Author Topic: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"  (Read 1384 times)

Offline etheric42

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #45 on: April 05, 2018, 01:18:34 PM »
I don't think waiting till all the enemy ships are gone to start rebuilding makes sense. I think a "Your structure can't rebuild for 1 minute after being destroyed" restriction makes more sense.

Then the player's optimal move is to just build a new turret instead of waiting for the cooldown.  That could be counteracted by having destroyed turrets still count against cap/energy, but then the optimal move is to scrap the unit prior to destruction (or scrap the remains if possible) and build a fresh structure to skip the cooldown.  To stop this behavior, you'd need to require scrapped objects still count against cap/energy for the same cooldown period as if they were destroyed.  Then you have frustrated players who just want to rearrange their base because now they have to wait a minute or more after scrapping their turrets before they can replace them even when not under attack.

Okay, so to prevent that from occurring, then you could have the 1 minute cooldown but only have it apply when there are enemy ships present (and you probably want it set to longer than a minute, since an enemy attack wave might fight for longer and you don't want them sending a detachment back to the wormhole to deal with a tractor or turret they had destroyed a minute ago... plus the tractors/turrets that are about to come back online because they were destroyed seconds after the first one).

I agree that "while enemy ships are present" is annoying because what if the AI just sits an evasive/stealth ship (although planetary controllers have tachyons) on your planet to interfere with your construction, or what if you are in the middle of placing turrets during an attack.  I just don't see a way around it without incentivising annoying play.  And once you have "while enemy ships are present" clause, then you might as well drop the cooldown timer to keep it simple.

I am probably missing something, but that's what I see.

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #46 on: April 05, 2018, 01:20:38 PM »
I'd really prefer to avoid more audio cues like "they're launching ships from those guardians," because there already feels like there is way too much chatter from the lady on the Ark.  Not Metal Gear Survive levels, but she's way too up in my business, constantly.

A couple of remaining thoughts:

1. Yes, a number of times I've just scrapped a bunch of fleet ships to have them then pop out somewhere else.  This is... odd, as you say.

2. If turrets have to be rebuilt only after a certain amount of time, then it should be a planet-wide thing in some fashion.  Maybe... after a structure is destroyed via whatever means, if there are enemies on the planet, that Power doesn't get returned for 1 minute.  Because otherwise there are all sorts of "scrap the remains and micro the rebuild over here" workarounds.

3. Having fuel not be returned for a certain amount of time after a squad dies actually strikes me as interesting, too.  Basically logistical lags on power and fuel being returned whenever something that is consuming them dies strikes me as highly desirable.  We'd need to up the fuel caps in order for that to work with the current numbers, but it would basically be another form of throughput mediation instead of JUST a cross-class effective ship cap.
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Offline etheric42

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #47 on: April 05, 2018, 02:00:13 PM »
1. Yes, a number of times I've just scrapped a bunch of fleet ships to have them then pop out somewhere else.  This is... odd, as you say.

Solved if you give players access to quick travel/microwarp to give players a legitimate way to get their fleet back to defend their planets.  Also solved by various other things like lingering in the cap, like you mentioned, but I thought I'd bring that up.

3. Having fuel not be returned for a certain amount of time after a squad dies actually strikes me as interesting, too.  Basically logistical lags on power and fuel being returned whenever something that is consuming them dies strikes me as highly desirable.  We'd need to up the fuel caps in order for that to work with the current numbers, but it would basically be another form of throughput mediation instead of JUST a cross-class effective ship cap.

Fuel was previously so high it wasn't really an issue until starships started costing megabucks (which is awesome), increasing fuel caps could cause a problem there.  And I'm afraid of too many throughput bottlenecks at one time.

Bottleneck 1: You're at cap, no building (this one is pretty trivial unless there is a cooldown before cap is returned) until ships are destroyed
Bottleneck 2: You're low on metal, slow building
Bottleneck 3: You're out of fuel, normally you have plenty but ships have been destroyed but you are waiting for the fuel to be returned, no building until the fuel is refunded

I feel like bottleneck 2 and 3 are double-dipping as a punishment for in-combat rebuilding.

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #48 on: April 05, 2018, 02:33:13 PM »
Fair points.  I'm out of ideas for now, then. :)
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #49 on: April 05, 2018, 02:43:17 PM »
Maybe have the AI spend it's resource points on building new fleet ships on guardians while there is an ongoing attack (so they get reinforced just like the humans do with their flagship).
It kind of does do that with its reinforcement budget, but I think there's 30 seconds or more between times it spends on that, and it prioritizes rebuilding turrets and guardians (iirc). It would certainly be easy to have it funnel its reinforcement budget (and maybe part/all of its other budgets) into such a thing, but that would probably counteract one of the key elements of guerilla warfare: "hit them where they aren't". Sure, it'd just be fleet ships, but it can pump out a lot of those on that kind of budget.

That said, surely there would be some acceptable middleground. And maybe then it would make sense that not all the AI guardians fly into the battle.


