Author Topic: Scouting, and the tedium involved  (Read 1625 times)

Offline Misery

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Scouting, and the tedium involved
« on: September 12, 2016, 09:12:18 PM »
Okay, so, been meaning to bring this up for awhile, but... you know, laziness...

Now, looking in the design document, I see not all that much mention about scouting in there, at least not yet.  And what I'm talking about in this topic isn't about the scout ships themselves. Moreso, this is about the process of scouting to begin with.

I will point out, I'm no expert on any of this.  I do okay at the game, I guess.  But there's a lot I don't know, and I definitely aint efficient. I do things like use cloaker starships super frequently, and also "raid groups" that are actually a big pile of Plasma Starships (and raid ships) crammed into an assault transport (when I want to target very specific things to get them out of the way before sending a fleet in, or stuff like that). Strange and possibly dumb things like that.  But maybe that's important too, since a lot of new players also wont know much and may be coming from the same point of view.  MOST wont be experts, which might make things like this that much more important.

The issue I have with scouting is very simple:  It can get old, fast.  I don't mean just the act of sending things into planets.  I mean the whole process.  On a map with fewer systems, it's not as much of an issue. But on a big one?  Holy crapsticks, it gets irritating quickly.   Part of it is the tachyon Sentinels.  Maybe I'm going about them the wrong way, but often, the method of scouting I do involves having to drill through a lot of the bloody things.  Typically I use my Champion or a specialized raiding group to do this, and it gets really repetitive, yet is a task that never actually CHANGES much, nor adds much in the way of difficulty.  I've never found any real strategy to it.  When I need to get scouts further in, I drill through more sentinels.  With the same method every time.

What makes this worse is that I always feel the need to find the blasted homeworlds ASAP.  Because I don't want to be expanding in completely the wrong direction, increasing AIP more than I have to for no good reason other than having gone the wrong way.  That's not any fun.  And if I get impatient enough (which is frequent) I'll get frustrated with the whole damn thing, and just go and unlock the mark IV scout starship so I can just say "screw it, I don't want to do the sentinel thing, let's just find the homeworlds and stuff and get this over with so I can do the fun things". 

Not to mention that I also honestly find the cloak-enhancement mechanic a little confusing.  Never know just how many scouts I need to send out to get them through enough sentinels to do their job.

Yet at the same time, I don't want to see the importance of scouting lessened, or to see it become too easy to do.

Thus, this topic.  I don't know what to suggest for all of this here, but I'm interested to see if anyone else has a similar opinion on this one, and if anyone might have any ideas for changes to this whole thing.  Avoiding as much tedium as possible for the new game would be a super thing, eh?

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 09:23:57 PM »
I don't like scouting either but the lobby seems to handle it pretty well. If you just want to find out where those AI HW are at, you can while still having fog of war. If you hate it all together you can do that too. I feel like that is a good middle ground.
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Offline Orelius

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 09:29:00 PM »
Yeah, I've found scouting to be a bit more annoying than I feel like it should be.  I just suicide my scouts to scout instead of doing anything more sophisticated.

Maybe automatic scouting would be a cool addition?  For instance your command stations could take X amount of time to start having constant scout info on adjacent planets.  Would also be cool if they could periodically scan further planets that don't have tachyon sentinels.

Maybe a hack that lets you get scout info on planets that have key structures?  Or perhaps a hack that lets you get a 'scouting bomb' - wherein you select a planet and get all scouting info within two-3 hops of that planet?

Offline Draco18s

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 09:30:56 PM »
My opinion:
Fog of war settings.  QED.

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 09:31:26 PM »
There's already been talk about letting you scout remotely via hacking. Maybe you'll be able to offload some scouting duty to minor factions since they'll be planned for in the base game this time around?

Hm, maybe the scouting ability can be assigned to fighters this time around...

Offline Misery

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 09:36:40 PM »
I have had the thought of changing settings and whatnot, but that sort of thing always feels like cheating in a situation like this.  Particularly when a mechanic like scouting is typically considered a major thing in pretty much any strategy game.   I feel like if I'm taking actions to outright remove it, when it's something central like that, something's definitely wrong. 

I do like the hacking idea.  More hacking options is good, for that matter, hacking is fun (mostly).

Offline Sestren

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 11:06:36 PM »
Recently I started a game with full visibility at all times but with the planets undiscovered initially variant option (so no idea what the shape of the galaxy was).

Honestly I enjoyed having full visibility at all times from the start. My typical move is to by the mid game buy mk 2 and 3 scout drones and just saturate all of the systems around mine with drones so that I can keep tabs on threat and special forces and such but its tedious to set that up. This just cuts out the middleman. Yeah it saves some K but honestly I'm really bad at using my K effectively so that doesn't really matter. I don't even remember to K-hack most of the time and wind up with unspent piles after I get a couple starships I like and honestly the K economy (or science economy) of 2 is gonna be different anyway.

