No more OP death stacks

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

Moderator: Oberlus

Message
Author
User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 5796
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: No more OP death stacks

#31 Post by Oberlus »

LienRag wrote: Fri Apr 05, 2024 2:57 pm They are, but in wargames there are usually way less choke points than it FreeOrion.
That would be another reason for limiting stacks.

User avatar
LienRag
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2243
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 5:03 pm

Re: No more OP death stacks

#32 Post by LienRag »

It's true that choke points limit the defender as well as the attacker, so that's a valid point.
It would make big ships absolutely mandatory though (and the bigger the better), not sure that's an improvement.

What I mostly fear with a stack limit (which is still better than throwing away the square power of big stacks, since this square power, like the "two eyes live" rules in Go, isn't a rule by itself but a consequence of established rules - God laughs as those who lament the effects of causes they cherish) is queues of ships at choke points, waiting to get into the fire.
If we can find rules to make using these queues interesting, why not, but I doubt that it's possible (and so far I haven't seen anything good).

I've heard that there are good wargames about trench warfare, but even those have long lines on which to do their magic, not just one starlane leading to a single system.

Ophiuchus
Programmer
Posts: 3495
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am
Location: Wall IV

Re: No more OP death stacks

#33 Post by Ophiuchus »

note for fluff that sending a big amounts of fleet into a system does not necessarily equate "concentration of forces".
e.g. a smaller enemy might only encounter a part of the big fleet and score an easy win against that.
LienRag wrote: Fri Apr 05, 2024 7:39 pm What I mostly fear with a stack limit is queues of ships at choke points, waiting to get into the fire.
in our galaxy layouts, stuff is only a few hops away, so there are not too many trenches to take.
probably a winning side should be able to press on with a fresh fleet as soon as a blockade falls.

i do not think that fixed stack sizes are a good solution with our fleet system.

Hard restricting the number of ships in a system gets laughably complicated. One would have to move fleets out of the way to make space for others. what about in-flight order changes? what about sudden blockades stopping all traffic? what about ships being build in a system? first-come-first-serve? queue up at the starlane exist/system border?

best i can think of is allowing any number of ships in a system and only take a part of those to combat (the "combat stack").
if a blockading empire's combat stack is defeated it should lift the blockade and make it possible to hop to the next system. and that raises the question how defeat should be possible.

if having a manual a way to specify which fleets are in the front line that would be nice, but note that would be hard if there are fleets incoming from multiple starlanes etc.

so probably some automatic way of choosing the combat stack.

side note: Having maximum stack size scale with the present empires would certainly reduce the risk of drawing out battles (e.g. stack_maximum == smaller_fleet_size * 1.2 ). But this certainly stops working in a good way as soon as there are three different factions battling each other.

also having stack size clearly restricts "concentration of forces" to an arbitrary point and shift the concentration to bigger damage/structure ships.
To keep the idea of the tactic the empires would have to be able to have different stack sizes. The effect does roughly not depend on the number of ships, but of the product of the damage and structure sums.

I think both increasing cost of stacking and lowering efficiency of stacking are better solutions.

I found a big problem withh all the approaches I think. Allies having separate stack sizes are way overpowered (because the effect is still the combined stack; so on the same tech level with best ships, a single empire has e.g. maximum effective power 10*10, but the two allied enemies have a combined effect of 20*20), But in mixed empire relationships, peaceful empires could not be put into a single stack and the fleet effects would still combine.
is there any way to solve this? If not i think this would prohibit the possibility fixed stack sizes.

This (== Combining fleets of different empires against a common enemy) is also a problem for my suggested approach (and also for increasing stacking cost). Maybe not if scaling to linear formula... hm.. I need to think about this when I am not tired...
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Look, ma... four combat bouts!

wobbly
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 1991
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: No more OP death stacks

#34 Post by wobbly »

Ophiuchus wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 1:53 pm
Oberlus wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 1:47 pm
BlueAward wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 1:33 pm
I suppose what Oberlus proposed, some exponential growth in cost the more ships are stacks, acts more like it?
Yes, the fluff would be something about it being more difficult to maintain a bigger fleet in a single place (they need better logistics, drawing resources for more planets from further away).

This opens up options for policies about
- Greater base ship upkeep but less extra-upkeep from stacking (balanced so that it pays off compared to no-stacking when concentrating a big percentage of the total army). Fits imperialists.
- Lower base ship upkeep but extra upkeep outside of supply or depending on distance to owned planets, or to owned ships of the same species. Fits with democracies, pacifists and empires on the defense.
- Synergies with stability, species opinion, RP and PP. Plenty of options when one finds the fluff.
The main downside of this is that it gives an incentive to separate all your ships in times of peace and to amass them if going for battle.
Charge the cost to a "command vessel", that way the asset has to exist in advance.

