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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: A Tale of Two Tech Levels (05/28/21)

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Author Topic: [0.9.1a] TC: Archean Order: Rebalanced Combat/Lore RPG - Update preview 6/24/20  (Read 381376 times)

hollow

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In terms of how modded ships and weapons look and feel the only way I see if it's made into its own separate mod if the mod author really wants his ships to be able to go toe to toe with AO's ships.
hopefully, someone makes a ship or faction mod that fits this mods theme and design

another question, how do you dictate how much flux and hull the ships have? since I want to modify the mod ships flux and hull to be at least comparable to that of AO without making them op
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Morrokain

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In terms of how modded ships and weapons look and feel the only way I see if it's made into its own separate mod if the mod author really wants his ships to be able to go toe to toe with AO's ships.
hopefully, someone makes a ship or faction mod that fits this mods theme and design

another question, how do you dictate how much flux and hull the ships have? since I want to modify the mod ships flux and hull to be at least comparable to that of AO without making them op

I can give you a rough guide to the considerations there, but the best thing to do would be to use the spreadsheet. Here, I can link you the most current one from the pending update since I think it is the most balanced. (This won't work with the existing mod, so DONT OVERRIDE your existing one. This is for reference only.)

In general, hull depends upon the size of the sprite but also the DP of the ship. The ratio of increase between each hullsize is such that the difference between frigate and destroyer is relatively large, but the difference between destroyer and cruiser is relatively small in comparison. Capitals have a very large amount of hull.

Armor and flux stats are, for obvious reasons, a lot trickier. You'll see that heavily armored ships tend to have all flux stats nerfed in comparison (this is actually a bit different than vanillla which uses shield efficiency as a separate balancing tool for ship uniqueness - though it still tends to scale "up" in terms of shield effectiveness as tech gets newer). What I mean by all flux stats is that they have stacking downsides of worse dissipation, worse shield efficiency, and lower max flux all at the same time. Their armor is significantly better though and their ship systems often take advantage of that for a burst of speed and sometimes increased offense potential - depending upon the ship.

Just like vanilla, midline ships are a balance between the two principles. Their ship systems are generally either mobility or defense-oriented and they tend to be able to field more fighters either defensively or offensively. For the midline capital, it stands out among other capitals because it has a significant built-in range increase - similar to the vanilla Paragon's design (the Paragon is a speedy damage powerhouse).

High tech ships have the best shield efficiency and flux stats in all cases. They also have virtually no armor and high DP costs. If a ship has built-in wings and isn't a cruiser or higher, it gets a spike in DP cost as well.

Conversions, civilian ships, and combat freighters all have their respective stats reduced slightly. At least most of the time.

Numbers are in the spreadsheet for benchmarks. For instance, you can see that the range of shield efficiency between low-high tech is 1.25-0.6 but most ships fall into the 1.15-0.85 range with a couple of outliers in the extreme sections of the spectrum.
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Albreo

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Any progress regarding the mod?
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Morrokain

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^ Yes quite a bit.

I've tackled some major exploitative thorns in my side as far as hullmods and ship balance are concerned. I also added 8 more weapons including 2 new Legendary weapons - both used by REDACTED and Sci-Corps. I'm still thinking about potential Legendary weapons for the Trader Guilds but may end up skipping it until I can come up with a good idea or some other niche to be filled.

A big thing I've been trying to do is run lots of simulations to find build strengths/weaknesses and ensure that DP effectiveness hasn't been completely compromised through the new weapons and all the balance changes. That has led to a pretty hefty amount of changes as I add what I will optimistically call "better optimized" builds that represent more concise fleet roles. This hasn't been needed everywhere, but some places desperately required more build variety - especially more defense oriented high tech ships that don't overflux themselves. Those should hopefully better compliment things like strike beam and missile fire support builds for factions like Tri-Tachyon and Sci-Corps. As a whole, that is still a work in progress as I continue to go through the variants.

