Arcen Games

Games => The Last Federation => Topic started by: x4000 on January 28, 2014, 08:21:13 PM

Title: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 28, 2014, 08:21:13 PM
Just a few notes for our early alpha testers.  I have been testing plenty as well, and thinking about my experiences and kind of extrapolating outwards, and here are some of my thoughts (plus stuff again that was just already planned).  For the full list of plans, please see this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15rzBesR85AbPUT78m_SaZDwmBvcZySLsaZw8c1ZR9fc/edit

1. The sound effects I simply haven't had time to get in there yet, so it's silent.  No worries there.

2. Visually you can't tell what mode ships are in very easily because of the graphics not really being completed there yet.

3. Selection-wise I am not completely sold that I'm going to keep it working the way that it does now, but we'll see.  In some cases the selection ring simply needs to be expanded.  I am not going to bother with that until I have the final sized and animated versions of the ships in there, though (which will be in the next two days).

4. The whole "I can win when I do nothing" aspect that sometimes happens, where the AI approaches you too much and whoever has superior forces wins by virtue of the automated AI, is something that will be going away.  I intend to have some "hotpoints" around the map, that are either things that you can capture or hold in order to get specific forms of advantages (an extra squadron of ships, a bonus for that battle for certain types of ships, whatever).  That way you have to really think spatially more, and figure out how you want to control the map.  That will also lead to a lot more variance in the battles in general, so it's something I'm excited about.

5. Doing "special abilities" for flagships is something I do want to experiment with if there is time, as I think that this will be a key thing toward winning serial battles like the pirate outposts.  We shall see.

6. In general, bear in mind that in the real game you will be often down a fleet level unless you are really keeping on top of things, and by the late game in particular you will be down squadrons in general.  So if you are winning fairly evenly in early matches in the combat practice, that's great, but you'll probably really get killed in the game with those margins.  That is something that #4 and #5 will also help address.

7. Overall there are a lot more AI behaviors, including overall fleet strategies, that will be coming in the next few days.  That plays into the personality of the races, too.  Right now things are a little more vanilla, so one race versus another is going to seem both more and less extremely different than they will by round 1 of the testing (next week).  More extreme in that their pilot bonuses come out more starkly without the accompanying behaviors, and less extreme in that they all act the same but have different bonuses.


And... I think that is about it for the moment.  I told you this was early and rough. ;)  But it was one of those things where we couldn't just keep having nobody but us look at it forever.  That's why we didn't go to a full round 0, though, but only did 6 of you.

Cheers,
Chris
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Cyborg on January 28, 2014, 09:58:03 PM
Yes, complete acknowledgment that it's very early.  All of those records are just observations. It's hard to know what's intended and what is not, what your expectations are for different scenarios.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: windgen on January 29, 2014, 02:06:09 AM

It seems to me that large ships are a little over-powered currently, especially the Claymore.

My ideas for fixing this:

- Make the launch energy bars a nonlinear scale, so a 5-bar ship takes more than 5 times as long to launch as a 1-bar ship.

- Nerf (decrease) large ships' hit points

- Buff (increase) small ships' damage

- Nerf the number of large ships per squadron

I'm posting this to the forum instead of the bug tracker, because I'm not really sure how this plays with all the upcoming changes you mentioned in this thread.

Also, things may play out differently in the actual game.  I had the idea that you wanted most ship classes to remain somewhat useful for most of the game.  That is, I thought your philosophy in this game would be that smaller ships will be a backbone of your fleet in the early game, then bigger ships will start to take center stage in middle-late game, but small ships should still be useful right up until the end of the game in various roles (defensive screens, fast movement, overwhelming enemy flagships before they can launch heavy squadrons) or situations (some small ship classes may be usually ineffective late-game but become effective when used against certain enemy ships, races or tactics).

But if you want "build the biggest ships you can as fast as you can" to be the dominant fleet building strategy in the game...Right now I think it's a mistake to go in that direction, but you don't have to listen to me until the full game's released.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Misery on January 29, 2014, 07:12:25 AM
That bit about not issuing orders but still winning is definitely something that'll be good to get rid of.  The question is wether such a tactic will still work or not after that addition.   I notice that the AI, at least currently, doesnt seem to know what to do if the player just sits there, slowly creating this hideous lump of ships.

Part of it of course might be that the AI still is quite aggressive with it's squadrons in this situation when it might make more sense to hold back, but still.  Definitely an issue for now.

When I'm playing "properly", the AI seems to respond much better and put up a fight.

Though it also definitely showcases some racial balance issues;  I tried it against the Evuck and at the end had quite alot of ships once their flagship went down;  yet against the Thoraxians, I only had a couple of Claymores and a couple of Lancers.  A huge difference there.


Also I agree on the Claymores being too strong.  The idea of them being mostly only good against smaller things is a good one but currently they do about the same level of quick damage even to heavy ones.  There also though tends not to be all that many large ships VS small ones, is another issue, which seems more of a problem with the limited number of ship classes right now.  Both sides are simply more likely to have small ships being a major part of their fleet, with the heavy ones being kinda minor in comparison;  so the Claymore has LOTS of targets that it is supposed to be good against, and as such does too much damage to the fleet as a whole.

