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Messages - MagusXIX

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C# Aurora / Re: Replacing PDCs
« on: September 26, 2017, 07:38:07 PM »
Removing the ability to put troops in a bunker and instead just making them tougher is a terrible idea. If you have to get rid of PDCs, then when you're making new types of ground units you should consider adding some kind of new unit that serves the same function as barracks in PDCs.

Aurora Suggestions / Re: Semi-Official 7.x Suggestion Thread
« on: September 04, 2017, 01:28:42 PM »
Suggestion - Production Anomalies

I'd like to see a most robust, engaging economy. There's a lot of ways that this could be done, but here's a couple initial suggestions, and a couple long-term suggestion that could be implemented only after an economy overhaul.

Take the research anomaly system that already exists and expand it to include anomalies that can boost or alter (or nerf!) production of specific items, whether it's specific trade goods, component categories (lasers, missiles, shields, cloaks, etc), or installations (mines, factories, PDCs, infrastructure, etc), or even just a direct boost to 'wealth' production. This change alone would be enough to tempt players to spread out their production. It's a big change from the current situation where, more often than not, the homeworld (and sometimes planets that have been terraformed/grown enough to become essentially identical to the homeworld) is where all meaningful production takes place and all goods go to and from it. Instead, you'd have the option to boost production by having worlds dedicated to certain products, from which goods would then have to be shipped where they are needed.

I'd make these sorts of production anomalies rather frequent, perhaps with more rare types that have more dramatic effects. The idea is to make colonized worlds more unique, especially in terms of economy, and to give the players a choice between more efficient but spread out production (more/better goods at the cost of the delays and vulnerabilities that come with shipping,) or more concentrated production (which also allows for more concentrated defenses) but without making full use of production anomalies.

Alongside this I'd also recommend re-looking at the Trade Goods system, where the goal would be to make them more meaningful and impactful, and especially more engaging for players. One possibility that I'd considered was giving some planets the ability to produce unique/rare trade goods that have special effects, such as increased population growth or better environmental tolerances to populations that have access to such a product. With it being planet specific, again, trade between worlds is made more engaging and meaningful, and the choice of which worlds to develop and how become more difficult and impactful.

With this, I'd include a way for players to choose between more interventionist trade policies (government gets more or less say in where trade goods are shipped and how many of each are produced, as well as setting import/export taxes and tariffs on specific goods, like a tea tax) or more laissez-faire  trade policies which would be the current system where trade goods are solely the province of private citizens/organizations (shipping companies and the colonists that produce the goods determine what happens with them, with little to no input from government/player.) Trade policies can affect production growth rates, maximum production capacity (probably per colonist working to produce the goods?), or a host of other possible effects to choose from. They could and probably should come in both domestic and foreign variants, where the domestic policies control how much of which goods are produced, where, and how much of what can/should be shipped to which planets, and foreign policies regulate how much of which goods we are willing to trade to and/or from any other specific empire (a full ban on Cuban cigars so our citizens can pretend they're somehow better than other cigars by virtue of being harder to obtain!) Policies regarding immigration/emigration between empires could even be introduced alongside (or after) this is implemented, using a very similar system.

Once trade goods are improved, we can then even start looking at more trade-related diplomatic options (trade sanctions against specific products, for instance, to allow trade between two empires while still denying access to unfavorable trades/markets.) There could even be things like trade wars, where total warfare is not permitted (no land-invasions, possibly other restrictions) but enemy shipping/fleets are free game, and planetary/system blockades could be a main feature of this sort of limited engagement. This is only as meaningful/impactful as the trade goods in question, though, so making those more important would have to come first.

Legality of goods is another thing to consider for after trade goods have been overhauled, where we could include things like military grade stimulants which you may or may not want in your military (short term combat effectiveness boosts at the expense of nasty side-effects?) but you certainly would not want in your civilian populations (increased Unrest relative to how much of the product is available in your population?) Could also include things like slave labor, legal in empires which practice slavery but illegal in empires where slavery has been abolished. There's a whole host of products that could play nicely in a system like this. Legal (read: minimal diplomatic effect) destruction/seizure of ships belonging to other empires when they are caught carrying illegal goods through your space could be a thing in this, along with a cargo-scanner module and perhaps other stuff for 'military police' ships (or a Coast Guard, or whatever you want to call your empire's Customs officials.) Alongside it, piracy and smuggling could be introduced.

