Drones! I love it!

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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Flatfingers » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:19 am

McDuff wrote:*Beep* Notification: Miner 45 is unhappy.
*Beep* Notification: Fighter pilot 25 is unhappy.
*Beep* Notification: Transport pilot 3 is unhappy.
*Beep*

Gotcha. :)

I don't want to be pestered like that, either. Which is why the word "delegation" makes me happy.

I'm usually pretty skeptical of one-word rebuttals to objections. In this case, though, I think Josh's comments that he'd like NPCs to have the capability to decompose their goals into sub-goals and actions, and to delegate some or all of those to subordinate NPCs, really does address the scenario you aptly described. Delegation -- assuming NPCs don't suck at it -- is a plausible answer to the concern that running a large organization will mean a lot of interruptions and micromanagement.

Delegation means we can go tell Miner 45 what to do if we want to (assuming he's part of our organization). But we won't have to if we don't want to, because Miner 45's boss, Manager 12, will handle keeping Miner 45's actions aligned to Manager 12's goals, which in turn are assigned in order to accomplish Leader 5's goals, which in their turn are assigned by you, the player (or CEO 1) at the top of the pyramid.

The observation that this kind of structure makes NPCs little better than drones is sort of fair. One of the necessary (but not sufficient) conditions for a functional hierarchy is that subordinates do what their superiors tell them to do.

Even so, it sounds like NPCs in LT will actually be capable of some leeway in deciding for themselves what actions to take to satisfy the goals handed down to them. That process of local goal generation from higher-level goals is something I am looking forward to seeing in LT in the most powerful way -- if it works, it will be absolutely amazing to watch, and something I believe we should want to see as a differentiator from drones that can only act to accomplish a single low-level goal.

(I'll also note that I don't think LT will be boring just because the NPCs in our factions will usually do what we tell them to do. Not every NPC will belong to the factions we run. There'll be plenty of loners, members of other factions, and outright hostile NPCs to contend with.)

So for me this comes down to, how smart/capable will the typical NPC be, really? If they're smart enough to (within fair limits) reason adaptively, then that means they fill a different role in the game from simple-minded drones. And that means it's OK to have both.

I think this question will answer itself when we see both drones and NPCs in action.
Last edited by Flatfingers on Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Behemoth » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:20 am

McDuff wrote:*snip*

Okay, so ships and drones as totally different objects. Would work, but why you couldn't build humongous drones with cargo bays to replace all your freighters?

The mechanic of employee management is a logical consequense of the AI, so you pretty much can't leave it out, so it would be logical to automate it for those who don't want it.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby McDuff » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:35 am

The way I read it, "delegation" was really more of a way for NPCs to say "I would like someone else to do this."

The way that looked like it was being handled was via the contract system, so jobs were done by ad hoc subcontracting on a per job basis. Not bad when it comes to, say, "fly this ore from Sector B to Sector C," but different from "come be a fighter pilot in my standing army."

Not saying that the NPCs won't be able to engage in more complex employment negotiations, and I'm rather hoping that they will be pretty depthy, but also not mistaking hope for certainty on the matter.

It's all up in the air really.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby McDuff » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:38 am

Behemoth wrote:
McDuff wrote:*snip*

Okay, so ships and drones as totally different objects. Would work, but why you couldn't build humongous drones with cargo bays to replace all your freighters?

Option A: You totally can, this is a valid way to play the game.
Option B: You can't do that here is some limit on drone size.
Option C: This option covers all other possibilities.

Which one you pick depends on a bunch of other things like NPC capacity, computational limits, how fun/otherwise it is, and what you actually want the game to focus on.

The mechanic of employee management is a logical consequense of the AI, so you pretty much can't leave it out, so it would be logical to automate it for those who don't want it.

Well, nooooo. I mean, the NPCs are there to simulate everybody else in the whole universe. It doesn't get rid of them if you use Drone AI to pilot some fighters. You still have to fight/trade/spy on/play cribbage with all those other folks.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:51 am

McDuff wrote:
Behemoth wrote:The mechanic of employee management is a logical consequense of the AI, so you pretty much can't leave it out, so it would be logical to automate it for those who don't want it.

