[MOD] Miscellaneous IZ Combat Tweaks

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w.evans
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Post by w.evans » Mon, 2. Mar 15, 12:16

Since MICT_supp1_v0.02, Balor torpedoes are rebalanced:

Damage per missile reduced to 20,000 from 80,000.
Reload rate increased to 160 seconds from 40 seconds.

This effectively brings Balor in-zone dps back to vanilla levels.

This file is available as MICT_supp1_v0.02

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Post by w.evans » Mon, 2. Mar 15, 18:15

2.Mar.2015 - v0.03 is up!

Improved maneouvering for destroyers and frigates. (Uses the quadrant information that UniTrader gave me for MOCT to detect which direction to turn. Thanks, UniTrader!)
Shorter wait times between jumps.

MICT capital ships jump away when fighters get too close.

Updated the OP with more information on how the mod runs.

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Post by w.evans » Mon, 2. Mar 15, 18:45

Note on alpha status: if you already have at least 1 ship with a crew with at least 4/4/4 skills, and your game crashes within 15 minutes after game launch after installing this mod, please let me know. I have a pretty good idea of what could go wrong.

That said, it's been running stable on my machine for the past couple of days. Working on the premise that no news is good news, I'm assuming that it hasn't caused crashes or other funny business for the few people who've tried it so far. If this continues, then I'm planning on lifting alpha status later this week.

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Post by w.evans » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 01:59

This conversation started in the MOCT thread. Continuing this conversation here since it involves IZ combat rather than OOZ combat. Will try to keep IZ combat stuff here from here on out.

_____
Remembered that the Hiigaran Crossroads almost always has a Taranis or three crawling around somewhere, so I got myself 5 Drostans at Balcora Gate, and headed over to Tenhauser Gate where there was a Taranis, a Light Sul, three Fedhelms, and a bunch of fighter escorts.

And the Drostan is, I don't know, ok. It's pretty slow, pretty fragile, and does ok damage. Sending the five against the Taranis, all five got eaten up before they even got within range, of course. (Which is as it should be, I think, so I'm leaning towards the range nerf being good.) Sending them against the Fedhelm, well, they're plunking away. It's surface elements are going down, but it's shields aren't getting eaten up much. They're ok, but they aren't exciting. And I want to get excited enough to want to get a Drostan to want to actually plunk down 5 million for one Drostan rather than getting 5 Katanas or half a Sucellus. (A quarter of a Sucellus if you're using the price increase). I want to be scared when I see a Drostan bearing down on my 50 million credit Arawn.

Starting to get an idea of how it can be exciting, and that's by transferring the instant death experience we used to get from the Drostan OOZ, to the Drostan IZ. I know how horrible that sounds, but bear with me.

Drostans are slow and fragile. That's good, I think, so I don't think the ship macro needs tweaking. So let's talk armament.

Vanilla, Drostans fire 12 torpedoes:

4 of them are the same as the Balor's (8000 range, 80000 damage, 40 second reload, 2000 dps)
4 torpedo 2s (4080 range, 60000 damage, 21 second reload, 2857.14 dps)
and 4 torpedo 3s (2080 range, 40000 damage, 11 second reload, 3636.36 dps)

~33974 total dps with dps being inversely proportional to range

With MICT_supp1, Drostans still fire 12 torpedoes but those are:

4 torpedo 2s (4080 range, 60000 damage, 21 second reload, 2857.14 dps)
8 torpedo 3s (2080 range, 40000 damage, 11 second reload, 3636.36 dps)

~40519.44 total dps (This actually makes them more powerful OOZ, but at the expense of the ability to fire first.)

First, I think that it would be good if those two torpedo types were more different from each other. Have one be a medium range, relatively harmless plunker; and have the other be devastating but only at very close range. So it might be a good idea to increase the damage of those close range torpedoes, but do that in such a way that OOZ damage isn't impacted much, or at all if possible.

