Author Topic: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?  (Read 666 times)

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Offline SL1

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Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
I've only noticed this recently, but it seems like wingmen tend to ignore your orders unless you use the exact same method of command every time. For example, if I order Alpha 2 to cover me and then order Alpha wing to destroy a subsystem, Alpha 2 will continue to cover me while 3 and 4 go off to destroy the subsystem. I have to give 2 a separate, individual order to make it change what it's doing. It's almost like 2 ceases to be part of Alpha wing once I give it an individual order.

Another thing I've noticed is that if I use one of the F5-F12 hotkeys to issue orders, the ships I give those orders to will ignore orders I give them through the regular comms menu. So if I told Alpha to protect my target by pressing Shift-P and then F5, and then tried to press C-2-1-9 to have them engage at will, they'll ignore the second order and continue protecting that target unless I use Shift-E followed by F5.

I don't know if this is an SCP bug, an unfixed retail bug, an intended feature, if I'm just crazy, or if I'm the only one weird enough to frequently switch between the comms menu and the hotkeys, but it can get pretty inconvenient in missions where I have to do a lot of wingman management and things are hectic enough without having to remember exactly what command method I used for every ship I've given orders to so far.

Just wanted to know if anyone else has experienced this.

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
The AI code makes some weird assumptions sometimes.  ISTR one of them is that when an AI ship is ordered to protect a wing, it really only protects the wingleader.  It would be useful to have a comprehensive list of idiosyncratic AI behaviors, but that would require a large amount of testing, or a large amount of scrutinizing the code.

If you are concerned about something in particular, I recommend creating a simple retail-compatible mission to test that specific behavior.  If the behavior is different in retail VS in FSO, then you've found a bug.  Report it and the SCP will fix it.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
It's absolutely the intended behaviour. Individual orders have higher priority than wing orders. So if you tell a wingman specifically to do something and then order the wing to do something else, the wingman will just carry on what he is doing. The hotkeys thing, not so sure about but I suspect it's the same thing.
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Offline SL1

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
It's absolutely the intended behaviour. Individual orders have higher priority than wing orders. So if you tell a wingman specifically to do something and then order the wing to do something else, the wingman will just carry on what he is doing. The hotkeys thing, not so sure about but I suspect it's the same thing.

If individual orders take precedence, then that probably explains the hotkey thing. The game doesn't read Shift-E + F5 as one order to Alpha wing, but as three individual orders to Alphas 2, 3, and 4. So when you use the hotkeys, you're effectively breaking up wings.

Do you think that's something the SCP might consider changing, or at least making it an option, like a launcher flag or something? It just seems more intuitive for player orders to always override other orders, and the fact that hotkeys break up wings is kind of a problem.

 
Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
It just seems more intuitive for player orders to always override other orders.
Errm, I've been relying on player order priorities from pretty much day 1, with the assumption that individual orders > wing orders > all fighter orders, so from my point of view the current system is fairly intuitive.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
Yeah, once you know that it works that way it actually becomes quite useful.

As is, player orders do override all other orders (unless the FREDder has deliberately gone over the 89 threshold). It's just that some player orders also override other player orders.
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Offline jr2

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
A "unit command" TSR would be handy...

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
How would that work?
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Offline SL1

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
Errm, I've been relying on player order priorities from pretty much day 1, with the assumption that individual orders > wing orders > all fighter orders, so from my point of view the current system is fairly intuitive.

Yeah, once you know that it works that way it actually becomes quite useful.

As is, player orders do override all other orders (unless the FREDder has deliberately gone over the 89 threshold). It's just that some player orders also override other player orders.

Yeah, I know that player orders take priority unless the FREDder goes out of their way to make it otherwise. What I meant was that individual orders wouldn't take precedence, so if I told Alpha 2 to do one thing and then told Alpha Wing to do something, Alpha 2 would go along with 3 and 4 instead of sticking to its individual order. Ships would always follow the most recent order that includes them in any way. I guess I'm just more comfortable giving all the general orders first and doing the fine-tuning second, e.g. "Alpha, disable that ship, but 2, cover me." Freespace seems to do things the other way around. Guess I'll have to practice. It does help to know that that's the way it works, although I do still think it's a bit of a problem that using hotkeys breaks up wings.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 12:09:53 am by SL1 »

 

Offline jr2

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
How would that work?


Basically it would be a run-down of how orders are carried out and prioritized.  You'd practice giving orders to protect specific wings, ordering individual fighters to do specific things, etc.  Basically, showcasing:

It's absolutely the intended behaviour. Individual orders have higher priority than wing orders. So if you tell a wingman specifically to do something and then order the wing to do something else, the wingman will just carry on what he is doing. The hotkeys thing, not so sure about but I suspect it's the same thing.
Yeah, once you know that it works that way it actually becomes quite useful.

As is, player orders do override all other orders (unless the FREDder has deliberately gone over the 89 threshold). It's just that some player orders also override other player orders.

 

Offline Mongoose

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
Errm, I've been relying on player order priorities from pretty much day 1, with the assumption that individual orders > wing orders > all fighter orders, so from my point of view the current system is fairly intuitive.
I honestly disagree with the intuitive bit.  I first played this game over 15 years ago, and I had absolutely no idea this was how wingmen behaved, mostly because it's not documented anywhere at all.  It seems completely backwards to me too: logic would dictate that whatever you tell wingmen to do most recently is what they should be doing, whether the order was given to an individual ship or an entire wing.  Now I'm left wondering how many "stupid wingmen" moments I had in the past were simply due to not knowing about this.

