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Patch 4,1, AI improvements for ship behavior and the problems
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dholmstr





Joined: 12 Apr 2011



PostPosted: Mon, 1. May 17, 13:56    Post subject: Patch 4,1, AI improvements for ship behavior and the problems Reply with quote Print

Now that I have tried for a more longer period the new patch, I have noticed some issues. Mostly Sucellus for my part. The rest of the ships are working better than that of old (like the "runaway" when they take one hit).

This is NOT about performance, it's about the AI and WHAT the ship is doing. No mods.

So Sucellus. This was the ship I had most hopes about when the AI got a fix. And I have now taken it out (alone, no other ship than me and the Sucellus). Picked some fights where I got as little possible ammount of obstacles to run into, asteroid/stations/other ships. Fights are mostly about me taking out enemy capital engines/jumpdrive and some guns (them laaazzerbeams) then issue the order to my Sucellus to "attack target". So the Sucellus does use a nice "boost in" from 30+km (it was mostly there I left it to hold) to close the gap. But it seems to me it almost took the straight line rammingspeed way to get there. Then it didn't stop until it pretty much was at HIT/MA range (or closer actually).
Now comes the tricky part. Now IF it didn't drive straight into the enemy ship it was in a position to turn its front towards it. The Sucellus did start to turn, but every time it almost had the target "in sight" it started to use booster on the engine. Why? And this boost did NOT get the ship to actually go forward at all. On many occasions it started to do some weird strafing moves like bumping itself from side to side, up and down (you know when you get stuck between structures with the Skunk). On a few fights this was to my advantage, Sucellus got to fire 6-7 volleys at the target. Very nice looking.
Mostly tou, it still tries to fight within HIT/MA range and not it's main gun (or it just fails to get into position).

Other thing I've noticed that many of my ships do not use construction drones. I think I sat for a good 15 minutes after a fight and a Tanaris and Sucellus didn't pop out drones. They did repair.

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j.harshaw
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PostPosted: Mon, 5. Jun 17, 14:10    Post subject: Re: Patch 4,1, AI improvements for ship behavior and the problems Reply with quote Print

Hi,

dholmstr wrote:
Fights are mostly about me taking out enemy capital engines/jumpdrive and some guns (them laaazzerbeams) then issue the order to my Sucellus to "attack target".

Nice preparation.

dholmstr wrote:
So the Sucellus does use a nice "boost in" from 30+km (it was mostly there I left it to hold) to close the gap.

Which means your Sucellus has a decent pilot. So far, so good.

dholmstr wrote:
But it seems to me it almost took the straight line rammingspeed way to get there. Then it didn't stop until it pretty much was at HIT/MA range (or closer actually).

Problem. This, combined with
dholmstr wrote:
The Sucellus did start to turn, but every time it almost had the target "in sight" it started to use booster on the engine.

tells me that your ship's probably trying to get to a point beyond the target ship, and is trying to find a path to that point. Odd that it was having trouble, though, since you say that the field was unobstructed.

dholmstr wrote:
On many occasions it started to do some weird strafing moves like bumping itself from side to side, up and down (you know when you get stuck between structures with the Skunk).

This sounds like a situation where your ship's almost directly above or below the target. Capital ships can't pitch up or down beyond a certain angle, but they keep trying, which can lead to such behavior.

That said, they should try to avoid this situation by trying to stay at the same y-plane as their target. Would you say that this happens often enough that stricter measures should be taken? Workaround for now is to tell your ship to attack again -- it should then plot a new position.

dholmstr wrote:
On a few fights this was to my advantage, Sucellus got to fire 6-7 volleys at the target. Very nice looking.

It is cool when it works, yeah.

dholmstr wrote:
Other thing I've noticed that many of my ships do not use construction drones. I think I sat for a good 15 minutes after a fight and a Tanaris and Sucellus didn't pop out drones. They did repair.

i don't think this was changed in 4.10, but could be affected by deeper changes. Glad to know that actual functionality wasn't impaired, though.

Thanks for the feedback! Will take a look at improving this further.

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dholmstr





Joined: 12 Apr 2011



PostPosted: Wed, 21. Jun 17, 09:48    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Holy cr...conudrum, an Egost employee answered on my post! Think I wet myself. (goes off to change underwear and cleans the chair)

AAaanyways, back to topic.

Yes the wobbling/jagged moves issues is mostly when the ships get to the "rightup/down" position. So maybe a closer look at the code for that could do.

The areas were mostly empty, maybe some pebbles but nothing that I could see.

I do understand that the Sucellus tries to get to a new place when boosting but so many times it just fires up the engines and not really moving.

Before anyone asks, the captain was a 5-5-4 , don't really do less Very Happy . The dronelauncher was also intact when I looked for the repairs.

