Testing Economic Balance Changes

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nathanebht
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby nathanebht » Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:50 am

sven wrote:
nathanebht wrote:Had good relations and treaties with all but one of my neighbors. The Ashdar Colonials didn't have good relations with me for no reason I could determine.


This is probably working as intended -- Ashdar should have a strong anti-Gremak basis. In game, that basis will be reflected both in some negative "ancient enemy" issues, but, also in increased influence costs for any treaties. If you felt like they gave you the cold shoulder, then attacked for no reason, that's... more or less exactly how the Gremak/Ashdar relationship is supposed to play out ;)


Forgot about that. Thanks for the explanation.

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Zoolimar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:19 pm

Greetings.

On the topic of ship upkeep cost and number of ships it seems that the problem lies in the fact that upkeep cost is a flat number while income grows in multiple ways.

Income = Territory X Research

More or less something like this. If we remove research from equation and leave only territory than ship numbers in fleets would be a little more stable due to the fact that as empire grows you need more ships to defend it, especially if position is not very good. This way you more or less get X ships per Y amount of Territory. Fleets still get bigger but they should grow at a much more manageable rate.

But Research multiplies the basic income from territories and allows to have more ships on a payroll. Thus the fleet size gets out of hand. Making the initial cost larger makes starting fleets smaller while having not as large of an effect on mid-end game fleets. Especially if you were playing conservatively and preserved your ships which allowed you to sacrifice some production capability for more markets.

The only real solution seems to be to base ship upkeep cost on tech used in their design making them cost more as research progresses. It also should deal handily with a Human initial upkeep problem as starting upkeep can be made more or less the same as it is now.

The downside is that there may be a need to buff ship parts so that they are a little more effective than their upkeep would imply. So if a weapon costs 2 times more in upkeep than it should be 2.05-2.10 times as effective as its predecessor. Though it may be not needed as concentrating more defences/firepower in a single ship should already make it a little better than 2 ships with previous tech due to the fact that it can destroy one of them much faster and half their firepower.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby sven » Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:48 pm

Zoolimar wrote:But Research multiplies the basic income from territories and allows to have more ships on a payroll. Thus the fleet size gets out of hand.


So in my mind, there are really 2 different senses in which fleet sizes can "get out of hand". First, we can have fleets growing so large that tactical battles become effectively unplayable, or even so burdensome that the game crashes. That kind of "out of hand" fleet growth was a thing that was happening before these economic balance changes went in, but, my sense is that numbers in the current build deal with the issue pretty effectively. The bottom line here seems to be that if you add some kind of significant upkeeps to the game, almost regardless of the details of what those upkeeps are and how they scale, fleet sizes will tend to stay within a relatively "manageable" range.

There's a second balance variable that I think is also worth paying attention to here though, and that's not so much fleet sizes directly, but, rather the number of turns it takes a faction to go from spending nothing on ship upkeep to spending all it's surplus income on ship upkeep. This "turns to militarize" number has important implications for strategic balance, as it's what determines long it will take an empire to recover from a crushing defeat, or to pivot from a teching / colony development strategy to being fully committed to fighting a war.

I think one of the real problems with the pre-patch build was that this "turns to militarize" number was so big that it was effectively undefined. That meant that simply producing as many ships as possible, and expending them as conservatively as possible, was generally a pretty good strategy. One of the interesting side-effects of increasing upkeep costs has been that I've been able to let the AI take more risks in terms of what battles it chooses to fight -- because it is now much more likely that an AI will be able to recover a meaningful fleet given a period of peace.

As things stand in the current build, I think "turns to fully militarize" is perhaps about right during the early game, but, potentially, too high in the late game. I'm not sure about the mid game -- maybe it's ok there too?

As a rule of thumb, if you, as a player, feel like you have more money than you know what to do with, and you've been investing heavily in your military for some time, then I think that's a signal that the "turns to militarize" number is probably still too high.

Some players have been reporting that this is their experience as they get deeper into the game -- that past a certain point, upkeeps effectively "stop mattering", but I wonder if what we're seeing here is that players are learning to balance their rate of economic expansion against their rate of military expansion; and if that's what's going on, then maybe it's not really an issue that needs addressing.

