Fractal Softworks Forum

Starsector => Suggestions => Topic started by: Histidine on February 14, 2020, 06:03:10 PM

Title: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Histidine on February 14, 2020, 06:03:10 PM
As in, make the 'fleet pts' column in ship data have the same value as DP/supplies-to-deploy, unless a particular ship needs them to be different for whatever reason.

The issue here is that cruisers and capitals have inflated DP costs relative to their FP costs. e.g.
Wolf: 5 FP, 5 DP
Hammerhead: 10 FP, 10 DP
Eagle: 14 FP, 22 DP
Paragon: 30 FP, 60 DP

This has certain effects on the gameplay of generated fleets.

Good effects
A fleet can have more cruisers and capitals to challenge the player, without needing a disproportionate FP value on fleet generation.

Bad effects
Basically every complaint involving capital bloat in things like expedition fleets and similar mod content. In particular, I believe the FP/DP mismatch is partly responsible for that annoying difficulty spike where e.g. a 150k named bounty can have one capital, but a 300k bounty has like six.

It also leads to strange autoresolve results, as in "it only takes three Hammerheads to match a Paragon?" I think this includes pursuit autoresolve, which would be an area where the discrepancy has direct (albeit minor) effects on the player.

Lastly it just seems to complicate stuff needlessly for modders and in discussions where backend values are relevant.


That said, I'm assuming the separate values weren't just introduced on a whim. Alex, I'd be interested in hearing what the original rationale was? Then we can talk about whether the good outweighs the bad.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: TaLaR on February 14, 2020, 10:44:10 PM
Yeah... With values like these I don't see how fleet creation can end in anything but capital/cruiser spam.
And goes further to devalue small ships in player fleet - pretty much no 30 DP combination of AI ships is going to defeat an officer-ed Paragon in actual combat.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Lucky33 on February 14, 2020, 11:44:10 PM
Supply costs were seemed as a balancing parameter tied to FP. You can see it in the 0.65 ship_data, "c/fp" column. Thats credits (for the supplies needed to deploy) per fp. However at that point "supply per deployment" depended on the running costs (supply per day) and those were prohibitively high (15 supply per day for the Onslaught). So the things were reverted. Recovery cost became main parameter which defined running costs (supplies/rec = supplies/month, "Removed "deployment points" as an explicit ship stat, battle size now based on supply recovery costs").

FP is the Ship's Strength. DP is the Operating Cost.

Considering that last major change to FPs happened in 0.65, my guess is that FPs are defined by the basic stats of the ship (flux, hitpoints, armor).
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Plantissue on February 15, 2020, 06:04:11 AM
In another thread I did say that DP should be the determinant of the fleet composition, not FP. I am wary of suggesting to make them exactly the same simply because I don't know what all of Fleet Points do. For instance I have no idea how d-mods factor into fleet generation.

It does make sense for autosolving pursuits that frigates and destroyers are more effective than cruiser and capitals, but not so much for autoresolving other battles, but that doesn't matter if FP generates those same fleets in the first place unless you join into the fight.

If FP generation determines the bounty fleets it does explain some odd results, like for instance independent deserter fleets can be hilariously easy compared to other deserter fleets with their fleets of cruisers that total up to a low relative amount of DP. And that tri-tachyon deserter fleets seem somewhat stronger than other fleets, though that may just be due to the more volatile nature of carriers.

Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Alex on February 15, 2020, 10:51:39 AM
That said, I'm assuming the separate values weren't just introduced on a whim. Alex, I'd be interested in hearing what the original rationale was? Then we can talk about whether the good outweighs the bad.

Yeah, from what I recall, I didn't particularly want to do this, but it seemed necessary, or at least the simplest course of action. Couple of assorted points:

It's useful to decouple supply/deployment point cost from autoresolve strength. One key example where this comes in handy is stations; star fortresses top out at 400 fleet points.

A less prominent example is that self-same Paragon. Of course the FP value is abstracted, and 3 Hammerheads generally lose to a Paragon, but in terms of overall strength in various scenarios and not head-to-head, this isn't as unreasonable. Plus, more importantly - this strength is used for fleet engagement decisions. Should a fleet with 3 Hammerheads want to engage a player fleet with a Paragon? I'd say definitely yes; while a fight with those odds is player-tilted, it's also in the "likely interesting" category. And, well, one could always bump up the FP value of the Paragon, if 30 felt like it was too low. So the way fleet points are tuned, the AI is a little more aggressive. That could be handled separately, though.

