Ship weapons rework

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Oberlus
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Re: Ship weapons rework

#16 Post by Oberlus » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:34 pm

Well, check this out and tell me what you think:

LR: long range
SR: short range
CR: close range

By default (modifiable by battle computing parts and fleet leaders), fleets will want to stay (or get to) a given range depending on its weaponry:
- If only LR weapons, then stay at LR.
- If it has SR weapons but no CR weapons, then get to SR.
- If it has CR weapons, then get to CR.

Battle computing parts would do more reasobable decisions, like "Stay at the range where own_dmg_output / enemy_dmg_output is greater".

Fleet's relative "speeds" (or velocities) and their intended range determine how many turns the fleets stay at each range.

Ship speed will depend on hull (bigger hulls being slower) and tactical engine part/tech. And fleet speed will be slowest ship speed.

In the following tables, fleet A has same or greater speed than fleet B, and cells indicate rounds at LR / SR / CR depending on intended range of each fleet.

If A's speed is between 1x and 2x B's speed
B wants LR B wants SR B wants CR
A wants LR 5 / 0 / 0 2 / 3 / 0 2 / 1 / 2
A wants SR 2 / 3 / 0 1 / 4 / 0 1 / 2 / 2
A wants CR 2 / 2 / 1 1 / 2 / 2 1 / 1 / 3

A's speed between 2x and 3x B's speed
B wants LR B wants SR B wants CR
A wants LR 5 / 0 / 0 3 / 2 / 0 3 / 1 / 1
A wants SR 2 / 3 / 0 1 / 4 / 0 1 / 3 / 1
A wants CR 1 / 2 / 2 1 / 1 / 3 1 / 0 / 4

A's speed greater than 3x B's speed
B wants LR B wants SR B wants CR
A wants LR 5 / 0 / 0 4 / 1 / 0 4 / 1 / 0
A wants SR 1 / 4 / 0 1 / 4 / 0 1 / 4 / 0
A wants CR 1 / 1 / 3 1 / 0 / 4 1 / 0 / 4

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#17 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:59 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:34 pm
...check this out and tell me what you think
Much too complicated.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#18 Post by Oberlus » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:52 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:59 pm
Much too complicated.
I was afraid of this.

I need a bit more feedback, please.

Would it be simple enough if the tables are replaced by a single equation with parameters (each fleet speed and desired range)?

If not, would it be ok a system without fleet speeds? Just first round at LR, second round at SR, third and following rounds at CR.
This implies no tactic combat and no differentiation for fast vs slow ships (a very sad loss, IMO).

BTW, I'm assuming LR weapons can shoot at any range, SR only short and close, CR only at close range. Maybe LR should not shoot at close range.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#19 Post by The Silent One » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:49 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:52 pm
Just first round at LR, second round at SR, third and following rounds at CR.
Better I think.
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Re: Ship weapons rework

#20 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:06 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:52 pm
I need a bit more feedback, please.
The motivation for adding a bunch of complexity in this case, that there is an idea of how to structure the tech tree and some new combat functionality would fit nicely, isn't very compelling. I'd be much more inclined to add complexity to combat when the idea to do so is the motivation itself because the idea for the mechanic is inherently interesting. There have been discussions about improving stealth as a mechanics via some new combat mechanics, for example, which were motivated by those mechanics themselves and the weakness of stealth as currently implemented.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#21 Post by Oberlus » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:06 pm
The motivation for adding a bunch of complexity in this case, that there is an idea of how to structure the tech tree and some new combat functionality would fit nicely, isn't very compelling.
That wasn't my motivation. I've been long fidling with the idea of tactical combat.
I'd be much more inclined to add complexity to combat when the idea to do so is the motivation itself because the idea for the mechanic is inherently interesting.
Independently of tech tree reworking (or not), I do think the introduction of tactical speed and ranges would be a great addition to FreeOrion, if it can be done in a simple and intuitive way (KISS) and not requiring complex computation and player attention (fast multiplayer).

