Testing Economic Balance Changes

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Dragar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Dragar » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:58 pm

zolobolo wrote:There are OP concepts, but there are so many and enought combination of them to balance each other out. Yes there are huge differences in power level but every faction has access to at least one of these, and if not, they can steal/get it form the others. Even the larger ship numbers reduce the effect of these tactics in a way


It's not so much balance as leaving things in a degenerate state. The game is much less fun if the very obviously dominant strategy is to build nothing but Yoral torpedo boats from the start of the game until the end of it, even if it's perfectly balanced.

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sven
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby sven » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:07 pm

Dragar wrote:Probably because coin to labour conversion is pretty lousy!


Yeah. Right now, there's one high level tech, 'Industrial Replicators' that switches an empire's coin to labor conversion rate from 3:1 to 1:1. Adding a tech somewhere in the mid game that would give you 2:1 conversions would be simple enough to do -- and particularly given that coin has gotten a lot scarcer as a result of this patch, I think it could be an interesting thing to add to the game.

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Zoolimar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:27 am

On the subject of Yoral Torpedo Destroyer - how hard would it be to remove the doubling of Missile launchers in its slots? Because 4 torpedoes while still very potent are harder to exploit the same way as pure missile launchers that give a lot of ordnance on the field. They are slower and you need to stack up salvos over multiple turns if you want for them to be really effective. And moving TD into close combat is in most cases a bad move due to its fragility.

This way you still would have 4 mounts as in the art but won't get 8 missiles per destroyer and it will incentivise using Torpedoes on most of them. The only thing to look for is it's upkeep as the main problem with TD is ability to stack up launchers on the field much cheaper than other ships can do it.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby sven » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:06 am

Zoolimar wrote:On the subject of Yoral Torpedo Destroyer - how hard would it be to remove the doubling of Missile launchers in its slots? Because 4 torpedoes while still very potent are harder to exploit the same way as pure missile launchers that give a lot of ordnance on the field. They are slower and you need to stack up salvos over multiple turns if you want for them to be really effective. And moving TD into close combat is in most cases a bad move due to its fragility.


Anything is doable in theory. Though I think it would be a bit strange to have a special rule that said that torpedoes took twice the space as regular missiles, unless they were mounted on the Torpedo Destroyer hull, in which case, that stopped being true. I feel like the 2-to-1 hardpoint size rules for torpedoes and heavy weapons are already a bit unintuitive, and that would make them far more so.

My goal in the weapon balance has been to make torpedoes "worth" about 2x equivalent tier missiles. I agree that right now it's really the pure missile torpedo destroyer loadouts that feel particularly broken, but, I see that mostly as a sign that missiles are probably too strong (particularly after you've hit fusion and antimatter warheads). I think I'd rather nerf missiles somehow than add an awkward special rule to the torpedo destroyer hull.

Zoolimar wrote:This way you still would have 4 mounts as in the art but won't get 8 missiles per destroyer and it will incentivise using Torpedoes on most of them.


Yeah, I'll admit, a big part of the reason I didn't nerf this hull earlier is that I wanted to stay true to Arioch's very cool art. But when you think about it, the fact that there are 8 torpedoes visible on the hull doesn't mean it ought to be able to fire 8 torpedoes each turn. If anything, it should maybe mean that the total ammunition capacity of the hull is 8 torpedoes -- but that's clearly not true, so I've started imagining there are extra torpedoes strapped to the underside of the hull ;)

Zoolimar wrote:The only thing to look for is it's upkeep as the main problem with TD is ability to stack up launchers on the field much cheaper than other ships can do it.


Post-nerf, I don't think it's launchers per upkeep ratio is that wrong. I mean, yes, if you go with a missiles tech strategy, there's certain phases of the game where it's probably the best attack/upkeep ratio you can get, (late game Orthin Gunships are actually a lot better in that metric, but, that's not a viable early game strategy, so it matters less). But, it's also a very fragile hull. And it's a racial special that, given the Yoral's lore, is "supposed" to be quite good. Dropping the missile hardpoints from 16x to 12x felt like a sensible nerf to me. But going from 16x to 8x feels like it would probably be over doing it. I don't want to stop players from feeling like torpedo destroyers are good. I just want to stop them from feeling "broken".

