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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#16
Gazz wrote:There is precisely one point of contact for the player.
This is my biggest concern. I would happily sacrifice fine control for fluidity of gameplay. Having not played X3 I'm finding it hard to visualise some of these interfaces that Josh and Gazz are discussing, and that sets off warning bells for me because if I can't visualise it that very often - not always but often - means the interface is going to be user-hostile.
Last edited by Zero Gravitas on Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Experiencing a significant gravitas shortfall
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#17
I believe it should be something like this

Formation

Defensive-
Fortify- Your fleet organizes in the most effective way (that it can calculate)
Defend (ship X) Your ships make the most effective formation to defend ship x
Counter- Your ships focus on counterattacking the enemy
Offensive
Strafe- Your ships pull a strafe run on the enemy
Barrage- Your ships attack the enemy with all they got
Target- Your ships target one specific ship
Focus- Your ships focus attack on specific ships but defend and attack others as necessary
Target specific- Ships will target specific parts of the ships they attack
Disable- Ships disable engines then weapons of a ship
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#18
...means the interface is going to be user-hostile.
User-hostile :mrgreen:
That's such a lovely term, I think I'll keep it. Simply great.

But yes, Mr Zero Gravitas does have a point here. Watching the exchange between Josh and Gazz here gives me the heebie-jeebies as far as the user interface is concerned. Fine control over things is a nice thing to have, but I absolutely dread the return of X³ - Regurgitated (or was that X³ - The HMI conflict?).
Having to go through 5 submenus just to get a turret to do its stuff is a nightmare. That goes double if the game isn't paused while you wrestle its control interface.

Maybe we should talk game design here, first. The level of granularity wanted is IMHO inverse proportional to the number of units that need to be controlled. I.e., if all I will ever control is a stalwart band of 4 ships, then of course I want to fiddle with their behaviour, their armament and their tactics. If, however, I'm expected to throw units at the enemies by the hundreds, Supreme Commander style, then obviously "select group, klick on target" covers most of the bases, as the rest is likely to degrade into attrition warfare, anyways.

This is where the X series broke down. The interface is tolerable as long as you only control about a dozen ships. The game, however, breaks down when you try to fit a carrier: The economy isn't really able to even churn out enough guns and missiles to fit 10 fighters at once, let alone 100. Assigning them into wings is a gameplay crutch to make things somewhat more feasible, but even then, you basically have to access every single fighter to assign it somewhere, which takes several clicks. It's pretty clear that the interface wasn't designed with those numbers in mind.

So, how many ships are we supposed to control on average? How much micromanagement do we want the player to have to wrestle with? Is it really necessary that the player himself has to buy and outfit every single mining barge attached to an ore refinery? Does he have to manually tell each barge to mine, avoid enemies and dump its cargo once its full, just because the player owns the ship?

To be honest, I'd like to keep a lot of this stuff out of the players hands, and assign a (configurable?) high level AI to it. Basically the equivalent of hiring a taskmaster for a factory. I tell it "Go forth and build Harpy missiles", and it will order and manage the mining barges, replace them if necessary, refine the ore into weapons and give me a ring when the next batch is ready.

Same with combat. If I order a fighter wing to engage a craft, I do somewhat expect them to avoid fire and employ their craft in the most effective way (like diving under the shields of a cap ship for fighters). I don't want to spend 30 minutes prior fiddling with their behavior, only to see them go up in fireworks 20 seconds later because, oops, looks like that was a flak boat. [/b]

Another part would be how replaceable things are. If a shipyard can spit out a fully combat ready craft in a few minutes (given enough resources), then losing a few fighters is nothing to worry about. As such, the fiddly bits can be kept to a minimum, since a few exploded ships are easily and quickly replaced on the next visit.
If, however, a single ship takes half an afternoon to properly assemble and outfit, then losing it is much more of a drama, and you probably also want more control options for its behavior, since the time investment is that much greater. Please also keep in mind that if I need several hours to get a ship ready for action, I'm unlikely to own that many of them.
Hardenberg was my name
And Terra was my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#19
Hardenberg wrote:This is where the X series broke down. The interface is tolerable as long as you only control about a dozen ships.
Which is why we're having this considerably off-topic discussion about fleet management and large scale ship building. =)


