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Included in Build False Flags: Modify Memory Functionality

Discussion in 'Features Archive' started by Hylie Pistof, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    Oh this is fun.............

    I went to Nevis and there were Spanish and British ships there but the Portagee flag I was flying was neutral to them so all was well. Finished up and left and the Spanish ships were red and upset. I checked and the French and Spanish had become friendly but at the same time the Spanish and Portagees had started fighting. :facepalm So the Spanish were mad at me for flying the Portagee flag. The answer was to start flying my personal flag and everyone was happy.

    So later I got a merchant run to Santiago. I had been there before flying the Portagee flag and all was well. But not now! They remembered me as a Portagee and fired on me even though I was flying my personal flag and was supposed to be friendly with them! :rumgone This new system is so smart it's stupid.
     
    Black Iron Oyster likes this.
  2. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Lol! :rofl

    Indeed they do remember the flag that they saw you flying before. That's a brilliant example of how Changing Nation Relations throws that out of whack.

    You have to buy amnesty from Spain before you can reset that.
    Maybe though I should also add an "automatic forget" in place when nation relations change.
    That should not be too hard.

    Let me see if I get this straight:
    Spanish fort saw you with a Portuguese flag. This was OK because they were not hostile.
    You yourself were not Portuguese; you just used that flag. Were you yourself hostile with Spain af the time or not?

    Later Portugal and Spain decide to start a war.
    Spanish fort still remembers you as Portuguese which now IS hostile.

    What were your own personal relations with Spain and Portugal by the end?
     
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  3. imado552

    imado552 Master Mariner

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    :ahoylol that's funny
    and me thinks that this might make the game more interesting (IN IRON MOD HAHAHAHA:aar)need to think before doing anything hahaha and taking notes every time might save your life later:walkplank
     
  4. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Assuming that it is forts hostile to you that belong to a nation friendly to you, you can pay a Governor to smooth things over with their fort commanders.
    If the nation is actually hostile to you, then it does become harder because you'd have to buy amnesty first.
     
  5. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    I started as French but ended up sailing a Portagee ship and flying the Portagee flag for almost a year. I went everywhere like that. France was mad at everyone except Portugal all that time. So everyone except France and Portugal was hostile to me.

    When this happened things had changed so that only the Pirates and England were hostile to me. I had sunk no ships and captured 2 Pirate ships on treasure quests.

    Now I have captured 2 more ships, one English that was already surrendered when I arrived, so now Pirates and England are hostile, France is good, Spain is ok, and the Dutch and Portagees are wary. Except that whoever is mad at the Portagees are also mad at me.

    From now on I'm going to fly my personal flag only and do no sneaking or false flag stuff.
     
  6. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    France turned hostile to you while you started as French?

    If Spain is not hostile to you now, you can reset Havanna fort by giving some money to a Spanish governor.

    Using false Flags does indeed always bring with it some complexity.
    If you pretend to be Portuguese, how are people to know that really you're not?

    Personally I wouldn't use a false flag unless I've got a specific reason to do so.
    There is always a risk of some kind involved.

    At the moment any ship and fort that spots you remembers the last nation that they saw you as.
    Unless they remember you as being of a hostile nation, because that memory "sticks".

    Maybe one thing I could easily do is to make sure they ONLY remember if you were hostile.
     
  7. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    "France turned hostile to you while you started as French?" I never said that anywhere. France has always been "0"

    Yes I know about bribing the Governors, but it a tedious and expensive process plus the bastards don't STAY bribed. Whenever this nation gets mad at that nation everything changes and I usually only find out while being sunk by a "friendly" fort.

    Another topic: Combat seems to have been made much much easier now. At level 16 with melee = 6 and a Spanish Rapier on Swashbuckler level many opponents are one stroke kills. Instead of fights being desperate struggles that I often lose, now they are arcade game easy and boring.

    Also, the treasure quests seem to have been tweaked because in my last game I went 0 for 7 before getting a treasure for an overall record of 1-8. So far in this game I am 2-4.

    Overall it seems some changes made were too large.
     
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  8. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Sorry, I misread your earlier post.

    I'll make that change so they won't remember you unless you were actually hostile.
    That probably helps.

    The Treasure quests haven't been touched, that I can guarantee.

    As for fencing being too easy, could it be that your fencing skill increases too fast now?
    How many officers do you generally take ashore with you?
    That is the only thing I changed that may affect this, I think.
     
  9. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    This is the change I'd propose to make:
    Ships and forts to not remember your nationality unless you are actually hostile.

    Doing that basically simplifies the system so that ships and forts would just remember you as "hostile"/"not hostile" and they wouldn't remember much of anything about the circumstances.

