This week saw the release of the 2.04 minor update and we are currently looking at another minor update next week to address some stability issues and the problem with barnacles and some settlements not always appearing.
We are continuing development on 2.1 and deliveries beyond that and in this week’s update I will talk about some changes coming to NPC behaviour in 2.1. The AI control of ships is an ongoing balance with the aim of providing a fun, but easier experience for combat for lower ranked NPCs and making the higher level opponents provide a decent challenge. For 2.1 we’re adding a host of changes and fixes to improve the AI of NPC ships in the game.
First is adjusting the overall balance of the skills for the AI pilots, this is a slightly flatter curve in ability for low to medium levels, but higher level opponents (like Elite ranked) will have a much higher improvement to their skills. One change is that they use missiles and torpedoes more effectively – especially at the higher ranks. They will wait until the target’s shields are down before using them. The range of tactics available to the AI pilots is now rated for the different skill levels, providing a wider range of tactics for the different ranks.
The higher ranked pilots will also try and avoid damage more to improve the chance of survival and make less deliberate mistakes than the lower ranked cannon fodder.
AI can no longer use energy weapons if they’re running hot to manage their heat better. They will also spam chaff less and only using them if they are taking damage and their opponent is using gimbals or turrets. High ranked ships will flee when their shields are down to enable them to recharge them. They’ll keep out of weapons range until their shields are back up, then turn to attack once more.
For commanders who rely on flying their ships in reverse the more skilled AI have learned a new response to counter it – you have been warned!
As well as the tweaks and enhancements there are fixes for some known AI issues including them not getting stuck rotating in space, stop them keep firing hatch breakers and address some issues with pip management. This includes some behaviour to improve their use of pips for situations like fleeing or pursuing. There’s also been an overhaul of the different states to make sure that AI has appropriate behaviours if there’s something going on.