Mines and mindfields

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Mines and mindfields

Post by Sithicus on Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:12 am

Folks have been complaining that playing Complex and CE is pretty much a race to get to capitals and super
capitals and after that point is reached its a slugfest who can get more heavy fire power into space.
Although there is nothing more beautiful then Vaygr BCs and BSs burning and exploding after getting hit by
Heavy Ion Cannon I have to agree that early and middle game needs some more attention and enhancement
so we all can enjoy deeper and more tactical game.
Mines and capability to place minefields are already in the game, so they do not have to coded and
implemented from scratch. All we have to do is to take a step back and think - how can we use it and
how can we make it better.

The idea is very simple - mines are area denial weapons. Here are 3 scenarios that would be perfect for
this kind of tactical play:

1) You place a minefield to safeguard an asset like an asteroid field or big chunk of debris that you want to
   capture and scuttle later on when your current patch will become depleted
2) That cheating AI has already sent 2 groups of frigates your way and your sensors are showing that
   a 3rd group is moving towards you - they are coming at your position exactly on the same course
   as the previous two so you place a little surprise on their expected course
3) Enemy keeps jumping battle groups toward your position but because you have your gravity generator
   all set up all these ships are stopped at a certain distance from their destination - it would be a perfect
   spot to deploy a thick minefield of HE mines to soften them up before they'll get closer.

Sadly this potential falls short due to several factors.

1) Lifespan of mines is way to short. Many times when play testing and deploying a minefield I've seen
   the mines expiring even before the whole minefield was finished.
2) Quite a few times mines hit the ship that deploys them and shatter uselessly.
3) They don't pack enough of punch.
4) It takes ages for them to detect a target and they're so slow they don't make it.
5) Minefields are to small and 2-dementional.

So here's my ideas:

1) Increase lifespan and damage for mines, so putting a minefield could be a viable tactical option.
   Proposition - a deployed basic mine would last at least a full Cycle/Year. Basic mine payload without
  any upgrade/research is enough to destroy a basic non-upgraded frigate or at least to bring it down
  to 10-25% Hit points.
2) research for payload (more damage) , lifespan (1 full cycle per level), speed, different types of mines
   (how about EMP mines that would damage a ship a leave it to drift helplessly until a Marine Frigate can
    capture it or maybe cloaked mines)
3) Minefield should be pretty thick and when deployed form a cube.

The counters - use fighters and corvettes as they are to fast for mines to follow, use cloak or bring a shuttle
or guardian to clear the minefield.

I would like to see some constructive feedback - is this doable with current engine and coding?
Would players be interested in this feature? Please comment.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Nakamura on Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:32 am

I absolutely disagree with your introduction. We already have a very strong early game focus, which you will only properly see in multiplayer. Most games are currently decided by the players' build order efficiency. 
Beating the AI with the -determcompplayer command is going to be almost impossible without capital ships, sure. But that should be fine, given the fact that it's cheating so heavily. 

Mine fields currently just feel like a giant waste of time, so I really would support the ideas you propose. But please make sure to test the lifespan again, because it was increased heavily further back during the original mod's development. The damage is something we could really increase, though.

EMP mines, cloak mines or even nuclear mines with a detonation range would be nice. 

I don't know if we can make the mines form a cube. The other things I can surely guarantee that they are do-able. 

Give the CEBD some time for testing the basic balance of different strategies, and you'll see these implemented. Discuss details please.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by ALC on Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:30 am

Imho, mines should have a much longer lifespan but without an increase in yield. In the real world mines last for months or years.

Nakamura wrote:We already have a very strong early game focus, which you will only properly see in multiplayer.
The game ought to work effectively in singleplayer mode also. The vast majority of players, it appears (from download stats), play in singleplayer only.

CEBD ought also to test single player vs AI for effectiveness.

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Sithicus on Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:32 am

I just checked the lifespan in a distant corner of the map away from enemy units and it indeed seems much
longer. What is exact duration?
The speed that mines approach the target seems OK at the moment.
I was testing deployment using a Shuttle, 80% of the mines crashed when leaving the ship. When I used
Minelayer Corvette all mines deployed with no issues.
Obviously the minefield does not have to be cubical. What I meant is at the moment we can control length
and height of the minefield deployed but there is no option to alter the width. In case it would not be possible
to alter this I guess we can use several Minelayers, each deploying its own layer of the minefield.
Would it be possible to increase density of the minefield?
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by ALC on Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:51 am

I think that width ought to be controllable also, rather than having to use multiple minelayers.

