Aurora 4x

Aurora => C# Aurora => Topic started by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 08:10:12 AM

Title: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 08:10:12 AM
I am considering changing mesons for C# Aurora. They are very powerful, especially against large, otherwise well-protected, targets. As C# Aurora is intended to improve the usefulness of much larger ships, the current implementation of mesons goes directly against that principle. There are a few options (and the solution could be a combination or two or more):

1) Simply remove from the game entirely
2) Restrict to specific types of spoiler (currently Star Swarm but they are probably going to use something else)
3) Make Ruins-only tech
4) Leave as is but make very expensive
5) Change the mechanics so they are pass through against shields but not armour
6) Change so they can only pass through a fixed amount of armour (with larger calibre passing through more armour). If the armour is too thick, the meson impacts the surface for one point.
7) Remove turret-capability so they are less flexible and using them would require separate research into PD (same as particle beams).
8) Open to other ideas, including replacement by one or more entirely new weapon concepts.

Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: King-Salomon on December 27, 2018, 08:15:14 AM
Spoiler exclusive - if they were salvage-able and player-tech after salvage they should be pretty expensive too...

maybe add some stats (range) for the higher costs and to make the spoiler-race even more dangerous
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Hazard on December 27, 2018, 08:42:25 AM
9) weighing the damage calculations for mesons specifically to less critical systems. Or at least to things not as prone to explode the way generators and engines are.

Frankly, the big issue with mesons that I can find is that while the game has two protection stats, in VB6 the only one that could be partially pierced is armour. Even the heaviest direct fire weapon or missile could be stopped dead as long as there's shield strength left. Microwave cannons are kind of similar to mesons, but they actually have more drawbacks, as while they do triple damage to shields, they do no damage to non-electronic components. A microwave only equipped ship is actually incapable of destroying its target as a result.

It can mission kill it, rendering it a liability to enemy forces, but it can't destroy the ship.

Mesons are just plain cheating though, because there is no defense to be had against them except for padding the ship with as much dead weight as possible without losing effectiveness.


To be honest, I consider 5 and 6 pretty good choices, as it means that armour thickness remains important after shields become practical.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Scandinavian on December 27, 2018, 08:43:47 AM
1) Simply remove from the game entirely
2) Restrict to specific types of spoiler (currently Star Swarm but they are probably going to use something else)
3) Make Ruins-only tech
4) Leave as is but make very expensive
5) Change the mechanics so they are pass through against shields but not armour
6) Change so they can only pass through a fixed amount of armour (with larger calibre passing through more armour). If the armour is too thick, the meson impacts the surface for one point.
7) Remove turret-capability so they are less flexible and using them would require separate research into PD (same as particle beams).
8) Open to other ideas, including replacement by one or more entirely new weapon concepts.
I like a combination of 5, 6, and 7: Penetrating shields and ignoring a certain (caliber-dependent) number of armor layers gives an aesthetically pleasing symmetry with the microwave array's 3x damage multiplier vs. shields and ignoring armor (for full symmetry, maybe make the microwave's shield damage multiplier caliber-dependent as well). And I see no reason they should be turreted, though I would probably let the Swarm capital ships retain their ability to turret mesons, to keep their point defense in theme.

This solution would yield a weapon that is a hard counter to doctrines that rely entirely on shields. Microwaves already provide a counter to doctrines that rely on armor. Turreted lasers provide a counter to doctrines that rely on evasion. And particle lances provide a counter to doctrines that rely on kiting from extreme range. Which are the four basic ways to deal with incoming direct fire. (There's a fifth: Soak it with internal systems; but this is not a generally recommended approach.)

An alternative armor penetration model would be to let them follow the railgun damage template and damage progression by caliber (but without the 4x shot multiplier), but your original idea seems more in keeping with the current flavor.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 08:51:17 AM
The swarm won't be using mesons - I have some entirely new weapons in mind for them - so don't consider the Swarm a factor when looking at mesons.

Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: papent on December 27, 2018, 09:15:06 AM
I agree with an combo of options 6 and 5 for mesons.
Also if modifications to the mechanics of how high-power microwave is on the table could that weapon system also cause crew death in addition to killing electronics.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Jovus on December 27, 2018, 09:20:23 AM
Another option, though probably too late in the game: leave mesons the way they are, but change the way HTK work to make 1 point of isolated damage less likely to disable a given component with more than 1 HTK. Vaguely, you might involve a binomial distribution role rather than a rectangular one. (Something like 'damage against components is number of dice you roll, looking to get over some target number defined by a translation of HTK. Maybe you're looking for a target number of 4 for previously 1HTK components, 7 vs 2, etc.)

The numbers in this example stink, and the system would need some massaging, but hopefully you get the idea.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: El Pip on December 27, 2018, 10:18:23 AM
Remove entirely would be my preference, just because I find them unpleasantly cheaty. If we have to keep them then 5 and 7 combined seem best. Players have to keep using armour and shields for their designs, which forces more meaningful design decisions and that's always good.

For a new weapon type to replace mesons, a tactical tractor beam? Pulls the target ship in close so weapons do more damage, so would work well with Plasma Carronades or if you have short range BFCs. Tech increases would give the tractor beam a chance to work even if the target has more EP or is larger.

I like it because it would make Kiteing type tactics riskier and make 'perfect' victories harder to achieve, a tractor beam enemy would have a chance to pull you in and do some damage.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Darkminion on December 27, 2018, 10:23:50 AM
I like the ideas of 2 and 3, making mesons recoverable rather than immediately researchable. I also like 5 and 6 which make them a lot less deadly to larger ships as mentioned.

Would it be possible to have it have a chance to hit individual armor squares anywhere in the grid on top of ship components? So instead of just straight up ignoring armor it just adds each grid square to the list of things that can be hit lowering the chance of it striking something critical. Could it be possible for it to strike underneath the top layers of armor?

I am once the fence for #7, leaning more towards the nerf of removing them from being turreted. Meson PD is quite powerful against fighters and armored missiles
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Whitecold on December 27, 2018, 11:19:44 AM
I like the ideas of 2 and 3, making mesons recoverable rather than immediately researchable. I also like 5 and 6 which make them a lot less deadly to larger ships as mentioned.

Would it be possible to have it have a chance to hit individual armor squares anywhere in the grid on top of ship components? So instead of just straight up ignoring armor it just adds each grid square to the list of things that can be hit lowering the chance of it striking something critical. Could it be possible for it to strike underneath the top layers of armor?

I am once the fence for #7, leaning more towards the nerf of removing them from being turreted. Meson PD is quite powerful against fighters and armored missiles
Armored missiles are no longer a thing, though, so that for one is no longer any advantage. The new ECM just makes you miss.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: clement on December 27, 2018, 11:56:51 AM
I am considering changing mesons for C# Aurora. They are very powerful, especially against large, otherwise well-protected, targets. As C# Aurora is intended to improve the usefulness of much larger ships, the current implementation of mesons goes directly against that principle. There are a few options (and the solution could be a combination or two or more):

1) Simply remove from the game entirely
2) Restrict to specific types of spoiler (currently Star Swarm but they are probably going to use something else)
3) Make Ruins-only tech
4) Leave as is but make very expensive
5) Change the mechanics so they are pass through against shields but not armour
6) Change so they can only pass through a fixed amount of armour (with larger calibre passing through more armour). If the armour is too thick, the meson impacts the surface for one point.
7) Remove turret-capability so they are less flexible and using them would require separate research into PD (same as particle beams).
8) Open to other ideas, including replacement by one or more entirely new weapon concepts.

In my games I have always house ruled them out due to how over powered they have seemed to me. If keeping them, I would use a combination of 5 through 7. Make them a foil of microwave weapons seems like a nice balance.

Also, I like the idea of a tactical tractor beam. Perhaps give it levels of research that allow it to reduce a ships speed by X km per second. So, while not locking a ship down, it does give you the ability to set the engagement range. I think that kind of weapon would need to be very energy intensive though.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Zincat on December 27, 2018, 12:30:12 PM
A combination of 5) and 6) for sure. Right now mesons are overpowered, I'm very happy they are getting an overhaul.

I think mesons should remain viable as a counter against shield only ships and lightly armoured or not armoured ships. So, in regard to the above, they should definitely pass through any amount of shields.
After that, I am ok if they can pass through a FEW armour layers. Perhaps a number of layers equal to the square root of the meson tech level,with a minimum of 1? So meson lvl 1 can pass thorugh 1 layer of armour, meson lvl 4 can pass through 2 levels of armour, and so on.

This would provide great usefulness against unarmoured ships, civilian ships without armour, and shield-exclusive ships. Also, against ships who lost their armour due to other weapons like missiles and such.

In regard to the turret option, I think it should stay because turreted mesons are strictly worse against missiles compared to lasers, railguns  and gauss. The role of turreted mesons could be anti-fighter weapon. It would make sense, against fighters.

So all in all my vision for a meson weapon is:
Bypass all shields
Bypass a very modest number of layers of armour
Can be turreted, similar to current balance in VB6 Aurora. Turreted mesons against missiles are worse than railgun (which have more shots), lasers ( which have more range), and gauss (which have more everything but range))

Mission of mesons would be:
Anti fighter
Anti shield exclusive ships
Anti armourless ships or ships who lost their armour
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: ndkid on December 27, 2018, 12:35:39 PM
What about turning mesons into weapons with a 1 x N damage silhouette, where N can be increased via an expensive tech line? So, at the lowest level, mesons are just 1x1, and less useful than equivalent lasers, but once they get up to the 1x4 and above, they become armor piercers. Make shields function against them, which means that a fleet with a mix of microwave and mesons as a way to engage enemy forces, the need to protect the meson ships until after the enemy shields are down... that feels like a tactically interesting compromise.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on December 27, 2018, 12:36:47 PM
Personally, I've always liked the idea of a type of weapon that penetrates shields (but not armor), and a type that penetrates armor (but not shields). Not only would it add some variety to the combat system, but the combination would encourage you to have at least some of both on most ships.

That said, if you go with the penetrate some armor but not all option, what would you think of giving them an 80% (or whatever number) chance to pass through each layer of armor? So against 8 layers of armor, they'd have a 16.8% chance of hitting internals but otherwise would do one damage to armor. That keeps there from being some magic number of armor layers that is most effective, but if the performance hit would be too high I wouldn't worry about this one.

Another possibility would be to drop one of the meson tech lines (either size or range) and replace it with armor penetration, either as a % chance per armor layer or a maximum number of layers they could hit through.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Iranon on December 27, 2018, 12:41:10 PM
I've never found them terribly attractive, and that's with them being dirt cheap and their quirky cost scaling (nothing for capacitor, rather little for range modifier).
Options 5 and 6 seem ugly and hackish. 7 Changes little, they already suck as PD and at the moment turret gear is usually not worth it (if it is, it's a niche requirement against fast ships).

If big well-protected ships are seeing upgrades, a straightforward cost-effective natural counter is desirable. Otherwise players may feel forced to keep fights entirely one-sided (which seems likely to be even more of a problem in C#).
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Erik Luken on December 27, 2018, 01:02:59 PM
A combination of 3, 6, and 7.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Conscript Gary on December 27, 2018, 02:46:39 PM
Even if it didn't quite work that way, I like the thought of meson weapons as the opposite side of the coin to HPMs.

Microwaves bypass armor, and do extra damage to shields.
Mesons could potentially bypass shields and do extra damage to armor scaling with the focal size, maybe with some new damage profile. Once through armor though they would still only have their 1 point of damage- maybe with a bonus against armored components/increased HTK ones, but that might get a bit strange.

I also like the idea Darkminion had earlier where rather than ignoring armor, the armor is included on the table of things a meson blast can hit- maybe every column instead of every square, so that size is an inherent defense against the RNG rather than having to get too crazy with weighted odds.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on December 27, 2018, 03:16:45 PM
Microwaves aren't anti-shield weapons. They do 1 damage compared to 3 for a normal laser, but do triple damage to shields. That just means they hit shields like a normal weapon.

Imagine if mesons were changed to penetrate shields but do 3 damage to armor instead of penetrating. That would make them anti-shield weapons, not anti-armor.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 27, 2018, 03:18:02 PM
Alright, I don't frequent the forums much, but I do moderate the Aurora discord.  Frankly, I don't really see why mesons need an overhaul.  They aren't the superweapon some people are making them out to be.  Mesons are only really effective on small ships like fighters, meaning that the beam failure rate already hits them hard.  Not letting them go through shields means that they are entirely worse than microwaves, as there is no difference between a crippled ship and a dead ship.  (As a side note, microwaves aren't a good "anti shield" weapon as cost for damage they are just as effective as lasers at killing shields. ) Any change to the Meson design invalidates them entirely, and I don't want to seem them removed as I run fighters nearly every game.  Besides, mesons already have a counter.  It's called point defence.  If big capital ships being killed too quickly by mesons is an issue, just stick some AMMs or AFMs on your ship.  You csnt complain about a design of you don't even try to stop it.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Whitecold on December 27, 2018, 03:22:04 PM
I personally would not remove turreting. Rail guns and particle beams are already unturretable, having some options is nice.

One alternative option would be having them being blocked by shields, but penetrating armor instead. That would give a reason to field shields even on small ships.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Garfunkel on December 27, 2018, 03:23:14 PM
Spoilers and Ruins please.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 27, 2018, 03:24:14 PM
(same position as Lucifer, moderate the Discord and lurk on here but don't really post much)

I agree with Lucifer.  C# is already nerfing beam weapons in general (and fast-firing beam weapons in particular) with the failure rate, and it's buffing shields.  Hard nerfs to the main counter to shields at the same time run the risk of shields dominating the battlefield.

On the Discord, we've already seen shield-heavy designs come to the forefront of the tournaments.

Nerfing mesons when there's already so many changes that will affect the meson-shield balance in C# is perhaps somewhat hasty.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: MajGenRelativity on December 27, 2018, 03:32:21 PM
My personal opinion would be either 4 or 5.   Having them do only partial armor penetration makes them more like particle lances than anything else.   Increasing the cost or letting shields block them could be a good balance.   I'd prefer 4 over 5, as I'm not sure how the shield meta will change with C#

EDIT: I strongly lean towards 4 over 5.  The current meta is shield focused unless you have the right designs, and I don't want to tilt it anymore in that direction.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 04:23:25 PM
C# is already nerfing beam weapons in general (and fast-firing beam weapons in particular) with the failure rate, and it's buffing shields. 

The failure rate is only really an issue for constant ground bombardment. Close energy engagements don't usually last long enough for the 1 in 50 shots failure (which is instantly repaired by MSP) to be an issue. Also, missiles have the same failure rate, plus they can run out of ammunition. If anything, it is more of a problem for AMM launchers. Also, large shields may be stronger but shields have doubled in cost and their HTK has come down. Shields smaller than 10 HS are weaker than VB6.

The only situation I can remember in any of my campaigns where constant energy fire was a concern was spending an hour to bring down the shields of a swarm mothership with a relatively weak energy-armed force firing 20cm lasers every 20 seconds. That would have resulted in about 3.5 failures, or about 180 MSP per laser, so the ship may have run out before the hour was up. Even so, that was a rare marginal situation and an extra ship would have solved the problem. Plus, that situation won't happen in C# because the Swarm are changing.

It could be an issue for energy-armed fighters without MSP, but an average of 50 shots is probably fine and MSP could be added to the fighter design if required. Plus fighters are easier to repair with a carrier nearby, even if they do fail.

In general, C# has reduced the capabilities of missiles much more than energy weapons.

Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Zincat on December 27, 2018, 04:33:02 PM
To the discord people: I think most people here are not really advocating against shield bypassing. In fact, just about everyone said they should bypass shields. It's the complete bypass of shields AND armor that is a problem.

Put another way. A single meson hit from a single fighter can potentially destroy a one million tons ship. THAT is what most people here do not like at all. That is why it's unbalanced.

As Steve said, Aurora c# is really geared towards much larger ships, compared to vb6 aurora. That a single hit from a fighter can potentially destroy a huge capital ship is not really advisable, nor realistic in any way.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Iranon on December 27, 2018, 04:45:04 PM
Well, the failure rate makes extreme range fire somewhat costly (low damage for some weapons, low chance to hit). Against heavy shielding or cheap bulky targets (may require playing around maintenance in C#) this could become economically unfeasible.

In general, the failure rate makes cost-effectiveness of weapons much more important and will encourage deliberately low-tech weapons if they are "good enough" for the requirement. Not sure whether that's a problem or a good thing that increases depth.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 05:07:08 PM
Well, the failure rate makes extreme range fire somewhat costly (low damage for some weapons, low chance to hit). Against heavy shielding or cheap bulky targets (may require playing around maintenance in C#) this could become economically unfeasible.

In general, the failure rate makes cost-effectiveness of weapons much more important and will encourage deliberately low-tech weapons if they are "good enough" for the requirement. Not sure whether that's a problem or a good thing that increases depth.

The 2% failure rate is an estimate as well. I may adjust that once I see some campaign combat in the test games (soon I hope!).
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Iceranger on December 27, 2018, 05:09:56 PM
I agree with both Lucifer and Sombody1212, and I do not think nerfing the meson is needed.

In its current state, the only meaningful way of using mesons, is mounting them on fighters and have a swarm of them.  This is largely due to mesons only do 1 point of damage regardless of their size and tech.  With such a meson fighter swarm, they can only start to deal damage after wading through AMM/AFM fire, possible interceptors and area PD/anti fighter beam weapons.  As Lucifier pointed out, they are easily countered if the opposing has competent anti fighter capabilities.  Without anti fighter defense, a swarm of microwave fighters or missile fighters can also wreck havoc on such a fleet.

