Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

4X strategy game from Proxy Studios

Moderators: Pandora Moderators, Slitherine Core

void
Proxy Studios
Proxy Studios
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:19 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by void » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:20 pm

Hi Apheirox, out of curiosity, do you have a save game for when this 24k steal happened, and if yes could you please send it to info@proxy-studios.com? If there are players who build up so much cash we indeed have to cap the maximum amount stolen / sabotaged.

From my played / observed multiplayer matches so far I'm personally quite happy with the effectiveness of espionage and how it plays. However, we definitely have to improve the AI's infiltration skills, lower their infiltration frequency (though they do consider standings and scores for infiltration) and tweak some more numbers.

In general the espionage mechanics are received fairly controversial, will see if we have to do some more radical changes.
Lorenz Ruhmann
Proxy Studios

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
Pandora Community Developer
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Xilmi » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:23 pm

If you introduce a cap make sure it scales with the state of the game.
Bad: Cap=1000
Good: Cap=Income per Turn*5

Zak0r
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Posts: 188
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:21 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Zak0r » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:01 pm

Well the thing is, if you want to get the economic victory you are forced to hoard a lot of cash. Being able to steal almost everything in one turn simply makes the economic victory unachievable unless you simply only focus on credits abuse turn 50 and win immediately.

@Xilmi
What do you mean with state of the game and bad/good?

But I agree, there should definitely be a cap. Maybe also introduce three different caps for t1,t2, t3 agents. Also remember that credits have different value on different game paces. So the caps should reflect that as well.

JurisDocta
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:19 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by JurisDocta » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:26 pm

Xilmi wrote:
Apheirox wrote:A further problem is there is no real use for the Mechanization/Transcendence era agents and their respective equipment - they don't have any higher infiltration chances, just higher combat strength.
That is not true. The blue agent has +0.25 to all operations over the white one and the golden one has +0.5.
Especially for the harder operations where the white one has less than 50% chance this is quite huge of a boost.

The agent-weapons, however, are indeed useless waste of ressources.

Also there is a bug:

When an enemy-agent steals from you, you see her in the list of units in your city. When you click her there, you suddenly see where she really is and now know exactly who spied on you.

I have an idea to make it more covered without completely changing everything:

Make the spies invisible while they share a tile with other units from you. So they cannot be seen hanging around in their city after stealing and you can sneak them unseen to the border by making a line of your units.
That could be abused though. Its a good idea on its face so maybe restrict such an effect to if there are formers on the space, in effect allowing spies to sneak around via civilian vehicles or using them to hide. It'd also force the player to choose between building/improving and espionage, at least in theory.

Flash Jack
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:34 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Flash Jack » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:20 am

From my played / observed multiplayer matches so far I'm personally quite happy with the effectiveness of espionage and how it plays. However, we definitely have to improve the AI's infiltration skills, lower their infiltration frequency (though they do consider standings and scores for infiltration) and tweak some more numbers.
I'll, very politely, suggest that this might be the crux of the problem. You're (dev) looking at it from a MP perspective where your design appears to work pretty well.

However there is a disconnect with the espionage system when it comes to the Single Player experience.

What is a good design for MP doesn't appear to translate very well to SP. In MP espionage devolves down into a fun game of cat and mouse but in SP it's nothing more than than an unbalanced game of whack-a-mole.

Highly visible agents trying to swerve past blocking walls of units is more 'Grid Iron' than 'Espionage'.

As roughly 90% of your player base (and potential future player base) is going to be tackling the game solo I'd be inclined to rethink.

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
Pandora Community Developer
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Xilmi » Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:10 pm

@Zak0r:
I just mean that there should not be one static cap.
The cap should scale with something progress-related. For example a multiple of the last monthly income of the one you're stealing from.

@Flash Jack:
I've suggested 2 AI-improvements regarding spy-usage and spy-defense, that I think would go a long way with improving how the feature feels in single-player.