To me that's all of a piece. If a fleet is a squad with nested sub-squads, overall readiness and supply levels can be determined at the top level without checking every carrier's docking bay, every corvette's fuel level.
That's why I suggested to tie ship replacement into this template/squad system.
If building any ship requires 12 different resources plus the glukan and anoksi weapons and the blibsib shields, carrier wings are a complete write-off.

I can see going with the full building complexity for building the ship prototype.
It's how you test the player's ability to produce, bargain for, salvage, or steal all the necessary bits and pieces. That can actually be interesting. Once.

Building replacements afterwards has to be much simpler if large fleets are to be.
Ideally, a large carrier can build it's own fighters - Protoss-style. Just requires "Military Supplies", which is also the generic ammo resource.
The carrier can then be treated as one ship with projectile weapons. Fighters being the projectiles.

This "quick replacement" may have to be limited to ships that are "small" in relation to the carrier / hangar / shipyard. It would also be more costly in terms of transported volume and worth of supplies.
The more the player and his supply base advances, the less the increased cost for small ships matters and the player would likely switch over to the easier but more expensive system.

Eventually the player may have a Death Star sized shipyard and be able to churn out destroyers and cruisers as "small ships", creating entire battle fleets from a template and a single resource. I'll have one Long Range Border Patrol squad of 2 Hardenberg class cruisers with a screen of 5 Zero class destroyers and 2 Yaiba Maru fleet tenders. Just tell me when the new squad is ready.
One build order.
Why not? It's the same thing as building one ship from a template! What happened to Thinking Big?

If a ship in this new fleet is marked as "auto replace", the homebase / shipyard would put it into the building queue as soon as it goes boom.
The system scales all the way up instead of having a breaking point where the interface just... stops.


The only ships you would ever build the complex way, acquiring all the building materials, would be whatever happens to be your current "big ships".
Early on this would include fighters.
When you get your first carrier, fighter production can be automated and only corvettes and heavy bombers would have to be "constructed".
Fast forward and the player can automate all production but battleships - but he has already picked a spot for an even bigger shipyard...

Ship design and building stays a constant fixture throughout the game but the overall complexity stays somewhat constant as the game progresses. In X3, the complexity keeps rising geometrically and that is what we want to avoid.
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#20
Just a quick post to set your mind at ease - please don't worry! Yes, I am a technical kind of person, but I do not always want to be concerned with all these details either! I promise, I will make sure that there exist easy and intuitive ways to do things that are easy and intuitive. I will also make sure that there exist more complex ways to do things that are more complex.

But I, too, have been scarred by the X interface, so please don't worry, I think the interface that I've got right now is already vastly more intuitive and organized. I am building the interface around the gameplay features, not vice-versa, as X sometimes seemed to do.

Furthermore, the whole point of the combat prototype is to get some feedback on things like this - whether the UI is intuitive and easy, etc. So there will be plenty of time to make sure that I haven't made the same mistake as X.

In summary, there's no need to fear, we will get it right, all it takes is time, thought, and some feedback from people like you all :)
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#21
Hardenberg wrote: Maybe we should talk game design here, first. The level of granularity wanted is IMHO inverse proportional to the number of units that need to be controlled. I.e., if all I will ever control is a stalwart band of 4 ships, then of course I want to fiddle with their behaviour, their armament and their tactics. If, however, I'm expected to throw units at the enemies by the hundreds, Supreme Commander style, then obviously "select group, klick on target" covers most of the bases, as the rest is likely to degrade into attrition warfare, anyways.

