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Improving Invasions / Bombing (long)


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LeadfootSlim #1 Posted 28 April 2016 - 07:28 AM

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As of EA3, ground combat feels a little lackluster - both mechanically and visually. Ideally, every core mechanic in Master of Orion should have an impact across multiple aspects of the game, and serve as a deep avenue for progress towards victory. Ground combat and invasions is one of those, and therefore deserves some attention - so let's dive into it!

 

What We Have & What We're Missing

Like Espionage, Ground Combat techs and bonuses represent a fairly small portion of the tech tree, but have an irreplaceable impact on the game. They're the only way to steal enemy planets, and with the recent addition of diplomatic espionage, the only way to reclaim them after a Revolt. However, there's not much else there right now - it's just "I Have More Marines, GG". While some better info on applied bonuses would be welcome, it's still a flat numbers game. But then, it was like that in MOO2, and that might be okay! The alternative would be a tactical ground combat chess-minigame, and... yea, That's a step too far. But we can work on making combat "feel" better later.

 

However, MOO2 also had Ship Boarding actions. Your investments in Ground Combat bonuses and related techs served a secondary purpose in allowing you to capture enemy ships. However, this involved immobilizing enemy vessels, a long and surgical process that required careful under-kill, being sure not to lose the battle outright from holding back, good positioning, sub-optimal side techs like Tractor Beams (immobilize) or Warp Interdictors (stop retreat)... In short, ship boarding as it was in MOO2 is not compatible with real-time Tactical combat - but that's not to say another approach can't be taken. That's a topic for another day, but for now we can't rely on that eventual feature to fill the gaps with the current ground combat.

 

Problem: Pressing "Invade" is Boring

To hearken back to MOO2 again, ground combat was presented with a nifty little cutscene, along with some thorough data metrics. If you won or lost, you knew exactly why, and you got to witness your horrible defeat/crushing victory. We definitely need more details about Ground Combat bonuses before hitting "Invade", and a neat animation wouldn't hurt either.

 

By contrast, the current iteration treats Marines like bombs - with the caveat that they cancel each other out against enemy marines, and don't refresh the next turn if you fail your attack. However, ground defenses can be easily circumvented; drop bombs until the enemy has far fewer Marines than you do, then invade with overwhelming numbers. Even in the best-case "epic" ground combat scenario - an enemy planet stocked with Armor Barracks, Battleoids,and upgraded rifles against an empire's worth of disposable warm bodies - the action is over and done with in a single click. Not exactly a thrilling reward for all those Troop Transports you have to move around the galaxy, especially when you have to do it all again for the next planet.

 

Solution: Longer Combats and Troop Recycling

So you know how I said "Marines are treated like bombs"? Well, what's the best-case "fun" scenario for bombs? The answer, in my mind, is facing off against a Planetary Radiation/Flux Shield and wailing on it with your fleet turn after turn - watching the bombs fall with folded hands, breaking through and experiencing micro-jolts of excitement as Marines, Structures and Population die off one by one. You might not succeed this turn, however, and that's what makes it work - uncertainty on a turn-by-turn basis is fun, and rewards overwhelming certainty when you invest in it.  So what if we apply that to Ground Combat? Here's one approach...

 

1) Rather than instantly resolving, have Marines be deposited on a planet and duke it out with the ground forces - possibly only killing one Marine per side per turn in an even contest at base Ground Combat tech. This gives us the same excitement we have with bombs - being uncertain of the outcome turn-by-turn, or feeling the satisfaction of a single, decisive victory when you bring 100 bombs to bear and hit "Drop All", cackling all the while! Competing Ground Combat techs mean you can kill the enemy's troops faster than they can kill yours. However, the defenders need an advantage...

 

2) Like Bombs, make Structures and Population possible as collateral damage in Ground Combat, albeit at a much lower rate. This gives a chance for defending Marines to stall for time at the cost of collateral damage, and encourages use of more attacking Marines/Ground Combat upgrades to end the conflict decisively and capture the planet intact. Such a change removes the spot-free nature of current invasions, but you can still roll over pre-bombed or defenseless colonies with ease. It also rewards the defender more for investing in ground tech and gives them the satisfaction of stalling their enemy.

 

3) The surviving victors are stationed at the planet, and can be shipped off again; Marines over a planet's barracks limit consume Food. This presents either a problem or a lovely tool; On the one hand, Marine overkill may result in you accidentally starving your captured slaves; on the other hand, Marine overkill allows you to work your useless thralls to the bone until they starve and die, making way for your colonists and effectively enabling MOO2's "exterminate population" option.

