Redesigned Battle Logic and Formula


As described in the conversations above, the attack formula does not always make for expected or even reasonable results. While not game-breaking, it’s still significant given that it’s a core mechanic.

At the very least we should understand the intent of the formula, and given that the old owners aren’t around to ask, that requires redesigning it from scratch.

A bonus idea would be to also include a battle projection calculator, with results being only approximate due to random factors within the formula itself.

What input do you expect in here?

Votes to gauge player interest vs other priorities.

Discussion can be had on the existing thread for those interested.

Alright everybody, time for an update here.

Support for different battle logic is complete. When this rolls out in the test galaxy, existing galaxies will be entirely unaffected. Score a point for modular code!

As for the logic itself, it’s coming along nicely. There are 3 key differences that will change battle entirely.

To re-emphasize, this will be heavily tested and adjusted before being used in any real galaxy.

Pre and Post Ground Deployment

Pre and Post Ground Deployment

Even though we wanted to get entirely away from turn-based, we still need a bit of this due to the nature of transports and ground troops. Everything can’t happen in a single step because ground troops need to leave the trannies.

We are still getting away from the existing phases of battle and having all units fight each other simultaneously, it just happens twice: once before ground troops land and again after.

Everything can hit everything

Everything can hit everything

Every unit has the following:

  • Air attack
  • Air defense
  • Ground attack
  • Ground defense

Interestingly, even buildings already have this on the database side, it just isn’t used by the code.

What this means though, is that any unit or building can target any other unit or building. A bomber can target a building (targeted bombing), a droid can target a fighter (rocket launcher), a building can target a transport (anti aircraft guns), etc.

We likely won’t go all out with this at first, but I at least want to consider what it means for bombers to be able to target buildings. This will likely make nukes obsolete in their current form, which I am fine with because their current implementation is kind of silly.

Targeting options

Targeting options

The biggest math challenge has been figuring out how to distribute damage in a setup that is no longer turn based. I’ve been experimenting with 2 options, and ideally will support both and let players choose which they want on a per-battle basis for attackers and by a default-behavior basis for defenders.

1. spread by target unit ratio

Fire is drawn according to the ratio of target units. For example, if I send 10k droids and you have 8k droids and 12k soldiers, my droids would match your split: my 4k droids hit your 8k droids, and my remaining 6k droids hit your 12k soldiers.

I would lose most of my ground troops, and you would incur losses fairly evenly.

This is similar to how it works now.

2. focused on target order

Instead of spreading, you could order your units to focus on a single unit at a time, and only move onto the next one if the primary target is destroyed. For example, if I send 10k droids and you have 8k droids and 12k soldiers, I can say to focus 100% on droids first because I know you have an iron shortage. My remaining (unfired) droids would then move onto soldiers.

I would lose most of my ground troops, but you would lose most of your droids.

This is very different than how it works now.

Any one of these things would be a huge improvement over what we have now, but the combination of all 3 is going to make things very interesting. The biggest challenge, once all the math is worked out, will be presenting it in a way that isn’t overwhelming or too confusing.

We’re going to need to figure out reasonable defaults for the 80% of players to use if they don’t care to optimize further. If we do this right, the game will still be fun if you don’t bother with this, but will offer a ton of strategic depth to those who do.

A crazy-sounding example

As an example of how crazy this could get, imagine the following battle:


  • 1k bombers
  • 5k fighters
  • 200 transports
  • 5k droids
  • 15k soldiers

Your target (main + stationed)

  • 5k bombers
  • 10k fighters
  • 5k droids
  • 5k soldiers
  • 100 lasers
  • 100 collective building defense

What happens:

Pre-ground deployment

  • Your bombers drop bombs on everything except defending fighters

    • If your bomber force is larger than necessary, “unused” bombers provide light attack against enemy air units.
  • Your fighters attack defending air units

    • If your fighters force is larger than necessary, “unused” fighters provide light attack against enemy ground units.
  • You transports optionally provide light attack against enemy air and ground units as they land.

Meanwhile, for your enemy, they target all of your air units with:

  • Defending fighters (same as now)
  • Lasers (similar to now)
  • Building anti-aircraft (new)
  • Ground units light anti-aircraft (new)

Post-ground deployment

Everything from before happens again, but now the following also occurs:

  • Your ground troops now target enemy ground troops but also provide light anti-aircraft if able
  • Your ground troops, if configured, also attack buildings as directed

And for your enemy:

  • Your enemy’s defensive bombers deploy to target incoming ground troops, and optionally provide light attack against your fighters if able
  • Your enemy’s fighters, if able, now also target your ground troops
  • Your enemy’s buildings target your ground troops (snipers towers?)

It’s gonna be very messy as we test out the initial versions, but if we can pull it off in a way that feels smooth and not confusing, this will breathe a ton of new life into the game. I also think it will change the pacing entirely, and make it harder for any person or group of people to stay on top.

