Author Topic: My comprehensive feedback  (Read 1818 times)

Offline zeusalmighty

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My comprehensive feedback
« on: April 07, 2018, 08:37:46 PM »
This is my comprehensive feedback thus far. It’s a long read. I don’t focus on quantitative balance, I’ll leave that to the more insightful. My focus is on game philosophy, playstyles, problems, and gameplay proposals

Experience/Playstyle:

550 hours classic/50 hours AI 2

My playstyle is generally high AIP (exploit all AIP reducers to keep low as long as possible), turtling (invest in turrets, mines, fortresses), surgical strikes (advanced transport raids/spire transport co-processor rush), divide and conquer (strike out large territories finding ideal chokepoint and absorb/neutralize remaining territory)

The reason I regard AI classic as my favorite game is how spectacularly it executed the premise: humanity is all but wiped out and faces overwhelming odds—success depends on exploiting the AI’s disinterest. The replay-ability is ultimately what made this game so impressive, every campaign demanded a unique strategy catered to the galaxy and the personalities of the A.I.


Philosophy of success
For AI 2 to succeed classic it must capture the same spirit—humanity have the means of thwarting and exploiting the AI’s attention to wage a successful war. A major element I would like to see more of is the ability to manipulate/exploit the AI’s knowledge of human activities. Basically, I would like a toolkit that would deceive the AI to deal with fake threat elsewhere in the galaxy—in effect distracting the warden/hunters/sentinels and manipulating AIP through subterfuge


Problems:
?   Currently the means of waging a guerilla war are too limited. Badger and Chemical have already observed that tech in AI 2 lacks versatility and players are effectively forced to use the same tech every game. This is particularly true of defense options. Mutually exclusive tech trees (I’ll give proposals later) could address the replay-ability issue by making certain game styles more viable than others in a given campaign.
?   Movement of fleets is tedious, as others have indicated.
?   Turrets aren’t effective by themselves. I’m not sure they can be without overcompensating. I think the issue is that we are expecting them to fulfill defense by themselves. They need to be supplemented with something else (I have proposals)
?   Ark needs more functionality; it’s too important of a unit to just have sit in a corner. Hacking could be interesting as a defensive tool.
?   Controllers feel too vulnerable should the AI decide to target them explicitly. Given the current targeting priorities this hasn’t been a major issue but I suspect this will be more of a target in the long-run.
?   Defense Nodes are good in theory (opens up interesting tactical choices) but in practice feel relatively unimportant. Should invest more in this idea (I have a couple)


Proposals/Ideas: (These are largely inspired by Classic and the Dune prequels)


Defense:

Traps: I want a tech tree for a variety of traps. Humans need to rely on cunning to overcome the AI and the fact that we don’t have some sort of trap system in place strikes me as odd from both in terms of lore and mechanics. (I guess tractor beams count). Here’s a few that interest me

1.   Mines from classic
2.   Attrition field: Zone trap, when active, that causes DOT (% based) to ALL fleet ships (friend or foe)
3.   Sensor disruptor: Generator that reduces nearby AI to melee range
4.   EMP mine: trap that paralyzes ALL fleet upon activation (no movement/no targeting)
5.   Stasis Trap: Trap that makes fleet “ethereal” and frozen (same as paralysis but also ships can’t be targeted)

Fortresses: Bring these Back! They were awesome in classic for turtlers and add much needed variety to defense tools

Defense Nodes/Guard Posts: Double down on the nodes. Make a tech tree for them that would result in something like Guard Posts from classic (hell, would be cool if the AI had these too on higher mark planets). Maybe even make the tech for these mutually exclusive. Here’s a few applications

1.   Stealth Field: Defense node has basic weaponry but also produces a stealth field to conceal the controller. All of these need to be destroyed to reveal controller or and otherwise insane amount of detection
2.   Drone Deployer: Defense node has basic weaponry but produces drones based on tech level (of the triangle fleet).
3.   Supercharger: Defense node has basic weaponry. Passively and massively increases the defense capabilities of all other defense on the planet, based on how many are still operational.
4.   Superior Armament: Defense node has ADVANCED weaponry and “Artillery” range (even longer than sniper)

Ark Tech

The ARK is presently disappointing; I expect more from our King. Hacking is fine and dandy but this doesn't get enough usage. Insofar as the idea is to keep this away from the AI generally speaking, I think there needs to be some ways to use hacking defensively. I would also be interesting a tech just for the ARK to make it more of an impactful unit, potentially even mutually exclusive tech options. Here's a few possibilities:  Advanced weapons, cloaking, drone spawning, passively boosts fleet/defense systems, etc.