 

So we can make invasions more interesting, but... there's still not much reason to not glass the place and move in with a single contingent of Marines. That's where the next bit comes in...

 

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Problem: Bombs Are A Fancy Delete Key

Now, this isn't necessarily a crippling issue. There's no feeling in MOO quite like parking over an enemy's final planet, counting your 100 bombs, and pressing "Drop All" while you cackle... yea, we covered that earlier. It's great! But the bomb upgrades don't do much beyond needing fewer of them and fewer turns. Unlike the flat numeric bonus that is Ground Combat, or even any of the other ship upgrades, Bombs don't usually affect your chances of victory - just the convenience. So how can we make this more interesting?... Well, how about screwing with the biome?

 

Solution: Bombs Cause Pollution, Create Different End Biomes

I've posted about this before, but this is a refinement. In short; if you want to take over a planet, dropping too many bombs to soften it up risks Pollution and biome loss. This incentivizes considering Ground Combat, or investing in better Bombs to try to end things faster and counteract the enemy's scaling bomb-soaking defenses; it also incentivizes using Spies to examine planets you intend to conquer, so you know how bad their Pollution is before you let loose. If you don't want to take over a planet, you can glass it from orbit until it's a ruined husk, just because it's satisfying.  That, or you may be trying to drop a Terran/Ocean/etc. down to your species' desired Uber Planet prerequisite. I won't judge! Anyway, here's how we make this work;

 

1) Each bomb type has a progressively harder-to-fix downgrade from Barren when it reaches 100 Pollution on a Barren planet. This is a tradeoff; if you stay with up-to-date bombs for max efficiency, you create a bigger problem to solve if you degrade the biome too far. However, if you don't intend to take the planet, this makes things harder for your opponent... plus, well, there's a Silicoid treat in there.

          -Nuclear Bombs: Degrades Barren to Toxic. Starting tech, requires an early-mid tech to fix. Not too shabby.

          -Fusion Bombs: Degrades Barren to Radiated. Since this early-game bomb requires a mid-game tech to fix, it's a lot harder to repair.

          -Anti-Matter Bombs: Degrades Barren to Volcanic. Unfixable, unless you're doing it on purpose as the Silicoids... which, let's be honest, something like this needs to exist.

          -Neutronium Bomb: Degrades Barren to Asteroid Belt. Because why should Stellar Converters have all the fun? While technically more "fixable" than Volcanic, it takes so long and appears so late in the game that you're basically never going to come back from this one. 

 

2) Higher bomb techs create more pollution when dropped.This is justified in-universe with the increasing bomb yields having a more and more devastating effect on the target planet, and is probably more realistic. Again, the farther you go towards the endgame, the less you care about capturing planets intact, and the more likely your investment in bomb tech really just means "I want to nuke my enemies back to the stone age". While you could make an argument for lower pollution with scaling tech, ideally the lower number of bombs used would result in either a consistent average or a net decrease in pollution created. Alternatively, you can use Miniaturization to drop more bombs and increase your net pollution, but then you're missing out on the cutting-edge planet-ruining technology of higher bomb tiers. Below is purely napkin math that may require balance to achieve the desired effect.

          -Nuclear Bombs: 1 Pollution per  bomb dropped.

          -Fusion Bombs: 2 Pollution per bomb dropped.

          -Anti-Matter Bombs: 3 Pollution per bomb dropped.

          -Neutronium Bombs: 4 Pollution per 1 bombs dropped.

 

3) "Drop All" drops all the bombs, regardless of whether or not you run out of targets before they finish. Because we're making this game for the next generation of supervillains, and without this you can't deliberately ruin a planet's biome so easily. This also means that the whole "less bombs = less net pollution" malarky above no longer applies, and bigger bombs mean faster biome ruining. Again, the math needs adjustment to make it work.

 

This whole setup makes bomb choices in the tech tree a LOT more interesting, I'd hope, and provides a compelling reason to consider using nothing but Marines to capture a planet bomb-free. There's the obvious Silicoid hook with Volcanic biome degradation, but it also interacts with either +25% Pollution races that don't want to give themselves even more work, or -25%/-50% pollution races that wouldn't have much trouble cleaning up after their heavy-handed bombardment. Either way, it's fun stuff!

 

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So there's *one* way to improve invasions! I'm certain there are other, better ideas that require less work and less genocide. but let's be real this is a 4X game, genocide is one of the billed features.

