Outpost Universe Forums

Projects & Development => Projects => Topic started by: dave_erald on November 11, 2016, 02:17:31 PM

Title: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 11, 2016, 02:17:31 PM
I may not be the best person to lead a project like this but we need to start somewhere if any of us want to entertain the idea of making OP2 a more balanced game in multiplayer, and possibly even more enjoyable to play in colony games and such.

Some ideas have already been suggested in other topics and more can be put forth here.

Sirbomber has experience in making tech trees and the like and I hope to gain some insight into that and anything else he chooses to glean. Second, I am willing to bet he and others (okay its a for sure) know what needs balancing and where, Plymouth has the early game advantage and carry it on thru the game when you consider how well a wall of EMP and ESG Tigers work (credit goes to many a frustrating games playing against G2)

Vagabond looks to be doing some great work when it comes to mission creating and map making. And lordpalandus looks to have some good insight into where Eden and Plymouth colonies should be differentiated from each other (this part comes back to Sirbombers comment on opening up the tech tree to be a more focused and distinct list between Eden and Plymouth)

Firstly, if we are to consider changing aspects of gameplay (weapon variants, tech trees, maps yada yada yada) we should find a common ground on identification to differentiate this new content from original content

Secondly, when it comes to map making I was hoping to set a guideline on base location and ore locations when playing or rather starting new Last One Standing maps, call it a starter list that allows all locations to be identical i.e. ore types amounts and locations be identical as well number of entrances to bases (reduce choke points that get us no where)

I suppose the point I am trying to get across here is we can work together to reduce some of these nuances in the gameplay of OP2, with the introduction of Nethelper and the ability to get back into gaming easier it only serves to help us to make life easier for us.

Any thoughts comments are welcome. I hope we can work together and maybe get some more gaming on the table.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 12, 2016, 10:08:10 AM
...
As LP points out, Eden is at a disadvantage early game, due to Plymouth weapons being stronger.
This is a bit two-fold as Plymouth has access to stronger initial weapons + more diverse initial weapons. Effectively the combo is Micro + Sticky vs Lasers.

Sticky Foam is a pretty strong weapon early on because of its range, it's ability to damage buildings & immobilization of enemy vehicles. Effectively you can use it both for assaulting an enemy from a distance taking out base defenses like GP's, or you slowly wither down the enemy lynx (as each shot damages the vehicles).
Sticky Foam can also be used to immobilize a portion of the enemy's mobile defense either to divide and conquer (sticky half the force and destroy the other etc) or you can immobilize and circumvent the enemy's defense all together.
On Defense, Sticky Foam is also great to block bottlenecks (See Pie Chart) or it can be used for delaying an enemy advance, as it still retains range superiority.

My suggestion for Sticky Foam: Reduce or Remove it's damage capabilities, either to Structures or both Structures & Vehicles. This way sticky will still retain some of it's niche in the game, but it will be less of a offensive weapon.

NOTE: Sticky upgrade is still bugged right ?

On Micro vs Laser:
I disagree that we should try to make the weapons more similar, rather I would like to see Laser get some sort of boost.
Could it be an idea to increase the range of Laser ? Lasers would get in 1st shot + firing while falling back becomes an option (Possible this could be achieved by decreasing range of microwave weapon as well?)
Another idea could be to reduce cost of Lasers (Or Lynx itself which would also strengthen Rail Gun), so that increased number of Lasers can compensate a bit for the lack of strength.

On the other hand, in the late stages of the game we face 2 issues:
1) EMP Missiles
2) Plymouth lacks the weaponry to effectively assault a fortified position (Read GPs behind walls), without Missile Support

These two issues goes hand in hand, and while Missile Spamming can be quite game breaking, it is also Plymouths strong offensive point (And unique in the game) and Eden has some (Bugged?) defense for it.

1) The problem with EMP missiles is not the EMP missile itself, but rather that they can be spammed quite easily (Build 10 Spaceports and rotate with idling). And while I feel that as Eden you should be able to handle a few missiles, the spamming itself will eventually overcome any missile defense.
My suggestions in trying to balance this issue is twofolded:
A) Increase the cost of EMP Missiles (Right now they give a lot of bang for your bucks).
B) Increase the time between missile launch and missile impact - this gives the Eden player a bit more time to react + allow for cooldown of MDs.
(Ideally I think the Plymouth player should be able to carpetbomb an area and/or eventually overcome Meteor Defenses - but these tactics should have a much bigger impact on the economy of the player, not something they can continuously repeat)

2) Plymouth lacks effective assault weapons (Especially wihtout missile backup).
Sure they have RPG that can take down walls and structures, but RPG is relatively slow in this process and lacks the range to do it efficiently. Especially if the Eden player has time to reinforce his defensive position with a few Acid/EMP Tigers. If the Plymouth player takes out the walls initially, this buys Eden time to reinforce. If Plymouth sends RPG's at the GP's first, they lose some of their ability to punch hole's in the wall afterwards - and again Eden has time to reinforce.

(Comparatively, Thor's Hammer has both range and power to quickly clear out either GP's, Walls or both. Acid Cloud can also be used to take out GP's)

Suggestive fixes: Add some range to RPG ? Increase RPG damage to walls ? Area effect to RPG ?

As for Rail vs RPG:
Rail Gun is inferior to RPG, but it's not by that much in terms of damage only. Rail Gun also achieves its max damage output a bit slower than RPG, but again, not by much. What I feel really distinguishes the two weapons is the ability of RPG to fire over obstacles - which is what really gives it an advantage when players are using common ore weapons only.

I really think that Rail Gun can be compared to Panthers - which is the least used of the combat units. The problem with both is that they fall between two chairs. In Rail Gun's case Thor's Hammer is both more powerful and has better range, and there simply is no role for Rail Gun.

Suggested fix for Rail vs RPG: Keep status quo. I think we must accept that there is some differences between the 2 colonies. (Potentially, see next section of Rail vs Thor)

Rail Gun and Thor's Hammer:
Thor is the natural next step on the Rail Gun research line towards Heat Dissipating Systems. Unfortunately this also leads to Rail Gun becoming obsolete (Assuming there is access to Rare ore). Thor has both better firepower and range (And can fire above obstacles), leaving Rail Gun without any specific role.

My suggestion is to decrease power of Thor a bit, by decreasing it's range. Decrease it by 1 (maybe 2) squares - You will still have the strongest weapon in the game, but it will lose a bit of it's offensive capabilities (It will take fire from GP's and other units before it can get close enough to fire, rather than to have both power and range advantage over most other weapons).
On the other hand also increase the range of Rail gun by 2 (More?) squares. This way Rail Gun will still have a unique role + it will increase Rail Guns stats a bit compared to RPG.

I think the biggest challenge in balancing OP2 is the fact that there are really only 3 units, and you just glue different weapons to them.  Thor's Hammer would be easier to balance if it was on a slow, fragile unit, but we can't change that without impacting every other weapon.  To that end, how do people feel about this: Plymouth gets Lynx tech mid-game, and instead their first combat unit is the Scorpion.  We buff Scorpion speed, move them to the Vehicle Factory, reduce the cost, and get rid of the separate Scorpion/Scorpion 3-pack options (Scorpions should just always come out as 3-packs).  This will address some of the early game balance concerns, give the colonies different personalities (expensive elites vs. cheap cannon fodder) and make Scorpions actually, you know, useful.  If we want to take it further, we could also retool Microwave from an early-game weapon to a powerful late-game one; possibly some kind of long-range sniper weapon to match Thor's Hammer.


Lots of good material here that maybe we can some up quickly. Maybe we can modify this list to start and roll out a test version of the game? Start up some multiplayer battles and see how it goes.

(THIS LIST IS THE CURRENT WEAPONS LIST IN OP2 AND CAN BE MODIFIED)


Code NameDamage RadiusWeapon RangeTurret Turn RateConcussion DMGPenetration DMGCommon CostRare CostBuild TimeReload Time
Laser1641103545001535
Microwave16411202045001530
Foam165601006000590
Rail Gun16611804085001580
EMP48562560900010140
ACID4866151095020010150
THOR32711026012003005120
Scorpion162160201000525
EMP Missile3200022500000

Not sure why the EMP Missile cost shows 0. That show up in a different list maybe? Anywho...

This might help everyone decide on what and how much we should change things.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 12, 2016, 11:35:40 AM
I also realized I forgot to add ESG (Labeled as SPAM in the weapons list I believe) and RPG (Labeled as Cannon in the weapons list)

And I am unsure where you would adjust EMP missile cost, or change ESG to be non discriminatory (if that was even a thought)

Code NameDamage RadiusWeapon RangeTurret Turn RateConcussion DMGPenetration DMGCommon CostRare CostBuild TimeReload Time
Laser1641104045001535
Microwave16411202045001530
Foam165601006000590
Rail Gun16811804085001580
EMP48562560900010140
RPG32616604085001555
ESG4851140409001005255
ACID4866151095020010150
THOR32511026012003005120
Scorpion162160201000520
EMP Missile3200022500000

So the changes here would be


Is that enough to warrant testing? Any other suggestions? How would weapons upgrades affect these new numbers and play-ability?

And last question, does anyone have a rough idea what effect Concussion DMG has compared to Penetration DMG where armor is concerned?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 12, 2016, 02:09:20 PM
One thing I recall from modding the game to my own preferences is that there is a "maximum" ingame limit on range. I think it is 9, but not entirely sure. Well, it is that or the AI has its own built in "scanning range". So perhaps as an example: Microwave has range of 4 and scanning range of 4 and if you increase weapon range to 5, the AI will still only check for targets to attack within range 4, but the player can manually attack a target up to 5 spaces away.

The EMP Missile here is likely just the Warhead, and the effect the warhead produces when it "fires". Thus the cost of it is stored elsewhere, and the costs listed for other weapons here is "additive" ontop of the "chassis cost". So, as an example, ingame the cost to build a Microwave Lynx is 750 common, but here the listed cost is 450... thus that means the chassis cost of a lynx is 300 common.

I also note that the ESG's reload time is MUCH longer than Acid Cloud. Is this accurate ingame though? I seem to recall ESG reloading about as fast as an Acid Cloud from my own testing attempts, so there may be a bug here or I'm miss remembering. Either is possible.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 12, 2016, 04:20:19 PM
I also note that the ESG's reload time is MUCH longer than Acid Cloud. Is this accurate ingame though? I seem to recall ESG reloading about as fast as an Acid Cloud from my own testing attempts, so there may be a bug here or I'm miss remembering. Either is possible.
It is. Also, with Grenade Loading Mechanism, Acid's reload delay is 120, and ESG's is 200. But also consider ESG mines stick around a lot longer than acid cloud does.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 12, 2016, 07:57:50 PM
And the fact that ESG's melt Lynx vehicles. That's kinda why it would be nice to have Rail gun long range
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Sirbomber on November 12, 2016, 07:59:43 PM
Then get Tigers to soak the ESG instead of feeding your Lynx to them?  Granted ESG should probably see a reduction to damage dealt.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 12, 2016, 08:25:12 PM
Just watched a pile of mine melt in front of only four of 9ball's esg lynx. I would pour a drink out for them, but they are autonomous thank god.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 14, 2016, 02:23:21 PM
@Vagabond I was thinking about the map making and coding aspect of the game and was wondering if just recoding some of the Last One Standing multiplayer missions would be enough to generate more interest in gaming (currently their are only two maybe three maps that are balanced)

What should be made is a simple blueprint to follow when making multiplayer missions. Each base is roughly this shape with this many ore mines and placed in roughly the same configuration.

