Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

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hoosh
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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by hoosh » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:45 pm

While i agree that turret creep is to easy for what it is (although i play aggressive and go through many many repair packs) i don't think nerfing that strategy is the answer. I like that they are looking at improving other weapon options.

In a world where i can use belts, or trains, or bots to build things effectively, I think i should be able to use personal equipment, vehicles, or robots(turret creep) to be able vanquish my foes.

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by LemonyFresh » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:49 pm

If I were designing this game, it would be clear to me that turret creep is a problem for combat balance. I would like to add my voice to the "long turret warmup" camp.

A) Turrets (especially laser) are by far the most effective weapon for both offense and defense. In reality, nothing even comes close in power, and skilled players will always gravitate towards the most powerful option. I could go into the reasons, but anyone who's done turret creep with blueprints/construction bots knows that it's so remarkably easy and cost-effective that it makes all other options feel like a waste of effort and resources.

B) All the "miniaturized" technologies in the game (e.g. personal laser defense) become totally pointless once you realize that you can just carry around thousands of the full-scale version in your backpack and put them wherever you please almost instantly. The fact that you effectively have limitless firepower in your backpack just feels weird and unbalanced.

In all other RTS games worth their salt, stationary turrets are balanced by long build times, plus being actually stationary. In Factorio, they build instantly AND you can move them around very easily using construction bots. All of this, to me, clearly indicates that turrets need to have a long warmup time (at least 30 seconds after being placed) to be even remotely balanced. That way, players will actually want to explore the other military options in the game, particularly combat robots, and use them for attack. Turrets will still be greatly in need for defense, and even still for attack (as you can use them for forward outposts).

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by factoriouzr » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:07 am

Glitterspin wrote:I'm happy that some weapons are getting buffed, and that turrets are receiving an (indirect) nerf from the big worm buffs.

I still think that something like a setup time would make a lot of sense, especially for laser turrets. They already have a charge mechanic- maybe just slow down the rate at which they charge?

I played a game a couple days ago, where I went out with a buddy to kill biter bases. He used flamethrower, I used laser turrets and bots. The combination was super fun and interesting.


I see a lot of people requesting an overhaul to combat, but not a lot of concrete actionable suggestions.
Here's a couple, just to get the ball rolling.

1. "seasons"
I wish I remembered what mod this was from- but it had "passive season- biters won't attack." I think using a Endless Legend style summer/winter mechanic could work super well for this. If we're super frosty (lol), we could even make it so the maximum solar panel power during winter is lower, maybe 30 or 40 instead of 60. And/or shorter days and longer nights- I don't know how moddable the day/night cycle etc is, I only started playing recently :)

2. more health on biters, less biters, bigger behemoths. Longer spawn times.
Especially longer spawn times. I feel like biters that are harder to kill will definitely help make the game more interesitng.

3.more about anti-turret creep
someone suggested using zerg-style creep around biter bases to prevent turret creep. I love this idea! I also love that it provides a more natural reason to take out biter bases, since at some point creep would prevent expansion.

The suggestions are in the last (or the one before that) Friday facts. There are tons of them. Also there are bugs / ideas and suggestion posts about it :)

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Shadowcaster » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:19 am

I'm not sure if anyone here has played Fortresscraft Evolved or not. It's on steam and its based heavily on this game. The game uses voxel design similar to Minecraft but is effectively a 3-D version of Factorio spanning 1000's of blocks deep. The game features 4 Overminds that spawn flying wasps to attack a Central Power Hub whenever the player begins producing x number of "ingots" a minute or y number of Power per minute. Factorio already has this system with pollution and the evolution factor determines the strength of the attacks. In FCE a massive laser is charged 4 times to destroy the Overminds and stop the spawns. The Overminds can't be damaged in anyway othe rthan this method. My suggestion is to use a similar mechanic in which turrets can't target bases and a new set of turrets is developed with a specifically adapted ammo type that only shoots turrets. Say, gun turrets have the Anti infantry variant which is the current turret without the ability to shoot structures. Then there is the Gun Turret S which only targets structures. The player would be forced to quickly build a defense to fend off the attacking waves, but without a mix of both turret types the turrets would quickly be destroyed by worms. I would also suggest decreasing the range on the turrets so they can't be placed outside of a worm's attack range, or add a scaling research that increases the range of the turrets.

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Drury » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:32 am

hoosh wrote:While i agree that turret creep is to easy for what it is (although i play aggressive and go through many many repair packs) i don't think nerfing that strategy is the answer. I like that they are looking at improving other weapon options.