 

 Thoughts, comments, and furious debate are all welcome! Hope you enjoyed reading.

 


Edited by LeadfootSlim, 28 April 2016 - 02:32 PM.


sansloi #2 Posted 28 April 2016 - 01:37 PM

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I agree with most of your suggestions, especially the pollution/biome degradation on bombardment.

 

Another quality of life change I would like is changing how marines are deployed during and after an invasion. In EA2 surviving marines remained on the planet; in EA3 they are simply eliminated after combat, but you can choose how many to deploy (without any idea of relative strength vs the enemy, so you don't know how many you need to actually send...).

 

What I would like to see instead is you deploy any/all marines in orbit and after a successful invasion survivors are returned to their ships; any marines leftover that can't fill up a Transport are left on the newly conquered planet as a garrison. (I'd also like to eventually see morale effect rebellion so that after an invasion you would NEED to keep marines on a conquered world to prevent an uprising.)



Ilserrad #3 Posted 28 April 2016 - 11:04 PM

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Rather than having the game cut to another screen for invasions, I'd settle for an animation of your troop ships landing somewhere near their colony base, then you watch a tug of war of little explosions. If the invader is winning, the explosions creep closer to the colony center. If they're losing, they scatter outward and become less frequent.

 

If the invader wins, the fireworks reach the colony center. If they lose, they peter out at the farther reaches of the planet.



icthulu #4 Posted 29 April 2016 - 02:36 AM

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I would like to see the planet degradation and pollution implemented right away. I find it strange that I can drop hundreds of bombs and not have a nightmare future for the colony ship waiting in the wings to clean up the mess.

LeadfootSlim #5 Posted 03 May 2016 - 02:48 PM

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View Posticthulu, on 29 April 2016 - 02:36 AM, said:

I would like to see the planet degradation and pollution implemented right away. I find it strange that I can drop hundreds of bombs and not have a nightmare future for the colony ship waiting in the wings to clean up the mess.

 

Yea, it's a bit nuts. I played a game recently as Silicoids in which I conducted some extensive bombing campaigns, and the dissonance of glassing 10 Population and dozens of Marines and Structures without anything happening to the pristine Terran biome struck me as irksome, to say the least. The lack of an "exterminate" option after invading also meant I was trying to very gently bomb the planet to 0 Population and at least 1 Structure so I could invade without having to deal with pesky non-Silicoids.



Doctor_Psilon #6 Posted 03 May 2016 - 05:12 PM

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Right now, bombing a planet to oblivion is too easy. Basically just drop all bombs until the pop is 0 and then bring your colony ship in to get a brand new planet. There are no downsides. I think tying bombardment to pollution is a no-brainer. It also adds realism. If someone dropped 100's of nukes on Earth and wiped out humanity, Earth would be a radiated mess. If the invader was biological, there is no way they could colonize Earth like nothing happened. 



MasterOfOrionConquerTheS #7 Posted 07 May 2016 - 03:32 AM

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Been thinking about this. 

 

Coming to believe that adding restrictions on bombinb wouldn't make invasions cooler but just make the bombing system worse, and then it's one more thing to complain about. 

If bombing is a fancy delete key, then that's great, we shouldn't kick out things that are "Fancy". What we need, is to make the alternative, almost if not as much, fancier.

 

Current ground combat is cumbersome. You need to build your marine barracks, then you need to wait, then you need to build the troop transports that will only load 4 marines troops available from the planet, and then they are only one use. Also, forget about bringing tanks or battloids, that is just defense tech.

Also, ground forces are useless vs bombs. No matter if you had 200 marines and all the ground combat tech, you can be nuked in minutes. There is something wrong with this...

 

Let's break the problems with invasions into pieces.

 

1) Need a Marine barracks

Now this actually makes sense. I'd say you should only be allowed to build transports if you own tank or marines buildings. (Or battloids)

 

2) Need to wait for them to produce marines.

Now here's the first problem. There is no input from the player on how to get troops recruited faster, or how many since there is a fixed number. So basically the best way to go is to build transports at every colony to get the advantage of multiple marine buildings. Now you can't add marines to the building queue because that would just make things 10 times worse. I'm ok with having to wait a bit, but a standarized system which i can't do anything about but wait for is infuriating. 

 

Solution: Allow for "Draft" button on the barracks building. It substracts from the population growth, but dramattically increases marine recruitment speed. Similar systems for battloids and tanks. only that these system substract straight credits. When unused, these buttons can be turned off. 

