(Future) Era 4 Development Discussion Thread

General discussion for the game Anacreon
Watch TV, Do Nothing
Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:22 am

Thu May 10, 2018 8:15 pm

--Imperator-- wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 2:55 am
So, following on from the first few posts: what does everyone else think about increasing the halfLife of planetary defenses and jumpmissiles? Also, what about increasing starships' speed - would that be a good idea? What about introducing new units - the warptransports specifically? How about extending it to bringing back fighters, hunterkillers and penetrators?
For ship speeds: I would be curious to see how current players feel, since I have never really been active during the jumpbeacon era. My impression is that starcruisers and starfrigates could stand to be a little faster in the absence of constructions. If constructions are introduced we will want to keep them slow, since there will be other ways to move them around (gates, warp links and fortresses or something comparable.)

For those of you who never played Anacreon Reconstruction 4021:

Warptransports were big, cheap, starship-speed transports. The classic uses for a warptransport - running trade routes and building constructions - do not exist in modern Anacreon. I do not see any merit to introducing a warptransport if it will just get annihilated during invasions the way that jumptransports currently get killed. There would only be merit to them if jumptransports couldn't be joined to warp fleets; if transport and invasion mechanics changed substantially; or if they could carry Partisans and deployable defense units.

Fighters were like weak, slow, cheap, low-tech gunship (gunships weren't in R4021) I don't see a role for them in the current game except possibly as a defense system. Gunships fill their role. Since fighters would form wings instead of rings in the current tactical system, I think they could be an interesting planetary defense. I implemented something like this (a "monitor" defense unit) in my untested Gas Giant expansion. Maybe fighters could be carried around in warptransports to fortify newly-captured worlds.

Penetrators were like gunships that didn't show up on planetary sensors. Until sensors are a little more clearly indicated in the game interface, I don't think having fast low-detectability ships adds much to the game. In modern Anacreon nobody has construction sites to destroy or trade routes to mess with, so there is no obvious cause for stealth- transports aren't stealth, so the only use case for a stealth ship is defeating small unconsolidated fleets at yards, and your first attack will induce the enemy to consolidate. If there were a blockade system, penetrators might make sense for performing that. Or maybe they could carry troops and cargo as well, serving as an all-purpose raiding ship. Penetrators were able to get through mines and were useful as a relatively fast ship that could still operate in a disruptor field, but neither of these mechanics exist in the game right now.

Hunter-Killers were like jumpcruisers (which didn't exist in R4021), but were they almost impossible to detect until they attacked. HKs were commonly used for piracy (attacks by a small fleet were untraceable- you didn't know who attacked you!) and for intercepting transport fleets on trade routes. They also had an advantage in the tactical combat screen: until they attacked they were undetectable so they could first-strike ground defenses or gank transports during invasions. Modern Anacreon doesn't use transports to conduct trade, and has no obvious targets for piracy, so I'm not sure they have a role. They could be advantageous for neutralizing citadels if citadels otherwise autofired against incoming fleets, but citadels don't do this right now. A unit that could get into low orbit without being targeted and then attack ground defenses could potentially be useful. It is bad tactics right now to commit transports during a main attack, but if this changed then they could have a role as transport hunters. HKs would be coding-intensive to implement.

Ultimately I think that there are a lot of unit classes in the game, and it's hard for new players to keep track of them all. It's a good idea to implement more differentiation between units, but maybe this would need to be accompanied by cutting out some high-tech/low-tech variants or by giving the high tech units the special effects instead of having them be across-the-board improvements like they currently are.

For example, replace the Undine with an HK. Replace the Minotaur with a Penetrator. Eliminate the high-tech starship variants. Replace the sucky autocannon constellation with a fighter squadron. Consider having high-tech units be doctrine-specific rather than available to everyone. Something like that.

Wayward Device
Militia Lieutenant
Militia Lieutenant
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Dec 25, 2014 10:42 pm
Location: Earth

