Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

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Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by The Phoenixian » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:57 am

So I had no idea whether to put this in suggestions or balancing... Since it's a solution to a problem rather than a problem to discuss, I'll put it here.

Of all defenses, laser turrets are the only ones that do not require any significant form of upkeep. Walls are repaired, Mines are replaced, Guns are reloaded but lasers... are just powered.

That would be acceptable in a vacuum but one of the problems with fighting in Factorio at present is that any one defense is enough to protect your base if you use enough of it. The only defense that isn't totally true of right now is landmines. And then only because "Enough Landmines" is fairly variable based on each swarm.

I expect a lot of this can be solved just by adding more enemy types with their own resistances and immunities but for laser turrets in particular, there's a simple solution that might work right now.

If Laser turrets have a cooldown period right after each time they kill an enemy (such that it takes a moment before they can target a new enemy) then, because turrets tend to focus fire, any pure laser based defense would eventually hit the point where adding more lasers had a negligible effect on the rate at which one could kill enemies. If Lasers have a (ridiculously long) cooldown time of one second, then a swarm of 30 biters will take the better part of a minute to kill, only reduced by the number of fresh turrets that get into range after a biter has already died.

At this point, it becomes more economical to mix or replace lasers with other defenses that have an ongoing resource cost. A bank of gun turrets with an ammo feed might entirely replace a laser bank, and landmines could be placed outside of the lasers' range to thin the enemy ranks beforehand.
The greatest gulf that we must leap is the gulf between each other's assumptions and conceptions. To argue fairly, we must reach consensus on the meanings and values of basic principles. -Thereisnosaurus

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by doulos05 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:25 am

I like that too. I suggest that lasers become slow-firing, one-hit-wonders. If they take a second, or even 2 seconds to charge but they instantly kill anything they hit, then they aren't viable by themselves, especially against swarms of smaller biters. This would be even better with intelligent targeting where the lasers would work from largest to smallest target and guns would work in reverse, but even if you couldn't figure that out, it would still be an interesting system.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by SHiRKiT » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:35 pm

While this is a good idea, since Walls are there to tank your base, you can pretty much build clusters laser turrets and never build any walls in vanilla. The game maybe should maintain this, but allow mods to do those things.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by cpy » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:54 pm

Heavy slow damage laser turrets sounds fun. Gun turrets might be useful once again :D

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by Turtle » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:41 am

IMHO, this would only encourage people to pile up more laser turrets per area.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by The Phoenixian » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:01 am

Turtle wrote:IMHO, this would only encourage people to pile up more laser turrets per area.
How so? I heard a couple comments like this when I was talking about it on the IRC and I'd be curious to know exactly what you think would lead to that result.
The greatest gulf that we must leap is the gulf between each other's assumptions and conceptions. To argue fairly, we must reach consensus on the meanings and values of basic principles. -Thereisnosaurus

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by Turtle » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:23 am

The Phoenixian wrote:
Turtle wrote:IMHO, this would only encourage people to pile up more laser turrets per area.
How so? I heard a couple comments like this when I was talking about it on the IRC and I'd be curious to know exactly what you think would lead to that result.
Let's say someone likes to put 3 laser turrets per electric pole surrounding their base. If you put a shooting speed limit and 3 turrets isn't enough, they'll just add 3 more turrets, for a total of 6 laser turrets per pole. Why would that person bother with trying to supply ammo to gun turrets then? It's not worth the cost/trouble. I honestly don't believe the effectiveness of laser turrets is the issue here. It's the hassle of delivering ammo to gun turrets that makes them not worth the trouble.

I had a base surrounded by gun turrets with a belt surrounding the entire base delivering ammo to them before. Sure, it was fun setting it up the first time around and they were effective. But in my next game, and subsequent games, I didn't wanna deal with the hassle.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by Hazard » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:09 pm

Gun turrents can prove viable for late game use only if they automatically link up with the logistics network (so you don't have to babysit their supply) and they do more than crap damage against the big biters.

This is because with some care and expense you can pile on the solar panels and accumulators necessary to run a full factory perimeter lined with double thickness walls, triple thickness laser turrets and the supply chain necessary to supply the defenses with the needed repair modules and replacements for damaged and destroyed walls and turrets for the day and night even when they are constantly engaged.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by micomico » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:16 pm

I don't know what you guys are talking about. My gun turrets can dispatch biters so much faster than the laser turrets and with more style to boot. The only "downsides" are that you have to supply them and that they let the biters come a little closer to your walls. If you use the logistic network for the supply, then... They also have an upside which is no power usage. Reading this again, the second downside for the gun turrets is actually an upside, because you can watch the carnage with more detail.

This is with all the research done, both for laser and gun turrets. Can't really say anything without all the research, because I didn't test it.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by The Phoenixian » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:58 pm

Turtle wrote:
The Phoenixian wrote:
Turtle wrote:IMHO, this would only encourage people to pile up more laser turrets per area.
How so? I heard a couple comments like this when I was talking about it on the IRC and I'd be curious to know exactly what you think would lead to that result.
Let's say someone likes to put 3 laser turrets per electric pole surrounding their base. If you put a shooting speed limit and 3 turrets isn't enough, they'll just add 3 more turrets, for a total of 6 laser turrets per pole. Why would that person bother with trying to supply ammo to gun turrets then? It's not worth the cost/trouble. I honestly don't believe the effectiveness of laser turrets is the issue here. It's the hassle of delivering ammo to gun turrets that makes them not worth the trouble.

I had a base surrounded by gun turrets with a belt surrounding the entire base delivering ammo to them before. Sure, it was fun setting it up the first time around and they were effective. But in my next game, and subsequent games, I didn't wanna deal with the hassle.
Aha. I should note that what I'm proposing is NOT a limit on the lasers' firing speed but rather on their targeting speed. The idea is that this is a limit designed such that rather than both damage per second and kills per second scaling linearly with the number of laser turrets as it does now damage per second will still scale but kills per second will have a flat upper limit which you will need the addition of other defenses to deal with.

Instead of firing blaster bolts as it does now, imagine the laser working a bit more like a real world laser or a (somewhat modified) C&C obelisk of light. Once it fires upon an enemy it can hold the beam as long as it needs for the thing to die but it needs a cooldown period after the shot. (Or a warmup period beforehand if you think that makes more sense.)
The greatest gulf that we must leap is the gulf between each other's assumptions and conceptions. To argue fairly, we must reach consensus on the meanings and values of basic principles. -Thereisnosaurus

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by Turtle » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:39 am

That still doesn't matter. I can put laser towers 5 deep with small electrical poles and 7 deep with medium electrical poles. Does it cost more? I dunno, how much would it cost in materials, time, and effort to put belts around your entire base and continuously using up ammo? It's not worth it unless you severely nerf laser turrets. But then they would be considered "broken" at that point and no one would use them. Though I'm all for encouraging mixed defenses, the convenience is just too good for laser turrets. There has to be changes in not just the turrets, but power usage. My factories are at like 2% electricity capacity during the day because I need that many solar panels to charge enough accumulators to make it through the night. So the electricity usage spikes mean nothing.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by AartBluestoke » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:17 am

i think the issue here is that it costs nothing to overbuild your electric power supply, as lasers, when engaged, can easily consume more power than the rest of the base together.
This combined with the low idle cost means that a large amount of static defence has no upkeep, *and* minimal cost to fire.

What if lasers had a drain of 30% of full power? that would mean that many idle lasers is not a viable solution. At 1% drain building them is an once-off cost, and maintenance of several hundred is not a significant energy cost, as 1 firing laser uses as much power as 100 idle, leading to a defence protocol of 'lasers everywhere'. if each had an idle consumption of 200kw (600kw is full power) then you would think twice before deploying a double thick ring around your entire base, as the 50gw power to maintain that would be prohibitive.

This way the tradeoff becomes replace ammo when used in combat (guns) vs continual energy supply, even when not engaged.

Then lasers are best at choke points where they will be firing a high percent of the time, but at other places guns become better.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by boro » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:27 am

AartBluestoke wrote:i think the issue here is that it costs nothing to overbuild your electric power supply, as lasers, when engaged, can easily consume more power than the rest of the base together.
This combined with the low idle cost means that a large amount of static defence has no upkeep, *and* minimal cost to fire.

What if lasers had a drain of 30% of full power? that would mean that many idle lasers is not a viable solution. At 1% drain building them is an once-off cost, and maintenance of several hundred is not a significant energy cost, as 1 firing laser uses as much power as 100 idle, leading to a defence protocol of 'lasers everywhere'. if each had an idle consumption of 200kw (600kw is full power) then you would think twice before deploying a double thick ring around your entire base, as the 50gw power to maintain that would be prohibitive.

This way the tradeoff becomes replace ammo when used in combat (guns) vs continual energy supply, even when not engaged.

Then lasers are best at choke points where they will be firing a high percent of the time, but at other places guns become better.
I agree with this.
In my opinion laser turrets should be the turret of choice for outposts and chokepoints, but not for the turretwall around the main base. To get to this scenario the power upkeep for laser turrets must get a lot higher when idle and gun turrets should get a significant upgrade against big biters. Not because the gun turret's damage output/second is too low (cause it isn't), but the amount of used materials is too high.

