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This HAS to GO!

By on January 26, 2010 8:30:54 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

N3rull

Join Date 10/2008
+41

The arcing turns are retarded.

Period.

(scroll to the bottom for suggested solutions; keep reading for rants)

You guys at Ironclad say that people complain about the game being too static, that the ships don't move around too much and that sort of stuff to justify the arcing maneuvers of units.

You'll not make need for speed out of this game. But you can put a little sense into the pathing!

Maneuvering larger fleets is all but impossible. Ships all aim for their places in formation and when that shifts slightly, they begin to do those damned arcing turns, ending up all over the gravwell, eating enemy's starbase railgun fire and clearing minefields with their faces.

Example:

I entered the gravwell from a safe direction so as to evade the extensive minefield. I approached the enemy starbase (it had been where the yellow X is) by circling the minefield and attacking from a mine-free side (green arrow).

http://img25.imageshack.us/img25/5153/screenshot28d.jpg

After finishing off the starbase I realized that I couldn't get out of the minefield. I couldn't go forward, because the gravwell "edge" was too close to evade mines. "Just turning back" would be the best option

http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/8374/screenshot29k.jpg

 I knew what would happen, but I didn't have time to micro all ~100 ships (I could've used the Z-axis, but the ships would do the same thing only above the minefield), so I just waved my hand and watched them do their "clever" turn.

http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/9441/screenshot30b.jpg

Effect: 6 ships dead, dozen barely alive and the minefield cleared neatly. Awesome   

And that Vulkoras... how the hell is THAT supposed to be anything close to turning around???

ANOTHER example:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please, PLEASE, if you really want to succumb to children's whines about how they want their battleships show off  with drift racing in space, give them an "I want my ships to do idiotic circles instead of turning" option in fleet management. But for the rest who would really want the ships to do sensible stuff - please, at least make the ships turn 90 or even 50 degrees first before they accelerate. It would DRASTICALLY reduce the "stupid circle syndrome".
Those circles truly make this game annoying at times. Kortul using Jam weapons deliberately flies half a gravwell away from the rest of the fleet simply because he has to make a thousand mile circle in order to move ten miles back. Skirantra suddenly stinks like a camel, cause the whole fleet decides to stay half a gravwell away from it (and away from repair cloud of course). Ordering your fleet to move AWAY from the enemy starbase makes your fleet fly right THROUGH it, deliberately so as to catch fire from all possible weapon banks on the beast.

Argh! Somebody give me a SINGLE screenshot depicting a situation where a HUGE CIRCLING TURN is the SENSIBLE THING TO DO.

I beg you IC, rethink this ship behaviour. It really makes controlling large fleets too much like trying to hold a glass of water on your open palm after the glass is gone.

 

PS. Any of the following suggestions would fix the arcing turns stupidity to some extent, ordered from most brutal (longest wait, greatest arcing reduction effect) to the lest noticeable movement-wise, whilst still having a big impact on the arcing.


My suggestions are:
- make the ships wait until their destination is in the forward hemisphere (long wait) or
- make the ships start accelerating after turning 30-50 degrees instead of immediately. That alone would make a HUGE difference! (as in: accelerate if destination is less than 150-120 degrees from current heading.)
- make the ships start accelerating if their rotation ratio has reached its maximum. It would take roughly 1-2 seconds of wait for all ships, 3 sec for a starbase, and would reduce the circling by almost a half!

1-2 seconds of wait before accelerating <-> 50% lesser arcing turn.

That's the best deal I have ever heard if you ask me.

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January 26, 2010 8:44:30 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I know what you mean.  I nearly lost a Halcyon today when it collided with a resource asteroid and came to a sudden stop while being chased by a good 30 illuminators.  Fortunately my opponent didn't notice and I quickly sent it out via an alternate lane.  Still, I lose so many caps and units in general because they path poorly. 

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January 26, 2010 9:31:07 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Hmm, well multiple things-

1st= I agree 100%. There NEEDS to be better pathing, PERIOD.

2nd= the main obstacle to good pathing is the fact that, no matter how much some wish it weren't so, Sins GWs ARE 3D areas. A 3D zone all by itself is probably not to hard to path. But if you toss in the fact that we have the ability to place structures in nearly an position in a GW, the fact we can put Mines anywhere we want in some cases, and that map-start-spawned objects in GWs spawn at random 3D coordinates, it becomes a nigh impossible task.

3rd= #2 may not be wholly correct, as my current understanding of pathmapping comes mostly from a knowledge of Battlefield-series AI pathmapping. And that is something I KNOW is significantly easier than pathmapping in Sins, simply because maps in Sins are large, and there are many more things to keep track of.

4th= How did you manage ~580k credits, ~131k metal, and ~645k crystal? I've only gotten to 100k marks in 12+ hours. I suspect that it has to do with greater efficiency and better strategy on your part.

5th= the Vulkoras zooming around is simultaenously amusing (in hindsight), and also semi-useful, as it could be microed to go around the mines.

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January 26, 2010 9:37:49 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yes, improved pathfinding (or a more general increase in the turn rate) would be very much appreciated. In some battles I even go out of my way to make sure resource asteroids stay out of my cap ship's way. However, I agree with Whiskey that this is easier said than done, and there certainly other issues that IC can be dealing with right now.

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January 26, 2010 10:24:25 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I guess none of you played HOMEWORLD. 

Hold the D key and you can move along the Z axis to avoid the mines.  I know it's not in the tutorial, since most people don't use the Z-axis at all, and that people want their mines to be effective.

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January 26, 2010 10:27:30 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

That's commonly considered an abuse; borderline cheating.

The game is technically 3D, but it was really balanced and designed as a 2D game, so most realistic applications of moving in 3D are ways to abuse the system, like starbase blindspots directly above and below them or flying over minefields that are placed in 2D.  Yes, it's technically possible to place 3D minefields, but they're so sparce that they're utterly ineffective.

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January 26, 2010 10:28:22 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Darvin3,
That's commonly considered an abuse; borderline cheating.
How is that abuse or cheating if it's in the game?

edit:  well I guess people like to tend to not micro manage tend to lose out of that option.  The only down side is that you lose time during the z-axis movements.  Sure you can get out of the way, but you are setting yourself up for defenders to return.

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January 26, 2010 10:29:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting MaarekStele,
I guess none of you played HOMEWORLD. 

Hold the D key and you can move along the Z axis to avoid the mines.  I know it's not in the tutorial since most people don't use it often and that people want their mines to be effective.

(I could've used the Z-axis, but the ships would do the same thing only above the minefield)

yeah, N3rull never knew about that

it still does not solve the problem

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January 26, 2010 10:31:15 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Simple: minefields were designed and balanced on the presumption that players are playing in 2D.  If you play in 3D to go over or under them, they're completely worthless (except as used as grenades, as Vasari players have started doing lately).  You can, theoretically, place minefields in 3D, but they will be so sparse for the amount of money you paid that it's a laughable endeavor.

If an enemy is using the Z-Axis, mines are an utter joke.  They were clearly designed around a 2D battlespace, and using the 3D battlespace renders them useless and moot, hence why most people consider it abusive or even cheating.

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January 26, 2010 10:33:33 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

That's true which is why I never bother with mines anyways.  Most matches I've been playing are against the AI even with friends.  The AI only move along the Z-axis to get around the sun.

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January 26, 2010 10:36:00 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Darvin3,
If an enemy is using the Z-Axis, mines are an utter joke.  They were clearly designed around a 2D battlespace, and using the 3D battlespace renders them useless and moot, hence why most people consider it abusive or even cheating.

sorry for the additional post, but remembering the Movie Galaxy Quest, the mine field was in 3D, could a 3D mine field be updated from the current design?

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January 27, 2010 3:36:17 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I think the best way to make mines work in 3D is to allow them to freely float up and down to strike targets.  If you simply placed minefields in three dimensions, this would have the opposite problem: since most people play in 2D, most of those mines are then wasted.

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January 27, 2010 6:04:39 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

personally I think they should just remove z-axis control from the game, as it stands 99%  of the time a player is using it, it's to commit some sort of abuse.  Better to remove it entirely from direct control, only allowing ships some limited z-axis pathing ai to clear obstacles.

Back to the original subject, i have to agree the pathing in this game is terribad and can often lead to a strategic loss simply because this ships will move in some fashion that will get them killed.  It would be pretty simple to fix, though I would think.  The biggest offenders are as follows

1.  Static object in ships path (a mine, starbase, orbital structure, etc) - This should be the most easily fixed, when the order is given the pathing AI should account for any static objects that would be in the way and plot a course accordingly to avoid them in the most efficient manner, in otherwords shorted time to destination point.

2.  Gravwell jumpout position - For some reason ship AI is really terrible at this.  When heading for a phase lane ships will all try to go to the same edge of the phase lane and if they are spread across the grav well that means some traveling an inordinately long distance to get out.  Additionally ships will always take the shortest distance to the edge of the gravwell without factoring the turning time required to re-align the ship and jump out.  So a ship that might be near the middle of the phase lane in the well (pointed toward the lane) will try to turn and drive out to to the nearest edge of the lane then once it gets there it will have to turn in place back in the direction of the lane before initiating the jump, the result often means it take 2-3 times as long as it should have to go out.  Compounding this problem is the fact that near the edge of the lane there is eventually a cutoff where the ship can't jump so sometimes the ship will overshoot the cutoff and have to turn back and slide into place.  And *then* sometimes a smart opponent will add insult to injury by having their swarm of frigates cluster around that capship you are trying to retreat and effectively block it's movement, which leads to point 3.

3.  Traffic jams in space - Very often ships of opposing sides will get into each others way and bring any forward progress to a halt.  This is most obnoxious with little frigates blocking a capship from moving, preventing it's escape.  While this is acceptable in a conventional 2d RTS, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense in this setting.  In my opinion the bigger ship should have priority and knock the smaller ship out of the way in every case sort of in the same way it works for the Vasari starbase (that thing will knock anything out of the way that's blocking its path of travel)

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January 27, 2010 6:09:30 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Please, guys, do not derail the thread. This is not a "Z-axis vs minefields" thread. It's about the EFFIN' circles.

2nd= the main obstacle to good pathing is the fact that, no matter how much some wish it weren't so, Sins GWs ARE 3D areas. A 3D zone all by itself is probably not to hard to path. But if you toss in the fact that we have the ability to place structures in nearly an position in a GW, the fact we can put Mines anywhere we want in some cases, and that map-start-spawned objects in GWs spawn at random 3D coordinates, it becomes a nigh impossible task.

I have to put it straight - good pathing means two separate things:

1. Ships going where you want them to go using the most sensible route.

The above illustrates how a frig SHOULD turn. If it only turned 30 degrees before accelerating, the whole arc would be so much smaller, the path so much sensible!

It is not hard to do - every ship, when ordered to move to a place behind it albeit very close, will turn almost 180 degrees before accelerating. The amount of retarded forward drifting increases with the range of the destination. I bet it only takes to tweak one number in the code and the ships will start acting like they had sentient beings instead of pigeons as captains!

The second picture shows how that frigate really turned. Done by overlapping four shots of the same frigate doing its turn.
Notice the starbase size - if that skirmisher was shooting a starbase, it would fly through the field of fire of three weapon banks.
Notice the gravwell range - if there was a minefield on the edge of the gravwell, the skirmisher would wipe it with its face even though it started its move halfway between the planet and the edge!

 

2. The second, completely separate thing that I do NOT thouch here is evading obstacles.

It is definately hard if possible at all to write a code that would simultaneously analyze and fix paths for thousands of ships and not clogger the system, so that they all evade planets, roids, structures and each other.

that's a completely different story!

HOWEVER, if my ships flew at least SOMEWHAT like I ordered them, then I could set their paths myself which is called micro, or use the clickspam trick*. When my ships fly everywhere except where I want them to, this is hopeless.

 

 * the clickspam trick allows you to more easily evade obstacles. If your ship hits and asteroid, it will stop, turn, go around it and proceed with its movement - this takes a lot of time.
However, if you select that ship and begin rapidly clicking its destination, the ship will maintain its heading and momentum and will instead "slide off" the obstacle. Heavy ships - Caps, Starbases - will push smaller ones from their path. For example, if the enemy fleet is between your Orky and the enemy's Krosovs bombing your planet, clicking on Krosovs will cause your orky to do a millenium-long maneuver to fly around the enemy fleet. Clicking repeatedly next to or on the krosovs will casue your orky to ram through the enemy fleet, pushing off those fools.

I do not perceive this as a bug. It is necessary to be able to control your fleets with such erroneous pathing. I will be totally outraged if this was removed without fixing the pathing.

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January 27, 2010 12:48:07 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I completely agree, even if you are trying to be realistic, ships should be able to turn and accelerate at the same time. There is no need to let them first accelerate, and then, after gaining some speed, initiate the turn.

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January 27, 2010 2:43:30 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

That is exactly the problem - they DO accelerate the moment they begin turning.

Spaceships are not naval vessels. Water-bound ships need the flow of water around the rudder to be able to turn. There is no flow of the Void and there is no rudder on space ships. In fact, the faster they move in the wrong direction, the more energy it takes to change the heading!

I understand it may not look sensible if all ships turned whole 180 degrees before accelerating - it would be dull like hell and sometimes very dangerous.

For example - we have a Marza ahead of us using MB. I wanna get out of here. I order my units to go back. I want them to start accelerating before they turn 180 degrees... the faster they're out of there, the better. I definately do not want them to align themselves perfectly towards the destination and then engage the engines. Engaging engines when the direction is roughly ahead of you makes most sense, doesn't it?
However, I do NOT want them to fly forward to kiss the Marza before they turn around and eventually start heading out of the MB's radius. I don't want the ships to go disarm the minefield which I ordered them to get away from. I don't want them to get into the short range with the enemy starbase's all weapon banks when I order them to back out of the fight.

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January 27, 2010 4:16:13 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Use Waypoints

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January 27, 2010 4:39:34 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Ha, waypoints make it even worse.
If you tell your ship to make an S curve it will end up doing five circles. Why? Because as it flies through one waypoint and misses the next (cause ships turn like sh.t in this game, which in itself is fine as they're not hot rods), it begins to make the whole circle arcing turn crap. Then, when it reaches the waypoint it had missed, it is pointing in the opposite direction you expected it to, with the next waypoint directly behind it - yay another circle turn.

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January 27, 2010 5:05:21 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

You need hope.

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January 27, 2010 8:08:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

the simplest solution is to add a "Reverse Manouver" movement option into the game like in  Command and Conquer.

maybe the ships wont necessarily fly backwards, but certainly rotate to the direction first, and then accelerate would solve all of your problems (and i agree, too many times ive watched a dumbshit fleet get eaten because of stupid flying).

the only thing i can say to explain it is i believe ships in sins have a value that denotes how quickly they can rotate on the spot (or while moving but still). so they accelerate to satisfy that condition, but they can only turn so quickly, hence why we have these massive turning circles...

as for using Z-Axis to exploit mines... i agree with this, yet on the same hand i dont see how nudging your fleet close to a minefield to attack a SB from behind, then backing your fleet back out again without hitting the mines is any less of an exploit... be definition, if you dont hit the minefield you have exploited a weakness, which is a valuable strategy in any case, yet... idn, i suppose it depends on other circumstances...

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January 27, 2010 9:04:56 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Just add a couple if statements.

 

First off, have a 60 degree cone at the front of your ship that if your location target is within it, you will fly towards it, curving en route.  

Also, have a 180 degree cone (or rather wall) behind the ship.  If within it, you would turn first.

Now, after you turn so that your target is in front of the wall, you accelerate, but only to about 40-50% of your max speed.  Once the target gets within the 60 degree cone, you kick in your main engines and accelerate up to 100% (given the opportunity) towards the target location.

Now, overshadowing this all is a rangefinder.  If within a range of say, 2000-2500, you always turn first.

 

If left to it's own devices (aka not moving or firing) for a couple seconds, the ship's AI should be programmed to aim itself in the straightest line possible from where it was before the movement command was issued (to fix the issue of the curved path affecting its next movement order).  

However, if fleeted, the ships would automatically align themselves with the flagship (this is to make synchronized phase jumping more effective and allows monster fleets to move more easily).

 

The end result of the above would be that while not moving, ships would become more cohesive, but when ordered to move, would quickly be able to destroy that cohesion if necessary.  This would be evidenced by having a fleet attack a starbase.  If losing, you typically have to more or less fly through it to get away.  Not so with the above system.  Instead, your ships would begin turning until they are perpendicular to the starbase (assuming the place you are moving them to is directly behind them).  After they reach this point, they begin to turn while in transit.  This would result in a movement that is eye appealing, logical, and an effective method of retreat.  By turning away from the object first, you no longer have to fly through what you want to avoid and can get on with retreating.

Think about it.  If you were in a starship and you were ordered to retreat because the fleet in front of you was winning, you wouldn't fly through them, you would turn some and then begin firing your engines.

 

Sure, the above doesn't exactly solve the issue with mines, but idk...  Making an option to just slam through them is too complicated and making them try to avoid mines by default is not good either as it makes mines nearly worthless as a form of a barrier.

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January 27, 2010 9:17:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

However, if fleeted, the ships would automatically align themselves with the flagship (this is to make synchronized phase jumping more effective and allows monster fleets to move more easily).

note though that the flagship isnt always in the middle/center of a formation...

that caused me endless grief when lining up a formation...

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January 27, 2010 10:15:28 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

The real (and simple) solution would be ships turning without going forwards until the destination is within ~30 degrees of the frontal arc, the entire problem is the ships try to turn and accelerate at the same time.

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January 27, 2010 10:37:28 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

The game has physics involved.  First rule, an object in motion tends to stay in motion.  They kept that here, so a ship has to make the long route since it's moving.

They implemented the Gravity well, so there's rules about movement.  That's why the huge turn.

Put it this way.  Drive your car and make a right turn doing 40mph.  You won't make the same turn if you did it at a slower speed and don't start with brakes, there are none in space only reverse thrust to "slow" you down.

 

Finally, the latest updates turned off the Z-Axis... it doesn't work anymore.

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January 27, 2010 10:42:13 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

The game has physics involved.  First rule, an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

Strictly speaking that's not true.  Ever seen a ship nudged by repulse?  Even if the repulse effect is perpendicular to its direction of motion, it loses all momentum and comes to a complete stop on a dime. 

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January 27, 2010 10:56:25 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Put it this way. Drive your car and make a right turn doing 40mph. You won't make the same turn if you did it at a slower speed and don't start with brakes, there are none in space only reverse thrust to "slow" you down.

except you cant rotate on the spot in a car... whereas in space it should be absolutely easy what with the no planetary gravity and thrusters and whatnot

thats what we are saying. instead of flying forward first, then turning a few seconds after accelerating, turn first then aceclerate when you are lined up with your destination, or at least turn tighter even if it means flying slower...

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