Author Topic: Death Cubes and Balancing  (Read 9466 times)

RLS0812

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Death Cubes and Balancing
« on: October 21, 2014, 03:50:05 am »
Split to form new topic

In SE, your ship's speed and maneuverability is determined by how many engines you have, were the engines are placed, the mass of your ship, and the current momentum.
 Engines almost always have to be exposed ( or melt the inside of your ship ) .

 On an online "fight", I went up against a very fast and heavily armored "death cube" design ( something like this http://img.youtube.com/vi/Inp3d_CkxhE/0.jpg )
  I took out a good portion of the engines with my guns, while maintaining my distance - The death cube, at this point, was still intact but unable to go anywhere .
 I than casually blew out one of it's weapon banks - I than proceeded to rip a hole through it's armor until I "killed" the other player .

   Nothing is a perfect design - I seriously do not see anyone being able to come up with some kind of supper ship that is unstoppable in combat.

 The more speed and maneuverability you have in a larger ship, the more you risk getting your engines blown out as they become bigger targets.
 FYI - my current combat ship design is a medium armored fighter, structurally designed to be a small target -

 
 
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 03:36:34 pm by Strait Raider »

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MRC

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 07:04:57 am »
@RLS0812

The problem isn't that death-cubes are unstoppable, but that they can have the power of battleships with the size, speed and cost of a frigate, causing massive balance issue if unchecked. In BR's PvE this could mean overwhelming the NPCs for a fraction of the cost, removing challenge and potentially boring the players into quitting. In a free-for-all PvE or a PvP setting the problem gets much worst, for obvious reasons.

The death-cube concept isn't limited to combat either, nor to cubes for that matter. Just look at the drilling rigs players make in SE. This mentality can manifest itself in many areas a cause a variety of issues ranging from harmless to game-breaking.
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Me2005

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2014, 11:32:36 am »
@RLS0812

The problem isn't that death-cubes are unstoppable, but that they can have the power of battleships with the size, speed and cost of a frigate, causing massive balance issue if unchecked. In BR's PvE this could mean overwhelming the NPCs for a fraction of the cost, removing challenge and potentially boring the players into quitting. In a free-for-all PvE or a PvP setting the problem gets much worst, for obvious reasons.

(emphasis added)

Who ever said that? Massive ships are just that - massive ships. They cost massively more than your ship. The problem with them is that they'll potentially have weapons capable of instantly killing you and shields/armor capable of absorbing everything you can try against them; if they can just scale everything up from any smaller ship. A cube is just the most efficient hull-shape to put everything in (short of being able to make a sphere).

If cost is the only factor in balance, yeah, they're balanced. But I don't think that cost should be all of balance.

I than casually blew out one of it's weapon banks - I than proceeded to rip a hole through it's armor until I "killed" the other player .

I don't know how SE handles weapons, but it sounds like the death cube builder did something wrong - how were you out of range enough to 'casually' blow it's weapons?
But you were dead a thousand times. Hopeless encounters successfully won. A man long dead, grafted to machines your builders did not understand. You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern. Yours to manipulate, to create and rebuild.

I know who you are.

You are destiny.

Cy83r

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2014, 04:56:48 pm »
Probably limited weapon coverage and lack of turrets/gimbals, best guess.  Could also be that the cube didn't mirror every external system onto every facing, meaning the starfighter might have only had to dodge against one or two axes of fire at a time instead of the universal three axes if the cube had been equally armed on all sides.  Combine that with limited or zero traverse on the weapon mounts and it'd be fairly easy to outmaneuver such a cube.
Jibreel: Yeah but [Hufer] that's like [Axis] complaining that his Toyota Camry is stuck in the mud and you responding "Well my M1 Abrams doesn't seem to be having much trouble."

RLS0812

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2014, 06:18:12 pm »
 I was in range of the cubes weapons ( all 6 sides could fire ), I just hung back at a roughly 45 angle to avoid getting hit several hundred times.
The cube's design weakness was all the engines that were required to move it's mass around ( armor + weapons + reactors + other ship systems made the ship very "heavy").
 I targeted the engines first. After the death cube could not move or turn very fast, I targeted a weapons bank, which gave me access to the inside of the ship once the thinner armor was destroyed.

 As of when I posted this, in SE guns are good against light armor and ship components, while missiles and mines are good for armor penetration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WznBSu6I6k&list=UUftK-tQH9-Pp68v6ImVbrzA

 The more armor you have, the higher your mass becomes, and the more engines you need to move around and over come momentum- which also requires more power .
 

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MRC

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2014, 12:40:08 am »
Who ever said that? Massive ships are just that - massive ships. They cost massively more than your ship. The problem with them is that they'll potentially have weapons capable of instantly killing you and shields/armor capable of absorbing everything you can try against them; if they can just scale everything up from any smaller ship. A cube is just the most efficient hull-shape to put everything in (short of being able to make a sphere).

If cost is the only factor in balance, yeah, they're balanced. But I don't think that cost should be all of balance.

We might have a different definition of what makes a death-cube. By my definition, death-cubes are super-compressed ships ditching aesthetic for pure utility. So it's not scaling up from smaller ships, but compressing down larger ones. By doing away with aesthetic features like living space and a good looking hull you can get the same firepower and endurance for a fraction of the cost, mass and size as well as getting superior speed and turn rate from the mass decrease.

So death-cubes aren't massive nor almighty but they severely outperform their weight class for the same cost.
With love.  ~MRC

RLS0812

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2014, 06:24:05 am »
"Death Cubes" are very powerful ships, and many folks have been tweaking their designs to make them more efficient ... but my question to you is, why are so many folks in this forum obsessed with the VOLUME of a ship ?
 
 My own SE ship is pretty good in PvP "dog fights", yet it is small and relatively lightly armored. 
 

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Commander Jackson

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 06:37:06 am »
Death Cubes are not the end all ship in Blockade Runner.  In Space Engineers,  "Death Cubes are more viable because all weapons take up pretty the same amount of space but weapons in BR are going to be [REDACTED] (redacted by order of Gabe's Wraith)

Automatic Post Merge: October 22, 2014, 06:37:56 am
Continuing my train of thought over there.
Gabe has a wraith? That explains so much.

Me2005

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2014, 11:20:19 am »
By doing away with aesthetic features like living space and a good looking hull you can get the same firepower and endurance for a fraction of the cost, mass and size as well as getting superior speed and turn rate from the mass decrease.

How does doing away with volume give you greater performance? You're a smaller target maybe, but if the more aesthetically pleasing ship is significantly larger (such that it costs significantly more), it's also significantly stronger by nature of having more blocks. There shouldn't be any cost associated with empty space, other than the need to enclose it with more blocks (again, giving you more HP - for lack of a better term - by default).

My concern RE: Death Cubes has always stemmed from the size limit imposed by the game. An aesthetically pleasing ship won't maximize the space given by the game, while a death cube would completely fill the maximum allowed ship-size. The cube would be way more expensive, but it'd be more powerful to compensate.

Probably limited weapon coverage and lack of turrets/gimbals, best guess.

Ah, that makes sense.
But you were dead a thousand times. Hopeless encounters successfully won. A man long dead, grafted to machines your builders did not understand. You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern. Yours to manipulate, to create and rebuild.

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RLS0812

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2014, 12:10:24 pm »
(( Generalizing a basic 1 thick hull ship design ))
If you drove a cube around measuring 40 x 40, your basic mass would be (9600*D).
If you drove an "aesthetically" pleasing ship around, your hull would have far more surface area, therefor increasing your mass.

(Technically a 40 X 40 cylinder is more effective @ (7536*D) ... a perfect sphere would be (5026*D) --- unfortunately no space ship sim game can emulate curves very well ) .

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Me2005

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2014, 03:44:39 pm »
(( Generalizing a basic 1 thick hull ship design ))
If you drove a cube around measuring 40 x 40, your basic mass would be (9600*D).
If you drove an "aesthetically" pleasing ship around, your hull would have far more surface area, therefor increasing your mass.

But if the max ship-size is 256x256x256, a cube filling that would be more massive than any aesthetically pleasing ship; as the pleasing one would need to be smaller. An attractive ship can't be as massive as a large cube in-game can because there is a maximum volume to build ships in in-game. To be attractive, a ship would need to sacrifice some of that volume as empty space rather than weapons/armor/reactor/etc. etc.

The core of the reoccurring 'big ship' problem is that the ship is so much bigger than you that you don't stand a chance, and has little to do with the shape. That came from a limitation on the engine and the simple fact that a cube is an efficient container. Making all components volatile would help reduce that as an issue - compacting them into a cube would be less desirable.

Quote
... unfortunately no space ship sim game can emulate curves very well )

Which is why spheres etc. are being left out of the discussion.
But you were dead a thousand times. Hopeless encounters successfully won. A man long dead, grafted to machines your builders did not understand. You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern. Yours to manipulate, to create and rebuild.

I know who you are.

You are destiny.

