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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:18 pm 
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Pupating Mass

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Misiorla are getting some huge boost on their Flak Cannons.

Generic gets 3 damage per,
Mu Ursh get 5 damage per,
Misiorla get 12 damage per Flak Cannon.

I've attached a screen shot of a Small Hull with a single Flak Cannon, and I see the same behaviour in a few other hulls that I checked.

Build 12-20 win32.


Attachments:
flak.jpg
flak.jpg [ 83.03 KiB | Viewed 347 times ]

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:25 am 
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Yeah, it's a combo of effects, Mu Ursh code is
Code:
            effects =
SetMaxSecondaryStat partname = "SR_WEAPON_0_1" value = Value + 2
Meaning they get two extra 1 pt shots for a total of 5, whereas Misiorla (Ultimate) get
Code:
            effects = [
                SetMaxDamage partname = "SR_WEAPON_0_1" value = Value + 1
                SetMaxSecondaryStat partname = "SR_WEAPON_0_1" value = Value + 3
]
Meaning they get an extra shot for a total of 6 shots, but each shot also does an extra damage so they do 6 2pt damage shots.

Against most ship targets, with shields, they're still completely irrelevent, and against fighters it also makes zero difference, it only makes a difference against unarmoured targets and planets. I hadn't actually noticed this before, and haven't really done any balance work on the species effects on flak cannons—I do like that Geoff made it affect ROF instead of damage though, that's a cool idea.

Have you noticed in game that it's that much more powerful?

(I am thinking of toning flak cannon down so it starts at ROF:2 and you get tech bonuses to increase ROF or possibly get a better part later on, and also thinking of having a tech that decreases Mass Driver damage but increases ROF for the mid to late game, not done anything more than thought about it yet though)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:14 pm 
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Pupating Mass

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MatGB wrote:
Meaning they get an extra shot for a total of 6 shots, but each shot also does an extra damage so they do 6 2pt damage shots.

Ok, that makes more sense. In the combat report damage log it shows them doing a single point of damage to fighters, but now that I've looked in the freeoriond.log file I see that they are indeed doing 2 points of damage per fighter, and 6 shots per cannon. Much better that the 12 shots per I thought they were getting.

My opinion is that the Flag Cannons are overpowered in that they shoot down every fighter that they aim at. I've been trying to figure out a better mechanic, one where it makes sense for me to build fighters instead of just adding flak cannons to my ships. A few ideas are:

one, introduce randomness in the flak cannon accuracy; they only hit say, 30% of the time, and the accuracy could be dependent on species and techs.
two, introduce range, in that the flak cannons should only be a short range ship defence weapon and only target fighters that are attacking that ship, not every fighter in the battle.
three, a higher fighter structure, 2 or 3? or light fighters 2, medium 3, heavy 4?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:30 pm 
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Bear in mind that one of the design principles of FO is that combat should be deterministic, there are no chances to hit (nor are there chances to detect), the only thing that's random in combat is what is shot at and we've talked about a target priority system of some sort several times to reduce/eliminate that.

I do like the idea that flak can only hit what is attacking it but I'd guess that'd be very hard to code and reduce their effectiveness in other ways (on the other hand if we also introduce torpedoes using similar mechanics having them will be essential).

Also, at the moment they are simply a damage 1, ROF 3 weapon, the engine makes no other distinction between them and other guns, we can and probably want to introduce other weapons/techs that use the ROF mechanic.

I'm inclined to reduce their shots to 2, but it might be worth testing increasing fighter numbers in both hangers and launch bays (and probably reducing stats), which would reduce their effectiveness in a different way. I/we want fighters to be something you either need or fear so we've got different choices in design/fleet composition, that's partially why they penetrate shields, but the exact details are I suspect going to need balancing several times over not just in this cycle.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:39 pm 
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Since the talk about fighters and flack cannons began, I've been thinking about the way weapons work in FO.

As far as fighters go, as ROF weapons are supposed to be anti-fighter, the minimum capacity for the lowest capacity fighter bay should always be more than the ROF of the anti-fighter weapon. Otherwise with deterministic combat flack ships will always shoot down all your fighters. IE: if the ROF of the flack cannon is 3, then carriers need to be able to launch at least 4 fighters/flack cannon/round of combat to get past the flack ships. Also presumably they should be able to inflict at least enough damage to take out the flack ship itself. Likewise because they are supposed to be balanced against each other, the ceiling for carrier capacity should be less than the capacity of two flack ships. his way one carrier will always get past one flack ship, but two flack ships will always stop one carrier. I don't know what numbers will need to look like for other hulls because I've only barely played around with carrier designs, so I don't know for sure how to suggest balancing the parts, but this kind of relationship should make them balanced.