We keep talking about balancing weapon variants and we really dont have many maps to play them on. (It's possible there are more maps then I can think of but it's just as likely there are way way way more that are not)
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 14, 2016, 08:23:50 PM
A way to encourage others to do multiplayer is to encourage games with both morale and disasters on. I'm personally not interested in playing the multiplayer, as is, for 2 reasons: 1) I'm a noob and I'd get crushed by those who have learned how to easily micromanage the combat aspects and 2) If I wanted to play a pure combat game without morale, I wouldn't play Outpost 2; I'd play something like StarCraft or C&C. The unique aspects of gameplay that Outpost 2 offers is what entices me to play it; without it, I can't be bothered to play multiplayer and hence why I do play colony/starship missions instead as those do have morale and disasters which adds something really awesome to the gameplay. Removing it makes multiplayer boring for me.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 14, 2016, 08:38:45 PM
Brings up yet another caveat of multiplayer experience I know I seldom see just for the simple fact that most games started in multplay seem to be geared towards fast and simple.

There is a great opportunity for long complete games that very rarely happen. I don't know what would be required to entice people into playing that way though.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 14, 2016, 09:00:38 PM
Well, my thoughts on encouraging people to use Morale and Disasters is to:

1) Increase the positive impacts of morale by a factor of x2, x3, or x4. Thus, if normally an unit is produced in 30 seconds at current stable morale, if you could produce that unit in 15, 10, or 7.5 seconds due to extremely high morale, then players might be enticed to turn off morale as those with the highest morale will have the greatest advantage. Leave negative aspects of morale alone, to not be extremely punitive to the player who prefers to rush units but give the player with high morale an edge in both the short-term and long-term against the unit rusher. This will also as a result increase birth rates immensely and decrease death rates immensely.

2) Make disasters have no negative morale impact by researching the various disaster research topics. Thus, if you research these, then when an earthquake occurs, and you have earthquake warning, you take no morale penalty, but the other player without it will take the full impact.

3) Create a research topic that causes units destroyed by enemy fire or self-destruct to leave a rubble pile. If you have a GORF, you then have a reason to build one as any battles you survive will allow you to scavenge the corpses of your units or your enemies, to get a quick supply of resources.

4) Make morale level have an impact on scientist training speed and on worker trained speed. Thus, at high morale, scientists and workers will get trained faster.

5) Make morale level have an impact on research speed and thus will result in faster research performed.

By having these involved, the gameplay would still be fast-paced, but a morale-focused player won't necessarily get steam rolled by the player that prefers to do a unit rush. Not sure though if any of these would be implementable; you'd only really want to implement these to discourage unit rushing in a morale/disaster game while still keeping the game sufficiently fast-paced.

EDIT: Basically, if a player wants a more slow-paced colony-game, then they will stick to offline play. But, to encourage online play you basically have to spend more time convincing the players that prefer a stable morale/no disasters game to play an unstable morale/disaster game. Those players need to feel encouraged to focus on colony matters, need to feel that it will be extremely hard for unit rushes early game if they focus on colony matters, and feel that if they do focus on colony matters it won't lead to an extremely long game.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Hooman on November 15, 2016, 06:06:32 AM
#4 and #5 already happen. Granted, the effect is determined when you start training or researching, and remains fixed throughout the duration, even if your morale changes.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 15, 2016, 02:17:13 PM
How difficult would it be then to have it fluctuate with morale?

EDIT: Another thought/idea has occurred to me: Game Shadowing (probably not the right term but oh well). Basically, some new players or old players that haven't played multiplayer, are hesistant to play multiplayer because of the massive difference in skill levels. Some veteran players here have been playing multiplayer for ages, some even when the official servers were still active. Thus some of us are hesistant to play because we know we'd get massacred, probably get disheartened, and then stay away from multiplayer completely. So, I suggest game shadowing, which is similar to job shadowing where a new employee shadows a veteran employee to learn the ropes. In regards to Outpost 2, game shadowing could be done by having two new players each aligned with two veteran players in a 2v2 match. The veteran players could decide to focus on eachother, which would allow the newer players to watch and learn and practice their skills by observing the veteran players and then when ready, could attack the other new player. I doubt it would work to have two new players fight eachother as it would be difficult to know if they are doing things right. Logisitically, this may be hard to setup, but could serve as a way to lesson the learning curve for multiplayer games for new players.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Hooman on November 17, 2016, 05:37:59 AM
The problem with having things fluctuate with morale is the length of time needed for training or research is set based on morale. You'd have to modify the system to affect the rate, rather than the length. A slight weakness of the design as currently chosen.


For multiplayer games, you could allow observers, or you could allow team games. This would be more suitable for a game remake than hacking it in, although I don't discount a possibility of hacking in such behaviour if enough thought is put into it.

Observers would be more like dead players that haven't disconnected. It seems like a fun way to share a game with someone who isn't playing. Observers give rise to a slight security concern relating to game fairness. There's a possibility they could message other players (either in game, or out of game), and possibly upset the balance through an informational advantage, such as warnings of a sneak attack. There's also the idea of giving the observers more information, such as complete colony stats for both sides to make watching more interesting, and again creating the potential for information leakage. Of course if someone really wanted such information, a hack could provide it, since all clients already know the complete state of the game.

Starcraft allowed for team games, and it was awesome. I loved that idea. It would really help with Outpost 2 since there is so much more colony management going on. It would ease the burden if two players could operate a colony jointly. Maybe people would actually have time to use garages. ;)

Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Highlander on November 17, 2016, 10:08:53 AM
The problem with Morale is that it is easily manipulated. Give all those Morale bonuses and Eden will rule the map as soon as they have their consumer good factory up and running.
Just keep pumping out choice items for constant 99% morale (Sort of anyways).


As for ESG, I would suggest that mines stay longer on the ground - making it more possible to stop an advance, but without making ESG into a very powerful offensive weapon.


Missiles - Is it possible to load different weapon systems onto the Missiles ? Sticky Foam (Without building damage) and ESG Missiles could be used.


Possibility to revive dead allies by transferring colonists with Evac transports (From CC to CC).
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 17, 2016, 02:18:10 PM
Okay, heres a good question, how hard would it be to hack in team selection pre game start? The idea would be to have maps pre programmed with team start locations and game start already be setup as teams rather than having to select afterwards?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Sirbomber on November 17, 2016, 09:39:05 PM
Missiles - Is it possible to load different weapon systems onto the Missiles ? Sticky Foam (Without building damage) and ESG Missiles could be used.

Yes, that's a great idea, make the most overpowered thing in the game even more overpowered.  Because it's not enough to be able to disable anything anywhere on the map for over a minute, you also need to be able to destroy any army without ever leaving your base.  You know, we actually have code laying around that gives Eden a nuclear missile.  It can one-shot entire bases and it's so much fun to use.  Why don't we add that to the next patch and see how enjoyable it is for you to be on the receiving end of it?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 17, 2016, 10:10:47 PM
Never one for beating around the bush are you?

Secondly, Yay for Eden Nukes am I right?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 17, 2016, 11:28:44 PM
For the missiles:

If these are so overpowered then maybe...

Why don't we just give Plymouth the EMP Missile, and also give them the meteor defense/observatory and the RLV. While at the same time, give Eden the meteor defense/observatory and RLV, and also give them the EMP Missile. That way, both players are on even playing fields with both Missile use, and of course defending their base from meteors and missiles. Thus, it would take something that is overpowered and level the playing fields for both players. That or give Eden some kind of alternative powerful weapon that could be used on Plymouth, to keep the factions unique.

For the nuke:

The purpose of a super weapon is a game ender; its always been the case. Whether that is C&C, Supreme Commander, StarCraft or Planetary Annihilation. If you don't like Super Weapons, then don't play games with them. I personally veto super weapons for Outpost 2. It doesn't fit the theme of the game. If attacking a Residence with a Laser Lynx causes -7000 morale for 10 game minutes, what would be appropriate for an atrocity-scale weapon? They decide to assassinate their own leader, and then mass commit suicide? No, it doesn't work.

For Eden Consumer Factories:

If the fear of morale and thus keeping it out of multiplayer, is because these exist, then maybe we should:
1) Nerf the positives of the morale boost for multiplayer.
2) Give Plymouth one too so that both players can spam resources.
3) Remove it from multiplayer to prevent morale abuse.
4) Increase the costs and time to produce the various goods, to serve as a good temporary but expensive measure to get out of a Terrible Morale slump, but be expensive enough that it would be cheaper in the long-run to build recreational centers, residences, and medical centers instead.
5) Some combination of the above?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 17, 2016, 11:55:23 PM
As for ESG, I would suggest that mines stay longer on the ground - making it more possible to stop an advance, but without making ESG into a very powerful offensive weapon.

Missiles - Is it possible to load different weapon systems onto the Missiles ? Sticky Foam (Without building damage) and ESG Missiles could be used.
To be blunt, these are incredibly biased suggestions that sound like something out of the cesspit that is the StarCraft 2 forums. This is about as ridiculous as asking for Thor's Hammer to be buffed. I'm not even going to address these.

For the missiles:

If these are so overpowered then maybe...

Why don't we just give Plymouth the EMP Missile, and also give them the meteor defense/observatory and the RLV. While at the same time, give Eden the meteor defense/observatory and RLV, and also give them the EMP Missile. That way, both players are on even playing fields with both Missile use, and of course defending their base from meteors and missiles. Thus, it would take something that is overpowered and level the playing fields for both players. That or give Eden some kind of alternative powerful weapon that could be used on Plymouth, to keep the factions unique.
Bad suggestions. The two factions shouldn't just be reskins of each other. Not to mention giving Eden the EMP Missile and Plymouth Meteor Defenses doesn't actually fix the issues with them, i.e. how spammable missiles are and how they tend to create boring stalemates, or how much of an investment Meteor Defenses are. At the very least, missiles should take longer to land (I believe they take 5 seconds), and Meteor Defenses should never fail when firing at EMP Missiles. I believe the bug where MDs would always fail if a missile was targeted on top of a MD (even if there are other MDs nearby) was fixed in 1.3.5.

Of course, that still doesn't deal with how much you have to invest to get MDs - for EMP missiles, you only need 1 extra tech after Space Program, whereas for MDs you need 3. Then, you need to make an Observatory, which takes 3 scientists away from research, then each MD uses 100 power and 2 workers, and then in order to attack you have to MD creep to your opponent (which is impractical on the vast majority of maps other than Pie Chart or La Corrida) which means lots of MDs, and it adds up really fast and is a pain to set up in general.

The Plymouth player can idle his Spaceports with EMP Missiles on them until he wants to launch, but idling the Obervatory and MDs isn't "safe" - you have to activate every MD since you have no idea where the missile was targeted, and you only have a few seconds to do so (it wouldn't be that bad if you could select and hotkey multiple structures, but you can't).

