Are carriers too cheap?

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BlueAward
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#61 Post by BlueAward »

I'd like to add that I agree with wobbly's assessments.

I see Ophiuchus is looking at parts alone, without consideration of ship hulls. That can give some good generalisation and insights, however in practice, especially in early game, we are not hitting law of large numbers to really think that you sum up armor and weapons and that's it. Reality is very discreet. And treating parts as separate to hulls is somewhat divorced from that reality.

For example it is very different having two ships with weapon X on board vs one ship with two weapons X on board, even if total armor of the two ships in one case match the total armor of the ship from the other case

Regarding paying influence as upkeep I generally like the idea, usually that's done with a separate resource that effectively is money, but might as well use influence here, though I imagine that's a big balancing act vs whatever else influence is doing.

However, having to pay for resupply of fighters with influence, I wonder how effective would it be to have some dedicated harassment units that mostly aim to destroy as many fighters as they can and scramble to repeat, to drain influence of enemy

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#62 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 5:07 pm Sorry, I am afraid, my time is up. I will continue with this post fight after the long weekend. Happy holidays everybody.
No need, Ophiuchus. I see Wobbly is doing the math just right, so it's a waste of the time of two good developers to let you argue (clearly as if this was a post of mine and you where LienRag).

I bet most of Wobbly's frustration comes not from your tone but from the lack of digging in your counterarguments (like disputing Wobbly's argument of X weapon is better than Y without including all the costs in the math).

Side note, I don't know why we, in general, waste so much time regarding balance issues. When Geoff wants to add something (that doesn't have any clear downside), most of the time there is NO DISCUSSION AT ALL, then the change is in master and we can see in practice what is better and what got worse, and what got utterly broken, and we gradually fix it. I would like to take that approach more often. In this case this would boil down to Ophiuchus saying about Wobbly's changes "I'm not sure this would work, but OK, let's see how it goes" instead of 20 posts that end up with angry people looking for something else to invest their time.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#63 Post by BlueAward »

I very much like idea of boosting flak cannons. Currently "more fighters" is an answer to most problems, including the problem of "enemy has a lot of fighters". Some other solutions are better for this or that, but overall, I can just throw more fighters, easy.

Boosting point defense capabilities hits exactly where it hurts. Thing like graviton pulse available for players? Yummy, too!

Could also perhaps consider some planetary or orbital buildings

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#64 Post by BlueAward »

Maybe another idea would be to take a page out of monster manual, and make fighters replenish at some rate, not all at once? One striker per turn, one bomber per two turns, one heavy bomber per three turns. Probably makes no sense fluff wise but as a balancing act, maybe?

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#65 Post by Oberlus »

BlueAward wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 9:49 am Maybe another idea would be to take a page out of monster manual, and make fighters replenish at some rate, not all at once? One striker per turn, one bomber per two turns, one heavy bomber per three turns. Probably makes no sense fluff wise but as a balancing act, maybe?
Maybe. Currently people on the offense do go back and forth to resupply fighters. This would make the resupply require to be 2-3 turns staying put in your own supply, and the defenders could chase you and hunt you down before the resupply. And people on the defense would get a worse setback from this: you can't just leave your defensive chokepoint to replenish fighters because then you already lost the chokepoint.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#66 Post by wobbly »

Oberlus wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 8:29 am I bet most of Wobbly's frustration comes not from your tone but from the lack of digging in your counterarguments (like disputing Wobbly's argument of X weapon is better than Y without including all the costs in the math).
Yeah the tone doesn't necessarily bother me, my tone is no doubt worse then most people when I get argumentative. In my opinion its quite easy to show a person very little respect while remaining polite. Being polite isn't always an improvement, sometimes its just less honest.

As far as actual balance changes go its not that I'm incredibly set on one change or another, just as long as we are on the same page to start with. As things are mass drivers are not competitive with fighters, outside of specialized purpose. Its very hard to get agreement on changes when 1 side of the argument believes they are. Of course I'm going to get frustrated if I have to argue about something I believe is clearly observable in-game. Likewise there isn't some careful, fine balance that's been meticulously calculated, balancing the price of different hangers. They are built on an assumption that (x + y) * z = yz. The margin of error in those balance numbers is wide enough to park a jumbo jet.