The point is, if we are going to rework the tech tree, that is a good moment to implement (or at list consider to have its "space" in the tech tree) or discard that tactical combat idea.
Also, IMO, that is the timing for consideration of any other idea (planetary defense rework, terraforming rework, stealth rework... anything I can find in older suggestions if they got some thumbs up).
There have been discussions about improving stealth as a mechanics via some new combat mechanics, for example, which were motivated by those mechanics themselves and the weakness of stealth as currently implemented.
I have that in mind. Haven't say anything, but stealth and ranges do play very well together: e.g. stealth fleets focused on SR or CR weaponry could approach the enemy LR-focused fleet undetected (and unavoided) and attack at best range even against faster fleets.




I think there could be a trade-off between the extra complexity brought in by tactic combat and the extra fun and interest it allows.

Maybe something like this.
First, assuming 4 round per combat because otherwise it would be hard to balance CR weapons (if they can only be used 1/3 of combat).
Standard combat assumes first round at LR, second at SR and third and fourth at CR.
If a fleet is at least 2x faster that its enemies, it can stay one extra round at its most preferred range and one less at its less preferred range.
If that fleet is at least 3x faster, then it can stay 2 extra rounds at preferred range.
The preferred range depends on own weaponry (basic) or relation between own and enemies (advanced via parts/leader).

With this suggestion, getting faster engines would be good to boost your weaponry effectiveness (getting sooner to SR or CR) or your fleets survavility (staying for longer away from enemies weaponry). It allow for different weaponry specialisations: slow, bulky ships with all-round weaponry; fast ships with a mix of LR weapons and anti-LR defense; fast ships with heavy SR weapons and anti-LR; and many more. Don't you share my view of the great possibilitis this could bring into gameplay?

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#22 Post by EricF » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:50 am

The Silent One wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:49 pm
Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:52 pm
Just first round at LR, second round at SR, third and following rounds at CR.
Better I think.
But doesn't an approach like this limit the scope of tactical combat?
I mean if ships fire at each other only at certain ranges during certain
rounds doesn't it imply that tactical combat is rather simple?
During another discussion on combat I stated that certain assumptions
about combat depended on how long a combat round actually is and
it was pointed out that the current system could just be an abstraction
for combat between ships that could actually be taking place over a period
of days or even weeks. If that were true a simple fire at long fire at
short fire at close would give a misleading sense of the actual dynamic
of tactical combat. I don't really have a solution. Just pointing out
possible objections.
(it also reminds me of the mechanic from "Endless Space" which is
horribly broken)

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#23 Post by The Silent One » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:32 am

Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm
..., that is a good moment to implement (or at list consider to have its "space" in the tech tree) or discard that tactical combat idea.
Originally being one of the contributors in favour of player-controlled tactical combat, there have been good points against it which did convince me that we shouldn't have it: it's ill-suited for multiplayer (if combat is long, it's boring for players who wait, if it is short, player control is meaningless anyway), and it usually puts the AI at a significant disadvantage. Rather, what we should improve on is making combat strategies (designs, weapons, stealth...) more versatile, and also we should find a better way to display what is happening in combat. The combat log health bars only show that and the written log is to long and complicated to read through. We should have a graphical summary that is easy to read. (Design suggestion to follow some time.)
Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm
Also, IMO, that is the timing for consideration of any other idea (planetary defense rework, terraforming rework, stealth rework... anything I can find in older suggestions if they got some thumbs up).
Agreed.
Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm
If a fleet is at least 2x faster that its enemies, it can stay one extra round at its most preferred range and one less at its less preferred range. If that fleet is at least 3x faster, then it can stay 2 extra rounds at preferred range.
This is definitely too complicated. What would make sense is: fast ships can't be engaged in short range by slower ships, except if the fast ships have SR weapons and want to go to SR themselves. If your enemy has powerful SR weapons, but is slow, you may build fast ships with (usually weaker?) LR weapons and defeat them that way.
Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm
stealth fleets focused on SR or CR weaponry could approach the enemy LR-focused fleet undetected (and unavoided) and attack at best range even against faster fleets.
That makes sense. So stealth would supercede speed when it is determined if a ship can be engaged.
EricF wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:50 am
But doesn't an approach like this limit the scope of tactical combat?
Yes, somewhat, but this is the point exactly. Tactical combat should offer more strategies, but still be KISS.
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Re: Ship weapons rework

