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Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 3:52:20 AM   
PaulWRoberts

 

Posts: 869
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I'm about ready to try this game (game budget pending), and I have some questions I haven't seen answered in the excellent videos and other articles.

1) Is it possible to design several variations of the same basic ship and keep them all in play, or does the game limit you to one state-of-the-art Cruiser model, one Escort, one Destroyer, etc? For example, can you have several different model cruisers, each tailored for specific enemies or regions of your empire?

2) If you have several different models in play, how does the AI decide which to build? (Or do most players micro-manage ship-building?)

3) What is combat actually like? Honestly, some of the videos make it look like fleets just blob together at high speed and then start swirling together until one side is dead. Do ships with different weapons use different tactics? Does a ship ever break off to recharge shields and then return to the fight? Do carriers charge in behind their fighters, or do they hang back and let the fighters do their job? Do fleets retreat when outmatched?

4) Likewise, what are the real differences between different weapon systems? Is there some finesse and strategy involved, or is it usually just the case that more advanced weapons do more damage? Do missile-heavy fleets fight differently from beam-heavy fleets?

5) OK, enough about combat. How do different empires/races/governments differ (besides the usual bonuses to this or that activity)? Do different AI opponents play differently, or do they all follow the same strategy?

6) I like the idea that there's an autonomous public sector at the base of your economy. But is the public sector basically the same for all empires? Will an primitive evil hive-mind race bent on galactic domination still depend on luxury goods and high-end tourist traffic the same way an enlightened United Federation of Planets does?

7) In general, what is the AI's greatest weakness? What is its greatest strength?

Whew! I know that's a lot to ask about. Thanks for any replies.
Post #: 1
RE: Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 4:10:17 AM   
lordxorn


Posts: 768
Joined: 12/6/2009
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts

I'm about ready to try this game (game budget pending), and I have some questions I haven't seen answered in the excellent videos and other articles.

1) Is it possible to design several variations of the same basic ship and keep them all in play, or does the game limit you to one state-of-the-art Cruiser model, one Escort, one Destroyer, etc? For example, can you have several different model cruisers, each tailored for specific enemies or regions of your empire?

Yes you can have an many variations of models, you can choose which ones to make obsolete, hence removing them from build order.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts
2) If you have several different models in play, how does the AI decide which to build? (Or do most players micro-manage ship-building?)

I will only say I micromanage my force levels, then only put escort on AI to protect civilian shipping. I personally control my Combat Fleets then.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts
3) What is combat actually like? Honestly, some of the videos make it look like fleets just blob together at high speed and then start swirling together until one side is dead. Do ships with different weapons use different tactics? Does a ship ever break off to recharge shields and then return to the fight? Do carriers charge in behind their fighters, or do they hang back and let the fighters do their job? Do fleets retreat when outmatched?

You can preset a ship actions when engaged, such as flee at first combat, or when damage a certain percentage. However you are basically right about combat, the AI will attempt to withdraw and re-engage based on automation settings which I am less familiar with since I use NO automation except for escorting.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts
4) Likewise, what are the real differences between different weapon systems? Is there some finesse and strategy involved, or is it usually just the case that more advanced weapons do more damage? Do missile-heavy fleets fight differently from beam-heavy fleets?

It will be the best design ships with the most firepower that generally wins, and this has been an AI weakness in the past where their design could not match mine. Legends is trying to minimize this and introduced a couple new weapons.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts
5) OK, enough about combat. How do different empires/races/governments differ (besides the usual bonuses to this or that activity)? Do different AI opponents play differently, or do they all follow the same strategy?

You can control this via pregame settings, even down to the individual empire. There are several mods that have set contrasting attitudes because Codefore has included decent modding options. So for example my Star Wars mod can have the Empire and Rebel Alliance perpetually at war with each other, except seeing they with a peace treaty.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts
6) I like the idea that there's an autonomous public sector at the base of your economy. But is the public sector basically the same for all empires? Will an primitive evil hive-mind race bent on galactic domination still depend on luxury goods and high-end tourist traffic the same way an enlightened United Federation of Planets does?

Generally yes, while certain races get's different bonus.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts
7) In general, what is the AI's greatest weakness? What is its greatest strength?


