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Unread 24 Nov 2015, 18:36   #1
RexDrax
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How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

Hi All,

The goal of this thread is not to discuss stats but to help potential non-experienced stats maker on how to start stats. I personally have thought about giving it a go and have a few ideas on how to go about it but since I know some of you have refined your methods on how to create stats over several rounds I would like to get your "best practice". Eventually I would like to turn this into a guide on how novice stats maker could (or should) approach their own stats creation.

Another goal is to (hopefully) have you guys share your excel spreadsheets with all the formulas filled in and potential stats makers would just have to fill in initiative, guns, armor, damage and cost in order to calculate efficiency and manually adjust E/R. I know this wont be perfect but it will be a starting point.

@Mzyxptlk: I have seen in several stats thread that you created a nice summary of the stats analyzed. Here is an example of what I mean http://pirate.planetarion.com/showpo...2&postcount=14 . Did you make a program/script to do this or did you do this manually? If its a program would you be willing to share it?

If you are interested in contributing to the best practice what I am looking for is something along the lines of.

1) Decide on goals of the stats, MT or ST
2) Decide on pod class and the number of pods per race
3) etc...

Yes I realize the above is simplistic but just to give you an idea. Hardest part is the tweaking and understanding the repercussions of the effect of a change which comes through experience. I am not a stats maker and have never made stats. I am able to read stats and gain insight but I have also missed a few things.

I wouldn't mind giving it a shot, but instead of starting from scratch and dealing with all the growing pains associated with that I figured I would learn from other stats makers mistakes so I don't do them and hopefully come up with a viable alternative set.

Thanks
-RexDrax
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Unread 24 Nov 2015, 18:54   #2
Mzyxptlk
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Re: How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

Quote:
Originally Posted by RexDrax View Post
@Mzyxptlk: I have seen in several stats thread that you created a nice summary of the stats analyzed. Here is an example of what I mean http://pirate.planetarion.com/showpo...2&postcount=14 . Did you make a program/script to do this or did you do this manually? If its a program would you be willing to share it?
It's a program, but I'm not entirely happy with it. It uses certain heuristics to determine strenghts and weaknesses, but it's not perfect. I made a few attempts to flesh it out into a proper combat engine, but shit's hard.

Anyway, here it is.

I use GCC, but it should work with all reasonable compilers. Runs on the command line.

Input file should contain the ships pasted from the ingame stats page. Fields should be separated by tabs. File should end with one blank line. I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RexDrax View Post
If you are interested in contributing to the best practice what I am looking for is something along the lines of.
Sure. Let me grab some dinner first, then I'll write something up.
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Last edited by Mzyxptlk; 24 Nov 2015 at 19:46.
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Unread 24 Nov 2015, 21:26   #3
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Re: How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

OK, so you basically asked two questions.


1) How do you get into stats making?

I feel the biggest thing is to just get involved with other people's stats. SD is a scumbucket, but it has its moments. You can also help your alliance pick fleet strategies. The former helps you learn how to balance stats, the latter how to take advantage of imbalances.


2) How do you go about making a set of stats?

This one's a little harder. Unlike what you said, it's actually the tweaking that's easy, it's just tedious: you make a bunch of bcalcs, see which races are strong and which are weak, then fiddle with the effs until everyone's about equally bad. The hard part is what you asked me to explain: making the fundamental structure interesting and fun to play with.

The first thing I usually do is to think of something that hasn't been done before, or hasn't been done often, or recently, or whatever. This is optional, really. You can make a perfectly fine set of stats doing roughly the same thing everyone else has been doing for years. It's probably better to follow the beaten path, actually! It's there for a reason. Also decide whether to go ST, limited MT or full MT.

Next up is deciding which classes fire at each other. It's usually best to have Fi/Co/Cr/Bs fire at 3 classes and Fr/De at 4-5 classes, though that's not set in stone. The more interaction there is between classes, the more defensive a set tends to be, and the the fewer the more boring, because it means players have no choice in deciding which ships to build. This is also true for the number of ships races have. Having too many ships makes the stats overly defensive, too few makes them boring. It's not required to give all races exactly the same number of ships. Also note: if Fr/De together shoot at all classes, you're enabling forting. That's not necessarily bad, nor necessarily good, it's just another thing to be aware of.

You should also decide now whether you want 0 loss defense in your stats. Options here are no, EMP-only, and yes. Most people don't call EMP-only 0 loss defense '0 loss', but I do. Personally, I dislike all versions of 0-loss defense, because it's so hard to balance. My opinion is not gospel, though.

At around the same time you can start allocating roiding classes to the races. Try to avoid giving 2 races 2 (or more) teamups, as that makes for a very strong fleet strategy. I usually try to team at least 1 of Zik's fleets with an EMP fleet, preferably both. I avoid Xan/Cat and Ter/Zik teamups, as they have similar inits anyway, so they don't gain as much from a teamup. This is also where you decide how you want to solve the 5 races/6 classes problem. Either some races get more roiding fleets than others, or some classes contain more roiding fleets than others. If you have a really amazing idea for a sixth race, that'd be even better!

