Testing Economic Balance Changes

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AMX
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby AMX » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:57 pm

zolobolo wrote:
sven wrote:Yeah, it's a feature that's been on my TODO list for years now. One of these days, I may actually find the time to code it up ;)

Wouldn't recommend it: if you have a low entry-level option to simulate battles, that reduces the value of galaxy battles. I have noticed this on myself in Total War games: by having instant access to all the factions and all of their units right from the main menu the allure of discovering and trying these units out was blunted. Simply put: a super dred has much more of an impact if it is an occurance which is hard to come by and only available in limited numbers

Plus the coding involved would need to be considerable as new GUI and selection mechanic would need to be implemented and any development time not adding to the main galaxy map gameplay reduces the effort going into that version (also consider bug-fixing effort thereon for the function)

How about extending the developer options instead?
"Finish research instantly" (to unlock the hulls and components you want to test)
"Finish construction instantly" (to create the fleet)
"Infinite strategic speed" (to pit the fleets against each other)
Switching faction is already possible (to set up opponents and allies)

zolobolo
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:07 pm

AMX wrote:How about extending the developer options instead?
"Finish research instantly" (to unlock the hulls and components you want to test)
"Finish construction instantly" (to create the fleet)
"Infinite strategic speed" (to pit the fleets against each other)
Switching faction is already possible (to set up opponents and allies)

Sounds good :)
It would not be a simple access point to the meat of the game circumwenting the galaxy map, nor should be prone to bugs as it would only change some active parameteres

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Zoolimar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:31 pm

Whatever formula is used for coin maintenance cost calculation, if it limits an empire with a typcial balanced economy (at leat one market per planet and trade pool full), in how many ships it can upkeep that will break this balance and lead to anomalies I was trying to describe and showcase in the second set of graphs. Please note: amount of ships is already being limited by metal, the addition of coin limitation is turning this around

Metal currently doesn't limit total ship count only ship production per turn. It's a difference between having a maximum number of ships per territory, even if you can modify it through the way you develop your planets, and having no upper limit at all. Don't forget that difference in power between two fleets is not A-B but more like A^2-B^2. And so having and advantage allows you to press it further and snowball from there.

If you have upkeep than after conquest you may need to sue for peace or try to set up a stalemate for some time to develop your planets as it is not certain that your fleet would be able to push further, especially since your shipyards may be now pretty far from the new frontlines.

With metal income being the only limiting factor on how fast you can produce ships there is no reason to consider development of the conquered planets as your fleet continues to grow. Unless the AI was incredibly effective and was able to inflict serious damage. It also encourages sitting on your ass and "building one more ship just to be sure".

Yes, a fleet of 3 battleships and 5 Escort Cruisers will beat 20 Light Cruisers in most cases, but they will not be able engage them as the LCs will be spread out and blockade all of their systems untill the doomstack is borken up and destroyed peacmeal - this I try to represent via the unit count attribute advantage

A lot of also depends on how ships are controlled. In the previous example with LC and EC of Ashdar if both sides are controlled by humans and weapons are changed to something that benefits from being put in a turret it's much more likely that EC would win or at least force a stalemate as no side would be able to enter the firing range without incurring heavy damage - unlike AI human doesn't need to rush directly at the enemy which means that first part of engagement will go at long range where EC shields will give a considerable advantage.

But yes. Currently light ships are a lot of the time more effective than large ones. For example Yoral Heavy Destroyer is probably a much better ship, economically speaking, than both Light and Heavy Cruisers as you don't waste slots and money on much else except heavy long range weapons. You can have more or less 2 of them per Light Cruiser and 3 per Heavy Cruiser. Which gives you 2 times more Heavy slots. And they also have enough energy on Fusion reactors to add AC and LR to the Heavy Coilguns.

