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View Poll Results: Do you like the idea of altitude being a balancing factor?
I like the idea of AA effectiveness differing at high altitude vs low altitude 25 67.57%
I think that altitude shouldn't matter. 12 32.43%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2011-08-05, 02:00 PM   [Ignore Me] #16
Raymac
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by Malorn View Post
I posted in the PS2 forum for a reason. Its PS2 but since we have very little information about air combat and AA in PS2 it is in the context of PS1, but assuming different AA types and higher flight ceiling.

Generally in PS, the higher you go up the more vulnerable you become to AA. In some cases distnace will help you but a good flak gunner can lead appropriately and still land most of his shots. Sparrows will find their mark most easily, and starfires are still very effective. I think distance and height should matter and it should be reflected in AA effectiveness. Make AA effective at ranges where the aircraft can also be effective. Lib and gal are the exceptions as noted above, but for good reasons.
Sorry, I didn't mean to come off as being snide by saying your post worked for both PS1 and PS2. I just meant, in my opinion, altitude alread affects AA even though there is no change in stats depending on height. And I'd really like to keep it that way. Even though I spend about 80% of my time in a Reaver, I really don't like the idea of AA having damage degredation over distance.

I believe that altitude already has enough of an affect on AA and doesn't really need to be changed. At high altitude, you can still avoid a good flak gunner by out manuevering since they have to lead you by so much, and as for the lock-on AA, the rounds will hit you, but you can get far enough away to break the lock and ensure that not enough rounds land to kill you.

The best place to see where high altitude already affects AA is on Hossin. I feel safer at max altitude there than I do flying map of the earth (although I do love flying through those swamps with afterburners going, dodging trees).

TL;DR - I like it exactly the way it is, so the closer PS2 is to PS1 for this issue, the more I'm likely to be happy about it.
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Old 2011-08-05, 03:14 PM   [Ignore Me] #17
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by Malorn View Post
The core idea is this - most AA is effective close to the ground to medium altitude, while very little ground-based AA is effective at high altitude.

What this does is give pilots tradeoff decisions on where they want to fly as well as add a whole new dynamic to the game. For example, high-flying galaxies and Liberators will be largely unaffected by ground-based AA, making aircraft their primary threat
I like the idea in general, of a higher altitude where more aerial combat will take place and will be less interference from ground AA.

However, I for see many problems with aerial vehicles like a bomber that can throw down bombs, while being relatively safe from ground based AA, until properly countered by and air to air vehicle. You only need aerial superiority, control the skies and you can control the grounds as well. You simply carpet bomb the [email protected] out of everything, push the enemy back in to there base and have ground infantry clean up. This kind of game play will get really old very quickly.


I'm not exactly sure to what degree you consider aerial units to be "relativity" safe from ground based AA.

Hugging the max flight ceiling where ground based AA have a very small attack window to counter act I don't consider to be very balanced.

I'm not exactly sure how you see this higher maximum altitude play out.

I'd suggest splitting up aerial combat in three levels of altitude.
(this might very well be what your saying, only different description)

Low altitude (0~200), where ground based AA and small arms are able to attack aerial vehicles.

Medium altitude(150~500), where only AA is able to deal with aerial vehicles properly and small arms can't reach it.

High altitude(400~700), aerial vehicles are safe from ground based attacks and only vulnerable to air to air attacks but are unable to attack ground based targets or perform high altitude infantry drops.

Bombers/galaxy will need to stay below 400 to enable them to drop there payload (bomb/troop), they will be with in the threat zone where ground based AA can harm them. If they pull there noses up on time and can get back to higher altitude on time where ground based AA can no longer harm them.
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Old 2011-08-05, 03:30 PM   [Ignore Me] #18
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


As long as they keep it balanced so that aircraft can be effective at both A2G and A2A, I like the idea. Playing PS1 recently I noticed that they've significantly increased the effectiveness of AA to the point where if you go anywhere near a base, it's beep beep beep explode.
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Old 2011-08-05, 04:02 PM   [Ignore Me] #19
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by CViolet View Post
As long as they keep it balanced so that aircraft can be effective at both A2G and A2A, I like the idea. Playing PS1 recently I noticed that they've significantly increased the effectiveness of AA to the point where if you go anywhere near a base, it's beep beep beep explode.
Unless it's TR in which case it's