Zoolimar wrote:The only real solution seems to be to base ship upkeep cost on tech used in their design making them cost more as research progresses.


This is actually a mechanic that's been part of the patch since I first rolled it out. The increases you'll see from using high tech parts are relatively modest though.

That's true, in part, because one of the strange behaviors we've seen in the past is for players to build large fleets of small ships equipped with nothing but missiles. I.e., to strip everything off a design so that the firepower / cost number is as high as possible, while the turns to build number is as low as possible. I think that strategy is a symptom of the fact that the the game balance is off -- when building a huge navy is expensive, but maintaining one is free, various kinds of perverse incentives creep into the gameplay.

If I tie the majority of a ship's upkeep costs to the parts and technology that are slotted into it, rather than just to the hull itself, then I think we'll see people once again incentivised to try out strange designs that cut out things like armor and shields in favor of getting a very high firepower / upkeep number.

Some of that kind of min/maxing is perhaps ok -- there are some interesting precedents in history for the use of ultra-stripped down military ships. But, I'm wary of pushing the balance into a place where building a ship that makes use of all it's weapon and system slots may start to feel "suboptimal". If we consider a case like the escort carriers of WWII, my limited understanding is that they were as stripped down as they were because it was imperative that they be built absolutely as quickly as possible -- if the allies had had even a little more time to prepare, they almost certainly would have gone with a more full featured design.

Beyond that, while I do care about game balance, one of my goals is to try to build a simulated sci-fi universe that "feels real". If we end up in a place where part upkeep numbers are so high that a stripped down battleship could be cheaper to maintain than a supped-up destroyer, I'd feel like those bounds of credulity were starting to fray.

Zoolimar wrote:Greetings.


Welcome to the forums :)

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby sven » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:29 pm

sven wrote:
Zoolimar wrote:The only real solution seems to be to base ship upkeep cost on tech used in their design making them cost more as research progresses.


This is actually a mechanic that's been part of the patch since I first rolled it out. The increases you'll see from using high tech parts are relatively modest though.


If we do decide that there's a phase of the game where "turns to militarize" is still too high, the first balance lever I'd be inclined to push on would be reducing the bonuses granted by the various social techs that increase income. When this rebalancing patch was first going in, I went into the technology code with a sledgehammer and dramatically knocked down a lot of those numbers. But I suspect that more fine tuning, or even another few sledgehammer hits, may still be warranted here. For example, the coins-per-market production curve is still sitting at 5/10/15 -- so you've tripled your income per market by the time you hit "Galactic Stock Exchange". What I think we're seeing right now is that combining the "Trade" activity with markets and high pop growth already provides a great way for players to boost their income, doubling the coin-per-market income when they hit "Interstellar Currency" is probably unreasonably strong. A market yield curve as low as 4/6/8 might actually be worth trying. Given how important coin income now is to the rest of the game, I think even something like a +2 coin per market boost could still be powerful enough to justify a late game tech.

(The +10 coin x markets bonus granted by Opil may well need a major nerf too -- Phidi are able to do some crazy things with early game mercenary rushes under the current balance.)

Another option might be to nerf cloning -- income scales with population, and if we feel like incomes are getting out of control, that may be a sign that population growth is also a bit out of control.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:51 am

As things stand in the current build, I think "turns to fully militarize" is perhaps about right during the early game, but, potentially, too high in the late game. I'm not sure about the mid game -- maybe it's ok there too?

As a rule of thumb, if you, as a player, feel like you have more money than you know what to do with, and you've been investing heavily in your military for some time, then I think that's a signal that the "turns to militarize" number is probably still too high.

This is actually a mechanic that's been part of the patch since I first rolled it out. The increases you'll see from using high tech parts are relatively modest though.

For example, the coins-per-market production curve is still sitting at 5/10/15 -- so you've tripled your income per market by the time you hit "Galactic Stock Exchange".

