Ship part balance

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SkyCore
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Ship part balance

#1 Post by SkyCore » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:04 pm

I really dislike that the higher damage weapon types are also the most efficient damage per PP. The same is sort of true for armor as well. It becomes a no brainer when making decisions.

mass driver 2- reduced PP cost to 83
mass driver 3- reduced PP cost to 52
mass driver 4- reduced PP cost to 25
laser 1- reduced PP cost to 140
laser 2- reduced PP cost to 127
laser 3- reduced PP cost to 115
laser 4- reduced PP cost to 100
all plasma weapons reduced PP to 170

Or perhaps just make death rays ultra expensive instead. 500+ PP each. Then at least there is a real choice to be made between plasma or deathrays.

slv
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Re: Ship part balance

#2 Post by slv » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:59 pm

I am pretty sure that it is intended.

The idea is that researching Weapon 4 takes a lot of time and RP, while Mass Driver 4 is almost the same power as Laser 3.

If for example, plasma cannons had the highest damage/cost one would have no real reason to research death rays at all. Also remember that currently the production cost of different levels has to be the same otherwise it can mess up the production queue.

Right now it's indeed better to equip the highest level of weapon on your ships, no decisions there. But the solution you suggest will remove the decision of researching and the lack of decision-making while designing the ship will still b present.

I see some reasoning in making the gap between laser and deathrays smaller (ore perhaps even make lasers/plasma the most efficient) to make shields more useful than they are now, but the difference have to be much smaller, but in that case you need to balance the whole picture of shields + weapons and since you didn't mention shields at all this suggestion is a bit different than what you ask for.
Last edited by slv on Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

UrshMost
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Re: Ship part balance

#3 Post by UrshMost » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:30 pm

SkyCore wrote:Then at least there is a real choice to be made between plasma or deathrays.
I don't think that there's meant to be a decision on which is the better weapon between Plasma or Death Rays, the choice is if you want to research the entire Plasma weapon tree or jump straight to researching Death Rays.

Sometimes if I have a good pilot species so that my Lasers are doing well and can hold out a while longer I will choose to not spend the research points on plasma and go straight for Death Rays. (It's a simple choice if you find the early Death Ray tech in a ancient ruin somewhere...)
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UrshMost
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Re: Ship part balance

#4 Post by UrshMost » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:41 pm

SkyCore wrote:I really dislike that the higher damage weapon types are also the most efficient damage per PP.
The cost to build a laser gun stays basically the same, it's just that your firmware to control it gets better with more research. This ties in nicely with the fact that weapons within a type can be quickly upgraded to the latest version as long as you're within supply range of your empire.

Or with a mass driver; the breech and barrel stays the same but you research more effecient gun powders.

(This is just my logic for explaining the game mechanic, not FreeOrion official story - I am not a developer on the game.)
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Cpeosphoros
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Re: Ship part balance

#5 Post by Cpeosphoros » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:48 pm

UrshMost wrote:Sometimes if I have a good pilot species so that my Lasers are doing well and can hold out a while longer I will choose to not spend the research points on plasma and go straight for Death Rays. (It's a simple choice if you find the early Death Ray tech in a ancient ruin somewhere...)
Good pilots + Organic Solar webbed vessels makes me skip Plasma almost all the time
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AndrewW
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Re: Ship part balance

#6 Post by AndrewW » Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:13 pm

slv wrote:I for example, plasma cannons had the highest damage/cost one would have no real reason to research death rays at all. Also remember that currently the production cost of different levels has to be the same otherwise it can mess up the production queue.
Plasma Cannons where the best choice cost/damage wise once upon a time. Then shields where changed to damage reduction (used to basically just be an expensive additional armor).

defaultuser
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Re: Ship part balance

#7 Post by defaultuser » Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:10 am

With the type of game I play, I rarely research any of the 2/3/4 levels except for Death Ray sequence. Sometimes if I need a strong weapon early, like guardian ships to knock off because colonization is about to stall, I will look at Mass Driver. Laser 1 and Plasma 1 are not bad interim weapons if you can get ahead of the AIs in research and production.

Many of these strategies depend a LOT on the initial game setup.

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MatGB
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Re: Ship part balance

#8 Post by MatGB » Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:22 am

SkyCore wrote:I really dislike that the higher damage weapon types are also the most efficient damage per PP. The same is sort of true for armor as well. It becomes a no brainer when making decisions.
Which decision are you thinking about, whether to research them, or whether to use weaponry that's obsolete in a design?

