Some thoughts after 3 months of play

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azpops
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Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by azpops » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:40 am

1) Research is way too fast. You can't build a unit before a new upgrade is available for it. Research tree is finished long before you can build even half the units. After that, upgrade everything to the best gun/armor and kill everything in sight. Perhaps the first tier of research could be the same, but slow down the next two tiers. That way you have the ability to take on the aliens, but will still have some research to do for the rest of the game.

2) Expand the research tree. Include additional building/facilities, i.e., harbor, airfield, production center, etc. Currently the research tree is pretty much dedicated to killing things. Would like to see the ability to improve cities more.

3) Along with #2 above, require cities to be connected to the capital in order to use the resource pool. This would help eliminate the problem of factions putting cities in the middle of other factions. As an example. In my latest game, I made the mistake of accepting an alliance. The faction promptly sent a colonizer into my territory and planted a city two hexes away from my capital, but six hexes inside my territory. It has only one hex and is completely surrounded by my territory. This city should not be able to make use of the pool resources and should not be able to expand, yet it does. By forcing cities to tie to the capital in order to use pool resources, it could help stop this practice. Cities could tie to the capital via roads, harbors, airfields, etc. Until tied to the capital they must use their own resources. A one hex city simply could not expand.

4) Upgrading old units. This seems way too expensive. I have found in some instances it is actually cheaper to buy a new unit rather than upgrade an old one. Upgrading should require some cost, but not be prohibitive. You already have the basic unit, you are only upgrading its tools. I would think one half the cost of the upgrades to rebuild the unit. This makes it reasonable and gives you an incentive to upgrade. Currently, it is simply cheaper to build a new unit. No real reason to upgrade.

5) Many have stated this already, but diplomacy is really bad. My last game, a faction offered me a gift. Next turn declared war. Next turn offered me a gift again, and on the next turn offered peace. Two turns later declared war. Next turn offered a gift, etc. This makes no sense. It would seem to me that before offering a gift while at war, a faction would offer to make peace and if refused, then it would offer gifts in order to attempt to gain peace.

6) This could be in an expansion, but I would like to see bigger maps.

7) Research objective Terraforming. What is this for? The tip says it allows formers to improve/worsen ecoregion. What does this mean? I have yet to find a purpose for this research objective.

8) Artillery. The more you use artillery on a unit/city, the less effective it becomes. This makes no sense. Having spent 12 years in the field artillery, I can tell you that the more artillery you place on a target, the more damage inflicted. The effectiveness of artillery should be increased against unprotected targets. I have used up to 12 artillery units on an unprotected unit only to have it still standing after all 12 have fired. Shouldn't need that much artillery to kill a target.

Overall, the game is becoming better with each version. You guys a doing a terrific job and I look forward to the completed game.

azpops
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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by azpops » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:44 am

Oh yes, one other thing. The combat AI is really weird. I have had several occasions where an AI faction has simply abandoned a city (including the capital) rather than defend it. I realize that the AI build really crappy units, but to simply abandon a city doesn't make much sense. Defend the city, use up time in order to get more units to the city.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by Earthmichael » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:59 pm

I agree with most of your points, but I do not understand about the research point. On a medium map on very hard, I always conquer the map before the research is even 50% completed. Maybe you could finish the research on a larger map, or if you were slower to start combat.

You would need to connect to the capital across water. Maybe let formers build ports for this purpose. I think a new city should have access to some limited resources regardless, otherwise, it would be too hard to start a new city.

I agree that upgrades should be maybe half of the cost of buying the units outright from production; it definitely should not cost MORE. I do the upgrades anyway for some units to take advantage of ranks gained, but it is a rip-off.

I personally have not yet used the largest map (Huge) that the beta offers. So a large map is not a priority for me.

I also wondered about the research objective Terraforming. I saw no new options after the research. It seems to do nothing.

It is hard to finish off any but the weakest units with artillery. I usually soften them up with artillery, and finish them off with infantry.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by Wildfire » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:28 pm

azpops wrote:1) Research is way too fast. You can't build a unit before a new upgrade is available for it. Research tree is finished long before you can build even half the units. After that, upgrade everything to the best gun/armor and kill everything in sight. Perhaps the first tier of research could be the same, but slow down the next two tiers. That way you have the ability to take on the aliens, but will still have some research to do for the rest of the game.
I agree. The research is very fast, or the production time is too long for items. Each turn is a month. Needs to be adjusted somehow.

