[Project] Pirate Guild 1.6x Development Topic

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[Project] Pirate Guild 1.6x Development Topic

Post by Serial Kicked » Fri, 9. Jul 10, 02:45

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Pirate Guild 1.6x branch : Development Topic
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Goals
  • The versions tagged 1.6x will have the main objective to beef up the Guild against both the player and other AI factions while avoiding artificial spawn of pirate ships. The idea is to make pirate ships and stations more "clever" / less stupid, which is very different from stronger firepower ;) Suggestions and ideas are welcome especially from players used to battle against the guild.

    Bug reports and feeback about current existing versions of PG still go in the official topic. New ideas for future version go here until 1.60 is released.
Notable Features

Here's the list of suggestions and changes that will make it in a version or another of the 1.6x branch. Suggestions that aren't not linked here are under consideration / waiting for a first release / discarded, depends. And there's also the "Future Changes" page from my wiki.
  • Ability to "hijack" vanilla pirate big ships [confirmed 1.60 Beta]
  • Kills Satellites in range [confirmed 1.60 Beta]
  • Improved Defense Grid mechanism [confirmed 1.60 Beta]
  • Anti Missile Laser Towers [confirmed 1.60 Beta]
  • Ability to "call back" mission ships when under attack [confirmed 1.60 Beta]
  • Improve the fund distribution amongst the PB (using Mobile HQ ?)
  • Station racketing as a new source of income
  • Force the Mobile HQ to use ADS too
  • Defense Grid ships not going into suicide missions / lost cause
  • Ability to build a few additional PB according to map size
  • Capture abandoned ships left by the NPC Bailing addon
  • Capitals ships should have a chance to jump away when outclassed
  • Targeting of Sector / Universal trader
How can you help
  • Experiment with PG a lot (or even, read the code :p) and report ideas, experiences, and unwanted behaviors you've seen playing the game. I do have a liking for simple ideas with high impact, but feel free to use you imagination as long as your solution sounds plausible.
Will 1.6x will be the last branch?
  • Depends, i'd like to add some trading at a point or another, but i may also want to spend my free time on other projects. If a 1.7x branch is built it will be the last one and it's main focus will be to correct the texts (less "engrish") and optimize the code for a lower impact on CPU (which is already low).
Release Date
  • People who know me already know i don't like the question and that release dates are made to be broken.
    Deal with it.

Original Post wrote:I don't like creating unnecessary new posts but for once, i think it's better to do that than posting in my 28 pages topic about the next development branch as I want the to be related to feedback and debugging about existing versions only.

This said.

The 1.6x branch of Pirate Guild won't be released anywhere soon so don't even ask for a release date. But i need feedback and ideas now so i don't start writing code that i will have to remove / rewrite later :). Anyway, if you are a Pirate Guild user, i have a bunch of questions to ask. As usual don't be offended if i don't add everything you say or if i ignore a post. I have usually good reasons for that.

First of all, here are the changes that will be made in the 1.6x version.

I assume people are using ADS with PG. Otherwise, well no dice. ADS will become mandatory for the 1.6x releases anyway, as it's the base I am using to build my Faction:AI library and because the Defense Grid system i'm using (you know, those nasty M7) in PG can be handled by ADS 2.6x. There's no reason to complain, ADS is virtually compatible with every script and mod on earth.

By the way, please state your Pirate Guild settings before answering, it would help.


1) How do you take down a Pirate Guild Stronghold or (even better) Fortress? There's a few tricks that make things much easier, but i don't know if you've found them. Well they are somewhat obvious if you read the documentation, but still Spoiler tags are welcome here.


2) I've the idea to directly target universal/sector traders. The downside is that the UT/ST have a crappy (read "no") defense AI, and it would basically be a massacre if i add this feature. I could enable this only if the player is targeted as the "worst foe". Any thoughts ?


3) From time to time a PB will decide to do some racket. A hell lot of pirate ships will jump around a factory owned by an enemy race (that may means YOU) and ask for (a lot of) money if you don't want this base destroyed. You'll have the choice to pay, kill them all, or see you factory die. It sounds neat, but you'll have to forget to SETA by night. Yay? Nah?


4) The amount of M2 owned by the Guild is currently capped to one, it spawn only when the guild is very rich, and it's used only for defensive purpose, mainly because i can't find something better to do with it right now. I don't like that, so maybe someone has something better to suggest ?


5) This is totally unsure, and depends of my willingness to write tons of complicated code for Pirate Guild but i think it's somewhat a good idea that probably need some tweaking. Basically i want pirate bases to use TM ships to capture capital ships from enemies (and YOU). It will use a simplified system that don't need the marines to really go near the hull to avoid the many many issues with the vanilla system. However it will force the player to have trained marines inside their capital ships, and rare software like the firewall thingy to prevent a capture. Yes it sounds neat, but think a bit about it for a few seconds. Yeah it's realistic, but loosing a 100M carrier or destroyer, or even an unique ship is worth it according to you ? Any idea to balance the thing ?


6) Not really a question but just a precision. PG 1.6x will try to capture abandoned ships created by the NPC Bailing Addon plugin from ThisIsHarsh.


7) Another big question. As ADS will handle the defense grid mechanism, I thought i may add the standard pirate capital ships to the defense grid. It would basically be the same as the Race Response Fleets plugin from LV, but for pirates. On the other hand it will suddenly make every base, even outposts MUCH harder to kill. Any thoughts on that ?
Thanks for your time!


Cheers,
SK.
Last edited by Serial Kicked on Thu, 12. Aug 10, 00:14, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by Glimpse » Fri, 9. Jul 10, 04:00

Spoiler
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1) Hmm.Killing off a PG stronghold is easy for me due to fact that missile barrages will usually tear them apart.And with the advanced jumpdrive,I can order my M7M to jump right next to PG stronghold,launch the missiles and jump it out before even ADS can undock the fighters.So I'd suggest an alternative beam dock for the ADS to balance the things out a bit.
2) Currently the traders are weak and due to most players only set them to work in most secure sectors and thus leaving not much reason to arm or even attach escorts to them.So as you said it would be massacre.However I wouldn't mind the option since I provide the necessary defence measures for the sector they are in.

3) Instead of destroying it,capturing would be better I believe.Since then the money can be extorted from the previous owners.Yes SETA users wouldn't like it but an option wouldn't hurt.

4) I believe this one should be dynamic.Like dependant on the current M2 count of races.Like most targeted race Argon has 10 so PG commissions around that number as well.When the need goes away then perhaps it's time to decommission some of the ships to raise funds to do something else.So in this part an auction notice could be sent to player to take part in it.Prices should vary and this can even become a business sector for pirates too.If the AI can be programmed to board enemy ships that linger in their territories.Which then can be sold with such auctions for immediate money for PG coffers.And internal funding system maybe necessary.

5-6-7) I'm up for pirates getting a power boost any time.After installing those improved race military plugins,I've always felt the pirates weren't up to par.From their ships to their AI.Boarding,pillaging and extorting all the stuff pirates would do and should do.

If you require a tester for this,I'll volunteer.I'll even create a new installation for this.Please do keep up the good work!

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Post by Catra » Fri, 9. Jul 10, 04:50

2) as a config option? sure :D it would definately add an interesting dimension to it by you being able to setup pirate sting operations. :D

3) optional? sure. doesnt really witwell with me since i overnight SETA to get marines ready.

4) this should be dynamic, obviously slightly less in count than the races they are targetting. if they are no longer needed, they should then be tasked to a defensive role throughout the entire PG network and recalled into service when the base that they are linked to starts an offensive against a core sector / sector with military base / heavily defended sector.

5) have the pirates message you when they arrive in the sector that their target is in so you got a chance to respond / know. :P

6) sweet.

7) that be awesome, any improvement to difficulty is very much needed.

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Post by Serial Kicked » Fri, 9. Jul 10, 16:40

Thank you.

By the way, if you have other queries or ideas about the current AI, unrelated to those questions, feel free to post. As usual, fancy surrealistic features will probably be ignored :p


About point 1)
Spoiler
Show
this is not what i was thinking about it the first place as I never use bombers but it's a good answer too. It's also more efficient that what i had in mind. I may have a counter for your method: I could force the laser-towers (and overtune the rudder optimizations) to target incoming missiles instead of ships and see if your method still works. It would be kinda nice to see missiles destroyed by laser-beams before they reach the PB. The "Catapult" launcher you've suggested will be included in an ADS 2.6x release and will indeed be included in PG as a result.
2) Optional, yeah i guess it will be as long as you don't end up the "worst foe". Gaining this status is kinda hard especially if RRF or MB Revamp is installed, so enabling this when you reach this status seems "fair game" to me. Especially when the ADS Defense Grid will be available for the player too (probably next week for a beta, btw). For people not used to PG, notice that as long as you stay neutral/friendly, nothing bad will happen to you.

3) I already thought about the option of capturing those factories. But, the issue is that the factory once switched to pirate ownership will be nearly immediately destroyed by the vanilla defense system (yeah there's one, inefficient at best but enough to kill a factory). So, if the Guild doesn't kill the station, legit factions will. No point in capturing, sadly. I'll come back to the SETA overnight thingy later.

