[ALP] Imperial Laboratories: Automated Carrier Software 1.1 14/3/10

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LV
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[ALP] Imperial Laboratories: Automated Carrier Software 1.1 14/3/10

Post by LV » Tue, 24. Feb 09, 22:14

Automated Carrier Software (ACS)

TC {EMP} - Extended Mod Pack Needed

Name : CDS

Description : Plugin which allows non player support ships to be built on your carriers and other chips with fighter docking bays
Version : 1.1
Date : 14/3/10
Author : LV

New for 1.1

M6/7/8/2 Class ships available!

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Image download unpacked verson

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cycrow installer version

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Detailed Description

During the recent terran conflict pirate clans called a brief ceasefire in order to combine their efforts to obtain and research new technology while their enemy's attention was elsewhere

With some help from Pimperial Laboratories pirate clans were not only able to gain access to Terran Hull Plating but also research 2 new ship upgrades
  • The Drone AI Interface
  • The Drone AI Docking Net
Any carrier with the correct amount of Energy, Microchips, Silicon wafers, Quantum Tubes and Hull Plating can create Deadly Support Drones of M3,4,5 class.

These upgrades can be found at pirate bases and they are not cheap

Once the Drone Interface is installed many options will be available

I've created this plugin because it's simply too costly, time consuming and god dam annoying watching 100's of millions of credits fall down the drain using your own ships as carrier support.

Drones are not that cheap but significantly cheaper than using your own ships and they come ready for action and when they get nuked it's no big deal.



Disclaimer: No pilots were harmed (too much) in the making of this plugin

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This Plugin is an ALP and can be turned on/off via the ALP menu : The Plugin must be turned off before any uninstall attempt!
How To Use AL Plugins

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Hotkey

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The interace once installed can be called via hotkey for your playership, in addition any of your carriers that you are targeting will also open their menu via this hotkey if the Interface is installed.

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New ship Tech

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  • The Drone AI Docking Net
This Docking net will allow any of your drones within 5k of it's homebase to instantly dock, The net is the cheaper of the two techs at 1.8 million and does not need to be installed. If the net is not installed you will see how Mr Magoo would land a ship in the X Uni if your insector ;)
  • The Drone AI Interface
This tech costs a little bit more at 110 Million Credits (IL) research isn't cheap especially when you see the detsruction a few drones can cause.
  • Hull Plating
As HP is an integral part to ship building and only available via terran sectors some Pirate espionage has meant pirate bases will now stock HP

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Main CDS Interface

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The interface can be called via Hotkey with your ship/targeted carrier or via the ships secondary command menu

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If you have a TL/S/M within 5k of the ships that is to create Drones it will automatically look for the needed wares in that ship, If you have one of these ships near and do not wish to use it move > 5K away!
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Start Drone Production

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  • Fighters
The ship will build fighters of all 3 classes M5,4,3

Requires 6 HP, 5 Sil, 6 Chips, 300 Energy, 7 Quantum Tubes

This option uses slightly more products than building an M4 but less than an M3
  • M3's
Builds only M3 class at a cost of 10 HP, 5 Sil, 10 Chips, 300 Energy, 8 Quantum Tubes
  • M4's
Builds only M4 class at a cost of 5 HP, 4 Sil, 5 Chips, 150 Energy, 6 Quantum Tubes
  • M5's
Builds only M5 class at a cost of 2 HP, 3 Sil, 3 Chips, 100 Energy, 4 Quantum Tubes

If the ship does not have the needed products it will stop it's orders

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Production Requirements

Click the Production Requirements in the logistics menu to see a list of needed products
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Scrap Drones

If you choose this command all drones linked to the ship will be destroyed,

Restock Missiles

You can use ore and quantum tubes combines with energy to replace missiles for you drones (10 max)

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Choose the ship then the missile type.

When restocking the ship will again look for TL/M/S craft within 5k for it's product needs.


Scrap Selected Fighter

Allows you to remove single drones you should receive a small amount of the products needed to build drones back.

Transfer Drones To New Hombase

Choose another ship with docking capabilities within 5k and the drones will transfer to the other carrier


Find Product

Shows the nearest station selling products required for building drones.
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Engage Docking Net

This is the global return to homebase command, ship will break off any action and return home. If the ship is equipeed with a docking net ships will dock using the DC once within 5k of the homebase

Recall All Fighters

As above but does not use the Net

Attack Target

As it says on the tin, Wings need to be deployed!


