Author Topic: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!  (Read 2056 times)

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2018, 08:37:16 AM »
A few comments. There is a "Automatically have X engineers and Y remains rebuilders per planet" option in AIWC already. Did using that not help with the engineers/rebuilders issue?

Oh and, there's a fun bug with the "Build X engineers per planet". If you say "Build 1 mark2 engineer per planet" then the game still automatically builds it for you even if you haven't researched mark2 engineers. Keith, please don't fix that ;-)

You can get supply deep into AI territory by "island hopping"; just go capture a single planet deep in the AI space (put the 5 or 6 colony ships in a transport and hope one makes it). You never have to conquer everything.

Offline Magnus

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2018, 10:23:54 AM »
A few comments. There is a "Automatically have X engineers and Y remains rebuilders per planet" option in AIWC already. Did using that not help with the engineers/rebuilders issue?

Yes, but they stopped being built while the planet was under attack. The queue restarted whenever there were just a few enemy ships left. Not sure why, exactly.

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You can get supply deep into AI territory by "island hopping"; just go capture a single planet deep in the AI space (put the 5 or 6 colony ships in a transport and hope one makes it). You never have to conquer everything.

Ah sorry, my bad, you're completely right. I was forgetting the side effects of my.. ahem...  liberal use of nukes. I built some command stations on nuked planets but of course those are permanently out of supply.

Offline etheric42

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2018, 01:44:32 PM »
The AI could be tactically stupid even in the first game. The most obvious offender tactic is to have one of your planets with many turrets destroyed by the A.I.; all you need to stall even a huge fleet is to keep sending new remain rebuilders from the nearby planet and micromanage them to keep rebuilding the turrets, easy to do especially if you built the sniper ones all around the planet "border". I used this tactic to massive effect to gain enough time to replenish my warhead stockpiles and deal with several attacks which were otherwise too massive for my defenses to handle. Not sure how much of this is due to the lack of advanced unit types, though.

Ugh, that sounds like really annoying micro.

I see that engineers and remain rebuilders are back in the game; for the love of God, either replace them with the new planetary controller or allow them to be automatically rebuilt even if the planet is under attack. By far the most annoying thing in the whole campaign was the micromanaging of the rebuilding of those two units during a planetary defense. Or maybe flat out forbid them to be rebuilt and/or warped in from a nearby planet during an attack; this will block cheese tactics like mine above, but note it will also make defense much harder.
Keeping all the units at the latest rank is an easy win over the first game.

The problem with this removing civilian units like that from the game is that it isn't clear how much logistics that drops out of the game. (see comment from .hawk.)  And then trying to figure out a new system to give the same depth to replace them with would be a gamble.  And we found it that it didn't necessarily block those cheese tactics since the planetary controller was rebuilding turrets and causing the attacking AI to keep retreating to destroy them.

I'm not saying you're wrong.  I dislike having engineers/rebuilders as well.  I hate to say "wait for them to be reimplemented and then make good points to remove them again or make them less annoying", but I think that's the only option on the table (from my understanding).

The revert to the gazillion hull and weapon types is, I think, a mistake. On paper having a hugely complex rock-paper-scissor subsystem is good, but in practice, it will get ignored the instant it becomes unmanageable due to the lower cap between player skill's and game controls' abilities to actually use it to your advantage. I didn't even try to start fiddling around with ship and turret types and just went straight to "build as much of every type as you can and throw everything at the A.I" stage. Maybe an advisor of some kind which tells you the most prevalent A.I. hull types observed so far and which units/turrets kill them most easily?

I dislike this too, but we were finding other problems with the 3 or 4 type rock paper scissors approach.  Having only 3 types makes it easier for the player to see and exploit the relations, but classic RTS controls are not well designed to implement this that level of control (especially not with hundreds of units with 7 or more types).  So we could have a legible number of defenses and incentivize people fighting against the control scheme, have a legible number of defenses and risk implementing a new control scheme that might not work/be liked, or revert back to an illegible number of defenses.  Sure, the most masochistic of players will still take the AIWC defenses and control scheme and micro them into effectiveness but I can't think of a solution that isn't a gamble and at least that isn't worse off than AIWC.

