[Discussion] On balance and balancing

Hi all,

I’m looking for opinions and advice on how to get a mod balanced to the point where playing it is enjoyable. For Continuum we set up a spreadsheet to calculate our values (cost, speed, turn, etc) based on the ship size and armourment. This has resulted in what we have now, playable but… yeah not what you’d really call balanced.

How has everyone else gotten their mods more enjoyable?

balanced ≠ enjoyable

Still, we see balancing as a very important aspect, and I’m glad to see that you are thinking the same.

Some tips based on my opinion:

  1. What makes a unit strong (Frigate class and higher):

Weapon Range > Fire Power >Armour>Speed etc.

  1. Tech tree and timing are also important, if one faction can build frigates at 5 min with 5000RU input, and another at 8 min with 8000 RU input, that’s not balanced at all.

  2. For every tactic, make sure you have a contermeasure for every faction, this is very difficult, it requires many tests from experienced players.

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In my opinion RTS balance is,kind of hell to design and refine. I can’t say I’ve a perfect handle on it, but it’s a topic worth discussing either way.

That said, HW_Lover has the right of it in that balance and enjoyability aren’t interchangeable. I’d be curious to know how you would describe the issue with Continuum at present. Is one faction or type of ship excessively dominant, or is there some other issue?

In my eyes the mathematical approach that you’ve taken with the spreadsheet is fine for creating a good starting point, but the actual dynamics of play demand a willingness to deviate from that baseline, both to refine the balance and to make sure ships are distinctive. Each unit should be cool and useful in it’s own special way.

Making it better generally just demands time be poured into playing, testing, tweaking, and repeating. I’ve done this with scripted fights between forces and manual play both, and both have merits.

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That’s true… and I’ll need a lot of time play testing to establish that an average player gets the same level ships at the same time :thinking:

Experienced players, and play testers in general, is something we seem to lack :expressionless:
I’m notorious for almost never playing anything, just tinkering…

Again… time spent actually playing all the combinations… anyone want a game? :smiley:

I think we have the balance in Goliath set up pretty well, but it seriously took forever, and that was only with 4 races:

First you have to make sure that no unit or upgrade is too OP, and that EVERYTHING can be countered.

Then I would set up an 8 player map with 3 CPU players per side with 2 sides. Make sure they’re mirrored and have the same access to resources, put yourself on one of the sides so that side will be yellow and so the game will be easier to watch, leave one slot open so that it’s even, then kill yourself as soon as the game starts and watch them go at it! It’s actually pretty fun. :smiley:

I seriously don’t even know how many times I’ve done this, 200 maybe? =D

If they’re balanced pretty well, a game like that can go for an hour and a half easy.

You can also catch the ships or AI doing anything weird which can really throw things off. For instance, the Kushan were totally butch because, as the game was originally set up, enemy cap ships would shoot at the drones instead of the drone frigate itself. It doesn’t sound like much, but a couple of shots from a battlecruiser being wasted makes a huge difference.

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I did exactly that many times actually, mostly highlighting issues with the AI, things that it didn’t build etc

I think play testing is the way to go… oh time… where for art thou? :expressionless: