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 Post subject: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:39 pm 
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Current version (2.2):
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/20846822/Rebellion/RamikinRebalance_2_2.reb
changelog:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/20846822/Rebell ... og_2_2.txt
_______________________________

I haven't really played any Rebellion multiplayer games in ages, I admit this is because it got to the point where it wasn't fun to me due to the flaws of the interface (for instance, why can't I just have espionage missions on my own planets repeat themselves automatically?). However, recently I played a few games of single player for nostalgia's sake and due to my never quite expired love for Star Wars. Meh, somebody fix the interface stuff and Rebellion becomes one of the best titles in the history of gaming.

But anyway.

I noticed this before, and it came to my attention again, how seriously unbalanced this game is in terms of fighters vs capital ships. This has two dimensions: space battle and bombardment.

1. Space battles

This isn't obvious at low numbers, early in the game. If you send a small number of Y-wings against a Lancer Frigate, the frigate will hold its own. This is mostly due to the ship's shield, its power and regeneration.

However, as numbers go up proportionally, this equality collapses. If you send 5 times as many Y-wings vs 5 Lancer frigates, the Y-wings win by all focus-firing one ship. They can bring down the shield fast enough that the regeneration doesn't really matter, and then torpedoes quickly finish the job. Meanwhile, capital ships don't fire fast enough to eliminate fighters equally fast. Make the numbers big enough and you don't even need Y-wings, anything will do. T/Is if you want.

If you spend X amount (but fairly large) of resource on Star Destroyers (and their complement fighters/bombers) and I spend the same amount of resource on carriers and fighters/bombers, and we fight, I'm going to win that battle. Period. And that's a Bad Thing, because there is a whole huge tech line of cool and varied ships which are fun to build and pit against each other - but that's not the winning strategy, so - especially if I'm in any doubt of victory - I'm going to focus on carriers and fighters.

Now I'm actually not that experienced and skilled in multiplayer - won a number of games, lost a bit more - so perhaps I'm missing something and indeed there is good reason to build normal capital ships in a competitive game, so feel free to correct me, guys.

2. Bombardment

This is where things get ridiculous.

To get past a single level 1 Gencore, you need to amass a Bombardment value above its shield strength, which is 40. Disregarding for the sake of simplicity the effect of Admirals with the bombarding fleet and Generals with the defending planet, this means a simple sum of Bombardment values/modifiers of all ships and fighter squadrons.

And the silly thing is, while in the Star Wars lore bombardment is done mostly with capital ship turbolasers, in the game fighters absolutely dominate in this field as well. 1 dinky Y-wing squadron, or two X-wing squadrons, have the same Bombardment value (2) as a Dauntless Cruiser or Imperial Star Destroyer II.

That means that you need to have over 20 Dauntless Cruisers OR over 20 Y-wing squadrons to break through a single Gencore 1 (again, not counting the presence/absence of Admirals/Generals). I'm going to disregard Construction cost and just count this in terms of Maintenance, that's 20*99 vs 20*4. So 1980 vs 80. Even after adding the cost of carriers, that's still ridiculous.

Also note that almost anything that bombards "well" in this game has a value of 2. This includes ISDs, VSDs, Mon Calamaris etc. The only exceptions are the Bulwark (4), SSD (3), VSD I and II, and the Death Star (a pathetic 15. Really, Death Star, you can't break through a planetary shield on your own?). So any capital ship fit with powerful Turbolasers and Cannons does as well at Bombardment as a single squadron of outdated multirole fighters, or at most two-three such squadrons.

That's that for the long-winded introduction. Now for the...


REBALANCE IDEA

(See top of the page for the current download link).

I basically implemented this to make the game more fun for myself in single player, to encourage more use of capital ships. But it might be a good idea to try in multiplayer as well.

It had three major components:

I. Reduced the firepower of fighters in combat.

I thought to try simply halving their squadron strengths, but ultimately rejected this idea; they would not only be weaker in combat, but also die a little too easily. I don't want to eliminate fighters from the game, I don't hate them, I just want them back in line.