Thu May 10, 2018 10:05 pm

I can definitely talk about starship balance. Gunships are in a good place right now, I don't think any changes are needed there. There is a strong argument that Era 3 has been the Age of the Gunship, but I'd say it was more the Age of the Six Way Rock Paper Scissors, with a lot of people (especially me) taking a while to figure out the new meta, especially with beacons. Gunships are a strong attacking force and the ability to move (relatively) speedily without beacons has been a key part of the (much more fun and tactical than previous eras) Era 3 wars but people have still fought long distance jump wars across the galaxy without gunships and jumpcruisers are a solid hard counter to them (cheap too, if you go Adamants).
Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:43 pm
especially starfrigates which do not serve a clear purpose at the moment.
Starfrigates are, in my opinion, a little too fragile now but they are absolutely required if you want to defend anything using starships. Minotaurs are an ok defense if you are also making a ton of them as an offensive force (see the Era 3 Imperium) and their threat value adds some soft defense power too but it will always be a secondary role. For example, with the Imperium's massive Minotaur production they have about 2-3 million Minotaurs defending each exposed cap, and these can be easily used for a counterattack. But a fleet of 2-3 million Adamants would blow throw them with modest losses, and Adamants are cheap. I have a single cluster making them right now that has built a fleet of 5 million in about two weeks and should cap out at about 6 mil in 10 days or so (admittedly, it's pretty much 100% optimized and has the best world density/quality out of any of my clusters but still, that's a lot of good ships ). Anyway, in Era 3 if you want to defend a world against a determined player not afraid of a counterattack who has equivalent industrial capacity your only option is a mix of Gorgos and Megatheres. Megatheres are of course by far the better ship and are ridiculously hard to make, almost on par with Exotroops, with incredible offensive/defensive power. If there was no missile defense in Anacreon there would be no reason to ever build Gorgos. But an Eldritch fleet hard counters such a defense. It takes about ten minutes to do it but it does it. So starfrigates are basically an umbrella against Eldritch attacks that would otherwise hard counter your real Megathere defense. They also help out a little against Minotaur attacks, even though they will get shredded and their damage vs Minotaur armor is very much in the "I'm helping!" category.

With speed, the current 0.2 LY makes it impossible to attack with them in all but the most local wars, and what tiny empire can afford to build up a non-gunship starship fleet? Raising it to 1LY would be reasonable in my opinion without significantly diminishing the role of gunships or ushering in the era of unstoppable Gorgos/Megathere doomstack invasions.

Aside from actual development stuff, can we talk about the idea of a little-internal-to-the-Kronosaur-forums publicity for Era 4? There wasn't a thread in Announcements when Era 3 launched and it's not exactly crowded down here in the depths of Anacreon General Discussion, an incredible two standard mouse wheel scrolls down from the top of the board index. Although mouse scrolling is not currently implemented, I believe this to be roughly 5000 LY in Anacreon terms. An Announcements thread about Era 4 from George with a nice followup post from us lot with some stuff about what this weird game is like to play, links to the guides and a noob questions thread would go a long way to get more people interested. Plus, a fresh map would be the ideal time for a bunch of noobs to get started without huge established empires dominating everything.

Finally, since Era 4 is approaching, Imperator has told me that the Imperium is coming for the Hegemony in 4 weeks time with everything they have. It will be an interesting test of the relative strengths of all in offense/defense doctrines on a large scale. At current estimates, I should have 6 million Gorgos and 3 million Megatheres by then, translating to about 500k Gorgos/250k Megathere on each cap. I wonder how 30 million Minotaurs will handle it. Although I am sorely tempted to flip all my production to Hellions to see what kind of monster fleet I can build. I've run some very rough numbers and I believe that I could be making between 15 and 50 million a day before attrition kicks in.

User avatar
--Imperator--
Militia Lieutenant
Militia Lieutenant
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:35 am

Thu May 10, 2018 11:32 pm

Well, looks like some others agree starships should have increased speed to 1LY. I feared it would have been quite the controversial change, powerful as they are already. I think their ability to form doomstacks is offset somewhat by citadels, which if buffed will present a credible threat to slow moving starship fleets, presuming the defending player logs in once every few days.

How challenging would it be to implement some kind of autofiring mechanism for citadels? Jumpmissile half lives can be increased relatively easily.
Wayward Device wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 10:05 pm
Aside from actual development stuff, can we talk about the idea of a little-internal-to-the-Kronosaur-forums publicity for Era 4?
An excellent idea. Barring those who played the original DOS version back in the day, I don't think many players from Steam or those on Multiverse playing Trans even know about the existence of a second game by Kronosaur, especially not a multiplayer one. I for one, didn't, I only found out about this when it was in Beta 2 while exploring the kronosaur.com website out of curiosity/boredom. After getting my ass handed to me by the Bug King a few times I finally managed to learn the ropes and such. I think new players will definitely be in for a steep learning curve, especially with the lack of a tutorial. Best of luck to them...

Watch TV, Do Nothing
Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:22 am

Fri May 11, 2018 5:33 pm

Does it make sense to increase capital ramjet speed too? Their high speed previously distinguished them from capital starships. Maybe they should be gunship speed, eliminate the Manta's parts requirement, and remove the underwhelming nebular gunships entirely? Nebulas are smaller theatres than clearspace so I'm not sure they're enriched by having high unit diversity.

User avatar
--Imperator--
Militia Lieutenant
Militia Lieutenant
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:35 am

Fri May 11, 2018 11:22 pm

Yes, IMO. Capital ramjets have always been faster than capital starships. Not sure about "gunship speed" exactly, that would make capital ships both fast and powerful, even if they are confined to a nebula. Plus, if the bug/exploit allowing purchasing and using ramjets in clearspace isn't addressed, this could lead to some VERY interesting scenarios. Increasing their speed to 2LY would be an acceptable compromise, I think. Doing away with nebula gunships is also another option.