Ophiuchus
Programmer
Posts: 3495
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am
Location: Wall IV

Re: No more OP death stacks

#35 Post by Ophiuchus »

wobbly wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 6:45 am
Ophiuchus wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 1:53 pm
Oberlus wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 1:47 pm
Yes, the fluff would be something about it being more difficult to maintain a bigger fleet in a single place (they need better logistics, drawing resources for more planets from further away).

This opens up options for policies about
- Greater base ship upkeep but less extra-upkeep from stacking (balanced so that it pays off compared to no-stacking when concentrating a big percentage of the total army). Fits imperialists.
- Lower base ship upkeep but extra upkeep outside of supply or depending on distance to owned planets, or to owned ships of the same species. Fits with democracies, pacifists and empires on the defense.
- Synergies with stability, species opinion, RP and PP. Plenty of options when one finds the fluff.
The main downside of this is that it gives an incentive to separate all your ships in times of peace and to amass them if going for battle.
Charge the cost to a "command vessel", that way the asset has to exist in advance.
I don't understand how you want this to work. What about ships in a system which go over the stack limit/without command vessel?
You mean no fleet without command vessel is allowed to actively participate in combat or something like this?

If there are ways to make ships uhm lets call those non-active ships "tertiary" combatants; ships with a handicap "secondary" combatants; and normal ships "primary"; I had two ideas which go into that direction; both try to have benefits of concentration only for some combat unit and deny or nerf splitting those units:
  • having a way to morph ships (tertiaries) into a single super ship. upside: super-effective concentration, downside: one is never able to split it and looses a lot of flexibility
  • a fleet needs time to integrate and coordinate and work as one, so newly added ships need some turns to become primaries. also on a split, only the ships in the original fleet stay primary; the other split fleets might downgrade a level (e.g. a primary ship becomes secondary, a secondary becomes tertiary)
this whole ideas only work, if ships outside those units are effectively tertiary or secondary.

with your idea of command vessels, a fleet with such a command vessel would be such a combat unit.

one way this could work is by inversing my initial idea and selectively adding a beneficial multiplier only to primaries/ships in a such a combat unit.

E.g. a very simple (and ugly) implementation would be a FOCS effect which increases current and max structure of all ships in the fleet with a command vessel by e.g. +20%. Implementation fine print: For the other effects as normal to work, at the beginning of the turn all primary ships need to be downscaled first. (so we would need to track if the ship is a primary in the fleet; probably by setting a special PRIMARY_FLEET_ID to the fleet UID or even better COMMAND_SHIP_ID to the uuid of the command ship, taking fleet reorganisation out of the equation). This has the usual +1 turn implications, but in this case i think those are not that harmful (and actually give us a delayed integration turn for free) I am pretty sure this is possible without backend changes, so would be easy to be tried out without having to compile.
adding two command vessels to a single fleet could lead to disintegration on split. which seems fluffwise to be fine as well.

think this could work even without adding stacking limits/costs. if we add those, the multiplier should depend on the number (or combat power) of the integrated ships and the cost/parts of the command vessel; probably we would also need to restrict the number of command vessels. With backend support we could add maximum fleet sizes and simply disallow adding more ships to a fleet. With FOCS-only we could simply not apply the bonus and set all the fleet damage to zero as an interactive UI hint (so you add a ship to much, you see the structure drop and damage get nilled and hopefully fix the situation).

edit: with command ship parts, there would also be a way to differentiate different fleets for different purposes in the future. E.g. valuables (small stack limit, high structure multiplier), main fleet (high stack limit, structure multiplier) or even something like snipers (high direct weapon multiplier) or carrier fleet (increased launch capacity).
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Look, ma... four combat bouts!

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 5796
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: No more OP death stacks

#36 Post by Oberlus »

Or just use distance: any owned (armed or not, for chaff) ship at less than 1 turn (or 2) of distance is counted for the upkeep in that system (and in other systems as well...).
Distance measured considering their speed (so a 200 speed ship at 180 uu via 3 hops counts for the upkeep, a 60 speed ship at 80 uu doesn't).

User avatar
LienRag
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2243
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 5:03 pm

Re: No more OP death stacks

#37 Post by LienRag »

Distance, yes.
Considering their speed, no : we want logistics to be difficult.

