Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

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Vezzra
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#16 Post by Vezzra » Fri May 22, 2015 1:13 pm

Sloth wrote:This is really no reason not to have one hull that is slower.
I'm not against having slower and faster ships. That's fine, a very important element to make hulls different. I'm objecting to lowering the speed of the slowest hulls. If we feel that the speed difference of, e.g., the Scattered Asteroid Hull compared to an hull with average speed should be greater, please make the other hulls faster.

I'm of course talking about my personal game experience. Judging by that, a speed of 60 is already borderline slow. This should be the utmost lower speed limit for standard hulls.
Especially since extra engines are possible. No one is forcing anyone to use slow ships.
The desicion to use slow or fast hulls, and with that use of additional engines, should be strategic decisions based on weighing pros and cons in terms of in-game strategic advantages/disadvantages. They must not be based on how tedious/annoying/micromanagement heavy their use will be for the player.
The colony base hull (starlane speed 0). But without external slots it doesn't really count.
Now that's completely irrelevant for the discussion at hand. Those hulls are meant for stationary ships, which serve an entirely different purpose.

Tamed space monsters would be a better example for ships with speed < 60. I never bother with them. Why? Because using them is just too painful. By the time they get anywhere, the party is long over...

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#17 Post by MatGB » Fri May 22, 2015 5:02 pm

Aside: Vezzra, do you ever use Stargates/Transformers? Because I'm coming to the conclusion that the use of them is slightly overpowered compared to an AI that doesn't and some of your comments, especially about monsters and slow hulls makes little sense to me, monsters can be awesome chokepoint holders or holders of systems while you wait for the troop ships to arrive.

The rest I need time to read through and digest but I broadly agree with the main thrust.

One thing I'm thinking, reintroduce the Aggregate Asteroid Hull as a research point before Scattered, but change the stats to make it deliberately designed as a much slower defensive hull.

(also, dude, engines, I made them massively cheaper, remember? they make some hulls really overpowered, especially the ones with core slots)
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#18 Post by Chriss » Sun May 24, 2015 8:49 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Also worth noting with Scattered Asteroids it's got lots of internal slots good for engines/transpatial drive, so if you wanted it purely as a defensive beast having a very slow speed wouldn't matter at all, and for offence you just used some slots on speed.
That reasoning would be fine if we were talking about a very special purpose exotic hull type (like the Camouflage Asteroid Hull). The Scattered Asteroid Hull is the standard high end flagship of the asteroid hulls line (comparable to the Titan Hull, Sentient Hull, Solar Hull). As such it should be usable for standard fleet operation like the other standard high end flagships, and like them not having to be patched up for that purpose.
I don't see why every hull line needs to fit every use case. Why does a hull line need to have a hull which can fit the same (or similar enough to not matter) role as another hull in another hull line? Then what's the point in having different hull lines? So yeah, I see no issue with having a "flagship" hull which (and the whole hull line as such) can absolutely not fill a role which is comparable to the flagship hull of another line.

That said, you do raise a lot of valid points. I've been annoyed with those hulls too because of build time issues. It would probably fit the lore more if asteroid build times would be shorter compared to other hull lines, since the core body is already there and does not have to be constructed.

Travel time is annoying too for larger empires. I did use stargates, but the way they currently work they're micromanagy too... But yes, engines. They stack! A Scattered Asteroid Hull can gain a lot of starlane speed with engines. As you said, it's a huge difference for the gameplay.

But, both is not an issue with this particular hull. It's more another area where the game could need some improvements. Larger empire means later in the game. We could introduce some additional techs which increase starlane speed. Find a way so that stargates get used automatically.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#19 Post by MatGB » Sun May 24, 2015 9:30 pm

Re Stargates: my plan is that the Stargate building becomes "Stargate Command" and allows all supply linked planets to gate, but that each planet sending/receiving receives penalties, specifically to reduce the micromanagement but not make it too overpowered (not sure on details, that's a different thread).

Re ALL the flagship hulls, I really want to reduce their build times (I wanted to anyway, but Vezzra's persuaded me it needs doiing moreso), but if I do that it makes the Scattered Asteroid even more powerful and over the top, hence I want to figure out what to do with it at the same time.

But yeah, asteroid hulls should be quicker to build but the slowest base speeds, and I'm definitely on board with reducing their base fuel capacity to much lower, perhaps starting at 1? Then you've got a choice of shields, fuel or speed for their internal slots and it really makes a difference.

Hmm, perhaps increase the speeds of the 3 basic hulls (to 80), and have all asteroids at 60? If we also make the Elliptical layout bigger (and thus with longer starlanes) it wouldn't imbalance the basic game (IIRC either Vezzra or Dilvish told me how to do this ages ago but I've forgotten).
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#20 Post by Vezzra » Mon May 25, 2015 2:45 pm

MatGB wrote:Aside: Vezzra, do you ever use Stargates/Transformers?
In late game, when the annoyance of having to micromanage them is the lesser evil than the annoyance of managing throngs of slow ships trecking across a large late game empire ;)
Because I'm coming to the conclusion that the use of them is slightly overpowered compared to an AI that doesn't
Scrap the "slightly" and I'll agree. Stargates are very powerful, but there's nothing wrong with that. The AI not using them is the issue in this case.

But the whole stargate mechanic is in dire need of a complete re-design and re-implementation anyway.
some of your comments, especially about monsters and slow hulls makes little sense to me, monsters can be awesome chokepoint holders or holders of systems while you wait for the troop ships to arrive.
Well, provided they are already in the right spot, or not too far away. If your monster nest happens to be on the other side of your empire, forget it. Unless you use stargates of course, but as has already been repeatedly noted, that comes with micromanagement problems of its own.
One thing I'm thinking, reintroduce the Aggregate Asteroid Hull as a research point before Scattered, but change the stats to make it deliberately designed as a much slower defensive hull.
If we can't find another way to make it sufficiently unique, IMO that would be pointless, because of all the reasons re slow speed - as a player, I'd just research the tech to get to the Scattered Asteroid Hull, and never bother using the Aggregate Asteroid Hull.
also, dude, engines, I made them massively cheaper, remember?
The price of the engines isn't really the problem here.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#21 Post by Vezzra » Mon May 25, 2015 3:26 pm

Chriss wrote:I don't see why every hull line needs to fit every use case. Why does a hull line need to have a hull which can fit the same (or similar enough to not matter) role as another hull in another hull line?
Well, I don't see wanting the Scattered Asteroid Hull to have a certain minimum base speed that is mandatory for it to be useable for its primary intended purpose (act as a flagship, which means being able to be used for normal fleet operations) as it "fitting every use case", "fitting the same or (similar enough to not matter) role". I don't want to reduce the speed difference to the point where it does not matter anymore, I just don't want to cripple a hull beyond usefulness for the sake of having an even greater speed difference, when less difference sufficiently distinguishes the hulls already.
Then what's the point in having different hull lines? So yeah, I see no issue with having a "flagship" hull which (and the whole hull line as such) can absolutely not fill a role which is comparable to the flagship hull of another line.
The point of having different hull lines is that each hull line has it's specific strengths and weaknesses, which will require the player to resort to different strategies/approaches when applying his ships to the various types of tasks his fleets need to cover. This means that each hull line must be able to cover all essential roles at least basically, so the player isn't forced to more or less research all hull lines to be able to cover all that needs to be covered.

Otherwise I'd ask the question: What's the point of having different hull lines, if I, as a player, have to get all of them to be able to compete? Consequently I do have an issue if a hull line can "absolutely not" fill an essential role. It might be very bad at some roles, but not utterly incapable. Were the latter the case, there would be no strategic decision for the player to make when it comes to chosing hull lines, as he'd have to research all of them anyway.

