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Allow me to Illustrate the Star Lane Debate


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Omega_Weapon #61 Posted 03 April 2016 - 04:03 AM

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View PostVahouth, on 02 April 2016 - 10:48 AM, said:

In my experience so far, I never had a situation where only one access point to conflict was possible.

 

Its not that common to have only a single point of possible entry. But if path one takes you to the enemy empire in 6 turns, path two gets you there in 18 turns, and path three gets you there in 27 turns, options two and three are not at all practical to use. By the time my main fleet moves all the way around, an enemy force may already be burning down my core worlds.

Stelar_7 #62 Posted 03 April 2016 - 05:49 AM

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Enough with the Risk maps,

 

Here is a large circle galaxy at turn 250 with me playing the Terans in Pink. To the right along the bottom are the Klackon, Then Sakra, then Mrshan and Bulrathi, and the Alkari are all the way around on the left. In yellow. (Meklars and Psilons have been eliminated)

 

 

 

 

Notice, the closest thing to a choke point is the long warp lanes between my left edge and the Alkari. However I have two lanes, and two separate sections of their empire. By this point I have my gates up and I can move ships from anywhere in my empire to anywhere in 5 turns or less, most moves are 2 or 3 turns.

 

I want to point out that the distance between stars is very even in this map, and that if you look at Thesbia in the lower left, you can get an idea of the ring that would be needed for a range 1 drive. If range 2 doubles range 1, then you can see that ranged movement quickly gets completely out of hand. There would be no front line systems, and no rear area systems. An entire empire would be able to be hit very early after contact.

 

Note also, that there are no single chokepoints, and none of the points between options require 10 more turns of travel. Its usually1 to 3 more turns.

 

This map should dissolve a lot of the hyperbole on both sides. The people claiming that it takes 20 turns, or that there is a single choke point that can be defended are quite clearly wrong.

 

At this point in the game I was operating three fleets, north, west and east. I was also in clean up. By this stage I was so dominant that it was becoming boring, and I switched to diplomacy to see if that would make things harder. I also started building a 4th fleet, to kill Orion. I won diplomatically before I could concentrate the anti Orion fleet completely.

 

The reason the game was so dull was a combination of my massive control pool, close to 200, and the length of time it took the computer to build fleets after I smashed them. Star lanes didn't force a blob on blob, please stop claiming that they do. Even in a nodal defense, the defender has to concentrate. Multiple fleets only become necessary when there is too much distance between the sections of the empire for one fleet to cover them, and that happens with or without starlanes. Just look at all the different front line systems my empire has, however there is a clear rear area.

 

I'm all for additional options but free movement makes a hash of the idea of front lines at the mid and late game. I don't agree with that.



Vahouth #63 Posted 03 April 2016 - 08:33 AM

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View PostMunashiimaru, on 03 April 2016 - 02:23 AM, said:

 

So what if the computer was unable to utilize the defensiveness of them properly?

What do you mean?

View PostOmega_Weapon, on 03 April 2016 - 06:03 AM, said:

 

Its not that common to have only a single point of possible entry. But if path one takes you to the enemy empire in 6 turns, path two gets you there in 18 turns, and path three gets you there in 27 turns, options two and three are not at all practical to use. By the time my main fleet moves all the way around, an enemy force may already be burning down my core worlds.

If you're building only one big stack, yes, but I never do that. I always have a main fleet and several small ones, all already in position to strike.



Omega_Weapon #64 Posted 03 April 2016 - 10:31 AM

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View PostStelar_7, on 03 April 2016 - 12:49 AM, said:

Enough with the Risk maps,

 

Here is a large circle galaxy at turn 250 with me playing the Terans in Pink. To the right along the bottom are the Klackon, Then Sakra, then Mrshan and Bulrathi, and the Alkari are all the way around on the left. In yellow. (Meklars and Psilons have been eliminated)

 

 

 

 

Notice, the closest thing to a choke point is the long warp lanes between my left edge and the Alkari. However I have two lanes, and two separate sections of their empire. By this point I have my gates up and I can move ships from anywhere in my empire to anywhere in 5 turns or less, most moves are 2 or 3 turns.

 

I want to point out that the distance between stars is very even in this map, and that if you look at Thesbia in the lower left, you can get an idea of the ring that would be needed for a range 1 drive. If range 2 doubles range 1, then you can see that ranged movement quickly gets completely out of hand. There would be no front line systems, and no rear area systems. An entire empire would be able to be hit very early after contact.

