cloaking, weapons, shields and such

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cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Post by safemode »

Cloak proposition:
I think we should bring back cloaking for 0.6. But, rather than make you invisible and thus complicate rendering. Cloaking should just be a form of radar invisibility. You'd see the unit visually, but would be unable to target a cloaked unit. To deal with the AI (since the AI can't see anything), we'd have a cone of track-ability, You'd be recognized as you normally would be but only within a narrow range directly in front of the AI unit, and no guided missile (except heat) could track and lock onto you. If you dodged an AI unit by getting outside of this cone, they'd lose you, and one of many things could happen, In lower difficulty settings, they would return to their previous task, higher ones, they'd spend some time panning around, to get you in their cone of "visibility". Cloak would only work on un-damaged ships, and shields would be disabled when it is active, radar would also not work. The reason is as follows: Cloak requires EM silence, it can only mask so much, so no radar. You would pick your target before cloaking, with the idea that the compute is optically saving the visual image of the enemy and is able to recognise it as your target while the radar is down, even if the target leaves the screen. Shields would have to be lowered for EM reasons as well. SPEC is also not allowed, nor is jumping.

Weapons Propositions:
Beam weapons are too powerful. Lasers too numerous.
Most ships except the bigger ones, should be limited to ammunition weapons. We should expand such weapons greatly too. Damage / range / refire rate / automatic(just hold down to fire) / special effect should all factor in to the new ammunition weapons. There should be a variety of weapons for each weight class. leach weapons could cause massive shield damage, but have a very slow velocity and refire rate. Auto weapons could fire dozens of rounds a second for close range combat. Generic guns could take a variety of ammo of a given size, negating the need for a different gun for each ammo type.

Mines: I'd like to see the ability to jetison cargo. be it contraband or mines. You'd basically be spawning a Cargo Unit. Cargo would have an AI when in this form (outside of ship in space), and thus could have various behaviours. Like, proximity detonations, heat seaking, swarming (all mines in an area target the same unit), etc. Mines would be persistant in a system, and thus their positions would have to be saved in some way so when you leave a system the physics simulator can treat them like a flight group.

Shields propositions:
Shields should be droppable or overdriven at the expense of energy for other systems. In addition to upgrades to max shield strength and efficiency, we should have different types of shields. There could be a low phasic shield that maybe protects better against matter weapons, by pulsing power at a lower frequency (thus providing the perception of a much stronger shield during the pulse) and this would catch most matter based weapons, but be poor for beam weapons. Thus damage would be less when a projectile weapon is used, higher when a laser is. Then we can have high phasic shields. These pulse at a much higher rate, but in doing so, do not offer the high density that low phasic offers. This means that dollar for dollar, high phasic shields would be less protection until you get to the really expensive models, where the energy is just beyone what low phasic can offer. Those would be found on capships. The pulsing and all that wouldn't be simulated, we'd just change the damage ratio based on weapon type and shield type and shield strength.
This would give some strategy to shield choices, especially when projectile weapons are the norm. Dogfighter ships would likely choose low phasic high power shields, which would offer exellent projectile protection, but only moderate beam protection. Bombers may choose high phasic to protect against turrets and ion beams during runs. Shady mechanics could offer to boost the frequency of a shield etc.



Special cargo to jetison:
(These could be available only when you've reached certain levels within a faction, given for special missions.)

comm satellite. This could be jettisoned at the correct position to provide espionage services for a given mission.

radar jammer. This would have real effects, rendering all radar in the area to be useless. Could be useful for certain missions.

sentinal. This is basically a turret in space. basic auto targetting (friend,foe). A mission could have you place a couple of these along a trade route to protect cargo ships.

Spec disruptor. This could be a pirate tool. A limited number of these expensive satellites could be placed between trade outposts. Once jettisoned, it's percieved mass is that of a small planet. Using a technology that the pirates stole from alien wreckage they happened across in the wastelands of space. But being pirates, these satellites are easily dispatched, though, the trap will have already been set by the time you can do that.