In a world where i can use belts, or trains, or bots to build things effectively, I think i should be able to use personal equipment, vehicles, or robots(turret creep) to be able vanquish my foes.
Problem is that turrets need to be strong in order to be useful for their primary purpose - defense.

And if you just buff all the other options to be just as powerful, it's going to be too easy.
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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by splid » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:42 am

The idea of an enhanced game mode with combat options is one I find very interesting but I have a direction I would certainly like to see it go :-)

I am not sure how prevalent it is but an old game I used to play utilised Art of Defence game modes, the idea being that as the game increased in duration the enemy became increasingly stronger. I realise that this is partly what was described in the post however factorio is a game that can be expanded to ridiculous proportions as any image of a mega base shows..

I'd love to see a map with a fixed spawning direction and this general principle, but on steroids. Waves of behemoths 300 strong with ridiculous HP and resistances to lazorz and damage to match. With the upcoming changes to the research tree, maybe Turret shooting speed level 20 would not be such a bad upgrade :-)

Call me crazy, maybe I just want to put a line of 100 laser turrets long and 10 deep down and them to mow down 10000 behemoths >.<

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by IronCartographer » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:46 am

Marconos wrote:I really like these changes but something that may be getting over looked is a more difficult change for those that enjoy the harder combat.

My suggestion here is to modify the startup, so players can "dial in" the difficulty in the biters that they have. The current density setting could be used just also increase the health / resistance of the biters as the player increase the biter difficulty.

To me this is a nice way to let players have what they want and allow players who want it really easy to turn it down while others turn it up.
Enemies that look the same but are different difficulties goes against the spirit of the vanilla game's minimalism and determinism. More varieties would be fine, as long as they were visually distinct.
LemonyFresh wrote:In all other RTS games worth their salt, stationary turrets are balanced by long build times, plus being actually stationary. In Factorio, they build instantly AND you can move them around very easily using construction bots. All of this, to me, clearly indicates that turrets need to have a long warmup time (at least 30 seconds after being placed) to be even remotely balanced. That way, players will actually want to explore the other military options in the game, particularly combat robots, and use them for attack. Turrets will still be greatly in need for defense, and even still for attack (as you can use them for forward outposts).
Maintaining electrical connectivity and cleaning up the mess of wiring after the fact are reasons enough to avoid using laser turret creep in late-game. It's already faster to use destroyer bots with distractors to soak up worm damage. We should see plenty of more pleasant options in 0.15 without causing weird inconsistencies where assemblers work instantly but lasers don't.
Shadowcaster wrote:My suggestion is to use a similar mechanic in which turrets can't target bases and a new set of turrets is developed with a specifically adapted ammo type that only shoots turrets. Say, gun turrets have the Anti infantry variant which is the current turret without the ability to shoot structures. Then there is the Gun Turret S which only targets structures. The player would be forced to quickly build a defense to fend off the attacking waves, but without a mix of both turret types the turrets would quickly be destroyed by worms. I would also suggest decreasing the range on the turrets so they can't be placed outside of a worm's attack range, or add a scaling research that increases the range of the turrets.
I agree. Preventing regular turrets from deliberately targeting spawners would strike a good balance, and even introduce some desirable behavior in some cases...

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Kaldo » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:42 am

If I may offer a "simple" solution to clearing out biter nests in the late game, that makes it fun, intuitive while also resource/investment heavy:

Modular awesome tank behemots, like this: http://i.imgur.com/2ITNMTr.jpg

But with a grid like we have for power armor - let us put shield and power generators, drones (logistic and combat ones), static discharges, custom weapons, automatic laser defenses, mine deployment attchment, portable long range scanner / radar, wood harvester, stuff like that on it. Whatever you can think of, or that the player can use in his suit, should be attachable to the tank.

Make it run on special expensive fuel, or make it so we have to recharge them at our base... anything really, and it's a cost I'm willing to pay as long as I can just run over dozens of biters and blow their nests up with a huge gun strapped to this machine of war.

I'd never use turret creep again if I could have a proper powerful practically indestructible tank in the game. Everyone wins! Well except for the biters.

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Bi0nicM4n » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:58 am

I welcome pretty much all these changes, and I agree that making combat more viable is the best way to counteract turret creeping. Even now I rarely ever use it (it's better to unload destroyers when they become available). However, considering the upgraded weaponry, was nerfing Behemoths really needed?

