Return to “Dev Logs”

Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#31
I just recently read about old ancient battles. Basically when armies faced each other they had various strategies how to line up their troups on the battlefield. This also depended on the topography (hills, rivers, bridges, forest etc).
Basically there where light-fast troups and heavy-armored slow troups. Then the troup type (ranged, horseback, infantery with spears or swords)

The cavallery was usually set to the outer flanks, as they needed the open area to operate. The infantery was aligned in long lines, and a certain depth.
Where a deep line is hard to break apart (by storming it), and a narrow line was able to spread out more (using the same number of soliers) and encircle the opponents.

Lightly armored troups where placed in front, as they could move fast and rush-attack the enemy, where heavy armored troups kept in a close formation, thus supporting earch other (less area to attack a single soldier, so a soldier can concentrate at the immediate front)

Without going into detailed tactics: the troup composition and formations by themself already form a topography of the battle that each opponents generals have to dynamically take into account.

In LT there could be specific roles assigned to those troup formation, that the AI then positions on the battlefield, with a specific general order (like move out to the right flank, circle around and attack from the back).

Also its important to know when to do a tactical retreat. If a formation is heavily decimated, and there is space to back-out, the troups should flee and assemble at a predefined retreat location.

To make this controllable for the player (and ai general) there could be few simple command for setting up the stage and control the battle:

assignment: create groups (fast A, fast B, heavy A, ranged A, ranged B, support A), assign ships to groups, (selected ship to ranged B)
staging: fast A -> left flank, fast B-> right flank, heavy A -> center front, ranged A-> center back etc.
Attack: fast A-> circle ant attack back of enemy, heavy A-> close in slowly ....
reform: fast B-> fall back to start position (relative to the center groups)
reatreat: fast B (45% left)-> retreat to assembly point. .. ALL retreat..

Or something like that, using relatively simple commands, and feedback. So the player can be involved in the battle directly while sill have the tools to guide the forces.
Last edited by Damocles on Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#32
It's also important to note that space is three dimensional, and if the ship designer is any good its putting turrets in such a way that firing arcs cover all directions.

So you need to make sure that most of these turrets are able to shoot at an enemy without hitting your own units.

Cones and domes make good shapes for this.
Where aircraft or boats might use a delta formation, space ships can operate on the Z (or Y if you come from a side scroller background) axis too. So Cones and Domes make much more effective shapes.
Allowing enemies to come at you from any mostly forward position and be hit by the majority of the weapons on the majority of ships with as little friendly fire as possible.

Code: Select all

<+BMRX> Silver Invokes Lewdly Verbose Experiences Readily With Absurd Rectal Expeditions
Image
Image
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#33
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:34 pm
That is some beautifully optmised mesh there :D

(If only 3DSmax would produce such statisfying symmetry with boolean operations... main reason i do everything with surface extraction instead of additive/subtractive booleans, dont want to deal with cleaning up the mesh after booleans....)


Also very cool work on the ai combat, cant wait to see the formation thing going on in full 3d environments :squirrel: :monkey:
The sad truth... but a algorithmic auto-weld or Cut function would be amazing too
There is no peace, only passion
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#34
Flatfingers wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:55 pm
Great description, fatmop. It's a testimony to EVE's ship designs that this description, while it's somewhat EVE-specific, is really not all that far off from generic fleet combat battle plans.

The part that may not transfer to LT is the "role" model, which sort of abstracts the old tank/ranged/healer/crowd-control notion from fantasy MMORPGs.

The part that almost certainly will apply in LT is the very basic distinction between two fleet composition models:

  • 1 big ship + lots of smaller ships (e.g., carrier battle group)
  • collection of roughly equal-sized ships (e.g., strike force)

At an absolute minimum, good fleet tactics AI in LT should recognize when either of these two models is applicable and offer appropriate options. If LT (or modded LT) is more complex, cool, but this seems like the basic requirement.

(VERY important note here, though: if this -- formations -- is all there is to fleet tactics in LT, I'll be disappointed. It's the equivalent of saying that tactics in real-world combat is nothing more than how big and how many your guns are. Yawn. As I've said before, what makes tactics interesting is "terrain": in LT's case, the space equivalent of trees and hills and ditches and sheer mountainsides and rivers and marshes. Basically, the world needs to have "stuff" in it to turn to your advantage and/or your opponent's disadvantage. Otherwise, every fight is just a boring repetition of who has the most pew-pews. I went into this point in a little more detail here.)

