Feedback Required v1.10 EXP: Drone Bay Feedback

Discussion in 'Experimental Features Discussion' started by Taelyn, Jun 8, 2023.

  1. Taelyn

    Taelyn Administrator Staff Member Community Manager

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    [​IMG]
    • Added the ‘Drone Bay’: You can now craft and place the Drone Bay and equip it with Defense Drones. A Drone Bay Spawner is required for starting the drones.
    • Pay attention to the direction you set the drone spawner block & also place it on the outside of the vessel so the drones have easy access to it to spawn & despawn from.
    • To “retrieve” spawned drones toggle the power off for the drone bay & wait for them to return & despawn. When they are close to your vessel keep it still so they can find the spawner & despawn.
    • First iteration for testing. More details coming soon
     
    #1
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  2. TheGazbeard

    TheGazbeard Lieutenant

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    Could you give some hints on sizes for the different elements - drone bay, spawner, drones themselves? I'm assuming they are base & CV block grids only?
     
    #2
  3. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    Looks like you need a drone bay which is 5x5x15 and a drone spawner which is 1x1x1.
     
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  4. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    Looks like a drone bay is configured to only spawn one type of drone.
    Would it be possible to allow for different types of drones that players could put in there? So people could fit it with bombers, laser drones, minigun drones, etc.
     
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  5. Taelyn

    Taelyn Administrator Staff Member Community Manager

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    As first test we keep it simple, in the future this will be expanded
     
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  6. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    First of all this is a really cool feature! I know a lot of people have been wanting something like this and I'm definitely one of them. :D

    As this is a first iteration most of these issues are probably already known but wanted to list them here anyway!

    Testing in space (haven't tested on planets) so far I've noticed:

    The drones take almost 30 seconds to launch before they fly towards the target and also take awhile to return. They should launch and return much faster, as 30 seconds is a lot of time to wait for your drones to engage an enemy.
    POI turrets ignore them.
    Drones cannot be placed into the drone bay with mass/volume enabled as it has 0 volume capacity.
    Dropped drones have a white cube model and cannot be picked up.
    Drones have a white name tag when you'd expect them to have a green tag.
    Drones have to get pretty close to the spawner to return, basically on top of it. Maybe increase the range they can be considered "returned" by like 5 meters or so to make them easier to retrieve.
    Drones will continue to spawn from a disabled ship (generators destroyed).
    If you place them down they come with a full set of drones already. I assume that's not intended and players are supposed to have to craft their own.

    Might be an issue unless the drones have different stats or drone types for space versus planets.
    For example on planets 500m is longer range than most POI turrets can shoot, whereas in space 500 meters is very close range.
    And drones in space need to be able to move faster than on a planet.

    Looks like these might be usable on POIs to set them to spawn drones to defend themselves. They will launch drones up to the bay's limit and recall them when the player has moved away. Of course in space this doesn't work very well with the short detection range of like <500 meters and slow movement speed of the drones.
    There's also some cool configuration options available for custom scenarios with these drone bays it looks like, though I couldn't figure out how to increase the drone range.
     
    #6
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2023
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  7. tigrean

    tigrean Ensign

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    This is a really cool feature that should have been added in a while ago. Still glad it is here now, and I was just messing with it in creative I haven't used it in game yet but will be starting a game today. Here are my first thoughts on it.

    First: I do hope the the block is just a place holder because it being an SV/HV constructor just seems pretty bad. It looks nothing like the thumbnail and really makes it hard to implement in a build and make it look nice.

    Second: Currently you would have to hide it somewhere in the ship to make the ship look nice and with its size would have to be a very big base or ship. Which is a shame because it has quite a bit of HP and should be able to be mounted on the outside of the ship or base. Making it look like a tower of some sort would be ideal which is what the thumbnail kind of looks like.

    Third: I think you should add another smaller block called Drone Controller. It can only be used if the drone bay is there and it grants 1 extra drone per block up to 4. From what I read the drone bay only allows two drones per bay. I think this would add another level to play and builds. Just a suggestion I do understand that this might be limited by the game engine and may not be able to be implemented stably.
     
    #7
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2023
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  8. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    I was testing the drones in space to see if ADBActionRadius is working now and noticed they would only attack a POI in space if the player character is physically within 300 meters no matter what I changed it to. I was watching in god mode and the instant I moved more than 300 meters away from the POI they were shooting at they would stop firing, and resume firing as soon as I went back in range. This would happen even if I had left my ship.
    If their max range in space is limited to 300 meters from the player then drones won't be feasible to use in space. They probably need at least 1000 meters as this will put a player's ship in range of most defense guns and the range should be based on distance from the launching ship not the player.

    Launching drones is much faster if they launch forwards, but it's extremely slow if they end up launching to the sides which takes 3-4x as long. This has also been a problem orbital patrol vessels have had for quite awhile.
    And they are still pretty slow to retrieve.


    If space POIs are going to shoot back at them (currently they don't), the player defense drones should probably not be "stunned" like NPC drones are otherwise they will spend the entire time being stunned from incoming weapons fire and won't actually get any shots off especially if players will be limited to 2 out at a time.

    Looks like the issue where the bay is placed full of drones already was fixed!

    It would be awesome if player ships could launch a full squad of drones like an actual carrier and have them be a feasible compliment or even main weapon system for a drone carrier style ship.
     
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  9. Ente

    Ente Commander

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    I feel there is a lot of work to do, to get drones to behave in a way that makes them a useable weapon system.

    So as an idea, knowing that development resources for those things are limited, perhaps build an interface to let scenario authors or even players write AI-Scripts for drones.
     
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  10. tigrean

    tigrean Ensign

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    Finally had a chance to try the Drone bay actively in my game and here are my thoughts:

    1st, As ravien has said they are very slow and don't seem to have good AI making the NPC ones smarter and responding better to the enviroment. Beefing up the AI script may be needed and also adjusting the speed of them.

    2nd, When i turned off the drone bay only one drone of 2 returned to the bay via drone spawners. I have 4 on my build that are not blocked by anything and the drone that didn't return just was sitting on one of the spawners and is constantly shaking like it is stuck or the script just stopped. Maybe putting in a return button and a Launch button when accessing the Drone bay with a script to have them return or launch without toggling the bay on and off might fix this issue. cause it seemed that the spawners just turned off before the one drone could return.

    3rd, Would like to see another block that would allow more than 2 drones at a time. Like a drone controller block where for each block it allows for 1 extra drone to spawn and you can put up to 4 on a build. I'm sure it is possible being the drone bases generally have 6 to 8 always around them.

    Other than these three things it seems the drone bay would be a great idea once tweaked right and allow builders to make viable drone carrier builds.
     
    #10
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2023
  11. ZipSnipe

    ZipSnipe Commander

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    The bay is ridiculously too large, it should be about the size of the warp engine. When I first spawned it in, I was looking down as I spawned it and didn't notice how large it was until later, I thought this must be a joke surely they did not mean for it to be this large.Would be nice if the direction on how to place the spawner were included in the description of it. I finally figured it out. I also had an issue where it would only let me place one drone inside the bay. I haven't been able to test the drones out yet
     
    #11
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  12. williamrunning16

    williamrunning16 Ensign

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    The bay is way too big, The largest CV I have made, USS enterprise, is dwarfed by the size of this thing. Also a two drone limit is pretty meh. I know there is alot of changes to be made due to balance but I just want to make a mothership that mass produces drones to swarm my enemies. We just got the ability to do this in space engineers but their world is empty and boring compared to Empyrion. I was looking forward to getting back into emyrion but it looks like ill have to wait a bit longer untill the drones are improved.
     
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  13. williamrunning16

    williamrunning16 Ensign

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    If the two drone limit is going to stay and the size of the bay won't decrease then please allow any player created sv under a specific size to be spawnable as a drone. That would allow for more versital spawned ships and a drone controler would be another great additon.
     
    #13
  14. imlarry425

    imlarry425 Captain

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    A bit lateral to the question, but an approach addressing drone AI would be to develop a small syntax RPN solution; programs like "flanking maneuver", "feint", "hit and run", "feigned retreat", and so on could be implemented using a small number of turtle-graphics-like commands and conditional tests that were processed stack wise using short RPN text strings as the programs. Commands could include things like MAWT (match altitude with target), MLOT (maneuver left of target), CAA (close and attack) and so on. Start small and add new commands based on suggestions / issues that arise from an initial KISS implementation.

    This would let players develop their own underlying AI software which lets you push any complaints about what drones do back at the people making them. 8^) ("Well, they do what you told them to do...")

    Since multiple drone entities are aware not only of the target positions, but of each other, it would be possible to create coordinated attacks based on absolute positions and entity ids combined with conditionals ... EIFL (even id flank left), OIFR (odd id flank right) sorts of stuff.

    This builds on the basic idea of creating a general-purpose engine that lets you extend behavior as configuration data vs. hard coding that you are already exploiting in other aspects of the game ... just a thought.
     
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  15. ZipSnipe

    ZipSnipe Commander

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    Ok drones seem to work ok, would be nice to speed up their return speed
     
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