PD feels like it is in a really good spot at the moment. Specifically, I am currently working on strength comparisons between some of the strike craft wings that I would call outliers. Since I already added a bunch of new wings, it is a good time to make sure they are balanced as expected too. Full disclosure: I am going back and forth between whether I want to increase the replacement rate/reduce replacement time of anti-strike craft fighters and interceptors for the benefit of carriers. The anti-ship builds seem quite a bit more effective than anti-fighter builds in their respective roles so far, but I just started testing this out today so it is still early and changes may not actually be needed. It could have been because the Heron system is tuned too high or the bombers being tested are too strong. I am going to start testing with the Mora to get a more precise control.

Finally, other than final cleanup, I will probably still spend a few days making a couple of REDACTED encounters more interesting - but I don't want to spoil anything there. That has been on the list for a bit but the carrier changes and build making have had full priority. Once I feel confident that I have a good balance foundation (at least) considering the major carrier changes I will stop testing all together and focus on final details. I'm sorry if it feels like I have said that 1000 times now lol. It is true every time I say it though. :)

TLDR: Still working on it a lot, but not yet done.

Here is part of the change notes that is relevant to some of the recent changes: (Full notes is a giant wall of text at this point.)

Spoiler
- New Weapons:
-------------
    - Capital Pulse Cannon (Large Energy Assault Weapon - flux free)
    - Graviton Driver (Medium Energy Anti-Shield Fire Support Weapon)
    - Dual Graviton Driver (Large Energy Anti-Shield Fire Support Weapon)
    - Terrabane Cannon (Medium Energy Anti-Armor Assault Weapon)
    - Dual Terrabane Cannon (Large Energy Anti-Armor Assault Weapon)
    - Ragnarok Beam (Legendary Large Energy Anti-Shield Strike Weapon)
    - Cloudburst SRM Launcher (Legendary Missile Anti-Armor Strike Weapon)
    - Dual Artillery Blaster (Medium Energy Fire Support Weapon)
-----
Weapon/Ship/Hullmod Changes:
------------------------
 - Greatly increased duration of High Energy Focus. Tripled cooldown and reduced charge regen rate.
 - Reduced Tachyon Lance range (slightly) and flux cost. Increased turn rate.
 - Added missile passthrough to most projectile strike and fire support weapons and some larger assault projectile weapons.
 - Cutlass Laser now has missile passthrough, making it a more unique and powerful medium sized PD weapon.
 - Increased effectiveness of PD Cannon, Flak Cannon, and Dual Flack Cannon against strike craft and high hitpoint missiles. Reduced effectiveness vs back to back missile volleys. Details below.
 - Increased Nova Cannon range but reduced dps - added proximity fuse against fighters and increased fuse radius.
 - Increased PD Cannon hit damage/dps but reduced fire rate.
 - Reworked Scythe Cannon to fire three times per salvo instead of four - but fires salvos less often with more time inbetween shots for each individual salvo. Increased hit damage/dps.
 - Increased range, dps and hit damage of Assault Cannon line of weapons and added a small flux cost - now a Heavy Assault option outside of late game ballistics like the Railgun.
 - In keeping with flux mechanics themes and balance trends, I have added flux costs to assault weapons with high dps or range - that scale in cost severity depending upon the stat severity.
 - Increased most low tech, midline and combat freighter ships' armor below the cruiser class. Especially increased utility civilian ship's armor.
 - Reduced flux cost ratio of Ballista Gun, Fissure Cannon, Avalanche Cannon and Dual Avalanche Cannon.
 - Increased dps to ~100ps and slightly increased range of Mass Driver to 750. Increased range and dps of Heavy Mass Driver as well.
 - Flux efficiency of Gatling Laser now at higher than 0.5, range slightly increased to 700. Slightly less accurate.
 - Increased Burst Siege Beam range to 1200 now that adding Advanced Optics makes it extremely flux inefficient.
 - Flux costs for firing beams when equipping Advanced Optics increased to ~120% more up from ~60% more originally.
 - Increased damage, armor penetration and turn rate of Assault Beam.
 - Graviton Beam, Graviton Lance, Assault Beam and Razor Tri-beam are all now PD weapons with assault range. The AI should prioritize ships over missiles for these weapons.
 - ^ These were too powerful with Advanced Optics. The PD change reduces the range bonus from that hullmod down to 200 instead of 500 and allows me to keep flux costs low.
 - Increased dps and hit strength of Phase Beam, Twin Tactical Beam, and Atronarch Beam. Flux costs increased as well.
 - All strike beams now become inefficient when combined with Advanced Optics to offset their range, accuracy and armor penetration.
 - Removed ability to stack multiple defensive hullmods in some situations: Concentrated Shields will no longer stack with Hardened Shields, Extended Shields or Front Shield Emitter.
 - ^ Front Shield Emitter will no longer stack with Stabilized Shields and its benefit to shield upkeep has been slightly reduced.
 - Changed Armored Weapon Mounts armor bonus to a flat increase by hullsize (50/100/120/200) instead of a percent modifier. - Doubled benefit to weapon hitpoints.
 - Changed Luddic Conversion built-in hullmod's armor bonus to a flat amount (100/200/300/500) instead of a percent modifier. - Halved flux stats penalties.
 - Changed Luddic Conversion built-in hullmod's speed bonus to a flat amount (20/20/15/10) instead of a percent modifier.
 - Removed Fourteenth Battlegroup hullmod's effects entirely. Stat differentiation is now handled by a separate ship file for each individual (XIV) ship.
 - ^ The last several points are because percent modifiers are too strong for some ships. Scaling flat increases are much easier to balance.
 - Added additional weapon to the Lasher to give it a forward PD option while preserving anti-ship weapon slots needed to make it competitive.
 - Adjusted Lasher weapon arcs to give better PD coverage and side assault options.
 - Stat balance pass for Paragon, Onslaught, Executor, Wolf, Lasher and Centurion.
 - Switched out Burn Drive for Combat Capacitors for the Lasher.
 - Reworked of most if not all gunships. Main Points:
   - Increased health/armor - should be noticeably more durable against ship PD weaponry over other types of strike craft.
   - Removed most cases of flares and reserved them as a last resort for tricky balance situations such as the Claw and Hercules.
   - Replaced many missile weapons with ballistic or energy weapons. This is for the AI so that most gunships stay on target unless designed as a strike gunship.
 - Reduced Thunder bomber's kinetic payload by 50% and added an Assault Autocannon.
 - Increased damage of fighter-based Tactical Beam and substantially reduced replacement time of the Claw bomber.
[close]

