FAF Lite, Supcom but simpler

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Many noobs make important build order mistakes very early on, and faf really punishes you for that (e.g. they forget pgens until they run out of e and then try to build them on 20 total power). Simply enabling prebuilt units is one solution to help, but alternatively you could increase the starting storage and resources so early bo mistakes where they built pgens too late doesn't lead to such punishing stalls because they are more likely to have built a decent amount of power by the then.

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It might be something to consider - we have this warning when we are out of mass or energy - perhaps there should be a similar warning when we are wasting mass and/or energy - as this is a common situation for someone who's having trouble managing their eco.

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Thanks guys, some great ideas.

To any one with modding experience, is it possible to change the mass cost of and entire tech level with a percentage mod or will i need to do it the hard way and change the unit bp of every unit individually?

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@zukko I'm not aware of a way to do that, but I'm not an expert. The way I did it, you would need to change every unit individually but you can change it by adding a fudge factor.

For example if a t3 unit is normally 400 mass and you want to make it 20% more expensive, you can edit it to say "400 * 1.2"

You don't have to calculate it out and write "480"

This makes it easier to apply the factor or to change the factor. You can use find*replace to replace all "*1.2" with "*1.3" to quickly change the factor used for the mod.

Also from experience, you can have 1 text file that is used to update any number of BP (blueprint) files.

I made a (really bad) mod that does something like that, called ArtiMod

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This would be useful for all players - having the following information shown:

Running total of overflow of E and M
Running total of E and M received through overflow.
Current E & M received through overflow or overflowing
Time spent stalling on mass (Total)
Time spent stalling E (total)

When E or M is below 20% storage flag it in some way (change colour maybe to red?)

--
Starting income on ACU +50 power +2 mass
Starting storage 20k Power & 5k mass
Power generators provide E storage (20)
Mass extractors provide Mass storage (300, 900, 2700)

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@zuif you need any help just ping me on discord I have experience in creating balance mods like this if you need a hand

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" - Spock

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@zukko said in FAF lite, an eco balance mod:

Thanks guys, some great ideas.

To any one with modding experience, is it possible to change the mass cost of and entire tech level with a percentage mod or will i need to do it the hard way and change the unit bp of every unit individually?

Yes you can - look up how the x2 / x4 / x8 build rate mods are made. There you can go over every blueprint, determine its categories (Tech 1, Land, etc) and act accordingly.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

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If you change the mechanics of the eco system, I dont think it will be helpful for learning. You'll be creating unhelpful habits. It could help for making it a more relaxing game. But the two things (easy game/ improve learning) dont really go together I think. A thing that might be helpful is some sort of feedback mod, that gives u feedback during and/or after the game on your eco management. But stuff like that already exist..

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@arma473 @Rowey @Jip thankyou guys for the help much appreciated.

@StormLantern we have been through this conversation several times in another thread, but yes i am aware that this is not a perfect fix all solution, however its better to try and fail than never to have tried at all.

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  1. How about notifications on map. No changes in any units or game mechanics. But basic notifications with emplacements on map. If player have not scouted enemy for x minutes from the game beginning, short notification on enemy base to scout. If player have forgotten to take mexes for x time, notification over those mexes. If not reclaimed a valuable reclaim field, notification on that spot. If too much mass(income) and not enought energy (before lag?), notification on home base (or behind base) to build power. If for x time and y condition no upgraded mexes, notification to upgrade starting from base mexes. Followed by mass storage build notifications and then t3 mex suggestion with time. Possibly suggestion if not enough tanks or factorys or fighters or aa. etc.etc.
  2. The same thing, but done by AI. Some not very grazy AI giving suggestions on map. AI estimating situation and rather than playing, giving suggestions/notifications for player. Build tanks here, raid there, upgrade mexes , protect this etc.

Of course, those suggestions would often be wrong. But this should allow -200 player to play as 200 and learn in-game. This should avoid someone not having any power generator at 10 min. Or not upgrading any mexes. Or having one uncapped t3 mex and others t1. Or not reclaiming at all. etc. This should avoid a moment when player does a huge mistake over and over, that does not let him go forward in learning, and as he does not find this mistake, he quits. Also, for example if he sees that takeing mexes is good idea, next time he will do it already before notification, and so the notification will not pop up. Good player should be able to play with this (mod) basicly without any notifications coming up. So it should not give bad habits, because units and game mechanics are the same, and no real advantage over good players. It would only allow to avoid big mistakes, learn faster, learn playing, and not to be obliged to go through tonnes of learning materiel before being able to play a game.

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There is a mod already, that does some of this stuff. I think it is simply called "Notifications".
Maybe you can try it out and see if it helps. You could even enhance it with more functionality/notifications if you ask the original mod author for permission

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@blackyps You wrote to me I suppose?. Yes I know about "Notifications" mod, and I have tried it. It does not put notifications on map, but on the side of screen. (Although I believe pings should be possible.) It seemed for me that it is more for players with some experiance, so that they can personalise it for not forgeting/missing some things. Rather than to teach early noobs. Not what I was describeing. But teaching mod with notifications on the side should be possible to make also. Maybe less effective than on-map, but it should be better than nothing for some early noobs.