Proximity EMP. This is a satellite that you put down and either run or defend until it activates. after 30 seconds it activates. it will drain units in a tight sphere of all power for 10 seconds. During this time, units not affected have the chance to carry out their assassination mission. The satellite burns itself out after 10 seconds and is useless.

Drone ships. this is not a satellite, but an actual tiny ship. Not designed for people to fly, it has no shields and no spec engine or missiles. These little guys target the ship you last had targeted when you launched them. Thier mission is to destroy that ship with their powerful (for their size) lasers. Strength is in the numbers, with the ability to launch dozens. You can use them as cover fire for a real point attack, as they will all show up on radar as you. Upon destruction of the vessel you had targeted, they deactivate and you can pick them back up if you have a tractor beam.

This is just a set of ideas to think about for 0.6
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Post by Xit »

I haven't used cloaking myself and so may have little right to speak but I agree with most of those aspects of the cloaking, the vulnerability of losing shields, SPEC and jump ability would make it more realistic to me - but I think it really should be actual invisibility, rather than just radar cloaking - it is certainly possible to track images manually, and so I don't personally believe that computers couldn't compensate for not being able to get a radar lock on a craft. I do appreciate though the rendering issues, and just the radar invisibility would be very interesting to implement as a feature in itself, maybe somekind of advanced ECM.

Shields - Sounds very much like Freelancer but is a sensible concept, however I think more varieties are needed to give the player real choices that are worth trying, I don't remember it really working that well in FL...

Ejectable special cargo items - Awesome. Endless possibilities :D
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Post by loki1950 »

We can already eject cargo "Z" the top item on your cargo manifest so coding it may be simplified for the specials as sub list of the cargo manifest the actual mines and such may require some changes to the unit class which IIRC is on your personal todo list.

Enjoy the Choice :)
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Post by Coragem »

Ok big post, my opinion bellow.

On the cloaking issue.

Xit Said:
I haven't used cloaking myself and so may have little right to speak but I agree with most of those aspects of the cloaking, the vulnerability of losing shields, SPEC and jump ability would make it more realistic to me
I agree, never used but I share this idea. for my idea of cloaking see predator :)

Safemode Said:
Weapons Propositions:
Beam weapons are too powerful.
(maybe)
Lasers too numerous.
(Yes, don't think this is bad tho)
Most ships except the bigger ones, should be limited to ammunition weapons.
NO, in fact i would suggest a light particle beam for light mounts. something like 50 MJ dmg/s with 10 MJ phase; range about 2000.
We should expand such weapons greatly too.
Yes, we should make for each mount point type. the same number of guns and beams available.
Say, 6 types, 3 Guns / 3 Beams per mount size. (Maybe more) separated by family, laser, disruptor, particle etc...
Damage / range / refire rate / automatic(just hold down to fire) / special effect should all factor in to the new ammunition weapons.
Yes, but all of them should be automatic, for the sake of playability and peripheral durability, mouse button, space bar and my joystick buttons must last long :wink: besides most ppl can click or push buttons very fast.
There should be a variety of weapons for each weight class. leach weapons could cause massive shield damage, but have a very slow velocity and refire rate. Auto weapons could fire dozens of rounds a second for close range combat. Generic guns could take a variety of ammo of a given size, negating the need for a different gun for each ammo type.
Agree with all, but don't think the generic gun is a nice idea, i do like the idea but, we already have too many ammunitions in VS, I don't know what all of them are for / do anyway.
So we have to set what we will do, balance the ones we have and will keep and scrap others.

I can help a lot with this, i like to learn all i can about the games i play, VS no different. i like to spend 15 minutes thinking, Ion or RFMW laser? what i don't like is thinking, why would i buy a MW Laser, if i can buy a IR laser with DOUBLE the range? so i can, and i want help this weapons and upgrades balancing. Price has to be a issue too.

Other issues. Capacitors are useless i rather have a big reactor and need no capacitor, just lvl 1. Capacitors should weight a lot less than a reactor. to make the player stop and think what he thinks is best.