There can (and should!) be special purpose roles that can only be filled by some (or even one) hull lines. And each hull line probably should have some special hulls that can do things no hull of the other lines can. But there's a certain set of core roles all hull lines must be able to cover at least basically.
But yes, engines. They stack! A Scattered Asteroid Hull can gain a lot of starlane speed with engines. As you said, it's a huge difference for the gameplay.
Right. And as speed is one of the major weaknesses of the asteroid hull line, it definitely should cost a price to alleviate those weakness. It just shouldn't be absolutely required to make them useable at all. Otherwise, just take away the slots you'd have to fill on each design anyway, raise the costs for the hull by the costs for the parts you'd have to put in, and you get the same end result, without forcing the player to have to slap on those few extra parts each time he makes a new design with this particular hull type.
But, both is not an issue with this particular hull. It's more another area where the game could need some improvements. Larger empire means later in the game. We could introduce some additional techs which increase starlane speed.
Agreed, that sounds like a good idea. We already have some of those, but can probably use some more.
Find a way so that stargates get used automatically.
Definitely. Exactly what I've been thinking how they should work. Stargates should basically create a "network of wormholes", where each of your stargates is connected with each other of your stargates, and the pathfinding algorithm takes those in account automatically. Which will result in your fleets being able to jump from stargate systems to other stargate systems without delay.

But that requires changes to the C++ code, we can't do that with FOCS.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#22 Post by Chriss » Wed May 27, 2015 9:42 am

I thought about the idea of stargates beeing "fixed" two way shortcuts, too. Apart from the additional hassle in setting them up, it may be a good compromise between the micro hassle now and the uber-powerfull MOO2 variant of everything is instantly connected...

One thing on topic, regarding "if internal slots need to be used for engines, one could simply make them required components": Well, yeah. Kinda. But internal slots do not have all that much usefull items yet. Add usefull internal slot parts and it's a different story. Currently, one can pimp the scattered asteroid hull from 60 starlane speed to 180 with engine parts. And the only downsize is no shields (apart from the special), and no additional fuel.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#23 Post by MatGB » Wed May 27, 2015 9:48 am

I am seriously considering making engines non-stacking so you pick *one* and one only. Yes, we need more internal slot components (I need to either code up my ideas for damage control parties or write it out for someone else, as an example), but that's not a reason to keep the current almost certainly over-the-top power engines currently have.

It's not that long ago I reduced the costs from "ridiculously expensive" to probably about right, but the cost for having one better engine is one thing, the accumulated benefits of having multiples, especially with Titans or other core-slot hulls, is excessive.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#24 Post by Chriss » Wed May 27, 2015 10:22 am

I dunno... I like the stacking. Fast ships really help a lot in usability. Maybe one could cap it so they don't stack linear forever.

StarDrive 2 has a mass per component and calculates speed and manoeuvrability based on that. It's interesting. Then again, their whole ship design is different. Tile-Based, different zones... Have a look at some youtube Videos. It has lots of nice ideas. Lacks a lot in balancing and fine-tuning I guess, but it's an indie game more or less.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#25 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed May 27, 2015 10:39 am

MatGB wrote:I am seriously considering making engines non-stacking so you pick *one* and one only.
The original design was to not have engines at all, and have hulls determine the speed of ships...

Alternatively, consider having stacking negative consequences to ships having certain engines in their design.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#26 Post by Vezzra » Wed May 27, 2015 11:48 am

