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How to make Drones part off the gameplay

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Drones and Gameplay

 

Yes drones probably one of the most discussed topic with a lot dreams.

I've been thinking a lot about how those things could be integrated in a sandbox game for a longtime now not just with Dual Universe.

 

I want drones which are in theory capable of everything the player is able to do with his equipment. (DU equivalent: his constructs)

It would be up to the programming skills of the smart people to develop good software which would also be a good trading good.

Awesome AI software + awesome construct = awesome drone

"But with great power comes great responsibility"

The problem with that is it will be most likely abused very quickly with some kind of replicator device and an army of drones steam rolling anything that is in the way.

(And yes, I'm guilty I did this many times where I was able to do so)

But since you are not alone in the universe that is not an option,

they have to be nerfed in a way that doesn't cut the capability of them

but also clearly restricts usage to prevent such SkyNet scenarios.

 

I first thought about really complicated stuff that needs a very high level of knowledge and skills like (and dev time):

Building up complicated rule sets in order to use them, the need for communication devices with limited range and a max number of drones

or a master drone controller with "CPU" cycles that get used up by the various functions performed.

(The CPU cycle thing is fun so, I had competitions with my nerd friends who could build the most efficient program)

But all those have flaws and turn players off who don't want to dedicate much time to this topic.

 

Drones should be a essential part of the gameplay and not just for the 10% who are able to grapst the topic.

Things like summon your ship would be a drone activity, any construct performing a advanced series of maneuvers with a given task would be a drone.

This kind of automation needs to be accessible to everyone either by hard work or buying it from the marked.

Besides that, providing means for ingame automation makes third party bot software less viable.

 

Then it hit me, how to prevent SkyNet and make drones a very good gameplay element in DU.

DU already has some very unique and great abilities such as the rights and duty management system.

 

So how about you need a licenses in order to use a drone.

A license could be bought at the ark ship or a skill learned overtime but they are finite for example you can own only 5 per player.

Those license must be assigned to a construct core in order for it to function as a drone.

 

A little scenario

Now I'm a big company with a giant mining site (claimed territory) and doing everything per hand is stupid,

I WANT DRONES TO DOOO THAT.....

 

So how do I get to use many drones there?

That is where the rights and duty management comes in as a organisation you can claim a number of drone licenses form you members.

However it is up to them to give them to you they could keep or trade them in the market if you don't offer enough in return.

(And you could decline them membership for that but that is up to you)

With the ability to sublicense you can make a small income and miss a drone or you could control more drones at once.

 

The next problem pops up

Ok now I have 15 drone licenses and all are used in the mining site for bots and somebody attacks.

There are 5 additional fighter drones stationed at the side, so in order to defend it you need to dynamically reassign the license

and risk 5 mining bots falling out of the sky or you could rent 5 additional licenses from a market place.

 

This is in my opinion a very balanced solution which allows big empires to have a drone police to provide security,

big companies with automated equipment to do work and the average Joe a relieve from resource grinding.

 

P.S. it is 03:43 AM and I tired so for any mistakes: finders keepers :-P

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Where is a drone different from a ship with lots of control support?

The dev example included an automatic balancing script for atmospheric/gravity influenced flight.

So computerised thruster control cant be the differentiation.

Where ends support/controlling and where does independence begin?

 

So what would be the differentiation between a drone and anything else?

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I declare Independence of a construct when it is handled as a "player controlled one" and stays loaded even if no player around.

That is one of the reasons why drones are so dangerous from a performances point they need to be a agent that can modify the environment without a player around.

 

Usually a section of the world where no one is around won't have any computational load because it is dormant data until it is loaded into the RAM when a player arrives.

But in order for a drone to do stuff it needs to be loaded permanently since it acts as a virtual player.

 

It would suck if you go offline and you drones freeze in time after you disconnected.

You won't be happy with that since the whole point is automation to archive stuff without you and your intervention.

 

Think about a unmanned transport that you send to the moon as soon it leaves the loaded bubble it would just be stuck there and never reaches its destination.

