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Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:30 pm Post subject: letsdance's rebalance mod (LRM) [v1.1]
6 months of development! mostly for the AI, but i also changed almost all components and facilities. this became my project during the better phases of my chemo-therapie which is also the reason why i really want to make a release now, altough i have some minor future plans that are not implemented yet. but that's what version numbers are for =)
i mainly balanced and reworked existing things to provide a better gaming experience, more options and harder choices. i tried some of the famous mods here, but none really fit my taste. in general, there are no changes to the core elements of the game. i didn't add magic races or things like that. the biggest change is probably bigger engines needed in larger ships (like SE III).
there are now 5 useful early ship weapons (contrary to stock game where missiles were clearly the best).
1. anti proton beam: no situational weakness, and it is the only one of the early beam weapons that has enough upgrades to be usable until the end of the game. but it needs physics first and is weaker than the other 3 (as long as these can be upgraded).
2. depleted uranium cannon: gives a +10 to hit bonus and can also fire in point defense. unfortunately it does only half damage against shields.
3. meson blaster: high damage, but has a -10 to hit modifier.
4. lightning ray: does double damage against shields and has a high alpha strike with slow reload. but a very low range.
5. good old capital ship missiles. highest alpha strike but can fire only once. missile ships usually win against beam ships, but lose against PD or well armored ships (of same tech lvl). like anti-proton beam, it has many upgrades and can still be useful in the late game. the technology also includes plasma missile upgrades, which are more powerful but can be used only in bases, satellites and weapons platforms.
FQM and TDM are integrated in this mod. since i changed most of the game files, there is no way to do this modularly. FQM doesn't hurt to have, and the TDM AIs needed major updates to the current game version and to the changes in LRM.
any feedback is greatly appreciated, especially concerning fighters/carrier balancing compared to other units/ships.
this is an overview of what this mod changes, and some explanation or my reasoning in brackets. the list is likely not complete, but the most important changes are covered. see readmes for FQM, TDM and each race for infos on what they do. but keep in mind, some of these (especially the AI) may be superseeded by my adaptions. in general, there are no changes to the core elements of the game. i didn't add magic races or things like that. the biggest change is probably more engines needed in larger ships (like SE III). i mainly balanced and reworked existing things to provide a better gaming experience, more options and harder choices.
FQM and TDM are integrated in this mod. since i changed most of the game files, there is no way to do this modularly. FQM doesn't hurt to have, and the TDM AIs needed major updates to the current game version and to the changes of my mod.
-removed changes that i added for testing and forgot to remove, most notably: homeplanet research now only gives the stated 800 RP instead of 100,000.
-corrected description of mining components (shown rate was 100 too low)
-set applied political science maximum tech from 5 to 3 (levels 4 and 5 did nothing)
-renamed "space yard" components to "base space yard"
-added mining components IV, weakened mining components I by 10%.
-slightly changed resource extraction bonus facilities and made storage facilities available earlier
-better balancing and rearrangement of the facilities provided by industry, reduced industry from 6 to maximum 5 levels
better description for over 100 ship components (including to-hit boni, explaining more complicted abilities etc.)