Now, your idea of an advisor... perhaps a science advisor that is recommending you build X and Y type ships because the AI is predominantly building A and B ships is interesting.  I'm afraid it might end up being bad advice because perhaps the player just hasn't seen enough AI ships yet or maybe those ships aren't the ones the player should be worried about, but I think it's worth exploring for post-fun-point.  Any suggestions on how to implement?

Rally points for ships being built from a mobile dock. Pretty please?

The current plan is everything that builds uses the same interface, so they should still be able to get rally points.

I know that I sound like a broken record here, but fleet build caps specific for control groups would make waging a multi-front war so much easier for the player.

Yeah, I know.  One of the two design proposals for dealing with the rock-paper-scissors effect discussed above was exactly that, turning control groups into discrete fleets that you slowly accumulate as you pick up flagships/golems through the game (each flagship or golem was its own fleet, plus it might be able to build a certain amount of escorting fleet ships, starships were buff ships a fleet could equip).  The intended play was to fly each fleet as a unit, although you could split the fleet up and select individual fleetships if necessary in a fight (but ships that left formation lost their buffs, so you better have had a good reason).  It was a very cool idea, but a significant departure from AI War and a risk to implement and test (possibly to find out it wasn't fun) at this stage in the game.

Turret caps used to be galaxy-wide and became planet-wide in AIWC several expansions in.  Who knows, per-fleet caps might come some day too (or the other, more tactical proposal).

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2018, 01:47:30 PM »
I actually really like that engineers and remains rebuilders require micro and you can get benefits out of in depth control of them. I like having some micro-intensive aspects of gameplay.

Offline WolfWhiteFire

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2018, 04:00:25 PM »
Sorry if you may have answered this somewhere else, but with the heavy focus on modding, do you plan on having steam workshop for this game?

Offline x4000

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2018, 04:15:45 PM »
Sorry if you may have answered this somewhere else, but with the heavy focus on modding, do you plan on having steam workshop for this game?

Probably not; it seems like a really clunky system from what little I've seen of it, and we want to support GOG folks equally. If there's a C# api for it and a lot of demand, then we might consider it. The C# bindings from valve themselves are useless; they don't even compile. There are various wrappers with c# apis on the unity asset store and on github, but I can't recall if there was one for workshop.
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Offline Magnus

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2018, 07:06:33 PM »
Ugh, that sounds like really annoying micro.

It is, but the benefits are just too good to pass up. I could indefinitely stop huge waves simply by moving them in one spot and having them rebuild a few dozen turrets; then when the A.I. fleet finished killing the turrets in their current spot they would start moving toward the newly rebuilt turrets and I would move back the rebuilders toward the other spot and keep doing this forever. It certainly helped having rank 5 turrets available, too. And infinite range snipers made this more effective since you could plant them all over the planetary map and still be able to fire upon enemy units, so while stalling I was also decreasing fleet strength.


The problem with this removing civilian units like that from the game is that it isn't clear how much logistics that drops out of the game. (see comment from .hawk.)  And then trying to figure out a new system to give the same depth to replace them with would be a gamble.  And we found it that it didn't necessarily block those cheese tactics since the planetary controller was rebuilding turrets and causing the attacking AI to keep retreating to destroy them.

I'm not saying you're wrong.  I dislike having engineers/rebuilders as well.  I hate to say "wait for them to be reimplemented and then make good points to remove them again or make them less annoying", but I think that's the only option on the table (from my understanding).

Engineers and rebuilders have one and only one logistic effect: they speed up the building/repairing of your mobile/immobile units but also put more strain on your economy the more of them you use.
You could have the exact same effect by simply being able to setup building/repairing rates for units/turrets on your planetary controller. If you want to keep galaxy caps then make it so that the overall galaxy rate (sum of the rates of all the planetary controllers) cannot exceed X, increasable by tech research.
Bonus point: it makes it easier to block cheese tactics. Now the A.I. has a single, very big, very slow target to kill to be able to neutralize the tactic, AND you can't use nearby planets to keep it going.


Now, your idea of an advisor... perhaps a science advisor that is recommending you build X and Y type ships because the AI is predominantly building A and B ships is interesting.  I'm afraid it might end up being bad advice because perhaps the player just hasn't seen enough AI ships yet or maybe those ships aren't the ones the player should be worried about, but I think it's worth exploring for post-fun-point.  Any suggestions on how to implement?