I dont think small ship damage needs to be increased aside from the interceptors though.  I'm usually using smaller ships to pop enemy Claymores and other things, and it's pretty effective.  Lancers/Cutters with support from a bunch of snipers can tear these guys down pretty fast.  Large ship numbers being nerfed also doesnt seem right.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2014, 01:35:15 PM
A couple of notes:

- In terms of nonlinear scaling of timeframes for larger ships, that may be something we do.  For now I've made some other changes to the timing of all of them, to keep squadrons more spaced out in general.

- Regarding overall behaviors for the enemy fleets, there is a ton of that coming up soon, along with the framework for more of that to be added.  As noted, at the fleet level right now the only logic is "get the flagship as close to the enemy flagship as possible, and produce fleets in whatever queue order the player handed me."  The squadrons themselves have various forms of AI, but there's nothing else at the fleet level.  That's changing in the next version, so that we'll have proper AI at both levels.

- I should have made it clear, but didn't think to, that the races are not remotely meant to be balanced.  It's not like you get to play as them, to begin with.  The Thoraxians are meant to be much much harder than anyone else, while the Peltians are meant to be way more pathetic than everyone else.  The Andors are also pretty bad, while the Burlusts are also unusually good.  And then many of the other races are more in the middle.  There will be more variance in the future with the sub-pilot-types for the various races, and there will be some special more-difficult versions for some of the weaker races that will be able to become available by various in-campaign circumstances.
-- These racial strengths and weaknesses also play out in the combat between the races themselves, so Thoraxians eat Peltians alive, etc.  The differences in racial strengths, when put into the context of the main game, make a lot more sense.  You have to choose who to ally with and who to fight, and those choices can have some major consequences both to your own personal survival as well as to what happens to the solar system as a whole.  Right now in combat practice you're really seeing that out of context, so the fact that this is unbalanced seems like a bad thing; it's very much intended.
-- When it comes to "why would I ever pick pilot type X over Y," that is in some cases a fair point, but commission rates are lower for the worse pilots.  Which again is something that you don't have to consider in combat practice.

- Having said that, SHIP balance is intended to be good, although some of the racial special flagships probably will wind up being better than others.

- Another thing that will be coming up during the real game is that the fleet level of the AI will often be one higher than you.  Sometimes even higher than that.  Not always, but it will happen enough that you need to be able to win battles against forces that overmatch you.  Similarly, by the late game the AI will tend to have more squadrons, so you'll want to win before they get them all deployed, or else make use of the (coming up) caches of goodies to even the score.  Battlefield control is going to be one of those things that helps you equalize the situation through skill.
-- Additionally, AI ships are able to get upgrades that you cannot get based on technologies that they research.  You can help or hinder them in getting that sort of thing, though, so to some extent if they get massively powered up then that is your own fault.
-- All of the ships have random ranges of stats, and so they don't always work out exactly the way you would see in combat practice.  Some fighters are slower than others, depending on the race, for instance.  Your ships will match the starting race at first, and then whoever you steal later hull techs for.  Ultimately if you keep stealing hull techs (even ones that are duplicates of what you already have -- say, Burlust fighters when you already have fighters), then you can combine the stats of the ones that you've stolen, just keeping the best parts.  If you keep that up enough, you can have equal to the best underlying stats of all the ships of that type in the solar system... but you'll have made some people very angry along the way.
-- There are also places where you have serial fights, such as with pirate bases, and you need to be able to win 3 fights in a row with no replenishment of your forces in between.  Any of your non-flagship ships that are not completely dead get repaired between battle, but any ammunition expended by your flagship, any ships that were destroyed, and any hull health your flagship lost, are all carried between battles.  So those can prove to be challenging.
-- The enemies when you are fighting their main armies won't ever have pirate craft, so if you capture pirate craft from the pirates, you'll have some stat advantages there when you come into the battle.

The TLDR of all the above section is that basically a big part of winning a battle is preparing for it, and making sure that your forces are superior.  If you are able to walk over an enemy in a battle, then you've prepared well.  More often than not it will be a tough fight, and occasionally it will be unwinnable and you will have to simply retreat.  But generally these things would not be surprising to you in the context of the larger game, because you'd be seeing how things are progressing and part of your decision of "do I get into this fight or not" is based on evaluating that sort of thing.  It's much like in AI War: sometimes you take on a Mark IV planet early in the game, other times you are just slamming through a Mark I planet late in the game, satisfyingly and easily.  But there as here, those actions have larger-game consequences, so even if you slam through an easy battle that doesn't mean that was always actually in your best interest.

I also just want to say that I'm hugely grateful for all the feedback that is being given so far, and my notes are just to help provide some context so that you know what our actual goals are.  IE why the ships should be balanced but the races should not be, etc.

