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 Post subject: The Lurg Prawn (Project 6014)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:47 pm 
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Arilou wiseguy
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:03 am
Posts: 199
I'm responsible for this thing. P6014 got dropped a long time ago obviously, but I recently read some old forum posts and watched some YouTube videos to see that the Prawn has garnered some negative reactions. I thought I'd put up a response detailing what I was trying to do when I designed it.

Quick refresher: The Lurg Prawn has low top speed, medium acceleration, and fast turning. Its primary armament shoots a long-range projectile that travels forward and swerves left and right in a serpentine pattern, inflicting 4 damage on contact. Its secondary armament deploys many defensive pods that linger for a long duration before expiry, inflict no damage upon contact with the opposing ship, but slightly impede the opposing ship's trajectory and turn rate. The pods block projectiles such as Earthling missiles and absorb shots from Chmmr satellites. The main gun draws a moderate amount of energy to fire, while the pods are cheap and spammable. The ship's battery can be depleted for a time if the main gun is used too heavily. Finally, the Prawn passively regenerates crew at a very slow rate.

The other 6014 ships never got proper AIs written for them, but this one did. It follows a very defensive script, keeping away from its opponent as best as it can, deploying pods everywhere, and turning back around to hurl out shots when a pursuer follows after it. The plan was for the Prawn to break many common strategies players learned from SC2 and force them to try new things. Remember kiting things with Fwiffo? I do! Most enemies in SC2's adventure mode could be picked apart while playing "keep away". This carried over into PvP, where new players trying out online melee in #uqm-arena would default to running away and kiting most of the time, much to my disgust. With that in mind, I wanted this ship to be something players absolutely could not kite or snipe at from safety, something that forces them to be pro-active against. Being defensive and perhaps irritating itself didn't matter if it made the player try other tactics.

To people who found Lurg too hard: The intended solutions to the Lurg Prawn are Chmmr, Utwig, and Yehat; big bruisers which can chase the Prawn down, withstand its attacks, then punch its face in. Yes guys, you're supposed to attack the ship. If it's making tedious, drawn-out matches, it's because you won't attack it. The correct approach is not supposed to be a cakewalk, but it's really not that hard with some practice. We all had to practice some to learn how to kite things with Spathi, remember that?

To people who found Lurg too easy: So you used Chmmr and steamrolled the fight at the end of the demo. In the full game, that's intended to be the last time you have access to the Chmmr Avatar (spoiler: they're antagonists). Thus, getting good with "blocking" ships becomes a component of beating P6014, and everyone gets to learn the joy of a new and different playstyle.

Why is the Prawn built to wreck flanking ships (Pkunk, Slylandro, Arilou), given that those are among the most aggressive types in Star Control? That wasn't my goal, it just happened that way. If I had designed other enemies, I would have built at least one that would be best handled by flanking ships.

The one regret I have is that there's no way for the player to know that the pods it drops don't deal any damage. People see dozens of moving bubbles and instinctively don't want their ship to touch them. The Prawn's counters are not intuitive because of this. Perhaps different art would have communicated that the pods were obstacles, not dangers, or changing the movement pattern of said pods to move slower, but home in on the enemy ship and its projectiles so as to continue being a good defense. I imagine the Prawn would have gotten more work on ship balance or AI if the project had continued full steam.

Yes, it's a gimmicky ship. A flawed design? Maybe. Full disclosure, the Lurg were not intended to be the big bad of P6014, and the Chmmr weren't either. We never got around to making the actual end-game threat, but if they had a ship I assure you I would have gone out of my way to make it a total bastard in a completely different way.


Last edited by Shiver on Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lurg Prawn (Project 6014)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:50 am 
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Wise Pkunk

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:01 pm
Posts: 324
Thank you for explaining your whys for a ship you designed.
Having never player Project 6014, I haven't seen the ship before, so I can't really say.
But the way you described your intentions I started thinking all the time "okay, this tactic won't work, nor that one, huh? be careful when moving in with light ships then,...."...
I like the ideas, and I agree that in-game balancing would've happened later.
But with the amount of ships SC has, you will always find combinations which are close to unplayable.
Adding more ships will just make it all more difficult to balance so that each ship can beat eacch other ship (when respecting the RU or point value of the ships).

E.g. using the Shofixti to fight Mycon is enormously difficult. As Mycon I tended to only fire when the Shofixti had a certain distance from me (to avoid blasting myself), and focus on repairing. There are few Human pilots who can actually USE the pea shooter of the Shofixti and cause damage. And the self-destruct could not take a podship down.


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 Post subject: Re: The Lurg Prawn (Project 6014)
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:44 am 
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Arilou wiseguy
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:03 am
Posts: 199
krulle wrote:
But with the amount of ships SC has, you will always find combinations which are close to unplayable.
Adding more ships will just make it all more difficult to balance so that each ship can beat eacch other ship (when respecting the RU or point value of the ships).

That's somewhat true for PvP, but balancing ships for a single player campaign really isn't that precarious. I was even willing to have ships that weren't great for PvP if it meant they worked well for the main game. The biggest challenge is in programming a decent AI.


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