FreeOrion

Forums for the FreeOrion project
It is currently Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:40 pm

All times are UTC


Forum rules


Always mention the exact version of FreeOrion you are testing.

When reporting an issue regarding the AI, if possible provide the relevant AI log file and a save game file that demonstrates the issue.



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 81 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Author Message
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:41 pm 
Offline
Space Krill

Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:21 pm
Posts: 4
Location: USA
LGM-Doyle wrote:
[*] The Antimatter Cannon works just fine when facing fighters if you structure your fleet to support it. Combat has 3 turns. In turn 1 the Antimatter Cannon works as expected, smashing through shields and causing great havoc. In turn 2, your fleet needs to have enough Flak Cannons or Interceptors to clear out the enemy Fighter shield launched in 1 turn. Then in turn 3 the Antimatter Cannon is back to full effectiveness. With a well designed fleet you get good utility from the Antimatter Cannon even when every shot isn't perfect.


It is true for first two turns. However, most AIs (including I) spare some fighters to launch in turn 2. Therefore, some fighters are flying around in turn 3. The Spinal Mounted Antimatter Cannon will be likely to shoot a fighter again in turn 3, so the Spinal Mounted Antimatter Cannon is effective only on turn 1.

LGM-Doyle wrote:
[*] When the Antimatter Cannon hits a small ship/fighter, I think of it not as the Antimatter Cannon targeting the fighter, but as the fighter heroically sacrificing themselves to save the planet/capital ship. The randomized targeting abstracts not only the attackers target choice, but also the defenders attempts to disrupt optimal target choice.


That is a reason why spamming fighters becomes a tactic to distract enemy's shots. The good thing is despite of how many flak cannons and interceptors, the chance of hitting fighters remains the same for the Spinal Mounted Antimatter Cannons as well as other cannons.

--------------------------------------------
Hello, Forum!

This is my first post ever, but I have been playing FO for a couple of years.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:55 pm 
Offline
Release Manager, Design
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Posts: 4296
Location: Sol III
ovarwa wrote:
Mat and I clearly need to be more liberal with the smileys!
;)
Quote:
I think you just conflated the two, exactly the way you claim I was doing.
I don't think I did... where do you think I mixed those up? I've tried to consistently keep those to apart, but maybe I've been not as clear as I thought in some statements?
Quote:
The moment a game has a "win the game" card, playing that card becomes an avenue to victory. The moment a game introduces anything that is an "I win" button, playing to deploy that element is an avenue to victory.
Yep, exactly my point.
Quote:
Game elements of lesser utility are part of a complete breakfast.
Well, yes, of course - game objectives/victory conditions are actually game elements themselves. I just feel the need to distinguish between them more clearly, that's why I think setting them apart also by the terms used to refer to them is a good thing. But in the end that's a matter of choosing proper labels. ;)
Quote:
When any game element is priced too cheaply it becomes a no-brainer, which makes it a problem; when any game element is priced too dearly it becomes part of a path never taken, which makes it a problem.
Complete agreement on that.
Quote:
Once appropriate costs have been established, it really doesn't matter how powerful that game element is, because the price is right: If you can muster the cost for a game-winning weapon, you deserve to win. The argument that a very powerful weapon cannot be priced in a balanced way because intrinsically powerful things are intrinsically too good simply makes no sense in a game that already allows purchase of an I Win certificate.
Yes and no - yes, because basically you're right, but no if you fail to make the important distiction between "normal"/"lesser" game elements and game objectives/victory conditions here.

My point is, once you design a game element that is so powerful it actually becomes an "I win" button, and thus acquiring it a game objective, you cannot "downgrade" it to "normal"/"lesser" game element just by making it sufficiently expensive. You can't properly balance it against the lesser game elements anymore, you can only balance it properly against the other victory conditions.

Which means, you need to decide what you want a powerful game element to be when you design it. If I don't want a certain superweapon to be actually game deciding, I must not make it too powerful, because it's not possible to make it not game deciding by raising its costs. Or reversly, if I want to make this particular superweapon that rules them all, I have to be aware that I actually create something that is a game objective, and have to design and balance it accordingly.
Quote:
In a similar way, a superweapon that is better than the other weapons but whose costs are properly balanced is not necessarily an automatic I Win button, and is not necessarily even the most important priority.
I guess here is the point where we probably disagree the most. Because even if a superweapon isn't powerful enough to constitute an automatic "I win" button (and thus doesn't qualify as a game objective), if it outperforms all other weapons in the game, it's just outright boring.

