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Subject: TIE Automated Starfighter rss

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Michael Owen
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I would greatly appreciate suggestions for implementing the TIE Automated Starfighter (TIE Droid Starfighter) produced by World Devastators in the comic mini-series Dark Empire I.

Would the TIE Automated have maneuvers equal to or greater than the TIE Interceptor? Would any maneuvers be restricted because of the droid brain? Should stress tokens act differently because of the droid brain?

The two laser cannons should be equivalent to the ones on the standard TIE Fighter. The body points should be higher than a standard TIE to represent heavier armor.

Thanks in advance for feedback.

 
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Chrys Meissner
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owenmp wrote:
I would greatly appreciate suggestions for implementing the TIE Automated Starfighter (TIE Droid Starfighter) produced by World Devastators in the comic mini-series Dark Empire I.

Would the TIE Automated have maneuvers equal to or greater than the TIE Interceptor? Would any maneuvers be restricted because of the droid brain? Should stress tokens act differently because of the droid brain?

The two laser cannons should be equivalent to the ones on the standard TIE Fighter. The body points should be higher than a standard TIE to represent heavier armor.

Thanks in advance for feedback.



The TIE Automated are faster and small than Interceptors. I believe they cand use more longer rule moves (more frequent straight 4 or 5 for example) and do not suffer stress due its automated pilots. IMO, all red moves should be removed.
However, droid pilots are susceptible to "jamming". In this case, seems logical to think about it in every turn the Automated is in range of a enemy fighter. Example: Instead use the Target Acquire action, the X-Wing can replace it for Jamming Action. Just roll a 6 side die to determine sucess of failure of Jamming attempt.

Sorry my bad english.
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Alex McKechnie
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I think Red Maneuvers model more than just g-forces on the pilot, but also the mechanical limits of the aircraft. so, for this reason, I don't think that Red Maneuvers should be dropped. But perhaps they might be limited somehow.

Also, I don't like the idea of introducing a d6 to the game. There are components enough already. If you wanted to approach jamming the way proposed above, I would suggest rolling an Attack Die and if it comes up 'critical hit' then the droid brain is jammed... though what that would mean, I have no idea... maybe treat it like it has an Ion Token? It would be pretty lame if you could take it off the board with one die roll...

--Alex

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Rogue Knight
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There are references to the ship pulling maneuvers humans couldn't handle. The mechanical limits of the craft would, I think, warrant removing red maneuvers.
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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Funny enough

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp?e...

Javin - Java Battle of Yavin Tactical Computer
One of my students' projects to create an actual A.I. bot to play X-Wing. VERY early days on this though. Will keep everyone informed.

Mike
 
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Mel Miniatures
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Ive made this 3D model of the TIE Droid that might be useful for your ideas.


http://www.shapeways.com/model/944954/tie-droid-testing.html
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DoctorMike Reddy
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Doing some research it seems that the drone TIEs were a lot cheaper, faster with more armour. They appear to be less effective than human pilots, hence being discontinued. So, we have individually ineffective craft but ones that would be a threat in sufficient numbers. The X-Wing game card for drones would have to be very low to allow 10+ ships for 100pt games.

I agree that red manoeuvres should be removed. For biological life forms the effect of extreme moves would not be a factor for droids. The ships breaking either do or do not. There is no stress. However, there is no need to change the movement measures. The lack of red moves is sufficient I think.

However, the big problem is the sub-optimal intelligence. Game balance requires some nerfing of ship options to emulate the artificial intelligence not being on a par with sentient pilots. One way would remove focus entirely. Rolls and Evades are ok. But what would be good might be a randomness to movement commands or simplistic targeting; e.g. Drone must fire at/follow the closest enemy, etc.

I have bought 10 micro machine TIEs off eBay to adapt into drones - basically cutting the side panels - and will be trying to work on a suitably balanced card for play. Will keep you in touch.
 
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Dan Dirk
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DoctorMikeReddy wrote:

However, the big problem is the sub-optimal intelligence. Game balance requires some nerfing of ship options to emulate the artificial intelligence not being on a par with sentient pilots. One way would remove focus entirely. Rolls and Evades are ok. But what would be good might be a randomness to movement commands or simplistic targeting; e.g. Drone must fire at/follow the closest enemy, etc.


I would say focus and evade have to be removed... They seem to be pilot abilities, while focus is more obvious as you said something needs to be a "downside". Heck maybe force target lock on the closest ship each round and that would the only action it does.

