Author Topic: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)  (Read 4032 times)

Offline x4000

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From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« on: September 21, 2016, 03:10:43 PM »
I've not put this on the design document yet, but I wanted to go ahead and move this into the main forum with a new image and set of terminology as a starting point for discussion.  I've put the image in here twice so you don't have to scroll so much to see it.

The names here are not 100% final, but honestly I'm liking these a huge amount.



Some explanatory notes:

1. "Starships" would no longer be a separate thing, but rather would be one third of the core triangle on their own.  This makes a lot of sense to me, because usually you want some big thing guarding your smaller things.

2. Bombers have been moved out of the core triangle, because frankly you're not bombing stuff that moves.  That's shooting something, not bombing it.  Bombers are specialists that are after structures, so they are a separate group outside of the main trio

3. Black Ops, on the other hand, are for taking down otherwise-unsassailable targets.  At least being a key component of that.  They can also really mess up the balance of an otherwise even battlefield (parasites, anyone?) in unexpected ways... but they aren't going to win with just them versus any of the core triangle ships.  They exist as a sort of force multiplier, if that makes sense.

4. All structures, even turrets and guard posts and such, would have the class of Structure.

5. If it moves and comes after you and is bigger than a capital ship, then that's a leviathan class ship.  Golems, guardians, and so on.  Send in the black ops, sure, but you're going to take heavy losses from a leviathan no matter what.  Black ops just make the losses less bad (potentially substantially less so).

6. Tactical superiority lives up to its name, because it literally wins against everything except for the giants of the game: capital ships and leviathans.  Realizing that this is what needed to happen (sparked by a comment from chemical_art) is what led me to move capital ships into the core triangle.  I couldn't figure out a logic third thing to be in there if you take bombers out, which really needed to happen.

7. I complained about the term Siege for a while because that sounds like it is trying to attack something fortified.  And you know what... it is, at this point!  Since those are your "capital ship busters," that name works well for me.

8. When it comes to turrets and guardians and so forth, those are always just "structure" or "leviathan," so they aren't part of any of the major triangle stuff.  However, various of them would have special bonuses against certain core triangle ships, or much more rarely even against demolition or black ops ships.  Basically something like a laser turret might be good in general, but particularly bonused against capitol ships.  Or whatever.  It would clearly state what it is getting a bonus against, though, and it would only be one class.



When it comes to the roles of the various ships:
- If you're attacking a fortified position or whatever place that has structures, then bring demolition units.
- When you go anywhere, bring tactical superiority to guard them.
- If you want to really anchor your forces in general, and counter enemy tac-sup units without taking like-for-like losses, then take capital ships.
- If the enemy has capital ships, you'll definitely want siege unts since the capitals are the one thing that will eat your tac-sups for lunch.
- Since siege units have a larger range in general, keeping them in your mix in general can be good, but they need to hang back while tac-sups screen them.
- Black ops are in general good to mix in to your fleets, as they will yield unexpected and varied positive results for you.
- If you are against a leviathan class, then really start spamming the black ops more than anything else, but still throw everything at it in general.
- When you build turrets, create a mix of them that specialize against what you think you might be facing.  Or some of each, depending.

And that's the new design, at least for the moment, very provisionally.  Commentary welcome. ;)

Added Notes: Offensive Vs Defensive Classes
I don't want to make this unduly complex, but in a few cases this is going to be required -- specifically for capitol ships and turrets.

Normally every ship just as "a class" and that's that.  It determines what it gets bonuses against, and what gets bonuses against it.  You see in the tooltip "the bomber is class demolition."  End of story.  Yay, simple!

However, in some cases we need a bit more nuance than that.

Turrets:
- For a lot of the turrets, they need to be specialized at killing specific other classes.
- The easiest way to represent that is simply to say "defensively they are a Structure, but offensively they are a Siege" or whatever you like.
- This is not a necessity for turrets honestly, because there are other ways to represent that same idea.  But for capitol ships...