As for defensive hacks, something cool would be the ability to disrupt wormhole transit (e.g. blackhole generator). Another one would corrupt AI targeting--certain proportion of AI strength views other AI fleet as hostile and attacks. Defensive hacks should get a lot of bang for their buck

Utility/Logistics/Guerilla:

Controller Tech: I miss the different types of command centers. Controllers feel uninteresting and are liabilities. This applies to the AI as well. I really liked how in classic there were special command centers that dramatically changed how a player should deal with them. Mutually exclusive tech similar to my proposals for Defense Nodes would be applicable to them as well.

Saboteur (Special starship): Non-combat unit, advanced cloaking, specializes in subterfuge. I think this is needed (or something comparable) because the humans are lacking a significant way to “fool” the AI, which is arguably the key to their ultimate hope of defeating the AI. Some possible functions:

1.   Uses hacking to manipulate waves/hunters/wardens (e.g. sends them to deal with fake threat on a distant planet).
2.   Can hack “sensor scramblers” to gain vision of nearby planets (maybe only temporarily)
3.   Can EARN hacking points (e.g. a unique twist on hacking)
4.   Temporarily (10 min?) reduces AIP. Maybe raises AIP proportionally afterwards, temporarily.

Fast-travel Carriers—Special Flagships: (Inspired by the Guild Heighliners in Dune):

MASSIVE Flagships (Spire ship?) expressly for fast travel. Takes time to load ships (proportional to fleet size) & plot course (proportional to hops travelled) but travel itself is instantaneous. Unloading would also take time based on strength of passengers. No offensive capabilities (maybe drones?) Discoverable like flagships; 1 ALWAYS ? 3 hops from home planet. Can load other flagships (max 2) but not golems.



Healthy optimism


The beta has come a long way and has lots of the elements that attracted me to classic. While there’s room for improvement there’s nothing that would require a fundamental change in game design. I hope these suggestions (or something comparable) can be implemented without requiring a major overhaul. My basic contention is that the human players need more tools to wage guerilla warfare, ideally with respects to subterfuge.

Keep up the amazing work!




Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2018, 09:22:42 PM »
Thanks for the feedback! :)


Some things that could be done fairly "safely", both in terms of being close to the AIWC design and being fast to implement:

1) Add Mines
- already defined in the game, just currently not buildable

2) Add EMP Mines
- not implemented, but shouldn't be too bad

3) Add AOE Mines
- when triggered, they cause an explosion that damages more than just the triggering ship

4) Add Fortresses
- already defined in the game, just not currently buildable

5) Give Stealth Starships/Flagships a passive cloak-boost aura that builds a temporary cloak around nearby friendly units
- the mechanic needs to be adapted from the planet-wide cloaker, but not too bad
- the idea here is that the cloak would diminish over time outside the aura, and would not generally be as strong as a normal cloaked units'

6) Make different distribution-node types that are guard-post-like, and seed those instead of the vanilla ones. So like AIWC's guard posts, except you "inherit" them when you take over the planet, and they help you defend.


Things that would also fit design-wise (probably) but may need to wait until beta proper on implementation:

- Researchable upgrades for controllers
-- I'd initially intended to not do this, and instead focus on "how you spend your power is how you customize your planet", but with the removal of the resource converter buildings I can see that there's less and less argument for that being enough
-- This would need some additional UI to allow for switching the controller type
-- Incidentally, if the AI reconquers the planet, it gets your upgraded controller too :) Otherwise the game would have to reset it to the base type, and you'd have to switch it in again after taking it back.

