cloaking device non-quirks

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Albee
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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Albee »

El Viejo wrote:If one was intent on killing the convoy, one would simply follow through its wormhole and dispatch it there
At the risk of revealing my true rank to the world (Deadly-but-Moronic) I'll confess that the significance of this statement has only just sunk in. You're saying that every time a ship jumps out it opens a wormhole, right? And... let me guess... every time a ship jumps in, too? Up till now I'd assumed wormholes were weird natural phenomena that some captains chose to take advantage of by diving into. :roll:

I guess I must have read about this at some point, but obviously it didn't sink in.

And yes, jumping out is therefore no protection against attack. Though I suppose, depending on the system, ships could jump to different planets, so that some at least would escape. Any privateer worth his salt would no doubt follow the mothership for the rich pickings in her hold. Then again, the idea of jumping to different destinations implies some forethought and planning, which flies in the face of Disembodied's notion (which I like a lot) that a cloaked attack is totally unexpected and confusing to the NPCs.
El Viejo wrote:As the player, you can of course 'see' a cloaked npc, and deal with it (you just can't get a lock-on).
It's a pity npcs can't use their 'eyeballs' at close range to at least be able to fire lasers at the cloaked player.
.
Couldn't the NPC AI mimic this? Like shooting normally, but with a reduced chance of a hit? And maybe periodic, randomly generated 'lapses' where they lose track of the target altogether and have to re-acquire it visually.

If they could do this, then El Viejo's suggestion of real convoys makes a lot of sense. With a whole bunch of fighters after me, closing in en-masse using their compatriots' laser fire as a guide to my location, I imagine things could get pretty exciting. :)
Eric Walch wrote:I have been playing a bit with this. In trunk the pirates now have code that remembers the identity of a known ship that suddenly cloaks. I ported that code also to traderInterceptAI (used by traders) and to interceptAI (used by escorts, hunters and police). It looks good that a ship reacts in some way on a target that suddenly disappears. (Almost always the player)
My big problem is that I have no understanding of what the code can and cannot do, so my ideas might well be totally unfeasible. I'm just glad we have Eric and the others to make the magic happen. :D

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Cody »

Albee wrote:You're saying that every time a ship jumps out it opens a wormhole, right? And... let me guess... every time a ship jumps in, too?
Yes to the first, and no to the second.

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Albee »

El Viejo wrote:
Albee wrote:You're saying that every time a ship jumps out it opens a wormhole, right? And... let me guess... every time a ship jumps in, too?
Yes to the first, and no to the second.
Oh, right. I thought I'd seen a wormhole open and a ship come flying out. (Too much Cebetelaian lethal brandy, probably).

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Cody »

Albee wrote:I thought I'd seen a wormhole open and a ship come flying out.
You will see a brief, faint ring appear as a ship emerges, but no wormhole cloud.

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Thargoid »

El Viejo wrote:
Albee wrote:You're saying that every time a ship jumps out it opens a wormhole, right? And... let me guess... every time a ship jumps in, too?
Yes to the first, and no to the second.
To be very specific if the ship jumps then it will make a wormhole cloud, but if it's part of a fleet and follows on through the wormhole of it's predecessor then no.

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Cody »

Thargoid wrote:To be very specific if the ship jumps then it will make a wormhole cloud, but if it's part of a fleet and follows on through the wormhole of it's predecessor then no.
<nods at the TMA> Many escort ships will not be jump-capable, and can only use their mother's wormhole. I presume you can still analyse a ship's wormhole, get its destination system, then if the local system layout is suitable, go via another quicker route and be there waiting for the poor ship to emerge... yes? Or did I imagine that feature at some time in the past? <awaits a boffin for confirmation>

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Eric Walch »

El Viejo wrote: I presume you can still analyse a ship's wormhole, get its destination system, then if the local system layout is suitable, go via another quicker route and be there waiting for the poor ship to emerge... yes? Or did I imagine that feature at some time in the past? <awaits a boffin for confirmation>
Yes you can according to the code. I think McLane even tested this. (Probably more people, but he is the only one I remember reporting the results) Main problem is that the shorter route is often several hours shorter. That means you have to wait several hours in real-time to see it arrive. I assume an npc pirate has this time, but a player normally is impatient.

