Shields idea (i know PA wont have them)

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by thefluffybunny, January 21, 2013.

  1. thefluffybunny

    thefluffybunny Active Member

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    This is not an attempt to get them added, I just had a thought on how they could have worked differently in games in general and figured I'd put it up for discussion...

    When you build a shield generator it should have a slide rule that allows you to adjust the size of the shield so that you can make it cover the entire base. no matter how big you make it it still has the same defensive value. this avoids the need for spamming shields to protect increasing larger bases against larger armies in end game. - saves on build space and gpu usage.

    then add a method to increase the defensive power of the shields, either make it so any new shield within the primary shield area just adds its extra defensive value into the shield they are within, make shield strength linked to time in operation - indefinitely increasing, (would encourage harassing to keep it down) or purely determined by how much energy you choose to power it with.

    as a final point, make them work both ways. once a shield is up, nothing goes in or out, no matter what team it is on. makes them more tactical - you cant just sit behind shields shooting out during an attack, you have to get out there and counter attack. probably allow allied troops a way out for ease of gameplay, eg a gate/tunnel. - the gate could also be a weak point in your defenses so creating further tactical possibilities - shield too strong, rush the gate, get in a blow up the shield, then send in the bombers.
  2. elexis

    elexis Member

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    Actually I think that only bubble shields were confirmed out.

    As for your post;
    What defines a base? If i cover an entire continent with a bases loaded with these generators, can i punch through the entire shield by having tanks shoot at it in a single small spot? Should I just create multiple sets of small bases instead that have independent shields?
    While the 2-way shield makes logical sense, it does drastically reduce the usefulness of turrets which would have to sit out in no-mans-land in order to shoot. Would it also mean that things like artillery and nukes would have to be built outside your base?


    Counter-Proposal
    Shield generators have a shield transferring mechanic. Example:
    - Shield gen has 10,000 hp worth of shield generation. (example hp only)
    - If it has 2 units/buildings nearby, they each get 5000 hp of shields. If there is 10 nearby then they each get 1000 hp of shields.
    - Shields can only recharge after several seconds of not taking damage.
    - If there are multiple shield generators, then they can only get shields from the closest generator, even if linking with another in range would result in more shield hp.
    - Shield generators do not have shields, and do not link with other generators for shields.
    - Instead, shield generators have the ability to stop giving out shield hp and instead protect itself, taking all available shield hp and transferring it to the generator. This can be thought to be similar to the solar generators folding up in TA.
    - A shield generator must recharge its shield to full before once more dispersing it among units.
    - If there was a mobile shield unit, it wouldn't be able to protect buildings, just other units.


    What this all means:

    Overlapping shields does result in better protection, but there is a capped maximum.
    Encourages a base to spread out to take better advantage of shields.
    Because shield regeneration is essentially on a per-unit basis (instead of overlapping bubbles), sustained fire is far more effective at dealing damage, shields become good at stopping once-off damage.
    Shields generators are an obvious weak-point for a smart player, damage them enough to force them to protect themselves and then the surrounding units get weaker.
  3. bobucles

    bobucles Post Master General

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    Uber has stated that we will not see shields as they were implemented in Supcom 1 or 2. Either game had issues with shields that could be summed up as "poor design". If they find another neat way to use shields, then they may return.
    Counter-counter proposal:
    If it doesn't fit on a tooltip, it's too damn complex. It's an area shield, but it's not, and it protects other units, except when it doesn't, and it links up with other shields, but not really. What sort of outcome are you aiming for, exactly?

    In fact, the first question you should be asking is "What does a shield try to protect against?" Because a lot of those answers can be substituted with "Use the proper counter".
  4. thorneel

    thorneel Member

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    I'll still point out that tessellated shields actually protect a base against artillery and such but will fall very fast against the more precise, higher-RoF direct-fire weaponry. And they'd look great.

    Less great-looking but maybe easier to implement would be extending anti-missile defence against any large projectile. Say that you have a laser that blows missile up, then make it able to blow artillery shells up as well. Artillery shells are faster, but this can be balanced by making them blowing up easier. You can still saturate it, and you can even give it limited ammo/energy cost if you want it to fall to attrition.
    But tessellated shields would still look better.
  5. whip

    whip New Member

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    No shields in PA?
    As a hard-core all-round turtler, this makes me sad.
  6. bobucles

    bobucles Post Master General

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    Actually, shields protect against everything. That's the problem. You're trying to defend against ONE thing, by creating a shield that blocks EVERYTHING. How do you stack them against the threats they should protect, and refuse them the threats they shouldn't? Even tessellated shields don't give the right answer.

    To be fair, the Supcom Tactical Missile Launcher was basically an artillery weapon. The base structure was cheap, but in exchange every bullet had to be manufactured and paid for. TMD blocked the missiles by shooting them down.

