Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fighting

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mem359
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Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fighting

#1 Post by mem359 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:17 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:The test for planet incapacitation also requires that the construction meter be reduced to zero.
I sent some attack ships to attack a basic Scylior planet (0 shields and 0 weapons) which had a Sentry in orbit.
I thought combat would be over in one turn, but my ships only did 14 points of damage on the Sentry, and wasted 27 points taking out the infrastructure of a defenseless planet.

I realize it is easier to code the attack algorithm to bombard until the planet is incapacitated, but this still seems odd.
If this is intended, then I would argue that the game should also require the planet to be incapacitated before troop ships are allowed to land.

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:04 pm

There are many potentially better strategies for ships in battles than their current method of randomly selecting targets, that would sometimes apply but sometimes not... It's possible a player would prefer ships to do the opposite of what you want in some cases.

I've pondered adding parts or species traits that modify ship behaviours in battles, but with a degree of player control of when / how it applies. Future "leaders" might also act as admirals in battles, allowing the player to further or alternatively modify behaviours of this sort.

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mem359
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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#3 Post by mem359 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:24 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:There are many potentially better strategies for ships in battles than their current method of randomly selecting targets, that would sometimes apply but sometimes not... It's possible a player would prefer ships to do the opposite of what you want in some cases.
But in this particular case (zero inherent shields or weapons), with the current game rules, there is no scenario where ships would want to target the planet while active defending ships are in orbit. Infrastructure resets to zero after a troop invasion anyways, so bombardment is pointless.

If the natives had non-zero maximum shields and weapons, that would be different.

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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#4 Post by Dilvish » Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:32 pm

mem359 wrote:I realize it is easier to code the attack algorithm to bombard until the planet is incapacitated...
No, not really, except in the trivial sense that that's how it is now, so to change would be some (fairly small) amount of work. But what you're arguing is largely equivalent to the argument that combat ships shouldn't target unarmed enemies until after all armed enemies have been destroyed. Which, as Geoff mentions, is a kind of combat tactic option that is likely to be selectable at some point in the future (which *will* be a nontrivial bit of additional work). But even then the tactic choice won't necessarily be a 'no-brainer' decision. There is already some content whereby unarmed ships could confer substantial benefit to the armed ships in their fleet. There is also a small bit of similar content for planets, although currently pretty minor-- a planet with remaining infrastructure and advanced defense techs is more likely to be able to regen enough defenses to damage attack ships on the next turn. In the current content these are admittedly rare and/or minor issues, but your request is essentially one of optimizing the hardcoded combat engine with respect to current content, which is something we're not terribly inclined to do. If this is jarring your sense of realism, then please accept one or more of the following premises: (i) in the midst of battle it's not possible to reliably distinguish nonthreatening infrastructure from potential defenses, (ii) that your combat ship crews either really really hate the 'landlubbers', or (iii) similar to (i) but a bit broader, your combat ship crews simply go into a bit of a battle frenzy, shooting at anything that looks even potentially dangerous.
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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#5 Post by mem359 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:28 pm

Dilvish wrote:If this is jarring your sense of realism, then please accept one or more of the following premises: (i) in the midst of battle it's not possible to reliably distinguish nonthreatening infrastructure from potential defenses, (ii) that your combat ship crews either really really hate the 'landlubbers', or (iii) similar to (i) but a bit broader, your combat ship crews simply go into a bit of a battle frenzy, shooting at anything that looks even potentially dangerous.
Yes, except the example I gave, there were no potential defenses, no advanced techs.
A native Scylior planet without any specials has no weapons, at any time.
(They only gain weapons after being conquered and absorbed by player empires.)

And I acknowledged this wasn't a common situation.
mem359 wrote:If the natives had non-zero maximum shields and weapons, that would be different.
I'm fine with the explanation that changes will be made, so that dealing with a temporary situation (that is only a concern in the early game with weak weapons) wouldn't be worth the effort. But the the counter-examples you and Geoff gave were for planets where the defenses were temporarily zero (after bombardment), and not planets where it is permanently zero.

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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#6 Post by Mitten.O » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:30 pm

One more point: I actually think it is good that is harder to defeat a sentinel around a native planet than a lone sentinel. It makes sense balance wise.
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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#7 Post by MatGB » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:25 pm

Agreed.

Also, fairly sure captured native planets with infrastructure keep their infrastructure on capture but it's been awhile since I paid attention.

