AA Changes

What do you think about the T1 naval AA changes?
  • Revert everything now
  • Revert the naval engineer and scout ships (saktoth)
  • Tweak it (please explain)
  • Keep it
  • Something else?

Units:

Evil4Zerggin: First, I would like to apologize for not discussing this change before committing it. Here was my reasoning:

  • T1 naval AA needed some help. Before the change, their only options were the patrol boat, at half the damage, a third less range, and a slower rate of fire than the BA patrol boat, and the missile tower, which isn't really good AA either.
  • Naval Packo/Razor solved the anti-gunship angle, but that still left the anti-fighter/bomber role.
  • The T2 naval engineer was basically a cheaper, mobile T1 factory (and then some); the only T1 ship it couldn't build was the Surfboard. Furthermore, the T2 shipyard had twice as many build options as the T1 shipyard.
  • T1 also had no minelaying capability.

I imagine most of you probably wouldn't have come to the same solution, but here's my reasoning on making the Naval Engineer into a AA/Minelayer ship:

  • It seemed a good way to add to the available T1 options without upsetting the Corv/Royer/Sub dynamic.
  • Having a Scout/AA boat is putting two rather major roles in one unit; it would be difficult to make it do well enough at both without being overpowered overall. Meanwhile, minelayers have diminishing marginal utility; you can only use so many minelayers effectively. Therefore, merging AA with a minelayer is easier to balance.

Saktoth: The scout isnt that major a role, its useless in combat and has a jeffy laser for the price of a flash, its not a very good unit, its just the cheapest boat that sea has. Having dedicated AA ship at t1 means that it just becomes redundant at t2. While scout ship remains useful for other reasons and other applications (lighter, intercepts torpedoes, etc).

Evil4Zerggin: Removing the missile from the scout boat would allow us to decrease its cost, making it better at these other applications (or is this a bad thing?) As for the T1-T2 redundancy, we could try to differentiate between different types of AA (for example, my admittedly crazy idea below). Come to think of it, T1/T2 AA redundancy may also be a problem with Kbots.

Saktoth: Scout boats are already good at rushing, remember, all ships and naval static-d is more expensive, often by a factor of 4. I think we need to differentiate land AA too.

Evil4Zerggin's Crazy T2 AA Ship Idea

  • Mini-LRMT deals high single-shot damage, but has a long reload time (comparable to the time it takes for a bomber to make an attack run, i.e., 10-15 s, or perhaps longer?). Spoofable by scout planes and such. Good at taking out bombers before they get into range and camping fighter screens (assuming one has LOS/radar), but not great in prolonged combat.
  • Secondary weapon is anti-gunship; heavy missiles for Arm and flak for Core (alternate idea: let the Arm missiles fire at surface vessels as well and use riot or Banisher missile for Core). Low weaponvelocity and range limit its effectiveness against fast aircraft.
  • This is meant to contrast with the T1 AA/Minelayers, which have mid-range, rapid-fire, high-velocity weapons and greater hit points/non-splash DPS per cost, making T1 better at prolonged combat, especially against fast aircraft.
  • source:trunk/mods/ca/units/armaas2.lua
  • source:trunk/mods/ca/units/coraas.lua

Saktoth: You're right about one thing. It IS crazy. Im willing to give this naval engie/aa thing a bit more of a trial, because im open to experimentation, but i like the AA on the scout boat.

Timeline

  • Incremental replacements, and adjustments to prepare for an eventual overhaul.
  • A submerging lua script, allowing us to move a units hitsphere up and down would be useful.

Boat Goals

One faction should probably have its units replaced, to increase meaningful faction difference. Perhaps...

  • Have the destroyer and scout boat taken out, and replaced with a missile/skirmisher artillery unit that can also hit air (banisher or samson-like, perhaps), taking AA from the scout boat and Artillery from the destroyer, and a torpedo boat that can hit sub-surface units, taking anti-sub role from the Destroyer. Perhaps the submarine could also be changed/removed from that faction.

Ship Goals

Note that this is mostly regarding t2 sea (Or Ships) which will be very different, designed mostly for large water maps. t1 sea (boats) may also be changed, but probably not along these lines. We should not limit ourselves to the current models, or even take much account for the current dynamic of t2 sea (Which is not good, AFAIK) (Evil4Zerggin: We have a current T2 sea dynamic? Yeah, I agree.)

  • A naval-scale feel and pace, with large expensive units and a focus on effective deployment (micromanagement).
    • Slow turn rates and restricted fire arcs, so that the facing of a ship is important and something that must be considered head of time in regards to persuing, retreating and bringing weapons to bear.
    • Slow Accel/Decel, creating a focus on 'commiting' to an engagement, and allowing combat manoeuvres to take place at a slow pace but still allowing ships to travel over larger sea maps at relatively high speeds.
    • Long ranges, so that sea is played on a very different scale to land battles, but also to allow effective bombardment.
    • Borrowing from real naval tactics where it meets these goals, especially WW1/WW2, using broadsides, turning away from torpedoes etc. Sci-fi concepts such as effective deployment of shield ships and anything that fits along this vein of effective deployment.
  • Hard counters (Sea, subs, hovers, etc).

Evil4Zerggin: I have a "dual specialization" idea. Basically most ships will be good at two different things, to differentiate it from land where units tend to be specialized toward one task. This would contrasts ships from land. Furthermore, it would work better for ships than on land because there are fewer ships, and more roles to cover, while avoiding a situation where ships become too generalized to be interesting.

