Missiles in the games

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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:45 pm

N810 wrote:Having a separate guidance computer would be a good solution for limiting the number of Guided Missiles,
but it might be fun to also have the option to launch tons of unguided rockets for salvo firing.
They shouldn't take up much more CPU than standard projectiles.

Also it might be fun experimenting with different combos of Fire control computers and missiles.
Perhaps the ones that restrict you to less missiles lock on better while the ones that let you fire lots are barely guided.


That sounds fun, yeah :D

Question is how much less processing unguided rockets need.
They still need proper collision meshes, physics more involved than bullets, more AI checks because they can be shot down and so on.

i sure hope that we dont need to limit missile spam for technical reasons, though.
Way more fun that way :D

Re, flat:
I just made a couple of arguments in light of silvers "we dont need balance" statement.
It wasnt intended to limit it to any particular kind (strategic/tactical).
The tactical case with the x games was just easier to use
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Silverware » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:19 pm

If missiles are that overpowered that their use becomes foregone, then other weapons are no longer worth the effort are they Corn?
Which immediately fails the only condition I would put upon the system, that all things have their uses and ARE used.

That's not to say a Meta wont form, they always do.


Now this isn't always a problem, remember Point Defenses exist.
If your enemies always use missiles, why not invest in PD?
It prevents their weapons from being effective, and yours will be effective after that.
Eventually the enemy will change tactics to something more workable.


LT is going to be quite the large beast, with a lot of factors, variables, and flexibility, if what we have been told is anywhere close to the truth.
If they AI is truly capable of adapting, and the science allows us to evolve systems to be better in any direction we need, then balance is going to be fairly dynamic. And what might be overpowered for a few days in game, will quickly shift as others start focusing on the countermeasures, or different techs.

So long as each system is interesting, and has it's own strengths and weaknesses, then the dynamic balance should take care of it.
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:23 pm

And what you describe there is a system with wonderful dynamic balance, and not the "we dont need balance" you spouted earlier :P
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Silverware » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:25 pm

Cornflakes_91 wrote:And what you describe there is a system with wonderful dynamic balance, and not the "we dont need balance" you spouted earlier :P

/me shrugs.
And I haven't had a coffee yet, so fish you.
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:28 pm

Well, you seem to talk more stupidity with coffee, so maybe you should leave it out :P
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Silverware » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:44 pm

Cornflakes_91 wrote:Well, you seem to talk more stupidity with coffee, so maybe you should leave it out :P

I've also had more sleep since then. :V
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Flatfingers » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:23 pm

As long as it's understood that some clever human has to design, code, and test this wonderful "dynamic balance" feature, then yes. :D

Addendum 1: "Tactics" is certainly more than just "how many different systems can I stuff into each of my ships?" It's also about the local "terrain" of space, as well as how a ship's systems are used to turn terrain to your advantage and your opponent's disadvantage. I was just focused for the moment on thinking out loud about the simplest form of tactical balance.

Addendum 2: I'm only talking about tactical and strategic balance in computer games. I don't consider myself qualified to opine with any authority on real-world military tactics; the only bullets that have ever whistled past me were from the time when my neighbor's berm wasn't as impervious to live rounds as he thought.

And yet... there is this question again: once I've obtained a new weapon that's better than anything I currently have, what's to stop me from mounting the new weapon, and only the new weapon, on every single ship I have?

Even if I have to make physical instances of a module for the new weapon based on a blueprint, why wouldn't I do that, even if it means that every ship I control is basically identical except for hull size and number of weapons mounted?

Would anyone else find that boring?

But if there are reasons why players won't choose to min/max their way to cookie-cutter fleets, what are those reasons?

In other words, what in-game costs or benefits would induce many players to tend to build either 1) individual ships that are each highly adaptable because they carry lots of different systems, or 2) different kinds of ship classes optimized for particular tactical capabilities that operate together in a fleet?
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Gazz » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:40 am

Flatfingers wrote:Arbitrary limit is arbitrary.
I need my missile spam. Give me carriers that launch missile launcher ships that launch missiles that shoot MIRV-like missiles!
For the relatively very short span of time of such a battle, I'd imagine LOD AI could be disabled to free up those processor cycles.
Two such ships going at each other like this could be pretty epic.

In games, "mass quantities of anything" are terribly hard to balance.

X3 is a pretty good example there because the M7M broke the game in exactly this way... plus the devs shooting themselves in the foot with an old "cool" feature. =)

  • The old "cool" feature is that swarm missiles rotate around a common center, breaking the lead computation - which otherwise works reasonably well.
    Any quantity of swarm missiles has no counter which is a serious balancing failure.

