I think this would be a fantastic way to train AI for LT, at least for some things like dog fighting and battle tactics... long term business strategies, exploration strategies, I have some ideas but they would need to be tested.
I recommend you watch the video above but I'll include my notes in the spoiler. Now the bulk of the video is talking about 1v1 combat, which will of course happen, but presumably there will usually be more than 2 entities in a fight, and often there will be a variety of enemies, friendlies, neutrals, stations, planets, wormholes, etc. so even with this sort of system, accounting for everything will be impossible. But we can try.
Because most combat will probably be fleet v fleet combat, some additional things will need to be added.
First, A training command interface.
The training command interface allows a player to
- assign objectives - kill, destroy, protect, barricade, etc.
- select single or multiple units and assign definable roles and hierarchies- artillery, flank, skirmish, escort, guard, etc.
- give priorities to different assets/targets
- select individual units/squadrons in a fleet to take control of in the middle of a battle to train that particular strategy/tactic
- trigger events such as reinforcements, presence of neutrals, units switching sides in the middle of battle
- Define active contracts and relations between NPCs such as assassination contracts held by a neutral, unsuspected party, or bribes which have been paid to make certain NPCs to doublecross their team.
My Dojo's idea comes to mind here, specifically as an isolated training ground where you can practice your own skills whether beginner or expert, fight yourself, train the AI, and set up any number of scenarios from an Ambush to a Siege, destroying a mining operation/research lab, raiding and robbing traders, and so on.
Now the biggest difference between this shadow system used for 1v1 vs 1000v1000 is the amount of information which is being recorded and accessed at any given time. Its unclear how much of this sort of information could be handled in a training session or in real time play, ideally each ship is aware of critical information and changes regarding their role, but that different NPCs are accessing all sorts of different information simultaneously. The fighter pilot is paying attention to their squadmates positions in relation to their own, but the general doesn't care about the distance between individual fighters, but does care about the position of different squadrons. So the general AI is trained differently than the fighter AI, while the game is aware of all details at all times.
Beyond combat, it might be possible to Shadow-train AI in competetive but not combative things like business.
but business decisions can be much more abstract than combat ones. An idea for that is to have an option to create "Business plans" where the player defines the 1:??? 2:??? 3:??? 4: Profit steps they intend to carry out. The plan itself monitors how close they are to achieving each step, and what actions they took during that time, whether said actions seemed immediately relevant or not, as perhaps they were for setting up groundwork/contingencies for future steps.
The plan can also monitor different aspects of the game such as the market, any attacks/raids that occur, or other player-defined metrics.
The business plan can also be changed, but such changes can logged as an adaptation to the new situation, such as reducing expected mining output, or "
In typing this out, it occurred to me that while such training has the potential to make impressively human-like AI, it might have too much information from too many people for too many possible scenarios to be practical for a would filled with infinite ProcGen AI. I'm not an expert so maybe this exists, but there would need to be a way to aggregate the data from lots of training scenarios into a handful of files, which adhere to the most commonly trained patterns, yet can implement variations in a similar fashion to the way humans do. But such a solution will take a more technically savvy mind than my own.