The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => General UQM Discussion => Topic started by: JonoPorter on February 21, 2003, 03:50:05 am



Title: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 21, 2003, 03:50:05 am
    Now imagine what would happen after the war..
they would build new ships and those new ships would incorperate all tech from the races. 8)

   What i would build would us the Chmmr design as the hull and replace the main weapon with the Earthling cruisers missles, but i would improve those missles with Thradish afterburners. :) Also have a higher rate of fire. i would keep the butterflies and incorperate the Utwig shields. ;D last i would replace the drive system with one designed by the the Arilou.  8)

just the thought of this ship in action sends shivers down my spine. :)

what would you design?


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Omni-Sama on February 21, 2003, 09:42:33 am
Well, BioSlayer, I've seen a near-identical post to this in another one of the threats, and for that reason I don't think this idea really warrants a new post...  but I might as well say something before this topic becomes a vacuous waste, since I believe the topic is very weak if non-existant.

I understand it may be appealing to "merge" the best of each ship just for fun, or to make the ultimate ship... but the thing I love about Star Control 2 is that no ship is invisible, none is perfect.  They all have weaknesses and strengths... and while many battles are one-sided, there's always a chance you may be able to make it out alive, with at least some pieces of your hull still intact.

To me, the perfect ship would only defeat the purpose of the game, as vastly different battle-ready ships with their own unique abilities and properties define SC.  Merging them together would only ruin the fun. :P

I understand your idea, but I just don't think you need to make a whole new topic about it, especially when it's already somewhere else on the forum.  We call it using space efficiently.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 21, 2003, 12:21:44 pm
Quote
but the thing I love about Star Control 2 is that no ship is invisible

the ilwrath is. ;D

but since you ment Invulnerable. might i point out that there was one ship that tooka precurser planetering tool and crystal amplifiers to destroy. :P and Im not talking about the one made on vela

Quote
but I might as well say something before this topic becomes a vacuous waste


I sure don’t like the high horse attitude that you are so fragility displaying towards me and my ideas. Its my time to waste and you don’t have to read it.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Scott on February 21, 2003, 07:31:48 pm
This is the only board I've posted on in which people COMPLAIN about someone posting an idea. ::) The board isn't going to "run out of space" any time soon, trust me.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 21, 2003, 09:31:50 pm
I agree with Scott, an attitude this hostile doesn't help much. If the Topic is weak, then it'll fall off the chart in a few dys, so where is the problem?

Although I have to say I agree with Omni-Samna on the point that ships should be balanced, not superdeadly behmoths. If you're truly interested in designing ships, you might want to check out timewarp, they got tons of them.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 21, 2003, 09:33:07 pm
... and most of them are superdeadly behemoths...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 22, 2003, 12:56:50 am
I do agree that making a super dreadnought would unbalance the game. that is pretty much what the flagship was. wipe out a umgah or thradish in one shot with a well built ship or a urqaun in 3. ;D

these ships would be annoying:
1. earthling cruiser with a cloaking instead of point defence :o
2. mycon with teleport instead of regen
3. a ship that randomly respawns when kill ;D


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 22, 2003, 01:07:10 am
Yes, but the Flagship has a good story behind it, there's a reason for it being so powerful. Alos, it isn't the best ship in the game straight away, you have to work on it before it's much good.  I'm assuming that what you are talking about would be race ships, and those really need a lot of balancing, or we end up with ships that are too powerful without any rerason whatsoever. But like I said earlier, if you want to have serious discussions about new ships, their balance, and their creation, then have a look at

http://dynamic.gamespy.com/~timewarp/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=3e5694d62d54ffff;act=SF;f=5

for all the ships you can take.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: wminsing on February 22, 2003, 03:41:16 am
I had a similar idea for a post SC2 Alliance vessel, but mine was no where near as crazy.  Basically it was going to have 10-14 crew, be resonably fast and very manuverable.  The Battery was medium sized with a moderate recharge rate.  It's primary was going to be a triple Ion Bolt (like the flagship).  Haven't decided on a secondary, might just use the flagship point defense system.  Once I learn some C++ I'll see if I can code into TimeWarp.

-Will  


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Censored on February 22, 2003, 04:52:41 pm
You can edit every ship's attribute in Timewarp if I'm not mistaken, in a text file

and as for UQM - I think I saw a ship editor somewhere..


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: wminsing on February 22, 2003, 07:32:43 pm
Well, I'm hoping to create an all new ship, with new graphics and everything, (C++ is similar to Java, which I am learnining in any case) but just editing one of the exsisting ships might be a good idea in the mean time.  

-Will


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Shiver on February 22, 2003, 08:07:49 pm
Looking for an ultimate ship? SC2 has three of them, and that's not even counting the precursor vessel. They are: Ur-Quan Dreadnaught, Kohr-Ah Marauder, Chmmr Avatar.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Defender on February 22, 2003, 10:15:42 pm
this is an interesting topic but like everyone already stated you would un balance the combat. my suggestion: design an all new ship that would beter fit into the balance scheme.

my design:
10 crew
20 fuel/recharge only in planet gravity well or chmrrr gravity pull/closer u are the more faster it rechrges
prime weapon-simular to the chenjesu crystal shard only its energy ball with a preset distance/inch to 2 inch forward shot that explodes into 8 way shot.

secondary weapon-relector shield that sends other weapons back at oponent only guided now with double there normal range. expetion would be comet form of androsyth/lasers do damage no matter what/glory wind/limpets would return to vux if they touch shield/marines cant penetrate shield but will continue to do so untill destroyed/dogis would turn against the chenjesu if they touch shield/ urquan fighters would only destroy themselves/ khor ah mines that are still moving get reflected back but mines that fixed in spot will do damage/tonge lash does damage/afterburn does damage/i think thats it.
any comments good or bad are welcome.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 23, 2003, 01:24:36 pm
I still think the idea of a eathling missle with the thradash after burner effect would be the coolest. ;D


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 23, 2003, 03:33:43 pm
It'd be hard to aim though. It'd be so fast that any ship that is the least bit manevourable vould probably evade it by making a sharp turn or acelerating....


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 24, 2003, 01:03:19 am
That all depends on the skill of the pilot

the reason i like the idea is because the wall of flame it made would make any ship that cant turn fast and has a slow accel a easy target excpet for the chmmr and the earthling cruiser itself (point defence)


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 24, 2003, 01:29:51 am
Yes, but assuming that these are alliance and hierarchy (or any other race) war pilots trained for battle, I'd say they'd probably figure this trick out pretty fast.

And in 2 player game, it'd be the same as with the cruiser. If your enemy is too close, and somewhat manevurable, he can sdodge your missiles. The afterburner would enhance that effect to a bit further out. They would be harder to dodge from very far off, due to their amazing speed, but their medium range would be worse than the regular crusiers. Also, for how long would the afterburner keep going? It hasn't got enough juice to cower a whole screen if it's attached to a missile, so ifthe enemy is far away, you'll just be leaving a streak of fire that your next missile might hit...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 24, 2003, 01:36:13 am
could make it so it starts the afterburner on final aproach


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 24, 2003, 01:41:21 am
Good point. That would make for a nasty surprise, and even if you evade the missile, you'd have the flames around you to worry about. But wouldn't it make the missile a lot more fragile? I mean, a normal missile blows up very easily, and one that has a huge tank of extra fuel strapped to it (and possibly a traddash with a cigar, although i suppose that isn't mandatory) should be even more vulnerable...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 24, 2003, 01:47:16 am
as i said it would be worthless aganst ships with point defence. ;)


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 24, 2003, 02:13:26 am
Yeah, but even a Traddash or ZoqFotPik should be able to hit that enormous fuel tank with a qucik shot, and thus eliminate it. Of course, there's the speed issue again. Only for expert pilots...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 24, 2003, 02:19:53 am
so replace the warhead with a glory device and then you have a standoff weapon ;)

or course there is the balance issue


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 24, 2003, 07:53:25 pm
and that's really the main issue, isn't it?


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Mormont on February 24, 2003, 08:30:36 pm
Looking for an ultimate ship? SC2 has three of them, and that's not even counting the precursor vessel. They are: Ur-Quan Dreadnaught, Kohr-Ah Marauder, Chmmr Avatar.

Those are powerful ships, but far from unstoppable. There are several ships that can beat them. IMO, the hardest ship to beat is an arilou with a good pilot. Only the chmmr, the slylandro, maybe the earthling cruiser, and luck can kill it.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 24, 2003, 10:54:46 pm
would that missile pe proximity, or remote detonated? No matter, it'd be very unfair and off balancing... There would be no ship to stand against it, whcih would make the melee just a tad pointless...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 25, 2003, 12:08:15 am
what they need to do is make a ship modifier which would automaticly balance the ship.
so if you had a earthling cruiser with a cloak it would make it so the engine was next to nothing or would reduce the crew.
have it so every aspect of the ship is part of the calculation. from turning thrusters to size of the hull.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 25, 2003, 12:11:11 am
Hmm.. Isn't it just easier to desgin the ships yourelf and use simple reasoning to figure out what is blanced and what is not, and let others playtest it and comment, rather than to write some obsucre program that has to take every possible parameter in the game into consideration (tactial advantages due to secondary weapons) and so on?


