Modding to increase difficulty

A place for discussion of making game modifications.
zolobolo
Posts: 361
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby zolobolo » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:34 pm

Uncle_Joe wrote:I finally gave up on my Ashdar Colonials game. By the time I had consolidated my area, the Gremak had completely taken more than half the map (Orthin folded) and I was still mopping up the Ashdar Imperials.

As long as you feel you know where you went wrong and could have won the game otherwise then I would consider it a perfect scenario

Uncle_Joe wrote:I made peace with the Imperials and declared on the Gremak (they were dangerously close to winning a vote so I wanted to reduce some of their colonies). We fought back and forth for a while but they Stealth thing just made it impossible. I never got more than 1 turn's warning of when they would hit and they had massed BBs and BCs which required major fleets to defeat. We traded colonies for a while but in the end, I simply couldn't mass up where I needed to due to the stealth.

Is there anything that defeats the stealth and lets you see them coming from farther out? If not, I'd call that a potential game screw (especially if MP capability is ever added).

Hm... I think I saw instances where my scouts have picked up stealth ships...now sure though and lately I have been playing Greamak due to their funky tech so haven't played against them for a while now. Try to place a scanner in each fleet (one should suffice as their effect does not seem to cummulate), and see if you can see some of their stealth ships that way. If you see a ship which is not "stealthed" it might have been detected - see its composition to tell if it has the stealth module to be sure

Uncle_Joe wrote:I tweaked a few things in the mod and fired up a new game (still Ashdar Colonials so I had a basis for comparison). AIs were very aggressive and DoW'ed me repeatedly. I eventually ended up over my head against the Yoral (after having fought multiple wars against the Imperials and the Orthin). But that was the best game yet with lots of early skirmish and combined arms fleets. I had cranked the tech cost to 1.2 so it wasn't quite at Epic, but it made the early game far more interesting.

Anything else you have changed? I am also looking for ways at this point to make the AI more aggressive without having to give him tech bonus and any more resource multiplies

Uncle_Joe wrote:Looking forward to trying again. Will play the Humans next to see if I have any chance with them using the modded settings. ;)

Humans are geared towards boarding (with Assault Marines) and get energy weapon tech bonuses, so make sure to get the latest version.

Are you using the steam client and cannot get to the latest build? EDIT: scrap that, the update just went live on steam! You are golden with Humans :)
It is a must have as it makes Railguns much less powerful and thus energy weapons a valid choice which is critical for Humans.

Also note that you will have a much larger tech fallback in the early game as Humans start without colonies and need to settle and build up first. There are of course way around this (attacking harpies in the beginning, and later handing over captured ships to science teams which you can easily do with Humans), but one thing I particularly enjoy (and is valid for other races as well), is including the science module in some of your ships types. You will have less system modules available making combat harder (so a plus there as well) but it will make your fleet produce a bunch of research as long as you take care of them - also perfect for role playing (Star Trek much?) ;)

Uncle_Joe wrote:Thanks again for your modding efforts!

Your welcome! Be sure to share your experience if you manage to make things more interesting so we can also try it out

Uncle_Joe
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:55 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby Uncle_Joe » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:35 pm

For my 'lost' game as the Colonials, I had increased the global tech to 1.2 and set the AI bonus to 1.4 (with the ship discount at .9). All of the other changes to diplomacy and raiders from your mod suggestions were already there. Both races that attacked me used the 'We need to expand and your territory looks good for expansion' type of rationale for the DoW. Not sure if that is a result of the mod or what but it was the first time I had been attacked that early (and it happened multiple times from different races).

I think the tech at 1.2 gave a better progressive feel to the game and ships and weapons were useful for longer. It also slightly slows the econ down a bit since you need more Labs resulting in less money/metal output. In turn, that meant less larger ships and a bigger focus on smaller ships like DDs and CLs. CA's felt powerful at that stage and there weren't all that many in the field.

I'm going to return the tech cost to 1.0 for the new build and I'm looking forward to seeing what the late game techs feel like. I will likely give the AI it's 1.4 production and keep the diplo/raider changes as well since I didn't see anything in the patch notes on those fronts.

zolobolo
Posts: 361
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby zolobolo » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:08 pm

Uncle_Joe wrote:Is there anything that defeats the stealth and lets you see them coming from farther out? If not, I'd call that a potential game screw (especially if MP capability is ever added).


Hi there: Just ran into a situation where I am fighting Gremak and at my current turn, I can see an enemy fleet heading towards my planet containing a single stealth Cruiser :)

There is a scout ship in orbit around my system so my guess is that that is why I picked up that ship, as it is clearly shown as being in stealthed state
I also didn't pick up all the ships heading there as another fleet towards the same system only displays transports to me, but when they arrvie, it turnes out that they have a Cruisers with them as well.

Thus my conclusion:
- Scout ships have a probability to pick up stealthed ships within an incoming fleet OR:
- Its a bug and stealth ships are picked up if they do not have any transports accompanying them :) - this is rather unlikely

Uncle_Joe
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Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:55 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby Uncle_Joe » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:45 pm

I was able to see them coming, but only 1 turn before arrival which didn't leave enough time to protect the systems needing it.

Haven't run into the Gremak in my last few games but the next time I do, I'll test the scout ship theory.

Wyvern
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:27 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby Wyvern » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:06 pm

From my experience, stealthed ships are visible when they're one turn away from arrival at one of your systems, and if you see a fleet of Gremak troop transports, it's usually safe to assume they're backed by some actual combat ships.

