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Author Topic: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?  (Read 2922 times)

Megas

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2020, 07:05:40 AM »

The weapons would need to have either no OP cost or no flux cost.  Otherwise, I rather spend the OP on more flux.  Too many ships are OP starved even with Loadout Design 3, and I need every last OP I can get, which (plus insufficient dissipation) is why we have empty mounts in the first place.

If we want free weapons, they probably need to have ammo or charges that do not regenerate, or regenerate so slowly that does not matter (for the damage they can do).  Ballistics can have something like a light autocannon that does frag damage.  Energy can be a high-delay pulse laser with limited non-renewable charges or even the current mining laser (which is so bad for being too weak and too slow).  Missile can be the Talon's Swarmer or a single dumb-fire 400-500 damage missile.
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Megas

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2020, 07:58:43 AM »

It occurred to me that depending how common those new special hull eraser weapons will be, it might make sense to have backup weapons, maybe.  Plasma Odyssey that loses its plasma cannons to the disintegrator ray will need to either retreat or fall on the enemy's sword to free up DP for reinforcements.
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SafariJohn

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2020, 09:14:34 AM »

If you want to buff capacitors, just give them a vent speed buff that cancels out the increased time to vent the extra capacity. Then they would no longer have the downside that makes them less appealing than vents.
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bobucles

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2020, 10:42:12 AM »

The only weapon mounts potentially worth keeping empty are small energy mounts. Small ballistic mounts are too good, the point defense is good and the anti shield ballistics are good. Small missile mounts can be kept empty depending on preference, but they are also powerful mounts worth using.

FooF

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2020, 11:39:47 AM »

I don't think changing how vents/capacitors work at this stage is worthwhile (for reasons Alex mentioned).

Leaving a bunch of mounts empty, perhaps all but a few, feels unintuitive to me but I can't deny there are some examples where this seems to be the optimal choice. Astrals and Drovers being cited, 2x Plasma Cannon Odyssey, 2x Plasma Cannon Paragon with minor PD, etc. This has historical precedence: HMS Dreadnought and the "All Big Gun" philosophy that was a paradigm shift for battleships. If the minor guns don't contribute to the primary role of the ship, why bother with them? All players are doing are coming to the same realization that warship designers had over one hundred years ago.

I don't think you can prevent that kind of specialization but here's why it's "bad" for gameplay to me: the only ships in the game that utilize this tactic are player-made. Enemy fleets and the Autofit algorithm try to fill every weapon mount. A new player might wise up eventually to leaving a few mounts empty but the vast majority of use-cases he/she will see initially are fully-armed ships. It will take a lot experimentation or going onto forums like this one for someone to think outside-the-box like that. There are a few tips at start up that say "having more guns is not necessarily better" but until someone sees the actual advantage in action, it doesn't really click. Instead, trying to work within-the-box, players will do what we've always done and use smaller weapons, max vents, use higher-efficiency weapons, etc., but still try to fill as many weapon mounts as possible. Leaving slots empty will not "feel" right because the game seems to be pushing you to fill them.

That's why I like an idea that was floated earlier in this thread and that is putting "something else" in a weapon mount. There's a ton of things you could do here, but what strikes me as very interesting is putting hullmod-like bonuses in empty weapon mounts is that if an extra auxiliary engine, some kind of local shield, extra missiles, etc. were physically on the ship, they could be disabled/destroyed mid-battle. Such a system reminds me of Homeworld 2 where the Capital ship Subsystems that allowed for building ships, hyperspace jumps, etc. were physical entities that could be targeted. But, perhaps the buffs/bonuses that these "mounted" hullmods have couldn't be achieved through traditional hullmods.