And some pics:

Lasher with additional weapon slot - also highlights some of the hullmod changes and gives some stats:
Spoiler



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A couple of the new weapons (stats not final):
Spoiler





[close]

New look and stats for the Scythe Cannon:
Spoiler

[close]

EDIT: Ah what the heck, I wasn't going to spoil it, but, here is one of the Legendary weapons: (View at your own discretion ;) )
Spoiler


[close]
« Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 09:20:24 PM by Morrokain »
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Albreo

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Good to hear it's coming along nicely.

Even though I'm the one making requests for anti-shield/anti-armor energy weapons. Please please make sure it's not going overboard than its ballistic counterpart. There was this heated discussion in Alex's 0.9.5 patch note on the same matter and various people also make good agreements and arguments about it. I also don't want it to outshine the energy damage type.

Quote
- Flux costs for firing beams when equipping Advanced Optics increased to ~120% more up from ~60% more originally.
RIP advance optic. Are you sure this's a good choice? I already can't use it in any build but zero flux. It's just not flux friendly.

Quote
- Graviton Beam, Graviton Lance, Assault Beam and Razor Tri-beam are all now PD weapons with assault range. The AI should prioritize ships over missiles for these weapons.
 - ^ These were too powerful with Advanced Optics. The PD change reduces the range bonus from that hullmod down to 200 instead of 500 and allows me to keep flux costs low.
That did counter my zero flux build but still RIP advance optic. If we... Increase the range benefit by scaling with the flux ratio of the weapon instead will it work? Like 1.2*500 for Tachlance, 0.4*500 for Graviton beam, flux free can eat dirt.

Quote
- Changed Armored Weapon Mounts armor bonus to a flat increase by hullsize (50/100/120/200) instead of a percent modifier. - Doubled benefit to weapon hitpoints.
RIP armored weapon mounts as well. Double weapon hitpoint might actually be good enough to consider it if cheap.

Quote
EDIT: Ah what the heck, I wasn't going to spoil it, but, here is one of the Legendary weapons: (View at your own discretion ;) )
Uh Ho, nice thic beam.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 02:44:17 AM by Albreo »
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basileus

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RIP advance optic. Are you sure this's a good choice? I already can't use it in any build but zero flux. It's just not flux friendly.

Quote
- Graviton Beam, Graviton Lance, Assault Beam and Razor Tri-beam are all now PD weapons with assault range. The AI should prioritize ships over missiles for these weapons.
 - ^ These were too powerful with Advanced Optics. The PD change reduces the range bonus from that hullmod down to 200 instead of 500 and allows me to keep flux costs low.
That did counter my zero flux build but still RIP advance optic. If we... Increase the range benefit by scaling with the flux ratio of the weapon instead will it work? Like 1.2*500 for Tachlance, 0.4*500 for Graviton beam, flux free can eat dirt.

And leave the penalty at +60%?  I doubt I'd ever use it like that.

What about changing the nature of the penalty entirely?  It's going to be pretty hard to balance while the penalty is to flux cost, since beam weapons vary so much on that.  What if it added 500 to range, but increased recharge/reload time by +10-15%?  So the range boost comes with a minor/modest DPS penalty instead.  Basically, you use it to prioritize first strike over sustained DPS.

edit: or 500 for strike, 350 for assault, 200 for PD beams or whatever makes sense, or maybe it doesn't apply to PD beams at all?  IDK.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 05:51:00 AM by basileus »
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Morrokain

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Good to hear it's coming along nicely.

Even though I'm the one making requests for anti-shield/anti-armor energy weapons. Please please make sure it's not going overboard than its ballistic counterpart. There was this heated discussion in Alex's 0.9.5 patch note on the same matter and various people also make good agreements and arguments about it. I also don't want it to outshine the energy damage type.

Thanks! And as far as weapons go, I *think* I caught some if not all of that discussion in the patch notes thread. In this case, it's partly about different design goals. A lot more ships have combination weapon mounts like synergy and composite, etc in the mod. This is especially true for midline ships. So ship balance is *less* reliant on weapon type - though not completely un-reliant if that makes sense.

That being said, I feel like each weapon type is still fairly unique in terms of both playstyle choice and functionality. For instance, most short range missiles are now flux free, but they are also heavily if not completely mitigated, while short range ballistics are flux free but almost always specialized. Flux free energy weapons, on the other hand, deal higher dps than ballistics (about 1/3 more over the ballistic equivalent) and have a faster projectile that is harder to dodge, but have less range. Less range is fine though, because most ships that would use them have speed advantages. In that way it's similar to vanilla design. Energy damage weapons seem to favor the energy weapon type if only because of the higher dps. The Heavy Photon Cannon has 100 less range, 20% less armor penetration, and a lack of burst damage over the Eclipse Cannon in return for less OP and double the flux efficiency. On paper the Heavy Photon Cannon has slightly higher dps, but the burst damage element of the Eclipse Cannon (especially when considering exp magazines) realistically causes the weapon to perform better in comparison from what I've seen. For any easy guestimate if the burst dps is 669 and the sustained is 200 I'd put the actual dps at around 300-350 -ish in most situations. That is compared to the 229ps of the Heavy Photon Cannon.

The new weapons are more intended to fill non-existent niches rather than overlap with ballistic counterparts. The Terrabane Cannon is not really competitive with ballistics because at 0.4 flux efficiency it generates significantly higher flux than the flux-free Heavy Dual Autocannon for only a very tiny bit of extra range and higher overall armor penetration. Dps is the same between the two and the Terrabane has worse accuracy. If it were a universal or synergy mount, I'd more often than not take the ballistic weapon for most builds so I could utilize my flux elsewhere. The Graviton Driver is slightly less clear cut and I'm keeping an eye on it. It has more dps but half the armor penetration and less burst damage compared to its closest competitor: the Hypervelocity Driver. It is a lot more efficient but has less range and a higher OP cost. The main reason for it is that energy weapons completely lacked an anti-shield projectile weapon at the medium and large levels. Since there were less fire support weapons as well - other than beams with adv optics of course - it seemed to make sense to go that route. From tests, I think the Hypervelocity Driver is better at its role, but I will say I'm less confident of that than I am with the Terrabane Cannon and its competitor.


Re: Armored Weapon Mounts

Yeah it was amazingly good with larger heavily armored ships like the Onslaught and Legion. (It stacked with the percentage bonus of the faction hullmods to net even more armor on those!) And it was complete garbage for small low armor ships like the Wolf. Now it should have a place in more builds. The extra 100% additional health to weapons is a sort of consolation prize to heavy armor ships (who have a lot more armor on the small end now). Its cost is the same as it was, so it is very cheap compared to something like Heavy Armor or even Automated Repair Unit - which would serve a similar purpose without the armor bonus.


Re: Advanced Optics

Hmm, ok let's discuss some details and see if that changes opinions. I'm definitely open to suggestions, but beams are super tricky both because of their accuracy and soft flux generation causing a two-pronged balance conundrum.

Pics for easy stat comparisons:
Spoiler





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A bunch of pics of in-action effectiveness and flux build up on a midline light cruiser:
Spoiler








For reference this is the Phase Beam and the first pic is the first hit on armor:



And the flux efficiency for the assault-oriented beams that become Heavy Assault with the hullmod giving them 200 additional range:




[close]

And finally, a battle between a Strike Paragon and Elite Onslaught - one using basic strike beams and one using adv optics:
Spoiler
Battle 1:







Battle 2 with an adv optics build:








[close]

Ok, so right off the bat you can see the dps difference between the beam and the artillery as well as the much poorer flux efficiency of the artillery compared to the pre-adv optics beam. This is because the unmodified beam is a strike weapon. The Enforcer has 1700 armor and the beam does a good job of penetrating through despite the very high armor rating for a destroyer. When adding adv optics, however, the beam now has 1300 or 1500 range depending on the beam - but! - becomes as flux inefficient as the artillery. That is the intended design goal.

When you combine those stats with the fact that the beam is crazy accurate and doesn't do something like max the Aegis' flux meter even with that kind of range on it, I think it skews to the beam's favor despite the nerf to adv optics. This is especially true when fighting off fast and maneuverable ships like frigates. Sure, the artillery is a little more damaging to the armor itself overall (when it hits) and the extra OP saved from not needing the hullmod helps overall flux efficiency for the build, but I wouldn't call the beam combo bad by any means. (It does help that most beam-using ships will have good flux stats and typically a larger OP pool to begin with.) Part of the reason for that is the accuracy as I stated, and part of the reason is the higher dps since the beam starts as a strike weapon.

Now for assault beams like the Graviton Beam, they get the added benefit of being surprisingly competent PD weapons and assault weapons to start off. Their flux efficiency is very high but there is a small flux cost considering their dual role and effectiveness. Add adv optics to the build and once again the role changes - from assault to heavy assault in this case. Since the PD role is maintained, I think it is a pretty interesting concept to have a very long range PD weapon that passes through (and almost always destroys) any missiles in its path but is still an effective heavy assault damage dealer. The downside of its very good performance is the now higher flux generation that makes the weapon similar to any other heavy assault weapon (like the Railgun). Since flux costs are a larger part of the equation, it is unlikely that the build can support a bunch of strike or fire support weapons alongside it without serious flux stats. However, that also gives missiles like the Reaper, Atropos or Heavy Annihilator a chance to shine since none of those weapons cost flux yet remain viable strike weapons. (Keep in mind not all stats are final as testing is still occurring.)

As far as the suggestions for alternative balancing mechanisms, technically I don't think I can distinguish between assault and other kinds of weapons because it is not in the MutableShipStatsAPI so it has to be between PD and non-PD beams. I've tried damage reduction before and it doesn't seem to work out very well. From what I remember, it mostly slows down the battle if the opposing ship is low tech because it loses armor penetration but keeps the shield up enough to allow a lot of kiting. I'm not completely sure if there is an API for recharge time - which might be better than pure damage - but I have a hunch that if there was I would have used it before switching to flux costs.