From a broad point of view, since mesons are almost exclusively used on fighters to be effective, some changes in C# are already indirectly nerfing them.  For example, the small engines generally use more fuel in C#; the nerfing in sensor range with large resolutions will make small resolution sensors more efficient thus fighters may lose their 'stealthness'; the failure rate on weapons also penalizes fighters more than other ship types; the missile engine/E-war change makes smaller missiles less capable against ECM equipped ships; and the missile launch detection change makes torpedoes largely obsolete.  With all these changes, I don't think more nerf on meson will make fighters in a better situation.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Iceranger on December 27, 2018, 05:22:35 PM
Quote from: Zincat link=topic=10229. msg111575#msg111575 date=1545949982
To the discord people: I think most people here are not really advocating against shield bypassing.  In fact, just about everyone said they should bypass shields.  It's the complete bypass of shields AND armor that is a problem.

Put another way.  A single meson hit from a single fighter can potentially destroy a one million tons ship.  THAT is what most people here do not like at all.  That is why it's unbalanced. 

As Steve said, Aurora c# is really geared towards much larger ships, compared to vb6 aurora.  That a single hit from a fighter can potentially destroy a huge capital ship is not really advisable, nor realistic in any way.

If a one million ton capital ship manages to let a meson fighter get close enough to fire the meson, then it deserve the chance to be destroyed.  It is either designed not to handle such situation, or it is poorly escorted.  On top of that, the possibility you are talking about is really small.

And I don't understand all the 'unbalanced' argument in Aurora.  There is no PvP in the game, and it is not like everyone is using mesons against the AI.  On the other hand, it actually gives a cheap and somewhat effective way of fighting back against more tech advanced opponents.  In a PvE game, I don't see it is an issue.  Otherwise, meeting invaders at ion/MPD tech level is a death sentence.

Also, I think we should leave 'reality' out of the equation in an unverse where Newton laws do not hold.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 05:24:39 PM
I'm not sure why there is a view that mesons are only effective on fighters.

Any warship can mount mesons as long as (like any other beam-design) it has the speed to get close to its target or it lies in wait at a jump point. They penetrate shields and armour irrespective of the relative tech levels of the combatants.

One of the most effective places for a meson weapon is on a planet, especially during multi-race starts, as it can attack the ships of other races in orbit. Finally, the biggest issue for C# Aurora, is that massed mesons on a planetary surface would probably massacre any drop transports, regardless of how much passive defences they had.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 27, 2018, 05:26:08 PM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229. msg111574#msg111574 date=1545949405
Quote from: somebody1212 link=topic=10229. msg111571#msg111571 date=1545945854
C# is already nerfing beam weapons in general (and fast-firing beam weapons in particular) with the failure rate, and it's buffing shields.   

The failure rate is only really an issue for constant ground bombardment.  Close energy engagements don't usually last long enough for the 1 in 50 shots failure (which is instantly repaired by MSP) to be an issue.  Also, missiles have the same failure rate, plus they can run out of ammunition.  If anything, it is more of a problem for AMM launchers.  Also, large shields may be stronger but shields have doubled in cost and their HTK has come down.  Shields smaller than 10 HS are weaker than VB6.

The only situation I can remember in any of my campaigns where constant energy fire was a concern was spending an hour to bring down the shields of a swarm mothership with a relatively weak energy-armed force firing 20cm lasers every 20 seconds.  That would have resulted in about 3. 5 failures, or about 180 MSP per laser, so the ship may have run out before the hour was up.  Even so, that was a rare marginal situation and an extra ship would have solved the problem.  Plus, that situation won't happen in C# because the Swarm are changing.

It could be an issue for energy-armed fighters without MSP, but an average of 50 shots is probably fine and MSP could be added to the fighter design if required.  Plus fighters are easier to repair with a carrier nearby, even if they do fail.

In general, C# has reduced the capabilities of missiles much more than energy weapons.

It isn't an issue for larger ships, or even individual ships.  But say I have a swarm of 100 Meson fighters, I can expect about 2 to go out per 5 second volley.  I've never seen a ship over 30k tons go down in under 30 seconds, so I'm potentially losing about 10% of my firepower per ship killed even before casualties.  Fighters already don't carry any maintenance, so they can't just repair.  Letting them only go partially through armour makes them a worse version of a laser or particle lance.  Yes, there is the chance that a single fighter can "one shot" your ship, if you are dumb and don't increase HTK on your components.  Luck is a thing , and in a component based system lucky shots will happen.  If we don't want mesons pulling a lucky shot, switch to an HP system.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 27, 2018, 05:41:23 PM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229. msg111580#msg111580 date=1545953079
I'm not sure why there is a view that mesons are only effective on fighters. 

Any warship can mount mesons as long as (like any other beam-design) it has the speed to get close to its target or it lies in wait at a jump point.  They penetrate shields and armour irrespective of the relative tech levels of the combatants. 

One of the most effective places for a meson weapon is on a planet, especially during multi-race starts, as it can attack the ships of other races in orbit.  Finally, the biggest issue for C# Aurora, is that massed mesons on a planetary surface would probably massacre any drop transports, regardless of how much passive defences they had.
The view isn't that mesons are only effective on fighters, but that they are the best and really only viable option for beam fighters.  On larger ships mesons are typically just worse than a comparative beam.  Also, on the point of massed mesons on planets, I'm of the opinion that if you are sending drop ships at a planet that still has its defences in place you deserve the casualties, but it could also be solved by not letting mesons be PDCs
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 05:41:34 PM
Letting them only go partially through armour makes them a worse version of a laser or particle lance. 

They are supposed to be much worse than a particle lance. The particle lance is about 60,000 RP for the base technology vs 2000 RP for the meson, plus the particle lance is generally larger, slower to reload, more expensive, is stopped by shields and has a limit to how much armour it can penetrate.

In comparison, the meson is massively overpowered.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 27, 2018, 05:43:24 PM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229. msg111580#msg111580 date=1545953079
I'm not sure why there is a view that mesons are only effective on fighters. 

Any warship can mount mesons as long as (like any other beam-design) it has the speed to get close to its target or it lies in wait at a jump point.  They penetrate shields and armour irrespective of the relative tech levels of the combatants. 

One of the most effective places for a meson weapon is on a planet, especially during multi-race starts, as it can attack the ships of other races in orbit.  Finally, the biggest issue for C# Aurora, is that massed mesons on a planetary surface would probably massacre any drop transports, regardless of how much passive defences they had.

If the concern is about STO mesons, disallowing mesons from being used by ground units as surface-to-orbit weapons should solve that issue.

That still leaves mesons on defensive stations at the planet, but if someone sends dropships to a planet that still has defensive stations in orbit, they deserve the casualty rates they're about to get.


Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 27, 2018, 05:44:44 PM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229. msg111585#msg111585 date=1545954094
Quote from: Lucifer, the Morning Star link=topic=10229. msg111581#msg111581 date=1545953168
Letting them only go partially through armour makes them a worse version of a laser or particle lance.   

They are supposed to be much worse than a particle lance.  The particle lance is about 60,000 RP for the base technology vs 2000 RP for the meson, plus the particle lance is generally larger, slower to reload, more expensive, is stopped by shields and has a limit to how much armour it can penetrate.

In comparison, the meson is massively overpowered.

I don't know man, we do a bunch of testing on the Aurora discord of designs, and even host tournaments where we compete ships, and all of our tests have shown that mesons aren't really that overpowered.  The only strategy that is mutually agreed to be overpowered is box launcher spam.  If mesons were as OP as people seem to think, I would think that we'd see more meson designs in our tournaments.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 05:48:41 PM
The view isn't that mesons are only effective on fighters, but that they are the best and really only viable option for beam fighters.  On larger ships mesons are typically just worse than a comparative beam.  Also, on the point of massed mesons on planets, I'm of the opinion that if you are sending drop ships at a planet that still has its defences in place you deserve the casualties, but it could also be solved by not letting mesons be PDCs

1) Could you explain (with numbers) why mesons on large ships are worse than lasers or railguns?
2) How do you plan to remove the meson defences without sending in the ground forces?
3) There are no PDCs in C# Aurora.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 27, 2018, 05:51:36 PM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229. msg111588#msg111588 date=1545954521
Quote from: Lucifer, the Morning Star link=topic=10229. msg111584#msg111584 date=1545954083
The view isn't that mesons are only effective on fighters, but that they are the best and really only viable option for beam fighters.   On larger ships mesons are typically just worse than a comparative beam.   Also, on the point of massed mesons on planets, I'm of the opinion that if you are sending drop ships at a planet that still has its defences in place you deserve the casualties, but it could also be solved by not letting mesons be PDCs

1) Could you explain (with numbers) why mesons on large ships are worse than lasers or railguns?
2) How do you plan to remove the meson defences without sending in the ground forces?
3) There are no PDCs in C# Aurora.
1) on mobile, numbers will take a second. 
2) orbital bombardment
3) my bad, I was referring to the STO weapons and miscalled them
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Iceranger on December 27, 2018, 05:52:33 PM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229. msg111580#msg111580 date=1545953079
I'm not sure why there is a view that mesons are only effective on fighters. 

Any warship can mount mesons as long as (like any other beam-design) it has the speed to get close to its target or it lies in wait at a jump point.  They penetrate shields and armour irrespective of the relative tech levels of the combatants. 

One of the most effective places for a meson weapon is on a planet, especially during multi-race starts, as it can attack the ships of other races in orbit.  Finally, the biggest issue for C# Aurora, is that massed mesons on a planetary surface would probably massacre any drop transports, regardless of how much passive defences they had.

As I have mentioned in another post, in Aurora there is no real PvP, and the meson is not the 'go to' weapon of choice, so I don't understand why they are overpowered or unbalanced.  In fact, their cheap RP cost enables the player to fight back when encountering a tech advanced spoiler.  I'd say that is better than a death sentence for gameplay.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 05:58:01 PM
I don't know man, we do a bunch of testing on the Aurora discord of designs, and even host tournaments where we compete ships, and all of our tests have shown that mesons aren't really that overpowered.  The only strategy that is mutually agreed to be overpowered is box launcher spam.  If mesons were as OP as people seem to think, I would think that we'd see more meson designs in our tournaments.

Aurora is designed for campaign play rather than tournaments. The factors in a campaign are totally different than those in a one-off battle and you face very different constraints.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on December 27, 2018, 05:58:32 PM
I'm not sure why there is a view that mesons are only effective on fighters.

Any warship can mount mesons as long as (like any other beam-design) it has the speed to get close to its target or it lies in wait at a jump point. They penetrate shields and armour irrespective of the relative tech levels of the combatants.

One of the most effective places for a meson weapon is on a planet, especially during multi-race starts, as it can attack the ships of other races in orbit. Finally, the biggest issue for C# Aurora, is that massed mesons on a planetary surface would probably massacre any drop transports, regardless of how much passive defences they had.

This seems like a pretty easy to counter tactic to me. Stick warships outside meson range of the planet, then send one transport in. If mesons fire at it, retreat it (if it survives) and have the warships bombard the now revealed STO mesons. Repeat as needed.

Meson STO weapons seem pretty potent, but you'll only get one shot on the surprise reveal, and then their short range will leave them extremely vulnerable.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 27, 2018, 06:01:52 PM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229. msg111591#msg111591 date=1545955081
Quote from: Lucifer, the Morning Star link=topic=10229. msg111587#msg111587 date=1545954284
I don't know man, we do a bunch of testing on the Aurora discord of designs, and even host tournaments where we compete ships, and all of our tests have shown that mesons aren't really that overpowered.   The only strategy that is mutually agreed to be overpowered is box launcher spam.   If mesons were as OP as people seem to think, I would think that we'd see more meson designs in our tournaments.

Aurora is designed for campaign play rather than tournaments.  The factors in a campaign are totally different than those in a one-off battle and you face very different constraints.
See icerangers comment
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 06:05:07 PM
I'm not sure why there is a view that mesons are only effective on fighters.

Any warship can mount mesons as long as (like any other beam-design) it has the speed to get close to its target or it lies in wait at a jump point. They penetrate shields and armour irrespective of the relative tech levels of the combatants.

One of the most effective places for a meson weapon is on a planet, especially during multi-race starts, as it can attack the ships of other races in orbit. Finally, the biggest issue for C# Aurora, is that massed mesons on a planetary surface would probably massacre any drop transports, regardless of how much passive defences they had.

This seems like a pretty easy to counter tactic to me. Stick warships outside meson range of the planet, then send one transport in. If mesons fire at it, retreat it (if it survives) and have the warships bombard the now revealed STO mesons. Repeat as needed.

Meson STO weapons seem pretty potent, but you'll only get one shot on the surprise reveal, and then their short range will leave them extremely vulnerable.

I think if I was using mesons on defence, I would support them with longer ranged weapons as well (especially given the 25% range boost), plus it will be a lot easier for the fortified ground-based weapons to hit the ships than the reverse, especially in rough terrain. If the attacker has enough ships and is prepared to take casualties, then it is possible to overcome the defences. In fact, I think that is probably the likely scenario for attacking colony worlds. Home world invasions, I suspect, will be extremely bloody (as they should be).
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Barkhorn on December 27, 2018, 06:07:29 PM
What about an 8th option: Strongly reduce their accuracy

Here's my understanding of the fluff around mesons right now: Mesons are particles traveling at near light-speed that can pass through anything, which when they decay they release a large amount of energy.  Ideally, your mesons will decay within your target.

Well presumably, it's pretty difficult to time exactly when the meson should decay, considering how fast it's traveling.  Ships are small compared to space, it seems pretty easily to accidentally have the meson decay 100m too early or 100m too late.  Both of these situations would be misses.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Panopticon on December 27, 2018, 06:10:50 PM
If mesons are the best and only viable option for beam fighters, then doesn't that suggest they are overpowered? I mean you are talking about throwing away potentially dozens of fighters on the chance that you get to land one or two meson hits, that's a fair amount of BP and research investment trading off for a couple of successful shots don't you think? It basically turns fighters into more expensive, lower damage long range missiles that penetrate armor.

Look at it this way, in VB6 Aurora the Star Swarm uses mesons exclusively and they require purpose built fleets to deal with safely because experienced players know they can't risk any ships being in range of their weapons for even one five second interval, could we really say that if they used railguns or lasers?

All this leaves aside the power of mesons in multi-faction, same planet games, in the last multiplayer game I participated in my faction got Meson PDCs online before anyone else and the only reason we didn't take over the world was because the person running the game made us stop. At low tech levels they are pretty much the ultimate weapon.

I don't think "git gud" is an appropriate response to criticisms of the weapon in this forum either, someone mentioned that if you lose your million ton warship to a single meson fighter then they deserve to, but proponents of meson fighters literally count on this scenario, if only bad people lose to meson fighters, then how can meson fighters be good? To me the answer is meson fighters are really good and the argument is disingenuous at best.

All that said, personally I don't know how mesons would compare in C# Aurora, I kinda think that as long as they aren't an early game technology that takes over multi-faction starts they might be just fine without other changes. But I like the idea of them being a ruin or spoiler specific tech, I think there should be more reasons to salvage and explore other than incremental upgrades.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 27, 2018, 06:12:17 PM
Quote from: Barkhorn link=topic=10229. msg111595#msg111595 date=1545955649
What about an 8th option: Strongly reduce their accuracy

Here's my understanding of the fluff around mesons right now: Mesons are particles traveling at near light-speed that can pass through anything, which when they decay they release a large amount of energy.   Ideally, your mesons will decay within your target.

Well presumably, it's pretty difficult to time exactly when the meson should decay, considering how fast it's traveling.   Ships are small compared to space, it seems pretty easily to accidentally have the meson decay 100m too early or 100m too late.   Both of these situations would be misses.
I get the feeling you've never actually used mesons, as they are inaccurate as balls already.  Reducing the hit rate more and add in ECM and you aren't going to be hitting a planet from surface level
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 27, 2018, 06:15:44 PM
If mesons are the best and only viable option for beam fighters, then doesn't that suggest they are overpowered? I mean you are talking about throwing away potentially dozens of fighters on the chance that you get to land one or two meson hits, that's a fair amount of BP and research investment trading off for a couple of successful shots don't you think? It basically turns fighters into more expensive, lower damage long range missiles that penetrate armor.

Look at it this way, in VB6 Aurora the Star Swarm uses mesons exclusively and they require purpose built fleets to deal with safely because experienced players know they can't risk any ships being in range of their weapons for even one five second interval, could we really say that if they used railguns or lasers?

All this leaves aside the power of mesons in multi-faction, same planet games, in the last multiplayer game I participated in my faction got Meson PDCs online before anyone else and the only reason we didn't take over the world was because the person running the game made us stop. At low tech levels they are pretty much the ultimate weapon.

I don't think "git gud" is an appropriate response to criticisms of the weapon in this forum either, someone mentioned that if you lose your million ton warship to a single meson fighter then they deserve to, but proponents of meson fighters literally count on this scenario, if only bad people lose to meson fighters, then how can meson fighters be good? To me the answer is meson fighters are really good and the argument is disingenuous at best.

