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Author Topic: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?  (Read 1286 times)
Angelfish
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Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« on: September 29, 2009, 02:45:29 pm »

In my other topique we discussed the Melee arena and came to the conclusion that it is indeed a hamster ball that grows bigger and smaller as multiple ships enter or leave it.

Now I'd like to know how fighting multiple ships is/would actually be handled ingame. Ofcourse, for a supermelee mode it's quite easy, you just select whatever you want from your fleet for yourself and a computer or human opponent.
I can imagine that you can't control them all, so some of your ships wil be controlled by an AI, as well as some or all of the enemy's ships.
But what happens when one of your or one of your enemy's ships is destroyed? Will a new one immediately be selected from the fleet and warp in, or will it have to wait until the battle is ended before new ships can be entered in the same way?

In the storymode, things get even more difficult. You might end up with huge fleets, but I can imagine not being allowed to send your entire fleet in a random encounter, so that has to be limited somehow. My personal idea would be to have a fixed amount of 'battle slots' that determines how many ships a player or NPC can command. Better captains will have more battle slots, novice captains will start with less, perhaps even only one for his own ships and nothing else.

What do you think of these ideas? Suggestions are welcome!
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Shiver
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Re: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2009, 08:51:19 am »

Timewarp and Mr. Brian's XNA melee were both capable of battles with more than two ships. Elvish Pillager claimed to have made more than two ships fight using a rough hack of UQM. It's already been done in several places. The impression I get is that Star Control's ships aren't tuned for anything other than dueling within a wrap-around arena with a few asteroids and a planet, but people could still have fun with it if every ship was player-controlled. Teaching an AI ship to play intelligently against different types and numbers of enemies as well as coordinating with various teammates would be a nightmare.
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Angelfish
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Re: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2009, 11:58:28 am »

Timewarp and Mr. Brian's XNA melee were both capable of battles with more than two ships. Elvish Pillager claimed to have made more than two ships fight using a rough hack of UQM. It's already been done in several places.

I know that it has been done and that it's possible, but in all those cases there were controlled circumstances.. You choose your enemies for that specific battle. What I'm more interested in is how and if this would work in a story mode.

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The impression I get is that Star Control's ships aren't tuned for anything other than dueling within a wrap-around arena with a few asteroids and a planet, but people could still have fun with it if every ship was player-controlled. Teaching an AI ship to play intelligently against different types and numbers of enemies as well as coordinating with various teammates would be a nightmare.

Yeah, that's quite a problem. I can imagine that you have some sort of 'team strategy' where the enemies decide based upon a certain success table which targets they choose, and continue with that target until it's destroyed. For your own ships it's perhaps viable to control them like you did in games like Tie Fighter or Wing Commander.. give them orders like 'attack my target' or 'defend me'. But I don't think it's easy to work out a coördinated strategy with AI ships. Nevertheless, it'd be cool to try such a thing out, wouldn't it?
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Megagun
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Re: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2009, 08:47:06 pm »

Well, I guess you could make ships spend fuel whilst traveling in truespace, thus making it unprofitable to fly around with a huge fleet. Furthermore, give each ship its own AI, and allow the player to direct and move ships independently (like in an RTS) and you can 'park' ships somewhere if you don't need them, bring them in if you need them (in battle, for instance), etc.

As Shiver mentioned, though, SC2 ships aren't designed at all to be dealt with in a more-than-one-on-one environment.
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Bigryan
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Re: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2009, 05:03:19 pm »

My game that I was making was based entirely on having multiple ships in combat.

The AI is more difficult.. But the statement that the ships are designed in such a way as to only allow 1v1 combat isn't true.

The trick with the AI is to have the ship select targets.  As a target ship goes out of range or another more dangerous ship comes into range the AI needs to be able to switch targets.

Also to make the game a little more exciting I've added moving space mines and space turrets.

A couple things that have confused me:
1. sound fx.  if there's 30 ships all firing, being hit, being killed.  How do you manage soundFX?  It just gets crazy if you try to play everything.
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Alvarin
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Re: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2009, 07:08:30 pm »

About the sounds - In the vacuum of space no soundwave can travel , so just play sounds applicable to your own ship : fire / get hit / get killed

I am not really serious about it .
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Zeracles
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Re: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 09:16:12 am »

The ships may not have been designed with this sort of thing in mind, but it's a fascinating thing to try and it hasn't been shown that it can't be made to work. If it does, there could be something really original here.

