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Re: [2.6] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:59 pm
by soundnfury
I've finished my first balancing pass (I've been calculating lots of combat odds tables) and released version 2.6-0.3. Besides lots of unit strength changes, the biggest change in this version is that most bomber-ish units now use Bombarder attacks. The ones that don't are either Attackers (which don't have OneAttack flag, so they're hard to catch with fighters) or antishipping units (TBs, PBs etc., which are the only way to kill sea units).

Though when freeciv3.0 comes out, I'll be changing a lot of units to use Combat_Rounds instead of bombard — in fact Combat_Rounds opens up quite a lot of possibilities for Aviation :)

XYZ wrote:Tech tree looks nice! Looking forward to see some actual game footage!

Well, for that I'll need someone to volunteer to play it, since the rules completely blow the poor AI's mind... I don't think I ever saw it build a plane, which seems like it's missing the point a little :P

Re: [2.6] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 12:37 pm
by louis94
So let me share my first impressions on the strategy:

  • Settlers costing 1 and creating cities at size 2 means that early growth is very exponential. You get 3 worked tiles by spending just one. The best early game strategy is max tax and build as many settlers as possible.
  • Early attacks are impossible due to the lack of fast units that can take cities. This renders the all-settlers strategy pretty much risk-free. The one with the best starting location wins because he can pump more settlers.
  • Rapture growth in demo makes the strategy even more attractive. Without granaries other govs are doomed (and even granaries wouldn't allow as fast growth as demo).
  • Attacks only become reasonable with bombers and transports+gliders/paras, yet paras are weak so securing a conquered city takes a long time (or you have to plan your attack well in advance and hope that there's no scout).
  • What you get from the early tech tree is pretty much useless so better focus on growth.

Maybe there could be early units with more MP, but their mobility would get smaller when any player researches some tech. This would mimic the ever-growing plane speed (though in this case land units should also get faster: motorized infantry should be faster than pre-ww1 soldiers).

Re: [2.6] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 1:15 pm
by Caedo
Something I noticed was that, with default settings, the research rate in the beginning far exceeds any possible production rate. That is to say, unless you're going for lots of gold to buy stuff and less research, most of the earlier parts of the tech tree are completely irrelevant. Maybe changing the ruleset's base tech cost (or the default sciencebox setting) could be sensible.
(Granted, my strategy of "go for as much science as possible, as quickly as possible" is probably not the best strategy anyways.)

Re: [2.6] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:21 pm
by soundnfury
louis94 wrote:So let me share my first impressions on the strategy:

Thank you for these, they're very useful. And thank you for the test game :)

Settlers costing 1 and creating cities at size 2 means that early growth is very exponential. You get 3 worked tiles by spending just one. The best early game strategy is max tax and build as many settlers as possible.

Yes; I think the effect I was after with that (civs don't meet while still unrealistically small for 1900) would be better achieved by having more starting settlers, rather than creating cities at size 2.

Early attacks are impossible due to the lack of fast units that can take cities. This renders the all-settlers strategy pretty much risk-free. The one with the best starting location wins because he can pump more settlers.

Perhaps this could be solved by having a unit, available from the start, that can ride on Landing Craft but is weaker than the later gliderborne/para units. And creating a distinction between (weak) WW1 Troops and a later, stronger version, so that the weak waterborne troops pose a meaningful threat early on — although attempting to invade someone who has built defensive units, if you don't have the advantages of air-power, should, thematically, lead to static trench warfare.

Rapture growth in demo makes the strategy even more attractive. Without granaries other govs are doomed (and even granaries wouldn't allow as fast growth as demo).

The other govs are really only meant to be useful for a developed civ waging a war (especially an aggressive war) later in the game. Germany was already an industrial powerhouse in 1933 when the fascists took power, and Russia at the time of the communist revolution had a large (albeit mostly agrarian) population. And neither enjoyed much in the way of population growth — Germany had "more guns and less butter", while the failures of Russian agricultural collectivisation caused mass starvation. So if possible both govs should be balanced by other advantages rather than giving them rapture, for thematic reasons; suggestions are welcome. (I could perhaps reduce foodbox sizes, so that growth is quicker when you do have a surplus, or otherwise reduce the value of rapture e.g. by increasing Rapture_Grow to require more rapturing turns per growth.)

Attacks only become reasonable with bombers and transports+gliders/paras, yet paras are weak so securing a conquered city takes a long time (or you have to plan your attack well in advance and hope that there's no scout).

I'm considering moving gliders and paras earlier, to Twenties tech, as currently it takes rather too long to get to the 'viable war' phase of the game. Paras are intentionally weak at securing conquered territory (this is thematic); gliderborne troops are a little stronger (especially as they can bring light artillery in the form of the Assault Gun), but it's supposed to take a somewhat heroic effort to hold onto gains (consider such historical examples as Operation Market Garden, where the airborne "Market" force captured the bridge at Arnhem but were unable to hold out long enough for the delayed "Garden" ground force to relieve them).

What you get from the early tech tree is pretty much useless so better focus on growth.

Well, it's not completely useless (recon hath its privileges), but I agree that (say) the difference between 1915 and 1917 aircraft isn't going to make much difference in a ground war. On the other hand, you do have to research your way through that eventually in order to get to the airborne assault techs, and if your opponent has got them, you'd better hope you've got good enough fighters to prevent him gaining air supremacy or his bombers and airborne assault brigades will chew you up. So there's a kind of chicken strategy in terms of how long you wait before starting to tech up.