All that said, personally I don't know how mesons would compare in C# Aurora, I kinda think that as long as they aren't an early game technology that takes over multi-faction starts they might be just fine without other changes. But I like the idea of them being a ruin or spoiler specific tech, I think there should be more reasons to salvage and explore other than incremental upgrades.
Multi faction starts aren't base start, you put yourself in that situation, so it can't be applied for balance. I didn't say that mesons are the best weapon, I said they are the best option. The solution isn't to make mesons bad, it's to make smaller weapons better. But since Steve is going for big ship meta, I don't see that happening.i haven't met anyone who has ever had trouble with the star swarm, they are pushovers at their strongest, let alone someone who had to custom build a fleet
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on December 27, 2018, 06:17:40 PM
I'm not sure why there is a view that mesons are only effective on fighters.

Any warship can mount mesons as long as (like any other beam-design) it has the speed to get close to its target or it lies in wait at a jump point. They penetrate shields and armour irrespective of the relative tech levels of the combatants.

One of the most effective places for a meson weapon is on a planet, especially during multi-race starts, as it can attack the ships of other races in orbit. Finally, the biggest issue for C# Aurora, is that massed mesons on a planetary surface would probably massacre any drop transports, regardless of how much passive defences they had.

This seems like a pretty easy to counter tactic to me. Stick warships outside meson range of the planet, then send one transport in. If mesons fire at it, retreat it (if it survives) and have the warships bombard the now revealed STO mesons. Repeat as needed.

Meson STO weapons seem pretty potent, but you'll only get one shot on the surprise reveal, and then their short range will leave them extremely vulnerable.

I think if I was using mesons on defence, I would support them with longer ranged weapons as well (especially given the 25% range boost), plus it will be a lot easier for the fortified ground-based weapons to hit the ships than the reverse, especially in rough terrain. If the attacker has enough ships and is prepared to take casualties, then it is possible to overcome the defences. In fact, I think that is probably the likely scenario for attacking colony worlds. Home world invasions, I suspect, will be extremely bloody (as they should be).

It's certainly possible they could be supported by longer range weapons, but having both mesons and longer range STO units invites defeat in detail. As soon as they start firing on the warships, the warships can fire back at them, and if it's 50% mesons and 50% long range lasers, then you're trading half your effectiveness against counter-bombardment for increased effectiveness against transports trying to land under fire. Without playtesting, I would suspect that might well be a fair trade.

Basically, it seems like light meson STO units are probably a counter to an opponent rushing you with heavily armed troop transports - but it strikes me that might be a tactic definitely worth having a possible counter, and it comes with a very large opportunity cost since those STO units are extremely vulnerable to counter-bombardment from outside their range.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 06:18:49 PM
Look at it this way, in VB6 Aurora the Star Swarm uses mesons exclusively and they require purpose built fleets to deal with safely because experienced players know they can't risk any ships being in range of their weapons for even one five second interval, could we really say that if they used railguns or lasers?

Yes, I agree. I am changing the swarm because of this issue. They represent a very specific and dangerous but one-dimensional threat. In fact, I have deliberately left them as one-dimensional so there is a way to overcome the meson armament.

For C#, they will have a different way of fighting, although their core imperatives will be similar. They should present a more multi-dimensional threat and will possess a unique weapon (coded today!), but not one as devastating as the fast meson swarm..
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Panopticon on December 27, 2018, 06:21:25 PM
Look at it this way, in VB6 Aurora the Star Swarm uses mesons exclusively and they require purpose built fleets to deal with safely because experienced players know they can't risk any ships being in range of their weapons for even one five second interval, could we really say that if they used railguns or lasers?

Yes, I agree. I am changing the swarm because of this issue. They represent a very specific and dangerous but one-dimensional threat. In fact, I have deliberately left them as one-dimensional so there is a way to overcome the meson armament.

For C#, they will have a different way of fighting, although their core imperatives will be similar. They should present a more multi-dimensional threat and will possess a unique weapon (coded today!), but not one as devastating as the fast meson swarm..

Yeah I realize they will be different, and am looking forward to how, but I was just using them as an example of how meson thinking can dominate a strategy.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 06:23:13 PM
Basically, it seems like light meson STO units are probably a counter to an opponent rushing you with heavily armed troop transports - but it strikes me that might be a tactic definitely worth having a possible counter, and it comes with a very large opportunity cost since those STO units are extremely vulnerable to counter-bombardment from outside their range.

I guess I could always hold fire on the mesons until the troop ships are too close to escape. I must remember to code that into the AI :)

It is unlikely any STO units are being taken out until they fire. I agree though that play testing is going to be vital for the many potential invasion scenarios.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 27, 2018, 06:23:41 PM
We seem to be arguing about three different things at this point:

1: Mesons are too strong in the early game (Panopticon)

Mostly due to mesons not requiring any additional techs to be effective like other beam weapons do. 
Solution to this would be to either add more techs to mesons to stop them being so effective early on (which techs?), raise meson costs, or make the initial meson research more expensive. 


2: Mesons are too strong when used from planets (Steve et al)
Solution to this would be to stop mesons being usable as STO weapons. 


3: Mesons are too strong against large ships with strong defences (Steve et al)
Difficult to speculate on this given the amount of other changes that have happened in C#, but I agree with Lucifer and Iceranger that a large ship should either be capable of defending itself from fighters, or be escorted by something that is capable of defending it from fighters. 


These three issues are largely independent of each other, and conflating them doesn't help anything. 

EDIT: Also, seems to be interesting that the forum regulars (who mostly do single-player and single-player-multiple-race games) are in favour of nerfing mesons, while the Discord regulars (who regularly do player-vs-player tournaments) are against it.  Not sure if there's something fundamental about it or just a coincidence, but interesting nonetheless.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Panopticon on December 27, 2018, 06:25:31 PM
We seem to be arguing about three different things at this point:

1: Mesons are too strong in the early game (Panopticon)

Mostly due to mesons not requiring any additional techs to be effective like other beam weapons do.
Solution to this would be to either add more techs to mesons to stop them being so effective early on (which techs?), raise meson costs, or make the initial meson research more expensive.


2: Mesons are too strong when used from planets (Steve et al)
Solution to this would be to stop mesons being usable as STO weapons.


3: Mesons are too strong against large ships with strong defences (Steve et al)
Difficult to speculate on this given the amount of other changes that have happened in C#, but I agree with Lucifer and Iceranger that a large ship should either be capable of defending itself from fighters, or be escorted by something that is capable of defending it from fighters.


These three issues are largely independent of each other, and conflating them doesn't help anything.

Pretty much this, I don't disagree with the other two arguments mind, but I think later in the game we tend to have more options and flexible fleets to deal with it so it maybe isn't quite as large a problem.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Jorgen_CAB on December 27, 2018, 06:40:31 PM
I think that we should look at the effectiveness of Microwaves and Measons and Measons basically win in any and all scenarios more or less.

Both Mesons and Microwaves should be highly specialized weapons who is good in certain scenarios while Lasers, Railguns and Beams are the main weapons. Neither Microwaves nor Meason should replace the standard weapons.

So I think that Measons should change in some way, I avoid Measons becasue they are a bit too powerful when used to effect.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 06:44:53 PM
We seem to be arguing about three different things at this point:

1: Mesons are too strong in the early game (Panopticon)
Mostly due to mesons not requiring any additional techs to be effective like other beam weapons do. 
Solution to this would be to either add more techs to mesons to stop them being so effective early on (which techs?), raise meson costs, or make the initial meson research more expensive. 

2: Mesons are too strong when used from planets (Steve et al)
Solution to this would be to stop mesons being usable as STO weapons. 

3: Mesons are too strong against large ships with strong defences (Steve et al)
Difficult to speculate on this given the amount of other changes that have happened in C#, but I agree with Lucifer and Iceranger that a large ship should either be capable of defending itself from fighters, or be escorted by something that is capable of defending it from fighters. 

These three issues are largely independent of each other, and conflating them doesn't help anything. 

EDIT: Also, seems to be interesting that the forum regulars (who mostly do single-player and single-player-multiple-race games) are in favour of nerfing mesons, while the Discord regulars (who regularly do player-vs-player tournaments) are against it.  Not sure if there's something fundamental about it or just a coincidence, but interesting nonetheless.

Regarding 3), we need to get away from the assumption that mesons are only useful on fighters. If one large well-protected ship with lasers fights another large well-protected ship with mesons, the mesons are likely to win if they get into range (either slightly faster or waiting at a jump point). The swarm are dangerous because they are fast and meson-armed. Mesons on planets are dangerous (2 above) if you have no option but to enter their range (you need to land on the planet or its also home to one of your populations).

If the Discord players are mainly involved in tactical battles, the reason for the Discord vs Forum difference will be campaign play. For example, anyone playing tactical battles usually thinks missiles are overpowered. In campaigns, I always find myself wanting more beam ships. In tactical battles, you can design whatever you like without constraints. In campaigns, especially early on, you are limited by shipyard space, technology, ordnance production, etc, which often means weak, non-specialised ships. Precursors and swarm present a serious threat in that situation.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Iceranger on December 27, 2018, 06:54:25 PM
Quote from: Jorgen_CAB link=topic=10229. msg111606#msg111606 date=1545957631
I think that we should look at the effectiveness of Microwaves and Measons and Measons basically win in any and all scenarios more or less.

Both Mesons and Microwaves should be highly specialized weapons who is good in certain scenarios while Lasers, Railguns and Beams are the main weapons.  Neither Microwaves nor Meason should replace the standard weapons.

So I think that Measons should change in some way, I avoid Measons becasue they are a bit too powerful when used to effect.

When comparing microwaves with mesons, it is more like microwaves being too bad rather than meson being too good.  As it has been mentioned in above posts, microwave is not an 'anti shield' weapon.  With the 3x multiplier, it does as much damage to shields as lasers.  I'd rather buffing microwaves rather than nerfing mesons in this comparison.

I don't get why lasers, railguns and (I assume particle) beams should be the main beam weapons.  This sounds arbitrary to me.  Rather, each weapon should have its place and purpose in the game.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: MajGenRelativity on December 27, 2018, 07:02:11 PM
As a Discord player who also does campaign and tournament play, I've done some experimentation with mesons.   I think that mesons are often mentioned as being mounted on fighters because fighters make it easier to get through the defenses around a ship.   Because they can more easily bypass capital ship defenses, I think that makes them stronger.   In campaign mode, I don't think mesons pose an overwhelming advantage, but I think that making the starting and/or successive techs more expensive would help.   I've seen some comments on the Discord talking about raising the energy draw of meson cannons, and that could be another potential balance solution.   

For tournament play, there's too many strategies I've seen at play to strictly call mesons overpowered.   However, either increasing the cost in BP of a meson cannon, or increasing its power draw (thus indirectly increasing BP), would be suitable. 

EDIT: To clarify, I do not think mesons are "massively overpowered" or somesuch, but could do with a slight nerf.  My opinion is increasing the RP+BP costs would represent a suitable solution.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: JustAnotherDude on December 27, 2018, 07:12:05 PM
Hey, another Discord regular here. I feel that we should define what a Meson Cannon, in the context of game balance is. A Meson Cannon is an option that allows you to ignore or at least diminish an enemies static defensive capabilities, in this case armor and shields, while dealing little damage beyond that effect. It needs to be less effective at long ranges then most other beam weapons. It is uniquely specialized at destroying large ships, no matter how much space is dedicated to defenses

A redesign of the Meson would, I think, begin in the first point. Instead of always ignoring the enemy, it should instead have conditions that need to be met for the effect to apply. The previous suggestion of armor of a certain thickness blocking it is good, but that takes away its role of killing heavily defended ships and instead shifts it to an anti-shield weapon (something which the Microwave already takes up, partially, although I think some reworking should be considered there too). Perhaps a system where "Radiation" or "McGuffin Juice" or whatever you want to call it builds up around a ship, decided entirely by its size and not shield/armor, which will allow mesons to then bypass these defenses freely once it exists in large enough quantities. Larger mesons would create more radiation but not deal more damage, as one seems more then enough. This would make the choice of Meson size an interesting choice, as the raw DPS of more cannons would be weighed against the amount of radiation needed for that DPS to be made a reality.

Alternatively you could have a percentage chance for penetration similar to hit chance that depends on range, otherwise it just hits the armor.

That's my two cents anyway



Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: alex_brunius on December 27, 2018, 07:23:04 PM
2) Restrict to specific types of spoiler (currently Star Swarm but they are probably going to use something else)
3) Make Ruins-only tech

My vote goes for either of these two options ( potentially also in combination with the making them more expensive part of 4 ).
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Jorgen_CAB on December 27, 2018, 07:24:17 PM
Hey, another Discord regular here. I feel that we should define what a Meson Cannon, in the context of game balance is. A Meson Cannon is an option that allows you to ignore or at least diminish an enemies static defensive capabilities, in this case armor and shields, while dealing little damage beyond that effect. It needs to be less effective at long ranges then most other beam weapons. It is uniquely specialized at destroying large ships, no matter how much space is dedicated to defenses

A redesign of the Meson would, I think, begin in the first point. Instead of always ignoring the enemy, it should instead have conditions that need to be met for the effect to apply. The previous suggestion of armor of a certain thickness blocking it is good, but that takes away its role of killing heavily defended ships and instead shifts it to an anti-shield weapon (something which the Microwave already takes up, partially, although I think some reworking should be considered there too). Perhaps a system where "Radiation" or "McGuffin Juice" or whatever you want to call it builds up around a ship, decided entirely by its size and not shield/armor, which will allow mesons to then bypass these defenses freely once it exists in large enough quantities. Larger mesons would create more radiation but not deal more damage, as one seems more then enough. This would make the choice of Meson size an interesting choice, as the raw DPS of more cannons would be weighed against the amount of radiation needed for that DPS to be made a reality.

Alternatively you could have a percentage chance for penetration similar to hit chance that depends on range, otherwise it just hits the armor.

That's my two cents anyway

Microwaves are NOT an Anti-Shield weapon... shields are a pretty good defense against Microwaves. Measons are pretty much better than Microwaves on all accounts, more or less.

I think that Meason should be balanced to be around as effective a weapons as Microwaves which are quite good in the situation where the opponent have no shields.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 07:36:11 PM
Microwaves are not intended as an anti-shield weapon. They only have one point of damage (like mesons) and pass through armour, so their 3 damage vs shields is to avoid them being completely negated by shields. They are actually weaker against shields than lasers, railguns or particle beams.

Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Father Tim on December 27, 2018, 08:11:58 PM
It seems to me that the reason 'shock damage' was added to Aurora was that big, well-defended ships were too good.  Now you're saying that they're not good enough when considering Mesons.  If shock damage is currently "working as intended" -- that is, correctly balanced in the amount of 'big ship kills' that occur from formerly non-fatal damage -- then Mesons should become shock weapons.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 27, 2018, 08:28:54 PM
It seems to me that the reason 'shock damage' was added to Aurora was that big, well-defended ships were too good.  Now you're saying that they're not good enough when considering Mesons.  If shock damage is currently "working as intended" -- that is, correctly balanced in the amount of 'big ship kills' that occur from formerly non-fatal damage -- then Mesons should become shock weapons.

Shock damage was intended to give larger weapons and in particular larger missile warheads a way to cause some internal damage against well-armoured ships. The intention was for this to cause occasional internal damage to add interest to a long-range missile duel as well as adding even more chaos to close range energy fights.

Actually, as a result of this discussion I have been looking at shock damage and even that gets too powerful for really large weapons. The percentage chance of shock damage is Damage Caused ^ 1.3. If shock happens, the actual damage is linear from 0 to 100% of (weapon damage / 3).

That works reasonably well at the first few tech levels. A 6-point energy weapon hit is 10% shock chance for example (for 1-2 damage) and a 9-point warhead has a 17% chance of shock and would cause 1-3 damage. However, beyond that point it starts to accelerate out of control. A 20 point hit has a 50% chance of shock (1-7 damage) and a 35 point hit is 100% and 1-12 damage. A lot of campaigns don't get to those levels but the issue still exists.

I should probably start a separate thread to discuss shock damage :) but I need to modify the formula to keep the low level chances and damage without the large increases later. Alternatively, maybe the chance & impact of shock damage should be based on the power of the explosion vs the size of the ship. A very large ship is not going to suffer the same impact shock as a small one from the same explosion strength. Going down that road, I could keep shock damage interesting at all tech levels.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on December 27, 2018, 08:49:09 PM
Regarding 3), we need to get away from the assumption that mesons are only useful on fighters. If one large well-protected ship with lasers fights another large well-protected ship with mesons, the mesons are likely to win if they get into range (either slightly faster or waiting at a jump point). The swarm are dangerous because they are fast and meson-armed. Mesons on planets are dangerous (2 above) if you have no option but to enter their range (you need to land on the planet or its also home to one of your populations).

On the other hand, a large well protected ship with lasers will flawlessly defeat a large well protected ship with mesons if it can't close the range, so saying it has an advantage if it does (though unlike the kiting laser ship, it's only better odds instead of a certainty) doesn't necessarily mean it's worthwhile. I'd be extremely reluctant to use mesons as my primary weapon for that reason - three laser ships will probably still beat a faster meson ship, but three meson ships wont beat a faster laser ship. I see what you mean about them not being an exclusively fighter weapon, but they are certainly have a lot of risks on a warship.

Nor do I really think their weaknesses are erased for a jump point defense, as a squad jump is likely to emerge outside of meson range and a jump blind ship can still fly away from the jump point. That isn't to say that mesons aren't a great jump point defense, but I actually prefer meson fighters or FACs on the jump point for that reason (either with high endurance or a no-frills carrier/platform).
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Barkhorn on December 27, 2018, 09:07:28 PM
With ground combat being focused on so heavily, and thus hopefully making boarding action effective, mesons could be very useful on full-size warships to repel boarders.

The boarding shuttles are likely to be fighter or FAC sized, and thus very vulnerable to 1-damage hits.  They also have to close to point blank range.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Shuul on December 28, 2018, 01:21:57 AM
As I play mostly with beam weapons (and some heavy fast torpedos) meeting meson-armed enemy feels a bit like being cheated. I do not think that increasing texh cost etc would really help as aquiring the tech would still provide you with op weapon.
Changing it to have a probability to bypass every layer of armor sounds good, so more armor could actually help.
Or just block them with shields.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: MarcAFK on December 28, 2018, 01:25:24 AM
The discussion in discord leads me to believe that mesons are probably pretty fine where they are, perhaps even needing a buff for ship combat, but the question of them being obscenely OP for ground combat probably still stands. Is there an alternative to make mesons less effective for ground combat? Jamming or ECM maybe? Already it has been pointed out that things like terrain which affects hit percentage is ridiculous when it comes to mesons unless its considered as a difficulty of simply finding your target...
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: DIT_grue on December 28, 2018, 01:30:17 AM
I am considering changing mesons for C# Aurora. They are very powerful, especially against large, otherwise well-protected, targets. As C# Aurora is intended to improve the usefulness of much larger ships, the current implementation of mesons goes directly against that principle.

Taking this as the starting assumption (I don't have a formed opinion of my own on the matter), my first thought on reading it was including armour in the random selection of where it hits. There's easy technobabble explanations for tweaking how that works out: if a flat chance based on hull space (as presently) turns out to nerf them too hard, well after all you'd be trying to aim at the center of the ship so some weighting towards components could be justified. Or you could even consider only the single column of armour its trajectory notionally passes through (possibly a second, "on the far side of the ship" due to overpenetration, though obviously both randomly selected). Handwave about how it ignores vacuum and energy fields (or not, if that is the justification for reduced accuracy compared to its tech level), but as soon as it starts passing through matter there's a chance it will revert: so there's any probability you like that some tile of armour actually stops it, whether that be flat, increasing with depth, increasing with density (or conversely, increasing with tech level of the armour)...

As I read the thread, it was obvious that other people had come up with all of these, and also the idea of tech line(s) to affect some of them from the meson side of things. Father Tim does deserve special mention for being the first to raise a point that really needs to be examined if this discussion is going to have any chance of coming to a good conclusion.

I don't mind too much if the start point is changed (made Ruin-only, research cost bump, whatever), but making them sandblast armour like any other 1-point weapon seems overkill and I'd be uneasy about a fixed threshold of armour-levels even if it would give calibre research an actual function rather than being a second (and worse) range extender. There's just some element of chance that is bundled in my understanding of its base concept.


The discussion in discord leads me to believe that mesons are probably pretty fine where they are, perhaps even needing a buff for ship combat, but the question of them being obscenely OP for ground combat probably still stands. Is there an alternative to make mesons less effective for ground combat? Jamming or ECM maybe? Already it has been pointed out that things like terrain which affects hit percentage is ridiculous when it comes to mesons unless its considered as a difficulty of simply finding your target...

If there is a problem specifically around their interaction with ground combat, it would be easy to borrow the common idea of planetary mass-shadows affecting your sci-fi tech: banning them from firing in the vicinity of planets altogether seems extreme, but you could explain any necessary degree of degraded effectiveness.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: froggiest1982 on December 28, 2018, 01:52:44 AM
Make it only a planetary weapon or for orbital station use only, not ships.

Then adjust sizes and costs, the concept would be like as one cannon is simply too big of a weapon to be carried on a ship unless is a death star.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Whitecold on December 28, 2018, 02:48:21 AM
Make it only a planetary weapon or for orbital station use only, not ships.

Then adjust sizes and costs, the concept would be like as one cannon is simply too big of a weapon to be carried on a ship unless is a death star.
That makes very little sense, since you can effectively build a death star. If it is so big that it is unsuitable for shipboard use, it is unsuitable for use.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: totos_totidis on December 28, 2018, 03:23:37 AM
How about modeling meson decay? Mesons should only cause damage only when they decay, however there is only a chance that they decay inside a ship thus they are not 100% reliable for damage.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Whitecold on December 28, 2018, 03:43:18 AM
How about modeling meson decay? Mesons should only cause damage only when they decay, however there is only a chance that they decay inside a ship thus they are not 100% reliable for damage.
No. Real mesons very well interact with ordinary matter by collisions, and the charged variants act like any other charged particle. Aurora mesons have very little to do with real life mesons, like real life lasers don't behave like aurora lasers, real life HPM don't behave like aurora HPM, never mind having a weapon called mesons and one called particle beam...
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: chrislocke2000 on December 28, 2018, 05:53:40 AM
I must admit I've not played that much with messons and as others have mentioned when fighting against the swarm I've found it pretty easy to deal with them (although at the moment the huge HTK of large engines makes that easier then it will be in the future with the change there).

I'd be happy with increased RP costs and build costs to keep them out of early game and then leave as is after that. You will need to invest a lot to use on STOs then and as mentioned once they have been revealed on a planet then opposing forces are going to have a good few ways of dealing with them.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 28, 2018, 06:43:01 AM
Regarding 3), we need to get away from the assumption that mesons are only useful on fighters. If one large well-protected ship with lasers fights another large well-protected ship with mesons, the mesons are likely to win if they get into range (either slightly faster or waiting at a jump point). The swarm are dangerous because they are fast and meson-armed. Mesons on planets are dangerous (2 above) if you have no option but to enter their range (you need to land on the planet or its also home to one of your populations).

On the other hand, a large well protected ship with lasers will flawlessly defeat a large well protected ship with mesons if it can't close the range, so saying it has an advantage if it does (though unlike the kiting laser ship, it's only better odds instead of a certainty) doesn't necessarily mean it's worthwhile. I'd be extremely reluctant to use mesons as my primary weapon for that reason - three laser ships will probably still beat a faster meson ship, but three meson ships wont beat a faster laser ship. I see what you mean about them not being an exclusively fighter weapon, but they are certainly have a lot of risks on a warship.

Nor do I really think their weaknesses are erased for a jump point defense, as a squad jump is likely to emerge outside of meson range and a jump blind ship can still fly away from the jump point. That isn't to say that mesons aren't a great jump point defense, but I actually prefer meson fighters or FACs on the jump point for that reason (either with high endurance or a no-frills carrier/platform).

Something just occurred to me that probably affects my own view of mesons and maybe others who play campaigns. It is true that staying out of range is the best option for laser vs mesons. In fact, any ship with longer-ranged energy weapons and higher speed is going to win against a slower ship with short-ranged weapons, regardless of the actual weapon. Short-ranged weapons on FACs or fighter swarm or any ship designed to be high speed avoid that problem. However, even against similar speed ships it can still be an issue due to inexperienced crew penalties making it sometimes difficult to control the range, especially in a confused fight. I suspect in one-off tactical fights, inexperienced crew penalties aren't used so that problem doesn't happen.

So, it is almost certainly true in general that mesons are a lot more deadly when employed on fast ships, which usually means FACs or fighters, than on large ships. It is also true that mesons are likely to be far more dangerous than any other beam weapon that can be mounted on fighters.

So lets put the big ship argument aside for the moment, as I suspect it is irrelevant to the main point and I probably just confused the issue by raising it, and concentrate on the fighter/FAC aspects. It still doesn't seem reasonable that a single fighter can penetrate any amount of passive defences when it could not do that with any other weapon in the game, even much larger ones. I accept that removing mesons or reducing their effectiveness would make beam fighters less effective. However, when armed with mesons they are too effective by some distance.

Which brings us right back to the beginning in terms of what to do with mesons. The weight of opinion seems to be make then ruins/spoiler only or allow them penetrate shields and have some ability to penetrate armour that is affected by the depth of armour. The latter gives them a role against shield-heavy designs or designs with limited armour, but not an ability to automatically penetrate capital ship defences.

I like the suggestion from Bremen that each extra layer of armour reduces the percentage chance of penetration, rather than having a fixed amount that can be penetrated. For example, if the penetration rate per layer was 70%, there would be an 70% chance of penetrating one layer, 49% chance of penetrating two, 34% of penetrating three, etc.. In fact, to make mesons scale with increasing defences, there could be an extra tech line for mesons that is their chance to penetrate each armour layer. As you research more tech levels, the chance to penetrate a given thickness of armour increases. That allows you to fight more effectively against mid or late game defences using mesons but also requires a good investment into research if you want to do that. Mesons remain viable against smaller ships, or those with shield-heavy passive defences, and retain a small chance of hitting something vital on a well-armoured ship.

How does that sound in principle?
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 28, 2018, 06:59:50 AM
With regard to the "a large, well-defended ship with mesons will defeat a large, well-defended ship with lasers" point, just did some testing:

Taking a laser ship (31kt, 10x86 armour, 120 shields at Inertial Fusion tech level) and swapping the lasers for mesons to yield an "equivalent" meson ship:

Test set 1: Meson ship moving towards laser ship, laser ship remaining stationary (10k km/s relative approach speed)
Test 1: Meson ship dies 10s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing an engine and a fire control) but survives. 
Test 2: Meson ship dies 15s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing two engines and a fire control) but survives
Test 3: Meson ship dies at point blank, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing all engines, most fuel tanks, and a fire control) but survives. 
Test 4: Meson ship dies 5s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing an engine and a fire control) but survives. 
Test 5: Laser ship "dies" 10s from target (both fire controls taken out), destroyed in a further 40 seconds of firing. 
Test 6: Meson ship dies 10s from target, laser ship is lightly damaged (all engines and fire controls intact, but missing a couple of fuel tanks and reactors)
Test 7: Meson ship dies 15s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing an engine) but survives. 
Test 8: Meson ship dies 10s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing an engine and a fire control) but survives. 
Test 9: Meson ship dies 5s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing two engines) but survives. 
Test 10: Meson ship dies 10s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing an engine and most of its reactors) but survives. 

Overall result: Fairly clearly in favour of the laser ship. 


Test set 2: Meson ship moving towards laser ship, laser ship moving towards meson ship (20k km/s relative approach speed)
Test 1: Meson ship dies 5s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing all engines)
Test 2: Meson ship dies at point blank, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing two engines and a fire control)
Test 3: Laser ship dies at point blank (engine explosion), meson ship is heavily damaged (missing two engines)
Test 4: Meson ship dies 5s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (main damage: missing an engine and most reactors)
Test 5: Laser ship dies 5s from target (both fire controls taken out, engine explosion 5s later), meson ship is heavily damaged (missing an engine and a fire control)
Test 6: Laser ship dies 5s from target (engine explosion), meson ship is heavily damaged (missing two engines and most of its fuel tanks)
Test 7: Meson ship dies 5s from target, laser ship is heavily damaged (missing an engine)
Test 8: Meson ship dies at point blank, laser ship is heavily damaged (missing an engine and most reactors)
Test 9: Meson ship dies at point blank, laser ship is heavily damaged (missing an engine and all fuel tanks)
Test 10: Laser ship dies at point blank, meson ship is heavily damaged (missing two engines and a fire control)

Overall result: Much more mixed than the previous test, but still slightly in favour of the laser ship. 


Having the laser ship retreat from combat, or having the ships start at point blank, would be even more in favour of the laser ship. 

However, there does appear to be a bug which may affect peoples' perception of mesons: Meson cost does not appear to be affected by capacitor recharge rate like other beam weapons are.   The result is that mesons (larger mesons in particular) cost far less than other beam weapons.   Once this bug has been fixed, mesons should be more in line with where they should be. 

EDIT: Just saw Steve's post about fighters/FACs being the main concern: I can rerun the tests with fighters but I broadly agree that meson fighters are the best fighter for anti-ship purposes.

The proposal for having mesons bypass shields and have a chance to bypass each armour layer solves both the "mesons don't really need to be researched past the first level" issue and the "small mesons are too strong against large ships" issue, particularly if we tie the bypass chance to the calibre rather than making it an independent tech line.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 28, 2018, 07:42:32 AM
Some analysis of the proposal for mesons having a chance to bypass armour:

If the block chance is inversely proportional to the failure rate, the bypass chance, number of layers for a 50% penetration chance, and number of layers for a 1% penetration chance, are as follows:

(http://https://i. imgur. com/AcOsNG8. png)

(image doesn't seem to be working in the preview for some reason, raw data below:)

P(block) = 5/C or P(bypass) = 1-5/C                                 
10   12   15   20   25   30   35   40   50   60   70   80
50. 00%   58. 33%   66. 67%   75. 00%   80. 00%   83. 33%   85. 71%   87. 50%   90. 00%   91. 67%   92. 86%   93. 75%
                                 
1   1. 285995697   1. 709511291   2. 40942084   3. 10628372   3. 801784017   4. 496556106   5. 19089307   6. 578813479   7. 966167236   9. 353206685   10. 74005367
6. 64385619   8. 543970471   11. 35774717   16. 00784556   20. 63770232   25. 25850627   29. 87447211   34. 48754705   43. 70869065   52. 9260695   62. 14136013   71. 35537203

P(block) = 4/C or P(bypass) = 1-4/C                                 
10   12   15   20   25   30   35   40   50   60   70   80
60. 00%   66. 67%   73. 33%   80. 00%   84. 00%   86. 67%   88. 57%   90. 00%   92. 00%   93. 33%   94. 29%   95. 00%
                                 
1. 356915449   1. 709511291   2. 234841743   3. 10628372   3. 97553034   4. 843767255   5. 711455882   6. 578813479   8. 312950414   10. 04664925   11. 78010351   13. 51340733
9. 015151104   11. 35774717   14. 84796715   20. 63770232   26. 41285186   32. 18129306   37. 94609151   43. 70869065   55. 23004706   66. 7484928   78. 26531359   89. 78113496
                                                               
P(block) = 3/C or P(bypass) = 1-3/C                                 
10   12   15   20   25   30   35   40   50   60   70   80
70. 00%   75. 00%   80. 00%   85. 00%   88. 00%   90. 00%   91. 43%   92. 50%   94. 00%   95. 00%   95. 71%   96. 25%
                                 
1. 94335821   2. 40942084   3. 10628372   4. 265024282   5. 42227098   6. 578813479   7. 734968008   8. 890886038   11. 20230558   13. 51340733   15. 82433056   18. 13514353
12. 91139247   16. 00784556   20. 63770232   28. 33620797   36. 02478861   43. 70869065   51. 39001508   59. 06976824   74. 42650729   89. 78113496   105. 1345766   120. 4872856
                                 
P(block) = 2/C or P(bypass) = 1-2/C                                 
10   12   15   20   25   30   35   40   50   60   70   80
80. 00%   83. 33%   86. 67%   90. 00%   92. 00%   93. 33%   94. 29%   95. 00%   96. 00%   96. 67%   97. 14%   97. 50%
                                 
3. 10628372   3. 801784017   4. 843767255   6. 578813479   8. 312950414   10. 04664925   11. 78010351   13. 51340733   16. 97974802   20. 44588363   23. 91190337   27. 37785123
20. 63770232   25. 25850627   32. 18129306   43. 70869065   55. 23004706   66. 7484928   78. 26531359   89. 78113496   112. 811004   135. 8395105   158. 8672472   181. 8945064
                              
P(block) = 1/C or P(bypass) = 1-1/C                                 
10   12   15   20   25   30   35   40   50   60   70   80
90. 00%   91. 67%   93. 33%   95. 00%   96. 00%   96. 67%   97. 14%   97. 50%   98. 00%   98. 33%   98. 57%   98. 75%
                                 
6. 578813479   7. 966167236   10. 04664925   13. 51340733   16. 97974802   20. 44588363   23. 91190337   27. 37785123   34. 30961849   41. 24128643   48. 17289793   55. 10447428
43. 70869065   52. 9260695   66. 7484928   89. 78113496   112. 811004   135. 8395105   158. 8672472   181. 8945064   227. 9481712   274. 0011761   320. 0538061   366. 1062025


If the new tech line affected the numerator in that, with the calibre remaining as the divisor, then we solve all of our current issues: Fighter and FAC-based mesons can no longer penetrate capital ships (with the 10cm mesons most commonly used on fighters being able to penetrate between 1 and 6. 5 layers of armour on average, depending on technology), larger mesons are not nerfed into the ground (even at the somewhat apocalyptic 5/C block rate, an 80cm meson can penetrate 10. 7 layers on average), and mesons now need to research more than just the starting levels of their tech tree (as now calibre will be more important, and the new tech line will be important).

Obviously, this is not to suggest that the block rate should necessarily start at 5/C (a 50% bypass chance at the start is somewhat harsh) or that it should increase in increments of 1/C (this leads to huge increases in the average penetration level at the end). 
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: MajGenRelativity on December 28, 2018, 08:10:23 AM
I'm amenable to Steve's take on Bremen's suggestion.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 28, 2018, 08:12:10 AM
With regard to the "a large, well-defended ship with mesons will defeat a large, well-defended ship with lasers" point, just did some testing:

Taking a laser ship (31kt, 10x86 armour, 120 shields at Inertial Fusion tech level) and swapping the lasers for mesons to yield an "equivalent" meson ship:

Thanks for running a test. A couple of points:

1) Could you rerun with a more 'normal' level for campaigns. Maybe ion-level tech. I've been running campaigns for about 14 years and I never reached Inertial Confinement :)  In fact, that is probably why I missed the issue with shock damage. The higher tech levels are rare, especially if starting at conventional, so the play-testing is limited.