Well, nooooo. I mean, the NPCs are there to simulate everybody else in the whole universe. It doesn't get rid of them if you use Drone AI to pilot some fighters. You still have to fight/trade/spy on/play cribbage with all those other folks.


why would automating the employee management remove all NPC interactions? 0.o
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby superspace » Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:36 am

Cornflakes_91 wrote:
McDuff wrote:
Behemoth wrote:The mechanic of employee management is a logical consequense of the AI, so you pretty much can't leave it out, so it would be logical to automate it for those who don't want it.

Well, nooooo. I mean, the NPCs are there to simulate everybody else in the whole universe. It doesn't get rid of them if you use Drone AI to pilot some fighters. You still have to fight/trade/spy on/play cribbage with all those other folks.


why would automating the employee management remove all NPC interactions? 0.o



That's what I thought to when it comes to commanding your own ships. Taking charge of them wouldn't be on a contract basis so to speak, management would be on a command interface basis, just like how you're telling a group of units to follow you or something. I wouldn't want interactions between your own property to be this complicated... what if it is and when you send an AI pilot to go mine or patrol, and he decides he doesn't want to and just leaves... boom, you lose a ship.

But when it comes to interacting other pilots that were generating in the universe. Such mechanics would make more sense.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby madmann135 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:17 pm

Personally I like the idea of drones, especially having a wide variety of drones.

Modern day carrier ships are not battlestars, carriers have limited combat capability (mostly point defense) and their combat capability is supplemented through craft and the logistics for them. Even attempts at battlestars have been sub-par for both the combat and carrier categories.

When I think of drones I think of numerous types of drones
- Combat drones split into light and heavy class.
- Bomber Drone. Drones armed with anti-capital weapons.
- Reconnaissance drones that assist in scanning large sectors. Instead of spending a lot of time scanning one rock at a time, deploy a few Recon. Drones and the task is automated.
- Freight drones (probably not used in game but I like the idea). Used to transfer cargo from one large craft to another, IE transferring freight from a battleship to a station. This can save time by not needing the two craft to dock or be extremely close.
- Mining Drones. Simply order the drones to mine a resource and wait for profit.

In addition when I think of a space fighter I balk at the idea because it would be more resourceful to build a few drones that can perform at higher G forces (a pilot can only take so many G forces before they pass out, a drone does not have that limitation). Cost wise I will use modern references General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon unit cost is 18 million, a General Atomics MQ-1 Predator drone unit cost is 4.02 million. For the cost of 2 jets you can get 9 drones. Yes there are limitations but that is half the fun.

Advantages of drones to fighters
- Drones are cost effective, cheaper to replace.
- Drones can handle more sustained G-forces.
- Drones will follow orders without hesitation.

Advantages of fighters to drones
- The pilot.
- Drones need a mothership.

My thought of drones in this game is simple, each ship has a drone bay with a limited drone capacity. In addition drones won't be an "I win" button, instead they will require the user to use their head more. For instance a drone carrier VS a non-drone carrier ship of similar class. The drone carrier might be able to hit the target from extreme range with accuracy but if the drone carrier is within range of the other ship the battle is pretty much over as the carrier has limited firepower and without the mothership the drones become inert.

With good AI a drone carrier can be dangerous but at the same time the strength of a drone carrier is also its weakness. Numerous light cannons VS strong shields and heavy cannons.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby ThymineC » Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:27 pm

madmann135 wrote:Advantages of drones to fighters
- Drones are cost effective, cheaper to replace.
- Drones can handle more sustained G-forces (potentially :P).
- Drones will follow orders without hesitation.

There are a number of other drone types I'd like to see, but I'll list them after I'm done with my report.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Robincnp1 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:30 pm

In my original thought of drone usage I mentioned the tv show Andromeda (even though I also mentioned a heavy fighter scenario), the ship in question is a capital ship, destroyer/carrier I believe. Uses light fighters, combat drone, combat landing pods, star killer bombs, smart missiles, point defense, and can even replace exhausted armaments by manufacturing them using asteroids and space debris. Even then though, it still had a finite amount of drones, but their overall usage seemed pretty varied and capable, with limited-great control from a central AI on the ship.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Behemoth » Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:43 am

[Resurrection]

The prospecting drone is a ball of light moving in a straight line, and broadcasting back to you once it hits something. Should we think other drones are like this, or something else completely?

