Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hitmaps: One plot to evaluate jousting ability

How dangerous is a given pilot ? Or is this pilot worth it, compared to this other pilot, in terms of offensive power ? Is this pilot worth his points ?
Hitmaps are 2D plots that try to evaluate the offensive power of a unit. It simply combines the positions it can reach in one maneuver and action, with the % to hit an enemy unit.
You can display hitmaps in Squadron benchmark, when building a new squad.

What does hitmap mean ?

Well, that's not a heatmap, but the idea is to show how dangerous a pilot is with a single 2D plot.
Take for instance a Prototype Pilot in his A-Wing. His initial position is indicated in the right plot by the small square. After a 1 straight maneuver, his position is just below the colored orange arc and he can fire on any enemy in his primary firing arc, indicated in orange, yellow and green.
The different colors indicate different % to hit, when the target is an Academy Pilot. Orange: 72.23%, Yellow: 47.6% and Green: 34.9%. The Academy pilot has no focus token, no evade. The Prototype Pilot does a Target Lock. There are different % due to the range bonus.
 Now, assume the Pilot performs a 3 straight. Again, you see the same plot, slightly moved upward.
The colored arc shows positions of the Academy Pilot that can be shot by the Prototype Pilot.
If we consider that the pilot can either perform a 1 straight or a 3 straight, the best shots are shown here, by taking the maximum % of both previous arcs. How is it computed ? Quite simply, all arcs for a given range are computed, sorted according to their % to hit and then displayed in order, starting with the smallest % to hit.
Finally, if you consider in turn each possible move, with each possible action from the action bar, the combined colored arcs give, when taking the max %, the following plot in the left.
Only actions of the action bar are taken into account. Here the 4 actions in green on the card.
We can see there are 4 ranges for a Prototype Pilot. 3 ranges that can be reach, with a focus or target lock. And 1 range, the dark green one, that can only be reach with a boost.
The pilot is the most dangerous when he can shoot in the orange zone. This corresponds to range 1. The pilot can fire at the zone corresponding to the position he has left only if he performs a K maneuver.
The circles around the initial position show the different ranges from this position. Range 1 correspond to the first circle, range 2 to the second, ...So an A-Wing can fire up to range 5 from its initial position.  

Comparing T-70 and T-65 X-Wings with their hitmaps

Let's use the hitmaps to compare now some pilots between the old and new version of the X-Wing.  Let's start with the two cheapest pilots for each. We can immediately see that the Blue Sq. Novice has a wider range of attack, provided by its additional boost action. The Novice can also attack better at the rear, thanks to its two Talon Roll maneuvers.

If you add some  engine upgrade to the Rookie Pilot X-Wing, we have then the following hitmap:
This is very similar to the Blue Squadron Novice hitmap, but it's more expensive, has no TR maneuver and takes one modification upgrade slot. Not convincing, in term of offensive power, the vanilla T-70 is of course better.

Now let's consider some unique T-65 pilots.
Wedge has only an offensive capacity, if we add a Engine Upgrade, the hitmap is very red ! 93% in the center, 46% at the farthest. That's 6.5% better when shooting at range 1, nearly 10% better at range 3, after a boost.
Definitely deadly.

Blue Ace is a T-70 ace that adds maneuverability. Well, that doesn't show much on his hitmap. There are a few better (orange) arcs at the bottom, and obvisouly this pilot can fire at opponent that follow him, but this is not improving the % to hit for straight/bank or turn maneuvers.

 For 'Snap', this is quite different. The zone where he can shoot with 87% chance to hit is much larger than any other X-Wing pilot so far. Even when overextending with a boost, he manages to shoot with a 59% chance to hit. More than 1 chance out of 2 !
Wedge shoots harder when at range 1 (6.5% better) but overall, Snap is able to perform better for all its attack range, and is 5 points cheaper.

Ello Atsy is not bad, firing after a TR and performing a focus or TL makes a round hitmap: It is as if he had a turret, at the cost of maneuvering: he can fire equally in all directions. That's nice, but not really competitive when compared to Snap or Wedge.

