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Starsector 0.95a is out! (03/26/21); Blog post: Skill Changes, Part 2 (07/15/21)

Author Topic: AI in combat help  (Read 1328 times)

Zach

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AI in combat help
« on: November 29, 2020, 10:14:16 AM »

Hi

So I started playing Starsector again in prep for the new update (hype!) and I'm not sure if it's a mod or be not doing stuff right but the ships I deploy, officer or not, act dumb. They'll just fly straight forward and get swarmed or just hover around the same spot and watch me die while I'm spamming commands for them to back me up; the officers I'm using aren't aggressive either. I don't remember this happening when I played before. Most of my mods are utility minus two factions, ship weapon pack, and some colony ones. Is there something wrong or do I just need to learn how to use orders right haha

Cheers!
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Thaago

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2020, 10:20:56 AM »

Hi there! Welcome to the forum.

So one thing to be aware of is that the "escort" command at present is a very strong "stay on my flank and protect my rear". Its good at doing that one thing, but not good at getting the escorting ship to fight the ship in front of you. I often find it better to put engage/eliminate commands on the ships targeting me rather than use escort. (Unless I'm flying an Onslaught/Dominator, which really does just want someone to watch its rear.)

In terms of getting swarmed to death, I find that when badly outnumbered by smaller ships its often best to put a 'defend' order down, leashing my fleet to an area. The small enemy ships will often get away after getting mauled so the fight can drag on a bit, but with my ships clustered they naturally cover each other's flanks.
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Warlord-616x

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2020, 10:48:38 AM »

for me when i dont give them orders they will meander forward and eventually get into combat but they will spread themselves out all over and get themselves killed.  if i tell them to follow me they stay on my flanks and will do some minor shooting at anything to the front but seem to focus more on protecting our sides and rear.  telling them specifically to attack targets or go full assault seems to just make them more aggressive in general so i usually just have them follow me to a certain point i skirmish a bit, then when i start getting overwhelmed i give the assualt order.

i play around sometimes with having smaller ships escort some of the larger and splitting them into wings and sending them up that way but most of the time i just find its simpler to do the above. and maybe micromanage them a couple of times throughout the game if someones taking too much damage or getting spread out. 

its pretty basic but its been effective.

edit: oh and for officers im trying to remember, but i think the steady officers are supposed to act like the normal ai and hangs back a bit and was using them for carrier pilots, but i pretty much switched to almost all aggressive who are more offensive and still need to be watched but can be good for getting ships into combat that normally might not otherwise.  im currently trying to debate if i should take the skill that gives you 2 more right now or take something else, but they do seem to help.  any more aggressive and they run off and get killed, any less and they miss the fight.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 05:51:58 PM by Warlord-616x »
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Flying Birdy

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2020, 05:19:00 PM »

Hi

So I started playing Starsector again in prep for the new update (hype!) and I'm not sure if it's a mod or be not doing stuff right but the ships I deploy, officer or not, act dumb. They'll just fly straight forward and get swarmed or just hover around the same spot and watch me die while I'm spamming commands for them to back me up; the officers I'm using aren't aggressive either. I don't remember this happening when I played before. Most of my mods are utility minus two factions, ship weapon pack, and some colony ones. Is there something wrong or do I just need to learn how to use orders right haha

Cheers!

Yea if you are using the escort order then they're not going to do much aside from covering your rear. From what I understand though (and what I've observed anecdotally), the smaller frigates do have behavior where they will move in-front of you to shield tank some damage when they are on escort duty. Its actually behavior that is noticeable with a lot of enemy AI. If you ever see like a group of enemy ships moving together, the escorting frigates will move forward to absorb your hits if you've fluxed out the main cruiser they were escorting. Key distinction between frigates and destroyers and cruisers on escort duty is that a lot of the larger destroyer and higher ships just don't move or accelerate fast enough to get in front of you in-time to help you soak hits.

If you do want more effective escorts, I'd recommend bringing more fast moving but relatively nimble frigates like tempests and omens; they are more survivable (and more powerful for that matter) than your run-of-the-mill enforcer. Being smaller does mean they are harder to hit and being faster means they can successfully disengage to vent after shield tanking.
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Zach

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2020, 09:01:34 AM »

Hi

So I started playing Starsector again in prep for the new update (hype!) and I'm not sure if it's a mod or be not doing stuff right but the ships I deploy, officer or not, act dumb. They'll just fly straight forward and get swarmed or just hover around the same spot and watch me die while I'm spamming commands for them to back me up; the officers I'm using aren't aggressive either. I don't remember this happening when I played before. Most of my mods are utility minus two factions, ship weapon pack, and some colony ones. Is there something wrong or do I just need to learn how to use orders right haha

Cheers!