 

Note also, that there are no single chokepoints, and none of the points between options require 10 more turns of travel. Its usually1 to 3 more turns.

 

This map should dissolve a lot of the hyperbole on both sides. The people claiming that it takes 20 turns, or that there is a single choke point that can be defended are quite clearly wrong.

 

At this point in the game I was operating three fleets, north, west and east. I was also in clean up. By this stage I was so dominant that it was becoming boring, and I switched to diplomacy to see if that would make things harder. I also started building a 4th fleet, to kill Orion. I won diplomatically before I could concentrate the anti Orion fleet completely.

 

The reason the game was so dull was a combination of my massive control pool, close to 200, and the length of time it took the computer to build fleets after I smashed them. Star lanes didn't force a blob on blob, please stop claiming that they do. Even in a nodal defense, the defender has to concentrate. Multiple fleets only become necessary when there is too much distance between the sections of the empire for one fleet to cover them, and that happens with or without starlanes. Just look at all the different front line systems my empire has, however there is a clear rear area.

 

I'm all for additional options but free movement makes a hash of the idea of front lines at the mid and late game. I don't agree with that.

 

Say you want to attack the Shwing system. The enemy holding the Altair system is far too strong for you to defeat them. How do you propose to get there in less than 20 turns? As far as I can see, there is 1 alternate route and it goes through Bulrathi territory. Its not even a real option unless you attack the Bulrathi first, or negotiate free passage with them, since they hold Carnak. So while there may technically be more than one route to take, Altair system is still a very effective choke point.

 

As for your assertion that free travel eliminates front lines, there is no need for it to do so. Free travel does not have to include unlimited movement range. You can restrict free movement by fuel mechanics or travel distance, or finite life support resources, etc... . Maybe the top level of the tech tree could include an unlimited range capability for fleets, but until then there certainly would be planets that the enemy can reach and planets they cannot (front lines/ rear areas). If planets are allowed to build warp interdictors, going deeper into enemy territory would take greater amounts of time, rendering deep strikes less of a sudden threat. Free travel done right is superior to forced starlanes in almost every way. That is if you want deep and involving strategy. People who like simple and easy might be better off with starlanes limiting strategic complexity. Such people have money too and need not be discounted completely. That is why so many are asking for the set up option to have or not have starlanes. That way both camps can be satisfied.


Edited by Omega_Weapon, 03 April 2016 - 10:47 AM.


Vahouth #65 Posted 03 April 2016 - 12:13 PM

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Assuming he must attack Shwing system for some weird reason, he can still do it relatively quickly by attacking first the Uxmai system. That will force the Alkari to reinforce their fleets there by moving or dividing those from Altair, thus opening a window of opportunity for a second fleet orbiting the wormhole to attack from the Altair lane.


MOO2MOD #66 Posted 03 April 2016 - 02:27 PM

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Whats up with all those ugly lines in pink territory? Are the gates also visualized?

Also I would suggest that the 'sunny side up egg' background is to be removed and replaced by something more 'spacey'.



JosEPh_II #67 Posted 03 April 2016 - 03:07 PM

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View PostMOO2MOD, on 03 April 2016 - 08:27 AM, said:

Whats up with all those ugly lines in pink territory? Are the gates also visualized?

Also I would suggest that the 'sunny side up egg' background is to be removed and replaced by something more 'spacey'.

 

Must not be playing much after the 2nd EA. Or you don't use Jump Gates.

 

Agree though that the "center" of this galaxy is.....kind of meh.

 

And  Stelar_7 and Omega_Weapon both make valid points for either side, options always are better for the player, but conversely Options are much more work for the Developer.

 

Every added Option multiplies the work needed to make it All work together. Also multiplies the Bugs that will occur if testing is rushed. These have to be considered by the Player as well as the Developers. A Wish List is all well and good for the player to present. But the player Must take into consideration if their respective "Wishes" are actually workable with the current base that has been laid down in code for this game.

 

Point is both these Movement systems can be put into the game. But at the cost of time and money for the Devs. If the Devs feel it is worth it to have both systems in or even a compromise (which they have sort of done already with the Jump Gate) for the game, in the long term profitability stand point, then we will see further development.  The ideas have been presented adequately by both camps. It is now down to just pictures and semantics from the opposing player sides, but the Ball is actually in the Dev's hands now.

