Author Topic: The Vasudan Ace?  (Read 650 times)

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Offline Marcov

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What AI level was he in? "General"?

Also, out of curiosity, what is the hardest AI skill level possible (mods included), and how would a 1v1 against an enemy fighter of that skill flying the same class as yours go?
With the rapid increase of FS fan-made campaigns, we're giving the GTVA a harder time with more violence and genocide.

~FreeSpace: The Battle of Endor (voice dub)~
Part 1/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9K9-Y1JBTE
Part 2/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtQanXDRAXM
Part 3/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoBLKYt_oG0

Old (original) videos:
Part 1/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1ygskaoUtE
Part 2/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0uoPTksBlI

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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What AI level was he in? "General"?
Yes, but the default AI doesn't change all that much between different AI classes.

Also, out of curiosity, what is the hardest AI skill level possible (mods included), and how would a 1v1 against an enemy fighter of that skill flying the same class as yours go?
I'm not sure "the hardest AI skill level possible" is possible to define. The hardest AI class that's actually been used in a released mod (a much easier question to answer) would probably be "BALLS OF STEELE" from Blue Planet, which cheats to fire and turn faster than is normally possible. It's so overpowered that it's extremely rare for it to be used in a mission; it's usually used in cutscenes or (rarely) for ships you're never supposed to get close to. In fact, the player is most likely to notice BALLS OF STEELE AI when playing one of the capship command missions (The Blade Itself or One Future), which change the player ship's AI class to BALLS OF STEELE when all power is directed to weapons (so the turrets fire faster).

As for dueling such an AI with identical ships, well, you'd need to be very, very good, because you can't outmaneuver or outgun it, by definition. The comparatively-lesser AI class BP2-General is used by the hostile SOC fighters in My Brother, My Enemy, and despite your wingmates having BP2-Major and a significant hitpoint boost, they're virtually guaranteed to die.
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<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 
In a broader sense, an AI on a ship with side/reverse thrusters & gliding capabilities is tough as hell. They're usually much better at circling around you and shooting at the same time than you. This is what made the Cordi fighters in the original Wings of Dawn a much bigger threat than almost any other fighter in the game as you cranked up the difficulty, despite being piss-weak on paper. Another good example is the dogfight sequence at the end of Diaspora's training missions.

 

Offline Marcov

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If the Vasudan ace was "General", how hard was the fight against him? (Sorry haven't played Descent). How hard is it to beat this ace at Insane difficulty? And is he much harder to defeat in Insane than an ordinary enemy fighter at Insane?

Regarding BALLS OF STEELE, the thing I have in mind is the possibility of an extended ace-vs-ace kind of duel that lasts a few minutes, WW1-style. Is this, at any rate, possible? Or has it been done before?

How does a 1v1 against a BOS level Insane fighter go, given identical ship/weapon stats? I was thinking, if I increased the hitpoints of each fighter tenfold, it might simulate an "ace" fight as I've described, though I could be wrong; this way, maybe it could be a test of skill on the player's part, without having the battle to last only a few seconds? Maybe it could be an entire mission or something. Hmm.

With the rapid increase of FS fan-made campaigns, we're giving the GTVA a harder time with more violence and genocide.

~FreeSpace: The Battle of Endor (voice dub)~
Part 1/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9K9-Y1JBTE
Part 2/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtQanXDRAXM
Part 3/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoBLKYt_oG0

Old (original) videos:
Part 1/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1ygskaoUtE
Part 2/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0uoPTksBlI

 

Offline General Battuta

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Giving a ship a ton of hitpoints is bad at selling their intelligence, since it usually leads to the player following them around dumping shots into their shields. This is true of all the retail AI classes.

You need to use an AI mod like Fury AI and create or select a class with turn/fire rate multipliers of 1.0 (or lower, which will let it turn/shoot faster than a human player).

There's an extremely intense 3v3 in the Blue Planet 2 mission 'For the Wrong Reasons'. Play it to find out if it's what you're after. It's much harder to do an intense 1v1, because once on ship gets behind the other it's usually over — or one ship is far more maneuverable than the other and wins by default.

In high-difficulty, high-AI combat agility is MUCH more important than hitpoints.

 

Offline Lorric

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There was a time when I was experimenting with the idea of ace dogfights and changing hitpoints. I decided that changing the shields, even not by much, was both too obvious and too frustrating, but that increasing the hull hitpoints to anything up to about a 300% increase was not so noticeable or frustrating.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 07:24:16 am by Lorric »

 

Offline The E

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The problem is that more hitpoints do not make a fight better, they make a fight longer.
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Offline Novachen

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Yeah of course more hitpoints make a fight longer and not better... but hey, it is the standard method in most boss fights in video games  :D Most of the boss battles in video games are only long, but not difficult.

