Author Topic: Human Squad 'Swarms'  (Read 1329 times)

Offline bladeravinger

  • Newbie Mark III
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Human Squad 'Swarms'
« on: December 20, 2016, 07:40:56 PM »
After Watching The Squad Proto-type video By Chris I Got to thinking

I Believe i heard Chris Say that the swarm effect that was happening was a bug (a happy bug that may not need fixing)

My Personal Views are that, though the Swarming looks cool, its really not a human Trait.

The AI is interlinked, able to make nano-second calculations about Velocity and Trajectory to bring the risk of collision down to almost improbable.

Humans However, while capable of conducting the 'swarm' effect, it is rather mentally taxing, monitoring other ships, relaying velocity and trajectory so that others do not fly into your path, understanding another pilots information, interpreting it and knowing whether to change course or order another ship to change there course.

To Cut to the Chase. Humans focus more on self preservation, (thats the reason for this war is it not?) there for, humans would have set formations, rather then the 'swarm' formation, the swarm would inevitably cause incident as humans are just not 'in sync' like the AI.

Breakdown to a Few Short Words::: keep the AI 'Swam formation' Fix the Humans to set formations

Please Discuss
Thanks
Blade
When things go right, Dont call me.
When things go wrong, Dont call me.
When things go sideways, I'm your man, i probably caused it anyway.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,215
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2016, 09:44:42 AM »
That's a good idea!  It wasn't really a bug per se, it was just an unintended response to the ships not having formations yet but being told to move.  They more or less did exactly what I expected, but because of the contrails it looked incredibly cool, which I did not expect.

It's a good idea to keep the AI ones having different behaviors compared to the human ones -- that will really emphasize the difference between the sides, and it's not much more work for me.  Well within reasonable bounds, anyhow.

And boy will that feel a lot more distinct per-side, wow. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Cyborg

  • Master Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,926
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2016, 09:46:48 AM »
Great post. Great idea.
Kahuna strategy guide:
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,13369.0.html

Suggestions, bugs? Don't be lazy, give back:
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/

Planetcracker. Believe it.

The stigma of hunger. http://wayw.re/Vi12BK

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,215
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2016, 09:49:01 AM »
Yeah, I'm really jazzed about it.  That was such a good idea! :)  It will play super well in videos, too.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Lord Of Nothing

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 122
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2016, 12:04:37 PM »
Agreed- it's a little detail that will make a big feel difference, I suspect.

Offline carldong

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2016, 09:23:54 PM »
Doesn't lore(maybe Steam description of AIWC, I don't remember clearly) imply that the human ships are also unmanned? It mentions something about a "safe AI routine" that rapidly produces and commands ships.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,215
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2016, 03:41:38 PM »
Doesn't lore(maybe Steam description of AIWC, I don't remember clearly) imply that the human ships are also unmanned? It mentions something about a "safe AI routine" that rapidly produces and commands ships.

I have been back and forth on that, and personally I never committed to a specific approach.  Keith may have gone with one, I'm not sure.

Either way, the humans would code their AI differently from the AIs... and I was thinking of these as remote drone pilots (as in modern military) rather than completely-autonomous ships, personally, if they are unmanned.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline carldong

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 191
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2016, 04:55:25 AM »
Doesn't lore(maybe Steam description of AIWC, I don't remember clearly) imply that the human ships are also unmanned? It mentions something about a "safe AI routine" that rapidly produces and commands ships.

I have been back and forth on that, and personally I never committed to a specific approach.  Keith may have gone with one, I'm not sure.

Either way, the humans would code their AI differently from the AIs... and I was thinking of these as remote drone pilots (as in modern military) rather than completely-autonomous ships, personally, if they are unmanned.

So that is why humans have such a pitiful ship cap. Hmmm.

Offline Squashyhex

  • Newbie Mark III
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2016, 09:49:16 AM »
This sounds like an awesome idea :D
"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Star Ship Enterprise. It's continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilisations; to boldly go where no one has gone before."

Offline bladeravinger

  • Newbie Mark III
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2016, 04:20:06 PM »
thanks for the great feedback guys, I'm glad you guys like it

il leave it in the hands of the amazingly capable Chris and Keith

I'm actually amazed that the idea went down so well and look forward to see that you guys make of it
When things go right, Dont call me.
When things go wrong, Dont call me.
When things go sideways, I'm your man, i probably caused it anyway.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,215
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2017, 11:40:55 AM »
Welcome to Arcen! :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Peter Ebbesen

  • Full Member Mark II
  • ***
  • Posts: 164
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2017, 04:10:38 PM »
a) I like the idea of groups of AI ships and player ships behaving differently. That said,

b) I don't buy the rationale that humans would go in for static formations when fighting in a 3D environment to avoid risk due to human error; If there's even the slightest expected advantage in combat from using a swarm approach over a static formation approach that outweighs the expected losses from interpenetration, the swarm approach would probably be chosen because war is an inherently risky business. You don't avoid doing things in wartime because they are risky - you avoid doing risky things because you think (for whatever reason) that the risk isn't worth it. In this case, you'd evolve a doctrine for using swarms in formation.