Deploy Wings 3/4/5

Toggle and only the correct class will launch if enemy's are found


Ships also will return home if their shields drop below 50%

_____________________

Balancing
Before any of you cheats think aha i can abuse LV and his code to get freebies, think again.

1. Drones will cause your notoriety to drop if you just so happen to send 20 of them against one of the core races by accident

2. They cannot be captured by yourself to get ships on the cheap. (please test this)

3. They won't drop a god dam thing when destroyed

4. You'll need a mammoth and plenty of Hull Plating + other tech to create huge fleets

5. More of a warning, in sector their ability to redock without the net is quite pathetic, I felt as if i was being humped to death.



Please feel free to point out problems as it's v1.0 and i would also like feedback or product amounts, availability and general cost

Enjoy :)
_____________________________


Install

Use either the plugin manager version or the zipped unpacked script (if you know howto)

Uninstall

Turn the plugin off! wait 20 mins : remove



Commands used

<t id="1235">\033RDrone AI Interface\033X</t>

EMP Wares
11023 DRONE AI Upgrade
11763 DRONE AI Docking Net LV


t
8840
Last edited by LV on Mon, 15. Mar 10, 23:06, edited 4 times in total.
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semiliterate
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Post by semiliterate » Wed, 25. Feb 09, 01:25

Just to confirm... this allows me to build "fighters" of various types? Questions: what determines what types of fighters i can build, and how do they differ from standard fighters?

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Post by s9ilent » Wed, 25. Feb 09, 01:34

Heh, Pimperial Laboratories :P

Is that a Pimp joke, or a pirate-imperial joke :)


edit LV that's actually an unintended typo but i'll keep it for a while :)

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Post by Hieronymos » Wed, 25. Feb 09, 07:26

Seems really well thought out LV, like all your work. It's good to see the Empire is still actively inspired by the Dark side of the Force..

I like your idea of requiring different commodities and components for drone manufacture, using PHQ code (?).
I also really like your 'auto-hijack with 5km range' feature to nix the need for supply ship micromanagement.

Hopefully, the $$$ amount in wares for the various drones will of course reflect in a balanced way how effective said critters are in combat compared to vanilla fighters. Tweaking such variables is to my mind a perfect reason to use a few Imperial slaves for field test data collection.

Coupla' questions:

a) Combat specs: precisely what have you given your 3 drone classes in terms of speed, shielding, shield generator, weaponry, laser charge/recharge?...And are these variables yet tweaked to your satisfaction?

b) Are the 3 drone types wares? Am assuming so, as this is a plugin, not a mod. Thus, do any docking limits for these babies apply on Carriers?

c) How do they fare compared to conventional fighters vs. larger turreted ships armed with FAA/CFA, and equipped with Gazz's MARS?? Any reports yet? [this is asked because DDRS mod, when it ports to TC will feature some sort of default turret management/auto-weaponswitcher script for all NPC ship spawns to help compensate for the pathetic vanilla standard, especially vs. missles, fighters, and 'pods.]
.............

I'd been talking for several months with Deadly Da about creating a range of M5-sized drones [2 IRE's or 1 PAC, no missles; 2Mj shielding; ~633m/s speed] that'd be wares [60XL], but require another ware: "Drone Launching Accelerator" [1600XL] to launch them...But we couldn't figure out if it was best to treat them as actual M5's, or as wares.

So your making them wares, but also requiring them to be based only from carriers is frickin' genius!

You have produced a remarkably well thought out fait accompli.

Our intention was similar to yours, in that as XTC now uses M5 class vessels as de facto drones in any case, why not make some of our own? Their primary usage is to completely tie up and overwhelm targetting of enemy ships, so player's ships can swoop in and pounce with minimal return fire...losing only a few drones..instead of 100's of millions of ships (piloted by brain-dead ai). So they'd complement, not completely replace conventional fighters, as it seems your creations may be set to do.
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Post by Logain Abler » Wed, 25. Feb 09, 09:41

Again, another class piece of work from the master.