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 25, 2003, 12:22:11 am
NO


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Censored on February 25, 2003, 12:25:38 am
I think TimeWarp solved this idea easily - text files with the attributes of each ship, which you can change at your discretion.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 25, 2003, 12:28:06 am
Let me clarify. If you look at Timewarp, there are a lot of different ships, and some of the special weapons are way out there, worthless against some ships, ezxcellent against others, and sometimes just as good against everything. I think it'd be hard for an artifical intelligence to work out how these special and main weapons, seeing as it often cant even seem to utilize them the proper way in the HyperMelee.... Regardless of the billiance of the AI, it's seldom as good as a human, and is therefore not able to rate the ships as well as a human would be able to. Therefore, a program attempting to restrict what you come up with (no matter how exotic the weapon) would be quite inefficient.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 25, 2003, 12:29:07 am
but cant chang the weapons just the speed, accel, rate of fire, recharge, and aspects of the weapon but not the weapons or special itself.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 25, 2003, 12:31:30 am
Well, you're not gonna end up with a whole lot of differnt ships then, if you restrict yourself to just using the weapons used in the original game. I mean, what's the fun in designing a ship if all you can do is swap it's weapon with something else, swap its propulsion system with something else, swap its turning jets, its secondary weapon. you'll just be making a limited number of souped up versions of the old ships. The whole point of NEW Alliance (and other) sships is not just combining them, but technological innovation!


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 25, 2003, 12:37:15 am
true but it has to be done in a way that it does not make the older ship obsolite or you get the DBZ effect of stuff becoming so powerofull that a stray shot wipes out a solar sytem.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 25, 2003, 12:39:13 am
What is the DBZ effect?

Yeah, but that's exactly what I'm saying! That's why you need ppl to test the new ships and the new weapons, to make sure they are balanced enough! No mere computer can do that. It's the whole "balance" issue I've been opushing against your invincible ship, and restrictive editor...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 25, 2003, 12:45:10 am
DBZ is a japanesse anime that has super heros that get a hundred time more powerfull each time they need to deafeat the newest  enemy

first you have to have poeple devise a lot of new weapons and specials then make the editor to balance them. it is so you can have a custom ship to play.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 25, 2003, 12:51:28 am
But the editor wouldn't be able to balance them out, because soem of the weapons rely on tactical advantages that the AI wont realize. Aw, nevermind, just go download timewarp will you? Play it for a while and then tell me that you/anyone could possibly design an editing program that can tell you exactly how much ships would be worth based on theitr comparative strength of weapons/ their abilities compared to those of all the dozens if not scores of other ships in the game. If someone can do this and prove that it works properly, I'll stand corrected.

On alighter note, you should try out Timewarp anyway, it is a lot of fun.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 25, 2003, 12:57:58 am
I did and i still think its possible but hard


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 25, 2003, 01:20:04 am
Quote
but I might as well say something before this topic becomes a vacuous waste, since I believe the topic is very weak if non-existant.


but you NEVER know the direction a new post would take. this one change into the direction of.... well the same subject.
but its more of editors and how to balence new ships.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Censored on February 26, 2003, 10:34:41 pm
AI can be programmed into the game to be many times "smarter" than the Awesome capability. Did you play Quake 1 at the time the bot phenomena started? yes, they sucked at first, but then they became, well, lean-mean-killing-..bot :P


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 26, 2003, 11:45:24 pm
I did, and yeah, they did :) But (and seeing as I'm not a programmer this might be complete and utter c**p but still...), the weapons in Qauke were always the same, so there weren't really that much of a tactical situation, was it? for humans, it'd be hiding, running and fighting, trying to get to places where you'd have the advantage while fighting. the bots would learn to kill you, dodge your tricks, but they'd always just be adapting, not really being innovative like humans can be.. Or am I completely wrong?


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Censored on February 27, 2003, 01:22:59 am
You're aiming at the "Humans will always, eventually, beat the machine" ideal, aren't you? :P

I'm not working as a programmer (studying currently) but I have done quite a bit of it (hey I had my own mod to Quake1 and 2 on planetquake ;)) and especially in a 2D melee game such as SC2 it would be much easier to program an unbeatable AI than in Quake.. It won't be easy, but in relation to a successful Quake bot it's much much easier.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 27, 2003, 01:28:22 am
Well, I rather like that idea, but no, that's not what I'm aiming at. I'm saying that with the resources we have today, at this very momnet, I think it'd be extremely hard, if not impossible to do so. In a fwe years, maybbe not, in 20, most probably. But right now? that is the question that concerns us, sin't it  ;)


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 27, 2003, 01:53:39 am
We might be able to implement a genetic algorithm that would take the tactical decisions off our hands.
The fitness criteria would be pretty obvious.
The problem would be designing a shape for the genetic code.

What battlefield information is available to an AI? We could develop a framework within that raw data level, perhaps working off of the existing AI code, cutting it up into interchangeable parts.

Anyone know how the AI is put together?


