Some quick feedback

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zolobolo
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby zolobolo » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:17 pm

Uncle_Joe wrote:I firmly believe that getting to that point (whether it be player or AI) should be a more difficult rode and not made more difficult simply by cranking up AI bonuses, but organically though the game mechanics which should provide some pushback/drag on runaway leaders.

Agreed

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SmaugTheDragon
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:10 pm

I remember that every single civ game has had some kind of expansion penalty in one form or another. Corruption (distance from capital), health, happiness, city upkeep and possibly more that I can't currently remember.
I think I overall like the idea, it will always be better to expand as much as possible but the power increase might not be so exponential with some push-back.

Anyways back to more feedback:

Make AI not attempt to recapture disabled ships when other targets are still available.

Make AI raid instead capture when target ship has more crew.

Light cruisers, when you get the industrial capital to build them you already have the heavy cruiser tech so why would you? Am I missing something here, any benefit to light cruisers that does not obsolete them when heavies are available?

Holy shit mercs are strong, when AI gets the ability to recruit them I could be in a world of hurt. Especially Gremak/Humanity should be very liberal in supplementing their forces with marauders/pirates if the financial situation allows it.
Last edited by SmaugTheDragon on Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Uncle_Joe
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby Uncle_Joe » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:22 pm

I still use Light Cruisers because they tend to be easier on the metal and can still fill important roles. In my current game as the Humans, they are in the Point Defense role (fighting a tough war against the Ashdar Imperials). They can hold 2x anti-missiles and 2x turrets packed with PD Turbolasers. That's a lot of anti-fighter/anti-missile firepower on a relatively cheap hull.

I've been so strapped for metal that I have also discovered the joys of role-based Destroyers. ;) I have two types in widespread use this game, one PD and one split PD/AM Missiles for additional offensive punch. Masses of these DDs can pack a wallop and although I do take losses every battle, they are cheap to replace and I can sustain producing 1-2/turn in each of my primary shipyards.

zolobolo
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby zolobolo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:39 pm

Smaller vessels are harder to hit especially from a distance. The also tend to have higher tactical speed which makes them ideal for close in weapon loadout

Also: all ship layouts are different, and thus each of them is suitable for different roles in the fleet: serving as Point Defence gunboats is a frequent usage of them like mentioned earlier, but there are other things you can experiment around:
1. Boarding vessels: smack armour in place of every weapon hardpoint and you will notice these critters will be harder to take down then capital ships
2. Missile boats: Depending on the faction, light cruisers can serve as a cheap solution for taking lots of rockets onto the field (munition isntead of shields)
3. If you are playing Gremak, you can use Light Cruisers with cloaking to get in close-range and release Leach/EMP missiles on the enemy (also good with armour suppliment insted on the weapon slots)

Finally there is firepower/value ratio. You will notice that it isn't the best way to produce capital ships all the time, as they will cost a fortune and will be taken down by swarms of enemy destroyers or frigates. Same goes when you are facing carriers: you better have some cheap PD gunboats around as escort else you can say goodby to those expensive battleships/Heavy Cruisers

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SmaugTheDragon
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:41 pm

In my Human game my mainline design is a destroyer with a boarding pod in the medium slot. Deviously effective and cheap to pump out from the single factory worlds. Right now my opponents all use beams so the small PD slots all ships come with are somewhat wasted.

My current human game can be summed up in this picture (just replace salvage with capture)
http://i.imgur.com/rWH91ly.jpg

zolobolo
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby zolobolo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:45 pm

SmaugTheDragon wrote:In my Human game my mainline design is a destroyer with a boarding pod in the medium slot. Deviously effective and cheap to pump out from the single factory worlds. Right now my opponents all use beams so the small PD slots all ships come with are somewhat wasted.

My current human game can be summed up in this picture (just replace salvage with capture)
http://i.imgur.com/rWH91ly.jpg

Yes, capturing ships is a bit OP at this time (even though disruptors do not seem to be very helpful in this), but I wouldn't worry abouth it too much as there is a counter to them.
You are playing humies, who are very good at boarding, so no surprise that tactic works out quite well :)

Also consider: Humans start with a considerable tech-disatvantage, so taking vessels and reverse-engineering them can be pretty much considered as a balance to this

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SmaugTheDragon
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:48 pm

Stations and planetary defenses are my bane with their large crew numbers. Can't really touch their prime worlds due to defenses.

zolobolo
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby zolobolo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:50 pm

SmaugTheDragon wrote:Stations and planetary defenses are my bane with their large crew numbers. Can't really touch their prime worlds due to defenses.

This is your chance to prove that Disruptiors are worht it!