Obstacles

  • This needs testing to see if it can be made feasible, and fun. Really slow massive ships might be boring, or not be able to operate on the scale of large sea maps.
  • What we do with amphibs/hovers will effect what we do with Ships (Though it really effects Boats more, probably).
  • If any game i ever going to involve ships, measures must be taken to avoid rushing a ship player with boats (Or possibly hovers?). Perhaps stronger early defences, an underwater d-gun, or a relatively light anti-boat ship that can be built as the first thing out of the fac to counter a rush.

Subs

There remain many questions as to what to do with subs. Here are several plans...

  • Make them pure stealth units, for sneak attacks and taking out crucial targets, and limit the ranges that sonar can detect them.
  • Make them just another form of hard counter needing a special unit/weapon class to attack them (Mostly what they are at current).
  • Require them to surface to be fully effective (cutting speed, restricting fire, etc), or have active/passive sonar (like a blind cloak).

...or a combination of the above.

And depthcharges..

  • Replace them almost universally with torpedoes so as to keep the current functionality.
  • Make subs hug the bottom and make them all AoE weapons that drop directly downwards
  • Make them EMP weapons that paralyze/force to surface subs, so they can be finished off/nuetralized.
  • Make them burnblow and inaccurate, so they explode around the general area of the sub.
  • Make depth charges only hit subs/underwater units, increase DPS, accuracy. Remove sub special damages, increase sub hit points.

...or a combination of the above.

Evil4Zerggin: As far as I can tell, burnblow currently has zero effect on torpedoes. I suspect it only affects plasma weapons.

Ships

Saktoth: We should probably look to a new ship dynamic entirely. So this should probably be scratch and taken back to the drawing board. The role of carriers and subs deserves special attention.

Evil4Zerggin: A complete overhaul would be good, but I don't think it's going to happen soon. A few changes might be good in the interim.

  • Cruiser: Assault/ASW ship. Long-range DCL and short-range surface weapon (lightning and flame?) to contrast with destroyer. Moderate speed and sonar; slower than royer. Good hit points.
  • Assault/Artillery Sub -> Artillery Sub: Artillery. Mediocre sonar, hit points. High damage and range; low RoF, splash, and arc of fire torpedoes good as fire support and against ATL. Slow and not maneuverable. Non-tracking torpedoes? Or they track and are really slow?
  • Battleship: Artillery/Skirmisher.

Morphs

  • TL -> ATL? (Jump too big ATM)
  • Cruiser -> Battleship? (Jump too big?)

Structures

  • Integrate land and sea structures. Putting script-hidden/detected pontoons on most models should be the major hurdle to this.
    • HLT/FHLT
    • Radar
    • TL/DCL
    • Mex (Floating)
    • MM
    • Moho
    • Fusion
    • Adv MM
    • Flak
  • New sea structures (Add pontoons/water depth/floating).
    • Razors Kiss/Packo (submerges?)
    • Geos?
  • Review T1 naval defenses: floating missile tower, torpedo launcher, FHLT, depthcharge launcher. Maybe some sort of floating subMissile launcher as an early defense.
  • Some sort of naval targeting facility.
    • Floating advanced radar, merge seismic and sonar?
  • ATL on land? Land-based subMissile launcher?
  • Underwater geos.
    • Behemoth will have probably have to wait until non-torpedo underwater weapons are supported.
  • Floating solars? Floating advanced solar?

Evil4Zerggin: Unfortunately, setting a waterline for structures causes them to ignore maxslope even on land. Waterline is necessary to fix the structure's position relative to the water's surface. Without waterline, the structure will sit on the seabed. Saktoth: How was the ravager floating, recently? Through script? Did its hitsphere float? Can we do this? Evil4Zerggin: The Ravager's suspension script (COB) was originally based on the ground height, but not less than zero (i.e., the water surface). I don't know if the hitsphere floated; I'll experiment when I get a chance.

Evil4Zerggin: It looks like a hitsphere is not directly attached to the unit's model:

jk: i would prefer the usage of a widget, which will simple swap the models/units while you place it. this way you could still use 2 different models (i.e. for metal makes, floating mexes,dt's) and still only have 1 build icon, we also could put them into 1 luadef and define 2 different models etc..

Saktoth: We badly need a hitsphere moving lua. But the way you describe doing it would be very good, yes. Though it does increase the reliance on lua- a lot of functionality is disabled without lua but AFAIK, you can still prettyuch play (Say, an AI). This would destroy that entirely, wouldnt it?

Evil4Zerggin: Couldn't we just merge the models and show/hide the two versions of the model using COB? Or are there performance issues with this? The hitsphere thing is still a barrier, though.

Models

Saktoth: As we will not be using the current models in the final version, there is no reason to restrict ourselves. There are dozens of 3rd party that can fill whatever unit roles we desire (See NOTA, and a sea-focused OTA mod whose name slips my mind) until we replace them.

Evil4Zerggin: That will be very helpful. Unfortunately, my knowledge of models or where to snarf them from is rather limited. Regarding NOTA ships: While they are more "realistic", I would rather see more specialized ships for gameplay purposes. Perhaps not as much as land (due to the higher unit cost of ships), but I would rather not have 2/3 of the ships carrying flak and the like.

Saktoth: Removing weapons from these units is trivial.

Evil4Zerggin: Hmm, true. I've also acquired (very) rudimentary 3do Builder skills, so I can tweak a few things.

Saktoth: Use Upspring if possible.

Evil4Zerggin: Upspring has this irritating habit of making groundplates opaque whenever you edit a model. I've also seen it make faces invisible on occasion. Is it possible to apply transparent textures via Upspring? Nevermind, I just read jK's comment on how Upspring handles groundplates.

Miscellaneous

  • Tweak death effects.
  • Standardize metal/energy/build time ratios.
    • Sak: Should probably be done universally or not at all?
      • Evil4Zerggin: I say we have some sort of standard, whether its universal, by factory, or something else. Resource Ratios

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