One way would be to increase the number of torpedo 3s that a drostan can fire OOZ per reload cycle. This would effectively increase its barrage, hence damage after it gets close, but without affecting OOZ damage at all. This, coupled with maybe a further reduction in range would require the drostan to get really close to a target ship before this barrage could be unleashed, thus exposing it to more HIT/MA fire before it could fire its barrage.

Another would be to simply increase the damage per torpedo, and compensate by increasing the reload time. If done right, it should also be possible to do this OOZ neutral because it looks like dps per alpha strike is taken into account OOZ. (So things like the vanilla Sucellus firing 3 rounds per reload cycle or the MICT Balors firing four torpedos per tube per reload cycle are not taken into account.)

But I also want them to be extremely specialized. Have 20 of them patrolling a sector and they'll be eaten up by fighter escort, but get one close enough to a Taranis long enough, and it should get crippled.

And keep it exactly as it is OOZ.

What do you think?

........
ps. And in writing this, I realized that I did indeed inadvertently nerf the Balor OOZ. I increased the number of projectiles it fires per volley to 16 from 4, and increased the number of volleys per reload cycle to 4 from 1. To compensate, damage per torpedo was reduced to 20000 from 80000, and reload time was quadrupled. IZ, this results in neutral dps, but OOZ, this results in dps being divided by 4.

Not sure what to do about this. On one hand, increasing the damage per torpedo back to normal levels will quadruple its dps IZ, while keeping it the same as in vanilla OOZ. On the other hand, the range increase might be enough to compensate. Thoughts?

........
much later ps. After playing with my newly-acquired Drostans a bit more, I noticed a couple of odd things. First, it very rarely fires all twelve torpedoes at once. It would go on an attack run, fire torpedoes, then veer off. Digging in fight.attack.object.fighter.bigtarget.xml, found that it's programmed to do just that:

Code: Select all

          <move_to object="this.ship" destination="$bigtarget" flightbehaviour="flightbehaviour.bigfight" forcesteering="true" >
            <position object="$component"/>
            <interrupt_after_time time="40s" />
            <interrupt>
              <conditions>
                <check_any>
                  <event_object_destroyed object="$component" />
                  <event_object_launched_missile object="this.ship" />
                </check_any>
              </conditions>
            </interrupt>
          </move_to>
Because the four sets of torpedoes each have different ranges and reload rates, it would almost always only fire four torpedoes, then veer off. So I'm assuming that this is working as intended.

When I changed the torpedo ranges to all fire at the same range, I then noticed that some of the torpedoes would fly right through the target. Digging in the fight script again, found that fighters are programmed to target surface components rather than the hull. It seems that if a component is destroyed while a missile is flying towards it, the missile will fly right through the whole ship.

Turns out that my disappointment with the Drostan stemmed from a misunderstanding of its purpose. OOZ, it used to be a monster that one-shotted capital ships. While it still does huge damage OOZ, this is no longer the case. IZ, however, it's a surgical strike specialist. It cripples a target by systematically removing its surface components. As such, seems ok. Its fragility works against it in this case, however. I could test it by replacing its close range weapons with low-yield swarmers to increase its effectiveness close range, but that seems funny. Maybe high-yield dumbfires?

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Post by Sparky Sparkycorp » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 10:14

If I was designing the Drostan an I'd ditch it's 2 km torpedoes all together and ask the pilot to try and weave about a bit while maintaining range like a Balor with the CAIO mod. DPS would be lower but it would try to avoid suiciding into Hailstorm range and be near the edge of HIT/MA and Ragefire range. Ideally it would be getting missile off but still be vulnerable to heavy armed or non-solo weaker capitals. Does that make some sense?

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Post by Simoom » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 11:45

Quick question about the Balor tweaks (in the supplement) - is there a reason for the increase in the number of torpedoes, but at reduced damage? Since the amount of damage done is same as vanilla, why not leave it at 4 torpedoes of 80,000 damage each?

(I am asking because I am assuming Novadrones launched by the player and the Xenon I are affected as well, and since these do not gain the benefit of increased torpedo count per volley, it does in effect affect them)

Anyway, will start testing this in a bit! :) Thanks for putting work into this!

