Tactics for RTS Games and Armada II in Particular -1 reply

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#1 10 years ago

Good Morning! Taking advantage of a rare day off from work to post at a normal hour. I have just done a search and cannot find a thread or tutorial about tactics for A2. There is a walkthrough but it consists mostly of "the first thing you do is build your base and economy." sort of stuff and I was looking for something a little more specific. Something that would be a little more helpful for people who haven't played A2 before or haven't played in a long time. These are some things I have learned over the years in A2 and other RTS games, which BTW is my favourite form of 'Puter game. FPS is fun and any type of flight combat sim is too, But I find the games I play the most over and over are my RTS games. They also avoid being removed from my HDD successfully and are first in line for installation on my new ' puters. My copy of A2 is currently installed on the fourth machine I've purchased since I bought the game way back in 2002. How's that for longevity?

Anyhow, to repeat, there does not seem to be anything available to help out a new player be more successful either in SP or online. That is a shame, because there are still new people playing the game for the first time and I want them to experience the wonder and excitement of A2 as much as I still do after all these years. I still get fired up in the SP campaign when the AI announces that I can now build the Galaxy-class battleship and Martok's exhortations to be true to myself are fun also. Whenever I face a new opponent for the first time online and at the end of the match, I get a "GG! Wanna play again?" is to me the ultimate online compliment.

Here goes. "Rich's Basic Rules concerning A2"

-Fleets only CAPTURE territory. StarBases are required to HOLD territory you capture.

StarBases are the most powerful units you can build. They should be the lynchpin of your operations. The only reason to attack is to secure key territory to build a StarBase. Properly sited and supported, a StarBase can hold off numerous attacks and survive. An enemy StarBase left alone while the enemy has resources will come back to haunt you. Maybe enough to defeat you.

-An eight ship fleet of destroyers built and active RIGHT NOW is a far more effective fleet than a sixteen ship fleet of battleships available 45 seconds from now after that final upgrade.

Far, far too many people plan their strategy and tactics based on what they are going to have in the future and assume the enemy's force mix will remain exactly the same as what he/she has currently. A2 requires a 'come as you are' kind of combat to be successful. Sure, we'd all like to have ten fleets of sixteen battleships and science ships each, but, there will never be enough time or resources to build all that up. Battleships are for the killing blow, not the bulk of the fight.

-Hit 'em where they ain't

Never, ever attack where the enemy expects. Even if you have to go the long way round. There are all kinds of things the enemy must protect to keep his force combat effective, in addition to building enough units to conduct offensive operations against you. He cannot be strong everywhere all the time.

- Two cruise1's versus a mining freighter is a fair fight.

A lot of people build a huge fleet and launch it at the enemy's strongest fleet. This is great fun and the sight of all those phasers and torpedoes and God knows what flying back and forth is a beautiful thing. Sadly, it costs resources and time to build all that up after you and your worthy opponent(s) have smacked the crap out of each other. If I take away his ability to mine resources, the enemy must devote more resources to rebuilding his logistics. This means he has less resources to conduct operations against me. Commerce raiding isn't as emotionally satisfying as announcing "Ramming Speed!" over TeamSpeak after you click on your last fleet of TFCs. It is an excellent way to take an enemy out of the fight because he no longer has the resources to build that huge fleet back after you smash it to bits. Don't believe me? Ask Winston Churchill what was the greatest threat to the British Empire during WWII. Ask the Imperial Japanese Navy during WWII why they ordered their biggest battleship, Yamato, on a one way mission to stop the invasion of Okinawa. Control the resources, control the fight. The Cardassian ships are weak, individually. Against freighters and research stations they are fearsome opponents. No research stations, no science ships. No dilithium, no fleets at all.

-Plan your work. Work your plan.

DO NOT EVER sit down and play against someone without having some sort of idea of how you will accomplish the mission. Develop routines for the beginning, middle, and end of the game. Not habits. Routines are specific ways of doing things the same way every time. Habits are things we do without thinking. Think hard about your game and how you play. Speed is important. Precision more so. If you are just reacting to the enemy, you ain't winning. If you are proceeding according to plan, even when something unexpected happens, you already have some sort of answer in place and are not swanning about picking up the pieces.

Start the game select Instant Action and Hard AI. Hit CTRL-V to remove the fog of War and watch how the AI does things. Don't play, just watch. There is a routine it follows. This is a good place to start from when you play. Do not copy the AI's play slavishly, but use it as a foundation for your own opening moves.

- Boot 'Em, Don't Spatter 'Em!