That brings to mind one really crazy idea, which I think will amuse Chris: don't have the human players build fleet ships at all, have them spawn automatically from starships just like the AI's fleet ships spawn from guardians :)
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #50 on: April 05, 2018, 02:47:02 PM »
With regards to turret building it is has already been discussed why having a single ship stop everything is bad and remains of any sorts causes headaches. For that reason I'd have build speed be slowed by enemy presence on a planet. Have the floor start at 100 enemy strength and have it cap out at maybe 3000 strength causing construction to be 4x as long (0.25 build speed). Doing this opens up new tactical possibilities. For one the ark has a use! If you are a gambler of a player you can bring in your ark and double your construction speeds to help mitigate this. Fleetship factory and prototype ships can roll out to aid with fleetship production, allowing the player to still make them as rapidly even at full malus.
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Offline etheric42

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #51 on: April 05, 2018, 03:03:36 PM »
With regards to turret building it is has already been discussed why having a single ship stop everything is bad and remains of any sorts causes headaches. For that reason I'd have build speed be slowed by enemy presence on a planet. Have the floor start at 100 enemy strength and have it cap out at maybe 3000 strength causing construction to be 4x as long (0.25 build speed). Doing this opens up new tactical possibilities. For one the ark has a use! If you are a gambler of a player you can bring in your ark and double your construction speeds to help mitigate this. Fleetship factory and prototype ships can roll out to aid with fleetship production, allowing the player to still make them as rapidly even at full malus.

Yeah, I agree there are some headaches there... but even if build (not repair, but build) speed was at 25%, you would still have something that went from 0 to 1 HP and caused the AI (or player!) to break off ships to deal with it if it was important enough.  Maybe building is suppressed if there is a ship within X distance and the AI leaves a sentry fighter at each destroyed target?  Not a fan of that either.  If power distribution nodes produce drones (an idea Keith had) does that solve the "AI leaves one ship on your planet to annoy you" problem?  (Or the AI could just be told not to do that because it's too annoying....)

Edit: or maybe it takes a minimum amount of strength to cut off your new/re build ability.

That brings to mind one really crazy idea, which I think will amuse Chris: don't have the human players build fleet ships at all, have them spawn automatically from starships just like the AI's fleet ships spawn from guardians

Starships or just flaghips?

Would these be full, independant fleet ships or high-powered drones?

It would certainly be easy to have it funnel its reinforcement budget (and maybe part/all of its other budgets) into such a thing, but that would probably counteract one of the key elements of guerilla warfare: "hit them where they aren't". Sure, it'd just be fleet ships, but it can pump out a lot of those on that kind of budget.

The enemy's gate is down.  They have a (reasonably) infinite swarm of fighters.  You have a (reasonably) infinite swarm of fighters.  You just need to get hits on their guardians (which they can't replace easily).  It costs you an outsize portion of your resources to build starships.  It costs the AI an outsized portion of their resources to build guardians (if they can at all).  Your job is to hit key, critical infrastructure in the face of an infinite enemy.

Edit: each guardian probably has a max throughput that only allows the overlord to spend X resources per Y deploying ships to it, so as you destroy guardians you remove the world's ability to reinforce.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 03:06:30 PM by etheric42 »

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #52 on: April 05, 2018, 03:50:00 PM »
I would find that amusing, but I think that strays into territory that is dangerously unlike AI War 1 in similar ways to how SupCom 2 was unlike SupCom 1.  A lot of us were angry about SupCom 2. ;)
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Offline Magnus

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #53 on: April 05, 2018, 04:01:42 PM »
A few more observations.

I agree about not having the A.I. always do the same thing, even if it looks like the optimal route. Predictability just means death against any human player.

I had no clue that Guardians were essentially self-defending slow but mobile carriers. Their behavior makes a lot more sense now, but you might want to somehow make this point clearer.

Slowing down building static structures during A.I. presence makes sense to solve the "bouncing target" problem, but it also makes turrets and tractors even weaker than what they are now. Given the numbers the A.I. is currently throwing around, you might not even bother building them.
The thing is: as soon as the A.I. has enough units to manage even a few escape from tractor beams, your turrets are nearly instantly lost. What's the point of having even 50-60 of them if the A.I. routinely attacks you with hundreds (and later thousands) of squads? There are simply way too many targets for them to inflict significant damage before getting destroyed.
The "rebuilding target" problem solves this by "forcing" the A.I. to split its forces, make them a lot less effective, and allow for the controller to rebuild fast enough to let the turrets inflict significant damage over time, but it does it in a perverse way which makes the A.I. look dumb.

For me, the best solution to the "scrap and rebuild somewhere else" problem is to allow fast travel. If I want to rebuild somewhere else, it's because I'm attacking planet X and the A.I. is attacking me on planet Y. And given how fast A.I. waves are, that's basically a constant situation. It becomes fairly frustrating because, as I said, it feels like a protracted game of whack-a-mole. My thought during that is "God, how much more time do I need to waste chasing these stupid A.I. waves".
The alternative is to allow for fleet-wide ship caps (in addition to the galaxy-wide ones)  to make multi-fleet operations manageable for a human player.