In addition, one of the bits I'll be working on fairly soon will, hopefully, make infrastructure both useful and something you might want to actually be bombing. Yes, it's annoying, in many respects, it also happens when there's a fight in general over a native planet.

Also, yes, we know that a non high-tech native planet has zero defence. How do your crews know that? It should, generally, only happen for the first round of a fight, you just need to make sure you send in a bit more firepower when a sentry is in a system with natives.

But Dilvish's point is the most important. The current scripting doesn't use infrastructure much, and it's annoying as a result, but the current scripting is nowhere near complete—the patch I'm, hopefully, working on soon will make industrial bombing a valid tactic (if I can get it working) and that will make much more use of the current setup. Game's in Alpha, some things are daft because we made a mistake, other things are daft because they're not complete yet.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#8 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:42 pm

MatGB wrote:...the patch I'm, hopefully, working on soon will make industrial bombing a valid tactic (if I can get it working) and that will make much more use of the current setup.
Any updates?

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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#9 Post by MatGB » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:07 pm

Haven't had time to sketch out more than the basics of the idea, I think I might hack up a basic first step and submit for discussion then do further work if people like the idea, the overall plan involves lots of minor tweaks to several techs that partially tie in to another discussion.
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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#10 Post by vincele » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:45 pm

I'm with the OP on that subject. It also really annoys me that my warships cannot defend the scouts that are with them, which is a related subject. This is especially painful when you vastly overpower the enemy, such as to be able to destroy all of them in a single turn, you still get your fragile ships destroyed (or maybe I'm imagining having seen that happen) if you didn't separate them in the previous turns and put them aside in another system. I'd like them to "stay behind" of the front line, even if they're in the same system...

I'd personally like to have something along the following lines:
- until there are no more enemy warships, pound on them first.
- then go to the remaining offense capable planetary buildings
- then destroy the other enemy ships
- and finally, when there's no more threat or things that can escape, bombard...

If we could know there actually is something on the planet that enhance the enemy
warships, I may change my mind about that, and say we could target those buildings
earlier...
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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#11 Post by Vezzra » Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:22 pm

vincele wrote:- until there are no more enemy warships, pound on them first.
- then go to the remaining offense capable planetary buildings
And here the problem starts already. Because, depending on the situation, playing style, specific strategic goal in a specific situation, a player might want his warships to knock out planetary defences first. Especially when your enemy has already researched strong planetary defences, it's very likely more important to take them out quickly, because a planet with shields 390 and defence 45 can deal a nasty amount of damage each combat turn. To get rid of these powerful blasts from enemy planets, that can deal 45 damage in a single shot can be crucial.

You see, once you want to get a more detailed combat engine going, you very quickly reach a point where you can't resolve combat fully automatic anymore. You need to give the player some sort of control what he wants his warships to do. Either by setting some kind of policies for each fleet (probably preferred), or by providing a dialog box at the start of each battle (probably not what we want). Which in turn makes implementing such a combat engine a not so minor thing...

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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#12 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:28 pm

Vezzra wrote:...policies for each fleet (probably preferred), or by providing a dialog box at the start of each battle (probably not what we want). Which in turn makes implementing such a combat engine a not so minor thing...
Giving this sort of control to leaders / admirals is partly motivated by the need to limit the micromanagement is requires / allows. If there are a limited number of leaders available, and they are the only way to give specific / detailed battle orders to a fleet / combat, the player has limited opportunity (and thus obligation) to spend time giving such orders.

That said, I'd also like to add some "battle computer" type parts, that lets an individual ship behave differently than the default. These would be fixed once the design is confirmed / ship is produced, so would not allow much micromanagement either. Spreading vs. focusing fire from multiple weapon parts is the initial motivation for such parts.

I'd also like to add quirks such as species that hate other species tending to attack ships selectively as a result.

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Re: Ships bombarding a defenseless planet instead of fightin

#13 Post by vincele » Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:48 pm

OK, if we cannot do something automatic that is good enough, in that case, my personal preference would still be for a combat dialog box allowing me to choose what to do in each situation, probably with a summary of the tactical situation...
And it could give me the choice to flee, with X% losses. Maybe put a settings to automatically take option X to autoresolve combat for lessening combat micromanagement, but still being able to choose combat / aggressiveness style.

What I'd ultimately love would be like MOO2's turn-based tactical combat map where I can make a difference, and even sometimes win a battle with less powerful ships... But that's another can of man-monthes of development which we don't have...
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