Battle 1 - Mission 4: Rescue Alliance POWs

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Battle 1 - Mission 4: Rescue Alliance POWs

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Forceflow

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Post by Forceflow » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:23 am

Okay, not sure what the issue is with this mission. But for some reason the Y-Wings don't disable the Dreadnought. They did take down the shields, but after that they just can't seem to actually disable it. I even did try to harass the Dread with my X-Wing to draw some fire, but it didn't change much. I do remember running into the same issue before. I adjusted the mission to have the Dreadnaught start a bit farther off from the station and it worked then, not sure if that is a good solution though.

Also, does anybody remember? I could have sworn that you have proton torpedoes in your load-out for this mission. Though flying it now I don't have them available. Haven't had a chance to look at the original mission yet. Have to check that out...
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Post by Mark_Farlander » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:14 pm

Your X-Wing (Red 2) has never been loaded with proton torpedoes in B1M4. The entire X-Wing Red Group has no warheads available in that mission.

As for the Y-Wings not able to disable the Dreadnaught, Darksaber's Dreadnaught coming with XWAUCP v1.6 is slightly overpowered.
He wrote his Dreadnaught had 9 Laser hardpoint more than it should (link: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12662 )
I see there is a "New" Dreadnaught v2.2 in the download section.
It should be the updated Dreadnaught with the same number of laser hardpoints as the vanilla one.
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Post by Ace Antilles » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:50 pm

Mark_Farlander wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:14 pm
Your X-Wing (Red 2) has never been loaded with proton torpedoes in B1M4. The entire X-Wing Red Group has no warheads available in that mission.

As for the Y-Wings not able to disable the Dreadnaught, Darksaber's Dreadnaught coming with XWAUCP v1.6 is slightly overpowered.
He wrote his Dreadnaught had 9 Laser hardpoint more than it should (link: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12662 )
I see there is a "New" Dreadnaught v2.2 in the download section.
It should be the updated Dreadnaught with the same number of laser hardpoints as the vanilla one.
Dreadnaught v2.2
Reduced the number of hardpoints to match the original Opt.
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Post by Mark_Farlander » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:58 pm

However, I've just played B1M4 without installing the Dreadnaught v2.2. It can be completed both at Medium and at Hard difficulty.
To complete the mission at Hard difficulty I've followed Phoenix Leader's advice (link: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12662&start=31 )
And it worked.

As for Medium difficulty, I've tried to leave the task of disabling the Dreadnaught entirely to the Y-Wings. And it didn't work, even at Medium difficulty.
However, when the ATR Storm Unit arrived, it disabled the Dreadnaught. This took a few minutes though.
In the vanilla version of X-Wing Alliance you could leave the Dreadnaught to the Y-Wings and they disabled it at Medium difficulty.

I'll try with the Dreadnaught v2.2 installed and let you know.
Last edited by Mark_Farlander on Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Mark_Farlander » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:25 pm

Tried the mission with the Dreadnaught v2.2 installed and it didn't change much. Things went exactly the same way they went without the latest update.

If you wish to have the Dreadnaught disabled before the arrival of the ATR Storm Unit, there is a brutal solution: set Ion Pulse Torpedoes as optional warheads for player's flight group (the first flight group), and Proton Torpedoes as the default ones.

In this way if anyone does not know what to do to make the Dreadnaught be disabled by the Y-Wings, he can still change warhead type in the hangar and load Ion Pulse Torpedoes.
With Ion Pulse Torpedoes you can disable the Dreadnaught yourself once her shields are down. Of course you need to dumb fire the warheads.

However, even if this solution is simple and effective, it is historically wrong.
According to the briefing of B2M2, Ion Pulse Torpedoes were new experimental warheads at the time of Battle 2.
And B1M4 is in Battle 1.

So I would like to know what other members of the community think about this.
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Post by capitanguinea » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:57 am

What about usig mag pulse missiles? They are Clone Wars vintage and help reducing fire from capital ships

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Post by Mark_Farlander » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:54 pm

It's not a bad idea, though in the end the process of disabling the Dreadnaught still depends on the Y-Wings. They have the ion cannons, not you.
Another solution is to have the Y-Wing as optional craft for the player, but I would recommend against this one.
To reach the last region (Bundil System) you need to travel a long distance in real space, so the reduced speed of the Y-Wing won't help.
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Post by capitanguinea » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:48 pm

And what about a trick? Like a setup in the orders of the target to disable itself when at 75% of the systems?

