Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

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Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by riftroamer »

Hi everybody,

after RL kept me from VS for a while, I'm slowly starting to fasten any loose strands I couldn't get a handle on for my (eternally projected and currently entirely theoretical) VS Mod before I had to turn away from the project.

This is about a mod (to be) which I assume has ships that allow for this theoretical situation in regard to their respective cargo space and size.

My possibly noob-ish questions as the title suggests are...

Assuming I have a large vessel with cargo and one of my smaller ships loaded as cargo too. And this smaller ship also has cargo and an even smaller one of my ship's in it's hold which again had cargo in it's hold prior to loading.

Where is the limit for the engine for such a cascade?
Will all loaded ships retain their manifests and upgrades when unloaded again?
Is it (still) true that the player can only posses one vessel of each type?
Can this be expanded or worked around?

Expanding on that second last one:

I thought about using special containers (perhaps implemented as cargo ships looking like a container) as "subcomponents" for ships which I also wanted in game solo (the containers), so that these could be placed inside a ship or a (ship-based) player owned station (basically a carrier looking like a station) and solo in space (without a ship), which should ideally retain their cargo manifest too.
Based on the second last question above I wouldn't be able to own more than one, would I?

Regarding ships as subcomponents or "visible cargo":
Can I "hide" a component (multi part ship) in game, based on what's listed in the cargo manifest?
The carrying ship in the idea above would show containers attached to the hull if they are loaded and hide them when unloaded (in which case the container would appear as a ship next to the vessel).

If programming would be necessary, could that be done in python?

I haven't been able to progress far enough in game to try out such ideas, so I apologize for asking possibly well known features of the game that I haven't been aware of.

Thanks for any help, suggestions and comments.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by TBeholder »

riftroamer wrote:Assuming I have a large vessel with cargo and one of my smaller ships loaded as cargo too. And this smaller ship also has cargo and an even smaller one of my ship's in it's hold which again had cargo in it's hold prior to loading.
Currently, equipment or cargo of carried interceptors aren't truly recorded. It's just "ship type". Though coders work on this.
riftroamer wrote: Regarding ships as subcomponents or "visible cargo":
Can I "hide" a component (multi part ship) in game, based on what's listed in the cargo manifest?
Equipment isn't in cargo manifest already. Nor are subunits, though they may or may not be targettable, depending on their stats.
There also is Hidden_Cargo volume, for that matter.
riftroamer wrote: The carrying ship in the idea above would show containers attached to the hull if they are loaded and hide them when unloaded (in which case the container would appear as a ship next to the vessel).
It can be done via subunits, yeah. Dodo already got a destructible cargo pod subunit. Shootable separately.
With a little Python (or better off patch) could even make it work the way it looks (i.e. a subunit's cargo space is part of the ship's while docked). Probably not a good idea, though, because subunits having way too much of overhead. Currently, that is.
I'd like explicit cargo bays, though (as in - at least, you can't put one 100m^3 container into 80+80+40 holds, and at best, actually arranging dimensions).
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by riftroamer »

Thanks a lot for the info. Is the recorded cargo per individual ship (persistent cargo manifest) being actively worked on these days or on the eternal roadmap?

That's not to criticize. but to decide whether to wait or think harder about other possible solutions, myself.

:)
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by TBeholder »

No idea.
Technically, it should be reasonably easy: add an option to pickle in .vegastrike/serialized_xml/ all units in the system and perhaps all mission-important objects in other systems just like PC ships. Those CSV are <10k as they are, thus even 1000 ships will be < 10M total.
Faction is not recorded, so perhaps the easiest is to use one file per faction, though we'd need flightgroups anyway, and that would give a hundred of small files. Or maybe simply dump all in one heap, in order they are listed in save file, checking unit types on load.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by riftroamer »

Yeah... sounds totaly easy, quite trivial... if I'd have any experience coding such things. :) :) :)

But you certainly fueled my imagination which is running wild a bit atm. Sorry for that :)

Don't know if I digested that correctly...

