CounterIntel

1

So you often hear about increasing the micro potential of FAF and tinkering with things like unit abilities (my good friend the loya) but I sorta feel like that’s a dead end. I think FAF would do a lot better to dig deeper into the macro aspect and to me the easiest way to do that would to make intel itself more of a battlefield.

We already have the initial seeds of this system with stealth. Units under stealth do not show up under intel and require direct vision. Jamming in theory fits it but PERSONALLY I still say the only productive jamming unit is thunderhead. UEF either needs cheap units (like scouts) which can be put into unit mixes to mess with lazy scouting and blip counting or it needs jamming on spammable units. Similar to stealth this enforces having to get direct vision on the enemy and punishes lazy scouting.

So the big question would then be about what to do with Aeon and Seraphim. My initial thought was to turn the uef/cybran situation on its head and have direct vision be where Aeon and Seraphim could get benefits. I’m not sure how exactly you would make it work, but if anyone ever played the old Dune RTS games there were units that could “produce” copies of units for basically zero cost but they could shoot and would die to 1 shot.

While having cheap copies shoot would be horrible for balance (my good friend snipers), having phantom units that make armies look way scarier would still be a sick counterintelligence ability. Have 10 fake obsidians that cost 5 mass each and maybe cost 5 energy each to run(?) sitting with your ACU to make people worried about a push.

To make it possible to “fight” against the only thing I could think of was that the units wouldn’t show radar signatures if in the fog of war. I wasn’t sure if it was actually possible to have an icon show up in visual range but no gray dot show up in the fog of war, but that would be a great solution and would make you curious if maybe you just missed the units before your scout went over them.

I don’t know of another idea so I wouldn’t even care if both sera and aeon would have the system, it would also benefit their snipers/gcs/ilshies and could act as oc scarecrows for sera t2 stage.

All in all, kinda get tired of the lazy scouting meta and think this would be a really interesting way to introduce some new gameplay element to FAF that could be experimental without directly destroying the unit balance itself.

0

Interested in even knowing if this would be theoretically possible or what the game engine limitations are here from game developers btw

3

To make it possible to “fight” against the only thing I could think of was that the units wouldn’t show radar signatures if in the fog of war. I wasn’t sure if it was actually possible to have an icon show up in visual range but no gray dot show up in the fog of war, but that would be a great solution and would make you curious if maybe you just missed the units before your scout went over them.

Cybran build drones are units to some degree and they do not have radar blips. I think this is possible, but I'm not sure what the side effects are. I think it is the INSIGNIFICANTUNIT causes them to not have blips, but I'd have to check and confirm.

Note that blips (even fake ones) are entities to some degree, they impact the simulation rate. A massive increase of (fake) blips is not preferred. Spikey has been working on making the jammer more useful by auto toggling it when the unit is out of vision again: https://github.com/FAForever/fa/pull/3927

And to your idea, it feels to me that:

  • Aeon should get more vision-like capabilities, as they have the Quantum Optics Facility. As an example: have the projectiles of their t2 destroyer, point defense and t3 battleship give a small amount of 'true sight' on their impact location. Their torpedo bombers already do this for underwater units, it allows you to spot submarines with stealth 😉
  • Seraphim should get the 'fake' units that you're talking about, as that fits with them having 'alien' and unknown technologies
  • UEF can maybe get a land-based deployable jammer that can also introduce fake air unit blips

And with that said, I think UEF units should no longer give vision with their projectiles (their lobo's do that, as one example).

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

1

My issue with the Aeon thing is that I think it falls under more-intel not counter-intel. Ideally all the factions should have something that interferes with the default ways of gathering intel whether it’s radar signatures (stealth/jamming) or visual mirages (this idea) and instead giving Aeon tools to just get intel easier doesn’t feel very interactive on that front.

If you don’t need to adjust the way you gather information, which factions wouldn’t have to do against Aeon, then there isn’t really much intel play going on against them.

0

what's the problem of making the icons go into the "grey" cubes every 1 or 2 mins of in-game time instead of twisting all 4 factions and still achieve the same thing?

queuing with a newbie to show him the beauty of tmm and meeting tagada be like:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLcRpdZ0Xb0&ab_channel=Tomoko

0

@ftxcommando said in CounterIntel:

Interested in even knowing if this would be theoretically possible or what the game engine limitations are here from game developers btw

From a technical perspective, I think it could be a decent solution to just spawn a basic entity, set it to have a particular unit mesh, and have it be destroyed upon a desired condition being met (ie: a set amount of time passing, or something else). I don't think that would be too costly from a performance perspective, it wouldn't shoot, and it wouldn't have a radar blip.

Alternatively, we could just spawn an actual unit with low hp and no weapon, and set that unit to have the mesh of the unit it's pretending to be. The unit could be renamed appropriately, but it would have a radar blip unless we do something else to address that.

1

Rather than "no weapon" it might be better to give it a fake weapon that does zero damage.

A fake strat that does zero damage but makes a lot of noise would be pretty funny.

0

@rezy-noob said in CounterIntel:

what's the problem of making the icons go into the "grey" cubes every 1 or 2 mins of in-game time instead of twisting all 4 factions and still achieve the same thing?

What’s the point in 4 factions if we can just use 1 faction? It’s fun and a way to give player proactivity/initiative in intel which is hugely important for decision making.

