The Basics of Ship Combat

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

Moderators: Oberlus, Oberlus

Message
Author
User avatar
Dreamer
Dyson Forest
Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:44 am
Location: Santiago, Chile

#16 Post by Dreamer » Tue May 03, 2005 11:59 pm

Daveybaby wrote: Let the player assign initial orders to ships - nothing too complex (dont want to end up like Moo3 ground combat), just a small number of simple roles which have markedly different behaviours and outcomes, e.g.
:arrow: Close Assault
:arrow: Standoff Attack
:arrow: Flank
:arrow: Defend / Hold
:arrow: Evade/Hide
Agree completely. For a 1.0 version I would like all of what you have defined. Anyway I think the simplier system should be also made (ahead of the other) for several reasons:

1.- Because some players could like it simple.
2.- Because it would be needed when AIs fight between themselves.
3.- Because giving extra option is always a good idea.
4.- Because it´s much easier to make and I would put more priority on other aspects of the game.
5.- Because it can give you a raw idea of balance for techs.

About how to make a simple system comply with tech. Simply let every tech increase a global stat of attack/defense/tactic advantage. You then calculate total stats for each ship designed and use this total to simulate actual combat. This could serve also as some feedback for the AI to design ships.

herbert_vaucanson
Space Floater
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:47 am
Location: European peninsula

#17 Post by herbert_vaucanson » Wed May 04, 2005 10:02 am

Daveybaby wrote:I have a problem with anything *too* simplistic,
:arrow: Close Assault
:arrow: Standoff Attack
:arrow: Flank
:arrow: Defend / Hold
:arrow: Evade/Hide
Effectively they are splitting their fleet into a small number of task forces
Sounds nice.
But I would offer something like:

A) close assault (with suborders: "main" and "flank")
B) range fire attack

C) interceptor blokade
D) range fire blokade

E) interceptor defence
F) range fire defence

G) evade

to be given to task forces before combat with an indication of the general "situation", which is fleet-wide and could be implemented in 5 levels:

1) winning
2) superiority
3) evenly matched
4) inferiority
5) losing

Each task force in the fleet would have a strategy associated to each situation. The ability to save battle templates would greatly enhance the gameplay and allow the AI to produce some sound battle plans, maybe even race-specific.
- Well, what about this: a lot of empty space, colored balls spinning around, the occasional nifty exlosion, and some infestation here and there to give it the "lived in" feel?
- It shouldn't take more than a week... ok, I am in.

User avatar
Daveybaby
Small Juggernaut
Posts: 724
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2003 11:07 am
Location: Hastings, UK

#18 Post by Daveybaby » Wed May 04, 2005 1:27 pm

There should also be some kind of 'retreat level' which can be set, e.g.

(1) Stand and fight to the last ship
(2) Retreat only if overwhelmed
(3) Widthdraw if getting beaten
(4) Run away if things start to go badly
(5) Run home crying to mummy at the first sign of enemy resistance

with (3) being the default option.
The COW Project : You have a spy in your midst.

drek
Designer Emeritus
Posts: 935
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 8:07 am

#19 Post by drek » Wed May 04, 2005 3:53 pm

The last four messages being something that I've had in mind: a combat system simlair to Kings of Dragon Pass.

Sejant Chimera
Krill Swarm
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:21 pm

Re: The Basics of Ship Combat

#20 Post by Sejant Chimera » Wed May 04, 2005 8:19 pm

drek wrote:So I'm wondering: what would be the absolute bare minimium people would be happy with in a combat engine for FO v1.0....if it were stripped down to it's very core, what would be the must-have defining features?
For the very first version, IMHO just some very small and simple geometic shapes (which is there was time might vary in size compared to the ship size) moving on a plane while the computer runs through a quick simulation is more then enough. Set the limited number of weapons (all beam or missile for simplicity) and have the detection gear (how far the AI can see) to a huge range, then have the following AI tactic:

1) Find the nearest enemy, otherwise move forward and repeat 1
2) Move towards enemy until weapons in range
3) Keep firing until:
4.1) You are down to 10% of hull strength and then run away
4.2) Enemy is dead then repeat to 1

The player just gets one button, "Run away!", with appropiate Monty Python sound clip (just for version 1, mind you). The weapons might just be sound effects or a few pyramids and lines going from ship to ship if someone is bored one day :) Damage is indicatred as a number at the side of the screen for now, while ships falling to pieces and shields buckling to indicate damage in a more abstract way is *far* off in the future. At this point the space combat will boil down to who has the most and biggest ships, but I suspect that would do.

