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NPC Automatic Fund Generating

#1
Again, the search function hates me so I can almost never tell if something that I am thinking has been thrown out or not so here it goes.

I was thinking of X3 again and I remembered how I liked that you could have Sector and Universe traders that would rank up and get more abilities to make them even more efficient. As they trade, their rank goes up (I am assuming on money they have earned) if you had them as sector traders they would stay in a certain area and only trade with stations there. If universe trader is selected, they will wander the universe in search of the best deals possible.

Chart of abilities from the X3 wiki (as example)

Ability___ Rank(the number)

Checks Local Station Product 4
Sector Trader Selling Range 1 6
Checks Purchase Price vs. Selling Price 7
Sector Trader Selling Range 2 8
Universe Trader 8
Can use Jump Drive 8
Buys Fighter Drones for Defense 8
Can check adjacent sectors for deals 8
Gets repaired at Shipyard when Damaged 9
Buys Own Jump Drive 12
Sector Trader Selling Range 5 13-16
Sector Trader Selling Range 15 17-20
Sector Trader Selling Range 25 21+
Sector Trader Buying Range 1 8-15
Sector Trader Buying Range 3 16
Sector Trader Buying Range 5 17+
Coordinated Trade Runs (buggy?) 23+

(it made this chart look weird after I submitted it)

I think this would be nice for passively generating Income when building a trade network. But instead of in X3 you getting ALL the profit from trade runs, the driver of the ship gets a % of the sales, or maybe they get paid on the distance traveled to make the trade. you could also just use them to run around sectors buying things your stations need to run. Which actually brings me to a question, do stations need power food and water to run themselves in LT?
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Re: NPC Automatic Fund Generating

#5
This is starting to sound like it's edging toward a kind of formalized level-based progression system.

Just speaking for myself, I'd be happier with Limit Theory if it didn't do that, but instead allowed every character (player and NPCs) to do everything. You'd be bad at most things to start with, unless it's something for which you start out with a natural aptitude, but abilities would improve organically by using them effectively.

"Bob has dinged to Level 37 and unlocked the Fast Trading III ability!" is a kind of message I'd prefer never to see in LT. It's an artificial way of gating access to content. That's fine for some games. But I'm not convinced it's a good fit for Limit Theory.

I certainly like the idea of characters being able to improve in some abilities over time. What I'm trying to say is that I, personally, would rather that be implemented in LT through a less game-y and more natural process of getting better at the things you enjoy doing by doing more of them.
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Re: NPC Automatic Fund Generating

#6
If I understand Josh's developments logs correctly, this won't be needed, the NPC will just think 'hmmm, ok I can make a little profit if I do this but what If I do that?", based on trial and error and thus on experience the NPC will automatically become better in what they do without the need for levels.

Beside that, levels also don't really fit with the infinity of the universe because of the level cap in a mechanism similar to that of X3.
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Re: NPC Automatic Fund Generating

#7
I didn't know how much of NPC thinking would be able to do, I just had the idea that after the NPC started doing the same thing for a while, it may realize a better way, or more efficient way to do it. much like a human would get used to doing something then finding out if they do it another way it would be faster/get more money from, instead of AI that just, "calculating : most efficient method found, executing" or something.

my main point of this thread was to see if there will be an option to tell an NPC "here I give you this many credits to start, go to this system and sell/buy whatever you can to make a profit and you get to keep a percentage as payment" while the player keeps the rest. that way, while we are exploring around, or doing something else, you can still get a little bit of cash on the side, and if you fully devoted yourself to that, you could get whole trade fleets to generate most of your income, instead of just a little.
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Re: NPC Automatic Fund Generating

#8
I like the general ideas you're presenting, MrPerson, and would like to see NPC's that I hire as traders gain in their proficiency over time. On the other hand, I agree with Flatfingers that a traditional leveling system should be avoided and we shouldn't be seeing "Bob has dinged to Level 37 and unlocked the Fast Trading III ability!".

Over in Additional Thoughts on Research and Production, I suggested that the research system is based on the acquisition of theoretical knowledge, such as Biochemistry, Electronics and Mineralogy. The player (or other NPCs) can hire NPCs to conduct research for them, and this will involve, among other things, the NPCs developing their own research trees, which all NPCs possess just like the player:
ThymineC wrote:
  • An agent can hire other agents to conduct research for them. This can involve privately contracting research stations somewhere in the galaxy, or by adding research modules to their vessel. A research module is a module on a ship which can be crewed with NPCs, who can be ordered to do one of two things:
    1. They can be ordered to perform theoretical research. NPCs in Limit Theory are similar to the player in many ways, and will be able to progress along their own research paths. When NPCs are hired to conduct research, they will spend their time advancing along their research trees in the directions specified to them. As they become more competent in these research areas, they will offer suggestions on things to design. If the player is the one hiring them, they will say, for instance, "Try soldering 100 units of axium with 60 units of bexium and 30 of dextium using a proton beam calibrated at 50 MW. I think this can produce a new type of armour that will be more resistant to thermal damage." As they progress further in their research tree, they will offer better and better suggestions, because research operates for NPCs just like it does for players - the fuzzy estimates on producing new tech will become more and more precise as expertise in the relevant fields increases.
I'd like to extend the idea of theoretical knowledge acquisition within the research system beyond science to other areas, such as in this case trading. I would imagine that there could be several research paths associated with trading and that agents could develop their knowledge along these paths to become more proficient traders. These would be similar to the kind of skills you have in EVE Online. These skills would simply determine and modify specific, hard limitations on what an agent can do, such as how far away they can remotely place buy or sell orders, how many orders they can have open at any one time, etc. The capability of NPCs to trade effectively within these restrictions is an entirely different matter and will depend on their intelligence and the planning algorithms Josh has implemented.

When you hire agents to function as traders for you, they will develop their knowledge along these trade paths, and you will see these agents become more proficient over time in a completely natural-seeming manner, as you do not have access to other NPC's research trees and will not be notified about their progress along their research paths unless they choose to tell you (Bob says: "I've become relatively proficient in daytrading").
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Re: NPC Automatic Fund Generating

#9
see I was going to mention the EVE skill system in this case in my last post, but I was worried that people may call me out on that they are still like levels, because each EVE skill has 5 levels to it before you can no longer train it anymore. So unless it is going to be infinite training, technically EVE has a leveling system.
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Re: NPC Automatic Fund Generating

#10
MrPerson wrote:I didn't know how much of NPC thinking would be able to do, I just had the idea that after the NPC started doing the same thing for a while, it may realize a better way, or more efficient way to do it. much like a human would get used to doing something then finding out if they do it another way it would be faster/get more money from, instead of AI that just, "calculating : most efficient method found, executing" or something.

my main point of this thread was to see if there will be an option to tell an NPC "here I give you this many credits to start, go to this system and sell/buy whatever you can to make a profit and you get to keep a percentage as payment" while the player keeps the rest. that way, while we are exploring around, or doing something else, you can still get a little bit of cash on the side, and if you fully devoted yourself to that, you could get whole trade fleets to generate most of your income, instead of just a little.
Don't get me wrong I do like the idea of NPC's advancing and becoming more effective in trading as they gather experience.
I just didn't agree with there being levels as I think that it doesn't fit with the general idea of Limit theory (no limits and such awesomeness), if however every bit of experience gain would directly influence the abilities of the NPC (even if it is very little) so that there would be a continuous uniform progression in the abilities of the NPC (correlated to the continuous experience gain) I would fully agree with you.
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