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Defend Only option broken? - 1/7/2017 8:06:01 PM   
Gorde

 

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Playing this game is like herding cats, I swear! But most things can be figured out, and for the most part I'm learning how to make all the damn cats march to my tune--most of the time.

What's stumping me is the complete disregard for a direct order: I'll set a fleet to defensive mode (not attack), defend <set base> only, and automate. Then I'll come back later and they are on the opposite side of the system, so not only did they chase something like an impossible-to-catch scout, they remained way out of pocket even though the "automation" command clearly tells them to remain at the base and defend it. Several times this has cost me a mining station or other annoying setback. Am I missing something, or is this command broken?

On a related note, is there any way to keep fleets from a forced refueling or running off to repair one point of armor? Even without automation on, they will leave their post for at least 3 reasons (refuel, repair, or chase an enemy, and one of these things is happening all the time). Especially in the early game when pirates are swarming my newly building mining stations or planetary orbitals, I need those gawddam cats to stay in place so those stations can complete. Yet it's like I'm not speaking the same language (and whaddyaknow, swearing profusely at them doesn't help).

In one amusing-yet-frustrating scenario, I was trying to retrofit my ships to the newest fuel source (which I had plenty of Hydrogen, just not Casion), yet before they would dock for the retrofit, they would switch orders to a refuel command and run over to the H-fuel station where they could not refuel at until the retrofit! The only way I could make them was to stand on the retrofit button to keep countermanding the idiot automation, which is clearly unacceptable. I searched for tips in forums and some Let's Play vids, but no solution stood out at me. What I truly need is a Stay-Put-Or-Face-Court-Marshall command. Solutions?

(Oh, and I dislike the inefficiency of having to build 3 ships to do the job of 1, so the "just build more ships to cover you" is not a viable option for me, and some races are so tight on money that they cannot afford the waste, unless you're playing an easy game.)
Post #: 1
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/7/2017 10:26:43 PM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

What's stumping me is the complete disregard for a direct order: I'll set a fleet to defensive mode (not attack), defend <set base> only, and automate. Then I'll come back later and they are on the opposite side of the system, so not only did they chase something like an impossible-to-catch scout, they remained way out of pocket even though the "automation" command clearly tells them to remain at the base and defend it. Several times this has cost me a mining station or other annoying setback. Am I missing something, or is this command broken?

You need to go into Options, click the button in the bottom right portion of the Options menu labeled "Empire," and fool around with the stances listed at the top of that screen. Default stance for all military ships is to engage any hostile target in the same system; you'll want to change this for automated ships to something else. You can also do this on a per ship or maybe per fleet basis with one of the buttons on the selection details panel in the lower-left corner of the screen, but be aware that such changes will eventually revert to the default set in the Options -> Empire menu.

As far as getting them to stay on station better? Hell if I know. It appears as though the ships in a fleet in defensive posture will only receive a "move to (base)" order if the ships are more than some threshold distance away from the base and are not currently engaged with something, and the threshold distance appears to be something at least approximating a system radius or system diameter.

I would further suggest that it is normally not worthwhile assigning fleets to defend specific points. Unless you simply cannot afford to go after the locations from which the pirates receive fuel for some reason, it's usually more cost-effective to employ your military resources to destroy pirate space stations and integrate independent colonies into your empire than it is to assign fleets to defend mines - especially if you're doing something like assigning a fleet per mining station.

If you really want to have dedicated point defense for the mine, consider building a defensive base or changing the mine design to something more capable of defending itself. Stations can be made to be fuel-independent with enough energy collection, can produce fuel for themselves if built over locations from which fuel can be mined, and in the late game can produce fuel for themselves with Energy to Fuel Converters. Stations also don't require all those sublight drive and hyperdrive components driving up the cost of the pack of guns you want to keep near the mine, though this unfortunately comes at the cost of being unable to be relocated, and will never run away from an engagement for any reason. There isn't really anything preventing you from turning mining stations into veritable fortresses if you want to do so - the private sector foots the bill for both construction and upkeep (in fact, the private sector pays the state the construction cost of the mine), though be warned that excessive station construction and maintenance costs can impede the private sector's ability to build and maintain the freighter fleets necessary for a healthy imperial economy, and in very extreme cases or in combination with very high tax rates may impede the private sector's ability to operate a reasonable number of mines - and defensive bases are not terribly expensive by comparison to ships; they should, in fact, be significantly cheaper for the same number of guns and strength of defenses, as defensive bases do not need to pay for the sublight drive and hyperdrive components necessary for a ship (which typically eat up around 20-30% of the total size of a ship on the designs I typically use), need only half as many life support and hab modules per unit size, and don't need as many of the one-per-(ship/station) components as a fleet of ships would, though they pay for this by being immobile, which can give them range issues, especially if you're not careful with placement (using fighters as a primary weapon can help with range/placement issues and appears to have a bit of an advantage in combat simulation for engagements not taking place in the player's field of view).