But really, the suggestion is just to keep economic gameplay in mind when re-coding everything in C# so that at the very least it can be easily expanded on once economy becomes more of a development priority. Personally, expanded/improved economic gameplay is a top request of mine, so the sooner this happens the better. (Okay, maybe I just want more fun and impactful space-submarine and trade-interdiction gameplay, so sue me!)

C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: August 26, 2017, 05:39:46 PM »
After further reflection, I feel that Titans would be best introduced alongside a second attack/defense type.

The regular attack/defense values can stay in pretty much as they exist, and can represent small-arms damage.

Additionally, all units should should have a defense-piercing (armor piercing, depending on how you're abstracting out your ground forces to work with your game's setup and lore) type of attack. It's an attack that always hits regardless of a unit's defense value. A defense-piercing attack, and ground units specialized around it, allows for engaging tactics and strategy decisions that don't currently exist. For instance, Titans (and perhaps other ground units) could have an extremely high defense, making them nearly immune to regular attack values but still very vulnerable to units specialized for defense-piercing attacks.

I'd consider making all attacks from ship-quality weapons (whether from an actual ship or from a PDC or orbital platform or whatever) defense-piercing.

C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: August 26, 2017, 05:22:16 PM »
Adding that I think a Titan that's effectively a mobile-bunker would be quite interesting as well. Allow a specialized type of Titan to house infantry, who can fight from inside of it. It could work similarly to the way PDC defenses work. The titan just extends its defense to any infantry attached to it.

C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: August 26, 2017, 05:10:05 PM »
With regard to Titan balancing, I'd treat them a bit more like WW2 era tanks since they seem to fill a similar role (hard to kill, tons of damage, expensive to produce.) One game that already takes this concept and does a really good job of it is Hearts of Iron. HoI4 has base tank models with optional sidegrades that increase specialization at the expense of other areas like armor or sacrificing certain damage types. As tech improves, you start by upgrading the base model and then you can research into the sidegrades for the new base and upgrade those as well.

For Aurora, I'd recommend having a base Titan model (upgradeable over time) that has all-around damage/defense capabilities. It's this base model that determines the overall power level of the titan. You could then have a sidegrade that takes that base model and re-imagines it to focus around anti-Titan capabilities at the expense of everything else (taking off some small arms in favor of more cannons, for instance.) You could also have one for anti-infantry (or whatever you're calling your regular ground forces.) You could even have one with some basic ground-to-space capacities, like meson cannons that can shoot out of the atmosphere and hit things in very low orbit, or act as point defense, or possibly even some light missile capabilities. Each of these sidegrades could then be upgraded once the base model is also upgraded.

It's an Aurora analogue to the HoI idea of regular tanks, anti-infantry tanks, anti-tank tanks, and anti-air tanks. The player has to decide how much of each to build and include in their military in order to counter whatever their recon suggests they might be up against, which makes for pretty interesting gameplay provided the recon and production aspects are engaging enough.

Another alternative is to just have research branches that allow us to upgrade the various aspects of our titans as we see fit. This runs the risk of not having any sidegrades, as you'd just always produce the best available suite of upgrades instead of having specialized Titans.

Advanced Tactical Command Academy / Re: Submarines in space?
« on: August 08, 2017, 05:51:51 AM »
What would be the use if these hypothetical submarines can be detected with a new type of sensor? In the end it would only mean I need just one additional type of sensor on my jump point pickets and in battlegroups. Maybe a better idea to allow raiding would be to increase scattering after jumps by a lot so that monitoring of jump points becomes more difficult. Maybe tie this increased scattering to selfjump only drives, or to increased jump blindness, so that traditional jump point assaults remain as they currently are.

This is what I've been thinking, too.

Advanced Tactical Command Academy / Re: Submarines in space?
« on: July 27, 2017, 12:18:19 AM »
I use WW2 era style space-submarines in my games. I don't have any designs to post, but against player-controlled races that don't adequately protect their shipping and other civilian/commercial vessels, they work quite well. The two tricks lie primarily in missile design and in getting past jump-point pickets, the latter of which is very similar though not identical to how stealth vessels work in EVE Online.

You need engines that are both fast, efficient, and have the best thermal reduction you can get. When you're trying to be sneaky, you'll need to manually slow down to avoid thermal detection. Positioning (when to speed up, when to slow down, and which direction to move) and predicting enemy courses are critical skills to master. Your best cloaking device helps a lot too. These great engines and cloaking device can make the ship prohibitively expensive/time-consuming, so if your empire is still poor or slow on the industrial side it's a good idea to keep your designs relatively small.