Combining all this the income grows 3+ times over from start to finish of the tech tree while ships seem to be growing 1.5 times in price from starting tech to the endgame tech. So the fleet per territory grows at least 2XTerritory times over the course of the game. Bigger ships kind of do lower the actual number of pieces but you still can have 2-3 dreadnoughts per market planet depending on its size (with dreadnoughts being 40 upkeep currently or close to that).

If there is a worry about that pricing modules directly will lead to builds heavily favouring offence what about power 2 for Tech Tier weighting? So that higher tech contributes larger part of the ship maintenance than lower tech.

Something like
Base Upkeep*sqrt((Part1^2+Part2^2+...)/Total Number of Parts)

This way if you have some unfilled slots or lower tier parts they would discount the ship but it would be minor compared to best parts used. Even leaving slots completely open would not lead to a large discount as long as you use the best weapons. The starting ships still could cost more or less the same while the latest ships would cost ~3 times more.

That's true, in part, because one of the strange behaviors we've seen in the past is for players to build large fleets of small ships equipped with nothing but missiles. I.e., to strip everything off a design so that the firepower / cost number is as high as possible, while the turns to build number is as low as possible. I think that strategy is a symptom of the fact that the the game balance is off -- when building a huge navy is expensive, but maintaining one is free, various kinds of perverse incentives creep into the gameplay.

That certainly exists even now. Though mostly in the way of the fact that if you use missiles than you want to have all your ships loaded with them. Torpedo Destroyers are already a base game min-maxed variant and they are incredibly dangerous. That stems from the fact how missiles and PD work - as in both of them have limited amount of shots and the side with more of them has much better chances to win. You could probably get similar behaviour if it was possible to get long range weapons other than missiles sooner in the tech tree. And it would persist as long as it is possible to exhaust number of attacks available to PD. Stellaris for example has the same problem - only there balance is in PD favour so missiles are rarely used.

Possible solution is to change PD from using direct attacks against missiles to providing a chance to hit all incoming missiles no matter how many. The more PD guns that didn't spend the shots on hitting ships and overlap the missile salvo the better the chance to hit them but it would never reach 100% if chances are separate for each gun. This way it would be still possible to get higher density of PD in a certain area but it won't be able to provide complete certainty.

You could also use a formula similar to Shield Regenerators with diminishing returns and check only once for all the PD covering the target of missile attack against each missile if it is destroyed or not. Should also make torpedoes more attractive.

Though in this case PD coverage should be probably toned way down.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:22 am

Its worth clarifying then what the direction of the changes are as these can warry wildly with player type, gakaxy config and DEV intent

Mayor aspects I take from this threasd so far inclduing my opinion:
1. Should there be a limitation on fleet size?
2. If there is a fleet size limit, how large should it be (small amount of ships, large amount of ships)?
3. If there is a fleet size limit, how long (turns) should it take to reach this "turns to militarize"?
4. What is the ideal reatio of small to large ships?
5. Should the game encourage usage of the latest tech or allow old tech to be viable even if resoruces are available?
6. Should refit be possible for all ships to keep them updated or force choice which ones to keep competitive?
7. Should upkeep cost be static or dynamic taking all of the above in consideration

Now I can only provide feedback on Normal difficult, Ellipse, Huge maps with 98 stars (I also add 10% on top of default - AI is more competitive on these), all factions distinct and all other settings default and my take is:
1. No limit (you sohuld continuall build and loose ships via raids, pirates, Harpies even when not warring)
2. No limit
3. No limit (surplus coin should be used for refit)
4. 60% small, 30% medium, 10% large (capital/named ships). Current game where 2 AIs are loosing war agains player:
S: 38/20=52%
M: 38/16=42% (because playing Colonials and Light Cruisers I like :) so medium is over-represented now
L: 2/38=5%
5. No: old tech should be outdated BUT this ties into decision of next point:
6. No: player should need to decide which ships to keep modernised and the rest are getting outdated over time, or rotate and keep all of them somewhat outdated (sweet spot). Should not be possible to keep all of them updated all the time
7. Static upkeep: so that updated ships do not take away coin from refit and producing new ships + it is more simpler for the player to calculate the costs this way not having to look up each updated design and compare the laways changing numbers ( this sohuld not meddle with the main gameplay loop: we know what they cost and that is it)

