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  #21  
Old 09-22-2014, 03:11 PM
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Zato Zato is offline
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Would increasing planet defenses against monster race damage help? The game has so many variables it's interesting where the domino's fall after changing something. Cruel cruel universe.

Last edited by Zato : 10-02-2014 at 09:01 PM.
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  #22  
Old 09-22-2014, 10:42 PM
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Would increasing planet defenses against monster race damage help? The game has so many variables it's interesting where the domino's fall after changing something. Cruel cruel universe.
I am trying this in my own game, yes. I've significantly increased the toughness of planets by factors similar to the levels I described above, as a mere 8x HP modifier, obviously, was resulting in planets being annihilated faster than the races could form them, and the surviving planets taking crippling damage to the point where they were unable to send out more colonizers, starting the slow death spiral of the galaxy. Finally, I removed the speed bonus granted to monsters. The combined effect has largely stabilized the system: Planets no longer explode like popcorn, requiring a significant force to destroy, monsters no longer arrive on the scene faster than defending NPCs can show up, and even the player no longer casually burns a planet by accident. The lower-level game is mostly unaffected, since the modifiers at low-level play are all 1.0.

I used the formula as follows: planethealth modifier = Attack * HP * Defense * Damage * Resist, where HP mod = (Health+Armor)/2, since a ship's hitpoints are its health + armor. So, since "Expert" level gives a 1.5 modifier to Attack, Health, Armor, Defense, and 1.2x Resist, the value calculated for this is 1.5^4 * 1.2 = ~6. At Legendary, the values are 2.8^4 * 1.4, or ~98. At Ultimate 200, where the values are 5.6^4 * 2, this gives a value of ~1966.

These values may be on the high side at the moment, and I'm still fooling around with them, but at the moment, few planets are being lost to monsters, but planets still fall in the face of sustained attack by other NPCs.

Of course, the player, with the potential to be grossly overpowered, is still easily capable of singlehandedly destroying worlds and burning everything to the ground, but at least the world seems to be holding its own against itself now.
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  #23  
Old 09-23-2014, 12:35 AM
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bump ditty

Last edited by Zato : 10-02-2014 at 09:02 PM.
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  #24  
Old 09-23-2014, 02:26 AM
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That's slick! Not sure I have the skill to hack in those changes, though I can dabble.
Not much skill involved, in truth. All you need is NOTEPAD and WinRAR.

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Wonder how much of it is the effect of multi-player design choices.
I am thinking "basically none of it". It's a purely mathematical effect that results as stats increase with difficulty. It has nothing to do with multiplayer concessions. It's a phenomenon common to many RPGs, where the stopping power of weaponry often falls dramatically as you level as the number of hits to kill increases and the speed of enemy movement similarly increases, resulting in more hits to kill and faster closing times, rendering ranged weapons increasingly moot as they lose their stopping power, or, alternatively the opposite occurs, as in this game, where offense rapidly outstrips defense and planets die to stray bullets despite the "Defender Present" damage reduction.

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Sheer number of monsters seems more arcade crazy as I creep toward higher level ships.
Yes, it does seem like the sheer QUANTITY of monsters increases also, but I can't find any hard numbers on this. This, however, would be an extremely powerful effect. Combat in Drox would roughly obey Lanchester's Square Law, given that both monsters and race NPCs favor single-target weaponry and can each fire on a single target at once, but it only gets worse if monsters have AOEs and thus the planet will take completely unavoidable damage and be surely destroyed.

