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Re: The "Game" in LT

#46
It's not said often enough or clearly enough, but yes: the idea of "sliders for everything" has a required corollary, and that is "every slider has a default value."

Of course, if there do wind up being a large number of sliders, I'd be happy to see more than one default configuration offered.

This would be the Drop-Down List To Rule Them All. For example:

  • Josh's Default Configuration (LT as Josh prefers to play it)
  • Young Universe (few factions, mostly unexplored galaxy)
  • Ancient Universe (many well-established factions with few unexplored areas)
  • Hobbesverse (few resources, AI/personality bias toward aggression)
  • Custom (player can set config/slider options and save them with a unique name for future playthroughs)

Select one of these, and that sets all the actual gameplay control sliders to particular values.
Post

Re: The "Game" in LT

#47
Flatfingers wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:06 pm
It's not said often enough or clearly enough, but yes: the idea of "sliders for everything" has a required corollary, and that is "every slider has a default value."

Of course, if there do wind up being a large number of sliders, I'd be happy to see more than one default configuration offered.

This would be the Drop-Down List To Rule Them All. For example:

  • Josh's Default Configuration (LT as Josh prefers to play it)
  • Young Universe (few factions, mostly unexplored galaxy)
  • Ancient Universe (many well-established factions with few unexplored areas)
  • Hobbesverse (few resources, AI/personality bias toward aggression)
  • Custom (player can set config/slider options and save them with a unique name for future playthroughs)

Select one of these, and that sets all the actual gameplay control sliders to particular values.
It's a real shame we can't like comments like this one. +1 never the less.
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Post

Re: The "Game" in LT

#48
Flatfingers wrote:
Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:15 pm
I'm imagining the "project" as the core concept for all NPC AI. Some particular features might actually be implemented using unique code systems -- a 3D, field-aware variant of A* for pathfinding, perhaps -- but conceptually it feels satisfying to me to think of every namable decision-making operation for NPCs as a "project."

The nice thing about this approach is that it offers a simple but powerful way to address what I believe will be the single most important (i.e., fun) aspect of NPC AI in LT: delegation. And that's done by saying that a Project is composed of Tasks (atomic actions performed by activating a game verb) and Goals (a detectable game-state condition). (There'll also need to be a way to specify resource inputs and outputs, and probably a simple way to specify conditionals, but those aren't what's important to this conversation.)

Following this structure, the AI for NPCs in LT is defined as "whatever allows an NPC to decide how to satisfy the Goal(s) of a Project."

And one of those tools is delegation, which will be the AI system with which an NPC 1) breaks down a Goal into smaller Goals and/or Tasks, and 2) assigns all of those decomposed Goals and/or Tasks to some or all of the NPCs under this NPC's direct factional management. Note that any delegated work more complex than a single Task can be treated as a Project, which itself can be decomposed or delegated. (Note also that the NPC itself counts as "managed" for the purposes of delegation -- a solo NPC will break down a Project's Goals until they're all atomic-level Tasks, and assign all of those Tasks to itself.)

As each Task is completed, its result is rolled up to the owner of the Project that included that Task or the Goal from which that Task was delegated. Eventually the satisfaction conditions of the Goal of the top-level Project are either satisfied, in which case the output resources are awarded, or the Goal's satisfaction conditions are failed or flagged as unsatisfiable, in which case any penalties associated with the failure of the Project's Goal are imposed.
Something I read today reminded me of this.

Apparently there's this thing called Plasma, which is a proposed mechanism for enforcing trusted contracts using Ethereum, which seems to be a kind of competitor technology to Bitcoin. I won't pretend to understand more than every other word in this stuff. ("Merkle proofs?" And the "Nakamoto Consensus" sounds like the title of a spy thriller.)