 

3) Need to build troop transports. 

So you need to build the transports. This is pretty straight forward. An argument could be said about allowing for building ships with a troop-pod special and letting them load troops, but for the sake of simplicity, let's say this system is ok (because it actually is, tough it could be improved)

 

4) Transports are only one use. 

Well now this is a problem. You could argue that Moo2 used the same system. You would be wrong of course, because Moo2 transports didn't load marines from the colony, they were instead auto-generated. Current implementation is clearly worse than Moo2's setup. Instead of a single limit to invasions (Moo2's discardable transports) you also need to have enough marines on the planet to even build them. Two problems instead of one, and there is no sizeable gain at all for the additional micromanagement required on the player's part. 

 

Solution 1: If the Moo2 system was implemented, then the marine loading feature would be off the game. That would be Solution N°1 and actually, the easiest to implement, would probably make the whole invasion thing run like a charm, since i don't remember anyone complaining too much about Moo2's simple system. 

Solution 2: Reloadable transports. you build your transports, then go from planet to planet loading marines, tanks and battloids until they are full.  My preffered solution by far. You build your transports, and then begin loading your brave warriors on them, unload them to face off against the ugly aliens, and move your transports back to be used another day. As a player, it would be extremely beneficial to have a transport fleet at the ready. It shouldn't come cheap tough, transport command points should be increased if this system was chosen. 

 

5) Only four marines available for each transport:

Solution: I'dd add designs or upgrades for bigger transports with better tech like, for example, a mas size increase to 6 when discovering troop pods. 

 

6) Tanks and battloids cannot be used: 

Solution 1: Reloadable transports -- this is the one l like the most, since you choose what to load on them. Now should a tank take twice the space ? Probably :D 

Solution 2: Armor transports that only load the heavy hardware. 

 

7) Ground forces are useless vs bombing.

Now this is the big deal. What use is developing a swarm of stomtroopers,  Mazinger, Grandaizer, Voltes V, and Voltron if your mechas are just going to be bombed to smithereens ? 

 

Solution : Allow marines corps to use their hi-tech weaponry to shoot down bombs with accurarcy based on ground combat bonuses before they hit the atmosphere. Tanks and Battloids should be WAY more effective at this. Both races ground combat bonuses should be factored in, to make either the planet's army more effective at neutralizing bombs, or the attacker bypassing ground resistance. This adds in some sort of activity from marines and tanks during bombardment phase. I believe this is SORELY needed, since it should NOT be the same to bomb a colony with no barracks than the capital of a race with extended barracks racial trait and a full compliment of state of the art forces. Also, makes invasion seem more like Independence day, with ground forces actually trying to stop the mothership from turning them all to dust. Finally, add in a chance on every succesful bomb detonated prematurely by ground forces, for it's damage output to be recieved instead by the bombing ship. Biological weapons should be immune to this since they aren't explosive in nature. 

I present my evidence in favor of this: https://www.youtube....h?v=DJ3ZN-AJ-fg

 

Also, we need a combat animation, like... yesterday. Even the pixel Moo1 animation would get my approval. 

 

 


Edited by MasterOfOrionConquerTheS, 07 May 2016 - 03:42 AM.


LeadfootSlim #8 Posted 07 May 2016 - 04:36 AM

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View PostMasterOfOrionConquerTheS, on 07 May 2016 - 03:32 AM, said:

Coming to believe that adding restrictions on bombinb wouldn't make invasions cooler but just make the bombing system worse, and then it's one more thing to complain about. 

If bombing is a fancy delete key, then that's great, we shouldn't kick out things that are "Fancy". What we need, is to make the alternative, almost if not as much, fancier.

 

Perhaps my wording was incorrect... Bombs really aren't that fancy, which is why I suggested pollution. That, and with no downside to pre-bombing a colony, there's no reason to invest more than the bare minimum of troop transports - except perhaps convenience.

 

You're definitely right that the current troop transport system is problematic; I definitely agree on reusable Troop Transports, loading of Armor/Battleoids, and ship-based Troop Pods. I can see where it'd be a micromanagement issue, but then a simple "load" button similar to Civil Transports' "Unload" button would suffice. Recruitment digging into food would be a great parallel to excess troops eating food.

 

As far as ground troops fighting back against bombing... It's orbital bombardment. For the video you referenced, a Fighter Garrison would be a better analogue... which, by the way, is something we're currently missing.