Thanks!
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: mrhanman on January 29, 2014, 02:53:28 PM
I haven't played enough yet to comment on balance, but one thing I noticed pretty early was that I usually had almost no idea what ships I had selected.  Also, If I select my whole blob of ships, the flagship doesn't seem to get selected.  And to select the flagship, I have to click on a particular part of the ship.  Combine that with not really knowing if it's selected, and I usually have to redo the whole thing more than once.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2014, 02:58:49 PM
I haven't played enough yet to comment on balance, but one thing I noticed pretty early was that I usually had almost no idea what ships I had selected.  Also, If I select my whole blob of ships, the flagship doesn't seem to get selected.  And to select the flagship, I have to click on a particular part of the ship.  Combine that with not really knowing if it's selected, and I usually have to redo the whole thing more than once.

Yeah, there is an error with the selection rings not scaling up, and for the flagship not getting selected with the others, that's by design.  Holding Ctrl will let you select it plus everything else.  Usually you want it to not move with your fighters or whatever if you send them to attack.  You can also hit H to center on the flagship and select it.  The selection rings and the clickable radius both need to scale up at zoom, which is what isn't happening right now.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: orzelek on January 29, 2014, 06:44:42 PM
I will be looking at how the combat changes - current state (as of video) doesn't really appeal to me. And if it's the thing you will do very often I'm not inclined to play.

It looks as slightly chaotic skirmish with stuff exploding faster then you can see what was there.
And from what I can see you are going into Starsector direction in terms of battle area stuff and it's the combat style I find very strange to play. It's kind of rts but it's not, it's kind of tactical (space wolves for example) but it's not. It's also not the spaz/drox style.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: tigersfan on January 29, 2014, 07:58:13 PM
I will be looking at how the combat changes - current state (as of video) doesn't really appeal to me. And if it's the thing you will do very often I'm not inclined to play.

It looks as slightly chaotic skirmish with stuff exploding faster then you can see what was there.
And from what I can see you are going into Starsector direction in terms of battle area stuff and it's the combat style I find very strange to play. It's kind of rts but it's not, it's kind of tactical (space wolves for example) but it's not. It's also not the spaz/drox style.

Couple things to note...

1.) You can slow it WAY down. In fact, we've already dropped the default speed. So, it doesn't have to be as fast as that video.

2.) You don't have to do combat ever. You do have to send your ships out to fight alot, but, if you want the battles to be auto-resolved, that is a possibility.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 29, 2014, 08:02:10 PM
Yep, the default speed is now half of what it used to be.  Personally I like the faster pace, but then again I already know exactly what I'm doing most of the time.  But you can actually go down to 1/20th of the speed that is shown there, if that floats your boat.  It really craaaaaawls at that speed.  You can also go 4x faster, which is just an absolute blitz-fest that you can hardly see.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Professor Paul1290 on January 30, 2014, 03:36:48 PM
Are there plans for some kind of AOE, damage or otherwise, as an active ability?

It might just be me, but after playing several times I feel like having something like a "chaff/flare/smoke missile" or something like that which made attacking through an area temporarily difficult would change combat quite a bit, especially if it made engaging things under it more difficult without closing distance or moving around.
It would sort of act like temporary "terrain" that either you or the enemy would create and add a bit more maneuvering to asteroid/debris free space.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 30, 2014, 04:16:49 PM
It's a possibility, yeah -- Cyborg suggested skill shots, which I think are also interesting.  If that's not on mantis, can you add it?  I don't think we'll be able to get to that in round 0, but I suppose we'll see.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: echo2361 on January 30, 2014, 04:53:38 PM
If skill shots/active abilities are added, I would like to see them have a auto-caste system. I like the idea of giving the player more input into the battle with things like that, but I'm not much of a twitch gamer. When I play strategy games, even real time ones, I don't like to feel handicapped by my reflexes. So I'm all for seeing active abilities as long as I can set them to auto-cast so the AI knows when to use them if I am either too distracted to see a good opportunity to use them or I'm just not fast enough to use them.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 30, 2014, 04:55:56 PM
In that sort of case, we really ought not to have them -- that's a strong argument against them, for instance.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Professor Paul1290 on January 30, 2014, 06:39:42 PM
If there are active abilities, I think they should be potent, tactical, or indirect things you wouldn't fire so often that there would be a need for auto-cast.

A "chaff/flare/smoke missile" or other type of damage/accuracy/visibility reducing area effect would be the sort of thing that wouldn't have a direct enemy target nor would you have much reason to rapid-fire it, so I think that would work pretty well.

Some kind of big gun, artillery, or damaging AOE that has friendly fire potential and a long reload could sort of fall under this too. It's stuff you don't want that firing automatically, at most you might request multiple rounds to a spot.

I think active abilities are fine for things that you don't want being fired off and mixing with the swarms. Things that are big, slow, or specialized enough that they are treated separately from the squads.
I don't think normal units should have them as that would be micro-hell, I think they should probably be fired from the flagship or have their own dedicated unit so they don't get lost in the mess.

