Author Topic: MOAR Automation  (Read 5082 times)

Offline RecursivelyEnumerable

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MOAR Automation
« on: May 14, 2020, 08:21:35 pm »
Hello!  :D

Yes, you read that right, I want more automation for a game that already vastly outstrips most other RTS games in this regard.
I find both Classic and 2 have pretty nice automation features already, from auto-building certain units to automatic movement.

One thing that somewhat bugs me in AIW2, however, is the amount of micro-ing I end up having to do late game as the number of fleets and the strategic scope both increase. Specifically I find two factions exacerbate this problem:

-The Fallen Spire: You get one fleet per city, and if you want to go big on Spire you end up building lots of them. Also, Spire escorts can only be rebuilt near a city with a shipyard. Keeping track of Spire battlegroups and which fleets need rebuilds is not fun.

-Hostile Marauders: they keep moving into neutral territory I don't want to take. Leaving it for too long lets them grow massive fleets of Raiders which try to overrun my planets. It's not worth stationing a fleet or battlestation/citadel on such planets, but watching them and stamping them out each time is tedious as hell. Though I admit this one can be averted by friendly Marauders or Scourge.

I often actually end up getting a pen and paper and writing up details about inidivdual fleets and organizing them into battle groups. This in itself does have its charm, but as I am a computer science student and avid player of Minecraft and Factorio, I came up with some automation ideas. Now a Factorio-level of automation isn't necessary, but I would like to see some more. Here are some ideas I had:

-Battle Groups
Or some other name. Divisions? Armadas? Basically another level above Fleets: a player could create Battle Groups consisting of several Fleets, which stick together and operate as one large unit. Yes, I know how keybinds work; I was thinking of making some more complex behaviours possible, like automatically loading/unloading to get from battle to battle quickly, and any of the following:

Patrols worked ok in AIWC if I placed the redirectors correctly, but often I didn't bother with them. With Fleets/Battle Groups, this becomes a lot easier to do effectively (BTW I LOVE Fleets). Simply tell them to patrol a set of planets, and they move between these planets, unloading and engaging any enemies they encounter, then loading again. This would be useful not only for defending a broad front, but also policing neutral territory as well as technically AI planets stripped of defenses. Any construction-capable units could rebuild and repair any beachheads they come across, too.

-Automatic retreat and rebuild, effective usage of construction facilities
If a battle group is knocked down to a certain percentage, e.g. 40% of its strength (Or a Spire Fleet loses a certain number of escorts) and is not in range of any friendly construction facilities, they could make their way to the nearest, safest one. Bonus points if, given multiple options, they go for the one with the most unused capacity. This would allow patrols to go on indefinitely without having to be managed.

-Hacking, Destroying strategic targets, even taking planets and building stuff
This would be nice especially late-game. While most such operations are dangerous and important enough that I would not want them automated, later in the game there's a lot of what I call "routine harvesting"; basically hacking and taking stuff in lightly defended areas, and taking planets en masse when AIP doesn't really matter at the moment. Also, something like Factorio's Blueprints would be great for setting up defenses on planets. If a planet doesn't have an unusual number of wormholes or something really special, the patterns of defenses I build tend to be almost identical.

Weren't there plans earlier to have a staff of officer characters you could give different roles? I really hope you're still intending on doing that, I was looking forward to it. If you do, that could be the "interface" for the automation; that you could give command of fleets to individual officers and tell them what to do. Different officers could have personality traits that impact how they act, like how aggressive they are.

This kind of automation would let a player shift their focus from tactical/planetary to strategic and galactic. In the late game I often find myself focusing too much on one theater of operations while neglecting the rest of the galaxy, though I admit this is more my fault. What do you think, and how hard would this kind of thing be to implement? Surely this isn't much harder than, say, the Fireteams for the Scourge or Marauders.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: MOAR Automation
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 05:34:27 pm »
Surely this isn't much harder than, say, the Fireteams for the Scourge or Marauders.

You say that like Fireteams weren't months of solid work to develop.... :-P

Offline RecursivelyEnumerable

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Re: MOAR Automation
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2020, 01:02:04 pm »
Whoops, sorry that came out wrong. What I meant was any autonomous behaviour for the player-controlled units could be copied from what you already have with Fireteams, since you already have the code for that.


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