Then we'd have to have a manifest-file (csv?) - or more if necessary - that essentially puts ship-id as a unique id and an array - or more to separate classes of items (ships, cargo, upgrades, "specialities") - listing each item and their quantities inside that ship-id (cargo or other carried ship-id). Is there a way to identify each individual vessel (by means of something that - let's say - I'd define as a ship-id)?

In addition to that the appropriate coding so the engine can make use of that...

Expanding and explaining on that a "tiny" bit...

The "specialities" above could simply be a player-chosen name of the ship, a more complex a readable player written description of the ship, it's story, or it's crew, it's owner or it's homeworld to add an element of personality to the vessel, it could also be a fleet/flightgroup tag/id indicating that the ship is part of your fightgroup or sub-flightgroup (as a placeholder for fighter wing or flotilla - I read somewhere that flight groups are considered to be in need of overhaul too). Also it could list the faction ar a neutrality tag if it helps ai behaviour when dealing with cargo wingmen or tractoring in vessels or such things.

The manifest and info in it should probably be listed on a vdu screen acting as an expanded info screen that lists the manifest (and possibly ship-id or ship name if defined) and when pressing a key on the highlighted item the description to that entry (from units.csv or the manifests "specialities" description or... well... whatever makes sense and adds to the gamplay). Highlighting would be cool. Never got used to the "item on the top line of the screen" selection.

Working on the manifest (buy/ sell, dock/ deploy wingmen, repair/ restock/ upgrade) only reads / writes to that line of the proposed manifest file stated obove instead of wherever the manifest (visble ingame on the vdu) is stored today?

With ship-id's in this manifest not listed in the savegame (which likely needs a unique ship-id for each stored possession then) being simply ignored: if the ship-id is not defined there it's not searched for when parsing the csv and if the ship-id is not found in the manifest-file, the corresponding ship is simply empty)?

I'm generally assuming that the ship's faction is already defined elsewhere so the engine is aware of each individual ship's faction and thus the id is sufficient for the manifest's sake. It's hopefully only a list referencing a quantity of cargo items and a number of ship-id's to a single ship-id after all.

And as you hinted there probably needs to be a way to prevent the list from becoming too large (only player or mission related ships handled this way). I don't think that engine generated traffic needs a persistent manifest. So these could be stored in a similar temporary file overwritten with each new start of tge game if needed. From my point of view it's even unnecessary as long as the occasionally dropped container becomes a persistent member of my manifest after looting. :)

Well as you can see I might have an idea or two but no clue on actually bringing it to reality. ;)
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

TBeholder wrote:No idea.
Technically, it should be reasonably easy: add an option to pickle in .vegastrike/serialized_xml/ all units in the system and perhaps all mission-important objects in other systems just like PC ships. Those CSV are <10k as they are, thus even 1000 ships will be < 10M total.
Faction is not recorded, so perhaps the easiest is to use one file per faction, though we'd need flightgroups anyway, and that would give a hundred of small files. Or maybe simply dump all in one heap, in order they are listed in save file, checking unit types on load.
Yeah well... right now, savegames can be up to 8MB in size, and that's just the names of the flightgroups of all systems and the number of thips they're composed of. Imagine if, in addition to the name and number of ships, you had one csv per ship. I wouldn't be surprised if a savegame ate 1G after that.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by Deus Siddis »

klauss wrote:...Imagine if, in addition to the name and number of ships, you had one csv per ship...
Indeed that would be foolish, but what about recording the upgrade / cargo data of just the player's fleet in the save file? I know the game already tracks such for the player's mothballed ships, but why not his escorts?
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

Deus Siddis wrote:
klauss wrote:...Imagine if, in addition to the name and number of ships, you had one csv per ship...
Indeed that would be foolish, but what about recording the upgrade / cargo data of just the player's fleet in the save file? I know the game already tracks such for the player's mothballed ships, but why not his escorts?
Yes, no doubt that should be done.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by Deus Siddis »

klauss wrote: Yes, no doubt that should be done.
And the game should also treat your personal ships as escorts instead of leaving them behind in a hangar. Or at least giving you the option of having them fly with you as escorts.

