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Author Topic: Much stricter defend waypoints  (Read 3586 times)

Xareh

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Much stricter defend waypoints
« on: April 20, 2013, 07:38:05 AM »

Can we please get a much more restrictive and stricter defend/rally waypoint system? I'm pretty tired of seeing my ships wander a good eight odd squares away chasing down enemy ships which I really have nothing to stop except changing command... everything drifts way too far out and it's really unreliable to... just... JUST STAND STILL!
So yeah, can you tweak the AI so that it's less carefree with running around? I've had countless ships just die because they've pretty much ignored my order to stay here, so I now have to use escort commands as a workaround which means I both slow down my fleet and have a major problem with my playstyle in that I want to engage ships carefully and one on one...
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Alex

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2013, 09:56:02 AM »

If you use "rally task force", that has a much tighter leash. You can also place defend waypoints farther away. Eight squares away seems like there's something else going on, though. Likely it just didn't feel that it could disengage safely, since that's well outside the normal defend leash.

What you're trying to do should be easier in the next release, too, since you won't start out with everything deployed - even in smaller battles - unless you're escaping.
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Reshy

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2013, 04:08:23 PM »

What I want to see is 'Defend' assignments on objectives not allow the ship to leave the capture range to chase enemy ships.  It's irritating for them to get distracted by a frigate while a fighter wing captures what it's supposed to be sitting and defending.
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Gothars

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 06:16:29 PM »

Mh, if the "stronger objective-bonus over time" idea is implemented, the issue could become much more of a nuisance.

Maybe it would be enough to set "get back to the objective" to the highest priority for defenders the moment the objective begins to be re-captured by an enemy.
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theunrealme

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2013, 03:29:55 AM »

Mh, if the "stronger objective-bonus over time" idea is implemented, the issue could become much more of a nuisance.

Maybe it would be enough to set "get back to the objective" to the highest priority for defenders the moment the objective begins to be re-captured by an enemy.

I agree to a certain extent in terms of strategy AI revamp. However I imagine that this is one of those extremely delicate things that if you tweak one thing it effects everything ells. I have a similar problem which is that if I assign a ship which is defending to leave its post and attack, another ships will then move to fill its place. Often I do not want to defend instead I want to chase down every last survivor and kill them, which means that I then need to tell the ship which has assigned its self to defend to do something ells, which is a wast of command points, and then it goes on so that ether I give in and let one ship go defend or I waste all my command points assigning specific tasks. Frustrating.

so here is my suggestion.

Implement multiple levels of control. eg.

Alpha level control could consist of the player literal laying in each priority in order and assigning those commands to specific squads and groups. almost like drag and drop programming in which you have a system of "if this then that", but through a GUI. The commands could be connected via lines and set levels of priority.

Beta level control could entail a mid line between Alpha and Gama in which you can give detailed commands though sub-menus, but you do not have to do all the "programming".

Gama level control could be very similar to the current system in which objects are set by selecting and right clicking, with each ship or squadron having a significant level of autonomy.
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FloW

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2013, 04:23:49 AM »

I have a similar problem which is that if I assign a ship which is defending to leave its post and attack, another ships will then move to fill its place. Often I do not want to defend instead I want to chase down every last survivor and kill them, which means that I then need to tell the ship which has assigned its self to defend to do something ells, which is a wast of command points, and then it goes on so that ether I give in and let one ship go defend or I waste all my command points assigning specific tasks. Frustrating.

You know that button somewhere to the top right? Next to the "Full Retreat" button? The one that reads "Search & Destroy"? That one works wonders.

I think you see this the wrong way. In Starsector you don't give orders to your ships, but to your entire fleet. If you tell them to "Defend" something, the fleet will defend it. If you then give the defending ship another order, the old order is still active and as such the fleet will still try to defend the waypoint.
Starsector is primarily not micromanagement. It allows for micro, but is much more focused on the macro.
Another game which took the macro-route to the extreme would be Globulation 2, where you absolutely cannot influence your units directly.

And the 3 layers of control you mention remind me of GSB. It was mentioned before, but Starsector is not supposed to be a game, where the "optimal solution" involves a whole bunch of options and min/maxing.

Personally I was always fine with the 3 CP I get at the start of a fight, but I do like to get into the action and not sit back and relax.
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TJJ

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2013, 04:41:00 AM »

Suggestion:

When an objective is flagged with 'Defend', at least one of the ships tasked with defending should actually SIT ON the objective to prevent it being captured.

Preferably this station keeping task would be issued to the largest/toughest/least manoeuvrable ship out of the group assigned to defend.
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FloW

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2013, 04:50:29 AM »

Yes, the least maneuverable ship of my frigate-only fleet should ignore it's ability to dodge incoming fire and instead take it like a capship.

That's just leading to more and more rules (Point: make it only apply to ships bigger than a certain size. Counter: but then what about frigate fleets?).
Personally I'm happy that the AI puts survival above objectives, to some degree.
But Alex mentioned that there will be some change with the upcoming .60 release, so let's wait how that turns out, hmm?
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Silver Silence

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2013, 10:42:41 AM »

On the topic of orders in general, is there any option to have ships just follow others. I try and use the escort commands and ships rigidly lock to my flanks and seem to be really.... fidgety... Constantly moving back and forth in the general area of just behind my ship to either side of me. It's really weird to watch. I want to have an order to just have one ship hug another, so that you don't have a ship go and yolo itself into the enemies where I cannot even attempt to defend it by either stressing enemy ships, or just getting in the way of the shots. Escort doesn't seem to do the trick, because then ships almost refuse to engage unless they're breathing down my neck.
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qwortec

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 10:49:51 AM »

The friendly AI is one of my biggest problem points right now.  It's far too unreliable.  I'm sure Alex is well aware of a lot of it though, and hopefully he'll address it eventually.

