Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

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evilm0nkey
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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by evilm0nkey » Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:45 pm

I guess this is way too much to ask for, but my ideal combat mechanics in factorio would be something inspired by Chrimsonland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sd6d3CBa2g
This would obviously require the introduction of a combat mode toggle function.

Adding the need to aim / dodge shots would make combat as good as it can get for me in a game like factorio. The thing that bugs me most with factorio combat is that i can't really influence the battle by playing skillful. Along with automatized combat (with the main drawback being costs), this would be my perfect solution.

I guess it's a bit late to make such a big change to the game. Is there any chance we could get modding support for such mechanics?

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by Puzzlemaker » Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:52 pm

Honestly, I really wish there was more combat automation. I want giant armies of robots crashing against swarms of Biters. I want a war machine. Going out and doing it myself seems counter to the whole point of the game. My two cents.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by Xterminator » Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:51 pm

Puzzlemaker wrote:Honestly, I really wish there was more combat automation. I want giant armies of robots crashing against swarms of Biters. I want a war machine. Going out and doing it myself seems counter to the whole point of the game. My two cents.
I couldn't agree more! I think it would be amazing to be able to deploy automated robots that would go clear biters for you. And sense they are removing artifacts anyway, it would make it even easier to add in because you wouldn't have to worry about collecting the artifacts or having the robots do it.
There is the Robot Andy mod which does this already, but it would be great to have it in the base game. I think it would fit perfectly into the theme of Factorio and automation.
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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by alingis » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:11 pm

The spirit of Factorio suggests that combat should begin as a manual process and become more automated as the game progresses.

In addition, there are two types of combat that need to be supported: Defensive & Offensive

Defensive combat is all about protecting base assets against a stream of enemies that grow more powerful based on pollution. This is a dynamic threat system. The fun in this type of system is the ability to reliably protect larger areas of the base against this increasing threat with fewer turrets and supply infrastructure.

Offensive combat is all about expanding your base to new areas, which requires taking out the alien nests guarding those areas. These nests are more interesting as a static threat. The fun here is in choosing the expansion path that you are able to tackle with your current tech level that also yields the richest resource opportunities. As you grow in personal combat capabilities, higher yield resources can become more easily available to you (and lower yield resources become more trivially accessible).

To that end, I would recommend that nests be statically tiered (in proximity to high value resources) in their defensive capabilities, while all nests supply dynamic attacking units based on pollution alone (not based on the nests' defensive tier).

Here is a sample of how I would structure this tiering:

Defensive tiering: (Max pollution level -> Tier selection based on total pollution ever produced)

Tier 0 (defensive early game):
Pollution: 1% - 10%
Enemies: Biters (Mk 1)
Manual defense: Pistol (Mk 1) & standard ammo (Mk 1), light/heavy armor (Mk 1/2)
Automated defense: Machine gun turrets (Mk 1) & standard ammo (Mk 1)

Tier 1:
Pollution: 10% - 25%
Enemies: Biters (Mk 2) + Spitters (Mk 1)
Manual defense: Machine gun (Mk 2) & piercing ammo (Mk 2), heavy armor (Mk 2), 1-2 Bullet upgrades
Automated defense: Machine gun turrets (Mk 1) & Piercing ammo (Mk 2), 1-2 Bullet upgrades, regular walls

Tier 2:
Pollution: 25% - 40%
Enemies: Biters (Mk 3) + Spitters (Mk 2)
Manual defense: Shotgun (Mk 3) & shotgun ammo (Mk 3), Machine gun armor (Mk 3), 3-4 Bullet upgrades
Automated defense: Machine gun turrets (Mk 1) & Piercing ammo (Mk 2), 3-4 Bullet upgrades & Flamethrower turrets (Mk 2) & Flamethrower ammo (Mk 3), 1-2 Flamethrower upgrades, hardened walls

Tier 3:
Pollution: 40% - 60%
Enemies: Biters (Mk 4) + Spitters (Mk 3)
Manual defense: Flame thrower (Mk 4) & flamethrower ammo (Mk 4), personal laser defense in modular armor (Mk 4), 1-2 flamethrower upgrades, 1-2 laser upgrades
Automated defense: Laser turrets (Mk 3), 1-2 laser upgrades, electrified walls

