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icon5.gif  Cheats you like to play? Wed, 06 November 2002 12:25 Go to next message
FurFuznel is currently offline FurFuznel

 
Lt. Junior Grade
Stars! Nova developer
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Registered: November 2002
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
I am wondering what cheats/features of Stars people like to have in their games and which ones they prefer to have disallowed?

I do not know most of the cheats so I will only list a few and hope that everyone else can add more and give their opinions on them.

Chaff
Cheap Starbases
North/South Minefields
Battle Board Overloading

I must admit that I have not played enough multiplayer games to ever get the chance to exploit any of these features of Stars.

FurFuznel



Shadallark <==> FurFuznel
Mental anguish is for those who choose to think - FurFuznel
running Mac OS X 10.6.7

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icon4.gif  Re: Cheats you like to play? Wed, 06 November 2002 12:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
overworked is currently offline overworked

 
Lt. Junior Grade

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I generally think all the ones you listed except chaff and (to some degree) splitting fleets to complicate interception should not be used.

I think chaff is a valid application of resources to negate the mastery of missiles in the late game. Iron limitations work to some degree - but generally the largest missile token will always win otherwise. And said token is invulnerable. Taking out such a massive token is easier using chaff - but will still be expensive in terms of resources and minerals. (Thousands of chaff add up in cost - and can only be used once.) I just see this as a valid battle tactic - whether it is taking unfair advantage of how the battle engine targets ships is still being debated obviously.

Most of the rest of the list you made are essentially (IMO) abusing the game's storage limitations (battle board overload), or an outright bug (north/south minefield movement). As such, they should not be exploited - and in the former case one should perhaps be happy the game doesn't outright eliminate the extra tokens (try going over the 32k ships of a single type in a fleet limit some time - you lose *all* of the ships of that type.)

The other "gray" tactic for me is splitting fleets in order to avoid interception. Basically, the interception algorithm the engine uses is fairly simple - and not that good (or at least flexible enough to deal with clever players.) Thus, an attacking fleet can, via various maneuvers, essentially avoid interception short of a target planet. Deadly for AR, or for trying to defend a location *away* from that location. However, IMO, a retreating fleet can/should have the option to "scatter" in order to have more units survive. Plus, if you ban this tactic - how do you *prove* it has been abused without a painstaking check of player turns by a third party. Probably deadly to keeping a game flowing nicely.

- Kurt





Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
- Groucho Marx

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icon5.gif  Re: Cheats you like to play? Wed, 06 November 2002 15:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ron is currently offline Ron

 
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Quote:

Beem Chaff
Cheap Starbases
North/South Minefields
Battle Board Overloading


East/West Minefields is a bug also.

However, the JRC4 patch fixes the minefield travel bug as well as SS pop-stealing.

I think I've heard of the 'cheap starbases' feature, but I don't recall the details. Please post it here, or send it to me via PM.


[Updated on: Sun, 12 January 2003 00:29]




Ron Miller
Stars! AutoHost

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icon1.gif  Re: Cheats you like to play? Thu, 07 November 2002 03:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Coyote is currently offline Coyote

 
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Exploiting the "cheap starbases" bug consists of building 99% of an empty starbase and then editing the design to put expensive components on it, and the starbase is still 99% complete, so you only pay 1% component cost. This used to be doable with ships as well, but when it was fixed starbases were overlooked. And yes, I consider it cheating.

All of the listed behaviors are cheating with the exception of chaff, which is (imho) a utilization of the intended operation of the battle engine - the targeting formula works the way it does for a reason.

The significant difference between a "cheat" and a "feature" is whether the behavior it exploits is one that is intended by design or simply an oversight or error in programming.


[Updated on: Thu, 07 November 2002 03:32]

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Thu, 07 November 2002 16:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mitchell is currently offline mitchell

 
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Split Fleet Dodge Cheat[ 39 votes ]
1. Yes - it is a Cheat Evil or Very Mad 7 / 18%
2. No - Not a Cheat Cool 32 / 82%

I agree with the cheap SB being a cheat. But I am mixed on some.
Lets look at them.


  • Chaff: Cool
    This is easily countered by using beamers and is used in real life. If you were in a jet fighter, and had a missile comming up your tail pipe, would you just let it come?
    IMO it is a feature.
  • Cheap SB: Evil or Very Mad
    No questions here that the intent is to get something for free.
  • Battle Board Overload: Evil or Very Mad
    A programming oversight IMO, but, if I understand this one right, could be cause by flak clearing into a target.

  • Split Fleet Dodge: Questionable
    I think that this tatic is a feature. And it is used in real life. Keeping a weaker fleet all in one spot/token is not a good way to survive. Running to fight another day is. Was this intended or a programming oversight? IMO feature.
  • UR/CE Scrapping: Evil or Very Mad
  • 0.2% Minimum Damage: Evil or Very Mad
  • False Public Player Scores: Laughing
    I think if the player wants to try this, go for it. Just more MM for that player. Public Scores just tend to speed up the "lets gang up on the leader" and thus, if the leader can hide/delay his lead form the scoreboard, do it!
  • North/South Minefield Immunity: Evil or Very Mad
  • East/West Speed Bump Minefield Immunity: Evil or Very Mad
  • SS Pop Steal: Evil or Very Mad
  • [freepop] Hack: Evil or Very Mad


Now, If I missed one, please someone speak up Razz
But I think this calls for another poll!

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icon1.gif  Re: Cheats you like to play? Fri, 08 November 2002 01:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Coyote is currently offline Coyote

 
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The split fleet behavior is more of a judgement call IMO... if you split up into, say, three fleets of 10 and one of 15 and fork 4 ways, then, that seems okay. But if you bring along a big stack of Boranium-laden freighters to sacrifice and spare your fleet, that's cheating.

An additional note on the minefield immunity bug is that unlike the other cheats this one can happen by accident with no ill intent. I actually had this happen once, I was trying to get a mml to safety at w10 - and by pure chance that safety was a sweeper due north - and flew right through a minefield that I hadn't had on scanners. Of course if I'd seen the minefield I wouldn't have taken that risk.


[Updated on: Fri, 08 November 2002 01:49]

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Fri, 08 November 2002 08:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
overworked is currently offline overworked

 
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Mitchell's comments (with some snips), and then my additional comments in the brackets.

[*]Chaff: Cool
IMO it is a feature.
[I concur. Based on how the battle engine targets and never declared as being a bug.]

[*]Cheap SB: Evil or Very Mad
[Bug IMO]

[*]Battle Board Overload: Evil or Very Mad
A programming oversight IMO, but, if I understand this one right, could be cause by flak clearing into a target.
[Limitation of how the program is coded since it is essentially taking advantage of an overflow. I consider it a cheat since I don't think the behavior was intended and can not be remedied without some major modifications (unless something odd like selecting tokens/fleets in mass order was implemented.) Fleets, or parts of fleets, should not have the ability to be at a location and have immunity to being targeted in combat based simply on what their fleet number happens to be.]

[*]Split Fleet Dodge: Questionable
I think that this tatic is a feature. And it is used in real life. Keeping a weaker fleet all in one spot/token is not a good way to survive. Running to fight another day is. Was this intended or a programming oversight? IMO feature.
[Works based on the shortcomings of the interception algorithm. Unfortunately this allows "offensive" use of the tactic to avoid, or at least complicate immensly, interception of a fleet.]

[Aside: Mental exercise (and not a complaint actually.) Consider a larger and a weaker fleet, perhaps 1.5x bigger and consider some of the fleeing scenarios of the weaker fleet given the supposed "mass interception algorithm" that currently exists
give to the weasker fleet. The pursuer has to think (and take risks) as well, or he could possibly be handed a bloody nose. For starters, just consider the weaker splitting it's 120 warships into 3 fleets, 40-40-40 or 100-10-10.... what do you do as pursuer. 150-0-0 guaranteees a victory, but 2 of 3 fleets escape cleanly (so you might either mop up, of just get 1/3. Probably the best bet - since a 60-60-60 split on your part might bag the whole bunch (vs 40-40-40) or cost you 60 while you only kill 20...]