Basically every complaint involving capital bloat in things like expedition fleets and similar mod content. In particular, I believe the FP/DP mismatch is partly responsible for that annoying difficulty spike where e.g. a 150k named bounty can have one capital, but a 300k bounty has like six.

This is really more of a fleet creation issue, imo. The logic there is intended to get certain results and while fleet points can affect the outcome, so can changing the code. To wit: high-end fleets look significantly different in dev already.


Basically, these just don't quite do the same things. Deployment points are a bit higher for large ships since they feel like they ought to be more expensive to deploy given just how much the player can get out of them. Fleet points are a bit lower. Except when they're sky-high, as for stations.

Honestly, I could see generally making FP the same as deployment points, with some exceptions - but this would be a pain in terms of changing stuff that works off the current FP values (such as bounties, salvage, fleet AI, fleet creation, etc). And it doesn't seem like an improvement, but more of a lateral change in terms of where the special cases go.

I don't think the downsides are really downsides of fleet points being separate, aside from "more complicated for modders". But even there, it's useful to have these as a level for producing desired fleet compositions without also affecting the player-facing supply costs.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Plantissue on February 17, 2020, 07:54:11 AM
I don't think it make sense of a fleet to regard a Paragon as the same as three hammerheads. Fleet engagement decisions should be made by regarding the strength of the fleet, not with deciding that fleets with capitals are weaker than they really are. For how would it make sense the other way round? That a fleet of a Paragon will regard 4 hammerheads to be stronger than itself? A "likely interesting" category is better placed by placing their worth as their DP and giving a range of comparison to fight like say 0.5 to 2 of DP.

As it is now Deployment Points are roughly pointed out as the strength of ships, as deployment points are the limiter to what you can deploy in a battle. Though you may regard them as more expensive, they are and do seem to be currently balanced towards DP as roughly the strength of the ship, whilst fleet points seem kind of random. We expect the same DP value ships to be the same "strength". For larger ships they aren't more expensive to deploy; they are more deployment cost efficient, which is why capital ships are favoured as a ship choice.

It make sense for a fleet point and deployment point disparity for stations, as a kind of effective boss challenge, but it doesn't make much sense for the ships in a fleet that multiple can be had of.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Alex on February 17, 2020, 09:38:39 AM
I think what you're saying makes sense. But! The suggestion is about getting rid of FP entirely as a (non-player-facing to begin with, mind) stat. To distill my points:

1) That would be a significant pain, for various reasons, and
2) You'd need something else to handle a few special cases anyway, so why not just use fleet points, and
3) Beyond that, they're also a useful tool for tuning AI fleet comps w/o having to affect deployment costs

As far as FP values for certain ships being inaccurate for autoresolve strength, that's certainly true. It can't really be that accurate to begin with - e.g. consider that a single Paragon will get swarmed and killed by some number of frigates, but in a fleet context it's worth a lot more. Trying to figure that out accurately, however, is not really practical. As long as fleet comps, engagement decisions, autoresolve results, and a few other things look ok, then they're basically doing their job. That said, they could very much be adjusted on a per-ship basis, but to me that's a separate issue from removing them, if you know what I mean.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Plantissue on February 18, 2020, 06:08:34 AM
I interpreted the suggestion as copying and pasting the already existing the DP/supplies-to-deploy column to the FP column. FP still exists, just that the values used are now the same as the DP for most ships. As DP is already the value used to balanced around the strength of a ship in different contexts, it makes sense to use their more reasonable values and insert them into the FP column.

If a ship DP has changed like when Hammerhead changed from 8 to 10, then it becomes a matter of changing the FP to match that change in DP by hand as well. Exceptions can still be made for specific ships as the OP wrote, such as for stations.

So FP isn't removed, just that the numbers are normalised by hand to their DP values.

So the values now become:

Wolf: 5 FP, 5 DP
Hammerhead: 10 FP, 10 DP
Eagle: 22 FP, 22 DP
Paragon: 60 FP, 60 DP

Star Fortress: 400 FP, 100DP remains as original value

I'm no modder and I can't read code, so I think the only significant gameplay change would be that large fleets will become weaker when fighting the player, but I suppose multiplying the scaling by 1.4 or some other number should counteract that if desired to retain the strength of end game fleets. But I could be completely wrong as I have no real idea what all of FP actually do.