Dragar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Dragar » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:49 pm

I admit I'm sad about the art/game-play discrepancy too.

I also suspect missiles are too strong compared to torpedoes.

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Zoolimar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:58 pm

But, it's also a very fragile hull.

I just want to note that its fragility doesn't matter much as it has no reason to get anywhere near the actual fight as long as you have other ships. Maybe in late game it could, sometimes, become a problem but for most of the game the only other weapon capable of reaching TDs would be enemy missiles and they will need to get through the screening ships first.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:55 pm

This is the third game /3 where AI is focusing on research project instead of producing ships although it has metal, coin income and its fleet is not enough to defend itself

Uploaded: game_8324

Check out the Phidi: they have 5/8 planets focusing on reasearch

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby sven » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:40 pm

zolobolo wrote:This is the third game /3 where AI is focusing on research project instead of producing ships although it has metal, coin income and its fleet is not enough to defend itself

Uploaded: game_8324

Check out the Phidi: they have 5/8 planets focusing on reasearch


Yeah, I agree, the AI is assigning too many planets to research, particularly in the early game. I have some ideas about how to fix this -- but sadly, they're not quite as simple as just "lower the research priority by a factor of x". I think I need to get a bit more clever about how, exactly, build priorities interact with each other. And of course when I make a big change like that, there's a good chance of unintended consequences, so this isn't a "quick fix".

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby sven » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:18 am

sven wrote:Yeah, I agree, the AI is assigning too many planets to research, particularly in the early game. I have some ideas about how to fix this -- but sadly, they're not quite as simple as just "lower the research priority by a factor of x". I think I need to get a bit more clever about how, exactly, build priorities interact with each other. And of course when I make a big change like that, there's a good chance of unintended consequences, so this isn't a "quick fix".


Put in some changes in r38151. I'm not getting as complicated about reworking things as I might, but, I do think the new research/trade/ships priority logic is probably an improvement. Let me know if it feels notably different (either for better or worse).

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:36 pm

Tried the same small galaxy with stable release state to see how much it is affected by the light cruiser exploit

Cheesed the game as much as possible with Light Cruiser+rockets loadout spam + taking out Arda units to get advanced rocket tech faster (got to AM)
Also focused on research to uprade factories, and shields, getting shipyard

Interestingly, the Phidi of all races could keep up as far as fleet power goes
Gremak are not really representative as they have been consistently underperforming till the current dev branch changes

Altogether the AI could keep up in fleet size but not in quality - this is better on the dev branch
I was thinking why the AI does not build felets anymore and it occured to me that there was talk around gearing up for war: migth the AI have a routine now that "prevents" it from building as many ships as possible untill there is a conflict? - If so I would suggest ot have the AI constantly keep as many ships as it can sustain: evne if we dont count Marauders and Harpies, even a single war will find the AI struggling to dfend iteself against a player otherwise, not to mention if it falls into war with multiple empires
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby sven » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:49 pm

zolobolo wrote:I was thinking why the AI does not build felets anymore and it occured to me that there was talk around gearing up for war: migth the AI have a routine now that "prevents" it from building as many ships as possible untill there is a conflict? - If so I would suggest ot have the AI constantly keep as many ships as it can sustain: evne if we dont count Marauders and Harpies, even a single war will find the AI struggling to dfend iteself against a player otherwise, not to mention if it falls into war with multiple empires


Yes, there's a "target navy investment" number that controls how much of its income the AI is willing to dedicate to ship upkeep. Prior to yesterday's build (r38152), it was possible to for this target investment number to go as low as 20% of the empire's income, or as high as 95%. Looking more closely at how things where playing out, I decided that 20% was far too low -- as you say, even if an AI is at peace, it probably won't stay at peace for long, and needs to build up ships for all sorts of reasons. Post r38152, the lowest the target investment number goes is 60%, which makes the AI notably more aggressive about building up fleets, particular in the early game, when it's at peace and has no nearby known threats.

It's possible even 60% is too low a number, but in the playtesting I've done thus far (mostly on 'Hard') -- it seems ok-ish.