User avatar
--Imperator--
Militia Lieutenant
Militia Lieutenant
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:35 am

Sat May 12, 2018 8:44 am

As I see it: without considering bugs, the most important balance issues to address at present are:

1. Planetary defenses still aren't good at actually defending planets!

The meager defensive bonus they provide cannot justify dedicating 5-10% labor towards their construction. Even after the Era 3 Rebalancing massively boosted their stats, a single world's PDs won't even make a dent in the massive middle-to-end-game fleets so often seen.

Right now, the Imperium's capital is at 99.7% efficiency and produces 30%/30%/30% HEL/autocannons/hypersonics and 10% imperial guard. That's 90% of a worlds production towards PD ONLY, giving us a grand total at the attrition cap of... 280k HEL cannons, 400k autocannons and 240k hypersonics. Not even enough to defend against the many medium sized players on the map, let alone a similar-strength rival like the Hegemony.

Suggested solution: Triple the halfLife value of all planetary defense units.

The idea of PDs is to dissuade rivals from going after production worlds, at the cost of investing a few % labor in them. We don't want enemies to capture production worlds en masse by splitting their main fleet into many smaller ones. See: The Great War Archives - Windsor & Imperium vs. Auroran Hegemony At the same time, we don't want massively reinforced unconquerable worlds, so PDs should be JUST strong enough to discourage invasion with smaller fleets, but still falter against a determined assault.

2. Low tech units have little to no advantages compared with high tech units.

Any Era 3 player here who built exclusively low tech units and managed to actually win one or more wars? Of course not. The Adamant is an exception: probably the only low tech unit balanced well enough such that players consider whether or not to use it instead of its high tech counterpart.

Note: the key difference here is that Adamants can be built all the way up to TL9, as opposed to being cut off at TL7. So players can trade up the Undine's superior stats for a cheaper Adamant in greater numbers by just lowering their world's TL by 1. The production bonus from higher tech levels is nothing to scoff at, I did an experiment a while back that showed the almost exponential increase in labor output between TL7 to TL10.

Suggested solution(s): Allow ships of all types to be built at all TLs, i.e. don't lock out low tech ships at TL8+. So, if players choose to, they can dedicate their TL10 economy to building TL7 Stingers, ammassing ungodly amounts of them to compete with a similarly sized rival building a smaller but more powerful force of TL9 Eldritches.

Alternatively, simply increase the halfLife of low tech ships similar to the idea of with PDs above. This can be explained as low tech ships requiring less maintenance (i.e. less prone to failure reflected in the reduced attrition rate)

If we consider bugs/exploits as well...

3. Defenders don't prioritise their targets.

This can be observed in action very easily. Deploy Fleet A of one ship type and move it over a world. Deploy Fleet B of a different ship type and send it to the same world. Few seconds before B arrives, attack with A. The defenders will only attack A, completely ignoring B. We can see how this can be exploited by sending a fleet of cheap Helions as A and a fleet of Minotaurs as B. No prizes for guessing which empire does this all the time to great effect.

Without knowledge of how combat is handled in the game's code, I don't have useful suggestions as to how to exactly fix this issue as well.

Watch TV, Do Nothing
Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:22 am

Sat May 12, 2018 3:09 pm

Imperator, you have identified important issues but I am not sure that I fully agree with your conclusions.

For 1. defenses: the example planet you pointed to is building low-tech, high-attrition defenses; the solution should not to make these lower-attrition, but instead to transition to high-tech defenses which have longer halfLifes. These defenses are slower to reach their cap but should in theory have much higher strength caps (if they do not, they definitely should get longer halfLifes so that they do). If high-tech defenses are ineffective, that is a separate issue which should be addressed rather than increasing halfLife across the board.

One problem is that the game interface does not do a good job of communicating attrition to the player, so it's hard to weigh the potential apex strength of different defenses. Next to where the player assigns labor to a structure, the interface should show the theoretical strength of that structure's units near the attrition cap (where unit attrition = unit production) for the planet at its current TL and labor allocation assuming max population & 100% efficiency. I don't think this is a super complex calculation, but it involves calculus so players can't readily intuit it themselves. The game currently does a good job communicating when a structure will be completed; it should provide a similar service for what strength planetary defenses will max out at.

Another issue with the capital example is that you are splitting production between 4 different structures, with corresponding production penalties. The penalty for a 30-30-30-10 split is very high (if the capital is a hostile world then it's even worse, something like a 29-29-29-10-3 split which is a really serious total WU reduction.) This is another core mechanic that the game doesn't communicate well. It would be good if the game interface lumped WU reduction in with efficiency or had SOME way to communicate WU reduction from labor splits to the player.

With regards to 2. low-tech/high-tech units:

If you increase low tech units halfLife, it is not clear to me on what basis players would choose whether to build low or high tech units unless you add some additional capability to the high-tech units that gives them a tactical or strategic use that the low-tech unit lacks.