- More Ark utility
-- one thought I've had lately is to make it immobile and Structure (a generally-weak defense type) to start with, but you get a line of techs like:
--- Fix the engines (can move, and thus hack)
--- Fix the hull (increase max hp)
--- Fix the armor (switch to Armor)
--- Fix the guns (short range)
--- Add more guns (medium range)
--- Add MOAR guns (long range)
--- Install deflectors (switch to deflectors, the best defense type)
--- Install Warp-Grid-Jammers (suppresses the AI's ability to warp in tons of extra reinforcements whenever it sees your Ark)
-- normally we can't do much of this sort of thing because of how stats are defined (making it much more flexible would be cpu-murder at this scale), but if it's a linear path of upgrading then it just replaces one unit with the newly unlocked type
-- anyway, the upshot is that you have to treat the Ark as a stationary King like AIWC to start with, but with major science investment you can use it defensively, and with even more science you can use it offensively. At that point you've got enough of an empire that the "the player needs to have something they have to defend" need has already been met, and AIP will be so high that you'd better know what you're doing if you leave home.


On fast-travel, I don't think we've really defined the problem yet:
- If the issue is "I don't want to wait that long, in wall-clock time", then just press Ctrl+plus a few times and the wait will be over very quickly. It's much more effective at that than AIWC's speedup feature.
- If the issue is "I don't want to wait that long, in game-time", then: why? Is it because the AI is able to hit you while you're out of position? That sounds working-as-designed to me ;) Though we can adjust the balance there.

I folks want to discuss fast-travel further I think a separate thread would be good, so we can nail down what specifically is bothering specific folks.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2018, 11:29:39 PM »
Zeusalmighty, I am very happy to see you back. I have never knew you by name explictly, but I knew there was "Transport/ surgical strike expert" from AIW 1 out there who I loved reading about and your expertise and perspective is always valuable  :)

My first thought is that your thoughts on the Ark remind me of the AIW 1 champion, which I feel is the perfect blueprint. The champion was always unique by the fact it could be like a phoenix in that it could never die; Having such a unit be assigned the role of the King as a core unit yet later lose its ability to resurrect due to <reasons> is really lovely lore in a sense (I'm getting Battlestar Galactica 2 vibes following this path).  It only makes sense it is the blueprint the King should be, a fallen unit who still retains the ability to upgrade over time. So I feel the ark should draw inspiration from it, and having the parallels would be a perfect Easter egg of sorts for players. A lot of fun lore could be done with having the ark once being the champion.

From a gameplay point of view, the Ark doesn't have to have all the story that went with the champion, but the concept of having player tech strengthen the Ark, in addition to direct player choices on the "tech tree" of the ark, would DRAMATICALLY address the worry that games are samey.

Sleep is calling, so the rest of your excellent post I will reflect tomorrow, but that tangent alone of having the ark grow with the player in a strong way would solve a lot of issues.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2018, 01:37:42 AM »
Yep way too late, just excited at the idea of trying to make the ark more like the champions of yore (which in AIW2 terms would be how they would have been viewed as). I know the code to try to drag out all the code to make slots and such probably isn't feasible so I expect the cold water treatment...but I can dream, can't I?

To clarify: The actual slots and all that jazz were just the method to having the unit grow with your tech and to your liking, I don't expect a 1 to 1 transfer or anything. Just the spirit of the concept makes me excited.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2018, 01:55:07 AM by chemical_art »
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2018, 08:24:41 AM »
Any stat variances on the Ark's entity record itself would have to be accomplished by separate entity records in the xml that the techs switch between. In other words, you can have forking paths but not a "talent tree" in the normal sense as that would require an exponential number of entity records. So that's things like which defense class (structure/armor/evasion), speed, hit points, resistances.

Varying by which systems are on the Ark is much easier, as the techs can simply swap systems onto (and off, if necessary) the in-game entity. So that's things like guns, cloak, tractors, and gravity.

So the implementation could go something like this:

1) Add a science category for "Ark Core" that lets you get it mobile again, then choose which defense class you want to use, then add more hp, etc
- this would probably start with just one path at first, but forking paths are ok

2) Add a science category for "Ark Modules" that lets you add guns, gravity, tractors, etc (and cloak theoretically, though cloaking your King and hiding in the back of beyond might be a bit OP).
- in theory we could have the guns actually be put on as you research normal turret techs, but I'm not sure that would be intuitive. Perhaps the Ark-gun-techs would have the turret techs as prereqs.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2018, 09:55:29 AM »
Any stat variances on the Ark's entity record itself would have to be accomplished by separate entity records in the xml that the techs switch between. In other words, you can have forking paths but not a "talent tree" in the normal sense as that would require an exponential number of entity records. So that's things like which defense class (structure/armor/evasion), speed, hit points, resistances.

