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Hermein
 Wednesday, June 03 2009 @ 01:52 PM UTC (Read 2692 times)  
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ScrapBots
The Secret Feature revealed - build your own ScrapBot Army! Construct bots out of Scrap, improve their stats with more armour, weaponry and programming, and send them off to fight in the Jungle, gather more Scrap, fight other ScrapBot Armies, disable or reprogram opponent's bots, and more!


Their armour and weaponry, check. Programming? Hmm. That should be interesting. Of course I suck at programming, but I'll at least try Wink


 
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CavemanJoe
 Thursday, June 04 2009 @ 12:45 AM UTC  
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Here's a copy-paste from the design document for this feature. Please note that this design doc was written in November, and quite a lot has changed since then (simplified programming, elimination of weapons and armour crafting (I'm gonna rewrite the battle system for Season Three and, with it, the equipment system, merging weapons and armour into IItems - seems kind of a waste of time to rebuild Scavenging-based weaponry right now), reduction of Requisition rewards, simplified repairs etc), but it gives the general idea of how it all works.

ROBOT ARMIES

Eliminate PVP entirely, or put in DK bands that make it very hard for current big PVP'ers to continue doing what they're doing. Replace it with wars between players' Robot Armies.

A war can be declared and the battle undertaken at any time, against any player, online or offline. Robots are created in Cyber City 404, using scrap materials.

The Scrapyard is run by robots. Over the years the Scrapyard has become so big and unmanageable that Robots have made their best effort to sort the good scrap from the bad, and are now allowing anyone to come and take stuff from the bad pile for free. However, every now and then some good Scrap can be found in the bad pile, and the better one gets at sorting through the scrap, the more likely it is that they'll find something good.

In the Robot Factory and Scrapyard, the following actions may be performed:

SCRAPYARD
Scavenge
Buy Scrap
Sell Scrap

ROBOT FACTORY
Create Robot
Upgrade Robot
Program Robot
Repair Robot
Repair All Robots
Set Global Parameters

SCRAPYARD

Scavenging:
A player may Scavenge bits and bobs from the Scrapyard, and turn these bits and bobs into weapons, armour or Robots. The quality of bits they can Scavenge is affected by their Action Cost - the lower the number, the better quality of bits they can Scavenge.

For example, a player who has never Scavenged before will have a 1% chance of getting a working Robot motherboard and a 90% chance of getting random junk. A player at the lowest possible Stamina cost for Scavenging will have an equal chance of getting any piece of Scrap, good or bad.

Buying Scrap to build weapons or armour is ineffectual because the bits of Scrap available, when combined, cost more than the weapon would cost to purchase at Sheila's. The Scrap buying component is there so that players who need a particular piece of Scrap can buy one.

Scrap can be sold back to the Scrapyard once it is sorted (which you've already done) and cleaned (which requires a small amount of Stamina) for 75% of the purchase price of said Scrap.


ROBOT FACTORY

Creating a Robot:

A Robot chassis can be created from different types of Scrap. A basic Robot chassis will take lots of Scrap to produce, and lots of Stamina too.
During the process of creating a Robot chassis, the player must name the Robot.


Upgrading a Robot:

The Robot is useless without at least one Briskness and one Brawn point. Its rudimentary operating system is enough for it to engage in fights without any Brain points, but it will not retreat when it can't win, and has a good chance of being the last Robot left on the battlefield when all its mates have buggered off.

They have three parameters that can be upgraded, using different pieces of Scrap - Brains, Brawn and Briskness. Upgrading the Brawn of a Robot will improve its combat efficacy and hitpoints. Upgrading the Brains will allow greater programming detail. However, the coding and EEPROM writing and soldering etc will still have to be undertaken so that the function can be used, using up Stamina (and reducing the action points cost of programming). Upgrading the Briskness will improve the Robot's chance of escaping a battle that it is losing, and will allow it to perform more of a given action per day, and will also slightly affect its combat performance.
Brawn, Brains and Briskness can all be upgraded to level ten.

As the Brains get better, the number and type of commands that you can program into a Robot increases. Actually programming these commands is performed in the Programming section.

1. Communicate.
The Robot is included in global parameters - commands and instructions issued to the entire Robot Army.

2. Retreat.
A Robot can be programmed to retreat from a fight or another Robot when it is more than xx% damaged.

3. Fight.
A Robot can be programmed to fight in the Jungle and bring you the Requisition that it earns. It will earn more money and take less damage depending on its Brawn and Briskness.

4. Scavenge.
A Robot can be programmed to Scavenge stuff from the Scrapyard each day. It will generate more scrap based upon its Briskness.

5. Repair.
A Robot can be programmed to repair minor damage to itself and other Robots.

6-10. Reprogram (level 1-5).
A robot can be programmed to reprogram other Robots below a certain Reprogramming level, turning them to your side, explained in further detail in the Resolving a Battle section.