Everything described above, as crazy as it all sounds, will be reflected entirely in an easy-to-read battle report as is done now.

Casual players will be able to play it simple and still be competitive, and tinkerers will be able to tweak to their heart’s content to optimize their attack strategies.

As for timing, I’m taking a break on this for awhile to work on some features to help everybody adjust to UA. However, this new attack stuff is still a top priority.

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Forgot to mention, much thanks to peeps in chat for helping talk through some of this stuff recently.

Specifically: @Darrk, @HydroP, @Mrblonde, and @Airwing were asking some good questions and offering valuable insight.

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Why does it state ‘on-hold’? Is it rolling out in Infinitum Test v2 soon, or awaiting further coding?

I’m shifting focus temporarily to alleviate some of the problems UA has exposed.

Specifically, I want to get NAP warning + break history done before #milky-way-69 if possible.

Check out the “New Spell” threads for zombies and Bizarroes. I would like to see if these can be worked in.

As a Chemistry Engineer i have seen first hand too many times how changing to many parameters at once tend to do more bad than good :stuck_out_tongue: I kinda have the feeling looking at the redesign of formula and logics, this isnt a try to fixing what was broken, this is a new game and that might be great change, but was that the goal?

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It’s a mix. Fixing what was broken means rethinking battle as a whole, but you are right about the risk in changing too many variables. That’s exactly while we’ll test it first and adjust as necessary. :slight_smile:

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Will Infinitum be started once Methano is no more? If that is indeed the case, will Infinitum and the Test v2 galaxies run concurrent?

@TheBigOne yeah nothing has changed with the current formula since the Opening up the Battle Formula discussion.

Things are still borked there, and will be until this new one is up.

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O, sorry I legit thought I was fixed a while ago :joy:

Nah, still workin on it. Just taking me forever, as usual. :stuck_out_tongue:

Nothing new :stuck_out_tongue:

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As usually a bit late to reply but I hope it can be forgiven. Not sure wether you are still looking for input, though?

It was never introduced because it was seen as rather superfluous and making attacks unneccessarily more difficult and complicated. Which I’d agree on because the main result is that it gives the defender just one more bonus, which in turn can be countered by the attacker only by having even more units when attacking which in turn encourages farming or picking on weaker targets: bad.

Replacing nukes with the bomber ability to target:
Mmmh, actually rather not. Nukes are for those who have a smaller fleet but invested into opping. Especially dangerous vs attackers or bankers who thought it more economically NOT to invest into agents/wizards. Nukes, estorms etc. are a way to make them pay for this. There are also 2 standard and many custom races centered on the opper idea: Pax and Quantams (the latter at least originally). Thus it is rather a game feature allowing for a wider set of strategies: good.

All this can’t be done with bombers or fleet. And if your fleet is big enough to order them to target specific buildings without horrible losses… well, most likely you won’t target buildings but just conquere the planet and preferable with buildings intact.

To sum it up: Buildings mingling into battles seems superfluous, not tactically nor strategically relevant but adding a further level of complication making it harder especially for the beginner or not math-nerd to understand what determines the success or failure of battles.

On the other hand: IC players split up into those who love to build buildings and economy, then those who love to throw big fleets at each other and the third (now I fear rather smaller group) who love both or rather all aspects. Seen from this perspective it might be a good idea to somehow give buildings also a “battle”-role but it nevertheless needs to be in a strat & tact way that makes sense: adding variety and choices. But I wouldn’t know to make a good suggestion for something like this and thus, most likely, I’d come to the very same conclusion as Stefan and Mastermike long ago: Might be interesting, here I will introduce the values for the buildings but lacking a good idea I’ll keep it deactivated for some more time *wide grin

Old/present bomber vs laser behaviour:
It looks very simple and even a bit boring: send enough bombers and they just kill off all lasers.
But this is not the whole story. Apart from the rather rarely used “laser trap” (but when successfully done often enough remembered and talked about it even years later), an usual round of IC has different stages, mostly refered to as exploring, mid game, end game.
Lasers main and important value is during the exploration phase and it works as another decision every player has to choose: go the economic and risky way of not building a few lasers and your planets are open for very early attacks (then you are allowed to go to the forums to complain bitterly about how mean and uncivilized this is) or you invest into lasers and you are safe against attacks (only for a few additional days but those few days are quite important).
Later on lasers don’t play really a role anylonger (apart for the laser-trap) but that’s ok… to such an extent ok that I’d even keep the order of events in a battle: bombers shoot first, only then the remaining lasers may shoot. Because changing this would only incur a roundlong additional cost on every attack (and we do want conflict in Imperial Conflict).

What I would really like to see are the following changes:
Rather simple and down to earth…

  1. Figure out what descriptions are wrong and make it transparent. Wether it really needs changing is then a different discussion. For example:
    a) Race attack bonus was always described as adding ONLY an attack bonus. From what I read that’s wrong and it also serves as a defense bonus.
    b) There seems to be a very ugly bug with defending which gives an uberbonus. This very probably really needs not only to be identified but fixed.
    c) Probably a lot more but I am not uptodate enough to remember them at the moment…

  2. Damage calculation: The defender always shoots first, only the remaining attacking units may attack… that’s how it is now and was the result of some really lousily done fix. Much better would be: Damage of attacker and defender are first calculated and then applied on both sides. Small change, quite an impact altogether. Can be done wether battles remain round based or not.

Add on: Options to allow an attacker or defender to get in some way a surprise round when only damage is applied onto the surprised side might be an interesting introduction (perhaps thru a spell/op similar to “No Fear” but many things are possible: special buildings, special units or even making it a feature race dependent or buyable like droids (in the customs races).

What determines the end of a battle?
Quite interesting, isn’t it? I’ve no idea how it is handled as of now. My guess: A certain number of air fight battles followed by a certain number of ground battle rounds and afterwards the winner is calculated as the one with the most ground units remaining (and is it based on the attack or defense value of the units)?

If you abolish round based fights, what then determines the end of a battle?

Always! :smiley:

That’s a reasonable stance, but if that’s so it has no reason being set up in the database either. Strange decisions back then, I suppose. :man_shrugging:

Nukes as they currently stand are broken and have always been. At the very least, they should not be called nukes if they do not level infra indiscriminately. Right now, you can nuke an empire and hit a percentage of a building they don’t have. It makes no sense.

This ignores slash and burn tactics entirely. Conquering territory isn’t always a goal in conflict, and IC has never had a proper mechanic for bomber running that impacts actual econ. This hugely limits our options.

I agree about risk of complication, which is why I said this:

The challenge there isn’t in the balance, it’s in the UI. Techniques like progressive disclosure exist that can help us with this such that we provide the simplest experience for the new player but allow for deeper configuration for those who wish to optimize.

As for “not tactically nor strategically relevant”, see my comment above about more impactful bomber raids becoming possible. That’s just one example and that alone will open up battle far more than has ever been possible.

That won’t replace our current use of laser traps which do have value, as you describe. It will however give us more options to go along with them.

Your suggestions to fixes are reasonable and we will likely do those as well. However, in general we need to question how IC works and whether or not certain core features really make sense. In doing so, I’ve come to the conclusion that its battle mechanic, for as familiar as it is, is inherently flawed.

It’s important to remember too that none of this is going to happen right away, and it’s going to be tested before using in a real galaxy. Until we test anything we’re all just making assumptions about what we think might happen. The plans described here may in fact change; this is all just a starting point.

The end of the calculations.

I’d suggest to “encrypt” the new battle formula.
It was hell of a fun to try figuring out the old formula and as a surprising matter of fact it was never successfully done but the best were good approximations (at least I think so, can’t be sure about the exact formula being somewhere out there but kept a secret).

With the “encrypt” I mean to probably ask a Mathematican (non-IC-player, to keep it a secret) to add some funny stuff to the formula to make it much harder to crack. The random-factor helps, too, but isn’t enough and shouldn’t be too high (otherwise combat becomes a gamble).

Obviously I wouldn’t recommend a battle calculator. Even with a random factor it:
a) makes decrypting the battle code too easy
b) diminishes experience
c) diminishes the thrill to attack

Look at all the attackers: Yes, they definetly want the carrot but once the carrot given it is gone. (not sure wether this saying works in English).

Yeah, whatever. I don’t care about names, the function is what counts. Changing them from targetting one type of buildings to indiscriminately sounds like the easiest “fix”.

What I used to do when I was certain about a conquered planet to be retaken: razing the buildings. Easy enough, isn’t it?

And about econ impacting options in IC, there are lots of it:

  1. Battle: conquering and razing
  2. Battle: Fighter and droid/soldier runs
  3. Magic: Hypno, EStorm, destroy iron, octarine hurricane, kill scientists (the latter 3 rather seldomly done and thus probably need a bit finetuning or the first 2 downtuning)
  4. Agents: Nukes, destroy cash, destroy units, terminate scientists (the latter probably also needs finetuning)

In case you are thinking of introducing something similar to strategic bombings" like in WW2, mmmh, the actual bombing of cities was economically not very successfully (more properly it can be called a war crime done by all sides against civilians). The later bombings during the day against bridges, railway etc… those did hurt a lot (but were only possible after total air supremacy was achieved).
This is actually quite well simulated in IC, attacking pop via wizards and the equivalent of bridges/railway bombings would be “sabotage portal” and CPFF.

I guess, what I and several other players want to say:
Your work is VERY appreciated but we don’t want to see it wasted on parts of IC which most consider core and actually quite good functioning but needs some bug fixing and fine tuning; not a reinvention of the wheel.
Instead the reinvention of the wheel and the time and afford which goes along with it is needed for the whole morale and farming complex.

I can do the first half… and arguably my performance generally suggests that the second bit is also fairly accurate.