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Wondering if that's tied into the "starting planet - established" choice? Seems established sectors would be less dense, at start at least.
It isn't. Monster density is unaffected by starting settings. Heavily settled areas are just as monster-infested as frontiers, as killed monsters respawn quite aggressively, making sure there is never a safe area. In fact, established, pre-settled sectors immediately fall into the pattern of attritional loss, where the peak of civilized power is typically right at the start of the game, and the races gradually lose colonies over time as monsters pick them off and they are not able to resettle them. This is what made T/O/L so overpowering pre 1.042: They were completely unaffected by this insanity, as monsters never attacked them. Now? Well, they're still very strong, being that they are ignored by one entire branch of monsters, which may be the ones inhabiting their spawn region, but in a system with heterogenous monster distribution, they die like everyone else, and if they spawn as a result of a monster attack in a heterogenous environment, they'll often repeatedly die, where the Legion spawns, is killed by Talon, is killed by Overlord, is killed by Legion again, ad infinitum.
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  #25  
Old 09-23-2014, 08:07 AM
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Those are some nice changes username. If it's not too much to ask can you post them as a mod if you can because i'm sure other players will benefit from them.
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  #26  
Old 09-23-2014, 01:21 PM
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I'm still playing with it to figure how it pans out, trying to hit a balance between "planets die like flies" and "planets are nigh-indestructible", across all the various difficulty levels. Somewhere between the stock "not enough" and the current values I've hit, which are about right for Legendary, but way too much on Ultimate4. I may have overestimated at that point, since I discovered my ship, apparently, CAN run out of energy, as the batteries will eventually deplete after about 30-40 seconds of nonstop firing, which, at 150K DPS, has long since converted everything else to slag. I had previously never noticed this, as nothing would withstand 150K DPS for longer than about 3 seconds, but when you give a planet 12 million HP, it will take a good 90 seconds of continuous firing to slag it. So, the test of that level had monsters slagging only two colonies, both after extended sieges. On the other hand, NPC expansion and exploration remained utterly anemic: At Ultimate4, monsters will reduce even race flagships to slag quickly and are even capable of putting severe dings in my ship. I am not really sure what to do about that, if anything: U4 is the "Crazy" setting, after all...
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  #27  
Old 09-23-2014, 03:31 PM
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Okay take your time finding out the perfect values and if you manage to balance things out just post them in the mod thread perhaps for people to see them because I know there are other people who are frustrated from this "planets break like glass" thing. If you can't balance the changes from one difficulty to the next just find out what values work best for the different difficulties and post them as seperate files or something like that.
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  #28  
Old 09-23-2014, 04:12 PM
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Okay take your time finding out the perfect values and if you manage to balance things out just post them in the mod thread perhaps for people to see them because I know there are other people who are frustrated from this "planets break like glass" thing.
Well, at very large planetary health modifiers, planets no longer break like glass and random monsters stop being the dominant cause of planetary destruction. Planets breaking like glass, however, is very much a non-goal here. I am more concerned with galactic dynamics than the player's ability to slag planets. A galaxy that is NOT doomed to either death-by-monsters or indefinite gridlock is the goal here. If planets become a bit harder for the player to slag, that's really more of a byproduct. Because my original values gave a planet 50 million HP, and I still slagged it: It TOOK awhile, but the values had clearly gone too far in the other direction, and nobody else could make a dent in it: The galaxy could no longer go to war without the player. Admittedly, this is still an improvement over "the galaxy falls apart no matter what the player does", but it's not the answer I wanted, and I am tuning the values downward to a point that is somewhat more satisfactory.

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If you can't balance the changes from one difficulty to the next just find out what values work best for the different difficulties and post them as seperate files or something like that.
Oh, the values are actually already separated by difficulty. The more interesting thing is that when planetary destruction stops being the dominant problem, Monster Blockade becomes the next revealed issue: With planets no longer being slagged by stray gunfire, I find that at U4, the NPCs are constantly begging for you to defend their planets because their fleets have all been destroyed by monsters, halting their expansion beyond their home system as their ships cannot survive the trip. Then again, U4 is supposed to be insane.
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  #29  
Old 09-23-2014, 11:30 PM
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I really appreciate what you guys are trying to do.

Have you considered that the problem is not just that the planets are weak? Sure, they should be significantly stronger, but their first line of defense is the race ships and stations. Those should be made stronger, so that they can deal with the monsters themselves, at least most of the time. As a matter of fact, I see no reason not to bring monster and race ships to nearly equal power levels by making their difficulty level modifiers similar.
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  #30  
Old 09-24-2014, 03:15 AM
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Yes, I've looked for that, too, but I am not sure if there is a modifier specific to race but not monster ships. From watching battles between race and monster ships, the racial ships generally acquit themselves quite well at any difficulty setting, and a handful of defenders will generally succeed in repelling a raid.

The problem: They repel one raid. In about 10 seconds, another one starts. They can repel that one, too...but they just keep coming. Each time, the planet takes a lot of hits before they can be shot down. Not even YOU can defend a planet well enough to prevent the planet from being hit at all by any means short of a constant wide-area search and destroy. And since planets, by default, have very few hitpoints relative to the damage they take in each raid, they are losing capability faster than they are regenerating it. Eventually, all the race planets are badly degraded or dead. They lose the ability to produce replacement defenses, replacement colony ships, replacement diplomats, freighters, etc. The web of galactic civilization slowly, or often not-so-slowly, crumbles.

The player is largely powerless to prevent this. Slaughtering enemies en-masse does nothing, they just come back. I made this one simple tweak: I increased the planet health multiplier dramatically in the belief that the difficulty boosts were polynomial in nature while the the basic planetary health boosts were linear, and therefore, completely failed to keep pace. It...sort of worked. Higher-level play dynamics started to resemble the game as it played out at lower levels before stacking multipliers on enemies came into play.

Admittedly, I think the topic has diverged somewhat from your original post. Your original complaint was about T/O/L Races being OP and dominating the others, which, as of 1.042, I am not really seeing as much anymore. They're still stronger due to their ability to ignore a third of the monsters in play, as their own breed of monster doesn't attack them, but since most sectors have a heterogenous population, they get boostafazooed and their colony ships and new colonies are burned to the ground like everyone else's now.
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