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Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24)

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Author Topic: [0.95.1a] TC: Archean Order: Rebalanced Combat/Lore RPG - *hotfix* 4/14/22  (Read 715697 times)

Albreo

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As far as Weapon Drills (and really any scaling skill just in general), that will be something to address. What is your total DP? When it says "Maximum at 90 or less total combat ship recovery cost for fleet." does that mean the total DP actually deployed in the battle? Or total DP of the fleet period regardless of what you actually deploy?

I'm a little confused as to how the scaling currently works since I haven't tested campaign stuff and just now got to skills.

From the look of it, the entire fleet was count as one, deployed or not.


As I can't load my save anymore I'm not certain. But usually, I have 2 capital carriers and 2-4 cruiser carriers in my fleet plus an Executor or two. Not all of them will be deployed though, they were built to counter specific scenarios. Such as 2 capitals combination, 1 cap + 2 cruises, or 4 cruises. In total, I would have at least 80 craft bays for the end game fleet.

the best possible solution that I prefer would be to taking into account all bays, including combat ships, but only counts the ships that have been currently deployed, and it has to be able to adjust on the fly like those ECM and NAV rating value.

Also, some of the civilian ships in your mod have hangars that I only use for mining. It would be an absolutely horrible idea if it were to calculate the vanilla way.
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DatonKallandor

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25 bays and only counting carriers would be way too strong. If you can make it only count "real" bays, leaving it at the default deck count would be more than enough. Remember it's not a hard cutoff, and the bonuses are intentionally huge to start out with because they'll scale down.

Similarily with the bonuses that require an officer-piloted ship. If you made those global, they would be unbelievably broken. If you make skills weaker, they just feel like crap to pick because they don't have proper impact.

A few sanity checks like excluding warship bays should really be all that's needed to make AO work with the new skill system. It doesn't need a big overhaul and certainly not one without a *lot* of prior playtesting and tons of design thought put into it.
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Morrokain

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From the look of it, the entire fleet was count as one, deployed or not.

Ok thanks that's what I thought too but wanted to be sure.

Quote
As I can't load my save anymore I'm not certain. But usually, I have 2 capital carriers and 2-4 cruiser carriers in my fleet plus an Executor or two. Not all of them will be deployed though, they were built to counter specific scenarios. Such as 2 capitals combination, 1 cap + 2 cruises, or 4 cruises. In total, I would have at least 80 craft bays for the end game fleet.

the best possible solution that I prefer would be to taking into account all bays, including combat ships, but only counts the ships that have been currently deployed, and it has to be able to adjust on the fly like those ECM and NAV rating value.

Also, some of the civilian ships in your mod have hangars that I only use for mining. It would be an absolutely horrible idea if it were to calculate the vanilla way.

Yeah if left alone I feel like that would completely invalidate the skill from even being an option unless specifically running a destroyer/frigate only fleet. The dynamic adjusting is a neat idea, but it depends upon how difficult it would be to implement considering how skills and threshold tracking works under the hood.

25 bays and only counting carriers would be way too strong. If you can make it only count "real" bays, leaving it at the default deck count would be more than enough. Remember it's not a hard cutoff, and the bonuses are intentionally huge to start out with because they'll scale down.

Similarily with the bonuses that require an officer-piloted ship. If you made those global, they would be unbelievably broken. If you make skills weaker, they just feel like crap to pick because they don't have proper impact.

A few sanity checks like excluding warship bays should really be all that's needed to make AO work with the new skill system. It doesn't need a big overhaul and certainly not one without a *lot* of prior playtesting and tons of design thought put into it.