MasterOfOrionConquerTheS #9 Posted 07 May 2016 - 05:35 AM

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View PostLeadfootSlim, on 07 May 2016 - 04:36 AM, said:

 

Perhaps my wording was incorrect... Bombs really aren't that fancy, which is why I suggested pollution. That, and with no downside to pre-bombing a colony, there's no reason to invest more than the bare minimum of troop transports - except perhaps convenience.

 

You're definitely right that the current troop transport system is problematic; I definitely agree on reusable Troop Transports, loading of Armor/Battleoids, and ship-based Troop Pods. I can see where it'd be a micromanagement issue, but then a simple "load" button similar to Civil Transports' "Unload" button would suffice. Recruitment digging into food would be a great parallel to excess troops eating food.

 

As far as ground troops fighting back against bombing... It's orbital bombardment. For the video you referenced, a Fighter Garrison would be a better analogue... which, by the way, is something we're currently missing.

Well ok maybe not figthing back, but shooting down bombs would make some sense methinks. It's ridiculous that an entire planet full of scientists, military and factories can't figure out a way to stop a single destroyer from firing it's only bomb turn after turn. Also, it lessens the importance of ground forces. Why would you even build battloids and tanks if they can just mop them up with a mouseclick ? It's just a waste of Bcs that cannot arguably be justified in any way. In fact its be always better to build ships to stop the bombardment from happening than paying useless maintenance for luxury items no one needs. Marine barracks are the FIRST building on the autobuild order, and I believe they should an useful all-around facility. Morale, defense, and some small orbital bombardment protection even, to be improved by orbital shields. 

 

 

Maybe fighter garrisons could be a "Per system" building, sending a periodic wave of fighters on every engagement on the system. Also, fighter should be way cooler :D


Edited by MasterOfOrionConquerTheS, 07 May 2016 - 05:42 AM.


Arent11 #10 Posted 07 May 2016 - 06:27 AM

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View PostLeadfootSlim, on 28 April 2016 - 07:28 AM, said:

1) Rather than instantly resolving, have Marines be deposited on a planet and duke it out with the ground forces - possibly only killing one Marine per side per turn in an even contest at base Ground Combat tech. This gives us the same excitement we have with bombs - being uncertain of the outcome turn-by-turn, or feeling the satisfaction of a single, decisive victory when you bring 100 bombs to bear and hit "Drop All", cackling all the while! Competing Ground Combat techs mean you can kill the enemy's troops faster than they can kill yours. However, the defenders need an advantage...

 

 

I like your post, but I think there is a far easier solution to make ground combat interesting/important. Namely, to simply use the mechanics of moo1 :) Simply allow players to send troop transports even to planets with *intact defenses*. Depending on how many troop transports you send & how many defenses there are, maybe only few troops can "break through" and land on the planet. However, if you are Bulrathi or simply send many troops you can still take the planet.

 

This would also solve the troop transport mechanic: Instead of constantly building troop transports, these transports should be real transports that you load with real marines produced on your own planets. If you send them against another planet that is undefended, they simply unload & can be used again. If you send them against a defended planet, they might be shot down & you have to rebuild them, in addition to the losses of marines that were on board.

 

 

 

 



Methuselas #11 Posted 24 July 2016 - 07:54 PM

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I posted about this, on the EU forum, by accident, but I think they should follow the MoO3 planetary invasion format. It's really what makes the game enjoyable for me. We should have infantry, marines, mobile, armor, battloids, commandos, psyops, hackers, etc. They should have ranks: recruit, trained, experienced, veteran, crack, and elite, which add bonuses to combat. We should be able to make armies of various sizes, just like before. Races should have a specific gravity they prefer fighting in, gaining bonuses and suffering penalties in non-compliant ones. We should be able to build our own, reusable transports and arm them, if need be. We should be able to garrison troops on planets as we see fit and not based off a "marine barracks" and time. We need to actually SEE our combat troops stats, so we know whether or not it's a good idea to even invade. We need to have the option to pick a tactical move for offense and defense. We should have the option of bombing or not. Troops should be made, just like everything else, not "spawned."

 

As it stands, planetary invasion in it's current form is useless and bombing into oblivion is the only plausible action.

 

I know I'm one of the few that actually enjoys MoO3 (and heavily patched from the mod community, it's really not that bad of a game), but they really should take a look at planetary invasions from MoO3. It's about the only thing they got right. I know that I have no intentions of looking at the current MoO, until planetary invasions, espionage and space combat get major overhauls.

Just my 2p.
 