That is the thought process behind the changes at least and testing is promising so far as the pic demonstration kind of shows. Granted that battles have a fair amount of random variance and that's why I have to track trends, but the two builds were very close in performance and the "Fire Support" adv optics build actually was a bit worse off as intended. Now keeping the two large side-facing weapons as Atronarch Beams? That would likely cause the Paragon to lose to the Onslaught as that would be more of a "Dedicated Fire Support" build... but watch out smaller ships!  :D

Any thoughts/concerns now that the details are laid out? Hopefully that explains the reasoning at the very least.


*EDIT*
Well, I have tested a few weapons out extensively tonight since it came up. For now, I am going to remove any flux costs from the Graviton Beam and Graviton Lance. I'm not convinced all PD Assault Beams need zero-flux yet, but the particular weapons I am changing are kind of weird because they are balanced around kinetic soft flux. This is fine when firing at a hullsize lower than a cruiser since the dps of either weapon usually outpaces dissipation and has a visible impact to the flux battle. Armor penetration is limited enough that it doesn't feel more powerful than something like a Twin Tactical Beam when you consider the different weapon roles. Where it really gets sour is when facing high tech ships at the capital level with a large dissipation value. It seems to do very little in comparison to hard flux options (part of the reason I created the Graviton Driver in the first place) or even just zero-flux or projectile assault weapons. For this reason, the added flux is hurtful enough in that scenario to make it completely unviable - and advanced optics hurts rather than helps because firing at missiles can build flux up too fast in exchange for very little noticeable impact to the overall ship-ship flux battle.

For that reason, I am going with zero-flux and hoping that the OP investment for advanced optics will be enough to make 200 additional range on either weapon a consideration rather than a no-brainer. If that feels too strong at the small ship level considering the weapons' zero-flux perfect accuracy with fairly high dps for the weapon class, I may go with basileus' suggestion and remove all benefit to PD weapons while simultaneously removing all of their flux costs across the board. Or I'll reduce the range bonus to 100 instead of 200, etc, if that feels better.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 02:23:25 AM by Morrokain »
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Albreo

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What I intend to compare for is not the balance between an Advance Optic beam and a long-range ballistic but an un-optic beam. The logic behind how I decide not to use it is the survivability of the ship and overall DPS. Because beams weapon is soft flux the need for constant suppression is a must. If the flux cost goes too high and can't be fire continuously, the suppression ability is practically voided. It may be ok to reduce the number of beam weapons to lower flux cost with alternative energy weapons but by that time the Advance Optic might not be worth it anymore just to apply to a couple of weapons where targeting core can buff all weapons at once. And for survivability, it will be like Archean Order ships that kill themselves by wasting all the flux on the enermy efficient shield.

This problem does not apply to zero flux and cheap flux Graviton beam. But when the weapon is an Artronarch beam (which has short-range and would benefit most from Advance Optic), Tachlance, or phase beam that has a high cost to fire, it's very crippling to use Advance Optic with it. Do try to test with 4x Artronarch Paragon I think it will just kill itself from the flux cost. Also, do test with outnumbered fights as well I think that the con will be quite obvious as it can't fire weapons in retaliation in quick succession and will be gang to death more often than un-optic build.

Also to note, I tend to play with max deployment so the situation I'm in may be different from others.
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basileus

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FWIW, I agree with everything Albreo just said, and my MO was to fly around with a combat fleet of ~140DP for everything except REDACTED stations.  Despite our different playstyles, we have similar views about the ideal way to build ships.

1-on-1 testing is useful, but also has its limitations.  In a fleet setting, your frontline capitals will tend to be constantly harassed by strike craft and faster smaller vessels.  Part of why I was able to deal with the old Tach Lance ships so effectively is that they needed so much of their flux pool to fire that I could usually make sure they only ever got between 0-1 shots off.  With a +120% penalty, the Artronarch beam may end up in the same boat.  If the other side has a numerical advantage and can keep even mild pressure up, then it will only fire a few times.

