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Plane

LT range bug

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Qzz9dOn.png


Let's talk about range on Lightning Towers.  Here's how it's supposed to work:

 ・ The initial attack hits up to "Attack Range" units away and needs line of sight.  That's 38.23 in the screen shot.
 ・ Each subsequent chain picks a new target and does not need line of sight.
 ・ The chain stops when the total length of all attacks reaches "Max Chain Length", which is 95.57 in the screen shot.
 ・ If the chain reaches "Max Chain targets" before it reaches that length, it stops early.

However, this code doesn't actually work.  It's supposed to keep adding the length of each segment of lightning, but it doesn't.  It keeps adding zero instead, which makes the actual behavior slightly different:

 ・ The initial attack hits up to "Attack Range" units away and needs line of sight. 
 ・ Each subsequent chain picks a new target and does not need line of sight.
 ・ The distance between each pair of targets in the chain must be less than "Max Chain Length" minus "Attack Range".
 ・ If the chain reaches "Max Chain targets" and no other targets are in that range, it stops early.

In other words, there is effectively no maximum chain length.  Lightning can easily chain all over the map back and forth, but this is a bug. 


The intended range is actually quite huge:

ZZXRSIe.png

The inner sphere shows the range of the initial hit with 2.8k range, while the outer sphere shows the maximum chain length, which is larger than the entire Moonbase.  So even if this bug were fixed, LTs would still be able to hit the entire map.  However, chains don't typically go in a straight line out from the center, so although they would sometimes hit the far reaches of the map, they wouldn't hit the whole map consistently anymore, zig-zagging back and forth across the entire map nonsensically.

Fixing this bug would be a nerf, but not a massive one.  I was still able to play Moonbase NMHC survival and ToL with the LT cheese build even with the bug fixed, and I didn't make any changes to the builds.  You would probably notice having a lower range stat a bit more, though.  Right now the only useful effect of the range stat is "Max Chain Targets".

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FYI this is another informational post.  I'm not proposing fixing it.  I don't think the community can come to a consensus on any LT nerf, so I don't think it would happen even if I pushed for it.  But I know a lot of people are still hoping for an LT nerf since the current meta is pretty boring.

So if you think we should or should definitely not fix it, responses are still welcome :)

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@Plane quote:

FYI this is another informational post.  I'm not proposing fixing it.  I don't think the community can come to a consensus on any LT nerf, so I don't think it would happen even if I pushed for it.  But I know a lot of people are still hoping for an LT nerf since the current meta is pretty boring.

So if you think we should or should definitely not fix it, responses are still welcome :)

IMO LT's are the new minions, People have gotten so invested into them changing them will be more harmful.I don't use them as much as others, but my opinion. 

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For the record, I support fixing this. I knew there was something hella wonky about the chain range, but I couldn't figure out what weird stuff it was doing.

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I feel that fixing this might be too similar to the bad game design mention in plane's other post. (read: that it wouldn't affect how anyone uses LTs, just annoys people by making things take longer).

I'm on the fence about it, but I'll make my vote: 'keep it how it is' at present until we can come up with a solution that, to me, actually makes the game better (cough, buffing other towers to change the meta, cough).

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You could never buff other towers enough to make them viable in comparison to LTs as-is. They basically hit everything on the entire map once they're triggered. It doesn't even need line-of-sight to chain onto stuff once it's started. The only question is whether your stats are high enough to push over every map.

If you can consistently hit and kill everything on the entire map with LTs, no tower would ever come close regardless of how overbuffed they are. Why use a fireball tower that kills anything in front of it if your lightning towers can do the same, but in every direction and without line of sight?

Before the LT buff we had the same thing with auras dominating every build for the same reason -- if you can plug every possible route to the crystals with one omnidirectional defense, then all that's left is to block ogres until they're dealt with.

The fact that auras remain in almost every Nightmare build despite the gigantic range penalty is a testament to the overwhelming power of reliable omnidirectional defenses.

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I believe that this "bug" might actually have been a poorly implemented design decision. "Max chain length" better reads as "max segment length" or "max distance between targetts".

The "bug" is really that our endgame stats have reached a point where the number of times it can chain and the max distance gets stupid.

Personally, given that this behavior has been this way for a very long time, I'd rather tweak the damage output with the current functionality rather than change the functionality.

I mean, if it doesn't have drastic implications as stated I'd be okay with it, but I imagine quite a few ppl would be opposed.

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The bug was introduced with the LT rebalance in 8.2.  We don't necessarily have to change it, but if we keep it the way it is I can rewrite the code to do the same thing more efficiently.  Actually, i've been working on a number of optimizations, so next patch should have better FPS hopefully . . .

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I just don't like that LTs basically turned into mega electric auras -- massively higher damage and range (without the NM range penalty), and for all intents and purposes it consistently hits everything within its comically massive max range once it sees a single target.

The closest thing it has to a drawback compared to electrics is that it can be attacked, but even that can easily be a bonus considering it doesn't wear down over time and the aggro can be used to better control ogres.

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@Zurkov quote:

I just don't like that LTs basically turned into mega electric auras -- massively higher damage and range (without the NM range penalty), and for all intents and purposes it consistently hits everything within its comically massive max range once it sees a single target.

The closest thing it has to a drawback compared to electrics is that it can be attacked, but even that can easily be a bonus considering it doesn't wear down over time and the aggro can be used to better control ogres.

LTs are very, very good, but they can't actually replace elec auras because they don't consistently tick on all of the targets in their range.  Number of chain targets scales with the range stat and does not increase with buff / rdb / monk guardian:

    range   # of targets
       0         6
       5         9
      10        11
      50       18
     100      23
     200     29
     300     33
     400     37
     500     39
     750     45
    1000     50
    1500     57
    2000    63
    2500    68
    3000    73
    3500    77
    4000    80
    4500    84
    5000    87
    5500    90
    6000    92
    6500    95
    7000    98
    7500    100

Number of monsters can reach well over 100, though, sometimes over 500 (Moonbase NMHC during djinn rush).  That can leave monsters free to walk toward your defenses without being ticked by LTs because the LTs are waiting to kill their current targets before taking more.  Elec auras will reliably tick anything in their range, and this means they're worth using even in LT builds most of the time.

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At this point this question isn't how to nerf them, the question is what change the community will tolerate now that they're relied upon for almost every build.

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I personally fully support this bug fix. If anything, it would make more sense visually where a LT is attacking, as opposed to seeing lightning bolts strewn across the entire map. Even though it's still OP, at least it wouldn't be visually distracting seeing blue line spam everywhere.

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I'm with Alhanalem on this.  We cannot just assume that Trendy's previous work is a "bug" if we don't agree with it.  A mislabeling is much more likely.  Assuming this sort of thing is a "bug" is the same attitude that brought us the genie mana "fix" that was only backed by a few people in CDT (definitely not me) .  That was a large waste of the communities time and good will.

As a note, chaining between enemies through walls and without line-of-sight check is an atypical behavior for these attacks in games, movies, etc.  The game doesn't specify anywhere that it should chain through walls, it just does.  The DST description specifically states traveling through walls.  The only place I've seen a reference to LTs going through walls is on wikia.  I'm one of the last people who wants to change an existing behavior or functionality, restricting it to chains to require line of sight however would nerf it.  Very lengthy play testing would be required and effectiveness would vary a lot between levels.  MB would suffer much more than say ToL.


@Alhanalem quote:

I believe that this "bug" might actually have been a poorly implemented design decision. "Max chain length" better reads as "max segment length" or "max distance between targetts".

The "bug" is really that our endgame stats have reached a point where the number of times it can chain and the max distance gets stupid.

Personally, given that this behavior has been this way for a very long time, I'd rather tweak the damage output with the current functionality rather than change the functionality.

I mean, if it doesn't have drastic implications as stated I'd be okay with it, but I imagine quite a few ppl would be opposed.


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As I understand it, this bug did not exist before the CDT released the LT rebalance. Saying we cannot know or judge the intentions of Trendy in regard to this bug is a pretty weak argument if this bug did not exist in any version of the game that they released. If the CDT introduced this bug, I see absolutely no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to fix it.

The genie bug was also pretty clearly an oversight rather than an intentional effect, but it is so heavily relied upon by the community that patching it out at this point would make the game much harder and generally less fun, mostly because there are no other alternatives for rapidly upgrading defenses. I dare say lightning towers are not the only option for clearing maps.

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@gunnerq69 quote:

I'm with Alhanalem on this.  We cannot just assume that Trendy's previous work is a "bug" if we don't agree with it.

Your reply doesn't make any sense.  This bug was introduced by the CDT, not Trendy.

That said, while it's impossible to say it isn't a bug (it is obvious that a person who shall remain unnamed on the CDT tried to optimize Trendy's code and broke it accidentally), I am not arguing it needs to be fixed.

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Well if you're not gonna argue it needs to be fixed, I will :)

  • It was a bug introduced by the CDT, not Trendy. If we broke it, we should be able to fix it.
  • They are ridiculously OP, a minor nerf is absolutely justified
  • Despite the "nerf", LT spam builds still work
  • We won't see lightning arc spam that literally goes back and forth across the entire map; instead they will be chains that actually make sense

I'm open to counterarguments, but I am definitely of the opinion they should be fixed.

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buggy code can lead to lag, if I can get a few extra frames on some maps it's way worth it. More frames = faster clearing, so sick of low fps slow motion on moonbase for example. If this has even the slightest chance of helping, YES PLEASE!

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@Toomuchsugar quote:

buggy code can lead to lag, if I can get a few extra frames on some maps it's way worth it. More frames = faster clearing, so sick of low fps slow motion on moonbase for example. If this has even the slightest chance of helping, YES PLEASE!

The current code calculates the square root of zero many times in a tight loop.  I have already changed this to remove the useless square roots but I didn't change the existing behavior at all.

Actually, I hunted down lots of useless sqrt calls.  I've been working on trying to improve performance generally, and getting rid of sqrts is part of that.  Doing that has helped a surprising amount, at least in my tests (may depend on your hardware and workload whether you see the same improvements).

I don't think fixing LT range would lead to a performance improvement, though.  In my tests it did the opposite because I ended up with more monsters on the map at once (at least on Moonbase survival).  :/

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No to get side-tracked, but a "bug" or "glitch" can become an intention behavior or feature.  Glitches have even defined whole genres of games. See Space Invaders/Street Fighter 2/etc http://www.cracked.com/article_19262_6-glitches-that-accidentally-invented-modern-gaming.html
With that information and the Fact that I had verbal/written confirmation from 2 Trendy employees that players enjoyed the genie glitch such that it was intentionally included in DDE with the same behavior... it is not a bug.

The bug remark is to avoid things such as "There is a bug with Harbinger's ranged attack it shoots through reflects".  Then this is an easy reason/excuse to make game-play changes.  I personally don't like the reflect ignoring, but that is how it was designed.


@Zurkov quote:

As I understand it, this bug did not exist before the CDT released the LT rebalance. Saying we cannot know or judge the intentions of Trendy in regard to this bug is a pretty weak argument if this bug did not exist in any version of the game that they released. If the CDT introduced this bug, I see absolutely no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to fix it.

The genie bug was also pretty clearly an oversight rather than an intentional effect, but it is so heavily relied upon by the community that patching it out at this point would make the game much harder and generally less fun, mostly because there are no other alternatives for rapidly upgrading defenses. I dare say lightning towers are not the only option for clearing maps.


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@gunnerq69 quote:

No to get side-tracked, but a "bug" or "glitch" can become an intention behavior or feature.  Glitches have even defined whole genres of games.

Sure, I agree.  Currently it's a bug, but if we decide not to fix it, then it becomes a design decision.  The same thing was true when Trendy chose not to fix genie swirling.

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