 

JosEPh


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MOO2MOD #68 Posted 03 April 2016 - 03:59 PM

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View PostJosEPh_II, on 03 April 2016 - 03:07 PM, said:

 

Must not be playing much after the 2nd EA. Or you don't use Jump Gates.

 

haven't played the game at all in fact...



Stelar_7 #69 Posted 04 April 2016 - 01:05 AM

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View PostMOO2MOD, on 03 April 2016 - 03:59 PM, said:

haven't played the game at all in fact...

You should, it's good.

 

That spiderweb in the pink region is my network of jump gates every system in the empire has one, save some new holdings on the edges.



Lucian667 #70 Posted 04 April 2016 - 01:35 AM

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I love how the starlane apologists are hell-bent on proving that choke points are not an issue in MOO 4 when the whole point of having starlanes is to force Land-based choke points and the resulting simplistic land-based strategy into a Space map.

 

If your starlane architecture is so dense that you dont have any choke points, then the entire concept is utterly useless and you might as well just get rid of all those lines on the map and adopt free movement because the outcome will be identical. The ultimate extension of high starlane density is every star in the galaxy having a starlane to every other star. Then you have MOO 2 which is essentially just free-movement except you cant stop in deep space.

 

So those of you arguing that starlanes in MOO 4 dont provide choke points are just ruthlessly killing your own argument. Starlanes MUST provide choke points, its really all they're good for and their entire reason for existence.



Lucian667 #71 Posted 04 April 2016 - 02:20 AM

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View PostMOO2MOD, on 03 April 2016 - 03:59 PM, said:

haven't played the game at all in fact...

 

Me either. I'll buy it if and when it becomes worth buying.

Lasermann #72 Posted 04 April 2016 - 02:29 AM

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OP - that was beautifully illustrated, using the Uber Mod of my all time favorite game.  Thank you!

Stelar_7 #73 Posted 04 April 2016 - 03:42 AM

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View PostOmega_Weapon, on 03 April 2016 - 10:31 AM, said:

 

Say you want to attack the Shwing system. The enemy holding the Altair system is far too strong for you to defeat them. How do you propose to get there in less than 20 turns? As far as I can see, there is 1 alternate route and it goes through Bulrathi territory. Its not even a real option unless you attack the Bulrathi first, or negotiate free passage with them, since they hold Carnak. So while there may technically be more than one route to take, Altair system is still a very effective choke point.

 

As for your assertion that free travel eliminates front lines, there is no need for it to do so. Free travel does not have to include unlimited movement range. You can restrict free movement by fuel mechanics or travel distance, or finite life support resources, etc... . Maybe the top level of the tech tree could include an unlimited range capability for fleets, but until then there certainly would be planets that the enemy can reach and planets they cannot (front lines/ rear areas). If planets are allowed to build warp interdictors, going deeper into enemy territory would take greater amounts of time, rendering deep strikes less of a sudden threat. Free travel done right is superior to forced starlanes in almost every way. That is if you want deep and involving strategy. People who like simple and easy might be better off with starlanes limiting strategic complexity. Such people have money too and need not be discounted completely. That is why so many are asking for the set up option to have or not have starlanes. That way both camps can be satisfied.

 

Dude, it is getting hard to take you seriously. There is a wormhole allosing a bypass, and if they are forted up in Schwimmer and Altair you have the rest of the galaxy to out build a small corner. 

 

You are right that early game free move and lanes operate similarly. If the tech allows even half the galaxy in travel though then all the borders become meaningless. 

 

We could add the warp inhibitors, and make Stargate instant travel, it could be just like moo2.

 

Of course we already have moo2. Adding those things to this game adds micromanagement but not strategy. It changes the strategy, from a marching advance,to powerful deep strikes and then backfill.

 

What do we gain? The ability to attack anything we want whenever we want. I can pass on that. Because we also gain instant movement and I can defend my whole empire with 1 powerful fleet no matter how big my empire gets, just like I can in Moo2.

 

What do we lose, 

 

The individual relevance of territories, they will have meaning for their placment only in the early and possibly mid game. After that no individual location will matter for its place it will only matter how much if can produce.

 

We will lose the ability to cut forces off from their support, and the ability to block a line of retreat.

 

We lose an AI that can compete with humans. The developers have said that when all lanes are open the AI can not remain competitive. Which means this MOO will have to cheat, just like all the other ones.

