Post feature RSS The beginnings: Ship AI and Space Battles

How everything began and how Ship AI worked in the beginning and is meant to work now.

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I am a big sci-fi fan - I always liked to go to the future and see how things turned out and how world would evolve. I've also played many sci-fi games since the first rising of computers.

Some years ago, I played around with an idea of mine about a game where you colonize asteroids. This first prototype was more a playground for myself just to see how things could be made real. I also did a lot of research on how actual space colonies would look and work in the future based on current technologies researched.

The first prototype of this game was not very eye catchy and I also did my firstn steps with 3D Modelling for games, wrote my first simple managed 3D engine for it and did some testing about performance.

Ships should not commanded distinctly, instead you are the "general" and will only give commands to your squad leader, which then will lead his squad to fulfill your command.
I also invested a lot of time in very sophisticated Ship AI, where Ships act like real players (like I would in Space Fighter Simulation. With real aiming, real maneuvers and so on. While this AI works out pretty cool (it worked with actual line-of-sight, helping squad members and such things) it was not really feasable in terms of entitiy count. I had to decide if I would like to limit the fighter amount to around 200 or to simplify the Ship AI at all.

It looks like, that the acurate AI did not bring many benefit for actual game feeling so the AI was remade from scratch being more simplified. Without the limiting factor it is now more easy to maintain even more ships and see really great space battles like we all know from movies like Star Wars and such.

The AI is still able to act autonomous in different situations like flying and land to a hangar or reaching out to another asteroid, land there, take some probes and get back to base where you will be able to see what resources you may find on the other asteroid.

But in the end, you will still have only fleets. You can assign ships to a fleet but your commands will always be made on one or more fleets and the ships in the fleet will do the rest. This is seen in many games nowdays and it worked out to be pretty practical.

A Ship can be build for different actions. Be it attack other Ships or attack Buildings or do just scouting. The Ship will try to follow the task which it is made for. Examplke, if you equip a ship with a laser weapon only it will only be able to attack other ships. If you have another weapon slot on the ship and equip it also with some bombs, the ship will also be able to attack buildings and ships, but you will lose the second slot and therefore the ship may have no shields. You have to device how to equip your fleet for different tasks as you would in real life.

What would you like to see from the ship mechanics in this game?

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