Btw, you wrote that high-end fleets look significantly different in dev already, and I'm really interested in that, (maybe fleets can split up?), but I suppose I can wait till the next release to find out what that is :)
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Alex on February 18, 2020, 04:33:26 PM
Right, gotcha. This goes back to point #1 about it being a pain, a bunch of random things depend on the FP values and are roughly calibrated for the current range of them, so a lot of little things would subtly break and need to be fixed or at least evaluated. Just one example is system bounty payouts, which are based on FP. I'm not super opposed to doing this, btw; I just don't see a real incentive to do it - since I don't think this is causing any of the problems it's assumed to be - and it'd be a bunch of time spent.

Btw, you wrote that high-end fleets look significantly different in dev already, and I'm really interested in that, (maybe fleets can split up?), but I suppose I can wait till the next release to find out what that is :)

With the caveat that things will likely change between now and release, this is how a very top-end Hegemony fleet looks:

https://imgur.com/a/qwmYpNs

It's got a bunch more officers than the standard limit, but the player also has means to temporarily exceed the limit at a cost. And, again, this probably isn't final; need to see how everything pans out and other tweaks might be necessary. I'd say that as far as composition, though, this is pretty close to what I'd like to see, especially given the Hegemony's slant towards bigger ships.

(Yikes, how'd it end up with a Wolf for a flagship? Ah, that's a bug, I need to fix that up.)
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Plantissue on February 19, 2020, 09:33:36 AM
Dev fleet looks much weaker than currently, but then again it's hard to gauge the effectiveness of officers.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Alex on February 19, 2020, 09:40:46 AM
Yeah, for sure - I mean, less Onslaughts is less Onslaughts. I'd also expect player fleets to be toned down a bit due to how skills work, but this is definitely a "have to see how it plays out" situation.

(There's also some other stuff I can do to buff the very very high end fleets, but that's REDACTED.)
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: TaLaR on February 19, 2020, 09:48:39 AM
With the caveat that things will likely change between now and release, this is how a very top-end Hegemony fleet looks:

https://imgur.com/a/qwmYpNs

Will player also get 20 officers?
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Alex on February 19, 2020, 09:49:32 AM
It's got a bunch more officers than the standard limit, but the player also has means to temporarily exceed the limit at a cost.

(Edit: the actual answer is: in theory, yes, in practice, it's probably not going to be worth it aside from occasionally. There's a whole set of mechanics around it, with "mercenary" officers and story points.)
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: SCC on February 19, 2020, 12:12:53 PM
My God, it's full of officers.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Thaago on February 19, 2020, 04:14:59 PM
A quick note on officers: We'll have to see what the power of the new combat skills are to get a good feel for how impactful they'll end up being.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Morrokain on February 20, 2020, 04:38:14 PM
I like how that in-dev fleet is composed. A few capitals as the meat of the composition with a slight emphasis on cruisers- alongside some destroyer and frigate support. Good stuff!
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Lucky33 on February 20, 2020, 09:19:17 PM
The problem is that it looks like the first wave of the current top tier Hegemony bounty. Only weaker due to d-mods. Difficulty wise its a breeze for the standart three battleship deployment at 300 dp battle size. And perfectly doable with two. More importantly, its much more susceptible to the SO rush.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Plantissue on February 22, 2020, 10:06:26 AM
It does look relatively much weaker. Not only are the ship DP about 70% of the biggest fleets, it is primarily composed of cruisers, so is weaker than a DP total. "Realistically" speaking, a fleet for battle would have the majority of its power in capital ships not cruisers.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Morrokain on February 22, 2020, 01:53:43 PM
I'd say going up to ~5 capitals per fleet would be fine, but remember that nearby fleets support as well, so too many capitals makes battles a little one dimensional considering how deployment works. If the major composition element is cruisers, it keeps all classes of ships more relevant in the late game, imo.

I will create a separate topic for this if it proves necessary, but radical idea incoming based upon the last few responses!  ;D

The player may feel the need to deploy as many capitals as they can if the enemy fleet generally doesn't have an overwhelming number of them too. The idea here is that the player assumes that would give them an advantage considering their oftentimes numerical disadvantage (arguable). Quality over quantity since quantity cannot be achieved.

To discourage capital spam by the player (completely arbitrary limiters are generally bad, but I don't think this suggestion would fall into that category) would it be possible or easy to make it so that a skill is required to deploy one? So that a capital must have an attached officer with the necessary skill to be usable in battle?

It would obviously be under leadership, and might make that more attractive and serve to partially balance out the power creep from the combat skill line.

Now, because that by itself would probably feel really bad or too limiting to a lot of people, the caveat would be that the player could use an undetermined number of story points to personally pilot a capital (or maaayybe to deploy one either without an officer or with an officer without the necessary skill) to circumvent that requirement with another resource cost to discourage doing it too often.

Idk, there are probably a lot of holes I haven't considered but the intent is to generate discussion.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: intrinsic_parity on February 22, 2020, 02:06:36 PM
I don't think that would do anything to change fleet compositions, it would just be a skill tax. Unless you could spend those skill points in a way that would make a fleet with no capitals consistently beat a fleet with capitals, you would be forced to take those skills. It seems very unlikely for that balance to ever be achieved. I never deploy un-officered capitals either so, this really just sounds like a mandatory skill for both the player and officers.

Edit: not all officers. There would be a choice about how many officers to take the skill on, but that would be about the only decision created by the skill IMO. I'm also not sure how it would work with the new skill system.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Grievous69 on February 22, 2020, 02:16:27 PM
@Morrokain
Sorry if it seems I'm immediately *** down your throat but honestly that seems like a bad idea. I mean it would sound ok if the target was some super ship or dreadnought, but vanilla doesn't have those. The issue here is that there's a huge difference in some capital ships (more so than any other class), on one side you have Atlas MkII, and on the other the Paragon. Both are obviously capitals and both would need a skill to be usable which is absurd. You're punishing the player for using weaker capitals and then only thing you'd see are Paragons and an Astral here and there. Your suggestion creates more problems than it ''fixes''. I'm using the word fix like that because there are constant posts about capital spam acting like every single player has a 10 Paragon fleet. Well good job you found a strat that works, here's a cookie. Then using carriers is a problem, SO fleets are a problem, Sabots are a problem. - to everyone who thinks having more than one capital in a fleet is a mortal sin

(Obviously balancing is always a concern but I'm really tired of the exaggerations.)
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Alex on February 22, 2020, 02:34:52 PM
The question is, what will a typical player fleet look like after the skill changes? Consider that the fleetwide effect skills - while strong - will start to drop off pretty quick if one stacks a large number of capital ships. And that a number of fleetwide effects boost smaller ships in the first place, or let smaller ships boost larger ships.

(I do see where the idea for a "can use a capital" skill is coming from, though - it's a way to reduce capital ship power indirectly. But I'm not sure that locking an officer into "only ever useful on a capital ship now" is good. An alternative way to go could perhaps be to reduce the impact of player/officer skills on larger ships; it kind of "makes sense" and would do roughly the same job. Not sure that it's necessary, though.)
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Morrokain on February 22, 2020, 02:50:32 PM
@intrinsic_parity Yeah you do a good job of pinpointing some of my own thoughts/hesitations. The idea, and you already touched on this, was more that players taking things like combat skills would reliably beat capital fleets in smaller ship compositions and players using capitals through the skill would be just as combat viable. To it being a hard balance, yes definitely, but we already have that concern from frigate captains. I'm not trying to advocate either way, to be honest, this is just getting my thoughts out there. If you are curious as to my personal play style, I would be in the camp of several capitals, the rest cruisers, with a "rear guard" of sorts when using destroyers and frigates. I think capitals are only interesting, in a way, when they require support from other ships to truly get their worth out of them, but that's just my opinion and I definitely agree it can be hard to do. On the other hand, I don't want capitals to be completely disregarded (like before we had burn speeds and campaign boost skills) and if combat skills and other story point options are "just better" that is likely to happen. I do think that those who want to fly frigates all game already feel that way, and are often more vocal in the community as a result, though.

@Grevious69 You're good, but thank you for the clarification of intent and overall civility. :) The point was to brainstorm more than thinking it was a rock solid idea. You have a really good point regarding the strength differential between capitals. I'll add that- considering the idea of dreadnoughts is something that crops up in mods all the time (and really the paragon fits the bill) I was thinking of ways to make those not just the best option (often locked by rarity or in game expense) and promote other composition types. No most players don't fly around with all paragons, but if you could you probably would if you didn't take into account personal flavor preferences or aesthetics. Power wise it feels like a no brainer to me- and to further clarify that I want to say I think there is nothing wrong with that and it is exactly how a dreadnought should operate, truthfully. REDACTED ships being pilot-able by story points was sort of in line with this idea (low max CR in those cases though), so figured I'd at least put it out there.

