Author Topic: Hybrids and Plots  (Read 1171 times)

Offline Toranth

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Hybrids and Plots
« on: August 30, 2016, 05:16:56 PM »
As it came up in a different thread a few weeks back, Hybrids are in kind of an awkward place right now.
The original special things they did (pinpoint smart attacks and organized defense) have been taken over by the Threatfleet and Special Forces.  That leaves only the Advance Hybrid special Plot interaction as their unique thing (aside from the units themselves, of course).  I have some ideas about normal Hybrid stuff, but for this thread, I just want to discuss the Advanced Hybrid Plots that are so exciting.

Right now, there is only one Hybrid - Plot interaction:  The Dyson Sphere.  I propose that the Hybrids should have AT LEAST one interaction with every single other plot and minor factor where it is reasonable, plus a number of other, base generic plots that don't rely on other AI Plots or factions being enabled.  There could even be special Hybrid - AI Type interactions.

For example, a generic plot might be a structure that hides Wave Warnings, or adds a Lesser Avenger Module to the Command Station on some random AI system.
A Plot interaction might be something like being able to redirect the Devourer to Human territory, or upgrading the Shark penalties.  Or, if there's an Astro Train rework, some of the nastier side like the Superfortress Construction project could become Hybrid plots ("An Advanced Hybrid is using the Astro Train system to supply a massive construction project!").

What other sorts of interactions do people think would be interesting?  Remember that each needs to be something that make the AI more threatening, potentially even game-endingly so in the final stage, but capable of being stopped partway.  I don't think there's a need for every plot to be multi-stage, or amazingly powerful - even just annoying would be good enough.



Here are some of the ideas I've come up with:

Generic
Upgrade planet levels
Build Trader Goodies
Anti-Neinzul BotNet weapon/module/Guardpost (for countering overuse of those units)
Build AI Specific unique stuff (planet cloaker, IP Munition Booster, etc)

Hide Wave Warnings
Cross-planet Waves
Build Avenger / Lesser Avenger modules
Become schizophrenic
Create Nuclear Command Stations (or other non-planet-killing Nuke device - Nuke Alarm?)



Hybrid <-> Plot interactions:
Beachhead - Beachheads need a rework first.
Hunter - Increase special units added to Hunter;  Target special Hunter fleet at specific Human special units, and follow anywhere it goes;
Shark-A -
Shark-B -
Preemption -
Counter-Posts - Build them anywhere at all  ;)
Astro Train - Construction Projects (lots of ideas)
Warp Relay - Upgrade range, frequency, convert to Backdoor Hacker-like Exogalactic Wormhole on HW?



Hybrid <-> Minor Faction interactions:
Human Resistance - Prevent from spawning, or spawn in bad locations;  Sometimes attacks Human player instead of AI (AI hacks their IFF);
Human Marauders - Bait into more attacks;  use as Mercenary ships for AI Hybrid escorts;
Human Colony - Setup 'Trap' colonies that when freed spawn a horde of AI units;  produce an anti-colony device that hunts them down through Cloaking;
Zenith Trader - Buy stuff from Zenith Traitor;
Zenith Miners -
Dyson Sphere - Antagonizer / Antagonizer 2 / BOOM;  Antagonizer / Additional drone types / Teleporting drone waves;
Zenith Devourer - redirection, friendly, upgrade to attack non-mobile
Broken Golems - Repair and use the Golems themselves
Botnet Golem -
Neinzul Rocketry Corp - Increase rate of fire and variety of types (no AIP gain);
Neinzul Preservation Wardens -
Neinzul Wandering Enclaves -
Fallen Spire - Can conduct Shard surveys (not Core) to find and kill Shards first?  Maybe just fortify the system, or allow for alternate Shards to be found in those cases;
Spire Civilian Leaders - Hybrid Slavemaster Module increase AIP gains; recaptures 'freed' but not Human held SCLs;
Spirecraft - Build Spirecraft to be Hybrid drones;  Build new asteroids to then build Spirecraft from;  plant fake asteroid traps - mine one, get a BOOM;
Dark Spire -
Alt-Champion Progress/Nemesis - Can acquire units/Starbases of hostile factions?
Showdown - Try to recapture before Showdown activates?  Build additional devices to be captured?  Fortify AI held devices heavier?
Nomad - Direct Nomads to locations to bypass Human fortifications (Human to AI, AI to Human HW); Activate Beacon?


