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Author Topic: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas  (Read 657 times)

SafariJohn

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Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« on: December 23, 2019, 03:07:28 PM »

Starsector combat has devolved over time from the variety of situations presented in the missions to more-or-less "two fleets smash into each other". That's probably not going to change, though Alex has mentioned he's unhappy with objectives, but it's fun to come up with ideas that could be used in a hypothetical combat rework.

Some ideas I've had:

Deploy enemy ships with your DP. Lots of logistical problems with this, of course, like the ships would have to appear on the map somewhere they can't instantly retreat or whatever.

Limit deployable DP in some circumstances. For example, battles in nebula-shrouded asteroid fields could be very DP-limited.

Abstract the battle size setting. Battle size dramatically affects balance, so IMO it shouldn't be at the whims of the player. Maybe, instead of a slider, have presets like sector size: small for weak computers and normal for everyone else. If players really want bigger battles, make them go to settings.json to enable a configurable "large" option.

Fast movement between fights. People have suggested various ideas along these lines, but I think simply giving a big speed boost when far away from enemies would remove a lot of tedium from combat.

Instant win/lose conditions. For example, maybe if you destroy/capture all of the enemy's "drive inhibitor" objectives your fleet can instantly escape the battle.

Deploy from objectives. For example, if you control a given objective, maybe you could deploy ships from the side of the map.


My ideas suck to varying degrees, I know, but that's how brainstorming goes. The more ideas we post, the more material Alex can mine if he does decide to do something with objectives or combat as a whole.
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Megas

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2019, 03:59:17 PM »

Not sure if devolved is the right word.  There were degenerate things player could do back then.  Solo things with a fast high-tech frigate (which had unlimited PPT at the time, and low-tech had ammo limits).  Capture all points with two Hyperion then camp your fleet at enemy's wall and kill them before they fully emerge (they did not burn in), or worst of all, autoresolve everything with a big fleet and win the fight in a few seconds instead of a few minutes.

I like the battle objectives are totally irrelevant (except maybe in pursuits), and would be happy to see them disappear altogether, or limited to rare occasional fights where they do something very significant.  Not something that must be routine in every fight to squeeze out a minor bonus.  It gets tiring burning CP in every fight to play tug-of-war with objectives, or cheesing the AI and pick off ships one at a time because player recognizes the objective map and can predict exactly what the AI will do and counter perfectly.

What I do not like is AI is too cowardly since 0.8a.  They will cower even to the point of malfunctions.  If they want to cower, they should not pick a fight and run away instead.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2019, 06:49:44 PM »

I think comparing scripted missions with the campaign is naturally going to result in different experiences. Scripted missions can set up scenarios that would never happen in the campaign because the player would choose to avoid them, or would never encounter them. It's fine to take loses in a mission where your only objective is to win, but in the campaign you skip fights you expect to take loses in and you build your fleet to handle the things you intend to fight.

The player is also naturally going to increase the size of their fleet over time so little skirmishes are only going to happen early on in the game. Low DP battles with big fleets become an utter grind of CR depletion and reinforcement. I think alex has said he is toning back the size of AI fleets so that may help. I also think further increasing prices on ships (and maybe reducing recovery rates) could help to slow down the game and give the player more time with small fleets,  but it will also make the game harder.

Personally I'd like to see more 'boss' fights like the red planet, where the player is faced with an asymmetric and difficult challenge that warrants taking loses. Also, having some story driven motivation to win at any cost can make the player take difficult fights they might otherwise avoid.

I think complicated in-battle objectives/mechanics are probably more trouble than they are worth since the AI also has to be taught how they work in order for them to be interesting.
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TaLaR

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2019, 08:44:48 PM »


Fast movement between fights. People have suggested various ideas along these lines, but I think simply giving a big speed boost when far away from enemies would remove a lot of tedium from combat.


SpeedUp mod does it in much cleaner manner.

Letting ships not in combat move faster is a nerf to faster ships/tactical maneuvering.
You pick an enemy, work to isolate them and try to kill defeat them in detail, only to be foiled by rest of enemy fleet getting ridiculous speed boost and negating any positional advantage near instantly.
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Beep Boop

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2019, 01:38:05 AM »

The player is also naturally going to increase the size of their fleet over time so little skirmishes are only going to happen early on in the game. Low DP battles with big fleets become an utter grind of CR depletion and reinforcement.
I think that there is the core: The player's fleet will pretty much always increase over time because there is neither cause nor motivation (I mean, other than losing) to ever decrease your fleet. This is because there is no reason to ever remove ships from your fleet except to replace them with bigger, better ones.

But what if we COULD detach ships from our fleet to do things?
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Grievous69

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2019, 01:50:48 AM »

Ughhh I don't know about you guys but I always put my large ships in store when I go exploring. You don't really need capitals just to survey planets and ruins.
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Megas

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2019, 05:16:02 AM »

Quote
I also think further increasing prices on ships (and maybe reducing recovery rates) could help to slow down the game and give the player more time with small fleets,  but it will also make the game harder.
Alex did that already and bounties scale faster than player can keep up.  Player will catch up by endgame, but during midgame, there is a time when bounties get too hard after a while.

Ughhh I don't know about you guys but I always put my large ships in store when I go exploring. You don't really need capitals just to survey planets and ruins.
I bring my full warfleet when I explore late in the game because 1) I have ships (usually Mora) with Surveying Equipment to knock down surveying costs and 2) crush bounties, pirate bases, and anything else that are found along the way.  Also, bringing big fleet means lots of crew, and I can build a pop-up colony on the spot if I feel like it.

I may downsize to a single Dram or Phaeton if I need to go long distance find a derelict or something mission (usually to build up rep with pirates or pathers).
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Thaago

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2019, 05:27:53 AM »

More ideas of questionable value:

A circular, self adjusting battlespace that eliminates map boundaries completely.

Auto-retreating any enemy or player ship that gets close to a wall.

Exploding any ship that goes past a wall?
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Grievous69

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2019, 05:40:18 AM »

Hmm, a sumo ring for ships sounds interesting. And I don't know why the battlespace wasn't a circle from the start, corners just make problems. One idea I have is to make it smaller and smaller as the battle goes on. Because I *** despise killing half of the enemy fleet only to see there's a ship or two on the other side of the map fighting my allies, I know speed up mod exists but still. It's silly to have a huge open space when there's only a handful of ships actually in it.

EDIT: And perhaps while fighting in an asteroid field, the ''wall'' is actually a wall of asteroids, preventing any ships to retreat while the battle is still going on. Kinda radical but it makes sense to me.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 05:42:33 AM by Grievous69 »
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Megas

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2019, 06:38:48 AM »

If the field is circular, but ships can still hug the wall, that is even better for edge-camping because now enemy ships have less than 180 degrees to attack the player from.  Instead of a square's 180 degrees where the player's spawn point is, it is less with a circle.  Better for trapping enemies that stray to close to the edge camp.
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TaLaR

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2019, 06:45:52 AM »

More ideas of questionable value:

Auto-retreating any enemy or player ship that gets close to a wall.

Exploding any ship that goes past a wall?

These just make me think of barely staying within the map and fishing to make AI go slightly past it.
Or exploit the fact that AI is too unwilling to approach borders and can't properly half-surround me near walls (like it happens now).
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Schwartz

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2019, 07:29:00 AM »

Battle size slider makes sense because it impacts performance a great deal. Yes, you can cheese it, but if you have notepad open, you can cheese the config in a text file just the same.

Re: Deploying ships from the sides with use of control points. Great idea!
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Plantissue

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2019, 03:08:46 AM »

If the field is circular, but ships can still hug the wall, that is even better for edge-camping because now enemy ships have less than 180 degrees to attack the player from.  Instead of a square's 180 degrees where the player's spawn point is, it is less with a circle.  Better for trapping enemies that stray to close to the edge camp.
A circular ring eliminates the 90 degrees that corner camping is. 180 degree of a straight edge is not much difference to a 179 degress of a circle's edge.

For the most part it's not a problem if the AI does it- it's just that if redacted they do not retreat.
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SCC

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2019, 03:59:29 AM »

I think that I would prefer circular, dynamic battlefield the most, but I'm not sure if Alex is capable of making it work nicely. I think a decent alternative would be to allow ships to retreat not just at the edge of the screen, but whenever they are out of combat or far away enough from the enemy. Similarly, it should be possible to burn in closer to where the fight is happening. For the player, it's more bothersome than harmful, but for the enemies relying on the numbers advantage, they will have to defeat the player with the initial wave, or else the reinforcements are going to trickle in too slowly for them to matter.

Megas

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Re: Random Combat Mechanics/Rework Ideas
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2019, 06:12:21 AM »

A circular ring eliminates the 90 degrees that corner camping is. 180 degree of a straight edge is not much difference to a 179 degress of a circle's edge.

For the most part it's not a problem if the AI does it- it's just that if redacted they do not retreat.
True corner camping is difficult, because player needs to watch for two invisible walls the AI will flee from, instead of only one from mere edge camping.    Plus, it is a pain to drag the entire fleet to corner camp, not to mention my reinforcements will still burn at the bottom center, where they will get picked off if enemies are there.  That is why I said 180 degrees instead of 90.

Edge-camping near my spawn point is much easier.  AI can be lured to the edge, and reinforcements will be quick, and covered by my fleet that is already camping nearby.

If arena is circular, edge camping near my spawn point would be better than it is today.
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