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 27, 2003, 09:27:11 am
LET ME JUST EXPLAIN. Computers think totally differently. Actually they don’t think they process. Computers are given a set list of instructions which they follow to the bit. EVERYTHING they do is program so precise that a single character could cause it to not compile. Then if there is a problem with data types you can get a bug. They do not adapt unless they are programmed too and that is very very very very difficult. The reason people think that computers are smart is that they are fast, very fast but as dumb as a very dumb thing. They are fast idiots. Just wanted to say that, not to insult your intelligence.

Quote
We might be able to implement a genetic algorithm that would take the tactical decisions off our hands.

I am pretty sure there is no such thing as a genetic algorithm.  Have you ever written a line of code? Because your techno non-sense makes me want to smack you.

But if you want a computer opponent you cannot defeat, just ask the creators of SC3 to make one, they made one that was darn annoying to defeat. The only thing it did was run away!!!!


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Flewellyn on February 27, 2003, 09:27:34 am
Here's something I can actually comment about, as I am doing some (personal) research into artificial intelligence, and do some programming as well.

Okay, an AI as a game player is quite feasible, even though, given where AI is right now, it's not going to be as much of a challenge as a human being.  Given a finite set of constraints, such as the rules of the game, you can make a robotic player that can present a moderate challenge.

Using an AI to help design ships, though?  You'd be asking a program to think on the same level of abstraction, with the same degree of complexity and same ability to "jump outside the box" as a human being.  We just don't have the technology for that yet: current AI is on the level of bacteria, able to react to changes in the environment, incorporate new strategies, and even anticipate a little bit...in a very primitive way.  (Bacteria can do all of these things, yes, though again, very primitively.)  AI cannot, at present, plan ahead, think creatively, realize that its current mode of operation is getting it nowhere, have flashes of intuition, etc.

Even gameplaying AI is very limited.  People point to the Deep Blue victory over Gary Kasparov in chess as a victory for AI, but it isn't.  Deep Blue was actually a rather primitive AI, which did "brute force" checking of decision trees (analysing possible moves and their consequences), with some "pruning" of the tree for moves that quickly became bad ones.  But nowhere near the sophistication of a human's ability to think.  Deep Blue only won because of the power of its hardware, and because it was allowed to study Kasparov's games (and only his games) ahead of time, and develop reactive strategies analogous to the genetic strategies a bacterium develops against antibiotics.

Given all of this, asking an AI to work within the ship design system and anticipate problems of game balance (which is outside the system) is impossible with current technology.

For more info on all of this, I would highly[/i] recommend a reading of Douglas Hofstadter's book Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, which goes into great detail about all of these matters and more.  Plus, it's just a fun read, and goes quickly, which is surprising given its length (1700 pages or so).


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 27, 2003, 09:41:43 am

my idea of the ship editors checking would consist of values of the components of the parts. a longer range price goes up. lower crew price goes down.  range and speed would be a multiplier or exponential. And I would have special if statements for combination of primary and secondary. FAF missle plus cloak increases price greatly. And so on. The program doesn’t design the ship just calculates its value.
and makes it easyer to make one as well.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 27, 2003, 10:04:00 pm
Quote
I am pretty sure there is no such thing as a genetic algorithm.  Have you ever written a line of code? Because your techno non-sense makes me want to smack you.


I am a professional computer programmer. I wrote the simulation my thesis in physics was based on in C++; I usually work in Java. So Yeah, I know that computers only follow instructions. I guess I didn't explain the basic concept.

*ahem*
Now that we've got our respective rants out of the way, let ME explain.
Genetic algorithms exist. One of my classmates used a genetic algorithm for his thesis project. They were featured in Scientific American last month, which did a fairly decent job of explaining the simpler aspects of them.
But what is a genetic algorithm?
A genetic algorithm is a design tool by which you can arrange to have created a design for something, without designing it yourself.
First, you create a system of design components - the classic example is a programmable gate array.
Then you create a random stream of settings for these design components (the genetic code)
You make lots of these streams (a population with varied genetic code).
You then build the system for each stream (compile the code).
You evaluate them partially and see which ones perform closer to specified behavior (in this case, kicking ass in melee).
Then you have them behave as a biological population would - each code, based on its performance, can be duplicated; have digital meiosis with another bit of code (have 'sex') by exchanging design components; be mutated (changing parameters or types of design components randomly); or die off.
Then you evaluate the new population again. Repeat the evaluation and population management steps.


For a simple task, it may take only ten generations to get specified behavior. However, the design will probably look rather different than one designed by a human. When this technique was applied to programmable gate arrays to make a digital multiplier, NO ONE could figure out how the heck the thing worked. Yet it used only 4/5 of the transistors that the best human-designed digital multiplier did, and it worked all the time for all combinations of input.

SO! In order to make this work, we would need to describe what the 'genetic code' would look like. This will be the hardest part.
We need an architecture that will never crash no matter how weirdly you put it together AND is flexible enough to have a chance in hell of working.

We might want to use a neural network kind of arrangement, or perhaps even a Slylandro-probe style priority system, with randomly generated behaviors having random priorities with random weighing mechanisms... and evolving them from there.

SO... do you see?


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 27, 2003, 10:16:41 pm
This is what I love with forum chats. You learn something new every day. Thank you Flewellyn for your AI comments. I'd actually heard about hte array gate system, but it was a pleasant surprise to find it incorporated here, along with a better explanation than the one I read for it.

Bioslayer, the issue here is not if we can make a program that simply subtracts weapons strength if your too fast, or allows us to add crew when your turning rate is lowered enough. Everyone accepts that this is possible. What we're talking about is a sytem that can accurately judge the ship, not just based on their power quantities in different areas, but on the qualities of their tactsics, the usefulness of gravity whips with said ship, the tactical advantage of steroids with that ship, what the teleporting abilities add strategy wise, this kind of thing. You can't rate anything on just sheer power. In that case David could never have beaten Goliath.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 27, 2003, 10:21:53 pm
He had a high powered ranged weapon - that seems pretty solid to me. However, I agree in principle. How would a computer rate the Arilou without actually trying it out? Heck - how would WE rate it without trying it out?

The answer is: don't try to rate ships that haven't been tested extensively.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 27, 2003, 10:26:36 pm
Yes, but that's my point. The traditional rating system of muscle mass, length, armor, gigantic club, arm reach and so on would all have spoken in favour of goliath. (compare these to BioSlayers editor with the standard movement, weapon strength, crew, turning rate and so on). But a new element was introduced into the equation, that hte system didn't know about.

Result, the high ranker loses (compare the slingshot to oh, for instance teleport or any other exotic weapon of choice).


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: guesst on February 28, 2003, 12:18:46 am
This all is fascinating, but it seems to me to be asking for a change in the very nature of starcontrol. The ships displayed the personality of the races. That was what made the game fun. While I'm sure there was experimenting on the basis of "too powerfull, let's criple it on turning ratio/too weak let's speed it up" I'm sure the most of the ships started with "Let's make a race of space vixons who make other ship's crew step out for a smoke break."
It sounds to me like this discussion is asking to change the fundamental idea behind starcontrol and change it into more of an "impossible creatures in space". Which is fine. Infact, I'd love to see these ideas implimented, especally the whole genetic code generation as discussed above, but in a different game entirely. Maybe the world is finally ready for this type of game. (Personally I found IC too "free" for me. I always felt I was "trying out" a new combination, and never focusing on the stragety that I like, but oh well.)


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 28, 2003, 01:01:19 am
Well, As far as I'M concerned, this whole idea of mix-and-match is really lame. I'd much rather have, in new ship designs, new concepts. So a new ship thread is fine - but they won't be Furies that shoot Photon Crystals...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 28, 2003, 01:02:40 am
Umm... sorry, but I think your missing the point completely Guesst. Look at SC1. What is it?it is a game of one side versus the other with a lot of different ships fighting. There is a small background story for every race, but nothing major. You never talked to the races, or got to know anything else about them They didn't flesh out the races very much, it was just a collection of ships. How does the Umgah ship represent their humour? How does the Yehat ship represent their honour? How does the Mycon ship represent their general weirdness? How does the VUX ship represent xenophobia? And so on. The races in SC2 may have been written to the races to a greater extent, but that's still a maybe.

And if you want to, you can make up a racial profile for every melee ship you construct. I know they do over at TW, for at least part of the time.

The whole idea of making the ships is, to if possible incorporate a racial fit yes, but mainly to make for a balanced and fun melee. I mean, you don't think its a coincidence all the ships are well balanced, do you? What we are discussing here is the importance of balance new ships, wetehr they come with a racial profile or not.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Censored on February 28, 2003, 01:40:31 am
Actually, they thought of SC2 when they made SC1. That's why you can see SC2 races on the code-wheel of SC1.

I don't know if that's the way it went, but it seems natural that TFB thought of the whole concept, differentiating the melee from the main game, and making a pre-release - the melee SC1 game. "If this catches on, we'll make number two!"..
Also, they mention that SC1 is as if a trainer for Alliance pilots.. Just like a good trilogy, they (well except for part 3 that never came out), they pre-designed and thought about the main concept and storyline prior to SC1.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 28, 2003, 02:03:47 am
From the conversation with the creators:

<Fwiffo> The thraddash were on the wheel in SCI.  It's origins are clouded in mystery.

doesn't sound much like preplanning to me. also, I have to say I find it hard to believe that they'd plan all the races fro SC2 and then only put a few of them in SC1, determined to use the rest "if the first game went alright". If it hadn't, they'd have wasted a huge amount of planning...

although, as usual, I could be wrong.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Culture20 on February 28, 2003, 02:14:09 am
<Inging> <Churten:#STarControl-chat> question: does the word 'Dynarri' intentionally bear resembelance to the ancient monetary unit?
<Fwiffo> About the Dnyarri: I read everything and forget almost all of it immediately.  Then, later and often in the shower, these words bubble up out of my subconscious.  Where do they come from?  I don't know!

