PTR Changelog 2019-02-01: Power Creeps



  • I did already process 16,8m power last month by what i could haul in myself and still the power spawn is not the bottleneck for me. Sure i could buy more power on the market and im certain im not at the limit for what power can be farmed, although i do consider it to be a high amount of power processed already.

    I just find it unlikely that the power of increasing the speed of the power spawn will get much use, as its hard to come by power in such a quantity that you cannot already process it at the current rate. Just my 2 cents.


  • Dev Team

    @geir1983 I was answering not to you personally, but to a "player with less gcl will have similarly less access to highway rooms and thus have access to fewer powerbanks" that you described. If such a player has chosen the power path and got many high level Power Creeps that are capable to provide huge income, he may be able to buy a lot of power from the market, and we don't want the processing rate to be a bottleneck in this case.


  • SUN

    @artch Glad you liked the aging idea, I like the initial design. I do think it will give power creeps a more nuanced gameplay. It also makes the operate observer much more interesting, as you are now trying to sustain your PCs.

    For your consideration: Perhaps power spawn can regen 1500 TTL and power banks can regen more (3000 TTL?). We'll have to see with how it goes in gameplay but a longer time frame would give players a bit more freedom for creative non-economic designs (summon teleport highways etc) without the creeps spending large chunks of their life looking for another hit of that sweet sweet power.

    TL;DR: Balance to make non pure eco power creep play (eg not in room with PS) a little easier.

    Secondly, I agree with the operate power comments. I would probably avoid giving bonuses to power processing (eg. it costs less energy) because that seems very snowbally.

    If you want to make something along those lines, I'd make a way to gain access to power that isn't reliant on wide empires. Make something so that Tall empires can get more power.

    • Power bank regen/creation/kill/increase ttl
    • Generate power at the cost of ops
    • Power spawn efficiency: Get 1.1-1.5 power per power processed. Make it very expensive compared to finding banks, but if you don't have access to much you can do that instead.

    FYI I am not a huge fan of the leveling gaps either. It isn't a feel-good mechanic taking skills you have no interest in, at least for these op-limited skills. Can I suggest adding a "Stats" skill (tree?) for the PCs? Something that levels up their health/carry/maybe max TTL. This would open up some new elements, like maybe using PC's as superman workhorse creeps. Basically It could also be a tiered unlock:

    • Level 1 gives increased HP
    • Level 2 gives increased carry
    • Level 3 gives increased TTL
    • Level 4 adds health regen over time
    • Level 5 some cool bonus

    Edit: If TALL is the goal here, each and every room selection is critical for a tall empire. Potential option would be power creep ability to claim a room at the cost of its life + ops. Obviously large implications with that, but worth considering if you want to incentivize/enable few rooms. Usually expansion is a crawl with growing rooms then moving on to next spot, which isn't doable if you don't have spare GCL. Power creep ability on controller to maintain a room ownership beyond GCL is another option.



  • hmm could make the powers of the power creeps body parts to be attached to the power creep. It might make things a tad more interesting and the creep could change designs based on the parts and level. 🙂


  • Dev Team

    @davaned said in PTR Changelog 2019-02-01: Power Creeps:

    It isn't a feel-good mechanic taking skills you have no interest in

    This mechanic is the core idea behind the entire Power Creeps design. We don't want to allow building highly efficient specialized creeps with only a few powers. We want to force players to wrap their heads around limitations, consider trade offs and make choices how to use what they have most efficiently, rather than min-maxing a single best build of an Operator for each task.

    By the way, hits and carry are increased each level by default.


  • SUN

    @artch Yes, I looked into the leveling up before posting. I saw that it goes up by 100 with each level. Thought process was that you can make the actual creep a more interesting unit. It doesn't subvert the min/maxed idea, just gives more non-op options. Also, the idea of immortal creeps could have cool empire implications. Collecting resources from farther away, etc. Hence upgrading the body of those creeps could have cool use cases.