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j.harshaw
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PostPosted: Wed, 21. Jun 17, 10:04    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Thanks for the follow-up.

dholmstr wrote:
Yes the wobbling/jagged moves issues is mostly when the ships get to the "rightup/down" position. So maybe a closer look at the code for that could do.

This is known. The conundrum is that:

- we don't want the big ships to tilt too far up or down because then there wouldn't practically be an up or down in the game. (Yes, i know, it's space and there is no up or down in space, but it's also a game made for a species that has constant up/down references. Can be disorienting without. That said, if you want to try it out, there is a mod that removes this restriction.)
- if a ship is directly above or below where it wants to go, it kinda has to tilt directly up or down to get there.

Trick is to solve the second without compromising the first. They do kind of spiral up or down sometimes, but it doesn't always work. Solution i adopted was to try and stay on the same up/down plane as the target to keep that situation from happening in the first place. Still happens though. Will try and think of a more reliable solution.

dholmstr wrote:
I do understand that the Sucellus tries to get to a new place when boosting but so many times it just fires up the engines and not really moving.

Odd. Will take a look.

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dholmstr





Joined: 12 Apr 2011



PostPosted: Wed, 21. Jun 17, 10:29    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

It really isn't much of an issue for me, that up/down thingy. Just tought that when I had the ship holding at about 30+ km from the target it would then boost to about the same level as the target. Then slowly creep while smashing it with the main gun. A few times it did the "lets get closer boost", then it stopped and re-align and did the boost "rammingspeed into the hull", got distracted and took a line that put it either below or over the target. Thus putting it in the akward position.

Btw, the main gun, who is in control of it? The captain or the DO? It almost looks like the captain is buuut I'm not sure.

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birdtable





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PostPosted: Wed, 21. Jun 17, 10:43    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Is it not time we did away with the earthbound conceptions of spaceships ..ie "frigates/aircraft carriers/battleships with fixed weapon placements, surely common sense (well my common sense) would say move the weapons around the ship not move the whole bloody thing.... submarines in space Rolling Eyes

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Snafu_X3





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PostPosted: Thu, 22. Jun 17, 01:54    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

j.harshaw wrote:
The conundrum is that:

- we don't want the big ships to tilt too far up or down because then there wouldn't practically be an up or down in the game. (Yes, i know, it's space and there is no up or down in space, but it's also a game made for a species that has constant up/down references. Can be disorienting without. That said, if you want to try it out, there is a mod that removes this restriction.)
That's a great shame IMO: IIRC one of the major selling points of X3 & X:R was full 3D combat & Xverse expansion. OK, the latter hasn't really happened, but the former, on a tactical level (ie IZ) would make a great deal of sense, playability & realism IMO (altho harder to code, natch! Wink)

The developed IZ 3D combat algorithms could then be utilised WRT tradeship (or any other ship) pathing, another major bugbear (especially in 'roid-heavy areas such as Toride or DV)..


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PostPosted: Thu, 22. Jun 17, 06:25    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Snafu_X3 wrote:
The developed IZ 3D combat algorithms could then be utilised WRT tradeship (or any other ship) pathing, another major bugbear (especially in 'roid-heavy areas such as Toride or DV)..


Navigation and Combat are very diffrent for Pathing. also Toride wouldnt gain that much from using the Y-Axis because the whole System is on the Y-Plane, iirc the max distance of static Objects from there is 1 or 2 km, not more. and predefined paths are all at y="0" there.


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j.harshaw
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PostPosted: Thu, 22. Jun 17, 12:42    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

glad to see some familiar faces gathering.

dholmstr wrote:
Btw, the main gun, who is in control of it? The captain or the DO?

Defence Officer. All weapons systems on stations and capital ships are handled by their defence officers. (which you can test by removing a capship's defence officer and telling the captain to attack something. hm, come to think of it, shouldn't the captain refuse in that case?)

birdtable wrote:
Is it not time we did away with the earthbound conceptions of spaceships ..ie "frigates/aircraft carriers/battleships

Well, the most powerful group of ships in the game is called a "squad of destroyers" so not exactly strictly correct naval terminology. Razz

Although i have to say:
birdtable wrote:
with fixed weapon placements

the notion of weapons moving on rails around the hull sounds intriguing. Don't think i've ever encountered that in fiction. (Well, ok, except for the moving shields on the SDF-1, but that doesn't really count). Would probably be hell for the artists to implement though.

Snafu_X4 wrote:
full 3D combat

but it IS 3D. big ships just can't tilt past a certain point. plus no such restriction with fighters and medium ships like freighters.

Vertical positioning can be very important if, say, most of my turrets are on top of the hull, and the opponent's bottom is lightly defended and just so happens to be where their jump drive is located.