Then with each refinement you can improve the tactics, ship finding skills, weapon complexity and detection gear complexity, and perhaps let the player get a few commands in as well :)

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12422
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: The Basics of Ship Combat

#21 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed May 04, 2005 8:48 pm

Sejant Chimera wrote:For the very first version...
drek's question was about space combat for v1.0, which is more of a "release version" than a "first version".

The first version with space combat will be v0.4, which needn't have everything we want in v1.0, but also isn't what's being asked about...

Sejant Chimera
Krill Swarm
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:21 pm

Re: The Basics of Ship Combat

#22 Post by Sejant Chimera » Wed May 04, 2005 9:04 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:drek's question was about space combat for v1.0, which is more of a "release version" than a "first version".

The first version with space combat will be v0.4, which needn't have everything we want in v1.0, but also isn't what's being asked about...
Sorry, about that.

For the full release, I'd be happy with a two dimensional combat, either sprites or 3D models moving on a plane. The weapons could be limited to long range beam weapons and missiles. I don't think for the first full version fighters, point defence weapons, tractor beams and the like would be that important. Detection, line of sight, and a good model for damage would be important however. In some ways, this early version would be more like submarine combat that space opera. And no, I haven't recently been watching Das Boot...

Ran Taro
Space Squid
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 2:51 am

#23 Post by Ran Taro » Thu May 05, 2005 1:51 am

Daveybaby wrote:I have a problem with anything *too* simplistic, e.g. just calculating who can make the most/biggest bangs because it could make a large number of ship design techs irrelevant. e.g. stealth techs, missiles vs beams, etc etc. The space combat system is intertwined with the techs it uses.

So as a bare minimum, I'd like to see at least some player input into the battle, even if the battle itself was automated, because letting the player at least choose basic strategies for different ships will allow those different techs to be utilised.

Let the player assign initial orders to ships - nothing too complex (dont want to end up like Moo3 ground combat), just a small number of simple roles which have markedly different behaviours and outcomes, e.g.
:arrow: Close Assault
:arrow: Standoff Attack
:arrow: Flank
:arrow: Defend / Hold
:arrow: Evade/Hide
This (and the following posts that add to it) is pretty much exactly what I had in mind too. It means you could still craftily design ships that perform certain roles very well. Once you got a basic system to work, there are heaps of refinements you could add to it too. You might get more pre-battle options if you have a better admiral, for example.

I think it would be an important element that the AI actually does play out the battle with a reviewable visual representation - so you can see how well/badly your designs fared, and adjust accordingly.

It might be important to leave the system open to upgrade to a full tactical combat system,if the AI can be made to perform well enough in it, and there is enough interest to do it.

User avatar
Dreamer
Dyson Forest
Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:44 am
Location: Santiago, Chile

#24 Post by Dreamer » Thu May 05, 2005 5:56 pm

I like the idea of specifying several kinds of behaviour to different task forces. What I don't like to see is to be able to direct every single weapon to a different target like in Moo2. Maybe a priority list for several commands, like exterminate small figthers, then take this ship, then retreat to safe distance.

If not maybe some AI to make each ship target the best posible enemy in range. I don't like my ships to be wasting point defence cannons on heavy ships and then be completely unable to target small ships. (among other examples).

User avatar
utilae
Cosmic Dragon
Posts: 2175
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2003 12:37 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

#25 Post by utilae » Thu May 05, 2005 8:48 pm

Sigh, one thing I don't like about these indirect control systems is that the AI has to be good, otherwise I'm gonna want to step in and takeover, cause the AI is doing a bad job.

Also if it's mean't to be simple conbat in this thread, then does the AI come under simple, no probably not.

Ran Taro
Space Squid
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 2:51 am

#26 Post by Ran Taro » Fri May 06, 2005 12:05 am

I think it can still be relatively simple. If you take a model like Sejant Chimera suggested, then slowly add complexity too it, then you can find a happy medium between mechanic complexity, player input and intelligent AI behaviour.

