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Airships

Discussion in 'Idea Factory' started by Raydin, May 13, 2019.

  1. Raydin

    Raydin

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    Hello,

    I had been previously working on a campaign which had a focus on air warfare. Now in this story's setting the dominant type of air units used were mechanical warships (story wise they were powered by magic) Now since this was a multi person project and me &another were in charge of unit balancing we ran into some issues. Primary that we wanted heavy warships but these disbalanced the gameplay - player could build 3 or more of these heavy aircrafts and attack the enemy base and that's it - easy victory.

    Just to give you an idea of what type of air units we were working with, we had a 1,750 hit point warship with heavy armor, 9 points of armor a food cost of 10.

    At first we gave the unit a strong siege attack, but then we realized this screwed things up in 2 problems; it was extremely effective against enemy bases, but not so much so against air and other units. Then we gave the unit 2 attacks a piercing attack against all things except buildings and a siege attack against buildings, again it wasn't balanced. Eventually after lots of trial and error we gave the unit a strong piercing attack which was used against all air units and a siege attack against all ground units which was akin to the flying machines bomb attack in that it had a low attack range(attack range of 100) but had great siege damage, used the mortar teams projectile art and had a slightly changed burning oil ability that really helped out dealing with ground units. Now this became my real or less balanced because while the airship could still decimate a base it was now a bomber in terms of how it damaged ground units, and archers and other anti air units could now effectively fight it.

    I had been wondering if others had come across a similar situation where you had to decide on how to make sure an air unit is effective without being overpowering (I'm talking about heavy air units here) and how the balancing was done.
     
  2. -Phoenix-

    -Phoenix-

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    Interesting, now I never played your project or know how the airships mechanics were in it, but a 1750hp airship with a heavy armor type and 9 armor is seriously OP, I understand that this was designed as a heavy bomber unit, but with those stats I can understand the balancing issues you've had. I did a bit of balancing of aerial units myself, and having a strong siege attack with a decent range is really no problem as long as the cooldown is above 2.0 seconds, but changing the armor type to anything but light really screws with the balancing. You can play around with the hp as much as you like, just not the armor type, trust me I know from experience.... piercing does 2x damage to light armor, but 1x to heavy, so that 1750hp bomber would basically have 3500hp if it had light armor...for 10 food you can see how OP this is. Also good thinking on using the burning oil ability for ground damage, I can see how effective this can be against ground units.

    So my suggestion for balancing of this type of unit:

    -Change armor type to light

    -Change hp appropriately

    -Change armor value appropriately

    -Increase range but decrease damage of the ground attack if appropriate, I understand this is a bomber unit, but you'll run into significant problems if anti-air ground units can hit and run this without being attacked: while a strong small ranged attack can be very effective against structures it leaves the unit very vulnerable to quick ground based attackers that can essentially hit and run it
     
  3. Raydin

    Raydin

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    I agree with most of your suggestions. but the point of a heavy bomber unit is that it can deal massive damage by bombing objects below it, increasing the ground attack range while decreasing its damage would transform the unit into something other than a bomber unit.
     
  4. cleavinghammer

    cleavinghammer

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    I dunno, making the bomber inefficient against ground units sounds like good balance by preventing simply massing bombers. Maybe have a different unit (fighter or dive bomber) that's good at engaging units but not buildings (like an inverted Demolish that deals far less building damage)?

    Or instead of a ground attack, give it a bombing run ability that makes it move in a straight line and dealing high damage to everything below.
     
  5. -Phoenix-

    -Phoenix-

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    Just how much damage did those bombers do to ground units and what was the cooldown?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019 at 10:30 AM
  6. Raydin

    Raydin

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    Over 200 worth of siege damage with a 1.9 second cooldown plus the modified burning oil buff/ability
     
  7. -Phoenix-

    -Phoenix-

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    I can see why you chose such a short range, the airships I've made had a ground attack very similar to a cannon tower's.... ~2.5 second cooldown and around 100-120 siege damage, but with a range of 450, together with all the other stats I've mentioned the unit was more or less balanced. But the unit was never meant to be a heavy bomber, just an airship.
     
  8. Trill

    Trill

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    Have you tried giving everyone strong anti-air units?
    If airships play such a big role, its only natural that everyone would have anti-air stuff. Up to and including anti-air Heroes.
    The way I see it, your problem is not that airships are overpowered, its that there aren't sufficient counters to them. When you introduce a strong feature, you must also introduce counters to it.
     
  9. Zepher

    Zepher

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    Two things I can suggest:

    *Have the bomber use the same piercing projectile against all ground attackers except for buildings, and only allow the short ranged siege attack to target buildings to balance it out.

    *If you ever played with the goblin tinker you know of his Cluster Rockets ability, this ability is VERY useful if modified right, you can change the projectile, range, damage, etc. to fit your needs. Give the bomber this ability, while leaving the piercing attack as its default method of defense against all targets.
     