Perhaps the swarm approach chosen by humanity would be more like a weave (less apparent randomness) and not as efficiently carried out as the AI could, but if it was thought to be an advantage, it would be used regardless of knowing that occasionally ships would be lost that way.

Also, to be contrarian, the ships are not really avoiding colliding with each other making perfectly calculated near-misses based on nano-second reactions in the example video. Space is big. Very big. What is represented to us as seconds when playing is a much greater time period in the universe the game portrays and the ships are far apart and tiny. The odds of accidentally colliding have got to be miniscule. (Well, either that or somebody went and shrunk the universe, humans included, by a great many orders of magnitude, but I don't recall reading anything of that sort in the kickstarter).

And as for avoiding collisions when performing as part of a group, that's what training is for.

c) So while I can totally buy static formations for humans while not engaged in combat on the grounds of not wanting to stress the crews or wanting to minimize non-combat casualties (from broken bones caused by falling in the lavatory if some strong internal gravity isn't included in the ship design, if nothing else :D, or perhaps the beancounters insist on not stressing components or whatever), if the game features AI ships "swarming" while in combat that will presumably be because the AI has calculated that it is an advantage, and in that case humanity would have calculated the same and taken steps to counter as best it could because running formations that are inferior is not an evolutionary survival trait.

so, as an alternative

d) I'd suggest:

AI:
Noncombat - lazy swarm
Combat - aggressive swarm

Human:
Noncombat - static formation
Combat - lazy swarm for non-capital ships (alternative: formation that performs a weave), falling out of formation for capital ships
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 04:49:06 PM by Peter Ebbesen »
Ride the Lightning - a newbie Fallen Spire AAR - the AAR of my second serious AI War game. Now completed.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,215
Re: Human Squad 'Swarms'
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2017, 04:28:51 PM »
Oh, for sure.  To be a bit more clear, I've been thinking of essentially the following three states for ships:

1. Sitting still and bored
2. Traveling, may or may not be shooting.
3. Squad is stationary and shooting, but ships are not stationary.

In the case of #1, I'd see the human units as being more disciplined and kind of chilling.  The AI units should probably lazily swarm, sure.

For #2, I'd like to see the humans moving around a bit in a cool formation that looks like they're actually on the move, but not going around in a nuts-o fashion.  For the AI units, I guess it should be lazy swarm normally, or angry swarm if have shot recently.

For #3, the AI does the angry swarm (along the lines of now), and the human side would do more organized-looking evasive maneuvers, I think.  These things aren't hard to create, and today I think I came up with a way of efficiently blending between the states of multiple swarms without eating your CPU, so I'm happy about that.

---

Fun sidebar:

- Basically instead of having individual paths for ships and them following them as they do now, instead I'd just have a few centralized paths that are calculated on an ongoing basis all the time.  This is more efficient anyhow, because one of the biggest expenses of these flight paths is calculating the local coordinate space (space relative to the squad) position and orientation of the ships.

- I would be running those simulations with invisible dummy objects, and since I'm running something like "humans sitting there #5" and "human aggressive swarm #5" at the same time, any ship can "query" the rotation and position of those at any time.  That has massive parallelization gains, for one thing -- assuming that there are a certain volume of swarming objects, which we can assume there will be from a baseline standpoint here.

- At any rate, since I can query both of those states at all times in local coordinate spaces (relative to any parent squad), this will then mean that I can do linear interpolation between two states over a period of time that I define.  Thus basically having two separate spline paths that I do a lerp between over the span of time that is based on the distance between their starting offsets, potentially.  Then just committing to mirroring the new spline point or the new offset point.

This won't make for too much visual repetition, since I can easily have a large number of splines being simulated centrally (dozens), and ships can query them without worry.  I can also put in further improvements to have those only turn on on an as-needed basis if that is really required, although that runs the risk of premature optimization at this stage of things.  And anyhow, right now there are only 10 patterns that are being repeated identically for all ships, and folks have not seemed to notice, although there's often an offset on individual ships with them at the present time.

But what I can do instead of offsets along the path (as happens now) is instead add in arbitrary path rotations around the center, which would inherently make things look far more varied than they even do now.  If that's even an issue.

Depending on performance profiling, there's a variety of ways I can handle that stuff in the small details to get the best variance-to-performance ratio.  I can also gain performance by not updating stuff that's off screen but on the current planet (I already was planning on that), and I can tie this gracefully into the LOD system as well.

Anyhow: with that sort of flexibility, a lot of stuff becomes possible. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!