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Commander Gizmo » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:29 am

I don't really get the whole turret creep problem. I haven't needed to build a wall or turret at all since my third game. I simply use
combinators and power switches to only power the equipment that needs to run
and my pollution never spreads far enough to touch the bugs. I then just upgrade straight to tanks and smash them in complete safety if they get closer than comfortable. Of course, by late game I can just walk into the middle of the base and use
cluster grenades and the flame thrower
with impunity.

To me the real issue is the balance of pollution vs evolution rate. Early game pollution is too easy to control, while late game the evolution factor seems to accelerate wildly for no apparent reason. And either way they simply don't pose much more than an annoying reason to keep up the pace of research. I also agree that it is a shame that the vehicles become utterly pointless once you have Power Armor. There just isn't any reason to get in to something the is slower than my own legs with less inventory, shielding, weaponry, and maneuverability. However, even if the vehicles were better than my own armor in some ways, finding the thing and getting into it would still be a pointless waste of effort since controlling the aliens is already so easy on foot.

What I'd really like to see is a massively expensive device that requires massive power to operate which, once completed and powered, emits a field that repels the aliens from wanting to approach. This accomplishes two things that I feel are really missing in this game:
  • 1) It relieves the monotony of the endless attack alarms once they become irrelevant late game.
    2) It offers a massive project with a lasting value and lasting requirements to keep running.
In my mind, this would involve placing a building which only serves as a foundation. Once built and placed, it would need to be fed a massive amount of resources during which the actual emitter would be constructed. Once the construction starts the device can no longer be mined and placed into a player's inventory. Once the full construction is completed, it must be fed with some material (such as perhaps alien samples, blue bottles, etc) and a large amount of electrical power. As long as it is kept running it would emit a repulsion field. Perhaps the field range might be tied to the rate at which you feed it the required resource, thus adding an additional and fun challenge that is presently missing from the game.

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Jarin » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:04 am

Regarding turret creep, I'll second what someone earlier suggested with the "mortar" worm, lobbing slow projectiles that priority-target structures.

Regarding weapon balance, I have only one comment. I REALLY think the rocket launcher should not be rapid fire. Instead of raising its RoF, just greatly increase its damage. Individual shots should matter, not just having another rapid-fire weapon with a different visual effect and ammo.

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Jarin » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:07 am

Kaldo wrote:If I may offer a "simple" solution to clearing out biter nests in the late game, that makes it fun, intuitive while also resource/investment heavy:

Modular awesome tank behemots, like this: http://i.imgur.com/2ITNMTr.jpg

But with a grid like we have for power armor - let us put shield and power generators, drones (logistic and combat ones), static discharges, custom weapons, automatic laser defenses, mine deployment attchment, portable long range scanner / radar, wood harvester, stuff like that on it. Whatever you can think of, or that the player can use in his suit, should be attachable to the tank.
Also this. I'm okay with good power armor outclassing a basic tank, but there really needs to be a tank that keeps up with your tech level and the modularity is a big part of that.

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by golfmiketango » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:31 am

I think the fundamental problem, often ignored, about turret creep in early-mid-game that makes it difficult to solve is this: offensive and defensive combat in factorio work the same way: killing. Specifically, biters are aggro'ed or not. Once they are aggro'ed, the only solution is to kill them or you will be killed and/or your factory will be destroyed.

Because of this, if at any point in the game, sufficient defensive power is available to the player to maintain a defensive perimeter at a certain level of effectiveness, then offensive power is equally available to turret-creepers, at the same level of effectiveness. The obvious way to change this would be to add some new dynamic to the mechanics of defensive detente in factorio, so that the effectiveness of turrets somehow decreases in offensive contexts. There is considerable room for creativity here.

Edit: I think FFF raises a valid question about whether preventing turret creep makes sense. It's not cheating; if people feel otherwise, this clearly represents a balancing problem. If the biter mechanics were somehow changed to make turret creeping more of an interesting logistical puzzle and less of a grind, then it would become an enjoyable and consistent aspect of gameplay and the stigma associated with it would (eventually) evaporate.

In post-game megabase scenarios, for example, I often employ laser creep because I don't feel like listening to biters whining and complaining about being killed. Long after you've "won" your war against the biters, figuring out ways to automate your peace and quiet while continuing to expand your dominion remains a moderately fun challenge. The only real problem is it's a bit too easy and the main difficulty you're likely to encounter is solved by placing more and more solar panels, which feels pretty grindy (but it seems 0.15 may solve that problem already).