Tier 4:
Pollution: 60% - 80%
Enemies: Biters (Mk 5) + Spitters (Mk 4)
Manual defense: Rocket launcher (Mk 5) & rockets (Mk 5), 1-2 explosive upgrades & automated combat defense robots in power armor (Mk 5), 1-2 combat robotics upgrades
Automated defense: Armed construction robots (Mk 4), 3-4 combat robotics upgrade, self-regenerating mines

Tier 5:
Pollution: 80% - 100%
Enemies: Biters (Mk 6) + Spitters (Mk 5)
Manual defense: automated combat defense robots in power armor (Mk 5), 4+ combat robotics upgrades
Automated defense: Defensive Roboport Artillery


Offensive tiering:

Tier 1:
Enemies: Biters (Mk 2) & Spitters (Mk 1)
Manual clearing: Machine gun (Mk 2) & piercing ammo (Mk 2), heavy armor (Mk 2)
Automated clearing: Machine gun armor (Mk 3) & piercing ammo (Mk 2)

Tier 2:
Enemies: Biters (Mk 3) + Spitters (Mk 2)
Manual clearing: Shotgun (Mk 3) & shotgun ammo (Mk 3), Machine gun armor (Mk 3), 3-4 Bullet upgrades
Automated clearing: personal laser in modular armor (Mk 4), 1-2 laser upgrades

Tier 3:
Enemies: Biters (Mk 4) + Spitters (Mk 3)
Manual clearing: Flame thrower (Mk 4) & flamethrower ammo (Mk 4), 1-2 flamethrower upgrades
Automated clearing: personal laser & automated combat robots in power armor (Mk 5), 3-4 laser upgrades, 1-2 combat robotics upgrades

Tier 4:
Enemies: Biters (Mk 5) + Spitters (Mk 4)
Manual clearing: Rocket launcher (Mk 5) & rockets (Mk 5), 1-2 explosive upgrades
Automated clearing: personal laser & automated combat robots in power armor (Mk 5), 4-6 laser upgrades, 3-4 combat robotics upgrades

Tier 5:
Enemies: Biters (Mk 6) + Spitters (Mk 5)
Manual clearing: personal laser & automated combat robots in power armor (Mk 5), 7+ Laser upgrades, 5+ combat robotics upgrades
Automated clearing: Offensive Rocket Artillery



To combat turret creep, I would just have nests maintain a "ground-based EMP" that disables any built structure within X radius.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by IronCartographer » Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:43 pm

vanatteveldt wrote:The double function of the Q key is very annoying
Rebind switch weapons to Tab. It really should be the default.
alingis wrote:The spirit of Factorio suggests that combat should begin as a manual process and become more automated as the game progresses.
Couldn't agree more. Even if 0.15's release were delayed by a month or more as a result, taking a step back and thoroughly investigating this line of reasoning on a high level would be very well worth it.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by ledow » Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:25 pm

Combat needs to be more automated, I agree.

I play on the default settings and I don't go in for huge factories, which I imagine the majority of new / casual gamers who find it on Steam don't either.

I wall off an area. I have to wall off because though you have to have SOME challenge, I hate the things getting near me. The area I wall off, at the start of the game, is big enough to contain enough of everything to launch the rocket. That's not huge, by Factorio standards!

I tend start building and when the attacks start coming in, I double-wall and start putting down MG turrets. I have a belt full of ammo by then, running around the inner edge of the wall. Each turret is placed so it's firing circle encompasses its neighbouring turrets (so even if they get to a turrets, two others will still be firing at them).

From then on, combat is pretty much just a nuisance. Nothing will get through because you're just not generating enough pollution to enrage anything, and you don't need to expand, but the walls will keep everything away. By the time you roboport the circumference (inside the wall) for auto-repairs, you're pretty much done until the end of the game except for the occasional jaunt outside to get some artifacts.