Snafu_X3 wrote:
The developed IZ 3D combat algorithms could then be utilised WRT tradeship (or any other ship) pathing

Pathing's actually the same in both cases except, with regard to
UniTrader wrote:
Navigation and Combat are very diffrent for Pathing.

usage is, of course, different. Or did you mean that the pathing system itself should be different for the two cases?

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RAVEN.myst





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PostPosted: Thu, 22. Jun 17, 15:26    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

birdtable wrote:
Is it not time we did away with the earthbound conceptions of spaceships ..ie "frigates/aircraft carriers/battleships with fixed weapon placements, surely common sense (well my common sense) would say move the weapons around the ship not move the whole bloody thing.... submarines in space Rolling Eyes


Well, in terms of the co-axial gun such as that of the Sucellus, it is simply a case of the ship being built as a platform for the gun, with the gun not only the centrepiece, but in fact comprising the main bulk. However, I grant that in the case of the Sucellus, the damage output might be expected to be a little greater... To quote President John Sheridan upon the testing of the main gun (also coaxial) on the new destroyer prototype (Victory or Excalibur, I don't recall which) "Well, I must say I'm a little disappointed."

But, fictional quotes aside, the coaxial gun approach is sometimes the ONLY option: take the (yes, this is an "earthbound" comparison - please bear with me Very Happy ) A-10 Warthog. This close-assault aircraft packs a chaingun that is something like 10m in length (I don't remember exactly, but it's sizeable), which occupies a large portion of the plane's fuselage along its longitudinal axis. In fact, the plan not so much packs this gun, as much as being built around it - it's quite literally a chaingun on wings (with a pilot to aim it), and its purpose is to (again, quite literally) cut tanks to ribbons. Why was it built this way? Because this is the only way to make this gun work in this fashion - highly mobile and devastating to even armoured ground targets. There was simply no way to deploy that amount of firepower in such a mobile platform while retaining accuracy and remaining within effective range. Yes, there are large converted transport aircraft with light artillery mounted on them to bombard from a holding pattern - but because they have to operate at a high altitude, the accuracy suffers greatly.

As long as there is a big enough gun that can be advantageous to point at some (presumably suitably large or tough) target, then if a large enough vehicle is around to mount it, it will be - and if it requires coaxial mounting to do so in order to minimise overall size/mass and therefore maximise mobility, then so be it. Smile

OK, /endmode_devil's_advocate Wink



j.harshaw wrote:
except for the moving shields on the SDF-1

Nice Robotech reference Very Happy (Hmmm, in the mood to perhaps rewatch it now... been looking for something I haven't watched to death!)

j.harshaw wrote:
but it IS 3D. big ships just can't tilt past a certain point. plus no such restriction with fighters and medium ships like freighters.

Here I'm going to have to say, "no it isn't, not fully" - why can't ships "tilt past a certain point"? Because they are being constrained to a flat plane - which in SPACE is a purely arbitrary and borderline meaningless abstraction, except in pure human spatial perception terms. There is NO REASON (assuming a default microgravity space environment consistent with the overall theme) why a battleship couldn't simply pitch up or down sufficiently to take a bead - it would be functionally IDENTICAL to yawing to either side. Likewise, there is absolutely no reason why the ships can't roll - they have no ocean surface that they need to stay afloat on! If they could be made to roll, they could subsequently roll in order to effect a pitch. However, because of the arbitrary two-dimensional plane that they are operating on, they can't - this makes this NOT "truly 3D" in terms of freedom of movement (yes, the graphics are 3D, but that's not the issue here.)

The problem is that the reference plane is absolute (or more accurately, relative to the environment space), rather than relative to the vessel (except in the case of the Skank, of course - which can therefore execute a full range of manoeuvres.)


EDIT: PS: If true 3D combat is such a bugbear for you folks at ES, why not look up some of the developers of the original Homeworld? They licked that one almost two decades ago, and although there are obviously major differences, I'm sure there are some fundamental principles (or even tricks) that could come in handy. Wink Just take them out for some spacefuel shots to loosen their tongues, and presto!


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Commander_K





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PostPosted: Thu, 22. Jun 17, 15:40    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

j.harshaw wrote:
Don't think i've ever encountered that in fiction. (Well, ok, except for the moving shields on the SDF-1, but that doesn't really count). Would probably be hell for the artists to implement though.


I have in a few stories (but I think all of them were books, so no visuals). It's mostly portrayed a "low tech" solution. Just a giant ring around the hull that either rotates itself or the gun is on a "cart", moving around. Think ball bearing stuck on a cylinder, free to spin.

