Allies GPS usage change

Discussion about the game and its default mods.

Does GPS needs tweaking?

Yes, GPS is an OP feature
18
56%
No, GPS is quite balanced as it is
13
41%
Yes, GPS needs buff
1
3%
 
Total votes: 32

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netnazgul
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Allies GPS usage change

Post by netnazgul » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:39 pm

There are a lot of voices saying GPS is an OP-feature of allies that changes the game after it's online, and Soviets only have limited counter-measures of skillfully using IC to try and dismantle that.

I propose discussion on this balance here. Some radical/small tweaks for a start:
  1. Reset GPS timer when both TC and Dome are destroyed (maybe it's already there, can't remember; should be if it's not)
  2. Reset GPS timer when TC is destroyed
  3. Make GPS satellite a support power toggle instead of a passive ability. I.e. when it's charged you enable it, see all enemy units for X seconds, then it's recharged for Y seconds (time can be close to the same as for IC).
  4. Spy planes scout modification (reveal all the area where spy plane flew, not just a circle radius)
  5. Upgraded spy planes when TC is present
  6. Remove infantry and aircraft icons from GPS vision (will be tested by Smitty's yaml maps)
  7. Remove GPS FoW-autotargeting (will be introduced in bleed after release)
  8. Make GPS confined to a certain radius around TC instead of whole map. Multiple TCs possible
  9. Make GPS confined to a certain radius, always moving around the map (as the real geo-orbit satellites do)
  10. Make GPS confined to a certain radius, its center could be repositioned via support power
  11. Blind GPS icons with radar jammers
  12. Remove GPS whatsoever
Last edited by netnazgul on Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

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FRenzy
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Post by FRenzy » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:43 pm

(Just food for thought)
3. is interesting, however do you intend on making the enemy know when GPS is activated ? (maybe with the top left timer being reset every time, like the Abomb)

As a comparison, when Soviets use a Spy Plane, the enemy can know by seeing it passing through the map, and even guessing where it spied. Same for Badgers that can be seen.

If GPS isn't "announced", then the enemy will have to guess if the Allied player currently has vision or not.

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Lorrydriver
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Post by Lorrydriver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:34 pm

GPS Sat is by far the most imbalanced thing in the game right now. The nuke countdown doesn't even come close to putting as much pressure onto you as the GPS Sat does, which is somewhat sad. I think making it easier to delay it shouldn't be the goal since that just forces stupid/hasty moves out of your opponent, but instead nerf the GPS itself so option 3 seems like a very good idea IMO.

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AoAGeneral1
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Post by AoAGeneral1 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:53 pm

The TC isn't build as often though. Many games its rare to reach a high tech level due to how the nature and expected meta have become. This is only possible if the game goes on much longer then its expected.

For the balance issue that sounds like a possible Soviet issue then allies GPS system being to OP. Has there been considerations to allow spy planes to scout through where they travel? (Much like how spy planes work in RA2.).

There is also the gap generator which blocks the GPS detections although as mentioned this could be a Soviet problem since only allies have this tool.

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Smitty
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Post by Smitty » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:54 pm

I was just about to start a thread on this. I'll just cut paste what I had written and then elaborate.

___

Howdy folks,

With the next release looming it’s time to think about after release balance playtesting. One of the key issues I’m going to be looking at this time around is GPS. Due to the nature of the problem, this merits its own thread.

GPS is the most glaring balance issue remaining between factions. Not only does it give allies an incredible advantage when active, it slows the game down to a crawl. We call it map hacks for a reason. When you can see the position of every unit your opponent has, you can react to any attack long before they commit to it. This turns games into protracted artillery duels.

Allied vs Soviet games with GPS typically force the Soviet player to turtle in between each Iron Curtain cooldown. With IC they must attack and hope to do more damage than the allied player did in the last two minutes. Allies vs Allies is much worse, with each player slowly positioning and re-positioning units to prevent any attack. The game ends when one player’s artillery finally bleeds the other dry.

The proposal I have made before is to remove infantry and aircraft from GPS vision, as well as remove the ability of units to auto-target gps-dots under the fog of war. I only know how to make my first idea work, which is why gpsdot will be removed from infantry and aircraft in my playtest with no other changes to GPS.
___

Was going to write more and post but you beat me to the punch :x

One of the key things to look at here is technical feasibility. The main reason I am testing removing the dots is because it is one of the few changes to GPS I know how to make. If anyone knows another .yaml changes that can be done, let me know.

Anyhow, the main reason I'm leaving vehicles is for synergy with the chronosphere. That said knowing vehicle locations is a big deal so we may be taking that out after some testing.

I'll be dropping some playtest maps after release. I fully intend to make a balance pr out of this, so if you have an opinion on RA balance, you'll want to take part and give feedback.
"Do not trust the balance tzars (Smitty, Orb). They are making the changes either for the wrong reasons, for no reason at all, or just because they can and it makes them feel good." - Alex Jones

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netnazgul
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Post by netnazgul » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:14 pm

Another idea which was around in various comments is to make GPS confined to a certain radius around TC. Something like 25-30c? Still far away, but doesn't cover the whole map. Multiple TCs could stack.
FRenzy wrote: (Just food for thought)
3. is interesting, however do you intend on making the enemy know when GPS is activated ? (maybe with the top left timer being reset every time, like the Abomb)

As a comparison, when Soviets use a Spy Plane, the enemy can know by seeing it passing through the map, and even guessing where it spied. Same for Badgers that can be seen.

