Commander McLane wrote:One would think that this is so simple a guideline that one has to wonder why apparently every single pirate in Oolite is incapable of following it. Are they so unlucky? Or so stupid?
The new pirate AI I'm working on does consider avoiding police and bounty hunters a higher priority than threatening traders.
My thinking is that by and large it's not that piracy causes you to get a bounty (though it will if you aren't careful) but that the bounty causes you to go into piracy. Once you've got Offender status - or worse, Fugitive - you're in serious trouble. You can't safely dock at the main stations, bounty hunters and police will attack you on the lane, trading between rock hermits is not particularly profitable, and you can't easily replace damaged equipment.
The most profitable path left is likely to be extorting cargo out of traders, and selling that somewhere less traceable - maybe a rock hermit, maybe somewhere planetside. Of course, if the traders fight back, you've a chance that the police will come along while you're in the middle of it, and you're right back up to Fugitive status again.
Commander McLane wrote:The change to Oolite's game play would be twofold: on the one hand, it would become more difficult to identify a pirate before he has attacked. However, some behavioural characteristics would still give him away, like the lurking as such. Nobody but pirates is lurking.
The second change is more interesting, and somehow deeper: when attacked by a clean pirate, the player gets a risk of becoming offender himself, if police enters into the vicinity at a bad moment (namely when the player lands a hit on the pirate).
I think we would have to avoid this. The Scanner Targeting Enhancement is the only way the player has to detect target legal status, and useful as it is there are several pieces of equipment players should be buying first. So Clean Jamesons would find that sometimes ships attacked them, and then when they fought back, the police also attacked them. The early game is difficult enough as it is without making Viper Interceptors (seemingly arbitrarily) hostile.
Commander McLane wrote:If this is unwanted, maybe the police AI can be given the power to determine who was the original attacker.
I can't think of a reliable way to do this which doesn't have odd side-effects. Say the player comes across a clean trader and a clean pirate fighting (the pirate shot first, but the player didn't see that), and joins in on one side or another. A Viper then comes along, and the first thing it sees is the player shooting one of the other two. I can't think of a rule for "original attacker" which means the player can safely assist the trader which doesn't also mean the player can safely assist the pirate.
Well, okay, I can think of one that works in that case, but extending it to more complex fights means it's basically equivalent to "firing on a Clean target gives you a 1 credit bounty even if no-one else sees you", and it would be a lot simpler just to do that...
Disembodied wrote:Is it perhaps worth considering dropping the requirement of crimes having to be witnessed by the police?
Ideally I think destroying a Clean target would give a bounty (the kill is recorded and bounties paid, so surely anything illegal can get detected too). Perhaps attacking them as well, for simplicity. Unfortunately, making that change would affect quite a few existing OXPs, especially mission OXPs. It feels to me too large a change to make, though that will depend on exactly how you interpret the "stable version promise" regarding OXP compatibility.