The trick with missile designs is to make sure you pack enough punch to take down at minimum one or two really big commercial ships before reloading, considering that some may have a touch of CIWS. There's a few ways to do this, but I generally stick with designing very stealthy, small missile engines (just needs to be accurate vs commercial ships) and then pack a lot of MSP into the warhead. When I make these missiles, they can end up pretty large (size 12+) and I generally will use reduced size launchers since I do want reloads but am not too worried about reload time.

Commercial ships can fit CIWS, and a max-tech CIWS should be capable of shooting down at most 12 incoming missiles if every shot hits (6 shots for max gauss tech, x2 for CIWS) and your missiles are not armored. So your sub pack will need to be able to fire at absolute minimum 13 missiles per volley per expected max-tech CIWS on your target if you want to make 100% positive that at least 1 missile will slip past each CIWS. So guesstimate/espionage your enemy's CIWS capabilities before finalizing your missile/sub designs. It's also important to consider damage/missile, since ideally you will be destroying 1 commercial ship per volley. Colony ships, freighters and the like get monstrously big, so adjust designs according to expected enemy designs, as usual.

One thing I like doing with my missile design is putting really nice sensors on my missiles, firing them at waypoints ahead of a potential target, and letting the missiles home in on their own. This allows my space-subs to attack while revealing their position as little as possible.

You also need to create either a specialized sensor submarine of some kind to go with a sub pack, or give them each their own sensors, ofc.

Note: This type of sub usually is hard-countered by just about any type of battle task group, especially ones with over-engineered sensor ships, and should be restricted to aggressively attacking passive, softer targets like commercial ships or possibly planetary bombardment duties and the like if you make variants. I recommend scouting through jump points with a more specialized scout ship before sending a sub pack through.

Note2: You want them to be capable of going quite fast for your tech. I usually dedicate a little more hull-size to engines on subs than I do for my ships-of-the-line. The speed will get you out of dangerous places and into 'deep space' where you can hide from enemy sensors more easily. Avoid staying too close to heavily trafficked routes, but hover around the edges of them at the limits of your thermal sensors range. However, it's critical to remember to slow down if you spot your enemy before they spot you and you think you may be close to their sensor range.

Aurora Suggestions / Re: Semi-Official 7.x Suggestion Thread
« on: July 17, 2017, 05:57:13 PM »

Simplify shipyard expansion.  Merge all the orders like "Add 1000 tons to capacity" orders into one "Add X tons to capacity" with a field to input exactly how many tons we want to add.

Edited to add this addition:
Do the same thing for adding slipways; let us add more than one at once.

For those of us who like to keep our shipyard tonnage in nice, round numbers, this would be a godsend. I hate having to increment shipyards one step at a time. When I'm trying to get a civilian shipyard to 250,000t it really sucks to have to re-assign the 'Add 10,000 tons' order every other week. It'd be so much easier to just set it to grow until it reaches the size I want.

C# Aurora / Re: C# Aurora Changes Discussion
« on: July 17, 2017, 05:51:48 PM »
Because the backend of a game where everything has to run in realtime is going to be completely different from a backend where you can expect to perform all the calculations and database work only when the turn (or in this case, time) is incremented?

Not necessarily. It all depends on how it's programmed. Real-time games still operate in 'ticks' or 'turns.' The only real difference is that real-time games tend to have very small 'ticks' (turns) of much less than a second, and continue to advance the ticks at a steady rate unless the user pauses or otherwise speeds/slows the rate at which ticks occur. In Aurora a 'tick' is 5 seconds.

I've never had the chance to look at Aurora's underlying code, but my best guess based on how it's played is that it operates in terms of ticks, where some processes are set to happen every one tick and others (like the production cycle) are set to other lengths. If this is the case, changing the back end to a pausable real-time system (kinda like a Paradox grand strategy game) shouldn't require too terribly much refactoring. If Aurora isn't set up like that, however, then I have no idea.

Another way to do real-time, which would be much harder for Aurora, would be to use an event-based system, where the code is always listening for an event to happen - like "Construction of 5,000 Infrastructure on Earth complete," at which point whatever code is written around that event would fire and run semi-asynchronously while the main body of code continues to listen for more events. This isn't a 'turn' or 'tick' based system, which has its advantages and disadvantages, and as a result I believe would be much more difficult to implement than steadily advancing turns/ticks - assuming that Aurora's code is already set up to handle things in ~5 second increments.

EDIT: Of course, either way is still an assload of work and Steve's time is almost certainly better spent on other aspects of the game at the moment.

