The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Disembodied » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:57 am

CheeseRedux wrote:My point is that someone running while firing is only a threat as long as the pursuers choose. If they keep coming, it only makes sense to use the laser to try to even the odds; As soon as they break off, the incentive to keep firing is greatly reduced. Yes, the fleeing party could try to realign the sights on the no-longer pursuing craft, but that takes time, at the very least.

If a retreating ship taking potshots is automatically classified as actively hostile, you can have situations where both (or all, if there are more) ships would prefer to break off, but the AI is prevented from doing so since it thinks itself under attack.
I don't think it's possible for anyone - NPCs or players - to tell the difference between a ship that's fleeing and firing its rear laser as it flees, and a ship that's still actively engaged in the combat but has just turned round to fire its rear laser to allow its front laser to cool down. I agree that this could lead to situations where the AI misreads the player's intention - but if you're running away, you're dodging and weaving; if you're aiming and shooting back with your rear laser, then you're still very much engaged in the combat.

If the AI was prepared to interpret a ship firing its rear laser as "fleeing" (or "no longer a threat"), then there would be a good chance that they'd break off combat with a player who was still actively fighting them, and just swapping lasers. Mistakes are possible either way - but arguably it's a more serious mistake to turn away from an actively hostile enemy than it is to sometimes continue to pursue a ship that's just trying to escape.

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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Diziet Sma » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:56 am

This entertaining little tale by Mad Dan Eccles brings up a good point..

Baiting ships into firing on you when you have the main Station behind you can be fun.. but experienced Commanders know to be very careful about picking their shots near the Station.. it stands to reason that more experienced NPCs would do the same..

No idea how do-able, or otherwise, that may be though..
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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Disembodied » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:59 am

Diziet Sma wrote:This entertaining little tale by Mad Dan Eccles brings up a good point..

Baiting ships into firing on you when you have the main Station behind you can be fun.. but experienced Commanders know to be very careful about picking their shots near the Station.. it stands to reason that more experienced NPCs would do the same..

No idea how do-able, or otherwise, that may be though..
Cim has already mentioned that NPCs could be made aware of the main station aegis, and of other stations as well - but it would definitely be worth creating a general no-fire zone around any Galcop station: perhaps all non-Thargoid ships should (unless fired upon within the aegis) break off combat when they/their target reach the aegis?

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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Mad Dan Eccles » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:10 pm

I like that idea. Would it be possible to set it so that any commander (including the player) gets an automatic fugitive status if they discharge weapons within the aegis *unless* it's at a Thargoid? That would crimp my fun somewhat but would make more in-game sense. (And, of course, NPCs need to respect the 'no weapons' rule too--the aegis becomes an automatic safe zone even if you're in an Annie being chased by a dozen FdLs and BCCs. Might make life easier for noobs.)
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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Gimi » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:19 pm

Mad Dan Eccles wrote:I like that idea. Would it be possible to set it so that any commander (including the player) gets an automatic fugitive status if they discharge weapons within the aegis *unless* it's at a Thargoid? That would crimp my fun somewhat but would make more in-game sense. (And, of course, NPCs need to respect the 'no weapons' rule too--the aegis becomes an automatic safe zone even if you're in an Annie being chased by a dozen FdLs and BCCs. Might make life easier for noobs.)
Fugitive seems a bit harsh. Offender and/or a fine for discharging weapon and fugitive if you hit another ship or the station seems about right to me.
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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Cody » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:25 pm

Mad Dan Eccles wrote:... the aegis becomes an automatic safe zone...
I'd not like to see that - nowhere should be 100% safe!
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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Disembodied » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:37 pm

It might be difficult to tell the difference between discharging a weapon irresponsibly (and illegally) within the aegis, and shooting at a legitimate target but missing ... but there definitely should be targets that you can shoot at. I'd suggest adding "fugitives" and "asteroids" to the list, too.

I don't think this would make the aegis 100% safe. "Safe" is a relative term. :twisted: There are still Thargoids. There are still cops, who will pull you over with extreme prejudice if you break the rules, accidentally or not. But it doesn't make sense for pirates to wander all the way up to Galcop's front door, or for traders to discharge weapons towards the main station, even in the most anarchic of anarchies. This might influence the Furball OXP, though ...

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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Cody » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:42 pm

Disembodied wrote:But it doesn't make sense for pirates to wander all the way up to Galcop's front door...
It might if they turned up in force, as aegis-raiders do on occasion (if they still do, that is - not seen any for some time).
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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Diziet Sma » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:32 pm

Cody wrote:
Mad Dan Eccles wrote:... the aegis becomes an automatic safe zone...
I'd not like to see that - nowhere should be 100% safe!
Agreed.. and it would really mess with the Furball OXP.

I'd simply like to see that 'experienced' NPCs would think twice before firing in the general direction of the Station itself. If the Aegis became a "no-fire" zone, even defending yourself would become an offence. And in a Furball, everyone would become a criminal.
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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Astrobe » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:12 pm

Disembodied wrote:It might be difficult to tell the difference between discharging a weapon irresponsibly (and illegally) within the aegis, and shooting at a legitimate target but missing ... but there definitely should be targets that you can shoot at. I'd suggest adding "fugitives" and "asteroids" to the list, too.

