Let's talk system design (or how to avoid stalemates)

Discussion in 'Balance Discussions' started by zgrssd, October 18, 2014.

  1. zgrssd

    zgrssd Active Member

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    The map plays a huge part in how the game is played. In particular certain map designs can lead to stalemates. And stalemates will slow down the Simulation Speed. There is just no way around this, as this game is simply capable to overload every computer on the planet. And will propably be capable to into the x128 Age of computing.

    A relevant part of the issues are caused by the lack of multi-unit transports and the rather small planets we have right now (they are not even remotely on the planned planet sizes).
    But both of those are longterm goals and we have to learn to live with the tools we have now.

    So to have a decent game, the map must be designed to not lead to stalemantes.
    Perhaps one of the worst designs (as far as Stalemates go) is the design shown in this match:
    (While this was before the recent patfinding upgrades, it would have bogged down to this eventually even after these optimsiations; there is just no way it would not have eventually lead to a stalemate)

    Problems with the example system:
    Small planet sizes and very long orbitals ways make Obrital Invasion defense very easy.
    Even number of planets meant that a Economic stalemate was likely to happen (it did).
    Even number of halleyables meant a "halley stalemate".
    High metal density
    The lack of ability to contests enemy area meant there was no unit arritition, leading to units just "piling up" until the server bogged down.

    If you look at the default systems all of them have something to avoid stalemantes, with the sole exception of the "Gaf" system.

    What can avoid stalemates? Or more precisely: wich kinds of stalemates can there be?

    Factors that make orbital invasions difficulty:
    Small Planet sizes - the smaler a planet, the easier it is to cover the entire orbital space with Avenger patrols, the entire airspace with bomber/interceptors and the entire ground space with a handfull of Holkins. It also means that the "entrenched" player has an easier time bringing in ground armies to throw the enemy of the planet.

    Long orbital ways - obviously, the longer the ways the harder it is to reinforce the beachhead with ways other then the teleporter. The longer it is to get the initial invasions going (more time for the enemy to rush defenses). And the harder it is to time a "area clearing nuke strike" to arrive just before the main force.

    Lava, Water, casms, hills - all of them drastically limit the area where a teleporter can be build. Water has the added problem that it can easily be used by the defender, but not at all by the invader. Same will aply to hills once we can build on them again.
    The attacker can only use: Orbital, Vehicles, Bots, Air&Sea Fabbers. While the defender has all unit types & buildings avalible, with also much shorter reinforcement ways.

    Forrests - Those can severely delay the building of teleporters and other large buildings. That makes them especially troublesome for the invader (wich has less time to get his local base running).

    A common military figure is that "in order to take a enemy position, you need a troop ratio of 1:3". The attacker will need the eco to actually get that much.

    How to avoid stalemates on interplanetrayy scale:
    The Annihilator Laser
    - Avoiding stalemates is it's primary purpose. Having at least one in the system will mix things up. With multiple ones it can actually depend who is farther into the Eco game/better at disrupting enemy Eco

    Odd numbers rather then even - 4x Size 3 (4xS3) planets without halleys or even number of halleys are bound to cause stalemates.
    1xS3, 2xS2 and 1S1 with halley spot is not going to.
    3xS3 makes a stalemate impossible (as there will always be conflict over at least one planet, with the winning side having a clear eco-advantage in the long run).
    Even a 5xS2 will get to a non-stalemate eventually or placing 4xS3 around a gas giant will avoid a stalemate.
    The perhaps easiest way to avoid stalemates is just having a single planet.

    Uneven number of halleyables - in human games each party holding the same amount of halleyables creates a sort of "halley stalemate". It is even worse if every planet in the system is halleyable and there is a even number of planets.

    Uneven distribution of metal - Make the halleyables have no/little eco. Make non-starting planets have less eco. Add a gas giant that the other planets orbit around (that way conflict over the giant will decide the late game).

    Short orbital ways
    - units and nukes alike have to use the slingshoot maneuver to break orbits till they are in orbit around whatever thier target orbits. Don't place everything in orbit around the sun. Instead make small planet/moon systems. The gas giant under uneven metal distribution also means the orbital ways will be much shorter.
    Don't forget to produce uneven discrete systems and mabye a uneven number of small systems. 2x 1S3+2S2+1S1(haleyable) is getting you back into a stalemate situation.

    Note that stalemate likely systems can still be played without stalemates, but only in FFA/3+ team games. Unless by pure chance there is an absolutely even distribution of players among the planets, somebody will have the upper hand.
    Just do NOT try to play 2 side games on a system that is not designed agaisnt stalemates like "Gaf". You will not get anywhere but into Lag-Lands.
    Last edited: October 25, 2014
    Bsport, philoscience and cptconundrum like this.
  2. cptconundrum

    cptconundrum Post Master General

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    This is all pretty good! The clan wars participants are being given a chance to update their systems, so I will see if I can get Quitch to send a link to this thread to the teams.
  3. philoscience

    philoscience Post Master General

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    Good post, would really appreciate a bit of editing and spell checking, but great points otherwise. A bit of smart system design goes a long way in avoiding stalemates and lagfests.
  4. raccoontof

    raccoontof New Member

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    I recently designed a system with a somewhat novel way of avoiding stalemates. An outer planet, starting a large distance away from the primary planet where everyone starts, is setup on an elliptical orbit intersecting the main planet - then positioned along that elliptical to collide shortly after 1 hour of game time. It's not a guaranteed game-ender (there is a smashable metal planet in system, plus the smashable moon orbiting the start planet), but it does pretty much guarantee that any potential stalemate is drastically changed one way or another...

    2014-11-11_00009.jpg 2014-11-11_00014.jpg 2014-11-11_00015.jpg
  5. bluestrike01

    bluestrike01 Active Member

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    - No more then one gas giant in a system. But the new jigs nuke sized explosion may change that.
    - Don't create huge systems, and the number of planets is related to the amount of teams rather then the number of players. (I avoid games with more then 6 planets)

    Also not sure if I agree with the less metal on non spawn planets,
    It would depend on the number of planets in the system and their size. For example, if there are 2 start planets, and a 3rd non spawn planet, that 3rd planet may have 2/3 of the mass points of the other 2 planets combined and be balanced in planet size. (bigger as the spawn planets).

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