Reduce shields cost

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Oberlus
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Reduce shields cost

#1 Post by Oberlus »

Many have stated that shields seems underpowered (lazy to link to the several places where that is mentioned, there is no dedicated thread for it).
That could change with the new targetting rules (not in master yet).

Strength of shields is right: more would be overkilling for same-tier weapons, less would be too weak against same-tier weapons.
So the problem should be fixed reducing the PP cost.

Shields tend to have more effect the more structure has the ship, by increasing the number of shots it can take by a factor: round.down(HP/(DMG-SHIELD)) / round.down(HP/DMG), that sometimes equals DMG/(DMG-SHIELD).
Also, early shields are close to useless against late weapons, so they have to be balanced against their same tier weapons.

The following is a try to adjust the PP cost as per above:
ShieldStrengthCost
Robotic340
Grid320
Deflector530
Plasma960
Black15120
The idea is to have a cost for the shield somewhere in between the equivalent amount of armor of same tier and the cost of extra cannons of same tier to take it down. RIS is almost a blind shot.

Ophiuchus
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Re: Reduce shields cost

#2 Post by Ophiuchus »

Definitely a step in the right direction. My gut feeling says shields could even be cheaper, but i did not crunch the numbers yet. Added current prices to your list.
ShieldStrengthSuggested CostCurrent Cost
Robotic34070
Grid32030
Deflector53050
Plasma96090
Multi Spectral (+60 stealth)10??100
Black15120150
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Look, ma... four combat bouts!

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Oberlus
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Re: Reduce shields cost

#3 Post by Oberlus »

I did the following:

Calculate costs and attack/defence strength of different combinations of bombers, cannons, armour plates and shields for a given hull and tier.
Play shield cost and pitch shielded vs unshielded fleets of same PP cost.

If you make plasma shields worth the cost for symbiotic hulls, then that shield is OP for hulls with more external slots, like robo.

120 for Black shield is even cheap if you don't consider fighters-only fleets: you can make shielded titan designs with 2x combat strength than unshielded titans for +18% cost.

So these numbers make shields somewhat appropriate for hulls of the same relative "size".

Multispectral (I never use it, heh). Maybe 80.

PS: Black shield should take core slot (only?) to better reflect that.

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Oberlus
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Re: Reduce shields cost

#4 Post by Oberlus »


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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Reduce shields cost

#5 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Any other player / tester comments on this? Or are the referenced "many" content with these changes being accepted as is?

Morlic
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Re: Reduce shields cost

#6 Post by Morlic »

As mentioned on the Github PR, unless there are specific balance reasons, should probably adjust the Deflector to 33(-34%) or 35 PP (-30% but a "round" number) instead of 30 PP (-40%) so that the "regular" shields are scaled by (roughly) the same factor...
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Re: Reduce shields cost

#7 Post by Oberlus »

Morlic wrote: Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:07 am As mentioned on the Github PR, unless there are specific balance reasons, should probably adjust the Deflector to 33(-34%) or 35 PP (-30% but a "round" number) instead of 30 PP (-40%) so that the "regular" shields are scaled by (roughly) the same factor...
Done.
Geoff the Medio wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:20 pm Any other player / tester comments on this? Or are the referenced "many" content with these changes being accepted as is?
Many here are Ophiuchus (who suggested making shields cheaper), L29Ah ("does anyone use shields these days?"), Voker57, Magnate, swaq, The Silent One, Zirael07.
No one complained about these changes in chatrooms. Could not find anyone in the forums commenting that shields were not expensive, only people commenting on them being expensive.

For the suggested changes, combat simulations between fleets of same PP cost were still unfavorable for fleets abusing shields when the enemies abused fighters (just not so much when compared to previous values).

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Re: Reduce shields cost

#8 Post by ThinkSome »

How about, instead of making shields cheap (or along with making them cheaper), the price of hulls is raised to like ... cost more than one simple flak cannon. Then going for shields will actually be okay, as you will only have 5 ships to outfit with them, instead of 50 like it is now.