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Odie_76 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:25 pm

Mine fields can be built in a cube. You adjust the width, hold shift to adjust the height and control to adjust the thickness.

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Sithicus on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:29 pm

You just made my day cheers

Now to increase the density of the minefield.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Odie_76 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:40 pm

Would it be possible for the minelayer corvette to lay standard mines and EMP mines and nuclear, or will the code require a new ship for each mine type?

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by ALC on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:49 pm

Using the special weapon function the minelayer ought to be able to deploy at least two types of mine.

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Nakamura on Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:48 pm

I really think it should be separated by ships, for simple balance reasons.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Farcrada on Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:16 am

Nakamura wrote:I really think it should be separated by ships, for simple balance reasons.
Agreed.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Odie_76 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:06 am

Nakamura wrote:I really think it should be separated by ships, for simple balance reasons.
This would be the easiest, script-wise, but will we need more minelayer corvette models?

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Nakamura on Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:34 am

ML Corvette, Light Shuttle, Shuttle. Should be enough.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Nakamura on Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:25 am

ALC wrote:
Nakamura wrote:We already have a very strong early game focus, which you will only properly see in multiplayer.
The game ought to work effectively in singleplayer mode also. The vast majority of players, it appears (from download stats), play in singleplayer only.

CEBD ought also to test single player vs AI for effectiveness.
The thing about the AI is that it needs to cheat. We simply don't have the means programming-vise to make the AI play any smarter. 
The AI is extremely powerful on expert difficulty, especially when using the -determcompplayer command. I very much doubt that more than 20% of the player base will be able to handle it. One bug I noticed is that the AI ceases to be aggressive after the capital ship transition, which I'll try to resolve for 8.6.2. Once that is fixed... good luck to all facing the AI of CE.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by ALC on Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:40 am

Nakamura wrote:good luck to all facing the AI of CE.
Bring 'em on, I love a good fight!

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Sithicus on Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:37 am

I've played a bit with minefields today. I've had 3 Minelayers working around the clock and it was worth it
as incoming frigate group was reduced by half.
It takes now about 5-6 mine hits to destroy a frigate so payload/damage increase is a must along with
mine density.

As for AI - the last game I've played was 1 vs 1 on Frontal Duel map, against Expert AI; starting with 8000
RUs and 80 Honour points, Normal starting ships.

Game was pretty intense, AI was attacking every few minutes starting with Fighters and finishing on BCs
and MBCs. My counter attack fleet of 4 BSs supported by a Shuttle allowed for a quick victory. Total game
time - 24 Cycles.

I expect that changes in 8.6.1 will alter my usual strategy against AI somewhat, if the next release happens
this week I'll record a game and I'll put it on YT.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Farcrada on Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:23 pm

Sithicus wrote:I expect that changes in 8.6.1 will alter my usual strategy against AI somewhat, if the next release happens this week I'll record a game and I'll put it on YT.
We sure do need more YouTube videos to support our explanations. I encourage you all to record some when reporting problems. Or post pictures (They do not show the full story, though.).
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Nakamura on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:22 pm

24 cycles is a very long time. If I'm right, it's about 80 minutes. I'd also recommend you to go for CE Deathmatch, seeing as the start from 0 honor makes the game even harder. And having the "-determcompplayer" command in the shortcut means even more difficulty.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by ALC on Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:56 am

Definitely need to increase the yield from mines imo. Maybe four mine hits to kill a level 2 research frigate?

Btw, I've often had games much longer than 80 minutes Very Happy

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Sithicus on Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:30 am

I've just tried recording my last game with Ezvideo. I've even set HW2 to
windowed but still got infamous black screen with only cursor visible.
Took 37 minutes real time to kill Expert AI even with "-determcompplayer".
I could possibly finish the game earlier around 15th Cycle with 2 BCs but
wanted to show off a bit and waited until I could field 3 BSs and then crushed
the enemy.

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Nakamura on Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:04 am

Record with fraps.
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by PurpleKalamar on Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:10 am

If Fraps makes you lag, you should try ScreenRecorder (yes, yes it's the name of the software). There is a 30-days trial version.

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Farcrada on Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:24 am

ALC wrote:...
Btw, I've often had games much longer than 80 minutes Very Happy
Yup... Haha!
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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Farcrada on Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:25 am

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Re: Mines and mindfields

Post by Nakamura on Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:47 am

Will balance the existing standard minelayer mines for multiplayer for the next release, and putting up tasks for creating the EMP and nuclear mines, as well as perforation mines for Vaygr.
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