Discussion in 'PA: TITANS: General Discussion' started by panews, August 17, 2018.
One thousand percent agreed. Honestly this air layer problem I had been predicting years before PA launched. It was a very predictable consequence of TA style air units.
By far the best solution to the air blob problem is to tie air units to the ground game. If they have unlimited mobility, combined with their high speed, they become a deathblob in the skies that stacks up massively against one spot at a time.
My proposed solution is air bases, where aircraft have to re-arm weapons. Fuel as well would be a good idea but is not essential. A bomber needs to fly out, drop its bombs, and head home to get more bombs. A fighter needs to sortie, use its missiles, and head home to get more missiles. This has a huge effect on the use of aircraft; most importantly there is a limit to how much firepower they can unload at a time, and they can't fly too deep either because they will have to get out, likely flying through enemy AA.
Aircraft should be designed such that a small number of them is more than enough firepower for most missions, rather than having them just do chipping damage. A small amount of consistent damage is just an excuse to make a thousand of them so it adds up to an enormous total. A single one-hit-kill missile, on the other hand, there's no need to fire a thousand, in fact that is incredibly wasteful.
Air bases would require construction, you would have to control the ground in which they are built, and if you want to deny enemy air operations you can destroy their air fields, or carriers.
Just as a concept to test the idea; a ground structure which has a similar functionality to the ship aircraft carrier launching drones. How about start with an interceptor launch, which dispatches small, disposable flying drones to attack nearby enemy aircraft. Just make that unit and give it a try. If it plays well you might visit the idea of bomber bases instead of perma-airborne crow-swarm-bombers.
Having more planes that require staging gives you more uptime and not just a larger single swarm. You can send out sorties of a few planes at a time more often; there's no need to have every single plane you possess attacking one target.
I too wish for enormous planets, but without some adjustments to air and to space units it is probably never going to work.
Would that air design not also increase the micro required?
And I almost envisage a competitive game neglecting air almost altogether in-favour of utter ground spam and using faster ground units to raid, bringing Dox and Locusts into meta.
Air bases should consider an aircraft like it is a weapon for the base. An enemy aircraft is detected within its weapons range, the airbase sorties fighters to attack it. Those fighters are akin to missiles, but which shoot at the target instead of colliding with it, and which can be targeted by anti-air and enemy planes. Launching fighters should be automatic in response to a detected threat within range. Automatic close air support (CAS) or strike craft might use a similar approach for ground targets. Air patrol missions could also be issued by the player to keep a couple planes at the target location, and when they go off station to launch more to replace them.
Strategic bomber bases would require the player to directly give the order for what to bomb, either by box-selecting or control-group recall of the airbase structures. But that is not too different from box-selecting or control-group selecting a group of bombers and ordering them to attack. In fact if a bird with no primary weapons left, or with serious damage, would automatically return to base this might make plane micro much easier, not harder.
Whether or not air is competitive depends more on its strength than the micro required. If air strong then it will be heavily used, if it is weak then it will not.
A small number of high-power aircraft with strictly limited munitions would most likely see far fewer planes being manufactured. They don't scale endlessly with increased quantity. Quite unlike unleashed TA style planes which not only do they scale, but have an exponentially increasing power curve with infinite stacking, particularly since the larger group has a huge strategic advantage. Especially after a major victory the enemy will be hard-pressed to build a new air force that will defeat the group that won before.
However the planes that are built will be constantly in action, as time is a resource for them. Especially strike bombers which will likely always have a target if their base is located in a useful location. As soon as they are re-armed they should be in the air again making themselves useful. Even if a plane hits hard on one sortie, they cost more than most things they will be killing, such as an anti-tank missile plane taking out a tank or two and returning to base. Your typical plane will likely need to sortie several times to pay for itself, and there will be some downtime between each sortie. Anti-air should not expect to stop a plane from killing something, but killing the plane in return should be a favorable trade, at least in terms of metal cost. Strategically speaking, perhaps not, such as a wing of strategic bombers sniping a key structure such as antinuke. Still, 99% of the time, the player with the plane wants to kill something and head home scot-free, rather than risk the plane for a dangerous, important, well-protected target.
If you wanted to make a TON of air, you can do that, but you are going to need to choose where you want the airbases to be located, and it will cost resources to construct the airbases that can both be scouted and denied by the enemy. If your primary offensive and defensive weapon for a particular location is air they can expect to march on that base with a lot of anti-air and your planes will be trading down in a desperate attempt to protect their airbases from direct attack.
