Author Topic: Piratez Difficulty Curve  (Read 25648 times)

Offline legionof1

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2016, 10:44:48 pm »
I think the curve is in exactly the right place for this type of game. We are playing a game form the early era of game design where it was still a pretty binary design philosophy. Set player a fair but hard challenge. He solves it or doesn't. The player is meant to out think the game and gets too win as a reward. So yeah downward curve is expected. It is the correct curve for the genre. 

Offline Eddie

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2016, 12:46:02 am »
Difficulty is a bit binary in my opinion. Shippings can be very easy, lots of enemies with weak guns. On the other hand you can get deadly base assaults where everybody one shots you with plasma and blaster launchers.
Shippings could have a few more deadly guns like RPG or recoilless rifle, but just on one or two guys to give you something to watch out for.
Early base assaults would be more balanced with a less deadly weapon loadout. Like HE LACC, which is annoying but not a 1 shot kill. There might be engine limitations preventing different loadouts though.

Anyway, if new early game will start with an airbus that can't do aircombat, possible base assaults will be pushed back a few month so this reduces that problem.

What I would personally like to see is some more bandit missions (but maybe without armored cars or some weaker version, like a technical). The most enjoyable mission I've had so far was fighting bandits in a slum. I like the slum terrain and the deserted city, I wish they were used more often. To me, the most fun aspect of xcom is tactical use of terrain destruction. Slum has a lot of easy to destroy walls.

Offline Arthanor

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2016, 03:31:27 am »
Fighting bandits is indeed fun. There's something that's just right about them. And while I don't think item levels need to be implemented throughout the game, having them for base defenses would be good.

Hideout defense in month one? The enemy comes in with LACCs, Light/Auto-Cannons, Spitfires, etc. Then lasers, gauss and plasma. The outfit the retaliation team with tools proportional with the threat that they expect to encounter. You don't bust out the weapons of the (star) gods for some wannabe pirate with muskets in a scavenged ship..

Of course, that would also require faction specific weaponry: Academy never show up with anything under lasers, Mercs under gauss, and Star Gods under plasma. I suspect it's doable by defining 4 itemlevels, and upgrading something like every 6 months. For retaliations, the weapons scale, for everything else, the weapons don't change much (you don't have enough of a global effect to force every shipping to get plasma weapons, unlike how in vanilla eventually every alien had a heavy plasma).

Offline Dioxine

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2016, 05:22:20 am »
It ain't that easy to do. First off, tech levels got shafted because I'm using them to give enemies random weapons instead. With 5 loadouts per enemy, I'm stretching the limit (10 positions in the matrix, currently cut into 3/3/2/1/1 chances in 10). Up-tech would mean less variety & less realism (like, in late game, every Spartan would be totting an RPG etc.). So tech levels are rather unuseable. What's more irking is that the tech levels affect everyone, and it's not always the best weapons that are on the top (eg. Mercs sometimes have Gauss Pistols as the 'best' weapon since I want them to have just 10% to use such a small gun, and 90% to carry Gauss musket/sniper/heavy...)

As for easier retals... Re-configuring current ones is rather out of question I think. Yankes' code makes it possible to tie weapon loadout to a race, but it would mean having to make them, and they're long lists. Repeated x6 since they need to be consistent between breaching ships and the hideout defense proper. I could make a new type of retal, but retals related to shooting pick a random type of retal mission. So no candy here. All I could make would be to add some extra, automatic retal but that'd be just mean :) You can acquire 'no plasma' only by using just terror units, but that's plausible, again, only for hardcore races like Star Gods...
This I want to solve 3-fold:
1. No possibility of air combat in month 1, nor any fast troop deployment required to catch normal landings in any number above 4-6 troops (later - dependant on the player and RNG);
2. Many ground targets to have something to do meanwhile;
3. Special crackdowns late-game. This is more of a difficulty hike move, to keep the player from falling asleep year 2+.

The conclusion is, better leave the retals as all-or-nothing affairs...

@Hellrazor: no worries about self-advertising :)

Offline hellrazor

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2016, 08:48:51 am »
Dioxine, if you fear long lists i recommend shortening them significantely by using YAML anchors. Especially for stuff like terraindefinitions and weaponloadouts. Even more if you wanna be race specific forthe weaponloadouts. If you like i can later post you a example on howto usethem.

Offline Dioxine

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2016, 11:55:30 am »
Yeah I'd like that, this stuff can go pretty crazy.

Offline karadoc

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2016, 11:58:33 am »
... going after low-ranking enemies is quite pointless in the late game...
I'm still in my first playthrough. I'm currently at a stage where most of my troops are wearing either Assault armour or Brute armour. My weapons aren't great, but they are easily good enough for most of enemies I face - and so I usually use my cheaper weapons (such as commando rifle and advanced lasgun) rather than my more expensive more powerful weapons.