 

Free travel is superior for an attacker, buy that doesn't mean it makes for a better game. I've played moo 1 2 and this, I own 3 but was so disgusted with it that I let it collect dust. This is the best yet. It still needs tweaking and the AI needs help but I don't see how free move improves the game, none of the arguments for it are compelling, especially when we have to add tech to tone it down by your own admission. 

 

The arguments that are nothing more than insults are the least compelling of all. Kindly refrain from that if you respond again. 



Omega_Weapon #74 Posted 04 April 2016 - 04:17 AM

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View PostStelar_7, on 03 April 2016 - 10:42 PM, said:

 

1) Dude, it is getting hard to take you seriously. There is a wormhole allosing a bypass, and if they are forted up in Schwimmer and Altair you have the rest of the galaxy to out build a small corner. 

 

2) You are right that early game free move and lanes operate similarly. If the tech allows even half the galaxy in travel though then all the borders become meaningless. 

 

3) We could add the warp inhibitors, and make Stargate instant travel, it could be just like moo2.

 

4) Of course we already have moo2. Adding those things to this game adds micromanagement but not strategy. It changes the strategy, from a marching advance,to powerful deep strikes and then backfill.

 

5) What do we gain? The ability to attack anything we want whenever we want. I can pass on that. Because we also gain instant movement and I can defend my whole empire with 1 powerful fleet no matter how big my empire gets, just like I can in Moo2.

 

6) The individual relevance of territories, they will have meaning for their placment only in the early and possibly mid game. After that no individual location will matter for its place it will only matter how much if can produce.

 

7) We will lose the ability to cut forces off from their support, and the ability to block a line of retreat.

 

8) We lose an AI that can compete with humans. The developers have said that when all lanes are open the AI can not remain competitive. Which means this MOO will have to cheat, just like all the other ones.

 

9) Free travel is superior for an attacker, buy that doesn't mean it makes for a better game. I've played moo 1 2 and this, I own 3 but was so disgusted with it that I let it collect dust. This is the best yet. It still needs tweaking and the AI needs help but I don't see how free move improves the game, none of the arguments for it are compelling, especially when we have to add tech to tone it down by your own admission. 

 

10) The arguments that are nothing more than insults are the least compelling of all. Kindly refrain from that if you respond again. 

 

Lets go point by point;

1) How many turns does it take your fleet to reach Schwing, without passing through Altair? Is it less than 20 turns as you claimed?

2) There is no reason for borders to become meaningless if implementation is done competently. You assume worst case scenario.

3) Why add the stargates? I am not a supporter of instant travel stargates and I feel they are a really cheap mechanic.

4) MOO 2 was a smash hit that people still play today. Why not copy the good things that worked in the role model for all 4X games that followed?

5) See #3.

6) See #2.

7) This concept wasn't in MOO 2, and nobody seemed to miss it.

8) MOO 2 AI was not so bad in 1996. If 20 years later the developers cannot make a better AI than that, just throw in the towel.

9) Vast difference of opinions. Many like myself would say that MOO 2 is in fact superior to this current version, and none of the arguments for starlanes are compelling.

10) There admittedly was some snark in the last bit of my post. Are you claiming that your posts have been snark free? They didn't read that way.

 


Edited by Omega_Weapon, 04 April 2016 - 05:08 PM.


Lucian667 #75 Posted 04 April 2016 - 06:02 AM

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View PostStelar_7, on 04 April 2016 - 03:42 AM, said:

 We lose an AI that can compete with humans. The developers have said that when all lanes are open the AI can not remain competitive. Which means this MOO will have to cheat, just like all the other ones.

 

We never had this AI to begin with. Not in MOO 4 and not in any other starlane-based game ever created. This magical starlane-facilitated AI you are talking about is a compete fantasy, feel free to name even one starlane game old or new where the AI is even mediocre, let alone able to competitively compete with humans, there aren't any! The AI in free movement games like MOO 2 and Distant Worlds - while not fantastic - was quite acceptable and definitely no worse than any starlane-based game ever produced, the majority of which have been completely atrocious, and that most certainly includes MOO 4 in its current state.

 

The whole claim that starlanes make for better AI is incredibly fallacious and has absolutely no basis in historical fact. The truth is that there has NEVER been an starlane-based game with even good AI, let alone superior.



Endsor #76 Posted 04 April 2016 - 06:13 AM

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View PostLucian667, on 04 April 2016 - 01:35 AM, said:

I love how the starlane apologists are hell-bent on proving that choke points are not an issue in MOO 4 when the whole point of having starlanes is to force Land-based choke points and the resulting simplistic land-based strategy into a Space map.