Simple because it becomes, as far as weapons are concerned, the optimal choice. So while you might be able to beat a player that has the superweapon even when you don't (by being sufficiently ahead in other aspects so you can counter the disadvantage of having the inferior weapon systems), why would you go for the less optimal weapons? When you can have your other advantages and the superweapon?

And before you point out the "properly balanced" (as in, you can achieve it not being the clearly optimal choice by getting costs right), that's exactly what I tried to explain in my earlier post: that's only possible up to a certain point. Beyond that you can't balance it properly by costs alone. Because the margin where the costs would be right becomes to small - you'll either get it too cheap or too expensive. You can't get it right. At least, that's my experience.

And even if you could, to me a weapon system that outperforms all other weapons (disregarding the costs) still is boring. I definitely prefer, not only for weapons, but for all game elements/mechanics where the game offers several different paths, that all alternatives/options have their distinct strength and weaknesses. Option A being better at X, but worse at Y, and B being worse at X, but better at Y. And no option C that's better than A and B both at X and Y, with A and B viable options only because C is so hideously expensive.
Quote:
As it becomes less useful, costs need to go down, approaching being free. (Something that offers no game utility ought not cost anything.) As it becomes more useful, costs need to go up, approaching the cost of buying an outright victory. (Something that offers an outright victory effectively becomes Win by Accumulating X Surplus Resources.)
And exactly here the distinction between the two (normal game element and victory condition) becomes important, because apparently you think you can gradually shift from the one into the other category, and that's exactly what I think is impossible. There's a "gap" between the two, where a game element becomes too powerful to be able to properly balance it as a "normal" game element, even if it's not powerful enough to qualify as "I win" button.
Quote:
For example, if the cannon did only 5 points of damage, but they were efficient points, I think we can both agree that would not be overpowered at all. So *efficient* damage is not the problem
Never said it was. What you describe here is actually an interesting alternative weapons system. Lower damage output than other weapons, but being able to apply that damage more efficiently. It's the combination of having the by far highest damage output than any other weapon and being able to apply that damage far more efficiently than any other weapon that would make such a superweapon overpowered to the point where you can't properly balance it anymore.
Quote:
again, it's all a matter of balancing costs.
IMO a weapon like that would be an example for something where this isn't possible anymore. You'll either get it too cheap or too expensive.
Quote:
It's another matter if you don't like the aesthetic!
If you mean the fluff explanation, well, as you said yourself in an earlier post, we can practically come up with something for almost everything. If you mean that I might not like the concept of such a weapon (that's better than all other weapons in all regards, only costs keeping it balanced), then yes, that's an additional gripe I have with these kind of things. ;)
Quote:
I raise the victory condition elements as a counterargument against the claim that a weapon cannot be balanced with high cost if it is very powerful.
Balanced against the other victory conditions - yes. Balanced against "normal" game elements - no.

