Crazy design ideas

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.
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Crazy design ideas

I want the AI to think on my turn.
1
10%
I want the AI to prioritise detection, so it can make better decisions.
3
30%
I want a scrapyard to dispose of my old ships.
2
20%
I want to be able to refit old ships with new parts.
2
20%
I want to be able to refit old ships with scrapyard parts.
1
10%
I think organic ships have non-transferrable systems.
1
10%
 
Total votes: 10

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mm0hgw
Space Krill
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:27 pm

Crazy design ideas

#1 Post by mm0hgw » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:02 pm

I am loving this game so far, however, that means I want to make it better.

I am 182 turns in to my game of 4 AI and I.

As a human, I've recognised my capital has two approaches, and both have "defense in depth." The "front line" consists of outposts with scanning stations, then 3/4 days down the star lanes are the orbital drydocks for repair and building.

The AI is not prioritising detection coverage.

Detection coverage has an effect on the AI's ability to make decisions. If you amass an invasion fleet at a staging point outside an empire's detection range, it can only make decisions based upon the existence of that fleet when it moves into detection range, whether human or AI.

This means 99.9% of the time, when nobody moves significant military hardware into detection range, the AI can calculate a 'provisional' move on the basis of no invasion fleet, which can then be rubber stamped. On the 0.1% of the time when you 'make your opponent think' you're probably playing well.

- AI must prioritise detection to have information with which to make informed decisions.
- Pathfinding algorithms can identify choke points in the star lanes, which are a great place to build outposts with the most powerful scanning stations one can afford.
- AI can precompute a turn while the user is playing, and only when a player moves a significant military force into detection range, will the plan require significant recalculation.
- An aggressive / paranoid species should send armed escorts to board and send back scouts. Or destroy them.
- A friendly species at peace should still send escorts to accompany foreign fleets in domestic space.

---------------

Scrap/Refit

In order to evade the MOO method of doing things, I propose a 'Spaceship graveyard.' Any planet can be designated such. Effectively it's like the graveyard orbit just above geostationary orbit, clearly designated and therefore not a traffic hazard, and with practically unlimited storage.

When scrapped, a spaceship flies to a selected graveyard. On arrival, it no longer requires maintainence costs, but the hull and systems will degenerate over time.

Ship systems currently have a PP cost, which includes both building, and installation. It is reasonable to pay the installation cost again to have a system removed. I ballpark 10% of the cost of an external system is installation, and 20% for an internal system.

So, if I unlock lasers, I can pay ~10% of the cost of my mass drivers to prize them off my old vessels and the full cost (inc installation) to install the new parts.

Further, if I have designed a ship with lasers, and scrapped it, I'd like to be able to pay ~10% of mass driver cost to remove the old system, and 2x~10% laser cost to prize it off the scrap hull and install it on the new hull.

Further, I'd like to be able to prize *everything* off a scout hull to refit it as a military vessel.

Some items may have custom installation costs. Like a fission reactor may be 90% installation, because, for practical purposes, the imperative part of a fission reactor is the shielding.

Organic hulls could be returned to the herd to elevate herd lore of the universe, or increase breeding rates, or be euthanised. In B5, the White Stars had some organic technology from the Vorlons, but Vorlon ship tech was not shown to be modular.

Gault.Drakkor
Space Floater
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:54 am

Re: Crazy design ideas

#2 Post by Gault.Drakkor » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:07 am

I would ask what AI level are you fighting?
If you are just starting you are likely to be playing the weakest, most timid AI. And in which case, working as intended.

How much total research difference between you and the AI? if you have death ray 4 and the ai is just getting plasma 1... well yes the AI will have bad vision, and you can curb stomp them.

As to scrapping. You can always scrap ships, or use them as chaff.
I tend to use older ones for anti krill. krill have chance of spawning at each non colonized/outposted system without a ship.
Or I gather them up into fleets that are good enough to hold newly acquired systems, while newer better ships attack.

Refitting of ships has been discussed. Check forums. Don't know status.

Ophiuchus
Vacuum Dragon
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am

Re: Crazy design ideas

#3 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:36 am

Hm. Actually I would have selected none of those options. But that is not possible in the poll.

I chose now the detection part, because we need to work on stealth and detection. Stealth and stealth bombers ATM mean invicibility.

Scrapyard etc, manual retrofitting etc is IMHO micromanagement and off the table.

Auto-upgrades of parts with tech is happenening for certain parts and may be an option for others. That is rather a balancing issue. The new obsoletion of parts in the ship design took away my personal last pain point. The only one i could think of that autoupgrades could make sense are scanners.

Generally the biggest issue for single-player is the weak AI. I usually stop playing early because I get too far ahead and they cant combine their resources. Between turns 80 and 120 usually.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

mm0hgw
Space Krill
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:27 pm

Re: Crazy design ideas

#4 Post by mm0hgw » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:51 am

I was on beginner. I dialled the difficulty all the way up, and the AI is *still* too stupid to deploy the radar it has effectively. Turns out that having better radar doesn't fix that problem. I'm playing the same map, and the Greens *could* deploy detection on my shipyards (like I have on theirs) by putting an outpost with a scanning station, or a scout with radar, in some vacant systems a single jump from their homeworld.

Stealth bombers *always* mean invincibility. There's this thing where you can't hit what you can detect, and if you can detect it, it isn't stealth.

Q-ships are the classic example of refitting a hull to do something it wasn't intended for. They worked *really* well until the U-boats started to rely on torpedos from submerged, rather than their deck gun from the surface. They literally used a facade of being a lone, unarmed merchant to bait the U-boat into surfacing to threaten them with the deck gun, giving up their stealth advantage.

You might recognise Q-ship tactics as remarkably similar to the method used by John Sheridan to take out the Black Star in Babylon 5.