"Maybe you can try it out and see if it helps." Well, I am not really looking this type of help for me. I rather try to respond to those discussions here about FAF being complicated, with steep learning curve and lots of noobs leaving the game. I may move my comment to another thread, if this place is not correct for that.

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I don’t have the number off hand but iirc FAF doesn’t actually have an issue with newbs leaving more than other games in the genre.

I’m not sure how I feel about an eco mod, it feels like it would make it harder to actually learn the game when push comes to shove in the end. That being said, I like ZLO’s suggestion of not having mass extractors stop working during power stall. Can help with making it easier to recover from, and I think the only other eco mod I’d make would be more starting storage + more blatant and obvious warnings and tips on how to fix mass and power stalls. Increased storage gives you more time to fix without be overly too much of a hand hold.

A mod/map that is really like and think would be beneficial are better in game tutorials. Basically a better done version of the original campaign made specifically to teach the basics of the game. Perhaps a few different ones teaching basic opening BOs, how to manage different units, intel tutorial, why not to make fire base tutorials, etc.

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I think it would be better to actually teach you how to play the game, rather than make you play a different game...

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I think providing objectives and incentives would go a long way towards helping players to understand what they are supposed to do and develop the right habits. Imagine if there was a checklist on the side of the screen in-game and each time you complete one of the tasks you get some kind of reward (mass/units/energy/etc). Some things such as:

  • Secure the highlighted mexes, rewards 300 mass (generally would be the 50% on your side but can be tailored for the map)
  • Reclaim the highlighted area, rewards 200 mass
  • Scout the enemy base, rewards 100 mass, repeatable every 3 minutes
  • Do not stall power for two consecutive minutes, rewards 100 mass, repeatable every 5 minutes
  • Do not overflow mass for two consecutive minutes, rewards 100 mass, repeatable every 5 minutes

Generic things that are indisputably the right way to play and explicitly encourage correct concepts and routine. This would prevent the game from being so complicated and overwhelming that players cannot process it. I will restrain myself from talking about executive dysfunction, operationalizing, incentives, and other big-brain things.

This seems like something that could easily be accomplished with a sim mod or a map script. It should be far easier to accomplish than making full-blown tutorial missions or a campaign. I actually think an RTS game should have this concept built into it all the time, not only because it seems like an incredibly powerful tool for teaching players, but it also could add a lot of interesting gameplay dynamics for skilled players as well. Imagine having different, less generic tasks at higher rating levels, or allowing players to choose between different tasks and perks.

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@archsimkat said in FAF lite, an eco balance mod:

I think it would be better to actually teach you how to play the game, rather than make you play a different game...

That doesn't seem to work for everyone. If this mod is made, not only could it offer a better experience for some people and may retain some players... it's popularity will also serve as an indicator of what people think of the complex and punishing economy of the base game.

If nobody plays this mod then business as usual. If 50% of <1000 play it then maybe bring some changes to the base game.

FYI personally, I think this mod will not offer a good gaming experience, I don't think I will play it.

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@valki No not really. People who don't want to deal with eco or want dumbed down eco can just use stuff like the default 2x eco mod. Changes to the base game when it comes to economy most certainly will not be made just because some players like playing an easier version of the game. The economy design is one of the biggest things that makes supcom supcom. People need to learn how it works if they want to be even remotely competitive in the game and not learn some changed version of the economy.

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Think of the mod as an appetizer before the full meal or a small stepping stone onto the bigger and better version, rather than an actual teaching aid.

The mod would allow players to focus more on combat and less on eco.

I personaly think that challenges similar to what @ThomasHiatt mentioned would be far better teaching tools than this mod but its something i am not capable of making.

Challenges would be an awsome idea if someone with the skill set (far beyond mine) was willing to put the time in, it could start off with some simple things like the fastest time to build 100 tanks or fastest time to claim every mex on a 40k map to funny things like who can best place a nuke on a moving target/acu from 20km away and to hard stuff like taking down a large heavily fortified base.

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@archsimkat Of course you at some point need to learn how to play the game properly. A noob friendly mod is like learning to ride a bike with training wheels. At some point the training wheels obviously need to come off. The question is whether allowing (NOT forcing) games with training wheels to start can help some people not get too discouraged initially or actually learn the game a bit faster by not being overwhelmed by all of the different things there are to learn in the game right from the start, or if they simply develop bad habits that become entrenched. It certainly might be better to just learn decent build orders, but obviously, a lot of people don't bother. It's plausible that some people don't want to watch a build order youtube video, but will just play the noob mod, then eventually learn more and like the game more and stop using the mod because a lot less of their games were ruined in the first minute of the game.

Edit: I think generally in the game, not just in a noob eco mod, it would be good for an audio warning if you are stalling. "You must build additional [pylons] Power!"