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Having drones stay alive when the player is logged out will cause a lot of stress on the servers. It will keep parts of planets, or even whole planets loaded when no players are around.

 

Think of it in terms of Minecraft, how laggy the server gets with (for example) chunk loaders keeping a 1000 chunks loaded with "machines" working with no one online. Unneeded stress on the server.

 

In the same scenario with DU, what's stopping me (and others) from making a 1000 drones to mine a planet dry and me not logging in for say 7days? It's adding a lot of stress on the server and it's sort of cheating.

 

The people that can create the complex drones to do this would be instantly rich and unbalance the economy instantly.

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I declare Independence of a construct when it is handled as a "player controlled one" and stays loaded even if no player around.

That is one of the reasons why drones are so dangerous from a performances point they need to be a agent that can modify the environment without a player around.

 

Usually a section of the world where no one is around won't have any computational load because it is dormant data until it is loaded into the RAM when a player arrives.

But in order for a drone to do stuff it needs to be loaded permanently since it acts as a virtual player.

 

It would suck if you go offline and you drones freeze in time after you disconnected.

You won't be happy with that since the whole point is automation to archive stuff without you and your intervention.

 

Think about a unmanned transport that you send to the moon as soon it leaves the loaded bubble it would just be stuck there and never reaches its destination.

Good luck with keeping corps from using drone swarms.

If all thats required to keep it from needing a drone license is the presence of a player nearby.

Lone players building von neumann swams is a smaller problem than corps building them.

They have the manpower and programmers available to build replicators and to keep them running with or without player presence requirement.

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Yes I know how annoying it is to deal with mine craft chunks but mine craft is every inefficient in a lot of ways.

I have far more then just basic knowledge and experience with that game.

 

DU is a completely different story I don't see a big problem with the performance since it is there anyway. It has to be otherwise the whole MMO idea won't work.

 

And yes corps building them would be a massive force to be reckon with but that is the point. However they will quickly reach a point where they can't afford new drones.

Right now there is nothing but I believe that it won't take long for the first bigger "Organisations" to establish a rudimentary government and quickly regulate drone usage on their own.

Having a drone license is something you need to work for so you won't carelessly give it away.

 

To keep it real here, I see DU more as a giant social experiment and the whole idea behind it is that it is a self governed community.

There will be rich people, poor people, bad people, good people and insane one that is human nature.

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again, how do you want to keep people from building automated ships?

 

I don't. And why should you keep people from doing so?

I'd rather have a automated vessel to move stuff from a to b then doing it my self.

There is plenty that can go wrong with a unmanned ship so your cargo would be at high risk.

 

Keep in mind there are no plans to make DU more lively with NPCs it is all player driven.

I prefer ingame options for adv. automation instead of Chinese grinding organisations abusing children or elaborate third party bots to do the work that is what I call cheating.

I'm a engineer for automation and I never saw a machine taking a place for a human they got simply reassigned to a task machines are unable to do.

Allowing the players to advance is vital so getting rid of mining by automation to free time for other stuff is good.

 

Player made NPC vessels are far more interesting because they have a cause and a destination. Random NPC ships with random loot are boring in the long term.

Ever played X3 with LitCubes re-balancing? It is a giant simulation with cause and destination where you are able to screw up entire empires but since you are the only player it is very lonely.

DU is far more similar to X3 then to any other popular mentioned title like Space Engineers or No Mans Sky.

In fact I think I DU is the X3 multiplayer we never had.

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It might take some hard-coded mechanics. One way is that each account can only manage x number of cpus at any one time. It could be tied to a skill to increase that limit, but the devs still have control over it.

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It might take some hard-coded mechanics. One way is that each account can only manage x number of cpus at any one time. It could be tied to a skill to increase that limit, but the devs still have control over it.

Will the Devs have control over how many ships can I own as well? Or how many cities I own and conquered?

 

 

 

No, no they won't limit players. And Drones are constructs.

