CSE wrote:Once a vessel is in the fighter category (and price), who drives it is semantic. As there is no "crew management" planned for LT1.0, having an AI (NPC) or an AI (non-NPC) driving would just change the upkeep (salary, sandwich, windows 3400XXP upgrades) form.
I'm not sure I agree.
The key advantage of sentience is environmental adaptability. I like the notion that drones can do just one thing well and don't have financial or emotional goals, while NPCs are OK at several things (and possibly really good at one thing) but need some form of upkeep.
That makes people valuable. So you'd reserve expensive fighters with life-support and defensive systems for NPCs, while drones would be considerably less capable but also significantly cheaper. And the result of that difference would be tactical flexibility, leading to more enjoyable gameplay.
On combat drones specifically, I can see a number of plausible options. There are probably more, but I find these interesting:
- One basic weapon (poss. upgradable through research)
- No weapons; mining drones attach themselves to target ships and "dig"
- The drone is the weapon; mining drones can make one kamikaze attack
I'd be fine with any or all of those, personally.
One other thing: we've been talking about drones in their autonomous form, but drones can also be remotely piloted. Should that be an option for drones in LT?