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

Author Topic: Better AI for future SS Versions.  (Read 3085 times)

Ahne

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Better AI for future SS Versions.
« on: May 18, 2015, 09:49:34 AM »

Hello guys,

Starsector is one of my favorite games since a long time and i have only few complains about it or just wishes for the future.
My biggest concern is about the mediocre AI in general, better said the combat AI and the tactical commands i can give her. For example, if i give some ships an direct order to attack an important target they often or most of the time fight with target in "their way" and don't follow my command to shoot down the target!
They just gimp around with little fighterwings or frigates instead of fighting and shooting at the target! This leads to massive frustration because my tactic don't fulfill and that can cause my whole fight to collaps! Also the tactic command choices i have (defend position etc.) are not executed like they should. For example the defend command, i tell my ass-slow battleship to defend an nav point and just stay at the point to shoot at targets in range but instead the battleship moves one whole screen from the defend position into the enemy fleet and i can just watch it die because it can't simply fly back to the position i ordered, it's a very very slow ship that need good positioning and protection from litte fast ships.

Thx for your time, i hope the best for the game, it has still some flaws i want to see vanished.

greetings
Ahne
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Creepin

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Re: Better AI for future SS Versions.
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 02:15:17 PM »

For example, if i give some ships an direct order to attack an important target they often or most of the time fight with target in "their way" and don't follow my command to shoot down the target!
As much as I am annoyed and frustrated to no end by this behaviour, especially so since I'm used to blind obedience of units in C&C, Starcraft and so on, I always saw this behaviour in SS as a successful and brilliant implementation of ship captains having minds of their own, making me, as a fleet commander, put their whimsical nature into account while creating my battle plans. Even though this feature is hated, it would be sad to have it gone.

However, seing as there will be actual "captains" implemented in the next SS patch, I think it would be great idea to add "promptitude in obeying" as one of captains skills, so that players could, if they wish to, assemble a cadre of 100% obedient captains.
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Ahne

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Re: Better AI for future SS Versions.
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 02:17:30 PM »

nice to hear and good idea/solution @creepin
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Morrokain

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Re: Better AI for future SS Versions.
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2015, 02:21:33 PM »

I was going to start a new thread for this but I suppose it would fit here pretty nicely.

Disclaimer: most of the issues here concern large scale battles.

What the OP is pointing out is my prime frustration with the A.I as well. Specifically in regards to interceptors and strike bombers. Too many times the interceptors will fight anything they come into contact with and outright ignore the order to take down some strike bombers en route to my fleet.

The same can be said of ordering frigates to engage something specific. They often just sit around taking pot shots at passing fighters rather than actually engaging the target I tell them to.

Larger ships seem to have this problem less and I suspect it is because the A.I usually considers surrounding threats trivial enough that it feels confident to push through to its designated target even while being flanked by smaller, faster ships. In large battles where this would be most beneficial, however, the same problem applies.

Supposedly the next version is getting a few bugs in the AI fixed, including what you're talking about.

I will look again I did see something similar but I thought it was more in the realm of the "avoid" command (yes!!  ;D ) and better A.I defensive decisions such as moving away from overloaded targets that are more powerful than they are after they get a few good hits in. I was under the impression that as far as how aggressive the A.I is now depends upon the officer mechanic. If I'm wrong then great!!  ;) Just in case however:

Alongside the obvious point that you cannot currently assign officers to fighter wings and have a limit of 10 total ships outfitted with them, I am concerned that officer A.I will be insufficient to solve this problem.

Aggressive officer A.I makes the ship always act aggressively and never defensively and vice versa for timid officer A.I. I kind of feel this limits how useful a ship can be tactically because often I need a ship that can do both depending upon the situation. I like my ships to play defensively unless I say otherwise. I don't think I shouldn't be allowed to make a direct order to "kill this at all costs." To be clear, the "engage" order is not that type of order. It may cause civilian ships to move into weapon range, but the tooltip says that ships will also engage nearby ships as well as the primary target. What ends up happening here is that the ship I've ordered to "engage" something rarely actually engages it. It just acts as it normally would cautiously fighting things that come into range while trying to move in the target ships general direction.

The only reliable method right now to say "make this thing dead asap" on the tactical map is to order a massed strike against it using bombers. If that involves flying through groups of interceptors or pd laden enemies in larger battles, most bombers die before they reach the priority target. Don't get me wrong that's how it should be and to order said strike should be a poor tactical decision in that situation. What I really want here is an alternative to that. I want to tell my heavy cruiser, with its powerful shields, armor and enough turrets to engage several targets at once, to essentially break through the "battle line" through sheer force and get to that vulnerable carrier launching daggers at me, or in a smaller scenario that fleeing freighter that is the prize of the engagement anyway. Just like the strike order scenario, if I didn't correctly gauge the enemy strength blocking me or if my cruiser ends up getting surrounded after breaking through before it can destroy its target, I expect it to die. It was my mistake to give that order and I made a tactical error.

This actually gets into a separate concern I have regarding how combat currently plays out. I won't go into too much detail here since it would be off topic of the thread, but essentially combat A.I is either so efficient (capturing and holding points for instance) or inefficient (what I just talked about) that it kind of feels like tactics are currently useless as opposed to how skillfully you can pilot your flagship. I am not advocating rts style controls or commands in this case. I am merely stating that other than occasional strikes and little to no risk vs reward point captures, the vast majority of what determines your ability to fight is the loadout of your A.I ships and your piloting skills. I feel that this is why the combat and tech(better loadouts) skills feel far more powerful than leadership.

Having a few more refined or even new commands that have a very risk vs reward nature and a large impact on battles would be a big step in the right direction imho. Actually "avoid" is already a good one and I have been excited for it.

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Thaago

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Re: Better AI for future SS Versions.
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2015, 05:05:26 PM »

I find the AI in general to be quite excellent, but it does have a huge problem disengaging from minor threats.

This shows up with me when I order ships to attack carriers. I know from experience that the ships can quite quickly kill the carriers, but they always get "caught" on the tiny trickle of fighters being spawned.
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StarSchulz

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Re: Better AI for future SS Versions.
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2015, 02:05:17 PM »

I find the AI to be even better than i am in situations where my fleet is the same size as the enemy. yesterday in fact i took on a lasher while an allied vigilance, a ship i would normally consider to be sub-par, took on a 3 different starsector+ mod related frigates and actually defeated them all before i could finish the lasher x.x I should have been watching that guy, he could seriously teach me some moves.

Only problem the AI seems to have for me is when we are outnumbered or the problem with the bombers described above. i would hate to be a bomber pilot, seems like suicide x.x   Sometimes the torpedo bombers don't even fire their torpedoes...