[*]UR/CE Scrapping: Evil or Very Mad
[I thought one of the patches fixed this by heavily discounting recycle value of gift ships.]

[*]0.2% Minimum Damage: Evil or Very Mad
[I consider this a bug/feature based on how it exploits the method by which damage is stored; i.e. one alpha torpedo does different amounts of "real" damage based on how big the target token is. Some like it as a balance against the monster stacks.]

[*]False Public Player Scores: Laughing
I think if the player wants to try this, go for it. Just more MM for that player. Public Scores just tend to speed up the "lets gang up on the leader" and thus, if the leader can hide/delay his lead form the scoreboard, do it!
[Feature of the order a turn is processed in. I favor No Public Scores since that makes people scout and analyze intelligence information. An important part of warfare besides having weapons is knowing when and where to use them.]

[*]North/South Minefield Immunity: Evil or Very Mad
[Bug]

[*]East/West Speed Bump Minefield Immunity: Evil or Very Mad
[Bug]

[*]SS Pop Steal: Evil or Very Mad
[Balance issue - it's just too damn powerful if you can steal pop from planets and make it your own. Two-year conquest with just a transport fleet and a RB-scanner, no bombers required. Kill station and still all pop but iota - pop-drop them back down next year. If you don't have the warships to kill the stations then steal *all* the pop and bring a colonizer along. And the defending garrison targeting "freighters" will eventually see non-freighter hulls with cargo pods, or "freighter chaff" <yes, it does exist.>]

[*][freepop] Hack: Evil or Very Mad
[Hack, VERY evil - it's building a bug on purpose.]
[/list]

- Kurt
...




Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
- Groucho Marx

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icon5.gif  Re: Cheats you like to play? Fri, 08 November 2002 13:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
BlueTurbit

 
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What about sending two packets from one planet the same year. Would that be considered a cheat Rolling Eyes


BlueTurbit Country/Rock

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icon7.gif  Re: Cheats you like to play? Fri, 08 November 2002 17:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Coyote is currently offline Coyote

 
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How do you do that?

[Updated on: Fri, 08 November 2002 17:07]

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Fri, 08 November 2002 19:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mitchell is currently offline mitchell

 
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Not sure what you mean here
2 MP from the same planet to 2 different locations or 2 MP to the same destination?
Option 1 I believe is impossible as you need to mannual set the destination and;
I have tested option 2 and I do not see how you can. The MP get combined into 1.
Please explain more.

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Fri, 08 November 2002 20:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
BlueTurbit

 
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Send a packet. Build a different starbase. Send another packet. Next turn there will be two packets in space at same speed and location. Upon arrival at planet the other player receives two hits. At least that is how it works in testbed.
The second packet has to be a different mineral from the first or else they combine into one packet.


[Updated on: Fri, 08 November 2002 21:57]




BlueTurbit Country/Rock

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Sat, 09 November 2002 00:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Apelord is currently offline Apelord

 
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Somebody had to let the cat out of the bag...

Here's my simplistic view of cheats:

Three categories:
1) hacks-outside attempts to modify the data (password cracking, running a sample turn as a host and reverting to backups, freepop, 20% tri-immune warmongers, etc.)

2) Code flaws- Exploiting a hole in the code (i.e. minefeild immunities, ship/starbase resource cheats, battle board overload etc.)

3) Code shortcomings- Behaviors that aren't what one would really want to see, but are understood and do not result in lower cost to accomplish something (i.e. rotating starbase designs for multiple packets or gating without detection by nosy IT's, chaffe, chaffe sweeping, splitting fleets, etc.)

My view is #1 and #2 are no-no's, #3 is okay. The test I apply to determine if something is #2 or #3 is: Does this result in 'free resources' or exploit an obvious weakness counter to game design? If yes then #2 if no then #3. One can always argue things like chaffe, rotating starbase designs, etc. but none of those things produce free resources (I.e. stuff costs what it is supposed to) and while the behavior can be argued whether it is a design feature or not, they do not run counter to something obvious (like freeways through minefeilds).