  10. Raydin

    Raydin

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    Thanks for the advice

    I especially like your second suggestion
     
  11. Mechanical Man

    Mechanical Man

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    well you can look at Godfall's campaign bonus mission to see any example
     
  12. Zepher

    Zepher

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    @Mechanical Man

    You're the creator of Godfall?

    I loved that floating island mission - excellent stuff, it really stands out, @Raydin should really check that mission out
     
  13. DingoT

    DingoT

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    In my opinion u need to just scale down the hit points and give it a range attack against ground units, these airships sound strong but any unit with a foodcost of 10 should be powerful
     
  14. Zepher

    Zepher

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    @DingoT I understand why designers use airships, but look I tested out some maps in the past and with strong airships like the ones the original poster mentioned the player could just build a wall of towers to block his base off from assaults, wait till the enemy's forces leave the enemy's base to attack and then use several of these airships to completely demolish the enemy's base in a surprise attack
    From what the original poster mentioned the unit does 200 worth of siege damage and burns anything below it with the burning oil ability, 200 siege damage is 300 damage against all structures with fortified armor, an unupgraded castle has 2500hp, this airship will wipe out a castle in under 10 seconds if it has a 1.90 second cooldown
    With this surprise attack the player has an almost certain chance of winning the battle if he wipes out the town hall and the production structures. And believe me this strategy has a very good chance of working if done right.

    This is why its not always a good idea to give the player heavy airships that do colossal damage to bases.
     
  15. cleavinghammer

    cleavinghammer

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    If it's for a campaign, air units are going to be broken anyway.

    Maybe if the ships are that powerful, simply restrict them or their efficiency (for example, limited to 1 at a time, make them unfixable, etc.) for plot reasons.
     
  16. Raydin

    Raydin

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    If the airships are balanced properly that airship raid won't be so effective. Also the enemy can built towers of his own which would repel the raid

    Also if u give the player access to medium units, what exactly stops him from massing them and using the same exact strategy to rush a base, it could be even more effective in that there are more units, so more attacks / damage dealt every second and on top of that more targets that you have to take down as compared to a few airships
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 1:51 AM
  17. -Phoenix-

    -Phoenix-

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    @Zepher

    Raydin's bomber is like Kirov airship (Kirov Airship (Red Alert 2) from Red Alert 2, a few of those in your base and you're done. In the project I was working on you had strong airships, but even if you mass them and pull a surprise attack on your enemy it wouldn't guarantee you a win because:

    1 Although they had a siege attack they dealt much less ground damage than Raydin's units and had a longer attack cooldown
    2 They were weaker in terms of how much damage they could withstand from AA attacks
    3 Food cost as well as resource cost would make massing of them almost impossible
    4 The enemy had some very effective counters
    5 The airship was sufficiently slow to just suddenly pull a surprise attack without the other player knowing
     
  18. Zepher

    Zepher

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    @Raydin There is a big difference between medium units and heavy units, I mean for one thing the heavier units we are talking about here are airships that have siege attacks and do much more damage than medium units.

    Now yes more units can take more damage because each one has to be targeted individually.

    But look at the attack damage to buildings in terms of food cost (which determines the maximum units the player can create)

    Lets say you have 2 gryphon like medium units, each costing 4 food and doing 50 magic damage on average every 2.2 seconds (this is from battle.net just so you know) and lets say you have an airship like unit with a siege attack that costs 8 food and has an attack similar to a frost wyrm which is 104 average damage every 3 seconds but with a siege attack type.

    Remember magic damage is reduced by 35% when attacking fortified armor, while siege damage is actually increased by 50%.

    The two medium flying units will do 2*(50*0.35)/2.2 damage per second to fortified structures, that’s about 16 damage per second to fortified armor.

    The heavy air unit will do (104*1.5)/3 damage per second to fortified structures, that’s 52 damage per second to fortified armor.

    Just looking at it math wise you can see why the airship is better at attacking bases.


    @-Phoenix- Yes with good balancing the rush wont always work, but it's scary how well that strategy succeeds at times
     
  19. Raydin

    Raydin

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    OK you may be right in that heavy air units are more effective at leveling bases, but as I had said in the first part of my previous reply the enemy can also spam towers which can easily counter an air raid

    Especially so since there is no limit to how many towers a player can build
     
  20. Zepher

    Zepher

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    One thing it comes down to is how much resources each side is willing to spend on their respective strategy.

    Towers have no food cost, and therefore can technically overwhelm any airship raid with sheer numbers, but they cost time, lumber and money to build, all of which can be going to other things for the player, also you will need quite a few towers to successfully repel a well planned raid, and that's something to consider

    Airships on the other hand have a food cost therefore a very real limit, but I've seen them massed rather easily and a careful sneak attack is very hard to repel, also if not for leveling bases they can be used to harass bases, harass units, etc.

    In my personal experience testing maps a strategy that easily wins maps where the player is given such heavy airships is blocking your base from attacks by building a great deal of towers at its entrance, then building a few of these heavy airships, waiting for the enemy units to leave their base and using your airships to decimate the enemy's base. As I've mentioned before this strategy has a very high chance of working if done right, obviously as some have mentioned proper balancing may prevent this.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 3:13 AM