So, that's the stage of the game I'm at. I figure it's getting into "late game", but I can't really know until I've finished! In any case, what I can say is that I'm still going after lots of low-ranking enemies just because it's easy money, and I'm still spending all the money I can get. Most of the missions I go on are super-easy to the point where I can just move all my troops blindly forward and stun the enemy with whatever, because the enemies don't have enough firepower to get through my armour anyway.

There are still difficult missions; and I'm happy with the number of difficult missions per in-game month. But I can say that the game feels easier than it did in the early game, because a lot of my playing time is on easy missions (which I choose to go on because I need the cash).

Offline hellrazor

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2016, 09:45:18 pm »
Yeah I'd like that, this stuff can go pretty crazy.

Check your PM inbox here in the forum.

Some more examples to usage of YAML anchors can be found:
here
and
here

Or you just go ahead and take a look at the ruleset of my mod.
research.rul, alienDeployments.rul and terrains.rul make a high usage of YAML anchors.

Once you understand it you will love it. Hobbes does already ^^
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 09:49:57 pm by hellrazor »

Offline Meridian

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2016, 06:25:11 pm »
A great example of this curve overall, is the abandoned campaign by https://www.youtube.com/user/FireWaterGasoline.  Over 5 episodes on YouTube he lost the campaign twice to early crackdowns.  Fundamentally his xcom tactics in ground battles were solid, though as a blind playthrough there was certainly inefficient utilization of weapons.  His downfall was the irresistible tendency to shoot down anything that flies.  This is typical from someone used to playing UFO or TftD.  Its things like these that the first time PirateZ player must un-learn, that make them throw up their hands and walk away like this YouTuber did.

I have added a new configuration possibility to delay retaliations (caused by shooting down ufos) based on difficulty.

For example:
Code: [Select]
difficultyBasedRetaliationDelay: [4, 2, 1, 0, 0]

...would mean that on Beginner, retaliations cannot be generated in the first 4 months, on Experienced first 2 months, on Veteran only 1 month and on Genius/Superhuman there is no delay.

Default is of course zero on all difficulty levels.

I strongly suggest considering this option in piratez base game.

Also during testing I found one more nasty bug, which CONFIRMS that retaliations are generated more than they should: https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,4637.0.html
This basically means that chance on Superhuman is not 20%, but potentially 36%... i.e. more than each third shot down ufo generates a retaliation...

Offline Dioxine

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2016, 09:40:58 pm »
I strongly suggest considering this option in piratez base game.

Might be useful indeed. But first retaliations will be delayed by other means (inability to shoot down anything in early game).
...Is Retaliation generated by the act of shooting down an UFO or by simply engaging it?

Offline Meridian

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2016, 12:13:25 am »
Might be useful indeed. But first retaliations will be delayed by other means (inability to shoot down anything in early game).
...Is Retaliation generated by the act of shooting down an UFO or by simply engaging it?

It must be shot down to trigger retal... just engaging has no effect.

Offline karadoc

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2016, 12:45:31 am »
Having a couple of months of immunity from retaliations would be alright; but it seems like a bit of a kludge. I think it would be better if there was a 'retaliation-o-meter' which built up in a similar way to how reputation builds up. Shooting down shipping and/or killing ground forces would build up the enemy's desire to want to retaliate. And rather than having a flat random chance of retaliation for each shipping shot down, they could have a probability of retaliation which grows with each shipping that is destroyed; has a threshold so that the probability is zero for the first few events; and reduces naturally a little bit each day.

Of course, that's probably not super easy to implement; and in most cases player's wouldn't be able to tell the difference between something like that and a flat percentage chance anyway. ... but I still think it's worth suggesting.

Offline Manunancy

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2016, 08:57:16 am »
and hope the software allow for the odds to drop back after the reataliation hits or if you keep quiet

Offline Dioxine

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2016, 12:32:51 pm »
I think it would be better if there was a 'retaliation-o-meter' which built up in a similar way to how reputation builds up.

Of course, that's probably not super easy to implement; and in most cases player's wouldn't be able to tell the difference between something like that and a flat percentage chance anyway. ... but I still think it's worth suggesting.

I don't think adding such a thing is a good idea at all. Is shooting down a single ship not a crime enough to send a Crackdown team? Definitely it is... the question is, do they take action or not. Hence the dice roll. What else is there to consider really than the set chance of that happening, taking all possible factors under a single number? What gain would there be from de-abstracting it? It's not like the player can influence this in any direct way.

Offline karadoc

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Re: Piratez Difficulty Curve
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2016, 01:11:25 pm »
One thing the player could do to influence it is to not attack dangerous factions multiple times in a row. And if you do pick on a particular faction, then that faction would be more likely to attack you (the probability vs shipping shot down would be super-linear).

Shooting down a single ship might be enough to warrant a crackdown; but you can imagine that they might only feel the need to devote those kind of resources if they feel that the problem is going to be ongoing rather than isolated. Also, they might not even know who you are if they've only been attacked by you once.


In any case, I don't really mind what the system is. If you don't like the idea, that's fine by me. I only suggested it as an alternative to having fix number of months of crackdown immunity at the start of the game. I generally prefer dynamic systems rather than hard-line immunity like that.