In my opinion, low-cost/low-tech/high attrition unit and a high-cost/high-tech/low-attrition unit should be differentiated by the fact that a planet building a fleet of a low cost, low tech, high attrition unit approaches the attrition cap (where attrition matches production) much faster than the same planet building the high cost, high tech, low attrition unit, but the strength of the fleet of the high tech unit is also higher once it starts approaching its cap. Starting from zero: if an empire is building low tech units it should get a medium size medium strength fleet relatively quickly. If the same empire is building high tech units, it should take longer to get a fleet of the same strength as that built by the low-tech civ, but because of reduced attrition of high tech units, this empire will eventually have a large and high strength fleet for the same ongoing WU expenditure. At the strategic level this means that empires primarily building low tech ships will have reduced intervals between when they can wage war because their fleets rebuild faster, whereas empires with the same net WU output that are primarily building high tech ships will get stronger fleets will need longer to reconstruct those fleets between wars.

If low tech and high tech variants are preserved as a game mechanic, I think that this distinction needs to be retained and even exaggerated (make low tech units even cheaper and with even higher attrition so that they build up faster but also approach the attrition cap faster). This gives players a choice: do you need to build up fast now, or build up a lot over time? It's also worth considering that Anacreon: R4021 did not have low- and high-tech units and this did not really harm the game. All units were mechanically distinctive and higher-tech units had more interesting abilities, like stealth, mine clearing, etc.

You are right that 3. target prioritization is not good right now. Right now a wing seems to select a target at the time that it enters combat and again when its target is destroyed. One solution would be to have wings perform target selection every couple seconds, if this is not too computationally intensive; this would also solve the opportunity fire issue. There are a few cases where combat can go on for days (e.g. small stinger wing vs small victory wing), so these would need to be addressed or a lot of computational cycles will get wasted. A simpler option would be to have ALL wings perform target check every time a new fleet enters the system (right now only arriving wings perform the check, it appears that wings that are already at the planet do not). I think that a check should also be performed when the target wing gets very weak; during battles, lot of wings waste time mopping up survivors from decimated wings instead of attacking strong threatening ones. If decimated wings went into high orbit and consolidated with one another every so often this would not be an issue; the attacker would just continue to attach the merged wing, and the merged wing would pick an appropriate target and reenter the battle. Reducing total wing count through merger would probably also make battles easier to follow on the visualizer, which is important because the visualizer can't accommodate a lot of wings for manual targeting right now.

One more issue that would be nice to have would be icons for units and structures, even if they are just simple placeholders. There are spaces for them in the interface and their absence makes the interface harder to use.

TheBugKing
Militia Lieutenant
Militia Lieutenant
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:38 pm
Location: Somewhere between U and V

Sun May 13, 2018 2:46 am

Gosh, there is so much to discuss. Not just with issues and mechanics, but also just how the player interacts with the game.

I'll try to make my post as coherent as possible, but I doubt that it will last long.
The game itself is intuitive, once you build an intuition for it. I think the major disadvantage to the new player is they must contend with the older, larger empires with their experienced player kicking butt all of the galaxy. That is daunting. I remember very well when I first joined and saw the galaxy spanning empires. But I also think it serves really well to inspire. I don't think that there should be a separate galaxy for newbies, there is a nice "welcome to the galaxy" when you join and see an empire One Million times your size. I do however think that there should be an inability for them to interact. Not a penalty but simply an inability for them to attack each other. The switch to a penalty could be made at a certain percentage, I think right now the penalty is disabled around 45 - 60% of the other empire's strength. An inability to attack, for either empire, below something like 25% sounds ideal to me.

The planetary defenses seem right to me for the moment. Making them stronger creates a problem for the very new player, especially when the worlds surrounding them are the old defended worlds of large empires with left over armories. For a small empire protecting itself from other like sized empires, the defenses work, mainly because neither empire can produce a lot of defenses or a lot of forces to attack with. A medium sized empire can produce a lot of defense, so the defenses protect the world from other like empires and eliminate attacks from small empires because it is still economically feasible to create defenses on every single world.
Large empires have a change in regime though. They produce the most units to fight with, now you have so many forces that you can use them to defend the planets instead of having planetary defenses. For a large empire it is more feasible to have as high production efficiency as possible, but this also makes you vulnerable to attack from even small empires. The reason being is that 100% efficiency is 0% Planetary defenses. However, even though the small empire can attack you, he eliminates the attack penalty and essentially opts for oblivion. Hegemony as Exhibit A, no matter how many worlds you take, a smaller than like sized empire simply cannot take it on and kill it by taking those planets. They absorb the hit, take the worlds back, and then kill you for your efforts. All in all what I'm saying for PD is that they are fine. Making them strong enough to defend against an endgame attack is senseless, that is what your military is for.

Also, for Imperium, you are not using the max Hypersonics with max Plasma with max Battle Stations. Perhaps this is more of the defense a tech 10 world is supposed to be striving for that George had in mind and why you are not getting the results you want. However, I believe that max plasma and max BS would be very difficult to achieve, but not impossible. Much like the Megathere and Exo-troops, difficult, but very very worthwhile.