Varying by which systems are on the Ark is much easier, as the techs can simply swap systems onto (and off, if necessary) the in-game entity. So that's things like guns, cloak, tractors, and gravity.

So the implementation could go something like this:

1) Add a science category for "Ark Core" that lets you get it mobile again, then choose which defense class you want to use, then add more hp, etc
- this would probably start with just one path at first, but forking paths are ok

2) Add a science category for "Ark Modules" that lets you add guns, gravity, tractors, etc (and cloak theoretically, though cloaking your King and hiding in the back of beyond might be a bit OP).
- in theory we could have the guns actually be put on as you research normal turret techs, but I'm not sure that would be intuitive. Perhaps the Ark-gun-techs would have the turret techs as prereqs.

In my ridiculous head canon, I was thinking along the lines of:

Spire tech: Strongest defensively with strong single target weapons. Thinking of the spirit of multiple shields (so gobs of HP) and the spirit of the lance or plasma cannons, weapons who deals gobs of HP to one target at a time. These weapons and shields do crowd out economic power, however.
Offense: ***
Defense: ****
Economy: *
Special: **

Zenith tech: Medicore defenses with strong multi target weapons. This could give the ark armor for example for defense but doesn't give much extra HP but the weapons front is where it shines: It slugs multiple projectiles rapidly causing AoE damage which shreds light HP units.

Offense: ****
Defense: **
Economy: **
Special: **

"Human" tech: The most balanced and easiest to use. It has good HP (thinking of the weaker human shields) and its weapons while not flashy have no weakness. It's really used more for economics or otherwise behind the frontlines in terms of use which makes it easy to use.

Offense: ***
Defense: ***
Economy: ***
Special: *

Nenizul tech: The "other" one. This one can go multiple directions but here is one. You can have it cloak, have no direct weapons, and still support the battlefield (I did this with the drone launchers in AIW 1. Did I ever report that "bug"? I don't think I ever did.). In a straight up fight it really won't do anything special but the cloaking device and other unique opens up new possibilities.

Offense: **
Defense: **
Economy: **
Special: ****
« Last Edit: April 08, 2018, 09:58:27 AM by chemical_art »
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2018, 01:55:08 PM »
I don't think we'd be going Spire/Zenith/Neinzul/Human with it at this point. The Spire content itself might have something along those lines later, though, when we get to it.

Each of the different backer-commissioned Ark "skins" could have its own progression options, though (later in development). They'll have to have their own entity records, anyway (they already do). And if someone really wants progression X with skin Y it's a very simple mod to swap the visual models.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2018, 02:11:12 PM »
Yes that all makes sense. I'm just having fun  ;)

For simplicity I'd say just start with as you unlock a turret give the Ark some kind of feature as well. Such a concept was already common in AIW 1 from all the units that had customization slots. Rather then get all fiddly with those menus, just have it add onto the Ark. On the intuitive front all you need to do is for when the ark is selected have a button next to the fleetship options that says "details" which when clicked can list all the various upgrades it has. That would be a nice synergy to give turrets and the Ark more value. If the idea gets traction you can add on other features as well.
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Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2018, 04:59:38 PM »
Thanks Chemical =)

From a gameplay point of view, the Ark doesn't have to have all the story that went with the champion, but the concept of having player tech strengthen the Ark, in addition to direct player choices on the "tech tree" of the ark, would DRAMATICALLY address the worry that games are samey.

I loved the Champion from classic. The nebulae side quests were a cool diversion that could tremendously benefit your late game strength. I certainly don't anticipate bring the Champion back such as it was, but I agree that it could be a good benchmark to compare the Ark with. It just seems so natural to have it evolve over a course of a game in connection with your knowledge purchases, and I think the synergy of having both the turret tech and fleet tech also influence the Ark's development is a sweet idea that is also simple and intuitive to the player

Offline x4000

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2018, 05:36:37 PM »
Thanks for all of this, everyone involved. :)

This thread did partially inform my recent post here: https://forums.arcengames.com/ai-war-ii/brainstorming-about-offense-vs-defense-and-refleeting-speeds/msg218579/#msg218579

But I also wanted to directly respond to a few things in this thread separately, too.  The conversations have overlap, but are definitely separate.

