A little less comsat spam

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Ophiuchus
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A little less comsat spam

#1 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:35 pm

There are again complaints about comsats being toe effective.

edit1: discussion now has a consensus that we should try making the comsat more expensive before trying to fiddle with targeting.
Put up PR-2628 which doubles the cost, structure = 3 (+1), internal slots = 3 (+2) of colony base hull.

For ship weapon targetting i would suggest to ignore ships without dangerous parts. That makes the comsat more expensive (probably adding a troop pod, doubling the cost) and also increase the part upkeep and make those more reasonable as troop ships are useful.

We could also up the base hull cost a bit -maybe to four- but not much as the small asteroid only costs 6 PP.

I put up a PR-2622 which prevents ship weapons from targeting "comsat" ships.

A comsat is a ship which has no speed and no dangerous ship parts.
Ship part classes which are considered dangerous/worthwhile targets:
+ PC_TROOPS
+ PC_FIGHTER_HANGAR if also PC_FIGHTER_BAY in the ship
+ PC_COLONY,
+ PC_GENERAL,
+ PC_BOMBARD,

So if you are interested.. please test ;)

Note to myself - part based upkeep has a similar definition of dangerous/worthwhile

Older discussion: Comsat/planetary defenses re-design
Last edited by Ophiuchus on Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:29 am, edited 5 times in total.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Oberlus
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Re: A little less comsat spam

#2 Post by Oberlus » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:23 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:35 pm
We could also up the base hull cost a bit -maybe to four- but not much as the small asteroid only costs 6 PP.
And the compressed energy hull costs 5. But both are harder to build than base hull (or small hull). So I would compare with small hull, cost 10.
It is not bad (IMO) that the base hulls costs the same as the cheapest ship with hard requirements that can perform the same role, and half the cost of the cheapest ship with same requirements. That still means that for static cannon fodder strategy comsats are still (quite) better than small hulls. Well, this in case we allow comsats to be targetted. I think it is ok that they can be targetted as long as it is not an overpowered strategy.

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#3 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:34 pm

Oberlus wrote: the cannon fodder strategy is seen as legit by many players. The problem is that using comsats for it is considerably more cost efficient than using anything else (including the compressed energy hull: 3vs5, almost twice as efficient), and some players (myself) see spamming cheap comsats as an exploit. Consider the following scenario:

In a galaxy with several empires warring each other, Empire A is outproducing Empire B.
Empire B is trapped in a section of the galaxy, fenced off at a choke point by Empire A.
Empire B could keep up the military production so that player A does not attack him fearing excessive losses, but so can Empire A, at a faster peace. Eventually, A would overpower B.
Empire B is hoping that other empires harass A so that it's forced to withdraw part of its forces to a different area, and the occasion arises, but when a big chunk of A forces retreat from the chokepoint, a huge batch of comsats complement the remaining forces. Now B has like 3x the damage of A forces in the chokepoint, but if he attacks he will lose most of his forces while A will loss mostly comsats. Since rebuilding the comsats is cheaper and faster than rebuilding the military assets, A can keep that situation up unless he is overpowered somewhere else and B begins to outproduce him.
Should the comsats be more expensive (or be removed from game, or whatever), then A should devote more PPs to the choke point's fleet than before to achieve and maintain the same stalemate.

So either we up the cost of comsats (and balance accordingly, if deemed necessary, the costs of outpost, colony and troop parts *) to remove the "exploit" part of the comsat-as-cannon-fodder strategy,
or we take the targetting route to disable the whole cannon fodder strategy: do not target harmless ships (shoot at unarmed troopers whatever is the hull they are in, as well as anything with a weapon or a colony/outpost pod or sensors...; leave alone the rest, which includes comsats as well as any hull without weapons, troop/colony/outpost pods or sensors).

The problem with the second solution is that many players will be pissed of if we remove all possibility of unarmed cannon fodder (I don't think they would be right on that, because you could still use small armed ships as cannon fodder, just not so overkilling as with comsats; but I see the point that unarmed cannon fodder should be possible as it is possible in reality, using junk disguised as weaponry). Also, it would allow the player to build useless ships, that will never affect any combat but that can be used as low-range scouts (without scanning parts to not be targetted). If we should do this, I think it would be reasonable to prevent the players from building harmless ships (you can't save a ship design unless it is armed or has one of the "dangerous" non-weapon parts), and also it would be mandatory to be able to shoot at harmless ships when there are no dangerous targets, because you do want to put down scouts (even if they have no sensor part).
I prefer the up-cost strategy without targetting.

