships or extensible to starships and turrets, I dunno. But frankly, I like the tech "tree" as it currently is. (I'm actually trying to sold you on an interesting middle-ground to prevent "small upgrades" from creeping in.)
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Steelpoint on September 07, 2016, 11:46:08 AM
The only problem I can see with the idea of 'candy techs' is that it can lead to two annoyances.

Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Tridus on September 07, 2016, 12:13:53 PM
The only problem I can see with the idea of 'candy techs' is that it can lead to two annoyances.

  • Possible oversatuation of technology options which could lead to new player confusion.
  • Some candy techs being obsolete or considered useless in the meta. Sort of akin to games where everyone just picks three or so skills/items out of twenty options because those three are always the best to get.

Both of those are a problem with ships right now, except that if you don't like a given tech, you can choose another one more easily than you can get a different bonus ship (given that hacking an ARS isn't free and you are stuck with whatever fabs you can reach).
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: PokerChen on September 07, 2016, 01:14:55 PM
@ Steelpoint and Tridus: Both good points - these are normally resolved in Classic by not offering players every tech in a given game. Although, even in the sub-selection it's fairly obvious to a veteran in an arbitrary game as to which to choose, that's simply the nature of balance and meta.

@ Pumpkin: One should note that Heart of the Swarm campaigns upgrades are explicitly designed to be both OP, and have the player choose how they want to be OP. This requires a lot more thought to insert into AI War: I would expect the AI to also have these twists available to them, and we can't really twist triangle ships away from their role (twist by changing roles is inherently more balanced than twist by spawning MOAR banelings on death).
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Pumpkin on September 08, 2016, 02:03:58 AM
@ Pumpkin: One should note that Heart of the Swarm campaigns upgrades are explicitly designed to be both OP, and have the player choose how they want to be OP. This requires a lot more thought to insert into AI War: I would expect the AI to also have these twists available to them, and we can't really twist triangle ships away from their role (twist by changing roles is inherently more balanced than twist by spawning MOAR banelings on death).
Sure. This idea was just to participate in the conversation. But personally, I don't like this idea of many small technologies and twists at all.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: Misery on September 09, 2016, 11:37:42 AM
Quote
I will note that IIRC, 'candy' upgrades for ship types were not originally in AI War Classic because they interfered with your ability to build an intuition about how fights would go.

Wait, wouldn't this STILL be a problem?  I went and read the full description of this mechanic, and the very first thought I had was "So it's like in any other RTS games, where you get such and such upgrade for a unit type", and that makes me think of all of the typical problems that go along with that.  And the intuition thing is certainly a big one.

It might be different for others, but I'd get confused as hell trying to deal with that.  I have enough trouble remembering what things do as it is, without having to remember what they do CURRENTLY as opposed to all the time.  I always had that same issue in other RTS games.  Purely upgrading Mark Levels in this has always just seemed so much better due to how very straightforward it is.  It's a very easy to understand (and look at) thing in an otherwise incredibly complicated game.
Title: Re: Idea Major Simplification: Mark Level and Tech Tree Revisions
Post by: tadrinth on September 09, 2016, 01:14:23 PM
Quote
I will note that IIRC, 'candy' upgrades for ship types were not originally in AI War Classic because they interfered with your ability to build an intuition about how fights would go.

Wait, wouldn't this STILL be a problem? 

Well, now that I think about it, the fight intuition thing was more an argument against candy techs like 'your ships deal +1 damage'.  I don't think those are planned, so maybe it won't still be a problem.

As far as memorization goes, I think the intent is to have way fewer fleet ship types, more like 10-20 rather than 80, and then a similar-ish number of candy techs.  So that's only 40 things to remember (20 ships, 20 techs) rather than 80 distinct ship types that all have their own quirks.  Less total memorization that way.

You still have to put the ship and all its techs together in your head on the fly to figure out what it actually does, though.  That may be problematic.

It sounds super easy to implement on the dev side, though, so we may as well try it out.