Basically, it's a mod that works if you're committed to fielding superior numbers and overwhelming the enemy as quickly as possible with an alpha strike doctrine--or if there were a viable and faster tank to hide behind.  There's nothing wrong with that.

With the nerfs to super flux-efficiency, maybe alpha strike will become the new meta.
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Morrokain

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^ Ok I'll make sure I test some fleet scenarios to make sure its not overboard. Ideally you would want a tanky escort to let the long ranged beam strike without punishment, but there isn't a build available to the AI in the current release. So the next update will have at least one if not a couple. Also with more weapons requiring some flux to fire, soft flux pressure is a little more meaningful on the average build. Still, like I said it is tricky so yeah I'm definitely still testing.

Do you two feel the same way about ballistic fire support weapons? Or do they feel better because of the hard flux? Have either of you experimented with artillery builds? I know the artillery onslaught doesn't particularly feel weak to surrounds or pressure, but that could be its large amount of weapons and its armor. High tech ships are in a lot more trouble if they are overfluxed and under a lot of pressure compared to low tech armored ships. So maybe that is also a factor that make beam weapons feel weaker?
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Albreo

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By no means beam weapons are weak, that pinpoint accuracy is OP enough to kill even the most heavily armored ship by drilling through a small section of armor. I think the entire problem is the penalty to flux cost. It's just too severe/critical to trade for. It's not worth the risk to lose ship IMO.

As for another question, no, I didn't test the fire support build because I think the flux cost to fire is not worth it. There's a catch though. I think if you can make all fire support weapons able to go through the friendly ship (I hope the AI will be able to handle it) and have a range of around 1500 it might become very useful. You know, "fire support" suppose to come from the rear. Without having to deploy the shield, those flux cost might not be so bad anymore.

As for the Advance Optic, we can slowly think it through. I think a large penalty to flux cost is a no go. It can still be there..., and less intense, in combination with other debuffs of choice. From what I understand, you want Advance Optic to be able to transform the normal beams into the fire support beams with similar flux cost to ballistic counterpart and similar range. But the beam is slightly different from ballistic as it, has no specialization, has no opportunistic window to fire like an explosive when the shield is down which makes the damage x 200% still lower than 1.0 flux ratio, and is fine.

I think the mod will not work as intended for every weapon and the easy way would be to craft a new entire line of support energy weapons.

Zzz
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 08:55:10 AM by Albreo »
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DatonKallandor

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Honestly, it might be worth thinking about ditching the whole "beams only do soft flux" mechanic altogether for AO. It causes nothing but balance headaches and doesn't really make anything better.
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Morrokain

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By no means beam weapons are weak, that pinpoint accuracy is OP enough to kill even the most heavily armored ship by drilling through a small section of armor. I think the entire problem is the penalty to flux cost. It's just too severe/critical to trade for. It's not worth the risk to lose ship IMO.

As for another question, no, I didn't test the fire support build because I think the flux cost to fire is not worth it. There's a catch though. I think if you can make all fire support weapons able to go through the friendly ship (I hope the AI will be able to handle it) and have a range of around 1500 it might become very useful. You know, "fire support" suppose to come from the rear. Without having to deploy the shield, those flux cost might not be so bad anymore.

As for the Advance Optic, we can slowly think it through. I think a large penalty to flux cost is a no go. It can still be there..., and less intense, in combination with other debuffs of choice. From what I understand, you want Advance Optic to be able to transform the normal beams into the fire support beams with similar flux cost to ballistic counterpart and similar range. But the beam is slightly different from ballistic as it, has no specialization, has no opportunistic window to fire like an explosive when the shield is down which makes the damage x 200% still lower than 1.0 flux ratio, and is fine.

I think the mod will not work as intended for every weapon and the easy way would be to craft a new entire line of support energy weapons.

I wonder if I can actually make the artillery projectile pass through allied targets... hmm, I'm not sure if there is a way to do that or not (at least without complicated scripting anyway), but it is certainly an interesting idea! It would align fire support weapons more with carriers in the ability to support nearby allies regardless of the situation instead of requiring a window through the battle line to fire through.