4) I like Glimpse's idea tbh. It needs a lot of code i can't borrow from another of my scripts, but it's an innovating one. I won't directly scale this to the other factions because of something I'll write a few paragraphs later, but i could lower the (freaking huge) price the guild has to pay for a M2, remove the cap and implement this concept of auctions / converting them back to money. This is indeed a good idea, thanks. I could even expend this to the M7s. Catra's idea to incorporate the M2 (when it's not busy) to more standard duties is also interesting, at least for major orders like sector invasions or attacks against major military ships (read M7 and bigger).

5) Yeah of course you'll get a big flashing textbox and probably an audio message too if i can find something related in the egosoft audio files. But it's also a SETA issue.

So according to you both, the Guild is too easy to beat ? I guess there's a few things i need to highlight before adding more.

For those who are using RRF or any other police script, there's something to know. RRF, MB Revamp, IR and other don't have an economic system, they simply use ships that are spawned by the game for free. PG uses it's own economic system. so, yeah you're right on the point that PG can't really compete against them because every ship i build cost the Guild money. You can't really bankrupt the guild because newly spawned bases get their first ships and money for free, but you can halt the guild's expansion (too) easily.

So, against infinite waves of enemies, each pirate base, apart from the ones located in remote unknown/pirate (Gaïan Star is usually a good example) sectors, will die. No matter how hard i work on the AI (i should post stats on how many offenders an ADS pirate base kills before being destroyed, you'd be amazed). As a direct consequence, natural selection has a role here. The longer you play, the better PG will work. Only well placed PB will survive. The pirate base placement in the vanilla map makes no sense at all so it usually takes several game days to get something decent. Without PG half of those bases get destroyed after a few game hours. and PG will only delay that for a while until they respawn in more pirate friendly sectors.

Anyway, i don't really expect the authors of those police scripts to do anything about this issue, after all an official military organization is supposed to be stronger than a pirate clan. But i hope that the point 7, (will be optional) will give PG a sufficient boost. I should also prevent my M7 from going to a battle when it's a lost cause (like the Ore Belt PB), or at least give them the means to flee if needed.

There's also something I need to change. Currently PB are always attack the worst foe if something is in range and if not it will fall back to attack a standard enemy race. It means that as an enemy of the guild, if you have your empire nearby the said foe, you won't risk much. I'll lower that to a 66/33 probability instead.


About the SETA thingy. Well, I will be honest, i don't SETA overnight, and i think that people who do should suffer the consequences. I know about that marine training issue, and it leads to a nice idea for Yaki Armada: veteran marines who would be "sold" by motherships and/or stations.

Station racketing isn't really the biggest issue, you can't pay by night but your patrol ships should be able to deal with the offenders. It's problematic only for very young empires, but such empires aren't supposed to mess with the guild in the first place.

It's more the capture thingy that annoys me. I like the concept ("Aaar! Let's capture the ship!" is very 'piratish") but I'm pretty sure it'll cause more issues than it will solve.


Thanks for those suggestions, they are really interesting. :)
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Post by LV » Fri, 9. Jul 10, 17:09

2 things

1. Don't ever ask the minions for feedback on making things harder for them, they want their food fed by a spoon to make things easier, just add them and let them learn the hard way ;)

2. Your welcome to use all or part of my NPC Boarding Plugin code to cap ships ;)


good luck :)
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Post by Serial Kicked » Fri, 9. Jul 10, 20:39

Thanks :)

1) Yeah i guess the method can be counter-productive if I'm not careful :)

2) Thanks for your blessing. If the idea makes it, i will borrow some code from your plugin (with proper credits, of course).
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Post by Melquart » Fri, 9. Jul 10, 22:04

On the topic of Pirate Cap Ships:

I have not played long enough with your plugin to see the pirates strenghtened after the initial onslaught (IR fleets are rampaging pirate sectors and annihilated everything. A few remainder ships are standing near the last base's position and don't go anywhere) so I am more than happy to see some kind of power up for PG.

As you mentioned a possibility for a pirate TL, how about the pirates would try to expand into unknown/pirate sectors by dropping bases and the capship fleet might cover the operations if it is not needed in defenses/major incursions. Just generally wonder if they can exceed the number of bases given by the game.

Another idea is for the players to facilitate the building of these bases by donating materials to PG in the same fashion as ships, or money.

The pirates must be bloody strong, for relevant fluff bits, people should read the Elena's Fortune system info. The argons were changing nappies only after the heavy khaak assault on that sector, they simply did not dare to challenge the pirate presence beforehand.