One other thought: if a power-up time is added to turrets -- which seems like a fine idea, as the current mechanism of refusing to autofill turrets, aside from being annoying, is also largely defeatable, by learning how to use the hotbar for combat and building up some muscle memory -- can we please have munitions autofill in vanilla factorio?
MrGrim wrote:
psihius wrote:I would add to the balancing, that looking at defender, distractor and destroyer capsules is a good idea. Damage wise, probably not a whole lot of adjustment is needed, BUT, the deployment speed at top level (when you have 134 avaliable) is slowing down combat a lot regarding destroyer capsules. Distractor capsules maybe need a slight nudge - too much can be overkill. But anyway, it warrants a look.
Agreed. I don't use many mods, but for this reason I do use the Auto Deploy Destroyers mod. It works well, and you have to sacrifice a 2x2 part of your armor grid to use it. Manually managing destroyer count becomes fussy and annoying, especially by hour 2 of mass extermination. :D
+1! Because I'm in an "automate everything" mindset when I play factorio, any game element that makes me press the same button over and over like this (actually I think it suffices just to hold it down but I always forget this in the heat of combat) makes me want to find better solution. For now, this mod is the best one I've got -- I really like it, although there are a couple of minor nits I have about its lack of play-time configurability. I especially like the way it deploys the destroyers in pretty patterns if the player is stationary.

Edit #2:

One more thing :) I think the decision to remove cotton candy from the game threatens to further disincentivize offensive combat. Several decisions made in the early 0.13 era seem to have already significantly done so. I fear that in 0.15 the relationship between biters and players will result in further incentivizing an insular "big base with four walls" style of gameplay. I've tried unsuccessfully to take other approaches but they all eventually break down as the economics of maintaining multiple "towns" simply seem not to make sense until well into the megabase post-game. I really wish more thought/options could be put into resource/biter distribution so as to at least optionally change this dynamic.

For example, perhaps biter evolution could be less of a global phenomenon and more of a regional result of player activities? It makes little sense that if we leave our starting area at the beginning of the game, there is hardly a biter to be found, but if we go exploring in the late-game, no matter how far we go out into the boonies, it's an absolute death-world everywhere with huge worm-farms obstructing our progress hours away from any human activity (indeed, I suspect that biter bases are scaled up along with other resource spawns, so that the further you go from your starting location, the more ridiculously huge they get -- I think precisely the opposite should be the case, if anything).

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Drury » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:59 am

golfmiketango wrote:For example, perhaps biter evolution could be less of a global phenomenon and more of a regional result of player activities? It makes little sense that if we leave our starting area at the beginning of the game, there is hardly a biter to be found, but if we go exploring in the late-game, no matter how far we go out into the boonies, it's an absolute death-world everywhere with huge worm-farms obstructing our progress hours away from any human activity (indeed, I suspect that biter bases are scaled up along with other resource spawns, so that the further you go from your starting location, the more ridiculously huge they get -- I think precisely the opposite should be the case, if anything).
I think the idea is that ores fields further away from your base are richer, but the biters defending them are also more ruthless to offer a bit of a risk-reward scenario. In this sense the mechanic is fine, however I've got to admit I've never really felt the need to expand too much. Your base sorta organically grows to absorb ore fields as you go, you rarely need to actually set up distant outposts. This should be tweakable in the map generator, though.
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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Ninjadude501 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:04 am

One thing I'd love to see is the ability to set a different starter difficulty. Something that would make it harder at the beginning of the game, but not necessarily change anything later on. Perhaps starting with a blanket of pollution around the area or something of the sort so the biters start attacking almost immediately. Stuff like that. Because personally, I don't like how I'm not forced to constantly start over and over— or at least rush towards being able to make turrets.

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by hyspeed » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:16 am

Hi,

I _only_ turret creep - with ammo. I don't usually build walls, laser turrets, or capsules.

I agree that changes should be made. I'd love to have a reason to build the more complex / powerful military elements. But I'm going to take the most efficient path I have. If you want me (the player) to take a different path, either this path has to be less effective or more expensive than something else.

As for the comments and suggestions:

- A delay between "build and activation" is a good idea. Not between "detect and activate", just a cool-down after being built. It probably won't stop me from turrent creeping, only slow it down.

- Limiting the effectiveness of turrets against biter buildings would be great. If it were possible to just increase the armor on the base by a large number (e.g. 10?), would that make them less effective? I'm not sure there. I'm fine with having a building that is less effective against other buildings.

- Adding "creep" to the area around the biter base that prevents building within a range of the biter base is an idea I *love*. Thematically, I think it fits very well. I wouldn't think of myself as being cheated as long as the ground changes when the base is there and (gradually) changes back when the base is removed.

I need to make a comments on the evolution. When I first started playing the game, the evolution of the biters really scared me - to the point that I installed a mod that disabled the time based evolution. I felt like I was on a clock and i was being punished for not playing fast enough. I understood (and agreed) that they would evolve through my pollutions or my attacks. But if I hadn't been able to turn that portion of the evolution off, I probably would have stopped playing the game. It really took away from the fun that much. I think a strong argument could be made for removing this one piece of evolution from the game. I think it punishes me for playing slowly.

One final note: thank you for wanting our opinions.

thanks,
jon

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by pyhfol » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:09 am

Heyo,

I havent read all the comments but 'shower-thought' RE turret creep - in particular laser.

Considering the high electricity usage of lasers, it could be considered realistic if they were to require substations. If this was the case, there could then be tiered Subs to increase the maximum number of L-Turrets per Sub.

IE
Sub station T1 can provide enough electricity for maximum 2 laser turrets per area of effect
T2 - 4 Turrets
T3 - 8 Turrets
T4 - 12 Turrets

It would reduce the effectiveness of (laser) turret creep for early game.

Same could be applied to other buildings etc. To be honest I think substations having some form of capacity would be a real pain in the arse - but in a good way.

Ive seen mention of the warmup idea and think this is great also.

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by Stevepunk » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:24 am

I would like an option where biters do attack from the very beginning and slowly ramp up over time. And another option where it is possible to fall behind and lose.

As it is the combat is too boring because there is no challenge. Because exploration is not a focus of this game you need the action to come to you.

The alternative is to keep the same easy start but have more focus on exploration and things to discover.

Of course there should be options for noobs to have an easy start like 10 mins peace or be able to control the minimum base distance from the start zone.

Edit:
Also, if turret creeping with machine guns is nerfed is there al alternate way to deal with the largest worms before oil? Or have they been nerfed to only appear in the late game?

One game I played on hardest difficulty had the largest worms defending all of the oil and turret creeping with machine guns and AP ammo was the ONLY way to destroy them.

Also, turret creeping is not an endgame strategy anyway as several movement speed boosts, stacked shields and the AP shotgun massively out class the laser turrets anyway. The turrets only being useful for automated defence or for a player who has bitten off more than he can chew and needs to retreat.

Being that turret creeping is required in some midgame situations and is ineffective for the endgame I don't really see that nerfing it is a priority. But that's just my opinion based upon the last build. If the combat it radically rebalanced I'm open to changing it.

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by golfmiketango » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:39 am

hyspeed wrote:When I first started playing the game, the evolution of the biters really scared me - to the point that I installed a mod that disabled the time based evolution. I felt like I was on a clock and i was being punished for not playing fast enough. I understood (and agreed) that they would evolve through my pollutions or my attacks. But if I hadn't been able to turn that portion of the evolution off, I probably would have stopped playing the game. It really took away from the fun that much. I think a strong argument could be made for removing this one piece of evolution from the game. I think it punishes me for playing slowly.
+1 for this time issue. I hate it when I want to make experiments or screw around, and I feel I have to set my campaign aside and do such things in creative mode (or try them and then revert/time-travel using save-games).

This detracts from immersion. Punishing the player for things he did makes sense. Punishing the player for not doing things also makes sense. But it doesn't make sense to give the player the same punishment -- more biter evolution -- for both acting and not acting -- well I guess it does, if hero just happened to land on the planet at the very outset of some sort of invasive overpopulation crisis that has nothing to do with his intervention. But such events typically lead to catastrophic population failure as the invasive species eventually over-exploits and exhausts/destroys their prey or habitat. Biters have no such checks and balances, their biomass just increases and increases until it's downright silly.
hyspeed wrote: One final note: thank you for wanting our opinions.

+1 again! That makes me +2 for this post in total :)

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Re: Friday Facts #169 - Combat revisit 2

Post by TheDR » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:17 am

Here is a quite simple idea that would not only sort out turret creep, but also add challenge to late game defense systems.

When a biter dies, a biter corpse appears. At the moment they do nothing, but they could create a meaty shield that reduces the damage (by half or more?) of your defenses because the bullets have to pass through so much dead matter. Maybe a different sludgy sound effect could play to show you when the corpses are in the way. This addition would mean attacking a base with just turrets would become a dangerous option, as they could become quickly overwhelmed by the continuous stream of biters attacking.

To balance this, the biter corpses could be burnt away with a flame based weapons. This would also mean defending a base late game might require a flame turret at spots where there is continuous attack.

This idea doesn't make defending a base early to mid game any different, it adds more functionality to the flame weapons and it means the player has to be creative when turret creeping (maybe by attacking from multiple angles, or with the addition of flame).

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