Note that there were also 20 transports carrying tanks (only 3 left now due to invasions) and I found the amount of scombat ships to be somewhat small for such amount of transports + size of empire (21 planets and 120 billion inhabitants) for amount of combat ships: 38. Ideally I would like to realistically field 50+ ships at this size and ratio but this is on me as I was somewhat prioratizing Light Carriers over Light Cruisers

I do not recommend tightening the budget any furhter to currnet build do to the above and:
- AI already has issues keepin up their ships (due to avoidance of market building) and they are worse off due to their higher preference for large ships
- Trade routes are nerfed already by a lot - an outpost brings in more trade routes then markets do in the beginning leading to some odd outpost spamming from my side to rank up income :)
- The player already balances out income ot production: I think most of us always had: I always build at leat one market per planet due to moral bonus needed to distribute various pops (minors and pops of factions I am at war with) + love to trank up trading as it feels you are really investing and building up economy via the trade fleet

I think Phidi should keep the Opil bonus: they finally have a real advantage from this resource compared to others and when coin was abundant for everyone. They only have this reasource on one planet and shoudl rely on mercs due to their weak starting ships and mercs cost a ton of money ot buy and upkeep

Note: back when AI was pumping out capital ships only I have already crunched the numbers and found that small ships are already more cost efficient. This did not change but is made worse with upkeep cost increase. I do not think large ships were useless but I only use them in circumstances where they fulfill specialised roles such as:
- Siege (heavy mount)
- Planet destruction
- Harpy destruction (carriers)
- Boarding action (light and medium cruisers to accomodate cloacking, shield and/or marine quarters)
and otherwise only build them to be thematic and they look nice :)

With considerably higher upkeep large ships are even less worth using in battle and only in the above scnearios due to time.
Lets talk numbers:

Escort Cruiser:
386 prod
295 metal
90 hull
80 armor
160 shield
10 upkeep
16 Fusion Anti-Missiles
4 turns build time

Light Cruiser:
258 prod
184 metal
40 hull
40 armor
80 shield
5 upkeep
12 Fusion Anti-Missiles
3 turns build time
Offensive Combat efficiency is 75% of EC
Production efficiency is 125% of EC (as the two have been balanced out)
Defensive Combat efficiency is 50% of EC
Upkeep is 200% efficiency of EC
Time to maket is 125% efficiency of EC

What would you build if you are in war (which is usually the case in the above galaxy config from turn 100-250 when the game is usually over)?

Here is my calculation in 10 turns (lower mid-term strategy) you can have either:
2 Escort Cruisers with 32 Fusion AM and spending 20 coins/turn
3 Light Cruiser with 36 Fusion AM and spending 15 coins/turn

Escort Cruiser does have double the strenght but you can clearly see that any increase in upkeep just compound the "situation" I was mentioning from the start: it is not worth producing big ships as I can field more ships more quickly AND with more offensive power when producing small ships! Not once I have beaten AIs mass-producing battleships, dred and carriers swarms by outproducing them with Light cruisers or destroyers.

Now this is not necesseraly a bad thing: I proposed higher ship upkeep costs to "teach" the AI to buld smaller ships (with the power of math :)) but caution is to be used here for sure not to also teach players to spam small ships only and rush the AI as that will likely not lead to good stories.

My suggestion is to keep the upkeep if you like it this way and make it static (to simplify and not make outdated ship production a viable thing), but do not try to limit fleet size with coin (or at all): let the spice, I mean coin flow and try to balance the surplus income to refit costs instead. If someone wants to refit their existing ships to max all the time, then fine: let the coin run dry and thereby the player not being able to produce new ships that makes sense. With any fleet size limitation via coin (metal is fine), I see the danger of making large ships completely unviable or only having large ships viable depending on the direction but it will always mess with the ratio: making low-tear ships more efficient to produce and maintain under limited fleet circumstances is a concept that leads to naked corvettes sitation from Stellaris if you do not hit the cost/firepower mark perfectly but why risk it at all?