Instead, I more or less halved their firepower. Most important downing was of ion cannons, which are responsible for bringing shields down quickly. For example, the Y-wing used to be:

Laser cannon: 5
Ion cannon: 3
Torpedoes: 8

Currently it is:

Laser cannon: 3
Ion cannon: 1
Torpedoes: 4

Other fighters and bombers were treated similarly.

Note that bombers (all types) are still dangerous after the change, especially in numbers, and a few squadrons of them is a real danger to a capital ship or even a few of them. However, now they take long enough to bring things down that a strong anti-fighter escort can actually do something about it.

And fighters are still the ultimate defense force. For defending a planet, you can pour all your resource into them as you don't need carriers, and they are still very cost-effective. Only goes to show how much out of whack they were before I made this change.

Other changes:
- B-wing maneuverability was increased a little, from 3 to 4. There is no need for them to have less than Y-wings; vs ships it doesn't matter, and vs fighters they used to do even worse than Y-wings which is fubared. They do cost twice as much maintenance and are supposed to be state of the art.
- B-wing bombardment value increased from 2 to 3. Again, they cost a lot more than Y-wings, they should be a little better.


II. Drastically improved Bombardment of capital ships

What I did was first compare a Bulwark and a resource-equivalent force in Y-wings. A Bulwark costs 175 maintenance, which is an equivalent of about 3 carriers full of Y-wings, that's 36 Bombardment. Now my idea was that capital ships should be at least as good as fighters at bombardment. So I ended up setting Bulwark's bombardment to 40. No, I'm not crazy, bear with me.

Next I looked for a formula that would produce this value as a function of turbolaser and ion cannon values, so I could apply it to other ships and set their bombardment accordingly. I ended up doing it like this: take the strongest side of a ship (Forward, Aft, Port, Starboard), as this will be favored during a bombardment. Then add Turbolasers and Ion Cannons, then divide by 20. This produces reasonable numbers.

For instance, for an ISD, that's (100+100)/20 = 10 Bombardment. A Mon Calamari is strongest on the Port/Starboard sides, (160+20), divided by 20 that's 9. Dreadnoughts get 3, and so on.

In fact, most ships are slightly less cost-effective than fighters in bombardment, which is fine. The Bulwark is top of tech tree, outdated technology should be a little worse.

Other notes:
- I upped the VSD I and II bombardment by two points from what the formula gave them. The description says they are bombardment specialists, and indeed their used to have more Bombardment than their turbolasers seemed to warrant, so I decided not to sacrifice that concept.
- The Death Star has nominal values of 1400 and 400 for turbolasers and ion cannons. I went with that, without tinkering. So that gives us a bombardment of 90. Extremely powerful, yes, but this is one heck of an investment and in the vanilla game it is rarely worth it. Now it is.


III. Doubled planetary shield strengths

This is to balance out the other changes. The point was to make capital ships more useful -relative to fighters-, not to make planetary shields obsolete. Now if you build a bunch of ships effective at bombardment (such as Star Destroyers, Mon-Cals, or even Liberators which have considerable firepower for a carrier) and load them up with the usual complement of bombers for bombardment, that'll give you more Bombardment value than you used to get before. For instance, my favorite setup, a Liberator with 6 fighters (let's say Y-wings since we're talking Bombardment), in vanilla that's 2 + 6*2 = 14 bombardment. Rebalanced, we have 8 + 6*2 = 20 due to the considerable port/starboard firepower on the Liberator. That's almost one-and-a-half as much as before. If you use B-wings, that's 14 vs 26.

So to be safe, I just doubled the shields. A little more improvement than necessary? Yes, but as I understand it, part of the balance of Rebellion is that it's easier to defend than attack. This is because fighters are very cost effective but if you're attacking, you need to bring carriers as well which adds to the cost; a problem the defending planet doesn't have. However, this balancing factor only holds true for fighters. Now that my modification considerably lessens the huge advantage fighters had over capital ships, that balancing factor is almost gone, and the game shifts strongly towards the offensive. That's why I upped the shield strenghts more than initially seemed necessary, to keep the defensive game playable.

So I changed shield strengths:

Gencore 1: from 40 to 80
Gencore 2: from 80 to 160.