When using spies and a city cannot be reached immediately, the Spy should be positioned:
-at the maximum distance that still enables him to reach a city in one turn
-outside of vision of anything foreign
In order to realize the latter, it should only use 3 of its 4 movement-points. If it can see an opponents unit after the 3rd step, it should walk backwards to get out of vision again. If it doesn't it should skip the turn in order to not risk being seen after the 4th step

During peacetime in order to defend against spies, the AI should position unused units on tiles near their borders. It should prefer flat tiles for that as those would be preferred by spies to reach cities quickly.

Zak0r
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Posts: 188
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:21 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Zak0r » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:06 pm

Xilmi wrote:@Zak0r:
I just mean that there should not be one static cap.
The cap should scale with something progress-related. For example a multiple of the last monthly income of the one you're stealing from.
I could think of a way to abuse that. When I see a spy and can't stop him I simply lower my taxes to 0 for that turn and he can't steal anything. The overall idea is good though. Maybe something related to the overall economic strength points.

void
Proxy Studios
Proxy Studios
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:19 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by void » Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:46 am

Flash Jack wrote:I'll, very politely, suggest that this might be the crux of the problem. You're (dev) looking at it from a MP perspective where your design appears to work pretty well.

However there is a disconnect with the espionage system when it comes to the Single Player experience.
It's a bit hard to admit, but you're right. The fact that the expansion would premier in a multiplayer live evening where I would show off the new faction along with espionage resulted in a design biased towards multiplayer.

We have processed the feedback and will post planned changes in a day or two.
Lorenz Ruhmann
Proxy Studios

rambo919
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:50 am

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by rambo919 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:28 pm

Ok so in the mean time If I simply delete all the spy xml files or replace them with empty files will this effectively disable espionage? Or is there a way I can make spies impossible to build?

Zak0r
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Posts: 188
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:21 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Zak0r » Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:45 pm

You can disable the spy techs. This also effectively disables the units.

void
Proxy Studios
Proxy Studios
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:19 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by void » Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:35 pm

Alright guys, these are our planned changes:

- Only agents (and units with a detection device, will be added) can see, block and attack other agents.
- Agent movement is reduced to 2.
- To infiltrate a city, you first have to kill all agents or units with detection stationed there.
- Agents no longer have a success chance for orders, but orders always succeed for a constant base value modified by the infiltration power and +/-25% variation. So e.g. stealing credits will have a base of 80 credits, is with +50% infiltration power increased to 120 credits, and then randomized to 90 - 150 credits.
- Destroy building order is removed, order to reduce effectiveness of defense buildings is added.

Please post your feedback and concerns now, otherwise implementation will begin tomorrow!
Lorenz Ruhmann
Proxy Studios

JurisDocta
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:19 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by JurisDocta » Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:53 pm

void wrote:Alright guys, these are our planned changes:

- Only agents (and units with a detection device, will be added) can see, block and attack other agents.
- Agent movement is reduced to 2.
- To infiltrate a city, you first have to kill all agents or units with detection stationed there.
- Agents no longer have a success chance for orders, but orders always succeed for a constant base value modified by the infiltration power and +/-25% variation. So e.g. stealing credits will have a base of 80 credits, is with +50% infiltration power increased to 120 credits, and then randomized to 90 - 150 credits.
- Destroy building order is removed, order to reduce effectiveness of defense buildings is added.

Please post your feedback and concerns now, otherwise implementation will begin tomorrow!
Taking out destroy building seems to be a slight bit overnerf to me (even with the defense reduction) but the other changes sound awesome. Maybe the spy should only be able to destroy defense/security related buildings?

Apheirox
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:54 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Apheirox » Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:42 pm

void wrote:Hi Apheirox, out of curiosity, do you have a save game for when this 24k steal happened, and if yes could you please send it to info@proxy-studios.com? If there are players who build up so much cash we indeed have to cap the maximum amount stolen / sabotaged.

From my played / observed multiplayer matches so far I'm personally quite happy with the effectiveness of espionage and how it plays. However, we definitely have to improve the AI's infiltration skills, lower their infiltration frequency (though they do consider standings and scores for infiltration) and tweak some more numbers.

In general the espionage mechanics are received fairly controversial, will see if we have to do some more radical changes.
With regard to that 24K case, I was going for the economic victory. The only way to win economic is to build up a huge pile of cash - and with your espionage mechanics having no ceiling on how much can be stolen at a time, it is perfectly possible that one would steal 24K credits (or more) against a player aiming for this victory.

This 24K is a really extreme example, but even a 'normal' case of spying against a player that is perhaps more advanced than oneself can provide a huge advantage thanks to your 'no ceiling' model. Stealing the entire 1000+ research pool from a player might provide a full technology while denying a tech for the target. Again, I get that you want espionage to be rewarding and I agree with that; but there are so many implications to your system you simply don't seem to have thought through and I have no idea how you can feel it works well for MP... Example: What if said two players are at war? The attacking player simply needs to have his army in the opponent's territory next to a city, and the defending player can then do *nothing* to prevent spies swarming in and stealing *all* credit/research output every single turn... So, a player losing a war will now be losing it even faster thanks to agents completely draining his treasury/research pool every turn... and Pandora arguably already suffers from the problem that once you start losing a war, there is very little chance of recovery, making things rather one-sided. Another example would be how, when conquering a city, enemy agents can now start stealing at full efficiency from the city that was their own just one turn ago, which seems absurd... * Hopefully concerns such as those I raise here are clear? To me it seems obvious that there are massive problems with espionage but apparently we somehow see things very differently when you have released the expansion in this state and can be happy with how it works and has performed in your MP test.
void wrote:Alright guys, these are our planned changes:

- Only agents (and units with a detection device, will be added) can see, block and attack other agents.
- Agent movement is reduced to 2.
- To infiltrate a city, you first have to kill all agents or units with detection stationed there.
- Agents no longer have a success chance for orders, but orders always succeed for a constant base value modified by the infiltration power and +/-25% variation. So e.g. stealing credits will have a base of 80 credits, is with +50% infiltration power increased to 120 credits, and then randomized to 90 - 150 credits.
- Destroy building order is removed, order to reduce effectiveness of defense buildings is added.

Please post your feedback and concerns now, otherwise implementation will begin tomorrow!
Difficult to judge without having played it first hand but here are my initial thoughts:

-This may be overkill. While agents are clearly much too powerful in current build, this may be too much of a nerf. Like you say yourself, managing to infiltrate has to be rewarding and a blow to the opponent (just not a 24K credits blow or a 1500 research blow, if infiltrating remains as easy as currently).

- Stealing 80 credits sounds like it might be on the low side, but I can't properly judge this without better understanding how risky it is to send in a spy. What you have to consider is the cost of the agent, also - an agent probably costs several hundred credits, so if their success chances are very low 80 credits isn't much. Optimally, you want to hit a balance where if a player can regularly succeed in slipping in agents, then agents should be very cost-effective. With efficient spy defense, agents should be much less cost-effective or even not worth building. Best gameplay would be to have a constant espionage arms race where you are constantly trying to build agents powerful enough that they can outperform enemy countermeasures. Same as with the defensive wall buildings giving the defender an advantage over the aggressor, counter-espionage should have the upper hand against offensive espionage if both players are equally developed.

- If only agents can attack/interact with other agents it means agents can be used to scout out enemy lands, which I like. You still want the Satellite scan to be an important tool for scouting, though, agents can't be allowed to fully replace it. As such, it should probably be quite easy for counter-agents to eliminate agents in their territory when detected. A good way to ensure this is to reintroduce flanking bonuses to agents, but only with/against agents (two of your agent units can flank an enemy agent if properly positioned but they don't provide flanking bonuses to regular military units).

- I would suggest there is some sort of mechanic introduced that provides a bonus when conducting espionage against a more advanced (tech) or richer (credits) opponent. The point of espionage in most 4X games is it is a tool for a weaker player to catch up with stronger players and I believe Pandora should be the same. A very advanced Togra player should have relatively little benefit in stealing from a backwards Divine Ascension player (the game already has this to some degree, but I still feel it is too worthwhile to spy heavily against weaker players currently... and if you also have more advanced agents due to higher tech level, the backwards player can do very little to stop you). In short: Bonus to espionage for weaker players. For the leading player, gameplay should be mostly about defending against agents, not 'attacking'.

- If you do choose to go with this invisible agents idea, I suggest adding new spy-detector buildings which can detect agents in a larger area than detectors on units. This would be a cost-effective way of detecting agents so that you don't need a large number of units with detectors. Agents could then be given a new device which reduces detection chance/range.

- It is unclear to me what the rules are for whom the AI suspects at having conducted espionage but my experience with the current build has certainly felt like the AI 'magically' just knows you are the perpetrator, even if you position agents so it looks like they are being sent from another player. I don't mind if the AI receives a little 'help' with counter-espionage (perhaps based on difficulty level) but it is frustrating if the AI just automatically identifies the infiltrator.

- Agents being able to reduce city defenses sounds like a a great idea, it makes sense that espionage could play a role in a war effort. On that note, I would suggest that if an agent unit is stacked on the same hex with military units, the other side's agents can still attack the agent without having to fight the military units - otherwise, it becomes too easy in a war to defend your attacking agents with military units.

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
Pandora Community Developer
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Xilmi » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:25 pm

void wrote:Alright guys, these are our planned changes:

- Only agents (and units with a detection device, will be added) can see, block and attack other agents.
- Agent movement is reduced to 2.
- To infiltrate a city, you first have to kill all agents or units with detection stationed there.
- Agents no longer have a success chance for orders, but orders always succeed for a constant base value modified by the infiltration power and +/-25% variation. So e.g. stealing credits will have a base of 80 credits, is with +50% infiltration power increased to 120 credits, and then randomized to 90 - 150 credits.
- Destroy building order is removed, order to reduce effectiveness of defense buildings is added.

Please post your feedback and concerns now, otherwise implementation will begin tomorrow!
I think that this model would make defending against espionage way too easy. Especially the detection-module. This means you can shut it down with very little commitment.

I'd say: No units with detection-modules and defending agents should not or hardly benefit from city-defense-buildings.

Another thing is that unless infiltration-power scales better, something like 80 base-credits could be too strong early on and too weak later.
Maybe have everything a spy equips also add to its infiltration-power, so the later-game spies become more meaningfull.

Edit: Very much agree with Apheirox about that "bonus for the weaker player"-thing! It could be something like: Basevalue*InfiltrationPowerBoni*TheirPop/MyPop. So the higher the population-difference between two factions, the more efficient will the spies of the one with less population become. Could be explainable by: There's more people and thus less chance everyone knows everyone so it's easier to infiltrate.

Zak0r
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Posts: 188
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:21 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Zak0r » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:16 pm

How about making the stolen credits/research scale with the strength of the agent. An agent with 1.0 strenght will steal amount x. An agent with 2.0 strength will steal 2x. This would make sure early agent aren't too strong but still keep them useful in the lategame. It would also add incentive to give armor and better weapons to your agents (for now the weapons are almost useless, armor at least helps against bombardments). Also more experienced agents will steal more while a weakened agent (bombardments, failed killing attempts, fungus) will steal less. This would also fit to the mechanics where aliens kill pop according to their strength.

x could be 50 credits or 25 research +-25%

Xilmi
Pandora Community Developer
Pandora Community Developer
Posts: 522
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Xilmi » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:40 am

With operations always succeeding, it could be neat to unlock better operations with technologies. Not one tech for each operation but in groups. Pretty much like the additional former-techs.

rambo919
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:50 am

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by rambo919 » Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:33 pm

Made all the spy tech's tier2&subtier2 so if they are researched it's very late game. Because of this the diplo faction (that gets put in every single new game for some reason) is nerfed and gets off quickly. This is is a minor problem for me but every time they die all the other factions accuse me of killing them and declare war on me... wtf

bones65
Sergeant - 7.5 cm FK 16 nA
Sergeant - 7.5 cm FK 16 nA
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:50 am
Location: devon u.k.
Contact:

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by bones65 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:44 pm

i think it's great that the developers are taking time to listen to the players of the game, and taking on board some of the ideas proposed. that's what i call a cool company!
..however PLEASE don't spoil/neglect/compromise the M.P. aspect of the game ..one guy said 90% play single player..hmmm! not so sure on that one,..if a game isn't multiplayer worthy then i'd never buy it! ..i know next to nothing about this game, and can't play it even though i've bought it cos i upgraded my mac operating system to yosemite and now the pointer on mouse has disappeared lol! ..however i'm hoping that all these issues are sorted out before i start playing it,..been into (and still am!) panzercorps since the day it was released.. but thought this one looked interesting... is everyone still enjoying it since it's been tweaked? i have a couple of buddies who are looking for a game to get into but i don't want to 'POINT' them (no pun intended,..haha!) in the wrong direction if the M.P. suffers .. any help appreciated ..including ..what the heck is 'mac beta 1.5.4' ?? :oops: is there a link to this? i wanna play the darn game! had it for nearly 2 weeks! ;-/ :roll:

JeffGeorge
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:11 pm

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by JeffGeorge » Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:41 pm

Anyone that buys a game like this based only on multiplayer is indeed a small minority. The large majority of the player base play single player. A smaller studio such as this really needs to focus their resources on what will bring them the best revenue. In this case it would be continuing towards the strongest single player TBS game they can achieve.

Kuokkanen
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:57 am

Re: Eclipse of Nashira = Terrible.

Post by Kuokkanen » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:37 pm

Has there been any noticeable improvements to problems mentioned in this topic? I was going to buy this game, but this topic has made me reconsider Alpha Centauri instead...

Apheirox wrote:- If only agents can attack/interact with other agents it means agents can be used to scout out enemy lands, which I like. You still want the Satellite scan to be an important tool for scouting, though, agents can't be allowed to fully replace it. As such, it should probably be quite easy for counter-agents to eliminate agents in their territory when detected. A good way to ensure this is to reintroduce flanking bonuses to agents, but only with/against agents (two of your agent units can flank an enemy agent if properly positioned but they don't provide flanking bonuses to regular military units).
I like this part, but I offer some modifications. Friendly agent in counter-intelligence role would have greater chance against hostile agents in friendly cities: friendly police personnel for back up. City's history & population's morale (own city to begin with or conquered city) should factor in as well.
- If you do choose to go with this invisible agents idea, I suggest adding new spy-detector buildings which can detect agents in a larger area than detectors on units. This would be a cost-effective way of detecting agents so that you don't need a large number of units with detectors. Agents could then be given a new device which reduces detection chance/range.
For detection device, I suggest city building that is used to train agents. Such building itself with its personnel would count as counter-intel agent.
- Agents being able to reduce city defenses sounds like a a great idea, it makes sense that espionage could play a role in a war effort. On that note, I would suggest that if an agent unit is stacked on the same hex with military units, the other side's agents can still attack the agent without having to fight the military units - otherwise, it becomes too easy in a war to defend your attacking agents with military units.
I want to argue that friendly military unit should offer some bonus for the agent. Military infantry units could be specially trained (for extra cost) to counter enemy agents, insurgents, and terrorists. Such infantry units would have some % to find enemy agents on their own, and add that to % of friendly agent in same hex. Friendly city (NOT conquered) + agent school + field agent + veteran antiterrorist infantry unit = some 80% chance to find enemy agent of same tech level.

I'd like to offer some additional tasks for agents and the likes. I haven't played the game yet, so I can say something that is already in (sorry about that).
- Incite revolts and terrorism: reduce target city morale (or equivalent), reduce productivity, and the like
- Assassinate leaders: maybe reduce experience of military unit
- Something to incapacitate enemy military units or force them to retreat (I hear it has happened in Iraq lately)

Post Reply

Return to “Pandora - First Contact”