The Brawn value is a simple combat modifier for the Robot. Brains and Brawn require Stamina, according to the Welding and Metalwork action points class. Naturally, as the player's welding and construction skills improve, the Stamina cost for these action will be reduced.


Programming a Robot:

The player may code up any of the selected options, and/or set the percentage of health at which a Robot flees. Each action has an associated Stamina cost, which decreases as the player's coding skills improve.


Repairing a Robot:

Repairing a Robot can be achieved using Scrap, Req, or both, as well as Stamina. If the player has spare Scrap with which to repair a Robot, then the Req cost of doing so will be reduced or eliminated. If not, then the player must buy the necessary part from the Workshop (there'll be an option to do this automatically).


Repair All Robots:

This will take Req and Stamina, and the option is only available if the player has enough of both.


Set Global Parameters:

This will allow the player to set the parameters for the whole army.

Global Retreat:
If more than this percentage of all Robots in an army are destroyed or disabled, then all Robots will immediately retreat.

Mercy:
If the opponent's army is fleeing, will you allow them to flee, or will your army chase them and destroy or reprogram as many as possible?




GETTING MONEY FROM JUNGLE FIGHTS

Each morning, a Robot programmed to fight in the Jungle will take some damage, then give the player some Req if it survives.

For each point of Briskness, the Robot will perform one fight in the Jungle.

Each fight will give the Robot up to (15 - Brawn) points of damage and up to fifty Req tokens.

(reminder - each point of Brawn is worth ten hitpoints)

If the Robot survives, then it presents the Req to the player. If it does not survive, it does not.




RESOLVING A BATTLE

All Robots from both sides of the conflict are pulled from the database table and set against each other at random.

In a loop until one side wins:

An active Robot is randomly paired with another active Robot. Robots with higher Briskness values are more likely to be involved in a fight.
[give each robot on each side a number, then pick a number at random, then give it a percentage chance of being picked that is simply briskness*5]

Both Robot's Brawn is multiplied by their Briskness to give a value between one and a hundred. That's their chance of landing a punch and inflicting a random amount of damage between ceil(brawn*(briskness/4))/2 and ceil(brawn*(briskness/4)) (for a top-level Robot, that'd make a punch worth between 13 and 25 points). The robot with the higest Briskness throws the first punch (in the case of a tie, it's decided randomly).
After punching, if a Robot has the Reprogramming code, then it has a chance of successfully reprogramming the other Robot.
Reprogramming chances:
reprogramminglevel * (percentage of damage that the other Robot has taken / 5) = up to 25% chance per round.
If the other robot survives, then it's that robot's turn to fight back, and we loop back around.

When one Robot's hitpoints are reduced to zero, or when the Robot is reprogrammed, that Robot is destroyed (or turns to the other side) and another fight takes place.

If a Robot's hitpoints are reduced below their retreating value, then that robot turns around and runs. The combat portion of the fight is over, and we get to the Benny Hill style chase scene, where Briskness values are compared.

Robot A chases Robot B, and has a chance of catching up and engaging them in another round of combat. For each point of Briskness, the Robot can move up to 10 meters (decided randomly, and with some flavour text in there - for example, it trips over its own knobbly tyres and can only move 1 meter, or it sees a ghost and runs 10 meters or something).

The fleeing Robot goes first, and travels briskness*(random 1-10) meters. The Attacking robot then moves in the same manner.

If the chase goes on for more than five rounds without the attacking Robot catching up, the attacking Robot loses the fleeing Robot, turns around and goes back to the fight. If the attacking Robot catches up to the defending Robot, then we go back to the beginning of the combat loop, and the other Robot flees again afterwards. If, by doing this, both Robots are put into Retreat mode, then they simply run, terrified, away from each other, and are removed from play.

We carry on until the fleeing Robot escapes, or until one Robot is destroyed, or until both Robots accelerate away from each other in different directions.


Combat between two Robots has now been resolved, with the losing Robot marked as either "reprogrammed" (in which case it is added to the other side's army), "Escaped" (in which case it is returned to the player) or "Destroyed" (in which case the robot explodes into a random two-thirds of its overall Scrap components, which the winning army will take back to their player).

The combat loop is activated again, and another two robots, decided randomly, will fight.


If one side's Global Retreat Percentage is met, then all Robots on that side will immediately go into Retreat mode. Combat resumes on the previous round by round basis, but the retreating side's Robots are all fleeing regardless of their hitpoints.

If the winning side's "Mercy" pref is true, then all Robots on that side will stand down and allow the other side's Robots to escape.

Combat ends when there are no active Robots left on one side (IE they've all fleed the battlefield, been reprogrammed, or been destroyed).

The winning player takes all Scrap from the battlefield. It can then be sold for cash or used to build more Robots.


 
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Rosin
 Saturday, June 06 2009 @ 10:34 PM UTC  
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Hold on a tick, I have a few questions that might want to climb this wall o' text.

So, if a player wants to declare war on another, that's it? War? No "Why can't we be friends, man?" or "Chill out and calm down." or anything like that? What if a player wanted to build themselves an army of bots and have them run into the jungle just to fight monsters? Can someone declare war on their relatively peaceable bots? Of course they can! (Well, Germany and Austria did this a bit in the early times of the twentieth, but we're past that in the twenty second century aren't we?)

But in a less realistic setting such as this, wouldn't it be a relatively simple procedure to have a pref setting that stops one's bots from being attacked, albeit probably reducing their effectiveness?


A magpie's work is never done.
 
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Fergus
 Sunday, June 07 2009 @ 06:07 PM UTC  
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Well, if you can't avoid war couldn't you set your global retreat percent to 100%? You'd start fleeing instantly and it's a safe assumption that you'd only be spending points for upgrading those robots in Briskness and maybe Brains so they could work for you, they'd be more likely to escape. This would probably be the way to do it if you want to have only worker bots.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, June 07 2009 @ 06:20 PM UTC  
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If a player's bots weren't under constant attack from other contestants, it'd be a pretty trivial matter to rack up a whole bunch of Req every day. Bots don't go away at DK's.

Something about the phrase "Building a massive robot army" kinda sounds a little bit warlike, I always thought. Wink


 
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Symar
 Sunday, June 07 2009 @ 07:23 PM UTC  
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But, it's a massive army of peace.


 
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Yrk
 Sunday, June 07 2009 @ 08:14 PM UTC  
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Is there any way to keep your robots safe?
Such as keeping them in storage, or simply telling them to scavange all night?


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, June 07 2009 @ 08:56 PM UTC  
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Nope. If you build a robot army, people will attack it. Since each army can only attack once per day, if you want to remain unmolested, keep your army small enough that people won't bother attacking it (opting instead for the larger armies that will result in more Scrap for the victor).


 
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Yrk
 Monday, June 08 2009 @ 07:12 AM UTC  
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I see, fair enough. But then, can you build several smaller armies?
The plan i sintantly came up with would be to have a few robots allways scavanging and a few of them allways hunting, suppose ima have to make it every other day if its like this Razz


 
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Hermein
 Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 01:23 PM UTC  
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Hmm. Robot Army alliances between players?


 
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Anonymous: Rosin
 Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 03:26 PM UTC  


Quote by: CavemanJoe

If a player's bots weren't under constant attack from other contestants, it'd be a pretty trivial matter to rack up a whole bunch of Req every day. Bots don't go away at DK's.

Something about the phrase "Building a massive robot army" kinda sounds a little bit warlike, I always thought. Wink



Oooooh, in that case I'll be building scrap robots that build req robots that buy parts for fighting robots. Just like in all those RTS games I used to play. Such a fun strategy.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 05:18 PM UTC  
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Not quite how it works - like I say, the above design document was only a design document, and differs a bit from the final module.

A ScrapBot can always attack and be attacked, regardless of what it's programmed to do.
A ScrapBot above a certain level of Brains will always repair itself overnight.
A ScrapBot above a certain Brain level can either fight in the Jungle or collect Scrap, but not both.

The fatal flaw in the above system is that it only allows the player to attack once per game day - so you get all the grind of building, and only one hit of action. The plan right now is to allow separation of ScrapBots into squads, and allow each squad to attack once per day.


 
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Yrk
 Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 07:35 PM UTC  
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Quote by: CavemanJoe

Not quite how it works - like I say, the above design document was only a design document, and differs a bit from the final module.

A ScrapBot can always attack and be attacked, regardless of what it's programmed to do.
A ScrapBot above a certain level of Brains will always repair itself overnight.
A ScrapBot above a certain Brain level can either fight in the Jungle or collect Scrap, but not both.

The fatal flaw in the above system is that it only allows the player to attack once per game day - so you get all the grind of building, and only one hit of action. The plan right now is to allow separation of ScrapBots into squads, and allow each squad to attack once per day.



Really like the whole squad thing, but i was wondering, will the amount of robots make a difference in the outcome of a battle. Other than the obvious that more robots can carry more stuff back home.
Like sending a lone robot against an army of 50, the natrual outcome would be single robots getting hacked into a thousand pieces before even landing a hit on one of the others. As i understood the design sheet fighting would basically be a one vs one tournament with the last team standing rules, pretty fair way to make it, but not so realistic and less rewarding for the people that work their arses off to create an amy of monster proportions.

May i also suggest limiting the size of the squads to avoid someone (like me) creating one super squad for milions of robots that's pretty much impossible for anyone to stand a chance against.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, June 10 2009 @ 11:58 PM UTC  
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I was thinking a squad cap of twenty.

