Iocrym Fixes Beta: Ever fought an enemy with a Jumpdrive?

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JohnBWatson
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Iocrym Fixes Beta: Ever fought an enemy with a Jumpdrive?

Post by JohnBWatson » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:35 pm

Iocrym Fixes is a mod that fully rebalances the Iocrym to implement new mechanics, strategies, and challenges. I am now confident that the core features are functioning well enough to be released as a beta for open testing and comment. In this beta version, the following changes have been made:

- The addition of an Iocrym Jumpdrive, an alien device created specifically for combat, which is used by the Iocrym Sentinel. It is one of the only invokeable devices in the game that can be used by the AI.

- The replacement of the Iocrym Fracture Cannon with a new weapon fielding a unique inertial dampening effect.

- The rebalancing of Iocrym armor to make other endgame armors more competitive.

This project has been undertaken with several goals in mind. One of the main purposes of this beta is to gather information on how well these goals have been met thus far.

The Iocrym should be balanced, challenging, and enjoyable to fight. In addition to this, they should feel 'alien' in a way that no other faction does.
- The addition of two entirely new mechanics is the primary means of achieving this.
- As an advanced alien species seeking the extermination of humanity, the Iocrym should inspire dread and awe when first encountered. Imagine meeting them at the end of your first run through the game.
- The hard counters to the rebalanced Sentinel, such as using the Lamplighter Archcannon or jumping immediately after the opponent jumps and proceeding to attack from out of range, should be satisfying but challenging to pull off.
- The Iocrym should not rely on extremely high stats to present a threat.
- To the extent that is viable, the Iocrym aesthetic should be preserved. Their personality as a faction should feel consistent.

The new and modified items should be balanced, both to use and to play against.
- The Iocrym Jumpdrive is not intended to be superior or inferior to its Transpace equivalent. While hardier and much more precise, it uses quite a bit of power and is not capable of accessing Elysium.
- The Iocrym armor should still be viable as a guaranteed endgame armor with significant (and buffed) resistance to Ion and Thermo weaponry.
- The new Iocrym Dampener should be effective, visually appealing, and satisfying to use.

The Iocrym Jumpdrive's code should serve as a model for use of the OnAIUpdate function
- As it is only used once in vanilla, and for a fairly mundane purpose, it is my hope that this mod will provide an example of the sort of AI customization the game is capable of.
- It need not be perfect, but any glaring functional errors should be pointed out.
- Future API versions will have improvements vital to making this code perfect. Seeking perfection should be considered at that time.



In addition to what is implemented already, I have several future goals that I would appreciate advice and input on:

Improving the Iocrym Commandship's code to make the fight more fun, more intuitive, and more balanced
- For now, it expected that the new changes will break the strategy of luring the sentinels away without killing them in order to exploit the spawn limit. At present, this is the main viable strategy, due to the infinite and nearly instant respawning of Sentinels. This is not desirable, and will be fixed before release.
- Fixing the above could be as simple as increasing the delay before more sentinels can be spawned, but more advanced ideas are always welcome.
- In addition, the shells should respawn in a similar manner to those of the Sapiens, to prevent abuse of the planet exploit. It is clear by the obscene quantity of shells it is given that ammo exhaustion is not intended to occur.

Finalizing the balance of already implemented items
- Should the Iocrym Jumpdrive use less power, or recharge faster or slower?
- Is the new weapon too powerful or too weak?
- Is the rebalanced Iocrym armor too powerful? Is it too weak?

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Re: Iocrym Fixes Beta: Ever fought an enemy with a Jumpdrive

Post by JohnBWatson » Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:44 am

Updated with new version. ICS fight has had multiple issues fixed. The start screen glitch with Sentinels attacking the ICS should no longer occur, shells restock(preventing the planet exploit), and the sentinel spawning now has sufficient delay to make killing them a viable means of taking down the Command Ship. To account for the inability to lure them away as easily, they now spawn in groups of two or three rather than groups of four or five. Finally, I've toned down the new weapon a bit more and nerfed the Qsphere's fire rate in exchange for a boost to projectile HP and damage.

In testing, my typical endgame setups are able to kill it with moderate ease, but it's no longer a cakewalk like the vanilla ICS. It's now markedly harder to kill than a Phobos.

Some questions:

- Are the Sentinels too powerful or too weak?

- Is the new boss fight too hard or too easy? Remember - an endgame player has access not only to their endgame equipment setup, but to many or all Domina powers as well.