Brilliant :!:

Makes the idea for my next project after FDN (http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=237027) dead in the water, any chance you would be interested in making a station deployable version :?:

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Post by LV » Wed, 25. Feb 09, 11:56

Hieronymos wrote:
I like your idea of requiring different commodities and components for drone manufacture, using PHQ code (?).
I also really like your 'auto-hijack with 5km range' feature to nix the need for supply ship micromanagement.
PHQ code? I just wrote my own, the 5k is necessary, i'd actually have liked to have some docking as it looks good when 40+ ships are docking with your carriers but with AI trying to redock eye candy is probably the furthest thing from the truth here ;)

Hieronymos wrote: Hopefully, the $$$ amount in wares for the various drones will of course reflect in a balanced way how effective said critters are in combat compared to vanilla fighters. Tweaking such variables is to my mind a perfect reason to use a few Imperial slaves for field test data collection.
The ships do not have that much different logic at the moment, i've written this from scratch in 2 days but can now build on the baseline, I'm not sure about the 110m for the main interface yet as i can use wares costing 54m, 61m also, maybe a lite interface for TM's and small carriers costing less?

Ships as seen in the pic cost a max of 113k for a fighter class (random 3,4,5) 171k m3, 93k m4 57 m5

The majority of the cost appears to be in microchips and i've pretty much thrown these values in and am happy to tweak. My guess is your talking over 2-3million for a kitted out m3 and instead of the hours outfitting, ships are currently built at the rate of 1 per minute.


The main difference with my ship logic is that there is a monitor running so ships even if locked into a command should change orders very quickly (the idea behind this is if you deploy and find your getting the crap kicked out of you a few quick commands and you can do a runner) and they return home when shields are <50%



Hieronymos wrote: a) Combat specs: precisely what have you given your 3 drone classes in terms of speed, shielding, shield generator, weaponry, laser charge/recharge?...And are these variables yet tweaked to your satisfaction?
Max speed, rudder, lasers and shields are default but i may put an option in for top end upgrades, the reason i added the replenish missiles is because insector missiles are pretty handy and cost a fraction of the normal rate making them usuable instead of just sellable
Hieronymos wrote: b) Are the 3 drone types wares? Am assuming so, as this is a plugin, not a mod. Thus, do any docking limits for these babies apply on Carriers?
no it's not a mod (bar emp need)

They are simply 3,4,5 class and the docking limit is the hangar base size, you may be able to deploy and refill the hangar but the code should then nuke the ships unable to dock if the ships leaves the sector

Hieronymos wrote: c) How do they fare compared to conventional fighters vs. larger turreted ships armed with FAA/CFA, and equipped with Gazz's MARS?? Any reports yet? [this is asked because DDRS mod, when it ports to TC will feature some sort of default turret management/auto-weaponswitcher script for all NPC ship spawns to help compensate for the pathetic vanilla standard, especially vs. missles, fighters, and 'pods.]
No idea, i never really have any other scripts installed as it's hard enough finding bugs in my own without having to check through others when hunting, what's the best and most used turret script? i'll install and put it through it's paces.

I know these things are pretty effective until RRF is turned on, then they have a little more trouble but that is the intention of RRF ;)
.............
Hieronymos wrote: I'd been talking for several months with Deadly Da about creating a range of M5-sized drones [2 IRE's or 1 PAC, no missles; 2Mj shielding; ~633m/s speed] that'd be wares [60XL], but require another ware: "Drone Launching Accelerator" [1600XL] to launch them...But we couldn't figure out if it was best to treat them as actual M5's, or as wares.
I'd say m5 would be better as there more binding and checking you can do when writing code around them, my problem with this idea is that the 663 speed makes then terrible at fighting unless using missiles which would obviously be low yield as they are m5's

in my experience for a proper battle you need variable speeds from m5 speed to m3 speed so i'd suggest drones with either high yield missile only or slower better armed drones

Hieronymos wrote: So your making them wares, but also requiring them to be based only from carriers is frickin' genius!
Not that i recall, the drones are ships, so unfortunatly i can;t take that genius tag ;)

Hieronymos wrote: You have produced a remarkably well thought out fait accompli.
The ability to write scripts are insignificant next to the Power of the Force, Pimperial Laboratories
always releases quailty work