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Post by w.evans » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 12:22

@Sparky, trying to find a specialized role for the Drostan, and make it more interesting. Having it missile spam at range will turn it into a small, more fragile, more powerful, and cheaper Balor, wouldn't it? Right now, I turned the torpedo 2s into lots of small, low-yield swarmers which fire at ~4km, and turned the torpedo 3s into high-yield dumbfires (which will hopefully detonate when they hit the hull) firing at ~2km.

@Simoom, mostly because it looks really cool. Mechanic-wise, it increases the burst damage of the Balor (damage per volley) while neutralizing the dps via increased reload time. Makes it more important to control when the Balor fires. Accidentally nerfed it OOZ, but that's offset by the movement stuff keeping it at extreme range. Novadrones fired by the player won't be changed. Not sure about the Xenon I. (Didn't know that the Xenon I fired novadrones.)

- Just checked. Found that the Xenon I has two of the same launchers the Balor has. Yes, it will change the torpedoes that the Xenon I fires as well. Player novadrones will be unaffected.

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Post by Sparky Sparkycorp » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 13:40

I was having a think about the adjusted volley damage for the Balor from the numbers in the thread.

Vanilla: 320k damage
Modded: 1280k damage

Hopefully I have those numbers correct as if not, the rest may be unhelpful

Those volley numbers, mean thay a modded Balor can now start to single-volley some Large ships, which I think would would be a bit too strong as a capability.

Balor: 1100k HP
Vulture: 1100k HP
Styrvok: 1200k HP
Lepton: 900k HP

Doubling the volley instead would avoid volleying any capitals if that was preferred.

Although due to the way front-loading damage with higher alpha works, maintaining DPS won’t technically maintain DPS until a while into the battle. There’s an increased chance of over-damage, wasting missiles that could have been applied to the next target (although groups of vanilla Balors suffer this too) but on the other hand, being able to take targets off the field sooner reduces incoming DPS.

Comparing vanilla vs modded damage over time:
000s: 0320k vs 1280k
040s: 0640k vs 1280k
080s: 0960k vs 1280k
120s: 1280k vs 1280k (parity is reached)
160s: 1600k vs 2560k (modded Balor kills tougher targets sooner again)

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Post by w.evans » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 14:00

Thank you for that, Sparky! Yes, the numbers look correct, except the Balor will tend to fire four volleys at four different ships in a target-rich environment, and the torpedoes try to acquire a different target if the original target is already blown up and they're circling for another go. So, still ~320k per ship. And they miss a lot more than they used to. So even in a one-on-one, it'll tend to do less than the full 1280k damage on the target.

By the way, do your HP values take shields into account?

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Post by Sparky Sparkycorp » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 14:48

Hi, you're welcome and thanks for the info about multiple target acquisition. Nice 8)

Yeah, the HPs are for hull plus shield, assuming no recharge.

The stats in Simoom's guide are up-to-date with at least 3.50 b1, with the possible exception of the Phoenix (was going to check 3.51 b2 this evening) as I think the basic variant had more shielding and less weapons than the Marauder variant in 3.50 b1.

http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?p=4400578

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Post by w.evans » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 15:02

I think I'm giving up on the Drostan. Increased the torpedo numbers to something ridiculous (torpedo 2 splits into 10 swarming submunitions each, torpedo 3 changed to dumbfires doing 4,000,000 damage per pop) and I'm still not seeing much of a difference IZ. Missiles fired from smallships against bigships seem a bit flaky IZ. Sometimes, they pass right through the hull of the ship. More often, they just kinda thud against the hull without exploding. I did notice that they seem to explode more reliably when I'm within 4 km or so of the target; but if I get that close to it, I'm gonna cap it, not send bombers against it.

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Post by Sparky Sparkycorp » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 15:19

Sounds like they are suffering from a generic missile bug I reported ages ago, that I still see time-to-time.

Test case: Fire loads of V Crushers at a Targon Tracer....some will go right through the model and explode in the distance. I see it sometimes with ships too.