But this part -- this sounded weirdly familiar:
This construction is achieved by composing smart contracts on the main blockchain using fraud proofs whereby state transitions can be enforced on a parent blockchain. We compose blockchains into a tree hierarchy, and treat each as an individual branch blockchain with enforced blockchain history and MapReducable computation committed into merkle proofs. By framing one's ledger entry into a child blockchain which is enforced by the parent chain, one can enable incredible scale with minimized trust (presuming root blockchain availability and correctness).
Solving for overall satisfaction by trusted decomposition into individually solvable transactions sounds like recursive projects to me. And fraud proofs sure sound like state-based project satisfaction conditions. And the idea of projects as systemically-enforced contracts seems like an idea someone might have described 13 years ago for strangers playing together in an MMORPG. ;)

Bearing in mind that all analogies are imperfect, am I the only one seeing some interesting conceptual similarities here regarding technical solutions for enabling trustable productive contracts?
Post

Re: The "Game" in LT

#49
Unfortunately flat, I have only the vaguest idea about blockchains, however if within it lies some useful stuff for LT, I can only cheer on those with more expertise than me in their use of it.

Instead, I came here with some more of my own rambling thoughts :p
I absolutely agree that the sea of sliders will need a short list of defaults to keep things sensible for more novice and casual players. I'm sure that different slider presets will be a common asset on the LT exchange.

When then we talk about many aspects of balancing, such as pacing and NPC strengths and tradeoffs, I suspect we're meaning "What should be the default pacing in the default settings". We don't want to forcibly impose our own ideas on all future players, but more come to a sense of what would feel the most rewarding and offer an ideal average pacing for a new player looking to learn the ropes and familiarize themselves with what LT is before they go tinkering with the recipe.

Some concrete questions that we, and more specifically the beta testers should ask are:
How fast/slow, how short/drawn-out should a typical dog fight be, how long should it take to set up a self-sustaining mining outpost? How long should a space-trucker trip be? 5 minutes? 20 minutes? an hour? Where is the Fun/Time ratio strongest, where it doesn't seem to go by too quick and also doesn't get boring or exhausting? Should there be a simulated “fatigue” variable that can be used to make the AI far more willing to give up/abandon the pursuit after | - - [5] - - - | minutes because that's what we come to find feels like a good median length of time for a dogfight?

Or, How many pirates should be in a typical "raid" and how strong should each pirate be? are you being attacked by high skilled ninjas? a street gang? the mongol hordes? reavers? or is this just a mugging in space? How serious of an advantage do numbers give? are typically encountered pirates like flies that need to be swatted away 3 at a time, or will being even slightly outnumbered make you wish you were smart enough to bring some heavier firepower?

Or, to what degree is attacking a mining outpost like poking a hornet nest? Will the miners typically scatter, letting you focus on one or two barges, or will they fight back and try and eliminate you as a threat?
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Post

Re: The "Game" in LT

#50
Hyperion wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:55 am
When then we talk about many aspects of balancing, such as pacing and NPC strengths and tradeoffs, I suspect we're meaning "What should be the default pacing in the default settings". We don't want to forcibly impose our own ideas on all future players, but more come to a sense of what would feel the most rewarding and offer an ideal average pacing for a new player looking to learn the ropes and familiarize themselves with what LT is before they go tinkering with the recipe.
Do you think a tutorial mode would be more helpful in this area as opposed to throwing the player into the game without instruction? Should the AI have missions posted which encourage players to explore various aspects of LT? If someone knew nothing about LT other than it being a space game, how do we want to introduce the features to them?
Hyperion wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:55 am
Some concrete questions that we, and more specifically the beta testers should ask are:
How fast/slow, how short/drawn-out should a typical dog fight be, how long should it take to set up a self-sustaining mining outpost? How long should a space-trucker trip be? 5 minutes? 20 minutes? an hour? Where is the Fun/Time ratio strongest, where it doesn't seem to go by too quick and also doesn't get boring or exhausting? Should there be a simulated “fatigue” variable that can be used to make the AI far more willing to give up/abandon the pursuit after | - - [5] - - - | minutes because that's what we come to find feels like a good median length of time for a dogfight?
The length of a battle depends on the defensive values of armor and shields along with offensive values of weapons. Throw in electronic warfare and stealth game play as well and the pacing of LT combat will be determined (assuming two ships of the same size are shooting at each other).
Hyperion wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:55 am
Or, How many pirates should be in a typical "raid" and how strong should each pirate be? are you being attacked by high skilled ninjas? a street gang? the mongol hordes? reavers? or is this just a mugging in space? How serious of an advantage do numbers give? are typically encountered pirates like flies that need to be swatted away 3 at a time, or will being even slightly outnumbered make you wish you were smart enough to bring some heavier firepower?
Number of pirates is dependent on a number of factors. What are the pirates attacking, how dangerous is the target, how well defended is the target, what ships can the pirates afford to lose if the battle goes poorly, what number of ships are needed to complete the task in x amount of time, how much time will it take for a defending force to react to the pirates?