My go-to source for the theory and practice of fleet tactics is... well... Fleet Tactics: Theory and Practice by Capt. Wayne P. Hughes, USN (ret.). It's not 100% applicable to LT, but the big-picture stuff could reasonably inspire the core design concepts for fleet tactics AI in LT.

(Of course this leaves open the question of player-directed fleet tactics. "What can I tell the ships I control to do?" I leave that to others. :D )
so what now? do you want ships with specific functions or not?

because fleet composition doesnt matter if every ship is the same thing in different sizes :P

a ship full of EWAR to hinder enemy efforts effectively is a mage class.
a ship with heavy emphasis on direct combat systems is a damage dealer.

healers and tanks only have no equivalent in RL because survivability under direct attack approaches 0 for pretty much everything and you cant patch vehicles and soldiers in time scales that matter for individual battles.

the second a combatant can survive more than one hit or can be patched together in battle relevant time frames we will have tank or healer equivalents on battlefields (although we'll have a fair bit of overlap between them)
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#35
A very general problem with battles using proper formations: They only work when the two side a somehow equivalent in strength.
If one side overpowers the other, there will be no battle. It would be stupid for the weak party not to flee. (So it ends up either one side avoiding the stronger one, or an AI general acting senselessly stupid by attacking a too strong force).

Now in a completely free game, where the player can add more and more assets, it might end up never having any balanced matchup.
There would be no agreed "battle-ground".
It might be easier to just skip this tactical scenario and just have the classic "ball of pirate ships" hovering somewhere , and a player with maybe some wingmen attacking this pulk.
The formation might end up just the group spreading out in a line at the start of the combat.

A mechanic to have both parties agree on a battle location, prepare the logistics and engage orderly would require to put constraints to the open game mechanics.
And have the opponents communicate in some way.
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#37
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:29 am
Flatfingers wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:55 pm
The part that almost certainly will apply in LT is the very basic distinction between two fleet composition models:

  • 1 big ship + lots of smaller ships (e.g., carrier battle group)
  • collection of roughly equal-sized ships (e.g., strike force)

At an absolute minimum
so what now? do you want ships with specific functions or not?

because fleet composition doesnt matter if every ship is the same thing in different sizes :P

At an absolute minimum

As in, "'one big' vs. 'equal size' is just the most important factor in fleet tactics; there may be other factors." I neither advocated nor implied any restriction on role-focused ship designs. Why do you want to read that into what I actually said?

I don't mind if there's some variation in ship capability roles. I do mind if that's all there is, because that by itself devolves into every role-oriented ship just having one special magic power that it spams as rapidly as possible. If LT wants to offer enjoyable tactical fun that enhances and supports the other kinds of fun in LT, then I do think fleet tactics -- and how space is implemented in LT -- can and should be about more than spamming internal magic powers, or even about formations of ships with different magical powers.

That's why I advocate designing LT so that space has "terrain": objects and zones with functional effects on ship behaviors. These serve as situational modifiers, and the value of those is to privilege intelligent play. When the value of your tools is altered by local context, that creates opportunities for the game to reward perceptiveness and creativity. Why shouldn't those be part of the fleet tactics game?

Certainly there should still be opportunities for straight-up fistfights. I imagine there'll be plenty of systems with large, empty expanses; in these areas, "fleet tactics" is just throwing lots of ships at each other quickly until one side bugs out. Sometimes that's fun! Sometimes you just want to have a big, exciting furball and see what happens.

My argument is that this isn't enough. I believe LT also needs lots of regions of space that have functional objects and areas that modify the performance of ship technologies. That's how you get opportunities for winning battles by using your head instead of by being able to build more ships than the other guy. Why can't I win a fight by being sneaky, or with illusion, or through traps/ambush, or taking advantage of amplification zones, etc.?

I think LT needs terrain for tactics:

1. It's more fun than just slapfights.
2. I think the rest of LT is likely to appeal to a more cerebral gamer than other games. If so, terrain-modified tactics will be more fun than role/formation-dependent tactics.
3. Offering terrain-modified tactical fun will give LT a distinguishing feature versus other space combat games.



Two other related ideas occur to me:

1. Should LT include a technology that prevents opponent ships from fleeing?

I'm thinking that if you know you might not be able to escape a fight you're losing, you'll be a lot more careful about getting into a fight. This could lead to much higher value for scouting, recent intel, and stealth technology research. Basically, "no retreat" significantly increases the importance of operational and strategic fun.