Anyway, there's a pull request sitting around to make flak cannons improve with weapon tech and a suggestion to try next MP with lower fighter damage. So I guess its a bit of see where we are at. I'm glad to see some discussion on how to handle upgrade/resupply. Not sure what I think yet about any of the ideas. There's an argument that direct weapon damage = fighter damage is the most boring balance, and the downside of fighters vs energy weapons should be logistical. If we can get that without it being a logistics nightmare for the player then great.

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LienRag
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#67 Post by LienRag »

BlueAward wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 9:49 am Maybe another idea would be to take a page out of monster manual, and make fighters replenish at some rate, not all at once? One striker per turn, one bomber per two turns, one heavy bomber per three turns. Probably makes no sense fluff wise but as a balancing act, maybe?
That is probably the best way, yes.
That would mean that fighters and direct weapons play very differently; which adds diversity to the game.

Also it makes perfect sense fluff-wise, to get pilots or ships at a slow rate.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#68 Post by LienRag »

wobbly wrote: Mon May 06, 2024 5:12 pm More generally with unarmed chaff you could reduce the effect by having a 2 to 1 targeting ratio in combat. That'd make troopers, scouts and colony ships harder to shoot down if escorted, but arguably that's a plus. They should be at the back guarded by the escort, not up on the front line.
It's a good idea to have escorts mean something, but it's also an important aspect of the game to be able to destroy civilian ships even when outnumbered (that is, it's a valid strategy to send a sacrificial force in order to do more damage to the enemy by destroying high-value ships like a Colony Ship).

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#69 Post by LienRag »

Oberlus wrote: Tue May 07, 2024 8:28 pm But there is also another way: replenishing fighters costs IP, and won't happen under negative stockpile.

I like it but as Ophiuchus mentioned, it has drawbacks as it needs to be manageable by the player.
With a Policy for it as he suggested, that should be fine.

Maybe have fighters replenish slowly without the Policy, and replenish immediately but at an Influence cost with the Policy ?

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#70 Post by Ophiuchus »

LienRag wrote: Fri May 10, 2024 9:38 pm It's a good idea to have escorts mean something, but it's also an important aspect of the game to be able to destroy civilian ships even when outnumbered (that is, it's a valid strategy to send a sacrificial force in order to do more damage to the enemy by destroying high-value ships like a Colony Ship).
I am confused if you opposed or not the 2-1 ratio. Adding 2 targets for escorts and 1 target for civilian ships would satisfy your two constraints, do you concur?

What would be fun - some kind of kamikaze stance which goes for civilians first (1-2 ratio?) and draws enemy fire. Although doing different ratios in a combat would ruin the combat backend. So just ignore this.
Oberlus wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 8:29 am I see Wobbly is doing the math just right, so it's a waste of the time of two good developers to let you argue (clearly as if this was a post of mine and you where LienRag).
...
Wobbly's argument of X weapon is better than Y without including all the costs in the math).
i had the feeling that there should be some combinations of the early hulls where including flak is more efficient than carriers. in our old analysis we did not look at the basic hulls but more at robotics and organics (because those were inefficient anyway and nobody would use those for military). is your(?) combat simulator still working?

the main problem to easily construct an example is that flak can't be put into internal slots. if we would allow that, direct-weapon+flak would be much easier to compare to fighter bay+hangar (and in turn helps to make design decisions).
Oberlus wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 8:29 am Side note, I don't know why we, in general, waste so much time regarding balance issues. When Geoff wants to add something (that doesn't have any clear downside), most of the time there is NO DISCUSSION AT ALL, then the change is in master and we can see in practice what is better and what got worse
well, geoff has informal dictatorship rights i guess.
Oberlus wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 8:29 am , and what got utterly broken, and we gradually fix it. I would like to take that approach more often.
certainly agreed. merging stuff is too hard currently IMHO
Oberlus wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 8:29 am In this case this would boil down to Ophiuchus saying about Wobbly's changes "I'm not sure this would work, but OK, let's see how it goes" instead of 20 posts that end up with angry people looking for something else to invest their time.
in this case it would be rather: 'I'm not sure about balance, we certainly could try. But I am sure it breaks an internal structure for costs between the hangar types (which i consider a design tool/a benefit). Making the first fighter tech available later goes (not strongly though) against the vision of empires clearly commiting to the weapon branches. Let's rather try something without that; I am also open to discuss/suggest options which I think could do that.'

