Playing as the Borg

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Iceman » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:38 am

CaptScarff wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:26 pm
Hi,

I have been playing Supremcy on and off for a while now and I played as the Borg for the first time last night. Let me start off by saying it is awesome to have the option and it was fun going around assimilating the galaxy.
Hi CaptScarff, thanks for your excellent feedback!
The Borg are still very much a WiP, and getting them to provide a completely different and still interesting style of gameplay, has been an adventure. There are a lot of details, a lot of exceptions and specific code for them, in pretty much any aspect of gameplay. I'm having some trouble handling some of the issues you mention below, which I'll try to address as best as I can.

So my initial thoughts are the Borg start off way too strong in this setup compared to the other empires. The ships that they have starting out can almost conquer the galaxy in the setup I was playing. By 40 turns in I had added two more Cubes and a couple of Probe ships to my fleet. I was unstoppable at that point. I had assimilated the home worlds of the Federation and Romulans and completely wiped out the Klingons. If I think of the other empires and the ships that they would need to compete it could take over 200 turns in order to build up the empire to output the required number of ships to defeat the Borg fleet I had in 60 turns as I would need a lot of systems with Dilithium, Deuterium and Duranium. I noticed that the Probes alone can defeat minor race fleets that had 4 ships without ever losing their shields
True, but their starting conditions are just a placeholder. It's useful for testing stuff without having to edit the XMLs and having to keep track of changes. But you're right, it's probably time to scale it down. I might just add the AI code for assimilation (while I'm working on system assault AI) and then change that.
One of the items in the ToDo list for the Borg is place their homesystem in the upper right part of the DQ (when they're close to being fully implemented), to give the empires a little more breathing room. Notice however that in smaller maps the Borg will be much more of a problem than in bigger maps.
I'm still trying to solve the problem with the CivilizationType of the Borg - Special or Empire. There are a few issues with that that I haven't yet been able to fix. Maybe you can help with that, come to think of it. :wink:

Re minor race fleets, that's another problem that will need to be addressed at some point. Since ships stats are static, they eventually become useless. I have plans to change that, at least for the minor races, but haven't managed to get the time for it. I did add an experience bonus (which affects accuracy and damage control) to non-human controlled ships as a sort of placeholder difficulty level to make the game a bit more challenging. The Borg do not get such a bonus BTW, they're good enough as it is. :lol:


Some suggestions:
Reduce the strength of the Borg ships - Don't really like this idea
Reduce the number of ships the Borg starts with - Probably a better starting point. Maybe just a Cube so they can assimilate worlds slowly
Reduce the resources the Borg starts out with. Instead of 200 Dilithium, 2000 Deturium and 5000 Duranium, make it enough for a Probe or 2. E.g. 30 Dilithium and 600 Duranium. Not sure if the Borg ships even cost any Deturium to build and if they do, it is not listed.
Reduce the cost and time it takes the other empires to build ships (something I would like to do anyway). Would love to have fleets of hundreds of ships battling it out in general
Stop the Borg from earning credits so they can not buy structures. I had 200K credits and didn't really need to buy structures much anyway
Allow Minor Races to build more ships so they can stop the probes. E.g. 6-8 ships
I don't like #1 either. They're the Borg! :twisted:
#2 sure, I agree. The shipyard output and bonus might still need to be tweaked.
#3 definitely too, they're also placeholder. These last few days I've been thinking of how to generate resources for the Borg. Still need to add the rest of the Production Facilities too, though Research and Intelligence will have no use... The Borg are a nightmare to code :wink: BTW, ships do not cost Deuterium to build, it is only spent when they move (well, they kind of do, since their tanks are filled when they get built if there is any available).
#4 hmm, that'll produce all kinds of nightmares - logistical, UI, etc. Notice that you can increase the shipyard's output by not building anything in the planetary build queue - the Trade Goods income will be "converted" to ship production; this will only work in systems with a positive net dilithium production though, can't recall if there is any other condition.
#5 that's not that straight forward. I mean, the change is actually very straightforward, anyone can mod that, all you have to do is change a value in the tables folder, but Credits are also used to pay for the maintenance of fleets, so they need them.
#6 is easy enough, I just need to double the current limits :wink:

One of the plans for them is to have them dormant at the beginning of the game and only "unleash" them after a number of turns - that number depending on the size of the galaxy, and maybe on starting tech level.


