To Gearbox: AI Still Persecutes Capture Units

I’d like to point out one of the most aggravating and glaring gameplay breaking issues with the HW2/HW2R engine. The AI is hard coded to drop everything and concentrate all fire on capture units no matter what else is going on. While this makes using them as decoys to distract enemy attackers a somewhat strategic use for them, it kind of destroys the balance when compared to any other unit. This was implemented in HW2, but it seriously breaks not only play but modding as well. Targeting priority should not be set natively higher for any unit type. I would like to see this as something possible to set via script ideally, not locked into the game engine.

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Isn’t it controlled by the priorities in the addAbility(NewShipType,“CanAttack”… line? I wasn’t aware that HW2 ever disobeyed that.

All but for Capture units. Try it for yourself.

Salvage corvettes, capture frigates, or both?

Seems to be anything with the capture ability. Was especially noticeable with the Frigates, but have noticed the same behavior with the Corvettes. I’m not the only person who’s noted this behavior, there’s mention on the Steam forums as well.

There was also discussion about this on the old forums; Sierra/Relic back in the day. Going back a ways, but if I remember it correctly, the story was that a producer or someone else with the clout during the HW2 development got a touch over upset that he kept having his units “stolen” during gameplay, and insisted that capturing get severely shackled. A second story was the dev team themselves wanted the ability crushed to prevent HW2 from becoming a “capture fest” like HW1 supposedly was. I have no idea if this can be confirmed.

True or not, no matter what you try in scripting behaviors, enemy AI generally ignore all other targets to go after capture units. Last mission I played recently in HW2R was Ghenna Outskirts. Had two Marine Frigates parked next to the Mothership, and a small fleet of Torpedo/Flak Frigates out in front. A Vaygr flotilla came at the parked units, ignored my flotilla of combat units to pour fire on the Marine Frigates. The AI ignored point blank attacks until the marine frigates blew up, so cheap easy victory. Had similar behavior happen in both remastered games, and was a fact of life with classic HW2. So maybe I’m wrong, but the behavior I’ve observed seems to say otherwise.

edit: Additionally, before Remastered came along, a few years ago I tried to switch the capture ability to other unit types, thinking that the hard coding might be limited to the Marine/Infiltrator Frigates but this is not the case: it’s wired to the capture ability itself in the AI coding.

I feel the design decision made by the original HW2 team to neuter capture was wrong at the time and still wrong. capture, particularly in MP is most fun.

In Homeworld 1 they don’t auto target Salvage Corvettes unless they are the first thing they detect. In HW2 they have always auto targeted Capture Frigates.

Don’t usually bump, but it’s Monday and I’m very interested to hear any type of comment on this.

Playing devils advocate here but isn’t that what you as a player do too? I know I target marine frigates as a priority :stuck_out_tongue:

But yea maybe a point can be made to make the single player easier by having the ai play dumb and not target marine frigates as a priority although even then certain ships target certain ship classes as a priority regardless. I think if there was difficulty settings there would be more room to add things like this. I’m just concerned it would perhaps dumb down the enemy ai a tiny bit? Not sure how you feel about that?

I always figured you use marine frigates when you’ve cleared out all the enemy ships and have say, a lone destroyer left to capture. I’ve been able to do that easily enough.

As near as I can tell, capture units are the only ones singled out by the AI like this. As a player, I prioritize them just like every other unit: As Necessary. I certainly don’t pursue them to the exclusion of the other combat types that happen to be chewing on my other ship so they’re unopposed. This is a serious issue especially when my own forces will attempt to ignore my orders to chase capture craft when one gets near. I have had that happen as well. It’s unfortunate that it carried over into HWR.

Destroyers automatically go after frigates, both your own and the enemy since that’s the unit they are best against. Fighters go after fighters, pulsar corvettes go after corvettes while gunships go after fighter craft first, etc.

Until a capture unit enters their range. The way it is meant to be is what you’ve stated, not how it actually works in game. The game AI should never be able to override your orders regardless. Playing the game vs letting the game play itself?

I hate to disappoint you all but the AI does not single out capture craft. It has to do with priorities. Every class ship has priorities assigned to it. For instance, if a corvette of any kind wanders close to a assault frigate or flack frigate it will be prioritized because of its tuning. Nothing more, nothing less. There’s no way to single out a specific craft unless that craft has a unique class all to itself. HW1 Classic is the only exception. HW1C does have it hard coded and always has. I have played HW for 15 years. I’ve never had problems capturing what I wanted. You need diversionary tactics and good support.

