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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#16
*Sigh*

The only problem I see is that Drones overlap with fighter-sized craft in a way that makes a meaningful distinction difficult. They're small, speedy, armed, and usually controlled from another craft. Technically, a small carrier with several wings of snub fighters isn't too different from a drone carrier with several wings of combat drones. You say po-tay-toe, I say po-tah-toe, the basic function is the same, as is the way to order them to kill things.

Unless we deliberately design drones to be consumable throwaway munitions (as in, they can't be reused or even picked up after launch), the only meaningful distinction would be via AI behavior, which in my opinion is NOT a good way of balancing things. It'll be hard enough to get AI loyalty and combat performance working properly in the context of actually having wingmen - splitting hairs in distinguising drone craft from very small spacecraft and assigning them underperforming combat AI sounds like a lot of extra work for getting something that would end up as "like fighters, just worse".

Balancing them via cost is similarly useless, as Gazz already mentioned elsewhere. When you reach the point where you can consider carriers, the cost for fighters will be a minor speedbump at best, but not a balancing issue anymore.

Whether the thing has a pilot or not is a lore case at best - when it comes to sending a pack of them to kill something, I couldn't care less. It's about efficiency, if fighter swarms suck then they won't get used, if they shred everything to glowing scraps or tortured metal, I'd wager a guess that the exact size of the craft within its size class is far less important than the number fielded.
We also have no basis in judging the efficiency of small craft so far, since the mechanics regarding combat AI, upkeep and loyalty aren't in place yet. Or to quote the great bard: Much ado about nothing (yet).
Hardenberg was my name
And Terra was my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#20
ThymineC wrote: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.
I half-love this idea.

If drones in LT had half the personality of the turrets in Portal -- which are basically stationary combat drones -- LT immediately becomes more fun for the players who aren't all about grim combat. A little bit of whimsy goes a very long way to give a game more life.

But that's why I can only half-like the idea. The wisecracks of the turrets in Portal were a good fit for the feel of that game. If LT were similarly silly/satiric/sarcastic, then similar voices for drones could work there. But is that really going to be the case? Or is the feel of LT meant to be more Freelancer-like, mostly serious? In that case, cute or funny or sarcastic drones could feel really out-of-place.

So: if drones in LT were to have some kind of personality, how should they sound in order to feel like a good fit for the kind of game that LT wants to be?

Oh, and in a desperate attempt to stay something like on-topic, I'm OK with the idea of combat drones, but I do think some plausible limit is appropriate.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#21
Personally i am against combat drones for all the reasons AbhChallenger has stated.

Also, if we have combat drones then why have fighters.

In my view drones are always really small, because IA will always be worse than a pilot. (Yes i know everything is IA but lets assume that in the LT universe IA is like today, good at easy repetitive tasks but crappy at anything requiring judgement like combat). For this reason in my mind they are to small for any kind of meaningful weapon.

Also at ThymineC.
I am incapable of taking any argument posed by you relative to your H-theories seriously until josh confirms them. Can you please argue topics on their merits alone without throwing your H-Crap (my opinion) in everywhere. Drones should require nothing from their host ship as josh as stated with construction drones. They have a small computer, a small reactor/thruster and one hardpoint for their required task. Why would i need to constantly be on communication with it?
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#24
Behemoth wrote:How many (simple) drones could a low-end computer realistically handle?
It all depends on how drone AI is implemented. However unless you want some gamey "magic physics" for drones they will still be objects that cost CPU like any other fighter.

CPU time that is far better used with NPC fighters. Especially if said fighters can be jumped to the front in highly specialized transports. And of course the classic carrier.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#25
Flatfingers wrote:
ThymineC wrote: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.
I half-love this idea.

If drones in LT had half the personality of the turrets in Portal -- which are basically stationary combat drones -- LT immediately becomes more fun for the players who aren't all about grim combat. A little bit of whimsy goes a very long way to give a game more life.

But that's why I can only half-like the idea. The wisecracks of the turrets in Portal were a good fit for the feel of that game. If LT were similarly silly/satiric/sarcastic, then similar voices for drones could work there. But is that really going to be the case? Or is the feel of LT meant to be more Freelancer-like, mostly serious? In that case, cute or funny or sarcastic drones could feel really out-of-place.
I completely agree with you there, Flatfingers. I imagine LT's feel as being fairly serious as well. However, if LT's feel happened to be such that Gazz's suggestion were implemented and it supported the overall feel of the game, then I believe that making drones have their own personality would complement that well. Something I really like in games is when NPCs interact with each other as well as just the player, as I believe this helps improve immersion by making the player feel that they are a small part of a pre-established world rather than a special character in a world built specifically for them. To that end, if both the ship's computer and drones had personalities, I'd like them to engage in banter with one another (in a way that's visible to the player) just as often as with the player. So if this were the case, what would the relationship be between the ship's on-board computer and drones? Would the ship computer come across as a kind of motherly/parental figure towards the drones, or would the on-board computer/drones regard each other as co-workers?

