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Unit power spikes and valleys

Discussion in 'CivBE - Ideas and Suggestions' started by Promethian, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Promethian

    Promethian Chieftain

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    So we've all noticed it and talked about it by this point. The current upgrade system currently has some major problems with unit power spiking at certain points and some units having long valleys of less usefulness and even (in the case of Missile Rovers) complete uselessness. So I've thought about and I think I have a solution that can be fit into the current system without any major changes.

    My idea, put simply, is mini upgrades. Set smaller upgrades that are just an increase in combat power every 2 affinity levels. We can call the old thresholds the "major upgrades" where we select a new ability/bonus, non-power upgrades are applied (like the upgrade to hovering in later affinities) and the model updates.

    The major upgrades will still be significant boosts. However it will no longer be the case where the first to cross a certain affinity threshold is instantly several orders of magnitude more powerful. This also makes units with long periods of being obsolete continue to scale and thus remain relevant.

    But what about Hybrid upgrading you say? Well that is easy. Multiple paths like we already see with our current UI. When you cross the affinity threshold for the next tier up you upgrade to that even if the threshold isn't on the same path of the last upgrade. We can already do this. You can upgrade a Soldier along the purity path then give up Purity entirely and get Harmony and Supremacy to 8 and upgrade it to the Hybrid unit.

    All this change would require is to add more upgrades that are solely combat power increases in between the existing upgrades. The only downside I really see here is we would spend more time in the upgrade UI selecting upgrades than before. However even that can be circumvented by adding an option to make minor upgrades automatically happen. I suspect adding an option to make minor upgrades automatic would actually be more work than adding the minor upgrades in the first place though. Personally I am willing to spend the extra time clicking on upgrades to get a smoother progression than what we currently have.
     
  2. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Chieftain

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    Haven't checked the code yet, but maybe unit combat power increases could be tied to affinity level perks?
     
  3. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    So something like

    Soldier..no bonus
    Marine-1 of any, str bonus at 3 of any
    Sentinel-6 Purity, str bonus at 8 of any
    Centurion-11 Purity, str bonus at 13 of any OR any 2 at 8

    And it should be automatic (but it could be triggered)

    One possible problem is upgrades like Supremcy ranged units that get 2 attacks instead of extra ranged str. (Perhaps the 2 attack upgrade will lower ranged str back down)
     
  4. Promethian

    Promethian Chieftain

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    The two attacks on supremacy would be at the same affinity it currently is and is unlocked as an upgrade at that same affinity level. I'm not proposing changing the existing levels and bonuses and where they are unlocked. I am just saying add upgrades in between to smooth out the power curve.

    So looking at Soldier here is how I would reform the upgrade path with this idea.

    Tier 1: Any single affinity 1: Upgrade to Marine, no change from current.

    Tier 2: Any single affinity 3: Minor upgrade. +4 Strength

    Tier 3: Any single affinity 5: Minor upgrade. +4 Strength
    One affinity 3, One affinity 1: Minor upgrade. +4 Strength

    Tier 4: Any single affinity 6: Major upgrade. Apply affinity specific unit name and model. Select special ability. +2 Strength (same total of +10 gained by this point normally)
    One affinity 4, One affinity 2: Major upgrade. Apply affinity specific unit name and model. Select special ability +2 Strength (uses affinity name and model of the higher affinity)

    Tier 5: Any single affinity 8: Minor upgrade. +9 Strength
    One affinity 5, one affinity 3: Minor upgrade. +9 Strength

    Tier 6: Any single affinity 10: Minor upgrade. +9 Strength
    Any two affinities 5: Minor upgrade. +9 Strength (two selections, one for each affinity model, yes the option to switch affinity model is available here, I do not consider this a bad thing)

    Tier 7: Any single affinity 11: Major upgrade. Apply affinity specific unit name and model. Select special ability. +6 Strength (same total of +24 gained by this point normally)
    Any two affinities 6: Major upgrade. Apply affinity specific unit name and model. Select special ability. +6 Strength

    Units that currently get their first upgrade at later affinities (like Missile Rover) can have minor upgrades added before the first upgrade so they don't fall behind in the early progression.

    For affinity unique units the minor upgrades can start from the affinity the unit is unlocked at but with 3 paths. Each leading up to one of the 3 potential major upgrades.
     
  5. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    The problem is the power curve is not consistent
    Purity+harmony get + ranged str and combat str
    Supremacy gets + combat str and 2x attacks

    So the solution
    -boost + ranged str + combat str
    "Major" Purity+ Harmony-more range str+more combat str (and perks)
    "Major"Supremacy-more combat str less range str and 2x attack (and other perks)

    It would be wierd, but if you are smoothing out strength, the 2x attack is a major str boost, so it would have to include a range str reduction at that level.
     