2) Expand the research tree. Include additional building/facilities, i.e., harbor, airfield, production center, etc. Currently the research tree is pretty much dedicated to killing things. Would like to see the ability to improve cities more.
Yes, definitely need more for the formers to do. We can build spaceships and travel the stars but we can only build roads? Why not monorails that are checkpointed high speed conduits for our units to travel upon. An enemy takes a ride then hits hits a checkpoint after passing a checkpoint station to be auto-moved to a tile with a defensive unit and fort around it. Would also take damage from the quick stop. Just SOMETHING better than what is offered now. We're supposed to have traveled the stars but the amount of former improvements is really low.

3) Along with #2 above, require cities to be connected to the capital in order to use the resource pool. This would help eliminate the problem of factions putting cities in the middle of other factions. As an example. In my latest game, I made the mistake of accepting an alliance. The faction promptly sent a colonizer into my territory and planted a city two hexes away from my capital, but six hexes inside my territory. It has only one hex and is completely surrounded by my territory. This city should not be able to make use of the pool resources and should not be able to expand, yet it does. By forcing cities to tie to the capital in order to use pool resources, it could help stop this practice. Cities could tie to the capital via roads, harbors, airfields, etc. Until tied to the capital they must use their own resources. A one hex city simply could not expand.
This would go more like Civ5, bonuses for markets and tying to capitals, and overseas places eventually get the bonuses as well. I'd also recommend the colonizer unit be able to decompose or use itself up in a city to get more than just production. Maybe drop a few resources there, or be able to use it to boost a population by 1 per colonizer. Would make getting those cities up and running efficiently faster and not leave so many colonizers around. And agree on the "allianced" colonizer - that is irritating as heck. If I was a faction head that would immediately stop my alliance with you and cause war. Just my thoughts...


4) Upgrading old units. This seems way too expensive. I have found in some instances it is actually cheaper to buy a new unit rather than upgrade an old one. Upgrading should require some cost, but not be prohibitive. You already have the basic unit, you are only upgrading its tools. I would think one half the cost of the upgrades to rebuild the unit. This makes it reasonable and gives you an incentive to upgrade. Currently, it is simply cheaper to build a new unit. No real reason to upgrade.
As is, upgrading is not feasible. Just too expensive and correct - no reason to upgrade.

5) Many have stated this already, but diplomacy is really bad. My last game, a faction offered me a gift. Next turn declared war. Next turn offered me a gift again, and on the next turn offered peace. Two turns later declared war. Next turn offered a gift, etc. This makes no sense. It would seem to me that before offering a gift while at war, a faction would offer to make peace and if refused, then it would offer gifts in order to attempt to gain peace.
Yes, the diplomacy thing is weird. Was offered gifts while at war, was attacked while in alliance mode and then sent a peace treaty the next turn. The AI diplomats change their minds way too soon without a cursory look at their previous actions.

6) This could be in an expansion, but I would like to see bigger maps.

7) Research objective Terraforming. What is this for? The tip says it allows formers to improve/worsen ecoregion. What does this mean? I have yet to find a purpose for this research objective.

8) Artillery. The more you use artillery on a unit/city, the less effective it becomes. This makes no sense. Having spent 12 years in the field artillery, I can tell you that the more artillery you place on a target, the more damage inflicted. The effectiveness of artillery should be increased against unprotected targets. I have used up to 12 artillery units on an unprotected unit only to have it still standing after all 12 have fired. Shouldn't need that much artillery to kill a target.
I hear you fellow Redleg, The more you put on a single target the more the damage becomes, not like is currently portrayed where less damaged is achieved. Possible expansion but different rounds (research) could be selected and used as well - especially the illumination round at fog of war - use like you would the satellite view technology (this is why Artillery used illumination rounds during daylight currently)(can have a round like the White Phosphorus (WP) round that could catch fungus fields on fire for a few rounds and cause all kinds of fun havoc). I thought this had happened to me but didn't really realize what had happened till you brought this up as someone else noticing this same issue. In addition, our M1 Abrams have shoot / move capability but when we go to another planet we forget to bring this technology along?? Fire once and that's a full action, can't move. Kinda odd.