better sorting of ship components (this is what made me start the mod, now all weapons are together and grouped by type in the create ship interface; same with all supply components etc.; this was so annoying and so easy to fix)
better sorting of facilities and technologies (probably more for personal taste than real need)
changed costs for many techs (increased all tech level 1 costs to at least 10.000 because below is meaningless, better techs are more expensive)
overall resource balancing (facilities need alot more organic components, generally minerals are still most important, but much less than in stock game, organics are almost as important, radioactives are more needed but still least of all)
some minor changes in the tech tree (some components now require multiple techs, edited descriptions to point that out, adapted AI files to these changes)
slower progression for some items (example: small depleted uranium cannon 1-2-3 requires DUC 1-3-5 instead of 1-2-3)
completely rebalanced all weapons (weapons requiring more research are now better, weapons of about equal research cost are more different, but of similar power, some are situational, improved advanced trait weapons, adapted AI where neccessary)
redesigned missiles (defense bonus +10, reduced fire rates - capital ship missiles fire only once, increased speed, range now unlimited, plasma missiles restricted to non-moving vehicles; main intention was to prevent designs that rely only on high speed to flee while firing missiles from the distance, and to prevent simply moving out of missile range - this was too easy, especially against AI)
point-defense cannons reduced offense bonus by 30-40 (smaller gap to regular weapons vs fighters)
torpedo weapons now have low cost but high supply usage. use with caution (the game has enough variations of different beam weapons without the need to make torpedos exactly the same)
replaced lightning ray 1-3 by electric discharge 4-6; replaced enveloping acid globule 1-5 by acid globule 6-10 (no reason to add a new component when it's in fact just a sequel to existing one)
made lightning ray instead an early, slow reload weapon, that does not require organic trait;
switched and reassigned a few (like 5-6) pictures to give similar components/weapons similar but easily distinguishable looks (eg. i wasn't able to distinguish meson blaster from APB).
remote mining components increase ship maintenance (this scales the net gain and makes finding the right amount of miners on a ship a challenge; i think it also makes mining bases more interesting)
stellar manipulation reordered and more expensive
reduced maintenance for bases by another 50 % (make them more useful).
space yard components increase ship maintenance (reduced maintenance was meant for defense bases only, extra spaceyards and space yard ships should be expensive)
advanced space yard components need more space - largest fit on bases only (seems odd to have a huge spacecard fit on a medium sized ship, but there needs to be a spaceyard for that, too)
religious talisman remodelled (was kinda boring, now gives +10 offense/defense, repairs 1 component/round and adds boarding defense, adapted AI)
combat sensors weaker (hit rate was too good for large distances, to hit modifiers on later weapons and racial traits should have a meaning)
improved shield regenerators a bit
rebalanced armor (more useful in general, not just before shield research)
cargo bays weaker (early ones were good enough to make that research pretty pointless)
remodelled engines (larger, need more supplies, engines II and III need a less supplies than I - especially high end engines, now small/medium/large sized for different ship sizes, propulsion system is semi-newton: there is still a cap for all ships, but larger ships need bigger engines, base ships also need more engines; the problem with unlimited newton-engines in other mods is, that speed is too important, especially against AI; my goal was to make fast ships need huge amount of supplies, especially if they are big; supply is now a serious issue, as is supply storage, adapted AI)
mounts rebalanced (in general they are still useful, but not a no-brainer like in stock game, added mounts and scale mounts for some components)
rebalanced ship sizes and supply storage (neccessary due to engine remodelling, adapted AI)
remodeled carriers. ability to launch fighters during combat is now innate to carrier vehicles, fighter bays are of very little use (but one must be added, else the game doesn't recognise it as special fighter vehicle; reason for this change is to prevent abuse of cheap maintenance freighters as pseudo-carriers)
fighters rebalanced (more expensive to research, increased maintenance cost for carriers to simulate maintenance cost for the fighters they carry; in stock game you can carry lots of combat power in fighters without any maintenance costs, but i didn't succeed in adding maintenance for units, merged cockpit and lifesupport and gave it some additional structure to compensate for weaker shields)
merged afterburners into fighter engines, increasing their usual combat speed and decreasing their strategic map speed
reduced power of fighter shields to the same ratio of normal shields of equal tech level
reduced fighter defense bonus by 20 (still alot harder to hit than originally, considering reduced sensor and PD bonus)
satellites weaker and limited to 50 per space per player (was too easy to build big defenses without any maintenance cost, make bases and therefore mobile spaceyards more useful for defense)
homeplanet starts with weak monolith facilities (neccessary because of overall resource cost balancing)
homeplanet starts with big research centers (slower scaling of research points with number of colonies)
homeplanet starts with some planetary shielding (good idea stolen from adamant mod)
planetary spaceyards construct mineral and radioactives slower (to keep ship build times at the same level as before, despite lower mineral costs)
planets with population below 1 billion produce/construct slower
minor tweaks to many facilities
no resources returned for scrapping facilities (neccessary to prevent abuse of homeplanet facilities, was of little real use anyways)
minor tweaks for cultures and racial traits
added few new racial traits, events
minor tweaks to planet sizes - this can be undone by copying the FQM Data\PlanetSize.txt over the one in this mod. (i especially didn't like that some planets were larger if domed, this is stupid because nothing would stop a race to dome the planet if that makes it better, no matter if atmosphere is breathable; AI had troubles to categorize such planet sizes)
completely checked all AIs, especially in regard to the current version of the game (deluxe version 1.95) and all the changes of this mod and adapted them. i tried to preserve the original ideas as possible, but had to fix many flaws. some AIs got major changes in ship design to provide more variations (majority of AIs used phased polaron beams which is a bit boring).