#24 Post by Oberlus » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:17 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:32 am
Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm
..., that is a good moment to implement (or at list consider to have its "space" in the tech tree) or discard that tactical combat idea.
Originally being one of the contributors in favour of player-controlled tactical combat [...]
I am too against player-controlled (i.e., interactive, played in a board like chess or star craft) tactical combat. But I am utterly bored of current non-interactive combat system where ships are like sitting ducks shooting randomly. It is, IMO, rather uninteresting.
Targetting computers will improve this a bit, but just a little bit.
Rather, what we should improve on is making combat strategies (designs, weapons, stealth...) more versatile
And that's why I think of considering speed and ranges in a non-interactive, non-player-controlled combat, that I may have been incorrectly calling "tactical".

Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm
If a fleet is at least 2x faster that its enemies, it can stay one extra round at its most preferred range and one less at its less preferred range. If that fleet is at least 3x faster, then it can stay 2 extra rounds at preferred range.
This is definitely too complicated. What would make sense is: fast ships can't be engaged in short range by slower ships, except if the fast ships have SR weapons and want to go to SR themselves. If your enemy has powerful SR weapons, but is slow, you may build fast ships with (usually weaker?) LR weapons and defeat them that way.
I don't know what other developers will think of this, but my impression is that a tech (in this case faster ships) that once you get it you can delete all your enemies in a few turns with no losses at all is a no-no. Older techs must be able to win by the numbers (if big enough), and so newer techs should give you an advantage but not insurmountable.
Otherwise, the only valid strategy is to go for fast ships with LR and anti LR (and maybe also, if properly balanced, stealth plus CR/SR).

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#25 Post by Oberlus » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:52 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:20 pm
I'm trying to figure out a simple way to allow for weapon ranges and ship speeds that makes sense without using a board. Maybe this week...
Take a look at the combat models of the Paradox games Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV and Stellaris
I just checked those. They are real time. Not what I was looking for, must be waaaaay simpler than that.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#26 Post by EricF » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:00 am

Personally I feel combat should only end in one of two ways.
1) All the enemy ships are gone (destroyed or retreated).
2) All my ships are gone (destroyed or retreated).

A prompt after showing battle results after each round could be used to give
the option to retreat. I haven't experimented with using more than 3 combat
rounds, but rounds should not be limited to 3. Combat should continue until
one of the above conditions is met.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#27 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:37 pm

EricF wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:00 am
A prompt after showing battle results after each round could be used to give
the option to retreat. I haven't experimented with using more than 3 combat
rounds, but rounds should not be limited to 3. Combat should continue until
one of the above conditions is met.
Maybe given the option to retreat every three combat rounds we should add the possibility to get reinforcements there. And if we are at it we could make it possible to allow other effects in the universe while combat happens. And send orders to effect that. And full circle :lol:

On a more serious note, if we go for differences in combat rounds (shrinking-distances) we could check if the participants were already the turn before in this combat and use that in targeting. (So e.g. close range combat does not get interrupted by turn advance).

Also note if we implement ranges as combat turn reference in the combatTargets condition we get stealthy close range attacks for free (because you get unstealthed if you strike and you can just strike if the target is in range).
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#28 Post by EricF » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:41 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:37 pm
EricF wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:00 am
A prompt after showing battle results after each round could be used to give
the option to retreat. I haven't experimented with using more than 3 combat
rounds, but rounds should not be limited to 3. Combat should continue until
one of the above conditions is met.
Maybe given the option to retreat every three combat rounds we should add the possibility to get reinforcements there. And if we are at it we could make it possible to allow other effects in the universe while combat happens. And send orders to effect that. And full circle :lol:
Your humor is not appreciated. Even if combat did take weeks combat clearly takes a much shorter amount of time than an entire turn. I would imagine a turn is at least a month possibly much longer.