Chriss wrote:I thought about the idea of stargates beeing "fixed" two way shortcuts, too. Apart from the additional hassle in setting them up, it may be a good compromise between the micro hassle now and the uber-powerfull MOO2 variant of everything is instantly connected...
I've moved the stargate discussion to a separate thread. As I can't split up a single post, can you repost this statement in that thread? I'll reply there.
One thing on topic, regarding "if internal slots need to be used for engines, one could simply make them required components": Well, yeah. Kinda. But internal slots do not have all that much usefull items yet. Add usefull internal slot parts and it's a different story. Currently, one can pimp the scattered asteroid hull from 60 starlane speed to 180 with engine parts. And the only downsize is no shields (apart from the special), and no additional fuel.
But that's exactly my point - right now, it's just the "annoyance" of having to do a few extra clicks that can be avoided. Once we've got enough interesting internal parts to choose from for the limited internal slots, it'll get even more annoying, as you can't really choose to forgo the extra engines, you have to add them anyway. There is no real choice for the player. And if there's an "option" that isn't really an option because you have to take it, there's no point in offering that option (in our case, offer additional internal slots you have to fill with engine parts).

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#27 Post by Chriss » Wed May 27, 2015 12:11 pm

Unless by the time there are more internal slot components and there is a real competition for the slot space, we also have other features which help with ship travel time... ;)
Right this second, with the current state of things, I don't think it's an issue. But yes. I do get your general point.
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#28 Post by MatGB » Wed May 27, 2015 12:36 pm

I'd not really want a design system where you had to "pick an engine", that's why we have hulls able to do a lot of basic tasks without needing a specific part. We need more internal slots, and we need to make more of the existing parts actually usable/useful, that's an ongoing project. I definitely want more stuff that messes with stealth, we've discussed repair crews and similar, even boarding parties and the like.

I'm toying with the idea of having core parts that, to an extent, mimic the unique 'flagship' abilities the end line hulls all have. So, you could have the auto repair immediately after battle of the Logistics Facilitator (not fully auto repaired, but partially), but you'd have to sacrifice the ability to have the Singularity Engine, etc.

Same would apply to internal slots, I love Nanorobotic hulls, but I'm always torn as to whether I want more speed or a shield or fuel (and if we do another balancing pass on supply, which I think is needed, more fuel should become a more important choice).

Basically, we need more internal slot ideas, and then we can get them implemented. I've put off, for example, the damage control stuff, because I've been working on other things, but they're needed (Geoff's idea initially, I've been toying with details on and off for a ages).

Anyway, back to topic. Scattered Asteroid Hulls are too good, too cheap to research and ridiculously overpowered once you've finally got one or five launched. What do we do about it?
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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#29 Post by marcOSX » Wed May 27, 2015 10:30 pm

MatGB wrote:Same would apply to internal slots, I love Nanorobotic hulls, but I'm always torn as to whether I want more speed or a shield or fuel (and if we do another balancing pass on supply, which I think is needed, more fuel should become a more important choice).
I'm not torn. Shield is a must.
MatGB wrote:Scattered Asteroid Hulls are too good, too cheap to research and ridiculously overpowered once you've finally got one or five launched. What do we do about it?
This is true. Even if they take long time to build they are a game changer. Maybe another tech requirement would limit their availability, but in this case I would go for titanic that would be my game changer because I have yet to see an AI empire coming with titanic or scattered hulls. Maybe they are not so overpowered if the AI use it when it could, but I see the AI building tons of undertech heavy hulls ships, but never developping scattered type.

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Re: Scattered Asteroid Hull—too cheap and powerful

#30 Post by Vezzra » Thu May 28, 2015 1:33 pm

MatGB wrote:Anyway, back to topic. Scattered Asteroid Hulls are too good, too cheap to research and ridiculously overpowered once you've finally got one or five launched. What do we do about it?
The most obvious thing to do of course would be raising the research costs for it even more, and probably also the build costs. And please lets reduce the build time at least to 10 turns. That's still a lot, but 15 is... ugh.

Another important thing, especially with the recently toned down strength of the shield parts, is reducing the shield bonus of the Scattered Asteroid Hull. It's currently 5, and I suggest reducing that to 3. And we need to consider if we just apply this bonus to the ship itself, instead of granting this bonus to every own ship in the system. If we want to keep the latter, I think we at least need to nerf the bonus even more, maybe down to 2?

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