*EDIT*

@Alex That sounds very interesting considering your description. I'm excited to see how all of that works out!
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: intrinsic_parity on February 22, 2020, 03:03:44 PM
TBH, I think the way to solve a capital spam problem (if there is one) is ship availability. Make them rarer, both to fight against and to obtain, and then its ok that they're very strong. I might actually make another thread about ship availability, I've been thinking about it for a while. I personally have rarely felt the need to have more than or two capitals. The only time I really want them is when fighting big remnant stacks, and then its just to abuse DP mechanics so the pilotability thing wouldn't even matter all that much.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Morrokain on February 22, 2020, 03:46:38 PM
I would tend to agree regarding ship availability. Fighting less capitals would probably reduce a new and inexperienced player's demand for capitals, too.

Iirc, I made a suggestion a while back that open markets (no matter the colony size) ideally shouldn't carry capitals or especially rare cruisers. I think that would be better served by being locked behind military markets and very, very rarely made to be available on the black market in the largest of colonies. It makes owning a capital feel more like a big accomplishment. I remember back in the day the lore kind of hinted at that being the case too, but that may have changed since then.

Regarding the skill changes:

Alex, if I may make a small suggestion there: Try and emphasize fleet synergy in most cases rather than compartmentalizing boosts to specific ship types (frigates, carriers, capitals, etc). The reason for this is that it will prevent even minor subjective "imbalances" of skill strengths from causing specialized fleets using one type to be more attractive than diverse compositions.

(I think you are already doing this considering your description of how the skills tend to work, but it's pretty easy to fall into that trap if past games I've played- looking at you, WOW >:( - are any indication so I figured I'd point it out as being a potential pitfall of this kind of system.)
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Megas on February 22, 2020, 04:15:44 PM
A major reason why I use capitals is PPT - they have the most.  Another secondary reason is Officer Management.  Player can get away with none, although I would want one at least for six.

Want to make smaller ships more useful, don't make endgame fights take too long to win if player does not use high-risk death-or-glory builds like SO berserkers.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: intrinsic_parity on February 22, 2020, 04:51:10 PM
I definitely agree that ppt needs to be changed to match intended fleet size and battle size, and I don't think that is currently balanced, but the changes to skills and fleet generation could alter all of that on the next patch. I don't mind ppt as a mechanic but I think it should be aimed at limiting cheese and solo strats rather than having a major effect on fleet composition.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Morrokain on February 22, 2020, 07:00:48 PM
I definitely agree that ppt needs to be changed to match intended fleet size and battle size, and I don't think that is currently balanced, but the changes to skills and fleet generation could alter all of that on the next patch. I don't mind ppt as a mechanic but I think it should be aimed at limiting cheese and solo strats rather than having a major effect on fleet composition.

+1
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Plantissue on February 23, 2020, 06:52:33 AM
I don't really see a problem with the player using capitals. Why try to restrict what other players may want to do? Why restrict player choice to match a personal coneception of what your own fleet should be?
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Alex on February 23, 2020, 08:23:25 AM
I think you weren't talking to me directly, but just wanted to say: to me it's about incentivizing using other ships more, to me; capitals are a bit too good right now and there's less variety - and thus less good choices - than there could be.

That could be approached by making other ships better, capitals worse, something indirect like ship availability, or a mix of all these, but regardless - as with most balancing, the goal is to increase the number of viable choices!
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Grievous69 on February 23, 2020, 08:46:37 AM
Hey, I know new skills and changed enemy fleets should help with the capital meta but if you do end up directly buffing or nerfing something, I'd personally  rather see weaker ships buffed than the other way around. There are already some quite decent options at lover sizes like Apogee and Hammerhead so I think others should be at their level. At the end of the day you know what's best, but I'm just hoping you don't make fights even slower than now. Combat is my favourite part of the game but even for me it can get tedious when it lasts 20+ minutes.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Alex on February 23, 2020, 09:07:33 AM
I feel like balancing kind of inevitably ends up being a mix of both buffing and nerfing. If something is too weak, it gets buffed, if something is too strong, it gets nerfed, right. You could buff everything else instead of nerfing the strong thing, but then it's ... almost more of a redesign than a balancing pass, really, since it seems likely to change the feel of things quite a lot.

As far as fights taking a long time - I think a lot of that has to to with the number of capitals in enemy fleets, so that seems like something that should get toned down just naturally as a result of these changes. I'll keep an eye on that, though.
Title: Re: Unify fleet points and deployment points?
Post by: Megas on February 23, 2020, 10:12:20 AM
Single endgame fleet with sixty to hundred ships of primarily frigates (with some tanky Ventures thrown in) from last release was tedious too, though not quite as much as current capital spam.