Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

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Twinge
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Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby Twinge » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:28 pm

I was curious if anyone out there has heavily tested the enemy level-up system and has a good grasp of how it works. The basics are obvious enough (enemy ship stats range from the minimum to the maximum, with everything getting more on average in later sectors including hull, and leveling up going slower on Easy) but the specifics are more complicated.

Specifically what I'm currently aiming to do is to make boarding less overpowered in my Balance Mod by making some enemy ships more likely to have upgraded doors. There's a couple ways to do this so I'm trying ti figure out the best combination of methods. I'd like to know if, for example, changing "<doors power="1" max="3" room="1" start="false"/>" to "<doors power="1" max="3" room="1"/>" actually make a difference for how many Doors 2 and Doors 3 ships you encounter.

Any information on the subject would be appreciated =)
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mr silencer
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Re: Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby mr silencer » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:11 am

well the leveling system is that the enemies get harder as you go.boarding is not overpowered in my opinion becuase your risking your own troops on their ship, its a risk factor so it evens it out in my opinion.
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kartoFlane
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Re: Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby kartoFlane » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:57 am

The start="false" attribute for enemies means that the ship will sometimes have that system, and sometimes not. I'm not sure whether it scales with difficulty, but from what I've seen so far, I'd guess it's random.
Removing this attribute from a system declaration (or changing its value to true) will make it always appear on that ship.

Other than that, I don't know much more about the difficulty system, it doesn't seem like there's much more to it...
I had a theory that the <bp> tag is actually an internal "price" for the difficulty system, making high-bp things less likely to appear on enemy ships early on, but that's just a completely unbased idea I haven't even tested.

Boarding is overpowered, there's no risk to it if you know what you're doing, and there are very few rules of thumb that will prevent a disaster. Don't try boarding auto-ships without teleporter 2. Don't board ships that have mostly mantis crew if your boarding party isn't composed of mantis or rocks. If enemy ship has medbay, either destroy it before/during boarding, or fight as far from the medbay as possible and chase the injured crewmembers.
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Sleeper Service
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Re: Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby Sleeper Service » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:43 am

kartoFlane wrote:I had a theory that the <bp> tag is actually an internal "price" for the difficulty system, making high-bp things less likely to appear on enemy ships early on, but that's just a completely unbased idea I haven't even tested.


I always imagine the system like this (pure speculation):
-Enemies buy systems and weapons just like the player does when they are spawned. Their funds increase with each sector.
-Enemy system upgrading is completely random
-Some limitations might be in place: can't buy shields level 2 in first sector? Generally can't buy more than one more system bar for each new sector? Cause I had enemies with 3 starting shields have 4 shield bars by sector 2
-Systems that aren't available from start have to be bought as well. Randomization can prevent enemies from buying them even in later sectors, although I feel it's more likely for them to have the non start systems in late game
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Re: Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby Twinge » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:25 am

What I'm specifically wondering about is if a ship that starts with Doors 1 is more likely to get a Doors 2 upgrade than a ship that starts with Doors 0. I'm guessing yes, but I could see it being either way.


As for the meaning of <bp> - my theory is that this was an unfinished feature for custom player ships creation. It'd be easy to test the theory that it affects AI builds though - just tweak the numbers heavily and see the results. I suspect that the AI uses rarity for determining specific loadout after power distribution has been decided, but I could see bp too so it is something to test.
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Re: Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby Twinge » Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:15 pm

Tested:

<bp> and <cost> both seem to have no effect on how likely something is to appear on an enemy ship. Most likely it's a straight-up random pull from the weapon list. Lower power weapons will be more common because they'll fill leftover slots.

