Author Topic: Unit cost calculation formula modification  (Read 206 times)

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Offline tnevolin

Unit cost calculation formula modification
« on: December 03, 2019, 07:01:25 PM »
This is a separate post for unit cost calculation formula I use in "The Will to Power" mod. Feel free to read about current formula in mod readme.

Taking infantry pure defender as a base value for cost comparison. Current idea is to price mixed (max weapon and armor) unit 1.5 times more than not mixed one. Speeder and foil 1.5 time more than infantry. Hovertank and cruiser 2 times more than infantry. This seems to align well for combat units.

Some questions I haven't answered for myself yet.

1. Needlejet cost factor. They probably need to be more expensive than infantry but I am not sure by how much. Due to their speed and ignoring ZOC they are menace to lightly armored units. However, they lose their value when everyone is AAA protected. Twice as much as infantry? That makes them cost same as equal strength full weapon-armor-AAA infantry and same strength full weapon-armor foil (without AAA). I think this is a good spot.

2. Copter cost factor. I guess same as needlejet as in vanilla.

3. Gravship cost factor. Vanilla prices it same as needlejet. I think it should be at least a little more expensive since it replaces all other chassis.

4. Missile cost factor. Probably about 1/2 or 2/3 of needlejet as it gets destroyed after attack.

5. Infantry/speeder and sea colony pods. Currently priced at 6/9 and 9, correspondingly. Seems to be a right price.

6. Infantry/speeder and sea formers. People say sea former should be more expensive and I agree but by how much? At the same time I don't want land former to cost hand and leg. I tried 2/3 and 3 and that seemed to be too cheap for sea one. Then I tried 4/6 and 6 and that seemed to be right for sea one but not sure about land one. Although, I don't think one time per base investment of 2 mineral rows makes a difference.
Possible options to try: 2/3 and 6, 3/4 and 6.

7. Infantry/speeder and sea supply. I don't think sea supply is at all more valuable than land one. So I've added a rule already to price them equally.

8. Infantry/speeder and sea probe. Currently at 4/6 and 6. Seems to be right price too.
Tim

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 01:37:57 AM »
You need to fix the overwhelming reactor bonuses before worrying about the rest of this fine tuning.  The benefits supplied by Fusion Power and Quantum Power are crazy.  I eventually tuned my whole tech tree with this problem in mind.  I forget, are you doing away with more advanced reactors in Doer mod?  Since you can change the binary and make these bonuses less ridiculous, you don't have to.

I could talk about how I've tuned things, but it's very much tied to when the reactors appear in my tree.

Offline tnevolin

Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 03:43:52 PM »
I didn't change HP per reactor but I changed reactor based unit cost. Now it grows (almost) with HP. So the proportion stays about the same.
Changing HP is very big task as it is hardcoded everywhere.
Tim

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2019, 04:42:18 PM »
So a Fusion reactor version of a Fission unit is going to cost roughly twice as much?  This has a problem that I'm already experiencing anyways, due to a similar regime I have of armor and weapon costs increasing.  Cheaper units aren't really obsolete.  One tends to run out of unit design slots, and one gets frustrated if the game removes one's unit designs.  Granted, one can turn automated pruning off.  Still the situation is less than ideal.  It would be nice to have a much larger pool of unit design slots than we're granted.  It's not going to shock me if the number of available designs is hardcoded at 8 bits though.

Offline tnevolin

Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2019, 04:54:28 PM »
Yes, Fusion units about twice as expensive as Fission ones. Specifically, 1.6 times which brings their effective cost to 1.6/2 = 0.8. I.e. Fusion units are about 20% more cost effective.
You are right. Weaker units are not obsolete. I occasionally build weaker units just because it is faster. Well, this is absolutely normal in strategical game. Is it not?
Tim

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2019, 07:50:58 PM »
The problem is the degree to which this game makes it cumbersome and unnatural to build cheaper units.

Offline tnevolin

Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2019, 08:06:08 PM »
What's cumbersome and unnatural about building different class units? It seems that cheaper units have their purpose. That is completely fine. It would be also fine if they got completely inferior after discovering new ones. Either way doesn't brake anything much.
Tim

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2019, 04:18:13 AM »
What's cumbersome is that a lot of the game revolves around designing units, but the stuff that's supposed to "help" with that, was never coded to handle lots and lots of unit designs.  You get an explosion of designs and an explosion of pruning.  It's a mess.

For instance, this is a modern design in my game, upgraded from an older Fusion R-Laser design:

gratuitously obsolete
gratuitously obsolete

that the game decided should be superseded the moment I designed this unit, on the very same turn:

gratuitous yet again
gratuitous yet again

which was superseded by a Speeder variant, that again I designed on the very same turn:

ephemeral blessed unit
ephemeral blessed unit

Notice that the first 2 units are slightly cheaper than the 3rd unit, and that the first 2 units do not have the same capabilities.  I'm not 100% sure but I think the R-Laser is actually useful compared to a bigger but conventional armament.  Another problem is that all though a faster chassis may be strictly better for the same cost, I've got units I need to upgrade.  I can't just switch chasses.  So I need these "obsolete" unit designs to do my upgrades.

« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 04:48:51 AM by bvanevery »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2019, 05:17:50 AM »
Whoops I posted my DAR in the wrong thread!  Had 2 tabs open, used the wrong one.  Fixes in progress.

Here instead I will profess my true love for Svensgaard.

 ;ulrik;:bot: ;buttdance
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 06:14:39 AM by bvanevery »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2019, 06:04:59 AM »
Now returning you to your regularly scheduled unit cost calculation formula modification.

But first, an animation to fill gratuitous whitespace!

 ;hippy ;liftoff ;nuke; ;nuke; ;nuke; :stickpoke: :dunno:

Offline tnevolin

Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2019, 01:01:36 PM »
I agree that the way SMAC marks units obsolete maybe not perfect. However, I am not going to build my game rules to work around it. If this is what you imply.
Tim

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2019, 07:20:37 PM »
Actually since you're now in the business of modifying the binary, I wonder if there is some way to change the Obsoletion horrors for the better.  Seems like it should take "if the unit is cheaper" into consideration.

Offline tnevolin

Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2019, 07:41:39 PM »
You mean obsolete cheaper inferior unit? I think it already does it.
Sure. Exe patching is fun. I can look into it. Reverse engineering takes a lot of time to do a simplest thing, though. So it is not the question of possibility but time invested. Some changes are harder than others.
Tim

Offline tnevolin

Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2019, 07:54:22 PM »
Even though I was able to find non game breaking solution for reactor cost/power I am not happy with it. Even when I toned down Fission->Fusion unit cost jump from 2.0 to 1.6 it is still a huge jump for undeveloped civilization. That could be compounded by high research pace. That is a different problem to look into.
Anyhow, I often find myself with Fusion reactor and Fusion Laser (and corresponding same strength armor) when my bases are only 4-5 size and barely started to pick up production power. Even with slowest weapon cost progression Fusion Laser would cost 8. That is 8 * 1.6 = 12 for a simple pure attacker/defender and 24 rows for a prototype. That is not exorbitant for middle size developed base but seems to be impossible for my teeny-tiny-just-out-of-stone-age villages. So I need to do something with the reactor cost or with research pace or both.

I have set research rate to 50%. Even this doesn't help. Discoveries poor at me like a rain. I guess this is the consequence of Thinker mod making AI faction smarter in terraforming and thus developing faster which speeds up common research pace too.

Although, upon thinking, it does seem about normal to uncover 25-30% of research by turn 100 assuming overall game takes 300-400 turns or even less. Maybe it is just me not able to develop my bases quick enough?
Tim

Offline bvanevery

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Re: Unit cost calculation formula modification
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2019, 11:21:58 PM »
You mean obsolete cheaper inferior unit? I think it already does it.

No no no, the opposite!  The criteria for obsoletion should consider whether a unit is cheap and useful.  If it is, it shouldn't just cancel the design.

2.0 to 1.6 it is still a huge jump for undeveloped civilization.

In my mod, first I had to stabilize the appearance of the reactors in my tree.  That took some time because many direct and indirect factors could cause me to move a tech around in the tree.  Then I had to make sure that the paths to reaching the techs were equitable.  I've had very easy paths to get to Fusion power, very obstructive paths, and I think now I have something sort of in between.  How you weight the tech changes very much how quickly or slowly it is discovered.

After my regime of Fusion Power and Quantum Power were settled, it took several iterations of manually tweaking unit costs, before I found a balance of chassis, weapon, and armor costs that seemed reasonable to me.  I may have nailed it now, but my provisional results are still subject to other people's playtesting and complaining.  People could still tell me that they think things are unfair.  But I think I've at least stepped away from the ridiculous.  I've had enough iterations to figure that out.  For awhile I had some grossly expensive late game units, and I toned that down recently.  The real trouble with deciding such things, is you have to actually get to a late game to experience those costs firsthand, to have an idea how much they really impact.  It's always more difficult to get to a complete late game, they take a bloody long time to play.

All of these costs are tied together in a web.  It's not generally possible to figure out a simple formula for what the costs should be, because the web is sufficiently complex.

I guess this is the consequence of Thinker mod making AI faction smarter in terraforming and thus developing faster which speeds up common research pace too.

I don't believe in establishing any game rules or phenomena with Thinker Mod egging anything on.  To me, the purpose of Thinker Mod is to find the exploits that it likes, and then plug them as best I can.  This also somewhat simulates a human player who likes to use exploits.  Often I can only delay the exploit, I cannot end it entirely.  Huge delays are an important tool though, i.e. no Thermal Boreholes until the late midgame in my mod.

You of course aren't required to use Thinker Mod's default settings to create an experience though!  You can tone it down or change it around however you want.

Although, upon thinking, it does seem about normal to uncover 25-30% of research by turn 100 assuming

I seriously doubt that in my mod.  At turn 100 I believe most factions will be learning some of the Tier 3 techs.  Most of these are obstructed by Secret Projects.  They will not trade with each other, or with you, until the Secret Projects are completed.  This design is completely deliberate on my part.  It's to slow down the tech trading hyper economy.  For the same reason, I don't give factions any starter techs, except where absolutely required.  I don't think my Tier 3 represents 25% of the techs in the tree, but I haven't counted them up to be sure.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 11:43:23 PM by bvanevery »

 

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