Author Topic: Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination  (Read 973 times)

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« on: September 06, 2016, 12:49:14 PM »
I like it, but I'm awaiting word on how surprise attacks work.  In AIW1, the AI could basically see everything everywhere, and the only limitation was that it wouldn't go on alert until you went over 50 units/2 starships.  I'd love for the AI's knowledge to be more realistically limited in AIW2.

Branching this off a thread, in current mechanics as Elestan said the AI world is "alert" with over 50 units / 2 starships. It feels really...arbitrary and makes it difficult to do surprise attacks. Is there a way to expand upon this idea? I am not really sure right now so I am willing to listen to anything.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2016, 12:57:39 PM »
Not counting cloaked ships ? Counting them at half value ?

Offline x4000

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 01:03:46 PM »
This is a good discussion to have, for sure.  I don't have any immediate ideas on this, either, so I'll be very interested to hear what people come up with.

Thing to remember is the overall warning at the top about the conservatism of ideas. ;)
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Offline chemical_art

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2016, 01:07:39 PM »
Not counting cloaked ships ? Counting them at half value ?

This was something I was considering, "raiding" ships could get a reduction on the ship counts for this kind of thing. This would also give a difference between ships that "cloak" and ships that "raid" although there could be overlap.

I have other ideas as well that I will reveal later.
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Offline Orelius

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 01:37:41 PM »
Why not just add some sort of single use cloaking booster that's kind of resource intensive?   Or add a human-built planetary cloaking device to ensure that the AI can't see what you're doing?

Or alternatively, make it so that the AI by default is not on alert, but regularly sends scouts that will make it go on alert if it sees your fleetball?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 01:42:41 PM by Orelius »

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2016, 01:44:12 PM »
Why not just add some sort of single use cloaking booster that's kind of resource intensive?   Or add a human-built planetary cloaking device to ensure that the AI can't see what you're doing?

Or alternatively, make it so that the AI by default is not on alert, but regularly sends scouts that will make it go on alert if it sees your fleetball?

The latter sounds really ambitious, but the former idea of having a mechanic that masks a human's fleet on an AI planet sounds interesting! Perhaps a function that cloaking starships provide?
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Offline Orelius

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2016, 01:49:05 PM »
The latter sounds really ambitious, but the former idea of having a mechanic that masks a human's fleet on an AI planet sounds interesting! Perhaps a function that cloaking starships provide?

I was thinking of something like a reverse tachyon warhead, but it might overlap with the use of an EMP warhead though (if the goal is to be uninterrupted as you snoop around on an AI planet).

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2016, 01:54:27 PM »

I was thinking of something like a reverse tachyon warhead, but it might overlap with the use of an EMP warhead though (if the goal is to be uninterrupted as you snoop around on an AI planet).

I was thinking of it more simply as another benefit  from "cloaking boosting". A ship that is cloaked from this does not contribute to AI alert status as long as it stays cloaked. This would give cloaking starships a whole new role of aiding raids. There would need to be other adjustments to ensure the cloaked ships to do not spook the AI early, but the concept itself sounds great.
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Offline Elestan

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2016, 10:03:05 PM »
Well, my first thought is that in order to hide/sneak, we can't have the AI be everywhere the way it is in AIW1.  Space is big.  We need there to be parts of space that the AI can't keep a watch on 24/7. 

Some thoughts:

* We'd probably need more neutral systems to start the game.  Maybe the AI only has periodic patrols in some areas, instead of a garrison in every system.

* Implement limited sensor ranges for most units.

* Maybe the AI relies on a network of sensors (which could be hacked) and automated "turrets" (Guard Posts).

* Maybe ships could hide (from long-range sensors) near asteroids.

* If you really want it to feel like a covert op, the brute force technique should incur increasingly vigorous responses.  One sensor blowing up might be random pirates, but if several sensors in the same area go offline, the AI should send in a significant force.

* I think a key question here is whether/how much micromanagement is acceptable for the human player to "sneak".  If ships need to follow a particular path to avoid enemy sensors, does the human have to manage it, or will the game try to have the ships actively avoid sensors?  I personally find it fun to micromanage important missions, but others might feel that that's too low-level.

* Another big question is "How much should the AI know about the humans at the start of the game?"  Does the AI know where the human home base is?  Should part of the challenge for the player be keeping the AI from finding their base?  In this scenario, perhaps the base has a cloaking field that can withstand a casual patrol, but a serious search will have a ship with tachyon sensors.

In any case, to make any kind of covert activity possible, it becomes very important that the AI's sensor capabilities, whatever they are, be well-defined, limited, and understood by the player.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 10:08:25 PM by Elestan »

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2016, 11:56:58 PM »
Well, my first thought is that in order to hide/sneak, we can't have the AI be everywhere the way it is in AIW1.  Space is big.  We need there to be parts of space that the AI can't keep a watch on 24/7. 

Some thoughts:

* We'd probably need more neutral systems to start the game.  Maybe the AI only has periodic patrols in some areas, instead of a garrison in every system.

This would be an interesting change of pace. There are some "worlds" that neither player (AI and human) can fully claim. No defensive structures or anything like that, they are more fluid but also provide greater resources (asteriod fields et all)

* Implement limited sensor ranges for most units.

* Maybe the AI relies on a network of sensors (which could be hacked) and automated "turrets" (Guard Posts).
I can enjoy the idea of hacking sensors, but it needs to be like how there is "temporary" AIP. I would not  use "permanent" hacking points on something like that. Also, I find it interesting on the idea of neutering a planet neuters its ability to go on alert.

* Maybe ships could hide (from long-range sensors) near asteroids.
Way too situational I think. A planet needs to avoid alert only for so long as to accomplish an objective. "Hiding" in it for any reason should be avoided for that just induces timers.

* If you really want it to feel like a covert op, the brute force technique should incur increasingly vigorous responses.  One sensor blowing up might be random pirates, but if several sensors in the same area go offline, the AI should send in a significant force.
I feel like inducing pirate forces should be like in TLF. One of the structures built by the AI could be a sensor platform that both causes the ability for the AI to alert and if destroyed causes pirate forces to enter the world. It would force the AI defenders to defend a distant point on the world, allowing a sneak attack cause damage while those reinforcements were tied up.

* I think a key question here is whether/how much micromanagement is acceptable for the human player to "sneak".  If ships need to follow a particular path to avoid enemy sensors, does the human have to manage it, or will the game try to have the ships actively avoid sensors?  I personally find it fun to micromanage important missions, but others might feel that that's too low-level.

* Another big question is "How much should the AI know about the humans at the start of the game?"  Does the AI know where the human home base is?  Should part of the challenge for the player be keeping the AI from finding their base?  In this scenario, perhaps the base has a cloaking field that can withstand a casual patrol, but a serious search will have a ship with tachyon sensors.
I far prefer sneaking to be in a more strategic sense. You devoted research to making raiding units, and you are forced to use your existing raiding units to cause as much chaos as possible. More researching increases your raiding units, and base your tactics on what units you have. I would not memorize AI tactics meant to counter these units directly. The whole point of a "raid" is that the AI has no direct countermeasure against it.

In any case, to make any kind of covert activity possible, it becomes very important that the AI's sensor capabilities, whatever they are, be well-defined, limited, and understood by the player.
Agreed, that is what makes a "raid" possible.
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Offline Elestan

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2016, 12:35:38 AM »
* Maybe the AI relies on a network of sensors (which could be hacked) and automated "turrets" (Guard Posts).
I can enjoy the idea of hacking sensors, but it needs to be like how there is "temporary" AIP. I would not  use "permanent" hacking points on something like that.

I might, if it meant permanently blinding the AI in an area.  Hacking a sensor should be way better than blowing it up, because it means the AI thinks its still working.  Blowing it up should alert the AI that there's a problem.

Also, I find it interesting on the idea of neutering a planet neuters its ability to go on alert.

Why would that be?  I would assume that to the AI, losing near all of its military forces in a system would be of great concern.  Actually, on that topic, the whole idea of "neutering" a system feels like gaming the system to me; it's exploiting player knowledge that they can blow certain things up without drawing the AI's attention. 

* Maybe ships could hide (from long-range sensors) near asteroids.
Way too situational I think. A planet needs to avoid alert only for so long as to accomplish an objective. "Hiding" in it for any reason should be avoided for that just induces timers.

The idea is that if you want to run a covert war, you need to learn about the AI's forces, while keeping it from learning about your forces.  Hiding a scout amongst asteroids seems like a useful tactic for that.

* If you really want it to feel like a covert op, the brute force technique should incur increasingly vigorous responses.  One sensor blowing up might be random pirates, but if several sensors in the same area go offline, the AI should send in a significant force.
I feel like inducing pirate forces should be like in TLF. One of the structures built by the AI could be a sensor platform that both causes the ability for the AI to alert and if destroyed causes pirate forces to enter the world. It would force the AI defenders to defend a distant point on the world, allowing a sneak attack cause damage while those reinforcements were tied up.

Just to be clear, my statement about "random pirates" was to say that the AI might assume a single destroyed sensor wasn't particularly suspicious, whereas destroying many sensors should make the AI send a lot of forces to investigate.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2016, 07:01:36 AM »
Not dipping my toes into the whole "AI Intel" problem, I just wanted to sneak in a small suggestion.

In my idea, planet alertness (red glow on galactic map and "reinforcement more likely") would depend only on adjacent planets being Neutral or captured by Humans. A moving fleet (cloaked or not, 50 ships + 2 starships or more or less) wouldn't influence reinforcement. Instead, the Special Forces or a similar mechanism would react only to Human forces being outside of Human territory (or not, if the AI can be blind to certain things, which is the grander point of this topic).

I think the main problem of AI War Classic is that many things influence many things. AIP and difficulty influence basically everything, for instance. I think, overall, more specific mechanisms must be linked to more specific things. That would be much easier for the game to explain and for the players to understand.
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Offline Elestan

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2016, 11:09:20 AM »
It occurs to me that there is a point of fundamental tension between the "guerrilla war" concept and the "no waiting" goal.  Guerrilla war calls for hitting the AIs when they're not expecting it, which implies that choosing the timing of an attack is a meaningful choice.  But this necessarily means that the player sometimes has to wait for the right time to attack.

IMHO, having to wait on any particular conflict zone isn't a problem, as long as it's possible to make progress in some other way in the interim.  So what I would propose is that the AI has a limited "Alert budget"; maybe each AI can only put one or two of their systems on alert at a time, and it takes a little bit of time for systems to ramp on or off alert status.  That way, the human isn't forced to do nothing; they might just have to switch their point of attack from time to time, to keep the AI off-balance.

Offline zharmad

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2016, 01:05:53 PM »
 I think this is something that's more kept in mind as the rest of the game fleshes out, and difficult to suggest a clear mechanic until we know more about how the AI generally behaves. That said, I'm leaning towards "default alert ON due to presence of scout units, unless players do something like cloak."
 ...I mean, if you blind an AI, it's going to notice it's blinded (but not necessarily know how big a problem it is). If you hack the AI so as to feed it false messages, that's different.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Elestan: AI planet's alert status / AI sight examination
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2016, 01:07:35 PM »
I never saw AI war as a guerrilla style war though. It's more of "let's beat it up before it realizes we have a chance" type of fight. A race against time.