AI improvements + combat balance needed! (Full Version)

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Janster -> AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/26/2009 2:57:53 AM)

Okay, having played a game that lasted 250 rounds and still going, I've managed to playing a non unrest race to get an OK economy with some ships, even tho I'm surprised how few ships you can afford to build really.

That said, the combat itself is strange, the AI is a Muppet and missiles for the win while beamlazors sucks on all levels. Also target priorities needs help, I'd prefere if my ships actually shot at other ships in space, and let those silly baboons on the planet be. Planet combat was done best in Moo 2, and all in all its unnecessary aspect in this game aswell, I'd suggest removing it in favor of better space 'terrain'.

Strategic AI, I don't know about you guys, but he's not doing so well, at hard difficulty I was rarely threatened, nor did he seem to have any 'plan' besides buzzing outside my planets with tons of fleets with 1 ships in them.

To date the largest AI attack, consisted of 20-30 assault ships, which didn't help him much.
Also, the AI is spammy, I don't want diplomatic messages from him when he has -nothing- to offer me in trade, just asking for a tech I have while having no counter offer, is a waste of my time.
Luckily for me, the warlike trait gets rid of most of the spam :)

Last few things, if combat is supposed to last several turns, and stuff, then 1 shot missile kills and those missile ships with AOE damage needs to go, or see a nerf, entire fleets vaporize in seconds. Also its hard to maneuver , and asking a ship to 'attack' another, leads often to it doing nothing.

There be more, but thats more nitpicking.

Thank you
Janster





Rosseau -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/26/2009 8:42:58 AM)

Thanks for the post, Janster. I have been enjoying the game, but have not gotten as far as you. I would be a bit surprised--and disappointed--if the AI is generally as bad as you suspect. Especially considering it was designed as a single-player game first and touted as having a good AI. The tons of fleets with one ship in them really bothers me...




Janster -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/26/2009 8:55:55 AM)

The AI does attack, but its not coherent, and not with any fleets of value, it does also defend, but again. That said its really hard to see whats going where here, not sure how the AI deals with that.
At the moment I have to play with warlike xenophobes or else the diplomacy becomes a click fest turning down 2-3-4-5 bad offers / turn.

I've seen many games taunt good AI, I found few who has, even TW:Empire had at launch some of the most suckfest AI despite their budget. Turned out they were using the Rome TW AI still!.

I have a thing on playing things on the hardest settings, but it usually shows early on then whats the deal, I mean, the game does present a 'sandbox' AI now that if you like that sort of stuff, prolly might be fun...thats what they said about Empire TW too, that they wanted sandbox AI's that was not too aggressive...
I usually call that option 'easy' under the difficulty setting...




Janster -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/26/2009 10:36:22 AM)

Ramped it up to expert, finally some action, the AI came at me with pretty huge fleets, not bad battles at all. I'd prefere if missiles wasn't so overpowering though, makes anything else useless atm. Also moving is painful, the guy who stands still gets to fire a lot more.




JudgeDredd -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/26/2009 1:31:48 PM)

quote:

Also, the AI is spammy, I don't want diplomatic messages from him when he has -nothing- to offer me in trade, just asking for a tech I have while having no counter offer, is a waste of my time.

I am watching this game with much interest so I am not trolling. I very much want to hear positive things, and I am in some threads...

But this statement really does hit me. I was concerned on finding out that the developer had ties with Total War and this statement suggests that my fears were not without warrant. This is exactly how I found the total war series performed in diplomacy and reading here saddens me as I am not willing to buy it if it a Total War clone in space.




EisenHammer -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/26/2009 4:50:05 PM)

You have tell them, what would you give me for it. Then they give you a counter offer.




killroyishere -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/26/2009 5:01:32 PM)

quote:

At the moment I have to play with warlike xenophobes or else the diplomacy becomes a click fest turning down 2-3-4-5 bad offers / turn.


Ha ha have you ever tried to play computer Monopoly? You ain't seen nuthing yet.[:'(]




BletchleyGeek -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/26/2009 6:17:04 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Janster
Last few things, if combat is supposed to last several turns, and stuff, then 1 shot missile kills and those missile ships with AOE damage needs to go, or see a nerf, entire fleets vaporize in seconds. Also its hard to maneuver , and asking a ship to 'attack' another, leads often to it doing nothing.


I have been taking a quick look on the XML describing weapon types ( which can be found here: $(Program_Files)/Matrix Games/Armada 2526/XML/WeaponTypes.xml), and pondering over what looks as the average, run-of-the-mill laser a middle size ship might be mounting:

quote:


<BeamWeapon Name="Energy Beam">
<Description>
Energy from the ship's engine is stored then discharged in a brief concentrated burst
</Description>
<Restrictions Arc="0.36" Range="6000" TimeBetweenShots="10"/>
<Hints Value="1"/>
<Sound Fire="Medium Energy Beam"/>
<Beam PulseDuration="2"/>
<Effects Width="6" Start="Pulsed Energy Beam_yellow_Start" Middle="Pulsed Energy Beam_yellow" End="Pulsed Energy Beam_yellow_End" LinePixel="6"/>
<ImpactEffect Name="LaserShield" Size="80"/>
</BeamWeapon>


and the two missile types I have found:

quote:


<ModelProjectileWeapon Name="Tracking Missile">
<Description>TO DO.</Description>
<Restrictions Arc="0.2" Range="8000" TimeBetweenShots="15"/>
<Hints Value="0.04"/>
<Sound Fire="Small Missile Launch" Explode="SmallMissileExplosion"/>
<Projectile Projectile="Tracking Model" Duration="4.2" Velocity="2000" AutoResolveHitChance="1" DetonationRadius="200" ExplosiveRadius="800"/>
<Model File="Art\Effects\Meshes\Missile.X" Texture="Art\Effects\Missile.dds" Scale="0.4"/>
<Details StraightTime="0.5" MinRange="800"/>
</ModelProjectileWeapon>

<ModelProjectileWeapon Name="Long Range Missile">

<Description>
Stand off weapon that targets concentrations of enemy ships across wide areas of the battlefield
</Description>
<Restrictions Arc="-1" Range="24000" TimeBetweenShots="25"/>
<Hints Value="0.04"/>
<Sound Fire="Medium Missile Launch" Explode="LargeMissileExplosion"/>
<Projectile Projectile="Tracking Model" Duration="12" Velocity="2500" AutoResolveHitChance="1" DistributedSearch="true" DetonationRadius="200" ExplosiveRadius="800"/>
<Model File="Art\Effects\Meshes\Missile.X" Texture="Art\Effects\Missile.dds" Scale="0.7"/>
<Details StraightTime="1.5" MinRange="2000"/>
</ModelProjectileWeapon>


The items I have highlighted are the ones which - IMHO - are relevant to the tactical effects of the weapon in question. These are my guesses for the meanings of those items:

Arc - Pretty obvious, looks to me like FOV angle for the weapon in radians (?) and determines whether or not the firing ship will have to turn in order to change its bearing to the target. The "-1" one can see in the Restriction for LRMs looks to me it means that the weapon can be fired on targets on an arbitrary bearing.

Range - Self-describing.

TimeBetweenShots - Self-describing.

Projectile.Duration - My guess is that the number is giving the maximum flight time of the warhead.

Projectile.Velocity - Self-describing.

Projectile.AutoResolveHitChance - Quite clear: looks like one can tweak the chances for the projectile hitting its target when battles are automatically resolved.

Projectile.DistributedSearch - Not quite clear what does it mean. At first I thought that it meant that the warhead, rather than going along a straight line towards the target position, it would home into it - and therefore had to compute the shortest path to it as both the warhead and the target move. However, the other missile type does not seem to need to do any search.

Projectile.DetonationRadius - Obvious.

Projectile.ExplosiveRadius - What's the difference between the "Explosive" and the "Detonation" radius? The amount of damage it does?