The game already has a huge amount of statistics (or at least the first game had them, I'm assuming the second one has retained them?). You can use those as a starting point. E.g. "the most numerous hull/weapon type we've seen so far is X, the one which inflicted to us the most overall damage is Y" style of suggestions. Basically a way of making those statistics more readable. Maybe with a "confidence rating" based on how big the observed sample is.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2018, 07:08:22 PM »
Some of the stats you are looking for are already collected in the game, we just don't have a UI yet for displaying it.

Offline WolfWhiteFire

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2018, 07:51:40 PM »
Sorry if you may have answered this somewhere else, but with the heavy focus on modding, do you plan on having steam workshop for this game?

Probably not; it seems like a really clunky system from what little I've seen of it, and we want to support GOG folks equally. If there's a C# api for it and a lot of demand, then we might consider it. The C# bindings from valve themselves are useless; they don't even compile. There are various wrappers with c# apis on the unity asset store and on github, but I can't recall if there was one for workshop.
Might not be viable, but what about a special launcher or something similar that can easily be installed and allows easy and universal access to mods for your games that are posted on the launcher? It might be too much expense and manpower, especially with the current conditions of the company, I don't know if there is a cheap way to do it, but even if it isn't for a while (even a few years), a lot of people seem interested in something like that eventually, for both modders and mod-users, and over time it may help the modding community since it wouldn't require either modders designing an easy way to download their mods or mod-users going through the hassle of manually installing them. Probably not very viable currently though, if ever, perhaps something for the modders themselves to eventually design if they are interested enough to do so.

Offline .hawk.

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2018, 09:34:42 PM »
The problem with this removing civilian units like that from the game is that it isn't clear how much logistics that drops out of the game. (see comment from .hawk.)  And then trying to figure out a new system to give the same depth to replace them with would be a gamble.

Well to be fair, no one else piped up and agreed so I could be in the minority :) Anyway, my logistics argument was more aimed at having to worry about both end of the map due to a stationary king and not having ship builders in your fleet ball. I would use a slightly different argument in favor of engineers and rebuilders.

And I am definitely in the pro-engineer camp. They are a globally finite resource and you can face tough decisions on where to place them and how to use them. At higher difficulties in AIWC it seemed that the game was balanced in having to use both them and rebuilders wisely. I'm not arguing that they were perfect. Without some micro they could either suicide or do nothing depending on move order but their placement in the galaxy adds a layer of strategic depth and I think that is a good thing. I'm sure a superior alternative could be thought up and implemented but both are a known quantity that worked in a great game and , as you said, therefore probably the best option to go with at least initially. If an alternative is eventually chosen, I hope its not a bland one that just exists on every planet and works the same way everywhere.

And we found it that it didn't necessarily block those cheese tactics since the planetary controller was rebuilding turrets and causing the attacking AI to keep retreating to destroy them.

Your Flagships too when retaking a planet you had turrets on initially. Kind of funny the first time I saw it.

Engineers and rebuilders have one and only one logistic effect: they speed up the building/repairing of your mobile/immobile units but also put more strain on your economy the more of them you use.

Do you feel there shouldn't be a cost to repairing or speeding up unit build time or that its just too high in AIWC? Metal did feel more sparse in AIWC but as a result it felt more valuable. You could wreck your economy pretty quick if you tried to speed up everything... but that's part of the point I'm trying to make with this wall of text. Both their placement and their use were options that, when used wisely, could let the player live to fight another day when facing tough odds. When used poorly it could leave you weak at exactly the wrong time.

In my opinion, it was one of many meaningful player decisions that could make or break your game. That it added another layer of strategy and real depth. This is not to say "know" I am right and anyone who disagrees is wrong. The above is part of what one guy thinks is missing from the sequel.
 
Not the units themselves necessarily, but the different aspects of the game they impact though decisions the player makes.



Offline chemical_art

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2018, 09:40:15 PM »
Engineers actually were a vital part of the logistics aspect of playing AIW 1. The whole point of getting them was so that you could build things faster with greater ease, driven to its logical end with the III's which could teleport.

