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ICE_MAN

Convoy System - the end to inane NPCs?

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What do you guys think?

 

If you combine your suggestion with ICE's idea, it essentially adds the element of saving another guild's convoy.  Could be how alliances are formed in the game.  It makes your actions more relevant in the open world.  Well done, Blackwell.  You get what we're suggesting here.

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This may put too larger a strain on Game Labs AI. I dont really have an answer, but I do have an idea about player initiated convoys.

 

Lets say I'm a privateer, and I'm hired by a player to escort three AI convoy ships from Gibraltar to Yarmouth. On route, My convoy and I happen across a Spanish privateer, out looking for a bit of easy game. We are caught up to and enter the battle instance. Heres my idea... Instead of all four ships fighting the one privateer, how about the three AI do as they would in real life, and make all sail to try and escape, leaving the task of defence to me, their escort. If I the privateer hold of the attacker, and the convoy manages to get x distance away from him, they leave the instance and continue making sail on the open sea. Lets say I defeat the Spaniard, but he flees. We are kicked from the instance, and I am left to rejoin my convoy. While I was busy with the Spaniard, my convoy was escaping on the open sea and was at risk of being attacked by a second ship. If this happens, and the convoy is caught without it's escort, the three ships turn to defend themselves. As I am on my way back from my engagement with the Spaniard, I happen across the gateway into that exact instance. Because I am the convoy's escort, I may freely enter. Once I do, I can join my convoy in fending off this new enemy, or I can order my convoy to retreat and let me take care of it alone. What do you guys think?

This sounds like a great idea, an escort keeping a raider at bay long enough for the convoy to escape very thematic and there are a  number of historical examples of just this happening.

 

The NPC escort would have to be strong enough to effectively fight off the raider.

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This sounds like a great idea, an escort keeping a raider at bay long enough for the convoy to escape very thematic and there are a  number of historical examples of just this happening.

 

The NPC escort would have to be strong enough to effectively fight off the raider.

 

I don't think NPC escorts should be implemented, and here's my reasoning. If a new captain wants to transport cargo, but he is skilled in combat, he can hire an NPC trader or a player to cart it for him, while he acts as escort. If a player wants to move cargo, but he is skilled in trade, he can hire a privateer to escort him, or go it alone. If a player is busy (or rich) he can hire NPC's to cart his goods, and player privateers to protect them for him. This gives people a reason to be privateers, rather then just traders, merchants, or navy. Privateers will have a very important role to play in game because of it.

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I don't think NPC escorts should be implemented, and here's my reasoning. If a new captain wants to transport cargo, but he is skilled in combat, he can hire an NPC trader or a player to cart it for him, while he acts as escort. If a player wants to move cargo, but he is skilled in trade, he can hire a privateer to escort him, or go it alone. If a player is busy (or rich) he can hire NPC's to cart his goods, and player privateers to protect them for him. This gives people a reason to be privateers, rather then just traders, merchants, or navy. Privateers will have a very important role to play in game because of it.

ahh I see where you are going with this and I still say it is a good idea :).

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I don't think NPC escorts should be implemented, and here's my reasoning. If a new captain wants to transport cargo, but he is skilled in combat, he can hire an NPC trader or a player to cart it for him, while he acts as escort. If a player wants to move cargo, but he is skilled in trade, he can hire a privateer to escort him, or go it alone. If a player is busy (or rich) he can hire NPC's to cart his goods, and player privateers to protect them for him. This gives people a reason to be privateers, rather then just traders, merchants, or navy. Privateers will have a very important role to play in game because of it.

 

That is a very interesting idea... I like the direct player involvement, couple of questions:

 

What happens if you are trying to get stuff hauled to 10-15 different destinations at the same time in the middle of the night with low pop and thus noone is willing to escort?

 

If all escorts are now players, given that we have (near-)eliminated all inane wandering NPCs, would that not force every battle to be either against unescorted convoys (possibly too easy) or against player-escorted convoys (PvE players would not like this)?

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That is simply not true.

Take this example from http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/revolution/revwar-75.htm

"June-July, 1776 - A massive British war fleet arrives in New York Harbor consisting of 30 battleships with 1200 cannon, 30,000 soldiers, 10,000 sailors, and 300 supply ships, under the command of General William Howe and his brother Admiral Lord Richard Howe."

 

To say that seafaring in the age we are discussing in relation to Naval Action was a random affair is about the most far fetched fairy tale I have ever heard. The logistical and planning challenge of getting a fleet of 300+ ships to arrive at the same time at the same place during a war is about as far from randomness as is humanly possible.

That's not actually at all related to my point. I specifically said 'seafaring,' in relation to the sorts of vessels you would meet on a typical voyage. That has nothing to do with the careful planning that takes place ON LAND, months before hand.

 

However, to engage with your example, once the convoy puts to sea, any and all plans can be rendered useless by a freak of the weather. If the convoy wants to meet with more escorts, they could miss them in a fog. The escorts could have been sunk by a hurricane a month ago, with no one the wiser. A fleet seeking to intercept them would do so with all their cunning and knowledge of navigation, but the factor of chance rules all others. Howe himself could have very easily caught a fever and died on the crossing. Contrary winds could have delayed the arrival a month and it would not be considered unusual. Also, did the fleet arrive all at once, or scattered over the period mentioned? Wouldn't it be embarassing if the transports arrived before the full force of lineships and were scattered by opposing naval forces (not possible in the given scenario, but this was raised as a hypothetical example).

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That is a very interesting idea... I like the direct player involvement, couple of questions:

 

What happens if you are trying to get stuff hauled to 10-15 different destinations at the same time in the middle of the night with low pop and thus noone is willing to escort?

 

If all escorts are now players, given that we have (near-)eliminated all inane wandering NPCs, would that not force every battle to be either against unescorted convoys (possibly too easy) or against player-escorted convoys (PvE players would not like this)?

 

For your first question, I think there should be a limit to how many NPC ships you can hire. This limit can be raised by training up your captains skills at bookkeeping or the like. That said I think it should be down to the player as to how much of a risk he is willing to take. If he is on at a low population time, then perhaps it is in his best interest to only send convoys to 3-4 destinations each with an escort. Otherwise perhaps some form of 'notice board' can be implemented, much like the freight contracts in EVE. For those who don't know what I mean, a player can create a cargo contract that other players can accept to transport. Once the contract is completed, that captain is automatically paid his fee. The same could be applied here. A captain creates a notice looking for an escort(s) that a privateer can accept. This way the captain does not have to be online in order for his goods to be shipped, or the privateer to receive his fee.

 

As for your second question, I'm going to refrain from answering fully, as the question of 'do we or do we not completely eliminate all inane NPC's' is yet to be decided. I will however say that I personally believe that different levels of NPC's; be it privateers on a cruise, or traders going about set routes- should be in game. If nothing else, they provide new players something to cut their teeth on, and PVEers something to do aside from missions. It also makes for more targets on the open sea allowing escorted convoys a greater chance of making their destination without hindrance.

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Lets say I'm a privateer, and I'm hired by a player to escort three AI convoy ships from Gibraltar to Yarmouth. On route, My convoy and I happen across a Spanish privateer, out looking for a bit of easy game. We are caught up to and enter the battle instance. Heres my idea... Instead of all four ships fighting the one privateer, how about the three AI do as they would in real life, and make all sail to try and escape, leaving the task of defence to me, their escort. If I the privateer hold of the attacker, and the convoy manages to get x distance away from him, they leave the instance and continue making sail on the open sea. Lets say I defeat the Spaniard, but he flees. We are kicked from the instance, and I am left to rejoin my convoy. While I was busy with the Spaniard, my convoy was escaping on the open sea and was at risk of being attacked by a second ship. If this happens, and the convoy is caught without it's escort, the three ships turn to defend themselves. As I am on my way back from my engagement with the Spaniard, I happen across the gateway into that exact instance. Because I am the convoy's escort, I may freely enter. Once I do, I can join my convoy in fending off this new enemy, or I can order my convoy to retreat and let me take care of it alone. What do you guys think?

 

I very much like this idea. It would not only make for the beginnings of a very interesting diplomacy mechanic, but also provide a lot of interesting situations for a roaming wolf pack. To my mind, this kind of thing depends largely on whether we're looking at 'true' open world or an instance based one. I think the idea would work either way, but would work very differently and have implications for both scenarios.

 

If you combine your suggestion with ICE's idea, it essentially adds the element of saving another guild's convoy.  Could be how alliances are formed in the game.  It makes your actions more relevant in the open world.  Well done, Blackwell.  You get what we're suggesting here.

