Some rambling ideas about a future expansion

4X strategy game from Proxy Studios

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eidolad
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
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Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:25 pm

Some rambling ideas about a future expansion

Post by eidolad » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:33 am

I like this game lots as a "sci fi wargame simulator". The unit art and sci-fi war concepts are very tasty. Some suggestions for future expansion:

To enhance the "wargame aspect":

1. For the love of <favorite beneficent entity>, we need the AI to stop spamming a single unit type...especially, an only-infantry army. The AI requires a mixed stack to survive against the human player, who can eat single-type unit stacks or spam for breakfast. Those AI infantry with missile launchers are nice cheap city defenders against armor/planes but are pretty useless against infantry with anti-biological weapons and don't have the hit points to stand up to WMDs...especially if they move away from cities.

So Mr. AI, for example your key cities: two of these anti-armor infantry are a nice addition to a city stack. Then go ahead and add one anti-air armor or maybe a plane, and one mech, and you'll be set.

2. AI needs to stop emptying cities entirely during war. Many times I see one, or zero, garrisoned units. Made the player pay cash for each AI city. This is especially a bad idea for the AI to do this once the player gets orbital drop capability.

3. Option to modify WMDs (orbital bombards, nukes, etc.)

a. game option: turn off WMDs (there are some days in which these WMDs are really tiresome)

b. game option: disallow computer from being able to fire wmd strike against units not either scanned, or in direct sight on that turn. It drives me insane when the computer destroys a group of my units that are nowhere near any of that faction's units.

3. stealth: submarines (melee and ranged versions?), undetectable unless adjacent. I know this is a bigger ask if indeed the computer AI relies of 100% radar sight of the entire map. Infantry special ops (can cross/attack from the water, can active "stealth mode for 2 turns in which they cannot be seen except by infantry units")

4. Siege laser (SL): another form of WMD, launched by a heavy armored unit, with cooldown time. Range of N tiles: once fired, does persistent damage every turn for N number of turn. Some balancing required to determine range, cooldown time, dwell time. The SL laser platform would obviously need to be pretty beefy to absorb the inevitable WMD strikes coming its way...

Bonus: the SL launcher can move while firing (allows for use in Messari era if hit by ion storm).

5. A "WMD shield" unit (perhaps, limit each civ to a limited number of these.


To enhance a "civ builder" sort of game mode. At some point I Would like to have more to do than survive the messari and conquer other factions:

1. game option: disable and/or delay Messari

2. sea terraforming: at the moment those sea squares can only be used for food? Would like to see: raise/lower terrain, make bridge (easy to destroy and kills the land unit that might be on that square), tidal energy producer, undersea "suburb" etc.

Wish list: undersea faction

a. undersea resources and buildings: should be a reason to build "oil wells", "kelp farms", "tidal generators", sonic pounder (wards off xeno sea units)

3. day/night/seasons/weather: the new planet is just a static map that never changes? nah, let's include a "weather year" concept in which a given # of turns are subject to increased incidence of weather events:

"year of the monsoon" (so I might want to have my formers build rain collectors),
"year of the drought" (time for solar collectors and deep water taps),
"year of the clouds" (many terrain squares out of sight as clouds move across...requires unit in that square for player sight,
"year of floods" (damage and increased tidal energy collection for coastal cities)

4. more terraforming: build rivers, sensor arrays, water buoy (water based sensor array)

5. random events to give "life" to the map/game: Ionic storms that disable radar coverage and increase energy (income) slightly on affected squares, formers discovering new resources (or stirring up an alien unit)

6. undersea hives: one type or each sea units, will spawn the Xeno sea unit of that type.

7. exploration goals: some reward for sending a sea unit (or land unit?) all the way around the globe, or revealing the entire map, or cataloging every type of xeno (ensure to type 1 or 2 unique xenos out there to make this hard)

Zak0r
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Re: Some rambling ideas about a future expansion

Post by Zak0r » Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:22 pm

1. the AI building crap units is a huge problem. AIL/Xilmi has already worked on that with a mod that can be found in the mod section.

2. agreed, the AI should suspect orbital drop at least when someone else has already entered the 2nd era

3. is it not moddable already?

b) If this is true then you found a bug. AI should not be able to bombard a tile without sight/scan.

5. Some time ago I proposed a similar thing. A shield for every era with the operation defense bonus of the era's defense building (100%, 200% and 400%) and it could be linked to the era's WMD tech and be called energy/kinetic shield (->bombardments), radiation shield (->nukes), and gravity shield (->black holes).

2. sea forming
Have you tried the Addon Eclipse of Nashira? It adds a lot of sea forming options and you can raise terrain which practically enables you to build see cities.

3. seasons and weather sounds nice but I wouldn't add new terraforming just for that

5. random events sound nice but should be optional if added

6. water hives: yes, good idea! they could appear during the eclipse phase and after the end of the phase they would spawn units slower and the units would stay in deep water

7. exploration goal, good idea!

eidolad
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
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Re: Some rambling ideas about a future expansion

Post by eidolad » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:42 am

Nice ideas/feedback and duh, I thought I had the expansion already since the Messari have been roaming around for quite some time...but I don't have the DLC actually according to steam. Huge thanks for pointing that out.

Problem with me proving that the AI doesn't have 100% radar coverage..is that I don't have 100% radar coverage. So I cannot conclusively prove that the AI knows about that lone colonizer on that road in the middle of my empire...or that pair of cruisers out in the water with nothing around...and yet in some circumstances the WMD strike wallops them.

I'm also definitely going to head over to the mod section and get this "swarm of infantry" AI behavior stopped.

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
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Re: Some rambling ideas about a future expansion

Post by Xilmi » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:42 am

eidolad wrote: Problem with me proving that the AI doesn't have 100% radar coverage..is that I don't have 100% radar coverage.
Easiest way to get "100% radar coverage" is killing your initial units with the "Del" key right after the start of the game.
This puts you into observer-mode and allows you to see everything.

However, it's somewhat hard to grasp everything.

Another and probably better way is to use the AI-Control-Cheat.
"/aiControlled 1"
Once you activate it the AI will take over your empire and you can watch what they do.
This way you cannot see everything, only what the AI sees. You will see that they always scan prior to bombarding units outside of their vision-range.

Note that you then have to end the turn with the little force end turn button right to the normal one. The one with the Arrow going around in a circle.

eidolad
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
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Re: Some rambling ideas about a future expansion

Post by eidolad » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:35 am

I appreciate the suggestion regarding "watch the AI"...however the less I know about the AI the better, I think for a good challenge.

That point about the "scan prior to WMD strike" makes sense although I almost never see a "scan animation" prior to the WMD (or maybe I'm not attending to list during turn processing)...I suspect that they "know there is an enemy unit there prior to scanning and WMD'ing it". But anyway I am willing to grant this technique to the AI as a sort of "great vision granted to AI as a perk".

So after the first game with the Nashira DLC, some further suggestions to enhance this evolving game:

1. Messari portals should be "goody huts". Otherwise I would have little incentive to drop-pod in forces etc. to take a portal that is on the other side of the world, and in fact, more of a liability for another faction. In other words, I should salivate a bit over the chance to assume control of a 5% health Messari flying unit or some other invasion-related goody result. Or maybe the portal just explodes and takes out the unit...

a. should be a shower of credits or something when I take out a (special messari unit...you know which I'm talking about, or can look forward to meeting). I mean, the thing just crushed my garrisoned mech like a soda can!

b. the very LAST portal might be a VERY nicest of the goody huts and yield a messari-only tech

2. A bit more randomness to the maps:

a. "regular yields" to be +- 1 if next to a hive. (an early game enticement for rabid expansion and risk inciting xeno rampages?). Or just create a new tile type "hive warren" or something.


3. Some sim-life showing the "living world" outside of military units, cites with pop points, and aliens/enemies. Civilian ground/air/sea movement/trade/waterskis/naked zero-G volleyball? And how war zones suppress such activity and move it elsewhere...with a drop in the morale of the "war front" cities dynamic. Ok I may be reaching a bit...it is a bit early in the morning now.

4. the sea aliens continue to the most interesting of the alien life. what in the world are all those carnivores eating though? might be nice to have some sort of "sea otter" that I could domesticate for morale/other bonus...or at the very least...attach a scanner to it and get free radar coverage as the "colony" swims around...

5. A late game tech/project: Move City. chance to move a city 1-3 squares in any direction to another valid square. i.e. we're tired of the Krakens eating not only all our Crawdads, but also most of New Orleans. So we'll move it to the other side of that mountain range.

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
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Re: Some rambling ideas about a future expansion

Post by Xilmi » Tue Dec 23, 2014 12:24 pm

I'd like to comment on the first two points of your first post:
eidolad wrote: 1. For the love of <favorite beneficent entity>, we need the AI to stop spamming a single unit type...especially, an only-infantry army. The AI requires a mixed stack to survive against the human player, who can eat single-type unit stacks or spam for breakfast. Those AI infantry with missile launchers are nice cheap city defenders against armor/planes but are pretty useless against infantry with anti-biological weapons and don't have the hit points to stand up to WMDs...especially if they move away from cities.
Fixing what the AI builds is a top-priority for me.
There actually are two reasons of why the AI builds more advanced units so rarely.
They disregard how much more valueable those are and seem to think that two cheap units are just as good as an expensive one.
This is partially true but does not take into account that a survivor can heal up and come back.
The other reason is bad infrastructure: From building all those cheap units, they neglect building things that are beneficial long-term.
I'll look into both of this.
eidolad wrote: 2. AI needs to stop emptying cities entirely during war. Many times I see one, or zero, garrisoned units. Made the player pay cash for each AI city. This is especially a bad idea for the AI to do this once the player gets orbital drop capability.
I agree. In a war the AI throws everything into the offensive and then is extremely vulnerable to being backdoored.
I think this can be tackled quite easily by using a better algorithm to determine how many defenders should be kept. I wouldd think about some function calculating the suggested combined unit-strength in correlation to the cities overall output. Thus protecting more valuable cities better than newly found outposts.

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