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IDProjectCategoryLast Update
0021628AI War 2[All Projects] Gameplay IssueOct 15, 2019 6:56 pm
ReporterAsteroidAssigned To 
Status newResolutionopen 
Product Version0.888 Astro Examination 
Fixed in Version 
Summary0021628: Drones aggro guard posts causing the player to be overwhelmed
DescriptionSame problem as snipers, they just go for guard posts aggressively causing them to wake up, and forcing you to face more units that you were planning to (and in the early game, capable of handling without triggering a retaliation wave).

Best solution would be to tweak their (and snipers') behavior so they don't go after sleeping guard posts and focus on defending your units instead of charging out (attacking stray awaked units can also cause unwanted aggro).

Otherwise we need a way to prevent them from unloading, but the most obvious solution which is using the Load/Unload command doesn't quite work, because you'd like your engineers to be out helping while the drones keep quiet.

TagsNo tags attached.



Sep 12, 2019 1:28 pm

manager   ~0053035

Do you have a save game one could use to test any potential fixes?


Sep 12, 2019 1:45 pm

reporter   ~0053038

It's not exactly a "ready to test" save, but my combat factory has drones in the save I attached, if it helps.

006_1.savemet (63 bytes) (775,137 bytes)


Sep 13, 2019 2:46 am

reporter   ~0053060

Here's another save where I reproduced the situation. At Baldur my fleet is sitting to the side and I've hacked guard posts ranges because I think it reduces their reaction radius? Either way, as soon as you unpause the drones should cause two guard posts to wake up.

Drones going off by themselves (781,812 bytes)
Drones going off by themselves 3.savemet (63 bytes)


Sep 13, 2019 3:50 am

reporter   ~0053061

One possible solution:
- Combat engineers become drones (we can always have the occasional Combat Factory that has only "real" combat engineers, which should be superior, and no drones).

Then this opens up two possibilities:
- Engineer drones are cloaked and always on Pursuit, while combat drones copy the stance of their mothership at all times. So set your combat factory to attack-move or pursuit for drones to be instantly aggressive, or give it no standing orders for drones to simply spawn and sit next to the factory.
- Engineer drones are cloaked, always unloaded and always on Pursuit, while combat drones hide inside the factory if the Load order is given, and become active if the Unload order is given.


Sep 13, 2019 6:02 am

developer   ~0053063

I don't like Combat Engineers becoming drones. You wouldn't be able to give them specific repair or construction assist orders.

Having the combat ones inherit the stance means either the "Mothership" will be charging in to things, or you need to keep turning it on and off, as new Drones are produced. Seems annoying.


Sep 13, 2019 3:02 pm

reporter   ~0053087

Well, if we can't use standing orders or load/unload orders to have some semblance of control over drones, how do you plan on solving this? Right now they're a cool idea but often turn out to be a nuisance in practice unless the system can just be taken by leaving units on FRD. The window is short to get them right before 1.0, IIUC.


Sep 13, 2019 3:07 pm

developer   ~0053088

Last edited: Sep 13, 2019 5:44 pm

View 3 revisions

Just a button to say launch drones yes/no, I'd imagine in a Fleet-Wide fashion i.e in the Fleet Menu (we can't have drone producers in a Fleet unless it's the Flagship anyhow). I dunno if we'd want those previous kind of mechanisms to do it, if that's doable.

Up to Chris though - I'm just a volunteer. That's what I'd attempt anyhow.


Oct 14, 2019 5:32 pm

manager   ~0053667

If your flagships are in Load mode they will no longer produce drones. I think this should help


Oct 15, 2019 1:08 am

reporter   ~0053685

It'll definitely help when wanting to go through a system without aggroing stuff. Unfortunately the problem stays whole when trying to clean out a system without aggroing more than you can handle - you'll want your engineers out at all times while the drones keep quiet.

At this point my humble opinion is that drones should be removed altogether from Combat Factories. They were a late addition, and so close to 1.0 I think it's better to ship without the problems they cause, and reintroduce them later once we have solutions.


Oct 15, 2019 1:11 am

manager   ~0053686

Last edited: Oct 15, 2019 1:15 am

View 2 revisions

Strong disagree about removing them, I think they are a good feature.

I suspect the right answer is to figure out how to more strongly prioritize locality when choosing FRD targets


Oct 15, 2019 9:33 am

developer   ~0053693

What if the drone producer being in hold fire just...stopped it building or launching drones? Other than the Combat Factories the only player drone producer is the Hive Golem, and the Load = not producing drones works fine for it, letting it still attack without dumping them. Factories don't attack, and as noted they want their Engineers out.

It...might stop the Factory from building reinforcements at all it's a bit of a specialist case?


Oct 15, 2019 5:58 pm

reporter   ~0053713

TL;DR: Just add a button for each fleet member in a fleet to force-Load it. I can add the button if Badger codes the underlying system.

Don't get me wrong, I think they are a very cool and good feature. Who doesn't like swarms of drones wrecking your enemies.

What I'm putting into question is whether one week from the release we should be scrambling to make them work at the risk of introducing bugs or making people hate them, when we could postpone their introduction a few weeks and have people love them unconditionally. Part of releasing a successful game is knowing when to cut things even if it hurts, there's a reason they have dedicated "closers" in the AAA game industry that come in and enforce these decisions.