Actually i used the "Moar Hitpoints" solution myself for all the aces in the FSPort Single Missions.

But to make a better opponent in general, you have to create an invidiual #Ace ship class of the specific Ace ship with other/better stats as it seems.

Special Hitpoints next to an higher AI class seems to be the best method to do without modding in the tbl files.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 09:16:54 am by Novachen »
Female FS2 pilot since 1999.

German Translations created by me:
Between the Ashes: Slaves of Chaos, FreeSpace Port, The Destiny of Peace, Silent Threat: Reborn, Awakenings (in development),

Other projects:
FSPort Mission Upgrade, Out of the Shadow: Nova Safiya Edition (Remake of the Out of the Shadow campaign, in development)

If you want to know, what my nickname means, -chen is a german diminutive term, so you can translate Novachen as something like Little Nova or Novalet.
Even my original meaning of this name is more like "Sweet pretty deadly (Super)Nova" ;).

 

Offline potterman28wxcv

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The only thing that makes the Ace vasudan harder to fight is because he unloads absolutely all his missile bank at you, and also has Avenger cannon (or at least I think so), which shreds your ship very quickly.

As for the hardest AI, I would say Fury AI no doubt. I tried a couple of months ago a playthrough of FSport with it (i think i listed FuryAI as secondary modlist ?), and holy **** was it intense. I don't think I've been able to 1v1 the Ace Vasudan - I was so shred apart by the wing encounters that I just jumped back to base ; also, i had only one teammate still alive, and I had like 10% hull integrity left. It would have been suicide to attempt to kill the Ace.

There's a kind of cheesy tactic with the generic AI that you can use, which consists in keeping your throttle to zero, and then the AI starts circling around you. Since you are at 0 speed you turn much faster than him, and that's an easy prey 1v1. Assuming you get close enough to him to get him to "circle around you" in the first place.

This behavior is very very noticeable with the SF Scorpions. Shivan practice dummies really. SF Dragon gives more of a fight because even when using this tactic, it outmanoeuvers you whatever you're doing.

To give you an order of comparison, Fury AI + FSport was the first time I ever failed at the very first mission because Orff gets destroyed! I really had an absolute blast playing FSport with FuryAI. But it's certainly not balanced towards it, and I had to cheese a couple of missions like the capture of the Ramses (just impossible to dogfight your way out of it. Just let shivans and vasudans crush each other, then do a surgical strike with your 3 teammates to destroy the cargos).

Back to Vasudan Ace..

The cookie cutter way of fighting him is to order your teammates to attack him while you evade the missiles - then as he draws the attention away from you, you turn back on him and finish him.

If I was to 1v1 him though, the best solution would be to unload tons of MX-50 while diving at him at max speed at an angle such that the shots don't land on you, then as soon as you go past him, decrease all throttle to zero, and turn to him as quickly as possible. If you can't (because he turns faster than you), just outspeed him (in retail campaigns it's really easy to outspeed pretty much anyone, AI is quite terrible at chasing with afterburner), then go back and repeat with another salvo of missiles I guess.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 10:07:30 am by potterman28wxcv »

 
Yeah of course more hitpoints make a fight longer and not better... but hey, it is the standard method in most boss fights in video games  :D Most of the boss battles in video games are only long, but not difficult.

Actually i used the "Moar Hitpoints" solution myself for all the aces in the FSPort Single Missions.

But to make a better opponent in general, you have to create an invidiual #Ace ship class of the specific Ace ship with other/better stats as it seems.

Special Hitpoints next to an higher AI class seems to be the best method to do without modding in the tbl files.
That's pretty much it, it's quite difficult to create a satisfying ace-on-ace scenario, especially under Freespace's combat model. Most fighters die in 1-2 seconds of sustained fire, so having a prolonged battle means that neither fighter manages to score hits on the other, which can quickly grow rather frustrating - see the SF Dragon.