- Is the extended spawn time too much?

- I've been thinking of capping the total number of waves that can be deployed, opening up a means of defeating the ICS via exhausting its supply of drones. Opinions?

- Are there any other balance changes or new mechanics that people would like to see for the Iocrym Command Ship?

- I've noticed the name of this mod might be a bit dry and unattractive. Any proposals for a better one?

New version is attached to both this post and main post.

Note: If you do nothing else today, shift+1 together a new ICS and a few Phobii on the start menu. The ICS and redone Sentinels synergize so beautifully in combat. You've just got to see it.

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NMS
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Re: Iocrym Fixes Beta: Ever fought an enemy with a Jumpdrive

Post by NMS » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:59 pm

JohnBWatson wrote:Note: If you do nothing else today, shift+1 together a new ICS and a few Phobii on the start menu. The ICS and redone Sentinels synergize so beautifully in combat. You've just got to see it.
The jumpdrive didn't seem to be working. Eventually I figured out that it doesn't work on the intro screen because the system isn't defined.

Also, the vanilla ICS can beat several Phoboses because they're too stupid to keep their distance and preserve their shields so they don't get disintegrated. But your updated versions do seem pretty cool.

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Re: Iocrym Fixes Beta: Ever fought an enemy with a Jumpdrive

Post by JohnBWatson » Sat Jul 02, 2016 12:52 am

NMS wrote:
JohnBWatson wrote:Note: If you do nothing else today, shift+1 together a new ICS and a few Phobii on the start menu. The ICS and redone Sentinels synergize so beautifully in combat. You've just got to see it.
The jumpdrive didn't seem to be working. Eventually I figured out that it doesn't work on the intro screen because the system isn't defined.
I noticed that too, and had a suspicion that that might be the case. Probably the same reason we used to see stacks of immobile Charon gunships whenever frigates tried to call in reinforcements. I wonder whether it'd be worthwhile for the AI to check whether the system is defined before firing the drive. Something to plan for in the next update.

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Re: Iocrym Fixes Beta: Ever fought an enemy with a Jumpdrive

Post by JohnBWatson » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:09 am

I checked it out, and your assessment of the glitch was entirely correct - apparently, George's Star is not a valid system. The new release fixes the glitch by checking whether sysGetNode returns a valid value. Next version may shorten Sentinel respawn time and add a wave cap to the ICS, refining the boss fight balance.

If anyone has opinions on the matter, I was also thinking of making a few improvements to the Ringer Outpost mission, though that'll probably come later on:

- Ability to return to the Ringer Outpost upon reading the last crew ROM, receiving the reward in doing so. This is an issue with many missions, refusing to let you take the conservative path and just tell the mission giver what went wrong once you've completed the stated objective.

- Proximity based weapon loadout for the Huygens, such that its luring you in to dock with it has some logic behind it. I imagine that an alien AI could do some creative things with the ship's autofac. This adds the possibility of giving it random setups, rather than the same positron lancer every playthrough.

- Possibly pre - generate all of the docking beacons when the station is spawned, and handle all possibilities that result from that. Having them pop in out of nowhere felt uncharacteristic of a roguelike, especially considering how beautifully Korolov handles similar things.

Until then, new version's here and on the OP.



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Re: Iocrym Fixes Beta: Ever fought an enemy with a Jumpdrive

Post by JohnBWatson » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:37 am

While I'm fairly busy right now, I'd be very interested to see George's take on this mod in the next playthrough. If it's part of the roster, I'm sure I'd be able to find the time to clean up the balance.

In the event that I'm unable to do so, I'd like to reiterate that anyone is welcome to use my code here, so if someone else wants to rebalance this mod for the run, they have my blessing.

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Re: Iocrym Fixes Beta: Ever fought an enemy with a Jumpdrive

Post by JohnBWatson » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:30 am

Alright, tried another run at balancing and added an attrition mechanic. Does this feel about right? Should I buff the ICS's armor a bit to compensate for the slightly more fragile sentinels?
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relanat
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Re: Iocrym Fixes Beta: Ever fought an enemy with a Jumpdrive

Post by relanat » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:38 pm

Finally got around to having a look at this.

This is really good. I really like the way the Sentinels jump in. It's a very effective way of fighting for slow ships. It does indeed add a great new variation to the game.
And the Sentinel weapon effect looks great too.

I can't comment on balance because I only did a God run, but this is great stuff that will (eventually) find its way into some of my mods. Well done (and thanks).


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