Grid Sage Forums

Grid Sage Forums

  • October 19, 2017, 04:01:48 PM
  • Welcome, Guest
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search

News:

Grid Sage Wiki Now Open

Author Topic: Build Classifications  (Read 946 times)

Kyzrati

  • Administrator
  • True Cogmind
  • *****
  • Posts: 2532
    • View Profile
    • Cogmind
Build Classifications
« on: April 16, 2017, 07:53:02 PM »

I wrote a summary of Cogmind's "character archetypes" over on r/RoguelikeDev, and thought it'd be appropriate/interesting to drop some of that content here as well.

The idea was to get a general idea of what types of builds are possible/used in Cogmind. Some of these have become possible as more items and mechanics have been added over the past couple years, and cover a good range of possibilities. There are of course many more subtypes and hybrids, but these represent the extremes and major classifications.
  • Offensive Combat (ranged): Basically ignoring defensive capabilities and allocating as many slots as possible into immediately gunning down everything that shows up. This is achieved by stacking processors and (usually to a lesser extent) weapons.
    Spoiler: "Fighter" (click to show/hide)
  • Defensive Combat (ranged): Fewer weapons, but plenty of armor, shielding, and/or force fields to tank damage while the weapons and some offensive utilities do the work.
    Spoiler: "Knight" (click to show/hide)
  • Infowar Combat: A combat build that can hold its own in a fight, but attempts to avoid unnecessary battles by employing a handful of support utilities that can spot enemies far away and/or out of view, block their transmissions, scan/sense the map layout, etc. Maybe even with a little hacking thrown in for terminal manipulation.
  • Flight: A very fast build that is more about stealth and cunning rather than combat. With the right expertise flight builds can avoid combat altogether, either by combining their speed with infowar tactics, or simply outmaneuvering and outrunning almost any pursuer.
    Spoiler: "Rogue"/"Thief" (click to show/hide)
    Spoiler: (another example) (click to show/hide)
  • Combat Hacker: Often played as a specialized flight variant that clearly has its own strategy (though theoretically could played using other forms of propulsion as well), combat hackers use 1) datajacks and 2) lots and lots and lots of hackware. With this they can basically do whatever they want at any terminal, and moreover, use their rather overpowered hackware stacks to hack and outright destroy or take control of most robots, creating an army that snowballs its way through each area.
  • Melee Combat: Multiwielding a variety of melee weapons, almost certainly with support from melee-associated utilities. Probably picks fights when possible, and makes heavy use of armor and/or infowar. (This one is still relatively new, since melee mechanics have only really come into their own in recent releases--no really representative screenshot :P)
(This list was honed during a recent discussion over in the #cogmind channel, where players also provided the relevant screenshots.)
Logged
Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames

zxc

  • Cogmind
  • *****
  • 1st place in the High Scores category during Alpha Challenge 2015 1st place in the Best Escapes category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Shared a Confirmed Combat Win Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Bug Hunter Participated in the Alpha Challenge 2015 Achievement leader in at least one category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Wiki Contributor Weekly Seed Participant
  • Posts: 553
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 02:51:57 AM »

I was discussing build balance with Sherlockkat and mtf on discord, and started a write-up on how I would ideally like Cogmind builds to be differentiated in the future, and what changes I propose to reach that state. Each of the builds I propose has a name and description, followed by dot points of suggestions for changes.

Here are the current problems as I see it:

* Builds aren't distinct enough and are more of a mixture of spectrums (mostly the non-combat builds - combat seems to be in a good spot)
* Combat hacking is highly problematic to balance because of the assimilate and overload hacks, leading to overcomplicated counterbalancing attempts
* Combat hacking currently is a mixture of converting enemies, destroying enemies, and disrupting them
* Prototypes largely hard-counter combat hacking
* Combat hacking has untapped potential
* Melee not as strong an option as focusing on hacking or stealth

Note: I haven't played much of the latest update, Beta 1, yet (no one has!), so these suggestions are likely to change.

Hypothetical Future Cogmind Lategame Build List
Ally Build
Able to maintain an army of allies using force fields and damage enhancements. Takes maximum advantage of plot encounters granting allies, and fabricates and calls in allies when possible. Note: hacking not a requirement.

It is easy to get allies right now but more difficult to maintain them. They tend to cause a mess as well. Smaller numbers of stronger allies are easier to control and I think more fun in general.