  • Not using swarm missiles, the only limiting factor for an M7M is credits.
    At the later game stages credits are a practically infinite resource.
    That problem is equally big because you cannot counter infinity.

    In principle one would expect that production times factor into that but since in that game there are no serious AI threats actually coming after your infrastructure, the only "real" use of M7M is by the player, offensively.

  • What if the AI were to use "real" M7M against the player? Jump into a system, unload 200 cap ship missiles, wait for the factory complex (that took realtime days to build) to turn to dust. Fun gameplay, right?

  • Part of the problem is that vanilla turret scripts are - to put it mildly - inept at missile defense.
    To some degree that can be fixed (only one example) but it doesn't change that the defense is limited in how far it scales up while missile spam is not.
    You can always use multiple ships to spam missiles. Having ships combine their missile defense is much harder to do.

    The MARS script with all the bells and whistles kinda breaks M7M... or itself... or the game.
    While it makes missile defense work rather efficient, M7M then don't have the cargo space to fire enough missiles to make a dent equivalent to the (hah!) ammo cost in credits.
    Combining multiple M7M for the missile spam lags the game with hundreds or thousands of missiles. That hurts defense far more than offense because a lot more calculations are required to intercept a missile. If the game does not have enough CPU cycles to do that, scripts are slower/dumber, eventually freezing them.
This is all going in circles. =P
...and it usually comes down to 2 things.
1. [anything] spam is bad design when it noticeably decreases game performance so much that it breaks the game itself or the features designed to counter the (now spammed) feature.
2. Defense is harder than offense. A rather high level design problem. How turtle-ish do you want your space game to be? Can "locations" be defended at all? How do your civilisations "work" if anything can be destroyed with comparably trivial effort?
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby BFett » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:54 am

Flatfingers wrote:

In other words, what in-game costs or benefits would induce many players to tend to build either :

1) individual ships that are each highly adaptable because they carry lots of different systems,

or 2) different kinds of ship classes optimized for particular tactical capabilities that operate together in a fleet?


I'll take a shot at 2. Mech warrior suffered from this problem in all iterations but MW Online. What MWO did differently was it restricted weapon placement by type and location, along with weight restrictions where all equipped items could not exceed the mech's weight (50 ton mech=50 tons of stuff.).

I'll post a link to the online mech lab if it helps.

Here's an example of a 75 ton mech called the Orion.
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:39 am

Flatfingers wrote:And yet... there is this question again: once I've obtained a new weapon that's better than anything I currently have, what's to stop me from mounting the new weapon, and only the new weapon, on every single ship I have?

Even if I have to make physical instances of a module for the new weapon based on a blueprint, why wouldn't I do that, even if it means that every ship I control is basically identical except for hull size and number of weapons mounted?


well, if you want to exclusively mount fighter cannons into a battleship you are welcome to do so :ghost:

to elaborate: in first iteration simple size considerations.

with a voluminetric size spread between millions and billions mounting a fighter sized cannon on a supercapital just wont make much sense.
why mount a size 1 cannon when the size 10000 is a light cannon for your ship?
and the inverse for a cannon that is larger than your whole ship is.

also, resource requirements.
a projectile weapon isnt much use to your fleet which was built with large reactors and negligible cargo holds to utilise energy weaponry.

inverse is true for a fleet which was designed with projectile weapons in mind.


hardpoint restrictions themself could also hinder you.
with hardpoints being limited to energy/projectile weaponry and you simply being unable to accomodate your new uber weapon.

and of course (depending on what josh does exactly) the usual balance point limits (powergrid, computing power, blah)
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby BFett » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:36 am

Flatfingers wrote:And yet... there is this question again: once I've obtained a new weapon that's better than anything I currently have, what's to stop me from mounting the new weapon, and only the new weapon, on every single ship I have?


Hardpoint types (only so many missile systems can be installed at this location of your ship), the amount of space the ammo takes up per unit^3, the weight of the weapon, and the physical size of the weapon (shown as slots in the above MWO example).

Flatfingers wrote:Even if I have to make physical instances of a module for the new weapon based on a blueprint, why wouldn't I do that, even if it means that every ship I control is basically identical except for hull size and number of weapons mounted?
I thought Josh said that this was how it was going to work in the base game. You make a blueprint which is a physical item, and then use that to construct items. Well I try to solve the identical ship problem with the above answers and previous post. [/quote]

Flatfingers wrote:Would anyone else find that boring?
Yes I would. Mech Warrior 4 had this problem. Weapon ammo took up weight but didn't take up physical space on the mech, the same was true with engines and heatsinks. There was also no real limit to how many weapons could go in a slot so long as they fit and were the same type. I really think a numeric limitation on how many, of what type of weapons go where, is probably the best solution to making every ship feel unique.

