Fractal Softworks Forum

Starsector => Suggestions => Topic started by: TheWetFish on July 26, 2018, 10:36:10 AM

Title: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: TheWetFish on July 26, 2018, 10:36:10 AM
"Protect" would be a more accurately descriptive word, as Escort is very often being confused for a follow or cooperate intent. 

The functionality of Escort is great, just looking for a name change to make it's usage more obvious.  "Bodyguard" may also suitable. 
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: The Soldier on July 26, 2018, 01:20:57 PM
The military, naval term for a ship protecting another ship is an escort.  As space combat usually follows the same theory as naval combat, they borrow a lot of terms.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: Sy on July 26, 2018, 01:35:59 PM
i'd appreciate that, yeah.

The military, naval term for a ship protecting another ship is an escort.  As space combat usually follows the same theory as naval combat, they borrow a lot of terms.
correct military term or not, it is counterintuitive for a lot of players that telling a small ship to "escort" a big one will usually decrease the survival chance of the small one. renaming the order to "protect" would make it a lot clearer that the ordered ship will actively try to, well, protect its target -- even potentially at the cost of risking its own death -- rather than just follow its target around and providing some additional firepower, or covering the big ship's rear.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: The Soldier on July 26, 2018, 03:41:47 PM
I don't see how it's counterintuitive?  To the player, the Escort order tells the ordered ship to guard and follow the target vessel.  In fact, escort vessels during wartime are supposed to put themselves between the friendly ship and the enemy rather than hanging around providing additional firepower.  Destroyers escorting the Atlantic convoys actively put themselves between the merchant ships and U-Boats that came in wolf packs.  Battleships often escorted aircraft carriers as well in the Pacific, an example of a much larger ship escorting a smaller one.

So the term "Escort" still applies well to the role that it's supposed to do.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: SafariJohn on July 26, 2018, 04:18:06 PM
The problem is that Starsector pretty strictly follows the "tougher is slower" formula. Therefore the tough ships you want escorting can't keep up with the fragile ships that need the support. If there were a "Support" or whatever order - where the chosen ship follows the target ship around and hides behind the target ship when high on flux - I think it would get a lot of use. But that's been suggested multiple times before to no avail.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: TaLaR on July 26, 2018, 10:51:30 PM
Yeah, separate Support (assist, hide behind ally when threatened) vs Protect (actively defend ally, risk if necessary) would be nice.
And maybe Cooperate (act as group, but don't select any single ship as leader).

telling a small ship to "escort" a big one will usually decrease the survival chance of the small one.

That's the problematic part. And it's not like you can order big one to escort small one to compensate (since it's usually slower). Which is why I prefer 'defend area' orders when threat from enemy fleet is significant.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: Sy on July 27, 2018, 09:16:54 AM
I don't see how it's counterintuitive?  To the player, the Escort order tells the ordered ship to guard and follow the target vessel.  In fact, escort vessels during wartime are supposed to put themselves between the friendly ship and the enemy rather than hanging around providing additional firepower.
because not everyone knows the exact terminology used by real life military? regardless of how correct it is, i've seen it several times that someone in chat (usually a pretty new player) was confused by how the escort command actually works. i also initially thought it simply told the ordered ship to stick close to the target, without any additional change in behaviour over two not-escorting ships fighting near each other.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: The Soldier on July 27, 2018, 01:06:43 PM
You don't need to know exact military terminology in order to know what an Escort order is supposed to mean.  Protect the target - not difficult to figure out considering you just selected one ship and clicked another friendly ship with that intent.  Changing the name will not change what people think the order is supposed to do - you need something else for that, like a tooltip or otherwise, to make sure the player knows exactly what it does.

I'm of the mindset that the play should be able to find things out on their own, that not everything should be given to the player without any sort of figuring out to do.  As far as my opinion goes I think it's fine that the player has to learn some new things.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: intrinsic_parity on July 27, 2018, 03:36:02 PM
For me, it's not so much about understanding what it does but rather that it causes unintuitive and occasionally suicidal behavior. Slow ships will turn their unshielded engines to the enemy to try and catch up with fast ships they are escorting, small ships will jump in front of huge amounts of fire power as if they can shield tank for their escortee when in fact they just die instantly. It's not that the player doesn't understand that the escorting ship will try to protect the escortee, it's that certain ships will act in ridiculous and suicidal ways when told to protect other ships, which is not intuitive. It needs to be fixed, not better explained.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: c plus one on July 28, 2018, 08:04:44 PM
It's not that the player doesn't understand that the escorting ship will try to protect the escortee, it's that certain ships will act in ridiculous and suicidal ways when told to protect other ships, which is not intuitive. It needs to be fixed, not better explained.