    Exactly. An anti-artillery/missile gun deals directly with the problem at hand. The best solution is to destroy the ordinance before it hits. Nothing takes damage, thus you no longer need a shield. It stacks well enough by building new installations, and it doesn't cause any balance issues against other units, simply because it doesn't need to interact with other units(but it could).

    Point defense weapons would end up effective against base artillery. They may be useful against long range boats (which are basically artillery platforms). They may be useful to protect against orbital weapons (unless it's a space laser, oops). Specialty units might find themselves uniquely equipped for the role. So there's no shortage of options to explore.
  7. igncom1

    igncom1 Post Master General

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    Just use more artillery like in TA!
  8. Pluisjen

    Pluisjen Member

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    I enjoyed the idea of umbrelle shields that only protect from high-arcing weapons (artillery and bombs, basically) but not much else. Those have a clear purpose.

    Likewise, two-directional shields are pretty cool because they block outgoing fire as well, meaning it's not an easy blanket over your base, but a conscious choice on when and where to build them and when they should be on and off.
  9. thorneel

    thorneel Member

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    But the interest of tessellated shields is precisely that they're inefficient against direct-fire artillery.
    Each section is weak, so a few if not one shot, even with a light direct-fire weapon, will break it. But it will still block one shot, even if it's a heavy artillery one (though we can imagine AoE damaging nearby sections as well).
    Additionally, direct-fire weapons will always fire through the same section, so after one second shots will go through it. But an artillery being more imprecise, it won't hit the same section twice, hence being blocked most of the time. So those shields are effective only against artillery.
    Making sections two-directional could also have interesting results, possibly with a smart AI that can deactivate (or transfer power between) sections depending on the situation.

    In the end, I do think that point defences are a better solution, if only because it would be far less work to implement it correctly.
    But shields look great and feel awesome, and tessellated shields would look particularly well. So it's about if the shield's wow (and marketing) factor is worth it or not IMHO.

    That's actually an interesting point. Should lasers be able to target any projectiles, or should they only try to stop projectiles marked as 'artillery'?
    I'd be curious to see the effect if they could try to stop any 'physical' projectile (meaning no lazors or beams, because it would be kind of silly). This is assuming that the targeting AI is smart enough, of course. The obvious way to balance it would be that those direct-fire projectiles are too numerous and have a flight time too short to be effectively stopped. There is also a non-instant turn rate, or even a non-instant lock time, so it couldn't pick the faster direct-fire projectiles.
    But we may have interesting situations, for example where a heavy tank has to go closer to effectively shoot a base, for its projectiles not to be stopped. (Again, I assume that the unit AI is smart enough to take that into account).
  10. bobucles

    bobucles Post Master General

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    Placing any sort of hard limits in a game like PA is a bad idea. The main goal is to allow scaling combat. If an option does not scale well, then it's not a very good option to have. That's the biggest problem with tessellated shields, is that they are only effective at precisely one stage of the game. They're a bit overkill before that point, and won't perform the role successfully after it. So it ends up pretty silly in the grand scheme of things.
    Direct fire artillery is just direct fire. I already mentioned that a beam style weapon (which is awfully direct) would not be protected by a point defense. Random shells can still pierce a PD shield through overwhelming fire on weak spots.

    The real benefit with PD, is the difference between defensible weapons is immediately visible and understood. Gigantic beams would clearly pierce its defense, and shells would clearly get shot down. In order to have the same effect with shields, certain weapons would need to go through with no real rhyme or reason.

    Shooting down minor projectiles is not a major balance concern. The balance point is cost per number of projectiles. Small units give a large number of shots cheap, while large guns give few shots at a high cost. PD will naturally be more effective against artillery, as long as that's true.

    This can also make a major difference against bombers. Single, large payload bombs are easier to shoot down than cluster bombs. Closely packed volleys are easier to handle than a widely dispersed attack. It is likely impossible to have perfect protection against bomb threats, but that umbrella protection is once again provided without the need for shields.

    Things will get messy if the bomber starts blasting lasers, but we won't worry about that. ;)
    Careful with this. You're putting an awful lot of emphasis on luck to make the shield work. The law of averages may smooth over with pea shooters, but it is not kind with single large attacks. Imagine a nuke defense that only works 80% of the time. That's what your tessellated shield is going to look like. It's not pretty.
  11. thefluffybunny

    thefluffybunny Active Member

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    PD is likely a given, relatively easy to implement and offers up variation in tactics with easy counter tactics. its quite satisfying for both sides to have such a head to head arms race.

    tesalated shields look good yes, but often require multiple layers to be effective - why, thousands of years in the future, does the shield need a shield need a shield need a shield to protect it ad infinitum, and so protect your base. A single shield protecting an area makes more sense to me, whether it only protects against bombs and artillery, or standard weapons from the side, or everything im not overly concerned/decided on.