Who said anything about manual refitting? It wasn't me. I want to refit an old ship to a new design. This isn't manual unless you're determined to define a new identical design for each individual refit. I'm not that stupid. If you're not that stupid either, it isn't micromanagement. The micromanagement comes when the computer figures out how many PP it costs to go from the old design to the new. All back-of-house, but necessary.

I guess this ties into another issue. Ship crews never gain any experience. There's no such thing as a green or elite crew, all crews come from the same cookie cutter, no matter how much battle experience they get. If my crew could gain experience that meant something, and I could transfer them to a new ship, I'd not care so much about not being able to refit old ships.

Ship crew experience was fundemental to the MOO experience. The point to refitting an old hull was that you'd keep the old crew and their experience. This meant there was some point to cycling ships back to the repair yard, because crew experience had value. In FreeOrion, there is no point in valuing your ships or your crews until you've completed the tech tree.

As I was told, old ships are just chaff to absorb hits for the latest off the line ships. I want to *like* this game, and treating the lives of my ship crews as flippantly as Field Marshall Haig treated the lives of his men in the Battle of the Somme, is not likeable. Yet the current meta demands I treat veteran crews and hulls like chaff.

Would *you* like to be treated like chaff?

Ophiuchus
Vacuum Dragon
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:01 am

Re: Crazy design ideas

#5 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:48 pm

mm0hgw wrote:Stealth bombers *always* mean invincibility. There's this thing where you can't hit what you can detect, and if you can detect it, it isn't stealth.
The problem is that the AI IMHO does not prioritize detection if you come around with stealth bombers. I hear from those multiplayers that stealth is pretty useless against human players.
Would *you* like to be treated like chaff?
Well in that case why dont you do some roleplaying and let your veterans retreat in peace by scrapping the ship?
I dont use the concentration camps for example as i dont like industrialized mass murder.

I do understand your desire to empathically bond to game assets. But the only design principle I am aware of is the anti-micromanagement principle. And having to manage fleets around ships that "suddenly" become better variants of themselves smells a bit like that. What we have in that direction is the hp-growth of organic ships (which does not have a huge impact and changes sloooooowly) and of course, managing current hitpoints after battle. So i think "experienced crews" would work well in a similar way: small incremental changes. Maybe also extra hitpoints. Early tech ships are happy about extra hitpoints (so it would prolong the usefulness of your old ships) and you already have to manage hitpoint levels, so this would not create much of extra noise.

And you point something important: if we have something like crew advancements which do really matter, we probably want to reuse them on better ships. The natural fit for battle-experienced crews would be adding a level of proficiency with weapons, but everybody would hate to have your great crews being stuck with a single mass-driver. The suggestions for managing/retrofitting the crew are a lot more complexity than just crew advancements, so probably not before influence, government, stealth rework is done...
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

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Oberlus
Small Juggernaut
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Re: Crazy design ideas

#6 Post by Oberlus » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:43 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:I dont use the concentration camps for example as i dont like industrialized mass murder.
I do it depending on who is mass murdering and what is being mass murdered. Trith can do it to anything but themselves. Replicons can do it to anything since they are emotionless and treat themselves as tools. Humans can do it to species they get to hate or that they consider emotionless. Etc.

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Dilvish
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Re: Crazy design ideas

#7 Post by Dilvish » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:25 pm

mm0hgw wrote: Yet the current meta demands I treat veteran crews and hulls like chaff.
Nonsense-- it may not be documented in the Pedia yet, but when you scrap a ship the crews get sent home to retirement and the hulls are converted into a combination of award emblems for those retirees and toys for nearby orphans... :D
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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EricF
Space Dragon
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Re: Crazy design ideas

#8 Post by EricF » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:32 am

I would like to see *some* benefit to scrapping ships. Even if it's only
say 1/10th of the HP as PP. Recycling metals is good and much cheaper
than mining new metals. That would make up some for the inability to
upgrade ships. I don't think a new 'Scrapyard' building is necessary.
Any Shipyard should be able to do it.

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Dilvish
AI Lead, Programmer
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Re: Crazy design ideas

#9 Post by Dilvish » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:55 am

EricF wrote:I would like to see *some* benefit to scrapping ships.
There is already a fairly significant benefit-- each ship you scrap (or destroy in combat) saves 1% on the cost of all ship construction thereafter (which generally means much more than 10% of the ship you scrapped). There has already been quite a bit of discussion about that versus other scrapping benefits, before we settled on it being this, you can find those via board search.
If I provided any code, scripts or other content here, it's released under GPL 2.0 and CC-BY-SA 3.0

Gault.Drakkor
Space Floater
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Re: Crazy design ideas

#10 Post by Gault.Drakkor » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:40 am

mm0hgw wrote:I was on beginner. I dialled the difficulty all the way up, and the AI is *still* too stupid to deploy the radar it has effectively. Turns out that having better radar doesn't fix that problem. I'm playing the same map, and the Greens *could* deploy detection on my shipyards (like I have on theirs) by putting an outpost with a scanning station, or a scout with radar, in some vacant systems a single jump from their homeworld.
Sending in spies?, Yes I will agree that the AI's are weak at house cleaning with regard to small strategic observers(ship or outpost) or even how they deal with stray monsters.
mm0hgw wrote:
As I was told, old ships are just chaff to absorb hits for the latest off the line ships. I want to *like* this game, and treating the lives of my ship crews as flippantly as Field Marshall Haig treated the lives of his men in the Battle of the Somme, is not likeable. Yet the current meta demands I treat veteran crews and hulls like chaff.

Would *you* like to be treated like chaff?
I didn't say they were just chaff. I gave you options for ships that were no longer of use. Your choice as to what you do.

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