Author Topic: Third look at early game  (Read 752 times)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2018, 11:11:01 AM »
Did we increase turret caps when we increased fleet caps?
I think it would actually help to make turrets 1-subsquad-per-squad, and thus your basic cap would be 20 Needler Turrets. So they'd be a middle ground between fleet ships (with 400 visual-things per cap being common) and starships (with 1 visual-thing per cap). It's a lot easier to realize that "oh, turrets are not like fleet ships" with each of those three categories being at a different order of magnitude (1s, 10s, and 100s).

Though I don't know that we're ever going to get much clarity with the sidebar showing visual-thing count, because its relationship to the actual stats is so variable.

As it is, there's evidently temptation for AIWC veterens to assume that individual ships are comparable across different types and categories, which is very far from the truth.
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Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2018, 11:16:28 AM »
Keith beat me to my response with a better response.

The "Metal/Fuel to Power" thing gives you (if my memory serves) 500 power each, but you can only ever have 2 total. I've tried using them and it just doesn't feel like enough; If you get unlucky (lets say that the planet that makes the best choke point only has 1000 power naturally, or is generally resource poor) then you can wind up kinda screwed just through the map layout.

I don't really know how to best defend a planet with (say) 3 wormholes to AI space and one wormhole back to human space. If you build your defenses around the wormhole to your space then  your turrets get ripped to shreds by long range attacking units. But if you don't then you need to spread your power budget across multiple wormholes, so your (say) 1.5K power can turn into "500 power per wormhole of defense" which gets crushed easily. Turrets are too short-range to lend supporting fire between wormholes for the most part.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2018, 11:32:47 AM »
The "Metal/Fuel to Power" thing gives you (if my memory serves) 500 power each, but you can only ever have 2 total.
They give a % boost to power production, so a higher-power planet gets more benefit and a lower-power planet gets less.

That said, I don't think those things are the way of the future because reversible resource-conversion tends to be a fiddly mechanic (AIWC certainly showed that). So perhaps the science-for-power trade is a better thing to offer. My concern there is that you can already dump science into increasing your static defenses by upgrading turret types, so it feels a bit redundant.


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If you get unlucky (lets say that the planet that makes the best choke point only has 1000 power naturally, or is generally resource poor) then you can wind up kinda screwed just through the map layout.
It is very intentional that different planets are easier or harder to defend than others (both in wormhole count and power output).

This means that "picking a chokepoint" is more complex than it was in AIWC. It's not just the map-graph, it's also the planet's power output, wormhole layout, etc.

That said, the actual numbers are probably too harsh right now.

As a side note, on "generally resource poor": each planet is really good at one resource, semi-good at a second resource, and normal at the third and fourth (hacking is handled differently). So no planet is just terrible, and no planet is great at them all.


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I don't really know how to best defend a planet with (say) 3 wormholes to AI space and one wormhole back to human space.
A few ideas:

1) Kill the warp gates on 2 of those 3 neighbors, so waves only come from one wormhole.

2) Focus on defending the other side of the wormhole-back-to-human-space (so you'll have one main kill-zone instead of 3). That does assume that your "outer" planet is going to get smashed, but we do want defense-in-depth to be a thing here. In this case just having a chokepoint and a pre-chokepoint.


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If you build your defenses around the wormhole to your space then  your turrets get ripped to shreds by long range attacking units.
I think I left too many of the turrets with the Structure defense type, whereas more should have Armor, but we'll see. Or are you seeing Armor-based turrets get shredded in this way too?


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Turrets are too short-range to lend supporting fire between wormholes for the most part.
That will depend somewhat on the planet's wormhole configuration, but I get what you're saying.

It may be that the "wormholes too spread out" case is a place where we'll need that unlockable one-per-planet shield generator so that your turrets don't die to sniper-range and long-range fire before they can respond. But we'd also need to make sure that case wasn't too common, as otherwise it changes from "unlockable" to "mandatory", which would be no good.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2018, 12:08:33 PM »
Looking forward to try the next update Keith.