Flatfingers wrote:But if there are reasons why players won't choose to min/max their way to cookie-cutter fleets, what are those reasons?

I personally hated the meta. The problem with meta is that it breaks every easily. A small tweak to missiles, a buff to ECM, and all your previous work goes out the window. It's much better, and in my opinion wiser to find something that works, and stick with small variations of that as opposed to hoping your enemy continues using the same techniques. (Inserts Centurion meta [missile boat] vs my Centurion AL [lasers, with missiles on the side].) In other words, when you min/max someone is going to learn to exploit your min. Once they've achieved that, you can not win against them.

Flatfingers wrote:In other words, what in-game costs or benefits would induce many players to tend to build either 1) individual ships that are each highly adaptable because they carry lots of different systems, or 2) different kinds of ship classes optimized for particular tactical capabilities that operate together in a fleet?

Answers:
1) Varied opposition. Each with different technologies and different strengths and weaknesses. Or players who don't care about meta and just use "what works".
2) Varied construction and design constraints.
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Gazz » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:22 am

IMO the number of hardpoints per ship needs to be restricted.

How big a weapon/turret/socket you install is then a matter of cargo space, construction points, or whatever.

That would naturally have large ships gravitating towards large weapons because that's how you get the most firepower. Installing smaller weapons frees up space for cargo, bigger engines, other ship systems.
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Flatfingers » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:12 pm

I'd still point out that if I lose a ship or a station because an opponent showed up there with Overwhelming Firepower, that certainly seems not-fun... but that's only if you're looking at it from a tactical play perspective.

In a strategic game, such individual losses, even if they were a complete spanking as a battle, may simply not matter. Losing one ship, or one station, or even a fleet, or maybe even an entire star system, while usually not desirable, may be inconsequential when you're commanding 100 or 1000 of them. At that level, it doesn't matter whether a unit was lost through pinpricks or was instantly obliterated.

In fact, at the strategic level such a loss might be useful. If it reveals information about the capabilities or strategic plans of an opponent, the strategic gain in knowledge might vastly outweigh the tactical loss of materiel. So overall, I'm suggesting that designing LT around the idea that any and every tactical loss feels disastrous might not be necessary. (And this analysis does factor in the "if you can do it to an NPC, an NPC can do it to you" case.)

Now, to missile spam specifically, two more thoughts on why it may not have to be disallowed, or severely restricted. (Either or both of which, in some form, may already be planned.)

1. Give all missiles a time-to-live countdown timer. After that timer expires, the missile explodes harmlessly.

2. Require missiles (versus big, expensive torpedoes) to be controlled by the ship that fired them. (Torpedoes have onboard guidance.) If the firing ship is destroyed, or its targeting system is degraded, or the targeting signal is jammed or hacked or otherwise interrupted in some way, controlled missiles lose their target lock. After that, see rule #1 above.

Between these two rules, I think this would make spamming missiles as a tactic considerably less of a "win button" or performance killer.

And the notion of being able to hack enemy missile guidance signals should spark some imaginative ideas here, I would think. :twisted:
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:23 pm

Flatfingers wrote:2. Require missiles (versus big, expensive torpedoes) to be controlled by the ship that fired them. (Torpedoes have onboard guidance.) If the firing ship is destroyed, or its targeting system is degraded, or the targeting signal is jammed or hacked or otherwise interrupted in some way, controlled missiles lose their target lock. After that, see rule #1 above.


so when i suggest it its evil and arbitary but when you suggest it its fine? :ghost:

and i honestly expect missiles to have definitely limited lifetimes.

first and foremost as range limiters.
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Re: Missiles in the games

Postby FormalMoss » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:29 pm

Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Flatfingers wrote:2. Require missiles (versus big, expensive torpedoes) to be controlled by the ship that fired them. (Torpedoes have onboard guidance.) If the firing ship is destroyed, or its targeting system is degraded, or the targeting signal is jammed or hacked or otherwise interrupted in some way, controlled missiles lose their target lock. After that, see rule #1 above.


so when i suggest it its evil and arbitary but when you suggest it its fine? :ghost:

and i honestly expect missiles to have definitely limited lifetimes.

first and foremost as range limiters.


... Which can be tweaked like Eve Online's cranial chip implant mods.. More likely these "tweaks" would manifest in LT as iterations of research, in specific areas such as;
- Flight time
- Speed
- Explosion radius
- Explosion speed (this was a great one, as small ships could incur zero damage because the relative velocity of the ship was faster than the ensuing fireball from the rocket payload), this was why orbiting mobs in a Marauder I could shield tank the hardest level 4 instance, and still pick off targets at 100km ranges..

Sorry, I got uber excited there.
But i hope you get the idea.
:)
YAY PYTHON \o/

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