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The dreaded parity thing (again)

From: Mikko Kurki-Suonio <maxxon@s...>
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000 10:45:43 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: The dreaded parity thing (again)

OPIONION ALERT: If you can't agree to disagree on matters of opinion,
please don't read this.

> On a floating-edge table, any ship with a single Class-4 or bigger
> and a thrust rating of 2 or more will eventually pick the dreadplanet
> apart once your fighters have been swatted - unless it hypers out
> of course, but in that case it has conceded defeat anyway.

Erm. How many ships in FB1 carry class-4's? Off the top of my head, I
recall ONE. Bigger ones? None, was it?

If you know what the other guy is bringing while he gets no such
warning, it is not too hard to devise a custom countermove.

However, I wouldn't call that a fair setup either.

(I get this vision of a really stupid competition where the winner keeps
his fleet (maybe we might even allow repair) and the loser gets to do a
complete redesign -- almost guaranteed to go back-and-forth...)

Remember my point about two different kinds of point systems? Well, I
a similar one about design systems:

There's countermove balancing. This is saying A is balanced because
exists some B that counters it (which is countered by C which is...)

This can get very GW-esque very quickly. To counter the gimmick of the
week, you need the countergimmick of the week (figures sold
separately) and if you don't have it, bang, game over. If you don't
"follow" the game for a little while, you don't know the current
and, bang, you're dead again.

In the very extreme it leads to what I call the "Oracle situation":
there is the "Oracle" you could buy. He costs 99% of your points, but if
you have him, you automatically win. Unless the other guy also has one,
which case they cancel out and the rest of your troops actually fight.

The net effect is that both sides end up spending a portion of their
resources in compulsory countermeasures, which don't really affect the
play in any way after that.

Hmmm... sounds a lot like ballistic nuclear missiles, doesn't it?

OTOH, there's zero-average balancing. That means to take advantage A,
must take disadvantage B. An average combatant, while outclassed in A
a perfect opportunity to exploit B (i.e. you don't need a specialized
B-exploitation design).

How does this apply to FT? Benchmarking. Lacking anything else, we might
call the "official" FB designs the benchmark. (Sorry, ship registry --
electronic only doesn't count)

Thus, any kustom killa design should have a reasonable counter in the
published official designs. 

If there isn't, soon all you see is everyone flying kustom killa's of
their own and one begins to wonder what's the use of the "official"
designs? Examples of bad designs? A way to spank newbies? 

(Car Wars used to have this problem. You just couldn't compete with a
sheet car. I could also mention a previous edition of a certain space
combat game, but shall leave it unnamed...)

P.S. Am I just getting old, but why doesn't the idea of rolling damage
40 fighter groups sound appealing to me? Maybe I should do an opinion
piece on megalomania...

P.P.S. No fjords in either of our countries. And it's FENNOscandia if
include Finland.

-- (Mikko Kurki-Suonio) 	  | A pig who doesn't
GSM +358 50 5596411 Tel +358 9 8092681		  | is just an ordinary
Länsimetsä 3B1 02300 ESPOO FINLAND   Hate me? Try |	      - Porco
Rosso      hateme.html  |

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