FLALSGJKLGAGJAGALJAA AGJGAKGASJGAJKLGASKLGJASJG fly away.
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2011-08-05, 04:07 PM   [Ignore Me] #20
Malorn
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by wildcat140679 View Post
However, I for see many problems with aerial vehicles like a bomber that can throw down bombs, while being relatively safe from ground based AA, until properly countered by and air to air vehicle. You only need aerial superiority, control the skies and you can control the grounds as well. You simply carpet bomb the [email protected] out of everything, push the enemy back in to there base and have ground infantry clean up. This kind of game play will get really old very quickly.
This is precisely why there would need ot also exist ground-based AA that specailized in countering high-altitude aircraft, much like flak guns of WWII. The key difference though is that those AA guns would work on high altitude but not low-altitude. You'd have to make a decision on what type of Anti-Air platform you wanted to build, one for ground support or one to counter strategic bombing & dropships.

So if an enemy were to control the skies and come in with lots of libs, the counter would be two-fold: 1) scramble your own aircraft and 2) pull out / build high-altitude AA. I am imaginging engineers would be a class suited to set up a stationary high-altitude AA turret or augment a base turret for that purpose. Likewise some infantry classes may have the option of AA, if so they may have different ammo types for different ranges. Most of the time they would likely run around with low-altitude AA since that is the biggest threat, but if the enemy swarmed bombers they could swap out to high-altitude AA to counter it.

I think there should be options to counter such a thing but due to the fact that typically a few libs won't be a significant threat to ground forces they will prefer to have low-altitude AA ready to go (if they don't it would be easy for a few reavers/mossies to come over a hill and farm the heck out of them).

That said, if one empire is just completely dominating the skies then they should get some benefit for that...like being able to carpet bomb the crap out of stuff and force the enemy to counter with high altitude AA and aircraft of their own. But carpet bombing wasn't all that effective in PS1. It killed the idiots who weren't paying attention but the best use of a lib was strategic bombing of AMS or suppressive bombing of a specific location (like a base wall overlooking the back door, the vehicle pad, or the main entrance). The bombs were too slow to do damage to targets if the lib was at high altitude. That's one reason I favored low-altitude bombing as a lib. More dangerous but you could get a lot more kills since infantry/vehicles have far less time to react to the bombs.
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Old 2011-08-05, 04:16 PM   [Ignore Me] #21
CrystalViolet
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by Bags View Post
Unless it's TR in which case it's

FLALSGJKLGAGJAGALJAA AGJGAKGASJGAJKLGASKLGJASJG fly away.
lol, TR always got the short end of the stick balance wise. That original POS MCG was the main reason I defected back in 03. :P
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2011-08-05, 04:18 PM   [Ignore Me] #22
Malorn
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by CViolet View Post
lol, TR always got the short end of the stick balance wise. That original POS MCG was the main reason I defected back in 03. :P
Not the case for everything. Early on the Cycler, Striker, and Pounder were amazing good. The MCG sorta sucked, but TR had no-fly zones anywhere there was infantry and the pounder max was ridiculously effective against suppressing troops. Of course you could only pilot one for about five minutes before being grieflocked, but I digress...
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Old 2011-08-05, 04:27 PM   [Ignore Me] #23
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Fly through the clouds. I like where AA on the ground can attack anything. I usually low bomb, but I remember it used to take a while for mosquitos and reavers to kill me when I was sitting over the top of a vehicle pad. If we can still infinite hover I could see vehicle pad camping going on for minutes if no one can pull any vehicles.
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Old 2011-08-05, 04:31 PM   [Ignore Me] #24
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


I like the idea overall but dislike the idea of unnatural "forced" limitations.

For example, if you had high altitude AA placements I'd much rather they be ineffective against close range targets due to a heavily slowed ability to track targets. This would make little to no difference at long range, but at close range aircraft would be easily able to out-maneuver said defenses yet if they were dumb enough to attack head on then they're still going to get hurt.

Also, as a fan of asymmetrical design (where appropriate), I think AA Maxes should have some differing innate strengths.

So for example, based on the low/mid/high alt idea and the PS1 Maxes as a base:
  • Sparrow could have some capability at the highest altitude but at the cost of some low altitude difficulties (longer locking time, slower damage degradation?)
  • Burster could be equally effective at all ranges, offset by the difficulty of getting shots to actually land at said ranges (travel time, lower but flat damage value?)
  • Starfire could be most effective at the low to mid range, but with the benefit of the highest damage (higher base damage, more damage degradation?)

Just ideas of course, the point being I'd hate to see too much symmetrical design (that's what common pool weapons are for!).