For your own ships it's perhaps viable to control them like you did in games like Tie Fighter or Wing Commander.. give them orders like 'attack my target' or 'defend me'. But I don't think it's easy to work out a coördinated strategy with AI ships.
I don't think the commands would necessarily be that basic. To bring up an old idea of mine, if the behaviour of a given ship is dictated by a script with numbers (a vector of them) in it, that ship's behaviour can be changed by using in-game sliders or somesuch (Valaggar's idea from an old discussion). This might have the same effect as modifying the script, but in a really easy way.

To illustrate with example: if you are harrassing the enemy with eluders and they are straying too close to the enemy before turning and releasing BUTTs, simply change the relevant element of the strategy vector. If you then find that they are releasing too frequently and shorting out their energy, another real time adaptation may be in order. As commander, as well as telling units where to go and what to shoot, you are telling them what tactics to adopt.

Also,
Quote from: Valaggar@ultronomicon
In addition to this (by the way, those numbers would be probably changed via sliders, I guess), it would also be, probably, a good idea to implement a planning screen — i.e. an in-game screen where you set orders for each ship (such as "flank this", "move here") and a script showing how they are to carry those orders (e.g. "If enemy is low on battery then charge in. Retreat if enemy battery is not low anymore, then stay between 2/3 and 3/3 of its range, sidestepping its shots to waste its battery."). The script might even be represented via additional lines on the map (for instance, if the script tells your three Supox Blades to "attack this Dreadnought formation if no Marauders are within X distance units from it", then a transparent circle of radius X can be seen around the Dreadnought, with a small floating Marauder icons on its border, and a transparent yellow line goes from the circle to the opaque red line that shows the path on which the Blade will attack — the yellow line being titled "then". The transparent things should probably be shown only if a certain key is pressed, in order not to clutter the screen.).
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 10:33:23 am by Zeracles » Logged

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Angelfish
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Re: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 10:47:55 am »

I like the idea of sliders for behaviour, but I don't think it should be too complicated ingame, because you have to control your own ship aswell. All the time you spend commanding your fleet is time not spent in doing your own manoevers with your own ship. I think that all in all, general behaviours and tactics should be set outside of battle, and in battle you can't really command them so detailed anymore, just shout things in a comm line like 'defend me', 'attack my target', 'flee' etc. Just basic commands without a complicated strategy behind them.

Ofcourse, unless you really make a game where you just control a fleet of ships without actually participating in battle yourself, then Valaggar's idea is really good. But for melee, when it is just a mini game in a star control adventure game, it's too much bookkeeping.

Then again, I have to say that the idea of those vectors for behaviour is more something that defines the personality of a starship captain. After all, they are not just mindless drones relaying your commands, they are sentient beings with their own idea of strategy aswell. They could care more for themselves than for the fleet, and protect themselves where neccesary (spathi) or they could be heroes jumping in the frontline at the start of battle (shofixti).
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Zeracles
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Re: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2009, 11:45:14 am »

Ofcourse, unless you really make a game where you just control a fleet of ships without actually participating in battle yourself, then Valaggar's idea is really good.
To clarify, summarising strategy with such a vector of numbers is my idea and has its root in a different project entirely.

Then again, I have to say that the idea of those vectors for behaviour is more something that defines the personality of a starship captain. After all, they are not just mindless drones relaying your commands, they are sentient beings with their own idea of strategy aswell. They could care more for themselves than for the fleet, and protect themselves where neccesary (spathi) or they could be heroes jumping in the frontline at the start of battle (shofixti).
It's likely that for the multiple ships (of same type), the best overall strategy is not to have all of them exhibiting the same behaviour, but rather a range of them such that they fill specific roles (harrassing, sniping, defence, etc). But if these aren't controlled in real time, there'd have to be some kind of initial guess at the optimal mix.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 11:51:27 am by Zeracles » Logged

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Re: Multiple ships in melee, how would that work?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2009, 10:49:07 pm »

A couple things that have confused me:
1. sound fx.  if there's 30 ships all firing, being hit, being killed.  How do you manage soundFX?  It just gets crazy if you try to play everything.

Limit the number of sounds that can be played at a time.  Your mixer will probably do this for you if you try and play too many already.

My take on this is to not play the same sound type for a certain period after it was last played.  For instance if you play an explosion sound, don't play it again until 1/3 of a second ( or whatever) has passed.  I still don't allow more than 30 sounds to be played simultaneously and some culled even more.  Don't play an engine hum sound (or any soft sounds) if more than 10 sounds are already playing.
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