Hieronymos wrote: Our intention was similar to yours, in that as XTC now uses M5 class vessels as de facto drones in any case, why not make some of our own? Their primary usage is to completely tie up and overwhelm targetting of enemy ships, so player's ships can swoop in and pounce with minimal return fire...losing only a few drones..instead of 100's of millions of ships (piloted by brain-dead ai). So they'd complement, not completely replace conventional fighters, as it seems your creations may be set to do.
Possibly yes, another way is less drones but you could use them to spoof the enemy targeting system so his attention stays off the player ships, i'm happy to include anything by DD and iirc you are a former imperial test slave ;)


Logain Abler

RE Station Dones : I'll take a look today it seems easy enough in my mind todo : i'll initially look at binding existing code but if it's easy enough i'll use the factories products (although i may add HP as a secondary for the station)

----
Hieronymos

If you are putting this through it's paces pm me and i'll tell you how to enable the debugs to make things easier
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Logain Abler
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Post by Logain Abler » Wed, 25. Feb 09, 21:18

LV wrote: Logain Abler

RE Station Dones : I'll take a look today it seems easy enough in my mind todo : i'll initially look at binding existing code but if it's easy enough i'll use the factories products (although i may add HP as a secondary for the station)
Great news :D

LA

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Post by Jaga_Telesin » Wed, 25. Feb 09, 21:42

If I understand this right, the drones (ships) produced for all classes are simply random fully-tuned versions of M3/4/5 ships. So basically your hangar bay will look like a mechanical menagerie of different technologies for different fighters.

Any chance of limiting the drones to the more effective types of fighters so there are only a few it builds for each class? Or allowing us the ability to pick the ship(s) before issuing a build command?

I like the idea of the script and what it can do to help management and costs, but I dislike the idea of turning my carrier fighter bays into mechanical zoos where no two fighters look the same.

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Post by Hieronymos » Thu, 26. Feb 09, 01:37

The idea of a Fighter Drone-based (as opposed to Beam wpns, missles, fighters) SciFi strategic naval ethos is an honored and time tested one. From Star Trek Next Gen..to Star Wars, the Carrier Drone ethos is well established.
in my experience for a proper battle you need variable speeds from m5 speed to m3 speed so i'd suggest drones with either high yield missile only or slower better armed drones
Playing TC it seems that M5's (300-400m/s top speed) are remarkably effective at hitting larger, slower targets. This is no doubt aided by phenom of projectile speed added to speed of ship at time of firing.

But uber-fast speed of an M5 sized drone would mainly be to help it avoid getting hit. Combined with tiny hull size! But your point of arming them with missles is appropriate and well taken, as is limiting drone capacity to 10.
I'm not sure about the 110m for the main interface yet as i can use wares costing 54m, 61m also, maybe a lite interface for TM's and small carriers costing less?
It would seem that if your past work is any indication, you're trying to create a phenom that's useful to player, but that's not over powerful. So 110m per M1 is entirely reasonable. For TM's, it's totally over the top. So for them a 'micro' version would be needed.

Then there's TL's that are de facto light carriers. And M7's like Panther. It doesn't make sense that they'd be excluded from Drones, when a puny TM isn't. So having additional, appropriately-priced interfaces for TM, TL, M7 class would make good sense. Alternately, you could limit it just to M1 & TL class versions, as these classes have large flight & cargo bays for handling & maintainance..
If you are putting this through it's paces pm me and i'll tell you how to enable the debugs to make things easier
I've got a ton of work still to do to get DDRS ported to TC, and so will have to wait on other projects, no matter how worthy. But yr drone system I will definitely come back to, as it's an extremely cool and noteworthy concept that has tons of potential for expansion.

As DD's a rather prolific modeller, and is already piqued by the Drone bug, it's only a matter of time before he makes a few stylish 'dedicated' M5-sized (or smaller) drone models. The next step would probably be a ship or three (M1 & TL class, most likely) that could only carry these babies..but carry a lot of 'em. Using Imperial Software, such a ship would be very useful to any fleet.

As far as DDRS goes, we wouldn't want to make drones of any size or class more desirable than all the various and sundry shiny fighters and scouts we produce, as it'd 'put us out of business' as it were. As a rule, we try to create ships that either 25% outperform a conventional vanilla model, or fills a function niche that makes it more desirable than a vanilla ship. So making Drones very useful, but not uber would be the idea.

Gazz put the issue of even vanilla drones outclassing fighters--or rendering them obsolete--in these terms: (I paraphrase) "..when capping with an M7M, use 1,000 drones against target (e.g. an M2) instead of a wing of M3's...It's far cheaper, and more effective." So now all a player needs is an M7M to capp himself a fleet, and gobs of vanilla drones to screen and hogtie enemy targetting.

That example extends far beyond capping ops, to virtually every kind of combat op in XTC. As such, the M3+ class--at 6mil a pop--has priced itself out of the market. Personally, I now tend towards M3's and M4+'s--with drone support for target distraction.

The antidote is, imo, Flak and Beam wpns. Coupled with superior turret logic, in 3R certain DDRS custom jobbies were extremely effective against M5 & M4, but much less so vs. M3/3+. To this end DDRS stillhas some Split & Yaki ships with Main A-kyon (an M3, an M3+ and an M4) or A-kyon 1x/2x turrets (an M6); the Boron have an M6+ Flak Corvette (M6 with 3 1x FAA turrets, but puny main wpns.); the Argon a Light M7 Flak Frigate; and most TL's, M1's, M2's have more hardpoints enabling FAA/CFA than vanilla counterparts, as well as sl. more hardpoints enabling the new Beam wpns like PBC, PALC, etc. We're hoping this will help tame the 'drone as cure-all' dilemma.

Regarding turret logic, for DDRS 3R we had Red Spot's simple yet very effective turret script, coupled with a simple weaponswitcher script DD cooked up (whereby any hardpoint would switch to 'most effective anti-fighter' wpn or 'most effective anti-M6 or larger' wpn, depending on target). But for TC all there currently is is Gazz's extremely effective MARS, which is really realistically suitable only for BigShips, imo, and not for mass general release. We need something for every spawning npc aggressor ship. Coupled with max engine and rudder tunings, these ships will provide player with worthy adversaries :twisted:

However, Drones are definitely a big part of the new frontier in TC combat ops, and we want to explore the possibilities. Obviously so do you, and as usual you've spotted a trend and produced a product way ahead of the pack. As usual :wink:
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Post by LV » Thu, 26. Feb 09, 12:47

For once i've fell lucky

Stations already work as long as you use a ship equipped with the right upgrades/product storage

just target the station <5k away and it will create drones for them if you call the menu from hotkey

1.1 will have the docking net available to them and also the ability to define the amount of ships to create and a few other tweaks for station handling

as far as defining what ship to create Jaga_Telesin i'm not sure yet, i personally like the variety which is why it's coded this way, you get good and bad fighters hence the "scrap fighter" option

If i do add a choice option it would be very restrictive to the normal core basic ship types or players would just have the same ship everywhere

I actually like seeing how diff fighters are performing in battle

Hieronymos

Interesting on the fast ship effectiveness, it isn't my view but i'll keep my eye on fast m5's just on the off-chance i'm wrong
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Post by Hieronymos » Sat, 28. Mar 09, 02:48

LV,
can you fill me in on the limits/applications of drones. Specifically:
1) They use models (mk1, mk2, & Keris), right?
2) Yet they're wares...?
3) Obviously their combat logic can be modded; but can their combat specs be changed?
3b) Can "new" drones be created, using existing models--like Keris--but with modded specs, and still remain a plugin?
4) Creating new models (e.g. Keris mk2) is possible?
4b) Would new drone models require a mod to use in-game?
...............

I've been mulling over some ideas lately for DDRS-TC, and one that really appeals would be a specialized M1 class Drone Carrier/Mothership, that (if it's possible) would only be able to internally dock Drones. Perhaps 60-80 total. With external docking for M6/TP,TS. Said drones would use your plugin, but be only M5 variety, and would have their own dedicated model.

If it's possible to craft a custom drone ware [using existing keris model? using custom model?], that would suffice. And keep idea in the plugin realm. Otherwise, using modded ship.

Mothership to have Drone manufacturing capability..(otherwise a dedicated Fab would be needed for resupply--perhaps not a bad requirement for playbalance sake)

Drone resource cost & drone ops infrastructure cost would need playtesting to balance cost:benefit equation. [As is, your drones appear very powerful, perhaps too powerful, and as such reduce entire vanilla fighter corps to smoking obsolescence. Haven't yet played with it, so am only guesstimating]
.............

With the whole addition of boarding ops to XTC, plus the new M7 class jagers, the whole game has become much more centered on capital ships; correspondingly reducing the usefulness and appeal of fighters.

Your plugin furthers this trend, by providing most of the benefit of fighters--without the micromanagement headaches.
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Post by LV » Sat, 28. Mar 09, 12:40

Hieronymos wrote:LV,
can you fill me in on the limits/applications of drones. Specifically:
1) They use models (mk1, mk2, & Keris), right?
they are just normal and random m5-3 ships that the random ship finder script tags when supplying a drone, nothing more
Hieronymos wrote: 2) Yet they're wares...?
no they are ships, I called them drones because my kung fu is in scripting not naming, I'd actually like a better descriptive name for them but can;t think of one.

Hieronymos wrote: 3) Obviously their combat logic can be modded; but can their combat specs be changed?
in what way?
Hieronymos wrote: 3b) Can "new" drones be created, using existing models--like Keris--but with modded specs, and still remain a plugin?
no, as i said they are just ai fighters
Hieronymos wrote: 4) Creating new models (e.g. Keris mk2) is possible?
would need a modder, i don't do modding
Hieronymos wrote: 4b) Would new drone models require a mod to use in-game?
yes

...............
Hieronymos wrote: I've been mulling over some ideas lately for DDRS-TC, and one that really appeals would be a specialized M1 class Drone Carrier/Mothership, that (if it's possible) would only be able to internally dock Drones. Perhaps 60-80 total. With external docking for M6/TP,TS. Said drones would use your plugin, but be only M5 variety, and would have their own dedicated model.
nice idea but ships would need to be done by DD, it's certainly possible, if he's interested i'm happy to code it as long as he makes me an escape pod class ship :)
Hieronymos wrote: If it's possible to craft a custom drone ware [using existing keris model? using custom model?], that would suffice. And keep idea in the plugin realm. Otherwise, using modded ship.
mod

Hieronymos wrote: Mothership to have Drone manufacturing capability..(otherwise a dedicated Fab would be needed for resupply--perhaps not a bad requirement for playbalance sake)
either one of those exists now in the plugin

Hieronymos wrote: Drone resource cost & drone ops infrastructure cost would need playtesting to balance cost:benefit equation. [As is, your drones appear very powerful, perhaps too powerful, and as such reduce entire vanilla fighter corps to smoking obsolescence. Haven't yet played with it, so am only guesstimating]
look to the left at the shiny helmet, I don;t do weaker AI ;)
.............
Hieronymos wrote: With the whole addition of boarding ops to XTC, plus the new M7 class jagers, the whole game has become much more centered on capital ships; correspondingly reducing the usefulness and appeal of fighters.

Your plugin furthers this trend, by providing most of the benefit of fighters--without the micromanagement headaches.
that was the intention
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I felt a great disturbance in the forum, Like millions of voices cried out in terror, then were silenced

si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses

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Post by Hieronymos » Wed, 1. Apr 09, 00:35

Question: What sort of spawning logic do you use to create specific laser weapon loadout for each new drone as it is built?

If you're using stock vanilla M5-M3 class ships, it's assumed they arrive armed with whatever laser weapons--main and turret--they'd have if they were randomly spawned by the game engine, yes?

As in turretted weapon choicess for an M3 are limited by their respective TCockpits entries. But the actual weapon(s) chosen are random (I assume!)..
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Post by Hieronymos » Thu, 2. Apr 09, 01:02

Sorry for doubleposting (well actually not really), but Gazz has just said that creating a new drone model, with new combat drone specs, that is a ware like existing drones--is not possible. How can this be!?
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Post by KaZTek » Sat, 4. Apr 09, 07:31

Hieronymos wrote:Sorry for doubleposting (well actually not really), but Gazz has just said that creating a new drone model, with new combat drone specs, that is a ware like existing drones--is not possible. How can this be!?
because the current drones are already hard-coded to be recognized as drones. Any modded additions cannot be classified as drones by the game engine unless modders are given access to the hardcoded specifics that tell it which are the drones and thus make them act drone-y.

LV, have you considered using a singular ship as your drones? Its somewhat disconcerting to see a mishmash of ships as standins for the drones. Why not tie them to the mothership's racial ship family. Argon M1 produces Nova/Buster/Disco drones, etc.
--

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