I'm not sure if any of this can be adapted to fit the feel of Limit Theory, but the most probable way for it work in my opinion is if the ship computer and drones had "serious" personalities and regarded each other as co-workers.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#26
To that end, if both the ship's computer and drones had personalities, I'd like them to engage in banter with one another (in a way that's visible to the player) just as often as with the player. So if this were the case, what would the relationship be between the ship's on-board computer and drones? Would the ship computer come across as a kind of motherly/parental figure towards the drones, or would the on-board computer/drones regard each other as co-workers?
Food for thought: What if the NPC under the players command had personalities, would engage in banter with one another and the player? Why would any of this be specific to drones or onboard computers?

Given the nature of the game (i.E., everything procedurally/randomly generated) and the fickleness of the human mind when it comes to forming relations with inanimate/artificial objects, I'd rate this as a crazy-ass pipe dream with no change of getting realized within the next 10 years.
Hell, it's hard work manually generating characters that appeal to humans (and that includes pretty much every aspect from visual design to doing proper voiceovers), and can royally backfire despite the best of intentions. Anything resembling a recognizable and consistent personality usually requires heavy scripting, canned dialogue and joke-like setups to deliver the proper punchlines. And even then, it still can fail.

Take Mass Effect 2, which basically tried to be a sci-fi movie (as in "looking like one") - the characters and plot are so deep in trope county that it's not even funny anymore. Playing through this felt like browsing the example section of TVtropes.org. I found it uninspiring and trite, since everything went "as expected". "Oh, here comes the predesignated love interest, human variety. An, and there's the "almost human with bumpy forehead and funny colour" variety for the more exotic-minded. And lo! Here comes proud warrior race guy, along with nutty scientist...BLEURGH. And yet, they were pleasantly designed, nicely voiced, and had all the emotional depth of a box of breakfast cereal. Makes you wonder if the people behind this ever read a decent sci fi novel, though.

Getting a glorified random generator to spit our something resembling a likeable character and supplying it with decent dialogue is pretty close to the 1 million monkeys, 1 million typewriters approach to getting the collected works of Shakespeare. Theoretically possible, but you can count yourself lucky to get something resembling a coherent sentence.

Now, as far as the bloody ship's computer's personality goes, there is only one acceptable role model: Image Eager, willing, slavishly obedient and loving it. A thing any user interface should aspire to be.
Hardenberg was my name
And Terra was my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#27
I'm not entirely against combat drones, but they must be limited.

As others have mentioned, why have fighters when you have drones? Well, when I picture combat drones, I don't picture them actually having an impact in combat. They're just distractions, and more like insects that keep biting your arm in the middle of a fight; small, annoying, but easy to kill if you have the time. There's no reason a drone shouldn't be able to be taken out with only one or two plasma bolts to the center mass.
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."

- Albert Einstein
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#28
Let's just make the game like eve! *eye roll*

In a free, procedural system, are you really saying you're going to stop me taking the mining drill of my drone design and gluing a laser on there? But what if I, like, want to? Will you give me a"not allowed because reasons" dialogue box?

It still comes down to the underlying mechanics for determining who exactly is piloting ships under your command, something people are assuming works a certain way even though we don't know how it works yet.
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#29
Scorch wrote: There's no reason a drone shouldn't be able to be taken out with only one or two plasma bolts to the center mass.
There could be a logical and coherent limitation within the game "logic".

One can minimize many things, but not indefinitely. The fighter's scale is the smallest scale where the energy generation device can host a decent energy weapon, a shield generator and decent engines with "unlimited" (at least for a fight) scope able to propulse the whole - as well as sustain life in its hull.

Smaller than a fighter, you have to compromise. You can make something that sustain life, but then unarmed and with almost no engine (escape pod). You can make a powerful engine that go fast, but it burns out quickly (missiles). You can make powerful weapons, but they have only one shot (missiles again, one explosion). Possibly you just cannot make a smaller shield - the physics just do not work.
You can of course combine, and make a small drone with an "unlimited engine" but then it dos not have the power to use an energy weapon at the same time. It can have a slow engine and a weapon, but then the weapon has low power (so it needs to stay a long time on the target - works for mining but not in a combat environment).

With this, you can still have drones in fights. To disturb the enemy, to shoot his missiles (they have no shield nor armor, so the weak weapon may be up to the job), to make reconnaissance, or more creatively (e.g. Use a swarm of them to make a radar signature like a big ship to have your enemy think you just got reinforcement, or whatever). But they will not replace fighters...
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Re: Combat Drones & Why I Oppose them for Limit Theory

#30
CSE wrote:
Scorch wrote: There's no reason a drone shouldn't be able to be taken out with only one or two plasma bolts to the center mass.
The fighter's scale is the smallest scale where the energy generation device can host a decent energy weapon, a shield generator and decent engines with "unlimited" (at least for a fight) scope able to propulse the whole - as well as sustain life in its hull.
OK. But why is a small drone hull the upper limit on the size of unit in which I can install a competent Drone AI autopilot? That's the problem to be addressed, making drones bigger not making fighters smaller.

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