And good point regarding the specialization improving the damage to be efficient assuming a hit on the armor. Efficiency isn't everything though - I'd have to check but I'm pretty sure OP to damage ratio favors the beam in pretty much every case. Survivability is important, however, so I can understand why the added stress to shields might make advanced optics not worth it if the player loses the ship. What I'll probably do is set up a mission scenario and see how easy it is for advanced optics builds to overflux and die. And I'll probably test ballistic FS too while I'm at it.

As far as new line of support energy weapons, I added a medium version of the Artillery Blaster and the Graviton Driver line is another support one as well. Since those are all projectile weapons, they are different than beam support weapons entirely. One thing I am considering is a medium version of the Ion Beam as another option. Not 100% sure it is needed though.

Honestly, it might be worth thinking about ditching the whole "beams only do soft flux" mechanic altogether for AO. It causes nothing but balance headaches and doesn't really make anything better.

I agree. It is a matter of the dev time taken to script that behavior. Anyone remember what mod does that? I know I asked a long while back but I never got around to checking out how complicated it would be or whether the code to do that is open source.

If that turns out to not be an option, I also wonder if CONSERVE_FOR_ANTI_ARMOR would be something to consider after the next official update? Though it was designed for use with missiles, maybe it would also make the beam fire mostly at unstripped armor and not get wasted on the shield? Players of course could manually fire it as often as they want for the full dps, but it would certainly help the AI use the weapon more as it was intended. Assuming it works as I think it will, I'm definitely adding that to the Terminator Beam.

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*EDIT*

I wonder if I can actually make the artillery projectile pass through allied targets... hmm, I'm not sure if there is a way to do that or not (at least without complicated scripting anyway), but it is certainly an interesting idea! It would align fire support weapons more with carriers in the ability to support nearby allies regardless of the situation instead of requiring a window through the battle line to fire through.

I confirmed that this is possible! If I change the projectile collision class to MISSILE_NO_FF the projectile it will pass through allies. I thought maybe this would make PD hit it but it looks like it doesn't so I'll ask on the modding thread whether this will cause any unintended side effects. If not, I think I will go ahead and make this change. I'm not sure if the AI will understand the behavior though. I'll have to test using a mission and see.

It might be a little weird or confusing for a new player since that breaks the norms of other weapons, but probably nothing that can't be solved by adding the fact to the description and ancillary data in the weapon stat card.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 05:27:52 PM by Morrokain »
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basileus

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One thing I am considering is a medium version of the Ion Beam as another option. Not 100% sure it is needed though.

FWIW, there have been times when I wished that option existed.  I wouldn't say that it's needed, but it opens up some interesting options around Fire Support / Control.
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Morrokain

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FWIW, there have been times when I wished that option existed.  I wouldn't say that it's needed, but it opens up some interesting options around Fire Support / Control.

Oh ok cool well maybe I'll spend some time on that tonight then.  :)

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I made the change for ballistic fire support to pass through allies and increased the range by 200 or more across the board. Flux inefficiency remains the same. I also ran a simulation with two artillery onslaughts and a bunch of supporting frigates against lots of slow cruisers. The AI definitely understands that the weapons pass through allies and it will will use them even when an allied screen is in front of them. Allies still try and keep out of firing range LOS for other weapons and the AI also understands that it has weapons that won't pass through allies. I am both surprised and impressed at how well that worked out.

In short, thank you for that suggestion Albreo I think it is a very good change for building that kind of ship role!

I have a potential idea to do the same thing for beams only when advanced optics is equipped. (Ah darn I forgot there aren't instances of WeaponSpecAPI so any changes would be global. Can't do it that way. Maybe I'll just let strike and FS beams do this as a special case?) I may also increase the range bonus for adv optics. Would that make using strike beams more attractive with that hullmod? Even when only a couple of strike beams are present? The hullmod already increases range for beams higher than anything would get from Integrated Targeting Unit, but a little more couldn't hurt considering the multiple downsides compared to 0 downsides from ITU.

*EDIT*
Annnd I got no friendly fire to work for beams (thanks SafariJohn!) and it was way easier to do than I thought it would be. Adding that to the strike and fire support beams.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 09:00:53 PM by Morrokain »
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