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Fuel Micromanagement - 4/11/2010 3:08:09 PM   
BlackAlpha

 

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I feel that at the moment the fuel is a real pain to manage because you have to micromanage every aspect of the fuel; From refueling the ships yourself, to choosing already fueled ships when adding them to a fleet. The problem with fuel in this game is that the game is of such a large scale that it becomes virtually impossible to micromanage fuel yourself. Most of the time you want the AI to automate such things in a intelligent way but the AI cannot do so because they lack the "will". So here are some things that I feel are necessary to make the game more fun by giving the AI new things to do concerning fuel:

1. There should be an "automatic refuel" option that you can toggle in the automation options, for the people who like to micromanage this aspect. Or maybe two options: 1. Automatic refueling for automated ships; 2. Automatic refuleing for non-automated ships.

2. When a lone ship has less then 25% of its maximum fuel capacity it should head to the nearest refueling point to refuel.

3. When a ship calculates its maximum jump distance, it should be able to jump in, use 25% of its maximum fuel capacity and then jump back out to its original position. This means that when it jumps in, it should be able to use at least 25% of its max fuel capacity to fly and fight, before finally jumping back to its original position. This way it won't jump in too far, use up too much fuel, use up more fuel fighting or flying, and finally have too little fuel to jump back out. The 25% (of its maximum fuel capacity) is a margin that is reserved for flying and fighting. Whatever fuel is left is used for jumping. Half of the fuel that is left for jumping should be used for jumping in and the other half to jump back out.

4. When jumping in further away than its maximum jump distance (the max jump distance should be calculated by point 3), the ship should automatically adjust its course to proceed along refuel points along the route to its destination. So, it should calculate what the closest refueling point is to the destination that it can reach. It should head there first to refuel and from there on head to its destination or the next refuel point.

5. When 75% of the ships in a fleet are below 25% of their max fuel capacity, the fleet should refuel at the nearest refuel point.

6. Fleets should follow the same rules from point 3 (see above). They should jump more intelligently.

7. Fleets should follow the same rules from point 4 (see above).

8. Before a fleet goes on a new mission it should check how many ships could use refueling. If more then 90% of the ships are below 75% of max fuel capacity, the fleet should do a refueling mission first before going on their actual mission. This check should also be done when a fleet is idling, so that the fleet is ready when a new mission comes in.

9. The ship with the lowest max jump range decides what the max jump range of the fleet is. That ship is the slowest in the fleet, so the fleet should adjust their speed accordingly. They are a fleet that should work together and not race each other to the destination.

10. When 90% of the ships in the fleet are not in proximity of the flagship, the fleet should do a regroup mission.

11. When a ship in a fleet is below 25% of max fuel capacity for over 15 real time minutes and it's not in proximity of the flagship, that ship should automatically leave the fleet and do a refuel mission.

12. When a ship has 0% of fuel for over 15 real time minutes, it should have the status changed to "adrift" (and the collour changed as well) and should not be added by the AI into a fleet until the "adrift" ship refuels. Usually such ships are in the middle of nowhere with no fuel, unable to do anything for a long time.

13. A fleet should never add ships that have less then 25% of max fuel capacity.

I feel like the AI simply cannot handle the fuel feature at the moment because it doesn't follow rules similar to the ones I just described. The AI desperately needs some "common sense" when handling fuel. So the main thing in the above points is that refueling becomes more of an action that the AI performs while performing a mission, instead of an entire mission on its own.

The above points are just some quick thoughts, so they could contain errors but I hope they will give you an idea of some things you could do.

To be honest, if I could I would disable fuel altogether because I feel fuel really cripples the AI. However, I'm sure such an option would never happen because the devs put too much work into fuel and it plays too much of a role already.

< Message edited by BlackAlpha -- 4/11/2010 3:27:21 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/11/2010 4:51:19 PM   
lordxorn


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You make very valid points, however I am finding that I don't have that big of an issue with fuel.

Fuel Collectors are a life savior in this department and couple that with at least 500-800 fuel storage, now your fuel micromanagement should be less of a pain.

(in reply to BlackAlpha)
Post #: 2
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/11/2010 4:55:55 PM   
Fishman

 

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I have not seen the AI crippled by fuel. In fact, the auto-unit AI seems to manage fuel quite well. If anything, running out of fuel is a distinctly human problem, and if your ships are on auto and still running out of fuel, then your empire is experiencing a nationwide fuel shortage or a lack of gas stations. For ships you don't intend to automate, they will benefit from a collector and larger fuel tanks.