Aurora Chat / Re: Auto-Terraforming
« on: July 10, 2017, 07:16:18 AM »

3: Add greenhouse or anti-greenhouse until temp is within tolerance
5a: add inert gas if total is below 0.3
5b: remove inert gases until colcost is 0

These steps are where you either have to do math, or just start guessing and hoping you don't miss the event as it cruises by - or worse, that you didn't guess too high and *then* miss the event as it cruises by, accidentally bjorking your colony cost.

And why do either when code can do the calculations such that the atmosphere comes out perfect every time? By adding a button to use for automatic terraforming for populations you don't take anything away from the game - you can still terraform just as before. You're still free to make all the wonky atmospheres you want, or to terraform for a population without using the auto-button. But for those of us that don't want to be assed with math or guessing + paying close attention for the terraforming events, it'd be a godsend that'd mean we don't have to pay any cognitive switching penalties and can continue focusing on fleets, resources, or whatever else we find more interesting. This sort of optional automation of features is a good thing, as demonstrated in almost every other similar game.

There are only two drawbacks that I can currently see to having a "Terraform world for <population>" option:

1) Steve has to code it (this is the big one, his workload being what it already is.)
2) It makes a very small but very tedious/unfun part of the game easier and less cumbersome for people, and I'll miss knowing that others are suffering from it because I hate people. (Please forgive the sardonicism. It's genetic.)

Aurora Chat / Re: Auto-Terraforming
« on: July 09, 2017, 10:45:09 PM »
One issue may be you may have multiple races in your people pool, each with different terra demands.

True, but there could be a population selector dropdown in the terraforming menu that tells it which population you'd like the atmosphere to conform to.

Once it's optimal for one population it's much easier to tweak and adjust than it is to do all the math from scratch on some toxic-atmosphere world.

C# Aurora / Re: Aurora C# Screenshots
« on: July 07, 2017, 04:06:37 AM »
For my own enjoyment, I would love to see a more granular ship design breakdown (though aurora is already fairly impressive), but if you are going to move to six sided ships, you then have to keep track of 3 axis rotation for every ship, and what each of those sides can "see".  Can't be having the port side guns shooting at ships on the starboard side now could we?  Well, I guess if we all use Mason beams and missile...

Nah, there's no need to get that deep. Just because you can swing a sword in D&D doesn't mean you have to track the exact angle and velocity of the blade. You just generalize it with a die roll, which I believe is exactly what I suggested.

A ship is 100 hull size in total. If 50 of that hull size is located in the rear of the ship (engines) then any incoming attacks (that aren't specifically targeted at a section) would have a 50% chance of applying their damage to the rear of the ship. Likewise, if the "above" section only has 10 hull size worth of components - mostly crew quarters, say - that'd be a 10% chance for the damage to be applied there. I'd even go so far as to suggest that when a section takes enough damage it might be torn off entirely (kinda like shock damage, but a bit different,) but this is already a whopper of a suggestion as it is. Feature creep is real.

EDIT: Well, you could get that deep into it if you really wanted. But Aurora is pretty clearly not in any position to start handling 3D space, so unless someone comes up with something tricky it's probably best to just stick with an abstracted version (ie: roll a weighted percentage die and then look at the table to see which section you hit.)

C# Aurora / Re: Aurora C# Screenshots
« on: July 06, 2017, 05:44:27 PM »
I think that armoring individual components - in addition to the already present general hull armor - would be a welcome addition. Defensive play is fun, and could use the buff. I'd love the added element of deciding which parts of my ships are more worth protecting. I'd even extend this idea to shields, where you could actively strengthen shielding over certain parts of a ship in the middle of a fight - at the expense of diverting shields from other parts.

Defense needs to be more interactive. It's a common problem in most games - and Aurora seems to be not much of an exception so far - where defense is reduced simply to a flat damage reduction to all attacks without any real way to tweak it or interact with it beyond a flat increase or decrease, and with no defensive decision making during fights. Aurora is a bit ahead of the curve already thanks to the point defense system, where you sometimes have to decide to fire all your PD at once or save some up in case of rapid volleys. Otherwise, defensive decision making (including stealth play) is mostly just about positioning, currently.