I do think that a target priority system would be a good idea. One problem I've run into trying to use basic carriers is that they tend to get shot down before they really do much. I don't know how cumbersome having multiple target priority systems operating would be. Also I don't know how easy it would be for humans or more importantly AI to learn to keep track of all of them and use them properly. However I do think a universal targeting priority system should be workable.
  1. Unarmed Fighters
  2. Missiles/Torpedoes (if we get them)
  3. Armed Fighters
  4. Flack Ships/Distortion Ships
  5. Direct Weapon Ships
  6. Carriers/Troop Ships/Bombardment Ships (IE: Special Weapon Ships)
  7. Unarmed Ships
  8. Stealth Ships (according to stealth value)
  9. Planets/Buildings/Population ect...
Part of the function of fighters is to soak-up damage from the other ships, so they should be at the front. There is script and resources for unarmed "fighters" so they should take hits first. If we do get missile-type weapons (basically self-destructing fighters) they should have priority over armed fighters for targeting. Flack ships take out fighters, so they should be targeted by fighters and any support ships. Carriers should be protected by the other ships in the fleet, so they can continue to launch fighters if they still have them. The same goes for bombardment and invasion ships, but I don't know what kind of priority we should set those in-between each other. Any unarmed ships that are in your fleet (for whatever reason) should be protected by the other ships, cementing fighters role as damage sinks, and in case these are things like colony ships you would naturally want protected. Lastly, with combat being deterministic, stealth ships should be targeted last. Their stealth value should determine how "far back" they are. So distortion ships should have a high target priority to keep any of your stealth ships stealth. Planets (and anything on/around them) should take damage last if there are friendly ships in the system, under the assumption that the fleet will protect the planets.

On a bit of a digression:
I do think a major re-thinking of weapons would be a good idea as right now they all just seem to be the same aside from damage amount. The solar concentrator gives lasers some uniqueness, and I like it. I'd suggest that if there is a second high rate-of-fire weapon that it be a Pulsed Laser, namely because resources for it already exist and it would be distinguishable form the flack cannons by being able to take advantage of the solar concentrator (presumably giving it even higher ROF around brighter stars). Perhaps giving plasma cannons and/or death rays some ROF or ROF increasing techs would make them more interesting. I do think that if Death-Rays are going to stay a sort of "ultimate weapon" that they should have some ROF value above 1 for sure, to make them at least useful against fighters.

With consideration to the idea of perpetually researchable improvement technologies here, if something like that is ever implemented, we should think of ways to make different weapons more qualitatively different in the game as there would be almost no reason to ever research plasma cannons or death rays if you could just research "improved rail guns" an unlimited number of times, even if it only ever gave you a small bonus. Especially with the research numbers of the later game.

On a bit further of a digression:
Right now we just have a single trait that makes all of a species attack attributes (aside from invasion) better. There has been talk about "good pilots" having a bit of a balance issue, and I think this is correct. I would suggest decoupling a species effectiveness with fighters from its effectiveness from guns. This may in fact be useful to making the Mu Ursh a bit more balanced, as lore talks about them being good fighter pilots, but doesn't really mention their weapons. It would probably also make the Misiorla's weapons bonuses a bit more balanced in context if someone else had really good fighters (that could presumably contend with them). So you could have a species that had really good carriers, but bad battleships (say nerf Mu Ursh's guns), and another species with good battleships but bad carriers (say nerf Misiorla's fighters), or even no fighters (I'm thinking of the blind shipbuilders here like Exaw and Abbadonians).

To go a bit further to balance these traits against each other, I would suggest giving the "good weapons" species a bonus to rate-of-fire for all weapons (right now this only applies to flack cannons), somewhat nerfing the bonus overall but ensuring they'll always be somewhat effective when put up against fighters. Likewise giving "good fighters" a bonus to fighter capacity, means that the ROF bonus is more relevant to the "good weapons" species. Also with tech primarily increasing the damage of weapons this keeps the traits distinctive throughout game progression. This would also put weapon damage squarely in the realm of technology, which I think would be a better approximation of realistic situations where better technology is what gets better weapons. There's no reason that an alien species should have inherently more destructive weapons with access to the same technology, but they could have better reflexes or just move faster.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:50 pm 
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Programmer

