The AI thread.

Didn’t we just get done nerfing fighters?

I had no idea Vulture order worked this way. I see why it is so ineffective. It won’t even be triggered for most of the engagement against an enemy ship. It is impossible to get an enemy ship down by at least 1 hull point without also firing on it, so Cooperative works much better, and will allow you to concentrate your fire much earlier to take out shields and armor faster as well. By the time hull is reduced, you’re already concentrating fire and not waiting for a Vulture command to activate.

I think a better way for Vulture to work would be to take into account all total points remaining… shield, armor, and hull, and then target the ship that has the LEAST available points within the target class (regardless of whether other ships are currently firing on it or not). Hence, Vulture would be more of a “pick on the weak” order. (That seems pretty powerful, but not more so than Cooperative.)

Yes. Provided those fighters are assigned to attack cruisers, of course, and not dogfighters getting distracted.

I’d be happy to help with the AI stuff. Testing switch frequencies with the stock UI might be a little rough though.

I assume this fix is oriented towards fighters? What’s the new interval supposed to be?

Well I could easily increase it by four, without slowing anything down noticeably. Another option would be to scale the frequency with the speed of the ship, which makes sense. Hyper-fast fighetrs treaming through enemy lines may need to switch targets often, whereas slow cruisesr may not. On the other hand, those same cruisers may need to switch targets multiple times to handle those same fighters…

If there are performance issues involved in this, might I suggest making it an option that can be adjusted in the Settings for the game?

Come to think of it, the cruiser defense laser does have a pretty poor response time.

Something that effects the simulation so drastically would be completely unreasonable to leave optional.

How does this fail to select a target ship? Ties?

EDIT: Ah, all ships in range are ignorable by class, thus it must run it again and ignore classes.

The smoking gun; spurring ships and fighters to apparently nonsensical targeting; truly uncovered at last?

I have been watching this thread but not wanting to comment because something in my brain was saying “THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG HERE”. And I did not know what it was.

OK, I ran into a situation in a game that clearly told me what that was!! Like somebody in my brain walked up to my eyes and kicked them out of my head, it was so obvious. How could I have missed it.

You never want a gunner to change targets, ever! Let me explain.

I had a cruiser and a handful of fighters (not two full squads even). The enemy fleet was 3 cruisers (and maybe a frigate or fighters).

My fighters flew to battle and were destroyed leaving the three cruisers unharmed (everything else dead).

One enemy cruiser approached mine and had its shields dropped. Then the other two pulled alongside it (formation orders). The three of them has GSB’s, it took forever one hull hit at a time to kill the lead cruiser. Then following the algorithm above, my gunners fired three shots at one fully shields vessel, three shots at the other fully shielded vessel, three shots at the first vessel and so on. Almost with every three shot pattern I would hit the shields once (sometimes twice).

In order to have any chance at dropping those shield my gunners should NEVER switch targets.

I propose that gunners stick with their target and do not run this algorithm except in these cases:

  1. Target leaves weapon range
  2. Target destroyed (duh)
  3. A gunner from my ship says “I’m getting armor or hull hits” and I have 3 or more “ineffectual” shots at my target.

In the course of three battles setup like this I saw gunners on cruisers and frigates ping-pong between targets when they were getting shield hits. Everytime they switched targets the shields regenerated.

As a military guy, this axiom holds true:
Never switch targets until the target is invalid or you are told to (ie a known better target).

There are plenty of scenarios you’d want them to switch targets. I started a list and realized it’d be pointless. “Known better target” is what we’re trying to get the AI to surmise.

You’re going to have to give us the entire order set those ships had. Rescuer orders alone can cause units to spray fire in many directions. Painters play a part too.

There’s some confusion, I think, over this:

if we have fired more than 3 ineffectual shots at this target, reduce score by 0.5

We don’t know if those ineffectual shots are consecutive or not, if they take into account decoy missiles, if there’s a timeframe involved, etc.

By the same logic, I recommend: If we are an ECM weapon and the enemy is cloaked, ignore.

I wouldn’t mind a rule that said ALL WEAPONS ignore cloaked ships, or give them a lower priority. They’re not threats anyway, while they are cloaked. True cloaking at last?

Attack Frigates
Attack Cruisers

That’s it. The ship did have a painter and it switched targets back and forth. Painter should never switch unless it has a better target (it doesn’t fire ineffectually either).

I don’t want the AI to surmise a better target, I want the mechanics of the ship interaction to select a better target. In this case, a gunner saying “I’m getting hits!”.

They do appear to have a lower priority, presumably through factoring in the missrate. Thanks to the 440 hitpoints on that module, cloak ships tend to stick around for a bit even after having weapons forcibly removed - vulture ships are likely picking up on that.

Note that cloak protections don’t apply during transitional phases, so gunners are not incorrect for firing at that time.

By the rules given to us, there’s little reason for a painter to switch that frequently (maybe cooperative?), so something is up there.

What if the “stubbornness” (or “intiative”, if you’re one of those Federation Positive Work Environment types) of our gunners could be handled by Orders? Say, for example, a separate slider for gunners and pilots indicating how likely they are to look for available targets each tick if they already have a target?

I’m not really sure what the pros and cons of this would be, but I say when in doubt, the player should decide.

Seconded, with enthusiasm!

I’d like to know more about the AI for cloaking at some point. When does a ship determine it’s time to cloak? I tried the cloaking once and decided it was not for me when my cruisers cloaked early, were pelted by enemy fire while cloaked, and came out of cloaking busted and defunct without having fired a shot. Personally, I’d like a ship to cloak when down to X HP and use that cloaked time to either escape the front (usually too slow to do so) or use the auto repair to get fixed up. The problem I saw was that the cloaking just didn’t seem to be powerful enough to be worth the inclusion on my designs. Sadly, I haven’t seen any others use them to convince me they are worth installing.

Just thought… It would even be nice to use cloaking more offensively by cloaking past the front line of offense and reappearing near the long range enemy ships. However, without any commands to control the “offensive” or defensive use…

Back to the topic at hand:

It seems turrets need a broader area of discretion. I take it this is looking for targets within the turret’s range, but I propose it look for potential targets on the map. If I order my captains not to fire at fighters, I don’t want them to fire at fighters UNLESS they are the only thing left on the map.

THIS. ‘Quit firing at those fighters with your torpedoes you dumb frigates! There are other frigates that will take care of them. GORRAM.’ I do remove ‘Attack Fighters’ but it doesn’t stop this habit. I’m sure that it’s costing me some efficiency. I can accept cruisers playing this game, but not frigates.

The best solution I’ve ever heard for dealing with these issues was someone’s suggestion about assigning gunnery orders to individual weapon systems. That way plasma torpedoes can ignore fighters, but defensive lasers can be set to a higher anti-fighter priority, for example. A radiation weapon set to vulture might also be a good example.

You actually lose only very minimal efficiency. They’ll only fire at fighters if there’s nothing else in range. Once anything gets in range, they’ll fire at that.