This is where the X series broke down. The interface is tolerable as long as you only control about a dozen ships. The game, however, breaks down when you try to fit a carrier: The economy isn't really able to even churn out enough guns and missiles to fit 10 fighters at once, let alone 100. Assigning them into wings is a gameplay crutch to make things somewhat more feasible, but even then, you basically have to access every single fighter to assign it somewhere, which takes several clicks. It's pretty clear that the interface wasn't designed with those numbers in mind.
Good point, and Gazz has already talked about build orders for entire squads as one item.
I'll have one Long Range Border Patrol squad of 2 Hardenberg class cruisers with a screen of 5 Zero class destroyers and 2 Yaiba Maru fleet tenders. Just tell me when the new squad is ready.
One build order.
Why not? It's the same thing as building one ship from a template! What happened to Thinking Big?
Maybe the same principle could be applied to tactics. Each ship type would have preset orders for its tactical behavior. The player can define those tactics per ship type, and they get issued as default to every new ship that is built. Let's extend Gazz' example:
  • -The Hardenberg class cruisers are meant to fight, so they would pursue and engage hostile units.
    -The Zero class destroyers are escort ships, they stick to the cruisers and concentrate on intercepting enemy fighters and missiles (come to think of it, that might depend on the situation and get really complex).
    -The Yaiba Maru fleet tenders use defensive tactics and avoid combat if possible. When attacked, they might try to run for the protection of friendly units
So instead of telling every Yaiba Maru separately that it is not an attack ship, you tell it to the ship class once. The same could be repeated at the next higher level:
The "Long Range Border Patrol squad" is a template that has not only a certain number of ships, but also a preset tactical stance.
Maybe (just as example) the "Long Range Border Patrol squad" is supposed to act defensively, while the "General Attack squad" has a different mix of ships and will attack hostiles a lot more aggressively.
Post

Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#22
Rabiator wrote:So instead of telling every Yaiba Maru separately that it is not an attack ship, you tell it to the ship class once. The same could be repeated at the next higher level:
The "Long Range Border Patrol squad" is a template that has not only a certain number of ships, but also a preset tactical stance.
The latter.
In my vision that "Long Range Border Patrol squad", when it leaves the shipyard, is functionally and tactically identical to every "Long Range Border Patrol squad" in service. Down to the orders on the frequency of scrubbing the heads.
Creating a perfect duplicate is no challenge at all for a computer. It's actually the easiest thing you could possibly ask.
It just doesn't feel natural for humans to... I dunno... expect that to work?

These Yaiba Maru tenders may have different default orders if they are created as part of a "Long Range Recon Unit".
These are not default orders for a ship type. They are default orders for a specific purpose in a squadron. And you could have multiple Yaiba Maru in the squadron, each with a different task.


I may suffer from a mild case of OCD but I do know about UI and levels of detail. I spent many months modifying and often enough flat out fixing the X3 mechanics and UI. And it's AI scripts. Just believe me that I could go on for hours about the exact issues and hardcoded limitations in doing so - quite a few of which got fixed or removed in X3:AP which happens to be no coincidence. Just the issues surrounding automated turrets would fill several pages. If you care, you can find a brief synopsis on one part of that in the first posts here.
What Josh and I disagree - or seem to disagree - on is the fiddly bits. Technical gobbledygook about where the properties of what object are to be actually saved, which is not necessarily the same as which level they are accessible on and in which detail. When we do that we're actually working on the things that come afterwards, like how easily you can pull a ship from a squadron and order it to do something independently. All very abstract geek stuff. The more brain juice you pour on those fiddly bits, the less the chance you have to rewrite core systems sometime down the road.

And I know all about major rewrites. Heck, Josh seems to do it all the time judging from his daily updates. =P
When I was developing MARS I ripped out the entire core script at least twice until I could get it to work "to task and standard".
Oh, it did work. It just didn't leave many CPU cycles for the rest of the game. Which was kind of inconvenient. So in the end I had created a system of many small tasks, all on their own individual timing, some even automatically adjusting their timing to the actual frame rate and weapons used, all communicating with each other. A single ship may have like 20 scripts running on it simultaneously - and that's just for turret control. Not counting deployed drones.

And I talk too much. But that's not exactly news...
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#23
Air Raid Siren Here's another long one, everyone hide under your desk.

This is why Player Industry is inextricably tied to large scale warfare. Outside of the fact that a player would need some king of income source that constantly replenishes to maintain and replace their fleet; If the player doesn't manufacture their own ships and components, there still needs to be a streamlined Tactics Management to Industry link (Processing ship and parts orders efficiently for fleet replacement repair and addition, whether buy buying them from the NPC "Market" or managing your own production lines).

I recommend a detailed Blueprint method. Where you can send the Blueprint to a manufacturer (Or your own supply line) and they create copies of it.
  • Things that should be on a Blueprint:
  • Ship Chassis.
  • Modules, weapons, stock ammunition and their placement on the chassis. (Loadout)
  • Amount of Crew.
  • Possible Cargo. (For support ships to make in-flight repairs)
  • Ship Standard Orders/Priorities. (Engagement protocol, Basic Behavior; which would be overwritten by a Squad priority list when they join it)
You could either (From your supply line or from an NPC vendor) order these ships manually; or if you have a Squad structure, order them to fill directly into a certain position in the squad (Whether the order is for a certain number of ships, to replace lost ships in the formation, or simply ad infinitum de Marine Rush)

If you have a blueprint in your player assets, then it appears in vendors capable of manufacturing said blueprint's stock to be bought for whatever price the vendor charges (a simple addition of all the costs of the components and facility costs, then a +?% markup).

The problem with this method is that if you don't manage your blueprints suddenly you have a big mess in your production line (Alpha Centauri says hello), but it's smaller than the mess of individually making each ship at the time of creation, in my opinion. It would be helpful to have folders to put these blueprints in for further organization and a right-click delete option.

Having these fully loaded blueprints as "items" to be bought or constructed by the supplier, even allows carriers to be constructed pre-loaded with the player's choice of fighters, as you could simply load the fighter blueprint into the blueprint of the carrier as "Ammo" or however you want to classify it as.

The default behavior being a part of the blueprint also solves the issue of AI Fleet management, as you have already set the basic parameters of the ship's action, so even if the ship is intercepted on its way to the Squad structure, it will act accordingly. This script would then be suspended by the Squad's script when it becomes a member, and reinstated upon leaving.

So in the model, The entity of the squad has it's priority list (Created in advance by the player) which is checked and acted upon as long as it doesn't interfere with current outstanding player orders, and each ship has it's priority list before/after leaving a squad assigned at creation by the blueprint. There's never a point that the ship will just sit there and do nothing when under stress (unless ordered to or if created or assigned a squad with a blank priority list I guess) and ultimate control is retained by the player.

If we take it a step further... you could have a blueprint for an entire squad, with all the requisite ships in it, and the squad orders as part of the blueprint, set to simply replenish itself, making resupply and reinforcement automatic (Provided you can afford/manufacture it)

This automatic scripting is important for forces outside the immediate command radius of the player (Mining expeditions and their escorts, convoy escorts, etc), and the automatic reinforcement of those assets is necessary so that your operation doesn't fall apart when you look away.

I dunno, I just like the method, you could mass produce entire fleets with this, provided the resources (Not even facilities if you can contract production to vendors).
Gazz wrote:If building any ship requires 12 different resources plus the glukan and anoksi weapons and the blibsib shields, carrier wings are a complete write-off.
Wouldn't that only be a problem if those things could not be readily converted to "Credits"? If those minerals and modules are available on a market, or for construction, then it doesn't matter. Suppose you can't construct your ship without something you cannot yet make, then you have your supply chain automatically procure that item and add it to the credit cost of the ship. Depending on how dynamic NPC trading is, it shouldn't be that hard, having all the different little pieces is what makes small scale gameplay fun (in my opinion), puzzle piecing together your ship is fun... when you only have one ship to do it with.