Quote from: Cinth
The Bomber SS is an expert bomber, the Raid SS is an expert assassin, Flagship is an excellent fighter, Plasma Siege makes a great ranged attacker, and the Cloaker seems like it's a handy force multiplier (something I'd throw in Blitz).

In short, Starships (low end Capitols) are representative of the fleet.  Upper echelon Capitols are most definitely generalists (and could fit a LN category).

These are good points.   We have some starships that are basically "half and half" in the original AI War.  They are starship-sized (now capital ships), but they act like a "super bomber" or whatever the case may be.

For these, in AI War II, it makes sense that they would still defensively act like Capitol Ships, though, in terms of what part of the triangle they are in.  You'd need some Siege units to come in and take them out.

Therefore, for these, we'd have "defensively a capital ship (always), but offensively class x".  The biggest capital ships would just be simply a generalist capital ship.  But there's that middle-tier that are kind of smaller than most of the big capital ships, but still HUGE compared to fleet ships, and those would have a split class like that.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 04:40:00 PM by x4000 »
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Offline Sestren

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2016, 03:43:50 PM »
So, just to clarify a couple of points, the archetypal capital ship now would be the flagship, with stuff like the zenith starship and the riot control ship filling out the category? As examples of course with balance subject to change.

Its clear how 'Black Ops' would act as force multipliers in conventional fights (unconventional attack styles) but how does a parasite or a melee unit get a bonus against a leviathan? That particular link seems kinda forced. If demolition ships are no longer triangle ships, it might make more sense to let them retain their current anti-leviathan duties. Less variety that way, but it seems to make a better sort of intuitive sense.

There's still a few more iterations of naming to go through here too.

I don't like the term black ops, especially when cloaking is a mechanic. Black ops doesn't communicate the idea of 'force multiplier' to me, it sounds more like espionage and sabotage (I guess sabotage could thematically work vs a leviathan?). Frankly while I'm not a terribly big fan of specialist, if the category is outside the core three, I think that name does a much better job.

That said, I do like the other names a lot more than the previous set. Although if 'Tactical Superiority' might suffer from the issue of being very long. Its a good description, but given the role you might consider cribbing the term 'fleet ship' because its shorter.

How do we name large ships that are not involved in the fleet oversight and combat role? Specifically, you have stuff like the plasma siege starship and the bomber starship, both of which are essentially just 'very big bomber'. They of course don't need to exist in exactly their current forms, but there will probably still be a useful niche for 'very big bomber'. Its obviously a demolition ship, but you still need to come up with a meaningful name for the unit itself that doesn't accidentally make the player misclassify it when they see it. Or maybe restrict them to just the spire and that solves itself, I dunno.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 03:58:01 PM »
This is a very interesting dynamic setup.  Three different triangles (even if two of them are weakly associated).

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2016, 04:11:22 PM »
One question, how are you going to classify these ships in the game. Will these new Archetypes become revised Hull Types, or will you be balancing them through stats?

I think the idea of Archetypes is definitely the way to go, as it makes things easiest to balance and easiest for the player to understand, but how you implement the archetypes is also very important!
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Offline x4000

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2016, 04:13:30 PM »
Added Notes: Offensive Vs Defensive Classes
I don't want to make this unduly complex, but in a few cases this is going to be required -- specifically for capitol ships and turrets.

Normally every ship just as "a class" and that's that.  It determines what it gets bonuses against, and what gets bonuses against it.  You see in the tooltip "the bomber is class demolition."  End of story.  Yay, simple!

However, in some cases we need a bit more nuance than that.

Turrets:
- For a lot of the turrets, they need to be specialized at killing specific other classes.
- The easiest way to represent that is simply to say "defensively they are a Structure, but offensively they are a Siege" or whatever you like.
- This is not a necessity for turrets honestly, because there are other ways to represent that same idea.  But for capitol ships...