Substantially increasing the time until the missile lands should remove the necessity for MD creeping, which helps Plymouth vs. Plymouth as well since they obviously don't get MDs at all. MD-related techs should probably be consolidated, and maybe even remove the Observatory altogether.

The nuke was made for a custom mission, it's not going to be put in the main game.

Quote
For Eden Consumer Factories:

If the fear of morale and thus keeping it out of multiplayer, is because these exist, then maybe we should:
1) Nerf the positives of the morale boost for multiplayer.
2) Give Plymouth one too so that both players can spam resources.
3) Remove it from multiplayer to prevent morale abuse.
4) Increase the costs and time to produce the various goods, to serve as a good temporary but expensive measure to get out of a Terrible Morale slump, but be expensive enough that it would be cheaper in the long-run to build recreational centers, residences, and medical centers instead.
5) Some combination of the above?
No to giving it to Plymouth because of the "keep different factions different" reason I gave about the EMP Missile, plus it doesn't fix the underlying issues with it. The CGF, at least Impulse Items, should be nerfed, probably by increasing the production time, decreasing the effect duration, and/or limiting how many times it can stack. It should be mentioned that the CGF isn't very effective when there's too much negative pressure on your morale, but it's otherwise OP. Rec Centers/Forums should be buffed in the way of changing the morale formula to make it counteract the effect of unoccupied colonists, rather than adding an additional structure demand.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 18, 2016, 12:33:29 AM
Alright Arklon, what if Meteor defense was available sooner (or quite the opposite EMP missiles were offered later in the game) If nothing else in someway, however it was done, could be made a little more equal for both sides (EMP missiles cost more than what they do now, and need to be put back in the tech tree just a little further) this way it doesn't eliminate the use of EMP missiles altogether but rather reduces the rate of spamming that is incurred.

The Meteor Defense creep? Someone needs to explain that one to me, but, if it works like I think it sounds like it should work does that mean the Meteor Defense has to be with in so many yards of a potential EMP Missile landing to make it actually work in destroying it before it lands? If that's the case, and here comes a big 'what if' so hold on, what if Light Towers (which in most games are rendered useless because nobody plays day/night cycle) could be used as EMP Missile Spotters, or some kind of localized defense canopy? A small area around the guard post acts like an extension of the Missile Defense? Maybe? I don't know, now that I type this I realize that's a lot of work for not much gain. Just looking for more uses for the Light Towers is all.



Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 18, 2016, 12:47:52 AM
Alright Arklon, what if Meteor defense was available sooner (or quite the opposite EMP missiles were offered later in the game) If nothing else in someway, however it was done, could be made a little more equal for both sides (EMP missiles cost more than what they do now, and need to be put back in the tech tree just a little further) this way it doesn't eliminate the use of EMP missiles altogether but rather reduces the rate of spamming that is incurred.
I don't know what additional tech Rocket Atmospheric Re-Entry System could be made dependent on that would make sense. It wouldn't really help to move MD techs up since there is no reason to go that path until missiles are in play, but Eden would still want to get Space Program anyway since it's a prerequisite for Efficiency Engineering. Missiles should probably cost more (I have played games against people who made 10+ Spaceports all churning out missiles), count against your vehicle cap (since when you are maxed there's really no reason not to spam missiles), and/or make the EMP effect only last as long as it does from EMP turrets, but I think the main change that's needed is make them take longer to land.

Quote
The Meteor Defense creep? Someone needs to explain that one to me, but, if it works like I think it sounds like it should work does that mean the Meteor Defense has to be with in so many yards of a potential EMP Missile landing to make it actually work in destroying it before it lands? If that's the case, and here comes a big 'what if' so hold on, what if Light Towers (which in most games are rendered useless because nobody plays day/night cycle) could be used as EMP Missile Spotters, or some kind of localized defense canopy? A small area around the guard post acts like an extension of the Missile Defense? Maybe? I don't know, now that I type this I realize that's a lot of work for not much gain. Just looking for more uses for the Light Towers is all.
It literally means build a line of MDs going to your opponent's base so you can actually move your army up. The Light Tower thing sounds really ad-hoc, I don't like it. Light Towers should give "enemy unit sighted" messages like Scouts do, which would be nice on maps like Pie Chart to alert you to someone sending Starflares in the back door or something.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 18, 2016, 03:08:54 AM
Well, then how about disabling the ability to build EMP missiles in Multiplayer? Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution.

Alternatively, you could modify Observatories to require fewer scientists, and have MDs require less power and workers, to make it easier for Eden players.

Alternatively, you could modify the build time and build cost of EMP missiles, to make it harder to mass produce/spam them.

Alternatively, you could increase the cost to build a Spaceport dramatically and increase its power requirements.

Alternatively, like in some C&C games, have a toggle to disable EMP missiles and MDs, to prevent long-stalemates.

Alternatively, like in some C&C games, you could have a set limit of how many structures of a specific type they can build. ie a Limit of 3 Spaceports, or a limit of 3 MDs, or a limit of 3 Vehicle Factories; etc.

Alternatively, increase the rare ore cost (only rare cost) of EMP missiles. Rare ore often takes the longest to acquire, thus, if missiles had a high rare ore cost, it would be prohibitively expensive to build lots of them.

Alternatively, like in StarCraft 1 with the nuke, produce a "dot" where the missile will land. Thus, the Eden player, will have an idea where it will land and thus can activate just those MDs.

Finally, one last alternative is: Don't play multiplayer. If balancing the missile and MD is too hard, don't play multiplayer. Problem solved :P

Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 18, 2016, 08:48:43 AM
Actually, the single spaceport idea isnt half bad if you think about it, and the implementation may not be entirely that difficult.

Think of how the Basic Lab disappears from the build list after you build one
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 18, 2016, 04:41:23 PM
Alternatively, increase the rare ore cost (only rare cost) of EMP missiles. Rare ore often takes the longest to acquire, thus, if missiles had a high rare ore cost, it would be prohibitively expensive to build lots of them.
It's actually really easy to constantly have a surplus of rare ore, even when making expensive Tiger armies. It's common ore that you run out of.

Quote
Alternatively, like in StarCraft 1 with the nuke, produce a "dot" where the missile will land. Thus, the Eden player, will have an idea where it will land and thus can activate just those MDs.
Maybe.

Think of how the Basic Lab disappears from the build list after you build one
No, it disappears after you get the tech that enables Standard Lab.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 18, 2016, 05:53:09 PM
...semantics


I was close
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 19, 2016, 12:48:26 AM
Hmm. Okay.

Other Balancing Suggestions:

- Remove ConVec Invulnerability when constructing a structure or in the very least make structures under construction take 2x damage. Having an earthquake hit a completed structure should do normal damage, but hitting an incomplete structure should cause much more damage to it. Or getting an RPG to a construction site should do more damage than if it hit a finished structure.

- Improve Garages by:
1) Increasing the rate of repairs by double.
2) Removing the repair cost.
3) Accelerate the animation for loading/unloading vehicles, so that it is much faster to load/unload a vehicle.
- Honestly, the design of the Garage was a bad idea considering the amount of micromanagement the player must do to repair a vehicle. Considering, at the time, C&C had the Service Bay which allowed repairing of vehicles by just driving onto the platform. So with this in mind:
1) Have vehicles automatically repair by just putting the vehicle on the loading pad. Thus, you don't need to fully load them into a slot and instead just have the repair on the outside of the structure. If you had multiple, wounded Tigers, it might make more sense to load them into bays, but a wounded lynx, should be able to repaired quickly enough outside that it wouldn't need to be loaded into a bay.

- Make tracked vehicles move fastest in un-bulldozed terrain, and have wheeled vehicles move fastest on bulldozed terrain. This way, Tigers would get a slight speed boost while travelling long distances, and lynxes would be able go quickly on the "roads" built within a colony. Tracked vehicles in real life generally move slower on actual roads and faster in unpaved areas as their treads can get traction. While also in real life, wheeled vehicles handle actual roads better and are slower in unpaved areas. Not sure on if it is implementable. While half-tracks move at a good pace on both roads and unpaved areas (ie ConVecs)

- Make it so that vehicles are disabled by an EMP missile for the same amount of time as being hit by an EMP turret. While, structures remain disabled for the extra period of time by an EMP missile. This way, the EMP missile would be less effective against vehicles, but remain fully effective against structures. Then the other player wouldn't need a MD-Creep line to get their forces to the enemy base.

- Make it so that any rocket/missile on a launch platform cannot be launched from a recently activated Spaceport. They can only be launched if the spaceport has been online for 10-15 seconds. This way, a Plymouth player with a lot of idled Spaceports with Missiles on them, wouldn't be able to instantly launch the missile unless the Spaceport was online for 10-15 seconds. The logic behind this is that, turning the power back on and sending the people back to the structure would still require some time to get everything turned on, activated, fuel pumped to rockets, other duties finished, etc.

All I gots for now.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Highlander on November 19, 2016, 04:07:14 PM
Well, Sirbomber & Arklon - since my suggestion regarding adding missile heads are met with such strong opposition, why dont the two of you comment on my suggestions in regards to balancing Missiles ? It's in the 2nd post after all.


Also, the ESG suggestion you might want to consider Arklon, as it currently does not take all that much for an Eden player to punch a whole in anything Plymouth puts in the way.
Sure you can argue ESG units may fall back, but that also means Eden advances, and eventually you are gonna run out of space to withdraw. When the eventual battle happens, Acid Cloud will be close to twice as effective as ESG.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 19, 2016, 06:28:53 PM
Highlander has a good point about EMP missiles, I wonder if we can all agree on at least one change coming in the form of EMP missile management. Whether that be increasing cost or removing the ability to build more than one spaceport. Increasing the common ore cost per missile is probably the easier of the two to accomplish. Plymouth still gets to strategically use them, but not spam the other player to death

Lordpalandus, the bit about convec invulnerability while building, I've never been in that situation so I couldn't say one way or the other. And unfortunately, finding an effective use for the garage is just an act in futility without hacking the shit out of the game, if it were even possible. It's a good colony builder structure to have, but nill in multiplayer I think.


That just leaves two other things,

    1 - a Plymouth Assault Weapon upgrade say adding splash damage to RPG or extending its range possibly? (I am partial to both as the Thor weapon has a huge leg up late game)

...and 2 - offering EMP to Eden same time as sticky foam. It doesn't offer the corrosive damage that sticky does but it does allow Eden to have a early game immobilizing weapon at its disposal.


I really wish we had a unit limiter the way Starcraft did it.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 19, 2016, 09:15:36 PM
Well, Sirbomber & Arklon - since my suggestion regarding adding missile heads are met with such strong opposition, why dont the two of you comment on my suggestions in regards to balancing Missiles ? It's in the 2nd post after all.