If the market can supply you in exchange for "credits", I don't see the problem. Just have your creation order set up a buy order in a certain radius and have your supply chain go fetch it or, for a nominal fee, have it delivered to you.
~天刃
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#24
TenYaiba wrote:Wouldn't that only be a problem if those things could not be readily converted to "Credits"? If those minerals and modules are available on a market, or for construction, then it doesn't matter.
If everything is readily available for generic credits then it would be insane to require different resources in the first place.
It would be a completely pointless chore. Zero challenge. Zero interesting gameplay.

I assumed that for the prototype, there would be a modicum of challenge, either in acquiring blueprints so that you could use an unlimited number of those modules as you please... or by acquiring a sufficient number of actual modules for installing in your prototype. By... means.
The complexity in that is kept firmly in check because you only need that step once per new ship type, no matter how many of them you produce.
You just don't need to stockpile 12000 of those Kludorian X-Ray Lasers or build a gigaton warehouse for modules you'll never need. That's boring accountant stuff. And OCD. =)
It's somewhat gamey, I admit, but if you can instantly build any ship / module you see, all you get is minmaxing for the sake of minmaxing. No gameplay attached.
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#25
Gazz wrote:If everything is readily available for generic credits then it would be insane to require different resources in the first place.
It would be a completely pointless chore. Zero challenge. Zero interesting gameplay.
Unless it's not cost effective to do it that way. When not playing in godmode, having the different resources that are able to be mined or purchased would be balanced at effort vs cost. By having gone through all the trouble to set up a mining zone for all the different minerals you can field larger numbers of ships with the cash you DIDN'T spend on buying components. Challenge becomes number management as it boils down to with all RTS games.
Gazz wrote:I assumed that for the prototype, there would be a modicum of challenge, either in acquiring blueprints so that you could use an unlimited number of those modules as you please... or by acquiring a sufficient number of actual modules for installing in your prototype. By... means.
The complexity in that is kept firmly in check because you only need that step once per new ship type, no matter how many of them you produce.
You just don't need to stockpile 12000 of those Kludorian X-Ray Lasers or build a gigaton warehouse for modules you'll never need. That's boring accountant stuff. And OCD. =)
It's somewhat gamey, I admit, but if you can instantly build any ship / module you see, all you get is minmaxing for the sake of minmaxing. No gameplay attached.
Which would be the reason for different mineral types. Once you get to the point of Player owned Armadas, you either have an enormous fortune, or a constant income supply source. Constant income would be a company, which I can only imagine as, in the setting presented, an industrial business. If you're running an industrial company, that can be modified into a war machine. Your Mining -> Mineral -> Module -> Vendor money making line can be adapted somewhat to Mining -> Mineral -> Module -> Armada.

I'll be the first to admit I'm OCD about that junk, but the two above points seem to contradict. You want challenge in the first, but argue to do everything to take out the supply challenge of the game by making it one dimensional. Mayhap I am misunderstanding your argument. Please elaborate, I get the uneasy feeling that I missed your point.
~天刃
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#26
TenYaiba wrote:Unless it's not cost effective to do it that way.
That is one of my ahh... buttons. =)
You can't base anything on cost / credits in a sandbox game.
If a feature isn't balanced independent of cost, it's not balanced.
Cargo volume (anything!) is a much better handle because that is a limitation that the player can't simply remove from the game by building twice as many factories. Instead you need more / bigger / slower supply freighters which create a weakness.


TenYaiba wrote: the two above points seem to contradict. You want challenge in the first, but argue to do everything to take out the supply challenge of the game by making it one dimensional. Mayhap I am misunderstanding your argument. Please elaborate, I get the uneasy feeling that I missed your point.
That's because it is contradicting from a certain POV.

