Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

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yandonman
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Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#1 Post by yandonman »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
yandonman wrote:Do I make 1 bleeding edge ship or 20 of the still viable last turn's model?
I'm wondering about increasing the cost of ships, so that it's not possible to build 50 or 100 at a time of not-completely-outdated ships. It sounds you consider the current increase in cost to be well-matched with the increase in power of more advanced ships, though, so I'm worried that making higher-tech ships more expensive will make them useless and cause you to want to build only lower-tech ships in larger numbers. Have you played around with fewer-higher-tech vs. more-lower-tech enough to have a sense of how much more useful higher tech is, other than that it's fewer individual ships to manipulate in the UI?
I'll be honest, not enough. (I've been trying to find out more details here (logs, whatnot) to come at it from a numbers angle - but no luck)

I think combat works something like this, just based on watching the outcome of battles:
  • For each turn, every ship in a fleet gets to "fire" once.
  • Fleets alternate within the turn, one ship at a time.
  • Each ship fires by randomly targeting a ship in the other fleet, unloading its entire offensive power.
  • Shields then hull are damaged by simply subtracting their health by the offensive power fired at them (I can see this having more nuance in the future, different weapons vs different armor or shield types, etc).
So, I *think* that if in a 100 ships to 50 ships battle, fleet 1 gets 50 additional shots that first turn. And I think that if fleet 2's shields/hull is only 2x stronger than Fleet 1's offensive power - fleet two will lose. Every 2nd shot will destroy a ship, and there's a 2-1 ship to ship ratio, so nearly every ship in Fleet 2 will take two hits, losing almost all of them.

It *feels* like:
If (Count of Ships in Fleet 1 / Count of Ships in Fleet 2) > (Average individual ship in Fleet 2's hull/shields / Average individual ship in Fleet 1's offensive power), then Fleet 1 wins.

For example:

Solar D5 (my big ship)
O: 700
D: 375 + 135 = 510

Mark VIII Bs (SuperTesters favorite ship)
O: 24
D: 12 + 15 = 27

By my calculations, 25+ Mark VIII Bs would kill my Solar D5. And that kinda feels like what I was running into.



So (to answer one of your original questions), if I was put in a situation where I needed the most effective fleet in 10 turns, and I had this set of ship options

Asteroid (Hv) D5(C) - 220 PP / 4 turns
O: 200 H: 180 S: 45

Quantum D5(C) - 267 PP / 10 turns
O: 250 H: 200 S: 45

Solar D5(C) - 756 PP / 20 turns
O: 700 H: 370 S: 135



I think I would mass product the Asteroid (Hv) D5(C)s.



One of the big surprises for me was how much turn-time mattered in ship production relative to going new tech or staying with current tech - especially in late game where I have 2.4+K PP per turn. I found it less easy to spend enough per turn :P . For example, I found that I could put more hull on the board faster if I stayed lower tech. Heavy Asteroid hulls had a 4 turn cost, Quantums had a 10 turn cost, and Solars have a 20 turn cost.


Currently the cost of a ship comes from its weapons. Hull (armor) is probably too cheep for its usefulness.



I found it very micro-management intensive to have a constant production of high tech ships. I found I instead did huge batches, for simplicity sake. Queue up 50 Solar ships (my max high tech ship), wait 20 turns, gather 50 Solar ships. Then queue up another 20, 30 or 50 more. Come back in 20 turns. Production felt very - jerky and sporadic.

I also notice that I look for slot count/number over any other variable when selecting a hull, and then ease of knowing what I can build at a particular location. Ship's that require black holes are very easy to remember where to build: they have a black hole icon on the main map and the system name is underlined (gotta remember to build to appropriate stuff, but that's easy).

Ships that require asteroids, slightly less easy, but click on an underlined system, see that it has an asteroid belt, and remember that you put all the stuff there and you're good to go.

Ships that require anything else (geo-integration, orbital-incubators, etc) really frustrate me as I click on my planet that has the Shipyard and go looking for ships to build, only to find that it's not available. Come to find out I didn't build that one facility needed for that ship here, so I can't build that ship. So now, I tend to build all shipyard extensions at backyard shipyards (front lines only get orbital dry dock for repair), just so I don't have to go hunting for my one system that's underlined and has that one building that supports the type of hull I need. An improvement here would be nice.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio »

yandonman wrote:I think combat works something like this...
Not quite, but effectively the same as what happens for most purposes. The main thing you assumed incorrectly was the ordering of actions by fleets. What actually happens is that every combat round (of which there are 10*number_of_ships in battle), a random ship in the battle is selected to attack something. Who owns the ship and who previously had actions isn't considering when selecting which ship acts next. This has the (intended) result that the number of attacks each player gets is roughly proportional to the number of ships that player has. What gets attacked by an attacking ship is also randomly selected from all valid targets for the attacking ship, which is presently just anything owned by an empire that's at war with the attacker's owner.
Currently the cost of a ship comes from its weapons. Hull (armor) is probably too cheep for its usefulness.
Can you suggest a better cost for the various armour parts?
I also notice that I look for slot count/number over any other variable when selecting a hull...
You've described massive ongoing fleet battles at fixed locations or very slowly moving front lines that are well-connected to the rest of your empire, which makes only combat power relevant for value of a ship design, and other possible factors like starlane speed, stealth, or fuel capacity irrelevant...

