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So there are a couple of issues with Autotargeting I have noticed

1. The manual override does not seem to work, or the computer switches back. When I click on a target, it means I want my ship to fire on that target, not switch, no matter how close other targets may be. If I mess up a scenario by miss allocating targets, that's on me. But If I put my guns on target X it means I want my ship to shoot target X, period. I don't want them shifting to target y. I want to turn off auto targeting completely. Right now it feels like the only real control I have over combat in the game is building the ship. 

2. I have said this before in other posts, but the auto target priority is messed up. BBs fire main guns at other BBs, they do not fire main guns at DDs or CLs unless there are NO other target options. THE DD and CL are simple too fast for the BB mains to target effectively, this is the entire point of secondary batteries.  

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I can tell you are one of those people who need auto-targeting. Your ego aside, your computer knows your weapons better than you. #2 might be what you were taught at school, but the blunt truth is that DDs and CLs are not that much faster than a BB or BC. And while the secondaries only take nibbles out of destroyers, the mains annihilate them so if you are serious about taking out the destroyers you need to put your mains into the action. In fact, it is quite possible to work with a battleship with only mains, which also has hidden advantages like reducing Roll and Pitch, thus your more stable platform shoots better.

Think of it this way. Your captains just have initiative. And if you put your ego down for a moment, you might find that more often than not, they are shifting fire to the destroyers at about the right time, before you might consider doing so.

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The ad-hominem attack didn't really address the issue that the auto-targeting system takes away freedom from the player in a jarring manner. Manual targeting should not be overridden unless the target has sunk or is sinking.

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In my opinion, BBs secondary guns are very underwhelming against incoming DDs and CLs. While having them for sake of historical accuracy is nice, I think it's more practical to invest into armor/speed/almost anything else. 

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23 hours ago, arkhangelsk said:

I can tell you are one of those people who need auto-targeting. Your ego aside, your computer knows your weapons better than you. #2 might be what you were taught at school, but the blunt truth is that DDs and CLs are not that much faster than a BB or BC. And while the secondaries only take nibbles out of destroyers, the mains annihilate them so if you are serious about taking out the destroyers you need to put your mains into the action. In fact, it is quite possible to work with a battleship with only mains, which also has hidden advantages like reducing Roll and Pitch, thus your more stable platform shoots better.

Think of it this way. Your captains just have initiative. And if you put your ego down for a moment, you might find that more often than not, they are shifting fire to the destroyers at about the right time, before you might consider doing so.

There's something of a problem, however.

The game is based on you being the senior officer, be it of an individual ship, or a formation, or a whole fleet.

If I'm playing ONE ship, who exactly on board has the authority (or career suicidal tendency) to attempt to countermand MY orders?

It's generally not considered great design to tell players they can control something only to take it away from them. Allow the player to direct gunfire or don't.

I have asked more than once, and will continue to do so, for this annoying 'feature' to be altered.

Your uncharacteristically snide comments aside, I DO happen to know my weapons better than the AI does, especially when it comes to ammo choice (something at which the AI often sucks, frankly). If I've just told the ship to fire its main guns at a target other than the CL heading at me, THERE'S A REASON FOR IT. I just went through this in the other thread where this discussion was happening, so I'm not about to do it again.

So unless you're going to tell me that I too need auto targeting, can you explain why it's unreasonable for me to insist if I just allocated a target to my main guns I do NOT want them going through extra ladder aiming cycles to shoot something I do NOT want it shooting?

I am VERY particular when it comes to this stuff.

I do NOT play any battles with time compression, NONE.

I do NOT use formations, because the AI is bloody hopeless at manoeuvring.

I use Off/Save/Normal fire modes for all my weapons regularly, plus I change ammo types. It's also why I want ammo split between mains and secondary guns, as I get sick of having to keep switching between them when the AI wants to fire AP at something yet I want to use HE while the OTHER guns I want to use AP.

It's not a NEW request, I've made it myself a couple of times leading up to updates. Obviously I don't find it unreasonable, either.

Why the hostility?

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5 hours ago, roachbeef said:

The ad-hominem attack didn't really address the issue that the auto-targeting system takes away freedom from the player in a jarring manner. Manual targeting should not be overridden unless the target has sunk or is sinking.

OR perhaps you could get a request on screen.

"XYZ requesting permission to change target of main guns to ABC target"

Ideally it would be something we could configure with a few choices.

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4 hours ago, Shaftoe said:

In my opinion, BBs secondary guns are very underwhelming against incoming DDs and CLs. While having them for sake of historical accuracy is nice, I think it's more practical to invest into armor/speed/almost anything else. 

While CLs tend to tank a lot of shots, I think secondaries can be pretty powerful against DDs if you use 5" or above and RNG doesn't make them tank 5 8" shells because they hit non-vital areas and you have at least a 14-gun broadside and you have at least 2% chance to hit. I don't really mind the way the secondaries are currently balanced. However, I agree that they're not really worth the cost and weight atm. Once secondary fire can drive off enemy DD charges and crew experience is implemented (meaning we get higher ROF across the board), it'll be worth a lot more to have a few secondaries.

 

44 minutes ago, Steeltrap said:

I do NOT play any battles with time compression, NONE.

 

Mad respect to you. I personally can't wait for the devs to relax the time compression restrictions, because I tend to fail missions quite a few times and I don't have very long play sessions.

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1 hour ago, Steeltrap said:

The game is based on you being the senior officer, be it of an individual ship, or a formation, or a whole fleet.

If I'm playing ONE ship, who exactly on board has the authority (or career suicidal tendency) to attempt to countermand MY orders?

It's generally not considered great design to tell players they can control something only to take it away from them. Allow the player to direct gunfire or don't.

True, but its title is Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnoughts, not Ultimate Captain: Dreadnought. You can drive an individual ship (and a large percentage of the training missions make you do that), true, but the center of the intent is for you to drive at least a few ships at once. And ultimately, once you are NOT on the ship, what the ship targets is the choice of that ship's officers, not you.

Second, initiative is a good thing, because the officers on the flagship are not always right. And given the communications bandwidth common to most of that period, they are not going to check in with you. Remember when Hood and PoW started off targeting Prinz Eugen? According to you, everyone should just continue targeting Prinz Eugen even after they figured out which one was Bismarck, because Hood never figured it out until she was beautifully blown up.

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especially when it comes to ammo choice (something at which the AI often sucks, frankly)

As far as I know, the computer respects your choice of ammo should you give it, so that's not the issue today. To answer your other points here, would I like separate selections for Mains and Secondaries? Yes.

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If I've just told the ship to fire its main guns at a target other than the CL heading at me, THERE'S A REASON FOR IT.

Here's the thing. We are here to help debug the system, including of course the AI. A button to disable the automatic target shift system is an easy program module. It can be directly put in the commercial release. But right now, the AI's functioning has to be tested and its algorithms refined. We can't do that if everyone just clicks on "Disable Auto-Shift" out of instinctive hatred of being overridden, and that's why I get hostile to efforts to have it excised at this stage.

Second, taking your current complaint as an example, it is completely unhelpful to anyone trying to adjudicate the case, be it me or the devs. You didn't provide any information on say the positions of the other ships, so I don't have a clue as to why the computer might have made the choice. Nor do I have your reasoning as to why you want to keep guns on ... heck, I don't even know for sure if the "target" you want to keep the guns on is a BB! Maybe it is a CA or DD!

Maybe you are right. Maybe you have a point and so does the computer. Maybe it is all your ego. But I can't tell any of that because your complaint has no details!

Of course, the auto-shift is not perfect. But it doesn't have to be, nor can it realistically be. All it has to be is to give an "OK" decision more often than it doesn't. In my experience, it actually does that and I also know the instinctive frustration when your target selection was shifted regardless of the merits of the shift. So I tend to give it more benefit of the doubt than the human complainer, at least when he provides no real details of his unfortunate encounter. Or gives extremely primitive reasoning such as "Mains are for shooting at BBs thus I don't want the shooting at DDs." because more often than not by the time the computer auto-shifts to the DDs, the BB has already taken a few good hits reducing its efficiency and it is time to really think about the destroyers if you don't want to be torpedoed.

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7 hours ago, roachbeef said:

The ad-hominem attack didn't really address the issue that the auto-targeting system takes away freedom from the player in a jarring manner. Manual targeting should not be overridden unless the target has sunk or is sinking.

The computer won't let me append this, so a new post.

I meant to give an honest appraisal of his ability (albeit, based on the little bit he demonstrated when writing the post), rather than ad hominem. His reasoning was based on abstract generalities, rather than the concrete circumstances of his case.