That would fantastically enhance the sandbox quality of the game, being able to buy, upgrade and field a personal war fleet against a faction of your own choosing or for self defense or big league trading. And the customization sub game would be extended indefinitely beyond the point the player's personal craft is fully upgraded.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

Deus Siddis wrote:
klauss wrote: Yes, no doubt that should be done.
And the game should also treat your personal ships as escorts instead of leaving them behind in a hangar. Or at least giving you the option of having them fly with you as escorts.

That would fantastically enhance the sandbox quality of the game, being able to buy, upgrade and field a personal war fleet against a faction of your own choosing or for self defense or big league trading. And the customization sub game would be extended indefinitely beyond the point the player's personal craft is fully upgraded.
No, you'd have to hire a pilot for that.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by Deus Siddis »

klauss wrote: No, you'd have to hire a pilot for that.
But why not? For game play or for realism reasons?

Realistically any basic 30th century flight computer should certainly be able to take a ship into combat, even if its performance is inferior to an experienced living pilot. And canonically this universe is loaded with artificial intelligence technologies, machine servants and dirt cheap Forsaken pilots. You should be able to affordably buy or hire something or someone to fly your ships for at least a yearlong contract at a time.

Game play wise, I can see only advantages like those mentioned in the post above. Whereas the existing feature of hired escorts is completely unused because they only last until you land, because the engine's AI piloting skills can be a bit slow, and because you can't customize or select the number of ships you want to have escort you.

And what's the explanation for why your personal vessels cannot fly without hiring a pilot but cargo escorts can? You don't hire cargo escorts, you buy them, so why this inconsistency?
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

Deus Siddis wrote:
klauss wrote: No, you'd have to hire a pilot for that.
But why not? For game play or for realism reasons?

Realistically any basic 30th century flight computer should certainly be able to take a ship into combat, even if its performance is inferior to an experienced living pilot. And canonically this universe is loaded with artificial intelligence technologies, machine servants and dirt cheap Forsaken pilots. You should be able to affordably buy or hire something or someone to fly your ships for at least a yearlong contract at a time.
On the contrary, nano-plague concerns effectively forbids that kind of AI.
Deus Siddis wrote:Game play wise, I can see only advantages like those mentioned in the post above. Whereas the existing feature of hired escorts is completely unused because they only last until you land, because the engine's AI piloting skills can be a bit slow, and because you can't customize or select the number of ships you want to have escort you.
Hiring a pilot would be doable, but some care should be had on the implementation. Besides, people would probably tend not to do that unless the AI quality was pretty high, since ships are so expensive and AIs so prone to getting them blown.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by Deus Siddis »

klauss wrote: On the contrary, nano-plague concerns effectively forbids that kind of AI.
Look up the Grandchildren in the VS bible and the "PAI Wetware" or "AI Cores" or quantum computers that you can trade in, in game. And keep in mind we are only talking about a simple "combat" autopilot, it isn't supposed to be as good as a human pilot, just cost effective.

And again, cargo escorts don't get hired, so this isn't a change to how the game or universe already works, it is only making the mechanics consistent and straightforward. You can put a ship inside of another ship and then the AI can fly it. So why can't the AI fly your ship without having to put it inside of another one?
Hiring a pilot would be doable, but some care should be had on the implementation. Besides, people would probably tend not to do that unless the AI quality was pretty high, since ships are so expensive and AIs so prone to getting them blown.
That's alright as long as it is considered in the game balance. If taking out an Aera super capital takes a fleet of bombers with some being lost in the process, then the bounty must do much better than cover the cost of those losses.

The game needs to do more of this to hold long term attention; offer greater rewards that require greater means (and risks) to achieve. And this gives the player a naturally greater impact on the dynamic universe in the process which also does wonders for lasting appeal.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by riftroamer »

klauss wrote:
TBeholder wrote:No idea.
Technically, it should be reasonably easy: add an option to pickle in .vegastrike/serialized_xml/ all units in the system and perhaps all mission-important objects in other systems just like PC ships. Those CSV are <10k as they are, thus even 1000 ships will be < 10M total.
Faction is not recorded, so perhaps the easiest is to use one file per faction, though we'd need flightgroups anyway, and that would give a hundred of small files. Or maybe simply dump all in one heap, in order they are listed in save file, checking unit types on load.
Yeah well... right now, savegames can be up to 8MB in size, and that's just the names of the flightgroups of all systems and the number of thips they're composed of. Imagine if, in addition to the name and number of ships, you had one csv per ship. I wouldn't be surprised if a savegame ate 1G after that.
What about saving only a reference for each player vessel like a filename or id in a single external file that contains only the cargo manifests of the most important ships (player ships and optionally some mission/story related ships)? Assuming a player really taking it into the extreme even hundreds of ships wouldn't blow up the savegame file a too much if there is only a ship-id appended to it's entry that points to the manifest line in another file. But well I can't code so I might underestimate the amount of work involved on something like that.

Most concerns here are about (cargo) wingmen and their loadouts. And I started at that point with my thoughts too and ended up there again. If only the upgrades could be saved somehow, I'd go with the simplest possible solution.

Even if I was limited to only a handfull of ships in the first implementations, it would still be an improvement saving me time setting up my scheme in game (before one of the RL kids call for other duties again - which happens always when I'm nearly ready to go). ;)
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

Deus Siddis wrote:
klauss wrote: On the contrary, nano-plague concerns effectively forbids that kind of AI.
Look up the Grandchildren in the VS bible and the "PAI Wetware" or "AI Cores" or quantum computers that you can trade in, in game. And keep in mind we are only talking about a simple "combat" autopilot, it isn't supposed to be as good as a human pilot, just cost effective.
Yeah, I've always found them contradictory of canon. We should ask JackS.
Deus Siddis wrote:And again, cargo escorts don't get hired, so this isn't a change to how the game or universe already works, it is only making the mechanics consistent and straightforward. You can put a ship inside of another ship and then the AI can fly it. So why can't the AI fly your ship without having to put it inside of another one?
Well, perhaps that should change and they ought to be hired? Lots of people have been arguing for crew management, and this is it.
Deus Siddis wrote:
Hiring a pilot would be doable, but some care should be had on the implementation. Besides, people would probably tend not to do that unless the AI quality was pretty high, since ships are so expensive and AIs so prone to getting them blown.
That's alright as long as it is considered in the game balance. If taking out an Aera super capital takes a fleet of bombers with some being lost in the process, then the bounty must do much better than cover the cost of those losses.

The game needs to do more of this to hold long term attention; offer greater rewards that require greater means (and risks) to achieve. And this gives the player a naturally greater impact on the dynamic universe in the process which also does wonders for lasting appeal.
Indeed.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

riftroamer wrote:
klauss wrote:
TBeholder wrote:No idea.
Technically, it should be reasonably easy: add an option to pickle in .vegastrike/serialized_xml/ all units in the system and perhaps all mission-important objects in other systems just like PC ships. Those CSV are <10k as they are, thus even 1000 ships will be < 10M total.
Faction is not recorded, so perhaps the easiest is to use one file per faction, though we'd need flightgroups anyway, and that would give a hundred of small files. Or maybe simply dump all in one heap, in order they are listed in save file, checking unit types on load.
Yeah well... right now, savegames can be up to 8MB in size, and that's just the names of the flightgroups of all systems and the number of thips they're composed of. Imagine if, in addition to the name and number of ships, you had one csv per ship. I wouldn't be surprised if a savegame ate 1G after that.
What about saving only a reference for each player vessel like a filename or id in a single external file that contains only the cargo manifests of the most important ships (player ships and optionally some mission/story related ships)? Assuming a player really taking it into the extreme even hundreds of ships wouldn't blow up the savegame file a too much if there is only a ship-id appended to it's entry that points to the manifest line in another file. But well I can't code so I might underestimate the amount of work involved on something like that.
It's not about player ships, but mostly NPC. Storing that information for NPCs really is unmanageable.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by Deus Siddis »

klauss wrote: Yeah, I've always found them contradictory of canon. We should ask JackS.
I don't see any contradiction. The Andolians / Unadorned could not just come up with the GC out of nowhere, there had to be evolutionary steps leading up to that point. And the in game quantum, biological and cybernetic computers that are or are nearly first generation smart AIs fit that bill.

And all these far future information processors make autonomous escort ships (aka drones) not just a possibility but a probability many times over.
Well, perhaps that should change and they ought to be hired? Lots of people have been arguing for crew management, and this is it.
I think ships should be able to fly themselves using their built-in AI and follow simple navigational and combat commands like "follow me" or "attack any hostiles at that jump point". Then manning them with low skilled living pilots should allow your escort ships greater autonomy where you can send them out alone on missions. And finally manning them with experienced pilots should allow you to send out nearly fully autonomous ships that can roam an entire sector of space and take on cargo and missions and acquire credits with no player input required.

So essentially hiring people should not be a requirement for fielding escort ships, but a whole new feature that expands the game into a new but logical direction wherein the player goes from a lone individual to a band of characters to his own faction. And anyone you hire/indoctrinate should have some kind of simulated personality, just like fixers, only more robust since you will naturally interact with crew much more often than fixers.

Crew management done in such a way will be very worthwhile but it is also a huge can of worms; tons of work that won't happen in the near future. While treating crew like just another ship upgrade or treating escorts like cargo or one time mission contracts is pretty worthless. That is why we need to "set free" the pretty much already complete feature of buying, upgrading and fielding AI driven escort ships, from the completely unimplemented down-the-road feature of taking on and managing crew.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

Deus Siddis wrote:
klauss wrote: Yeah, I've always found them contradictory of canon. We should ask JackS.
I don't see any contradiction. The Andolians / Unadorned could not just come up with the GC out of nowhere, there had to be evolutionary steps leading up to that point. And the in game quantum, biological and cybernetic computers that are or are nearly first generation smart AIs fit that bill.

And all these far future information processors make autonomous escort ships (aka drones) not just a possibility but a probability many times over.
shrugs

I'm fine with any direction, on the huge conditional that wrinkles in gameplay and canon consistency do get worked out.

As in... where does the ban on AI begin, if not autonomous ships?
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by Deus Siddis »

klauss wrote:
shrugs

I'm fine with any direction, on the huge conditional that wrinkles in gameplay and canon consistency do get worked out.

As in... where does the ban on AI begin, if not autonomous ships?
The current system creates the least interesting game play and the most wrinkles. If it doesn't already, the canon should simply state that developing a true smart AI has been elusive up to the point of game start, but various technologies such as cybernetics and genetically engineered "wetware" provide some relatively impressive results none the less.

This is assuming we need an explanation for escorts, you could just let the player guess who or what is flying his escort ships, it is so inconsequential at this point. It could be the computer, it could be a forsaken refugee, it could be a mishtali or dgn. When the game play is working then worry about the canonical explanation I suggest. All the canon was written around game play in the first place, so if the former changes for the better then it is the job of the latter to keep up.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

Deus Siddis wrote:This is assuming we need an explanation for escorts, you could just let the player guess who or what is flying his escort ships, it is so inconsequential at this point. It could be the computer, it could be a forsaken refugee, it could be a mishtali or dgn. When the game play is working then worry about the canonical explanation I suggest. All the canon was written around game play in the first place, so if the former changes for the better then it is the job of the latter to keep up.
Yeah, but the nano-plague is very central to the back story, and if there's any intention of making a campaign out of it, it can't be murdered by contradicting its primary premise.

Edit: I could accept they can follow you, form up on you, or travel to destinations like an autopilot. I can accept they can perform very simple attack patterns, like a simple program would. But there should be a very noticeable difference between an auto-escort and an NPC. Can we implement that distinction?
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by riftroamer »

klauss wrote:Edit: I could accept they can follow you, form up on you, or travel to destinations like an autopilot. I can accept they can perform very simple attack patterns, like a simple program would. But there should be a very noticeable difference between an auto-escort and an NPC. Can we implement that distinction?
I would like to think that the "autoescort" function is similar to the "npcpilot" function in so far as both are using ai-rules do decide their actions. If so, the autoescort function would only use a subset of the rules available to the npcpilot function, wouldn't it?