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Re: Reduce shields cost

#9 Post by Oberlus »

ThinkSome wrote: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:01 amthe price of hulls is raised to like ... cost more than one simple flak cannon.
The "simple" next to flak cannon is to emphasize the oddness of having hulls that cost less than flak cannons, hence about some subjective realism expectations, right?
First, realism is irrelevant, only gameplay is relevant here. Second, there is nothing unrealistic about shields costing more (or less) than hulls. Hulls can be just (e.g.) some metal put together, while shields could imply more complex and expensive construction requirements, more rare and expensive materials, greater energy consumption, etc.
If you have a balance argument about why all hulls should cost more than a 20 PPs, and you can prove it with some numeric simulations, then we could talk about that. In another thread, please.
BTW, there are plenty of hulls that are more expensive than a flak, although they also can mount more flaks...

Then going for shields will actually be okay, as you will only have 5 ships to outfit with them, instead of 50 like it is now.
I don't understand. You don't mean "5 hulls capable of outfitting shields instead of 50", right?
If you mean that having more expensive hulls implies having less ships in play, I don't think you are right.
The point of this PR is making shields cheaper with respect to weapons, specifically fighters. It has nothing to do with hulls, since making hulls more expensive wouldn't change the cost ratios between shields and fighters.

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Vezzra
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Re: Reduce shields cost

#10 Post by Vezzra »

Oberlus is correct, concerning the question at hand the issue of hull costs is a different matter.

That said, hulls being too cheap has bothered me since forever. If hull costs are supposed to be meaningful at all, they need to be high enough to be of relevance compared to the total ship part costs of a design. Otherwise, why having hulls cost anything at all? If their cost compared to ship parts is negligible, those costs are pointless and could be removed from the game.

Sufficiently high hull costs could e.g. be a means to make small hulls more interesting. If big hulls cost disproportionally more, small hulls would remain viable options even once you got to the bigger ones. The bigger ones would only be used for things you actually need a big(ger) hull for (carriers?), not be better all around.

Of course, such a change requires the major revision of the entire hull line setup we've been talking about many years now... ;)

But that's a discussion for a thread of it's own.

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Re: Reduce shields cost

#11 Post by Oberlus »

Vezzra wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 2:44 pm hulls being too cheap has bothered me since forever. If hull costs are supposed to be meaningful at all, they need to be high enough to be of relevance compared to the total ship part costs of a design. Otherwise, why having hulls cost anything at all? If their cost compared to ship parts is negligible, those costs are pointless and could be removed from the game.
Current hull costs are not negligible.
Also, we have a game rule (galaxy option, or whatever the name is) to multiply hull costs by a factor (and another for ship parts, not differentiating between armor, shields, weapons, engines, etc.; and another for buildings).
So the problem of hulls being too cheap is already addressed: change the factor of hull costs.

Sufficiently high hull costs could e.g. be a means to make small hulls more interesting. If big hulls cost disproportionally more, small hulls would remain viable options even once you got to the bigger ones. The bigger ones would only be used for things you actually need a big(ger) hull for (carriers?), not be better all around.
I don't think so. Hulls costs are somewhat balanced to account for their available slots, structure, etc.
If you make all hulls more expensive, that balance between hulls does not change, you only address the chaff problem (by making ratio of hulls/parts cost bigger). That is a good solution for chaff spam.
If what you want is to make small hulls more competitive versus big hulls, you have to either increase the cost of big ones or reduce the cost of small ones. Either change does not address the chaff problem (small hulls too cheap with respect to weapons, etc.). However, small hulls are already rather competitive thanks to the chaff tactic, and even without chaff you have that small hulls are good end-game because end-game weapons have big overshot waste when targetting small hulls. The counter for this is that small hulls get destroyed easier than big hulls and can't be repaired after combats

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Re: Reduce shields cost

#12 Post by Vezzra »

Oberlus wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 3:51 pmIf you make all hulls more expensive, that balance between hulls does not change, you only address the chaff problem (by making ratio of hulls/parts cost bigger). That is a good solution for chaff spam.
I'm not thinking of the chaff issues here. That's not what I try to address.