some changes to happiness types for better balancing and to better fit their description, halfed automatic happiness increase
included WpFamilies_AiTags.xlsx which holds many values used in LRM, including list of AI Tags, weapon families and a quick overview over the races
added traits "human player options" and "AI options" which locks/unlocks some features for the AI/humans to increase fairness (details below).
"human player options" (free trait) enables the following components/facilities, that the AI could not use sensefully (the gain from the required AI modding doesn't justify the effort)
- cheap bridge, cheap life support, emergency crews quarters (these are cheaper versions that come with other disadvantages and are rarely useful)
- fighter base (battle station that can launch fighters - AI wouldn't use it correctly)
- earlier but expensive quantum reactor
- maintenance bay, engine overheat (some funky options that play with ship maintenance)
- advanced space port (would require additional AI modding, effort not worth it)
- medical bay, self-destruct (AI not able to use them sensefully like humans; the only way would have been to make them a 0kt ship component and add it to all ships, which makes no sense;
longer explanation below at boarding parties)
- Master Computers with higher damage resistance (as choice versus low damage resistance, high DR can be better against computer virus)
- drones (they have been added in some patch and i think the AI is not really fit to use them; might make a drones AI at some point, but i think it's not worth it)
- resource manipulation, long range scanners (AI not using it/has no benefit from it)
these are just additional options that are available through other techs, not from game start. human players should pick them as a trait when creating their race, but it's not problem at all to play without it. the only difference is, that the above mentioned options are not available.
"AI options" (free trait) unlocks components that make nice threats for a human player, but are boring to use against AI because it cannot react and defend to them
- computer virus/plague bombs/boarding parties/allegiance subverter
all these attack options share the same problem: if you know your enemy is using them, you can defend against them by using bridge, crews quarters, life support/medic bays/boarding defense or self-destruct devices/ship computer. a human player is able to react to such threads (altough it can be hard), but the AI has static ship designs and cannot react. therefore the AI would have only 2 options: a) don't defend, which makes it helpless against such attacks or b) add such defenses to all designs for all games. in this case, on one would use the attacks, and the only effect would be senseless components in all AI ships (weakening the AI for no reason). that's exactly what happened in past AI mods: self-destruction devices have been added to all ship designs to prevent the use of boarding parties. the effect is the same as disabling boarding parties for human players, except that the AI has weaker ships because it has a senseless self-destruct device in all of them. but i think it can be challenging to play against AIs using such components sometimes.
- these are just additional options, that are available through other techs, not from game start. all AIs have the "AI options" trait, but only a few use them. if you do not want the AI to have these options you can disable the "AI options" tech in the game setup menu (it will make few AIs slightly weaker, but usually not alot). if you want to have these options available for a human player (either because you want to use them against defenseless AI or for multiplayer games) you can just pick the "AI options" trait when creating your race.
level 3 PD cannons only shoot down level 1 missiles, which are much cheaper to research. but still a good point. i'll increase their dmg resistance a bit, at least for higher levels. also higher level damage to keep closer to the early ratio compared to beam weapons.