(in reply to lordxorn)
Post #: 3
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/11/2010 9:46:00 PM   
Davor

 

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If fuel was automated then we all would be yelling and screaming why is our ships running to bases when we gave them the order to attack a colony or a ship or pirates, or buid this and it goes there. Us humans all think differently. I believe this fuel issue really can't be delt properly. You think automations should work this way, I might think it should work that way, and the developer might think of something else. So if this is ever implimented somone is going to cry foul and say it is broke and it should be like that.

If I have ships in a fleet, I don't care if they run out of fuel, I might want them to do thier job that I set out them to do. If anything, this automation has to be able to be turned on or off, or have a set number of rules to fallow that we as the human player pick for what ships to choose what fuel plan they want.

So I guess what we need is a fuel plan for the ships to fallow.

(in reply to Fishman)
Post #: 4
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/11/2010 11:00:45 PM   
astote

 

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i agree to the extent that i dont really like my fleet arriving at a target to then run out of fuel and proceed to stand still doing nothing while being destroyed by defenses....if a ship is sent to attack and it does not have the fuel, it ought to refuel and try again instead of waiting for the order to refuel (construction ships refuel and resupply before starting new projects....), if the ship/fleet gets stuck in a loop because the target is too far away then my resupply ship ought to automatically deploy somewhere along that route and they ought to automatically set a waypoint there to refuel.


or how bout just a message that warns if "Not all of your ships [#] have enough fuel to complete the mission assigned, please deploy a resupply ship along the route"

the second option is way easier to implement and very useful, also add the option to turn off the notification.

(in reply to BlackAlpha)
Post #: 5
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/11/2010 11:06:54 PM   
JonathanStrange


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The OP's suggestion is reasonable, imo, yet as already pointed an ad hoc solution exists in adding fuel collectors. Wait, don't roll your eyes, it works... 

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(in reply to astote)
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RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/13/2010 12:30:33 AM   
BlackAlpha

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Davor

If fuel was automated then we all would be yelling and screaming why is our ships running to bases when we gave them the order to attack a colony or a ship or pirates, or buid this and it goes there. Us humans all think differently. I believe this fuel issue really can't be delt properly. You think automations should work this way, I might think it should work that way, and the developer might think of something else. So if this is ever implimented somone is going to cry foul and say it is broke and it should be like that.

If I have ships in a fleet, I don't care if they run out of fuel, I might want them to do thier job that I set out them to do. If anything, this automation has to be able to be turned on or off, or have a set number of rules to fallow that we as the human player pick for what ships to choose what fuel plan they want.

So I guess what we need is a fuel plan for the ships to fallow.


That's why the first thing I suggested was one or two different options to turn it on/off. But maybe making a toggle option on the ship itself (like with automation) is a better idea?

The idea behind all of this is that if you enable automation you probably want them to refuel more intelligently.

(in reply to Davor)
Post #: 7
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/13/2010 12:33:52 AM   
Davor

 

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@ BlackAlpha, lets hope they fixed this in the next patch in 1.04. I guess I missed the part of you saying to turn it on or off. Sorry.

(in reply to BlackAlpha)
Post #: 8
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/13/2010 8:25:31 AM   
sbach2o

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: BlackAlpha

quote:

ORIGINAL: Davor

If fuel was automated then we all would be yelling and screaming why is our ships running to bases when we gave them the order to attack a colony or a ship or pirates, or buid this and it goes there. Us humans all think differently. I believe this fuel issue really can't be delt properly. You think automations should work this way, I might think it should work that way, and the developer might think of something else. So if this is ever implimented somone is going to cry foul and say it is broke and it should be like that.

If I have ships in a fleet, I don't care if they run out of fuel, I might want them to do thier job that I set out them to do. If anything, this automation has to be able to be turned on or off, or have a set number of rules to fallow that we as the human player pick for what ships to choose what fuel plan they want.

So I guess what we need is a fuel plan for the ships to fallow.


That's why the first thing I suggested was one or two different options to turn it on/off. But maybe making a toggle option on the ship itself (like with automation) is a better idea?

The idea behind all of this is that if you enable automation you probably want them to refuel more intelligently.


