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Spying
06-12-2013, 12:57 AM
Post: #1
Spying
I wanted to take this out of the general bug thread, but I do think that Colony Security 3 kills spying.

The problem with spying is that you want people to be able to spy, but you don't want to make spying too powerful. The solution was the formula ATAN(#SPY/30)*40; spies for each player are filtered through this formula, and percent spy chance is Offense Spy chance - Defensive Spy chance.

Due to the nature of the formula, even if you have 100 spies, it sort of maxes out at 50 or so. So if each person has 50 spies, and one person has colony security 3 that reduces spying by 75%, and the other person has cloaking that doubles spying... There is virtually no chance, even with charismatic and X, of a successful spy event. Build 80 spies and you are spy-proof.

What I think the goal should be is to reward spying during all phases of the game, but keep a cap on how successful spying events can be.

How about modifying the formula to ATAN(#SPY/40)*30 (this would give a range of 0.7-35.7 for 1-100 spies).

Instead of making it offense minus defense, first subtract modified offense from defense (modified with racial traits, leaders, and technology), and THEN run it through the formula (this is the major difference from what is current).

So if you have 20 offensive spies, and they have 10 defensive, run the 10 spies (20-10) through the formula to get a 7.3 percent chance of success. If you have cloaking, you have effectively 40 spies. That would get you 40-10=30 or a 19.3 percent chance of success. They pick up colony security 3, their 40 spies are effectively 7.5 spies, and they won't succeed. But if they build 10 more spies, they would have effectively 60 spies, which would be 15 spies with colony security 3, versus 10 defensive, would give a 3.7 percent chance of success.

It would be a way to keep spying active later game, but also cap it (at about 1:3 positive spy event if you have 80+ more spies than your opponent).

Thoughts?
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06-12-2013, 01:38 AM
Post: #2
RE: Spying
+1. Love it, especially the idea to take offensive spies minus defensive spies and then run it through the formula.
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06-12-2013, 01:48 AM
Post: #3
RE: Spying
If I recall correctly, the original purpose of the soft spying cap was to remove the "everyone has to keep building spies" war. If the change was made as suggested, wouldn't the aggressor and defender would get into a perpetual spy building war again?
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06-12-2013, 01:49 AM (This post was last modified: 06-12-2013 01:54 AM by Mezmorki.)
Post: #4
RE: Spying
Yeah - I'm glad you worked out the math Wink Your approach is more or less what I had suggested. Having some hard caps on the maximum % and also better scaling in
between is good.

The only other tweak could be make cases where defensive strength is greater than offensive (i.e. a negative value) approach 0 but still yield a very slight positive %?
(06-12-2013 01:48 AM)rocco Wrote:  If I recall correctly, the original purpose of the soft spying cap was to remove the "everyone has to keep building spies" war. If the change was made as suggested, wouldn't the aggressor and defender would get into a perpetual spy building war again?

That was maybe before my time with the game? At least vs. human players - so I can't comment on that.

Is the desired outcome such that being at the "cap" of offensive power versus someone at the "cap" of defensive power still yields a modest positive chance for spying events?

I think it would almost be more helpful to talk about what kind of success rates you all want across various scenarios and matchups (accounting for bonuses, etc.) and then develop a formula to approximate that.
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06-12-2013, 02:07 AM
Post: #5
RE: Spying
(06-12-2013 01:48 AM)rocco Wrote:  If I recall correctly, the original purpose of the soft spying cap was to remove the "everyone has to keep building spies" war. If the change was made as suggested, wouldn't the aggressor and defender would get into a perpetual spy building war again?

I don't think this would be a problem. It costs A LOT of resources to build 100 more spies than someone else. And the result? 1 in 3 chance of success (max). With Colony 3, the defender has even less of a hoop to jump through.

So what does 1 in 3 chance of success mean late game? Well, you probably have the necessary tech by that point (and it would be easier to put all those resources to researching science than building spies). The best use is disrupting fleet movement. Which can be quite handy - but 100 spies buys a lot of ships, and they have a per-turn cost to them that ships don't. If someone wants a 1:3 chance to maybe disrupt fleets, let them have it.

If you are charismatic and have X and cloaking, you should have a chance for a positive spy event against someone that is repulsive - even if they have colony security 3.

Here are some real examples: Let's say you want a 20 percent chance at successful spying and your opponent has Colony Security 3, and you have cloaking. You would need a modified 31 more spies than them. If, late game, they have 100 spies, you would need 262 spies to pull that off (262 *2 for cloaking, but * .25 for colony security = 131. 131-100 defenders = 31 spies run through the ATAN formula = 20% chance of success). For every 2.6 spies you build, they only need 1 to defend. It just isn't worth it. Economics will provide a cap. But if you are charismatic and have X (if I did my math correctly), you would only need 73 spies to pull it off. They would have 100 spies, you would have 73 - and that is for a 20 percent chance at success.
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06-12-2013, 02:20 AM
Post: #6
RE: Spying
I keep building more spies to defend, you keep building more spies to aggress. Eventually we waste the entire middle game building spies until one of us reaches poverty maximum, which doesn't make for a fun game.

It addition, it does not cost all that much to build and maintain spies, especially for a production race; spy costs are linear, unlike ship overage which is exponential. Which is an inherent advantage for production races.

1 in 3 chance is a good chance to blow up leaders every three turns, and essentially eliminates the need to research tech.



For this version and the amount of time we have left, I am willing to remove colony security 3; anything more than that runs a huge risk of upsetting the balance we've managed to attain over the last several months.
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06-12-2013, 02:39 AM
Post: #7
RE: Spying
(06-12-2013 02:20 AM)rocco Wrote:  I keep building more spies to defend, you keep building more spies to aggress. Eventually we waste the entire middle game building spies until one of us reaches poverty maximum, which doesn't make for a fun game.

It addition, it does not cost all that much to build and maintain spies, especially for a production race; spy costs are linear, unlike ship overage which is exponential. Which is an inherent advantage for production races.

1 in 3 chance is a good chance to blow up leaders every three turns, and essentially eliminates the need to research tech.



For this version and the amount of time we have left, I am willing to remove colony security 3; anything more than that runs a huge risk of upsetting the balance we've managed to attain over the last several months.

I'm not saying that it should be implemented this version - just something to think about.

1 in 3 is the chance to disrupt military. The chance to destroy a ship is 1 in 5 IIRC. So 1:15 to destroy a ship? And if you have 20 ships, only a 5 percent chance to get the leader every 15 turns. If I am up against offensive spying, I'd build a pool of frigates to move around (so they are the ships being disrupted for movement and they are the ones being destroyed). Really, not a big threat. Late game, most people have 50+ ships.

As a research race, you'd be able to get Colony Security 1, 2, and 3 pretty quickly. By the time they come up, you would know if you were up against a spying race or not. An industry race, on the other hand, would have trouble researching cloaking, and would have to pass up other good tech to get it. And another research race? Better to spend the effort researching! And a research race can research tech such as EF2, Robotics 2 and PCM much earlier than industry builds. You can have a farming/research planet produce a spy per turn or two if you so choose.

I've played a lot of spying races over time, and the results are very inconsistent (20 percent chance is only 1 in 5 turns, and you don't get to pick what you receive). Spying is nice if the other player doesn't prepare for it, but in my experience only for 20-30 turns or so, until the defender can crank out some defense (either spies or tech).

On the other hand, if you are research, and choose repulsive - well, that charismatic industrious race with X as a leader really should be owning you in the spy department. But I would maintain that in-game, a 1:5 chance at success really isn't that big a deal.
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06-12-2013, 10:48 AM
Post: #8
RE: Spying
(06-12-2013 02:20 AM)rocco Wrote:  For this version and the amount of time we have left, I am willing to remove colony security 3; anything more than that runs a huge risk of upsetting the balance we've managed to attain over the last several months.

Eliminating colony security facility 3 will be much better than the status quo. Frankly it might be enough to restore the late game balance that I think was lost when it was introduced. We should test it out.
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