Humans get a research bonus for energy weapons so you an get faster to the tech, and it should do double the crew damage - untill these bases do nto have strong shields, hammering them with disruptor rounds should do the trick

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SmaugTheDragon
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby SmaugTheDragon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:13 pm

I have disruptors that I nicked from the imperials. I only research economic tech and steal all else in battle.

wminsing
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby wminsing » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:12 pm

I'm personally not a big fan of 'end game crisis' or other big baddies that become the enemy. I feel like the other empires should provide the challenge and if the game has reached the point where that is not the case, the the player should win and be done with it.


In general I agree that the game end-timing should better, but one advantage that an 'end game crisis' approach has as a game difficulty balancing mechanic is that it's somewhat asymmetric and it is harder for the player to prepare for. The other empires SHOULD provide a challenge, but a smart player is going to use every trick in the book from turn 1 to keep the power level of other empires down. Aggressive forward colonization, picking off the weakest enemy empire early on, etc. I've haven't seen a game yet where the AI hasn't needed straight-up bonuses to 'cheat' and keep up a player. One possibility is that the game should determine which empire has the best chance of stopping you and make that a 'designated rival' and give them an edge, but that's just a variation of puffing up the AI with bonuses the player doesn't have. Basically if the empires follow the same rules as the player, the player is going to get a leg up on them. A 'End Game Crisis' enemy doesn't have this is same issue, since it doesn't play by the same rules as the player, so it's easier to drop them in late game and give the player something interesting to deal with.

-Will
Last edited by wminsing on Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wminsing
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby wminsing » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:26 pm

Small ship vs. Large Ships - Ah, the eternal debate. One issues SiS has in common with nearly all 4X games is that 99% of the battles are pitched fleet battles or planetary assaults, where big ships generally rule. In 'real' navies, and space navies would probably be the same in this regard, one reason small ships are so important is that you need them to do the million other things that AREN'T fighting massive fleet battles but are still important; commerce raiding, convoy raiding, showing the flag, scouting, etc. Few games cover these sorts of missions, and so small ships keep getting overshadowed by big ships.*

I think that SiS actually does better than most at keeping small ships relevant. With their better speed and rate of turn they are effective at carrying close-range weapons in to their effective range, and their small footprint means they can negotiate the 'traffic jam' of fleet actions more effectively than larger ships. When I reach the point where I can produce Heavy Cruisers en-mass I find that my small ship production does tend to slack off, but until then the smaller ships can be winners.

It might be neat if the game was tweaked to make small ships even better at these roles. What if shields were setup so the forward shield was the strongest and flank/rear shields were weaker? What if armor worked the same way? That would mean getting those DD's in for flank shots (particularly if they had high damage/short range weapons) would be a really effective tactic. It might be interesting if the effectiveness of PD fire was effected by how long the projectile was in flight, so a missile-armed DD at point blank range could snap off the missiles and have more of them get through to the target. That sort of thing would make weapon balance more interesting AND give the small fry an important tactical job.

-Will

*Stellaris is the only exception I've seen and that's because 'naked' corvettes end up destroying everything due to the cost effectiveness. Something they need to fix....

Uncle_Joe
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby Uncle_Joe » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:46 pm

Yep, the traditional 'role' of smaller ships doesn't really exist in most 4x games. And in a straight up fight, who would rather have DDs than BBs? lol.

I agree that SiS does a better job than most of making smaller ships more appealing. I like the ideas for front-biased shields which would definitely shake things up. Tweaking the metal costs for the base hull could also continue to encourage smaller ships.

Alternatively, crank up a defensive bonus for smaller ships and add in a to-hit penalty for larger weapons which would make the most massive guns less efficient at slaughtering smaller ships. That goes against a lot of 'gut-level' sci-fi though....

Upkeep cost is another lever they could pull to encourage smaller ships. Traditionally, the thing that keeps navy's from cranking out nothing but ships of the line is the extreme cost of maintaining them as a fighting force. Cruisers/destroyers should be the bulk of the navy to be cost effective.

Finally, creating a role for the smaller craft is always good. If they had better strategic speed, they could be used to blockade planets and run when larger ships are inbound. They already work that way to a certain extent due to the easy retreat mechanic but giving them better range and speed to get there would make them much more useful as 'raiders'. Adding actual trade to the map (abstractly) would definitely increase their role too. ;)

But honestly as I said above, I'm fairly happy with the ship balance as is and anything added to encourage them would be gravy. :)

BTW, Stellaris just announced the 'fixes' for the naked corvettes for 1.8. Should make it a lot more interesting.

zolobolo
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby zolobolo » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:11 pm

wminsing wrote:In general I agree that the game end-timing should better, but one advantage that an 'end game crisis' approach has as a game difficulty balancing mechanic is that it's somewhat asymmetric and it is harder for the player to prepare for. The other empires SHOULD provide a challenge, but a smart player is going to use every trick in the book from turn 1 to keep the power level of other empires down. Aggressive forward colonization, picking off the weakest enemy empire early on, etc. I've haven't seen a game yet where the AI hasn't needed straight-up bonuses to 'cheat' and keep up a player.l

Seven Empires. The first installment.

