Author Topic: Dark Spire  (Read 682 times)

Online BadgerBadger

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Dark Spire
« on: April 30, 2018, 09:35:31 AM »
I'm reimplementing the Dark Spire. Do people have strong feelings about it? What was your favourite/least favourite aspect of it? Do people have any suggestions?

Here's what I'm currently looking to do. I am looking for feedback and opinions.

At the beginning of the game, some Vengeance Generators are seeded on the map (more or fewer Vengeance Generators based on the selected intensity).
When a ship dies on a planet with a Vengeance Generator, the Dark Spire gets Energy.
When Dark Spire has accumulated enough Energy, it flips a coin to see if it should do anything.
         If the coin is Heads then it says "Lets not do anything right now" and sleeps for Y seconds.
         If the coin is tails then it picks a set of Vengeance Generator planets. It then spawns a bunch of ships on those planets based on the amount of Energy.
                 Note if the available energy per planet < threshold then this wouldn't be strong enough to be interesting, so sleep for Y seconds.
Mobile dark spire ships work as follows:
First, kill everything on their current planet.
If all enemy ships on the current planet are dead, pick an AI Overlord or Player King at random. Go to the next planet on the way. Kill everything on it. Repeat.


If the Dark Spire is enabled then some AI planets (at least the planets with AI Overlords) have an "Anti Dark Spire" structure that radiates energy that disrupts Dark Spire ships. If that structure exists then any Dark Spire ships that go to that planet vanish and their strength is added to the Dark Spire energy total. Players can destroy those Anti Dark Spire structures (so you could potentially deep-strike to take out the Anti Dark Spire structure on an AI overlord's planet, then try to get the Dark Spire to kill the Overlord).

Also the Dark Spire is capable of building new Vengeance Generators. Every so often a new vengeance generator will appear on the map. It will be briefly vulnerable to a player, but if you don't kill it in a short window (say 5 minutes?) then it will finish building and become invulnerable. For each Bonus vengeance generator, the Dark Spire gets a bit stronger in its responses. Of course if you kill the Vengeance Generator that's being built then the Dark Spire will get really unhappy with you...
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 09:50:13 AM by BadgerBadger »

Offline x4000

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2018, 10:45:08 AM »
I love the idea of having these guys, plus the other minor factions, running around in the galaxy. :)
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Online Ovalcircle1

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2018, 10:50:08 AM »
When the Vengeance generators spawn stuff, are all of them awake at the start or will you have to go to them to wake them up?

Also: I know that the AIWC Vengeance generators did not receive "points" or "energy" from kills made by "the Devourer Golem or Enemy-to-all Roaming Enclaves." Are you keeping this?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 10:54:31 AM by Ovalcircle1 »
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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2018, 10:55:19 AM »
I'm a bit unclear about your question, but I think this is an answer. The Vengeance Generators only can act when ships die on their planets. They can be ships from you, the AI, a minor faction or anything else. So they require external impetus to act, but that impetus could be from (say) the Dyson Sphere fighting the AI on a Vengeance Generator planet.

There will be some randomness in which Vengeance Generators will respond. If there was a battle going on Murdoch then the Dark Spire is very likely to spawn ships there to join the fight, but the Dark Spire might also use some of that energy to spawn ships on an unrelated planet.

I think that answers your question; if not then ask again and I'll take another stab at it.

Online Ovalcircle1

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2018, 11:03:35 AM »
I'm a bit unclear about your question, but I think this is an answer. The Vengeance Generators only can act when ships die on their planets. They can be ships from you, the AI, a minor faction or anything else. So they require external impetus to act, but that impetus could be from (say) the Dyson Sphere fighting the AI on a Vengeance Generator planet.

There will be some randomness in which Vengeance Generators will respond. If there was a battle going on Murdoch then the Dark Spire is very likely to spawn ships there to join the fight, but the Dark Spire might also use some of that energy to spawn ships on an unrelated planet.

I think that answers your question; if not then ask again and I'll take another stab at it.