1. One of the things that I keep coming back to in my head lately, and this thread only reinforced it, is that there isn't enough going on.  There aren't enough layers.  We've streamlined out so much micro that the game feels simplistic compared to the first one.  And in general what is there is very good, and the streamlining helps what is there enormously, and I am not advocating for reverting to microing engies around or something.  I also think there are still some things that need MORE streamlining, so that will improve the experience that we have going on here in one way, while unfortunately digging the "too simple" hole deeper.

- Now this might sound insane, and maybe it is... but I think that we need at least one more vector of competition with the AI.  It's just something that has been striking me, of late.  The only thing that we compete with the AI on right now is tactics, which any AI can only be so good at, and strategy, which is hugely asymmetrical.  There's a defensive "minigame" as it were, and the streamlining has hurt that a lot.  The tech tree was always weak in the first game, and has only gotten moreso here -- see my related thread.

- So that got me thinking, though.  In what other ways could we do something to make science, hacking points, and AIP, more interesting.  Could we build "minigames" of sorts into those?  Those are already part of the meta, but what if those required some skill and planning and thought in the same way that setting up effective defenses in the tower-defense part of the game does?

- A "proper minigame" for science is, naturally, a more involved tech tree.  Visually we could do it, if we wanted to.  We could do something like Civ, or something strange like the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X.  You get science, and you choose how to advance along these paths, and it's interesting and fun.  It's another little screen to occupy some of your time and interest, and it's a change of pace from the rest of things.  You're not competing with the AI on this, per se, but in a lot of ways it does feel like you are.

- A "hacking minigame" seems like it could be more adversarial, and indeed more of a direct "turn based minigame," so to speak, in the same sense that planet defenes is a "tower defense minigame."  We already have the perfect "board" for this, too: the galaxy map.  What if hacking points, or some analogue, were used in a tug of war of sorts on planets here?  This would involve no units anywhere, it's all just numbers in the simulation and some new bits of interface on a "hacker view" of the galaxy map.  You'd "deploy hackers" anywhere that you can see, and have them do something for X amount of gametime.  The AI would have antihackers.  You win simply in a king of the hill sort of style: hold the place for long enough, by having more hackers than they have antihackers, and you complete the objective.  You set off an EMP at that planet, you stall the next wave, you get permanent scout intel there, you destroy prevent reinforcements there for X amount of time... all sorts of things could be done that don't require hooking up to specific individual units but mess with the AI and give you interesting defensive options.  Perhaps for every hacking point you get, you get 1 hacker to be used this way, and for every AIP the AI gains, they get 10 anti-hackers.
-- There was this mobile game with lots of little planets, and it had little arrow-like ships circling them, and you'd get more the longer you held a planet.  You could send certain numbers of them from one place to another, and at the other end they would fight the guys at the other side.  You couldn't move them while in transit.  My dad plays something that's a clone of that in VR.  Anyone know the game I'm thinking of?  I think that using similar visuals to show hackers and anti-hackers, we could have a pretty cool thing going there really fast, and it would be on my plate, not Keith's.

- The overall goal of having hacking work like this instead of the current way is that then there is another layer to the game, a third thing that you're considering, which is good.  It doesn't require micro, per se, but it does require attention and is something you might focus on while refleeting, or you might hold territory for a while in order to let your hackers do their thing from that space, then let go of the territory, etc.  Maybe a special building at that space lets you have extra hackers as long as you hold it, or just for 30 game minutes, whichever comes soonest, etc.  Since you can't compete economically with the AI here, given that the economies are unrelated, this sort of extra cat and mouse layer would make it feel more 4x-y to me.

- The minigame doesn't have to be that sort of thing exactly, but the idea is that it's something that is simple, easy to grasp, has a visual component, doesn't involve actual ships, does involve actual planets and territory, and gives you and/or the AI bonuses or penalties based on your successes there.  It gives you an outlet for things that isn't purely military, and makes the galaxy map have more than one meaning to it.