I can't really say anything at all about the old style space forces and constructions since I have no idea about the DOS Anacreon. They all sound very confusing though and I don't see how they make the game better in anyway at all, but this may be due to only my ignorance of them.

I agree that Star Ships would benefit from being a smidgen faster.

I agree jumpmissiles should have auto-fire. Transports that have jumpmissiles makes me drool. I don't think they would be too useful though.

I agree with a mechanic that shows the WU, because frankly I have no idea how you guys even know about those. They make sense, but no idea about them and I cannot see anything in the game that would lead me to the conclusion that there is such a thing. Except for there being the visible struggle to create different things. Maybe something like the percent efficiency that we have now would be useful.

I agree that targeting in battles needs to be improved, like we have said for some time. Also, maybe interface for fleets would succeed by the addition of being scroll-able. Even an arrow to cycle through them would be amazing.

I can't say anything about the mechanics of the idea of destroyed fleets coalescing at a high orbit into larger fleets and then rejoining the battle, that seems like it would look really cool. The only issue with that that I can foresee would be that it would end your ability to have small manual fleets in battle, the mechanics would take over and force them to coalesce. A solution may be to CLICK ON THE ORBITING FLEET and have the selected fleets merge OR have those fleets merge automatically when they are ordered to the farthest flight distance. If they make it there without getting destroyed then they merge.

I want the ability to click and drag to select fleets/worlds/trade routes. Then mass manipulate whatever you want. EX. All these be renamed, all these go here, all these import from that. Only this thing, and this thing over here, and this one right there do this specific thing. That would simplify things...

...The issue with fleets and equalizing the low tech empires and high tech empires...
It seems that everyone wants the low tech to equal the power of the high tech, why? Low techies need something to aspire to, while being able to fight amongst themselves so only the worthy join our grand ranks. The larger empires have no business fighting the low tech small empires. They should be a separate as possible while existing side by side. That being said, if a player decides to be large and have a low tech empire or small and have a high tech empire, there should be changes associated with that. It is elegant and subtle the way the mechanics for Planetary Defenses change for the large empire vs the small empire, the techs should change in this way. PD importance is inverse to the ability of creating a powerful military. Tech should be this way I think, but more exaggerated. Maybe I am merely misunderstanding and you all are saying exactly what I am saying. The low tech should be good at mass production, and bad at creating good things: High Production, High Attrition, proportional to the size of the empire. High tech should be strong, and good at making things that last: Medium Production, Low Attrition, inverse to the size of the empire.

It seems reasonable to me that if game mechanics worked as such things would be more reasonable.
For a low tech empire to have a lot of worlds, and a lot of forces, your stuff will fall apart rapidly, but you have a lot of slave work available, so high WU. For a high tech empire to have a lot of worlds, would be cost prohibitive, people like to be free, people hate working, so you make really good reliable stuff, at a decent pace, but the larger your empire is the lower the WU because free people don't want to be in an empire. Ok so the story mode excuse for it is lame, but in reality it would regulate empire size/strength. You would not be able to have a 1500 world empire at Tech 10 that is on the verge of conquering the galaxy if only he had the time. Instead we would have massive empires at low tech smashing wave after wave of forces against super strong empires that are able to fight and take out each other and other empires, but unable to expand without greatly affecting their ability to create such an intimidating force. Meanwhile, the low tech empires need to have large empires to have the ability to defend themselves against these smaller, stronger, and older empires. This would also seriously require an ABANDON BUTTON for the large empire to shed worlds as it grows in size. The counter to this would be, as the empire gains tech levels the worlds on the fringes approach max rebellion.
Essentially, if you are a tech 10 and above a certain world limit worlds on the fringes of your empire would be in constant rebellion. Tech 9 would have worlds that are hovering between rebellion and not. Tech 8 would have fringe worlds unhappy always. Tech 7 would just be content to take over the galaxy if it could just conquer the Imperium.


I am really beginning to think that a lot of this game is just how you think about it. We can make it as complicated as possible or not without changing a thing. I don't deal with spreadsheets and counting actions yadda yadda, I play the game, I learn stuff, sure I suck at Hubs, but whatever, I've tricks up sleave to over come that and I don't ask George to make it more simple. So, the more stuff we cram into this section, the less he will do, but if we really focus on some very simple, game changing things, he will do those and we will all be happy about it. I am not saying what I proposed is simple, only stating my ideas. I really hope all of those made sense. If I should clarify let me know and I will make a bunch of edits.
Fire, Fire, Fire;
Streaks of golden light,
Rays of cosmic waves crashing through still dead night.

User avatar
Finnian
Militia Lieutenant
Militia Lieutenant
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:09 pm

Sun May 13, 2018 3:17 pm

Another Idea:

What about an option like "Assign work" to a fleet?