Offline tadrinth

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2016, 07:36:47 PM »
Most important thing is that these be fully moddable, so that we can contribute the gruntwork of implementing them by the dozen. Dunno how hard that'll be.


I would go with:
Zenith Trader Lure: Once active, causes Trader to path to system and then 100% chance to build for the AI as it leaves (consuming the lure). Or, Trader only picks systems to path to that are within 2 hops of the Lure, and has 10x usual chance to build for the AI. 


Offline x4000

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2016, 08:21:56 PM »
I kind of want to get away from the idea of hybrids and plots, to some extent.  I'd rather have a cleaner implementation, something that is basically "things that the AI can do."  I would put even things like CPAs underneath that banner, to be honest.

Trying to hardcode cross-connections between things the AI can do is... hmm.  That gets overwhelming and counterproductive fast.  I'm not saying no, but I am wondering what you're trying to accomplish that.  Is it variety you're after?  Or more of a sense of potential random interactions?

If the former is the case, then doing things like having general modifiers that are not "things the AI can do" but rather "how the AI does certain classes of things" would make sense, I think.

If the latter is the case, then having "how this thing the AI does reacts to the presence of certain classes of other things it can do," to keep it more generalized.

Hard to say.  But basically, trying to minimize the amount of brute-force data entry that someone has to do (which is prone to mistakes and oversights anyway, in the best of circumstances) and maximize the number of unexpected interactions that can happen (because we all love those sorts of things the most).
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Offline tadrinth

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2016, 10:23:51 PM »
Hrm, I think it's partially that there was the one hybrid interaction with the Dyson Sphere, and it just seemed like a category that could have way more stuff in it. 

The antagonizer/converter is interesting partially because the flavor is cool (omg what if the sphere hated you? or went on a rampage?) and partially because while you're off thinking up interesting ways to destroy the AI, the hybrids are off thinking of interesting ways to destroy you.   

Offline Steelpoint

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2016, 10:49:23 PM »
I do enjoy Hybrids, and one thing they do bring is unpredictable assaults (of a sort). Hybrids tend to gather up on planets near you and can attack at any time when they think you're weak, without any warning unlike the majority of other attacks.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2016, 02:36:05 AM »
Similarly to how Astro Trains can become part of a vanilla game (like Special Forces and Guard Posts), I'm sure the idea of hybrids can become one of the "verbs" of the AI.

I was thinking about territory recovery, as a new role for that old hybrid theme. (Immobile defense: check. Mobile defense: check. Mobile threat: check. Territory recovery: free.) It was something said as potentially made by hybrids but never see the light of the day.

Two main ways for Hybrids to fill that role: rebuild OCStations on neutral planets and Guard Posts on neutered planets. The point would be: Hybrids pressure Humans to defend the no man's sky land. If a neutral planet isn't patrolled or beachheaded by Humans, the Hybrids will kick in, defend it for a while and rebuild OCStations and Warp Gates. And as every basic AI structures all have their slots (1 OCStation per planet and 1 Guard Post per metal spot), I can easily see the logic behind: each Hybrid on a neutral/neuter planet (secretly) gives X points every Y seconds, and when the total reaches a threshold, spawn an OCStation (and its warp gate) if neutral or randomly select a metal spot on which to build a random, basic Guard Post. (The AIP cost of a new OCStation is subject to tweak and debate, from 0 to 15+5.)

Something vaguely similar occurred to me in my last game: the Zenith Trader was enabled and I had a string of two neutered AI worlds linking my two territories. Twice during the game, the Trader dropped something on this string: a MkV FField and a high level Ion Cannon. That was an interesting move: it forced me to strengthen my domination on these neutered worlds.