2. I'm partially wary of the Ark getting more useful, but I suppose it would be cool if it got more guns, etc.  It automatically has a "don't go into AI territory or you aggro them majorly" mechanic, so if we kept that but let the Ark become very strong, then that would be our roaming special forces unit all on its own, potentially.  And it WOULD work in enemy territory, which is cool, but it would just have a (very easy to digest in a lore sense) penalty to doing so, rather like aggroing a superterminal for too long makes sense in the first game.
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Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2018, 07:30:51 PM »
-- There was this mobile game with lots of little planets, and it had little arrow-like ships circling them, and you'd get more the longer you held a planet.  You could send certain numbers of them from one place to another, and at the other end they would fight the guys at the other side.  You couldn't move them while in transit.  My dad plays something that's a clone of that in VR.  Anyone know the game I'm thinking of?

Was it "Eufloria"? I played this a while back but seem to recall it fitting your description. Can't remember why I stopped playing; it was enjoyable.

- A "hacking minigame" seems like it could be more adversarial, and indeed more of a direct "turn based minigame," so to speak, in the same sense that planet defenes is a "tower defense minigame."  We already have the perfect "board" for this, too: the galaxy map.

Hacking the AI, from both a lore and mechanical perspective, strikes me as the most fruitful area to develop a non-combative way of engagement. Particularly from the lore perspective, humanity NEEDS to exploit the fact that their opponent is an AI and since humanity is puny in comparison, they need to rely on other methods besides brute force. Hacking just fits the bill so nicely, but it's current iteration doesn't feel like a necessary stratagem to humanity's success but more like another thing to do when the opportunity presents itself.
 And I'm all for making the galaxy map more significant in planning strategy. Homeworld series does this sort of combination of perspectives superbly.

Offline x4000

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2018, 07:57:06 PM »
Had to go back and look, now -- it was Galcon: https://www.galcon.com/iphone/

And I agree, having the AI be something you engage in a hacking sense, in a non-battlefield battlefield that affects your physical ships, munitions, and battlefields, seems to me like it would cover a lot of things.  It has to be simple enough that the learning curve is not insane, and so that we're not spending weeks or months in prototyping it.  I think it's doable, but would need to be just the right design, and would have to take advantage of a lot of things that are pre-existing but just under-utilized right now.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2018, 08:51:53 PM »
My thoughts on the idea of a hacking mini game:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1XZMJwDRjM

Which is to say I am not opposed I will flat out say I am opposed to it for inevitably any sort of experience that is not a part of the "main" game becomes just a skill that a player must learn. Which is to say that if you want to play in the big leagues, you learn how to play it. It isn't really optional. If you ignore it, you suffer for it. I didn't have a problem with it in the AIW 1 experience for it was an expansion. But as a part of the base game? No.

I remember in bio shock there was hacking, which was a simple puzzle game. The game designer had to make it that if you bought a simple upgrade you could win the mini game. While at the time I thought it was cool that my skill could determine if it worked, in practice it meant I would reload the game until I won every time. Since then I have gone toward the %chance of success route which still isn't ideal but better in the long run.

If it really is simple to win, it is just a chore. If it is a challenge, those who are not skilled in it are punished, and those skilled at it view it as that skill check you got to cross. It doesn't really at a core decide you skill at strategy, just a test of patience.

Now as resource to use as you wish, like hacking? No problem. But the instant it moves away from that I give the shoulder shove, because I don't want a game of yawndom. The story and defense mini games from the champions were not at all what I loved about champions, they were quite the chore. As much love I have given to champions this weekend, 0% of that came from the story bits and the mini games that went with them.  I hated them and viewed with the enthusiasm I do doing the dishes and laundry.

It could very well be I am over reacting to the concept and it is just a resource, which I would prefer. But if it is anything but that...smack!

Life is short. Have fun.

Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2018, 11:51:25 PM »
Just as an idea, you could add resources or "thingymabobs" found in battle that go in a inventory like system after you conquered a planet that you can put in a hacking engine and depending on the things you put in that, and where you put them (maybe a complex grid that you can use min-max or just casual, you could influence something (you are the writer, you think of names ,p) with it. (or maybe it's just types of ressources where collect to a certain critical mass, or to certain masses)

Essentially like a magic system, except you don't make magic with elements, you initiate a hack with them. And battle and conquest gives you these elements

Downside: Requires a ton of new art and coding. Needs to be visually pleasing to use, and there should be a timer and seed attached so it can't be randomly rerolled or cheesed.
Upside: By definition works great in COOP, SP and otherwise. Also has the benefit of some emergent stuff going on (if you don't make it an element, but rather items, then you could also make them have unique effects and interactions...)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2018, 11:55:31 PM by eRe4s3r »
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Offline TheVampire100

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Re: My comprehensive feedback
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2018, 03:50:52 AM »
Okay, this is a small image, very sorry about this couldn't find something larger.


So, this is from Largo Winch, a very old computer game based on the comics with the same name. The game was mostly an adventure game with occasional fighting and hacking minigames thrown inbetween. Those hacking mini games were actually very well made and I just want to point out an inspiration.
Now I can understand that Chemical Art is concerned about a "hacking minigame" because this is somewhat different from AIWC. However, I never found hacking any fun in the frst game to begin with, it was basically "slap your hackign device here and wait until it is done. Oh, look, countermeasure, better have some ships nearby to protect it". It was just wtching a timer ticking down and eventually defend against some ships. This is in my very definition a chore.

I don't expect that you copy the system of Largo Winch, in fact, you can't. The problem is, AI War is still a RTS game, the hacking system of Largo Winch is turn based. Any turn based element involed would either have to pause the main game (which destroys the flow of the game) or it would go on (which means you always have to make sure that everything is okay before you go back to the mini game).
Now back to the mini game from Largo Winch, as you can see there are multiple nodes and some computers. The computer with the W-Logo is the starting point, your "avatar" spawns there and each round you can move him around and activate nodes. You have to activate all nodes before you can access to the next point, basically you build up a connection to the other PC. The pc with the skull is obviously the "opponent", it's a firewall that tries to keep you out, it sends out its own avatar (let's just pretend that's how hacking works) which has to move also on the nodes but also destroys all nodes you have activated. It can move freely on nodes you don't own (because it's own system) but has to deactivate the nodes from you one by one before it can move on (because you hacked that part). When it reaches you, it throws you out of the system and you have to start again.
Your goal is to connect all the nodes to the pc (not the firewall) and then access it before leaving from your own pc again. If you get caught on the way back out,t he firewall deletes all your files and throws you out again.

This sounds awefully complicated, so have  avideo that shows this better: https://youtu.be/DlWgBnzkt7M?t=36s

Now like I said, I cannot see this in AI War 2 but I can see a similiar system. Currently we use the Ark for hacking (instead of hacker units like in classic) which is also risky because you have t move the Ark to potentially dangerous territory). We could either leave it liek this or create dedicated hacker units again.
My idea would be that each planet has now "hacking" nodes even if there is nothing itneresting on it, you have to connect all nodes from your starting planet to your hacking goal, this sounds tiresome but this gives the player something to do while for example he refleets or prepares defenses for an attack.
You could either hack these nodes by sending yor Ark directly or sending replaceable hacker units. Maybe each node coss exactly 1 hacking point to activate?
As Ai progress goes on, the Ai gets Anti Hackers that go on the node and destroy some of your nodes before they vanish. In the video you can clearly see the timers on the firewall avatars that count down with each turn. The Anti hackers wil disappear after they destroyed X nodes connected to their system.
Hacked system are kept (you downloaded already the backup files or whatever) but the hacked planet has to be hacked again if you want to go further intot he hackign grid.

Now, there iS  aroblem of course: Map type. The map type can make hacking a lot easier ore harder depending on the map style you selected just like it can make the normal game harder or more difficult. However, I think with the hackign system I propose, the penality might be more sveere.
So my idea would be, the number of nodes depends on the number of connected planets. More connected planets? You have to hack more nodes on the planet to go on. So on map styles that are more linear and less branched out, you can easier hack through all the planets because there are less nodes to worry about. Planets with hacking goals obviously have always a high number of nodes to hack because there is something you want. Or maybe you just pay the usual hack costs on those planetg and keep the nodes as usual.

That's just my idea so far but it might be too complicated.