Barrel roll... while yes it could be programmed I think it is save to say that those are also pilot abilities and may require advanced tactics and human intuition which droids do not have.

At most I would say attack of 2, I would even say def would be 2.
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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I think that Evade could go both ways:
1) Pilot intuition and experience, so NO for drones
2) Evasive manoeuvres were even being explored all the way back in the 20th century...

Jing Li; Jinhua Wu; Shugui Kang, "Learning Evasive Maneuvers Using Genetic-Annealing Algorithms," Intelligent Control and Automation, 2006. WCICA 2006. The Sixth World Congress on , vol.2, no., pp.6432,6435, 0-0 0
doi: 10.1109/WCICA.2006.1714323
Abstract: To the problem of evasive maneuver games in the vertical plane, a kind of evasive maneuver games based on genetic-annealing algorithms is presented in this paper. The algorithm combining genetic algorithms with simulated annealing algorithms is named as a genetic-annealing algorithm, which can solve the problems of global optimal searching in a large state space and evaluation problems. The research also provides a new approach for solving complex decision making problems. Simulation results show that the evasive maneuver game based on the genetic-annealing algorithm can effectively realize evasive maneuvers and evade the rival's interception
keywords: {game theory;genetic algorithms;learning (artificial intelligence);search problems;simulated annealing;complex decision making problem;evasive maneuver game;evasive maneuver learning;genetic-annealing algorithm;global optimal searching;rival interception;simulated annealing;state space;Aerospace engineering;Aircraft;Control engineering;Expert systems;Game theory;Genetic algorithms;Mathematics;Missiles;Simulated annealing;State-space methods;Evasive Maneuver Games;Genetic Algorithms;Simulated Annealing Algorithms},
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=1714...

Moore, F.W.; Garcia, O.N., "A new methodology for optimizing evasive maneuvers under uncertainty in the extended two-dimensional pursuer/evader problem," Tools with Artificial Intelligence, 1997. Proceedings., Ninth IEEE International Conference on , vol., no., pp.278,285, 3-8 Nov 1997
doi: 10.1109/TAI.1997.632267
Abstract: Traditional analytic or control-theoretic solutions to the problem of optimizing evasive maneuvers in the extended two-dimensional pursuer/evader problem require the evader to execute specific sequences of maneuvers at precise pursuer/evader distances. These solutions depend upon several pursuer-specific characteristics, and fail to effectively account for uncertainty about the state of the pursuer. This paper describes the implementation of a genetic programming system that evolves optimized solutions to the extended two-dimensional pursuer/evader problem that do not depend upon knowledge of the pursuer's current state. Best-of-run programs execute strategies by which an evader may maneuver to successfully evade a pursuer starting from a wide range of relative initial positions, under conditions where the state of the pursuer is unknown or uncertain
keywords: {aerospace computing;differential games;genetic algorithms;military aircraft;military computing;problem solving;uncertainty handling;air defence;competitive zero sum game;differential games;evasive maneuver optimization;genetic programming system;maneuver sequences;two-dimensional pursuer-evader problem;uncertainty;Acceleration;Computer science;Educational institutions;Fuels;Genetic engineering;Genetic programming;Optimization methods;Testing;Turning;Uncertainty},
URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6322...

I totally agree over Focus. Targeting might be a good compromise. In another thread I discussed the need for some form of Red manoeuvres, such as strain from sensor interpretation. Say, for example Luke's X-Wing does some "wacky" unpredictable moves, or the drone has to execute some fast turns, both of which would require recalibration or "catching up" by the A.I. it might mean that fewer move options would be allowed, in order for the brains to reacquire the enemy.

The thread http://boardgamegeek.com/article/11589438 had a good recommendation regarding "special abilities" such as pilot critical hits not being eligible, which I really like. However, we need to go further because, historically, the TIE/d starfighters were prone to jamming. So, Ion Cannons would be remarkably effective. Again, something that would need to be simply represented. I would, say have a longer or more profound effect than these currently have for regular ships.

Barrel rolls seem to be just another good pre-programmed manoeuvre to me, so legitimate to have. However, my vision of the drones should be that human players are not "choosing" the detailed moves, but the larger goals, then following tables or scripts to allow for the emulation of automated systems. Thoughts?