Emphasis mine. A decisive fix to that will significantly help. I'm increasingly frustrated by the current highly counterproductive behaviour in-game.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: TheWetFish on August 07, 2018, 04:40:46 AM
Escort is 100% the strictly correct & descriptive definition to use.  It is also the term that should not be used.  Language is only as useful as the shared understanding of it 


Unfortunately the presumption that many/most players will have a full & strictly accurately understanding of the term "escort" is proving to be incorrect in a sufficient number of cases that a change should be considered 

If we want this game to be usable by a wide audience then we need to use language fitting of a wide audience 

Another option would be a suitably descriptive tooltip for the Escort command which serves to provide the necessary shared understanding of the term.  I don't think this is preferable but it's probably worth considering 


As a side note there are some interesting AI behaviors associated with the Escort command.  Unless the functionality of the command was radically changed (which I am not advocating), then distinct prompts or suggestions to change the associated AI behavior may be better & more cleanly handled in a distinct thread
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: The Soldier on August 07, 2018, 01:13:56 PM
Escort is 100% the strictly correct & descriptive definition to use.  It is also the term that should not be used.  Language is only as useful as the shared understanding of it
I fail to see how renaming an ability from "Escort" to "Protect" in a very, very naval-centric game will actually make it any more understandable.  If anything people will wonder why it's not named Escort, or why the name got changed in the first place.  Furthermore, this game doesn't exactly promote itself towards a wide audience in the first place with it's design (which is perfectly fine in and of itself), so changing language for for the sake of understanding won't change much, if anything, at all.  Finally, it's not as if the term "Escort" requires extensive military knowledge to understand it means "follow and protect".

As far as I'm concerned this is a completely unnecessary change.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: TheWetFish on August 09, 2018, 05:15:07 AM
We seem to be understanding each others points quite well, while factually disagreeing on the scope of audience where "Escort" is problematic 

I am basing this on the (restricted sample size of) feedback received via the Discord chat 
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: Wyvern on August 09, 2018, 10:46:34 AM
Escort, in common context, simply means 'to go with'.  If a police officer escorts you somewhere, do you expect them to take a bullet for you?  What if you're escorting a friend to a party?

There's also a significant difference between real naval tactics and what works in-game; in the real world, you'd expect an escorting cruiser or destroyer to put itself between an attack and the aircraft carrier... but the real world doesn't have shields, among various other differences that make that behavior problematic in-game.

Regardless of whether the current 'Escort' command gets renamed or not, though, there is definitely a need for a distinct command that encompasses "Stay near this target ship, try to avoid being between it and what it's shooting at, and otherwise just do your own thing."
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: Techhead on August 10, 2018, 02:59:14 AM
Regardless of whether the current 'Escort' command gets renamed or not, though, there is definitely a need for a distinct command that encompasses "Stay near this target ship, try to avoid being between it and what it's shooting at, and otherwise just do your own thing."
But I don't want it to just hang around and do it's own thing. I want it to (prefer to) shoot at whatever the followed ship is shooting at. (http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=13372.0) (Link is to an earlier topic on this subject. Have another. (http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=11367.0))
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: Wyvern on August 10, 2018, 08:57:49 AM
Ah, that'd make for a third variation on 'escort'.

So, what are we up to now?

Protect: current escort behavior; stay close and try to shield the protected ship from attacks.
Formation: stay nearby & out of the formation leader's way but do your own thing.
Support: as formation but try to focus fire on the supported ship's target.

That said, I suggested the version I tagged as 'Formation' above because I suspect it's the easiest option to get the AI to actually do; aside from the "stay out of the formation leader's way" bit, it's effectively the existing "rally task force" command, just with a mobile target location rather than a fixed one.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: Megas on August 10, 2018, 10:50:08 AM
When I want to Escort a combatant, I generally want either Wyvern's "Formation" or "Support", which the AI does not do.  The only time I want "Protect" is if I want to Escort a backline unit, like a dedicated carrier or a civilian with a special hullmod, that was ordered to rally at a point.

I guess there is Eliminate to focus-fire, but ships tend to be easily distracted and wander halfway across the map to chase a stupid enemy frigate sometimes.

Arcade games with escorts, options, or satellites tend to "Support" your ship.  Think Gradius options or Galaga's double ship.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: Wyvern on August 10, 2018, 01:25:16 PM
Oh, I guess there's another escort-type behavior I'd love to have that the current AI can't do.  Specifically, I'd like to be able to take a frigate or destroyer, and set it to follow along behind an Onslaught, specifically to chase off annoying frigates trying to get into the Onslaught's tailpipes.  In this role, it doesn't even need to go for kills or anything - just push up flux on targets and make them back off.

This is one of the things that makes the Legion a bit more appealing to fly than an Onslaught - even if you've just got talons for your fighters, you can set them on things that try to come up behind you.  (Well, that, and the Legion's firing arcs are a bit less awkward.)
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: TaLaR on August 10, 2018, 01:44:31 PM
Oh, I guess there's another escort-type behavior I'd love to have that the current AI can't do.  Specifically, I'd like to be able to take a frigate or destroyer, and set it to follow along behind an Onslaught, specifically to chase off annoying frigates trying to get into the Onslaught's tailpipes.  In this role, it doesn't even need to go for kills or anything - just push up flux on targets and make them back off.

Yeah, a frigate doing this intentionally and methodically would be quite a powerful move. Should be enough to counter a DE or pair of frigate attackers easily.
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: SafariJohn on August 10, 2018, 07:23:53 PM
Something really annoying is I've had a case where I wanted an Enforcer to escort another ship exactly as the command functions, but it kept burn driving far away from what I wanted it to protect. The one time I actually had a use for the command as-is and a ship system subverts it. :-\
Title: Re: rename Escort order to Protect
Post by: Midnight Kitsune on August 11, 2018, 06:38:52 AM
Something really annoying is I've had a case where I wanted an Enforcer to escort another ship exactly as the command functions, but it kept burn driving far away from what I wanted it to protect. The one time I actually had a use for the command as-is and a ship system subverts it. :-\
I've had similar issues where AIs chase the enemies half way across the battlefield, all the while on a defend or an assault order