It would certainly work for hacking drones and scanner drones and maybe even construction drones, but what about combat drones? Will they be missile-like or almost fighter-like?

I think drones having a battery, that will eventually run out depending on the power usage of the drone's equipment, and its size/cost. I have no idea how this would apply to prospecting drones yet.

Will you be able to recollect your drones, or will they be used up? Again, missile-like or ship-like?

Will most drones travel a straight line, or should they home in on the target? I'd say to home in, but not like a missile.

Ideas?
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:48 pm

so.. had an idea concerning drones:

drones arent anything shiplike, they are "remote supplied/actuated tool platforms"
so a drone is just a single hardpoint with an energy receiver and a drone controller is a combined tractor beam + energy transfer mechanism.

drones can only operate close to their mothership, which supplies them with power and movement capability
once they get out of range, they are dead metal in general.

alternatively the energy receiver can be exchanged for a battery which enables the drone for limited usage of its hardpoint out of range of its mothership.
so a prospector/spy drone would be a sensor suite + battery and would be accelerated by the drone controller towards its target and then drift until its battery runs out.


cha0zz proposed a variation of that idea that drones are only remotely supplied with power, but have their own drives.
so a spy drone could still move on its own for a limited amount of time once it gets out of range of its mothership.

(i like my variation more, though)

maybe batteries could be single-use devices which are destroyed once they run out? :think:

in both variations drone usage would be limited by the mothership's capability to supply them with power and by the controllers ability to manage multiple drones (for example only 5 drones for a controller, depending on type).
battery powered drones could be used for short term numerical superiority, but they would only have special case applications in combat as they can only fire 1-2 shots before they run out of power.
this could be additionally limited by giving drone controllers only limited storage amounts for dones and long reload times.


thoughts/ideas/critique?