DoctorMike
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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P.S. I am linking dev of drones to the following I am also working on...
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/11589264
As a credible automated enemy would work well with these.
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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After playing with the spreadsheet,
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/11600011
here are my proposals for a TIE/d ship, costing 8(!) so we can have up to 12 of the little buggers:

Skill 0 - Drones are much slower than any traditional pilot
Attack 2 - A nice compromise. Remember, we will be swarming
Agility 2 - Need to ready with those automated evasive manoeuvres
Hull 4 - should be hard to kill but easy to hit
Shields 0 - Shields! In our hour of triumph?
Lock 1 - Target lock seems a reasonable automated skill, and Barrel roll will be hard to simply automate with easy to follow rules.

Which allows 24 manoeuvre points for movement:

Dist SL CL St CR SR 180
5 1+ 1*
4 1 1+ 1 1*
3 1 1 1+ 1 1 1*
2 1 1 1+ 1 1 1*
1 1* 1* 1*
Tot 2.5 3 8 3 2.5 5 24


SL = Sharp Left, CL = Curve Left, St = Straight, etc
+ = Green, * = Red (1pt for 180 turns, ).5pt for 90 degrees

NOTE: This would allow for bloody fast turns, but prevent target lock (the only allowable perk), and is justified by the rapid rotation disorienting the drone brain; the harder the turn the more processing power is needed.
NOTE 2: I would also allow, if this was accepted, the ability to keep piling on the stress tokens above 1, to simulate growing confusion, requiring additional turns taking simple actions to recalibrate.

EDIT: This proposal required some changes, evidenced later in the thread
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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DoctorMikeReddy wrote:
NOTE 2: I would also allow, if this was accepted, the ability to keep piling on the stress tokens above 1, to simulate growing confusion, requiring additional turns taking simple actions to recalibrate.


And how might this be done? Well, those pesky Ion Cannons is how! Every Ion Cannon hit adds a stress token, preventing Red Actions; no fast turns for you, young droid!

Edit: Reading the Ion Cannon rules, with no shields, they do (if they successfully hit!) 1 damage and restrict movement to 1 forward white. At first I was worried, as I hadn't put that in as an option, but other ships also don't have the same move. So, am assuming this is still compatible. The Stress effect is an additional weakness, like the opposite of a skills, which makes me wonder if -1 for skill could be used in the spreadsheet legitimately?
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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Now to see what mods might legitimately be added to a drone...
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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Been doing some "research" and it seems that, despite what the wookipedia says:
"Every TIE/D had an integrated Cybot Galactica Ace-6 droid brain which could be updated with new tactics—despite this, it was still often easily outwitted by sentient starfighter pilots... During the battle, TIE/D fighters were pitted against New Republic V-wings and E-wings. The massive numbers of TIE/Ds provided them with an inherent advantage, but New Republic pilots were able to outwit these drones..."
http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/TIE/D_automated_starfighter
the TIE/d ships weren't as stupid as they are made out to be. Homing cluster missiles are not "outwitting" the drones, but outgunning them:




If you read the comics, I would argue that only the R2D2 command codes and Luke's interference caused the destruction of the World Devastators and by implication the TIE/d ships (well, their manufacturing at least). It is clear that had the N64 game, shown above with clear restrictions in even rendering as the Devastators appear out of the 'mist' due to draw distances, been able to rez even close to the real number of TIE/d ships described, even use of missiles would have been insufficient. Sheer force of numbers would have won the day.

Therefore, I think that comments about their ability in relation to sentient pilots is unsupported. Although the game has some issues, the behaviour of the TIE/d ships is pretty good. The craft show deliberate intent to pursue and to avoid fire arcs of the player craft. With force of numbers that was implied in the comic books, this strategy would be credible, just as the Luftwaffe had in WW2. Admittedly, the Battle of Britain went to the Allies, mostly due to incredible flying by British Pilots, and we know Calamari was won by the Rebellion, but no one was claiming the Nazi pilots were rubbish.
 
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Derry Salewski
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Did the Mon Cals invent Radar?
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DoctorMike Reddy
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scifiantihero wrote:
Did the Mon Cals invent Radar?

That's right.

Actually, The Battle of Britain was won by more than just Radar. Technologically, the two sides were equal. Britain had mass production of Hurricanes, for example, to the point of not having enough pilots, and when they were shot down, the pilots mostly survived to fly again, whereas German pilots died or were interred for the rest of the war. However, more interesting was the Nazi change of tactic from destroying airbases and factories; a good approach, which the Emperor would have done well to emulate), but sadly, he approved of Tarkin's strategy:

"Since you are reluctant to provide us with the location of the Rebel base, I have chosen to test this station's destructive power on your home planet of Alderaan." ― Wilhuff Tarkin to Leia Organa

The Germans shifted over to Terror Bombing, thus not cutting off Britain's ability in the Air or preventing its Industry from manufacturing. It didn't help that Goering kept the ME109s on escort duty, rather than letting them take the fight to the Spitfires and Hurricanes.