When you go on the offensive. Bring everything! Hit the enemy with a closed fist, do not poke at him with a single finger. Two full fleets versus a single scout ship is about the right ratio of friendlies to enemies. Tough to do, I know but if you do not have at least a five to one superiority in numbers and quality, your offensive operation will be unsuccessful. You must have at least enough left after the fight to fight the counter attack and win. Guess what? The enemy will always counter attack.

-Don't get fixated on one type of unit.

Face it, we ALL have a favourite ship for various reasons. Either it is one we created/modded or it is one which was the key to a win which was important to us. We all build this ship way too much and we all use it for things it does not do well, because we like it. All the ships in the game have weaknesses. "A balanced armada will not be taken lightly by your enemies."

This is about all I want to post right now. I would like to see other people post their thoughts and techniques here very, very much. I am kinda on a personal mission to improve the play of my worthy opponents. Later on, I intend to post an analysis, with pictures, of a game in the SP Campaign against a Hard AI.




delta_dids

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#2 10 years ago

See I've never actually thought about tactics, it was always "Build armada, destroy enemy" and i usually lost. This is definitely some food for thought and I think it will enhance my enjoyment of the game.




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#3 10 years ago

Broadly speaking I agree with the majority of things there.

I wouldn't build star bases for defense, I certainly wouldn't copy the AI and you just need more firepower than they have to kill your opponent. 5 times what they have would be nice, but I am quite happy with 5% more.




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#4 10 years ago

Well, I always felt A2 was too much about "build a huge fleet, splat em" and that was the reason for me to mod the game to begin with. I feel KA2 is the closest I can get to real starship command without going to Legacy (its tempting, KA style ships in Legacy would be really, really good). I agree strongly on the resource raiding part, so much so that KA2 has a specific class for this task, the Destroyer. (Although, Federation, Gorn and ISC Destroyers are more suitable for fleet actions, as those three powers favour fleets over lone wolf patrols). I find decisive battles are usually costly for both sides, and the only such battles I fight are to take out an enemy starbase, which are even stronger in KA2. Most of the time, I grind down the enemy slowly, hitting his freighters, and blinding him by destroying his scouts. However, the AI struggles against this sort of attack, and alot of my time with KA2 is spent trying to make the AI less fragile to probing attacks. Eliminating the irritating loops, and forcing the AI to assign escorts to its freighters (fittingly, it usually uses frigates, which in KA2 are intended for escort duties, convienient) The only thing I would add is that when in battles, focusing your firepower on a single vessel at a time is often ineffective. It may be more worthwhile to severely damage the majority of your enemy's fleet than to destroy a small portion of it. Human players often husband their ships, and will go to great lengths to recover damaged vessels. By critically damaging his fleet, you will often find a human player will attempt to withdraw the entire fleet and repair his ships, where as if you destroy a few ships and leave the rest virtually unscathed, he will often push forwards regardless of losses. If you really want to hurt a human player, try and destroy a few of his favoured (human players invariably favour a certain class of ship) ships, or even better, try and cripple his heavier ships first. While this takes longer than targetting his screening vessels, an opponent that finds his capital ships rendered to little more than floating hulks will probably underestimate the effectiveness of his fleet (again, most players have a subconsious "bigger is better" mentality). A Battleship may be visually impressive, and for certain tasks is crucial, but crippling a squadron or two of his frigates, destroyers or light cruisers may actually have a greater effect on the destructive power of his fleet. It is also a major morale dent, seeing the pride of your fleet listing helplessly.




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#5 10 years ago

The 5 to 1 ratio is based on a concept called 'combat power'. This includes things like better C3I, more effective systems, and a sound tactical doctrine. It is not just a straight numbers thing. Perhaps I should have explained it better. If you are playing online with someone and you and your teammate are using TeamSpeak and the other team is not, this becomes a positive modifier for the combat power of your team. Your ships don't suddenly do more damage or shoot further, but they are used more effectively because your team mate can SAY "Look out, Freyer! He's going for your planet!" rather than TYPE it. Another example: If both sides are playing Feds and your team is harvesting resources with four freighters per source and the other side is using three freighters per source, you will usually build at a faster rate to replace losses and repair ships than the other team. If you have a regular scan pattern of the map rather than just hopping from point to point is yet another example. A lot of little things just like these can add up into a pretty significant combat multiplier very quickly.




