Are carriers too cheap?

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Ophiuchus
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#46 Post by Ophiuchus »

TLDR;
  • please use 5 fighter damage multiplier in slow MP game to give us real-life data about the resulting balance
  • lets delay the later fighter techs (researchcost, researchturns) and the upgrades to existing carriers
  • lets do an IP upkeep for ships
  • maybe lets think of an replenishment mechanic for carriers
wobbly wrote: Tue May 07, 2024 7:14 pm As far as reducing the fighter damage by 1/3 (from 6 to 4) that'd be great if the aim is for no-one to build carriers instead of everyone building carriers. I mean I'm not certain that'd be the end result, but it is a significant chunk of damage and I'd be worried that its just swapping 1 problem for another (carriers too weak, instead of too strong).

As far as the original suggestion of a cost increase it was a very relative change, and only a small nudge. For a standard symbiot double striker it was a 1/6 cost increase. Looking with a static (and zortium) it was only an increase of 1/7. On asteriods it was an increase of about 1/8. On a pure robotic carrier less then 1/10, and less of an increase on a robotic with a weapon in 1 of the external slot.
the fighter systems (hangars + bays for starting all fighters first bout) are balanced (without pilot skills and policies) to have the same damage and same buildcost. the original suggestion had a slant towards nerfing lighter fighters. the main tradeoff is number of fighters (chaff) and necessary slots and the targeting conditions.

Regarding the slant: if you think the balance is off because i would have a look if it is possible to make the heavier fighter systems heavier than the lighter ones. this is mostly for strikers vs bombers. heavy bombers use case is attacking planets (while not being distracted by fighters). note the pilot bonus is slanted to towards the smaller fighters because nobody(TM) used strikers; everybody(TM) did use bombers. if both get used, we are in the right spot.

why not use fighter damage 5 then? that is in the same ballpark as your suggestion for strikers (17% nerf instead of 14%; fineprint: the 5-damage mult makes the weapon lighter; the original suggestion makes it heavier)

you give a lot of reasons why it makes sense to invest in fighters besides the direct combat value. so the people should be able to leverage that even if the fighters-4 is a bit worse as a weapon than death rays.
wobbly wrote: Tue May 07, 2024 7:14 pm Edit: I'll just add 1 last comment about the research dynamics. If I'm going down the direct weapon path, I need to queue up lasers 8 turns before I can start building laser ships, and another 8 turns before I can start queueing plasma ships. I need to "keep up" with technology in peaceful times or fall behind in military capability. With carriers I can queue and build them without "keeping up" tech-wise. If war breaks out I can upgrade them all the way from base fighter to fighter 3 within 16 turns. If I did that with mass drivers, it'd be the same 16 turns, before ... the 1st plasma ship hits the construction yard... Its much easier to ignore military research till you "need it" on a carrier setup. You get to spend your research elsewhere and still not fall behind in military tech.
there are some ways of delaying upgrades:
  • increase research time
  • do the upgrades N turns after researching
  • upgrade a random single ship each turn (note we do not currently track the individual ships upgrades)
  • idea: or upgrade the oldest single carrier each turn; implementation: give the bonus to the N oldest carriers, N turns after researching the tech.
also we could nerf the upgrades as compared to freshly build ships
  • upgraded ships get only half the bonus
  • do the upgrades one tier below current level (so carriers-2 does not upgrade; carriers-3 does upgrade to carrier-2 level; carriers-4 does upgrade to carrier-3 level)
i think your main concern is the upgrade problem. so lets address that mostly by delaying the tech (buildcost, buildturns) and delay the actual upgrades.
Oberlus wrote: Tue May 07, 2024 8:28 pm Hey buddies, lets solve the problem adding a different down side for the carriers: influence upkeep.

I advocate for adding IP upkeep to all ships from the beginning, and increasing or decreasing it with policies and depending on being on own, allied, no one's, or (blockaded) enemy supply. But that is not getting traction here. If we had that, we could make hangar parts to have greater upkeep than the other weapons (and it would make a lot of sense).
IP upkeep makes more sense than PP "upkeep". Nobody would miss the current PP "upkeep" mechanic (many probably did not even notice it). The only upside of it is that it has a small rubberbanding effect (sheaps get much cheaper after your fleets are wiped out), that is if you do not game that anyway with your fixed ally.

I dont think we should keep it an option (so we would not need a UI button for it).

One issue I see with IP upkeep is the old friend keep-the-stuff-unfinished-in-the-queue-where-it-does-not-cost-upkeep.
We should take that into account. (Should be doable)

lets do this IP upkeep. I am not sure about the hangar part (see below), but I wont object. So I suggest open a thread to do the design (or revive; i think we had one).
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.

