Ship part balance

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Cpeosphoros
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Re: Kill Swarm there are other balance metrics

#16 Post by Cpeosphoros » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:42 pm

UncleFred wrote: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.
I'm not a developer, but you can already do that by editing the game files under freeorion/default. It's not too difficult to find the correct values to change.
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MatGB
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Re: Ship part balance

#17 Post by MatGB » Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:18 am

K, um, I know I can be obnoxious at times (at times? you say innocently) but there's a danger in part of this conversation that people're being a bit too brusque in a way that some would find offputting and rude.

Two, different, ideas that are overlapping in the discussion.

1) Players should have a variety of weapon choices in the end game each having a cost/benefit tradeoff within ship design

2) That therefore existing plasma weapons should be recosted compared to death rays to create that choice.

1) Is absolutely true, I agree with it, but we don't, currently, have many weapons to do this (original specs had missiles, fighters, bombers, torpedoes, bombs and a bunch of other stuff, there's some legacy code for some of it in there) but, crucially, we are working on it, fighters are coming to Trunk very very soon (if you can compile, try the Fighters branch, it's not ready but it's playable)

2) is however not true. Plasma weapons are a a short range gun, meant to replace lasers and be replaced by death rays in the research line. At some point we may implement stuff that changes that by, for example, having techs that increase rate of fire instead of damage (this is possible in the codebase now, see the flak cannons in Fighters for the first example). Saying "we should let players have a valid choice between death rays and plasma cannons" is, sort of, like saying we should arm some of our infantry with breach loading muskets instead of modern assault weapons (that's an unfair extreme comparison, mass drivers are the BLMs really). At some point, when we have enough weapon variety to allow real choices, then we might do more to balance plasma vs death ray in the end game, but for now they are meant to replace each other.

We want more variety in weapon options for top level designs, fighters are coming, torpedoes and stuff might happen, or we might implement different options. But, always remember some of this requires backend changes and much much more will require AI changes—I could introduce an entire new range of guns tomorrow, but the AI would fall over and stop working if I did (actually, it wouldn't stop, it would simply not know what to do and lose battles horribly).

So, rather than trying to suggest we need to change the current weapon range to compare better against each other as a major priority, it would be more constructive to help spec out alternative weapon systems and how they would work in game for the devs to try to implement. Make sense? At some point plasma and death rays will get a balance pass and they might get relative costings adapted more. But for now, they do what they're meant to do, which is act as a placeholder until we've got a more fully featured range of weapons coded.

====


Having said all this, there is something you guys are missing: build time. LAser weapons take 2 turns, plasmas 3 turns and death rays 4. If you want to, for example, build a spatial flux hull with a gun in your 'safe' home areas to go and kill that annoying krill swarm or floater, a 'laser' is your best bet even if you've got death rays. If, on the other hand, you've gone down the energy hull route, then a plasma is probably best, because the energy frigate has a minimum 3 turn build anyway. Putting a death ray on a ship meant for corvette/light cruiser patrol duties would be daft (and yes, I did take this into account when designing the energy frigate). Of course, if you'r eonly playing the Release build, the need to kill those annoying krills that pop up randomly won't be apparent to you, yet.

Also, at some point we'll be changing the way upkeep works with the planned but not fully specced influence mechanics, at that point the cost/benefit tradeoff for various things will change anyway.
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Scara
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Re: Ship part balance

#18 Post by Scara » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:16 pm

Yeah I skip Plasma too...
Earlier I sometimes went directly from massdriver4 to deathray skipping laser and plasma. Sometimes I get deathray at ancient ruins, thats lucky skipping the long time developing laser1 and plasma1.
Now I skip mass driver 2, 3, 4, go directly to laser as the updated version is pretty usefull even later on, especially by getting additional damage by circumstances with this solar thingy.
I totally skip plasma 2,3,4, always.
Doing something similar like done with lasers, may add some interest in developing plasma.
I thought maybe as plasma cannons work obviously with plasma and the whole vacuum in space is filled with plasma, although a very thin one, some places like ion storms or molecular gas clouds have much higher densities.
Maybe this is a possibility for creating something like a "space plasma converter", that works like a vacuumcleaner of space plasma, processing it and directly routing it to the weapon systems for some extra damage or extra attack. Could be located between Deuterium tank, because of Ramscope hydrogen collecting tech and the plasma cannon 2 similar to the organic war adaption. It's possible to give different damage boni, correlating plasma densities, I guess the moving Ionstorms should give the highest boni, maybe even close to deathray damage, the stationary stuff like aggregation discs or clouds of all kinds may give lower damage boni.
And maybe a damage bonus to clouds monsters, if possible -- it sucks it up and shots at it with its own converted debris :twisted:

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Re: Ship part balance

#19 Post by Scara » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:37 pm

Some more ideas, maybe second research development behind the former spoken of "space plasma converter", the "plasma tsunami generator" a special plasma tech for a core slot, that uses the energy that goes normally in to the weapon systems on charge, to generate a huge electromagnetic pulse that shoves the plasma away from your ship in all directions concentrating it to a dense plasma wave damaging all systems ships (even own ones) beside the one firing it. This would be a great way to loosen up the decoy mechanics a bit. You can believe that I would then take a try developing
Edit: Plasma Cannons, its just a important strategical element under the right circumstances!!! And no recosting...

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Re: Ship part balance

#20 Post by Scara » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:55 pm

Ah plasma is interesting!
If you want some inspiration on plasma, I left a link to a in my opinion great space weather news channel in Offtopic.
It features literally tons of plasma, that would damage if we weren't shielded :wink:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10037

slv
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Re: Ship part balance

#21 Post by slv » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:58 pm

Scara wrote:Yeah I skip Plasma too...
Earlier I sometimes went directly from massdriver4 to deathray skipping laser and plasma. Sometimes I get deathray at ancient ruins, thats lucky skipping the long time developing laser1 and plasma1.
Now I skip mass driver 2, 3, 4, go directly to laser as the updated version is pretty usefull even later on, especially by getting additional damage by circumstances with this solar thingy.
I totally skip plasma 2,3,4, always.
I heard a lot of people are using a similar strategy but I can't recreate it.

What is your typical turn when you are getting deathrays? In my games when I get my power-spike ship hull (quantum/bioadaptive) I don't have enough time/RP to get deathrays so I stop on plasma + Diamond level (happens around 90-120 turn). By that time I usually have quantum networking, adaptive automatons and half-way into N-dimensional structures/Unified consciousness/Pure-Energy

I want to try a deathray-rush, any advice? Do you research them before getting better hulls? Maaybe you are skipping some economic techs I don't? Or I am just bad and I should have deathrays with similar research path?

I am pretty much always skipping either MD or laser too, sometimes both (in the later case I think plasma are a good choice).
Now I skip mass driver 2, 3, 4, go directly to laser as the updated version is pretty usefull even later on, especially by getting additional damage by circumstances with this solar thingy.
I think I may have misread the description, but isn't solarweb working only on organic hull?

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MatGB
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Re: Ship part balance

#22 Post by MatGB » Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:21 am

Are you guys still skipping all refinements even with the new refinements as upgrades for existing ships system? I'm not, in fact I'm thinking we need to make the refinement techs a bit more expensive (or at least longer to research).

Specifically, the MD upgrades are dirt cheap once you've got Nascent AI and a few colonies, and it's a free upgrade doubling the effectiveness of your starting game frigate, making it able tot ake down Floaters, Krill Swarms, etc and even managing to do some damage in a real fight (it'll die, but still). With some species picks I stay on MDs for quite some time.

I also always go for the plasma upgrades, by that time I've normally got a good pilot or two and 24 damage per shot is good enough to take down virtually everythign at substantially less cost than virtually everything else.
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Cpeosphoros
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Re: Ship part balance

#23 Post by Cpeosphoros » Fri Apr 08, 2016 2:02 am

I always go for MD4 and use them on cannon fodder Corvettes.

In a current game, in which I got a Mu Ursh planet quite early but no Kobunturra - ergo no massive population/production boni - I had to go for Plasma 4. When I get Kobunturra early in the game, I can research Death Rays about turn 120-130 and see no reason to tardy on Plasmas. On this game, I've got DRs only about 160.

So, I think Plasma fills a specific niche, if you don't have access to massive production early on.

About recosting them, one of the reasons I don't usually go for Plasma refinements is that they take forever to research, in a point of the game when there are lots of other things to get researched too.

As for laser, I keep using Organic Frigates, late in the game, even after getting DRs, with 2 Lasers, 1 of the latest armor I get and 1 Solar concentrator. They do a lot of damage for a relatively very low cost. BTW, that's why you saw a fleet of mine with hundreds of ships in another thread - most of them were those frigates.