 

 

 

 

Swarm of Drones will be a thing, like it or not :D

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Will the Devs have control over how many ships can I own as well? Or how many cities I own and conquered?

No, no they won't limit players. And Drones are constructs.

Swarm of Drones will be a thing, like it or not :D

 

That is the idea behind the license system, regardless how many constructs you own or have access to only the ones with a licenses bound to their core will be able to act independent.

You can further restrict access to licenses by adding a monthly activation fee.

If you think about it how much logistic is needed anyway to keep them operational (fuel, ammo, repairs etc.) managing a swarm is a task in it self.

 

Should be something like this -> learn the drone skill get one permanent license for free

-> learn a additional "multitasking" skill gain the ability to purchase a additional license with a monthly renewal.

If you add a cost and time factor for any additional license you want the people will think twice before they invest time and money into those skills.

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Will the Devs have control over how many ships can I own as well? Or how many cities I own and conquered?

 

 

 

No, no they won't limit players. And Drones are constructs.

 

 

 

 

Swarm of Drones will be a thing, like it or not :D

 

 

[citation needed] [conjecture]

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That is the idea behind the license system, regardless how many constructs you own or have access to only the ones with a licenses bound to their core will be able to act independent.

 

again, where does pilot support end and where does independent action begin?

 

how do you differentiate between the two?

 

where is the line?

 

having a drone license system is nice and dandy, but worthless if you cant even define what a license needing drone /is/

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That is the idea behind the license system, regardless how many constructs you own or have access to only the ones with a licenses bound to their core will be able to act independent.

You can further restrict access to licenses by adding a monthly activation fee.

If you think about it how much logistic is needed anyway to keep them operational (fuel, ammo, repairs etc.) managing a swarm is a task in it self.

 

Should be something like this -> learn the drone skill get one permanent license for free

-> learn a additional "multitasking" skill gain the ability to purchase a additional license with a monthly renewal.

If you add a cost and time factor for any additional license you want the people will think twice before they invest time and money into those skills.

There is no "Drone skill". You build a construct you control via remote means. There is no "license" to do anything. Who will you ask License from? The non-existing central authority in the game?

 

 

You take a core unit of 25cm, a navigational unit, some RCS thrusters, add guns on them and boom, you got a Beta drone. Now,make many of those Beta drones, create a central, Alpha Drone YOU control and make all the othe Beta drones slave to the Alpha.

 

 

Will it cost a lot to make a swarm? Sure it will. Will it require skills to pilot via remote? Sure it will. But don't expect drones to be something "you craft" with one button. There will be different models of drones. 

 

 

Repair Drones, Salvage Drones, Scouting Drones (spy stuff), Sentry Drones, etcetera.

 

 

This is why DUAL is a nice concept. It gives you the ability to make such tactics function like in the real world.

 

 

What do you the the Lua scripts are here for? For all of the things I mentioned above (and to make ships fly like ballerinas of course).

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OK we are back by independence again... I thought it was clear with post #3

How I differ between drone and let's call it "supervised/observed machinery"

 

Supervised/observed machinery: a construct able to act only if it is the range of player -> means loaded in the servers RAM to do stuff

I see under this category:

  • defense systems since they need only to be active when somebody around anyway
  • gizmos like little helper bots to do stuff
  • or even a small automated mining operation besides you while you do other stuff like building your base

Drone: a independent construct which is handled as "virtual player" and capable of leaving the "player populated space"

I see under this category:

  • Gateships
  • Automated trading vessels
  • Drone police for sector security <- first response team will react much faster before any "player police force"  arrives

 

I'm fully aware that the DPU and lua allows a lot of automation but that doesn't make a construct independent.

Oh and there is a central authority its the ark ship it self until you leave its protected space you are bound to it and I'm sure it will have stuff only available there.

If you don't want to call it "license" call it for example "quantum link" which allows the core to be independent.

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OK we are back by independence again... I thought it was clear with post #3

How I differ between drone and let's call it "supervised/observed machinery"

 

Supervised/observed machinery: a construct able to act only if it is the range of player -> means loaded in the servers RAM to do stuff

I see under this category:

  • defense systems since they need only to be active when somebody around anyway
  • gizmos like little helper bots to do stuff
  • or even a small automated mining operation besides you while you do other stuff like building your base

Drone: a independent construct which is handled as "virtual player" and capable of leaving the "player populated space"

I see under this category:

  • Gateships
  • Automated trading vessels
  • Drone police for sector security <- first response team will react much faster before any "player police force"  arrives

 

I'm fully aware that the DPU and lua allows a lot of automation but that doesn't make a construct independent.

Oh and there is a central authority its the ark ship it self until you leave its protected space you are bound to it and I'm sure it will have stuff only available there.

If you don't want to call it "license" call it for example "quantum link" which allows the core to be independent.

"

Good day, MrFaul. I find your ideas of drones interesting. However, the point is this: the developers haven't told us how far individual scripting can go. For all we know, we've only heard that drones will be supported, but to what extent and how deep the automation goes, is still very much foggy. We do know, however, that the developers assured us that there will be limits to how far LUA scripting can influence the game. I'm sad to say, but fully autonomous drones will be either impossible, or cost you insane amounts of money and/or resources. You see, there has to be a benchmark for this sort of thing and the developers know that fully well. 

 

At first, it will be exciting to see players create their drones in units and tens, but when they start mass producing those drones in thousands and tens of thousands, it's going to spoil the game in player experience terms and performance wise.  

 

Drones? I'm all in for them. They make work a lot easier and as such, they should not be easy to build. Licenses, are a possibility thanks to the existence of Aphelia and the Arkship. I wish you a pleasant day.

"

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I wish you a good day as well, Aetherios.

Drones in a nutshell are actually very simplistic. All they need is some sort of awareness of its surroundings means for locomotion and a task.

I'm sure even without my concept of a "independent drone" we will be able to build and program very sophisticated ones.

 

The reason why I introduced this thread is because I really like the idea and want to take part in shaping DU even if it not like this in the final product but maybe it inspired one of the devs to incorporate something similar or even a better concept I haven't thought about.

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OK we are back by independence again... I thought it was clear with post #3

How I differ between drone and let's call it "supervised/observed machinery"

 

Supervised/observed machinery: a construct able to act only if it is the range of player -> means loaded in the servers RAM to do stuff

I see under this category:

  • defense systems since they need only to be active when somebody around anyway
  • gizmos like little helper bots to do stuff
  • or even a small automated mining operation besides you while you do other stuff like building your base

Drone: a independent construct which is handled as "virtual player" and capable of leaving the "player populated space"

I see under this category:

  • Gateships
  • Automated trading vessels
  • Drone police for sector security <- first response team will react much faster before any "player police force"  arrives

 

I'm fully aware that the DPU and lua allows a lot of automation but that doesn't make a construct independent.

Oh and there is a central authority its the ark ship it self until you leave its protected space you are bound to it and I'm sure it will have stuff only available there.

If you don't want to call it "license" call it for example "quantum link" which allows the core to be independent.

You clearly don't :

 

1) Understand how storing information on the server works.

 

2) Don't seem to understand how Lua Scripts work and what they can accomplish, or things like game-breaking imbalance, like, 35000 lines of scripts. What? You think you will make a police robot with 10 lines of code? The 30K line margin is real low for it even.

 

3) Drones = not independent. You are confusing a DRONE, which is remotely controlled, with a Terminator.

 

The rest of your arguemnt is rendered invalid.

 

You are asking for player limitations in a sandbox  games in general.

 

Let the limitations be organic, like power, fuel and uptime on the drones, not arbitrary BS, which incidentally, Drones are machinery that can't fly forever. Who knew? Oh wait, everyone who ever flew a drone IRL. Drones in the game are weapons of specialty, made for a particular task, like smart bombing an enemy's turrets.

 

 

What? Will you ask the devs to limit how big ships can be?

 

 

No, you won't. And the devs won't limit how many construct a player can have access to, cause it will defuse the point OF CONQUERING AND COLLECTING SHIPS AND BUILDINGS.