While 25 might be overkill, I'm not sure I agree that 6 would feel good - hard cut off or not. I could be wrong, however, I will have to actually look at how the scaling works to know for sure what a good value would be. If it scales down exponentially then 6 is a non-starter. If it scales linearly, then it depends upon how much bonus is lost per additional bay. I don't want two capital carriers and a cruiser carrier or two (that's anywhere from 20 - 30 bays depending upon hull mods) to completely negate the bonus. My initial thought would be roughly that a capital carrier plus 2-3 cruiser carriers would be about 60-70% of the bonus whereas 2 capital carriers and 2 cruiser carriers would get roughly 30-40% of the bonus. Something along those lines, but I'd like to know your thoughts. It kind of depends on the systems design intentions. Is the max bonus meant to buff smaller fleets, for instance? Or encourage mostly warships alongside a primary carrier unit? (One capital or two cruisers being the vanilla standard.) The max ships per fleet is fairly high so it feels weird to me that 1-2/22 or 1-2/27 (can't remember if that was increased to 30 or not) would be the target number of carriers when trying to maintain the max bonus.

I agree that I have no intention of making officer required skills global or anything. I'm more just looking to adjust thresholds where it makes sense for the mod. Some skills might not need adjustments at all, but even the default battle size is different in the mod - and so I doubt the carrier skills will be the only ones needing some love.

(Also any adjustment to how the skill system works is sort of an "overhaul" due to how the code works. This is a case where these values are not easily modified like, say, the armor bonus from heavy armor is. Its not something as involved as the overrides manager and TC settings or anything, but it also isn't necessary trivial depending upon how often the static variables/methods are relied upon.)

Anyway, I'm all ears on disagreements/suggestions or other thoughts about this before I really dive in. Most of you probably know the current skill system as far as how it operates in the campaign much better than I do.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 11:37:45 PM by Morrokain »
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Morrokain

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I did a bit of analysis and some campaign tests.

I looked at the scaling and with a 6 fighter bay threshold: 6 bays = +50% Replacement (Full Bonus), 12 bays = +25% Replacement (Half Bonus), 25 bays = +12% Replacement (Quarter Bonus), 60 bays = +5% Replacement (Mostly Negated Bonus), 100 bays = +3% Replacement (Mostly Negated Bonus)

Changing it to 25 as the threshold: 25 bays = +50% Replacement (Full Bonus), 50 bays = +25% Replacement (Half Bonus), 100 bays = +12.5% Replacement (Quarter Bonus), 250 bays = +5% Replacement (Mostly Negated Bonus), 500 bays = +2.5% Replacement (Mostly Negated Bonus)

So taking into account only carrier bays I'd hazard an early threshold estimate of around 15 as a good starting point for tests. I'd probably start slowly scaling up from there to either 18 or 20 depending upon what feels best.

Breakdown with a 15 bay threshold with the Astral as an example: (No hullmods included)

+50% at 15 bays (1 Astral and 1 Mora)
+30% at 25 bays (2 Astrals and 1 Mora or 1 Astral, 2 Herons and a Drover or Epiphany)
+15% at 50 bays (5 Astrals or 2 Astrals and 5 Herons)
+7.5% at 100 bays (10 Astrals or 4 Astrals and 5 Legions)
+ 3% at 300 bays (30 Astrals, but why?)

The other thing to consider is that other mod updates unrelated to skills have made carrier defense ships like PD support variants better able to combat massed strike craft or otherwise support nearby allied ships. Combining that with free (from the perspective of skills) interceptors for low OP on warships might make carriers feel less valuable from a player standpoint.

Minor Details: Warships now replace fighters more slowly even at 100% replacement rate. Carriers now replace fighters at normal replacement rates (from stat card) and replace them a lot more slowly at low replacement rates.

Either way, it is going to require some playtesting once the code is in place.
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Albreo

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The way it is now kind of discourage player to have back up ships. I usually have double of what I need and it's kind of important, when combined with NEX, to combat multiple invasion fleets in quick suscession. But anyway, it's low priority stuff.
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Morrokain

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The way it is now kind of discourage player to have back up ships. I usually have double of what I need and it's kind of important, when combined with NEX, to combat multiple invasion fleets in quick suscession. But anyway, it's low priority stuff.