The point being, leaving slots empty would be an opportunity cost beyond just vents, OP, and flux efficiency. It could still work but it might not be intra-competitive against putting some kind of mounted hullmod on that does "X" and has a greater net effect on battles than flux efficiency. Where this goes wrong is that targeting individual weapon mounts is hard, not just for players, but for the AI and it would make EMP weapons extremely disruptive. But, it adds a wrinkle to battles and to ship design.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 11:42:40 AM by FooF »
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SafariJohn

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2020, 02:35:25 PM »

I remember someone saying that reducing fighter roaming range might indirectly encourage carriers to mount weapons, since they would have to be closer to the action.
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Megas

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #36 on: August 23, 2020, 03:09:29 PM »

I don't think you can prevent that kind of specialization but here's why it's "bad" for gameplay to me: the only ships in the game that utilize this tactic are player-made. Enemy fleets and the Autofit algorithm try to fill every weapon mount. A new player might wise up eventually to leaving a few mounts empty but the vast majority of use-cases he/she will see initially are fully-armed ships. It will take a lot experimentation or going onto forums like this one for someone to think outside-the-box like that. There are a few tips at start up that say "having more guns is not necessarily better" but until someone sees the actual advantage in action, it doesn't really click. Instead, trying to work within-the-box, players will do what we've always done and use smaller weapons, max vents, use higher-efficiency weapons, etc., but still try to fill as many weapon mounts as possible. Leaving slots empty will not "feel" right because the game seems to be pushing you to fill them.
In my case, I fill mounts because mounts are meant to be filled, and not filling them looks... so wrong.  Mostly unarmed ships (including carriers that sacrifice weapons for high-end fighters like Astral does) look dumb, and it is grating if they are both effective and more effective than a fully-armed or even mostly armed ship.

It seems some ships, like Odyssey and Astral, were intentionally designed to have their mounts sacked for OP, which is why some ships feel so OP starved.  They need to sack mounts to get the stats they need.  Aurora losing flux stats in 0.9 (while still costing nearly as much in DP as a capital) really hurt.

That's why I like an idea that was floated earlier in this thread and that is putting "something else" in a weapon mount. There's a ton of things you could do here, but what strikes me as very interesting is putting hullmod-like bonuses in empty weapon mounts is that if an extra auxiliary engine, some kind of local shield, extra missiles, etc. were physically on the ship, they could be disabled/destroyed mid-battle. Such a system reminds me of Homeworld 2 where the Capital ship Subsystems that allowed for building ships, hyperspace jumps, etc. were physical entities that could be targeted. But, perhaps the buffs/bonuses that these "mounted" hullmods have couldn't be achieved through traditional hullmods.
The decorative satellite dish Onslaught used to have.  Maybe greater sight radius (2500 is not enough for big screens) and bigger ECM bonus.
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Mordodrukow

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #37 on: August 23, 2020, 03:37:40 PM »

Sry, my english is bad, and i have no time to read all 3 pages here, but imo, empty hardpoints is OK. Gameplay should be > than immersion, and the possibility of getting better ship with less weapons is an example of good gameplay. Come on, if you know, that you must fill all hardpoints, its easier to make building decisions!

And anyway, even if you wanna players to fill all HPs, giving them penalties is bad game design. Giving them in-game problem, which can be solved by using all avaliable HPs is good one.

It reminds me about the time i played Mechwarrior online. There were two kind of people: lore fans and competitive players. While first group cried that "Hey, on Sarna this mech has LRM10, two large lasors and AC10! Why everybody here fit it with only 4 large lasors?!" the second group just used what works and enjoyed the game. The same true for SS: you have an enviroment, and in this enviroment some some ships perform better with lower amount of weapons (hi, 2-plasma Odyssey!).

But i have to admit: it is harder to create some tasks which need many weapons here, because player uses many ships. But again: artificial restrictions look too... artificial? Its like ghost heat in MWO: it helps to restrict boating, but a lot of players dont like this mechanics.
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Spoiler
[close]

pairedeciseaux

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #38 on: August 24, 2020, 12:45:01 PM »

I just checked in my current campaign which is close to "the end",

Spoiler
Ships in fleet with empty mounts:
1 Conquest
2 Legion
2 Legion (XIV)
1 Eagle
2 Falcon
1 Hammerhead
1 Shrike
1 Shrike (P)
1 Wolf
1 Lasher
2 Colossus
2 Prometheus

Ships in fleet without empty mounts:
2 Heron
1 Hammerhead
1 Drover

Ships stored with empty mounts (ships were not stripped before being stored):
3 Dominators
1 Buffalo
1 Nebula
1 Dram

Ships stored without empty mounts:
1 Dominator
2 Venture
2 Enforcer
1 Condor
[close]

AFAIC leaving some mounts empty is part of the ship loadout design decision, so up to the player. I'm glad we have this kind of flexibility which, IMO, is an integral part of the modular weapon system (...which, IMO, combined with ship diversity and good in-battle gameplay is responsible for a very large part of the goodness of the game in its current form).