It can be some simple cyclic duty like "Go to planet X - Transfer Hexacarbide - Go to planet Z - Transfer Hexacarbide" AND REPEAT THE SEQUENCE AGAIN AND AGAIN

Is it possible?
IN GEORGE WE TRUST

User avatar
Finnian
Militia Lieutenant
Militia Lieutenant
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:09 pm

Mon May 14, 2018 9:48 am

Moreover we ABSOLUTELY need a button to donate resources from a planet to a trade hub of the same empire
IN GEORGE WE TRUST

Watch TV, Do Nothing
Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:22 am

Mon May 14, 2018 4:37 pm

Finnian wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 3:17 pm
Another Idea:

What about an option like "Assign work" to a fleet?

It can be some simple cyclic duty like "Go to planet X - Transfer Hexacarbide - Go to planet Z - Transfer Hexacarbide" AND REPEAT THE SEQUENCE AGAIN AND AGAIN

Is it possible?
I support extended fleet orders. There should probably be a limit on how many fleets can be operating with repetitive orders, because it would be really easy for players to overload the server by having a zillion explorer fleets moving around on autopilot all the time. Allow players to give all fleets one additional order to perform on arrival (e.g., invade), and maybe one chained order (a set of orders of arbitrary length for a single fleet, with an option to repeat) per sector capital up to a maximum of three or four chained orders active per player at any given time.

This is what I proposed:
When a player gives a fleet a movement order, the player should be able to assign it an additional order to perform when it arrives at the destination. Allowable orders would be:
  • attack planet
  • invade planet
  • transfer fleet to owned planet
  • transfer all cargo to owned planet
  • transfer maximum allowable [resource] or [unit] from owned planet
  • sell all cargo to Mesophon
  • sell fleet to Mesophon
  • continue on to a different planet
All fleet orders other than "continue on to a different planet" should be cancelled automatically if the target planet's sovereign changes while the fleet is en route.

It should be possible to change or cancel orders when a fleet is en route and fleets should be dispatched without orders by default. It should also be possible to order fleets to depart at a specific time, rather than immediately. Fleet orders should not be visible to other players, unless they are in a game type with explicit, non-betrayable alliances.

Fleet orders will be especially useful for fleets moving at gunship or capital starship speed. Ship types that take a long time to travel are liable to arrive at their target when the player is AFK and then loiter in orbit, giving an enemy extra time to respond.

In classic Anacreon, starships had initiative while jumpships were exposed for a turn after arrival before they could attack. In the current iteration this dynamic is effectively reversed. Fleet orders would restore some level of balance.

It should not be possible to order fleets to attack a specific other fleet on arrival- I can easily foresee this causing all kinds of bugs. They could maybe be ordered to "attack any hostile fleet" if war/peace conditions were made more explicit.

For extra credit, it could be possible to give fleets a chain of orders to perform in sequence. This could lead to interesting or obnoxious outcomes, e.g. a player could build a big, slow attack fleet and order it to gradually conquer and garrison a series of independent or enemy worlds.

It could be possible to set orders to repeat, allowing empires to duplicate R:4021-style trade routes by ordering a transport fleet to repeat moving a bunch of resources to a world that is too distant to be part of the trade network, or to automate repeat sales to Mesophon.

Repeat orders would be a solution to the reinforcement/fleet and infantry consolidation problem.
For chained orders, there should also be a "wait [X watches]" order.

Examples of how chained orders could enhance the game right now include:
  • repetitive: transport fleet that sells resources to Mesophon
  • repetitive: transport fleet that garrisons planets with infantry from an academy (if a better option for infantry transfer isn't introduced- this has been discussed by George)
  • repetitive: military convoy that travels from yards to yards picking up gunships, then travels to a sector capital and transfers them all down
  • repetitive: explorer fleet moves in a big loop around the border of the empire, constantly fogbusting in order to detect incoming starship fleets
  • single chain: military task force travels to each of a list of 10 independent worlds, performing invasions at each target planet
Attrition will eventually destroy any fleet operating on chained orders if the chain dooesn't include transfering units from a yard into it, and chained orders should halt if any planet in the chain switches sovereigns. This will prevent the galaxy from becoming infested with abandoned empires' robo-fleets.
Last edited by Watch TV, Do Nothing on Sat May 19, 2018 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
--Imperator--
Militia Lieutenant
Militia Lieutenant
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:35 am