The first few games, I got trounced because I wasn't prepared for aliens at all. The next few I tried turret creep and it was just boring and took too long. Even with drones, I had to put down walls, tracks, roboports, laser turrets and accumulators every step of the way and wait for a lull to get the next sections going. Every game since, when I gave up trying to actively expand and attack until I needed it, they aren't even a threat. Just wall off, and wait for them to come to you. They just never get big enough to worry you even if at least one turret is engaged at all times, and when you do go outside, there are vast arcs of dead bodies everywhere. It's only if I miscalculated and suddenly need more iron that I bother to expand.

But the pistol literally never fires a shot - can we have a recycler factory please, that gives you SOME of the original ingredients back from anything you drop into it (i.e. you don't get sulfur and gases back but you might get some unrefined copper from circuits, some wood sticks from boxes, etc. and it generates pollution to do so but means I can OCD-away the stuff I never use after the first ten minutes.).
The machine gun might be used to help out a turret in the really early stages, but that's it.
I've got the "no laser turrets" achievement playing like that, but to be honest putting in laser turrets produces measurably more pollution and I don't think the trade-off is there for how much they kill vs how many more they entice in.
I don't bother even making shotguns or rockets or arming the tank at all. I just drive over things, then run back to base and let them die against the turrets.
I build a flamethrower and keep 50 fuel on me for that, but that's only when the tank would just take too many runs to clear them out, and I have energy shields.
I don't bother with capsules at all.
I've never even built a grenade, or landmine. I don't need them and I'd never use them.

And every time I launch the rocket without dying. I know that's not what everyone plays for, certainly not on the forums, but that's how players finding it on Steam, and people without seven million hours to spare, and new players are going to play.

The last game I played, I encircled the walls with a looped train track, and just put 10 trains on it. They stop at one station for five seconds to fuel up but otherwise they are at top speed circling the walls all the time with no cargo. Pretty much, the turrets barely needed to fire. I didn't even bother to put belts down to push the enemy away from the walls and into the train lines.

If we're going to have combat, can it be worthwhile? Literally nothing for ages and then walling off keeps everything away. Thousands of drones but none of them are any good against the enemy or in their presence, they all just start dying. At the larger end of the scale, it then becomes manual runs with energy shields and flamethrowers where, despite being intensely manual, it's actually quite hard to die. But you push them back, they never reclaim that territory and then you carry on.

I don't see the point of the combat at the moment and it needs severe balancing, but I also must say that if I can't just build my factory , but it instead needs CONSTANT manual attention, I probably would never play. Automated defence? Sure. I get that. That's just part of a self-sustaining factory. But if you can't really expand without manual help, it's pointless.

Personally, I'd like to see an explorer drone, sort of like scouts, that run off into the wilderness and explore the map for you. And I played with the Robot Army mod once (I'm not a big fan of mods and like my games vanilla) but that was quite fun. Massively overpowered but quite fun. But still not automated enough.

Hell, I'd quite like a "trap" that you can trigger with the circuit networks. Literally huge spikes out of the ground when powered and some kind of sensor setup. Better make sure you set that condition properly before you run over it!

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by luc » Sat Nov 26, 2016 7:32 pm

I appreciate you guys not asking and pleading for nominations. I mean, the intention was clear, but you nonetheless clearly said "be sure to vote for your favorite games" and you did not say "vote for usss!!" So I did :)

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It's annoying that two other games that i wanted to nominate for different categories are not allowed because they're not on Steam. It's not a best-game competition, it's just way for Steam to get more attention again. Oh well, I didn't expect anything else.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by Optera » Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:19 pm

Factorio was a tough choice for me between “Just 5 More Minutes” and “I Thought This Game Was Cool Before It Won An Award".