I believe that that there's actually a range for detecting stealthed ships, and that having a warp interdictor would let you see the stealthed ships more than one turn out, but I'm not actually certain of the mechanics here. Whether anything improves the detection range, though, I've no idea; I just know that detection is possible at short range even without a scoutship.

Uncle_Joe
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:55 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby Uncle_Joe » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:01 pm

Yep, that's what I've seen so far...1 turn warning. If there is no 'counter' to it (ie, being able to spot them out a bit farther), I'd call that a pretty game-breaking ability (maybe the AI doesn't grossly exploit it, but they should...).

I wasn't teched up to the Warp Inhibitors and in any case, I don't think I would have had the ability to put it in every system station in range of the enemy. Stealth comes EARLY. ;)

Wyvern
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:27 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby Wyvern » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:28 pm

The two best counters I've found have been to play as the Ashdar Imperials - one turn response time is plenty when you've got cheap star gates everywhere - or react to a war with the Gremak with an immediate overwhelming offense; if they're busy defending their own systems, they're less likely to be attacking you.

zolobolo
Posts: 361
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby zolobolo » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:13 am

Tested around a bit and turns out it is like this:
1. Fleet containing only cloacked ship will only be visible after occupying a planet in the system (before that the fleet was utterly invisible)
2. Scout ship does not affect the visibility of the stealth fleet nor the one with a transport in it
3. The same ship that was visible alone in a fleet as a cloacked vessel is not visible as part of a fleet with transport
4. Description of the "Distortion Generator" states: Ships are detected on the strategic map at a reduced range. This explains some of the behaviour we have seen: detection within 1 Turn travelling distance and apperantly modified by two parameters: A: If player colony is in range. If not, the chance is 0% meaning that the calculation engine only takes colonies into consideration and ships do not count. B: If a transport is escorting the ships, they are always undetected

I think that both points can be fixed, but are not critical problems. While it is true that the strenght and config of the attacking fleets are unknown, in the current environment this does not cause a problem as there are almost always naturaly choking points which the player can defend with the main force.

Also the AI does not seem to have mayor issues agaisnt this tech, as Gremak rarely survive untill the final shodown at around Turn 300. Again those empires are typicially Yoral and Imperial (in one case it was the Phidi)

Uncle_Joe
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:55 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby Uncle_Joe » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:05 pm

If the enemy has a colony or two in range of several of your planets, you're in for a world of hurt. This is what happened in one of my games. My fleet could handle any of their incursions if I could stay massed. But when they send 2 BBs to each of 4-5 systems and you don't get but one turn's warning, there is no way you can cover them all. Given how easily it is to glass planets (and in any case, a blockade causes massive problems in and of itself), even a turn a two unopposed over your worlds is deadly

The only reason it's not a complete balance screw is that the AI doesn't know how to exploit it. And on the flip side, I'm not sure how the AI responds to incoming fleets and stealthed fleets anyways. So I don't think it's a big influence when the player has it.

If the game ever intends to hit multiplayer (and I REALLY hope it does), this will absolutely need to be changed/fixed. And on another note, I think ships that 'retreat' should have to arrive at the retreat destination before they can be given new orders. That's another nightmare that human players will exploit mercilessly (the AI already does it to a certain extent). ;)

zolobolo
Posts: 361
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby zolobolo » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:52 am

Uncle_Joe wrote:If the enemy has a colony or two in range of several of your planets, you're in for a world of hurt. This is what happened in one of my games. My fleet could handle any of their incursions if I could stay massed. But when they send 2 BBs to each of 4-5 systems and you don't get but one turn's warning, there is no way you can cover them all. Given how easily it is to glass planets (and in any case, a blockade causes massive problems in and of itself), even a turn a two unopposed over your worlds is deadly

Yeah that does sound like an issue, thouhg I hope to see it in action :)
So how abouth this: make a suggestion on features and imprvement forum to have sensor tech gradually increase the detection range of clocked ships?
This way, a player can tech-out of this situation sacrificing valuable research time, while cloaking still does not get obsolete as you would only get +1-2 turn varning and their tactical combat advantage stays the same

Uncle_Joe wrote:If the game ever intends to hit multiplayer (and I REALLY hope it does)

I have never played a non-realtiem strategy game in multiplayer and do not wish to try as it seems a tedious ordeal and I have seen what happened to EL and ES2 where they try to make a turn based game multiplayer compatible and that mechanic realy enoys the hell out of me.

That being said multiplayer is trending so there might be some chance of the game getting this feature. You check the DEV roadmap if it is mentioned there

Uncle_Joe
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:55 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby Uncle_Joe » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:06 pm

My groups played quite a lot of Civ3 and Civ4 MP and MOO2/Space Empires IV way back in the day.

It works best in games that allow simultaneous orders and then resolution (SiS is nicely set up that way). It's a bit of a time commitment, but it's generally worth it since it cranks up the competition and tension dramatically.

Coming from the background, I tend to see things that look like a balance screw if used properly. MOO and SE4 had Stealth too, but there were always counters.

And to me, even if 'countered', the stealth ships should return their defensive bonus even if the opponent has enough Sensor Tech (or whatever) to prevent complete strategic surprise.

zolobolo
Posts: 361
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Modding to increase difficulty

Postby zolobolo » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:12 pm

Note: As a quick test case I use
- Small map
- Single enemy AI of the same faction
- Declare war after meeting them in around 20 turns
- Do not attack for at least 10 Turns

This provides a reasonable comparison as in such an even scenario you can see their choices in production and fleet composition very well


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