The current weapon set is a work in progress and mostly placeholders, we're introducing new weapons right at the moment, just need tog et the costs balanced and the AI ready to use them all. We also refine the existing set and change how they use, for example:
mass driver 2- reduced PP cost to 83
mass driver 3- reduced PP cost to 52
mass driver 4- reduced PP cost to 25
laser 1- reduced PP cost to 140
laser 2- reduced PP cost to 127
laser 3- reduced PP cost to 115
laser 4- reduced PP cost to 100
all plasma weapons reduced PP to 170
Most of the weapons you list no longer exist in the trunk Test builds and won't be in the next Release version, putting a laser weapon on a ship is it, if you research a refinement it applies to existing weapons as long as the ship is in supply.

There will be another costs balance pass at some point, possibly not before the next Release, at which point the costs of many ship parts, especially weapons and armour, will be looked at properly, but that can't happen until the new weapons (fighters, bombers, flak cannons) are in the game and we're sure how they interact with the existing weapons.
Or perhaps just make death rays ultra expensive instead. 500+ PP each. Then at least there is a real choice to be made between plasma or deathrays.
What "choice" should there be here? The death ray is meant to be better than the plasma cannon, it's researched to replace the plasma cannon.

If you're choosing not to put the best guns on your top of the line warships then I'm sure your crews would be really happy. Seriously, once you've researched DRs, you're not meant to want to use plasmas, they're obsolete.

That might change at some point in the future (in fact it probably will), with some earlier stage guns being given, for example, improved rate of fire techs, etc. but right at the moment there isn't meant to be a choice there, death rays are meant to be best.

I am fairly sure that the costings per part are wrong and need adjusting, but not in such a way that new top end designs deliberately don't use the best guns.
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SkyCore
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Re: Ship part balance

#9 Post by SkyCore » Wed Apr 06, 2016 6:02 am

MatGB wrote: What "choice" should there be here? The death ray is meant to be better than the plasma cannon, it's researched to replace the plasma cannon.

If you're choosing not to put the best guns on your top of the line warships then I'm sure your crews would be really happy. Seriously, once you've researched DRs, you're not meant to want to use plasmas, they're obsolete.

That might change at some point in the future (in fact it probably will), with some earlier stage guns being given, for example, improved rate of fire techs, etc. but right at the moment there isn't meant to be a choice there, death rays are meant to be best.

I am fairly sure that the costings per part are wrong and need adjusting, but not in such a way that new top end designs deliberately don't use the best guns.
It's good game design to allow for choices. Having more efficient weapons per PP vs maximum damage per slot adds another layer of thought that can go into your ship designs and means one or the other may be optimal depending on the exact costs.

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mem359
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Re: Ship part balance

#10 Post by mem359 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:07 pm

SkyCore wrote:It's good game design to allow for choices. Having more efficient weapons per PP vs maximum damage per slot adds another layer of thought that can go into your ship designs and means one or the other may be optimal depending on the exact costs.
If Death Rays were similar in efficiency to Plasma Cannons, then no one would spend the considerable RP cost to get them.

The choice is how to spend the RP points: to get level 4 of the current weapon, or to wait for the next-gen weapon.

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Re: Ship part balance

#11 Post by SkyCore » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:34 pm

mem359 wrote:If Death Rays were similar in efficiency to Plasma Cannons, then no one would spend the considerable RP cost to get them.
Wrong. They might. It is often very much worth the loss in efficiency to maximize the damage per slot. You see each slot is a limited resource paid for by the cost of the rest of the ship.

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Re: Ship part balance

#12 Post by slv » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:48 pm

SkyCore wrote:
mem359 wrote:If Death Rays were similar in efficiency to Plasma Cannons, then no one would spend the considerable RP cost to get them.
Wrong. They might. It is often very much worth the loss in efficiency to maximize the damage per slot. You see each slot is a limited resource paid for by the cost of the rest of the ship.
Slots (especially external) are not a limited resourse. If you want to utilise more slots just build more ships. Currently the total cost of ships is almost completely decided by the cost of weapons. If Plasma has better damage/cost ratio than deathrays then 5 plasma ships will have the same damage for lower cost as 3 deathray ships.


Maybe you want to make Deathrays optimal for some hulls (expensive) and Plasma optimal for other hulls (cheap). If that's what you're trying to ask then we need to also 1)rebalance the production cost of hulls so that expensive ones are actually expensive so that they have a substantial contribution to the ship cost 2)rebalance the Research Point cost of Deathrays, since current cost is made on the assumptions that deathrays are way more efficient.