As I understand there are already ai rules in VS for similar functionality. Is the ai-behavior for autoescorts or npcpilots you are referring to here different from those? If so, my humble comment may be safely ignored :)

I have the impression though that no matter how hard game devs try, the ingame ai's representing assets not controlled by the player (a human player) have yet to prove to be intelligent. Most are quite dumb or at least easily predictable. So the npcpilot probably only needs to differ from other ai by implementing unpredictability (changing the probabilities for decisions). This could however result in even greater dumbness if the changes are just random.

On the other hand, the VS ai acts quite nice most of the time. I like the insulting/provking my enemy concept a lot :) Perhaps something along that line could be used to set your wingmens attitude to fiercely and offensively fight to death or defensively stay put an protect your ship. Or any intermittend attitue as well.

The NPC would have an attitude based on payment and status pf employer, time in space and damage status of ship, the wingmen's attitude could be player controlled (by challenging or soothing them), while the autoescort will only follow protocols.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

riftroamer wrote:I have the impression though that no matter how hard game devs try, the ingame ai's representing assets not controlled by the player (a human player) have yet to prove to be intelligent. Most are quite dumb or at least easily predictable. So the npcpilot probably only needs to differ from other ai by implementing unpredictability (changing the probabilities for decisions). This could however result in even greater dumbness if the changes are just random.

On the other hand, the VS ai acts quite nice most of the time. I like the insulting/provking my enemy concept a lot :) Perhaps something along that line could be used to set your wingmens attitude to fiercely and offensively fight to death or defensively stay put an protect your ship. Or any intermittend attitue as well.
Yes, I was thinking along the same lines. A program has no personality. But right now, our NPCs have no personality either!
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by Deus Siddis »

klauss wrote: Yeah, but the nano-plague is very central to the back story, and if there's any intention of making a campaign out of it, it can't be murdered by contradicting its primary premise.
This is a separate topic, but I think we need to review the believability and purposefulness of this nano-plague plot device. It doesn't appear anywhere in the game, it doesn't contribute anything to game-play, it doesn't explain anything about why the universe is the way it is, it seems to be always getting in the way of new gameplay and story features, the description of its actual effects are extremely vague, and to ice the cake, it even sounds corny.
klauss wrote: Edit: I could accept they can follow you, form up on you, or travel to destinations like an autopilot. I can accept they can perform very simple attack patterns, like a simple program would. But there should be a very noticeable difference between an auto-escort and an NPC. Can we implement that distinction?
Yes, the distinction is that an NPC has much greater autonomy, so you can delegate bigger and more complex tasks to them. You can accept a bounty mission and instead of taking it on yourself you could assign the job to an NPC employee while you do another mission in a different system. Or you can send out an employee to find his own missions and complete them or discover his own trade routes and run them. NPCs are simulated people, so they are supposed to be able to do the things the player could do himself.

They also should have simulated personalities that have different strengths and weaknesses and have to be managed on an individual basis by the player to get the best performance out of them. You might have a really obedient, tolerate, modest shmrn character who follows your orders to the letter and is very efficient, but completely losses his shit when any degree of combat happens. Another character, a forsaken with a murky past, might be very cool and deadly in combat, but he is likely to betray you as soon as it is profitable enough for him to make an early retirement. And then you might have a Rlaan of the warrior species who seems to combine the best of both the former characters, but what you don't immediately know about her is she witnessed an Aeran massacre, so this character will go suicidally psycho on any Aera it encounters.

An autonomous escort would be no less or slightly less efficient in combat and navigation but would only follow the latest order you gave it. So if you set it to out to clean sweep a jump point that was out of real time radar and radio range and it found itself up against a large invincible fleet of pirates you didn't expect to be there, your drone escort will fight to the death foolishly and you will be out the cost of that ship. If you sent an NPC though, which can think for itself and values its own life and the bigger picture, it would retreat and probably survive to report the situation to you.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by klauss »