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Post by Mark_Farlander » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:59 pm

As far as I see the DREAD VTR-LX only has 3 orders in Region 3 (Bundil System), therefore it can be done.
And it also would not require "moving" orders as the only order with a jump condition is "Self-Destruct".

The only thing I would argue is that it would not be realistic. There is another solution though.
The "Disabled" order with jump condition "DREAD VTR-LX must be at 75% hull".
I've already applied this solution to the order rework of the Venix in B0M4 coming with the XWAUCP v1.6
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Post by Mark_Farlander » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:10 pm

In this way if the Y-Wings (or the ATR Storm Unit) disable the DREAD VTR-LX, then the DREAD VTR-LX is "normally" disabled.
If the Y-Wings don't disable the DREAD, then you hit her hull with your lasers and the jump condition triggers.
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Post by Jaeven » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:01 am

I've already fixed the mission. There was an issue with the Y-wings using a wrong formation and then its high AI level to be unable to disable the Dreadnaught.

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Post by Mark_Farlander » Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:13 am

Good job! I'm curious about one thing: did you change the Diamond 1 formation to something else? I see the Y-Wings are the only Rebel fighters in this mission with a spacing set to 8.
This is just speculation but I have the feeling that the original mission designer found there was something strange with the formation, so he tried to loosen it to compensate.
However, formations usually tend to get broken during the battle.

Judging from this video I recorded in the Film Room (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB9MnXgylSY ) it seems that the second thing you mentioned (the Jedi AI level of the Y-Wings) is much more impactful.
This leads to a simple question: is Jedi AI/Super Ace AI level always the best and the most accurate?
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Post by Jaeven » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:33 pm

Mark_Farlander wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:13 am
Good job! I'm curious about one thing: did you change the Diamond 1 formation to something else? I see the Y-Wings are the only Rebel fighters in this mission with a spacing set to 8.
This is just speculation but I have the feeling that the original mission designer found there was something strange with the formation, so he tried to loosen it to compensate.
However, formations usually tend to get broken during the battle.

Judging from this video I recorded in the Film Room (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB9MnXgylSY ) it seems that the second thing you mentioned (the Jedi AI level of the Y-Wings) is much more impactful.
This leads to a simple question: is Jedi AI/Super Ace AI level always the best and the most accurate?
This is one of those times where the AI is too smart for its own sake. The way AI above Veteran level works, is that if they get hit, they will start dodging for as long as there are shots landing near them. You can test this with a single Ace AI in skirmish. Once you hit, it will dodge, and so long as you fire near it, it will keep dodging instead of going after its objective. The higher the AI, the more often and longer it will do this.

That is what is happening here. The Dreadnaught keeps shooting near it, so the Y-wing will keep dodging instead of shooting at the Dreadnaught. Once I reduced the AI to Top Ace and fixed the formation, the Y-wings had no issues disabling the Dreadnaught, provided they don't get swarmed by TIEs.

For any bomber strike in game, the most damage they'll do will always be the alpha strike, because that's when all ships in the flight group will fire simultaneously, thus making it easier to overwhelm the point-defenses of a capital ship. This is even more important for Rebel FGs, as they typically don't respawn, so they only get that one alpha strike.

In this case, for whatever reason, the Diamond formation prevented them from getting a good alpha strike off. I've adjusted their formation to Vic, and look at that, the mission runs fine again. In terms of spacing, generally that shouldn't make a difference. I can only guess what the mission designer intended with the Diamond formation.
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Post by Will T » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:56 pm

Jaeven wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:33 pm

This is one of those times where the AI is too smart for its own sake. The way AI above Veteran level works, is that if they get hit, they will start dodging for as long as there are shots landing near them. You can test this with a single Ace AI in skirmish. Once you hit, it will dodge, and so long as you fire near it, it will keep dodging instead of going after its objective. The higher the AI, the more often and longer it will do this.

That is what is happening here. The Dreadnaught keeps shooting near it, so the Y-wing will keep dodging instead of shooting at the Dreadnaught. Once I reduced the AI to Top Ace and fixed the formation, the Y-wings had no issues disabling the Dreadnaught, provided they don't get swarmed by TIEs.

For any bomber strike in game, the most damage they'll do will always be the alpha strike, because that's when all ships in the flight group will fire simultaneously, thus making it easier to overwhelm the point-defenses of a capital ship. This is even more important for Rebel FGs, as they typically don't respawn, so they only get that one alpha strike.