 

 

 

Have fun argueing on something that goes against the game's idea.

 

 

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@CaptainTwerkmotor

 

Oh boy,

  1. I have maintained SAP software for the family business, countless DS, game server and have friends who work with terabytes of live data so I think I have a pretty good grasp on how data works.
  2. lua is awesome and in most places completely underutilized if you don't add the right stuff to it.
    In that case I'm counting on the devs to implement something that triggers a hook when a constituted law in a territory is broken.
    function IsLawBroken(Location,Subject)
      self.setCourse(Location)
      self.attack(Subject)
    end
    

    Oh look made it in four... not particular clever but effective...

  3. Please lookup the definition for "drone" neither of us is wrong in this point but you are a bit aggressive here :-D

And for the rest of your post I think you still haven't understood what I'm trying to accomplish so I urge you to read my posts from zero again, carefully and tell me with your own words what I want.

So that we are on the same page. I never mentioned once to restrict the ability to create new constructs.

I'm trying to enhance the game idea but also provide a method to balance it, without that it would be completely op.

 

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Drones and Gameplay

 

 

 

I want drones which are in theory capable of everything the player is able to do with his equipment. (DU equivalent: his constructs)

It would be up to the programming skills of the smart people to develop good software which would also be a good trading good.

Awesome AI software + awesome construct = awesome drone

 

 

 

The point is, you can make a repair drone, but if you have no skillpoints invested in repairing, you won't get the same potential.

 

You want automatons, not drones. Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Unammend doesn't mean autonomous. A predator Droee won't shoot ahellfire missile on its own accord.

 

I don't doubt you know how to maintain servers, I doubt you understand how the devs have categorised any construct in the game. There's no tag for something that  is a "ship" or a "drone". They are constructs. Constructs with engines and a sub-marine structure = a ship. A construct that looks like a building, it's a building. But a drone is just a constrcut that is remotely controlled.

 

 

There's not "drone" object. You ask for license systems, from whom? There's no central authority in the game. We are rebuilding civilisaton. There won't be NPC factions. 

 

 

Lua can do amazing stuff if you build in your own binaries in it yes, but the point is, the Devs won't allow you for the full lbirary of Lua. You know, backdoors and stuff. The Lua in the game will be gutted with pre-defined commands the devs set up for us already. Combining them in creative ways, is our problem. If I can make a swarm of drones, I will make a swarm of drones, either UAV scouting drones, repair drones, or salavage/mining drones (they are technically the same thing).

 

 

DPUs (the Lua hosting blocks), are scheduled to demand a certain wattage off a circuit on a ship. I don't know about you, but I don't know if you can fit a really powerful generator inside a thing before it stops being a drone and becomes counter-productive.

 

So, you want drones to run as less of Lua scripts as possible, so their cost doesn't outweight their viability. Which means, really simple drone setup (until the Dev Gods decide to bless us with like, batteries that provide the power of a sun or somethng).

 

 

Beta Drones = they follow the controlled Alpha Drone the player operates, either from orbit on a ship or a ground command and control center.

 

Alpha Drone = The center of the swarm, that pulls out coordinated strikes to happen. 

 

 

Beta Drones are a dime a dozen. Alpha Drones are the really expensive ones, cause of the extra armor to protect them as the brain of the swarm.

 

 

So, the drones have viability, due to chaos their produce, but they won't be autonomous. I mean, you can try but the thing will be running out of power before it can find a way to resupply itself.

 

 

What I'm saying is, your fears are easily solved by the game's mechanics that the devs have explained in the Ask Us Anything thread.

 

 

If the drones were to have autonomy, whose processor would have to run all those "NPCs" (which is what they are they way you want them) ?

 

 

Exactly. The server. The devs want as little as NPCs as possible to allwo the server to process calculations on massive battles.

 

 

If the drones are tied to a player's controls, they will not take space on the server regarding their controls.