  6. Promethian

    Promethian Chieftain

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    Oh you are right! good catch. Yes it would have to include a loss in strength. Thankfully all the units that get two attacks are always a final upgrade so no extreme tomfoolery is needed to make sure nobody can exploit it for extra strength.
     
  7. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    I guess that works, although for your example, I would go

    1
    3
    5
    6 [major] OR 5.3 (ie the last 2..so that 1 has precedence ie Purity 5 Harmony 3 gives you a Sentinel, etc.)
    8 or 5.4
    10 or 5.5
    11 or 6.6 [major with hybrid boost option]

    keep the hybrid 'boostability' even (since its way too easy to get that 'just 1' point in an off affinity, basically the 'difficulty of an affinity level is not just adding them up 5.3 is easier than 8, 6.6 is easier than 12, etc.)


    And what I would list it as is special abilities that go with the unit

    Tier 1-Soldier
    Tier 2- Marine (normal Marine stuff) and +X str at 3 affinity and +X str at 5 affinity
    Tier 3-Sentinel (normal Sentinel stuff) +X str at 8 affinity OR 5.4 and +X str at 10 or 5.5 affinity
    Tier 4-Centurion (normal Centurion stuff)

    So they aren't actual Upgrades, just additional perks the unit has activated by your affinity level.

    For the Unique units one could do the same.. although probably restricted to that affinity

    Battle suit (req Purity 4) +str at Purity 6, 8 and 10
    (upgrade available with Purity 10 + others or Purity 12)
     
  8. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    I'd still prefer to just have less strength ramp-up with unit level.

    Perks could be made more important to keep the interesting part of upgrades, but with lower strength increases there would not be as many spikes and valleys.

    As an added benefit it would keep Aliens relevant longer, since they would not be easily outscaled, and Science could afford to be less of a defense militarily.

    I can believe that there is a huge gap between a Warrior and Mechanized Infantry, but I'd think that would be much less pronounced between Soldiers and End-game Affinity infantry.

    Their armor and weapons systems would obviously be on very different technological levels, but in the end they both have guns.
     
  9. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    So do a musketeer and a battleship

    And Warrior-Mech Inf is a >10x difference, Soldier-Centurion is a <5x difference

    I think that more common boosts are better than just lower boosts.
    Also, aliens that boost is more important than just keeping the player weak. (Especially because perks count for effective str anyways.)

    I think the best would probably be
    Soldier units: 10 str + (2 str/highest affinity OR 4/second highest...whichever gives more bonus)
    Then grant perks, additional str with the upgrades
     
  10. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    That is quite a bit different in gap between a submachine gun and a...laser gun? I guess?

    Ideally I'd rather have Soldier - Centurion be a 2x difference.

    In the unlikely event that they met in battle it would still be a crushing victory, but some lucky shots may still get through.

    And honestly I could see Siege Worms and Kraken still being somewhat of a threat for even late-game armies.
     
  11. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    Not just sub machine gun v. Laser gun, but improvised bullet proof vest armor v. Ti-Fl nanochain armor, simple 21st century sensors v. quantum sensors, NASA survival suit v. full internal environmental control, etc. lucky shots do get through, damage is done to the winning unit. (maybe 3-5 hp but damage)

    Krakens yes, Siege worms no.. 1 Move melee unit=DOA

    And I don't want Armies of Siege worms to be a problem late game... a single siege worm should be a problem late game (like it is early game)

    In any case the graduality is more important...
    So for example
    (Tier; stats)
    Infantry
    1; 10
    2; 12+2/highest affinity OR +3/second highest affinity
    3; 6+3/highest affinity OR +5/second highest affinity
    4 core; 15+3/highest affinity OR +5/second highest affinity
    4 Hybrid; 18+3/highest affinity OR +5/second highest affinity

    Range
    1; 8.3
    2; 10.4+2.1/highest affinity OR +3.2/second highest affinity
    3; 5.5+3.1/highest affinity OR +5.2/second highest affinity
    4 core; 16.8+3.1/highest affinity OR +5.2/second highest affinity
    [4 supremacy 2x; 2.8+2.1/highest affinity OR +3.2/second highest affinity]
    4 Hybrid; 17.6+3.1/highest affinity OR +5.2/second highest affinity

    Armor
    1; 10
    2; 12+2/highest affinity OR +3/second highest affinity
    3; 4+3/highest affinity OR +5/second highest affinity
    4 core; 13+3/highest affinity OR +5/second highest affinity
    4 Hybrid; 12+3/highest affinity OR +5/second highest affinity

    Artillery
    1; 12.3
    2; 12.3+2.(1/2)/highest affinity OR +3.1/second highest affinity
    3; 3.3+3.(1/2)/highest affinity OR +5.1/second highest affinity
    4 core; 10.7+3.(1/2)/highest affinity OR +5.1/second highest affinity
    [4 supremacy 2x; 4.7+2.(1/2)/highest affinity OR +3.1/second highest affinity]
    4 Hybrid; 7.5+3.(1/2)/highest affinity OR +5.1/second highest affinity

    Air
    1; 10
    2; 10+1/highest affinity OR +2/second highest affinity
    3; 6+2/highest affinity OR +3/second highest affinity
    4 core; 14+2/highest affinity OR +3/second highest affinity
    4 Hybrid; 12+2/highest affinity OR +3/second highest affinity
     
  12. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    IMO Siege Worms should get two movement when angered, like they are willing to move faster then.
     
