Atlantis

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@speed2 said in Atlantis:

Subs are in certain depth and they don't change it. And it is very close to the surface. Normally subs would be much deeper and AOE of those weapons would not affect them at all.

Brilliant point.

The reason subs are so close to the surface is because the game engine is far from perfect. Not because they're supposed to be close to the surface. If the game engine was more realistic subs would be able to go down to different depths.

One possible fix is for submarines to go down as deep as possible, rather than being at a fixed depth. I have no idea how hard that is to code.

If that is not possible: once you recognize that subs aren't supposed to be close to the surface, and they are only represented in the game as being close to the surface because of engine limitations, there is no reason to allow them to be ground fired by battleships, at least, when they're not in very shallow water. Other possible fixes would be either (1) eliminate/reduce the ability to ground fire subs, or (2) eliminate/reduce the ability to ground fire subs when they are not in shallow water. Either one of those things is preferable to the current situation. Perhaps you could accomplish 1 or 2 by giving subs a different "hit box" when you're looking at AOE splash damage compared to when you're looking at direct fire like torpedoes and depth charges.

It would affect balance to do this (ground-firing subs at this point is an important part of the meta), but we can adjust balance by changing unit stats.

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The main reason why groundfiring is something i want to stay in faf is because it is one of the rare situations where micro is rewarded quite heavily. I know lots of people on faf don't care about that but i do. I do agree that the groundfiring doesn't make any sense from a logical standpoint but i don't give anything about that tbh. Gameplay is all for me.

Harms are a great example of this btw. They can be groundfired by battleships and even uef/sera cruisers i believe, but people still see them as super strong simply because groundfiring them takes a lot of attention and micro. All in all you get a big reward, free kills, if you groundfire them but it comes at the cost of great time investment.

Your example would make sense if you didn't remove aa from the game, but still added the option for arties to be able to hit air by groundfiring. After all even without groundfire you can still counter subs. There is a very important difference between the 2 situations: In 1 it is mandatory and in the other one it is simply one of multiple options. Therefore, if in addition to there being aa you would be able to do dmg to bombers if you did some sick arty groundfire then i would love it to be added to the game

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I havent tested it much but from what I remember you can make the submarines go deeper, but if they get on a shallow water they wont automatically go to the deeper one again and you have to surface/submerge them again.

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That picture doesn't explain shit lol

"why is x broken"
"well because i dont like it, look it's broken"
Great.

They're not broken because the game is balanced around it. You don't like it because it doesn't fit REAL LIFE LORE. Except we've been moving away from REAL LIFE LORE in this game with nukes no longer exploding in mid air when hitting air planes etc. I didn't give a fuck about the REAL LIFE LORE of ground firing submerged units when I learned about it and I bet people aren't going to give up the game or cry into their bowl of cereal because REAL LIFE LORE said their scout swarm should have stopped the nuke.

I also don't see much of a problem in having a unit that you can counter through additional expenditure in apm. The air/arty example would hold true if you made it a possible way to counter air whilst still keeping things like aa except possibly less efficient. Does that now introduce other factors into the game? Yes. Is it good? Who knows.

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A scout swarm shouldn't stop a nuke because the nuke should be big/heavy enough to punch through it. Allowing scouts and other T1-T3 aircraft to stop a nuke is therefore bad. It's not "REAL LIFE LORE" to let people block nukes with paper planes.

I think artillery can hit air units (look at people blocking mavor shots with t2 transports). I think light arty and fatboys don't shoot high enough to hit most air units (although if there are extreme differences in elevation, perhaps they would be able to hit). And I have seen people ground-fire artillery to try to hit a Czar. I think I've seen people ground-fire a scathis to try to hit flying ASFs. (Speaking of ridiculousness, an ASF can absorb a full scathis shot without dying o_O)

If t1 bomber planes were drawn in-game as "low" enough to the ground to run into shots from weapons platforms like t1 light arty and fatboys, we would have to ask: why?

Are they drawn as being low to the ground because attack bombers are low-flying units that have to brave enemy ground fire in order to deliver their payload? In which case, they should collide with those weapons and take damage because that is what is intended. OR, are they drawn as being low to the ground because of engine limitations or some other arbitrary reason that has no connection to what the unit is, in an abstract way, supposed to represent? If it's the latter, then there should be no collisions. Either the bombers should be drawn higher, so they can't collide (and so their visual representation in the game matches what they are, in an ideal/abstract sense, supposed to represent), or at least as a workaround those projectiles should pass harmlessly through them without colliding.

It might be interesting if units could "ground fire" to an arbitrary height (as in: ground fire at this spot, but pretend like there's a really high mountain there, so actually you're shooting into the air) in order to let ground units damage things like Soul Rippers and Czars. Interesting, sure, and it would reward micro, but would it improve the game? I think the answer is "no," just like it would not improve the game to allow flak and SAMS to ground-fire against ground units.

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An explosion underwater is worse than an explosion on the surface. The reason is that water does not compress, unlike air. If the game was realistic, a unit should take more damage from surface fire while submerged.

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@The_Mak realistically any shell shatters the moment it hits the water... you cannot shoot a sub with a cannon, that's why torps exists.

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Stop talking about real-life and talk about game design.

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the "real life lore" is called physics and this game is based on them, what you are saying here is that broken physics are fine because it takes micro to abuse them properly (because even from start the game itself wasnt designed for battleships to be able to shoot at underwater units, this just proves the brokenness of this mechanic further as there isnt even a control to tell your units to do something like this and you have to work around to get it to happen by using groundfire), unlike artillery hitting air units (which even has some sense sometimes unlike this), this takes a lot less skill to do

yes it works balance wise, but thats like fixing a hole in a ship by blowing another hole on opposite side, its not a ship anymore and sinks faster, the solution like I said is to stop fooling yourself into thinking this is balanced and instead fix the broken mechanic first and then nerf underwater units so they are balanced without it, currently they arent OP because of a broken mechanic, without which they would be OP and then you nerf them, and then you get a balanced game without using nonsensical mechanics like this to seesaw the broken units

I guess its once again up to whether the "micro pros" on balance team can stand their skills in fighting the controls be turned obsolete by fixing the controls instead, something which seems to stall this game for a while now

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@ThomasHiatt game design wise, Personally I hate it, it negates the entire point of being submerged in the first place. being submerged is supposed to protect you against surface fire weapons.... exploiting the engine to circumvent that makes certain units (like the atlantis) very pointless

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@ThomasHiatt For this game, the design should, as a general rule (with exceptions of course), reflect real-life physics and in general, the things we see on the screen should intuitively make sense to the viewer. Those are factors, among other factors, that we want to have in our game.

It is not wrong to say "I don't like this particular gameplay mechanic because it is different than what I intuitively feel like I should be seeing."

If video games won't validate our feelings, what in this horrible wasteland of a world will?

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I think the root of the problem is that water is very inconsistent and poorly designed in this game. There are about 10 different types of water in the game and you cannot distinguish between them in any way other than trial and error. Mapmakers have a huge amount of responsibility to design their maps to have clear and consistent mechanics, but 99% of them aren't even aware of this and just try to make pretty maps. You can never create good balance and clear consistent mechanics under these circumstances.

The only consistent mechanic shared by all water is that hover units can go over it and amphibious units through it as long as there isn't a cliff blocking them (which can also be unclear).

Otherwise, water always has these unknowns:

  • Is it deep enough to protect unit X from surface fire?
  • Is it deep enough for torpedos and depth charges to work?
  • Is it deep enough to build a navy factory?
  • Is it deep enough for navy units to travel through?
  • Is it deep enough to hide submerged unit X from AoE with radius Y?
  • Will the seafloor kill my units if I drop them there?
  • Can my amphibious units cross there or is there some underwater terrain issue?

