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| | |-+  SCII balancing "cracked"
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Author Topic: SCII balancing "cracked"  (Read 777 times)
Deus Siddis
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Re: SCII balancing "cracked"
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2019, 02:39:59 am »

Writing AI is said to be one of the most difficult parts of programming. There hasn't been much work done in this area by the fan community.

Glancing at the code... it may be that some of the difficulty is actually coming from the software architecture and documentation rather than the inherent complexity of what a UQM AI must handle.  I mean for one thing, you cannot just throw all these bitwise operators at us simple, gentle millennials! Cheesy

IMHO, as much as possible, you want to treat ship AI scripts as content; as separate from the engine code. Ideally, it should be easy for your AI scripter to know what ship data exists that he can get access to (and easily access it) plus what "commands" the AI can give to its ship directly and to widely-useful subroutines like "turn the ship towards the direction where a shot from my own weapon #1 would intercept the enemy ship, given the former's speed and the latter's velocity".

I see there is a Lua branch of UQM on sourceforge, which presumably is intended for making the game more modder friendly.  Unfortunately it has no activity since 2013.


Anyone feeling motivated to write some AI is welcome to jump in and give it a try. A good place to start: Turn VUX into an actual threat for the campaign.

Is that possible when the player has cheap, perennial Cruiser production?  Against the Cruiser, is the Intruder good for more than just nuclear target practice in network play?
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Shiver
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Re: SCII balancing "cracked"
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2019, 08:47:31 am »

Anyone feeling motivated to write some AI is welcome to jump in and give it a try. A good place to start: Turn VUX into an actual threat for the campaign.

Is that possible when the player has cheap, perennial Cruiser production?  Against the Cruiser, is the Intruder good for more than just nuclear target practice in network play?

Er no, not really, come to think of it. There's a way to play that will let VUX win once in a while, with no help from the VUX warp-in ability. The laser can shoot down nukes with some skill, and you can get the Intruder drifting around looking for the planet while trying to defend yourself. After a lot of stalling, slingshot off the planet to chase down Earthling. Which they can still avoid, sometimes entirely, and sometimes they'll merely be grazed by the laser before slipping or bouncing away.

It would take ship buffs or some AI tuning with ship buffs to make VUX fit in nicely. The goal wouldn't be to make VUX deadly, just make it a fight. Even Umgah is a fight.
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Death 999
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Re: SCII balancing "cracked"
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2019, 04:29:56 am »

Yeah, that's a rough one. Maybe let them escape and re-intrude? But the cruiser captain would still be able to just keep moving.

Make the laser quickly raster back and forth in a narrow cone? That'd help with shooting down nukes.

And that still assumes that the AI is smart enough to pull off the planet search strategy… but it doesn't need to be as good at it.
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Deus Siddis
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Re: SCII balancing "cracked"
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2019, 07:39:41 pm »

It would take ship buffs or some AI tuning with ship buffs to make VUX fit in nicely.

How many ships in total would need these AI and/or physical behavior changes? How many ships are already well balanced and played competently by the AI?
I do not want to discourage piecemeal hacking, but the broader and deeper the desired changes to ship combat, the more efficient it becomes to first modernize the software architecture of the ship combat code so that these modifications become quite a lot easier to make.

Are there already plans for refactoring ship physics and AI into an Entity-Component-System model and/or moving ship data and AI behavior scripts out of the C files?


Make the laser quickly raster back and forth in a narrow cone? That'd help with shooting down nukes.

Unless the nukes are slipping in "between" the ship facing directions or avoiding the hit-scan detection by crossing the laser beam between frames, the AI might better benefit from a simple improvement of the intruder's turning speed, combined with the AI making nukes a higher priority target and/or better anticipating their movement.  The nukes do accelerate and turn a bit, but they are predictable about where they want to go.

And that still assumes that the AI is smart enough to pull off the planet search strategy… but it doesn't need to be as good at it.

I do not know how the "wrapping" mechanic affects the planet position, but otherwise it should be fairly simple vector math to engage in a random gravity whip maneuver.  Where it gets complicated is trying to aim for the enemy ship using the gravity whip.  There's a ton of variables to getting that remotely right.

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Shiver
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Re: SCII balancing "cracked"
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2019, 11:12:55 pm »

How many ships in total would need these AI and/or physical behavior changes? How many ships are already well balanced and played competently by the AI?

If we're just talking AI tweaks for the campaign, not too many ships...

Umgah could stand to use its cone for protection against long range missiles a bit better. They let some easily-stopped attacks slip through. It's otherwise a great opponent.

Ur-Quan fighters should be less of a liability. Give them collision proofing against asteroids and enemy ships, and longer fuel reserves to return to the Dreadnought with. They don't need to be immune to attrition tactics, but they shouldn't be going kersplat left and right so much. No AI changes needed.

Kohr-Ah doesn't need to change, yet the amount of wasted potential with this ship is staggering. Why, why does it run straight after everything it fights? It should behave more dynamically. I say that, yet they could very easily become way too difficult for most players with the right (i.e. wrong) playstyle. This would a be a low-priority ship to work on.

Orz AI is terrible, but fixing it isn't important since fights against them are optional and comparatively uncommon.

Thraddash could use just a bit more rate-of-fire and crew or something like that, no AI changes needed for them.

And VUX (already discussed) is the one real offender in the midst of this.


Quote
Are there already plans for refactoring ship physics and AI into an Entity-Component-System model and/or moving ship data and AI behavior scripts out of the C files?

I wouldn't know what that means. It's doubtful anyone has a project like that in the works, core team or otherwise.
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