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Author Topic: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)  (Read 288 times)

Cyan Leader

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Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« on: August 01, 2020, 08:54:05 PM »

As your fleet gets stronger and you are running ships with multiple level 20 officers, you still get some pirate armadas that try to fight you only to be completely destroyed due to how much officers and skills can impact a battle, they can't even dent the shields of a defensive officer on a decent ship. Since the FP is the main tool that the AI uses for fleet engagement decisions, there should be some sort of hidden modifier for each officer ship FP value that the AI would take into consideration. This could be applied to enemy scaling as well if the game is going to use that system further.
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FooF

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Re: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2020, 01:33:03 PM »

I'm not keen on hidden modifiers. If hidden values suddenly make large fleets flee from me and I don't know why, it would feel like a bug or broken mechanic ("Why does this huge fleet keep running away? I want to fight it!"). Likewise, from a purely subjective standpoint, just because you don't want that Pirate Armada to fight you doesn't mean I don't want that Pirate Armada to fight me. Perhaps I want to fight everything in sight and enjoy cake-walk battles. I don't think it wise to presume player preference.

If the modifiers were clearly displayed the player, it's a different ball game and we could debate the merits of giving officers some kind of FP multiplier but hidden modifiers I'm against in principle.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2020, 02:11:00 PM »

I like the idea. It sounds to me like the the idea is to make enemies behave more rationally, which doesn't seem like an issue of player preference so much as balance. I don't think fleet points are really a player facing value anyway so in that sense, it's already a 'hidden modifier' regardless of if you try to account for officers or not. Ultimately the goal should be to make the AI behavior match the qualities that are apparent to the player IMO (some abstract notion of fleet strength), so I think doing things to improve the AIs understanding of the that is good.
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Megas

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Re: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2020, 02:53:39 PM »

Hidden modifiers (that players cannot have) smell like "cheater AI" tropes.  I do not like cheating AI.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2020, 03:58:47 PM »

If anything, the AI is the one being disadvantaged by a lack of information here, not the player... The player can see if enemies have officers but the AI is not able to account for that. This just improves the AI's ability evaluate the relative strength of fleets so that it can behave rationally (i.e. choose to run away or engage appropriately), it doesn't give the AI some hidden information that causes unpredictable behavior.
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Thaago

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Re: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2020, 04:46:35 PM »

In general whether or not AI fleets run away from the player could use some nuance - I think officers impacting is a good first step. At present the AI fleet behavior is a bit new player unfriendly: for a new player, fleets that they can easily kill try and run away from them, but for an experienced player fleets that they can easily kill will come running right to them.
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Histidine

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Re: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2020, 06:45:04 PM »

I was under the impression that officers already affect estimated fleet strength for AI behavior on the campaign map, and pirates are just really eager to pick fights with the player.
(Also, FP values don't reflect how good (or bad, depending on the player) player-made variants are, especially when the fleet's various components synergize with each other)
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Cyan Leader

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Re: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2020, 09:31:54 PM »

If that's the case then never mind, but I thought only FP mattered for AI decisions such as retreating in combat and everything related to player strength.

Also I said "hidden" but maybe a better way to put it would be a special modifier that only applies to the AI decision-making logic and not, say, for the FP used for battle size limits.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 09:35:04 PM by Cyan Leader »
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FooF

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Re: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2020, 06:03:28 AM »

Pirates being reckless is kind of a "pirate" thing to do. :P

Making the AI more "rational" in its choosing to fight is fine, as long as there's consistency. Heck, I think if each faction had a certain propensity to fight relative to "normal," that would bring some nuance to the game. (I.e. Tri-Tach tends to flee but the Diktat is ultra-aggressive) You could even put a blurb in the Faction section their general aggro level, should the player become hostile.

FP may be hidden but the results are axiomatic: big fleets will chase same-size or smaller fleets. Likewise, bounty/pirate fleets almost always engage the player unless there is a huge disparity in FP. There might be some wiggle-room when two fleets appear to be roughly equivalent but I (anecdotally) don't see large hostile fleets running from medium-sized fleets filled with officers. I don't believe this is the OP's suggestion but the game would have to be clear as to why this is happening when chase behavior usually runs contrary to this.

If I may ask for clarification, the end-result of the suggestion was so that the player isn't bogged down my battles that no longer pose any challenge? If the FP disparity is great enough, regardless of the hostile fleet's recklessness, why not give the option to auto-resolve? "Despite your overwhelming advantage, a hostile fleet still wishes to engage you. Send your second-in-command to deal with it? (Auto-resolve)" Or is the real end to be achieved is so that you don't have to spend CR/Supplies on a non-threat?


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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Officers should stealthily modify ships' FP in some way (AI)
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2020, 11:57:10 AM »

Pirates being reckless is kind of a "pirate" thing to do. :P
Is this true? Real pirates want to make money, not commit suicide. There's obviously some potential for 'desperation' attacks from small pirates down on their luck, but that doesn't really apply to huge armadas IMO.

FP may be hidden but the results are axiomatic: big fleets will chase same-size or smaller fleets. Likewise, bounty/pirate fleets almost always engage the player unless there is a huge disparity in FP. There might be some wiggle-room when two fleets appear to be roughly equivalent but I (anecdotally) don't see large hostile fleets running from medium-sized fleets filled with officers. I don't believe this is the OP's suggestion but the game would have to be clear as to why this is happening when chase behavior usually runs contrary to this.
I think the motivating issue is suicidal small fleets not, cowardly big fleets (which aren't really an issue because they are usually slow enough to catch regardless of if they run). The real problem is just that 'big' and 'small' are subjective (really should be more powerful and less powerful), but the AI needs to assign a number to those concepts to make decisions based on them. Fleet points are an attempt at assigning this number, and the suggestion is just to add more nuance to how the number is assigned to better represent the true strength of the fleet. I think we agree that the AI should generally run from fights they would lose and chase fights they would win. The OP is just suggesting that they fail to do that because they aren't accurately assessing whether or not they would win because they are missing important information about officers. I'm actually not sure if that is true, but regardless, I think fleets should be a bit more rational.

If I may ask for clarification, the end-result of the suggestion was so that the player isn't bogged down my battles that no longer pose any challenge? If the FP disparity is great enough, regardless of the hostile fleet's recklessness, why not give the option to auto-resolve?
It's definitely partially an issue of annoying battles/time wasting, but also just an issue of consistency. Why are these fleets behaving completely irrationally (sometimes)? I believe it is often referred to as the 'zombie hoard' of pirates. Hopefully the addition of new threats to the player in end game will allow pirates to not take this role in the game anymore and be more like actual pirates (opportunists looking to make some money rather than zealots dying for the cause of total anarchy). I think it's also somewhat important for the new player experience. One way a player understands their own fleet power is by the AI behavior. If a fleet is chasing you, you might gather that it has a good chance of winning, and if a fleet is running away, you might assume you have a good chance of winning, so I think it's important to try and achieve that to be consistent with the players expectations of how the enemy should behave.

I think the place I have personally notice issues is when I am somewhere in the late mid-game (strong cruisers transitioning to capitals). At that point I generally have many high level officers and my own skills as well as high quality ships and outfits. I would say that by that point, I can kill pretty much any pirate fleet because my ship and officer quality is so high, but the pirate fleets with a few atlas MK IIs still think they can take me resulting in a slaughter. Maybe it's more an issue of the AI over valuing the low quality pirate capitals (or those ships being too weak). Once I get a late game death stack, pirates usually run, although sometimes the biggest one still chase me which makes no sense.
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