Balancing species

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

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MiniMe
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Balancing species

#1 Post by MiniMe »

I've been play-testing most species in the last days and would like to give my thoughts concerning balancing.

I will compare FreeOrion to Civ4, since this is the only other strategy game i know.

What i think should be changed generally:
1. No species should start with extra ships (Eaxaw and Etty). Even with the nerf to Laser 3 (Eaxaw) it is still possible to conquer AI home-planets with those starting ships. Isn't it sufficient to give them free techs? This could be done with every species similar to Civ4. The free starting techs could encourage different playing styles (expansive, agressive, defensive, etc).

2. "Narrow planet tolerance":the game depends too much on the galaxy formation (=luck). If there is no "good" planet close, even after researching Orbital Construction, you are screwed.
As in Civ4: the start of a game is crucial. If you first have to research 86RP/6T, then build an outpost ship to connect...you are just too far behind. Teching to Orbital Habitation would cost 624RP :?
I understand the galaxy formation is somewhat limited (ie the problem with home-worlds spawning too close), but perhaps something could be done here, ie. ensuring at least one "good" planet nearby?
Or perhaps changing the system: suitability poor -> good always gives a positive pop and the pop-cap is increased with techs?

3. "Xenophobic": i generally dislike this addition. Invading natives early on is useless. If not completely removed, the negative effect should at least be smaller.
In my latest game i had 3 Trith colonies and invaded one native. My 3 Trith colonies lost combined 32pop and 8.6PP. The native planet added 18.7pop and 9RP.
Trith now combines the worst combination: "Narrow planet tolerance" and "Xenophobic".
Eaxaw's starting ships encourage aggressive play early on. But unless you conquer a home-planet, invading a native/Ai colony gives you the same effect as described above.

To sum it up, I think all species should have the same/similar conditions at the start of the game.

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MatGB
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Re: Balancing species

#2 Post by MatGB »

I'm inclined to agree on point one, I've abandoned a couple games recently just because the Eaxaw were nearby and it was too much to fight them off, restarting a different seed to test what I wanted to test was more fun. OTOH, it's not as bad for Etty, they really do suck without that bonus, they suck with it TBH ;-)

On the second, it's a balancing thing, I've played Egassem a few times recently, and had them do fine even with no nearby planets, OTOH I did have natives set to high each time so I could conquer and colonise with them.

The third I disagree with, for the most part, I really like the Xenophobia idea, I think it might be a bit OTT with Trith but is definitely fine with Eaxaw, I played them with it several times and one time wiped out all other creatures in the galaxy. Both start with Concentration Camps and with Eaxaw once a native species has a camp down the xenophobia goes-the species wants to wipe out the galaxy, try playing with them but actively camping all other critters to death.

It's a flavour thing, you don't need to play a xenophobic critter or a narrow tolerance critter, they're definitely "harder" (and xenophobes probably need a different AI script) to play, but I don't think unbalancingly so, just requiring a ifferent mindset.

(if you want to see real unbalance, hack species.txt to make Acirema playable and CanColonise, nearly as bad as SuperTesters...)
Mat Bowles

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MiniMe
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Re: Balancing species

#3 Post by MiniMe »

MatGB wrote:...with Eaxaw, I played them with it several times and one time wiped out all other creatures in the galaxy. Both start with Concentration Camps and with Eaxaw once a native species has a camp down the xenophobia goes-the species wants to wipe out the galaxy, try playing with them but actively camping all other critters to death.
Eaxaw is actually still my favorite species and i start most games with them.

As is now, the problem is the luck in galaxy formation. If you find an AI nearby and conquer their homeworld, the game is easy.
Depending on the captured species, i actually start using the concentration camps on the Eaxaws. You still keep the Laser 3 bonus when Eaxaw is dead, but lose the Xenophobic malus. Same with natives that can colonize (i love Kobuntura and Scylior and both are superior to Eaxaw anyway).

edit: i just started another game as Eaxaw: no AI anywhere close but a native planet. Invading it cost me 3 troop ships and the result: i lost overall 9PP=42% and 0.5RP.
Ofc i could kill off the natives (Tae Ghirus). But they can colonize+telepathic and cover other planet habitability than Eaxaw.


BUT if there is no AI or colonizeable native nearby, Eaxaw is a pain with Xenophobic. Conquering natives is counterproductive, and once you have too many Eaxaw colonies you are faced with the decision to kill off AI colonies in mid-game.

I agree though, this trait does not ruin the game.
It just seems odd to design a game that is setup to have a multi-species empire and then introduce a trait that works the opposite.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Balancing species

#4 Post by Geoff the Medio »

MiniMe wrote:You still keep the Laser 3 bonus when Eaxaw is dead, but lose the Xenophobic malus.
The Eaxaw could be modified to give a fixed bonus to the damage meter of laser parts (and possibly some other weapon parts), rather than granting a tech at the star. This would necessitate keeping them around to crew the ships in order to get the bonus.
It just seems odd to design a game that is setup to have a multi-species empire and then introduce a trait that works the opposite.
FreeOrion supports multi-species empires, but that doesn't mean every player has to use them.

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MatGB
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Re: Balancing species

#5 Post by MatGB »

Geoff the Medio wrote:The Eaxaw could be modified to give a fixed bonus to the damage meter of laser parts (and possibly some other weapon parts), rather than granting a tech at the star. This would necessitate keeping them around to crew the ships in order to get the bonus.
This? This is a really good idea, I think that'd work better overall as long as it's not too OTT, +1 for Great and +2 for Ultimate would be fairly useful nearly all the way through the game but not be that overpowered in the early game nor fairly pointless in the late game.

And it'd be another 'choice' for main shipyard species, Acirema give shields, Eaxaw and Hhoh give weapon boosts, Laenfa and Trith give scanning boosts, etc.
FreeOrion supports multi-species empires, but that doesn't mean every player has to use them.
'Xactly, one thing I love about the game is the massive amount of flexibility, I dislike playing single-species empires generally, but doing it made me rethink my approach to a fair few things, and it was nice to find Terraforming and Gaian planets to be incredibly useful as opposed to being a nice adjunct. And Concentration Camps in the early game give sucha massive boost I think that's more OTT than the Ultimate Weapons boost.

('m currently playing with a hacked species file, no natives but everyone with CanColonise is Playable and I put 18 AIs into a 180 system galaxy, it's been, um, interesting... Wouldn't call it balanced but it made a massive change)
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eleazar
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Re: Balancing species

#6 Post by eleazar »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
MiniMe wrote:You still keep the Laser 3 bonus when Eaxaw is dead, but lose the Xenophobic malus.
The Eaxaw could be modified to give a fixed bonus to the damage meter of laser parts (and possibly some other weapon parts), rather than granting a tech at the star. This would necessitate keeping them around to crew the ships in order to get the bonus.
That's more like what i wanted to give "aggressive" species, but it would have been tricky and/or a pain to script, and never got around to it.

Several of the species traits that i put in are kinda kludgy-- my best attempt at the time of scripting some sort of mechanic that matches the various species abilities.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Balancing species

#7 Post by Geoff the Medio »

There are functional effects to set ship part meters now, so it should be easier to implement things that need to modify them...

I'm also presently trying removing [edit] have removed [/edit] the slot type parameter from the ship part effect, as its potential use is obscure and probably not necessary.

After that, setting a ship part meter would be done something like:

Code: Select all

           EffectsGroup
            scope = Source
            effects =
                SetDamage partname = "SR_WEAPON_1_1"
                          value = Value + 50

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Dilvish
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Re: Balancing species

#8 Post by Dilvish »

Geoff, howabout if the partname parameter didn't require an exact match, but was a 'starts with' type parameter (or else allowed an '*' wildcard), so that as discussed above, an aggressive species could have something like:

Code: Select all

           EffectsGroup
            scope = Source
            effects =
                SetDamage partname = "SR_WEAPON_"
                          value = Value + 1
If I provided any code, scripts or other content here, it's released under GPL 2.0 and CC-BY-SA 3.0

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Balancing species

#9 Post by Geoff the Medio »

There's supposed to be a variant that takes a part class as a parameter instead of a name:

Code: Select all

        EffectsGroup
            scope = Source
            effects =
                SetDamage partclass = ShortRange
                          value = Value + 50  
I can't seem to get it working at the moment, though...

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Balancing species

#10 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Geoff the Medio wrote:I can't seem to get it working at the moment, though...
After looking into the problem, there's an issue with how the code that executes ship part meter setting effects works. It presently only handles the variant of the effect that acts on a single part meter, specified by the part name. This could be fixed to act on any parts that have the suitable class, but the code it's embedded in for meter accounting isn't properly set up to handle cases of a single meter setting effect modifying more than one meter. A bit of rewriting of SetShipPartMeter::Execute itself and a bit of reorganizing some code it's called from (eg. EffectsGroup::ExecuteSetMeter) will be needed for setting meters for parts of a particular class to be implemented properly.

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eleazar
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Re: Balancing species

#11 Post by eleazar »

Geoff the Medio wrote:After that, setting a ship part meter would be done something like:

Code: Select all

           EffectsGroup
            scope = Source
            effects =
                SetDamage partname = "SR_WEAPON_1_1"
                          value = Value + 50
I've tested that and it works-- however the only mathematical operations it allows are "Value + number", and "Value - number".

I can't do "Value + Value", or better "Value * number", which would make things script mantainance easier.

EDIT: implemented anyway:

revision 6386
" ~ Switched the 'Weapons' series species picks to give a bonus/malus to any ship weapons. Also added a 'Bad Weapsons' pic and gave it to several species."

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MatGB
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Re: Balancing species

#12 Post by MatGB »

I'm workign on a species concept of Good Colonists, they're crap at everything but cram their colony ships full, I cannot figure out how to code it so the colony pod and cryonic pod get +1 capacity, I've set them currently to auto start with cryonic pods instead but that's not ideal.

Any idea what I should be telling it to do? I've tried Capacity but that didn't take at all.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Balancing species

#13 Post by Geoff the Medio »

eleazar wrote:I can't do "Value + Value", or better "Value * number"
What does "can't do" mean? The script parses and shows up fine for me... If you just mean that it has no effect, that's probably because the meter is 0 at the time that that effect is executed.
MatGB wrote:I've tried Capacity but that didn't take at all.
What does "it didn't take at all" mean?

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eleazar
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Re: Balancing species

#14 Post by eleazar »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:I can't do "Value + Value", or better "Value * number"
What does "can't do" mean? The script parses and shows up fine for me... If you just mean that it has no effect, that's probably because the meter is 0 at the time that that effect is executed.
Yeah, has no effect. I didn't think about the order of execution issues-- I'm rusty.

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Sloth
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Re: Balancing species

#15 Post by Sloth »

eleazar wrote:revision 6386
" ~ Switched the 'Weapons' series species picks to give a bonus/malus to any ship weapons. Also added a 'Bad Weapsons' pic and gave it to several species."
I like this change. Finally the Gysache are nerfed a bit!

Note that the species with "Bad Weapons" haven't [[BAD_WEAPONS]] in their descriptions yet.
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