It could make big battles of carriers pretty expensive (compared with times of peace), and it would make possible to "run out of ammo" for the carriers. So an empire going 100% carriers could find itself completely defenseless if didn't manage well its influence or the enemies managed to screw with it.
i like this fluff-wise a lot more than the upkeep for carriers, but i fail to imagine how to do this. Disabling automic replenish and having a manual "replenish" button per fleet is too micromanagy. And simplistic automatic replenish takes IP away without control which i think is also a no go.
A delay would probably work. Maybe best would be delaying the actual replenishment (so 1-turn delay to stock up); one could see in advance the IP cost and disable replenishment (by removing the "carrier warfare" military policy; by scrapping carriers(?); by putting carriers on "passive hide"). So one would only have to manage when the resources get low.

Back to the OP:
Earnestly, I think delaying research and upgrades for fighters will solve the stated problem fine. And it fits the research+carriers vs industry+direct-weapons theme.

I think the two suggestions do not help directly with the stated problem.
Replenishing only happens when the fighters were actually used, so that is no incentive to not build carriers early at all.

I am not sure IP upkeep will solve the stated problem. IP upkeep does disincentive building as much military as you can early. But if you need a fleet, you need a fleet, so you still build it early and it still has the upgrade goodness. Would you scrap old carriers in times of peace? Maybe?
Would you keep a non-carrier base fleet (because of lower upkeep) and spam out carriers when preparing for war? That contradicts the idea of specialising into one weapon type (why did we want that? in order to make enemies more diverse).


for the time being is suggest the you guys try this MP game with 5 instead of 6 fighter damage to see if people switch to direct weapons.

note: there is a TLDR at the beginning of the post
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#47 Post by Oberlus »

This would be the thread for ship upkeep discussion: https://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12229
There is already some thought put into it from several of us.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#48 Post by wobbly »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 7:35 am the fighter systems (hangars + bays for starting all fighters first bout) are balanced (without pilot skills and policies) to have the same damage and same buildcost. the original suggestion had a slant towards nerfing lighter fighters. the main tradeoff is number of fighters (chaff) and necessary slots and the targeting conditions.
You regularly repeat "was balanced", and I regularly repeat balance is what occurs in-game, not what it says on a piece of paper. In-game balance consists of hulls with ship parts, not ship parts floating in a void. In an alternative reality increasing a ships cost from 50 PP to 60 PP is a 50% price increase and increasing the price of a ship from 90 PP to 100 PP is also a 50% price increase. It is not the reality in-game. Ignoring interactions between hulls and parts is a great way to have under-powered robotic carriers and over-powered symbiotic/asteroid carriers. No amount of fiddling with the damage numbers will fix that. Whichever you balance around the other will be wrong.
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 7:35 am note the pilot bonus is slanted to towards the smaller fighters because nobody(TM) used strikers; everybody(TM) did use bombers. if both get used, we are in the right spot.
I've always used strikers for the initial ships (flexible role), though I tend to build more bombers and interceptors once I reach a certain mass of carriers..
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 7:35 am you give a lot of reasons why it makes sense to invest in fighters besides the direct combat value. so the people should be able to leverage that even if the fighters-4 is a bit worse as a weapon than death rays.
Sure. They can stop building carriers altogether once they reach death rays for instance.
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 7:35 am i think your main concern is the upgrade problem. so lets address that mostly by delaying the tech (buildcost, buildturns) and delay the actual upgrades.
My 1st concern is the upgrade problem.

My 2nd concern is that carriers can be researched from game start for 12 RP and its competitor lasers can be researched for 64 RP. One takes negligible investment, the other a large investment. In my opinion this was a bad design decision. Now whether the initial design decision was bad or good doesn't concern me much. It could easily be examined and adjusted if necessary. Or it could just as easily be casually dismissed with a statement like "carriers belong early" and the actual examining part skipped completely.

My 3rd concern is that the dominant weapon choice (carriers) synergies well with the dominant hull choice (symbiots)

My 4th concern is the dynamic interplay of the 3 concerns above. Everything is skewered in a way to create an optimal hull/weapon setup which requires a minimal investment, rather then present a real choice to the player. End result is every player using the same hull and weapon setup.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#49 Post by Ophiuchus »

wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 1:42 pm My 2nd concern is that carriers can be researched from game start for 12 RP and its competitor lasers can be researched for 64 RP.
MD4 is better than carriers 1
edit: or to put in better words: the intended competitor is not lasers, but mass drivers
Last edited by Ophiuchus on Wed May 08, 2024 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#50 Post by wobbly »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:06 pm
wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 1:42 pm My 2nd concern is that carriers can be researched from game start for 12 RP and its competitor lasers can be researched for 64 RP.
MD4 is better than carriers 1
A 44 PP ship doing 144 total damage is better then a 54 PP ship doing 216 damage?

