Author Topic: Death Cubes and Balancing  (Read 11930 times)

Commander Jackson

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2014, 06:35:13 pm »
I have this sudden image of a maximum-sized death cube with narrow valleys and canyons cutting into the surface of the cube to house radiators and hangar entrances armed with light weapons that won't penetrate the cube's own surface armor and helicopter gunship-styled fighter-bombers making dives into these canyons to take out those critical radiators while allied dreadnoughts with leaner profiles move in to finish the behemoth while cube-fighters sortie out into the canyons to defend their mothercube from the enemy gunboats.

So borg cube mixed with death star built with baby cube fighters?
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Me2005

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2014, 06:37:06 pm »
He's not suggesting that radiators could be placed inside the hull, rather that you could create armor with narrow channels filled with radiators. They'd still be open to space in one direction, but they'd be hard to hit from any angle other than straight on. Imagine if the 'floor' of the death star's canyon was covered in radiator panels

Wait, really? I thought the point would be to cut trenches to increase surface area. If you are correct, you'd still run into SA problems trying to cool a cube; only they'd be worse because you are reducing the area available to vent from.
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Strait Raider

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2014, 07:47:01 pm »
If you are correct, you'd still run into SA problems trying to cool a cube; only they'd be worse because you are reducing the area available to vent from.

Once the cube gets big enough, yes. Though at the stage where radiators need to form 20-50% of your total surface area it could be an effective pattern. (For any shape of ship)

RLS0812

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2014, 10:57:59 pm »
So borg cube mixed with death star built with baby cube fighters?
I like the idea of "self healing" ships as the borg have.
 On a side note: Scrumbleship has the option to build an organic ship that repairs damage over time .

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Me2005

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2014, 10:44:14 am »
Once the cube gets big enough, yes. Though at the stage where radiators need to form 20-50% of your total surface area it could be an effective pattern. (For any shape of ship)

But shouldn't the goal of radiators be to make a super-compact, max-power ships (cubes) require radiators over +/-100% of their surface? Then make armor plating & hull substantially better than radiators for protection (Something like "armor rejects indirect and absorbs light direct hits, hull rejects indirect hits occasionally, radiator is always damaged even by glancing blows").
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Strait Raider

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2014, 12:13:09 pm »
Heat alone will never make all sizes of cube obsolete. While shape has a big influence on surface area/volume, it also scales with well, scale.

For example, you could balance it such that the average 200m per side borg cube would need 100% of its surface covered with radiators (SA/V = 0.03 = 0.03 Radiators/m^3).

But a 100m per side borg cube would only need 50% of its surface area covered in radiators. (0.03V/SA = 0.5) This makes sense logically as SA/V is a ^2/^3 function, meaning that as scale increases, SA/V changes ^-1.

It's not a perfect system, but it does mean that the larger a ship gets the more difficult it will be to make a blobby, borgy ship.

Hopefully there will be enough ancillary concerns (firing angles of turrets, size of cross-section from attack angles, etc) to somewhat discourage cubes even at the small-to-medium sizes where they would be viable. Consider that a vessel of the same 100^3 volume, but stretched to 4x1x1 LxWxH instead of 1x1x1 LxWxH would have 84% the armor thickness but only have radiators over 42% of its surface (notice these ratios change in lockstep). Granted, you still have the same number of radiators in this example, but they're now easier to spread out and protect.

As far as making radiators something you'll want to avoid needing as much as possible, and hiding what you have as well as you can, I think making radiators exceptionally fragile is a good starting point. The more you rely on radiators, the more vulnerable you are to losing them.

I've got some more specific thoughts on how to deal with this, but I think we're kind of derailing, and since it depends heavily on how ZanMgt will be doing certain mechanics, I've taken it up in the Founder's area. http://forums.blockaderunnergame.com/index.php?topic=2583
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 01:32:42 pm by Strait Raider »

Aaron

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #36 on: November 02, 2014, 12:31:26 am »
It's tricky, because on the one hand you want to forcefully prevent the death cube, and on the other you think It's a fair move.

I think the three factors we're willing to nerf a cube is pretty much:

- Weight (it'll be naturally heavier if you're bulking it up)
- Speed (it'll be naturally slower if you're bulking it up)
- Warp (we can have the "slipstream" affected by boxiness)
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MRC

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #37 on: November 02, 2014, 03:13:50 am »
It's tricky, because on the one hand you want to forcefully prevent the death cube, and on the other you think It's a fair move.

I think the three factors we're willing to nerf a cube is pretty much:

- Weight (it'll be naturally heavier if you're bulking it up)
- Speed (it'll be naturally slower if you're bulking it up)
- Warp (we can have the "slipstream" affected by boxiness)

I don't believe "death-cube" would actually be affected by mass disadvantages unless it's literally just a colossal cube. Compacting subsystems like they do means they need less hull to join the pieces together, this can drop the mass and resource cost significantly compared with a standard ship with the same subsystems, therefore increasing speed. As for slipstream, cubes would probably simply turn into artillery shells and the problem is back.

Add some Olympic grade weapon spam to the mix and you get yourself a death-cube that's cheaper, faster and stronger.  ;D

I'm starting to think buffing the NPCs themselves might be the best way to approach this. Difficulty settings would let players play like they want. It won't balance PvP but any persistent PvP is going to turn into a mess anyway, better focus on PvE.  :P
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RLS0812

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #38 on: November 02, 2014, 04:36:59 pm »

- Warp (we can have the "slipstream" affected by boxiness)

 Your are seriously going to add aerodynamics  into a SPACE game that is based on VOXELS ?!

