Some collected feedback over several games

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SmaugTheDragon
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Some collected feedback over several games

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:15 pm

Had a lot of fun discovering things, I have now played every faction to the point I start to steamroll. Starting from easy and then switching to hard. So here are some thoughts in no particular order:


AI is eager to declare war when they sense weakness but does not follow up, and are content to just sit there one system over and wait. Do they not have the range tech? Do they assess fleet strength incorrectly? Do they get stuck trying to build enough troopships to take over every single planet simultaneously? I don't know but they seem way too passive in wars.


The construction curves upwards very sharply meaning that most of the game destroyers are too expensive and suddenly you start pumping out loads of heavy cruisers. Maybe some tech or orbital that makes destroyers and light cruisers economical and useful even in mid-game?


The game is structured so that you have a very long build-up period of colonizing, and then a single big battle followed by a long mop up. I usually don't waste resources on invading planets, as these resources are better spent on making sure your fleet can win the initial big battle and then zoom as fast as you can to their 2-3 factory worlds and neutralize them before they can rebuild. Maybe give planets garrison ships ala. Total War? Would make steamroll harder and create more interesting battles.


I had an fun game where I was locked in a very unfavorable corner and Yoral declared war on me very early, so we had an arms race for 50 turns were we stacked low-tech ships in absurd numbers on each others borders. But then the Yoral just send half their fleet to die against a random marauder base, making it way too easy to roll them over.


AI needs to learn maneuvering and focus fire, right now I can take on several times larger AI fleet and win with no losses. They need to direct their fire on the smallest/most damaged ship first and to try to hit it from the side witch has lowest shield percentages. Right now spinning your ships after firing to change the shield side they hit feels like cheating.


AI does not refit old ships (or if they do not aggressively enough), also it would be cool if the AI designs would counter yours (like not using PD if you don't have missiles/fighters or prioritizing shields if you go full beams).


I think difficulty settings should be remade so easy->normal, normal->hard, hard->(give AI even more help)


More map types where you could have choke points like galactic arms or clusters.


Orthin Heavy Cruisers look so sexy.

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SmaugTheDragon
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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:11 pm

Anyone?

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Arioch
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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby Arioch » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:05 pm

SmaugTheDragon wrote:AI is eager to declare war when they sense weakness but does not follow up, and are content to just sit there one system over and wait. Do they not have the range tech? Do they assess fleet strength incorrectly? Do they get stuck trying to build enough troopships to take over every single planet simultaneously? I don't know but they seem way too passive in wars.

The AI still has a number of issues that need to be ironed out. It's a little bit too quick to declare war when it senses weakness but is not really in good position to attack you. I suspect this may because it's looking at relative numbers but doesn't yet have a "minimum force" consideration (I outnumber him 4 to 1! But I only have 4 destroyers....). We talked in the past about preventing declarations of war until the AI had a force prepared to attack with; I'm not sure whether this was never implemented or it just stopped working, because the AI seemed to be doing a better job of this prior to the diplomacy system implementation.

SmaugTheDragon wrote:The construction curves upwards very sharply meaning that most of the game destroyers are too expensive and suddenly you start pumping out loads of heavy cruisers. Maybe some tech or orbital that makes destroyers and light cruisers economical and useful even in mid-game?

I have some ideas about changing the to-hit rules to take relative size into account to help make smaller vessels more viable into the later game. I think they're already economical.

SmaugTheDragon wrote:The game is structured so that you have a very long build-up period of colonizing, and then a single big battle followed by a long mop up. I usually don't waste resources on invading planets, as these resources are better spent on making sure your fleet can win the initial big battle and then zoom as fast as you can to their 2-3 factory worlds and neutralize them before they can rebuild. Maybe give planets garrison ships ala. Total War? Would make steamroll harder and create more interesting battles.

I'm not sure what you mean by "garrison ships" in this context. Do you mean the AI should allocate more ships to system defense? Won't this make the decisive fleet battle that much easier for the player to win?

SmaugTheDragon wrote:AI does not refit old ships (or if they do not aggressively enough), also it would be cool if the AI designs would counter yours (like not using PD if you don't have missiles/fighters or prioritizing shields if you go full beams).