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#51 Post by Oberlus »

Plus you upgrade to fighters 2 quite fast. Yes, MD4 can have some edge for a few turns. Still not enough.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#52 Post by Ophiuchus »

wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:19 pm
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:06 pm
wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 1:42 pm My 2nd concern is that carriers can be researched from game start for 12 RP and its competitor lasers can be researched for 64 RP.
MD4 is better than carriers 1
A 44 PP ship doing 144 total damage is better then a 54 PP ship doing 216 damage?
the competitor is 2 MD + 1 flak vs 2xStrikers (same build cost). do the maths

edit: to put it in better words: the intended competitor is mass drivers, not lasers
Last edited by Ophiuchus on Wed May 08, 2024 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#53 Post by Ophiuchus »

Oberlus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:21 pm Plus you upgrade to fighters 2 quite fast. Yes, MD4 can have some edge for a few turns. Still not enough.
so if we up the research costs and the turns and turns for upgrading... MD4 will have the edge longer
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#54 Post by wobbly »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:27 pm
wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:19 pm
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:06 pm
MD4 is better than carriers 1
A 44 PP ship doing 144 total damage is better then a 54 PP ship doing 216 damage?
the competitor is 2 MD + 1 flak vs 2xStrikers (same build cost). do the maths

edit: to put it in better words: the intended competitor is mass drivers, not lasers
Well I'm doing the maths and I'm unsure where your free flak cannon ship came from. 2 mass driver ships is the same cost at 2 single hanger striker ships (aprroximately). I guess I bothered to open up the game window and look.

3xMedium Hull Striker ships = approx. same cost as 2xMedium Hull mass driver ships + 1xMedium Hull Flak Cannon ship.(it's actually 147 PP vs 132 PP)

Guess what the 3x striker ships do same damage with best rolls on the flak cannon. They do statistically more damage.

Guess what that MD 4 cost me 40 RP instead of 12.

TLDR: Don't tell me to do the maths, if you can't be arsed doing the maths yourself.

Edit: Correction. The strikers ALWAYS do more damage. 6 fighters on round 2, 6-8 fighters on round 3 and 3-7 fighters on round 4. Its at least 360 to MD4s 288. At max its 504 vs 288.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#55 Post by Ophiuchus »

wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:48 pm
Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:27 pm
wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:19 pm

A 44 PP ship doing 144 total damage is better then a 54 PP ship doing 216 damage?
the competitor is 2 MD + 1 flak vs 2xStrikers (same build cost). do the maths

edit: to put it in better words: the intended competitor is mass drivers, not lasers
Well I'm doing the maths and I'm unsure where your free flak cannon ship came from.
Last time i looked :

Two striker bays (15PP) + three launch bays (10PP) -> 60PP

Two Mass drivers (20PP) + one flak (20PP) -> 60 PP

lets allow flak in internal slot and we can use medium hulls on both sides.
wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 3:48 pm TLDR: Don't tell me to do the maths, if you can't be arsed doing the maths yourself.
Oberlus and i did the maths (and a lot more thorough) two or three years ago. You could try search the forums. The tone was adequate I think; if it did not mirror yours, I apologize.
Last edited by Ophiuchus on Wed May 08, 2024 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#56 Post by wobbly »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 4:23 pm
Last time i looked :

Two striker bays (15PP) + three launch bays (10PP) -> 60PP

Two Mass drivers (20PP) + one flak (20PP) -> 60 PP
wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 1:42 pm In-game balance consists of hulls with ship parts, not ship parts floating in a void.
Guess that part was too long and you didn't read.
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Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 4:23 pm lets allow flak in internal slot and we can use medium hulls on both sides.
Yes lets randomly screw with the game balance, with zero thought about the consequences.

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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#57 Post by Ophiuchus »

wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 4:38 pm Yes lets randomly screw with the game balance, with zero thought about the consequences.
I thought that was the original post.

If you do not want to put flak in an internal slot, put it instead of one of the armor parts.
Or use a large hull.

Yes, ship designs do matter, but the weapon system have to work in "all of them".
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#58 Post by wobbly »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 4:39 pm
wobbly wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 4:38 pm Yes lets randomly screw with the game balance, with zero thought about the consequences.
I thought that was the original post.

If you do not want to put flak in an internal slot, put it instead of one of the armor parts.
Or use a large hull.

Yes, ship designs do matter, but the weapon system have to work in "all of them".
Sure why not. If you believe 5, 80 structure mass driver ships will fair better against 6, 128 structure carriers. Those 5 ships with 80 structure are getting hit with at least 18 fighters and do less damage when they don't survive the full 4 rounds. Reality is its more than 18 fighter hits, even 15 flak shots is unlikely to destroy 12 fighters in 1 round, due to multiple hits on the same target.
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#59 Post by Ophiuchus »

Sorry, I am afraid, my time is up. I will continue with this post fight after the long weekend. Happy holidays everybody.
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Re: Are carriers too cheap?

#60 Post by wobbly »

Ophiuchus wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 4:39 pm Yes, ship designs do matter, but the weapon system have to work in "all of them".
and ignoring the hull cost is already out by 50% in the best case scenario. Its out by a lot more in the worst case scenario. For the initial design phase sure why not. Once its in-game and you are arguing with players looking at ships in-game those paper numbers aren't even close to reality.

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