Fractal Softworks Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Starsector 0.97a is out! (02/02/24); New blog post: Codex Overhaul (05/11/24)

Pages: 1 [2]

Author Topic: Campaign layer AI Improvements  (Read 3344 times)

MesoTroniK

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 1731
  • I am going to destroy your ships
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2020, 10:07:08 PM »

The whole concept of "when you establish a faction, other factions will be your primary antagonist" isn't even necessarily a thing, but it feels like an important assumption here, doesn't it?
Well, at least speaking for myself my assumption is less that... And more than I find it a let down that once you understand how SS works, factions are just a punching bag that let you walk all over them. While smart defense fleets would make you at least work for it, same for other NPCs fighting NPCs.

Not to say that this stuff is a bad idea - in fact, I'd say I generally agree with a lot of it. It just has a very different priority to me and I want to other endgame things take concrete shape before deciding what, if anything, needs to happen here.

(Edit: I just want to emphasize that I think there are a lot of good ideas here, so hopefully what I've said doesn't come across as too negative! It's more in the vein of justification for why I think other stuff should take priority now.)
Understood, but personally I still feel smart defense fleets have nothing to do with cough...
Spoiler
AI War 3, or whatever happens heh
[close]
... And in fact would complement it :)
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 10:10:37 PM by MesoTroniK »
Logged

Gwyvern

  • Captain
  • ****
  • Posts: 318
  • I build ships.
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2020, 02:38:35 AM »

Just my two cents, I'm not in the right mindset to speculate about what such behavior might look like, but I generally agree that deliberate and intelligent faction behavior on the campaign-level is something that needs to happen in this game at some point.

At current, the Persean Sector in the late game can start feeling like a big farm that grows spaceships and blueprints for spaceships merely to be harvested by players.

The lack of mechanical personality behind the organizations you interact with is not something that seems wise to rely on mods to take care of.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 02:51:11 AM by Gwyvern »
Logged

Histidine

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 4722
    • View Profile
    • GitHub profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2020, 05:23:51 AM »

Incidentally, NPC patrol AI showing a proper reaction to an incoming hostile fleet is something I've brought up before, in the context of pirate bases.


I think that while smart defenses are indeed more of an issue in Nex (in that Nex makes fighting with NPC factions more of the "point of the game" so to speak), vanilla has been adding an increasing number of relevant content/features as well, as seen with such things as bases, mercantile convoy intel, and now the upcoming raid mechanics (and whatever else is planned in the far future...). In that light, I think we do want to introduce smarter NPC defenses at some point in development, even if not in the immediate dev cycle.
(It'd also have the benefit of encouraging use of the stealth mechanics; currently the bull-in straight-line approach gets the fastest results and has effectively no drawbacks)

Retaliatory actions by the factions (as in the OP) are a bit more out of scope in this regard. Though they'll still be desirable for verisimilitude, and as a tool for influencing the incentive structure for players doing things to factions.
Logged

SafariJohn

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 3031
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2020, 05:37:33 AM »

I concur that system patrols need a serious look over. In addition to better coordination, I would strongly consider:

1: In-combat benefits for controlling campaign objectives in the system (requires having a colony in that system). If every dang patrol has +10% ECM and +10% speed (say actual AND max), then mucking around in a hostile faction's space becomes much more risky.

2: Over-buffing the individual ships in system patrols ("no hyperdrive = +50% flux capacity and dissipation!" or some other BS, mentioned when the fleet is encountered). The player is not supposed to be overthrowing the established factions, right? Then let the home field advantage be huge.

3: A hidden "reserve" fleet at most colonies. So if the player wants to destroy the station, bombard the colony, or raid more than once then they must defeat the reserve fleet. Might be some squirrel-y edge cases with this idea, though.

4: Spawning system defense fleets from a system-level script. If a faction has a military base or high command anywhere, then ALL their systems should be well defended. Also, stacking Mil Bases for infinite fleets is stupid.
Logged

Megas

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 12198
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2020, 05:42:17 AM »

If smart defenses apply against all hostiles, probably best for player to wait until yet another zombie pirate raid distracts the enemy (major faction) fleets, then player can slip by and sat bomb everything while the fleets are distracted.

If smart defenses only react to player, then it is yet another case of player being treated as a greater enemy than all other NPC enemies combined.  Even without smart defenses, major factions already send more enemies at the player than they do against pirates or their other mortal enemies.