On the other points, I can get the initial frustration when your target selection is overriden. On the other hand, before just reversing it in frustration and whining about how you have to re-establish the lock, I see it as a good chance for a rethink. Maybe it is really time to quickly go after some of the closing destroyers rather than continuing to fire away into the battleship's red compartments. I keep remembering that time when I overrode the decision to shift to destroyers. About five minutes later, seeing little additional decrease to the battleship's health. I ... clicked on the destroyers...

And as I've said above, if you are really to make a useful complaint, you need to give a little more detail. For example, once I had a complaint (back in Alpha 2) when my battleship alternated constantly between two cruisers. I notated that there wasn't much to choose from between the two cruisers - they were the same class, at about the same range with about the same hit probability. This kind of detail helps the devs fix the problem - the target selection is clearly oversensitive to little continuous changes, so the algorithm was tuned and I don't see this problem again.

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36 minutes ago, arkhangelsk said:

Second, taking your current complaint as an example, it is completely unhelpful to anyone trying to adjudicate the case, be it me or the devs. You didn't provide any information on say the positions of the other ships, so I don't have a clue as to why the computer might have made the choice. Nor do I have your reasoning as to why you want to keep guns on ... heck, I don't even know for sure if the "target" you want to keep the guns on is a BB! Maybe it is a CA or DD!

Maybe you are right. Maybe you have a point and so does the computer. Maybe it is all your ego. But I can't tell any of that because your complaint has no details!

Details? Per this reference:

2 hours ago, Steeltrap said:

I just went through this in the other thread where this discussion was happening, so I'm not about to do it again.

You seem to have some issue around "ego". Not sure what that's about, but whatever.

Otherwise? You seem to be in a particularly irksome mood today. You could have expressed all your concerns over some of us voicing things you believe to threaten the integrity of the testing without any of the attitude, even posing them as questions etc. Yet you seem to want to beat people over the head.

No idea why, but I'm going to leave things as they are as I don't see it helping anything, nor do I want to act similarly (if I've not already).

Cheers

Edited by Steeltrap
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Id rather not have auto target too be honest, or at least make it toggable, have lost games because the AI decides to give me the finger and fire on ships that aren't relevant or as important as the current ship im trying to kill (heaviest, most damaged, most dangerous and flexibile etc).

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They can hardly get rid of it.

Issues of style aside, lol, I appreciate the points made by @arkhangelsk about the issues faced by the devs when it comes to how the game plays under all sorts of conditions, such as many ships, or for those using time compression, or indeed any who simply wish to focus on manoeuvring their ships in combat while the command staff of those ships react as they see fit IF the grounds for doing so seem to justify it.

I suspect we all agree on that in principle.

The issue seems to be in the details, as is always the case, and getting a system that's "perfect" is nigh impossible. 

Just consider what might happen if the devs decided to start providing scenarios where battle has already been joined (as opposed to the initial "enemy/smoke spotted" we have now) and players are asked to take command, the purpose of which is to see "what would you do now?". I can imagine there may be all sorts of answers, with each individual being happy with their choice and with reasons as to why.

How ought an AI system choose between those options? What factors must it consider and in what order with what weighting afforded to each?

Not easy, not easy at all.

Edited by Steeltrap
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Your understanding is much appreciated, @Steeltrap

As far as this issue is concerned, I've given it a little bit more thought. Maybe what is needed is a little bit of advance warning. Now, I don't think the "request permission" is a good idea because:

1) While it might be plausible on the flagship, if any ship other than the ship you are on shifts target, realistically you won't be notified.

2) If such a warning is implemented on the little report screen on the bottom left, the next thing that would happen would be the torpedo warning as in "I did not see it".

Since the AI presumably uses an evaluative function (kind of like AI chess) to determine whether to shift targets or not, it can display calculated values between the "desirability" of the current target and the first alternate target. As a destroyer gets closer, we will be able to see the evaluation for the destroyer go up. When it exceeds the value for the battleship we are hitting, the target will switch.

For where we can put it, I notice there is still the lower right side of the screen that's left unused. The bit of space just below the enemy ship icons is another good location. There might even be a popup that shows more details of the factors that went into the evaluation (what's the point of being shy about factors when a torrent of them fills our left-side screen).

This way, we can be gently reminded about the possibility of attacking other things and perhaps select them ourselves before the evaluative function does, thus making us feel like we are in control.

If we don't want such a thing to happen, we can manually insert "bias" into the algorithm by pre-emptively clicking on the battleship again. By quintuple clicking it, you can bias the equation so much you will be locked, but at least you can still monitor the work of the algorithm. We might even be able to write useful feedback like "Nick, this is my situation last night, and I really think the computer overestimated the threat from the destroyers because of X and Y."

Second, we can reduce the annoyance by slightly changing the mechanization so the player gets an chance to Undo - as long as he reselects his original target within a certain time, he doesn't lose the Lock. That should make this significantly less painful.

Do you think these ideas would be hard to implement?

Edited by arkhangelsk
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Maybe we could have captains with different personality traits, some are a bit more intuitive or less prone to following orders to the T while some are very by the book (so whatever you select to target they will), plus factor in some tech problems at the time and so on and so forth, so not only do captains have personalities and traits but also learn what to target (or not to leave it to your judgement) as they engage in more and more battles.

Its basically how you present information, if you have it as numbers and symbols people will get angry quick, if its in the form of art, words and also animations then people can understand better especially if the information is humanised which makes it more personal in a way and you get to kinda relate to the captain as well (or other senior officers).

That would be a cool idea actually.

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On 4/15/2020 at 12:46 AM, arkhangelsk said:

For where we can put it, I notice there is still the lower right side of the screen that's left unused. The bit of space just below the enemy ship icons is another good location. There might even be a popup that shows more details of the factors that went into the evaluation (what's the point of being shy about factors when a torrent of them fills our left-side screen).

This way, we can be gently reminded about the possibility of attacking other things and perhaps select them ourselves before the evaluative function does, thus making us feel like we are in control.

If we don't want such a thing to happen, we can manually insert "bias" into the algorithm by pre-emptively clicking on the battleship again. By quintuple clicking it, you can bias the equation so much you will be locked, but at least you can still monitor the work of the algorithm. We might even be able to write useful feedback like "Nick, this is my situation last night, and I really think the computer overestimated the threat from the destroyers because of X and Y."

Second, we can reduce the annoyance by slightly changing the mechanization so the player gets an chance to Undo - as long as he reselects his original target within a certain time, he doesn't lose the Lock. That should make this significantly less painful.

Do you think these ideas would be hard to implement?

I think this is a more thoroughly fleshed out solution that serves the same purpose as the 'warning' we were discussing, in a different and far better way.

While I don't know how much programming would go into it (as you said, these calculations must be going on behind the scenes anyway), I think it would be a good step between a crude 'on/off' for auto-target (which would introduce its own issues) and leaving things as they are.

One problem that will need altering is that even if you target a ship on which you are already locked, YOU LOSE LOCK. That happens now. Even in a 1 v 1 with main and secondary guns locked, if you right click on the enemy as though to target it YOU LOSE ALL LOCK BENEFITS and the system reverts to being exactly the same as though you've never fired at it.

On 4/15/2020 at 4:24 AM, Cptbarney said:

Maybe we could have captains with different personality traits, some are a bit more intuitive or less prone to following orders to the T while some are very by the book (so whatever you select to target they will), plus factor in some tech problems at the time and so on and so forth, so not only do captains have personalities and traits but also learn what to target (or not to leave it to your judgement) as they engage in more and more battles

Personally, NO WAY. Apart from it being yet MASSIVELY more complexity to be programmed and managed (you're more or less calling on Nick to add another layer to the AI, then allow the player to be able to see 'what sort' of captain a ship has, and then presumably allow the player to manage them etc etc), it's adding MORE uncertainty and complexity.

Besides which, it's very much arguably the case that inter-war officers who were mavericks/independently minded generally didn't GET to the rank of Cdr or Capt, let alone flag ranks. Navies in particular were known largely to be highly conservative institutions the world over. That produced its own issues as it turned out that form of highly conservative and conformist institutional 'culture' wasn't great at producing officers good at handling the often fluid and uncertain nature of combat; USN submarine skippers were a classic illustration of that, perhaps because a sub skipper arguably NEEDS to be independent and flexible more than any other naval command position. Regardless, however, to the best of my knowledge officers with a tendency to 'creatively interpret'/ignore their seniors' orders didn't rise through the ranks.

Cheers

Edited by Steeltrap
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