Considering I think someone already coded something like that in visual basic, it is definatley achievable. However seeing as I've never seen an AI that could really keep up in a tactical battle against a skilled human, even in large scale professional products like total war, it seems a very dicey proposition to attempt to me.

So the challenge is:

1) Make the rules simple enough for an AI be able to act reasonably.
2) As much as possible, but limited by rule 1, give the player some input and involvement.

Optionally, it would be nice to have the system be able to accept user defined scripts (maybe in vb) to modify or design AI behaviour. So if you have 'Close range' 'Stand off' and 'Harrass' pre battle orders, a mod could add 'Flank' by writing code for it, and designing ships to make use of it.

User avatar
Rapunzel
Pupating Mass
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:11 pm
Location: Germany

#27 Post by Rapunzel » Fri May 06, 2005 1:57 pm

utilae wrote:Sigh, one thing I don't like about these indirect control systems is that the AI has to be good, otherwise I'm gonna want to step in and takeover, cause the AI is doing a bad job.

Also if it's mean't to be simple conbat in this thread, then does the AI come under simple, no probably not.
Exactly my fealing. In addition we would need a detailed display of all ships situation and position when choosing the general guidline for the next turn. This aught to be so, since the player need's to know weather all his ships are eaqually worn down, or most are all right, but the two huge ones are almost gone. Maybe He just does not want to lose some prototype or captured ship (who knows).

But if we already have the compleat stats + relative and absolute position of each ship including enemy shops that are visible, there should be just little trouble giving orders individually for each ship (or still globally).

Now Tha AI can take advantage of those orders, but the difference between a "ATTACK" command and a move there + fire on that ship command ist not that big anymore. So we coudl give commands on three layers of abstractions to each ones liking. The AI would actually benefit from this, since it can use the abstract commands to controll the fleet, and the player does not have to look at the (never perfect) AI wasting his precious capured ship. So he can give the "All ships Attack" command and move the captured by himselve. :D
Dieser Text basiert ausschließlich auf frei erfundener Interpunktion und Orthographie. Jegliche Uebereinstimmungen mit geltenden Regelungen sind rein zufaellig und wurden nicht beabsichtigt.

User avatar
yaromir
Space Kraken
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 8:30 pm
Location: New York City

#28 Post by yaromir » Fri May 06, 2005 4:28 pm

Heh, this is a very difficult question

Is FO supposed to be a an empire-building strategy with space combat thrown in for good measure?

If that is the case, then even auto-resolution is fine. In Paradox's games, you have almost no control over combat, yet their games are top notch.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Moo2 battles early to mid games, but eventually they became very boring and repetative. Same for MoM.

So my vote would be:

Bare Minimum
Auto-Resolve with a summary

Nice to have
Tactical combat with auto-resolve option
Staying awake and aware is perhaps the hardest thing to do.

solrac776
Space Floater
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 1:01 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

#29 Post by solrac776 » Sat May 07, 2005 6:09 pm

I agree with developing a simple combat model for now, based on calculable stats of the ships and fleets, then adding complexity to this option as we go (like Daveybaby-like initial orders).

But later in the development roadmap, we definitely need an interactive combat-model like Rapunzel & Utilae advocate. For those who like to have a hand in the combat, an interactive battle-map scenario is a minimum requirement.

For those who think that the tactical combat is more of a distraction (and it often can be), we would keep and refine the combat-calculation method, and have it as an option. (By "refine" I mean that I hated how, in MOO2, you could easily win a tactical battle but the SAME match-up of ships in calculated battle would end up in an embarrassing loss. A way to weigh the outcome of the battle in favour of the more advanced fleet, in my opinion, is a must.)

Then we have the best of both worlds.
Last edited by solrac776 on Sun May 08, 2005 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Manilla Moxy
Space Floater
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:24 pm
Location: Detroit

Make the game emore exciting

#30 Post by Manilla Moxy » Sun May 08, 2005 3:53 pm

You need to have ship combat, that was whole purpose of Moo and all that. Anything less and I can go play Stars or eBattleground or whatever. No Game has come out with ship design and combat with strategy that is good to date.
It's cool man!

Post Reply