Quote from: Cinth
The Bomber SS is an expert bomber, the Raid SS is an expert assassin, Flagship is an excellent fighter, Plasma Siege makes a great ranged attacker, and the Cloaker seems like it's a handy force multiplier (something I'd throw in Blitz).

In short, Starships (low end Capitols) are representative of the fleet.  Upper echelon Capitols are most definitely generalists (and could fit a LN category).

These are good points.   We have some starships that are basically "half and half" in the original AI War.  They are starship-sized (now capital ships), but they act like a "super bomber" or whatever the case may be.

For these, in AI War II, it makes sense that they would still defensively act like Capitol Ships, though, in terms of what part of the triangle they are in.  You'd need some Siege units to come in and take them out.

Therefore, for these, we'd have "defensively a capital ship (always), but offensively class [x]".  The biggest capital ships would just be simply a generalist capital ship.  But there's that middle-tier that are kind of smaller than most of the big capital ships, but still HUGE compared to fleet ships, and those would have a split class like that.


Edit: Cinth ~ Fixed, Thanks Draco18s
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 04:24:19 PM by Cinth »
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2016, 04:19:42 PM »
This is moving rapidly, but I will say this:

My greatest complaint is that the "black ops" class is simply too vague to define a specific role it can do. Specialized offense is not enough of a defined term to really mean anything. I can easily imagine a rag tag group of units fighting of levitians. I cannot see how both parasites and melee ships both have an advantage against them when other forces do not.

I would rename the class "specialist" and say they all effect the other units in different ways. They are the joker, the wild card, in that they are all unified in different ways. Each wreck a specific group in a unique way, but none fit into the the standard class group. That, in the process, makes leviathans feel unique. There is no one class that beats them, but rather a sub set that might beat them. It makes every role more unique.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2016, 04:20:53 PM »
Therefore, for these, we'd have "defensively a capital ship (always), but offensively class [x]".  The biggest capital ships would just be simply a generalist capital ship.  But there's that middle-tier that are kind of smaller than most of the big capital ships, but still HUGE compared to fleet ships, and those would have a split class like that.

Fixing the BBCode jumble.  I didn't know that [x] was a valid tag!

Offline Cinth

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2016, 04:24:42 PM »
Therefore, for these, we'd have "defensively a capital ship (always), but offensively class [x]".  The biggest capital ships would just be simply a generalist capital ship.  But there's that middle-tier that are kind of smaller than most of the big capital ships, but still HUGE compared to fleet ships, and those would have a split class like that.

Fixing the BBCode jumble.  I didn't know that [x] was a valid tag!

Fixed!
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Offline x4000

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2016, 04:39:28 PM »
Okay, now responding to what people actually said in this thread -- the other bit was a response to an email from Cinth (he's doing a huge amount of the ship organization/design work right now), and I wanted to just get that in there first.

Quote
So, just to clarify a couple of points, the archetypal capital ship now would be the flagship, with stuff like the zenith starship and the riot control ship filling out the category? As examples of course with balance subject to change.

Well, things like the zenith and spire starships would not longer exist in anything like their current form, actually.  Now that you get to choose your race, the zenith and spire starships would be folded into their respective races, not the human ones.  There might be some that fill the same sort of fleet-level role in the human ranks, it's hard to say right off hand, but overall we're trying to make all the races play notably different from one another (this is what Cinth is up to).

Basically the Spire are more designed around the Imperial Fleet than anything else, so when you play as them you're really just coming through as a sledgehammer in general... but of course that also draws more notice than usual, too.  So that's a pretty wildly different way to play, but entirely consistent with what we've seen of the "true spire" in the past.  The AIW Classic version of the spire starship was kind of generic and underpowered by comparison, so whether it evolves, dies, or stays as a kind of baseline small unit I don't know.

In the grand scheme some of those notes about specific ships don't matter, because we can change those during alpha and during early access with quite a bit of ease; adding and removing and splitting and combining ships as needed based on player feedback and testing.  We're trying to come up with a compelling and sensible first draft, but definitely you should expect it to shift a lot once it hits serious playtesting.  And of course it's the sort of thing you can shift yourself with mods, too, if you like!

Quote
Its clear how 'Black Ops' would act as force multipliers in conventional fights (unconventional attack styles) but how does a parasite or a melee unit get a bonus against a leviathan? That particular link seems kinda forced. If demolition ships are no longer triangle ships, it might make more sense to let them retain their current anti-leviathan duties. Less variety that way, but it seems to make a better sort of intuitive sense.

Ignoring the specific ships, the concept of black ops to me is basically those sort of people that sneak in and do dangerous crazy things that often ends in an explosion or a dead dictator or an airstrip in enemy territory or who knows what.  Obviously that's a pretty Hollywood-ized version of it, and the one former army ranger I know probably would not be thrilled with that description, but still.

Anyway, I feel like "things that are great at knocking down buildings" and "things that are awesome at sabotaging or countering giant leviathan threats" should be different ships.  Ultimately I might have to rescind that in the name of clarity, but I hate that bombers can so often be the answer to _everything_.  "Is it big and scary?"  "Yeah."  "Get the bombers."  Bleh.  I mean, that might be how it needs to be, but at the moment I'm not feeling the fondest of that.

Quote
There's still a few more iterations of naming to go through here too.

I'm down with that.

Quote
I don't like the term black ops, especially when cloaking is a mechanic. Black ops doesn't communicate the idea of 'force multiplier' to me, it sounds more like espionage and sabotage (I guess sabotage could thematically work vs a leviathan?).

That's kind of what I meant.  Honestly these things are not pure force multipliers all the time... though some of them would be.  Generally these are causing some sort of chaos in the enemy ranks, such as a ton of AOE damage from an electric shuttle, or turning friend on foe in the enemy ranks, or whipping in close and "sucking your blood," etc.

I'm cool with something other than black ops, but I do like the espionage theme here... probably.  That was intentionally done, at least.

Quote
Although if 'Tactical Superiority' might suffer from the issue of being very long. Its a good description, but given the role you might consider cribbing the term 'fleet ship' because its shorter.

I think that the term fleet ship would still be used to mean "everything moves that is smaller than a capital ship."  Abbreviating that as TS, or tac-sup, seems like it would be okay.  We use ARS and whatnot all the time for really long names.  I do see your point, though.

Quote
How do we name large ships that are not involved in the fleet oversight and combat role? Specifically, you have stuff like the plasma siege starship and the bomber starship, both of which are essentially just 'very big bomber'. They of course don't need to exist in exactly their current forms, but there will probably still be a useful niche for 'very big bomber'. Its obviously a demolition ship, but you still need to come up with a meaningful name for the unit itself that doesn't accidentally make the player misclassify it when they see it. Or maybe restrict them to just the spire and that solves itself, I dunno.

That was something Cinth brought up from a mechanics standpoint, and you've brought it up from a naming one as well.  Hopefully the mechanics bit is now addressed for both of you via the above post of mine.  From a naming standpoint, Bomber Starship would probably become something like Demolition Capital Ship or something?

Quote
This is a very interesting dynamic setup.  Three different triangles (even if two of them are weakly associated).

Interesting good? ;)  Hopefully this is straightforward enough to understand, versus the craziness that results from everything being related to everything else.

Quote
One question, how are you going to classify these ships in the game. Will these new Archetypes become revised Hull Types, or will you be balancing them through stats?

I think I addressed this on the document, but if I didn't then please let me know and I will.  Basically it would work like this (with further clarity now that offense and defense are split on a few ships):

Offensively ship A is a...
- Tac-Sup, so it gets 2x damage against Demo, BO, and Siege
- Cap-Ship, so it gets 2x damage against Tac-Sup.
- Siege, so it gets 2x damage against Cap-Ship.
- Demo, so it gets 4x damage against structures and 2x against cap-ships.
- BO, so it gets 4x damage against leviathans and 2x against siege.
- Structure, so it gets no special bonuses.
- Leviathans, so it gets no special bonuses (but just wrecks stuff in general from high stats).

