Several Suggestions

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neverless
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Several Suggestions

Postby neverless » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:04 am

Hi Cliff, first I'd say thank you for this great game and for keeping it running without problems on Wine ;-)

I'm fairly new to the game (bought the Collectors Edition), but I already have some suggestions.

1. The AI of the ship's gunners could be a *little* smarter: I often see ships shooting low-shield-penetration weapons (like the beam lasers) en masse upon heavily shielded enemies ("no effect") whereas the ship next to it has its shields down, and both ships are quite equally causing damage.
This can not be resolved by retaliate/rescue orders, and also not on vulture orders (since from my observations vulture only gets triggered by really damaged ships), and also cooperative orders cause random results.
So it would be great if a gunner would see "I can't do any damage here right now, is there another ship in weapons range which I could target", of course only in correspondence with his captain (means for example, the gunner would never cause the ship to move into attack range, and the gunner would stay in retaliate/rescue orders when selecting different ships). There is already a communication message from fighters "this is like pea shooting" or the like, so I guess this is already available as trigger ingame.
This change would also make tanking as it is now possible very unreliable, so it would enhance gameplay very much.

2. It would be great if there would be an additional order "Distribute fire on different targets" and "concentrate fire on single target", meaning that, opposite to the more random default (as it is now), would cause the different weapons of one ship to target different ships if possible, or on one ship if possible.

3) It would be great if "cooperative" together with "protector", and "cooperative" on the target ship of "protector" would cause the protecting ships to target the same ships as the "lead" ship does. Currently it doesn't do this reliably (I'm not sure how "cooperative" exactly works, though). This would emphasize the "lead" character of battle groups and makes for more realistic situations.

4. I can imagine a new order "Keep out of range of enemy" with a selectable range which of course would possibly (but not definitely) conflict with escort orders. This could be useful for passive-support ships (Shield support beams, AA/AF, Carrier) and would enhance tactical gameplay. If "keep out of range of enemy" and "escort" are used together, it could cause the ship to stay off-front within escort range.

5. I realized that the Imperial Shield Support Beams are able to even reload a burnt-out shield generator (as long as there is at least one shield generator up). This conflicts with the descriptions, and of course with logic. It should either not be possible to "restart" a burnt-out shield generator at all, or it should be able to restart the shields even if all shields are down. From my POV I would say this is a bug, boosting this technology even further than expected.

6. The Collectors Edition should contain all DLC (and then it should probably be a bit more expensive, of course). I don't like the buying procedure in itself, not the price. And as Wine user, I'm always fearful of installation procedures. I was surprised (and disappointed) that I bought "all" but I didn't get all. Of course, the description doesn't say "all". But a Collectors Edition somehow implicates "all", at least to me.
Don't know if I am still waiting for a Linux update newer than V1.35, or have given up... :-(
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Bullethead
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Re: Several Suggestions

Postby Bullethead » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:54 pm

Bravo, neverless! I, like you, am new at this, but I've seen enough to wish for many of the same AI tweaks you've suggested.

GSB is on the whole an excellent and addictive game. However, it is vulnerable to several AI exploits that many players make heavy use of, and this in turn makes challenges and the campaign much less enjoyable than they should be. These exploits are "tanking" and the use of "baiting". In addition, the player has too few options when it comes to giving movement-related orders.

So, I heartily second this suggestion (I was about to make it myself):
1. The AI of the ship's gunners could be a *little* smarter: I often see ships shooting low-shield-penetration weapons (like the beam lasers) en masse upon heavily shielded enemies ("no effect") whereas the ship next to it has its shields down, and both ships are quite equally causing damage.
...
So it would be great if a gunner would see "I can't do any damage here right now, is there another ship in weapons range which I could target",
...
This change would also make tanking as it is now possible very unreliable, so it would enhance gameplay very much.


Now, as to improving the movement AI. Right now, the movement AI by default is a runaway horse. It picks the closest target of the highest-priority type and moves toward it trying to reach the specified engagement range. The problem is that the movement AI never changes its target unless that target dies, even if it has no hope of ever catching the target and regardless of other highest-priority targets coming within range. IOW, the movement AI is a runaway horse with the bit in its teeth. And the only control the player has over this is to keep it on a leash with the Escort order. Once the escorted ship dies, the movement AI runs away as above.

This is how the "baiting" exploit works. The bait is a few very fast ships or fighters in your front rank and give them very long engagement ranges. Because they're in the front rank, the enemy movement AIs lock in on them. Because they've got long ranges, they will run away from the enemy. Because they're fast, they'll stay out of range. And because the enemy movement AI isn't smart enough to changes targets to something it can catch, the enemy will embark on a totally futile pursuit of the bait. At present, there is no way to prevent this from happening or stopping it once it starts.

So, I would like to see the movement AI become smart enough to realize when it can't catch its chosen target, and pick a new target it CAN catch. It should also be able to realize when it's been dragged into range of another target of equal priority to the one it's chasing and stop to shoot at this new target.

It would also be nice if Escort had a back-up plan. That is, when the escorted ship dies, the escorts could be told to start escorting another friendly ship instead of giving in to their runaway horse tendencies. So if the escorts were originally with a frigate and that frigate dies, they'd switch to the nearest surviving frigate.
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