Caedo wrote:Something I noticed was that, with default settings, the research rate in the beginning far exceeds any possible production rate. That is to say, unless you're going for lots of gold to buy stuff and less research, most of the earlier parts of the tech tree are completely irrelevant. Maybe changing the ruleset's base tech cost (or the default sciencebox setting) could be sensible.

Yep, I'd been considering that, but haven't come to a decision yet. I think part of the problem is the narrowness of the early tech tree.
I was trying to time things so that techs would tend to be reached in about the correct game year, but that's probably a fool's errand and I should focus on gameplay consequences instead.

(Granted, my strategy of "go for as much science as possible, as quickly as possible" is probably not the best strategy anyways.)

Yeah, as louis94 said, the early techs aren't greatly useful. (Fwiw, my instincts in civ-like games are towards the same strategy as yours.)

Re: [3.0] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Sat May 02, 2020 6:52 am
by soundnfury
I've ported to 3.0, and gone Combat_Rounds_Mad! There are now no bombarding air units — every aircraft, whether fighter or bomber, has Combat_Rounds; fighters and attackers have quite small CR values because attacking doesn't end their turn.
I've also addressed some of the other feedback and issues from the first playtest:
  • Settlers can no longer Found City while transported.
  • Tech costs have been altered; the early tree is now slower and the late tree is faster than with the Classic-generated values.
  • Settler city_size is now 1.
  • Added a Marines unit, available from the start, which can be carried on Landing Craft, meaning defence can't be completely neglected prior to gliders/paras. (But Marines are weak, so one Troops is probably enough to keep them out.)
  • Foodbox retains 30% on city size change, reducing the gap between democratic rapture and other governments.
  • Gliders and paras moved one step earlier; their techs now depend on Twenties Airlift (rather than Thirties Airlift).
  • Paratroops can no longer attack from inside transports.
  • Terrain improvements are quicker to build (the build times are generally reduced by a factor of around 0.6) to account for Seabees only having one move point (unlike classic Engineers, which have two).

I also added a Zeppelin Liner unit which is a lower-tech (slow!) Airliner, for establishing trade routes. Because I felt the lighter-than-air line needed to be more enticing.

See the 3.0 branch on github or download the modpack from my website.

Re: [3.0] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Sat May 02, 2020 8:57 am
by XYZ
Can you post here some game screenshots? Just that ppl get an idea of your ruleset with new units on a glance.

Re: [3.0] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Sat May 02, 2020 10:21 am
by soundnfury
XYZ wrote:Can you post here some game screenshots? Just that ppl get an idea of your ruleset with new units on a glance.

Sadly I forgot to grab any screenshots during the 2.6 game, but I just loaded it up, picked louis94's side ('cos he had a lot more planes than me at the end) and shuffled a few units about to make them visible.
louised.jpg

Though tbh if it's the units you want to see, the majority of them are in fairlined.png:
Image

Re: [3.0] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Sat May 02, 2020 11:55 am
by XYZ
Thanks! Have you thought about imposing your ruleset on the Europe 1900 scenario?

http://forum.freeciv.org/f/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1994&p=6526&hilit=europe#p6526

With cities and everything in place, it would fit well into the timeline with great areal battle potential.

Re: [3.0] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 5:07 am
by soundnfury
Well, it turned out that the way I'd done things with attack actionenablers caused rather overzealous stackprotect, making war basically impossible. (I've submitted a feature request for a way to deal with that.) So I've worked around it for now by going back to targets/Unreachable, meaning that air units in cities/bases can still be bombed if they're the best defender in the stack.

I've also fixed/improved a bunch of other stuff, such as hand-coding all the tech costs (as the generator formulae do a few things I don't like), adding some buildings and wonders, and extending the tech tree out another level to the 1960s (Yes, We Have Harriers Now). Various balance tweaks have been made, such as buffs to the (technologically dead-end) triplanes.

fc-aviation 3.0-0.4 is tagged and bagged.

Also, because there are such a lot of planes, many of which look kinda similar (and it's impossible to remember all their stats), I've made a big recognition chart with all of them on it. (Haven't got around to making a chart with the land and sea units yet; patience grasshopper…)

XYZ wrote:Thanks! Have you thought about imposing your ruleset on the Europe 1900 scenario?

That certainly looks like a fun thing to do at some point, but I really need to make sure the ruleset as a whole is working properly and plays well before I start on a project like that.

Re: [3.0] Aviation ruleset

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:49 am
by soundnfury
Lots of progress up to the freshly released fc-aviation 3.0-0.6 (mpdl). Some highlights:

  • Submersibles can now surface (via convert_to); while on the surface, they get 2 move points instead of 1, and (after the invention of Autogyro) additional vision range, but they're not stealthy and have a weaker attack.
  • Most light bombers (but not the Twin) are now carrier-capable.
  • The new Merchant Ship unit is cheap to build and can Enter Marketplace for one-time trade revenue, but not establish trade routes. Still, it yields rather more gold than building coinage, plus earns science (on international trade only). So now sea control and sea denial can make a huge difference to your economy.
  • Several new buildings and wonders, like the Marshalling Yard (extra outputs from tiles with railways) and land/sea/air staff colleges (increase chance to gain veteran levels after combat).
  • A Fascist government that has built the great-wonder Yasukuni Shrine can now build the Kamikaze unit, a powerful anti-shipping plane that costs 1 population and is destroyed after attacking.
  • And of course lots of bug-fixes, balance tweaks, and art additions (we're now down to just 9 of the two-letter unit placeholders).

As well as the aircraft recog chart (updated with all the latest planes), I've now also made a chart of the land and sea units in the mod:
Image

Why not give Aviation a try today? ;)