And then part 2, defensively ship A is a...
- Tac-Sup, so it gets 0.75x incoming damage from Demo, BO, and Siege.
- Cap-Ship, so it gets 0.5x incoming damage from Tac-Sup.
- Siege, so it gets 0.75x incoming damage from Cap-Ship.
- Demo, so it gets 0.75x incoming damage from Cap-Ship.
- BO, so it gets 0.5x incoming damage from Siege.
- Structure, so it gets no special protections.
- Leviathans, so it gets no special protections (but lives long anyway because of high stats).

This is hopefully a lot more clear, given the updated stuff in general.

Quote
I think the idea of Archetypes is definitely the way to go, as it makes things easiest to balance and easiest for the player to understand, but how you implement the archetypes is also very important!

Agreed.  Thanks!

Quote
My greatest complaint is that the "black ops" class is simply too vague to define a specific role it can do. Specialized offense is not enough of a defined term to really mean anything. I can easily imagine a rag tag group of units fighting of levitians. I cannot see how both parasites and melee ships both have an advantage against them when other forces do not.

This is a good point.  Potentially nothing gets a bonus against leviathans, and potentially these get no bonus against siege, either.  Maybe they are not part of any triangle, but they are just out there to do... stuff.  They aren't JUST force multipliers, but they do various random stuff.  Perhaps no lines go to or from them.  And perhaps they are then specialists.

And perhaps then leviathans just need you to throw as much crap at them as you can. ;)
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Offline x4000

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2016, 04:43:27 PM »
Okay, so this?  This still has specialists getting a bonus against siege, and tac-sup getting a bonus against specialists, which in the end might be good.  It just renames black ops to specialists and removes anything from having a bonus against leviathan.

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2016, 05:13:15 PM »
Okay, now responding to what people actually said in this thread -- the other bit was a response to an email from Cinth (he's doing a huge amount of the ship organization/design work right now), and I wanted to just get that in there first.

Well, that cat is out of the bag!
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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2016, 05:26:23 PM »
Okay, so this?  This still has specialists getting a bonus against siege, and tac-sup getting a bonus against specialists, which in the end might be good.  It just renames black ops to specialists and removes anything from having a bonus against leviathan.


Hm! Very interesting. Depending on where the units fall here I might suggest inverting the triangle... but I like how they're good against most everything.

I do like splitting demolitionists out, I advocated that a while ago, and it still makes sense.

Also, while Leviathans sound cool, they also imply size, which is sizist against the Hunter-Killer. I'd go with "Superweapons".

Offline Draco18s

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2016, 05:28:25 PM »
Hm! Very interesting. Depending on where the units fall here I might suggest inverting the triangle...

I respectfully disagree.  Wouldn't make much sense for siege units to be good against infantry. ;)

Offline Tridus

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2016, 05:29:18 PM »
Looks good!

Also, while Leviathans sound cool, they also imply size, which is sizist against the Hunter-Killer. I'd go with "Superweapons".

But that's part of what makes H/Ks so terrifying. They have Leaviathian power packed into a Capital Ship size frame!

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Re: From Chris: A Revised Revised Ship Triangle (With Extensions)
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2016, 05:32:38 PM »
Hm! Very interesting. Depending on where the units fall here I might suggest inverting the triangle...

I respectfully disagree.  Wouldn't make much sense for siege units to be good against infantry. ;)
Hence: "depending on the units". Grapeshot is a siege weapon and does horrific things to infantry.

Looks good!

Also, while Leviathans sound cool, they also imply size, which is sizist against the Hunter-Killer. I'd go with "Superweapons".

But that's part of what makes H/Ks so terrifying. They have Leaviathian power packed into a Capital Ship size frame!
Exactly!  :D