If the problem is short-term point defense (i.e. while the station is under construction) rather than long-term point defense, you might consider redesigning the construction ship to be a relatively powerful combatant. Only 35% of the total size of the ship needs to be given over to mission-critical components, if I recall correctly, and construction ships can be built three times larger than standard ship types. It's not going to be quite as good of a battleship as a resupply ship can be and it isn't going to be fast sublight, but it can be made to be capable of defending itself against typical pirate activity unless you're still at the very low end of construction sizes.

If you want to continue using defensive fleets, I would suggest moving to a system defense model rather than a point defense model. Redesign the mines with defenses strong enough to hold out long enough for an in-system fleet to respond (system diameter is 50,000 range units, or you could just ballpark the response time at 1.5 times the jump initiation time), and work on cutting down the response time of your defense fleets - e.g. by basing them at something close to the system center rather than out on the system's periphery, or by equipping your system defense ships with Kaldos Hyperdrives instead of Equinox Jumpdrives (the difference in jump initiation time is great enough that ships equipped with Kaldos Hyperdrives can be engaging in-system threats before ships equipped with Equinox Jumpdrives or Calista-Dal Warp Drives have finished initiating their jumps, and ships equipped with Kaldos Hyperdrives maintain a slight edge in response time out to about 0.2 sectors away from the point of origin; 'nearby systems' covers a region with a radius of 0.25 sectors).

Also, if the problem is that the pirates are showing up with big fleets, a recovered derelict, a resupply ship, or something else like that, I would suggest that it is not practical to try to protect relatively unimportant things like individual mines, and that if you do want to protect them you're better off using a dedicated hunter-killer group or major combat fleet than some kind of local defense force.

quote:

On a related note, is there any way to keep fleets from a forced refueling or running off to repair one point of armor? Even without automation on, they will leave their post for at least 3 reasons (refuel, repair, or chase an enemy, and one of these things is happening all the time). Especially in the early game when pirates are swarming my newly building mining stations or planetary orbitals, I need those gawddam cats to stay in place so those stations can complete. Yet it's like I'm not speaking the same language (and whaddyaknow, swearing profusely at them doesn't help).

Repair components should help with ships running off to patch up minor damage. You might be able to do something about fleet refueling in the Options -> Empire menu; as I recall, there is something there about when fleets should go off to refuel, but really the best ways to handle this are to increase the ships' fuel capacities, increase the ships' reactors fuel efficiencies, or increase the locally-available fuel supply. Running off after enemies might be affected by the engagement stance settings in the Options -> Empire menu, but if you're referring to pursuit of enemies which jump away into hyperspace then you might be out of luck.

(in reply to Gorde)
Post #: 2
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 1:39:24 AM   
Gorde

 

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Hey there, Aeson. Thanks for the quick and thorough reply--I will play with the Empire settings, as you suggest. Perhaps it was those that keep overriding my individual fleet settings (though my logic says it should be the other way around, that if I bother making specific fleet settings they should replace any baseline settings).

I apologize for not being clearer that most of my problems come in the beginning when none of those mentioned techs are available (by the time I have repair bots, quick jump drives, and sensors/early warning systems, victory is a foregone conclusion--you know, the whole "they're dead they just don't know it yet" ). At the start, I cannot afford to make constructors into fighting ships or to beef up my bases--heck, it's often in trying to build those fortifying bases that prompts the pirates to swarm and destroy it the moment my protecting fleet is jacking around somewhere else. And my attention needs to be on expanding, not babysitting the smaller defensive fleets that are supposed to be babysitting my vital resources. I assure you that I use fleet resources carefully, like on my only source of polymer or a key refueling stop that allows me to expand; usually I use tiny fleets of 2-3 ships to defend planets against raids and, in later times, Hail Mary attacks by my enemies--I make them target transports first to stop the invasions, and I'm pretty certain a reasonable-cost base is less likely to thwart surprise invasions). Heh, I have yet to lose a planet to the AI, and I don't intend to break that record.