I guess to use an analogy, I feel that if it's the sort of thing that would in practice get direct orders for firing its weapon from above squad-level comms and maybe even directly from command, then it's OK.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: echo2361 on January 30, 2014, 07:19:11 PM
If there are active abilities, I think they should be potent, tactical, or indirect things you wouldn't fire so often that there would be a need for auto-cast.

A "chaff/flare/smoke missile" or other type of damage/accuracy/visibility reducing area effect would be the sort of thing that wouldn't have a direct enemy target nor would you have much reason to rapid-fire it, so I think that would work pretty well.

Some kind of big gun, artillery, or damaging AOE that has friendly fire potential and a long reload could sort of fall under this too. It's stuff you don't want that firing automatically, at most you might request multiple rounds to a spot.

I think active abilities are fine for things that you don't want being fired off and mixing with the swarms. Things that are big, slow, or specialized enough that they are treated separately from the squads.
I don't think normal units should have them as that would be micro-hell, I think they should probably be fired from the flagship or have their own dedicated unit so they don't get lost in the mess.

I guess to use an analogy, I feel that if it's the sort of thing that would in practice get direct orders for firing its weapon from above squad-level comms and maybe even directly from command, then it's OK.

+1 to all of the above :)
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: chemical_art on January 30, 2014, 07:35:23 PM
I'm not a big fan of abilities due to the micro they add. However, if they are to be added, they need to be strong and be used by a very selected units. If they are so comMon need to be auto casted, they should not needed to be activated by the player at all.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 30, 2014, 07:49:58 PM
That's true.  It would have to be very limited-ammo sort of stuff.  Generally speaking, depending on the speed you have this running at, it's not exactly a twitch game anyway.  People seem to be loving this at half speed as the default, and I we've added buttons for both slowdown and double-FF (as well as the existing FF).  Boy I find that slow, but it's something that can be tuned to taste, so I can't complain.  I guess being too slow is better than too fast, in terms of early players.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Misery on January 31, 2014, 03:26:46 AM
That's true.  It would have to be very limited-ammo sort of stuff.  Generally speaking, depending on the speed you have this running at, it's not exactly a twitch game anyway.  People seem to be loving this at half speed as the default, and I we've added buttons for both slowdown and double-FF (as well as the existing FF).  Boy I find that slow, but it's something that can be tuned to taste, so I can't complain.  I guess being too slow is better than too fast, in terms of early players.

Not to mention that there's not likely to be much in the way of complaining over micro when the pause function exists.

Normally I dont really like too many abilities and too much micro in an RTS.... Supreme Commander was more my style of thing.... but in a game like this, abilities would be unlikely to cause too many problems.  Being able to stop and think and examine things, and then activate the occaisional ability/whatever while still paused, sounds muuuuuuch better than trying to micro at 20 zillion actions per minute.

Fast micro always seems to me like the sort of thing that's best left to the moba genre, where it works well.... RTS games though, I have too many misclicks and wrong key presses, followed by anger and random flailing.

But yeah, keeping it as limited ammo would definitely be best.  More strategic that way, with the decision to use the ability mattering alot.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 31, 2014, 08:57:40 AM
Makes a lot of sense to me.  Also with a slow-down-time button here, it's the sort of thing where if the timing really does need to be "precise," you can play this temporarily in slow mo, get exactly where you want, and then boom.  So it becomes a strategic thing, not a twitch thing.  So long as you can "twitch" the mouse within like a 3 second window. ;)

Once the new GUI is in place, I'm planning on doing another combat video to show things off at different speeds in particular, so that people don't get the wrong idea about the speed of things.

I have honestly been really back and forth on the idea of special abilities that are directly-triggerable.  Originally I wanted those on regular ships as well as the flagship, now I'm thinking it's more of a just-flagship thing or not at all, etc.  I've been really kind of going back and forth a lot there.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: nas1m on January 31, 2014, 09:49:42 AM
Makes a lot of sense to me.  Also with a slow-down-time button here, it's the sort of thing where if the timing really does need to be "precise," you can play this temporarily in slow mo, get exactly where you want, and then boom.  So it becomes a strategic thing, not a twitch thing.  So long as you can "twitch" the mouse within like a 3 second window. ;)

Once the new GUI is in place, I'm planning on doing another combat video to show things off at different speeds in particular, so that people don't get the wrong idea about the speed of things.

I have honestly been really back and forth on the idea of special abilities that are directly-triggerable.  Originally I wanted those on regular ships as well as the flagship, now I'm thinking it's more of a just-flagship thing or not at all, etc.  I've been really kind of going back and forth a lot there.
Limiting them to the flagships and/or centerpieces sounds like a good compromise to me. As well as the new combat video. I agree that it will be important to make sure People get an accurate impression of how combat feels time-wise...
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 31, 2014, 10:05:45 AM
I intend to keep doing periodic videos showing off bits of the game as we go.  As someone pointed out a while back, that was a big thing we did with AI War and Valley 1, but we haven't really done with games since.  And those were our two biggest sellers...
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: mrhanman on January 31, 2014, 10:11:13 AM
I'm glad to hear that this won't be turning into a twitch-style RTS.  I might be alone in this, but when APM is so important that it affects your ability to keep up with the game, I usually lose interest.