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Re: Ship weapons rework

#29 Post by The Silent One » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:46 pm

Obertus wrote:I am too against player-controlled (i.e., interactive, played in a board like chess or star craft) tactical combat. But I am utterly bored of current non-interactive combat system where ships are like sitting ducks shooting randomly. It is, IMO, rather uninteresting.
That's good, then I understand what you mean, and I agree.
EricF wrote:A prompt after showing battle results after each round could be used to give
the option to retreat.
I think there's a consensus that we don't want player input during combat.
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Re: Ship weapons rework

#30 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:12 pm

EricF wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:41 pm
Even if combat did take weeks combat clearly takes a much shorter amount of time than an entire turn. I would imagine a turn is at least a month possibly much longer.
There is nothing realistic about freeorion and it is not a design goal to change that. I would definitely not enjoy mini-turns waiting for people to make stay-or-retreat decisions, especially not in an "endless" loop. I am surprised that you find value in that. I was trying to incorporate your idea by suggesting a way a battle could "continue" over multiple turns in the environment of different targeting per combat turn.
Another similar idea could be to have some of the battle round(s) before end of turn and some before moving the next turn, so one could react on the battle and change/give orders like "target fleeing ships first". That would give one extra chance to influence battles without intercepting the turn flow. So maybe three turns of battle on end of turn, then invasions. Next turn, players make orders. Then one turn of battle at the beginning, then move fleeing ships out. Then another turn of battle. Then ships arrive and again the three turns of battle ensue. More control, but probably confusing.
Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:06 pm
The motivation for adding a bunch of complexity in this case, that there is an idea of how to structure the tech tree and some new combat functionality would fit nicely, isn't very compelling.
That wasn't my motivation. I've been long fidling with the idea of tactical combat.
I would also welcome a tech tree perspective here. Because for that i think one just needs to know e.g. how many differentiating properties for weapons are needed. If we have four or five main tracks which each should have a weapons line which has a certain smell, at least four or five properties are needed, maybe more. What we got currently
  • Weapon damage/pacing (determines how many shots certain ship designs need to be shot down). As this is the major value it must be seen against RP/PP cost. So actual differentiating only for corner cases (against 10hp 5 to 9 damage are all the same - they need two hits)
  • Number of shots (spread, trade-off against shields)
  • Fighters (no shields, launch round, extra targets) ~ this i would count about 1.5 properties i guess
  • (Unimplemented) grouping of targets would give 0.5 properties for adding trade-off against shields for ship weapons and 0.2 for more advanced piranha swarms (targeting the same target even if the target is not defined by something like highest structure)
  • Combat targeting - can do a lot of thing (so 2 properties i guess)
  • (Unimplemented) CombatRound conditions - not shooting or shooting something different in different rounds
So the implemented features have about 4.5 degrees of freedom, so that could actually if barely suffice. In my opinion the current suggestions about combat speeds are too complicated for the degrees of freedom they allow. I think the combatRounds has a good benefit though.
For designing the tech tree you can be sure we can at least differentiate four weapon lines, regardless what that will actually be in the end.
Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm
if we are going to rework the tech tree, that is a good moment to implement .. that tactical combat idea. ... any other idea
I agree its a good moment to maybe implement one thing. But if you want to implement everything it is a bad "moment". Because that will take some years probably. For comparison: a minor feature like the implementation for differentiating fighter targeting (after taking in the discussion and getting some kind of popular vote) is taking about a month now (because of unexpected fiddliness).
Oberlus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:51 pm
stealth and ranges do play very well together: e.g. stealth fleets focused on SR or CR weaponry could approach the enemy LR-focused fleet undetected (and unavoided) and attack at best range
Agreed
The Silent One wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:46 pm
Obertus wrote:I am too against player-controlled (i.e., interactive, played in a board like chess or star craft) tactical combat. But I am utterly bored of current non-interactive combat system where ships are like sitting ducks shooting randomly. It is, IMO, rather uninteresting.
That's good, then I understand what you mean, and I agree.
I am a bit lost here, guys.
Tactical combat mostly means fleet composition based on ship design in our context. I am not sure if there is any way to make that real "fun".
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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