Maybe i should not have started with suggesting options and wait for wobbly to come up with an idea.

Also i am happy that wobbly did dive deeper into the math.

And sometimes there are functions (like the obsolete one of the lance being able to kill the colony hull with a single shot) and intentions (fighters-1 should compete with mass drivers) which are not self evident - and it does make sense to do balancing inside of those design constraints.
Note the vision for the three weapon lines could also be changed. For example: everybody goes for mass drivers and then specializes into one/two of the weapon branches. But i think that would need a discussion outside of simple balancing.

Ceterem censio we should do the arc disruptor buff we talked two? years ago ;)
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#71 Post by wobbly »

Ophiuchus wrote: Thu May 23, 2024 10:15 am But I am sure it breaks an internal structure for costs between the hangar types (which i consider a design tool/a benefit).
Here I'm not convinced by the maths. Particularly with heavy bombers. Which isn't to say I'm convinced the maths is wrong, it's hard to work out. But as a player making a decision I always fill that heavy bomber role (planet defense) with a direct fire weapon. A lot of it has to do with how many bombers you can launch compared to internal slots. You can fit 2 heavy bombers in a double slot hull, or 4 normal bombers. Its hard to justify heavy bombers.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#72 Post by Ophiuchus »

wobbly wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 11:33 am
Ophiuchus wrote: Thu May 23, 2024 10:15 am But I am sure it breaks an internal structure for costs between the hangar types (which i consider a design tool/a benefit).
Here I'm not convinced by the maths.
the structurre i am talking about: every fighter (strikers,bombers,heavy bombers) system (i.e. bays+hangars) has the same damage/PP ratio. this part is certain.
so one would mostly decide by targeting/chaff role and slot cost which system to install.
wobbly wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 11:33 am But as a player making a decision I always fill that heavy bomber role (planet defense) with a direct fire weapon.
you have to be more specific. while mass drivers 4 (192dam/20PP) are probably better than basic heavy bombers (432damage/60PP), MD-4 is probably worse than lvl 2 heavy bombers (648 max damage/60PP); and the heavy bombers will upgrade with the next tech level.
so it depends if you have the extra RP for direct weapons tech and PP for not-upgradable parts, if you are going for fighters anyways.
wobbly wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 11:33 am A lot of it has to do with how many bombers you can launch compared to internal slots.
You can fit 2 heavy bombers in a double slot hull, or 4 normal bombers. Its hard to justify heavy bombers.
this sounds like a fallacy. In the context of attacking planets it is impossible to justify bombers - bombers do zero damage
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#73 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 5:00 pm the structurre i am talking about: every fighter (strikers,bombers,heavy bombers) system (i.e. bays+hangars) has the same damage/PP ratio. this part is certain.
so one would mostly decide by targeting/chaff role and slot cost which system to install.
That's already "broken" by policies and species traits.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#74 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 10:03 pm
Ophiuchus wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 5:00 pm the structurre i am talking about: every fighter (strikers,bombers,heavy bombers) system (i.e. bays+hangars) has the same damage/PP ratio. this part is certain.
so one would mostly decide by targeting/chaff role and slot cost which system to install.
That's already "broken" by policies and species traits.
but there still is a baseline: average pilots with no policies.

so i can reason from there. better pilots means higher fighter count is (slightly) more efficient.
if you only have bad pilots, better use heavy bombers.

compared to direct weapons: low tech levels, pilot skill helps fighters more; high tech levels, pilot helps direct weapons more.

i agree that with adding boosts by the policies the concept was damaged/became less meaningful.

it could be of course that the baseline should be rather one or two boosts (e.g. good pilots with one policy).

thing is: i rather try to balance the whole block of attack fighters instead of balancing all three types. and as you know, basically any change in the game can slant the balance everywhere. if it is too rigid/does not work we should change it. i just dont want to pick up the pieces afterwards.
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#75 Post by Oberlus »

Ophiuchus wrote: Thu May 23, 2024 10:15 amis your(?) combat simulator still working?
I missed this first time I quick-read the post.
Nopes! But I will look at it this summer.

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