    Now for the thousand dollar question: Should we want that? It does cut out some potentially interesting (and also potentially annoying/confusing) logic from the game.

    And going further beyond that: How would you envision yourself to use false flags?
    While it should actually work now, it is deliberately not without risk.
     
  10. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    That sounds reasonable. The fort or ship shouldn't really care, except perhaps if you fired while still flying a friendly flag, in which case you're not merely an enemy, you're a treacherous enemy. Beyond that, if they think you're not hostile - either because you're genuinely not hostile or because you're flying a non-hostile false flag which they haven't recognised - then they don't fire. A fort which didn't fire at you on your way into port should remember you as friendly and not fire at you on the way out either.

    In port, I'm likely to use a false flag if it's a hostile port which I need to visit for quest purposes and the beach is no use; or it's early in the game, I don't know off-hand where the beach is and have no map, but I do know where the port is. At sea, I'm likely to use a false flag to approach an enemy ship, then raise hostile flag and give him a broadside of grapeshot before boarding. In both cases there is the risk of the false flag being recognised in which case I'm attacked. That's fine - it's a hostile port or ship, deception is a valid but chancy strategy.

    What I might do is have a false friendly flag belonging to another non-hostile nation. I have LoM's from both England and Portugal, so served nation is Personal and all flags are false. France is at war with England and at peace with Holland. I'm currently flying an English flag because I've just been to Bridgetown and can't be bothered changing it when I sail into Kralendijk because I know England and Holland are at peace. Assuming England and Holland are still at peace, the fort shouldn't care - either it doesn't recognise my false flag, thinks I serve England, and am friendly, or it recognises my false flag, but knows I'm not hostile to Holland, so it still doesn't fire.

    The only complication I can think of is if relations change while you're there. I've just moored at Martinique beach because I'm famous and have no hope of getting in under a false flag. The reason I'm here is to complete the "Girl Won in a Card Game" side quest, resulting in Virginie D'Espivant escorting me to the governor, who gives me a free pardon. The fort should now no longer remember me as being hostile because I'm not hostile any more.
     
  11. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    I don't see the logic of forts firing on me just because I changed my flag. If I'm hostile then sure, fire away!

    The only time I deliberately use a false flag is when sneaking in and out of Nevis past the English ships. I know where the isolated beaches are and sit off shore until the coast is clear, then dash in.
     
  12. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    At the moment, every fort and ship at sea remembers the last flag that they saw you with.
    I probably did that to ensure you cannot fool and abuse the system.
    And because a nation is stored the first time, I imagine it helps with performance as well.

    This is generally not a problem, but of course Changing Nation Relations has a tendency to make everything ten times more complicated.
    Which is indeed what happened to Hylie.
    The Fort remembered him as Portuguese and they recently turned hostile.

    Technically that is the system doing exactly what it was designed to do.
    But I've got to admit, this particular scenario does sound a bit silly.
     
  13. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    In reality the only ship the fort remembers is yours. Apart from the occasional quest ship, all the rest are forgotten by the whole game as soon as you leave the island.

    But either the system is simulating the fort remembering every ship which enters port, or the fort is singling you out for particular attention. The former is barely realistic and the latter is blatantly player-centric, something I thought we were trying to prevent. ;) It's reasonable for the fort to remember what nation it believed you to be when you entered and treat you as being the same nation when you leave, but it's not reasonable for the fort to remember you next time you visit unless you're particularly memorable - and that's what the fame-based false flag recognition is for.
     
  14. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Non player ships never use false flags anyway, so there isn't much to remember there.

    I suppose the forts' (and ships') memory may be considered to be unrealistically good.
    But making that a short term memory requires some sort of "expiring timer" to be part of the functionality.
    Doesn't really make things any simpler and I was already quite happy to have some sort of working system now at all.

    We've had discussions about such realism points before.
    I'm always afraid if you go with 100% realism on it all, that nothing ever matters and you can do what you want with virtually zero consequences.
    So for me, gameplay comes first. Realism can go wherever that adds to gameplay.

    But if you can use false flags all the time without anyone ever remembering anything, then that is one gameplay element gone.
    That is why I'm still undecided on whether this is truly the best idea.
     
  15. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    This is a sticky issue as right now a false flag can only be used one time per fort as the fort remembers and the player probably won't. I didn't.

    The current solution is to sneak in by using a back door and then visiting the governor, then going back and sailing in the front door. And that is after getting hammered by the fort.

    There is always the chance that the fort will recognize your false flag, so there is always the chance of being caught.
     
  16. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    The Fort remembers what flag it saw you with last.
    That doesn't mean your false flag got detected.