 And to finish, the best ace for T-70s, Poe Dameron. He is very similar to Wedge with an engine upgrade. The different colors correspond for Wedge to 93%, 83%, 72%, 46% and to 94%, 82%, 70%, 53% for Poe.
While Wedge is only good at shooting, Poe ability is also nice for defense, as you keep the focus token. And then it's a T-70, so more upgrade slots, native boost, TR.
So, what would be a more dangerous version of Poe, for a single shot ? This snipper version could be equipped with "Crack shot", Weapon Guidance and a Vectored Thruster (for improving a bit the range of its weapon). He is a bit expensive but there's a 99.5% chance that he can hit an Academy Pilot at range 1, after a move, and at its extreme range, there's still a 80% chance to hit. That's essentially the effect of "Crack shot", and  Weapon Guidance only improves the % slightly.

That's all for now ! Feel free to try more comparison with hitmaps.
If you have ideas for displaying in a similar fashion the defensive power + maneuverability of a ship, I'm opened to suggestions ! :-)
Cheers !

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wave 10, scenarios, squad creation with new metrics, guide and more

Back to Squadron Benchmark, after a few months of hard work !
Quite a few new features in this release. Many thanks to Ynot for keeping the simulator alive was I was away from it.

In brief, this release has the following features:
  • New design for the page: All in one page, with 4 main areas, a home showing main features of the web app, one screen for squad building, for combat and for the hangar.
  • Wave 10 units: Nearly all units have been implemented. New units, upgrades and condition cards. That's 238 pilots and 248 upgrades working (or nearly working, depending on bugs). Many bugs have been corrected. Now the AI is starting to move in formation. That's a start.
  • Squad builder: I integrated small parts of the Beginner Strategy Guide from Flipperoverlord. There is much more in the guide than what you will see in the squad builder. Upgrades and pilots are given stars and a small advice to guide beginners is integrated. For each pilot, you have access to 2 graphs: one is the "Hitmap", a nice 2D display of both the maneuverability of a pilot and its capacity to hit an enemy, the other, titled "Moves", just shows the set of positions that can reach a pilot after a maneuver and an action. Finally, you can print the lists, export them as a link or as XWS JSON.
  • Combat: Now there are scenarios ! To begin with, there are 4 scenarios. Expect different areas of play, some challenges (I hope) and moving asteroids...The page shows also the lists of the latest 5 tournaments entered in X-Wing List Juggler web site. It's updated automatically, so it will be modified regularly. Edit, modify, print the recent lists. 
    EDIT: Hangar page no longer exist, merged with Combat page to minimize the clicks.
Squad Builder Screen
 For each pilot and upgrade, you now have access to the advice given in the Beginner's Strategy Guide from Flipperoverlord. Stars are also given. The stars given to the pilots are mine, deducted from the advice in the Strategy Guide. This guide is a great source of advice for all players.
For ships, you can now see if it has a primary weapon that is a turret, a simple laser or another weapon with auxiliary firing arc.
You can filter pilots and ships according to their cost, their maneuver, their upgrade, action or their wave number. You can also filter by text: For instance, if you put "additional attack die" in the top text line, you will see only pilots that have "additional attack die" in their explanation.

Once a pilot has been selected, you have access to different menus: Upgrades, Moves, Hitmap and Dial. Upgrades is for selecting upgrades, dial shows the dial (dynamically updated according to upgrades), Moves displays the different positions that the pilot can reach after one maneuver and one action. No slam yet.
The red square shows the starting position.

The Hitmap is a bit more complex and this will be discussed in details in the future post: The objective of this graph is to show if your pilot, with his upgrades, is a strong jouster, and at which range. Assume your pilot is firing at an Academy Pilot. The Academy Pilot has no upgrade, no modification, no focus, nothing and he has already moved.  How much chance do you have to inflict at least 1 damage to this ship after one move, one maneuver and one shot ? The Academy Pilot rolls green dices. Of course, it depends on where the Academy Pilot is.
The plot shows this. The initial position of  your pilot is given by the small square, marked with a red cross. For the different positions of the Academy Pilot, there is one pixel of color representing the % of chance to hit him. For instance, the white cross shows that if the Academy Pilot is at this position, you have a 72.23% chance to hit him. In order to have this percentage, a possible maneuver is 3 straight and choosing a target lock.
You can see there is some gradient of colors. The orange one shows the highest %, because you shoot at the Academy Pilot at range 1, with a Target Lock. Greener zones indicate a higher range, or positions that can be fired at after an acceleration (no target lock), boost or a red maneuver.  The scale goes from intense red (nearly 100% chance to hit) to dark green (0%).  When several moves and actions allow to shoot at the same position, only the best % is shown. For instance, a 5 straight + targetlock and a 3 straight + a boost leads to the same location, but the target lock improves greatly the % to hit, so only this value of % is shown.