On mines, they can be a very cool addition, but i think the above must come first. (I can already imagine "clear the minefield" missions and mine layer ships)

On different shields, I don't think this would be nice, this would add a lot of complexity into balancing the weapons vs shield type vs phase dmg. and i think this does not add much for the player. Xit said freelancer had this, I played it for a long time and I don remember this feature (so you can have a example of low impact the feature had in me.)

Special cargo to jettison.
All good ideas. Just the drone ship i don't really like the idea, we need the wingman system working 100% with all the features before we think in the Drone ship idea.

Conclusion on this messy post.

We need to re-balance many things, fix many others first. add the good ideas that still fit the rework later.
I am willing to help with this things, i really pay great attention to these kind of details.
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Post by Deus Siddis »

Regarding cloaking, I think to work out the details for this, you first have to decide if this is going to just be one unique device that one race carries on a few of its vessels or is it going to have a major role in the military of one or more of the major races and have a number of skillful strategies and counter strategies. So think- How much of a role should stealth have in VS? Then work out the details.


With weapons, don't marginalize beams for any size of ships, just give the other weapons more of a role. There should really be 4 basic classes of weapons, based on (somewhat estimated) realism and gameplay:

1) Instantaneous High Energy: directed energy (lasers, masers, etc.), ion beams (electromagnetically accelerates plasma) and rail guns (electromagnetically accelerates matter).

What little matter these use is probably too small to come close to that blasted out the engines of non-rlaan craft as ionized gas, thus they use NO ammunition. They are also non-traveling hitscan weapons as their weaponry moves at or no less than half the speed of light.

2) Traveling High Energy: ball lightning (self contained cells of plasma) and antimatter micro projectiles.

As before, what little matter these use is probably too small to come close to that blasted out the engines of non-rlaan craft as ionized gas, thus they use NO ammunition. However, these projectiles travel, which makes them less likely to hit their target, allows their target a chance to actively evade them and provide more time for the target to operate undamaged. So each of these weapons must always have something over any weapon from the first category to balance this, beit damage, refire, range, energy consumption or just cost.

3) Traveling Heavy Mass: explosive shell cannons, depleted uranium rounds, nuclear warheads, large matter-antimatter warheads.

The destructive power of these is stored in a considerable amount of matter; enough that only so much of it can fit on a ship, so these have ammunition limits (plus sometimes that ammunition has to be purchased with money). These also travel, which like the second weapon category, which gives them less of a chance of hitting, makes them actively evadable and provides the target more time to fight undamaged. So these types of weapons must always be given some extra advantage over all other types of weapons, beit damage, refire, range, energy consumption or simply cost.

4) Tracking Traveling Heavy Mass: same as the third category of weapons but with one or more thrusters for movement and maneuvering.

The destructive power of these is also based on mass, leading to (sometimes costly) ammunition limitations. They also have to travel to their targets. But, they actively track their target after being fired and adjust their course accordingly. So there is no absolute rule to balancing these, besides that they should not have a total extra advantage of the third category, since they already have the advantage of homing. (Also note that these can be set to experience acceleration after being fired.)
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Post by jackS »

There are no plans, at present, to have different base types for shields (as opposed to different manufacture for Rlaan vs Human vs Aera, which we do have plans for) introduced into this time period in the VS universe. If we were going to have different types of shields, the additional types would be either archaic or uniques (i.e. not as interesting sale/upgrade items).

What we do have plans for (briefly addressed on pages 158-162 of the universe-background document, for the red-pill crowd) is to have different damage types associated with different categories of weapons, and to have weapons interact differently with shielded/nonshielded targets and armor vs. bare hull, etc.

Now, as an engine feature, I see no reason not to make the damage system sufficiently generic that shields as well as armor, hull, etc. can have different properties depending on equipment -- it's just not something slated for VS universe inclusion.
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Post by safemode »

Price should definitely be aggressively used to make the lower power weapons more relevant.