So I like the idea. But maybe that's just me. 😄

2. What if fleet communications could be disabled in a battle?

That sounds goofy at first blush. But I think it implies that fleet commanders would have to draw up a battle plan before a fight breaks out, and leave it up to individual captains to decide how to follow that plan or break off from the plan to do something different.

This would have a number of interesting effects:

A. It would feel a bit more like pre-satellite naval engagements. Nelson went over his plans for Trafalgar with his captains, but in the event they exercised considerable autonomy to take advantage of immediate opportunities to roll up the French line. To see a similar effect in LT (versus "ships do only what I, the human player, tell them to do") would be pretty amazing.

B. Giving NPCs some autonomy to interpret pre-defined orders would showcase both LT's "project" feature (for turning battle plan orders into goals and tasks) and NPC AI (for ship captains who change their plans in mid-fight to take advantage of a perceived opportunity).

C. Defining a battle plan as project information stored in a physical object to be delivered to ship captains creates opportunities for hacking gameplay. What if a battle plan is stolen without its owner's knowledge? What if the owner realizes the plan for an upcoming battle has been compromised? What if details of some battle plans can be altered without the owner knowing?

What-ifs are fun. :D
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#38
Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:08 pm
I don't mind if there's some variation in ship capability roles.
well, you obviously do because everytime anybody mentions anything going in that general direction you scream up like a wounded animal complaining about holy trinity game design :P

Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:08 pm
1. Should LT include a technology that prevents opponent ships from fleeing?

I'm thinking that if you know you might not be able to escape a fight you're losing, you'll be a lot more careful about getting into a fight. This could lead to much higher value for scouting, recent intel, and stealth technology research. Basically, "no retreat" significantly increases the importance of operational and strategic fun.

So I like the idea. But maybe that's just me.
absolute "you dont flee now" mechanics would strongly reduce strategic play in my eye.

edge case extreme value scenario for illustration:
the enemy has a big main combat ship i cant destroy in direct combat when its intact because the ship + their fleet vs my fleet is too much to handle for me.
but i can stage a fast hit and run attack to damage the main ship.
the attack could never stand up to their force if they had to engage for an extended period of time.

so they fly in, throw torpedoes into the main ship's face, damaging it, and run away again.

now the main ship has to spend some quality time with the shipyard for repairs and is out of the equation for the time.

i didnt win the battle, all i did was delay them a bit.

but i archieved a strategic victory because now i can attack their fleet on somewhat even terms as long as their main ship is in the yard.


without running i have to commit enough forces to destroy all present enemy forces to get any of my ships back, making the situation i outlined a state where i already lost (barring any decisive effects from the environment)


another scenario would be that my (for now) inferior forces can retreat and regroup when they are attacked by a superior force and get back at them after merging with reinforcements.
with absolute flight prevention my forces are just done for.


absolute flight prevention limits battles to all out annihilation battles, limiting strategic gameplay depth and storytelling opportunities.

stellaris without my ability to retreat my ships i'd have seen a lot more ragequit game endings (because my admirals dont know a stupid reverse gear )

voyager would have been a lot more boring if they had to win every single engagement for the series to continue, not the "they made it through this episode" winning, but decidedly annihilate every single thing that attacked them through the series.
no retreats and hiding to devise a new plan and adapt.
no "we barely made it".
just one showdown with total destruction
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#39
If you have variations in ship sizes, you already naturally have variations in roles. That doesn't have to mean healer/tank/mage or any variant thereof. It can just mean carrier/fighter/screen, for example. The kinds of armament you put on a screen versus a fighter are quite a bit different. You'd also never expect to see ASW ships equipped with shore bombardment missiles. Whatever functionality gets built in, I doubt the AI will be robust enough to come up with effective fleet compositions that can stand up against any sort of tactical thought. Hard-coding a few ideas for ship roles (i.e. this ship has big guns and we only need to use it when the big guns are required to slaughter cap ships/stations) seems to me like the easiest way to go if you want AI fleets to present an intelligent challenge.
Spacecredentials: looks at stars sometimes, cheated at X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, killed a titan once.
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#40
nobb wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:01 am
that remember me of total war, I always skipped the tactical part, because I never allowed myself to fight the enemy on fair term. I only confronted weak enemy with all my power in battle I was sure to win . that made more sense strategically, but it was kind of boring.
There are situations where it's worth it.
The AI in these games is far inferior when assaulting a fortification or when battling up a hill, or if you have excessive artillery.