Other quality of life improvements suggestions
When in a hostile system, do not provide the option to Assimilate the system until the orbital defenses and garrison are low enough
Eventually when terraforming is needed to maximize a system's population, the Borg will need a terraforming ship unless terraforming is not going to be required for the Borg
Well, that was a tough call, between not showing the order or adding the warning dialog. The former was easier to do, but I thought that people might not realize that you could actually assimilate systems and think the Borg implementation was crappy... with a reduced starting fleet as discussed above, you will most likely not be able to assimilate any system in the beginning of a game (except Pacifist minors and such). Without the order and the dialog, you will not know that you need more ships for the order to become available, unless you RTFM - which is not yet done. Should be easy enough to change though, if we decide so.

There are no plans for the Borg to terraform or colonize planets. Not sure it makes much sense? They expand by assimilating, not colonizing. But I see your point, with assimilated minor race systems which usually only have the homeplanet terraformed. Making assimilated systems not be restricted by terraforming should be easy to do.

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Iceman » Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:19 pm

Ok, so I reduced starting ships for the Borg:

Early, Developed: 1 Probe
Sophisticated: 1 Probe, 1 Sphere
Advanced: 2 Probes, 1 Sphere, 1 Cube
Supreme: 2 Probes, 2 Spheres, 1 Cube

What do you think?


Also, I've been thinking about completely removing orbital batteries for the Borg.

And maybe not starting with the Transwarp Hub already built in their homesystem, to force them to build it?


(by default, the AI always builds 2 Scouts, and tries to build a station in their homesystem asap)

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by CaptScarff » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:47 pm

Hi Iceman,

I figured the Borg might still be a work in progress. Then I started looking at the XML files under Resources/Data and I could tell there is a lot still to be defined for the Borg. In general a Technology tree is needed for the Borg. For simplicity sake, you could start out with Probe Level I, Probe Level II, Probe Level III etc. At each level the ships should still be stronger than the corresponding empires. Same could be applied to the buildings. Keep it simple to start with and similar to the other empires.

This segues nicely into talking about how the Borg should advance in research. I still think they should have research facilities but their effectiveness for the Borg should be a lot less, like a tenth of the other empires. (Actual value would need to be determined based on testing etc.) They'll get there that way but a lot slower. Instead the Borg's primary way of gathering research should be through assimilation. The Borg should automatically be advanced to whatever research level the assimilated target was at in each research criteria. If the system that was assimilated is behind where the Borg are at, it has no effect. This would work well with the minor races as they are always tied to 1 system. In the case of empires and their colonies, more thought is needed. Should assimilating a small colony automatically unlock the entire technology tree of that empire to the Borg or just a percentage based on the colony population etc.? Assimilating the home-world should unlock their technology tree to the Borg.

I think the Borg will also need intelligence facilities solely for defensive purposes to stop other empires from continuously sabotaging them and stealing their research. I think the Borg should only create and utilize the intelligence facilities as they are attacked in this way by the other empires. Initially the Borg do not bother. But as the other empires sabotage them or steal research they get stronger at defending themselves. The Borg will never try to sabotage or steal research in this way. Human's playing as the Borg should not get the option either.
One of the items in the ToDo list for the Borg is place their homesystem in the upper right part of the DQ (when they're close to being fully implemented), to give the empires a little more breathing room. Notice however that in smaller maps the Borg will be much more of a problem than in bigger maps.
One of the plans for them is to have them dormant at the beginning of the game and only "unleash" them after a number of turns - that number depending on the size of the galaxy, and maybe on starting tech level.
These are good ideas. The unleash setting will need to be adjusted based on the starting tech level etc. You won't want the other empires to get too technologically advanced on the Borg so that those empires and Minor Races can kill off the Borg when they start encountering them
Early, Developed: 1 Probe
Sophisticated: 1 Probe, 1 Sphere
Advanced: 2 Probes, 1 Sphere, 1 Cube
Supreme: 2 Probes, 2 Spheres, 1 Cube
Looks good
Also, I've been thinking about completely removing orbital batteries for the Borg.

And maybe not starting with the Transwarp Hub already built in their homesystem, to force them to build it?
These are good ideas too. I also think the Borg should then get a bonus in defending against ground assaults and a bonus when to comes to being bombarded. It should be harder to "liberate" Borg worlds

This still leaves the open question, how do the other empires compete against the Borg? At Supreme level, it only takes 7 turns to build a cube at a cost of 20 Dilithium and 800 Duranium. The Dominion takes 7 turns to build a Battle Cruiser Level IV and they cost 21 Dilithium and 300 Duranium. If I choose to build 4 of them at the same time, it is going to cost 4 times the resources as a single cube and those 4 battle ships probably would not even get past the cube's shield in a fight. So a solution is needed. I don't know if simply upping the cost and duration is the best way. It may make it too difficult for the Borg especially if they can not colonize systems for strategic reasons, e.g. a dilithium rich system.

Sorry for the long post. I have been thinking about this a bit. If you want me to start looking at anything I have suggested, let me know.

Thanks
Scarff

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Iceman » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:15 am

These are good ideas too. I also think the Borg should then get a bonus in defending against ground assaults and a bonus when to comes to being bombarded. It should be harder to "liberate" Borg worlds
They do have a CombatStrength of 2.0, the highest (along with the Zakdorn). The Klingons, for instance, are 1.4. And the defender always gets to fire first now, so they are very very strong when being invaded. I can make them also have a "hit points" bonus, if necessary.
Against bombardment, there can also be a bonus, or a Building like the Bunker Network that reduces damage.
Borg worlds cannot be liberated. Currently, when a Borg colony is conquered, it is automatically destroyed - it makes things much simpler.

This still leaves the open question, how do the other empires compete against the Borg? At Supreme level, it only takes 7 turns to build a cube at a cost of 20 Dilithium and 800 Duranium. The Dominion takes 7 turns to build a Battle Cruiser Level IV and they cost 21 Dilithium and 300 Duranium. If I choose to build 4 of them at the same time, it is going to cost 4 times the resources as a single cube and those 4 battle ships probably would not even get past the cube's shield in a fight. So a solution is needed. I don't know if simply upping the cost and duration is the best way. It may make it too difficult for the Borg especially if they can not colonize systems for strategic reasons, e.g. a dilithium rich system.
The Resource Node will produce resources, not +ShipBuilding (this is a leftover from what I had in mind some time ago), so it's actually 12 turns, or 16 without the industry bonus.
And that's precisely the weakness of the Borg, resource production.
And you're right about the costs, the dilithium costs were greatly increased for the empires following feedback from Vladimir. We might need to adjust the Borg's, and increase the maintenance costs for their ships?

The Borg will be a pain to implement (well) and balance, I have absolutely no doubt about that. I'm not even sure if they will be worth the implementation cost, but they're a must have ofc.

I'll reply to the rest tonight, I have to go to work now...

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Iceman » Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:28 pm

Ok, so following this feedback I've increased minor race ships limits to 6 for MinorPower civs and 8 for the rest (DevelopingPower and ExpandingPower).
I've removed OBs for the Borg (will remove it from the techtree next), and TWH (I might add it back for Supreme).

Re Borg tech and intel,

I'm not sure the Borg should have tiers in their shiplist? It's not like we've seen them fielding different or upgraded versions of each ship class? That's why the current shiplist is like it is. But it can be changed ofc.

Same about research. Like you mentioned, they don't do much in the way of research themselves. I have them always start at tech level 12, so to make research relevant for them they'd have to start lower, and advance normally. But it doesn't sound much like the Borg? Again, it can be changed.
Assimilating tech, well, in order for them to advance this way they'd have to be lower in tech than who they assimilate, and minors and even empires don't really have higher tech than them - that'd be really weird... hence the current implementation.

Intel, agreed.

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Danijel » Fri May 03, 2019 8:02 pm

You could make their "research" related to how many civs/sols they assimilated(dont deduct it when system is lost, always ++)?
in essence you could mix those and keep few "research" trinkets triggered when certain amount of assimilations has occurred.

Their "development" is more parasitic like than intellectual. ie Vaadwaurs didnt consider borg a treat at all at their empire time.

Whats the minimum amount of ships you consider they should have to create tiers?
are you talking bout tiers as cruiser_1(2,3,4)classes, or ship hull classification(cruiser, destroyer,command...)?

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Iceman » Sat May 04, 2019 12:47 pm

Yes, but that will make them *want* to assimilate everyone in sight, which will make the DQ a very uninteresting place for the empires?
It is probably the best way to do this, I agree, with some caveats: higher TL civs provide more research ofc, and lower TL civs should probably not grant any (like Primitive minors).

By tiers I mean "levels" within each ship class. Should we have Cube_I, Cube_II, etc?
Or, if we make them get tech through assimilation, unlock some classes at higher TLs? Like Tactical Cubes and Diamonds, maybe even standard Cubes.

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Re: Supremacy new release

Post by Centurion » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:39 pm

Hey Iceman, how does one terraform planets as the Borg? Also not sure if I found a bug trying to take Bynar as the Borg, but the planet cannot be taken/assimilated. I assaulted the system, took out garrison/OBs, but I cannot assimilate the system.(says I have to take out defenses first....frelling did that!) I played for quite a while as the Borg with no crashes so those exception errors apparently don't effect the Borg?

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Re: Supremacy new release

Post by Iceman » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:06 pm

Hey Centurion!
The Borg cannot terraform planets because they do not have colony ships. Not sure if they should be able to, what are your thoughts on that?
There are a few races they cannot assimilate, those that either are not carbon-based (Tholians, Horta, etc) or are aquatic or have some other special characteristic (Bynars, Benzites, etc).
See here:
viewtopic.php?f=300&t=3489

That's very useful info, thanks! Josh has identified the problem, but hasn't been able to work on it yet.
Since the Borg do not have OBs anymore, my guess is that it is related to the OB upgrade code... I've disabled it and uploaded a patch to BB, if you could check it and LMK, it'd be extremely helpful!

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Re: Supremacy new release

Post by Centurion » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:41 pm

Well the Borg don't really need colony ships per se. In ST Armada(2?) the Borg had Pyramid ships to assimilate worlds in place of colony ships. So maybe something like that to terraform planets in already assimilated systems? The ships would be less powerful ships than Cubes, but stronger than Spheres combat wise with the ability to terraform systems. While I know that Borg seek to assimilate species, they would need to be able to colonize uninhabited systems for resources. Their ships are powerful, but expensive resource wise.(as they should be) Not sure that the exception error thing for the other races has anything to do with OB upgrades. So I don't understand that last part the responded with Iceman.

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Iceman » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:33 pm

Moved the Borg terraforming related posts here for further discussion.

One option could be to insta-terraform all planets in the system when it is assimilated.
Another option could be to make say their Command ship be able to terraform planets; or their Construction ship.
Or they could just not require terraforming at all.

---

Also moved here:

One other issue that I'd like some feedback on, related to this. Right now, destroying the Borg homesystem only gives you the WinMajorBattle Morale bonus (for lack of a better bonus), and any other Borg system the WinSignificantBattle bonus.

Should the homesystem give you the EliminateEmpire bonus instead (+50), and the Borg be eliminated from play on such event? (might be 2 separate questions)

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Iceman » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:28 pm

CaptScarff wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:26 pm
Stop the Borg from earning credits so they can not buy structures. I had 200K credits and didn't really need to buy structures much anyway
Done. They now do not collect taxes, cannot buy buildings, and do not get credits from Trade Goods (though the UI still says they do). So, credits are not relevant for the Borg anymore - except as a limiting factor for how many ships they can field at once. If you try to build more ships than their Fleet Population Support allows, it'll shut down all production - the AI already abides by this, though it still needs some tweaking. I've increased their Pop Support modifier to allow them to field fleets with an assimilation potential decent enough to expand some. The more they assimilate, the larger the fleet they can build, and the more they can expand.
I've also removed the maintenance cost of tw hubs, because the cost of stations is not covered by Pop Support. I'm also thinking of adding a Resource Station so they can collect resources without assimilating systems.
Also reduced their SY's output a bit, to stall them a little more.

Eventually when terraforming is needed to maximize a system's population, the Borg will need a terraforming ship unless terraforming is not going to be required for the Borg
For now, I've made it so that when a system is assimilated, it'll become fully terraformed. I might change that to Construction ships or Command ships doing the terraforming for the Borg - we have the soundfx for it too!

I noticed that the Probes alone can defeat minor race fleets that had 4 ships without ever losing their shields
And shouldn't they?

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Iscaran » Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:34 pm

Can one look up the Fleet Population Support value somewhere ? (Also for the other races like Klingons, Feds etc.)

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Re: Playing as the Borg

Post by Iceman » Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:25 pm

Not yet. I intend to add a tooltip in the Empire Info expander, like in BotF, but I haven't found an easy way to do it yet. There will also be an Overview tab in the Assets screen, and this is one of the things that will be there.
The modifiers are the exact same as in BotF, and they're moddable in the Tables\ResourceTables.txt file.
I've made the Borg's 2.0, but it might be more intuitive to make it 1.0 and halve ship maintenance costs - actually that was the value I had before, but I thought having the maintenance costs be that low would be really odd... it would help with the calculations though.

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