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Balancing Spies
05-09-2012, 02:38 AM
Post: #41
RE: Balancing Spies
Alright, we beat that dead horse enough. Mind you there is probably a joke here about peeing like a race horse in the morning, or better yet something about the renowned colonial spy Paul Revere on his great ride having to stop to allow his horse to pee (in fact, I think there is an Inn in NJ where they have a plaque that reads "Paul Revere's horse tinkled here"), but nobody wants to hear it.
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05-09-2012, 02:50 AM
Post: #42
RE: Balancing Spies
Don't get me started, I've been wandering around my mamouth for weeks looking for a bathroom.
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05-09-2012, 01:25 PM
Post: #43
RE: Balancing Spies
(05-09-2012 02:50 AM)iSqueek Wrote:  Don't get me started, I've been wandering around my mamouth for weeks looking for a bathroom.

Try asking the janitor
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05-09-2012, 02:58 PM
Post: #44
RE: Balancing Spies
....my spies got his janitor three turns ago....victory is in sight!!!!
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05-10-2012, 06:37 AM
Post: #45
RE: Balancing Spies
(05-09-2012 02:58 PM)Enlade Wrote:  ....my spies got his janitor three turns ago....victory is in sight!!!!
Stats report: Enemy spies eliminated our janitors on ship "insert name here". The ship is going to rendezvous in the closest friendly system for a clean up operation.
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06-03-2012, 01:24 AM
Post: #46
RE: Balancing Spies
Back on topic... Big Grin
(05-08-2012 01:38 PM)Enlade Wrote:  
(05-07-2012 07:23 PM)General_Grr Wrote:  Also is there a way to see how many spies I have? It's just a grey mass where I place them on defense...too many to make out numbers.
...
Its not like you are going to say, "Ok, I have 100 spies, I will stop now". ...

How does spying work? From the help instructions, every spy gives a +1% chance of success (with defenders reducing by 1%). If this is true, then there would be no benefit to having more than a 100 spy advantage over an opponent (whether on offense or defense).

I just tried a game with v1.1.4 (after some time off), and the AI spy spamming is driving me up the wall. I have some suggestions based on this, so if the AI spying is different than player spying, more adjustments will be needed.
- Don't make the spy effect linear. Having just one spy should have at least a tiny chance of success no matter how many defenders, and having 100+ spies on offense should not be instant success.
- Offensive spies should have a much greater chance of being captured. (This is offset by the fact that only one offensive spy per opponent per turn could be captured.) If I build a wall of spies, I expect the AI attacking spies to be dropping like flies, instead of nothing over many, many turns. That's just the price of trying to spy an advantage!
- Since ship repairs take time, spies should damage a ship (40 or 50%), not destroy it instantly. Unless the ship was already damaged below the threshold.
- If a colony building has many levels, the spy should reduce the building by one level. So a Research I would be destroyed, but a Research II would be knocked down to Research I.
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06-03-2012, 01:51 AM
Post: #47
RE: Balancing Spies
(06-03-2012 01:24 AM)Klendathu Wrote:  - Since ship repairs take time, spies should damage a ship (40 or 50%), not destroy it instantly. Unless the ship was already damaged below the threshold.

I like this idea.
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06-03-2012, 02:55 AM (This post was last modified: 06-03-2012 02:59 AM by Nagov.)
Post: #48
RE: Balancing Spies
I have long been an opponent of spy spam. I personally hate spying. With that said, it needs to be viable. The biggest issue is where one draws the line, and it makes it a very fine line. Spying needs to be a viable option if someone wants to go after such a strategy.

The Issue stems from the fact that even if both players are not interested in spying, it becomes a rampant arms race. There has been a number of solutions offered, but it boils down to trying to find that correct balance. The contact rating was an attempt to fix the matter in 1.1.4. I am not sure if I think that is the final solution to solving spy spam. I am all for any idea that can solve this so it makes it a balanced supplement to the game. I still think the biggest issue stems from the fact that each individual spy practically means nothing in the scheme of things. Its the collective group of spies that make or break spying.

One idea that I've been toying with is create a spy unit and getting rid of "spies" as they are now. We would also need to add "spy command points", essentially a spy cap and call it a "Spy Network" We could start off with a low initial number, say 10. Each Agent Training Facility increases that number by 1, but Agent Training Facilities are not the main way of increasing one's Spy Network cap. They are primarily for the creation of spies which should be a lot more difficult to produce then current 1.1.4 spies and cost about 5 network points each.

Now the issue is wouldn't that support large expansive empires in spying? Because it is so difficult to build a spy? Here is the solution. Spies will then travel to planets and they can then perform actions "sabotage, steal tech, etc" OR, they can passively develop a spy network. Spies will become much more rare, but much more useful. A spy network will essentially act as a hidden building on that planet which then increases your spy network points by 5 points. You can then use those points to build another spy on one of your own planets, OR You can BUILD an "informant" on the enemy planet for one point on the enemy planet and select an enemy population point to "convert". The spied on player has no clue that one of his population is now and informant, but he still has the ability to move/re-assign the point as he sees fit like any citizen of his empire. If the population point is on construction, that point passively aids in the success percentage of a spy fulfilling a mission AND also wastes a portion of his production. If it is on research, same thing. IF the informant is on food, then a portion of the food goes to waste (giving a third and even a side-effect 4th financial way to hurt an enemy empire.) A Spy could also perform a mission to sell stolen food. This way, a spy then can utilize informants on a planet to aid in his mission, but it requires development. (Contact rating could also come into play here increasing success, the further from home he is, the harder to accomplish the mission.)

This can work defensively as well, you can build informants out of your agent training facilities, but these defensive informants come from your own planetary production, unlike informants on enemy planets. Both defensive and offensive informants can potentially show enemy informants defensive and offensive informants, allowing a player to perform a counter-espionage mission with a spy or protect his network from a counter espionage mission. If a counter espionage mission is successful, any revealed informants are then turned into normal citizens. If an enemy spy is on the planet as well, he could potentially be caught. IF a player suspects he is about to be "countered" though, he can have his spy perform a "protect network" mission which has the risk of failing and being caught if done when there is no counter-espionage mission, but if predicted correctly, gives off the impression that the counter-espionage mission was successful, while it really was not, once again hiding all of the enemy informants.

To summarize

To counter spy spam, add a "spy network" cap, and make actual spies more useful by turning it into a unit that moves around the map.

To increase the chances of spying, one builds a spy network on enemy planets, which then produce "passive" informants. These informants increase a spies chance of success as well as raises the spy network cap. This makes larger empires to spy on, and smaller ones more difficult. Informants are recruited from the planet's base population.

Spies now perform missions based off of the number and type of informants they have. They actively choose to perform a mission rather then having it happen passively. Passive effects come from informants. They can also perform counter-espionage missions in attempts to catch an enemy spy. Enemy spies should generally be very difficult to capture. Informants are much easier to "reset"

I think I am going to make a new thread for this as well.
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06-03-2012, 11:49 AM
Post: #49
RE: Balancing Spies
Love the game. I haven't played nearly enough to comment on this matter intelligently. That being said, I'm going to try to comment on this matter intelligently. I'll just make a few general comments from a new player.

1) The game is Starbase Orion, not spy vs spy. Spies arn't THAT much fun in general
2) just the thought of having to spam defensive spies is ehhh... Not so fun
3) I don't think Rocco intended when he set up the percentage spy metrics to have 1200 spies getting 100 percent against 1100 defensive spies...

Other general comments
Stealing tech - that's kind of fun. Sounds like something spies should be doing
Maybe something like if you have a tech that I'm researching, my spies add to my research points (because they are copying your homework).

Stealing money? Ehhh sounds a little far fetched. In WWii were we stealing Japanese yen and German marks to any great effect? Besides, what good would Your races money be on my planet? Is there some kind of galactic central bank? Would advanced races even use money in its current form? I loaded up a freighter and shipped it to my homeworld?


Sabotage - I think covert operatives (vice overt operatives) would be sabotaging research more than buildings and ships. Maybe blowing a Starbase to kingdom come would be fun just before an attack.

Defensive spies primary mission in life should be outing offensive spies. Killing your pesky spies spying on ME? Now that is fun.

Spies should do fun things like well spying. I want my spies to tell me exactly what your planet has on it, exactly what your building, and how you have your population dispersed for production/research. A successful spying event could be I get to see a star system or two and get a snapshot of your world. Also could apply to ship designer. A successful spy event and I get to see your current ship designs etc.

My spies should (eventually) tell me what you've researched, how many credits you have, how many spies you have etc. useful intel to which I can build a strategy. Not blowing up ships, stealing money, bombing buildings.. That's a little too overt.

Spies should be part of an overall strategy but it's still Starbase Orion - I want to laser 3 you to death and invade your worlds. "I want sharks with friggin laser beams"
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06-03-2012, 02:36 PM
Post: #50
RE: Balancing Spies
(06-03-2012 11:49 AM)BogusRogus Wrote:  Love the game. I haven't played nearly enough to comment on this matter intelligently. That being said, I'm going to try to comment on this matter intelligently. I'll just make a few general comments from a new player.

1) The game is Starbase Orion, not spy vs spy. Spies arn't THAT much fun in general
2) just the thought of having to spam defensive spies is ehhh... Not so fun
3) I don't think Rocco intended when he set up the percentage spy metrics to have 1200 spies getting 100 percent against 1100 defensive spies...

Other general comments
Stealing tech - that's kind of fun. Sounds like something spies should be doing
Maybe something like if you have a tech that I'm researching, my spies add to my research points (because they are copying your homework).

Stealing money? Ehhh sounds a little far fetched. In WWii were we stealing Japanese yen and German marks to any great effect? Besides, what good would Your races money be on my planet? Is there some kind of galactic central bank? Would advanced races even use money in its current form? I loaded up a freighter and shipped it to my homeworld?


Sabotage - I think covert operatives (vice overt operatives) would be sabotaging research more than buildings and ships. Maybe blowing a Starbase to kingdom come would be fun just before an attack.

Defensive spies primary mission in life should be outing offensive spies. Killing your pesky spies spying on ME? Now that is fun.

Spies should do fun things like well spying. I want my spies to tell me exactly what your planet has on it, exactly what your building, and how you have your population dispersed for production/research. A successful spying event could be I get to see a star system or two and get a snapshot of your world. Also could apply to ship designer. A successful spy event and I get to see your current ship designs etc.

My spies should (eventually) tell me what you've researched, how many credits you have, how many spies you have etc. useful intel to which I can build a strategy. Not blowing up ships, stealing money, bombing buildings.. That's a little too overt.

Spies should be part of an overall strategy but it's still Starbase Orion - I want to laser 3 you to death and invade your worlds. "I want sharks with friggin laser beams"

I like some of the ideas above, namely being able to see enemy tech, worlds, and ship designs.

Instead of doing away with some aspects of spying I would rather see targetable spying. For instance, target all starbase 3s for sabotage, or all mammoths, or all "Yamamoto" class ships, etc.

Writer and all around crazy person.
GC ID: falanor4421 *** Sandbox : falanor4421 (I think...) ***
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