In this case, for whatever reason, the Diamond formation prevented them from getting a good alpha strike off. I've adjusted their formation to Vic, and look at that, the mission runs fine again. In terms of spacing, generally that shouldn't make a difference. I can only guess what the mission designer intended with the Diamond formation.
This is pretty fascinating stuff, and exactly the sort of deep dive analysis I think we should be doing to get a good understanding of these balancing issues.

I'm starting to wonder if this might be affecting other missions. I wonder if high AI wingmen being shot at by cap ships causes them to go evasive and spend too little time engaging with with fighters. Like the X-Wings in B4M6 that seem to die very quickly - I wonder if the increased volume of fire from the ISD means they're dodging more and not attacking the TIE groups, which lets the TIEs group up on them and finish them off.


On the alpha strike logic, that all makes sense. Would that mean that setting the formation to line abreast is probably optimal for alpha strikes, as in theory they'll all be the same distance from the target at the same time, and if they all fire their torpedoes as soon as they're in range then they'll all fire at the same time?
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Post by DarHan » Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:03 pm

I did notice that several weeks ago: the Y-Wings were firing their ion cannons, but because they were busy dodging the Dreadnaught’s return fire, all the ion shots missed the Dreadnaught by a wide margin. My brother saw it happen while I was playing, too. I ended up having to use blind-fired mag pulse warheads to make the mission work.
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Post by Mark_Farlander » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:46 pm

I think the original AI designers did not take this thing into account. We will have to look at the AI more in detail in the future if we can.
Since some crafts already have the maximum rate of fire at Veteran AI and fighters at Ace AI, to make higher AI levels more "proficient" the crafts have to dodge that way.

Quoting ual002 from another topic:
The fact that all fire is accurate and only just lags behind is a cheese factor. There is 0 random dispersal.
After some testing fighters vs fighters (I probably already did this test a long time ago) I experienced that the difference between Ace AI, Top Ace AI and Super Ace AI is simply the "targeting computer refresh rate" (I mean how many times in a second the fighter refreshes the location of the target) and evasive maneuvers.
After all, if all fire is accurate, and Ace AI already has the maximum rate of fire, how to make Top Ace AI and Super Ace AI?

The problem is that how evasive maneuvers are managed by the AI... is a total mess.

Evasive maneuvers are a total mess because they also affect the accuracy in such terrible way.

As for formations I've discovered a few months ago that there are essentially 3 types of formations (https://www.xwaupgrade.com/phpBB3/viewt ... =9&t=12448 )
To recap:
Formations with Start 1 point on the center of mass (type 2):
Pentagons (29, 30, 31), Hexagons (32, 33, 34), Diamonds (8, 27, 28), Finger Four (2) and all Double lines (24, 25, 26) except Double Astern

All the other formations are "leader centered" (Start 1 on the leader) or "leader shifted" (Start 1 translated from the leader)

Leader centered formations: formations with Start 1 point on the leader (type 1):
All line formations (3, 4, 9, 14, 16) except Stacked Low and Abreast Left, the standard Vics (1, 12), the standard Wing (18), Abreast Vs (22, 23), High X (10), Line Astern Up (20) and Double Astern (7)

Leader shifted formations: formations with Start 1 point translated from the leader (so on the 0th craft) (type 3):
Echelons (5, 6), the inverted Vics (11, 13), the inverted Wing (19), Stacked Low (15), Abreast Left (17) and Line Astern Down (21)
Tests are needed to discover if this has something to do with the accuracy of the "alpha strike".

I can complete the mission now at Medium without helping the Y-Wings with the Dreadnaught. Great work indeed!
Hard I still have to use the "Phoenix maneuver", I mean ordering the X-Wings to attack the DREAD from the bow.
This way the Y-Wings do not get attacked by the DREAD, therefore they do not need to evade fire and they are more accurate.
However, we all know that Totally Games did not care much about Hard level.

By the way, this explanation surely makes clear why the Phoenix maneuver works so well:
Jaeven wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:33 pm
Mark_Farlander wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:13 am
Good job! I'm curious about one thing: did you change the Diamond 1 formation to something else? I see the Y-Wings are the only Rebel fighters in this mission with a spacing set to 8.
This is just speculation but I have the feeling that the original mission designer found there was something strange with the formation, so he tried to loosen it to compensate.
However, formations usually tend to get broken during the battle.

Judging from this video I recorded in the Film Room (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB9MnXgylSY ) it seems that the second thing you mentioned (the Jedi AI level of the Y-Wings) is much more impactful.
This leads to a simple question: is Jedi AI/Super Ace AI level always the best and the most accurate?
This is one of those times where the AI is too smart for its own sake. The way AI above Veteran level works, is that if they get hit, they will start dodging for as long as there are shots landing near them. You can test this with a single Ace AI in skirmish. Once you hit, it will dodge, and so long as you fire near it, it will keep dodging instead of going after its objective. The higher the AI, the more often and longer it will do this.

That is what is happening here. The Dreadnaught keeps shooting near it, so the Y-wing will keep dodging instead of shooting at the Dreadnaught. Once I reduced the AI to Top Ace and fixed the formation, the Y-wings had no issues disabling the Dreadnaught, provided they don't get swarmed by TIEs.

For any bomber strike in game, the most damage they'll do will always be the alpha strike, because that's when all ships in the flight group will fire simultaneously, thus making it easier to overwhelm the point-defenses of a capital ship. This is even more important for Rebel FGs, as they typically don't respawn, so they only get that one alpha strike.

In this case, for whatever reason, the Diamond formation prevented them from getting a good alpha strike off. I've adjusted their formation to Vic, and look at that, the mission runs fine again. In terms of spacing, generally that shouldn't make a difference. I can only guess what the mission designer intended with the Diamond formation.
Now that this problem has been solved, please could you also change the Arrival "via" of the M/FRG Archon from "PLT/2 Bundil II" to "Hyperspace" to solve the other major problem in this mission?

Consecutive multi-posts merged to clean up the thread and get all the information in one place.
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Post by Ace Antilles » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:58 pm

Mark if you post in quick succession it's much better to edit the first post than keep making new ones.
Thanks for your understanding.
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Post by keiranhalcyon7 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:33 am

What's the issue with the diamond formation? According to YOGEME, for a three-ship group, vic and diamond should be basically the same. Is there some hidden impact on AI behavior?

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Post by Jaeven » Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:43 am

Will T wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:56 pm
Jaeven wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:33 pm

This is one of those times where the AI is too smart for its own sake. The way AI above Veteran level works, is that if they get hit, they will start dodging for as long as there are shots landing near them. You can test this with a single Ace AI in skirmish. Once you hit, it will dodge, and so long as you fire near it, it will keep dodging instead of going after its objective. The higher the AI, the more often and longer it will do this.

That is what is happening here. The Dreadnaught keeps shooting near it, so the Y-wing will keep dodging instead of shooting at the Dreadnaught. Once I reduced the AI to Top Ace and fixed the formation, the Y-wings had no issues disabling the Dreadnaught, provided they don't get swarmed by TIEs.

For any bomber strike in game, the most damage they'll do will always be the alpha strike, because that's when all ships in the flight group will fire simultaneously, thus making it easier to overwhelm the point-defenses of a capital ship. This is even more important for Rebel FGs, as they typically don't respawn, so they only get that one alpha strike.

In this case, for whatever reason, the Diamond formation prevented them from getting a good alpha strike off. I've adjusted their formation to Vic, and look at that, the mission runs fine again. In terms of spacing, generally that shouldn't make a difference. I can only guess what the mission designer intended with the Diamond formation.

On the alpha strike logic, that all makes sense. Would that mean that setting the formation to line abreast is probably optimal for alpha strikes, as in theory they'll all be the same distance from the target at the same time, and if they all fire their torpedoes as soon as they're in range then they'll all fire at the same time?
Depends on the mission and what the bombers are going up against. Sometimes Vic could be better, as the lead ship of the formation may draw the fire and allow the rest of the group to push through. But now that we know that formations can actually have a huge impact on missions, I may have to conduct some experiments with them.
Now that this problem has been solved, please could you also change the Arrival "via" of the M/FRG Archon from "PLT/2 Bundil II" to "Hyperspace" to solve the other major problem in this mission?
This is already fixed in the beta version I have (the one I uploaded was an early alpha). I have no idea how this was in there for so many years and I never noticed it.
keiranhalcyon7 wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:33 am
What's the issue with the diamond formation? According to YOGEME, for a three-ship group, vic and diamond should be basically the same. Is there some hidden impact on AI behavior?
I'm not sure. Clearly, some tests on the formations are in order.

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Post by term10150 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:57 am

Any more news on this bug? I recently fired up xwing alliance for the first time in almost 15 years! I simply cant get past this mission. Unfortunately I am stuck with the standard x wing loadout so have no access to magpulse etc. Any help would be much appreciated. Cheers.

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