This probably was the cause of many of the new race names in SC2, especially since the words on the code-wheel were supposed to be answers to etiquette questions.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on February 28, 2003, 03:32:34 am
Much better than my quote Cukture20, thanks for the backup.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on February 28, 2003, 04:48:21 am
now that i'v recieved a proper SMACK DOWN by death_999 i wish to speak.

also now that i have the basic jist of a genetic thingymajig i would seem that it would be cool, but overdoing it. like making disposible plates out of stone. but that of coarse is my opinion


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 28, 2003, 09:27:21 pm
Well, it might be the only realistic way of MAKING a high quality AI in such a freeform environment. Chess is one thing - Star Control is much harder... for a computer at any rate.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: ErekLich on February 28, 2003, 09:52:52 pm
I tend to agree that a genetic process would make for the best way to do this.

The "genetic code" would need three parts:

1) a list of ALL possible actions the ship could take (this could be either generic or ship-specific) coupled with the probability of performing each action

2) a "sensor array" that monitored the conditions on the battlefield in a fair amount of detail (again, if it's general enough the smae one could be used for every ship)

3) a "converter" that would adjust the probabilities of each action based on the "sensor array" input.  The converter would also specifiy the initial probabilities, and a few things such as the first two Glory Device switches could be hard-coded a little bit.

At each moment, the AI would read sensor input, adjust probabilities, and make a randomly selected action.

We create a large population of random "converters" for EVERY SHIP TYPE simultaneously.  Then we run simulations.  Converters that win get to "breed," and the more crew you have left the more breeding you get to do.  (This breeding should also have a purely random element to allow for mutations.)

Thus we would evolve a better AI.  There are only two problems that I can see:

1) even if the evolution is successful, the more detailed the "sensor array" and "converter" are teh more calculations will be required each nanosecond.  This could be difficult to use.

2) The glory device throws a kink in our "winners get to breed" scheme.  We'd have to figure out some other victory parameters for the Shofixti.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 28, 2003, 10:27:17 pm
Well, I was going to have fitness judged by humans... this will be especially important in the early stages, in which the winners will be those who avoid falling to the planet and ever fire their weapons.

Therefore, a shofixti using the glory device could get an A- or so even if he lost the melee.

Problem, we need a lot of judges since this will take some time...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: ErekLich on February 28, 2003, 10:29:59 pm
If you have the computer judge "fitness" based on the following criteria:

F=A*(did you live)+B*(damage you took)+C*(damage you dealt)

where A, B, and C are constants chosen by us hunams, and then have each ship "breed" a number of times proportional to how high their F is, we wouldn't need human judges.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 28, 2003, 10:51:37 pm
Here's my idea for a system:

At each generation, set up a tournament of the AI's. However, they aren't fighting each other - you pick a kind of opponent - weak, standard, or awesome cyborg, and give them a homogeneous fleet of something. Do several of these for different homogeneous groups of ships.
At the end, score negative points for each enemy crew surviving, or score positive points for each of your crew surviving.
The results come out as a vector - score vs arilou, score vs pkunk, score vs melnorme.
This info can be used in the breeding program - strategic marriages of one AI line to another to combine strengths and ditch weaknesses. Sexual selection is very important.

EXAMPLE:
we have fourteen Syreen AIs, around fifth generation.
each of these fourteen AIs fights four battles against a standard AI with the following fleets:
4 Syreen vs 4 Mycon
4 Syreen vs 4 Earthling
4 Syreen vs 4 Umgah
At the end, here is a sample of the results:
AI #1: (+28, -40, +4)
AI #2: (+60, -4, -1)
AI #3: (-57, +20, +29)
...
SO, somehow the third AI is really bad at fighting Mycon, but is good at fighting Umgah
The other first AI is pathetic at the Earthlings
Now we can have these strains crossbreed in the hopes that we will get something that figures out how to act around Mycon AND Earthling AND Umgah.

I think it might be a good idea to have certain "behaviors" and certain "regulators"
much as in real biology. That way you can easily turn on or off behaviors to match circumstances.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: ErekLich on February 28, 2003, 11:24:05 pm
The main problem with this is that these new AIs shouldn't be competivive with the old AIs, they should be competitive with each other!  Therefore we ought to have our simulations be against real human beings and against the other developing AIs.

Also, you can't just look at how good a strain is against a single enemy!  Your simultaion for a strain ought to pit that type versus EVERY other ship piloted (ideally) by both humans and developing AI.  The OVERALL fitness of the ship is what really matters, after all.  Forget having the vectors, just add up all those numbers into a single number:  how good that AI is!  Then, the best AIs will breed more.