I don't mind a challenge in finding enough Mark 3 Lasers to outfit the batteries of a ship or in acquiring the blueprints for them.
One could be through capturing / pirating, the other through trading or as mission rewards. All good gameplay opportunities.
Either way it would be a manageable number of items to acquire.
And then it stops.
Challenge completed, moving on.

I see absolutely no point in stockpiling 12000 Mark 3 Lasers because I use them regularly in my main fighter design!
If they are easy to produce - basically just a function of credits - then what is the purpose of the entire micromanagement in producing and transporting them?
That's why I would replace all the fiddly bits with one generic "Military Supplies" resource once the player has clearly progressed beyond a certain point.

You feed all kinds of extra resources into some sort of facility and "Military Supplies" come out the other end.
From that point onward, it's one resource to cover all the fiddly bits.
Don't bother me with the ball bearing on the left landing skid on a fighter. I'm designing battleships now!
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#27
I need to lay off the keyboard steroids... sigh
Gazz wrote:That is one of my ahh... buttons. =)
You can't base anything on cost / credits in a sandbox game.
If a feature isn't balanced independent of cost, it's not balanced.
Cargo volume (anything!) is a much better handle because that is a limitation that the player can't simply remove from the game by building twice as many factories. Instead you need more / bigger / slower supply freighters which create a weakness.
I would beg to differ. Cost is a fine limitation, especially as building another factory requires investment capital and upkeep costs, also defensive forces to protect your investments. What's more if you can only get minerals by astral mining or the shop money is an important balancing factor. It should be impossible based simply on cost to create and outfit an armada for a starting player. But once a player finds a profitable venture that can keep up with the various costs of fielding a fleet (Salary, ammunition, replacements, etc.) they can begin to act as a military force instead of as an individual agent.

Secondary balancing forces are a nice way to add flavor, but since it's a single player game, the economy is contained. You don't have to worry about players buying PLEXs for 100,000.00 credits instead of the normal 100,000,000 credits, monetary exploits can simply be made impossible. Mining shouldn't become brain-dead once you get to the industrial level, the reason some modules are so high powered is because they need Linthurian Crystals, which only grow on the moons of Linthur VII at a certain rate. You're limited by time, or by money if you want to buy crystals from the market, you choose between funding and protecting an expedition and being limited by time, or by saying F--- it we'll do it live, and buying the marked-up market crystals.

This is why pre-made blueprints (By player or otherwise) are such a good solution. I need a Squad of Strike Cruisers to escort my miners. Send the squad Blueprint to production, the system automatically takes note of your stock and production ability. If you can not make a component the system looks for the lowest price in X jumps and returns with a Time for construction and Cost (Both for production and/or for components that need to be purchased and shipped). You spend time setting it up, then once it's done, it's one click for each such squad you want. With your nested squad idea, you can make fleets of Galatic conquering glory with a click, assuming you have the resource.

In a sand box game there are two real constraints on the player. Time, and Money. I Believe it's impossible to simply ignore one of the driving limits on the player, especially as money for the sake of money sucks. I hate sitting on 50,000,000,000 gil and already having everything I need. That money HAS to go somewhere, and it has to feel significant.
Gazz wrote:That's because it is contradicting from a certain POV.

I don't mind a challenge in finding enough Mark 3 Lasers to outfit the batteries of a ship or in acquiring the blueprints for them.
One could be through capturing / pirating, the other through trading or as mission rewards. All good gameplay opportunities.
Either way it would be a manageable number of items to acquire.
And then it stops.
Challenge completed, moving on.

I see absolutely no point in stockpiling 12000 Mark 3 Lasers because I use them regularly in my main fighter design!
If they are easy to produce - basically just a function of credits - then what is the purpose of the entire micromanagement in producing and transporting them?
That's why I would replace all the fiddly bits with one generic "Military Supplies" resource once the player has clearly progressed beyond a certain point.