I did notice a couple of odd things (at least they seemed odd to me) with such a non-standard setup. First the red numbers under a system that show you enemy ship count don't show up unless you have a ship in the system, even with permanent visibility. Secondly, only ships which can gather scout information can go through undiscovered wormholes? (Doubly fun in that one of the AI was whatever the type is that starts with counterspies)

What might be easier than scouting in 2 would be having command stations automatically project vision a couple wormhole hops away to see actual ships and stuff on your borders and just let galaxy level system summary figures update any time you have vision (read: any sort of ships) on a system. Your super fancy distributed control system can't tally up the number of things it sees without specialized ship hardware? Seems silly. I could see an edge case for 'scouting' out cloaked things (getting them to appear in a summary list without actually tachyoning them and getting an exact position) but that's more of a counterespionage thing than a reconnaissance thing.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2016, 01:28:50 AM »
My opinion:
Fog of war settings.  QED.

While it works, I'm with misery on this one.

The current scout system has flaws, and I do about the same, unlock scout 2 & 3 at the start of the game, and spend refleet time to more or less let one everywhere in the game. Because, I found it dangerous to plan expending without having the complete picture.

That ain't very much interesting.

Offline zharmad

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2016, 01:55:22 AM »
One of the quirks of mapgen is that when the galaxy layout is known, one just counts hops to discover the location of AI Homeworlds (1st one furthest possible from player, 2nd one furthest from both player and 1st). So, the amount of scouting needed somewhat depends on the player's lobby settings. With this I don't unlock the additional scouts at the beginning, since I don't need to picket everything at once. It's about mid-game that I finally take Mark III and look for useful hops.
= = =
Yes agreed, clearing out tachyon GPs is the same every game. This question is linked to what & how much each AI world should be defending against random things by default.

Offline Orelius

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 02:09:47 AM »
I think it would be cool if scouting info could be more specific and applied.  Instead of needing to cover the galaxy with scouts to know where AI forces are going, it would be cool if you could spend hacking points to always know where the special forces are so you can always get out before the cops come.

Offline Minotaar

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 02:51:39 AM »
I personally enjoy having the information come in piecemeal, but yeah, it takes a while if you really want to push your vision to the limit. (One of the main annoyances is that all scouts have different speeds, so unless you use group-move constantly, they are terribly inefficient when mixing marks.)
Also not sure what if anything should be done about this, seems like everyone's preferences are different. I would not even mind playing a game where you could only see 2/3/5 hops out if you had scout mk1/2/3 (but didn't have to do anything for it).

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 04:23:47 AM »
About the FoW/Visibility options, it's not an acceptable answer, this time. We don't want the data, we want an interesting mechanism for getting the data. I sure like to disable FoW completely every now and then: pause the game, look at the galaxy, and build your first ship at gametime 00:00:02 and realtime 00:30:00.

I hope the new hacking and optional-CLI-stuff will make intel gathering much more interesting than tachyon drilling. But what would be awesome would be the ability do to both. From the design document, scout drones will disappear and all units will have the equivalent of "gather scout intel" from AIW1. Then I imagine myself obtaining the Raptors or something similar, give them the cloaking upgrade, micro them a bit for tachyon drilling (no need to send the scout drones behind them) and saving the new hacking resource for something else... OR do the scout with hacking and upgrade my Raptors for combat.

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Offline Misery

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 04:29:40 AM »
give them the cloaking upgrade

Wait, what?  Did I miss something?

I thought one of the major principles of AI War was NOT to do that sort of thing?  I could have sworn I read that somewhere.  Since it'd make it a lot harder to remember what everything does by looking at it (uuugh).  It's already more than hard enough to keep track of things as it is.  Was this a discussion I missed somewhere else? 

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 04:35:33 AM »
give them the cloaking upgrade

Wait, what?  Did I miss something?

I thought one of the major principles of AI War was NOT to do that sort of thing?  I could have sworn I read that somewhere.  Since it'd make it a lot harder to remember what everything does by looking at it (uuugh).  It's already more than hard enough to keep track of things as it is.  Was this a discussion I missed somewhere else?
Yeah, that was my reaction when I first read that on the design document.  ;D ;D ;D
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Offline x4000

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Re: Scouting, and the tedium involved
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 11:51:10 AM »
I think scouting needs to be addressed, too.  Just having everything visible at once kind of takes away the sense of exploration.  But the current method of scouting is not my favorite, remotely.  The CLI and hacking changes likely aren't going to happen (at least not in that form -- CLI), for reasons explained in that thread, so something else would be better.

give them the cloaking upgrade

Wait, what?  Did I miss something?

I thought one of the major principles of AI War was NOT to do that sort of thing?  I could have sworn I read that somewhere.  Since it'd make it a lot harder to remember what everything does by looking at it (uuugh).  It's already more than hard enough to keep track of things as it is.  Was this a discussion I missed somewhere else?
Yeah, that was my reaction when I first read that on the design document.  ;D ;D ;D

Basically the idea is that these are mostly changes on the player side, for the sake of conciseness there.  We may need a completely different set of ships for the AI, I'm not sure. :/
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