Author Topic: "Free" ships?  (Read 2141 times)

Offline allmybase

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"Free" ships?
« on: April 14, 2010, 02:46:08 PM »
I might have missed this answer somewhere in the wiki; anyways the wiki mentions that AI ships exist in one of 3 states: guarding, special forces/wandering, and "free."

My question is how exactly does the AI choose when and how many ships to "free?" Are the free ships related to the current AI progress and MK level, or do they just free random units so it's possible for them to free MKIV/core units when you're not ready?

Offline x4000

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2010, 02:57:45 PM »
You saw this, yes?  There is a bit more information on that over here at a discussion about the AI design in general.

Basically, ships go free when you destroy the thing they were guarding, or when special forces ships encounter you.  And when ships come in a wave or CPA, they are immediately free.  Free = threat, essentially, so you probably already have a good idea of what makes the threat go up.
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Offline allmybase

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 03:03:01 PM »
OK I guess my question is this: in between waves as we all know certain amounts of ships will randomly trickle in, which are probably free units (but I"m not sure if they are free units or not). Where are those coming from (if we're not freeing units by killing stations/posts)? Special guard posts? Or does the AI free some other units periodically?

I did read somewhere that sometimes the AI will "free" defensive units to go on the offense too. How is that determined?

Offline Doddler

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2010, 03:03:43 PM »
The AI doesn't usually randomly free ships to attack you, generally you have to be involved somehow.  The only major exception are attack waves, ships used in attack waves don't exist in game prior to their attack and enter in a free state.

As for AI setting existing defending ships free, there's a few ways for that to happen.  Destroying a command center in a system is a sure fire way to free AI ships, the remaining defenders are no longer tethered to their posts and come and attack you.  Sometimes AI ships that go too far from their posts to chase your own ships will be set free, generally this is caused by the AI chasing high priority targets, like starships, transports, etc..  Certain AI types, specifically the Tag Teamer, will intercept attacks with all mobile ships in the system, which often causes lots of the ships to break free from their posts.

Lastly, and most dangerously, are cross planet attacks.  The AI takes a large portion of the reinforced ships from its planet that match the current AI ship level and set them free all at once.  This can result in anywhere from 500 to 4000 ships becoming aggressive all at once.  Usually you have a 12 minute warning before such an attack occurs.

It's important to know that free ships don't always rush you.  Commonly they'll retreat to AI planets to wait for more attackers, or sometimes they'll just sit around and attack when they think its right (not sure if that's a bug though, sometimes they'll sit around indefinitely!).  If you're being attacked by ships, especially early in the game and from one or two specific points repeatedly, it is likely a patrol between two special forces posts.  If you scout, you may be able to identify the posts in question and maybe take them out.  You can usually tell if it's a patrol because they won't show up as threat prior to entering your system.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 03:07:24 PM by Doddler »

Offline x4000

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2010, 03:06:25 PM »
OK I guess my question is this: in between waves as we all know certain amounts of ships will randomly trickle in, which are probably free units (but I"m not sure if they are free units or not). Where are those coming from (if we're not freeing units by killing stations/posts)? Special guard posts? Or does the AI free some other units periodically?

I did read somewhere that sometimes the AI will "free" defensive units to go on the offense too. How is that determined?

Pretty much most of that is not quite right, I can see where your confusion is coming from, then.  Doddler's notes are right on: the AI never frees ships except in the circumstances that he mentions, for the most part.  "Freeing defensive units to go on the offense" is referring to a CPA. :)

As far as the ships that trickle in, those are probably not actually free ships in most cases -- not until they reach your planet.  Those were in special forces mode until they encountered your ships, then went into free mode based on that.  Other ships that might trickle in would be those that retreated from some past battle, lurked out in the galaxy, and then returned.  But most would be special forces, which simply blindly patrol until they see your ships (then turning free at that time).
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Offline allmybase

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2010, 03:07:38 PM »
Hmm so theoretically if you killed all the special guard posts and forces in the galaxy then the AI should never release free units on you without your direct stimulation? (besides waves)

Offline x4000

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2010, 03:09:04 PM »
Hmm so theoretically if you killed all the special guard posts and forces in the galaxy then the AI should never release free units on you without your direct stimulation? (besides waves)

Correct.  Except for waves and cpas, if you just sat on your planets and did not go near the AI, in that circumstance, then they also would not come near you.
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Offline allmybase

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2010, 03:12:00 PM »
Ahh so much clearer, thanks mr doddler and x4000.  :o 8)

Offline x4000

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2010, 03:13:55 PM »
Sure thing!
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Offline superking

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2010, 04:13:13 PM »
I'm rather sure the AI does trickle units in even if you never leave your system

Offline x4000

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2010, 04:15:10 PM »
I'm rather sure the AI does trickle units in even if you never leave your system

Yes.  See above -- it's because of special forces units.  His theoretical situation was if you killed all the special forces ships and special forces guard posts in the galaxy.
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Offline superking

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2010, 04:20:43 PM »
ah ok

I say this because I had a horrific, abortive game vs 2 difficulty 8 special forces captains before I decided to play my first complete game at difficulty 7.6  :P

Offline x4000

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2010, 04:24:27 PM »
Yeah, that would be horrific as a first game.  Goodness!
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Offline FrostyThePyro

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2010, 04:33:58 PM »
I always wanted to try against special forces captain, as the wondering ships are kinda nice, but i would not want th extra AIP of having 6 or 7 guard post per planet be special forces.

Offline allmybase

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Re: "Free" ships?
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2010, 04:36:09 PM »
I always wanted to try against special forces captain, as the wondering ships are kinda nice, but i would not want th extra AIP of having 6 or 7 guard post per planet be special forces.

Be peaceful (CHEAT)  ;D

That is an insane consideration though. AIP would be off the charts not to mention you have to do post raids on every single alert planet for fear of massing too many of them.