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Topics - Admiral T-Wayne

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I'm stuck just in Uni1, don't have additional time to play elsewhere.  But, I was surprised to see the very few threads for this uni.  How many folks are in Eradeon 3?

Feature Suggestions / A new research project -- Force Fields Tech
« on: November 05, 2015, 06:12:08 AM »
Or some such.  The thought is that some advanced energy-field technology increases the efficiency of storage units.

Name:  Force Fields Tech

Force Fields Tech enables you to increase the incremental improvement in capacity that is provided by building an additional level of a Warehouse or a Hydrogen Storage Unit.

Each additional level of Force Fields Tech increases the capacity multiplier for a new level of storage unit by 0.04, up to a maximum multiplier of 2.0.

Each level of Force Fields Tech increases the build time for a storage unit by 4%.

Force Fields Tech research does not effect storage units that are less than Level 31 (or, BFG, choose a higher value, but please not greater than Level 40).

The effect of Force Fields Tech research is not retroactive.  For example, if a player has a Level 35 Hydrogen Storage unit and gains Force Fields 1, the capacity of the current Hydrogen Storage unit is not increased upon achieving that research result. The improvement (a capacity multiplier of 1.64, rather than 1.6) first occurs for the upgrade to Level 36.  Similarly, if a player has a Level 40 Ore Warehouse and performs Level 1 through Level 3 Force Fields Tech research, the capacity multiplier for his Level 41 Ore Warehouse will be 1.72.


SFCO experience indicates that larger players face a serious issue:  the cost of hydro significantly impairs their ability to continue to play the game.  This effect seems to begin once the player gets to Level 35 to Level 40 hydro storage units.  Players get caught having to choose between (or bounce back and forth between) two unsustainable strategies: 

(1) A strategy put in place to maintain a near-constant cost of hydro results in the player spending an increasing amount of time building hydro storage units.  With this strategy, the player needs to increase the level of hydro storage each time their fleet grows by a factor of around 1.6.  However, because the resources needed to build the next hydro storage unit increase by a factor of 2.0, that 1.6x-larger fleet takes longer to gather the necessary resources than was the case for the previous hydro storage upgrade.  As a series of upgrades proceeds, the player discovers that they are devoting essentially all their time collecting res for their next hydro storage upgrade, and where is the fun in that?  Players leave because they discover they are little more than hamsters running on an HS-building hamster wheel.

(2) A strategy put in place to maintain a near-constant build time for hydro storage units results in the player spending an increasing amount of credits on hydro conversions.  With this strategy, the player will more-or-less double the size of their fleet before building the next level of hydro storage unit (this 2x fleet will collect the 2x res from about the same number of NPC hits as was needed to build the previous HS level).  However, the cost of the hydro needed to move that doubled fleet once the new upgrade is finished is greater than was the cost of the hydro needed to move the fleet that existed once the previous upgrade was finished.  The fleet has doubled in size, while the number of conversions needed to fuel the fleet has increased by 2/1.6 = 1.25.  After a series of 4 upgrades, the player discovers that he is paying more than 2x as much for hydro as was the case less than, say, 4 months ago.  What the heck????

The Force Fields Tech research project addresses this issue.  It enables larger players to maintain more-or-less constant build times for HS upgrades, at more-or-less-constant hydro costs (assuming Force Fields Tech level of 10).  However, because this project is ineffective before storage unit level 30 (or 40, or whatever level BFG might decide to begin the benefit), the player reaches some consequential level of credits expenditure before they are able to level off their hydro consumption.  This is a win-win for both players and BFG:  the cost of play becomes more-or-less capped, thus fewer players are forced out of the game due to economics, while BFG remains able to derive a reasonable income from hydro merchanting.

I recommend that this research project be introduced into all unis in which players can gain DFs from NPCs.  This would help reduce player erosion due to cost of play and it would help BFG maintain their current merchanting revenue levels.

Conquest Universe / How do you guys manage your hydro costs?
« on: September 03, 2015, 04:35:56 AM »
Hi, guys, I'm a large player over in Original, seeking advice with respect to how you folks manage to afford to keeping playing this game.  I understand that you have incredibly large fleets (I was going to say quintillions of ships, but I don't have a handle on your exact cap level).  So, I imagine you consume mind-boggling amounts of fuel, particularly to run the hydro-hog Dios on NPC scoop missions.  What levels of hydro storage units are common among the very top tier of Conquest players?  Besides merchanting in larger and larger units, are there other things you do to manage your hydro costs?

This is a question to BFG (Matt or others)

I know that you fellows have done a decent job in the past of implementing user suggestions into existing unis.  But, it's no secret that you are short of development staff, and it's obvious that the rate of change of existing universes has slowed significantly.  Is there any benefit to our providing you feature suggestions, other than giving you ideas for upcoming universes?  Honestly -- can we expect to see any of our more current ideas introduced into current universes?  If so, what do we need to do to get an idea high enough on the priority list to get implemented?

