Testing Economic Balance Changes

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

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:35 am

sven wrote:My own impression is that AI has always had big problematic blind spots, and I think those are hurting the game no matter how I balance it. Mistakes in fleet routing are the category of issues that most has my attention right now -- particularly in mid/late game, when you have large empires and/or big alliance blocks, the AI's tendency to send ships scrambling from one side of the map to the other, missing out on all the critical battles that are taking place while they're in transit, is a real problem. That's true under the old balance as well, though it's perhaps more pronounced now, because games are lasting longer.

Yes, blind spots include unused tech, tactical and strategic positioning the latter being probably the most critical component of the game (planetary improvements, tech progress and ship design being mostly streamlined)

Pre-coin rebalance, the AI did a decent job as long as it wasn't in alliance and its systems have been clustered together and not stretched out to much.
Now, it struggles to build ships and thus its flaws are more apparent (on hard I have seen single Yoral torpedo destroyers trying to take on two star bases + PD)

Most importantly: from what I have seen so far, it does not weight system importance based on ownership
Specifically: an allies system seems to be considered as its own and does not take into account the diplomatic relationships of its allies to assess their system weights

Attached an example where we are looking at Phidi right after I have offered up alliance as Orthin and joined its war against Tinkers
You can see that it has prioritized two of my systems to defend while its own core systems are right next door to a huge chunk of enemy territory. Also note that Orthin are only in war with Tinkers and has virtually no conflict with its other neighbors. The Orthin systems have no PD while Phidi systems have them, so this might be the reason

It has also marked a Tinker system to attack which is the most heavy defended system of the Tinkers (two star bases and PD) instead of going for Regulus which has no defenses whatsoever

Thus regarding positioning:
1. AI should probably weight ally systems lower and only defend any of them if it has at least one system in its core cluster which is defended. This is to never leave its core system cluster undefended as simply sending them over to an ally taking above 4 turns to get there could easily mean defeat for them when attacked
2. Defense priority should weight ownership, threat to system (considering diplomatic relationship), system value, system defense (PD, bases and ships: existing and inbound) and proximity. System defense seems to largely overweight the other attributes
3. Attack priority does not seem to take planetary defenses and bases into account, or if it does, it prioritizes proximity too much. Primary target should be both in close proximity and have low defense at the same time - the two should roughly have the same weight
Attachments
AI Positioning.gif
AI Positioning.gif (877 KiB) Viewed 1799 times

nathanebht
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:48 pm

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby nathanebht » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:55 pm

I definitely enjoy large SiS battles. The turn-off to large battles is the user interface. Double-clicking to select ships. Not having a drag select. No select all ships key.

When you have a large number of ships in a battle, also their starting layout is always frustrating. Your smallest ships way out in front and on the wings. Ships too far apart for good PD coverage. First and sometimes second turn are spent doing a lot of tedious ship movement to get to a good arrangement. And this happens every battle with that fleet.

zolobolo
Posts: 1234
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:55 pm

nathanebht wrote:Double-clicking to select ships. Not having a drag select. No select all ships key

I can select ships with single-click: are you sure you need to double click on them (that should select all ships of that type and movement points left)?
You can drag select by holding down CTRL
No select all function that I am aware of - would be useful sometimes :)

Maybe the in-game advisor could pop up to list all these functions that might be hidden for most when starting with the game (drag select, disable weapon, boarding when engine is disabled)

Agree that starting position of fleet is more of any issue then anything else, and I also don't mind clicking through them, especially with the above

Another thing that helps is turning on Fast Tactical Animation under options- but there is a bug currently which necessitates this option to be deactivated and activated again each time the game is started

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

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sat Jun 01, 2019 6:55 pm

Something else seems to be off with the latest changes: Single ships (often destroyer) are attacking fortified planets

The threat evaluation should have resulted in the AI not even attempting such an attack - they also retreat in Turn 1 so on tactical level it works, but why do they attempt the attack in the first place? This is also a considerable time loss due to travel and retreat

Was this maybe always an issue in the threat evaluation of the petitioning script and just not apparent when AI could command large fleets? - if so I should have seen at least some such cases before but this appears to occur only with the latest changes

zolobolo
Posts: 1234
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:08 pm

AI starts scrapping one of the two starbases and builds space station or assembly on the second slot. This is obviously very ineffective for the AI wasting time and resources

Strongly suggest to harcode into the build AI to never build more then one starbase or fortress at a single planet to avoid recurrence of this issue (we have had this behavior before but was fixed some time ago). There should never be a good reason to build two starbases for as single planet, and if the AI insists it can still build a fortress in the second slot

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

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:32 pm

Propose to reduce the number of trade routes provided by the market if understaffed as part of the economic rebalancing

Reason: Markets are too juicy to be built, and even if the AI increases its amount of markets built, the player will outbuild them (in my case almost 30% of my building overall are markets). Reason:
1. They are cheap to build (can be rushed right after colonization which)
2. Provide moral boost
3. Provide instant income increase
4. Provide additional income increase via trade

The above change would address the last benefit
If would hopefully result in players focusing less on markets and prevent the overabundance of coin even under the current changes

nathanebht
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:48 pm

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby nathanebht » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:35 am

zolobolo wrote:
nathanebht wrote:Double-clicking to select ships. Not having a drag select. No select all ships key

I can select ships with single-click: are you sure you need to double click on them (that should select all ships of that type and movement points left)?
You can drag select by holding down CTRL
No select all function that I am aware of - would be useful sometimes :)

Maybe the in-game advisor could pop up to list all these functions that might be hidden for most when starting with the game (drag select, disable weapon, boarding when engine is disabled)

Agree that starting position of fleet is more of any issue then anything else, and I also don't mind clicking through them, especially with the above

Another thing that helps is turning on Fast Tactical Animation under options- but there is a bug currently which necessitates this option to be deactivated and activated again each time the game is started


Drag selecting by holding down CTRL? I just tried this with the latest in development build and couldn't get it to work. No drag select box appears. Holding down CTRL while dragging with either left or right mouse button appears to do nothing.

Double click on the center of a ship's selection box. Yes, it will select all ships of that type and with movement points left. You can also add in using the shift key.

Dragar
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:20 pm

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Dragar » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:47 am

Maybe shift? There is certainly a way to box select.

zolobolo
Posts: 1234
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:10 pm

In general I find the idea of economic rebalancing usefull to cut down on number of large ships (but not the overall number of ships) and make income from surplus food, percious metals, super grain and hostile environment costs meaningfull

Currently the player has still a huge amount of income till mid-game and this is mostly due to trade
The AI focuses much less on trade and thus has a clear disadvantage compared to the player when it coems to income

Suggestions to address this:
- Decrease the capacity of trade ships by 50% from 8 to 4 (this is honestly not so easy as curently they match the visual of transport ships which is really neat and it would be sad to loose such an immersive element but it would be a powerfull action)
- Decrease trade capacity of markets when they are not fully staffed so that small planets cannot produce more then 2-3 trade routes altogether due to staffing no matter how many markets are built - this will stop player market spamming like building 2-3 markets on a small planet and reaping trade income in huge amount even though all markets are understaffed and are in the middle of nowhere on a small planet with 1 pop
- Slightly increase build weight of market for AI: always have at least one market on each mid to large size planet (also comes handy for morale)
- Decrease base Market income from 5 to 4 and keep its degradation when understaffed
- Ground units currently do not have upkeep cost when embarked on transports: this is probalby a bug and if fixed would furhter increase costs for large empires with many units

On the sidenote: coin breakdown repor of a planet shows cost category: "Orbitals" but all robital stations are always free to maintain

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

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:43 am

There is another reason to focus on larger fleets (not hudnerds of ships per fleet up what is in the current stable build): invasion mechanic

Currently, a succesfull invasion requires dozens on troop transports (even withouth planet degradation if that is coming up) if the player does not want to bomb everythin to simtherines (which they brobably most often do though)

It would be strange to have such a huge amount fo transport ships being produced and farrying troops while the nubmer of combat ships is too meager to provide escort

Currently I usually have 1-2 heavy cruiser, some escorts and 2-3 destroyers or frigates per invasion fleet and have 2-3 such fleets doing only conquering. This can be done as I can cna infinite produce all of these ships on various production focused planets and only concentrate on manual production for the core fleets cotnaining battleships and more specialised escorts

zolobolo
Posts: 1234
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:16 pm

I have reverted to the stable build: assume you will address the starbase build priority and lost forreign trade routes issue next and will continue afterwards with the testing of the new balance - I think the AI will perform consdierably differently once these have been addressed

Dragar
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:20 pm

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Dragar » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:34 pm

I think the point about combat to transport vessel ratios is a good one.

wminsing
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:51 am

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby wminsing » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:11 am

Yes, I'd agree on the point about transports; unless you're dealing with tanks and you have Battlemechs you often need 8-12 transports to deal with even a moderately defended planet once the enemy gets Militia tech, and the constant cycling of transports back to fill up on fresh troops means you actually need at least twice that many. It's sort of weird to see fleets that are 12 combat ships and 12 troop transports. Also means the AI seems to have trouble really invading anything itself that I've seen.

-Will

Ashbery76
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:04 pm

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby Ashbery76 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:22 am

Yeah I don't really like this old fashioned method of transports.Honestly I would prefer just having a few that could transport a lot more or just having normal ships have a transport capacity which ES2 did.It would make the A.I better too.

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

Re: Testing Economic Balance Changes

Postby zolobolo » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:49 am

Ashbery76 wrote:Yeah I don't really like this old fashioned method of transports.Honestly I would prefer just having a few that could transport a lot more or just having normal ships have a transport capacity which ES2 did.It would make the A.I better too.

I was thinking abouth this a lot and also made a couple of proposals how invasion could be made a bit deeper witouth breaking the current mechanic as I still like the current concept better then that of ES2, Galciv or MoO as far the general concept of dedicated transport ships go

Reason being: the current system allows for transformation of production capacity into invasion force by endlessly pumping out troop transports. When their battalions are destroyed, the transports can be switched over to trade duty so none of the produciton effort was wasted in the end as they do not dissapear into nirvana, nor am I tempted to go back for more troops. They also cannot be used as combat ships like in ES2 (except for some Phidi cases :)): which is leads into an interesting balance of how much production should go into combat ships and trade/invasion capacity

In case of Galciv, the legions are a rather new but wonky concept in my opinion as there isn't really much flesh around them and the micro involved is too much. The previous concept of using pop as invasion resource had the same issue for me as ES2 cocnept -

ES2 has wait times all over the invasion concept due to manpower buildup and defense value reduction via bombing. Both feel too gamey for me and not help me to engage with the system as both act like a time-gate more then anything else leading to me selecting new turns watching the counters to go up/high. SiS also has starvation mechanic but this is rarely a deciding factor during invasions as most planets produce food surplus and the effect cannot be monitored and calculated with. On one hand this might be improved, but on the other, the ideal approach should be to conquer the planets instead of starving them out or bombing them back to the stoneage

MoO is basically the same as SiS but later is better in presentation, has more things to work with (militia, some invasion tech, moral+slave mechnic effecting it and upgradeable tanks) and has the mass production of transports going for it withouth taking away spotlight from other mechanics

Would an increase in trade tranport capacity (at least as far as tanks go but not affecting cargo capacity) improve on this?
Maybe- it is hard to tell. There is one faction where this is already the case: the Phidi as they already have transports that can carry two battalions at the same time. While I was using this the last time I played them, it didn't seem to change all that much, as was still mass producing these ships to keep up with ongoing and upcoming invasions. Still, increasing transport capacity for Tanks to>4 might do the trick, but there is a problem here: by increasing transport cap and the amount of tanks they can carry the production cost (and thereby time) increases dramatically leaving only two options:
1. Swallow the fact that a troop transport takes >20 turns to be done before anythign can be invaded which would negate a positive aspect of SiS of getting things done quickly and not havign to wait for everything a long time
2. Have Troop transport be build withouth or only with a single tank battalion - this would dramatically increae micro though as now tanks need to be produced endlessly as well and managed via the cycling transports

Altogether the current concept of endlessly producing troop transports and assigning them to trade instead of going back for new troops is ideal I think for the above reasons but it does lead to a swarm of troops transports being managed in the fleets :)


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