I'd suggest something a little different, though. What I'd suggest is having ships be split into different sections - bow, stern, port, starboard, above, and below might be good to start with. Each component from here on out would be placed into a section of the ship rather than some nondescript spot. Different sections could even be bonused for different types of components if we wanted, perhaps with accompanying research tech around ship chassis designs. There might be a tech line that boosts engine power or fuel efficiency for engines placed in a ship's rear section, for instance. Might need a new research branch for this, or you could just put ship chassis/frame stuff under construction/production. This change is important because it opens up a number of what should be (in my opinion) really fun new strategies and tactics.

In addition to the more nuanced ship designs, we could also buff shields by allowing ship captains (the player) to assign stronger shielding to one section of a ship at the expense of another. This could look like a little shield percentage adjuster in the ship screen, or possibly at the task group level, where you can adjust shield distribution by changing percentages over each section of your ship. So, 50% shields over "bow" to protect my guns, and the remaining 50% split across the rest of the ship. These figures could then be adjusted on the fly, perhaps with a small crew-skill-based delay. I'd recommend a button to easily assign a configuration to all ships of the same class. This is awesome because it adds a layer of defensive decision making during combat. I can reinforce shielding over port and starboard (where my guns are), my rear (engines) in case positioning is all-important, or below (life support or whatever else,) or try to evenly protect all of them.

Of course, it also opens up the ability to attempt to target specific sections of a ship. If I want to focus fire on my enemy's rear sections in hopes of knocking out their engines, I can. This also places additional importance on espionage, as the value of stolen ship designs would increase because they'll tell you exactly where to shoot. I'd recommend some sort of accuracy penalty for targeting specific sections, perhaps mitigated with a new type of fire-control tech.

This would also be a stealth buff to boarding parties, as it'd be possible to specifically target enemy engines to disable a ship, rather than just shooting in the general direction and hoping to get lucky.

I think sections would make it a little less complicated for the player than having to individually consider each component, plus it lets us do all of that cool targeting, ship design, and shield management stuff.

Overall I think adding more defensive decision making is one of the better ideas I've heard for Aurora.

With regards to interior/exterior components, I agree that most weaponry, as well as some other components like gas harvesters, hangars, and terraforming modules, should by default exist outside of the armor layer of a ship. To simulate external components, I'd just put an "external" tag on a component and any component with that tag would have a chance to be hit *before* ship section armor is taken into account. The bigger the external component, the more likely it is to be hit instead of armor. If you wanted, you could then add a research line to make some components interior that are normally exterior-only. For instance, with a "Adjustable Missile Tube Armor Plate" tech it'd be possible to remove the external tag from standard or reduced-size missile launchers under the pretext that the tube is placed inside the ship and the ship's armor is placed over it, likely with a sliding plate door of some kind that covers the aperture like a lens cap.

Aurora Suggestions / Re: Him Vs Her
« on: June 25, 2017, 07:43:38 PM »
I'm in favor of just removing the pronouns. In a pinch, use "their." It's worked in a singular (as opposed to plural) sense since basically forever, so it works. Sometimes language is limited and needs to be tinkered with. Attaching gender (not to be confused with sex) to pronouns serves no useful function, anyway, unless irritating people is somehow useful.

Aurora Chat / Re: PDC defences
« on: June 20, 2017, 04:41:09 PM »
I use PDCs rather extensively. I don't play against the AI, though, and they're not as useful against it. Against another player (or yourself) they're absolutely vital.

I always put a garrison in my PDCs. Always. The smallest ones may only be a single garrison battalion, but it's there anyway so that the enemy can't just drop a company of marines on my outposts uncontested. That said, I usually build them in 3 sizes - 1 Battalion, 1 Brigade, and 1 Division.

The Battalion sized PDCs usually come with room for a single battalion, a missile-defense system of your choice, and an anti-ship system of your choice. Alternatively, you could use boat bays or hangars and have some fighters for a variety of roles. They exist solely to defend lonely outposts, whether that's a mining colony or a deep space tracking outpost, so don't beef them up to the point where they become worth more than the assets they are protecting.

The Brigade sized PDCs I use to defend very valuable colonies that don't quite warrant an entire division. Usually these go on valuable automated mines, or smaller mining colonies with valuable minerals. It's the same concept as the smaller design, only beefed up across the board. The price increase needs to be justified by the value of whatever it's protecting, so be careful not to make these ones too big, either.

Division sized PDCs are for my most vital, core worlds. Put enough barracks on it for an entire division and then add on your anti-ship, anti-missile, and fighter capabilities as required (or as you can afford.) These are for defending the core worlds, so the only time "overkill" is a concern is if you're operating under a budget (time or materials.)

Usually I pair them up with a system defense task group that can scratch those hard-to-reach places in the solar system.

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