I tried luring all biters from a very big base to my turrets (mostly big biters), to compare fully upgraded gun turrets vs laser turrets. Given that you can provide AP bullets fast enough, the gun turrets mowed them down better. But they did consume 450 AP bullets which means 2250 copper and 2250 iron. That could be like the total expectancy of 2 placed miner drills (with low richness setting), for just one big attack.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by The Phoenixian » Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:40 pm

Turtle wrote:That still doesn't matter. I can put laser towers 5 deep with small electrical poles and 7 deep with medium electrical poles. Does it cost more? I dunno, how much would it cost in materials, time, and effort to put belts around your entire base and continuously using up ammo? It's not worth it unless you severely nerf laser turrets. But then they would be considered "broken" at that point and no one would use them. Though I'm all for encouraging mixed defenses, the convenience is just too good for laser turrets. There has to be changes in not just the turrets, but power usage. My factories are at like 2% electricity capacity during the day because I need that many solar panels to charge enough accumulators to make it through the night. So the electricity usage spikes mean nothing.
The thing is, even if you have that 7x7 bank, or multiple such, all the lasers will tend fire at the same target. Which means that regardless of how fast the target dies the lasers will stop firing at the same time and need to cool down for a set amount of time and, more likely than not, they will all do that together.

I cannot see into your head so if you're thinking of some occurance within the propsed mechanics please state it in detail but for now I am forced to assume you're not seeing what I'm saying and have been hearing me propose a completely different system instead.
The greatest gulf that we must leap is the gulf between each other's assumptions and conceptions. To argue fairly, we must reach consensus on the meanings and values of basic principles. -Thereisnosaurus

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by Calico » Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:00 pm

Can't we just wait for the combat update in a few months? Discussing balance is a good thing, but futile with the likely "big" (aka tanksized big) changes not far behind multiplayer.

Or just go on talking about a balance that might be obsolete in 2-4 months anyway.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by Turtle » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:01 pm

The Phoenixian wrote:
Turtle wrote:That still doesn't matter. I can put laser towers 5 deep with small electrical poles and 7 deep with medium electrical poles. Does it cost more? I dunno, how much would it cost in materials, time, and effort to put belts around your entire base and continuously using up ammo? It's not worth it unless you severely nerf laser turrets. But then they would be considered "broken" at that point and no one would use them. Though I'm all for encouraging mixed defenses, the convenience is just too good for laser turrets. There has to be changes in not just the turrets, but power usage. My factories are at like 2% electricity capacity during the day because I need that many solar panels to charge enough accumulators to make it through the night. So the electricity usage spikes mean nothing.
The thing is, even if you have that 7x7 bank, or multiple such, all the lasers will tend fire at the same target. <SNIP>
Laser turrets do not keep firing when it calculates that the laser that are "on route" to the target will kill it. So let's say I line up 5 laser turrets, 2 deep for a total of 10 turrets. Now let's say, for example, one shot will kill a small biter. If 10 small biters come, each laser will target one small biter, basically one-shotting the entire attack.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by Turtle » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:07 pm

Calico wrote:Can't we just wait for the combat update in a few months? Discussing balance is a good thing, but futile with the likely "big" (aka tanksized big) changes not far behind multiplayer.

Or just go on talking about a balance that might be obsolete in 2-4 months anyway.
That's how I feel. Stupid me for some reason thought the fight revisit in the roadmap was scheduled for 0.11.

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Re: Laser turret cooldown to encourage defenses to be mixed

Post by The Phoenixian » Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:48 pm

Turtle wrote:
The Phoenixian wrote:
Turtle wrote:That still doesn't matter. I can put laser towers 5 deep with small electrical poles and 7 deep with medium electrical poles. Does it cost more? I dunno, how much would it cost in materials, time, and effort to put belts around your entire base and continuously using up ammo? It's not worth it unless you severely nerf laser turrets. But then they would be considered "broken" at that point and no one would use them. Though I'm all for encouraging mixed defenses, the convenience is just too good for laser turrets. There has to be changes in not just the turrets, but power usage. My factories are at like 2% electricity capacity during the day because I need that many solar panels to charge enough accumulators to make it through the night. So the electricity usage spikes mean nothing.
The thing is, even if you have that 7x7 bank, or multiple such, all the lasers will tend fire at the same target. <SNIP>
Laser turrets do not keep firing when it calculates that the laser that are "on route" to the target will kill it. So let's say I line up 5 laser turrets, 2 deep for a total of 10 turrets. Now let's say, for example, one shot will kill a small biter. If 10 small biters come, each laser will target one small biter, basically one-shotting the entire attack.
Okay thank you for the explaination, it helps. Yeah, math shows that it hold up for medium and big biters too (max of 14 damage per shot vs a health bar of 375hp means ~26 turrets needed for a one shot each per kill)
The greatest gulf that we must leap is the gulf between each other's assumptions and conceptions. To argue fairly, we must reach consensus on the meanings and values of basic principles. -Thereisnosaurus

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