Author Topic: Are human ships manned, and can ships and squads gain XP and get veterancy?  (Read 320 times)

Offline qipoi

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TL:DR I want the human ships to level up a little bit like in Command and Conquer games, even the itty bitty fighter squads to the big capital ships, to make them feel more human.
The AI should probably get a different weird version of it, maybe based off of localised strategic, raidable infrastructure ("signal boosters/co-ordinators"), to make the AI seem less human and to give them an interesting different way to reinforce provinces.

Perhaps the AI's version can be based off of the AI building a series of structures that both require and serve as a direct link of these boosters in a path from its central core to that affected province, giving you a sense of the AI's reach and omnipresence. This might not cause AI progress, but the AI will automatically rebuild this infrastructure slowly in any province linked to another booster module that is linked to its core or directly to the core. Thus, you would be "cutting off" the AI's forces from its overmind to a limited exent of course. It also means that the more connected the AI is to its forces through this network (more booster chains/tiers leading into the system) the more effective the AI's troops become. At the start of a game the AI's control network will be a randomised but very limited network, but with branches that lead to the corners of the galaxy, allowing the AI to snake towards the player or other threats.





WARNING! WALL OF TEXT!


This is sort of a lore thing I admit, but it feeds into gameplay so here it is: in the AI war 2 lore, are the human ships manned by even a single pilot, or are they totally drone operated/automated?

The primary question that bounces off of this is: can ships and squads get XP and level up from getting kills? Like the command and conquer series or company of heroes for example. Next to the units Icon or health bar would be little chevrons if it had leveled up. In Command and Conquer Generals, for example, Ranked up units have marginal benefits, usually a +10% to health and damage or fire rate per rank earned (up to +30/+30), and the higher ranks (2 and 3) also gave the unit some very slow regeneration out of combat (1% per second, maybe slower not sure) to keep it alive. I think the way XP is calculated is some kind of combination of who gets the kill and also some of it is split among nearby friendly units (so the gravity well in AI war's case).

Company of heroes took this a step further in complexity, and made it so that the veterancy bonuses are different for each unit depending on that units specialization and role. For example, snipers (which double as stealthy scouts) generally gain more stealth, recon, and indirect survivability (such as regen, debuff resistance), but infantry usually gains more flat damage and defense boosts (specifically for the Rifleman squad, Accuracy and Dodge chance, but to simplify it for AI war balance it can just be damage reduction/health and damage dealt or fire rate.)

This also differs between the factions: American snipers generally get better at scouting, whereas German snipers get better at survivablilty (regen) for sustained use. Mind you, I think its better to have basic ships behave the same on each side in AI war (if its named the same it should behave the same on a basic level), but we could apply this veterancy difference to the strategic layer.

The human units might level up through fighting and staying alive. The AI on the other hand, might get better through strategic signal booster bases that the AI might build that only cover certain sectors in range (or the gravity well), that only give their units the bonus as long as they are in that covered system. In addition, the AI's veterancy bonuses for each unit might be different from the players to better suit the AI's playstyle and to differ it form the human factions. You might have several different types of AI booster as well, with different signal distance or signal power. For example, a security system or Gate System (leads to another portion of the galaxy) might be reinforced by 3 surrounding provinces having Tier 1 signal boosters, giving all AI ships in that central province level 3 veterancy (30% bonus stats). This means you might want to raid and destroy these installations while keeping the province intact not to piss off the AI. The AI's "vet" bonuses and the players should Cap out at 30%, to make this mechanic not too pervasive or insane on either factions side.

I think its cool because it means that fleets with lower attrition rates will end up slowly accruing veterancy, encouraging well planned strikes over swarm attacks. Your capital ships will also more consistently gain xp, making you get more attached to them as you can actually see their combat record and experience at a glance at their health bar. Largely speaking, the bonuses aren't enough to justify "survival" micro other than your capitals, who you won't be wanting to let die anyway by default.

I think this would be a cool little feature, especially if it helps "humanize" the human ships and make them more different from AI ships. Obviously its not worth it if it taxes performance or something, but I would figure I would throw the idea out there. Obviously the question will be "Does this create unsavory micro oriented gameplay". Other than wanting to preserve larger elite ships (which you should be doing anyway), I don't think this feature would compromise the "no/limited micro" rules of AI War. The bonuses are big enough to matter and be cool but not big enough to constantly micro retreat small units out of battle.

For alien races: The Spire with their super large ships might have to purchase veterancy for each individual ship as an upgrade costing minerals.