Also, the ESG suggestion you might want to consider Arklon, as it currently does not take all that much for an Eden player to punch a whole in anything Plymouth puts in the way.
Sure you can argue ESG units may fall back, but that also means Eden advances, and eventually you are gonna run out of space to withdraw. When the eventual battle happens, Acid Cloud will be close to twice as effective as ESG.
I had skimmed that post and it was largely yet more StarCraft 2 forum-tier extremely biased suggestions. Some of them are reasonable, like Thor's/Rail Gun range, but on the whole it's a wall of text that amounts to "nerf Eden into the ground, give Plymouth huge buffs", which is laughable when Plymouth is broken in both the early and late game as it is thanks to Eden's weak early/pre-rare game and EMP missiles. I just can't take you seriously, especially not when you're now telling me Plymouth's strongest weapon (which is arguably better than Eden's equivalent once Tigers are in play) should also get a big buff. Plymouth's already very strong early game is going to be buffed by fixing the Stickyfoam upgrade bug as it is.

a Plymouth Assault Weapon upgrade say adding splash damage to RPG or extending its range possibly? (I am partial to both as the Thor weapon has a huge leg up late game)
Splash damage can't be upgraded by techs. In fact, it's not even stored per-player, so it would have to be a built-in change, which would be OP. A quick glance at the relevant code looked like it'd be a bit of a pain to hack in per-player splash damage values.

Quote
offering EMP to Eden same time as sticky foam.
That would be OP, unless maybe the duration was very short (1~2 seconds or so). Stickyfoam doesn't prevent the other units from firing, whereas EMP does, which is a huge difference.

Quote
I really wish we had a unit limiter the way Starcraft did it.
Yeah, one of the problems with balancing OP2 is units don't have variable supply costs, everything is just 1 off of the vehicle limit.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Sirbomber on November 19, 2016, 10:01:11 PM
Highlander: I'm going to be blunt here.  You are not providing constructive suggestions.  You're clearly showing Plymouth favoritism as you want to nerf Eden and buff Plymouth, when I think the vast majority of the active player base would tell you Eden is the underpowered colony.  The purpose of balancing is not to make the faction you like to play as more powerful.  Our goal here is to make both colonies unique with their own flavor and style, but on even ground from a competitive point of view.

You have suggested making RPG more powerful (it already out DPS's Rail Gun) and giving it splash damage (as if Plymouth doesn't have enough options for splash damage already) with the justification Plymouth needs it to deal with players entrenched behind walls and Guard Posts - a tactic that I have never seen in my years of high-level play, because it's not viable and a waste of money.  Even if that was a situation that happened, you need to look at how that change would effect the game outside of that one situation.  RPG is a medium-high damage, high rate-of-fire weapon that is a mainstay of Plymouth armies.  Giving a weapon like that splash damage is going to have an exponential effect, allowing Plymouth to decimate armies with relatively little effort.  And although RPG maintains its effectiveness into the late game, it becomes available in the early/mid game.  Eden won't be able to answer that.

You want to buff Rail Gun range, but at the cost of nerfing Thor's Hammer, with the justification that this will make players have to build Rail Guns instead.  This change would not benefit Eden at all; instead you're just making their only decent weapon worse.  This is another suggested change that clearly favors Plymouth.

You also say ESG needs to be buffed, when it can already take off 1/3 of a Lynx's HP in the blink of an eye.  You complain that you can kite with ESG but eventually you run out of room to kite and get overwhelmed.  So basically, your complaint here is, sometimes a few ESG's isn't enough to kill an entire army, and you think that's unfair.  I will not waste my time responding to that argument, because it's absurd.

The only bone you're throwing Eden is assistance in the early game by giving Laser some extra range - which can be completely nullified by a single shot from StickyFoam.  At best, this will force Plymouth players to hold off their rush for a few extra seconds while StickyFoam is researched.

You claim that the ease with which EMP Missiles are spammed is a problem (which it is) but the missile itself is fine - which is untrue.  I've said this dozens of times over the years: the EMP Missile is a superweapon, the only superweapon in the game, to which Eden has no answer.  As Arklon has explained, Eden can (unreliably) defend against missiles, at great expense and operational cost, but they cannot retaliate with their own superweapon.  And not only do you want to not do anything about this, you want to make missiles more powerful, by giving the option to create missiles that can deal a huge amount of damage, hitting anywhere on the map.  In what world is this fair?  What balance problem does this solve?  How would you feel if we gave Eden, say, Acid Cloud Missiles?  I want you to imagine you being forced to watch as missile after missile lands on your Command Center, slowly watching its HP fade away, and you being powerless to do anything about it.  Does that sound fun to you, Highlander?  Didn't think so.

Frankly, based on the rest of your suggestions, it sounds like you don't actually want to ever have to engage the enemy army - you just want to be able to sit back and watch the other player die without them ever being able to land a hit on you.  And if that's what you want, there are plenty of colony games where you can watch the AI clumsily die all over your impenetrable defenses.  But the rest of us are here to make multiplayer fair, competitive, and fun.  If you're not willing to help with that, please just extricate yourself from the conversation.

lordpalandus: Making ConVecs vulnerable during building construction would be tough I think from a technical standpoint - as far as I know, the structure is linked to the ConVec building it but the reverse is not true.  If you delete or otherwise remove/destroy the ConVec during construction, the structure will happily continue to build as if nothing happened.

Dave: I've thought about giving Eden EMP around the time Plymouth gets StickyFoam in the past, and it's tempting, but I worry that it's too powerful for an early-game weapon.  But this might be something worth further testing and experimentation.  Perhaps we should start working on a test map/test techtree to see how much of an effect some of these changes actually would have on the game.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 20, 2016, 10:38:40 AM
So can we agree that there could maybe be two things we can start testing now?


Increase common ore cost to build EMP Missiles => reduce EMP missile spamming (it doesn't impair the ability of the opponent to build multiple spaceports and launch multiple missiles, what it does is causes that person to moderate supplies better forcing less use of the missile)

Give EMP to Eden same time as Plymouth Sticky => counteract how aggressive sticky is early game. Secondly, giving EMP to Eden early means you could give Scorpion sooner and a small researchable speed upgrade as well thus bringing the less used Scorpion back into the game.


And late game would need something adjusted to help Plymouth, Highlander is right in saying Plymouth needs assistance here, but not too much really, and that could come in the form of strengthening something on Plymouth side or reducing something on Eden side.



How about this for later testing
=> increase Rail distance/decrease dmg slightly, and reduce Thor distance.
=> add splash damage to RPG

Thor still maintains its punch and it's splash damage which is huge (32 splash radius, 260 dmg and a refresh rate faster than EMP) so have the firing distance equal to ESG or as close as you can get (ESG distance is 5 so make Thor distance 5 which is all before the distance modifiers supplied by research upgrades). This way retreating ESG tanks can let advancing tanks get chewed up by mines like usual, versly if you try using RPG/EMP tanks to advance that running into a wall of Thor tanks will still prove deadly.

Increasing Rail distance makes this weapon viable late game rather than being forgotten about. Means you can snipe at entrenched EMP/ESG Tanks slowly wittling them away (the thought of this makes me moister than an oyster). Remember that RPG is a 60/40 damage weapon where as Rail is 80/40 so maybe reduce Rail dmg to 60/40?. How about adding splash damage to RPG as a research upgrade same time as Acid Cloud shows up? This would offset the distance advantage of Rail and make up for what Acid Cloud does for Eden. Less damage from Rail means you can still rush them with Sticky lynx and then clobber them with RPG. One other bonus is this would help with the lynx/acid variant that is very good at a advancing/retreating attack tactic that is not always used but very infuriating to deal with.

Both of these last game changes really helps to distinguish the two factions from eachother => Eden as a more technologically advanced nation, and Plymouth as a scrappy ground and pound, explosive, gritty, hardy nation. You can see that influence with the Reinforced Residence, Supernova weapon, Rocket Propelled Grenade, ElectroStatic Grenade mines

Bomber let me look at the tech tree again and then we can start drawing some tests up.



Thoughts?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Highlander on November 20, 2016, 10:45:21 AM
I had skimmed that post and it was largely yet more StarCraft 2 forum-tier extremely biased suggestions. Some of them are reasonable, like Thor's/Rail Gun range, but on the whole it's a wall of text that amounts to "nerf Eden into the ground, give Plymouth huge buffs", which is laughable when Plymouth is broken in both the early and late game as it is thanks to Eden's weak early/pre-rare game and EMP missiles. I just can't take you seriously, especially not when you're now telling me Plymouth's strongest weapon (which is arguably better than Eden's equivalent once Tigers are in play) should also get a big buff. Plymouth's already very strong early game is going to be buffed by fixing the Stickyfoam upgrade bug as it is.

Well, in the same post I also offered some suggestions to mitigate Missile Spamming - thereby trying to reduce the effectiveness of Plymouth late game.
My arguement is that without Missiles Plymouth will lose to Eden due to Eden's weapons superiority.

ESG < Acid Cloud when it comes to Tigers. Put 1 ESG Tiger and 1 Acid cloud tiger up against each other and see which one comes up on top.
Sure ESG can pull back and let Eden come to then, but when it comes to offensive play or when making a defensive stand at 1 location Acid Cloud will win out because ESG cannot pull back.



Highlander: I'm going to be blunt here.  You are not providing constructive suggestions.  You're clearly showing Plymouth favoritism as you want to nerf Eden and buff Plymouth, when I think the vast majority of the active player base would tell you Eden is the underpowered colony.  The purpose of balancing is not to make the faction you like to play as more powerful.  Our goal here is to make both colonies unique with their own flavor and style, but on even ground from a competitive point of view.

Interesting that both you and Arklon claim I am showing Plymouth favoritism when I haven't played that colony since the days rushing was fun.
Otherwise I agree with your goals - it's just that we (obviously) disagree when it comes to how.

You have suggested making RPG more powerful (it already out DPS's Rail Gun) and giving it splash damage (as if Plymouth doesn't have enough options for splash damage already) with the justification Plymouth needs it to deal with players entrenched behind walls and Guard Posts - a tactic that I have never seen in my years of high-level play, because it's not viable and a waste of money.  Even if that was a situation that happened, you need to look at how that change would effect the game outside of that one situation.  RPG is a medium-high damage, high rate-of-fire weapon that is a mainstay of Plymouth armies.  Giving a weapon like that splash damage is going to have an exponential effect, allowing Plymouth to decimate armies with relatively little effort.  And although RPG maintains its effectiveness into the late game, it becomes available in the early/mid game.  Eden won't be able to answer that.
Well, with the current situation, Plymouth's weapons are still poorer than Eden's. Thors Hammer is stronger than RPG and Acid Cloud is stronger than ESG.
We can of course simply leave RPG as it is, but I'm just pointing out this will favor Eden quite strongly late game.
I also have years of high-level play. That has landed me on the conclusion that it is favorable to be able to commit more vehicles to a battle than your enemy can. Securing your base with walls and GPs makes sense as it free up vehicles. At least for Eden it does. The same strategy doesn't work for Plymouth.


You want to buff Rail Gun range, but at the cost of nerfing Thor's Hammer, with the justification that this will make players have to build Rail Guns instead.  This change would not benefit Eden at all; instead you're just making their only decent weapon worse.  This is another suggested change that clearly favors Plymouth.
It's not meant to be directly beneficial to either colony, it just an idea to make Rail Gun have it's own niche, rather than not being utilized at all.