* Decouple hacking from assimilating: remove assimilate hack
* Ally maintaining items made available earlier in the game
* Easier fabrication of allies
* Buff tactical coordination suites and make more commonplace
* Drones gradually repair (including from 0%) while drone bay equipped, uses matter
* Add utility/AA that has a chance to assimilate robots when you damage them, or special weapon
* Easier repair of allies (allied mechanics more available, restore ally integrity on new floor, integrity transfer from you to allies)
* Gradual transportation of all allies into new floors instead of all at once
* Programmers can perhaps continue to assimilate with datajacks, unlike players

Commando Build
Focuses heavily on hacking. Hacks and sows confusion among special targets. Dominates the floor with machine hacking and makes heavy use of trojans.

This is would take the place of combat hacking as it is now. Machine hacking can potentially be separated from robot hacking. By removing the ability to convert enemies or instagib them, combat hacking will no longer get out of control, and can be unnerfed.

* Add frenzy/discord hack: robot attacks nearest robot, friend or foe, for x turns
* Change overload hack: detonates bot’s power source after x turns
* Add heat surge hack: causes bot’s power source to malfunction and create excessive heat
* Certain prototype robots are susceptible to hacking, while others are not. Make behemoths susceptible (as they can no longer be assimilated).
* Change link hack: bot shares vision with you for x turns
* Successful hacks on robots increase alert (robot rating * hack power)
* Remove permanent hacking difficulty increase over time
* Make programmer repel ability more tactical: reduce radius to 1 or 2 but block all hacking attempts. Does not apply to the programmer itself (lone programmer won’t pose a major threat). Ability may compete with missile defense though.
* Add a way to reprogram traps with remote datajacks

Ninja Build
Avoids combat with speed and stealth. Steals items, travels unguarded paths, avoids being spotted and loses pursuers. Only uses weapons for breaking through walls and killing non-hostile bots. Uses transmission jammers, sensor arrays, terrain scanners, cloaking devices, and optics to avoid fights. Maintains a low alert level. Uses ECM suites to lose pursuers.

* Merge ECM suites and triangulators: states number of enemies tracking you and reduces the time to lose them. Triangulator effect can be a high tier of ECM suite (Adv or Exp).
* Merge cloaking devices and triangulators: reduces range at which enemies spot you and makes their range visible. Triangulator effect can be a high tier of cloaking device (Adv or Exp).
* New special melee weapon with extremely low attack delay for destroying walls (ineffectual vs bots). Possibly extends mining lasers (and make them available from tunnelers).
* New utility (or flight unit): ice thrusters. Flying over robots reduces their movement speed for x turns.

Melee Build
Focuses on high damage against few targets at close range. Uses utilities and speed to evade incoming damage. Uses some stealth and speed to secure sneak attacks and reposition advantageously.

Gunslinger/Offensive Stack Build
Offensive focus, many weapon slots, all guns, and kills enemies from afar in few volleys. Replenishes lost items from enemies. Uses treads for recoil reduction/armour, hover for tactical positioning, or legs for an all-rounded approach. Uses optics, targeting computers, and target analyzers.

* Energy guns are still less attractive than kinetics. Perhaps lower heat generation?

Cannon/Defensive Stack Build
Defensive focus, few weapon slots, all cannons, and higher slot efficiency. Mitigates nearly all damage with forcefields, resistance items, and regenerating armour. Uses special weapons from Research branches. Uses treads for recoil reduction/armour, hover for tactical positioning, or legs for an all-rounded approach. Uses a variety of offensive utilities.


I will keep editing this post to keep it up to date with my thoughts.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 08:27:23 AM by zxc »
Logged

mtf

  • Unaware
  • *
  • Bug Hunter
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 03:14:56 PM »

Figured I'd throw out some of my ideas to spark some more conversation in this area...

Let me start by saying I don't like the idea of removing assimilate, even though it is incredibly powerful.. I say this mostly because it fits into the cogmind universe/lore so well. When I think of hacking, I think of turning a machine around from it's original purpose to do my bidding, and that's exactly what assimilate does. That said, the unhindered ability to assimilate everything you come across is way too powerful... you can just snowball an army out of control and easily win the game with such a strategy. I also do not like the new nerf, however, where your ability to assimilate / overload continually drops, as this makes combat hacking the only build in the game that continually gets worse as you use it, and it takes quite a hefty investment to even get to the point where you can assimilate the harder bots / prototypes... plus it is unsatisfying to "game" this new system and save your assimilates for a final level, it may be more optimal but to me it doesn't feel quite as fun anymore.

I have a couple of ideas on how to remedy this problem while removing the diminishing returns on combat hacks...
  • Put some kind of cap on the number of allies you can maintain. This can either be a hard cap (undesirable, as it does not fit in with the atmosphere of the game), or some kind of soft cap. For example, maybe if you pass a certain threshold of allies (or aggregate ally rating), the complex quickly jumps up to near high security (or into high security): "WARNING: Invasion Force Detected, dispatching security forces"... Or, if you overload / hack a prototype bot of any variety, the complex reacts by shipping out extra extermination / intercept squads, quickly overwhelming you with numbers that not even a few ally proto bots can deal with.
  • Upon a successful overload / assimilate, add a random chance for equipped hackware (maybe only non-proto hackware?) to be fried... Unless you are prepared and have brought a bunch of extra hacking suites (encouraging fabbing strategy), overuse of these hacks will quickly fry your ability to continue the snowball effect, while still leaving you the ability to potentially deal with weaker bots via combat hacking if you lose a lot of hackware.
  • Reduce the effectiveness of overload/assimiliate percentage wise(perhaps not working at all against prototype bots?), but add extra hacks that could be used as disablers allowing your army of weaker bots to fight protos... For example, one of the hacks suggested by zxc (detonates bot’s power source after x turns, or even instantly), a hack that can be used to disable parts of your choice on enemies (such as disabling a bots force fields, weapons, heat management), etc

I can see how splitting up hacking into three distinct builds could make sense, but considering we are talking about a world of robots here I instead envision hacking to be a "Jack of all trades, but master of none" build... However in A14 hacking had the "jack of all trades" part, but was a master of all it xD I would rather see hacking remain capable of handling any type of situation, but with reduced effectiveness across all.

Stay tuned for "more thoughts with MTF" to come...
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 03:28:57 PM by mtf »
Logged

Sherlockkat

  • Cyborg
  • ***
  • Bug Hunter Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Supported Cogmind Alpha Access 2015-2017 (Prime Tier)
  • Posts: 116
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2017, 08:56:57 PM »

All right. FORUM TIME!!! Let's start with least problematic builds listed by zxc.

Gunslingers: In general, gunslingers feel strong once the kills start flowing and the volley redirection makes it even more satisfying. Volley redirection is probably the most fun change made to combat.

*Target analyzers are great, but I think core analyzers can use a flat buff to offset their relative rarity. Target analyzers are readily available from programmers.
*Gunslingers are heavily proc based, which is why target analyzers + pen weapons are such a great combinations. They kill via procs rather than raw damage. This does mean thermal weapons are not that great. One thing that could be done is to add utils/processors which increase the amount of heat transferred by thermal weapons which gives reasons to stack them. Basically think of weapons as carriers for procs rather than damage dealers.

Cannoneers: Don't have a lot of opinions here. GJ seems to do well with them. I think, the only source of powerful cannons are the R branches. It would be nice to have an alternate source. The zionite resupply hacks, for instance, could be a potential source. Maybe they could deliver prototype cannons developed by the imprinter (much later into the game, like in R or A). Clearly, they have to be slightly weaker to offset the fact that you don't have to risk wading into the research branches. Another option would be to make them just as strong but they would only be available much later, like in access or something.

Melee builds: How about some kind of reflect/deflect utility that lets you deflect incoming fire when a slashing melee weapon in equipped. (I am sure someone suggested this in discord, can't remember who did).

Ninja Build: I absolutely love zxc's suggestion for letting ECM work on exterms. That would be great.

All right. Onward to hackers....

Ally build: I am in favor of removing assimilation as I cannot think of any way to balance it. In fact, I think hacking shouldn't be a direct way to generate allies at all. The current consensus among spoiler chat is to use the datajacks as a "oh shit, I fucked up, let me datajack to get out of jail for free", but that playstyle is not conducive to maintaing/recycling allies. The regular complex bots are pretty trash tier. They only played a large role in combat hacking, because they were an infinite resource. I would not want to build a true ally build around them. As far as using datajacks as a "get out of jail" free tool, I think that's too much slot investment (and a bit too grindy) for something that is a corrective action rather than a preventive measure.

The ideas I like the most are easier fabrication of allies and drone bays that reconstruct drones. There should be a core set of mechanics that allow us to generate/maintain allies. Assimilation was that method, but without a hard cap, snowball problems occur. I think easier ally fabrication and drone bays can address this problem. I would definitely like the fab time for allies to go down as they are not as durable as items. YOu cannot protect them in any way.

Another thing would be to add zionite allies that specialize in assimilation. So, you can snowball by proxy if you protect the assimilators well, if not, well tough. We also need strong/unique allies that can stand up to late game prototypes (how about some kind of zionite heros?? They don't need to SW, but they can be cool/good). I think it also fits in theme with the Imprinter being all about robot gene pool manipulation. This could be one realization of the permenant buff idea that zxc and I were discussing in discord. Unique heros. The original combat hackers compensated for quality by quantity, but if that is not an option, we need better allies.

Commando build: Hacking should be completely reworked so that commando build is THE hacking build. The goal should, be as zxc said, cause large scale chaos via use of trojans and datajacks. Gameplay wise, this would be the warlocky debuff build.

One option would be to restrict assimilation (instead of completely remove it as suggested above) to unarmed robots and add more utility to assimilating watchers and operators. Operators are in a good place, but watchers could be more useful. Make them send false distress signals. Get them to block transmission and unblock watcher jam signals. There was also discussion of virus implants in discord. Add trojans that can reprogram a fab to build a allied "drone" every 50 turns which can explore the map (it doesn't have to share vision). I guess that could achieved with regenerating drone bays. The idea would be to create constant background "noise" in the floor so that the enemies are always occupied with one thing or another. Introduce trojans that creates weakness in the garrison network that allows assembled to invade. The balance would be an alert level increase based on the number of trojans installed and the number of allied operators/watchers you control.

zxc suggested plenty of robot hacks, so here are some other trojan suggestions:
trojan(format) in garrisons: Basically, something like a 20% chance that any squad that spawns is discorded.
trojan(block) in terminals: The next assault, exterm, reinforcement or investigation cannot spawn from an exit
trojan(network) in terminals: Distribute all active trojans across appropriate machines in a random fashion. (You could do reprogram, redirect, format in a single garrison and then trojan(network) to create a floor wide effect).

Clearly, these are powerful effects and the hack chance should be quite high for it succeed. The complex can have appropriate defenses, where trojans are cleaned out in a periodic fashion and need to be reinstalled (oh trojan(mask), protects a random trojan from being discovered).

So...those are my thoughts. THere you go, the forum is saved :D.

« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 09:02:26 PM by Sherlockkat »
Logged

zxc

  • Cogmind
  • *****
  • 1st place in the High Scores category during Alpha Challenge 2015 1st place in the Best Escapes category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Shared a Confirmed Combat Win Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Bug Hunter Participated in the Alpha Challenge 2015 Achievement leader in at least one category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Wiki Contributor Weekly Seed Participant
  • Posts: 553
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2017, 09:44:53 PM »

Thanks for the responses.

I thought of a potential problem with ECM working on extermination squads. It would be suitable for stealth builds, but there would be nothing stopping a combat build from switching it on and negating the clock.
Logged

zxc

  • Cogmind
  • *****
  • 1st place in the High Scores category during Alpha Challenge 2015 1st place in the Best Escapes category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Shared a Confirmed Combat Win Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Bug Hunter Participated in the Alpha Challenge 2015 Achievement leader in at least one category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Wiki Contributor Weekly Seed Participant
  • Posts: 553
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2017, 05:32:48 AM »

The more I play and look at items and mechanics, the more I think melee and both combat builds are already near perfect as they are now and don't require changes. Perhaps melee could use a small boost in increasing damage but it lacks testing at endgame. In concept, shouldn't melee builds be ideal for 1v1/bosses, along with cannon builds? In fact, you could build them along similar lines. By comparison, it still seems melee is a bit weaker.
Logged

Kyzrati

  • Administrator
  • True Cogmind
  • *****
  • Posts: 2532
    • View Profile
    • Cogmind
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 10:03:49 PM »

Lots of good ideas in here. (I've been staying out of this thread for a bit while these ideas accumulated so I could concentrate on Beta 1.2, and so that these had an opportunity to bounce around between you guys).

Ally Build:

With respect to the Ally Build, the subsequent Beta updates have already made some changes in the direction suggested by zxc. It's becoming easier and easier to maintain one for longer periods, now that Tactical Coordination Suites were significantly buffed, as were Programmer hacking capabilities, enabling them to help build your army even when you're not a hacker (they also got rewiring capabilities in 1.2).

To address some specific suggestions, I'm not sure what having allies gradually follow into a new map is aiming to accomplish. And with drones, I'm afraid to make them much more effective  (I've had other ideas for them as well...) because they have strong potential to trivialize maps.

Ninja/Stealth:

Merging Cloaking Devices and Triangulators seems kinda too good for a single slot... same with ECM. Even with just ECM and speed you can escape almost anything--why the need for extra capabilities without expending another slot?

I don't see a particular need to modify this build since it doesn't have a particularly high slot use as is.

Offensive:

Kinetic superiority over thermal might no longer apply given the recent utility modifications that again nerfed crit stacks. 1.2 kinetics are probably... on par with thermal? The fact that thermal damage is effective against everything keeps it in favor as well. Oh, and the ability to outright up damage across an entire volley of energy weapons via particle chargers is... very effective.

Combat Hacker:

I think that with all of the new mechanics, most build styles as they exist now are coming into their own, both decently effective and fun to play.

The biggest exception is definitely the traditional combat hacker. It was just so powerful that it had to be nerfed, but in nerfing it it's not quite that much fun anymore. So I strongly agree with the direction of separating machine and robot hacking. The former is pretty balanced as is, it's just the latter that needs to morph into something a bit different. This is something I'd like to focus on for one of the next releases.

I don't necessarily want to completely remove overloading and assimilation hacks, though they should be limited in some way (maybe not the same new way they are now--maybe it requires a disposable item?), and the idea of adding new, more specific robot hacks is the way to go. This direction has always been planned, but it previously wasn't yet time to really dive into it.

It's still going to be tough to balance a specific list of hacks without making something OP. Robot hacks increasing alert is good. Melee Datajacks were just made un-repellable so that's good. And I'd like to make some tactical robot hacks even accessible in the early game with a basic Datajack.

Put some kind of cap on the number of allies you can maintain.
Technically there already is one, as suggested. It affects the alert level to an extent that has been continually tweaked over the past year, and at present the effect is just somewhat low. It's still noticeable to me, though--I ran an ally build for much of my last seed run, until I lost everyone in the space of 10 turns after three demolishers showed up to counter it (really should've thought to take some missile defense :P).

I do like the idea of potentially frying hackware when hacking robots. It could fit with making individual hackware better again.

This does mean thermal weapons are not that great. One thing that could be done is to add utils/processors which increase the amount of heat transferred by thermal weapons which gives reasons to stack them. Basically think of weapons as carriers for procs rather than damage dealers.
Particle chargers are an extremely good reason to stack thermal weapons!

I think, the only source of powerful cannons are the R branches. It would be nice to have an alternate source.
I think we'll get some of this via a new area I'd like to add in the future.

How about some kind of reflect/deflect utility that lets you deflect incoming fire when a slashing melee weapon in equipped.
If implemented, I wonder if this should be any melee weapon, really, not just slashing. Or at least potentially any--each might have a different propensity for it.

This could be one realization of the permenant buff idea that zxc and I were discussing in discord. Unique heros. The original combat hackers compensated for quality by quantity, but if that is not an option, we need better allies.
While not something I'd want to add in the near term, Zionite heroes would fit in nicely with a rather significant future potential expansion I'd like to do. There is certainly room for more sources of powerful allies, since there are only a handful you can get right now. Others are mostly fodder.

Some interesting trojan ideas there. I'll take those into account.

The more I play and look at items and mechanics, the more I think melee and both combat builds are already near perfect as they are now and don't require changes. Perhaps melee could use a small boost in increasing damage but it lacks testing at endgame. In concept, shouldn't melee builds be ideal for 1v1/bosses, along with cannon builds? In fact, you could build them along similar lines. By comparison, it still seems melee is a bit weaker.
Basically my impressions as well. This is why I mainly want to focus on the robot hacking. And there are going to be some future melee improvements to make it more valid as a pure style--it's getting pretty close by now but is at a bit of a disadvantage.
Logged
Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames

zxc

  • Cogmind
  • *****
  • 1st place in the High Scores category during Alpha Challenge 2015 1st place in the Best Escapes category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Shared a Confirmed Combat Win Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Bug Hunter Participated in the Alpha Challenge 2015 Achievement leader in at least one category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Wiki Contributor Weekly Seed Participant
  • Posts: 553
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 11:47:33 PM »

Ally Build:

With respect to the Ally Build, the subsequent Beta updates have already made some changes in the direction suggested by zxc. It's becoming easier and easier to maintain one for longer periods, now that Tactical Coordination Suites were significantly buffed, as were Programmer hacking capabilities, enabling them to help build your army even when you're not a hacker (they also got rewiring capabilities in 1.2).

To address some specific suggestions, I'm not sure what having allies gradually follow into a new map is aiming to accomplish. And with drones, I'm afraid to make them much more effective  (I've had other ideas for them as well...) because they have strong potential to trivialize maps.
This is really cool. Yeah re: drones, I hadn't thought about stacking them and bringing them into maps (thanks GJ).  About gradually bringing in allies... the point was that there would be no cap to how many allies you could bring. Right now, if the next map is cramped, some of your allies will never carry over.

Ninja/Stealth:

Merging Cloaking Devices and Triangulators seems kinda too good for a single slot... same with ECM. Even with just ECM and speed you can escape almost anything--why the need for extra capabilities without expending another slot?

I don't see a particular need to modify this build since it doesn't have a particularly high slot use as is.
Regarding the tracker count aspect of triangulators, it was because it's not a particularly useful effect (you learn the timings anyway and you can see enemies stop following you with sensors, which all stealth builds will have). Regarding the LOS detecting aspect of triangulators, the motivation was that I don't quite find it useful enough for a single slot. One major limitation is that it doesn't help you detect what distance enemies can see when you are around a corner with the enemy out of your LOS. Finally, the distances are learnable AFAIK, and while the triangulator would help learn these distances, its long-term usefulness isn't very high. I'd rather have another slab of armour or piece of hackware instead of a triangulator. No one else has commented on this - I guess I'm the only one doing pure stealth right now?

Offensive:

Kinetic superiority over thermal might no longer apply given the recent utility modifications that again nerfed crit stacks. 1.2 kinetics are probably... on par with thermal? The fact that thermal damage is effective against everything keeps it in favor as well. Oh, and the ability to outright up damage across an entire volley of energy weapons via particle chargers is... very effective.
Yep. This will need a lot more testing now with 1.2's changes. Just I hope you don't remove every stacking utility, because stacking can be cool. :)


Regarding Combat Hacking: I really like the sound of the melee datajack change. This stuff is cool.
Logged

Sherlockkat

  • Cyborg
  • ***
  • Bug Hunter Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Supported Cogmind Alpha Access 2015-2017 (Prime Tier)
  • Posts: 116
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2017, 07:38:45 PM »

Quote
Regarding the tracker count aspect of triangulators, it was because it's not a particularly useful effect (you learn the timings anyway and you can see enemies stop following you with sensors, which all stealth builds will have). Regarding the LOS detecting aspect of triangulators, the motivation was that I don't quite find it useful enough for a single slot. One major limitation is that it doesn't help you detect what distance enemies can see when you are around a corner with the enemy out of your LOS. Finally, the distances are learnable AFAIK, and while the triangulator would help learn these distances, its long-term usefulness isn't very high. I'd rather have another slab of armour or piece of hackware instead of a triangulator. No one else has commented on this - I guess I'm the only one doing pure stealth right now?

I agree with zxc on this. The LOS information from visible enemies is not very useful. As such, if I am equipping the triangulator, it is only to check whether I am being chased by anyone which is a useful effect. I think the traingulator is a fine item, but it is the energy cost that doesn't make sense to me. It consumes 10 energy per turn. So, basically you would use it the same way you would use ECM. Blip it on and off when you need it. This mechanic makes sense for the ECM because you should pay a long-term energy penalty for getting spotted by enemies. ECM is an active utility which does things for you, so the upkeep makes sense.

Triangulator is not an active utilty. It is an infowar utility. The LOS effect is not impactful enough to pay 10 energy. I mean, that info it provides doesn't hold a candle to the data you get from equipping an adv. sensor array which is far more energy efficient. So, it is going to be turned off at all times, except when you spot an enemy, you would blip it on for a turn and see the LOS, decide on a course of action and turn it off. Triangulator's tracking ability is far more interesting. Again, this information can be somewhat inferred from the more versatile sensor array. So, I don't see a use case for using triangulators over sensor array. Admittedly, it lets you know whether you are being tracked by anyone anywhere in the map. But for stealth play, your immediate surroundings matter a lot more than if a exterm is after you. I mean, the tracking information is not even directional, so I don't even know where they are coming from.
Logged

Kyzrati

  • Administrator
  • True Cogmind
  • *****
  • Posts: 2532
    • View Profile
    • Cogmind
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2017, 08:21:29 PM »

About gradually bringing in allies... the point was that there would be no cap to how many allies you could bring. Right now, if the next map is cramped, some of your allies will never carry over.
Ah, I see what you mean. Yeah that was something I considered earlier, though I thought it would feel kinda weird thematically since they would enter from what is otherwise an empty space... (as there are no return stairs)

This already happens in Waste, because it can make some sense there, going through chutes. So there is already a mechanism for transferring allies, but elsewhere I'm not so sure yet. It's probably a good idea in the long term, though.