I like the idea of directly triggerable abilities.  Having them just on the flagship would be best so that you don't have to have a specific ship or group of ships selected to use an ability.  The toolbar can just be there all the time, with configurable hot keys, of course.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 31, 2014, 10:16:19 AM
I might be alone in this, but when APM is so important that it affects your ability to keep up with the game, I usually lose interest.

You are not alone in this -- I am exactly the same way with RTS games.  I like twitch gaming in other contexts, but not in RTS.

I like the idea of directly triggerable abilities.  Having them just on the flagship would be best so that you don't have to have a specific ship or group of ships selected to use an ability.  The toolbar can just be there all the time, with configurable hot keys, of course.

Cool.  And yep, exactly -- not having to select the flagship to use it is the idea for sure.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Misery on January 31, 2014, 10:33:25 AM
I have honestly been really back and forth on the idea of special abilities that are directly-triggerable.  Originally I wanted those on regular ships as well as the flagship, now I'm thinking it's more of a just-flagship thing or not at all, etc.  I've been really kind of going back and forth a lot there.

Perhaps you could make it so that it's not a ship-by-ship activation thing, but instead a squadron thing?  Like, the entire squadron takes part in doing whatever the special action is;  so you cant just tell individual ships to do it super specifically at exactly the right moments to mess up multiple targets simply via superior microing tactics.    This way, it'd be kinda similar to the Flagship's abilities, in that it's one single large entity, so to speak, that can activate, instead of like 8 things that have 8 seperate activations.   The effects could get weaker as the squadron's numbers shrink as well.  Something which wouldnt affect the Flagship, giving it a unique advantage.  Which makes sense, it's the flagship.

Also means alot less of poking individual ships, which makes things take longer.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 31, 2014, 10:36:32 AM
Possibly -- I've also been thinking about having the flagship having sometimes abilities that trigger things on specific ships.  Aka "make all interceptors explode violently, doing extra damage to anything near them."  Etc.  That way the ability isn't localized to your flagship, and is directly tied to how many interceptors you have deployed at the moment and where they are, but it's not also something you have to fiddle with on a ship or even a squadron basis.  That would also have implications for deployment order, ship positioning, and more.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: echo2361 on January 31, 2014, 12:34:34 PM
Possibly -- I've also been thinking about having the flagship having sometimes abilities that trigger things on specific ships.  Aka "make all interceptors explode violently, doing extra damage to anything near them."  Etc.  That way the ability isn't localized to your flagship, and is directly tied to how many interceptors you have deployed at the moment and where they are, but it's not also something you have to fiddle with on a ship or even a squadron basis.  That would also have implications for deployment order, ship positioning, and more.

I like this idea about interceptors in particular and the general concept behind it in general. Having abilities tied to the different kinds of ships will add variety, but having them all be triggered from the flagship ensures I won't be clicking around to individual ships/squadrons all the time.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: chemical_art on January 31, 2014, 05:11:01 PM
I don't like the squadron idea. the amount of micro in making sure ALL of my fighters in making sure then they are already in the right spot is just as much micro as selecting certain ones to use such ability. However, it doesn't come with the benefit.of.tactical flexibility. Better to just naked them eexplode on death automatically and be done.with it.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Professor Paul1290 on January 31, 2014, 07:05:18 PM
I agree that they should be limited to the flagshhip for the most part. 

If they don't fit on the flagship then they should have their own dedicated unit  if possible rather than be attached to a normal fleet unit.

To go back to the "real life" analogy, if it's something that would require a request to fire transmitted above squad level comms, then it would probably be ok as an active ability.
An equivalent minor unit throwing a grenade? Probably not, that would be best left automatic if it  is there at all.
 On the other hand, something that would be equivalent to an artillery strike, explosive charges, or airstrike? That would probably  fit.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Misery on January 31, 2014, 08:18:02 PM
I don't like the squadron idea. the amount of micro in making sure ALL of my fighters in making sure then they are already in the right spot is just as much micro as selecting certain ones to use such ability. However, it doesn't come with the benefit.of.tactical flexibility. Better to just naked them eexplode on death automatically and be done.with it.

I have to disagree.

Currently, if playing normally as it is when the AI is being tough, you already have to do this..... but only sort of.   This isnt Starcraft, you're not going to be getting units into EXACTLY the right spots for exactly the right situations, this being because they wont hold the heck still, the damn things.  You can of course give them direct orders, but it'll be about 2 seconds before they're out of position, and looping back around, or something.  Only the snipers seem to actually hold still ever.