The change has worked out very well in my experience so far. Now whether I play with the usual fighter-oriented strategy, or a more capital ship-oriented one, I don't feel gimped either way. I've been having tons of fun playing with varied fleets rather than focusing on the one thing that works best, so I feel I achieved my goal here.

I'm sharing in case it interests anyone. I don't know how well that'd hold up in multiplayer, but that's for you guys to judge. I'm just posting the idea, maybe you'll find it worthwhile, maybe not. :) At least maybe some discussion of rebalancing ideas might spark from it. Maybe even be something for whoever was working on a remake to consider.


IV. Cards?

This updated setting clearly affects gameplay and does show in the Status of a given unit - but not in the Encyclopedia. I'm talking about fighters' lasers and ion cannon values, which have changed but the encyclopedia shows the old values still.

I can't seem to update the cards because my RebEd keeps telling me I need a complete install. That's after installing on Windows 7 using these instructions:
viewtopic.php?p=542563&sid=122e5105df8a8b2d06519ed41dfb72b9#p542563

If anyone feels like helping solve this problem, that'd be nice.

V. AI?

How does the computer read the strengths of the opposing force? It keeps fleeing from fights which, due to the lowered strength of fighters/bombers, it should probably not have to flee from. Is there a way to modify the computer's AI behavior?


Last edited by Markus_Ramikin on Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:11 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:04 am 
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Very, very good points. The whole bombardment thing with fighters was ridiculous. I just made fighters have NO bombardment value and change the capital ships more or less like you say.

But if what you did works in game, and the AI understands, I would go along with it.

Plus I would have the planetary defense number of fighter squadrons limited by building only so many places to park them in.
------------------------
The big question is should a fighter have any bombardment at all? I want that to be a capital ship only ability. That kind of firepower is only for capital ships I would argue.

Second is a limit on how many planetary fighter squadrons (somehow by cost for the holding buildings or plain power point requirement). That is more for the Remake. I do want to finish it this winter.

As for updating cards, can someone with XP just do it for you? I still have XP on my old computer. Else I would use a hex editor or Resource hacker to change the files. I like your idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:42 am 
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Thanks, glad you like the ideas!

I think the point of fighters having bombardment is that they have torpedoes. Tie-Bomber even has bombing in its name, so I don't mind that they have it.

Quote:
Second is a limit on how many planetary fighter squadrons (somehow by cost for the holding buildings or plain power point requirement). That is more for the Remake. I do want to finish it this winter.

So the Remake idea isn't dead after all? :) Is there anywhere I can look to keep track of progress?

I think the overall Maintenance cost is enough of a limitation, no need to overcomplicate it. If someone wants to put a lot of fighters on a planet, let them, either they won't be able to do that on all planets, or it'll take up huge amounts of maintenance if they do, hurting their other efforts.

I hope you're not departing from the original Rebellion -too- much. Me, in a Remake I'd ideally like to see the very same game, possibly with better graphics (I don't really care) but most importantly with better interface and control, such as being able to keep spies busy investigating my own planet without having to re-send them on the same mission over and over every few turns. And maybe make natural disasters optional, or make them (as well as bombardments) only destroy buildings, not the planet's capacity itself. Stuff like that. Otherwise the gameplay, story, setting, characters are all fine. But I digress, wrong thread for this. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:32 am 
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Posts: 505
Image Click Image to Enlarge Image Hosting

Pic of one of the unique 300 planets in the 3D battle tactical Galaxy engine. It is looking much better..


Image Click Image to Enlarge Image Hosting

Hardest part was to get these windows to work correct, I had to make my own version of 'windows' using BASIC. Notice how I changed the Imperial Window to make more room to fit in more square viewing area.

Image Click Image to Enlarge Image Hosting

Alliance pic ...notice I have a lot more planets to add still. The GUI is a lot of work. But I am getting there. The audio and music is working fine and is finish more or less.

Remake is the same game but better graphics and heck of lot more mod friendly since we cannot get the original source code. It is a complete rewrite.


Last edited by Slocket on Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:12 am 
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Lovely.:)


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:12 am 
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Posts: 1944
Location: Death Stars are out at night, big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.
@Markus:

Those are some good balancing ideas. I'm going to look at incorporating them into my next game. As for the AI portion, until we get the "Holy Grail" (the source code), it's all just a dream :?