If subs were capable of adjusting their depth like air units it would still never be clear if they are deep enough to be safe from AoE with radius X since the depth of the water can vary significantly. You don't want to make underwater units immune to all AoE just because they went 1 inch under the surface either because that is stupid and still inconsistent. You could make the AoE some sort of ellipsoid shape so it doesn't penetrate as deep into the water, but that doesn't address the issue, if anything it becomes less clear what can hit what. You could make water have a dampening effect (pun intended) so that damage taken from AoE is reduced with depth, still inconsistent and unclear. The way it currently is, where submerged units stay at a consistent depth at all times and take AoE damage if they are within range, is probably the most consistency you can get.

I think placing so much power and responsibility in the hands of the map makers is the biggest design flaw in Supreme Commander. It is the cause of this problem and several related problems which all have no solutions. When I was thinking about what I would want from a new Supreme Commander type of game this is the first thing I had to find a solution for.

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well this isnt the forum for that, but maybe its possible for map editor to show these unknowns in water to the player's ui in some way when they edit maps so that they can more easily know what water's mechanics are like at different locations on map without guessing and thus design maps with better water parts

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@TheWheelie said in Atlantis:

The main reason why groundfiring is something i want to stay in faf is because it is one of the rare situations where micro is rewarded quite heavily. I know lots of people on faf don't care about that but i do. I do agree that the groundfiring doesn't make any sense from a logical standpoint but i don't give anything about that tbh. Gameplay is all for me.

Harms are a great example of this btw. They can be groundfired by battleships and even uef/sera cruisers i believe, but people still see them as super strong simply because groundfiring them takes a lot of attention and micro. All in all you get a big reward, free kills, if you groundfire them but it comes at the cost of great time investment.

Your example would make sense if you didn't remove aa from the game, but still added the option for arties to be able to hit air by groundfiring. After all even without groundfire you can still counter subs. There is a very important difference between the 2 situations: In 1 it is mandatory and in the other one it is simply one of multiple options. Therefore, if in addition to there being aa you would be able to do dmg to bombers if you did some sick arty groundfire then i would love it to be added to the game

yeah i understand your point. I also like to keep the micro that we have in the game.
But i think that BS shooting T3 subs is breaking the balance, when you have bs it's not worth it to suicide the torp on T3 subs, it's so much better to freely kill the T3 subs by ground fire.
Also as i said i like to keep micro (air fights, dodging shots, army movement etc etc etc), but i don't like bs groundfire, because it's pretty counter intuitive etc (see previous points).

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As a casual player I see whole game from prism of emotions (will make this a signature)

Using ground fire to kill subs:
1st emotion is WTF???
2nd emotion is "I broke the game"
3rd - "MUAHAHAHAHA"
4th (after realizing that game balanced around this) - "I really supposed to do this each time?"

It's super effective. It rewards paying attention
It's pain to use. It's counter-intuitive

It's sad that game actually balanced around this use. Will be hard to fix.

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Atlantis, a shallow (pun not intended) attempt at faction diversity. Of could have just been given a t3 carrier like everyone else but instead they got a t4 just to be different. But then it would be too different, so instead they got a t3.5

That roughly sums up the whole problem, the Atlantis doesn't know what it wants to be, a t3 aircraft carrier or a t4 submarine, so it tries and fails to be both at once.
It's not a good carrier because its mass cost per BP is over twice as much as other carriers, in fact it's literally cheaper to build a t3 air HQ from scratch if you want t3 air units.
It's not a good submarine because its massive size, slow speed and relatively low hp make it a pitifully easy target to destroy.

The only thing going for it are its relatively cheep cost for a t4 unit, and its decently powerful weapons.
Essentially it is a glass cannon, a quick to build but short term boost to firepower. A gimped monkey lord.