If GPS isn't "announced", then the enemy will have to guess if the Allied player currently has vision or not.
This can be done by satellite animation and/or some satellite launch sound (well, "satellite launched" announcement could be done for both players). Satellite animation can even be made seen under fow, although that would reveal the TC position, dunno whether it's good or bad.

I like the spy planes scout through thing too.

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Materianer
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Post by Materianer » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:38 pm

GPS is good as it is, if you try to change it you change the whole balance between allies and soviet.
You can destroy the TC with a single heli or yak ( yes it is possible with a single yak hehe i did this one time ).

Instead of nerfing the GPS i would prefer makeing the soviet support powers come earlier like soscared tryed in his playtest once. http://www.sleipnirstuff.com/forum/view ... 83&t=20017

Support Powers

Paradrops - Chargetime: 5 min, down from 6 min.

Parabombs - Chargetime: 5 min, down from 6 min.

Spy Plane - Chargetime: 2 min 30sec, down from 3 min.


I would like to see that the support powers recharge time gets shorter for each airfield you build like it was in original RA.
But maybe exclude Parabombs from this ...

noobmapmaker
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Post by noobmapmaker » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:15 pm

Also note that the gps became more "easy to read". I think 2 releases ago everything got little icons (house/dot/vehicle).

I favour the large radius GPS. Gives incentive to build a forward Tech Center (riskyyyy) and incentive to build multiple TC's (costlyyy).

Also idea: slowly increasing radius. At first the radius is shit, but overtime it grows bigger.
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spetsnaz84
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Post by spetsnaz84 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:32 pm

Another idea: keep GPS but give it a limited yet large radius. As GPS - satellites or spy satellites do not have fixed position over the earth's surface I would let this 'GPS area' slowly move (outside of the player's control).
Last edited by spetsnaz84 on Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sleipnir
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Post by Sleipnir » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:36 pm

Smitty wrote: as well as remove the ability of units to auto-target gps-dots under the fog of war.
This would be very welcome from a code maintenance and quality perspective. The current behavior relies on a nasty low-level hack in the core engine code that I would love to be able to delete.
Materianer wrote: Instead of nerfing the GPS i would prefer makeing the soviet support powers come earlier like soscared tryed in his playtest once. http://www.sleipnirstuff.com/forum/view ... 83&t=20017

Support Powers

Paradrops - Chargetime: 5 min, down from 6 min.

Parabombs - Chargetime: 5 min, down from 6 min.

Spy Plane - Chargetime: 2 min 30sec, down from 3 min.
These are already happening, as everyone should be aware from the playtests for the next release.

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Smitty
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Post by Smitty » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:06 am

Sleipnir wrote:
Smitty wrote: as well as remove the ability of units to auto-target gps-dots under the fog of war.
This would be very welcome from a code maintenance and quality perspective. The current behavior relies on a nasty low-level hack in the core engine code that I would love to be able to delete.
That would be amazing. I made a ticket and will start drumming up support.
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WhoCares
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Post by WhoCares » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:21 am

Agreed to remove the auto targeting. But instead the player should be able so focus fire the icons, force fire seem a bit odd when you "see" the target, can the "target" cursor appears when your mous is over an icon as it would be on a visible unit ?

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Smitty
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Post by Smitty » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:00 am

WhoCares wrote: Agreed to remove the auto targeting. But instead the player should be able so focus fire the icons, force fire seem a bit odd when you "see" the target, can the "target" cursor appears when your mous is over an icon as it would be on a visible unit ?
There's a ticket for this one as well.

https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/issues/13078

Looks like I've been banging this drum since at least April. :lol:
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Sleipnir
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Post by Sleipnir » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:45 am

WhoCares wrote: Agreed to remove the auto targeting. But instead the player should be able so focus fire the icons, force fire seem a bit odd when you "see" the target, can the "target" cursor appears when your mous is over an icon as it would be on a visible unit ?
This would take a significant amount of work to implement, and would require somebody to contribute a PR.

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WhoCares
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Post by WhoCares » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:57 pm

other thought,

radar jammer : his large radius allows it to shut down a dome in range but to do it in game is very hard and sometime even impossible to sneaky reach the range of the dome and disrupt it.

In early and middle game it has poor incidence but it is a powerfull counter vs gps as shutting down the radar disable gps. But due to the difficulty getting it in range of the dome and due that actually nobody knows that effect, the jammer is only use as rocket deflector when it's even used at all.

My suggestion is : make his large radius a "radar blinder" means : the radar can't display or trigger anything that is covered by the jammer.

examle :

1) I have line of sight inside the ennemy jammer area : my minimap doesn't display what i see inside that zone (small and not bery interesting effect but to follow the all logic)
2)I do a sneaky attack with a jammer, the minimap of my opponenet does not trigger the alarm of something happening and i can have a better surprise effect
3) When GPS is up, jammer actually blinds the gps in his area of effect.

(complementary thought, allowing gps throught the shroud as the jammer would do that job to "mask it")

edit : I'm sorry that our ideas only bring you more unexpected work, but at least it's a valid point to make us understand that's no gonna happen soon.

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