@Slocket:

First off, great work! I especially like the "background galaxy" :wink:

Do you plan on sticking with the standard 10 systems per sector? Is there a plan to have "more" systems (~12-13) in the Core sectors, and "less" systems (~7-8) in the Rim sectors, and "average" systems (~9-11) in the Mid sectors?

Keep up the good work! I'm looking forward to playing your re-vamped version.

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Finally, after years of hard work I am the Supreme Sith Warlord! Muwhahahaha!! What?? What do you mean "there's only two of us"?


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:17 am 
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Thanks. :)

And yeah, moddable is good. Gives me hope that if you change too much from how the original Rebellion worked, I'll be able to mod it back. :p


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:00 am
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Yes basically the same, except for bug fixes of course and a better interface to navigate. I am using hoover over pop ups and stuff to help give better feedback and changes to some thing to make it less of a click fest.

So far I set the galaxy up using the tool Galaxy Mapper I made for the standard game exactly as it was. You can go easily to 300 planets total however you want. 5 or 20 planets per sector, 100 sectors etc. Call them classes Inner , outer, mid, Hutt space , Deep core, etc. Yeah that background galaxy Dusty Spiral and blue color I got from your idea DarthTex :mrgreen:

Any changes from the standard model will be discussed better when I get to the final stage. I believe the changes are for the better, but that code can be changed outside the game in custom text (my n00B version of LUA ).

One reason I follow threads like this one about what peeps think about changes to be made for better game play. I want to think hard about this bombardment values and thing as should the GenCore Shield be exactly 40 , or can the ship wear down the planets shields some per day given one bombardment if a player castled himself with six shields and many on ground Generals and such making a ground assault impossible, or a mission to succeed. maybe a blockade can ruin the maintenance cost and slowly destroy the defenses as it was in real life starving them out in a castle siege to make an analogy.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:12 pm 
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Sounds very good indeed, do you have a homepage or something?

As to the turtling problem... Hm, is it much of a problem now?

Generally, rather than changing how the game actually works, I think it is better to keep the mechanics the way it was in Rebellion (so it's the same game) and just rebalance it by changing some value, a cost or a strength. I think in principle Rebellion works fine. There are many dimensions of power in the game: economy, military power, planetary defenses, special forces/characters - and if someone overfocuses in one way, they lose in others.

The problem you describe is IMO best solved by increasing the maintenance costs of shields. I think if someone wants to turtle up hugely on some planet, they should be able to - but they won't be able to do that everywhere, and the more gencores they build, the more space they take from other useful facilities, making the planet safe but fairly useless. Thus hurting their strategic game, the size of the fleet they could have etc. They can't put generals on every planet, so you'd take away most of the galaxy from them.

Part of what I love about Rebellion is that it feels vaguely like playing Go, that ancient strategy game. In Go, if you decide to focus on fortifying a particular area to the point where I can't do anything about it, you can, but in doing so you'll neglect and give up much greater value elsewhere. Winning requires an equal balance of attack and defense.

What I'd suggest would be:

1. Increase the shield maintenance cost to 15, for both types of shields.

Gencore 1: to 15 (it's 12 now if I remember)
Gencore 2: to 20.
You might object that currently it's 7, less than Gencore 1 to make it preferable, but with 20 vs 15 it'd still be more cost-effective than Gencore 1. Especially since part of the real cost is the planetary energy slots you have to sacrifice for the same shield power.

Now suppose someone wants to turtle up and build 7 Gencore 2s on a planet, that's 140 maintenance which requires 6 resource buildings (three refinery/mine pairs). So that whole setup is 11 energy slots, an entire planet's worth of energy. You could do that, but it'd lose you the game if you did that anywhere other than at your HQ. And of course if you lose most of the rest of the galaxy, such turtled up planets will suffer maintenance shortfalls.

2. Keep the original Gencore strengths (40 and 80) while adding the other changes I suggested (increase capital ship bombardment)

Earlier, I now realize I doubled the shield strength not because it was necessary for real balance - a player can just build an extra gencore or two on a planet to adapt to that new balance, it's no big deal - but because the stupid AI was not adapting. Bombardment in single player became too easy. However, that's a problem you can solve in the remake AI, so the original shield strengths would be fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:25 am 
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Regarding balance: I'm also toying with the idea of increasing costs of fighters.

