[Balance] Specials and Guards

Creation, discussion, and balancing of game content such as techs, buildings, ship parts.

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alleryn
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Re: [Balance] Specials and Guards

#16 Post by alleryn » Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:04 pm

Agreed about Computronium Moon. Moved Computronium Moon to Tier 3.

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Oberlus
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Re: [Balance] Specials and Guards

#17 Post by Oberlus » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:59 am

Some thoughts on the subject:

In our sixth game (current), Magnate was fenced behind three maintenance ships in line. One, three, doesn't matter, it's a real slow down if you have nothing else to colonise/conquer until you kill the ships (special case, good stockpiling species that can be just fine sneaking past the monster instead of killing it to carry supply over; this is for non-stockpiling species).
But the monster itself, with 400+ structure and 3 puny damage shot, it's not scary at all. I mean, the problem with maintenance ships is not that they could kill you, but that they will slow you down. It's hard to lose a ship to a maintenance ship. If I knew I just had to sacrifice X frigates to remove the monster but that I could do that in 1-3 rounds instead of 6-9 (plus the time needed to amass the army), I wouldn't be worried.

The current suggestion (alleryn's) solves that pretty much. A sentry has more damage but much less structure. And the (TBD) carrier monsters will do the same.
I'm looking forward to see this implemented.

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alleryn
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Re: [Balance] Specials and Guards

#18 Post by alleryn » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:01 pm

I've started preliminary testing, mostly to make sure i could actually implement this stuff in FOCS, and it seems to be going well so far. A couple of issues/questions have cropped up:
  1. In the current implementation of CHANCE_OF_GUARD_1 (in https://github.com/freeorion/freeorion/ ... ard.macros), there is this line:

    Code: Select all

                    Not ContainedBy Contains OR [
                        Design name = "SM_EXP_OUTPOST"
                        Building name = "BLD_EXPERIMENTOR_OUTPOST"
                        And [ Planet HasSpecial name = "HIGH_TECH_NATIVES_SPECIAL" ]
                    ]
    I'm not sure if it was an oversight of the "ContainedBy Contains" logic, or if it was intended, but it means no specials guard will be generated at any system that contains a High Tech Natives world. I'm guessing the idea was that the high tech natives world already has increased defenses, so if the special is located on that world, maybe additional defenses would be overkill, but as it stands this still allows for a different undefended planet with a Special in the same system.

    Anyways, i got to thinking about this and how to handle Moderate/High tech natives. During my preliminary tests i was generating High Specials/High Native galaxies and i was noticing the large number of Moderate/High Tech Natives. I usually play with Specials set to Low, and i realized how much stronger Natives were with Specials set higher.

    It doesn't make a lot of sense that the strength of natives is tied so much to the number of Specials, so my thought now is to reduce the spawn chance of Moderate/High Tech Natives to zero. I think it makes more sense to increase the defenses of each native species separately (I should have some updates to this approach soon -- viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11355), rather than relying on Specials to do it.

    Then we could use the Moderate/High/maybe 3rd tier Tech Natives as guards for Specials when Specials get put on Native planets. Just a thought.
  2. Also in the current implementation we have guards only created when

    Code: Select all

                    (GalaxyMaxAIAggression >= 1)
                    (GalaxyMonsterFrequency >= 1)
    I think the first part makes sense. For players with the AI Agression set to Beginner Mode, i think it makes sense to leave the Specials Guards turned off. The other part is still debatable. Should having monsters off leave all specials unguarded? I can see a few possibilites:
    • Leave it as is. With monsters off, Specials will be unguarded. "Monsters" means any neutral enemy, so there should be no opposition when taking a neutral specials world.
    • Remove that condition. Even with monsters off, Specials should be guarded. "Monsters" means roaming monsters, but static guards are still fine.
    • With monsters off, have specials guarded by Ancient Guardians (or increased-tech natives) only. "Monsters" means space-ship monsters. Even static ones shouldn't guard specials, but ones on the surface of the planet are okay.
    Thoughts?

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Vezzra
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Re: [Balance] Specials and Guards

#19 Post by Vezzra » Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:15 pm

alleryn wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 4:55 pm
Change to Ancient Guardians: Reduce default shield value and troop values (magnitude of changes TBD). This will give room to give weaker Ancient Guardian defenders to some of the weaker specials. For Ancient Guardians on stronger specials, we can implement Ancient Guardians with bonuses to defense/shields/troops (using Native Planet Fortification macros from https://github.com/freeorion/freeorion/pull/2591 or similar).
Or we can, as had been done with the guardian space monsters, have several variants of the Ancient Guardians of different strength: We could have e.g. a weaker form called "Ancient Sentries", a form of moderate strength called "Ancient Guardians", and a very strong form called "Ancient Sentinels".

Just a thought.

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alleryn
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Re: [Balance] Specials and Guards

#20 Post by alleryn » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:30 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:15 pm
alleryn wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 4:55 pm
Change to Ancient Guardians: Reduce default shield value and troop values (magnitude of changes TBD). This will give room to give weaker Ancient Guardian defenders to some of the weaker specials. For Ancient Guardians on stronger specials, we can implement Ancient Guardians with bonuses to defense/shields/troops (using Native Planet Fortification macros from https://github.com/freeorion/freeorion/pull/2591 or similar).
Or we can, as had been done with the guardian space monsters, have several variants of the Ancient Guardians of different strength: We could have e.g. a weaker form called "Ancient Sentries", a form of moderate strength called "Ancient Guardians", and a very strong form called "Ancient Sentinels".

Just a thought.
What i've been doing so far is simply adding a moderate tech natives special (or similar) when i want to boost the defense strength. This works well and is a bit more versatile to have multiple tiers of, since it can be applied to other species if needed.

I think that's the way to go here for now.

One advantage to the approach you suggested is we could have different degrees of effects with the various ancient guardian species (lesser one could leave an outpost, later one could leave only the planet behind). I don't think it's enough to justify the "species clutter", but it would be worth revisiting if someone comes up with a more interesting use of the multiple tiers of ancient guardians than that.

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Vezzra
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Re: [Balance] Specials and Guards

#21 Post by Vezzra » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:42 am

alleryn wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:30 pm
What i've been doing so far is simply adding a moderate tech natives special (or similar) when i want to boost the defense strength. This works well and is a bit more versatile to have multiple tiers of, since it can be applied to other species if needed.

I think that's the way to go here for now.
From a purely technical point of view you're right, but for a game like this the so called "fluff" and immersion is also a important factor. Fluff-wise it's somewhat silly to have Ancient Guardians (which are supposed to be some extremely powerful guardian robots left behind by an incredibly advanced precursor civilization) with a special that is supposed to give us a technically more advanced version of a native species.

It's something I've witnessed quite a lot during all my time with the project: the effect certain ideas might have on immersion/suspense of disbelief is frequently underestimated. But IMO that aspect is every bit as important as the technical aspects. The question if a certain design of a certain game mechanic is technically sound (that means, it works and creates an interesting mechanic) isn't the only one. As much as game design must produce something that works well, it must produce something that creates a believable illusion.

Moderate tech Ancient Guardians don't really meet that requirement IMO. It's just too silly. ;)
I don't think it's enough to justify the "species clutter"
I'm not concerned with species clutter at all. Basically because I'd want to have as many different species as possible in the game. Ideally so many, that even on the largest maps with as many planets with natives as possible there are no two or more planets with the same (starting) species.

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alleryn
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Re: [Balance] Specials and Guards

#22 Post by alleryn » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:44 pm

I will be busy for the forseeable future and will abandon this project. If anyone wants to pick it up, feel free. Apologies.

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