At the same time the problem is not probably in the fact that Heavy Cruiser is a bad ship per se, but that there is no reason to use Medium slots if you have Heavy (unless missiles, you always want as many missiles as possible). Heavy weapons have the damage, range and enough precision to hit most targets. And if the chances to hit are not that good having double the amount of guns will help a lot. I think the problem is not in specialisation of ships but the fact that weapons themselves don't have much in the way of specialisation. There is almost no circumstances where a Heavy weapon, especially on a highly mobile platform like destroyer would be a bad choice. Even against Missiles/Fighters they still could probably destroy the carriers before getting hit by launched ordnance due to 36 range.

zolobolo
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:32 pm

On fleet size: I like to aim for a fair amount of fleets, generally one for every 3-5 systems to be able to protect them AND go over to the offensive when needed. With an average fleet size of around 10 ships this means ~2.5 ships per system (before extreme colonisation)

On the map configuration I use, and since the recent diplomacy changes: A minimum of two offensive fleets are always needed but often this goes up to 4. Defense and reserve fleets usually make up another dozen or so + troop transports also get some escorts while the main attack fleets are moving on to other defended targets

Fleet composition I have already mentioned: it is thanks to all those small ships that I can usually build up enough fleets with the current metal availability

Thematically I like the above since it gives off a nice Freespace, Infinity War I, Wing Commander vibe: you can decide for multiple approaches on any given theater thanks to the number of fleets which can opearte independently or supporting one-another and the player does not need to relinquish defense of dozens of star-systems for the sake of a simple offensive with limited obejctives: given that the player has paid attention to income and metal all the way ;

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sven
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby sven » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:09 pm

zolobolo wrote:Update: They don't attack when they arrive :(
They have also closed peace with my ally and offered peace (no compensation or demand) - is this why they dont attack?


This was a bug: I'd added some code to the AI to make it allocate more ships to defense when under attack, but, as a result of some quirks in that logic, it was ignoring the opportunity of attacking you immediately at Rasalgethi. This particular kind of irrational behavior should be fixed as of r38132.

zolobolo
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:24 pm

Zoolimar wrote:Metal currently doesn't limit total ship count only ship production per turn.

Yes, it is an indirect effect that hits larger hulls more, and is partially the reason why smaller ships are viable in the first place. Producing large ships drains metal quickly and cannot/should not be doable on an endless loop.
The player is motivated to build escort ships to utilize on the metal production even when they cannot "afford" heavy ship. It is a loop that encourages balanced fleets.

Like I said: putting another hard limit on the amount of ships will change this as it gives a secondary value to all ships. In the above particular example: If metal is piling up due to the player having hit the coin limit, the advantage of metal efficiency disappears: If the coin system is working as intended, metal will always be in surplus under the current availability of the resource

Zoolimar wrote:If you have upkeep than after conquest you may need to sue for peace or try to set up a stalemate for some time to develop your planets as it is not certain that your fleet would be able to push further, especially since your shipyards may be now pretty far from the new frontlines.

If the upkeep prevents the player from producing new ships, that would probably limit the extent conquest can be carried on I agree but this would be an artificial limit coded into the system to break player progress. Like I said regarding fleets, it feels arbitrary to me and thematically not correct that a galaxy spamming empire has trouble maintaining <50 combat ships most of which are small to mid sized

I would rather have the AI offer meaningfull surrender when it suffers a mayor defeat and allow the player to swallow another empire up if they want to do this and have made proper preaparations. Hard-limiting the option itself feels uneceserally limiting

Zoolimar wrote:With metal income being the only limiting factor on how fast you can produce ships there is no reason to consider development of the conquered planets as your fleet continues to grow. Unless the AI was incredibly effective and was able to inflict serious damage. It also encourages sitting on your ass and "building one more ship just to be sure".

I agree :) This is why I support improving the AI instead so that it does the same and crushes those who sit on their heinies ;)
The AI is also not restricted from pumping out ships and it needs it. On stable, it can put up a decent fight - one argument in the beginning was that the AI is too effective on normal, so obviously, sitting back is not a good option. On dev branch it is underpowered even on Hard. Pragmatically: it is much more difficult for the AI to manage a few selected ships facing unknown configrutations then pumping out all sorts of ships/fleets

Zoolimar wrote:For example Yoral Heavy Destroyer is probably a much better ship, economically speaking, than both Light and Heavy Cruisers as you don't waste slots and money on much else except heavy long range weapons.

Yes, Yoral have great destroyers. I also very much enjoy the heavy desroyer, such a cool design and looks great with Railgun 8-)

But alas: heavy weapons usually underperform against carriers: their shield capacity and recharge rate coupled with heavy weapon accuracy reduction at long range prevents them to be effective counters to carriers - though I wish they were as it would make sense thematically, the carreirs being precious eggs in a fragile basket :( But no, carreirs are often damage soaking HEAVILY shielded monsters that go down way after all of their squadrons have been oblitirated. If it were the other way around, that would even give medium cruisers more to do as they would need to counter the enemy heavy weapons before they oblitirate the carreirs withouth even releasing their squadrons

I was actually using the Shield Regen rate reduction mod of HarpyEagle to get something similar to hte above but do not need it with this economic balance change anymore

PD oriented small ships on the other hand take out all incoming small craft quite efficiently after wihch the carriers cannot usually pack a punch - the remedy here is again combined fleets which the AI needs to be continuously tought to employ: Medium Cruisers can counter smaller ships in groups and thus serve as escort: thanks to HarpyEagle, the carriers were also tought to preserve their precious cargo untill the most prime opportunity to launch them, and thereby also lend time for the escorts to do their thing

Dragar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Dragar » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:46 pm

I don't understand the high rating for heavy weapons - I often prefer dual normal weapons in that slot. It's higher dps, can target missiles/strikecraft, and the range is rarely a factor.

It's very hard to make sure ship design doesn't fall into a stable equilibrium of 'build this ship and nothing but this ship'. Often 'this ship' is the biggest ship you've researched. That's probably better than it being small ships, but only just.

I maintain that for smaller ships to appear at all later on, they need some niche roles. Two already exist: they are fast mounts for PD, and can react to where strikecraft and missiles have been targeted at, to localise PD fire just as aiming at one ship localises missile/strikecraft firepower.

The other role they play is simply that they can be split up: it's easier to defend in multiple places with two smaller ships than one big one.

But these may not be enough to make it worthwhile most of the time.
Last edited by Dragar on Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

zolobolo
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:49 pm

sven wrote:This was a bug: I'd added some code to the AI to make it allocate more ships to defense when under attack, but, as a result of some quirks in that logic, it was ignoring the opportunity of attacking you immediately at Rasalgethi. This particular kind of irrational behavior should be fixed as of r38132.

Works like a charm thanks

Regardarding the change to have ships retreat from the systme they are defending if they do not want to stick around defending a low value planet: I am unsure abouth this one:
- On one hand it is good that a fleet retreat that wouldn't have comitted to any defense in the system and not having to repeatably have it retreat during bombing turns
- On the other hand: you cannot commit your defense fleet to defend your valuable planet if there is also a low-value target in the systme that you would need to defend to stay in system :)

Ideally the fleets should have an option to engage or not as they are on the defense and have the tactical advantage to chose where they are committed - but I am sure if this would have been easily done it would have had been done already (also unsure abouth the grammar here :))

zolobolo
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:54 pm

Dragar wrote:I don't understand the high rating for heavy weapons - I often prefer dual normal weapons in that slot. It's higher dps, can target missiles/strikecraft, and the range is rarely a factor.

They are somewhat more effective thanks to their long range for sure when compared to normal mounts and due to the more slow nature of larger ships they need more time to get in range while the heavy weapons are free to pound them if they cannot return fire during this

But yeah, heavy weapons are also not a clear choice I agree: this is not necesseraly a bad thing though
Do you remember when Railgun was absolutely crushing everything else due to its damage and range, and it had to be nerfed to make other medium/hard weapons usefull?

Where they are absolutely killing it is planetary sieging: I usually bring a single ship with heavy mount for sieging. Its not very fun to slowly eat away at starbases and planetary defenses but man is it efficient

Dragar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Dragar » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:03 pm

zolobolo wrote:
Dragar wrote:I don't understand the high rating for heavy weapons - I often prefer dual normal weapons in that slot. It's higher dps, can target missiles/strikecraft, and the range is rarely a factor.

They are somewhat more effective thanks to their long range for sure when compared to normal mounts and due to the more slow nature of larger ships they need more time to get in range while the heavy weapons are free to pound them if they cannot return fire during this

But yeah, heavy weapons are also not a clear choice I agree: this is not necesseraly a bad thing though
Do you remember when Railgun was absolutely crushing everything else due to its damage and range, and it had to be nerfed to make other medium/hard weapons usefull?

Where they are absolutely killing it is planetary sieging: I usually bring a single ship with heavy mount for sieging. Its not very fun to slowly eat away at starbases and planetary defenses but man is it efficient


All true. I maintain force lances are now what railguns were! At least they're a bit higher up the tech tree.

zolobolo
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:06 pm

Dragar wrote:All true. I maintain force lances are now what railguns were! At least they're a bit higher up the tech tree.

I would love to make it till Force Lancers (though I find the railgun art to be more menacing for some reason :))
What galaxy/difficulty setting do you use to generate such long games?

AMX
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby AMX » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:09 pm

zolobolo wrote:Like I said: putting another hard limit on the amount of ships will change this as it gives a secondary value to all ships. In the above particular example: If metal is piling up due to the player having hit the coin limit, the advantage of metal efficiency disappears: If the coin system is working as intended, metal will always be in surplus under the current availability of the resource

Wouldn't that just prompt the player to build more markets and less mines?

zolobolo
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:28 pm

AMX wrote:Wouldn't that just prompt the player to build more markets and less mines?

A valid assumption but one that I assume is not the goal of the new balance

Honsetly, I though a little bit abouth this but not that much so I might be totall off: so far it seems to me that the benefit provided by markets is too low at this current state to really budge the system to more ships.
We are looking at ships with 5-10-22-33 upkeep, and a fully staffed level 1 market provides +6, and level 2: +9 coin :)

You would likely need to sacrifice a lot of mines to get a single balanced fleet up and running (around 10 at level 1): probably too many to keep up production not counting with understaffing efficiency reduction

I would prefer a system where a fully staffed market provides the vanilla income an trade routes, and an understaffed market provides a fraction of both

That would also solve the over-abbundance of coin, make markets less cheezy but still alllow for happy production if you place them correctly.
It would also lead to some decisions and tradeoff in case of large planets, as these would need to provide the mayority of funding but cannot provide so many slots for research and farms anymore if over-utilzied like this (in order to keep previous income you would need to move a lot of markets from low-quality palnets to densly populated ones)

This would thus not really effect mine count, but food, research and maybe factories, while eliminating the market spam on low-value planets

It can even function as a fleet limiter this way if the player is not willing to give up research focus: lower quality ships in large quality vs high-tech ships but less of them. This is a balance the player can choose on which side to take
Last edited by zolobolo on Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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sven
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby sven » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:34 pm

zolobolo wrote:Regardarding the change to have ships retreat from the systme they are defending if they do not want to stick around defending a low value planet: I am unsure abouth this one:
- On one hand it is good that a fleet retreat that wouldn't have comitted to any defense in the system and not having to repeatably have it retreat during bombing turns
- On the other hand: you cannot commit your defense fleet to defend your valuable planet if there is also a low-value target in the systme that you would need to defend to stay in system :)

Ideally the fleets should have an option to engage or not as they are on the defense and have the tactical advantage to chose where they are committed - but I am sure if this would have been easily done it would have had been done already (also unsure abouth the grammar here :)


I believe you should actually already have the option of declining combat in these situations (though it's a bit hidden inside the UIs). When defending a planet, if you have 2+ planets in the system, it should be possible to "deselect" ships that you'd rather not have engage the enemy.

Dragar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Dragar » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:15 pm

zolobolo wrote:
Dragar wrote:All true. I maintain force lances are now what railguns were! At least they're a bit higher up the tech tree.

I would love to make it till Force Lancers (though I find the railgun art to be more menacing for some reason :))
What galaxy/difficulty setting do you use to generate such long games?


That's only on huge, although by the time I research them it's been over for quite some time.

The AI, on the other hand, seems quite capable of grabbing that tech very early (or did, it might have been reduced lately). And if the AI gets it, the player can steal it.

Also, there's an planet colonization event that hugely reduces the research cost of these.


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