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Post by Requiemfang » Sat, 10. Jul 10, 00:04

Hmmm... there are several scripts/mods that use the take over sector thing already. I guess that is why your making it optional correct? scripts or mods that do the same thing tend to conflict with one another and cause game crashes or hangs. Just wanted to bring this little detail up so you remember that :wink:

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Post by Serial Kicked » Sat, 10. Jul 10, 02:11

@Requiemfang: Oops, it's in fact for compatibility purpose with the Factions:AI mod/plugin thingy I'm more or less working on. This feature won't be enabled/visible in the standard version, it shouldn't be in the public ToDo list. Fixed ;)

@Melquart:
A few remainder ships are standing near the last base's position and don't go anywhere) so I am more than happy to see some kind of power up for PG.
IR was and is still an overkill. Can't do anything against it without blatant AI cheating and free spawn as explained before. PG is tuned to be played against MB Revamp or RRF. If you're using IR, you need to use the ADS script and put the "difficulty" setting to "insane" for the Guild to stand a small (read, delay the inevitable) chance, or at least put a decent fight. Moreover i'm not going to balance PG against those plugins when i've my own related project (some info on that here and there) ;)
As you mentioned a possibility for a pirate TL, how about the pirates would try to expand into unknown/pirate sectors by dropping bases and the capship fleet might cover the operations if it is not needed in defenses/major incursions. Just generally wonder if they can exceed the number of bases given by the game.
I don't recall mentioning anything about a pirate TL, but yeah it's a valid point. Dropping additional pirate bases according to the size of the map (as it varies from a mod to another) will probably be done.
Another idea is for the players to facilitate the building of these bases by donating materials to PG in the same fashion as ships, or money.
You can already add new pirate guild bases yourself :) Dock a TL at a pirate shipyard, buy a Pirate Base (for around 100M credits iirc) and drop it where you want and "voilà", it will spawn as a pirate owned base that will be taken over by the Guild after around 30 minutes (depending on your settings).

For some reason the game engine automatically assume that the pirate base you bought and built is owned by the pirate faction. I won't complain about this bug though, it makes things much easier for me :mrgreen:

The pirates must be bloody strong, for relevant fluff bits, people should read the Elena's Fortune system info. The argons were changing nappies only after the heavy khaak assault on that sector, they simply did not dare to challenge the pirate presence beforehand.
Meh. You may be right in a "lore" or "canon" perspective. It's also debatable, the argon military has been nearly wiped out by Xenons, Khaaks and the Paranid/Split alliance. So, of course, they thought that dealing with the pirates wasn't the best idea at that moment. But i still think that the pirate faction has to do better while packing much less firepower than a governmental military organization. Well, it's debatable but completely out of topic, so let's move on.

Of course, i could reduce all costs by 10 folds, and suddenly the guild would own the universe and spawn countless capital ships. But it's not what i want and it would break the economic balance i spent, err.. 5 years to create (already? damn, I'm feeling old suddenly). Instead i'm looking for ways to make the pirates smarter, not necessarily stronger in a 'brute force' perspective.
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Post by Catra » Sat, 10. Jul 10, 02:21

so these pirate bases that you can plop down,
would they also be under the pirate guild rules, or would it just be another pirate base that goes by vanilla rules?

(also, i should mention that my feedback is based on using the MB revamp with guild settings on very hard, and they have the help of the yaki armada.)

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Post by TEKing66 » Sat, 10. Jul 10, 02:25

@ SerialKicked

Personally, I like the sound of the changes in question. My reason being that I have always felt the pirates where a little, shall we say, reserved in their actions. And as far as the players who like to let the game set on SETA while they sleep. I'd say "Sorry about your luck!", if letting the game sit and run on SETA is what the like, then just don't use the script.

But, I do like the game challenging, the more so the better. Also, I guard my stuff well in the game. So, maybe I'm a little more hardcore than some.

Anyway, that's just my 2 cents worth. So take it as you will.
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Post by Serial Kicked » Sat, 10. Jul 10, 03:20

I forgot to say, it's good to see my regular users here :)

@Catra:
so these pirate bases that you can plop down, would they also be under the pirate guild rules, or would it just be another pirate base that goes by vanilla rules?
Yes, they will be under PG's control after the said 30 minutes (20 in Very Hard iirc) and act as newly (re)spawned pirate guild bases. The only differences are that those bases won't respawn when destroyed and will have less items to trade than regular PG bases.

Before you (or someone else) ask: Yes, you can put 250 pirate bases in the same sector, it won't cause issues, apart from your FPS going down.



@TEKing66:

Yeah they are too shy currently. PG1 for X2 was 100% aggressive and a player-killer (by X2 standards). Then, i introduced too many "for the pirates by the pirates" features in PG2 for X3R and removed several specific attacks against the player (like targeting ST/UT or hacking player owned ships). That's why I'm trying to balance the thing for both sides in this last version for TC. I'm now happy with the features included for the pirate-side, and that's why the next release batch will mostly be for the other side :)
And as far as the players who like to let the game set on SETA while they sleep. I'd say "Sorry about your luck!", if letting the game sit and run on SETA is what the like, then just don't use the script.
It's exactly my view on that matter. But as making menus is now a piece of cake, i guess it wouldn't hurt to put some of those SETA-by-night killer options, well, optional (i should buy an english thesaurus :p).
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Post by djrygar » Sat, 10. Jul 10, 04:51

Serial Kicked wrote: For those who are using RRF or any other police script, there's something to know. RRF, MB Revamp, IR and other don't have an economic system, they simply use ships that are spawned by the game for free. PG uses it's own economic system.

this is changing
right now IR uses token system, but I am already changing it to money based (at least partially), with fleets funded from taxes (paid by npc factories and player). It works similar to what you described above - after finishing task ships are converted to tokens, and recreated when needed. But building time for new ship depends of tokens, so when a base does not have ship, and orders for example an M2, it takes about 55 minutes to build one

converting to money/toikens is good approach, saves plenty of CPU time and even more when you dont have to deal with repairs and refuelling/restocking weapons/missiles

in fact, when I looked trough the IR code, it apperars that in 70% it contains all needed things for something like your factions:ai. infrastructure building etc. Seems 7ate had something similar in mind

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Post by Chobittsu » Sat, 10. Jul 10, 18:55

1) I ALWAYS travel with a fully armed fleet of USC ships, this includes a small wing of Claymores and a couple squadrons of Falchion (Cadius Ship Mod), All that firepower makes short work of enemy stations (though I accually try to avoid pissing off the Guild, I saw Coyote Ragtime Show, I know what happens when you stand up to the Guild!). Diversionary tactics help too, I hit them with a squad of Kopesh or Rapiers, get the ADS fighters to chase em', then roll in on the station while the defences are busy. So I suggest MAJOR turret defence around the stations and (if possible) heavy turrets on the pirate bases themselves.

2) Worst foe sounds good, or if its Targets of Oppertunity. I'd rather not have a Fleet of Rape specifically targeting me.

3) Great idea! I also recommend making Hostage missions, They kidnap some important guy, girl or squid. You pay up and get a boost to relations of that race. Or you could cap the pirate ship and save the money.


4) M2 heavy battleships, one for each large pirate base. All the others get 1 M7 for close support.

5) Create a script to bribe the pirates to keep away from a targeted ship, or have an option to list up to 5 ships as "Untouchable" and immune to this part of the mod


6) Good plan.

7) Give em the ships, see my 1), they're WAY to easy to kill.
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Post by Serial Kicked » Sat, 10. Jul 10, 19:48

@djrygar:

Don't get me wrong it's not really a criticism of those plugins, this is usually a great fun to play with IR or the others (it would be funnier if i wasn't playing at 2FPS during battle but that's a computer / poor 3D engine issue more than anything else ^^ ).

Good to know that IR will switch to something a bit more evolved with the token system. And yeah, keeping economics simple is usually better (both for the CPU and for your sanity), i started trying to use the real prices for the objects the guild buy, only to realize that using my own currency was way easier.

I recall having this discussion with him (or you) that IR would become a framework for other factions. That's maybe why we don't see him so much, i know it's time consuming, and you can't really show the thing until it's done (more or less).


@chobit-389:

1) Yeah i'd love to put turrets on the PB's but even by modding it's not possible according to those who already tried. I'm gonna to play around with the lasertowers to see if they can be good at this task. If it's the case you'll see a lot more of them coming in different varieties. If not i'll have to use an EMP wave or something like that to reduce the effectiveness of missile barrages.

2) I can understand that. No there won't be such a fleet, it will be a standard order like "raid a TS" or "kill a military".

3) Yeah there's not real use for the comm system when you play against the guild, i guess i should expand that a little to show something similar to the mission system, but for "lawful" players. The mission itself is not a bad idea, after all i've the exact same system for guild members with the "prisoner escape" mission.

4) This point 4. would be useless if i "hijack" the pirate capital ships anyway, so i'll stick to Glimspe's suggestion i guess.

5) Don't like the "don't touch me" tag. In a "wanna fight? gotta fight!" spirit shall we say. But yeah the mechanism, IF implemented, will be similar to station racket. They'll ask for money first.

7) You've all asked for it, so yeah it will be added :)
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