Author Topic: Mesa Missions (Scenario)  (Read 190 times)

Offline Vagabond

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Mesa Missions (Scenario)
« on: May 26, 2017, 01:09:40 AM »
I spent a fair amount of time on a 4th mission in the mini-campaign. Although it is shelved right now, I hope to pick it up again soon. Please let me know if people are beating the 3 provided scenarios and want to see more.  Part of the reason I shelved it was because it took A LOT more time than expected to make the map. It was my first map from scratch without just doing some modifications to an existing map.
The map is done with a rough draft mission briefing and partial scenario coded. See http://forum.outpost2.net/index.php/topic,5935.msg84412.html#msg84412 for the map.

Mesa Missions

Iíve been playing around with transferring units to a 3rd AI ally player. Basically, you can transfer control and the AI then acts on your behalf as a sort of autonomous tank division commander to accomplish varying goals. I can programmatically rename the 3rd player something different like LT Dan, so you are transferring your units to an actual commander name, which is kind of interesting. Then later in the scenario, I can change the AIís name in code and transfer tanks to a different commander and so on even though it is the same colored ally player. Outpost 2 will still say "transfer to player 3 complete", but in the text pane at the bottom, it will list the actual player's name, or in this case AI's tank commander's name.

Right now, the AI commander is driving the tanks off the map for certain time periods, then bringing some of them back with wreckage or whatever. Some tanks come back damaged and others donít come back at all. Iím trying to be careful about circumstances when they are transferred to the AI though. This way an enemy wave or earthquake or something doesnít destroy all the cargo trucks after transfer and ruin the situation.

Right now, all the transferred units are just leaving the map and coming back after X marks. I think there is a lot of room in the future in a different scenario for transferring units and keeping them on the map. Maybe letting the player feed an AI army that patrols critical areas of the map for you. Possibly sending out AI controlled scouting parties on map for wreckage or to attack opponents. There would need to be some sort of artificiality to keep the player from just doing the mission themselves. Maybe make the wreckage only recoverable by the AI player who then transfers it back on reaching your CC. Or having a winning condition of the AI have X thors hammer tanks in their patrols protecting you.

Offline Hooman

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Re: Mesa Missions (Scenario)
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2017, 12:31:52 PM »
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Right now, the AI commander is driving the tanks off the map for certain time periods, then bringing some of them back with wreckage or whatever. Some tanks come back damaged and others donít come back at all.

That's a pretty cool idea. I like that.

Offline Sirbomber

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Re: Mesa Missions (Scenario)
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2017, 01:27:51 PM »
I have to disagree with Hooman.  The missions in RTS's (well, let's be honest, any game, really) that give you AI allies are always the worst ones, since your so-called allies are invariably inept, forcing you to spend most of your time babysitting them while also trying to keep your own base alive.  Meanwhile, the AI will valiantly do everything in its power to get itself killed and cause you to fail the mission.  Fake difficulty at its finest, and it makes for a very frustrating experience for the player.  If you really want to go through with this idea though, it would make more sense for the player to be the "tank commander" receiving constant reinforcements from an AI ally.  Then the player can augment the AI's defense/escort returning cargo trucks/hunt down enemy units/whatever as they see fit, rather than rage at the partner AI as its units "helpfully" drive past a critical objective that's under attack.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Mesa Missions (Scenario)
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2017, 02:42:21 PM »
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If you really want to go through with this idea though, it would make more sense for the player to be the "tank commander" receiving constant reinforcements from an AI ally.

I like that too.

The difference being having the AI do stuff off map, where it won't be visibly doing inept things, versus doing things on map.

I agree that AI allies are often terrible, and not always a lot of fun. Though having scripted things off map that can't be messed up by external factors, or having the player do the hard stuff that requires higher level planning and understanding, that makes sense.

Offline Vagabond

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Re: Mesa Missions (Scenario)
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2017, 06:41:27 PM »
I have always been happy with the AI in Outpost 2 despite its flaws.

Part of the reason for sending the patrols out on this scenario is to give the player a large task to put resources and manpower into since the colony will be starting with a moderate number of colonists and a lot of completed research. They need something to work towards and I don't want it to be a standard massive tank buildup to destroy the opponent's base.

I like the idea of allowing the player to focus on their base construction/research/building units while the AI handles the actual maneuvers. Even if it isn't done efficiently, it allows the player to worry more about other aspects of the game. Hopefully with some good design decisions the AI's shenanigans could be kept to a reasonable minimum?

I like sirbomber's idea of an AI base feeding the player units to accomplish certain missions within a greater scenario. It could be a string of missions where the AI retakes control of units on completion and then sends you a new set of units for the next sub mission. Or providing reinforcements over time. A different scenario could be responsible for defending the AI's base for them as they feed you units. If you fail and part of the base is destroyed, the base will churn out less units to give you for the next wave.