You feed all kinds of extra resources into some sort of facility and "Military Supplies" come out the other end.
From that point onward, it's one resource to cover all the fiddly bits.
Don't bother me with the ball bearing on the left landing skid on a fighter. I'm designing battleships now!
That is primarily a difference in style. Militaries rework their fighter designs when new technology allows them a greater advantage. If I'm designing Dreadnaughts and I suddenly get the capability to manufacture Mark V Pew pews and all my fighters are outfitted with something weaker, I would love to alter a blueprint and strengthen my forces (Of course needing the modules and the ability to retrofit said ships).

You don't need to micromanage, the production and transport would be all automated by your established production and supply line, or an NPC's supply corporation automatically. Generic "Military Supplies" creates a possible exploit regarding easily mined materials and rare materials, making supply creation braindead easy. Yay... I put a hundred million SCVs on the safe mineral field and suddenly I can produce anything.

The extra level of complexity makes things interesting in my opinion. Sadly, that's all it is, my opinion. Lots of people enjoy playing Terran. I want something more involved than X workers create Y minerals which turn into 50,000,000,000 Marines.
~天刃
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#28
Wow. Disappear for a day and come back to 3 pages on a new thread. :shock:

Anyways, I'm going to try and hit all the points that stuck out especially to me.

But first;
Hardenberg wrote:Maybe we should talk game design here, first. The level of granularity wanted is IMHO inverse proportional to the number of units that need to be controlled. I.e., if all I will ever control is a stalwart band of 4 ships, then of course I want to fiddle with their behaviour, their armament and their tactics. If, however, I'm expected to throw units at the enemies by the hundreds, Supreme Commander style, then obviously "select group, klick on target" covers most of the bases, as the rest is likely to degrade into attrition warfare, anyways.
This should be the golden rule of the game. Because the player's role is so versatile, this can't be ignored.
Gazz wrote: (Automatic) Attack priorities are important and probably fit better into the ROE.
If I assign 4 space superiority fighters to escort a bomber squadron, I don't want them fly off to "defend" their bombers against a destroyer who got a missile through so the bombers are "under attack" from it.
That would require some sort of ship class or size system. Entering the desired target tonnage range sounds fiddly.
Threat. If something is attacking with 'weak' guns compared to what's being attacked, ignore it. I.E. the destroyer firing some flak cannons. However, if something is pursuing actively, then of course break off and attack. Either that or the fighters will try and destroy the turret that's firing on the bomber. Wings should be smart enough that they also should send the entire wing to deal with a single drone. But not top threat unless there is a limiter. We all know a capital ship with beam cannons will pose the most threat, but the escorting wing needs to realize that they can't take out that ship and shouldn't break off to try--especially if that's the same ship that the bombers are trying to do a bombing run against.

@Gazz, when it comes to the scripting of turrets, aren't we starting to get into the whole thing that made X3 slow in some regards? If the game has to parse through multiple filters for each weapon mounted on a capital ship, this leads me to believe we're going to see massive slow down when more than a few caps are going at it. 5 items in the filter, 20 weapons per cap, an engagement of 5 v 5 caps? That's 1,000 things being filtered on the fly as the simulation loop progresses. This doesn't even take into affect fighter ships as well.

@Zero Gravitas on his simplified post back on page 1 - This looks like it would be easily exploited and there would be quite a bit of extraneous coding to take care of instances where exploits may happen. Of course if Josh can figure out an elegant way to do it while still maintaining to the flexibility that Gazz and Josh have already put forth, then I see no reason why it can't be this simple.

I know Josh has already mostly batted it down, but treating squads as objects as well in a sense seems smart. But, if we see squads as actual objects, then things like 30% loss should take into account how much damage the indiviual ships have. In a squad of 10, if 3 ships are destroyed and the remaining 7 ships are under 10% life is MUCH more than 30% loss.

