Wasted terrain

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Wasted terrain

Postby NoQ » 28 Dec 2013, 20:26

Something i wanted to throw in, another thread regarding balance in map making.
For some reason, i have a feeling that current balance does not allow making good 1x1 maps.

(1) On every map, oils that naturally belong to each player are classified as either [o.1]"oils inside your base" or [o.2]"oils to fight for and protect outside the base". Lack of the former boosts rush strategies, lack of the latter boosts turtle strategies.

(2) Now, we traditionally put exactly 4 oils at the base. It fills up the generator, which looks good, and 8 oils, to fill two gens, seem to be too much for a base; not only due to balance reasons, but also because such concentration is unrealistic, and repeating derrick objects mess up the terrain beauty.

(3) We still expect to have around 8 or 10 derricks per player. It gives mostly just right amounts of units to every side: you can still control them, but already not bored. It also gives balance between production and research prices, forcing you to have neither labs nor factories reach the limit of 5 structures. Unlike purely aesthetic statements (1) and (2), this statement is a property of game balance only.

(4) This leaves us with 4 to 6 derricks to protect outside the base. But, due to reasons explained in (1), this is too much for the "outside" part.

This contradiction shows why i cannot make any good maps.
Some nice excuses do i come up with, huh?

So, in order to avoid the problem explained above, most maps have grey areas of wasted terrain. The "outside" oils are further classified into far oils [o.2a]"oils to fight for, which you can temporarily sacrifice if necessary, but then still stand up and reclaim them" and middle oils [o.2b]"oils that you cannot sacrifice, if you do, you are already dead". Oils of category [o.2b] are balance-wise indistinguishable from oils of category [o.1]. They form the wasted terrain: you are forced to draw them simply to have a balanced map, their only function is to add more base oils without placing them inside the base. They only annoy players who need to remember more oil positions and move trucks around to capture them, and annoy map makers who need to invent terrain to hold such useless stuff.

From that, i state a long-term (not for 3.1, of course) balance suggestion:

    Power output of oil derricks should be increased by around 25%.

So that we could have maps with 6--7 oils per player: four at the base, two or three to fight for in well-designed locations, so that you could still hold other outside oils if you lost one of them. For 12-oil 1x1 map, loosing one oil means staying at 5:7 disavantage (40%, should be possible to survive for a while), and loosing two oils means a 4:8 disadvantage (100%, already too much). For a 13-oil map, loosing two oils means 5:8 disadvantage, so giving up more than central oil is already extremely dangerous, but letting it be destroyed by a short-time harass (reaching 5:7) is not really a problem. For a fun game, you don't need to have 5 or 6 locations to protect, 2 or 3 is more than enough.
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Re: Wasted terrain

Postby Iluvalar » 29 Dec 2013, 19:30

huh... functions.txt is your friend ?

Your argument destroy itself. I totaly agree that a 25% increase in oil power would make balance for duel easier. You are right. But that also mean it would change the balance of all the previous maps.

There was no 2 map pack of NRS that had the exact same power setting btw. I considered that as a must to balance the oil power and research cost in each different maps...
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Re: Wasted terrain

Postby NoQ » 29 Dec 2013, 20:14

But that also mean it would change the balance of all the previous maps.
Yes sure. I don't mind discarding the ~3.5 balanced maps we now have if it means we can make better maps.

In fact we could make use of the "power level" switch for that (set it to high on new maps, and make new medium work like old high). Now we can even enforce the power levels (one of the three) in map.ini, which is quite close to "balance the oil power in each map" (not research cost, unfortunately).
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Re: Wasted terrain

Postby crab_ » 30 Dec 2013, 02:43

I agree with idea and all statements, but just 1 comment
NoQ wrote:(not for 3.1, of course)

I suggest implement this in 3.1.......
3.2 version is unbalanced itself because accuracy was changed. We have no clue what will happen in 3.2
I think "power level" should be implemented as property of map and shown somethere in start game UI.
So each player will see power level of each map. e.g. "power level +25%"

I have to remind you - we planned to change power system in 3.2, add cost to derricks etc.

Iluvalar wrote:There was no 2 map pack of NRS that had the exact same power setting btw. I considered that as a must to balance the oil power and research cost in each different maps...

What you think. May be research cost should be increased proportionally to number of players in team?
for example res_cost = res_cost * players_count / sqrt(players_count)
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Re: Wasted terrain

Postby Iluvalar » 30 Dec 2013, 06:19

crab_ wrote:for example res_cost = res_cost * players_count / sqrt(players_count)


Yes, exactly. Except I'm aware that x/x^.5 = x^(1-.5) = x^.5 :P

Also, i was fixing the base cost of the research as a fraction of the total oil in the team. I think it was 1/7 at the end. Each researches worth 1/7th of the team capacity in 1v1 and 1/14th in 4v4. (1/7th*sqrt(players_count))

But I was also talking also about my tendency to "cheat" on the power scaling. Each time I was making a pack. In such a way that the map is populated with enough units without creating traffic jam.

I was scaling up the power in low oil, and scaling down the power in high oil. I had not rules on that, it was purely a matter of taste. The same amount of oil could have 2 different scaling on different maps. Actualy it's the 21 tile per oil share rule that I was enforcing, by making sure the more relevant chokepoints are well populated.
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