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#6 10 years ago
Squire James;4025936Well, I always felt A2 was too much about "build a huge fleet, splat em" and that was the reason for me to mod the game to begin with. I feel KA2 is the closest I can get to real starship command without going to Legacy (its tempting, KA style ships in Legacy would be really, really good). I agree strongly on the resource raiding part, so much so that KA2 has a specific class for this task, the Destroyer. (Although, Federation, Gorn and ISC Destroyers are more suitable for fleet actions, as those three powers favour fleets over lone wolf patrols). I find decisive battles are usually costly for both sides, and the only such battles I fight are to take out an enemy starbase, which are even stronger in KA2. Most of the time, I grind down the enemy slowly, hitting his freighters, and blinding him by destroying his scouts. However, the AI struggles against this sort of attack, and alot of my time with KA2 is spent trying to make the AI less fragile to probing attacks. Eliminating the irritating loops, and forcing the AI to assign escorts to its freighters (fittingly, it usually uses frigates, which in KA2 are intended for escort duties, convienient) The only thing I would add is that when in battles, focusing your firepower on a single vessel at a time is often ineffective. It may be more worthwhile to severely damage the majority of your enemy's fleet than to destroy a small portion of it. Human players often husband their ships, and will go to great lengths to recover damaged vessels. By critically damaging his fleet, you will often find a human player will attempt to withdraw the entire fleet and repair his ships, where as if you destroy a few ships and leave the rest virtually unscathed, he will often push forwards regardless of losses. If you really want to hurt a human player, try and destroy a few of his favoured (human players invariably favour a certain class of ship) ships, or even better, try and cripple his heavier ships first. While this takes longer than targetting his screening vessels, an opponent that finds his capital ships rendered to little more than floating hulks will probably underestimate the effectiveness of his fleet (again, most players have a subconsious "bigger is better" mentality). A Battleship may be visually impressive, and for certain tasks is crucial, but crippling a squadron or two of his frigates, destroyers or light cruisers may actually have a greater effect on the destructive power of his fleet. It is also a major morale dent, seeing the pride of your fleet listing helplessly.

oh wow, KA2 ought to be great if your putting this sort of effort into it.

If you want a human to test your balancing against I am quite happy to help. :)




Chiletrek

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#7 10 years ago

Hello: As you said, you can use the AI as a fundation, but by also following your advices it may be posible for us player to create our own style of fighting, ot to poolish what we have acomplished so far. To balance the fleets is not as easy as it sounds, but as soon as we get use to it, we should become better players and better prepared for most situations. Thanks for this tactics Thunderfoot, I look forward to see updates :D




TParis

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#8 10 years ago

-Don't get fixated on one type of unit.
Face it, we ALL have a favourite ship for various reasons. Either it is one we created/modded or it is one which was the key to a win which was important to us. We all build this ship way too much and we all use it for things it does not do well, because we like it. [COLOR=Red]All the ships in the game have weaknesses[/COLOR]. "A balanced armada will not be taken lightly by your enemies." This is about all I want to post right now. I would like to see other people post their thoughts and techniques here very, very much. I am kinda on a personal mission to improve the play of my worthy opponents. Later on, I intend to post an analysis, with pictures, of a game in the SP Campaign against a Hard AI.

Ummm well... Example: Federation:

Akira class: sucks Intrepid Class: sucks Saber Class: sucks troop ships: lmao, suck nebula class: suck Aegian class suck

Defiant class: pwn, mostly cuz of mines Galaxy: well, if u need a strong ship ok Sovies: nice with corbomite but very expansive (crew metal) Steamrunners: useful to attack through asteriods and defensive structures, but just on few maps

Really all the other ships are useless. Most of the special weapons are to weak or have a useless effect. Well used Defiants with mines pwn everything. Galaxys have very strong firepower (the desintigration of the hull is totally useless for combats) but most people focus on defiants online because their early avaibility. With the right move with the defiants into the enemies base you can 'target' enemy structures.

If u wish, i can point out all that stuff for the other races...

Anyway AI sucks hard heh, its just fun to play it if there arent any build cost and lower build speed.




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#9 10 years ago

I too, find the Fed ships to be a little... underpowered in the stock game. That is why my Akira class is kinda hot rodded up a little. TParis , if you are disappointed by the stock Akira please try this one out:

#include "cruise1.odf"

//Name of Ship class in Ship Display window & in edit mode & tooltip unitName = "Akira Class"

//tooltips tooltip = "FED_CRUISE1" verboseTooltip = "FED_CRUISE1_V"

//Race which can build ship & starting race of ship race = "federation"

//Amount of time required to build ship buildTime = 12.0

//Number of officers required to build this ship officerCost = 9

//Number of crew required to build ship & Starting crew crewCost = 200

//Dilithium Cost to build dilithiumCost = 175

//Metal Cost to build metalCost = 100

//Max Shield Strength & Begining Shield Strength <500 maxHealth = 346

// Hitpoints

shieldGeneratorHitPoints = 82 enginesHitPoints = 60 weaponsHitPoints = 60 lifeSupportHitPoints = 60 sensorsHitPoints = 60

//Rate at which shield recharges (points per second... we think) shieldRate = 1.6

//Maximum Value of Special Energy maxSpecialEnergy = 1000

//Rate at which special energy recharges (points per second... we think) specialEnergyRate = 10

//********************************************************************** //********************************************************************** //SHIP NAMES

//Possible Craft Names possibleCraftNames = "USS Defender" "USS Pathfinder" "USS Renegade" "USS Spirit" "USS Templar" "USS Morningstar" "USS Timberwolf" "USS Apache" "USS Resolution" "USS Gallant" "USS Nautilus" "USS Thunderbird" "USS Venerable" "USS Seattle" "USS Trojan" "USS Essex" "USS Fearless" "USS Thunderchild" "USS Bonaparte" "USS Washington" "USS Lafayette" "USS Jefferson" "USS Vicksburg" "USS Antietam" "USS Stalingrad" "USS Jaganath" "USS Montgomery" "USS Sumter" "USS Goliath" "USS Minotaur" "USS Hotspur" "USS Nostromo" "USS Crusader" "USS Avondale" "USS Bishop" "USS Winchester" "USS Peerless" "USS Martinez" "USS Courageous" "USS Jarl" "USS Verite" "USS Mathias" "USS Androsia" "USS Darius" "USS Rigel" "USS Theodore" "USS Meer" "USS Virgil" "USS Trinity" "USS Lakota" "USS Rapier" "USS Centaur" "USS Inverness" "USS Magellan" "USS Norris" "USS Poseidon" "USS Resilient" "USS Merlin" "USS Geneva" "USS Jupiter" "USS Nordhaus" "USS Brazas" "USS Maxwell" "USS Koh" "USS Rhodes"

//********************************************************************** //ART PARAMETERS & WEAPON NAMES

// Phaser weapon1 = "fc1phas" weaponHardpoints1 = "hp01" "hp07" "hp08" "hp012" "hp15" "hp16"

// Chain Reaction Pulsar weapon2 = "gchainp" weaponHardpoints2 = "hp09" "hp10"

// Photon torpedos weapon3 = "fc1phot" weaponHardpoints3 = "hp02" "hp06"

// Hardpoints to hit for various systems and other locations. enginesTargetHardpoints = "hp06" "hp07" "hp08" "hp09" "hp10" lifeSupportTargetHardpoints = "hp11" "hp12" "hp13" "hp14" "hp15" weaponsTargetHardpoints = "hp01" "hp02" "hp03" "hp04" "hp05" "hp26" "hp27" "hp28" "hp29" shieldGeneratorTargetHardpoints = "hp16" "hp17" "hp18" "hp19" "hp20" sensorsTargetHardpoints = "hp21" "hp22" "hp23" "hp24" "hp25" hullTargetHardpoints = "hp06" "hp08" "hp10" "hp12" "hp14" "hp16" "hp18" "hp20" "hp22" criticalTargetHardpoints = "hp07" "hp09" "hp11" "hp13" "hp17" "hp19" "hp21" "hp23"

//********************************************************************** //AI system parameters //These parameters influence how the AI evaluates and compares craft.

//An abstract number that represents how much extra strength must be //used to attack this craft due to its weapons. // (0.0=no weapons, 0.5 = average weapons, 1.0=many good weapons) attackPower = 0.75f

//The normalized intrinsic value of a target. High value craft make good //attack targets. (0.0=lowest value, 1.0=highest value) intrinsicValue = 0.30f

//**********************************************************************

//********************************************************************** //CREW STATUS MULTIPLIERS //The multiplier for the delay between shots for weapons while in yellow status weaponYellow = 1.0f

//The multiplier for the delay between shots for weapons while in red status weaponRed = 2.0f //**********************************************************************

//********************************************************************** //KEYMAP LABEL // Obsolete, use hotkeyLabel // keymapLabel = "fed_phaser" hotkeyLabel = "HOTKEY_F5"

// Change the scale

// with no scale 1/2 of sovereign // want 2/3 of sovereign ScaleSOD = 0.3

You may need to adjust the ScaleSOD line to get the ship back to a regular size. I use this instead of the stock Akira ODF because I discovered the stock ODF will not launch the Chain Reaction Pulsar with the model I use and the Photons should come out of the torpedo bays, not the engines. It is really a small adjustment but it does make a difference.




Freyr VIP Member

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#10 10 years ago

He can't, he plays online.

The real problem with the galaxy is that its shields are weak. 3 Galaxys can't take 2 Klingon rals. Adding a couple of Nebula class ships with the PDP in fleet actions helps offset this, but its hard to get this sort of tech up in most games.