Fractal Softworks Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Skills and Story Points (07/08/19)

Pages: [1] 2

Author Topic: Combat mechanics; fixing 'range+speed is king', AI kiting behaviour & CR wars  (Read 1029 times)

TJJ

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 1826
    • View Profile
    • Email

Here's my bold claim:
"1 on 1 combat in Starsector is broken."

To elaborate;

If a ship has superior range, equal or greater speed, and cannot be trapped, then it simply cannot* be defeated. (*without exploiting AI behaviour quirks/bugs)

Imagine the fantasy parallel; Man-at-arms with sword & shield charges forwards.
Archer runs away at the same speed, shooting arrows back at him.

It's a degenerate situation that's clearly preposterous & shouldn't exist.
The only mechanic SS has at the moment to resolve this situation is CR (i.e. archer exhausts sooner than the man-at-arms), but this is a woeful solution that leads to tediously drawn out unrewarding battles.

Zero-flux speed boost is IMO the mechanic that's supposed to resolve this situation, however it doesn't work because:

- You can't use your shield! (Man-at-arms gets a face full of arrows!)
- Few ships have sufficient armour to take the hits
- ... and those that do tend to be so slow that even the zero-flux boost isn't enough to make up the difference.
- AI doesn't know how to utilise armour to exploit zero-flux boost

So..... What if it wasn't a "zero-flux" boost?
What if it was an "all power to engines" boost that activated after, ~5 seconds of not firing?
It's a tiny change, but I think it'd have a dramatic effect upon both the feel of combat, and the effectiveness of the AI in delivering a fun experience to the player.

While what I've said above is most apparent in synthetic 1v1 fights, it plays a significant part in battles of all sizes.
After all a battle is not a whole lot more than a collection of smaller fights.

:Edit:
Thaago raises a good point, 5s might not be long enough to prevent the kiter utilizing the boost too.
The value would need tuning, and perhaps factor in ship class?
Perhaps the difference between regular speed, and boost speed needs to be greater?
Though that makes it feel like we're stepping on the uniqueness of the various speed-based ship systems.

Though perhaps the very fact so many ship systems revolve around enhancing ship speed is an indicator that there's a genuine underlying problem.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 11:55:53 AM by TJJ »
Logged

Thaago

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 4102
  • Quantum Mechanic
    • View Profile
    • Email

Hmm... I see a potential problem with this even in the kiter/chaser scenario: once within firing range of the pursuer, it lets the kiter get away and repeat the whole process. They would then just need to stop firing for a few seconds and retreat with their shields up. As the pursuer would then be out of range and on a time delay (and slower), the kiter gets away even faster. Rinse and repeat. Unless the chaser has enough power to burst through the kiter's shield in one go (possible) then nothing is accomplished.

In terms of more standard pursuit, its even worse: because the fleeing ships aren't firing, they always have the speed boost. It becomes much, much harder for to kill any ship that is running (and for example I'd make sure to never install a gun on a logistics ship, so that it doesn't accidentally lose the boost).

Finally... I agree that in SS superior mobility + range makes for an unkillable enemy 1v1 but I don't really think this is a problem for a couple of reasons. The first is that there has already been a lot of work done to mitigate the situation, with faster ships having shorter range weaponry than slower ships in many cases, dps and efficiency heavily influenced by range, and slower ships having more firepower and better defenses. And the speed boosting hullmod costing range.

The second reason is that battles aren't 1v1. It is a situation that literally never comes up unless the player decides to only deploy one ship. The player always has a fleet that works together to achieve a goal. If they have a slow ship that has trouble with fast kiters, then some interceptors and/or frigates to keep those small ships at bay or pin them down would be a good addition. Thunders, claws, ion beams, salamanders, or just a good old ion cannon on a Wolf can disable a kiter's engines to allow the slow ship to catch up.
Logged

intrinsic_parity

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 886
    • View Profile

Fighters exist which are generally a very strong counter to very fast ships (which tend to have mediocre PD and also tend to be high tech meaning weaker armor/hull). As Thaago said, there are almost never true 1v1's in real combat, and it isn't very difficult  to prepare the fleet as a whole to be able to handle fast ships, even if not every ship in your fleet is able to chase down faster ships. Also, generally slower ships have more range in this game which helps mitigate the effects of kiting.
Logged

Linnis

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 805
    • View Profile
    • Email

Not quite getting what you mean by "all power to engines", I am assuming its just to make it so you can hold shield and gain the speed buff? A lot of the ships still wouldn't be able to keep up, but then if they did, it would drag out the fight a lot more because one side has to stop and go, making the fight even more annoying.

Think the problem is with early game, where you are kind of stuck into doing alot of 1v1 combat, where losing ships are huge burdens and setbacks where you are forced to fight in 1v1 situations.


The better solution to this is mercenaries or escorts. Maybe if players can hire combat ships from w/e sources and pay them a small sum over time, where you cant control them or outfit them but they act as battle fodder in a way. This could mitigate the progression problems that force players to 1v1.

Similarly, there could be a system where a player can join an npc fleet and fight in large battles for progression without worrying about losses.

