Author Topic: Commander Location  (Read 922 times)

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Online Steve Walmsley

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Commander Location
« on: September 24, 2016, 12:01:49 PM »
Interested in opinions...

Do you think it is worth tracking a commanders location if he is not on a specific ship? I am working on the orders code and playing around with 'Pickup Commander'. There are a few options:

1) Commanders can only be assigned to a ship, population, research project, ground unit, etc. if they are physically in the same location. This would require a lot of micromanagement and is really the only reason that Pickup Commander currently exists. If there is no general desire for this option, I will remove the order as it involves quite a lot of work tracking current location for everyone.

2) Commanders can be assigned anywhere instantly but once in a location they are tracked for combat purposes, so if a research lab gets hit a scientist might be killed. The commanders of ground units can be killed in action, ship officers can be killed by a hit to the bridge, etc. In this scenario, any unassigned commander is ignored and doesn't have a physical location (unless they are on a ship for some reason anyway, perhaps after being rescued from a life pod). There is some scope for exploitation (transferring someone from a ship about to be destroyed for example), but that is self-cheating so not a major issue.

3) Commanders can be assigned anywhere instantly and are only tracked for combat purposes if they are on a ship (VB6 Aurora). Non-ship-based officers are effectively immune to harm from combat.

My personal preference is currently 2) so please shout if you have a strong opinion about one of the others.
 

Offline Iranon

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2016, 12:51:26 PM »
2) sounds good to me.

Even for little things, I welcome any depth we can add cheaply (without encouraging undue micromanagement or being too computationally intensive).
Maybe commanders, especially unassigned ones, should also be at risk when there are civilian casualties.
 

Offline Bughunter

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2016, 02:00:38 PM »
For some abstraction it could be assumed unassigned commanders are at sector HQ:s and will take random losses if those planets are bombarded, works with both 2&3.
 

Online Steve Walmsley

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2016, 03:17:59 PM »
2) sounds good to me.

Even for little things, I welcome any depth we can add cheaply (without encouraging undue micromanagement or being too computationally intensive).
Maybe commanders, especially unassigned ones, should also be at risk when there are civilian casualties.

Yes, that is a good idea. I could assume unassigned commanders are distributed evenly among the population. if 1% of the total empire pop is killed (for example), 1% of unassigned commanders would be killed (using random selection).
 

Offline Mastik

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2016, 08:19:34 PM »
2
 

Offline serger

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 01:12:46 AM »
2
 

Offline gwtaff

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 01:49:45 AM »
2
 

Offline 83athom

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2016, 02:22:52 AM »
I kind of like option 1 myself, but with a slight modification/addition. Maybe we could have civilian/automated shuttles that can go between planets/systems taking a commander to where they need to go, whether they are built via a building(like tying in the spaceport to this or having to build a transfer hub of some sort) or player design like a normal ship.

Alternatively we could have a mix of 1 and 2 in that you can assign commanders anywhere, but they have a travel time based on engine technology.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 02:24:45 AM by 83athom »
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Offline QuakeIV

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2016, 04:04:46 AM »
I like 2, with the amendment mentioned where they can get killed if civilians are bombed.
 

Online Steve Walmsley

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2016, 05:29:30 AM »
I kind of like option 1 myself, but with a slight modification/addition. Maybe we could have civilian/automated shuttles that can go between planets/systems taking a commander to where they need to go, whether they are built via a building(like tying in the spaceport to this or having to build a transfer hub of some sort) or player design like a normal ship.

Alternatively we could have a mix of 1 and 2 in that you can assign commanders anywhere, but they have a travel time based on engine technology.

Possible but, as I mentioned above, a lot of work to track all the routes for potentially thousands of commanders and keep track of when the commanders are in position, when their bonuses apply, when research projects begin, if they can be intercepted, etc.. An interesting challenge but my concern is the game play benefit doesn't justify the effort.
 

Offline bitbucket

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2016, 09:40:10 AM »
I say go with 2.

When you assign a commander or governor somewhere, you're merely specifying this position is where you want them stationed, and you can handwave it off that they figure out a way to get there on their own. Have their bonuses kick in right away to eliminate micromanagement, and chalk it up to sending orders via telecommunications until they arrive in person.

Maybe that getting-commanders-to-their-posts mechanic can become part of an abstract layer of the civilian sector. Keep the civilian shipping lines around as is, as being the Microsofts and the Googles of the moving-stuff-in-space industry, and merely simulate a large number of small independently owned and operated spacecraft who make their business moving around VIPs and small amounts of trade goods—no population transfers, these wouldn't be able to carry enough people to be measureable. Again, there wouldn't be any ships actually being tracked, but based upon the size of your empire's economy and its government type (a simple multiplicative modifier on how much private enterprise your empire allows), every month or so have a few tons of (non-infrastructure) trade goods move automagically from A to B based on supply and demand, then generate a little tax revenue for it.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 02:21:56 PM by bitbucket »
 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2016, 10:14:41 AM »
2 is fine with me, but if you wanted a compromise that would give the gaming experience a bit of the feel of not having instantaneous translocation you could do some of the following (some of which were already suggested up thread):

1)  Fundamental idea:  At the moment that you want to assign officers to an empty slot, you randomly determine where unassigned officers are, and then build in a distance-based time lag between the act of giving them their orders and the actual filling of the command slot to which they've been assigned.  Possible locations are colonies or TG/Fleets.  The commanders' location wouldn't be tracked while in transit; their location would simply be "In Transit" with an arrival time data member.  I imagine the random location assignment would be triggered by e.g. opening the commander screen.

2)  You could do the same thing for the possibility of getting killed when a ship or planet explodes/is damaged - the damage/combat routine triggers a reassignment pass.

3)  The assign commander screen would have a lag time next to each officer, and could be sorted based on lag times, so you could prefer assigning officers who are on board.  Until that time, the command slot would be filled by the commander, but with an "in transit" flag (so bonuses/risk of destruction don't apply).  The idea here is that High Command won't be managing the location of every JG; an assignment to a slot will be filled more quickly if done from "on board" resources.  If performance is a problem, you could specify a "max jumps" search radius to only present officers that are close to the command location (rather from the entire empire).  If you did this, you'd probably want another mode for the screen that presented officers without displaying a delay (and only calculated a display when selected or assigned).

4)  To allow High Command to stockpile special officers (and to give micro managers more control) you could add an "officer pool" category of assignment to each possible officer location to which the player can assign officers.  This would have transit time just like a "real" assignment, but would not be overrideable by the random assignment phase, i.e. this is an officer that High Command (the player) IS paying attention to and wants in a particular location until further notice (presumably as a reserve or for a future change of command).

5)  Resolving the "in transit" state for a commander could require going into the same system as any colony after the lag has expired (I'm not keen on this one - I think it's in the same category as over micro-management of maintenance).

6)  You would probably want to have a minimum time delay between calls to the random location assignment routine (e.g. a week) so that opening then closing the commander screen wouldn't magically teleport people all over creation (and/or so that commanders don't magically appear/disappear on board ships between hits).  There could also be an explicit "update commander locations button" that could be used to more frequently update, or even as the only way to move people.

7)  Probability of a commander being at a particular location could be dependent on the planetary population size, fleet tonnage/military presence (system defense score), whether a HQ is present ....  Presumably Fleet and/or sector HQ would have a very high weight.

8 )  Slightly more tracking, but a bit more realistic, would be to have every officer always be assigned to a location (either "present" or "in transit"), and the random location assignment phase would actually be a "generate commander relocation orders" that would randomly assign a small fraction of the commanders to a new location and put them in transit.  This presumably would be done during the weekly update phase.  This might actually be less coding, since commanders would only have two states: "present" or "in transit", while the other situation has to deal with "location unknown" through the random assignment stuff.

9)  I can already hear the calls from people saying "If you put any of this in, please put in a flag that gives us just a raw behavior #2" :)

10)  Survey teams could presumably be set up to use the same "lag time" mechanism if desired. 

So the 50K view of the above suggestion (especially with #8 included) is to NOT abstract away the location of commanders, but to abstract away the travel mechanism in favor of a magic lag time.  This knocks out the instantaneous teleportation aspect, while not getting snarled up in tracking the actual motion of the officers, which is where I suspect most of the coding complexity that you're worried about would come from.

That being said, even if you like it I think this is probably a "should have" (i.e. should wait until after 1st release), since #2 would get the job done and can be enhanced to use this mechanism at a later date.

John

PS - While reading this, realized that you probably want life pods to implement both "IHasLocation" and "IPotentialCommanderLocation" (or whatever you're using for these abstractions),  since they're a place commanders might end up.
 

Online Steve Walmsley

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2016, 10:20:13 AM »
Quote
PS - While reading this, realized that you probably want life pods to implement both "IHasLocation" and "IPotentialCommanderLocation" (or whatever you're using for these abstractions),  since they're a place commanders might end up.

I already track commanders in life pods so that part is handled :)

If someone is on a ship, even if not in a commander position, they are checked for making it into a life pod.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 01:50:24 PM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline chrislocke2000

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2016, 10:42:31 AM »
Somehow posted in bugs, is that a bug itself?!

Option 2 with chance of additional loss based on population damage sounds good, especially if we end up with multiple officers on each ship.
 

Offline alex_brunius

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Re: Commander Location
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2016, 12:22:02 PM »
2) Commanders can be assigned anywhere instantly but once in a location they are tracked for combat purposes, so if a research lab gets hit a scientist might be killed. The commanders of ground units can be killed in action, ship officers can be killed by a hit to the bridge, etc. In this scenario, any unassigned commander is ignored and doesn't have a physical location (unless they are on a ship for some reason anyway, perhaps after being rescued from a life pod). There is some scope for exploitation (transferring someone from a ship about to be destroyed for example), but that is self-cheating so not a major issue.

...

My personal preference is currently 2) so please shout if you have a strong opinion about one of the others.

Agree that 2 is the best option of the ones listed.

And I would also like to see it with the two logical improvements that others already have mentioned above. Maybe something like this:
  • Commanders not assigned anywhere have a physical location at your homeworld or planet containing the academy where they graduated, and a % chance to be killed according to population killed on that planet ( if 10% of all pops are killed all commanders have 10% chance to be included )
  • Shuttles and redeployments are abstracted. Commanders that are redeployed to another physical location are given the status "in transit" for X time calculated as the time it would take your fastest commercial ship to complete the travel distance, but the "shuttles" themself they travel on are not modeled or possible to intercept. While in transit the commander does not contribute any if it's stats and the previous commanders remain in charge (unless you order that commander away ). Arrival of commanders to their destination is tracked in the log with an event "Commander X has relieved Commander Y on duty at location Z. Commander Y is now awaiting new orders.
  • An option to toggle "automatic redeployment home after X months idle". This will have Commanders return to their saved "home" location if they have been deployed idle for X months, so if you forget about them somewhere they are not exposed to harm unnecessarily.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 12:31:09 PM by alex_brunius »
 

 

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