Galactic War. Balance, Suggestions and AI

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by Corpserule, July 14, 2014.

  1. Corpserule

    Corpserule Member

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    Been Playing Galactic war for quite some time now, i tend to play on Relentless difficulty, on a range of sizes, and i've a fair familiarity with all the techs in the game. There are some annoyances for which I have suggestions for, as for where the game gets much harder/easier.

    Current Balances

    Most valuable techs - Any Orbital tech, Sub Commander, Basic Air Tech+ (could be complete)
    Powerful techs - STUB (Same type unit bonus), Efficiency Tech, Complete Tech (Any)

    Sub Commanders are powerful allies, easily a 60-70% increase in your strength, if its any less, then the difficulty you are playing at is too easy for you, if its more, you're going to have a rough time, to tone down their power is suggestion #1, which also addresses complete techs.

    Suggestion #1 however doesn't address efficiency and STUB. Whilst these techs aren't too outstanding in power, they are more powerful than others and don't promote good play. Instead of giving power by variety, they encourage using the initial strategies given to the player. players can get quite far, with just empowering a simple minded strategy if their luck tips that way. So my suggestion #0, because it isn't much of a suggestion, is to decrease the power of those techs. My opinion on their strengths should be

    Vehicle, Navy, Air, Kbot - 25% hp, 10% hp
    Orbital - leave as it is.
    Superweapon - unsure.

    In my opinion Orbital is fine because you cannot use it alone to win a game, its resource investment is too high to do so, remember, I'm not saying orbital is weak, just that orbital alone isn't enough to win a game. Some Towers or other units are required.

    Some of you might point out supply tech does give free power too by giving starting resources, but I think its more inline with the current balance than the others.

    STUB example - 50% more hp and 25% more damage to vehicle units

    Luck

    Unfortunately, Luck comes across in Galactic war and can make your life easy, or impossible, depending on techs you find, and techs of the opposing players you fight against, this is massively increased in smaller sizes where you fight 1-2 battles and if the enemy has a Sub Commander and you haven't found any useful tech, its almost a guarenteed loss. Even if you manage to fight them off your planet (very unlikely), its almost guarenteed that one of them has build an Astreas and left for the other planet. from there, unless you followed them near immediately (further dividing your resources), its a stalemate ( suggestion #2).

    This happens very often, but also, sometimes you can cruise (relatively) through the game by finding sub-commanders, rare, but it happens. allowing you to focus on moving to the moon, fighting them there, and providing that touch of extra assistance to the home planet to ensure that the enemy loses. Orbital tech lets you almost sit back and relax, as it gives you the power to deal with the enemy on the moon later. and more efficiently than the game's only initial orbital play (suggestion #2).

    Theres also a chance that there will be two enemies, and neither choose to leave the planet, making the fight there hell. One of the biggest gambles you have to take is whether to rush orbital or not, and you have to do it very, very fast, as by the time you have scouted the enemy for orbital tech, (2 mins in, unless air tech), you have to have made this decision before then, or you get stalemated, generally, you should try to go orbital early, just because it gives you a chance to (although sometimes futilely) fight back.

    Air tech is important for two reasons, To stop Tier 2 bombers, which out-range all other anti-air, with higher move speed (although you can sometimes trick them into coming closer), allowing them to bomb anything with little chance of retaliation. And because they can move over sea, allowing you to actually fight in water. It's more powerful than naval tech simply because it fulfills both purposes.

    In addition to this, Friendly AI players AFK if you do not have any naval or air tech and they start in water, making the chance that the blue planet you are landing on being water, EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Which brings me to suggestion #3, which is some AI tweaks further below.

    Suggestion #1 - Combination techs.

    Powerful techs should exist - like the the sub-commanders - at a price, find them in two pieces. With technology, finding an advanced tech while holding a basic tech combines them into complete tech, giving incentive to hold onto presently unused technology, and preserving valuable data banks, what could be more satisfying then seeing the other half to the tech you already have? nothing thats what. It also reduces the luck element - you shouldn't be finding complete tech anymore - reducing the surge of power from good luck.

    Sub Commanders should also be in two halves, through you may want to just have them down as "sub-commander part" so that you don't just end up with three upper halves. I'm sure a commander of your caliber should be able to fit any two halves of commanders together with some welding. Notable, that if this is done, a single sub-commander part doesn't have a purpose, making them slightly risky to hold, as they consume a valuable data bank.

    Another plus to this method is a good explanation as to why other commanders would join you. You repaired them after all!, if they weren't going to obey you..., you could easily override their "loyalty" module during repairs...

    Likewise these techs should be more expensive in an AI's Arsonal..., in small size maps, they probably should be reserved for when the player fights a HQ system

    This doesnt address orbital and air's power, they are addressed in suggestion #2 and #3 respectively

    Suggestion #2 - Commander EVAC

    When an enemy commander goes orbital, or hides in a bay, you may as well have lost the whole galactic war as far as the game is concerned, While you can perform an orbital raid using astreases and group commands, enemies will continue to build anti-orbital, and without access to other orbital tech it slowly becomes impossible to beat them, as the cost of resisting you is cheaper than the cost of raiding. This happens on both sides, while computers generally have better tech, you tend to have the better planet, allowing yourself to build a global net of umbrellas to destroy any would-be invaders.

    So what happens now, though there is an exploit (suggestion #4) allowing you to circumvent loses in galactic war, that should be dealt with, and the only other thing to do is to abandon all galactic conquest. "enemy on tiny moon, GG i give up on all galactic conquest". You could incorporate orbital fighters into starter tech, giving a bit better of a capability of stopping that, but thats "basic orbital tech's" selling point. it also doesn't deal with comanders who are hiding in the middle of the sea, beyond the range of all your weapons, with no air or naval tech, they are unkillable. Likewise, other scenarios, are likely to crop up even if you fix those problems (computer may mass umbrellas until your astreuses cant spread faster than they can kill).

    So instead of that, i suggest adding a button to the menu "Comm Evac", which when clicked, provides you a detailed description on what it does and what its for, followed by confirmation.

    What It Does

    - Disables command of your game for 20 minutes (since you have no control, fast forwarding would be appreciated, though if its in this scenario, as long as its done, i don't care about 20 minutes)
    - Unit queues above 20 are considered to be unlimited, and will continue to build, your base continues to run, etc.
    - The commander will not participate in combat (attack, D-gun, or move), if possible, it would be cool to see him fabricating a pod.
    - After 20 minutes have passed, the player will return to the galactic map, with their last movement undone.

    This time proves that the player is in a stalemate scenario, (and if not, 20 minutes of inactively to escape is well played on the player's behalf). It also stops the player from panicking when an enemy com launches into space.

    Suggestion #3 - Some AI tweaks

    Just some specific scenarios with appropriate reactions

    - If the com cannot build Naval/Air factories and starts in water, immediately move towards the closest landmass and build there. This is done to prevent AFKS.
    - Consider Massing Astreuses and umbrellas when no other orbital technology is available and no other enemies exist on the planet.
    - Check if Landing spot can reach at least 5 squares of metal, otherwise adjust starting location (I've seen computers start on plateus, only able to build power plant)

    Exploit - Quit PA

    using Quit PA can exit losing battles, removing the hardcore nature of Galactic war, with no penalty. Though i understand the player may crash, here's a way to handle both scenarios.

    Count player action count - If players have made at least 30 actions (clicks) throughout the game, the game is "legit" and if the game closes after that point, it counts as a loss.

    The player can reconnect to their game within 10 minutes. otherwise the loss is enforced as above

    Clarification - Complete Tech

    Complete tech doesnt cover mobile artillery units (sheller for example), this should be clarified or sheller should be added to the tech. Also consider having it as a bonus, if suggestion #1 goes ahead for collecting both parts.

    Anyway, thats a lot, thx for reading.
    brianpurkiss likes this.
  2. Geers

    Geers Post Master General

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    What if subcommanders were divided by unit type? So you'd have vehicle subcommanders, air subcommanders, etc. That might be a good way to nerf them. Thoughts?
    Pendaelose likes this.
  3. Corpserule

    Corpserule Member

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    I think it would still be too powerful, they bring a lot of raw hidden power to the table, that wouldn't change, and them being used like that - and you can't say you wouldnt do this - you make up for the holes in their army. You know they immitate your tech right?, so normally they can only go vehicle command anyway (for the first set)

    Remember, i'm not saying to remove them, just have them in two pieces. I wouldnt nerf their fabrication rate / stuff like that, because when you want to go into orbital war, they would weaken you by consuming valuable metal spots
  4. SikkeSakke

    SikkeSakke Member

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    Don't know so much about air but I've been playing only with vehicle commander at absurd difficulty. Today I lost few games because I didn't got advanced vehicle tech but immediatly when I found that, I started to win. So, you should add to your most valuable techs advanced vehicles.

    Also don't know about stalemates much. If I remember right, I got one so called stalemate (lost patience to search enemy commander with only Astreus). Of course if you don't got orbital, it takes quite a while to make enough Astreus to land invading forces to another planet, but I wouldn't call that a stalemate. Just a little time consuming but not a stalemate.
  5. Aliessil

    Aliessil Active Member

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    I was thinking about this the other night too, though I was thinking along different lines.

    I was thinking about how well it would work if the techs came in specific stacks; when you defeat a planet you roll to see which stack your discovery comes from, and you either get the next Tech from that stack, or a random unknown upgrade (and you don't find anything if you've run out of upgrades in that Stack).

    The stacks would be something like (pretty sure there's a load of techs I've not seen / forgotten):

    - Bot (Basic, Advanced, Total, Fabrication, Combat, Engine)
    - Vehicle
    - Air
    - Navy
    - Orbital
    - Upgrade (data banks, sub-commanders, Improved Fabricator Build Arms, Efficiency, Defensee Fabrication)
    - Base (Artillery, Advanced Defense, Improved Intelligence, Storage Compression, Artillery Ammunition, Super Weapon, Structure Armor)

    So you defeat another world and the system rolls twice to see what you get - the first roll determines which stack, then the second determines which outstanding upgrade you get from that path.

    It'd still be pretty random, you'd still get times where you don't discover anything (like getting a duplicate tech atm), and you'd still get times where you just don't have the tech to win (Corpserule's suggestion #2 would cure that).

    Just an idea I was thinking about the other night ... :)
  6. Geers

    Geers Post Master General

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    I think T1 artillery should be part of the default loadout. I didn't get any artillery or missile tech in my first playthrough but ended up with four subcommanders.
  7. mjshorty

    mjshorty Well-Known Member

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    i like subcommanders and how they play off your tech, in my personal opinion it is more interesting then them having their own separate loadouts (sigh, i got the bot commander instead of vehicle commander, i lose then i guess)
    Subcommanders are like a part of your army, that you just love growing and growing with each additional sub-commander that you get.
  8. Corpserule

    Corpserule Member

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    it does get to be a stalemate, unless their planet has a massive difference in metal spots (1/6 or less), purely because enemy coms don't stop building anti-orbital, i will admit that if they lack the tech for orbital fighters, you could overwealm them, but thats probably one of their "prefered" techs to have.


    If i understand it right, though it sounds cool, it doesn't really change anything, also, the game might already be doing that, "how would you know". It doesn't really address the value of the individual items too, other than making certain techs more or less likely to occur. Luck is good and all, but when you have to deal with the reprecussions of "good luck", or "bad luck" currently, the game becomes either stale or impossible. (with bad luck more tipped towards enemy tech, rather than your own)
  9. Corpserule

    Corpserule Member

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    Advanced vehicle tech when you already have basic tech is technically "complete tech" which I have listed as a powerful tech, your particular playstyle is benefited by adv vehicles, and its likely that others find basic vehicles more useful than you, it could be a powerful tech to you, but because others may not even use advanced vehicles, its not really overpowered. If you are finding it to be a good tech, thats good for you, because its use promotes good play throughout galactic war.
  10. Aliessil

    Aliessil Active Member

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    Well it depends on which method you go with, though both improve on the current situation:

    1) Within a given stack (e.g. Vehicle), you get the upgrades in a random order BUT there are no duplicates.

    2) Within a given stack (e.g. Vehicle), you get upgrades in a predetermined order (e.g. Basic -> Advanced -> Total, etc).

    Once you've got the entire stack, there are two options:

    a) That stack is removed from the available list, so when the computer rolls to see which stack you got the empty one isn't possible. This means each search gives an upgrade (pretty sure there's enough!)

    b) If you roll and get a stack which is empty, you just don't discover any tech on that world.

    Personally I'd prefer 2a, but I'd be happy enough with 2b .. you'd have to be really unlucky to hit a point where you couldn't advance. I'm not overly fond of 1 because I remember a game where I got Advanced Air four or five times but never got Basic Air, so it was completely useless! However ... if Uber want to keep that level of randomness then option 1 would do it, and still improve on the current situation.

    TLDR .. on capturing a system, the game does 2 rolls; the first determines which stack you get (Air, Vehicle, Bot, etc), and the second determines which Tech you get within that stack (Basic, Advanced, Combat, etc)
    Last edited: July 15, 2014
  11. Corpserule

    Corpserule Member

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    your system decreases the inconsistancy in upgrades, but it reduces the customisability of buildsets by getting preferences for receiving data for which you already have existing pieces. It makes use of my "combine pieces" anyway, so i dont see the need to go that step further and reduce customisation. You would also gain power a lot faster, which would have to be compensated for, and battles will spiral in power rediculously fast
  12. Corpserule

    Corpserule Member

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    Adding "fabricator arms" to the overpowered tier. constructing 50% faster, means your base advances 50% faster, on top of that, it comes with reduced energy consumption. Insanity

    after winning an uber sized Relentless game, ive noticed that the STUB upgrades come in tiers, tier 1 (eg. vehicle speed increased by 50%) are reasonably fair, while high tier ones, eg. vehicle combat tech (50% speed, 50% hp, 25% damage) are over the top

    Edit: vehicle combat tech gives 50% hp, not 25%

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