Tiered difficulty for nests

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Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Honktown » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:42 am

I think a mechanic should be introduced that nests have a "maximum difficulty". As it stands it's often an "all-or-nothing" approach to enemy bases, even with mods. For most of the game it's difficult/very difficult/impossible to take on nests, and then boom, you can wipe the floor with them. If they had an internal "max difficulty", then there'd be a choice as to which nests to go after. If one new deposit of resources was closer but had a much more difficult nest vs a farther away deposit but weaker nest, that'd be a choice to make. It'd also open-up an easier path for mods to better segment enemy-oriented game play, or tying resource deposits to difficulty.

Max difficulty could tie into: concentration of nests (or resistance to clustering 100 nests next to each-other), how often/aggressively the enemies attack and expand, obviously which enemy spawns get favored. Could include proportion of enemies vs worms, for more "offensive" vs "defensive" nests.

Since a per-nest attribute could be difficult and memory consuming, it could be tied to chunks instead. Then static on map generation or dynamic during the game the per-chunk attribute would influence how enemies and nests behave, influencing how one explores and expands.

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Pandrosos » Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:15 pm

Don't we already have that? Nests further from the spawn point will be larger with more spawners and worms, and the worms will be more powerful.

I found that noticeable in my current save. The tank was very effective up to a point, but on my long explorations I'm encountering biter bases that are just too big and formidable to be easily squashed. If I really had to take one out I could do it with skill, luck, and a lot of patience, but really I want nukes or artillery to do the job.

The usual problem I see in terms of biter base strength is when bad luck with the map generation means your oil has biter bases in the way or on top of it. My suggestion to help things would be to make Military 3 not require blue science, that way the powerful poison capsules are available pre-oil.

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by BlueTemplar » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:09 pm

Hey, that's a great suggestion !
(Especially since Military 3 suffers from being too close to Tank...)

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Honktown » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:22 am

Pandrosos wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:15 pm
Don't we already have that? Nests further from the spawn point will be larger with more spawners and worms, and the worms will be more powerful.

I found that noticeable in my current save. The tank was very effective up to a point, but on my long explorations I'm encountering biter bases that are just too big and formidable to be easily squashed. If I really had to take one out I could do it with skill, luck, and a lot of patience, but really I want nukes or artillery to do the job.

The usual problem I see in terms of biter base strength is when bad luck with the map generation means your oil has biter bases in the way or on top of it. My suggestion to help things would be to make Military 3 not require blue science, that way the powerful poison capsules are available pre-oil.
The problem with current behavior is all directions are pretty much equally difficult, and there's no real way to "tier" or influence how one plays the map and enemies. Any direction is good enough if it has what you want, and at all times, there's a sort of radius/density you can reach without being mauled to death and then you hit a few technologies (shields, laser turrets) and you're pretty unstoppable. Before that, the most you can do is a little opportunistic territory grabbing.

Military defense is completely locked behind oil (as is ALL useful/cheap technology), as guns are trash after medium biters. Enemy flat resistance, percent resistance, and health scale at the same time. I haven't played a normal .17 game (liking mods) so it might have changed a bit, but the wiki says big biters have 8 flat resistance and 10% after. With a 50% damage boost, you'd be doing about 4.5 hp a shot with AP rounds, and they have 375 health. Even with 100% bonus damage, that's something like 7.2 damage, or 52 bullets not counting the regeneration (which is around one a second). Per big biter.

Even if you managed to get oil, flamethrowers have their own troubles. Range used to be very poor, but it feels the ammo consumption is through the roof, and range still isn't that great. Landmines and grenades are mostly gimmicks. Shotgun fires too slowly to be a primary weapon and piercing shotgun rounds are far too down the tech tree to be relevant.

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by BlueTemplar » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:07 am

Flamethrower range might be poor, but the vastly increased damage allows you to take out nests with blue biters & a few blue worms. (Especially once you get modular armour soon after.)
Not to mention flame turret pushing, though I haven't tried its viability against blue worms.
Landmines and grenades are mostly gimmicks.
Oh hell no.
Landmines are amazing both in defence and offence, and cluster grenades is what I picked for MAXIMUM OVERKILL when biters pissed me off !

Also, these days, defenders are available early, I wonder what kind of strategies they allow ?

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by mrvn » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:46 am

Pandrosos wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:15 pm
Don't we already have that? Nests further from the spawn point will be larger with more spawners and worms, and the worms will be more powerful.

I found that noticeable in my current save. The tank was very effective up to a point, but on my long explorations I'm encountering biter bases that are just too big and formidable to be easily squashed. If I really had to take one out I could do it with skill, luck, and a lot of patience, but really I want nukes or artillery to do the job.

The usual problem I see in terms of biter base strength is when bad luck with the map generation means your oil has biter bases in the way or on top of it. My suggestion to help things would be to make Military 3 not require blue science, that way the powerful poison capsules are available pre-oil.
1) The example was that a nest further away was weaker so that going around strong points even if it makes for longer ways was beneficial.

2) It's not nests further way but nests spawned later. To get to the further nests you have first cross the nearer nests so they tend to become stronger as you go. But if you expand only to the north for a while and then suddenly go south even very near nests will have full strength.


While I like the idea a problem I see is how to recognize the strength of the nests.

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Ranakastrasz » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:06 pm

Since you can set what a specific nest type spawns (biter/spitter) if you override how new nests are created you can probably tier it that way.

But I don't really have an approach on how to adjust it as of yet.

Not sure if pollution per biter spawn is on the biter or the spawner, but if the spawner, you can tweak that as well.
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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by BlueTemplar » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:25 pm

IIRC Bob's Enemies now has some spawners tiered that way ?

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Ranakastrasz » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:22 pm

BlueTemplar wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:25 pm
IIRC Bob's Enemies now has some spawners tiered that way ?
Yes, but there is no distribution change. The super spawners are distributed the same (Or so it seemed) as normal spawners.
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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by BlueTemplar » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:12 am

bobingabout wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:44 pm
An update a lot of you have been waiting for:

Enemies 0.17.3:
Changed Bob's spawner enemy spawns to be more in line with new base game.
Bob's nests spawn further out from the starting area.
Spitters and Worms will now target their spit to a position ahead of you and not home like 0.17 base game spit projectiles.
Added option to choose Leviathan spawn frequency (at Evolution Factor 1.0) (Between 0 and 1, default 0.05)
Added option to allow harder enemies to spawn at a lower Evolution Factor level
Added option to increase the health of most bob enemies between huge and behemoth
Added option to add a higher tier spawner


Also, I have a new icon.
Admittedly, I don't know if it's further enough to be noticeable ?

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by bobingabout » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:09 am

BlueTemplar wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:12 am
bobingabout wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:44 pm
An update a lot of you have been waiting for:

Enemies 0.17.3:
Changed Bob's spawner enemy spawns to be more in line with new base game.
Bob's nests spawn further out from the starting area.
Spitters and Worms will now target their spit to a position ahead of you and not home like 0.17 base game spit projectiles.
Added option to choose Leviathan spawn frequency (at Evolution Factor 1.0) (Between 0 and 1, default 0.05)
Added option to allow harder enemies to spawn at a lower Evolution Factor level
Added option to increase the health of most bob enemies between huge and behemoth
Added option to add a higher tier spawner


Also, I have a new icon.
Admittedly, I don't know if it's further enough to be noticeable ?
I used the code already in the base mod, basically...
The elemental nests have autoplace = enemy_autoplace.enemy_spawner_autoplace(5), and the super spawner has autoplace = enemy_autoplace.enemy_spawner_autoplace(10).
10 is something like 100 sectors away, or more, you really have to travel to be able to find them.

part of the problem with this though is, you explore, and one moment you start getting elemental nests, and no normal nests, like it's just a wall. Imagine how bad that is when you get to super nests.

on top of that, there's different rules for map generated enemy fields (they use this system) and respawns when enemies create new nests (they just use the Evolution factor spawn system).

Elemental nests have build_base_evolution_requirement = 0.5, and super nests have build_base_evolution_requirement = 0.8 on them, and that basically means that once you hit that value in evolution factor, there's a random chance (basically, even chance out of all the possible items in the list) that this entity will be created in the new base... no matter how far out from the start it is, so a respawn area might have a normal biter nest and super nest, small worm and behemoth worm in the same camp.

not only that, but depending on map settings, you can see a pretty solid lump of red where the enemies are when starting a new map, but respawns only create tiny patches far apart.
why can't the bases grow over time, or something, allow the respawns to claim entire multi-sector patches like the initial generation, or, depending on settings, all bases just constantly expand until the entire undefended map is just red?
Creator of Bob's mods. Expanding your gameplay since version 0.9.8.
I also have a Patreon.

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by BlueTemplar » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:06 pm

part of the problem with this though is, you explore, and one moment you start getting elemental nests, and no normal nests, like it's just a wall. Imagine how bad that is when you get to super nests.
Oh, there's no way to make it a slow transition like it's for biters spawned by evolution ?

I've certainly seen expansion nests "grow" (maybe only in vanilla/RSO/0.16?) - I wonder what's up with that since there's supposed to be a logic of new nests only rarely being created near old nests or player-owned entities ? Purely by random chance ?

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by orzelek » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:12 pm

BlueTemplar wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:06 pm
part of the problem with this though is, you explore, and one moment you start getting elemental nests, and no normal nests, like it's just a wall. Imagine how bad that is when you get to super nests.
Oh, there's no way to make it a slow transition like it's for biters spawned by evolution ?

I've certainly seen expansion nests "grow" (maybe only in vanilla/RSO/0.16?) - I wonder what's up with that since there's supposed to be a logic of new nests only rarely being created near old nests or player-owned entities ? Purely by random chance ?
RSO attempts to do that. Not sure how well it works since I never did any large scale testing.
Algorithm is pretty simple tho - various bases increase with frequency faster with distance up to a point. This means that further you are chances for more difficult bases goes up.

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Honktown » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:40 am

Sorry! For some reason I wasn't getting notifications of replies.
BlueTemplar wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:07 am
Flamethrower range might be poor, but the vastly increased damage allows you to take out nests with blue biters & a few blue worms. (Especially once you get modular armour soon after.)
Not to mention flame turret pushing, though I haven't tried its viability against blue worms.
Landmines and grenades are mostly gimmicks.
Oh hell no.
Landmines are amazing both in defence and offence, and cluster grenades is what I picked for MAXIMUM OVERKILL when biters pissed me off !

Also, these days, defenders are available early, I wonder what kind of strategies they allow ?
I don't know what difficulty you're playing on, but it sounds like vanilla or easier. In .16, spitter attacks could 360 and they could take out chunks of health. Multiply by 100x hits because you have to take out all the guys rushing at you AND respawning and you see the problem. Modular armor breaks the game pretty much, because you can use solar panels to charge shields, and shields recharge independently, meaning multiple basic shields are far more effective than 1-2 upgraded shields (you don't need capacity if you can recharge many times quicker). Flame turret pushing in my game (everything turned up to max in .16) worked but took a long time. The problem is not killing the enemies, but advancing when there's fire all over the place from your turrets, and the stone walls you need in front of you.

Grenades are offensive-only, since they can't be used in turrets. Grenades start at 35 damage. A big biter has 375 health and 10% explosion resistance. To kill one big biter with base damage takes 12 grenades and six seconds. It is MUCH more effective of a resource use than bullets, and easily kills small guys and quickly kills medium guys, I admit. Landmines do a ton of damage, but they take time before activating and can be targeted by enemies. You also need construction bots if you want to place more, and by the time you have construction bots, you probably have the ability to annihilate anything at that evolution factor. Never used cluster grenades, they're pretty far down the tree. Defenders only last x amount of time, so they're a no-go.

In order to make the enemies you know, a threat, I had played a few games with every difficulty slider turned up to max in .16, though I gave myself default starting area, because you die on smaller settings. In .17 they may have increased or introduced new sliders, because I was playing with a mod that has a polluting object, and the evolution factor was over .9 within a few minutes (the object does produce an extreme amount of pollution, so I could be wrong)

Ranakastrasz wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:06 pm
Since you can set what a specific nest type spawns (biter/spitter) if you override how new nests are created you can probably tier it that way.

But I don't really have an approach on how to adjust it as of yet.

Not sure if pollution per biter spawn is on the biter or the spawner, but if the spawner, you can tweak that as well.
You have a point, I have seen mods that adjust enemy generation (even including I think having a preference for putting a nest on resource piles). If difficulty and 2D placement aren't tied, then it'd be pretty simple to modify on generation the nest difficulty, and maybe influence what happens when groups form a new nest. I was going to say I should bring this up to the author of "Rampant" buuuuut I looked at his mod page and he's not actively developing his mod. Would probably still be worth a discussion, since he might have the most experience with enemy AI modifications. If the functions are accessible, then it'd be super-easy to tie in values based on location.

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Ranakastrasz » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:34 am

Grenade damage is almost irrelevant to their usefulness. Sure, its 35 base damage, but there are two factors. Splash, meaning it doesn't just hit that one big biter in 6 seconds, but rather all 10 of them, plus all the non big-biters. Sure, you have to throw a bunch, but you can throw around 2/second, at no loss of movement speed, or else while also firing a normal weapon. Or driving a car/tank, if you use those.

Cluster grenades are hilariously powerful, and are honestly my go-to weapon to deal with behemoths. Seriously, nothing else I can carry with me is practical vs the sheer health pool that isn't turret-nesting. And they smash enemy spawners and worms too.

Modular armor isn't quite as gamebreaking as you make it out to be. I will agree that lower tier shields are more efficient for damage absorbed per energy, but considering the better shields have both a larger capacitor, charge faster, and use up less space, meaning more solar panels/fusion reactors, I am not sure I agree with using the lower tier version. I always prefered shield capacity, simply because I tended to run in and destroy enemy buildings then retreat. If I could get enough regeneration to stay there, great. If not, oh well, that's why I use capacity.

Landmines, I can't really say much. The arming time means they work best for making quick safe zones, and turrets work better for that, and last longer. Plus splash damage ruins tons of them. Still, the stun effect is highly useful. Again, like grenades, they can be used at the same time as a normal weapon.

As for defenders, lasting X amount of time shouldn't really stop you from using them. Bullets last X amount of time, X being 0 seconds per bullet. What matters is whether it is a good usage of your resources, and if it increases your overall DPS. Anything you can do to fight normally is enhanced by by having allied combat robots surrounding you. Admittedly, they are far less effective with the new spitter mechanics due to the ground-splash.
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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Honktown » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:59 am

Ranakastrasz wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:34 am
Modular armor isn't quite as gamebreaking as you make it out to be. I will agree that lower tier shields are more efficient for damage absorbed per energy, but considering the better shields have both a larger capacitor, charge faster, and use up less space, meaning more solar panels/fusion reactors, I am not sure I agree with using the lower tier version. I always prefered shield capacity, simply because I tended to run in and destroy enemy buildings then retreat. If I could get enough regeneration to stay there, great. If not, oh well, that's why I use capacity.
Off my main topic, but larger shields don't charge faster:

https://wiki.factorio.com/Energy_shield
https://wiki.factorio.com/Energy_shield_MK2

Both shields heal the same amount per second/charge at the same rate, and MK2 takes 50% more energy. You can regain health 50% faster using 3 basic shields instead of 2 advanced shields, and it costs the same amount of power. If you're unequipping a few of those 6 exoskeletons before running into battle, that's a big difference in health regen and power needed. A single MK2 battery has 100 MJ capacity, and a basic shield needs 240 KJ per 12 health at max recharge, so that's 416 seconds of shield-time per battery. 2x2 = 833 seconds. Fusion reactor only provides 750 kW for a 4x4. Leaving 2x2 out and using batteries while doing normal stuff, then swapping in the 4 shields when charged, you'd have an additional 48 health regen per second for 208 seconds, versus the "free" 36 health regen you get by leaving the fusion reactor in. 36 + 48 health regen = 84, more than double, at an increase in battery drain, so 119 seconds of more than double the health regen by not using a reactor during battle. (counting battery space means we do need an additional 2x2 slot comparing 3 shields + reactor vs 7 shields + 2 batteries - exactly double if we only use 6 shields).

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by BlueTemplar » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:20 am

Nice trick with Mk1 shields, I'll have to try that !
Honktown wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:40 am
[...]
My post was assuming 0.17. My experience being DeathWorld Marathon (0.17.0 - admittedly it has changed a lot since then, especially with Marathon).
In 0.17 both spitters and worms can miss, so you can really dance around them if you do it well enough. (But at the same time, staying put, using a spawner as a wall, while viable in 0.16, is now a death sentence.)
I was talking about modular armour without anything in it - researching any internal equipment can take a while if you didn't go for solar panels early.
I specifically mentioned a few (blue) worms - with more than a couple you're going to have a hell of a time with just modular + flamethrower ! (get landmines or rockets)
I specifically mentioned cluster grenades.
You don't need bots to place a lot of landmines quickly - in fact bots are a bit of a waste on offence due to how many you're going to lose - you can drop a lot of them from car very quickly. (Also, our range has been increased significantly in 0.17.)
Honktown wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:40 am
In .17 they may have increased or introduced new sliders, because I was playing with a mod that has a polluting object, and the evolution factor was over .9 within a few minutes (the object does produce an extreme amount of pollution, so I could be wrong)
You probably just got hit by a bug in early 0.17 when they refactored pollution that increased evolution MUCH faster than it should have ?
Ranakastrasz wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:34 am
[...]
(Regular) grenade damage is only "irrelevant" because it's much higher than blue biter armour ! :P
Grenades can sometimes be your only option for killing blue biters - if you could not afford MilSci bullet damage upgrades...
Modular armour (even empty) does make a big difference : IIRC the aforementioned scenario killing a nest with a few blue worms with a flamethrower is much much harder with Heavy armour...

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Honktown » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:47 am

Solar / shields / batteries are all red-green and/or military science. Cluster grenades require blue and yellow. Waaaaay further down the tree and much much more resource intensive if you're saying you had modular armor with no equipment and cluster grenades. Rockets do make taking out worms much easier. Used them recently and they do an extreme amount of damage for how cheap they are (about a third the cost of a piercing magazine, not counting the time/energy/oil logistics).

I've been playing a mod on .17 which is admittedly much more difficult than vanilla, but while the spitters missing is nice, the acid on the ground is much, much worse. Not only does it do decent damage, it slows you down making it easier to get hit and slowed down further. Lasts a really long time too.

The range difference I noticed, but I assumed it was the mod (you're going to be eating a lot of fish if you need to do a lot of combat/base clearing before shields).

In any respect, for how long one can spend before getting blue, purple, and yellow ramped up, the difficulty isn't very well segmented. The enemies can be too strong for too long, or too weak and never able to recover. Spreading the difficulty out across the map could do well in permitting continued growth, while a small fraction of the aliens could become even more difficult :DDDDD. The range change to worms I felt was much more significant than their attack change. I think the range also doesn't get adjusted for their tracking, so while they only start firing within range, if you go out of their range, it can add like +10 because they're shooting ahead of you, outside their normal max firing distance. Then the damaging+slowing acid is left on the ground. 4-6 worms can make dealing with a nest extremely difficult without rockets.

Edit: I guess I didn't finish reading the post. The pollution thing was on the steam stable. In a "vanilla" oriented game, I would just turn the sliders up to max. I noticed that the evolution factor stuff is now integers, and ramping up pollution from 9 to 1000 seems like it's quite a bit. The mod I'm using has an extremely polluting building. We're talking more pollution than someone who's firing a rocket every other minute. I did notice armor is really, really effective in certain cases (physical most obvious). I don't think anything changed, so it might just be how differently I have to play with the mod than normal game. Never played the campaign.

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by BlueTemplar » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:11 am

I didn't mention modular and cluster grenades together, cluster grenades are obviously late-game (and you'll probably have Power Armor Mk1 to go with them...)

I think that the default game settings are just targeted at brand new players, so it's perfectly normal that someone that has played more than one freeplay game would find them too easy !

I haven't noticed any changes as to the (initial) worm range ?
The brand new behemoth worms are great though, even if still too frail, and no match for even unupgraded automatic artillery...

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Re: Tiered difficulty for nests

Post by Honktown » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:41 pm

BlueTemplar wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:11 am
I haven't noticed any changes as to the (initial) worm range ?
Not sure which worms, but:
0.17.0
Date: 26. 02. 2019
>Combat Balancing
>>Worms and spitters use new "stream" attack now.
>>>Worm shooting range is generally longer.

It feels much longer in practice, possibly due to the new predictive shot style. It can be hard to get into nests because an area will get coated with poison or worse if you're there for too long.

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