they are meant to be situational weapons. i think they are good in the very early game. you need to shoot your anti-proton beam of similar research cost at 4-5 times (at closer range) to make the same amount of damage - if you live that long. Back to top
Joined: Aug 19, 2005 Location: Dark side of the Moon
Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:46 am Post subject:
Sadly, these adjustments don't improve missiles at all, but rather make them much less viable. There'd be no reaspn to mount even a single missile in favor of any other weapon. The cost and tonnage vs. benefit and effect is just too unbalanced. Back to top
ok, gonna improve missiles a bit (higher damage, higher defense bonus - don't want PD cannons to always hit). any other feedback? if missiles are the only concern, i'm happy =)
generally, i rather have a weapon useless than overpowered. in the first case, the amount of usable weapons drops by 1 (which doesn't really matter). in the second case, the amount of usable weapons drops to 1 (which kills the fun for me). therefore i try to be cautious.
unfortunately i was sick this week, disrupting my plans for the next weeks. i hope to finish the AI next week (or it will take alot longer), then upload a new version that includes missiles upgrades. Back to top
generally, i rather have a weapon useless than overpowered. in the first case, the amount of usable weapons drops by 1 (which doesn't really matter). in the second case, the amount of usable weapons drops to 1 (which kills the fun for me)
I respect your right to your design philosophy even if I don't agree with it (if I truly believe something in a mod is useless, I eliminate it - I assume other players are as smart as I am and simply won't use it anyway). However, I am baffled by your suggestion that missiles are the only usable weapons in SE4. No offense is intended, but have you played much stock SE4? Missiles are strong in the early game when there is no effective counter. Once point defense is available, missiles rapidly become almost useless. A couple dozen beam ships with 2 or 3 PDC V's each can brush aside even a huge missile barrage, then close with the missile ships and cut them to pieces. I've done it many times. Another great tactic, in the middle game especially, is to attack missile ships with cheap carriers full of fighters that the missiles can't target. A massacre ensues. Eventually the missile ships add PDC's that can take out some attacking fighters, but the odds still favor the fighters in most cases.
I don't know. I think you should mod to please yourself (that's what I do) and not worry too much about what anyone else thinks. If you're happy with your mod, then that's great. But on the face of it, a missile that only fires once a combat is pretty much worthless. No human player will ever use them, and if you force them on the AI you'll be giving human players an even bigger advantage than they already have. Why not just get rid of missiles entirely and force players to come up with new strategies that don't rely on them? Keep your point defense cannons charged... the Null Space Mod is now available. Back to top
However, I am baffled by your suggestion that missiles are the only usable weapons in SE4.
hu? did i say that? no, i don't think so. i'm pretty sure actually that i didn't.
i just stated a priciple that i use when modding (by definition, the stock game is not modded), and it seems very strange to me that you disagree on that. but you're entitled to your own oppinion, too =)
missiles seem to be ulta-important to you (else i don't understand why it's the single point that gets discussed here, and with so much passion). to me, it's just another weapon class. one that i didn't like in the stock game, so i modded it. following my principle i'd rather risk making them too weak then overpowered (why do you disagree on that?). also note that we're even mostly talking about only the capital ship missiles, not all missiles in general.
But on the face of it, a missile that only fires once a combat is pretty much worthless. No human player will ever use them
The reason so much discussion is revolving around missiles is not because people care about them that much. Personally I rarely use them in SE4 after the early game. It's because missiles that only fire once per combat seem particularly egregious compared to the other changes you discussed. (Also, in my case, I see no reason to nitpick every aspect of your mod even when I disagree with your reasoning in some cases. It's your mod, do what you want. If I don't like it, I should just make my own mod instead of complaining. ) I seriously doubt other human players will ever use missiles with the parameters you describe. If that's not a problem for you - and no one says it has to be - then the missiles are fine. Have fun with your mod. Keep your point defense cannons charged... the Null Space Mod is now available. Back to top
the current missiles do quite well in simulations (sometimes too well actually). after having improved them a bit over the uploaded version, i'm quite happy with their balancing. you don't always need a 2nd shot. Back to top
Joined: Aug 19, 2005 Location: Dark side of the Moon
Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:31 am Post subject:
Just from a personal stand point, my issue with missiles is not that they are overpowered or their rate of fire. It's more that they tend to become ineffective and worthless relatively quickly in most mods.