Mobility is the key for me, because I realign my defensive resources as my empire expands, and I'm not sure I can do this with bases. Do you think it's better to build bases and then destroy or retrofit into cheaper versions as the area becomes my quiet backfield--cheaper than simply changing the duty of the defensive fleet to the next hot zone? And how can a base defend itself while it's being built? Expanding into a new area requires fleets to defend the initial structures, and it's those fleets that I need to have confidence that they will keep doing the task I set for them.

To be sure, my ship designs have improved immensely since my first game as I learn the optimal energy/speed/damage/cost ratios (I'm only on my third game). It's these few logistics that need ironing out before I can push to the higher difficulties (though even on normal, a crowded galaxy with rampant piracy gave me fits early on because of the listed problems). Yes, heh, perfect logistics is my goal, for that's how I feel I'll be able to take on cheating/buffed AI with any hope to win.

Thanks again for the input.

PS--About those crazy pirates, I do actively hunt them when I'm capable of it, but in my current game, I've chased away no less than 3 different pirate factions from the same damn nebula--I spent the time cleaning them out only to have a new one mysteriously pop up and begin sending waves of ships at my background. This got to be such a waste of resources, that I made a cheap, placeholder base named "Denied!" simply to fill up that void. My hope is this will stop them from chain-spawning (worth the 1300 credits per year, if it works; yet another annoyance if it doesn't work, heh).


< Message edited by Gorde -- 1/8/2017 1:51:41 AM >

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 3
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 7:40:25 AM   
Bingeling

 

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At the very start of the game, defending a base with a fleet is an option. If nothing else to make sure the pirates keep attacking that mine again and again. Those pirates are not attacking anything else, so keep rebuilding the carbon-fiber mine in the capital system, they seem to have first on their hit list. If they love a capital system mine, the ships defending that mine doubles as capital defense too...

A few points in keeping some mines alive in the "swarmed by pirates" phase.

- Pirates attack mines and colonies they know about
- The AI does not randomly "drop by" already explored systems.
- The AI won't know about a mine it has never seen.

So if you need a new caslon mine, you know that the mine will be spotted if it is in a colony system. Since the pirates drop by to raid the colony. You know it will be spotted if there is already a spotted mine in the system they they are going to attack. But if it is an empty system, that the pirates has explored and know of no bases in, the only things that should make them visit are:

- Building a mine themselves
- Setting up their resupply ship.
- Stealing your (or another pirate crew/empire's) galaxy map.

Of course, even if your "most hated local crew" already has explored the new mine system, the ones a bit further away may not have, and send an exploration ship there. So the mine is not safe, it just has a chance to be left alone.

I am not actually sure if the AI are psychic about destroyed mines or not. So if "Pirates A" destroyed a mine leaving the system empty, could "Pirates B" still go there to hunt the same mine? Keep in mind that ships complete their missions, so anyone already with an attack order would still go there in any case.

And going by the above: If a mine is really important for you, keep its system empty of other stuff. If it is somehow spotted by a different crew, construction ship, whatever, let them destroy it. Wait a bit to allow other attack orders to complete, and rebuild it. If the system holds 5 other mines it takes quite a bit more for the pirates to believe that system is empty.

The above is one more reason to hate pirate construction ships, they are "mine spotters". And they are hard to kill with little tech.

(in reply to Gorde)
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RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 7:42:04 AM   
Aeson

 

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quote:

Expanding into a new area requires fleets to defend the initial structures, and it's those fleets that I need to have confidence that they will keep doing the task I set for them.

A couple things:
Firstly, there is usually a window of opportunity in which to set up stations, as pirates (and, really, all computer-controlled factions) will not typically revisit a system after initial exploration unless there was something of interest in that system or unless they become aware of activity in that system (e.g. through agent activity). As a result, you can usually set up at least one or two mines in uninhabited or recently-uninhabited systems where no pirate mines are present before the pirate factions become aware of the potential targets.

Secondly, mining stations are usually one of the last things I set up in the regions that I expand my empire into. Fleets go in first to reduce pirate activity to manageable levels, then colony and troop ships go in to grab territory, possibly accompanied or followed by more fleets to finish securing the region. Mining stations can wait until the region is secure or until I decide that the region needs to have greater resource production. There are really only two things for which local resource production is all that necessary - significant ship construction activity, and fuel. You don't need to and probably should not have significant ship construction activity going on in frontier regions, while the fuel supply situation can be covered by resupply ships (resupply ships have the added advantage of not attracting freighters looking to pick up cargo, which means less freighter traffic in a relatively dangerous area and less issues with the local fuel supply drying up because a freighter just hauled half the local stockpile off to the other side of the empire). There might be a rare strategic resource or two for which you need to build a mine in the area because you lack other sources, but other than that I wouldn't bother.

quote:

Do you think it's better to build bases and then destroy or retrofit into cheaper versions as the area becomes my quiet backfield--cheaper than simply changing the duty of the defensive fleet to the next hot zone?