2) Once the meson ship is in range, it should stay at that range. Otherwise the laser ship has the advantage. When fighting mesons with lasers, I try to stay out of range or, if that fails, try to get as close as possible. The meson ship will be trying to hold at close to maximum range.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Zincat on December 28, 2018, 08:14:35 AM
I like the suggestion from Bremen that each extra layer of armour reduces the percentage chance of penetration, rather than having a fixed amount that can be penetrated. For example, if the penetration rate per layer was 70%, there would be an 70% chance of penetrating one layer, 49% chance of penetrating two, 34% of penetrating three, etc.. In fact, to make mesons scale with increasing defences, there could be an extra tech line for mesons that is their chance to penetrate each armour layer. As you research more tech levels, the chance to penetrate a given thickness of armour increases. That allows you to fight more effectively against mid or late game defences using mesons but also requires a good investment into research if you want to do that. Mesons remain viable against smaller ships, or those with shield-heavy passive defences, and retain a small chance of hitting something vital on a well-armoured ship.

That sounds acceptable. The question then becomes how to carefully balance the penetration chance. And that is strongly dependent on how many armour layers the meson is facing.. I don't have a lot of experience with end-tech ships, I assume most ships will NOT go beyond 20 layers of armour.
 I threw together a 1 minute thing in excel, with base chance of penetration, and how much it is likely the meson will penetrate x layers of armour.

Chance    5 armour 10 armour  15 armour 20 armour
70,00%   16,81%   2,82%   0,47%   0,08%
71,00%   18,04%   3,26%   0,59%   0,11%
72,00%   19,35%   3,74%   0,72%   0,14%
73,00%   20,73%   4,30%   0,89%   0,18%
74,00%   22,19%   4,92%   1,09%   0,24%
75,00%   23,73%   5,63%   1,34%   0,32%
76,00%   25,36%   6,43%   1,63%   0,41%
77,00%   27,07%   7,33%   1,98%   0,54%
78,00%   28,87%   8,34%   2,41%   0,69%
79,00%   30,77%   9,47%   2,91%   0,90%
80,00%   32,77%   10,74%   3,52%   1,15%
81,00%   34,87%   12,16%   4,24%   1,48%
82,00%   37,07%   13,74%   5,10%   1,89%
83,00%   39,39%   15,52%   6,11%   2,41%
84,00%   41,82%   17,49%   7,31%   3,06%
85,00%   44,37%   19,69%   8,74%   3,88%
86,00%   47,04%   22,13%   10,41%   4,90%
87,00%   49,84%   24,84%   12,38%   6,17%
88,00%   52,77%   27,85%   14,70%   7,76%
89,00%   55,84%   31,18%   17,41%   9,72%
90,00%   59,05%   34,87%   20,59%   12,16%
91,00%   62,40%   38,94%   24,30%   15,16%
92,00%   65,91%   43,44%   28,63%   18,87%
93,00%   69,57%   48,40%   33,67%   23,42%
94,00%   73,39%   53,86%   39,53%   29,01%
95,00%   77,38%   59,87%   46,33%   35,85%
96,00%   81,54%   66,48%   54,21%   44,20%
97,00%   85,87%   73,74%   63,33%   54,38%
98,00%   90,39%   81,71%   73,86%   66,76%
99,00%   95,10%   90,44%   86,01%   81,79%

I assume here that most ships will never have more than 20 layers or armour.
Based on this, I'd say that penetration chance should start at around 70% and  reach 86%, with all the tech upgrades. That is quite effective against relatively low armour. And it still has 10.4% chance to penetrate 15 layers, and 4.9% chance to penetrate 20 layers of armour.
In my opinion, this is a fair tradeoff. If an enemy ship has even more than 20 layers of armour, yes it will be almost impenetrable to mesons, but on the other hand, it will have less shields and less weaponry. So... I think it's a good tradeoff.
Of course this assume that 20 layers or amour is a very high amount. If at very high tech level that ends up being sort of normal, then penetration chance could be raised. Needs balancing depending on actual numbers, once we do have them.

Edit: to further explain, keep in mind that I assumed that if you are using meson fighters, of course you have a large amount of them. That is what should be expected. So those numbers are fine because there's a lot of attacks going on every round.

And yes, you may have to escort your meson fighters with interceptor fighters to shoot down the enemy's fighters or AMMs that might attack your meson fighters. The meson fighters in this scenario operate as small " anti-capital bombers" which you have to protect
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 28, 2018, 09:23:16 AM
Quote from: Zincat link=topic=10229.  msg111656#msg111656 date=1546006475
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229.  msg111644#msg111644 date=1546000981
I like the suggestion from Bremen that each extra layer of armour reduces the percentage chance of penetration, rather than having a fixed amount that can be penetrated.   For example, if the penetration rate per layer was 70%, there would be an 70% chance of penetrating one layer, 49% chance of penetrating two, 34% of penetrating three, etc.  .   In fact, to make mesons scale with increasing defences, there could be an extra tech line for mesons that is their chance to penetrate each armour layer.   As you research more tech levels, the chance to penetrate a given thickness of armour increases.   That allows you to fight more effectively against mid or late game defences using mesons but also requires a good investment into research if you want to do that.   Mesons remain viable against smaller ships, or those with shield-heavy passive defences, and retain a small chance of hitting something vital on a well-armoured ship. 

That sounds acceptable.   The question then becomes how to carefully balance the penetration chance.   And that is strongly dependent on how many armour layers the meson is facing.  .   I don't have a lot of experience with end-tech ships, I assume most ships will NOT go beyond 20 layers of armour. 
 I threw together a 1 minute thing in excel, with base chance of penetration, and how much it is likely the meson will penetrate x layers of armour. 

-snip-

I assume here that most ships will never have more than 20 layers or armour.   
Based on this, I'd say that penetration chance should start at around 70% and  reach 86%, with all the tech upgrades.   That is quite effective against relatively low armour.   And it still has 10.  4% chance to penetrate 15 layers, and 4.  9% chance to penetrate 20 layers of armour. 
In my opinion, this is a fair tradeoff.   If an enemy ship has even more than 20 layers of armour, yes it will be almost impenetrable to mesons, but on the other hand, it will have less shields and less weaponry.   So.  .  .   I think it's a good tradeoff. 
Of course this assume that 20 layers or amour is a very high amount.   If at very high tech level that ends up being sort of normal, then penetration chance could be raised.   Needs balancing depending on actual numbers, once we do have them. 


Basing the entire analysis on meson fighters is going to lead to larger mesons being useless (there's already a strong feeling within the Discord that larger mesons are mostly useless in VB6, and further nerfs in C# will just cement that position). 

Having a fixed (or just tech-dependent) block rate will inevitably lead to either meson fighters being more powerful than desired (block rate too low) or larger mesons being useless (block rate too high), due to the much smaller numbers of mesons used on a ship compared to a fighter swarm. 

Calibre-dependent (whether or not it is tech-dependent as well) would solve this issue by giving larger mesons a reason to exist: they take on the anti-capital role that all mesons currently have, while the fighter and FAC-level mesons act as more of an anti-escort weapon due to their inability to penetrate capital ship armour. 

EDIT: Having it be both calibre-dependent and tech-dependent would solve both the "meson fighters are too strong" and the "mesons are too strong in the early game" issues.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 28, 2018, 10:33:08 AM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229. msg111655#msg111655 date=1546006330
Quote from: somebody1212 link=topic=10229. msg111647#msg111647 date=1546001990
With regard to the "a large, well-defended ship with mesons will defeat a large, well-defended ship with lasers" point, just did some testing:

Taking a laser ship (31kt, 10x86 armour, 120 shields at Inertial Fusion tech level) and swapping the lasers for mesons to yield an "equivalent" meson ship:

Thanks for running a test.  A couple of points:

1) Could you rerun with a more 'normal' level for campaigns.  Maybe ion-level tech.  I've been running campaigns for about 14 years and I never reached Inertial Confinement :)  In fact, that is probably why I missed the issue with shock damage.  The higher tech levels are rare, especially if starting at conventional, so the play-testing is limited.

2) Once the meson ship is in range, it should stay at that range.  Otherwise the laser ship has the advantage.  When fighting mesons with lasers, I try to stay out of range or, if that fails, try to get as close as possible.  The meson ship will be trying to hold at close to maximum range.

After rerunning the test at Ion level, yes, the meson ship reliably wins most fights when kiting.

This would indicate that the problem with mesons is not mesons in general, but early-game mesons in particular, where they are the only reliable way to bypass shields and armour due to the low chance of shock damage from other weapons.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: MajGenRelativity on December 28, 2018, 10:46:47 AM
Just to add my comment to respond to Zincat, ships do go over 20 layers of armor.  I personally go above it, and I have seen other designs do so as well.  I haven't seen over 30 layers, but over 20 is not rare.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Panopticon on December 28, 2018, 10:54:18 AM
Just to add my comment to respond to Zincat, ships do go over 20 layers of armor.  I personally go above it, and I have seen other designs do so as well.  I haven't seen over 30 layers, but over 20 is not rare.

I dunno man, twenty is pretty rare in my experience, I agree in principal that provisions need to be made for super heavy armor designs though.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 28, 2018, 10:55:08 AM
After rerunning the test at Ion level, yes, the meson ship reliably wins most fights when kiting.
This would indicate that the problem with mesons is not mesons in general, but early-game mesons in particular, where they are the only reliable way to bypass shields and armour due to the low chance of shock damage from other weapons.

Thanks. Based on that, it sounds like the main disagreements between the discord and the forum is due to a large difference in the tech levels being used. There isn't much campaign play testing at high fusion and beyond and those levels are really just to ensure no one runs out of tech levels, rather than because a lot of campaigns operate at that level. The main non-player campaigns threats don't exist at those levels because Precursors and Star Swarm are usually MPD or low fusion and VB6 NPRs do not tend to progress in tech levels very well, although C# NPRs should be much better at managing tech progression. Invaders are almost end-game tech in campaigns and they are usually about Magnetic Confinement Fusion.

Aurora is really intended for role-playing one or more interesting empires in early to mid tech levels, rather than min-maxing tactical combat at high tech levels. I haven't spent much time at all on the latter as it isn't something I would enjoy. In fact, Aurora only exists because when Starfire moved from 3rd to 4th editions, it abandoned the role-playing elements and background fluff to become a more technical, competitive min-max game. That turned me off the game, so I initially created a much more in-depth version of 3rd edition Starfire in about 2004 and things just evolved from that point. Aurora is really just a game I code for me to play, not a commercial game. I have fun sharing it and in return I get a lot of improvements in the game from community suggestions.

I don't mind considering the implications of the high tech min-max for those that want it, but the priority is always going to be the low to mid-tech campaign play, because that is what I enjoy myself. The early struggle into space against superior aliens is also what makes the most interesting fiction and creating that fiction is one of my primary reasons for playing.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: MajGenRelativity on December 28, 2018, 10:57:36 AM
Numerous tournament designs exceed 20 layers of armor. 
1) Tillman Class (me)
2) Ball of Steel and Guns (Somebody1212)
3) Unnamed armor ball (Somebody1212)
4) Deus Ex Rodina (Me/Rod)
5) Deus Exit Rodina Modified (Me/Rod/Teris)

Edit: My Tillman and other tournament designs are taken from my personal campaign I have been posting on the Aurora subreddit, not a min/max event. Some campaigns do hit the high fusion levels.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Iceranger on December 28, 2018, 11:10:49 AM
Quote from: Steve Walmsley link=topic=10229.   msg111655#msg111655 date=1546006330
1) Could you rerun with a more 'normal' level for campaigns.    Maybe ion-level tech.    I've been running campaigns for about 14 years and I never reached Inertial Confinement :)  In fact, that is probably why I missed the issue with shock damage.    The higher tech levels are rare, especially if starting at conventional, so the play-testing is limited.   

At Ion level, indeed there is no good way to counter fighters in general.    Missiles, the best way to counter fighters in higher tech levels, lack the performance at or below MPD tech to reliably hit fighters.    Also, at Ion level, the lack of reliable shock damage also makes mesons the only reliable way to ignore heavily armored ships.    Combine these 2 factors, meson fighters are quite dangerous at Ion level.   

However, at higher tech level (magnetic confinement fusion and above), fighters are decently countered by missiles, due to the vast improvment on missile performance (mainly due to the missiles have more techs related to it).    At such tech levels, a meson swarm is easily countered with proper anti fighter defense in the fleet.    At this tech level, nerfing meson will make it even less relevant.   

A simple solution for this early game meson fighter swarm (and to an extent, ground based meson weapons), is that start meson tech at medium caliber, and have the tech tree work its way up and down.    The RP cost between tech tiers should be higher than current values since the tech tree will be half as deep.    In this way, early meson techs are so large so they can not be mounted on fighters/early game small ground vehicles.    And at later techs when meson fighters and ground weapons is a thing, they have proper counters.   
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on December 28, 2018, 11:13:33 AM
So lets put the big ship argument aside for the moment, as I suspect it is irrelevant to the main point and I probably just confused the issue by raising it, and concentrate on the fighter/FAC aspects. It still doesn't seem reasonable that a single fighter can penetrate any amount of passive defences when it could not do that with any other weapon in the game, even much larger ones. I accept that removing mesons or reducing their effectiveness would make beam fighters less effective. However, when armed with mesons they are too effective by some distance.

Which brings us right back to the beginning in terms of what to do with mesons. The weight of opinion seems to be make then ruins/spoiler only or allow them penetrate shields and have some ability to penetrate armour that is affected by the depth of armour. The latter gives them a role against shield-heavy designs or designs with limited armour, but not an ability to automatically penetrate capital ship defences.

I like the suggestion from Bremen that each extra layer of armour reduces the percentage chance of penetration, rather than having a fixed amount that can be penetrated. For example, if the penetration rate per layer was 70%, there would be an 70% chance of penetrating one layer, 49% chance of penetrating two, 34% of penetrating three, etc.. In fact, to make mesons scale with increasing defences, there could be an extra tech line for mesons that is their chance to penetrate each armour layer. As you research more tech levels, the chance to penetrate a given thickness of armour increases. That allows you to fight more effectively against mid or late game defences using mesons but also requires a good investment into research if you want to do that. Mesons remain viable against smaller ships, or those with shield-heavy passive defences, and retain a small chance of hitting something vital on a well-armoured ship.

How does that sound in principle?

I think that if we accept the premise that mesons are too powerful on beam fighters, then that's probably the best way to limit them. However, I do still kind of question that initial premise.

It's not that I don't agree that meson fighters are more dangerous than any other beam fighter by a large margin; they are. It's just that I think as the design currently stands beam fighters are extremely weak, and meson fighters are the closest they come to being actually competitive. I'm curious how much you've tried to use them; I don't recall them ever coming up in your test campaigns. I can say that they seldom come up on the ship design or tactical discussion boards, enough that I sometimes jokingly refer to myself as the only one that actually uses beam fighters.

They tend to be extremely vulnerable to missiles (both anti-ship and AMMs), and then when they get to range get cut down quick to any beam weapons on the other end. Additionally, meson fighters have an additional weakness in that they normally have to get into range of gauss based point defense weapons, whereas other beam fighters can fire from outside it.

So I guess my take on that is that it's the best way to go if you want to nerf mesons, but the result will be weakening a weapon system I already see as underused and possibly underpowered.

Edit: Looking at Iceranger's reply I admit tech level probably has a lot to do with it. For some reason that must be spectacular coincidence, I almost never seem to stumble on NPRs no matter how high I increase the generation chance, so my campaigns tend to go long and end up at medium to high tech levels. I kind of like the idea of meson weapons starting at a medium calibur and getting the smaller (and shorter range) variants later.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Father Tim on December 28, 2018, 01:19:53 PM
I also think that some (most?) of the people who think Mesons are too powerful are actually dealing with the problem of "my ships are too slow."  I routinely see designs posted with 30-40% explosion chances for engines and power plants (and magazines).  My empire considers it a design flaw to have any component with an explosion chance over 1%.

(EDIT:  I made a huge mistake here, and meant explosion chance over 10%.)

If your battleship is exploding to Meson fire because 60% of its DAC is a 25% chance of catastrophic chain reaction, it's not surprising that you think Mesons are unbalanced.


Question for Somebody1212:  What's the explosion chance on your test vessels' engines?
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 28, 2018, 01:33:05 PM
Quote from: Father Tim link=topic=10229. msg111680#msg111680 date=1546024793
I also think that some (most?) of the people who think Mesons are too powerful are actually dealing with the problem of "my ships are too slow. "  I routinely see designs with 30-40% explosion chances for engines and power plants (and magazines).   My empire considers it a design flaw to have any component with an explosion chance over 1%.

If your battleship is exploding to Meson fire because 60% of its DAC is a 25% chance of catastrophic chain reaction, it's not surprising that you think Mesons are unbalanced.


Question for Somebody1212:  What's the explosion chance on your test vessels' engines?

For both the ion and fusion tests, the engines were 50HS (25HTK), 1. 3 power modifier (so a meson would have a 4% chance of causing damage, then a 13% chance of that damage leading to an explosion for an overall explosion chance of 0. 52%.

The powerplants were 1 HS, 50% boost for fusion (35% explosion chance) and 25% boost for ion (20% explosion chance).  It's worth noting that none of the tests ended in a powerplant explosion, in every case the powerplant explosion either failed to kill the ship, or was caused by an engine explosion which would have killed the ship even without the powerplant going up.

Due to the effect of power modifier on engine explosion chances, it's normally the fast ships that have a high explosion chance rather than the slower ships.  (this does raise the question of whether we should have engine techs to reduce the explosion chance at higher power modifiers)
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: MajGenRelativity on December 28, 2018, 01:47:57 PM
My empire considers it a design flaw to have any component with an explosion chance over 1%.


If your engines have an explosion chance of 1%, your power modifier must be tremendously low. Would you mind sharing some of your ship designs with me? I don't want to clutter them up here, so you can either PM me here or on Discord at MajGenRelativity#4971. In my opinion, it's impractical to have a military ship with that low a modifier, as it would be very slow.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 28, 2018, 02:00:51 PM
Quote from: MajGenRelativity link=topic=10229. msg111684#msg111684 date=1546026477
Quote from: Father Tim link=topic=10229. msg111680#msg111680 date=1546024793
My empire considers it a design flaw to have any component with an explosion chance over 1%.


If your engines have an explosion chance of 1%, your power modifier must be tremendously low.  Would you mind sharing some of your ship designs with me? I don't want to clutter them up here, so you can either PM me here or on Discord at MajGenRelativity#4971.  In my opinion, it's impractical to have a military ship with that low a modifier, as it would be very slow.

Given the impracticality of running military ships with a 0. 1 power modifier to get a 1% base explosion chance, I'm assuming Father Tim is referring to the overall chance of an explosion when being hit by a meson (i. e.  base chance / HTK )

If he's referring to the base chance, yes, I thoroughly agree with MGR.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 28, 2018, 02:11:24 PM
I agree with the decision to start at medium calibre and leave Meson design alone. Honestly Steve, I'm not trying to tell you how to play your game, but I regularly run campaigns past mag con, as do several other people. It seems that your approach is to fix things to fit your niche rather than our strategy of exploring what's available and working from there, so we often find unintended consequences you woild never stumble upon, such as this Meson issue. Honestly it seems to me that this is less of a matter of Meson power and more a matter of bad ship design. Not to say that you or anyone else is bad at building ships, but that you haven't explored the many, many options as much as some people have to find the better ways to make a ship more efficient. If you build slow ships, for instance, a beam will cripple you. However, at the end of the day, it is your game that you code for yourself, so the final call is up to you. But as someone who uses mesons more than anyone else I know (I even founded a religion based on worshipping the Meson ;)), I feel I have explored the field and it's power more than many people. You've created this amazing game that I and many others (mostly in the discord) have spent many hours figuring out the quirks of, from deriving your wacky armour equation to creating calculators to help design ship size. It would be a crying shame in my opinion to see such a unique and interesting weapon as a Meson completely reworked due to fundamental design flaws.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 28, 2018, 03:57:41 PM
I agree with the decision to start at medium calibre and leave Meson design alone. Honestly Steve, I'm not trying to tell you how to play your game, but I regularly run campaigns past mag con, as do several other people. It seems that your approach is to fix things to fit your niche rather than our strategy of exploring what's available and working from there, so we often find unintended consequences you woild never stumble upon, such as this Meson issue. Honestly it seems to me that this is less of a matter of Meson power and more a matter of bad ship design. Not to say that you or anyone else is bad at building ships, but that you haven't explored the many, many options as much as some people have to find the better ways to make a ship more efficient. If you build slow ships, for instance, a beam will cripple you. However, at the end of the day, it is your game that you code for yourself, so the final call is up to you. But as someone who uses mesons more than anyone else I know (I even founded a religion based on worshipping the Meson ;)), I feel I have explored the field and it's power more than many people. You've created this amazing game that I and many others (mostly in the discord) have spent many hours figuring out the quirks of, from deriving your wacky armour equation to creating calculators to help design ship size. It would be a crying shame in my opinion to see such a unique and interesting weapon as a Meson completely reworked due to fundamental design flaws.

If your objective is to derive the most efficient ship design for any given situation and maximising that efficiency is where you choose to devote your efforts, then I completely understand that my approach to playing/creating Aurora is going to seem very strange from your perspective.

For me, Aurora is designed for role-playing immersion over months of play that leads to interesting/challenging situations and generates great fiction. If I am going to devote time to something, it will be creating the most interesting setting, or perhaps trying to make the ship designs or ground replicate some historical period or nation or a specific sci-fi milieu. I might spend time creating a multi-start with different philosophies (both political and military) and see what happens. Spoilers and ruins and survey discoveries get thrown into the mix to change the path of the story. Spending time to build the most efficient ship I can, regardless of setting or role-play style or the perspective of the building race, isn't much fun from my perspective, so I don't devote a lot of effort to it.

I know that is probably frustrating from your perspective, but this is my philosophy for game play and game design. There are many games available for whatever type of game play people enjoy, but I am obviously going to design my own game to suit my own style of play. My goal isn't to maximise the number of Aurora players, but to create a relatively niche game for players who enjoy this particular style of game.

I guess that is a lot of perspective for one post :)
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Father Tim on December 28, 2018, 04:55:06 PM
Quote from: MajGenRelativity link=topic=10229. msg111684#msg111684 date=1546026477
Quote from: Father Tim link=topic=10229. msg111680#msg111680 date=1546024793
My empire considers it a design flaw to have any component with an explosion chance over 1%.


If your engines have an explosion chance of 1%, your power modifier must be tremendously low.  Would you mind sharing some of your ship designs with me? I don't want to clutter them up here, so you can either PM me here or on Discord at MajGenRelativity#4971.  In my opinion, it's impractical to have a military ship with that low a modifier, as it would be very slow.

Given the impracticality of running military ships with a 0. 1 power modifier to get a 1% base explosion chance, I'm assuming Father Tim is referring to the overall chance of an explosion when being hit by a meson (i. e.  base chance / HTK )

If he's referring to the base chance, yes, I thoroughly agree with MGR.

Actually, I'm mis-remembering instead of going to look things up and dropping a '0'.  I should have said my empires never use increased-power engines or power plants (with their increased chance of explosion) on proper warships.  That would make the base explosion chance 10%, right?  My empires will frequently use reduced-power engines, with the consequent reduced explosion chance, for fuel efficiency reasons.  So somewhere around 5-7% explosion chance by the time we're building battleships.

I should have said our philosophy is "any component with an explosion chance over 10% is a design flaw."
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 28, 2018, 05:19:27 PM
I agree with the decision to start at medium calibre and leave Meson design alone. Honestly Steve, I'm not trying to tell you how to play your game, but I regularly run campaigns past mag con, as do several other people. It seems that your approach is to fix things to fit your niche rather than our strategy of exploring what's available and working from there, so we often find unintended consequences you woild never stumble upon, such as this Meson issue. Honestly it seems to me that this is less of a matter of Meson power and more a matter of bad ship design. Not to say that you or anyone else is bad at building ships, but that you haven't explored the many, many options as much as some people have to find the better ways to make a ship more efficient. If you build slow ships, for instance, a beam will cripple you. However, at the end of the day, it is your game that you code for yourself, so the final call is up to you. But as someone who uses mesons more than anyone else I know (I even founded a religion based on worshipping the Meson ;)), I feel I have explored the field and it's power more than many people. You've created this amazing game that I and many others (mostly in the discord) have spent many hours figuring out the quirks of, from deriving your wacky armour equation to creating calculators to help design ship size. It would be a crying shame in my opinion to see such a unique and interesting weapon as a Meson completely reworked due to fundamental design flaws.

If your objective is to derive the most efficient ship design for any given situation and maximising that efficiency is where you choose to devote your efforts, then I completely understand that my approach to playing/creating Aurora is going to seem very strange from your perspective.

For me, Aurora is designed for role-playing immersion over months of play that leads to interesting/challenging situations and generates great fiction. If I am going to devote time to something, it will be creating the most interesting setting, or perhaps trying to make the ship designs or ground replicate some historical period or nation or a specific sci-fi milieu. I might spend time creating a multi-start with different philosophies (both political and military) and see what happens. Spoilers and ruins and survey discoveries get thrown into the mix to change the path of the story. Spending time to build the most efficient ship I can, regardless of setting or role-play style or the perspective of the building race, isn't much fun from my perspective, so I don't devote a lot of effort to it.

I know that is probably frustrating from your perspective, but this is my philosophy for game play and game design. There are many games available for whatever type of game play people enjoy, but I am obviously going to design my own game to suit my own style of play. My goal isn't to maximise the number of Aurora players, but to create a relatively niche game for players who enjoy this particular style of game.

I guess that is a lot of perspective for one post :)

Steve, my father, I am firmly in your camp on this issue. I love writing stories for Aurora, I have several of them. Min-maxing and efficiency has never been my cup of tea, it's all about the lore for me. For me, it's just more about the general balance of the game. Even if I never touch it, I wouldn't want it to be messed with if it affected the game for other people. I don't touch missiles with a ten foot pole, but if you suggested making missiles 100x more expensive, I'd object because I could see how it could effect other people even if it helped me. I like using mesons, but honestly I wouldn't really care if they were removed. I just feel that they don't need this level of nerfing, so I'll advocate for the devil and defend them. If I wanted a mechanically balanced game I don't know why I'm playing this one (kek). (Shameless plug, join the Discord for AARs and stuff, we've got a whole section dedicated to them <3)
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: MajGenRelativity on December 28, 2018, 05:22:46 PM
Quote from: MajGenRelativity link=topic=10229. msg111684#msg111684 date=1546026477
Quote from: Father Tim link=topic=10229. msg111680#msg111680 date=1546024793
My empire considers it a design flaw to have any component with an explosion chance over 1%.


If your engines have an explosion chance of 1%, your power modifier must be tremendously low.  Would you mind sharing some of your ship designs with me? I don't want to clutter them up here, so you can either PM me here or on Discord at MajGenRelativity#4971.  In my opinion, it's impractical to have a military ship with that low a modifier, as it would be very slow.

Given the impracticality of running military ships with a 0. 1 power modifier to get a 1% base explosion chance, I'm assuming Father Tim is referring to the overall chance of an explosion when being hit by a meson (i. e.  base chance / HTK )

If he's referring to the base chance, yes, I thoroughly agree with MGR.

Actually, I'm mis-remembering instead of going to look things up and dropping a '0'.  I should have said my empires never use increased-power engines or power plants (with their increased chance of explosion) on proper warships.  That would make the base explosion chance 10%, right?  My empires will frequently use reduced-power engines, with the consequent reduced explosion chance, for fuel efficiency reasons.  So somewhere around 5-7% explosion chance by the time we're building battleships.

I should have said our philosophy is "any component with an explosion chance over 10% is a design flaw."

I'd still like to see some of your ship designs, as even power mod 1.0 seems a bit slow for a warship.

Edit: I don't use increased power power plants for anything other than fighters.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on December 28, 2018, 05:25:47 PM
Oof, just saw your meson change. Honestly this seems like a bad way of going about it. There is now exactly 0 reason to be using mesons. At early levels they are actually terrible, as with a 4 layer armour ship my chance at damaging internals is 6%, with every other possibility dealing 1 point to a random spot on armour. Or, I could use a laser and just cut through armour with guaranteed death after a little bit. And since it scaled in tech cost with lasers, there is still no point. It's not even a matter of RP anymore, they are just objectively bad weapons now, the worst in the game. Hell, microwaves can kill a ship more effectively. Picking mesons as your weapon now is literally only for challenging yourself, because any ship with it is neutered.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 28, 2018, 05:31:04 PM
Alright: Proposal.

If we have to have the meson nerf, can we at least have an option in game setup to allow the nerf to be undone (by giving everyone an otherwise hidden "0% block rate" tech immediately).

Can't find the thread where people were posting suggestions for additional setup options but this seems to be a divisive enough issue to be worth splitting.

EDIT: Similar options could also be used for the oft-discussed "can we spinal mount / reduced size mount non-laser beam weapons" and "can we make X beam weapon be turretable / non-turretable".
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Jovus on December 28, 2018, 06:31:55 PM
I wouldn't say this makes mesons useless, but I would say this does the exact opposite of addressing the ultimate objection about them by turning them into early game weapons.

Early game, it shouldn't be too hard to research down to ~30% stoppage chance for a meson, much like you would research up to visible light or near UV laser wavelength by the time you hit ion. At 30%, a single meson should expect to penetrate 3 and a bit layers of armour - quite reasonable for sending them against targets around the ion tech level, especially if you use large swarms of fighters to deploy a hundred mesons or so. (Three is somewhat light armour, but definitely within the realm that I use for things like carriers and missile ships that I don't intend to be on the front line - the exact sort of target a fighter swarm would prioritize.)

If you want to bump it up and say the enemy is likely to have 5 layers of armour, well, each meson has about a 17% chance to penetrate that much armour. Against a swarm of 100 (not an unreasonable number for someone who prioritizes that strategy; I've done it myself) that's 17 internal hits. Not great, sure, but probably more internal hits per interval than you're getting through other means (at least until you've stripped off the armour). Definitely enough to take down this 5-layer ship fairly quickly (although certainly less quickly than before).

Compare end-game penetration chances. A 7% stoppage chance, into which you've sunk a lot of research points (comparable to getting lasers that will do 168 damage) means that you can expect to penetrate 14 layers of armour. Fourteen is a tiny number of armour layers when you're around gas-core AM drives. That laser itself will penetrate about 20 layers of armour (or 24 if you figure in template overflow) and do 17 points of shock damage (calculated according to the new shock changes) besides.

tl;dr: The armour stoppage change to mesons forces them to be only viable in the ion-MPD age and below.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 28, 2018, 07:40:11 PM
Within the last three posts I have one person saying mesons are now useless in early game and another saying they are now only useful in the early game :)  However, at this point the change is coded and I have moved on to boarding combat. I'll see how mesons fare in play test. Thanks for all the views expressed and the feedback.

I won't be adding options for weapons to have completely different mechanics. If I create an option for every alternative mechanic suggested (in this or any other case), I will never finish the game.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: QuakeIV on December 28, 2018, 09:22:11 PM
Probably for the best.

If the mesons need finagling then that can presumably wait until later.  I personally think as long as the overall mechanics are basically fine then all is well at least until the game has re-entered a playable configuration.  Its all partly guesswork until people are actually able to experiment with all of the new options anyways.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: somebody1212 on December 30, 2018, 11:13:04 AM
Proposal: Given that Advanced Mesons currently have little purpose other than just having a longer range than a regular meson, can Advanced Mesons retain the current "always bypass all armour and shields" mechanic that mesons currently have?
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on December 30, 2018, 11:44:06 AM
Proposal: Given that Advanced Mesons currently have little purpose other than just having a longer range than a regular meson, can Advanced Mesons retain the current "always bypass all armour and shields" mechanic that mesons currently have?

No, that would be a lot more powerful than the other 'advanced' weapons in respect to the 'normal' version.

I know that from the perspective of tournament play, particularly high-level tournament play, some people don't like the meson changes. However, Aurora is designed/intended for campaign play, not tournament play, so I am always going to make design decisions based on the effect in campaigns, even if that has a detrimental impact on tournament play (real or perceived). Secondly, now the decision on mesons is made, I am not reopening that particular debate (in my own head, at least) until I have some play test experience with those new rules within the vastly changed campaign environment of C# Aurora.

We have a lot of debates on the forums about different ideas for Aurora and it helps me a lot in terms of thinking it through. There are often many different opinions expressed, which means that usually one or more people in the debate would prefer a different outcome than the decision I eventually make. However, everyone moves on and joins in the next debate and eventually we might come back to the topic if the weight of opinion changes.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Agm-114 on December 30, 2018, 01:40:50 PM
One of the things that really bugs me is the constant dissmal of tornament play. 

The tornaments we run are designed to emulate the restrictions of a campaign.   Most tornament designs are just designs from campaigns that people are trying to improve. 

We have only actually run one tornament, and that was a "what ridiculous design is the best" sort of thing.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Whitecold on December 30, 2018, 01:45:01 PM
One of the things that really bugs me is the constant dissmal of tornament play.

The tornaments we run are designed to emulate the restrictions of a campaign.  Most tornament designs are just designs from campaigns that people are trying to improve.



It doesn't seem to be a difference in tournaments, but between low tech and high tech, and Steve's campaigns tend to be lower tech. In any case, since so many things changed, and only Steve can currently play test all these changes, we can only wait.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Agm-114 on December 30, 2018, 01:55:48 PM
If this is a difference between low & high tech he has issue with why wouldn't he have reffered to it as such.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Jorgen_CAB on December 31, 2018, 07:04:20 PM
The fact of the matter is that Meson in the current VB6 state are extremely efficient if you have just a slight upper hand in technology and you have exploited that while the opponent neglected the anti-fighter protection defenses in their strategy. Almost no other weapon are ever that effective in the same situation. This is mainly because there are no passive defenses that work. Also, given how easy it will be to render ship engines inoperative now (with much lower strength the larger the engine is) it would be an even worse combination.

I think the new system will work really well, sounds interesting at least.