Some ideas to improve player awareness:
  • Have an in-game load-out tutorial, maybe as part of one or more game missions (I mean missions outside of campaign). Empty mounts should be mentioned explicitly.
  • Have some built-in ship variants with empty mounts, so that players using auto-fit will notice this is a thing in a campaign.
  • Have in-campaign ships from AI fleets use such variants.
  • Maybe have in-campaign T1 battle station with some empty mounts in order to provide more diverse encounters.

And anyway, even if you wanna players to fill all HPs, giving them penalties is bad game design. Giving them in-game problem, which can be solved by using all avaliable HPs is good one.

Agreed.  :)

Though we can look at this both ways: filling all mounts can help in some situations and leaving some mount empty can help in others.  :D

That's why, IMO it's best to teach player about this and let him decide how to solve in-game problems with existing tools (which are plenty!).
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Megas

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #39 on: August 24, 2020, 04:01:52 PM »

AFAIC leaving some mounts empty is part of the ship loadout design decision, so up to the player.
I do not like it when it is optimal or better than filling in the majority of the ship's mounts.  It looks so wrong, even if optimal gameplay demands leaving too many mounts empty.  Hurts even more when leaving so many mounts empty was not so advantageous in previous releases.

If I get a big battleship with lots of mounts, I want to fill them with lots of high-end guns (because mounts are meant to be filled).  When doing that gets my ship or an AI ship killed because of lack of OP or other stats, while using a degenerate loadout that is mostly unarmed yet highly effective and more effective than a lots-of-guns loadout, it is grating, not fun, and not the sort of combat I signed up for when I got the game.

Basically, I want to watch a big ship fire lots of guns everywhere and kill everything, not fight like an extra large fighter craft with one big gun like in an arcade shmup.

Ever since fighters changed from being ships into being weapons, guns on most carriers became a liability, and some carriers are best without any guns because they need their OP to do their job of carrying good fighters, and good fighters are hideously expensive (and Expanded Deck Crew is the ITU for carriers), so not enough OP left to properly support guns like in pre-0.8a (well, pre-0.7a) releases.  Legion is an exception, but even that ship needs to leave too many mounts empty to brawl and carry fighters competently enough.
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Thaago

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #40 on: August 24, 2020, 08:22:35 PM »

I will sometimes leave 2 small mounts empty on a Legion because they have small arcs, but its a fantastic ship to just load up on weapons otherwise. It has enough flux to run its large ballistics and 5 medium missiles is a fantastic punch.
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Eji1700

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #41 on: August 25, 2020, 12:45:07 AM »

Hmm. I feel like this is assuming that "having weapons in all slots" is a good thing regardless of *why* there are weapons in all slots. I don't think that holds up - having weapons in all slots is good if you, well, want the weapons that are there and mean to use them.

Just having some random stuff there - or the cheapest possible, to be able to max out vents - or some other idea (say, not having weapons in a slot reduces armor, or w/e)... I think that'd just make a loadout feel messy, because you're putting weapons in for some reason other than actually wanting the weapons. "Put the weapons in a separate group and never fire them" could become a thing, etc.

I'm not entirely sold on the premise that "always have weapons in all slots" is good. If that were a goal, though, then I think the solution would probably involve increasing ship flux budgets (which could be troublesome to iron out balance-wise) and/or adding some very low-end, low-flux options for ... probably small and medium ballistic/energy slots. Though even if these cost 1-2 OP and generated no flux, it might be a hard sell in a lot of cases.