Starting with Doors does vastly increase the rate of Doors 2 on enemy ships compared to not starting with Doors.
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Re: Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby speedoflight » Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:11 pm

I think is all random. If you have an enemy ship that is configured to appear in sectors 1-3 and you have weapons min="3" max="6" , the enemy ship will use weapons power 3 in sector 1, level 4 in sector 2 and level 5/6 in sector 3 and something like that. I mean thats the way i always thought it worked. Thats the reason when i mod any enemy ship i just make a ship per sector xD, so every blueprint have only min and max value, (the same). Besides i like to have every ship with its own hp points per sector, and u cant do that if you use the regular enemy leveling system..
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Re: Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby UltraMantis » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:31 pm

Justin or Matthew ruled out any kind of "scaling" enemy power to player's upgrades. They said they hate the practise. Almost all of the enemies are loosely defined in XML, with reactor power acting as a cap on what kind of loadout they will have.

On both difficulty modes enemies are weaker in sectors 1-3. All enemies are randomly equipped according to their power allowance and system loadout. As you progress through the game, the enemies will have higher caps and thus deadlier weapons.
Have a basic definition, weapons or drones will be randomly pulled from lists of what is available to each ship. Mantis are more likely to have teleports, so have less power leftover for weapons. Riggers typically have drones, or a lot of drones. Stuff like that.

This stuff is in autoBlueprints.xml and most of it is straightforward. The power caps are probably handled internally by the engine. Ditto for differences between difficulty levels (such as Zoltan not having the supershield before sector 3, etc.).

Rarity has no bearing on enemies at all, it is used in stores. Higher rarity means stores are less likely to sell the item, and rarity 0 means the item is unavailable for sale (NO idea if it can be given by events, or how that is controlled). Only min and max seem to be of any use when tweaking autoBluebrints.xml.

Lastly, seeing doors level 99 would not stop me from boarding it, IF i had a quick enough teleporter. Raising system and upgrade costs may be the best way of balancing boarding. Even then, it would have to be extremly expensive not to be considered an ideal choice. A higher likelihood of an upgraded medbay (and to a certain extent, presence of repair drones that can repair even as they are meleed to pieces) AND security drones, coupled with decent offense are the ways to make me think twice.
The only cases in which i wish to attack two rooms are when the enemy has both high shields and high evasion, so i need to clobber the shield from within. Of course i also must keep the MedBay from being repaired, so upgraded doors would be an obstacle.

This now has nothing to do with balancing vanilla, but when designing custom ships, i pay attention to floorplan layout, starting crew and various system or upgrade costs as a means to balance boarding. So if the player has many needs early on, teleporting is not going to be such an attractive or practical option.
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Re: Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby Kieve » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:37 pm

Twinge wrote:Tested:

<bp> and <cost> both seem to have no effect on how likely something is to appear on an enemy ship. Most likely it's a straight-up random pull from the weapon list. Lower power weapons will be more common because they'll fill leftover slots.

Starting with Doors does vastly increase the rate of Doors 2 on enemy ships compared to not starting with Doors.


With regard to <BP>, this was actually something Justin verified as being leftover from earlier coding work - I want to say some kind of ship customizer - and was eventually scrapped. It has no effect on any game function, and is likely not even read by the code.
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Re: Anyone have a good understanding of enemy leveling?

Postby 5thHorseman » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:09 pm

UltraMantis wrote:This stuff is in autoBlueprints.xml and most of it is straightforward. The power caps are probably handled internally by the engine. Ditto for differences between difficulty levels (such as Zoltan not having the supershield before sector 3, etc.).


EDIT:
Scratch what I say below. I misread what you said and applied your "ditto" to the first sentence, not the second :)

Are you sure about this part? I was thinking of making a "hard mode" mod which was about as much harder than normal as normal is from Easy, and I poked around in all the XMLs and came to the conclusion that the Easy Mode changes were hardcoded, because I couldn't find anything in the XMLs that stated anything about it, including Zoltan shields:

Code: Select all

  <shipBlueprint name="ZOLTAN_FIGHTER" layout="energy_fighter" img="energy_fighter">
...
   <health amount="7"/>
   <aug name="ENERGY_SHIELD"/>
   <maxPower amount ="12"/>
   <crewCount amount = "2" max="3" class="energy"/>
   <boardingAI>sabotage</boardingAI>
</shipBlueprint>
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