Last edited by Duddy; 2011-08-05 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 2011-08-05, 04:37 PM   [Ignore Me] #25
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by CViolet View Post
As long as they keep it balanced so that aircraft can be effective at both A2G and A2A, I like the idea. Playing PS1 recently I noticed that they've significantly increased the effectiveness of AA to the point where if you go anywhere near a base, it's beep beep beep explode.
Call me a masochist, but I like that bases are dangerous for air. I like knowing that if I plan on doing a rocket strafing run near a base, that I have to bring my A game or I'll get blown out of the sky. It would feel like easy mode if there was less AA at bases. In fact, once you take out the AA at a base, you pretty much own the courtyard at that point. AA is super powerful in PS1, but I think thats the way it should be. Air superiority is essential, and should be difficult to achieve.

@Malorn - The more I think about your WW2 flak gun idea, the more I like it. My only concern would be lowering the gun to use it against ground troops, but that would be easy to fix by only allowing the flak to only explode at after a certain altitude.
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Old 2011-08-05, 04:45 PM   [Ignore Me] #26
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


This was already in PS1. Most AA couldn't reach up to Max alt on a low ground level continent. I would like to see the flight ceiling increased a bit to make it more in line with what your saying. As it was in PS1 that "safe area" was about 350 - 400m... too small for a game of air superiority.
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Old 2011-08-05, 04:56 PM   [Ignore Me] #27
EASyEightyEight
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


I rather like how AA works in PS1 right now. Missiles for everything close, flak for everything up to the flight ceiling. Most people can't seem to hit anything that high anyway (I'll never understand how some people can't seem to lead a target.) I don't see any need to implement flak that hits harder the higher the altitude, that just seems kind of forced and doesn't feel too balancing towards aircraft. If something is that high, it's likely not doing too much damage. Bring in more flak cannons or throw aircraft at it to handle it, not beef one cannon up.

For lower flying vehicles, it would make sense for the alternate fire to use lock on missiles, ala the Striker (fire-and-forget is freaking cheap, and I say this hating aircraft with a passion.) Though, this is the part where a pilot could opt to upgrade their bird with counter-measures at the expense of something else useful (like afterburners?) On this note, I do agree with flak requiring a minimum travel distance before exploding into a cloud. It's shrapnel, not a puff of smoke. Detonating at 5m off the ground or from the barrel of the gun would do more harm than good. In this way, if a bird gets in too close, a single AA may be hosed, but a bird that close just means it's in range of literally everything else.
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2011-08-05, 06:30 PM   [Ignore Me] #28
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by Raymac View Post
Call me a masochist, but I like that bases are dangerous for air. I like knowing that if I plan on doing a rocket strafing run near a base, that I have to bring my A game or I'll get blown out of the sky. It would feel like easy mode if there was less AA at bases. In fact, once you take out the AA at a base, you pretty much own the courtyard at that point. AA is super powerful in PS1, but I think thats the way it should be. Air superiority is essential, and should be difficult to achieve.
I just wanted to point out that in my proposed altitude idea low-altitude would be the most common AA, and therefore it would still be quite dangerous to do a rocket-strafe run since that is what the ground forces would likely have readily on-hand. You'd want to use trees, hills, etc for cover and bey very fast to avoid it. So I think there's still be a lot of risk and danger there. The only real difference would be that in addition to hills and trees, altitude could also be something you could retreat up to, though trees and hills likely better.


@Malorn - The more I think about your WW2 flak gun idea, the more I like it. My only concern would be lowering the gun to use it against ground troops, but that would be easy to fix by only allowing the flak to only explode at after a certain altitude.
This is another reason why I like altitude as the factor and not distance. You can set the flak to detonate at a certain altitude (with some minor random variance in there of course). It oculd also have a minimum altitude, making it worthless against infantry. You can also make the damage very low against non-aircraft targets. That's more of a damage-type discussion though.

The mechanic I'm thinking sort of reminds me of how the rocket attachment worked in BF 2142 where you have a range-finder (or altitude-finder) on a target and then you used the mousewheel to adjust the distance. So for a flak gun user it would be a little delay between acquiring the target, getting the range, and then adjusting the altitude offset. For the pilot if they didn't change elevation then they'd get rocked by flak once it had acquired them and set the altitude. The gunner can observe the pilot changing and then lower/raise the flak altitude using mousewheel (or whatever button they want) and then it becomes a cat & mouse game. In either case it would take a lot more skill to use a flak gun. As a consequence they could make the flak gun considerably more effective.

