Author Topic: Design document: AI Activity Speedups  (Read 1121 times)

Offline x4000

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Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« on: September 06, 2016, 11:18:07 AM »
This one is of a scope that it seems to belong in this subforum instead of the larger one.  Here's the section: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IdzU90psGas_3UFe23BLvsGQ8fclec49NmnbHfwkZ8w/edit#heading=h.estkgugzqz60

This is what it replaced: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1K0EeCicHSBRuGILRLtj6wkHr3KEVB0mfhhqaUN_JtKI/edit#heading=h.estkgugzqz60

And this is why:

This was quickly pointed out as something that would encourage waiting on the part of players, and we never want to add mechanics where players use “wall clock time” as a resource to spend.  We’ve replaced this concept with “AI Activity Speedups,” which gets at the same thing.
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2016, 11:34:36 AM »
+1, encourages the player to speed up in turn rather then yawn and nap.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 11:41:55 AM »
Awesome.  This one was driven entirely by Keith, and various of you guys.  I basically just wrote it down. ;)
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Offline Orelius

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2016, 11:58:43 AM »
I'm a bit uncertain as to the actual differences between accelerating existing threats and creating new ones temporarily.  Why not just do something like a separate, swift retaliation strike instead of a roundabout method like that? Something like 'AI antiwarhead activists are launching an attack in 5:00 in retaliation to your warhead usage' or something like that.  Of course, increased warhead use will scale these waves up more intensely to discourage warhead spam.

The obvious and natural response to immediate future hardship is just to dig your heels in until the danger has passed.  I think merely accelerating the AI's actions would produce a similar result to a temporary increase in intensity, which would still encourage waiting it out.  A better alternative could be requiring the player to take proactive action instead of making them receive more ships from the AI.

For instance, using a lightning warhead could result in the AI starting construction of their own warhead silo, which would require you to knock it down before they can set it up and deal lots of damage.  Or maybe we get notifications of a congregation of AI antiwarhead activists, and we get an opportunity to destroy the ship bay they're gathering in before they launch.  Something that requires the player to commit other resources and not just entrench themselves and wait would be a great way to 'punish' the use of warheads or other temporary resources.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 12:02:30 PM »
I'm a bit uncertain as to the actual differences between accelerating existing threats and creating new ones temporarily.  Why not just do something like a separate, swift retaliation strike instead of a roundabout method like that? Something like 'AI antiwarhead activists are launching an attack in 5:00 in retaliation to your warhead usage' or something like that.  Of course, increased warhead use will scale these waves up more intensely to discourage warhead spam.

The obvious and natural response to immediate future hardship is just to dig your heels in until the danger has passed.  I think merely accelerating the AI's actions would produce a similar result to a temporary increase in intensity, which would still encourage waiting it out.  A better alternative could be requiring the player to take proactive action instead of making them receive more ships from the AI.

For instance, using a lightning warhead could result in the AI starting construction of their own warhead silo, which would require you to knock it down before they can set it up and deal lots of damage.  Or maybe we get notifications of a congregation of AI antiwarhead activists, and we get an opportunity to destroy the ship bay they're gathering in before they launch.  Something that requires the player to commit other resources and not just entrench themselves and wait would be a great way to 'punish' the use of warheads or other temporary resources.

For me though it is not really beneficial to "wait out" the AI for you are not waiting out anything. If you are in a position to afford the next wave coming 10 minutes earlier or the next CPA coming 20 minutes earlier then you already in a solid position, so waiting it out only delays everything as a whole. It is not like the next wave is going to be stronger then usual, and the CPA logic is such waiting it out is never a good idea. So entrenching is not really necessary. and if the next wave or CPA coming faster is an issue, then you are not waiting it out anyway but rather just trying to survive.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2016, 12:08:13 PM »
I see a difference.

The AI having a bonus to AI progress does not change its attack pattern. So it encourages you to be preparing more defenses during "down-time" rather than attacking - because risking an attack might make you lose when it's the AI's "turn". So, you're attacking less, risking less, waiting more. Too risky. And there will come a point when your defenses are complete, and you're just waiting for the AI to attack.

Accelerating the AI means that once the AI is roused, you're busy defending, from now until it is calm again. And the goal is to make the player busy.

That means that the game design must not hesitate to accelerate the AI a lot.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2016, 12:28:19 PM »
I am ok with this. :)

Offline Orelius

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2016, 12:29:48 PM »
Hmm, I think I should make myself more clear:

Why should we have roundabout systems for 'punishing' the use of warheads or other resources by shortening the next wave timing, increasing AI progress, etc., when it could be distilled into what it ultimately is: a wave of ships attacking your planets?

Let's say you use a warhead, and the AI doesn't like it.  Why bother with incrementing the wave timer when you could just have it generate a new wave on a short timer, or construct a nasty structure that requires proactive action?  In that case you'll either have to defend as you normally would, or you'd have to attack to prevent further nastiness.  I think that'd be a pretty interesting way to do it.

Offline Elestan

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2016, 12:38:22 PM »
This kind of sounds like the Reprisal mechanism.  Which, while I don't like it when used for Reprisal (when the accumulation trigger is "Player loses ships"), could actually be a good way to do a retaliation mechanism when the accumulation trigger is "Player does offensive stuff".

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2016, 12:43:32 PM »
This kind of sounds like the Reprisal mechanism.  Which, while I don't like it when used for Reprisal (when the accumulation trigger is "Player loses ships"), could actually be a good way to do a retaliation mechanism when the accumulation trigger is "Player does offensive stuff".

I was brainstorming and actually was wondering if that mechanic could have been used for something like this. It would give the desired effect of an independent response.

But I can already imagine that someone would feel the need to "wait out" that. So I have to ask who think that: Is there any temporary challenge that the AI can give that cannot be waited out in some manner? I like just shortening the timers for it provides the least need to "wait out". There is no waiting, the game is accelerating.
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Offline Orelius

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2016, 12:47:02 PM »
The way I see it, there's really no difference at all between generating new waves and accelerating existing ones.

Let's say we have waves launching every 10 minutes.

Scenario A:  Acceleration
I use a warhead on Wave 1, accelerating the timer by 5 minutes.  I'll encounter wave 2 in 5 minutes and wave 3 at 15 minutes.

Scenario B:  New waves
I use a warhead on wave 1, wave 1.5 declared and will launch in 5 minutes.  Wave 2 and 3 will launch at 10 and 20 minutes.

Of course the numbers can be changed around, but the result is the same.  You still end up fighting ships.


It's also why I suggest punishment that requires proactive action.  If the AI is constructing warhead silos in response to your warhead use, you can't wait that out, you need to get out and deal with it NOW before you get bombarded with AI lightning warheads.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2016, 12:57:34 PM »
A challenge I find with proactive measures is that, for me, if I am at the point I am lobbing warheads my mobile fleet has most likely died or will die to the threat that caused me to use it in the first place. So I am crippled and helpless I don't really feel like I have gotten a fair advantage from using it because the retaliation I cannot protect against. So in short if the negative is something I cannot stop then the idea of using them gets canned.

Secondly, if the timer used to construct these devices is long enough I can rebuild a fleet to stop it, I feel like the game has stalled because too much time has been devoted focusing on this reprisal. So the "waiting out" is still occurring, just now I am watching a fleet get rebuilt rather then waiting for an attack.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2016, 01:00:11 PM »
I agree with everything that chemical_art just said.  These mechanics of AI activity speedups are for situations where, in general, you're not in a position of immediate strength.  So you're trading an action now (warheads, etc) as something of a gambit.

The one type of gambit, where things are more dangerous for a while and you're encouraged to wait, is bad because it's slow and tedious.  The other type of gambit, where something dangerous that was coming anyway is now coming sooner, is I think a lot more appropriate.  Having something new that wasn't going to be coming in the first place is kind of undoing what you just did.
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Offline Orelius

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2016, 01:09:32 PM »
Hmm, I guess we just have different warhead use habits then.  I most often use warheads (or more often, martyrs, because they don't cost AIP), when I realize that I don't have the numbers to win a fight, and then I just end up using enough to make it easy enough for my fleet to win without more significant losses.  Warheads won't kill the really nasty things like hunter/killers, so if my fleet's gone I'm already dead anyway.  I mostly use warheads to ensure that my mobile fleet stays alive.

Offline Elestan

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Re: Design document: AI Activity Speedups
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2016, 01:14:05 PM »
The way I see it, there's really no difference at all between generating new waves and accelerating existing ones.

There is a difference:  In your Scenario A, at t=10, your third wave is still five minutes away.  In Scenario B, your third wave just launched.

(Sorry, got this wrong the first time; had to delete and repost)