Anyways, tons of food for thought here. This thread gets those gears working quite a bit, even if some of it may be a bit more in-depth than I'm willing to think about.
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#29
DWMagus wrote:@Gazz, when it comes to the scripting of turrets, aren't we starting to get into the whole thing that made X3 slow in some regards? If the game has to parse through multiple filters for each weapon mounted on a capital ship, this leads me to believe we're going to see massive slow down when more than a few caps are going at it.
Nah, it's not even on the scale. Target acquisition only happens once every few seconds but it can be a major deal-breaker for immersion when your turrets are visibly acting dumb.
You need some priorities anyway and what I did in the AP turret script (1/2) adds like zero overhead at runtime.
The vanilla script was doing these things before anyway - all I did was break it up into it's atomic parts and loop through the array of priorities, calling the code snippets in a user-defined order.

Sure, some priorities were new and smarter than in the vanilla game but that was definitely appreciated. Things like being able to differentiate between several size classes.

It actually fits into this thread perfectly because it's the same principle as what we've been talking about with attack options and rules of engagement.
An auto-turret has a certain purpose and if you can give it more complex orders than a single "line" with a list of preset conditions, you're taking a lot of aggravation out of the system... while on the code side it's about the same thing save for the UI work to assign a few fixed conditions. Nothing PG or dynamic there.

It's too early worry about the details of auto-turrets, anyway. I don't know enough about how combat will work out.
Besides, if I get started talking about them I'll end up sounding a teensy tiny bit obsessive. Every time. =)
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Customizing the "Attack" Command

#30
DWMagus wrote:
Gazz wrote: (Automatic) Attack priorities are important and probably fit better into the ROE.
If I assign 4 space superiority fighters to escort a bomber squadron, I don't want them fly off to "defend" their bombers against a destroyer who got a missile through so the bombers are "under attack" from it.
That would require some sort of ship class or size system. Entering the desired target tonnage range sounds fiddly.
Threat. If something is attacking with 'weak' guns compared to what's being attacked, ignore it. I.E. the destroyer firing some flak cannons. However, if something is pursuing actively, then of course break off and attack. Either that or the fighters will try and destroy the turret that's firing on the bomber. Wings should be smart enough that they also should send the entire wing to deal with a single drone. But not top threat unless there is a limiter. We all know a capital ship with beam cannons will pose the most threat, but the escorting wing needs to realize that they can't take out that ship and shouldn't break off to try--especially if that's the same ship that the bombers are trying to do a bombing run against.
Threat as "value of unit under attack, multiplied with probability of destruction":
1) The destroyer firing some flak cannons at your heavily armored battleship would be attacking a rather valuable target, but at a low chance of success. Moderate overall threat.
2) Another destroyer firing flak cannons at your fragile supply ships would be attacking a moderately valuable target, but at a high chance of success. Higher overall threat.
3) A squad of enemy bombers attacking the battleship. High target value, lets say a fair chance of success. Highest overall threat.

Targeting priorities as "threat, multiplied by chance of stopping it":
Whatever you have that works well against bombers, will obviously target the incoming bomber squad. High threat value makes that decison simple.
It becomes more interesting with weapons that don't work well against the main threats. Let's say your battleship's main guns are almost useless against bombers, but pretty good against destroyers. Your battleship's main guns could target
1) The destroyer shooting at the battleship. Good chance of killing it, but the threat is not that urgent. Medium priority.
2) The destroyer shooting at the supply ships. Same chance of killing it, and it would protect against a somewhat higher threat. Higher priority.
3) The bombers. You really want them dead (high threat value), but a really low chance of achieving something => low priority despite high threat value.

So the best strategy is probably to let the battleship fire its main guns at the destroyer that is attacking the supply ships, and throw everything else at the bombers. I guess a system like that could become scarily effective with some refinement :shock:

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