Empire Total War for instance, I take a half force of cannons, a quarter force of cav, and a quarter force of line infantry.
The Artillery is the primary damage dealer, I use cav to take out the enemies arty, and use my line infantry to keep the enemy corralled in the line of fire of my guns.
I can and have taken on forces four times the size of mine, and beaten them with less than 10% casualties on my side, and greater than 50% on theirs.

In games without good Artillery, Rome for instance, you can let ground forces do their thing in AI more readily, as you need the numbers to win. Except when it comes to cities. The auto-ai is hopeless at taking fortification, so doing it yourself saves a bunch of lives, which can prevent you needing as large a reserve force to reinforce. And allow you more money in the early game. Which allows for a quicker build up and more constant progression.

The tactical side of a battle is important, just as important as the strategic side of that battle.
And with a smaller force of better positioned troops, in most TW games I could decimate much larger armies.

Code: Select all

<+BMRX> Silver Invokes Lewdly Verbose Experiences Readily With Absurd Rectal Expeditions
Image
Image
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#41
I have a perceived idea of an ideal fleet complement consisting a well rounded fleet with a clearly visible flagship. Anyways, I believe that weapons in the LT universe, like in any universe, should be developed for a specific purpose. If we want our guns to be treated in this fashion then it only makes sense that our ships, which will be equipping these guns, have specific roles on the battlefield. Suggesting otherwise is not likely within the scope of LT. When I think of fleet battles in LT I think of two things, the funding the faction has and the resulting ship composition based on that funding.

I would hope that LT factions would have greater variety of ships and roles per faction as the wealth of the faction increases. For example, a pirate faction may not be able to afford a vast number of electronic warfare ships or carriers and instead would likely have far more fighters and a handful of destroyers. This doesn't mean that these ships should be limited in the roles they play on the battlefield. Some could be used for bombardment, others for harassment and so on. Not having the latest and greatest technologies leads to ingenuity which will hopefully surprise and challenge the player.
Image
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#42
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:44 pm
Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:08 pm
I don't mind if there's some variation in ship capability roles.
well, you obviously do because everytime anybody mentions anything going in that general direction you scream up like a wounded animal complaining about holy trinity game design :P

You have me confused with someone else. You should probably get that looked at.

Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:44 pm
Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:08 pm
1. Should LT include a technology that prevents opponent ships from fleeing?

I'm thinking that if you know you might not be able to escape a fight you're losing, you'll be a lot more careful about getting into a fight. This could lead to much higher value for scouting, recent intel, and stealth technology research. Basically, "no retreat" significantly increases the importance of operational and strategic fun.

So I like the idea. But maybe that's just me.
absolute "you dont flee now" mechanics would strongly reduce strategic play in my eye.

edge case extreme value scenario for illustration:
the enemy has a big main combat ship i cant destroy in direct combat when its intact because the ship + their fleet vs my fleet is too much to handle for me.
but i can stage a fast hit and run attack to damage the main ship.
the attack could never stand up to their force if they had to engage for an extended period of time.

so they fly in, throw torpedoes into the main ship's face, damaging it, and run away again.

now the main ship has to spend some quality time with the shipyard for repairs and is out of the equation for the time.

i didnt win the battle, all i did was delay them a bit.

but i archieved a strategic victory because now i can attack their fleet on somewhat even terms as long as their main ship is in the yard.
Based on your wording, this example is closer to being an operational-level success, rather than strategic. To have a strategic effect, a hit-and-run attack would need to cause the opponent to change his high-level planning, such as diverting significant forces to counter what is made to appear to be a serious threat.

If you'd used that as an example, your criticism would have been stronger.
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:44 pm
absolute flight prevention limits battles to all out annihilation battles, limiting strategic gameplay depth and storytelling opportunities.
I think the first part of that is correct in spirit, although you're assuming something I didn't suggest ("absolute" flight prevention). Just the possibility that some star systems, somewhere, might contain a very limited capability to prevent retreat would be enough to produce most of the main strategic effect I imagine would occur: fleet commanders would need to be more careful before jumping into a new system. Intel-gathering and fleet massing would become more vital to strategic planning.