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:59 am

Please find the relative efficiency comparison below in graph format as this is more readable (or maybe I just like creating graphs ;)

Notice that all relevant aspects are consolidated, normalised and displayed within the same timeframe and progression so that they are comparable with one another (we do not take into consdieration that one attribute is more important then another)

This reasults in directly comparable graphs that tell you which of the two options is more valuable relative to the other

Also note that unit count built over time is also consdiered here as amount of ships ha an intrinsicvalue to it due to flexibility: you can split up and size fleets consisting of more ships better

What does the graph show?:
We cna see that both options provide around the same offensive power overall long-term (it fluxuates so in some cases the cheaper option actuall provides more) but at the same time light cruisers:
+ Cost less metal (minor advantage)
+ Provide more units (considerable advantage)
+ Cost less upkeep (Large advantage)

You can see that Defense Power is the only attribute, Escort Cruisers have going for them an though this is a large (the largest) relative advantage, the other disadvantages combined outweight it.

If you add to this a limitation on fleet sive via coin income, you will end up with Light Cruiser being the absolute winner as it can provide much more ships, for less metal and offset its disadvantage if Defense Power via numbers

Hence: be carefull pushing upkeep against coin income, as it nullifies the relative advantage large ships have when it comes to defense power. If the relative value of upkeep is kept low, larger ships are still somehwat viable: they are a tradeoff of resources (metal, coin and time) to better survivability.
But if you limit fleet size via coin, you place upkeep as the most important attribute and it that makes large ships simply a bad investment in any number except if they fulfill specialised tasks that they are the only ones capable of doing (due to hardpoint type such as hangar, heavy or siege). This is fine for some, but not all mid and large hulls have such specials and those that dont have any, are simply not worth producing under any circumstance

There is of course the option of redesigning all hulls so that all medium to large hulls contain at leat one special modules but the effort here is simply not worth it
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:08 am

Hmm, In a fight of 2 vs 3 I would actually bet on escort cruisers. By the time one of them loses their shields one of the light cruisers would be dead. By the time one of the escort cruisers dies 2 of the 3 light cruisers would be dead and the last escort cruiser won't stand a chance. Of course who goes first could lead to some difference but overall escort cruisers look like much more solid choice capable of taking on more different type of opponents. Don't they also have more crew so they are harder to capture?

Light cruisers seem to be better as PD or Missile platforms, if they can fill all the slots with missiles. But in a missile fight it would depend on turn order who gets to obliterate the other side. Escort cruisers still would have enough missiles to blow the light cruisers off the field.

Escort cruisers with their thick shields are also much better for kiting.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:38 am

Zoolimar wrote:Hmm, In a fight of 2 vs 3 I would actually bet on escort cruisers. By the time one of them loses their shields one of the light cruisers would be dead. By the time one of the escort cruisers dies 2 of the 3 light cruisers would be dead and the last escort cruiser won't stand a chance. Of course who goes first could lead to some difference but overall escort cruisers look like much more solid choice capable of taking on more different type of opponents. Don't they also have more crew so they are harder to capture?

Light cruisers seem to be better as PD or Missile platforms, if they can fill all the slots with missiles. But in a missile fight it would depend on turn order who gets to obliterate the other side. Escort cruisers still would have enough missiles to blow the light cruisers off the field.

Escort cruisers with their thick shields are also much better for kiting.

Excellent point :)

And I agree with your answer, let me elaborate:
LC DMG output: 12x4x3=144
EC DMG output: 16x4x2=112
From the above we can see that ES can both penetrate shield and armor or LC but not cripple it, while LC can reduce shield to an amount where it can also delvier cirtical damage next turn

Both are relatively equal damage reduction to a single units armor capacity and thus Light Cruisers might have a disadvante depending on turn order and them loosing a ship first because of that. If they don't they have won right off the bat. Turn order is always an important factor.