Once we implement the new refit system, it will be a lot easier for the AI (and the player) to keep its ships up to date.

SmaugTheDragon wrote:I think difficulty settings should be remade so easy->normal, normal->hard, hard->(give AI even more help)

We might add an additional "even harder" setting (there's even room for it in the UI), but easy should always be easy.

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echo2361
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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby echo2361 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:23 pm

By garrisons I'm thinking he meant what we see in Total War and also Endless Legend. It would be a force of ships that spawn to defend planets that never leave orbit. Think of system defense ships without FTL drives. Offers a mechanic to prevent "rushing" victories and force an aggressor to build up sufficient strength to defeat each garrison before moving on to the next planet even after winning a battle against most of the enemy forces somewhere else.

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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:10 pm

Just having another setting above hard is fine too, would make the game more challenging before the AI and balance gets all sorted out.
Arioch wrote:I'm not sure what you mean by "garrison ships" in this context. Do you mean the AI should allocate more ships to system defense? Won't this make the decisive fleet battle that much easier for the player to win?

In TW games every single settlement automatically gets a free defending army that the attacker has to face, the size of witch is dependent on the settlement size, kind of like a local militia. Also joining as reinforcements if the defender has an actual army on the settlement.
It slows down expansion of the aggressor and gives the defending player more time to try to come back from the initial defeat. Especially if the battle model makes it so the winner usually comes out of a victorious engagement with most of the force remaining.


But I guess it goes against the logic of a space game where colonies don't have their own personal ships :/

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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby sven » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:42 pm

SmaugTheDragon wrote:But I guess it goes against the logic of a space game where colonies don't have their own personal ships :/


Well, I suppose they might actually have non-hyperspace capable police vessels or something ;)

In the current build, it's worth noting that you can actually put maneuvering jets on your space stations, which gives you a class of 'fixed defenses' that have the ability to move around the tactical map. I'd be interested in doing more with this sort of thing eventually -- we have some old sketches for other kinds of defensive structures / satellites that might serve to give colonies more options in terms of 'garrison' forces. And we've already established in-universe that the 'orbital' structures you can build around planets may have the ability to maneuver during tactical combat; so I think there's the potential for a defense satellite network to fill the same strategic role as a 'garrison' space force.

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SmaugTheDragon
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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:15 pm

Just seems like double the work for something that could be resolved with just ships, but some cheap and/or maybe deployable defenses would be really cool. Right now orbitals are: weak, only found orbiting factory planets (and they take 1 shipyard slot so I never bother) and planetary defense slots are cool but I have never lost a single ship to them. Possibly need a range increase or something. (maybe strap boosters to the planet :D ).

Talk of satellites are bringing back weird memories of the endless lines of Heavy Planet Missiles and Light Planet Missiles launched from the poles ever closing in on my ships as they madly rush towards the planet, damn gotta reinstall SotS I guess.

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Arioch
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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby Arioch » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:03 am

Planetary defenses will be more effective when missiles are made stronger again.

Adjusting the number of ships the AI has and allocates to defense or the relative strength of system defenses is just a difficulty tuning issue; I don't think it warrants creating new classes of system defenses or introducing mechanisms in which ships appear magically out of nowhere.

As for the larger issue where mopping up after the decisive battle is anticlimactic, I call that "realistic."

Maybe with the funds freed up from having to support that large fleet, the endangered AI faction may be able to hire some mercenaries.

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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby wminsing » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:47 am

Some more defense options like defense satellites sounds good; some sort of system defense ships (no FTL capability) would also be interesting.

In terms of the 'mopping up' phase, I think some of that could be fixed by tweaking the peace negotiation process and options. I admit that I hate actually destroying factions (I know, that's weird), so some sort of 'enforced protectorate' treaty might be useful; something like the protectorate can't declare war on it's own, has to hand a % of it's excess credits, metal and food, must vote for the dominate race in the Galactic Council, etc. But the faction survives; and it might be able to break free later if the dominant race loses enough power.

-Will

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Arioch
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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby Arioch » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:05 am

wminsing wrote:In terms of the 'mopping up' phase, I think some of that could be fixed by tweaking the peace negotiation process and options. I admit that I hate actually destroying factions (I know, that's weird), so some sort of 'enforced protectorate' treaty might be useful; something like the protectorate can't declare war on it's own, has to hand a % of it's excess credits, metal and food, must vote for the dominate race in the Galactic Council, etc. But the faction survives; and it might be able to break free later if the dominant race loses enough power.