And now for a few more test results.
I tried another quick game, this time at difficulty 7, and around the 40-60 minutes mark the A.I. just starts sending in ever-escalating waves that overwhelm me (even if the AIP is not growing anymore, as I'm busy trying to survive rather than conquer new planets). They're so big (comparatively) that it takes longer to clear them than it takes it to send the next wave, at which point the game is lost.
I was starting to think the A.I. is seriously overtuned right now, so I did another test at default settings. I just built the starting fleet and a defense at my home planet, and let it run for 40 minutes or so. I got a few incoming waves all at strength 260, but it looked like the game was behaving correctly. Then I conquered one planet and things started getting weird. For one, as soon as the ark moved, I got the cross-planet attack notification and threat jumped from 0 to 3500+. I'm assuming it's the activation of the hunter fleet there, but after conquering the planet and sitting there a bit (savegame 1), if you click on Troria (the nearby Mark I planet) you can see Mark IV and V ships, which should not be possible (I think..?) on a Mark I planet at AIP 30.
Then things started getting even more weird. I've attached a second save game where there's a 980 strength wave attacking (from 260 to 980 with just one planet?). The wave will charge then run to Troria without engaging. Wait for them to be gone, then move the fleet (without the Ark) on Troria, let it sit on the wormhole, and look what happens in the next 3 minutes. Something is very wrong, I think.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #54 on: April 05, 2018, 06:25:24 PM »
On the build speed thing, the idea I like is:

- If hostile strength on the planet is <= your strength on the planet, you build at full speed
- Otherwise, your build speed is divided by (hostile_strength / your_strength)

So if you're just overwhelmed the rebuilding shuts down, but if you're just in normal fight-for-your-life mode it's just a penalty. And if it's just some AI stragglers you get no penalty at all.
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Offline etheric42

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #55 on: April 05, 2018, 07:47:08 PM »
That seems like double-tapping.  If you're overwhelmed they probably have enough power to just wipe you off regardless of you rebuilding (although this would help in the corner case that they have a tiny fleet versus a basically undefended planet to stop the planet from just rebuild-taunting them).

Another idea is to also have gravity affect build speed.  Plus then you can just use that element of the UI without having to add anything!  ;-)

Offline chemical_art

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #56 on: April 05, 2018, 10:24:09 PM »
On the build speed thing, the idea I like is:

- If hostile strength on the planet is <= your strength on the planet, you build at full speed
- Otherwise, your build speed is divided by (hostile_strength / your_strength)

So if you're just overwhelmed the rebuilding shuts down, but if you're just in normal fight-for-your-life mode it's just a penalty. And if it's just some AI stragglers you get no penalty at all.

I like the idea, with the caveat caps to both a minimal enemy strength to trigger any reduction and a cap that can be mitigated through risky and/or thoughtful play (for example, dragging in the King to rouse a desperate defense). Setting the construction to zero makes for binary play which shuts down the total number of available tactics. It is this reason why I'm also not a fan of having construction being shut down due to an arbitrary number: If the player is being overwhelmed and desperately rebuilding turrets buys time, why not? The game usually is decided by raw number slugging of who has the larger number of units so having a form of guerrilla/militia resistance is a welcome change. If higher level AI is adjusted so the tactic is less effective, fine. But don't just write it off all together for standard play. This mechanic is wrinkle to a game I feel is too straightforward in terms of gameplay.
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Offline Magnus

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #57 on: April 06, 2018, 05:05:03 AM »
What about having the power nodes also affect building speed? I've noticed the controller, for whatever reason, does not prioritize them over turrets/tractors when rebuilding. This would also make the current tactical behavior more appropriate (though it would still need changes).

My problem with the speed being affected by the strength ratio is: it will shut down rebuilding when it's not going to do much anyway, since the A.I. overpowers the defense and will destroy the controller no matter what.
I'm also generally against any system which incurs a "runaway winner" problem; if one side is much stronger, giving it an even bigger advantage usually makes for a lousy game. It also doesn't give any meaningful tactical option, further pushing the "OMG I need to move my fleet back ASAP" which is already excessive as far as I'm concerned. This is because, due to the galaxy-wide turret cap, you have no real way of changing strength ratio while defending, except by moving your fleet. In fact this would make it all but impossible to do anything else, since you couldn't even scrap other turrets elsewhere and rebuild them on the fly on the attacked planet. So, if you put this in place: what am I supposed to do as a player, apart from running back?

At least with power nodes being significant targets you can experiment with having turrets defend them instead of just the wormholes / the controller.

Offline x4000

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Re: AI War 2 v0.718 Released! "A Wild GUI Appears"
« Reply #58 on: April 06, 2018, 09:59:41 AM »
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