(*) It's clearly not necessary for outpost/colony, because 50 or 120 plus 2 isn't relevant. But it could be disrupting for troop droops, because it would be upping the base cost from 6 to 7 or 8.
How about up the base hull cost to 6, make it three internal slots and 3hp? That way they taken down in a single shot by mass driver 2+ and md fighters and after the +5 structure tech by lasers 3, plasma fighters, and laser bombers. Interceptors and flak ignore those anyway I think.

The base hull specific is that it can be build anywhere without having to build a shipyard and that is very cheap. Its easy to build the basic shipyard so
Oberlus wrote: it would be mandatory to be able to shoot at harmless ships when there are no dangerous targets, because you do want to put down scouts (even if they have no sensor part).
Ok, I will add that to the PR anyway I think. Having fallback targets is definitly ok for 0.4.9

I do not care if we go for more expensive base hull, targeting exceptions for base hull, or targeting exceptions for "empty" hulls (or a combination). One could always create comsats by adding a cheap ship part, but it would up the price a bit and part upkeep. On the other hand it might be hard to communicate the exception for empty hulls.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Vezzra
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Re: A little less comsat spam

#4 Post by Vezzra » Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:22 pm

Is the perceived issue with comsats (and other potential "cannon-fodder" things) being too effective, meaning the cannon-fodder effect is too strong, or with having a cannon-fodder effect at all, meaning there shouldn't be any game elements that can act as a kind of leaky/weak "shields" or something that can soak up enemy fire?

If it is the former, then the proposed changes to fix that seem a bit drastic to me, because they sound like they would completely nullify any cannon-fodder effects (which means they are actually what you'd want to do if the perceived issue was the latter).

If it is the latter, is there really some universal consensus that we do not want any kind of game elements that can act as a leaky/weak screen for enemy fire? I mean, there have been suggestions of 0 damage fighters, decoy drones so to speak, of which the entire purpose would have been to act as something that can soak up enemy fire. I can understand that players get annoyed if the effect is too strong, but if balanced correctly, IMO that should be a viable strategy. Removing that would remove an interesting option/strategy.

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#5 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:15 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:22 pm
Is the perceived issue with comsats (and other potential "cannon-fodder" things) being too effective, meaning the cannon-fodder effect is too strong, or with having a cannon-fodder effect at all, meaning there shouldn't be any game elements that can act as a kind of leaky/weak "shields" or something that can soak up enemy fire?
I think the consens is that the effect is too strong. I think there is no consensus about there should be a cannon-fodder effect or not.
Vezzra wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:22 pm
If it is the former, then the proposed changes to fix that seem a bit drastic to me, because they sound like they would completely nullify any cannon-fodder effects (which means they are actually what you'd want to do if the perceived issue was the latter).
No, you can simply add a troop part to your hull and it will serve as cannonfodder with a slightly higher price (just for the base hull it is +60% for the small asteroid it is +30%) and a higher upkeep. That effects are definitly good, but the effects are obscure/hard-to-communicate so that the bad is maybe higher than the good.

I suggest putting the targeting path on hold. Instead lets double the cost of comsat as a first measure and if that is not enough we can again pursue the targeting filter approach.

So, once again: Does anybody have objections against upping the base hull cost to 6, make it three internal slots (mostly for local troop invasion) and 3hp?
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#6 Post by alleryn » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:52 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:15 pm
So, once again: Does anybody have objections against upping the base hull cost to 6, make it three internal slots (mostly for local troop invasion) and 3hp?
I haven't had a lot of time to devote to thinking about this, and have missed most of the discussion, but it looks reasonable to me. I was about to point out that it might make troop drops too cost- ineffective, but it looks like you all have already covered that.

I like this approach, though i am in the long term on the side that a cannon-fodder strategy is not particularly interesting and if we wish to include it we should do that by making parts (e.g., drones or a part that confuses enemy scanners to target them if we decide to change targeting) that work to that effect, rather than allowing empty hulls to function in this regard. That is just my opinion stylistically, and for me is still secondary to finding a tactically balanced solution, which this looks at the very least a step in the right direction. Nice work all.

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#7 Post by Oberlus » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:24 pm

I agree with Ophiuchus and Alleryn.

Upping the number of internal slots of the base hull to 3 (maybe 2 could be enough) is brilliant.

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#8 Post by Ophiuchus » Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:21 pm

Because I did not ask: any preferences/objections to upping the build time to four turns ?
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#9 Post by Oberlus » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:28 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:21 pm
Because I did not ask: any preferences/objections to upping the build time to four turns ?
IMO that could be problematic.
The issue for me is the cost effectiveness, not how fast you can react.
Three turns for starters?

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#10 Post by Ophiuchus » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:49 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:28 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:21 pm
Because I did not ask: any preferences/objections to upping the build time to four turns ?
IMO that could be problematic.
The issue for me is the cost effectiveness, not how fast you can react.
Three turns for starters?
Agreed, it stays at three.
I would not mind higher response time for comsats, but i do not like the extra turn for triggering combat or outposting/colonisation (although we probably could decrease the latter in FOCS if it matters).

Beside cost balancing I think the main problem is that it is possible to churn out huge numbers fast. It would be great to have some galaxy layout where it is easier to cut off supply as preparation for an invasion to prevent last minute building of comsat, e.g.:

Code: Select all

                            x     
                             ++     
         +------>+++---------++---+
         |       +++              |
       +--+     c  +    +--+      ++
       |  |        +--->|  |+-----++
       +--+             +--+      o
        s                 t

        supplying system
                choke point empty system (cut off supply here)
                       xtra empty system, takes an extra fuel to reach the choke point
                          target system
                                  origin system where your fleet comes from
Last edited by Ophiuchus on Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#11 Post by Ophiuchus » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:06 pm

Put up PR-2628 which doubles the cost, structure = 3 (+1), internal slots = 3 (+2) of colony base hull.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Vezzra
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Re: A little less comsat spam

#12 Post by Vezzra » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:20 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:15 pm
I suggest putting the targeting path on hold. Instead lets double the cost of comsat as a first measure and if that is not enough we can again pursue the targeting filter approach.
Sounds reasonable.

@AI team: any AI adjustments necessary with this kind of change? Or will the AI be able to handle this without adjustments?

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#13 Post by JonCST » Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:12 am

I know i'm a bit late to the dance here, but we were discussing on the multi-player chat, and raised two issues which i'm not sure have been brought up here.

First, was to simply add a check before queuing the build to make sure there are no more than a maximum number of comsats in a given system (per empire, of course).

The second was to require all ships to have a part (i'm sure i've seen that one here before), and either

1) create a tacky comsat-only internal-slot part ("communications transceiver", perhaps?) or
2) modify the optical scanner to be like troops, and fit either internal or external slots.

with the "rationale" that comsats need an instrument package or they're basically useless anyway.

Full disclosure: i often make "martyr" ships of empty BSH. Requiring a part would mean adding standard armor plating, which i'm OK with.

Caveat: i know only enough about FOCS to make suggestions which are too expensive to implement.

Jon

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#14 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:24 am

JonCST wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:12 am
I know i'm a bit late to the dance here, but we were discussing on the multi-player chat, and raised two issues which i'm not sure have been brought up here.

First, was to simply add a check before queuing the build to make sure there are no more than a maximum number of comsats in a given system (per empire, of course).
That would also restrict the number system drop troops. What value would suggest?
JonCST wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:12 am
The second was to require all ships to have a part (i'm sure i've seen that one here before), and either

1) create a tacky comsat-only internal-slot part ("communications transceiver", perhaps?) or
2) modify the optical scanner to be like troops, and fit either internal or external slots.

with the "rationale" that comsats need an instrument package or they're basically useless anyway.
I was more thinking of adding a low-damage once-per-ship internal weapon (e.g. battle ram structure, internal weapon part, only 1 per ship, damage 1 cost 2). That would disguise the decoy at least as a dangerous enemy. Although that could be probably OP compared to low-level MD. But research MD tech is cheap, so.

The main problem are not the comsats (at least at cost point of 6), but i but the general cost effectiveness of 1-hit-to-die decoys and how that scales.

I had some ideas which would maybe help with that (organising battle units with a fixed maximum number of vessels), but i think the only realistic change is upping the number of combat bouts. I am working on that.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: A little less comsat spam

#15 Post by Oberlus » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:05 am

Ophiuchus wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:24 am
The main problem are not the comsats (at least at cost point of 6), but i but the general cost effectiveness of 1-hit-to-die decoys and how that scales.
TeamSMAC had a simple change with which they were happy after many MP games:

Code: Select all

buildCost = 4 * [[FLEET_UPKEEP_MULTIPLICATOR]]
I think it should also include the ship hull cost multiplier

Code: Select all

buildCost = 6 * [[FLEET_UPKEEP_MULTIPLICATOR]] * [[SHIP_HULL_COST_MULTIPLIER]]
If cost should be 6 (with the three internal slot version) or 4 (with the regular base hull) I don't know.

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