I'd also like to see a new hud system for displaying damage. I'd like to see a 3d constantly rotating model with semi-transparent shield up in place of the current hud image for damage. It would display damage at the location the damage was dealt in colors (sheields would go red tint before disappearing). I'd also like to have a line of text underneath warning of eminant shield failure in an area, and hull breach eminant warnings.
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Post by jackS »

In addition to price controls, once we add some notion of faction+history based access control, there will be some availability controls as well. Namely, when everything is working properly, you won't be able to buy high end military hardware in every random market. Instead, you'll have to either get a given faction to really, really trust you (giving you access to its faction-specific item selections), buy the desired items from a black-market dealer, capture vessels with the relevant hardware yourself, or learn to make do with the civilian models.

Unfortunately, in the absence of access controls and the absence of factional differentiation for planet types (beyond Rlaan and Aera-specific planets), there hasn't been a lot of impetus to actually do the grunt work to define the military vs. non-military (and manufacturer A vs. manufacturer B) models of a lot of the weapons and other upgrades, because the only way to restrict access at present would be to just not sell the military versions, which isn't very fun :)
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Re: cloaking, weapons, shields and such

Post by chuck_starchaser »

safemode wrote:Cloak proposition:
I think we should bring back cloaking for 0.6. But, rather than make you invisible and thus complicate rendering. Cloaking should just be a form of radar invisibility.
This is EXACTLY what we'd like for PU. It would also simplify the shaders not to have a cloaking parameter to compute, and thus liberate a few badly needed instruction slots for something more useful.
You'd see the unit visually, but would be unable to target a cloaked unit.
This should depend on the unit's size, relative radar profile and the distance. What should change categorically when a unit switches to silent mode is that it stops sending out radar signals; or transponder replies, so it doesn't advertise itself; but if you're close enough, you should get a bounce of your own radar signals and see the unit. Unless, that is, you are also flying in silent mode, in which case yes: Neither ship sees the other until they make 'eye contact' :)
To deal with the AI (since the AI can't see anything), we'd have a cone of track-ability, You'd be recognized as you normally would be but only within a narrow range directly in front of the AI unit, and no guided missile (except heat) could track and lock onto you. If you dodged an AI unit by getting outside of this cone, they'd lose you, and one of many things could happen,
There are four situations that require separate AI handling, first of all: Player is running in silent mode, the AI unit is not. AI is; player is not. Both are. Both are not. And there's also AI work to do on when/how units decide whether to use silent mode running; as well as what to do when they detect other ships running in silent mode (which they cannot, therefore, get a positive ID on). Militias would probably pursue the ship and demand that the pilot turn the transponder back on. Perhaps AI's would guess based on ship type. Confeds seeing a terran ship cloaked would assume it's a pirate and leave it alone; but a cloaked kilrathi ship would cause great alarm. What would pirates do when they see a cloaked luddite type ship? There have to be clear ways for the various mods to set behaviors that are appropriate for each of their factions in a variety of situations related to passive mode radar.

By the way, silent mode radar and low radar profile and signature should be treated separately. I would suggest getting rid of the term "cloak" altogether, or keep it as a separate options for mods like vegatrek.

