This should have happened a decade ago. The purpose of a unit icon is to inform the player of the role, capability, and danger of that unit at a glance, not to inform them whether it has legs or tracks.
Been saying it for 5 years and I will say it again:
1: There is no balanced state for Firebeetles to be designed around the old snipe role. It simple isn't possible, there is no combination of stats which will make them neither OP nor UP.
2: A unit's role must be intuitive as well as balanced. The only available role for Firebeetles in this game that has even a slight chance of being balanced is as a landmine. Far as I can tell, 90% of the resistance to doing this is because the game has no landmines and the FAF community reaches actual retardation levels of complete stubborn stupidity when it comes to trying new things.
3: If it is not turned into a landmine, the best option left is to remove it from the game. There is no other option for the unit's concept which doesn't lead to it being either obnoxious or unused.
@Pearl12 This is a very good point, glad you asked.
The answer is that they very nearly don't. Mercies were a hugely troublesome unit. Hugely. They were UP then OP then UP then OP, back and forth through a lot of changes. I'd argue that, even today, they aren't great. They do seem to be largely balanced, though.
Aeon don't have a T2 Bomber. The Mercy somewhat makes up for this role in a lackluster way, but it is a nonzero influence. As has been mentioned many times, this is untrue for the Firebeetle: The Cybrans have every role filled already, they are hugely flexible, and anything you want to do with a beetle can be accomplished by another unit. This is crucial. For Mercies, there's no real alternative, so its state of balance is relative to "How good is it relative to the enemy defense?", but for beetles the question is "How good is it relative to Cybran's own alternatives?". So, if one assumes that we want all the other units to be balanced as well, and that they are easier to get the balance right because they aren't so niche, then beetles are either better than the alternatives, and therefore OP by definition, or worse, and UP by definition.
Mercies are air units. This means that much of the counterplay is also in the air, which means the primary response in an "Oh shit, Mercies" situation is flexible and fast-moving. This makes it harder for them to be devastatingly, frustratingly OP, as long as they have negligible HP. From the defending player's point of view, there's almost always counterplay available. They can respond. There's less feelbad. This doesn't apply to beetles, because land units are so much slower and have to deal with pathfinding. If you get caught unawares there's basically nothing you can do, at all. Additionally, we can't solve this the same way as the Mercy (Give them abominable HP) because they are a land unit too! Mercies work at all because the speed allows them to get into position against a really-caught-by-surprise enemy when you play it right. This cannot work for beetles because you can't sensibly have them move that fast, so they need more HP to survive chance encounters. It's all bloody weird.
Beetles can be loaded onto transports. Mercies can't. Back when they did a lot of damage, the real use of them was as a big-ass flying bomb. The transport grants them speed and durability. It was hugely feelbad to get caught out by, counterplay was tough. To make it require enough effort to pull off that counterplay seemed reasonable, the beetles had to be nerfed so hard they became useless.
Basically, it just doesn't work. Mercies basically don't work. Personally I'm in favour of removing both if it came to it, but Mercies have just enough differences that it kinda works. I do not believe the same is possible for beetles.
OP is 100% correct and any arguments against him are flawed. The correct move for the good of the game is to remove the upgrade entirely, and to remove the static resource generation from the base body as well.
Mobile, build-capable, self-defending units should not be able to produce resources, period.
The only, read, ABSOLUTELY ONLY reason it is even slightly acceptable on the ACU is that you only have 1, and if it dies, the game is over. That's the downside to a mobile, build capable, self-defending unit. Oh. No, there we go. There's the balance guys. If you want to keep the RAS SCU upgrade, the way to balance it is that when it dies, you lose the game. That might, maaaaybe, make it doable.
Anything else is not enough.
Remove the upgrade.
AIr has been OP forever, I told everyone that to fix it requires a fundamental repositioning of the entire Air section of the game as much weaker to AA than it is right now (See SupCom 1 for successful Air balance).
People are too stubborn.
This will never be fixed. Until I become a millionaire and make SupCom3. So, 15 years
How it should be:
T1 Frigates - Fast, surface only, radar, sonar, pwned by T2 destro
T1 Subs - Fast, stealthed
T2 Destro - Slower, surface fire dogsbody, wins surface vs all, dies to T1 subs, has flares and weak torps against T2 subhunters
T2 Subhunters - Long range, high alpha, beat T1 subs, lose to T2 destro, lose badly to T1 frigate, very low HP so lose to destro.
T3 BS - Bombardment, loses to most, needs escort. Think of as T3 Mobile Arty on land
T3 Subs - nuke station, super-long-range defensible bombardment, needs escort. Think of as T2 MML
Everything else can be fit in as unique units or variations on these themes, such as the BC being a bigger destroyer.
All frigate? Pwned by destro. All destro? Pwned by T1 sub. All T1 sub? Pwned by subhunters. All subhunters? Pwned by destro. Destro + subhunters? Frigates + subs, depending on mix (Frigates go in and kill hunters, die, but subs then kill destro. Countless variations need testing, but it's better than where we are right now.
Frigates are bullshit and always have been. I left this community in large part because people are stubborn morons and nobody wants to change the status quo to make the game better. Everyone's so afraid of their own goddamned snot when it comes to changing the balance of the game to something fundamentally new and injecting new life and intrigue into the game. It's pathetic.
@FtXCommando Also the memes. Can't discount the memes man
@TheWheelie There are other solutions to the slow start in this game. The man is completely right: Clicking on rocks manually is an extremely lame mechanic.
A generally good rule of thumb when considering whether a concept is any good as a whole is to put yourself into a state of mind where the thing doesn't exist, and try to imagine the response if it were proposed. A proposal to add the necessity of manually clicking a bunch of rocks in the first few minutes in order to compete at high levels on certain maps would simply be laughed out by any playerbase which was not already pre-conditioned to accept it.
@tagada This game is now 14 years old. I strongly question whether your premise would actually be a bad thing.
I profiled the game while it was running and produced a statistical output of how much time was spend in each function, both in engine, in lua, and the time at which the function call was registered.
@jip Oh, that's easy - The vast lion's share of the compute time is taken up by function calls across the C++/lua boundary. It's about two orders of magnitude slower than anything else. Potential areas for improvement would be to look for areas where the lua makes repeated, unneccessary calls to engine. I worked with a couple of guys to eliminate all the points in the exe which make stupid calls the other way, so that's already done.
Other than that, you can try using more local variables in hot code - Intel, collision detection, economy events.
I designed the current system, and gotta say I like the sound of option 2. Wish I'd thought of that. It's not quite the same, as it means the distribution of damage from units which regen or get repaired shifts, but tbh that is so ridiculously uncommon I was wrong to take it into account. The cost of the table lookups probably isn't worth it.
xp = (damageDealt / MaxHP) * massCost should do the trick. Probably doable in about 20 minutes by anyone familiar with unit.lua.
@FunkOff That was me. Code still exists, and it was put forward as a balance patch, but was rejected by whoever was BC at the time. Which sucked, because it made so much sense for the unit and made it much more fun to use.