Such a flak mechanic would certainly not be EZ-mode and I'd want to see it reward good skill by being quite deadly. Aircraft direclty assaulting a flak gun would be an interesting scenario too since hte flak user would acquire range and then reel it in while firing until they hit the mark.

I'm a little concerned that the flak idea would almost be too hard for most players to use effectively and pilots might make AA batteries easy pickings. One way to make it not quite so complicated is to give the Flak an effective spread of altitudes, like +/- 15 m or so that if it encountered aircraft anywhere in that spread it would detonate , otherwise it would go to its set range and detonate. That would make it so the gunner would need a ballpark figure as opposed to a precise range but would still need to make adjustments for evasive aircraft in order to hit them.
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2011-08-05, 06:41 PM   [Ignore Me] #29
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by Duddy View Post
I like the idea overall but dislike the idea of unnatural "forced" limitations.

For example, if you had high altitude AA placements I'd much rather they be ineffective against close range targets due to a heavily slowed ability to track targets. This would make little to no difference at long range, but at close range aircraft would be easily able to out-maneuver said defenses yet if they were dumb enough to attack head on then they're still going to get hurt.

Also, as a fan of asymmetrical design (where appropriate), I think AA Maxes should have some differing innate strengths.

So for example, based on the low/mid/high alt idea and the PS1 Maxes as a base:
  • Sparrow could have some capability at the highest altitude but at the cost of some low altitude difficulties (longer locking time, slower damage degradation?)
  • Burster could be equally effective at all ranges, offset by the difficulty of getting shots to actually land at said ranges (travel time, lower but flat damage value?)
  • Starfire could be most effective at the low to mid range, but with the benefit of the highest damage (higher base damage, more damage degradation?)

Just ideas of course, the point being I'd hate to see too much symmetrical design (that's what common pool weapons are for!).
I have a general comment about AA max and such here. I think AA is such a fundamental part of warfare that I would not want to see all that drastic of a difference between the empires in terms of AA capabiliteis and effectiveness.

Lock-on weaponry in general is hard to balance with AA because its generally easy to do. however, I'd like to see a lot more skill with lock-on weaponry in general. I like the idea of the phoenix becuase the shooter is very vulnerable while guiding the missile, and its only one warhead at a time so the rate of fire and the guidance system seems balanced.

The striker / sparrow / starfire needs some work. For those systems I like the idea of a warhead that will sort of smart-guide itself to the target if you get it close enough but the operator still needs to use it well.

For this I am thinking of BFBC2 with the laser-guided AV weapon where you pointed it to where you wanted the missile to converge and it moved toward that location. If you wanted it to hit a distant moving target you really needed to lead the laser ahead of the target, and the target could be evasive to avoid it. The operator is more mobile than the phoenix, and the wearhead itself should have a little bit of self-guidance so if you got it really close to the target the warhead would find its mark. Its sort of a cross between the phoenix and the lancer.

Lock-on weaponry could also be changed to have a much smaller lock on reticule so holding hte lock against an evasive target is harder. The warhead could also be less maneuverable so if you miss the lock for a bit yo ucould still miss even if you re-acquire. Basically means you' dhave to be good at holding the lock on the target in a small cone as opposed to something the size of a coke-can with a highly nimble projectile. Make the projectile less nimble, the lock reticule smaller, but reward a skille dplayer with a more powerful hit if they still manage to land it.

I would prefer to see a range of AA weaponry available to all factions rather than each faction having different effective AA. Air-Ground dynamics is just too important to not do that.

I alwyas hated how NC had piss-poor effective AA at low altitude while TR was the opposite and had grea tlow-altitude AA but weak high-altitude. The VS raped at all altitudes of course. That isn't good balance IMO.
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Old 2011-08-05, 06:58 PM   [Ignore Me] #30
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


So, I'm curious, how do you picture this flak gun? Something hand-held? A vehicle? Something an engineer sets up in the field? Or maybe more like a base turret so it's only at bases?
Then the rate of fire? Are you picturing like a Skyguard or more like a Flail?

It does sound like something like this would have a bit of a learning curve, but most things do, so I wouldn't worry about that. Also, I'm imagining this as an addition to the AA that we know and love in PS1 like the Maxes and Skyguard, even the turret upgrades and cerbrus turrets. Those would be more geared for the lower altitudes, like you stated, and this new flak gun is for the high altitude planes?
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