Ship balance changes and jump beacons

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george moromisato
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Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:16 am

I've deployed the ship balance changes suggested by you all (Imperator's spreadsheet). Plus I'm implemented jump beacons as we discussed. Please look over my changes and make sure I entered the numbers correctly. You can see the changes in the source files on a branch: https://github.com/kronosaur/Anacreon-C ... /tree/era3

A few thoughts:

1. I did not change the "attack power" value. This is a derived value, computed from a combination of damage, range, and area of effect. It is only used by the AI to figure out the relative power of ships. This value is hard-coded into the source files based on the original numbers, but I will change the engine so that it computes it from the raw attack values.

2. Here's the original spreadsheet I used to balance the units (look at the Units tab): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

3. One thing you'll notice from the spreadsheet is that I computed the ratio of a unit's combat power to the total work required to build it (including resources). I tried to balance it so that jumpships had a ratio of 0.03 while starships had a ratio of 0.1 or so. In general, starships are 3 times more powerful per unit of work. I did this because of the immense advantage you get from jumpships. It's possible that the jump beacon change will lessen the advantage, and maybe the ratio can be different.

4. There are two other properties of ships that I haven't seen included in the calculations. Missiles have a defense value, which counters the anti-missile defense. Also, some weapons have an area of effect, inflicting damage on more than one target ship. The power computations in the spreadsheet above account for this.

I'm curious to see the effect of these changes. Let me know your experiences in response.

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Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:44 am

My immediate response is- hooray, this is a great new era for Anacreon!

I think that it would be better from a user-interface perspective if the jumpship circles were visible upon selecting a jumpfleet, not just on selecting destination- especially because there doesn't seem to be a hotkey to get out of the destination interface (at least, esc doesn't work).

Is area-of-effect damage new? I didn't see evidence of it when I tested Helions against Victories a couple months ago- it seemed to be one shot/one kill for the Victories.

george moromisato
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Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:54 am

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:44 am
My immediate response is- hooray, this is a great new era for Anacreon!

I think that it would be better from a user-interface perspective if the jumpship circles were visible upon selecting a jumpfleet, not just on selecting destination- especially because there doesn't seem to be a hotkey to get out of the destination interface (at least, esc doesn't work).

Is area-of-effect damage new? I didn't see evidence of it when I tested Helions against Victories a couple months ago- it seemed to be one shot/one kill for the Victories.
Glad you like the changes! We'll see how they hold up over time. Fortunately, the stats changes are relatively easy to change, so we can continue to experiment.

I'll try your idea about jumpship circles. It might make the map a little busy, but it's worth trying.

As for area-of-effect, it's not new, but either its range is too limited or there's a bug in the code. I'll look into it.

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Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:58 am

Also, did defenses get rebalanced too or was it just ships?

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--Imperator--
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Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:01 am

Well that's great! Preliminary combat tests are favoring gunships so far...

I do have a problem of not being able to see jump radii for jumpfleets even when the destination button is selected for some reason. I've tried this with jumpship only fleets, mixed fleets and explorers. Any ideas?

EDIT: Yes, defenses are rebalanced as well.
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george moromisato
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Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:09 am

--Imperator-- wrote:
Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:01 am
I do have a problem of not being able to see jump radii for jumpfleets even when the destination button is selected for some reason. I've tried this with jumpship only fleets, mixed fleets and explorers. Any ideas?
All I can think of is to force a re-load of the browser page.

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Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:15 am

Yeah... tried that. Logged out and back in too. Created a second empire on a different account and still no jump radii. Running Chrome 56.0.2924.87 Windows 10 64-bit.

Just checked again. It works on Firefox. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:37 am

Speaking of browsers and connections, I'm getting warnings in Chrome and Firefox that the connection is not secure when I go to log in. I don't recall ever seeing those before.

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Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:34 am

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:37 am
Speaking of browsers and connections, I'm getting warnings in Chrome and Firefox that the connection is not secure when I go to log in. I don't recall ever seeing those before.
It's new in Chrome, I think. Try connecting via https://anacreon.kronosaur.com

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Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:26 pm

Feedback on changes so far, in no particular order:

1. Minotaurs seem to be the new "best" general-purpose unit, replacing Eldritches. This is good! Gunships travel much slower and give players more time to respond.

2. Invading and conquering an empire can't happen overnight anymore. Also wonderful! Because jumptransports need beacons to travel, a player must setup their infrastructure first before campaigning. Jumpyards and F&M sector capitals act as beacons, so players should watch their backs if other empires seem to be setting up these kinds of worlds near their territory. A beacon world within 250ly of a capital becomes a priority target. If invasion can't happen because jumptransports can't travel there, gunships can still be used to harass and destroy space forces of the enemy while your beacon system is being set up.

3. Planetary defenses inflict 10-20% casualties on average against slightly larger attacking fleets. GDMs seem to launch simultaneously from the world's surface like they're supposed to... maybe increasing range fixed the bug of them disappearing without firing?