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Lord Crc





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PostPosted: Thu, 22. Jun 17, 15:50    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

j.harshaw wrote:
Vertical positioning can be very important if, say, most of my turrets are on top of the hull, and the opponent's bottom is lightly defended and just so happens to be where their jump drive is located.


However the captain AI is completely oblivious to this and will gladly expose the most vulnerable portion of the ship to the enemy (like the engines). I guess this is related to the complete absence of any threat analysis.

It's compounded by the lack of any useful tools for commanding your subordinate ships into relevant positions.

Of course, in general, capship fights should be ranged and not a boxing match. This should make it a lot easier to handle in terms of AI as well.

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j.harshaw
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PostPosted: Thu, 22. Jun 17, 16:11    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Lord Crc wrote:
However the captain AI is completely oblivious to this and will gladly expose the most vulnerable portion of the ship to the enemy (like the engines). I guess this is related to the complete absence of any threat analysis.

they actually do look at which side (just front, right, and left though so 3d combat points above taken) they can do the most damage from and try to orient that side to their target. they don't, at the moment, look at the side that's most vulnerable though. needs more testing.

Lord Crc wrote:
It's compounded by the lack of any useful tools for commanding your subordinate ships into relevant positions.

that is true, unfortunately. best control you have at the moment is to pre-position your ship before giving the order to attack.

Lord Crc wrote:
Of course, in general, capship fights should be ranged and not a boxing match. This should make it a lot easier to handle in terms of AI as well.

should happen now with some of the longer ranged ships. of course, if the target approaches and survive to knife-fight range, then it often turns into a boxing match anyway. although there is a bug involving a long-distance approach before going into combat. still working on that one.

Commander_K wrote:
I have in a few stories (but I think all of them were books, so no visuals). It's mostly portrayed a "low tech" solution. Just a giant ring around the hull that either rotates itself or the gun is on a "cart", moving around. Think ball bearing stuck on a cylinder, free to spin.

cool concept. and would work well with a game, possibly, since the connection between cause and effect is very easily apparent visually.

@RAVEN.myst, point taken. why is it so important that some ships can't orient to a particular angle though? they can still go to, see, and do stuff to any point in a 3-dimensional coordinate space.

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PostPosted: Thu, 22. Jun 17, 17:02    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

@ RAVEN.myst ..... Still in earthbound conventions ... your example of the warthog a10 works fine in land/air based scenarios with relatively close range targets ... but what happens when targets are 20 - 50 -1000 kms away and travelling at far superior speeds to land based ordnance....
I wonder what reaction Nelson would have had if he could have brought port and starboard guns to bear on the same target ... a smile usually reserved for young Emma Hamilton in the boudoir .. (ignoring any newtonian laws and brushing quickly over the same laws with regard to my rotating weaponry)
Smile
I have no idea what any distant future modes of transport (inter solar/stellar) let alone what possible weaponry nor if these ships would be even manned... but science fiction scenarios have not moved forward in space combat neither has the portrayal of naked aliens ... a clear case of racial prejudice.
But in gameplay it is hard to beat earthbound conventions.

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Lord Crc





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PostPosted: Thu, 22. Jun 17, 17:46    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

j.harshaw wrote:
they actually do look at which side (just front, right, and left though so 3d combat points above taken) they can do the most damage from and try to orient that side to their target. they don't, at the moment, look at the side that's most vulnerable though. needs more testing.


There's also the issue of the elapsed time between the decision and the completion of the maneuver. This can means the enemy ship is on the opposite side by the time the maneuver is completed.

The "in your face" distances of typical capship battles makes this a more frequent occurrence.

j.harshaw wrote:
Lord Crc wrote:
Of course, in general, capship fights should be ranged and not a boxing match. This should make it a lot easier to handle in terms of AI as well.

should happen now with some of the longer ranged ships. of course, if the target approaches and survive to knife-fight range, then it often turns into a boxing match anyway. although there is a bug involving a long-distance approach before going into combat. still working on that one.


One of my major pet peeves with XR is ship collisions. They're way to frequent. However the game design requires ships to be too close to other things. Capship combat is no exception. XR only has one ship capable of long-range combat: the Balor. All the others are forced into a boxing match at way too close range, due to the weapons.

Now, I get that a 30+ km standoff might not be exciting enough to watch. As a middle ground, pushing the average capship vs capship fight out to ~10km would help a lot in terms of helping the AI not look that dumb I think. This would give the AI a lot more room to think and act, so to speak.

This could be done by having more distinct anti-capship weapons with long range (>10km) which are slower-tracking but heavier hitting than "regular" anti-fighter turrets. The DO also needs to be able to separate concerns, by doing separate targeting for anti-capship weapons vs anti-fighter turrets.

Sorry for going off on a tangent, but ship collisions really is a trigger point for me Smile

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