 

If your starlane architecture is so dense that you dont have any choke points, then the entire concept is utterly useless and you might as well just get rid of all those lines on the map and adopt free movement because the outcome will be identical. The ultimate extension of high starlane density is every star in the galaxy having a starlane to every other star. Then you have MOO 2 which is essentially just free-movement except you cant stop in deep space.

 

So those of you arguing that starlanes in MOO 4 dont provide choke points are just ruthlessly killing your own argument. Starlanes MUST provide choke points, its really all they're good for and their entire reason for existence.

 

Quoted for truth!

Stelar_7 #77 Posted 04 April 2016 - 12:47 PM

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@ Omega, I'll need more than my phone to respond so look for a post tonight.

@Lucian, guy I've been ignoring you. You speak in absolutes, which makes you instantly wrong, and by your own admission, you don't play this game. What little you do write is so hyperbolic that if there is valid content I can't parse it. You genuinely seem to believe your opinion constitutes objective fact.

You aren't doing your side any favors guy. So I'll be continuing to ignore you after this.

Lucian667 #78 Posted 04 April 2016 - 01:33 PM

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View PostStelar_7, on 04 April 2016 - 12:47 PM, said:

@Lucian, guy I've been ignoring you. You speak in absolutes, which makes you instantly wrong, and by your own admission, you don't play this game. What little you do write is so hyperbolic that if there is valid content I can't parse it. You genuinely seem to believe your opinion constitutes objective fact.

 

Others would seem to disagree with you.

 

I'll try to console myself after the devastating sadness of learning that I'll be deprived of your wisdom.  :)  But dont worry, I wont be ignoring you. Every time you make a clearly false claim like the one about losing an AI that can compete with humans if we get rid of starlanes (which considering the reported state of MOO 4's  AI was just hilarious), I'll be there to set you straight.

CecilPaladin #79 Posted 04 April 2016 - 02:11 PM

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I would argue that the majority of space games DOES indeed have star lanes.  From the ones I've played:

 

1) Star Wars Empire at War

2) Sins of a Solar Empire

3) Mass Effect

4) Sid Meier's Starships

5) Any of the wing commander games

6) FTL (small game)

7) Star Citizen (Chris Roberts' new mega game coming out)

 

to name a few.  The original Moos were an exception to that rule and the majority of new games now all have star lanes.



MOO2MOD #80 Posted 04 April 2016 - 02:16 PM

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View PostStelar_7, on 04 April 2016 - 03:42 AM, said:

 

Of course we already have moo2. Adding those things to this game adds micromanagement but not strategy. It changes the strategy, from a marching advance,to powerful deep strikes and then backfill.

 

We lose an AI that can compete with humans. The developers have said that when all lanes are open the AI can not remain competitive. Which means this MOO will have to cheat, just like all the other ones.

 

This is the best yet. It still needs tweaking and the AI needs help but I don't see how free move improves the game, none of the arguments for it are compelling, especially when we have to add tech to tone it down by your own admission. 

 

Yes, we already have MOO2. And MOO1. Two shining examples of a how a good 4x game can be done.

Although MOO2 is somewhat micro-heavy ofc. Sadly the micro in MOO4 has increased compared to that game instead of decreased and no solution is presented for the build queue and the number of buildings, oppositely in fact, the queue has been shortened to 5 buildings. In addition the alphabetical list has been replaced by tiles (in what order?) that need to be scrolled through.

 

"This is the best yet" is what i still think of MOO2 for rich, detailed combat & immersive gameplay and of MOO1 for pure and elegant strategy.

It is all highly subjective ofc....

 

A.I. in this types of games has never been able to outwit a human player (of some skill). And as long as the a.i. in MOO4 keeps puposely shooting their guns into Asteroids, I am convinced this 4x iteration won't change that. Obviously the game is in alpha, but as the a.i. usually is a closing entry on the list of things todo, it is always at risk of being neglected. Unless they decide to hire some people from the AlphaGo team. That could certainly change things.

:)

 

To repeat: A.I. is not a function of Starlanes or no Starlanes, it is a result of programming skills and effort.

 

And lastly, since we have progressed 4 pages on yet another Starlane thread, the OP's main point still stands firm:

less movement restrictions = more possible strategies


Edited by MOO2MOD, 04 April 2016 - 02:26 PM.





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