My thoughts on the reduced rate of fire are simply expressing that this makes them even more so, rather than less. It seems to me more worthwhile to extend their usefulness rather than diminish it. As suggested above, it might've just been better to pull them from the mod.
Not intended as criticism, but rather a different perspective. Back to top
Having a reload time that goes from say 4-5 turns at the start right down to 1-2 turns later in the game would help, plus more damage resistance for the missiles, plus you could make a much smaller one-shot versions (say, a 10kt one-shot version of the CSM, you get maybe less shots per combat, but for the same size you get 5 shots right off the block, rather than 1 now, and one three turns form now, and one three turns after that...) Back to top
well, of course i increased the damage to compensate for having only one shot.
unfortunately i didn't finish the mod yet. i'm about halfway through the AIs and while doing that i added a few other minor things. fighter launch ability is now only available in carrier vehicles. this prevents the abuse of freighters as cheap carriers and i like that alot. i also means that fighter bays aren't really needed anymore (cargo storage is more efficient).
the AI was much messier than i expected i assume some things that i found never worked (also not with earlier game versions). anyways, this is why it takes alot longer than expected. i'm almost done though, but i found some concepts that the AI had troubles with, and that i modded/improved inbetween. i also had some other ideas that i implemented.
that means, i have to check all the AIs again i assume it will be alot faster now that the big flaws are already fixed, but i can't really make a release without fully working AI designs.
i will likely be unable to work on the mod again for 1-2 weeks :-/ unbelievable, it's been over 2 months since i started. it became quite a big project, that i intend to finish properly. that means it will take some time still...
btw, after many simulations i reduced the power of my missiles. i am aiming for a rock/paper/scissors system with beam/PD/missile ships. with the stats in the uploaded beta version, in the early game (until about light cruisers) even ships with full PD weapons often had serious troubles against missile ships of same research cost. Back to top
updated first post (including kind of a teaser) and the features list. upload link is working, the submission to the downloads is pending. i'm on holidays for a week and don't know if i will be online during that time. Back to top
Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:05 am Post subject: Re: letsdance's rebalance mod (LRM) [release version]
Congratulations on your release.
I do have one concern...
depleted uranium cannon: gives a +10 to hit bonus and can also fire in point defense. unfortunately it does only half damage against shields.
Did you playtest this weapon type with your AI's? My experience is that the AI doesn't like to use PD weapons against ships, bases, or planets even if you change the target types. Also, if the only weapon on a ship is PD the AI considers it unarmed and usually runs for the corner regardless of strategy. If you made this the sole weapon type on any AI ships, they may have serious problems...
(Sorry to be the possible bearer of bad news. ) Keep your point defense cannons charged... the Null Space Mod is now available. Back to top
Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:08 pm Post subject: Re: letsdance's rebalance mod (LRM) [release version]
I do have one concern...
depleted uranium cannon: gives a +10 to hit bonus and can also fire in point defense. unfortunately it does only half damage against shields.
Did you playtest this weapon type with your AI's?
yes and it is exactly as you say, if you have only PD-able weapons on a ship. the problem is (was) very easily solved though: just put a weapon on every design that is not PD-able. in that case, the PD-able weapons will also fire.
i actually created a "B" design for each version of the DUC, that is the same but not PD-able, for exactly that reason. but it's hidden for human players if you activate "show latest design only". (which probably everyone does). another issue is, that mounts aren't used for PD weapons, but that doesn't really matter.
if you find anything else that might not work, don't be afraid to be the "bearer of bad news"! better to know sooner than later =) Back to top
patched, new version 1.1 uploaded (link updated in first post). since there was an obvious bug (initial research about 100 times as high as it should be) that no one reported, i guess no one really cares but anyways.
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