Would having some hulls that have significantly more armour, perhaps more cheaply than armour parts can be added, make hulls with fewer part slots more useful?
Ships that require anything else (geo-integration, orbital-incubators, etc) really frustrate me as I click on my planet that has the Shipyard and go looking for ships to build, only to find that it's not available. Come to find out I didn't build that one facility needed for that ship here, so I can't build that ship.
The support buildings needed for various part types should probably have an area of effect (eg. all lane-connected shipyards) if not just working for all of an empire's shipyards regardless of location.

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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#3 Post by yandonman »

Geoff the Medio wrote:You've described massive ongoing fleet battles at fixed locations or very slowly moving front lines that are well-connected to the rest of your empire, which makes only combat power relevant for value of a ship design, and other possible factors like starlane speed, stealth, or fuel capacity irrelevant...
Well, I am playing a dumb AI. SuperTesters advantages are expansion, population/PP/economy and building lots of ships. The game pretty much goes "expand like crazy until you hit someone, then wall off with lots of ships". (to any of the AI coders, have them at least tech up to plasma by turn 300, and death ray by turn 400, and maybe death ray 5 by turn 500)

Stealth I only see useful in scouting (does stealth have any combat usefulness? I figured when firing a ship became un-stealthed), which I use Observatories and sensor research to handle. Late game sensors/observatory seems to reveal all - not sure that's intended. Am I misusing/missing something with stealth?

Since starlanes are the only means to travel, there are choke points, which leads to fortifying those choke points. My fortification = 100 mid-line ships + repair, followed by 100 top of the line ships. How would you counter 200 ships at a choke point? (I keep wanting a build-temporary-starlane-between-two-scoutships to sneak a fleet behind a fortification)


Fuel - Fuel is such an Achilles' heal that it's not worth venturing too far outside of supply lines (save for scouting). Maybe if there was a deep space choke point outside of supply line, and I had a repair ship with my fleet, I might go after that. Am I missing something (I probably am)?


Speed - Speed doesn't seem to matter in FreeOrion because of the starlanes. In MoO2, speed mattered, because there were no starlanes. In MoO2, one could attack anywhere. Countering that attack meant having sensors (to see it coming) and speed (to get there fast enough). In FreeOrion, the length and number of hops for the starlanes matters first, speed second. That and choke points seem to negate speed.

Geoff the Medio wrote:Would having some hulls that have significantly more armour, perhaps more cheaply than armour parts can be added, make hulls with fewer part slots more useful?
Yes, absolutely. I recently went looking for such a hull. If there had been a Heavy Crystalized Asteroid hull with -1 slot but +1 (or more) equivolent Crystal Armor Plating in hull I would have totally taken that. Especially if there was a whole line of ships that progressed through tech that kept up with the armor research.

Geoff the Medio wrote:Can you suggest a better cost for the various armor parts?
Weapons_Armor.jpg
Weapons_Armor.jpg (97.27 KiB) Viewed 2057 times
Since slots are at a premium late game, I think that a Capacity/Cost value of Crystal Armor Plating should be less than 10 (aka: increase Crystal Armor Plating cost to 8 or 10 PP). But late game armor could be as expensive as 1 or 2 PP per armor (capacity) point.

Do shields regenerate during combat (in some manner)?


Some more math crunching:

Mark VIII B - Basic Medium Hull
Laser 4 (2), Deflector Shield
Damage: 24, Structure: 7, Shields: 15 (Def: 22)
Cost: 13 PP, 2 turns

Mark VIII B x 25:
13 PP x 25 = 325 PP
24 Dmg x 25 = 600 damage


Solar D5(C) - Solar Hull
Death Ray 5 (14), Crystal Armor Plating (4), Deflector Shield (9)
Damage: 700, Structure: 370, Shields: 135 (Def: 505)
Cost: 756 PP, 20 turns


Defensive Solar Ship
Death Ray 5 (1), Crystal Armor Plating (17), Deflector Shield (9)
Damage: 50, Structure: 1410, Shields: 135 (Def: 1545)
Cost: 132 PP, 20 turns


Based on the current combat mechanism and tech, I see no way that any Solar ship can survive an engagement with 25 (Laser Equipped) Mark VIII Bs. It's the "Laser Equipped" part that gets me. I'm totally cool that capital ships can be countered by lots of small ships, but I think the current tech supports large numbers winning.