Once the code foundation is there then it will be really easy to adjust values as needed if it turns out it doesn't feel good. I may even just make it a setting.

But that's almost done and then its on to the new ships/endgame stuff and then probably release! I think I'll wait until the next release after this one to clean up the designation descriptions and stuff since that will take a lot of time. That way the new stuff and balance work I've done can have some playtesting while I clean house.
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Radicaljack

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I'm sure anyone eager for this to come out will have plenty of (hopefully) positive and meaningful feedback to give you on it, like you said the numbers are easy to change, it's the code that seems a bit intense to figure out for me. Will be interesting to see how the AO and AC fair in this new environment. The RC 14 did a lot of good steps on fixing issues the game had, I do think Archean Order will do well in .95, and like I said people will be sure to find the things that are really out of place fast, even in the base game those things all kinda stood out to people right away.
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capshades

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Yeah I stopped playing because of some of the standout issues, it seems R14 really fixed a bunch.  Looking forward to the mod
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capshades

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I'd also be happy to help beta test the update, if you are in need of such help...
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Morrokain

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Re: Beta Testing:

Let me finish up my plan for skills first and then I'll probably release a beta version for some testing while I work on descriptions, etc.

The code for that is done anyway. (Well it might need another brief once-over juuust in case I missed a method I need to override since there was quite a few that required it.)

I'll repost my analysis from the general discussion thread to give an idea of what I will likely try out: (I'm not going to rework everything - but I may move some stuff around and see what the general reception is.)

Spoiler
Initial Analysis:

Aptitude Side-by-Side Skill Comparisons:
Spoiler
Combat:
- Impact Mitigation seems weaker than Ranged Specialization due to how important it is to build more flux on your opponent and the strength of range in the game.

Leadership:
- Coordinated Maneuvers seems weaker than Wolfpack Tactics on paper unless you are not using frigates at all. Even then, the destroyer perk of Wolfpack Tactics seems pretty good early game. Part of this assumption lies in the feedback about being outnumbered late game though. Wouldn't that sort of negate the bonus?

Technology:
- Energy Weapon Mastery only seems worth it for the elite version, and I'm curious to see if the AI takes advantage of it without an aggressive or reckless officer.
- Fighter Uplink seems fairly unattractive compared to Electronic Warfare. Excluding carriers on Electronic Warfare might give it a role for carrier-heavy fleets though. I'd argue the threshold for vanilla should probably be 8 instead of 6 for fighter bays. That would make it and Carrier Group more viable late game skills, imo, compared to EW or Crew Training - which both seem essential in comparison upon an initial analysis.
- Automated Ships probably needs a slightly higher DP limit for the threshold compared to an extra built-in slot from Special Modifications. (Depends on SP availability. It's harder to analyze without testing late game SP acquisition rates since that is such a new feature.) This opinion stems more from a sense of novelty and flavor than it does from the perspective of which is better to min/max.

Industry:
- Damage Control and Reliability Engineering are a bit of a strange trade-off because one primarily effects campaign level and one primarily effects combat.
- Same thing with Field Repairs and Derelict Contingent.
[close]

Aptitude vs Aptitude Comparisons:
Spoiler
Combat
- The obvious powerful player flagship choice. The highest investment of points (10) wastes a point due to competing flagship bonuses between phase ships and shielded ships. This makes it less viable to completely invest in above 7 points. Potential solution: Phase Mastery and Flux Regulation switch places. (I'll explain more about why later.)
- Tier 5 bonuses, while nice, are nowhere near as attractive as Technology tier 5 bonuses because Combat affects a single (though powerful) ship in a modest way and Technology affects the whole fleet in a pretty substantial way with the caveat that a large investment of story points is required to reap the full benefits.
- Low level bonuses are probably the most attractive small-scale investment option for those wanting some flagship boosts if they don't need a specific tier 5/tier 4 skill in one of their other attribute skill lines.