These kind of battles could be great fun and variance where the player has minimal resources and try to win the battle with wits or skill rather than pure numbers and firepower (Like it usually is)
Logged

Vayra

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 505
  • jangala delenda est
    • View Profile

make ITU halve your speed  8) 8) 8) fix problem
Logged
Kadur Remnant: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=6649
Vayra's Sector: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=16058
Vayra's Ship Pack: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=16059

im gonna push jangala into the sun i swear to god im gonna do it

Morgan Rue

  • Commander
  • ***
  • Posts: 109
    • View Profile

Very few ships can get both range and speed. It's mostly just the Falcon and the Hound which can do this, and the Hound has no shields.
Not to say this isn't an issue, it most certainly is. To be honest, the AI is simply not aggressive enough when outranged to make close range lodouts work. In my experience, even SO builds will struggle to close in on a moderately fast but quite long ranged opponent without support.
Logged
Dauntless.

Soren

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 812
  • Pushin' the speed of light.
    • View Profile

make ITU halve your speed  8) 8) 8) fix problem

You're joking, but having ITU reduce speed on smaller ships (by the amount of the range bonus on frigates and half the range bonus on destroyers, say) would help make it slightly less of an obligation.
Logged
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

TaLaR

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
    • View Profile

1)  AI is very bad at exploiting range+speed advantage, unless it's ridiculously high. At same-ish speed close range higher dps usually wins against longer range,  lower dps in 1v1.
2) Trading armor for distance with zero flux boost is a valid tactic (even if AI can't do it). Of course you still need to overwhelm them in close combat. If you are weaker in close combat too,  what are you even doing?
3) Combined speed+range advantage is very rare unless you have huge advantage in ecm/character skills. And you also need to cause enough damage to kill before you run out of CR, so stuff like Hounds is marginal at best.

Ps.  Frigate ITU is already a joke at 4 OP, nerfing it further will only nerf AI fleets,  since I don't use it anyway.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 04:35:10 AM by TaLaR »
Logged

SafariJohn

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 1400
    • View Profile

I would say the problem isn't that only one side can engage, but that one side can't disenagage.
Logged

intrinsic_parity

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 886
    • View Profile

The only way anything dies ever is if it can't disengage, otherwise it would just disengage and vent when it was threatened and never take damage. If every ships is always able to disengage effectively, then nothing will ever die unless the AI is programmed to intentionally suicide.

If ships have different speeds at all, then speed disadvantage will be a part of the game. Adding mechanics that allow any ships to escape/engage at will is negating all the interesting interactions brought on by having a speed difference in the first place. Speed is balanced generally with less firepower, armor and/or range. Fast ships have range/firepower disadvantages, so they need the advantage of dictating engagements to be effective. If a fast ship was under-gunned, had less range AND couldn't control engagements, it would be useless. CR prevents endless stall tactics with fast ships (which only the player can exploit anyway). Range/speed advantages are what makes the combat interesting. If a ship had all the advantages, it would obviously be broken, which is why ships aren't balanced that way.

If some particular ships are able to exploit some advantage in an unfair way, that is a balance problem with that particular ship/loadout, not something fundamental to combat.
Logged

Goumindong

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 904
    • View Profile

Here's my bold claim:
"1 on 1 combat in Starsector is broken."

To elaborate;

If a ship has superior range, equal or greater speed, and cannot be trapped, then it simply cannot* be defeated. (*without exploiting AI behaviour quirks/bugs)


I mean... Yea this is a function of physics. There is nothing you can really do about that except fit for longer ranges or fit for higher speed(for fit for armor so you can tank some of those shots without dropping your 0% flux boost)

The only real problem this occurs with is [redacted]. Because they don't lose CR(IIRC) and also cannot retreat. This means that there is no defeat condition or "ignore this ship" condition which can occur in the course of combat with other AI factions.

[Redacted] should all be reckless officers i think (would make them stronger too) and this would fix the issue
Logged

Vayra

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 505
  • jangala delenda est
    • View Profile

make ITU halve your speed  8) 8) 8) fix problem

You're joking, but having ITU reduce speed on smaller ships (by the amount of the range bonus on frigates and half the range bonus on destroyers, say) would help make it slightly less of an obligation.

Yeah -- my manner was facetious but the idea wasn't. It'd make DTC viable after learning ITU too.
Logged
Kadur Remnant: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=6649
Vayra's Sector: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=16058
Vayra's Ship Pack: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=16059

im gonna push jangala into the sun i swear to god im gonna do it

Alex

  • Administrator
  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 15192
    • View Profile

The only real problem this occurs with is [redacted]. Because they don't lose CR(IIRC) and also cannot retreat. This means that there is no defeat condition or "ignore this ship" condition which can occur in the course of combat with other AI factions.

[Redacted] should all be reckless officers i think (would make them stronger too) and this would fix the issue

(Just to clarify, they do lose CR and they do all have reckless personalities, regardless of what the doctrine setting in the .faction file is.)
Logged

Thaago

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 4102
  • Quantum Mechanic
    • View Profile
    • Email

It often seems like they don't because the frigates in particular have extremely long PPT - 360 seconds if I'm not remembering wrong. Makes them rather challenging if you don't have interceptor squadrons.
Logged

Megas

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 7375
    • View Profile

Remnants have greater-than-or-equal peak performance to other human ships of their class.  If player could use Remnant ships, he can build for maximum peak performance and can try to win by outlasting the enemy.

If Remnants did not have the peak performance advantage, they are roughly balanced with human ships.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2