"The object of war is not to die
for your country but to make
the other bastard die for his" -George Patton

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Adding "target list overload" bug [Was: Cheats you like to play?] Sat, 09 November 2002 08:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Micha

 

Messages: 2341
Registered: November 2002
Location: Belgium GMT +1
Let me add another bug you can abuse, it's not on the starsfaq buglist, but has popped up at the newsgroup before, it's something similar as the battle board overload bug. I think you can could call it "target list overload", when someone has 101 fleets at the same coordinates you can NOT target fleet 101 (that is the one with the highest fleet#) with one of your own fleets.

When you target a fleet you can use the blue diamond to choose other fleets at the same coordinates, however that list only has 100 lines! (When in orbit of a planet you can only see 98 fleets, the first line is the planets name and the second line is a separator.)
It's the same list you get when you right click on the fleets in your scanner view, there you can also use the yellow triangle/arrow(?) next to the fleets name to click further through the fleets and get past 100. There is however no way you can get past 100 when using the blue diamond for targetting.

As result the fleet with highest fleet# is free to move the next turn without being targetted by another fleet and getting killed ... it's "immune".

Possible scenarios:
Someone chaff sweeps with 200 fleets to a planet, 100 survive, as a result the main battle fleet that will have the highest fleet# (required for effective chaff sweeping) is immune to targetting.
Everyone in a teamgame with an AR who is building up his mineral fountain with 100s of mining fleets, should have noticed this before.

IMHO this is a true cheat and should not be allowed to be used.
It's easily discovered when abused, and it's also easy to prevent it from (accidently) happening, except for the AR mineral fountain.

Regards,
mch

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icon14.gif  Re: Adding "target list overload" bug [Was: Cheats you like to play?] Sat, 09 November 2002 11:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Apelord is currently offline Apelord

 
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I would agree. From my paradigm above I would categorize this as a Code Flaw. It is clear that the game never intended to create 'immune' fleets. That's what cloaking is for and it comes with a cost associated with it. This flaw gives you some of the benefits of cloaking without the associated cost...


"The object of war is not to die
for your country but to make
the other bastard die for his" -George Patton

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Sun, 10 November 2002 09:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
McKulz is currently offline McKulz

 
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I agree with most except for chaff. Chaff I believe is cheap and it really irritates me. I see it this way:

If you're in an old west style shoot out, and your opponent throws a handfull of thumbtacks on the ground, do you stop to move them out of the way? NO! YOU SHOOT THE GUY WITH THE GUN!

Now if you built decoy battleships or nubs, then that's a valid tactic, but 10000 of the cheapest scout ships is not, it's just cheap.

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Mon, 11 November 2002 04:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesWD is currently offline JamesWD

 
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McKulz wrote on Sun, 10 November 2002 14:38

I agree with most except for chaff. Chaff I believe is cheap and it really irritates me. I see it this way:

If you're in an old west style shoot out, and your opponent throws a handfull of thumbtacks on the ground, do you stop to move them out of the way? NO! YOU SHOOT THE GUY WITH THE GUN!

Now if you built decoy battleships or nubs, then that's a valid tactic, but 10000 of the cheapest scout ships is not, it's just cheap.


You could always build counter designs??



[img]http://www.ukrockers.com/forum/attachments/si.gif[/img]

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Mon, 11 November 2002 15:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
McKulz is currently offline McKulz

 
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yes, but that's not the topic Wink

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Mon, 11 November 2002 19:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne is currently offline Wayne

 
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Of course you screen off your main fleet with cheap throw away vessels, after all that is in reality what a frigate is to todays major Navy's. Better the frigate gets hit than the aircraft carrier or gator frieghtor or what ever.


Wayne

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Tue, 12 November 2002 13:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
McKulz is currently offline McKulz

 
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But frigates aren't cheap throw away vessels, an accurate comparison (to me) would be that aircraft carrier surrounded by hundreds of rubber dingies armed with water pistols.

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Wed, 13 November 2002 07:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
JamesWD is currently offline JamesWD

 
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McKulz wrote on Tue, 12 November 2002 18:42

But frigates aren't cheap throw away vessels, an accurate comparison (to me) would be that aircraft carrier surrounded by hundreds of rubber dingies armed with water pistols.


Comparitively, frigates are throw away. Of course the crew on the frigates don't see it that way, but which is more expensive?? Rolling Eyes



[img]http://www.ukrockers.com/forum/attachments/si.gif[/img]

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Wed, 13 November 2002 17:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Apelord is currently offline Apelord

 
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Or you could think of chaffe as unmanned drones that project the signature of a big fat dreadnaught with no sheilds or jamming left.

Regardless of what your particular opinion of chaffe is, or what your rationalization of it is, it does perform a very critical (albeit unintended) function: It introduces a very important RPS (Rock-Paper-Scissors) loop into the battle engine that serves to balance the board quite nicely.

Chaffe beats missiles
Beams beat chaffe
missiles beat beams.

When widespread use of chaffe began, frequently games banned its' use. Having played in several such games way back when I can definitely say that chaffe provides for more interesting tactics and more critical choice in fleet design. Beamers used to be pretty rare. That's because without chaffe, missiles reign supreme. The game is a lot more fun with chaffe since now fleets need beams AND missiles AND chaffe to be highly effective and the relative ratios are as much a factor as the design of the ships. Of course the composition of fleets changes with every turn making it even more interesting. Used to be that it was a pure race to armageddon BB's and then a race to get the bigggest stack of them.



"The object of war is not to die
for your country but to make
the other bastard die for his" -George Patton

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Thu, 14 November 2002 15:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Robert is currently offline Robert

 
Ensign

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beamers beat chaff?
not really, you can put shields to chaff to make them harder
for beamers to destroy, or even great shields on them, so
beamers will target other beamers first, not chaff...

there are other ways to beat chaff...
so battle-plan any/any/disengage with a move 1 range 5 or 6 missle kills everything with move bigger 1. and chaff usually have move 1 or 3/4... this can do real damage to your move 1.25 rockets and 2.25 beamers, which are no more protected by chaff.

so if you feel too save behind your chaff... you shouldnt.
this might bring some counter to chaff, but also brings an
advantage to warmongers, who can have chaff moving 1.5 or so...

also if fighting in an alliance you can invite up to 3 more
players to the battle, and if they are the right ones you have
your enenmy starting in range 4 from your base. putting gattlings
to the base make them hit all chaff and beamers and "stupid"
rockets in turn 1...

and gone are your chaffs...

what i really hate about chaff is the chaff-sweeping.
it nearly negates the effect of minefields... if the enemy
wants to spend some chaff, minefields are just useless...
i hate this...

ok... back to the topic...

i think about cheating in another way, not just if intended by
the game or not, or having a realisic similar thing in RL...
if a cheat is hard to detect by others, it might ruin my fun in
a game, when i am not sure if others use it or not. so if i am
not using the cheap starbase trick, i will always feel bad because i beleive the others might do... so i think if a cheat
is not detectable and does not have a major influence on the game,
it should be allowed...

so if i ever host a game again, i will officially allow cheap
starbases. it has a major impact in the beginning, ok. but later
it is not really a matter... you lose 2 rounds of production when
using it... is it worth that?
it makes the game a bit different from style of play, as the one
who gets the planet first will keep it for a while... some day
starbases will be useless to defend agains an attack, so who cares.
ok - it makes AR races weak, as they cant use the trick. it also
hepls PP, as they are still able to kill the planet, regardles of
the base...
as i dont like AR, but love PP (really!), i like to allow it to
everybody...

and think what happens if you build all that basis on all your
planets, something goes wrong and one of them is finished...
desaster! (e.g. pop from IS frighers drop and produce...)

its not that easy to use, and once jihads are out the better
bases are no longer that powerful.

i think cheap starbases are ok, but chaffsweeping is not.
(of course ONLY if it is officially allowed and used by
all players!!!)
Surprised

so far so good

robert






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Re: Cheats you like to play? Thu, 14 November 2002 16:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Coyote is currently offline Coyote

 
Lt. Commander

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Robert wrote on Thu, 14 November 2002 12:36

beamers beat chaff?
not really, you can put shields to chaff to make them harder
for beamers to destroy, or even great shields on them, so
beamers will target other beamers first, not chaff...



But then you start to run into the problem of them not attracting missiles. Shocked And besides, it increases the cost, which really matters for somthing that you need in the thousands.

Quote:


also if fighting in an alliance you can invite up to 3 more
players to the battle, and if they are the right ones you have
your enenmy starting in range 4 from your base. putting gattlings
to the base make them hit all chaff and beamers and "stupid"
rockets in turn 1...

and gone are your chaffs...



Gone are your missile ships too. Twisted Evil Close combat makes beam weapons more effective, especially gatlings as you said. Fast battlecruisers with gatling neutrino cannons can be lethal against an unprepared enemy.

Quote:


what i really hate about chaff is the chaff-sweeping.
it nearly negates the effect of minefields... if the enemy
wants to spend some chaff, minefields are just useless...
i hate this...



It's also expensive. Of course, you could always use cloaked sweepers to get rid of minefields too, and they don't die immediately if you're lucky. The disadvantage is that it takes a while to get ready, and can alert your enemy of your intentions.

Quote:



so if i ever host a game again, i will officially allow cheap
starbases. it has a major impact in the beginning, ok. but later
it is not really a matter... you lose 2 rounds of production when
using it... is it worth that?
it makes the game a bit different from style of play, as the one
who gets the planet first will keep it for a while... some day
starbases will be useless to defend agains an attack, so who cares.




Starbases really aren't significant weapons platforms. The main abuse that would come from this is tossing up stargates and massdrivers on planets that otherwise could take several years to produce them.

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Re: Cheats you like to play? Thu, 14 November 2002 17:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Robert is currently offline Robert

 
Ensign

Messages: 361
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Location: Dortmund, Germany
Razz
you are of course right with what you say...
i just wanted to show some more situations how chaff
can be countered...

and of course chaff-sweeping is expensive, but it is much
quicker and your attacks become much more unpredictable.
and minefields should delay the enemy, and make his attacks
foreseeable (he will attack where he swept the mines), and
this is no longer true... so minefields are (nearly) useless,
and the ss and sd races lose their advantage of moving faster
through minefields... hm...

i tend to write more than i should, and what i really wanted
to say gets lost... so the main aspect where that

a) i dont like chaff sweeping (but i dont see it as a bug)
b) i dont think cheap starbases are that harmful, when allowed
to use by all players.

and having a cheap massdriver on your bases is an advantage for
non-pp races, as the md7 and md10 are quite expensive, but also
the pp might build more cheap mds on reds to have multiple packets per target which is quite powerful...

arg... already writing too much...

i will go to bed now

Grin

robert


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Re: Cheats you like to play? Thu, 14 November 2002 17:52 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Robert is currently offline Robert

 
Ensign

Messages: 361
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Razz
one more thing i forgot:

it _is_ possible to build chaff which have higher attractiveness
to missles than your beamers and rockets, but are less attractive
to beamers than your own (high shielded) beamers.

so enemy beamers shoot your beamers first, but enemy rockets hit chaff first... still you need to put your best shields into the
chaff, but it is worth the calculation!

even if it is more expensive, it might be worth it. when your
enemy decides to fight or not, and thinks he wins because he
thinks his beamers kill your chaff, and realizes that he was
wrong and loses the big battle, than the costs were worth it.
the alternative is that you have more chaff, but he knows he will
not win and avoids battle until he does have a chance...

this is dangerous if he has sappers, by the way Crying or Very Sad

designs of all three (beamers, rockets and chaff) have to be made
carefully... but is much easier once you get jammers everywhere
by MT toys or so...

try it Smile it is a nice trick, but usually works only once...

robert

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