    in one book series series shields protected cities against nukes. the cities were fine with the inhabitants huddled inside, but the countryside devastated with nuclear fallout - that would be amusing on a comet devastated planet, a lone city camped within its shield, power supplies slowly dwindling, unable to leave...

    if you cant shoot out of a shield or move through it without turning it off it creates and interesting tactic - harassing can effectively stop them from expanding. but if you can enlarge the shield - perhaps at the cost of strength, then again there is a new tactic.

    create shield far from enemy, grow it, move army to the edge, shrink it, and voila, got to their base unmolested.

    shields are, depending on your opinion, essentially uninteresting advanced walls, and have been done. what hasn't been done that would be creative and novel?

    if you cant shoot in or out - should it stop radar, both in and out, line of sight?
  12. halosas

    halosas Member

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    Sorry but am also disappointed there is no sheilds in PA
  13. thorneel

    thorneel Member

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    Oops, I meant "direct fire weapons.

    Yeah, that's a problem. A solution I see would be that the shield is able to move power between remaining sections, effectively moving them. But things may get too complicated there. Multi-layers may also play an interesting role.

    PD-only would work better indeed, but there would be two reasons to including it : because people want shields, and because they look great. Tessellated shields are simply the only type of shield I see working decently enough.
    The weight of those two reasons against the added development time for them to work well enough isn't something I can determine, though.
    Personally I'd be fine with both. But I'll continue to insist, if we really want shields, then tessellated shields are the first option to look at.


    Two-ways total shields are an interesting idea, but I'm not sure they would work well with PA. It feels too turtly, something that would slow the play down, and possibly counter-intuitive to handle. But that's just a gut feeling though.
    I remember reading bits about that on Atomic Rockets. One has the standard tactic to blow the entire surface up, so the shielded cities will end up dying in the next few years, without food or water sources now that farmlands are destroyed and contaminated. Another is about the attackers burning the ground around it until it turns into lava, slowly eating the shielded ground. A third has the shielded fortress beginning to move away, floating on the lake of lava produced by the battle, and apparently not even paying attention to it. Fun reads.
  14. bobucles

    bobucles Post Master General

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    Supcom2 had an interesting take on shields. The UEF experimental shield had extreme endurance and was large enough to cover bases. However, it did not recharge naturally. Instead, the shield could regenerate by spending energy. What you got was a base defense option that became very expensive as it absorbed artillery fire. Eventually either the shield gave out (using every cooldown gives huge regen), but more typically your economy died first.

    The major purpose of artillery is to deal continuous damage to the enemy. With standard shields that wasn't really possible. But if the shield was directly dependent on energy, then the defender is paying dearly to keep his base intact.

    The extreme expense makes the super shield a poor first line of defense. It's better to prevent enemy fire from hitting your base, rather than absorbing it with your economy.
    They would be used to protect the most juicy and vulnerable bits of a base. Unfortunately, that also defeats the purpose of having juicy vulnerable bits. Sad.
  15. ledarsi

    ledarsi Post Master General

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    Bubble shields are confirmed out, and it's a good thing. They are just bad gameplay.

    The lore-concept of having "shields" could still be implemented, but done in a different way, if people like the idea of plasma shields. For example, individual units having regenerating personal shields could easily work, and avoids all the problems of bubble shields. Could be especially useful if the game doesn't rely on regenerating health (as I hope it does not).

    What might also be done, which could be interesting, is having shields be a different kind of durability metric. Working from the tesselated shields idea, a hit might always cost 1 point of shield, regardless of damage. So a unit with 1 shield point is always going to take at least 2 hits to kill, by any weapon.
  16. sylvesterink

    sylvesterink Active Member

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    But that system favors micromanagement, especially if there is no regenerating health.
  17. ledarsi

    ledarsi Post Master General

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    There's nothing wrong with having more complex mechanisms on units that theoretically "encourage micromanagement"- in fact these things are good as they make combat less deterministic. The biggest and best deterrent to micromanagement is to simply give the player bigger, more important things to do. If you really want to micro a couple units, go right ahead. If you can macro solidly, make all the right big-picture moves, and have time to spare for unit micromanagement- power to you, that should help you win.
  18. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    Exactly, there's a difference between a unit that "Can" be micro'd and a unit that "Needs" to be. So long as we stay on the "Can" side of it we should be fine.

    Mike
  19. neutrino

    neutrino low mass particle Uber Employee

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    Just because I don't see shields being a part of the core game doesn't mean we won't see them eventually. I conceptually like them and other kinds of defenses but we have to pick our battles. When we do them I want to make sure we get it right.
  20. ekulio

    ekulio Member

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    I would be for shields that only protected from above. Aircraft would still get under. It would be nice to protect your comm from being sniped by interplanetary artillery and so on. In TA you didn't need shields because the terrain blocked big bertha fire, so you could put important stuff behind a mountain or something. But in PA with shells coming in from space there's nothing to hide behind. No way to protect your fusion reactor.

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