Missile Targeting

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
pd
Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 1924
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2004 6:17 pm
Location: 52°16'N 10°31'E

Re: Missile Targeting

#16 Post by pd » Wed May 19, 2010 12:17 am

Ok, but don't you think it would make sense for a missile to loose it's target in such a specific case? It's taking advantage of terrain.

RonaldX
Space Kraken
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:40 am
Location: Hamilton, Ontario

Re: Missile Targeting

#17 Post by RonaldX » Thu May 20, 2010 2:37 am

Yeah, it makes sense, I just find it a little ugly considering missiles work on limited ammunition. Exploitation of that tactic could lead to a general player trend towards stacking tons of SR.. But that's balancing more than anything else. Having the missiles revert to dumbfire mode and flying in a straight line until they exit the map or a new target presents itself is fine by me.

Question then.. if missiles can find a new target, does this target have to be inside firing range of the launcher? Should the missile have it's own kind of "acquisition range" within which it can find a new target?

Missiles with unlimited range for the purposes of combat are good at first glance, but leads to a possibly exploitable tactic:

Red has a large number of LR in system
Green has a large number of SR and a single scout, on opposing sides of the map.

If Red fires all his LR at the scout, and the scout is killed while a bunch of missiles are still in-flight, do those missiles then fly all the way across the system to engage a new target, as long as the Green SR is visible to the Red player? This could even be done with red firing on one of his own scouts, purposely destroying it to get a salvo of missiles homing in on targets which are outside the normal range for a missile launcher.

Having missiles be unable to acquire targets outside the range of the launcher is kind of a messy solution, because then firing missiles at maximum range would be useless.. The targets could just move slightly backwards out of range and the ammunition is wasted.

Maybe have missiles have their own small acquisition range, where:

1) A missile will track it's current target for as long as it can detect it until it impacts.
2) If it loses it's target because the target is destroyed or becomes impossible to detect it will attempt to acquire a new target.
3) If there is nothing inside acquistion range, it just flies in a straight line until it leaves the battle map or something comes into it's range.

Just not sure how big that acquisition range should be, if it should shrink every turn, etc..

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12423
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: Missile Targeting

#18 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu May 20, 2010 3:02 am

RonaldX wrote:Having missiles be unable to acquire targets outside the range of the launcher is kind of a messy solution, because then firing missiles at maximum range would be useless.. The targets could just move slightly backwards out of range and the ammunition is wasted.
What's wrong with just:
* If a missile's target is visible, the missile moves towards the target, or detonates if it reaches the target.
* If a missile's target is not visible, the missile continues on its current heading.
* If a missile's target was not visible for a time, but then becomes visible again, the missile resumes moving towards its target.

RonaldX
Space Kraken
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:40 am
Location: Hamilton, Ontario

Re: Missile Targeting

#19 Post by RonaldX » Thu May 20, 2010 3:37 am

It will make large missile launchers that fire multiple rockets inefficient for use against swarms of smaller ships. Why fire 4 missiles at one ship when 1 hit will kill it, especially when ammunition is a finite resource? I'd be much more likely to use LR against a swarm enemy if I knew that extraneous missiles would reacquire and attack new targets, within reasonable range. If nothing is nearby, then sure, direct line until something comes up or the missile leaves the combat theatre.

New Target Acquisition is also potentially a technology to be researched. Early missiles may behave exactly as you have described, since large missile launchers are liable to be more mid-late game equipment.

The other thing with behavior like that.. why bother to have it fly in a straight line? If it isn't going to find a new target, and isn't going to do collision checks, then it may as well not exist at all. Detonate it and reduce the polygon count. ;)

If missiles are going to be a finite resource requiring resupply between (or during) battles, the player needs to be able to use them as efficiently as possible, and making the player select how many missiles he wants to fire from a launcher is a horribly micromanagey way to do it. Otherwise you're forcing the player to waste resources swatting flies with a sledgehammer.

edit: Also due to the delayed nature of missiles from launch to impact, in a larger scale combat it is fair to assume that a ship being destroyed by SR or other missiles while missiles targeting it are still in flight will be a fairly common occurrance. If missiles can't reacquire, then the player will have to deal with tremendous missile wastage. This could be compensated for by allowing larger initial missile supplies, but then a player who micromanages can get a pretty huge advantage. You drive players away from large missile launchers and towards swarms of smaller ships with SR that can't be effectively attacked with missiles.

