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Author Topic: Fleet stances  (Read 3266 times)

Gabrybbo

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Fleet stances
« on: December 24, 2012, 06:08:19 AM »

I remember seeing a discussion, not much time ago, where it was stated by alex that it's not easy for the AI to decide whether the use of an extremely aggressive tactic may be useful, so it is better to have a more conservative AI as it makes the effects of an error less devastating and frustrating for the player.

So, what about the ability to set a stance for your fleet while in battle?
A "defensive" stance makes ships much more cautious and forces a more conservative use of flux. Less losses overall, but on the flip side your fleet takes more time to kill an opponent and you run the risk of losing capture points as your ships may prefer to retreat or wait for reinforcements instead of risking a confrontation. Can be dangerous to use if your ships are overpowered by the enemy, but allows you to preserve your forces until your Dominator arrives at the frontline to lead a full-scale assault.
A "balanced" stance is basically what we have now: the AI tries his best to kill the enemy, but doesn't try to charge alone in a swarm of bullets to blow up a single damaged Talon. This is also the default stance.
An "aggressive" stance makes your ships stay in combat a lot more, even when taking hits, and forces a much more free use of all their weaponry and systems. You get to destroy weakened enemies in a very small amount of time and you slow down a lot your opponent, but if the stance is mantained for too long the damage report could be really severe (assuming you manage to win with damaged and nearly overloaded ships).

Obviously as Officers will be released their personalities will severely impact how your fleet acts in every stance: a suicidal commander during a defensive stance might still chase after ships and if you select the aggressive stance he may try and burndrive into enemies.  :)

Usually i like having an option like this when i'm playing any game that involves strategy without micromanagement, as my general approach is to rush out to take a lot of vantage points denying them to the enemy and then slowly retreat while I assemble my forces. This translates in an aggressive stance followed by a defensive one and finally by a balanced or aggressive one.
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arcibalde

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Re: Fleet stances
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2012, 06:27:01 AM »

I do not see room for it when personality kick in. Every ship will have (i guess) captain with certain personality so i do not see how "general" stance can be different that sum of all your captains personality. You can't make coward to behave aggressive, nor you can make lunatic to be cautious and defensive. I just do not see it.
   
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ThePinkPanzer

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Re: Fleet stances
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2012, 07:35:36 AM »

Every individual ship still takes orders from some one higher up than them.
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Gabrybbo

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Re: Fleet stances
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2012, 07:44:05 AM »

Yes, I understand your point of view, arcibalde. I'll try to explain better my point.

If Bob is a captain with suicidal tendencies he will usually (which means in the balanced stance) be very, very aggressive. If I, the admiral of the fleet, order him to keep a more conservative behaviour he will do what BOB thinks is a more conservative behaviour, so he may still be aggressive, but he will be forced to not put his ship in too much risk. He's NOT becoming cautious, he's just trying his best to restrain his tendency of ramming enemy ships while shooting every last bullet he has.

Every captain will obey your order of keeping a general behaviour, but each captain's personality will affect what is the final behaviour for his ship.
Let's make some examples of what i'm trying to say:
personality -> stance -> behaviour

Cautious -> defensive -> very cautious, he will avoid most ships, even weaker ones, and will try to keep his flux low to be faster.
Cautuous -> balanced -> keeps distance from bigger ships, avoiding them as much as possible, but fights with the other ones. Retreats if his flux reaches high levels or the enemy gets reinforcements.
Cautious -> aggressive -> he will try to engage enemy ships (even larger ones) for longer times, but he won't ever overextend looking for a kill and will retreat as soon as he takes some damage.

Suicidal -> defensive -> tries to kill his opponent, but retreats if his ships is being overwhelmed by the enemy.
Suicidal -> balanced -> retreats only if his ship is barely functional, but otherwise he will always charge into battle.
Suicidal -> aggressive -> never retreats and will fight to the death (his, probably).

As you see, combining different stances with different personalities makes quite a difference in the end.  :)

Still, in the end it could be not worth it, but i'm throwing this idea to the forum exacly to see that.  :D
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arcibalde

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Re: Fleet stances
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2012, 08:48:45 AM »

Ok i see it now but ain't that a bit too much? 3 stances for every personality... Seems to complex to memories or to confusing for beginners... I'm for simple systems on outside and complex mechanic that drives them.
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BillyRueben

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Re: Fleet stances
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2012, 08:51:48 AM »

Isn't this a little bit like the commands we have now? Intercept gives ships tunnel vision as they target a single ship (aggressive). Engage has ships engaging the most "convenient" target near the Engage order (balanced). Harass has ships ships doing just that: staying as far out of enemy weapon range as they can while hitting them with any large range weaponry they have (defensive).
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Gabrybbo

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Re: Fleet stances
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2012, 11:11:14 AM »

Isn't this a little bit like the commands we have now? Intercept gives ships tunnel vision as they target a single ship (aggressive). Engage has ships engaging the most "convenient" target near the Engage order (balanced). Harass has ships ships doing just that: staying as far out of enemy weapon range as they can while hitting them with any large range weaponry they have (defensive).

Well... It's close, but not quite the same thing, i'm thinking of a layer of behaviour that is independent from orders.

Instead of "stances" we can see these as 3 fleetwide orders:
One to command your ships to be more aggressive while carrying out your orders;
One to tell them to be more careful;
One to return to a balanced behaviour.

It's not something that you'd have to remember (obviously you'd need a quick tutorial to show how are these used and how can affect, both positively and negatively, the flow of battle and your ships) and the interactions with the different personalities are pretty much natural: if a captain is aggressive you can expect him not to be extremely careful even when you give him such order, and vice versa.
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Wyvern

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Re: Fleet stances
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2012, 10:46:03 AM »

Hm.  I'd really like something like this - one of my normal tactics is to outfit a ship as a decoy - an AI controlled vessel optimized for survivability, whose sole job is to wander around and not die so the enemy won't focus every ship they've got on my flagship.  Being able to set a defensive stance would be very nice.
The harass command doesn't really work here, since you have to target a specific enemy ship with that; what I want is more of a "harass whatever comes your way" command.

Then again, that would be resolvable via just officers with personalities; give the decoy ship a very cautious captain, and I'd be happy enough.
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arcibalde

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Re: Fleet stances
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 10:58:19 AM »

Hm.  I'd really like something like this - one of my normal tactics is to outfit a ship as a decoy - an AI controlled vessel optimized for survivability, whose sole job is to wander around and not die so the enemy won't focus every ship they've got on my flagship.  Being able to set a defensive stance would be very nice.
The harass command doesn't really work here, since you have to target a specific enemy ship with that; what I want is more of a "harass whatever comes your way" command.

Then again, that would be resolvable via just officers with personalities; give the decoy ship a very cautious captain, and I'd be happy enough.
But we talk about fleet-wide orders, not single ship one.
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Wyvern

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Re: Fleet stances
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2012, 11:02:11 AM »

But we talk about fleet-wide orders, not single ship one.

Missing context here: I tend to fly with very small fleets; I have my flagship, and then maybe one or two decoy ships.  A lot of the time I fly with just my flagship, but that tends to fare poorly against very large fleets* - a single ship can't contest the various control points, and when every enemy ship above a destroyer is getting massive boosts to speed and range... well, things can get ugly.

*Footnote: Well, against very large fleets full of mil-spec warships; large pirate fleets are still no problem.
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