This change would mainly impact longer-term players who have, for all intents and purposes, reached the end of their ability to perform research, due to the amount of time needed to complete their current tier of research projects.

Example:  I have an effective research lab level of 306 (in SFCO).  I get to the 75% acceleration ceiling by purchasing a Scientist and stuffing 13 Basic Androids into a Level 36 lab.  I'm looking at the following research times:

Armor 23, 3415 hours
Weapons 22 and Shield 22, 3073 hours
Warp 18, 3202 hours.

Now, to get to 90% would require a 65% boost from Androids, or 17 Androids -> a Level 48 research lab.    Getting to that would not be a trivial undertaking!  But, it is a worthy goal, and the goal provides something else to strive for.  Getting there would help reduce the "next tier" of research projects to time periods about equal to what I show above.  That tier then becomes the end, but it at least keeps me in the research game for the next two years.

Original Universe / News from lazoputz
« on: March 05, 2015, 04:32:13 AM »
I posted a bit to laz's Facebook page, and he replied with the following:

 ...have been in rehab now for 3 weeks, about 2 more to go. I have a new leg, but unfortunately, 2 years sitting in my chair has not been good for my legs as you can imagine. I should be fairly mobile by the time I get out of here, using a walker to begin with, but I plan on continuing my exercise program until I can at least get around the house with my cane, which may take a long time since the therapists here say its cant happen. Of course, when I got here they didn't think I would be able to walk at all.

laz had one artificial leg before, it appears that he now has two -- which is something he has been wishing for for at least 1.5 years.  With two artificial legs, there is a chance that he can be semi-mobile -- not confined to a wheelchair.

Trading Post / Will trade my ore for your crystal
« on: December 13, 2014, 06:08:40 PM »
My current NPC spawns are leaving me with a tremendous glut of ore -- literally trillions of units of excess ore per target, after the res is rendered down into Zeus and other things.

So -- I'm currently in an on-going position where I can trade essentially unlimited ore for your crystal, at standard merchanting rates.

My merchanting points will be G7:384 and G15:225.

Greetings, Matt and other BFGers,

I have a simple question:  Is the lifespan of an NPC set to be an integer number of hours, or can the lifespan be a non-integer value, like 14.35 hours?

Currently, only the two top players in SFCO -- llaubacher and Bruce Mays -- spawn what you might call "high-fodder" jumbo-sized NPCs.  I also refer to these as "bunnies", because if you have a big enough fleet of battleships, you can hit these targets, take just about zero losses, and come away with obscene (for SFCO) quantities of DSPs and res.  So, these things appear to be the "replacement" for the very large 0-tech targets that were removed some time ago.

Here's the question for BFG.  What in the game makes it so that only these two top players currently spawn targets with these configurations?  What should those of us who aspire to be king of the hill do, so that we can trigger the generation of these?  The reason I ask is this:  the bunny-targets are so incredibly lucrative, that having only the top two players spawning these more-or-less institutionalizes their positions on the leaderboard.  I realize that BFG doesn't wish to do this.  So, what can we next-in-line players do to "crack the code", so to speak, and generate some bunnies, ourselves?

BTW, here is a sample bunny.  This one spawned off Big Bruce.  I imagine that llaubacher's targets are about twice this size, given that he has about 2x the RSPs of Bruce.

Encounter Abandoned Colossus Platform [xx:xxx:xxe] has:
* ore: 52,087,313 
* crystal: 446,968,633 
* hydrogen: 318,170,231 
Total plunder: 408,613,088 (3269 carm / 16345 herc / 81723 atlas)
DSP: 778,144,272.5 (23420444 Dios / 93681774 Zags)

* Artemis Class Fighter: 232,408,829
* Atlas Class Cargo: 8,579
* Apollo Class Fighter: 11,322,927
* Zagreus Class Recycler: 432,763
* Hercules Class Cargo: 35,141,367
* Dionysus Class Recycler: 2
* Athena Class Battleship: 1,826,159
* Hades Class Battleship: 10,290

* Missile Battery: 521,574,903
* Laser Cannon: 92,508,006
* Particle Cannon: 5,477
* Decoy: 1
* Gauss Cannon: 275,185

* Armor Tech: 20
* Weapons Tech: 20
* Shield Tech: 20

At least for the type of high-end Colonies and such that I go for, I'd have to say that the current formulation is spot-on.  The self-spawned and larger-than-those targets provide a very nice challenge, taking essentially all of my Proms/Ares fleet to take out a self-spawned in 5 rounds and giving a real "run for the money" when I try to take on the targets of even larger players.  The targets are motivating us to think of alternative ways to deal with them, which is good.

Thanks for the change, BFG.  You guys "done good" with these things!

As many of us know, BFG recently shifted their games to a new server stack and also updated the code base in some undocumented ways.  I think that they are to be applauded for  making efforts to improve their games' underlying infrastructure.