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Post by Simoom » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 19:01

Hey w.evans! Some quick feedback:

I am running Xenon Hunt, so my flagship is a Xenon I. Its battle group is two Gangrene Chasers and two Phoenixes. All crews are 5/5/5. I took them to Stable Vortex to do some test skirmishes against the Xenon K's there. A couple of observations:
  • The combat jump, in combination with weapon range detection, seems to cause some issues. In particular, my Xenon I seems to have the tendency to jump away very prematurely - it appears to prefer maintaining a distance of 20KM from target (where it starts firing off Novadrones - I didn't install the supplement package, so not sure where it got the idea from that the Novadrone can shoot that far - would your OOZ combat tweak have any effect on this?). The Novadrones don't have that range, so they simply detonate before reaching the target. When target closes in to 10KM (so I am guessing half the distance of what the AI thinks the Novadrone range is, but still outside most capital weapons' 6-8KM range), the Xenon I would jump away, again to 20KM. This effectively results in it not engaging the target at all.
  • Other combat ships (when not under the I's leadership) appear to function fine, but I am not sure I like the fighter-avoidance jumps (see suggestion section below).
I am running Better Turrets and Captain AI Overhaul, I checked the script names and I don't think they conflict with this mod? Anyway, I would like to make a few suggestions (this is based on my personal preference, so I am sure some other users will disagree):
  1. Capitals with highly-skilled captains (4 in Navigation or above) will be able to make in-sector jumps (so from one zone to another, without need for a Jump Beacon). This cuts down on a lot of travel time, since we all know boosting can often be problematic (especially with vanilla collision issues). This is similar to what CDOAIO used to do (and I think UFO does it now, too), and I actually find it to be a useful feature. I understand why some people feel this is against the lore or make highways obsolete, but I argue that in vanilla, capitals are pretty useless as escorts (given the time it takes for them to maneuver and boost to your location, they pretty much never make it in time to a fight when you want them to).
  2. The trade-off to the above point is that capitals will not do in-zone jumps. Once they jump into a zone, they will only utilize their boosters to get to their target (this is acceptable IMO, since most zones are less than 100KM in diameter).Capital ships will not do combat jumps (i.e. jumping in to get close to enemy, or away when enemy gets too close). The fighter-avoidance jumps in particular I think should be done away with, for two reasons. One, if you are going up against a large fighter swarm, and have a destroyer in your squadron, chances are you are hoping for it to take out the fighters for you. In this case if it jumps away whenever fighters get to close, that defeats its purpose. Two, players are actually effective (at least to an extent) against fighters and can help take out some of them if your capital ship is actually taking a lot of heat (more of a concern for capitals with weak fighter defense such as Phoenix or Balor, but those really shouldn't be sent in alone against a large fighter swarm anyway).
  3. Skilled captains (above 4 stars) will try to maintain a minimum distance from target (but only if target is a capital. It shouldn't care about fighters). This will be done through both maneuvering (if the capital's speed is sufficient) and, if unable to increase distance, the ship will do a short-range boost. I am not sure about using maximum weapon range as a guideline for the minimum distance to maintain... detection issues aside, many capital ships have a mixture of long-range and medium-range weapons (in the case of Xenon K, for example, its maximum weapons range is 8KM, but its medium-range weapon does not quite reach 4KM; so if you tell the Xenon K to maintain too much of a distance, it won't be able to utilize its full firepower). I would suggest simply setting a flat minimum distance: 3.5KM. The reason for 3.5KM is because it is within the range of all capital weaponry, but outside anti-fighter weapons like Hailstorm turrets. I know this goal may not be easy to implement since capitals often maneuver stupidly (they wiggle too much in general), but sounds like you were already looking into maneuvering issues. :)
  4. A highly-skilled Defense Officer (4 stars or above), when set to "Defend" mode, will jump the ship away (this can be either in-zone or to a nearby zone) when shield is below a certain threshold (25%? 15%?). If you want to make things more fun, perhaps lower-skilled DO's will only jump the ship if the hull falls below a certain threshold. But if set to "Attack Enemies", the ship will simply fight until destroyed (I was gonna suggest some morale check and panic behavior, but then I remembered Better Turrets already has that covered)

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Post by w.evans » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 20:25

Hey Simoom,

Thank you very much for the very detailed feedback.
Simoom wrote:The combat jump, in combination with weapon range detection, seems to cause some issues. In particular, my Xenon I seems to have the tendency to jump away very prematurely - it appears to prefer maintaining a distance of 20KM from target (where it starts firing off Novadrones - I didn't install the supplement package, so not sure where it got the idea from that the Novadrone can shoot that far - would your OOZ combat tweak have any effect on this?). The Novadrones don't have that range, so they simply detonate before reaching the target. When target closes in to 10KM (so I am guessing half the distance of what the AI thinks the Novadrone range is, but still outside most capital weapons' 6-8KM range), the Xenon I would jump away, again to 20KM. This effectively results in it not engaging the target at all.
The range increase is included in MOCT_supp3, or in all versions of MOCT before v0.07. Novadrone range in MOCT_supp3 is 24km. It should be able to fire over that range, although the torpedoes will be extremely slow. (uh oh. Just checked and it turns out the torpedoes in MOCT have an absolute maximum range of 9600 meters. Should be fine with MOCT_supp3 AND MICT_supp1, but I should do something about that for those using just MOCT. Hm. Thanks for letting me know this problem.)

Sorry about the Xenon I. I'll write in an exception to the movement script for the Xenon I in the meantime until I get one myself for closer inspection. Have to think about this, though. At the moment, this.ship.maxcombatrange.all is used for most of the distance calculations, which means ~24km for torpedo users. Could use this.ship.maxcombatrange.turrets instead, but that'll ruin the Balor and Sucellus movement concept. Possible to work in exceptions, of course, but I'm trying to avoid writing exceptions into the movement portion of the script itself since that could get messy fast, and I have to be careful about the blocking portions of the scripts. (Ships could get stuck if that isn't manage properly.) I'll try working it into the variable definitions for the range calculations.
Simoom wrote:I am running Better Turrets and Captain AI Overhaul, I checked the script names and I don't think they conflict with this mod?
Yes, both MICT and MOCT are fully compatible with both of cicero111's mods. However, MICT will override Captain AI Overhaul on MICT ships. If Captain AI Overhaul is installed, it will be active on all other ships. Better Turrets should be completely unaffected.
Simoom wrote:Capitals with highly-skilled captains (4 in Navigation or above) will be able to make in-sector jumps (so from one zone to another, without need for a Jump Beacon). This cuts down on a lot of travel time, since we all know boosting can often be problematic (especially with vanilla collision issues). This is similar to what CDOAIO used to do (and I think UFO does it now, too), and I actually find it to be a useful feature. I understand why some people feel this is against the lore or make highways obsolete, but I argue that in vanilla, capitals are pretty useless as escorts (given the time it takes for them to maneuver and boost to your location, they pretty much never make it in time to a fight when you want them to).
I appreciate the suggestion, but am not planning on changing the out-of-combat movement scripts at the moment since I think that the way vanilla does it is fine. Might in the future, though. For ships that need to get somewhere fast, I use a heavily-modified copy of UFO. Pretty sure UFO does do in-sector jumps out of the box, though. This mod is compatible with UFO, but MICT won't be active on any UFO ships out of the box since UFO uses completely customized scripts for movement and firing of UFO ships.
Simoom wrote:The fighter-avoidance jumps in particular I think should be done away with, for two reasons. One, if you are going up against a large fighter swarm, and have a destroyer in your squadron, chances are you are hoping for it to take out the fighters for you. In this case if it jumps away whenever fighters get to close, that defeats its purpose. Two, players are actually effective (at least to an extent) against fighters and can help take out some of them if your capital ship is actually taking a lot of heat (more of a concern for capitals with weak fighter defense such as Phoenix or Balor, but those really shouldn't be sent in alone against a large fighter swarm anyway).
Actually wrote that in because capships were getting burned by swarms of fighters OOZ since they tend to sit stupidly while they get pummeled by fighter swarms. At the moment it uses:

<set_value name="$MICT_MaxShortAimDist" exact="this.ship.maxcombatrange.turrets" />
<set_value name="$MICT_MinShortAimDist" exact="this.ship.maxcombatrange.turrets * 0.75f" />

for movement against fighters. You're right though in that that could be excessive since that would be Plasma/MA or JET/LR range on some ships when you want them to stay within HIT/MA or Hailstorm range. I'll take your advice on this and set it to ~3.5 km for now.
Simoom wrote:Skilled captains (above 4 stars) will try to maintain a minimum distance from target (but only if target is a capital. It shouldn't care about fighters). This will be done through both maneuvering (if the capital's speed is sufficient) and, if unable to increase distance, the ship will do a short-range boost. I am not sure about using maximum weapon range as a guideline for the minimum distance to maintain... detection issues aside, many capital ships have a mixture of long-range and medium-range weapons (in the case of Xenon K, for example, its maximum weapons range is 8KM, but its medium-range weapon does not quite reach 4KM; so if you tell the Xenon K to maintain too much of a distance, it won't be able to utilize its full firepower). I would suggest simply setting a flat minimum distance: 3.5KM. The reason for 3.5KM is because it is within the range of all capital weaponry, but outside anti-fighter weapons like Hailstorm turrets. I know this goal may not be easy to implement since capitals often maneuver stupidly (they wiggle too much in general), but sounds like you were already looking into maneuvering issues. :)
That IS tricky. Reasoning for using max range is because attacked hostile ships will try to approach the attacking ships thus bringing the medium and shorter ranged weapons into play. If the hostile vessel gets too close for comfort (hopefully before it could bring any significant firepower to bear, especially since most ships' heavy weaponry appears to be on their sides, and an approaching ship will be facing your ship.)

In-zone boosts are very tricky. cicero111 managed to get it working reasonably well, but, if I remember correctly, that's by doing a series of boosts. Not sure why it's so tricky, but it may have something to do with there being some delay before conditions are checked for. (If all of the commands of all of the ships fighting everywhere, even just in-zone, anyone's computer would probably seize up. Mine does, anyway.

About just using in-zone maneouvering, yeah, that's possible. Why not in-zone tactical jumps, though?
Simoom wrote:A highly-skilled Defense Officer (4 stars or above), when set to "Defend" mode, will jump the ship away (this can be either in-zone or to a nearby zone) when shield is below a certain threshold (25%? 15%?).
It's at 50% right now, and a less than exceptional captain can miscalculate the jump and still land within an opponents firing range. A bit high at the moment, but I find that it goes from 50% to 0 extremely quickly, while it usually stays above 50% when it's ably managing the engagement.
Simoom wrote:But if set to "Attack Enemies", the ship will simply fight until destroyed (I was gonna suggest some morale check and panic behavior, but then I remembered Better Turrets already has that covered)
I don't know if movement behavior can be made dependent on DO setting. Probably can, but movement scripts act upon the captain, and are separate from the firing scripts handled by the DO.

cicero111 did do some interesting things with skill checks, like a 0/0/0 DO being an incompetent half-asleep half-drunk lout who won't even be able to see a target bearing down on his ship until the ship's fired upon; and even then, will probably miss.

Ok, I'll get to work. Please do let me know if I missed anything.

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Post by w.evans » Wed, 4. Mar 15, 21:22

4.Mar.2015 - v0.04 is up!

Long-range behavior made specific to the Sucellus and the Balor. All other ships, including the Xenon I, calculate their desired maximum damage relative to maximum turret ranges rather than maximum range of all weapons.

Captains will try to maintain between 2,625 to 3,500 meters from the target when maneouvering against fighters.

Thank you to Simoom for suggesting both of these adjustments.

Makes sure that the ship is maneouvering relative to a ship or station rather than a component.

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