3

I thought having good radar coverage, scouting, looking at what you scout, and processing this information in your mind to make strategic decisions were already pretty rare to encounter in the game. Probably shouldn't make it harder. Counterintel might add more depth for a handful of top players, but from an observer's perspective, it won't even be clear what is happening anyway.

1

What if we had something like triangulation? A single radar wouldn't accurately give a contact's position but 3 radars in range of the contact would, and 2 would be more accurate than one.

I'd also throw out the idea of reducing radar & omni ranges, requiring us to build and maintain more of them.

0

@thomashiatt said in CounterIntel:

I thought having good radar coverage, scouting, looking at what you scout, and processing this information in your mind to make strategic decisions were already pretty rare to encounter in the game. Probably shouldn't make it harder. Counterintel might add more depth for a handful of top players, but from an observer's perspective, it won't even be clear what is happening anyway.

How does this argument not extend to removing stealth and jamming beyond “it’s already there dude” then? If you want to argue stealth is a mechanical sub for shields, then there is still no real argument for why jamming should be on anything beyond the “has always been” card.

Beyond that, learning to get mass and dump it into tanks puts you at top 10% of this game already. Why did we make it harder by making it viable to skip tech levels, or rush tech, or do late transitions, and so on? Should have kept t3 balance where it was in order to keep the game in the simple t2 all in or t3 rush meta it was stuck at.

If the argument is that lots of players see t3 cuz lots of players play dual gap and astro, then this counter intel argument of “too much thinking” hardly applies. Also, the counterintel absolutely does add depth to observing the game just from the sheer fact it makes knowledge less concrete and therefore adds more inherent risk in what is usually just a “count the mass in this blob” situation. What causes a player to miscalculate isn’t the point, the fact they can miscalculate makes games more interesting and presents a new problem to solve.

0

@snagglefox said in CounterIntel:

What if we had something like triangulation? A single radar wouldn't accurately give a contact's position but 3 radars in range of the contact would, and 2 would be more accurate than one.

I'd also throw out the idea of reducing radar & omni ranges, requiring us to build and maintain more of them.

I like the idea, but not possible. Also from a game design perspective it feels too complicated.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

0

I don’t think Supreme Commander has a very robust intel system honestly, upgraded mexes and factories can be seen through the fog of war, units can still be invisible for a moment at the edge of vision range, you can lock interceptors on transports (even stealthed) if they return to the fog of war, underwater vision isn’t really intuitive, etc. And that’s even before going into things like terrain topography blocking radar like in Spring engine games. Frankly I think technical issues would prevent most interesting ways to revamp intel.

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u

3

Biggest intel sadboy issue is losing intel on units when they get transferred to an ally

0

@ftxcommando said in CounterIntel:

How does this argument not extend to removing stealth and jamming beyond “it’s already there dude” then? If you want to argue stealth is a mechanical sub for shields, then there is still no real argument for why jamming should be on anything beyond the “has always been” card.

The argument does extend to stealth, and I probably wouldn't have stealth in the game if it were my game. I interpret the game design as being pretty close to a perfect information game where you are supposed to be able to zoom out and see everything. Jamming is pretty irrelevant either way. Things are supposed to stay the way they are because that's what FAF is all about, preserving this video game.

1

Many eons ago, I made a "faction diversity mod". One thing I diversified greatly was general faction themes. As an example, all Cybran units had lower vision range, but all units had radar (even Mantis) or radar better than what other factions had (such as on air scouts). Thus, Cybran stealth was toughest to deal with as Cybran. Aeon, oppositely, had no radar whatsoever, but all units had better vision range. I didnt like the suicide concept of the Mercy, so I changed it to act more like a flare, meaning it could linger near the front line for a couple minutes and provide almost soothsayer vision range.

I thought these ideas made matchups feel more different.

1

Wouldn't cloak be the logical fourth faction mechanic as stealth/jamming and cloak/fake units seems like the obvious counterparts for radar to vision counter-intel.

To make it possible to “fight” against the only thing I could think of was that the units wouldn’t show radar signatures if in the fog of war. I wasn’t sure if it was actually possible to have an icon show up in visual range but no gray dot show up in the fog of war, but that would be a great solution and would make you curious if maybe you just missed the units before your scout went over them.

Also having them always show blips when in vision would make them uncounterable, so the blips would need to disappear once you have them on radar.

0

Marking for comment later:
Seraphim has submergable “ships” for their special intel

Aeon doesn’t get any because hover wss the design discussion from sc vanilla (some pc gamer article discusses this domewhere$

I’m a shitty 1k Global. Any balance or gameplay suggestions should be understood or taken as such.

Project Head and current Owner/Manager of SCTA Project

0

If Seraphim were to get 'Doppleganger' style units (or an ability on some of their units a 'la jamming), then Aeon could have some of their units provide a visual range debuff to enemy units in a small aoe from the projectile.

I am thinking the 'bright' projectiles, like those from fervors, direct fire navy, t2 gunships, t3 mobile arty

0

for diversity reasons, what if aeon or seraphim had the opposites of radar jamming, for example, units that create a visual illusion of another unit but are broken with radar instead of the other way around, I know radar cover is pretty long range and cheap and wouldn't be as strong, but it would cause a problem for those just sending their units into enemy without intel cover because they don't need it in current situation, especially if it auto reset like toggling jamming does for jamming