The radar cone you suggest is good, but only one of many possibilities. In a real life fighter you can set the radar sweep mode to a number of different sweep patterns: Wide rectangle with horizontal scanning, square, tall rectangle, circle or ellipse with spiralling. Larger vessels have those white dome radars that are actually synthetic aperture radars, that can change direction focus all around, electronically, and in fact, can monitor multiple directions simultaneously. So, at the very least you need this cone to be a sensor array datum that can change depending on sensor brand and model.
I.R. lock should depend on whether the ship's engines are on. A ship in silent mode with its engines cold and just sitting there next to an asteroid should be hard to lock on, see, or target by anything. The detectability of engine heat should also be proportional to minus the dot of the view vector and the target's forward vector; --i.e.: if it's facing you, then no engine heat should be visible.
Use of afterburners or spec should perhaps produce a lot of EM noise and give away your position. If you're running in silent mode doing espionage work, you should keep your speed down. This also needs means for mod-specific parameterizations.
Finally, visual spotting of a unit running in passive mode, by AI's, is a feature that needs to be added to the engine. Visual field angles need to be limited on a per-ship-type basis. Spotting another ship should depend on the other ship's size and distance, of course, but also on color, obstacles, such as asteroids, and most importantly, movement. Our eyes are enormously better able to spot something that moves than something stationary.
In lower difficulty settings, they would return to their previous task, higher ones, they'd spend some time panning around, to get you in their cone of "visibility".
Please don't do that. Difficulty settings should NOT change the nature of the game; ONLY its difficulty. I'm a bit old for playing games and I need to set difficulty way down, but I don't want to experience a totally different game from someone playing at medium; I only want enemies to have poor aiming, like mine :D Right now in PU I get automatic docking at stations because of my choice of low difficulty. Why? I don't want automatic docking!!! I may not have quick reflexes; but I'm perfectly able to press the D key, dammit! All I want is for the AI's to have as much trouble as I do aiming at a target. NOTHING more. Already the engine is horribly polluted with difficulty related boiler plate code. All that stuff should be removed, IMO, rather than more added.
Cloak would only work on un-damaged ships, and shields would be disabled when it is active, radar would also not work.
Passive radar would work. You would still see the radar signals that other ships emmit; but would not know their distance accurately; and would get no ID's, since your ship wouldn't be sending out transponder ID requests.
I don't see how this relates to shields, unless you mean that shields generate a lot of EM noise. This shold be a mod specific setting.
The reason is as follows: Cloak requires EM silence, it can only mask so much, so no radar. You would pick your target before cloaking, with the idea that the compute is optically saving the visual image of the enemy and is able to recognise it as your target while the radar is down, even if the target leaves the screen. Shields would have to be lowered for EM reasons as well. SPEC is also not allowed, nor is jumping.
Ditto, this should all be mod-specific. As far as EM noise emissions, rather than say "silent mode should not work with X on", I'd suggest that X simply produce EM noise that may or may not alert ships to your presence depending on the intensity of the noise and distance.
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Post by safemode »

the whole idea of radar cone for AI players was to mimic "eye contact" which AI can't do, because they dont have eyes. It wasn't meant to be mimicing anything realistically about radar. that's also why i had the difficulty settings alter this behavior. Because AI players dont have eyes, they have to cheat by being able to "see" the units around them, but only react as if they saw them based on the "radar cone" and difficulty settings you chose.


Basically, the AI player would see you regardless of if you had silent mode on or not. It'd have to. Then it would query your unit to see if it had silent mode on and if so, it would only react as if it saw you if you were within it's "cone of visibility"...which is what i was calling it's radar cone. How it behaved when you fell out of it's cone was going to be difficulty setting defined. A higher difficulty setting would cause the unit to behave more logically and continue looking in the direction you were heading to find you again...and would continue to try and "find" you again longer. A lower difficulty setting would have sent the ship back on it's previous mission whenever it lost you.... etc.
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Post by chuck_starchaser »

safemode wrote:the whole idea of radar cone for AI players was to mimic "eye contact" which AI can't do, because they dont have eyes. It wasn't meant to be mimicing anything realistically about radar. that's also why i had the difficulty settings alter this behavior. Because AI players dont have eyes, they have to cheat by being able to "see" the units around them, but only react as if they saw them based on the "radar cone" and difficulty settings you chose.
Gottcha.
Basically, the AI player would see you regardless of if you had silent mode on or not. It'd have to. Then it would query your unit to see if it had silent mode on and if so, it would only react as if it saw you if you were within it's "cone of visibility"...which is what i was calling it's radar cone. How it behaved when you fell out of it's cone was going to be difficulty setting defined.
Both radar and visual vision ought to take size, distance, and things like radar reflectivity/profile and color, respectively, into account. Vegastrike's sensor code has for too long lacked any such sophistication. I'd like to pledge my hard work to this pursuit if there's any chance for positive change. Visual visibility, should also take velocity of the object into account.
A higher difficulty setting would cause the unit to behave more logically and continue looking in the direction you were heading to find you again...and would continue to try and "find" you again longer. A lower difficulty setting would have sent the ship back on it's previous mission whenever it lost you.... etc.
I understand your rationale; but I have to insist that difficulty settings should only change the difficulty, not change the nature of the game. Having enemies that search for you or go on with their lives depending on difficulty, that IS changing the character of the game.
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Post by safemode »

changing the behavior of the ai is what the difficulty settings do. They make ai more likely to attack the higher difficulty you choose. They make it more likely you'll be hitting resistance during missions. etc. The difficulty settings alter the aggressiveness and effectiveness of the AI.
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Post by chuck_starchaser »