This is work which can be done but I think the current laser-plasma-deathray system is mostly a placeholder and we will get a more complex system with carriers, fighters, anti-carrier weapons, etc. For example It's not unreasonable to expect a plasmaesque weapon with 2*6 damage and plasma weapon with 9 damage so the first one is worse in case opponent plays with shields but better if opponent has carriers.

UPD: Actually if you calculate the efficiency fleetwise and not shipwise you will see that the difference between plasma and deathrays is really small. I think you should be disliking armour situation more.

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Re: Ship part balance

#13 Post by SkyCore » Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:14 pm

slv wrote: Slots (especially external) are not a limited resourse. If you want to utilise more slots just build more ships.
But more ships means more time and more PP. Dont you understand?
slv wrote: Currently the total cost of ships is almost completely decided by the cost of weapons.
I suppose if you only put weapons on a ship that is almost true. But who here doesnt use shields armor and a few other goodies?

Take things to the extreme and you will see how right i am. Imagine a weapon that costs 0 PP for 1 damage. Just how useful would a fleet of those be? Not very i imagine.

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Re: Ship part balance

#14 Post by slv » Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:39 pm

SkyCore wrote:
slv wrote: Slots (especially external) are not a limited resourse. If you want to utilise more slots just build more ships.
But more ships means more time and more PP. Dont you understand?
More ships doesn't mean more PP if ships are cheaper.

Let's try to explain my point with a fleet vs fleet simulation.

Plasma IV
18 damage
40 PP

Deathrays IV
30 damage
60 PP

You suggest making rays have lower damage/ppcost than plasma, so for a fixed damage the cost has to be >66.6. Let's make it 70 for a round number.

How does it influence the ship efficiency? Well let's try a test-case of no-shields diamond-armour quantums.

Plasma ship with 2x Plasma 5x diamond
costs 150 PP and has 36 attack and 140 structure.

The best possible deathray ship will be 2x Deathray 5x Diamond
60 damage 140 structure 210 PP cost.

So for the same PP you can build 7 plasma ships or 5 deathray ships. How will they fare in a fight?

7 plasma: 252 dmg 980 structure
5 deathray 300 dmg 700 structure

Well, the parameters are a bit different and there indeed is a trade-off between damage and structure.

In a head-to-head fight it is unlikely that anything will die in the first two rounds (and dethrays are more likely to die then).
In the third round all deathrays will be destroyed destroying 3-5 opposing ships (usually 4). Not a great victory but still a victory. All we did was the change of the cost of deathrays from 60 to 70, and I think you asked for a much more dramatic change.

Now let's not forget that a person who plays with deathrays also spent a huge ton of extra RP for that. And he got an inferior design.

Minor Comment: Other ship designs of deathrays are likely to lose more horribly, 3x plasma 4x diamond design performs sometimes better sometimes worse depending on a deathray-design.
slv wrote: Currently the total cost of ships is almost completely decided by the cost of weapons.
I suppose if you only put weapons on a ship that is almost true. But who here doesnt use shields armor and a few other goodies?

Take things to the extreme and you will see how right i am. Imagine a weapon that costs 1 PP for 1 damage. Just how useful would a fleet of those be? Not very i imagine.
Well, I explicitly mentioned that this point is valid given the current pricing of armour and ship hulls. If you rebalance the respective costs so that weapon cost doesn't contribute that much then sure things become different.

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Kill Swarm there are other balance metrics

#15 Post by UncleFred » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:25 pm

You and I play very different styles of game. You like to pick specific points in one of many development curves for your argument/example. That's fine, but it doesn't reflect the many different options on production/research/growth/expansion trade offs.

You are free to argue for your view of the game and how you like to play, but understand (and I hope the developers understand) that there are many many players who don't think your proposed changes will enhance their enjoyment of the game. I am one.

I'm far from plumbing the depths of the options for this game. Until I do, and that means exploring the biological ships which I have yet to scratch and exploring all the aspects of stealth, I not about to advocate that the developers adjust the game to fit my PREFERENCE.

I'd suggest you stop agitating for balance changes to fit your preferred game, and explore other set ups that you'll find challenging.

Query for the developers: Would it be possible to provide knobs to allow various people to rebalance the game to suit them without messing things up for the rest of us? I have no objection for Kill Swarm to get a game balanced to his preference as long as I don't have to play with that balance.

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