But:
1. They have advantage in focusing fire due to their superior speed, size and turn rate (EC will have reduced aiming efficiency all the way)
2. Light cruisers can more easily cite around, and utilize all of their shield semgents: EC cannot turn away from them as they will manouver in front of it again but same cannot be done by EC
3. This is only considering engagement of 2:3. Imagine this in 9:6

Result: If the player knows some basics, Light Cruisers will win all engagements (mostly likely withouth any or minimal losses) above 1:1

Yes: special modules might turn the table around, but here it gets really complicated as we need to account for boarding modules, torpedo destroyers and tinkers. We agree though that Ligth Cruisers can counter both missile and smal l craft spam the best and boarding is not used by the AI unless Shuttles are available and since those are countered by PD as well - Light Cruisers win again and crew do not play a role as shuttles do not get to them :)

Escort Cruisers are not particularly versitile as both have two system slots and both Light Cruiser and Escort crusiers only sport medium mounts.
This is what I mean under specialisation: if we want to limit fleet size and still make medium to large hulls viable under the current balance of relative advantanges of their atributes, they all need to have a role that small hulls simply cannot fulfill and that means, specialised weapon mounts and system module. Instead of spamming shield modules (which provide the only real efficiency advantage to large hulls) they would need something else.

The only way to really counter light cruiser spam is to have ships that can penetray both their shields and armor enough to destroy them in one turn. This is possible and fair, but that is why I also have medium and large ships as well: they take care of these heavy hitters ;) Here the math gets more complicated but after several games against battleship spams I can say that I never needed more then 25% heavy ships in my fleet compositions to win - and this is withouth upkeep pressure. If that is a thing I can probably loose all medium and the rest of the large ships except for 1-2 if any

E.g: Escort Cruiser would need a Heavy mount to be able to perform long range support/sieging role or an additional system role to host camoflage, hold extra munition, lab or Arda Pulse generator. Shiled would then also need to be nerfed so it does not outweight all the above again and we just end up with ridiculous flying shields that take forever to destroy each other - like a side, this would be a huge rebalance and affecting art as well
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:13 am

I think you made a mistake in your damage calculation. Unless you made it previously when determining how many weapons the ships carry in total.
Should be 32 on EC side with 128 DMG total vs 144 DMG total on LC side.

Also which species cruisers are we talking about exactly? Because for Yoral for example Escort Cruisers cost only half the upkeep of Light Cruisers and are closer to destroyers by cost and power being more or less dedicated PD platforms. They also compete with Advanced Destroyers for that slot.

Light Cruisers on the other hand have 2 Heavy slots cost double in upkeep and 1.5 times to produce.

One of the things to check out between EC and LC should be how many turret mounts they have. For example Yoral EC has 2 medium turret mounts and 1 fixed while Advanced Destroyer has 2 medium fixed mounts, torpedo slot and a light turret mount.

It may very well be that EC has much more turret mounts than LC and thus could get away with mounting not Anti-Missiles but even other weapons while retaining capability to hit everyone around.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:01 pm

Zoolimar wrote:I think you made a mistake in your damage calculation. Unless you made it previously when determining how many weapons the ships carry in total.
Should be 32 on EC side with 128 DMG total vs 144 DMG total on LC side.

Yes you are right: I took the wrong weapon mount type so the difference is much less: hope its correct now.
We can also take the exponential recharge rate of shields into account, but the deminishing returns and the rest still stands.

EC has 4 turret mounts and can thus shoot in any direction but lack the speed and turn rate to face LC from the same direction when it is kiting
LC has only one turret mount but thanks to its speed and turnrate this does not matter: I can usually hit a target from any direction and make it face with any shield segment in the same turn

I am talking bouth Colonials designs as the stats for fleet composition is from my current game are from these guys.
That is why I have such an "unusually" high number of medium hulls now
They do have the best light craft available but this already covers 2 factions and the sotry is similar for the others as:

Yes, there are further variations taking factions into account that is why the logic is not so apperant yet.
Yoral have the heavy mounts which should make them viable: that is why I said if they have special role they are still viable and heavy mount is one of them

e.g.: in case of Tinkers it all boils down to PD and Rocket launch capacity/resouces and time as they can continually fire withouth extra munition. Here again the competition is very lobsided for larger hulls
Or the Yoral torp destroyer that is already a glass canon and only not nerfed because it is so fun to use: but if we need to chose designs based on upkeep the torp destroyer will just wipe out all competition except for PD escort: yes, you can even neglect the heavy destroyer ;) Tohugh lets also mention that in case of Yoral it is by deisgn for them to have destroyer swarms and in their case we have the basic situation between these and cruisers

Think of it like this: if you need to choose between 10 EC or 20 LC (Ashdars) cause you cannot afford the upkeep of more which one would you choose to protect 10 planets? Would you even build a single EC under such a circumstance? You'll get:
+ Offensive power at the same rate (sometimes even faster)
+ More offense power overall (as you will be building double the emount of ships with roughly the same offensive power)
+ Spend less Metal
+ Spend less Coin (upkeep scales more slowly as seen above)
+ Get more ships faster which help in defending several planets and harassing the enemy

Currently, medium and large ships under such circumstance are still viable as theit increased survivability can be utilized withouth sacrifising fleet size. If you can endlessly produce light and medium ships then later will be able to show cirtical mass where needed and be represented where needed. If you need to fill in a limited number of slots with the most efficient ships...

Ideally I would like both types to be perfectly viable and used togehter, and they sort of are (you can already game the system in favor of LC but it is not very fun) but only if they do not compete for upkeep

Dont forget: from the 5 attributes, only two are resource limitation: Metal and Upkeep, and so far we only really had Metal (which encompasses time and production output as we usually spend al metal we have as fast as we can when playing optimally) so building both types was viable as resource efficiency is not that big of an issue when only considering metal: relative advantages tip the scale towards EC on the long run but LC is still usefull for flexibiltiy and Metal efficiency/offensive power reasons.

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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:34 pm

I'd actually would probably look at what type of enemy I'm going to be fighting. Escort cruisers with their turret mounts should be better suited to dealing with Destroyers that have the speed and manoeuvrability to catch up and surround the Light Cruisers. They would also be able to destroy one per round and would be less likely to suffer losses. Against cruisers without long range heavy weapons LC would be better and against cruisers with long range weapons you'll probably want missiles.

But I agree that EC is probably somewhat overpriced at least in upkeep.

1. Should there be a limitation on fleet size?
2. If there is a fleet size limit, how large should it be (small amount of ships, large amount of ships)?
3. If there is a fleet size limit, how long (turns) should it take to reach this "turns to militarize"?
4. What is the ideal reatio of small to large ships?
5. Should the game encourage usage of the latest tech or allow old tech to be viable even if resoruces are available?
6. Should refit be possible for all ships to keep them updated or force choice which ones to keep competitive?
7. Should upkeep cost be static or dynamic taking all of the above in consideration


1. I'd say there should be a soft limitation that assumes you have balanced economy with lab, factory, mine, market and maybe even farm in more or less equal numbers. So from there a player should be able to support X ships per such arrangement. Say 3-5 combat ships plus some transports.
2. The average combat fleet should be no more than 10 ships. Turn based combat seems to be comfortable with 5-10 pieces on each side of the field. So total fleet size should be balanced such that you rarely have the need or ability to amass larger number of ships in a single system.
3. 10-15 turns on average to use all the upkeep from a market planet while using full factory planet to build. (It's actually pretty damn close right now, at least until you get all the Market tech)
4. 1-2-4, as in for each full sized dreadnought/carrier there should be two cruisers and 4 destroyers/frigates. Modified by species of course. Though for Yoral groups like Heavy Cruiser, Torp Destroyer, Heavy Destroyer and 2 Advanced Destroyers or 2 Escort Cruisers already work pretty good.
5. Latest tech should always be better as long as it is used in its intended niche but only if supporting tech is also developed. As in latest weapons are not the best choice if you don't have the corresponding reactors.
6. As there should be no hard fleet capacity maximum players/AI should be able to decide, or in case of AI have scripted directions, for what they prefer to have - larger number of ships or all ships being upgraded. Though in case it doesn't work very good I would prefer upgrades as it keeps ship count more stable.
7. I'd say upkeep should be decided at ship design and do not change after that, unless you create a new design. But the prices between designs of different tech level absolutely should differ.