Turret Creep needs nerfing not because it's "too good" but because it's the least annoying way to get rid of massive biter infestations. Unless you use mods like ion cannon or robot army to completely automate warfare.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by pulzar » Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:24 pm

I just finished building a walled area big enough to take almost a minute on a train to go side to side. It was fun setting up automation for trains to deliver wall resources (walls, turrets, poles, roboports, repair kits) to far away parts of the map.... However, the cleanup of biters inside the walled area was a total drag. Even the biggest groups of behemots have no chance against 134 follower destroyer capsules, it was just a matter of spending hours walking through the map, clearing things out, and setting down radars to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Challenge and variety are the two things missing from combat. However, I don't think any little fixes are going to make the combat fun all of a sudden. You'll have to build something resembling Starcraft or C&C to make it fun :), and I don't think that's developer resources well spent. I'd rather see the core game continue to be polished, and the combat ought to become even less important...

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by Mehve » Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:40 pm

luc wrote:It's annoying that two other games that i wanted to nominate for different categories are not allowed because they're not on Steam. It's not a best-game competition, it's just way for Steam to get more attention again. Oh well, I didn't expect anything else.
The contest is cheese, but at least the categories are still more meaningful then the usual "Best of 20XX" drivel that most gaming websites do.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by Doomquill » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:46 pm

My biggest feature dream regarding combat would be to be able to have combat robots that sit in my logistic network and automatically deploy when biters enter the network range. It would even be okay if they were still one-offs. I just hate when I'm all the way across my map, and something starts attacking one side of my factory that I didn't realize was undefended, and even though it's only 5 biters they wreck my entire base before I can ride a train all the way back to take care of them.

So combat robots in roboports. Preferably in their own slots, but even if they shared the normal slots that'd be okay. Not sure how to control the number who deploy but it'd be awesome.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by Mendel » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:09 pm

I have spent a lot of time playing Factorio but also some RTS games. In all the games I have played, nerfing something has almost never been as good a solution as buffing something else instead.

And what I would like to tell you is you do not need to nerf turret creeping at all. You should instead buff other ways to attack. This is why: Turret creeping is annoying and tedious to do even now that it is powerful. People dont want to do it but they do it because other ways to attack are not powerful enough. But trust me: the moment you buff something else such that it will be equally or more efficient to attack the biters with something else than turrets, that is when people will stop turret creeping. They would love to just run and gun and not stop to repair and rebuild powerlines and turrets. Power armor and flamethrower are already pretty close to being able to do this but not quite.

If you nerf turret creeping then you will likely also nerf turrets that are only there to defend a base. This is not desirable.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by aober93 » Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:01 am

Optera wrote:Turret Creep needs nerfing not because it's "too good" but because it's the least annoying way to get rid of massive biter infestations.
Your logic is gone.. or that of the developers.

According to nearly every response, the problem lies somewhere else.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by Mylon » Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:39 am

aober93 wrote:According to nearly every response, the problem lies somewhere else.
Like with how frustratingly fast biters respawn. Oh wait, that's part of the problem of clearing biter infestations.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by Earendel » Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:16 am

It would be better if turrets were weaker, but walls were stronger. Walls are not at all useful against spitters. I propose making enemy projectiles that travel over a wall get blocked by the wall, damaging the wall instead. Games like Planetary Annihilation have walls that function that way. The rate of fire of turrets could then be reduced. Fortifying would be more important. It would also make turret creep less powerful.

It would be better if destroyer capsules had an infinite lifespan, but limited number of attacks before they die.

Early game it should be fairly easy to kill any type of enemy with almost any type of weapon. In the late game, some enemy bases should have special units that are only vulnerable to a certain damage type so you need to tailor your defences. For example, your north west outpost is being attacked by biters that can only be killed by fire. The south of you main base is fighting enemies that can only be defeated with acid damage so you need to place acid mines... or something.

The enemy spawners are far too weak end game. There could be variants that need specific damage types to destroy (fire, explosive, poison, etc) so that other weapons become more useful.

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by IronCartographer » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:10 am

Mendel wrote:I have spent a lot of time playing Factorio but also some RTS games. In all the games I have played, nerfing something has almost never been as good a solution as buffing something else instead.

And what I would like to tell you is you do not need to nerf turret creeping at all. You should instead buff other ways to attack. This is why: Turret creeping is annoying and tedious to do even now that it is powerful. People dont want to do it but they do it because other ways to attack are not powerful enough. But trust me: the moment you buff something else such that it will be equally or more efficient to attack the biters with something else than turrets, that is when people will stop turret creeping. They would love to just run and gun and not stop to repair and rebuild powerlines and turrets. Power armor and flamethrower are already pretty close to being able to do this but not quite.
That's...very insightful. Giving turrets an activation delay would render them uniquely crippled among all the structures in the game, with little benefit. People who would use turret creeping over other offensive strategies will still be able to do so, albeit with greater pain from the slowdown--or modding to remove the delay again.

So the question becomes: What problems does turret creeping solve, and how can they be solved better? :)
  • Damage boost relative to the machine gun
  • Predictable sacrificial damage shield (first target->damage magnet)
  • Anything else?

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by threehams » Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:59 am

Defense in Factorio feels to me like it should mostly follow the arc in Total Annihilation or Supreme Commander:

1. Small amount of weak defenses / units, micromanaged.
2. Mix of lots of weak defenses and smaller number of long-range defenses or tough/powerful units. Some micromanagement.
3. Extreme range artillery (minimum range, slow, and big risk of friendly fire), lots of long-range defenses and either very tough or very powerful units. Focus shifts to macro-management, sending large groups of units or placing groups of defenses in a central place.
4. Complete domination - nuclear missiles, giant robots, and artillery which can rapid fire across the entire map.

With this approach, personal combat exists as a last resort. Commanders were incredibly powerful, but easy to kill...

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by ZombieMooose » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:18 am

I would like it if they kept flamethrower the same, but buffed other weapons. Especially rockets should be viable late game, maybe even the best option against behemoths.

As for personal laser defense maybe just have a generic "laser damage upgrade"that upgrades every laser including personal laser defense and turrets. Maybe even a laser gun.

Another option from Bob's mod, rifle and sniper rifle. The "scientific" graph shows that pistols and smgs are up there in terms of capability. Maybe instead of buffing each individually, just add a higher tier version.

that darude sandstorm thing is rad af

Anyway i views for you guys for 5 more minutes as over played for 24 hours before lol cheers

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by keb » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:36 am

I think weapon balance isn't what's needed to make combat more fun. Mods can tweak the values. I'd rather just have smarter and more diverse enemies, so the challenge becomes having to use different weapons based on the situation, not just researching better weapons. As far as I know, modding the enemy AI is not possible? It should be.

Some other ideas:
  • Enemies that breach defenses shouldn't destroy buildings endlessly. They should retreat after they do enough damage (they do get tired eventually, after all?)
  • Enemy bases should have more complexity than just production buildings and turrets globbed together. Walls? Traps? Queen-bug lairs that act as command centers?
  • Terrain is too exploitable: landfilling into a sea makes your base unassailable; attacking a big bug base through a chokepoint makes it too easy.
  • Flying enemies would add an extra challenge. Maybe water-dwelling ones too? Tunnelers?
  • Options to turn these features on/off per game

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Re: Friday Facts #166 - Combat Revisit

Post by Optera » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:59 am

I think the problem with turret creep is having no player weapon that's efficient against biter until endgame destroyer capsules.

SMG is chewing through more than a full stack of ammo before felling a single behemoth
Combat shotgun slows you down too much
Rockets are rather expensive, but penetration doesn't seem to do much imo
personal laser defense is a joke
discharge defense is as useless as farting in their general direction
the recently buffed flamethrower is fun, but still takes ages to burn through biters

The only remaining weapon are capsules. Most of them are situational and seem in line with hand held weapons except fully upgraded destroyer.
The jump from using any weapon to 20+ destroyer capsules is massive. They chew through behemoths like nothing, don't slow you down so you can circle them infinity without taking damage. This makes destroyers the only viable way to do endgame combat, unless you are a masochist.

Turret creep on the other hand is a reliable way to clean out biters from start to endgame. No matter how much turrets get nerfed by initial cooldown after deployment, which i do think is a great idea, turret creep will persist. The safe zone provided by turrets is something no other combat method provides and they do more damage than any other weapon, as they should.
Turret creep can be nerfed to be slower, but will never stop being the go-to method unless player weapons become useful.

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