And so on. This kind of thinking will determine just how smart Josh's AI actually is and how well it learns from previous experiences.
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Re: The "Game" in LT

#51
Let me just throw in an issue I always have with this "pirates" trope in space games:
They are usually not displayed as pirates, but rather as suicidal maniacs.
Actual pirates have a simple agenda: earn money by threatening with force. They would never just attack to destroy the ships they see.
Especially not ships/fleets that have equal or higher firepower.

Pirates would hide in some region of space here they know ships with no/low firepower will pass. They chase them and maybe shoot once to show their agenda.
The next thing is to contact the ship and demand money/cargo transfer/drop, or capture the ship and take the crew hostage for ransom.

The only scenario I can see pirates getting into an open fight is if they are chased into a corner or the (low firepower) ship they try to highjack is not responding to their demands.
Or someone is getting to close to their hideout.

In the end they want to earn money, and not loose it (by getting their ships blown up)

Bands who attack to destroy any ship that is not theirs, and are not regular armed forces in a war, sound more like guerrilla warriors, not "pirates".

So in a game, I would implement pirate as such:
-try to stay in hiding (camouflage / behind some obstacle)
-scan the ship if its a valid taget
-flee if ship outpowers them, or just let it pass if the target it of no value
-approach valid targets, and send a message "release your cargo" or such.
-if the ship does not respond, shoot a few times at it
-if the ship openly attacks, go into classic battle mode
and maybe have some system where traders can pay "protection money" up front, to not get highjacked by the pirate group.
Post

Re: The "Game" in LT

#53
Hyperion wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:55 am
Or, How many pirates should be in a typical "raid" and how strong should each pirate be? are you being attacked by high skilled ninjas? a street gang? the mongol hordes? reavers? or is this just a mugging in space? How serious of an advantage do numbers give? are typically encountered pirates like flies that need to be swatted away 3 at a time, or will being even slightly outnumbered make you wish you were smart enough to bring some heavier firepower?

Or, to what degree is attacking a mining outpost like poking a hornet nest? Will the miners typically scatter, letting you focus on one or two barges, or will they fight back and try and eliminate you as a threat?
how would you modulate that for those specific scenarios only?

pirates are normal NPC's with equipment thats roughly equivalent to the stuff you are carrying around as well (modulated by what they can get their hands on), how would you make them so weak that the player can swat them 3 at a time?

same for general statements about mining outposts, depending on the owning NPC's disposition it could be completely unarmed or have a destroyer or two on call for emergencies :shrug:
Post

Re: The "Game" in LT

#54
Damocles wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:47 am
Let me just throw in an issue I always have with this "pirates" trope in space games:
They are usually not displayed as pirates, but rather as suicidal maniacs.

Gorram reavers.

Damocles wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:47 am
So in a game, I would implement pirate as such:
-try to stay in hiding (camouflage / behind some obstacle)
-scan the ship if its a valid taget
-flee if ship outpowers them, or just let it pass if the target it of no value
-approach valid targets, and send a message "release your cargo" or such.
-if the ship does not respond, shoot a few times at it
-if the ship openly attacks, go into classic battle mode
and maybe have some system where traders can pay "protection money" up front, to not get highjacked by the pirate group.

If "pirate" ships are crewed by NPCs, just as other ships are assumed to be commanded by a person with personality traits, then I would expect to see pirates setting goals, forming plans to achieve those goals, turning those plans into projects, executing those projects, and (assuming they survive) assessing the effectiveness of those actions in order to improve later plans and projects... just like other NPCs.

Except for evil.

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