 

Combining the two ideas would make for an excellent game mechanic imo. You'd have plenty of NPCs on the sea for the PvE players to attack / grind. Each NPC having a 'role' or set behaviors (hauling set goods between ports for example) means that an intelligent player would be able to predict where NPCs are likely to gather, and where to find NPCs carrying certain goods. That said, they would of course run the risk that an intelligent pirate / privateer might anticipate that and hunt those waters. Thus, it caters to both PvE and PvP focused players.

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[...] Player's convoying their goods can't recreate the entire maritime economy of the Age of Sail, nor even 5% of it.

[...].

 

I have do disagree. If you have played PotBS you should have been aware of the huge british economy, specially the economy groups managed by some specific players. The hauling these players had to do was immense.... roughly 2-3h each day (7/7) with at least 8 players. At high times the biggest economic group was able to produce about 1,5 first rates / day. The whole british economy was capable to produce close to 3 first rates / day (not counting the players who were not organised). And that was only one nation out of 4. As my information were correct, the French were capable to produce at least 1 first rate a day. No info from the spanish and the rats.

 

So if you are looking at the huge ammount of goods that the players were producing it would just make sense to use NPC ships, sent out by PPL, to do all the hauling. Depending on the limitations of cargo space of NPC ships you will have a huge ammount of NPC ships all around the world.

 

Besides the economy, that PPL are running to produce their own goods / ships / weapson, it migh be a good idea that cities are consuming goods too. These good must be produced by PPL and delivered. And again there will be even more NPC ships.

 

Brog.

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The hauling these players had to do was immense.... roughly 2-3h each day (7/7) with at least 8 players. At high times the biggest economic group was able to produce about 1,5 first rates / day. The whole british economy was capable to produce close to 3 first rates / day (not counting the players who were not organised). And that was only one nation out of 4. As my information were correct, the French were capable to produce at least 1 first rate a day. No info from the spanish and the rats.

So building a first-rate in a day is a positive example? In the Carribean? Also, the time scale in sort of meaningless, so I guess I shouldn't really even mention it.

 

But that's not the point. The OP envisions no NPC ships outside player-organized convoys, which would realitically consitute a tiny percentage of all seagoing (not to mention coastal) vessels. Convoys are great, but this whole idea of 'inane' NPCs is a non-starter, which would deprive the game of most of the necessary atmosphere, realism and balance of the gameworld.

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Depending on the limitations of cargo space of NPC ships you will have a huge ammount of NPC ships all around the world.

The thing is, there where indeed an awfull lot of small vessels sailing the European waters. I don't have numbers at hand, save for one: the (Haring) Buis (Herring Buss in English). The Dutch operated a very large herring fleet, mostly consisting of Buisen. An estimate made in 1600 was that out of all the ships in the herring fleet, 1000 to 1500 of them where Buisen.

 

And this was just one type of fishing vessel, from just one nation...

 

~Brigand

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I have do disagree. If you have played PotBS you should have been aware of the huge british economy, specially the economy groups managed by some specific players. The hauling these players had to do was immense.... roughly 2-3h each day (7/7) with at least 8 players. At high times the biggest economic group was able to produce about 1,5 first rates / day. The whole british economy was capable to produce close to 3 first rates / day (not counting the players who were not organised). And that was only one nation out of 4. As my information were correct, the French were capable to produce at least 1 first rate a day. No info from the spanish and the rats.

 

So if you are looking at the huge ammount of goods that the players were producing it would just make sense to use NPC ships, sent out by PPL, to do all the hauling. Depending on the limitations of cargo space of NPC ships you will have a huge ammount of NPC ships all around the world.

 

Besides the economy, that PPL are running to produce their own goods / ships / weapson, it migh be a good idea that cities are consuming goods too. These good must be produced by PPL and delivered. And again there will be even more NPC ships.

 

Brog.

 

Yes, there where all those players doing all this hauling, but ask yourself this: how often did you pass them on the open sea map? Would you really want a game where that was the only ships you would encounter?

 

The point you are all dancing around is the desire for every ship to have a purpose. This is definetly doable (star citizen), but the question is do the devs have the resources and/or intention to make a system like this.

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In response to Brigand: Yup, still over my daily quota.

 

Massive +1. 

 

Just one contributor to one fleet for one fishery of one nation. My detailed knowledge really starts around 1850 with the development of the sailing trawler, one of sailing's most successful designs, but I can happily say that this vessel developed gradually from equally extensive fishing fleets as those fielded by the Dutch. We're talking hundreds of vessels per Port of Registry, and dozens-scores more from every safe (ish!) beach, bay and cove right round every coast. 

 

Same sorts of numbers again for merchant shipping, and we're not just talking square rigged colliers and merchant schooners. Barges that varied estuary to estuary, keels, wherries, lighters, punts... 

 

I'd really take my hat off to any game that is able to represent the sheer weight of shipping, the logistics and manpower involved, in the 'age of sail' (a silly name I dislike, but it has it's uses!).

 

Baggy

 

EDIT: Rudi, didn't see your post as I was typing this, but you've hit the nail on the head with the issue itself. Some interesting ideas about solutions have come up though, which is surely the point of this section of the forum :)

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So building a first-rate in a day is a positive example? In the Carribean? Also, the time scale in sort of meaningless, so I guess I shouldn't really even mention it.

 

But that's not the point. The OP envisions no NPC ships outside player-organized convoys, which would realitically consitute a tiny percentage of all seagoing (not to mention coastal) vessels. Convoys are great, but this whole idea of 'inane' NPCs is a non-starter, which would deprive the game of most of the necessary atmosphere, realism and balance of the gameworld.

 

You didnt get the point. I explained how big the british player based economy was, just to show you that your statement, the players wont be able to bring up a huge economy, wich might be neccessary to send out NPC ships, is completly wrong.

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Yes, there where all those players doing all this hauling, but ask yourself this: how often did you pass them on the open sea map? Would you really want a game where that was the only ships you would encounter?

 

The point you are all dancing around is the desire for every ship to have a purpose. This is definetly doable (star citizen), but the question is do the devs have the resources and/or intention to make a system like this.

 

Devs will have to code a spawn script for NPCs anyway. In addition the only thing you will need is to code a trigger event (spawn fleet at %cityA with %cargoY going to %cityB). A PPL can now add the vars within the UI of the game and pull the trigger by clicking a button. Should not be that hard, but well.... I am not a coder :D

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I like the Star Citizen idea for an economy.  Ships will be carrying needed resources to the various production nodes.   If players don't do it then NPC's will take the jobs.

   

https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/engineering/13128-The-Star-Citizen-Economy

 

It would be nice to know, if I sunk a British ship, it actually hurt their war effort.   

 

 

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You didnt get the point. I explained how big the british player based economy was, just to show you that your statement, the players wont be able to bring up a huge economy, wich might be neccessary to send out NPC ships, is completly wrong.

Read more carefully.

 

MMOs can definitely make some sort of fantasy world economy that revolves around conjuring battleships from nothing in the middle of the wilderness. But it's not going to recreate the economy of the Atlantic in the Age of Sail. Again, no one is responding to the actual OP, which suggests doing away with independent NPCs altogether.

 

And really, guys, are you expecting this game to get even half as big as POTBs, itself always a rather depopulated MMO? The team is tiny, the budget can't be much bigger. We're not going to see grand strategy on a global, with the entire economy and war effort simulated in minute detail. I'm hoping for Mount&Blade at Sea, at the most.

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Read more carefully.

 

MMOs can definitely make some sort of fantasy world economy that revolves around conjuring battleships from nothing in the middle of the wilderness. But it's not going to recreate the economy of the Atlantic in the Age of Sail. Again, no one is responding to the actual OP, which suggests doing away with independent NPCs altogether.

 

And really, guys, are you expecting this game to get even half as big as POTBs, itself always a rather depopulated MMO? The team is tiny, the budget can't be much bigger. We're not going to see grand strategy on a global, with the entire economy and war effort simulated in minute detail. I'm hoping for Mount&Blade at Sea, at the most.

 

Kind of a buzz kill attitude if you ask me. Things are on the small scale now sure, but I personally think thats a good thing. It gives the developers time to focus on the little details without a huge player base making constant demands of them. A strong foundation and what-not. We have a unique opportunity here to help in the development of the game. I for one; and I know a lot of others here- are trying to use that opportunity to help make this game the best possible game it can be with the resources available. As the development team grows, so shall the game and the player base. Dont be disheartened by humble beginnings. Plenty of very successful games have started out this way.

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 Again, no one is responding to the actual OP, which suggests doing away with independent NPCs altogether.

 

WRONG.

Read the OP and my following posts again, I specifically call out ambient type NPC's which are not player-created, ie independent - my only condition is that they have a purpose and a logical reason to be where they are.