Edited by Methuselas, 24 July 2016 - 07:55 PM.


diehardtwinsfan #12 Posted 24 July 2016 - 08:23 PM

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Funny you should mention MOO3, but that was essentially what the OP was asking for (at least for ground combat).  Not sure if you need the drop down with a bazillion strategies for attack, but the idea of a planetary invasion that could stretch several turns and effectively render certain structures as captured as the invasion progresses (i.e. the ground assault captured the hydroponic farm and robotic factory and 3 units of pop.  Those are no longer of use  for the home team, while the attacker can start assimilating them).

 

I like the idea with pollution on bombs. I'd note that I'm pretty sure that bombs aren't working the way they are intended.  Just my two cents, but I'm not seeing a noticeable difference between dropping nukes on planetary shield vs. Neutronium.  I would have expected one to be far better than the other.



diehardtwinsfan #13 Posted 24 July 2016 - 08:59 PM

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So here's how I would do ship capture in real time. I think the easiest way to do this is with a new class of ship.  So somewhere in the tech tree, you get a capture class ship.  The key point though is that the hull size will scale.  For simplicity sake, I'll simply call it a capture ship.  We already have some tech in MOO2 as MOO CTS, but I don't think there's enough tech here to do it justice.  I've highlighted new techs in blue.  With each hull size, you can build a capture ship and outfit it according to your desires.

  • Assault Shuttles:  This is a MOO2 add on, but basically fighters with marines on board.  They attach to ships, and invade. These don't have a refuel/rearm mechanism here, so once they are gone, they are gone.
  • Capture Bay:  Think Star Wars - A New Hope, where Princess Leah's ship is sucked into a star destroyer via tractor beam. The capture bay should take up the space slightly greater than the hull size of a ship two classes below (i.e. if your capture ship is a cruiser, then the capture bay is slightly larger than a frigate.  If it's a battle ship, then a destroyer size, etc.).  This can only be used to haul in one ship, and that ship must be smaller than the size of the bay.  You can customize this too, by say putting a bay only big enough for a destroyer on your Titan capture ship.  It all depends on what other goodies you want to stock the ship with.  It would also come with some sort of EMP type weapon that effectively disables the electronics of the system being brought in.  Once a ship is in here, the bay is useless until the Capture Ship returns to a friendly port.  You could potentially add some sort of ground combat option here where I could get greedy and try and invade said ship, but I could also run the risk of my marines getting overrun by whatever is inside.  However, if you take it to a friendly location, it's yours automatically.
  • Disabling weapons:  I'm not terribly creative here, but the capture ship could also be outfitted with weapons designed not to penetrate and destroy, but to disable systems. Tractor beams kind of have to do that to engines, to an extent, but I'm thinking items that disarm missile warheads, disable targeting computers.  Ships can still fire while being captured.
  • Tractor Beam:  duh.  Probably use MOO2 model, 1 beam/hull size.
  • Marine Pods:  duh.  Only twist is that you can stack these.  It's an issue of space here.  I wouldn't call this a special.
  • Close Quarters Boarding Tech: This was kind of assumed in MOO2, but it would be a tech to add to allow for boarding by marines where no assault shuttles/capture bay is in use. It would facilitate MOO2 style capture where a ship is immobilized via tractor beam and neighboring ships fly by and board.
     

 

Counter techs:

  • Obviously a defender can add marine pods to their ships to add marines beyond the standard complement/hull size.
  • Additional use for the quantum detonator. This worked in MOO2, where the QD would usually blow before you could capture an Antaran ship. I'd also give that a dice roll for something like a capture bay, so if the ship being sucked in has one, there's a percentage chance that the QD goes off and obliterates the Capture Ship in the process.
  • Some sort of anti-emp weapon that could potentially counter act the EMP attack allowing the captured ship to fire into the exposed hull of the Capture Ship.
  • Race specific counter techs could be of use, such has a High G penalty that a defender who is High G tolerant can use.

 

 

How to make it work:  This is the difficult piece in real time.  This is how I would do it.