Once you know which classes fire at each other, you can give each roiding fleet 2 or 3 combat ships. First set just the classes of ships in roiding fleets. This gives you an intuition as to how many off-class ships there remain to create. Keep in mind that 3-ship roiding fleets are worse offensively and better defensively than 2-ship roiding fleets. When you've created your roiding fleets, you can start assigning targets to the ships, as well as giving inits and types. This is the most complicated part of making stats. Every time you pencil in another set of numbers or targets, you'll notice some side effect you don't like, which will cause you to make changes in other places, ad nauseum. Step back every now and again to look at the bigger picture. It's surprisingly easy to get lost in the details and accidentally make one ship hilariously overpowered. The way I tend to go about targetting is to start with 1 fully fleshed out roiding fleet, containing two ships with average inits. Ter is best for this. I then more or less arbitrarily give the four other races one ship that beats the one of the ships, but not both. If you put those ships mostly in roiding classes, then those are ideal starting points for creating the second roiding fleet, and so on.

As you start to fill in more and more classes, targets, types and inits, you'll want to start striving for more and more balance. The way stats balancing tends to work is that there's two different levels of impact a change can have. Changes to the upper tier of class, targetting, type and init have can have huge impact, so you do those first. Changes to the lower tier of armor, guns, power, ERes and cost have little impact: you can do fairly crazy things here without creating major problems. There's no real point in doing delicate fine-tuning with effs and then completely overhauling the balance by changing the inits on half a dozen ships, and likewise, you can't compensate for huge imbalances in the targetting by changing the effs around a bit here and there. Ideally, you'd balance those 2 tiers separately. First the upper tier, then the lower. In practice, you can't fully balance the upper tier, so you use the lower tier to try to fix problems you can't solve in the upper tier.

While you're fleshing out the roiding fleets, you'll automatically start thinking about which races you want to be able to stop each fleet. Since you can only have so many ships in roiding fleets, you'll need to start creating offclass ships to achieve your vision. Don't worry too much about filling in all the details of offclass ships though, since you can shuffle them around more easily than ships in roiding fleets. Once you start running out of offclass ships, you may want to start jotting down little notes next to the ships you've created, to pass your upper tier balancing problem to the lower tier to deal with. Don't worry about specific numbers yet, though, stick to generic things like 'low a/c' or 'high e/r'.

When you're done with the classes, targetting, types and inits, fill in the other fields with generic values, except where your notes say otherwise. It's OK to have a couple of blank spots in the upper tier values before you start with the lower tier, but no more than that. Look at old stats for inspiration of what each race's effs should approximately be like.

And at that point you're ready to show your set to other people to see what they think!

All of the above is a rough guideline. It's perfectly reasonable to deviate from them sometimes if you have a good reason. However, if you find yourself ignoring the guidelines for half of the ships in your stats, there's probably something wrong.



I skipped EMP completely. EMP is a bitch to deal with, because it needs special treatment. but this wall of text has made me tired. Maybe someone else can step up?
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Unread 25 Nov 2015, 04:25   #4
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Re: How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

A personal calculator in which one could feed with multiple calcs at once would be very useful.

The hardest part imo is to understand how each parameter affects the whole. And I think this is only possible to accomplish after studying many many calcs.
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Unread 25 Nov 2015, 15:10   #5
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Re: How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

I think the best way to make a set is to make a set you would enjoy playing first and foremost.
How stats play out is based on what options are viable for alliances, if there is only one or two options viable its mostly a set doomed from the start.

Paper, Scissors, Rock works fine, but in a few set you also have a Shotgun option(R60 ie) wich makes them pretty meaningless to run.

Surely ST sets are a thing of the past, and is very unlikely to be ever runned again in the near future, so the first choice i would make is if its gonna be a 2, 3 pod or asymetrical pod set.
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Unread 25 Nov 2015, 16:15   #6
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Re: How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

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Originally Posted by BloodyButcher View Post
I think the best way to make a set is to make a set you would enjoy playing first and foremost.
This is a thread on: "HOW to make stats."
How do you make a set that you would enjoy playing, if you don't know how to make stats in the first place?
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Unread 25 Nov 2015, 17:27   #7
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Re: How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

Thanks Mzyxptlk for that post. Going to read it a few more times and come back at you with questions. Have to think over a few things that you mentioned.

@BloodyButcher: As TheoDD mentioned if you were going to make stats how would you start off and how would you go about tweaking your stats until you come up with a set your are happy/comfortable with. In a perfect world your first attempt at stats would be perfect but we all know the first set is always a starting off point and then you go about tweaking the unexpected results.

Thanks
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Unread 29 Nov 2015, 06:43   #8
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Re: How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
Smart stuff goes here
Insert "What mz said" here, concerning the whole post. Very well put, as usual.

I'll try to re-iterate one basic point that stands out, since this thread is about 'how to make stats'.

Quote:
It's probably better to follow the beaten path, actually! It's there for a reason. Also decide whether to go ST, limited MT or full MT.
Take that to the bank; don't try to break it.

Look at past stats and average them out or sum it up:

Terran: High Armour/ERES, moderate initiative, typically De/Bs roid fleets. 'Default' race I guess because of high armour and pretty straight-forward stats. Armour, Damage, Initiative. Usually has one ship that gives Xan problems (Peg/Centaur; Fr/De anti-Fi that fires at the same initiative). One Bs ('Wyvern') has a low init versus Fr/De class ships, at least versus Ter/Xan.

Cath: EMP, usually with one or maybe two "normal" ships thrown in. Reference mz's comments on balancing EMP. Ugh. It adds "guns" to the combat equation, and is a bitch to deal with. There is a fine line between enough EMP to be useful, and "over-powered". I'm looking at you, Beetle. Typically a Co/Cr roid fleet. Reference again to zero-loss def ships. Hello Viper.

Xan: All about initiative, and the cloak effect. Often times, there's one non-cloaked ship that's typically there to be a black sheep. Typically a Fi/Fr or Fi/De based roid fleet. If you're not going to follow the beaten path (3 pod class stat set, especially) Xan will be very hard to get "right" because of fakes. This also goes with ally/BG/BP/Fort strats, but makes for a more Xan-heavy universe unless the Xan stats are just total shit. I typically play Xan, though not very well, so that's just my .02 on the last bit. Also, when Xan can roid Xan (especially in different fleets), and a Xan heavy universe...well, not so much fun.

Zik: I'm so poorly qualified to comment on this, I'm not even going to give much opinion. Usually has one pretty darn good kill ship that will ruin one or two other race's attack fleets, and enough armor in its roid fleet ships to survive to cap roids and maybe steal as well (versus Xan, especially). The "stun and steal" tactic remains valid, especially with Co-class Cath and Zik fleets. Covop'ing ships into roiding classes also seems to be pretty useful.

Etd: The bastard child. Usually at least one roid fleet with a combination of EMP/Cloak that makes it pretty appealing especially in team-ups. Lots of options for changing roid fleets/def fleets in all areas of EMP/Cloak/Normal/Steal...I usually look at ETD stats first, because of the options smart players can potentially squeeze out of ETD. Typically one "good' roid fleet, and one "decent" roid fleet...like Zik, usually has a pretty darn good defense ship that ruins another races' attack fleets. I like creative thinking, so this is certainly the race to be creative (but maybe not too creative) with.


Four or five rums in, almost midnight, hopefully some of that makes sense!
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Unread 1 Dec 2015, 10:01   #9
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Re: How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

A few Tips for when you get to your Upper Tier Balance to watch out for. In my opinion having a class able to target itself makes its very hard to balance. Since the ships that do target themselves will always fire at each other. This just leads to the defense needing enough of that ship to deal 100-200k damage and that's it. Enough for just force a recall. You could have 2m value stopped by 500k value because people wont land calls that make you lose value.

The 2nd part and i think this is more vital, Same init fire. It has helped me quite a bit to make all of my ships fire at seperate init(except for emp) and similar reason to above, the defense ships will always win becuase they just need enough value in them to deal the amount of damage that will make people recall. Having a staggered init Line also helps with balance out classes. Example

If you have Fr and De classes and zik/etd are Fr and Xan/Ter are De
Zik Fr fire on De at init 5 With low d/c and medium a/c
Xan De fires on Fr at init 6 Medium D/c and Low A/c
Ter De fires on Fr at init 7 Medium D/c and high A/c
Etd Fr fires on De at init 8 High D/C and Medium A/c

That is what i call a xyyx which in theory The Fr team up is strong because of Ziks fire 1st on De, however it is easy for de to turn the table once the value's get bigger.

The other option is the XyXy Which would give X the strong advantage and mean that y would be basically useless unless its other interactions were way better. The XyXy set up is better when dealing with downward eta firing. Such as Fi vs Fr
Etd Fr fires on Fi at init 5 With medium d/c and low damage
Xan Fi fires on Fr at init 6 With high D/c and low a/c
Zik Fr fires on Fi at init 7 with High D/c and Meduim a/c
Ter Fi fires on Fr at init 8 With Medium D/c and High A/c

In this case it can work because the Fi has the etd advantage defensively and Fr won't under most circumstances be used to defend Fi.

Both the XyXy and XyyX ideas have their places and should be mixed evenly across stats it best not to just focus on 1 of them but to include both.

Last the idea behind excess off roiding class ships. This part is where people try to fill in gaps they make in the roiding fleets. The decision to make a ship off roid class is one that you have to do for a reason. Usually to fill a gap in a races targeting; and they often go one of two ways. 1) They are either never built and useless or 2) They are OP to hell and abused. If you are making an off class ship just make sure you check out to make sure its not breaking more than 1 race/roidclass.
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Unread 1 Dec 2015, 19:03   #10
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Re: How to make stats, Best practice approach requested

Those are 3 solid points.
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