Wed May 16, 2018 2:44 am

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 3:09 pm
If high-tech defenses are ineffective, that is a separate issue which should be addressed rather than increasing halfLife across the board.
High tech defenses are indeed ineffective: despite their longer half-lives they are much more expensive to build, still resulting in lower numbers overall. A marginal increase in strength over a full low tech defense, while consuming more labor and resources. And if they are buffed, there will be no incentive to build LT defenses at all. Perhaps LT defenses could be made cheaper while retaining their half-life, and HT defenses' half-life increased slightly. This is in line with your suggestion that:
low-tech = low cost, high attrition, quick to build up & high-tech = high cost, low attrition, slow to build up.
Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 3:09 pm
Another issue with the capital example is that you are splitting production between 4 different structures, with corresponding production penalties.
I had no idea that splitting production reduces total work units output. Why is this the case, and how significant is the penalty? I have autofacs building 50% Eldritch and 50% Undines, so it would be better to dedicate all worlds to producing 100% of a single unit as opposed to splitting their labor between different outputs? That also means hostile worlds must be less productive overall than non-hostile as they have to split 5% production on the life support system, correct?
TheBugKing wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 2:46 am
It seems that everyone wants the low tech to equal the power of the high tech, why? Low techies need something to aspire to, while being able to fight amongst themselves so only the worthy join our grand ranks. The larger empires have no business fighting the low tech small empires. They should be a separate as possible while existing side by side.
Not so much "equal", but rather provide an incentive for the use of low tech. Otherwise half the units in the game become irrelevant/obsolete later on and function only as temporary placeholders for weaker empires to use in the early game before securing chronimium to build high tech units. Stingers, for example, are useful in the opening stage to secure worlds with missile defenses. After advancing to TL9 the Eldritch is better in every respect, even production. A fully supplied TL9/10 jumpyard produces many more Eldritches per watch than a similar TL7/8 Stinger jumpyard.
Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:15 pm
For example, replace the Undine with an HK. Replace the Minotaur with a Penetrator. Eliminate the high-tech starship variants. Replace the sucky autocannon constellation with a fighter squadron. Consider having high-tech units be doctrine-specific rather than available to everyone. Something like that.
This is something I could get behind. It solves the problem of not having an incentive to build low tech while also bringing in units and special mechanics from R4021. I think (re)introducing more units isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I do agree there may be too many units in the game right now, so if we want to have these special units they should act as replacements of existing high-tech units rather than being completely separate. The only point of contention is how difficult it would be to implement something like a HK that doesn't inform the victim about who attacked them.

I don't agree warptransports are completely useless. They could be a high-tech counterpart to jumptransports with higher capacity and armor (or even with missile defense?), if we're hesitant to introduce excessive types of units. As they have the same cost but a higher carrying capacity and better durability, JTs don't make them totally redundant. If an empire is moving with a slow gunship fleet they would prefer to use WTs to carry more stuff as opposed to JTs whose fast speeds will be wasted. It's essentially a trade off between speed and capacity/defense. Cost is the same.

Make defenses and jumpmissiles able to be moved off-world, but with a mass of say 100KT, such that it would be impractical to move them with a fleet of JTs alone at 20KT capacity each (5 transports per unit defense/per jumpmissile). WTs could have 10x the capacity of JTs (200KT from 20KT), thus allowing both mobility for formerly static defenses while presenting a choice between 2 different unit doctrines. If/when constructions are introduced I'm sure WTs will have a more involved role anyway.

Fighters could be implemented as a defense system, yes indeed. A very cheap unit with speed = 0 (cannot move off-world), high delta-V and low armor, built at some kind of defense structure (starbase/fighter hangar?)

Penetrators could replace high-tech jumpcruisers, essentially retaining the stats of the Undine but with reduced visibility. Tactically, they can be used to clear out citadels or first-strike heavily defended worlds, and transports can be brought in later in a separate fleet.

Hunterkillers could replace high-tech jumpships. Upon further thought, they would indeed be tricky to implement so I'm inclined to agree on leaving them out of the Era 4 update for now.

@WTV Regarding citadels and jumpmissiles, what do you propose would be a good solution to balance them such that they become a viable defensive feature? Is increasing jumpmissile half-life and citadel range a good idea?

Watch TV, Do Nothing
Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:22 am

Wed May 16, 2018 12:50 pm

--Imperator-- wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 2:44 am
I had no idea that splitting production reduces total work units output. Why is this the case, and how significant is the penalty? I have autofacs building 50% Eldritch and 50% Undines, so it would be better to dedicate all worlds to producing 100% of a single unit as opposed to splitting their labor between different outputs?
No, there is no penalty for units built at the same structure like Eldritches and Undines. It is only for splitting labor between structures.
That also means hostile worlds must be less productive overall than non-hostile as they have to split 5% production on the life support system, correct?
Yes, they are doubly penalized: once by having to produce life support resources which are not directly productive, and again by the reduced total WU output from splitting labor. I don't thing that the total WU reduction for a 95-5 split is as significant is it would be for e.g. a 50-50 split. This could be tested if you have a totally supported world with no life support, you could split labor between different planetary defense structures and check what total WU output is after a couple of minutes.
Not so much "equal", but rather provide an incentive for the use of low tech. Otherwise half the units in the game become irrelevant/obsolete later on and function only as temporary placeholders for weaker empires to use in the early game before securing chronimium to build high tech units. Stingers, for example, are useful in the opening stage to secure worlds with missile defenses. After advancing to TL9 the Eldritch is better in every respect, even production. A fully supplied TL9/10 jumpyard produces many more Eldritches per watch than a similar TL7/8 Stinger jumpyard.
This is important because the game is persistent, so any mechanic that stops being useful after a while is pretty much wasted. I feel similarly about exploration to reveal the map: once you can see everything the mechanic goes away...
@WTV Regarding citadels and jumpmissiles, what do you propose would be a good solution to balance them such that they become a viable defensive feature? Is increasing jumpmissile half-life and citadel range a good idea?
I'd have to think about it.