Yea if you are using the escort order then they're not going to do much aside from covering your rear. From what I understand though (and what I've observed anecdotally), the smaller frigates do have behavior where they will move in-front of you to shield tank some damage when they are on escort duty. Its actually behavior that is noticeable with a lot of enemy AI. If you ever see like a group of enemy ships moving together, the escorting frigates will move forward to absorb your hits if you've fluxed out the main cruiser they were escorting. Key distinction between frigates and destroyers and cruisers on escort duty is that a lot of the larger destroyer and higher ships just don't move or accelerate fast enough to get in front of you in-time to help you soak hits.

If you do want more effective escorts, I'd recommend bringing more fast moving but relatively nimble frigates like tempests and omens; they are more survivable (and more powerful for that matter) than your run-of-the-mill enforcer. Being smaller does mean they are harder to hit and being faster means they can successfully disengage to vent after shield tanking.


Haha yeah I've defo noticed that sometimes the ai just decides to face tank. I think I just need to stop my bigger ships from escorting and use small frigates. Thanks all
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Zelnik

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2020, 11:40:35 AM »

All flight crews were carefully informed that their purpose was to not only run into an enemy fleet and die, but also to cross in front of you to be shot by friendly fire.


In all seriousness, the AI is stupid and that hasn't changed since release.
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Daynen

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2020, 10:20:43 AM »

Give your AI the toughest, most durable ships you can and keep them away from things like Burn drives.
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brekmehrkus

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2020, 07:05:41 AM »

Yea if you are using the escort order then they're not going to do much aside from covering your rear. From what I understand though (and what I've observed anecdotally), the smaller frigates do have behavior where they will move in-front of you to shield tank some damage when they are on escort duty. Its actually behavior that is noticeable with a lot of enemy AI. If you ever see like a group of enemy ships moving together, the escorting frigates will move forward to absorb your hits if you've fluxed out the main cruiser they were escorting. Key distinction between frigates and destroyers and cruisers on escort duty is that a lot of the larger destroyer and higher ships just don't move or accelerate fast enough to get in front of you in-time to help you soak hits.

Escort command is the absolute worst. For example, when I was young and naive I used to send Drovers to escort Conquests (so the fighters could cover it from bombers and other fighters flanking from the sides). What happened most of the time to those Drovers is that while Conquest is duking it out with some other capital - and runs out of flux - a Drover would jump in between them and tank the enemy capital's hits with its shield. Yea, it ends about as well as you suspect.
Another problem is that all escorting ships are trying to do the same thing and stay away from the ship they are escorting at the same range. Once you have about 3-4 escorts this leads to them colliding, pushing each other, blocking etc.

I think its not even the problem of AI but of command interface. There is no way to differentiate between "cover this ship" (taking flank and tanking some hits) and  "follow and take cover behind this ship" (staying away from the frontline and taking shots at enemies with fighters, rockets, long range beams and ballistics). There is also a problem of orders being per target, not per ship. E.g. you can't have one ship being targeted by fighters and being eliminated simultaneously, the carrier and battleship you designate to kill that one conquest will either both stay away and take potshots (if you select "E" engage or fighter wing strikes on the ship) or will both close in (if you select "C" eliminate).

With the current AI I find it best to just let ships do just stay on search& destroy 95% of the time and 5% of the time I use waypoints to corral where I want them. Not escorts, not eliminate, just waypoints.
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Alex

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2020, 09:53:06 AM »

E.g. you can't have one ship being targeted by fighters and being eliminated simultaneously, the carrier and battleship you designate to kill that one conquest will either both stay away and take potshots (if you select "E" engage or fighter wing strikes on the ship) or will both close in (if you select "C" eliminate).

(Just a super quick note - per the "Fighter Strike" tooltip, non-carriers given this assignment will behave as if given the "Eliminate" assignment. If you're certain this isn't happening, that's a bug!)
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Histidine

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2020, 04:56:56 PM »

Hang on, why/how is "escorter jumps in front of escortee" still a thing? The 0.9 escort change was supposed to remove it and we've had complaints of escorters not doing it when it would be desirable for them to.
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Alex

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2020, 04:58:20 PM »

I'm pretty sure it's not a thing! I'd imagine ships are doing it (if indeed they are, and it's not a relative motion thing which can be a bit hard to spot sometimes) for reasons other than actually wanting to.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2020, 05:11:50 PM »

I see that sort of thing happen when an escorting ship is trying to go around another ship sometimes. If ship a is trying to go around ship b and decides to go in front, but then ship b moves forward/in the direction ship a trying to go and ship a is not fast enough to get around, it will keep trying to go around and just end up getting rammed, or stuck infront of ship b. I've lost ship on deployment to this (omens suicide ramming into paragon shields or stuff like that). I feel like there might be some issues with the logic of how to go around ships, sometimes they need to give up on trying to go in front and go behind much sooner.
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Alex

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Re: AI in combat help
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2020, 05:17:25 PM »

Yeah, that's probably it. IIRC they're supposed to try to avoid going in front where possible but it's possible there are some issues with that logic, or that I'm mis-remembering something.
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