You also say ESG needs to be buffed, when it can already take off 1/3 of a Lynx's HP in the blink of an eye.  You complain that you can kite with ESG but eventually you run out of room to kite and get overwhelmed.  So basically, your complaint here is, sometimes a few ESG's isn't enough to kill an entire army, and you think that's unfair.  I will not waste my time responding to that argument, because it's absurd.
No, my complaint is Acid > ESG, and eventually when a Plymouth and Acid army clashes Acid will win out.
Never did I mention I want anything to be overpowered.
Anyways, lets agree to disagree. I prefer playing Eden anyways, so this will just work in my favor :)


The only bone you're throwing Eden is assistance in the early game by giving Laser some extra range - which can be completely nullified by a single shot from StickyFoam.  At best, this will force Plymouth players to hold off their rush for a few extra seconds while StickyFoam is researched.
No, it is not nullified that easily, because 1) Plymouth no longer has the possibility to outdistance GP's & 2) Lasers now gain the ability to outdistance Micro's, forcing Plymouth on the defensive initially (Before getting Sticky's). Also with the added range it will become more pushing and pulling between Sticky and Lasers since both can shoot eachother. I also suggested removing Sticky Foams damage to structures (Or structures and Vehicles both)
If you read I also suggested decreasing cost of Lasers that would add strength of nubers compared to Micro's better damage.


You claim that the ease with which EMP Missiles are spammed is a problem (which it is) but the missile itself is fine - which is untrue.  I've said this dozens of times over the years: the EMP Missile is a superweapon, the only superweapon in the game, to which Eden has no answer.  As Arklon has explained, Eden can (unreliably) defend against missiles, at great expense and operational cost, but they cannot retaliate with their own superweapon.  And not only do you want to not do anything about this, you want to make missiles more powerful, by giving the option to create missiles that can deal a huge amount of damage, hitting anywhere on the map.  In what world is this fair?  What balance problem does this solve?  How would you feel if we gave Eden, say, Acid Cloud Missiles?  I want you to imagine you being forced to watch as missile after missile lands on your Command Center, slowly watching its HP fade away, and you being powerless to do anything about it.  Does that sound fun to you, Highlander?  Didn't think so.
I already suggested increasing cost of Missiles and increasing the time between Launch & Impact of missile. (And for Sticky removing damage to Structures or Structures & Vehicles both))
Neither Sticky (If removing Vehicle damage, then none in Sticky's case) nor ESG will deal huge amounts of damage. Sticky will stop vehicles in their tracks. ESG's will only hurt if you drive on the mines. Sit still and damage wont be that great.
Couple both of these missiles with my suggestions toward increased cost and increased Launch/Impact time and I think it could be an interesting option.
The key here is to balance these toward cost so that it adds diversity rather than being overpowering.
Of course Missiles damaging Structures is a bad idea. If you read my whole post coherently instead of picking out parts it might more sense.


Frankly, based on the rest of your suggestions, it sounds like you don't actually want to ever have to engage the enemy army - you just want to be able to sit back and watch the other player die without them ever being able to land a hit on you.  And if that's what you want, there are plenty of colony games where you can watch the AI clumsily die all over your impenetrable defenses.  But the rest of us are here to make multiplayer fair, competitive, and fun.  If you're not willing to help with that, please just extricate yourself from the conversation.
Frankly, there is no need to keep this tone throughout your posts. Like you, I am simply offering my viewpoints on balancing.
You are of course free to disagree with my ideas, but this kind of response is rather uncalled for.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 20, 2016, 03:35:01 PM
If you wanted to buff up Plymouth late game, encourage the player to build Supernovas. This seems to me, Plymouth's counter to the Thors Hammer Tiger; a fast unit with a massive explosive payload that can decimate several tigers in one blast.

I could understand the whole making Plymouth's weapons better against Guardposts/Walls, if the Eden player was encouraged to build them; they aren't. If Eden Guardposts increased the range of the weapon attached and allowed it to fire over walls, then I could see an Eden player spamming guardposts and walls, and thus then Plymouth would need a counter.

As for the EMP Missile, lore-wise (campaign), Plymouth at that time had very little resources and thus the purpose of it was to disabled the Eden Spaceport to get the RLV so that they could finish up their starship faster. It wasn't meant to be a weapon that could be spammed easily. Factions in the campaign also only ever had one Spaceport and huge resource constraints. Thus, if we wanted to make things balanced, I'd say restrict both players to a single Spaceport. That way EMP Missiles become a strategic one-off weapon for dealing a strategic blow, while the majority of your tanks do the brunt of the work, rather than a spammable "cheesy" tactic.

For the ESG, is it possible to keep laid mines active until destroyed? I recall that ESG mines eventually disappear, and a way to make ESG a little more powerful, would be to keep the mines active until something ran over them. Thus, the Plymouth player could funnel enemies by keeping several active minefields and force them to either go down the path they wanted or take huge damage crossing the minefields. That is one way of buffing the ESG without modifying its damage or other abilities.

For the RPG, the only situation where I'd agree to give RPG splash damage is if RPG had a minimum range. Thus, it could have splash damage, but not be able to hit targets within range of 1-2. So, any short-range unit, ie Laser, could decimate an RPG by getting within its minimum range but still be in trouble if grouped up with multiple units at a distance.

Another way to buff Lasers instead of touching its damage/range is to reduce the cost of Lasers. So if a Microwave Lynx cost 750, a Laser Lynx may cost 600. In a one-to-one battle, Microwave would still win, but as Eden could field more Laser Lynxes, it might be able to counter superior damage with superior numbers.

EDIT:
A way to buff Railgun without affecting it's damage is to allow a projectile to fully travel its range hitting all targets in its path. So if there is 3 lynxes in a row, the railgun hits all 3 if they are all within range.

I notice in these discussions of multiplayer, these things hardly ever come up concerning multiplayer play:
- Spider or Scorpion usage?
- Starflare usage by Eden?
- Starflare and Supernova usage by Plymouth?
- EMP usage by Eden?
- Guardpost usage at all?
- DIRT usage at all?
- Light Tower usage at all?
- Scout usage at all?
- Do players create extra bases or stick to a single base the entire match?

It seems to me that there is a lot of potentially useful units and structures in the game that are not directly related to morale that rarely get discussed in balancing conversations? Why is it? Are these ever used? If they aren't, why not? Perhaps balancing efforts should be more heavily directed at encouraging the usage of the above things, over messing around with the things that do frequently get used. Thoughts?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 20, 2016, 11:33:40 PM
Well, in the same post I also offered some suggestions to mitigate Missile Spamming - thereby trying to reduce the effectiveness of Plymouth late game.
My arguement is that without Missiles Plymouth will lose to Eden due to Eden's weapons superiority.

ESG < Acid Cloud when it comes to Tigers. Put 1 ESG Tiger and 1 Acid cloud tiger up against each other and see which one comes up on top.
Sure ESG can pull back and let Eden come to then, but when it comes to offensive play or when making a defensive stand at 1 location Acid Cloud will win out because ESG cannot pull back.
My testing with varying numbers of Tigers has the Acid Tigers surviving with 10~20% HP left (got the same results both with and without upgrades). But this is without moving at all, the worst case scenario for ESG. Factor in how there was so much "wasted" ESG damage in most of these tests, the fact that it affects a 45% larger area than Acid Cloud, and doesn't do friendly damage, and ESG is quite easily better in the general case. In the best case, where ESG is able to attack just ahead of the enemy army and the units in front take maximum damage from driving over all the mines rather than it bring spread over other units, ESG is far and away better than Acid Cloud. You act like you need half the map to retreat over before ESG becomes better, but you only really need maybe 5-10 or so tiles, if that. It's also worth mentioning mines on the ground do stack multiple times on a tile, but I'm not sure what the limit is other than it's at least enough to one-shot a Tiger.

As far as missiles go, there's a reason we're only talking about nerfing them rather than removing them from the game.

Quote
Well, with the current situation, Plymouth's weapons are still poorer than Eden's. Thors Hammer is stronger than RPG and Acid Cloud is stronger than ESG.
Comparing RPG to Thor's Hammer is comparing a common ore-only mid-game weapon to an end-game rare ore-requiring weapon. And Plymouth's weapons being worse than Eden's - really? Aside from Thor's Hammer, that's absolutely not true.

Laser is much worse than Microwave, mostly because Heat Dissipation Systems comes much earlier for Microwave, but even with all upgrades Microwave Lynx beat Laser Lynx. At the very least, Heat Dissipation Systems needs to be available at the same time for Eden as it is for Plymouth. Laser Panther/Tiger vs. Microwave Panther/Tiger has the Laser winning, but that's not an engagement you'll ever see, and those chassis are irrelevant anyway when the main concern with those weapons is the early game. Lasers probably need a damage buff to make them on par with Microwave unless we try giving Eden a weaker version of EMP earlier or something.

Eden's equivalent to RPG, Rail Gun, is handily worse - it can't shoot over walls, and (with upgrades) fires 20% slower while only doing 3% more damage. Rail Gun should get a range buff to compensate for not shooting over walls, and either a raw damage or rate of fire buff (I'm leaning towards the latter) so it has the same average DPS as RPG.

Eden has no answer to Stickyfoam.

I already talked about Acid Cloud vs. ESG, I disagree that Acid is necessarily better.

The state of EvP is basically, the Eden player just has to hold on for dear life with a consistently inferior army until Thor's units are finally out, and then pray he doesn't get missile spammed to death.


Quote
I also have years of high-level play. That has landed me on the conclusion that it is favorable to be able to commit more vehicles to a battle than your enemy can. Securing your base with walls and GPs makes sense as it free up vehicles. At least for Eden it does. The same strategy doesn't work for Plymouth.
The problem with Guard Posts is they do quite a bit of damage to things next to them when they die, one-shotting Lynx. This means you can't use them to defend alongside your army, because they'll end up doing more damage to yourself than the enemy. It might buy some time and soften up the enemy a little bit, but that's about it. Nerfing Thor's range would make GPs more workable for Plymouth in EvP, but I'm also thinking the GP explosion damage should be removed.

As far as walls go, Laser/Microwave is actually the best weapon against those, but they might need late-game range upgrades to not just get killed by every GP around.

Quote
It's not meant to be directly beneficial to either colony, it just an idea to make Rail Gun have it's own niche, rather than not being utilized at all.
But you also want to buff RPG range, so Rail Gun would still just be literally a worse RPG.

Quote
No, it is not nullified that easily, because 1) Plymouth no longer has the possibility to outdistance GP's & 2) Lasers now gain the ability to outdistance Micro's, forcing Plymouth on the defensive initially (Before getting Sticky's). Also with the added range it will become more pushing and pulling between Sticky and Lasers since both can shoot eachother. I also suggested removing Sticky Foams damage to structures (Or structures and Vehicles both)
If you read I also suggested decreasing cost of Lasers that would add strength of nubers compared to Micro's better damage.
I've almost always seen Plymouth wait for some Stickyfoam before they push out, since it's not exactly long after Microwave tech. As far as "pushing and pulling", uh, that involves movement, the thing that Stickyfoam is specifically made to shut down.

Decreasing Laser cost wouldn't be very helpful because it still ties up your production just as much, and extra Vehicle Factories aren't cheap in the early game.

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Neither Sticky (If removing Vehicle damage, then none in Sticky's case) nor ESG will deal huge amounts of damage. Sticky will stop vehicles in their tracks. ESG's will only hurt if you drive on the mines. Sit still and damage wont be that great.
Couple both of these missiles with my suggestions toward increased cost and increased Launch/Impact time and I think it could be an interesting option.
The key here is to balance these toward cost so that it adds diversity rather than being overpowering.
Of course Missiles damaging Structures is a bad idea. If you read my whole post coherently instead of picking out parts it might more sense.
I saw that and it's still way too OP. EMP Missiles are the last thing that needs a buff, especially to that degree.


If you wanted to buff up Plymouth late game, encourage the player to build Supernovas. This seems to me, Plymouth's counter to the Thors Hammer Tiger; a fast unit with a massive explosive payload that can decimate several tigers in one blast.
Good luck with that, Starflares/Supernovas are clearly not skirmishers. They're exclusively used to snipe key structures, which I actually have seen a lot of.

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As for the EMP Missile, lore-wise (campaign), Plymouth at that time had very little resources and thus the purpose of it was to disabled the Eden Spaceport to get the RLV so that they could finish up their starship faster. It wasn't meant to be a weapon that could be spammed easily. Factions in the campaign also only ever had one Spaceport and huge resource constraints. Thus, if we wanted to make things balanced, I'd say restrict both players to a single Spaceport. That way EMP Missiles become a strategic one-off weapon for dealing a strategic blow, while the majority of your tanks do the brunt of the work, rather than a spammable "cheesy" tactic.
I'm not a fan of arbitrary limits like that.

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For the ESG, is it possible to keep laid mines active until destroyed? I recall that ESG mines eventually disappear, and a way to make ESG a little more powerful, would be to keep the mines active until something ran over them. Thus, the Plymouth player could funnel enemies by keeping several active minefields and force them to either go down the path they wanted or take huge damage crossing the minefields. That is one way of buffing the ESG without modifying its damage or other abilities.
That would be way, way, way too OP. You would only need a single ESG to defend.

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For the RPG, the only situation where I'd agree to give RPG splash damage is if RPG had a minimum range. Thus, it could have splash damage, but not be able to hit targets within range of 1-2. So, any short-range unit, ie Laser, could decimate an RPG by getting within its minimum range but still be in trouble if grouped up with multiple units at a distance.
That wouldn't work. Damaged units move slower, and short-ranged units would be taking damage before the RPG receives any, so the RPG would be able to move away from the other unit faster than it could keep up. Plus the RPG could just fire on a tile next to the attacker if it had splash.

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A way to buff Railgun without affecting it's damage is to allow a projectile to fully travel its range hitting all targets in its path. So if there is 3 lynxes in a row, the railgun hits all 3 if they are all within range.
That would make it better than Thor's. Too OP, especially for a mid-game common-only weapon.

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- EMP usage by Eden?
Not sure how you get the idea Eden doesn't use EMP. EMP becomes a core part of any army as soon as it becomes available.
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- DIRT usage at all?
In some of my survivor missions I made DIRTs give a slight amount of structure auto-repair, mostly to make scratch damage from electrical storms less of a pain to deal with.
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- Light Tower usage at all?
They need to give "enemy unit sighted" alerts like Scouts do.
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- Scout usage at all?
I've used them on maps like Pie Chart to alert me to Starflares or whatever being sent in through the back.
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- Do players create extra bases or stick to a single base the entire match?
It's always worth it to grab a second common ore mine, even if your first one is a 3 bar and the second is a 1 bar. Setting up a whole new self-contained base is a pretty huge investment, but on some big Land Rush maps you might get screwed out of nearby rare and don't have much of a choice.

That does bring to mind another really big balancing consideration, the maps themselves, specifically ore placement. La Corrida's ore is pretty balanced just because you're guaranteed so much of it (maybe too much), but Pie Chart is a total crapshoot that becomes a coin flip after the early game based on how RNG treated you as far as ore on the outer edges of the map goes. Randomized resources really shouldn't be a thing in competitive play.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 21, 2016, 11:35:30 AM
Interesting that you say that Starflares/Supernovas are only used for sniping structures. In campaign, I loved using them to blow up multiple units at once. Two starflares attacking one unit, is usually enough to blow up several panthers, if they are close together. And that is a much more economical way of dealing with large mobs of units. EMP em, then send in the Suicide units. I suppose it may be that I'm just more used to the concept of suicide units being used effectively, as I also really enjoyed them in Dark Reign 1/2 (which was released around the same time).

I'm generally also not a fan of arbitrary limits either, but in most games there is an effective countermeasure that always works reliably. In C&C Tiberium Sun, an effective counter to the Mammoth MK II are Banshees or for the Cyborg Commando are Orca Bombers. In Supreme Commander, anyone can build nukes, but anti-nukes are faster to build and cheaper to mass produce. If MDs properly worked, 10 times out of 10, and properly preventing missiles and meteors from making it to the ground, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. The reality is the MD is finicky, encouraging Eden to build multiples and build MD creep. Both spamming EMP missiles, spamming spaceports, and spamming MDs are cheesy tactics. Either EMP Missiles should be limited in some way or removed entirely... much like No Super Weapons mods in C&C games. When you think of Super Weapons in the two games I listed (C&C and SupCom), in C&C you can only have a single super weapon with an extremely long cooldown on the weapon making it a strategic weapon, while in SupCom a single strategic nuke costs about the same as 2-3 UEF Fatboys and takes about 5x as long to build, whereas the anti-nuke costs less than 1 Fatboy and can have two built in the time it takes to build a strategic nuke. Superweapon logic dictates that the weapon should be strategic and only used sparingly to prevent abuse and cheesy tactics. The EMP is a superweapon, and there is no reliably effective tactic to counter EMP missiles. If Eden say, had a mobile MD unit that had a short-range (4-5 range) attack that could shoot down missiles, then maybe you wouldn't see MD Creep. The EMP missile in Multiplayer is unbalanced because in the campaign you couldn't spam them due to resource cost and colonist requirements... these do not exist in Multiplayer... hence why I'm suggesting a limiting of spaceports. Alternatively... if you could set it where a spaceport can only fire an EMP missile once per 5 minutes, that could help to reduce EMP missile spam, as the player would have to have an ungodly number of spaceports to spam them.

For the ESG comment. No, you'd only need one to re-lay the mines. But if the enemy pushed your position, you'd need more than one ESG unit. Why take the clear path when a tiger can absorb some of the mines to clear a path for the other units to punch a hole through your defenses. No, you'd still need multiple ESGs to discourage players from doing that. This change would make the ESG more a defensive unit than an offensive unit, as the ESG isn't really designed to be a combat unit. This change would help to support them in their role. If permanent mines is too OP then double the duration of mines so that they will fade out eventually.

The RPG example if there is splash damage, then that implies at least two units vs the RPG, as the other would be getting the splash damage. Most games with splash damage doesn't apply splash damage to the primary target, so in a one-to-one battle, splash damage wouldn't be applied. In a two-to-one RPG battle, one of the close range units would close the gap and get within minimum range, damage the RPG enough that it wouldn't be able to escape the more damaged one that was the primary target. But this change would allow multiple close range units to work together to close the gap, but would give RPG units an edge over multiple slower units too close to eachother.

Well, it was just a suggestion for Railgun. It would put the gun in its own niche if it had that effect. If you were afraid it would out-do Thors, then buff Thors damage for highest single target weapon.

Well, I've never seen Eden players use EMP, and when I play campaign, I don't bother with EMP either except to prevent units from moving while I get my Starflares into position. I'd rather build starflares and kamikaze them into a few units over temporarily stunning them... which honestly more often than not, just accidently EMPs my own units that are too close that then become Spider bait. If I'm Plymouth, I'll use EMP so that my Spiders and Scorpions can be used effectively... though hardly see those get used in multiplayer either. (I watch youtube videos of multiplayer for reference)

DIRTs provide auto-repair in Multiplayer? What? (Oh wait, you said your Survivor missions, never mind) In campaign they just reduce all structure damage including Guardposts, making them great for reducing the damage of enemy tanks attacking your buildings or reducing disaster damage.

Would Light Towers and Scouts see more usage if Fog of War was enabled, like it is in most games? Being that you can always see your enemy, scouting/recon is basically unneeded.

For Rare Ores, I find it most annoying when I build a structure, do the research and find out I built my Structure Factory on a 2-bar Rare. For multiplayer, has it ever been considered to have an EDWARD satellite always active for all players?




Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 21, 2016, 12:49:33 PM
Interesting that you say that Starflares/Supernovas are only used for sniping structures. In campaign, I loved using them to blow up multiple units at once. Two starflares attacking one unit, is usually enough to blow up several panthers, if they are close together. And that is a much more economical way of dealing with large mobs of units. EMP em, then send in the Suicide units. I suppose it may be that I'm just more used to the concept of suicide units being used effectively, as I also really enjoyed them in Dark Reign 1/2 (which was released around the same time).
Comparing a (really bad) AI to actual players isn't a good comparison. In MP, your Starflares will get EMP'd/Stickyfoamed and die before they get close. One time I played against someone who did a Supernova-only troll build on a wide open map and even there his goal was to just get a couple past my defenses to kill my CC.

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If MDs properly worked, 10 times out of 10, and properly preventing missiles and meteors from making it to the ground, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. The reality is the MD is finicky, encouraging Eden to build multiples and build MD creep. Both spamming EMP missiles, spamming spaceports, and spamming MDs are cheesy tactics. Either EMP Missiles should be limited in some way or removed entirely... much like No Super Weapons mods in C&C games. When you think of Super Weapons in the two games I listed (C&C and SupCom), in C&C you can only have a single super weapon with an extremely long cooldown on the weapon making it a strategic weapon, while in SupCom a single strategic nuke costs about the same as 2-3 UEF Fatboys and takes about 5x as long to build, whereas the anti-nuke costs less than 1 Fatboy and can have two built in the time it takes to build a strategic nuke. Superweapon logic dictates that the weapon should be strategic and only used sparingly to prevent abuse and cheesy tactics. The EMP is a superweapon, and there is no reliably effective tactic to counter EMP missiles. If Eden say, had a mobile MD unit that had a short-range (4-5 range) attack that could shoot down missiles, then maybe you wouldn't see MD Creep. The EMP missile in Multiplayer is unbalanced because in the campaign you couldn't spam them due to resource cost and colonist requirements... these do not exist in Multiplayer... hence why I'm suggesting a limiting of spaceports. Alternatively... if you could set it where a spaceport can only fire an EMP missile once per 5 minutes, that could help to reduce EMP missile spam, as the player would have to have an ungodly number of spaceports to spam them.
Removing EMP Missiles would make Plymouth late game underpowered. Limiting them to one every 5 minutes would also make them pretty bad. A mobile MD would probably be too good.

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For the ESG comment. No, you'd only need one to re-lay the mines. But if the enemy pushed your position, you'd need more than one ESG unit. Why take the clear path when a tiger can absorb some of the mines to clear a path for the other units to punch a hole through your defenses. No, you'd still need multiple ESGs to discourage players from doing that. This change would make the ESG more a defensive unit than an offensive unit, as the ESG isn't really designed to be a combat unit. This change would help to support them in their role. If permanent mines is too OP then double the duration of mines so that they will fade out eventually.
You realize enemy players can't see the ESG mines, right? And ESG mines stack, so a single ESG laying mines would be one-shotting Tigers all over the place. Horrendous idea.

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The RPG example if there is splash damage, then that implies at least two units vs the RPG, as the other would be getting the splash damage. Most games with splash damage doesn't apply splash damage to the primary target, so in a one-to-one battle, splash damage wouldn't be applied. In a two-to-one RPG battle, one of the close range units would close the gap and get within minimum range, damage the RPG enough that it wouldn't be able to escape the more damaged one that was the primary target. But this change would allow multiple close range units to work together to close the gap, but would give RPG units an edge over multiple slower units too close to eachother.
I don't see how that theorycrafting is supposed to add up. You realize players can manually target them and don't have to just go with whatever target was automatically picked?

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Well, it was just a suggestion for Railgun. It would put the gun in its own niche if it had that effect. If you were afraid it would out-do Thors, then buff Thors damage for highest single target weapon.
Okay, as if your ideas weren't already frankly ridiculous, now they definitely are. At this point in the thread, every single thing that definitely doesn't need a buff has been suggested to be buffed.

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Well, I've never seen Eden players use EMP, and when I play campaign, I don't bother with EMP either except to prevent units from moving while I get my Starflares into position. I'd rather build starflares and kamikaze them into a few units over temporarily stunning them... which honestly more often than not, just accidently EMPs my own units that are too close that then become Spider bait. If I'm Plymouth, I'll use EMP so that my Spiders and Scorpions can be used effectively... though hardly see those get used in multiplayer either. (I watch youtube videos of multiplayer for reference)
Then you're not playing good players, that's the long and short of it. EMP is extremely important. Again, comparing the campaign to MP is a non-sequitur, the AI is so bad you can do things like distract huge attack waves with a single scout forever, no human player would be dumb enough to do that.

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Would Light Towers and Scouts see more usage if Fog of War was enabled, like it is in most games? Being that you can always see your enemy, scouting/recon is basically unneeded.
Fog of war would make MP much better, but it'd be a very complicated hack.

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For Rare Ores, I find it most annoying when I build a structure, do the research and find out I built my Structure Factory on a 2-bar Rare. For multiplayer, has it ever been considered to have an EDWARD satellite always active for all players?
You could make an argument for rare ore beacons being visible before researching the tech to mine them, but free EDWARD? Really?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 21, 2016, 01:19:28 PM
How about this,

Laser Buff to match Microwave.
Acid early, same rate of fire and distance as sticky, same dmg, remove rare ore cost.

Acid is not near same as Esg or Sticky but the area effect can be the same or its close, and this way you are not giving Eden a vehicle disabling weapon early.

And common ore increase for Emp Missiles still sounds like the only option to me
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 21, 2016, 02:11:31 PM
Acid early, same rate of fire and distance as sticky, same dmg, remove rare ore cost.

Acid is not near same as Esg or Sticky but the area effect can be the same or its close, and this way you are not giving Eden a vehicle disabling weapon early.
Extremely OP. Even more OP than buffing Thor's Hammer.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 21, 2016, 02:17:02 PM
Really? Even after slowing down rate of fire and distance?

Alright then. I will admit defeat
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 21, 2016, 02:50:01 PM
(Shrugs shoulders) And this is why I don't play multiplayer in a game that isn't designed for multiplayer.

SupCom anti-nukes are built faster and at a lower cost than nukes. Yes, both structures alone have a build rate of 10 I think, but if you put 10 T3 Engineers supporting an Anti-Nuke structure and 10 on a Nuke Structure, the anti-nukes will be produced faster and at a lower cost; the net consumption of resources per second is much less. If you don't use assistance, then no, you'll never get anything done in a good amount of time. Assisting provides immense benefit, if you are doing it right and have the economy to support it. With a strong enough economy, I have had 40 Support ACUs fill a Nuke Silo completely in less than 5 minutes... then I spammed nukes :P.

I did not know ESG mines stack.

Sure, people can manually target things with RPGs. But the level of micromanagement needed for that to micromanage each unit, is many magnitudes greater than even StarCraft 1.

Some humans are dumb enough, temporarily. If they see a lone unit moving on the minimap, they'll still take the time to see what it is. Can't assume its a scout afterall.

How would you have rare ore beacons visible without having the research completed already OR an EDWARD satellite? Are you seriously saying you enjoy running a surveyor to every single ore to check it when most players turn off all the other colony related stuff? I don't get it. You players hate the colony management but you love using surveyors?

Well suffice to say, I am obviously not qualified to help balance this game. So, I'll just excuse myself from these conversations now.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Sirbomber on November 21, 2016, 03:20:27 PM
lordpalandus: If your area of expertise is in the colony management side, we would like to hear more of your ideas on that front.  I think the reason Arklon objected to "all players start with EDWARD" is 1) it lets you see not only what your ore is like, but also your opponent's, which is an unfair knowledge advantage you wouldn't otherwise have and 2) it also alerts you to imminent disasters.  I think a reasonable compromise might be to make rare ore beacons visible from the start of the game and to automatically reveal all beacons within a certain distance around your Command Center?

I understand your frustration with the constant "no no no" but try to understand how exasperating it might be for a multiplayer veteran to hear suggestions for combat unit balance from someone whose only experience is against the AI, which is inept at building effective armies and unable to effectively use the units it does have.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 21, 2016, 05:08:30 PM
SupCom anti-nukes are built faster and at a lower cost than nukes. Yes, both structures alone have a build rate of 10 I think, but if you put 10 T3 Engineers supporting an Anti-Nuke structure and 10 on a Nuke Structure, the anti-nukes will be produced faster and at a lower cost; the net consumption of resources per second is much less. If you don't use assistance, then no, you'll never get anything done in a good amount of time. Assisting provides immense benefit, if you are doing it right and have the economy to support it. With a strong enough economy, I have had 40 Support ACUs fill a Nuke Silo completely in less than 5 minutes... then I spammed nukes :P.
Assist in general was nerfed in the expansion, and it was especially heavily nerfed for nukes and anti-nukes where they deliberately made assist do almost nothing. Pre-expansion, you only needed a couple factories, and you could pump out nukes and anti-nukes in a matter of seconds if you had the economy to support it (which was easily achieved since T3 Mass Fabricators and SCU Resource Allocation System were also really OP in the vanilla game, though I don't like how the former got nerfed into the ground), so it was nerfed for good reason.

I think the reason Arklon objected to "all players start with EDWARD" is 1) it lets you see not only what your ore is like, but also your opponent's, which is an unfair knowledge advantage you wouldn't otherwise have and 2) it also alerts you to imminent disasters.
Exactly. Although if we rebalance some of the maps to have static and symmetrical resource distribution, there wouldn't really be any guessing what ore your opponent has.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 21, 2016, 05:28:06 PM
And on that note, how does base/ore balancing play in your mind?

One great common ore to start and small crappy ones outside your base?

One sorta okay common and rare at your location, and one great common and great rare ore further out?

Or a bunch of mines at your start and piss on the rest of the map?

I think option number 2
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on November 21, 2016, 05:33:52 PM
@Sirbomber; Alright, then I'll focus on colony management then... probably make a different thread as this one is about combat balance.

@Arklon; It is true that assisting was nerfed a fair bit with Forged Alliance, compared to Vanilla. However, assisting can be still quite effective. Just need 100 T3 engineers instead of 50? (I believe they nerfed their build rate by 50%) to accomplish the same thing. Alternatively, have those T2 built support towers used to assist instead (for the UEF) of Engineers. My monkeylord rush strategy (build a monkeylord within the first 5 minutes of gameplay) still works in Forged Alliance, though I do need a bit more time before I can field one (6-7 minutes). Generally only gets to the "nuke" stage if its a 20x20+ sized map as it just takes too long to get most units from one end to the other in a timely manner. 
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on November 21, 2016, 05:36:36 PM
@Arklon; It is true that assisting was nerfed a fair bit with Forged Alliance, compared to Vanilla. However, assisting can be still quite effective. Just need 100 T3 engineers instead of 50? (I believe they nerfed their build rate by 50%) to accomplish the same thing.
That's the "nerfed in general" part, but it was additionally much more heavily nerfed specifically with nukes/anti-nukes.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on November 23, 2016, 12:49:45 PM
So if we were to change a few small things what would be the best way of distributing test versions,tracking and testing?

Would it be worth adding a section to the OP2 page under the download section showing a test version and a list of instructions/changes?

EDIT => one more thought, would it be possible to depleting ore deposits? Or rather faster than is current or change it to be complete depletion?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Hooman on December 01, 2016, 03:30:08 AM
You could change mines.txt and set the final amount to 0 to create a mine type that will become depleted. You'd probably want to increase the number of truckloads before it reaches that point. Of course such a change affects the game globally, and I suspect trucks will continue to harvest but carry 0 ore. Might be worth testing.

Distributing stuff for testing is pretty ad-hoc right now. I have no advice to give, though I suspect Sirbomber or Arklon might have some insights.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: leeor_net on December 01, 2016, 08:46:33 AM
Well suffice to say, I am obviously not qualified to help balance this game. So, I'll just excuse myself from these conversations now.

This conversation isn't intended to be heated or to put anybody down. What we're talking about here are two completely different game types. The single player game and the multiplayer games. They have different dynamics so what you're suggesting is reasonable from a single-player point of view.

This conversation is supposed to be fun. Try not to take things personally -- they aren't personal.

lordpalandus: If your area of expertise is in the colony management side, we would like to hear more of your ideas on that front.

... snip ...

I understand your frustration with the constant "no no no" but try to understand how exasperating it might be for a multiplayer veteran to hear suggestions for combat unit balance from someone whose only experience is against the AI, which is inept at building effective armies and unable to effectively use the units it does have.

Thank you, Sirbomber, for explaining the other side of it. I'm personally not a multiplayer veteran, not lately anyway, which is why I've been somewhat quiet on the subject. I had little to offer except for the single player and my biggest issue has been the terrible AI as you stated. Would be nice to have something a little more effective -- is that something the mission developer has to do or does the game provide this?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on December 01, 2016, 02:06:14 PM
So if we were to change a few small things what would be the best way of distributing test versions,tracking and testing?

Would it be worth adding a section to the OP2 page under the download section showing a test version and a list of instructions/changes?

EDIT => one more thought, would it be possible to depleting ore deposits? Or rather faster than is current or change it to be complete depletion?
I kinda like that, but then it'd make certain maps' resources being rebalanced even more of a requirement. Pie Chart would be totally unbalanced with this change because of resources along the outer edge being unpredictable/unreliable. Other maps like Axen's Home are pretty sparse on resources in general.

You could change mines.txt and set the final amount to 0 to create a mine type that will become depleted. You'd probably want to increase the number of truckloads before it reaches that point. Of course such a change affects the game globally, and I suspect trucks will continue to harvest but carry 0 ore. Might be worth testing.

Distributing stuff for testing is pretty ad-hoc right now. I have no advice to give, though I suspect Sirbomber or Arklon might have some insights.
An issue I can see with editing things in sheets.vol is it'll impact the campaign, etc. We'll need to figure out how to deal with that.

For distributing, I think making a mod of the /loadmod variety (like Renegades) is the way Sirbomber did it for Multitek2 so he could make it have its own sheets.vol.

Thank you, Sirbomber, for explaining the other side of it. I'm personally not a multiplayer veteran, not lately anyway, which is why I've been somewhat quiet on the subject. I had little to offer except for the single player and my biggest issue has been the terrible AI as you stated. Would be nice to have something a little more effective -- is that something the mission developer has to do or does the game provide this?
Eddy-B had a pretty good AI for Renegades, but he never released the source code for it like he had promised to.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: leeor_net on December 01, 2016, 02:10:28 PM
So then we need to find Eddy-B and punish him.

I don't want to be one to end up eating my foot but I would think an AI shouldn't be that difficult to make. You don't need a super smart one and generally speaking it's just a state machine with varying behavior attributes.

Or is it more complicated than that?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Vagabond on December 01, 2016, 04:08:53 PM
I actually thought the AI in Outpost 2 was pretty good for 1997. Especially when you consider how good the unit path-finding was for its time and how highly configurable the AI is. With the ability to tell the AI how/where to build new bases, when to repair different buildings, etc.

I think a lot of the difficulties with a good AI is handling the multitude of edge cases and making it not boringly predictable. I think Outpost 2 pushed its limits for processing power back in the day, so they probably didn't have a lot of room for lengthy CPU calculations, a constraint we don't have to worry about as much anymore since technology has moved along so far.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on December 01, 2016, 08:33:31 PM
I actually thought the AI in Outpost 2 was pretty good for 1997. Especially when you consider how good the unit path-finding was for its time and how highly configurable the AI is. With the ability to tell the AI how/where to build new bases, when to repair different buildings, etc.

I think a lot of the difficulties with a good AI is handling the multitude of edge cases and making it not boringly predictable. I think Outpost 2 pushed its limits for processing power back in the day, so they probably didn't have a lot of room for lengthy CPU calculations, a constraint we don't have to worry about as much anymore since technology has moved along so far.
Uhh, I don't consider having to hardcode in how to build bases/etc. are good things. It's hardly "AI" at all, more like just plain A. Dynamix was pretty obviously rushing the game out the door to meet a deadline, since there was no mission editor that had been previously advertised, most of the AI functions are broken if not unimplemented altogether, there was no generic AI that could be dropped into any map like in pretty much every other RTS, the missions were all DLLs, etc. Other old RTSes like Age of Empires 2 and StarCraft were much better in the AI department, but even those were pretty easy.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Hooman on December 02, 2016, 02:02:52 AM
So then we need to find Eddy-B and punish him.

[... Snip! ...]

Or is it more complicated than that?

;)

(That's how I read it while skimming through a second time).


AI functions are quite simplistic, which makes it rather difficult to implement something, and the results are usually kind of sad. AI is quite a difficult topic.


This thread has been getting kind of personal at times.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Sirbomber on December 02, 2016, 02:38:35 PM
I have 500 lines of (buggy, incomplete, and most certainly inefficient) code dedicated solely to getting the AI to figure out what kind of structure it needs to build, call a ConVec to a Structure Factory, build a structure kit, load the kit into a ConVec, find a valid location for building, move the ConVec into position, and deploy the structure.  It has no concept of tubes, struggles with mines and smelters, and doesn't know not to build its Advanced Lab right next to its Command Center.

So yeah, it's probably more complicated than you think, Leeor. ;)
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: leeor_net on December 03, 2016, 08:11:11 AM
Could just be that I'm thinking of AI in FPS type games, both for realistic human like bots and for basic bitch mobs. That code generally is straight forward. I've never attempted to implement it into an RTS... but what you're mentioning reminds me of the StarCraft post mortem which talks about their AI and pathing code and how it's a giant and monstrous mess of a state machine.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on December 04, 2016, 11:46:18 AM
@Hooman; "it is getting personal" that is an understatement.

@Vagabond; actually the AI is not very good for 1997. Dark Reign 1 released the same year, and was released before Outpost 2, but it had fully working AI that would actually build up its main base and build up secondary bases if the game dragged on for too long. It had a fairly competent AI, and like Outpost 2, it was a tiled, sprite-based, isometric game. Plus, Dark Reign 1 had a map editor out of the box, and allowed for text-file editing out of the box as well; one of the first games I modded and produced maps for (perhaps even the first!)

The issue with the base building AI code is "tubes". An AI could likely be programmed to find an optimal place to construct its structure, but as it requires tubes to connect to the command center, the building wouldn't function without a tube connection. Thus, everything has to be hard-coded. My thought on this is what if we allowed the AI to "cheat a little", and thus was magically able to instantly produce tubes to a structure the moment it is placed, so that it will connect to the command center or even waive the need for the AI to have tubes at all. Yes, it would be a bit unfair for the player who does need to do tubes, but at least then the AI might be made competent enough to think for itself rather than have to be hard-coded to build in X,Y location because the earthworker built tubes to that location. I'd say its the tubes as Dark Reign 1 didn't have tubes, and its AI had no issues with base building.

Heck, even Earth 2140 had better AI and base building code than Outpost 2 does for its AI. I wouldn't say its better than Dark Reign's, but it was still fairly competent and did build all of its required structures and in Earth 2140, you did have to build a Research Lab to unlock (albeit automatically over time... it was basically research tech 1, then once that is finished, automatically switched to tech 2, etc) new technologies. And it was also from 1997.

And then of course there was Warcraft 1 (1994), Warcraft 2 (1995), C&C RA (1996), and Age of Empires 1 (1996) all came out before Outpost 2 and had competent AIs (I've played each one for varying amounts of time... I think Warcraft 2: BNE I played the most). Though again, none of them had to deal with tubes... or have vehicles pathfind around lava. Though to be fair, Warcraft 2 and C&C RA1 both had naval units and naval transports that they had to pathfind through water and avoid hitting land, so its semi-similar.

@leeor; You'll see how bad StarCraft 1's AI is when you try to make a custom scenario for them and you'll see that the AI is actually quite dumb on its own (I had one AI build 5 spawning pools, for no real apparent reason at all, but to build 5 spawning pools) and the programmer has to put a lot of effort into building complex scripts to get it to do what they want it to do. I've tried multiple times to make custom scenarios in StarCraft 1, and its often a pain in the butt to get the AI to do precisely what you want them to do... and leaving their code to their own devices often doesn't work either... skirmish mode makes the AI look so simple to implement flawlessly, but it aint and you'll struggle to get the AI to do what you want in custom scenarios.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Vagabond on December 04, 2016, 05:12:35 PM
I see Arklon's point that Outpost 2 doesn't have a comprehensive AI in the sense that we cannot give the computer a small starting base and then see the computer play the rest of the game. It simply has parts of an overall AI such as fight groups, mining groups, construction groups, etc. And some of the implemented AI pieces have bugs or are incomplete.

I do believe Outpost 2 handled AI well considering how complex the game is. I don't think Outpost 2 can be compared to Starcraft or Warcraft in complexity of required colony management for a comprehensive AI. I haven't played Earth 2140, Warcraft 2, or Dark Realm, so I do not know about them.

Each of the games mentioned will likely have a couple of challenges not explored by Outpost 2 such as water transport, air units, and special unit abilities. But when you think about all of the following challenges, I don't see why there is any reason to think Outpost 2's AI isn't robust for when it was made and based on the challenge at hand for the designers:

Unique challenges of a comprehensive AI in Outpost 2:
 * Transporting construction kits from a structure factory to build site
 * Tubing between structures
 * Fixing tubing problems dynamically if part of base is destroyed
 * Structures that can explode and destroy part of the colony when damaged (as Sirbomber pointed out)
 * Colony power management including using vents and satellites as appropriate
 * Colony population management (not talking about how many units you can build)
 * Food level management
 * Tying up large portions of population to research topics as needed
 * Benefits of idling structures as needed to shift colony workforce and reduce damage taken by building and colonist death rate when destroyed
 * Distinction between colony members (children, workers, scientists) and what they do for the colony
 * Managing scientist levels through losing workers over chunks of time while they go to university
 * Having to survey mines before use
 * Having to build a mine before harvesting
 * Gaining knowledge of location of advanced resources partway through the game (and having to possibly rip up structures to survey and access it)
 * Dynamically blocking off large portions of the map over time (lava flows)
 * Handling colony morale, which is handled differently as new research is completed
 * Choosing between 35+ types of buildings to construct
 * Dealing with and using surprise tactics when day/night is on

I think the fact we haven't managed to reverse engineer what Dynamix did for their AI or managed to replace it in so many years means they probably did a decent job handling the difficult task. And I think it speaks a lot to the quality of the game overall that we all come back to play the game and mod it.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Arklon on December 04, 2016, 05:15:48 PM
I do believe Outpost 2 handled AI well considering how complex the game is. I don't think Outpost 2 can be compared to Starcraft or Warcraft in complexity of required colony management for a comprehensive AI. I haven't played Earth 2140, Warcraft 2, or Dark Realm, so I do not know about them.
OP2's AI cheats as far as population/morale management goes. It gets 8000 colonists and permanently steady morale. So no, not even from that angle does OP2 have good AI.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: leeor_net on December 04, 2016, 05:36:48 PM
I was going to say, I assumed that the AI was cheating in OP2 based on 1) its behavior and 2) it's known poorly implemented 'intelligence'.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: lordpalandus on December 05, 2016, 02:59:37 AM
Does the AI even research technologies or does it's AI have everything unlocked at the start and the programmer simply allows them access to higher tech at a certain "tick" point?
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: Hooman on December 05, 2016, 03:05:21 AM
More so the latter. I don't think the AIs labs ever do anything. And destroying them won't set the AI back, neither in terms of research, nor in terms of scientists that could have died while actively researching there, which they are not.

The AI cheats for people, morale, ore, research. What's available to the programmer is a fairly low level API, so it's not easy to work with. There's no real way to make the AI research, so it's just faked.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: leeor_net on December 06, 2016, 08:55:16 AM
I think it's safe to say most AI's cheat. It's just a matter of how well the approximation of a human player they can manage.

That could be an interesting challenge and add-on library for the OP2 SDK when I think about it... building an AI class that actually... you know... plays well. I might have to think about this one a bit.
Title: Re: Outpost 2 Game Balancing
Post by: dave_erald on December 06, 2016, 02:20:23 PM
Like SirBomber was saying there is hundreds of lines of code that have to be added to just get the AI to construct and maintain a base to say nothing about having it attack or defend itself.

There almost needs to be an agreed upon "footprint" as it were for AI bases i.e. there should be a minimum of this much open room (plot of land 30x30 or whatever) and a rudimentary base code and upkeep coding. Just enough to have the AI build units a few buildings and defend itself. Advanced characteristics and behaviour can be added on after. This could open up making it easier to build missions (multiplayer for instance) where you need or would want to fill in spots. I understand that if someone has spent years making a good AI that they wouldnt necessarily want to give out all of the code, but a small starter package would be nice.