That's basically the answer that I was looking for, but I'll ask again for additional clarification. Ex. Say there are 2 planets A and B, that are on opposite sides of the galaxy and both have vengeance generators. You have never seen, had vision for, or brought ships to planet B. You fight the AI on Planet A and cause Dark Spire to spawn. There are no other minor factions on the map. Will they spawn on Planet B?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 11:11:31 AM by Ovalcircle1 »
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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2018, 11:19:30 AM »
I'm still feeling out the answer to this, but I'm leaning toward the short answer being "The Dark Spire is more likely to spawn units on A in this scenario, but they may also spawn on B"

The real answer is a bit more complex. What I'm intending to do is to track the available Dark Spire energy on a per-planet basis. So in this case planet A would have lots of energy and planets B, C, D (which also have vengeance generators but no energy because there aren't any battles there) would have none. Every so often the Dark Spire will take some energy from planets with lots of energy and give them to planets without energy. So after a long battle on A, lets say A has 1000 energy and B, C and D have 0. The Dark Spire might rebalance its energy so that A has 7000 energy and B/C/D have 100. Then it spawns ships on A. If this happens enough then B/C/D will eventually get enough energy to spawn ships, even if a battle never happens there.

I feel like this approach will make the Dark Spire scary and unpredictable, which is important for them. Thoughts?

Online Ovalcircle1

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2018, 11:59:27 AM »
That seems reasonable. I mean, Dark Spire is a huge threat to the galaxy. I agree with your approach to the "Sleeping" Dark spire generators. I believe that if you enable Dark Spire, you should be prepared for pain. I think that having all of them having some connection to each other without some being activated is reflective of the overall game. The galaxy feels more "alive". You don't have to send a scout to the Dyson Sphere planet to wake it up, it gets going as soon as the game starts. The Nanocaust moves on its own, Marauders are now a big presence with bases and stuff, etc. Also helps break spawn-camping the Dark Spire with a massive amount of firepower.  You are never truly safe with them around.
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Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2018, 12:07:01 PM »
God, I hate those guys so much, I like the concept though.
A faction that feeds of the remains of desroyed ships. Kinda like a zombie faction.
Overall, Dark Spire were always for me "Zombie Apocalypse setting"
They also snowball really hard once they go.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2018, 12:56:21 PM »
They also snowball really hard once they go.

For me that is what made them so fun.

I had a very memorable 10/10 game where I used the dark spire as my cannon fodder, leading the AI to only be able to keep ships alive on their homeworlds. The AI and I maybe had 5 planets occupied, the rest where a no man's land of zombie ships. One of the very few games I had to go all in on stealth ships to snag the victory and the only game where a 10/10 literally ran out of ships for a cross planet wave.
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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2018, 01:01:40 PM »
Should the Dark Spire have anti-cloaking ships? I'm on the fence as to whether to give their strongest ships a bit of tachyon power to let them decloak things.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2018, 01:30:37 PM »
"Anti Dark Spire" structure that radiates energy that disrupts Dark Spire ships. If that structure exists then any Dark Spire ships that go to that planet vanish and their strength is added to the Dark Spire energy total.

Just adds the value back to the Dark Spire? Why not have the AI divert the resources and/or just make them evaporate?

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2018, 01:33:17 PM »
Oh, I've actually had a better idea for that. Some AI planets (especially those with Overlords) will get a "Dark Spire Repeller" building. If a Dark Spire ship goes to one of those planets then the ship evaporates. These Dark Spire Repellers can be destroyed by a player. So if you want to raid an AI Overlord's planet to destroy the Dark Spire Repeller, then encourage the Dark Spire to kill the AI then that's a win condition.

Offline .hawk.

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2018, 06:43:43 PM »
So if you want to raid an AI Overlord's planet to destroy the Dark Spire Repeller, then encourage the Dark Spire to kill the AI then that's a win condition.

This is by far my favorite bit. Awesome :)

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2018, 08:26:02 PM »
Oh, I've actually had a better idea for that. Some AI planets (especially those with Overlords) will get a "Dark Spire Repeller" building. If a Dark Spire ship goes to one of those planets then the ship evaporates. These Dark Spire Repellers can be destroyed by a player. So if you want to raid an AI Overlord's planet to destroy the Dark Spire Repeller, then encourage the Dark Spire to kill the AI then that's a win condition.

I like the concept, but I don't want the repeller to instantly remove the Dark Spire units. Have the building grind down the units over time, with higher level mark buildings having stronger effects.
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Re: Dark Spire
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2018, 11:08:41 AM »
chemical_art: it would be cooler to attrition Dark Spire ships, but there's not a convenient mechanism right now to do a per-faction attrition without messing with the Core code, and that's under heavy surgery from Keith. If you think it looks bad right now, go ahead and open a Mantis suggestion and I'll try to get to it.

Right now the Dark Spire gets energy from everything that dies on the planet (including stuff killed by the Devourer). If it turns out to be a problem then we can change this easily enough.

I've pushed a first pass at the Dark Spire into .742 and would love feedback. I suspect if anything it's too weak right now and needs to be made scarier.