It seems like there is also some potential in somehow making burst damage potential "better" (which would make an over-fluxed loadout more desirable), but I haven't really thought that through, so that's mostly theoretical...
I 100% think it should be a viable option to "under mount" a ship, but I also feel like it shouldn't be the go to?

From a casual perspective "moar dakka" is intuitive and fun (just seeing your capital armed to the teeth is a nice feeling), but there's a heavy learning curve on kitting out some of the larger ships, making it very easy to accidentally over spec them.

I think the first thing to help with this would be clearer feedback on flux stats.  It's SO important but it's just "more numbers" on a screen that's already overwhelming with them. 

Having flux dissipation right next to(not on a line below) weapon flux (both on the main screen and the weapon group screen) would help really draw eyes on the idea that comparing these two numbers is super super vital.  Bonus points if you can color code the dissipation number on some % scheme (super green when it's 2 to 1 and super red when it's 1 to 2 or something).   Or maybe just put the % efficiency right next to it instead (numbers easier than colors?  I dunno UI is the devil and its half my job).

This, again will help beginners really keep an eye on both the actual ships overall flux, and what it looks like for each weapon group, hopefully also teaching the idea of strategic weapon group usage/show off why missiles can be so good.

Somewhat related to this is the fact that ships don't come stock with weapons, unless recovered (and post salvage with a few).  There are premade loadouts, but as a beginner i'd click on those, get annoyed that I didn't have all the weapons an it just "winged it", now had no idea if that was any good, and basically  gave up with it (since hunting down a bunch of weapons just to test a maybe ok loadout isn't exactly fun with rng shops and no idea how to tell what planets might have what you're looking for).

I feel it might help if they did, and even if not, if maybe more premade loadouts were under gunned.  Really drive home there's some great builds that center around putting on some killer weaponry but not bothering to fill out the rest.

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DeTess

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #42 on: August 25, 2020, 02:13:32 AM »



I think the first thing to help with this would be clearer feedback on flux stats.  It's SO important but it's just "more numbers" on a screen that's already overwhelming with them. 

Having flux dissipation right next to(not on a line below) weapon flux (both on the main screen and the weapon group screen) would help really draw eyes on the idea that comparing these two numbers is super super vital.  Bonus points if you can color code the dissipation number on some % scheme (super green when it's 2 to 1 and super red when it's 1 to 2 or something).   Or maybe just put the % efficiency right next to it instead (numbers easier than colors?  I dunno UI is the devil and its half my job).

What might help with more easily judging it is to have a number somewhere in the ship fitting screen that shows 'time to overload', going by the assumption that the ship is running the shield and firing all its weapons simultaneously. That won't be 100% accurate, of course, but it should still be a nice way to translate the numbers into something more easily understood. It means players can more easily see the consequences of their build decision on their flux management.
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DatonKallandor

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2020, 05:22:57 AM »

I think it'd be very easy to design a 0 OP "default" weapon for every slot type without breaking anything balance wise. It would probably even help to have a little more guaranteed PD, even if it's very bad PD, to aggregate together in bigger fights.
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Megas

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Re: Possible "Empty mounts spam" solution?
« Reply #44 on: August 25, 2020, 07:26:58 AM »

I will sometimes leave 2 small mounts empty on a Legion because they have small arcs, but its a fantastic ship to just load up on weapons otherwise. It has enough flux to run its large ballistics and 5 medium missiles is a fantastic punch.
For my Legion, all small mounts and maybe some of the medium mounts are empty.  Weapon loadouts are one among:
* Two Hellbore and two light Heavy Needlers
* Mark IX and HAG, maybe Heavy Needler in center medium.
* Mjolnir and Heavy Needler (latter in heavy mount).

I do not remember if I fill the rest of the mediums with (dual) flak.

I use both Expanded Deck Crew AND Integrated Targeting Unit on Legion.  That is a lot of OP on those two hullmods alone.

I do not use bombers on Legion.  If I want bombers, I use Astral instead.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 10:04:36 AM by Megas »
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