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Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#1
Yes this needs to be a separate topic. As the other one mostly fell into debate about other topics.

In real life. Drones are amazing. They are changing parts of the economy and will chance the face of warfare. I look forward to the day where drones automatically route car traffic away from congested areas.

However, that is real life. In game drones are a completely different matter. In the game they are far far more advanced. And manufacturing them realistically should be easy as can be.

So that brings us to combat drones. At first it seems like an awesome idea. You are locked in close combat with another fighter but you launch drones which are able to force him to move to your advantage. However, lets look at the problems with that simple 1 on 1 situation. Combat drones mean you gain an advantage over that opponent without having to purchase and move other ships. And I know you will say "Oh then the enemy should be able to use drones as well!" as if it is a solution. Then you got drones moving all over the place. Fighting each other or the main target. And that is just a simple fight.

Once you add scale to the fight. Capital ships and transports that can carry many drones. The amount of drones alone could easily exceed the CPU potential if they are not given some cheap gamey half physics. That alone is a good reason to keep them out of the game.

The other is the inevitable "Just balance them by cost!" That is silly. There is no way you can convince me that any scheme to say "Oh there is a reason a combat drone cost 100x that of a construction drone in the far future" is anything less gamey than EVE Online's "Bandwidth" system of limiting drone use. When you got the rest of the game trying to move away from such things. Having such schemes just to have combat drones is badly out of place.

As such my opinion is that combat drones should not be included in Limit Theory. Instead there should be a multitude of ways to transport craft besides the classic carrier. I for one would like to be able to highly specialize transports into craft carriers similar to how the British converted transports into carriers for use against U-Boats.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#2
AbhChallenger wrote:The other is the inevitable "Just balance them by cost!" That is silly. There is no way you can convince me that any scheme to say "Oh there is a reason a combat drone cost 100x that of a construction drone in the far future" is anything less gamey than EVE Online's "Bandwidth" system of limiting drone use. When you got the rest of the game trying to move away from such things. Having such schemes just to have combat drones is badly out of place.
Why are bandwidth limitations for number of active drones "gamey"? It makes perfect sense to me that bandwidth (and/or CPU) could be a limiting factor in Limit Theory.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#3
ThymineC wrote:
AbhChallenger wrote:The other is the inevitable "Just balance them by cost!" That is silly. There is no way you can convince me that any scheme to say "Oh there is a reason a combat drone cost 100x that of a construction drone in the far future" is anything less gamey than EVE Online's "Bandwidth" system of limiting drone use. When you got the rest of the game trying to move away from such things. Having such schemes just to have combat drones is badly out of place.
Why are bandwidth limitations for number of active drones "gamey"? It makes perfect sense to me that bandwidth (and/or CPU) could be a limiting factor in Limit Theory.
Because it is a silly limitation. Even today drones do not need much in the way of bandwidth for control. You could say ohtheyneedzbandwidthbecauseotherwisetheenemyhaxorstHedrones! but that is making a silly excuse to add a limit to a system that realistically has none.

It is gamey. Purely a limitation to have an aspect of the game that should not be there.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#4
AbhChallenger wrote:Because it is a silly limitation. Even today drones do not need much in the way of bandwidth for control. You could say ohtheyneedzbandwidthbecauseotherwisetheenemyhaxorstHedrones! but that is making a silly excuse to add a limit to a system that realistically has none.

It is gamey. Purely a limitation to have an aspect of the game that should not be there.
It's not a silly limitation at all. How many trillions upon trillions of calculations a second are necessary for the drone to operate its H-drive i.e. to cause every one of its constituent particles to jump through space millions of times per second? How many calculations are necessary to allow its shields to operate and for its components to change frequency as the situation calls for it e.g. to remain synced with the carrier's shields to allow the drone to pass freely in and out of it? Do you expect the drone's microprocessor to be able to handle all of these calculations itself when some of these tasks are so complex that they take minutes even for a larger craft with a much larger, more powerful computer to handle?
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#6
AbhChallenger wrote:Yes I expect a drone to handle the calculations it needs to function. Not tie into the host's computer because we need to limit drones in a gamey manner.
If it takes significant proportions of the computational resources of a large vessel that can house several million powerful processors to move around and operate its shields, I don't expect a drone to be able to do the same using a microcontroller even if it is computationally less expensive to move itself about and generate a small shield around itself.

It's not only not feasible for drones to do all these calculations internally, but it's far more cost effective to let drones offload computations to their carrier and have relatively simple microprocessors installed rather than have an extremely powerful and expensive microprocessor that can do all the necessary calculations internally when drones are meant to be expendable and fairly easy to destroy.
AbhChallenger wrote:Edit: You are now saying that the host craft has a larger computer. Even today small parts can do an amazing amount of calculations.
"Amazing" is a subjective term. Maybe the most basic microprocessor in Limit Theory can compute on a petaflop level, but that's not terribly helpful if it has to do 50 exaflops of computation. But a larger vessel might be able to house 50,000 of these processors (something that a drone simply cannot), in which case it can do the necessary calculations and it can feed the results back to the drones it controls.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#7
Okay, first off is this a player limitation (takes too much CPU that it negates Josh's stance that lower computers can run the game), a lore issue (bandwidth a la EVE), or a logistical issue (game balance)?

Because when you start mixing the different issues the argument doesn't stand up.

Yes, this game is not real life. Any sort of handwaving or lore could be designed to explain away logistical or the player's hardware limitation. I don't like using arguments that end up being "Because the lore doesn't make sense" since lore can always be rewritten and usually left to the imagination of the player.

If it's a balance issue, I'd like to hear more on the balance itself. How does having drones become a balance issue? Are you assuming they're powerful enough that they would negate the need for fighter craft? When I think of drones like this, I imagine the older warcraft games (like Warcraft 3) where you have peons that do your tree and gold farming. If someone wants to do nothing but build an entire army of peons to try and attack the enemy... well there's a reason they get slaughtered. If the idea is to use them as a way to confuse enemy crafts that don't have flak turrets to help draw fire away from your ship, then it becomes a brilliant strategy.

So the question is, what is the primary issue here?
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Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#8
DWMagus wrote:Okay, first off is this a player limitation (takes too much CPU that it negates Josh's stance that lower computers can run the game), a lore issue (bandwidth a la EVE), or a logistical issue (game balance)?

[...]

So the question is, what is the primary issue here?
I think the primary issue is one of real-life hardware limitations (too much CPU overhead), with a possible secondary issue that managing a large number of drones may be difficult - though maybe you could arrange drones into a neat little organisational hierarchy of their own, with "boss" drones and "manager" drones and "squadron leader" drones, etc.

Josh has commented that the primary bottleneck for the game is the AI, so I think it matters how smart you want drones to be. If drones are comparatively dumb relative to NPCs, you could get away with a very simplistic AI or them which may make it possible to field large numbers of drones simultaneously, which could be quite cool.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#9
ThymineC wrote:I think the primary issue is one of real-life hardware limitations (too much CPU overhead), with a possible secondary issue that managing a large number of drones may be difficult - though maybe you could arrange drones into a neat little organisational hierarchy of their own, with "boss" drones and "manager" drones and "squadron leader" drones, etc.
That's probably true. But if you have a limitation (whether it's balance or hardware) it doesn't take away from the fact that the problem still exists. Lore usually is there to help prevent immersion breaking (even if it may seem cheesy).
Image
Early Spring - 1055: Well, I made it to Boatmurdered, and my initial impressions can be set forth in three words: What. The. F*ck.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#10
DWMagus wrote:Okay, first off is this a player limitation (takes too much CPU that it negates Josh's stance that lower computers can run the game), a lore issue (bandwidth a la EVE), or a logistical issue (game balance)?

Because when you start mixing the different issues the argument doesn't stand up.

Yes, this game is not real life. Any sort of handwaving or lore could be designed to explain away logistical or the player's hardware limitation. I don't like using arguments that end up being "Because the lore doesn't make sense" since lore can always be rewritten and usually left to the imagination of the player.

If it's a balance issue, I'd like to hear more on the balance itself. How does having drones become a balance issue? Are you assuming they're powerful enough that they would negate the need for fighter craft? When I think of drones like this, I imagine the older warcraft games (like Warcraft 3) where you have peons that do your tree and gold farming. If someone wants to do nothing but build an entire army of peons to try and attack the enemy... well there's a reason they get slaughtered. If the idea is to use them as a way to confuse enemy crafts that don't have flak turrets to help draw fire away from your ship, then it becomes a brilliant strategy.

So the question is, what is the primary issue here?
I don't oppose drones in general. Just the combat ones. And the type of combat drones the others are talking about aren't just peons with a simple laser taped on. I saw one talking about drones that can take on capital ships!

Specialized craft that can turn on a dime could do the same thing as you mentioned.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#12
DWMagus wrote:
ThymineC wrote:I think the primary issue is one of real-life hardware limitations (too much CPU overhead), with a possible secondary issue that managing a large number of drones may be difficult - though maybe you could arrange drones into a neat little organisational hierarchy of their own, with "boss" drones and "manager" drones and "squadron leader" drones, etc.
That's probably true. But if you have a limitation (whether it's balance or hardware) it doesn't take away from the fact that the problem still exists. Lore usually is there to help prevent immersion breaking (even if it may seem cheesy).
Well, the only problem is that (real-life) computers might not be sufficiently powerful enough to allow for as many drones being fielded as we might like. But there's not much we can really do about that. I still very strongly feel that combat drones should be implemented in Limit Theory, and that some kind of limitation for max concurrently fielded drones exists that simultaneously acts as both an explanation and a game mechanic, which I think bandwidth does.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#13
DWMagus wrote:
AbhChallenger wrote:...combat drones...are...just peons with a simple laser taped on.
I'm imagining Wheatley (from Portal 2) with a laser pointer duct-taped on. :lol:

Can we have that as an easter egg? :lol:
DWMagus, you just gave me a funny idea. At least it's funny to me. What if drones could have their own personality and "chat" with you using something similar to Gazz's brilliant Your Friendly and Helpful Board Computer suggestion?

Taking it even further...if NPCs are meant to have the intelligence of people, what if drones could have the intelligence of pets? So instead of just being expendable metal, they could actually interact with you on a more personal level and you could form attachments to them. So drones would still have completely practical purposes, as before, but in addition they would serve as pet-like companions. Think of Dogmeat in Fallout - something like that.

Anyway, I'm just throwing random ideas out.
Last edited by ThymineC on Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#14
ThymineC wrote:
DWMagus wrote:
ThymineC wrote:I think the primary issue is one of real-life hardware limitations (too much CPU overhead), with a possible secondary issue that managing a large number of drones may be difficult - though maybe you could arrange drones into a neat little organisational hierarchy of their own, with "boss" drones and "manager" drones and "squadron leader" drones, etc.
That's probably true. But if you have a limitation (whether it's balance or hardware) it doesn't take away from the fact that the problem still exists. Lore usually is there to help prevent immersion breaking (even if it may seem cheesy).
Well, the only problem is that (real-life) computers might not be sufficiently powerful enough to allow for as many drones being fielded as we might like. But there's not much we can really do about that. I still very strongly feel that combat drones should be implemented in Limit Theory, and that some kind of limitation for max concurrently fielded drones exists that simultaneously acts as both an explanation and a game mechanic, which I think bandwidth does.
Lets just use EVE Online's standard 5 drones. Assuming 100 NPCs using drones in a max battle that is 500 drones that have to have their own physics calculated (Real life).

Ah but that is the average ship right? What about capital ships that have far more room for those computers (In game) you speak of? Why should they not say get 50 drones?

I am endgame. I have a force of ten carriers and I want to have my final showdown with an NPC faction.

See what I mean? Even with such gamey mechanics that is a brazillion drones.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#15
AbhChallenger wrote:Lets just use EVE Online's standard 5 drones. Assuming 100 NPCs using drones in a max battle that is 500 drones that have to have their own physics calculated (Real life).

Ah but that is the average ship right? What about capital ships that have far more room for those computers (In game) you speak of? Why should they not say get 50 drones?

I am endgame. I have a force of ten carriers and I want to have my final showdown with an NPC faction.

See what I mean? Even with such gamey mechanics that is a brazillion drones.
With such game mechanics, that's perhaps up to 1000 drones in the very largest of battles. And perhaps that is feasible - Josh has said that his aim is to have 1000+ active NPCs (source), and if drones are small and "dumb", they shouldn't require nearly so much overhead as an NPC might. Furthermore, when an NPC dies, all of its drones should become inactive, meaning that the computational overhead of a battle quickly falls off over time if drones are involved. If it's really such a great issue even after all that, then you can limit the number of drones further but do something to make each individual drone more interesting than the stuff you see in EVE Online (quality vs. quantity).

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