Gameplay idea: NO ai commander

Crazy idea:

Every player can get ai ships at stations.
Those ships will follow him.
Attack freely / attack my target / gather with me are the only commands you need to control.
This 3 commands are enough, keep it simple.
If you warp away, they will try to come to you.
If you die they fight and will then go to the nearest station waiting for new commander.

Let there be a limit for max ships. Lets say 500 per team. If you have 2 players in a team, both will be able to collect and command 250 ships max. If you have 250 players in a team, everyone can only get 1 additional ai buddy. So huge battles are always possible.

No more anonymous ai commander but instand good gameplay even with fewer human player.

Communication examples:
“…ok let me get the destroyers from xxx station. then we meet and attack…”
“… ok stay and defend… i will come back! …with hundretst of helping ships!..”

the point is:

  • we are the commanders
  • we choose the targets and the tactics
  • we are in need to know where to attack
  • we will bring supplies

(maybe implement a rank progression: it starts with the right to recruit just 1 inty, and beyond that it takes either in-match progression or out of match)


100% in favor of trying this, seems like it could be awesome!

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This is something we’ve discussed. The biggest problem is it requires a significant additional investment in AI that we can’t afford to make any time soon but it’s something we’ll be taking a look at in the future.


It’s a nice idea to be sure, allowing players to command NPCs! However, it’s one thing having AI follow it’s programming, as it does currently, it’s something else entirely getting AI to usefully follow an unpredictable human’s needs!

For example, following. There’s no way for the NPC to predict where you’re going next, so it would always be lagging behind and making mistakes without some serious intelligence.
Defending? How does the AI know when you need protection? What range will it engage at? Can it defend effectively before you die? Can it prioritise targets?

Attacking would be easier. “Kill my target”. The AI can already do that.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, just a lot of work, as Keith said.

I mentioned this in the townhall but… it’s not a bad idea, but it does have 2 issues: 1) it kind of makes the game become something it isn’t, aka an RTS. Because no matter how you slice it, giving orders to (potentially) tens or hundreds of NPCs / units would require RTS-like controls. 2) It’d take months of work on the AI for this feature alone. We have a number of things to improve on the AI already ( ex.: atmospheric flight, obstacles avoidance, flying in warp, carrier wings maybe etc… ) and I don’t think we’re going to have time to get the AI do deeper things than that.


Believe it or not, this was exactly same idea I have in my mind back then but I was scared to post it lol. But to unlock these AI commands, you need to reach specific rank first. You cant have AI buddy if your rank is still cadet/private. Mostly each player can command up to 5 AI’s fighters (depends on the rank), and player with the highest rank in battle can command up to 5 AI’s capital ships. I’m not sure to increase the number more than 5 because the game more likely will become RTS.

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A cool option would be if you die in your ship you jumped to one of your ai buddy’s ships and command it instead, making it not so frustrating having to travel again to fight.


Ok i have a solution to do this gamemode i suggested WITHOUT improving AI or adding ANYTHING!

Let the player get the ai ships at stations BUT dont let them spawn.
Let the player travel alone like it is now.
But if the player reaches a battle (or maybe if he hits the “call”-button) let the ships he gathered spawn. In exactly the same way it is right now in the game. (spawn at some distance)
When the player goes to warp, let the AI ships continue the battle. If the battle is over and the ships survive they will fly away and disapear. (The player can call them again in another battle)

What do you think about this simplification?

like that the player can really contribute something

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It sounds like a bit of an awkward “solution” to me. I mean I’m not even sure what it really addresses, I’m not convinced in the first place that we need to get ride of the AI commander at all.

If we’d go in this direction, I think it would be much more elegant to add a voting system where players could decide which objective to attack next, or an explicit player commander role which would assign priorities / objectives.


I tried to solve this concerns of you:
…giving orders to (potentially) tens or hundreds of NPCs / units would require RTS-like controls…
… It’d take months of work on the AI for this feature alone…
… requires a significant additional investment in AI that we can’t afford …

But no-one is imagining that we’ll be controlling many NPCs directly. A simple wingman/squad system wouldn’t be too hard to implement. “Attack my target”, “Defend me”, “Keep formation” etc.

And yes, a voting system for players to choose the next attack would simply feed into the existing AI commander and trigger a battle.

There’s no need to completely change the AI commander system.