I understand/know that. You're just telling me what the status quo is. I'm not arguing it isn't so. What I'm arguing is that it shouldn't be so.

I don't play at easy because I want to play a different kind of game; I play at easy because I have to; or else I won't get through any missions. You understand? I want everything to be the same; only easier. Well, that's not true; some players like having fights all the time; I don't; so perhaps I do want a different kind of game; but this is not germain to the issue of difficulty, anyhow: There could be separate settings for how many fights one wants to have, for instance; independent of "difficulty".

For example, AI's effectiveness is a highly desirable feature to differentiate between rookie and veteran or elite AI's. Various aggresiveness levels of AI's could be used to characterize races and factions. They should apply, however, across all difficulty levels identically.

There are gazillions of difficulty-related boiler plate code in the engine that IMO is not only unnecessary but detrimental. Makes the code hard to understand and maintain... Makes bug reporting more difficult by necessitating to ask about the difficulty the player is playing at. It makes the game different. It insults people too: I feel insulted that I'm forced automatic docking down my throat; like telling me I'm retarded or something, just because I play at easy.
In PU we appear to have a whole separate units.csv, called "units180.csv" that's used at the Easy and Extra Easy difficulties. Why make life so difficult for modders? Couldn't the ships from one csv file have a parameter automatically scaled by difficulty? Is it really necessary to have to maintain separate csv's? Not to speak of separate sets of AI that nobody except perhaps spiritplumber knows how it works?

Bit of Philosophy:

Difficulty is a quantity. Its effects and implementation should therefore be quantitative, not qualitative. There should be no boolean consequences to difficulty settings.

Ideally, difficulty should affect ONE thing, and one thing only: Either be a player shield/armor multiplyer, or a player weapon damage multiplyer, or... (many other possibilities I can think of). But not two or three things affected; just pick one one of them policies and stick to that only. Why? Because when multiple parameters are affected it's not easy to visualize the overall consequences. Difficulty philosophy becomes incomprehensible. Right now it is completely incomprehensible.

To have AI's effectiveness affected *changes the nature of the game*.
If you insist on doing that, then I will ask that you give me a way to make my own custom difficulty through setup. For myself, I want docking to be as hard as possible. I want AI's to be as intelligent as possible. All I want is for them to have the same kinds of problems I have selecting targets, steering and shooting straight. That's all I want for MY "easy" setting: AI's that are more human, fallible, that have no eyes on the back of their heads, and who need time to think; but who do think.

Otherwise what you're giving me is not just an easier game, but a stupider game. I don't want a stupider game, just an easier one.
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Post by safemode »

So rather than difficulty setting, what you'd like to see is the difficulty parameters seperated out a bit, and have a handicap.


Basically, the game would have tunables for "auto-docking", "AI intelligence", etc. These could be left at defaults that we'd all agree on as being the de-facto behavior.

Then you'd have a handi-cap setting that would make the game easier or harder, but not affect more than one thing. The only way to really do that would be to change the starting situation, and nothing else. You want an easier game? The handicap could give you more money (like i suggest in my vssetup change thread) . If that's not going to make the game easy enough for you, maybe the handi-cap could alter your faction friendliness so that you're buddy buddy with all factions to a degree. Easiest would mean you're 100% buddies with all factions. Easy would be 50%, normal would be as it is now, hard would be negative some amount, and insane would be -100% ...