The short answer is that I wouldn't do this, but then I also wouldn't normally defend mines or construction ships in the process of building mines in the first place.

Longer answer: When I suggested building defense bases, I thought that you wanted permanent defenses at the location, not temporary defenses. I expect that keeping track of where the temporary defensive bases are would be enough of a headache to not be worth any potential cost savings, though it's entirely possible that it would be cheaper (how much so, however, would be heavily dependent upon ship and station designs, on how many ships and how many stations you'd be using, on how long you keep the station/fleet at any given location, and on whether you're scrapping or retrofitting stations which are no longer needed); if you went for the retrofit option rather than the scrap and rebuild option, there's also the issue that keeping multiple current designs in a single role can be a bit of a headache, especially if you use automated or mass retrofits. Another issue is that if you aren't able to build a mining station before the construction ship gets chased off or the mine gets destroyed by pirates, I doubt that a defensive base would fare all that much better (armor starts working as soon as it's built, and shields and weapons can sometimes come online before the station is completed, so it's possible).

I also don't particularly care for fixed defenses. Space superiority wins the game, and the most stations can do for you under normal circumstances is help maintain local superiority in your own space. They're useful enough that I'd consider building them for sufficiently important locations, but sufficiently important locations are going to be places like Korrabia or the Fortress of Torak, not random mining stations under threat of pirate attack.


Some other thoughts:
In my opinion, it is for the best, especially in the early game, to concentrate mining activity into as few systems as possible, preferably as close to the primary points of use (typically, significant shipyards, and in the early game the only significant shipyard you probably have is your home spaceport). Hyperdrives, especially early-game hyperdrives, are slow relative to the size of a sector, so keeping the mines close to the point of use keeps travel times short, which in turn reduces the time it takes your freighters to respond to resource shortages (of course, if the shortage is caused by the mines not producing enough, this doesn't help that much). Concentrating the mining activity into as few systems as possible allows you to economize fleet deployments (assuming you are going to deploy the fleet to protect mines, which is something that I almost never bother doing). Mining targets go something like home system > nearby colonized systems > colonized systems > nearby high resource systems > high resource systems > everything else for me; colonized systems get higher priority simply because they're the systems where I'm most likely to deploy a defensive fleet, and I might as well have the fleets pull double duty defending mines and colonies.

When trying to clear pirates out of an area, scouting information is invaluable. Long-range scanners are great if you have them, but even a few scouts bouncing around local systems can work. Find the pirate spaceports and fuel mines and independent colonies, get a sense of how strong the pirate fleet presence is in the area, and decide whether you can make a direct assault against the pirate infrastructure. If you think you can, great; send fleets to assault the pirate spaceports and fuel mines and invade the independent colonies as the first step to clearing out the pirates from the region. If you think you cannot, or cannot while taking only acceptable losses, it's time to be more devious. You know how you were annoyed by your ships haring off after ships on the opposite side of the system? You can take advantage of that behavior to pull hostiles into ambushes or away from your real targets, because the computer's ships behave the same way. Jump a bait squadron to a point in the system relatively far from the colony or pirate station while a kill squadron sits just outside the system; once the pirates start moving against your bait squadron, move the kill squadron to the bait squadron or to the real target. For that matter, just jumping to a point in the system other than the colony or pirate station can make a big difference in how a battle plays out - any group of ships jumping to the same target coordinates will tend to emerge from hyperspace distributed in a ring around the target, which means that they're relatively dispersed compared to the ships at the target coordinates. Jumping to a point where the pirate ships are not gives your fleet time to concentrate itself and gets the pirate ships which had been concentrated in a big pile at the space station or colony to disperse a little and may not pull all of the pirate ships at once, and you can take further advantage of this dispersal by ordering your fleet to move or attack towards a certain section of the ring of pirate ships rather than letting the fight develop however it would go.

