Auto-refueling issues (Full Version)

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feelotraveller -> Auto-refueling issues (9/10/2012 5:55:44 PM)

First the image, then my grumble...


Firstly, why have this frustrating auto-refueling routine override my manual orders? If it was private ships (like the early miners who could actually benefit from it) I could live with it. But my explorers and my constructors? Come on, really... Again and again I know that there is fuel for them (or will be once the gas mine is built...) but can't get them to follow orders. It is like nerfing their fuel tanks by a half, or a third, or something.

Specifically with the above image - I know there is fuel at the three independent colonies (gold circles) northwest and southwest. One of my ships has just finished refueling at the system with the pirate base in it, another at the system in the southwest (still undocking) and yet another ship is heading for fuel at the third independent. Even if there was not fuel there my explorer has sufficient fuel to explore the system just southwest of it, as it was ordered to - it only jumped to the system to jump out again without even so much as a mission canceled notification - and then make it back to my own colony without running out of fuel. Even if it didn't it would just slow down... my freighters relish in doing it all the time...

Okay, rant over.

How about a fuel warning with option to send off for refueling and an option to override? Or a toggle to turn off autorefueling? [sm=innocent0001.gif]

[edit: it's got me so upset I can't tell my east from my west... [:D], fixed now]

Wild_Bill -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/10/2012 10:21:25 PM)

Agree. The whole refueling process is infuriating! If I turn my back on a ship (no matter its orders), the darned thing flies off somewhere else to refuel, even though it has enough fuel to continue mission. As you pointed out feelotraveler, they ignore closer colonies/bases/gas mining ships to go to a pre-determined refueling point. I don't even know how the ship knows where to refuel at, since they ignore closer sources. Perhaps you could pull up a ship, hit a hot-key and get 'nearest (re)fueling point' sort of like the 'nearest military ship' hot-key.

If a ship is too damaged to proceed, you get a message that it needs to be repaired. Yet, a ship out of fuel can still maneuver when it should be dead in the water from lack of fuel. Makes NO sense. That would be the perfect situation for the resupply ships. Heck, you could even build a fleet tanker specifically for refueling you ships enroute/during a mission. Or combat repair ships that could be attached to fleets like construction ships, but as an actual part of the fleet.

feelotraveller -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/11/2012 10:36:52 AM)

The moving when out of fuel is a game mechanic to cope with problems that might/do arise otherwise with out of fuel ships.  I'm fine with it.

What I'm not fine with is having (as above)
a) enough fuel aboard my ships to carry out their missions and yet not being able to do so - (explore system and then refuel)
b) ships cancel their missions without notification - (so I find them a week later already en route to somewhere else)
c) autorefueling pick locations which are a long way from the closest fuel source - (that is the fourth closest known location)

Personally I think the autorefueling mechanism should be abandoned/able, at least by the player.  (Remember these are state ships, meant to be directly controllable by the player.)  If it is to be kept, having it tweaked to deal with the above three points would be sensible.

Bingeling -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/11/2012 11:14:09 AM)

I have had my share of refuel frustrations. That has made me book lots of gas mines with the shortcut when having a source selected (queue nearest constructor).

I believe the ships want enough to get home. I am somewhat good with that. I am also fine with out of fuel ships limping home, or otherwise I think the player and AI both would run out of ships quite fast.

When a ship goes to a far away source, check the cargo of the closer sources. When I have done this in my latest game all the fuel of that station has been reserved.

I have not paid attention to this for a long time, but I suspect there may be bugs with reservations. They could have been fixed, though. In the past I have reservations from foreign empires sitting on a colony for ages. I guess I should poke around my gas stations. A bug would probably be around not clearing reservations if the ship/fleet changes order or is destroyed.

feelotraveller -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/11/2012 11:33:02 AM)

Yes.  But if you look at the image that ship has enough fuel to complete its mission and then return to my colony for refueling (= a).  You can see the range circle.

In the game I canceled the refuel order at the point I noticed (= b) and sent it to the closest independent for refueling.  It refueled fine (= c).  I also tried giving it the refuel order at each of the other independents and the order was accepted, so I expect there was enough fuel at them as well.

Bingeling -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/11/2012 11:41:29 AM)

The explorer does not have much more fuel than is needed to reach that colony. Also, stop it and ask it to refuel. Then see if it changes mind to location. If those circled fuel sources (one appears to be a pirate base?) are not chosen, check their cargo if it has significant (enough to refuel a puny explorer) unreserved fuel.

I have seen all resources reserved at the most unexpected places.

feelotraveller -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/11/2012 12:02:44 PM)

Yep, but it does have enough, that's part of my point.  Since I can seem to figure out refueling distances/sources better than the AI routine why override me?  (It has an extra half a sectors worth of fuel at hyperspace speed, I make it about 20 units, that's more than sufficient to scout the system it was in and to fly into dock at my colony to refuel... but really it is going to the wrong place, meaning it would have maybe 1.5 sectors of fuel left, about 60 units, after accounting for what is needed to get to its refueling point.  That is 20% of its fuel it is refusing to use...) 

Read my above post.  It actually refueled fine at the independent colony which is in the same system as the pirate once I canceled its orders and manually gave it a 'refuel at' order.  FYI if I clicked the refuel button it still wanted to go to my colony.  (I've taken out the pirate ships from that base... I think I got them all... so it's - so far - harmless.)  I had to give it a refuel order as it would keep overriding other orders. 

If you know of a way to check the cargo of independent colonies then please let me know - that would be very handy.  [;)]

Bingeling -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/11/2012 12:23:09 PM)

The presence of a pirate base may cause an explorer to avoid a system. I don't know. Pirates also love to hang around at independents, making them poor refueling sources. The AI knows how to flag "unsafe" systems as seen in the expansion screen on colonies, it could very well avoid them when it comes to refueling non combatants (or even combat ships). I am sure that would be a good idea in general, or you would see frequent situations with out of fuel explorers bouncing in and out of systems like that.

Also, ships gets an order and carries it out. If stopping and ordering again solves something, the situation has somehow changed. Also, how much fuel does an explorer spend exploring a system? The AI could have a somewhat annoying override to reserve a certain amount of fuel, much like Ryan Air don't ;-)

As for fuel, look at this image:

This is the NE corner of a 10x10 ring galaxy, and it is all mine apart for the gas clouds where pirates roam.
You can see my red circled pirate buster fleet near the top heading to kill a red circled pirate base. And there is another one waiting in line. It is based on that yellow circled star base nearby. That one is custom built with a long range scanner and some extra gas extractors. Built because my ships took too long and used too much fuel getting out there, and the pirate bases appeared non stop. The Star Base has 42K caslon, 10.5K reserved (not by that Pirate Buster fleet).

You can see the two other yellow circles. They are former pirate bases kept around as fuel sources. Both have about 13k caslon, all of it reserved. Also the rest of their contents are reserved. So they would not work as refueling points.

This is maybe a hint of too few fuel bases being around. Not that there is a distinct lack of gas mines in that general area. These are not remote areas as seen by the size of the influence circles, so it is a bit different than your shot. But if the bases are busy providing fuel, the colonies have good amounts.

Btw, those repopping pirates are a major annoyance, it is hard to catch them before the ships leave the base. Of course, placing a mine in every cloud with a fuel source would stop them, but...

feelotraveller -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/11/2012 1:26:36 PM)

Yes, the pirate base may take that colony off the refueling list.  But the other two as well?

Stopping and ordering again, from the refuel button, sent the explorer to my colony, again.  But I could manually 'refuel at' order for all three of the independents.  I would have to go back and rerun the game with the explorer being sent to each of the other colonies to be absolutely sure but I would fork out money for an odds on bet that they all have fuel.

(It is early game (see date), I have recently discovered them and I have no reason to think that they have been found by another empire yet.  Certainly I was the one who took out the pirate ships and I have not yet found another empire nearby.  It is possible that there is an empire just out of colony influence range to the south, I have only explored a bit past the edge of the screenshot, but no empire territory discovered yet, nor have I seen any explorers in the area, so they would have had to been through here some time ago.  So that's 2 sectors away, minimum.  As a comparison the Boskar explorers have only got about 1 to 1.5 sectors from their homeworld at this point.)

I have refueled the explorer just to the south of the pirate base system at that system just back then, there is another ship coming in with reservation for fuel (which will hopefully be filled when it arrives) coming into the northmost independent and you can see yet another ship just undocking after having refueled at the southmost independent.  Each of these only took 200-300 fuel and it is probable that these were the first ships to be refueled at these colonies in this game.

I can't make out your image but you are many years into the game with lots of fleets active in the area, yes?  That makes a big difference.  For instance my colony which the explorer is heading to in the screenshot has 2000 fuel with no reservations, other than the explorer.  Does not suggest fuel shortages in the area.

No, I don't think the problem here is with lack of fuel at those sources.  I think a problem is that explorer is ignoring them.  I think a problem is that the game (AI routine) tells it to refuel before it need to.  I think a problem is that I am not told of the cancelation of my orders.

Bingeling -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/11/2012 1:51:06 PM)

I have no sure answer to your issues, other than the AI probably being a bit defensive in its refueling points (which may cure a lot of issues for the AI run empires...).

