Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

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wminsing
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Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby wminsing » Sat Jul 20, 2019 4:20 pm

Playing a Terran game and finding and I'd much rather have my Assault Cruisers carry Assault Marines than Tanks so I can more easily board enemy ships and steal their sweet tech. Is there a way to make this the default rather than building them separately?

-Will

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Arioch
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby Arioch » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:41 pm

Unfortunately not.

zolobolo
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby zolobolo » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:56 pm

Arioch wrote:Unfortunately not.

What if Humans dont get tanks at all? (reduces repetition and thematic as they lack the attitude to wage ground wars of attrition)
AND get Marines as default tech (also default in Assault Shuttle) - this would have the added value of helping out the AI in mid-game as tehse would be applied everywhere instead of tanks per default (even when assimilated: this even would generate a second troop transport design for the faction assimilating humans which contain Human transport hull and Human Boarding unit)

Optionally: I would also give a single Assault Shuttle with marines (no shields but turbo lasers) as an additional starting ship so that the faction is even more thematic and the AI also gets a bonus on early game when playing them: in the early game they would get extra resources by scrapping the captured ships + a second ships sohuld help them to clear out initial Harpy and Pirate systems

Optionally #2: Marines might be an upgraded tier 2 tech for them with current art, while Tier 1 would be available per default but withouth powered exoskeleton. Drawback: would need additional art for tier one tech withouth the armor (worn down boarding commando squads)

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Arioch
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby Arioch » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:28 pm

zolobolo wrote:What if Humans dont get tanks at all?

Then Humans wouldn't get Hovertanks or Battle Mechs either.

You're probably not going to have dozens and dozens of ships loaded with Assault Marines. It may be inconvenient to manually load them, but it doesn't seem like that much of an inconvenience.

wminsing
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby wminsing » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:20 am

Yea I wouldn't want to loose Hovertanks or Battlemechs, that would make taking planets cost prohibitive. Maybe as a feature suggestion when you queue up a ship and have multiple options for the loadout you could get a pop up asking which troop type you wanted to build with it? Currently this would only apply to Humans and Gremak.

-Will

gaerzi
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby gaerzi » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:16 am

Perhaps have different components, so when you add a shuttle bay, you get the choice between "Assault Shuttle (Armor)" and, if you're human, "Assault Shuttle (Marines)" or, for the Gremak 'Assault Shuttle (Marauders)".

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Arioch
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby Arioch » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:47 pm

The pre-loading of troops in a newly built ship is a little bit of a kludge, and so the ship designer UI doesn't really support the ability to choose which troop type is pre-loaded. I suppose that one way to do it would be to replace the Assault Shuttles component directly with components that represent the various troop types, similarly to how we do with missiles. I'm slightly hesitant to do that, though.

In the early versions of the game, ground troops didn't exist as separate units; the military transports had an Assault Shuttles component that gave them a permanent virtual troop strength that wasn't ever expended and couldn't be unloaded. There was no randomness in invasions; if you had more troop points than the enemy had colonists, you successfully captured the planet. This was very convenient, but it meant that once you had a large enough fleet of troop transports, you could steamroll planets endlessly, since there were never any losses in ground combat, and planets were taken completely intact.

We added separate ground units and a ground combat system and UI to fix this problem, and to allow ground units to also be used for defense and for martial law in the new morale system. We also allowed them to be transported in cargo holds so that they could be moved like colonists. The idea was that troops in cargo holds would suffer a penalty when used in planetary invasions (in comparison with troops dropped from a military ship with Assault Shuttles), but unfortunately this penalty was never implemented, and so the military troop transports became largely irrelevant... to the point where we stopped designing them for some of the later factions. We later added a "Troop Transport" build option for the civilian transport to be pre-loaded with a ground unit, because it was inconvenient to have to build both separately and then manually load the troops.

The subsequent addition of specialty troop types led to the issue in question: that pre-loaded troops now have to be manually unloaded and re-loaded with the desired troop type. And, ironically, this is really the only use for the military transports.

The larger problem with the troop transport system, in my opinion, is two-fold: first, there's no real advantage to the military transports, and so players almost exclusively build the civilian transports pre-loaded with troops. Second: because it's a hassle to send empty transports back and manually build and load new troops for them, most players just send the empty transports to the pool and build brand new pre-loaded transports. This sort of works in game terms, but it seems kind of perverse in terms of in-universe logic. What I would ideally like to do at some point is to somehow integrate a troop reinforcement system into the transport pool, so that ground units could be built and added to a reinforcement pool, which would be automatically transported to assault ships at the front. Ideally, this mechanic would also integrate Assault Shuttles and restore the distinction between military and civilian transports. I'm not sure exactly how this would work, and there are higher priorities, so right now this is just a concept. But in the meantime, I'm wary of changes to the system which could complicate this.

So my question is: how serious a problem is the need to manually load specialty troop types? How many of these troop transports are you loading with Assault Marines or Marauders in a typical game?

bjg
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby bjg » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:05 pm

I haven't played for Humans after the Assault Marines introduction, but playing for other factions I've captured a lot of Human ships carrying (some sort of) tanks, and not a single one carrying Assault Marines. The current mechanism (or rather an absent of it) is impractical even for AI. ;)
BTW, I haven't seen a "normal" Gremak carrying Marauders neither.

zolobolo
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby zolobolo » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:22 pm

Didn't know the system had such a rough history, only got to know it at its current stance

As is, it functions very well and is one of the highlights of the game (besides tactial combat and art): the flexibility of both miltiary/civilian ships to transport whatever is needed (pops, tanks or special ground units AND double as trade ships in the pool all works out brilliantly

Arioch wrote:So my question is: how serious a problem is the need to manually load specialty troop types? How many of these troop transports are you loading with Assault Marines or Marauders in a typical game?

There are 3 issues with this:
- AIs do not use these ground units and making them standard on some loadouts would make it more simple to have them utilize such troops
- Micro MGMT (loading and production queue clicks)
- Efficiency (each shuttle comes with obligatory tank that cannot be utilized right away)

Frequency is: occasional when playing Humans (4-5 Assault Cruiser/game) and common when playing as Gremak.

Micro-wise most affected are Gremak: in their cases more then half of my ground troops are marauders due to the nature of slave opression needed for newly conquered planets: these need to be pre-loaded the first time around, the transport I later send out from the pool to get them again (instead of building new ones). Raiding I do not usually use due to other reason I have already metioned elswhere. There is no real loss of overall efficiency though so I dont consdier this to be an important fix for Gremak (there is more micro and more clicking in the queue but that it is)

More problematic in case of Humans is the loss of production time (building the tank with the shutle) as the Marines then need to be built additionally untill the Cruiser is ready to go else a normal boarding module is more efficient. Include the + research requirement and I rarely use the Human Assault Cruiser and go with Boarding module itself. I consider this ship and outfit as a luxus project when the game is practically won and build efficiency is not that important anymore which is strange how thematic and an integral part of this tactic and ship type should be for Human faction

Micro-wise I think this is not a very powerfull action when compared to the issue of tanks, marauders and marines first being loaded into the civilian transports when embarking instead of military ships. I would prioratize the later higher to reduce micro MGMT

But when it comes to AI and Human efficiency (also AI efficiency when controlling Humans), this would be a powerfull change

Arioch wrote:there's no real advantage to the military transports

The advantage is boarding: this is clearly one of the strongest combat tactics and one the AI knows to use: humans best go with the cheaper and earlier available boarding module

Arioch wrote:Then Humans wouldn't get Hovertanks or Battle Mechs either.

That is the idea yes :): it would gear Human faction more towards space warfare and keep a permanent handicap in ground invasions
They wouldn1t be hopelessly outmatched though with militia upgrade tech and if they get additional value out of it or +1 militia tech then they could mirror 50% or normal combat strenght throughout the game

Ideally I would create a new militia unit for them available per default (Strenght 1.5), and have assault marines be the current tech that upgrades this base unit to Combat value 3

Arioch wrote:You're probably not going to have dozens and dozens of ships loaded with Assault Marines. It may be inconvenient to manually load them, but it doesn't seem like that much of an inconvenience.

The issue is that I dont feel I should be using them due to inefficiency (not really micro though that might add to this in the deeper layers of my psyche :)) and the AI does not use them at all while they would be so awesome to have in the game

Dragar
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby Dragar » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:15 pm

I really don't think the humans deserve another handicap!