One idea I have saw around and I liked it very much was to add a Solar concentrator-like tech for Plasmas - which would have to be quite expensive to research, I think Nova Bomb expensive or more, but would make Plasmas worth having and keeping late in the game, if they are not that expensive to produce after you've researched them.
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Re: Ship part balance

#24 Post by MatGB » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:44 am

Possibly worth considering, but balance'll be a pain.

For those unaware, the solar concentrator part is currently deliberately overpriced (it's about twice the cost I thought was about right in playtest) specifically because the AI hasn't been adapted to take it into account properly as making it able to calculate ever changing variables is quite a big task and the AI team are busy with other more urgent stuff.

It will be coming down in price at some point, and we could consider something similar for plasma weapons in the future (probably I'd like to see a rate of fire improvement over a damage improvement though).

(also, one of the reasons Kobuntura are That Good at the moment is muggins here messed up the way self sustaining reacts with habitability, at some point that'll get toned back down)
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Re: Ship part balance

#25 Post by Scara » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:27 pm

slv wrote:What is your typical turn when you are getting deathrays? In my games when I get my power-spike ship hull (quantum/bioadaptive) I don't have enough time/RP to get deathrays so I stop on plasma + Diamond level (happens around 90-120 turn). By that time I usually have quantum networking, adaptive automatons and half-way into N-dimensional structures/Unified consciousness/Pure-Energy
I always play less crowded games, the default settings but 2 instead of 6 AI. This way I mostly have enough time to develope far enough. I try to get asteroid reformation early build one somewhere and build my robocruiser with rock armour, this way I get up to 60 structure, and 22 damage with lasers, together with shields they are great!
slv wrote:I want to try a deathray-rush, any advice? Do you research them before getting better hulls? Maaybe you are skipping some economic techs I don't? Or I am just bad and I should have deathrays with similar research path?
As the research path to bioadaptive hulls is time intense but not that rp intense, I got used to putting early in the list, some times parallel with the techs I need for Unified consciousness. I am most of the time very late with developing death rays, cause I try hard to find them in ancient ruins, when I haven't found them until about turn 100-120, I put plasma and deathray in my research list.
slv wrote:I think I may have misread the description, but isn't solarweb working only on organic hull?
That's right! I'm in to these Bioadapive Hulls and i build them with solarweb, my robos make no use of it...

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Re: Ship part balance

#26 Post by slv » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:09 pm

Scara wrote:
slv wrote:I think I may have misread the description, but isn't solarweb working only on organic hull?
That's right! I'm in to these Bioadapive Hulls and i build them with solarweb, my robos make no use of it...
Well, the way I read the desctription I thought they work only on organic hull itself, not the whole line (i.e. no Bioadaptive/Sentient, just straight organic) and dismissed it as not being efficient for that reason. I guess I will try to play with solarwebbed ravenous or bioadaptive ships.

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Re: Ship part balance

#27 Post by MatGB » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:52 pm

In that case we need to improve the description as it's designed to work on all organic line hulls, just as robotic interface shields work on all robotic line hulls. And yes, it can be incredibly scary alongside some fast strike stealthed bioadaptives. Which is why it's expensive, I played one game where they AIs never managed to kill a single one of my ships while testing it (at about half the current cost mind).
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Re: Ship part balance