Of course, for what I'm suggesting here, just making all hulls more expensive isn't sufficient, bigger hulls must be made disproportionally more expensive than smaller hulls.
If what you want is to make small hulls more competitive versus big hulls, you have to either increase the cost of big ones or reduce the cost of small ones.
Exactly. Or make small hulls more expensive, and bigger hulls even more more expensive. The point is, this only works if hulls are sufficiently expensive compared to the costs of parts. Otherwise the costs for all the parts you put on a design make the difference in hull cost not big enough to be of relevance.
Either change does not address the chaff problem (small hulls too cheap with respect to weapons, etc.). However, small hulls are already rather competitive thanks to the chaff tactic, and even without chaff you have that small hulls are good end-game because end-game weapons have big overshot waste when targetting small hulls. The counter for this is that small hulls get destroyed easier than big hulls and can't be repaired after combats
As I said, I haven't been thinking particular of the chaff stuff. And I'm not sure if the chaff dynamic is enough to keep small hulls relevant... but then again, it has been years since I last played a game myself, and much has changed since then, so I can't tell. Back when I still played games myself, small hulls became irrelevant the moment you researched bigger ones. It was always the best option to use the biggest, most expensive hulls available (which is just boring).

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Re: Reduce shields cost

#13 Post by Oberlus »

Vezzra wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 4:16 pmFor what I'm suggesting here, just making all hulls more expensive isn't sufficient, bigger hulls must be made disproportionally more expensive than smaller hulls.
In multiplayer games, small hulls are dominant, even when players get access to bigger hulls they keep producing small hulls (not only chaff) because they have a purpose and are cost-competitive.

As a side note, the concern pointed out by ThinkSome was not that small hulls were too expensive with respect to big hulls, but that he find immersion-breaking that a flak cannon is more expensive than several small hulls.

What exactly is the issue you see about small hulls being too expensive regarding big hulls?

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Re: Reduce shields cost

#14 Post by Vezzra »

Oberlus wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 4:26 pmWhat exactly is the issue you see about small hulls being too expensive regarding big hulls?
Not exactly an issue, I just wanted to point out that changing the ratio of ship hull versus ship part costs can make sense, and provide an example how.
In multiplayer games, small hulls are dominant, even when players get access to bigger hulls they keep producing small hulls (not only chaff) because they have a purpose and are cost-competitive.
Well, of course there are other means to make small hulls a viable option even into late game. Hull cost balance is just one of them (a very obvious one).

Also, keep in mind, when I last played a game, the cost increase mechanic was solely based on number of ships, which greatly favored big hulls of course. IIRC, that has been changed to consider ship parts, right? That of course changes the entire dynamic.
As a side note, the concern pointed out by ThinkSome was not that small hulls were too expensive with respect to big hulls, but that he find immersion-breaking that a flak cannon is more expensive than several small hulls.
Which isn't completely unreasonable. I've read your reply to that, but consider this:

In FO, ship hulls aren't merely a frame or chassis where everything else goes into. The ship hulls are actually an abstraction for the entire ship and all components that make it a fully functional ship: energy source, propulsion system, life support, control hardware etc. The "ship parts" are actually the additional optional modules that determine a ships role (combat, colonization, scouting, whatever).

And having a fully functional ship cost less than a simple flak cannon is, well, a bit hard to swallow. Of course you can come up with fluff explanations for everything, but it is still somewhat counter-intuitive and immersion breaking. Not unbearable, but also not exactly ideal.

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Re: Reduce shields cost

#15 Post by ThinkSome »

Vezzra wrote: Sun May 03, 2020 12:48 pm And having a fully functional ship cost less than a simple flak cannon is, well, a bit hard to swallow. Of course you can come up with fluff explanations for everything, but it is still somewhat counter-intuitive and immersion breaking. Not unbearable, but also not exactly ideal.
Not somewhat, it is counter-intuitive and immersion breaking.


What about scaling shield cost relative to ship size (i.e. number of slots)?

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