There are a few options on how to rectify this:
Take a heavier focus on the submarine aspect, make it a little smaller, boost its speed, add some anti torpedoes. Make it threatening to enemies naval units.
Take a heavier focus on its carrier aspect, give it much more build power, more powerful AA, maybe even Airstaging (if adding that to a submersible unit doesn't break everything).
Turn it into a dedicated support unit, a t4 cruiser wannabe, using its AA and torps to discourage incoming attacks to your navy while offering extensive sensor range and fighter support.

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@keyser said in Atlantis:

yeah i understand your point. I also like to keep the micro that we have in the game.
But i think that BS shooting T3 subs is breaking the balance, when you have bs it's not worth it to suicide the torp on T3 subs, it's so much better to freely kill the T3 subs by ground fire.
Also as i said i like to keep micro (air fights, dodging shots, army movement etc etc etc), but i don't like bs groundfire, because it's pretty counter intuitive etc (see previous points).

Well i never disagreed with the fact that groundfiring isn't properly balanced. It is way too strong vs atlantis/tempest/sera t3 subs to the point that most of then are in a bad spot just cause groundfire exists. I just think that the solution shouldn't be to remove groundfire but to make tweaks so it's way harder to do.

It's actually surprising if you look at other rts games how they are completely riddled with weird unintuitive features. In sc2 when you send workers to mineral patches they lose all unit collision functions and can go straight through other units. In Aoe2 shooting uphill will give you a big dmg penalty, but if you delete the unit before the shot arrives the penalty will just disappear and the shot will deal full damage.

Now the interesting part is that both of these features get "abused" by pro gamers and when they do everybody watching the stream is shouting what a sick move the player just made, because these weird unintuitive features enabled for more strategic gameplay and micro. As far as i've seen the majority actually likes it when these kind of plays are getting made.

Now i'm not saying this is an argument as for why groundfiring is good. I just wanted to mention that this "problem" is not at all exclusive for faf and that it isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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Ground firing submerged units is unintuitive. Part of this problem is the "can't ground fire directly onto units". Perhaps a code fix allowing players to ground fire directly onto the point they click?
This "ground fire" mechanic adds micro to the game. This is good.
Main problem is slow, submerged experimental units getting killed freely because of ground firing (because they are slow). Someone suggested having damage taken underwater from surface weapons be reduced. This might balm peoples pain but adds another "hidden" mechanic to the game, which I view as bad.
The problem can be viewed from another angle. The way underwater (submerged) units are detected is by sonar. You won't know where to ground fire without it. In recent patches sonar has been nerfed by an increase in maintenance cost. Perhaps sonar should be nerfed further to bring it inline more with it's Radar counterpart??

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Yes, groundfiring subs is unintuitive, created by engine limitations, unhealthy for balance, and makes little logical sense.

That all said, I'm highly pessimistic about removing this feature. Credits to the balance team for all the great work they've done thus far, but this would require a complete rework of the entire underwater balance. That to me sounds like an enormous task, and I'm afraid of having another firebeetle situation where we have a unit that no-one knows what to do with.

I'm not convinced such a task would be a wise use of the balance team's time, nor that the final result is ensured to be a net benefit to the game.

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sorry but what farms is talking about in other games' examples all sounds like exploiting bugs, while it does take micro and knowledge of those bugs to do so, and therefore more "skill", those things were never supposed to exist in first place even in the games' very designs, you could say that any of the bannable bug exploits we have listed here on forums takes skill to do, you have to know how to do them (skill) and then micro to do them, why are they then not considered fine and this (groundfire hitting underwater, which it isnt supposed to) is? building under a transport to kill dropped units would "reward micro" as well, terraforming "rewards knowledge" of how to do it as well, walking with acu while upgrading as well, and so on.

and @deribus while it is a big task, not doing it is just ignoring these problems in the game, submarines currently already are in bad situation except on useless extreme instead of OP because of this problem, fixing this would simply show how unbalanced they are without this broken mechanic to keep them in check, which is not how balance is supposed to go about it

so how about instead of rewarding knowledge of bugs and their abuses, we reward strategy within what units are supposed to be able to do and balance them based on it instead of bugs?