I don't think this would make the aegis 100% safe. "Safe" is a relative term. :twisted: There are still Thargoids. There are still cops, who will pull you over with extreme prejudice if you break the rules, accidentally or not. But it doesn't make sense for pirates to wander all the way up to Galcop's front door, or for traders to discharge weapons towards the main station, even in the most anarchic of anarchies. This might influence the Furball OXP, though ...
Personally for having hit by accident Q at a very wrong time, I have this routine of switching my weapons offline when in range of the station. As a former Flight Simulator player, I like the constraints of procedures. I have this project in the back of my head of hacking the Traffic Control OXP in order to give fines if the weapons are not on safety or if some speed limits are not observed (like >250 when in Aegis space, which is also the figure - but different units I guess - IRL for planes when in controlled airspace). I even imagine a story inspired from the Hindenburg disaster to introduce it.

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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Mad Dan Eccles » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:07 pm

Disembodied wrote:It might be difficult to tell the difference between discharging a weapon irresponsibly (and illegally) within the aegis, and shooting at a legitimate target but missing ... but there definitely should be targets that you can shoot at. I'd suggest adding "fugitives" and "asteroids" to the list, too.
Which is why "No laser fire except if Thargoids are about" might be a fun rule...
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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Disembodied » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:02 am

Cody wrote:
Disembodied wrote:But it doesn't make sense for pirates to wander all the way up to Galcop's front door...
It might if they turned up in force, as aegis-raiders do on occasion (if they still do, that is - not seen any for some time).
There might be a way around this, and around the Furball OXP problem too: use the pre-existing odds calculation system, and make stations count as very powerful ships. Galcop main system stations would be extremely powerful, and hostile to Offenders, Fugitives and Thargoids (although I don't think the bugs use odds calculation, so that won't make any difference there). But it should, I think, mean that most pirates would be scared off by the station's presence - but a very powerful pirate fleet could still attack ships within the aegis (or, more specifically, within scanner range of the station).

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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Cody » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:10 pm

Disembodied wrote:... but a very powerful pirate fleet could still attack ships within the aegis.
I'd definitely want to keep aegis-raiders in the game - they're rare enough to give the player a nice shock!
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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by cim » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:22 pm

Disembodied wrote:There might be a way around this, and around the Furball OXP problem too: use the pre-existing odds calculation system, and make stations count as very powerful ships. Galcop main system stations would be extremely powerful, and hostile to Offenders, Fugitives and Thargoids (although I don't think the bugs use odds calculation, so that won't make any difference there). But it should, I think, mean that most pirates would be scared off by the station's presence - but a very powerful pirate fleet could still attack ships within the aegis (or, more specifically, within scanner range of the station).
Odds calculation compares the group strength of your target with your own group's strength, so attacks on the station or its defense ships will get a very unfavourable assessment. Attacking ships within the aegis won't automatically do so, but the check for a hostile station is a separate check. Unless you tell the AI to skip that check (which is easy, but not done for most of the standard AIs) any hostile station within 2x scanner range will cause the AI to break off its attack.

Aegis raiders probably won't appear in 1.79 as it currently stands: they were an interaction between the old system populator and the willingness of pirates to fight almost as close to the death as Thargoids. (As a result, they basically only appeared in those systems where the main station was close to the witchpoint-planet line, so that the populator could add pirates to the aegis to start with)

They'd be pretty easy to add back in by OXPs: I'd want a plausible reason for them to be there to add them to the core game: there are far easier and safer places to scoop cargo. Once I know what else they might be up to there, the AI can be more believable.
Diziet Sma wrote:Baiting ships into firing on you when you have the main Station behind you can be fun.. but experienced Commanders know to be very careful about picking their shots near the Station.. it stands to reason that more experienced NPCs would do the same..
The case to cover is a Clean ship firing on another Clean ship inside the aegis or in view of a police ship.

A nearby loophole already is fixed in 1.77: you target up a ship while a cop is about, but deliberately miss it, attempting to get it to hit you. The target then sends a distress message, and the cop gives you Offender status. So the clean ship under attack could send distress messages. Whether the cop believes you or the other ship if both are clean would probably depend on an assessment of your role.

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Re: The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

Post by Cody » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:38 pm

cim wrote:Aegis raiders probably won't appear in 1.79 as it currently stands
That would be a shame!
cim wrote:I'd want a plausible reason for them to be there to add them to the core game...
[pirate boss mode] I've got a pack of a dozen or so loyal, experienced followers, and I'm hanging-out in an industrial anarchy system cursed by dreadful civil war (Edxexe, for example - a nice place to do business). Apart from the aegis, the system is basically my manor. Most of the time, we wait for big fat traders and their escorts to hyperspace in - rich pickings. But occasionly, I might want to make a statement - underline my control of the system - and get to gut a nice fat trader too, so we raid the aegis in full force. Before any Vipers (or indeed hunters) can fully get their act together, I've picked out a trader who is getting the hell out of Dodge and I, along with my squadron, follow through his wormhole, secure in the knowledge that the cops and/or hunters will not follow us*. After the hyperspace jump, we can gut the trader at our leisure - and I've still got full fuel tanks, so we can return immediately to my system (or raid a little more first)! [/pirate boss mode]

That was pretty much my experience with one bunch of aegis-raiders at Edxexe, and even though I took a right slappin' in the end - it was great fun.

*Unless that's going to change?
Last edited by Cody on Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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