2: Over-buffing the individual ships in system patrols ("no hyperdrive = +50% flux capacity and dissipation!" or some other BS, mentioned when the fleet is encountered). The player is not supposed to be overthrowing the established factions, right? Then let the home field advantage be huge.
I would not mind the same benefits for my colony systems to ease off the babysitting, especially for one world systems.
Logged

FooF

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 1396
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2020, 05:53:32 AM »

If I may (and I do like a lot of the suggestions in here!), I think one of the reasons making the in-game factions stronger/more difficult/more intelligent etc., is that there is nothing else to antagonize the player at the moment. Do I think they could act more intelligently? Absolutely. Do I think there should be more content around interacting with them? Certainly. However, if the dev time is being spent on more endgame content that will ultimately be more exciting/fun/meaningful to gameplay than fleshing out the factions, I get it. I will concur that the factions do (eventually) need to be fleshed-out more and not just means to an end. Having some emotional investment when the [REDACTED HORDE] wipes them out piecemeal is necessary for the player to feel something at their passing.

Logged

Megas

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 12198
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2020, 06:14:21 AM »

Currently, if the Remnants wiped out core, my feelings would be "...and there was much rejoicing!" thanks to them removing a source of aggravation (no more expeditions and no more inspections).  However, if they act like pirates and send Remnants invasions non-stop because I am the only one left, that can get annoying, and give a reason to save core.

I would think the greater threat Remnants would pose is hostile instant takeover of colonies with alpha cores admins, since it seems clear that cores are the bodies of Remnant demons.  Colonies suddenly defecting would put a stop to alpha core abuse (of colonizing the whole sector).
Logged

Alex

  • Administrator
  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 24272
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2020, 11:21:45 AM »

Incidentally, NPC patrol AI showing a proper reaction to an incoming hostile fleet is something I've brought up before, in the context of pirate bases.

I think that while smart defenses are indeed more of an issue in Nex (in that Nex makes fighting with NPC factions more of the "point of the game" so to speak), vanilla has been adding an increasing number of relevant content/features as well, as seen with such things as bases, mercantile convoy intel, and now the upcoming raid mechanics (and whatever else is planned in the far future...). In that light, I think we do want to introduce smarter NPC defenses at some point in development, even if not in the immediate dev cycle.
(It'd also have the benefit of encouraging use of the stealth mechanics; currently the bull-in straight-line approach gets the fastest results and has effectively no drawbacks)

Retaliatory actions by the factions (as in the OP) are a bit more out of scope in this regard. Though they'll still be desirable for verisimilitude, and as a tool for influencing the incentive structure for players doing things to factions.

Yep, I did see it then! It might be a reasonable option, but on the flip side: instead of encouraging stealth, it might instead make it less viable - if the instant you're spotted, sneaking into the colony becomes impossible instead of being able to run away and try again after losing the patrol chasing you. Would have to tune the amount of time patrols spend "recalled" to guard the colony carefully. And then if they're recalled, it means they're not protecting objectives, so you might be encourage to always go grab the now-free objectives, etc. I mean, this isn't unworkable at all! I'm just saying that the details of exactly what a "smart" AI governing patrol use would do seem pretty complicated.

How it is right now is really tuned around smuggling and sneaking around, not doing large-scale hostile actions at a colony. For raids, it feels like recalling some fleets after a raid (as it will do in the next release) should work well. Bombardments... are not really encouraged mechanically in the first place, so what happens after or how easy it is is kind of a low-priority concern.

Still, I'm not disagreeing overall, I'd say I mostly agree.

If I may (and I do like a lot of the suggestions in here!), I think one of the reasons making the in-game factions stronger/more difficult/more intelligent etc., is that there is nothing else to antagonize the player at the moment. Do I think they could act more intelligently? Absolutely. Do I think there should be more content around interacting with them? Certainly. However, if the dev time is being spent on more endgame content that will ultimately be more exciting/fun/meaningful to gameplay than fleshing out the factions, I get it. I will concur that the factions do (eventually) need to be fleshed-out more and not just means to an end. Having some emotional investment when the [REDACTED HORDE] wipes them out piecemeal is necessary for the player to feel something at their passing.