Some interesting tech that could change the dynamics

"Independent Targeting Module" (give each weapon its own "turn", but cannot fire on the same target twice in X number of combat turns: if randomly selected to do so, the weapon fires with 0 damage - allow a ship to become good at dealing with multiple small ships at the cost of losing fire power to capital ships): Variations:
- Per "Independent Targeting Module", allow one weapon to fire independently
- Per "Independent Targeting Module", allow X number of weapons to fire independently (number based on refinement tech/research)
- One "Independent Targeting Module" allows all weapons to fire independently

Hard shields (reduces all incoming damage by X - x would be a fairly low number) - Good against multiple smaller ships, weak against heavy hitters

Lattice Shields (negates all incoming damage after threshold of X - x would be a fairly high number) - Good against heavy hitters, weak against multiple smaller ships

Laser Shields - (requires research of Lasers 4) - reduces Laser damage by 25%. (cumulative: multiplied, not added)
Plasma Shields - (requires research of Plasma Cannon 4) - reduces Plasma Cannon damage by 25%. (cumulative: multiplied, not added)
(note: no Mass Driver shields, no Death Ray shields)
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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#4 Post by Bigjoe5 »

I think a big part of that problem is ships directing all their firepower at one target. In real tactical combat, that solar ship would be crunching through 14 Mark VII Bs per turn. Still not quite worth its weight though - increasing the structure of later game hulls (or at least hulls that are meant to be perceived as "larger") is a good idea, I think.

Solar Hull does have some other advantages though, and actually, the (my) intention is that it's really only useful to have one per fleet, since the main value is in it's flagship effect, which for the Solar Hull is to constantly refuel all ships in the fleet, and reduce the stealth of all enemy ships in the system.
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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#5 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Bigjoe5 wrote:I think a big part of that problem is ships directing all their firepower at one target. In real tactical combat, that solar ship would be crunching through 14 Mark VII Bs per turn.
Things could be modified to allow ship multi-targetting: A ship would allocate its various weapons combined power into N separate "shots", with each shot being weaker than the total weapon power. Each shot could hit a different target. It might be optimal to have more shots when facing lots of weaker targets, but optimal to have fewer shots when facing a small number of high-structure targets.

Exactly how it would work has various options... There could be battle computer parts that when added might give +X shots where X depends on the particular part type. Alternatively, different hulls might have different inherent numbers of shots. The number of weapon parts in a design might also be a limit on the number of shots. If the number of shots is N and the ship's total attack strength is A, then each shot might be A/N in strength. That would make it equivalent to have 2 parts of strength 5, 5 parts of strength 2, or 2 different parts of strength 9 and 1.

I would probably not want to have a ship be able to fire just as many of its weapons at a target as needed to destroy it before moving to the next target.

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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#6 Post by Bigjoe5 »

What we could do for now is select the next ship to fire with a probability proportional to the sum of the rate-of-fire (ROF) stat for all its weapons, then select which weapon that ship will fire with probability for a specific weapon proportional to the ROF for that weapon.

In other words, each weapon in combat has a probability to fire each turn proportional to its ROF, which should on average have a weapon with, say, a ROF of 2 firing twice as often as a weapon with a ROF of 1, which seems like it would most closely reflect what will actually go on in tactical combat.
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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#7 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Bigjoe5 wrote:What we could do for now is select the next ship to fire with a probability proportional to the sum of the rate-of-fire (ROF) stat for all its weapons, then select which weapon that ship will fire with probability for a specific weapon proportional to the ROF for that weapon.
Sounds reasonable. Keeping track of the total ROF sums as ships are destroyed, in order to properly do the weighted ship selection each round, might be a bit error-prone / tricky.

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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#8 Post by Geoff the Medio »

yandonman wrote:does stealth have any combat usefulness?
Not at present.
...I think that a Capacity/Cost value of Crystal Armor Plating should be less than 10 (aka: increase Crystal Armor Plating cost to 8 or 10 PP). But late game armor could be as expensive as 1 or 2 PP per armor (capacity) point.
You should be able to edit ship_parts.txt and ship_hulls.txt without much trouble... Can you try adjusting the costs of parts and structure of hulls to be more balanced, and post the result when you have something you think works better?
Do shields regenerate during combat (in some manner)?
Shields should regenerate if a ship goes one turn without being in a battle. They shouldn't regenerate during a combat.
[Damage reduction and damage cap shields]
I'd consider a damage-reduction meter that is subtracted from all hits on a ship. I'd initially put the ability onto advanced hulls, rather than parts, and might make it only work for structure or only for shield damage, not both... Probably structure, as not all ships would have shields, and it'd be weird to have a shield-only damage reduction on a design with no shields.
Laser Shields - (requires research of Lasers 4) - reduces Laser damage by 25%. (cumulative: multiplied, not added)
Plasma Shields - (requires research of Plasma Cannon 4) - reduces Plasma Cannon damage by 25%. (cumulative: multiplied, not added)
(note: no Mass Driver shields, no Death Ray shields)
I don't want to get into that sort of per-weapon-type fancy damage math that varies from target to target in a battle.

