Planetary defense redesign

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

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Oberlus
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Planetary defense redesign

#1 Post by Oberlus » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:13 pm

Working (thinking mostly) on the tech tree I'm reviewing all categories to give form to ideas and searching for pending issues. Planetary defense needs love.


How it works now:

We have techs branches for:
  • planetary defense (one big cannon),
  • planetary defense regeneration,
  • planetary shields, and
  • planetary troops.
Conceptually, planetary defense refers to the weapons in the planet and its orbit that can deal damage to attacking warships, and planetary defense regenerarion refers to the techniques that allow for a modest defense rebuilding rate during combat.

Current issues reported by some players:
  1. Planetary defense is useless: On one hand the growth rate of defense strength is relatively slow compared to how fast can grow warship fleets damage (i.e. getting the first defense strength tech vs getting laser tech). This should be alleviated. On the other hand we have that fleets are limitless stackable while star systems doesn't tend to have more than 7 planets to join forces. This means that going the defense path early on is rather innefective, and going it late game is plainly useless.
  2. Planetary defense makes little sense: although a planet is like a huge ship, it can just have one powerful cannon for three shots per battle, although it should have space for many more defensive weaponry. Also, its maximum "hull points" are very low, any huge ship in FO can withstand more damage before losing any bit of damage power.
  3. Planetary defense is boring/uninteresting: maybe consequence of the other two.
I've revisited this previous suggestion about defense and comsat redesign. The discussion got spread into multiple fields with no focus on defense strength, but support for the planetary fighters idea.

I suggest giving more love to this part of the game, not only fighters, to take care of the irrelevance of current planetary defense, as follows:

TAKE PLANET SIZE INTO ACCOUNT FOR DEFENSE STRENGTH
A huge planet (size 5) will have 5x the defense strength of a tiny planet (size 1), so it could take down 5x enemy ships and withstand 5x damage before getting completely knocked down.

Giving protagonism to the size of the planet seems interesting to me. If 5 to 1 huge to tine is too much, it could be tiny=1, small=1.5... huge=3. All the suggested values (above and below) are adjustable.


MAKE DEFENSE GROWTH RATE (from current to target) DEPEND ON INFRASTRUCTURE
(This depends on another suggestion to make infrastructure growth really slow and use it to control exponential growth and steamrolling.)
New colonies, or recently devastated ones, will have growth rate reduced and its target meter capped based on the infrastructure of the planet, although influence (¿or PPs?) could be spend to speed up the refeneration and move up the cap. This means no huge defenses will be online after 5 turns of an advanced enemy conquering one of your planets. The idea is to avoid the extra defensive capabilities for advanced/stronger empires, that would need less effort to keep the areas just conquered.
On the other hand, a planet with high infrastructure will be able to regenerate its full defense strength in few turns.


DIVIDE PLANETARY DEFENSE INTO DIFFERENT WEAPONS
Give planetary defense different weapon subsystems, depending also on weapon techs:
  • A flak cannon battery system: requires mass driver tech; gives 1 flak cannon (3 shots) per planet size and defense tech level (for huge planet and defense tech 4, 20 flaks, 60 shots).
  • A SR weapon battery system: requires mass driver tech; gives 1 cannon (shot) per planet size and defense tech level (for huge and defense tech 4, 20 shots); shot damage as per weapon tech level (e.g. for laser 2, dmg 7, for death ray 4, dmg 30) (*).
  • A fighter defense system: requires fighter tech; gives 1 hangar bay (3 fighters) per planet size and defense tech level; figther damage as for fighter tech level (*).
  • A Spinal Anti-matter cannon system: 1 shot per planet size, damage 100, ¿plus one upgrade to 200 damage?.
Keep the single defense strength meter but take down defense subsystems when enough damage is inflicted to the meter. E.g. if a small colony's defense strength current meter is at 42% of target meter, and it has flak, SR and fighter subsystems and defense tech 2, rounding to nearest integer it would have ready for combat 1.6=2 flak cannons, 1.6=2 SR cannons and 1.6=2 fighter hangar.

(*) I'm not sure I like the (my) idea of making weapon subsystems damage depend on the corresponding weapon tech level. I mean, that makes impossible to pursue a full defensive strategy with no investment on ship weapons. So maybe better have the requirements of "corresponding tech level" substituted by defense tech level. Mass drivers unlocks flak and SR systems, basic fighters tech unlocks fighter subsystem, and the growth of number and damage of cannons/hangars depend only on planet size, defense tech level and infrastructure.


ALLOW PLANETS IN DEFENSE FOCUS TO FUNCTION AS HOSTILE SHIPS
Thus defense-focused planet could intercept/blockade incoming enemy fleets without having to rebuild that annoying comsat every now and then.
No changes for defense focus mechanis apart from that: if set, defense max target meter is doubled, with the corresponding changes on current meter regeneration.

AndrewW
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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#2 Post by AndrewW » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:19 pm

Another thing that may work is adding some planetary defences you could build up, say planetary missile bases for example. Don't try and get too much in here or you get into micromanagement but just something simple that you can build more of.