#28 Post by Scara » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:31 pm

Scara wrote:
slv wrote:What is your typical turn when you are getting deathrays? In my games when I get my power-spike ship hull (quantum/bioadaptive) I don't have enough time/RP to get deathrays so I stop on plasma + Diamond level (happens around 90-120 turn). By that time I usually have quantum networking, adaptive automatons and half-way into N-dimensional structures/Unified consciousness/Pure-Energy
I always play less crowded games, the default settings but 2 instead of 6 AI. This way I mostly have enough time to develope far enough. I try to get asteroid reformation early build one somewhere and build my robocruiser with rock armour, this way I get up to 60 structure, and 22 damage with lasers, together with shields they are great!
slv wrote:I want to try a deathray-rush, any advice? Do you research them before getting better hulls? Maaybe you are skipping some economic techs I don't? Or I am just bad and I should have deathrays with similar research path?
As the research path to bioadaptive hulls is time intense but not that rp intense, I got used to putting early in the list, some times parallel with the techs I need for Unified consciousness. I am most of the time very late with developing death rays, cause I try hard to find them in ancient ruins, when I haven't found them until about turn 100-120, I put plasma and deathray in my research list.
slv wrote:I think I may have misread the description, but isn't solarweb working only on organic hull?
That's right! I'm in to these Bioadapive Hulls and i build them with solarweb, my robos make no use of it...
Ah sorry, got the missunderstanding now, yes, the whole organic line makes use of it, love it. It's the way I understood it, since it was implemented, but I don't know what the pedia entry says about the solar web at the moment...
I very late realized that these processed asteroid armour parts can be used in other ships than asteroids, although pedia says it clearly :roll: . But I use only the stone plates, as the crystal plates need sooo much rp to develope. Most of the time go directly the neutronium plates. I am sure plasma weapons need some catchy bonus, like lasers have, to get a better distributed weapons use:
1. Mass driver = lowest damage, no enhancements
2. Laser = better damage and features limited damage enhancement: solarweb
3. Plasma = even better damage and features in my fantasy :wink: limited damage enhancement as well: This interstellar plasma converter (higher attackrate or damage) in medium plasma environments and maybe this Plasma tsunami device for area damage in high density plasma environments
4. Death ray = unreachable damage, but no enhancements
This way every level makes sense, because its not about plain damage. If Plasma kills Deathray because it became overpowered, we have the same situation like now, but we mustn't skip plasma :wink:
If you have enough rp left over, as usual in the end, why not spend it in Death ray, than you know to surly rock when the galaxy comes to its climax.
I guess it's a win in any way, balancing may be done on the run, I hope :D
What do you think of the idea?

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Re: Ship part balance

#29 Post by slv » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:51 pm

So I've tried Ravenous solarwebbed ships with underwhelming results.

Does solarweb even work? Each great-pilot laser on a system with a blue star with 12 concentrators had damage of 19.5. Which is exactly equal to 11(base) + 4 (great pilots) + 4.5 (max concentrator). What am I missing? I've just build 12 ravenous ships and placed them in the same blue-star system. Solarweb is researched, each ship has a concentrator. Is there a minimum number of ships needed for network to work?

I am playing the 2016-03-21 version.
MatGB wrote: It will be coming down in price at some point, and we could consider something similar for plasma weapons in the future (probably I'd like to see a rate of fire improvement over a damage improvement though).
I am really looking forward to dropping the price of solar concentrators, right now they are indeed overpriced (for +3 yellow star bonus not taking solarweb into account they have to cost around 20 to break even on ravenous). Making them good gives the purpose to dead organic hull line. Cellular growth chamber ships have regeneration and stealth while xenocoordination-built ships don't have anything to trade for their worse combat-stats. Being the supreme laser ships may help fix that hole.
MatGB wrote:Are you guys still skipping all refinements even with the new refinements as upgrades for existing ships system? I'm not, in fact I'm thinking we need to make the refinement techs a bit more expensive (or at least longer to research).
I also always go for the plasma upgrades, by that time I've normally got a good pilot or two and 24 damage per shot is good enough to take down virtually everythign at substantially less cost than virtually everything else.
I research MD4 if I feel the need to kill a sentry or a maintenance ship with my initial frigate + Destroyer.
Since I play on a relatively crowded maps (15-30 systems per AI as the game advises) I rarely skip both MD and laser. I usually skip one of them though, the only games when I research both are ones when I 1)felt the need in destroying monsters early 2)encountered/get blocked by a developed trith/eaxaw/egassem who decided to fight with me.

For some reasons Plasma is my weapon of choice in most games. Usually my plasma research is made approximately at the same time I am getting a decent hull and armour, so I start building ships immediately. It is entirely possible that I have a fleet of laser+Basic armour symbiotics at that point.

Building Plasma-Diamond Quantums or plasma-Adsorbtion Bioadapters makes me capable of attacking every AI I see successfully fighting a 3-front war with ease, researching further levels of plasma in the process. Sometimes I stop at Plasma 3 for a while.

I had a lot of games when my plasma Bioadapters/Quantums cleared the 250-system galaxy around 170-turn mark.

I have never skipped plasma if going for energy hulls, quantums/fractals are just too good not to build them as soon as you can.

I skipped plasma a couple of times when I went for Bioadapters and messed up the research queue having a research surplus. Also I rushed deathrays once when I saw a Honeycomb and didn't have Great Pilots.
Last edited by slv on Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ship part balance

#30 Post by dbenage-cx » Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:04 am

slv wrote:Does solarweb even work?
Actually, no it doesn't, nice catch.
Easy fix though PR #602
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