One huge issue for me is that the AI doesn't know how to use certain weapons and it almost never vents flux when there's a perfect opportunity.  If you want to see a good example of this, setup a frigate with a few antimatter blasters and just watch it on autopilot.  It will almost never fire them and it won't dump flux so that it can do so without overloading.  I've been thinking of making some video to highlight some of these issues but I don't know if it's a waste of time.
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Alex

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2013, 12:07:15 PM »

While this is going completely off-topic, a video is usually very useful when talking about AI issues. I'm not sure there's a problem here, though - I just tired the stock "Strike" Wolf variant, and it uses the AM blaster it has well.

If you're talking about a loadout that's got several blasters where firing them requires almost all of the flux capacity, that's just not going to work well in the hands of the AI, because it requires a radically different tactical approach. If they're in an alternating group, though, that should still work reasonably well (see the stock Afflictor), as long as you don't expect it to make long-term plans of the "I'm going to save up flux, close in, and let 'em have it" variety. Since it doesn't do that.

All in all, I think it's a question what your expectations of the AI are. Regardless of how much it's tweaked, some loadouts will always work better than others in AI hands, and some won't work well. Discovering what does and doesn't work and then using that knowledge is part of the game.

(You could take that line of thinking way too far, of course. If the AI had trouble using autocannons, that'd be a problem. The AI failing somewhat with loadouts requiring special tactics, on the other hand, is to be expected. It almost literally can't not; it's designed to work best with more balanced variants.)

On the topic of orders in general, is there any option to have ships just follow others. I try and use the escort commands and ships rigidly lock to my flanks and seem to be really.... fidgety... Constantly moving back and forth in the general area of just behind my ship to either side of me. It's really weird to watch.

Yeah, I hear that. It bugs me, too - not so much the overall behavior and the effectiveness of the escorting ship, but just the way it moves to do it. That fidgeting just doesn't look good. I'll probably end up taking another look at that behavior at some point.


Suggestion:

When an objective is flagged with 'Defend', at least one of the ships tasked with defending should actually SIT ON the objective to prevent it being captured.

Preferably this station keeping task would be issued to the largest/toughest/least manoeuvrable ship out of the group assigned to defend.
Yes, the least maneuverable ship of my frigate-only fleet should ignore it's ability to dodge incoming fire and instead take it like a capship.

That's just leading to more and more rules (Point: make it only apply to ships bigger than a certain size. Counter: but then what about frigate fleets?).
Personally I'm happy that the AI puts survival above objectives, to some degree.
But Alex mentioned that there will be some change with the upcoming .60 release, so let's wait how that turns out, hmm?

This is an interesting idea. I think it comes back to the overall theme that failing at trying something clever makes the AI look dumb instead. There are far too many scenarios where dedicating a ship to sit on the objective is tactically a bad idea, and being able to detect all of them reliably is impossible.

I think you could maybe make an argument for a "hold position" assignment, though. There's also the possibility for having officer character traits that govern how far from an assignment they stray. For example, if you put an officer that's a stickler for orders into a cruiser and assign them to a "defend", they might stick to it. Hmm.
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TJJ

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2013, 12:21:32 PM »

Something less rigid then:

If the objective I'm supposed to be defending is in the process of being captured, prioritize getting back into the capture radius to contest the capture.
I suppose the same logic would apply to ships tasked with capturing a neutral objective too.

Another related idea:

A ship's engagement radius around a 'defend' flag could be proportional to the speed/manoeuvrability of the ship in question.
That way big ships won't get pulled so far from the objective that they're no-longer able to return to it in a timely fashion.
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Alex

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Re: Much stricter defend waypoints
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2013, 01:02:47 PM »

If the objective I'm supposed to be defending is in the process of being captured, prioritize getting back into the capture radius to contest the capture.
I suppose the same logic would apply to ships tasked with capturing a neutral objective too.

Already works like that, actually - ships won't stray as far as enemy ships get closer to the point. Except for when they forego order following in favor of immediate tactical considerations, which does happen a lot. That's the main challenge the AI faces: balancing "following orders" and "fighting effectively".

Capture/Control are generally better when you're dealing with objectives, btw. There's some logic there to make the nearest ship hang around the point when it needs to be capped, making it overall more reliable at getting/keeping the point. "Defend" is better on waypoints.


A ship's engagement radius around a 'defend' flag could be proportional to the speed/manoeuvrability of the ship in question.
That way big ships won't get pulled so far from the objective that they're no-longer able to return to it in a timely fashion.

Potential issue: making lighter/faster ships easy to pick off as they can be reliably separated from the larger ones. Another issue: only makes sense if the enemy has faster ships in position to take advantage of the larger/less maneuverable ship straying too far. (For that, back to "reliably detecting this is impossible".)
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