That's not unreasonable i would think. Simply add some tunables that you can use or not use and make the "difficulty" setting a handicap that alters your starting situation, and leaves the rest of the game alone.
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Post by chuck_starchaser »

Kind of exactly. I wouldn't make ai tunable; I would rather see different races being distinguished by their their aggressiveness, among other things. Scripted game missions could once in a while put you in a fight against some very highly skilled adversary. AI takes a huge amount of work to code, and to make the various types selectable by difficulty or tunable basically throws away 80% of all that hard work; --i.e. the player only gets to experience 20% of it. I think it would be much better to use all of that AI, and to put it to good uses, such as race characterization.

Money is probably not a good way to control difficulty. First of all because I think the engine already makes itself more difficult the more money you have (another feature I don't like), but secondly because there's only so much that money can do. Ships have a maximum upgrade space. So having more money would make the game easy at the start, but would grow harder faster.

Basing difficulty on your faction relations sounds like a good idea at first thought, but crumbles at second thought: What friendliness to most factions would achieve is that it would take much longer for the player to find one first enemy; but upon encountering an enemy for the first time, the player dies.

I would rather base difficulty on the AI's "reflexes". Well, in a way this is going back to having different AI's, but no; what I'm thinking of is passing a difficulty parameter to AI's that controls how accurately they come out of turns, and how long it takes them to acquire a target, and how accurately they aim. Why? Because these are the exact limitations of a human player; and you want the ai's to feel equally human.

Right now (in PU), the AI's don't seem human at all. They make perfect turns, with zero overshoot or undershoot, never wobble up and down. Shooot from like 50 kilometers away and you have to move because those bolts are coming straight at you. They also sometimes start flying around you on and on and you can't steer your craft fast enough to catch them; --i.e.: they "run circles" around you, even when your ship is supposed to be more maneuverable than theirs. They switch directions of motion 180 degrees without their ship having to pass through intermediate orientations. It's like their ships de-materialize and re-materialize pointing AND moving in the opposite direction. AI's are infallible, machine-like, and have super-human powers sometimes.
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Post by safemode »

You're contradicting yourself though. You want the game to have the ability to set you up with more skilled pilots, but then you want to control via difficulty setting the skill of ai pilots. That's exactly what you said in your first paragraph you wouldn't want to see. The changes you suggest at the end of your post are exactly the changes you say you shouldn't do in your first.


Though, i think you had the right idea in the end. A single attribute that we could control without really changing the game would be a reflex attribute. How fast does the ai alter it's course after it's target makes a change in theirs. We could simply make difficulty proportional to the reflex delay. Easy setting would make the AI have poorer reflexes, thus making them act like beginner players with bad hand eye coordination. Insane would make them appear almost precognative. :)
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Post by chuck_starchaser »

safemode wrote:You're contradicting yourself though. You want the game to have the ability to set you up with more skilled pilots, but then you want to control via difficulty setting the skill of ai pilots.
I admit it sounds that way; which is why I tried to clarify:
I wrote:Well, in a way this is going back to having different AI's, but no; what I'm thinking of is passing a difficulty parameter to AI's that controls how accurately they come out of turns, and how long it takes them to acquire a target, and how accurately they aim.
But, to clarify further; when I speak of AI that I wouldn't use to determine difficulty I mean higher level AI; NOT something as low level as shooting accuracy or speed of reflexes; though presently these things are packaged together as "AI". The skill of a higher skilled AI that I was talking about is knowing what maneuvre is best to use in a given situation. Is having a repertoire of tactical maneuvres so as to keep surprising an opponent. Is having the patience to break and wait for another chance, rather than charge into beams. An elite pilot, even with very poor reflexes, would be a worthy opponent.
Though, i think you had the right idea in the end. A single attribute that we could control without really changing the game would be a reflex attribute. How fast does the ai alter it's course after it's target makes a change in theirs. We could simply make difficulty proportional to the reflex delay. Easy setting would make the AI have poorer reflexes, thus making them act like beginner players with bad hand eye coordination. Insane would make them appear almost precognative. :)
Yes, a mere delay might do it.