The hitmap is a  tool to compare different pilots, the effects of upgrades, new weapons, titles, ...Of course, only the offensive effects are shown here. Support pilots have a value but this is not shown here. Only one shoot is shown (cluster and TLT shoot twice however). Finally, the actions considered are only target lock, focus, evade, roll, boost and cloak, so far. Additional actions provided by crew, astromech, ... are not taken into account. Push the limit should work, but this may increase dramatically the time to compute the hitmap. All these images are computed in your browser (nothing is precomputed), so it's probably better to test this with a recent enough computer, and a powerful enough.
Feel free to play  and comment this new feature !

Combat Screen
You can still make a free combat, choosing both team 1 and 2, either building them, typing them directly in the text area, pasting there an XWS export or selecting one of the teams available in the Hangar.
You can also play a scenario. For this, simply select your team 1 and press "play" for the scenario. A scenario is only a particular setup, where one of the team is predefined (the one played by the AI). You can still choose your  squadlist , as you wish. For "A secret trench", it's possible to do it with only one fast ship. For large ships, this will be a bit challenging. For the battle of Yavin, 3 ships (X-Wings ?) are nice. For the 2 other scenarios, any 100pts squad list can be chosen. Remember that the zone of play is indicated by dotted white points. Going outside of this zone after a move means instant death. This is particularly true for the 2 Death Star scenarios, for both sides. And for the "Pirate Magic Roundabout", only the scum pirates have a very limited zone.

You can also design new scenarios. Up for now, it is not possible to publish them, but you can replay them as you wish and they will be saved in your browser. Next version, it will be possible to publish them and maybe to make campaigns.
A scenario is just defined by its title, a short introduction, a squad list for the opposing force and a setup (background and limits of play). You have access, for scenario, to a few additional setups and to moving asteroid option.

Now the combat screen itself, in the simulator. You can change asteroids by clicking on them and then clicking on the "change" button. Just select the asteroid you wish. There are new tokens now, including for tractor beam and stress ! Thanks to the new x-wing font ! The top menu allows to go back to the home screen, to go back to any previous turn (and then, just reload the web page to go back to this round again), to import a new background image or to save the current game and export it as a link.

EDIT: Hangar page has been removed. Now in Combat Screen

Tournament lists

Find the latest tournament lists directly in Squadron Benchmark ! There are automatically imported from X-Wing List Juggler, so they change daily.

So far, only the flag of the country where the tournament took place, and its date and type are displayed.

Using the top button "Saved Squads" and "Latest", you can switch between tournament lists and your own.

Cheers !

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New T-70, YT-1300 and TIE pilots in v0.9.1

Galaxy's Greatest 

The Galaxy's Greatest news from FFG has presented a few additional pilots and upgrades for T-70 X-Wing. They are now in Squadron Benchmark v0.9.1 and working!
Jess Pava
Here are the unique Heroes of Resistance pilots in Squadron Benchmark:
  • Nien Nunb (T-70)
  • 'Snap' Wexley (T-70)
  • Jess Pava (T-70)
  • Sabine (TIE Fighter). I assume here her TIE has the same dial as other TIE Fighters
  • Han Solo (YT-1300): no real effect in Squadron Benchmark, as you can place your units wherever you want anyway. You can still experiment with it though. 
  • Chewbacca (YT-1300)
  • Rey (YT-1300)
    Sabine's TIE unofficial picture
For the upgrades, the following ones have been tested:
  • Smuggling Compartement
  • Burnout Slam
  • Finn
  • Rey
  • Millenium Falcon (new title)
  • Sabine's Masterpiece
  • Black One
  • Primed Thrusters
For Snap Shot, M9-G8 and Pattern Analyzer, you can build your squads with them but they have no effect yet in the combat simulator.