Also, when a CPA hit, a strategy uses buffer planets, ready to be lost, meant to force the AI fleets to lose time chewing on the turrets. These planets stay neutral the time the CPA is dealt with and then are automatically reconquered. I think it would be interesting to see hybrids come behind the carriers and reconquer and fortify the planet claimed by the CPA fleet.

I would love to see the AI, in a vanilla game, able to contest planets. A new verb for the game.
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2016, 02:58:18 AM »
I say eliminate hybrids entirely. The Dark Spire have a better concept and are much more entertaining. More tellingly, this is the first place I've seen them mentioned outside the wiki or the game.

Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2016, 02:58:58 AM »
I kind of want to get away from the idea of hybrids and plots, to some extent.  I'd rather have a cleaner implementation, something that is basically "things that the AI can do."  I would put even things like CPAs underneath that banner, to be honest.

Trying to hardcode cross-connections between things the AI can do is... hmm.  That gets overwhelming and counterproductive fast.  I'm not saying no, but I am wondering what you're trying to accomplish that.  Is it variety you're after?  Or more of a sense of potential random interactions?

If the former is the case, then doing things like having general modifiers that are not "things the AI can do" but rather "how the AI does certain classes of things" would make sense, I think.

If the latter is the case, then having "how this thing the AI does reacts to the presence of certain classes of other things it can do," to keep it more generalized.

Hard to say.  But basically, trying to minimize the amount of brute-force data entry that someone has to do (which is prone to mistakes and oversights anyway, in the best of circumstances) and maximize the number of unexpected interactions that can happen (because we all love those sorts of things the most).
I agree with this. The game should be less complex, but the AI should get more capabilities that are now part of plots (extra strong units with a purpose, rebuilding command centers etc)
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2016, 03:57:49 PM »
Well, I was hoping that plots would still be part of the game, even if no more than to keep them capable of being enabled/disabled in the lobby.  Shoved off into a secondary screen is fine.  Actually, as long as the mechanics themselves are still in the game, I think there's still room for special event based around those mechanics.

And personally, I think there's still plenty of room for Hybrids themselves - as special AI leader vessels.  The Threatfleet needs Hybrids to lead, or it's just Threat.  Special Forces are dumb wanderers without a Hybrid leader.  More Hybrids means more Threatfleets or Special Forces clusters, and higher-mark units in those groups.
That sort of thing.

But if Hybrids and plots are both going away, then it leaves a Sad Toranth, cursed never to be BOOMED by the Dyson Sphere again...

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2016, 08:43:30 PM »
AI plots are going away entirely, but there's the possibility we could see something with a Hybrid vibe as a minor faction.

Offline Kahuna

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2016, 01:55:40 AM »
I kind of want to get away from the idea of hybrids and plots, to some extent.  I'd rather have a cleaner implementation, something that is basically "things that the AI can do."
I've always felt Advanced Hybrids were a broken and simply annoying system. That Dyson Antagonizer is especially stupid.

The idea of Hybrids (not advanced) is cool but all they ever seem to do is mass up next to few of my planets and then attack when they think they can win, which they can't.

If all plots are going away I'm going to miss the Avenger and Preemption. The rest of the plots can go.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 02:04:39 AM by Kahuna »
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Hybrids and Plots
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2016, 02:41:12 AM »
The idea of Hybrids (not advanced) is cool but all they ever seem to do is mass up next to few of my planets and then attack when they think they can win, which they can't.
I was thinking about territory recovery, as a new role for that old hybrid theme.

If all plots are going away I'm going to miss the Avenger and Preemption. The rest of the plots can go.
The Avenger could be a sort of AI Minor Faction. Preemption could be a per-AI setting like aggression/preparation.
I like the idea of a more streamlined lobby. Plots, MF and many AI Types were all the same, in the end: additions to the base game. The rest is numbers and tweaks that can be moved in a semi-hidden "advanced settings" panel.
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