  • Designate a ship(s) to capture and with what method(s).  This is done pre-battle before one hits the play button, but some sort of screen overlay allows you to designate what it is you want to capture, such as a ship or that star fortress. This means that as long as that method is available, your fleet will generally lay off of that object.  They may fire to weaken it or pass by it to draw fire, but they won't destroy it until the capture has failed.  This would allow me to target that juicy looking Titan with my assault shuttles while trying to suck in a destroyer via the Capture bay and potentially board a cruiser using tractor beams and close quarter boarding.
  • Optional:  Designate escorts for the capture ship.  Their job is to automatically match speeds with the capture ship behind them while they clear a path to its destination.  They draw fire and target anything trying to attack the capture ship.
  • Capture attempts will behave independently of the battle going on around them, and you don't get the option to move them tactically.  They just go straight for their objective.  This is true of the escorts as well.
  • Offensive forces can fire on capture targets, but they stop firing on them if the target is below a certain amount of health. At that point, you cannot target and destroy those ships until the capture effort has failed.
  • A stop capture button is added.  This means that the user can abort capture attempts.  The capture ships will disengage.  Assault shuttles if in use can still attempt a capture, but nothing is stopping your fleet from targeting the enemy ship and destroying it before the shuttles land or while a capture is in progress.  This allows you to abort if the battle isn't going as planned.

 



Methuselas #14 Posted 24 July 2016 - 09:04 PM

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Yeah, I mentioned it, 'cos it was the best aspect of MoO3. By the time I acquired the Battloid tech, my marines were mostly Elite (I try to avoid infantry, if at all possible, but sometimes I need them right away), my Mobiles were Elite/Crack, and my Armor units were Veteran/Crack/Elite.  Sending in a Trained/Recruit force of Battloids, supplemented with Elite Marines and using the Vertical Assault or Feint option, typically led to my victory, without using chemical/nuclear/biological warfare and oft times against a superior force. This worked to my advantage, more often than not and helped me garner planets I really needed, such as Sakkra/Grendarl for Marines, Meklar/Cynoid for Armor/Mobile units.  Being able to pick planets I needed, for ground forces really helped my war effort. As it stands now, it's far more convenient for me to just bomb a planet to nothing and recolonize. Even with the newest EA, I'm not seeing the other Races colonizing as fast and as efficiently as they need to.

 

I was sorely upset they didn't add marine attacks on ships in MoO3.

 

 


Edited by Methuselas, 24 July 2016 - 09:05 PM.


diehardtwinsfan #15 Posted 25 July 2016 - 12:20 AM

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Lots of people were unhappy about ship capture.  I remember not liking it either.

 

Side note, I don't ever remember seeing many troops become elite/crack... mostly just vets... oh well, don't really play it that much.



Methuselas #16 Posted 25 July 2016 - 01:54 AM

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View Postdiehardtwinsfan, on 25 July 2016 - 12:20 AM, said:

Side note, I don't ever remember seeing many troops become elite/crack... mostly just vets... oh well, don't really play it that much.

 

Nah, it was real easy. The trick was, you start building troops, right away. (Or, if you can, wait until you get marines. In the beginning, you're at a severe disadvantage, until you get them, due to the x3 attack value Marines had over regular Infantry.) Then, you build your troop transports. In all the MP games I played with friends, I always saw them do the same mistake: Building small, unarmed transport ships. Bad idea. The trick is to build your transports 1 HS higher than your standard fleet ships. So if your LR or SR ships are Battle Cruisers, your Transports had to be Battleship with 1 Troop Pod. This meant that with an Experienced Army, you needed 6 Transport ships (the minimum required to build an Armada), but they were armed comparable to your standard fleet ships. You label your task forces based off of Troop Type and Gravity Preference, so once you recon a new system, you know which planet to hit and with what troops. In my experience, it was best to do combined arms attack (Marine/Mobile with Armor), so you have better chances with the Ruse and Surprise Attacks (both of which are based on having mobile troops.) One thing that did disappoint me, though, was the lack of artillery units.

Keep in mind that all of this was done, after Bhruic's patches and the Vanilla Mod was released. Before that, the game was completely unplayable. Ironically, MoO3 is one of the few games I always have installed. I enjoyed it THAT much, after all the patches devoted fans made.


You know, that's one thing that really irritates me about CTS. I have no real incentive to even bother with Marine Barracks (the 5% Morale boost really isn't worth that much) and training troop transports in the beginning only takes away from sorely needed command points to ensure your borders are covered. I honestly can't see how some of the Races in CTS can have as many ships as they do in the beginning and if I'm not careful, they'll all gang up on me for expanding in my own territory "too fast", which usually ends up on my inevitable defeat.

Edited by Methuselas, 25 July 2016 - 01:59 AM.


diehardtwinsfan #17 Posted 25 July 2016 - 10:08 AM

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View PostMethuselas, on 25 July 2016 - 01:54 AM, said:

 


You know, that's one thing that really irritates me about CTS. I have no real incentive to even bother with Marine Barracks (the 5% Morale boost really isn't worth that much) and training troop transports in the beginning only takes away from sorely needed command points to ensure your borders are covered. I honestly can't see how some of the Races in CTS can have as many ships as they do in the beginning and if I'm not careful, they'll all gang up on me for expanding in my own territory "too fast", which usually ends up on my inevitable defeat.