(Yeah, this is exactly how I see it.)
Logged

SCC

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 4168
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2021, 10:12:06 AM »

Raiding is pretty easy currently. You beeline straight for Kazeron, smash the star fortress and 1, maybe 2 fleets guarding it, then raid it to your heart's content. It would be nice, if gathering enough marines wasn't the hardest part of raiding. Factions' mighty castles are more like straw huts in practice, no siege required, you just go and torch them.

So right now, one can go around survey, salvage, saturation bomb, and raid places with nearly basically reckless abandon. This trivializes Remnant systems as long as your fleet is faster than theirs. And also trivializes attacking factions (once the battlestation is destroyed). As I see things, any such actions, should kick the player back into the campaign map for a moment once started and start ticking down a progress bar giving a chance for enemy fleets to intercept the player and prevent them from doing the action! And this ties into the next point which is a much larger scope suggestion but would do so much for the game.
One good thing is that it provides context as to why sometimes a distant fleet prevents you from salvaging. If there was a bar to fill while you scavenge and it wouldn't get filled before the fleet gets to you, you have some indication as to how close is too close. Those bars should be instantly filled if there's no (potentially) hostile fleet within a reasonable range, though.

I agree with the rest of that post as well, but I don't have much to add.

The least I would want to see done about raiding being trivial is that some colonies have defence fleets and that Military Base and High Command should pull the fleet size bonus and fleet numbers from the biggest same faction colony in the system.
Defence fleets should almost never leave the station's reinforcement range and scale with home colony's income or size. They should be guaranteed for colonies with colony items, with heavy industries or with size of 7 or bigger. They are also a good place to sprinkle some s-mods into non-event fleets. If raiding stops being instantaneous, those fleets could also roam somewhat.
Military Base and the upgrade should scale, as mentioned, because while "big civilian colony with small military colony" set up is flavourful, but a bad decision from gameplay standpoint. It's not the small colony that has to be protected, it's the big one, and the big one doesn't have suitable defences. Military Base and High Command getting the colony size perks from the biggest same faction colony would solve this issue, as well as create an opportunity to weaken your raiding target in advance, by first disrupting the smaller military colony.

Helldiver

  • Captain
  • ****
  • Posts: 383
  • space fruit
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2021, 12:53:57 PM »

Adding a new endgame threat wouldn't make the stupid faction behaviour of letting the player do anything they want with no repercussion or attempt at fighting back/defending themselves any less bad.

It is very difficult to feel immersed in the game's world when the factions that are supposed to make it alive are like NPCs that are static because their AI package bugged out.

And for gameplay, it reduces natural opportunities to enter combat.
Logged
Afflictor bean plushie that glows purple when you squeeze it
30$

NoMercyForLudds_

  • Ensign
  • *
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2021, 03:13:07 PM »

Perhaps @Alex could explain (to newcomers like myself) why Starsector is the way it is? I think vanilla SS could borrow almost everything from Nex, and still not be about map painting, while being more dynamic (aka, better, in my opinion).

It seemed Alex was saying that improving campaign AI was not a priority, because factions/campaign-AI are just a part of the environment - they are there for the story/writing to make sense. But then, why do we have a player faction? The story makes perfect sense without the player owning half the sector in late game (while being referred to as captain, and needing someone's diplomatic credentials to meet heads of other factions..).

So why not a bit more 4x? Why not have a win condition? Why keep on making those in-game credits if there is no over-arching goal to put them towards?
Logged

Midnight Kitsune

  • Admiral
  • *****
  • Posts: 2847
  • Your Friendly Forum Friend
    • View Profile
Re: Campaign layer AI Improvements
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2021, 03:24:21 PM »

Perhaps @Alex could explain (to newcomers like myself) why Starsector is the way it is? I think vanilla SS could borrow almost everything from Nex, and still not be about map painting, while being more dynamic (aka, better, in my opinion).

It seemed Alex was saying that improving campaign AI was not a priority, because factions/campaign-AI are just a part of the environment - they are there for the story/writing to make sense. But then, why do we have a player faction? The story makes perfect sense without the player owning half the sector in late game (while being referred to as captain, and needing someone's diplomatic credentials to meet heads of other factions..).

So why not a bit more 4x? Why not have a win condition? Why keep on making those in-game credits if there is no over-arching goal to put them towards?
I think because Alex wants to add in framework and building blocks for the game before fleshing it out with stuff. That's one thing mods don't have to worry about
Logged
Help out MesoTroniK, a modder in need

2021 is 2020 won
2022 is 2020 too
Pages: 1 [2]