The Transcendence tech isn't "balanced" at all against all the other techs. After all, it gives you nothing - no building, no weapon, no device - nothing, and that for an insane price. However, it gives you instant victory, which by it's nature beats everything. It makes no sense at all to compare it to the other techs for that reason, and it's costs have nothing to do with how the other techs are priced. The costs for the Transcendence tech are actually determined by trying to balance it against victory by military conquest (and, by the way, still failing at that, because that's practically impossible just by adjusting the research costs - the approach to have tech victory just by researching a super expensive tech at the far end of the tech tree is very dull, as LGM-Doyle pointed out).
Quote:
The counterargument is that in a game where victory can be bought, such as FreeOrion, a big cannon cannot do better than an outright win. So if the cannon grants me an outright win, a balanced cost is the same as that other victory.
Correct. And like the Transcendence tech, the costs for that cannon can't be determined by trying to balance it against the other weapon systems in the game, but by balancing it against all the other ways victory can be achieved. Which is something completely different.
Quote:
To the extent that its utility is less, its cost can be less. Balanced.
Nope, because we're dealing with an either-or thing here. You can't gradually move from "victory condition" to "normal game element". You need to decide, when you design that thing, what you want it to be. Then you know how and against which other game elements you need it to balance.
Quote:
(Though that could be a fun and amusing tech path. Death Star 1 has lots of design flaws, Death Star 2 has fewer, until you research the Totally Debugged Death Star and win. :)/2)
Definitely! Actually, I'd really like something like that in the game. Some powerful superweapon, buried in an Ancient Ruin in a remote system, heavily guarded by extremely powerful ancient warships of some precursor race. One way to achieve victory is to get your hands on that weapon and deploy it. Which could be done by having the superweapon be an ancient warship you get like the Dragon Tooth, or you just get some parts and need to unlock their secrets first. Implemented by unlocking certain expensive techs by that Ancient Ruins, which you need to research first, giving you a core slot, very expensive super weapon that is capable to lay waste to vast fleets of the biggest warships with one shot. I LIKE it! :twisted:
Quote:
I do like the idea of having some weapon system that is efficient
The idea is actually appealing, at least to me. I've often thought about what different and distinct kind of weapons we could come up. Fighters are great, but I'd like even more variety (after all, the combat aspect is a very fundamental one to this game). A mechanic that allows to apply damage more efficiently. Geoffs idea of Targetting Computer Systems sounds very interesting, and should address some of the main issues you raise here.
Quote:
(I actually prefer attaching efficient damage to fighters, but that ship has sailed.)
I would not say that. Maybe in the form you might have envisioned, but having techs (like "Fighter Tactics" or somesuch) that allows Fighters to distribute their forces/damage more efficiently across enemy targets sounds very interesting. And it makes much more sense to explain how you can efficiently "allocate" just the right amount of fighters to enemy targets than to think up an explanation how the shot of one big megacannon can be efficiently spread across multiple enemy targets (not that it's impossible, but IMO more difficult, and requiring more ackward/more obviously handwaved explanations ;)).
Quote:
It's just a little more research and a bit of production to make your own black hole.
It is, and I don't like it. It's unbalanced, and needs to be fixed. Like a lot of other things. Well, game in alpha phase... ;)
Quote:
Quote:
The better/more powerful/ more efficient a path/element is than all its alternatives, the smaller that "margin" becomes, until you reach a point where you can't balance it properly anymore. You'll either get it to cheap or to expensive, it becomes impossible to get the costs just right so it's viable, but not making everything else pointless. With our game, this problem is even drastically compounded by the enormous

Here's where we disagree. Because once you allow victory to bought (eg Transcendence), if that victory is fair then pricing the element in question becomes much easier, and it should never cost more than Transcendence!
Um, maybe that's what made you think I conflated "normal"/"lesser" game elements and victory conditions? Because my paragraph you quoted here specifically does not apply to the latter. So yes, if we're talking about an "I win" button like device/weapon, and only about something like that (not something powerful that's just not quite there), I completely agree with you here.

My statement specifically meant game elements which are not intended to be "I win" buttons/game objectives.
Quote:
Chess has it easy!
Yep, definitely. Which is why we now have AIs than can beat even the best humans at chess, but we're nowhere near that when it comes to games like FO. Which is a pity, because having an AI which is as strong as a human without cheating would be so awesome!!! :D


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:22 pm 
Offline
Release Manager, Design
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Posts: 4296
Location: Sol III
LGM-Doyle wrote:
I consider the Transcendence achievement a placeholder for a more complex and satisfying win based on research. Winning by Transcendence is not fun or memorable. Even if the cost is perfectly balanced, that does not make an element an interesting game element. Part of the fun of the Antimatter Cannon is the high variability.
Completely agree on all accounts. Regarding Transcendence, there have already been suggestions on how to make achieving it more interesting. Like having a series of techs that lead to tech victory, and which have certain massive side effects on the empire researching them, which opens opportunities for the other players to interfere and a challenge for the empire trying to achieve it to hold its ground long enough.
Quote:
The Antimatter Cannon works just fine when facing fighters if you structure your fleet to support it. Combat has 3 turns. In turn 1 the Antimatter Cannon works as expected, smashing through shields and causing great havoc. In turn 2, your fleet needs to have enough Flak Cannons or Interceptors to clear out the enemy Fighter shield launched in 1 turn. Then in turn 3 the Antimatter Cannon is back to full effectiveness. With a well designed fleet you get good utility from the Antimatter Cannon even when every shot isn't perfect.
Again agreed. Although it's not only fighters that have been raised as an issue, but also enemy fleets consisting of many small ships the Antimatter Cannon is inefficient against. However, I see that as a valid counter-strategy against a player who heavily depends on megacannons like that.
Quote:
When the Antimatter Cannon hits a small ship/fighter, I think of it not as the Antimatter Cannon targeting the fighter, but as the fighter heroically sacrificing themselves to save the planet/capital ship. The randomized targeting abstracts not only the attackers target choice, but also the defenders attempts to disrupt optimal target choice.
That's important to point out I think. Has been done in the past of course, but needs to be done every now and then: the current combat system with its randomness regarding target selection abstracts not only targetting, but all the maneuvers, counter-maneuvers, attempts at outflanking and bringing ones own ships into optimal positions while trying to prevent the enemy from achieving the same, etc.