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Oberlus
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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#3 Post by Oberlus » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:47 pm

AndrewW wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:19 pm
Another thing that may work is adding some planetary defences you could build up, say planetary missile bases for example. Don't try and get too much in here or you get into micromanagement but just something simple that you can build more of.
A "ministry" building, like the Industry Center, that you can build to boost defense on supply connected planets, and policy cards to affect defense (increase it with influence upkeep; lower target value in exchange of faster regeneration under fire; ...).

Anything with effects on the planet it's built is a no-no, against basic FO principles. You will want it everywhere and thus micromanagement is a pain.

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Krikkitone
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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#4 Post by Krikkitone » Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:29 pm

I wasn't sure about increased defense with planet size...
but I think It does fit because,

large planets are economic powerhouses, small planets are supply powerhouses
large planets provide the base that you don't want taken, small planets are the connections (more strategic than "value by volume')

That said, the biggest issue (other than lack of strength) is the single cannon. I'd suggest

Defense meter: max depends on Infrastructure, defense tech, planet size

both # of shots and shot power depend on defense meter current value
as well as # of flak shots and # of Fighters

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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#5 Post by Ophiuchus » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:53 pm

size of planet only matters for defense if defense-focus is set

multiplier for defense if defense-focus set: habitable size plus one

maybe some malus for gas giants because they are much larger compared to habitable size

growth of defense does not depend on planet size, just the maximum values

infrastructure does not automatically change but only if focus is set to defense or the current focus is infrastructure-maxxed-out (instead of e.g. research infrastructure grows by one). So infrastructure becomes some kind of long-term investment.

Small planets are better for shields (so defensive wide empires maybe go for planetary shields, defensive tall empires go for defense-value)
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#6 Post by AndrewW » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:09 am

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:47 pm
A "ministry" building, like the Industry Center, that you can build to boost defense on supply connected planets, and policy cards to affect defense (increase it with influence upkeep; lower target value in exchange of faster regeneration under fire; ...).

Anything with effects on the planet it's built is a no-no, against basic FO principles. You will want it everywhere and thus micromanagement is a pain.
That could be a problem, a planet that is being attacked could be cut off from supply. I don't see using it everywhere myself, though could see where some would.

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Oberlus
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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#7 Post by Oberlus » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:44 pm

AndrewW wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:09 am
That could be a problem, a planet that is being attacked could be cut off from supply. I don't see using it everywhere myself, though could see where some would.
I meant buildings that only boost local defense are not an option. But ministries (supply-connected boost) are.

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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#8 Post by AndrewW » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:46 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:44 pm
I meant buildings that only boost local defense are not an option. But ministries (supply-connected boost) are.
Yup, I meant I don't see using a building that boosted local defense everywhere.

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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#9 Post by Atarlost » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:28 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:44 pm
AndrewW wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:09 am
That could be a problem, a planet that is being attacked could be cut off from supply. I don't see using it everywhere myself, though could see where some would.
I meant buildings that only boost local defense are not an option. But ministries (supply-connected boost) are.
The problem with that a planet in the same system as a hostile, armed fleet is blockaded and this breaks supply connections. Unless that is changed a defense ministry only operates when not needed.

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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#10 Post by Krikkitone » Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:30 am

Atarlost wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:28 am
Oberlus wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:44 pm
AndrewW wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:09 am
That could be a problem, a planet that is being attacked could be cut off from supply. I don't see using it everywhere myself, though could see where some would.
I meant buildings that only boost local defense are not an option. But ministries (supply-connected boost) are.
The problem with that a planet in the same system as a hostile, armed fleet is blockaded and this breaks supply connections. Unless that is changed a defense ministry only operates when not needed.
This is one of those options where policies for a government would make more sense.

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Oberlus
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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#11 Post by Oberlus » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:19 pm

Krikkitone wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:29 pm
Defense meter: max depends on Infrastructure, defense tech, planet size

both # of shots and shot power depend on defense meter current value
as well as # of flak shots and # of Fighters
Defense tech bonus:
Level 1: 1 shot * 6 damage (1 MD4)
Level 2: 2 shots * 11 damage (2 Laser4)
Level 3: 3 shots * 18 damage (3 Plasma4)
Level 4: 4 shots * 30 damage (4 DeathRay4)

Shots = defense tech level is rather KISS, and I guess tying the damage to the weapons damages might help balancing.

Shots multiplier (only when defense-focused, as per Ophiuchus suggestion): (HabSize-1)/2+1, rounded down
That is:
Tiny and small get 1, 2, 3, 4 shots per combat round.
Medium and large get 2, 4, 6, 8 shots.
Huge gets 3, 6, 9, 12 shots.

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Re: Planetary defense redesign

#12 Post by Oberlus » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:15 am

I think the above does not fit well in a themed tiered tech tree.
Different themes will have different defenses. I'm unhappy with the idea of two techs named "Gauss Megacannons (Mech)" and "Orbital Laser Battery (Asteroid)" end up doing exactly the same. I'd like to allow for different damage-per-shot schemes.
The idea of changing the backend to allow for planets to have attached weapons (the same you can attach weapons to a ship design, but without the design part) is the one I like the most. This way Gauss Megacannons can add one (or few) big shots while Orbital Laser Batttery adds more smaller shots, and different fleet compositions will be more or less susceptible to a given planetary defense tech. Of course, one can research the planetary def. techs of different themes to have more powerful and versatile planetary defenses.

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