Author Topic: Risky scouting, AI feints and ploys  (Read 738 times)

Offline NichG

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Risky scouting, AI feints and ploys
« on: November 01, 2016, 11:23:55 PM »
With the game as it is, there's some room for the player making feints and jabs at the AI, trying to manipulate how it distributes its ships, etc, but there's not much of the reverse.

One thought would be, if scouting is made significantly risky - things like alert beacons that spawn waves, guardians, etc - you could have a number of sort of vague 'tells' that help guide the player in how to scout efficiently, and some of the AIs could be able to create fake tells. So the idea would be something like, make some vague 'activity' indicators that can be seen without scouting: warp activity, thermal production, comms traffic, etc. Nothing that would need to be modeled in detail, but just a set of flags that are generated from the existing contents of systems. Places with a lot of industrial structures (advanced factors, fabs, etc) get a 'thermal activity' indicator. Places with reserve fleets, rally points, special forces, etc get the 'warp activity' indicator, hackable places get 'comms traffic'. 'Distress signal' from systems with other faction involvement, etc. The point being, by making a kind of cheap passive but fallible scouting and making active scouting involve risks, the possibility of interesting gameplay in the gap between the two can be created.

Then, AIs with the right personalities or plots can put up false flags, trying to lure the player to systems with these alert beacons or guard posts. If these false flags can be associated with more dynamical things, so the AI can deploy a ruse at a particular point in time, all the better. If they can be associated with things that require the player to dedicate a significant amount of resources to confirming whether its real or fake, better still. If there's a way to defeat the ruse and gain advantage over if the AI hadn't played it in the first place, best yet. For example, the AI commits 10% of its defensive fleets from every system to an ambush and makes a fake distress call from a system 2 or 3 in from the border; you decide to call the bluff and attack a data center on the other side of the galaxy.