The AI greatest weakness. has been the design issue I mentioned earlier, however updates are always being worked, and this is the best time to get involved with all the discounts. If you have the budget to get all three, Distant Worlds, Return of the Shakturi, and Legends, then go for it. Otherwise wait till you enough for all three, because the updates are generally aimed at the last expansion. (Elliot has updated vanilla though, I don't know the current policy.)




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RE: Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 4:13:32 AM   
Gelatinous Cube


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And as for what the AIs biggest strength is, I would have to say the new long-term decision making capabilities introduced in Legends are my favorite. I have been taken complete by surprise by the AI more than once, and I'm really truly dreading my first encounter with the Shakturi in Legends for this exact reason.

(in reply to lordxorn)
Post #: 3
RE: Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 4:47:37 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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From: Vermont, USA
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Hi Paul,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts
1) Is it possible to design several variations of the same basic ship and keep them all in play, or does the game limit you to one state-of-the-art Cruiser model, one Escort, one Destroyer, etc? For example, can you have several different model cruisers, each tailored for specific enemies or regions of your empire?

2) If you have several different models in play, how does the AI decide which to build? (Or do most players micro-manage ship-building?)


Yes, you can have as many designs in play as you want. You can set which are obsolete and which are not. The AI will choose whichever it feels is the best design if you put it in charge of ship building.

quote:


3) What is combat actually like? Honestly, some of the videos make it look like fleets just blob together at high speed and then start swirling together until one side is dead. Do ships with different weapons use different tactics? Does a ship ever break off to recharge shields and then return to the fight? Do carriers charge in behind their fighters, or do they hang back and let the fighters do their job? Do fleets retreat when outmatched?


You can set the tactical behaviors when you design the ship. So you can have ships that charge in all guns blazing and fight to the end, or ships that disengage once shields get low and fire long range weapons from stand-off distance.

quote:

4) Likewise, what are the real differences between different weapon systems? Is there some finesse and strategy involved, or is it usually just the case that more advanced weapons do more damage? Do missile-heavy fleets fight differently from beam-heavy fleets?


Yes to the latter, though some of this also depends on the settings I mentioned above. The different weapon systems (Beam weapons, Area Weapons, Torpedos, Missile Weapons, Starfighters, Rail Guns) all have different trade-offs and their effectiveness often depends on your opponent, your tactics and the situation in terms of the range and mission.

quote:

5) OK, enough about combat. How do different empires/races/governments differ (besides the usual bonuses to this or that activity)? Do different AI opponents play differently, or do they all follow the same strategy?


I hope they play differently, though I'll let others speak to this, but personally I find it a very different experience both playing as and playing against different race/government combinations.

quote:

6) I like the idea that there's an autonomous public sector at the base of your economy. But is the public sector basically the same for all empires? Will an primitive evil hive-mind race bent on galactic domination still depend on luxury goods and high-end tourist traffic the same way an enlightened United Federation of Planets does?


Yes, but not in the same way. The modifiers for each government type and the abilities of the various species (some are better at building civilian ships, some are focused on conquest, etc.) play a large role in determining just how important the private sector really is. The private sector of a thriving Teekan Mercantile Guild faction is going to be a lot different from the private sector of an aggressive Gizurean Hive Mind. They are not intended to be the same and some imagination is required as the private sector mainly defines that which is out of immediate and total state control. This can be because it's true private property or some other arrangement.

Regards,

- Erik

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Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development




For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

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(in reply to PaulWRoberts)
Post #: 4
RE: Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 4:50:05 AM   
feelotraveller


Posts: 1040
Joined: 9/12/2011
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Roberts

I'm about ready to try this game (game budget pending), and I have some questions I haven't seen answered in the excellent videos and other articles.

1) Is it possible to design several variations of the same basic ship and keep them all in play, or does the game limit you to one state-of-the-art Cruiser model, one Escort, one Destroyer, etc? For example, can you have several different model cruisers, each tailored for specific enemies or regions of your empire?

2) If you have several different models in play, how does the AI decide which to build? (Or do most players micro-manage ship-building?)

3) What is combat actually like? Honestly, some of the videos make it look like fleets just blob together at high speed and then start swirling together until one side is dead. Do ships with different weapons use different tactics? Does a ship ever break off to recharge shields and then return to the fight? Do carriers charge in behind their fighters, or do they hang back and let the fighters do their job? Do fleets retreat when outmatched?