Not to mention that it depends on the ability, really.  Abilities done in the way that SC does them often DO require intense precision.  But that's because of the nature of the game.  Example, maybe snipers can have some sort of "barrage" ability (either coming directly from them or the flagship, whatever).  Which would just, I dunno, triple their firing rate for a short time.  They dont need to be in exactly specific spots for something like this, and you dont have to be super specific about targeting when using such a thing unless that's your playstyle.... you really dont have to do much different at all.   Are your snipers already firing into the general area where you want some extra damage done?  You just activate it.... and that's it.  Let them do their thing then while you deal with something else. Same with something like, I dunno, some special laser attack.  Tell the squadron to do it, and each one will do their part as they reach the spot.  There's little need for them to do it at exactly the same time.... it's no different than attacking normally.  The amount of micro put into attacking normally is up to the player.  But usually you can just tell them "go here, attack this" and then you dont have to pay attention to it, because this isnt SC and it doesnt need to be hyper perfect. 

There's all sorts of ability ideas that could work like this.  The "click it once and let it be done" idea as opposed to Starcraft's "obsessed with micro" style.

Whereas something like on-death effects.... THAT could get irritating depending on the effect.  And I can think of several ways to highly abuse the idea of ships that cause AoE explosions when they pop, or similar abilities.


While I have nothing against Starcraft, frankly I think that game kinda poisoned the genre as a whole, as alot of developers seem to think that doing abilities or special combat effects that way is the ONLY way. When in fact there's so many other ways it could be done so that it requires hardly any micro, or none at all. 

And on top of that, it wouldnt be a bad idea to have something like this give these different ship classes more ways to stand out from each other.  Currently, I dont think they're doing that quite enough.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Teal_Blue on January 31, 2014, 11:11:05 PM
Misery said " This isnt Starcraft, you're not going to be getting units into EXACTLY the right spots for exactly the right situations, this being because they wont hold the heck still, the damn things. "



Forgive me if i don't quite understand, but 'why' are the ships moving all the time? Wouldn't it be easier to control them from a still position, say like chess, or a TBS approach?
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 31, 2014, 11:18:33 PM
Ships don't really sit still in real space/air combat, as it costs a lot of energy to turn on the brakes.  Also, in this simulation ships are able to dodge the shots, unlike in AI War.  This both looks cooler, and adds different mechanics into the mix.  The control of them is made pretty straightforward by just hitting a number key and then right-clicking somewhere.  Or rubber-band selecting them, as the need may be.  Generally speaking you don't need as precise of control as you might think here (putting that guy on that pixel), as it's more about general areas instead.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: khadgar on January 31, 2014, 11:26:14 PM
Abilities sound kinda neat, but from what I've seen I think that the core of the combat is positioning & order of deployment. Adding a third layer of ability activation might be neat, but it could muddle things down if there are more than a very small number of abilities. Maybe abilities should only be on the flagship, and only 1 at a time? I don't know if there is any sort of equipment or loadout thing going on, so I'm not sure how this would best work.

Another idea is to do "specials" rather than abilities. Automatically activated when applicable, they could be influenced by the ship class, the flagship, the sector you are in, or maybe even the specific pilot you have. So maybe a lancer class ship will get a short speed boost when told to attack an enemy who is over a certain distance away. It's not an activated ability per se, as it activates on it's own, but it isn't necessarily random chance either. So this is sort of like having "auto-cast" abilities, but still giving some more unique flavor to individual ships or designs.

Some other examples:
-When only 1 interceptor from a squad remains, he goes berserk and attempts to ram the nearest enemy ship.
-A certain type of pilot causes his ship to become temporarily invulnerable for 2 seconds when it drops below 20% health.
-If more than X boarding pods are incoming to your flagship, it gains 250% turning speed and 50% acceleration for 10 seconds.

Or whatever. Having abilities you can activate manually isn't bad in my opinion, but it certainly might make me feel like I have to play at a slower speed in order to get the timing right.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on January 31, 2014, 11:32:03 PM
@khadgar: Those are some really intriguing ideas, actually!  I really like that quite a lot. :D
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: nas1m on February 01, 2014, 02:58:39 AM
I don't like the squadron idea. the amount of micro in making sure ALL of my fighters in making sure then they are already in the right spot is just as much micro as selecting certain ones to use such ability. However, it doesn't come with the benefit.of.tactical flexibility. Better to just naked them eexplode on death automatically and be done.with it.

I have to disagree.

Currently, if playing normally as it is when the AI is being tough, you already have to do this..... but only sort of.   This isnt Starcraft, you're not going to be getting units into EXACTLY the right spots for exactly the right situations, this being because they wont hold the heck still, the damn things.  You can of course give them direct orders, but it'll be about 2 seconds before they're out of position, and looping back around, or something.  Only the snipers seem to actually hold still ever.

Not to mention that it depends on the ability, really.  Abilities done in the way that SC does them often DO require intense precision.  But that's because of the nature of the game.  Example, maybe snipers can have some sort of "barrage" ability (either coming directly from them or the flagship, whatever).  Which would just, I dunno, triple their firing rate for a short time.  They dont need to be in exactly specific spots for something like this, and you dont have to be super specific about targeting when using such a thing unless that's your playstyle.... you really dont have to do much different at all.   Are your snipers already firing into the general area where you want some extra damage done?  You just activate it.... and that's it.  Let them do their thing then while you deal with something else. Same with something like, I dunno, some special laser attack.  Tell the squadron to do it, and each one will do their part as they reach the spot.  There's little need for them to do it at exactly the same time.... it's no different than attacking normally.  The amount of micro put into attacking normally is up to the player.  But usually you can just tell them "go here, attack this" and then you dont have to pay attention to it, because this isnt SC and it doesnt need to be hyper perfect. 
Seconded.

Whereas something like on-death effects.... THAT could get irritating depending on the effect.  And I can think of several ways to highly abuse the idea of ships that cause AoE explosions when they pop, or similar abilities.
And Seconded :).
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Misery on February 01, 2014, 07:15:16 AM
Abilities sound kinda neat, but from what I've seen I think that the core of the combat is positioning & order of deployment. Adding a third layer of ability activation might be neat, but it could muddle things down if there are more than a very small number of abilities. Maybe abilities should only be on the flagship, and only 1 at a time? I don't know if there is any sort of equipment or loadout thing going on, so I'm not sure how this would best work.

Another idea is to do "specials" rather than abilities. Automatically activated when applicable, they could be influenced by the ship class, the flagship, the sector you are in, or maybe even the specific pilot you have. So maybe a lancer class ship will get a short speed boost when told to attack an enemy who is over a certain distance away. It's not an activated ability per se, as it activates on it's own, but it isn't necessarily random chance either. So this is sort of like having "auto-cast" abilities, but still giving some more unique flavor to individual ships or designs.

Some other examples:
-When only 1 interceptor from a squad remains, he goes berserk and attempts to ram the nearest enemy ship.
-A certain type of pilot causes his ship to become temporarily invulnerable for 2 seconds when it drops below 20% health.
-If more than X boarding pods are incoming to your flagship, it gains 250% turning speed and 50% acceleration for 10 seconds.

Or whatever. Having abilities you can activate manually isn't bad in my opinion, but it certainly might make me feel like I have to play at a slower speed in order to get the timing right.

What about just having always-on passives, then?

Others may disagree with me, but I tend to absolutely loathe abilities that suddenly activate themselves, rather than me choosing when to do it.   In the case of this game, since I tend to play extremely defensively in strategy games as a whole (as opposed to extreme aggression in any other genre), this'd likely keep me only using very specific ship classes, and ignoring anything I percieve as having risk due to activation that I cant control, unless it was some ship type that's absolutely necessary for whatever reason.  Or if the game allows it, I simply turn all of them off.  There's other reasons too, but I'm lazy and you probably get the idea.

And a couple of other points I'll mention before I totally forget:

Another reason why I'd be for activated abilities of some sort is to make sure that the player can constantly take an active part in things.... giving orders, which tend to be on the simple side so far, and then just watching them happen every time isnt as exciting as it could be.  I'm not exactly the patient sort, so I tend to hammer the fast-forward button often while I'm waiting for battles to finish and the situation to change.  That type of lull usually says to me that something is missing.

At the same time though, there are benefits to simply having passives too.  Something like Lancers having the ability to shatter shields easily but do little damage against heavy armor is something that could differentiate the ships alot more.  Which is the biggest issue right now to me, is that the ship selection can feel redundant at times.

Cant remember whatever else I was gonna say.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on February 01, 2014, 08:28:57 AM
I think that at the new default speed there is always going to be a lull, because it's being played half as fast as it was original designed to be. So I spend a lot of time holding super fast forward as well. I agree with you on making sure the player has plenty of things to do, but I think that use of the fast forward key will always be a big thing in this game for anyone not playing on 1.0 speed or higher. And then using the slow mo button will happen at key times, heh.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: Misery on February 01, 2014, 10:06:04 AM
That's a good point.

And I'll admit, some of it was me being a tad impatient.... I wasnt thinking of the current default speed when I said that, haha.  I was thinking of the previous default. Though I definitely think the current speed was the right choice to make for default. 

Still, I always like the feeling of taking an active part in these things rather than allowing the AI for my units and such to do too much on it's own.  Looking forward to these additional combat elements you'd mentioned for that reason.

One way or another though, if each ship type can be made to stand out a bit more from the others, that'd just help alot in general, regardless of the method chosen.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on February 01, 2014, 10:08:12 AM
Yep, I am definitely working on that -- I agree with everything you said there.  I have a lot of ideas, it's just a matter of having time to get all that in place.  And there is just so little time... breathe Chris... but it will come together in the end. :)
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: chemical_art on February 01, 2014, 10:15:31 AM
Quote from: Misery link=topic=14788.msg163497#msg163497

I have to disagree.

Currently, if playing normally as it is when the AI is being tough, you already have to do this..... but only sort of.   This isnt Starcraft, you're not going to be getting units into EXACTLY the right spots for exactly the right situations, this being because they wont hold the heck still, the damn things.  You can of course give them direct orders, but it'll be about 2 seconds before they're out of position, and looping back around, or something.  Only the snipers seem to actually hold still ever.