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I'm of the opposite opinion from UrshMost. As Flak Cannons currently stand, I do not find them very useful.
I need to sacrifice some firepower for a gain of preventing, at max, 2 additional fighters from attacking on round 3.
Using a normal weapon is not only more versatile, I see it as more effective vs carriers.
Nor do they deter me from using fighters, which effectively extend the durability of my ships (for no cost in supply range)

Possibly could add a suppressing fire effect on enemy ships that lowers their bay capacity.
This would be a percent loss tied with the number of enemy ships.
A single flak cannon would have a very minor effect vs a fleet of carriers.
An equal number of flak cannons to enemy ships would have a decent impact (-50%?)
(I'm not sure how well this addresses UrshMost concerns, short on time so I'll try to revisit it)

Agree something should address good/bad pilots as to effecting fighters.
As LGM-Doyle pointed out in another thread, Gyashe need some love here.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:37 am 
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dbenage-cx wrote:
I'm of the opposite opinion from UrshMost. As Flak Cannons currently stand, I do not find them very useful.
I need to sacrifice some firepower for a gain of preventing, at max, 2 additional fighters from attacking on round 3.
Using a normal weapon is not only more versatile, I see it as more effective vs carriers.
Nor do they deter me from using fighters, which effectively extend the durability of my ships (for no cost in supply range)

I'm still not sure on it, in part because I'm finding I regularly get bogged down into multi-turn fights, and in them if you can deny the enemy supply then flak cannon can be incredibly useful, I've noted a liking of Interceptors in AI designs that I don't currently share. We've also discussed increasing the number of combat rounds (indeed the code has just been changed to allow this to be done more easily in part so I can test the idea), in part because my concern over flak being useless as it only effects one round is still there.
Quote:
Possibly could add a suppressing fire effect on enemy ships that lowers their bay capacity.
This would be a percent loss tied with the number of enemy ships.
A single flak cannon would have a very minor effect vs a fleet of carriers.
An equal number of flak cannons to enemy ships would have a decent impact (-50%?)
(I'm not sure how well this addresses UrshMost concerns, short on time so I'll try to revisit it)

This could be interesting.
Quote:
Agree something should address good/bad pilots as to effecting fighters.
As LGM-Doyle pointed out in another thread, Gyashe need some love here.

Maybe.

Worth noting: the Mu Ursh description was entirely written by me to describe their then abilities in game and give them some flavour, I disliked that the most sought after natives had no text so I knocked something together, fighters didn't then exist so weren't mentioned.

However, I definitely want to decouple goof fighters from good weapons, but it's not a priority at the moment compared to getting the basics of fighters right in the first place (a general balance pass on species is planned within the next few cycles, in part as it can be done with little to no disruption to the AI giving them time to catch up with existing features).

Anyway...

Labgnome, you've got some really good ideas in your post we need to mull over, however I need to separate it out a bit.

In the short term, my priority is getting the current mechanics of fighters vs other weapons balanced, playable and fun, so that we can get the 0.4.7 Release out early in the new year: for that, changing stats of existing weapons can be done, but changing the underlying mechanics can't. I love, for example, the idea that the Solar Concentrator could increase ROF instead of weapon power, that could be really cool, but it's all way outside my immediate scope. Same applies for target priorities: I would love to see this, but it can't be implemented soon.

So, can you do me a favour: split your ideas up into stuff for the immediate release (current stats, flak cannon effectiveness, species traits) and post it here: Fighters! Feedback needed and then for the rest start a new thread or two with a more implementation minded description so it can be discussed more thoroughly as a planned/wanted feature?

One thing that could happen, medium term, is if fighter capacity and all weapons were upped a fair bit, so most weapons had, for example, ROF:2 minimum, then a trait adding ROF isn't doubling effectiveness, it's increasing it slightly, etc. But that can't de done this cycle even if it could be done within the next year (we're hoping for 0.5.0 in Autumn 2017 hence the desire to get Fighters in for 0.4.7 very early).

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:18 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
I love, for example, the idea that the Solar Concentrator could increase ROF instead of weapon power, that could be really cool, but it's all way outside my immediate scope. Same applies for target priorities: I would love to see this, but it can't be implemented soon.

To clarify: I wasn't thinking of changing the effect for regular laser weapons. I was thinking of adding a new high ROF weapon (Pulsed Laser), and going from the species trait bonus example and having the Solar Concentrator up the ROF of the Pulsed Laser, while still upping the damage of the regular Laser. That way the two ROF weapons would still stay distinct with the use of improvement techs. One would get a solar concentration bonus and the other wouldn't.

Mostly I wanted to give a suggestion and push for the use of a target priority system.

I'll separate (and elaborate on these) in some other threads soon.

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