So, unless you want to script the hell out of the fight, your options are rather limited :
1 - Give the ace a fighter & AI that's better than what you've faced so far, eg. a Seth while you've only faced Anubis so far
2 - Give the ace a fighter that's blatantly better than yours, eg. facing a Perseus while you're flying an Anubis
3 - Cheat and give the ace better stats compared to the base fighter, eg. special hitpoints & AI, custom #Ace variant, etc.
4 - Cheat even further and give the ace abilities you don't even have access to, eg. gliding, cloaking device, weapons it shouldn't be able to use, etc.
5 - Make everybody else dumber, eg. everybody's a lieutenant & he's a general, or everybody's using retail AI & he's using fury AI

And each of these has pros & cons :
#1 works alright in early-game, but kinda loses value upon replays.
#2 & #4 are effective, but rather obviously unfair.
#3 is rather tricky since you typically don't want the player to notice that the AI is cheating, which means you can't make the AI too strong compared to other fighters of the same type, otherwise you might as well say the AI has a super custom fighter & you are back to #2.
#5 means you are potentially sacrificing the quality of every other fights to make this one more satisfying if you are not careful. It should work if you are going for a more arcade-y feel though : drop everybody like flies, then this guy shows up.


 

Offline Marcov

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Is it possible to beat an identical enemy fighter with Fury AI at  Insane and he's BALLS OF STEELE?

Now, regarding the hitpoint increase, imagine the above scenario, only both of you have aboout 3k hp. The fight would still be difficult, but it would also be long and "dramatic".  Plus maybe you could even disable homing missiles.

I would imagine it to be fun and challenging as you anticipate who has less hp and try to put his hp as down as posaible while you're evading his fire. It's not "I have your back and poof you blow up!". Kind of like the old Red Baron 3D game where it can take several minutes just to take out a fighter plane.
With the rapid increase of FS fan-made campaigns, we're giving the GTVA a harder time with more violence and genocide.

~FreeSpace: The Battle of Endor (voice dub)~
Part 1/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9K9-Y1JBTE
Part 2/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtQanXDRAXM
Part 3/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoBLKYt_oG0

Old (original) videos:
Part 1/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1ygskaoUtE
Part 2/4 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0uoPTksBlI

 
I remember that in Destiny of Peace there was also a kind of a "vasudan ace" fight... The enemy fighter had lots and lots of HP and some really wonky ship inertia (a single primary hit sent him flying away with dumb speeds). The only thing I can say is: never again.
Excuse me for any spelling errors I make - I'm still learning English :P

 

Offline Goober5000

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I remember that in Destiny of Peace there was also a kind of a "vasudan ace" fight... The enemy fighter had lots and lots of HP and some really wonky ship inertia (a single primary hit sent him flying away with dumb speeds). The only thing I can say is: never again.

Are you maybe thinking of Cardinal Spear: Vega?  That one has a "Vasudan ace" fight, but the fighter should not have had inertia problems like that.

 
I... I wrote "Destiny of Peace"? :eek2: Yeah, it was in the ending mission of Cardinal Spear: Vega. But if I recall it correctly, it had some inertia problems anyway. But that was long ago, perhaps it was a bug or it got changed.
Excuse me for any spelling errors I make - I'm still learning English :P

 

Offline PIe

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So, unless you want to script the hell out of the fight, your options are rather limited :
1 - Give the ace a fighter & AI that's better than what you've faced so far, eg. a Seth while you've only faced Anubis so far
2 - Give the ace a fighter that's blatantly better than yours, eg. facing a Perseus while you're flying an Anubis
3 - Cheat and give the ace better stats compared to the base fighter, eg. special hitpoints & AI, custom #Ace variant, etc.
4 - Cheat even further and give the ace abilities you don't even have access to, eg. gliding, cloaking device, weapons it shouldn't be able to use, etc.
5 - Make everybody else dumber, eg. everybody's a lieutenant & he's a general, or everybody's using retail AI & he's using fury AI

And each of these has pros & cons :
#1 works alright in early-game, but kinda loses value upon replays.
#2 & #4 are effective, but rather obviously unfair.
#3 is rather tricky since you typically don't want the player to notice that the AI is cheating, which means you can't make the AI too strong compared to other fighters of the same type, otherwise you might as well say the AI has a super custom fighter & you are back to #2.
#5 means you are potentially sacrificing the quality of every other fights to make this one more satisfying if you are not careful. It should work if you are going for a more arcade-y feel though : drop everybody like flies, then this guy shows up.
In the duel with Stalker, WCSaga did pretty much all of those, except maybe #5, and went even further.  (I'm not going to bother with spoilers because it came out 5 years ago.)
1.  That's the first time you've faced a Strakha.
2.  IIRC, you're flying a Thunderbolt, which is, except for the bomber, the least maneuverable by far of any craft.  It is a lot sturdier, but when you get shredded by only one or two missiles anyway, the extra hp doesn't really help as much as maneuverability.
3.  I haven't looked at the stats but I know Stalker (the boss) has a special Strakha variant.
4.  Cloaking.
5.  I haven't actually looked at the mission in FRED to find out.
On top of all that, you've got to take down a corvette basically with only one other wingman (the bombers you're given are a complete joke and rarely last past the first pass).  Then, you have to kill Stalker, or at least get him to very low health, plus all his wingmen again with only one wingman.  Finally, after you've survived all that, you've got to kill him again by your self.