I know the UI is in the works, but I don't feel like I'm going on a limb in saying that in its current form the numbers on the side do not communicate information in a clear fashion and in my case actually gave me detrimental information in just wrong I got it.

How about aside from showing the total number of ships on a planet (which can give fighters 400 and missile frigates 120) it instead shows "(actual number of ships / max number of ships)  * max number of squads". This would give both ships 20. If both ship groups lost 100 units the fighters would show "(300 / 400) *20 = 15" while the missile frigates would show "(20 / 120) * 20 = ~6.66"

This would a normalizatiom of numbers which would then allow a player to actually make sense of the data. Numbers were done quickly, will double check later

Update: Math on my end checks out. This would allow fleet ships and turrets to have a common number to compare values too. So 20 groups of fighters and 20 units of missile frigates and 20 groups of turrets would all show as 20 on the UI number. As the squads shrink the number displayed will as well proportionally. This would make it much easier for I as a player to discern things.

Update 2: What I am asking for might be easier said then done. Glancing at the UI files it seems it may need to make its own variables to do values for what I am asking. It can certainly be done, but I'm not quite skilled to try it myself >.<
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 01:28:16 PM by chemical_art »
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Offline etheric42

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2018, 03:38:56 PM »
chemical_art: Would it be clearer for you to show the amount of STRENGTH of that class unit instead of the number of squads or the number of individual vessels?

Keith: Also, am I wrong in thinking that if fighters have 40 ships per squad, there were two squads in system, and each squad was reduced to half HP, the UI would show 40 ships, but their DPS would still be two squads worth of damage because damage is calculated per squad and not per ship?

Offline x4000

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2018, 03:45:38 PM »
chemical_art: Would it be clearer for you to show the amount of STRENGTH of that class unit instead of the number of squads or the number of individual vessels?

Keith: Also, am I wrong in thinking that if fighters have 40 ships per squad, there were two squads in system, and each squad was reduced to half HP, the UI would show 40 ships, but their DPS would still be two squads worth of damage because damage is calculated per squad and not per ship?

DPS is calculated at the subsquad, so it would be properly lowered.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2018, 04:11:45 PM »
chemical_art: Would it be clearer for you to show the amount of STRENGTH of that class unit instead of the number of squads or the number of individual vessels?

Strength I think would help even more elegantly for it can better show the differences that different marks could have. It would take a new player a bit of time to understand why the number is but the fact that it gives a ball park number to contextualize different things is an improvement.
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Offline etheric42

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2018, 04:14:30 PM »
Chris made an icon for strength that could be plunked right down at that number.

Chris, any objection for showing strength instead of numships?

The only one I can think of is it might be weird to say I have Str4k Assault Ships when I know I only have 2... but then again with that icon there it might not be an issue.

This might also solve the problem with the AI having more than one Mk of a ship on the same planet.

Offline x4000

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2018, 04:22:50 PM »
Strength numbers can get insanely huge and are really abstract.  I very much understand the desire to compare things in an apples-to-apples fashion, but I can tell you for a fact that these would be illegible even in the new interface pretty fast without a ton of abbreviating to the point where it becomes hard to read from that angle.

My personal feeling is that this is something that should stay ships, as it presently is.  The fact that turrets are amazing and 75 of them can stave off 1000 enemy fleet ships is a learning opportunity, and the experience of seeing 75 turrets stop those 1000 ships is pretty epic, hopefully.  Those are really direct and understandable, concrete things: 75 Big Guns just destroyed a thousand Little Ships.  Woohoo!

But when I see that 563 strength just destroyed 497 enemy strength... that's just so abstract as to be kind of meaningless.  If I was zoomed in at the time I could see some number of ships blow up, but how many was it really, etc?

That was the problem with showing squad counts instead of ship counts, incidentally: you can see the number of ships if you zoom way in, but the fact that there are so many isn't really evident unless you manually count, and seeing small (double digit) numbers on the sidebar made the game feel smaller than it was.