Just I hope you don't remove every stacking utility, because stacking can be cool. :)
Exactly! That's why I've always erred on the side of allowing stacking unless it's obviously OP, but have since been forced to unstack a few utilities simply because they're so effective once you have a couple dozen slots to allocate. It's sometimes tough to balance a game in which you can eventually nearly quadruple the number of items you can use at once :P

I'd rather have another slab of armour or piece of hackware instead of a triangulator. No one else has commented on this - I guess I'm the only one doing pure stealth right now?
It could be up for mods in the future. As per Sherlockkat's input, would at least lowering the energy cost (to practically nothing) make it somewhat appealing? (Note: Technically the impetus behind its current cost was precisely what Sherlockkat pointed out--that it's something you'll probably only blip on for a short time anyway.)
Logged
Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames

zxc

  • Cogmind
  • *****
  • 1st place in the High Scores category during Alpha Challenge 2015 1st place in the Best Escapes category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Shared a Confirmed Combat Win Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Bug Hunter Participated in the Alpha Challenge 2015 Achievement leader in at least one category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Wiki Contributor Weekly Seed Participant
  • Posts: 553
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2017, 12:33:23 AM »

The energy cost would be something. I'd certainly play around with it more. I'm not sure it would impact optimal play, but it would encourage experimentation.
Logged

Kyzrati

  • Administrator
  • True Cogmind
  • *****
  • Posts: 2532
    • View Profile
    • Cogmind
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2017, 02:41:49 AM »

Well, optimal play could never possibly encompass everything we have available :P. More useful is a step though.
Logged
Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames

DDarkray

  • Cyborg
  • ***
  • Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Weekly Seed Participant Bug Hunter
  • Posts: 128
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2017, 09:52:10 AM »

One thing I want see is a build that uses traps to destroy enemies. In one of my runs, I found a bunch of trap items in a cave, but I don't have enough firepower to kill a guarding Behemoth. So I layed down several fire traps at a choke point, followed by dirty bomb traps for massive EM damage. After luring the Beast into the traps via guided missile launcher, it was annihilated completely. That was really awesome.

But if I were to incorporate traps into a build, you definitely need a way to obtain traps regularly. You either find them via traveling (possibly with Structural Scanner), locate them by hacking into terminals, or assimilate an operator, and then after that, you need to reprogram them using a datajack and then use a Trap Extractor (which is pretty rare item to me). In all cases, you need some hacking suites to reprogram them safely without blowing yourself up.

I think trap build has a potential. They can be amazing for killing off groups of enemies (especially near those explosive machines), and they can be amazing at killing off individual robot too (via segregator/shock traps). Because it's slow to drop and install them, you have to do so ahead of time, not in front of their face.

The biggest problem with this build though, other than needing some specialized items, is the need for storage spaces. If there's a way to store a bunch of traps in a single slot, that would be awesome, preferably into a Trap Extractor itself. (Maybe a toggle between extracting, storing, and releasing traps) Edit: Actually, why not just auto-stack similar trap items in a single slot? And if you drop them, it will drop one trap at a time, though it will take a while to drop the whole stack.

Being able to fabricate traps would be a tremendous help too.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 09:57:37 AM by DDarkray »
Logged

zxc

  • Cogmind
  • *****
  • 1st place in the High Scores category during Alpha Challenge 2015 1st place in the Best Escapes category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Shared a Confirmed Combat Win Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Bug Hunter Participated in the Alpha Challenge 2015 Achievement leader in at least one category during Alpha Challenge 2015 Wiki Contributor Weekly Seed Participant
  • Posts: 553
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2017, 12:19:20 PM »

A trapper would be a viable build. There is another way to get traps but I can't spoil it here :P
Logged

Kyzrati

  • Administrator
  • True Cogmind
  • *****
  • Posts: 2532
    • View Profile
    • Cogmind
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2017, 03:33:55 AM »

Well, since posting DDarkRay has shared with us his interesting trapper experience, which will be even more interesting once he makes a few additional discoveries, but I'm definitely into working on additional features to make this an even more viable build.

During the initial implementation I did consider trap stackability, but there is no such UI mechanic and it would open the door to people questioning why other (even smaller!) items cannot be stacked. This means the better approach (logically speaking) would be to allow the extractor to serve as a trap container, but then there's no way to manage simultaneous storage of different types without a whole new kind of interface... It becomes rather problematic so it turns out the best option is one trap per slot. At least traps are very effective against other bots, though they'll still never be quite as effective as what else you could use the same slot for.

Anyway, this is a build that will continue to get better over time, kinda like the gradual improvements to the summoner/necromancer/ally build.
Logged
Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames

DDarkray

  • Cyborg
  • ***
  • Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Weekly Seed Participant Bug Hunter
  • Posts: 128
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2017, 08:30:39 AM »

Anyway, this is a build that will continue to get better over time, kinda like the gradual improvements to the summoner/necromancer/ally build.

YES!! That's gonna be awesome. :D
The first idea I had is a processor/device that would increase all friendly traps' effects, e.g. double explosion damage, additional parts severed, stronger stasis field, etc. I think that would be interesting.
Logged

Kyzrati

  • Administrator
  • True Cogmind
  • *****
  • Posts: 2532
    • View Profile
    • Cogmind
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2017, 07:47:49 PM »

Hm, well it seems kinda weird that a processor or device could improve the effectiveness of traps across the board, but something like that might fit in in some way... I hadn't even started thinking in that particular direction yet :P. Most of my own designs tend to work within existing systems to increase their "density" before expanding features outward into new areas. That sounds interesting, though, I'll make note of it!
Logged
Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames

Draco18s

  • Cyborg
  • ***
  • Participated in the Alpha Challenge 2015
  • Posts: 108
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2017, 04:01:14 PM »

During the initial implementation I did consider trap stackability, but there is no such UI mechanic and it would open the door to people questioning why other (even smaller!) items cannot be stacked

Minecraft potions don't stack due to technical limitations, 1 meter cubes of stone do. No body really questions it. I don't think it's that big of a concern in order to enable a particular strategy.
Logged

Kyzrati

  • Administrator
  • True Cogmind
  • *****
  • Posts: 2532
    • View Profile
    • Cogmind
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2017, 09:54:53 PM »

Sure we can always make exceptions for a good enough reason, but I prefer to avoid it where possible, and lack of stackability across the board is a kind of fundamental feature of the entire game. No stacking in inventory, no stacking in equipment list, no stacking in spaces... I'd like to keep it that way for consistency. There are alternative approaches for continuing to improve the effectiveness of traps, so at this point I'd prefer to explore those options rather than start making larger exceptions.
Logged
Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames

DDarkray

  • Cyborg
  • ***
  • Shared a Confirmed Stealth Win Weekly Seed Participant Bug Hunter
  • Posts: 128
    • View Profile
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2017, 09:22:23 AM »

In one of my recent runs, I got to try out a new type of combat build which doesn't inflict direct damage to robots but instead melt them using thermal weapons. I call it the Heat Transfer build which takes advantage of weapons that can inflict a lot of heat in one volley. So far, Spread Laser is the king at doing this, capable of inflicting up to 150 heat if all its projectiles are landed (though it may be nerfed in the near future). Add 2 more of them and you can instantly melt down a lot of robots.

The problem with this build is the need for specialized weapons. Many other thermal weapons have lower heat transfer, and when you try to stack them, you might as well kill through direct damage instead of through meltdown. I would like to see more items that can do this even if Spread Laser got nerfed.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 06:09:16 AM by DDarkray »
Logged

Kyzrati

  • Administrator
  • True Cogmind
  • *****
  • Posts: 2532
    • View Profile
    • Cogmind
Re: Build Classifications
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2017, 08:08:01 PM »

I've added that to the list of things to look at in the near term. Heat transfer has the potential to be very OP so I didn't want to go overboard on the numbers. Right now it's decent, but it could probably stand to be better when used as a primary strategy. The main thing I worry about when designing systems like this is their potential for stacking beyond a certain point at which it's too good. I don't like caps and try to avoid them where possible, but I can see why lots of games rely on them :)
Logged
Josh Ge, Developer - Dev Blog | @GridSageGames