In its current, closed-beta form, there's no mechanic to allow mobs of ScrapBots to attack a single target simultaneously. Doing so would be technically difficult, but not impossible, and it's something I may put in later on (perhaps with a limit of four or so - defence against any number of aggressors greater than four or five is pretty well the same thing repeated, since it's hard to physically get so many aggressors to surround a target). Since individual conflicts in a battle will happen simultaneously, and we can only provide output statements linearly, we've got to allow for a bit of artistic license in how the battles are calculated.

Consider this example - ten LV1/1/1 ScrapBots versus one LV5/5/5 ScrapBot. Here's what might happen:

Team A Bot 1 attacks Team B Bot 1.
Team A Bot 1 (10 hitpoints) knocks Team B Bot 1 down to 42/50 hitpoints, before being frankly hammered into the ground.
Team A Bot 2 starts in on Team B Bot 1. Team B Bot 1 starts off with 42 hitpoints.

So, yes, the number of ScrapBots in an army _will_ make a difference, since the hitpoints between individual skirmishes are carried over.

Having said that - right now, a fully-levelled-up ScrapBot (LV10 Brains, LV10 Brawn, LV10 Briskness) can dispatch around a hundred LV1/1/1 ScrapBots most of the time. This probably needs tweaked a tad. Hence me having until July to do so. Wink


 
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Yrk
 Thursday, June 11 2009 @ 09:07 AM UTC  
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Alright, i didnt realize they would continue fighting after the first foe. All of a sudden the whole thing seems alott better Razz

And depending on how hard it is to make a max leveled robot it might not be so bad with one of them being able to take out 100 low leveled ones alone.


 
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Hairy Mary
 Saturday, June 13 2009 @ 01:38 PM UTC  
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Just a quick point out, people won't just attack the largest armies; they'll ideally want to attack armies a bit smaller than their own, so that they can (hopefully) win the fight. Otherwise whoever has the biggest army would just be permanently attacked.
One thing that worries me slightly, is there going to be an inequality depending on how often someone gets onto the island? If I only manage to get on once a week, then someone who only comes on most days can attack me 5 or 6 times for every time I attack them? That would mean that only very regular players could build up an army, anything that I might try to build up would be gone by the next time I come on.
Have to say, it is an awesome idea. When I first read that this was going to be a million times awesome, I thought that that was hyperbole. How wrong I was. I'm really looking forward to trying it out.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, June 13 2009 @ 01:59 PM UTC  
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@Hairy:

Yes, frequent players will gain greater advantages. However, that's pretty well the same across the whole rest of the Island, and across PBBG's in general. Smile


 
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Anonymous: Bee Bee
 Monday, June 15 2009 @ 12:54 PM UTC  


I think Hairy Mary's concern is that a few large robot armies will eliminate all of the smaller robot armies and therefore the robot armies module will only generate req for those few. In the existing PVP, you only loose existing req but do not have any reduction in the capacity to gain req.

I think a "an army must be this high" before it can be attacked might reduce that concern. Is that possible with your code?


 
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Hairy Mary
 Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 01:13 PM UTC  
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Please excuse my ignorance of the jargon, but what's a PBBG ?


 
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Hairy Mary
 Tuesday, June 16 2009 @ 01:42 PM UTC  
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My concern was this. While across the rest of the island, the more you play the faster you rise; this is not in direct competition with someone else. That is to say, if someone else comes in 5 times a week, and I only come in once a week, then they can reasonably expect to gain drive kills 5 times as fast (give or take, depending on play skill). In this case I just pootle along at my own slow place, knowing precisely why other people are moving faster than me. Fine. However, in a direct fight, hypothetical other person can hit me five times as much as I can hit back. I might be more advanced, a better player, everything. It doesn't matter. Other person can clobber me 3 times, and loose, but wear me down, until on the fourth attempt, they win. It's not just a case of only progressing five times as slowly, it's a case of not moving forward at all. It means that people who aren't on the island pretty much every day don't really have this as an option.
Perhaps if the amount of times that you could be attacked between logging on was limited it might stop this. Or better still, the number of robots that you could be attacked with, based in some way on the number of robots that you have yourself. (To stop people using alts to attack with one week robot, rendering themselves immune.)
On the other hand this could easily be just a completely wrong analysis, based on a lack of understanding, so I'll wait and see.

As it happens, I'm hoping to get a 'puter of my very own soon. Big Grin So I'll probably be here a bit more often, no more skulking around in libraries/net cafes for me. I'll get up to midget level, and start role playing a bit more then as well. I've got some ideas, Cantankerous is going to attempt to start a Squat Hole tourist agency. I'm looking forward to it.

Hairy


 
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