You shouldn't judge the AI based on what behaviors it exhibits (ie firing weapon, hitting planet) you need to look only at the end result!  Look at A) did it win? b) how much damage did it take? and C) how much damage did it deal?  You run ONE ship of the strain vs ONE ship of each other strain and add ALL its numbers together.  This will in and of itself weed out AIs who never fire or who never hit the planet, there is NO need to have a human judge it!  Remember your digital multiplier?  HOW the ship wins is unimportant, only if it does.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 28, 2003, 11:41:24 pm
calm down. I was taking that into account.

If an AI has a good tactic for killing slow ships, and it tries to apply it to fast ships, well, it'll fail. Good response: crossbreed it with something that knows how to kill fast ships. End result: the ai is good at killing all ships.

Also, I wasn't going to train them to fight against the standard AI all the time... if you read my post, you will see that each time you do a judging session you make different tests -
test against Humans: best skill, but can't be automated. Since I expect over fifty iterations, we will need to automate something.
test against Awesome AI: fairly reliable, automatable, but uninspired. not suitable for later stages. Also, will not be suitable for early stages when the original seeded AI's are just learning how to fly, because the Awesome AI will kill them too mercilessly.
test against Weak AI: suitable for learning very basic strategy of attack and defend
test against each other: good on all skill levels, but may end up developing ways of defeating the weaknesses of its own system - strategies that would never fool a human.

Now, as for fighting different species:
yes, fight different species!!!! BUT don't mix them in the same test. Why?
Suppose you have a Spathi AI. The first enemy it is slotted to fight is a Chmmr. Well, the entire fleet gets creamed, and it gets a bottom level score. The next enemy was a Kohr-Ah, and it might have done very well indeed, but it was blocked. THUS, we want to make sure that the tests reflect the ability to manage a battle against a well-regulated field. Thus, homogeneous battles.
However, we mix them up. Each of the AIs has to face several teams at each testing phase. In this example, Mycon, Earthling, and Umgah, run by a standard AI.
Next time might be Zoq-Fot-Pik, Ur-Quan, and Ilwrath, flown by a Human.
The AIs will train against each species gradually. This will take many iterations. Over time, the AI will learn how to fight all comers at all levels of skill.

See?

Oh, by the way, the last bit about behaviors was about AI architecture, not judging.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on February 28, 2003, 11:46:26 pm
Also, adding up the numbers is sort of silly - Suppose one AI is fantastic against most  ships but it gets creamed by the Umgah. Another AI is fantastic except that it gets cremed by the Chmmr.
Now... which of these should have a higher score?
Well, both have valuable information. I'd say, "go forth and multiply!"
However, the score of the one that gets creamed by the avatar will be much much worse than the one that gets creamed by the Drone, because the Avatar has so much more crew to begin with.

Essentially, strengths and weaknesses ARE a vector - and that information should be used, not thrown away. You're going to get much better balanced AIs if you pay attention to that rather than ignoring it.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: ErekLich on March 01, 2003, 12:42:44 am
If we're going to go that route we may as well make 25 separate AIs for each ship - one for every opponent it can face.

This would actually make breeding a good AI easier, since strategies specifically good against that ship are more likely to come into being.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on March 01, 2003, 02:24:38 am
I was thinking of it, but 25 x 25 is 625. That's a lot of AIs.

On the other hand, testing would be much simpler for each one.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: JonoPorter on March 01, 2003, 01:22:08 pm
here is a ai that would be hard to defeat. ;D

int distance2, angle, thrust;

distance2 = enemy.range();
if (distance2 <= oo)
{
 angle = 180 + enemy.angle();
 if ( planet.angle() == angle) {angle =- 30;}
 thrust = 100;
}
else
{
 calculate.lastDigit(PI)
}

;D


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on March 01, 2003, 06:51:27 pm
Quote
Well, BioSlayer, I've seen a near-identical post to this in another one of the threats, and for that reason I don't think this idea really warrants a new post...  but I might as well say something before this topic becomes a vacuous waste, since I believe the topic is very weak if non-existant.


Heh, aren't you just kicking yourself now?  :P

Topics transform, that's the whle idea of them. and thisis becoming fairly interesting. do carry on programmers.


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on March 02, 2003, 12:39:59 am
Quote
here is a ai that would be hard to defeat. ;D

int distance2, angle, thrust;

distance2 = enemy.range();
if (distance2 <= oo)
{
 angle = 180 + enemy.angle();
 if ( planet.angle() == angle) {angle =- 30;}
 thrust = 100;
}
else
{
 calculate.lastDigit(PI)
}

;D



Dude, the code from SC3 wasn't released open source - delete that before we get sued!


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Omni-Sama on March 02, 2003, 01:35:58 am
Quote

Heh, aren't you just kicking yourself now?  :P

Topics transform, that's the whle idea of them. and thisis becoming fairly interesting. do carry on programmers.