But your criticism considers only the greater risk (not elimination) of hit-and-run attacks. It doesn't consider the equally plausible gameplay benefits, such as making pre-invasion exploration, scouting, and stealth play more valuable. (Those have storytelling utility, too.) So it's not really a fair-minded evaluation of the actual idea.

That said, let's note that it's probably already going to be possible to block retreats: by moving a large force of defending ships physically in front of a wormhole or jump gate entry/exit point after an invading force has arrived.

So a useful assessment here might be, "If blocking a retreat will already be possible through tactics, how would a 'no-retreat' technology make LT any more fun for most of its likely players?" And a friendly and constructive supporting thought might then be, "Are there any situations where a tech that blocks all exit points, without requiring a big fleet, would make the game more fun at any of the tactical, operational, or strategic levels?"
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#43
Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:51 pm
So a useful assessment here might be, "If blocking a retreat will already be possible through tactics:

1. how would a 'no-retreat' technology make LT any more fun for most of its likely players?"
2. Are there any situations where a tech that blocks all exit points, without requiring a big fleet, would make the game more fun at any of the tactical, operational, or strategic levels?"
1. It would provide a level of risk and force the attacking commander to damage or destroy the technology which could be just long enough for the defending fleet to gain an advantage. I imagine that this kind of tech would have to be rather large and would likely have specialized ships which carry and deploy such tech.

2. Such technology would create varied terrain where commanders may want to avoid particular areas due to the presence of the tech. This would make tactical gameplay much more important since these area's could be equivalent to natural barriers similar to hills and cliffs. This could also affect supply lines and possibly even the frequency of information being sent from point to point.
Image
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#44
BFett wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:13 am
Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:51 pm
So a useful assessment here might be, "If blocking a retreat will already be possible through tactics:

1. how would a 'no-retreat' technology make LT any more fun for most of its likely players?"
2. Are there any situations where a tech that blocks all exit points, without requiring a big fleet, would make the game more fun at any of the tactical, operational, or strategic levels?"
1. It would provide a level of risk and force the attacking commander to damage or destroy the technology which could be just long enough for the defending fleet to gain an advantage. I imagine that this kind of tech would have to be rather large and would likely have specialized ships which carry and deploy such tech.

2. Such technology would create varied terrain where commanders may want to avoid particular areas due to the presence of the tech. This would make tactical gameplay much more important since these area's could be equivalent to natural barriers similar to hills and cliffs. This could also affect supply lines and possibly even the frequency of information being sent from point to point.

I'm actually imagining that something like this would have to come with some serious restrictions, so that whether to use it or not becomes an interesting choice, rather than "I can afford it, so of course I'm going to use it."

For example:

  • exit-blocking tech is constructed as a special, single-purpose form of space station
  • (I thought about making it planet-based, but the Official LT v1.0 Feature List currently says "no planetary bombardment")
  • these things are extremely expensive to build
  • the station can't move
  • when in operation, the station shines like a flare to every scanner (no hiding it in any way)
  • when in operation, any ship can enter (up to LT software limits), but no ships -- including the owner's -- can exit
  • (notice that this prevents any kind of multi-system commerce)
  • operating the blocking tech requires a constant feed of a lot of valuable resources
  • after being activated, the blocking tech has a slow ramp-up time (1 real-time hour?) before working
  • once the activation process starts, it can't be aborted
  • the blocking tech has a slow cool-down period (1 real-time hour?) before ships can exit freely again
  • once the deactivation process starts, it can't be aborted

In particular, note that any faction rich enough to be able to build and operate one of these things will almost certainly have to control multiple star systems economically... which means that disabling exits from a system takes away all the economic activity of that system.

Which means that I think all of these restrictions combined leave players with the choice of whether it's worthwhile to keep an exit-blocker running, but still leaves this as a useful capability in certain circumstances, such as wanting to turn a system with few jump connections into a choke-point in a strategic conflict.

(Though note that this, like a lot of other strategic fun features, may become worthless if the idea of "unstable wormholes" that can form in any system is imposed.)
Post

Re: Saturday, July 29, 2017

#45
I wasn't thinking that it would prevent exit within the entire infinite system. I was thinking more along the terms of the option to disable jump drives in particular volumes of space, zones at most. Preferably a jump inhibitor would be large enough to trap a large (jump capable) ship within it for several minutes, while not killing off every single wormhole within the system.
Image

Online Now

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests