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Scaling the economy: the missing currency

Posted by KGJV, Apr 20 2011, 03:56 AM

One particular difficulty of balancing Allegiance cores is tuning the balance with the number of players.

There is no scaling system 'per se' atm so there are a lot of issues due to team sizes. For instance, cap ships are usually overpowered with small teams but often very weak with large teams. on the contrary, the more people playing, the more tp2, sbs and galvs are better.

Tentatives to 'scale' things have been made mainly by tweaking the price of some ships and/or some special equipments.

The fundamental issue is that the economy doesn't scale at all. Whether you're playing a 1 vs 1 or a 100 100 , the economy behaves the same.
Miners are the same, yield the same amount of money per time and things you can buy cost the same price. Even the 'payday' is the same.

And that's normal because this is the RTS aspect of the game and you want it to be predictable. If for instance, the prices were scaled to the number of players that would be a nightmare for commanders , making difficult to plan ahead investments.

So 1vs1 or 100vs100, you still want you miners to yield the same cash and your "PW damage 2" to cost the same.

So how can we scale things then?

Well 1st, what needs scaling actually ? Mainly it's the ships and parts that cost money.

So a 'simple' solution would be to introduce a secondary currency, one that scales with the number of players. And then core devs would set for each object in the game which currency it uses (eventually even both).

This is much like traditionnal RTS games where you have often more than one currency (they are called resources usually), like food, wood and gold for instance.

In Alleg there is only 1 resource, the dollar (although there is He3, it's not used directly and it's always converted to $ so it's basically the same resource).

What is missing is a 2nd resource, one that is very tied to the total number of players.

That 2nd resource should be independant of the 1st one. It could be earned directly by the players either automatically like a payday or thru their action (kills, scouting, salvaging stuff?). It could and should be managed by someone other than the commander so that he won't be annoyed by 'buy requests' anymore.

(1st draft. TBC)


  HSharp, Apr 20 2011, 12:36 PM

What would you mean by the 2nd currency though, like would it count for research or buying ships (player needs to earn 10 kills/salvage/scoutpoints to buy battleship) or would it be like a population cap type of thing (if game size = <30 players then only 1 battleship at a time?).

I was thinking of an alternate solution where HP is dynamically scaled by player numbers which makes it easier for commanders in terms of research but requiring much more teamwork as a game size of 100 would mean miners wouldn't be able to be soloed, or at least take a lot longer to kill then a miner of game size of 10. However to make it not to hard for players then dynamically scale ammo as well so in theory one ship would still be able to kill the same thing whatever the game size, it just affects how long it takes to kill it.

  pkk, Apr 22 2011, 03:12 PM

If team size would effect hitpoints of specific ships (bombers/caps/utl) and damage of specific weapons (turrets) it would solve that problem a bit.

  HSharp, Apr 23 2011, 07:32 PM

I think that would require core (and bigger code) changes to apply to specific ships and weapons to specify which weapons and ships are affected by scale, that's why HP and ammo is simpler, can just be applied globally to everything, dunno about missiles though, that might be harder especially with the mass effect (pun not intended) of adding more missiles to a ship, will hurt sup and tac if missiles can't be added or the lowered manoeuvrability if they can be added.

Maybe just not scale ammo to simplify it after giving it some more thought, should level out the playing field but will make soloing anything in a big game impossible but that rarely happens in big games anyway.

  spideycw, Apr 25 2011, 07:23 PM

Expand upon this idea kage. I like it but let's hear more!

  KGJV, Apr 28 2011, 03:10 PM

Scaling hitpoints or damage or whatever value with team size isn't a good idea.
It requires complex coding, it confuses people (memorization isn't possible or difficult) and it makes the job of core balancing more complex (since you're not dealing with absolute values).

"Hitpoints weakness" of some ships in big game is not really a "scaling" issue. The issue is that a lot of players try to transpose 'small game' tactics to a 'big game'. If people think that a naned bomb run is weak in big game it's because they usually still only use one bomber. In a 10vs10, a "5 nans, 2 gunners and a bomber pilot" run is fine. in a 30vs30, a "25 nans, 2 gunners and a bomber pilot" run is just plain stupid. Use more bombers , split your attacks, etc. Players strats (and state of mind) must scale too...The scaling issue is most of the time between the chair and the keyboard...

Now about miners (and cons) HP not scaling and been very weak in big games. I think part of this issue is that miners (and cons) cost too much. This has been this way since Allegiance exists and we all consider this as one of the "fundamentals of the game". A miner is around $4k (faction dep.) and take 90s to build (faction dep. too). This is written in the stone for us. What if that initial design of Alleg was terribly flawed ? What if a miner should only cost $500 (or use the new currency) and take a few secs to build ? After all there is a "Chicken or the egg" dilemma with miners. May be it should be removed.

Same for cons but by adding a prereq devel to enable the con: that is you need invest $10k in an 'exp enabler' devel than you can buy a cheap 'exp con' (using the new currency eventually). Once an exp station is built, the 'exp enabler' is either lost or not ; that's a core/balance design choice (ie you can or not spam cheap tech cons).

yes, I do have more, a lot more behind this new currency idea, scaling of game in general and cons/miners/drones issues. But I'm going slow on taking feedback and communicating because it's only a part of a bigger 'thing' which is about clarification, simplification and separation of the RTS aspect of game from the FPS aspect (without breaking the whole concept tongue.gif). Looking at this blog topics, you might eventually see yourself this bigger picture and what I'm trying to do. The 3rd entry of this blog will be about this RTS/FPS separation. I also sneak leak here that 6x1 is more about core than code

Ideas and comments are welcome here but feel free to discuss this in a normal forum topic if you want to widen the audience (but you might get some drama and 'forum genius' trolling..wink.gif ).

  HSharp, Apr 30 2011, 07:39 AM

I do believe your initial argument though was that money doesn't scale to big games, so although it makes sense in a 30 vs 30 to have 5 bomb runs going on at the same time it might not be affordable to do so, especially if you replace bomber with capship, then you have the spiking damage which is greater in big games that it doesn't matter how many nans a bomber has it will still die.

Still this new currency sounds interesting, 6x1 can't come quick enough.

  Evan, May 10 2011, 04:22 AM

What about going back to the old max players system? 2-8, 3-10, 5-15, 8-20, 10-25, 15-30, etc.

You could then balance cores based on those sizes. Making cap ships weaker in 2-8 and 3-10, normal econ in 5-15 and 8-20 games, and small differences in 15-30.

The current system kinda forces there to be only 1 game going at a time, and can drastically change gameplay and balance at random. Making these game size segments as stable targets would allow core developers to more easily balance factions, tech, and econ, and get rid of some of the problems with growing the player base (2-3 games going would be healthier than 1 game for getting more players, though it is a chicken and the egg issue).

  pkk, May 10 2011, 02:50 PM

QUOTE (Evan @ May 10 2011, 11:22 AM)
What about going back to the old max players system? 2-8, 3-10, 5-15, 8-20, 10-25, 15-30, etc.

That feature is suggested to get reintroduced with release of R6:

  Cyre, Jun 30 2011, 10:19 PM

is the scaling philosophy assuming any of this things:

1)globally constant team sizes (sg's and events for example)
2)locally constant team sizes (ie, relevant to scaled life expectancy of a capship over time)
3)globally variable team sizes (ie, most regular games)

i understand you could think with all this things in mind... but at a progressively increasing complexity. In essence, which type(s) of games do you aim to balance, under which premises?

  tigerfish, Sep 6 2015, 01:06 AM

give them credit for scout, probing, u have guys dogfighting and don't even know how to probe, then the uninstall the damn game owned-anim.gif

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