If there is a desire to increase the impact of logistics bring them back and turn down construction speed of factories / other construction accordingly.

Addendum: However, their management was an issue now that I think of it. If there was ever a need for a "budget" menu, this would be where it would be needed. If I could budget "2 MK I engineers here, remove a MK II here..." from a larger menu so I don't have to dance to every planet to set it up that would be great.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 09:44:45 PM by chemical_art »
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Offline x4000

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2018, 09:44:33 PM »
Sorry if you may have answered this somewhere else, but with the heavy focus on modding, do you plan on having steam workshop for this game?

Probably not; it seems like a really clunky system from what little I've seen of it, and we want to support GOG folks equally. If there's a C# api for it and a lot of demand, then we might consider it. The C# bindings from valve themselves are useless; they don't even compile. There are various wrappers with c# apis on the unity asset store and on github, but I can't recall if there was one for workshop.
Might not be viable, but what about a special launcher or something similar that can easily be installed and allows easy and universal access to mods for your games that are posted on the launcher? It might be too much expense and manpower, especially with the current conditions of the company, I don't know if there is a cheap way to do it, but even if it isn't for a while (even a few years), a lot of people seem interested in something like that eventually, for both modders and mod-users, and over time it may help the modding community since it wouldn't require either modders designing an easy way to download their mods or mod-users going through the hassle of manually installing them. Probably not very viable currently though, if ever, perhaps something for the modders themselves to eventually design if they are interested enough to do so.

There's a lot that goes into that, and it's very far out of scope right now, but you never know what the future might hold; particularly if the game does well.
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Offline Magnus

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2018, 02:05:12 AM »

Do you feel there shouldn't be a cost to repairing or speeding up unit build time or that its just too high in AIWC? Metal did feel more sparse in AIWC but as a result it felt more valuable. You could wreck your economy pretty quick if you tried to speed up everything... but that's part of the point I'm trying to make with this wall of text. Both their placement and their use were options that, when used wisely, could let the player live to fight another day when facing tough odds. When used poorly it could leave you weak at exactly the wrong time.

In my opinion, it was one of many meaningful player decisions that could make or break your game. That it added another layer of strategy and real depth. This is not to say "know" I am right and anyone who disagrees is wrong. The above is part of what one guy thinks is missing from the sequel.
 
Not the units themselves necessarily, but the different aspects of the game they impact though decisions the player makes.

I absolutely agree with you, the proper placement of engineers and rebuilders is critical from a logistic standpoint and so is the choice of how much and where you want to speed up queues. But what you're really doing is not so much building units but allocating more or less resources to build/repair queues on different planets.
Apart from the problem of the preference system to rebuild engineers and rebuilders getting frozen in combat, which forces annoying micromanagement by rebuilding them yourselves and also allows "cheating" by building them on nearby planets after your command station is gone, there's also the issue of being able to efficiently relocate them when needed. You need to track them down and move/scrap them on every planet until you've "freed" enough of them to rebuild the needed number on the "new" frontier planet. It's annoying.

Above all, there's the nightmare micromanagement of moving your rebuilders around after your defense is gone just to keep repairing turrets and keeping the A.I. fleet pinned down, which makes zero logical sense and should never be allowed to happen. It just makes the A.I. look incredibly dumb.

IMO, being able to assign "build rates" to planetary constructors and/or unit producers solves the problem in a much more elegant fashion. The need for proper allocation is kept if you establish a galaxy-wide cap on rate increases, and the fact you can't send them in from other planets makes defending your building units far more critical AND makes the AI target programming a lot easier since it will nearly always make sense for the A.I. units to beeline for your constructors, take them out, then worry about mopping up what's left.
It will make the game significantly harder on average, but then, I'm guessing there's a general rebalance pass needed anyway, so...

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2018, 02:16:18 AM »
Hmmm...
I may start pencil-napkin something for astro trains in AIW2.
I really want them to work.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Pivoting AI War 2: Bring The Fun!
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2018, 02:37:56 AM »
So going really meta about this, there should be *something* of a resource/tech/budget that allows faster construction of things. It provides a another avenue of the player toolkit that isn't direct combat. Ideally it would reduce micro compared to AIW 1, but it is not absolutely necessary to eliminate it if that alone is the reason why we can't have it.
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