irc dump
Code: Select all
<+Cornflakes> cha0zz
<+Cornflakes> you still here?
<+Cha0zz> Cornflakes!
<+Cha0zz> yes?
<+Cornflakes> i had an idea for drones
<+Cha0zz> shoot
<+Cornflakes> a completely different thing than saying "they are small ships with these limitations"
<+Cornflakes> they are "remote supplied/moved platforms"
<+Cornflakes> a drone isnt a small ship
<+Cha0zz> eh
<+Cornflakes> but an energy receiver
<+Cornflakes> with some hardpoint
<+Cha0zz> eh
<+Cornflakes> and is moved from the mothership
<+Cha0zz> so they don't have an own power source?
<+Cornflakes> (well, its something different than saying they are ships and have the hassles with differentiating them again)
<+Cornflakes> no
<+Cha0zz> hmm
<+Cha0zz> could work
<+Cornflakes> the "drone controller" is a tractor beam + energy transceiver
<+Cha0zz> I like
<+Cha0zz> although
<+Cha0zz> hmmm
<+Cornflakes> i know its weird
<+Cha0zz> that still wouldn't allow for autonomous drones would it?
<+Cornflakes> no
<+Cornflakes> thats what ships are for :P
<+Cha0zz> like spy drones that are temporarely disconnected?
<+Cha0zz> :(
<+Cornflakes> hm
<+Cornflakes> maybe sensor probes wich run on a battery
<+Cha0zz> batterie?
<+Cha0zz> *y
<+Cha0zz> yeah
<+Cornflakes> but dont have the power to run anything sophisticated
<+Cornflakes> you accelerate them
<+Cha0zz> that should work
<+Cornflakes> and they drift until they are out of power
<+Cha0zz> hmm
<+Cha0zz> I would even allow more sophisticated stuff just with very high power consumption
<+Cornflakes> hm
<+Cornflakes> like 1-2 uses and then end?
<+Cha0zz> yeah
<+Cornflakes> like polaris missles
<+Cornflakes> so you shoot the thing
<+Cha0zz> eg, drone gets discovered, it runs away
<+Cha0zz> is 1 use
<+Cornflakes> hm
<+Cha0zz> and stuff
<+Cornflakes> i'd say its one time movement if all
<+Cornflakes> so battery or energy receiver + 1 tool
<+Cornflakes> tool = [weapon, sensor, transfer beam]
<+Cha0zz> 1 tool ok
<+Cha0zz> one time movement not ok
<+Cornflakes> if they are away from your ship
<+Cha0zz> just a battery that allows for a certain autonomous time
<+Cornflakes> if you want it to move it must be in action range of the controller
<+Cha0zz> the complexer the task, the higher the power consumption
<+Cornflakes> then they are again just small ships
<+Cha0zz> no
<+Cornflakes> with limited lifetime
<+Cha0zz> small ships have indefinite power
<+Cornflakes> but still
<+Cha0zz> and multiple tools
<+Cha0zz> all ships have sensors and hardpoints
<+Cha0zz> and probably also a transfer beam
<+Cha0zz> drones only have 1 of those
<+Cha0zz> + limited lifetime
<+Cornflakes> .... hrmm
<+Cha0zz> seems like a good tradeoff to me
<+Cornflakes> im not excited by that tbh
<+Cornflakes> if then i'd say the drive itself is the tool
<+Cha0zz> no
<+Cha0zz> drones are self propelled
<+Cornflakes> then we are back at the ship thingy
<+Cha0zz> a drone that just flies is useless
<+Cornflakes> its a distraction
<+Cha0zz> use a missile for that
<+Cornflakes> use a missle if you want a tool that moves once
<+Cha0zz> well you want drones to only move once
<+Cornflakes> no
<+Cha0zz> unless they retain a permanent connection
<+Cha0zz> which is stupid for behind enemy line operations
<+Cornflakes> if you want behind enemy lines use ships
<+Cha0zz> HERE AM I! LOOK AT ME SPYING
<+Cha0zz> no
<+Cornflakes> drones are expendable
<+Cha0zz> that's why we use drones today, little risk, less detectable
<+Cornflakes> if we go by today we can scrap manned ships in general
<+Cornflakes> we already had that discussion
<+Cha0zz> if you only allow drones 1 tool you already limit them compared with the ships
<+Cha0zz> if you add a limited lifetime, that seems like a fair deal to me
<+Cha0zz> *limited autonomous lifetime
<+Cornflakes> mhhh
<+Cornflakes> so like drive + tool + battery/receiver?
<+Cha0zz> ships have at least 3 tools
<+Cha0zz> yes
<+Cornflakes> hrmm
<+Cornflakes> i like mine better
<+Cornflakes> but it would be acceptable
<+Cha0zz> I don't
<+Cha0zz> :P
<+Cornflakes> who cares for you :P
<+Cornflakes> you are just my neutron idea reflector
<+Cornflakes> :P
<+Cha0zz> drone =  drive + tool + battery/receiver
<+Cha0zz> ship = drive + sensor + hardpoint(s) + transfer + unlimited power
<+Cha0zz> a transfer drone would have a drive + transfer beam + receiver for example
<+Cornflakes> hm
<+Cha0zz> while if you wanted that it was capable of defending itself you'll need a ship
<+Cornflakes> hm
<+Cornflakes> we could just post both ideas and let the others reflect on that
<+Cha0zz> k
<+Cha0zz> go ahead
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:12 pm

my variation with remote actuated drones would also make a nice mechanical/programmatical unification with cargo handling outside of ships.

Cargo containers could be handled as drones from drone controllers, being remotely moved to wherever they shall be.

So a supply ship has a couple of "cargo controllers" (maybe normal drone controllers) through which containers get ejected and moved to the receiving ship/station.

no hassle with "can this drone carry my stuff" just a drone/cargo controller.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:17 pm

maybe the remote supplied/moved drones could have movement angle restrictions?

like they have to stay in the field of view cone of the drone controller.

and specialised drone carrier ships have special support systems mounted all over their hull which removes that limitation for that single ship.

those support systems would have to be included into the ship at the design phase and cannot be fitted to already built/designed ships (or if at all, at great cost)

the support systems have big space and energy needs for the advantage of not having drones strongly movement area limited.


a ship which isnt designed for drone usage can still mount drone controllers, but they are limited in the area they can move their drones.

specialised ships have distributed drone controller systems all over their surface, they have no such limitation in angle, but dont have space for much else.

:think:
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Charley_Deallus » Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:11 am

Don't limit mah drones. I wanna take over teh worldz.
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Re: Drones! I love it!

Postby Cornflakes_91 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:10 am

Charley_Deallus wrote:Don't limit mah drones. I wanna take over teh worldz.


get some ships if you want to take over the world :P
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