In short, we should expect air to be air support and while it should be extremely powerful, it should not be a primary, independent force on its own. It should be best used to greatly amplify the strength of a ground army in the field.
i don't like the ammo idea or flying home directly (all you need is an enemy aa tower between you and your base) But with fuel one is required to build plenty of refueling stations to supply your air force slowing down the growth of your air force. and when a plane is out of fuel you could make it fly alot slower (like in FAF).
so basicaly airbases shall function like typhoon dronecarriers? i could see that as defensive option but for attack? hmm not realy .. what would there be different to building firebases?
rearm mechanic is rather something that works on a command and conquerscale but depending on how you ballance it it would require too many rearming plattforms or come of weird in a game with 150 tanks and 200 to 300 bots to only have a handfull fighters or so ... especialy with this game's orbital play when in multiplanetmatches ..
also FA fuelmechanic never striked me as something intresting, it didn't realy impact airforcecontrol of TAlikes
Exactly. The basic mechanic is already in the game.
However the drones on the drone carrier are really weak, and have pitifully short range. An airbase or aircraft carrier should launch aircraft much further than any cannon can reach and strike with enough power for one plane to make a difference. And there should be a land airbase structure as well as a naval ship.
It would need to be automatic for planes to fly home and re-arm, or I agree it would become tedious to constantly order them home to land.
But on a strategic level the need to position airbase structures and carriers means you have to choose where to put your planes. They are currently so fast as to have a global presence. And, it makes air power more of a continuous presence of planes flying in and returning home continuously, rather than an enormous blob of planes flying around independently.
Refuel mechanics are not ideal, IMHO. They mean that the units are constantly urged to break formation and ignore / overrule user input to go and recharge.
Plus, as we should have learned from SupCom, this concept doesn't scale well with large maps so it will effectively be disabled for higher tier units anyway.
There is still the alternative to go for an AoE buff mechanic around a stationary or at least less mobile beacon. Not as realistic in terms of the simulation, but far more user friendly.
Commander would obviously be a source for such buff, as would potentially be (slower) T2 units.
What about using ammo instead of fuel? Creates a similar effect of giving air units "downtime" that allows the opposing player to strike even if they're outnumbered, but doesn't run into issues with map size and travel time, and is easy to implement since it's already used on other units.
Doesn't address the omni-presence issue. Air is typically already used in a hit&run pattern, so just enforcing downtime doesn't really change anything.
what if the planes where the ammo tho.. as opposed to re-fueling or re-arming.
like a new air factory produces timed air units (just fighters and bombers probably?) that just blow up instead of having to figure out a way back home. same game-play effect but way simpler to implement, just need to figure out way to give unit-spawners rally points.
from a simulation perspective it actually makes a lot of sense. if we assume a plane has limited fuel and ammo.
-no pilots=more disposable aircraft
-no return trip=double effective fuel.(or half filled fuel(or half size fuel))
-no refueling facilities frees up resources and space to facilitate more plane production and takeoff
-no requirement for re-fueling removes weakpoints in fuel storage
-no re-arming simplifies weapon mechanisms=fewer mechanical errors
Agreed ammo is a smarter way to do this than fuel. A plane with a single bomb payload can do a lot of damage, but it is also important to get it back home alive so you can reuse it. The amount of destruction in a single sortie can be fixed by the unit's payload. And the targets available to you are limited by where your airbases are; you aren't just enforcing a wait between bomb runs. You are creating a need to position airbases in order to be able to bomb a specific target area. A fact which the enemy will also be aware of and will try to deny you the opportunity to build structures there.
Disposable planes is a fascinating idea. I don't think it really makes that much sense from a practical perspective; an airframe will always cost more than the missiles you load on it, so it makes sense to reuse planes rather than have them fire a single payload and die. But planes designed specifically to be a one-way trip when launched? That would definitely make you think twice about launching a huge air swarm at a target, at least anything less important than killing the commander and winning the game. Clearly you would want manual control of every launch to avoid your planes all launching at a single scout and dying. Which is an unfortunate side effect of the disposable planes idea; increased manual control is likely necessary.
Planes automatically returning to air bases to get more munitions and then launching again when possible can be a pretty highly automated process. At any given time there will be a few birds in the air keeping themselves busy, and adding more airbases will increase the size of your air presence there continuously, and spread out with a few aircraft active all the time. Disposable planes seem likely to encourage very burst-oriented, focused air strikes on key targets like the commander or antinuke.
I just recalled that there is a precedent for the "local air boost" concept. C&C Tiberium Wars, Scrin race, the interaction between their defense towers, the Ion Storm AoE effect of these towers, and a quite significant regeneration, speed and offensive boost it gave to effectively stationary air units in the proximity.
Worked IMHO quite well. The highest tier air (carrier) provided a mobile version of that boost. So you could use that to push into territory without ground control late game, even against light anti air. (Albeit at a lower movement speed due to low carrier speed.) Early game, you could strike with air, but it was more effective to use the defense<-> long range unit synergies of the individual factions to boost defense while stacking for a push. When breaking the defense for an attack, you lost the advantage.
The problem with disposable air is that trading effectively isn't as important. because you will not gain an air advantage after the trade. this would remove any air micro. While when you slow down with the air because of the lag of fuel they become less effective without completely remaking air.
yes you do, you have air and he doesn't for a currently undefined amount of time. the fact that air dominance is a hell of a lot harder to snowball sounds like a good thing to me.
you destroy airbases to gain a more permanent air advantage, why is that crazy? because you might have to use land units?
mostly thoughts on "lore" or simulation here but it kindof applies to gameplay.
On the airframes being more valuable than fuel and weapons thing, the cost of anything in PA is measured in pure metal and energy. the airframe is very inexpensive (and less prone to mechanical failure) if we remove life support, landing gear, refueling ports, removeable parts for re-arming, and pilots (they are extremely expensive in a lot of ways)
Obviously the plane itself would be more expensive than fuel and munitions, but they need to be unbelievably expensive to justify the extra design features required for takeoff and landing, let alone the extensive infrastructure required to re-fuel and re-arm.
If we wanted PA to have realistic air then almost every plane would become a kamikaze at some point. a few would be too valuable obviously, but fighters and bombers? not worth keeping around.
lets imagine two commanders, one with your system and one with mine. yours would spend metal allocated for the airforce on more expensive planes, in a addition to costly, large and vulnerable airbases.
whereas my commander would have more, cheaper (equally effective) planes with twice the effective range, slightly more than twice the time in the air and much riskier doctrine.
now your boi has a chance of winning if he consistently takes really good trades and somehow has the extra planes on hand to escort vulnerable expended planes back home. we are however assuming equally competent commanders here, so with roughly equal trades and few escorts, yer airbases wont be seeing a lot of action.
so then, which system do you think a hyper efficient death-machine would pick?
While I don't disagree with the concept of limiting the tactical range of air, does this system not just result in air factories becoming fancy turrets and shield generators? Build a bomber factory to thin out approaching armies, counter it with a fighter factory to keep your armies safe. If I wanted to creep structures towards my opponent, why would I not just use turrets? I really think you are looking in the wrong place to try and solve the air problem for this reason.
Turrets must have extremely short range compared to an airbase. Airbases would be one of the longest-range strategic assets you can have, outranged only by heavy artillery and strategic nukes. A turret is a ring around itself protecting its immediate vicinity only.
And more importantly, aircraft would still be stopped using anti-air, especially fighters. Unlike turrets they suffer force depletion.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the existence of numerous vulnerable support assets like airbases and artillery mean that it is more important to stop enemy units from reaching your rear echelon than it is to fight in a blob with maximum force concentration. Even a small enemy force in the right, sensitive spot, should be able to do severe damage to powerful units that can't really defend themselves effectively. And, by the same token, even a small force of your own can do a ton of damage to a larger enemy force by relying on the help of those same supporting strategic assets such as artillery and airbases. One scout bumping into a large enemy army can call in a rain of artillery just as well as a huge force, so overdeploying forces can in some contexts be just as bad as underdeploying.
The "line of battle" where you are controlling territory with a clear front line, with securely controlled territory behind your front line forces, no-man's-land, and then enemy front line forces and the enemy's rear echelon, is generally not how PA works. Generally in PA your forces fight at the highest possible density so as to win a fight against an enemy force doing the same.
The "blobs" become a gameplay problem when they become very large. A huge blob should be split into several pieces with each small group positioned in different places, each relying heavily on shared indirect support (artillery, air power, strategic weapons, etc.) which are likely grouped together to make them easier for troops to defend. Still, on huge planets, you are likely to need several such installations simply due to their range limitations.
Why not make air more expensive and adjust its strength and/or the strength of aa in accordance, air control leads to map control, if air is more expensive it pushes back the rate at which this can be achieved also meaning for air dominance you must have a greater portion of map under your control allowing the enemy to push back your economy and push you out of the air game to greater effect, this is assuming AA is balanced in with the change.
As for Blobs, that's tr2 rushing for ya, its powerful and expensive, numbers are thin early on, one front of attack normally achieves sufficient enough damage to win a game and displacing that force can achieve a lot less as you don't have the numbers.
Another thing id like to Add.
We need a quick and easy way to navigate the field and multiple planets.
Camera anchors are designed to do just that, but they can become confusing and rather annoying when it comes to keeping their set location as you tend to jump to one anchor change location of the camera then jump to another anchor, upon jumping back your anchor is at the set position and you loose time re adjusting to your position.
What we need is a function to say Anchor 1 was used last, When jumping to anchor 2, Set position of last used anchor to current position then jump to anchor 2 and vice versa for all anchors. This will make navigating the field super easy and managing multiple fronts quicker when using anchors.
Control Groups tend to change orientation when not using pole lock and that can be really detrimental.
Anchors keep orientation and position which is good for speed, only problem being having to update every anchor manually, which leads to anchors being the slower option...….
This could really increase the level of play and ease of play in both single and especially multiplanet games.
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