Not to mention that it depends on the ability, really.  Abilities done in the way that SC does them often DO require intense precision.  But that's because of the nature of the game.  Example, maybe snipers can have some sort of "barrage" ability (either coming directly from them or the flagship, whatever).  Which would just, I dunno, triple their firing rate for a short time.  They dont need to be in exactly specific spots for something like this, and you dont have to be super specific about targeting when using such a thing unless that's your playstyle.... you really dont have to do much different at all.   Are your snipers already firing into the general area where you want some extra damage done?  You just activate it.... and that's it.  Let them do their thing then while you deal with something else. Same with something like, I dunno, some special laser attack.  Tell the squadron to do it, and each one will do their part as they reach the spot.  There's little need for them to do it at exactly the same time.... it's no different than attacking normally.  The amount of micro put into attacking normally is up to the player.  But usually you can just tell them "go here, attack this" and then you dont have to pay attention to it, because this isnt SC and it doesnt need to be hyper perfect. 

There's all sorts of ability ideas that could work like this.  The "click it once and let it be done" idea as opposed to Starcraft's "obsessed with micro" style.

Whereas something like on-death effects.... THAT could get irritating depending on the effect.  And I can think of several ways to highly abuse the idea of ships that cause AoE explosions when they pop, or similar abilities.


While I have nothing against Starcraft, frankly I think that game kinda poisoned the genre as a whole, as alot of developers seem to think that doing abilities or special combat effects that way is the ONLY way. When in fact there's so many other ways it could be done so that it requires hardly any micro, or none at all. 

And on top of that, it wouldnt be a bad idea to have something like this give these different ship classes more ways to stand out from each other.  Currently, I dont think they're doing that quite enough.

I agree with a lot of what you say, but it doesn't explain why a whole ship class has to activate abilities at once instead of just ones selected units. And if abilities really are simple to use, such as triple rate of fire, does it really add to the depth, or is it just another thing that if not juggled correctly a nerf. Abilities should make more of a tactical impact then that.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on February 01, 2014, 10:21:04 AM
or is it just another thing that if not juggled correctly a nerf. Abilities should make more of a tactical impact then that.

Right, I had originally had some plans for stuff that I then realized would fall into that category.  "Originally" meaning back when we switched to this combat model, prior to the start of alpha.  I am definitely wanting to stay far away from that sort of thing.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: chemical_art on February 01, 2014, 11:14:10 AM
Glad to hear it. That said, abilities that give painful tradeoffs, like 40% reduced damage in return for 25% increase i. rate of fire might be interesting...maybe, sometimes.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on February 01, 2014, 11:45:11 AM
For the most part I am thinking about weapons that you trigger at key points, but only have limited ammo of.  We'll see, though.
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: JAlfredGoodwin on February 01, 2014, 12:15:33 PM
How about more limited things that are AWESOME but have out of combat results?

"The use of antimatter-based weapons in combat has horrified the non-aligned races, leading to the formation of an Anti-Federation Popular Movement on Several Planets."
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on February 01, 2014, 12:19:04 PM
That's a really good idea!  Because yeah, being able to win one impossible battle with ease by using a "cheaty" sort of weapon is no big deal if it causes major repercussions out in the solar system.  I love that!  Do you mind putting that in mantis so I don't forget?
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: nas1m on February 01, 2014, 01:36:16 PM
How about more limited things that are AWESOME but have out of combat results?

"The use of antimatter-based weapons in combat has horrified the non-aligned races, leading to the formation of an Anti-Federation Popular Movement on Several Planets."
Now that is a good one... Kudos :)!
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: JAlfredGoodwin on February 01, 2014, 01:58:11 PM
That's a really good idea!  Because yeah, being able to win one impossible battle with ease by using a "cheaty" sort of weapon is no big deal if it causes major repercussions out in the solar system.  I love that!  Do you mind putting that in mantis so I don't forget?

Put it in Mantis.

There are other possibilities of course.  Cluster Bombs, Carpet Bombing, Land mines, etc.  Perhaps two or three races decide to outlaw precision munitions that bypass armor, and every time you get caught using them, you suffer a relationship hit of some kind.

Then, you could always be tried for War Crimes in Absentia by some race, and now you constantly have to dodge their police, and lose access to their pilots\ships...
Title: Re: A note on some stuff that is coming for combat.
Post by: x4000 on February 01, 2014, 04:01:15 PM
Thank you!

And yep, having to dodge their police and not being able to use their pilots and even not being able to do things with them politically are all well in the realm of the sorts of things we already do.  We don't do that specific thing, but we do have:
- Races send assassins after you when they hate you enough (this could easily be adapted to police in your case).
- Races won't let you use their pilots until certain conditions are met, and if certain other conditions happen then your pilots will actually desert from your fleet, taking their ships with them!
- All sorts of things cause you to be unable to make certain kinds of political deals with various races, or to limit your options, or open up new options.

So what you're suggesting is both cool and something well within the existing scope.