Time for a game play thread instead of a bug one, yay!
So I slapped together another video clip I’d like to share and see what you all think.
First off, as you can see my fleet is stacked into one giant pile. The ship design is laughable, I just threw as many far reaching, high damaging weapons as I could on the largest chassis, slapped together a few escorts with anti-fighter weaponry and sent them on their merry way.
Although I’m sure this fleet is easily defeated because of poor ship design, the problem I see is the ‘stacking’. I don’t know if any of you have ever played StarCraft turret defense games, but in the later years some of the popular games were ‘stacked turret D’.
The problem this presents is the ability to concentrate a maximum amount of firepower in a very small area. In the first battle, my fleet is able to decimate enemy capital ships which are relatively close (the ships on the ‘southern’ end of the board) before the ships in the northern section even come into firing range. I don’t have a fleet anymore, I have basically one ship.
Imagine if I took the time to design a real fleet. Well balanced with anti-fighter, defenses, shields, missiles, decoys, and all the trimmings and THEN stacked it into one giant pile? Your fleet, spread across the length of the board like any sensible fleet worried about collision, will get chopped up piece meal by my one giant ‘ship’.
Interestingly enough, I lose the battle anyways despite having a decided advantage from the start(enemy capital ships fleeing out of range after being crippled, leaving their fighters to mop up my defenseless behemoths. This by the way I found to be an amazing piece of AI, thumbs up.)
The second problem… well I lost. Boohoo, guess I need to redesign my terrible fleet. But wait… I decide to just relaunch the same battle, with the same ships, without changing tactics or orders or anything except hitting ‘FIGHT’ again, et voila!! A smashing victory!
Randomness is good, it’s healthy, a little bit of luck should factor into a battle. I should NOT achieve wildly different results from the exact same battle. This severely diminishes competition and leaves the player feeling ‘why bother’. Their best effort and fleet design lost because of factors out of their control, and in this game, the entire battle sequence is out of their control. I can’t stress this enough how bad this is for competitive play or for anyone hoping to take this game as something more serious than a beer and pretzels type games that has a lifespan of 24 hours.
So those are the two problems I have with bad behavior, now for some solutions!
- Ships are unable to be placed on top of each other during deployment phase.
- Ships have penalties to fire (reduced accuracy, slower firing rate) when having to fire in the proximity of allied vessels.
- Ships have collision and can ram each other. One giant pile like this will cause all my ships to collide with one another, destroying them all.
- Ships exploding cause area of effect damage. Remember master of orion 2, how ships could critically explode, damaging and destroying ships near them, potentially causing a chain reaction as ship after ships causes each other to explode? That would fix stacking in a heartbeat, any one ship in the giant mass could cause every ship to explode in an amazing chain reaction. (That, by the way, would probably look really awesome!)
- More weapons that deal Area of Effect damage. I haven’t explored all the weapons this game has to offer so this solution may already exist, but perhaps weapons that deal large area splash damage? Each ship in this giant mass all clustered together is dealt damage by a single weapon because they are too close together.
Problem #2: Wildly random results from exact same battles run repeatedly.
- Give the player minimal control over fleet actions during battle. I believe this goes against the core idea of the creator though, and degrades the game into a FPS game of who can micromanage their fleet better and faster. Still, it’s a possible solution.
- Reduce some of the RNG(Random Number Generator) in regards to ship behavior. How they decide to move and shoot. Make these things more predictable and more constraining in their parameters. This solutions sounds like ‘dumbing down’ the game though, so I personally don’t much like it.
- In competitive play, fleet ability is decided as ‘the best of x games.’ For example, a tournament might be decided by ‘winner is the fleet who wins 3 out of 5 games first.’ A single battle would have to be played out multiple times to see which fleet is superior more often, not decided by a single battle where flukes may occur.
I’d really like to hear your thoughts and input on these topics. I hope you don’t mind the micro-analyzing of this game so soon, I’m just trying to add my own input on how to improve GSB. =)