One issue with increasing citadel range is that the bigger the range, the more citadels are "covering" the same planets, so you might get massive volleys against any attack that deplete jumpmissile stock across the empire (does one citadel auto-fire on invasion, or is it all citadels in range?) Citadels can be easily baited with jumpships to deplete their entire stocks, but jumpships are range-restricted by default so they can't bait citadels that are deeper inside an empire. Longer range would allow hostile players to hollow out citadel coverage in a big empire without having good jumpbeacon coverage of it. If citadels auto-attacked fleets in transit to worlds (negating missile protection), this would be less of a concern.

Off the top of my head:
  • if citadels got an option to automatically attack fleets in transit rather than on invasion they would achieve a lot more kills.
  • If we want jumpmissiles to be starcruiser busters to deal with faster starcruisers, what we would want to do would be to make the individual submunitions much stronger. If we want them to be a counter to gunships, the best thing to do would be to increase the number of submunitions.
  • T&E sector capitals could get the citadel complex structure instead of the militia base.
  • If citadels could build a stronger infantry unit people might actually use them to build infantry. my suggestion was:

    Code: Select all

    ResourceType core.tankDestroyer
    	{
    	category: groundUnit
    	name: "tank destroyer mech"
    	attackValue: {???} // i don't know what the equation is for this
    	mass: 100.0
    	halfLife: 8.0
    	elementCount: 1000 // make this 5000 like other units if it affects combat mechanically
    
    	attack: { name:"guided missile" damage:20 type:missile range:0.0 area:0.1 }
    	defense: { armor:80 minArea:10.0 }
    
    	production: {
    		workUnits: 1000.0
    		inputs: (
    			{ type:core.lightMissileLauncher amount:1.0 }
    			{ type:core.hexacarbide amount:10.0}
    			)
    		minTechLevel: 7
    		}
    }
    
    Trait core.citadelComplex {
    	name: "citadel complex"
    	category: industry
    	role: citadelIndustry
    
    	production: (
    		core.infantry
    		core.tankDestroyer
    		core.jumpmissilePartisan
    		)
    
    	defaultAlloc: { alloc:max }
    	designationOnly: true
    	workingConditions: 7
    }
    
    
    I have no idea if missile attacks work for ground units, but basic infantry have missile protection by default. Probably it needs to be balanced but the basic idea behind the tank destroyer mech is that it is an effective counter to armored infantry and exotroops but vulnerable to basic infantry. If missile protection does work for ground units, then having citadels build this would make ground combat a little more varied and interesting. It should be too massive to be a viable attack unit, so it is primarily for planetary defense. Optionally it could get the isCargo: false flag if we want to keep it on citadels; it might be too strong to be a general-purpose defender. It uses the light missile launcher component, which the citadel is already able to import if it is building jumpmissiles.

Watch TV, Do Nothing
Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:22 am

Thu May 17, 2018 9:42 pm

The biggest issues that I have with Anacreon right now are:
  • The game can feel completely futile. Empires rise, fall and vanish completely without leaving a trace. Other games use things like leaderboards, timed games and achievements to counteract this.
  • The game can be a time-sink. Worse, it appears to reward being a time-sink. Mature empires are basically unstoppable. Active players have huge tactical and strategic advantages when attacking or defending against AFK players. Once you get huge, a war can involve issuing hundreds of individual fleet movement orders. You can get comprehensive scanner coverage essentially free if you're willing to send hundreds of tiny explorer fleets around the map. At least some of this can be addressed by adjusting sector capital redesignation and tweaking jumpbeacons. Rally points and fleet orders could also help, although they do add a layer of complexity. There may need to be a cap on fleet counts.
  • The game is hard to learn. Core mechanics are opaque, while the interface bombards the player with large but not-always-very-informative numbers. This is an area where the community can help: for example, I have been working to convert my guides into a less wordy and easier-to-use wiki. I want to completely retire my guides and instead be able to refer new players to the wiki. The wiki is actually getting pretty well populated, although it is still missing some core content. When Project Glacier arrives I will have to move this content to the new format, but that's fine. Other players have created some excellent guides lately.
As an aside, I think Anacreon could actually make a great playground for bot development if it does not have a future as a game. It could be more fun to create and tweak bots that play the game against one another than it currently is to manually play the game.

Watch TV, Do Nothing
Militia Captain
Militia Captain
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:22 am

Mon May 21, 2018 8:50 pm

I have revised my personal master list for Era 3.9 and made it easier to read. Let me know if there are any bugs that I overlooked.

Post Reply