TIE fighters should have swarmed all over the X, Y, A and V Wings. TIE/d's would have done just that. Quietly using the World Devastators on less prominent worlds would have allowed a mass force of expendable drone fighters that would have overwhelmed even the most Forced up Wedges and Lukes. However, that would have made for quite a different movie:
http://www.shadowlocked.com/20101123996/lists/8-easy-ways-th...
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Shadow_Droid

One day... one day...
 
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Davyd A
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DoctorMikeReddy wrote:

Edit: Reading the Ion Cannon rules, with no shields, they do (if they successfully hit!) 1 damage and restrict movement to 1 forward white. At first I was worried, as I hadn't put that in as an option, but other ships also don't have the same move. So, am assuming this is still compatible. The Stress effect is an additional weakness, like the opposite of a skills, which makes me wonder if -1 for skill could be used in the spreadsheet legitimately?


A ship suffering from an Ion cannon effect doesn't even dial a manoeuvre, it skips the planning phase entirely. So it doesn't matter what's on its dial.

 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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That's right, but it's better to check.
 
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Ferlin Pomfrett
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The Shadow Droids would be very easy to make.
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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einargosric wrote:
The Shadow Droids would be very easy to make.

As just a model and a card, yes. As an automated enemy, no. There are two strands I think:
1) Have actual A.I. run X-Wing ships (TIE/d)
2) Have them actually be better than Human players (Shadow Droids)
Human players pretending to be drone craft is probably the (0)th step.
 
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Ferlin Pomfrett
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You are probably right about that. I just tend to think of things form a modelling perspective
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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Well, a cool model is a start! However, X-Wing is remarkably free of Force related mechanics.
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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Here are my revised proposals for a TIE/d ship, costing 8(!) so we can have up to 12 of the little buggers:

Skill 0 - Drones are much slower than any traditional pilot
Attack 2 - A nice compromise. Remember, we will be swarming
Agility 2 - Need to ready with those automated evasive manoeuvres
Hull 4 - should be hard to kill but easy to hit
Shields 0 - Shields! In our hour of triumph?
Lock 1 - Target lock seems a reasonable automated skill
Evade 1 - Evasion has been done with A.I. for years
Barrel 1 - Part of Evasion/Manoeuvring

Which now only allows 20 manoeuvre points for movement:

Dist SL CL St CR SR 180
5 1+
4 1+
3 1 1 1+ 1 1 1*
2 1 1 1+ 1 1 1*
1 1* 1* 1*
Tot 2.5 3 6 3 2.5 3 20


SL = Sharp Left, CL = Curve Left, St = Straight, etc
+ = Green, * = Red (1pt for 180 turns, ).5pt for 90 degrees

NOTE: This would allow for bloody fast turns, but prevent actions, and is justified by the rapid rotation disorienting the drone brain; the harder the turn the more processing power is needed.
NOTE 2: I would also allow, if this was accepted, the ability to keep piling on the stress tokens above 1, to simulate growing confusion, requiring additional turns taking simple actions to recalibrate.
NOTE 3: Finally, to be as thematic as possible, Ion Cannon hits, in addition to the 1F movement, would also add a stress token to a ship to simulate jamming.

I've done some mock ups for X-Wing cards, etc.

Ship Token

Pilot Card

I'm working on a Vasal Module Extension to allow TIE/d Drones to be used by people for solo play, and am working on including the simple A.I. lookups as a widget in that extension.
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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I've also just discovered a TIE Bomber Drone (!), called the TIE/db but can only find reference to it here:

http://narwath.tripod.com/tie1.html (about two thirds down)

http://rpggamer.org/page.php?page=2163
http://rpggamer.org/page.php?page=2162&name=TIE/DB%20Automat...
And another Drone craft, the Datalinked Scout Drone, known as the TIE/dsd
http://rpggamer.org/page.php?page=2186&name=TIE/DSD%20-%20Da...

However, there isn't much in the usual wiki sites on these. Any idea where they originated from, or if they are canon?

EDIT: It appears that these ships 'appeared' for the game Galactic Battlegrounds, which has several conflicts before the original trilogy, which involved more droid fighters.
 
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