Overall, the game is becoming better with each version. You guys a doing a terrific job and I look forward to the completed game.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by Soheil » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:09 pm

Well i defiantly agree that upgrading a unit should be cheaper, you should only pay for the new equipment, adding to the diplomacy and AI is a ongoing thing, well cram as many of the features you requested in there as we can before release. Thanx for the feedback and its especially great to hear your feedback azpops because youve been with us for so long and are very familiar with the mechanics behind every feature. Keep the feedback coming guys :)
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azpops
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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by azpops » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:31 am

Earthmichael wrote:I agree with most of your points, but I do not understand about the research point. On a medium map on very hard, I always conquer the map before the research is even 50% completed. Maybe you could finish the research on a larger map, or if you were slower to start combat.

You would need to connect to the capital across water. Maybe let formers build ports for this purpose. I think a new city should have access to some limited resources regardless, otherwise, it would be too hard to start a new city.
Again, I like using the huge maps, so it takes a little longer to see the whole world. I agree that new cities should have a limited access to resources, but essentially those it gains from territory control. When a faction plops a one hex city in the middle of my territory, I don't think it should have complete access to unlimited resources as is currently the case. By limiting a city of its own resources until connected to the capital it would slow expansion and prevent a faction from placing a city willy nilly anywhere it wants. The other option is similar to SMAC or Civ where you have a territorial boundary that won't allow a faction to build a city without declaring war first. Having a faction with an alliance build a city two hexes away from your capital is not what I'd call a friendly act.

I personally would like to see some additional city improvements available, i.e., harbors, airfields, warehouses, etc. Also, some form of rail movement would be nice. The current system doesn't give a former anything to do once you've build up the farms and mines. Plus it would allow for quicker movement of forces in case of invasions.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by SephiRok » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:58 am

I believe the reasoning behind artillery doing less damage when units are more damaged was that they are harder to hit when there are only a few left. The fact that individual units of a squad don't die (graphically) makes it not as cool.

Do you have an example of where refitting is too expensive? You only pay for the changed parts, and the old ones are sold at standard price, so it should never be more expensive than buying a new unit. A save game would help.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by Spazticus » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:39 pm

I don't believe I've found a case where upgrading a unit would cost more than buying the same unit outright, and I don't believe it to be a point of contention here. However, I do echo the others' assertion that upgrading is far too costly, in terms of the immediate expense. In many cases, you could just wait a few turns to build an upgraded version, disband the old one, and not have the cost in your funds end up wasted. I guess that goes to show that heavy investment into infrastructure can pay off in terms of credits saved, but it also makes upgrading a moot point under all but the most dire of circumstances (an enemy at the gates situation, and only one unit left in the city).

Now, if we had the option to use the current city's production as the means to upgrade our units, (in other words queuing the upgrade in the same way as building a new unit, but with the same reduction in cost,) that would make upgrading reasonably worthwhile. It could take multiple turns, depending upon the production value of the city and the cost of the tech to which it's being upgraded, and there should still be the option to pay the cost in funds immediately. I could easily see rear garrison units being upgraded in this fashion, instead of simply being replaced and disbanded to reduce upkeep.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by Giskler » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:52 pm

Upgrading is way too expensive, it's a complete waste of time as it is currently. At least add some techs or building types that reduce upgrade costs.

Earthmichael
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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by Earthmichael » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:52 am

Upgrading should NEVER cost more than just buying a new unit outright. After all, there must SOMETHING that can be salvaged from the old unit.

It would be great to have technology that makes upgrades cheaper, but the upgrade starting point should always be less than buying a new unit.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by void » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:56 am

As Rok said, you only pay for the price of the added part, and regain 25% (default sell value, also used for buildings) of the old part. Come to think of it, maybe our default sell value of 25% is too low, and should be 50%.

Ha, the fourth missing trait for the scientific faction is gonna be sth. like "Crafty: -25% upgrade costs". Excellent!

Concerning artillery: I'm really worried that if damage isn't getting scaled by the target's health, it will be way too powerful; this way you soften up with artillery, then move in with regular troops. Otherwise, one would just build a couple stacks of artillery and wipe everything from two tiles away.
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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by IainMcNeil » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:14 pm

I agree on artillery - they should most effective against a concentrated target and effectiveness should reduce as the target gets damaged.

E.g. Stalingrad. Once you get to a certain level of bombardment, subsequent bombardments have less and less effect and there are a lot of arguments to suggest the bombardments actually created defensive positions so made it tougher to take out the entrenched enemy.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by azpops » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:40 pm

IainMcNeil wrote:I agree on artillery - they should most effective against a concentrated target and effectiveness should reduce as the target gets damaged.