So for each ~10 planets modified by their sizes and features you should be able to field a group of 7 ships with dreadnought, 2 cruisers and 4 destroyers or something similar. And that number should stay more or less stable throughout the game as long as Market tech keeps up with weapons and other systems.

zolobolo
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:53 pm

Here is a nice case which is probably driven by the new fleet logic

This is just a perfect fleet composition for me really like how thi came together: has everything needed PD, rockets, small, medium and large ships in perfect balance. This is also something I would call realistic if one is looking after that

Coin-wise the Yoral seem to have reached their limit - these are basically all the ships they could muster with 8 planets.

Some reserve would be nice in case they loose and since I have attack fleets all around their borders but they probably pulled everything together for this fight

They have 3 planets of mine in range and 1 outpost. Probably chose this planet as it has the highest pop/production from all bar far

So overall: great fleet, good target selection, but would expect them to be able to support more shipsat turn 128 and have defending ships/fleets as well as whatever the outcome of this battle will be, they will loose a couple of planets for sure (at least one that is equally valuable to them)

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?
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Fleet Composition.gif
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Last edited by zolobolo on Sun Jun 30, 2019 2:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sun Jun 30, 2019 2:10 pm

Zoolimar wrote:2. The average combat fleet should be no more than 10 ships. Turn based combat seems to be comfortable with 5-10 pieces on each side of the field. So total fleet size should be balanced such that you rarely have the need or ability to amass larger number of ships in a single system.
4. 1-2-4, as in for each full sized dreadnought/carrier there should be two cruisers and 4 destroyers/frigates. Modified by species of course. Though for Yoral groups like Heavy Cruiser, Torp Destroyer, Heavy Destroyer and 2 Advanced Destroyers or 2 Escort Cruisers already work pretty good.
5. Latest tech should always be better as long as it is used in its intended niche but only if supporting tech is also developed. As in latest weapons are not the best choice if you don't have the corresponding reactors.
6. As there should be no hard fleet capacity maximum players/AI should be able to decide, or in case of AI have scripted directions, for what they prefer to have - larger number of ships or all ships being upgraded. Though in case it doesn't work very good I would prefer upgrades as it keeps ship count more stable.
7. I'd say upkeep should be decided at ship design and do not change after that, unless you create a new design. But the prices between designs of different tech level absolutely should differ.

Agree or mostly agree with these points: Nr4 is almost the same I am using

But I am on the opinion that ship upkeep should not be able to deplete coins under normal build order and for such a fleet composition (of at least one market per planet and trade fleet fully stacked) as it is needed for at leat some instant refit (not acounting for buyout option - I can live withouth that).

It is of course possible to refit ships via production but I only try to use this in special circumstances (like in case of captured ships) as it is quite micro-MGMT intensive to do and queued refits also block the ships in advance which discourages queuing them up in one swoop

Just posted a screen on Yoral AI: note that at this stage it is not able to produce any more ships which I find is a shame. AI either needs to build more markets or upkeep costs need to be reduced in order for the mto be able to build more. They also have riots on the planets so market is the first way to go for sure though

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Zoolimar
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Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Zoolimar » Sun Jun 30, 2019 2:31 pm

But I am on the opinion that ship upkeep should not be able to deplete coins under normal build order and for such a fleet composition (of at least one market per planet and trade fleet fully stacked) as it is needed for at leat some instant refit (not acounting for buyout option - I can live withouth that).

This part is literally impossible to have unless the resources that ships use for upkeep are not coins. No matter how high or low are the upkeep costs you always could use them all. Making AI to reserve some income for refits is probably possible. Though it's hard to say how reasonable it is during war.

About Yoral: It's not a bad fleet but lack of Torpedo Destroyers with the abundance of Advanced would probably be strange for a player. They work the best together with Advanced providing PD, cover and some "false targets" for enemy PD.


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