Agent missions, most notably Steal Operations Map and Deep Cover but also Steal Territory/Galaxy Map, can substitute to some degree for scouting; any of these should allow you to locate bases and mines, and Steal Operations Map and Deep Cover will additional help locate fleet elements (most importantly construction ships, which can otherwise be a pain to hunt down), and sabotage missions can be used to go after the pirates' fuel economy if you do not believe that the cost of attacking it with fleet elements is justified by the potential gain. I will however say that my feeling is that agents who get sent on missions against pirate factions are even more likely to die an early death than agents who get sent on missions against other empires.

quote:

PS--About those crazy pirates, I do actively hunt them when I'm capable of it, but in my current game, I've chased away no less than 3 different pirate factions from the same damn nebula--I spent the time cleaning them out only to have a new one mysteriously pop up and begin sending waves of ships at my background. This got to be such a waste of resources, that I made a cheap, placeholder base named "Denied!" simply to fill up that void. My hope is this will stop them from chain-spawning (worth the 1300 credits per year, if it works; yet another annoyance if it doesn't work, heh).

If you didn't do so for this game, I would suggest ensuring that the "Destroyed Pirates do not Respawn" tickbox is checked the next time you set up a game.

Assuming "Destroyed Pirates do not Respawn" was not checked: Standard pirate factions, as far as I know, only spawn over unoccupied fuel sources, though there might be potential for screwy behavior if no such locations exist. Building a mine at the location should prevent new pirate factions from popping up in that location, though existing pirate factions may still send construction ships or attack forces to the area (they will only send construction ships if they do not know that there is already a mine there).

(in reply to Gorde)
Post #: 5
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 3:35:36 PM   
Gorde

 

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Hello, Bing. Thanks guys for the insight--it will help tweak my operations.

You guys both seem to assume that pirates don't attack things they haven't explored, and I'm afraid I have direct evidence that's untrue (in addition to the godlike behavior of the Legendary pirate group, of course; I understand that's an exception put in the game for some added challenge). So when I finally swept through the fringe gas clouds to rid myself of the pirates the third time around, I left a spy satellite floating in space nearby (my late game scout with lots of energy collectors and a long range sensor that feeds me intel for attacks, as well as hunts for pirate bases and constructors). I witnessed empty gas clouds give birth to a new pirate faction (these shouldn't count as respawns because they have a different name/color/flag, right?)--one system magically created a fully functional base, a couple military ships and a constructor, while the neighboring system spawned a gas mine. And sure enough, they launched raids on my systems before I brought the pirate cleaners back for another round (and my constructor had yet to get there). Make no mistake: this had happened to clean-swept systems at least twice before, and in only a couple of months, these new pirates went after my mines and colonies again. No, they never sent a scout first; they must have borrowed the intel from the now-dead pirates (a pirate internet database, perhaps? heh).

The other evidence I have (that might be more to bad luck than pirate sentience, I realize) is multiple times I've just entered to colonize a new system, and the very first pirates I see are ones warping to the colony to raid it, or to take out the under-construction space port. Or they will warp in directly to the building gas mine (that I need for refueling)--no way they scouted it first, and since I'm new to the area and they came directly to the base, it seems to me they are acting contrary to what you guys claim they'll do.

This understanding forces me to divert resources that are better spent wiping out Keskadons and their ilk (my current game spawned 2 of them in the next sector--I had 4 close neighbors that had me penned in, so early expansion was a challenge, even without the pirate harassment, and early war was inevitable). I will make certain to check the "do not respawn" box in future games and hope that helps keep the madness to a minimum.

At any rate, that's getting away from my initial frustration of ships leaving their posts for unimportant reasons, and as a result, that post gets destroyed (which is not only a waste of resources to build and then rebuild, but it wasted the "defending" ships resources since they ended up not doing their job). It's like the annoyance of paying someone to do a job IRL and they take the money but don't do the job, or do a terrible job--building subcontractors are notorious for this. In the options I set the fleets to attack nearby only, unless I have them set to patrol (which will mean I have multiple resources in the system; otherwise, they are supposed to sit at the single target).

I also set the default ship refueling AI to 100%. Thanks for pointing that out, Aeson--I can only hope this helps.

So, the only problem I'm left without a solution is the repair AI (despite having automation off). This is particularly annoying because pirates tend to use armor-damaging weapons, so even when they have zero chance of winning, they still might damage an armor point or 2 before dying, then that idiot ship thinks it's more important to leave the under-construction-vital-base to repair that one point of armor, and like lemmings, the fleet follows that ship. And since I'm carrying out a war or expansion somewhere else, I only know of this when I get notification that a pirate is taking out the base. A couple times I lost the base the moment it had built but before its shields had come up, which is--for me, at least--a teeth-grinding affair. When I build stuff, I play to make certain it stays built. I realize this problem corrects itself once I have repair bots, but until then, the bad AI is forcing me to do more micromanagement than I'd like. Is there a trick I'm missing to prevent this? Must I drop/replace the injured ships from the fleet (still too much micromanagement, yet it's better than the alternative)? Of course, I'm hoping for a more elegant solution.

Happy gaming.

< Message edited by Gorde -- 1/8/2017 3:40:55 PM >

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 6
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 4:30:11 PM   
Bingeling

 

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1: You saw a new pirate crew created to replace one that was wiped. That is pirates respawning. They may start with a gas mine, I do not know. I put gas mines on all nearby fuel sources (even without needing them) to prevent pirates from building bases/spawning there.

Your "stay at your defense object" is truly annoying. During war, I want to protect key colonies with fleet, and if I have no warning, the defensive fleet may sit at the fringes of the system after having chased after an enemy exploration ship. They need to be at the colony when the attack fleet arrives...

There are ways beyond exploration ships and snoopy construction ships to spot our new colony/mine. Not likely, but they may have along range scanner. True for empires, probably not true for pirates. Someone knows about the mine/colony. You do, your allies does. And if you steal galaxy/operations map, or have a deep cover spy at someone that knows, you know about the object in question.

When it comes to spotting things, mining ships also work, but I do not think pirates own those. But other empires do, and may be the object of pirate spies.

Pirate rail guns (and similar) are also truly annoying at the start, which makes me give very high priority to researching repair bots. If I have a colony that I want defended, I may put a temporary spaceport there to do repairs on the defenders. But the truth is: It is better to bust the pirate bases, and not pretend that you are able to defend a colony against raiders before doing that. Of course, wimps pay the pirates off :)

If I ever am truly desperate to defend a mine, and I can not bust the pirate bases, I will defend it with my "whole fleet". This is the single fuel mine I got, or the single instance of some key resource in a bit more mature empire. But it is usually only in the very early days that mine survival is a real problem, since once I can bust pirate bases, the annoying ones are dropping quite fast. And if I got a bunch of mines, who cares if a mine is killed every once in a while? Well, beyond taking note of the name of the crew to bust their base, that is?

If I have massive fuel struggles, resupply ships are a high priority, as the military may refuel from those. They are also useful when you have a new colony far away, that needs protection. And where you have not yet cleared out the pirate bases.

(in reply to Gorde)
Post #: 7
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 5:19:17 PM   
Gorde

 

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Now I'm bummed with the idiot automation all over again. Aeson, I set the fleet refuel setting to 100% (so all the ships would need fuel before leaving), but I just had an empire attacking one of my new colonies with a newly building base, and plenty of defenders. Right in the middle of the battle, the defenders decide 70% full wasn't fuel enough, so they head for another system to refuel (since I cannot make the private industry deliver fuel, new planets are especially difficult to defend). That's the most asinine default "AI" ever. "Hey I know, let's go grab some fuel and donuts. These workers and new colonists can just burn."

I need to find a solution for this problem, or I'll just have to go back to playing simpler games that work as intended (and lament that this more challenging game is challenging for all the wrong reasons). An epic game where nothing goes right isn't a game to me, I've got RL for those kinds of headaches.

ETA: What's even more insane is I checked the planet, and it has 1500ish of both types of fuel, so what programming could possibly make them decide to go refuel at a distant station, in the middle of defending, with about 70% fuel remaining?

< Message edited by Gorde -- 1/8/2017 5:24:55 PM >

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 8
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 5:55:35 PM   
Aeson

 

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Other things which can reveal colonies and stations:
- Theft of territory maps.
- Destruction of ships. There's an event which can fire off, at least for player-controlled factions, which reveals the location of a colony, spaceport, or mining station upon destruction of a ship or base.
- Freighter traffic. Not all of those independent freighters that visit your worlds are actually independent; a fair number of them are probably controlled by pirate factions. You won't know that pirate-controlled freighters visited you unless you detect them with trace scanners or know which sprites are not actually used for independent freighters and pay enough attention to the freighter traffic to see the smugglers when they visit, but that doesn't mean that the pirates don't know you're there.
- A pirate exploration or construction ship that visited the system and you just didn't notice. You cannot pay attention to everything all the time, and on top of that it's not always the case that any given pirate faction's color will be sufficiently distinct from an empire's color for you to immediately recognize that the ship icon you see while zoomed out belongs to a pirate rather than an empire.

I also wouldn't be terribly surprised if the freighters of computer-controlled pirate factions, like independent freighters, just 'know' where colonies, stations, and ships in need of resources are and can be selected for delivery missions to (or from) those locations, though I'm pretty sure that the non-freighter ships belonging to a pirate faction cannot act upon that knowledge until something actually visits that location.

quote:

When it comes to spotting things, mining ships also work, but I do not think pirates own those.