For what it's worth, the human assault transport when loaded with marines (and ideally cloaking) is one of their few advantages compared to other races. Their ships are inferior to anything you can capture, so I usually build assault transport and capture/refit everything else. That makes for a lot of clicks in the current setup.

gaerzi
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby gaerzi » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:24 pm

Idea: the troops you can put in an assault shuttle squadron or brigade transport pod could be modifiers? Ar for armor, SM for Space Marines, Ma for marauders, for example.

This would give a simple, unobtrusive way to choose what to build along with the ship, and would also allow to build the ship "empty".

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Arioch
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby Arioch » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:33 pm

Sven and I discussed it, and I think the simplest solution is to show the Tank and Assault Marine as different component options, but to still have the implicit Assault Shuttles underneath so that the underlying systems don't have to change.

I did consider the possibility of implementing it as a mod, but I think that would be more of a kludge, as well as less intuitive visually.

zolobolo
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby zolobolo » Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:33 am

Arioch wrote:simplest solution is to show the Tank and Assault Marine as different component options, but to still have the implicit Assault Shuttles underneath so that the underlying systems don't have to change

Sounds great: so its a duplication of the Assault Shuttel component one with Tank and the other with Marines or Marauders and the later can be made as default for some designs?

If so, it can also be inherited by the assimilating faction I suppose

Come to think of it, the default design shold remain the one with tanks (or be empty) as the Assault Marines are tech unlocked and might not yet be available. This complicates the AI script again though as they need to adjust the design when the tech is unlocked (and not even sure they reseach Assault Marines in the first place). The workaround of the tech being available per default and replace tanks for Human faction might resolve all of these but of course would not be such a robust solution for all races (when humans are assimilated)

The AI already handles Marauders so guess shouldnt be an issue for the AI to handle once the units are already available to them (Assault Marines can practically be handled like Marauders including their Raiding mechanic)

Can the same concept be applied for transports for Gremak? Since the Marauder factions already run around with trannsports with Marauders units on board I was figuring that there is already a module like this being used in their deisgns that could be made available to the Gremak faction as well unless it is a galaxy map level script overriding the tanks to be Marauders for them

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PrivateHudson
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby PrivateHudson » Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:41 am

Arioch wrote:In the early versions of the game, ...

This is what happens when you try to outsmart MoO 2 :roll: . Remember when you get to espionage.

zolobolo
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Re: Troop Transport/Assault Shuttles - way to set default loadout?

Postby zolobolo » Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:46 am

Dragar wrote:I really don't think the humans deserve another handicap!

For what it's worth, the human assault transport when loaded with marines (and ideally cloaking) is one of their few advantages compared to other races. Their ships are inferior to anything you can capture, so I usually build assault transport and capture/refit everything else. That makes for a lot of clicks in the current setup.

Humans have a huge handicap in the beginning - so much so that I propose to strengthem them for the sake of the AI

Overall they did recieve a large faction benefit (pls icon for this in factio nselection :)) which makes their ships only cost 50% upkeep compared to other factions. This is a huge bonus at times of fleet size limited by upkeep.

But I agree they also have the worst type of ships in the game when it comes to loadout. They are an extreeme faction to say the least but that is what makes them more unique :)

Overall, I would
+ Give them starting tech/ship from the beginning to support Normal AI
- Remove tanks and replace with Assault Marines (default tech already available) as a workaround for assault Cruiser and a handicap for invasions - but if there is a more robust solution in place like suggested above this is of course suboptimal solution
+ Give their pop increased pop reproduction rate (base value withouth city planning) to make the pop stand out in a way (cockroaches of the galaxy)
+ Give them the option to finance pirate raids (the mechanic disabled currently) - when a pirate raid occurs that would probably be a Human faction eing "adventurous"

If you combine these all + an eventual bombing degradation effect you would get a race that does not excell at anything but reporduces at a record rate
Destroys everything with inferior but more numerous ship designs
And reduces the habitability of all planets around them as they cannot conquer them easily
Presto: now everyone has a good and valid reason to dislike (Human Pirates attacked us penalty) them and its all in character :)


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