    I may have done that for performance reasons. At the time I think I hadn't fixed the 1 second stutter yet, so I was extremely cautious to not make things worse.

    Mostly this should only become an issue when Changing Nation Relations are on.
    Otherwise you wouldn't notice much from this.

    I could look into simplifying it so ships and forts only remember if they recognised you as hostile or not.
    At the moment I can't quite think of what effects that would have on the game though.
    I'm afraid doing that could have other unintended side effects and/or create some sort of exploits instead.

    Unfortunately I'm still sick and my brain isn't cooperating, so maybe you guys could think it through for me?
    There is still plenty to be done as it is, so if I do end up having to spend yet more time on this, I'd really rather be absolutely certain it is the right thing to do.

    Extra query: Should this be done before or after the Beta 4 public release?
    My intention was to release that next weekend.
    I still need to look into several things before that though and at the moment it is very unclear when I'll feel well and will have access to my game files again. :facepalm
     
  17. Grey Roger

    Grey Roger Sea Dog Staff Member Storm Modder

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    I agree 100%. That's why I didn't disable Martinique or Barbados during my overhaul of "Early Explorers" - realistically neither of them were colonised at that time, but losing them would wipe out a lot of side quests and seriously damage gameplay in that period, so realistic or not, they stay.

    On the other hand, having forts remember for all time that they recognised you eventually leads to false flags becoming worthless when trying to sneak into port. So it's a choice between losing one gameplay element which is unrealistic and annoying, or seriously damaging another gameplay element which is useful and realistic.

    As an absolute minimum, the memory should be reset if you use a different ship. They might remember that you're in an Aurora class frigate and were spotted using a false flag, but they've no reason to suspect that the flushdeck frigate they've just spotted under an English flag is yours unless they actively recognise you again.

    Perhaps they could reasonably remember unique ships. Aurora class frigates are used, in one colour scheme or another, by pretty well everyone, so they won't know your Aurora class frigate under an English flag from any other Aurora class frigate under an English flag. But if they've identified you as captain of the Black Pearl then no false flag will ever disguise that ship again. (Tough luck on the next captain if you sell her and get something more anonymous, but that's his problem, not yours. xD) If you want to sneak around and pretend to be something you're not, don't be in an easily recognised ship!

    Also, if they've recognised me in a big battleship, they'll probably remember it forever. They'll remember what happened last time they saw such a ship because it's about to happen again. :pirate41: So they could remember you if you approached the fort under a false flag and then attacked the fort, especially if you didn't change to a valid hostile flag before opening fire.

    PS. Get well soon!
     
  18. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    In the past, when your false flag was recognised, the game stored your ship type and name.
    As long as both would remain the same, you'd continue being recognised by that ship (forts weren't really included at the time and it all didn't work quite right anyway).

    When I rewrote things, I did away with that check.
    The name check because that could easily serve as a massive cheat and the ship type check because that was one extra layer of complexity that I preferred not getting into at the time.
    Also because swapping ships would create a massive exploit there too.

    Storing the recognising per ship type is an interesting thought, but that would then need to be stored for every ship and fort.
    That could potentially become rather a lot; especially for forts.

    The current system is indeed unrealistically good at remembering. Far more so than the player would be.
    But figuring out a reasonable "forgetting logic" isn't so simple either.
    That is why, when we discussed this before, we agreed that a "pay governor to forget" option would suffice for the time being.
    Admittedly not ideal, but it has the advantage of being simple.

    I figured this shouldn't be an excessively common occurrence.
    For normally friendly ships and forts, it would only be a problem if you sailed in sight of them under a false hostile flag.
    And of course then there was Changing Nation Relations to complicate matters some more as well.

    Forts are persistent though and are also very dangerous.
    Which does mean that once your false flag was recognised by an actually hostile fort, it will never work there again.
    Not until you buy amnesty, that is. So you'd be unable to use the "front door" for the remainder of the game, which does seem a bit excessive.

    My impression is that an ideal solution to this becomes really complicated really quickly, which makes it seem unwise to change at the last minute.

    I'd welcome you guys to have a look at Screwface_functions.c though, which contains most of the relevant code.
    If a simple solution occurs to you, please enlighten me. :cheers
     
  19. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    If there is no simple solution, then leave it alone. I will use the back door when I can.
     
  20. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Removing the "flag memorising" would be relatively doable because it involves just removing some code.

    But that wouldn't take care of "never being able to get past a fort that recognised you once".
    That would require something more.

    I do agree that some further changes to this will be needed at some point.
    But I can't think of any quick fixes that would take care of them all in one go....
     

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