As for independents, I have recently red in another thread about sending a constructor to build a gas mine ahead of a colony ship, since independents tend to have very little fuel that can often be reserved.

Maybe the editor can give you some info about the state of that colony if you really care? If nothing you can see if there are 300 ships of an AI empire heading there to refuel.

Probably not relevant in this case, but I have also noticed the AI not refueling at places that has not enough fuel to fill everything to max. This is more relevant for fleets, though, where single ordering a low fuel ship may send it to a nearby source, while a fleet refuel order sends them all back home.

feelotraveller -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/11/2012 2:34:19 PM)

Just to check I went back to that point and gave the refuel order at the other 2 colonies and ran the game at fast speed... the explorer refueled fine at both of them.  [:)]  So the issue is not a fuel shortage one.

This just reinforces my belief that the player should be able to turn off/override the autorefueling routine.  As it is I am overriding it but only in a limited fashion to give an alternate refuel order and with the extra distance covered before I realise what is happening.  This is far from the only instance of it I have seen but I thought it best to stick to one concrete example.

I will get some solid numerical data on how much fuel it actually takes my explorer to explore the system once I have played the game to that point.  I could be surprised but I think it will be a lot less than 20 units...

Dracus -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/12/2012 4:14:02 AM)

your problem is that you the refuel at 20% set in game settings, this means that any ship will go refuel when it gets to 20%, no matter what tehy are doing, they will then normally return to complete the mission on thier own.

feelotraveller -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/12/2012 5:41:13 AM)

Ah, okay.  Thanks. 

Where do I find that setting?  I don't recall it.  The only fuel setting I remember is the 'refuel when x% of fleet requires fuel' but it's not that surely?

feelotraveller -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/12/2012 2:46:21 PM)


I've looked again and the only fuel setting I find is this one. (If there is another perhaps you could direct me?) Are you telling me that by changing my fleet attack fleet refueling settings my unfleeted explorers have their settings changed?

It certainly does not affect my colony ships or military ships. These I can run dry if I want (not recommended [:D]). My memory tells me that constructors will run off for fuel even earlier, like at about 50% of their fuel used, but its been a while as I am paranoid about this now...

Excuse my doubt. [:)]

feelotraveller -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/14/2012 10:23:26 PM)

Okay, I had a play around with the above setting and, as I thought, it makes no difference to the autorefueling threshold.  (If you meant some other setting Dracus please say so.)  My explorers still run off to refuel at 30% tanks (it has nothing to do with the proximity of refueling points either) even though I changed the fleet attack refuel setting to 20%.  On the bright side it means that Codeforce have not buried a setting under what would be a very misleading heading.  [:)]

It is true that sometimes ships which get the autorefuel order return to their previous mission.  I have seen a couple of my explorers return to explore as they were ordered once they have refueled.  However this does not always happen.  One of my military fleets had been ordered to retrofit (actually the individual ships in it had been to be precise) and on their way to the spaceport to retrofit they got the autorefuel order.  The money had been paid and the spaceport had duly produced the components in advance.  When the autorefuel was finished they did not return to their retrofit mission.  I watched them sit there for a month with 'no mission'.  Reordering them to retrofit charged me for it again and produced a second set of components.  From experience the first set of components on the autocanceled retrofit will sit at that spaceport for the rest of the game and, as far as I can tell, I was not refunded the money from the autocanceled order.  Nor was I notified of it.  [sm=nono.gif]

I can see no reason why you would want the game to behave in this manner. 

pumkinfacer22 -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/15/2012 12:11:50 AM)

I am so with you feelotraveller.. I know there a ton of loop-holes and problems with the AI.. but I still love the game..

I have had problems with the fleets on automated not doing anything whether on attack/defend orders and all ranges and stances set correctly..

I've seen the AI tell them to stop patrolling and do nothing on automated even after I press Patrol planet.. then press automate.. then they stop patrolling after 20 seconds or something and do nothing.. still automated though just not following my manual command i gave them earlier to patrol.

Bingeling -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (9/15/2012 2:25:33 PM)

I don't think you have to worry about Feelo. I remember him from a long time back :)

I guess the patrol order is not one that sticks well. It requires no task. What you probably want to do is to use the "set home" button below the selection box (with the fleet selected) and click on a colony/mine. This will sets it home to any kind of base you own. If you then automate them, they will prefer to stay at that base when they got nothing better to do. And they will refuel as needed. Did you want them to bust a pirate base nearby? Just order them to attack that base, and automate them. They will kill the base, mop up any ships around the base, and return home. And refuel if needed.

Dracus -> RE: Auto-refueling issues (10/20/2012 12:52:28 AM)

I thought there was a ship refuel limit in the orginal game, but I cant find it anymore.

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