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Author Topic: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups  (Read 5675 times)

bobucles

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #45 on: November 02, 2019, 08:01:11 AM »

Check it out, I can fix the weapon grouping AI but with only FOUR weapon groups. They aren't real weapon groups but are rather AI directives to utilize the weapons in the way you expect them to be used.

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Primary weapons
are the guns that the ship is expected to use in most engagements. They define the ideal "combat range" of the craft and the AI will attempt to utilize all its primary weapons, against a main target, as part of its main attack. Short range primary weapons will force the ship into melee. This is kind of like the "weapon group" system that you have now, with all the primary guns slaved to a single goal.
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Secondary weapons
are situational weapons that excel in some situations but suffer in others. The default weapon AI is to hold fire until it "seems good" to use them. The conditions are fairly broad and generous, for example kinetic weapons fire "against shields" and anti armor weapons fire "when it's cheap or when enemy shields are stressed". Secondary weapons include things like limited missile racks, inefficient guns, aggressive PD, or extreme range artillery that might fare poorly up close. For a ship with limited frontal focus, secondary weapons would attempt to hit the "best targets" around them. For something like a Conquest using a kinetic broadside/anti armor broadside, both sides might be considered secondary and it'll attempt to attack with the best side. The downside of using too many secondary weapons is the ship won't focus fire and "alpha strike" all its weapons, when primary weapons would.
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Tertiary weapons
are guns that get used in extremely rare conditions. It is fitting for 1-shots like reapers or antimatter blasters. They only shoot at a main target when a full aggression routine asks for it, such as against an overloaded ship, or for a jousting Phase ship. Generally the purpose of a tertiary weapon is to score a killing blow and is otherwise not useful in a direct slugging match. A ship with only tertiary weapons will not force itself to stay in combat range and only looks for lopsided opportunities to attack.
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Defense weapons
are almost exhaustively not used to engage larger ships. This grouping is basically for PD and they only like to target missiles/fighters. Against larger targets they will only be used opportunistically. They will not attempt to stress their own ship's flux to deal damage, except on the most aggressive settings.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 08:04:28 AM by bobucles »
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #46 on: November 02, 2019, 08:34:57 AM »

I mean it's easy to come up with general/abstract rules for weapon behavior, but it's not so easy to make an AI that actually behaves reasonably based on that. Whether to fire a weapon or not is very situational/contextual and humans make the decision based on a lot of factors that are difficult to represent for an AI. There are plenty of places where simple rules like 'fire kinetics into shields', or 'fire an anti matter blaster into an overloaded ship' fall short in very serious ways. Feel free to make your own AI and demonstrate how effective it is though.
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Grievous69

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #47 on: November 02, 2019, 08:37:42 AM »

Not to mention his theory only makes categories for weapons, it doesn't change the problem of only 5 weapon groups. Sure it sounds nice on paper but you missed a ton of scenarios which would be a royal pain to implement with the primary, secondary and so on rules.
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bobucles

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #48 on: November 03, 2019, 04:55:34 AM »

Not to mention his theory only makes categories for weapons, it doesn't change the problem of only 5 weapon groups. Sure it sounds nice on paper but you missed a ton of scenarios which would be a royal pain to implement with the primary, secondary and so on rules.
It changes the problem from tweaking the AI with weapon groups, to using weapon groups as the player convenience they should be. The player doesn't need more than 5 weapon groups to perform player actions, so there is no weapon group problem that needs solving.

Weapon groups can't even solve the problem to begin with. The weapon issue is an AI issue. You solve AI issues with AI solutions.  The AI doesn't understand player intent with weapons, and there's no clear way to define that intent. This weapon system defines broad brush attitudes towards its weapons. I stuck to AI features that are not very difficult to define, and which the game already attempts to discover on its own (sometimes failing in the process).