MRC

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2014, 04:48:46 pm »
@Me

Again, we clearly don't have the same definition of a death-cube.  :P

I don't see death-cubes as massive and over the top ultimate ships, just as ships that completely replace aesthetic for utility, often resulting in cubic hulls. I think they represent both a combat balance and game progression issue.

For example, NPCs ships within BR could feature a lot of living space like crew quarters, command bridge, engineering rooms ...etc adding to mass and cost, most likely to make scavenging interesting. With death-cubes ignoring these aesthetic features, they could equal the performances of an NPCs' ships for a fraction of the cost and weight.

This could mean the player in a death-cube could have access to late-game firepower much sooner than intended and breeze trough the game without challenge. This is somewhat of a self-inflicted curse but peoples just love optimizing, so it's best to design around it.

I agree that volatile component could help against ship compression of the sort. Compressing NPC ships to near death-cubey levels could help as well although It might be harsh to player wanting to build sensibly.
With love.  ~MRC

Me2005

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 05:23:13 pm »
For example, NPCs ships within BR could feature a lot of living space like crew quarters, command bridge, engineering rooms ...etc adding to mass and cost, most likely to make scavenging interesting. With death-cubes ignoring these aesthetic features, they could equal the performances of an NPCs' ships for a fraction of the cost and weight. ...

But if the cube is approaching the limit of BR's ship-size, no other ship can be larger. Which is what my point is - the ships that are a problem are those near the upper limit. Smaller ships that are significantly more expensive than small cubes are either A) Significantly more massive than the cube, and thus probably more than an even match, or B) Significantly more massive and devoid of useful bits, better serving as museum pieces than actual in-game ships.

The key is the "significantly" bit - some extra hull shouldn't be so expensive as to be crazy to add. So a ship with 5% more hull is 5% stronger but maybe only 1% more expensive - a reasonable return that makes it attractive to build over a cube. If you're significantly more expensive and don't have the same 'core' parts, you're probably way more massive - hull is bound to be much cheaper than engines, weapons, shields, reactors, and etc. block-for-block.

The trouble is that any ship with the exact same blocks as a cube won't be as all-around effective (barring exploding chain-reaction bits) - the cube is higher density, and can mount it's equipment all around more effectively than some other shape. But, with the potential for modular weapons or reactors or whatever ends up in-game, you might build your ship differently. The cube might have 6 guns, one on each face, and engines on each face. Your ship might have all the engines on the back and guns on the front, giving you more firepower in one direction. You might have one big gun instead of 6 smaller ones, giving you more penetration (of shields or armor - you've got the same DPS but higher damage-per-shot); shoot, that might make it so that your ship is immune to the cube's weapons, while you can insta-kill him!
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 05:27:23 pm by Me2005 »
But you were dead a thousand times. Hopeless encounters successfully won. A man long dead, grafted to machines your builders did not understand. You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern. Yours to manipulate, to create and rebuild.

I know who you are.

You are destiny.

MRC

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2014, 08:18:54 pm »
@Me2005

I'm focusing mostly in equivalences in weight, and equivalences in cost. Yes a significantly more expensive/massive ship as perfectly good chances against a cube, they also have good chance against anything else that's significantly smaller and cheaper. It's not so much about death-cubes taking on ships much larger than themselves but cubes crushing their weight class with firepower intended for heavier, more expensive classes. Like a heavy-weight boxer entering light-weight by chopping his legs off.  :P
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Commander Jackson

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Re: Death Cubes
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2014, 09:26:18 pm »
@Me2005

I'm focusing mostly in equivalences in weight, and equivalences in cost. Yes a significantly more expensive/massive ship as perfectly good chances against a cube, they also have good chance against anything else that's significantly smaller and cheaper. It's not so much about death-cubes taking on ships much larger than themselves but cubes crushing their weight class with firepower intended for heavier, more expensive classes. Like a heavy-weight boxer entering light-weight by chopping his legs off.  :P

i feel like a light-weight boxer would win this by avoiding the legless heavy-weight boxer...

Balancing factor would be sacrificing mobility for firepower.



My personal opinion on this dispute about death-cubes is as follows.  that I see a cube as another (albiet somewhat bland) starship design.  Every scenario that has been mentioned in which death-cubes are seen as overpowered, has it's balancing factors.

death-cubes are not OP.  They are balanced. And if done correctly, could possibly be considered creative.

Automatic Post Merge: October 23, 2014, 09:31:18 pm
If I just completly missunderstood the reason for the argument about "death-cubes" please feel free to correct me.  I have had a long day and am slightly sleep deprieved at the moment.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 09:31:18 pm by Commander Jackson »
Gabe has a wraith? That explains so much.