Hey, I was just trying to inspire you guys to do something with the topic!  Hehe.  And look how well it worked out?  You should be thanking me, not kicking me.   8)


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on March 02, 2003, 01:45:53 am
Well, actually you're right. I probably never had replied top that topic if not for your post. However, I do think that there are less annoying and more civilized ways to energize a topic than that. But if you believe in the end justifying the means, then I suppose it's alright...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Censored on March 02, 2003, 02:25:34 am
Quote

Dude, the code from SC3 wasn't released open source - delete that before we get sued!


That's not code from SC3
it's from Windows XP.
Yep.

What do you mean it has nothing to do with Windows?! They both suck! :P


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Omni-Sama on March 02, 2003, 02:26:29 am
Well, I wasn't trying to be mean or condescending or anything like that... in fact, there was already a post dealing with the topic proposed on the board at the time.  I just thought that since no one was replying to the post, I should step in and say something.  Obviously if I hadn't, we wouldn't be here today.  Hehe.  You can thank me later.   ;D

I was simply trying to point out that the idea of "merging" ships to create a super ship was not the point of SC2, it was to embrace the uniqueness of these ships and to tactically battle them to result in big explosions.

And I don't think I displayed any "high horse attitude", as BioSlayer described it in my reply... I'm just a simple, passive Canadian boy who can be critical, but fair in my assessments.  Is constructive criticism really a crime?   8)  It was simply a matter that the same discussion was going on in another topic, and this seemed like re-hashing of the same old trail...  And hey, I guess you proved me wrong, didn't you?  Hehe, so why complain about it now?   ;)

By the way, you do notice this entire topic (basically) only involves two people posting back and forth over and over again?  I don't often use the word monopoly, but I believe you've monopolized this topic, lol.   ;D  You may have even pornogrophied this board, if that's at all possible.  I bow down to your holiness, hehe.   ::)


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on March 02, 2003, 03:03:26 am
Well, the whole vacous waste thing and the waste of space thing are just a smidgen hostile in attitude, at least to this peaceful finnish country lad.

And I figured that if monopoly works for Bill Gates, it'll work for me. Read my post counter and weep! ;D (Or is that my job, seeing as it proves I'm definetly a bit unstable?)

And Iä'm not complaining, I'm just grinning. There's a difference :) And as I sadi you do have a point, without your comment the topic wouldn't have taken off as ity did. Just as the otther one which name I can't quite remember. Maybe you should make it your job to post second? You certainly have a flair for sparking off discussions....


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on March 02, 2003, 03:30:44 am
Quote
That's not code from SC3
it's from Windows XP.
Yep.

My joke was that Star Control 3 AIs always run away,which is what this AI does. Except that this one seems to know how to avoid the planet better...


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Censored on March 02, 2003, 07:30:15 pm
Hmm well, as I said before I threw SC3 away as soon as I realized (5 minutes) that it's the Muppets in Space show with MIDI music.. so I wouldn't know  :D


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Lukipela on March 07, 2003, 04:10:07 pm
So how fares the ship AI breeding?


Title: Re: The New Alliance Ships
Post by: Death 999 on March 08, 2003, 12:38:21 am
unbegun. I am balancing scientific simulation, work, girlfriend, and Star Control. I have had some ideas, though:

The AI is composed of an array of nodes. Each node has an unsigned int  representing an Expression Level, and an array of void functions (taking this AI and the number of the Node as its arguments) Behavior.

Each turn, the behavior of each node with any expression is executed. The degree of effect is always positively affected by greater expression levels, though with various interactions, saturation effects can occur, and sometimes an effect will be overwhelmed by other effects.

Nodes have several interactions - all based on the expression level of the node
Promote: the target node's expression level increases.
Destroy: the target node's expression level decreases
Annihilate: target node's expression level decreases - this node's expression level decreases by the same amount.
Block: the target node's expression level does not count fully towards the effect of its behavior _next_turn_ (once it's not blocked, it reactivates) (this will require more implementation detail...)
Decay: this node's expression level decreases
Convert: stated portion of the expression of this node becomes expression in another node instead
maybe a few more, but this suite should be small.

Nodes may also have meta-tags such as
Additional Behavior: press (virtual) fire button if expressed above 100
Expression level = enemyShipIsInFrontOfMe                      ? 100 : 0
Expression level = rangeToEnemyShip > 1/4 playing field ? 100 : 0
Expression level = asteroidOnCollisionCourse                     ? 100 : 0
These provide I/O. The input questions will be especially varied, as we don't know what questions are the best ones to ask. I imagine that numerical constants in the I/O will be just as subject to evolution as the rest.
There are also a LOT of nodes which have no meta-data, but (initially) randomly adjust each other -- and, most importantly, the ship's controls.