Author Topic: Mercenaries and Ghost Fleet: Luring the AI (It’s a Trap!)  (Read 306 times)

Offline zeusalmighty

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Mercenaries and Ghost Fleet: Luring the AI (It’s a Trap!)
« on: April 24, 2018, 03:37:05 PM »
The premise I’ve been intrigued by is the possibility of luring the Hunters/Wardens to a decoy threat, thus allowing the player to attack a prime target

Two avenues (mutually inclusive) to do this: Real threat (e.g. Mercs) and fake threat (e.g. Ghost Fleet)


1)Real Threat (Mercenaries): Classic’s method of doing mercs will be present (perhaps with a new name), but Chris brought up a new version of this concept. In essence, this method consists of signaling a mercenary outfit lead by a capital ship to some planet via the operations tab in the sidebar. In effect, this generates real threat that the AI must contend with, allowing the player strategical choices (e.g. helping the mercs or attacking a different planet)

The relevant issue is resource management. I’m personally not a fan of using hacking or science for this, hacking because of my proposed “ghost fleet” and science because knowledge doesn’t seem to be appropriate as a resource that motivates mercenaries helping the player out. Money does. However, there is a good argument that a basic tech upgrade (e.g. a “transceiver”) would be necessary to be able to call the mercs to a given planet.

So we have the issue that metal by itself is already designated for the classic version of mercs. What I propose is to repurpose planetary controllers as the Merc HQ. To fund them, the player would need to partition metal harvesters/energy collectors to the HQ, thus reducing the player’s income at the planet(s) where HQ’s are setup. The player can allocate how much of these to give to the HQ and can reappropriate them at any time. Once certain thresholds are met, the player can call in a fleet at a planet (given certain scouting and/or tech requisites are met)



2) Fake threat (Ghost Fleet): Primarily accomplished by hacking. This mechanic would in effect alert the AI on the planet of the hack that a sizeable cloaked “ghost fleet” is preparing a massive assault. While the hack is ongoing (and potentially for a time afterwards) the AI will treat this as real threat and respond in kind—luring the Warden/Hunters.

I’m thrilled about this idea because it is both thematically and mechanically addresses the main premise of AI Wars—humanity must be cunning and exploit the fact that their antagonist is an AI opponent.

Naturally, this would be accomplished by spending hacking points, probably scaling with how severe the ghost fleet purports to be and the frequency of using this tactic (The AI would catch on to this over time)

Offline x4000

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Re: Mercenaries and Ghost Fleet: Luring the AI (It’s a Trap!)
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2018, 04:22:23 PM »
Okay, sorry that this is a pain in the format to read, but I'm just trying to do a driveby to get you caught up with another conversation: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DZ_LlEvp2u-EZa_SA2EQa1d_E7Mtu5Uhl13WM34JMtI/edit?usp=sharing

Basically that doc has the other conversation, which is good reading, and then the discussion can move on from there.

Thanks!
Chris
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Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: Mercenaries and Ghost Fleet: Luring the AI (It’s a Trap!)
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2018, 09:36:45 PM »
Cool, figured I'd get the ball rolling but you guys beat me to it

Online BadgerBadger

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Re: Mercenaries and Ghost Fleet: Luring the AI (It’s a Trap!)
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2018, 09:40:28 PM »
Zeus, what's your opinion of that design? Any critique?

Offline zeusalmighty

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Re: Mercenaries and Ghost Fleet: Luring the AI (It’s a Trap!)
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2018, 10:13:05 PM »
I'm intrigued and it seems to get at the heart of what I'm looking for.  :D

Can't currently edit that doc but a couple things jumped out at me:

1) warp gate functionality: This makes sense from a lore perspective but I'm not sure how this would work for summoning defensive mercs--presumable the player would kill those in claiming a planet for their own?

What happens if you lose the planet with the alien communicator? Will it be destructible and if so will it be repairable?

2) Summoning costs: I see that you are proposing a 250 science in order to activate the communicator. As I'm imagining this there would be multiple communicators seeded on the galaxy map each corresponding to it's own merc outfit--is that correct?

Furthermore, you mention a it would cost hacking points to summon a merc group--so if I understand this correctly it would take science to reach out to a particular merc group and hacking points to actually summon them, is that right?

3) Utility mercenaries: This one in particular seems to correspond to my proposed ghost fleet. I really like the concept of luring the AI to deal with a phony threat and would be interested in an elaboration of how the utility mercs would go about this.


Online BadgerBadger

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Re: Mercenaries and Ghost Fleet: Luring the AI (It’s a Trap!)
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2018, 11:03:06 PM »
If you lose the planet with the alien communicator then you can't summon those mercs until you recapture that planet. The AI doesn't know how the alien communicator works so it doesn't care (it didn't invest the science like you did).

You need to pay 250 science per communicator. Each communicator you pay for will give you access to some small number of merc groups. Activating more communicators will give you access to more merc groups. You pay the science to be able to talk to the merc group, then hacking to actually summon them.

The utility merc I suggest was trying to be your ghost fleet idea, yeah. If we have other utility ideas though thqat would be good.