    The main issue is that I think people will be op-limited for these type power creeps. So it will be more along the lines of "This doesn't get used" rather than "this is inefficient and interesting combinations". In the non-op limited creeps it will be a much more interesting "what other weaker powers do I want", but in this case it's a pretty simple math. You need multiple op creeps to sustain a maxed power creeps. You would never want to use a non-maxed ability. Therefore, you will have ops slaves with useless abilities feeding a few maxed creeps who make good use of ops.


  • Dev Team

    I don't think all players will go for ops efficiency. Don't forget ops are tradeable, and some market will be established very soon, so that you can buy ops and use non-maxed powers too.

    But if you want to dedicate some Operators for generating ops only, you may consider making multiple Level 1 Operators rather than growing them to higher levels.

    Also, superman workhorses are supposed to be Executors, not Operators, and they most likely won't use ops at all.


  • SUN

    @artch

    don't think all players will go for ops efficiency.

    I mean, that would be weird right? It'd have to be a game played by all engineers or something 😁 Given that spawning an PC costs a level as I understand it, I think the clear winner is level 3 operator (2 ops / 4 levels) vs a level 1 operator (1 op / 2 levels). I definitely think you'll have to dedicate creeps to creating ops. Or you'll have to consider power creeps much more along the lines of boosts, where it's a "on rare occasions" type thing. Unless there was another way to get ops, like converting power banks into ops or something. Gotta be an ecosystem for it.

    EDIT: Clarification: Are there any ops powers that can stack effects? Or is everything a single instance that gets refreshed.


  • Dev Team

    @davaned Imagine you have 10 rooms and 10 power creeps. Their cooldowns are designed in a way that one PC can maintain one room or a little bit more. Now you have to make a choice: would you use only 3 powers in every room, operating only 3 types of structures, or use all available powers, operating all structures, thus producing higher economy efficiency but with less ops efficiency.

    It's very unlikely you will be able to operate all desired structures in every room with 5 level powers.

    Clarification: Are there any ops powers that can stack effects? Or is everything a single instance that gets refreshed.

    Power effects don't stack. If effect of the same or higher level is already applied to the object, PowerCreep.usePower returns an error. If the effect level is lower, it replaces it with the new one.


  • SUN

    @davaned Power efficiency is a tricky thing; I can't make use of all powers all the time even with an infinite amount of ops.

    Specifically:

    • Operate_Tower requires a target (or need for inefficient repair)
    • Operate_Spawn requires filling infrastructure (and a demand for more creeps).
    • Fortify is only of use in a siege
    • Disrupt_(X) ditto
    • Shield is more generically useful but I cannot see it being used whenever it is off cooldown.
    • Others, depending on economic situation and code maturity

    I feel that 'sometimes' powers like these are great powers to level to keep a creep 'ops neutral'. Even a creep that only generates ops most of the time can gain value from being level 25 thanks to powers like the above.

    Selling ops would be a good way for newer players to get credits too, as apposed to simply selling that power. So I don't expect ops to be terribly expensive. (If an op is worth more than the minerals it can generate i'll damn well sell them)

    Finally while I can appreciate that YMMV (not everyone likes spreadsheets) I like the added challenge of balancing ops use & generation with the powers I want to use.


  • Dev Team

    Update: started work on the UI.

    • Added "Power enabled" display mode to the world map.

    • Powers, effects, and their cooldowns are now displayed with the corresponding icons in the object panel:

      0_1549541867024_screenshot_powers.png 0_1549541877603_screenshot_effects.png

    Our frontend team is currently working on the Power Creeps creating and editing UI.

    👍


  • @artch The UI looks good! Only two things:

    1. Maybe show PC type in the object panel?
    2. The renewing animation seems to be only for normal creeps, not for PCs.

  • SUN

    @artch The UI does look great. Love the clear powers on the screen with the CD's displayed.

    I do see the point in some cases for the efficiency. My thought process is that in most cases, it doesn't matter in what room the thing occurs. For example, I'd rather get 100% more energy in 1 room than 20% more energy in 3 rooms. Similarly, 1 observer able to see the whole world doesn't require multiple rooms. Lab processing is similar. But things like spawning etc, yeah it does make sense.

    Power effects don't stack. If effect of the same or higher level is already applied to the object, PowerCreep.usePower returns an error. If the effect level is lower, it replaces it with the new one.

    Clarification for the power stacking: It errors if you cast it again? So you HAVE to wait for it to expire to use it? This seems counterintuitive for things like DISABLE_TERMINAL, which has a 10sec duration and 8sec cd. Seems like its meant to give a buffer so that you can reapply the effect without needing that exact tick. Similarly in a number of other cases, why shouldn't I be able to refresh the OPERATE_SOURCE power whenever, rather than needing to wait for it to expire?

    Either add an override param to definitely use the power or allow it to overwrite powers of the same level as was cast, eg only errors if replacing a higher level with a lower one. IMO it's too restrictive to require waiting out the entire duration, especially on the offensive powers.



  • Right, things like disrupt terminal already sound hard to keep 100% uptime on. If you miss a tick, suddenly 300k energy can flow into a room. Currently you have to be there every 10 ticks exactly (and the race condition resolution isn't documented, same with safe mode and attackController...), which is a lot harder to maintain now power creeps have a TTL because you'll need at least two power creeps taking shifts. If the defender can push the power creep out for 10 ticks every few thousand ticks all the work it's done is wasted.

    Giving a two tick window for refresh would help a lot. Better would be to have it stacking so that if you were to cast it twice in a row the second cast would bring the disruption up to 12 ticks, and with each subsequent cast if you did it exactly on 8 ticks you could gain another 2 tick buffer. That way the defender doesn't just have to get momentary control to suddenly deliver everything he needs into the terminal.



  • Maybe each application of disrupt terminal incrementally reduces the maximum amount of resources that a terminal can receive in a single transaction, and this takes time to wear off. After enough consecutive disrupt terminals, the maximum it could receive in a transaction might be just 1000 of a resource. But each tick where the terminal isn't disrupted it increases, eventually returning to the 300k capacity limit.


  • Dev Team

    @davaned said in PTR Changelog 2019-02-01: Power Creeps:

    allow it to overwrite powers of the same level as was cast, eg only errors if replacing a higher level with a lower one

    Yes, this is how it should work, sorry, my mistake.

    Regarding DISRUPT_TERMINAL, we're going to implement it so that it blocks withdrawing from the terminal rather than incoming transactions.


  • SUN

    @artch Perfect, that makes more sense. Glad it works that way!

    In terms of the terminal implementation, I'm less excited about that. You're disincentivizing using the terminal as storage, which as the other main storage location for a room isn't a great experience from a user side. Many players do an energy/minerals split from a code complexity standpoint.

    However, I do see why its more effective on offense that way, because it isn't negated by missing a single tick and getting a vast dump. Difficult choice. Might be better to just do both and render terminal inactive entirely. Power creeps are definitely pretty challenging to get right! Thanks for all your efforts and for engaging with the community.

    Edit: thought crossed my mind that dismantling terminal would let you access the resources, though at an obvious cost. Just to consider.



  • Limiting withdraw makes sense - makes it a lot less of a "burst" thing - sounds good to me.



  • Would it make sense to allow PCreeps to renew themselves via power they're carrying (consuming it)? This would allows a single operator to stay in or near the room for an entire siege.


  • SUN

    @deft-code Hm, it's a possibility. It could be an expensive use of power. Like 100 power * PC Level. Doesn't cost you energy to process, but its permanent power lost.

    • Another option is to put a "renew power creep" ability on one of the power creeps types. That could cost some power, and it would help play into the interesting multifaceted power creep compositions.

    Oh interesting thought: Now that PC require renewal via Power Spawns, possible siege mechanic would be to have OPERATE_POWER_SPAWN able to shut down power spawn from spawning/renewing PCs. Then there is a timer on how long they can bunker up with PC's since they will have to run for another room/power bank.

    Also, there are so many powers right now. I'm still in favor of having some of the weaker eco/offensive powers get bundled into one similar to work parts being able to build and dismantle.

    EDIT: Also, another power creep power that could be awesome would be the ability to DISRUPT_REPAIR (possibly as an AOE) to prevent any structure from being repaired. This would be a great counter to the wall/rampart strat of ignore the attackers and just dump more energy into it.