I just did some testing, pitting these forces against each other:

4 ISD II with full fighter complements:
12 T/I
12 T/B
(or really any other configuration, including T/D, I tested a lot)

vs

6 Liberators with full fighter complements:
12 A-W
12 Y-W
12 X-W

The Imperial force costs:
4*99 + 24*3 = 468 maitenance
158*4 + 24*3 = 704 construction

The Rebel force:
6*55 + 36*4 = 474 maintenance
6*66 + 36*5 = 576 Construction

The Imperials lose, again due to fighters. Mostly because the ISDs are able to bring a total of 24 fighters while Liberators bring 36. This is already after applying the balancing in the first post. Now this isn't a Rebel-Imps imbalance, it's a capital ships / fighters imbalance.

I think part of the problem is that fighters are just too cheap. T/F were supposed to, canonically, be the cheap, mass-produced fighters while Rebels were using the more independent and costlier ones. But they all cost so little that everyone can easily fill their capital ships to full, whether they're ISD's, Mon Cals or Liberators. Which means the ships with the greatest fighter-carrying capacity - carriers and liberators - win.

This could be addressed by increasing fighter costs. I'm going to be doing some tinkering and testing to determine whether it's a good idea and by how much.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:40 am 
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After much tweaking and testing, including 4 intermediate versions and 15+ hours sunk, I ended up with this:

http://rapidshare.com/files/432440057/R ... alance_2.0

Capital ships: bombardment improved as in 1.0, see first post.

Fighters:
- reduced fighter firepower overall, to fix their balance vs capital ships, especially ion cannons (same as 1.0)
- cost more, so spamming carriers+fighters isn't the only cost-effective thing any more
- B-W slightly improved, as before: 3 bombardment instead of 2, 4 agil instead of 3, (otherwise what's the point of not getting Y-W)
- T/D considerably improved (agility, speed and shields). It now takes about 9 T/D squadrons to match 12 A-W squadrons. It takes 7 T/D squadrons to match 12 X-W squadrons.
- T/D also cost correspondingly more.

Planetary shield strengths: improved to balance the improved bombardment, same as 1.0
- Gencore 1 from 40 to 80
- Gencore 2 from 80 to 160

Characters:
These changes are not to do with balance, but if I end up playing this mod with any of you this'll cause a sync problem, so I'm including them. They're minor anyway.
- Luke's leadership upped from 70 to 75. The big threshold is 80, and with 3 other recruiters in the Alliance, Luke had a hard time reaching it.
- Thrawn given more Espionage (vanilla he gets 0-50). In the books he was very good at directing espionage operations and defending against them. So, after he's done researching, it should be possible to use him more effectively as, say, a general (where espionage counts against enemy missions). He's one of the few characters on the Empire side who are actually cool, He's already gimped enough by having a 0% chance to become a Jedi, so I felt this needed doing. :)


Last edited by Markus_Ramikin on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:29 pm 
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Weee, this is really fun now.

Just won a game with a fleet of Nebulon Bs and no fighters. (the only other ships were CC-7700 interdictors and troop transports). Those ISDs and SSDs didn't really know wtf was going on :).


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:22 am 
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linky no worky, :(

he file of the above link no longer exists. This could be for several reasons:

* The uploader deleted the file
* The file contained illegal contents and was deleted from our Abuse team
* The file is incorrect
* The server is busy and can not process the request.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:00 pm 
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Stoopid rapidshare. Let's try that again.
http://rapidshare.com/files/432684754/R ... ce_2.0.reb

EDIT: oh and the previous one should be worky, just the dot at the end confuses the browser. Sorry about that.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebalancing Rebellion
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:42 am 
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Wow THANKS man!!!
if it mod will work in multiplayer.... Wow!

Another problem in balance: Alliance somehow have more resourses. When i played by Empire, i always came to 0 in materials, and manufactoring was slow. But when i played by Alliance, there were always lots of free resourses.
Can you fix that? And why is this happening?


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