Saturday, 5 September 2015

Behavioural AI Settings

The key component to successfully winning battles in Star Dancer is setting your ships' AI behaviours appropriately.

There are 16 different AI setting sliders.  They default to the central position (equates to neutral) and may be shifted left or right.  

The AI system works as follows:

Every few seconds each ship tries to acquire a new target to attack - or if their current target has been eliminated they will try to acquire a new target.

The various settings carry a weight from -5 to +4.   By sliding the settings to the left or right sets the value for each of these.  A value to the right (positive) indicates that this setting should be pursued.  A value to the left indicates it should be rejected.  

Different settings can have very different outcomes for two fleets and can make all the difference between victory and defeat.

I will explain each of these in turn.

Target Larger Enemy:

A value to the right adds weight to targeting enemy vessels that are larger than ourselves.  A value to the left adds weight to ignore enemy vessels larger than ourselves.

Target Enemy At Close Range:

A value to the right adds weight to targeting enemy vessels that are at a very short distance from us (in any direction).  A value to the left indicates we wish to ignore targeting enemy near us.

Target Enemy At Optimum Range:

Similar to the Close Range setting but this is based on a distance which is approximately equivalent to the maximum effective range of our weaponry.  The interaction between this and the previous setting can make for some interesting dynamics.

Retain Target:

This setting determines how long we continue with the same target.   A low value indicates change target often, a high value indicates change target rarely.

Target Enemy Dead Ahead:

Setting this to the right indicates we wish to target enemy who are directly within our fire arc to the front. Setting it to the left indicates we wish to ignore enemy who are directly to our front.

Target Enemy To Our Front:

Set to the right to target enemy towards our front - anywhere in the front 180 degree arc. Set to the left to ignore enemy forwards of us.

Target Enemy To Our Rear:

Set to the right to target enemy who are behind us. Set to the left to ignore enemy behind us.  This is a useful setting for smaller agile vessels.  A smaller agile fighter for example may decide to change target fairly regularly and choose to target those ships behind us - this will provide a more dynamic 'dance among the stars'.

Target Enemy Targeting Us:

This is a rather interesting setting as well.  By setting this to the left the ships will target enemy who are not currently attacking us.  This is useful if we wish to avoid direct confrontation.

Target Lightly Damaged Enemy:

Enemy who have taken some but not a lot of damage are included in this setting.  

Target Severely Damaged Enemy:

Enemy who have taken a lot of damage and are near death are included in this setting.  This and the lightly damaged setting can combine in interesting ways.

Target Approaching Enemy:

This is the perfect setting for those who either like direct confrontation or a skirmishing role.  By setting to the left you can make sure your ships prefer to attack enemy who are facing away from us (backstabbing!) or by setting to the right you can cause your ships to prefer to attack enemy who are coming right for us.

Target Enemy Targeting Our Capital Ship:

If we have a capital ship present this setting can tell us whether we want to protect it or not with our other craft.

Target Enemy At Extreme Range:

Extreme Range is out of range for all smaller craft and only ships with beam weapons are most likely to be within firing range at this range.

Target Faster Moving Enemy:

A faster moving enemy is calculated at the time the new target is acquired.  It is relative to our own current velocity vector.  Typically if a ship is spending a lot of time changing direction it will have a low velocity vector compared with a ship traveling in a straight line.

Target More Agile Enemy:

Agile in this case refers to acceleration.  Ships with a high acceleration are more likely to be fighters and bombers.  We can choose to focus upon  them or ignore them as we see fit.

Target Enemy Ace:

Aces are enemy ships who have successfully killed or shot a lot of enemy ships in this battle.

Hopefully that gives some insight into how the AI settings work in the game and will help you be victorious against your foes.

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