Another playable alien race might have to research veterancy for each individual ship class for each different vet rank to apply veterancy to all ships of that type permenantly (bombers, fighters, frigates, capitals, and Vet 1 ,2 , 3). This might even use a special or rare resource, meaning that the this potential bonus alien race has more potential to specialize than a typical human player faction.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 11:28:10 AM by qipoi »

Offline x4000

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This is up to Keith, but in general my thoughts:

1. This encourages micro to an unhealthy degree, so that your veteran units don't die but still get to fight.

2. This encourages yet more stuff on the UI and/or ship icons, which is yet more clutter.

3. Generally speaking battles happen fast enough that you can't really choose who lives and who dies, so in effect this just becomes an RNG factor in this game in my opinion.  The alternative is slowing down the battles a lot.

4. Point #3 doesn't really apply to flagships.  I could see a veterancy system making a lot of sense for them, so that if you lose a flagship -- not just any starship, but specifically a flagship -- you feel the loss more keenly.

5. That said, we don't really have excess time for nice-to-have features in the pipeline at the moment.  So it would probably be a post-1.0 thing.

6. The other argument against smaller squads/units having veterancy is that it then becomes harder to eyeball your odds.  How will your fighters perform against those bombers?  Uh... well, let's tally up all the veterancies on their individual units if we can... carry the one... etc... ;)  I think it makes it so that you can't really understand how a battle will play out, most particularly if the AI has veterans.  If you have a few veterans you can mentally say "yeah I know how this would normally go down, but I have an extra edge that should help boost me a bit," which is the sort of "keeping a feel for things" I think is generally good.

7. Lastly, the tech-up race for higher tech levels, plus the AI Progress mechanic in general, basically act as a form of globalist veterancy in general.  It's not unit-based, but at its core AI War has always been about an arms race of gaining avatar-power while not letting the AI gain too much avatar-power, while using player skill to do so.  In general AI War has always been about the fleets rather than the individual ships, and this pretty much fits with that.

All that said, those are just my thoughts, and Keith is the decision-maker on these bits.
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Offline qipoi

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Fair enough, you have great points.  I added this later via editing, but what do you think of the other "AI connection tree" idea. Obviously its an "add later or not at all" feature. But the idea is the AI would grow a connection network tree from its core, that boosts AI ship stats. You can cut this network off temporarily by cutting one of the branches, as these take a while to build. The more connections the more boosts to AI ships, but you can do raids to cut massive areas off at once if you identify a weakness in the chain, as it all has to link back to the central AI core. However, if you let the AI grow multiple branches into one province, the bonuses will stack up. Also, these branches will somewhat give away the AI's location.

This could be interesting, if not a main feature, but as an "AI type", as an AI types signature move.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 11:39:39 AM by qipoi »

Offline qipoi

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Actually for your aforementioned reasons the "AI connection tree" idea probably would be better as an attack wave type thing as the penalty instead of ship stat boosts otherwise if becomes harder and harder to judge what will beat what, and displaying buffs is always an issue.

Offline x4000

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That's definitely an interesting idea, and one I'll defer to Keith on. Two cooks in that kitchen is something we've long known is not a good idea, so I don't have any desire to jump in there. ;)  Having lots of people giving their thoughts and advice to the cook is essential, but I'm intentionally relegated to being one of those people rather than a co-cook, if that makes sense.  On other games we have had the roles reversed.  And we do each have certain domains where we're the main cook, even on this game.  Gameplay isn't mine. :)
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Online BadgerBadger

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Here's a potential tweak to that idea that might be easier.

What about at various AIP increase levels, it has a chance to spawn a new structure that gives bonuses to the AI in some capacity; maybe more frequent waves, maybe additional units in the waves. Maybe it can build an exo-galactic gate that will spawn exo waves. Maybe it makes CPAs come faster. Maybe it will constantly spawn units like an AI Dyson Sphere that will seek you out.

You can either face these new dangers or destroy the new structure. So it's basically turning the old Dyson Antagonizer idea into an entire class of terrors,


Offline x4000

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Sounds neat. :)  I defer to Keith on it.
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Offline WolfWhiteFire

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I would agree that this should probably only really be for the flagships and the Ark. It especially makes sense with the Ark because though I don't think even Chris or Keith know whether the regular ships are piloted by less advanced AI or humans, I would expect the Ark to be controlled by humans. At the very least, it probably has you as the commander on board, and if other ships are controlled remotely by humans then probably them also, and I don't see it being controlled by any sort of AI. Speaking of the flagships, have they even been added yet?

Offline z99-_

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What about at various AIP increase levels, it has a chance to spawn a new structure that gives bonuses to the AI in some capacity; maybe more frequent waves, maybe additional units in the waves. Maybe it can build an exo-galactic gate that will spawn exo waves. Maybe it makes CPAs come faster. Maybe it will constantly spawn units like an AI Dyson Sphere that will seek you out.

At 500 AIP, the AI builds a "Nemesis Lair", which constructs an additional Nemesis every hour until the game ends (likely in the player's death) >D