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Unread 9 Oct 2016, 17:26   #1
Mzyxptlk
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mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

Greetings, one and all.

The problem

There's one thing stats makers dread over all other things: balancing. It's annoying, because it's not hard, but it does take a lot of time. You have anywhere from 8 to 12 different attack fleets, each with potentially different defense ships, and ideally, you'd like to compare each fleet's strength against every other fleet's. That's 64 to 144 bcalcs, some with variations, all to be created manually. In addition, the PA server doesn't really like changing stats, so you regularly need to ask Appocomaster to reset the beta server to avoid messing up your bcalcs. And then you do this half a dozen times...

All in all, it's no fun.

Attempt number one

A bit over a year ago, I wrote a stats balancing tool to try and smoothe out this process. However, its shortcomings quickly became apparent. It used a number of heuristics to make its decisions. Some of these were 'EMP can never beat Terran ships' and 'Ships with better inits always beat ships with worse inits'. These were reasonable approximations, but every time, it would make a couple of mistakes. If every time you use a tool, you have to double check whether it got it right, then that's not a very useful tool.

Attempt number two

Needless to say, I quickly stopped using my stats balancer, and voiced my intent to do a proper, exact calculation, pitting every fleet against every other fleet in a real battle. This seemed fairly simple at first, but I had some trouble figuring out an elegant way of implementing a full battle calculator, and after a couple of days of getting stuck, I moved onto pastures new.

Fortunately, I found some free time this year, got bored, and found a method to implement it. As regulars of SD know, I've been using that tool for the last couple of rounds, and I'm finally happy enough with it to release it into the wild:

mzCalc

(Because nothing says 'humble' like naming stuff after yourself.)

Download links (v1.2.1)

Windows executable
Source code

My assumption is that people who use Windows do not have a compiler handy. People who use Linux should read INSTALL.

License

GPLv2.

mzCalc depends on mzLogger and (for the tests) mzTest, both of which are also covered by GPLv2. These are statically linked into the Windows build, and their source code is provided as part of the source code package above.

mzCalc, mzLogger and mzTest depend on Cygwin to run on Windows. I suspect non-Cygwin Windows compatibility would be easy to add, but I have not done so. Several Cygwin DLLs are therefore included in the Windows build as a matter of convenience. These are covered by LGPLv3 and the source code can be found here.

Usage

The main goal of mzCalc is to perform a detailed analysis of a set of stats. The way you use it is by copying a set of stats from the PA server (for example, here), pasting it into a text file, and then run mzCalc on it. mzCalc will look at the stats, try to figure out what fleets people will build, and then pit those fleets against each other. It then applies a formula to the losses on both sides, and determines whether the attacker would ever want to launch. If not, the defender is immune, otherwise, vulnerable.

mzCalc may get the fleet compositions wrong. It may contain multiple ships targetting the same class, or target certain classes too heavily or too lightly. In order to allow manual correction, mzCalc can be run in two steps. First you generate fleet compositions, which you can write to a file that you can manually edit. Then you can run the analysis on the modified fleet compositions, and get a much more realistic outcome.

The application runs on the command line: cmd.exe on Windows and any terminal emulator on Linux.

Example

OK, so let's do that.

Grab mzCalc and extract it. Pick up Paisley's stats and paste them into a text file called 'r69-paisley-stats.txt', saved in the same directory as mzCalc. Then run it as follows:

Code:
mzCalc.exe --export --stats r69-paisley-stats.txt > r69-paisley-fleets.txt
This tells mzCalc to read the stats from r69-paisley-stats.txt and to export the fleet compositions to r69-paisley-fleets.txt. This file contains the fleets mzCalc has decided on. You should check these using your favourite text editor. (Odds are Notepad will display the file incorrectly, though.) The numbers are the amount of resources each planet spends on that ship, out of a total of 100M.

Once you're satisfied that the fleets are correct, run mzCalc again, this time as follows:

Code:
mzCalc.exe --analyze --stats r69-paisley-stats.txt --import r69-paisley-fleets.txt --verbose Error
This tells mzCalc to (once again) read the stats from r69-paisley-stats.txt, to read fleet compositions from r69-paisley-fleets.txt, and to write the outcome to r69-paisley-outcome.txt. You can now look at this file to see what mzCalc thinks. The output will be rather succinct. To get more or less information, replace 'Error' with: Warning (same info with vulnerability score), Info (= Warning + show value losses), Debug (= Info + show full breps), Trace (you probably don't want this) or None (idem). I usually use 'Error', though.

More features

In addition to performing full stats analysis, you can run a single bcalc by giving the ships on the command line. For example:

Code:
mzCalc.exe --calculate --resource-theft --stats r69-paisley3-stats.txt Fleet 160000 130000 1000 Pegasus 100 Demeter 100 Cyclops vs Fleet 120000 100000 3000 Fireblade 300 Asteroid 1000000 Resource Fleet 120000 100000 2000 Fireblade
This will pit a fleet of 1000 Pegasus, 100 Demeter (pods) and 100 Cyclops (resource stealers) against a planet with 3000 Fireblade, 300 roids and 1m resources that has received a defense fleet containing 2000 Fireblade defense. The other large numbers are planet score and value, respectively. Note the use of --resource-theft: without that, resource stealing is disabled.

Final words

I think that's all. Let me know if you run into any problems. Suggestions and feature requests welcome (though I make no promises).
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The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.

Last edited by Mzyxptlk; 18 Oct 2018 at 18:40. Reason: v1.2.1
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Unread 9 Oct 2016, 17:47   #2
Mzyxptlk
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

Ah, there was something else to discuss. How is the determination of immune/vulnerable made? In short, like this like this.

On the horizontal axis is the number of ticks it takes for the roids the attacker capped to repay the losses they suffered. On the vertical axis is the ratio of attacker losses to defender losses: higher means the attacker lost more value relative to the defender. The attacker is assumed to have Corp and 30 FCs.

The assumption I made is that you'll be more willing to risk a landing if the defender suffers (much) more than you. If your calc shows that you lose 100k value but the defender loses 300k, you might attack for 48 ticks roid repay time, whereas if you lose 100k and the defender loses nothing, you might only want to attack a target that'll give you 16 ticks of repay time. The defender is assumed to have a non-Demo, non-Tot government (Tot and Demo help defense by improving salvage).

In addition, if the attacker's losses are very low, less than 1k value, they'll land for any roidcap. If the roidcap is 0, a very low income increase of 10 value per tick is assumed (so only gigantic defender losses will entice an attacker to land for 0 roids). Neither of these exceptions is visible in the graph, because it only shows relative losses.

I'll also hijack this post to host a changelog. Here:

Changelog

v1.2.1 (2018-10-18):
- Support race headers, empty lines, and make race column optional in ship stats

v1.2.0 (2018-03-02):
- Support ETA when parsing ship stats (the values are otherwise unused)
- Support resource stealing
- Support EMP ships both as 'EMP' and 'Emp' when parsing ship stats
- Allow use of + and / in fleet names in the fleet composition file
- Support multi-pod fleet compositions in the analysis: the ships in the same class as each pod used as separate attack fleets

v1.1.0 (2016-12-02):
- Include vulnerability score at verbosity level Warning and below

v1.0.3 (2016-10-10):
- Support files with CRLF line endings

v1.0.2 (2016-10-09):
- Support stats with T1, T1+T2 and T1+T2+T3

v1.0.1 (2016-10-09):
- Initial release

v1.0.0 (YYYY-MM-DD):
- Never released
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The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.

Last edited by Mzyxptlk; 18 Oct 2018 at 18:39. Reason: Changelog!
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Unread 9 Oct 2016, 19:28   #3
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

Thanks for this mz.

Links arent working at the mo? -- nm got it now
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Unread 9 Oct 2016, 20:39   #4
Mzyxptlk
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

Links fixed.
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The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.
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Unread 9 Oct 2016, 21:35   #5
Mzyxptlk
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

v1.0.2 fixes a bug that caused parsing of stats with just T1 and T2 to fail. New version:

Windows executable
Source code

(Links in original post will also be kept up to date.)
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The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.

Last edited by Mzyxptlk; 2 Dec 2016 at 22:53.
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Unread 10 Oct 2016, 19:12   #6
Mzyxptlk
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

mzCalc v1.0.3 reads stats files saved with Microsoft Notepad. Note that the output of the --export command will still produce files that Notepad cannot display correctly. Use an editor like nano, textpad or notepad++ instead. New version:

Windows executable
Source code
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The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.

Last edited by Mzyxptlk; 2 Dec 2016 at 22:53.
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Unread 2 Dec 2016, 22:48   #7
Mzyxptlk
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

mzCalc v1.1.0 outputs a vulnerability score at verbosity level Warning and below. New version:

Windows executable
Source code
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The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.
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Unread 2 Mar 2018, 15:53   #8
Mzyxptlk
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

mzCalc v1.2.0 adds support for resource stealing. Since I don't know the odds of stealing resources at all (I assume it's pretty low), it's disabled by default, but it can be enabled using -t or --resource-theft. Resources can be added to calculations just like roids. See the first post for an example. If enabled, the fleet compositions that are generated with --export will contain twice as much value in resource stealers as there are in pods.

It can now parse per-ship ETAs on the ship stats page. Those remain completely unused in mzCalc, but at least the parse can now finish successfully.

And finally, it now supports fleets with multiple pods during stats analysis. When used on the attacking side, each pod is 'launched' separately, with only combat ships in its own class as escort. When used on the defending side, the entire fleet is used, both just the ships that fire at the attackers, and those ships plus their flak.

New version:
Windows executable
Source code
__________________
The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.

Last edited by Mzyxptlk; 2 Mar 2018 at 16:12.
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Unread 18 Oct 2018, 18:38   #9
Mzyxptlk
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

mzCalc v1.2.1 updates the parser to deal with the new race headers on the stats page, and makes the race column optional. You should once again be able to paste the entire stats page into a text file.

Note that mzCalc does not replicate the Thief/Clipper bug. That's a deviation from the bcalc, but an unavoidable one, because I have no way of determining which ship actually gets to fire first. Therefore, instead, it lets both ship types to fire half their guns. It has worked this way since the first release.

Just a small update.

New version:
Windows executable
Source code
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The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.
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Unread 19 Oct 2018, 06:43   #10
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

I have a theory that the order is based on placement in stats..
As in all zik ships at same init as Etd ships, then zik will fire first.
Seeing Ter is always on top with Cath, Xan, Zik and Etd following in that order, makes me think that the bcalc engine also follows that order.
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Unread 19 Oct 2018, 08:03   #11
Mzyxptlk
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

If it were that simple, I wouldn't say I had no way of determining it.
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The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.
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Unread 19 Oct 2018, 08:12   #12
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

Does the bcalc engine have a way to determine it?
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Unread 19 Oct 2018, 14:29   #13
Mzyxptlk
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Re: mzCalc: Stats Analysis Tool

I'm not really sure what you're asking. The order in which the combat engine does it is... the order in which the combat engine happens to do it. I don't know why it does it the way it does it, but I'm sure there's a reason for it.
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The outraged poets threw sticks and rocks over the side of the bridge. They were all missing Mary and he felt a contented smug feeling wash over him. He would have given them a coy little wave if the roof hadn't collapsed just then. Mary then found himself in the middle of an understandably shocked family's kitchen table. So he gave them the coy little wave and realized it probably would have been more effective if he hadn't been lying on their turkey.
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