  13. Promethian

    Promethian Chieftain

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    Krikkit I can't figure out what you intend to communicate with what you wrote in that last post. Every way I look at it comes out incoherent. You seem to have worked out a great deal in your head without communicating enough of the steps for me to follow.

    On the post before. I wasn't completely confident in the lower tier hybrid upgrades and starting the hybrid tiers later definitely makes sense.
    On affinity units though I'm not entirely sold that they should only have one upgrade path. They do have hybrid upgrades after all so hybrid paths aren't completely unthinkable.
     
  14. Azem.Ocram

    Azem.Ocram Chieftain

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    Without adding more major upgrades (which require new models, and are the responsibility of Firaxis), I would do the following:

    Generic Units:
    Get modest strength bonuses from each affinity level, only get modifier perks from major upgrades
    Once a generic unit gets an affinity upgrade, it gets decent strength bonuses from each level of its own affinity (a Brawler doesn't benefit from Purity or Supremacy)
    If a generic unit switches affinities on it's 2nd affinity upgrade, it only uses the strength bonuses from the new affinity
    Hybrid affinity upgrades grant bonuses from both affinities

    Affinity Unique Units:
    Start with weaker base strength but with associated affinity (or 2 affinities for hybrids) granting strength for each level so that its strength when unlocked by affinity (already researched) is equal to what it has currently
    Straight affinity units getting upgrades to a different affinity (eg Prime Battle Suits) get the hybrid affinity strength bonus
    Hybrid affinity units getting straight affinity upgrades (eg Evolved Immortal) get increased bonus from the now main affinity and decreased bonus from the now secondary affinity
    Hybrid affinity strength bonus is 1.4x (rounded square root of 2) straight affinity strength bonus and 2/3 affinity strength bonus is 1.6x (rounded square root of 2.5) straight affinity bonus

    Alien Units:
    Each level of Harmony grants a modest strength bonus to aliens
    Aliens get the strength bonus from the highest Harmony level earned by any faction
    A Xeno Swarm unit (has 2 Raptor Bugs, 3 Wolf Beetles, 1 Manticore and 2 Soldiers) by the player with the highest Harmony level should have a strength slightly more (+1% to +10%) than the sum of its parts
    A Raptor Bug unit has 3 Raptor Bugs, a Wolf Beetle unit has 8 Wolf Beetles, a Manticore unit has 2 Manticores, a Brawler unit has 5 Brawlers, do the math

    Side Note:
    If a DLC (official or mod) is ever made to replace 1 Unit per Tile with 1 Formation per Tile, then each individual agent will need to get a consistent scale (like that of Immersive Armies) and be considered a single unit that can stack with other valid units up until a maximum formation size is reached. That would mean a Xeno Swarm would consist of leashed aliens and soldiers (that would require Brawlers and Marauders be granted leashing abilities as an upgrade perk). However, that is far outside the scope of this mod idea.
     
  15. Promethian

    Promethian Chieftain

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    Part of my objective with my suggestion is for it to be as easy to implement as possible. What you are describing would be a greater entanglement of game systems and would require a lot more new code. For mine all that would be needed is to add more upgrades to units in between what we have. This is just utilizing the existing systems more often, not creating a new one. That is why the conversation has been centered around upgrades triggering at affinity thresholds.
     
  16. Azem.Ocram

    Azem.Ocram Chieftain

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    I am perfectly fine with more upgrades (personally, I greatly prefer them the most, by far) but the immersion would be hurt if many upgrades don't change appearance. My idea is possible within the modding tools using code alone. Your idea is possible with less code but would be hurt by lack of new art. However, your idea would be greatly enhanced with new art but that would require an artist. My artistic skills are limited to static things like drawings and 3D buildings. Although, I could digitally alter screenshots to get my ideas across.

    Good luck!

    EDIT: Your idea, with new art, would not only look great and work great but it would be compatible with more mods. This compatibility could then allow more to be done by having different modders working on different aspects. Then, these compatible mods could be put into a public collection in Steam Workshop by any user on the workshop (such as myself).

    I now know what all the relevant mod ideas are, what mod ideas are possible with the current official tools, and what the scopes of each of the relevant mods are. If you want new active unit upgrades (which I want also), then that should be the ONLY feature of this mod. The preliminary release could either use no new art, merely change the textures (called reskinning) of the units, or outsource the art to more talented mod artists. I suggest that you progress the art in that order regardless of where the mod is at graphically when it first hits the workshop.
     

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