 

 

You can tie them to routines, like the one you demonstrated, which are SIMPLE routines, that won't make them simply sentinel drones, not Terminators.

 

I mean, you can unleash drones the KoS people if that's your evil plan to take over the world, I don't judge, but expect it to be a really expensive thing.

 

 

So, don't fear, Drones won't be Terminators. There's no need to gimp the economy of selling drones or players who want to run a drone manufacturing business to be left out of the fun because "arbitrary limits".

 

 

If I want to make an army of drones to cause havoc behind enemy lines, I should be able to do it. If a repair ship in a fleet can operate repair drones that fly out of its bays, they should be able to do it. If miners want to deploy simple "mine => reach cap => return to base" drones, they should be able to do it. Nobody should gimp them. 

 

 

 

So, really, your worries are unwarranted. There are technical limitations in the gameplay mechanics to limit how powerful drones can be. That is, unless some maniac decides to make drone fleets, which KUDOS to them I say. They managed to wire an entire fleet of drone ships. They are entitled to the power they accumulated.

 

 

 

Peace.

 

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http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drone

"an unmanned aircraft or ship guided by remote control or onboard computers"

nothing about them /having/ to be remote controlled.

 

predators dont shoot missles on their own accord because theres not enough reliability in target identification in their systems.

the next gen drones they are building right now are way more autonomous and only need commands, not remote control.

http://newatlas.com/ai-human-pilots-dog-fights/44107/

 

 

just because its an unmanned vehicle doesnt make it incapable of doing anything without human intervention.

 

drones like the ones in the second link would be perfectly fine for carrier guard/interceptor duty for example.

 

 

and theres also nothing that keeps you from making automated combat drones.

i reckon we'll be able to code weapons usage, we'll be able to code thruster usage, we'll likely be able to code sensors.

nothing obvious that keeps anyone from just hooking those three things into a DPU and automating a combat drone completely.

 

same game for repair and mining drones.

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http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drone

"an unmanned aircraft or ship guided by remote control or onboard computers"

nothing about them /having/ to be remote controlled.

 

predators dont shoot missles on their own accord because theres not enough reliability in target identification in their systems.

the next gen drones they are building right now are way more autonomous and only need commands, not remote control.

http://newatlas.com/ai-human-pilots-dog-fights/44107/

 

 

just because its an unmanned vehicle doesnt make it incapable of doing anything without human intervention.

 

drones like the ones in the second link would be perfectly fine for carrier guard/interceptor duty for example.

 

 

and theres also nothing that keeps you from making automated combat drones.

i reckon we'll be able to code weapons usage, we'll be able to code thruster usage, we'll likely be able to code sensors.

nothing obvious that keeps anyone from just hooking those three things into a DPU and automating a combat drone completely.

 

same game for repair and mining drones.

AMA questions matey, wattage on a construct is a thing, similar to EVE's system. You can't put a powerful DPU if the wattage is making t difficult. I don't doubt it's possible to make a killbox out of drone, I doubt you can make it have autonomy and self-sustainability without going overboard on the wattage it can sustain before going on really counter-productive territories which would would be better off with an actual palyer piloting the craft.

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Yup you completely missed my point...

I have no worries that somebody would build a self replicating army at all.

That would really a epic thing to accomplish. (but I doubt it will happen, not at a SkyNet scale)

What I want are constructs that are allowed to stay active even if no one around.

I don't care at all what it does how it looks or what its purpose is.

 

But any simulated part put loads on the server. If you want to go the mine craft road the "license" is the equivalent to a "chunk loader" introduced by various mods.

So clearly you need to set restrictions on that part or the server gets overloaded with "virtual players" because that is a "chunk loader" in its essence.

 

There will be production blocks that somehow turn one thing into a other ting with a timed delay, that is stuff that gets unloaded when the player is offline.

It is a simple Time passed / Time it takes to do stuff = Stuff made equation which quickly caches up when the player returns so I don't see problems there.

 

I see problems with constructs shaping the world while the player is gone. That stuff won't happen because it needs proper simulation in order to work.

That is my worry....

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