Bug corrections and improvements

Several bugs have been corrected: disactivated upgrades during play are indeed desactivated during play,  when an IG-88 dies with an IG-2000 title, other IG-88s lose its capacity. The same applies for wide range capacities, affecting many units. Many bugs fixed concerning disactivation of upgrades...

The % of chance to hit that are displayed now when you  display a weapon firing arc are only taking into account one attack (for normal weapons) and two attacks (for Cluster Missile and Twin Laser Turret). Effects of possible additional attack, with Gunner or TIE/D are not shown any longer.

Now when creating a squad, the filter has a "search" entry: You can type any text that will be search in  the pilot's names and their capacity text. For instance, you can search for "stress" to find all pilots that have an effect related to stress. The same for "additional attack" for additional attack die.

As usual, feel free to leave a comment here, report a bug, ... or donate (top right menu) :-)

Cheers !

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Timing Your Attack and Wave 9 units

This is the release of version 0.9 ! Many improvements in this new version, with added units, better rule implementation, small interface improvements and a few bug corrections.

Timing Your Attack:
The 0.9 release of Squadron Benchmark follows the timing updates in the most recent FAQ concerning multiple attacks, and more generally, all additional attacks are better handled. Gunner and Luke extra attack forbid additional attacks the same turn, you can choose your weapon and the targets depending on the extra attack (multiple cannons with IG-88B for instance), ...

The messy case of Valen Rudor attacking with Cluster Missiles against Dengar equipped with Gunner and R5-P8 works as expected. Similarly, a Twin Laser Turret  with a Gunner and Tactician works also. Feel free to experiment with the new 'Quickdraw' unit, that gains an extra attack when loosing a shield. 

New Wave 9 units, and more:
All wave 9 units are now implemented:
Select the new action
  • Norra Wexley, Shara Bey, Thane Kyrel, Braylen Stramm, Fenn Rau, Kad Solus, Old Teroch, Sabine Wren, Asajj Ventress, Ketsu Onyo, Quickdraw, Backdraft. 
Select one of the orientation

The following upgrades are also implemented:
  • Gyroscopic targeting, black market slicer tools, IG-88D, Ketsu Onyo, Latts Razzi, Fearlessness, Concord Dawn Protector, Alliance Overhaul, Vectored Thrusters, Tail Gunner, R3 Astromech, Sensor Cluster, Special Ops Training, Colliding Detector, Seismic Torpedo. 
Only the Rigged Cargo Chute is not working yet. You can experiment with the new rotating arc of the Lancer-class Pursuit craft, and try its pilots and dedicated upgrades.

Finally, the Emperor Palpatine is implemented ! It triggers a small window, allowing you to choose to modify a die of the Emperor team.  In a combat, the "Crew" icon triggers the Emperor effect.

Filtering units in squad creation 

When creating a new squad, with roughly 210 ships and 210 upgrades to choose from, this can be a bit difficult to find the right unit. The filter allows to select units (pilots) with selected upgrade icons, with selected actions, and with selected maneuvers. Upgrades and actions correspond to what appears on the pilot card, only pilots with the selected icons are selected. Pilots that could use modification upgrades adding extra actions, or extra upgrade slots are not taken into account.
For maneuvers, this is only a half dial (right maneuvers are not shown). Select for instance a 3 hard turn and you will see only units that have this maneuver (whatever the color).
By selecting multiple maneuvers, you can actually define the dial of the units in your squad, or just compare the dial of different units.

A few bug corrections
Collisions with asteroids, Jek Porkins, Electronic Baffle, Agent Kallus, C-3PO have been corrected. A few timing issues related to multiple attacks have also been corrected, and some action timing has been made clearer (I hope !).

Top10 list and battle log
The Top10 list has been updated with more recent squad lists, and the battle log now consults the large database of battles played inside Squadron Benchmark and shows the first 100 battles concerning any given squad.
Edit: Battle log  links are now working again, you can watch other battles in battlelog

Enjoy ! 
As usual, feel free to submit bugs, suggestions and comments below, and if you appreciate the app, you can also Donate (top right menu) !