I am quite certain that pirate factions own at least some of the independent-flagged mining ships. I usually start finding abandoned/derelict mining ships once I start wiping out pirate factions, and if I bother with trace scanners I occasionally catch pirate-controlled mining ships during assaults on pirate spaceports. Additionally, if I recall correctly, player-controlled pirate factions start with a few mining ships.

quote:

ETA: What's even more insane is I checked the planet, and it has 1500ish of both types of fuel, so what programming could possibly make them decide to go refuel at a distant station, in the middle of defending, with about 70% fuel remaining?

The available fuel stockpile needs to be at least equal to the total fuel capacity of the fleet in order for a location to be selected as a refueling point for the fleet, regardless of how much fuel the fleet actually needs. If you have 10 ships and each ship has a fuel capacity of 300, then a planet or station with less than 3000 of the appropriate fuel type will not be selected as a refueling point by the automated refueling algorithm unless there are no refueling points with sufficient fuel stockpiles.

As for why the fleet decided to go refuel with ~70% remaining fuel on all ships, I have no idea. I typically see (ship) requires refueling messages when the ship is down to about a quarter to a third of its fuel capacity, though I suppose that it's possible that "(ship) requires refueling" is actually based off of how long the ship can continue to operate with its current fuel supply and power demand rather than directly off of current fuel stocks.

I will also suggest that new colonies are not typically worth defending. New colonies take a long time to become profitable, and if you start counting the thousands of credits per in-game year you spent on the fleet and garrison defending the colony they'll take even longer, especially if you need three or four fleets to maintain a presence at the location because the local fuel supplies are too small to let the fleets refuel locally.

< Message edited by Aeson -- 1/8/2017 6:12:19 PM >

(in reply to Bingeling)
Post #: 9
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 6:14:52 PM   
Gorde

 

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So it's clear that there's really no way to hedge against pirates knowing you're there (you take a gamble if you build unprotected stuff). I think it's just safe to assume pirates will know where your stuff is fairly quickly, and then it's anyone's guess whether or not they will target it (in a rampant piracy setting, it's a near certainty).

For the fleet control, I might have been looking at this all wrong. Fleets are great for coordinating lots of ships on offensive maneuvers, but perhaps they are not suited at all for defense, and my defensive ships should never be in fleets. Thoughts? If I use the "attack nearby" setting and simply send them to go to their defensive targets as I build them, then it's a little more management up front (send 3-4 ships separately at differing intervals rather than bulk them into a fleet to send all at once), but will they actually perform better? They certainly won't all go off at once to refuel or repair if staggered out, but then how to I get them to come back to the same spot since as far as I know, you cannot command ships like you can fleets (i.e., setting a home base or a patrol stance). But hell, if the fleets won't obey the fleet commands, then small clusters of individual ships can't do worse, right?

Oh, and the idea of colonizing a world just to let them get conquered or harassed leaves a foul taste in my mouth. Why bother with the colony ship and such if you don't plan to protect your investment. Something I might not be understanding?

< Message edited by Gorde -- 1/8/2017 6:28:34 PM >

(in reply to Aeson)
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RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 7:38:57 PM   
Bingeling

 

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If you do not pay protection fees all around, and do not want your colonies to be raided... Don't colonize. Over-extending in the early game hurts. If you see a fantastic prospect and it is not in your territory, consider to colonize it. If you see multiple fantastic prospects, and they could put each other under control, take one of them. In the early game reserving the good prospects for yourself is a good thing, actually having fresh colonies is a short term negative.

As to what Aeson wrote, I do not think stealing territory maps reveal bases. At least I need to operation maps to see the mines of the enemy.

And hiding from pirates is mostly an early game thing, once you have decent firepower, you should be able to keep them away. Of course, if they respawn, you see weak pirates pop up every now and then, but that does not compare to the early game pirate assault.

(in reply to Gorde)
Post #: 11
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 7:57:35 PM   
Retreat1970


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From: Wisconsin
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Fleet Posturing has always worked for me, attack or defense. Sometimes they flip their base when they go defend something. I don't know if its been said, but defend fleets won't react to pirates (unless in their own system), because you are never at war with pirates. Protection or not. That's the extent of the diplomacy.

I don't know what the computer can see. I assume the higher the difficulty the more the computer cheats.

Also it sounds like you're trying to play perfectly. If you are then I would suggest to let things go. For example, I used to design ships. Now I don't. I have more time to play instead of designing, and the ship quality is maybe 10% less.

Of course everything I posted is mostly my opinion.

(in reply to Gorde)
Post #: 12
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 9:24:22 PM   
Gorde

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Retreat1970

Also it sounds like you're trying to play perfectly. If you are then I would suggest to let things go. For example, I used to design ships. Now I don't. I have more time to play instead of designing, and the ship quality is maybe 10% less.

Of course everything I posted is mostly my opinion.


Hi, Retreat. I welcome relevant opinions always. Do you never have a fleet that's supposed to defend an exposed colony or base leave it just in time for the pirates to destroy what you're building? In the early game, it's like the pirates were camping me, because they'd raid the colonies right as the fleet was leaving the system. If they act right for you, then I simply must know how you do it, heh. Share your settings/procedure, please?

And I don't try to play perfect so much as want to rely on things to work like they should. If I set up a grand plan that's dependent on this colony or base and I tell this fleet to guard it and they all say, "Yes, Sir," then I expect them to do just that. Not go on some extraneous errand that blows the whole deal. In other words, if I lose something, I want it to be a fault in my tactics, not some garbage the automation is doing that I don't know how to fix. Make sense?

(in reply to Retreat1970)
Post #: 13
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/8/2017 11:42:28 PM   
Aeson

 

Posts: 710
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quote:

As to what Aeson wrote, I do not think stealing territory maps reveal bases. At least I need to operation maps to see the mines of the enemy.

In my experience, stealing a pirate faction's territory map will reveal that faction's spaceports in the main view, reveal undiscovered colonies at which the pirate faction has influence, and make the pirate faction's undiscovered mines appear in the selection details panel when the system in which the mine can be found is selected.

quote:

For the fleet control, I might have been looking at this all wrong. Fleets are great for coordinating lots of ships on offensive maneuvers, but perhaps they are not suited at all for defense, and my defensive ships should never be in fleets. Thoughts? If I use the "attack nearby" setting and simply send them to go to their defensive targets as I build them, then it's a little more management up front (send 3-4 ships separately at differing intervals rather than bulk them into a fleet to send all at once), but will they actually perform better? They certainly won't all go off at once to refuel or repair if staggered out, but then how to I get them to come back to the same spot since as far as I know, you cannot command ships like you can fleets (i.e., setting a home base or a patrol stance). But hell, if the fleets won't obey the fleet commands, then small clusters of individual ships can't do worse, right?

Ships which are not automated will not return to their station after they go to refuel; ships which are automated and are not in a postured fleet will do whatever the computer decides that they should do and cannot be relied upon to remain on station. If you want to do something like this, make "fleets" out of single ships and proceed the way you would have had you been using a more usefully-sized fleet.

I will also warn you that doing something like this is going to be very expensive because you'll need a much larger fleet to cover the same area, and it'll be even more so if you're not careful about designing your defense forces in a manner such that the minimum force likely to be on station during a raid will still be strong enough that the defending forces won't take too much damage despite being at their weakest likely level. If it takes at least five ships on station during a raid to repel the raid without some of the defending ships suffering serious damage or being destroyed and you have some sort of ship rotation program going on to make it more likely that at least some ships will be on station at any given time, you need to plan the rotation so that the windows where you have fewer than five and more than zero ships on station are either very small or nonexistent. Just providing enough independently-operating ships that on average five are on station at any given time is not likely to cut it.

(in reply to Gorde)
Post #: 14
RE: Defend Only option broken? - 1/9/2017 5:56:30 AM   
Bingeling

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Aeson

quote:

As to what Aeson wrote, I do not think stealing territory maps reveal bases. At least I need to operation maps to see the mines of the enemy.

In my experience, stealing a pirate faction's territory map will reveal that faction's spaceports in the main view, reveal undiscovered colonies at which the pirate faction has influence, and make the pirate faction's undiscovered mines appear in the selection details panel when the system in which the mine can be found is selected.

Oh, I was thinking about the pirates stealing territory map of the player (empire).

The revealing of bases in the selection details panel, is as far as I can see a bug (that I try to not abuse). I believe this works for explored systems, and allows you to for instance see the legendary pirate bases when you should not be able to see them, there are only "so many" possible locations for them (fuel sources that are not occupied).

If I remember right, I can also use this to find pirate bases that I should not know about, but those are easy enough to find in other ways (by for instance sending single ships on a "go to - refuel" mission to every potential pirate system in the direction I know they originate from. The ships even ought to survive if I move to star and queue the refuel order.

(in reply to Aeson)
Post #: 15
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