Okay, but, perhaps separately, aiming accuracy of opponents needs to be looked at, because right now it's too perfect. Let me put it this way: If I'm doing a 180 degree turn, by the time I see my target I'll push the mouse the opposite way to slow down the turn, but it takes me several overshoots back and forth to get myself perfectly pointed at a target. AI's, on the other hand, seem to do 180 degree turns that end precisely aimed. They don't feel like fallible creatures; they are machine-like.

Separately or in combination. I don't think we can separate accuracy of aiming from reflexes. I look at human players sometimes and I'm awed at how accurately they can fly their crafts. So, I think reflexes involves more than a delay, but also a somatosensorial feeling of just how much to correct to get on the right course and stuff like that.


Anyways, I just realized I've hijacked your thread. I'll pay for this offense with programming work. Where's the sensors code? Hmm... One more problem with passive radar mode is we need display changes, like a special color scheme for when you're running silent; since your computer can try to guess at factions by ship type; and at distances by signal strength, but there's a lot of room for error. When you're not in silent mode but a ship in silent mode is close enough to be caught on radar, your sensor should jump with alarms.
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Post by loki1950 »

An other thought since we're blue skying here for fleet or squadron use AWAC support from a mother ship that is part of most current combat flight sims when flying silent com is tight beam so in keeping with EMF low profile.

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Post by chuck_starchaser »

Yep, if a flight group flies in silent mode but use a remote radar source to illuminate their targets, such as from a carrier far away acting as AWACS, that would confer them an almost unfair advantage.

I'm thinking, AI perhaps should be split into levels, like, starting at the lowest,
unit's target selection reflexes
unit's maneuvering and aiming reflexes
unit's tactical awareness AI (threat evaluation, choosing a good position)
unit's tactical repertoire AI (different tricks to pull rather than always breaking to the left)
unit's emotions (true bravery, total cowardice, cool, fake bravery?)
flight group target selection AI (all pick on weakest target? each picks on nearest target? mutual defense target selection? ... )
flight group tactical repertoire AI (formations, attack patterns)
flight group strategic AI (E.g.: "interceptors keep enemy interceptors busy; heavy fighters try to deal with that capship's turrets; bombers torpedo the engines", or any such high level plans)
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Post by loki1950 »

Have a feeling that the spiritplumber might be interested in this discussion and her input could clarify things.

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cloak

Post by TBeholder »

safemode wrote: Cloaking should just be a form of radar invisibility. [...]
radar jammer. This would have real effects, rendering all radar in the area to be useless. Could be useful for certain missions.
Aren't such things usually called “ECMâ€
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Re: cloak

Post by chuck_starchaser »

Turbo Beholder wrote:
safemode wrote: Cloaking should just be a form of radar invisibility. [...]
radar jammer. This would have real effects, rendering all radar in the area to be useless. Could be useful for certain missions.
Aren't such things usually called “ECMâ€
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Re: cloak

Post by klauss »

chuck_starchaser wrote:
Turbo Beholder wrote:
safemode wrote: Cloaking should just be a form of radar invisibility. [...]
radar jammer. This would have real effects, rendering all radar in the area to be useless. Could be useful for certain missions.
Aren't such things usually called “ECMâ€
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Post by chuck_starchaser »

Well, perhaps I'm unwittingly sounding like an expert in a subject I know next to nothing about; but just to clarify: I was NOT talking about the early jammers that used ultra-powerful beams to "fry" the electronics of a locking radar. I know the technology has advanced a lot since back in those days.
AFAIK, the second generation technology used a combination of cancellation pulses and delayed pulses to make the enemy radar think you were further away than you were. Then the Israelis were playing around with American electronics, one day, and found a way to make the direction of the apparent signal change, and so the third generation jammers were born.
And my belief about current technology is that a craft typically has a number of radar units dispersed around that are used like a synthetic aperture system, to --sort of "holographically"-- create EM phase differentials at the enemy radar unit. For such differetials to be significant at miles' range, the various synthetic aperture emitters have to push a lot of watts. But I don't remember where I got this idea.
In any case, my point was that ECM is NOT Stealth.
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