On top of this, the NPC privateers preying on trade routes are independent, but with a purpose.

And players preying on a nation's trade routes should start spawning anti-piracy flotillas, again independent with a purpose.

 

And really, guys, are you expecting this game to get even half as big as POTBs, itself always a rather depopulated MMO? The team is tiny, the budget can't be much bigger. We're not going to see grand strategy on a global, with the entire economy and war effort simulated in minute detail. I'm hoping for Mount&Blade at Sea, at the most.

WRONG AGAIN.

Eve is 500K+ subscriptions with a positive trend, been going for 10 years, and was started in a similar way as Naval Action.

http://mmodata.net/

 

You know, facts are so inconvenient.

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WRONG.

Read the OP and my following posts again, I specifically call out ambient type NPC's which are not player-created, ie independent - my only condition is that they have a purpose and a logical reason to be where they are.

On top of this, the NPC privateers preying on trade routes are independent, but with a purpose.

And players preying on a nation's trade routes should start spawning anti-piracy flotillas, again independent with a purpose.

Then we're back to the first page, where I showed your idea of logic and purpose to be a historical anachronism.

 

Convoys (which in-game would really be just a handful of ships) were not the norm, even during wartime. Privateers and pirates did not often hunt convoys, because convoys were well-protected (no surprises there). No, instead they just wandered around the sealanes, keeping an eye out for any and every sail, and investigating them in turn. To the outside observer, this is random, "inane" behavior, and that is why your concerns are unfounded.

 

It's also a bad idea on the very basic level, because it means the world revolves entirely around the players. If they stop shipping goods, the entire oceans empties out.

 

Whats more, if the map is the English Channel, that means that 95% of the global economy is literally inaccessible to the player. We aren't going to run the China tea trade by ourselves. How are player-run convoys supposed to recreate the entirety of globalized shipping and commerce?

 

It's just an unrealistic mechanic, extremely difficult to implement, that seeks to solve a non-existant problem.

 

 

 

You know, facts are so inconvenient.

Then maybe try posting one? I clicked your link, but didn't see anything about how the EVE team had 5 developers and no publisher.

 

 

 

Dont be disheartened by humble beginnings. Plenty of very successful games have started out this way.

I'm not disheartened in the least. I am moderating my expectations and am very optimistic, on the whole. From my perspective, lots of people on these forums are throwing themselves into the giddy whirlpool of feature creep before the devs even want to think about anything beyond pre-alpha.

 

Mount&Blade is a very good rolemodel here. It's a non-Western indie started by a tiny team which became wildly popular and esteemed by fans, without ever becoming bloated or misdirected.

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So the number of EVE subscribers started at zero, and increased from there. I'm really struggling to see the meaning here.

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One of the best sailing games ever made, most engaging and immersive, with great longevity, was without a doubt Sid Meier's Pirates!

 

This game, although single player (imagine this is multiplayer? or MMO?!), had a great deal of immersiveness, and one thing to point out is the behaviour of the NPC's:

1) All trading vessels have a point of origin and a destination - they even tell you with a bit of text on the open sea

2) The privateers and raider vessels attack traders, ports, you, etc.

3) When an area is threatened, traders start having escorts

4) When a nation is under attack by pirates it sends out warships to hunt them

 

I recorded a brief video of it:

http://youtu.be/KKpzADJL4_4

 

Anyway, hope you enjoy the video - I'm going to be playing this for the rest of the day!

 

PS

Imagine Naval Action to be like Pirates!, but as an MMO, with an elaborated crafting/trading/convoy mechanic, and far better sea combat mechanics...

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Yeah, definitely better combat mechanics. I remember one brilliant player complaining about how POTBS deprived him of his winning tactic from Sid Meiers....

 

 

....presenting his stern to the enemy so all the shots miss.

 

lol.

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Yeah, definitely better combat mechanics. I remember one brilliant player complaining about how POTBS deprived him of his winning tactic from Sid Meiers....

 

 

....presenting his stern to the enemy so all the shots miss.

 

lol.

you really are just a forum troll, you misrepresent his argument again. the video is a show piece of how npcs could work in this game how they could be scripted to do more than aimlessly mill about.You have gone so far off topic now trolling about combat mechanics rather than anything remotly to do with the thread.

 

you sir are just a troll now away with you back under your bridge you deserve no more feeding.

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