Basically I think that this is a problem in any way things are shown, but right now the game feels suitably big, and battles feel suitably epic, just looking at numbers alone.  75 turrets taking out 1000 enemy ships is cool, too.  I don't think that the number of turrets per squad should be dropped, although the number of turrets you can build is a maybe.  If you can't defend your planet because you have too few turret squads, that's one thing.  If it's a cosmetic "this seems unbalanced" thing, then we need to get on the tooltips and note "each one of these can hold off like 10 fleetships, so don't be scared if you're facing down a thousand ships with a hundred turrets."  It's a tutorial and a tooltip thing, in my opinion.

Wow that was a lot of words.  But hopefully that position makes sense.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2018, 04:43:43 PM »

But when I see that 563 strength just destroyed 497 enemy strength... that's just so abstract as to be kind of meaningless.  If I was zoomed in at the time I could see some number of ships blow up, but how many was it really, etc?


The value of is that during the learning curve a player needs context to know what works or doesn't. It provides data points that I player can recall later which is a key component to actually learn a game.

Having 75 turrets blow up a lot of little ships is cool! But that actually doesn't help much with learning. I'll give an example from AIW 1:

Planet has 200 turrets. Incoming Wave of 1200 incoming. It is broadly established a turret is worth three ships so Using quick maths those 200 turrets can take ~600 - 800. So I should aim to bring in at least 600 ships to have a good chance to take it. That is a fairly simple example of how UI helped me learn. That 3x turret value is a quirk but the rest is really straight forward.

AIW 2:
I put down 15 turrets. But those turrets are really worth 75. So I have 75 turrets. 75 turrets * ??? > 1000 ships. It is not as simple mental math and that leads to an overall longer learning curve. Eventually I will work out a math, but it will be a lot fuzzier for much longer which leads to a longer curve.

Curves are not good.

They are much more deadly to a player than the AI.


The game itself is fine. It just presenting data points that provide context for a player to make sense of it all. A lot of it can't be helped when you get to things starships and bigger but at least on the fleet ship and turret level a solid sensible base provides an anchor that lets a player learn other things.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2018, 04:50:19 PM »
You're putting down 15 turret squads, each of which has 5 in there, so you'd be seeing 75 turrets as active.  Parts of the interface right now are not correctly showing you individual ships/turrets all the time, which makes it harder.  You should never see the number 15, only the number 75.  You'd only click 15 times, but each click decrements it by 5 rather than 1.  The interface right now that you're looking at is an atrocious blend of multiple intentions and paved-over partial implementations of multiple things.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2018, 04:53:47 PM »
You're putting down 15 turret squads, each of which has 5 in there, so you'd be seeing 75 turrets as active.  Parts of the interface right now are not correctly showing you individual ships/turrets all the time, which makes it harder.  You should never see the number 15, only the number 75.  You'd only click 15 times, but each click decrements it by 5 rather than 1.  The interface right now that you're looking at is an atrocious blend of multiple intentions and paved-over partial implementations of multiple things.

Not trying to be obtuse, once it was said on here I realized it was the case. I was at fault and have learned. But I was observing that it did happen to me  ;D This actually was a case of the sidebar being great in clarifying that.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2018, 06:33:09 PM »
I actually think there was a bug that was adding to your confusion, but hopefully that is increasingly not the case as the new GUI starts rolling out. :)
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2018, 08:21:17 AM »
I think wait-and-see is fine at this point, to give the new GUI a chance to try this, but I think the purpose of the sidebar is at odds with the purpose of the ship counts.

1) Ship Counts: purpose is to influence the player's thinking towards "this is a big game".

2) Sidebar: purpose is to help the player understand what's actually happening.


As long as #1 is a priority over #2 (especially to the extent that squad count, the number which actually represents controllable units, is deliberately hidden), the interface will be deficient in achieving purpose #2, especially for new players. Experienced players would get used to it, as they did with various UI deficiencies in AIWC.
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Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Third look at early game
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2018, 08:58:18 AM »
Why not have "Show Ship Count in Sidebar" or "Show Squad Count in Sidebar" as user settings?