4) Likewise, what are the real differences between different weapon systems? Is there some finesse and strategy involved, or is it usually just the case that more advanced weapons do more damage? Do missile-heavy fleets fight differently from beam-heavy fleets?

5) OK, enough about combat. How do different empires/races/governments differ (besides the usual bonuses to this or that activity)? Do different AI opponents play differently, or do they all follow the same strategy?

6) I like the idea that there's an autonomous public sector at the base of your economy. But is the public sector basically the same for all empires? Will an primitive evil hive-mind race bent on galactic domination still depend on luxury goods and high-end tourist traffic the same way an enlightened United Federation of Planets does?

7) In general, what is the AI's greatest we1akness? What is its greatest strength?

Whew! I know that's a lot to ask about. Thanks for any replies.


1) You can have as many variations as you like and keep them all in play.

2) The computer builds the most recent design only. For some funny reason players almost invariably manage their own shipbuilding - but you don't have to.

3) You can preset the behaviour for each of your ship designs within limits. One of the settings allows ships to flee when their shields are reduced beyond a certain point, generally there is not enough time for them to rejoin the fight. Carriers will hang back if you give the right combination of behaviour and weapons. I suspect that this is the default setting for most players. You can retreat your fleets/ships whenever you want. The computer sometimes tries to flee.

4) There is some finesse involved in different weapon types/ship designs/standing orders, but it depends how they are set up. There are improvements in this regard in the latest expansion. Advanced weapons are... advanced.

5) The different races play remarkably differently. Governments make a difference too but more on the +/- level of bonuses. The races really have quite different possibilities/sensibilities. Not to mention that they have different victory conditions, if you want to enble these.

6) Largely yes. Some races are traders and do more of this. Some races largely forgo tourist income. You can mess with their propensities, to a degree, yourself with some of the automation settings.

7) Don't get me started about calling the computer program an AI . I personally think the computers great weakness (other than not being an AI...) is that it sticks to its preset rather mediocre designs for ships and bases. I'm pretty sure this could be modded though. It's greatest strength is that it knows no fear.

Personally I think it is a brilliant game and well worth the investment.

(in reply to PaulWRoberts)
Post #: 5
RE: Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 12:26:33 PM   
PaulWRoberts

 

Posts: 869
Joined: 4/22/2001
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Thanks for the responses, all!  I'm sure I'll be diving in sometime during the Holiday season.  I'm probably not the only one who feels burned by SOTS2.

Recently I've been teaching my eight-year-old the basics of tabletop Federation Commander (the recent successor to Star Fleet Battles), so I'm very much in the mood for fleets, phasers (by any name), and border clashes.

(in reply to feelotraveller)
Post #: 6
RE: Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 12:36:16 PM   
J HG T


Posts: 1093
Joined: 5/14/2010
From: Kiadia Prime
Status: offline
Have to agree about medicore ship/base designs. Especially if you are my type of a guy who likes to design their own state-of-the-art ships and bases. If automated designs would efficiently use the max size cap, and have good amount of fuel tanks and energy available, the AI empires fleets would command much more respect. 

_____________________________

Nothing is impossible, not if you can imagine it!
"And they hurled themselves into the void of space with no fear."

(in reply to PaulWRoberts)
Post #: 7
RE: Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 6:43:34 PM   
Tanaka


Posts: 3029
Joined: 4/8/2003
From: USA
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: J HG T

Have to agree about medicore ship/base designs. Especially if you are my type of a guy who likes to design their own state-of-the-art ships and bases. If automated designs would efficiently use the max size cap, and have good amount of fuel tanks and energy available, the AI empires fleets would command much more respect. 


I was thinking this myself! Seems like it would be an easy way to improve the AI!

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Post #: 8
RE: Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 6:47:38 PM   
Gelatinous Cube


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good thing its in the latest patch then.

(in reply to Tanaka)
Post #: 9
RE: Combat in Distant Worlds (and other questions) - 11/29/2011 7:00:44 PM   
Tanaka


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Joined: 4/8/2003
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Gelatinous Cube

good thing its in the latest patch then.


Just saw that! Awesome!

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Post #: 10
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