- Primary weapons define a very clear representation of the ship's combat range. The current AI system essentially tries to guess the combat range where a ship wants fight, and a ship with multiple weapon ranges typically causes a lot of problems for the AI. Let the player set the range. For carriers, their primary weapons tend to be strike craft. Primary weapons also help to define focus fire, all the main weapons should attempt to engage the primary target. Since primary weapons concern themselves with a ship's range and weapon arcs, they would dramatically affect how a ship chooses to move.
- Secondary weapons copy many aspects of the current AI system, I.E. what if every weapon behaved like its own weapon group and tried to be a smart weapon. There's nothing groundbreaking here, there's already a ton of rules for weapons trying to be the best they can be. The target behavior is more opportunistic, rather than actively pushing the ship into range like with primary weapons.
- The PD group basically flags a weapon as yes/no being PD, which is a behavior that already exists for PD weapons. However, sometimes you want a small weapon to be used very aggressively as well, such as PDs on a wolf or maybe you want a Dominator to get all in there. You can do that by upgrading PD to primary or secondary weapon behaviors, transforming a PD weapon into the main method of attack.
- The only feature that is really difficult to grasp is the tertiary group. It exists to classify rare, strategic power weapons that are very difficult to build an AI for. Generally it stops trying to fire the weapon as an immediate first action, trying to reserve it for a key turning point later in battle.  Torpedoes already attempt to perform this behavior, by of holding themselves until a "killing blow" opportunity shows up. The "lunging phase ship" behavior doesn't even exist, that is legitimately breaking new ground on ideas for AI behavior. That might be more of a generic phase ship issue where they don't really understand how to fight, rather than a weapon grouping issue. But if you want a ship to dunk all its reaper torpedoes in the first 10 seconds, set it as a primary weapon. Maybe that's a thing you want, just a nightmare barrage of torpedoes sounds like fun.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2019, 05:22:23 AM by bobucles »
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SCC

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #49 on: November 03, 2019, 07:11:33 AM »

The player doesn't need more than 5 weapon groups to perform player actions
I would very much want to have 7 or 8 weapon groups on the Onslaught for myself. You must remember that most non-high tech ships need basically twice as many weapon groups, since they have primary, secondary and tertiary kinetic and high-explosive weapons. This case alone needs 6 weapon groups, plus point defence. It could work on frigates, destroyers and certain cruisers, where you have just primary, missiles and PD, or primary, secondary and PD, but it doesn't work out for bigger ships.

DatonKallandor

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #50 on: November 03, 2019, 10:06:17 AM »

Nothing should need that many weapon groups is the point. And you really don't.
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Plantissue

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #51 on: November 04, 2019, 10:00:44 AM »

Even if you cannot imagine using more than 5 weapon groups, other can. Why say that you don't need 5? Why not any other number? You might be happy with 5, whereas plenty others see the opportunity to use more, so why try to deny it to others?

There was an example of the Onslaught. You can also imagine a Conquest with its two sides. Or Paragon. Or for a non-Capital example, even simply wanting Kinetics, High Explosive, missiles, Ion weapons, beam, PD weapons and an empty weapon group to pilot without bothering to aim weapons on something like an Eagle.  It is a restriction, and an unnecessary restriction.
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DatonKallandor

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #52 on: November 04, 2019, 11:10:04 AM »

For reasons already explained earlier in the thread. You only need lots of weapon groups when the weapon autofire AI is not good enough. If you can make ships wildly more effective with more weapon groups and specific weapon group tricks, that's bad because it opens up a huge gap between player ship performance and AI ship performance, as well as between players that known the exploits and players that don't.
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Grievous69

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #53 on: November 04, 2019, 11:28:57 AM »

Mate if AI could manage certain weapons WITHIN a weapon group while we do something else with the ship then ok. As is it now, I could give at least 4-5 examples in only vanilla where more than 5 groups would be nice. Let's say your ship has 6 kinetic weapons, 3 with high dmg per shot and 3 with just fast fire rate. I'd have to disable all of them if I don't want to ''waste'' flux on armor. Feel free to remain a masochist but you've already seen that for some it's just not enough. Why make their life harder jeez. One thing is a suggestion that changes something, the other is some convenience that won't even *** affect you since you're fine with 5.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 11:30:31 AM by Grievous69 »
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #54 on: November 04, 2019, 12:20:01 PM »

I don't see why the player being able to improve ship performance by understanding how auto fire AI work is a problem. Isn't the point of the game for the player to learn the mechanics of the game and improve their performance? Weapon grouping is a skill the player has to learn: it's just another part of outfitting. You can always improve the AI performance at weapon grouping to make the game more difficult, although I don't think that really a problem right now.

I think the AI interacts with weapons in the way it does to mimic the player so the AI doesn't have an advantage over the player by controlling all the weapons individually. Also, the current AI definitely doesn't know how to manage each individual weapon separately and intelligently. It pretty much just autofires everything until flux is high and only manually fires strike weapons. I think unless there are weapon level target priorities (like PD) the target prioritization is just a high level main target (like the player does) and weapons either shoot at that or whatever is closest. There's no decisions being made based on what damage type is shooting at what or anything like that as far as I know. I think some people think the AI is much more advanced than it actually is. It's decent at turning auto fire on/off to manage flux, but it doesn't make decisions like the player does as far as I can tell. I could be wrong, someone with actual knowledge of the code please correct me.

I think it would be a ton of work to change that, and much less to add more weapon groups. The amount of work is like 'make an advanced AI' vs. 'make some changes to the UI'. I think it's unlikely the AI will be getting reworked at this stage of development, but changing the number of weapon groups seems plausible.
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Plantissue

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #55 on: November 04, 2019, 01:25:06 PM »

For reasons already explained earlier in the thread. You only need lots of weapon groups when the weapon autofire AI is not good enough. If you can make ships wildly more effective with more weapon groups and specific weapon group tricks, that's bad because it opens up a huge gap between player ship performance and AI ship performance, as well as between players that known the exploits and players that don't.
First example was for AI. The other examples could be for AI but is for personally piloting. Not that it matters. It's not an exploit to play more intelligently and observantly than another player. The game is single player. Not that it matters. There's no reason to drag everyone else down in performance just because you don't see the need for more weapon groups.

I would like to have fun personally piloting a ship, making use of different weapons better, even if the AI themselves cannot. I would like to be able to separate KE from HE. I would like to be able to toggle on and off beams if I feel they aren't being helpful. I would like to choose to fire different large missile mounts. I would like the option to steer a ship whilst leaving all/some weapons on autofire. I would like to be able to toggle flux hungry ion weapons. I would like weapons with different arcs to be able to shoot one side and the other side to be AI controlled.

To make a statement that nobody needs more than 5 weapon groups as you cannot imagine to make use of it, and that anymore would be an exploit is selfish. Why drag everyone else to your level?
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DatonKallandor

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #56 on: November 04, 2019, 07:53:03 PM »

It should be obvious - if there's a massive gap in player ships performance based on obscure weapon grouping mechanics, it's impossible to balance the game to a baseline.

As for you list of things you want, I want to be able to set omni-shields to AI control. I want a dock order for fighters. Everyone wants their own set of features - not all of them are good design and would improve things.
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Grievous69

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #57 on: November 04, 2019, 10:36:05 PM »

It's not a massive gap, it's a convenience thing. This is why I usually make loadouts that work fine with 5 groups, instead of doing whatever the hell I want (which is the point of customisation). Also you're plain dumb if you're comparing a QoL change with an ability to completely cover fighters from fire. Stop trolling pls.
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TaLaR

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #58 on: November 04, 2019, 10:38:52 PM »

@DatonKallandor

Well, obviously grouping already matters. Try dumping all weapons into 1 group and compare that to anything more intelligent.

Imo: increase group amount, improve auto-assignment, and if player assigns wildly sub-optimal groups, that's his problem.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 10:43:25 PM by TaLaR »
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SCC

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Re: Gunnery Implant - gives additional weapons groups
« Reply #59 on: November 05, 2019, 01:23:44 AM »

One issue with "improving autofire AI" is that at some point it would have to step outside its bounds to become better. It would have to guess whether you want to fire only kinetics against shields & only HE against armour, or if you want a mix to break the enemy's shields faster, or if you're firing everything in a panic mode, or when do you want to turn on a mixed damage types anti-fighter group. On the other hand, ship AI & the player already do these estimations and can take these decisions — if they have enough weapon groups. This is how it works already. Extending is going to be less cumbersome, than making autofire AI "helpful".
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