4. HEL cannons and autocannons are now a real danger to jumpships because of their increased range. Hypersonics, armored sats and plasma towers are absolutely deadly to gunships, and will eat jumpships alive before they even get close. To attack a heavily defended world like a capital, one would use starcruisers as a long range siege unit instead of sacrificing precious ships.

5. Starcruisers are too expensive, in comparison with the starfrigates they're meant to counter. I'll try to add in suggestions for labor/resource costs for each unit, maybe on the weekend.

6. I fear some empires may try to "turtle", by building lots and lots of defenses, then surrounding these worlds with citadels so starcruisers can't get through. One possible solution would be to blockade said citadels, or to raid their resource worlds outside citadel range, to cause mass deaths and civil wars.

Overall, the changes have opened up a LOT of new tactical possibilities. The ships feel well balanced to me, as does the beacon system. What does everyone else think? The only thing left to change is resource and labor costs. Also, warp speed transports seem like a necessary addition given the changes to jumpships. Could this happen in this release? The code can be copy-pasted from the Reliant and Warphant, except change a few things like this maybe:

Code: Select all

ResourceType core.warptransportDeliverance {
	category: maneuveringUnit
	name: "Deliverance-class warptransport"
	role: warptransport
	attackValue: 2
	FTL: 3.0
	canLand: true
	cargoSpace: 40.0						//	In kilotons
	mass: 15.0
	maxDeltaV: 0.25
	scanner: 0.0
	visibility: 0.15
	halfLife: 4.0

	attack: { name:"recoiless cannon" count:1 damage:2 type:direct range:5 area:0.0 }
	defense: { armor:24 }
	unitsPerCell: 8

	production: {
		workUnits: 200.0
		inputs: (
			{ type:core.trillum amount:10.0 }
			{ type:core.hexacarbide amount:10.0 }
			)
		minTechLevel: 6
		maxTechLevel: 8
		}
}
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george moromisato
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Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:42 pm

I suggest leaving labor costs alone.

The interesting metric is the ratio of ship power to labor cost. This ratio can be changed by changing EITHER the ship stats OR labor costs. We should stick to changing ship stats; otherwise we'll undoing our work by changing labor costs.

For example, let's say that we've balanced combat so 1,000 jumpships are evenly balanced against 1,000 gunships. Does that means they're balanced? Obviously not: if it takes 100 units of labor to build 1,000 jumpships but 200 units of labor to build 1,000 gunships, then jumpships are overpowered.

It's tempting to then change the labor costs for jumpships, but its easier to change the stats (damage/armor in particular). In the example above, we would lower jumpship stats until it takes 2,000 jumpships to compete against 1,000 gunships.

Changing labor costs is hard because if you change the labor to produce a ship, you'll change the ratio of resource costs to unit costs. And if you change the labor to produce resources, you'll affect multiple ships (and defenses too). Labor costs have a complex network of relationships, and it's much harder to balance.

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Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:51 pm

george moromisato wrote:
Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:34 am
Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:37 am
Speaking of browsers and connections, I'm getting warnings in Chrome and Firefox that the connection is not secure when I go to log in. I don't recall ever seeing those before.
It's new in Chrome, I think. Try connecting via https://anacreon.kronosaur.com
Thanks, that works.

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Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:56 pm

Ok I see, thanks for the info! This makes sense. We should test small fleets of up to 1k ships against the ships they counter and the ships they're vulnerable to, with equivalent unit costs. I'll have a look at the spreadsheet in the other thread and see if I can come up with a list of combat scenarios to try out.
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Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:31 pm

I tested jumpcruisers vs. gunships at total work cost parity and the results were very unsatisfactory. I posted about them on ministry. Something is (and has been) very messed up with missiles.

I think you may see different results testing small fleets than you'll get when big fleets and mixed fleets fight. There are also unusual effects that arise from wing size, wing count, how spread out wings are, what wings decide to target, etc. I agree that testing is needed, but remember that very small fleet combat may not be representative of combat with larger unit numbers.

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Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:41 am

George, there is something that I ask you to consider.

Right now, a players jumpships can jump to any beacon area that the player controls. You could have two jump beacons on different sides of the galaxy and jump between them.

If that is changed so that you can only jump from beacon area to beacon area, (in other words jumpships can't traverse an area not covered by a beacon, beacon areas must overlap for jumpships to move between them) the game changes in the following ways.

1. Players would be able to set up distant colonies with difficulty, since the transports would have to move with a starship fleet at starship speeds.
2. Player empires would expand mostly by expanding their borders around the capital.
3. Distant colonies would take on an interesting dynamic of being hard to set up and defend. A large player could not take a world in the territory of another player and move all of his forces there. The colony would have to produce its own forces or be supplied by slow starship fleets.
4. Most interestingly, it would create supply chains. If you wanted to move your forces from one side of the galaxy to the other, you would need a chain of jump beacons, and you would have to defend those beacons. If an enemy took a poorly defended beacon in the middle of the chain, then your jumpfleets would have to travel at starship speed across that space to the next beacon, thus delaying them.

I understand of course that this is just an idea, and that most players might want to see how the current changes shake out first.

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