It was a real-time strategy but might have been turned into turn-based, doesn't realy make a difference. Sadly I do not know how they managed to put to AI together but it was capable both in:
1. Expansion
2. War
3. Diplomacy!

Though I cant see into the AI of that game, after hundreds of hours of game-time I can tell my assumption why it was possible to have a competent AI withouth bonuses:
- Game mechanics were simple yet offered a multitude of possibilities
- Diplomacy was simple, but logical (no trading BTW)

Now that I think abouth it, 7K was abouth the only game other then SiS that did food production right :)
The AI would constantly be forced to beg for food trade deals if it was involved in long wars as it needed to recruit most of its peasants (producing food) forthe war effort

So my takeway from that game is: Keep game mechanics as simple as possible (no segregated systems)
In case of SiS I can see that most of the AI issues spam from this: managing tactical combat and decisions on the strategic map at the same time, using mercs, or considering range of ships

BTW: Through all my years with that game I have only found 2 exploits to game the AI:
1. Early game rush (this was before starcraft) you could basically start by recruiting all your peasents to soldiers and then just rush all other kingdoms one-by-one. As soldiers won exp, and leveled up this force was unbeatable right of the bat and all other kingdoms would pay food and money so you do not attack them :)
2. Cannons in masses wiped the map clear of any fleshy human soldiers which the AI was sadly not aware of

But when not resulting to the above two, I have lost a lot of games against the AI fair and square withouth any bonuses to it :)
Last edited by zolobolo on Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

zolobolo
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby zolobolo » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:18 pm

wminsing wrote:I think that SiS actually does better than most at keeping small ships relevant. With their better speed and rate of turn they are effective at carrying close-range weapons in to their effective range, and their small footprint means they can negotiate the 'traffic jam' of fleet actions more effectively than larger ships

Agreed

Would make sense to:
1. Slightly increase evasion chance of small ships when targeted by Heavy mounts. It already seems to be happening but a samll increase would drive this point home: Small crafts are best engaged by medium and medium by heavy. So why not use just medium instead of small? This is where weapon mount count and configuration comes to play
2. Give small crafts a mission that suits them. This is also already covered: They can blockade enemy planets. What I would maybe do additionaly is have a trade pool raiding effect for small ships (this effect should not be there for larger vessels). The longer they reside in enemy space, the larger the chance that trade ships get plundered or even destroyed. I recommended this origianally for pirates but works the same for small crafts
3. Upkeep lincrese for larger ships - like said above nuff said, just make sure the AI has a decent logic to consider upkeep

wminsing
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Re: Some quick feedback

Postby wminsing » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:07 pm

Weapon Mount Accuracy- Yes, the more I think about this the more I like it; leave heavy weapons good at beating down other large ships, bases and planetary defenses but make them weaker (less accurate) against the small fry. This actually dovetails nicely with the fact that the large ships already carry a mix of heavy and medium mounts. This means they aren't helpless against a few destroyers but would be in trouble against a large pack of them. If you make missiles equally accurate against all targets this might also help make missiles more useful....

Commerce Raiding- I've long been an advocate for some sort of commerce raiding mechanic in the game, either played out tactically or handled more abstractly. I agree some sort of system were hanging out in an enemy system gives a chance to destroy transports until you're chased off makes a lot of sense. This would encourage you to spread your smaller ships to harry the enemy as much as possible, and also means that the enemy can assemble 'hunter' groups that are also mostly small ships and this would also encourage more small fights (which I find interesting) rather than one giant apocalyptic battle deciding each war. Giver smaller ships a strategic speed bonus might also dovetail with this nicely.

Upkeep- Tricky since it's very easy to fall into 'X small ships are *always* better than 1 large ship with the same upkeep cost' or vice versa for costs. I'd also be ok with large ships being more upkeep efficient (since in a realistic sense they often would be) but decrease the metal/production cost of smaller ships in comparison. This means your 'peacetime' building can concentrate on larger ships and then it would often make sense to switch over to smaller/cheaper hulls during wartime, knowing that you would decommission some when the war was over if needed.

But again, I think the balance is not bad; the smallest ships tend to phase out as the late game is reached but until then I've fought and won wars with Destroyers and Light Cruisers, and I've kept up Yoral destroyer swarms right till the end of the game; the Yoral DD with a Heavy mount is *nasty*.

-Will


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