The Oolite NPC ecosystem (and other questions)

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by Disembodied » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:11 pm

cim wrote:Now there's a point. Maybe the key is to make sure that if a pirate freighter is generated, it gets enough of a fighter wing that it stands a chance of surviving to fill its hold - but make the sort of deadly pack that implies relatively rare outside of the roughest systems.

The less organised pirates can make do with whatever cargo capacity their fighters have, with the light multi-role ships having sufficient cargo hold for a couple of opportunistic raids and then retreat while they're still alive.
This should also mean getting rid of lone-wolf Asp pirates ... any solitary pirate in an Asp (or any other zero-cargo ship) that finds himself on his own should start looking for a gang to join.

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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by cim » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:39 pm

Disembodied wrote:This should also mean getting rid of lone-wolf Asp pirates ... any solitary pirate in an Asp (or any other zero-cargo ship) that finds himself on his own should start looking for a gang to join.
The current experimental pirate AI has that sort of effect anyway: pirates will hunt until their holds are about half full (for the group as a whole), then return to base. If an Asp ends up on its own, then it goes home because it has collected as much cargo as it can. Also included: if a pirate group successfully raids a trade convoy, you don't get the escorts filling up and leaving their freighter on its own.

Merging leaderless pirates into a bigger pirate group if the two meet up should be workable, though. One of the minor disadvantages of using the planet as the base rather than something smaller is that you probably won't get Asps returning in this way joining up with outgoing groups very often, since they won't run into each other.

That said, there is also perhaps a role "pirate-interceptor" for Asps (and other heavy fighters): rather than attaching to a pirate group, just patrol the spacelanes, ignoring traders but attacking hunters and police ships to distract them from protecting traders.

(If we're making the pirates more sophisticated, we should probably also give the traders better escorts)

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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by Cody » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:49 pm

cim wrote:... there is also perhaps a role "pirate-interceptor" for Asps (and other heavy fighters): rather than attaching to a pirate group, just patrol the spacelanes, ignoring traders but attacking hunters and police ships to distract them from protecting traders.
I rather like that idea - any ship that attacks bounty-hunters is my brother-in-arms!
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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by CaptSolo » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:20 pm

Cody wrote:
cim wrote:... there is also perhaps a role "pirate-interceptor" for Asps (and other heavy fighters): rather than attaching to a pirate group, just patrol the spacelanes, ignoring traders but attacking hunters and police ships to distract them from protecting traders.
I rather like that idea - any ship that attacks bounty-hunters is my brother-in-arms!
"Aye, twas clear sailing all the way in... Never seen the like. The blighter's were off my tail, and me sitting with a hold full of the best stuff this side of Gelegeus. Ere, mate, ave another on me."

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Adjustments to roles

Post by cim » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:32 pm

Okay - what about this, then:

Trader-freight: traditional traders. Anything bigger than a Cobra III gets escorts. Escort number and class varies depending on system danger levels
Trader-courier: carries packages and/or passengers, sunskims a lot. Not a pirate target. Uncommon. Mostly low-capacity ships like the Adder, Asp or FDL, but an occasional Anaconda or Boa II liner sounds good too.
Trader-smuggler: carries high amounts of contraband. Almost always has fuel injectors and runs rather than fights. Offender status. Uncommon. Mostly small fast ships.
Trader-opportunist: most of the time acts like a normal trader, but starts with a little bit of spare hold space. Will scoop loose cargo and will attack lone ships. Rare. Similar ships to the standard traders.

Hunter-light: non-witchspace capable hunters. Often found on patrol, most common in medium-danger systems alone or in small packs. Stays in home system.
Hunter-medium: witchspace-capable hunters. Will launch from a safe system, make a short jump to a nearby medium or dangerous system, patrol, then return to the safe system.
Hunter-heavy: heavy fighters. Appear with several medium and light hunter escorts. Will launch from a safe or medium system, make a jump to a dangerous system, patrol, then return.

Pirate-*-fighter: muscle for a pirate freighter. Fighters whose group no longer contains a freighter will return to base and/or join nearby freighter-led groups. Light, medium and heavy versions, similar in power to the escort or hunter classes.
Pirate-interceptor: patrols spacelanes, attacking hunters and police. Fugitive rating. Rare outside of dangerous systems.
Pirate-independent: lone or small group pirates. Will not team up with freighters.
Pirate-*-freighter: pirate group leader. Grouped with several pirate fighters. Heavier sorts rarer with bigger fighter groups. Usually only in dangerous systems; may occasionally raid nearby safe systems. Light: Cobra III with LCB, Medium: Python, Heavy: Boa.

Escort-light: traditional light escort fighter. Default escort class for most freighters.
Escort-medium: tougher escort fighter, with beam lasers. Default escort for Anaconda and for freighters in more dangerous systems.
Escort-heavy: heavy escort fighter. Freighters entering the most dangerous systems may have one or two of these in addition to their normal escorts. Asps, Cobra IIIs, iron-ass Geckos...

PDF table of possible role weights to give a better idea of the sort of ships I envisage at each level.

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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by Cody » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:58 pm

<nods> Sounds excellent, cim.
CaptSolo wrote:"Aye, twas clear sailing all the way in... Never seen the like. The blighter's were off my tail, and me sitting with a hold full of the best stuff this side of Gelegeus."
Which reminds me of what must be a false memory from BBC Elite - being escorted into an anarchy system when running narcotics.
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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by Disembodied » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:17 pm

Looks pretty good, Cim! One thing I might suggest is giving hunters a cargo-carrying mode similar to pirates. in many ways a bounty hunter is just a specialised form of pirate: one which preys exclusively on ships with bounties on them. Is cargo scooping part of hunter behaviour? Most of the money a bounty-hunter makes is from the cargo they "recover". An Asp makes a great bounty hunter but, working alone (or in concert with other zero-cargo ships) has to leave most of the money behind ...

One further suggestion comes to mind: randomly generated, named, Big Bad Guys, controlling pirate groups. Only found intermittently but their destruction and/or capture could be a matter of note, not to mention worth a fair bit of bounty, and might (temporarily) transform pirate activity in a particular region. This might be better done via OXP than core game, of course!

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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by Mauiby de Fug » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:26 pm

Do pirates exclusively prey on traders, or do they take on rival pirate groups as well? I could see it being fairly easy money to sweep in on another pirate band and purloin their cargo while said pirates are already weak and recovering from previous battles...

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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by cim » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:41 pm

Disembodied wrote:Looks pretty good, Cim! One thing I might suggest is giving hunters a cargo-carrying mode similar to pirates.
Already in: hunters with cargo bays will scoop up cargo if they can. Most pirates don't drop that much, of course, but escape pods are popular.
Mauiby de Fug wrote:Do pirates exclusively prey on traders, or do they take on rival pirate groups as well?
They won't normally attack other pirates (though it can happen), but once the loot is in space it's anybody's claim.

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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by Cody » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:45 pm

cim wrote:... but once the loot is in space it's anybody's claim.
<chortles> This can be very entertaining to watch from close-in.
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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by Wyvern Mommy » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:55 pm

Tramp Pirate Gang:

A big freighter or two, escorted by enough fighters to ensure survival on one hand, and additionally generate loot for the freighters to scoop.

The freighters are their base, so ideally (but not depicted in the game), the fighters can dock and/or be hangared on the big ships. And further, the gang would go out of their way to keep the freighter's criminal record clean. So the freighters would stay out of the fight, then be called in to scoop when the battle is done. That way they could also sell the loot anywhere.

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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by Disembodied » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:00 am

cim wrote:Already in: hunters with cargo bays will scoop up cargo if they can. Most pirates don't drop that much, of course, but escape pods are popular.
<MrBurns>Excellent!</MrBurns>

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Re: Adjustments to roles

Post by Diziet Sma » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:38 am

cim wrote:Okay - what about this, then:
<snip>
PDF table of possible role weights to give a better idea of the sort of ships I envisage at each level.
Probably showing my ignorance here, but will this automatically include OXP-added ships appropriately too?
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Where do pirates come from?

Post by Zieman » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:48 am

Cody wrote:<nods> Sounds excellent, cim.
CaptSolo wrote:"Aye, twas clear sailing all the way in... Never seen the like. The blighter's were off my tail, and me sitting with a hold full of the best stuff this side of Gelegeus."
Which reminds me of what must be a false memory from BBC Elite - being escorted into an anarchy system when running narcotics.
I think the memory is true.

I recall several similar occasions on C64. Being offender because of 32t of Narcotics in cargo bay, Police Vipers would regularly appear in the scanner behind you, and slowly overtake (them having max speed 3.2 and player Cobra3 only 3.0) - making using 'J' impossible and Narcotics-runs incredibly dull.
...and keep it under lightspeed!

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Re: Adjustments to roles

Post by JazHaz » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:53 am

Diziet Sma wrote:
cim wrote:Okay - what about this, then:
<snip>
PDF table of possible role weights to give a better idea of the sort of ships I envisage at each level.
Probably showing my ignorance here, but will this automatically include OXP-added ships appropriately too?
Doubt it. I expect OXP ships will need updating to add the appropriate role to them.

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