Personally BTW I preferred when Combat Factories were more focused in their support roles. Repair and rebuild in the heart of the enemy territory is already super powerful, I never felt like they needed a buff, and certainly not one that introduces this kind of control complication.

With that out of the way, back to the discussion about solutions to make the current design work:
[email protected] Adjusting FRD sounds interesting, but not something we can figure out quickly and without introducing bugs (plus, can't is have side-effects on other unit's behavior?). There's also the aspect that you might want to take a break in the fight to build turrets and repair your ships before attacking more guard posts, so drones shouldn't engage anything at all but you do need your engineers out.
[email protected] Having to stop the drones from building just to prevent their release would be a very painful solution. Unless we can make drones free, and make it so they keep building at all times no matter the standing orders? This way Hold Fire to keep them inside would work. Whether it's intuitive enough for players is another question.
- This is where I come back to the similar idea I proposed earlier: how about inheriting the combat stance from the flagship? It seems like a good idea for the Combat Factory to *not* be charging into things no matter its standing orders, so its AI might need a tweak regardless.
- Restrict drones to a specific range around their flagship, so you can prevent them from attacking every distant guard post. The defensive aspect kinda makes sense.
- MY CURRENT FAVORITE SOLUTION: Just add a button for each fleet member in a fleet to force-Load it. (Hopefully it can also be done on a selection with a shortcut key.) A fleet member in Load mode ignores orders to unload given at fleet-level, and it keeps building. I can add the button GUI-side if Badger implements the rest.


Oct 15, 2019 6:01 pm

manager   ~0053715

Instead of Force-Loading, we could just make Drones self-attrition really quickly if their fleet was in Load Mode. That sounds easier.


Oct 15, 2019 6:10 pm

reporter   ~0053716

So you mean we add a button, but instead of force-loading they self-attrition if it's enabled? Because you can't put the whole fleet in Load Mode because you want the engineers out... discussion going in circles.

It's easier and more useful to add the button for all ships because the concept of force-loading would be useful for other kind of units which you want to be available at a moment's notice, but need to keep out of the fight at specific times.


Oct 15, 2019 6:22 pm

developer   ~0053718

I wasn't intending on Hold Fire preventing construction in general, just to keep the drones in. They'd be built, but not released. I should've not had that bit in the earlier note, about having it stop building them.

So essentially, if unit is in Hold Fire, never launch drones. For units like the Combat Factory, Hold Fire needs to not disable construction, else it would defeat the point of the Factory (this was the specialist case comment).

Incidentally, drones are already free. Their metal cost and the metal throughput of their producers are used for how fast they build but that's it far as I know.

Drones being restricted to a range around their flagship would hinder Tackle and Saboteur Drones. Tackles are to go on as far as possible, to mimic their Classic format. Saboteurs are useful for disabling Posts that would cripple the Factory so it being tethered is ow, unless the range is high enough that the factory can be safe, but then you'd have the original problem back (as Nucleophilics are range 12,000, which is a fair bit).


Oct 15, 2019 6:56 pm

reporter   ~0053720

Alright, I think your solution works Puffin, if we can implement it in a simple way. Ideally at some point the hold fire button would change to a drone icon when you have a combat factory selected.

Issue History

Date Modified Username Field Change
Sep 12, 2019 1:23 pm Asteroid New Issue
Sep 12, 2019 1:24 pm Asteroid Description Updated View Revisions
Sep 12, 2019 1:28 pm BadgerBadger Note Added: 0053035
Sep 12, 2019 1:45 pm Asteroid File Added:
Sep 12, 2019 1:45 pm Asteroid File Added: 006_1.savemet
Sep 12, 2019 1:45 pm Asteroid Note Added: 0053038
Sep 13, 2019 2:46 am Asteroid File Added: Drones going off by themselves
Sep 13, 2019 2:46 am Asteroid File Added: Drones going off by themselves 3.savemet
Sep 13, 2019 2:46 am Asteroid Note Added: 0053060
Sep 13, 2019 3:50 am Asteroid Note Added: 0053061
Sep 13, 2019 6:02 am RocketAssistedPuffin Note Added: 0053063
Sep 13, 2019 3:02 pm Asteroid Note Added: 0053087
Sep 13, 2019 3:07 pm RocketAssistedPuffin Note Added: 0053088
Sep 13, 2019 3:45 pm RocketAssistedPuffin Note Edited: 0053088 View Revisions
Sep 13, 2019 5:44 pm RocketAssistedPuffin Note Edited: 0053088 View Revisions
Oct 14, 2019 5:32 pm BadgerBadger Note Added: 0053667
Oct 15, 2019 1:08 am Asteroid Note Added: 0053685
Oct 15, 2019 1:11 am BadgerBadger Note Added: 0053686
Oct 15, 2019 1:15 am BadgerBadger Note Edited: 0053686 View Revisions
Oct 15, 2019 9:33 am RocketAssistedPuffin Note Added: 0053693
Oct 15, 2019 5:58 pm Asteroid Note Added: 0053713
Oct 15, 2019 6:01 pm BadgerBadger Note Added: 0053715
Oct 15, 2019 6:10 pm Asteroid Note Added: 0053716
Oct 15, 2019 6:22 pm RocketAssistedPuffin Note Added: 0053718
Oct 15, 2019 6:56 pm Asteroid Note Added: 0053720