okay, you know the targets arrival time from its wormhole so you could do other things in the mean time. Or speed up time a bit with the TAF feature. :lol:

Problem of making ships to realistic, is that you remove all the fun for the player. e.g. a sensible pirate would have an ai with the following code:

Code: Select all

if (player > deadly) jump out on sight.
So you probably won't see any pirate to shoot down from a certain level. :(

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Cody »

Eric Walch wrote:
El Viejo wrote: I presume you can still analyse a ship's wormhole, get its destination system, then if the local system layout is suitable, go via another quicker route and be there waiting for the poor ship to emerge... yes? Or did I imagine that feature at some time in the past? <awaits a boffin for confirmation>
Yes you can according to the code. I think McLane even tested this.
Thanks, Eric... I thought McLane had tested this. I probably did myself, at some time.

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Switeck »

Eric Walch wrote:performTumble is no option as it is actually a bug in itself as it instantly sets the speed to zero. (You can scrape the pilot from its cockpit screen after that command) There is a command to set the destination to its current location. When starting with zero speed that leads to departing in random directions.
My Switeck's Shipping OXP uses performTumble in conjunction with a speed setting in the same line to prevent instant-stops. But if that instant stop is a bug, why not remove the bug?
Eric Walch wrote:Problem of making ships to realistic, is that you remove all the fun for the player. e.g. a sensible pirate would have an ai with the following code:

Code: Select all

if (player > deadly) jump out on sight.
So you probably won't see any pirate to shoot down from a certain level. :(
Realism-wise, how would the pirates know that you're at least dangerous? Reputation alone would only be significant if you piloted an uncommon ship type or if you announced your name in your ship's IFF. What kind of idiot would do that in a universe where some factions would send the equivalent of a carrier battle group to wipe you out if you harass them too much? :lol:

If you were in a "standard" Cobra 3 without a different paint scheme, then at best they could only scan your external weapons/equipment to guess at your fighting potential. And such scans may only be workable at shorter ranges. In short, too late.

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by SandJ »

Albee wrote:The fundamental problem for convoys, it seems to me, is that there's no truly effective defence against a fast ship with a cloaking device.
The classic case for this is the German U-boat of WWII. Without knowing where the cloaked vessel is, the slow-moving convoy is always going to to be vulnerable. A lot of very experienced, very intelligent people spent years agonising over this problem and determined that all you can do is reduce the losses slightly to be only appalling. No AI we come up with is ever going to stand a chance against a cloaked human.
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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Albee »

SandJ wrote:No AI we come up with is ever going to stand a chance against a cloaked human.
I've come to the same conclusion. I still think the NPC AI needs tweaking, however -- not to give them a fighting chance, but for reasons of credibility. When they calmly continue on their way, course and speed unchanged, even though I'm blowing them up one by one, they seem to be saying: "Let's all close our eyes and pretend he isn't there."

I'd be much happier to see them turn to 'safety' (the station, if they aren't already headed that way) and increase speed to max. I'd also be happy to see them dash around like headless chickens, as Disembodied suggested, panicking as they wonder what the hell is happening. I agree that it probably makes no difference ultimately -- if my ship is faster than theirs, most if not all of them are goners, no matter what they do -- but it would feel more 'real' to me. Just my opinion.

A final thought: would it be possible for the mothership to put out a distress call earlier? Currently she waits till her own hull is taking the hits, which seems somewhat tardy of her, considering that her escorts have just been methodically slaughtered by some cloaked fiend.

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Switeck »

El Viejo wrote:
Albee wrote:Jumping out would probably be the safest course
If one was intent on killing the convoy, one would simply follow through its wormhole and dispatch it there. Thing is, they're not really 'convoys' - they're just one trader plus escorts. If several such groups actually formed a self-protecting convoy, it would make a pirate's life much harder.
The whole concept of ratios of escorts to freighters and max effective convoy size was given a lot of thought during WW1 and WW2. No similar studies seem to have been done in Oolite's universe despite the obvious overwhelming need, especially if traveling to anarchy systems. Since unlike most WW2 freighters, the "freighters" in Oolite are actually well armed, they should not need lots of fighters to defend them. They just need more freighter types for mutual assistance...and small numbers of fighters to catch what tries to run away. There's already signs in Oolite of a fighter shortage -- such as automatic reduction of fighters in "safer" systems, so freighters "doubling up" for mutual assistance doesn't seem too far-fetched.

Basically already said that here:
http://www.aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.ph ... 30#p163630
SandJ wrote:
Albee wrote:The fundamental problem for convoys, it seems to me, is that there's no truly effective defence against a fast ship with a cloaking device.
The classic case for this is the German U-boat of WWII. Without knowing where the cloaked vessel is, the slow-moving convoy is always going to to be vulnerable. A lot of very experienced, very intelligent people spent years agonising over this problem and determined that all you can do is reduce the losses slightly to be only appalling. No AI we come up with is ever going to stand a chance against a cloaked human.
Yes, THIS! The U-Boats were at least extremely slow while "cloaked" (underwater). In some sense, they tended to reveal their presence when firing...switching from hunter to hunted. But in Oolite, you can stay cloaked while firing...or at worst only have to decloak if you want credit for the kill. Your speed is not reduced while cloaked. (If injecting and firing lasers/bombs/missiles caused decloaking, then at least it'd be more balanced.)

If npc ships injected away from the rough location of a cloaked attacking ship, they could at least make hitting them harder.

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by cim »

Switeck wrote:There's already signs in Oolite of a fighter shortage -- such as automatic reduction of fighters in "safer" systems, so freighters "doubling up" for mutual assistance doesn't seem too far-fetched.
Well, that, or the traders are trying to cut corners to improve their profit.
Switeck wrote:Since unlike most WW2 freighters, the "freighters" in Oolite are actually well armed, they should not need lots of fighters to defend them.
They are, but they're also slow and big targets like a modern freighter. I saw a pirate band operating out of a rock hermit attack an Anaconda and its six escorts a while back - the pirates concentrated their fire on the Anaconda, while the escorts desperately tried to hit them and throw their aim off. The pirate band was wiped out - including their base - with only one casualty on the trader's side. Unfortunately, that was the Anaconda... I have a couple of ideas for how the traders could make slightly better use of their escorts to make them more effective, though.

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Eric Walch »

Albee wrote:I've come to the same conclusion. I still think the NPC AI needs tweaking, however -- not to give them a fighting chance, but for reasons of credibility. When they calmly continue on their way, course and speed unchanged, even though I'm blowing them up one by one, they seem to be saying: "Let's all close our eyes and pretend he isn't there."

I'd be much happier to see them turn to 'safety' (the station, if they aren't already headed that way) and increase speed to max. I'd also be happy to see them dash around like headless chickens, as Disembodied suggested, panicking as they wonder what the hell is happening. I agree that it probably makes no difference ultimately -- if my ship is faster than theirs, most if not all of them are goners, no matter what they do -- but it would feel more 'real' to me. Just my opinion.
Not fighting to the end and breaking off an attack faster than ships currently do, increases their survivability. Currently ships start to flee when their energy drops below 25%. By giving ships dedicated JS scripts, you can do a lot more than with just AI alone. Take for instance the [wiki]SuperCobra[/wiki]. That ship breaks off an attack much faster than regular ships. And I always have a hard time killing it. I do get more satisfaction if I killed it eventually. So, fleeing not always spoils the fun. :lol:
Albee wrote:A final thought: would it be possible for the mothership to put out a distress call earlier? Currently she waits till her own hull is taking the hits, which seems somewhat tardy of her,....
Actually they do broadcast the distress call earlier: When the pirates start thinking about attacking her. The only exception is the player, because the code currently has no way of knowing the intentions of the player.

The updated AI with better reactions on cloaking are added to trunk yesterday and should now be in the last nighty.

I still think that escorts should not break off on their own but first tell their mother about this and wait for approval. In yesterdays new code, the only reaction when hitting an escort is that she informs mom about an attack by unknown source and mom reacts on it by altering course, starting with a roll. To keep in formation, escorts have to follow the roll, making them already a more difficult target for the player.

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Re: cloaking device non-quirks

Post by Commander McLane »

Eric Walch wrote:
Albee wrote:The only exception is the player, because the code currently has no way of knowing the intentions of the player.
Sooner or later Oolite will have to be wired to the player's brain … :twisted:

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