NPC Guide V2.1

Discussion in 'The Shipyard & Guides' started by Blingon, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. Blingon

    Blingon Member

    With all 4 races now playable, I have come to realize my previous explanation on NPC is no longer sufficient enough to help players truly play with NPC. Thus after finally testing a bunch of hypothesis with Sol (the most standard of the 4 race), I have decided to reword and re-structure the previous guide on NPC.


    What kinds of NPC are there?

    There are four kind of NPC in this game. Map spawns, Player NPC, Player tenders and Structure. Map spawns show up automatically (most of the time) when a map is getting attacked. Player controlled NPC and Tender are ships players own and dragged into combat via fleet commander and support ship skills. Structures include everything from Ma’al disco ball of doom to the condensed hive poop they call derelict Chrysalis. It is important to note all current NPC use more efficient power to move ratio than player. The NPC use the power ratio of a player ship one class lower than them. Class 5 NPC would use power to move ratio of a player Class 4


    How does each category of NPC behave in combat?


    To get into this topic, we make a simple AI logic train.


    Map spawn NPC and Player NPC/tender, when told to attack or follow:

    1. I am must allocate a percentage of MAX POWER to Gun and shield ( if shield exist).

    2. I must charge one gun at a time to maximum possible damage.

    3. If I have power left over from charging guns, allocate all remaining power to shields one facing at a time, to the max allowed shield level, starting from the front, then the front left, the front right, rear right and finally rear left. Never charge the butt shield.

    4. If I have fully charged the shields or if I am a hive creature and don’t have shields, all remaining power goes into engine

    5. Does our fleet have vision on an enemy? If yes, Am I in range? If no, move in to acquire vision

    6. If I am in range, Fire all charged guns on the enemy I have the highest chance to hit. Prioritize other ships, only attack structure if it is the only thing in sight.

    7. If I am not in range, move closer to and check step 6 again


    Player NPC/Tender on hold

    1. I must attempt to use all power available to charge any and all shield arch, starting from the front, then the front left, the front right, rear right, rear left. And finally the butt shield.

    2. No guns are charged and all power that remain after charge shields or if I am a hive creature and have no shields, goes to the engine.


    What are the NPC power allocation percentage?

    For map Spawn and Player NPC/tender on follow, 50% of the power goes to the engine and 50% of it goes to guns and shields.

    For player NPC on attack, 40% of power goes to the engine and 60% of it goes to guns and shields.

    For player NPC/tender on hold, 100% of power will be allocated to shields, only when there is left over, will it go into engine.

    Hive creatures are special. Since shields are a power hog and hive have no shields, any power left over from charging their guns goes directly into their engine. On hold, 100% of their power goes into their engine.


    What is Inversed accuracy gradient and how does it affect Ai behavior

    Inversed accuracy gradient occurs when a player invested enough accuracy skills on their officer to have their gun excess 95% accuracy. It would mean their guns would have highest chance to hit a target at 50% of their max range and going back down to 95% accuracy at 1 hex. Remember how NPC pick their target for attack? They shoot the thing they have the highest hit chance ( ignoring target evasion). NPC with Inversed accuracy gradient would choose to target things at 50% of their gun range. It would also mean they would blatantly ignore things closer to them and hit things further away. This kinds of behavior are mostly seen on player NPC ships with high base accuracy guns and most of player NPC hive ships.

    While the accuracy of 95%+ sounds great, knowledgeable and experience enemy player can take advantage of this by simply going closer to the target while leaving behind a fully shielded AI of their own at the right distance.

    On the other hand, Inverse accuracy AI will attack enemy trying to hide behind other ships if the range is right. This lets player and their Ai to focus fire a target even if its trying to stay behind tenders.


    How does NPC behave when they have reduced power?

    When a NPC have reduced power, either from getting hit in the engine or crew lose, they will still follow the same logic train above. They would still use max power for their allocation ratio. It would also seem map spawn and player NPC prioritize guns and shields over engine. This is most evident when a ship is damaged to the point they can barely full charge all their guns. While they are able to shoot, they no longer turn or move.


    How does NPC handle guns with power refund?

    While this mechanic does not affect sol/gen, it does show up in hive and maal NPC. The NPC see the correct net power usage of the guns and use that in the allocation. For example, a player charging 3 bars of yellow would use 6 power and get 3 power back in combat phase. NPC however, sees the 3 yellow bar as charging 3 yellow bars for 3 power and no refund in combat phase. Thus, for hive players, this is one extra little factor when doing math for making NPC.

    How does range boost actually work for NPC

    NPC use the default range of the gun as reference when trying to move into engagement. For example, the Hive Bombardier have 16 range on their red balls. Give them inverse accuracy and they should be happy with shooting things at range 8, so they usually move to exactly 8 range. When you give them range +2, they still try to move to 8 range, instead of 9 range. So why use range boost? Because it helps AI with low range guns to hit targets even if they can’t get into optimal firing distance. In a sense, a cheaper but more effective accuracy boost for missiles and lasers.
     
  2. Blingon

    Blingon Member

    How to make a combat NPC? ( for sol and gen, maal don’t have those and Hive are special snow flakes that need their own section)

    What characteristic make a good NPC?

    First part of this is to pick a ship with the right characteristic. First of those is gun orientation. Because NPC will fire a gun if its charged, it will inevitably turn to fire that gun. Unfortunately, if the said gun is mounted on the butt, it will present its ass to the enemy. Since NPC never charge butt shield on attack, it will always be expose to engine hits. Thus if they have a rear mounted gun, chances are, they are not going to fair well as a NPC.

    Next thing to look for is a ship with most of its guns having the same range and those same guns having the longest range. This is because NPC will engage with the longest range possible to them. But because of this, any gun below the longest possible range will suffer an accuracy decrease or simply not fire at all if they are not in range. For example, Firebolt have a decently long range laser and 2 missiles. When used as a NPC, Firebolt will always engage with the laser’s range as reference and have a hard time landing the missile.


    What are the statistic to look for?

    Based on power allocation of NPC on attack:

    (total power used by guns +shield level*desired number of facing)/0.6=power needed≥total power possible

    Based on power allocation of NPC on follow

    (total power used by guns +shield level*desired number of facing)/0.5=power needed≥total power possible

    What does this mean?

    If a ship has very efficient guns, like missile ships, the power used by those are very small. Since power allocation to gun takes priority, this is a fixed variable. Efficient guns are a sign the ship is a good template for NPC combat ship.

    However, shield is an adjustable variable. If a ship did not have many level of shields or the player did not take a lot of shield over charge, the more facing a NPC can charge.

    It is important to consider how many shield facing NPC can charge as a lot of ships tend to have port and starboard guns. Those have a chance to expose rear left and right arch, which have lowest of priority on power allocation.

    If the ship can full charge its shields on all 5 sides, the remain power and any power increased from power boost will go into engine, allowing the ship to be very mobile. Or if the shields are already charging at desired amount, the power boost can be turned into repair points as insurance in case engines get damaged.


    Shield over charge should also be considered carefully when considering ships going into hold. Take the current power, divided by 6 and round it down. That is now many level of shield the ship can support with out exposing the butt when on hold. Consider how many power boost is needed to reach the next threshold and consider if the same level of repair is better.


    What are some Officer skills to consider?

    NPC does not use allocation skills like overload or targeting. Those are wasted on NPC ships and probably change them to accuracy and range boost.

    Repair is very important. It serves as insurance when shields fail to stop the damage or engine is damaged.

    Evasion is very usable for NPC since it does not sacrifice much mobility as NPC use more efficient power to move ratios. The higher it is, the more independent the NPC.

    Shield overcharge is a skill that needs to be considered carefully as it affects shield coverage. Sometimes, while a ship can support far more level of shield as a player controlled ship, it would actually benefit more with less as a NPC.

    Accuracy also needs to be considered for some ships are going over 95% accuracy will sacrifice its ability to shoot closer targets. Sometimes, it does not benefit fleet composition and is better left below 95% so they can shoot in coming enemies.


    What are some good ships for NPC?

    For genari:

    Battalion-a ship with good bulk and offers consistent, but low damage. Usually engaging from the close or mid range in a fleet formation, it acts like a bulwark against other NPC.

    Predator -a fantastic ship, made almost perfect for the role of NPC, with the correct gun orientation, uniform range for all guns, thick hull and enough power for guns and shields. With enough levels in repairs and evasion, the predator can solo destroyer map NPC.

    Guardian -similar but bulkier to the predator, it lives us to its name when used as NPC, as it shuts down entire fleets of map spawns. However, because it is a light-cruiser, it does suffer if it is forced into asteroid fields.

    Greatwing - require 1 level of power boost to support its massive power requirement for the lasers. But it does provide a lot of reliable damage and can reach inverse accuracy. While it does not have the capability to charge its shields, it can be deceptively mobile on follow.


    The pattern with these genari ships is they all only have forward facing guns. This reduce the requirement for shield coverage, lowering or eliminating the need for power boost and focus entirely on repairs. A lot of these can become completely autonomous and clear maps by themselves. While they do have excellent ships for AI, they are missing some for destroyers and cruisers, as most of those ships have problems with either gun orientation or not enough base power.


    For Sol:

    Monarch-this thing should not exist. its almost perfect. It has the right ability, the right guns in the right orientation and the required power. Very easy to reach high level evasion+ repair and it is very hard to kill even for players.

    Halifax-Its low costing weapons allow it to charge many shield facing while providing a consistent source of damage, even if the damage is rather low. The Halifax, while hitting like a wet noodle, requires a low cost investment of 2 levels to become an effective tank.

    Liverpool 3 -rather fragile but it has the potential to serve as a back line support and can charge limited amount of shields on the front arch. It also has a nice base power level, just don’t expect it to tank.

    Gorshov 3-fairly solid frigate with high damage and can support fair amount of shields. Issue with this one is the accuracy.

    Leningrad 2 and 3 –both of these have the right numbers out of the box to be used as combat AI. difference between those 2 is Lenin 3 can dish 21 damage at longer range while the 2 can support more levels of shield or repair. Players have the choice in how they build these, to either have more power and use better shield coverage or be slower but more resilient in the long run with hard repair levels.

    Typhoon-designed specifically as the back line attacker for most sol fleet, it can support front shield while fully charging the guns or be unshielded on follow attack and still charge full guns. Very impressive ship for its cost. It just lacks damage.

    Mercury 2 - if you have typhoon, you probably don’t need this. It serves the same purpose but can do more damage as closer range. It does however come with the benefit of letting you repair lvl5 as it comes with DMA and have the right numbers for everything else out of the box.

    Kumano 3 - a bigger, angrier version of the Gorshov 3 and suffers less from low accuracy.

    Nagara -same role as Greatwing, but cheaper and more mobile. Require power investment to work properly as those plasma beams hogs a lot power. Its also a light hitter for its class

    Montana 3???????-on paper, this thing can work, but its not that much better than fully leveled evasion repair merc 2. Its damage output leaves much to be desired out of a cruiser. Choice is there


    While sol seem to have more choices, the ships all have glaring flaws like low damage, fragile, power requirement or accuracy. etc etc. a lot of them need to consider shield coverage VS repair level. Things are tricky and is best learned through experiment and practice.

    With hive still under adjustment, major hive sections of the guide is omitted until the adjustments are finalized.
     

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