In general SFCO is performing much faster!  The number of systems (900+) that I used to scan in 45 - 60 minutes, I now can scan in 20 - 30 minutes.  This speed-up is greatly appreciated!

However, I think that some additional tuning still needs to be performed.  Here's why.

As I perform various SFCO game operations, the game will periodically freeze for up to 10 - 20 seconds or so, and I get a browser message, "waiting on".  This type of behavior would occur on the previous infrastructure as well, but I didn't see it as frequently, and the "freeze times" weren't as long.

I'm mainly an NPC hunter, so these types of glitches mainly are annoyances to me.  However, I can see how this type of behavior can ruin the day (rather, the SFCO career) for a PvP player, where ninjas, slow probes, recalls, escape from O-Locks, and the like often hinge on being able to time operations to the second.  Having the game freeze up on such a player for 10 - 20 seconds could be the death knell for a fleet that took months to build.

So, my advice to BFG is this:

First, thank you so much for working to make the gaming experience faster and more consistent!

Second:  keep working on making the gaming experience faster and more consistent!  There still are some game issues,. related to game performance, that make PvP more of a crap-shoot than it needs to be.

Update as of March 1

The server performance the past few days seems to be evening out -- I've had only one instance of a 10 - 20-second lag in the past 2.  So, there still appears to be some risk in doing closely-timed activities, but the risk appears to be reducing.

Hi, I just wanted to let the other players and BFG know about something I encountered today, that suggests the mechanism for reporting imminent (within 2 hours) de-spawning of an NPC is defective.

I probed an NPC (SFCO 8:300:13e) at 1414 UTC today, and received no notice on the Espi report of imminent (within 2 hours) de-spawning.  According, I launched an attack force, spending 8.2B hydro, to attack the target (SFCO 8:300:13e) at 1609 UTC.  The target de-spawned before my attack force arrived.

Is behavior such as this expected, or is this to be considered a defect?

Original Universe / Strategies and tactics for taking out large, tough NPCs
« on: February 17, 2014, 05:21:57 AM »
A number of us in SFCO have started a long PM thread regarding approaches for taking out the big NPCs, particularly when the defenses get extra-tough.  One person asked to have a forum thread created, so... here it is!

I'm writing this addendum in early March 2015, more than a year since I started this thread.  You will have to forgive the size of targets that I use in my examples.  They are pitifully small with respect to the targets which are available today.  Nonetheless, I believe that the approaches which are described here still are valid, it is just that the scale at which they are used has grown tremendously.

I write this to offer a solution for addressing some of the variability issues with "ships + defenses" NPCs -- Large Floating Colonies, Colonies, Colossi, Abandoned Leviathans, Large Abandoned Leviathans, and the like.

The "ships + defenses" NPCs in (at least) SFCO are once more at the "very difficult" end of the pendulum swing, with defenses predominating.  As a result, players are (at the minimum) leaving their NPC-hunting fleets in orbit and (very commonly) expressing deep frustration via PM, Alliance message boards, and Skype.

As one Top-10 player in SFCO has expressed it via PM, having some variation in the relative toughness of the targets is a very good thing, because it does add some variety to the game.  The difficulty is when the swing is too large in either direction.  We usually see targets becoming unprofitable ("leave the darned fleet in orbit and go fishing") when the ratio of Maximum Achievable ("MA") DSPs to Missile Batteries (a very simple measure!) falls below about 2.5 - 3.0.  We usually see targets becoming simply too easy when the ratio of MA DSPs to Missile Batteries is above 8 - 10.

I'm proposing this change in the NPC spawning process, to help prevent the creation of either unprofitable targets or targets that are "too easy" -- what I refer to as "sea shells on the seashore".

1.  Have the current spawning algorithm run and create whatever "ships + defenses" NPC composition it will.
2.  Calculate the MA DSPs for the NPC.
3.  Calculate the ratio of MA DSPs to Missile Batteries.
----If this ratio is less than 2.5, adjust the number of all defenses (other than decoys) by applying this multiplier to their number:  (Original Ratio)/2.5.
----If this ratio is greater than 10, adjust the number of all defenses (other than decoys) by applying this multiplier to their number:  (Original Ratio)/10.

This simple change in the creation process will narrow the variability of NPCs toughness and reduce the number of days when fleets either are being left in orbit or when NPCs are no challenge at all.

Addressing the "too tough" issue provides a direct benefit to BFG --  it helps avoid days when fleets are sitting and less merchanting is being performed.  Addressing the "too easy" issue provides more of a benefit to those of us who  want at least nominal challenge in the targets we attack.

Hi, BFG,

I have some questions regarding how NPCs are implemented (well, I'll start with 1 question, but I might have others, later, so I'll say "some" questions for now).  I'll take the answers you provide and add them into the wiki page on NPCs, so that everyone can benefit from whatever you tell us.

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