Leadership
- The specialization attribute. Essentially, pick an aspect of your fleet composition that you want to boost. With the options being carriers, smaller ships, combat auxiliary civilian ships.
- Then there are random colony bonuses and the very valuable officer boosts. Leadership probably has the worst tier 5 options of all the attributes. They seem more important for administrators than players and should probably be replaced with large compositional bonuses for each composition. Each skill needs to effect each composition of the earlier compositional choices or full investment is unlikely - but the specific bonuses themselves should compete in value. Example: Plus 5% OP on all compositional choices vs + 5% Range (weapon and fighter) on all compositional choices. Alternatively move the tier 5 bonuses to tier 2 and slide the other bonuses up a tier.
- The officer boosts are the real meat of the attribute - with ship compositional bonuses mostly being an afterthought to get to these skills.
- Crew Training is too strong of a competitor for Carrier Group as is - Potential Solution: swap Crew Training with Fighter Uplink and rename them if necessary. A compositional bonus vs a fleetwide bonus is probably impossible to balance.
- Same with tier 1 bonuses - fleetwide vs compositional bonuses should probably be avoided.

Technology
- The best attribute because of the tier 5 bonuses. Also likely the most interesting from a flavor/novelty standpoint because of Automated Ships.
- Already discussed that phase ship bonuses should directly compete. The player chooses between a big flagship bonus or a smaller fleetwide bonus. It might be worth it to make these the tier 5 bonuses so players don't feel forced into phase ships just to get Automated Ships or Special Modifications. That would also lessen the overall point burden created by moving the officer bonuses up a tier through lowering the tier to get Special Modifications or Automated Ships. The rest of the attribute is compositional specialization and full investment into the attribute simply means using both phase ships and automated ships.
- Above changes means that Technology consistently starts with a campaign QOL bonus, then gets a ship bonus, then a fleet bonus, etc. It seems more consistent when considering target goals of investing into an attribute and how much to fully invest.

Industry
- Mostly campaign benefits comprised of colony, exploration and fleet maintenance bonuses.
- While thematically interesting and great for a player struggling with campaign level challenges, it is the only attribute that mostly lacks combat benefits. This sort of puts it in an odd place.
- Needs some kind of campaign level pressure (at all points of the game) in order to functionally compete with the other attributes.
[close]

Outside of the specific changes I suggested, the major take-away I have when analyzing the current system and the feedback on all sides is that the old system let players cherry pick bonuses to either salve a campaign annoyance or help with a challenging thing at the campaign level and then once that condition (unique to the individual) is met, focus on the combat bonuses of choice and composition.

Now, the attributes require more investment and it is much harder to cherry pick bonuses of either campaign or combat. I think that is leading to all the vague playstyle complaints. Players were choosing X skill at Y time because X's bonus made sense at that time in the game while planning an overall compositional build - which was likely more flexible than the current system because, again, cherry picking was more possible.

So, conceptually, I think the new system is A) easier to balance overall B) better as far as replay-ability is concerned and C) thematically more interesting as far as specialization.

It lost complexity in build-making, however, and that is also a factor.

Some broad suggestions to possibly help the system feel more versatile:

1) Somewhat streamline bonus types at tiers with perhaps Combat being the exception. For instance, if each attribute is a unique playstyle, then have a similar bonus type at each tier - campaign level boost, flagship boost, fleetwide boost, compositional boost are what I consider "types". Weigh types based upon player desirability if possible. Big combat boosts should be higher tier but roughly equally powerful across the same tier in each attribute. Players should then be able to choose a maximum of 3 per highest tier in 2-3 attributes.
2) I'd weight campaign QOL as tier 1, fleetwide bonus at tier 2, flagship bonus at tier 3, major feature bonus at tier 4, large compositional bonus at tier 5.
3) Finally, separate out bonus themes by attribute. Example: Industry is armor combat bonuses while Technology is flux bonuses and balance between the two. Or: Leadership is carrier compositional bonuses while Combat is smaller ships, Technology is phase ships and Industry is auxiliary civilians and D-modded ships. All compositional bonuses are effectively optional and fairly powerful. That way compositions wouldn't feel as forced to get the more powerful combat benefits.

That would probably be a good middle ground between the new system and the old system and still retain the balancing benefits of the new system. A player gets 3 of each type but can sacrifice compositional or feature/theme combat-oriented boosts for more campaign QOL or fleetwide/flagship combat bonuses.

Anyway I spent enough time on this already. Just trying to think outside of the box when looking at polishing the new skill system.
[close]
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Albreo

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Lol, that thread is full of rage and disappointment. Unless you require a second opinion, I will wait for your Beta first before thinking about it in detail.

The only skill I would like to point out is the Energy Weapon Mastery for Officer which is too specific for energy weapon. Something like missile Specialisation can still be used by most ship but Energy weapon only is really restrictive to high-tech ship. All other officer skills seem to work fine universally apart from that but I also didn't find a single officer with Phase ship skill and only 3 with fighter skill, super rare.
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Morrokain

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Lol a lot of threads seem that way due to the skill changes. There is generally something in every update that has a mixed reception - looks like its skills this time around. :P (You should have seen the CR update. It was madness haha.)

Anyway, I definitely will do something with Energy Weapon Mastery. It doesn't really seem like it would work for the mod as it currently is. And I still have to find a use for the hullmod it unlocks.

For now:
Spoiler


[close]

I've changed up the carrier skills quite a bit. They now have elite versions and are tier 5 of Leadership. The colony skills have been moved down to tier 2 so they are more accessible. In general my thought process is that campaign level bonuses < combat level bonuses.

I also put Coordinated Maneuvers in direct competition with Electronic Warfare. I'm not done with ideas for Technology or Industry as a whole though. I will probably move the phase ship bonuses to tier 4 and 5 Tech with the flagship bonus competing with Automated Ships at tier 5.

Special Modifications might be moved to Industry as a tier 4 or 5 option. Damage Control will probably be improved and moved to tier 4 Combat to replace Phase Mastery as the competition for Shield Modulation.

Basic concepts at play here:
1) Move specialization bonuses to tier 5 options for the most part. They should be strong bonuses that will noticeably impact a playstyle and give incentive to max or loop around the tree.
2) Provide more elite skill options outside of Combat. Some will effect the flagship. I believe this gives a sense of variety when competing with powerful fleet bonuses or flavor options like Automated Ships. It means you don't necessarily have to go Combat to have a boosted flagship.
3) Attempt to make the choice of aptitude tree and the respective tier 5 bonuses a more difficult decision in regards to direct impact on combat and playstyle.

(Ahem... ok so I'm reworking it quite a bit after all I guess. One thing led to another and it just sort of happened...)

That's where my mind is going with skill changes and obviously any feedback or shouts of "you crazy man you are breaking everything!" are welcome. XD
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Hellya

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Your crazy man, you will ruin everything....

Honestly, what you are thinking seems to me like it will fix some of my favorite faction mods that I no longer play because skills and changes have murdered there ship line up. Carrier heavy factions are not fun to play, factions where most ships have one or two fighter bays are not fun, armor tank factions are not fun; I am really only down to P9 and hopefully BlackRock.

Anyway, o would like to see where your mod  can fix some of the less viable vanilla doctrine and mod doctrine.
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capshades

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Concerning the Gunnery Implants vs Energy Weapon Mastery debate, perhaps try changing it to a ballistic weapons boost vs an energy weapons boost?  I'm not sure where everyone is on the "one or the other" type of gameplay mechanic, but I do like being shepherded towards choosing a specific faction or at least technology level of ship design to stick with, it helps with the RPG elements of the game in my opinion.

I really don't like the range limitations on the vanilla EWM skill, that alone makes it substantially less attractive to me than gunnery mastery.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 05:11:07 PM by capshades »
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danando123

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Hey! im new, those feature mods, do i need to download them also, or are they included in this?? thanks :)
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