Ophiuchus
Programmer
Posts: 3495
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am
Location: Wall IV

Re: No more OP death stacks

#38 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 10:34 am Or just use distance: any owned (armed or not, for chaff) ship at less than 1 turn (or 2) of distance is counted for the upkeep in that system (and in other systems as well...).
Would that mean I have to keep upkeep in every system in 1 (or 2) turns distance of one of my ships?
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Look, ma... four combat bouts!

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 5796
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: No more OP death stacks

#39 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 5:20 pm
Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 10:34 am Or just use distance: any owned (armed or not, for chaff) ship at less than 1 turn (or 2) of distance is counted for the upkeep in that system (and in other systems as well...).
Would that mean I have to keep upkeep in every system in 1 (or 2) turns distance of one of my ships?
Sorry, I don't' understand the question. You mean run numbers/micromanage? The idea is exactly to avoid the usefulness of that.

Ophiuchus
Programmer
Posts: 3495
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am
Location: Wall IV

Re: No more OP death stacks

#40 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 5:42 pm
Ophiuchus wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 5:20 pm
Oberlus wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 10:34 am Or just use distance: any owned (armed or not, for chaff) ship at less than 1 turn (or 2) of distance is counted for the upkeep in that system (and in other systems as well...).
Would that mean I have to keep upkeep in every system in 1 (or 2) turns distance of one of my ships?
Sorry, I don't' understand the question. You mean run numbers/micromanage? The idea is exactly to avoid the usefulness of that.
No, I meant you wrote "...is counted for the upkeep in that system..." and i wanted to ask which systems this applies to (and i assumed you meant basically any system)
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Look, ma... four combat bouts!

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 5796
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: No more OP death stacks

#41 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Sat Apr 06, 2024 6:50 pm No, I meant you wrote "...is counted for the upkeep in that system..." and i wanted to ask which systems this applies to (and i assumed you meant basically any system)
I was talking about ship upkeep (in IP). A base upkeep per ship would be increased based on the number of other ships at no more than X hops, to discourage concentration of forces (stacking).
Are we on the same page?

Ophiuchus
Programmer
Posts: 3495
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am
Location: Wall IV

Re: No more OP death stacks

#42 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Sun Apr 07, 2024 12:01 pm I was talking about ship upkeep (in IP). A base upkeep per ship would be increased based on the number of other ships at no more than X hops, to discourage concentration of forces (stacking).
Ok, got it, IP upkeep per fleet/ship (and not per system) and the amount depends on other owned ships in vicinity.

edit: Note like the other solutions, this also has the issue of unfair(?) low upkeep when combining fleets of different empires against a common enemy
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Look, ma... four combat bouts!

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 5796
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: No more OP death stacks

#43 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Sun Apr 07, 2024 7:00 pm edit: Note like the other solutions, this also has the issue of unfair(?) low upkeep when combining fleets of different empires against a common enemy
Then consider also those ships.

Ophiuchus
Programmer
Posts: 3495
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am
Location: Wall IV

Re: No more OP death stacks

#44 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Sun Apr 07, 2024 7:14 pm
Ophiuchus wrote: Sun Apr 07, 2024 7:00 pm edit: Note like the other solutions, this also has the issue of unfair(?) low upkeep when combining fleets of different empires against a common enemy
Then consider also those ships.
As already written I think that is unsolvable to do 100% right.

If you have empires A,B,C,D ; A and C are at war, A and B are at peace, B and C are at war - for that subset one could argue it is AB vs C (and those ships should be combined when counting upkeep). But if D and A are at war, D and B are at peace (and D and C are at peace) we do not have clearly separated factions.

In this situation A will be shot at by C and D. B will be shot at by C. So C is splitting their ships in combat between those two factions (attack split ratio of ships of A vs ships of B; defense ratio depends on the count of ships of C vs ships of D).

We do not have to be 100% right though. We could still count all ships of peaceful empires; those special cases will be rare. (Maybe it is actually possible to split upkeep for attack and defense but my head starts hurting when I try to think of it)

edit: just when i thought we have enough of a good design to start implementing... stealth also plays a role. cant base your upkeep on invisible ships of peaceful empires...
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Look, ma... four combat bouts!

User avatar
Oberlus
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 5796
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: No more OP death stacks

#45 Post by Oberlus »

Then make the upkeep of a given ship dependent on the count of non-enemy ships in the vicinity (maybe half the weight of peaceful ships).
In your example:
A at war with C and D.
B at war with C.
Everyone else at peace.
So A+B vs C and A vs C+D.
A and C have less peace-or-allied ships around and so will have a lower upkeep increase than B and D.

It's even less messy than the combat itself.

Post Reply