 

 

Interesting take on MOO3.  Played it quite a bit, but man the implementation was poor.  After Buhric, the thing the game needed most was a means to take some of the micro out of it.  There were other things too, but this was one of the biggest.


 

As to this point, I'm pretty convinced that the difficulty level doesn't leave us with a smarter AI, but with an AI that gets a head start and some unspecified bonuses. I've tried a few games on extreme and the one thing that baffles me is how the AI can build a fleet and colonize so rapidly.



Methuselas #18 Posted 25 July 2016 - 03:08 PM

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View Postdiehardtwinsfan, on 25 July 2016 - 10:08 AM, said:

 

 

Interesting take on MOO3.  Played it quite a bit, but man the implementation was poor.  After Buhric, the thing the game needed most was a means to take some of the micro out of it.  There were other things too, but this was one of the biggest.


 

As to this point, I'm pretty convinced that the difficulty level doesn't leave us with a smarter AI, but with an AI that gets a head start and some unspecified bonuses. I've tried a few games on extreme and the one thing that baffles me is how the AI can build a fleet and colonize so rapidly.

 

Planetary DEAs cover that. Just base them off of Biomes, Mineral Rich, Mineral Poor, Large, Small and Unrest and you don't have to worry about the macromanagement. You can focus on your taxes and research. Watch terraforming, though, 'cos it can cause planets to shift quicker than you'd like.

As for CTS, I think they're getting a head start in both fleets and population. In my most recent game, on Extreme, the Humans, of all races, were hitting 3 planets, around turn 35 or so, when I had just sent out my 3rd colony ship and my nearest habitable planet was 12 moves away (arid or better). I always play a custom race and take artifacts for the research boost, as it only costs 1 point, but gives you +2 research to your homeworld. It's a minor boost, but it helps, especially if you've got an asteroid belt in your home system, so you can make an asteroid lab.

The thing is, there's no WAY I can build fleets as quickly as they can. Even if I pumped up my taxes, it will piss off my 2nd colony, which is a problem. If I move population from research to production or food on my homeworld, my research suffers and I fall behind. Unless you luck out and find a gaia planet straight away, even a terran planet will force you to produce food or risk starvation, stifling your production output and you can't build civilian transports until about turn 15 and that's if you take government first, but you're still stuck with having to build the transport and moving it, which is another 10-15 turns. At the start of the game, building a colony ship still takes 25 turns, which will cripple your production output, food output or research output, depending upon which tech you choose at the beginning.

Just to keep up, I've resorted to exploiting the pirate bases and sending my scouts to the far reaches and beyond (for some odd reason, if you're near a colony or a frigate or higher class, pirates will more than likely ignore your nice, juicy scout and go after a target that fights back, which is rather un-piratelike) and clearing the map as quickly as possible. Then, I wait till I meet as many races as I can and sell off my maps all at once. That will usually net me around 1000-2000 in BC to start and +200 BC per turn. That allows me to buy the buildings I need to keep me at least 3rd or 4th in tech, until I can find the safe limits of my borders, beef up my defenses and colonize within my borders. I keep cranking out low grade frigates, throwing a destroyer or two in when I've got a couple of Pop 3 or more planets and then one Cruiser per choke point fleet. I don't bother upgrading them until after I get Ion Fisson, Battle Pods, Heavy Armor and hope they can hold my borders in the meantime. Crank out about 20-30k in BC (It's a tad too easy to make credits right now - Just colonize and populate) and by then, I've got around 30-40 frigates 10-20 destroyers and 1-5 Cruisers. I upgrade them all at once, bleeding out my surplus credits and then it's all over at that point.

Edited by Methuselas, 25 July 2016 - 03:08 PM.


Lemonymous #19 Posted 25 July 2016 - 04:13 PM

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@Methuselas

That's an interesting read on a way to play the game. What size galaxy, number of AI, and game pace were you using?



Methuselas #20 Posted 25 July 2016 - 06:29 PM

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View PostLemonymous, on 25 July 2016 - 04:13 PM, said:

@Methuselas

That's an interesting read on a way to play the game. What size galaxy, number of AI, and game pace were you using?

 

Are you talking CTS or MoO3?




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