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Old 16-10-2014, 07:52 PM   #1
Vanshilar
Abandonia nerd

 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Posts: 79
Default The Grandest Fleet

I was looking for a naval game lately and found this one. It's not on Abandonia though but I'd like to start a discussion on it since I don't see much about it on the Internet.

I played The Lost Admiral (from the same maker, QQP) which is on the site, but after a while wanted something a little bit "bigger" or more expansive; I also liked how the flagship could become more powerful in TLA and was looking for something that expanded on this. Fortunately The Grandest Fleet had both, while retaining many (though not all) of the gameplay characteristics of TLA.

As a long-term project I'd probably want to write a guide for this game but that's really really far away and there's a fair chance that I'll never get around to it before getting bored with the game and move on, so instead I'll put some nuggets that I've found in this thread in the event that I never compile them into a guide. One of the criticisms of this game was that the manual was severely lacking, so hopefully I can remedy some of that. I tend to focus on game mechanics and game file editing.

(This has happened in the past -- I was going to do a writeup of The Dark Heart of Uukrul but got bored with it after a bit and wanted to play a strategy game instead, so the work I did is posted here but likely won't be updated for a while until I feel like playing an RPG again; I tend to wander between RPG and strategy games.)

One of the things that I like about The Grandest Fleet is that the damage that you do isn't random -- you know when you attack just how much damage you'll be doing to the enemy. Not all damage is like this though; for example, whether or not your planes get shot down by AA is somewhat random. But at least they'll do their full damage. So this rewards thinking clearly about how you should use your forces. I played Empire Deluxe for a while but felt it was lacking in this respect -- in Empire, because which unit dies when two units fight is based on a random roll, sometimes you'll have a "super-unit" that kills many of your units even though you're doing the right strategy so to speak (sending units at it). Thus, what gets rewarded is being lucky, rather than having the right strategy. This is especially annoying in the early game when there are few units and each unit is valuable.

So the first game mechanic that I'll look at is the flagship abilities. There are 12 of them. I'll describe them below, using the in-game text for them followed by my comments:

Repairs self and nearby ships slightly each turn: like the repair ability of a Super TR, will heal self and adjacent units for 2 HP per turn (3 HP per turn for Battleships and Cruisers). This can also be used to heal Forts and Bombers. It does not replenish carrier planes. It does not stack with other repair abilities (port or repair yard or Super TR); whichever heals the highest takes precedence.
Can displace randomly away from enemy: Press "r" to use this ability. As far as I can tell, moves the flagship to a random spot on the map.
Negates victory points of nearby enemy cities: Negates an enemy city's VP if the flagship is 6 or fewer hexes away from the city's port.
Can be used to build a small ship every turn: On each turn, can make 1 Destroyer, P.T. Boat, Sub, A.T., or Transport.
Can be used to build a large ship on even turns: On even turns, can make 1 Carrier, CVL, Battleship, or Cruiser.
Can be used to build a super ship on odd turns: On odd turns, can make 1 Super CV, Super BB, Super SS, Super DD, or Super TR.
Fires cruise missiles during combat: Haven't played around with this on the flagship, but on the Super BB, it has a range of 6 and does the same damage as the regular Battleship's (ranged) attack, so the flagship cruise missile is likely the same. (In other words, the flagship not only has planes, but can fire like a Battleship with a range of 6!)
Moves faster than normal: Moves 6 instead of 4 hexes per turn.
Scans out farther than normal: Sees out to a range of 10 instead of 6 hexes.
Provides additional anti air shots nearby: Does 3 AA damage on own and adjacent hexes, 2 AA damage for 2 hexes away, and 1 AA damage for 3 hexes away. Compare this with the standard AA of 3 AA damage on own hex and 2 AA damage on adjacent hexes.
Invades cities particularly well: Has invasion 24 instead of 6.
Flys long distance out for air attacks: Planes fly for 10 instead of 6 range.

It turns out that what special ability you get isn't random but depends on your military ranking (C War Off, Lieutenant, Admiral, etc.). I'm still working on collecting data for this. (I wrote up a script to make new games, look at the flagship abilities, save the screenshots, then quit, and another script that tabulates the abilities based on the screenshots.) One of the most obvious ones is that you only start out with 1 ability, but you get 2 abilities at the higher rankings. It does not seem to depend on your political rating though; I don't know what the purpose of the political rating is other than to draw out how long it takes before you "beat" the game by getting the highest rating possible.

Additionally, which of those abilities you get depends on your military ranking as well. So far what I've determined is that as a C War Off (the first ranking with a flagship), the only abilities that you can get are the moves faster, scan farther, and additional AA abilities, each with equal (1/3) probability. As a Fl Admiral (highest ranking), you have a roughly 10% chance of getting the negate VP, super ship, or cruise missile abilities, and a roughly 19% chance of getting each of the other 9 abilities. Additionally, if you get one of those 3 abilities, you will never get another one of those 3 abilities as the other ability. So those are "rare" abilities so to speak; they are also pretty powerful. I'm working on collecting data for all the different rankings to see what abilities you can get at each ranking.

Finally, I just wanted to end with a potential bug about submarines: how to move 5 (instead of the usual 4) hexes per turn while submerged. It's in the spoiler tag.

spoiler

Last edited by Vanshilar; 16-10-2014 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 19-10-2014, 08:00 PM   #2
Vanshilar
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Posts: 79
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Okay so this is how the game determines which flagship abilities you should get:

There's basically 4 "tiers" of abilities. Each tier consists of 3 abilities plus the abilities from the previous tier. The tiers are:

Tier 1:
Moves faster than normal
Scans out farther than normal
Provides additional anti air shots nearby

Tier 2:
Moves faster than normal
Scans out farther than normal
Provides additional anti air shots nearby
Repairs self and nearby ships slightly each turn
Can be used to build a small ship every turn
Invades cities particularly well

Tier 3:
Moves faster than normal
Scans out farther than normal
Provides additional anti air shots nearby
Repairs self and nearby ships slightly each turn
Can be used to build a small ship every turn
Invades cities particularly well
Can displace randomly away from enemy
Can be used to build a large ship on even turns
Flys long distance out for air attacks

Tier 4:
Moves faster than normal
Scans out farther than normal
Provides additional anti air shots nearby
Repairs self and nearby ships slightly each turn
Can be used to build a small ship every turn
Invades cities particularly well
Can displace randomly away from enemy
Can be used to build a large ship on even turns
Flys long distance out for air attacks
Negates victory points of nearby enemy cities
Can be used to build a super ship on odd turns
Fires cruise missiles during combat

The special ability or abilities that you get depend on your military ranking. It doesn't depend on your political ranking far as I can tell, and I don't know what the political ranking really does. The abilities don't repeat (i.e. you won't get two of "build small ships" for example). The abilities will be:

War Off: None (no flagship)
C War Off: Tier 1
Ensign: Tier 2
Lieutenant: Tier 3
Commander: Tier 3 + Tier 1
Captain: Tier 3 + Tier 2
Admiral: Tier 4 + Tier 2
Fl Admiral: Tier 4 + Tier 3

Data for this is via script of making new games + screenshots of the flagship desc. Other than 4242 samples for the Fl Admiral (because I tested two conditions), the others averaged 1449 samples each.

Note that the flagship starts at 10 HP at C War Off, and increases by 2 HP per ranking up to 22 HP at Fl Admiral.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:30 AM   #3
Vanshilar
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Location: Los Angeles, United States
Posts: 79
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This post is about the bonuses that the AI gets at different difficulties.

The data is stored in DIFF.DAT. There are 6 two-byte values for each difficulty, stored in little-endian (smallest units first) form. The values are:

* Percentage bonus to starting ship points
* Unknown
* Worth in notches for that AI level (how much your ranking changes based on outcome of battle)
* Culture bonus per turn
* Tech bonus per turn
* Resources bonus per turn

For starting ship points, if it's a battle with no special start, then that percentage bonus is applied to the AI's starting ship points. If it's a battle using historical start or a campaign, then roughly 7/8 of the percentage bonus is applied (there are some off-by-1 rounding differences from just taking 7/8 of the percentage bonus). So those are slightly easier at the higher difficulties and slightly harder at the lower difficulties compared to a battle with no special start. In either case, 40 points is then added on top of this. I suppose the 40 points is to roughly offset the benefit of the free flagship.

I don't know what the unknown variable does. It's somewhat strange because it's 0 for the lowest difficulties, then goes up to 20 at difficulty 4, and decreases from there.

For the culture, tech, and resource bonuses, those are applied on top of whatever the computer naturally gets from cities. Strategically, this bonus is more significant in the early stages, when both sides are still trying to get established.

Based on the numbers, it seems like AI difficulty 9 is the "fairest"; the AI doesn't get any penalties nor bonuses at this difficulty (other than the 40 starting points bonus).

I have no idea if the AI actually changes its strategies based on difficulty, or if the same strategies are used regardless of difficulty and the difficulties only affect the bonuses that the AI gets.

The data from DIFF.DAT is below:

Code:
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21  AI difficulty
-40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5  0  7 15 22 30 37 45 52 60 67 75 82 90  Starting points % bonus
  0   0   0  20  20  20  20 20 15 10 10 10 10  5  5  5  5  5  5  5  5  Unknown
  1   1   1   2   2   2   3  3  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15  Worth in notches
  0   0   0   0   0   0   0  0  0  0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11  Bonus culture points per turn
  0   0   0   0   0   0   0  0  0  0  0  1  1  1  2  2  2  3  3  3  4  Bonus tech points per turn
  0   0   0   0   0   0   0  0  0  1  1  2  2  3  3  4  4  5  5  6  6  Bonus resource points per turn
Tested starting points values are below:

Code:
  1   5   9  13  17  21  AI difficulty
-40 -20   0  30  60  90  Starting points % bonus
 85                 182  Battle 75 points (no special start)
160                 420  Battle 200 points (no special start)
265 340             752  Battle 375 points (no special start)
137 164 190 229 268 308  Battle 150 points (historical start)
170                 398  Campaign 200 points
202 247 290 355 420 487  Battle 250 points (historical start)
267 330             666  Battle 350 points (historical start)
378                 970  Campaign 520 points
Oh. I also found a bug that allows you to see where the computer units are even if you're not supposed to see them:

spoiler

Last edited by Vanshilar; 03-11-2014 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:09 PM   #4
Vanshilar
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Posts: 79
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By the way...does anyone know what differences exist between The Grandest Fleet and The Grandest Fleet 2? The HotuD site says GF2 has updated AI and more diverse "what-if" scenarios, but so far, I haven't noticed any difference with the AI (the AI parameter files are identical at least), and the scenario files are also identical. I don't know if I just got a "bad" copy or something, although the splash screen does say GF2 as opposed to GF. So I can't figure out what's different between the two.
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