Tactical maneuvers or a fighter sacrificing itself to thwart a successful hit by an enemy megacannon is a part of that. As long as a megacannon is up against a fleet of many small ships covering a few big ones, it will have a difficult time to score hits against the big ones. First the screen of small vessels needs to be thinned out...


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:29 pm 
Offline
Release Manager, Design
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Posts: 4296
Location: Sol III
Goddog wrote:
It is true for first two turns. However, most AIs (including I) spare some fighters to launch in turn 2. Therefore, some fighters are flying around in turn 3. The Spinal Mounted Antimatter Cannon will be likely to shoot a fighter again in turn 3, so the Spinal Mounted Antimatter Cannon is effective only on turn 1.
Which makes sparing fighters for launch on turn 2 a counter-strategy againt megacannons, at the price of wasting fighter power (because you effectively waste damage you could deal out), and even risking wasting those fighters completely if their carrier gets destroyed in round 1.
Quote:
That is a reason why spamming fighters becomes a tactic to distract enemy's shots.
Which is specifically intended and wanted that way.
Quote:
Hello, Forum!

This is my first post ever, but I have been playing FO for a couple of years.
Hello Goddog! Nice to hear from you. :D


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:16 pm 
Offline
Space Squid

Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:22 am
Posts: 54
Hi,

Vezzra wrote:
My point is, once you design a game element that is so powerful it actually becomes an "I win" button, and thus acquiring it a game objective, you cannot "downgrade" it to "normal"/"lesser" game element just by making it sufficiently expensive. You can't properly balance it against the lesser game elements anymore, you can only balance it properly against the other victory conditions

This is definitely a point of disagreement, and goes to the heart of why I keep using Transcendence (and similar victories in other 4x games) as a touchstone.

So here I am, playing Civ1. I have two ways to win: Reach Alpha Centauri first or kill everyone. (I omit victory through score, because yuck.) So my spaceship is a "game element that is so powerful it actually becomes an "I win" button." By your reasoning, all the research and production that goes into launching that ship on time can never be properly balanced against building an army worthy of Mordor and killing everything.

I do agree that the balance is difficult, and skilled players often find that a) it's easiest just to kill the pathetic AI and b) there's a tradeoff of tedious mouse clicking.

But by your argument, no 4x game should *ever* have a victory condition like "kill the Antarans" or "launch a spaceship" or "research transcendence," unless such absolute victory conditions are the only way to win. (This can be achieved by causing your cities/planets/systems to rebel when you control 40% of the map, for example, making domination victories impossible.)
Quote:
Which means, you need to decide what you want a powerful game element to be when you design it. If I don't want a certain superweapon to be actually game deciding, I must not make it too powerful, because it's not possible to make it not game deciding by raising its costs.

Sure. That brings us to a different kind of issue, I think: Do the proposed changes make the weapon game deciding. I'll even relax the constraint, to get to what I think is the heart of this (different) issue: Do the proposed changes make the weapon too important, even if not game deciding?

This isn't an issue of balance, but aesthetics. And, as I've written from perhaps my very first post about this, I offer no comment and defer to you guys.
Quote:
I guess here is the point where we probably disagree the most. Because even if a superweapon isn't powerful enough to constitute an automatic "I win" button (and thus doesn't qualify as a game objective), if it outperforms all other weapons in the game, it's just outright boring.

Hmm. If you really believe that, you have a (game) problem: Death Ray 4 is clearly the bestest! It beats DR3. It beats Plasma, Lasers and MD. It outperforms all other weapons in the game! Booooring!
Quote:
Simple because it becomes, as far as weapons are concerned, the optimal choice. So while you might be

Death Rays are broken!
Quote:
able to beat a player that has the superweapon even when you don't (by being sufficiently ahead in other aspects so you can counter the disadvantage of having the inferior weapon systems), why would you go for the less optimal weapons? When you can have your other advantages and the superweapon?

Must get rid of Death Rays. Or make them so expensive that no one would want them.

(Do you see my point? Every argument that you use regarding the cannon applies to Death Rays too. Too Good! The extra research cost doesn't matter! The extra production cost doesn't matter! My having an earlier fleet of crummier ships isn't important! Can't be balanced!)
Quote:
You can't get it right. At least, that's my experience.

Death Rays wrong! I'll stop. :)
Quote:
And even if you could, to me a weapon system that outperforms all other weapons (disregarding the costs) still is boring. I definitely prefer, not only for weapons, but for all game elements/mechanics where the

*resist... resist...*
Quote:
Quote:
It's another matter if you don't like the aesthetic!
If you mean the fluff explanation, well, as you said yourself in an earlier post, we can practically come up with something for almost everything. If you mean that I might not like the concept of such a weapon (that's better than all other weapons in all regards, only costs keeping it balanced), then yes, that's an additional gripe I have with these kind of things. ;)

I didn't mean the fluff. Choosing among possible game mechanics and other technicalities are still aesthetics.

For example, it wouldn't be a Star Wars game if it doesn't offer the possibility of a beam weapon that can destroy a planet. Or a knockoff with different fluff, such as what Abrams did to Star Trek. :( Or some other series, like Lensman, in which destroying a planet is just a step toward real violence. But that doesn't belong in other games, regardless of fluff.
Quote:
The Transcendence tech isn't "balanced" at all against all the other techs. After all, it gives you nothing - no building, no weapon, no device - nothing, and that for an insane price. However, it gives you instant victory, which by it's nature beats everything. It makes no sense at all to compare it to the other techs for that reason, and it's costs have nothing to do with how the other techs are priced. The costs for the Transcendence tech are actually determined by trying to balance it against victory by military conquest (and, by the way, still failing at that, because that's practically impossible just by

In other words, it is (attempted) "balance" against all the other techs: Instead of researching Transcendence, I could have focused more systems on production to achieve military conquest, and have selected military tech instead.
Quote:
adjusting the research costs - the approach to have tech victory just by researching a super expensive tech at the far end of the tech tree is very dull, as LGM-Doyle pointed out).

And that's a completely different issue: Aesthetics. Maybe you don't want a transcendence victory. MOO2 didn't have one.
Quote:
Nope, because we're dealing with an either-or thing here. You can't gradually move from "victory condition" to "normal game element". You need to decide, when you design that thing, what you want it to be. Then you know how and against which other game elements you need it to balance.

Ideally. :) The decision is about aesthetics. Having decided, there is a separate matter of achieving the necessary balance to realize the desire. A game can have many elements, ranging from "minor normal game element" to "important normal game element" to "critical game element for achieving a kind of victory" to "game element that is effectively victory, probably," to "game element that is victory, period." No 'gradual move' just gradations of importance.

But during design iterations, one can gradually shift the importance of some element, downplaying or increasing its prominence. (Can != Should.)
Quote:
It is, and I don't like it. It's unbalanced, and needs to be fixed. Like a lot of other things. Well, game in alpha phase... ;)

*lol* Not the only such game. Why, some very successful game companies *sell* their alpha releases on the open market! (FreeOrion is far stabler than Civ6, from what I hear.....)
Quote:
Quote:
Chess has it easy!
Yep, definitely. Which is why we now have AIs than can beat even the best humans at chess, but we're nowhere near that when it comes to games like FO. Which is a pity, because having an AI which is as strong as a human without cheating would be so awesome!!! :D

It's mostly because many man-hours have been devoted to chess and go ai, imo. I'm pretty sure that if similar resources were devoted to your favorite 4x game, human players would be obsolete surprisingly quickly.

Anyway,

Ken


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:59 pm 
Offline
Creative Contributor
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:52 pm
Posts: 1396
Vezzra wrote:
Quote:
I raise the victory condition elements as a counterargument against the claim that a weapon cannot be balanced with high cost if it is very powerful.
Balanced against the other victory conditions - yes. Balanced against "normal" game elements - no.

The Transcendence tech isn't "balanced" at all against all the other techs. After all, it gives you nothing - no building, no weapon, no device - nothing, and that for an insane price. However, it gives you instant victory, which by it's nature beats everything. It makes no sense at all to compare it to the other techs for that reason, and it's costs have nothing to do with how the other techs are priced. The costs for the Transcendence tech are actually determined by trying to balance it against victory by military conquest (and, by the way, still failing at that, because that's practically impossible just by adjusting the research costs - the approach to have tech victory just by researching a super expensive tech at the far end of the tech tree is very dull, as LGM-Doyle pointed out).



I think the point is
Transcendence tech= victory game element
Conquest of planets= normal game element...if you do it enough you get victory

So victory is possible with either "victory elements" (that is ALL that they do) OR with "normal elements"

Normal elements allow you to advance toward multiple victory conditions and help you avoid elimination
weapons, shields, economic techs, etc. are all 'normal elements'.

That is part of the reason conquest is better in most games. Conquest is a "normal game element" so it helps with everything. Researching Transcendence doesn't help your empire (researching prerequisite techs does, but that helps Conquest as much as Transcendence by boosting your economy)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 81 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group