 

Offline Cyborg17

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
It's true.  And you don't know what a wingman is currently trying to do either.  Someone should upgrade the wingman hud gauge to display current wingman orders.  ;7  (I can try to do it eventually when I have some free time)

As an aside, I would advise that you always tell your wingman to ignore large ships when they are guarding anything that is passing by that large ship.  It doesn't help to guard a transport against fighters when all your wingmen are busy on attack runs against capships.

 

Offline SL1

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
It seems completely backwards to me too: logic would dictate that whatever you tell wingmen to do most recently is what they should be doing, whether the order was given to an individual ship or an entire wing.

That's how I see it. It doesn't really make sense to me that giving Alpha 2 an individual order essentially removes it from Alpha wing for the rest of the mission. If the commander says "Alpha wing, do [X]", that should include every ship in Alpha wing, and if the commander says "All fighters, do [X]", that should certainly include every single fighter, not just the ones who haven't been given an individual order throughout the entire mission. If you went through a mission ordering different wings with hotkeys because it was faster and then wanted to pull everyone back to guard a single friendly ship, you couldn't just press C-3-5 and be done with it. In fact, there's a good chance that C-3-5 would do literally nothing, because your previous use of hotkeys means there isn't a single fighter in the mission that technically falls under "all fighters", which is ridiculous.  You'd have to press Shift-P + F5, then Shift-P + F6, then Shift-P + F7, and so on for every wing under your command. Or you'd have to go into the hotkey menu and bind every wing to the same hotkey. Either way, you have to do a lot more keypresses than you should have to do for such a basic command. The player shouldn't have to wrestle with the game's interface like that.



It's true.  And you don't know what a wingman is currently trying to do either.  Someone should upgrade the wingman hud gauge to display current wingman orders.  ;7

I'm not sure how that could work. There are so many things that wingmen could be doing. It seems like too many variables to provide a quick reference for without massively cluttering up the HUD. You could probably come up with icons for "attacking a target", "disabling a target", and so on, but that information isn't all that useful unless you also know what specific target they're working on, and I don't know if there's a good way to make that appear on the HUD.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2018, 01:21:45 am by SL1 »

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
I agree that most recent orders should have a higher priority but that would require quite a restructuring of how the AI in the game works since the AI struct doesn't actually record when any of these orders came in or where they came from (SEXP orders are simply added in the same place). The AI simply a goal and a priority for trying to achieve that goal. If we then decide that older orders from the player are lower priority, that could push them below the 89 threshold at which point orders that were never meant to countermand the player orders might take precedent. That's less likely to happen but it's going to be even harder to predict as there is no way to know what orders the ships have received from the mission designer.

Now I'm left wondering how many "stupid wingmen" moments I had in the past were simply due to not knowing about this.

It's probably not the only culprit but I suspect it's caused a few. Another one is likely overzealous use of the clear-goals SEXP (which IIRC will wipe out any player orders too).
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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
How about increasing a given order's priority if it's given more than once ?
For instance, consider Alpha 2's order list :
- Player orders Alpha 2 to cover him
** Guard Alpha 1 (priority 93)

- Player orders Alpha wing to attack Target 1
** Guard Alpha 1 (priority 93)
** Attack Target 1 (priority 91)

- Player orders all fighter to guard Target 2
** Guard Alpha 1 (priority 93)
** Attack Target 1 (priority 91)
** Guard Target 2 (priority 90)

- Player orders all fighter to guard Target
** Guard Alpha 1 (priority 93)
** Guard Target 2 (priority 92)
** Attack Target 1 (priority 91)
--> Alpha wing switches to guarding Target 2, Alpha 2 keeps escorting Alpha 1

- Player orders all fighter to guard Target
** Guard Target 2 (priority 95)
** Guard Alpha 1 (priority 93)
** Attack Target 1 (priority 91)
--> Alpha 2 switches to guard Target 2


Of course there would probably need to be safeguards to prevent a given order's priority to balloon to unreasonable degrees.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
I had a quick glance at the code and it might be that it does record where an order comes from. In that case we might be able to just reduce the priority of any existing orders whenever new ones come in. This does still carry the risk of pushing older orders below the threshold where they might then be ignored in favour of orders from the mission designer.
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Offline Mongoose

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
I agree that most recent orders should have a higher priority but that would require quite a restructuring of how the AI in the game works since the AI struct doesn't actually record when any of these orders came in or where they came from (SEXP orders are simply added in the same place). The AI simply a goal and a priority for trying to achieve that goal. If we then decide that older orders from the player are lower priority, that could push them below the 89 threshold at which point orders that were never meant to countermand the player orders might take precedent. That's less likely to happen but it's going to be even harder to predict as there is no way to know what orders the ships have received from the mission designer.

I'm a bit confused by this.  As it stands, if you order a wing (or all fighters) to do something like protect a target, and then you later order them to destroy a target, they'll stop doing the former and start doing the latter.  And after they destroy the ship, they won't automatically go back to protecting the first one.  I don't know the code, but at least from the outside it seems that the engine is overwriting the previous order with the new one, or at the very least making it a higher priority.  So if this is the standard functionality for wings of fighters, why do individual fighters behave differently?  In the case presented in this thread, if I gave the wing a new order, then gave the individual ship the same order, it'd stop what it was doing prior to that and follow the new order, right?

  

Offline karajorma

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Re: Anyone else ever notice wingmen totally ignoring your orders?
Yeah. I'd have to look more deeply into the code to understand what is going on. I know the priority stuff because I remember it from when I added the ability to go above 89 years ago. I never looked too deeply into how the priority system worked beyond that.
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