Details.StraightTime - Not clear. Perhaps the amount of time the warhead will fly in a straight line before homing on its target.

Details.MinRange - Not clear either. I haven't looked closely enough at battles, but it looks like missiles have a minimal effective range.

If all my guesses above are right, yeah, it looks to me that missiles are significantly overpowered - depending on how one plays. My guess is that the designer was considering beam ships to be fast so they can close into missile minimal range - and therefore rape those bulky, slow, missile ships at leisure. So when fighting missile ships, one wants to have a horde of small, fast, beam ships, flying in an open formation charging into those missile-spewing-wall-of-ships.

However, I feel that both the ROF and the minimal ranges should be tweaked - and those detonation radius look to me to be a bit too wide. AutoResolveHitChance, if it's not affected by tech levels, looks to me as completely unfair. In these files, there seems not to be any mention to the amount of damage inflicted to shields/hull by each weapon platform.

The bottom line: to me it makes sense as long as the combination of LRMs and speed is not allowed by other game mechanics. I can't say anymore since I have barely played the game for half an hour...

Feedback from a dev would be greatly welcomed [:)]




BletchleyGeek -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/26/2009 7:04:14 PM)

Quick post.

I have been checking the Ship Types XML and I can see that Human destroyers both mount missiles and beams, and are fast and nimble. Besides that, weapons there appear accompanied by attribute "Attack". Ships are all listed with a "Defence" value as well.

Seems to me that if the odds of a weapon inflicting damage on a target are based on dividing Attack and Defence values, then those human destroyer missiles are awesome... Dreadnaughts appear with a Defence value of 30...




Rosseau -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 12:27:26 AM)

Good info. With a little experimentation, we can come up with better balanced tactical combat.

And thank you, Janster, for the additional post. Now I know to just play it at "expert" instead of wasting my time at lower levels. With these types of games, you can invest several hours only to find the scenario you are playing is too easy (or hard).




killroyishere -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 12:42:53 AM)

When it gets really bad is when the expert level isn't hard enough or challenging enough. That's when the whole game feels like a waste.




Rosseau -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 1:38:30 AM)

Fortunately, it doesn't take a great AI to beat me. And there is always the option of buffing the computer players before starting a scenario..




Janster -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 5:48:58 AM)

Well the game IS playable out of the box, which is more than I can say about Total War or Space Empires V

Btw, is there anyone else than me who thinks the 'end turn' sound is actually the sound of a scissor? I would prefer it was replaced with something a little more...low key.




Iceman -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 5:17:37 PM)

Ships have 2 attack values (vs ships and vs ground). Their defense rating is how strong their shield is (or something like that, this part of combat isn't clear - shield vs armor). The higher the defense value, the longer the shield can take damage and not collapse. When the shield collapses, the ship gets destroyed easily.




Janster -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 5:20:51 PM)

However, missiles don't seem to need to go through shields, or are they just really powerful?




noxious -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 5:23:54 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Janster

Well the game IS playable out of the box, which is more than I can say about Total War or Space Empires V

Btw, is there anyone else than me who thinks the 'end turn' sound is actually the sound of a scissor? I would prefer it was replaced with something a little more...low key.


http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2302696#

Cheers !




Iceman -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 5:33:31 PM)

In the battle module, they go through shields (graphically speaking), but they're affected by them. They're powerful nonetheless.




killroyishere -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 5:43:57 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Janster

However, missiles don't seem to need to go through shields, or are they just really powerful?


If they are anything like the missles in Renegade Legion then yeah a missle can easily take out a shield and then some armor to boot. You need ECM's for missles does this game have any?




Iceman -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 5:48:31 PM)

Nope, no ECM. No AMS either.




Janster -> RE: AI improvements + combat balance needed! (11/27/2009 5:54:45 PM)

The missile have AOE effect and hit hard, very few ships take more than 1 hit, which makes the battles last very short and brutal, while lazers are on the weak side, sometimes not being able to even kill anything.




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