Well, that’s one way to look at it, but having worked with and modded the game with much discussion over a large number of years as well, I can’t pretend the issue isn’t there. Very easy to mod targeting priorities to exclude one type of unit or another. Guess what? Capture craft are still prioritized to the extent of ignoring everything else no matter what you do. Hate to disappoint, but have done everything I could to change this including researching extensively over years before trying here since the IP is under new and apparently decent, caring management. The post would not have been made otherwise.

Are you suggesting that the game engine is hardcoded to give absolute attack priority against capture vessels?

I haven’t done too much modding, but I seemed to have eliminated this problem by simply redefining attack priorities to target things like missiles or some other craft… I didn’t do extensive testing on this, but it did seem to work. That was on the old HW2 engine. I can test my method again and let you know the results if you would like.

I’ve been playing HW since 1999 and been modding since 1999. I, along with my team mates, have turned this game upside down and inside out. HW1 “is” hard coded against salcapcorvettes yes. HW2 “is not”. All you’re seeing in HW2 is the priority for certain craft to destroy frigates. There’s absolutely no bias against marine frigates. I’ve ran this thing forwards and backwards and the AI doesn’t care whether it’s a flack frigate or a marine frigate or any other frigate. This is all the game sees.

NewShipType.fighterValue = 0
NewShipType.corvetteValue = 10
NewShipType.frigateValue = 0
NewShipType.neutralValue = 0
NewShipType.totalValue = 10
NewShipType.antiFighterValue = 7
NewShipType.antiCorvetteValue = 10
NewShipType.antiFrigateValue = 1

Ask the dev team to clear this up if there’s still doubt.

Herby, my understanding is that those values determine what the AI builds, not what it attacks. Attack priority as I understand it is determined by the accuracy family of the targets, according to the oder in the CanAttack ability. So for the hgn_destroyer…

addAbility(NewShipType, “CanAttack”, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0.35, 1.5, “Capturer, Frigate, SmallCapitalShip, BigCapitalShip, Mothership, Utility, Corvette, Fighter”, “BroadSide”, {Fighter = “MoveToTargetAndShoot”}, {Corvette = “MoveToTargetAndShoot”}, {Munition = “MoveToTargetAndShoot”}, {SubSystem = “BroadSideVsSubSystem”})

Capturers are targeted first, then frigates, then smallcaps, then bigcaps. Marine and infiltrators are in a class all to their own, and in stock are aggressively targeted as a result. If I remember correctly it’s on top of most of the attack lists.

If the AI is actually forced to attack any other way, that’s still news to me.

AAAHHHH!!! You’re absolutely correct! YES, CanAttack order determines the priorities. I’m completely wrong on that point. It’s been a while since I’ve tuned an attack order I lost my way. Thank you for correcting my blunder.

However, It’s not hard coded in HWll, or HWRM. Only in HW1C.

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Right. So by that logic simply changing the order in the ability line for CanAttack should prevent units from IGNORING YOUR ORDERS TO CARRY OUT THEIR OWN ATTACK PRIORITIES? Pure genius, can’t believe I never tried that in all this time…
BTW, never had any terrible issues with ignoring my orders in HW1 to hare off after salvagers. Only HW2, and HWR.
But hey, what do I know in the face of such expertise? Just like you I have been at both games for a very long time. I’ve tried everything I could find or been advised to. I’ve spent my time in discussion back on the Relic boards with this issue and what consensus was at the time was that HW2 was seriously biased against capture craft. Perhaps the people on the old boards were wrong, and perhaps I am wrong now. I don’t think so. Additionally “capturer” is not present in many “CanAttack” functions, nor when it is present is it always first in the list. This doesn’t seem to have effect on what you think it does.

Well, maybe a DEV will come in here and correct one of us… hopefully
If you’re still having issues with capture craft it could also be that the craft in question is either a frigate or a corvette on top of also being a salvager. So the priorities are double down.
Yes I caught the cynicism but that’s OK. I get that way myself from time to time. Anyway, I’m an old fart and I forget things :smile: