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Zero-K v1.4.12.7 - Sea Rework

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AUrankAdminGoogleFrog
45 days ago

Donator star

The main change in this version is Aquanim's sea rework. Sonar ranges are less arbitrary than previously - all sea units have sonar equivalent to their vision radius. Many ships have been changed significantly. Serpent has been removed entirely but there is a new surface ship with a sonic gun and Impaler-like missile (Siren). Amphibious and Hovercraft haven't been changed besides sonar, but the new ships interact with those factories quite differently so you will still need to rethink your strategies.

Sonar


In short: all sea units and Urchin can see underwater units, underwater units are not detectable by radar and long-range sonar sources do not exist. Being underwater functions like radar jamming does on land, except you can't be seen by economy structures or land units.

In principle, being underwater is a lot like radar jamming, except that you are also invisible to non-Urchin structures, non-Vulture planes, and amphibious-pathing units from land factories. Here are the details:
  • All units produced by the Ship, Amphibious and Hovercraft factories, and the ship Striders, have sonar equal to their sight range.
  • Urchin has sonar equal to its sight range.
  • Commanders have sonar equal to their sight range.
  • Vulture has sonar range equal to its jamming range (700).
  • Other units and structures do not have sonar. Notably this includes Gauss, Aspis, Eraser, Ultimatum and Detriment.
  • Sonar Station has been removed.

We've investigated some preexisting sonar interactions and cleaned up some weirdness. One thing of note is that cloak and jamming on fully submerged units is penetrated by sonar (perhaps a recent engine change). To make this interaction more obvious we've made fully submerged units unable to cloak. This change barely affects game mechanics aide from saving energy and removing the underwater radar dot.

We also noticed that sufficiently deep units do not have any surface vision. This is an engine change and not part of the current design. However, it probably works so we'll not put effort in to work around it for the time being.

Ships


Ship Factory has been substantially reworked. We've also taken the opportunity to remove a lot of conflicts with TA unit names (though some renames are just for consistency with reroles or for some theme). Overkill prevention and Unit AI has been implemented, but you may find bugs and foibles. Report these so they can be fixed please :)

Constructor - Mariner is a little more expensive and has sonar, but mostly unchanged.

Scout (Disarming) - Skeeter is renamed to Cutter and has increased range to be able to destroy any land mex reachable by Mariner. Be aware that the Scout Boat's overkill prevention defaults to disabled, because it also tries not to hit disarmed targets. Under some circumstances you may wish to enable it.

Raider (Torpedo-Boat) - Hunter is now a torpedo-boat raider; it is much cheaper, smaller and faster, but is individually weaker in combat and no longer has a large area-of-effect.

Skirmisher Frigate (Missile) - Enforcer is renamed to Mistral and completely reworked. It is much cheaper and functions like a mobile Slasher. It fires weak guided missiles from long range (in particular it outranges Urchin, Scalpel, Defender and Stinger).

Riot/Raider Corvette (Shotgun) - Typhoon is renamed to Corsair; it is a little cheaper and faster, and armed with shotguns instead of machineguns. The shotguns make it effective against large targets at short range, however, its toughness has been reduced.

Riot/Assault Destroyer (Sonic Gun) - Siren (a new unit based on the old Daimyo model) has a sonic gun with some area-of-effect which is effective against lighter-weight surface and underwater targets. It also has a mini-Impaler missile for attacking statics. It is quite slow.

Artillery Cruiser - Crusader is renamed to Ronin; it is more expensive, more resilient, has slightly improved range and has more area-of-effect. It no longer has a depth charge sidearm.

Submarine Raider - Snake is renamed to Seawolf; it fills the same role as before, with a few numbers tweaks. The changes to how sonar works have affected its best use somewhat.

Anti-Air - Shredder is renamed to Zephyr and now has sonar but is otherwise unchanged.

Transport - Surfboard is unchanged, besides new sonar. Some bugs with transporting cloakers and jammers have been fixed.

