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fire_ball

What happens when you log off?

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Hello, I am part of a team in the process of creating an MMORTS/Space Sim. Part of the features of our game, is the fact that the universe continues on after you log off. I was wondering people''s opinions on how this should be accomplished. Right now, we are thinking have an advanced, fully customizable AI, take over control of the player''s empire, when they log off. As well as putting in place certain boundaries of what can happen when someone is offline. The AI would be customizable through a user friendly menu, or through a scripting language, which more advanced players could use. What do you all think? Thanks, Fireball

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that sounds good... maybe you can work it out so that instead of picking stuff from a menu, you can have a "steward" and some other AI lackeys that "control" the player''s empire... it''d be the same thing, don''t get me wrong, it''ll just be a nice in-game interface (the player can leave a list of directions/script/whatever).
one problem is that the AI will never be as good as a real human player; perhaps AI controlled empires should have limited offensive power but kicked-up defense, so it''ll never expand the empire while offline, but it will have a decent chance of surviving until the player comes back.
just my $0.02...

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Yeah, I agree, that you should be able to leave a list of directives. As for expanding the empire, well..its possible
The map in this game is going to be absolutley massive, so there will be a lot of empty space, or at least at the beggining of the game. Plus think of all the single player games you have played that the AI was decent in. Of course it is no match for a human, but it can be fun sometimes

Thanks for the help,
Fireball

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it may be fun for the ppl playing who take over the land quick. since the empire will be partial autoonmous anyway (since it an empire) it should be able to handle defense well. the AI should not conquer or explore land unless the player lets the AI do so. the AI should be very strict in following what the player says, but self preservation of the empire ALWAYS comes first before any other directive. the less chance of losing the empire the better. i know i would hate to do all this work and come back to find my empire gone due to faulty AI.

dont use a scripting langauge for advanced players. keep it simple, newbies will complain that its unfair (which it is). you dont need absolute control (and plus scripting incurs needing to be able to test them without ill effects), just enough so the empire stays around till the player gets back.

why not look for other MMORPG space sims. one i played actual placed you on a fleet with other players and the players actually made up the empire. so you had different teams fighting for the terriotory. you may wish to go this route instead. basically players choose a team and they stay with that team gaining expierence and money for better equiment and ships. they could dock the ship at logoff so its safe.

the question is do you feel you could create the ai required to make it feasible? persistent worlds fall apart when the player needs to rely on the ai, but if the player relies on ai during actual gameplay then it may not be too bad. i suggest TONS of play testing with ppl willing to actual do things like team up against players of log off (it will be a common thing). you also have to make sure the empire dont become to strong either. tough calls.

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You need advisors who are interested in the players opinion on what trends to encourage/discourage when the player is gone.

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Yeah, those are some good points. But it won''t be announced when a player goes offline perhaps, so that the other''s wouldn''t know if someone is offline or not. And yes, the preservation of the empire should come first, and then the other directives. There should also be boundaries of what can happen and effect an empire, while the player is offline. Like a certain extent of things that can happen.

Thanks,
Fireball

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The best way to allow for it would be to give the player the ability of making sweeping commands(settle this star system, conquer this one, build improvements here) as well as specific orders, and make the usefulness of micromanaging everything minimal at best. That way, when the player is gone, he can leave his general orders behind with the assurance that things will go as planned, without having to spend enormous amounts of time directing every move that will be made in his absence.

Making the world furry one post at a time

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Yeah, I agree, but the AI should also have the ability to do more. Because you can''t predict everything so it should be able to make decisions on the spot.

Thanks for the input,
Fireball

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my ambitious nature is getting the better of me but...

wouldnt it be neat if your eg starship crew had black-and-white type AI where they learn from you and carry on controlling in what they think is the way you would do it.

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