I seem to be one of the few people who liked the vassal system in Civilization IV. I think the challenge to making it work (rather than being annoying or game-unbalancing as it sometimes was) is in having good AI to choose when to offer or accept vassalage. And that's easier said than done.

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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby Unbroken » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:22 am

Just wanted to chip in re: mopping up, when the game has gotten to the point where it is plainly clear that one faction has pretty much won, would it be possible to simply have the game skip the remaining turns of bombing the final few hostile planets into space dust and give the win right there?

As it stands, if one side in a war loses the decisive battle particularly badly, they're pretty much toast. There's no way for them to rebuild before having their infrastructure taken over or bombed out of existence right now. That being said, the AI will doggedly continue prosecuting a war it very clearly cannot win after said decisive battle.

I feel that the way to get around this flyswatting business is to have the AI surrender (yes, have it give up) when it is obvious that it's over. Like in SMAC, provide the player the option to accept or decline that proposal so that players can utterly and absolutely wipe an AI out if they choose, or take them in as a protectorate/vassal thing like wminsing's suggested.

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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby Arioch » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:50 am

Mercy rule situations are what the Galactic Council is for.

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SmaugTheDragon
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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:20 am

If having less battles is the design choice then that part of my critique is null. The system is not that deep so I guess more battles would become repetitive pretty fast.

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Re: Some collected feedback over several games

Postby zolobolo » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:39 am

Mopping up after a big battle is a common problem not just in this game or in 4X games
The problem, like mentioned above is the busy work itself but there are a bunch of things that can be done abouth this:

1. Mercanary system: Worked well in Cossacks, haven't seen it in 4X games yet, looking forward to it and hope they get some unique ships or at least paintjobs ;) The point mentioned here is that the looser side needs to have the additional funds to afford the mercanaries - For this, upkeep needs to be tweaked, as it is too low currently. One trade route produces 8, and most ships costs between 1-3. Even the Doom Star only takes up around 10 or so, I was surprosed how cheap it is to maintain this marvel of engineering :) Make these more expensive, so that the looser side has considerable more money flowing in after the battle

2. Surrender: Used in Galciv 2 and 3. Works well if they surrender to an empire which is friendly to them but not towards the player but feels a but unfair as the player is not allowed to ripe the results of the battle, so should only be done after a couple of planets have been taken

3. Global Diplomacy: Total War, Stellaris and CIV games all had a crack at this, but were mostly annoying. They come through as too much of an artifical brake forced upon the user. If at all, I would use this to put penalty on the declarer of the war rather then stop expansion. Trade embargo could force the winner into a truce and not leave time for cleaning up all the planets, but it would have to strike the AI equally

4. Militia/garrison system: used in Total War games and in Endless Legend. Works well, and should be easy enooough to implement. Like mentioned above: local police vessels that cannot travel to other systmes or even planets are generated automatically for each planen. Their number is dependant from colony size and speical building affects. They are ships that cannot be moved away from the planet. They have relatively low armour and firepower but do not cost anything and are generated automatically to slow down the occupation force

5. Defences: Starbases functioning as defense paltforms, sounds fine but the AI should also utilzie these then and the bases should not be applicable for offensive operation due to range, speed or whatever (only the Doomstar should have this privilidge :)). Planetary defenses are too weak in my opinion too. They have short range, and have conceptual flaw: they either do not pack enough of a punch to bring down a mid-sized ship, or they take out any ship in a turn making the battle "unfair". Just image the player sending an uber strong shielded corvett forward - the defenses currently keep hitting this guy, but by rotating it, the shields on affected side absorb the damage just fine while the other sides are recharging. I think that any planetary defense needs to be distributed instead of concentrated. Big guns are allwoed but should not be a one-shot one-kill gun, more like ion canons like in Star Wars. Rather use, long-range floating gun platforms, torpedo paltforms and fighters with a combination of one-or two speical effect guns. Planetary invasions would thus be more fun and fair for both sides

Optimally a smart combination of the above could be used


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