We also have to understand that role-play campaigns are VERY different from a tournament style play where you ONLY regard game mechanics in an artificial isolated arena and no external factors. Just the fact that no sane human society would use attrition style combat like that with Meson fighters unless really desperate. Wasting good and expensively trained pilots and officers like that would rarely work outside very special situations. Its not like the Japanese started their use of Kamikaze pilots until they were desperate. When you role-play there will usually be many considerations you will need to do outside what is "efficient" from a game mechanics perspective. Many if not most human decisions are politically or emotionally motivated and are made for reasons beyond what is the most efficient thing to do, mostly because human happiness and fulfillment has nothing to do about efficiency and is a highly subjective thing, not to mention most decisions are made by individuals who also have flawed intelligence/knowledge, biases, personal preferences or just egotistical influences. There is a reason why the game add psychological traits to leaders which have no direct impact on the game, this is so they can influence the decisions you imagine they would take and to tell a unique individual story.

In role-play you often try to include these elements into the game which will make what is efficient vary quite differently from what is efficiently from a game mechanics perspective. In role-play you also try as hard as you can not to use fore knowledge of as many things as possible from past experiences playing the game. The people that inhabit this particular game will experience events for the first time and do not have the luxury of past games to draw upon (or game mechanics for that matter).

This is why game mechanics should foremost support play in that respect and "feel" coherent and plausible when you use them in your campaigns.

If you want to play Aurora like a classic game where all you care about are the mechanics themselves you can do that, but as Steve said, the game are not created with that mindset and are not perfectly balanced for it. There have always been a few rather glaring loopholes in the game mechanics which you could abuse to make things way easier to beat enemy NPR players, I don't think C# will remove them all.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Happerry on December 31, 2018, 10:08:03 PM
Quote from: Jorgen_CAB link=topic=10229. msg111796#msg111796 date=1546304660
We also have to understand that role-play campaigns are VERY different from a tournament style play where you ONLY regard game mechanics in an artificial isolated arena and no external factors.  Just the fact that no sane human society would use attrition style combat like that with Meson fighters unless really desperate.  Wasting good and expensively trained pilots and officers like that would rarely work outside very special situations. 
I object to this statement which de-facto claims people only play as humans, and I also object to your statement that a human society would only use meson fighters if they were being played by someone ignoring RP.  Yes, when fighters die people die, but when any warship dies people die.  And a lot of warships are a lot bigger then fighters.  A lot of fighters can die, and it'll still be less loss of life then when a fleet dies.  It's not like atmospheric fighters didn't die in large numbers at time in our own history, and throwing a swarm of torpedo bombers at a battleship is no less, and no more 'attrition style combat' then throwing a swarm of space bombers at a space battleship.  Or roll-crafting a swarm of X-Wings verses a Star Destroyer, to pick a random example.

Also, didn't we just have a post pointing out a lot of tournaments are designed to emulate the restrictions of a campaign, not just white space combat optimization and people should stop assuming that tournaments are just white space combat optimization?
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Jorgen_CAB on January 01, 2019, 05:25:59 AM
Quote from: Jorgen_CAB link=topic=10229. msg111796#msg111796 date=1546304660
We also have to understand that role-play campaigns are VERY different from a tournament style play where you ONLY regard game mechanics in an artificial isolated arena and no external factors.  Just the fact that no sane human society would use attrition style combat like that with Meson fighters unless really desperate.  Wasting good and expensively trained pilots and officers like that would rarely work outside very special situations. 
I object to this statement which de-facto claims people only play as humans, and I also object to your statement that a human society would only use meson fighters if they were being played by someone ignoring RP.  Yes, when fighters die people die, but when any warship dies people die.  And a lot of warships are a lot bigger then fighters.  A lot of fighters can die, and it'll still be less loss of life then when a fleet dies.  It's not like atmospheric fighters didn't die in large numbers at time in our own history, and throwing a swarm of torpedo bombers at a battleship is no less, and no more 'attrition style combat' then throwing a swarm of space bombers at a space battleship.  Or roll-crafting a swarm of X-Wings verses a Star Destroyer, to pick a random example.

Also, didn't we just have a post pointing out a lot of tournaments are designed to emulate the restrictions of a campaign, not just white space combat optimization and people should stop assuming that tournaments are just white space combat optimization?

I was mostly referring to humans as I guess many play humans and aliens similar in ways to humans. Does not mean you have to and you can role-play differently.

I do not agree that for example WW2 air combat was actually throwing planes at each other in attrition style combat where you didn't expect them to come back or did everything in your power to reduce combat losses of pilots etc... Some were better at this than others, some built their planes or other combat equipment better than other to save their crews which also had great effect on both morale, efficiency and outcome long term on war efforts.

Don't conflate war intensity with the need to protect human life as part of the way to get them to fight in as secure an environment as possible given the circumstances.

What I mean is that no same human society would use attrition warfare if there is another similar way to conduct it resulting in much lower human potential casualties and make it safer at a distance. Where would you find your pilots in such circumstances if it was not due to desperation or some slave like environment?!?
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Barkhorn on January 01, 2019, 11:50:39 AM
I agree that people will not accept attrition-for-no-reason, but you need to look at the loss rates for aircraft in WW2.  In some cases they were pretty horrific.  The 8th Air Force regularly accepted 10% aircraft losses, which isn't even including all the partial crew losses.  At the Battle of Midway, both sides lost entire waves of bombers; 100% casualties.

I know it's not aircraft, but look at the Kriegsmarine.  U-boat crews suffered 75% casualties over the course of the war. 

I think our perceptions of casualty rates are shaded by what war is like now.  Nowadays, it makes national news when ~5 soldiers die in one action.  Nearly every single air raid the allies performed lost several times as many.  And the allies did that repeatedly, almost every day for ~3 years.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Jovus on January 01, 2019, 12:12:33 PM
None of that even matters. If I want to play a piece of the Imperium of Man, which regularly glorifies in casualty rates that would make Mao sit up and pay attention, you telling me, "You're having fun wrong!" is just you being an ass.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 01, 2019, 01:06:47 PM
None of that even matters. If I want to play a piece of the Imperium of Man, which regularly glorifies in casualty rates that would make Mao sit up and pay attention, you telling me, "You're having fun wrong!" is just you being an ass.

It is fine to disagree with someone. However, resorting to personal insults is not acceptable on these forums.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: QuakeIV on January 01, 2019, 01:55:18 PM
Rip him I guess.

It might be nice if there were some kind of configurable for your society to calibrate how accepting they are of attrition.  It seems to me acceptance of casualties tends to have a lot more to do with culture and society than it does with an actual species.  I also suspect it has a lot to do with the populations ability to figure out how many people are actually dying.  You'll notice the USSR stood up to immense casualties in world war 2, however you will also notice the official number of deaths tends to fluctuate between 10 and 40 million or so depending on which historian is in vogue.

I don't really know how you would do that based on current game mechanics, seems like something for the future to me?
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Barkhorn on January 01, 2019, 02:12:29 PM
Ideally we'd have something like the Ethics system in Stellaris, so cultures can grow and develop over the course of the game.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Whitecold on January 01, 2019, 02:52:33 PM
I don't know what exact strategies were used in tournaments but casualty acceptance should not really part of meson balance. Coming back to the mesons:
1) They should have some form of counterplay by either being limited by shields or armor. In that regard, the new changes make them more interesting, and seem like a step in the right direction.
2) They seem to seriously fall off at higher levels, as lasers will penetrate similar amounts of armor, but will dig deep holes and deal shock damage, while mesons just scratch the armor.
3) They have no range dropoff whatsoever, and large mounts only increase range. That seems a lot less than lasers or railguns which gain both range and damage. Also the strong encourgement to stick to maximum range kinda infringes on the particle beams 'thing'
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Father Tim on January 01, 2019, 05:33:04 PM
It might be nice if there were some kind of configurable for your society to calibrate how accepting they are of attrition.

. . .

I don't really know how you would do that based on current game mechanics, seems like something for the future to me?

That is -- at least in part -- what the 'Racial Determination' species rating (of 1 to 100) was supposed to represent.  PC empires generally ignore all those stats, and NPRs don't do all that much with them either.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Jorgen_CAB on January 01, 2019, 08:29:32 PM
None of that even matters. If I want to play a piece of the Imperium of Man, which regularly glorifies in casualty rates that would make Mao sit up and pay attention, you telling me, "You're having fun wrong!" is just you being an ass.

I'm sorry but that is not what I said... I did say that under the right circumstance you can force people to behave like that. But if you look at history those societies have been quite dysfunctional and not very effective as a result. They usually only premiered the elite and oppressed the rest which usually produce very inefficient societies with rampant state corruption and ferocious political infighting and low overall stability/productivity.

What I meant was that when you role-play you can incorporate those side effects as well, or not... that is up to you.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Iceranger on January 01, 2019, 10:02:32 PM
I don't really see how role play factor come into play in this discussion.

If your setting of your empire values the life of pilots of the fighters, that is totally fine.  In that situation, you avoid using fighters unless cornered, that's fine.  If you choose totally avoid using fighters, that is also fine.  But, this is not the reason of removing the fighters if you don't like it from your role play settings.

Same goes for meson.  Again, it is not 'uncounterable' as many of the players think it to be.  Successful meson designs (aka meson fighters), are highly specialized and require specialized designs to counter them (aka anti-fighter ships).  A general use tool is not as efficient as a specialized tool when dealing with specialized situations, and this definitely apply to Aurora.  I understand that under role play limitations, designing the optimal ships for every role may not be possible.  As a result, if such a fleet fails to defeat a meson fighter swarm, it is not because meson swarm is overpowered.  More often than not, such fleets are not suitable to deal with a swarm of fighters.  A meson swarm will wreck them, a missile fighter swarm will also achieve the same thing, and a swarm of microwave fighters will also mission kill such a fleet.  Thus, the failure of such role play limited fleets cannot be used to argue whether a design is overpwered or not.

It seems to me that there is some degree of misunderstanding about arena/tournament play.  The idea of arena duels comes from the fact that in VB6 NPR/spoilers design ships so inadequately.  Thus, ships we used in the campaign, or the ones derived from them, are tested against each other under a controlled settings.  Typically the two fleets have equal tech and similar BP (including ammunition BP), and are given large enough starting separation to allow tactic maneuvers.  In this way, we can get a better idea about what counters what, and what cannot be countered by what.  From a role play point of view, all these can be viewed as simulation, concept-proofing and prototyping before a design of a ship goes through before production.  I definitely see my imperial naval design bureau are full of optimization freaks to adjust the designs to their best potential.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Rich.h on January 02, 2019, 02:15:17 AM
How about just adding an extra box in the species group, one for attrition or "mass casualties" or somesuch? Keep it as a 0-100 percentile factor, and it is used for every combat engagment of all types that takes place. If you suffer casualties of a percentage equal to or greater than your species attrition rating (from the original starting force amount), then you suffer an amount of unrest points across your empire (could be explained by way of media reports of how the leadership got this latest battle totally wrong).

You could take this a couple of stages further, firstly by having a second attrition rating for other empires (All the tenticle lovers in your empire protesting). Secondly allow a research path for attrition rating that allows you to create a new species with a lower rating than your current one (maybe in set blocks of 10% or such), this allows you to create emotionally dead races for places you really want total control.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Jorgen_CAB on January 02, 2019, 04:14:37 AM
I don't really see how role play factor come into play in this discussion.

If your setting of your empire values the life of pilots of the fighters, that is totally fine.  In that situation, you avoid using fighters unless cornered, that's fine.  If you choose totally avoid using fighters, that is also fine.  But, this is not the reason of removing the fighters if you don't like it from your role play settings.

Same goes for meson.  Again, it is not 'uncounterable' as many of the players think it to be.  Successful meson designs (aka meson fighters), are highly specialized and require specialized designs to counter them (aka anti-fighter ships).  A general use tool is not as efficient as a specialized tool when dealing with specialized situations, and this definitely apply to Aurora.  I understand that under role play limitations, designing the optimal ships for every role may not be possible.  As a result, if such a fleet fails to defeat a meson fighter swarm, it is not because meson swarm is overpowered.  More often than not, such fleets are not suitable to deal with a swarm of fighters.  A meson swarm will wreck them, a missile fighter swarm will also achieve the same thing, and a swarm of microwave fighters will also mission kill such a fleet.  Thus, the failure of such role play limited fleets cannot be used to argue whether a design is overpwered or not.

It seems to me that there is some degree of misunderstanding about arena/tournament play.  The idea of arena duels comes from the fact that in VB6 NPR/spoilers design ships so inadequately.  Thus, ships we used in the campaign, or the ones derived from them, are tested against each other under a controlled settings.  Typically the two fleets have equal tech and similar BP (including ammunition BP), and are given large enough starting separation to allow tactic maneuvers.  In this way, we can get a better idea about what counters what, and what cannot be countered by what.  From a role play point of view, all these can be viewed as simulation, concept-proofing and prototyping before a design of a ship goes through before production.  I definitely see my imperial naval design bureau are full of optimization freaks to adjust the designs to their best potential.

I agree that role-play don't have that much to do about Mesons, this was sort of a separate discussion about the goals and intentions of the design. But role-play and campaign play also give different constraints and thus shift balance in different ways, this is the important thing.

I can give a few very simple examples why tournament style comparison are no more relevant than role-play or regular campaign play, I'm not saying it is not relevant at all. Just that it should have roughly the same weight as anything else.

1. Missiles are hugely different in one of play since you don't have to deal with the logistical side of it in a meaningful way (from mining to deploying them in the correct area) as you need to in a campaign. Missiles also have a few flaws in the mechanic that can be abused if you don't house rule them.

2. JP battles and defenses play no major role in arena play while they do in campaign play in a very different way. This can have huge influences of ship design and priorities.

3. Scouting and reconnaissance are very different in campaigns which mean impacts on ship design and priorities.

4. Defense of worlds and colonies are also completely different which mean different constraints to ship configurations.

5. In campaign play you rarely face something on equal terms which will highly influence how you build a fleet and/or defences in a major way.

6. Intelligence of the opponent can heavily influence your choices of what is deemed an efficient design in role-play or campaign play.

You simply can't assume that the constraints in mock battles will ever be true for a real campaign.

Meason weapons are extremely efficient in JP attack/defence where it is pretty impossible to stand off.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: sloanjh on January 02, 2019, 07:25:46 AM
It seems to me that there is some degree of misunderstanding about arena/tournament play.  *snip*
I can give a few very simple examples why tournament style comparison are no more relevant than role-play or regular campaign play, I'm not saying it is not relevant at all. Just that it should have roughly the same weight as anything else.

*snip*
You simply can't assume that the constraints in mock battles will ever be true for a real campaign.

Hi All,

A few observations:

1)  It seems to me like some of the people who play tournaments feel that others have been overly dismissive of their insights, and that has generated a request for a little more respect.

2)  The purpose of this thread was for Steve to find out what people think about mesons.

3)  Steve has made a decision, and signaled that further discussion isn't going to affect that decision.

4)  We've already had one "play nicely" warning in this thread *after* Steve posted that he was done for the time being.

5)  A common (unconscious) failure mode in online discussions is to not respond to what was actually said, but instead to rebut a more extreme stance than was stated.  This seems to be going on here in the quoted exchange - the OP was trying to explain the tournament methodology they use; the response seems to read as refuting the idea that tournament insights are better and then refuting a claim that tournament sees the same constraints as campaign (which was not claimed).

Given the above, I think everyone should be asking themselves "what am I trying to accomplish with my next post" before writing it, especially since Steve has called a close to the meson debate.  In particular, let's be careful not to fall into a religious discussion about whether tournament or campaign people have better insights into the game.  Otherwise Erik might need to get out the trout....

Thanks,
John
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 02, 2019, 08:47:05 AM
I know I have covered this before but it is worth re-iterating.

I used to play a 'board' game called Starfire 3rd edition. It was a great game for role-playing and story telling, with a wealth of background material. The mechanics were interesting and fun but not particularly well-balanced in some cases. There were some huge technological leaps for example which gave the side that produced them a great advantage until the other side caught up. The longest AAR I have ever written (almost 1000 pages in Word) was from this game. The editor of Third Edition was David Weber (Honor Harrington, Safehold series, etc.) which explains the focus of story-telling.

Someone else bought the game and created 4th edition. With the best of intentions, that person decided to revise the mechanics to make them more 'competitive'. Rather than the single-player role-play campaigns that tended to dominate, he envisioned two or more people playing competitive games of Starfire, finding the most efficient way to win. He also removed the background material and role-playing aspects from the game as he saw them as unnecessary.

This caused a long and ugly row between the 'role-players' and 'competitive games' within the Starfire community that eventually led to a schism and a lot of bad feelings on both sides. It is also the reason I created Aurora. I am generalising here but the reason the former played the game was that Starfire was ideal for role-playing long campaigns, with each race having a 'personality'. To this group, who were happy to play a campaign for months or even years, who won was irrelevant compared to the fun of the journey, plus the fascinating situations and challenges that arose along the way. Balance wasn't a huge priority because having to deal with the short end of an unbalanced situation was also interesting.

For the competitive games, this seemed a very odd concept. They wanted to test themselves against other human opponents and prove their ships and strategies were the best. Balance was key, so that it was skill of the players that made the difference. They couldn't understand why anyone would choose to create a ship design that they knew wasn't efficient. The explanation that the race designing the ship was operating from a different set of 'knowledge' than the player or that the most efficient design didn't suit the 'personality' of that race was often met with incomprehension.