Deus Siddis wrote:
klauss wrote: Yeah, but the nano-plague is very central to the back story, and if there's any intention of making a campaign out of it, it can't be murdered by contradicting its primary premise.
This is a separate topic, but I think we need to review the believability and purposefulness of this nano-plague plot device. It doesn't appear anywhere in the game, it doesn't contribute anything to game-play, it doesn't explain anything about why the universe is the way it is, it seems to be always getting in the way of new gameplay and story features, the description of its actual effects are extremely vague, and to ice the cake, it even sounds corny.
Supposedly, it explains quite a few thing. I'm no canon expert though.
Deus Siddis wrote:
klauss wrote: Edit: I could accept they can follow you, form up on you, or travel to destinations like an autopilot. I can accept they can perform very simple attack patterns, like a simple program would. But there should be a very noticeable difference between an auto-escort and an NPC. Can we implement that distinction?
Yes, the distinction is that an NPC has much greater autonomy, so you can delegate bigger and more complex tasks to them. You can accept a bounty mission and instead of taking it on yourself you could assign the job to an NPC employee while you do another mission in a different system. Or you can send out an employee to find his own missions and complete them or discover his own trade routes and run them.
Ok... we're on the same page there, but I hope you realize the amount of work that is. Missions right now give plaintext directions written in natural language. How does an NPC follow them? Gotta code the same instructions in AI-level language first, and then code an AI to follow them. All quite non-trivial development.
Deus Siddis wrote:NPCs are simulated people, so they are supposed to be able to do the things the player could do himself.

They also should have simulated personalities that have different strengths and weaknesses and have to be managed on an individual basis by the player to get the best performance out of them. You might have a really obedient, tolerate, modest shmrn character who follows your orders to the letter and is very efficient, but completely losses his shit when any degree of combat happens. Another character, a forsaken with a murky past, might be very cool and deadly in combat, but he is likely to betray you as soon as it is profitable enough for him to make an early retirement. And then you might have a Rlaan of the warrior species who seems to combine the best of both the former characters, but what you don't immediately know about her is she witnessed an Aeran massacre, so this character will go suicidally psycho on any Aera it encounters.
Again, that's a lot of work, unlikely to happen without a redesign of AI to make it more flexible and easier to mod than it is currently. All things already planned for, but those are pre-requisites of auto-escort. Having auto-escorts at the same level of functionality of NPCs makes very little sense.
Deus Siddis wrote:An autonomous escort would be no less or slightly less efficient in combat and navigation but would only follow the latest order you gave it. So if you set it to out to clean sweep a jump point that was out of real time radar and radio range and it found itself up against a large invincible fleet of pirates you didn't expect to be there, your drone escort will fight to the death foolishly and you will be out the cost of that ship. If you sent an NPC though, which can think for itself and values its own life and the bigger picture, it would retreat and probably survive to report the situation to you.
I would expect the action to be performed when attacked should be configurable, like a "stance" setting on the escort. You can send a "drone" (that's what they are) on a tour of the system (set of waypoints) either on an aggressive (clean-sweep), defensive (patrol), evasive (scout) stance. That's all quite standard of strategy games.
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Re: Ships carying Ships carying Ships carrying cargo

Post by Deus Siddis »

klauss wrote: Supposedly, it explains quite a few thing. I'm no canon expert though.
What I understood from jackS, was he added the nano-plague to explain why you have space trade in a post nanotechnology world, where people could otherwise just grow what they need locally in vats of "grey goo." That is a fairly huge assumption though, based on an extremely optimistic view of nanotechnology's potential.
klauss wrote: Ok... we're on the same page there, but I hope you realize the amount of work that is.
I certainly do and that is why I don't want NPCs to be a priority right now.

I just want to be able to field a fleet of ships in "drone mode", that I have purchased and outfitted exactly the way I want to, and without needing to buy a "mother ship" to carry them around in. The existing escort / flight group AI is plenty good enough for starters.
Having auto-escorts at the same level of functionality of NPCs makes very little sense.
That's true for drones, but you said you wanted to hire (human, aka NPC) pilots and manage (living) crew, which logically means exactly that. There's no advantage to having other people in your ship or fleet of ships if you manage them exactly like upgrades and they behave exactly like drones.
I would expect the action to be performed when attacked should be configurable, like a "stance" setting on the escort. You can send a "drone" (that's what they are) on a tour of the system (set of waypoints) either on an aggressive (clean-sweep), defensive (patrol), evasive (scout) stance. That's all quite standard of strategy games.
Yeah that would be excellent. It is very believable that drones can have that level of autonomy.
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