 

Offline Novachen

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Yeah, it was in the ending mission of Cardinal Spear: Vega. But if I recall it correctly, it had some inertia problems anyway. But that was long ago, perhaps it was a bug or it got changed.

Maybe it got changed yes, because i remember that one also. But i had never problems with it, because it was the same effect as if you fire with the Flail. So you can used to it very quickly if you are a Flail or Morningstar User.

But on this way it was even worth some missiles... and every enemy i take down with missiles is a special one, because i use missiles very rarely, because many of them are very inaccurate.
But i like it this way, because in similar aircraft games like Ace Combat or Deadly Skies missiles blow up everything and you rarely use your primaries instead :).
Female FS2 pilot since 1999.

German Translations created by me:
Between the Ashes: Slaves of Chaos, FreeSpace Port, The Destiny of Peace, Silent Threat: Reborn, Awakenings (in development),

Other projects:
FSPort Mission Upgrade, Out of the Shadow: Nova Safiya Edition (Remake of the Out of the Shadow campaign, in development)

If you want to know, what my nickname means, -chen is a german diminutive term, so you can translate Novachen as something like Little Nova or Novalet.
Even my original meaning of this name is more like "Sweet pretty deadly (Super)Nova" ;).

  

Offline Goober5000

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I... I wrote "Destiny of Peace"? :eek2: Yeah, it was in the ending mission of Cardinal Spear: Vega. But if I recall it correctly, it had some inertia problems anyway. But that was long ago, perhaps it was a bug or it got changed.

I heavily modified that fight from the original FS1 release, because it was much too easy to win the fight and I wanted to make it harder.  So I gave the fighter maximum AI and the same maneuverability as the SF Scorpion.  But the inertia should not be changed, so if it is, that is a bug that needs to be fixed.

 
In the duel with Stalker, WCSaga did pretty much all of those, except maybe #5, and went even further.  (I'm not going to bother with spoilers because it came out 5 years ago.)
1.  That's the first time you've faced a Strakha.
2.  IIRC, you're flying a Thunderbolt, which is, except for the bomber, the least maneuverable by far of any craft.  It is a lot sturdier, but when you get shredded by only one or two missiles anyway, the extra hp doesn't really help as much as maneuverability.
3.  I haven't looked at the stats but I know Stalker (the boss) has a special Strakha variant.
4.  Cloaking.
5.  I haven't actually looked at the mission in FRED to find out.
On top of all that, you've got to take down a corvette basically with only one other wingman (the bombers you're given are a complete joke and rarely last past the first pass).  Then, you have to kill Stalker, or at least get him to very low health, plus all his wingmen again with only one wingman.  Finally, after you've survived all that, you've got to kill him again by your self.
Yeah, WCS was one of the examples I had on my mind when writing this post ;) The Stalker fight is especially notable for using most of the tricks in the book. It's heavily scripted and puts you in a fighter unsuited for the fight. Generally speaking, WCS aces get boosted hull & shields + better guns, and I think their AI gets bumped up to General.

Regarding #5, what I was thinking about was making everyone else dumber within the entire mod rather than a single mission (although that would work as well). That tactic works pretty well in arcade-y mods where the point in mowing down countless hostile fighters.
Keeping WCS as an example : Say you want to make a Kilrathi mod in which you end up facing Excaliburs, including an ace, but you really want it to stand out compared to the standard opponents. What you do is give every Excal a (possibly dumbed down) Lieutenant-grade AI*, then give the ace a standard General-grade AI and it would already shine compared to every other Excaliburs, without the need for a custom fighter. Also, no AI class in entire game makes use of gliding, so for good measure you could make a custom General AI that does just that.


*WCS actually does something like that with the Excal wingman AI due to how overpowered the fighter is - in this case the ace is the player itself ^^.

 

Offline General Battuta

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That WCS thing sounds like hell. Crippling the player isn’t a good form of challenge.