I would like to get into galaxy map environmental factors affecting the strength of weapons though... Maybe a nebula makes shields or makes plasma weapons not work, or being in a black hole / neutron star system makes death rays less / more effective. This would act on all ships with a particular weapon in a battle, regardless of what is being attacked / attacking.

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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#9 Post by eleazar »

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:I think a big part of that problem is ships directing all their firepower at one target. In real tactical combat, that solar ship would be crunching through 14 Mark VII Bs per turn.
Things could be modified to allow ship multi-targetting: A ship would allocate its various weapons combined power into N separate "shots", with each shot being weaker than the total weapon power. Each shot could hit a different target. It might be optimal to have more shots when facing lots of weaker targets, but optimal to have fewer shots when facing a small number of high-structure targets.

Exactly how it would work has various options...
Bigjoe5 wrote:What we could do for now is select the next ship to fire with a probability proportional to the sum of the rate-of-fire (ROF) stat for all its weapons, then select which weapon that ship will fire with probability for a specific weapon proportional to the ROF for that weapon.

In other words, each weapon in combat has a probability to fire each turn proportional to its ROF, which should on average have a weapon with, say, a ROF of 2 firing twice as often as a weapon with a ROF of 1, which seems like it would most closely reflect what will actually go on in tactical combat.
As long as combat is an abstracted black box, i think we should avoid complexifying the combat mechanics-- added new stats and so forth, and thus making combat results even more mysterious.

I do agree that it unfortunately favors many small ships when high power ships can't have multiple targets. The number of shots it gets should be obviously and consistently derived (at least for now) for instance:
  • each weapon part gets a shot (i.e. ships can be built to better take multiple targets), or
    you simply divided the total weapon power by 10 for the number of shots (more powerful ships can have more targets.)

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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#10 Post by Bigjoe5 »

eleazar wrote:As long as combat is an abstracted black box, i think we should avoid complexifying the combat mechanics-- added new stats and so forth, and thus making combat results even more mysterious.
What new stats are you referring to? Ship weapons already have a rate-of-fire stat, which is reported to the player. I think that having a stat doing exactly what it's advertised to do is less mysterious than it simply doing nothing.
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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#11 Post by Vezzra »

eleazar wrote:...each weapon part gets a shot (i.e. ships can be built to better take multiple targets)
That's IMO the simplest, most intuitive and easiest to comprehend method for the current, temporary battle mechanics to solve the problems at hand. Instead of compiling a list of all ships partaking in a battle, we can compile a list of each weapon part on each ship, everything else remains as it is.

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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#12 Post by eleazar »

Bigjoe5 wrote:Ship weapons already have a rate-of-fire stat, which is reported to the player.
Where?

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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#13 Post by Bigjoe5 »

eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:Ship weapons already have a rate-of-fire stat, which is reported to the player.
Where?
OK, apparently ships have a rate-of-fire stat which was reported to the player. Either way, every weapon has an ROF of 1 currently, so there's no effective difference between my suggestion and yours except that mine will continue giving results similar to what can be expected from tactical combat once there are weapons with different ROFs.
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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#14 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Bigjoe5 wrote:...rate-of-fire stat which was reported to the player.
It should show up in the encyclopedia if the stringtable entry PART_DESC_DIRECT_FIRE_STATS is modified to have %2% in it. %3% would be the range stat. The entry is presently '''Attack Damage: %1%'''

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Re: Ship cost/effectiveness of new and old models

#15 Post by eleazar »

Throw out my 2nd suggestion of getting a number of attacks divided by 10 -- that's not as clear. I'm going with number of shots = number of weapons
Bigjoe5 wrote:OK, apparently ships have a rate-of-fire stat which was reported to the player. Either way, every weapon has an ROF of 1 currently, so there's no effective difference between my suggestion and yours except that mine will continue giving results similar to what can be expected from tactical combat once there are weapons with different ROFs.
The differences are:
  • * The player doesn't need to care about a RoF stat before it is implemented in a way that he can see it in game.
    * Weapon strength remains a meaningful, stat derived from adding the strength of each weapon.
There's a lot of stuff that may be fine in 3D combat just doesn't work so well, or is counterproductive in abstract uncontrolled combat.

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