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12423
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: Missile Targeting

#20 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu May 20, 2010 4:14 am

RonaldX wrote:The other thing with behavior like that.. why bother to have it fly in a straight line?
Because:
Geoff the Medio wrote:* If a missile's target was not visible for a time, but then becomes visible again, the missile resumes moving towards its target.
By flying in a straight line, a ship that's been targetted by a group of missiles will still having missiles moving towards it if it moves out of detection range. The targetted ship can't briefly hop in and out out visible range to make all missiles targetting forget that it exists. Instead, the missiles will continue moving towards the ship's last detected location for a nontrivial amount of time, requiring the ship to remain undetected for at least that nontrivial time to avoid being hit by the missiles. If the missiles overshoot, they can also turn around and move towards the ship when the ship reappears, meaning abusing stealth is not quote so easy a way to completely avoid being hit by missiles.

RonaldX
Space Kraken
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:40 am
Location: Hamilton, Ontario

Re: Missile Targeting

#21 Post by RonaldX » Thu May 20, 2010 10:28 pm

My statement there was kind of a one-off joke about framerate.

My more immediate concern is the ability of a missile to acquire a new target if the first is destroyed or goes missing before the missile gets to it. It is especially relevant for large launchers which fire more than one missile at a time, for the reasons stated above.

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12423
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: Missile Targeting

#22 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri May 21, 2010 12:06 am

RonaldX wrote:It will make large missile launchers that fire multiple rockets inefficient for use against swarms of smaller ships. Why fire 4 missiles at one ship when 1 hit will kill it, especially when ammunition is a finite resource? I'd be much more likely to use LR against a swarm enemy if I knew that extraneous missiles would reacquire and attack new targets, within reasonable range.
"There might be an(other) viable counter to missiles" doesn't seem like a very compelling argument for adding a complicated target reacquisition system. If the perceived problem is just potential balance issues, then I'd rather wait until we have usable system to test before declaring a system intolerably broken.

User avatar
Krikkitone
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1499
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:52 pm

Re: Missile Targeting

#23 Post by Krikkitone » Fri May 21, 2010 3:24 am

There are two ways for a missile to deal with 'losing the target'
Missiles "stay on target" (either keep to the same path OR they 'know' where the target is)
or
Missiles retarget (either automatically or the player can control it)

"stay on target" missiles are Very vulnerable to the overkill (if the target is dead, they can't 'stay on it')

"retarget" missiles would not be vulnerable to 'overkill' But if the targeted enemy ship cloaks, then the missiles would lose their focus, and would hit less desirable targets.

Retargeting gets Something out of my missiles (targeting sub-optimal ship) in ALL circumstances (target ship dies/cloaks/runs away)

Stay on target gets 'full value' but only if the target ship decloaks/reapproaches/ressurects... otherwise the missile is totally wasted.



So my rules would be
1. Each turn the missile has a target, it moves towards the target or detonates if it reaches the target
2. If the missile's target is no longer detectable, it does not move and goes into 'auto retarget' mode
3. The new target is the first enemy ship that the fleet detects (if there are multiple ones, then it is the closest one)
4. Missiles with no target at the end of the turn (when reloading happens) are eliminated (they don't detonate they just disappear)

User avatar
marhawkman
Large Juggernaut
Posts: 938
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: GA

Re: Missile Targeting

#24 Post by marhawkman » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:51 am

I like the idea of missiles having some capability of acquiring targets. But a very limited one. They should need to rely on ship based sensors for most target acquisition.
Computer programming is fun.

Post Reply