Both points of view are valid. My current job (Director of Analytics for a multi-billion dollar online gambling company) and my previous one (professional poker player for six years) are very much 'competitive gamer' territory. I lead a large department that has to figure out the best way to spend many hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing, promotion, game design, etc.. We have to be very efficient and very competitive and argue our case effectively with C-level execs.

However, in my own time I am definitely a role-player. I want to create detailed and interesting campaigns where the actions of the 'player' races are based on their own knowledge and personality. For multi-player starts, I try to create widely different design philosophies for the starting races, even if some of those are not great choices from a 'player knowledge' perspective. Those races may even take potentially detrimental actions that are driven by the personality of the race or individual commanders rather than my omnipotent overview, because I am trying to play from their perspective, not mine. If you are not a role-player I completely understand you might think this is a ridiculous way to play a game :)

So, in summary, I am not judging whether role-playing or competitive gaming is the better option. I am simply saying that Aurora was intentionally created to suit the role-players without any real consideration for the competitive gamers. If you judge it based on competitive gamer principles, you could find it very frustrating. Also, the role-player vs competitive gamer argument effectively wrecked the Starfire community at the time, so I really don't want that to happen with the Aurora community.

Finally, if someone wants to persuade me to change something, because of the above you are going to have a lot more chance of success if you base your argument on how it will enhance a role-play campaign, rather than how it affects a competitive match.

Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on January 02, 2019, 09:54:23 AM
If it's roleplay specific, I can make a pretty fair argument to keep mesons the way they were. The beautiful thing about Aurora is that you can apply any sort of story you want to any component. Lasers can be roleplayed to work completely differently between campaigns. Therefore, the only constant between these two is the actual mechanics of the game, the true limiter. In this sense, where you can roleplay anything you want as anything, the best option is to have as many different "mechanics" in the game for more roleplaying opportunities. Changing mesons completely removes a possible branch of roleplay. I can simulate the effects of the new meson pretty easily with a combination of microwaves and lasers or railguns. It won't be exactly the same, but it's a fine combination. I cannot, however, achieve the effects of current mesons with any combination of weapon in the game. It therefore removes the entire possibility of that aspect of roleplay. I can call particle beams lasers and lasers particle beams in my campaign, but at the end of the day the mechanics will be the mechanics, and they effect the roleplay simply by how they effect the actual game. Removing the current function of mesons cuts off that aspect of RP entirely, as I said. In addition, if it's a matter of roleplay specifically, the matters of the supposed "OPness" of mesons is irrelevant, as you already said that Swarms are being changed and anyone can choose not to use them. Just like I can choose not to use size 1 missile spam in VB6 Aurora because I find it broken. It is all a matter of RP which weapons you choose, but changing the mechanics of the weapon entirely removes that option from me or any other player.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 02, 2019, 10:32:00 AM
I think we probably have different perspectives on role-play. Role-play to me means taking a given situation within a given set of mechanics, rules and constraints and approaching it with the knowledge and motivation of someone else. It doesn't mean having every option possible so I can do whatever I like. BTW I'm not saying one perspective is better than the other. I am explaining my own motivations.

Just out of interest I checked Wiki for a more objective definition of a role-playing game: "A role-playing game is a game in which the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterisation, and the actions succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, they may improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games."

I rarely used mesons as a player in VB6 because they were too effective (like the AMM spam) against an AI that couldn't make the same type of strategic fleet doctrine choices as a player. I did use them to some extent in earlier multi-player campaigns when I was playing every side. Even though the AI in C# should be better than VB6, the NPRs are still not going to radically change their design philosophy in response to threats from players or other NPRs. It is just too complex a system for the AI to ever be as a flexible as a player given the same resources. NPRs are designed to provide a challenge within the story but without a significant numerical or technological advantage, or multiple simultaneous NPR threats, they will still lose to a competent player.

With the new mechanics I can envision situations where I might actually use mesons on player ships to counter specific NPR threats (because they are no longer overpowered). The NPRs won't use a player response to mesons, which would probably be very thick armour at the expense of weapons, so the meson mechanics will work fine in a campaign situation vs NPRs while probably being countered relatively easily in a competitive match. This is even more important for C# Aurora because I hope the new NPRs are good enough that single race campaign against NPRs will be a significantly better than before and I will be doing fewer multi-race starts as a result.

I think we probably have different enough perspectives on game design that we are likely debating at cross-purposes and we aren't really going to get anywhere, so it would probably just be frustrating to continue the debate. Happy for you to respond, but I think it would probably do more harm than good to continue beyond that point.

BTW the new missile mechanics were partially intended to lessen the effectiveness of the AMM spam.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on January 02, 2019, 10:52:19 AM
I think we probably have different perspectives on role-play. Role-play to me means taking a given situation within a given set of mechanics, rules and constraints and approaching it with the knowledge and motivation of someone else. It doesn't mean having every option possible so I can do whatever I like. BTW I'm not saying one perspective is better than the other. I am explaining my own motivations.

Just out of interest I checked Wiki for a more objective definition of a role-playing game: "A role-playing game is a game in which the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterisation, and the actions succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, they may improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games."

I rarely used mesons as a player in VB6 because they were too effective (like the AMM spam) against an AI that couldn't make the same type of strategic fleet doctrine choices as a player. I did use them to some extent in earlier multi-player campaigns when I was playing every side. Even though the AI in C# should be better than VB6, the NPRs are still not going to radically change their design philosophy in response to threats from players or other NPRs. It is just too complex a system for the AI to ever be as a flexible as a player given the same resources. NPRs are designed to provide a challenge within the story but without a significant numerical or technological advantage, or multiple simultaneous NPR threats, they will still lose to a competent player.

With the new mechanics I can envision situations where I might actually use mesons on player ships to counter specific NPR threats (because they are no longer overpowered). The NPRs won't use a player response to mesons, which would probably be very thick armour at the expense of weapons, so the meson mechanics will work fine in a campaign situation vs NPRs while probably being countered relatively easily in a competitive match. This is even more important for C# Aurora because I hope the new NPRs are good enough that single race campaign against NPRs will be a significantly better than before and I will be doing fewer multi-race starts as a result.

I think we probably have different enough perspectives on game design that we are likely debating at cross-purposes and we aren't really going to get anywhere, so it would probably just be frustrating to continue the debate. Happy for you to respond, but I think it would probably do more harm than good to continue beyond that point.

BTW the new missile mechanics were partially intended to lessen the effectiveness of the AMM spam.

Ah, I didn't even consider that line of thought. For some reason 90% of the enemies I've fought in this game are Invaders (After dozens of games, even with NPR chance pumped, I've never encountered an NPR) so my PvE combat idea is a little skewed. From that angle, I could definitely see your reasoning, and I guess that we wouldn't be able to tell how good they are until playtesting. Guess we'll have to wait and see
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on January 02, 2019, 10:54:47 AM
Just to be curious, will there be potentiality for modding in C# Aurora? Some of us have been tossing around ideas for possible new ideas and alternatives for the game, and it would be cool to be able to implement those.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 02, 2019, 11:10:14 AM
Just to be curious, will there be potentiality for modding in C# Aurora? Some of us have been tossing around ideas for possible new ideas and alternatives for the game, and it would be cool to be able to implement those.

I don't want to release the source code so any modding would have to be restricted to db changes (as with VB6). That doesn't create a lot of scope though because most of the mechanics are within the code, rather than the DB. Also, I am always wary of modding because I don't want to be chasing non-existent bugs.

I am not releasing the code because this is a hobby for me, so I don't want different versions of Aurora appearing and, in particular, I don't want someone to start charging for those mods or variations. I have put a LOT of work into Aurora and give it away for free, so I don't want someone else to profit from that work. Also, given the amount of discussion on the Discord channels about opening up and changing the source code of C# Aurora, I won't be releasing it until I have put a decent amount of code protection in place to make that as difficult as possible. I'll probably invest in some commercial software to do that.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on January 02, 2019, 11:26:05 AM
Just to be curious, will there be potentiality for modding in C# Aurora? Some of us have been tossing around ideas for possible new ideas and alternatives for the game, and it would be cool to be able to implement those.

I don't want to release the source code so any modding would have to be restricted to db changes (as with VB6). That doesn't create a lot of scope though because most of the mechanics are within the code, rather than the DB. Also, I am always wary of modding because I don't want to be chasing non-existent bugs.

I am not releasing the code because this is a hobby for me, so I don't want different versions of Aurora appearing and, in particular, I don't want someone to start charging for those mods or variations. I have put a LOT of work into Aurora and give it away for free, so I don't want someone else to profit from that work. Also, given the amount of discussion on the Discord channels about opening up and changing the source code of C# Aurora, I won't be releasing it until I have put a decent amount of code protection in place to make that as difficult as possible. I'll probably invest in some commercial software to do that.

Ya, I saw your post about it right after I posted this lol. That's completely understandable, for all the people w/ good intentions you can't stop the few with bad. Now maybe if you can include a way to return mesons to their former glory in the DB for us... ;)
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on January 02, 2019, 11:36:32 AM
Also, what's this? You joined the Discord?
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 02, 2019, 11:50:28 AM
Also, what's this? You joined the Discord?

I've been on the Discord for months, although judging by some of the content, it seems that everyone on there assumes I am not :)
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Steve Walmsley on January 02, 2019, 11:58:41 AM
Ya, I saw your post about it right after I posted this lol. That's completely understandable, for all the people w/ good intentions you can't stop the few with bad. Now maybe if you can include a way to return mesons to their former glory in the DB for us... ;)

Well, as you asked nicely :)

There is a field called IgnoreArmour in FCT_ShipDesignComponents (in the C# DB). As things stand, setting that flag to true for a meson weapon will override the new meson mechanics so they still ignore armour. I will try to ensure that remains the case. It's a manual fix, but there if you really need it.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Lucifer, the Morning Star on January 02, 2019, 12:05:40 PM
The Holy Meson be praised!
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Desdinova on February 27, 2019, 12:56:34 AM
What role are mesons supposed to play in the game? I always thought that mesons were supposed to counter beefy, 30-armor-thickness battleships, but these changes make that impossible.

The reason is, each and every layer has a chance of stopping the meson, which the chance of penetration decreases exponentially with each layer added. If you have base layer tech, a shot has a 50% chance of penetrating layer 1 armor, 13% chance of penetrating 3 layers of armor, and only 1.6% chance of penetrating 6 layers of armor. A dedicated beam combatant with 20 layers would have a 0.00009537% chance of penetration. This is with base tech, of course, but it doesn't get much better: at absolute maximum level tech you have a 93% chance at layer 1, 80% chance at layer 3, only a 65% chance at layer 6, and a 23% chance of penetrating 20 levels of armor. And if you penetrate, you only do 1 damage.

The only use case I can see is if the enemy is using medium/light armor but heavy shields. But microwaves would be a better choice in that case because they can easily mission-kill an enemy ship.

My suggestion to make mesons useful would be to start the meson armour retardation tech at a higher percentage, like 80%. Or, make it a chance of evading the armor independent of how thick it is. Or, invert their relationship with shields: mesons penetrate armor as before, but shields are more effective against them. I also like the idea of keeping them as-is but making them rare, precursor tech.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on February 28, 2019, 06:30:23 PM
The only use case I can see is if the enemy is using medium/light armor but heavy shields. But microwaves would be a better choice in that case because they can easily mission-kill an enemy ship.

Microwaves are a horrible choice against heavy shields, and good against heavy armor. I'd say with these changes mesons become the (new) anti-shield weapon, and microwaves will be the new anti-armor weapon (as I believe they still penetrate armor but not shields). I do kind of agree that the armor penetration chance will seriously handicap mesons against anything with heavy armor, but I think that was deliberate.

Having a weapon that penetrates shields and a different weapon that penetrates armor isn't necessarily a bad thing, either, since it will highly incentivize having some of both defenses on your ships.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: TCD on March 01, 2019, 11:12:54 AM
There is also the new particle lance which I think Steve specifically designed as an anti-armour superweapon. So the correct answer for fighting heavily armoured battleships in C# may be as simple as "bring a big gun". Obviously you can't mount a particle lance on a fighter but I think that's probably intended!

 
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on March 01, 2019, 04:09:09 PM
There is also the new particle lance which I think Steve specifically designed as an anti-armour superweapon. So the correct answer for fighting heavily armoured battleships in C# may be as simple as "bring a big gun". Obviously you can't mount a particle lance on a fighter but I think that's probably intended!

While the Lance does have impressive armor penetrating abilities, I suspect that the downsides (large size, very low fire rate, high cost) mean it wont be worthwhile enough just as an anti-armor weapon. For lances to be worthwhile you'd probably want a fleet specially designed to play to its strengths (which would mean fast ships capable of kiting, and a focus on particle beams and lances as long range weapons).

Lances are a reason you'll almost certainly want at least some shields on your warships, though.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Iranon on March 02, 2019, 09:57:08 AM
The particle lance will definitely be interesting. Note that you don't have to go with all options -  I'll probably field small regular beams for long-range work, and look at large but otherwise low-tech lances as can openers after which other weapons can find the gaps. Paying for capability you don't need becomes less attractive when a weapon has a chance to break down each shot. OTOH, microwaves probably remain the top choice against heavy armour - doesn't matter if destruction takes a while after the enemy has been render deaf, dumb, blind and impotent.

I see little use for the new mesons unless shields turn out to be oppressive. Apart from PDCs, I found them dubious despite all the advantages they will no longer enjoy. I believe the upcoming version will be interesting and a little weird - to my understanding, a great many mechanics changes encourage something rather counterintuitive.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: MarcAFK on March 02, 2019, 05:07:57 PM
They'll be niche, should be useful for fighters or as a counter to smaller vessels, they'll shred destroyers or anything without a ton of armour.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Desdinova on March 02, 2019, 10:28:21 PM
They'll be niche, should be useful for fighters or as a counter to smaller vessels, they'll shred destroyers or anything without a ton of armour.

A 10cm laser would be superior in all respects against a lightly armored target. Mesons have half the range, so you're going to be close to or in the laser's full damage range. For example, against a target with 2 layers of armor a 10cm laser will penetrate with every shot causing at least 1 point of internal damage, while base tech mesons only have a 25% chance of causing internal damage. Even if you dump a million points into armor retardation tech, Mesons are inferior across all ranges and armor thicknesses to base tech 10cm lasers until possibly the very end of the tech tree.

They may bypass shields but would make poor anti-shield weapons because they don't complement other weapons; a mixed laser/meson battery is not as helpful against strong shields as either an all-laser or all-meson battery, with the latter only being situationally useful against strong shielded opponents. Microwaves are a better choice because they cause direct damage to shields.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on March 03, 2019, 02:24:56 PM
A 10cm laser would be superior in all respects against a lightly armored target. Mesons have half the range, so you're going to be close to or in the laser's full damage range. For example, against a target with 2 layers of armor a 10cm laser will penetrate with every shot causing at least 1 point of internal damage, while base tech mesons only have a 25% chance of causing internal damage. Even if you dump a million points into armor retardation tech, Mesons are inferior across all ranges and armor thicknesses to base tech 10cm lasers until possibly the very end of the tech tree.

They may bypass shields but would make poor anti-shield weapons because they don't complement other weapons; a mixed laser/meson battery is not as helpful against strong shields as either an all-laser or all-meson battery, with the latter only being situationally useful against strong shielded opponents. Microwaves are a better choice because they cause direct damage to shields.

Mixing lasers and mesons gets much more attractive when you consider you'll seldom be engaged against a single hostile target. If you have five ships with a mix of mesons and lasers, and the enemy has five ships with both armor and shields, you can fire all of the mesons against one ship and all of the lasers against another. It's still not quite as effective as all lasers would be against an armored ship or all mesons would be against a heavily shielded, lightly armored ship, but on average it works out better than either.

I do agree that the meson penetration chances are probably overly low, but I think we can wait and hope it gets changed after gameplay testing.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Father Tim on March 03, 2019, 04:06:09 PM
Someone mentioned (in another thread) modding the VB6 Aurora database to reverse the Meson Size tech line.  The idea being that Mesons now start out as 60cm monsters that still only do one (unstoppable) internal damage, but slowly get smaller as you progress.  It makes meson-armed fighter swarms an end-game weapon system.

I love this idea, and I really wish it would become the C# Aurora Meson model.  Having to choose between dozens (hundreds?) of points of laser damage and one point of unstoppable penetrating damage seems much more like an 'apples to oranges' choice than 10cm Meson vs 10 cm Laser (where the laser wins 96.5% of the time).

. . .

(Though this might require removing the 'bigger Mesons have longer range' feature, leaving range entirely in the 'increased meson range' tech line.)
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: xenoscepter on March 03, 2019, 06:34:41 PM
What about making so ships mounting Mesons can only mount one type of Meson weapon? So if you mount a turreted Meson Gun, you must use only THAT type of Meson Gun on your ship. Would that help? I mean we already can add only one type of engine and only one type of shield. And while were at it, can we change that please? I really want mixed engines and shield types...
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: Bremen on March 03, 2019, 07:28:02 PM
I don't think we need to rehash the thread. Steve said he'd already coded it and was going to wait on balance testing before any further changes.
Title: Re: Mesons
Post by: waresky on March 08, 2019, 11:30:40 AM
@Steve.
In Traveller and Megatraveller (@ Mark W.Miller) Mesons are a crucial weapon. Same a "Particle Cannon" but..in Spinal Mount design and in big Ships.

Meson in little ship can't be mounted.

For me..u can scrap entirely from the Game. Your choice