E.g. Stalingrad. Once you get to a certain level of bombardment, subsequent bombardments have less and less effect and there are a lot of arguments to suggest the bombardments actually created defensive positions so made it tougher to take out the entrenched enemy.
Agreed that against a city or prepared position, artillery tends to decrease in effectiveness after a point, however, in the game, there are currently no defensive benefits for defending a city that I can see. Also, there are no provisions for prepared positions when defending in the open. In my original post, I specifically stated "an unprotected" target.

In a previous post, someone brought up the idea of an entrench, or dig in, option for a unit. I would like to see this where the longer one stays in a hex and digs in, the greater the defensive benefit to units in the hex. Perhaps call it a "fortify" option for the unit. This would allow a unit to gain a defensive benefit for staying in a hex and building defensive positions.

With regard to artillery effectiveness, since you bring up the Eastern Front and Stalingrad, I simply say look at what the Soviets did after Stalingrad. They created Artillery Divisions whose sole purpose was to blast anything in its target area out of existence, and they did. Massive artillery bombardments on a small area were quite effective, and used frequently. I personally see no problem with a tactic of creating large artillery stacks and blasting my way through. Not as pretty and cheap as using a nuke, but still effective as a tactic. One can also create large stacks of mobile units, i.e., tanks, to take out these artillery stacks.

This brings me to a common complaint - a one hex movement for armored units. Give the tanks at least two hex movement rate and these large artillery stacks become easier to kill.

It all boils down to how you want to fight your battles. Reach out and touch someone with artillery or get up close and personal with boots on the ground.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by azpops » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:51 pm

An additional thought about creating stacks of artillery to blast through. I have never seen the AI use a nuke or black hole. To me, the perfect defense against a large artillery stack is a nuke. Currently, the AI doesn't give me a reason not to build large stacks of anything to attack with. Tactical nukes were designed specifically for taking out a large, juicy target as a stack of artillery or any stack of units.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by Earthmichael » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:52 am

In many games, a unit can spend a certain number of turns defensively and become "entrenched", greatly increasing resistance to artillery and help defense in general.

Also, it seems like terraformers should be able to make entrenchments or field fortifications.

I agree that tanks should get 2 movement. Maybe infantry can hitch a ride on a tank division or personnel carrier to get 2 movement.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by void » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:10 am

azpops wrote:An additional thought about creating stacks of artillery to blast through. I have never seen the AI use a nuke or black hole. To me, the perfect defense against a large artillery stack is a nuke. Currently, the AI doesn't give me a reason not to build large stacks of anything to attack with. Tactical nukes were designed specifically for taking out a large, juicy target as a stack of artillery or any stack of units.
There's a bug in the current version that results in the AI not researching (and thus not utilizing) operations as well armors; will be addressed in this week's update.
Earthmichael wrote:I agree that tanks should get 2 movement. Maybe infantry can hitch a ride on a tank division or personnel carrier to get 2 movement.
Tanks moving at 2 makes ATVs obsolete, so some more rebalancing would be required. Any suggestions?
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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by Giskler » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:20 pm

I don't think tanks moving 2 squares makes ATV's obsolete. ATV's are fast and cheap scout units, while tanks are heavy hitters and more expensive. Giving them the same amount of movement points doesn't make them mutually exclusive.

Now, if we start talking about how air units make every other unit obsolete in the late game (especially water units) that's something completely different, but giving tanks 2 movement points is not going to break the game. I rarely use ATV's except for the beginning of the game as it is.

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Re: Some thoughts after 3 months of play

Post by Wildfire » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:37 pm

Giskler wrote:I don't think tanks moving 2 squares makes ATV's obsolete. ATV's are fast and cheap scout units, while tanks are heavy hitters and more expensive. Giving them the same amount of movement points doesn't make them mutually exclusive.

Now, if we start talking about how air units make every other unit obsolete in the late game (especially water units) that's something completely different, but giving tanks 2 movement points is not going to break the game. I rarely use ATV's except for the beginning of the game as it is.
Yes, I agree - tanks should have 2 movement points, I don't use the ATV's except early game or when I'm being pressed by the Xeno to just build as fast as I can - otherwise I go for the more armored (but more resource to produce) tanks or armored walker units. I don't see this as a game breaker. If anything - make it a technology based increase - along with one of the Xeno related researches to make transport faster and call it automatic upgrades to the unit's navigation and drive systems.

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