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Timkin

Vulnerability

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I''m looking for peoples thoughts on how to measure vulnerability for RTS agents at the individual, unit and army level. What do you believe the important variables to be and what are their relative importances to the computation. Should it be one number to represent total vulnerability or different numbers for distinctly important factors. I have developed my own idea of what contributes to vulnerability, however I don''t want to bias the conversation with that just yet... I will say that I believe that variables like level of cover (location), unit health and movement rate are important, but their contribution to the vulnerability score alters when considering different kind of attacks... and these are by no means the only important factors. Finally, let me be clear about my definition of vulnerability. I define vulnerability as the level of risk of a detrimental event occuring. So, in RTS, we might be vulnerable to taking damage from artillery fire, vulnerable to being flanked, or vulnerable to running out of resources, etc. If you have a different definition of vulnerability, please provide it with some explanation... and some notion of whether it is better or worse than my definition (in other words, could you justify why I should abandon my definition for yours)! Cheers and thanks, Timkin

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Also type of unit , if we are talking about combat here, should be considered. A mortar team is usually more vulnerable than a typical rifle fire team. A command team is much more vulnerable than any other small section.

Also profile of unit , which is a factor of how easy it is to spot. Like the antenna farm that typically follows a unit commander, makes that team easier to spot. This is not just cover, but a factor in target selection.

Whether a unit is engaged or not. A unit engaged is firing its weapons, and thus revealing its location, and thus is more vulnerable than a unit that is hunkered down, unengaged and not firing its weapons.

Those are just a few aspects we considered in Full Spectrum Command .

Eric

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One measure of a units vulnerability would be how many opposing units can fire at it effectivley. If you created a matrix of wepon effectivness -vs- units (ie: SAMs are deadly towards helicopters, etc..) you might get better results.

Another would be how far away it is how far it is from the front line, with an increasing amout of threat as it moves behind thenemy lines. You might want to base this on time, as slower moving units are more vulnerable than faster ones which can retreat easily.

The units own stats (health, ammo remaining, fuel remaining, etc...) would obviously be a factor.

If you factor in artillery / air strikes, a units proximity to a strategic target would also affect it''s vulnerability. ie: dont stand next to the fuel depot when you know enemy jets are coming in to bomb it.

I''m not exactly sure how this would work, but if you have a group of units you could work out how much time would be required by the group to eliminate certain enemies. Once you have this number, you could then compare opposing forces and make quick predictions about the battles outcome. This would be a good short-range threat indicator. ie: 7 grunts -vs- 1 tank. Grunts require 30 seconds to eliminate tank. Tank requires 1 second to eliminate grunts. Grunts saftey = (tank power(1) * infantry(7) = 7) - (infantary power (30) * 1= 30) = -23. The infantary are in grave danger.

Cheers,
Will

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RPGeezus,

Does it take 7 infantry 30 seconds to eliminate a tank or does it take 1 infantry 30 seconds to eliminate a tank? If it takes 1 infantry 30 seconds, then shouldn''t it take 7 infantry around 5 to 6 seconds (since power will be decreased as infantry are killed off by tank). If so then 1 to 2 infantry could very well survive even though heavy losses are sustained, possibly giving oncoming reinforcements an advantage. How would factors such as these be considered. If it takes 7 infantry 30 seconds to eliminate a tank then the question is moot - infantry is in deep ...

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Several factors that change vulnerability depend on how likely the enemy is to know where that unit is(and how likely the enemy is to find out where it is). If the enemy doesn''t know where the unit is, its hard(if not impossible) to attack it.

In order to know how likely the enemy is to know where the unit is, you''d need to take into account the last known location of advancing enemy units, how close the unit is to the last known location of the enemy''s unit-producing buildings, when the unit was last engaged, where it was last engaged, etc.

A large part of ''vulnerability'' depends on the rules as well. In some games, a unit on high ground does more damage in which case being on low ground near high ground increases vulnerability.

"You are my friends if you do what I command you."
[edited by - Big Brother on January 1, 1984 12:00:00 AM]

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A corollary to knowing where the enemy is... what are the nearby places that we don''t know WHAT is there? In an urban setting, for example, what really IS in those windows? While this may not increase actual vulnerability, it may increase perceived vulnerability.

Dave Mark - President and Lead Designer
Intrinsic Algorithm -
"Reducing the world to mathematical equations!"

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quote:
Original post by Code-Junkie
RPGeezus,

Does it take 7 infantry 30 seconds to eliminate a tank or does it take 1 infantry 30 seconds to eliminate a tank? If it takes 1 infantry 30 seconds, then shouldn''t it take 7 infantry around 5 to 6 seconds (since power will be decreased as infantry are killed off by tank). If so then 1 to 2 infantry could very well survive even though heavy losses are sustained, possibly giving oncoming reinforcements an advantage. How would factors such as these be considered. If it takes 7 infantry 30 seconds to eliminate a tank then the question is moot - infantry is in deep ...




You are quite right, the example I gave doesn''t work. I did say "I''m not sure how this would work" though... My example was 1 infantary takes 30 seconds to kill a tank. So, seven infantry should take 5 seconds to kill a passive tank. As you mentioned, the tank would fire back, so if each unit fires every second.... The tank would win. ( tank has 100 hp, it takes 30 seconds for 1 grunt to kill the tank, grunt = 3.333 damage / sec.. It takes 7 seconds for tank to destroy all grunts. Total damage by grunts (7=23, 6=20, 5=17, 4=13,3=9, 2=7, 1=3) = 92ish in 7 seconds, or 92% of the tank).

The general idea is to get another way to measure a threat. If a group of units will lose a battle, but take a long time to be destroyed, the threat is not as high as the same group of units getting destroyed in less time. I''m sure there is a flaw with that (mate in 7 is just as bad as mate in 2), but it''s at least an estimate.

Will

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I''m not sure how much this will help, but I have considered vulnerability in the game of chess. In thinking about piece vulnerability or square vulnerability, one main thing that I found was that vulnerability had an inverse relationship to mobility, activity, and speed. So if a piece was trapped or blocked off (low mobility), it was more vulnerable. If a piece was slow, it was more vulnerable to faster pieces (Ex. pawn vs. queen). Vulnerability of squares (maybe paralleled with territory in RTS games) had a lot to do with (1) the value of the defending units, and (2) the mobility of the pieces to flock to the defense of the square. In (1), if a pawn is guarding a square by itself, and two enemy rooks are attacking it, the pawn still controls it, because it would cost the enemy a rook to gain control of it. Of course it gets more complicated, because you might be able to checkmate after sacrificing a rook, but that''s beside the point. (2) has a lot to do with sacrificing pieces for an attack on the enemy king. If the opponent''s pieces are blocked off and can''t come quickly to the aid of the squares surrounding the king, then those pieces might as well not even be on the board. So the squares around the king are vulnerable, as well as the king itself.

So, vulnerability has an inverse relationship to mobility, or piece/unit activity, and speed. Give it some thought and tell me what you think.

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Another big issue is whether or not the unit has combat experience. For example, a crack veteran rifle squad is going to be a lot better than a green squad fresh out of basic training... you get the idea. HTH, sounds like you have something revolutionary on the horizon.

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