Great, absolutely great. Might be a bit of work to implement but the payoff would be huge. You can certainly count me in as one of the people who would spend most of my time making interesting orders and publishing them for other people to play with. I am very much in favor of more complexity in terms of ship behaviors. Ship building in this game is already VERY complex. All of the game play is in the intricacies of milking every last bit of energy and crew and devising the best formations so that your ships can go forth and kick ass while you stand back proud and smiling. Thanshin has it just right to suggest a system where orders can be shared by the community. You can also expect the beta community will help ensure that there’s a good set of basic ships and orders so that new players will find the game accessible and fun from the beginning and are able to explore the depth of the game at their own pace.
As a person attracted to this game from the ‘gratuitous’ angle, I was initially annoyed by the complexity necessary to program a ship, as well as the limitations of the options.
For instance, inspired by Battlestar Galactica, I made a fairly heavy missile weapons platform (imperial frigate), designed to sit back and fire at the enemy capitol ships, which worked well enough once I remembered to set the targetting ranges for frigates and cruisers to an appropriately long range. However, as I’d given the ship a couple ‘anti-fighter’ missile launchers, I left the ‘attack fighters’ options on at an approprate range. It worked well enough, except that the second a single fighter entered range, 100% of the ship’s attention shifted to the (entirely futile) task of blowing up cockroaches with cruise missiles. The only solution that I could find was to eliminate the anti-fighter missiles altogether, and delete the attack fighter order, which was less than ideal.
I would strongly suggest not only seperate attack orders for weapons, but seperate attack orders for weapons that DEFAULT to a range bracket that illustrates their intended role (eg, if I drag+drop+run a heavy plasma cannon on a cruiser, and don’t bother with any other orders, it will naturally focus its attention on targets at long range, and preferably cruisers, even if several fast fighters and frigates come within spitting distance).
As a result of this behaviour, while much of the game’s documentation encourages “balanced” and “well-rounded” designs, many attempts to do so are punished, and specialization is rewarded, since giving a ship weapons of differing ranges or target preferences results in the ship using everything at the first target it sees. (Both a hammer and a box of tools are capable of overcoming a variety of situations, and while generally I’d prefer a box of tools containing a hammer over the hammer alone, if I’m just going to bash the door down by hitting it with the toolbox, I might prefer the hammer).
I think, one very important aspect that need to be changed in terms of AI is decoupling movement from weapons targeting. This is especially true if you decide to make individual turrets have their own firing orders. We need to have orders about how ships move and orders about which targets they chose to attack and they should be mostly separate.
Yeah, i think the best way to deal with this is to make sure that there is a reasonable variety of well built basic ships available at the beginning as well as a variety of functioning orders available to give to the ships. Increased complexity means a steeper learning curve, which is an effect that can be softened by tutorials and well written introductory missions.
I’ve been setting the range for attack fighters to maximum and the priority relatively low. Generally what happens is the defense lasers and tractor beams end up working on the fighters because the ranges are too short to even attack anything else and the other guns end up firing at what I want them to. At least it’s mostly keeping my cruisers from turning to chase fighters when they shouldn’t
I agree. Setting reasonable defaults for most orders is a good way to soften the learning curve
As a result of this behaviour, while much of the game’s documentation encourages “balanced” and “well-rounded” designs, many attempts to do so are punished, and specialization is rewarded, since giving a ship weapons of differing ranges or target preferences results in the ship using everything at the first target it sees. (Both a hammer and a box of tools are capable of overcoming a variety of situations, and while generally I’d prefer a box of tools containing a hammer over the hammer alone, if I’m just going to bash the door down by hitting it with the toolbox, I might prefer the hammer).[/quote]
It’s really true, my new strategy for survival is to make an unmoving cluster in the corner with each ship having a very specific targeting role. We’ll see how it works out once I’m finished making the ships.
I think you have to consider the fact that you’ve created a game that’s entirely based on designing stuff. Look at The Sims, for example. There’s a load of depth in the house and character designers because, ultimately, that’s what the game is all about. The non-design portion of GSB has even less depth than the “game” part of The Sims, so anything that gives players more to do when designing their ships and setting up deployment is probably a good thing. I think assigning orders to turrets is a good start, but for my part I’d also like to see more interesting modules that might require clever usage of orders to really get the most out of.
Edit- Actually, I missed enavia’s post since I didn’t notice this thread had a second page. I pretty much agree with everything he said. Balanced ship designs are effectively impossible to make when you can’t assign differing priorities to weapons with differing roles.
I think for casual purposes the AI needs to be smarter about auto-programming itself. For example, if I design a close range assault ship the default ranges should be appropriately auto-set. And if I design a torpedo bomber it shouldn’t be prioritizing fighters. Save Orders does work, but it’s not intuitively obvious.
Other than that my only real peeve with the AI is that you can’t set ships to ignore fighters for movement purposes, yet plink at them on opportunity. If a fleet has a lot of fighters I often end up with a situation where my combat ships are driving in circles plinking at fighters when they should be shooting at ships. Even when their fighter priorities are like 10%-0%. So I have to delete fighter targeting from them altogether which is kinda lame.
A minor peeve is that ships in formation lag behind the formation leader, which requires careful setup to compensate for. They really should accelerate at the same time.
Oh god, this.
It’d be nice if the attack orders had something like a “pursue” check box to handle this. This, combined with individual orders for turrets and some sort of role setting that allowed easy default orders for designs, would solve almost all of my problems with GSB.
I’d like to see more steering behaviors in general.The classic boids group behaviors would be a good start, separation, alignment and cohesion would allow your fleets to stay together without overlapping or being rigid formations. But there should also be access to things like avoidance, pursuit, intercept, interpose, and others.