Submarine Artillery - Serpent has been removed.

Strider Ships


The large ships have recieved some changes. Reef has some role issues which require improved drone control to fix.

Battleship - Renamed to Shogun and has a little more range and sonar. Otherwise unchanged for now; this needs some teams game testing but its overall role seems okay.

Carrier - Instead of its previous cruise missile, the Carrier stockpiles tactical missiles in 60s at 10 m/s, and fires them like a D-gun. This change is largely to avoid the current overload of weapon and drone controls. The Carrier currently retains the name Reef but this may be subject to change, as are the other properties of the unit. If and when the drone controls are improved there is some potential for adding a light carrier to the Ship factory. Something interesting and large (think Crabe or Grizzly) should go in the remaining build slot for the Shipyard and that could possibly be a miniature carrier.

Tactical Missile Sub - Renamed to Scylla. Now stockpiles in 30s at 20 m/s, twice its old rate. Similarly to the Carrier, this unit could potentially see further changes but needs more data from teamgames (and FFA).

Other Sea Units


Amphibious and hovercraft units are unchanged except that they all have sonar range equal to their sight range. Sea has changed around these units though so reevaluate their new place in sea. The sea interactions of these factories is open to change in the future, especially Duck torpedo range as well as everything about Scallop, Archer and Claymore.

After some testing we think that more amphibious units are viable than before. Buoy and Archer seem to be decent units to fight the reduced weight Hunter and Scallop is a bit less powerful. Hovercrafts are mostly unchanged except that Dagger is worse against the new raiders. Penetrator and Halberd are still powerful, unique units and Claymore has its uses.

Sea is not designed for Hovercrafts and Amphs to be 1v1 viable start factories. It seems that they might be viable on small maps, such as 8x8. However, we've found it useful to switch to these factories and teamgames should see many different factories ploped. This makes sea distinct from land in that there is one main factory and four support factories. We're not too worried about this as the ship factory has a lot of complexity with its dual domain and 3 or 4 raiders. Sea 1v1s feel harder than land 1v1s which is probably a good spot for it.

Urchin range has been reduced a little and has slightly more health.

Ultimatum and Detriment no longer have sonar.

Sonar Station no longer exists.

Other Changes



Tactical AI:
  • Improved Penetrator, Pillager and Impaler AI. They are now less prone to wiggling at max range to match the exact wiggling of their opponent.
  • Scorchers now hug most unarmed or undodgable enemies instead of runing around them in tight circles.
  • Many things now keep their distance from death explosions. Only appies to Fight command.

Morph:
  • Morph no longer purges slow damage upon completion.
  • Status effects (EMP, disarm, slow) now affect resource drain.
  • Commanders can now morph on Surfboards. They need to disembark to complete the morph in case they are no longer transportable.
  • Non-commander morph is now cancelled if the unit is loaded into a transport.

Interface:
  • New UI chat is wider, backlog automatically toggles when entering chat.
  • Area reclaim is now back to reclaiming trees by default. Holding Ctrl while issuing an area reclaim order now ignores trees. The recent new behaviour can be enabled through Game/Unit Behaviour.

Fixes:
  • Chicken and player timeout windows no longer persist through different games with Chobby.
  • Fixed initial queue structure visualization on some maps.

+10 / -0
AUrankAquanim
45 days ago
I advise anybody with feedback to put it here rather than sending it to me via lobby, if you wish it to be remembered.
+1 / -0
CHrankDeinFreund
44 days ago


What was the reason behind nurfing det? It's an amphibious unit, so I'd have expected sonar.

Generally I hoped for a complete sonar removal in favour of los distances, fighting an invisible enemy is a major fun killer. This also seems to force vulture even more, with it being the only underwater radar.

After all I haven't played a single game with this yet, but I'm definitely looking forward to.
+0 / -0
AUrankAquanim
44 days ago
(edited 44 days ago)

quote:
What was the reason behind nurfing det? It's an amphibious unit, so I'd have expected sonar.

Consistency with a few other choices. It's not something I feel strongly about, detriment could have sonar again in the future.

quote:
Generally I hoped for a complete sonar removal in favour of los distances, fighting an invisible enemy is a major fun killer.

If the underwater enemy is in range of anything which could shoot them, they are no longer invisible. Sonar is effectively "LoS of sea units".

Potentially this could become "LoS of all units and buildings, sea or not". I decided the mechanic of subs being able to hide while in vision of eco buildings was interesting enough that it should be tried.

quote:
This also seems to force vulture even more, with it being the only underwater radar.

Vulture has a much lower sonar range than it used to, for what that's worth.

+0 / -0
USrankaeonios
44 days ago
This post has been downvoted below -5 and collapsed, click here to expand
No thanks. This is complete trash.

-Sea sucked because you were blind and had no radar, unless you were willing to spend 500 metal.

Fixed? No. Now it's worse. You're always blind and there are zero options.

-Ships sucked because even if they win they rarely decide the outcome of the game, since they can't attack land worth anything.

Fixed? No. Instead their only counter to ducks got turned into a stupid raider when sea is already nothing but urchin spam.

-Sea sucked because there was no diversity and the unit counters were weak.

Fixed? No. You said "fuck it only boats matter and everything else can just die". I guess because of the aformentioned reason boats are a shitfac and nobody wants to play them, so you had to make it obligatory just to piss everyone off. Fuck that whole balance thing. There's no need to balance if there's only one fac.

-Sea sucked because hovers were awful against subs and amphs had no skirmish/arty, thus leading to crappy balance and rigid unfun unit interactions.

Fixed? No. Instead the factory that already had the most diversity and the best (water vs water) balance got arbitrarily meddled with. Oh, and daggers are now even worse, as if they weren't already bad enough in the water.

+0 / -6
AUrankAquanim
44 days ago
(edited 44 days ago)

You could at least try playing it before dismissing it as complete trash, USrankaeonios

Nobody else who's played it has that opinion so far, and you're straight-up wrong about a lot of stuff.

quote:
Fixed? No. Instead their only counter to ducks got turned into a stupid raider when sea is already nothing but urchin spam.

Nope, ships now have Siren as an answer to ducks, and there are many more answers to Urchin spam than there were.

quote:
Fixed? No. You said "fuck it only boats matter and everything else can just die".

Amph and Hover are still relevant to sea but if there's no land to work with they're marginally weaker when played on their own against ships. Even if no Amph or Hover units changed, the context in which they operate did. Even Archer is useful for something at sea now (namely, being decent against Hunter in the early game).
+2 / -0
EErankAdminAnarchid
44 days ago
(edited 44 days ago)

quote:
If the underwater enemy is in range of anything which could shoot them, they are no longer invisible. Sonar is effectively "LoS of sea units".

Potentially this could become "LoS of all units and buildings, sea or not". I decided the mechanic of subs being able to hide while in vision of eco buildings was interesting enough that it should be tried.

No longer will world be dominated / by the legacy of these fools!

As of note, though, the first part is not exactly accurate: Ulti, Gauss, and Det all can shoot underwater targets, but not spot them.
+2 / -0
DErankSurfmaniac
44 days ago
First of all thanks for the update.
I tryed it in Sandbox Map and the Units all have their purpose. I like the shorter reload of the Submarine.
And in general the cheaper units make ships less fragile against early game raids.
The Unit Manual needs some update now with the new units.

Also the Surfboard (you can imagine I really like the unit to some extend) is not clear in description which unit it can carry.
It seems like no strider except for Ultimate can be carried.
Goli, Reaper and Banisher can not be carried but Pillager can be carried.
Grizzly can not be carried (it is not really needed as it is Amphib).
Funny is that small ships can be carried though it is not useful at all.

It would be nice to have some information about which units can be transported so we don't fail ingame with some genious idea which does not work out.
So far it seems that every unit that has a bigger frame than the surfboard can not be carried on it.
+0 / -0
GBrank[Fx]Drone
44 days ago
I like the sonar changes, the underwater vision mechanics before were really bad.

Crusader change is good too, I always thought there should be more sea -> land interaction. In some other spring games when you lose sea on a map like small supreme battlefield v2, Tangerine or Tropical it would have very bad consequences for the people on land. In ZK, it's not that scary, the sea pressure often come in the form of amphib/hover switch or porc on the coast. The sea artillery bombardment always felt a bit lackluster, not nearly the same wow factor as some of the shiny laser, big cannon firing ships in other games. So if Crusader has more range and more AoE now then losing sea might actually threaten land structures.
+1 / -0
NLrankShyrka
44 days ago

Donator star
Thank you very much for the update! I love naval battles and I'm eager to try the new units and mechanics. I go ships every time I can.

One thing that I can't figure out is the ferry system with Surfboard.
+0 / -0
USrankaeonios
44 days ago
Now that I've seen an actual game with this my opinion has not really changed much, but I can say more specific things at least.

-Underwater los is more inconsistent now than it was before, not that that's saying much. The lack of proper affordable radar/sonar is still dumb. The fact that sea los and ground los ranges now match for units with sea-vision is better at least. Having no sight range AND no radar is pretty intolerable.

-The new hunter is stupid. It's a duck on jet skis (20 metal jet skis, apparently). Obviously that's going to make daggers and pretty much every other water raider obsolete.

-Hunter is probably too strong against urchins. I'm not sure if a stardust could even stop them effectively.

-The siren is beyond retarded. It's an assault, a riot, a skirmisher, and even a flex AA in a 500 metal unit. Once the game goes to sirens basically nobody builds anything else because everything else is nearly useless.

-In addition to being an abomination of poor balance decisions, siren is also a half-assed piece of trash in terms of art, model and sound effects, none of which particularly match anything that the unit actually does. That kind of nonsense belongs in a testing branch somewhere until it gets more than zero effort put into it.

-Enforcers are even more useless thanks to siren. I'm not even sure if they changed because everyone just builds sirens instead (not that anyone built them before).

-I guess crusader did get a range increase, which is good. I don't know if the depth charge is gone or not, but it was dumb to begin with.

-The new typhoon thing is still stupid. Boats should not use shotguns, because it's derpy. The old typhoon was much more appropriate, even if it wasn't all that useful. The new typhoon isn't all that useful either though, since you can just build sirens which are better in every way. Making it a raider/riot or raider/assault to compete with halberd would have made more sense.

About the only good thing I can say about it is that urchin spam is not particularly effective anymore, due mostly to sirens. If enforcers got a sensible range increase then I guess that would have been the same either way.

This is why you can't just pull a design out of your ass while ignoring the ecosystem that it fits into, because not only does the ecosystem get trashed but the design itself is guaranteed to be bad.
+2 / -5
USrankParzival
44 days ago
(edited 44 days ago)

On the good note, the tournament on the tenth will be extra fun to commentate now that ducks finally have a counter. Yayyyyyy no duck spams.
+0 / -0
AUrankAquanim
44 days ago
(edited 44 days ago)

quote:
Underwater los is more inconsistent now than it was before, not that that's saying much

That's an engine change. Talk to them about it. Fair warning; you'll find the engine devs have infinitely less patience than I do for disrespect.

quote:
-Hunter is probably too strong against urchins. I'm not sure if a stardust could even stop them effectively.

How strong is 200 or 300 metal in other raiders against single statics?

quote:
The siren is beyond retarded. It's an assault, a riot, a skirmisher, and even a flex AA in a 500 metal unit. Once the game goes to sirens basically nobody builds anything else because everything else is nearly useless.

Most testing before now was in 1v1 where Siren's speed was much more problematic for it. I always expected to make balance changes based on teams game data.

quote:
-In addition to being an abomination of poor balance decisions, siren is also a half-assed piece of trash in terms of art, model and sound effects, none of which particularly match anything that the unit actually does. That kind of nonsense belongs in a testing branch somewhere until it gets more than zero effort put into it.

Perhaps, but there's no point in putting more effort into that stuff until design solidifies, which requires teams testing, which in practice requires a stable.

quote:
Enforcers are even more useless thanks to siren. I'm not even sure if they changed because everyone just builds sirens instead (not that anyone built them before).

Siren can be changed. Mistral actually outranges Siren's main weapon and is faster than it... maybe you should have made some, although their DPS isn't really good enough to get that job done themselves.

quote:
-The new typhoon thing is still stupid. Boats should not use shotguns, because it's derpy. The old typhoon was much more appropriate, even if it wasn't all that useful.

I stopped reading this point here. This is a stupid argument.

quote:
This is why you can't just pull a design out of your ass while ignoring the ecosystem that it fits into, because not only does the ecosystem get trashed but the design itself is guaranteed to be bad.

...Yeah, this is exactly what didn't happen.

The tl;dr of what you just said, as far as I'm concerned, is that Siren needs a bit of a change and most everything else is working, except for your aesthetic sensibilities.

At the end of the day, if you dislike this implementation of sea enough (as I did the last one), I invite you to fork yourself USrankaeonios ... after all, that's what I did.
+8 / -0
USrankaeonios
44 days ago
quote:
That's an engine change. Talk to them about it. Fair warning; you'll find the engine devs have infinitely less patience than I do for disrespect.


What? So the engine devs removed water los from detri and ulti? And eco buildings, I guess?

quote:
At the end of the day, if you dislike this implementation of sea enough (as I did the last one), I invite you to fork yourself USrankaeonios ... after all, that's what I did.


Whatever. I don't know if I care that much about sea, or at least I have a nice big pile of other more useful things I could be doing at the moment.
+0 / -0
AUrankAquanim
44 days ago
(edited 44 days ago)

quote:
What? So the engine devs removed water los from detri and ulti? And eco buildings, I guess?

If that was what you mean you should have said "sonar", not "LoS". And for the record, sonar is much more consistent than it was before.

Eco buildings never had sonar in the first place.

EDIT: I was referring to https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K/issues/1490
+0 / -0
AUrankAquanim
44 days ago
(edited 44 days ago)

quote:
It would be nice to have some information about which units can be transported so we don't fail ingame with some genious idea which does not work out.

This is a good idea; there is a "transportable" field in unit descriptions but I'm not convinced it works optimally. (Possibly it accounts for unit weight but not size?)
+0 / -0
AUrankAdminGoogleFrog
44 days ago

Donator star
Transportability (heavy/light) is only related to the air transports because air transports aren't broken. The same goes for transport features such as embark and ferry routes. Surfboard has broken unloading behaviour so was ignored when those commands were implemented. Surboard could probably do with full removal and possibly a redo to make it function. It might also be better off as a hovercraft.
+0 / -0
AUrankAquanim
44 days ago
(edited 44 days ago)

I have concerns about stuff like Warrior (which is balanced partially around being slow) on a hover-Surfboard, but that's just a matter of getting the design right I suppose.
+0 / -0
USranksomekid
44 days ago
I kinda really like the multi-role of the siren. maybe that should be the ship factory's thing since they can be attacked from all mediums.
+0 / -0
AUrankhedgehogs
44 days ago
Can we make Surfboard capable of carrying more units, which uses a "mass" counter to fit in he units, which if it is reached, it won't carry more units, up to a max of 5 units on surfboard max.

Also, I would like a cylinder plasma shot on the Typhoon instead of shotguns please.
Why must we make Detri unable to have Sonar despite being able to swim below water?
+0 / -0
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