Time is Score, friend.. (Current Status: 10th Oct)

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at scoring, numbers, and possible tweaks to it to help reflect the ‘difficulty’ of constructing things.

Currently, score is based entirely off resource costs, the amount of Metal / Mineral required to construct a unit, in basically a 1:1 score ratio. You use 30 metal and 30 mineral to create a unit, you’ll get the score of 30 metal, 30 mineral and a multiplier dependant on the type of unit being created (1x for Soldiers, 2x for Structures, 3x for Ships). The one thing that the score doesn’t consider, however, is ‘difficulty’ to build. Some structures and ships require a large amount of population, and / or a considerable number of turns.

The effect of this can be seen elsewhere, combat uses the units score as a basis for how powerful a ship is (while effectiveness against other ships uses various weighting calculations, overall, they resolve to their score).

Battleships, for example, require 26 turns, and 300,000 population to build (outside their general resource costs), but basing their performance only on the metal / mineral requirement of the ships has left them feeling slightly underwhelming… As a very simple example…

Currently Fighters are exceptionally weak against battleships, with only about 20% effectiveness against them (which is actually the 2nd weakest units vs unit in the game). Each fighter will individually do 4081 damage to a Battleship. Battleships have 14400000 armour, so it would take 3529 fighters to kill a Battleship. But lets take a look at the resource costs… To create 3529 fighters, it’ll cost you 7,058,000 metal (Score of 28,232,000), compared to the single Battleships 600,000 metal and 400,000 mineral (Score of 4,800,000).

On the flip side, battleships have an above average performance against fighters at about 160% effectiveness (Only 7 other of the 49 combinations of Unit vs Unit have a higher effectiveness), but a single battleship will only kill 960 (7,680,000 resource score) fighters during combat.

So where’s the problem? Looks completely reasonable on-paper, you require almost six times the resource cost of fighters to kill a battleship, and will wipe out over 30% of the fleet on the first turn.

So here’s where time, and population come into effect. Assume, if you would, you have exactly 300,000 population, the required number to build a battleship, and you have 26 turns available. You can construct 6 batches of fighters in that time, with the maximum size of the batches being 600 fighters. Assuming you’re constantly streaming fighters out at the maximum possible speed (remembering you can do this from multiple planets simultaneously), it would be possible to create 3600 fighters, in the same amount of time it takes to build 1 battleship, this is enough to kill the battleship, and leave with a huge chunk of the fighter fleet in-tact. In fact, it would only need 8 more turns (and, admittedly, 1.9 million metal), to make that fleet Battleship killing ready again, but it’s very possible to ‘swarm’ fleets with, which would be amazingly effective.

So, what we gonna do about it?

Well, primarily, all scores are going to get a bit of an overhaul (this will lead to some much larger numbers overall). The Worker cost will now be factored into the score of a unit, it’s an easy, and obvious change. That’ll change BTS from 14.4m to 15.3m base. In addition we’re going to be looking into algorithms to find a way to factor in the time. The first attempt will be Turns/2 as a multiplier (this will apply to all units, and structures). Initial tests for this have left BTS in an interesting position, the number of fighters required to destroy one has gone up substantially, and they will decimate fighters they come up against (they’re a powerhouse in this area now), while at the same time, hasn’t massively changed the ships they’re generally weaker too (may require a couple more in some instances). There will likely be a small amount of tuning going on over time and during testing. I’ll be running a pre-alpha with the new figures hopefully by the weekend, where this can be given a test drive. Keep an eye on the discord for details.

Until next time, number crunching makes my head hurt.

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