Be careful my friend - you could easily ruin your whole game trying to eliminate "efficient" ship designs ... AKA over balancing and over "nurfing" . Whats to stop a player from making a "Death Wedge", or a "Death Saucer"  - and than what will you change to nurf those designs ?

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Cy83r

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #39 on: November 02, 2014, 06:36:27 pm »
Just a point here, but if you knock the NPC deadliness multiplier up a notch to deal with deathcubes, assuming yet again that they are a highly advantageous design principle, you're just forcing their use in a roughshod manner

"Warp slipstream surface dynamics" are a small inefficiency to bite when you want to make a combat-monster, it's a fair logistical sacrifice to make.

The big deal preventing deathcube 'abuse' is going to be heat management and probably some unforeseen consequences when taking critical hits past the armor walls.  That's the only other BIG detriment to relying on a cube, where another ship might only have a section knocked out by an anti-capital weapon, a deathcube could suffer a lot more secondary damage from the same hit.

Right now it's kind of a theoretical problem that we can't solve without actually testing deathcube designs in-game against more streamlined designs.  We have no idea what sort of secondary complications will occur when folding a ship up to be as small across all three dimensions as possible, it's unprecedented for this game's system.  We can make some rough guesses by going back into W70/71 and comparing it in combat against the now-stock designs, but again, those builds don't take heat, power, and explosions into any account, so any conclusions couldn't be applied reliably to the current state of the game.

Personally, I think it's a stylistic boogeyman that we really shouldn't feel too worried about, but we'll see in time.
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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #40 on: November 02, 2014, 09:27:06 pm »
Quote from: Cy83r
Right now it's kind of a theoretical problem that we can't solve without actually testing deathcube designs in-game against more streamlined designs.

Been a few vehicular voxel games to try it out on... Space Engineers, Star-Made, Robocraft... and the boat one, I forget its name now.  In Star-Made as I recall death cubes just got stupid strong.  I haven't tried a death cube in Space Engineers, but then the combat in SE is only rudimentary at the moment.

Quote from: Cy83r
Personally, I think it's a stylistic boogeyman that we really shouldn't feel too worried about, but we'll see in time.

Quite right, but the 'Death Cube' is always the best test to run when you think you've come up with a brilliant way to calculate the efficiency of a ship component or some such.  Usually it goes something like this:

"Oh, hey!  We could just do <X genius> and <Y calculus> to easily calculate <Z strength>!"
          "What about death cubes?"
"... uh..."
          "Right.  Back to square one."

A death cube often draws attention to flaws in code logic that would be open to abuse.

Quote from: Cy83r
The big deal preventing deathcube 'abuse' is going to be heat management

Not so certain on that one... if we were to do voxel-to-voxel heat, sure, but as it stands it's likely to be chunk-by-chunk, which would allow a death cube to escape any real consequence for having a thick hull (since there would be no distinguishing barrier).

Quote from: RLS0812
Your are seriously going to add aerodynamics  into a SPACE game that is based on VOXELS ?!

Just for entering and exiting warp, and maybe fuel consumption during transit - if it feels like it would be a fun mechanic to do so.  I feel again though we'd be limiting people's designs for the sake of W1NN!NG teh gaem.

For all intents and purposes I see the ship's outer hull as terrain in an RTS game.  It's the landscape that the battle takes place.  With that in mind, a player who armors-up with a death cube would be the RTS equivalent of "turtleing".  The best way to break a turtle is usually to use abilities/weapons that are AOE (area of effect) that will cause larger collateral damage with the build-up of defenses all in one spot.
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Cy83r

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #41 on: November 02, 2014, 10:54:53 pm »
Okay, so we clearly need HEAT-styled weapons, meaning... probably missiles and plasma- I'd note that death cubes will ideally also suffer the highest damage from railguns since they have the smallest by-volume chance of being overpenetrated and just plain ignoring a lot of the kinetic energy imparted by AP+ railgun darts.  Really, AP ammo is a solid bet and anything that explodes after penetrating some armor would be great against compact ships.  Once you get through the armor, even if there's more than one layer as on any ship, your surface matters very little.
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RLS0812

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #42 on: November 03, 2014, 06:40:26 am »
I'd note that death cubes will ideally also suffer the highest damage from railguns since they have the smallest by-volume chance of being overpenetrated and just plain ignoring a lot of the kinetic energy imparted by AP+ railgun darts.

 According to some theories, hitting an object with a basketball sized bit of tungsten at 50,000 KPH will produce the same energy as a full sized nuclear weapon detonation. 

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Czorio

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #43 on: November 03, 2014, 07:09:56 am »
Assuming the metal is Tungsten (19300 Kg/m^3), and 1 foot is 30 cm.

r = 15 cm
V = 14137.2 cm^3
Meaning that:
m = 272.85 Kg

1000 MPH is around 1600 KPH
1600 Km/h = 444.44 m/s

E kin = 1/2 * m * v^2
E kin = 26947883.65 J = 27 MJ of energy.

The smallest nuke is 83,680 MJ source

redoing that for 50k kph

E kin = 1/2 * m * v^2
E kin = 2.63166 * 10^10 J = 26316.6 MJ

tl;dr: it'll fuck you up.
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Cy83r

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Re: Death Cubes and Balancing
« Reply #44 on: November 03, 2014, 12:09:39 pm »
Aah, this brings the old RKV debates to mind, I miss those early days.
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."