For fleets, fuel should never be a hassle. Right now we can control only 10 of those, so make it worthwhile by letting us fine-tune, for each fleet separately, how refueling is performed:


  • Let us set a desired level of fuel, something like 20%, 40%, 60% (+ 80% maybe). Any ship dropping below that level will go refueling. Reason: when I keep a fleet ready, I want it to be ready and not low on fuel when a threat pops up, so I am inclined to set a desired fuel level of 60% or even 80% for fleets that are idle/in reserve. This fuel level only applies for ships that are idling. A ship either engaged in combat or heading into combat (could be a manually settable state on fleet management screen) instead handles fuel according to this:
  • Another desired level of fuel for when combat is broken off (like 5%, 10%, 20%, ...) When below, ship runs, preferaby to fuel source. A ship out of fuel in combat is dead unless the engagement is already won. This would require the game to have a notion of when a ship is in combat or when not.
  • Settings defining whether the above levels are mandatory, i.e. ships go refueling autonomously, just issue a warning (, or ignore the conditions).
  • Let us set a desired (note, not required) location where to refuel. It could default to the home colony but should not be restricted to that, settings like 'nearest refueling point/starbase', specific Mining Stations, a deployed Resupply Base should also be eligible. In case of one or more explicitly given colonies this should create the demand at the selected locations which gets the fuel actually transported there (hopefully). Even better: it could reserve fuel at the selected location(s) for the fleet and nobody else. Regarding the handling of desired vs. required: A ship should at the very least prefer fuel sources that are reachable without running out, even if not on the list.
  • I still think this game needs fuel tankers under military control which should be assignable to fleets and then do nothing but keep the ships therein fueled and ready while those follow their other duties.
  • Each ship that goes refueling should enter a state where the usual commands issued to a fleet as a whole do not apply. The fleet management screen should explicitly list such ships as are refueling and should allow us to override the state there. This could be handled similarly to ships in an active engagement where the combat levels of fueling apply.
  • Some reasonable, better configurable, global defaults that can be set on a button click to apply when we want to make a fleet battle ready without too much hassle.


Of course, refueling settings shouldn't be the only thing that we can fine-tune for a fleet. With tankers (and constructors!) assignable to fleets, these'd become more complex organisms where ships could be explicitly assigned to escort duty. Then there'd be settings about whether constructors or tankers go into combat zones to do their job or not. A designation of an area for the baggage train plus escort and so on.

< Message edited by sbach2o -- 4/13/2010 2:19:47 PM >

(in reply to BlackAlpha)
Post #: 9
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/13/2010 5:19:24 PM   
Habadacus

 

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I think it's absurd that a warship in a technologically advanced society would have to drag itself to the fuel instead of there being an easy method for the fuel to go to it. I understand the strategic value of maintaining a adequate supply of fuel, but the constant docking and fueling of each individual ship in a game of this scale is ridiculous.

(in reply to sbach2o)
Post #: 10
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/13/2010 10:38:22 PM   
beserko


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From: The United States Of America
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Ahh, I mod ships to have many fuel tanks and say 1 beam weapon and 1 torp and 1/2 my ships are still out of fuel at any given time

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(in reply to Habadacus)
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RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/14/2010 12:06:17 AM   
DiggyDad

 

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I think sbach2o has the best idea.  In-flight refueling from a designated class of ship would continue to make fuel an important commodity but make long trips manageable.  We could still use deployed resupply ships for larger quantities.  It would also add another layer of fleet management in that these "in-flight tankers" would be a necessity for bigger operations.

An automated refueling OPTION could be added so that our purest buddies wouldn't be deprived of their fun and our not-so inclined friends could concentrate on other things.

(in reply to beserko)
Post #: 12
RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/14/2010 5:25:52 PM   
Tacit_Exit


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Part of the problem of those 'rapid response' fleets possibly being dry when the call to arms comes could be solved by a 'Hangar' or 'Space Dock' that could house the ships and keep them at 100% fuel until deployed.

(in reply to DiggyDad)
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RE: Fuel Micromanagement - 4/14/2010 6:11:05 PM   
Fishman

 

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I have proposed this solution of a manual docking command to dock with something and REMAIN docked, hogging the docking port until the player orders it to undock, and presumably thus allowing troops and cargo to be transferred more precisely than an all/nothing deal. And for the ship to stay fuelled.

(in reply to Tacit_Exit)
Post #: 14
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