Captain Obvious



It’s a good thing we’ve got all these sophisticated AIs to run our ships for us instead of fallible human captains, because I tell you: I don’t have their kind of patience at all.

  1. If something shoots me, I’m going to shoot it right back. I don’t care if I am shooting something else at the moment, that ship becomes my nav and gun priorities.
    1a) If many people start shooting at me, I’ll target the one doing the most damage.
    2b) If a whole lot of people start shooting at me, I’ll get out of dodge and rejoin the fleet.

  2. When I retreat, I don’t run to the side of the screen. I find the nearest, tightest formations of friendly ships and hide out in the middle of them.
    2a) If I can, I join them in firing at whatever they are firing on at the moment.

  3. When possible, I join small packs of ships to engage a single lone target. If the enemy starts joining in packs, I flee.

  4. If I have a lone ally under fire who can’t retreat, I’ll shoot at the ships firing at him to try to lure them away so my ally can rejoin the fleet.
    4a) If too many enemy ships notice me, I’ll run and leave my ally with his own mess.
    4b) If too many enemy ships notice me, I may call my friendly ships to cover my escape. When they catch up with me I will join them in firing at the ships chasing me according to rule #2a.

  5. I will always retreat if I have no weapons. If I have repair capability, I may retreat earlier.

  6. I will remember to take bathroom breaks before engaging in starship combat.

  7. If the enemy retreats I will chase him. if I start noticing that I’m the nav and gun target for a bunch of enemy ships, then I will return to the fleet.

  8. Enemy fighters are not ships, and I’m not going to be distracted chasing after them. I’ll fire at them with anti-fighter weaponry if there’s an opportunity, but I’m not going to chase them or fire anti-ship weapons at them unless I have very specific orders.

  9. If I am a cruiser, I will use my awesome radio technology to call friendly ships to me rather than retreat to friendly ships.

  10. I will listen to my admiral as best I can so long as I haven’t taken damage. Once consoles start exploding, I can’t be held liable for my fight-or-flight reactions.


sir,you have just made my day! :smiley:

it would be so awesome if we would have AIs like that,but unfortunately there is so many variables here that if you would try to force Cliff into coding this, i suspect he would gouge out your heart with a dull teaspoon and make you eat it :slight_smile:

lets wait and see,for now i would be perfectly content if they wouldnt be completely stupid


I’m glad you liked it! I was trying to imagine SIM Space Captain and how that would play out.
I think looking at decision-making components at their smaller, individual levels, provides for a better overall simulation. Orders would allow us to change things that aren’t quite right, but I feel that each ship should react in a way that makes sense to it, not necessarily one that makes sense to the overall fleet strategy. I also would like to assume that all ships, friends and enemy, are acting in a way that would keep themselves alive longer.

I told a friend of mine about this post and he said it reminded him of Sun Tzu. “When the enemy advances, I will retreat. When the enemy retreats, I will advance.” It fills me with pride to know that Captain Obvious is every bit the brilliant coward that Sun Tzu is.

Incidently, rules #1, #7, and #8 seem relatively easy to implement into the current system and would make very noticeable game-changes.
Retaliator performs part of the job of #1, but doesn’t change your nav target.
#7 introduces the idea that ships know when they are being targeted and will react accordingly. I think they will make sense because it should coincide with what the user is seeing on the screen as the enemy ships start to converge on your cowardly ship.
#8 introduces the idea that weapons have pre-assigned roles and behaviors according to their function, and their gunners will react accordingly. (In this case, those roles are anti-fighter and anti-ship.) This is a topic currently under debate in another thread.

Of course, most of these rules also assume that ships are capable of moving around, which many aren’t. Part of the goal is to add more movement and maneuverability to the game, so speeds would have to be adjusted.

The rest of the directives are harder to implement. Clearly the hardest parts would be defining “pack” behavior and the radio technology.


if this were to be implemented on a map with only a couple of cruisers and dozens of frigates with heavy shielding and fair speed,i suspect that it would make a very interesting battle to watch…


I would have thought Number 6 is the hardest one . . Have you ever tried to toilet train something ?


If I’m tracking the logic here correctly (and that’s a big if, lots of variables, including the bathroom break), I think two sides with these order parameters would eventually glom together into opposing furballs, which would, one supposes, eventually fight.



depends on the amount of glue added
if you keep it loose and elastic a bit (SmartGlue) they wont become furballs at all,but more like nice and soft blankets folding together
if you use some really strong glue (F-Glue ™) they will become tightly packed furballs indeed,maybe even so tight that they will deform gravity, and then probably try to devide by zero… im sure i dont have to explain that,right?

key is setting the constants and variables right… as always… which is a nightmare and pretty high math in some cases (this would be one of them)


Red Cinema is generally right – fleets will coalesce into blobs when possible.
However rules #1 and #2 will provide a means for picking off ships from the blob and dispersing it.

It may not be enough though. I’m really not sure.
In any case, I think rule #1 is my favorite rule and the one that needs to be in the game the most.


Isn’t rule 1 = the retaliate order?


Yes, except the retaliate order doesn’t change nav targets. It’s a gunner’s order.
Changing the nav target (pilot’s order) also, would have three effects:

  1. Your ship could want to get at the back line, but get distracted as other ships come to engage it
  2. You could end up chasing after a cautious or rescuing ship in a hit-and-run style tactic
  3. If you’re a long range ship, you’ll “back up” when other enemy ships start getting too close.

I think this would result in a more believable and fun simulation.

By default, the AI is suicidal and extremely single-minded, to the point where it will rush through scores of enemies to chase its intended nav target. This change would make the AI concerned with fighting the enemies that are nearby, whichever that might be at any given moment.


Captain Obvious has decided to make some lexicographic changes on his ship, to hell what what the brass thinks of it.

The styrofoam wrapping around the ship will no longer be called “Armor”.
“Pulse” Lasers should be lighter and fire more often, but do less damage. Hence, rapid pulses rather than long bursts.
All “Torpedoes” will be immediately donated to the Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. They need them more than we do.
“Rockets” that maneuver on their own and have guidance systems will be referred to as “Missiles”.
“Turbo” Shields will now be called $&!@. This may be something of an insult to S&!@ everywhere.

Any crewmember failing to comply with these guidelines will be shot, hung, mutilated, and stabbed. For those of you philosophy-types who are wondering if death by mutilation might be preferable to death by exploding starship, I would like to remind you that any crewmember failing to comply with these guidelines also will not be paid.

That is all. Breaktime is over – back to work, you grunts!