The downside to a high navy investment is that the AI will have less coins to rush buy improvements, which hurts it's economic development curves. There's a balance that needs to be found here. I don't think it's 100% investment all the time, but that 20% peace time number was clearly too low.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:07 am

The AI performance seems to be dependant on what species it's playing.

Phidi consistently sit on like +1000+1500 coins and good income while having piddling metal income and almost no fleet. And that happens across multiple games.
Humans seem to swing greatly depending on the starting position.
Colonials are kind of there but don't do very good.

On the other hand Imperials, Tinkers and Yoral are doing great on fleet numbers. Yoral almost crushed me in the Orhin game I'm playing now but they couldn't reach my Capital planet and needed to attack the one with planetary defences which were double Siege Ion guns. I still needed to sacrifice half my fleet to stop them (Heavy Cruiser, Gunship and 3 destroyers) cause they had 3 Light Cruisers, 3 destroyers and 6-8 frigates jump on a planet.

And if a human player was commanding their fleet they would have probably won.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:34 pm

New game on small, hard difficutly and dev branch
Player with Yoral, AI with Gremak and Ashdars

Findings:
- Gremak are doing better then on stable build but have trouble upgrading their ships (maybe due to lack of research progress)
- Both AI empires were neglecting small ships (and very vulnerable in th early game thereof): I have not seen almost any Gremak destroyers or Ahdar destroyers and Light Cruisers (considering the power level and availability of the latter this is not a wise strategy)
- AI has too many coin bonuses apperant by the Gremak maintaining 2 Cruisers with a single planet of <1 pop and no buildings. A bit too apperant here :)
- But is also visible on the Ashdars: they have been keeping double the amount of fleet as that of the player producing all the way. Money advantage is apperant in their buyout of factories and other buildings - but also means that they are not held back by building up their fleet to 80%
- I actually lost the game aganst the Ashdars even after gobbling up the Gremak empire and havign roughly the same pop. There is not really anything that could be done on the tactical level, the AI could roll over my ships with the 2X firepower and:
- Yoral missile destroyer is definitively not OP anymore: What if it would host 8 rockers and 4 torpedoes instead (art might be changed to fit 4 torps instead?) and make it cheaper to fit right in
- Ashdar Missile Cruisers are kicking ass now - which I enjoyed very much
- New AI fleet logic got to shine now: I had two invasion fleets beating both of my defending fleets and the AI had reserve ships amassing at a planet - perfect :)

My recommendations:
- Reduce coin aid for AI: fleet buildup rate and buildings spam suggest a huge bonus
- Increase prio of smaller ships to be built, so they can keep buidling and amassing power/flexibiltiy even with lcwer coin level (more efficieint start to mid game + meeting a medium/large ships too early in a game makes the bonus apperant)
- Keep the AI buildup rate of 80% or even bump it up to 100% to keep it competitive. Time is the most important factor as it effect both production and positioning on a fundamental level. Even if the AI can produce a ship in 3 turns, that woudl still be too much to put up a good fight in time when attacked. Now that they had power to call upon, they faired very well
- Have AI build at least one market/planet (and then remove almost all coin bonuses). There are less factories and mines needed now and there is no reason not to have them at leat of the moral bonus

Will try normal again with the latest changes to see if the bonuses feel balanced there: if the AI keeps building there as well just with smaller ships (instead of waiting to be able ot afford/build mid-sized ships) it should be great
Last edited by zolobolo on Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:37 pm

sven wrote:The downside to a high navy investment is that the AI will have less coins to rush buy improvements

Yes, please more of that :)
You would want the AI to mirror player progression and it is clearly not intended under the current balance to have the player buyout buildings so the AI should also not be doing these (regularly)

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:48 pm

Here is a planet managed by the AI on normal.

This is why the AI needs to start building markets: a third of this planet is rebelling and they arent even at war with anybody, are being bombed, having slaves or harmonizing (this is their normal condition)

Also notice the 3 markets producing trade, whereas they almost have no markets at all in ther empire (but they do have 4 facotries in a lot of planets)

If they build a few markets here and there, then it is likely that no coin aid would be necessary at all (or just a very small amount to keep them from stalling) and they would naturally have more labor, research, food and further coin income due to the a considerable potion of the populace not rebelling
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